New Years Resolutions…

It’s really awesome to see new faces in the gym at the beginning of the year.  I’m encouraged by folks want to actively take part in changing who they “were” and begin a new phase in their fitness lives!  And, that New Year’s resolution is a great way to start.  Just like training your mind, training your body is just as important.  You can add years to your life just by doing something as simple as taking a walk everyday. However, if you add weight training and proper nutrition to the mix, that number can dramatically increase!

OK, so here’s the problem…

A little over 90% people who make those New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, eat better and get fit, (or all three) will drop out of their regimen by Valentine’s Day.  Over 90%!  I see it in the gym every year.  During that first week, they come to the gym and run, lift weights and take classes for hours a day.  Then, you don’t see them for a week because they’re so sore, they can barely move.

The key is MODERATION!!!  You didn’t get out of shape and/or gain weight overnight and you’re certainly not going to get fit overnight either.  It takes dedication, discipline and commitment.  You need to take your time, ease into a training routine and try to get educated in all 3 of the major facets of fitness…weight training, cardio work and proper nutrition.

Here are some recommendations to help you along the way…

  1. Make Exercise of Part of Your Daily Routine:

Just like bathing, putting on your clothes or brushing your teeth everyday, so should be your training commitment.  A great quote is: “I don’t find the time to exercise, I make the time to exercise”.  Start by just setting aside 30 minutes to an hour each day.  Too busy you say? I doubt it.  TURN OFF THE TV.  Calculate how many hours of TV you watch every week…go ahead, try it.  I bet you’ll be able to squeeze some time in between Wheel of Fortune and The Bachelor.

  1. Set Realistic Goals:

As I said earlier, take your time.  Start with just 3 days a week.  20-30 minutes of cardio work and the same with weight training.  You’ll feel so much better and be invigorated to continue!

  1. Hire a Personal Trainer:

If you’re unsure what to do and/or where to start, this can be key to your fitness lifestyle.  They hold you accountable and can greatly help you minimize mistakes and maximize your training time.  If it’s not in your budget, then find a training buddy who is knowledgeable being around the gym.  Both can be invaluable.

  1. Keep Your Eye on the Prize:

Your Health.  Let me repeat that…Your Health!  I know, it’s much easier to sit on the couch and put your feet up.  Research has shown that you can prevent numerous diseases by exercising, including; cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, depression, dementia and high blood pressure.  Exercise reduces body fat, tones your muscles, helps you look great and boosts your self-esteem.  Isn’t this worth the time it takes to do a little exercise?  We can’t get this from sitting on the couch eating potato chips.

  1. Make it Convenient:

Exercise should be an enjoyable part of your day, a time you look forward to and embrace. But keeping this attitude will be difficult if you have to travel a long way to the gym before you even start your workout. You’ll also be much less likely to stay committed if exercising is a hassle.  To make exercise as convenient as possible, pick a gym that is very close to your home or place of work. If you’re a morning exerciser, pack your gym bag the night before so you can grab it and go in the morning. If you exercise after work, bring your bag with you to the office so you can stop at the gym on your way home.  Remember, also that weekends are not about “just relaxing”.  After having that Saturday (or, Sunday) morning cup of coffee, get off the couch and go to the gym.  You’ll be glad you did!

6.  Learn About Proper Nutrition:

If you have the resources, see a nutritionist, your trainer or someone who you know personally that has already done the nutritional work in their lives and pick their brains.  Plus, there is a ton of information on the internet about proper nutrition.  This is probably THE most important part of your training lifestyle.  You won’t regret it! Please don’t go to the gym and do your weight training and cardio work, then stop at Burger King on the way home.  It doesn’t work that way…I can personally guarantee that you’ll feel a whole lot better about yourself if you begin a proper nutrition regimen.  Remember, nothing tastes as good as fit feels…!

  1. Track Your Progress:

Keep track of small successes.  Short-term goals are much easier to make and those little accomplishments will help keep you motivated!  If you need to lose weight, don’t obsess over the total amount…your goal should be focusing on the first five pounds…then, the next five.  After awhile, you’ll have reached your goal!

