Jiu Jitsu

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Last summer, in late July or early August, I embarked on a new journey. I entered into a brand new world to me but a world with a storied and celebrated history. I enter a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school for the first time. Nervously I sat waiting in my car, afraid of what I was getting into. As a gym owner, I thought I knew how people felt when they first came to our gym. The nerves, the anxiety, the fear. Problem was, I had no clue how they felt, until I put myself in their shoes. As I sat in the parking lot I anxiously went over all possible scenarios of what I believed was going to occur.

Jiu-Jitsu is at the root of it, a self-defense martial art. For a long time it has also been used in combat sports and in tournaments of it’s own kind. Millions of people throughout the world are participating daily in Jiu-Jitsu practice. The sport, the art, was popularized by the historic Gracie family in Brazil. Hence the reason it is vastly known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. However, there are other types (Jujutsu) and it originated in Japan from the basics of Judo ground fighting. Jujutsu itself is said to have been created in Japan as an art in close combat against an armed person when one is unarmed.

Throughout the world you can find Jiu Jitsu schools where men and women and even children of all types are practicing daily. Some come to learn, some come to sweat, some to lose weight, while others come to fight. For me, the reason I chose to start Jiu Jitsu was to find an outlet for my primal energy and a way to silence, or in the least tame, my monkey mind. Being an owner of a gym, in which I train the majority of the members, is hard on my energy outlet. People come every day to learn and to exercise so they can feel better. However, this left me drained. Add into it the fact that I am a stay at home father to two very young children, my mind felt like mud and I needed some valuable me time. After talking to a few people I knew about the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, there was no question I had to try.

Since that first day I have fallen in love with the martial art. It is hard. It is physical and it takes a lot of patience. One reason I fell quickly in love with the art is the fact that it is a lifelong adventure. There is no black belt in a few years. For me, it will take closer to fifteen or twenty until I get there. The person I have become after only one year of training is a light year away from where I was when I started. My mindset has improved. I am stronger. I am in better shape and my skills have increased greatly. Jiu Jitsu has given me a way to see that I am not at my best and the journey to living my best life and being fully activated will continue until I pass from this lifetime. There will always be room for improvement, whether it’s on the mat, in my business, as a husband or as a father. As the great Tony Robbins would say, “we either grow, or die”. I chose this journey to grow.

In the Gym With The Little Ones

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I love watching my kids at the gym. Today as I was working on my Sumo Deadlifts I glanced at my daughter as she set up a few two and a half pound plates, perfectly in line on the mat she chose to lay on. She began lifting them up and down, much like I would do a floor press with dumbbells. Most likely she picked this up by watching either me or the members at the gym. My son was running around touching everything. Climbing up the elliptical and hanging off of the TRX straps. He walked over to the kettlebell section and tried, unsuccessfully, to lift the fifteen pound kettlebell. He does however usually walk around with the ten.

At the gym, when it’s just me doing my thing, my kids run free and explore this awesome place in their eyes. In one corner there are tires, a one of them is the car tire from my wife’s old car. She got a flat and instead of letting the repair shop keep it and throw it away, I kept it and my daughter flips it. The other corner has medicine balls that my kids pretend at times are Atlas stones. If you ever watched the World’s Strongest Man contest on ESPN, the atlas stones are those big concrete balls that the lifters pick up and place on a platform. Some days the medicine balls are used as soccer balls.

My kids are always watching me when I am working out. They see me do pull-ups and they laugh hysterically. I wonder what they think is funny. Exercising in front of the kids will hopefully develop in their minds the desire for them to exercise, to live a healthy lifestyle. They see Daddy do. There’s no talking about some day, one day, maybe, or I wish.. it’s action and they see it.

There is a lot of things a young child can do to start to develop fitness. One thing parents can do too, which is very hard to accept, is to allow their children to crawl as long as possible and NOT push for them to become walkers fast. It’s not a sign of baby genius or being advanced. Crawling is important for core strength and the strength children develop crawling will carry over into the rest of their adult life.

My daughter is four. She lifts medicine balls, pulls sleds, lifts kettlebells, does bear crawling and crab walks, and carries two to five pound weights around the gym. She does everything we should be doing. The basics. And she loves it.

Most important is the fact that my children see me working on improving my strength and my body and my mind. They see me not settling for easy or excuses. They see things getting done, as they should, and the lessons will continue as they grow and my only hope is they learn to love the fitness lifestyle and adapt training into their lives.

 

How Giving Energy Affects My Mind and Body

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Some days you wake up and you’re ready to tackle the world. The feet hit the ground fast, the alarm is off after the first alert instead of six snoozes, and your eyes are opened wide. The energy is flowing through your shoulders, your chest, your core, and finally through your legs and feet. You feel invincible. These days are special because they’re days you feel happy and get the best work done. You cherish these moments because you’re not sure the next time you’ll wake up feeling so good.

