The part of your body you have neglected to train

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You were trained to learn subjects in school. You were trained to perform your duties at work. You were trained on the computer. You were trained in sports. You were trained to drive your car. You trained your kids. You trained your dog. You train in the gym.

You just were never trained to think.

Thinking is a skill that needs practice and refinement just like those other skills.

Just like those other skills, it would be wise to find a mentor, teacher, or tutor to guide you on that journey.

Just like those other skills, the more practice and time you put in, the better the results.

Just like those other skills, you need to create a pattern of behavior.

Just like those other skills, you need to set time aside and plan.

Just like those other skills, there will be days where you don’t feel like doing it.

And just like those other skills, if you stay with it, the rewards are worth the battle.

If you are a negative person most of the time, you need to train yourself to be positive.

If you are afraid, you need to train in courage.

If you procrastinate, you need to train in practicing a sense of urgency.

If you have trouble getting up in the morning or being on time, you need to train in promptness.

The most encouraging part of this whole ordeal is that you have control over all these things. They are not a curse upon you. You can get substantially better at just about anything this world deals you. That is true EMPOWERMENT!!!!

Start training to correct the things that bother you about yourself. Take small steps at first, then build slowly. Use skills that you already learned at work, in school, with your kids, with your dog, in your new endeavor. Be consistent and stay the course until you become a seasoned pro. Smile the whole time. Peace.

You have crabs and you don’t even know it!!!

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Have you ever heard the story about crabs? No? I’ll paraphrase a bit.

There was an old man catching crabs down at the docks. He was keeping those crabs in a large bucket. A young boy walked up and noticed that the crab bucket had no lid. He asked the old man “Why” the bucket had no lid. Wasn’t he afraid the crabs would escape?

The old man told the boy to watch the crabs. The crabs would crawl and climb over each other to reach the top of the bucket. But, just as one was close enough to escape, the other crabs would climb on him and keep him down. Therefore, no crabs escaped.

Do you have crabs in your life? Do you have people that keep you down? Most of us do. The problem is that sometimes these crabs are disguised as friends, family and loved ones.

Anyone have the husband who appears to be super supportive as you start your weight loss journey, but, after you start looking and feeling good, he tells you that you “deserve” ice cream because you have been working so hard? Crab!

How about when your mom tells you that you look too skinny after losing some weight? Crab!

How about the co-worker that criticizes your healthy lunch every day? Crab!

How about the girlfriend (bestie) who wants a partner in crime and pressures you into having a few drinks? Crab!

Anyone know the guy that tells you not to throw away your “fat clothes” because you are just going to gain the weight back? Crab!

You need to deal with crabs. It is pretty hard to eliminate all crabs from your life. So, what you need to do is, eliminate crab activity. You need to come up with responses to the crab activity and stick to your guns.

You should not tolerate negative influences from the outside. The answer to that ice cream husband is…..No thanks Honey, nothing tastes as good as thin feels. Tell your Mom that you are healthy and happy in your new body then ask her if she wants you to be happy or unhappy. Tell that co-worker that your lunch makes you more efficient at your job and he better watch out because you feel a promotion coming on. Offer an alternative to your bestie that means you can spend time together but doing it in a way which is more suitable to your goals. Throw away your “fat clothes” and tell that guy that it is too late (clothes are already gone, just like the fat).

These are just some of the hundreds of ways people sabotage us. By recognizing what is going on we can combat the crabs. Otherwise we are victims of the crabs. Don’t be a victim. Recognize, counter-attack, own all of the crabs.

The psychology of the scale

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The scale is a funny (funny strange not funny haha) tool to use in the weight loss process. Most people have an incredibly unhealthy relationship with their bathroom scale.

If you get on the scale and rejoice because it shows a lower number than previously or burst into tears because the number is higher, you have a problem with the scale.

Unfortunately, we put too much credence in the numbers that are displayed. If the number is down, we consider ourselves successful and conversely if the number is up, we are a failure.

The scale is an appropriate tool to use to rate our progress. You just need to understand it’s flaws. Our weight is determinant upon many factors. Yes, if we gain body fat, the scale number will rise (all other things being equal). But, that also holds true for muscle gain as well.

The real reason that the scale fluctuates is “water retention.” Sodium intake, carb intake, temperature changes, stress level, lack of sleep, etc can all have an impact on water retention, thereby causing a residual increase in scale weight. It’s the reason there is such a discrepancy between your a.m. weight and your p.m. weight.

So, how do you stop the “crazies” from ruining your day? Some people refuse to get on the scale, they boycott it. That is one option which will certainly help to eliminate anxiety. But now you have no way to quantify your results. Yes, you can use your clothing and jewelry as a yardstick, but you can’t put a number on that.

Plus, that option is grounded in fear. Fear can be a motivating factor but it causes all kinds of side effects.  Fear can be crippling.

