Category Archives: Coaching

Patience is a Virtue

Well, here we are. Just about through the first month of the year and if you started the New Year with plans to better your health perhaps with some exercise, I’ve got some news for you. If you’re not committed and I mean truly committed save yourself the time and aggravation and stop now. As much as that kills me to say, there’s no point in wasting your time. I want you to succeed and you of course would love to succeed but true success only comes to those who put their nose down, make no excuses, and are willing to go above and beyond the normal. If you think that’s you, then please read on.

You’re Just Not Getting It

Exercise in all its forms is good. There are exercises best suited to what you’re trying to accomplish but the bottom line is all physical activity is good. Exercise is only the means, therefore never deserves the bad rap some will give it. If you ever thought that the exercise failed you, I will quickly counter that you failed the exercise. How do I know that? Let’s look at an example. Say a particular exercise (individual or program) was just not a good fit for you yet thousands of others have used it to much success. Is the exercise the problem? No, but for you perhaps it was. May be it was too complex or technical or may be it was just really hard. Was it something at your current level of fitness that you have no business doing? Exercise is an activity that has many levels across all populations. You must be able to put your ego aside and begin at a level that best suits you now. Not where you’d like it to be. Now. Not respecting exercise is an admittance to not truly knowing what you’re doing and that right there is a real problem.

It Will All “ Work Out”

Exercise never has nor ever will cause changes overnight. If you start to exercise regularly and with consistency you will begin to see positive changes in a little over a month. And that’s with regularity and consistency. Exercise is a stress albeit a good stress and one that your body has to adapt to. And it will, just not as quickly as you’d like, I can guarantee that. This is when a very strong virtue of patience is required. Forget what you’ve been told or heard through the media outlets. There’s nothing “quick”, “fast”, or “sudden” about exercise except perhaps your walking away from it. Exercise requires effort, work, and the ability to take the good days with the bad days. Anyone who exercises with regularity such as myself can tell you that. So how do you keep a positive, patient frame of mind when you start exercising but find yourself at that same point that you were at last year and the many years before? You have to be able to identify your “why” and your “why” is what will keep things in perspective when perhaps your perspective is lost.

Allow me to share my “why” with you:

• First and foremost, there’s that thing called my health. Control what I can control rather than let fate decide.
• I enjoy it so why not do something I enjoy. I realize that gets lost on most, but I enjoy the movement, how it makes me feel and when I miss it, how it also makes me feel.
• Those that mean the world to me are better with me in their lives so I will continue to do my best at staying in their lives.
• I want to continue to be a role model, not a celebrity model type. I want to be the one that others look up to.

Most of all, none of it is possible without patience. I am an extremely patient person as I believe that comes from practicing it consistently throughout my life. You too can learn patience with practice over time, as it will serve you well.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

12 Days of Fitness 2018: Day 6 – 8 Reasons Why Your Workout is Failing You

(This is part 6 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

Correction. The appropriate title for this post should be “why you’re failing your workout” and not “why your workout is failing you”. It’s human nature to blame or point the finger at something or someone else when things don’t go according to plan. That same unfortunate mindset exists with exercise as well. People jump from program to program in the hopes that they’ll find the one that works for them. Sometimes that works but in reality all that was ever needed to be done was to take a quick look at one’s self and the approach to exercise. If 10 people follow the same program you will see 10 different results. The exercises are the same for everyone but aside from differences in sex and genetics, they will yield different outcomes. Why?