Other days are a disaster as soon as the alarm beeps for the first time. The forty five minutes of extra alerts you have set go off and you don’t give a shit. You don’t want to open your eyes and the inner dialogue goes something like this “Fuck this. I don’t want to get up. Why do I have to get up? Fuck this.” It’s a struggle and you know it. People who don’t understand or experience this think “What’s the matter cupcake? Suck it up buttercup.” But to you, it’s a battle that’s going to take every ounce of energy within. These days you don’t want to look at people. You don’t smile. You don’t feel motivated. You just want to fall and not get up.

As a business owner, a generally positive person, and a self motivated man, I experience exactly what I wrote above. Some days are awesome and some days I wish I didn’t have to leave my bedroom. Some days being a stay at home father are the greatest days ever and an absolute joy and other days I feel like running away. I go through ups and downs and it affects everything in my life. Some months business is good and others, when I’m down, it sucks. There are days when I run classes and I am on fire and super positive. There are also days when I don’t want to be there or look at anyone in class. During the down days I’ll listen to positive affirmation tapes on the way to the gym but often, it doesn’t help. I use techniques I learned from Tony Robbins about changing my state, and it doesn’t help. I just do my best to make sure everyone enjoys their workout.

Some days you can’t peel me off the couch. I simply do not want to get up. Other days I get massive amounts of work done. Some days I’m super nice to my wife and others, she hates my guts because I’m an asshole. I’m not the only one who goes through this and there are many business owners I know who feel the same way. Is it the stress, the work that needs to be done, or the unknown about future business? In my opinion, it’s energy.

Inside of each of us there is energy that we have that fuels our life. Introverts often use their energy up faster than extroverts and they each recharge their energy in different ways. Introverts recharge by being alone and in solitude (I am an introvert). Extroverts recharge by being with other people and doing things. But when you are a person who has many people looking to you for knowledge, love, direction, motivation, purpose, passion, and energy, it’s a different story.

Imagine yourself, if you’re in the position of having many people’s eyes on you, as an outlet in the wall. You get your energy from the battery that nobody sees. It’s tucked behind the wall and it runs from solar power. Each day the cells from the solar panels recharge the energy (Being alone, meditating, exercising, therapy, etc). People, whether they’re clients, kids, a spouse, or friends and family all plug into your sockets. They need energy to refuel their motivation, or their love, or their passion, or their direction, and you are the one they have chosen as that source. It’s a huge responsibility. Picture a power plant and everything that goes on in the daily operations. Millions of people, their homes, refrigerators, and more are depending on the plants ability to provide their needs. When you are a chosen one, it’s extremely difficult to maintain a high energy level. You need to recharge and often, it doesn’t happen fast enough.

Part of my problem with being up and down is that I generally do not get a long enough break to recharge my power. I do very well when I am alone, with quiet, and can relax. I say no when I should say yes, but if I did say yes I’d create more leaks of valuable energy. One place I recharge my energy is at Sakura Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Dover. I find the physical nature of Jiu Jitsu and the challenging tasks we face in each class as a great way to recharge my energy. Why? I plug in to an outlet of energy. Nobody is plugged into my outlet and my battery is draining of the stored energy. I’m connected to a source of energy entirely separate from my power plant. This is why people come to exercise at Activate Fitness. They unplug and connect to me, giving their power plants a rest.

We all are givers and receivers of energy and it is in the recharging our own personal energy that will make our lives the best they can be. If you don’t recharge with clean burning fuel, the downs you experience will be the most significant part of your life. Clean fuel is exercise, healthy eating, meditation, floatation, ice baths, Epson salt baths, grounding in nature, camping, hiking, and anything with complete solitude. The way we operate is directly related to our energy levels and how those energy levels are is related directly to how much time you have to recharge yourself.

The more plugs in our sockets, the more energy we give away. Failing to recover and recharge will drain your soul energy and cause you to wear out faster than normal people do. Burn out in entrepreneurs and high level jobs (and parenthood) is very common because we forget to recharge. We must learn how to say NO and be okay with that. It’s not selfish, it’s vital for health. If someone were to say it’s selfish, they are the one being selfish. They want your energy and can’t appreciate the fact that you need to recover. Learn how to recharge your energy and make it a priority. This is a major problem in my life that I am working on. As a stay at home dad, a husband, and a business owner it’s hard for me to find time that I spend alone. Looking back through the past year or two with the fluctuations in my energy, I can see that I haven’t given myself enough time to recharge. I completely believe in the saying “Put your own mask on first” and in order to fully live activated and awake and alive, I must do such. We all must put our masks on first. Without doing so, we’ll never be able to give of ourselves completely.

