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The Growing Trend – As We Age

Finisher Walking Confidently

We all get older.  We all have to come face to face with the reality of aging.  My wife recently was blessed with being firmly planted into her 30’s, and I am rapidly approaching 40.  Our health must remain a priority as we age.

There is a trend among those that I follow for inspiration…they are getting older too.  Every day, I still receive their emails newsletters talking about training like a savage or training like a Spartan.  BUT there usually is a little more that is revealed in the text of their message.  For most of them, and as I continue to learn, the definition of what it means to train like a savage has changed.

As we age, we learn that there are two keys to training successfully –

  1. A Strong Mental Game
  2. Smarter Programming
    1. Training for a Goal

And that is the reality that we deal with.  As we age, it is our mental strength that is more important than ever.  We have kids, real jobs with real demands and any number of other things that will push us away from training.  It will push us towards complacency.  We have a culture that rewards and celebrates ease.  Jobs keep us indoors more and more often.

It is easy to stop challenging activities and harder and harder to start them.  We only see the mountain and believe the little voice that says…you don’t even know where to start when it comes to climbing.  So we stop or don’t even start.

We accept the lie that is our own inadequacy.

The little voice wins!

And so I challenge you to silence the little voice.  Just start and commit to starting every day.  Commit to pushing through the mental challenge that says it is easier to stay the same than it is to change. Commit daily and just commit for that one day.  Don’t promise to give up sugar for a month when one day is a big enough challenge.  Give it up – one day at a time.

You build muscle one rep at a time and will power one decision at a time.

And that points to the second challenge of getting older.  We cannot train like we used to.  We used to see something and say…that looks fun…let’s destroy ourselves.  300 burpees for time, followed by 20 rep max back squat – Let’s go.

And now we look at that and realize, there is no logic to that.  There is no benefit to our health and growth.  We accept and know that we must train smart so that we can continue to function for those that need us.  We have to train smarter and understand what the goals of our programming are.

It is why the role of your coach is critical.  They are not there to destroy you, they are there to build you into what you want to be.  Coaches are not demolition crews, we are construction workers and project managers.  We have to understand what our client’s goals and desires are and then, starting with the foundation, build it.

If we fail to do this, we can and will destroy all that they are doing to be mentally tough.  It is on both of us to create and build success.  I am willing to do my part, are you?

I’m Batman…So What?!?!

In my house, my kids know that I love Batman.  They even call me Batman, my wife is Wonder Woman; one daughter is Super Girl, and the other is Batgirl.  We live it up.  We laugh and chase bad guys around the house.  We live our superhero lives.

What is your superhero identity?

Don’t be afraid to be a superhero.  Embrace it!

What’s wrong with it?

What’s wrong with your wife and kids wanting to see you that way?  Believing and knowing that you are going to do your best to protect them.

What’s wrong with your kids wanting to be superheroes?  Wanting to help others, and make the world a better place?

What’s wrong with being a family of superheroes?  Believing the best about each other and wanting to live life to the fullest.

Don’t be afraid of tapping into your inner superhero.  Once you accept that you have an inner strength that is more powerful than the doubters and the haters…you can find freedom.  Once you accept that there is a hero inside of you, then maybe you won’t be afraid to slowly let the world see that person, the real you!

Follow your passions and your dreams and find that inner strength to push beyond the challenges that we put on ourselves in the name of fitting in!  Forget fitting in, leaders don’t fit in!  They stand out..they set the standard and the others see something different in them.

So I ask you again…what’s your superhero identity?

You’re Never Too Out of Shape To Move!

Some call me a coach, some a trainer, some a fitness enthusiast, others just an all around good guy…well maybe not always that last one, but I try.

People will come by the garage gym and see the barbells, weights, box jumps, bike, rower, atlas stones and other tools, and I can immediately see it on their faces…this is scary!  They see a pull-up bar and some gymnastic rings and want to ask if those are for hanging my laundry on when it needs to dry.  There is this intimidation factor about seeing many of these things.

Maybe it’s the fact that most of the time that a company advertises fitness or fitness products, it looks as if the person using them is a Greek god or goddess.  The person using them looks like they don’t need them anymore.  They look as if they have become the perpetual after picture and the “before” picture has been wiped from the planet.

