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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The 12 Commandments

The 12 Commandments of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which apply to the sport but can also be used in our every day lives.

Promise Yourself……

  1. To be strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
  2. To speak to all of happiness, health, and prosperity.
  3. To give all your friends the feeling that they have value.
  4. To look at the bright side and turn your optimism into eventual reality.
  5. To think only the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best.
  6. To be as fair and as enthusiastic about success of others as of your own.
  7. To forget the mistakes of the past and focus your energy on the achievements of the future.
  8. To always keep the person next to you happy, and always smile to those who address you.
  9. To expend the greatest time improving yourself, and no time criticizing others.
  10. To be too great to feel uneasiness, too noble to feel rage, too happy to feel setbacks, and strong enough to feel fear.
  11. To have a good opinion of yourself and proclaim it to the world.  Not with resounding words, but with good works.
  12. To have the firm conviction that  the world is on your side, as long as you stay loyal to what is best in you.

Written by Carlos Gracie, Sr. the creator of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and translated by Rolles Gracie.

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.

Updated Goals

 

 

deadlift

We all have goals in our lives, whether it be in the classroom, at work or at the gym.  Goals keep us motivated, keep us focused, fuels the fire and gives us a target to shoot for.  We should always have something to shoot for to strive for to help us get to where we want to be in life.  There is no need to settle for complacency, always keep striving for excellence and being as successful as you can.  What are your goals in the gym right now?  What are you training for?  Are you training to lose weight?  If so, how much weight and when do you want to lose it by?  Are you training to build muscle or get stronger on a specific lift?  Then what are you doing about it and how much stronger do you want to get?  Goals need to be as specific as possible.  The details and the dates are extremely important motivators which help you both consciously and subconsciously.  Instead of saying I want to lose weight, try saying I want to lose 10 lbs by December 31, 2015.  Write your goals down on a piece of paper and put them somewhere you can read them everyday because this will help you achieve them.  You will continue to make the necessary choices to get you one step closer to your goals.  I have been taking some time off with this blog and heavy lifting and now I feel it is time to set some goals and go after them.  I am still going through the process of my lifelong goal of becoming a firefighter and I am putting a lot of time and energy into that and will continue until I succeed.

In the meantime, here are my lifting goals I will try to achieve by the end of the year:

  • Trapbar Deadlift: 405lbs
  • Straight Bar Deadlift: 315lbs
  • 100lb Chin Ups: 10 reps
  • Overhead Press Body Weight: 170lbs
  • Dumbbell Bench Press 100lbs: 10 reps
  • Body Weight Back Squat (170 lbs): 20 reps
  • Weighted Sled Push/Pull: 600 lbs
  • 100 meters on the rower: sub 17 seconds

Set your goals high and go after them.  Train hard, do your best, give it all you got and don’t worry if you fail.  Some of these may be to easy and I will adjust accordingly and super-succeed my expectations and some will be painfully difficult.  Either way I am up for the challenge.  Go out there and do something great!

Career Change

After over 10 years in the fitness industry, I have recently decided to switch careers from a personal trainer to a firefighter.  Please let me explain.  I have been passionately devoted to fitness ever since I got turned onto it back when I was a teenager around 13 or 14.  Fitness has played a key role in my life, my journey, my athletics and my career and I owe a lot to the health and fitness world.  It has been quite a journey of 10 plus years and I have evolved quite a bit since my first personal training job.  I enjoy helping others and caring for others and watching them succeed and achieve their goals with my help in their exercise program.  There is no greater feeling then knowing you helped someone, somehow and in someway whether it being losing weight, moving better, feeling better, having more energy or being out of pain.  Helping others is the biggest reward there is with this job.  However, working as a personal trainer is and can be a grind.  We are constantly battling hours, switching clients around and watching our paychecks take big hits when several of our clients decide to go vacation at the same time, which is usually the case.  As much as I love this industry, it dawned on me one day: Do I really want to be doing this for the next 20 plus year?  Do I want to be grinding it out and helping others workout in the gym when I am 55- 60 years of age?  Always worrying about clients, hours and a steady paycheck, I think not.  I am not fulling giving up on fitness either, I do believe I will always be training and finding those special clients to train as well.

When I moved here to South Carolina, I started talking to a lot of the firefighters at the gym I worked at, gathering as much information as I could and asking as much questions that I could think of.  I never really planned in my life to become a firefighter but quite honestly I think it is extremely fitting for me.  I am extremely into fitness and health, I was a lifeguard for 3 years, I have been doing high diving shows climbing ladders 80 feet in the air, I love helping other people and I want to be able to give back to my community.  I have been filling out applications, talking to Captains and getting information on the fire academy and what are my best steps to take to start on this journey.  I know the journey is not going to be easy and it is going to be tough at times but I am a true warrior and will not stop until I accomplish my goal.  At first I was hesitant to even post this and tell this story to all of you but I am firm believer in the law of attraction and making your goals known to all in order to help you achieve your destiny.  If you throw it out to the universe, the universe make things happen, open up doors for you and throw it back to you.  I am being as patient as I can for I know good things will come to those who wait.

I am aware it is a higher risk job and I am aware it has life threatening capabilities but you know what, so does driving your car down the highway.  I look into the positives more of what the job has to offer like helping others, caring for others, a steady paycheck and flexible hours.  The way the shift works as a firefighter (as in 24 hours on and 48 hours off) gives me more time to spend with my precious little girls before they get older and start school.  I am excited to start this new chapter in my life and will keep you all posted and updated as I continue on this journey.  Wish me the best of luck.

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).