  • Differences in intensity, or lack thereof. I’ve seen this for many years working in gyms and fitness facilities. There are those who come to “workout” and there are those who are “going through the motions”. If change (improvement, betterment, etc.) is what you seek, just showing up isn’t going to cut it. You have to/want to challenge yourself consistently and progressively. No change begets no change. That’s true in every facet of life. Why people think that rule is different when it comes to exercise escapes me.
  • Overambitious. You’ve just started working out and you’re motivated like never before. All the times you’ve failed to keep a routine before are behind you now and this time you’ll show them all. Suddenly you set the alarm for 5 am to do an hour of cardio and then grab a carrot for breakfast. Before lunch you go for a run, followed by a light salad. For the evening you have a weight training session planned and a meal replacement dinner after that. But it’s not sustainable. This is why dieting will never work. You can easily drop a couple of pounds, grow stronger and improve your aerobic conditioning. But if you then go back to an unhealthy life – say goodbye to your progress. Your body will adjust to the way you live.
  • No direction. If you start walking aimlessly around you’ll probably not end up where you want. It’s simple logic. That’s why it’s frustrating to see people coming in to the gym with no idea what they’re training today. Stop wasting your time. Decide on a goal for the coming three months. More if you can but absolutely no less!
  • Bad form. A squat can seem like such a simple exercise: you sit down and then stand up again. It’s a movement pattern that comes very natural to our bodies. And it’s simple! But when you put an iron barbell with a hundred pounds on your back, it becomes more than just sitting down and standing up. You’re suddenly at risk of some serious injury. And if you want to see that weight go up, you really need to start optimizing your movement. Strength is a skill and to improve you’ll have to train not only your muscles (biological adaptation) but also your technique (neurological adaptation).
  • No progression. Are you lifting the same weights today as you were a year ago? Running the same distances, or managing the same number of max reps? I know many people who do and I can’t for the life of me understand how they can motivate themselves to keep training, when they do not progress. But progress doesn’t just incidentally happen. You need to keep pushing your limits, adding weights, and making it hard for yourself. Over time your training will come to feel easy. Pullups are no longer a problem but it also means you are no longer pushing yourself as hard as you used to, which in turn means you will stop making the same kind of progress as you used to.
  • Cheating yourself. What’s easier – to stay in the sofa researching which vegan protein has the best amino acid profile, or going to the gym and lift some weights? Then guess which will give you the best results. We are all genetically programmed to waste as little energy as possible. (Yes, we’re lazy by nature.) Given two choices that both feel like they take us closer to our goal, we’ll naturally pick the easiest. Getting strong and fit isn’t easy but it’s damn simple! The ones who try to make it complicated are often the ones who also try to sell you a shortcut. But there really are none – you will have to put in the work if you want the result.
  • Missing recovery. What you do when training is only half the story. After stimulating your body with the right amount of intensity, you’ll need to give it time to adjust. This is when the magic really happens. Muscles grow to handle the heavy weights, pathways improves to produce energy faster, and ligaments strengthen so that they can withstand more. But all too often you’ll see people not prioritizing their recovery. Their bodies don’t get enough nutrition, they’re always feeling a bit tired and yet the get back in it – smashing another workout. Continuing in this manner will stump your progress and eventually have you plateau. As for food – eat plenty and make sure it’s nutritious. Limit the crappy fast food, processed junk, and similar worthless calories. Make sure you get enough. Start with what feels like too much and then tweak week by week as you see your body change.
  • Boredom. Too many people go to the gym feeling it’s a chore. Something they would rather not do but have to. This is a terrible way to spend all the time that it takes to make meaningful progress. Plus, one of the absolutely biggest reasons people actually succeed with their ventures is whether they can stick to it and keep grinding. If you’re bored while doing so, that’ll make it so much harder.

See you tomorrow for Day 7 of the 12 Days of Fitness

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #1 – Weight Loss Once and For All
Day #2 – 10 Pieces of Equipment Everyone Needs to Work Out at Home
Day #3 – Are You Afraid of Eating Fruit?
Day #4 – Healthy Foods?
Day #5 – 21 Ways to Combat Emotional Eating

 

12 Days of Fitness 2018: Day 5 – 21 Ways to Combat Emotional Eating

(This is part 5 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

Emotional eating is a term for eating as a way to deal with stress by consuming excess food, alcohol, drugs, or other addictive agents.  It may be an unhealthy way of dealing with depression, negative emotions, or something that is toxic in your life. If you suffer from emotional eating, awareness of the issue is where it starts.  Just as a habit takes 21 days to conquer, you too can overcome if you suffer from emotional eating.

Some ways to deal with emotional eating include:

1 Exercise or find a new form of exercise.
2 Start new hobby that you enjoy
3 Learn how to sing a song using ASL Sign Language or another language
4 Get out of your comfort zone and try something new.
5 Have a pet.
6 Clean your house or organize your closet
7 Reserve time for a massage
8 Volunteer for a cause that you are passionate about.
9 Go with a friend, or alone in a crowd, to your local coffee establishment.
10 Take a walk outside.
11 Start a garden.
12 Write fiction or nonfiction that you are passionate about.
13 Spend time with a new friend.
14 Call an out-of-town friend after a hard day at work.
15 Make new contacts at your usual hangouts, work, or the gym.
16 Write a list of your gratefulness.
17 Take a class at your local library or park district on some new subject, and make a decision to find new friends.
18 Say no to unproductive activities.
19 Listen to music that is motivating or brings joy to you.
20 Stretch in the morning and the evening.
21 Don’t beat yourself up. The sooner you realize your mistake, the faster you can make a change.