They are too afraid to even enter into a discussion on fitness and goals.  They are already scared and believe that they will never get there.

That is exactly why you need to talk to me (or any other coach for that matter).  Our job is not, despite the rumors, to kill you.  It is not our job to make you throw up and turn you into a pile of fitness hatred on the floor.

It is our job to get you from point A to point B…to C…etc.

And so I sit and wait for you to say it…”I need to get in shape before I start this…give me a month, 6 weeks, 6 months, a year.”

You are never too out of shape to move.

And that’s all you need to do in order to start.

Can you walk 20m?  Great…we are going to do just that for a week.  Maybe if you are feeling good, we will do it 3 times.

Can you walk 200m?  Good deal…let’s do that as well.

What about sitting in a chair and getting out of it?  We have a starting point.

The truth is that if you wait until you feel “fit enough” to start, you will not start.

The truth is that you need someone that believes in you…because right now, you just don’t know what the first step is.

You need someone who is not just a friend that will let you say, how about tomorrow…what you need is someone who says…I’m going to be there…you better show up to.

You are never too out of shape to take that first step…then we will worry about the second!

Coaches Are Everywhere! Are You Coachable?

This might turn into a rant, but I will try to keep it pretty low key.  Everyone out there that has found this blog or any other blog out there that they use for motivation wants to be better.  They want to get better in all areas of life.  They are seeking out some sort of motivation or lessons that click with them and help them to grow.

That is cool.  I get it.  I am glad you stumbled onto this site and hope that in some way, I can help you out.  I am a pretty open book.  With that being said, we all have to be better about being coachable.  We all have to stop thinking that we know everything there is to know about life.  I watch my various feeds on social media, people watch, and look around with an open mind as often as I can…and fail a lot to keep it that way…and see that we all are really good at giving advice, but really bad at taking good, quality, corrective criticism.

We will look around and acknowledge that the world needs to be more accepting, grow up, change, but we seldom look in  the mirror and really accept the truth that some of that change has to start with us.  We have to be open to being wrong.  We have to be open up to the truth that we all have dark spots and skeletons in closets that we want to ignore.  We have to be willing to ask those closest to us for advice on what we need to work on and not react when they are honest.  If they are speaking the truth, and we usually know when they are, we have to accept that.

We do not get bent out of shape when our trainer or coach in the gym tells us we are not keeping our back tight on a deadlift, or makes us watch a video or our bad technique on the clean.  Truth be told, we get mad when they let us continue to lift without saying something, but when it comes to who we are as people, that is a no-fly zone.  It is a zone that we protect and guard and wonder why relationships start to falter and live gets chaotic.

I know this reality all too well.  I am one of the best at building walls around my life.  I am one of the best with the excuse “I’m doing the best I can”…and that is an excuse for me a lot.  It is another way of saying, “leave me alone…accept me for who I am.”  And I get that, but I have recently learned that trusting someone to be real with me is about them not accepting anything less than what I CAN be.  The advice and criticism they give me are not because they do not love me, but rather it is about the reality that they do love me and know that I can be more.  When I open myself up to the critique, like with my lifts, I am only setting myself up to be better and get better.

So my challenge in the new year is to accept the criticism as they come…listen, learn and grow. Here’s to making this world a better place, starting with me.

The Motivation to Change

I was doing ok.

I coached my 4 nights a week of classes.

I managed a gym.

I tucked my kids in at night.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

I walked away.

Why?

What motivates us to make changes in our lives?  What is “motivation”?

Motivation is the drive and belief that we can do better!

It is the notion that we have more to give, whether it is in something as simple as a workout or in life.  I love seeking out motivators.  I love going on a quest for people that aren’t afraid to get in your face and scream “You’re holding back!  Stop it!  You have more in you!”  And more importantly, they believe that whatever more you have to give benefits the world.

And so what motivated me, was that little voice that said you are being held back, you love it, but you can give more.

Give more to your wife.

Give more to your daughters.

Give more to your readers.

Give more to the world.

If you just let go…so I did.

It hurt and still hurts on days when I drive by the gym.  I think of it as MY gym, but it isn’t.  I did not own it, I managed it as best as I could for years.  I poured my heart and soul into running the classes I did.  I was the every-man coach.  No athletic background, but an eye for detail and a quest for knowledge and wanting to get better.  But at the end of the day, it still wasn’t mine, it was just a part of me.

