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I Won’t Be An Unintentional Hypocrite

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I do believe in practice what you preach.  For instance today when I was done with work for the day, I was a little bit tired and decided to take a nap which lasted for about 40 minutes.  When I woke up I felt pretty relaxed and decided that I should just lay around the house for the rest of the night and skip the gym.  I made my workouts on Monday and Tuesday.   Last week I trained every day that I was supposed to, which was Monday through Friday.  I used Friday as light training mixed with some things that I did for recovery which included hyperbaric Chamber (takes you below sea level and increases oxygen, speeds up recovery, increases endurance, lowers fatigue) and a Cold Tub (Reduces Inflammation) (Compliments of Muscle Pharm) while in Denver.  The following day I ran in the Colorado Spartan Military Race at Fort Carson.  Talk about a hard day of training, I jammed an  ankle, both of my big toes and a wrist.  I also trashed my IT Band (Your hip is attached to your knee by this tendon.  Basically, I beat the hell out of it and it was tight and knotted up.).   So did I make enough excuses to get out of my workout?

And than I had a revelation: I tell people not to make excuses.  I post motivational messages about being fit and getting fit.  I talk about Learning to S.W.I.M.™ (Self-Control, Will Power, Inspiration and Motivation).  I talk about overcoming obstacles and taking on challenges.  Well I have way to0 much respect for the people who read my posts to not just talk the talk.  Thank you for making me Walk the Talk.  Thank you for being my motivation.  Not only did I head to the gym 15 minutes later, I didn’t just go through the motions in my workout.  I had a kick ass workout.  I decided to do something a little bit different this time, so I switched up my workout and went with Cory Gregory’s 28 Method for my biceps and triceps.

I felt 1,000 times better when I walked out of the gym tonight.  Get motivated and don’t let yourself down.

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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.  

Fighting Through The Pain

Midwest Spartan 8

Have you ever been a part of a team?  You workout together and you play as a team. You push each other.  You are giving it 100% so that you can become better and that you can succeed as a team.  Thoughts run through your head when you feel like you are being beat down and you’re pushing yourself as hard as you can.  You look around at your teammates and they are going through the exact same thing that you are and they are feeling the same pain.  You are thinking, “They can do it.  I know that I can do it too.”  Next you think about the competition.  “What are they doing to prepare?  Are they working harder than you?  I know that I can work harder than them.”   Thoughts like these run through your head.  This is your motivation.  The human body is a tool and it can withstand much more than the mind.  Take control of your mind.   Be strong enough to push your body further than you mind allows.  Let your mind know that you don’t have limits.  That is 110%.

As an individual you may not have a team around you to push you.  You might or might not have competitors.  But you can still compete against yourself.  If you really want to make yourself better than you will push yourself knowing that you haven’t reached your limits.  You can dig down deep and find that extra 10%.  In order to reach the finish line, you may need that extra 10%.  You will suffer, but in a good way.  Your results are worth giving it 110%.

The pain from your hard work only lasts a limited time but the feeling of accomplishment lasts for a lifetime.  Learn to S.W.I.M.

Test Yourself and Make Yourself Stronger

Midwest Spartan 10

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.  

Spartan Race Fenway Park – Follow Your Own Path, Others May Join You

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I use to wait around on other people so that I could do things that I wanted to do.  If I still did that instead of running in 8 obstacle races/mud runs, I probably would have run in NONE.  Are people really herd animals or pack animals?  It is nice to have other people around, but I realized that I was much happier just doing the things that I wanted to do whether or not I had other people with me.  If you can’t break off on your own it can be difficult to do some of the things that you may really want to do.  Besides I usually end up meeting other people at these races, that also have the same type of motivation and challenge in themselves that I have found in me.  These races are addictive for people who are looking for a challenge.

On November 17th, I ran in the Fenway Spartan Race.  I entered the race a few months earlier and told some friends that I was running in it and asked if any of them wanted to run.  3 of them took me up on it and 2 others came out to support us.  None of them really knew what to expect until after they signed up, so it got kind of funny when they started asking me about some of the obstacles.  Sue was already very active but hadn’t run in this type of race yet.  Chris and Sheila decided to start working out so that they could get ready for the race.  Sheila even started to make changes to her diet.

The Spartan was challenging just like the last one that I did, but it was only 2.5 miles.  They did cram a lot of obstacles into those 2.5 miles and we ran all over the stadium steps.  On top of that we had to do burpees a number of times.  If you screwed up certain obstacles you rewarded with 30 more burpees.  Those things suck.  The only one that I screwed up on was the spear throw.  It kind of feels like throwing the piece of paper that a straw comes in.  Hard to balance and not real heavy.  The race was a blast.  At the end you get the opportunity to run over 3 or 4 Gladiators or get the opportunity to have them slam you into the wall.

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Sheila fell about half way through the race and banged up her elbow pretty bad.  She had been telling me how much she was looking forward to this race ever since she signed up.  I could tell that it was something that motivated her and helped her set a goal that put her on the right track of training and nutrition.  So falling down and jacking up your elbow really stinks when you are that close.  The first thing that probably went through her mind was this hurts like hell.  I think its broken.  Kind of funny how you focus on completing something and now your mindset becomes fight through the pain and finish.  That is exactly what she did.  She came that far and knew that she couldn’t walk away from it without crossing the finish line.  She worked to hard to get there.

All three of them have told me that not only did they love running in the Spartan but that they wanted to do more of them.  These are not just races they build character and can help you find what you are made of.  I am glad that I had the three of them run with me and the other two hang out with us.  They can all be proud of their accomplishments.  I know that I am.
You might have to Learn to S.W.I.M.™ on your own but there are always people who can support you and help you on your way.  

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