One of my favorite quotes from Nathaniel Hawthorne says:
“No man for any considerable Period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true”
Character... The personality defining difference between what we say and what we do (publicly or privately).
These past couple months have been a sneak peak into peoples true character. I’m an observer. I watch people. I listen to people. I then decide how close I want them to be. This might offend some, but I don’t care. We live in a world where boundaries can be considered offensive oddly enough. We live in a world where people can look you in the face and lie to you without a single care. We lack character as a whole. That’s why we are struggling SO BADLY in everything that’s happening right now.
I struggle big time with this. I have a very hard time understanding WHY people do the things they do or say the things they say. The more I “investigate” through conversation, the more I realize people lack the defining process of words. Words have meaning right? “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will cut you deeper than you can imagine” is how it should go. I don’t want it to sound too negative though. Words are just as helpful and inspirational as they are hurtful and damaging.
**DISCLAIMER** By no means am I judging anyone for what they say and do. Even 2pac knew “only God can judge me”. So I leave it up to God.
But What I can do is question. I’m questioning the definitions by which we live. I am a very literal person and I believe what I say. I know what words mean and there is a REASON I say what I say. In talking to people over the years, it seems there are quite a few who do not know if what they are saying is true or not. When I ask questions, they don’t know where they got the information from or if it was even a credible source. In a world where we are taught to question everything, it seems it may have back fired a little to where its also hard to believe anything.
I this world of “rhetoric” people find it easy to be offended because they either don’t know what you are talking about, misunderstood the context in which it was said, have a hard time accepting their actions may place them in a particular group with similar actions, or refuse to accept they are a part of said stereotype.
It’s just interesting to watch.
For example: There is a shirt that I’ve started seeing quite a bit lately that states “I love Jesus but I cuss a little”. Again, I’m not judging. Because you are free to wear it, I am therefore free to question... I mean, you can be offended by me placing you in a category, and I can be offended by the categorically misrepresentation of my reality of “Christian”. See how that works?
That’s just an example, and there are endless examples just like this.
Simply put, that is why CHARACTER is so important.
It’s how you are perceived through the lens of others. How do others define the world around them? It’s not about you... But at the same time... It is.
A long time ago I had to write an obituary for myself. By far the hardest philosophical/existential thing I had to do considering the, lets call it, life stage I was in. I found myself trying “key word” to find the “good things” about myself. Needless to say, they were few and far between. I would stretch the truth a little to make myself look better as if it mattered. I was dead in this scenario.
At the end of our life, we will inevitably question our existence, our impact and our character. Below are some questions I consistently ask myself, my wife and my children concerning who WE are, and how we fit in what we believe our purpose is. Maybe this is a start? Not sure if you even care. But what I do know, is that we, “the world”, are in crisis mode. If we do not know who we are, and what we stand for (strongly) the downward spiral will will consume our culture and there will be no turning back from the division and malice that seems to be at the forefront of every conversation.
How do you want to be remembered?
How will people remember you as of now?
Do those questions align?
How do your words meet your actions?
What set of boundaries and/or definitions do you live by?
Are YOU consistently YOU?
Or are you wearing masks to others or yourself?
Don’t talk about it, Be about it.
Yea that’s me up there...
I remember the first few triathlons I did WAY back. Even though I was at the peak of my athleticism at 24, I had NO IDEA what I was doing which made me extremely unprepared as far as my expectations were concerned.
What I knew: How to swim, ride a bike, and run
What I didn’t know: Where to go, how to get from one sport to the other (transition), and how painful it was to go from sport to sport without having trained those sports back to back.
Life seems to be like this for most people right now. We SEEM to know the basics of how to get through life in a “normal” setting. But when things change, it gets hard, it gets confusing, and what we thought we knew has MANY more facets than we had thought about.
In the world of swimming, one of the hardest things to learn (especially as an adult) is “how to breathe”. Isn’t it odd that we FORGET how to breathe??? I mean... It’s Inhale...Exhale right?
