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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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!
 

3 Tips for a pain free Deadlift

3 Tips for a pain free Deadlift!

What’s up Epic Rockstars, Ben here. Today I wanted to go through 3 very simple and quick tips you can use right away to perfect your deadlift.
 

 
**TIP #1** Elevate your toes. By simply elevating your toes 1-2″, it forces you to automatically shift your weight back more, and allows you to maximally bend your hips and minimally bend your knees (the exact pattern of a hinge or a deadlift!).
 
**TIP #2** Use a dowel to ensure your back is not flexing (lower back or upper back) – Placing a dowel on your back will give you some great feedback as to whether you are keeping a nice, neutral spine during your deadlift pattern, or if you are indeed flexing your back. It will give you instant feedback, and is a great drill to use.
 
**TIP #3** Front Loaded Deadlifts. By grabbing a backpack, sandbag, or anything you can hug and squeeze, it teaches you to keep great posture during your deadlifts and to get your core muscles to actively stabilize your back and the rest of your body.
 
Give these 3 tips a try, and let us know how it goes!
 
Also, come join us for our next round of the Epic 21 Day Challenge where we will help you deadlift pain free, and get stronger in the next 21 days than you ever have been in the past!
 

Making Front Planks Harder!

How to make your Front Plank “Harder!” 

What’s up! Ben here with 3 easy cues you can use today to make your planks turn into what we call “Hardstyle” front planks!

1. Squeeze your heels together – Narrowing your base of suppurt and actually focusing on “squeezing” inwards with your heels will promote more muscle activation, and make your planks a little more active

2. Squeeze your knees together – By squeezing your knees together, you are doing a lot of similar things as squeezing your heels together. You are also putting your pelvis and lower back in a great “tucked” position. We don’t want your back excessively arched or extented, and this one cue will help promote more of a neutral spine.

3. Pull your elbows towards your ribcage – This ONE cue is a gamechanger! It invites your upper body to the plank, and also invites more muscles to activate and “join the party!” Your whole body should actually move forward – if your head was 2-3″ away from a wall, then your head would bump into that wall when you performed this cue and when you pull yourself forward.

** A quick disclaimer – since we are now making your plank more challenging, the goal here is to hold these “hardstyle front planks” for a shorter period of time. Start with a goal of 3 holds for up to 10 seconds. That is one set. Try for 2-3 sets like that!

Would you like to have a coach and a team of experts write you a customized training plan, so you don’t have to do all of the guesswork anymore?  Good news!  We are only accepting 3 more people for our 21 Day Challenge!  Click the link below to learn more, sign up and save over 40% for a limited time!  

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Don’t Set Goals. Raise Your Standards

Don’t set goals.  Raise your standards

I was listening to a podcast recently with Ed Mylett where he talked about not always focusing on merely setting goals, but to raise the level of your standards.  Put in other words, the point he was making was if you want to raise your success levels in your life you need to raise your standards.  He went on to argue that the only thing that separates a successful person from a non-successful person is their standards.  

Think about that for a moment.  I had to hit pause on the podcast right there and realize a few things:

  1. In order to become the person I wanted to become, my standards needed to change.  
  2. My ultimate goal then is to have my identity (who I want to become) match up with my standards.  
  3. Ultimately, this might be something I chase for the rest of my life. As I catch up to a standard I will set a new one to chase. Then rinse and repeat…

Matthew McConoughey said it best in his 2014 Oscar winning speech:

“My hero, that is who I want to chase.  My hero is me in 10 years, and my hero is always 10 years away.  I am never going to be able to attain that, and that’s fine with me because he keeps me with something to keep on chasing.”  

You see, standards are meant to be chased, attained, and chased again.  I believe what McConoughey said that we are never going to reach or attain the “ultimate goal” of (fill in the blank) because in life, there is really never a finish line – there is no ceiling in our lives.  We should all look to raise our standards first, then set goals based on the new standards we are living in our lives.  

So, don’t merely set goals – set and raise your standards first

Answering the question “Who do I want to become in 10 years?” will help you start the process of setting some new standards in your life.  

I will start with an often used example in the gym with a client:

  • Clients goal:  “I want to lose 20 pounds to feel better and be able to play with my grandkids for the next 10 years.”
  • Clients standard:  “I will become a person who works out and moves intentionally every day.” 

Based on this new standard that is brought into their life of the “person they want to become” they are then able to define a new goal that will raise them up to that standard of living.  

  • New Goal: “I will workout and/or move intentionally 300 times this year.”

Now what happens to this person in a year?  Will they lose the 20 pounds?  If they raised their standard to move intentionally and workout almost every day over the course of a year, and track those 300 days, I would place a bet that the person they want to become (their identity) has shifted because of a new standard they set on themselves.

