The Funny Thing About Gratitude

It’s trickier than you think…

Gratitude is such a funny thing.

The greatest gratitude comes from appreciating what’s around you in the hardest of moments.

It’s easy to feel gratitude when everything’s going well but how often have you stopped when it seems like everything is crumbling around you and thought to yourself, “Thank you so much for X.”

I think this is one of the true tests of our inner self.

Do we have the ability to feel grateful for what we DO have.

Our environmental programming teaches us to attach ourselves to things that appeal to us. The dilemma comes in the that overtime we develop immense attachments to things, people, feelings etc.

When these things disappear or when we can’t have these things, our mind sends us negative feedback.

We could acquire twenty amazing things in a day, but at the end of the day, the mind will still desire the one thing we didn’t get.

What we can easily miss in this complex puzzle of life though is that our joy IS NOT dependent on those objects, people, or feelings.

It’s already there inside us. We can feel it without all of those “things.”
The key comes in understand and appreciating those things for what they are and how they must follow the same path we follow. Meaning they are not attached to our desire for them because they face their own battle of attachment and desire.So back to my original statement.

Gratitude is a funny thing.

As coaches we often speak to our clients about being grateful for what we have, but are we really doing our job in saying so?

I think it goes a step further in that as coaches, we should be helping clients to appreciate and be grateful for themselves.

What that means to me is that I hope to help all of you to find joy in where you are right now. The choices you’re making for yourself by being active are placing you in an incredible place.

Be joyful of yourself.

Be proud of where you are at the moment.

Be happy that you are you and appreciate all those things around you but realize they are not what define you.

All those things around you will ebb and flow with life and at the core of it all…YOU define you.

Why You’re Keeping Yourself from Starting

I came across this article from perhaps my new favorite blog and it summoned all the things I was doing in my life to keep myself from getting to where I want to be. I’ve always had lofty goals and plans and I do my best to face my fears that keep me from doing all the things I want to do with my life. Thanks to Zen Habits for providing the inspiration and base for this article. I’ve written about this in the past from the point of view of Taking Risk, and our ideas seem to jive pretty well so I thought I’d reiterate and elaborate on both our concepts.

Most of us have changes we want to make in our life from health and fitness, to family, to professional goals. We talk a lot about how we’re going to make these changes but often find that they never happen. Life usually gets in the way, we have plenty of reasons that they’re not happening from kids, to work, to other commitments. Is that really the case though? Are we really giving up on the thing we so badly want to accomplish because we have other things going on in our life? It’s as if we had nothing to do all day…THEN we’d get it done. So we wait, for that rainy day where we’re trapped in our house with no power to start. But then the internet isn’t working so we couldn’t possibly get started then.

What’s really going on is overriding fear. Our bodies thrive on keeping us in homeostasis. That means doing everything possible to avoid pain, discomfort, failure etc.  So while we so badly want to get started with a new project, or learn to speak in public, or lose weight, the fear of any kind of discomfort steps in and says “ah ah ah” not so fast. That would mean being uncomfortable. It could be physical or mental discomfort but it’s definitely going to be there. I can’t imagine a time in my life when I’ve stepped out from behind my wall of comfort to progress somehow and found the progress “easy.” Unfortunately, it’s the fear of this discomfort that stands in our way to making progress. In fact, the reason I’m writing this entry is because it’s been too long and I’ve been “scared” to start up again due to my lapse in writing. I hope you’ll all forgive me.

We understand what’s happening, so let’s address how to work on overcoming it:

Do it now. Just a little bit, it could be 1 minute or 1 hour but do it now. Don’t wait. Tomorrow, do it again without question. This means doing it, not talking about it, not reading about it but flat out doing the “thing” you want.

Come to terms with itIt being the potential for discomfort. It will happen, I promise. And it’s OK. Discomfort is a signal that you’re growing. Be proud of this and celebrate the fact that you just did something new. After all this is what keeps life fresh.

Learn from it. Discomfort and failure are great learning tools. They teach us what happened when we did it a certain way so that next time we can course correct and create a different outcome. This is GROWTH! Enjoy the feeling and next time, come back for some more failure! When I coach, I frequently challenge my clients to a point of failure. Never because I want them to fail but I want them to know their potential and from the ashes of failure, one can rise like a phoenix to  create wonderful change.

Repeat. Start back at numero uno. The more you learn from it the better you get. The better you get, the happier you’ll find your everyday experience with what you wanted to overcome. The happier you are with the day to day experience, the more you’ll want to come back for more.

