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Don’t Be Afraid To Ask

_GBP1518 If you want something bad enough than you have to do everything that you can do to get it.  No matter what it is up to you.  You have to first make up your mind up to do it and then you have to take action.  There will always be people who will tell you that you can’t do something.  You will have to ignore them or better yet use what they say as gasoline for you fire.  There are usually people who are willing to help.  They might not be easy to find but you’re going to have to ask.  There are obviously always people who you can pay for advice or help but that can get costly.  Sometimes it is the best option.  But there are plenty of other people with experience that are willing to help.  You will come across a few that don’t have time for you.  I love it when someone asks me how to do something or wants me to recommend something while I’m at the gym.  (As long as they don’t do it in the middle of a set or circuit).  I love seeing other people make gains and even more like to see them change their life.

When we (Me and my partner Chase Reynolds) decided that we wanted to start The Promise∞Line™ (A motivational brand that encourages people not only set promises (Promises are what we call Goals), but go after them no matter who or what stands in their way.)  We knew very little about what it would take to develop an apparel line along with it.  However, we did have several connections who were more than happy to help.  There were two other apparel companies who have been very successful who we had some loose connections with.  One day I decided that maybe it would be worth calling a founder from each one of them and seeing if they would talk with me and give me some advice.  What’s the worse that can happen?  They tell me to go screw and hang up?  Surprisingly or maybe not surprisingly both of them were more than happy to help.  They answered every question that I asked.  One of them told me that 25 years from now, when some guy calls me and tells me that he has a start-up brand that he is developing, I better take some time and help him out.  I definitely believe in paying it forward.  The other guy that I spoke with has been someone who we speak with every couple of weeks.  He has helped us make a lot of decisions and probably saved us from a number of mistakes.  I can’t say enough how much I respect this individual and his company.   I sent him a couple of shirts the other day and he emailed me that they looked great and was excited to wear them.

We have taken a lot of pride in developing a brand that means something to us.  It means a lot to us to hear from people that we are motivated them and accomplishing what we set out to do.  And the feeling of having a mentor who praises your brand is incredible.  I find that ever since I turned my life around and started living a healthy lifestyle that tend to stick with a lot of similar people.  These similar people have a positive outlook on life and that includes positively effecting and helping others.  You never know until you ask.

CONFIDENCE

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Inspired By Mom: Where Did You Get Your Drive And Determination?

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Not long after my mom committed to participating in the Senior Olympics, she called me to tell me about her adrenaline rush during her training.  She talked about this amazing feeling that she had while swimming and thinking about her competition.  It’s one thing to go out and get involved in an athletic activity but it’s another to compete or prepare to compete.  When you visualize going up against your competitors and pulling away for the win or reaching your goals it’s amazing how much that can motivate you.  It’s a feeling that I love to get and hearing her talk about it makes me proud of her commitment.  She has always challenged herself.   She was swam mostly in order to stay fit and relax, more than anything.  I’m sure when she first started, it was so that she could get away from 3 rowdy kids (me and my brothers) for a little while.  A couple of years ago she took a Gold in the Maryland Senior Olympics and did it again this last year.  As I write this she is going on her second day of the National Senior Olympics.  Her events are 100, 200 and 500 Freestyle.  The only thing that makes me realize that she is 81, is that when referring to “Freestyle”, she says, “I’m doing the Crawl”.

She came to most of my football games, wrestling matches, swim meets, soccer games and plenty of other stuff.  She even comes to our annual Turkey Bowl sometimes so that she can watch a bunch of old guys run around and pull hamstrings.  She has always been my biggest supporter.  It’s about time, that I came out to see her compete.

I’d have to be an idiot, not to realize that I am who I am today because of her.  I definitely have to acknowledge my dad for instilling hard work and many other things into me, but this blog is about my mom.  Anyway, I remember being asked, “Who are your “Heroes”?”, when I was younger.  I would think about it and come up with some guy who played in the NFL, that I had no connection to, other than watching him play on Sundays.  Watching a talented ball player can definitely build motivation, but if I don’t know someone than they probably won’t be a “hero” to me.  I still may respect them and appreciate what they do.  There are a few people who I actually would consider “Heroes” to me and a couple of them are professional athletes that I personally know.  For me it is about more than what they do on the field.  It’s about how they prepare and commit.  These guys give it their all and then they give the other 10%.  They make a Promise to Fail in order to get better.  But they also promise not to Quit.   They are also the same guys who go out of their way to help others.  It’s not “all about them.”  Well, when it comes to “Heroes” I can’t rank these guys as high as my mom.  Being Inspired and  Motivated by her has strengthened many of my qualities: Dedication, Determination, Persistence,  Heart, Commitment, etc…  She taught me to know what it takes to Win, to Succeed.

