What I Have Been Up To

It is a new year and a chance to make a bigger, better more improved version of the self you have always wanted to create.  We all have goals and resolutions we want to achieve and strive for.  We tell ourselves this year is going to be different than any other year and we start off the year strong, sticking to our resolutions and keeping our promises.  Chances are our resolutions slowly start to fade out and before we know it we are back to our usual routine, not getting better and still miles away from our goal.  My question is why?  Why do we start out with so much hope, ambition and promise only to go back to our own ways?  Why do we not stick to our new changes and routines and go back to what we were doing?

My answer is comfort and drive.  We as humans do not like to be uncomfortable and will always resort to what is most comfortable to us.  Some of us are comfortable being overweight and stuck in a job we hate because the steps we need to take in order to get to where we want are uncomfortable.  It is uncomfortable giving up the foods we love to eat and for some it is uncomfortable to exercise so we are better off not trying and staying in our comfort zone.  Some of us may be unhappy with the jobs we have yet we continue to go to them week after week because we are comfortable there and anything new or different is scary and unsettling.  I heard a statistic the other day that 85% of Americans are unhappy with their jobs, 85%!  That means out of 10 people you talk to, 8 of them are unhappy with their job.  To me that seems like quite an alarming rate and brings me to my next point which is drive.  We have to be driven to make the changes, we have to be driven to get uncomfortable, we have to be driven to make the sacrifices necessary in order to get what you want to get and be where you want to be.  How driven are you to lose that 10-20 lbs, to get a new job, to make a million dollars, to find a spouse or start a new company?  What are you willing to give up and sacrifice to get there?  Life is hard and can beat you down if you let it but you have to have the drive and ambition to be better today than you were yesterday.  Write down your goals on paper, read them everyday and take action.  We only have one chance at this life so let us make the most of it and go after our dreams.  It is time to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Before the new year was even upon us, I started doing things that were a little uncomfortable for me but would also greatly benefit me in the long run.  I have been working on improving myself and being the best I can be and taking the necessary steps every day to get me there.  Here is what I have been working on lately:

Chasing my dream.

For those of you  who are Frontdive Fitness readers, you may remember I posted awhile back about how I  am changing careers.  I am chasing after my dream of becoming a firefighter here in South Carolina.  After thinking about my past work history and talking with some fellow firefighters, I concluded I have all the necessary qualities to become a great fireman.  I have always had a passion for helping others and I figured what better way than helping people in a time of need by joining the fire department.  The journey on this process has been a long, ongoing, tedious and patience forming one to say the least.  I have taken several of the fire fighter physical and written assessment tests and have gone on a couple of interviews.  I have my goals set high and I will not stop until I reach my goals.  I will continue to grind it out and go on interviews until I get hired on.

Meditation.

I have to say, adding this to my daily routine has helped me tremendously.  When I wake up in the morning after I do my normal routine, I sit down and meditate for 10-15 minutes.  I focus on a deep nourishing breath in and a relaxing, stress relieving breath out.  Sometimes I think about breathing in for a 4-6 count, holding for a 2 count and exhaling for a 6-8 count and other times I think about joy, happiness or abundance on the inhalation and worry, stress or anxiety on the exhalation.  I found after meditating for a week, I am more patient, less anxious, less stressed and I can handle more stressful situation better.  I found my temperament has improved dramatically and I no longer get mad, upset or frustrated at things I cannot control.  Meditation definitely helps ground you and makes you become more aware of the mind, body  and spirit connection.  Also sometimes, I enjoy pulling up a guided meditation on Youtube and have someone lead me through this amazing experience.  I highly suggest adding this to your daily routine and you will be amazed how much it benefits you.

Brain Games.

Just like exercise is important for your body and health, so are games to activate and train your brain.  Fellow co-workers have turned me on to a game called Lumosity which you can download for free on your phone.  Lumosity is a brain game app in which it tests your memory, problem solving, attention, flexibility and speed.  One neat thing about the game is it gives you 3 different games to play each day and it tracks your progress so you able to see if you are improving or if you just don’t have it today.  Also, you become aware of different areas you are not so great in and try to improve on them.  I am terrible on any of the memory recall games and I know this so I challenge myself to improve.

Motivation/Success Videos.

