3 Tools to Make Your New Year’s Resolution Work for You

Monday will be the day many self-proclaimed “couch potatoes” will begin making changes in their exercise and nutrition routines otherwise known as resolutions. Many will buy gym memberships and fill their pantries with healthy food. They will give up cigarettes, alcohol and candy. By February, 8 out of 10 will fail to keep their resolutions. Behavior change is difficult and takes time. One reason is that our minds like the path of least resistance.


This is why building habits into your life will help to increase your chance of success. Habits are like short cuts for your mind. Once you have succeeded in developing a habit, the action becomes second nature for you. It becomes part of your daily routine. We will share a few tips of how to begin building new habits into your life so any change you want to make is sustainable


  1. Don’t try to make too many changes at once.


Statistically, the more changes you attempt to make at once, the more likely you will fail to make any of them permanent. I am sure you have heard the following saying “Pick one thing and do it well.” You can’t decide to exercise, eat better and stop smoking all at the same time. It’s too much change. Each change requires time and energy not to mention focus and determination. Pick the one you feel will have the most impact on your life and develop with a realistic plan on how to achieve it.


For example, if you want to start exercising your habit may look like this-I will walk for 30 minutes three times a week. That’s it! You only have to focus on this one habit for 2 weeks and be consistent. Keep track of how many times you are compliant with your new habit and reassess at the end of the 2 weeks. You want to string together small successes to keep motivation high.


  1. Don’t make the habit too big.


In this day of instant gratification, we want things NOW. It’s hard for us to be patient and stay in the process of change. Remember, we didn’t wake up 50 pounds overweight and not moving. It happened over a period of time and it will take time to make a change. If you failed to be consistent, don’t toss in the towel and give up so soon. Maybe your habit was just too big to start. Shrink the habit down. Give it another shot and say “I will walk for 15 minutes 3 times a week”. You can keep shrinking it down until it is so easy you just can’t fail. As long as you are making any progress forward, you are winning.


  1. Using the “change-ruler” question.


In our coaching program, this is the question we ask clients to help them gauge how achievable a behavior change feels to them. After you decide on a habit, ask yourself how consistent you will be completing the habit over the next 2 weeks. Using the 0-10 scale, with 0 being “there is no way” and 10 being “psssh..it’s a piece of cake” give the habit a number based on how successful you believe you will be.  Be honest. If you can’t give it an 8 or 9 then simply don’t do it. Choose another habit or shrink that habit down smaller so you can rate it at least an 8-9. Do this with any habit you are trying to put into place and aim for those small successes.


In summary, yes behavior change is hard. It takes time and patience. It also requires a little self-love. We show more compassion to others than we do ourselves. We are quick to offer encouragement or forgive other’s shortcomings than we do for ourselves. Over the next couple of days, pick one small habit and start doing it well. Be patient and consistent in working on the habit. Don’t give up if you missed the mark that week. Reassess the habit change and look to shrink it smaller. Ask yourself the “change ruler” question and go at it again. Every step forward, no matter how small is progress toward the goal.  Happy New Year!

Exercise of the Week: Suitcase Carry

I often get asked what the best ab exercises are for developing a 6-pack. If you’ve ever been a teenager (which I’m assuming most of us have…or are), you’ve probably asked this question yourself. Maybe you’ve even asked it recently to someone you saw at the gym with a set themselves.


While the question itself is much deeper than a simple list of exercises (hint: you can’t spot train), it brings up another common issue that many people have. Training your abs for the sake of having a 6-Pack can lead many people to having issues because of the type and volume of exercises that are used. Training the core in a more functional way, on the other hand, will not only move you more efficiently towards a 6-Pack, it will also help with proper back function and overall body development.


Training Your Abs is More Than Getting a 6-Pack


When most people think of ab exercises, they think of things like crunches, situps and Russian Twists. And although these are, in fact, exercises that work the abdominal area, they won’t actually develop your core to work in the way it is meant to work.


You see the core musculature is made up of more than for your abs. It also includes your obliques (side abs), lats (outer back muscles), multifidus (inner back muscles) and glutes (butt muscles), as well as a few others. Crunches, situps and Russian twists don’t incorporate most of these muscle groups. They are focused predominantly on the rectus abdominis (6-pack) and secondarily on the obliques (side abs)


The second problem we run into with normal ab exercises is the actual function of the abdominal musculature itself. The core muscles listed above help connect the upper body to the lower body. It is literally the canister that holds your body together and allows you to walk, run, jump, bend and squat. The function of the core muscles if very simple. If you look at 99% of the movements that humans perform on a regular basis, our core muscles are there to help brace or stabilize. What does that mean? It means that, when you pick something up off of the floor, your core muscles have to stabilize your mid-section in order for you to pick the object up without drooping to the ground. Common abdominal exercises don’t incorporate stability and therefore aren’t properly training the muscles to function the way they should.


