The Importance of Challenge Workouts

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Something we do in our boot camp classes are personal challenge workouts. In the first week, we will see how many repetitions we can do in one minute. Then in the last week, we will test again to see how much we have improved.

 

Last camp we did pushups, squats with weights, and shoulder presses. I was amazed at how far people came in just a few short weeks! Many people doubled what they could do in that first week.

 

I encourage you to do some sort of challenge workout. You can do this with the exercises I mentioned above, see how fast you can do a mile, how much weight you can lift, or any number of things that go along with whatever goals you are working on now.

 

There are three main reasons challenge workouts are an important part of any program.

 

1. You will see how far you have come

 

Sometimes we can get caught up in the workout grind and forget just how far we have come. You need that reminder, especially if you feel like you have not made any changes. It isn’t getting easier, you are just getting better.

 

2. Gives you a goal to work for

 

One of the best ways to stay motivated in your training is to have a performance goal in mind. Most of us have aesthetic goals (lose weight, drop dress size, etc...) but do you have a performance goal? If you don’t have one, get one!

 

3. Gets you out of your comfort zone

 

You don’t realize how much you are capable of. Part of getting results is moving the bar of what you think your threshold is. When you think your body can’t go any further is when you need to push a little bit longer. This helps your body redefine your stopping point. It is not comfortable, but it is worth it.

 

What will your challenge workout be?

Skin in the game

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Are you familiar with the term “having skin in the game”? Most sources credit Warren Buffett for making it popular. He was talking about investing his own money into the first fund he started.

It basically means you are invested and committed to the process.  Because, let’s be honest, when something is free we do not place the same value on it as we do on the things that we pay for.

It is why I can’t go to buffets. Because I WILL get my money’s worth. No way would I eat that much if I went over to someone’s house for dinner.

That is why I put a price on the 28 Day Vegetable Challenge. Nothing crazy, just $15, but enough that the people participating in the challenge will take it seriously and really commit to it.

Committing to consistency is the main thing I am looking for. Consistently is the key whether you are eating vegetables, exercising, or any number of things you might want to improve.

28 days, 28 different vegetables and how to prepare them, why you should eat that particular one, how to prepare them, store them, and a daily recipe for each vegetable. The goal is to make it fun, add the accountability, and get you at least one new vegetable that you will eat on a consistent basis.

The challenge starts on Wednesday, June 28th. I would love for you to be a part of it. You can reserve your spot below:

 

28 Day Vegetable Challenge 

“You should eat more vegetable.” -Captain Obvious

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How many times have you heard someone say you should eat more vegetables? How many times have you read it from me? Guilty.

 

Vegetables are awesome for you! But a lot of us do not like them, so we avoid them. There are lots of grownups out there that that flat out refuse to even try vegetables. They were probably scarred by a well meaning parent making them clean their plate.

Some people can't wait to grow up so they can leave all the lights on in the house, open the doors to air condition the world, run with scissors, keep the fridge door open for hours at a time, and never touch a vegetable again.

I'm making it my mission to reach the unvegetabled.

Introducing the 28 Day Vegetable Challenge. 28 vegetables over 28 days. Each one will list the health benefits, how to select the best ones at the store, how to store them when you get home, how to prepare them when you cook, and how to eventually eat them.  Then I threw in any notes I thought you might need, as well as a recipe for each vegetable.

Here is an example for the orange bell pepper:

 

Your goal every day is to get 5 servings of vegetables. And as you can see, I'm not asking you to eat a bunch of raw vegetables! These are delicious recipes that are not complicated. Even I can make them 🙂

 

And at the end of the challenge you can download the crime book with all of the recipes you have been trying throughout the challenge.

 

The 28 Day Vegetable Challenge will start on Wednesday, June 28th. You will get the accountability you need, the resources it takes, and the help you require to make you successful.

 

It is only $15 to participate in the challenge. About what you would pay for a recipe book alone. And if for any reason this challenge does not work for you, I will give you your money back. You reserve your spot at the Pay Now button below:

 

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You will feel better, look better and be healthier at the end of the four weeks. I guarantee it!