If you have a quick minute or 10, I highly recommend listening to some type of motivational, inspirational or successful video or audio clip.  If you type in motivation, success or inspiration into youtube you will have a endless supply of clips to pump you up, engage you and make your mind strong/er.  We all need some motivation and think of this as a way to give yourself your own personal pep talk.  I usually like to walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes and listen to several different clips to inspire me for the day and to help me get on my path to achieve greatness.  The power of the mind is the most important and critical area to work on.  We have to believe in ourselves and know that yes, we can make a difference, we can be successful, we will be successful, there is no stopping us and we will not quit until we win.  A couple of people I would highly suggest taking the time to listen to is Les Brown, Zig Ziglar and Lewis Howes.  Les Brown is one of my new favorites and I enjoy listening to him everyday.

Gratitude Journal.

Everyday take the time to write down at least one thing you are grateful for.  You will be amazed on how great this make you feel, how thing really aren’t that bad, how blessed we really are and how much we have to be grateful for.  We are all blessed to wake up everyday with a roof over our heads, a bed to sleep in, clothes on our back, money in our pockets and food in our house.  Never take anything for granted, count your blessings and write down what you are grateful for.

Let us start to take the necessary steps to improve our lives.  The time is now, don’t wait, don’t delay, take action and start taking control over your life.  The path to greatness is a long, winding and bumpy one but it is worth it once you get there.

 

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I Workout

I workout…..

Because I can

Because I am able to

Because I enjoy the challenge

Because it is my therapy

Because it is my stress relief

Because I want to be strong

Because I want to live longer

Because I want to be disease free

Because the weights do not judge me

Because I enjoy the freedom

Because I want to be active and able to do anything

Because I want to set a good example for my children

Because I love the feeling afterwards

Because I love to sweat

Because it makes my body feel better

Because it is good for my brain

Because it is a triumph over laziness

Because I love seeing my body change

Because I enjoy the battle

Because I choose to

Because I am a warrior

Because I can

 

 

Dad Advice

We have all heard classic fatherly advice at least one time in our lives, whether it be from our fathers or someone else’s.  Most of the time we just roll our eyes and do not really listen because we may have heard it for the hundredth time but dad advice is a lot more profound and useful than we know.  A lot of the advice is directed and useful for the fellas but girls you should read to because it is quite useful for both sexes.  For those of us who are fortunate to have our fathers around, embrace their wisdom and their advice because you just might learn a thing a two.

 

  1. Go for women you perceive to be “out of your league.”  You’ll surprise yourself
  2. Never have sex with anyone that doesn’t want it as much as you.
  3. Never hit anyone unless they are an immediate threat.
  4. Every hat should serve a purpose.
  5. Never take her to the movies on the first date.
  6. Learn to wet shave.
  7. Nothing looks more badass than a well-tailored suit.
  8. Shave with the grain on the first go-around.
  9. Always look a person in the eye when you talk to them.
  10. Buy a plunger before you need a plunger.
  11. Exercise makes you happy.  Run, lift and play sports.
  12. Brush your teeth before you put on your tie.
  13. A small amount of your paycheck should go directly to your saving account every month.
  14. Call your parents every week.
  15. Never wear a clip on tie.
  16. Give a firm handshake.
  17. Compliment her shoes.
  18. Never leave a pint unfinished.
  19. If you aren’t confident, fake it.  It will come.
  20. You can tell the size of the man by the size of things that bother him.
  21. Be conscious of your body language.
  22. The only reason to ever point a gun at someone is if you intend to shoot them.
  23. Always stand to shake someone’s hand.
  24. Never lend anything you can’t afford to lose.
  25. Ask more than you answer.  Everybody likes to talk about themselves.
  26. Keep a change of clothes at the office.
  27. Buy high quality tools, so you only have to buy them once.
  28. Manliness is not only being able to take care of yourself, but others as well.
  29. Go with the decision that will make for a good story.
  30. When you walk, look straight ahead, not at your feet.
  31. Nice guys don’t finish last.  Boring guys do.
  32. Find your passion and figure out how to get paid for it.
  33. Don’t let the little head do the thinking for the big head.
  34. No matter their job or status in life, everyone deserves your respect.
  35. The most important thing you can learn is personal responsibility.  Bad things happen, it’s your job to overcome them.
  36. The first one to get angry loses.
  37. Do what needs to be done without complaining.  It won’t help speed things up.
  38. Never stop learning.
  39. Always go out into the public dressed like you’re about to meet the love of your life.
  40. Don’t change yourself just to make someone happy, unless that someone is you.
  41. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
  42. Luck favors the prepared.
  43. Women find confidence sexy as hell.
  44. Do whatever you want to do in the life, but be the best at it.
  45. No one is on their deathbed wishing they spent more time at work.  Enjoy your life.

