Why You Fail

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When someone fails at my gym, it’s a dagger to the heart. They might not know that I care but I want everyone to be a success. When somebody has a hard time, I want to help. However, we don’t ask for help. There is a silent struggle among us all. People are struggling with many different things in life behind closed doors and nobody ever knows, because we don’t ask for help.

A big part of why you fail is not asking for help. Either we assume we know the answers or we try to find the answers ourselves. Part of my problem is I don’t like to bother people. Asking someone for help, to me, is like asking someone to drop everything and attend to my needs. I can’t do this easily. Why should they help me when they have their own life, their own journey, their own struggle?

But not asking for help will bring failure. We can’t do everything alone. When we’re sick and our efforts to rest and take medicine do not work, we ask our doctor for something stronger, or we ask “what’s wrong?” We get the help we need to feel better. When our cars break down and we can’t figure out why, we get it towed to the service center. We ask them “What’s wrong?” and they help us. When our plumbing breaks and we can’t fix it ourselves, we call a plumber and have them come out. We ask them “What’s wrong?”.

It’s different though when it’s us that needs fixing. We can’t just ask our friends or family “what’s wrong with me?”. But the truth is, we should. We need to. It’s important to ask. We won’t solve our problems or get answers to our important questions if we keep them to ourselves.

Failure is an effort that comes up short, and like I said the other day, it’s not failure if we don’t stop trying. Most of the time, trying again is going to require we ask somebody for help. Why can’t I get my website to work the way I want it to? We ask google. Why not ask your brother or sister who works in the IT department at a major corporation? Why can’t I lose weight? We ask google and get a billion responses. Why not ask your brother or sister or friend who is a personal trainer, a doctor, or a nutritionist?

If you want to succeed you’re going to need to ask people you know for help. You’ll have to spend money with a coach or a service of some sort. You’ll need to invest in yourself. You’ll need to spend time with other people who are there helping you, and then not feel bad about it. Like in the Godfather, Bonasera asks for a favor. He needs help. He goes to his friend and asks for it. He doesn’t care that it’s the Don’s daughters wedding day. He asks. And Bonasera gets his help and the Don knows that one day, the favor will be returned. That is how you succeed. You help someone, and they help you. When you ask.

You can’t do it alone. Stop trying and ask.

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!!!!!!!

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.

Showing My Kids The Warrior Side

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In the gym it was Eight in the morning. I got my kids in, grabbed my coffee and water and proceeded to the squat rack. A few leg swings, deep squats, hip mobility movements, bird dogs, and squat jumps and I was ready to go. Training time. Some days it’s comes good, some days it’s a fight. Most days a little built up energy and anger helps me get through the movements. Most of the time I’m training the kids are wild. They run around the gym, play with the jump ropes, grab the five pound weights and do heavy carries, mimic the burpees I do, or play with the cars I have. Sometimes my daughter puts on the boxing gloves and goes to town on the heavy bag.

Recently I started pushing a little harder during the workouts. It’s eight o’clock and I have class at nine. I need to get done before people start showing up. It’s fascinating to see how little one must truly rest. I used to see guys resting three, four, or five minutes after doing a sub maximal load movement like it was a heavy deadlift and they needed to fully recharge. My rest periods are thirty seconds. Some times less. First I do the main movement whether it’s squats or deadlifts and then I go into the accessory work. I super set everything. It helps me get done, keeps the heart pumping, and by the time I finish the last set I have enough time to wipe the sweat from my face and start class.

If I didn’t train before my nine o’clock class I would find every excuse in the book to skip it. I’ve learned to get moving when the mind doesn’t want to. The days I train I am up at four in the morning. I usually don’t roll out of bed for twenty minutes and hate getting started. The lack of sleep has caught up with me and anyone who says sleep is for pussies is an asshole. Sleep is crucial and when you don’t get enough, you miss it. I get to the gym to open up for my five o’clock class and by the time I’m done with the early morning sessions, I’m shot. I want my bed, I want to close my eyes, I want more sleep. I get home and grab a smoothie and coffee and the kids and head right back for my time.

