Prioritizing Your Training

If you are familiar with this blog, you’ve probably heard my thoughts on simplicity. I’ve long maintained that it is possible to excel physically with little or nothing. I have shared my own experiences as well as those of others. Yet regardless of how many stories I share, there will always be those with excuses to counter each example. If I say you need equipment, they’ll say they don’t have it. If I say you don’t need equipment, they’ll say they don’t have time. Whatever I say, there’s always an excuse.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the world. there are people who must literally fight to survive. Simple necessities such as food are never guaranteed. Each day is a struggle. And while I wish such poverty did not exist, to deny it would be ignorant. Poverty is real. There are people struggling throughout the world.

Yet amidst the struggles, you will often find young athletes doing everything they can to better their lives. It is these youngsters that truly epitomize hunger. Hunger in the literal sense and hunger to excel. A prime example of such hunger can be found amongst young Muay Thai fighters.

Below you will find part one of a documentary that captures the lifestyle. The remaining episodes can be found within this playlist.

Speaking as a father, it is sad to see these youngsters fight in hopes of providing for their family. I couldn’t imagine my own children taking on such a burden at such a young age. These young fighters have essentially been deprived of a childhood. I certainly don’t wish to glorify that life within this entry. Once again though, we also cannot ignore its existence. It is real.

And while many of us may never truly comprehend their struggles, I believe we can all learn from these young fighters. These youngsters train hard each day because there is no other choice. There is no time for excuses when survival is your priority.

Ironically, many people who are naturally more fortunate do not prioritize their own well-being. The real reason that most people are not in shape has nothing to do with lack of time or equipment. More often than not it is a matter of prioritization. We all make time for whatever we believe to be important. The least productive and most productive people in the world share at least one thing in common. They both operate within the confines of a 24 hour day. How we use each 24 hour block depends on our priorities. Do you invest time in bettering yourself or do you piss it away watching a mindless reality show? The choice is yours.

We all want certain things in life, but not everyone is willing to put in the work that is necessary to turn wants into reality. Personally, I am thankful that I do not struggle to survive like the young fighters of Thailand. I often remind myself however of the life that they live. Doing so helps me to stay humble and hungry. Bettering myself physically and mentally remains a priority. I try not to take anything for granted. If a young boy can train and fight with such tenacity, there is no reason that I cannot attack each day with similar vigor. These young fighters may never realize it but they inspire me to work harder.

If you really want something, it must become a priority. It must take precedence in your life. If you have time to follow what’s going on in the rest of the world, don’t tell me that you don’t have time to take care of yourself. Stop trying to find time and instead start working to make time. Once you prioritize your improvement, you will find a way.

No one will remember how bad you wanted it. They’ll remember what you were willing to do to get it.


“People don’t change, their priorities do.”


  1. The best fighters nearly always come from poverty. There are few exceptions like Muhammad Ali, who grew up in a relatively comfortable environment but he and a scant few others are the exceptions. Most of the great fighters like Dempsey, Duran, Pacquiao grew up extremely poor. Dempsey literally fought “hungry” in his early years. Kind of hard getting up at dawn to do roadwork if you’re wearing silk pajamas.

  2. Excellent post, Ross!
    You hit the nail right there. We all want something more or less – to put it into vigourous action AND to follow through on it is the hard part. It’s much easier if something drives you and you are passionate about it. But most people dont have that passion. Especially in our “civilized” world where we fight distractions on every step we take. Be it tv, computers, mobiles, news, social networks and/or a more or less comfortable lifestyle. Passion is really hard to find. Ever noticed that aspect?
    Hunger, poverty can be a huge driving force but also a big crusher to any passion! Life gets much more complicated once you fight for daily food (believe me – I know what I’m talking about). Only a very few excel from this backgound and make it out into the spotlight. Lets not forget that. Also a reason why these stories are so motivating and intriguing to us (or at least to me).

    Think about it – otherwise we’d be treated with a Pacquiao, a Duran, a Buakaw every other month – which obviously is not the case.

    Nevertheless – finding YOUR passion and FOLLOWING THROUGH on it is one of the big issues in everyones life (or should be!). If you dont want to treat your body the right way – thats okay. But dont talk about it and waste your time on the twitters, facebooks, youtubes and NOT DO anything. Follow through!

  3. Great blog post! So full if truth. Too many people live a life of excuses because it is the easy way out, then they complain about their failing health. I transformed my life at 36 and lost 60 pounds. I was lazy, so if I can do it, almost anyone can.