She was also ahead of her time when it came to nutrition.  And she has always been fit and active.  My brothers and I grew up playing sports year round as well.  She participated in running, tennis and swimming.  Not only that but she was living a healthy lifestyle before a healthy lifestyle was “IN”.  Most of our meals were home cooked and they almost always  contained a protein and a carbohydrate along with vegetables.  We had a salad with homemade dressing (usually a vinaigrette) with our dinner every night.  Most of our meals were as a family at the table.  Fortunately, my mom is a great cook.  Enjoying good food everyday, is probably why I also learned how to cook great tasting food.

Honestly, based on how I eat now there are a number of things that I do not include within my Nutritional Guidelines , but for the most part we ate very healthy.   We only had sodas in the house when we had a party.  My parents didn’t really have a problem with it, because if we were out we could get it, but they were able to limit it, by not having it readily available.  After dinner we were almost always given homemade cookies and ice cream for dessert. I guess that we sort of had some kind of cheat every day.  I look back and think that it’s kind of funny that our parents never realized that by giving us sugar after we ate dinner, they were basically asking us to go kick the crap out each other until our sugar high came down.  Either that or it was to get us wound up and then tired out so that we would sleep through the night.   Not sure that the second one was the case.  I guess that was a way for us to burn off some excess calories after our meal.  We would go out to dinner occasionally, but I can not think of a time when we ate at McDonalds.  We  did have fast food maybe a handful of times, but McDonalds wasn’t one of them.  (Unless we went with friends, but not my mom or dad)

My mom would also always make us bag lunches for school.  Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches were our typical lunch along with a piece of fruit.  On occasion my dad would make lunch for us, if my mom was not around.  We learned very quickly that it was a big mistake letting him make it.  He would tend to get very creative with his sandwich making ability.  His favorite was a Peanut Butter, Butter and Jelly sandwich.  And no that wasn’t a typo and I didn’t stutter.  He really would add Butter to our Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches.  And it would be a huge hunk, which he would place in the middle of the sandwich.  There is nothing like enjoying your Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich and then all of a sudden, you bite into it and are surprised by biting into a huge lump of butter.  I like butter but not a huge piece on my peanut butter and butter and jelly sandwich.  I would gag on it.  I literally almost puked.  And as a stupid kid it took me a while to figure out that if dad made lunch open the damn sandwich up and remove the stick of butter that he tried to choke you on.  How the hell would I be surprised by this every time.  It must have happened at least 10 times before I learned.  Either that or it happened once and it was so traumatic that it turned into a few hundred times.  If you want to torture your kids try it out on them.

When I was about 9 years old and my brother David and I went shopping with our mom.  As she was walking down the aisle, picking out healthy food to bring home, we were grabbing all kinds of crap and throwing it in the cart.  As soon as it would land mom would take it out and put it back on the shelf and say, “Additives  and Preservatives.  Additives and Preservatives, that’s all that these are.”  We really didn’t know what those big words  were but had assumed that they were bad.  They sure as hell tasted good.  The words just sounded funny to us.  For the next couple years we would mimic her out of the blue.  “Additives and Preservatives”.  It still comes up once in a while.  Talk about something being etched into your brain.  I guess I’ve got  additives and preservatives carved into my mind.  I can’t walk down certain aisles in a supermarket without thinking about that.  This is a good thing.

All of my friends were impressed by how athletic my mom always was and they would talk about how athletic she was…Actually they still talk that way.   Growing up hearing others talk about her definitely made me proud.  Even prouder that she is still doing it.   As my mom got older she cut out the running and cut back on the tennis, but swimming has been a great exercise for her.  It’s great to see her take it to a competitive and challenging level.  For 20 years I missed out on competition and most physical challenges.  Getting myself back into that is the best thing that I have ever done.  I did that at 45.  Seeing my mom do it in her 80’s (she turns 82 in a few weeks), is amazing.

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!

BABY STEPS ARE A BUNCH OF CRAP. BRAINWASH YOURSELF.

