Baseball may still be America's pastime, but professional football is America's passion. Having spent part of my training career working with football players, I've gained valuable insight into what makes these athletes tick and how they're able to accomplish what we see every Sunday.

Whether you're competing in another sport or just trying to challenge for alpha-male status at the local watering hole, adhering to these three lessons will give you a leg up on the competition.


Grinders Win.

Forget sports for just a second. Successful people get where they do because they act. Grinders win, period.

I don't care how perfect your program is, how ambitious your goals are, who your parents are, where you grew up, or any other reason why you feel you "deserve" to be successful – if you don't take action, you will not have the type of success you hope for. As a wise man once said, you can dream in one hand and shit in the other, but all you'll be left with is a handful of shit.

Whether your goals are physique related or strength related, you have to take consistent, daily action that will bring you closer to your goal, even if it's just one inch at a time.

How many people do you hear say that starting January 1st, they're going to finally watch their diet, hit the gym, and drop 20 pounds of fat? And how many of them are actually successful? They procrastinate for weeks, even months before starting something that would improve the quality of their life immeasurably, and when the time finally comes they don't succeed anyway. Make the decision to take action right now.


Greatness is Planned

Vision without action is a daydream, but action without vision is a nightmare.

Successful high level athletes live by a plan, and this extends far beyond what's put in place by their team. They create their goals, both short term and long term, and then plan out how they're going to get there in finite detail.

The first step we take in preparing the off-season training for our athletes is discussing their big goals related to the upcoming season. Once they've been established, we then break everything down into monthly, weekly, and daily markers so we can continually monitor progress.

Put the same thought behind your own training. Many guys are great with keeping a training log, but all they end up doing is writing down what they've done after the fact.

Try doing what the pros do in your own training:

• Create a three, six, or even a twelve month training calendar, write down all training-relevant dates over that span, and build your program out from there.

• Continue keeping your training log, but set it up like a road map, and then take notes on how things are progressing.

• Create progress markers: body weight, body fat percentage, or goal weight on a certain lift so you know you're on track.

Yes, it takes time and effort, but greatness always does. How many guys do you see at the gym who look exactly the same, month after month, year after year? And if you were to ask each one of them to show you their training logs, complete with short and long-term goals and progress markers, how many do you think could reach into their bags and produce one?


Attitude Determines Everything

If you don't have your mind right, you're not going to reach your potential. Sure, you may have a victory here or there, but as far as transcendent success? Not going to happen.

As Henry Ford said, "If you think you can or you think you can't, you're right." Whether your goal is hitting a milestone in the gym, reaching a new level of leanness, or dominating in your next competition, your attitude is going to be the deciding factor.

You need to make the decision that failure is not an option and then fully commit to a course of action that will take you in the direction of your goal. Unwavering commitment is the only way you're going to get there. Life is inevitably going to interfere, yet even if it's for a fraction of a second, you have the choice on how to react to what gets thrown your way.

An upbringing in war-torn Liberia didn't stop San Francisco 49ers running back Jehuu Caulcrick from pursuing his dream to perform on the world's biggest gridiron. Maybe there's a lesson in there for you when your boss asks you to work late and you're considering skipping tomorrow's 6 AM leg workout.

Always remember that what happens to you doesn't mean anything, but how you respond to it means everything.