Will Supplements Help With Depression?

I got this question today and was quickly hit with the urge to recommend 3 or 4 supplements that can help. But, this isn’t a simple yes or no questions. There are plenty of factors to be considered.

First; Start with your core nutrition. Supplement, by definition means, “In addition to…” Supplements were meant to fill gaps, not replace food. So if you’re not eating quality protein, veggies & healthy fats, then the supplements you take will be less effective than if you were.

Second: Sourcing & manufacturing are important. Do not look to cut costs when it comes to food and supplementation. Do your research and find quality supplements that are built to address your needs. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be spending a fortune or that more expensive products are better, but I can assure you that the cheapest products on the shelf are (for the vast majority) useless. Working with a Coach to find the best path for you & help you stay on it is advisable. Again, do your research to find a quality Coach.

Third: Make exercise & activity a priority. A properly progressed exercise program will do wonders for your mood. This has been proven in countless studies & can be proven by going outside right now and doing 5 rounds of :30 second sprints with :90 seconds or rest.

Lastly: Social interactions with quality people. There’s is an old saying (i don’t know who said it) but it goes, “Before you diagnose yourself as depressed, make sure you’re not surrounded by assholes.” We all will have to deal with one or two at some point, but do your best to purge them from your life. Move, quit your job, hang out in a different place, or just have an awkward conversation like, “Could you please stop doing X, Y, Z…” All this may seem difficult to initiate, but your well being is worth it.

To answer your original question: They can, but there is no magic pill.

If you have any further questions feel free to reach out & please share if you think this could help someone you know.

The 28 things I’ve learned in 39 years.


I turned 39 a few weeks ago and was asked if I was going to write a “40 things I’ve learned by 40” post. “HELL NO!” For 1, life is never that organized to teach you 1 thing a year (mine isn’t anyway) and 2, why wait for 40? There are sure to be a few you disagree with and probably some contradictions if you dig. If you do, I’d love to hear what you find. Also, while I consider these all to be true, some are comical and some will get dark. So fair warning. Here are the 28 things I’ve learned in 39 years:

  1. Having a backbone isn’t about aggression, it’s about character.
  2. There are 3 limitations in life. # 1 & 2, only you truly know. # 3 you’ll never know.
    1. Your imagination
    2. Your determination
    3. You lifespan.
  3. Don’t work for anyone but yourself. Work WITH others and be selective. This doesn’t mean you have to be self-employed, just make sure your value is understood.
  4. Bring value.
  5. When looking at past performance
    1. Past performance is the best indicator for future performance.
    2. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.
  6. Staying in a safe place makes you less healthy & fit. Progressing health & fitness makes you safer in more places.
  7. Choose quality over quantity. While this sounds cliché, it covers everything: Goals, friends, food, experiences, opportunities… I have yet to find the exception.
  8. Communication is paramount in all relationships. This has less to do about talking than you may think. Listening to understand others points of view is a skill that must be developed. Entertaining additional points of view should be practiced. (especially those opposed to yours)
  9. Those that often point the finger at others as “bad communicators” are typically bad listeners.
  10. There are only 3 times it’s appropriate to wear skulls on your/as clothes:
    1. You have earned them…
    2. They’ve been given to you as a gift…
    3. You’re at Comicon.
  11. Sex first thing in the morning is better than sex just before going to sleep.
  12. Those complaining about a lack of work/life balance need to work on the balance in their life.
  13. Regardless of what all the science & facts say; if something feels right, do it. If it feels wrong, don’t do it. Science once told us the world is flat, 9 out of 10 Doctors preferred Camel cigarettes, and the 4 minute mile was considered impossible.
  14. If someone is always looking over their shoulder, you shouldn’t feel comfortable with them standing behind you.
  15. Everything is negotiable.
  16. There’s a time to study the root and a time to gather the fruit. Get good at both.
  17. If you’re offended by something on the Internet, you deserve it.
    1. Probably true outside of the internet as well.
  18. There are a few phrases you should never say: The 2 most common are; “You don’t understand” & “I don’t care.” The first implies you fully understand the others entire existence. The second isn’t true if you took the effort to say it.
  19. Everyone has thought about suicide. Realizing this is true should provide hope during dark times.
  20. The world is a mirror; you get out what you put in.
  21. Reality TV is for suckers. Yes, that show too.
  22. Sugar is a drug and is much worse for you than marijuana.
  23. Put your grocery cart back. There may be an exception or 2 to this rule but if you’re trying to come up with them, the rule was written for you.
  24. Someday quickly becomes never. Either set a deadline or let it go.
  25. Anyone who says, “It doesn’t matter what you meant, it’s what you said.” Probably won’t ever say anything meaningful.
  26. If you borrow a car, return it with a full tank. Both literally and figuratively,
  27. Everything I need to know about life, I learned through marksmanship: Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Learn the fundamentals; focus on getting better at them. Then compress the fundamentals. If you try to be the “fastest gun in the west” you never will.
  28. If there is no risk involved, there is either no pay off or the venture isn’t completely understood.