Lifting weights is more than physical appearance or strength. It’s like a drug. The body creates “feel good” hormones and the negative thoughts fade away. There’s nothing like testing your body through physical movement and resistance. Heavy squats bring more than physical strength. They bring mental toughness and feelings of accomplishment. Heavy carries, sled drags, pull-ups, and dips build muscle, strength, and they conquer the inner bitch in the mind that tries to settle for comfort. When the training starts to feel easy, you know you’re drifting into the comfort zone and convenience. It’s time to change a thing or two.

Training with the kids in the gym is fun but at times ridiculous. When your less than two year old walks under the bar of your heavy squats when in the deep position you kind of freak out a little. What if he grabs my leg? What if the plates slide off since I don’t clip them when training alone? But when he gets close it’s a surge of Adrenaline. I love having my kids in the gym with me. They watch me test myself three times or more a week. They see me put my body through the stress of resistance training. They hear me grunt, curse, sweat, and scream. They see me breathe heavily and give it one more shot. Then they get to watch me work, like the old days when men would bring their sons to the field, the farm, the shop, the railway, or the mines. Kids used to see their fathers bust their ass and I’m grateful mine see it almost everyday. They see me crush weakness and build strength. They see me fight the inner bitch. They see me act with courage and fight fear as I add more weight. Then they see me help other people. I couldn’t ask for anything more. At times it’s crazy but looking at the big picture, it’s beautiful.

How To Lose Weight In 5 Easy Steps

In the past few weeks at my gym, Activate Fitness in Hackettstown, I have helped several people lose over ten pounds. One woman lost seven pounds in her first week and another was down ten in two weeks time. It makes me happy to see our members getting the results they signed up for. During the past four years our members have lost well over two thousand pounds and the numbers keep going up. During this time I have seen what works, what doesn’t work, why someone gets results, why others don’t and much more. It’s safe for me to guarantee our members results, as long as they follow the plan, because it works.

Here’s that plan. Read on to learn how to lose weight in five easy steps.

STEP ONE: Decide your goal and decide why you want that goal.

The first thing everyone needs to do when it comes to losing weight is to make a goal. Having a goal set gives you something to work towards. It helps you stay motivated and on track for the results you desire. Setting a goal is simple. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and sit down and think about why you are deciding to start an exercise program to lose weight. When you have a good reason, write down your goal on the paper. Underneath it write why you set that goal.

For example: “I want to lose 15 pounds by 11/2/15. I’m doing this for my health and to be there for my kids.”

Perfect.

STEP TWO: Find an exercise and nutrition program.

When I started to get back into shape I went out there into the gym with no plan and no idea what I was doing. I knew how to do some lifts but I had no idea what an effective exercise program was and especially had no idea about nutrition. That’s why it took me nearly a year and a half to lose only ten pounds. Then, I found a program on-line sold by a professional and I went to work. Following the plan I lost about fifty pounds over the course of the next six or seven months. If you do not understand exercise and nutrition, find a pro. They will save you so much time and emotional energy.

^AND.. I’m not just saying this because it’s my job.. I walk the walk. I have a great coach for my new exercise program through Jiu Jitsu and I have spent several thousands working with other professionals over the past few years.

STEP THREE: Schedule Your Workouts

We schedule doctor appointments, driver’s license renewals, interviews, grocery shopping trips, and nearly everything we do. Our kids have schedules for school, sports, and other activities. The same needs to happen for your fitness journey. If you don’t schedule workouts and MAKE (not find) the time to train, you will find an excuse to skip the workout or something will come up and you will miss the opportunity for your workout. Get your calendar and schedule the days you WILL workout. Then, go and workout.

STEP FOUR: All Things Nutrition

Nutrition is the golden nugget of your successful weight loss journey. That being said, it’s important to treat it as such. Remove weight loss and fitness from the picture, the food you eat makes you who you are. We have one life to live and the food we consume will determine if it’s full of dis-ease or vitality. Get your nutrition right for the sake of your well being.

Now, go shopping and you should even schedule time to go shopping and to prep your meals. When you go shopping buy wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meats, fish, other seafoods, and tons of water. Avoid buying premade meals, packaged microwavable meals, frozen dinners, bagged and dehydrated foods, cereals, and other foods with added sugar. When we consume good wholesome food we won’t overeat and we will get the important nutrients we need for a healthy life.