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I don’t believe in baby steps.  Baby steps are an excuse to hang on to some of the things that are holding you back from a healthy lifestyle.  Let’s just say you are trying to lose weight and start living a healthy lifestyle.  You also smoke and drink frequently.  To live a healthy lifestyle you are going to have to start eating healthy, start training with weights  and by doing cardio.  You will have to stop smoking and drinking.  I’m not opposed to drinking but I have cut way back.  And by “way back”, I mean that drank about as much this last year as I did during two nights out, the year before.

Obviously, if you have not been active, it would probably be a good idea to get a physical to make sure that you don’t have anything that may become a problem if you push yourself “too hard.”    But no matter what you are going to have to push yourself.  The longer you continue with your training and cardio the more you should increase your intensity.   You don’t want it getting too easy.  DON’T JUST GO THROUGH THE MOTIONS.  That is one thing that I consider when people say baby steps.  They just go through the motions and take it easy in the gym and call it a work out.  When I walk out of the gym my shirt is soaking wet.

When people talk about baby steps they also plan on making a few changes at a time.  So they will cut certain things out of their diet but maybe keep a couple of unhealthy things in it and they also cut back on drinking from 3 times a week to twice a week and they continue to smoke.  So I guess they plan on implementing their plan over the course of their transformation.  So maybe by week 4 they are going to clean up their entire diet and by week 6 they will only drink once a week and by week 8 they will smoke one less pack a week.  It’s all an excuse.  More than likely what will actually happen is that they will push their healthy deadlines back and they won’t give up the cigarettes or the drinking.  And their training and cardio will be ineffective.

For me it was coming to the realization that if I made my changes all at once that it would actually be easier.  Baby Steps will prolong the “Suffering” (I never suffered.  It wasn’t easy but I never suffered.  If you do suffer, you need to work on “Controlling your Mind”).  I convinced myself that it was mind over matter.  I convinced myself that if I couldn’t succeed than I was weak.  If I couldn’t control my own mind I was weak.  The key word is WAS.  I am STRONG enough to control my own mind.  I can achieve my goals   I can S.W.I.M.™ (Self-Control, Will Power, Inspiration, Motivation).  When you can conquer the bad habits and the addictions all at once it actually makes you stronger.  It adds to your motivation.  And when you succeed you will never forget what it took to get you there.  

Test Yourself and Make Yourself Stronger

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It’s all about controlling your mind.  I came up with S.W.I.M. (Self-Control, Will Power, Inspiration, Motivation), because it reminds these four things are what it takes to not only transform but to help you achieve all of your goals.  They all come from inside you and if you listen to them you will be able to control your own mind.  If you want something bad enough and you know what you have to do, you will do it or you really didn’t want it.

When I started my transformation, I was tested every day.  It could be walking through the Super Market and passing by the bakery.  In the past I would check to see if they had any cookie samples that they had set out.  I’d grab a handful of cookies and eat them as I walked around the store.  It really didn’t matter whether they tasted good or like crap, I was already planning on circling back, for seconds, thirds or fourths.  I love free stuff, even crappy cookies.  It’s funny how I can walk by these samples and look at them and even if they look good, know that I won’t be munching on them while I walk around the store.

Another big test is going out to a bar with friends and sticking with water as your drink of choice for the night.  I use to drink once every week or two and if I went out-of-town, it was almost every night.  I decided that I wouldn’t totally cut drinking out but I didn’t want to be spontaneous.  I didn’t want to drink every time I had the opportunity too.  By spontaneous, I mean that I will plan it out several weeks in advance.  If friends ask me to out with them this coming weekend, I will probably go.  I’m not going to become anti-social.  But I am not going to drink.  Usually, people try to get me to do a shot or drink a beer.  It almost becomes a game.  When I head home, I actually feel like I accomplished something.  There are a lot of advantages for me when I do this: I save money.  I have no hang over.  Most of all I am strong enough to control my mind and continue with my healthy lifestyle.

Eating out can be difficult because I don’t usually know what will be put into my food and there will be bread and appetizers brought to the table that I would have scarfed down in the past but now I bypass most that.  I do try to find things that will work within my nutrition guidelines.  If I can’t find them I usually try to order something that I can make a lot of changes too.  I also think about what a restaurant might do to my food. Such as adding steak butter to my steak and ask them not to add it.  Check out my video on ordering breakfast in a restaurant.  

