Several iconic figures have passed away this year. The evening news has informed us of people in communities around the world who’ve died way too young. This has meant two things for me. One, all life is precious and people are gifts that can touch us while they’re here. And two, make the most of your life by playing full out. What does that mean? Taking care of your body. You only get one and to take advantage of all life’s adventures, you must be healthy, strong and fit. Strengthen your mind by feeding it with content that makes you better. Don’t become distracted by gossip, judgment or things that don’t help you grow. Surrounding yourself with loving people and serving others. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Make sure your five are unconditional in their love and support of others, committed to growing and being their best and push you to be your best. Follow this blueprint every day and you will live an extraordinary life and make a difference for others.
Life is not about being perfect. It’s not a competition. It’s about being your best. Several years ago, life coach Tony Robbins asked arguably the greatest basketball player of all-time, Michael Jordan, to explain why he was successful and what set him apart. Jordan said, “I have a lot of talent, a lot of skill. I’ve worked really hard. But what really sets me apart are my standards. Every day, I demand more of myself than anybody else can humanly expect. I’m not competing with somebody else. I’m competing with what I’m capable of.” With standards like that, it’s no wonder Jordan is successful.
I am 46 years old and perhaps at the midpoint of my life. This means there’s still a lot of living to do. I am committed to not wasting one minute of it. I want to serve as many people as possible. Make a difference with everyone I meet. And grow to be the best me I can possibly be. To do this, I have to take care of my body and health. What I do today matters. My standard is to make every workout, meal and night of sleep my best. I also need a strong mental game. Over a year ago I made a commitment to feed my mind with more content that activates growth. This means I jumpstart every morning with inspiring podcasts and reading. A strong mindset can unleash creativity, increase resourcefulness, and strengthen discipline and commitment. Who I spend my time with matters, too. It has an effect on the direction I’m heading and how much I grow. My standard here is to surround myself with people who are committed to being their best. I honor the connection by giving them mine.
This life is gone in a flash. I believe you should play it full out. Make a conscious choice to stop doing things that prevent you from doing so. Be a champion for yourself. Give your all to your body, mind, emotions and spirit. I mean it. Settle for nothing less than your best. When you do, you will experience immense peace and joy while you’re here.
I listened to a Tony Robbins podcast recently on what makes some people successful and others not. If you’ve ever listened to Robbins, you know he’s a master at helping people remove blocks that prevent them from maximizing their potential and reaching their goals. In this particular show, he asked the audience, “What are some reasons you didn’t succeed in your business?” The answers included the economy, people I worked with, cost of doing business was too high, etc… Then he posed the same question to people with a goal of losing weight and maintaining it. Their responses were “I don’t know what to do, a trainer is too expensive, fitness class times don’t fit my schedule.” Robbins told the audience that your success is never about resources. It’s about resourcefulness. Successful people find a way to thrive in the face of a down economy, changing market and challenging coworkers. If a fitness class is not at a convenient time, they perform a workout outdoors. They utilize their resourcefulness so no reason or excuse prevents them from reaching their goal.
I have some big goals that I want to accomplish by the end of the year. Each one of which supports my long term goals. One of which is producing videos that highlight people’s journey to be their best and reach their goals. I want to celebrate people’s effort and progress. With a computer that is almost ten years old, I told myself I need a new computer to create inspiring videos. According to Robbins, I am blaming my resources for not producing quality work. Successful people don’t do that. Rather, they tap into their resourcefulness and find a way to get it done. Inspired by this, I’ve come up with another way to make inspiring videos until I can purchase a new computer. While it takes more time, I am able to use my iPhone, free video editing apps and social media, I am able to produce and share quality content. This is resourcefulness at work.
Take a look at goals you haven’t reached. Why haven’t you? What reasons do you give? Are you blaming your resources? How can you tap into your resourcefulness and reach your goals?
Being resourceful is being unstoppable. No excuses. No reasons. Just 100% commitment. You have everything you need to achieve your goals. It’s within you. It’s your resourcefulness. Tap into it and achieve more.
