12 08 2014

You never know what you’ll find on NPR when you drive to work in the morning. Today’s segment in Morning Edition was perfect for relating to my own work as well as to my clients goals. (Hear the story by clicking here.) The title of the segment is “For A More Ordered Life, Organize Like A Chef.” It discussed a concept that many chefs adopt known as “mise-en-place” which is French for “put in place.” This is a phrase that they use to keep themselves organized  and focused on the task at hand.

During my work, I’m not only training my clients, but also keeping the members happy, ensuring that the facility is safe and in good working order, communicating with my team, and trouble shooting any problems that may arise. If I’m not adopting the mise-en-place concept, my client will not receive a hundred percent of my focus and will lose out on their paid time with me, which could also prevent them from achieving their workout goals. Therefore, keeping my work organized will allow me to stay focused on the task at hand and not get tied up in too many things at once which would result in a loss in productivity. Another great principle of mise-en-place is “slow down to speed up”. Chef and Owner of Telepan, Bill Telepan, describes this principle: “I always say, ‘Look, I’d rather you take an extra minute or two and slow up service to get it right.’ Because the one minute behind you are now is going to become six minutes behind because we’re going to have to redo the plate.”

An excellent example of how this second principle relates to your fitness goal is to think of a time when you wanted to rush through everything to see results. You go through your workouts quickly expecting to see something all of a sudden or you search to find that easy “pill” that will get you to your goals quicker, only to find yourself back where you were two to three months later. If you take your time to slow down and focus on doing it right the first time, you will reap the rewards of your work when you’re finished. You will also realize that your results stay with you a lot longer and you won’t have to start all over again. In addition to the principle of slowing down to speed up is the prevention of injury if you do things right the first time. Who wants to be laden with an injury, only to find out that you can’t continue exercising towards your goals for another three to six months?

Follow this discipline and you’ll be successful in your fitness goals and in your life. Some chefs go as far as tattooing “mise-en-place” on their body, but I don’t believe you need to go that far. Maybe you can write it in your daily log as a reminder to stay focused on the task at hand. You are keeping a daily log, aren’t you?


Listen to the Cookie

7 05 2013

“Finding time to fit a good workout into the day is as hard as the workout,” is a response I get a lot. And to sympathize with these folks is an easier path for many. In a work day, I would say that I get bogged down in my work and find hours slipping by as I loom over my computer to finish a project so that I can cross that off my list. Then I catch my breath and continue to the next project as if on autopilot. Yet, throughout the day there are times when the chance to stop and get in a few minutes of a workout arises and the choice to get up and move is up to me. “I didn’t choose to not workout, my work/time/fill in the blank just didn’t allow me to do it,” a repeated echo rings in my head. “Bunch of bull!” Snuffs out the echo as I am pull myself away from the computer and prepare to exercise.

This scenario is a constant hinderance in our daily life and separates those who move backward in their fight to succeed with those who make positive progress.  We will always be required to make a life altering decision as the seconds past way in our lives, but we are always in control of the choices we make. Allowing ourselves to break under the pressure of excuses and blame it on something other than our lack of defiance over status quo keeps us in a vicious cycle that never ends where we want to be.

Cookie Doesn't Lie

The average person makes roughly 3,500 decisions a day. What to eat, where to go, how to dress, pass the car, say hi to that person…. The list goes on and on, and yet, with one choice taken, the other is left behind. So we can say that we didn’t have the opportunity to choose both. This is true and many people lose ground from choosing only one and not the other maybe because of comfort level, external pressures, or priority levels. However, when we make that choice to not do something, we are in control of this decision and internal factors provide the foundation of this choice. Work did not keep me from taking ten minutes to get up and move around so my muscles could stretch out from sitting for 4 hours straight. No, I told my body that it was not allowed to get up because I thought that I would lose precious time to get my project down. I chose to keep working. As the cookie states, we still choose even if we decide not to make a choice. Make every decision count and never blame that fact that you couldn’t choose your future. You are in control of your free will and to wake up half hour earlier to get a workout in is your choice.

Think Healthy, Think Money

13 02 2013

We all want to be rich. Then there are some of us who would prefer to be wealthy. If you don’t know the difference, I suggest reading “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. But regardless if you want to be rich or wealthy, you must do one of two things; either learn how to earn it if you aren’t there, or learn how to keep it if you are there. Ask both sides and they will tell you that it’s difficult to uphold both ends of the statement if you are not willing to motivate yourself and work hard.

Even though it is hard to save money, many of us are so driven that we do everything we can to grow our bank accounts. We stop purchasing expensive products, we go to fewer movies, we find cheaper alternatives, and we slowly put money into our savings account until we are happy with how much we have in it. We don’t end up with $20,000 in a week, but over a period of time with little investments (depending on how much you invest into the account), we notice the large sum of money that has accumulated and we are thrilled with success.