  1. Don’t Beat Yourself Up:

If you “fall off the exercise/nutritional wagon” for a day or so, don’t throw in the towel.  Just get back at it!  One day at a time…!

You can do this…I know you can.  It is thought that it takes about 21 days for a new activity to become a habit and about six-months for it to become a part of your life and your personality.  Remember, this won’t happen overnight, just be persistent and patient!

If you’re reading this and I can assist you in any way, please reach out to me at anytime.  I’m always here to help…!

An Encounter…

My wife and I recently went to our local Whole Foods store for our bi-monthly shopping excursion. On the way out of the store just inside the door, I passed a very frail-looking, elderly gentleman who looked to be not a day younger than 90 years old. It appeared that he was speaking with an employee of the store, but I couldn’t hear what they were saying. He was wearing a hat that said “SECURITY” on the front (that made me chuckle to myself) and his pants were hiked up well over his stomach. He had a very hunched frame and I thought that he was all of about 5’6” tall, but may have been much bigger and taller in his youth. He was just the most delightful looking gentleman and there was a part of me that wanted to engage him in conversation. I wondered, “Who was he?”…”Did he serve in the military?”…”What was his life like, where had he been and what had he seen?”…”What had his vocation been?” These thoughts all passed through my mind in the split second I walked by him. Our eyes met and I gave him a smile…and, he looked at me as if to say “Hey, kiddo…what’s your problem?” I again chuckled to myself as my wife and I walked out of the store and I thought “what a blessing to have just seen that man and having crossed paths, even if only for that moment”.

We put our groceries in the car and as I started walking the cart back to the front of the store, I heard a commotion. I looked over and saw a man who appeared to be in his 40’s, heavy and about 6’3” tall, yelling at the elderly man I just seen in the store. It looked like he, his wife and the old man were walking to a car. The younger man was calling him “Dad”, but screamed the “F” word expletive at him at the top of his lungs many times as apparently his father had done something that greatly annoyed him. It stopped me in my tracks. My mind and body immediately reverted to being a police officer again, (I’ve been retired almost 12 years) and I stood there glaring at the younger man. I watched from about 20’ away and thought how wonderful it would be to walk over and relieve this guy of his Adams apple so he couldn’t yell at his elderly father anymore. I waited. If he touched the old man, I was willing to get locked up to put this guy in his place. It was then that our eyes met. It’s amazing when a coward has been caught in the act and the bodily posture that results when they’re not sure if they’re going to have to defend themselves. It’s also interesting to watch a spine loses its rigidity as this guy’s tall frame lost about 6 inches. He scurried into the driver’s seat and quickly started the car. I tried to look at the old man in the passenger seat to tell him it was OK…but I don’t know if he saw me. They drove off…

I was quiet on the ride home and couldn’t get the encounter out of my mind. I thought of my Dad who had a major stroke many years ago and whom I delighted in taking care of before he passed. Just before getting home, I mentioned to Randi that the incident was stuck in my head.   And, as she always does, she brought it back into proper focus and said all I could do was pray for them. I had already done that.

After calming down and now sitting here putting this to paper, I want to see them again…all three of them. But, not in the context of what occurred in the Whole Foods parking lot. I wanted to talk to them, but more specifically the son.   I wanted to find out what had occurred to him in his life that brought him to the place of treating his father like that. What could his Dad have possibly done to him that he felt the need to elicit such behavior? I kept thinking that if this was the son’s behavior in public, what was it like in private…was it worse or even physical? I knew that the incident wouldn’t soon leave my memory. I badly want to speak to this son.

From a biblical perspective, we’re called to love, honor and respect our parents. But, I do know that a parent’s abuse of a child can certainly hinder that in many ways. Years of parental abuse can have an incredibly devastating effect on children.

But as a son, it brought me back to how much I loved and still love my father and how I dearly wished he were here so I could tell him that.  And, as a son of my heavenly Father, I know that God loves me too…no matter what the circumstances.  This realization brings me much peace and joy.

I would love to cross paths with this elderly man again.

