Unlock Your Highest Potential

Random Thoughts, Rants, Resolutions and Things I've Learned From 2007

I have many role models and people who have looked out for me. For I am just a sum of many constituent parts, this is for the individuals that I owe a debt that I’ll never be able to repay.


Errors are portals of discovery. Its amazing how much failure can teach us. When I look back on what I was doing and what I knew when I got my BS (Dec. 2006), I laugh. The Health and Human Performance field is incredibly dynamic in nature. If you aren't evolving, you're sure to be left behind. For me, 2007 was a tremendous year of evolution - both personally and professionally. I figured the New Year would be a great time to reflect on some of the more influential revelations I had this year. This list certainly isn't exhaustive, but it should give you a peak into what a difference a year can make.


Good solutions to the problem might not be comfortable to deal with but they must be done to prevent further damage so accept it with open arms. Root canals aren’t comfortable but they are solutions to a problem.


In 1921 Carl Jung said “some people are extroverted, some more introverted, some are predominantly logical, some emotional, some are data gatherers, others draw conclusions”.  Within this range of personality types lie the seeds for most conflicts in life. Opposite personalities are always going to bump heads. The “opposites attract” scenario never survives long term without great consequences. Knowing one’s own personality predispositions can aid in predicting and dealing constructively with personality opposites. So make sure you do some form of Personality Assessment Test (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Keirsey Temperament Sorter, Bell/Smith Personality Assessment) so you at least have some insights on your own personally predispositions and tendencies.


Rust on nail build tetanus. Rust on barbell builds character, strength and attitude. Ask yourself, “can you survive Gym Jones?” Gym Jones is not a cozy place. There is no AC, no comfortable spot to sit, no mirrors. The motto preach everyday is “Perfect the Art of Suffering”. The objective at Gym Jones is genuine fitness, not the appearance of fitness. Keep in mind, you will never reach your potential if you stay in the confines of your own gym (go outside and train – i.e. run in the park, use the monkey bars). It doesn’t matter if you have the biggest arms while your in the spa what matters is can you run outside without getting out of breath (with the same mph in your gym treadmill).


To truly thrive learn what makes you uncomfortable. That means work on your weakness. You’re only as good as your weakest link. Plus to be believed, you must admit a weakness. I admit, I don’t like being criticized. I get very defensive when you tell me im wrong and im a terrible listener.


A Greek philosopher said “The Gods gave us two ears and one mouth. They should be used in that proportion.” I need to listen more and get mad less! What I need to do is use active listening as an alternative to anger. Getting mad is such a natural thing to do for me but I know it is often an unproductive emotion. I need to try to put myself in the other’s persons shoe and look for the truth on what they are saying. That’s easier said than done!


What I learned from my clients:

  • People value – and pay more – for the way you make them feel.
  • I can’t go to war all the time. I have to choose my battles wisely.
  • People choose reliable individuals. 


I say, “if its not broken, don’t fix it”. But what if it was broken and I didn’t know it? To connect to an individual, a conversation must occur (an exchange or interaction). Communication is not about the number of things we say, its about the number of things understood. 


What I learned from people I’ve encountered:

  • There is no tricks and shortcuts in life.
  • Dot your i’s. Not everyone does it.
  • Push. If it hurts, good! (CUNGFXXXINGLE)
  • Confess to every single mistake.
  • Some people will undervalue you. Make a plan to set them right.
  • Being more productive may not mean being more satisfied (Busy Bee, when willyou sing?)
  • Denial is my biggest problem.
  • To be great in the fitness industry you have to be a great salesman.       

KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid! Simplify. Simplicity gives people certainty and certainty they can deal with. Point of simplicity is fundamental: it allows people to act. Sometimes when there is so many options, decision paralysis happens. Barry Schwartz in his book, The Paradox of Choice, puts it best, “as we face with more and more options we become overloaded…choice no longer liberates, but debilitates. It might even be said to tyrannize.”


The best thing I’ve done in 2007 is to write down my goals on paper (SMART Goal Training System). Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is a nightmare. Vision with action can change your life.


Most Absurd Statement Ever: Work hard and you will be rewarded. 

Bull to the SHIT nezz!! 

Effort is the single most overrated trait in producing success. You can spend incredible effort on something and gain nothing because life is not fair. I say all the time “nobody is a virgin cause life screws us all”. Add to the fact that S.O.Ps (Sources of Pain) live all around us and they make our work and life a “living miserable hell”. Bottomline, you got two choices: complain because roses have thorns or rejoice because thorns have roses (thanks Ziggy).