Decide before the day starts what you are going to eat. When we do this we avoid falling off track and having to resort to meals that are not healthy or in-line with our goals. A day of eating shouldn’t look like a King’s feast. It should look like the leftovers handed down to the beggar. We’re so accustomed to eating massive meals and eating two or three of them a day. The truth of how your body works is that it doesn’t need all that stuff. The more our digestive system is allowed to digest our food, the easier it is for our digestive to digest our food, the better our results will be.

Have a day once a week where you enjoy life, beer, wings, pizza, and whatever you want but stay focused 95% of the week.

STEP FIVE: Keep a journal

Why? Because, it helps. Of course it does. When you record your meals and the days you workout you can keep track of what you are doing and judge your results based on what you’ve done. It’s always the person who doesn’t get results who doesn’t keep track of what they’re doing. When I ask people who tell me they haven’t lost weight what they’re eating and how much they’re working out, they don’t have an answer and neither do I, except “Keep a journal.”

If you write down all your meals, how much you sleep, your water intake, and your workouts and after two weeks you haven’t lost weight, barring any unknown medical reasons, you can go directly to your notebook and see WHY and WHAT is the reason. Maybe you’re eating too much, not sleeping enough, not drinking enough water, or skipping too many workouts. When you find the reason, you adjust and move forward. This is how you get successful results in little time.

For more information on fitness, nutrition, and getting results contact me below:

On Life, Effort, Risks, Goals, and Teaching My Daughter About Hulk Hogan

This week has been awesome. Tuesday I taught my daughter how to give me the pound and she’s loving it. Just the week before I taught her how to mimic Mike Myers in Austin Powers with the famous Fat Bastard line: “Get in my belly.”. The little things really do make the days better and more enjoyable. Today I taught her “Whatcha gonna do BROOOOTHER?” The world famous Hulk Hogan quote that brought him to wrestling stardom. Now I just need to watch everything else I do.

I officially received word that my town accepted my application to expand my gym into a new location that triples the training floor space. This is one of those moves in life that is risky. I’m freaked out by the decision but it’s necessary and from it’s either sink or swim, and I only accept swim. When I sit back and think about the journey I’ve been on in the gym business and life itself, I see that we really do manifest our reality. For the past year I knew it was time to expand the gym. Whether I had the membership base to afford it or not, it was time. All year I spent working hard to grow the business and find a new location. The law of attraction is spontaneous. Out of nowhere the thought came to me to inquire about space at a local warehouse park. Fortunately the timing was perfect and the opportunity was given to me. I’m running with it. Running with fear latched onto my heart and my nerves on edge but nonetheless, full steam ahead.

We are all very capable of capturing our dreams and making them come true. Our thoughts are here for reason and we can’t ignore them. Each time I had a thought about moving into a gym they were so strong I couldn’t think of anything else. The nervousness that comes with it too is not fun at times. On occasion it feels like I need to vomit and I often ask myself if this is real. But the powerful thought of knowing I want to do this is so strong that I work to make it happen. I don’t let it go and think it’s a foolish idea. No matter what, if I fail or succeed, it is what it is and the next thought will come and I’ll continue on this journey.

Being able to do all of this and spend much quality time with my children is amazing. Two of three days a week I get to spend the entire day cleaning up poop, spilled milk, and strawberries mushed into the rug. I also get to look into the eyes of joy and feel the connection of human love. Then there’s teaching my daughter the many joys of embracing the little things. Today we trained. I did a circuit of five sets. Five burpees, ten push ups, ten squats, ten kettlebell swings, and twenty flutterkicks each leg. At the third set my daughter said: “Oh boy. I’m done.” She’s two and a half. I said “No way. Let’s go! Two more rounds.” She held the kettlebell for a few seconds, did some funny looking burpees, and tried to squat. She kept going and I had to push her. I wonder if she realizes it, probably not, but I just taught her a valuable lesson. One I will continue to teach her until I’m done in this life.

That’s how it’s been with writing and my gym as well. For a long time there hasn’t been many readers of my work. Now I’m close to 500 blog posts since I started writing and there are over 300 that have only been read once or twice. Some classes at my gym have one or two people and last summer there were many that nobody came to. But I keep going, not quitting, doing the reps one motion at a time. What good would it have been if I gave up the first time nobody read a blog post or the first class nobody showed up to?