Find time in your life to do what you need to do to be activated and your best. Remember, it’s okay to say NO. Actually it’s vital to your happiness and well being.

5 Things I Learned So Far From Being a Stay At Home Dad

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In the morning when I get home from the early classes at Activate Fitness I rush to make shakes for my wife and I. With the sound of foot steps and ice being crushed and blended for our morning smoothie, the little critters begin to stir. Our neurologically impaired cats tip and tumble their way to their food bowl and begin begging for breakfast. The other little critters yell for Mommy or a show. They want to sit and watch Bo on the Go or Care Bears or some other stupid children toon show. But we have to go. I run a mid morning class at the gym, and they come with. It’s a dash to get out of the house early enough to make it to the gym so I can get my personal workout done before the next wave of awesome Activators rolls through. Some days I get half a workout done, and I’m cool with that. Once the members come in and class begins it’s often a fight to get my kids to sit in their gated area away from swinging kettlebells and flying jump ropes. But they listen and usually it’s only because I promise them Turkey Bacon Jerky or a lollipop.

In between the mid morning class and the evening classes at Activate Fitness, it’s home for us and the insanity ensues. Being a stay at home dad has changed my life and while it’s for better there are times when it’s been for the worse as I’ve had to battle with emotions and feelings about getting the job done and handling the constant need for attention. Here are five things I have learned in my time staying home with my two silly fun kids.

1. I have more Patience than I thought.

Screaming kids, spilled milk, carpet stains, nap fighting, and kids not listening on a consistent basis is nerve racking and mind blowing. Some days I feel like mush and brain fucked but I realize that I have more patience than I ever thought I do. While it can get crazy and completely overwhelming, it’s just spilled milk. I’d rather see spilled milk than baby shit on the walls.

2. Tend Your Field

As a business owner and someone who enjoys books and writing, I find it extremely difficult to get the job done. There are too many days that go in a row where I don’t write or read with total concentration. This used to infuriate me until I heard a man named Earl Nightingale talk about “tending our field” and doing the best we can. What he means is that in this moment we have a field that needs to be taken care of. It could be driving to the store or giving your children a bath. That moment is the field of life that you’re in and your purpose at that moment is to take care of that field to the best of your ability. So when I am home and I’m stressed out about setting up consultations at the gym and my kids are telling me they’re hungry, my field isn’t booking a consultation. It’s sitting down and feeding my children a healthy meal and being present with them. This is by far the hardest struggle I face each day but recently after a talk I heard by my mentor, I’ve been working on stopping and smelling the roses.

3. Each Day Is A New Day

Kids have much to teach us, especially about letting things go. Each day is a new day for my kids and they act like it. They don’t concern themselves with yesterday’s matters or tomorrow’s worries. They just be. Part of me tries hard to let it be and I think that’s the problem. Trying to let it be and actually letting it be are different. I believe there is no trying, it’s just being. This lesson is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my kids. Circumstances arise each day and being like water and going with the flow is a lot easier on the mind and creates less stress than trying to plug the holes and mend the dam.

4. Their Eyes Are On You

And they want me to put my eyes on them, they want you to see them. Kids watch our every move and listen to everything we say. They create their personalities based off of what ours are like. Kids only want love and approval from their parents and each day they want to learn something new about life. They spill milk and they look at us to see how someone should react. They build a fort out of sheets and toys and look at us for approval of a job well done. They look at the problem they face and look at us to see if they have the ability to find the solution or for advice on how to solve the problem. Kids are watching every move we make and every move they make they are watching us to see if we notice. Stop and take it in.

5. Time Management

I believe there is a need for three to five things to be done daily to help my business grow. I believe they can be tackled in an hour or two. The rest of the time is spent wasted and by being constrained with time because of tending to the needs of children, I’ve learned that with focused effort the work needed to be done can be done quickly. There is a lot of time spent wasted when we don’t concentrate on the vital tasks that need action. Many people create useless meetings, useless reports, useless filing, and instead of doing the three to five things that create progress, they waste time that could be spent building relationships, loving family, or taking care of our self. It’s amazing what can be and how fast when you have kids running around.

10 Ways to Lead A Positive Life

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When I looked around and saw all that I had and created, I wasn’t as happy as I should have been. In a moment of awakening I realized my mindset had drifted too far into the negative side of things. As a coach, I speak with enthusiasm for fitness, for nutrition, and living your life activated. But behind closed doors and the walls I built around myself, the truth was very different. While I did the movements and the training and I ate kind of well, I was far from being a positive person. My negative attitude was slowly crushing everything I worked hard for and everything I loved. I caught myself thinking outside of the person within and I drifted too far away from my center. With this negative attitude the help people needed in which they came to me for, couldn’t be done. I was faking it.

