Life

Some of us were born into a life with all the bells whistles; a mom, dad, a sibling or two, a big house, financial stability and most important of all, Love. Some of us on the other hand were born into a life of loneliness, hardship, hunger and hatred. A lot of us are somewhere in between. No matter where you came from, you were dealt a hand in life you had no control over. What you do with and how you play it, however, is ultimately up to you.

A great example of this is Aron Ralston, the canyoneer who got his arm stuck in a canyon one day during a hike. He literally ended up with a do or die situation, leading to him to sacrifice his arm in order to save his own life.

He valued his own life over one of his body parts. He knew the consequences were to endure the excruciating pain of cutting off his own arm and live without it for the rest of his life. He also knew the end result would be the very act of living. At that point in time, he wanted to live more than anything.

We always hear rags to riches stories but commonly call the people in those tales “lucky.” They were not lucky, they had the same mentality of Aron Ralston at the time he was in the canyon. They wanted to succeed as bad as they would have wanted to live in a life or death situation. No matter where they were in life, they worked their asses off to get where they wanted to be.

They knew that if they made the decision to walk and sometimes crawl the path that lead to success, it came with harsh lessons and experiences. What separated them from the others who have tried to no avail is that they knew that only they had the power to decide how successful they were going to be. They knew they had full control of the way they played their hand of life that was dealt.

When you want something bad enough, whatever it is, the biggest mistake you can do is not do anything at all. If Aron just sat there and did nothing, it would have been a very depressing fate. Go through life with that mentality, as if you were literally stuck between a rock and a hard place and the only way to break free is to do the unthinkable!

If you want to change your life, in any way, shape or form, you have to play your hand, and play it the way YOU want to. Your way may not always be the best way, but at least do it with confidence because nothing is guaranteed in life. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, that’s all part of the “game.” Don’t underestimate yourself, because when the time comes, you’ll even surprise yourself on how well you have played your hand.

“Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.”- Robert Louis

Hate Your Job? Your Body Does Too!

In order to be truly healthy, you have to be content both physically and emotionally. This means you not only have to eat well and exercise, but also have to generally enjoy your life. Aside from hanging out with family and friends and maybe even having time for ourselves, a majority of our time is spent working. The term “work” can be synonymous with a negative feeling to the majority who hate their job. 80% of Americans – according to Deloitte’s Shift Index survey – are not satisfied with their job.

Holy Crap!? 80%!? That means out of 10 people you hang out with, 8 of them do not even like what they do 40+ hours a week! It’s no wonder that so many people get trapped and lured by those “Get Rich Quick Pyramid Schemes.” Trust me, I was one of them long ago [shutters]. It may also be a reason why so many people have so many health issues. High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, bad headaches, and the list goes on. There are multiple studies that have suggested that happier people are more successful and live longer, healthier lives!

So if you’re going to do something 40+ hours a week, it might as well be something you generally enjoy doing. However, there is constant resistance to this with the ultimate argument stating “if we all did what we loved we would starve doing it.” I didn’t say it was going to be easy. This whole issue of doing what you love but still being financially stable has been burning inside me for years!

I’ve worked jobs I hated, and I remember my health was shit. I ate like crap, thought like crap, and hit a low point in my health. It’s only when I decided to make a change and pursued what I wanted to do that I started becoming a happier and healthier person. If I didn’t make that change, I wouldn’t be writing this blog right now or even be in the fitness industry! It wasn’t easy, but I still made it happen.

I came across a post written by David Kanigan: “Do What You Love?” Within this blog he referenced some excerpts from another post: “How To Do What You Love” written by Paul Graham, a Harvard grad who co-developed the first web-based application, Viaweb.

This is only a fraction of awesomeness that was referenced:

“To do something well you have to like it. That idea is not exactly novel. We’ve got it down to four words: “Do what you love.” But it’s not enough just to tell people that. Doing what you love is complicated.”

“…How much are you supposed to like what you do? Unless you know that, you don’t know when to stop searching. And if, like most people, you underestimate it, you’ll tend to stop searching too early. You’ll end up doing something chosen for you by your parents, or the desire to make money, or prestige—or sheer inertia.”

This really reminded me of when I was in High School and my Mom and Dad were pushing me to “be a nurse! It’s a safe and secure job! Good salary!” Don’t get me wrong, I have some really good friends who are awesome nurses, but they’re awesome nurses because they generally want to be nurses! That’s what they love to do and it shows through their successes! However, there are a lot of other nurses out there who hate their job and just do it for a pay check. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a nurse whose passionate about their work instead of a nurse working the graveyard shift only to pick up a few extra bucks.

“…It’s hard to find work you love; it must be, if so few do. So don’t underestimate this task. And don’t feel bad if you haven’t succeeded yet. In fact, if you admit to yourself that you’re discontented, you’re a step ahead of most people, who are still in denial. If you’re surrounded by colleagues who claim to enjoy work that you find contemptible, odds are they’re lying to themselves. Not necessarily, but probably.

