Archive for February, 2015
Think about the last time someone was rude to you for no reason at all. What were you feeling? Anger, frustration, and most of all confusion. And the age old question:
"What's wrong with this dude?"
That person is rude to you and then you walk away angry at the world. And usually someone else catches the brunt of your anger and the cycle keeps going.
Stress and anger are not the best mindsets to have if you are looking to improve your health. When you are all tensed up and angry at the world, you are not thinking about eating right and exercising. You are only thinking about that jerk that made you mad.
I used to get really upset when people were unnecessarily rude to me. And I admit it still happens from time to time, but I am much better nowadays.
I want to share with you what helped changed my outlook. It was all about The Law of the Garbage Truck by David J. Pollay.
Pollay talks about an experience he had in the back of a New York City cab. He was riding in the back of the cab when all of the sudden a car comes out of nowhere and nearly causes his a terrible wreck between Pollay's cab and the crazy driver.
If that is not bad enough, the guy who nearly caused the accident blames the cabbie and starts screaming and flipping off them off. The cab driver's reaction was amazing.
He just smiled and waved.
Pollay was astounded and asked the cab driver how he could be so friendly after that man nearly killed both of them. The cab driver answered:
"Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you.
So when someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Believe me. You’ll be happier."
Wow. My challenge to you this weekend is to look for garbage trucks. I bet you won't have to look far. When they try to dump their trash on you just smile, wave, and have an awesome day.
PS-I highly recommend reading The Law of the Garbage Truck: How to Stop People from Dumping on You, great book.
There are a ton of things that your energy level depends on. But I wanted to focus on some things that maybe you hadn't thought about in regards to your energy.
Here are 6 odd ways to increase energy:
1. Be Decisive
We all have a million choices we have to make every day. And it's even said that the #1 reason rich people become unhappy is because with more money, comes more options, which brings more decisions.
Do you ever look at a menu, get overwhelmed, and just choose something randomly just so you can move on with your life? It's why I always end up just getting what's in the pictures.
The best way to deal with decisions is to just be brash. Most often if you trust your gut you will be just fine.
AND whenever possible, limit your options.. the less options you have, the more you'll be willing to go for whatever you DO have.
2. Wear the right colors
Warm colors, such as red, yellow, and orange, are more energizing than their cool counterparts. That's because they're attention grabbing--which activates our brain circuitry.
And the best color to give you a jolt is orange. Boom, I have orange hair.
It's a blend of red, which is adrenaline producing in the viewer, and yellow, which reminds us of the sun and feelings of exuberance. Unless you are ginger like me and orange colors make your hair look even oranger (not sure if that's a word). I will have to stick with the hair.
3. Take a break from your smartphone
A recent study has shown that people who tried to juggle work and simultaneously keep up with their e-mail saw their measured IQ drop by 10 points!
Instead, find a few times during the day to close your e-mail and power off your phone. If work is especially busy, lunch can be your technology break.
4. Let go of regret
When you beat yourself up over the past, you're sucking your energy dry. The best way to deal with regret is to live a better life moving forward.
Regret is always experienced as a major loss, causing us to shut down psychologically and physically, which leads to fatigue and a loss of motivation.
In other words, feeling drained. Feelings of remorse can also cause your blood pressure to go up, and that translates into even less energy.
Instead, just put your regrets into context.
As Anthony Robbins says, "Your worst day is someone else's dream come true." There are always people who are less fortunate than you.
5. List all the stuff you accomplished
Remembering what you did well is the perfect antidote to feeling down. We get so busy, often times we forget just how much we have accomplished. Thinking about things you're proud of can induce a positive mood and a positive mood is associated with more energy.
6. There's always cold water
Cold water can invigorate our minds. This happens because when we encounter a stressor, our bodies often release noradrenaline, which is an energizing hormone.
Run cold water over your wrists for a minute or two to rev yourself up (also great for those times you can't seem to stop sweating after a shower). Because skin is covered in nerve endings, splashing cold water on your face works well too. Especially effective at 4am when it is 20 degrees outside.
These might seem a little strange, but try them out and let me know how it goes!
My son is playing basketball right now. This is his second year playing, but last year it was in a non-competitive league. This year is a whole different deal.
