Does Getting In Shape Have to Be Hard?

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Each morning would begin with some eggs. Possibly a piece of Ezekiel toast and a side of blueberries, but more often than not it was strictly eggs. By mid day, an hour or so before lunch, I’d snack on an ounce of almonds and a protein powder drink mixed with plain water. Next up came lunch. Most days lunch was a huge salad with a few ounces of lean chicken breast, mixed with some other nuts and a fat based dressing. Before I left work I would have another scoop of whey protein powder in water and maybe a banana and then head to the gym. At the gym I worked with Starting Strength, a strength based progressive program, and would do Squats, Bench Press, and Barbell Rows. Before I left I would spend twenty or so minutes of the elliptical or stationary bike. Some days I would do a circuit of different exercises, build a sweat, and go home.

After each meal and workout I’d write the foods I consumed and the exercises I did. I kept solid track of what was happening. I knew where I needed to be in terms of Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates, water, and total calories. I also knew where I was and what more or less I needed when it came to water and exercise. Most mornings after I woke up and drained the tank I would weigh myself to see where I was in terms of weight.

Doing this strictly for thirty days showed very effective. At the end of the month I stepped on the scale and it showed a total weight loss of seventeen pounds, in only thirty days. My strict but simple plan was proven.

Twice in the last five years I did this plan and the results were the same. Seventeen pounds lost and none coming from muscle. In the coming weeks I will again attempt this plan before summer to drop the winter excess pounds from bulking up. During those thirty days I did enjoy two or three cheats meals of pizza and beer.

So this begs the question: Does getting in shape have to be hard?

Before I answer this with why it doesn’t have to be hard, the answer is a simple yes when you ask the question. If you believe getting in shape will be, or is, hard, then it’s going to be a struggle. The negative notion of the question will bring about doubt, heartache, and frustration. For one to begin a weight loss with the thought of it being difficult is to begin with failure rooted in mind. To start on the right foot, forget asking the question of will it be hard and instead, intend to succeed with positive force.

Getting in shape is not hard. It does require a good amount of work but “hard” it is not. Anyone can do it. Moms with three kids have gotten in shape. Men who had heart attacks and strokes have gotten in shape. Truck drivers weighing over three hundred pounds with no exercise experience in their life have gotten in shape. A stay at home Dad, me, has gotten in shape.

There are two things you need to succeed. A plan and being disciplined in your plan.

What makes a plan effective?

Simplicity. We can’t over complicate the process. If you look at my simple and basic plan there was nothing in it that required an education level beyond the third grade. A child would understand what needed to be done. A quick calculation of my macro-nutrients based on my weight and age gave me all the details I needed to develop a good plan.  A simple and effective plan.

When it comes to exercise we can get very complicated and develop a plan like a NFL Linebacker would follow, but for most of us, that is unnecessary. Following a simple strength and conditioning program is all you need. Getting into the fine details of exercise can come when you advance to a higher level of fitness. For the majority of the country, simple is all that is necessary.

Working out four to five times a week for at least thirty minutes is simplicity at it’s finest. Work the basic movements of the human species. An upper body push, an upper body pull, the hinge, squatting, and loaded walking are as basic as you can get. Hundreds of thousands of people have followed simple plans with those six basic human movements and have changed their life. That is all there is to it.

Quality nutrition also makes a plan effective. Without knowing what to eat it can be frustrating. To save you headache and heartache here are a few good foods you should be eating. If you have to ask if something is healthy, it is not.

Lean Meat (Chicken, Turkey, Beef, etc.)
Fish
Green Vegetables
Other Vegetables
Fruits
Nuts and seeds

When you eat those foods in line with the details you found when you did the simple calculations of your macros (mentioned above) you will succeed.

BUT.. that doesn’t make a plan effective. You won’t have success using a very basic and simple plan unless you are disciplined in actually doing it. Most people can maintain discipline for ten or so days but then something can happen that knocks us off the tracks. Our discipline has been compromised. A very simple way to maintain discipline is to slow down your thoughts and stop rushing through life. Sure we all have places to go, people to see, work to do, and things to get done, but we can slow down that process and think. Something that seems lost in this rush age of society, thinking. When we actually set aside time to think, great things happen. The iPod was reinvented and changed music when thinking time was spent effectively.