Habits take time to form and to change.  Trying something new or different is not always successful but another opportunity to work toward your obstacle. When you keep on trying, you will succeed.

See you tomorrow for Day 6 of the 12 Days of Fitness

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #1 – Weight Loss Once and For All
Day #2 – 10 Pieces of Equipment Everyone Needs to Work Out at Home
Day #3 – Are You Afraid of Eating Fruit?
Day #4 – Healthy Foods?

 

 

 

12 Days of Fitness 2018: Day 1 – Weight Loss Once and For All

(This is part 1 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

I see a lot of people hopping from diet to diet. Many of you have tried several diets in your lifetime, and you’ve come to the conclusion that they didn’t work. You might have lost a little weight, but you didn’t maintain it. And weight maintenance is a requirement for a successful lifestyle change. You blame the program for our failure. Either that or you beat yourself up.

Weight Loss Has Nothing To Do With Intelligence

A lot of people who struggle with weight loss are very successful in other parts of their life. They have good jobs. They have good friends. They have a family that loves them. They’re smart people who are having a hard time losing weight, and they can’t understand why it’s so hard to figure out. Some of the brightest minds in the world are experiencing a real struggle to lose weight. So don’t view yourself as lacking in intelligence just because you’re having a hard time reaching your goals.

Losing Weight Takes Practice

Weight loss (and maintenance) is a skill you have to develop over a lifetime. You have to practice it. There’s likely nothing wrong with the majority of the programs you’ve tried. There’s a good chance they’ve worked for a lot of people. It’s natural to think the program doesn’t work for you, but in reality, you likely didn’t persist long enough through the struggle to realize your true potential. Think back to when you learned to ride a bike. When you fell off did you say, “this bike doesn’t work. I’m going to get rid of it and get a new one that will work better.” No. You stuck with it. You figured out why you failed and you put a plan in place so it wouldn’t happen again. The same goes for weight loss programs. It’s not about avoiding the struggle. It’s about seeing those struggles as opportunities for growth and learning how to navigate them. You push forward and you grow. You find the parts that work for your personality and adjust the rest. You make the program your own. Then you become the new habits you’ve created.

Consistency Beats Perfection

So many people expect perfection from themselves, so at the first signs of failure they run the other way. But you have to let that perfectionist attitude go and understand that the struggle is a natural part of the transformation process. You need it to grow and change. So work on taking consistent action and be patient. Commit fully to your journey. Work through the tough times and don’t give up. This is going to take time. What you do today doesn’t always show up tomorrow. It’s a cumulative effect over time. Make more of the good choices and fewer of the bad ones. When you make a mistake, learn from it, let it go, and then move on. Keep pushing forward until you reach the next opportunity to grow. Every barrier you break through raises the floor of your success. Don’t avoid the struggle. Attack it head on.

See you tomorrow for Day 2 of the 12 Days of Fitness

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

 

 

 

Becoming A Morning Exerciser

There are 24 hours in a day; 168 in a week; 720-744 in a month; 8,760 in a year. When you figure you sleep at most 8 hours a day, that’s 2,920 hours. Another 50 weeks at 8 hours per day working is another 2,000 hours. That leaves approximately 3,840 hours left to do whatever you want. Now mind you these are all estimates but shake it anyway you want, there’s plenty of time to find time to exercise. For some, that might mean first thing in the morning. “But I can’t get up that early”, or “I need my sleep”, or “I don’t have the time” are some of the usual excuses I hear. And you know what? I’m not a morning exerciser either but I know someone who is and can teach you a thing or two about exercising in the morning – my wife.

Why the Morning?