He is surrounded by kids who are really good athletes and have been playing for several years at this level. My son is a good athlete, but this is the first year he has really struggled at a sport.
He does not like not being good at something, so he has practiced almost every day to get better. Even in the freezing cold, he will go outside to play basketball.
He has shown tremendous improvement and it has been fun to watch. His team is in a post-season tournament and he has played really well. But his job on the team is not to score, so he rarely shoots.
But the last game they played he was wide open, got the ball, and made a great shot. On court he is normally pretty stoic, but he pump his fist and looked over at me with the biggest smile on his face. It was an awesome moment.
For most kids, two points is nothing. But for him it was huge moment worth celebrating because he had put in the work and sweat to get there.
Why aren't we like that as adults?
Especially when it comes to changing our bodies, we should celebrate the small victories along the way. When you put in all the necessary work and you reach a goal, pump your fist and grin all the way down the court. The struggles are what makes the victories so much sweeter.
So next time you get into that pair of jeans you haven't been able to wear since college, celebrate.
When you complete that race you thought you could never finish, celebrate.
When you knock out 10 pushups on your toes, when a few months ago you could barely do 1 on your knees I think you know what to do now.
I'm not telling you to settle and stop when you reach your goal. I am telling you to take it it, enjoy the moment, and then use it as the fuel that will get you through that next trouble spot along the way.
This picture still cracks me up. One of my clients sent me this after one of her kids gave her an all-too-honest suggest about the recent food options in the house.
A real life example from my awesome boot camper Katie Does this remind you of your family and/or support system? One the biggest stumbling blocks moms run into when they are trying to eat healthier, is trying to be the only one in the house eating right.
Your kids expect to have candy, cookies, soft drinks, chips, etc... in the house. You know why? Because that stuff is delicious! I love all that stuff too, but I can't keep it in the house or I will eat all of it.
An important lesson to learn in life is this:
Will power does not work, systems do.
I don't care how strong you think you are, if you keep your weakness in the house, readily available, you will consume it at some point.
So what about those other people in your house demanding pizza and brownies every night? It will take some work, but they can be convinced to come to the healthy side.
What's holding them back from wanting to eat healthy? Usually it's two main things.
1. They think healthy food tastes nasty 2. Junk food is much quicker and easier
You have to eliminate the myth that healthy food is nasty. If they are used to processed foods stuffed with preservatives, salt, sugar, etc... it will be a much longer process for sure. Their taste buds have been overstimulated and expect massive amounts of these tastes each time.
But you don't have to serve plain, boiled chicken breasts to eat healthier. I would recommend experimenting with new spices that will still stimulate the taste buds, but not expand the waist line. Try some of these:
Garlic-One of the sticking points for fat loss is the body holding onto toxins. Let the garlic clear out your some toxins to get you ready to lose the fat. You may lose some friends along with the fat if you don't bring a toothbrush with you.
Ginger-A certain ginger haired man can help you lose weight, but so can the spice. Ginger gives food an Asian taste plus gives you a fat loss boost.
Tumeric-Sounds like a terrible chemical, but is actually really good for you. The main way this helps is by lowering your blood sugar and cutting down on cravings.
Cayenne pepper-A study found that some of the participants increased their metabolism by 25% by putting cayenne pepper on their food. The study did not say if it was due to the subjects sprinting to get something to drink or not.
Cinnamon-Another good way to get rid of toxins and improve digestion. Null and void if you are getting your cinnamon through Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Black pepper-Another great metabolism booster, plus the positive sneezing side effect clears out your sinuses.
Chili powder-Has a similar effect as cayenne pepper. Try adding some to thinly sliced carrots and then cooking them in olive oil.
Junk food is a tough adversary, but it can be defeated. The sweet tooth is my weakness, so I feel your pain if you struggle here.
As an alternative to candy, ice cream, and cookies I use things like:
-Greek yogurt mixed with blueberries and almond butter -Apples or bananas with natural peanut butter -Smoothies -Protein shakes
If you have to have sweets, have something really good! Eat a reasonable amount of your favorite thing and then move on with your life. No need to deprive yourself, treat yourself but make sure it is a treat and not a regular occurrence.
Then there are the salt cravings. Here are some options I use for that:
-Hummus with vegetables -Nuts -Olives -Sunflower seeds
You never want to take something away that you are trying to get rid of without replacing it with something else. Start replacing the unhealthy items with things that can feed and nourish your family's bodies.
