Your Health is your Wealth

With the COVID Delta variant completely taking over in the US, the people at the top seem to be ignoring one of the biggest variables in having a good or a poor outcome with this disease. 

That variable is our overall physical condition.  As a client of ours said recently, “My health is MY wealth!”

Why aren’t we being encouraged to pursue the improvement of our physical condition? ⁣ It’s been almost entirely ignored by all of the “experts” out there.  

Here are the facts on the rise of COVID cases and our risk factors associated with it: ⁣

  • The CDC reports obesity increases risk of hospitalization from covid-19 by OVER 700%⁣
  • Poor cardiovascular fitness is an increased risk factor⁣
  • A study from the University of Virginia found exercise reduces a person’s risk of even contracting covid-19⁣
  • Exercise is known to impact and improve the immune system⁣ in positive ways
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome is a top cause of death from covid-19. Research has shown that there is an exercise-induced antioxidant that can protect against this⁣
  • There’s now an abundance of evidence that Vitamin D reduces covid-19 infection, severity, ICU admission and mortality⁣
  • Collectively, studies show vitamin D is a far more effective basal covid-19 treatment than any additive pharmaceutical available to date⁣

Maybe this is our fault.  The fault of the fitness professional.  

There’s an overwhelming attitude that we are just about looks or aesthetics.  Fitness has become a synonym to these things.  That we are just about “pecs, guns, butt and leg day⁣.”  

But the fitness profession is about so much more than this.  

It’s about strength, muscular endurance, aerobic capacity, mobility, mental health and much, much more.  ⁣

There’s an ABUNDANCE of scientific evidence showing the benefits of exercise on⁣ the following:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke recovery
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sarcopenia 

And the mental health benefits of regular exercise?  There is more research in this area now more than ever.  

I’m a cancer survivor who went through over 2 years of chemotherapy and treatment to go into “remission.”  If it wasn’t for fitness, I probably wouldn’t be here.⁣

Yes we can help athletes perform better and people to look better⁣.  

But I truly believe that we do so much more⁣.  We change lives.  We have the ability to reverse health conditions that otherwise destroy the body.   Nearly 40% of American adults aged 20 and over are obese. 71.6% of adults aged 20 and over are overweight, including those that are obese.  These numbers are really unacceptable.  We can do more.  

Exercise is medicine!⁣  But the problem is, it is not the doctor’s job to “prescribe” exercise.  We get it, this is not their “job.”  

This is our “job” – this is our “why.”  

We all have the ability to choose a better health outcome.  Once we realize that it starts with YOU, that is when change can occur.  

I will leave you with this powerful quote from F.M. Alexander:

“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and it’s their habits that decide their futures.”  

We all have the power to choose what to do next.  As fitness professionals, we will choose to continue to be the place where our clients improve their health outcomes 1% better than yesterday.  

Ready to decide to make fitness and health a part of your daily habits?  Check out our VIP Experience below to learn how to make your next month your best month of the entire year! 

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Fitness to Finance

From Fitness to Finance

There are 4 simple concepts we are going to talk about today that will help not only your fitness, but also your finance.  Maybe you have heard of some of these concepts, maybe you haven’t.  In any case, when you put these 4 strategies into action some amazing things can happen not only to your fitness and health, but also to your fiscal finance and wealth!

I wrote this after listening to best selling author of “Profit First” Mike Michalowicz speak at a seminar and his turning point in his career was when he learned these 4 concepts!

One of the best things a client ever said to me when he signed on the dotted line to start a membership with us was “I realize now that my health is my wealth!”  Wow!  Now that is a powerful one liner, so powerful it bears repeating:

“I realize now that my health is my wealth”

What he realized was that no amount of money would give him a healthy body or give him the ability to perform at the level that he wanted to perform at.  He knew he would need to work on his physical fitness and improve his health, and that in turn would turn into his newfound “wealth.”

We are going to talk about not only physical wealth but also fiscal wealth and how closely tied together they are in these 4 concepts.  Here is what you can start to incorporate into your life right away that will not only make an impact on your health, but also on your wealth both physically and financially.

Concept #1 – Small Plates

About 200 years ago, our dinner plates were actually the size of a dessert plate (does anybody even have these anymore?!).  In all seriousness, our plate size has over DOUBLED in the last couple of centuries.   Back then, we were taught to “clean off our plate” and that mantra has continued as we grew up and now as we raise our children.

Want the solution?  Use a smaller plate. Using a smaller plate is the best way to subscribe to “forced portion control.”  Actually, only have smaller plates in the house.  Then, this really weird thing will start to happen – you will actually start to eat LESS!  This will help us force portion control in the right direction and give us the ability to eat less without even thinking about it, as it is an almost automatic habit you don’t need to put much more thought on once you replace your plates with smaller ones.

