I got an e-mail last week from a frustrated subscriber. He asked "when do I have the time to listen to these audios and read all the things I recommend." He then went on to say he was tired of the knots in his stomach from the stress his business is causing him. If you're like me, you've had those moments where it seemed like you were in 'business quicksand' and no matter what you did, it seemed like you just kept sinking. I wish I could give you the magic solution for that scenario - but there isn't one that I know of. To be honest with you, I don’t have enough experience as a business owner (after all I am only 24) to fully answer this question right. However, I do consider myself somewhat successful so here's what's worked for me:
1. Focus on solutions instead of problems. If you don't, the negativity will eat you alive. Have you ever known anything to improve by bitching about it?
2. Study like there is no tomorrow. You've got to arm yourself with the knowledge to make changes. Books, products, other fitness businesses, non-fitness businesses...study everything.
3. Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day, while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that leads us to either fortune or failure.
4. Take action. When adversity comes, a lot of people get that 'deer in the headlights' look and do nothing. That just makes the problem worse. Attack it head on.
5. Your greatest asset is your earning ability. Your greatest resource is your time. Value your time, do not ever waste time.
I’ve cut costs, marketed on a shoestring, up sold current clients, held off vendors and about anything else you can imagine. But everything really hinged on those five points.
There are a few things that I can count on happening each and every day, without fail:
1. See "a wanna-be Cyclist" wear Spandex. I’ve seen plenty of folks with big fat rumps on the roads with their bikes and horribly inappropriate Spandex shorts. If you're a competitive cyclist, triathlete, or volleyball player, then by all means, rock 'em. Also, if you're an attractive female and you have the inclination, regardless of the activity, you can rock 'em. However, if you're using cycling to shed some pounds, you need to be as non-aerodynamic as possible — for your sake and ours. Having to stare at your supersized posterior chain when we drive around you is like living under power lines. We know something's wrong, but we can't put our finger on the extensive damage it's doing to us until it's too late.
2. Amanda telling me to f*** off. She has been training with me since I was in still in college. I’d like to think it’s because she feels I’m an awesome coach, but deep down, I think it’s because she feels her week isn’t complete until she tells me to f*** off whenever I tell her to run a mile, push the sled faster, pull my heavy body across the floor or when I try to correct her squat form. I’ve transformed her from “I use the cardio machine for 30 minutes or more” person to someone who laughs at other people who use a Smith Machine. I just want to thank her for being a great client and I’m proud of her that she’s made such great strides in the past year.
3. People are going to ANNOY me on the Caltrain station. I am annoyed by people who get on the train before the people who need to get off actually get off the train (re read again… I am ESL). What the f*** people! The train is going nowhere until the people are off and you are on, what kind of rush are you in that you need to plow past everyone, just to get on? Where are you going that's so important? Maybe I need to go there too to see how great it is. I know for goddamn sure nobody is that excited to get to work in the morning, so calm the f*** down!
4. Somebody saying "They". I hate it when people refer to “they.” “They” say that performing fasted state cardio is the best way to shed fat. “They” also say that diets high(er) in protein are going to make your kidneys explode and that squats are bad for your knees . Who are they? I have no idea. Can you please point me in the direction of where “they” are so that I can have a little word with them (ie: drop kick them across the face). A past client of mine was adamant that training in the morning on an empty stomach was a sure fire way to burn off a ton of body fat. To quote him, “they said it was the best thing to do to get into shape.” Upon asking him who “they” were, he said, “my coaches back in college………..15 years ago.” Meanwhile this client was 40 lbs overweight, so his approach obviously worked really well for him (pssst: in case you didn’t catch on, I was being sarcastic just then). Seriously who are “they”? I have an inkling that “they” are the registered dieticians and personal trainers who haven’t picked up a book in over ten years. “They” are also the hundreds of online gurus who have never trained one person in their lives, let alone be able to perform a deep squat without looking like their going to break their back. FYI: just because your post count is over 10,000 on four different forums, doesn’t make you an expert on anything except not having anything better to do; and yes, you're wrong!! VERY WRONG!!!
5. I am going to see A LOT of atrocious weightlifting form! Enough said! There's too much rants on this page already.
6. On to the positive…. The Three Musketeers are going to make me smile. (Related page: 25 Things That Make Me Smile). In my best Dr. Phil impersonation (with an extra kick of sarcasm) here's some advice and thoughts to ponder on.