We are all capable of moving forward towards our dreams. Along the way there are days and weeks and months and even years that are hard. Filled with brutal work and endless days. Failure after failure after failure. Haters, negative people, competition making fun of you, being upset, sad, depressed, let down, and angry. These are the haymakers that are thrown our way that are meant to ask us one question. “Are you strong enough?” And the answer is always yes. One foot at a time.

My friend commented on another friend’s post today “That is sharpening the sword.” “Sharpen the sword for life.”

To me this means that through failure, through trials and tribulations, when we move forward and keep going, we’re working on forging our strongest self. We’re working on becoming the self that our inner core screams for us to notice and let loose on life. Yesterday I spoke to some co-workers about I felt my writing and podcasts were a little dry because I feel I’m not being my true self. I’m holding back my true opinions and the immense knowledge within my mind. I don’t want to rock the boat. I’m afraid that people will see the true man I am, where I’ve come from, and not accept me. I’m not alone here either. WE ALL have those feelings. Each day I try to do one thing to learn how to accept that part of me and I work on finding the reasons I MUST let it out in my writing, coaching, podcasting and more.

Moving forward I accept my role as the Bumblebee.

Fitness Classes, Home in Bed, and Other Random Thoughts

After classes this morning at the gym I came home and was able to spend some time in bed with the whole family. My son, six months and a tank, was bouncing back and forth in excitement to see our sleepy, but smiling faces. My daughter, still getting over a nasty cold that crushed our sleep time over the weekend, was kind of happy. The boogers and cough have got her upset. She’ll be fine. My wife, gorgeous as ever, took the day to take care of our daughter’s cold. She’s an amazing person. Great mother, great wife, and awesome therapist. It’s perfect to be able to come home and have that moment before our day gets crazy. Even if it was only for five minutes, it felt like forever and I could hold it until the end of time.

Recently at the gym we’ve been having a fat loss challenge. Thirty days. Winner takes all. The person who loses the highest percentage of their starting weight will take the prize. I’m in this challenge as well. It’s a beat the trainer event and if I lose, fifty dollars is coming out of my pocket. The other challengers, they put in twenty and I couldn’t be more proud of the effort they’ve been making. Watching men and women both work hard at achieving success, to possibly get a hold of the fat cash jackpot, fills me with gratitude, happiness, and appreciation.

After another morning class I stopped to pick up my buddy, Cooper, from my brother’s apartment and headed into the office. The ride over was nothing fancy. A quick trip through farm country and the quiet America that still exists if you look for it. There was a farm with several horses outside eating the grass. They each had on one of those blankets that keep their backs and most of the torso warm. A calming sight as I sped into work.

Cooper is a fine young man of a black lab. He’s mixed with something. “Whatever jumped over the fence that day” said the man at the farm where we adopted him. He’s four now, going on five and has started to get more white on his chin, just below his mouth. He comes to the office almost everyday, with either my brother or myself. He’s like our mascot. During the day while we work away on our computer machines, he sits on a chair and dreams about dog world and chasing deer.

As I sit here and write, I’m listening to some Tibetan bowl meditation music that is keeping my mind centered. Normally I’d be distracted within the first paragraph and stop to think about baseball or rap music or the growth of my gym business. When the music centers me, I feel more in flow with my creative nature and I keep the cursor moving. Practice filling up the screen with stories and let the truth be set free.

Don’t judge the work while the fingers are moving. You have plenty of time afterwards to stop and check for mistakes or to be critical of the words coming from within. Normally, I write with a timer. Ten minutes and then post it up. I don’t care about mistakes. What people say is what they’ll say. I have no control over it and maybe nobody will even read it, but here it is.

The other day I decided to let go of the thought about what others think and I began a novel. I hand wrote in a notebook three pages. The story begins. I’m not in a rush to get it done either. This will be good and will have the finest quality of my writing and may take years. Through that time I’m sure I’ll learn a few things or maybe many. For sure this will influence the outcome. At least it’s started now.

Staying Home With The Kids and Other Random Thoughts

The last few weeks have been quite interesting. I’ve stayed home more with my kids than I have before, and I love it. My daughter is crazy and is so intrigued by everything. She has a passion for her toys, smiling, and getting tickled. When I try to read, she sits on my shoulders or jumps on my sternum. It hurts, but she laughs so it’s all good. My son is small but getting big. He’s trying to sit up and can roll over now. He laughs at everything and talks to the television if he catches it on. He also enjoys being tickled.