The third and final reason that the most commonly used ab exercises won’t move you towards your 6-pack quickly is energy expenditure. How tired you, really, after doing a set up crunches? Go ahead, drop down to the floor, do 10 crunches, then tell me how tired you are. Actually, do 20. Are you out of breath? If you are, you need to get up and down off the floor more often. If you’re not (which most won’t be), it’s because crunches don’t require much energy to perform. And if you’re not expending a lot of energy, then you’re not burning a lot of calories. And if you’re not burning a lot of calories, your likelihood of burning fat decreases.


Enter the Suitcase Carry


So now that we know that, in order to efficiently move towards having a 6-pack, we need to utilize ab exercises that use all of our core muscles, help our abdominal musculature function the way it’s supposed to, and actually burn calories, we need to figure out exactly what we can do to make this happen.


I’m a big fan of loaded carries. This is a group of exercises that is truly underappreciated and underutilized. It’s also a group of exercises that will literally take your strength, muscle gain or fat loss to the next level. The loaded carry the we use the most at TF, and also where we start everybody, is the suitcase carry.


When used right, the suitcase carry knocks all 3 of our problems above out of the park. This is the ultimate in functional ab exercises. It uses every core muscle that you have in order to keep you stable and upright, it teaches your abdominal area to function the way that it’s supposed to, and, when loaded correctly, it burns tons of calories, especially when grouped with other exercises.


Use the suitcase carry liberally in your workouts. A couple times a week won’t hurt anything. You want to shoot to walk for about 100 feet on each arm. Start with a weight that is about 25-30% of your current body weight in pounds. For some of you, this will be too light. For most of you, this will be just right. Maintain your posture and act like you’re walking down a right rope (this is key). And don’t be afraid to move up in weight as things get light.

Practical Advice on Continuing to Show Up

As the New Year rolls around and we sit back and reflect on what we’ve accomplished the past 12 months, many of us will be demoralized and beaten down. Using the short context of the last 12 months will leave you thinking that you are completely unable to accomplish any of your goals.


And this is why so many people get stuck in the soup of mediocrity. The vast majority of Americans let themselves settle because they don’t believe they can be successful. “I can’t even lose 10lbs, so why should I think I can run a business” they might say.


But I think this word “context” is important when it comes to truly seeing and understanding what we have done and what we might actually be able to do if we put our full potential into a task. If you want to keep showing up, you have to open your mind to more than the normal “what you see is all there is”.


Short-term VS Long-term Thinking


Gary Vaynerchuck, Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn and many others like to say “we completely over-estimate what we can do in a year and completely under-estimate what we can do in a decade” (or some variation of this). A year is just a flash in the pan. The older you get, the more you come to truly understand this statement. So basing your progress on what you’ve accomplished in such a short amount of time doesn’t make sense from this perspective.


This is directly related to anybody’s pursuit of health and vitality. We have such a short-sighted view of what we should be able to accomplish immediately that we overlook what we can accomplish in the long run.


For instance, cleanses have become a huge hit over the past couple of years. It’s hard to open a health magazine or watch a talk show without hearing about some new cleanse product. The main reason cleanses have become so popular is because of their attraction as a quick weight-loss product. And most of them will get you exactly detox-cleanses-naturally-remove-toxinswhat they promise (give or take a couple of pounds). If they say you’ll lose 10lbs in 10 days, odds are that what ends up happening. And in the instant gratification world we live in (and the reward system our brains have evolved over time), we become satisfied and happy about the accomplishment at hand.


What you won’t directly pay attention to is what happens next. Once you’re finished with the cleanse and go back to your normal way of life, every bit of weight comes right back on (and some for many). The short-term gratification you got from losing 10lbs is erased in 2 days. It’s at this point that people start to convince themselves of their mediocrity.


Now, I’m not arguing against any other possible benefits that a cleanse may offer. I’m sure there are products out there that will give you more than just simple weight loss. What I’m showing is the lure of short-term results in lieu of long-term achievement. Although you may have lost the 10lbs you were hoping to lose in that time, you didn’t make any sustainable change to reinforce the achievement.