Right! But when you add the anxiety of water and buoyancy, with the lack of rotation in the hips and increases heart rate... Breathing is not the highest priority in regards to getting to the other side of the pool. That is, until you realize you are half way down, can’t breathe and now have to stop. This, to me is where part of the world is. We have forgotten the MOST fundamental things in life and now we have to pause, catch our breath and regroup before we can continue. Swimming is one of the hardest skills to learn if we wait until we are an adult. Life will drown you if you don’t learn to float. Keep it simple, move efficiently and don’t forget to breathe!
Cycling is a different beast. The saying ‘it’s like riding a bike” does NOT apply to an “aero” position if you have not done it before. Riding sat back on a huffy does not translate to being up and over the front wheel while resting on your forearms. The first time you “clip in” to a moving bike does not mean that you will be able to get off of your bike very easily. Sure it has benefits of pushing and pulling, but it also has threats to safety and staying upright when you are no longer moving forward. Life, for some may be more like cycling. You are clipped in and riding through life. Unlike swimming, where you cannot stay afloat or breathe, in cycling you are able to breathe whenever you want and may have a false sense of security. Forces of nature affect every moment you are on a bike. You will experience resistance if you go up a hill or face the wind. You might have to slow down and forget you are clipped in and may crash. You may know the basics, but you have never been in this position before and its a fragile and unfamiliar position to be in. Know that it’s OK and when you fall, it WILL hurt. But learn from it, keep your legs moving and don’t forget to be able to stop yourself next time before you fall.
Running is something I FIRMLY believe we are built to do. It’s locomotion. It’s a motor skill. It’s one of the first things we learn to do as a child. Yet, it hurts SO VERY BAD. Where do we lose our ability to do something so very basic to human movement? At what point in our life did we become unable to move forward fast? Running hurts. It makes our heart rate go up, our breathing gets uncomfortable and we find ourself further down the road than we wanted and then realize we have to get back. For some, you may find yourself here. You know what to do, you were built for it. You know it hurts because you have done it before. The cool thing about running is it requires Self, clothes, shoes. That’s it! We don’t need a pool. We don’t need a bike. It’s just us and the road. It’s “primal” right? So now you just have to “get back on the horse” and start rebuilding your endurance right? Nike says it best “just do it”.
I titled this one “The Great Transition” because regardless of how well you know the sports, if you are not well enough prepared for this strange period of time in between “what you know”, it makes the ENTIRE race slower. This was my experience. I realized that even though I knew how to breathe and move efficiently in the water, I had NO IDEA where to go to get my bike. Once I found my bike, I didn’t know how hard it was to put cycling clothes on while wet, then forgot I had to wear a number so I had no pinned it in the right place and it ripped while putting my jersey on. I forgot to buckle my helmet so when I got to the “mount line” they told me to buckle my helmet before I crossed the line. I had not practiced getting onto my bike with clip shoes and couldn’t figure it out and fell over. Once I finally figured it out got riding and got back to transition line, my anxiety was super high because on that ride I realized that I ALSO did not know what to do to get from the bike to the run. I was getting yelled at by volunteers for not getting off my bike at the right time. I’m pretty sure I almost tore my groin trying to run in cycling shoes on pavement and I realized I completely forgot to drink any water. So my run, as well as I knew how to run, was lets just say... sub par...
Because I was so unprepared, my transitions added about 9 minutes to my time. To put this into perspective, once I was good at them, I could transition in less than :30.
Moral of the story: There are things we know how to do very well BUT, there are transitions in life. We are in one RIGHT NOW! How well are you prepared for this transition. Are you focused on what is happening to you or because of you? Are you a victim to your circumstance? Or are you taking this in to be better prepared next time? WIll you learn and grow through this LONG transition? How fast will you be able to come out of this transition because you have BEEN prepared for this season?
Food for thought!
Knowledge + Application = Transformation
You can only see what you are looking for...
Life is a series of choices. But, life is also a series of problems to be solved.