During this time, I haven’t done much of anything but be a father and read a few pages of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I’ve coached my sessions at Activate Fitness and have worked slightly on growing my business but I’ve thrown it all on the side for my kids. With the time I’ve spent home, I guess you can call me a part-time stay at home dad. I’ve spent more hours changing diapers, making lunches and breakfast, cleaning up toys, and rolling around on the floor than I have behind a computer or at the gym.

When I was getting started in the fitness industry I would listen to guys like Jim “Smitty” Smith, Zach Even Esh, and Jim Wendler talk about being home with your kids and to enjoy it, because it goes fast and I’ll never get it back. I’ve accepted the fact my time is needed at home, and the gym can wait. Besides, it’s doing great. Right now, I’m Dad.

This change came out of nowhere. Like a meteor slamming into the farm on a clear summer night. Before this shift of heart, I was glued to the computer, to my books, to writing, to training, to seminars, and more, trying to grow my business and make more money. I was unconscious to my surroundings and unaware of the distance I was creating in my life. I’m happier now that I get to hang out with two little kids. They say you’re the average of the five people I spend the most time with. Well, one is a two-year old girl who hides in the corner to poop while staring at the ceiling. The other is a four-month old buddy of mine who sleeps most of the day. Then there’s my wife who is a kick ass occupational therapist, and for the other two, that’s really it. Some days I go to the office and I work next to my brother who has his shit straight finally and he’s working hard to make an awesome life. Other than that, there’s my imaginary friend Fred who is a pot smoking cat that brings me inspiration to write. So, take the average of those five people and everything looks well. My roundtable time sitting with the sharks can wait.

Just the other day I had to bring my kids to the gym with me and we had a blast, at least my daughter did. My son slept the whole time even though Disturbed and AC/DC were blasting for an hour. My daughter was pretending to load atlas stones with a six pound medicine ball and even though it was relatively heavy, she still tried. Can’t ask for more, even from my clients. All I ask of them is to try their best. Do one burpee and if the next one doesn’t happen, at least you tried.

One of the greatest lessons I will teach my kids as they grow up is to always try. For many years, I never tried at nothing. The only thing I tried to do was hide from people. The more recluse I became, the better I felt. That got me nothing special, in fact it got me only the clothes I wore and the title of “homeless bum”. It will be important to teach my children the responsibility of trying. You can’t write your name in cursive? Try again. You can’t lift the 20 pound kettlebell? Try again.

They’ll also learn that reading is one of the most powerful things we can do. Half the time, I fall asleep or read the same line over and over. Some days it doesn’t happen and reading fifty pages can be saved for tomorrow. Try though, read what you love. Don’t read Essentialism just because ten other people you know said it was a good book. If you can’t get through the first few pages effortlessly, dump it or come back to it another time. Read fiction. Read romance. Read drama or conspiracy theory. Read religion or atheism books. Read Hunter Thompson for sure. He’ll make you smile. He’ll make you think. Read Stephen King’s On Writing even if you have no desire to write. The story of his life is fascinating. Read the four books your Daddy wrote. Critique him. Bring him to show and tell and say “My Daddy is an author.” Even though he hasn’t sold a bunch of books like Glenn Beck or Robert Greene, at least he sat down and did the work. Read Steven Pressfield books and use the things he teaches in whatever you’re passionate about. Read A.A. Milne books and then read The Tao of Pooh. Just read. Even though it’s boring and not a fancy thing like dancing, it will take you further than you ever imagined.

Being at home with my kids is something I am extremely grateful for. I feel bad as well. Their mommy is out busting her ass in her therapy sessions and I’m sitting home watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or playing “tea” with my daughter. I go train a few people in the mornings and evenings. She helps people all day. My kids and I have fun, we color and make hearts and paper cards for Mommy while she’s dealing with people who need a lot of help.

Staying home with two children under two and a half has also taught me more about my self. About my ego, my desire to write, my passion for fitness, my mindfulness, my anger, my love for my wife, and more. Stay tuned as those stories come, another day. Right now, it’s time to play.

5 Tools I Used to Become Awake and Alive

My days used to be filled with complaining about the government. Calling rich people greedy crooks and blaming everyone else around me for all the trouble I got myself into. It wasn’t my fault, I thought, and I looked for anything to focus my sights on that took away my inner pain. I was foolish and slightly crazy for the way I lived and I used the excuses you see everyday on your Facebook Feed. It’s the government’s fault I don’t have a job. How am I ever going to get ahead when I’m taxed for almost half my money? Why oh why does this always happen to me?