As we get older, regular physical activity is one of the most important things we can do for our health. It can help prevent many of the health problems that may come with age, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. It also helps your muscles grow stronger so you can keep doing your day-to-day activities without becoming dependent on others. And, it helps to keep stress away and elevate your mood.
I just returned from a trip to Prescott to visit my mom and her husband. I was there for less than 24 hours, but that didn’t stop them from their scheduled physical activity. At the ages of 79 and 83, they play in a tennis league. Tennis is giving them the health benefits of cardio, muscle/bone strength, coordination and balance. They also participate in stretching activities and recognize the importance of just a 15 minute walk after a meal.
The more physical activity you do, the greater the health benefits. If you are just starting an exercise program, check with your doctor first. At a minimum, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following for older adults:
2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity
(brisk walking) OR 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity
activity (running, spinning, etc.) every week.
2 or more days of muscle-strengthening activities that work all
major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders,
Aerobic activity or “cardio” gets you breathing harder and your heart beating faster. Most types of activities count as long as you do them for at least 10 minutes at a time. Intensity is how hard your body is working. A good rule of thumb is that 1 minute of vigorous-intensity activity is about the same as 2 minutes of moderate-intensity activity. However, everyone’s fitness level is different. What’s important is that you do what is right for you and your abilities and that you just do it!
Muscle-strengthing activities will help keep you from losing muscle as you get older. To gain health benefits, you must do these exercises to the point where it’s hard for you to do another repetition without help. There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles. The activities you choose should work all the major muscle groups of your body. Two activities that our community does together for strengthening muscles and bones are Resistance Training (lifting weights, push-ups, pull-ups and more) and TRX Suspension Training (Total Body Resistance Exercise) where you are using your own body weight to perform the movements. A couple other examples of muscle-strength activities would be heavy gardening (digging, shoveling) or yoga.
Bone-strengthening activities, in addition to muscle-strengthening activities, becomes very important as we get older to help prevent osteoporosis. See my blog here about bone density. The best exercise for your bones is the weight-bearing kind, which forces you to work against gravity. Some examples of weight-bearing exercises include weight training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing. Examples of exercises that are not weight-bearing include swimming and bicycling. Although these activities help build and maintain strong muscles and have excellent cardiovascular benefits, they are not the best way to strengthen your bones.
Variety and getting the right balance of activities in your weekly fitness routine is the key. Your goals; whether it be weight loss, maintenance, building tone/definition, or building strong bones will determine your own unique fitness routine. For me, at 56 years old, I have been able to increase my bone density by doing resistance training twice a week. I have been able to maintain a weight loss for over 6 years by staying committed to healthy nutrition and a regular workout routine that, in addition to 2 days of resistance training also includes TRX and spin classes. Anyone can achieve their goals, but first you need to declare those goals. Write them down and share them with an accountability partner. Create a weekly schedule that includes both cardio and resistance training and stick to it! You will see results and be on the path to getting healthier as you get older.
I feel tremendous love these days. Everyone I see is beautiful to me. I am clear that I am choosing to experience people and life this way. The 24 hour news cycle, social situations and an election year might make it seem like there’s not a place for that right now. I disagree. With all that’s going on, I feel an even greater need to love each other. I am not distracted by people’s past, what they said or did, or what they’re going through. What I choose to see is the good in them. While that may not be what others choose, it works for me and I believe it can work for you. If you want to feel happiness and love for yourself and others, keep reading.
There’s a quote by Wayne Dyer that has helped me forgive, accept and love people regardless of who they are or what they might have done. It reads, “See the light in others and treat them as if that’s all you see.” I live my life by these words. In doing so, negative feelings and behavior, like judgment, blame and resentment, have disappeared. And in that void, unconditional love has taken residency. It’s so awesome to see the good in people.