In finance, you can do the same thing by controlling the “serving” of cash you have available to use.  By separating the money into “smaller plates” or separate savings or investment accounts, and “carving” out that money before it even hits your primary cash or checking account, you have in essence “paid yourself first”.

Then you will end up with less in your “serving” dish of cash, and that is ok as you will learn how to deal with this very quickly, just like you did with the small plates.  This is also known as “Parkinson’s Law.”  The concept of Parkinson’s law leverages this behavior of being able to “make due with what you got.”  If there is less in your account, you will be forced to spend less and not make those silly purchases!

This is a lot like a tube of toothpaste.  We all have been there before – where we either have a full tube of toothpaste or an almost empty tube of toothpaste.  We will use that toothpaste differently depending on what end of the spectrum we are at!  I love a full tube of toothpaste because I can just lather up that toothbrush with a huge amount and care less (a lot like over-spending when you get a raise/bonus/etc).  I also love working with a smaller tube of toothpaste – it forces me to use muscles that I never knew I had to squeeze out that very last little bit of toothpaste!  Think of your primary account just like this tube of toothpaste – if you are almost out and can’t pay your bills then you can’t afford those things you have been buying!

Concept #2 – Eat your “Vegetables” first!

How do most of us eat dinner?  Maybe if we are out to eat, we may start with an appetizer then move on to the main course, then dessert.  What about at home?  I would always start with the “meat and potatoes!”  In all seriousness, the process is pretty much the same for all of us.  We will almost always start with the most savory, tastiest part of our meal first – then go on to eat the most of that!

What if we didn’t change us, but merely changed the process of how and what we ate first?

What if we ate the vegetables first off of our plate, then we proceeded to the rest of our meal?  This forces us in a good way to eat the most nutritious part of our meal first, and that way we may even be fuller a little sooner once we get to our main part of our meal, maybe even full enough to not even eat dessert!

In finance, the vegetables are the “profit” that we pay ourselves first with, and place in a retirement or savings account.  The saying “pay yourself first” is very true, and taking your profit first is just like eating your vegetables first!

Concept #3 – Remove the temptation!

This may be one of the most undervalued concepts of all.  I have a confession to make – I LOVE chocolate chip cookies!  I know, you may have never believed it with me being a fitness professional and all!  But in all seriousness, I love freshly baked gooey chocolate chip cookies.  I would actually eat them every day if I had them around.

But here’s the secret – I remove the temptation!  I don’t have fresh baked cookies inside my house every day (ok, maybe just on the weekends!)  Here is something that I learned after a very long time:

You can’t use willpower to avoid temptation

If you remove the pure accessibility of whatever item/s it is that you are tempted to eat (mine just happens to be chocolate chip cookies!) you will be 100% less likely to dive into whatever it is that tempts you.  Think “out of site, out of mind.”  Removing the temptation is a powerful thing, since you can’t just count on willpower alone!  

In finance, let’s go back to these “profit” accounts where you pay yourself first.  In order to remove the temptation, we recommend setting up these accounts in a very “inconvenient” place – like a completely separate bank.  This is where it is so hard to transfer any money back, and it removes that temptation to do so.  It is also “out of sight, out of mind.”  This can be a game-changer since you don’t see the account balance daily, and this account will continue to grow and grow without you making the mistake of putting your hand in that damn cookie jar and taking anything out!  I heard a story once of a businessman doing this for about 20 years, and he never checked the balance of this savings account.  After 20 years, he accumulated over 1 million dollars!  Wow, now that is avoiding a lot of temptation!

Concept #4 – Eat 5 meals a day (Or pick a number greater than 1!)

This concept of eating smaller, but more frequent meals during the day does several things.  The most important of which is it regulates your appetite throughout the day, so you don’t have those huge peaks and valleys.  You all know what I am talking about.  It is 3pm and you haven’t had lunch yet.  You are so hungry that you could eat anything in front of you, and what is usually in front of you is a fast food stop!

What if you were able to plan out your main 3 meals of the day, along with a small morning and mid-afternoon snack that was easy enough to take with you (non-perishable) that kept you in sync during the day?  Do you feel like you would be in more control?  The answer is yes.  When we start to split our large meals that we normally only have once or twice a day into smaller more manageable meals (think small plates here) we keep the peaks and valleys at bay.

In finance, there will be peaks and valleys in your income.  By making your savings automatic, and also automating the day these funds get transferred out of your account – like 2 times per month instead of one – you will start to be able to self-regulate your finances much, much easier.  For example, if you wanted to start saving $100/month and that just sounded like such a large amount, what if you were able to break that up into two $50 transfers that occurred on the 10th and 25th of the month?  Would that feel a little less hard and not break the bank?  This concept of splitting up your savings to twice a month can be a game-changer.

