His high-energy, no-nonsense program includes a 30-day workout regimen designed to build lean, sexy muscles and a breakthrough diet plan that can help you shed up to 20 pounds in just 4 weeks—even with weekend cheat meals! But what truly elevates the LL Cool J's Platinum 360 Diet and Lifestyle is LL's practical, easy-to-follow advice for personal transformation. Through self-reflection and spiritual guidance, he'll show you how to develop your own internal strength, giving your the tools and wisdom to transform your life from the inside out. It's not just about how to get fit, but you can—and deserve to be—your best self.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
DARE TO BE GREAT
I've always been someone who made things happen for myself, maybe because I was an only child. I had to create things on my own, and I was probably a little impatient, too. I just never wanted to wait. I was the kid who didn't wait for his parents to put the hammock together. They came home and it was already put together. When I was 8 years old and playing peewee football, I realized my mother had forgotten to put my uniform in the wash. No way was I going to the game in a dirty uniform. I wasn't quite sure how to use the washing machine, but I figured it out. I got to the game in a uniform that was still wet, but at least I had done it myself.
Look, there are three types of people: those who understand on their own, those who understand when they're told, and those who never understand. I always understood on my own, but self-starting is difficult. Master it and you'll give yourself a head start to your dreams.
So be proactive. Don't wait for someone to tell you to begin. Don't wait for life to throw you a curve or deal you a bad hand before you decide to take charge. Do it now.
Have a vision. When you have a clear vision of your goal, it's easier to take the first step toward it. If you don't have a vision or a plan, there's no reason to take that step.
SET YOUR GOALS AND STICK TO THEM
A writer named Edward De Bono wrote "A man without a goal is like a cork floating on the ocean." He doesn't control his own destiny. You're at the mercy of the ocean, and where you end up is up to the tide. Goals are the building blocks of your overall life plan. If you're the kind of person who orchestrates the day around whoever knocks on the door at any given moment, then you don't have a plan. That's being rudderless. I can't remember the last time I didn't have a strategy for the day and specific goals to conquer, even if I got just one step closer. That's how I operate every day of my life.
CULTIVATE YOUR IMAGINATION
The whole idea that man is the architect of his own fortune is something I subscribe to. If you can dream it, you can be it. Imagination is a powerful tool as well as a gift. If you want something, you have to see it in your mind before it can happen. The great thing is that these dreams don't have deadlines. A lot of people get the sense that if they didn't envision a specific career when they were kids it's too late by the time they're adults. Doesn't work like that, but thinking like a child helps. There's nothing more pure and honest than a child's imagination. Children can dream up anything. They don't understand the concept of I Can't as it relates to dreaming. They are free of all that nasty, toxic drama that adults carry and can easily envision the places in life they want to visit. If a kid can brush aside No and I Can't, so can you. I call it having the right type of innocence, something that's pure and joyful and passionate and comes from a place of love. Innocence doesn't equal naivete but, rather, purity. When you find that within yourself, you'll see that imagination just bursting out of you and its manifestations taking place in your life.
MAXIMIZE YOUR POTENTIAL , not someone else's. If there's one thing life has taught me it is that comparisons will kill you. Imagine you have a 5-gallon bucket. Someone else may have a 10-gallon bucket. Don't get caught up in the size of anyone else's bucket. Fill your own. You never know, when he fills his 10-gallon bucket, he may not be strong enough to carry it. So don't worry about the size of your bucket. Just fill the one you have.
WHEN YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO, IT'S NOT A JOB
Do what you love; you'll be better at it. It sounds pretty simple, but you'd be surprised how many people don't get this one right away. Bill Gates would not have pioneered the software industry if he didn't have an absolute fervor for personal computing. Kobe Bryant, Denzel Washington, and anyone you can think of who is at the top of his field wouldn't be there if not for the love they have for what they do. That's not to say love alone will vault you to the top of whatever career path you choose. But that love will get you through the rough patches. It will keep you from throwing in the towel when you think the weight is too heavy.
Listen, I love being fit even though getting there is tough sometimes. I wouldn't be in the shape I am in if I didn't enjoy working out. Yeah, sometimes it's a pain and I don't always feel like dragging myself to the gym, but it's what I'm passionate about. When you find something you love to do that much, make it your life's work; you'll be a lot happier than if you convince yourself to make a living doing something that your heart isn't in. Love what you do and your life will be better for the experience.
PLAY YOUR ROLE Find value in whatever you do. In the body of mankind, some people are toes and others are elbows. Some are lips, while still others are kneecaps. Whatever you are, make sure you do it well. If you're an ear, make sure you can hear. If you're an eye, make sure you can see. If you're a hand, know how to grab. If you're a leg, you'd better be able to hold the body up. No role is insignificant. If you're a toe but you're broken, the entire body will limp. Play your position. Don't be concerned with rank. Make sure you're in the role that maximizes your capabilities.
LIMITATIONS ARE A FIGMENT OF YOUR IMAGINATION
Only when you identify your limits can you exceed them. I say you should look at limits simply as a measure of how far you have come, a benchmark that, once attained, will quickly be surpassed when you set a new goal. If your ultimate goal is to bench-press 200 £ds, find out what you can realistically (and safely) do right now, and set your first goal at 10 £ds more than that. Once you master that level, reset your goal, and repeat the process until you achieve your goal of bench-pressing 200 £ds. Who knows, you may find that the goal you once considered unattainable is not only attainable, but can be surpassed through determined and focused effort.
Limitations come from many kinds of different sources. They can come from our own minds due to a lack of self-confidence, or they can be thrust upon us by others. If everybody in your neighborhood thinks you're going to grow up to be a failure, you could start to doubt yourself. That's a limitation. It may be as simple as a lack of money or transportation or the proper tools to get to where you want to be. Sometimes limitations can be both physical and mental. Whatever they might be, identify them. Acknowledge your limitations and move past them.
