High Performance Vegan Letters

3 Lessons From Lifting Weights From the Past 13 Years and One Fruit You Should Be Eating Daily

Published 27 days ago • 5 min read

3 Lessons From Lifting Weights From the Past 13 Years and One Fruit You Should Be Eating Daily

Date: February 2nd, 2024

Read time: 5 minutes

11 months left in 2024.

It's incredible how time passes.

And there are quite a few things I'm looking forward to in this new year...


  • Health goals
  • Lifestyle growth and optimization
  • Spending more time with my wife and family
  • Traveling to new planetary locations and exploration
  • Reading, learning, and implementing new skills and mentalities

2024 is just getting started.

And one of the best things about this year is my clarity and focus going into the rest of the year.

At the end of 2023, I shared the exact end-of-year exercise I used to reflect and refocus going into next year.

If you didn't read this, feel free to read it here.

It's one of the most powerful exercises I do each year.

It's February 2nd.

Just because January wasn't your best month or you started slowly doesn't mean the rest of the year needs to be this way.


Dial in.

And commit to the best thing on the planet - your life.

Lesson: Win the year by winning each day.

Here's Your 5 Minute Friday:

3 Lessons From Lifting Weights From the Past 13 Years

The past 13+ years have taught me a LOT.

Especially when it comes to lifting and working out with weights.

When I first started in the gym, I struggled with my self-esteem.

With my self-belief.

I was small.

Scrawny. Underweight.

I didn't know how to exercise.

Or use any of the machines or barbells.

Yet, I had a desire to grow.

To develop my body and physique.

So I committed myself to daily studying of the art of physique building and the science of body composition.

It was an exciting journey.

Many months and weeks I wanted to quit.

I didn't see results.

And I felt lost.

This is why having a mentor or guide is one of the best investments I've made over and over again into my health.

Just like Frodo needed Gandalf, when we start our hero's journey, we need our guide and sage.

Sometimes, that guide will be your inner guide.

At other times, that will be an external guide (who helps point you back to yourself, too).

So here are 3 lessons I learned from the past 13+ years:

#1 Focus on mastering one technique at a time

In the beginning, I didn't know any exercises.

I was confused.

And I was lost.

What I would have taught myself back then would have been to focus on 1-2 exercises at a time rather than 20 exercises.

There are 4 main lifts that, if you master them, will make you proficient in nearly every other exercise:

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Bench press
  • Rows

These are the Core 4 that makeup nearly every movement pattern in the gym.

Focus on mastering 1-2 exercises vs 20-30 new exercises each week.

Give yourself 2-3 weeks per exercise and nail it down.

#2 Lift light, then add volume, then heavy

I was so eager to lift heavy.

But without proper form, your injury rate increases.

Start lifting light.

Nail your technique down.

Then, ramp up the sets and reps.

Once you're lifting correctly and doing enough work, your body will be primed to start lifting heavier.

Then, start lifting heavy.

Challenge yourself.

But make sure you're lifting with good form and keeping up your work volume.

These three tactics will ensure you're lifting safely, getting stronger, and more resilient each workout.

#3 Practice makes permanent; perfect practice makes perfect

I used to believe practice makes perfect.

Not true.

Practice makes permanent.

Perfect practice makes perfect.

Now, for perfectionists, don't confuse perfection with progression.

Ideally, we should aim to do our best.

But when it comes to your technique and form, the more flawless you make this, the better your lifts will become over time.

Regardless of where your current technique is, practicing over and over again will help ingrain the neural pathways in your body to make the movements more automatic.

And that's where we can start to create true fitness mastery.

Practice, practice, practice.

Every time you workout see this as just practice.

The holy grail of the perfect workout is a myth.

Practicing year after year transforms you into the best lifter possible.

One Fruit You Should Be Eating Daily

One of the most nutritional and healing foods on the planet is...


Now, before you call me bananas, hear me out.

Bananas are a powerhouse of nutrition.

Here are a few reasons why (credit to Anthony William):

  • Bananas contain bioavailable protein, beneficial omegas, fiber, water, antioxidants, and healing phytochemicals such as potassium.
  • High-potassium foods such as bananas are extremely helpful for many digestive system conditions.
  • Bananas are also anti-pathogenic and an incredible prebiotic; at the same time, they help destroy and eliminate unproductive bacteria in the gut by binding onto it.
  • Bananas have antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
  • Bananas are also anti-spasmodic and can alleviate gastric cramps & stress-related gastrointestinal disorders.
  • They are 76% water and packed with vitamins C and B6 and minerals such as potassium, copper, and manganese.
  • Bananas are also an excellent “brain food” great for heavy thinkers, and are known to help build strong muscles and strengthen the nervous system.
  • Bananas are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which can help promote sleep and regulate the sleep-wake cycle.

In short - bananas are an unsung hero of nutrition.

And I've experienced the impact of deep health from bananas.

Each day, I average 4-6 bananas or more (especially when I'm not in a cut).

Bananas are a versatile and powerful food that can be used pre-workout, post-workout, in smoothies, snacks, meals (Ecuadorian rice and bananas, anyone?), and in nearly every food arena.

They're a staple in my diet, and I plan on keeping them there for life.

One Quote To Finish Your Week Strong

We should all be eating fruits and vegetables as if our lives depend on it - because they do.
- Michael Greger

Ready for February?

The shortest month of the year can also be your best month of this year.

It all comes down to your intentions and commitments.

What will you do to make this the best month of 2024?

- Gabriel

Whenever you're ready, there are three ways I can help you:

#1 Join our free high-performance fitness FB group to get access to dozens of live trainings recorded along with a tight-knit group of leaders who want to get healthy, lean, and strong.

#2 Are you a high achiever who wants to be lean, strong, and lead by example? Click here to read our complete archive of free high-performance articles at your leisure.

#3 Want to fuel your fitness curiosity and follow along with the latest findings, insights, and evidence-based practices? Tap below to stay connected.

Let's be friends:

(feel free to DM me anytime - I love connecting with new friends worldwide).

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83 Alta Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10705

High Performance Vegan Letters

by Gabriel Zhanay

Join the top 1% of plant-based founders, leaders, and creators. Every week, you'll receive practical advice on how to build muscle, get lean, and build a high-performance body that fuels your busy plant-based lifestyle.

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