It’s known that some of the top executives in the country do their workouts in the a.m. They have their reasons but most would assume incorrectly that a person of such high power and responsibility doesn’t have the time for a workout. For one, it’s a priority to them. Nothing happens in their day until the workout is complete. Second, many use it as the only time of day when it’s them and only them. But for my wife, it became a necessity that has grown into tremendous success for her. Six years ago, she entered the world of the sport of triathlon (for those who don’t know, that’s three exercises in one – swim, bike, and run). After a couple of years of getting her “feet wet”, she took to the sport more seriously and entered races not only as a participant but as a competitor. She’s placed in races and even partook in the grand race in triathlon known as the “Iron” distance last year. But the real shift for her began when she started to work out first thing in the morning. I’ll admit, I never thought she could do it. She likes her sleep as much as the next person but when you’re trying to juggle our work schedules, a young boy, and the ability to train and develop three disciplines, there was only one option and she’s run with it.

How To Do It?

With the exception of having to change your wake up time, everything else is just the same. Exercise knows no time. Here are some of the tips she offers to become a morning exerciser:

  • Snooze is your enemy. Set your clock for when you get up and GET UP when it goes off. If you sit and contemplate, you won’t get up or cut into your work out time.
  • Lay out your clothes the night before. Sifting through your closets and drawers half awake will not end well.
  • Prepare any pre-workout fuel/meal the night before too. Not having to think about it in the morning will save you time.
  • Plan your workouts ahead of time. Go in with a plan and stick to it.
  • Gradually build into the time (i.e. don’t go super early at first). Start with an early time in mind and then progress to earlier.
  • Remind yourself to get it done so you won’t have the guilt of missing or pushing it off until later. Life happens so best to take charge of it while you can.
  • Most likely you’ll be with very like-minded people and they’ll generally support your efforts as opposed to 6 p.m. at night
  • Be sure to refuel properly after the workout because since it’s morning, your more likely to skip or forget to eat when in reality you still have the whole day ahead of you.

Best part? At the end of the day you’re done! No more hoping you make it to the gym; you’ve already been there. You may still decide that the morning is still not your thing and that’s ok. Just know that whatever your excuse, it’s completely invalid

Til next time, train hard, eat well, and be better.

What’s Killing Your Progress

You did it! You started working out; joined a gym; committed to a healthier lifestyle. You’re proud of yourself….except, you have nothing to show for it. May be you’re feeling better, clothes are fitting less snuggly, perhaps even you dropped a couple pounds. But you want more. It’s not enough. You put in the time but still have little to show for it. What gives? Exercise, while it’s a simple thing, causes more heartache and frustration for those looking towards it to be a Holy Grail of sorts. Well, I can tell you that is not but that doesn’t mean it’s bad either. Exercise is good and with a better mindset and preparation, it should never frustrate you. Following are several little things that you may be doing that are killing or at least slowing your process:

1. Your mindset stinks. I’m exercising so I’m “entitled” to results. NO! That mindset stinks. Simply exercising only guarantees one thing – may be a little sweat. You need to work. You need to apply yourself. You need a goal, something to drive you.
2. You don’t have a goal. Simple yet overlooked by many. It needs to be specific, not general. It needs to be the light of every workout. Otherwise you’re spinning wheels to no where.
3. You keep doing the same thing(s). The definition of insanity is doing the same thing but expecting a different result. Exercise is a stress, albeit a good stress. When you begin to exercise, your body adapts to the stress and you see and feel a result. But after a while, that stress needs to change or you’ll stop changing.
4. You don’t respect exercise. That’s right! As Rodney Dangerfield use to say, “I get no respect”. So what do I mean when I say respect the exercise? Know what you’re doing and why. Don’t “go through the motions”. The yield is always zero and for those who think something is better than nothing, they’re not respecting the power of what exercise can do for them.
5. You view exercise as a hobby and not a task. I’m all for people really enjoying their exercise like it’s a hobby but at its root level it’s work. That’s why it’s called working out. Brushing your teeth is not a hobby; it’s a task. Exercising needs to be like brushing your teeth. It’s just something you need to do. And a hobby can too easily be pushed aside.
6. You don’t fuel properly. I can’t tell you the number of times in my career when a client came to a session under nourished. Exercise is a physical activity, hence you need to fuel for the activity. Fat stores don’t release on their own. A body working with proper nourishment however will ignite a furnace in the body and one that will allow you to get the full benefit of the session.
7. You ignore sleep. Sleep is by far the most underrated component of a healthy lifestyle. The body needs rest, otherwise it’s burning on fumes. Trying to fit in the daily activities with exercise with poor sleeping patterns and something is going to give.
8. You think you know it all. Trust me. 23 years as a fitness professional and I still don’t know it all. There’s always something more to learn and more to try. If what you’re doing is not working, you don’t know it all. Be smart enough to admit that fault. No one is going to judge you.
9. You’re willing to push but not willing to stop/slow down. This is a common phenomenon with those wanting “quick fix” fitness. They want it now when in reality they’ll only end up disappointed now. The mentality of just pushing/working harder inevitably leads to exercise injury or worse, cessation.
10. You compare yourself too much to others. This is so unfair to you and the person your comparing yourself to. Why? Most likely, you know nothing about them and they know nothing about you. Two different people working towards two different goals. It’s one thing to work with or consult with someone who can help you. It’s something else to mirror someone not knowing their current path.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

