Just Hold On – Gaining Strength When It Hurts

I love to work with kettlebells.  I love the simplicity of the swing and how this simple tool can break you down when you press them overhead.  They show you weakness at times, others they exploit that weakness. At times, the biggest challenge is just to hold on.

You swing, and your arms are not dead, your hips are not sore, your legs can still drive, but your grip begs for you to stop.  You pick them up for a farmer’s carry and your shoulders start to talk to you, but your fingers demand release.

You shout internally to yourself, just a few more steps…just a few more swings.  And so you hold on.

You hold on, and you get stronger.  You hold on and you realize that the pain subsides, and you can pick it up again.  You swing again, you walk again, you hurt again.

Your grow.  You learn.

You let go when you have to.

In everything we do and face, there are moments where we have to choose to hold on just a little bit longer…or let go.

That one-star review or critical response helps you know who your target audience really is.  You hold on to the dream of creating something new for the world.  Keep writing, keep developing, keep building your gym or your business. (Hat tip to Seth Godin for this method of thinking.)

The judge who says the words no-rep when you think you are going to cross the finish line is helping you see that standards matter more than being first.  Hold on, redo the rep and keep your head held high.

That job offer that was too low and you turned down helps you see your true value and worth.  Hold on just a little longer, the right offer will come and you are worth it.

Every failed adventure and dark place that you have had to shine a light in makes you stronger; makes you unstoppable.

Every time you let someone else get in your head and try to convince you to let go; says more about them than you.  Don’t carry their baggage, their failure or their burdens.

When you feel yourself doing that…that is the time to put the weight down.  Stop swinging, stop carrying the things that were never meant for you.

Hold on to you…let go of anything that isn’t.


This one is for me and anyone else that lets others get in their head and shake them.  I have lived a lot of my life trying to please others and be what others wanted me to be.  And at what expense?  I let go and put down the weight that I needed to be carrying and swinging and picked up theirs.  I did it backward.  I stopped writing when I loved it.  I quit caring because I cared about the wrong people.  Don’t make those mistakes.

You might have to walk away from something you love, but you make that choice.  Don’t stop swinging because of someone else.  Hold on…until you need the rest.

When You Have Nothing Left…

I committed to writing something every day until the end of the month.

But I have nothing…

I have no great wisdom or no great story to share.  But I love writing and the feel of pen on paper.  I love the sound of the keys as emotion and life, leaves the head and heart and hits the page.

So tonight, I am simply going to say the things that I needed to hear when no one else knew what to say:

  • Don’t stop, you are better than you think!
  • I believe in you!
  • Get up, you still have work to accomplish!
  • Pick up the bar!
  • Put down the bar!
  • Get up on that bar!
  • Breathe!
  • Rest!
  • You have no idea the impact of the ripples you send out!
  • F them!
  • You’re being an idiot!  Stop feeling sorry for yourself!
  • I’m sorry.
  • I’ll see you tomorrow.

That’s it.  That’s a lot of exclamation mark.

Stop Writing Letters to the Younger You

I am feeling a bit snarky today…so consider that your pre-warning…

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If you have ever been anywhere near a self-help book or had to do any exercise in learning about yourself, you have probably at least been asked to write a letter to your younger self.  What would you tell yourself?  What advice would you give?

Why write that letter at all?

It might be therapeutic in some sense.  I am not even going to say that I have not written one, but I sit here today asking why am I looking back and trying to deal with a ghost.

It doesn’t do anything to change who I am…in this moment.

I’m sending back lessons that I learned and mistakes I discovered in life.

But they made you who you are today.  They built you into the person that you are.  They made you stronger or maybe they crushed you.

About the only thing that letter to your younger you needs to say

“You will survive.”

That’s it.  If you want to change yourself, write a letter to the person you are becoming.  Write a letter to the person you want to be.

If you want to be a business owner, write a letter to the you that owns that business.  If you want to stop writing blogs and be an author, write to that person.