Would love to hear your thoughts. Please share if you enjoyed it.

The 11 General Orders Of Health & Fitness

The 11 General orders of fitness.

These standards are meant to be a guide for conducting yourself in a fitness facility. They are based on the following 2 principles: 1.) Health & Fitness is a culture of self-efficacy & communal respect. 2.) Enjoy your journey.

Should the person(s) overseeing your facility have a rule that contradicts these, adhere or go elsewhere.

  1. Leave your ego at the door. It is your enemy in this environment.
  2. Know your goal. Have a time bound plan to achieve it. Be adaptable.
  3. Know the difference between training and competition. Listen to your body in training so you can use your body to win in competition.
  4. Respect all Athletes, Exercisers, Gym-goers, Trainers, & Coaches. Do not compare their goal or programs to yours.
  5. Be personally hygienic.
  6. If you don’t eat or sleep well, don’t expect to perform well.
  7. If you are/maybe contagious, stay home.
  8. Some equipment is meant to be dropped, some is not. Learn the difference.
  9. Curling in the squat rack is the equivalent to killing kittens. If a 9 year old does it, he will be talked to, guided to appropriate resources, and monitored. If an adult does it, they suck.
  10. Clean up & put your equipment away in its proper place. (This may not be where you found it.)
  11. Do not give the staff a hard time.

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Goal setting 101


A recent study stated that 73% of gym joiners in January have a weight loss goal and over a 365 day period only 14% of those will succeed. Let’s talk about how to up the success rate. Without a doubt, setting the right goal is the most important part of your fitness journey. Read any piece about success; what it takes to get there, who did what & how. All will come back to some version of, “Start with the end in mind.” This makes overcoming obstacles along the way easier especially the more desirable the end result is.

Change is difficult. Very difficult. People make the decision to change when their current situation is more uncomfortable than their perception of the change. Since 2001 as a Fitness Professional, when I ask people any variation of, “What are your goals?” or “What are you training for?” The standard reply is…”Lose weight & tone up.” (LW&TU). If this is your goal I have one request; DO NOT join a gym. Let me explain why. Someone with a LW&TU goal wants their life to change, but they haven’t yet decided to change their life. If that last sentence didn’t click, read it again. I’ll wait.

So let’s look at something most can relate to; Consider two people who want financial success. One wants to, “Be rich”. The other wants a successful career in Law. The first commits to buying at least one lottery ticket every week and checking in on the numbers. The latter knows he is not where he wants to be and sets forth on a journey to find the missing links. He will meet new people, see and experience things he never imagined. He may also make missteps along the way but hopefully knows that is not just the cost of taking steps but a lesson in and of itself. The former will become entrenched in a community of shortsightedness and selfishness. Each ticket they buy moves them further into a position of entitled victimization that becomes harder and harder to return from.

It doesn’t mean they can’t be coaxed.

The fact is many will bring me the LW&TU goal over the next few weeks. To which I will reply, “Why?” This usually spirals into a cycle of generic answers vs. quick Why replies… like, “Because my doctor told me I have to lose weight” Or “So I can run a 5K.” Or “Because I want a six pack like (favorite celeb).” or any of the defensive BS that people put up, until I hear a little bit of truth. Something like, “Because I want to feel better!”

JACKPOT!!! Understand that this isn’t the total answer that I’m looking for. But it is the crack in the built up wall that can lead us to the truth. As soon as I hear anything along these lines, The tempo of the conversation changes. Instead of the sharp Why!?! replies, I let their statement sink in. I’ll then ask, “Can you tell me more about that?” “When is the last time you felt really good?” Or one of my favorites, “Paint me the picture of you feeling GREAT.” This is where they tell me about time playing with kids, activities with friends and experiencing LIFE! The life they want back! NOW, we can come back to their current positions and start building daily tasks to get from here to there. Now we build their plan.