Luckily I realized there was a simple solution to “snap out of it” and recently I’ve been turning it around. What happened was that I stopped doing all of the things I knew needed to be done, the things I would do as I taught and helped and motivated others. I stopped doing exactly what I was telling others to do. This happens to many people, especially coaches and trainers. We often spend so much time helping other people that we forget to take care of ourselves. Our lives are non-stop action towards helping other people became fit, healthy, and happy. It’s easy for us to drift off into la-la land and forget about putting our own masks on first. When we do this, everything crashes.

Here are 10 Ways you can lead a positive life and keep from drifting too far and into the negative realm of thoughts and feelings.

1. Be Grateful

For the little things, for things we tend to overlook and often don’t truly appreciate. Be grateful that you are capable of reading this. Be grateful that you are alive and well. Even when things seem tough, there is something to be grateful for. Show it. Write it down. Tell someone you’re grateful for them. Gratitude is a powerful thing that can change your life. Appreciate it’s power and keep a gratitude journal to document the things in life you’re grateful for. Do it daily.

2. Release Your Expectations

There was a time in the recent past that I allowed my expectations to overcome my reality. I expected things from myself and from other people that were not possible or aligned with an activated life. I let my growing expectations create a false sense of failure and it bred my negative attitude to newer heights. Once I released those expectations, things settled down and got easier. Things became fun again and it opened my heart and mind to positive energy that created a greater sense of happiness and joy. Let go of what you expect from others first and then work on your own.

3. Have a Dump Day

Pick a day of the week where you simply don’t do anything but what you want and recharge your batteries. There are days where I let go of everything I’m “supposed” to do and do nothing, like watch Netflix shows for hours on end. Some days it’s simply relaxing and reading or hanging out with the kids and family. We have action packed lives where we go from one thing to the next without breathing. Stop and dump everything off your shoulders and relax. Make this time. It won’t just appear.

4. Exercise

This is without question one of the most important ways you can lead a positive life. In fact, without exercise, I think it would be pretty hard to live a fully activated and positive life. Exercise has the ability to make you feel better, more than any anti-depressant drug out on the market today. A quick ten minute workout is enough to create change in your mind and in your body. If you currently do not workout, start now by doing some simple exercise like walking. The release of positive feel good hormones in your body can lift your spirits when you’re down and crush the negative thinking that might be going on inside.

5. Remove Negative People From Your Life

I recently went through my Facebook news feed and unfollowed many people. The only reason I did so was that the majority of their posts were negative and a waste of mental energy. Before removing people from social media, I did so in “real life”. I do not have any room for people who are negative and those who bring nothing good to my life. It created a lot of space and thinned my social network but it’s for the best. I often see people at functions or getaways who are nothing but negative. They drown their lives in drinks and parties or by staying angry at whatever it is that affected their lives. Removing the negative people has helped me feel stronger and happier and leaves no room for people to bring you down. Some situations you encounter a negative person and they start bringing you down and what I do is change the subject or remove myself from the conversation. It’s unnecessary and not productive to my happiness. Do not be ashamed or upset or worried about their feelings when removing negative people, just do it.

6. Fill Your Mind With Positive Material

Lately to keep my positive attitude boosted I’ve been listening to audiotapes from Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, and reading Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins. These books and tapes are keeping my mind set on success, opportunity, positive thinking, and the abundance that surrounds me. While many people are focused on the presidential elections and suffocated from the media filled nonsense that is trying to create tension and a doom and gloom feeling, I remain optimistic and positive about my life and the lives of people just like you. The more you fill your mind with negative bullshit, the darker your life is going to seem.

7. Accept Fear and Have Courage

Fear can be overwhelming to the point where you don’t take any action and have the courage to lead a positive life, which will make things harder then they should be. Or, fear can be used as a tool to overcome obstacles and create the motivation and courage to take action. When we accept fear as something that will always be within us, we can make the changes needed and by accepting fear we can realize that they negativity surrounding our fears does not have to consume our life.

8. Understand That Happiness is a Choice

You either make yourself happy or you don’t. Objects do not. Circumstances do not. While things can help, real happiness will always be a choice. Recently I was stuck in a stage of unhappiness. I had a lot of great things going for me. Family was good, business was good, and my personal lifestyle was good.. but I wasn’t happy. Why? I kept telling myself I was unhappy and the truth is, I was bullshitting myself. Happiness is always a choice. We can be happy with our life situations, or we can decide to not be happy. If you want to lead a positive life, choose happiness.

9. Keep on The Path of Growth

I read somewhere once “We’re either growing, or dying.” and that has stuck with me since. When we purposefully work on improving our lives, we grow and with growth comes opportunities and success. When we don’t work on growing ourselves personally and professionally, we wither away with the lack of direction and purpose. People often do not read books or listen to audiobooks and podcasts. I’m consistently working on learning something new every day. By working on our growth, we feel more awake and alive. Pick up a book or listen to a podcast. Make time each day to grow. Flowers always need sun.