SO what happens if you apply a solution that doesn’t match the problem? I see this daily whether in business, health or even driving the car for the love of God. There are so many solutions out there, but if you have not identified the problem... You have a bigger problem.
For example: It’s naive to think that weight loss is the key to handling your health.
Why? You can only successfully manage what you accurately measure. You may be saying to yourself. Well I measure my weight every day! Throw your scale out the window that’s not even what I’m talking about. The misconception here is that weight caries the most weight! The reality is that weight is a by-product or result of everything else not being measured. Not only that, health is really on a continuum where it is ALWAYS changing. Day over day it can change. Obviously we do not go through major health changes daily, but we are always aging.
With age comes certainties. Our hormones change, our body fat changes, our family changes, our stress level changes, our sleep patterns change, our ability to move changes, our job changes. You get the point. Our life is always changing... I’m going to repeat myself... Our life is ALWAYS CHANGING. And honestly if it didn’t, you would probably get bored.
Take a moment to write down the areas in your life that have OBVIOUSLY changed in the past year.
Then the last 5 years.
Now the last 10 years.
Can you even remember the changes that happened? If you had been measuring the things that are most important, you would be able to say with confidence... I know exactly what my health is doing and I am doing “this” about it. Instead, most of you don’t have a clue why you are feeling the way you do. Unable to differentiate good from bad pain, but you want to lose weight and tone up I bet.
The fact is, the sooner we learn how to measure, what to measure and when to measure the more important things, the more ownership we will have over our own body, the more we will be able to foresee and act on the negative risks, and the less backwards we will have to go to regain optimal health.
Quick example: In sports... what do you measure? Just the score? Or are there other statistics that are involved that make up the score? Based off of the stats, there are smaller pieces of the skill that can be assessed and improved upon.
The same goes for our health. For our health, what should we be measuring? How often should we measure? And what actions should we take based off the feedback we receive from it?
At Life Time, we refer to this as “Know It”. It’s part of our CORE3 methodology and simply comes from the original “education” leg of the 3 legged stool (exercise, education, nutrition). Simply put, you have to KNOW why your body is doing what it’s doing before you take action. It’s part of the exploratory or discovery you need to do before you make your action plan.
This information will give you a snapshot of what you are doing to yourself.
Similarly to money, we have to take inventory or ‘make a budget’. Account for everything and spend it all on paper before it gets into the bank account.
If you don’t know what you are doing to yourself and/or your family, you probably should not change anything. Why? How many times in the last 10 years have you “tried” to make changes? Did they last? How’s that working for you? Did it stress you and/or your family out? Were there things involved you had no idea about until you were already bought in to the program? Did you not get the results that were promised?
I’ve come up with a list of behaviors that I HOPE will help you find your NEW path towards optimal health.
#1 on that list is Taking Inventory. Measure everything you can.
It’s time for you to be honest. I want you to be brutally honest with yourself. The reason I chose this to be behavior 1 is because the #1 thing I have noticed over the years is that we lie to ourselves about our status. In lots of areas, but we are focusing on health for now.
This is an opportunity for you to throw yourself under the bus and be ok with it. It’s what you are here for. It’s the first step in making LASTING change in your life.
This will be the easiest and the hardest part of this program. Why the easiest? Because we all really know where we lack when we are honest with ourselves. Why the hardest? Because you have to own it and get over it!
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting to get a different result. However, if you are consistently measuring things you will be able to change your expectations appropriately so that you can predict a better outcome as long as you apply the appropriate stressors. Time to change the recipe.
Our health is like a relative. You can’t get rid of it! Now, I love my family. But I know I’m not the only one that has had conflict with 1 or more than one of them. But the simple fact is that they are related to me. It doesn’t matter how I FEEL about it. It is what it is. I have to make the best of it.
How we relate:
Your health can either be like the closest sibling relationship or the furthest distant relative you can think of. I consider it more of a marriage.
Think about it like this (I know I’m taking this way out of context)
“I (Your name goes here), take this body to have and to hold from this day forward for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”
What if we all thought about our body this way? I know it’s a little ridiculous but it just makes sense!