At the beginning of my transformation I started running in Obstacle Course Races.  These races have tested me physically and mentally.  They provide me with a new way to compete against others as well as myself.  They force me to push myself.  Climbing ropes, going across monkey bars and running 9 miles are only some of the challenges that I face on these races.  They are also things that I would have never thought that I would do at the age of 46 especially since I haven’t done anything like it for over 20 years.  

I don’t really feel like I am missing anything.  And I do take a cheat meal once in a while and I will drink a beer once in a while.   But more than anything I feel stronger by walking into the fire and not getting burned.  

The Power Of Mind Control

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The most important part of my transformation has been the psychological aspect.  That is how I came up with the acronym S.W.I.M. (Self-Control, Will Power, Inspiration, Motivation).  Honestly once I figured this out and thought about what it meant it made my transformation that much easier for me.  It allowed me to set a psychological goal if that makes any sense.  It was tough at first but after a little while it became easier.   At this point it’s almost funny.  I figured out how to control my own mind.  I looked at how many things I did out of habit or temptation.  I was addicted to food.  I felt peer pressure.  If I went out to dinner, I would eat anything that hit the table.  Not just a slice of bread but usually about 2 loaves.  How many appetizers could I cram down my throat before my main course?  If there was calamari, I was probably eating two appetizers.  If I went to a bar, I drank.  What else would you do in a bar?  (I’ll still go to bars once in a while but rarely drink).  If I walked into the supermarket I would walk by the cookie section about 10 times for the free samples.  I would buy 3 boxes of Oreo cookies to save for my “cheat day”.  I would than convince myself that I was just going to eat one and save the rest for later.  Within 3 hours the first box was gone.  The next two might make it for about 3 more days.  I would travel and convince myself that I needed  to stay out of the gym during the entire trip.

I took at look at how my lack of self-control had made me feel crappy about the way I looked at myself.  I realized that it was a weakness.  I was WEAK!  I couldn’t control my own mind.  I felt like I had an addiction and had no control over it (I actually did).  How could I be that weak?  It was embarrassing.

Once I became honest with myself and could actually look in the mirror and say that I need to lose 40 pounds not 10.  I need to realize what else is affecting my life.  What do I need to do to make this transformation?  5 days a week in the gym (already doing that), running 5 days a week (right now I run 4 days a week.  2 days are light and 2 are tied into my workouts).  Stick with a nutrition program that I can live with, without cheating.

It’s amazing how many situations I end up in where I pass on things that I would have jumped all over in the past.  I actually feel really good about myself when I sit down to dinner with friends and don’t touch the bread, which I use to gob with butter.  I don’t need it.  I wanted it.  My health is more important and the truth is that when you can control your mind over things like this you can also control it over other things.  I chewed tobacco for over 20 years and every time I quit I constantly thought about it.  I needed it when I drove, drank, or had stress.  I had a lot of stress.  I could not even tell you the day that I quit.  It is irrelevant to me.  It really doesn’t matter since I don’t think about it.  I almost forgot to write about it in this post.

It is important that you enjoy the food that you do eat.  6 healthy nutritious small portioned meals a day that include both carbohydrates and protein.  Be creative with your food.  There are plenty of things that you can eat that taste like they are bad for you because they taste so good.

Being able to control my own mind influences many other aspects of my life.  It also makes me consider how my actions may affect other people.  I rather be a positive influence than having a negative influence or no influence.  I have also realized that I can do much more now at 46 then what I ever thought that I could.  I don’t set limitations for myself anymore (this will be a future post).

I would challenge to try something next time you go out to dinner with friends.  When bread is brought to the table don’t eat any for the entire meal.  See if you can resist it.  If you don’t like bread try using this with a similar situation.  Pass on cake at a party at the office.  Don’t bother getting some just to bring home and eat later.  Just pass it up.  This is less about your nutrition than it is about being able to control your own mind.

If you thought that this post was about bending spoons or controlling someone else with your mind, sorry to disappoint you but the truth is that if you can learn how to do this than you will change your life for the better.  You will accomplish more.

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE AND LEARN TO S.W.I.M.™

What Is A Midlife Crisis And How Will You Face It?

