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About The Book

"I want you to spill your guts -- dreams and fears, successes and failures -- before you spill them on the training floor. You probably have many questions about how to better your body, your mind, and your future; so if you're ready to listen, I have the answers!"

-- From the introduction to Get Strong!

Now is the time to become the guy that you have always wanted to be! Get Strong! is the first guide to not only getting in shape, but also getting your life in gear. Fitness motivator Jake Steinfeld, better known to the world as "Body by Jake," helps you learn the basic steps to a more confident, more powerful, and healthier life. From bicep curls to life evaluations, Jake takes a whole new look at how to make it through your teenage years, and not just as another peg on the totem pole, but as the Big Man on Campus.

Chock-full of real-life tales from Jake's own youth and descriptions and illustrations of exercises to get yourself in shape, Get Strong! is the plan you need to become strong and confident. So get off your buttissimo and get down to business, because as Jake says, "I want you to build the most impressive physique that you thought possible with this book, but I also want you to build an impressive future." By following the steps outlined in Get Strong!, you will achieve just that.

A portion of the proceeds of Get Strong! will go to the Don't Quit! Foundation.


Chapter One: Listen Up to Muscle Up

Every client I've ever trained -- from big-name directors and actors to lesserknown ones -- was ready to work hard to achieve a great body, even if the body itself wasn't convinced yet. That's why they hired me. Many of them weren't prepared for their minds to strain as much as their muscles did -- strain, then expand! By the end of our first training session together, not only had their muscles been through their best workout ever, so had their minds.

Chapter 1 is your first training session, and you won't even touch a weight. You will experience the same exhilarating mental sensations that my clients did and, like them, come back for more! I'm not going to be the drill sergeant type who berates you and gets in your ear on every opportunity, even if I could jump out of this book and train alongside you. Instead, I'll be the guy to push you when the time is right and pull back the reins when it's not. My aim is to pump you up -- physically and mentally -- not to put you down.

First, I want you to spill your guts -- your dreams and fears, successes and failures -- before you spill them on the training floor. You probably have many questions about how to better your body, your mind, and your future; I have the answers.

So, are you ready to listen? Are you ready for the rapadoo? Before I ever shared this motivational lingo with my clients and now with you, I used it on myself. At fourteen, I was fat, I stuttered, and -- though it's hard to imagine! -- my confidence was on a permanent vacation.

Life as a teenager is tough enough without looking and sounding as I did. However, by the end of that year, and especially by the end of high school, I looked and sounded like the guy I had always wanted to be. At the same time, I set myself in motion toward bigger goals.

How'd I do it? The same way you're going to do it: Look no further than inside your own head. Look to your dreams.

Put Your Dreams to Work

To many, a "dreamer" is a guy lost in the clouds, and to be called one is almost an insult. To me, however, it's a great compliment! I've proudly worn that tag since I was young, just as I've always imagined bigger and greater things than what surrounded me.

Whenever I mowed my parents' lawn -- a job I was not in love with -- I had to focus my mind someplace else; otherwise, boredom would reign, and my attitude wouldn't be too hot, either. I decided to let my imagination run wild. I was no longer just another kid mowing a lawn in Baldwin, Long Island, but the starting center fielder at Shea Stadium. If I mowed around that corner in good time, I'd shag that fly ball before it went through the gap, or I'd take third on a hit-and-run. The Mets fans would be going nuts: "Go, Jake! Go, Jake! Mow! Mow! Mowwww!"

My fans were also there for me every time I cleaned my room, made a protein shake in the morning, or went for an after-school run. Whenever my energy flagged, I'd hear a roar go through the crowd, urging me on. It's amazing what happens when you tap into your imagination: you start to tap into your potential as well. I not only got my jobs done in better time and in better fashion, I also felt more connected to my future.

One day in that future I would give something back to those fans who supported me. My company worked with the National Football League to create its answer to baseball's seventh-inning stretch, called the "NFL fitness break," between the third and fourth quarters. At the Kansas City Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium, I led eighty thousand football fans to the world's first NFL fitness break. Even with the home team down 17 points and it pouring rain, the fans joined in and roared so loudly that I wanted to strap on the pads myself! You wouldn't believe -- but you will soon -- the places your imagination can take you to in reality.

Are you ready to really go places? Your dreams can take you there if you let them. So if you're not a dreamer by now, it's time to become one -- just don't stay in those clouds! I want you to keep those dreams lofty, but I also want you to come down to Earth and make them work for you every day. That's what I ask of my clients when they train with me, and that's what I want from, and for, you.

Muscle Maker: No Limits

Do you think you can't develop washboard abs? Bulging biceps? Or fast legs? Nonsense! If you don't have these yet, it's because you haven't yet put your dreams to work! If you plug your ideas of what you want to become into my workout, you will achieve your dream shape.