To put it simple, my level of consciousness was at the point of survival and nothing more. My focus wasn’t on prosperity and abundance or entrepreneurship and fitness. It was focused on how to do I survive today, where is my next meal coming from, and why did I get the short end of the stick?

But inside I knew there was more to life than the pain I was putting myself through. See, all the hardships and pain I went through was all a mindset. I was broke because I had  a broke mindset. I hated rich people or people who “had their shit together” because my mindset was focused on hiding and not giving a damn. I created my life and people do the same each day.

It never ends, the cycle of pain we put ourselves through. Unless we educate ourselves and expand our minds. Once I realized there was more to life than complaining of being sick, tired, and broke, I realized that I could use my mind to change my life. And so it began, my journey to becoming awake and alive.

Once I got things back on track and had a few pep talks with people close to me, it was time to get to work. Without having a plan or a mentor to show me the way, I simply walked the first step and never looked back. Here are 5 things I used to help myself become awake and alive:

1. Books on Positive Thinking

Before I first opened The Secret and Think and Grow Rich, I didn’t know a thing about the Laws of the Universe or the Success Mindset. I was a lost cause just floating through a normal 9 to 5 life. My days were all the same. I would wake up, go to work, come home, and sit in front of the TV wasting my precious moments away. Passion and purpose eluded me up until my late twenties. I never even thought about it or knew such a thing existed. That’s until I started asking Google the question “why am I here?” Because I just wasn’t happy with the Groundhog Days of life.

These books and others on Positive Thinking opened my eyes to a whole new world and I jumped in with every ounce of energy within. I was flushing through these books one a week, sometimes two or three. My mind was expanding and thoughts and ideas starting racing around my mind. At first the excitement hid the pain but eventually it caught up. Here I was, 27 or 28 years old and after wasting 7 years of my life away hiding from the forces of nature, I come to find out that we are all capable enough and strong enough to live whatever lives we wish to fulfill.

It crushed me. But, I climbed to the next level of consciousness.

2. Nutrition & Exercise

As a former Fast Food Junkie who was once 60 pounds overweight, my nutrition was grease and my exercise was 12 ounce curls of watery beers like Miller or Coors Light. A climb up the steps and I was done, sweating, panting, exhausted. A shame for a young man to be so out of shape. A disgrace to my inner soul who always threw out the warning signs and hard questions, but an ego which refused to listen.

My unhappiness with my life always found a way to my gut. I looked down and was sadden by what I had become and I knew to ever live my life to the fullest, I had to get in shape. So immediately I went to work on cleaning up my nutrition and exercise and within two years I lost 60 pounds.

Some things that helped me were- 1. Writing Down my Nutrition Intake. 2. Staying Consistent with Exercise. 3. Realizing my pain of being fat was not acceptable any longer.

3. Writing

The more I learned, the more I read, the more my fingers went to the keyboard and the more I began writing. When I was a reclusive dumbass I used to write a little here and there. I wrote a short novella about Aliens and stuff once when I was depressed with my situation and lost it in a flood. The other stuff was feelings and thoughts of how fucked up I was. But when I started developing a higher consciousness I began writing about life, positive thoughts and actions, fitness, and more. The more I wrote, the better I felt, the smarter I became, and the more motivated I was to live a passionate and purposeful life.

4. Metaphysics

Now I’m definitely not a scholar nor do I have a college education, but I believe the works I’ve read, listened to, and watched that are considered “metaphysical” have helped me grow more as a person than anything else. My journey to becoming awake and alive would never exist if it wasn’t for a few books and podcasts I’ve listened to by people like Wayne Dyer, Stuart Wilde, Aristotle, Paulo Coelho, and more. These books and audios have helped me expand my mind in search of meaning and taught me some valuable lessons about the way things are. The Tao Te Ching was one of the most inspirational and educational books of my journey and other works taught me the power of using your mind for the greater good of all. Learning about “awakening” “consciousness” and the power of intention pushed me further down the line to places that I don’t fully understand yet but that intrigue me to continue learning.