Give these 4 concepts a try in your fitness and finance to become more physically and financially free!

Ready to learn more about these 4 concepts and have a coach by your side to help keep you accountable towards your goals?  Check out our 30 Day VIP Experience below!  

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Stop Counting Calories – Part 2

Why you should stop counting calories – Part 2

This is part 2 of a 2 part series on why we should stop counting calories.  In part one found here, we talked more about the history of the calorie and where it came from, and in part two we will discuss why counting calories as the primary means to guide you towards your health goals is misleading you.  

Back in part one, we did a deep dive into the history of the calorie, and how this unit of measurement was born.  Remember the Atwater system?  This system of averages truly ignores the complexities of the human body – especially the human digestive process – and how this plays a HUGE role in actually how many calories you are actually digesting and utilizing from the food you eat.  

 

The complex world of your digestive tract

YOU are unique, and no one else digests food quite like you.  This is also known as your metabolic fingerprint – the way in which foods interact with your body is a complex process and is completely unique to you.  

The part that is overlooked here is the amount of calories you actually burn when you are digesting the food you eat.  This can be very significant!  As much as you don’t realize it, you DO burn calories just by sitting at the dinner table.  The process of digestion has an energy “cost” – the cost of chewing, swallowing, producing stomach acids and digestive enzymes to break the food down, and then shipping out all of the “metabolic waste” – this all has a metabolic cost and burns a lot of calories.  This takes us into the concept of the thermic effect of food. 


The Thermic Effect of Food

It actually costs calories to absorb calories.  Understanding this will help you understand how much energy it takes your body to break down protein, carbs and fat.  Here are the generally accepted amount of calories it takes to digest certain types of foods:

Protein:  Protein takes the most energy to digest.  With about 20-30 percent of the total calories in protein going straight to digesting it.  

Carbohydrates:  5-10 percent of the total calories in carbohydrates goes into digesting it.

Fat:  0-3 percent of the total calories in fat goes into digesting it.  

Example – You eat 100 calories of protein.  20-30 of those calories are used by your body just to digest the protein!  So, in actuality, you are only receiving 70-80 calories of the 100 calories you just ate from protein.  The reason proteins take ten to twenty times as much energy to digest than fats is because our digestive enzymes must unravel all the tightly wound strings of amino acids from which proteins are built.  

Here’s the thing though, your food label isn’t telling you “Eat more protein, because your body will burn 20-30% more calories from it!!”  You are just supposed to know this, right?  Also, have you noticed why high protein diets tend to work best for fat loss?  Well, now you have a better scientific understanding of why they do.  

Arnold knew it all along!

 

Whole foods versus processed foods – “You are what you eat!”

I think everybody’s mom said this at one time or another, especially when we weren’t making the “best” nutritional choice.  It’s funny, even as children, we know what foods are good for us, and what foods are considered “treats.”  What is important is even from a young age, we understand the difference.  We get to eat dessert after dinner.  This tradition has been ingrained into most of us for a very long time.  

Well, there is a BIG difference in how we digest whole foods versus processed foods.  In a recent study from the journal Food and Nutrition Research they set out to find the difference in calories absorbed from a meal of “whole foods” versus a meal of “processed foods” that contained the exact same amount of total calories.  The researchers gave healthy test subjects sandwiches of either multi-grain bread and cheddar cheese (this was deemed whole food) or white bread and a processed cheese product (you know, like Velveeta that we grew up with!).  The results they found were pretty shocking.  

Is this “whole food??”

By the end of the study, they found that eating the processed food sandwich led to a 50% reduction in calorie burn after the meal compared to eating the whole food sandwich!  Remember, the two different sandwiches were basically identical in the amount of protein, carbs, fat and total calories – it was merely the difference of the food being heavily processed or not that led to this dramatic difference in whether the calories were going to be stored in the body or burned.  Just think about this study the next time you open a box, can, or bag of processed goodness – there is a reason it tastes so good, and that it is hard to eat “just one!”  These processed foods have been proven to lessen your ability to utilize these calories to be burned and you will be more apt to storing these calories as fat.  

The real takeaway here is that it’s the TYPE of food that you are eating that will have the biggest impact on the net gain of calories you end up burning more than anything else.  

 

Your Gut Microbiome (“My gut what??!”)

This final piece of the puzzle on why you should not use counting calories to measure your progress is probably the most important one.  Your gut bacteria, or microbiome may play the largest role in how many calories you are actually extracting and getting out of your food.  Did you know – every human being has between 1-2 pounds of microbes living in their stomach!  Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal and we would not be alive without them.  

There was an amazing study by the Weizmann Institute of Science that confirmed there are specific gut bacteria that are more prevalent in people who are overweight.  When they planted these human “fat bacteria” into mice it caused the mice to gain weight, have increased blood sugar, and higher levels of body fat (as well as a big craving for Cheetos – JK!).  In all seriousness though, this is important stuff since the type of gut bacteria you have can make you more or less susceptible to weight gain.  

