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  • Writer's pictureDieting From The Inside Out

Luka Hocevar on Habits, Mental Reframes, & Building a HIGH-PERFORMANCE Mindset | DFIO Ep.282

About Today’s Episode:

Welcome back to the show! Today I have a powerhouse of an episode for you. I am interviewing Luka Hocevar.

Luka is an expert in peak performance—he's got a lot of clients that are in the NFL, the NBA, things like that.

On the other side of the coin, he also owns a gym in Seattle—where the majority of his clients are middle-aged moms that want to get really strong and feel better.

Luka is really into the mental game that surrounds all of this and we covered a TON of ground on things like mindset strategies, how to structure habits, mental reframes, and basically how to build a high-performance mindset.

I’m really excited for this episode and I know you guys are going to get a ton out of this!


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Expectations and Practice:

Luka begins by diving into the expectations surrounding weight loss. As he has observed, many people go into weight loss thinking it should be a smooth process, but the reality is that it is full of complexities.

He goes on to say that if you go into your journey acknowledging that there will be ups and downs—and that progress won’t be linear—the roadblocks you encounter won’t hinder you as much.

This piggybacks off of the idea of practices.

There are skills that you need to develop in the arena of weight loss, gaining muscle, or for whatever your goals are—and, just like learning a new sport, you aren’t going to be good at it right away.

Practicing a skill is like casting a vote for the identity you want to have.

For example, if you are working on your protein intake and you have had 30-40 grams with every meal for a month—for 60 out of 90 meals—it’s not perfect, but going forward you will be much more confident about your protein intake because you’ve practiced that skill.

Luka is a big believer in finding and utilizing innate strengths to aid people in building up these new skills—but there needs to be a balance.

Oftentimes people take on too much and become frustrated, so you have to find that sweet spot.

Balancing the Art and Science of Transformation:

Luka believes that to be successful in the transformation game, you have to find a balance between the art and the science.

Using coaching as an example, there are three parts: communication, problem-solving, and technical expertise.

Training is on the more technical, scientific side—how many sets/reps, what exercises/movements, etc.

Communication and problem-solving are more of an art.

Luka knows that listening to his clients and giving them exercises that they enjoy and feel good about—rather than just trying to optimize sets/reps/etc.—keeps them coming back, which gets them results.

The art comes into play when you take the science side and apply it to an individual while considering the factors surrounding them like behaviors, habits, trauma, and triggers.

This brings Luka to the idea of complicated vs. complex.

Complicated, he says, is like IKEA furniture.

When you first open the box and see all the pieces, you’re like, “What the hell?”

But there is a process—and if you follow it, you get to the outcome.

Complexity is when one variable can change all the others.

You could have been crushing it for the past year, but if a single variable in your life changes, like now you’re working two jobs instead of one, what you were doing before may not work for you now.

That’s where, again, the art is involved in transformation—and where coaching comes into play.

You can know the science, the “X’s and O’s,” but be unable to manage the complexity.

The Importance of Your Environment:

Luka moves on to talk about how humans, being social creatures, will rise or fall to the standards of their environment.

If a person joins a fitness community where everyone is working toward achieving better health, they too will work towards better health.

However, if your friend group only goes out, drinks, eats poorly, and gives you a hard time for not doing the same, they will drag you down.

Choosing to change your environment toward the positive or negative will impact you.

A good example of this is getting trigger foods out of the house and instead making it so you have to drive and buy those items each time you want them.

It’s similar to the idea of making good habits easier to do and bad habits harder to do.

While you cannot change and affect everything, the power you have to change things in your life is often much greater than you realize.

You need to stop and assess your environment and identify the things that you can change—and implement those changes.

Luka goes on to say that it is important to have confidence in your ability to stick with a habit 90% of the time. Your beliefs become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For example, if on a scale of 1 to 10, a client is only at a 6 in their belief/desire to track their macros most days, Luka would find different metrics for that person to use.

How To Start Believing In Yourself:

Luka likes to use the analogy of a self-esteem bank account.

If you decide that tomorrow you will be sticking to a new, healthy diet, but then you get up after a poor night of sleep, your kids are going crazy, and you fall into the old habit of having a coffee and doughnuts…

It’s a hit—or a debit—to your self-esteem bank account.

Continuing to start and fail to execute healthy habits stack up over time…

…until your self-esteem is bankrupt.

When you are bankrupt in self-esteem, you have to start stacking up wins—credits—to your self-esteem bank account.

A lot of people will make the mistake of trying to change or do too much at once. You need to focus on small wins.

Luka likes to have his clients write down 3 wins each day.

It can be anything from getting coffee with a friend who inspires you to getting 30 grams of protein in a meal.

As you stack these, wins you gain confidence—which will carry you forward and snowball over time.

After you’ve built up enough credits, when you do hit those roadblocks, you have the confidence to get yourself back on track.

Stacking wins will lead you to the identity that you want.

Why Identity Matters:

Mindset is your ecosystem of beliefs.

When you believe something, you will behave in a certain way—a way that is aligned with those beliefs.

Luka believes that it is important to examine and explore your beliefs and question whether or not the beliefs serve you.

Think about who you want to become, the identity you want to have.

Identify role models—what are their habits and their skills?

Take those and build an aspirational model for yourself.

From there you can build up the skill sets.

You have to keep building your skills and build resilience.

Luka believes that it's also valuable to put yourself into the environment of your role models—read their books, follow their social media, go to their seminars—and be aware of what you’re taking in because the media you consume and the things you put into your brain affect your environment.

To build your identity you also need to act in alignment with the identity you want.

He uses the thought, “I’m tired,” as an example.

The thought that “I'm tired” becomes the feeling of tiredness, which becomes, “I’m not going to go to the gym today.”

Thoughts lead to feelings, which lead to actions, which lead to identity.

Flip that around and start from, “What identity do I want to build?” and then take the actions that will lead to the feeling.

Stop yourself and think about who you want to become and what action that version of you would take.

Commitment and Planning:

From the concept of identity, Luka moves on to the idea of commitment—which is necessary to change your identity.

Commitment is made up of three parts:

  1. Do what is required

  2. Do what you say you’re going to do

  3. Do it despite any feelings, emotions, mood

You have to make choices based on who you want to become, not how you feel or what you’ve been doing.

This brings Luka back to the concept of practices and building upon those practices—if you want to be able to intuitively eat, you have to build those skills and practices.

If your intuition got you to a bad place, then you can’t trust it. You have to come at it from the perspective of the identity that you want and build those practices.

Luka emphasizes the importance of being conscious in what you’re doing and working toward unconscious competence. You have to build the realization and awareness of what you are doing.

You need to have a path and a plan or the default is going to be a struggle.

A good example is planning out and preparing your food when you are trying to eat healthier—and having a backup plan.

When you are prepared, you will know what to do—rather than defaulting to choices that lead you to struggle.

While life is not going to be perfect, awareness, preparedness, and building habits that align with what you want to achieve will set you up for the greatest likelihood of success.

Your plan should include the things you want to do and the foods you want to eat—but build some boundaries around it and make it part of your plan.

The same strategies won’t work for everyone, so it's important to have a plan that will work for you and allow you to enjoy your life.


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Post-Production by: David Margittai | In Post Media

© 2023 Jared Hamilton



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