Write to the person that still has lessons to learn and goals to accomplish.  Write a letter that inspires you to take action on something…anything!

Stop wasting your time, telling your younger self about all the mistakes you made in life, take the time to write a letter to the person who has a ton of mistakes to make on their way to becoming a success.  Write a letter to the person that needs to kick an addiction, or take a leap of faith and try a new job.

Write a letter to the person that is not afraid of life anymore.

Write to yourself with passion.  Write to yourself as you see yourself as changing the world or being the world to just one person.

Take five or ten minutes, decide who you want to be and write to them…stop worrying about who you used to be…you are changing, growing, learning.  Write to the person you are becoming, not who you once were.

May the Fourth Be With You – Yoda and Becoming a Jedi

Yesterday I started a new training cycle.  I am going to be hitting some bodyweight basics over the next 8 weeks.  I will have a cycle built around getting better body control and better movement.  I need to move fluidly without load and start adding in some more speed work.

My squat cycle was a success.  I added 30 pounds to my 3 rep max and need to start taxing the CNS a little bit a focus on moving both well and fast.  I will be adopting a weekly schedule that looks something like the following:

  • Day 1: Bodyweight – Gymnastics
  • Day 2: Metcon – Kettlebell work, light barbell + Bodyweight
  • Day 3: Heavy Lift – Cannot abandon moving heavy things
  • Day 4: Rest and Recover
  • Day 5: Metcon – Kettlebell work, light barbell + Bodyweight
  • Day 6: Bodyweight – Gymnastics
  • Day 7: Rest

The other thing that I will do is listen to my body. So what does this have to do with Yoda?  I hear you…it is May Fourth and everyone wants some knowledge bombs.  So here we go:

We all know that Yoda has the famous line about trying.  There is no try.  That is true about our training and anything that we want to accomplish in life.  It is true about getting better.  There is no try.  We either do it or we don’t.

We either believe in our success or we don’t.  We either are going to work on our weaknesses or we are going to ignore them.  We are either going to be a quality, well-rounded, athlete or we are just going to do what we want to do.

We are going to receive coaching or we won’t.

But bigger than all of that is whether or not we are going to believe in what we are capable of.  When Yoda utters this line, Luke does not believe that he can accomplish something.  He does not believe that he has the tools, knowledge and capability to accomplish the task presented to him.  Stacking stones is one thing, but lifting his X-wing…that’s impossible.

One of the biggest diseases in the world today is that of self-doubt.  We stop ourselves because we are afraid of our own success.  As I have said before, it is not failure; we accept failure is a very real and viable option.  And it is the acceptance of failure that keeps us from seeing our potential for greatness.  We are not paralyzed by fear, but rather we don’t do because we are afraid of what success might look like.

Success is the unknown.  Success leads to more questions.  Failure leads to the same old thing we have always done.  Failure, in many respects, is safe.  Failure is moving stones with your mind, the same old party tricks.  Success is knowing that you can lift the X-wing and it is no different.  You must unlearn what you know and believe to be true.

Success for yourself in someone else’s business and success for yourself in your own business is as Yoda would say…no different…only different in your mind.

So what do you want to do or do not?


Body, Mind and Soul

How’s your training going this week?  How is your effort going?  Are you still able to give 100% each and every workout, or is it faltering?

Did you take a rest day to truly recover?  Did you do anything out of the ordinary for a fun recovery day?  I went longboarding with my wife on a date night…yes, she’s a keeper!

I hope you are taking your recovery seriously and taking your work seriously.

My week has not played out how I dreamed it would, so I was forced to adapt.  I still put in the work, though.  I still am putting in the work.  I am taking what the world gives me, listening to my body and adapting.  I can only hope you are doing the same.

I have tried to take care of all areas in my training this week:

  1. Body
  2. Mind
  3. Soul

For the body this week, my training looked like the following:

Monday – Anything Goes Workout.  Spent a lot of time with the kettlebells (thrusters, KB Cleans, KB Press Complex) and some sprints.  Then hit some gymnastics skill work.