On April 2, 2012 my life changed.  I made the decision on that day to commit to transforming my body.  Little did I know at the time that I would grow more in 2012 then ever before.  Not only would I drastically change my body over a 12 week, no 16 week, actually I think this thing is a lifetime transformation challenge.  I would change my mind (how I see things, how I am influenced, how I make decisions, etc…)  and my life.  I can not really say that I was unhappy or miserable prior to accomplishing my transformation, but I wouldn’t say that I was exactly happy.  Maybe it was more that I had my moments.  I wasn’t really honest with myself.  As my transformation progressed I became happier every day.   Obviously there have been situations that have happened in my life during this time which may have brought sadness, but I have also been able to continue on with my life in a positive way.  I am excited to wake up every day and I enjoy doing things that I may have missed out on in the past.

At 45 years old I guess I decided that I wanted to meet life head on.  As a little kid I grew up playing soccer and swimming on the swim team.  Once I entered High School, I moved on to football and wrestling.  I  continued with football throughout college. Towards the end of college I moved on to rugby which I played for the next couple of years.  Up until this time I was always involved in pick up games of basketball, team handball, handball and football.  Since high school I had also worked out.  Around the time I turned 25 all of this came to an end for the most part including the working out.  Every once in a while I might walk into the gym but it wouldn’t last.  In 1998 I competed in and became a Runner UP in the Bill Phillips 2nd Body For Life Challenge.  This new inspiration helped me focus on my health and fitness and got me into the best shape that I had been in during my adult life.  I was able to straighten out my nutrition and got into the gym on a regular basis.  This changed my life for the better.  I felt like I was doing everything that I had to do to continue with my healthy lifestyle.  I let it go.  I continued to work out but my nutrition was not good.  My head was not in the game.

In the back of my mind I knew that I wasn’t.  I was having trouble  being honest with myself.  I wanted my competitive life back.  The life that I left behind 20 years earlier.   For those last 20 years I was consumed with work.  60, 70, 80 hour work weeks.  My life was my work.  Sure work can be fulfilling, but aren’t there other things in life?  Once you enter the workforce is there limited time to do things that you really want to do?

I remember the days when we were forced to do one sprint after another at the end of football practice after you beat the hell out of each other.  I had a never quit attitude and would push harder and harder.  One day it all came to an end.  Let’s be honest, I never liked running and I still don’t.  Once it all ended there was no reason to put myself through the torture of training.  Training for what?  Turkey Bowl?  That’s once a year and just like every year I am going to go out and pull a hamstring or sprain an ankle or crack heads with someone else.  I don’t have to train for that.  I don’t have to torture myself for that. Well I do work out and I’m in good shape.  I can walk by the mirror, suck in my gut and see how great I look.
Well I guess that was about the time that my Mid Life Crisis set in.  I realized something was wrong.  I’m working out but I don’t look like I did in 1998 when I finished Bill Phillip’s Body For Life.

This was what helped motivate me to launch my new transformation.  Another Bill Phillips contest (Transformation Challenge).

This is when I started to learn to S.W.I.M.   For whatever reason I missed a lot of this in my first transformation.  Mostly the psychological side.  The part that could influence other parts of my life.  Also what made me decide to go even further on my “Journey to be Fit”.  The part that removed my limits.

I realized that I only have so much time on earth and I already let so many things pass me by.  I’m not going to miss out on something because I can’t make a decision or because I am waiting on someone else.  If I want to do something I am going to do it.  What does NIKE say?  I had been considering doing a mud run for about 5 months.  This is after I noticed the Tough Mudder.  However, I saw that the Tough Mudder was 12 miles and there was no way that I was going to run 12 miles.  Like I said.  I hate running.  I looked around a little more and noticed some shorter races.  Some of these were only 5k’s.  I already was running about 3 miles a day.  No problem.  I did my first race a few weeks into my transformation.  On Saturday, November 17th I will do my 7th race.  It’s a Spartan Race in Fenway Park.  On December 1st I will do my first Tough Mudder.  (I thought you said that you hate running?   Yes I did, but these obstacles are a blast.  The competition, challenge and achievement make you realize that you are alive.

I have a lot of people who wonder what the hell I am doing with my life.  Over the last 10 weeks (not long after completing my transformation) I have driven up to Plainfield, IL and stayed for 4 days and 3 nights each week.  I go there so that I can train at Xtreme Speed, which is a performance center owned by a friend of mine.  These guys are very intense.  I decided that I want to be on a whole other level.  In order to do that either train with people who have the same goals.  People who want to be where you want to go.  Or people who are already there.  These guys are already there.  I missed two weeks because I also went to Jackson, WY to have some new and old injuries treated by a friend of mine that does some amazing things with healing injuries and even illnesses with his own formulations.  (I will have more on my blog about him soon).  I also had a trip to Denver where I attended Bill Phillips new Transformation Program.  Basically all of my recent trips have been for myself.   It’s not like I stopped working.  I can work from anywhere.  I just made the decision to do things that I wanted to do.  At this point it is anything from sight seeing (places like Red Rocks in Denver) to training (which I love, especially when it is something different.  I also have another performance center that I will be checking out in the coming weeks) to running in mudruns or obstacle races.