L "golden child": Praise and blame are all the same… how so? You’ll never be able to please all the people all the time. The good, the bad… the pleasure, the pain… the approval, the disapproval… the achievements, the mistakes… the shame, the fame – ALL COME AND GO. Every thought, experience, emotion, mood, etc – started and finished. Eventually everything we know eventually disappears into nothingness so DO NOT SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF (ps… they are all small stuff). Now go to work and hook me up with some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream… I like to gorge on it while watching “So You Think You Can Dance?” on TV [Side Note: oh, I CAN dance. Everybody loves my “robot”].
S "busy bee": I once heard a proposed book title “I’m Not Okay, You’re Not Okay, and That’s Okay” (Lame and Cheesy Meter at Level 10!). Translation: Give yourself a break. No one is going to bat 100%, or even close to it, all that’s important is that you are doing your best and moving in the right direction. (Things to do: 1. Buy a box of Band-Aid. 2. Apply Band-Aid to miscellaneous affected areas in the body. 3. Buy Fritzie a #2 at In and Out 4. Repeat 1-3 everyday.)
K "where's my buritto?": It's been estimated that the average human being has around 50,000 thoughts per day (What the hell is a sesame seed doing in the hamburger bun? How the hell does it stick to the bun? Is it adhesive on one side? What does a sesame seed grow into? We never let it grow out!). That’s a lot of thoughts and there’s no way that they are all going to be positive. So the bigger issue is “what are you going to do with those negative thoughts? Dismiss it by consciously nipping your negative thoughts in the bud or keep analyzing and dwell on it. (Go look at my resources page if you still don’t believe me that one of my fav book is The Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye)
1. I’ve actually begun to think that all physical therapists should take some sort of class or certification on dealing with overhead throwing athletes. This summer alone, I’ve seen two athletes cleared for return to play with overwhelming glaring movement impairments that are sure-fire recipes for disaster. Long story short, both athletes had internal rotation deficits of greater than 27 degrees on their throwing shoulder. The research has shown that anything over 17.9 degrees markedly increases one’s risk of elbow pain and shoulder (SLAP lesion) problems. Just because an athlete is pain free does not mean he/she is physically ready to participate.
2. As a bit of an experiment, I’m moving to lighter medicine balls with my clients for throws over the next few months - particularly with our overhead variations. It'll be interesting to see what happens when I jack up the speed and lower the load a bit - and if it works, I'll need to brainstorm a bit more on which loads are appropriate for which exercises. Speaking of medicine balls, one of my online consulting clients told me the other day that they have "several" BOSU balls at his gym, but ZERO medicine balls. People really don't have a clue what functional is anymore, do they?
3. I recently received an email question asking if I felt that bench pressing below the “90 degree” elbow mark is harmful for the shoulder, particularly the capsule. The capsular stress argument is really only an issue in those who go into anterior tilt as they approach the bottom position. If you force hyperextension on a scapula in anterior tilt, this will be an issue. Benching with good technique - elbows tucked, chest to the bar, shoulder blades back and down, air in the belly - avoids this problem.
4. I’m pretty amazed at how many people have to ask if they need to warm up on their first resistance training exercise. They do the mobility warm-ups prior to lifting, but then wonder if it’s a problem to just throw 315 on the bar and start squatting. Duh! Gradually work your way up... Furthermore .... After driving through mind-numbing traffic to get to the gym, the worst thing you can do is mind-numbing aerobics or cardio or whatever the hell we call it this week. I think that you need a warm-up routine that breaks you from one world into another. In fact, my athletes tell me that if all they did was my warm-up, they'd get a good workout.
5. Brought to you without any scientific evidence, 2 “I Think” I Know Statement … aka as maybe…. "truths" that may or may not be true, but dammit, they sure seem true.
a.) I'm convinced that the hours you sleep before midnight are better for you than the hours after midnight. In other words, going to bed when "must-see" television starts and waking up early is better for you than staying up until the milkman shows up. I can't prove it, but there's no doubt that going to bed early is better for fat loss and muscle gain.
b.) Cold showers are an excellent recovery tool. I have one in my backyard just a few feet from my hot tub. I also think that shivering is an underappreciated way to help with fat loss, which is why I think that the winter months are a better time to lose fat than most people think. Add it up:
I) Longer nights equals more sleep. At worst, you don't eat fast foods when you sleep...most of us don't, anyway.