Even some professional athletes haven't tested their limits, so do you think you've tested yours? Remember Dennis Rodman? At only 6 feet, 6 inches -- small for a power forward -- this wild-haired guy was the most extraordinary rebounder the NBA had ever seen, not simply because of his natural athletic ability, but because he took fitness to another level. After each game, in which he often played forty-plus minutes and would grab a dozen or often more boards, guess what he did for an encore? (No, I'm not talking about his penchant for late-night partying -- that was for later.) He would jump right on an exercise bike and go full bore for thirty minutes. No wonder he never got tired!

Understand this: I'm not urging you to push it to Dennis's level (or to dye your head neon orange!). Instead, I want to use his example to show you what the human body is capable of if given the chance. Even if you start small, you can raise your intensity level and output a little bit each time you work out, as long as you stay consistent -- and persistent.

Later in my workout you'll discover how to demand more from your body and how to get phenomenal results, all in a relatively short amount of time. For instance, we'll go way beyond the "Do one set of curls, then rest for a minute" approach. Your muscles aren't ready to rest yet! Your view of training will never be the same again.

Power Tool -- Use with Caution

Your imagination is a powerful tool. Use it to propel you in the right direction, as it can be used in a wrong way as well -- for example, thinking of all the reasons why you can't do something. Maybe you're nervous about a big game coming up and imagine a tragic blunder that could cost your team the game; or you paint a picture in your mind of the girl of your dreams laughing in your face when you finally muster up the courage to ask her out.

Always see your dreams in a positive light -- and leave the nightmares for your unconscious in the middle of the night! Replace those pathetic images with winning ones, and when those situations arise, a much better scenario will play itself out. Remember, losers think of all the ways they can fail, while winners dream of all the routes to success. Losers look back on their failures as proof that they can't cut it, while winners look forward to all the things they can accomplish.

Do you think Steven Spielberg was tempted to hang it all up after a box-office bomb? Or that John Elway considered retiring after playing poorly in the Super Bowl? Forget it! Temporarily disappointed, they regrouped quickly and used these experiences to energize themselves even more in their quest for success. Then, after accomplishing their goals, they didn't stop there. They went about duplicating their successes -- Wiels has had a string of hits, while Elway led his Denver Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl victories.

What's their secret? It's simple: They both knew how to use their imagination by learning from failure while building on their successes.

Whether you recognize it or not, memories and past experiences make a huge impact on how you approach every day and every hurdle. Whether any given part of your past is positive or negative, it's bound to continue in exactly the same way until you do something different to alter its course. Even if something in your past is terribly negative, it doesn't foretell your future unless you allow it to.

Activate Your Imagination!

Somebody else might chide you for having an "overactive" imagination because you might have exaggerated just a bit about some situation. For example, "Yeah, my teacher told me that was the best essay he'd ever read and was considering letting me teach next week's classes." But I'll compliment you every time you exaggerate things -- because it shows me where you want to go with that mind of yours.

Dreaming big is nothing to be ashamed of. Over the course of my life, my dreams and accomplishments have grown side by side -- and that's not a co-incidence! Dream small, and you will stay small.

What ultimately gave my dreams a kick start was lifting weights: the first time I lifted the curl bar in my basement, I felt totally empowered. Suddenly, I felt as if my dreams could become reality. It stuck in my mind: "If I can lift this ten times, I can do whatever I want to do." I did those ten reps and said, "Cool, I can reach those dreams. Now let's do fifteen." Then I was sore for a week!

My strength didn't happen overnight physically, but it did mentally. I knew that if I could make it through one of my tough workouts, I had what it took to follow any dream of mine. All the trouble I faced with my chubby body and stuttering speech I could now see myself overcoming. "Ten more minutes on the bike, one more pound of fat gone! Two more exercises, two more words I won't stumble over!" My imagination had power, just like that.

It's time to inject your imagination with power and believe in it. When you believe in what you're dreaming about, you'll put in 110 percent effort to snag those dreams.

Seeing Is Believing

Have you ever heard of visualization? It's certainly practiced and referred to by that name in the sports world, where everyone from quarterbacks to golfers visualizes what he wants to happen -- whether a quarterback throwing a perfect spiral to his receiver cutting across the field or a golfer hitting a four-iron flush that fades right to the pin. Visualization techniques are used in many other arenas as well. Painters, architects, and filmmakers are celebrated "visual" artists, and chefs, carpenters, and mechanics use visualization in their work, too.

The best thing about visualization is that you, too, can use it and with just as much success as all those guys. It's free, it's easy, and it's fun! Try this: create a situation in your mind that you want to unfold in an exact way before you create it in life. You already visualize many times a day without being aware of it. When you clean your room, you have an idea of what it should look like when you're done -- and your mom certainly does! Or you envision what might be on your history test and thus are better prepared when you take it the next day.