I love the challenge.  I love being able to compete.  I love being more athletic than I have been since I was 25.  It’s never too late.

Is this my Mid Life Crisis?  If it is… Bring it on!  I’m turning 46 in 8 days and I look like I’m in my 30’s and feel like I’m in my 20’s.  Over the last 7 months I have totally transformed my body, mind and life and brought competition back into my life.  I also hope that I can help influence others to join me in this life changing experience.  

Tribute To Marsha: Fight Heart Disease and Strokes Through Nutrition and Excercise

Yesterday I had a very good friend die from a stroke.  Marsha App had just turned 67 the other day.  That’s 3 people who have died within the last year that I was close too.  Two of the three died from cardiovascular complications.  I also came very close to losing my father from a massive heart attack.  Fortunately, he survived and is doing very well.

My transformation has done much more for me than just change my body.  It has changed me.  I have learned more this year than any other.  I have become more open-minded. I have discovered that I can do much more than I ever thought possible at my age.  These things and many others have become possible for me because, I have been able to take control of my own mind.  For me it breaks down to being able to S.W.I.M. (Self Control, Will Power, Inspiration and Motivation).  The one thing that I can’t control is what happens around mean.  I can’t control the death of someone who I care about or someone who is close to someone who I care about.  .

What I can do is continue to write my blog and hopefully change the lives of people who I care about and even people who I don’t know.  You can improve your health and even your active lifestyle.  You can be there for your family.  You can be active with your kids.  They can be your motivation to live a longer happier life.

Marsha did live a very happy life.  She always thought about others first and left behind a son, a daughter and a grandson and many friends who will have some great memories of her.  I will miss talking with her and going out to dinner with her.  She always made me smile.

Fight Stroke and Heart Disease by eating healthy and with exercise.   Take control of your life and learn to S.W.I.M.

Midwest Super Spartan 2012

In about 5 hours I’ll be running in my first Spartan Race.  Even cooler, I’m running on the Dial For Men Team.  About 6 months ago I ran in my first obstacle race.  It’s amazing what a life changing transformation can do you for you.  It’s not just about changing your body.  My biggest change has been psychological.  I’m not crazy anymore.  Well maybe I am, but my perspectives have changed.  Like I say in other parts of my blog, I can now  S.W.I.M.  I have Self Control, Will Power, Inspiration and Motivation.  If I see something that I want to do because I think it’s fun or because it’s a challenge, I will now go out and do it.  I don’t like being a spectator, I want to participate.  I’ve missed out on to much of life waiting on others to join me or waiting on me to get prepared for something or making an excuse not to do it.


While surfing the internet about a year ago I came across Tough Mudder.  I thought that this looked like a great event.  The first problem with it was that it was 12 miles and I had no intention of running 12 miles.  I started to notice other shorter races that were similar types of races (obstacle races, mud runs, zombie runs).  Many of these were only 5k.  That I could handle.  The most I had ever run before was 8 miles and I did that twice (with no obstacles).  Funny thing is I noticed that 30 plus Facebook friends like Tough Mudder and even some of these other races.  Even funnier, like me, most of them haven’t done the Tough Mudder or even the shorter ones.  But a lot of them have told me that they want to do them. Why like something if you aren’t going to do it?  Naturally, I liked it too.   Maybe some day I would even see what one of these races were like.  If nothing else “LIKE” as many as possible on Facebook.

My first race was early in my transformation and it wasn’t easy.  I tried to find other people who would race with me, but either they had plans or hadn’t trained for it.   I’m not going to say that today’s race will be easy either but these are challenges that are continuing to help form my new life.  For those of you who think they would like to do one of these but are using the “I’m not in shape or I’m not ready” excuse to not do it.  Think again.  Do it at your own pace.  I see a lot of people who do these things for the fun of it and they are not always the fittest people, but they have fun.  If you pick one out several weeks away and start working out now, you can make dramatic changes in 3 to 6 weeks.  If you decide that you like it, the next one can be more of a challenge for you if that is what you want.