I suggest facing your fear and gaining a new understanding of what the scale is actually telling you.  Weigh yourself every day. Record that weight so that you can go back and compare it.

I usually compare 5-7 days worth of results. In other words, I average them out. So if the most recent average is lower than the previous average, it is a more accurate reading. The average eliminates those high and low days that happen over the course of the week. Therefore, eliminating the stress associated with that high day and the unrealistic expectations levied by the low day.

You also have to understand that muscle gain will happen if you are working out. You need to calculate that in.

The main skill you need to have a healthy relationship with your scale is “patience.” I have had multiple conversations over the last week with clients who are on the verge of frustration. I inform them to “chill” and stay on track and the weight will follow along. Going off the program will certainly cause a negative scale reaction. These clients listened and within a day or two the scale did as I expected and caught up.

The scale is useful as a long term tool to judge progress. The problem is that we try to interpret the results too soon. It is the reason that bookkeeping is done monthly. Yes, the results are recorded daily, they just aren’t evaluated until there is enough data.

When does working out get easy?

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I’m gonna divulge a colossal secret to you. Are you ready? Here it is. Working out is uncomfortable! Gasp!!!!

You mean you didn’t know that? I’m being sarcastic, obviously. We all know that working out causes discomfort. Our heart rate becomes elevated. We start breathing heavily. We sweat. Our muscles become fatigued, sore and start to burn.

The fact that it is uncomfortable is not the problem. Our expectations that it is going to get easier is.

I have had many people ask me “When is it going to get easy?” My answer is always “Never.” It isn’t supposed to.

The whole premise of working out is to provide a stimulus for your body. Your body then needs to adapt to that stimulus. Adaptation is growth.

In other words, you need to challenge your body. You need to ask it to do something that it cannot do readily. There is no stimulus if you can perform it easily. Your body does not have to adapt to brushing your teeth. Walking down your front steps isn’t usually challenging enough to elicit a response from your body (unless you live at the top of the Washington Monument).

What ends up happening is that you progress as your body adapts. If you could only perform 5 push-ups on day one and can now perform 15 push-ups on day thirty, you have made progress. Doing 15 push-ups is still as hard as doing 5 push-ups a month ago.

Of course, if you only did 5 push-ups when you were capable of doing 15, that would be easy. But it also would not cause an adaptive reaction from your body.

My point is that you need to, not only, accept that uncomfortable feeling, but to relish it. Your expectations should not be focused on the workout getting easier, it should be on the challenge.

If you thrive on the daily challenge, you will get all the results that you seek. If a really hard workout is satisfying to you, then you will know you are on the right track.

Most of the issues we have in life are based on unmet expectations. Relationships, work, kids, finances, etc, are all based on expectations. If you expect the workout to become easy you are setting yourself up for a huge letdown. That letdown will then sabotage your will. The loss of will, causes a decline in effort and consistency. This ultimately results in goals not being accomplished.

Learn to enjoy the pain. Learn to look forward to the sweat. Learn to push a little further than yesterday. Working out never gets easy. Which is why it works.

The secret to becoming an early-riser!

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Are you not a “morning person?” Do you find it difficult to get your behind out of the rack before the sun comes up? Are you master of the snooze alarm?

That is not a “personality” disorder. It is also not genetic. You are not born an early riser or night owl. It is a consequence of how you live your life. In other words, you have created it. Not only did you create it, but, you also reinforced it through massive repetition.

The cool thing about that fact is that you are in a position to change it. Had it been genetic, there would be nothing you could do about it.

Most of the issues with not doing the things you know you need to do are related to “making decisions from a position of strength.”

Let’s use working out in the morning as an example. No matter how bad you want to get up and get it done, if you don’t put yourself in a position to succeed you will have difficulty.

What most people do is tell themselves the night before that they are gonna go for a run in the morning. They set their alarm. Then they go to bed. The next morning they hit the snooze 3-4 times and never get their workout in. Why?

Because they haven’t made the decision when they were strong. They made the decision when they are tired and in a nice, warm, cozy bed.

The decision needs to be made way earlier when you aren’t tired and in that sweet spot in bed. The decision needs to be made the night before. The way you make permanent, strong decisions is to take action on them.

So, the night before, you need to set out your workout attire for the next morning (action). You need to get to bed earlier than usual to allow you to be better rested when you attempt to rise (action). You need to avoid heavy, carb laden meals before getting into bed (action). Maybe you make plans with a friend to run together (accountability and action). And, of course, setting the alarm clock with an appropriate amount of allowance for the planned activity.

Every time you take action on a goal, it strengthens the decision. So, if you follow the actions steps listed above you have greatly strengthened the decision. Once that decision is strong enough, it becomes a foregone conclusion. In other words, there is nothing that will deter you from getting out of bed.

The other component that will strengthen all decision making is “how important is it to you?” We can usually get out of bed for important things like job interviews, work, school, etc. No matter how tired or cozy you are, you know that you NEED to get up.