As you see, visualization can be an unconscious technique and still work for you. I'm asking you to make it conscious. Then you really can capture the visions you seek.

Dream Extreme: If He Did It, I Can Too

Let me tell you about some amazing feats: No one in major league baseball had hit more than sixty home runs since Roger Maris hit sixty-one in 1961. It was one of those records that everyone thought would never be broken. Thirty-seven years later, in 1998, two players broke it: Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs. The following year, the same two players hit more than sixty-one again!

To most, breaking this record just didn't seem possible -- but people don't always take into account the amazing human spirit. While records such as this one seem almost impossible to beat, once an athlete (or athletes) actually does it, suddenly they appear well within the range of possibility. As far as

McGwire and Sosa were concerned, each one realized that if the other could do it, he could too -- twice!

Breaking the sound barrier also seemed to be an impossible dream. It just wasn't ever supposed to happen. But once it was broken by Chuck Yeager in 1947, countless other pilots did it in the following years!

What's the lesson here? It's this: No matter how extreme your dream, anything's possible if you believe in it. Anything that you seriously want in your life. Sink your mind into it first, then your teeth. You'll get there!

Before I aimed to flex my muscles onstage as a bodybuilder, I was always visualizing my muscles getting bigger -- my chest growing with each bench press, my abs getting more defined with each sit-up. When I began serious training, my visualization went up another notch. I saw myself standing next to the giants of the sport -- all those guys in the muscle mags I'd read about -- and matching their muscles inch for inch. I'd nail every pose for the judges, nudging aside my foes with a well-placed double-biceps pose.

Every muscle on my body was built up in my mind first, and these muscles were soon to follow the lead -- well, except for my pesky calves! Do the same with yours, starting today. Visualize the attributes you want -- leaping ability, a ripped physique, fast legs -- and where you want to take them -- to the basketball court, beach, soccer field. Keep your eyes on these prizes, and you're bound to do the work to seize them.

Power Habit: Visualization

Find a quiet place away from any distractions, then use this technique to have the success you've dreamed about.

1. Relax completely. Visualize what you want -- maybe it's more muscles and better athletic performances or great grades and college scholarship offers; maybe it's being noticed by all the girls and getting the girl. Whatever it is, don't think of all the reasons why you can't have these things. Instead, believe that they will be yours.

2. Get over anything negative in your past -- failures, bad experiences, self-doubt -- that keeps you from achieving your dreams. Now you're a new guy who's not going to let those things slow you down anymore.

3. Paint the entire picture of your dream, including every detail. You'll then be prepared to live that dream.

4. Allow the sweet emotions of living that dream to flow through you. Remember the feeling those emotions give you so you can access them anytime you want when you're out there chasing your dream.

5. Map out how exactly to capture the success you want. What do you need to improve on? Do you need to shape up physically? Toughen up mentally? What do you need to add to your life? What needs to be subtracted?

6. Every morning before you get out of bed, visualize your dreams. Ask yourself what you need to do that day to get closer to them. Then determine how to make them come alive!

Expand Your Field of Vision

The best place to begin using visualization is in your training, as you imagine your body becoming strong, powerful, and muscular. Gold's Gym in Venice, California, where I often work out, is full of guys who do this. The most famous bodybuilding gym in the world, it's a place where the dreams of many of these fellas end up in creating the ultimate physique for themselves. Some have already achieved it.

But here's the rub: few of them achieve success in any other area. Many of them, in fact, barely have enough money to cover their gym membership and their supplements! I'm not saying that I've got it over all these people, but they could do so much more if they would simply expand their vision. Their scope is set on one target -- their body -- and therefore they miss out on success in other areas.

They've got the tools -- they put them into practice every time they train -- to improve many parts of their lives other than their body. All they need to do is call on their imagination to imagine more. And that's what I'm calling on you to do. With the help of this book, I want you to build the most impressive physique you ever thought possible, but I also want you to build an impressive future in other areas.

My late grandma Myra Duberstein, who played an enormous role in my life, used to have the same concern about me: too much tunnel vision. I'd spend all my free time lifting weights and reading muscle magazines. She'd shake her head. "Grandson, if you spent as much time reading quality books as you spent on your muscles, you'd be another Einstein!"

Does that sound familiar? Do you spend all your time focused on one area, such as sports? Does your Saturday play out like this: shooting hoops for hours, reading Sports Illustrated, logging on to, then making sure you don't miss the game on TNT that night? Expand your scope now, and you'll be thankful later.

Reality Check: Moving On to the Next Dream

When I was fourteen, I was dead set on becoming the New York Knicks' next great power forward. One look at my six-foot-one height probably has you rolling your eyes and laughing your buttissimo off! But I believed it, and I was intent on putting the "power" into the forward position.