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity showed also that the higher diversity of gut bacteria is directly correlated with less weight gain and improved energy metabolism independent of calorie intake and other factors.  This is another perfect example, like above, of how two different people can consume the same amount of calories and how one person gains weight while the other person does not.  If you are wondering how to increase your diversity of gut bacteria, look no further than increasing your food diversity.    

 

Ending the calorie confusion

I am hopeful that all of this evidence above will serve you well in not having to focus solely on the amount of calories you are eating as a guide for fat loss.  We don’t want you to think that calories have zero significance – it still is a system that offers us some guidance – we just don’t want it to be the only way, because it is far from the only thing that matters.  The main takeaway here is that your body and its digestive process is so unique and complex that you will never truly know for sure how many calories you are eating or absorbing from a certain food.  

In addition to everything we already covered above, your ability to utilize the calories you eat is also influenced by the response of your immune system towards different types of foods (which requires different levels of energy), how much muscle mass you have (because increased muscle mass increases your overall caloric burn – yeah for strength training!). 

Maybe now you can see that counting calories is more overrated than the entire Fast and Furious franchise (no disrespect for The Rock and Vin Diesel, of course).  

You gotta love them!

Want to learn more about the way we help our Rockstar members with nutrition, with the emphasis on the quality of food over counting calories?  Check out our 30 Day VIP Experience below!  

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References:

Stop Counting Calories – Part 1

Why you should stop counting calories – Part 1 

This is a 2-part series on why we should stop counting calories.  In part one, we will talk more about the history of the calorie and where it came from, and in part two we will discuss why counting calories as the primary means to guide you towards your health goals is misleading you.  

“That [fill in the blank] has too many calories in it!  I can’t eat it, because it must be bad for me.”  

How often have you thought this, or worse yet, said it out loud?  

Our society has been on a kick lately around counting calories for fat loss.  Yes, it is the “socially acceptable” exchange tool that we use to tell us how much energy is in the food we eat, but to learn why we should all stop counting calories we need to learn how the heck (and why) we came up with a calorie as a unit of measure in the first place.  

Benjamin Franklin never said “please pass me those low calorie cookies so I can finish up with these bifocals!”  He never talked about calories, well, because they, like the bifocals were not even invented yet!  

The calorie didn’t even come into existence until the 1800’s, and apparently humans fared pretty well without it.  The calorie wasn’t even originally invented as a measurement tool for food.  Wait, what?!  Yep, that’s right.

Where the heck did the word “Calorie” come from anyway?! 

The calorie was originally used as a measurement tool in physics and engineering and had nothing at all to do with nutritional science.  Here’s the funny part: Nobody truly knows who came up with this unit of measurement, not even the historians of nutrition.  

Despite the confusion over who invented the unit, the calorie as a nutritional unit came to the U.S. by way of an American Chemist  named Wilbur Atwater in 1887. Shortly afterward, the science of nutrition began to take hold in the U.S.

US Popularized the calorie (1918)

A popular early nutrition text published in 1918 by Dr. Lulu Hunt Peters outlined the first methods of counting Calories. In her bestseller, “Diet and Health, with the Key to the Calories”, Peters outlined 100-Calorie portions of many foods and preached counting calories as a way to regulate weight.  This book was a huge hit back then, mainly to women, selling over 2 million copies and it triggered a massive change in societies beliefs about food.  It presented the concept of calorie reduction as the best form of weight loss/watching weight to American women, who were wanting to conform to the new-found body image “thin is in”.  

In her book, Dr. Peters wanted people to start thinking of food merely as calories, and nothing else.  For example, she wrote, “Hereafter you are going to eat calories of food.  Instead of saying one slice of bread, or a piece of pie, you will say 100 calories of bread, (or) 350 calories of pie.”  This shifted food to merely numbers and nothing else, and what a damaging shift it was.  

Even back then, there was no distinction made between the actual quality of the food – it was merely only all about the calories inside the food.  In her system outlined in her book, a person of the same height as her could eat whatever they wanted, as long as they ate a strict diet of 1,200 calories per day.  But how accurate is calorie counting, anyway?  We have to dig in a little deeper to truly understand how this measuring energy works in the first place.

Is a Calorie really a Calorie??

Ok.  Pretend you are alive in the early 1900’s.  This brand new way to measure what you eat is all the talk, so now you better start “watching what you eat!”  

The commonly accepted unit for measuring the energy in food is the calorie.  So how accurate is it, anyways?

