Likes Become Things. Are You Stuck in a Social Media Victim Cycle?

Likes Become Things. Are You Stuck in a Social Media Victim Cycle?

Lately, I keep hearing people say they are quitting social media because there’s too much negativity on their feed. Hopefully you read that and thought the same thing I did: “You know you control what’s on your feed, right?” Now bear with me as I am not saying that everyone needs facebook, twitter and the like. It’s your world do as you wish, but it serves to at least ask the question; If you quit this medium all together with the aim of creating more positivity in your life, how are you going to make sure you don’t cultivate the same negativity in the rest of your life?


It’s been said that the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. So if you find a constant chain of doom and gloom flooding your screen when you log on, why not try changing your feed? Why not set yourself up to be in a better mood? Scrub your friends list of the naysayers and Debbie Downers. Go through your ‘page like’ selections and purge the pages that don’t give you an instant “warm ‘n’ fuzzy” when you see them. Now you have created some space. Next, attract some good by liking some pages that promote education, growth and health (mental and physical). Look for community pages that share local events and take part. What I’m saying is use social media for what I believe is its intended purpose: To make your life better. In that name, there is a next step that is very important. Batch your time for e-mail, posting, sharing and scrolling. There is a big world out there and if you want as awesome an experience as possible, I suggest using social media platforms as resources. Set times during the day when you can log on. Other than that, be out and engage with the world!

I have had the good fortune to travel and live several different places and through it all I have met some amazing people. These sites have allowed me to keep in touch with them in a way that was not possible for previous generations. I also love what social media has done for information sharing but again, I am cognizant of what fills my feed. I do make an effort to read something opposed to my views once a month. I feel it’s a good practice for staying informed about what is out there without being over run.

If you’re considering wiping the slate clean of all platforms, I applaud the intent but ask you to consider changing the way you use them. Look to other avenues to actively bring more good into your world. (Check out Jonthan De La Garza’s Positive Pin) If you want your world to change, you have to be the one to change.


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Fire All Your Clients


Now Hiring: Partners
Throughout my fifteen years as a fitness professional, colleagues have complimented my work by commenting on the work ethic and results of my trainees. My trainees have complimented my work by keeping my book full and giving me the results that my colleagues notice. So how do I get the results? How do I keep a full book of high achieving, focused, and dedicated trainees?

I pre-qualify who I work with.

Let me be clear… I don’t care if it’s a Benz in the lot, I care if it was on time for our appointment (or fifteen minutes early); I don’t look for a Rolex, I listen for determination and a hunger to grow when goals are spoken; I’m seeking partners.

I’m not interested in taking any more clients… ever. Clients are consumers. They want to pay for my time, put their faith in me, and hope that I’ll change their life or, (it hurts to say this) some just look to talk about my services as a status symbol. I, like many other trainers, have been credited with changing many lives. Let’s be clear: neither I, nor any other trainer, is in the business or capable of changing anyone else’s life. I provide options and direction. I offer education and motivation. Clients set their goal and if they take what I offer, they will reach that goal. Many make progress, but when they leave their comfort zone, they quit. They choose to remain a client, consuming my time like a commodity, but never investing to change their self. I’ve had many trainees meet their goal and still remain a client. Once the goal is met, even before, I advise that we set the next goal to continue progress and continue their investment and truly make it a lifestyle. They meet the goal and want to ‘maintain.’ Maintenance is boring, so they wander, lose focus, and come back into me months or years later wanting to push the reset button on the goal we set way back when. They never invested in changing themselves. They PAID for my time and knowledge to meet a goal, but they didn’t INVEST in change.