You only get one of these bodies. We need to love it and take care of it. We cannot take it for granted. Some days are harder than others. Sometimes we are full of life and some not so much. But you have it until death.
How close do you hold your health? How often do you visit? Or is it something you rarely speak of and don’t really pay any attention to until it’s close to dying?
EVERYTHING revolves around your health.
Why you need to improve that relationship NOW!
There is always a why behind the what. If we sit still, we actually move backward. Life moves forward. I read a while back that if you are stable, you aren’t moving. While I agree a little with that thought process, Sometime we NEED to stabilize BEFORE we can accelerate. But in order to stay focused we HAVE TO KEEP OUR WHY at the forefront of every action.
My why is to leave legacy for my kids. I want them to see me work hard. I want them to understand the value of things that are not seen. I do not want them to place value in sitting and watching tv or playing video games. I want them to value movement and sport if they choose. I want to live as long as possible, so I can see them grow and mature and raise children of their own. I do not want to be limited by my aches and pains. I do not want to be so sleep deprived can’t pay attention to them at family time. I want my wife to know that I work hard for her and our family. I want to lead her toward good health and set the expectation, not to demean, but to encourage good healthy behavior. I want to be able to go explore the world with her without restraint if we so choose. I want to be the best I can be for where I’m at in life. I want to be a light unshielded to others. We are the salt of the earth the Bible says, and we are to bring flavor to the world. That’s MY why. There is a saying “hurt people, hurt people.” I’ve heard it quite a few times over the years and all I can ever ask is why? Why is there pain? And why does it breed more pain. We are to infect the world with positivity and Christs message. If we ourselves are hurting, how then can we help others until we face the why behind the what.
SO start building a better relationship with YOURSELF! Make the changes you need to make for you first, so you can not only change your world, but change the world around you.
At the start of everything there is a sense of newness. There is a sense of urgency. There is a sense excitement! However, like everything else, it fades. The feeling of new wears off and stagnation sets in. This is an inevitability that the health industry capitalizes on. I’m guilty of it myself of course. This is why we are always wanting the next best thing! But let me ask you a question. When you are always starting the next best thing, where does that leave the results? There should really be only one beginning. Now let me be clear. There are definitely seasons in our life that cause us to start over from time to time. There are also times where, yes, we have to go back to the basics. But we should have a CLEAR starting point and moving further away from it. The problem we face is that there is always something new right? It drives innovation and competition! But what happens if you pursue the same course over a long period of time? You begin to master it. How many things can you say you have mastered over the course of your life? It’s the old quote ‘jack of many trades master of none” thing. I want to master something. I want to master a few things! But I know if I’m always starting over I will never achieve what I set out on because there is simply not enough time.
To begin, you have to have the end in mind. This requires VISION. There is a great book called “Visioneering” where it lines out how to build a God led vision. Great read if you have time!
Take a moment and write down what your vision is for yourself. Write down some things that you would like to or have already mastered.
Now think outside the box a little and write down some areas that intrigue you and you would not mind putting some effort into. Think more fitness or health related items such as triathlon, mountain climbing, white water rafting, motocross, etc.... The sky is the limit any more with things to participate in. Think of some things you have “always wanted to do”. You might not want to master them as much as they are more a bucket list item. Now decide how far along in the process you are out of the listed items. How many things are you trying to accomplish right now? How many different directions are you being pulled? Is being a great spouse or parent in there somewhere? Everything that you go through in your day pulls at your time budget. Be clear about what you want and declare a starting point. Remember it’s never too late to start something, but just like I teach my kids, don’t quit!
Some of the things you start doing you will realize you have a natural gift for. This may be something you would want to spend a little more time on. For some, you may be a little behind the curve if you will but if you enjoy it who cares?? Just remember that there is a starting point in everything. If you find yourself “starting over” regularly you should probably choose a different path all together!