Scientifically speaking, a calorie is a unit of energy, just like a foot is a unit of distance.  One calorie is the amount of energy you need to heat up 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius.  So to measure the amount of calories in food, manufacturers needed to use what is called a bomb calorimeter.  This device is used by placing the food source in a sealed container filled with water.  Then you burn the food with electrical energy until the food completely incenerates, and then they measure the water temperature to see how many degrees it was raised.  Based on how many degrees the water was raised, you can tell how many calories were supplied to do it.  

Now, if you are not too familiar with your body and how it works, it definitely does not incinerate food once it enters your body (as much as it feels this way when I am Hangry, apparently it does not burn up inside me!).  The way your body “burns” food is completely different from how the “bomb.com” calorimeter does it!  One of the other major issues with the calorimeter is that it measures ALL the calories inside each product, but most foods contain indigestible food components (like fiber) that are not burned in the human digestive tract.  But that’s not the only issue…There’s more…

The 1990 Nutritional Labeling and Education Act and the Atwater System

This bill passed in 1990 through congress because of the requirements the government wanted to have on food companies to label all of the nutrients and calories on foods.  So instead of using the bomb calorimeter, since this became a much too tedious way to measure calories for food manufacturers, they switched to a much easier method – The Atwater System – to measure calories.  This is the method that we are all super familiar with, and what I learned back in nutritional science courses back in college as the “end all, be all” for measuring calories in food.  It was the Atwater System that allowed us to do some simple math, and wallah, your calorie count appeared!  

Here are the calculations:

1 gram of protein = 4 calories

1 gram of carbohydrates  = 4 calories

1 gram of fat = 9 calories

There you go, apparently that is all that matters!  So, for example if you have one of those yummy bottled “Naked” fruit drinks (great marketing, by the way!) and it has 10 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbohydrates, and 6 grams of fat.  Here is our calorie totals – 

Protein- 10 grams x4 = 40 calories

Carbohydrates – 40 grams x4 = 160 calories

Fat – 6 grams x9 = 54 calories

Total Calories for your Naked drink = 254 calories, and that is what goes on the nutritional label.  The calorie and nutritional label on ALL your foods is based on that and that alone.  Now, if only your body was a machine and it took in all of these calories, utilized and “burned” them all, and you continued to eat a perfect balance of “calories in and calories out” and stayed at that ideal weight.  But that is not what happens in the human body, and that is something we will be discussing WHY next.  

Now that we have gone over the history of the calorie, in part 2 of this blog we will go over why using this gross estimate is one of the most misguided and inaccurate measurements you can use.  There is so much more to the story of the calorie and how your body utilizes food for fuel.  Keep an eye out for part two very soon!

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References:



How to tackle change

What’s the first thing that happens when we go to start a new routine or habit?  We want to make all the changes overnight!  We want to start that new fitness and exercise routine, start the new diet, get on that new sleep routine – all at once!  Our advice – Shrink the change.  We often bite off more than we can chew when getting started.  You’ll increase your chances of success when you merely focus on less.  How do you know what to focus on first though?  

We love to use this analogy.  Think to yourself:

 What is the ONE thing that if you change would make everything else that you want to change easier or even unnecessary?  

What if you started with drinking just ONE extra glass of water each day?  That would not only help with your hydration, but also your recovery, your sleep, and most likely your satiety.  So often, when we feel hungry, we are actually dehydrated and don’t even realize it until it is too late.  

As another example, say you want to start a new fitness routine.  Would you jump right into 6 days a week training, or would you be ok starting by scheduling 2-3 days a week that you know you could commit to and have live in your calendar as an appointment with yourself (and your coach, ideally!)   

Looking back into the past can give you a lot of insight on how you may have dealt with making bigger changes in your life.  Can you remember as far back to January 1st, 2021? This may have been the day you were going to make that massive shift in your life and start doing (fill in the blank!). 

How is that going for you now? 

In reality, only 7% of people actually stick with their resolutions over the year. The other 93% of us may have bit off more than we could chew. 

By focusing on smaller, more bite size changes over a longer period of time, you will actually see better results! 

Ask yourself, what is the ONE thing I can do successfully over the next 7 days that will get me closer to my goals? 

Can I drink ONE extra glass of water and track it?

Can I cut and slice my vegetables for the week?

Can I schedule my workouts 3 days this week?

Don’t do it all at once, just commit to ONE thing, and see how it goes.

We hope this little bite size tip helps you tackle change by shrinking it down just a little bit.  Want to learn more about how we incorporate these daily habits into a total routine for your mind and body?!  Check out our upcoming 30 day VIP Experience below, where you can get a kickstart to your fitness and your health.

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6 Techniques for a Growth Mindset

6 Techniques for a Growth Mindset

By: Ben S. Fogel

There has been so much talk lately about the “growth mindset.”  A lot of this has been due to a landmark book on the subject “Mindset” by Carol Dweck.  The author does an amazing job describing the growth mindset, the fixed mindset, and how you can re-train your brain out of one mindset and into another.  But before we start talking all about the “growth mindset” I feel it is important to define both the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.  