II) Generally, we find that cold weather foods – those big pots full of steaming foods – are heavy on veggies and low on candy. They fill us up without as many calories.
III) We can take advantage of nature's little way of burning fat: shivering. Exploit it. Go outside and shovel snow in a Speedo and fishnet tank top, like I do. Okay, that's an exaggeration; I don't have a fishnet tank top. I wear a nice pirate shirt.
6. I've got to run, going to my other home (aka as the gym) - but not before leaving you with a bit of nostalgic motivation from the greatest motivator of all time!
Since the Olympics are officially over, I thought I'd give it some “blog time”.
Random Olympic Thoughts
Michael Phelps is a beast. By the way, just because Michael Phelps can eat 8,000-12,000 calories of pretty much anything he wants doesn't mean you can. Unless, of course, you're willing to train 3-5 hours per day to do so.
Gymnastics may not be "cool," but you can't help but acknowledge their skills. Nastia Liukin is by far the most athletic person on earth with the gracefulness of a ballerina. I think the most impressive event is the balance beam, considering it's hardly wide enough for most of their feet! As great as it was to watch Phelps, another big story was in the women's gymnastics team competition. The Americans and Chinese were battling for the gold - and it came down to a matter of who made the most costly mistakes. As fate would have it - an American by the name of Alicia Sacromone - committed two huge errors - both of which cost her .8 of a point. End result, China Gold, US Silver. When the great Bela Karolyi (coached 13-year old Nadia Comanechi to 5-gold medals in
Montreal in 1976) was interviewed, he claimed that the Chinese girls were not the required 16 years of age. He stated that he believed them to be 14 or 15 years old. Karolyi also stated that the Chinese team could cheat in regard to age because the passports are "issued by the government." Well, who else do you suppose issues passports - the local 7-11. Truth be told, the girls for the Chinese team may be under 16 - and if this is so, I feel it's an injustice. At the same time I think it's unfair to not allow someone who is 13, 14 or 15 to compete. Afterall, Karolyi must acknowledge that his claim to fame with Nadia Comanechi may never have taken place if she wasn't 13 at the time of the 1976 Olympics. So my opinion is as follows: Lift the ban on how old someone can be in the Olympics. After all, the U.S. has 41-year old Dara Torres -and Germany had a 33-year old gymnast competing. If they are good enough at age 13 to get a gold medal then more power to them. I congratulate them. Don’t be a sore loser… Bela!
It's good to see the USA Men's Basketball team (aka as Redeem Team) playing as well as they are. They might get burned now and again because they gamble on 'D', but they more than make up for it with all the easy lay-ups and dunk they're getting. Plus, it's just nice to watch LeBron swat shots all over the arena. When they won the nail-bitter game to claim the gold medal, I said “about fucking time!”
Volleyball players are uber-athletic. Imagine a guy that's 6'8" or 6'9" that can touch 12' or higher. Or a jump serve barreling at you at around 65 mph. Be it indoor or outdoor, the US Volleyball Teams came out of Biejing with 3 Golds and 1 Silver. The route through the Olympic Games has been an emotional roller coaster for the American squad (indoor volleyball). On its first day of competition on Aug. 9, Team
USA was informed of the tragic death of Todd Bachman, father-in-law of the U.S. Men’s Olympic Indoor Volleyball Team and father of 2004 U.S. Olympic volleyball player Elisabeth “Wiz” Bachman.
Has anyone else ever seen a guy get knocked out in Olympic Boxing? I hadn't either - until the other day. He got the standing 8 count, only to collapse after that. I think that has to be a first. Correct me if I'm wrong.
TEAM: The U.S. Women’s Olympic Soccer Team put together a near perfect defensive performance to hold powerful
Brazil scoreless for 120 minutes while getting a goal from Carli Lloyd just six minutes into overtime to record a historic 1-0 victory and earn the gold medal. Hope Solo finally got its revenge. People mistake Hope’s attitude for being cocky and arrogant, she is simply misunderstood. When she says “Damn, I'm good!”, what she really is saying is “I am grateful for this God-given talent.”