Great for Fitness, Bad for Fat Loss

Let’s get one thing perfectly clear. Exercise in all and any of its forms is good for you. Period. There are better types of exercise for a particular outcome (i.e. a bodybuilder will have to lift weights) but in essence whatever you choose as your preferred method of exercise you can do no wrong. However, when it comes to the number one reason given as to why people exercise, their methods are no where in accordance with the desired outcome – weight loss, more specifically fat loss.

Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss

The two are not one in the same. You can have weight loss independent of fat loss yet when one decides they want to lose weight, what they’re really talking about is dropping the unsightly poundage from their physiques. Weight loss is easy. If I were to strap a 50 lb sack to your back to carry around all day – work, exercise, etc. – in the heat, you would definitely shed some pounds. You would most likely lose a ton of water and a fair amount of lean tissue (muscle), something you definitely don’t want to do when fat loss, not weight loss, is the goal. Fat loss on the other hand is not very easy to do. It requires a concerted effort where exercise is only a fraction of the plan. For one, eating behaviors (not dieting) must change as well as lifestyle choices. Many are on board with the exercise thing but only modestly interested in changing their eating behaviors or lifestyle choices. To achieve fat loss, you have to buy into that formula 100%.

You Can’t Out-Exercise Poor Choices

It happens every year. The day after Thanksgiving the gyms are flooded with people attempting to repent for their sins of gluttony the previous day. News Flash – that doesn’t work! Where does this thought come from and why is it still believed? Simple. Exercise becomes that easy cog to manipulate. You hop on a treadmill or bike, sweat for a few minutes, maybe do some light to moderate resistance training (that’s harder, right?), perhaps jump in on class, but feel good about exercising. Something’s better than nothing is often the mentality. Sure, if just moving and getting some physical fitness is your goal. But exercise at a level most people consider to be their “best” effort comes not even close to “denting the fat” so to speak. Don’t get me wrong. As I stated earlier, any exercise is good. Physical movement is good. It improves circulation, lowers blood pressure, increases endorphins, etc. It will not though erase a so-so diet, improve your chances of dropping unwanted fat, or increase your physical capacity (ability to handle what life hits you with). Choices good or bad are yours to make but exercise will not erase or benefit much from either.

What to Do

First and foremost, be absolutely steadfast with your goal. There is no room for excuses, otherwise it’s merely a thought. Two, you need to program your exercise program. Yes, program it. Write it out, have someone help you, and follow it. Third, you need to change the way you eat. Notice I did not say diet. If you can find a diet that you can live with for the rest of your life (that’s a lot to ask of anyone) then have at it. But don’t you see how we’re all guinea pigs to this crazy-eat-better thing? Every year a new program comes out saying this is what you need or should do. The one thing you need to do? EAT! You need food to survive, not avoid things like a plague. Finally and probably the most difficult to do, you have to change your lifestyle. You like Happy Hour on Friday’s? May be cut back to 1-2x/month. You like to eat out 3-4 times/week? Cut back to 1x/week. (This alone will save you 1,000s of calories and money).