Tuesday – Upper Body Press Day.  More odd object work (Sandbags are fun!).  Lots of single-arm focus (Alternating Arm Bench Press).  Jump Rope Skill Work and Carries).  Finding weak spots.

Wednesday – Rough day at the office, so it turned into a rest/ recovery day.

Thursday – Deadlift centric day.  Will hit the deads and then probably be on a nice slow cardio session to balance out the sprints earlier in the week.

Friday – Heavy Squat Centric Day.


Since I am training for my next Spartan Race, I am working a lot towards work capacity and gymnastic skills.


In order to better the mind, I just turned off the radio and turned on the podcasts.  Spent the week listening to two people I respect in the area of training, Travis Mash and Zach Even-Esh.  But that is not all.  I also have been listening to the book Originals by Adam Grant to keep creativity high.  And finally, every day my brother in law sends out a text message to encourage me.  So I read that and pray on it.

But that only touches the surface of taking care of my heart and soul.  I try my best to take 10 minutes of my lunch break and just sit and let the thoughts come and go.  I sometimes do a writing dump to clear out the garbage.  I pray often and I got back into writing the faith workout.  I let that stuff simmer in my heart for a while and then send it out.

So I ask you, what are you doing to take care of your body, mind and soul?

004 – Faith Workout – Sacrifices Define You

There are three questions that I find myself looking at from time to time.  They are questions that rank up there with “what’s your why” and “who do you say I am”.  They are questions that help me reflect on living a life of integrity.  They force me to answer if I am truly being the same person outwardly, as I think I am in my own head.

  1. How do you see yourself?

  2. How do others see you?

  3. Are you happy with both answers?

As I dive deeper into those questions and explore my own answers, I have found that, for me personally, we desire definition by our sacrifice.  Others know as based on the choices we make, for good or for bad.  If we want to be known as a family man or woman, we are often praised for giving up a career or higher paying job.  If we choose the career path, we can be treated as if we made a mistake by choosing that over having a family.

It appears that people, increasingly, have a hard time seeing the world simply for what it is.  We see it through the lens of sacrifices and choices.  We see the person with the physique we want and think that they must hate life because they no longer know how good cake and doughnuts taste.  And maybe they look across the room at someone like me, with my average physique, and think about my lack of willpower.

Can we ever stop and just accept that both of us might just be content and happy with our choices.  And so I return to my three questions.

How do you see yourself? – This is just a gut-check honesty question.  When you look in the mirror and look at yourself, what do you see?  Who are you, to you?  Do you see yourself as someone who sacrifices for everyone else, cares for everyone else, is strong enough to put yourself first?  What do you see?  As I look in the mirror, the answer to this question can often be misleading.  The answer, usually, is who I want to see. I answer blind to my own biases and faults.  I will seldom say, I see a selfish person who wishes more people said thank you.  I just do not want to admit to myself that, the words thank you…are powerful to me.  I won’t say to myself, I feel taken advantage of.  I struggle to say compliments too.  I struggle to be real and admit good things too.  I don’t always say, I’m a good coach.  The rabbit hole this question often leads me down is one where at the end, all I say is I can be better.

And so I go into the second question…

How do others see you?  – It’s easy to lie on this one and say that they see you as a great person, caring, loving…a great friend, spouse, parent.  It is easy to sidestep this question and think long and hard about how big the category of “others” really is.  Stop and really focus on those out there that just might not see you in the best light.  Accept your highlights.  Build up that personal highlight reel as you ponder this question, but don’t neglect the slip-ups and mistakes that have been made.  Don’t forget the people you might have hurt, intentional or not.  How do they see you?  Have their wounds healed?  If we want to grow at all, we have to look at all sides of who we are.  Sometimes, the hurt was necessary.  That is why there is the third question…

Are you happy with both answers? – As I stated at the beginning, we are often defined by the sacrifices that we make.  We are known for giving things up so that we can do other things.  That is a fact of life.  We cannot do all things at once.  And so, we have to also be content with how we answer questions 1 and 2.  If we can look at our answers to those questions and be happy with them, then we are on a solid path.  If my actions hurt someone, but I understand they had to happen…that the pain is a result of a necessary sacrifice for my growth into a bigger, better person, then I can accept it.  If I am not happy with my answers to questions 1 and 2, then I know that changes have to be made.  Changes have to take place, and I am the only one that can make those changes happen.