This is where it gets really interesting. This is where they come back to me with “next level” goals. I’ve had people bring me, ‘Climb Kilimanjaro’,’Be a competitive Fencer’ or my personal favorite; ‘compete and place in Ballroom Dancing competitions’. This was a woman who had never taken an athletic venture in her life. 5 months after joining the gym she placed 2nd in her category. How many times in those 5 months did she step on a scale? 0. She felt better, she looked better, she had more confidence; so who gives a shit what the scale says. By the way, when she finally did step on a scale, the BMI charts scored her as over weight. But the beautiful part was she no longer cared. She was too busy becoming what she wanted to be. I should also note that her Doctor was amazed at the up turn in all her health markers.

Now, to come back to your goal for this year; close your eyes, picture 10, 20 or 30 years from now. Who do you want to be? Get that crystal clear picture. Then start your plan.

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Is Less Really More?


I keep hearing, “Less is more” and WANT to agree with this statement but kept feeling like there’s more to it (ironic, I know). Left to just, “Less is more” most would have more questions. I know I did.

So today I was reading an article on “11 Simple Concepts to Become a Better Leader” and saw the epiphany inducing quote by Milton Glasser… “Less isn’t more, just enough is more.” The concept of less being more allows people to continue to believe that starving themselves is making them healthier or that they need to give up a happy life for a healthy one; when any sane healthy person knows that getting more out of life is THE driving force behind health and fitness.

So I wanted to come up with a concept that would help people make better decisions as they look to get healthier. And I had this idea in my head that makes SO MUCH SENSE… to me. But, as I’ve passed the advise on it’s taken as a clichéd note. So I wanted to define it as clearly as I can, word by word:

Living Lean Helps You Live Lean.

Living – Life. The day to day. Day in and day out of the same thing. This patterned monotony often drives us to “retail therapy”. A quick fix to make us feel like we’ve accomplished something. What we are really doing is just filling a void. A void that is rooted in depravity and truly healed setting a goal that you are committed to. Something that, maybe scares you a bit but also stirs a passion in you.

Lean – Minimalism. You don’t go without, you hack away the unessentials to life. You rid yourself of the deadweight in life that slows you down. You don’t hunger for consumptive possession. You look to create something; an experience of a homemade meal that the whole family is part of, a project that you and your daughter work on that becomes her first car, and the goal you set doesn’t take away from the important parts of your life (career, family, social, etc) but fits within them and possibly connects them even more.

Helps – Teaches. These choices put you in positions where you build experience. Where you learn exactly what you are truly capable of. You learn that when all else fails, you won’t.

You – This one should be the easiest, right? Maybe. You at your core. I heard John Wooden say that, “Your reputation is who you are perceived to be, your character is who you really are.” ‘You’ is your character.

Live – Thrive. This is not “maintaining life”. This is L-I-V-I-N, LIVIN’!!! When you go to work on Monday, the rest of the office can’t wait to ask you, “What did you do this weekend?” ‘cuz you’re the guy who always has the amazing answers.

Lean – Healthy. Mind, body and soul. We’ve all felt one or more of these parts of our life cluttered at one point or another. Lean is not cluttered. Lean is functioning at full capacity and loving every minute of it.

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Skip The Scale: Non-Traditional Ways To Measure Weight Loss

In an interview I did with about.com’s Mountain Biking expert Beth Puliti, we spoke about “non-traditional ways to measure weight loss”. I would have rather seen it titled, “Nontraditional way to measure increased health” but I understand which would get more clicks. Here is my contribution with a link to the full article at the bottom.


Ride Your Bike & Set Goals
In addition, Brandon Mancine, certified personal trainer, nutritionist and owner of B-Fit Personal Training/Brandon Mancine Fitness in San Antonio, TX, has clients do the following:

1. Regularly take part in an active hobby that you enjoy. As you get in better shape, your physical abilities will increase. This means you can accomplish more. If you weekly take part in an active hobby (let’s say… ballroom dancing), you will be less likely to skip a workout because you are experiencing how it improves your life by allowing you to do more of what you enjoy.

2. Develop an empowering goal. It could be tied to that hobby (compete in a ballroom competition) or to deadlift your bodyweight, run a mile in a certain time. But have something that you will accomplish by a certain date and set a plan to get there.

Full article:  http://mountainbike.about.com/od/fitnesstrainingracing/fl/Skip-The-Scale-Non-Traditional-Ways-To-Measure-Weight-Loss.htm

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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