It still motivates me to know that it is out there and think about the athletes there.  I love them…and they better know it!

But with the change, I was given the opportunity to give more to those I train as well.  I got smaller.  I train out of my garage with a simple philosophy…

One Athlete, One Goal, One Success

I have been able to truly focus on the different things that every athlete is looking for and wanting out of their training.  Want general health…I can do that.  Want to get bigger numbers on the lifts…got you covered too.  Just want to work on those Olympic lifts…Let’s get it.

So I am motivated by the dream of helping someone change in the ways that they want to.  I get to be the voice in their head that says “You can do more!  You have more in the tank!”

And that voice hopefully pushes them to make the hard decisions, knowing it will make them better, and able to give more!

Start with a Clean Slate…Goals in the New Year

I write something about goals every year.  Like most people, I see the start of the new year as one of those rare chances to have a clean slate.  That is to say, when the year ticks over to read 2016, I can safely say…

I haven’t messed up this year

And it’s not a lie.  It is not a false statement but rather a challenge to see how long I can maintain that status.  I have learned over the past year one big thing, and that is, that in order to have a strong and successful 2016, I need to prepare for it starting now.  I actually need to start cleaning the slate now.

So how are you going to get prepared for the changes that you want to make in the new year?

First and foremost, I recommend that you go out and buy a journal that is devoted specifically to your goals and the process you are taking to achieve them.  In fact, I recommend you buy a nice journal for this purpose, think of it as investing in your own success.

New journal = New Opportunities.

The second thing that I will recommend is to take a little time getting to know how you tick.  What motivates you, what leads you on a path to success and what doesn’t?  If you are someone like me, then you are going to need to figure out how to build accountability into your goals.  Based on the work of Gretchen Rubin, I am probably a pretty solid “Obliger”.  That simply means that I am more likely to succeed when someone else is counting on me.  I work best with deadlines and clear expectations. If you want to know more about her Four Tendencies, take the quiz or buy the book. (I bought the book on iTunes and listened to it.)

For example, knowing that I am an Obliger, I now post my workouts to my followers in the morning with a statement that I will post my results after I complete it.  I have created a system when I am accountable to them.  If I did not do this, I probably would not work out or I am more prone to allow someone else’s problem cause me to push back my workout.  You can get this same accountability simply by joining a gym with a friend and committing to meet there at the same time.

The biggest thing though is to start taking a little time to know what will most likely make you successful.  Once you know a little bit about how you tick and how you react in situations, you can move into the next phase of breaking the goals down.

I recommend that you take the time to break your goals down into short term, medium term and long term goals. It is a simple method to measure success and accept that changes and accept that success does not happen overnight.  That is a really good start to your goal writing process.  There are several more steps that I recommend, but I will save those until tomorrow.  For now…take the time to:

  • Buy a new Journal
  • Figure out how you tick (what do you need to make successful habits)
  • Write out your goals
  • Break them down into three categories (short-term, medium-term, long-term)

And if you need help…ask!

#WatchThis

I am a fan of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and goal setting.  I have recently been taking the time to teach the 7 Habits informally to some friends and am willing to do it to anyone that is interested in it.  One of the habits that they talk about is defining a personal mission statement.  As I was discussing this with my group, one of them put me on the spot and asked if I would share mine.

Out of a knee-jerk, quick-witted response, I said:

Watch This!

That was it.  Two words, but then I stepped back and realized that it was actually a fairly, short, sweet, honest and true statement.  For me, that is my personal mission statement for the upcoming year.  It will be simple and follow me around.  #WatchThis.

It is not a statement out of arrogance, but rather one that says, I am not afraid to put my life out there for others to see and ultimately to judge.  I am going to be me, and I am going to welcome people into my life and let them see it.

I am a person that responds to accountability to others and tends to put personal wants on a backburner, so I am creating accountability.  I am taking everyone on this journey and holding myself accountable to al of you.

Watch this means, that I am not going to hide who I am or be afraid to develop things that are 100% me.  I am not going to make someone else’s dream happen while mine sit on the back burner.  I am going to do both!  I am going to help others and myself.  It is time to take that step.