Thinking 10X Instead of 10%


This weight-loss story in analogous of many other scenarios in our lives. Whether you’re checking things off your to-do list or playing the lottery in hopes of a big cashout or pumping steroids to get a head up on the competition, short-term gratification is appealing in so many different ways.


And, like I mentioned above, this short-term thinking is not sustainable without some sort of change. And this change is what is going to move us towards our bigger-better goal than simply towards something that is going to give us a quick dopamine hit.


I like to call this 10X thinking VS 10% thinking. Many of us have 10% goals. Whether you want to get a 10% raise in pay or get 10% stronger in your deadlift or lose 10% of your current weight, we all have tiny steps that we want to achieve. And these 10% goals are necessary in order to move forward and make progress. After all, it’s (almost) impossible to jump from $30,000 a year to $3,000,000 dollars a year without taking some steps in between.


But what we didn’t believe that it was impossible to do these things. What if we didn’t set limitations on ourselves and actually aloud our minds to dream and fantasize in wonderful ways? At one point or another, the masses thought that most of what we’ve accomplished or know today was impossible. 100 years ago, people believed it was impossible to go to the moon. 50 years ago people believed it was impossible to communicate instantly without being face-to-face. And 10 years ago, people believed it was impossible to print full-sized objects from a printer. And yet, all of these things have been accomplished.


So if we can go to the moon or communicate instantly without being in-person with somebody or print 3D objects, why is it so hard for us to believe that we can lose 50lbs or that we can be in the best shape of our lives regardless of your age?



Fear of Success


As silly as it sounds and as much as it doesn’t make sense, what holds many of us back from achieving our 10X goals (which many of us have), is the fear of success.


We’ve all had achievements at some point in our lives. Whether it’s winning a math contest in high school or scoring a big deal for the company, most of us have had some level of achievement that we should be proud of. What we’ve also felt or realized is, what happens after achievement or success? What happens after we win the gold medal or make $1 million dollars? Since you’ve reached your goal, what is there to do next?


It is changing you definition of success that will help you truly be comfortable with pursuing your 10X goals (and this is where this whole mess of ideas comes together). Success is not the end game. Success is not the victory itself. Success is not the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Success is progressive journey you take towards the pot of gold. It is the act of pursuing the medal. As Shakespeare said “things won are done. Happiness, then, comes in the doing”.  


So take your 10% goals that you’ve used so far to achieve instant gratification and build them into your 10X goals that you’ll use to change the world. Understand that success is not the accomplishment itself, but the progress you make towards the accomplishment. And, finally, play the long game. The short game will burn you out and leave you ragged. The long game, on the other hand, is where the magic happens and life is limitless.

Exercise of the Week: Cat/Camel

I talk a lot about how our physiological and anatomically issues stem from the way we live out modern lives. The way that we move (or not move, more accurately) in everyday life is a precursor to many of the ailments that we encounter as we age.


The biggest example of this is sitting. Sitting for long periods of time has become a staple in many of our daily activities. And considering our bodies have evolved to be movement machines, figuring out ways to counteract this sitting epidemic is essential to maintaining vitality and achieving longevity.


How Our Bodies Tighten Up Over Time


Your body, in every sense of the term, is the product of what you feed it or how you move it on a regular basis. What you feed your mind, for instance, will determine your perception of life. What you feed your body will determine how your genes express themselves. And how you move (or don’t move) will determine…well, how you move.


So when I talk about sitting being as bad as smoking for your body (maybe a slight exaggeration, but not by much), I’m referring to how it affects your body in a physiological way. Physiology, for those who aren’t sure, is how an organism or body part functions. When we sit for long periods of time on a regular basis, our bodies adapt to it and it affects how we function mechanically. Certain muscle groups stiffen up, impeding the movement of joints, which limits our range of motion and ultimately puts us in our grave.


Why Thoracic Mobility is Important


One of the specific areas of our bodies that is impacted by sitting is the thoracic spine. This is the middle area of the spine. Ironically, a lot of lower back pain is caused by limitations in this area of the spinal column.


Last week we talked about the importance of rotation of the thoracic spine and how to counteract that by utilizing the spiderman lunge with thoracic spine rotation. Another direction of movement that should be worked on in this spinal area is thoracic extension.


Thoracic extension happens when you pull your shoulder girdle backwards. Think of the movement that happens when you’re sitting at your desk and lean back to stretch your arms in your chair. This is thoracic extension. Most of us can go into thoracic flexion (think hunched forward) without any problem. This is because, since most of us either sit or stand all day in a hunched over position, we’re naturally staying in flexion anyway. So working on extension is paramount to keeping your body functioning optimally over time.