The same goes for your discipline. A great way to help yourself attack your goals and succeed with your plan is to be professional with it. Treat your daily action steps of getting in shape like it was your job. Treating it like a hassle or nuisance is setting yourself up for failure. You must be professional and aware of what you are doing and need to do. It’s that easy.

It’s a shame we try to over-complicate the process of living healthy. Corporations need to make a profit and therefore we create the noise involved with living healthy. Parents are thrown into the pit of lions when kids want sugary snacks and foods. But the disciplined parent knows not to buy that garbage and bring it into the home, where temptation lurks. A good way to think about living healthy when it comes to nutrition is, does buying this food help a fortune 100 company make even more money or is it going to that local farmer who sits in the back of the church on Sunday with his family?

Getting in shape does not have to be hard. Make it simple. Make it so easy that a third grade student can understand it and follow the plan and be successful should they choose to. The more nutrition and fitness clutter we remove from our minds and days, the better we will do with our plan. Remember, you can do this. It is easy when we positively intend for it to be. Too choose otherwise is foolish.

From Nothing to Something: Going from Rock Bottom to Living Activated

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If we go back just ten years ago my life was very different from what it is now. Ten years ago I was hiding from the world around me. I literally was hiding from the law over a traffic violation that I failed to pay, which led to a warrant. I was young and afraid. The real world in front of me was a scary place and I had no clue how to deal with it and make it in a world of sharks and lions. I was terrified of trying and therefore, I hid. Unfortunately this did nothing good for my life and I ended up being homeless. At one point I delightfully gave up all of my possessions and moved forward with the clothes on my back and maybe ten other items.

Drifting through life with no plan was the order of the day and most of the time I was under the influence. Much of my time was spent like a hermit. I hardly went out, I had few friends, I didn’t care for my appearance or health, and I was broke. For awhile I was coasting through a shitty job as a lighting salesman slash stock boy slash driver slash cleaner. The job actually wasn’t shitty, but I would have rather been partying with my friends hiding from people. But I did what I had to do. Once I lost that job because of my lack of caring about anything, I was broke. I couldn’t afford food, I couldn’t afford car or health insurance, and I couldn’t afford a place to live. A few months was spent squatting in my Grandmother’s house that was for sale. I stayed until the last possible day. The heat was turned off and I slept on the hard floor with a sleeping bag I had from my days camping.

Once I was forced to leave because the sale of the home was finalized, I had nowhere to go. Twelve or so days was spent hanging out at my friend’s house on his recliner. His parents had no idea I was sleeping there. Once they found out, I was toast. A few nights were spent sleeping under a bridge and I came to a point of life or death. Do I march forward or quit like a whiny ass punk? Luckily I decided to move forward and caught a break when my Aunt allowed me to stay in her home.

Within a few days I got a job as a landscaper, doing mostly hardscaping work. Which for those who don’t know is the construction of paver patios, walkways, retaining walls, and such. It was hard work but looking back now, I miss it. Being outside in the hot sun working your ass off, sweating like a pig, lifting heavy objects for ten or twelve hours a day was brutal, but it built character and I never felt better. I was doing exactly what our biological DNA is built for. Working with your hands and heavy objects and the weather around you is good for the soul. Sure it sucked when it was a hundred degrees, but the ice cold beer and steak dinner afterwards always sat nice.

About a year of doing this while pretending I was a licensed driver, it was suspended because I failed to appear in court, it was time to face reality. I couldn’t keeping hiding and had to address the law. Thankfully, it was silly and the prosecutor actually laughed about it. My warrant was dismissed and I received a fifty or sixty dollar fine. That was a brutal lesson on why it’s important to get the job done right away and to face my unrealistic and blown out of proportion fears.

Once I got my license back and a car I started working for my mother. For quite awhile I enjoyed the air conditioning, the heat, the convenience of a kitchen and bathroom, and sitting by a computer. That quickly changed when I realized my primal nature was to be active and not sitting all day. I started to get a little stir crazy, even though I wouldn’t accept to believe it.

During my time as a medical biller I met my now wife and we quickly hit it off, got married, and bought a house. All while I wasn’t ready for any of it. Coming from what I went through in the previous years before meeting her, I wasn’t ready to be the man of the house, let alone have a house. But like the day I left my Grandmother’s house to become homeless, I rolled with it and went to work. As life as a new homeowner and married man unfolded I began to realize I wasn’t happy about my work. I didn’t want to be there but knew I had to be. I also knew there was more in store for me and more I can share with others, I had to figure it out.

