Monday, November 20, 2006

Is failure worth it?

A lot of people I work with are afraid of failure. Some are so afraid, they don't even try.

If you think failing is bad, you will not change your life. If you think failing is part of winning, you're on the right track. If you're prepared to keep trying regardless of whether you fail or succeed, you have guaranteed yourself success.

Of all the people I've worked with, those who fail are always trying to avoid failure. They miss workouts, tell me they're too tired or give other excuses so their workouts are not effective, avoid exercises that make them feel weak or out of shape, and pass the blame around liberally.

Those who succeed are willing to appear weak or uncoordinated, willing to believe in themselves and trust me, try really hard and don't give up easily, and rarely worry about the money.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Strategies to Survive the Holidays

1. Be realistic. Don't expect to do your normal workouts and eat normally. You probably won't have time, and the temptation will be greater than usual.

2. View family behavior for what it is. If your grandmother wants you to eat three pieces of pie, it's because she loves you, not because she wants you to be fat. If uncle John wants you to drink another beer, it's probably because he wants somebody else to be drunk with (apologies to all Johns out there, I don't mean you), and not because he wants you to fail.

3. Take the opportunities to be active. If somebody mentions going for a walk, on a hike, or doing something that will get you moving, be sure you're in on it.

4. Eat fewer meals. If you're used to eating 5 to 6 meals a day, but your Thanksgiving meal is going to equal about three, don't snack before and after.

5. Don't worry about it. One or two days isn't going to kill you. In fact, most of the extra food will get flushed away, if you catch my drift.

6. Schedule workouts before and after your trip, especially after. Don't let a couple days off turn into a week. Know exactly when you'll be back at it and what you'll be doing. If you get lazy, remind yourself how important it is to get back on track.

Adam's Story

I was your classic “Weekend Warrior”. I would go into the gym every few days and do a little cardio, lift a few weights, or maybe take a yoga class. I played basketball in a recreational league and on the weekends when I could. I felt like I ate pretty well. I stayed away from red meat and didn’t eat sweets all that much. I had been a member of a gym for about three years, and had never gone more than a month without working out.

As a kid, I had always been thin and weak, and over the years I had developed a belief that my body was just not genetically built to be muscular, but at least I was thin! However, as most people in their thirties find out, I was losing ground in that area as well. I had developed a nice paunch around my waist and my cheeks were starting to fill out. I felt tired quite a bit, and even when I was well rested, it was hard for me to get going in the morning and all I wanted to do at night was lay on the couch and watch television.

Although I was in ok basketball shape, I had developed pain in my lower back that wasn’t going away, and my knees and ankles couldn’t take more than 2 days a week of playing before they felt sore enough to make me start to think my basketball days were coming to an end.

In the summer of my 33rd year, I was 215 pounds and about 25% body fat. For the first time, I started getting real with myself and thinking that it was probably time to change my exercise habits and lose some weight. I read in a book that the best way to burn fat was to do cardio for an hour each day. I was on vacation and had plenty of time, so I stopped lifting weights and just did cardio every day. In about a month, I had lost about ten pounds and I was pretty happy! It was the first time I saw the effectiveness of consistent exercise.

Even though I lost the weight, I still was feeling hobbled on the basketball court and felt unable to lift weights because of back and knee pains. At best, I would try to do one set of 30 repetitions on various machines. My girlfriend teased me because I always said I was going to “take it easy on the weights today.”

One day while surfing the internet, I came across a website called Body for It was an exercise and nutrition plan that required six days a week of working out, and had a nutrition plan that seemed sensible to me.

When I started the program, I was mostly interested in going to the gym six days a week, because I wanted to get in better shape for basketball. I used the program as way to be accountable to myself, and also to have an excuse to give my girlfriend for why I was at the gym every day. I wanted to try out the exercise program, and even though I didn’t think the nutrition aspect of it was all that important, I decided I would try that too. The first two weeks, I over trained and underrate, and ended up catching a cold so I had to restart a few weeks later. My girlfriend had also decided she was interested in trying the program, but she only made it a week before she had a family emergency at the same time I got sick.

So here we were, we had started a new program and made it a whole week before we hit a roadblock! My body just shut down, and life got in the way for my girlfriend, and we were right back where we started!

However, even though we were discouraged, we decided to try again. After all, we had already taken the before pictures, and I had the earlier memory of my positive results from the previous summer when I followed a plan and saw improvement.

After that, my girlfriend and I followed the program very closely for the next twelve weeks. We started seeing changes in the mirror after about 4 weeks, mostly in the muscles of our upper bodies. In six weeks, we noticed our clothes were definitely looser.