Enter the Cat/Camel


One great way to train yourself to go into extension is by using the cat/camel exercise. This is a move utilized in yoga. It’s extremely simple and can be performed by anybody, anywhere. If you notice in the video, Sharon has incredible extension (she’s done yoga once or twice in her day). This may not be the benchmark you shoot for, but it will give you a good idea on how stiff you actually are in this movement.


If you want to put some added benefit into this exercise, use it work on breathing. Yes, I realize that you know how to breath, otherwise you wouldn’t be alive. But most of us don’t really know how to breath. While you’re performing your cat/camel exercise, breath in as you look up to the sky for 4 seconds and breath as you sink your hips under and look down for 8 seconds (or until you’re completely out of air)


This is a great exercise to help fill the dead space in your training. Like I talked about last week, instead of standing around and talking during your rest period, do some mobility work or stretching to help counteract the impact of your day.

Forgiving Others to Build Relationships

A gift is defined as a thing given willingly to someone without payment. Christmas is a time to give gifts to those in our lives. We spend a great deal of time picking out and buying the perfect gift. As I completed my shopping this past weekend, I thought about the gifts that can’t be purchased but are the best gifts we could ever give to someone.


There are several non-tangible gifts we can give to others and one of those is the gift of forgiveness. Here’s a recap of our blog on Practicing Forgiveness.


Why Forgiving is Important


In life, people are not always nice. Sometimes it is by choice and sometimes it’s not. Our gut response to any type of pain, emotional or physical, is to protect ourselves. On the emotional level, this can be exhibited as placing blame, trying to get even or just carrying around a slow burning anger toward another person. Overtime, this negative energy affects us physically, emotionally and even spiritually.


In Buddhism, they compare the action of not forgiving others as holding onto hot coals to throw at someone else. This is a perfect analogy in my eyes. Who is going to hurt more? Plus, this puts serious stress on us mentally. To be unforgiving can cause hormonal imbalances and depletion of the chemicals we need to be happy. This long-term stress impacts our immune system and cardiovascular system thus shortening our lives.


How to Forgive Others


All of us have been hurt at some point in our lives, and while it’s difficult to forgive, here are a few tips to help you get started:


  1. Forgive someone as a gift to yourself and not as a gift to him or her. I think this is one of the most important things you can do. It will free you from the control you have given to that individual over your health and happiness. While this sounds a bit selfish, by releasing them you are letting go and not dwelling in the past. You can move forward and live a life of peace and happiness.


  1. Write it down. This is private and you can really let go of all the negative energy that has been created within yourself. This especially works if you no longer have contact with the person because of death or estrangement. This can be very cathartic and healing.


  1. Remember forgiveness doesn’t make it right or make it okay that the offense happened. Trying looking at it from the other person’s eyes. Maybe they are in need of practicing forgiveness of someone or something and are stuck in the negative energy of being unforgiving. To practice empathy and compassion is healing for our body and mind.


In the last few days before Christmas, consider if you can give this gift to someone in your life. It won’t cost money, need to be gift wrapped or physically given. All it requires is for you to let go of negative feelings and be a better version of yourself. 

Exercise of the Week: Spiderman Lunge with Thoracic Spine Rotation

Mobility is something every single one of us needs to work on. No matter if you’re on your feet all day is sitting on your bum for 8 hours at a time, becoming more mobile is essential to maintaining vitality as we age.


But most of us struggle with working flexibility and mobility work into our routines. Sometimes it’s because we think we don’t have time and other times is simply because we can’t think of anything that might make us better.


Before we find out what can be done to help get you more flexible and mobile, let’s break down our options when it comes to types of stretching/mobility exercise.


Static VS Dynamic Stretching


I’m actually using the words flexibility and mobility incorrectly when it comes to the physical therapy world, so let me straighten that out first. Flexibility is the ability to get a muscle into a specific length. Mobility, on the other hand, is the ability to take a joint into a full range of motion. The end result overall is pretty much the same…to move better. But, technically flexibility and mobility are different things.


Now that we have that cleared up, there are 2 different types of exercises that you can do in order to improve you flexibility or mobility. The first type of exercise is static stretching. Static stretching is what you would do if I told you to stretch. You would probably bend over to touch your toes or put your leg up on a box and reach for your foot. Static means holding in place for an amount of time. The other type of exercise you can do is dynamic stretching. With dynamic stretching, you are moving while you stretching. There are even a couple different types of dynamic stretching, but we’re going to keep it simple. A dynamic stretch can be anything from a bodyweight lunges to high knees.