Partners invest. They bring a goal, conviction to achieve that goal, and an understanding that the next goal will be waiting when we get there. Partners want to learn. They want to use me as a resource, but know that I’m not their guru. I’ll give them my professional opinion, provide them additional resources that I approve, and consult them on any outside opinions they bring to me. Additionally, I like to recommend that some of my trainees get a good PT certification. Some trainers worry that this will devalue their service – I offer them an exit to the profession. Like I said, I’m no one’s savior, but I’m not taking hostages here, either. I want my partners to have a better understanding of the knowledge behind the effort. My partners won’t always be training with me, but I will always be a resource for them. In turn they will be a resource for me – teaching me, enriching my professional and personal life, and filling my book with referrals.
That’s how I fill my book with driven, goal oriented, knowledgeable success stories. I seek driven, goal oriented people, cultivate knowledge, and we partner up on the story.

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Willing to be the Weakest. A Guest Post.

The fitness industry is rife with “know it all” blogs that consistently bash and slander other programs. Constantly posting, “Top 5 Exercises to Avoid!” or “The Reason I Don’t Do (XXX) Program”. It is my opinion that this is one of the biggest challenges the industry faces. Anyone who has internet access and a phone can portray themselves as an expert and there are unfortunately hordes of people willing to jump on a bandwagon to hate anything.

And then there’s guys like Mike Gillette. Below is the most recent post from his page. I can’t think of a situation where a person shouldn’t read this.

Willing to be the Weakest

By Mike Gillette


At two key points in my life I made an important decision. Both times it was the same decision. That decision was to be the weakest person at the gym.

The first time was in 1981. I had just turned 19 and had been living a life characterized by fear, negativity and weakness. In order to reverse course, I knew I would need to do, think and believe the opposite of what I had previously done, thought and believed. So I did.

Intuitively I must have understood that I would never be able to start thinking strong or acting strong unless I actually felt strong. And at 19, I “knew” that in order to get strong, you had to join a gym. So I joined. It was a confusing place, particularly for someone who didn’t know anything about training. There were gleaming chrome Universal and Nautilus machines and an assortment of dumbbells and barbells. It seemed like a lot of stuff to have to figure out.

But the bigger challenge was just walking into that place. A place where I didn’t feel as though I belonged. At that point in time I was as far away from being a physical person as anyone could be. Skinny, weak and I had only recently stopped poisoning my body with drugs and alcohol. I was the weakest person at the gym and I knew it. I assumed everybody else knew it too. It was a circumstance I very much wanted to change. So I did.

Within three year’s time, I went from being the weakest person in the gym to an Army paratrooper who achieved perfect scores on every one of his physical training tests, to aformer Army paratrooper with a broken back. Because of a climbing accident, I had actually managed to become physically weaker than I had been  when I began my strength journey in 1981.

But the one thing in my favor was that in those intervening years I had learned how to “think” strong and “act” strong. So I did. Sometimes.

After almost a year of getting comfortable with things like walking and standing, I started to think about what it might take to “feel” strong again. And just like before, I knew that I needed to join a gym. Between 1986 and 1988 I actually joined five or six different gyms. They were all short-term memberships. Because each time I would start working out, it would take only about a week or two for my back injuries to become so unbearable that I would have to stop. I would then spend several depressing months sitting around feeling weaker than before. But eventually I would gather myself up and join another gym. And the process would repeat itself.

It was in January of 1989 that I made the decision to be the weakest person in the gym for what would be the last time. I had gone almost a year without even trying to train. The endless disappointments had taken a toll and I didn’t want to go through that again. But, there I was, joining another gym. And just like the very first time, eight years earlier, I was skinny and weak. I was actually worse than weak, I felt fragile.

Happily, this story turns out well. But only because I’ve been willing to be the weakest person in the gym. Being weak in a gym full of strong people sucks. But it only sucks for a while. Because eventually you get strong too. And once you’re strong, you can share that strength with someone else. Maybe you’ll share your strength with the weakest person in the gym. I hope so.

9 Beginner Crossfit Workouts

Some great advice all around. My contribution is on the push up in #4. This piece was written by Anna Schaefer and featured on Healthline.
CrossFit is a wildly popular approach to what some consider extreme fitness. At first blush, it looks approachable, with many of the moves mimicking what you may have done in high school gym class. But once you’re in the “box” (CrossFit gym) doing your WOD (workout of the day), you quickly see just how intense this fitness approach can be.

