Archive for August, 2017

Don’t Get Beat Twice

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Sticking with my football theme this week, I want to share with the concept of getting beat twice. Sometimes in football you will see a team lose a big game one week and then come back the next week and get beat by an inferior team. That is letting one team beat you twice.

The team gets so caught up in the disappointing loss, they don’t put in the necessary work all week at practice. They don’t play with the same fire and enthusiasm they normally do. They are letting one letdown lead to more letdowns.

That happened to me recently too. I had a disappointing experience in one area and it affected my performance in another area. My focus was still on the negative things that went wrong and it caused more negative things to happen. Not good.

I see the same thing happening with clients with their fitness and nutrition. They will miss the first few days of class for the week and then decide to skip the whole week. Or have one bad day of eating and just decide to totally give up on their eating plan.

Hey, I get it! I’m obviously in the same boat. Most of these posts I am talking to myself too, so let’s all take the advice that football coaches offer. That loss is over, learn from your mistakes, and move on because there is nothing we can do about that loss now.

You missed a few days or weeks of working out? The best thing you can do about that is to start working out today. Really went off the rails on your nutrition game this week? Start back with one healthy meal today.

Don’t get caught up in the past, figure out why the slip happened, take steps to avoid it happening again, and keep your eyes fixed on the future. Don’t look behind you, you aren’t headed that way.

The Beast Within (Motivation)

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My pastor had a message yesterday about The Beast Within. Part of it was about that little voice inside that feeds your addictions. The voice that makes you buy M&Ms at the checkout lane or fill your drink cup with ice cream at Jason’s Deli. Have you ever seen that move before? It’s pretty impressive.

But I prefer to think about another entity that is inside of all of us. I’m talking about the concept that there is another person inside of you. This is the person that is able to go further than you thought possible, overcome obstacles that seem insurmountable, and give you hope when things look hopeless.

Check out this video from former Tennessee Vol football player Inky Johnson:

https://youtu.be/mlPES2LXiF0  

Inky used that motivation to become a scholarship football player at Tennessee with plans on making it to the NFL. His chances looked good until he got injured making a tackle. The play almost killed him (nerve damage and internal bleeding) and would result in a paralyzed right arm and then end of his football career.

That is when he discovered just how much the person inside could handle. A great message with several other nuggets to keep you motivated. Definitely worth 3 minutes of your day.

Blackmail your way to success!

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With all the controversy surrounding those knuckleheads in Charlottesville, VA it reminds me of a strange, but interesting book. The book is called The Blackmail Diet by John Bear. The subtitle of the book is Lose Weight Or Else!

Pretty catchy title right there.

The premise of the book surrounds the author has been overweight for most of his life and finally has had enough. So he decides that extreme measures need to be taken. Did he go on a crash diet? Join the Army and go to boot camp? Workout like a madman? He did something a little different…

He put $5,000 in a trust to be paid to the Nazi Party unless he could lose 70 pounds in one year.

He did not have much money and this was in 1983, so $5,000 was a pretty hefty sum. Add that to the fact that he despised the Nazi Party and things got serious real quick.

One March 1, 1983 he weighed in at 255 pounds. On March 1, 1984 he weighed in at 179 pounds. For those of you without a calculator, that is a loss of 76 pounds.

The author decided that since focusing on food had never worked for him, he needed to focus on the psychology of human behavior instead. Specifically there are two main factors:

A: Everyone who is committed and excited on day one of the new diet that is going to change their life. 98% fail because the enthusiasm wears off quick.

B: There are certain times in life where once you decide to start something, there is no going back. You are committed until the bitter end. Think signing up for the military, once you step out of an airplane to skydive, or once the roller coaster starts. In all those scenarios, you are going to HAVE to finish what you started.

The Blackmail Diet combines both of those factors. It keeps you motivated every day and you have to reach your goal because there is no going back once that money goes into the trust.

The “blackmail” does not have to involve money. You just have to find something that you REALLY don’t want to happen as your motivation. You could write an e-mail to your boss that would get you fired, save it, only to be sent if you didn’t lose the weight. You could volunteer to serve on that board on church that you have been trying to avoid for years if you were unsuccessful. Get creative and think of things that are absolute no-gos for you and that would light a fire under you.

Now clearly this method is not for everyone. This is an extreme example of what one person did, but it does offer some interesting tips. When was the last time you went all in on an exercise program or a nutrition plan? Where failure was NOT an option.