I use a ton of analogies because I like pictures in my head. The beginning of something reminds me of peewee sports. You are lucky if you can get them to stand in a circle much less do a dynamic warmup right? Now fast forward to professional level sports. They are the ones who have mastered the skill. They have to warmup for 90 minutes before the game even starts! Talk about stress! I think back when I was a collegiate swimmer. Right now, I know for a fact that I could not even do the warm up before a college practice. Have I gone backwards? I consider it changing seasons. This is the exception to the rule of “in the Beginning”. When you start a new job. When you have a new child. When you get married. These are all GREAT reasons to regroup and re prioritize. As much as I would love to, I just cannot justify working out 20+ hrs. per week while I have a full time job, am married and have 4 children under the age of 15. My wife needs me and I her. My children need me. Of course I want them to see me prioritizing my health above lots of things. But sacrificing quality time and/or energy with them to do so I consider selfish. Daddy wasn’t there is a real thing! So I spend a LOT of time trying my hardest to be the best father and husband I can be. I spend my money supporting them and what they want to do so they have a chance at being successful. You see, there is no one size fits all. But you have to start somewhere and move forward. Life moves forward with or without you.
What’s interesting is that we view progress only AS forward. Something I have learned through the fitness industry is that sometimes backward is forward meaning, regression can and will result in progression if given enough time, effort and priority. I will elaborate on this concept at another time but I just want that to sink in for a moment. Sometimes you have to go back to the basics. Have you ever taken some time off work only to come back and feel like you cannot get right back up to the speed or intensity you were maintaining before you left? That’s how our body works. How many “breaks” have you taken in regards to your body let’s say over the last 10 years? It’s probably quite a few. You cannot perform at the same level you left off at. I struggle with this myself having been an athlete for the better part of my life, now being a Father, husband and more than full time employee in a job that encompasses health and wellbeing. Even though I work in a gym, I find it hard to workout sometimes. I mean, how many of you want to stay at your job after your shift for enjoyment and relaxation purposes while your spouse and young children whom you have not seen all day are waiting for you at the house? It comes down to priorities which God lists out for us in His word. God, Family, Work. What are your priorities? This is what drives behavior and what usually needs to change.
If you REALLY want to change your life, YOU have to be the one to do it. Or as it goes, “if you are not in charge of your life, someone else is”. Change is of course ALWAYS happening, but there is a rule that says, you can only see what you are looking for. So what exactly are you looking for? What kind of change do you seek each day? There are a few things you need to understand before you attempt “controlled” change.
Two words that REALLY encompass everything I’m trying to teach. If you truly understand the meaning of these words and then apply them to your behavior, you will be successful at most things you do. You will have a foundation that is built on rock and not on sand. You will find it easier to be intentional because you have a steadfast foundation through which all things are filtered.
These words are Principle and technique. Just in case you are not exactly sure what these words actually mean… Here you go.
Principle- A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.
We should have principles we live by. We are at a time in history where principles seem fewer and further between and there is a large group of people who simply believe that “anything goes”. I find this scary and fairly irresponsible. Principles allow us to have a driving force behind our action. It’s your volition. It can relate to large or small groups of people. If you read the definition of principle, you see some key words that I love and I firmly believe everyone should have as a major part of their life:
- Truth, Fundamental, Foundation, System, and Behavior.
Technique- A way of carrying out a particular task, especially the execution or performance of an artistic work or a scientific procedure. Or A skillful or efficient way of doing or achieving something.
This is where it gets a little more specific. This is the “How” you go about living out your principles. It is unique to your lifestyle. Technique is why there is no single thing that helps everyone. Everyone has a different technique to life. But if you look into the depth of the word, it says it is the “skillful” or “efficient” way.
So now that you know some basic definitions of some very meaningful words, I want you to write some things down.
What set of principles do YOU live by? This can be in any area of your life if you want, but try to stay focused on your health. What “HEALTH” principles do you live by?
You could live based off of ignorance, going to the hospital for every little thing that pops up that you don’t understand (reactive).
You could also eat out of convenience because its justifiable.
You could choose not to work out and take medication to control the pain.