10. Dream Bigger

Feel like life is stale or boring? Ever feel like things aren’t the way you hoped or imagined? Chances are you’re playing small and not dreaming big enough about what you want from life. One of the greatest things we can do for a positive and happy, and fulfilled, life is to work hard towards accomplishing big things. When I started out training people I dreamed of the day I’d have my own gym. Now that I have a gym, I’m dreaming big about the next step in our growth. Dream big, and then dream bigger.

I’ve Been Lying To Myself For Too Long

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You could see it in my posture. If you talked to me in person, you could tell. My shoulders were slumped, my face tense, and my eyes avoiding any sort of eye contact with anyone. It was reflected in my writing, or lack of writing, and it seeped into my business. My workouts were suffering, my diet was full of junk food and candy, and I made no positive moves for life and business. I was stuck and scared and I lied to everyone, including myself.

I’m a member of a mastermind for my personal and professional growth. I’ve been a part of the same group of men for nearly three years, maybe more I just can’t remember. I know these men. I believe in them, they believe in me and I trust them. But for too long now I’ve been lying through my teeth. Every few months we get together and talk business and life and what’s going on in the fitness industry, and how our families are doing. We usually each get up in front of the group and discuss a problem or opportunity or decision we need help with. Up until the most recent weekend with the guys, I ducked out of the last two meetings when it was getting close to my turn to be in front of the guys. I sincerely apologize for my lack of effort to help each other, but I couldn’t stand there and lie anymore. Instead, I ran.

See, the thing is, I was afraid of talking about the problems and opportunities that would actually matter. Things that would make more change than anything else. I didn’t need advice on coaching or gym scheduling or running new programs. I needed advice on how to get unstuck and out of my own head. For almost the entire year of 2015 I was drifting through my day with no passion and far from my purpose. This lack of initiative seeped into this year and has stuck with me like an infant Elephant. The force of being stuck and caught in my head was enough to set me back far in business, family, and more. I didn’t want to lie and I couldn’t gather up the guts to speak the truth.

Then I did. This past weekend I cut out the bullshit and bled on the table for the guys to see. I talked about my struggles with being a stay at home dad. I talked about the struggles of waking up so early every single day. I talked about my bullshit made up story of “writer’s block” and I let them know I needed help to overcome myself and get out of the quicksand that was slowly sinking me into a dark depression.

What I realized is that my tendency to hide my true thoughts and feelings is not healthy and in order to ever change, I needed to share that. We all need to share it. Keeping feelings and thoughts inside creates stress and tension and it will build up and either kill your health or make major problems in life. I was going through the motions wearing a smile on my face like shit was good. It wasn’t and I’m happy to honestly say that and to even be sharing it here. Today, I feel different. I feel awake and alive for the first time in several years. I’m finally writing again. I feel like I’m living my life activated, as I teach and write about it and my energy is through the roof.

I don’t know where to put my finger on the change but there are two things you need to know:

1. You need to be with people just like you. If you’re a man, you need time with men. If you’re a woman, you need time with other women. You need to use that time to talk about what ever the fuck you want. You just need to be recharged within the presence of people who are like you. Get together a group of men and bring up a problem and together, they will find an answer. I’m not sure if that works for women, but I assume so.

2. You need to open yourself up and let other people help you. We’re all stuck in our heads. We live in a society where it’s hard to say you’re not happy or that you need help. It’s hard to talk about sex or money or our dreams and goals, but we need to sack up and be the person we were meant to be. Without opening ourselves to others and ASKING for HELP, we will never live our life truly activated. Never.

#AllProgressStartsWithTheTruth

Putting My Own Mask On First

 

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Driving down to the Jersey Shore is always a great time. The fact that you’re headed down to the water in itself is enough to relax the tense muscles of the neck, the shoulders, and the face. This past weekend I spent a few days around the Red Bank area with a bunch of men who help me grow, who help each other grow, both professionally and personally. Before I made the trip I was severely stressed out and filled with anxiety. The past few months have been taxing, even though I spent more time on vacation than I ever have. My mindset was drifting more and more into the negative state and my actions showed. My personal energy was faltering and I was losing control of so much.

On the way down I was listening to a podcast and Ryan Holiday, the guest of Lewis Howes, said something that struck a nerve in me and made me question why I was so closed down in my feelings and thoughts. He talked about a eulogy James Baldwin gave in which he said “Thou knowest the man, thou knowest not his wrestling.” That quote really moved me and broke down a barrier of defense I was using as a shield from the truth. The seminar I attended was just what I needed at this point in my life. Paul Reddick who runs the Sack Summit said the day I first met him, “all progress starts with the truth.” and I understood that but never applied it. I was scared. I am afraid of letting people know the wrestling I do.