I have to stop hearing the ticking clock on my dreams. For some reason its stuck in my head that at my age (24) I haven’t done anything worth applauding. I constantly wonder when am I going to be “there” and why aren’t I “there” yet. Remember, there is no age restriction on success.  (A year later I wrote this ... what a difference a year makes) 


I don’t like change. I need stability in my life to be able to function. Some people mistake “making changes” as “taking risk”. It makes no more sense to rush into making every change you can than it does to run away from every possible change.


Note to coaches and trainers: Try a wide array of different techniques and methods. Your “training tool box” just gets bigger when you learn and experiment with unfamiliar methods of training. However, don’t prescribe exercises that you’ve never done before. Its very hard to demonstrate a technique if you’ve never done it. No amount of reading can take place of the hands-on feel of performing a movement.


Out of curiosity….

  • Emotion or reason - which one do you obey?
  • If you never slept with someone of your own gender, then how do you know you wouldn’t prefer it?
  • Grief or nothing – choose one?


I need to pay more attention to the foot-ankle complex and footwear. With the exception of the time that we're sleeping, we spend every second of our lives with one or both feet in contact with the ground. Nonetheless, up until this year, (like most trainers, coaches) I overlooked the significance of the foot and ankle to performance.


The Old Man, The Boy and The Donkey Story from Book Yourself Solid (Michael Port).

The boy rode the donkey and the man walked. The people remarked that it was a shame the old man was walking, so the man and boy switch places. Later people remarked that it’s a shame the little boy walked, so they both walked. Then people said its foolish that they both walked when they have a donkey. So they both rode the donkey but then a group of PETA people said that was bad for the animal, so they carried the donkey. But they passed a river and as they were walking they slipped and dropped the donkey and it drowned. Moral of the story: if you try to please everyone, you might as well kiss your ass goodbye.

You can try and try to please people but no matter what happens someone is left unsatisfied.


Favorite Books That I’ve Read This Year:

  • Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge by Edward Osborne Wilson
  • Somantics by Thomas Hanna
  • Functional Training for Sports by Michael Boyle
  • Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy

From Thomas Plummer: Ask yourself at the end of each day “Is this was the best work you could have possibly done? If the answer is no, then you just wasted a day of a very precious gift (your life) that you can never get back!” I have to get up everyday with determination if I want to go to bed satisfied.


Its amazing how adults forget how to have fun. To become an adult means we no longer have to do things we did as kids: kids run, adults walk; kids climb, adults use the elevator; kids jump up and down, adults shrug shoulders up and down; a child smiles 450x a day, adult smiles 4-5x a day. Its sad that in order to be a successful adult we have to stop acting like a kid. Adults need to restore their “5 year old” position (flexibility, mobility). No advice is more treacherous than: “now that your getting old you ought to slow down a bit”. Functions maintains structure, you either use it or you lose it – so you if you cant squat, for heavens sake squat!. If you’re sitting on your ass, you’re not using it. So stand more and sit less.  If you’re not using it, you’ll forget how to use it when you do your everyday daily task, train or play a sport.  This can result in lower back pain, hip pain, or pain anywhere down the kinetic chain.  You’ll also go a long way to prevent the loss of hip motion that will increase joint wear and tear and rob you of your mobility at a premature age. Its depressing to see so many “skinny obese” individuals (people that appear to be skinny but has the aerobic capacity or mobility of an obese person) and a ton of people that suffer from the “computer man syndrome” (slouched shoulders, forward neck, wrist/back/neck/shoulder pain).


I believe the single best weight loss tool, muscle gain tool, training tool and life tool that I’ve ever encountered is sleep. There’s no market for it so nobody would make money for solving the “fitness crisis”. You cant “bottle sleep” or sell it in any form so the media or the “so called experts” cant just tell you that fact (otherwise, they'll be out of a job).


Our technology (especially in the realm of health) nowadays, is far greater and superior than ever (tied for 1st with Japan) – yet we are suffering more deaths than ever before because our country is full of unhealthy people. Pretty pathetic that the US is 14th in the nation (bottom 2) in terms or being a healthy nation yet we are number one in money spent on health care.


Stop beating a dead horse. Go to Pubmed and searched for “creatine” and you’ll get 37,652 responses. Type in “creatine monohydrate” and you’ll get 212. This is the most research supplement so stop asking me “is this safe”. For the last time, its good for your health, longevity and performance.


My mind works very fast. It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time. Im the quickest person to jump to conclusions. I have to stop assuming, instead I need to ask more questions!