Typically, static stretching can be placed in the “get more flexible” category, while dynamic stretching can be placed in the “get more mobile” category. Again, although you’re technically trying to accomplish different things, the end goal is the same.


How to Work Stretching into Your Routine


Life I said before, many people have trouble getting stretching/mobility work into their routines. Luckily enough for you, there is a perfect solution for you that doesn’t require any more time than you spend in the gym already.


What do you do between sets during your workout? Are you talking? Are you just standing and waiting? Be honest with yourself. If you’re like most people I’ve seen, most likely you’re spending your rest periods talking. Remember, you’re at the gym to get better. And although socializing is a basic human need, it has to fit within the context.


So instead of standing and talking at your next gym session, spend your rest periods doing mobility work. Not only does this eliminate the “I don’t have time” excuse, it will actually help you burn more calories and keep your heart rate up.


A Perfect Mobility Exercise for Your Rest Periods


A great exercise that you can do during your rest periods is the spiderman lunge with thoracic spine rotation. Sounds fun, I know. This exercise is great because it accomplishes a whole bunch of things at once:


#1. Thoracic spine stiffness – Because we live in a sitting world, we get bound up in our thoracic (mid-back) area over time. This is not good for longevity. This exercise will help keep your t-spine moving.


#2. Hip mobility – Hip mobility is another issue that arises due to lots and lots of sitting. This is a great way to maintain movement in your hips.


#3. Getting off the ground – This one may take a little more convincing. How often do you get up and down off the ground during your workout? If your answer is any less than 5 times, it’s not enough. Getting off the ground is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL when it comes to longevity. So get up and down as often as you can!


Use this spiderman move a couple of times a week. Rotate sides as you’re performing the exercise. Shoot for 3-5 rotations on each side for one set. Happy Spidermanning!

The Ultimate Way to Become Significant

All of us, as human beings, have basic needs that should be met in order to be satisfied with our lives. For instance, we all have the need for certainty, because without it we would live in a world of chaos. We also have the need for uncertainty, because if everything were certain our lives would be boring and dull.


We don’t have a lot of trouble finding and settling into most of our basic human needs. We for certain that we’ll like movie the second time if we liked it the first time. We’re also uncertain about the same movie because there are important points we may have missed. One of the basic needs that we struggle with the most is significance. Being significant is important to every human being on earth and we all have our different ways of showing others that we’re important. There is one way that sticks out above the rest, and before we get there, let’s see why significance is so important to us in the first place.


Why We Crave Significance


According to Tony Robbins, there are 6 basic human needs that we all have. Each one is unique and each one is important to each individual in varying degrees. The 6 basic needs that we have are:


#1. Certainty

#2. Uncertainty

#3. Significance

#4. Connection/Love

#5. Growth

#6. Contribution


Each of us decides how important each of these needs are and how they fit into our lives. Significance is one need that, on average, is at the top of most people’s list. And although significance is something that we crave as humans, it’s also dangerous to have as one of the most important needs that you crave.


Significance can be important to a person because of many different factors. Maybe, as a child, you always had to prove yourself to your parents and that has followed into adulthood. Or maybe, as a high school athlete, you had to be the best to show others that you were important and that need shows up in your career. The need for significance can rise within us in many different ways. And once it is one of the needs we crave the most, there are a lot of avenues that we can pursue to help us achieve significance.


How Do We Show Others That We Are Significant?


For most of us (if not all) the craving for significance started off at an early age and grew with us through adulthood. When we were young, we figured out what worked to help us get attention. A temper-tantrum, for instance, is a great way for a child to grab attention almost immediately. Being great at sports or great at school is another way to show others that you are important. And these characteristics stay with us for life if we let them continue to manifest. They simply show up in different ways as adults.


A couple of ways that we show others that we’re important are:


#1. By Making Money

Money is a great thing to have and can POTENTIALLY make your life better. Money gets a bad rap because, if society sees that you are making lots of money (and they’re not), you might be seen as greedy. But money does have its evil side if we let it lead our path in life. If money is something that we need to show others we are important, it can lead to a long cascade of unwanted effects.


#2. Throwing a Fit

Throwing a temper-tantrum is something that we label as childish. We you take a toy away from your child and throw start kicking and screaming, you expect them to stop and be a gown up. How is that any different than getting upset and bantering on about someone’s driving? Or getting angry because things aren’t going your way?


#3. Buying Stuff for the Sake of Having Stuff

We all have needs and wants when it comes to material possessions. And although we’d like to think that our needs list is pretty long, it’s actually much shorter than you think. What you NEED is food, water and shelter (materially at least). Everything else is an added bonus. Having nice things is NOT a bad thing. Where you place them on your value chain of importance is where you can get hurt.