You could set some non-negotiable with yourself as to how much cardio you WILL do each week so you keep your heart strong.
You could decide how much muscle you want to have and how strong or fast you want to be. You could pick a sport and try your best all the time to get better at it.
These are just examples of some goals or principles to live by. When I speak to people about their health, It typically consists of weight loss. Very few individuals realize WHICH behaviors need to change or even how to change them for them to actually get What they think they want. When I dig a little deeper there is always emotional control of behavior. Want vs. need. People tend to WANT something, but realize they NEED to do something else first. ALWAYS ask a professional for help. Ask as many questions as you can think of!
Next is the how! How will you carry these principles out? Obviously a pilot, a nurse, and a teacher could not possibly carry out their principles the same way. What is YOUR technique? What does it look like in your life? How will you show others that you are serious about what you want? Is it visible? Who have you shared this with?
Something you have to understand about the “HOW” is that you will not be good at it at first! It will be harder than you want. It takes longer than you want. And you may not even like it at first. Know that if it is worth starting it, it is worth failing at it as well. Failure Remember, is one of our best teachers. SO take today, this week, this month, and set some new principles. Lay that foundation down and start building your NEW way of life! Find YOUR technique. Fail and fail again but learn how to make it better each time.
Hebrews 12:11- For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but it later yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
There is a point in all of our lives where we are ready to begin something new. Sometimes, it takes us a few tries, sometimes it takes a LOT longer than we expect it to. Sometimes it never really comes to fruition. Our health should not be in this category. Unfortunately, most people find themselves starting a "health journey" roughly four times a year!! How can we start something new every 3-4 months and expect to gain anything from it? It is simply a lack of inventory, lack of planning, and little to no education on the changes that we are attempting to make. Of course we have life things that come up and are unexpected. But I will address those things at some other point.
I want to educate. That is all. There are so many resources we can go to for information and most of it is conflicting information. My goal (I hope) is to be the "nail in the stud". I heard a great analogy not that long ago about how our beliefs are similar to hanging pictures or fixtures on the wall. You have to be ABSOLUTELY sure it is where you want it to be before you put a hole in the wall. Otherwise, you will potentially have many holes in your wall. And the hole you put into the wall needs to be steadfast into a stud or else it may pull too hard and rip a bigger hole in the wall and will not even hold the item up.
You may be asking where I'm going with this?
The simple fact is there does not seem to be any fundamental or steadfast rules anyone seems to follow regarding health. We simply (and easily) move on to the next proverbial hole in the wall. How broken is your health? How confused are you in regards to foundational laws of good health?
That is what this site will be about. I firmly believe that as an industry, we have confused everyone more than helped. We don't focus on what is actually important and we lean too much on fads, sales and quick fixes instead of long lasting behavior change and celebrating good health.
I sat down the other night with my AMAZING wife and I opened my "actual" Bible up for the first time in a while. Sometimes, I like to just let it open and see what good word I can get. Oddly enough it opened right up to Hebrews 10:36. The theme of the text was "Patient Endurance". I'm a big nerd on the actual meaning of words. I don't care for slang. I don't care for saying things with out meaning. So I decided to look up the definition of these two words.
Patient: able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
Endurance: the ability to keep doing something difficult, unpleasant, or painful for a long period of time.
I don't know what you may do, but when I read the Bible, I KNOW it has a message for the season of life I am in. It has ALWAYS been that way for me. So I began listing out the different areas of my life at the moment that may be requiring patient endurance. And I got a little anxious.
I had a vision a long time ago about something I wanted to do. #lifegoals
I've been wanting to write a book (not just one) for a while now. I have worked in the fitness industry for more than 15 yrs now and want to share EVERYTHING I have learned. I want for people to be able to understand what REALLY matters. I want vanity to not be the main reason for anyone trying to change themselves. I want to provide solutions for people who are searching for answers to their problems. I want to share the truth and partner with those who want to do the same.
I have some very simple truths that I preach and I will hang my hat on them all day (I'll tell that story next time).