DUO: Misty May and Kerri Walsh, the beach volleyball duo won a second straight Olympic gold medal, in a driving rain that would have even kept the lifeguards off the beach at Seaside Heights. They are dominant, charismatic and, not that we've noticed or anything, nearly naked. They are hardly typical.
INIVIDUAL: Usain Bolt could have hotdogged his way into history with the cha-cha, a double-front handspring or even the limbo across the finish line, but he had something better in mind this time. Keep running. When Bolt crossed the line, stretching his arms out in triumph, one word flashed across the scoreboard high above the Bird's Nest. AMAZING. Bolt obliterated the field in an electrifying performance for the ages to win the men's 200-meter gold medal in a world-record 19.30 seconds. Did I mention he also won the 100-meter dash in…9.69 seconds - also a World Record. You know what even scarier, he could have run the 100 meters in 9.52 seconds if he had not slowed to celebrate. Freaky Athlete!!!
Its pretty sad to get Silver and feel like you’re a loser… just ask the Women’s Gymnastics Team… the Men’s got the bronze and they were far FAR far faaar more ecstatic about that.
Jeremy Wariner! I got a question… why the hell would you change you’re track coach two months before the Olympics started… wait, don’t answer that – I already know the answer – EGO and STUPIDITY!
The almighty, powerful US Softball Team lost to
Japan in the Gold-medal game. After the Biejing Olympics, softball will no longer be an Olympic event – epic sadness!
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
The GOOD: The greatest athlete in the world Brian Clay. (Hell to the no, its not Michael Phelps! He does one thing – swim fast. Do your research and tell me how many different things Brian can do…hint he competes in the DECAthlon.
The BAD: Equestrian and Powerwalking as Olympic sport. I bet the horses don’t even like that sport and powerwalking is just funny to watch and I don’t care how good they are – its fucking boring. On a side note: equestrian, which was plagued by positive equine drug tests at the Athens Olympics, got another black eye from substance abuse problems revealed on the last day of the show jumping competition. Horses from four countries tested positive for capsaicin, which could be used to sensitize horses' legs to make them reluctant to hit the poles. At the same time, it has pain-relieving properties. WTF!
US Track and Field. Enough said!
My favorite part is watching the Opening Ceremonies and seeing the athletes from lesser known countries glow with child-like enthusiasm as they walk into the Olympic arena. But every four years, I find myself feeling uncomfortable with what I am seeing and hearing while watching the Games on television. I am aware the sensationalized aspects of the Olympics are creating more and more confusion and ignorance among many trainers, coaches and parents worldwide. I believe that the Olympics are actually a horrible influence on youth sports (here comes another onslaught of hate mails on my inbox – bring it on!). While watching the Opening Ceremonies last week, I got a glimpse of exactly why I feel that way. "It's the Struggle, Not the Triumph", that was the 'catch phrase' being repeated by athletes as they talked into the camera. And while it sounds good, serves as a wonderful 'TV sound bite' and showcases a majestic feel about the Games themselves; it sends a very disturbing message about hardwork to young athletes and all those who participate in the world of youth sports - Sweat, Blood and Tears! Effort Conquers All. That sounds good, doesn't it? It's glorifying. It displays the majestic nature of sport. And it's an absolute lie! Maybe not for elite athletes, but certainly for kids and teenagers. The danger is in the fact that most coaches, trainers and parents think and act like their young athletes are elite - and end up being influenced by statements like the one I mentioned above. "You have to work harder, Johnny" "If you're not sore, you're not working hard enough" "Did you hear what Michael Phelps said? You'll never get to the Olympics if you don't push yourself" What a crock. With youth sports and young athletes, it really isn't about the struggle and the destination truly doesn't matter. It's about the journey - the path. The process of getting from A - Z. We actually believe that 'working kids hard' every day and beating the living crap out of them without having a developmental system in place is the answer and it isn't. It just isn't. In fact, it's the main culprit for why so many kids are getting hurt. Dropping out of sports and disengaging from being physical at all. We just don't understand the process of what it takes to become elite and that remains our worst and most damaging error when it comes to working with young athletes. Agree with me or not, the Olympic Games are making that worse as we speak. "It's not the Destination, It's the Journey". Words to live by.