In the fixed mindset, you believe that your traits are “fixed.”  Therefore, no matter how hard you work at something or how much effort you give, your traits (intelligence, athleticism, fill in the blank) will not change.  

The growth mindset is believing that you can grow your abilities – that’s really the best way to put it, and the way Carol Dweck, Author of “Mindset” defines the growth mindset.  You can grow your abilities and change, adapt and get better.  Your intelligence is not fixed, and neither is your ability to learn and improve in any part of your life. 

John Wooden, long time UCLA basketball coach was known to have very much a growth mindset.  He actually came up with the idea of the “holy grail” of the growth mindset being the culmination of these 2 things: 

Full preparation and full effort  

As John Wooden once famously said:

”You have to apply yourself each day to becoming a little better.  By applying yourself to the task of being a little better each and every day over a period of time, you will become a lot better.”  

With this idea in mind of getting just “a little bit better” each and every day, if you take this into action and get 1% better each day on anything in your life, by the end of the year you will become 37 times better!  There are 6 techniques to cultivating a growth mindset I want to share below that I truly feel will help you get 1% better every day! 

1. Stop Failing and Start Learning – You didn’t “fail”, you merely figured out a path that did not work this time around.  Instead of looking at failure as a dead end, look at it as a clue that will lead you to a different path on how to do something.  

As an inventor, Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”  When you start to look at failure as another step into the right direction, you will start to make some positive progress.  

2. You don’t need others’ approval, you need their criticism – Don’t put praise ahead of the ability for you to learn from criticism.  One of the best ways to do this is to actually ask for feedback.  This is a skill we never learned in school, but that is so valuable in the workplace, or in your relationship.  An example I will give as a business owner is after a meeting, I will often ask my employees, “what could I have done better in this meeting?”  If you are not asking for feedback, it is really hard to cultivate an environment of learning and growth.  

3. Track your progress with a journal – Vividly describing your goals on paper is one of the best ways to really know if you are making any progress at all.  A Harvard Business Study found that the 3% of graduates from their MBA who had their goals written down, ended up earning ten times as much as the other 97% put together, just ten years after graduation.  

In fact, you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down on a regular basis. It has to do with how our brains work. When you write things down, you’re activating both parts of your brain, the imaginative right hemisphere, and the logic-based left hemisphere.  When is the last time you wrote your goals down?  If the evidence says you are almost 50% more likely to achieve your goals by merely writing them down, I would start there!  

4. Focus Inwardly and not on your image – The last thing you need is other peoples validation to achieve your goals.  Don’t wait for others to validate your success, just start taking one step at a time on all the things you can control.  Albert Einstein himself insisted that, “he had not been born with any special gift.” All children are “gifted” for nothing in particular; they are gifted for “everything.” Children who believe that talent and intelligence are made, not born, get better results in every part of life, and this starts at a young age realizing that your traits are not “fixed.”  

5. Learn from the mistakes of others
– There is an old saying that “success leaves clues” – it is also true that mistakes leave clues as well!  These mistakes are what kept the successful to continue to learn and grow.  Learning from the mistakes that other people make before you will fast track your success by not making the same mistakes.  Oftentimes though, we sometimes only look at the success of people, and not the mistakes or failures.  Remember, mistakes leave clues, too!  

6. Practice Gratitude – I know this may be one of the most cliche terms over the past few years, but practicing gratitude daily can give you some of the most rewarding, positive energy for a very small investment of your time and energy.  By merely writing down one thing you are grateful for each day, you are delivering a positive thought into your mind and starting your day with positivity, not negativity.  Negativity leads to the fixed mindset, while positivity leads to the growth mindset.  Here is a little something I started to write every day:

Today can be better than yesterday.  I have the power to make it so.  From positivity and attitude grows perseverance.  Perseverance by definition makes me unstoppable!

Start with just one of these 6 techniques that will help you cultivate a growth mindset.  Want to join us for the next 3 weeks to cultivate a growth mindset in all the things you can control with your health, wellness and happiness?  Check out our next round of our Epic 21 Day Experience here:

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TIME – How to make the most of it

By: Ben S. Fogel

Time is our most valuable non-renewable resource.  Why does it feel like time melts away most days? 

Most people fail with time management because they don’t know or frankly realize how much time they waste.  

A typical smartphone user checks his or her phone 2,617 times every day, according to a study by the research firm D Scout.  

Yes, you heard that right!  That eats up 90 minutes per day wasted on your phone, or 23 days per year.  

What about Television usage?  The average American watches an average of 33 hours per week watching TV!  According to Neilsen, the average American spends 11 hours per day watching or interacting with media.  If you are wasting a majority of your waking hours on external media, and you are having a hard time “finding time” for other things, like taking time to take care of yourself – it may be time to audit your day.  