5. Isolation Tanks/Meditation

Through what I learned from metaphysical authors, books, and audios, I began my journey with meditation and mindfulness as I searched for more, to go further down the line of becoming awake and alive. This also led me to the isolation tank which is a powerful tool to use for meditation and mindfulness. Basically we are made up of two minds. The ego self and the Inner Self. The ego is the self that gets angry when you lose ten dollars out of your wallet. The Inner Self is the self that doesn’t mind you lost ten dollars. It says “I hope he who finds it benefits more than I would have.”  Inside the tank, the ego (which controls the majority of our minds, decisions, and lives) doesn’t exist. Inside, you are awake and alive to the fullest extent of living. The ego is gone. Your true self comes out of the woodwork and lets you in on secrets of your mind and in turn, you expand your consciousness to higher levels. Meditation works much the same way, although more difficult without consistent practice.

These five tools have been great educators and motivators on the reality we live in today. Much of our “knowing” is backed by lies and propaganda. It is your responsibility to see that for yourself  and learn the truth of who you are, to expand your own consciousness. If you want to start your journey to becoming awake and alive sign up below for my FREE 10 Day Life Transformation Program. Each day you’ll receive an email that teaches you ways to open your mind and allow the goodness we deserve to flow freely into your life. Sign up now.

Michael Corona is a local entrepreneur who owns Activate Fitness and Hackettstown Barbell Club at 150 Mountain Avenue in Hackettstown, NJ. He is a Fat Loss Coach, Business & Success Coach, writer of two blogs, author of Becoming Awake and Alive and The Essential Essays of Activate Fitness, husband and father of two. To hire Michael to help you grow to your next level whether it’s life, business, or mindset please email him at ActivateFitnessPT@gmail.com

Follow Him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MichaelCoronaPT

Follow Activate Fitness at www.facebook.com/ActivateFit 

 






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Look Within Yourself First

Dave Meier

Being “down in the dumps” seems to be all the rave lately. Everywhere I go, everywhere I look, the things I read and messages I receive and the gibberish I hear, it seems like many people have just given up or at least are absolutely lost. Is it really this bad? Have we walked ourselves in the great despair forgetting the way in? Caged in the darkness of the mind?

We live in a truly amazing world. Just last night I was walking my dog and I looked at the sky to see an amazing sight. The full super moon majestically lit up the night sky with a power of the gods. A painted masterpiece of nature in the heavens above and a silence so serene it made for an incredible moment while it lasted.

Is the world really so horrible or is our laziness and perception the cause of what we believe is our reality? I was recently watching a video with a man who was preaching in a gospel, hymn, rap style video about how bad we have made the world, how money is the root of all evil and every negative emotion you can think of. And, it’s videos like this that are the problem. Too many people believe in the message for the wrong reasons. We’ve been bred to feel money causes pain, heartache, and anguish but in reality, money does none of that. It’s our perception of what money is. We tell ourselves that the “lack” in the world is a problem and the pollution is abundant but yet we still flick cigarettes out the window, still create toxic fumes with the gas we use to get us from A to B, and we still purchase products created from fossil fuels.

Our vision for what a happy and healthy life, and world, is all about is clouded by the wrong mindset, the wrong perception, and the wrong beliefs. Instead of complaining about no jobs, why aren’t we trying to live our true purpose and along the way, create jobs? We blame the bad luck we seem to be experiencing on the government when they’re not causing it. It’s within. The same message this dude was preaching but his message was so involved with the negative attitudes and mindsets we seem to gravitate so easily towards.

We move towards those negative feelings and beliefs because not many people work on the positive parts of life. How often do you meditate? How often do you exercise and stretch and eat healthy whole foods? How often are we getting outside, where we belong, to live in the abundant nature those forces gave us?

More so, we spend our time indoors, behind electronics, listening to and reading those very negative forces that are influencing our mindsets in the wrong way. Our answers to these “problems” we’re experiencing are not going to come from Obama, or Oprah, or even someone like me. They come from within your heart, mind, and soul.

It’s tough to rearrange the lives we lead when they’ve been designed for so long by outside circumstances that we truly don’t believe, but being a victim will NEVER help you change that. Only you can. The best part is, you are strong enough and you have the strength to make that change. It just takes blood, guts, time, and effort. Don’t point your finger to anything outside of yourself until you’ve looked within first.