Because CrossFit moves can be modified to fit nearly any fitness level, it’s said to be appropriate for just about everyone — young and old, fit and not so fit. But when starting with CrossFit, the best advice is to start slowly and work your way up.

We asked four CrossFit coaches and professionals for their input on the best moves for beginners. This is what we learned.

1. Air Squat

Todd Nief, owner of South Loop Strength & Conditioning in downtown Chicago, says you should begin the air squat by initiating the movement at both the hip and knees simultaneously, making sure your feet are flat on the ground throughout.
1.Keep a neutral, braced position in the spine, tightening your core and watching out for arching or rounding of the back.
2.Lower your body by bending at the knees and hips, tracking knees in line with your toes.
3.Drop your hips below the knees.
4.Push back up through your heels to a standing position.
2. Shoulder Press

The shoulder press is a fundamental beginner move, according to Jessica Murden, owner of CrossFit ACT in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, as it creates a “strong overhead position” for many of the more advanced CrossFit moves.
1.Hold an empty barbell on the shoulders with a grip just slightly wider than shoulder width.
2.Press the bar up, directly overhead.
3.Return to the start position.

3. Burpee

Burpees are the move everyone loves to hate. But why? They’re tough and effective, and Murden says they’re great for metabolic conditioning.
1.From a standing position, lower yourself to a squat.
your hands on the ground and kick your legs back into a pushup position. 3.Do a pushup.
4.Bring legs back into a squat position.
5.From squatting, jump into the air, landing back in a squat position, and start again.

4. Pushups

Brandon Mancine, Personal Trainer and CrossFit coach, warns not to use your knees if you can’t do a basic pushup. Resorting to your knees doesn’t allow you to build up the strength needed to eventually do a full pushup. Instead, he says, use a platform or something to raise your hands off the ground, which requires less strength.
1.Place your hands directly under your shoulders.
2.Lower yourself all the way to the floor.
3.When you reach the bottom, immediately push up to starting position.
5. Pushup with Hand Release

Need some help with your pushup form? Nief says releasing your hands, as in this move, will help you go all the way down — getting the most out of your pushups.
1.Get into a pushup position.
2.As you lower yourself, while the chest is in contact with the floor, release your hands momentarily.
3.Place hands back on the floor and push up to a starting position.

6. Box Jump

The box jump is “one of the purest forms of explosive exercise,” says 2008 CrossFit Games champion Jason Khalipa.
1.Using a stable box or platform, stand upright with your heels shoulder-width apart and toes pointing slightly outward.
2.Begin to move downward into a squat, knees tracking over your feet.
3.When you reach the bottom, propel yourself upwards, using your arms for momentum.
4.Land with both feet simultaneously on the box, either in a standing or squatting position.
5.Step or hop off.

7. Ring Row

Murden says the ring row is a great way to build up strength for a pullup. To perform this exercise, you’ll need hanging rings.
1.Grip the rings with palms facing inward.
2.Keeping your body straight, pull yourself towards the rings until your chest touches the rings, or goes slightly past them.
3.Pause briefly before lowering yourself in a controlled movement.

8. The Clean

To avoid injury, Khalipa suggests using an empty bar when you’re just starting out. If that’s too heavy, try a broom instead.
1.Start with your feet hip-width apart. Throughout the exercise, make sure to keep your weight in your heels and your chest open.
2.Squat down and hold the bar in your hands just slightly in front of your shins, directly above your feet. Your arms should be locked with your elbows facing outwards. Keep your chest as upright as possible.
3.Begin to raise the bar vertically, pulling it slightly towards your body.
4.Once the bar passes your knees, jump slightly and shrug to bring the bar as high as you can to catch it.
5.As the bar reaches maximum height, squat under it by placing it in a front squat position, resting on the front of your shoulders. Repeat.