If you are fed up and ready to make a change, don’t make quitting an option. You don’t have to pledge $5,000 towards the Nazis, but write out a contract to yourself that you will follow through with your plan. No quit and no surrender, anything is possible with the right motivation.

Can you smell what the Crock Pot is cooking?

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Crockpots are one of the best inventions ever. I like to start things off with controversial statements like that.

It’s so easy! You can set-it-and-forget-it, and somehow whatever you end up with always tastes amazing. Just try not to follow my set-it-and-forget-to-plug-it-in method.

It is football season at our house. My son plays and I coach his team, so we don’t get home until 830 at night. Not really time to cook dinner, eat, and shower for the early risers under our roof. So football season is also Crock Pot season.

Last year my wife did one of the greatest things ever. She went to a Wild Tree party where they made a bunch of Crock Pot meals and then froze them. We lived off those things for the whole season, it was glorious.

We got started back on the Crock Pot train with a simple, but delicious one last night. Put lean ground beef in on low until the meat is browned. Then add a diced sweet potato and black beans. You stir garlic salt in, squeeze a lime on top, and then cook that on low for a few more hours. About 15 minutes total prep time.

What is your favorite Crock Pot meal? If you are looking for some new recipes, here is a great link to check out.

77 Crock Pot Meals

The web site Greatest gives you 77 different meals you can do in the Crock Pot. It covers breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snacks, sauces, even vegetarian options. Pretty awesome.

Go forth and Crock Pot my friend.

Why you take the penny over $3 million

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In the book The Compound Effect the author Darren Hardy poses an interesting question. Would you rather have 3 million dollars in your pocket today or a penny that doubles in value every day?

Seems like an easy choice right? Give me that 3 million and let me go buy some exotic pants and other stuff I don’t need ASAP! But if you break down the numbers it changes things a little.

 

At day 14 you would feel like a sucker if you chose the penny option. I’m over there taking selfies with tigers and you have $81 and some change.

By day 20 you’re doing pretty good, but still you only have a little over $5,000. But things start picking up towards the end of the month.

At day 29, you’ve almost caught me. You’ve got $2.7 million!

Then you wake up the next day and you have $5.4 million. Then on your final day of compounding that one penny, you wind up with a whopping $10,737,418.24 to be exact. Thank you very much penny.

 

I share this story with you for one reason. Your health and fitness works the same way.

I see it all the time with clients who have been beating their head against the wall because they are barely losing weight or inches even though they are doing the right thing. One pound here, couple inches there.

Then it happens, the tide starts to turn. All the sudden it seems like the weight is falling off!

This time period is different for everybody. I’ve seen some people that it takes a few months before it pays off. For some it can take much longer.

For one of my clients it took a full year to really see great results! She had a very stressful life, poor sleeping habits, and some medications that were holding her back but she kept at it.

She found ways to reduce the stress in her life, she found a sleep routine that worked for her, and she talked with her doctor about changing around some of her medications. This was along with eating better and exercising consistently.

No part of that is easy. That was a long, frustrating year for her but she said something pretty powerful to me though when I asked her how she stayed motivated. She said:

“Well, I can either keep plugging away at this or just quit and be miserable the rest of my life.”

Yes! Those really are your two options. Stay in the fight, keep tweaking your holistic program (exercise, diet, stress, sleep), and be consistent with what you do. Because one day it will happen, but only if you keep at it.

Don’t give up, you don’t have to be unhappy but you do have to work. Are you willing to do that? If so, I’m here to help however I can.

You don’t need the Thighmaster any more! Try these 4 instead

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Do you remember the Thighmaster? Man that thing was genius! Great way to work those stubborn inner thigh muscles.

It was genius until you use it wrong and your Thighmaster goes flying across the room on the first squeeze. Allegedly. That would never happen to a trained pro like myself in his garage right as his neighbor was rolling the trash out.

The inner thigh muscles are also known as the adductors. You can remember that because they pull your leg back towards your body, like you are ADDing it back to your body. You just got 75% of what I remember from my college degree right there.

The adductor muscles are not only important because toned inner thighs look good, but they can also help you prevent injuries and increase your performance in physical activities.

So if you want to look better, prevent nagging injuries, and/or you would like to squeeze the life out of someone Bond Girl style I got your back.

