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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.

“What If” Never Entered the Arena

Today, I needed that extra little shot in the arm that we call motivation.  There was a video that had been passed along to me, so I went ahead and gave it a watch…If you are so inclined you can watch it here:

I hope you stuck around to read a little more…if not, I understand.  I was motivated after watching it.  As I watched it there was a single line that struck a chord with me:

What if never entered the arena

That phrase…”What if?” gets us nowhere.  It only leads to regrets.  It seldom leads us to a truth.  It leads to a lot of false beliefs about ourselves and who we could have been.

Entering the ring, succeeding or failing, reveals the truth.  Entering the ring and trying teaches us the sometimes harsh and often times rewarding reality about what exactly we are capable of.

The fight is the lesson.

Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but we always learn about who we are.  We learn about the pain we can endure, the challenges we can overcome and the areas that we must improve.

What if I go up in weight on the barbell?  Forget the what if…Go up in weight on the barbell!

What if I start a new business?  Forget that…start it!

What if I fail as a writer?  Fail as a writer, put yourself out there.  Someone, even in your failure, needs to hear what you have to say.  Someone needs to know that they are not the only one scared but enter the arena anyway.

Stop waiting for the perfect time.  If you have the dream, take a chance…risk failure, and stop being afraid of your own success!

So please, do me a favor…starting Monday…live a week with no what if’s.  Decide and commit!  No what if’s…succeed, fail…learn…grow!

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!

2016 – Lesson One – Challenge One!

As this new year kicks off and really starts rolling, I think that I can start with a little piece of advice for you.  This has absolutely nothing to do with getting a bigger squat or losing 40 pounds and in the same instant, it has everything to do with those very things.  It has to do with everything that you will come up against in life.

It is not mind-blowing or mind-boggling, it is just something that we often neglect as we go through our day-to-day lives and our existence.  Most of us strive to be the best at whatever we do.  We want to be the best husband, the best wife, the best parent, the best friend, the best whatever…and in that struggle to be the best, we fail.  We fall short of the ideal.  We give into the FaceBook fantasies that someone out there is better at life than we are.  We see successes all around us, and feel the burden and pressure of not living up to someone else’s ideals or not doing everything that we should (or maybe even could) have done.

So for the next year, I challenge you to learn about yourself.  I encourage everyone to take a little bit of time and figure out what is really going on underneath your own hood.  Learn about what makes you tick.  Not just what makes you upset, but why you are upset.  What really sets you off?  What really gets you going?  What are the key pieces that have been there when you have succeeded and what about when you have failed?  And then not be afraid to share that with others.  Share that with the people in your life.

Don’t react in rough situations, understand why you react and let the other parties know what the truth is.  I know from personal experience that I often live in the “you should just know” world.  Far too often, we are afraid to speak up and tell someone what is going on with us and we harbor it.  And bigger than that, we don’t even know what caused us to be mad or upset.  We just know that “THEY” did something…but we reacted.  We control that reaction and we control how we behave in a situation.

So if you are making goals for this year, take a little time and learn about yourself.  You are probably doing better than you think. You are probably a better spouse, parent, sibling and friend than you give yourself credit for.

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Year in Review – What’s Coming in 2016

I am a day or so late in getting this one out, but the extra day of reflection was good for me.  I took a little more time and spent it with some loved ones.  I took my daughter to a movie and spent most of the day reflecting on just what the past year was all about.

I will not call it a bad year, nor will I call it a good year.  I will leave it at being a learning year.  It was a year when I look back, it is easy to point out the hard moments and several moments I wish would have been different.  I find many moments that need to have their endings re-written, but then the lessons would have remained locked away with the pain.  Stories that end up perfectly, do not teach us the hard lessons and those had to be learned.

So as I look back on the past year, it is a year of stepd being taken so that I can become more and more the man that I want to be.  It was a year where decisions were made that allowed me to grow into the father, husband,friend, and coach that I want to be.

I attended a few too many funerals for those lost all of a sudden, but I learned how to open up my heart to those that were mourning.  I learned the power of a hug when it is needed and wanted.  I learned the value of laughter in mourning.  I learned what it means to sit in the silence of the ashes and just know that I want to be a part of the healing process.  In these moments of sudden loss, I witnessed true strength.  The kind that you cannot develop on a barbell, but only through the will to stick with someone when their life gets rough.

I walked away from some of my safe places in the hopes of learning more by living in some chaos.  I took that steps to try and live a larger purpose more committed to the ones I love, including myself.  I stepped out of some safety and put some burdens on the ground so that I can grow.  It will always be a bittersweet moment, but I know that I left my mark in those safe places and it is time for them and me to move on to new challenges and new adventures.

And through all the rough pathches, there has been growth.  There has been a growth of internal strength and will.  It has helped me to know that sometimes, it hurts, but you cannot stop and other times, you have to stop because the pain will just be too much to continue on.

And there have been gorious moments.  Moments where you know that you were put on this planet for this moment and to meet certain people.  There were days where I introduced people to my love of the barbell, the kettlebell and the odd object.  I attended several certifications that helped me to learn that it is ok to be different.  Just be you, do what you love and let the chips fall where they fall.  Do you!

I fell in love with the puzzle that is small business.  I rekindled my passion with writing and let those things come together and start to form something unique that is leading into the new year.  I am excited about the risks and challenges that are coming in the new year…what does the new year look like?

No idea, but my eyes, ears and heart are open for whatever is thrown my way!