9. Kettlebell Swing

When you do a kettlebell swing, make sure to keep your knees unlocked and avoid driving them forward, says Nief. You will need a kettlebell.
1.With your feet hip-width apart, back straight, and chest up, stand over the kettlebell.
2.Squat down, knees tracking over feet, and grab the kettlebell with palms facing towards your body.
3.Move into a standing position. As you do this, shift your weight into your heels, bending your knees slightly while pushing your butt towards the wall behind you.
4.As you do this, swing the kettlebell through, between your legs.
5.In a continuous movement, swing the kettlebell forward, raising it to just below shoulder height in front of you, contracting your glutes and hamstrings.

Whenever you’re a newbie to a workout program, start slowly. Use small weights or no weights until you’re confident that your form is good. Build your strength slowly and you’ll get more out of your workouts with less chance of injury.

Defining Moments

How did you read that title? Was it, ‘a moment that defines you’ or ‘taking the opportunity to define the moment’? I prefer the latter but I feel most would hear/feel the former. This question came into my head during a workout earlier this week.

I was set for 5 sets of 400×2 on deadlifts. I’ve been spending too much time in bad positions (driving, sitting at a desk and the like) and wasn’t feeling good in my warm ups so I asked a guy I know to watch my pull and give me pointers.

Me: “I’m not sure I’m keeping a good position. Can you watch and give me your feedback?”

His response: “There’s only 315 on the bar.” (Even thought I try to keep it in check, my ego kicked in here and I felt the need to defend my workout. It happens)

Me: “Yeah. I’m scheduled for 5 doubles of 400 today”

Him: “You can’t lift 400?”

About 2 weeks before I read a post from Brett Contreras. If you don’t follow him, you should. He spoke about how he was set to pull 500 lbs for the first time. He was very excited, did all his prep work the week before, slept, stretched and ate as he was supposed to, but on the day he was set to hit his deadlift PR, he hit a “different PR” as he referred to it. He walked away from the bar after his warm up because something felt off on his back. Choosing health over ego, knowing that 500 lbs will be there next week and there is no competition in training. I loved this and even replied with, “I hope I can show the same restraint when the time comes.”

Me: “Pretty sure I can but want to be safe about it. Do you have the time?”

He watched and gave me a “Looks fine.” wave off.

I’ve known this guy for a while and he has the reputation of being a dick. Mostly because plenty of people have stories of “defining moments” like this. I’ve even had conversations with people where it’s been said, “It’s a shame because he is a great trainer, he’s just a shitty person.”

But we all have moments where we lose focus. I know there are plenty of people out there that are more than justified to call me an a-hole. That is why I regularly practice revisiting my mission and purpose. So when the time comes I can put my ego aside and define the moment and not let it define me.

BTW, I hit 400×2 on all except my 3rd set where my grip gave out on the 2nd rep. I tried to hurry and didn’t set up well. I felt the pang of ego kick in as I wanted to add more to the bar and show what I could do, but I chose to follow the program I had set. All in all it was heavy and easy… the way strength training should be.


5 Dirty Little Fitness Secrets

1.) Be as naked as possible as often as possible in the sun. Getting skin exposure to natural light helps with increased VitaminKBSPool D production (which is tied to a litany of health markers moving in the right direction) improved serotonin levels (helps increase your mood) and a recent study showed being in natural light for just an hour lowered the blood pressure in all 34 participants. So get outside and get some time by the pool, walking in the park or chilling on your back deck.

2.) Masticate more! (Chew your food) Proper digestion starts with fully chewing your food. If food is not properly ground down by the teeth then all following digestive steps will be less effective. This means that less micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals) get in to your system. Without these your body’s metabolism can’t fully function and that can not only stifle fat loss but cause weight gain. Luckily the chewing processes the most enjoyable part because you taste the food so most are happy to adhere to this. If someone is a habitually fast eater, I will have them chew each bite 30 times. This usually builds the habit in a week.