I just want to tell him that he is loved…no matter what the circumstances.

Staying Healthy…

My wife and I recently attended a health & wellness symposium in New Mexico given by a physician from Lubbock, Texas. His approach to medicine is not one of “diagnose and treat with medication”…it is one of finding the root causes, and treating from there. This intrigued me to the core. As with my personal training clients, I don’t do the same exercise movements with everyone as each client is different…and so are medical patients. This physician’s (Dr. Ben Edwards, www.veritasmedical.com ) goal is simple:

“Our long-term goal for every patient is for them to become symptom and disease-free, be able to eliminate all prescription medications, and achieve their ideal body weight. We believe in addressing the root causes of your health challenges.”

Sometimes throwing medications at physical maladies can often be like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. They can help for a bit, but often mask the deeper issues. And, the problem most often is that folks won’t change their unhealthy habits as they “feel good” on their medications because their “numbers” are good. So, they continue unhealthy eating and drinking and don’t exercise. I’m not disparaging medicines as they obviously have their place, but when we can find the root cause(s) of our physical issues, we’re apt to be more healthy, happy and fit. And, I believe that ridding the body of inflammation through proper nutrition, supplements and exercise is the key.

Knowledge is power. Know what your personal issues are and what could be the root causes, and then change those behaviors that contribute to them. Do your research and consult with your physician. As a caution though…DO NOT make any changes unless your physician say’s it is OK to do so. Be informed, be smart and be healthy!

My wife came across a great article regarding high blood pressure that discusses this mindset along these same lines…

I also like this physician’s motto: “You’ll never medicate your way out of diseases you behave yourself into”.

http://www.drfitt.com/High-Blood-Pressure_c_27.html

Let’s Get Busy…!

I’m going to break from my normal musings and offer something I posted on Exact Fit Personal Training’s Facebook page, which is the business I own.

Here is a training “tip of the day” from Exact Fit!
The AMRAP (the term, humbly borrowed from CrossFit)

The word AMRAP stands for “As Many Rounds As Possible”. You complete a training circuit as many times as you can within a given time frame. For example, a 5 minute AMRAP can be: 5 deadlifts, 10 pull-ups, 10 push-ups. When 5 minutes is up, record your total rounds completed. The beauty of the AMRAP is that you can choose just about any group of exercise or training movements you’d like.

Personally, I like choosing pulling, pushing and pressing movements that may involve full or slight squatting motions. I’ll put weight on a bar and do 5 push presses, 5 upright bar rows and 5 push-ups…or, I’ll do 10 of each. I’ll also increase the rep count, lighten the weight and do the AMRAP for 20-30 minutes. This is an absolute killer…you power through the movements without stopping. Then, you try and beat your rounds completed the next time you do it. I believe the key to fitness (again, thank you CrossFit) is “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements”. And, the AMRAP is a great way to do this!

The AMRAP combinations you can do are endless and you’re only limited by your own imagination. Some Exact Fit clients may agree (or, “painfully” disagree) that the Stepper AMRAP is the best. This is an Exact Fit “invention”…get on a stepper machine for varying intensities for 3-4 minutes, then jump off and do varying dumbbell and/or bar movements for 3-4 minutes, then get back on the stepper and repeat. Do this for 30-45 minutes…it is an absolute sweat “fest” and will tax you to the very top of your physical limits. When doing the bar/dumbbell movements try and stay away from single muscle movements such as the bicep curl, shoulder raise or tricep extension, etc. These are vanity exercises. You want to do functional movements…ones that create overall body work and core fitness. Squat thrusters, punching movements, Olympic lifts, modified Olympic lifts or any movements that causes the hip to “break” (like squatting) or slight bending of the hip or power movements pushing weight overhead or down toward the floor and back up. You want the body to use dynamic movements to create strength AND power!!!

The mantra among Exact Fit clients is this: “The Stepper AMRAP…it’s no joke, ‘cause in the process, you’ll get smoked!”

ENJOY!!!