You need to tell yourself that your goal is as important as all those other important things in your life. You can get out of bed if your kids need you, right? How about your dog? If Rover starts scratching at the door to go out at 5am in the snow, you can get your butt up right?

This can be done through repetition as well. Write down your goal often. Put reminders all over your life. Sticky notes work great for this. Meditate about it and create some positive self talk (what you say to yourself in your head).

If you take all the steps listed above it will be virtually impossible for you to fail when that alarm chimes. Make decisions ahead of time. Strengthen them with massive action. And, tell yourself constantly that you are going to succeed. Good Luck on becoming an early riser.

 

Big Papi has a message for you

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Today’s lesson is about perseverance. Nothing is impossible.

I just watched the ceremony to celebrate David Ortiz’s amazing career on the day of his last regular season game. He was presented with all manner of gifts and accolades. There were boots, golden bats, million dollar checks to his charity, videos, celebrity appearances, etc.

So what does that have to do with you? If you pay attention you can derive a simple yet powerful lesson from the escapades of Big Papi.

Big Papi was released from the Minnesota Twins prior to coming to the Red Sox. He was cut! The club, in essence, told him he wasn’t good enough.

He was then picked up by the Red Sox and the rest is history.

It comes as no surprise to me that Papi played the game with passion, yet, always seemed to be thankful for playing the game at all. When you almost lose something important to you, the feeling of gratitude stays with you once you reclaim it.

The Twins didn’t foresee the 500 plus home runs. The Twins didn’t see the late inning, game winning heroics. And they never imagined the Hall of Fame career (hopefully) that Papi has laid out over the last 14 years.

But Papi knew.

My brother is a cancer survivor. He lost his house, his job and nearly his life due to his battle with this awful disease. He has that same playful attitude about life that Papi has. There is gratitude in his smile and his voice.

You and I haven’t been cut by an MLB team or survived cancer (although I am sure there are survivors reading this…..God bless you all). Why don’t we have the same zest for life? Why don’t we see the good in everything? Why aren’t we as grateful?

I don’t know why, I just know that we should be. All things are possible if we persevere. We just need to attack life with hope and promise and thanks. We need to believe and battle as if our lives depend on it……..because……they do.

If you scour the internet, you can read thousands upon thousands of stories about regular people who overcame incredible odds to succeed. You can be the next story. You just need to DECIDE to.

Achieve the Impossible!!!

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I love the quote above! It reminds me of the Roger Bannister story. Are you familiar with that story?

Well, it goes something like this. It was widely believed that it was impossible for a human being to run a sub 4 minute mile. No one in history had done that before. On May 6, 1954 Roger Bannister broke that mark by running a 3:59.4 mile.

The interesting part is that his record only lasted 46 days. Over the course of the next year, multiple runners cracked the 4 minute mile.

This story is about belief. If you believe something is impossible, then it certainly becomes impossible to you. And vice versa. If you believe something is possible then your mind and the universe will bring circumstances together that will make it possible.

The rest of the running world gained belief by Bannisters accomplishment. Once he had done it the rest of the world changed their view.

Our whole lives are very similar. Unfortunately we put up obstacles and ceilings on our dreams and ambitions. We listen to what other people say about what we can and cannot accomplish.

Spud Webb was 5’7″ tall and weighed 133 lbs. He was told his whole life that he was too small to play in the NBA. Spud Webb didn’t listen. He believed in himself. He went on to have a 12 year NBA career and won the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Contest!!!

You can also accomplish things that seem impossible to you right now. You just need to believe. And I mean REALLY believe. You have to know as an indisputable fact that your dream is going to come true.

That doesn’t mean you can sit on your butt and expect it to come to you. You need to work tirelessly at making it happen. Belief is what will fuel you when doubt creeps up. Belief is what will ignite the fire when the lights get dim. Belief is what will allow you to do extraordinary things in pursuit of your dream.

Dreaming is no fun without the belief that it can come true. All that leads to is disappointment when you wake up. Reality is what you make it. Someone else’s reality has nothing to do with yours. Your opinion is the only one that matters.

I know this for a fact. I have lived it. I graduated high school at 5’5″ tall and weighed 132 lbs. Despite my diminutive size and no one believing in my abilities, I was able to play college football and later became a Professional Bodybuilder. I had to believe in myself when no one else did. I became stubborn and immovable in my belief that if I worked hard I could accomplish crazy things.

As a Personal Trainer and Bodybuilding Coach I have seen amazing transformations. I have seen a 57 year old woman lose 105 lbs and compete in a bodybuilding show. I saw a guy who was born with a foot defect and who had a severe case of asthma run multiple marathons AND compete in bodybuilding shows. His doctor told him he would never do anything athletic when he was a child. Sorry Doc, his belief was stronger than your diagnosis.

We all have the ability to make the decision that we are not going to listen to the noise. You are the only one that knows what you are capable of……you and only you.