However, these changes were nothing compared to the improvements in self confidence and energy level we had all day long. We were really doing it, and we started to notice that it had become easy and fun! It was actually hard to deviate from the program, because we would feel lousy physically - tired and depressed.

I lost about 10 pounds and got a lot stronger - not anywhere near the changes you see in the pictures they use to promote the program, but now I know I am in control of my diet and I love working out!

I think about where I will be in five years and get excited, not worried, and I notice that my body is still improving. On top of that, my back and legs feel much better and I am playing the best basketball of my life!

Starting and keeping with an effective exercise and nutrition plan has truly changed the course of my health and my life.

I don’t consider myself more dedicated or focused than anybody else. I just found some really good reasons to change some of my habits, and a plan that worked for me. I had the support and encouragement of my girlfriend who went through the program also, learned the techniques of effective cardio and strength training, and educated myself on sensible and realistic nutrition.

Our success wasn’t about will power as much as it was finding the motivation that worked for us. After about 8 weeks, it became a pleasurable lifestyle, which is the best motivation of all!

You can do this too!

Danielle's Story

“When Adam approached me about starting a 12 week program where I’d be required to account for my diet and go to the gym six days a week, I was a bit apprehensive. Actually, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to do it. I had only been working out for about a year, and I was pretty inconsistent about it. I thought I was a healthy eater, but I was really fooling myself. I work in an office and have access to chocolate every day; and believe me I would have chocolate almost every single day. It was time for a change. I was at a weight above where I wanted to be. I had been at a heavier weight ever since I gained my “freshman 15.” I realized that I would be turning 30 soon, which meant that I had been unhappy with my weight for about ten years. Ten years!! It was time to do something about it – FINALLY!

I told Adam I would do it. We started full force at the end of this past February. A week into it, I had a family emergency and had to go out of town for a week. I totally fell off the wagon. When I got back into town, I recommitted myself and started right back up. I didn’t beat myself up about taking that week off, because I started back up as soon as I returned, and I have been going strong ever since. And when I say strong, I mean it! I have never felt so strong, inside and out. This program has given me confidence about my body and also about my ability to commit to doing what I know is right for me. I have transferred this knowledge into other aspects of my life and have been able to stand up for myself in situations where before I might have felt overpowered.

This program has taught me so much. It has transformed my body. I have taken inches off my waist, thighs, and hips. This is every woman’s dream result! I have gotten muscles in my arms and legs, chest and back – everywhere! And I plan to keep this program going for the rest of my life. I feel like I have the tools now to keep going strong for a really long time.

It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, either, which totally surprised me. I thought I would be hungry and deprived, tired and sore, etc. But I haven’t felt that way at all. Instead I feel empowered, proud, and confident! I still get to eat all my favorite junk food on my Guilt Free Day. I look forward to having a special dessert that day, and will save up my cravings until that day. I have finally been able to have control over my cravings for the first time in my life.

Adam really helped me to stick to the program. We helped each other. It was important for us to have each other’s support at the beginning. We felt responsible to each other, and we motivated each other. Then at some point we realized that we were able to be responsible for ourselves. That’s the ultimate goal. After awhile, we wanted to keep going because we really enjoyed exercising, and we loved our diet. We felt good after eating a meal, not sluggish with tummy aches. We found that we talked about exercising and nutrition all the time. We read articles on the internet about it. It really became an important part of our lives.

This program is great! I’ve been doing it since early 2005, and I’m still excited about it. You will never believe how strong you can become, both inside and out. Have fun with it; get a friend involved. And good luck!”
- Danielle

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Best Time to Start

1. When you have the time
2. When you have the money
3. When you hit rock bottom.
4. When you have the motivation
5. When a friend will start with you
6. When you find the right program
7. When you get over your current injury
8. When things at work settle down
9. When things at home settle down
10. When your life settles down.

Obviously, the best time to start is when you were a kid. The next best time to start is RIGHT NOW!

This post inspired by this post.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Being "In Shape"

Being in shape for one thing doesn't make you in shape for everything. Every sport and activity has its own fitness demands and challenges. For example, I've been learning to play golf lately, and even though I am relatively flexible for a guy my size and age, my golf flexibility is low, and it's making it hard to have a consistent swing.

Click Here for some golf fitness training tips

It's really important to cross-train and try new things. It can keep you interested and provide new motivation to improve, and also show you areas where you should improve.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I am an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and ACE Certified Personal Trainer with a Masters in Teaching from The Evergreen State College.

I'm also a NOLS Graduate (Outdoor Educator, Sea Kayaking).

I believe consistency is the key for lasting results and healthy living, and that major change can actually be fun.

I created the Total Body Turnaround Program, a 12 Week Lifestyle Change and Fitness Course emphasizing Nutrition and Exercise.