My Favorite Maxims Continued

Continuing the list from coach John Wooden:

 

Do not permit what you cannot do to interfere with what you can do.

Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation.  Character is what you really are; reputation is merely what you are perceived to be.

Love is the greatest of all words in our language.

Much can be accomplished by teamwork when no one is concerned about who gets credit.

Never make excuses.  Your friends don’t need them and you foes won’t believe them.

Never be disagreeable just because you disagree.

Be slow to criticize and quick to commend.

Be more concerned with what you can do for others than what others can do for you.  You’ll be surprised at the results.

The more concerned we become over the things we can’t control, the less we will do with the things we can control.

Don’t permit fear of failure to prevent effort.  We are all imperfect and will fail on occasions, but fear of failure is the greatest failure of all.

Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.

The time to make friends is before you need them.

We are many, but are we much?

Nothing can give you greater joy than doing something for another.

Material things are not gifts but apologies for gifts.  The only true gift is a portion of thyself. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for another without thought of something in return.

Do not mistake activity for achievement.

You can do more good by being good than any other way.

Forget favors given; remember those received.

Make each day your masterpiece.

Make friendship a fine art.

Treat all people with dignity and respect.

Acquire peace of mind by making the effort to become the best of which you are capable.

My Favorite Maxims

From the legendary coach Mr. John Wooden, here are his favorite principles or maxims:

 

Happiness begins where selfishness ends.

Earn the right to be proud and confident.

The best way to improve the team is to improve ourself.

Big things are accomplished only through the perfection of minor details.

Discipline yourself and others won’t need to.

Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.

I will get ready and then, perhaps, my chance will come.

If I am through learning, I am through.

If you do not have the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?

The smallest good deed is better than the best intention.

The man who is afraid to risk failure seldom has to face success.

Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.

Time spent getting even would be better spent trying to get ahead.

It is what you learn after you know it all that counts.

Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.

There is nothing stronger than gentleness.

You discipline those under your supervision to correct, to help, to improve – not to punish.

Goals achieved with little effort are seldom worthwhile or lasting.

Make sure the team members know they’re working with you, not for you.

Be most interested in finding the best way, not in having your own way.

What is right is more important than who is right.

You handle things.  You work with people.

As long as you try your best, you are never a failure.  That is, unless you blame others.

Tell the truth.  That way you don’t have to remember a story.

Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.

If I were ever prosecuted for my religion, I truly hope there would be enough evidence to convict me.

Although there is no progress without change, not all change is progress.

If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.

The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.

The worst thing you can do for those who you love is the things they could and should do for themselves. (Abraham Lincoln).

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely help another without helping himself. (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

Exercise vs. Movement

We all know moving our bodies and exercising are important and vital for our health and longevity.  We know it is great for weight loss, weight maintenance, bone health, heart health and reduces the risk of diabetes and all of the other problems which can occur from lack of exercise.  We all have heard from several different sources whether it be a friend, TV, media or a fitness expert on which form of exercise is best.  Some may say weight training is ideal or cardio is better or yoga is best or maybe even exercise classes is the best form to choose from.  However, what do all these modalities have as the common denominator?  Movement.  Movement is the key factor for almost all of your general fitness needs.  We need to move, we need to twist, bend, jump, run, skip, dance, squat, leap, climb, carry, push, pull, lunge, throw and crawl.  We need to learn to incorporate more movement into our everyday lives and not just get enough of it when we go to the gym.  I am not talking about movement which may be involuntary like walking from your car to work or from your desk to the water cooler but movement in which you are fully engaged, aware and present.  Do not get me wrong, I love exercise and I love lifting weights and getting stronger and seeing the results but what I love even more is being able to move my body well in all different planes of motion without limitation or struggle.  I love being able to perform almost any activity or sport without ever thinking twice about injury, struggle or not being strong enough.  If you are able to move well then you should able to do most other things well.  There is a huge difference between movement and exercise and I would like to share these things with you so hopefully we can all get more movement into our lives daily.

