So, Halloween has passed, which is the universal marker of the impending end of the year. Which is always a recognition of how fast the year has flown by. In all honesty Halloween is really a pre-game to the overwhelming whirlwind holidays called Christmas and New Year’s which always occur WAY too fast, by way of a short semi-mindful speed bump called Thanksgiving. This is ALSO a mental recognition of the universal: holy crap how did I really just go another year, month, quarter NOT fulfilling on my short/long term goals?
Instead of being victim to the fall holiday anxt that involves the always infuriating questions of “How are Christmas ads out this early when Thanksgiving is still weeks away?!” and the “How many things can they add pumpkin spice to?”
Let’s instead punch all these gosh dang frustrating commercialization of human emotions right in the god forsaken face by mindfully taking a step back and saying, no more! I will not eat a tub of pumpkin flavored something or other whilst sobbing in front of Love Actually. I will not judge people spending more money on people they like than I have money in the bank. I will not drink eggnog….unless it has rum. I will not watch Elf on repeat on Christmas Eve…well maybe not that last one.
Anyway, let’s get a jump on these GD holidays. Let’s make a plan to be mindful, to work our fitness plan, and to love all of humanity.
14 day fitness challenge. Get in on this. Respond or email me if you’re game for 14 days, starting Nov 9th!
“It’s not how good you are. It’s how good you want to be.” -Paul Arden
By Forest Melton
I’m up late as per usual and instead of listening to music whilst working, this time I choose to listen to YouTube videos, which isn’t unusual. A Greg Plitt video comes on, and he is saying something powerful around giving it your all. With my adrenaline pumping, an opposing emotion entered my psyche. I began to reflect on how young Plitt was when he died (mid 30’s, train accident, Jan 2015). Even though I’d heard his video maybe 20 times prior, I had a strange thought, “Holy moly, Gregg Plitt had no freakin’ clue that he was going to die that day. He was at the top of his game, peak of his life.”
And then I had another strange thought, “Whoa, we are ALL going to die, and none of us are going to have a clue when it happens.”
And another peculiar thought followed, “And it might actually be really soon!”
Wait, what!? This is completely unfair! And as if my brain wasn’t already riveting with critically high levels of new information, I pondered still, “If this is so, then why don’t we all live our lives to our own personal max? Why don’t I live MY life to my max.”
I have always been aware of the concept of us all dying someday, at least intellectually. But yet I lived life the same. With this new information, I immediately felt confronted. Naturally I thought others would be interested in hearing about this epiphany. In sharing this revelation with my friends these past few days, I got 2 responses. There’s the “Holy crap, that is so true I forget that regularly, thank you for the reminder!” and then there’s the “Yeah, we’re all going to die. Of course.” With the latter response I consistently found myself somewhat deflated, I wanted to say “This is a big deal! Don’t you see that this is a big deal!?”
And then it occurred to me, of course people ‘know’ they’re going to die. They also ‘know’ how to lose weight but that doesn’t change how they show up in the world, or whether they actually apply that knowledge.
“To know and not to do is not yet to know” -Confucius
“Knowing is not enough, we must apply.” -Bruce Lee
If we’re all going to die anyway, why do we waste time living a life we settle for? Why do we hold back on our expressions of love, gratitude, sadness. Why do we fear what people are going to think of us? Why do we play small and ‘hope’ for a good enough existence instead of giving our all always? We should kiss the girl, stand up to assholes, exercise hard, speak our minds, call our mothers, give our change to the homeless, laugh – like really really laugh. We should be exactly who we are called to be in every moment of existence. Or that moment is wasted. If you’re watching Netflix, watch the HELL out of that Netflix episode. Don’t just have it on in the background barely appreciated.
The bigger fear shouldn’t be in how people perceive us, it should be in living a life that we did not consciously choose. Going to bed each day having given partial effort, barely surviving our circumstances.
I want that when my head hits the pillow, I know I left nothing behind. I did it all that day. I did the very best I could. And I can rest well, knowing that tomorrow I’ll do it again. That’s the difference in knowing that we’re going to die and acting as if.
Summer is upon us once again! Now that March Madness is as good as over (as far as I’m concerned) and Spring is in full swing, the next major decision on people’s minds is: pool, boat, beach, or Country Thunder. All of which have people feeling a little more self-conscious about how hard they celebrated their bracket challenge wins and losses, and a lot more present to how much it would suck to feel like a burrito in their swimming attire. Yes, it is approaching that time of year when most people are getting a sense of their summer schedules, and thinking a little harder about having that late night pizza and beer.
A lot of my clients are wanting something to kick their bad habits, and get them back on the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, I’ve got no silver bullets available. BUT, I can steer us all in the right direction. I too suffer from this disease called “being a human”, symptoms include eating every delicious thing in sight, lack of self-control, and general fat-assery.
Alas, it is not too late! Repent now and change your ways! Who’s with me!?
For two weeks, we’re going to eat like we’ve got some dang sense, and start the eventual summer off with some strong solid habits to support the general lack of self-control we’ll most likely display on these coming summer weekends.