Write a book…#watchThis

Start a business…#watchThis

Complete the Spartan Trifecta…#watchThis

Get Stronger….#WatchThis

Eat Better…#WatchThis

Share my Struggles…#WatchThis

That journey is about to begin…all you have to do is sit back and #WatchThis

yoda...there is no try

You Just Don’t Know…Until You Do!

I have worked with hundreds of athletes.  I have watched tens of thousands of lifts, successful and unsuccessful.  I have helped people trudge through their personal struggles and fears and have loved every minute of it.

I have watched as people have stared at me with that look in their eyes, telling me that they are going to fail and they are right.  They fail because they have told themselves that they will.  They do not believe that they can accomplish the lift, the task, or conquer the problem.

They look at it and say that it is just too much.

And I ask them, constantly, why are you afraid?

“Because I might fail.”

And there is that word.  That word that I am growing to hate more and more each day…might.  Might is five-letter word that defeats all of us far too often.

I might fail…but I might not.

And so we accept it.  We accept the failing, we accept the missed lift, the lost opportunity and the not so perfect day…all because of what might have happened.

Cue the Yoda memes and the Batman slapping Robin meme backup.  Might is not a result.  For my fellow Yoda fans, try is not a result.

I tried…is a cop out.  If you say you tried, you are probably really saying, I didn’t succeed.  The bigger question is not about success and failure, but did you stop?  Did you learn?  Did you grow?  Are you willing to fail again?  Is failure what is really holding you back?

What if success really has that grip of terror on you?  What if when I asked why are you afraid you answered me honestly…Because I might succeed.  Then the expectations go up.  Then people want to see me do it again.  If I get a PR, then the next time, I better at least match it.  I got a pull-up, a muscle-up, a handstand walk for 30 feet, a best selling book, a platinum record, start and sell a multi-million dollar company…and what happens that next time you try?

Will people expect more of you?  Want to see you fall from grace?  Will you let it get to you?  Will you get out of your own head and give yourself the right to succeed again?

So I ask again, “Why are you afraid?”

You’ll never know until you…do!

It’s Not Always Them…Sometimes It’s Your Fault

Is it the barbell’s fault?  Is it the barbell’s fault that you cannot lift it?  I am being serious, who is to blame for the simple fact that there are some loads that you or I cannot lift.  Is it the barbells fault that it is heavy, annoying, frustrating?

We don’t blame the barbell for being heavy, we don’t blame the barbell for failing to lift it…it is what it is.  It is a bar with some weights on it.  We have a choice when it comes to adjusting those weights, but we cannot change what it is at its core.  It will always be the same.  And for most of us, we will always like it heavy and challenging.

But the people in our lives do not get that same consideration.  The people in our lives are just that, people.  More than likely they will not change over time, but somehow we allow them to cause frustration and chaos in our lives.  Maybe, just maybe the problem is within us.  Maybe we should know ourselves a little bit better.  (***DISCLAIMER – some people are jerks…cut those people out of your life and move on…back to the lesson)

hardest battle

I learned this the hard way this week.  I was sitting in my office working on a project…focused…charging along…breaking through barriers and making progress.  Then it happened.  That magical moment when my phone starting blowing up. Texts, phone calls, emails, messages…everythhing.  And every person that was trying to get a hold of me, I felt myself getting angry with.  I wanted to scream…you know I am at work…can’t you just save this for a time you know I am free and not working.  Don’t you know that I work too…just because you finally have time to ask these questions…you want me to drop everything and respond.  *DANGER* *DANGER* *DANGER*

Then I started driving home…angry, upset, day ruined!  But then I took a couple deep breathes and looked inward for a moment and replayed that moment in my day.  I realized one simple truth.  I am not a multi-tasker and in fact multi-taskers can annoy me (because I am not one and it is not my style).  I am a focus on one task, complete it, then move on and those interruptions pulled me from that.  The person calling, texting, messaging did not intentionally interrupt me (and if they did…well, I will give you the benefit of the doubt).  They were not trying to upset me with the questions and requests.