So I spent most of the first year as a newly wed new homeowner working on becoming a personal trainer. I wanted to help people get in shape. For the past two years I was working out and lost about sixty pounds of fat. I thought I knew what I was doing and wanted a way out of the office and into a world of my “own thing” being my own boss.

Here’s the thing about training and having my own business… I knew nothing. I thought I knew everything but I quickly became aware of the fact that I was in for a big surprise. Through my focused efforts and intense studying I received my personal trainers certification and then promptly hid the fact, out of foolish fear, that I was a trainer. For several months I did nothing about. Finally after some pep talking from my wife, I decided to give it a go and offered my services as a personal trainer for free.

Now this was about five years ago from today. When I first started Activate Fitness, I was scared shitless. I was afraid of the other trainers in town, I was afraid of internet trainers, I was afraid I didn’t have the skills and knowledge to get the job done right. I was afraid of gym owners in a twenty mile radius. I absolutely did not want to take action on my dream. I was frozen in place and had zero dollars to make something from nothing.

But I said FUCK THAT and ultimately took control of my life and destiny and decided to do it anyway. Starting out training others for free or for five dollars is how I had to get things going. It took years for me to finally be able to open my own gym and when I did, I was just as broke as I was when I started. My wife was pregnant and we had no money to lose but we took the risk and I threw myself in the middle of the street, ready to help people change their lives.

I stood there in the arena and took my bumps and my bruises and kept coming back fighting. I failed hundreds of times during my years of owning Activate Fitness. I worked through competition opening all over the place and kept my vision pointed straight ahead, success or die. There is no room for failure. It’s do it or lose it. Mornings came when I said Fuck it and wanted to quit. I waited patiently and silently begging for my wife to throw in the towel on my dream and bring me back to safety. I cried because of the stress of dealing with others. I cried because the numbers weren’t good. I cried because I missed precious time with my family and neglected them, especially my wife, for years.

They can stab me with their sword and dare to declare victory but with courage and hope I won’t stop. I choose to live my life activated. I choose to live awake and alive. I choose to be the one in control and refuse to let others control my life, my way of being, my destiny. I stand here today a man who has seen rock bottom but a man who also braved battle and decided winning was the only option. I refuse to lose. I will not lose.

You can choose to live life activated.

You can choose to take control of your life.

You can choose to chase your dreams and gear up for the war you’ll definitely face.

You can choose to wake up and live awake and alive.

Will you?

Join us here for support and accountability in your journey to living your best life: Your Life Activated

Failure

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As a coach I see people fail all the time. I see people fail to stay on track with their goals. I see people fail to seek the support of those around them who are willing to help. I see people fail to give it time. I see people join my gym with the goals and dreams of getting in shape. They sign up for a twenty one day program and they come once. They fail to return.

I see people join in transformation challenges who start with a bang, only to fizzle out within a week or two, or when something throws them off schedule. I see motivation in their eyes and willingness to try, but something stops them dead in their tracks and they never (or at least from what I see and know) get into the shape they wanted when they started.

But is this really failure? In my opinion, failure consists of quitting your efforts to try. If you get a result that isn’t what you expected it’s not failure but rather a lesson that we must use to help us change something that didn’t work. In business and personal endeavors unrelated to my gym I have gotten poor results many times and failed.

In the past few years I self-published five books. My first book Becoming Awake and Alive sold one copy on Amazon. My second book The Essential Essays of Activate Fitness sold zero. My third book On Living Your Best Life sold one copy on Lulu or Amazon, I can’t remember. My fourth book The 15 Principles of Fat Loss Success has sold zero on Amazon. The latest of my five, Your Life Activated has also sold zero on Amazon or any other on-line store it is in.

At my gym and with friends and family, I probably sold ten books total. I took this to mean I failed. What happened since is that I stopped marketing them. I stopped writing about them, talking about them, and mentioning them. I accepted defeat (AKA I quit).

A few years ago I started a new training program for small groups of three or four people. These groups were strictly off limits to others not a part of the group. It started off okay and I filled my slots of three people. As time went on, it didn’t work. People went into my normal groups or they quit and then I stopped trying. I accepted defeat. I quit.

Quitting is the only way we can fail. Had I not given up trying to sell my books, I might have sold the stock I have in my possession. Had I not given up trying to sell spots in my small group private training classes, they would probably be booked. But I let my emotions and feelings get the best of me and accepted failure.