  4. Too true! There are people in dire living conditions, with no spare time or resources, who still find time to prioritize their health and put the effort in. Just so, there are people in those situations who don’t. Similarly, there are people with all the resources and natural advantages who consistently put the effort in….as well as many who don’t. That leads me to believe that motivation and drive is almost (if not entirely) independent of external factors. It’s what you bring to the table, regardless of the environment. At the end of the day, it’s taking personal responsibility rather than making excuses.

  5. As you say Ross its all about priorities. I sat and listened to the in laws whinge about how they would love to take up Nordic Walking something they saw on the news. So I said why don’t you, but unfortunately they both agreed that there bodies were too old and worn out to do that now. There joints were worn cos they didn’t have time to exercise when they were younger. I was perplexed at this statement as at the time I was working a three shift system including nights full time and was bringing up two kids. But it seems I had more than 24hrs in the day. How I wanted to say “But you made time to sit in front of the telly 4hrs a night all your lives, hence how your both overweight and living with diabetes and high blood pressure” but then I thought about the grief from the wife and kept quiet. These mindsets are hard to change and I get sick of the same people asking me how to get fit and lose weight, why ask? the answer is always the same get off your arse and stop watching soaps…”Yea but what about that new DVD slim in 6″ blah blah blah………….sorry for the rant Ross. Nick

  6. This is the lifestyle in this country. It’s amazing to watch this video because the kid fought for his family. He’s THE man you know… Great story. I think we are very lucky.

    Thx Ross !

  7. This is a great post. I struggle due to the fact i don’t make training a priority. Like tonight i plan on get a workout but at times the motivation is weak.

  8. people at work are constantly asking me about my female training partner(who is in her mid fifties and never did anything athletic in her life) how did she make such a startling change,185 plus pounds dropped and kept off for over 2 yrs.,pushups from 0-10,including 1-2 clap pushups//progressed from a 20 lb kettlebell for swings to a 50 lber and has swung a 90 for 60 reps!!600 pound backward sled drags, hill sprints, 40 flights of stairs in 11 and 1/2 minutes……simple..she prioritized,she wanted it and went for it excuses!!! we started outdoors in my front yard, then went to a local park and worked out using the swing set and picknic tables. they all marvek at her but don’t have the’ time’ to exercise and get ‘beastly’ i tell them it only takes 2 1/2 minutes to complete 100 non stop kettlebell swings, or 10 minutes of pushups and free hand squats alternated back and forth.. they don’t have the time ,and really need to go to a ‘gym’ in order to get ripped and in ‘cardio’ shape??? i shake my head and go on…’what fools these mortals be!’….

  9. In 2003 I went to thailand to train muay thai I was an absolute beginner. I saw these kids train harder and longer than some top level triathletes where I live.
    I remember walking towards the camp at 6 in the morning and hearing these kids kicking the bags before going to school and train again after scvhool for some hours.
    I remember running a 12k run and about 3 kilometers left I saw one kid from our camp who was really struggling leaning badly on one side because he was running with one light dumbell in one hand, I told him to give it to me for the end of the run but he refused.
    This trip and these kids were a real eye opener.
    Our modern society our standards of life limit our mental limits. I never push myself as hard as during this month in thailand thanks to these kids.
    Your post is a gem and reminds me all this.
    I never write a comment here so let me tell you that you also inspire us all I think Ross , thank you warrior!
    PS: sorry for my bad english I am fucking french 😉

  10. I have been a long time fan of your site, training methods, creativity and no nonsense approach. I was Muay Thai fighter and now run a very large Muay Thai Gym in California. I have been to Thailand and fought there. I only wish my fighters (who do not come from that type of life) were as hungry as those in the video who truly hunger and train with a purpose. Muay Thai fighters in the USA cannot make a living doing what they love, there is not enough events nor enough pay, so we have to work full time and balance family, work, training and fighting. When my fighters complain or tell me how difficult it is to do that I can relate, but I have been there and have personally overcome those challenges. Excusitis abounds but for every excuse there is someone who has overcome the same obstacle.
    “The person who says it is impossible should not interrupt the person doing it”- Chinese proverb.
    This is a timely post with a great point. If you want something bad enough you will work hard and overcome the obstacles. As a trainer it can be difficult not to want something for one of my fighters more than they want it for themselves.
    I found your training methods to fit right in with my Muay Thai fighters routines and have been using and applying them for years. I am glad to see you referencing the Thai fighters and their work ethic it is truly amazing to see their hunger and desire and they deserve some recognition. Thank you!
    Chok Dee (Good Luck),
    Bryan “Double Dose” Dobler

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