Photo: Here is a training “tip of the day” from Exact Fit!<br /><br />
The AMRAP (humbly borrowed from CrossFit)</p><br />
<p>The word AMRAP stands for “As Many Rounds As Possible”.  You complete a training circuit as many times as you can within a given time frame. For example, a 5 minute AMRAP: 5 deadlifts, 10 pull-ups, 10 push-ups. When 5 minutes is up, record your total rounds completed.  The beauty of the AMRAP is that you can choose just about any group of exercise movements you’d like.  </p><br />
<p>Personally, I like choosing pulling, pushing and pressing movements.  I’ll put weight on a bar and do 5 push presses, 5 upright bar rows and 5 push-ups.  I’ll also increase the rep count, lighten the weight and do the AMRAP for 20-30 minutes.  This is an absolute killer…you power through the movements without stopping.  Then, you try and beat your rounds completed the next time you do it.  </p><br />
<p>The AMRAP combinations you can do are endless.  Some Exact Fit clients may agree (or, disagree) that the Stepper AMRAP is the best.  This is an Exact Fit “invention”…get on a stepper machine for varying intensities for 3-4 minutes, then jump off and do varying dumbbell and/or bar movements for 3-4 minutes, then back on the stepper and repeat.  Do this for 30-45 minutes…it is an absolute sweat “fest” and will tax you to your very limits.  The mantra among Exact Fit clients is this: “The Stepper AMRAP…it’s no joke, ‘cause in the process, you’ll get smoked!”<br /><br />
ENJOY!!!

 

Saying Goodbye…

Saying Goodbye…

We all probably say hello and goodbye thousands of times throughout our lives. Hello’s are usually pleasurable and goodbye’s, well, not very often so. Sometimes goodbyes are followed by “catch you later” or “see you tomorrow” or even “see you next year”. There’s an expectation of renewal and the anticipated enjoyment of seeing that friend or acquaintance again, whether it’s just overnight or even a year from now. We simply rest in the knowledge that, God willing, we’ll meet again.

It’s when the goodbye being spoken is to someone that has passed is what carries the most pain. Saying goodbye to a family member, friend or acquaintance that has passed away is an incredibly painful and hard thing to do. You know that you’ll never have that person in your life again and will never, ever, in this life, cross paths to again say hello. I’m sure most of you know this from personal experience and can relate to what I’m saying.

I also know that saying goodbye to a family pet can be just as painful and difficult.

Just the other day, my wife and I had to put our little Chihuahua, Rascal to sleep. We had him for 14½ years and he was just an absolute delight to us.   He filled our lives with such incredible happiness and joy and we looked forward to coming home to him each and every day. His animated doggie personality was just so funny and he and I had our own little love language between us. I could say something ridiculously stupid to him and he would know exactly what I was talking about. I would often laugh out loud at him and he would look at me quizzically as if to say, “what are you laughing at, you’re the one who said something stupid!” He could bark or growl or whimper or whine and I knew exactly what he wanted. The wagging of his tail and the brightness of his eyes filled my life with pure joy. I loved him so much…

He slept next to our bed on top of a hope chest all snuggled in his little dog bed. I think he had about five or ten thousand small blankets littered throughout the house, (well, it certainly seemed like that many). If I woke up at night, I would always reach over and rub him, then make sure he was covered up. Then Randi would do the same thing, but she would take the covers off thinking he was too hot. We did this little dance with him throughout his life. He didn’t care…he just wanted to be with us.

At the moment, it’s just too painful for me to write about his illness and the decision we had to make in the wee hours of the morning that it was time. And, to be honest, the tears come as I write these words. Walking back in the house after being out is the worst. I expect to see and hear him at every turn and seeing the emptiness of the room where he stayed while we were out is just excruciating.

I tried going to work in the hopes that being with my clients and friends at the gym would ease the pain. It didn’t. I lasted an hour. And, my sincere apologies to those whose sessions I had to cancel.

Cherish each and every moment with those whom you love, because they can be taken away from you in an instant. Please re-read that last sentence and allow it to sink in to your very core. I know this life is temporary, as I’ve written about it before. But, it doesn’t for one moment negate or ease the pain for those who are left behind after a loved one passes.