Here are 4 exercises you can do at home to strengthen and tone your inner thighs:

1. Band Adduction

Connect a band to a stable object and then attach it to your right ankle. Stand up tall with tension on the band before you start. Move your foot to the left like you are sweeping just above the floor. Control the movement as it goes back to your right. Repeat on your other leg; hold on for balance as needed.

2. Skaters

A great exercise for cardio, as well as working several lower body muscles. Start with knees bent, hips pushed back and upper body leaning forward with a flat back. Push off of your left foot and jump to your right, then do the same pushing off of your right foot. For low impact, you can step instead of jump.

3. Wall Squat Squeeze

You will need a wall and a ball for this one. Place a ball (exercise ball, medicine ball, basketball) between your knees, back against the wall, and slide down until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. While holding the squat, shoulder blades in contact with the wall, squeeze your knees as hard as you can against the ball.

4. Chair Adduction

Lie on your left side; place the inside of your right foot on top of a chair or coffee table. Raise your left leg up and touch the bottom of the chair or table, pause at the top for a count, and then slowly lower your leg down. Repeat on the other side.

 

Motivation Monday on Tuesday- 10, 2-letter words for success

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There are many ways that can lead to success in the fitness world. I have seen people get tremendous results with boot camp, Crossfit, lifting weighs, Zumba, running, and many other ways of moving your body. They all had the same thing in common though.

 

The person who succeeded set a goal and refused to give up.

 

Getting a trainer is an awesome idea. Getting a workout partner works really good. Getting into a workout group is excellent too. But it eventually boils down to 10 2-letter words.

 

If it is to be, it is up to me.

 

People can help you along the way. You can be given all the tools and knowledge in the world. But you are the one that will have to execute.

 

If you think about it, that is the best news you will hear all day! That means you already have everything within you that it takes to be successful. There is power in realizing that about yourself.

 

Never doubt yourself for one minute. Never doubt that you aren’t good enough or strong enough. You don't need magic, luck, or pixie dust. Even though pixie dust is pretty awesome.

 

The only super power you need is consistency.

 

If you ever need a cheerleader, if you ever need someone to just listen to you, or if you just need some advice I'm here for you. Decide today what you want to do, write out the plan, and get to work!

Your Accountability Checklist

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I was at Camp Sumatanga last week supporting a friend on his Emmaus Walk. Very cool experience and I was very grateful for the opportunity to be there.

One of the musicians there was blind. It was amazing! He was playing guitar and singing all without the benefit of sight.

My mind tends to wander, so I started to think about some of the TV features I have seen with blind people. How they have everything in their home a certain way, so they freely navigate around without tripping.

They have a checklist of sorts in their head that helps put things on autopilot. This got me thinking that a similar thing would be helpful for people trying to eat healthy and exercise.

So I put together an example of a checklist you could use to improve your success rate with added accountability. My suggestion is to look at this example and make it fit your lifestyle.

Accountability checklist:

_______ workout clothes and shoes ready for the next day (always have workout clothes and shoes with you just in case)

_______ alarm set

_______ workout plan written down (if exercising on your own)

_______ change of clothes and toiletries packed (if showering/changing at work)

_______ quick breakfast planned for after workout

_______ healthy lunch packed or planned

_______ record all meals in food journal

_______ turn off electronics at 8pm

These are just a few things that can help you stay on track. Most days you might not be able to check every box and that’s ok. It’s striving to get better every day that is the main goal.

Take a look at that list, think about what you struggle with the most, and put together your own list. Having a plan will save you time, money, and frustration in the long run. It is well worth a few minutes of your time to put one together.

Building Block Four-Stress No More

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When your body is stressed out, you WILL NOT lose fat and you WILL NOT build any of the lean muscle mass you need to increase your metabolism. Our bodies are hard wired to deal with stress first before anything else. If you have been doing all the right things (eating right, exercising, etc...) and not getting results, this might be the the key for you to start getting the results you deserve. This goes back to our days as hunter/gatherers when stress meant something with big teeth and fast legs was coming at you. That is definitely a priority. But our bodies can feel the same stress when a big project is due at work, financial problems are hitting you hard, etc…

It can also be a compilation of a bunch of smaller stressors coming together to bring you down. Look at your stress life like a bathtub. It doesn’t matter if you have the stress on full blast or if you have it barely on but it is steadily flowing. Eventually it is going to spill over and you are going to have a mess. You need a drain or ideally several drains.