I have been the beneficiary of unconditional love from some truly amazing people. Their grace and patience with me as a flawed human being has been humbling. Words can not express what their generosity means to me. I tell them thank you all the time but it feels like it’s not enough. The best way I know to honor the people who love me so mightily is to give love to others.
I use to think some acts were unforgivable or I was justified in withholding compassion and love from some people. When I was in that space, I was an unhappy person at my core. I later realized there was a cost to this kind of thinking and treatment of others. When love is absent from any relationship, other emotions take its place. All of which take me further and further away from who I want to be. I want to be my best. That person is loving, kind, thoughtful, compassionate, empathetic, inspiring, a work in progress and a service to others in a positive way. There’s no way I can be this human being without having love for everyone; including myself.
When I’ve reflected on my personal failures and the adverse impact to others, I use to feel blame, shame and guilt. And while there may be a need to give apologies for broken promises, there’s never a place for blame, shame and guilt in the conversation. If I am going to see the good in others and give them love, I have to do the same for myself. When I realized this, the healing began and I started to see the good in me again. This breakthrough expanded my capacity to love.
If you blame yourself or others, consider there is a deficient in your life. There are no victims or villains. There are just people to love. So let go of all negative stories and emotions that prevent you from loving others and yourself. By choosing to see the good in everyone and treating them accordingly, you give yourself an awesome gift. It’s one of peace, happiness and connection at the highest level.
It’s time for an annual check up. Are you as healthy as you were a year ago or in years past? Are you as happy as you were twelve months ago? And how much have you grown and improved over the last 365 days? These are questions I encourage you to ask yourself regularly. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about making small, consistent improvements each day that produce huge results over time. And in doing so over the course of one year, you will look back and smile at the gains you’ve made.
Whenever I evaluate my health, fitness, mindset and happiness, I want to be pleased with the progress. I am happy to say I am as healthy and fit as I’ve ever been. A lot of that has to do with the company I keep. Although my friends and I are a year older, we are in great shape and we have fun at every workout. We hardly ever miss our training sessions because we view the workouts as a healthy act of self-love and an opportunity to connect. Plus, we always feel better afterwards. My friend Terri recently brought in a quote to display in the studio. It reads, “You are one workout away from a good mood.” This is so true. No matter how tired you are, how much you have going on or how hard it is to make it to the workout, you will always be happy you came. It’s exercise for the body and soul.
A robust annual checkup is an assessment of your physical, mental and emotional state from year to year. When I look at pictures and videos from last year to this year, I look the same if not better and I’m lifting heavier. Thanks to my friend Sharon’s drop-saddle spin class, my cardio is much improved. My mental game is much stronger too thanks to lessons learned and applied after a few personal failures. I am for sure happier today. This is in large part due to starting each day with inspirational reading and podcasts, exercise and great friends. The people in my life are amazing. To be surrounded by them is a gift that keeps giving.
If your annual checkup isn’t where you think it should be, here are 5 things you can do to have a better one twelve months from now.
Mark your calendar. Your next annual checkup is in twelve months. Commit to being a healthier, happier and better you a year from now. My friends and I certainly will be. I hope you will join us.
Just a few days ago I got a call from my son up in Flagstaff. He said, “Mom, I think I did something to my ankle”. It was then my turn to ask questions and offer suggestions. I wanted to be an “expert” for him, but I’m not a doctor and was only able to tell him to ice, elevate, take it easy, and call me again if it doesn’t feel better so we can decide if you need to have it looked at by a doctor. He asked me why he needed to elevate his ankle and I replied, “It helps with the swelling, and because I know that “E” for elevate is one of the letters in the word of what you are supposed to remember when things like this happen. SO, I researched, and this is what I found.