…Whichever route you take, expect a struggle. Finding work you love is very difficult. Most people fail. Even if you succeed, it’s rare to be free to work on what you want till your thirties or forties. But if you have the destination in sight you’ll be more likely to arrive at it. If you know you can love work, you’re in the home stretch, and if you know what work you love, you’re practically there.”

I refuse to believe that the only way to be “successful” is to have a steady paying job that gives good benefits doing mediocre work. I have clients who work all day at a job they hate, but take steps towards their ultimate goal, and I have more admiration for them than those who complain about their life and job and do nothing about it.

Being happy is one of the key things you have to be in order to have a healthier life. You can’t be healthy and unhappy at the same time, and if you are I bet it’s a constant struggle. I’m not saying ignore your financial and personal obligations, drop everything and just look for work that you generally enjoy doing. I’m saying if you want to have a healthier lifestyle, taking steps towards a happier life is a must. Take a class, shadow someone whose doing what you want to do, do something small but different! I challenge you to do this if you’re in the “hate my job” boat. It just takes one small change!

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” – Muhammad Ali

Feeling Sorry For Yourself?

If you’re not where you want to be at this very moment in your life, it may due to several factors. Maybe you were placed in an unfavorable position by default. Maybe an unexpected event happened that may have put a damper on your future plans. Maybe you made a bad decision and now live every day with regret. Whatever it may be, the worst thing you can do is to feel sorry for yourself.

I deal with people on a daily basis who want to make a change in their lives for the better, but one of the trends I always see emerging from their stories is that they usually feel sorry for themselves. This is where I usually point out that they still can control the outcome of their lives by making the right decisions.

One example of an excuse is: “It’s so hard to eat right with all these fast food places around!”

These restaurants are not forcing you to eat their food. They have ads to persuade you to consume their product. If you consume it, that was YOUR decision, not theirs.

Another example is: “I have no time for anything!”

If someone kept saying they’re always broke, you may think that they’re not budgeting their money well. The same concept goes for time! Time is one of the most precious resources of life. It is ultimately up to you how and where you spend it. If you don’t have enough of it at the end of the day, only you can do something about it.

Here’s a third example that may be common: “I have to do this, and then that, and then this again. I’m so tired and stressed and only had 4 hours of sleep!”

The mere action of complaining about your day will give you unnecessary stress. Let me break down what REAL stress is.

Examples of weak stress: Cramming for a midterm because you didn’t study early enough. Doing a last minute project because you procrastinated. Complaining how you hate your job but don’t do anything to better the situation because you feel like you can’t.

Examples of real stress: Taking enemy fire in a live battlefield. Fighting a fire for 24 hours straight. Being a negotiator in a hostage situation. Not knowing when your next meal will be.

Bottom line is you may not have it as bad as you make yourself believe. I’ve talked to people who have actually gotten defensive and try to justify their sob stories, but that’s the problem. I’ve heard many people say “Well I have to pay my mortgage, you don’t have on yet so you wouldn’t understand” “You don’t have kids yet so you don’t understand.”

I agree, I’m a young up and coming strength coach and I would no idea right now at this point in my life how it would be to raise a family or own a house. I have met and trained many peoples from all walks of life, and as a result have dealt with people who have the same problems but actually take steps towards solving them!

I’ve seen a soccer mom come into the gym at 6am because that’s the only time she can come in before her kids wake up. I’ve seen burnt out lawyers take cooking classes on the weekends because they decided they want a career change. I’ve seen clients work two jobs to take care of their family, but still take night classes because they still want to pursue their goals!

People always tend to focus on their problems and weaknesses instead of their strengths and possible solution.

You want something in life bad enough, you have to work hard for it. There is no easy way out. You don’t like it? Don’t complain about where you’re at then. The funny thing is people who put in the work always find a way to make shit happen.

Ill give you a small personal example. I run this blog, my Youtube channel, and contribute to a fitness website without owning a laptop or PC. It’s simply possible because of today’s high tech society, a computer is so easy to find and use! Whenever I have access to a computer I’m on it. I’ve only recently purchased a smart phone and I’m currently writing this post on it as you read!

A while back I knew I needed to make some type of web presence but I couldn’t afford a laptop (yes even during college I didn’t own one). I knew, however, there was more than one way to do it. The tools are out there to get whatever you need done. It’s all about having the right mentality. And yes when the time comes, I am planning to invest in a laptop of my own.

It’s possible, get up, believe, and make shit happen!

The “Secret” to Success

Within the fitness industry, it is common to see many people in pursuit of that “magic pill” or “super secret” way of getting to their goal as fast a possible, whether it be getting a six pack, bigger muscles, leaner body, getting stronger, becoming faster, or breaking a record. There is a constant search for that edge among many but only few realize that what they have been looking for has been within themselves at the very beginning of their journey to greatness.

I am talking about the mentality of training. Because of today’s marketing of such superficial products like

“MASS GAINER POWDER”

“DESTROY YOURSELF FOR 90 MINUTES FITNESS DVD” 

“THERE IS A PICTURE OF A SIX PACK ON THIS BOTTLE SO IT MUST WORK SUPPLEMENT” 

and constant media exposure to photoshopped models, many people may think that in order to achieve success in their training goals, one must improve everything physical about their body. This is only 10% of the formula.

