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The Growing Trend – As We Age

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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?

Houston Spartan 2016 aka Mud Fest,Friends, and Fun

Hard to believe that this is the first post that I have made for the month of March.  The month is halfway over.  I apologize for having an off month.  Wish I could blame it on the weather or something, but I just have not put fingers to keys or pen to paper as much as I would have liked.  (Although, I did get a children’s book written and started work on a novel…)


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This past weekend, my family and some friends loaded up and headed to Houston to tackle the Spartan Sprint, 2016 edition.  For me, this was my third Spartan race to take on.  It was the second Sprint that I have done and it was a unique experience for me.  The race was about an hour from my home, so we knew that the weather had already done it’s part to make sure this event was going to be special.  It had poured down rain during the week leading up to the event.

The night before we were set to run the email was received stating that parking was a “no-go” and we would all be bussed to the site of the race.  The inner sadist in me was actually excited about the challenges that were being presented.  The father in me was cursing about having to somehow maneuver a 2-year-old through what would be more than just a little bit of mud.  (Thank the Lord for amazing wives…desperate housewife she is NOT!).

We parked at the stadium, loaded the bus, stroller and all and were headed to the venue.  We were ready to rock and roll.  My friend and I would be tackling the Sprint (he was probably better prepared for it than I was, but I did make him run a couple times).  My daughter, 6, was going to take on the Spartan Kids race…she snuck in and took on the full mile (proud daddy moment)!

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The race itself was full of 24 obstacles (25 if you count the mud itself), but it was a lot of fun.  It had all the old favorites there – bucket brigade (only you couldn’t put the bucket down many places or it would sink), over-under-thru, walls and pyramids a plenty, cargo net, atlas stone carry and the like.  Some of the obstacles had a new twist to them.  The sandbell carry with the crawl station was new to me.  I liked it, even if my wrists did not like me burying them in the crawl.

It was my understanding that they did have to take down the barbed wire crawl, but I am not going to complain about that.  I believe that was the only modification that was made.  We finished the race right at the 2-hour mark.  It was a little slower than I had hoped for, but I was content after seeing the course conditions.

With the conditions of the course and everything else, this course was an upper body thrashing.  This is true of most of them, though.  I am a fan of Spartan and have read and enjoyed Spartan Up.  This course lived up to the goals that Joe De Sena sets out and that was to still find a way to test you physically and mentally.  This course did that.  The biggest challenge for me came right at the end.  The back-to-back challenge of the rope climb and then the odd object monkey bars proved to be too much on the forearms and I did a set of 30 burpees.  I have now decided to create the baseball/ softball pullup implements so that this obstacle will not stop me again.

Overall, I thought that this was a well laid out course.  It was not one that took you so far away from Spartan Village that you felt all alone on the course.  With it weaving back and forth, you would be reminded that there is, in fact, a finish line and you just had to keep going.  I am looking forward to tackling the Spartan Super in April in Austin.  This year, I will complete the trifecta.

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How Will You Succeed?

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In the last post, I shared about how “what-if” never enters the arena, so I hope you are taking the steps necessary to step into the arena and face some demons, slay some dragons, fight?

I hope that you are not staying out in the world of what-ifs that someday become might have been’s and eventually regrets.  If the only thing that is holding you back from taking on a new challenge is the ever-present scary question of:

How will I succeed?

Then let’s find an answer together.  I get it, we are a society that is built upon the idea that if we try something we have to be able to guarantee our own success.  If we are going to do something, we have to know deep down that we WILL be successful.   It’s why we start our to-do lists with items that we have already accomplished for the day.

  • Get Out of Bed
  • Drink Coffee
  • Feed Kids

They are there already.  We set ourselves up to succeed or, at least, have something on the list that we can cross off before we have really done anything.  I do not know what huge task is out there looming on the horizon for you, but I can bet with relative certainty that your definition of success is grand.  Your definition of success probably has huge dollar signs or changes to humanity…or maybe that is just me.  I can accept that.

But if you truly want to guarantee your success, you just have to keep caring, keep moving, keep pushing, and keep learning.  If you, as an individual, are no longer growing and learning, then you are failing.  Your business could be thriving, your deadlift could continue to get bigger and bigger, but are you really succeeding?  Do you even care anymore?

For me, that is where success comes from.  I will continue to write these posts, film my tips and tricks in business and the gym, function as a personal trainer, do it all until I just don’t care anymore.  If I ever get to the point where it doesn’t bother me that I only got one post up this week.  If I ever get to the point where I celebrate my clients failure to show up to train with me, I will shut down the site…close the garage and be done.  How do we guarantee success is

How do we guarantee success in our endeavors, we constantly care about them.  We invest in them.  We find fulfillment in the small steps, not solely based on the end target.  We find that success is the continual investment in the process to become something more.  Success is every moment you say “yes” to your dream and to caring about it.

And sometimes success is accepting the stepbacks and failures that come, but learning from them and coming back stronger.  It might mean a PR is missed or the business doors close for a little while, but we don’t stop.  The scale and BMI might go up, but we show up again the next day, ready to go!  We don’t stop.

Success is the journey…and we guarantee that success, but accepting the detours, making our own paths sometimes, accepting that we might be lost, not know where we are going, and all alone at times, but we keep going.

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.

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)

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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!

Own Your Successes!

I recently wrapped up a 6 week program on leadership.  It was an intense time of paradigms being broken and minds being expanded.  As we reached the conclusion of the training there was a graduation and chance to invite a couple people to celebrate.

I did not want to invite anyone.  I shy away from praise, spotlight, and more importantly success.  I feel guilty when I accomplish something.  I constantly feel like I need to hide the fact that I am growing, making progress and being successful.  Somehow, I feel like celebrating my success diminishes or limits someone else’s.

This happens in many areas of life as well as in the gym.  It happens.  It seems like when you make progress or get better, we can pull ourselves into a shell of silence or downplay the growth out of fear that someone else will feel inferior.  We downplay that we have lost 5 pounds because someone else might be struggling in that area.  We downplay a new personal best in our lifts because they are not as good as someone else’s or because we do not want to make someone else feel bad.

It’s time to stop!

We worked hard to be successful and we have a right to own that success and be proud of it.  We made decisions that allowed us to succeed and that might mean sacrifices were made (I’m looking at you cookie cake).  We deserve to be proud of ourselves and we should invite people into that moment.  Not because we are egotistical or gloating, but because we have accomplished something and we deserve to share that with people that want to celebrate us!

We are always told to learn from our failures and our faults.  It’s time to do the same thing from our successes.  Learn something, share what you learned and keep learning.  Share the sacrifices made to be successful and learn that you can continue on the path to success.  Learn how hard growth really is, and share the challenges with others, so they can know they are not alone.  Celebrate your success and share your success to others know that it is possible.

And once you have celebrated, file it away, set a new goal and repeat the process.  In the world, people want to be happy, they want to be asked to enter joyous moments just as much as they want to support you in the challenges and struggles.  Give them the opportunity and allow yourself to be happy with your own success…celebrate those moments…use them to motivate you for bigger and better things!