The ultimate goal is to have your identity of who you want to become match up as close as you can with your standard.  In using the same example from above, this person also wants to have the identity of a person who does not reach for the chocolate or sugary snack.  So, their standard now may be to drink a lot more water and eat foods that will be nutritious and help them reach their goal of 300 days of moving.  

I will give one more example in my own personal life.  About a month ago, my youngest son was asking me a question at the kitchen table, and I was so preoccupied with my phone that I completely missed his question.  He then asked me (as a curious 7 year old should), “Papa, what is so important on your phone that you are always on it?”  

Wow, now if that wasn’t a wake up call, I don’t know what is.  This was my wake up call to change my standard for when I am home with my kids and setting standards with my phone around them.  Here is the new standard I have implemented since then:

My kids will not see me on my phone, ever.    

I know, a pretty high standard.  But here’s the deal.  My identity of who I want to become, the father I want to become is much too important – even more important than that phone.  I never want either of my boys to take second place to a phone, or my preoccupations with it.  A couple things I have already implemented for this to happen is:

  • I lock my phone in my vehicle when I get home – out of sight, out of mind. 
  • I turn my phone off in the morning when I am at home.

These two action steps have made the past few weeks so much better for me, and I know that some of the quality time I have had I would not have had with my kids if I didn’t set a new standard.  

Takeaway

Ready to set standards in your life?  Here are 3 steps to start:

  1. See an area in your life you recognize that you want to make better and want to improve
  2. What is the standard that you will need to improve/set in your life that will align with that person you want to become?
  3. Answer the question “What would stop me from (insert new standard)?“

Step number three is probably the most crucial step.  Take the time to write out all the things that will get in your way from achieving your new standard.  For the person that is going to ultimately lose 20 pounds by becoming a person that works out more, willpower will be the hardest.  They may say, “this morning’s drive to the gym will be 10 minutes there, 10 minutes back, then I have to shower, I might hit a red light…”  So, having an action plan ahead of time could help this person overcome this willpower issue.  

Having their workout clothes set out next to the bed, setting the coffee the night before, their gym bag ready – all of these things could help overcome the time objection that they place in their minds.  

Things that would get in the way of me reaching my new standard of my kids never seeing me on my phone would actually be having my phone on me!  That is why I hold it hostage when I get home and lock it in my car until they are in bed.  That is why I shut it off in the morning (this has also allowed me to get so much more deep work done than any other time in the past, and maybe will be a great topic for another article!).  

Remember, if you want to raise your levels of success, raise your standards.  Also, remember that as you set standards and reach them daily, you can also reflect on what you have been able to accomplish and then set new standards.  The cool thing about this exercise is that your standards will constantly change as you move forward in life.  

Remember that the question to ask yourself is, “Who do I want to become in 10 years?”  Then make sure your standards are set up in a way that you can chase that person 10 years from now. 

You will soon realize that person is your true hero…that person is you. 

Join us for our next round of the Epic 21 Day Challenge where we will help you step by step raise your standards in your life to become the best possible version of yourself.  Act quickly, we have only 4 spots left! 
 
 



Should You Overhead Press?

 

Should I Overhead Press?

What’s up, Ben here with a couple quick assessments you can do from the comfort of your home to see if you should be overhead pressing, or if you should maybe start with a different pressing variation first – especially if you have any previous shoulder injuries or issues.

Assessment #1 – Overhead Reach – Keeping a straight, solid line with your body (including a neutral position with your back), reach over your head and draw a “Y” with your arms and thumbs driving back to the wall behind you.

Ideally you can do this with a mirror to your side, or with a person watching you. What you want to watch for is that your low back isn’t extending as you reach overhead. This is a big complensation pattern that can end up hurting your lower back over time. The second thing you want to be able to do here is to hide you ear with your arm and bicep. Doing this shows you have requisite shoulder mobility in flexion of the shoulder.

Assessment #2 – Grab Your Tag!  This second assessment is looking at shoulder flexion AND external rotation of the shoulder, and it is an even easier assessment than the first one.  Find your tag on your shirt, and then grab onto your tag! Yes, that is it! Literally hold onto your tag on the back of your shirt, and ask yourself if you are comfortable reaching into that position.

If you are, you have the requisite shoulder flexion and external rotation to press overhead. If it is really difficult for you to grab that tag (or you wish you had a longer tag!) you may not be ready to overhead press! 

Would you like to have a coach and a team of experts write you a customized training plan, so you don’t have to do all of the guesswork anymore?  Good news!  We are only accepting 3 more people for our 21 Day Challenge!  Click the link below to learn more, sign up and save over 40% for a limited time!  

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