3.) Bend over, to the side, and really every direction. As our daily lives become more and more static in a seated forward hunched position, new medical conditions are appearing. Desk postureText neck” is the latest and is easily avoidable. If you work in a desk job find out what it takes to get a stand up desk. Worst case scenario is you need a doctor’s note. If you have a doctor that won’t write one you seriously need a new doctor. Next, set an alarm every 15 minutes. When it goes off, check your posture. Chances are you’re slouching. To correct it lift the crown of your head tall, reach your hands out to the sides palms up and pull your shoulders back and down away from your ears. While maintaining torso and shoulder position, bring your hands in to the keyboard. Now, every 3-4 alarms go for a 5 minute walk and stretch a bit. This can help, but you should allot time after every workout and in the evening to mobility work.

4.) Sleep around… 7-8 hours. So many people love to brag about how little sleep they need. And while there may be exceptions to the rule, chances are it’s not you. EVERYTHING functions better when you are fully rested. You think clearer and faster, you’ll be happier, hell you’ll even be stronger. Setting yourself up for quality sleep is key. No phones, tablets, computer or TV the last hour (or 2) before bed. The light wave coming off of these screens suppresses melatonin telling. This is your body responding the same way your ancestors did from the morning sunrise. “Time to get up and go to work” is not the message you want to be sending just before hitting the hay.

5.) But seriously… bang. As if you needed more reasons to have sex regularly, here’s a few:550px-Censored_rubber_stamp_svg lowers blood pressure, decreases pain sensitivity, has been shown to lower chances of heart attack and certain types of cancer. On top of all this it helps balance testosterone/estrogen levels in men and women which aides in improving sleep, handling stress and keeping a lower bodyfat percent. Yeah teamwork! You can even count it as a workout!


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Crock Pots Save Lives.


“It’s just so hard to eat well! I’ve got 4 kids and managing their activities makes it impossible!” Marcia is my client and this was her reply to the question, “What did you have to eat today?”

I can’t relate. My wife and I have no kids. (Yet… I know. Please don’t email me about the joy that kids bring. We’ll get there on our own time and it’s not the point of this post, thank you.) But countless people in Marcia’s situation have done it before so “impossible” is simply not true. And I know that if I can help Marcia figure out how to get better fueling through out her day, EVERYTHING will get better for her. Energy levels, strength…hell, she’ll even get better QT with her kids and more production at work from the cognitive benefits that come from eating clean.

EVERYTHING. But I can’t tell her that. So what do I say?

“Crockpots save lives!” I don’t know where it came from but it stopped her (and me) dead in our tracks.

The look on her face told me that she got it before she said anything. “I could put it together in the morning and have dinner ready when I get home… Complete with leftovers for lunch the next day!”

But what else can a crockpot save?

Time? Stress? If you’ve got your lunch already packed, you can use the travel time to the restaurant to make your lunch break more enjoyable. More time sitting out side, reading, whatever it is that you are trying to find time for, there it is.

Money? Do you really need me to explain this one? Maybe you don’t but let’s run through it anyway; The average meal out is $12.75/person. Let’s play devils advocate and make it $10. The average in home meal ranges from $2 to $4/ person. Let’s be aggressive here and call it $4/person. You’re saving $6/person/meal. Do this for 4 meals a week and that’s $24. $1248/year. Per person. A family of 4? That’s $4992/year.

And remember that we were conservative on the estimates. Go to the other extreme (comparing $12.75/meal out to $2/ meal at home) it becomes $8944.00 a year. Compare that to the equivalent bump in pay (after factoring in taxes) it’s getting a $12,000-$15,000/ year raise!

And remember the original point here, you’re eating better, which means you’re feeling better.

So what now? Spend $40-$50 and get a decent crockpot if you don’t have one. At least 2 times a week, throw some meat, veggies and the spices of your choice in. Look up new recipe and find a new favorite each month. Print them and keep the collection. I give it 3 months until you’re known a wizard with your magic cauldron.