“Change your life in 8 minutes”

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Meal planning may seem monotonous (because it is), but the pay off is worth it. Think about what happens when you do not have anything planned a meal, time gets short, and you are hungry?

Fast food, pizza deliveries, microwave salt licks. (No Lean Cuisines are not good for you).

What if instead of spending 8 minutes a week looking into a fridge hoping healthy food would magically appear, you spent that time productively? Take some advice from dietitian Keri Glassman's article "Change Your Life in 8 Minutes".

Here is what she suggests doing with your 8 minutes:

-Write out your challenges for the week (birthday celebration, busy kid's schedule, girls' night out, etc.) and then write down a plan to overcome the challenges.

 

-Plan your dinners at home around your schedule for the week and then create a grocery list to go with them.

 

-Write a list for work snacks, and add them to your grocery list.

 

-Schedule exactly when you are going to go to the grocery store and then follow through.

 

I would add, you could spend your time ordering groceries on-line.

If you notice, not one of those is the actual food prep or cooking we all dread so much. This is formulating a food game plan for the week. It will save you time, money, and calories just by having some kind of plan.

If you do have time left in your 8 minutes, Glassman suggests you could:

  • Make a pitcher of iced lemon water to store in the fridge.

  • Chop the veggies you have around.

  • Mix a healthy salad dressing to keep in your fridge.

  • Portion out healthy snacks, like nuts, into little bags.

Nutrition is just like working out. When you have a game plan of what you are going to do, you get much quicker results without wasting your time. Make that plan today!

Are you a worrier? This is for you

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“If you can’ get out of your head, get into your body.”

-Tim Ferriss

 

That quote is not to be confused with that sweet, Billy Ocean song from back in the day.

 

Do you know what the most common mental disorder in America is? It is estimated that 40 million Americans (about 18% of our population) are effected by anxiety. That is a lot of worry going on out there!

 

This worrying can go from regular worrying (paying bills, kid’s grades, worried about being overweight, etc...) to worry and anxiety that can cripple you. For the crippling kind of worry, professional help is the best option for you.

 

But for the regular anxiety, I wanted to share two things that really help me. The first thing relates back to the quote I started this with. Get out and move!

 

For me, intense exercise can make me forget all of my troubles. When someone is trying to choke me in jiujitsu, I am not worried about paying my mortgage. For some people, going for a run is instant therapy. Try to turn your brain off and let your body take over, you will get some temporary relief at the very least.

 

The second thing I recommend is the AAA philosophy.

 

 

I have preached this for years because it works! When you worry about something, what happens? The problems gets bigger, uglier and more insurmountable. That is not helping anybody.

 

That is why you need to do something about it! Even something small, can make you feel so much better. Because now you are back in control. You are not passively letting life happen to you.

 

You can set one of those mini-goals that I talked about on Wednesday. You could start a food journal. You could go for a short walk. The main thing is to stop worrying and start doing.

 

I guarantee you will feel so much better because it will give you hope. And you can go a long way with just a little bit of hope.

 

Take action today.

Overwhelmed and Discouraged

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In Monday’s post I talked about how discipline can equal freedom. Then I offered 4 tips on how to increase your self discipline.

 

Today I want to give you a little warning about what happens when you let your discipline begin to slip. This is something I have seen in my life as well as the lives of the people I work with.

 

Maybe you’ve been working really hard, so you decide to take a day off in your workout routine. Then you decide to take off a couple of more. Next thing you know, you have not exercised in a month and you feel awful.

The same thing can happen with healthy eating. You cut down on the shopping, prepping, and cooking food at home. That leads to more eating out and more fast food.

 

With both of these scenarios it gets harder to come back because you feel so far away from where you used to be. You dread starting over at your workouts and you can’t imagine fitting meal prep back into your busy schedule.

 

The best way to prevent this is to recognize when you first start to slip. Everyone needs rest days, so missing a workout here and there is no big deal. Eating out is not a problem and is a very enjoyable part of life. Just be cognizant of when the occasional deviation from the plan becomes a regular thing.