As the meeting unfolded, my emotions began to shake and life was brought into a perspective. I felt my barriers and the walls I have built begin to crumble. The guys I was with I have known for many years and I never once shared what was really going on in my mind and my life. As we sat in small groups in which our task was to help each other grow as men, my shoulders tensed, my heart sunk, my nerves began to shatter. It was time I put my own mask on first, and I did.

Leading up to the split into groups I was thinking about the question I needed help with most in my business. I wanted to learn steps to help Activate Fitness grow and was ready to fire off an easy question. I was afraid of opening myself, my real self to those men who I sincerely trust and love. The time came for me to ask my question and as I looked around the table I knew these guys were here for me and would not judge me. I knew they were filled with love and ready to help me in any way I needed.

“Fuck it” I said, and broke the walls. I released a massive amount of tension that was building in my neck, my shoulders, my waist, my hips, and I let those men in on the truest feeling going on inside. Instantly I felt a wave of release and relief. They accepted my question and offered advice they would only hope to receive if faced with a similar situation.

Nothing changes if nothing changes and had I not put my own mask on first and asked for the help I deeply needed, nothing would have changed and I’d still be stuck right where I was, hiding behind the truth with no progress.

When I heard the quote of not knowing the man’s wrestling I began to think about all of the people in my life. My family, my friends, the people who trust me to help them and I understood clearly that I know nothing of what each battles and the only thing I can do is give. I can give of myself with love, caring, and understanding. I am very grateful that this trip was taken at the perfect moment and grateful that now I have cleared away the jungle hiding my trueness, for now I can fully give of myself in the way I was intended for.

We all face obstacles in life and another quote I heard is “obstacles are not in the way, but they are the way”, and when we are faced with obstacles in which we feel we can’t overcome, there is a way to climb over them or break through them and to grow from the journey and the fight of making it through.

The wrestling going on within is not a fight you need to take alone and there are people who you love and trust that are willing to listen and be there for you. Put your own mask on first and seek their guidance. The weight it will take off your shoulders will clear the path and show you the way through. Thank you Isaac, Jedd, Adam, Christian, and Pete.

Reminders For Living An Activated Life

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As the day unfolds you’ll be pulled in many directions. Maintaining a vision for the outcomes you desire will help you steer your ship in the direction towards the end result. There will be people who need you. Be there for them. But make time for yourself and be sure to always put your own mask on first. There are many responsibilities to face each day and you must do them with purpose, honesty, and integrity. Do not kid yourself and lie to yourself. You must remain honest, even when that honesty hurts and creates emotional situations. You’ll never get anywhere in life if you’re not being honest about your thoughts, actions, beliefs, and feelings. Each day you are the captain of your ship and you can either do what’s needed for an activated life or you don’t. Each choice is entirely your own and each decision has a result. Choose wisely. Accept failure as part of the journey as well. Do not be discouraged by failure. Use it as a tool to learn and to improve.

Here are your reminders for living an activated life.

- Be Disciplined in everything you do.

Whether it’s your workouts, your work, or your family. Be disciplined to get the job done.

- Meditate

Do not go too long without being alone in solitude to meditate on your day and life. Always make room and be disciplined with it.

- Work Hard each day

In your workouts, in your jiu jitsu, for your wife and your kids. Work hard in all aspects of life.

- Exercise

Do not go many days in a row without sweating and exercising. For your mind and body exercise is a drug. Use it to fuel your passion and align your thinking. Your health depends on how you treat your body. Discipline yourself to stay committed.

- Eat Healthy Foods

Sure you like chips and salsa and good craft beer. It’s okay to enjoy the fruits of your labor and unwind with snacks and beer, but discipline yourself to maintain a healthy nutritional plan for ninety percent of your days. Eat greens every day. Eat fruits every day. Enjoy fat and meat. Reduce as much added sugar as possible.

- Love your family

Above all else in your daily routine, love your family and show it. Be there for your kids. Listen well to your wife. Make time to spend with them quietly and enjoy time away from routine. Family is always first. Work, friends, hobbies come after. Family is everything.

- Be Prepared

Like your hike in the mountains, you brought a snake bite kit and saw a deadly venomous snake. You were prepared. Be prepared for anything to happen and make sure your family is as well. Prepare yourself for the day. Prepare yourself for your nutrition. Maintain discipline to always have what’s needed.

- Be Simple with your things

You don’t need fancy toys. You never enjoy them and there are more important things in your life. Be simple with your purchases and take care of them. Know how to fix things like you did your furnace. Do not spend more than you make. Discipline yourself and practice the minimalist way.

- Practice Jiu Jitsu

Always make time to practice your art of choice. You feel better after a good session. You learn and quiet your mind. You meditate and release monkey energy. Jiu Jitsu changed your life. Honor that.