And so the faith workout, the challenge of our faith is to add one more layer to these questions.  I do not have to change the questions, but I do have to answer them through the scope of Christ and Scripture.  As I address the question about how I see myself and how others see me, I am seeking Christ in both of those answers.  I mean that literally.  I am forced to ask myself, can I see Christ working through me, can others?  Am I happy with that answer?

Finisher Walking Confidently


Once of the biggest challenges that I see people plagued with in any endeavour is a lack of confidence.

I can’t lift that

I will fail if I change jobs

My writing is not good enough

I have to be in shape before I do that

Anything you do that ends in the phrase…maybe next year or maybe in six months is just you failing to believe in yourself.

You don’t have to be in shape to start on that path.  You have to start working.  You have to get both feet into the gym and start.  That is it.  You do not have to be the best on day one.

You have to be a beginner, committed to learning, on day one.

Nothing more and nothing less.  Is it scary?  Yep!  Is it fun being the new person in the room or at the company?  Probably not.

Does it get easier?  Yes.  We grow and we become comfortable.  We get better at life, work and lifting.  We start to figure out what we love (barbells, burpees, kettlebells, sandbags…) and we learn what we dread (cardio…all the cardio).  But we do it anyway.

And our confidence grows.  We get stronger, we get better and we are less afraid of the new things that come at us in life.

We remember how we felt on day one, and how we now feel on day 1001.  We remember thinking, I am not prepared for this…but we survived.  We thrived and we are now ready for more and more new things.

We learn what we are capable of and it is usually more than we give ourselves credit for.  So take some leaps, get both feet in the door to the gym and start.  Find someone just as scared as you are and jump together.

It’s time!

Train Like (or For) A Spartan…Mix it Up!

One of the things that I deal with from time to time and the debate between whether or not I should train on any given day.  I do not train myself for competitions, so the pressure to stick to a highly regimented program is not there.  I train to push my personal limits and grow my abilities.  I take this approach with many of the people that train with me in the garage.

One of the things that I do train for are the Spartan Races that I do.  I train for them because they push me mentally and physically.  But this post is not about the races, it is about how some days, you have to mix up the script and throw away the barbell for a little while and train differently.

In any given week, I will follow a training that allows for the following types of workouts:

General Warm-up:  This is generally some time on the bike or rower.  Then some dynamic stretching and dynamic drills to get the blood flowing.  Once those are done, I will do some workout specific mobility and body priming movements.  This can include any warm-up weights and reps that are needed before moving heavier objects begin.

The Workout Types

Specialized Emphasis Training – This is generally a program that is designed to get stronger in any of the various lifts or movements.  Currently, I am following a program to help with my squat and press numbers.  For the most part, this is what I am building my workout around.  This is the central part that I have to get done in the day…anything else that I do is icing on the cake.  On a 7 day calendar, I will make sure that I work through some specialized lifting at least 4 days.

Cardiovascular Training –  This is exactly what it sounds like.  This can be a straight up endurance session on the bike, rower, a nice long run, or sprints.  Other times, it is a longer workout performed with bodyweight movements.  The challenge here is to just keep moving.  Just keep going and focus on doing this correctly.  I try to have these sessions on at least 3 of the 7 days I might train.  They can overlap and be done before or after my strength work.  And yes, I do mix them up.