Understanding that we all come from the same place, that all of us face pain day in and day out helps to realize that we’re capable of so much more than many of us think. We have a wealth of opportunities that our body and minds provide. Get the two to work together, and you’re going to see some amazing results. Please, share your story of how this goes for you with others. Positive change begets positive change.

The Greatest Shave Ever?

I like mens style, grooming, and chivalrous techniques. I also love a good laugh and perfect comedic timing. This video has both.

The team over at Dollar Shave Club can expect to start shipping razors to my door with the way they set themselves up. A no bs company that just makes good razors without any frills.

I love when I have the time to give myself a straight razor shave, but let’s be honest I don’t have that much time every day to go through the ritual. So on the days between those shaves I use my expensive disposable blade razors. They do a great job, but now that the Dollar Shave guys have offered a solution to the ridiculousness of paying as much as we do for replacement razors, I’m in.

I’m ordering my first razor and we’ll see how it goes. Gentlemen, I’ll fill you in on the nuances of their razors soon. And as enlightened customer #167 on their website states, “I save $100/yr on shaving now. I’m basically a genius.” If these blades turn out to be as good as the video makes them out to be, I’ll be Einstein by the end of the March.

 

 

Update:

3/8/12: Placed an order for their 4 blade/$6 a month razors. They report it should ship within 3 – 4 days. More to come soon. In the meantime, you may want to try it for yourself.

3/16/12: 6 business days after I placed my order (2 days late from the promised shipment date) I received this email:

My first response: “Bummer, I was depending on those razors for my next shave. At least they’re good enough to admit what happened.”

My second response: I checked their website to look at the statement I’m sure they’ve released to let people know that they won’t be getting what they’re buying in the 3 – 4 days but I didn’t find anything. So the way it looks right now, they’re not letting you know until you’ve already purchased which I think is a bit of a mistake. So if you were excited to pick up your new Dollar Shave Club membership soon, I’d be waiting till the end of May to ensure you get what you’re paying for.

 

Taming a Goat: The CrossFit Rowing Specialty Course

 

Let me guess, you see rowing as a confused movement that doesn’t make sense to anyone. It feels impossibly inefficient and whenever you get off the machine you’re pretty sure satan himself had a hand in helping to produce the thing.

You’re not alone. Thousands of CrossFitters everywhere claim rowing as their primary goat. The one movement that they’ve accepted as the most torturous of all movements in the sport of CrossFit.

Unfortunately, that mentality is leading to lost WOD’s everywhere. So let’s accept that this movement deserves as much focus as olympic lifting or gymnastics and move on to taming this goat for you so you can take this sport seriously either as an athlete or as a coach.

You’re being robbed of energy

An erg can only be muscled for so long before it fights back and makes you wish you didn’t exist. It’s a beautiful machine and it deserves to be treated as such. That means you need to finesse the erg to really get the most out of it. That feeling of not being able to connect to the machine and wasting yourself is a product of inefficient movement. Much like Kelly Starrett’s One Joint Rule  we need to create connected progressions of movement so you’re not spending unnecessary energy to accomplish an end result.

Fighting back, a true story

Let’s do something about it. The effort to tame this machine is mostly focus. You’re all strong athletes and coaches with lots of potential, so we’re going to take that potential and turn it into efficient movement. Work your strength in your training and let us help with the efficiency. One day is more than enough to learn strategy, movement, error identification, and crush factor on the erg. JJ Christopher from Atlas CrossFit in Chicago, IL found a lot of ways to improve his own rowing and how to become a better coach because of the course as well.

It’s time you fight back against the erg, because when rowing shows up at regionals or the games you don’t want to be caught watching others fly by feeling stronger, with more energy, and ready to hit the rest of the workout.

Details, details, details…

Join us at CrossFit Invictus on Sunday, March 18th from 9 – 5 for this one day Certificate Course at a reasonably low cost of $395

  • You’ll learn the secret strategy that helps some of the world top CrossFitters including Aja Barto, Matt Barnett, Camille Leblanc, and Elyse Umeda take on rowing workouts.
  • Improve your coaching eye as you gain insight into how to look for and correct common errors
  • Spend less energy to get the same scores you’re already getting, leaving you more ready for whatever comes next

A good athlete rests on the talents they’re given, a great athlete takes their weaknesses and turns them into talents. See you all on March, 18th.

Singing In the Rain

One of my all-time favorite movies. It seems off from my usual rhetoric but this poster made me think about the ability to take advantage of opportunities even when everything seems to be pouring rain around you.

It’s important to understand that nobody but you is responsible for your happiness and the opportunities you find in life. When it seems like everything may be hitting the fan, that’s when it’s time to open your eyes and look for opportunity instead of grazing with the rest of the sheep. Be unique, take advantage, look life in the eyes a little differently. If you spend a year doing things that others won’t, you’ll be able to spend a lifetime doing the things others can’t.