Bill Gates is never late to a meeting.  When asked, he said:

“Because time is THE ONE finite resource I can’t buy more of.”

The old proverb “time is money” isn’t really true.  Time is worth so much more than money.  Time is, literally your life.  What you do with your time directly correlates with your quality of life.  

Your tomorrow actually starts the night before.  Instead of staying up late worrying about your never ending “to-do” list, putting together a plan for how you will win the day tomorrow helps you close all the open tabs in your brain.  

Here are 3 tips I have to help you shape your best tomorrow.

1. Write out your “to-do” list the night before

But instead of just writing down all the things, capture them as either “primary” projects or tasks that absolutely need to get done tomorrow, or as “secondary” tasks – these are all your things you can quickly go through and “check off” your list when done, like grabbing the groceries, dry cleaning, or sending that email.  

2. Place your primary and secondary items in your calendar

Remember, the project or task will NOT get done unless it lives in space and time.  Make sure to actually schedule a time for it to get completed during your next day.  This is SO important.  This is often overlooked and you think, “I will just get it done tomorrow at some point” then it gets missed, forgotten or overlooked.  

Make sure to place it in your schedule just like it is an important meeting with a co-worker or client.  

3. Always overestimate the amount of time you think it will get something done.  

As humans, we are horrible at estimating how much time it takes to do things.  What I like to do is overestimate the amount of time a project takes.  Then, if I finish it early, I can give myself a big pat on the back and feel good that I have completed something early!  Also, if you have a project you know that will take more than one sitting (more than 1 hr) make sure you block out that time over the course of the week or month. 

Controlling your time will lead to so much more positive things in your life.  One being having the time to take care of yourself!  Are you ready to take the time for you, and control your health?!  We would love to be in your corner.  We have 3 more spots for our May 21 Day Challenge!  Learn more and sign up below:

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Your Thoughts Shape YOU

Your Thoughts Shape YOU

By: Kourtney Cannell

Our thoughts are important!  How we talk to ourselves and how we think about things impacts how we feel. Have you ever looked in the mirror and said, “I look fat in this shirt.” How did that thought influence your mood?  I’ll bet the rest of the day you might be placing negative thoughts towards yourself based on how you talked to yourself in the mirror.  

We often will remind our members when they make a negative comment to themselves with this question:

“Would you talk to your best friend the way you are talking to yourself right now?” 

The answer is always no.  

Our thoughts play a huge role in how we feel, interact with others, and perceive the world around us.  Our thoughts are literally the seeds that form our actions and behaviors every single day.  If you start your day with negative thoughts, it is often very hard to turn that thought patterning around to positive ones.  

Oftentimes, we might focus our thoughts on what is wrong or negative. Inaccurate thinking patterns lead us to see the worst possible outcomes to a situation. These distorted thoughts cause us to feel bad about ourselves and/or others. We all experience negative thoughts, but sometimes we get stuck in them and don’t see the pattern and how it hurts our emotional health and well-being. 

This is a list of common inaccurate thinking patterns. Can you identify any of these patterns in yourself? 

Common Inaccurate Thinking Patterns:

Inaccurate Thinking Pattern

Description

All Or Nothing

Thinking only in absolutes.  Seeing someone or something as all good or all bad (Binary Thinking) or looking for “always” or “never”

Labeling

Labeling yourself or others in terms such as “lazy”, “fat”, “stupid”.  Stating these labels as facts. 

The Comparison Game

Comparing yourself to others and needing to keep up with others to feel good or better about yourself. 

“Should” Statements

Have pre-conditions on how you or others “should” be.  

My challenge for you is to recognize the pattern you use the most.  Then from there, when you catch yourself in that inaccurate thinking pattern, pause for a moment and reflect on your feelings.  Ask yourself “Does this make me feel worse or better in this moment?”  Then, say something positive to yourself (this is the MOST important part!).  

It could be as simple as you caught yourself labeling yourself as “fat” in the mirror.  Instead, you look in the mirror and say, “look at my strong body. I can do things now that I couldn’t do before I started working out.”  Try to be specific as possible on that positive attribute you want to highlight.  

One of the hardest things to do is to actually NAME the pattern you are doing.  Once you are able to identify, name and flip the switch to the positive you will feel and see the difference it will make on your day!  

Give it a try, and let us know how it goes! 

Come join us for our next round of the Epic 21 Day Challenge where we can help guide you with positive thoughts and actions and help you gain more confidence in yourself in the next 21 days than you ever have in the past!  You can get all sorts of BONUSES for signing up now!  Check it all out here:

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If you could live this day a second time…

By: Ben S. Fogel

If you were living today a second time, what would you do differently?