Now that we know why we need significance and a couple of ways of how we show others our importance, I want to give you the one thing that you can do to create the ultimate level significance. It doesn’t require money (unless you want it to), but it doesn’t require effort.


The Ultimate Way to Be Significant


I said earlier that having significance as one of the basic human needs that you crave the most can be dangerous. And this is true. Any time you crave any of the basic human needs too much, it can lead to heartache (yes, you can crave love too much). But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be as significant as you want to be. It’s how you go about it that can get you to truly significant in other’s eyes.


The ultimate way, therefore, to become significant in other people’s eyes is to show them how significant they are in yours.


Yes, it’s that simple. Show others that they are significant and your importance will increase exponentially. There is one caveat to this point. You have to show them in a genuine, meaningful, altruistic way.


There are many ways to go about helping others achieve significance. Here are 3 that have been the most successful for most people:


#1. Volunteering/Donating

Tony Robbins likes to say “the secret to living is giving”. Nothing embraces this idea much more than volunteering your time to help others or donating your money to those in need. Start by going to your local soup chicken and help serve dinner. Or go down to Goodwill and help sort through donations. Or simply start by picking out everything in your house that you haven’t use in the past 12 months and donating it yourself. There are many avenues to pursue here. Don’t make excuses!


#2. Teaching/Coaching

When you look back at your childhood and think of the people who shaped who you are the most, who do you think of? Outside of your parents, it’s most likely a teacher or coach. This doesn’t mean that you have to actually become a teacher or sports coach to make others significant. Volunteer your time to go to a local school and talk to a group of students about your lessons in life. Or go to your local library and read books to children. Find and avenue that you can take to educate others and help them become important!




#3. Being Present

This may in fact be the hardest one for most of us to achieve. With the fully connected world we live in today, our attention spans are growing shorter and shorter by the minute (or most likely, by the second). Being present doesn’t mean simply being in a room or on the phone or writing a letter. Being present means giving your FULL attention. It means taking in the moment and being a part of the conversation. It means being thoughtful and mindful of others words. If you want to truly show someone that they are significant, practice the art of listening.



It’s okay to want to be significant in other people’s eyes. Figure out how you can help others see that they are significant and lead them forward towards that place. This is the ultimate way to achieve importance. Remember, the ultimate way to become significant to others is to show them how significant they are to you.




Being Selfish Will Make You More Vital in Your Life

As young children, one of the first behaviors parents teach and encourage is the action of sharing. Secondly, they urge children to care for or about others feelings and happiness. These are all admirable traits to instill in children to help them grow into kind and caring adults. The world would be a terrible place if no one shared resources and cared only for themselves or what they desired.


Putting Others First


As young adults, we spend the next 20-25 years pursuing successful careers, raising families and living the good life. This requires long hours at work and then onto the needs and wants of children or families. Over the years, we begin to neglect our health and well being because we haven’t got the time or energy it requires. By neglect, I mean we do not place ourselves high on our list of priorities. This type of behavior carries over into middle age, where we find ourselves feeling tired, overweight and stressed out. We sleep poorly, eat poorly and move poorly. We physically appear beat down from years of putting others first in our lives.


As middle age adults, health issues start to creep into our lives with a diagnosis of hypertension, diabetes or metabolic syndrome. The doctor prescribes a pill and tells us to take better care of our health. Worse yet, we get the news that a close friend just died of a heart attack. This might be our wake up call.  


For some, life will go on as it always has. Health issues are just a by product of getting older and Aunt Mary had diabetes and high blood pressure and lived to be 70. What’s forgotten is quality of her life. How after 20 or 30 years of caring for others do you start to care for yourself? How do YOU fit into your list of priorities? 


It’s OK to be “Selfish”


When you have to make health a priority, you struggle with the feeling of selfishness. After all, you were taught to be unselfish because no one likes a selfish person. It is a horrible personality trait to posses.  Maybe, the first thing you should do is examine your perception of what it means to be selfish.




Your energy affects those around you. You bring energy to every situation in life. Constantly being stressed out and running on low energy impacts your ability to be truly present with those around you. To be the best version of yourself, you need to have “good” meditation buddhist_meditation alibaba comenergy. By having  “good” energy, you transfer that to those you come in contact with. Taking the time to rest, play and recover recharges energy and makes it available to others. That is a gift worth sharing.