I miss you terribly my little buddy. But, I know that where you now dwell, there is no pain and suffering. Only love…

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The Footstool of God

As a believer, I’ve come to realize that the miraculous can occur in the oddest and oftentimes from the most grim and unpleasant of personal circumstances and that God sometimes exacts His will through the thread of hardship, (I also know this from very personal experiences).Image

A few years ago, I heard a pastor speak who had been wrongfully incarcerated in a federal institution for 18 months, (a federal agricultural offense).  As he spoke, he told the story that when the cell door slammed behind him that first night and as he sat despondently on his bunk, he heard the Lord quietly ask him…”Can you still praise me in this?”.  In his situation and in his fear and self pity he at first wasn’t sure.  But, then he began to sing quietly, praising the Lord.  It was then that he realized the footstool of God was moving…something was happening. 

When the footstool of God moves, the supernatural happens here on earth.  Look around, have you seen evidence of the wondrous and miraculous in and on the earth and maybe in your own life?  Maybe you have…the footstool of God had imperceptibly moved. 

The footstool moment in this particular situation was that this pastor now has one of the most successful prison ministries in the upper Midwest.  Many have come to know the Lord through it and the spiritual fruit is overflowing.  This was his assignment.  He didn’t know it at the time, but he had to go through this experience first before the ministry could come to fruition.  The footstool of God had to move before the work could be started. 

When things look bleak in your life…and I mean really dark and painful and unpleasant things, can you honestly still praise God through it?  Can you look past your present situation and come to an understanding that possibly something miraculous and supernatural is being born from your seemingly dire circumstances? 

Are you able to let yourself to come to a fuller spiritual maturation and allow the extraordinary and inexplicable to occur through your suffering?

Can you cause the footstool of God to move?

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Giving…

I work with a lovely young woman whose husband is in the Army and was just deployed to Afghanistan a few months ago. He will be there for many months to come. When I walk into the gym in the morning to get ready for my day, I greet her knowing that she woke up alone and prepared herself to come to work without the familiar love and companionship of her husband beside her. I can only imagine how many times a day she must think about him…a hundred, a thousand? What must make it worse for her is the additional stress of wondering about his safety. Is he OK now? Will he be OK today? Will he be OK tomorrow? What about next month? What about next year? I know I’m only skimming the surface, but her thoughts must often run wild with the uncertainties of a military spouse left behind at home…to wait. She is a very strong young lady, but I’ll bet there are times in the quiet of her home that she just loses it. I know I probably would.

There are still tens of thousands of our military men and women currently stationed overseas. They’ve left husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, parents and children waiting for them here at home who I’m sure are continually concerned about their comfort as well as their safety. The living conditions in some of the places where our troops serve aren’t fit for farm animals. Yet, they serve, work, fight and often die in these places. When you sit down and think about it…I mean really think about what our troops are experiencing on a day-to-day basis, it’s very sobering.

And, as they always do, here come the holidays. Is it added stress for these families here at home? You bet it is…

I’m humbly asking that you take some time during this Thanksgiving and Christmas season to think about how you might help our men and women overseas. There are a ton of great organizations, locally, regionally and nationally who have wonderful ways in which to help our troops. Whether it is financially or sending much needed resources (foodstuffs, personal items, etc.), please consider helping in any way you can. Just Google “how can I support our troops overseas” or reach out to a local VFW, American Legion or other local military or civic organization in your area and ask how you can help. I’m sure with a little creativity, you’ll be able to come up with something you may be able to do. Anything.

Buy one less holiday pie, one less gift or one less latte or cocktail this year and put that money aside for those who aren’t going to get any of these things anytime soon. Better yet, take the money you were going to spend on a night at the movies (it’ll be out on Netflix soon) or out to dinner and do the same thing. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

And, so will someone’s loved one sitting in some lonely, frozen outpost halfway around the world…

Our personal freedoms and liberties are so very often taken for granted in this country. But, realize that it is on the very backs of these incredible and selfless men and women that these very freedoms and liberties are born.

They deserve not one iota less from us.