I never went on to make the Knicks' squad or even play in college, but my Knicks dreams pushed me further into the training world, where I belong. I've ended up doing things in this world that far outmatch the professional satisfaction I might have had as a Knick. So instead of dunking over Larry Bird back then, I'm trying to hop over fellow business competitors to the Fortune 500!

I had boundless energy and focused intently on my goals of becoming a Knick or a muscle man, but my grandma knew my goals were too limited. Guess what? She was right, because as soon as I got rid of those limitations I began to achieve truly great things.

This point was driven home when I began training some of the most successful people in show business. For them, training to reach body perfection was certainly not the ultimate goal. Training made them feel and look great, but the most important thing it accomplished was to enable them to get ahead to the next level -- in their careers, relationships, finances, education, you name it. What is your next level?

The Wait Is Over!

Are you ready to get into it? Are you getting pumped up? Anybody can hang back and talk, telling people what he's planning to do. Few, however, are willing to actually go out there and follow up on their words. If you train with me, I'll help make you better than your word!

I've never lifted weights just to lift weights. There had to be something more. So the first thing that popped into my head was Mr. America. I told myself, "If I'm going to do this, then I'm going for it. I'm not training just because I'm in the mood. The journey is great and all, but the prize is what I want." So winning the Mr. America competition became my mission. I never plotted it out on a timeline; instead, I just started to live it -- through tenacious training and disciplined dieting.

I was no longer at the dreaming-it-up stage. I was now ready to take my dream up the mountain on my back. And that's what I've done with everything in my life. You can think of five thousand reasons why you shouldn't do something or can never succeed at it. But in the end the only person who will stop your success is you -- because you didn't commit yourself to achieving it.

Don't wait until the ice-cream man starts to avoid your block because he feels guilty about how many Choco-Caramel Cream Bombs he's been selling you, or until you've smoked so many cigarettes that taking out the garbage makes you wheeze like an old man. I became sick and tired of stuttering my way through the school day and drowning my sorrows with a fast-food chowdown. I knew that route was a dead end.

Even if you don't catch yourself in time and you do get a serious scare because you haven't changed your ways -- such as a drug overdose or being suspended from school for fighting -- it's not too late. Some of my most motivated clients have been those who have hit rock bottom and made the decision never to set foot on that path again. Success: Steven Spielberg Didn't Get into the Film School of His Choice?!

You read that right, Mr. Movie himself wasn't admitted to the University of Southern California film school when he first applied -- or later, when he re-applied. You can bet the school later regretted that decision! As a teenager, Wiels, as we all call him, faced other types of problems, such as his parents divorcing and being picked on regularly by bullies at school. But he had a powerful imagination that freed him, and he was committed to following that imagination.

That commitment is very apparent in every movie Spielberg makes, as every one of them -- from E.T. to Jurassic Park to A.I.: Artificial Intelligence -- displays an imaginary world unmatched by any other director. His imagination and commitment are the reasons his films have grossed more money than those of any other movie director. Following through on every last detail in his vision of imaginary worlds requires enormous willpower and energy, because production of a film can be tedious and last for a very long time.

From the start of his training, I was impressed by Wiels's ability to commit. This was a guy who hadn't worked out since junior high and wasn't exactly naturally endowed with muscle. But he wanted to change that, and once we started on his program, he stuck with it. He'd groan good-naturedly when I'd show up early to take him through the exercises at his home, but his fitness level went up at every workout. Now, before he sets out on a film shoot, he trains just as athletes do before their season begins. Weeks of long shooting days, deadline pressures, fattening craft services food, and little sleep turn many directors into chubby wrecks -- but not Wiels!

Wiels was only six years old when his imagination first went wild. One day, while his three sisters and mother slept, his dad woke him up early to drive him into the dark desert a half hour outside Phoenix. They reached the rim of a canyon to which more than a hundred other parents and their children had journeyed. There he witnessed a spellbinding meteor shower that lit his imagination and much later inspired his breakthrough film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. From that day forward, he kept that imagination lit, and millions of movie fans are grateful.

That same imagination helped him keep the bullies at school from beating up on him. How? By casting them in his early amateur movies. Now, rather than being shoved around by them, Wiels was ordering them where to walk, what to say, and how to say it! That's putting your imagination to great use!

Get with me now and commit. You'll no longer be waiting for things to happen to you or for the waves to crash down on you. You'll be riding on top of those waves, toward your goals. Once you make a serious commitment to a better lifestyle, starting with your body and mind, whatever you want will be yours.

Copyright © 2002 by Body by Jake Enterprises, LLC

About The Author

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (January 8, 2002)
  • Length: 176 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781439105405

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