Loving Yourself First


By loving/caring for yourself, you will better love/care for others. Paying partial attention to yourself makes a partial version of yourself available to friends and family. You will help many more people if you can love/care for yourself first. If your needs are met then you can better focus on meeting other’s needs. You will gain a wealth of knowledge by finding out what helps you to be your best version and will be able to share this with those involved in your life.


Taking the time to eat well, exercise, and sleep will help keep you healthy and vibrant. You want to be the most vital person you can be and bring that vitality to others. You will be a better parent, spouse, friend and employee. Find what brings you joy or vitality and do it everyday. Your happiness then will spill over to others.


If you look up the word selfish in the dictionary it means lacking consideration for others; concern chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure. By taking care of your health and wellness are you really being selfish or is it the other way around? By not caring for yourself, are you being selfish to those who love you or who are important in your life? As the New Year approaches and you want/need to make a health change, think about what this word really means. By making yourself a priority, you will be creating the best version of yourself to share with others.


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Exercise of the Week: Inverted Row

Shoulder problems are something that you see a lot in a fitness center atmosphere. Whether it’s from an old high school injury or simply something that happened to while working out, shoulder pain is something that many of us have encountered to some degree.


And although some shoulder pain is actually from a traumatic event, tearing a rotator cuff or a shoulder separation, a lot of shoulder pain comes from more subtle issues. One of those issues that we’ll talk about today is lack of balance.


Push Exercise VS Pull Exercise


When I talk about balance, I’m not talking about balancing an object with your arms. I’m talking about the balance of push exercises VS pull exercises.


Push exercises are the exercises that you will see any day of the week if you walked into a fitness center. Bench press, shoulder press, machine press, pushups…these are all push exercises. Basically, any exercise in which you are pushing weight away from you or pushing yourself away from an object is a push exercise. If you pay attention long enough (or take a look at your training program) you’ll notice that there is plenty of pushing going on in the gym.


Pull exercises, on the other hand, are exercises in which you are pulling weight towards you or pulling yourself towards an object. Pulldowns, seated rows, machine rows, dumbbell rows…these are all types of pulling exercise. These are rarer in a fitness center. And herein lies the problem.


What Balance Has to do With Shoulder Pain


Performing more push exercises than pull exercises is the culprit when it comes to shoulder pain. What happens is, as you perform more and more push exercises (typically bench press and variations thereof),  your chest and anterior (front) shoulder muscles become more and more dense and start to pull your shoulder girdle forward. You get this same effect from bad posture (the rounded shoulder look).


When you don’t have back muscles and posterior (rear) shoulder muscles to counter act this pull from the front, you’ll slowly develop pains because of the bad positioning of the shoulder girdle itself.


How to Counter Act So Much Pushing


So the goal, then, is to start adopting pull exercises into you training program. But not just any type of pull exercise. Most of you do pulldowns. As a matter of fact, I would imagine many of you do pulldowns every time you go to the gym. And, although pulldowns are a pull exercise, the don’t work the muscles that you need to work in order to counter act the rounded shoulder issue.


That’s why you need to incorporate horizontal pulling exercises, otherwise known as rowing exercises. Rowing exercises utilize the muscles of the back and posterior shoulder that we need to build up in order to get our shoulder back to balance. And a great exercise to use for this problem is inverted rows.


An inverted row is simply a reverse pushup. It can be done at any gym with a squat rack or smith machine. This is a great exercise to help build total body control. It’s also great for those of you that are working to do a chin up. At Thrive Fitness, we use the inverted row as a regression to the chin up. So, if you aren’t able to do a chin up initially, we’ll start you here and work toward pulling yourself over the bar.

How to Make a New Year’s Resolution That Sticks

I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. You’ve probably caught on to that if you’ve been around long enough. It’s not because I don’t think it’s a good idea to have goals and aspirations for the next calendar year (we can’t make progress without goals, after all). It’s because of the massive dropout rate that you see every New Year that rolls around.


Here are a couple of stats that just might blow your mind (there’s a good chance you fit in here somewhere, I know I have). January 15th is a significant date when it comes to resolutions. By January 15th, 95% of people have given up on their resolution already…YUP, 95% have already dropped out 2 weeks into the year. 38% don’t make resolutions any more (this is most likely because of subsequent failures to achieve their goal…failing to plan, is planning to fail).


So why do so many of us give up on our resolutions? Is there a better way to make sure that we ingrain our goals into our minds so that we can become successful? The answer is yes. And I want to give you a blueprint you can use to make your resolution stick. This blueprint can be applied to any type of goal you want to achieve. It will help make resolution sooooo important that you will achieve it at any cost.