You don't have to totally eliminate junk foods and unhealthy foods you love, just use them as a special treat rather than things you eat all the time.
For many of the women I train, pushups are their worst enemy. They are not shy about letting me know their dislike of them either. Just trust take my word on that one.
The main reason most people don't like pushups is the same reason I don't like fixing things. I'm not very good at it and I usually hurt myself.
But pushups are one of the best exercises you can do for your entire body. So, we do a lot of pushups in my boot camps. Some people on their toes, some on their knees, and some on a wall or counter. Whatever fits their current level the best.
I want to share the Grease the Groove technique with you. Terrible title, effective method. We will use pushups as the example, but you can apply it to any exercise you want to get better at. Pullups, presses, burpees, etc... it will help you get better at all of them. You will see tremendous results when you start working on your weak areas, rather than avoiding them.
I learned the Grease the Groove (or what the cool kids call GTG) technique from a former Soviet Special Forces trainer named Pavel Tsatsouline. He had the revolutionary idea that if you want to get better at something, you should probably practice it. Weird huh? Here is the equation he came up with:
So here is how to be able to do more pushups. First you need to know what the maximum number of pushups you can do is.
For this example we will use 10 pushups. Several times a day you would drop down and knock out 4 pushups there, 5 pushups here. All throughout the day, but the key is to never get to the point where it is a struggle to do the pushups. You want to train as often as possible throughout the day, while still being as fresh as possible.
How about changing from knees to toes? You can still use the GTG method, but with a twist for the knee pushups. Because knee pushups do not properly mimic the toe pushups, you need to try something different.
Switch from knee pushups to doing pushups at an angle. You could use a bench, a wall, etc... to practice your pushups. You can start at a 45 degree angle and start working your way down to a flat pushup on your toes from there. Apply the same GTG technique with the angled pushups.
The basic premise is that you are strengthening the neural pathways through something called synaptic facilitation. Remember that, it might be on Final Jeopardy one day. I prefer to use muscle memory.
Big words aside, this is a straight forward and effective way to get better at something. Pick out an exercise you are weak in, apply the GTG for 6 weeks, and I bet you will get great results.
What exercise are you going to start with?
Jerry Seinfeld was asked his advice on how someone could become a great comedian. He told them that the first thing they should do is get a big, wall calendar and hang it up.
Next thing you do is write jokes every day. Every day that you write jokes and get better at your craft, put a big, red X on that day. The idea is to start making a chain of these red Xs.
The secret to success is not breaking the chain.
Flip this around a little bit and you could do the same thing. Every day that you did something to move yourself closer to your goal, put the red X on the calendar. If you are like me and you love crossing items off your list, you will really love this technique.
Some examples could be:
-You prepped a couple of meals for the week on Sunday
-You worked out that day
-You got on your foam roller for 10 minutes
-You brought a healthy snack to work instead of going to the vending machine
There are hundreds of things you could include in there and they don't all have to be huge accomplishments. The goal is to do at least ONE THING per day to get you closer to your goal. Remember this:
My son and I were going to the library the other day to drop off some books. We tried to pull into the library parking lot, but there was not one space open.
Right across the street was a church with an empty parking lot. We parked our happy little sleeves over there and got ready to go to the library.
While were are gathering up the books we are going to return, a lady pulls up and parks right next to us. I didn't pay her much attention until she said, "Hey, you aren't supposed to park here."
I figured she was a church employee heading into work and maybe they were about to have an event, so I apologized and explained that I was just going to drop off some books and come right back. She just stared at me and did not answer.
So we start walking across the street and guess what? So does she! She heads into the library and starts looking at books. Wait, what just happened here?
Do you have that "friend" or family member in your life that is like that? They see that you doing your best to stay healthy and start giving you expert advice? And most of the time the person giving the advice is not following it! They are just trying to mess you up.
It is a fact of life that your friends and family will try to sabotage your weight loss plans. Has this ever happened to you?
Girlfriends who critique you for eating healthy so much or ask you why you workout so often. A husband or boyfriend who insists on huge meals of calorie laden foods every night (a sneakier approach).