First of all, it’s important to know the difference between a sprain and a strain. The American College of Sports Medicine defines a sprain as an injury to a ligament and a strain as an injury to a muscle or tendon. They both can vary in degree from mild to severe. If you experience stiff, tender muscles and/or swelling, you may have a muscle strain. If you also feel more intense pain and see bruising, then you may be dealing with a sprain. Anything that affects your mobility and involves a lot of pain and bruising should be seen by a doctor. The ACSM recommends the “PRICE” principle for treating sprains and strains:
P: protect from further injury, or stop what you are doing immediately and apply a splint, pad or crutches, if appropriate for more severe injuries.
R: restrict activity, or avoid further movement within that area for at least 48–72 hours.
I: apply ice for 15–20 minutes every 60–90 minutes.
C: apply compression. Consider using a wrap bandage, which may be removed during icing, to help support and protect the area.
E: elevate the injured area to help reduce or minimize swelling.
Perhaps the most important information that I was able to share with my son was the reminder that he may be allergic to ibuprofen! Over-the-counter pain relievers may provide some relief and help with swelling, but you should always check with your doctor before taking anything.
But, what about my workout?!?! Don’t throw in the towel. This is the time to get creative with what exercises you can do instead. If you injured an ankle or a hamstring, you can still get a great and effective workout by concentrating on upper body. Use the time to focus on stretching, flexibility and core work. Go to the pool! I remember when I had a fibula stress fracture. Just as soon as the cast came off, I was in the pool using my arms to pull me through the water. It was an incredible workout and I left the pool with my usual exercise high.
Be optimistic and think positive. This kind of mental energy will help speed your recovery. Be thankful for all the things that your body does for you on a daily basis. Recovering from an injury can be a blessing in disguise. And, finally, as a postscript, my text message from son today said, “Ankle is doing a lot better!” Sprain or strain?
A great workout partner can be the difference between meeting your fitness goal or shattering it. When I trained by myself, I met my goals. But when I worked out with partners, I obliterated them. Every personal best I’ve set in fitness can be traced back to the contribution of my workout partners. They motivate, encourage and support me in a big way. And, I believe, I have some of the best on the planet.
When I was younger, I thought a good partner was a person who trained as hard as I did or harder. They had to lift more and run faster. I felt they needed to give me something to shoot for. As I’ve matured, I’ve learned it’s not about how fast they can run, how much they can squat or even how they look. I am motivated by their attitude, effort and commitment to the workout and me.
A positive, motivating attitude can make all the difference during a filthy training session. My friends, Tim, Alex and Pat consistently bring their best attitude to the gym; even when we are on the third round of squats followed by the walking lunges death march, squat hops and Kettlebell squats. Their positive attitude never fades. They are awesome to train with.
I use to be fixated on numbers. How fast was your run? How many pull-ups did you get? While having a numeric goal is important for measuring progress, I appreciate a person’s effort much more. Nothing is more motivating than seeing someone step up to line without complaints or excuses. They simply say, “I going to give it my best.” Then you see them doing just that. They don’t talk about how tired they are or their injury. Instead, they give you and the moment their best effort. As their partner observing this, how can I not follow up with my best? I’ve witnessed my friend Linda do this every single week for 7 years. What an inspiration! She inspires me to train harder.
My best workout partners over the years have been committed individuals. They show up to every workout with a great attitude and give maximum effort. This alone would be enough for most people but not my partners. As I told you, they’re special. When they travel for vacation or business, they continue to work out and eat healthy on the road. This is next level. They do this because they are committed to themselves and want to stay sharp. Oftentimes, my friend Tim will send me a picture from different gyms he’s working out while he is traveling. We call it the world tour. I received five such snapshots this month alone. Two of which were while he was on vacation with his kids. When your best friend is putting in work like this, how can you even consider letting up? You can’t. And the proof is in the protein pudding. His first workout coming off travel is like he never left. He crushes it.
I appreciate great workout partners and try to return the gift by being one. Here are five keys to being a great workout partner.
My personal goal is to be an outstanding workout partner every time. I have effort, commitment, partnership and gratitude nail down. I am working to be more consistent with entering the gym with a smile and an inviting attitude. My attitude tends to improve as the workout progresses but that’s not good enough. My partners deserve a better attitude from the start. I am committed to bringing that. I encourage you to evaluate yourself as a partner. Practice the 5 keys to being a great workout partner. You and your training buddies will reap the extraordinary fitness rewards.