When all is said and done, fat loss occurs in people at different levels. Comparing your success to others or to the scale is unfair and sure to disappoint. But you owe it to yourself if fat loss is your goal you must not rely solely on exercise more as your antidote. It’s only a small piece of the puzzle albeit an important one. It needs to be consistent and part of the rule, not an exception. I believe you can do it.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better

5 Ways Your Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts

It can be very disheartening and even more frustrating. You’ve spent a bunch of time committing to doing what you thought was the right thing yet your weight loss has stalled or worse reversed. You’ve dieted and exercised all to no avail to the point where you’re ready to quit…again! Is it really supposed to be this hard? The short answer is no and chances are you’re most likely guilty of a few or all of the following reasons you struggle with weight loss.

1. You Don’t Eat Enough. Sounds counterintuitive but weight loss only occurs when you burn more than you take in, correct? Not exactly. Yes, if weight loss is your goal you inherently do need to eat less but there’s a point where much less is a bigger problem. As sporadic or chronic energy (calorie) needs are not met, the metabolism decreases to spare energy. This is one of the major issues with dieting. With a decreasing metabolism comes an even more uphill battle to losing weight (burning calories). Just eating less for the sake of eating less can do more harm to the body than good. As a general rule of thumb, females should not consume less than 1200 calories and men 1500.

2. You Do Eat Too Much. No one ever wants to admit it but unless your tracking what you consume you really have no idea how much you’re consuming. The classic is not eating all day and then eating a large meal at the end of the day to “spare” calories. Chances are you consume more calories in one sitting than you would if you had just eaten throughout the day. The other issue is overestimating portion sizes thus causing overeating. Portion sizes today greatly exceed how much you should really consume. Coupled with hurried eating and portion sizes it becomes a moot issue.

3. You Dine Out Too Often. It doesn’t matter how “healthy” a restaurant claims a food item to be. If you’re not cooking it, you have no control over that. Sure they may decrease the portion size but you’re still ultimately at the mercy of the restaurant’s chef. Dining out should be a treat saved for special occasions or for one time on the weekend. Portions are bigger, food is prepared for flavor, and they would love nothing more for you to order an appetizer, entrée, and dessert.

4. Overdoing It On Weekends. Lets say you’ve been good Monday through Thursday but once Friday hits it all gets forgotten. Maybe you decided Friday night was your night out but then there was a dinner date for Saturday night and a brunch on Sunday. Shouldn’t 4 out of 7 days count for something? Maybe, if weight loss isn’t something you are struggling with. The body systemically processes, burns, and stores calories. A bad weekend won’t show up right away but you can bet it will in time for a repeat weekend performance.

5. Jumping From Plan to Plan. Diets work when they are strictly adhered to. If it’s repeatable and palatable and you can live that way for the rest of your life, it will work. Why? Because by some method you’re simply eating less, plain and simple. But the reality is diets are nothing more than calorie deprivation tactics disguised as some new finding or mechanism, one that most likely is not realistic for people to stick with over the long haul. I’ve always said the thing wrong with Weight Watchers or similar programs is that people keep going back. A lifetime plan should not require anyone to go back.

Weight loss is and always will be a long, not short term process. The good news is that the time it took to gain the weight and the time to lose the weight have no correlation, meaning you can lose weight faster than you gained it. But it takes a conscientious, no excuse approach with a margin of error that affects us all individually. No tricks, no gimmicks, no potions, no magic fairy dust, no supplements- NOTHING – can replace the work of a hard working individual with vision.

Til next time, Train Smart, Eat Well, and Be Better.

The Real Olympic Takeaway

The 2018 Winter Olympics have come to a close and if you’re like me, it was time for them to be done. I’m a much bigger fan of the Summer Games but I would be remiss to say they didn’t have my attention. I spent many a nights up late watching them (couldn’t make it for the women’s hockey gold match though), cheering on the USA even in games where I didn’t know what was going on. Some of the events left a little to be desired but in all it was enjoyable to watch. The thing that really struck a cord with me every night is the relentless pursuit of the athletes to be the best at their craft. For some, the Olympic medal pursuit is a full time job, but for others it’s a part time thing among day jobs and other commitments. Can you imagine the focus, dedication, and commitment to a skill that many don’t even see or know about until the Olympics come around every four years? That is where they have my utmost respect.

The Will To Do It

Not everyone has the ability or desire to be an Olympic athlete. Most if not all of the athletes discover their talent or want at a very young age. They spend many years fine tuning their skills in the hopes that someday they will be chosen for the national team. Some make it; many more do not. The Olympic team represents the best of the best to go up against the world’s best of the best – in any discipline. But my take away isn’t about who makes it or who wins. It’s about a trait many think they have or possess but never really come close to having. And that is will.