Your job is to figure out what your faucets are, how much they are on, and find the drains to get rid of them. These are non-food/drink ways to rid yourself of stress that I’m talking about. When the food or drink is gone, the stress will come back ASAP.

There are hundreds of ways to manage stress. I will list a few options, but you need to figure out what suits your personality best. And find one that a few that you will actually do.

Here are some ideas to get your creativity going: go for a walk, hit a punching bag, listen to music, talk to a friend about your problems, pet a dog, do a hard workout, yoga, meditation, prayer, get a massage, start a budget, go swimming, go for a bike ride, take a nap.

Do something other than just internalizing your stress. You will be happier, healthier, and you will be able to get results much easier.

Building Bock Three- 7 Steps For The Best Rest

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Raise your hand if you get enough sleep? Not too many hands there, I know mine wasn't up. But I am constantly working on ways I can improve my sleep/rest, which will lead to better recovery,  which will lead me to getting better results with those first two building blocks we have talked about.

 

Here are just a few things that studies have shown that lack of proper sleep can cause:

-snack more after dinner

-eat more junk carbs

-fat cells age, making you more likely to gain weight and get diabetes

-a decrease in alertness and increase reaction time, making you more likely to be in a traffic accident

-increased levels of stress, anger, sadness, and depression

 

So here are 7 tips to help improve sleep quantity as well as quality.

1. The single most important thing you will need is a good bed

In my opinion a great bed and mattress are well worth the amount of money they cost. Think about how much time you spend in that bed over the next 10-20 years. A very worthwhile investment, so get a good one that works for you.

2. Create a good sleep environment

Keep the noise level down as low as possible, as dark as possible, and keep your room cool (to my wife this means 87 degrees, for me it is 48 degrees). The research shows around 68 degrees is an optimal temp. Sometimes my wife reads these e-mails, fingers crossed today.

3. Get a routine

You know the basketball players that dribble twice, kiss their cross medallion, wipe the sweat off their forehead, do 4 clap jacks, and then shoot a free throw? No? Okay, just know that you need a routine to help you wind down and relax before you go to sleep. This can be reading, listening to soft music, taking a bath, praying, some light stretching. Just find a calming activity you do every night that will be your body's signal to shut it down for the night.

4. What about when you have to get up in the middle of the night?

The number one thing is to avoid frustration. If you have been trying for more than 15 minutes and nothing is happening, get out of bed and do some sort of light activity (eat a light snack, drink a glass of milk, read something boring) with the lights dimmed. If your mind starts working a hundred miles per hour on things you need to do, keep a notepad next to your bed and write down the things on your mind. All of these are designed to take your mind off things and not be so frustrated at yourself for being awake.

5. Stay away from pills!

They are the absolute last resort. There are times when you need them, but research has shown that using a good sleep routine is more effective than pills.

6. Some things that can mess with your sleepy time:

* Too much food, especially fatty, rich food. These take a lot of work for your stomach to digest and may keep you up. Spicy or acidic foods in the evening can cause stomach trouble and heartburn.

* Too much liquid. Drinking lots of fluid may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night.

* Alcohol. Many people think that a nightcap before bed will help them sleep. While it may make you fall asleep faster, alcohol reduces your sleep quality, waking you up later in the night. To avoid this effect, stay away from alcohol in the hours before bed.

* Caffeine. You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it! Consider eliminating caffeine after lunch or cutting back your overall intake.

* Smoking. Smoking causes sleep troubles in numerous ways. Nicotine is a stimulant, which disrupts sleep. Additionally, smokers actually experience nicotine withdrawal as the night progresses, making it hard to sleep.

*Electronics. Turn the electronics off at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before bed time and keep them away from you as you sleep. Our gadgets can suppress melatonin, keep your brain alert (and you awake), and all the beeps, buzzes, and chirps can wake you up in the middle of the night.

7. And of course, the best thing you can do is exercise!

Our bodies are not designed to sit around all day with zero physical activity. I have a saying about kids that applies to adults too. When in doubt, wear 'em out. Moving more and sitting less will help improve your sleep quality.

 

Some of these may seem obvious, but the idea is to do ALL the steps to optimize your sleep. Not just the ones that come easy to you. Good luck and get some rest tonight!

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