 

What about when you feel like you are so far away it’s not worth starting back? That is when you have to break things down into mini-goals. Don’t get overwhelmed by the big picture.

 

A mini-goal could be exercising one day this week. Just one day! Maybe eating out one less time per week. One less day! You know you have found a great start back goal, when it seems so easy it is ridiculous. That is actually what you want!

 

It is all about creating mini-successes for yourself to build momentum and stay motivated. When you get to where you are consistently working out at least 1 day per week, add in another day. Eat out 2 fewer days per week, after 1 per week becomes an easy habit.

 

It’s never too late to get back in the game. There’s time, but why wait? Do something today, that your future self will thank you for.

4 Tips To Increasing Self Discipline

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There is a podcast I listen to called the Jocko Podcast. One of Jocko’s favorite sayings is that discipline equals freedom.

That is a pretty powerful statement with just three words and I have seen it bear out in my life. When I am disciplined in my business, I have the freedom to spend more time with my family and doing the things I enjoy.

When I am disciplined with my nutrition throughout the week, I am free from guilt when I eat pizza on Friday night.

When I am disciplined with my workouts, I have the freedom of feeling awesome! Nothing feels as good as feeling good does

Here are four tips to help you become more disciplined, so you can have more freedom.

1. Keep the goal in mind

I can’t remember the last time I took a week off from working out when I wasn’t sick. I am absolutely driven (possibly addicted) to exercise. Part of it is that I am not quite right in the head. But the main reason is that I have a powerful goal in mind.

If I ever need a little inspiration I pick up a 50 pound dumbbell and remember I used to carry that weight on my body all day long when I was overweight. Never going back to being overweight is a huge motivating goal for me.

2. Realize you need it

Sounds simple, but it’s the truth. Look at your life and see where you need discipline. Being completely honest with yourself, choose one area you will begin working on today. Knowing is half the battle.

 

 3. Do something every day you don’t want to do

It could be as simple as turning the water cold for one minute in the shower, getting up 15 minutes earlier than usual, or turning off your phone at 8pm. What you choose is not important. The important part is overcoming that initial aversion to doing something.

This will make it easier in the future to break through the next time you don’t want to do something. This will also being to bleed over into your workouts and the rest of your life. When you feel like quitting, you know you can push a little further and make it. You will make overcoming obstacles a habit.

4. Remember this quote

 

The first time I taught boot camp (disaster)

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Last night at boot camp, my friend Nancy gave us a sample Pound class and it was awesome! She just got certified to teach it, so she was really nervous because this was her first time. She was amazing and it was so much fun.

The first class I taught was awful.

And by awful, I mean I had someone ask for a refund type of awful. Let me set the scene for you.

I have been planning this class for weeks and I had the perfect plan. This class was going to blow their mind and this was going to catapult me to fitness super stardom! But that didn’t happen.

I had my entire class planned in this one area. Everything was setup, we head over, and I am so pumped to get started.

Then all hell breaks loose.

A Biblical swarm of gnats invades the entire class. The gnats are in hair, eyes, and teeth. It was chaos! I think at one point, I screamed, “Run! It’s every man for himself!”. Probably not the thing to scream at a boot camp for women…

My entire game plan was thrown off and I limped through the first session in a bit of a shocked state. It was very humbling and humiliating. Mike Tyson’s quote:

But I learned from it, so I am grateful it happened. 9 years later I am grateful anyway. At the time, not so much. Goes back to one of my favorite sayings, “When you win, you win. When you lose, you learn.”

Have you ever felt like a failure at exercise? Have you ever felt like a failure trying to eat healthy? I guarantee you have and that’s ok! We’ve all been there. I’ve been there several times and I do this stuff for a living.

The main point is to not be so quick to judge your aptitude at something. Of course you are probably not going to be world class the first time you do something. Give it some time. If after a few weeks you find your exercise program or eating plan is not right for you, then find something that suits you better.

There is a way to exercise and a healthy way to eat that fits you and that you can do long term. I guarantee it! Keep searching and keep experimenting but give each program time. Your body was made to move and your body was made to run on healthy foods.