Created by Brazilian Graphic Designer Niege Borges Alves | Via bitrebels

Set Your Focus

 

Your mental state has one of the greatest impacts on your every day performance. Whether it’s at work or in the gym, the wrong mindset or focus can be the only thing between you and your goal. Correcting your mentality can be a challenging task if only because stopping to take the time to change it often seems daunting.

It doesn’t have to be tough though, just a little focus and time can make a difference for you. Take advantage and improve your day in five minutes. We’re going to set you in the right direction together.

 

  1. Start by finding quiet anyway you can. If it’s putting in headphones with lyrics less music to drown out the office, do it.
  2. Take one minute and only one minute to decide what you want to accomplish in the next hour.
  3. Write down on a piece of paper only those tasks that will move you closer to that goal.
  4. Picture yourself executing each of those tasks without distraction and doing them perfectly. Breath deeply and smile as you do this.
  5. Remove your headphones and go back to your desk. Keep your list in front of you and cross off each item until your goal is completed.

 

That’s it. A simple, easy way to get your mind back on track and put you in the right mindset. You’ll find that your tasks will move seamlessly and effortlessly as you finish exactly what you were hoping. You’ll be jumping for joy in no time!

Nutrition & Fitness for the Busy Professional

Traveling is something I really enjoy. Getting to see the world or even parts of my own city I’ve never explored is what I consider fun. I have relationships that need regular nurturing, people that I love and trust who deserve my time and energy. I involve myself with businesses that grab my intrigue and appeal to my desire to do things that I love. There seems to be no end to things to do. If I let it, life will very quickly become about nothing but work (not a bad thing when you love what you do but not necessarily a healthy balanced life).

All of this while training for the CrossFit Games and eating a clean paleo lifestyle. Of all the things in my life, these two are perhaps the most important footholds of my lifestyle. I know that if one of them goes awry everything else in my life will suffer. My relationships, my attitude, my drive. These are the base of my life pyramid and we all know what happens to a lopsided pyramid.

A lot of people are in similar situations. Their lives are a crazy contortion of relationships, jobs, family, and expectations. All of these things consume percentages of our mind-share and time-share. At their core, many people feel the same way about their fitness and nutrition that I do. They know it’s a critical piece of the puzzle, and have all the best intentions of eating healthy every meal and working out at least 3 times a week. Somewhere along the way however we get sidetracked. We’re suddenly too busy to get that third workout in and take the time to make a healthy meal choice.

We only have so many hours in a day and the mental capacity to support a certain number of external factors at any given time. So the question is, how as a busy person are you supposed to maintain control of the two most important factors in your life? The two things that will ensure that you’re strong enough and around long enough to keep supporting your relationships, job, and family. With so much going on in life, how do you maintain your fitness and nutrition?

It’s simple in theory, but can be challenging in practice. So here are five effective tips to keep you on track. They’re here to help you build positive habits and make lasting changes in your life. Use them wisely and let me know how it goes.

#1: Batch Cook

  • Starting with snacks, once a week prepare healthy options for the coming week so that you don’t have to search for food when you have cravings.
  • TRY THIS:
    • Grill or Sauté a couple bunches of asparagus.
    • Once cooked, wrap each stem with a piece of deli cut prosciutto.
    • Bunch them in fives and place in ziplock bags so they’re ready to grab when you’re ready to go.

#2: Treat your workout like a meeting with your most important client, or your child’s birthday

  • You wouldn’t let anyone or some menial task keep you from attending either of these so don’t let it happen with your workout.
  • Consistency is king when it comes to fitness. The more you show up, the more it becomes habit, and the more likely you are to continue.
  • TRY THIS:
    • Schedule your workouts on your work calendar for a month out.
    • Alert all necessary parties that you’re unavailable during this hour.
    • Turn off your phone or at least the ringer so your workout isn’t interrupted.

#3. Hire a coach

  • Have you ever seen the majority of people at your typical globo gym? Most of them have been going for years and haven’t changed one bit.
  • Left to their own devices, most people will avoid hard work. Not intentionally it’s just how we operate.
  • A coach will challenge you and focus on building your weaknesses. This will break through plateaus that have been holding you back for a while.
  • TRY THIS:
    • Find a coach that appeals to you either in person or online.
    • Make sure you find a coach. A coach is more than a trainer. They play the role of helping you manage your nutrition, physical, and mental game.
    • Commit to a specific amount of time with your coach. Put your money where your mouth is it’ll keep you coming back to get your money’s worth.