- Write Daily

Writing is a meditative tool for you. You release many thoughts in your introverted mind and get them on paper. This is good. Continue to do so and be disciplined with it. Even on vacations. Practice each day and reach your goal of five hundred words a day.

- Keep Working To Improve Your Sleep

You’ll only be as healthy and activated as possible if you sleep well. For years you have sacrificed sleep to help others. It’s time to put your mask on first and do what’s best for your mind, heart, and body. You’re a better person when you sleep enough. You never operate at your best when you lack sleep. Keep practicing and working hard to make more time.

- Read daily

Reading is a meditative tool but it’s also important for your growth as a person. Living an activated life requires a commitment to learning. The best place for you to learn right now is through the books on your shelf. Make time every day to relentlessly read.

- Share Your Wisdom

What good is learning and understanding something if you don’t share it? You are here to help others. Share the things you learn through your reading, writing, experience, and meditations.

- Guide Your Kids

You know what’s it like to hit rock bottom and you know what it’s like to pick yourself up. You learned from mistakes you’ve made and right decisions you’ve made. Guide your kids with your wisdom of experience but do not push.

- Enjoy Your Life

Have fun with friends and family. Throw parties. Go to parties. Make time for the outdoors or sporting events. Have a picnic with your family. Throw a surprise party for a friend or loved one. Have fun every day and laugh. Go to a comedy show or rock concert. Enjoy life.

- Live the lifestyle of a Warrior

And continue to study the art of warriors.

- Show Your Gratitude

Journal your appreciation for the good and simple things in life, as well as the trials and tribulations. Make time to write each day what you are grateful for.

- Set Goals and Dream

Be disciplined in each day to reach the goals you envision. Dream on and dream always as dreams are what creates reality when you apply action. Never say it’s impossible, you never know what can happen with effort.

 

You Don’t Get There By Saying “Must Be Nice”

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I’m not a fan of fancy gadgets. I’m not a fan of flashy cars and high dollar clothing. I’m not a sneaker fan, a go out all the time fan, or a big house fan. Many people hustle hard and bust their asses to pay off big homes, big cars, big clothing credit card payments, and fancy dinners every weekend. I’m not that guy and my family isn’t that kind of family. We’re simple minded, easy going, and content. While there is a culture of new is better, where someone gets a new house or new car every five years, I’m sitting here enjoying the gratitude I have for being alive.

One thing I have done is worked hard for the past five years building a business. I scarified a lot to get the job done. Some days I failed and others I won. Those five years have been brutally challenging and at some points scary as fuck. It took a lot of courage to give up some of the things I did and neglect some of the other. During the past five years I haven’t traveled much or enjoyed family vacations a whole lot. Mostly because I’ve been in the trenches helping other people lose weight and feel better.

Things this summer have changed. I’m traveling more than I ever have because I am finally in the position to be able to. As a business owner and a leader that people come to see, to learn from, to be around, and get results, it’s tough to remove yourself from the daily functions for a week or two here. It’s hard to say “This year, like many people from corporate America, I’m getting four or five weeks vacation.” It doesn’t work that way when you have to open and close the doors. And for the past five years it’s been that way. Now, I have help and I’m burned out.

So what do you do when you’re burned out? You stop, relax, reflect, recharge, and refocus. And, you spend time with the family, which always comes first. This summer I’ve been fortunate enough to take time to go camping twice. Once with my family and once with my brother and father. Next I get to go spend time in the Mountains by the lake with my family before we head to the beach for a few days. It’s not a lot, but it’s needed.

Several years ago when I had my sleeves rolled up, my work boots laced, and my mind laser focused on being able to survive and help my family thrive, I didn’t do this and I used to look at people who vacationed for two weeks at a time and say “Must be nice”. Well now I know that you don’t get there by saying “must be nice”. You get there by committing to the goal, kicking the door down every day and doing the work. You make sacrifices where you need to and then you apply the effort needed to succeed. You don’t waste energy being upset that someone else is going on a vacation, in which you actually know nothing about, and you use that energy on doing the work.

My Thoughts on What It Takes to Lose 50 Pounds in 6 Months.

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There are very few people who can pull off dramatic results. Like Tom who once lost 28 pounds in less than 30 days at Activate Fitness, or Deanna who lost over 50 pounds over her span of time at the gym. Debbie lost over 40 pounds in seven months and is headed to break the all time weight loss record for women at Activate Fitness. The truth is, to get results like this you need to be dedicated to not giving up. If you stick to the program, follow the guidelines, and try, you will get these results. Anybody can do. We can all talk about doing it, but it only happens when we get to work.

Here are a few steps to take to lose 50 Pounds in 6 Months.