Getting Prepared to Make a New Year’s Resolution


So I’m not going to spend any time “beating around the bush”. I want to jump right and give you the steps you can take to put your resolution front-of-mind.


The first thing you’ll need is a pen and paper. These steps require you to write and write and write some more. If you don’t write things down, they only end up as dreams. So go ahead and grab your notebook and a good writing pen…I’ll wait…Okay, we’re back.


Next, get yourself to a quiet place where you can concentrate. Maybe this is your reading room or a coffee shop or the library. Get meditation buddhist_meditation alibaba comsomewhere you don’t have any distractions and you can simply focus on YOU! This is important. If you have distractions, other things will pop up and you’ll put your resolution planning off to another day. Do this NOW!


How to Make a New Year’s Resolution Stick


Now that you have your pen and paper and you’ve found your quiet spot, it’s time to get started on making your resolution. Remember, this is only the beginning. Making a resolution seems so simple, right? It’s easy enough to say “I want to lose 10lbs” or “I want to get a promotion”. But this is what has led us to failure so far. If 95% are giving up 2 weeks into the year, we’re obviously doing something wrong collectively.


So, take these steps one at a time. Stop after the first step and write down your thoughts. Then move to the next and so on.


#1) First, make your BHAG resolution, then make your SMART resolution


Step #1 is typically the extent of most people’s resolution making. However, many of us aren’t even good at this part. The first thing you need to do is make your BHAG resolution. This is your Big Hairy Audacious Grand Resolution. Where do you want to be by the end of this calendar year? And be specific! Don’t ask for something general.


For instance, if you tell me you want to make more money, I can give you a dollar, and…voila…you have more money. Remember “Ask and you shall receive”. Be specific about what you want to accomplish. Instead of “I want to lose weight” say “I want to lose 50lbs”. So 50lbs lighter is where you want to be by the end of this calendar year.


Since 50lbs is a long way away, it can seem almost unachievable. The next thing we need to do is make a SMART Resolution. This is your Specific Measurable Achievable Reasonable Time sensitive Resolution. If we want to lose 50lbs by the end of the year, our SMART resolution might be to lose 10lbs by February 15th. This is Specific, (10lbs) Measurable (either we lose it or we don’t), Achievable, Reasonable (it’s not 50lbs by February 15th), and Time sensitive (we’ve set a cut off).  


#2) Make it Important


This is the next step all of us should take in our resolution making, but are too lazy to take because it requires thinking and digging deep. You need to make sure your resolution is actually important to YOU. Yes, losing 50lbs may be something you SHOULD do, but if YOU don’t truly believe you NEED to, it’s not going to happen.


The best way to make something important in your life is to grow the discrepancy between where you are now and where you think you should be. For instance, if you want to lose weight, you must believe that where you are now is making your life worse than it would be if you were 50lbs lighter. Without this discrepancy, nothing happens.

Here are a few you questions you should answer NOW to help find and build discrepancy within yourself for your resolution:


                #1. How is my current lifestyle worse because of where I am?

                #2. How will my life be better when I get to “X”?

                #3. Who else in my life is effected by my current situation and how will the be effected when I get to “X”?


These are just a few examples of questions that you can ask yourself. Sit down and do this NOW. With this step alone, your chances of achieving your resolution will increase exponentially.


#3) Put Your Resolution Somewhere Where You’ll See it Every Day


This final step is crucial. At Thrive Fitness, we constantly tell our members that you are what you eat. This goes for your mindset and emotions as well. If you put junk into your mind, you’ll get junk out.


By putting your resolution in a place where you can see it every day and taking the time to actually read it a couple of times a day, you’ll ingrain this into your mind. And, slowly but surely, your resolution will be the one thing you think about on a regular basis.


See, your mind has this beautiful device called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). Your RAS determines what you focus on, which is typically what you put into your mind on a regular basis or what is important to you. For instance, have you ever bought a new car because it’s unique and no one in you town has it yet, only to find out that, once you bought it, everyone else decided to buy it also? Now is this really true? Did everyone really go out and buy that car you just bought and suddenly you see it everywhere? No, you just started paying attention because it’s important to you now.


Read your resolution daily, ingrain it in your mind, and let your RAS drive you in the direction to achieving your goal.


Don’t let chance take control of your resolution like everyone else. Plan and make things happen for you on purpose. If you sit idly by, waiting, and hoping for something to happen, you’ll end up in the 95% of quitters. Take control of your life by bringing your resolution to fruition.  


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