This was a question I was reminded about recently when working on some continuing education and reading Donald Miller’s “Business Made Simple” book.  He was referencing Viktor E. Frankl’s landmark book “Man’s Search For Meaning” and using this question above as a daily question to reflect on – which is part of the power of what Frankl coined as “Logotherapy.”  

Logotherapy is a school of psychology and a philosophy based on the idea that we are strongly motivated to live purposefully and meaningfully, and that we find meaning in life as a result of responding authentically and humanely (i.e. meaningfully) to life’s challenges.  Frankl used this reflective question in many ways, mainly to help people become fully aware of their own “responsibleness”  and here is a quote from the book:

“Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!” 

He goes on to say, “It seems to me that there is nothing which would stimulate a man’s sense of responsibleness more than this maxim, which invites him to imagine first that the present is past and, second, that the past may yet be changed and amended.  Such a precept confronts him with life’s finiteness as well as the finality of what he makes out of both his life and himself.”  

If you can, read that quote above again.  Let it sink in.  This simple, yet effective exercise can allow you to literally jump from the present to the past (in your own mind) and have the power to change the past by the conscious thoughts and awareness you bring into your life to each day.  Donald Miller uses this question every morning as a journaling exercise, and I started to use it over the past 30 days with some pretty amazing success and that is why I wanted to share it with you! 

So, let’s think about this.  If you were able to start your day in a position of reflection – actual reflection of the past that has not occurred yet – and then had the opportunity to “course correct” anything that you could already foresee occurring in that day ahead, wouldn’t you find that a pretty powerful exercise to do?  To literally jump into your subconscious mind and give it powerful instructions for how you will live your life differently today based on being your “best self.”  

This one exercise could literally be a game-changer for all of us!  It has already been for me, and I want to share an example from my own life below.  

Question: If I were living today a second time, what would I do differently?  

  • I would be more present with my family

  • I would stay focused on every task at hand, and be free of distractions

  • I would listen more deeply and reflect back more to the people I have conversations with

By merely writing the very first thing that comes to my mind, my subconscious kicks in and says “don’t make that mistake again, Ben. Be more present when you are helping your son get dressed in the morning.  Smile and hug and kiss him.  Let him know you love him, and you are so happy for this time with him.”  And that is what happens.  

I feel more connected to my kids and wife than ever, because that first thing I wrote down is something I have written down every morning for this exercise over the last 30 days, and I have felt a difference in my relationships with them.  

By making a promise to myself that I will “stay focused and distraction free”, I disrupted the past I created in my mind and made myself a promise that my future will look differently than what is had in past months being overwhelmed with distractions that seemed to be everywhere.  Over the past 30 days, I have been more productive because I tricked my subconscious to go back into the past and not make those mistakes.  The mistakes of endlessly scrolling on social media, or habitually checking my email 8 times a day.  I have given myself a new “standard” to live by just by writing down how I will live differently every morning.  

You get the idea. I love this quote:

“We cannot live in the past; it is gone.  Nor can we live in the future; it is forever beyond our grasp.  We can only live in the present.  If we are unaware of our present actions, we are condemned to repeating the mistakes of the past and can never succeed in attaining our dreams for the future.” 
– S.N Goenka

Living in the present is the only way we can live.  But also living in the present and being able to reflect on your day before it even starts, and how you could live it a second time even better will help you be even more fully “present.” That is what makes the difference.  

Give this exercise a try, and let me know how it goes!  

Come join us for our next round of the Epic 21 Day Challenge where we can help guide you with creating your “perfect day” and help you gain more confidence in yourself in the next 21 days than you ever have in the past!  You can get all sorts of BONUSES for signing up by Monday, April 5th!  Check it out here:

 



Harnessing the Habit of Awareness

Harnessing the “Habit of Awareness”

What’s up, Rockstars! Ben here sharing a question that we got from one of our members in the first week of our New Year New You Challenge. Here was the question:
 
“What percentage of my diet should be protein, carbs and fat to lose fat and to gain muscle?”
 
This was a great question, and one we wanted to break down a little bit.
 

 
Instead of being hyperfocused on the macronutrients – grams of protein, carbs and fat – or even the amount of calories coming from those foods – we challenge our members to becoming more “aware” of what they are eating by merely tracking it daily in a journal or on a tracking app.
 
We call this “The Habit of Awareness.” This habit is a simple one, but not always easy to start. What we recommend is to start with one meal a day. You could even start with the time of day where you feel like you don’t have the most consistency or structure, and then by using the habit of writing down what you are eating, it will gently nudge you into having a little more structure in your day. Then, it will push you into the direction of being more aware of what you are eating during that time of day.
 
Come join us for our next round of the Epic 21 Day Challenge where we will help you harness the habit of awareness, and gain more strength in the next 21 days than you ever have in the past!