I can’t wait until you find out what those ways are because you will feel so amazing. I’m right here along with you for this journey, feel free to reach out if I can ever help you on your path.

 

Your stupid boot camp made me gain weight!

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Picture this scene if you will. You just started an exercise program. You made it every day the first week, you are working really hard, and you decide to see how much weight you have lost.

 

You step on the scale and you have to rub your eyes a few times to make sure. You gained weight! How is that even possible???

 

There are typically two main reasons I see for this initial weight gain. The first is nothing to worry about, while the second needs to be addressed.

The first culprit in this initial weight gain is water retention. This what happens to a lot of people when they start a strength training program. What you are doing when you are lifting weights is actually tearing the muscles down while you exercise.

The process of your body building the muscles while you are at rest is when the magic actually happens. That is why you don't want to lift weights using the same muscles on back to back days. You have to give the body time to repair itself.

This tearing down process makes the muscles inflamed. With this inflammation comes increased water retention. With this water retention comes "This stupid (insert your workout here) is terrible, it is causing me to gain weight rather than losing it!" freak out. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, it can be very frightening for a fitness coach.

The second reason the scale can go up when people first start working out is increased caloric intake. This especially occurs with resistance training because it really gets your metabolism revving, which increases your appetite. Think about how hard it is to burn 800 calories in an hour. Now think about how quick you can put that back in. 10 minutes maybe? You cannot out exercise a bad diet.

That is why I recommend keeping a food journal, so you can see in black and white what you have been eating. The rule with the food journal is, "If you bite it, you write it. You hog it, you log it." Feel free to come up with your own rhymes.

Everything that has calories that you ingest has to be recorded. Liquid calories can add up very quick if you are not wary of them. It is a very eye opening experience to a lot of people who have never kept track before.

You can use apps, write it down, or whatever method you will do consistently.  If nothing else, try it for a week and see if you can identify patterns that need to be corrected. Use your food journal as a road map to figure out if it is the nutrition that needs to be assessed or something else.

The main lesson as always is: The scale is a fickle mistress, don't trust it. It is just part of a big picture of your progress, not the one thing that determines your happiness. The scale can go up or down 5-10 pounds in one day!

A much more accurate way to see how you are progressing is to see how many inches you have lost, how your clothes are fitting, your increased energy levels, or body fat percentage lost.

Lessons from Joe Rogan and Skydiving

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I was listening to Joe Rogan’s podcast yesterday and he started talking about the importance of doing things you are not good at. He said it was crucial to become a beginner at something again.

That seems like a rough way to treat yourself, but I completely agree. It is good for you brain and your body to try things that are out of your comfort zone.

Never was this more alive to me than when I went sky diving for the first time last weekend. Check out that picture! Here is another one:

The most nerve racking part, when your toes are hanging off and you are 14,000 feet up.

It was definitely out of my comfort zone, considering I don’t like heights or flying. But when your wife surprises you with the opportunity on your 40th birthday, you jump at the chance. No pun intended.

And it was amazing! That first picture is from the free fall, where you are flying through the air like Superman. An unreal feeling that I wish everyone could experience.

Was it comfortable? No. Was I nervous? My palms still sweat thinking about it. But I am so glad I did it. My life was literally in someone else’s hands and that someone was a stranger!

Stretching and growing isn’t easy, but it is worth it to get better. I had a speaking engagement a few days later and my wife asked me if I was nervous and I said, “I just jumped out of an airplane, this does not worry me now.”

What are you afraid to do because it is not in your comfort zone? Are you afraid to try something because you are afraid to fail? Don’t be! Look at it as a win, win. If you succeed, awesome! If you don’t, you learn from it.

Your homework for the weekend is take some time and figure out what you need to do to stretch and grow. Lift heavier weights? Try your first 5k? Learn how to swim as an adult? Take up kayaking?

Find something you are a beginner at, stick to it, and continue to challenge yourself! The hardest part is the beginning when you are not good at something. Persevere and you will so glad that you did.

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