So What About You?

The definition of will has several meanings but here it goes without saying; it’s determination. The Olympic athletes have a will, a determination to be the absolute best; a gold medalist. Even the silver and bronze carries a lot of significance – to be the number two and three respectively in the world is nothing to scoff at. So what does this have to do with you? What about your goals? Do they carry the same weight as being a gold medalist? Probably not, but they should. What about your will, the determination to achieve that goal? Is it something you’re truly committed to or just a few select times? You would never succeed as any athlete, let alone an Olympic one. And why do we accept our lack of progress or achievement as just something that happens, year in and year out? Because we lack a true vision. Losing a couple of pounds is insignificant in the big picture. What changes? What does that number mean? Imagine racing down the slope and the difference between you medaling or not is hundredths of a second. Those numbers really mean something. Whether you lose 5, 10, 15, or even 20 pounds matters little if the road to get there was traveled and executed through wishing, not pure will. Let’s say your goal has nothing to do with weight loss. Perhaps it’s just to exercise more. What’s realistic? What can you do rather than focusing on what you’re not doing?

The point here is this: we all live our lives the way we want. No one can make the choices for us and tell us how to live. What you do is indeed your choice and no one or nothing can be blamed for it. When you have the will and determination, absolutely nothing can stand in your way. No excuses, no short comings, no under achievement; only success.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

A New Years Plan to Follow

I know. January is just about over and here I am writing to you about a plan you should follow in the new year. Why? Because your best intentioned “resolution” isn’t going to work. I know. So pessimistic of me. Couldn’t I be more positive? Fact of the matter is, you’ll always have my support but reality is reality. 80% of those who make resolutions fail by February; less than 8% actually see them all the way through. Every. Year. Not great odds. The real issue with resolutions is that they are thoughts, emotional ones at that. Thoughts with no plan, no direction, or no real goal. I am here to tell you that none of this has to be fantasy. It indeed can be a reality. It has to begin though not as a thought but a course of action; a plan/statement as to what you’re actually going to do, not hope or when it’s convenient.

Best Foot Forward

My domain is exercise, nutrition, and health so let’s first start with that. If you’re going to start exercising but haven’t exercised CONSISTENTLY in the last two months – STOP! Starting an exercise program in January is no different than starting one in October. If you didn’t have the intentions then, you won’t have them now. Think of just getting moving. May be it’s a walk at lunch time; a few calisthenics upon waking up; just spending more time not sitting. Eventually you may find yourself seeking more activity, or may be not. The point here is that it becomes something coming out of an action, not a thought. Want to lose weight? Stop with the following of diet plans, potions, programs that promise quick, easy solutions. They don’t care whether you succeed. In fact, they’re counting on you not so you’re susceptible to their marketing again next year. Begin with small, achievable changes like adding a glass of water to your day; eat out less, pack food more; stop giving up foods and embrace eating more. Understand that eating is a means to survival, not an evil activity to be shunned or treated like a plague. Improve your relationship with food/eating before you think of following any program. There are no metabolism resets, cleanses, or any ridiculous rituals to fixing something that no one has a handle on. Long term, sustainable weight loss is a daily activity, not a 6/8 week program.

Making Some Real Changes

Not all resolutions need to be exercise and/or nutrition based. Prove to yourself that first you can set something up, achieve it, and feel proud about seeing it all the way through. It has to start with a belief, not a thought or hope. Following are some ideas to do to get you started, pumped up about seeing the one thing that eludes you – accomplishment.

• Get more quality sleep
• Eat vegetables at every meal
• Meditate
• Spend more time outside
• Actually eat your fruit before it goes bad
• Get back in touch with old friends
• Don’t watch tv or use the computer during meals
• Stretch and improve your flexibility
• Drink herbal tea instead of coffee
• Concentrate on improving your posture
• Cook and prepare lunch instead of relying on processed foods
• Stop biting your nails
• Compliment someone every day
• Cut back on your sodium intake
• Regularly donate unworn and ill-fitting clothing to a local shelter
• Clean your pantry and throw out expired food each month
• Cut down on the amount of plastic you use each day
• Re-try foods that you hate, but haven’t eaten in years
• Delete a social media account
• Keep a journal

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.