When people fail in the gym, it’s not because they can’t do it. It’s because they accept not trying again. When you don’t lose weight there is probably only one or two things that went wrong that can easily be changed. The problem is, most people accept quitting as an option and therefore, they experience failure.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We have the power inside to keep trying. We have the resources available all around us to get the help we deserve and to make it work this time. You have the desire for success. You have the desire to live activated. You have the desire to feel the best you have ever felt. You have the strength to face poor results and learn from them and fight back. The question is, will you do it?

“The easiest thing to do for most people when facing an obstacle is to quit. With this mentality most people die without ever reaching their full potential in any aspect of life.

You must understand your worth, and your desire to succeed must remain strong even on your toughest of days.

Keep showing up, celebrate your small goals achieved along the way, and stay dedicated when motivation fails.

It’s worth it.”

- Tom Deblass

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.

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!!!!!!!

Get Your Health in Order

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Stop being lazy and get your health in order. No more running around like a teenager on a Friday night eating ice cream and crap. It’s time you stand up and get your shit together. Throw away the cookies, the candy, the chips, and all the pastas. Stop eating added sugar and fix your health through the foods you should be eating.

Get off your ass and start to move, every day. No more excuses about exercise. It’s time you get up and put the effort in to fix your health. Walk every day, do a fitness class a few times a week, go to the gym and lift. Do something. You never know how needed exercise is until you’re in the hospital staring at the ceiling with your clothes ripped open.

You have loved ones that need you around. You have loved ones who wouldn’t know what to do if your health took a devastating blow. You are the captain of your life and nobody can make you do anything, but wouldn’t you feel better about yourself and life if you exercised and ate well?

Damn right you would. When you exercise, your body releases feel good hormones and operates better. When you eat well, you burn fat, build muscle, and your body feels better.

It’s time to stop acting like a lazy lump and take control of your health and ditch the excuses. There is nobody that is too busy or too out of shape for exercise and good nutrition. Start with a walk and a salad. Do it again tomorrow and then do it the next day. Find a professional to help you if needed. Go buy food at a farm instead of the Quickie Mart. Stop eating sugary snacks and say you have cravings.

When you don’t control your cravings, it’s weakness that doesn’t need to be there and shouldn’t be either. You can grab a healthy snack instead of cookies, but you choose not to. Stop making childish choices and act your age. I don’t want to come off as harsh but instead, honest and straight forward. What I am writing here you already know and there are days when you think about that. You know a healthy food from a shitty food. You know walking is good for your body and mind. You know exercise gets easier when you practice.

Why don’t you do these things?

I’ve seen people who were walking heart attack risks turn their lives around and completely change their life. It wasn’t easy, but they did it and they didn’t give up. They asked for help. They asked questions. They made sacrifices. They saw results.

You can do this too. You have the power, the energy, and the willpower to do it. Stop defeating yourself before you get started and tackle this journey. There are people close to you who can help you. There are people close to you who want to help you. ASK. Get your health in order, right now.. before it’s too late!

You Need to Be Strong

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We need to be strong. Strength is a key to living an activated life. Whether it’s physical or mental strength, we need. Most of us don’t train the body to be strong. The nation is filled with couch potatoes and office workers who don’t get physical with fitness and it’s the weak who feel the burn of dis-ease, discomfort, pain, and unhappiness. Getting physical in a gym, outdoors, or other form of activity is a key to happiness and living a strong activated life.

To be weak is a disservice and in my opinion a disgrace to the hard men who fought for our freedom and continue to do so this day. They sweat and bled for our freedom and for us to live comfortable lives. We must be strong and courageous as a form of gratitude for their hard work and for our gratitude to be free beings.

Strength is your ticket to a fun ride through life. Being weak means being stuck, hurt, sick, and overwhelmed. By training for physical strength we increase our mental strength and that helps in other areas of life. Mental strength is also something we don’t recognize we already have within our minds and bodies. Pregnant women don’t know how strong they are until they go through labor and delivery. Moms and Dads don’t know how strong they are until they get through long sleepless nights that turn into days and weeks. Wives and husbands never know how strong they are until they need to stand by their loved ones side and be the strength they need.

We often don’t test our strength or mope through days feeling weak. The truth is, a change of state of mind can quickly show your strength. We also must find ways to test our strength. Some do it in the gym, others do it on the farm. Some people run Spartan races and others roll in Jiu Jitsu class. The test of strength improves ones strength.