Things I Dislike at the Gym

  • Trainers that keep saying “medial deltoid”. There is no such thing! What you are referring to is actual lateral in terms of positioning (medial means “towards the midline). You’re an idiot in the fitness industry if you don’t know your anatomy.
  • People that use machines (i.e the lying leg curl, seated leg curl, smith machines, back extensions). When in life or in sports do you lay on your stomach and kick your butt? Unless your going to be a professional butt kicker, the lying leg curl machine is useless. No one will ever build a machine that works as good as the free weight so stop trying to build one.
  • People that do bicep curls in squat racks.
  • Physical therapist who don’t train athletes for a living telling Strength and Conditioning Coaches how to train athletes.
  • People that work out on an empty stomach. If you didn’t eat breakfast (coffee is not food), don’t ask me for any nutritional advice.
  • People working out for an hour and drinking calorie loaded pre workout energy drink (vitamin Water, Gatorade) or ingest powergel/powerbar while working out?                  

I went to my first major seminar in Long Beach and thought I was going to come out with a clearer idea of what my field, specifically “strength and conditioning”, is all about. By the end of the 3-day seminar I had more questions than ever. I was even more confuse of what my field was about. Important things I’ve learned: develop your own philosophy don’t just adopt or copy one; “Give me the truth, not the facts – facts are always changing (Huxley)”; a short pencil is better than a short memory; Mike Boyle and Alwyn Cosgrove are geniuses and they don’t give a F^@K of peoples opinions about them.    


I have seen the forest through the trees and I prioritize what is important (thanks Eric). I need to invest in myself (seminars, books, DVDs, etc). Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field. I’ve heard it takes 10 years of extensive training to excel in anything. People with mastery in something invested approximately 10,000 hours of deliberated guided study hours.


Brian Tracy said that reading one hour a day will make you one of the most knowledgeable people in your field. I read a lot because I know knowledge isn’t going to track me down and force itself upon me. However, in spite of the best efforts of editors, what we read may not be always true; absorb what is useful , reject what is useless (Bruce Lee). At the same time, the mind is like a parachute – it only works if its open (read analytically). With that said, knowledge is no good if its not applied so practice what you preach.


Books/articles/published works that I still need to read in the upcoming year.

  • How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
  • The Naked Warrior by Pavel Tsatsouline
  • Any books by Napolean Hill, Brian Tracy
  •  Everything written by Peter Twist, Len Kravitz, Mark Verstegen, Gray Cook, Juan Carlos Santana, Eric Cressey, and Dan John

Research the following subjects: Building a website, Presenting effective presentations, Kettlebell Training, Trigger Point Therapy, The sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)


Advices I need to take….

  • If its important, do it everyday. If its not important, don’t do it at all (Chris Gable)
  • Find a mentor!
  • Look at injuries as sign of imbalances – Shirley Sahrmann says if you have an injured muscle look for a weak synergist.
  • The foundation of healthy living is nutrition. Working out is a few hours of commitment, while eating right is a 24 hour commitment.  Don’t put training in front of eating properly. You cant out train a lousy diet.

If I ever own my own business I would not treat interns as janitors/laundry workers/slaves. Interns generally look up to you and expect to learn. I would always make sure my employees are treated fairly and accordingly because people perform better if they feel appreciated. The greatest test of liking your job is to do it perfectly when nobody is looking.


Its not how good you are, its how good you want to be. Everybody wants to be good , but not many are prepared to make the sacrifices it takes to  be great. I’m a passionate individual. Passion is a word that doesn’t mean what you think it means. From Latin it means “to suffer”. I define it as to suffer for love. Greatness comes to those willing to go past the sweat. Sweating is not an indication of hard work. I can sit in the sauna, do nothing and sweat. Winners learn to live with “hurt” feeling (moved beyond pain). There’s a difference between pain and being injured. If your yelling F-bombs, got your eyes rolling in the back of your head and you cant focus on anything but then a minute later your fine. That’s just pain or brain freeze. Injuries require medical attention. Pain is constant during hard effort. To rebuild yourself, you must break yourself.


I refuse to be called a personal trainer. I don’t train, I teach. I am a coach. Whether you’re an athlete or not, all individuals compete each day in the game of life. Therefore, I am a Human Performance Coach. My focus is on lifestyle enhancement, “whatever your doing in life I want to help you do it better”. I believe im a magician – I have the ability to change lives. I can turn a depress 50 year old woman into a confident CEO. The goal for all my clients is to become the person and performer they can be. I empower them to consistently live and perform closer or at their potential at all times.


I love my job! It’s a great feeling to see confidence in my clients and to see the joy in their face when they realize they are finally going to reach their health and fitness goals. If I don’t get paid a single penny for going to work, I will still be the first one to arrive and the last one to leave I do it because I love it and I love it because im good at it. If the only take home message you get from reading this is “find your passion and follow it”, then I consider it a definite success.



I am looking forward to 2008. New Year, No Limit!



Written December 28, 2007