NOVEL IDEA: BE YOURSELF
Do you know anyone who has tried to model his life on someone else, be it a celebrity, a family member--whoever? They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I say imitation is the number one killer of individualism. Be yourself. It's who you were meant to be. But people often see possibilities in others and only limitations in themselves. If you see a man driving a nice car, you may want that car, but you have no idea about what kind of hard work, struggle, and sacrifice he may have had to go through to enable him to have a car like that. Sallust, a Roman historian, once said, "If they envy my distinction let them also envy my toils." If you never look beyond the persona, image, or public facades of anyone who seems to have the things you aspire to, it's easy to feel like everybody's life is better than yours. You're thinking that all you have is struggles, setbacks, and one obstacle after another. Well, believe me, the guy with the fancy car has obstacles of his own. So instead of wishing you were in the car, you could be tackling the obstacles that stand between you and that car by being true to your vision. Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
FACE YOUR FEARS
One of my favorite quotes is from Martin Luther King Jr., who said: "If you know it's the right thing to do but you're afraid, do it anyway." A lot of people will stay in a dead-end job or refuse to venture outside their comfort zone simply due to fear. Sometimes life requires you to step away from what's familiar to you, from what's safe, in order to go after what you truly desire. Imagine a guy working at a comfortable job that pays a good salary. You might look at him and think he has it made, even though beneath the surface he's unhappy, uninspired, and downright frustrated because he's not doing something he's truly passionate about. He thinks about following his passion to another career all the time but is afraid to attempt the transition because he's been in his comfort zone for so long. My advice is simple: Go do it. Now.
Sometimes you have to put your gloves on. Stand up and face your fears, or they will defeat you. The key is don't make things bigger than they really are. Imagine you are standing in front of a 2-foot-wide chasm that's just a foot deep. You could jump over it with no more thought than you'd take stepping off a curb. Now imagine that same chasm 2 feet wide but 1,000 feet deep. The thought of jumping over it makes your body tense up. Sweat starts to bead on your forehead. All of a sudden, you're psyching yourself out despite the fact that it requires no more physical skill or exertion than the first jump. When I decided I wanted to pursue acting, I had to be willing to bare my soul. It wasn't an easy thing to do. I was worried that it would affect my music. I knew that I was going to have to step outside of the image that I had cultivated in the music industry and be a different guy. I knew that I might be called on to play a character that wasn't cool or to be vulnerable, and that was a scary thing. But I moved past it. I didn't let the fear close off my options or limit my dreams. Don't let the fear dominate you. I often find that when you overcome your fear, you'll look back and wonder what you were so afraid of. Facing your fear will set you free.
PESSIMISTS DON'T MAKE HISTORY Don't be a naysayer. All that accomplishes is telling people you're so shortsighted, you couldn't find the solution if it was right in front of your face or, even worse, that you're unwilling to look for one. There's a Chinese proverb that observes those who say it can't be done should not interrupt the person doing it. Don't be the guy who says man wasn't meant to fly then looks surprised to see the Wright brothers soaring over his head. In the 1800s, a politician proposed closing the patent office because he thought that everything that could be invented already existed--not exactly a visionary. What if Thomas Edison's colleague constantly told him the lightbulb would never work? You'd probably own a lot of candles.
BE DETERMINED, STAY HUNGRY
Determination is your biggest asset. It's a mind-set that enables you to tell the world you will not be denied. When you approach a task or goal without a determined attitude, every little obstacle that falls in your path will throw you off track. Without determination, you run the risk of becoming a serial quitter, someone who's always beginning things and quitting instead of following through because you're not applying your will. Approach everything you do with determination.
MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE MY LIFE
SILVER FOX--OLD-SCHOOL HIP-HOP ARTIST/MEMBER OF FANTASY THREE When I was a young rapper, he helped me put the finishing touches on my rap style.
RICK RUBIN--RECORD EXECUTIVE/PRODUCER Gave me my first break. That simple.
RUSSELL SIMMONS--FOUNDER, DEF JAM He never infringed on my creative style, and he taught me the power of being me.
QUINCY JONES--MULTI-GRAMMY-WINNING MUSIC PRODUCER The man taught me a lot about class and generosity.
SEAN "DIDDY " COMBS--HIP-HIP MOGUL In his own way, he showed me that I didn't have to be just an artist.
I know it's easy to say, but it's a lot more difficult to live by this rule in your daily life. What has always fueled my determination was my burning desire to accomplish my goals. Being determined was instilled in me from a young age by my mother and grandmother. If a task is once begun, never leave it till it's done; be the labor big or small, do it well or not at all. This was the mantra I heard every day, and I still consider those words to live by.
Not everybody has those built-in raging fires, but that's okay; stick-to- itiveness can be a learned behavior. You can change the way you think about dealing with obstacles. Instead of fearing obstacles, you'll come to embrace them. See them as a challenge, a wall between you and your goal, but one you can scale with the right tools and effort.
PERSEVERE--BUT PERSEVERE CORRECTLY
Now you might be thinking we already covered this, but in my mind, determination and perseverance are two different things, separate but definitely equal. I see perseverance as having more in common with endurance. They work hand in hand, but determination precedes perseverance. You can't persevere before you become determined. In order to get the most out of your perseverance to keep yourself on the right track, you've got to know when and where to persevere because you could spend 10 years persevering on a path that leads directly into a brick wall, and what good does that do? Be selective in your perseverance, but always be determined.
ONE LAST POINT ABOUT DETERMINATION