Don’t just “Like it” on Facebook, go out and do it.  Don’t wait for someone else to join you.  If they do, great.  Get out and S.W.I.M.

 

My Transformation: It Almost Ended Before it Began

My Transformation: It Almost Ended Before it Began

Now I had to figure out when I would begin my new program.  I had a trip to Denver coming up and decided that I would wait until I got back from that trip to begin.  Oh I had a trip the following week and then one right after that.  I’ll figure it out.  I was just making more excuses.

A few days later I notice that Bill Phillips had started a new company.  It’s Bill Phillips Transformation.  This was the same guy who founded EAS and started Body For Life (BFL).  He revolutionized the fitness industry with BFL by helping millions of people transform their lives.  Body For Life and it’s Champions from the first BFL like Porter Freeman were what inspired me the in 1998.  I checked out his new company and saw that he had come up with a new and different program that helps people transformation their bodies and lives while participating in his new challenge.  I decided that I should sign up.  The registration deadline was April 2nd.  Today’s date was April 2nd.  What a coincidence, no more excuses, I’m signing up and starting right away.  I had been stalling and hadn’t really planned anything out.  One of my biggest problems with my nutrition and even working out was travel.  A trip was what was keeping me from starting my new journey.  I had no other choice but to start the next day and plan things out during the first week.

In order to give myself an edge I decided to hire a personal trainer.  I wanted an outside perspective.  I wanted a new atmosphere and I wanted a place that was all about training.  I wanted a performance center.  I checked out a place that I heard about that was actually a little closer to my house than my gym.  It was called Emerge Fitness.  I took a look at the trainers online and liked what I saw as far as experience.  I drove over and met with Matt McCarthy.  We talked for a while and I told him that over the next 12 weeks I wanted to drop from 240 to 200 and I showed him my old before/after pics and said that I wanted to achieve the same goal.  I was thinking that he probably thought that I was full of crap but later he told me that he thought that I could do it, because of my confidence.  I liked what i heard and  I bought 50 sessions so that I would have a full commitment.  If I didn’t get results it would be my fault and I would have wasted $2,500 and would have had nothing to show (more motivation).  Workouts were set up for 4 days a week with a 5th that I would do on my own.  My first workout was the next day.
(I’ll get into my cardio program and nutritional program in a future blog, but my diet was very clean.)

I got through the first 3 workouts and my motivation had climbed.  I left for Denver keeping in mind that I had to be very careful with my program when I traveled.  Traveling had been a major problem for me in the past.  I wouldn’t work out and the entire trip was a cheat day.  I ate anything and everything and drank a lot more alcohol on the road than at home.  Some of my bad habits would make it back home with me upon my return and could last for a couple of days or a couple of weeks.

I landed in Denver  and that night went out with one of my friends/clients Jarvis Green (former Defensive End with the Patriots and Texans).  It was a great dinner I ate two loaves of bread, shared a few appetizers including fried calamari and ate some kind of pasta.  I also had about half a bottle of wine and had a number of beers.  That night back in my room, I felt awful.  I had just done what I promised myself I wouldn’t do.  I already failed.  If I can’t take control of my diet and my training program on the road, than I wasn’t going to be able to accomplish my goals.   I stay weak minded, I had to take control of myself.  I needed something that I could stick with.  I decided to write off that dinner as a cheat meal and the next day I got up and jumped on the tread mill and an hour later had scrambled eggs and oatmeal for breakfast.  The rest of the day I ate very healthy.   I went to dinner again with Jarvis, only this time I left the bread alone and I ate a salad with salmon and balsamic vinegar in it.  I did drink two beers but other than that I was pretty happy with how I had gotten through the night.

The rest of the trip was great and the best part is that I stuck to my nutritional plan and continued with my workouts and cardio.  My failure on this trip made me stronger.  It’s better to screw up early.  I felt like I had made it over the hump.  I finally had a trip that I didn’t come back heavier from.  I actually lost weight out there.  After this trip I knew that I was on the right path.  For the next several weeks, I went on several more trips.  Each one was a challenge, but I passed up drinks at parties and clubs with friends and food that in the past I would have stuffed myself with.  

Identify your biggest problems.  Be honest with yourself.  Face your fears.  Overcome and you will succeed.

Cristian Mihai

writes a short story every week

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