We all need to take these moments in life and look and answer the question “who am I?” We have to be able to answer about what makes us tick and who are we really.  We all get frustrated when others try and change us, but we expect people to change for us.  If we step back and accept who we are and how we operate then we can make the allowances and changes that we need to in our own lives to be successful and have healthy relationships.

Just like we cannot change the barbell, we cannot change people.  BUT we all control the effort we put into bettering ourselves.  We can train to get stronger, leaner, smarter, better writers, better readers, better artists, have better relationships and someday we will move that barbell.  Why?  Because we changed and became the person that we needed to be in order to succeed…not because the barbell changed!

The Problem With Titles…

Or Why Managers Aren’t Leaders!

I recently spent six weeks going through a program that was devoted to being a leader and developing leadership strategies.  The goal was to teach each of us that were participating that we are, in fact, leaders.  The goal was to help us all see that we have roadblocks in our minds that keep us from accepting the truth that by simply showing up and accepting our nomination to this program we are indeed leaders.  We simply have to get out of our own way and accept it.

It has been a few weeks and I have slowly been processing my way through all the information that was taken in.  I have been weeding through the parts that resonate with me and fighting with those parts that do not.  Today, I want to share with you a small piece that I have learned.  In order to follow me down this particular rabbit hole, you will have to accept the following statement:

Leadership is a quality that can be developed and job titles (aka management) are simply places on an org chart.

For most that is not a hard thing to accept, but many people also have an expectation that managers are leaders.  Until we have to work for them.  Until we are their employees.  Then we discover that they are not leaders, but merely someone holding a title that is above you.  In the best case scenario, you find that your manager is, in fact, a leader.  How does one find this unicorn?  What qualities does this mythical manager possess?

While, I think that there are several small pieces that play into the answer to that question, the biggest piece, in my opinion, is that leaders pay absolutely no attention to their title or the titles of others.  And here is a little exercise to hammer that point home.

As part of my time at this particular leadership training, we spent a day out at a ropes challenge course.  It was our second week of training and so we really did not know a whole lot about the people we were there with, outside of what we could remember from the week before.  No one had distinguished themselves as being a “big cheese” or of higher stature than anyone else.  The president of our company was not walking amongst us and my boss was not in attendance.  We were simply people there to learn about being better leaders.

Throughout the day, we were presented with different challenges to solve.  Some were physical in nature, others were mental.  We solved them one by one and progressed through the day.  All the while never once looking to someone to manage the situation.  We never stopped and said, “Who is going to be the boss on this problem?”  We simply all looked at the problem, presented solution and LISTENED to each other.  Where we sat on an org chart was irrelevant.  What our salary was, mattered nothing.  Our team did not have a hierarchy and so we were able to speak to one another as equals.

So how do you and your team solve problems?  Do you solve them like that?  Or do they look more like what happened once I returned to life in the “real” office?  Something like this.

There is a problem, we hold a meeting with everyone sitting around a table.  The problem is thrown out onto the table and one of the following situations plays out:

  • Option A – The “boss” asks for feedback and most people are too afraid to speak up.  If someone does speak up, the idea is shot down for whatever reason or maybe it is heard out, but there is little support because the “boss” did not give his or her stamp of approval.  The person brave enough to speak feels left out there dangling and contemplates not speaking up again.
  • Option B – The “boss” simply tells everyone how they are going to solve it and what each person is going to do.  No one bothers to think or correct him or her as they know that everything they say will simply be shot down and the “boss” is going to get his or her way.  End of discussion.

Those are the most common situations that seem to come up unless you have that unicorn of a supervisor or manager or team leader.

So what gives?  What makes solving challenges out at the ropes course happen so effortlessly and then the problems back in the office so impossible.

It is the notion or belief that org chart hierarchy is the same as increased knowledge and leadership ability.  There is a notion that as you move up the org chart, you gain and possess all the knowledge of those beneath you and that is a myth.  The title and position give you nothing and that is why, as I digest all the information from my training, it is my hope to not concern myself with titles and concern myself with inputs.

I need the inputs of all those parties involved and all parties affected by the problem we are trying to address.  The best thing that could happen in your job is the removal of this idea that someone is the boss and an acceptance that we are all part of a team.  Then the leader will make sure that the team will stay on task, focused, and working towards a goal, but not be set in their ways on a path to that goal.  They just keep the goal in focus.