I recently made a paradigm shift in my thinking. I’ve begun to apply the strong mindset I’ve used for achieving and maintaining optimal health and fitness to other areas of my life that need work. The mental game I use for my workouts and healthy eating is bullet proof. It stays strong and is impervious to excuses. No matter how tired I am or how busy I might be, I don’t miss workouts. I adhere a healthy nutrition plan whether I’m out to lunch, at a party or on vacation. This level of commitment has produced strong results for me. So it only makes sense to take this show on the road to other areas of my life that aren’t living up to what I’m capable of and/or what I want for my life.
Over the past eighteen months, I’ve been focused on two things. The first is being loving to others and seeing the good in everyone. And the second is growing our community and helping people reach their goals. To achieve these two important objectives requires me to grind every single day. I tell myself, “No matter what happens today, you will be loving, nonjudgmental and a contribution to others.” This is easier said than done; especially in a society that often participates in gossip and judgment. I use to be right there with everyone else. That changed when I had my own stumble and would have appreciated compassion, empathy and love. Since I appreciate those gifts from others, I cultivate my own every day and share them freely.
My career is a gift. I am pleased with the differences and contributions I’ve made to people over the years. But I am not content. I can do more. I can do better. To do so, I’ve identified four key areas to focus on. Each morning I create a list of at least one thing I will do that moves me closer to my goal. Sometimes the work is fun. Other times, it’s a grind. It’s like exercising. I may not want to do it, but I am always glad I did. The sense of accomplishment I feel each morning after completing the four tasks is the same I experience after a filthy workout. The key to not missing any workouts in the last 20 years is my no excuses, no distractions policy. Nothing gets in the way of my daily exercise and eating healthy. Now, I apply this same mindset to my business objectives. The first three hours of my workday are distraction free. I don’t check email, social media or my phone until I’ve completed my list. This focus allows me to be that much closer to achieving my goals by giving them the priority they deserve.
Here are three things you can do daily to take your good habits on the road for greater success:
Don’t settle for being great in only one or two areas. Pursue greatness everywhere in your life. To get there takes an unwavering commitment and rock-solid discipline to perform good habits when you don’t want to. If you can do that, I promise every area of your life will be optimal and you will be an inspiration to others.
Every Saturday, after an intense fun workout with friends, I spend the majority of the day reading, studying and preparing to take an online quiz. I usually set a target time of when I need to hit the “Take Quiz” button; otherwise, I would just keep studying. I actually really look forward to this time as I love learning! It certainly helps to be learning about a subject that I am really passion about. Whether you are taking a class or not, I cannot overemphasize the importance of challenging yourself mentally and to always be researching and learning. This will stimulate brain activity and keep you young and sharp! Specifically, I would like to challenge everyone to learn something new about nutrition every day! It affects us all.
Nutrition education is different from education in general because its goal is to change dietary habits. Several requirements must be met for behavior change with nutrition to occur. These are the 4 C’s of nutrition education.
To age is to adapt and learning new nutrition habits is part of aging. Going back to school and having to read and study has proven to myself that I can still learn. And, it’s already getting easier as I have found that with practice I can concentrate and retain information much longer than I use to. So, anyone at any age can do this. Do you have a question in your head that you have been wondering about? Google it! I do this several times a day! While you can’t rely 100% on the validity of what answer you may find, keep at it! When surfing the Internet, pay attention to the three letters that come after the period when looking at websites. This suffix usually describes what type of entity hosts the website. Here are just a few reliable examples.
The bottom line is that you are in charge of the course that your health will take over the next several years. It begins with nutritional education. It’s a must for anyone who wants to thrive and be their happiest and healthiest self. Implement the four Cs every day to get there. What one piece of nutritional information will you learn today?