Many people do not like to see the people close to them change. If you start looking better, it makes them look worse. Husbands fear they might lose their wives to another man if she starts toning up.
If you notice this, the first thing you need to do is talk to the person. Let them know how important your goals are to you and that you really need their support.
Next, invite them to join you on your journey. Eat healthy meals together, go for a walk together, workout with your group of friends, etc...
If this is someone that truly has your best interest in mind, they will help you any way they can and be your biggest cheerleader. Regardless of what they do and say, keep doing your thing.
You are worth it.
A few weeks ago I went down to New Orleans for a race. It was the Rock N' Roll Marathon series. My wife and I did a half marathon relay where we ran 8.5 miles and our partners ran the rest of the way.
I was running right along and about Mile 5 I heard a magical voice saying, "Hey we got King Cake over here!" So I did what any shining example of fitness would do and grabbed a piece of King Cake.
My rationale was that I will probably never be offered King Cake in any other race so I'm doing this! It was really good too. Except when the excitement of the cake eating wore off and the running was still going. Started to feel a little rough.
We were running next to this guy who was probably in his mid-50s. He was quiet for about a half a mile, but then that changed very quickly.
In this booming voice he says, "Do we have any George Strait fans out there?"
Everyone around him, "Crickets"
Undeterred he continues, "This is one of my favorite songs. Amarillo by morning. Up from San Antone...."
He continues sharing his favorites from George Strait. Favorite lines, the saddest line from this song, the best line from that song, etc... All in this voice that is super loud. I can see why this dude was a runner, his lungs were amazing.
Not gonna lie, his lungs were also getting on my nerves. My wife and I had to get out of there!
We picked up the pace and picked up the pace some more. We could still hear him from about a quarter mile away. Lungs for days.
We get about a mile away and we are safe. And guess what? I no longer feel nauseous from my ill fated cake decision. Not only that, but we just made great time and covered a lot of distance thanks to George Strait's brother.
Things that can take your mind off of your struggles are invaluable.
For some people music is a great distraction to help them push through tough workout. For others, an encouraging workout partner does the trick.
At my boot camp, I say and do weird things, crack jokes, and tell stories. I play songs that no grown man should have on his playlist. Part of this is because I am a weirdo, but is also to help take their mind off of the pain.
Sometimes all you need is one little thing to get you through the toughest part of your workout.
What works for you? I would love to hear what helps you push through your workouts when you feel like you can't go on.
This is a direct quote from my 9 year old son last week. He was enjoying an afternoon snack of cashews, while not enjoying his homework.
I walked through the room, he broke out of his trance, looked up at me accusingly, and asked about the cashews. After reminding him that he was the only one in the room before I walked in, he realized that he had eaten all of the cashews himself.
Has this ever happened to you? I'm guessing at one time we have all fallen victim to the dreaded Mindless Eating.
According to WebMD, mindless eating can cause you to eat 25-50% more calories! To put that into perspective, if you ate an extra 20% in calories per day you would gain 40 pounds in a year. Imagine if you are on the higher end of that mindless eating scale...
I fell victim to this during the Super Bowl. I got caught up watching Katie Perry dressed up as Bam Bam Bigelow riding that thing from Voltron. Shout out to my fellow kids of the 80's. I looked down about the time Missy Elliot came out and I had eaten a sandwich in the melee. I'm assuming I enjoyed it.
For all my fellow Katy Perry fans, here are 4 tips for avoiding mindless eating.
1. Eat slower
If your sole focus on the meal is speed, you will eat much more than you intend to. It takes about 15 minute for your stomach to tell your brain that it is full. If you only have a short amount of time to eat your meal, plan ahead and make smart food choices.
2. Be “in the moment” when eating
By this, I mean don't be watching TV, reading, on Facebook (I'm the worst about that at lunch time), etc... while you eat. Focus on chewing and enjoying your food.
3. Be aware of emotional eating
This could be an entire book's worth of information for this one. But the main thing is to start becoming aware of the effect your emotions have on your eating habits. Create awareness by keeping a journal of what you eat and how you are feeling at meal time.
4. Don’t eat straight out of the box or bag
You will find yourself continuing to eat on autopilot if you have the box or bag in arm's reach. Take a reasonable portion out of the container, put it on your plate, and then put the container up. This will save you a ton of mindless calories.