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CONFIDENCE

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Life Is An Obstacle Race. You Can’t Go Around It.

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BELIEVE!!! Show Someone Else The Way

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I was out in Colorado on business.  I love traveling out there because there are so many cool outdoor things to do.   I go out to Red Rocks (an outdoor amphitheater built into the rocks) and workout.  The views are amazing and you can get a great workout by going up and down about 100 rows of seats.

I was getting my workout in and it was a really nice day.  I had started out with a run.    I started at the top and went across each row and when I would get to the end I would drop down a row and run across that one.  I did this until I got to the bottom.  Next I did some bounding up and down the seats.

There was a group of kids from one of the local YMCA’s.  They were all sitting at the top of the amphitheater, checking out the view and watching people workout.  Some people come up with some cool things here.  If you watch them you can definitely pick some good stuff up.  When I passed these kids I heard a couple of them making some comment about having a lot of muscle.  The next time I passed, this one kid asks me my name.  I said, “Eric.  What’s yours?”.  He said, “I’m Arnold.  Arnold Schwarzenegger.”  I left and kept going.  I was about to go onto my next exercise.  I stopped and went back over to “Arnold”.  I said, “hey, do you want to finish my workout with me.”  The kid gets this big grin on his face and he says, “Yeah, that would be awesome.”  Some other kids jumped up and asked if they could jump in also.  I told them that they could.  These kids are all between 8 and 12.  They asked what we were going to do.  “First thing that we will do is dips.  3 dips on each row all the way down.”  We would put our hands on the seats of one row and feet on the seats below us.  Knock out 3 dips and crawl down to the next level.  These kids all lined up and went down the entire thing with me.


As we went I could hear a couple of them saying how hard it was, but they kept going.  It wasn’t like they were really complaining, just saying what they felt.  We get to the bottom and “Arnold” says, “How are we getting back up?” I said, “push-ups.  3 push ups for every row and then crawl to the next.”  He says, “Ok, can we rest first?”  I said, “Sure…Ready, let’s go.”  I guess he needed more time than that.  I gave them a couple of minutes and then we got back to work.  We go within 20 seats from the top and I added 2 more push-ups per seat.  When we got 10 rows out, I said, “Alright we now have 10 push-ups per row until we finish.”  At this point there were at least 50 people at the top of amphitheater watching us.  When we got to the top, all these people started to cheer for the kids.  We are all high fiving each other.  I said, “Do you guys know how many push-ups you just did?”  They all said, “No”.   My response was, “Over 300”.  They all were a little freaked out and excited about that.    More than likely they had never come close to that number in a day.

There were probably 20 kids that jumped in and out during the whole workout.  3 of them were there the whole time.  These kids jumped into my workout, because it was different and because I invited them into it.  It’s amazing what someone can do when they don’t look at as a hurdle.  The old me would have ignored these kids.  Don’t be a spectator.  

Don’t Expect to Be Given Anything. Stand Up and Take it!

When we were training at the gym today, we had a conversation about a college player that was pissed off because he said the team was “screwing him”.  What was the problem?  They brought in another kid that was a “beast” at the same position.
I don’t consider that getting screwed over.  Your team is trying to get better.  If you want to be the starter, stand up and take it.  If you ball hard enough and the other kid who is going after the same position is still better than you, there are always other positions out there.  That other kid and his ability better give you the motivation to take that job.  There are cases where players get a job because of favoritism.  In the NFL it can happen because they have money invested in one player but not another.  It’s hard to admit that you made a mistake when you invest big dollars into someone.  But this kid told us himself that they brought in a solid player.  The team is trying to get better and you should want to do that for yourself.
If you are already the starter it’s your job to keep not your job to lose.  There is always someone out there that wants to take it from you.  It’s the same thing in the real world.  Earn it, take it, get after it.  

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

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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

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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.  

My Two Running Partners Motivate Me

It’s always nice having one or more partner to run with.  Mine never miss it.  In fact, as soon as I get up there are always ready to go.  This is usually their favorite part of the day.  It would be tough to tell them sorry but we aren’t going running.  The are a big part of my motivation.

Our run is usually around 3 miles and it borders a woods and goes around a cornfield.  Both of them get plenty of exercise, mostly from chasing deer and rabbits.  The summer got pretty hot and we usually went pretty early. Since dogs don’t sweat they can overheat pretty easily.  Because I do a couple of loops or cut back across my own path, my dogs don’t have to stay with me the whole.  I also will do HIIT, which means that I am walking, jogging and running.  It makes it easier to keep them from going to hard.  On hot days, I will carry a camel back with me so that they can get water.  In other cases I will take trails that have creeks that run by them.

 

I guess since my dogs workout with me one of them decided that it would be a good idea to see what kind of supplements I take.  She actually didn’t eat any of them.  But the following video is the aftermath.  I do actually give a couple of supplements to my dogs.  But they are also designed for them.  

 

Cristian Mihai

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