The other 90% of the formula is mentality. The mind is a very powerful thing and has the ability to make or break us. This is the “secret” that 90% of people look for while the other 10% actually understand it. This small group of people go on to be the Olympians, professional and amateur champions in their respective sport, beat cancer, walk when thought medically impossible, break world records etc. Being in the “winning” mind set is the most overlooked method in my opinion.

One must be in the mind set of “I’ll make it happen” as opposed to “I hope it happens” to accomplish any goal. Too many people doubt themselves time and time again. Negative thinking is very common and is often passed on by those who have not accomplished what they have set out to do. They make themselves feel better by trying to get other people to think the same way. This makes me sick. One uppers and down talkers are the most annoying people in the world! However, if in the mindset of the “go getter,” these peoples’ way of thinking shouldn’t phase one in any way.

So the next time you’re out training for whatever goal you set out for yourself, train hard and dig deep. Push yourself past your physical limits when you have nothing else to go on but sheer will! Too often I see people do workouts they can “handle” and sad to say it but these people will never reach their true potential. Do not be afraid to raise the bar on yourself, because it will only make you stronger both physically and mentally.

If your usual is running a mile a day, well guess what, you should be running 1.5 miles a day the next week. If you’re squatting 315 lbs one session, gotta squat 335 the next. If you’re comfortable with your workouts, you’re doing it wrong. Training out of your comfort zone will not only yield results faster and more effectively, but it will make you mentally tougher.

This goes the same with working towards success. If you’re comfortable, you tend to lose your “hunger.” When you are uncomfortable in any given situation, it is your “hunger” that pushes you to make that situation better. Keep your mind hungry and focused and you’ll be amazed at how much you can actually do.

“Good things may come to those who wait, but great things are earned to those who pursue!” – Awesome Anonymous

Adversity Sucks

This past Thursday I went jogging with my girlfriend, parked my car in front of a playground where kids were playing, people were walking their dogs and old couples were strolling around. Right after our aerobic bout of exercise, we came to see my driver side window shattered, my cellphone and wallet missing from my middle compartment, and nothing else (no it was not visible).

My girl’s purse was in the trunk, however they couldn’t get to it cause the dumbass thought my hood release was the lever to open it. Guess he fled quickly cause we got back after just 30 minutes. This happened in daylight in front of a Community Center. I called in all my debit & credit cards and disconnected my phone within minutes of seeing this with the help of some bystanders. However no one SAW anything -_-.

So there I was, no debit card, no drivers license, no cell phone, no credit card, no driver side window and a whole bunch of glass to clean up. Even with this I still asked my lady to take me to work after I drove my car to her house cause I still had to train people. Still gotta do work!

The next day I managed to get a new window, new driver license issued, new debit card ordered, and a new cell phone with the help of my Love Jozelle and her Dad Uncle Joe, my Dad, and my clients Aris and Blake. Within 24 hours I was back on my feet and still moving forward.

What I am trying to emphasize is that adversity can hit you randomly, and how a person reacts towards times of great affliction defines who they really are.

Whether it be a car broken into, lost your job, failed a class, whatever obstacles you may face, there IS always a light at the end of the tunnel. The only thing that can prevent you from getting to that light and moving forward is yourself.

One stops themselves from getting to where they want to be may be because negative thinking is so abundant throughout media, society & internet. Eff that noise.

Don’t let other people put you down. Don’t let anyone say you CAN’T. As corny as it may sound it’s the truth. If one hangs out with people who think negative, one too will think negative. If one hangs out with people who believe in everything is possible and are very supportive, then you will think the same way.

When people saw me cleaning glass from my car in the parking lot, some didn’t care, some just felt sorry, and a few actually offered to help. I could have felt sorry for myself. There are those I know who may think “That’s what you get for leaving your stuff in there.” or those one uppers who say “Well MY car got jacked a few months ago and couldn’t drive to work for a week.”

How are those things going to help my situation? They’re not. The only way was when I asked myself “F*ck it, what can I do to get back on my feet and still train my clients, build my business, take out my girl and get work done for school all by tomorrow?” and actually came up with several steps to get to where I wanted to be.

I pulled everything together within 24 hours, and that is what happens with positive thinking.
Believe in yourself and your abilities. Don’t ever think a Pro athlete, a CEO of a company, a Doctor, a Lawyer or whoever may be better than you. They may have had a better start in life, but you can do just as much as they can, you just have to know you can.

They all breathe like the rest of us. They are human, and so are you. ANY person is capable of limitless possibilities. Sure there may have been some detours along the road, but when one door closes, another door opens. The problem is that some people tend to stop looking for that newly open door and wander aimlessly through the hallway. That’s what happens when one gives up.

Don’t ever give up, especially on yourself.

“It doesn’t matter how slow you move, as long as you never stop.”