*Note: Not everyone can get these results. Going at it fifty percent will not get you to 50 pounds lost in 6 months. Going at it seventy five percent won’t either. You need to be committed and follow a good nutrition program, consistently exercise, stay hydrated, and sleep. If you’re a hundred and thirty pounds, shooting for fifty isn’t possible, but following this advice will help you reach your body’s ideal weight.

Let’s start with the obvious. Nutrition. In order for someone to get great weight loss results they need to have a solid nutrition program and follow it. Eating lean cuisines and weight watcher gimmick foods won’t help you. You need to eat real quality foods. Stuff like broccoli, chicken, asparagus, salads, nuts, and lean meats. The best thing to do is start by eliminating added sugars. Do not be fooled by processed foods that use taglines and gimmicks that say “organic and all-nautral”. Sure it’s organic, but it’s still processed with added sugar. Many companies hide the sugar under different names like Agave Nectar or Honey or Organic Cane Sugar. These foods need to be tossed.

A good nutrition plan has very few basic foods. You can say it’s boring, but the goal is to lose fifty pounds right? Good quality foods and a good nutrition program will have foods you eat nearly every day. This is good. By using recipes and spices you can mix it up and you can also cook them differently. Grilled chicken is a lot different than baked chicken. Steamed broccoli is very different from roasted broccoli.

The few basic foods you should eat are simple: Greens, Fruits, Other vegetables, Lean meats, nuts, seeds, butters, and fish. There are many different combinations you can create and quality healthy food is freaking delicious. Maintain a ninety percent compliance to healthy foods and enjoy some time and meals with friends and family. In my opinion, I wouldn’t have cheat meals unless I earned them. Working out once or twice a week and picking at snack foods or larger portions is not earning a cheat meal. Be disciplined.

Once you clear your nutrition out and replace it with foods that grow out of the ground, foods that walk, swim, and fly, then you need to focus on sleep. If you’re sleeping four to six hours a night, things are going to be difficult. Your body works very hard during sleep to make you healthier and combined with good nutrition and exercise, sleep will help you burn a lot of fat. You should be focusing on seven to nine hours and improving the quality of the sleep you get. Using a sleep mask is great. Turning off electronics an hour before bed is also a great way to improve the quality of whatever sleep you get. Keep the room temperature cooler than the whole house. Use a fan. Eliminate blue light. This is very hard for new parents who have monitors and people (like me) who use their phone as an alarm clock. Clean up your sleep, get more of it, and you’ll burn more fat.

Now that nutrition and sleep is said, water is the next thing I must mention. You know one thing about the people who get great results that is common? They drink water. They stay hydrated with water throughout the day. Some people claim the bodyweight in half is the amount of ounces one should drink. Others say a gallon. Some even say to drink only when thirsty. In my opinion, I drink as much as I can. Water makes me feel better, especially since I slack in getting enough sleep. I normally drink about thirty two ounces upon waking up. Throughout the day I use the same cup or bottle and have anywhere from four to seven servings. If you drink twelve ounces of water a day, you need more. If you hate water, be disciplined like an adult and drink more. Start with an extra twelve ounces and work up from there. Make a conscious effort to always have water within an arms reach.

Finally, we get to the best part and also what many consider the hardest part. Exercise. Without exercise you can lose weight but you’ll never feel as good or lose more weight than you will with a good exercise program. What do the people who have lost over fifty pounds in six months have in common? They train hard. They train consistently. They ditch the excuses about working out and show up. It was never easy for them and it still gets tough, but being disciplined to show up and do the work is how you get results. The people who win our weight loss challenges work out the most in the gym. They’re always there. I see them every day. When we special workouts, they show up. When we have challenges, they do them. When we have events inside, outside, or other events not part of the gym.. they show up. The only way exercise will help is if you show up and do your best job. What you can do is the only thing that matters. What someone else is doing is none of your business or concern. The only person you are responsible for and the only person who can get you results is YOU. Take control and act.

Losing fifty pounds in six months is a hard task for anyone to accomplish. It takes great commitment and purpose to get through the work but anybody can do it. You can do it. Follow these guidelines along with a positive attitude and you can’t fail. Being positive that you are strong enough and capable of getting results is a cornerstone for success. If you believe you can’t do it, you won’t do it. If you believe you’re going to fail, you’re going to fail. Another thing about winners in the weight loss challenges we have is that they EXPECT to win. They can’t lose. They don’t accept the belief of possibly losing. Whether they win or lose doesn’t matter, it’s the fact that they run through their days with the positive mindset that they are winners and will be successful. Moping around, wallowing in negative attitudes, and making excuses is not how you get results. You have to ditch that mindset. Turn the switch on in your mind that we all have and ignite the fire in your belly and you can’t fail. I know you are able to be successful. I know you want to be successful. Now, all YOU need to do, is the work.

Will you do it? I’m in it with you. I’ll do it with you. Let’s GO!!!!!!!