If you don’t feel strong in your mind and body then you need to work on it, today. Lift weights, run a mile, hike a mountain, go volunteer, do something that shows you your strength and then, improve it. Daily.

Lifting weights makes the body strong. Meditation can make the mind strong but testing your emotional, physical, and mental strength will make you stronger everywhere. Some women come in the gym and ask for the three or five pound weights. We don’t have any. Those weights are for my not even four year old daughter. She lifts them overhead and walks a hundred feet. What the women find out quickly is that they’re stronger than they think they are and I’m going to make them stronger.

If you believe you are weak then you’re going to be weak. Develop a tougher mindset through challenges. Make commitments that scare the fuck out of you and then do them. Challenge yourself in the gym and break past any comfort zones you have set up for yourself. Be strong for yourself and be strong for others. Somebody needs you to be strong, do not fail them. Make a promise to yourself to improve your strength and do it now.

Taking Extreme Ownership

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I sat by the fire a few hours after the kids went into the cabin and my wife joined them. Alone outside in the woods by the crackling fire I began to look deep within my heart and soul, in my mind and agendas. As I sat there I began to question my actions and non-actions. Realizing that I was making excuses in different areas of life, I asked myself what needed to happen to make progress and get past the excuses.

For a few weeks I’ve been listening to the Jocko podcast, every Tuesday I believe he puts out a new episode. It struck me right in the gut and has been helping me get over the obstacles I create in my life. Normally he reads through a military based book and discusses it and then answers questions from people across the world. He wrote a best-selling book called Extreme Ownership and I don’t need to read it because I get it. The whole point of the book is simple, own everything with one hundred percent responsibility and take charge of your own life.

Simple I thought, and as I got back into the swing of things at the gym and home life I realized much of the problems going on in my mind are created because I’m not owning my responsibility. Before the trip I felt stuck in my writing and actually thought I’d never find something to write about. I didn’t meditate for about a year because I made the excuse of not having time and kids keeping me from doing it.

What all that is was bullshit and fake assumptions and negative thinking. Own it I told myself. Get after it I said. Words enveloped in my language from listening studiously to Jocko and Echo talk about being disciplined and in charge.  I call it living your life activated and being awake and alive. Mantras I preached and lived by but words that fell off my shoulders. Being stuck was nothing more than laziness and ill thinking.

The power of negative thinking and burn out can be soul crushing and when we let it linger, it causes excuses. One of the best things that ever happened to me was learning how to say no. I am a generous person and I often give my help to those who need it without question. I drop everything, change plans, do things I don’t want to do to give my help, but learning how to say NO and being okay with it was a game changer. You can call it being selfish but I call it putting my own mask on first. What I found is that being spread thin and sympathetic left me burned out and there came the excuses I created for “writer’s block” and not meditating.

As I learn from the Jocko podcast and through the art of living I learn that we must act, even if we don’t want to. We must find the courage to fight our fear. We must push through the obstacles in the way of our dreams. We must take full responsibility for everything and not be a circumstance of the situation. We create our lives through our thoughts, our beliefs, our goals, and none of it becomes possible without action. Consistent action.

My excuses and failure to see the negative self talk and lack of acceptance of responsibility left me confused, frustrated, and stuck. Now that I stand awake again and alive, my mind is activated and my energy is charged towards action. If you ever want to achieve your goals, live your best life, be activated, and fully charged you must own your journey and accept full responsibility for all that stands in your days.

5 Tips to Help You Get In Shape

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Getting people in shape is what I do. At my gym I’ve helped many people lose weight. Some lost up to fifty, sixty, and even eighty pounds. As time goes by I continue to learn about what helps people get results and what keeps people from getting results. There is a fine line between being successful and failing and often the person who fails needs to tweak one thing and the results will come.

On my gym blog and in some of my books I have numerous posts or chapters about diet, exercise, sleep, and getting in shape. For awhile now, it’s bored me to write about it anymore but today I wanted to share some tips that will help you get in shape.

1. Believe in Yourself

I’m writing this first because without the belief that you can achieve successful results in your fitness journey, you’re not going to get anywhere. Believing in yourself is a powerful tool we fail to use and often our negative thoughts and fears prevent us from taking action. If you don’t believe in yourself you’ll end up skipping a workout and eating crap food. You must have a complete and total confidence in your abilities to get in shape. If you can dream about being fit, strong, sexy, and in shape then you can do it.