I use this example because the same can be said with our health and the steps needed to accomplish our wellness goals. However, the majority of us don’t treat our bodies like a savings account. We expect our bodies to work miracles and in the end of the week have a body like the models and stars we see in magazines and in the media. Side note: Most actors and actresses will work with a trainer between three to six months, six to seven days a week, to get their bodies in the shape needed to perform their roles; not to mention hiring a personal chef, and dietitian. The way we stay or become healthy should follow the same plan as how we grow our bank accounts. Place importance on our wealth (health); find out ways to save our wealth (health); and slowly invest our money (time) to see our wealth (health) grow.

Wealth for HealthFollowing these simple steps will improve your overall health (and wealth) if you take the time to commit to it. Saving your health can be as easy as saving your money, but know that to do so, you must find the importance of why you’re doing it and become motivated in its returns to be successful.

When The Road Never Seems To End

11 04 2012

If you’ve tried to lose weight, gain muscle, or even train for a competition, you’ve probably been here. “Here” is the point in time when you look at what you’ve accomplished so far and the set backs that you’ve encountered along the way. “Here” has surfaced many times along your journey and you wonder what good all your hard work is doing for you. You look back at where you started and you feel like you just left the gates. Then you look down that endless road where you know your goal awaits and you wonder if you’ll ever get there. This is where many people drop the ball and lose focus on what counts. This is also where enablers prove to you that what you are doing is a waste of time and you might as well be content with your present circumstance. Enablers try diminishing your hopes of succeeding. “Don’t torture yourself, have a fry,” states an enabler. “Why do you want to get up so early just to know that you’re not going to finish first in your race?” questions another enabler.

I’ve been there so many times as a youth. Growing up as a minority in a town full of prejudice and hate, it was hard for me to stay motivated to pursue my goals. Lacking a role model and having people tell me that I couldn’t succeed made my road difficult. I fought every second to overcome those oppositions and prove to myself that I was going to reach my goals. Many times in my life, “here’s” became rest stops and I questioned whether I should just give up and face the fact that I wasn’t cut out for this journey.

I will never forget the day when I was in the doctor’s office as a young child. Hearing the doctor tell my mother and me that I was overweight while showing us where I placed on the graph seemed to knock me back a few miles. I wondered why this was happening to me.  I was always active throughout my childhood; how could I have gained so much weight to put me twenty pounds overweight? I then remembered all the fast food joints my mom had visited, and the day long binges on chips and freshly made desserts. Two of my close friends were not the leanest of kids either. When I met the brother of one, I wondered how anyone could be that big. They told me that we were kids and we’d grow out of that stage. No one ever told me that I was perfect the way I was back then. Instead I experienced the reverse effect. People picked on me, causing me to come to a complete stop. My motivation to move forward had ceased and I had only begun my journey. I figured I would just stay how I was and live with it.  It wasn’t until one person’s comment that really changed my life for the better.

It was nearing Christmas one cold December morning and I had managed to be pretty pudgy for my height. I was looking at myself in my bathroom mirror just to check how round I had become. Then my brother came in to use the bathroom. He asked what I was doing and I didn’t say anything. Then he unleashed a life changing comment that I would always look back and for him thank. He laughed and I asked what was so funny. He pointed at my shirtless body and said, “this year, you can be Santa and his little elf.” Then walked out laughing, never to let that one down. That was how an enabler became a motivator. The next day I put on a pair of sweatpants, two long sleeve tees and a hooded sweatshirt and stepped into the thirty degree air. I was tired of being the short, fat kid and took my first step into a new direction. I ran up my street to the top of the hill as fast as I could in hopes that I would be able to run around the block. I got to the top and gasped for air. The freezing moisture knocked the wind out of my lungs and I walked back down from which I came and back into my house to warm up. However, I was determined to run everyday from that day on. Eventually, after a month of running a little farther each day, I was up to 5 miles a day and I started doing push ups and sit ups. I also made sure I wasn’t stuffing down french fries and cupcakes every week. In the end, I was back down to a healthy weight, with a six-pack and definition in my body to turn the tables around. I remember a hot summer day a year later when I was walking around the house with my shirt off and my brother walked by. “Wish you could have these,” I said as I pointed to my abs and flexed my chest. We laughed, but I knew that I wouldn’t have been as healthy had it not been for my brother’s inadvertent help.

To this day, I look back at that period of my life when the motivation had diminished. My enabler didn’t keep me from accomplishing my goal. My brother turned out to be a motivator.  However, there are many more enablers out there trying to stop you. If you want to succeed, you must find that willpower to continue. Turn enablers into motivators by showing them that you will not stop. Make that decision to keep going and don’t ever lose hope. Even when the road never seems to end, know that no one ever finished anything by going backwards.