Odd Object Work – Now we are getting into the fun stuff. This is what I consider play when it comes to my garage gym time.  During this time, I will take advantage of my sandbags, kettlebells, atlas stones, sleds, paralletes, rings…rocks, logs, and ropes.  Some days I will use these instruments instead of my barbell just to shock the system so to speak.  They help with recruiting and engaging different muscles, making the whole system stronger and taxing the Central Nervous System.  I attempt to make sure that I have at least 1 day of this in my cycle.  But I also will utilize the odd objects more in de-load sessions or days when the mind just needs to be re-ignited to the joy that training can be.

The Anything Goes/ This Just Sucks/ I Welcome Death Workout – These do not come up all that often.  Once or twice a month I will do this.  These are the workouts that have no real solid purpose except to test your willpower to finish them.  These are the mental workouts that just flat out suck.  They are the workouts that take everything above and twist them into an hour or more and wondering why you are doing this to yourself.  That have very little benefit in the scheme of your physical abilities, but they pay huge dividends when it comes to your mental strength and toughness (something that is disappearing rapidly in today’s western culture).  For me, these are the workouts that prepare me for the test that is a multi-mile obstacle course race.  This is a workout that is there to make sure that I am not going to quit when things get difficult.  These are the tests of my previous training.  I take them on when I just need to be reminded that I am stronger than my mind says I am.

Rest Days – These are as important as your training days.  If you want to get stronger and better, you have to give our body the time to repair and recover.  In any given week, I try to have two days where rest is my emphasis.  I might focus on stretching and mobility or work on some gymnastic-centric skills.  I might do absolutely nothing except chase my wife and kids around the yard or house.  Rest and nutrition are the two “others” in achieving successful results.

And this is how I train myself and my clients.  When they come in, I get a feel for how they are feeling and what they are needing that day.  I look at what is a part of their program and we go.  We get the work done and we get the results that we need.

How do you train!  Let me know on my Facebook Page!




Monday Motivation

Give Yourself Permission to:

Get Lost

  • In Life
  • In Love
  • In Training

Explore, find new paths!

May you are on the wrong one

Get off the beaten path and don’t be afraid to blaze a new one!

Get where you need to be.  Get lost, be afraid, fight to find yourself, your home!

Get lost, be afraid, survive, repeat, grow!

Find you!

Are You Authentic?

I did not know how to best categorize this because I think that it is one of the most important things in all areas of life.  I think that this single item is central to having a solid positive mindset, being successful in your journey of faith, and critical to having a successful business.

I am going to start this exploration with a simple question for you:

How are you doing today?

That simple question is asked of each one of us several times a day.  We are faced with it frequently.  It is the foundation of more than we realize.  So how do you answer that on a regular basis?  Do you give an authentic answer, or do you have a pre-programmed response.  Are you good every day?  Are you alright generally?  Or do you answer with authenticity on a regular basis?

I have recently found myself working on how to be authentic to those around me and with myself.  This question about my day triggered something as I was walking today.  It made me think about whether or not I am always living in complete honesty with myself.  So often, the people I am around determined the responses I frequently gave.

With some people, life was always miserable because to them life was always miserable and I wanted to blend in or not have a fantastic day knowing they were struggling.

Other times, I was always ok because life was not great, but not terrible.

Today, I responded to the question about how I am doing, by simply stating.  I am stressed but making it.  It was an authentic answer.  It is a step towards being authentic with others.  It was a step in knowing and accepting that I do not have to be someone else or lie about what I am going through.

This opens the door to people having a better understanding of what I am going through.

But the bigger thing that being authentic with others has helped me with, is that I am not lying to myself.  I am not putting my life into a negative state of mind by having to have a negative to talk to some people about.  It also means that when I am struggling, I don’t have to lie about it.  I can be honest and let others know that I, honestly need a little kick in the pants or support.

So I ask you, where are you in your authenticity journey?  What do you feel is the key takeaway from being an authentic person?

I will take this idea and throw it into the business world tomorrow.  Any thoughts on the importance of being authentic in your business…Leave me a comment on Facebook!