2. Ten Thousand Steps A Day

When new people come into my gym the first thing I find out is their current fitness level. Do they exercise daily? Do they do zumba, run, crossfit, walk, jiu jitsu? What I often find is that many people do nothing. They don’t even walk. Often the first tip I give them is to get their asses moving and get on their feet. I’m a big believer in the ten thousand step challenge I’ve seen around the internet. Basically all you need to do is walk and move throughout the day to get those steps. In today’s society we don’t walk as much as we should. In the morning we walk a few steps to the car and get to work. Once there we walk a few more and sit down for eight hours. By the time work is over we have maybe two thousand or three thousand steps. It’s not enough movement and not moving enough will kill you. Get up and walk. Grab a fitbit to help track your steps if needed.

3. Have More Sex

This is strange for people to hear but it’s the truth. People who enjoy a lot of sex and exercise are in better shape than those who don’t. Sex releases an array of feel good hormones and chemicals and they help you feel better, more confident, and full of energy. Sex helps relieve pain, reduces stress, boosts heart health, helps you sleep better and leaves you in a better mood. All of those effects are extremely valuable to you when you’re on a weight loss journey.

4. Find a Gym Buddy

Having a gym buddy to work out with is awesome. The two of you can help keep each other accountable and on track. When one starts to slow down and the other is going strong, a few motivating words can help you push through. Having a gym buddy with the same goals as you will also help you stay accountable with your nutrition, if you make that important. Setting times to workout together will help you show up and seeing your buddy work hard will help you work harder. Find someone you can train with and make sure you work together.

5. Meditate

I’ve been a big fan of meditation for quite some time now and have fell off the wagon for about a year. I recently added meditation time into my schedule again and so far the effects are noticeable. Meditation will help you relax and focus and knock away some stress in your life. All it takes is two minutes to start. The best time to start meditating is right now and you don’t need any special skills or talents to do it. Simply sit down, close your eyes, and breathe in and out. Don’t focus on an outcome or have expectations, just be. By adding meditation into your routine you help relax the body and clear the mind, which will leave plenty of room for action on the things that will help you get in shape.

The whole secret to getting in shape is to consistently apply what you learn about living a healthy life. There are no magic bullets and quick fixes. It’s going to take time to improve your endurance, to get stronger, to build muscle, and to tone up. But by persistently attacking the day with the positive steps needed to be successful, you will reach your goals. Now, go do it.

A Personal Hard Truth

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An inside look into the struggle I’ve gone through..

This was in my drafts folder.

It was written on 1/29/2014

I never posted it or finished it.

I laid my guts out in a moment of reflection and the act of writing it changed my life..

This was what I was going through in January of 2014.

A personal inside reflection..

__________________________________________

It’s easy to stand behind the stopwatch and yell out coaching cues while helping others get in shape. It’s easy to tell them what to eat and when to eat. It’s easy to side tracked and thrown under the bus when you have a hectic schedule..

And it’s easy to understand the frustration of your clients who aren’t losing weight when you yourself are slacking like Winnie the Pooh.

Here’s something you don’t know and don’t see..

I’m being honest..

And I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks. It’s honesty.

I’m slacking big time in the kitchen and I’m addicted to junk food.

Ice cream sundaes and whole bags of tortilla chips and salsa are consumed weekly.

Hamburgers and French Fries when out to eat..

I’ve gained 30 pounds in since Thanksgiving..

And I’m fat.

But right here, and right now..

It’s over. I’m done with the excuses and temptations.

I can’t go on lying to myself and not practicing what I preach.

…………………………………..

At that time I was closing in on 200 pounds.

Today I’m 180 and with more muscle which means I lost over 30 pounds of fat.

I go up and down and I battle the food temptations all the time.

I still battle the struggle of wanting to skip workouts and slack off like Winnie the Pooh.

One day at a time though. That’s how I look at it.

Make the right choice at this moment and worry about the next when it arrives. That’s what I try to say to myself.

BUT.. I didn’t workout for 10 days on vacation. I did a few pullups, chopped a little wood, and ate like a pig. Drank like a fish.

Getting back into the swing of things is killing me.

Doing 20 Push Ups feels like 50 burpees.

One day at a time.

One rep at a time.

One meal at a time.

You’re never alone in your struggles and you never know who else is fighting through the tough battles.

Look Up, Get Up, and Don’t Ever Give Up!

Let’s GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!