  • Exercise is about repetition of known patterns while play(movement) is about discovery and exploration
  • Exercise is about enduring unpleasant sensation: play is about finding delight in diverse movement forms
  • Exercise is about repeating the known; play is about extending into the unknown
  • Exercise requires external motivation to maintain participation; play is inherently rewarding and self-reinforcing
  • Exercise tends to be single plane; functional movement is multi-joint and multi-plane
  • Exercise is monotonous; movement is engaging
  • Exercise is specialized; movement is diverse
  • Exercise is scripted; movement is spontaneous and opportunistic
  • Exercise feels mechanized and forced; movement feels expressive and creative
  • Exercise is a means towards an end; movement is an end in itself
  • Exercise is generally done in the gym; movement can be done anywhere

Movement is better because it offers more options for physical creativity and expression.  There’s more possibility and more room for the imagination.  Be a movement opportunist; look for movement at home, in the workplace, in parks, airports and in the parking lot.  Look for ways to add spice and extra movement into you daily life, jump up on that ledge you pass by everyday, balance on the parking curbs, do some pull ups on a stairway or tree you pass, skip across the parking lot or empty field, run up and down the stairs a few times, anything that will be different and new to your ordinary routine.  Dance is also another great way to incorporate movement into your day.  Dance is fun, pulsating and hip gyrating and is always fun to do by yourself or with your friends.  Dancing gets the body moving in all planes of motion and works all of the major muscles without you even thinking about it.  Learn to dance with other things like the terrain, gravity, water, bushes, the ground, boulders, rocks, stairs and sidewalks.  Learn to make the world your playground and let the movement begin.  I have transitioned to this way of working out and absolutely love it.  I no longer care or think about sets, reps or numbers but I concentrate more so on the feeling of the exercise, how engaging it is and how much enjoyment I am getting out of it.  I am often at the playground with my kids and am constantly playing around with them and I am always fascinated by their movements.  If you want a great workout, try following around a young kid on the playground and copying everything they do, I guarantee you will get a great workout without even thinking about it.  Move your body and play as much as you can but also know that you still have to exert yourself a little bit.  Not too much but just enough to get your heart rate and ventilatory rate up.  If we want to reap the health and performance rewards, sweat and exertion are still necessary.  We still need to challenge our tissue and push our physical comfort zones.

And remember, if it feels monotonous and boring, it probably is!  If this is the case, stop doing it.  Find something else that is not boring and is more engaging.  I find my best workout are the ones which are unplanned, outside, shoes and shirt off, going with flow and not worrying about the outcome.  Try it sometime and I bet you will be amazed on how much better you feel.  Movement is best and movement trumps exercise every time.  Have a fun and movement filled day.

An hour of basketball feels like 15 minutes.  An hour on a treadmill feels like a weekend in traffic school. ~ David Walters

 

 

Happiness Is

I have been doing a lot of reading lately and this last book I read as changed me and opened up my eyes to see the world differently.  I read Way of the Peaceful Warrior written by Dan Millman and it has enlightened me and brought some insight into my world.  We all search for joy and happiness in our life and go to great lengths to acquire what we are after.  Some may think that by getting multiple achievements or degrees will make them happy, while others may think an abundance amount of money will be the way to total bliss.  I believe happiness and total enlightenment comes from within, you have to be happy with who you are, what you have, what you have become, where you have come from and where you are headed.  There is no need to worry about what others think, what achievements you feel you need to achieve or the amount of money you think you need to make.  Happiness starts on the inside with you and you have the power to radiate that happiness to others.  Go with the flow with everything life has to offer you, throw away your concerns, your doubts, your fears and your anger and you will find yourself to be more at peace and life will work itself out.  For those of you who do not know me on a personal level, I have a tendency to  be impatient, slightly uptight and always want to be in control.  I have completely let go everything that is out of my control and just enjoy life and everything around.  I am more aware of the little things surrounding me like the clouds in the sky, the leaves on the trees, how the wind moves the trees, the animals surrounding me and I feel an overwhelming sense of joy and peace.   I am at peace with the world, with myself and with everything around me and feel as I am embarking on the righteous path to happiness.  I know this path is just beginning for me but it feels great to have the insight and new look on the world like I do now.  Happiness is a state of mind.  My happiness is spending quality time with my daughters and watching them grow up, a good hug and kiss from my wife, a good laugh with a friend, any movement, the sun on my back, swimming in a pool, a morning walk, a round of golf, a great meal and an ice cold beer.  Don’t take your life too seriously, laugh more, work less, enjoy the outside and surround yourself with love.  Be happy, be kind, be grateful and be thankful.

Here is the passage from the book which I am quite fond of and I find myself reading everyday to remind myself to stay with the positive mental attitude.

 

There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere.  It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now!  Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One, you see.  And the only laws are paradox, humor and change.  There is no problem, never was, and never will be.  Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away you concerns, and relax into the world.  No need to resist life; just do your best.  Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine.  You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too!  It’s all the marvelous Play of God.  Wake up, regain your humor.  Don’t worry, you are already free!