Step 1: Cut a hole in the box
…wait, wrong directions
Step 1: Pick a realistic 2 week goal (I’m going to suggest 2 – 5lbs)
Step 2: Get clear about nutrition (ask me for my world famous 11 Day Challenge and download the Lose It app)
Step 3: Map out fitness things (see calendar for workout and cardio opportunities)
Top 3 Winners get high fives, hugs, compliments (among other unknown displays of affection)
2 Week Turn Up Rules: Drink all the water, avoid alcohol and red meat, perform daily cardio and workouts (I’ll post workouts for those that would like assistance on that front)
By Forest Melton
I woke up this morning to missed texts from my running buddy Devon, “We’re still meeting today, right!?” Oops! Unfortunately, I’m a failure, and sometimes it feels like my brain has no control in the battle of willpower, especially when my body is fatigued. And apparently this morning my body said, “Nope! I’m on strike, buddy! We’re going back to sleep“. Despite setting 3 alarms, and not recalling ‘snoozing’ any of them, I managed to miss our morning run date. Ironically enough, I’m reading a book by Dr. Kelly McGonigal called “The Willpower Instinct”, and it is awesome. I’m only on Chapter 3 of 10, but so far it’s been a great read! Dr. McGonigal talks about willpower being a muscle you have to train and build through practice. And much like a muscle, things that prevent muscular growth seem to prevent willpower growth.
It shouldn’t be surprising to hear that I had been sleeping for 2 hours when my alarm went off this morning, definitely setting myself up for failure a little bit there. One of the key ingredients in decision making is glucose. With sleep deprivation, the body has a harder time delivering glucose to the brain, which has obvious taxing effects. So, less sleep = less glucose delivery to the brain = less willpower, ouch.
As stated above, with less glucose comes less willpower, and low blood sugar has the same effect as sleep deprivation. When we starve ourselves, less glucose is reaching the brain, resulting in a reduction in willpower. Who knew a well-balanced diet effected so many aspects of life.
One of the most interesting things McGonial covered in this book, so far, was a study out of the University of Sydney where researchers found a ‘wonder drug’ that was massively effective in increasing willpower, the study found that after only 2 months of treatment participants had the following results:
- Improvements in attention and the ability to ignore distractions
- Reduced smoking, drinking, and caffeine intake
- Participants ate less junk food and more healthy food
- Participants spent less time watching tv more time studying
- Participants were saving money and spending less on impulse purchases
- Participants felt more in control of their emotions
- Participants procrastinated less and were less likely to be late for appointments
What in the heck is this ‘wonder drug’ and how do I purchase a life time supply!? …it was actually exercise, weird! Participants only exercised once a week for the first month, and up to three times per week by the end of the study. Exercise has been shown to be the single most effective tool in increasing willpower. Say what!? And you can purchase this ‘wonder drug’ for the low low price of Free!
In conclusion, for all of you, who like me, feel willpower deficient, here are 4 other ways to increase your willpower per Dr. McGonigal’s research.
- Exercise – because duh.
- Sleep – a full night’s rest, but also naps help.
- Meditation – 5 minutes to 20 minutes a day has been seen show immediate and lasting benefits. In fact, studies have shown that meditation creates positive physical changes in the brain (Taren 2013).
- Slow Breathing – in times of stress, consciously slow and deepen your breathing. It physiologically minimizes the fight or flight response, making you less impulsive and more intentional. An instant increase in willpower reserves!
- McGonigal, K. (2012). The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why it Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of it. New York: Avery.
- Taren, Adrienne et al. (2013) “Dispositional Mindfulness Co-Varies with Smaller Amygdala and Caudate Volumes in Community Adults”. Plos Journal. May 2013.
We made it! Milestone #1, 250 likes. We asked, and you guys responded. Thanks for the love!
We are rolling out a pilot program for a charity themed type of workout experience. Work out for a cause. We’d LOVE to get your feedback. Let us know if we could ask you a few questions, in exchange, we’ll give you a free week of Boot Camp!
It’s National Running Day, and I found this awesome article by Jacquie Cattanach!
Everyone knows that running is a great way to get into shape, but did you know that it can benefit almost every part of your body, as well as lift your mood? Running is incredibly effective at making you healthier in a number of ways. While it may not be everybody’s favorite form of exercise, knowing what it can do for your life just may make you look at running in an entirely new light.
Improve Your Health
Believe it or not, running is actually a great way to increase your overall level of health. Research shows that running can raise your levels of good cholesterol while also helping you increase lung function and use. In addition, running can also boost your immune system and lower your risk of developing blood clots.
For women, running can actually help to lower your risk of breast cancer. It can also help reduce the risk of having a stroke. Many doctors today recommend running for people who are in the early stages of diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis, and it is proven to help reduce the risk of having a heart attack. By helping the arteries retain their elasticity and strengthening the heart, your chances of suffering a heart attack can be significantly reduced.
Running is one of the best forms of exercise for losing or maintaining a consistent weight. You will find that it is a leading way to burn off extra calories and that it is the second most effective exercise in terms of calories burned per minute, following only after cross country skiing.
Boost Your Confidence
Not all of the benefits of running are physical. Running can provide an noticeable boost to your confidence and self-esteem. By setting and achieving goals, you can help give yourself a greater sense of empowerment that will leave you feeling much happier.
Stress can actually cause a number of health and mood problems. It can also diminish appetite and sleep quality. When you run, you force your body to exert excess energy and hormones. Running also helps to reduce your chances of developing tension headaches.
When you are depressed, the last thing you likely want to do is to get up and go for a run. Yet you will find that after only a few minutes of running, your brain will start to secrete hormones that naturally improve your mood. In fact, there are few things in the world that can better or more rapidly treat depression than exercise such as running.
It may seem surprising to learn all of the different ways that running can improve your health, but the truth of the matter is that these are only a few of the many benefits that it can offer to your body. Running really is incredibly beneficial to the body, mind, and spirit, and you will find that even short runs can leave you feeling more energized, more focused, and better able to enjoy all that life has to offer.
…obviously these are also benefits of general exercise. Happy Running!
30 Day Fitness Challenge
2 Body Composition Assessments
30 Day Nutritional Planning and Eating Guide
A Scorecard to track your progress
Constant Contact with your fave personal trainer
2 Weeks of Group Exercise
2 Weeks of Home Exercise
Lose 8 – 10 lbs
Support Ben’s Bells