#4. Fill 3/4 of your grocery cart from the produce section

  • One downfall of the paleo revolution is the increase in proteins (read: meats) without the increase in vegetables. Tipping the scales back to vegetable heavy meals can initiate the body composition change you’ve been looking for.
  • The more variety you’re picking up in the produce section, the greater intake of micronutrients you’re taking in. These nutrients fuel your body to perform at it’s peak.
  • TRY THIS:
    • Go to the grocery store with a couple vegetable heavy recipes you’ve researched. This will make sure the veggies you buy don’t go uncooked because you’re not sure how to prepare them
    • Buy the rainbow. Find a vegetable that’s white, brown, light green, dark green, red, orange, purple etc. How colorful can you get?
    • Immediately cook a couple dishes once you get home. This will make sure you have meals ready when you need them and keep you from putting it off till later.
    • Repeat Tip 1

#5. Always pack workout clothes

  • Whether traveling or going to the office. Having workout clothes staring you in the face will make you much more likely to use them
  • Buy new workout clothes. The old sweats and shoes you have from 10 years ago won’t make you feel good about putting them on. Clothes that fit you properly, shoes that fit and were made for fitness and running mechanics like the Inov-8 F-Lite 230′s (my personal favorites) or the New Balance Minimus will get you excited to put them on.
  • TRY THIS:
    • Pack your workout bag with all your toiletries. Towel, deodorant, toothbrush etc. You’ll come out feeling like a new person after your workout is done.
    • Make it a daily habit by packing your bag the night before. If you go or not, it will be ready the next time you are..
    • When you travel, commit an area of your bag to one set of workout clothes. Instead of plopping on the bed after a day of work in your hotel bed, throw those clothes on and go find the hotel gym. If they don’t have one, make up a workout in your room.

Stay healthy this year, put these tips into play, and let’s hear about the new you that’s bound to show through.

Paleo Snacking…The Way to Do It

As an intro: Let it be known that the links to Moxie Crunch here are affiliate links so I do have an interest in your clicking on them. Now that we have that out of the way…

At the CrossFit Endurance Expo a couple years ago where Crossfit Story was making their in person debut, we had the opportunity to be boothed (yes I made up a word) next to a delicious company that was setting out on their paleo snack creation journey.

The company is Savanna Orchards (not a solely paleo company) and the resulting offspring of their Paleo meets snacking goodness meetup is Moxie Crunch.

Recently I got my hands on a couple bags of their product to try for myself and see what all the hoopla was about.

Now, most of the snacks geared towards the paleo lifestyle you’ve seen are small and portioned sizes according to zone restrictions. The front runner in this category currently goes to Steve’s Original.  While I do think there is a place for zone and paleo to make sweet sweet music together, sometimes it’s just tedious. In my own training and just plain personal preference I like to be able to have a healthy portion (in case I’m feeling particularly hungry which I usually am) and not worry about weighing out my options. Luckily, Moxie Crunch comes in 1lb bags. I had the opportunity to take it on a road trip to see how long that sucker lasted. Well, about 8 hours of driving time and fairly continuous snacking later I hadn’t even finished the bag. Not bad, especially when the eating options in a car can get pretty sketchy.

Now what do you get in a pack? To start you get one big bag that houses the whole mix which is separated in to two smaller bags. One bag contains your almonds, walnuts, pecans, blueberries, cherries, & cranberries while the other keeps your cherry & applewood smoked organic beef jerky safe from premature berry & nut contamination. At this point I opened each bag & mixed them in the big bag for a splendid meeting of the flavor minds. All in all, the combination has great flavor to it.

The Jerky has a mild pepper flavor with some sweet undertones although at times it can be a shade dry (If I’m talking like a sommelier it’s because I’m trying to make this sound classy). The fruits are juicy, very sweet, and somehow not sticky like a lot of preserved fruits tend to be. The one downside is the use of sunflower oil in preserving all of their fruits. With a relatively high Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio putting down a pound of the mix will definitely be sending your Omega balance towards the 6′s. Finally, the nuts come in raw form and well, they taste like nuts. What else can you say.

Together they make for a good combination of flavors  & textures with nothing too overwhelming. Overall, I think it’s a great selection for athlete’s and paleoites on the go who are looking for a substantial snack to toss in their bag and aren’t overly critical of their zone tendencies. It also allows you to avoid convenience store jerky on trips and take quality with you wherever you go.

Finally, the price. A 1 lb bag goes for $27.50 while 3 lbs are $58.49. So if it ends up being something you like, it makes sense to pony up for the 3 lbs since you’re basically getting the 3rd pound for $3.50. Not a bad deal if you’re in the market for this kind of thing.

Get Moxie Crunch here