Alive but Still Learning to Live.

I have so been neglecting this blog but I do have a good reason.  I lost my job right before Thanksgiving, not exactly and ideal situation to be in right before the holidays and my motivation was totally in the dumps.  I did the whole feeling bad for myself bit for several weeks, drank a little more then I should, cut off friends and family.  After going through the motions for most of November and a lot of December I realized I expected better of myself.

This wasn’t living, this wasn’t the way that I do things and when one ride ends you just get in line for another.

So, I started a business, I got my first client last week and have a meeting with a second this week.  The thing is, being self-employeed has always been the dream and working for others doesn’t honor my vision.  If there is anything that life has taught me it is that it will correct itself, often in very painful ways, if you aren’t living the way you were intended to.

As we start this year I encourage you to take inventory and consider if you are being true to the life you want to live and the person you want to be.  What needs to happen in order for you to stop going around in circles and start moving things forward?  While it is great to be alive it is better when you start living.

Check out this post from The Art of Manliness: How to Live on 24 Hours a Day

Here is the website for my new business I have another blog on the site and we recorded our first podcast this weekend.  We also have a 30 Day Challenge going on Facebook: True 2 Life

I wish you the best in 2014 and please contact me if you are interested in fitness and lifestyle coaching.


I Find it Best to Start at the Beginning, Part 2


MMMMMM, scones!

In my last post I talked about setting the foundation for your weight loss journey and pointed out some strategies you can use to establish a strong base.  I asked you to take a look at what is working for and against you.  In this post I am going to focus a bit more on the role that awareness plays in creating a healthy lifestyle.

What does losing weight mean to you?  Are you instantly hit with visions of all the things that you won’t be able to enjoy anymore and dread about stepping on the scale?  If you are serious about losing weight and keeping it off you have to create a life that supports your goal.  Understanding your habits and tendencies are a significant piece to the weight loss puzzle.

Over the next couple of weeks take a look at the things you do on a day-to-day basis.  Do you get that latte and scone every morning before work?  What is your evening routine like, do you have a couple of glasses of wine with dinner?  Sure, you may be hitting a spin class three days a week but the caloric expenditure in those classes are being undone by daily habits you don’t even think about.

It may not seem like much but when you think about calories like money there is a nickel-and-diming effect that can add up over time.  The better your awareness the better you will be able to attend to counter productive habits.  So, use an app, write in a journal and start keeping track of what is working for and against you.

As always, more about me here:

Change, It’s What You Make of It


Spare some change

If you have been trying to live a healthier lifestyle and you have found that it is pretty far removed from what you did before things probably feel pretty uncomfortable.  Maybe those early morning workouts still aren’t coming along without buckets of coffee or you still aren’t making it to Yoga class on a consistent basis.  Most people really enjoy being in their comfort zone and going along in their day-to-day, not having to think to much or put extra effort into being.

While regimens are helpful and consistency tends to work well for us in our personal, professional and social lives it may also be one of the things working against your formation of healthier habits.  In order for you to make significance progress forward with your health you have to make significant changes to your lifestyle.  It’s not enough to just go business as usual especially if you have employed strategies in the past and still are at a place where you are dissatisfied.

I invite you to take a risk, take a chance and do something that frightens you.  Join that class that looks to tough or take your workout fanatic friend up on a session that you know will make you walk funny the next day.

Check me out on Linkedin and connect with me always looking for ways to network with passionate people.


Exercising vs. Athletic Training

Two views of local Extension leaders drilling ...

Come on girls, 1 and a 2 and a 3…

Some of the best advice I have ever been given about working out: “you don’t have to enjoy the work out but you can enjoy what it does for you.” Believe me, I can see it on the faces of those people hamster wheeling those elliptical machines, they don’t want to be there and if they can just go 20 more minutes life will be good.  However, there is a big difference between optimizing your workout and just going through the motions.

In a recent article by Michael J. Joyner in Outside magazine entitled Why You Need to Be Doing BurpeesJoyner highlights a study that shows an increase in mortality versus an individual’s ability to get off the floor.  Think about it, if you have fallen and you can’t get up what does this say about your physical ability?  Gravity is a bitch, it is constantly working to push you down and keep you there.

Working out isn’t just about going through the motions in the gym, it is about optimizing our ability to move against gravity.  Now, you can go to the gym and exercise, get in a little cardio go over to the weights and do some bench, curl some dumbbells, get that pump on.  However, think about how this would help you if you suddenly slipped on the ice and needed to catch yourself or had your arm trapped under a boulder, needed to cut your arm off, then crawl to safety.  OK, maybe that is a little extreme but how do those traditional exercises serve to improve physicality?

Here is a list of traditional compared to there more athletic exercises

  • Bench Press vs. Burpees or Clapping Pushups
  • Cable Pulldown vs. Pullups
  • Elliptical vs. Stair Climbers or Running
  • Squat vs. Front Squat or Kettlebell Swings
  • Missionary Position vs. Amazon Kneeling Reverse (look it up will make you chuckle.)

To find out more about me and what I do:

The Resistance Training, Cardio Balancing Act

Gym Cardio Theatre Category:Gyms_and_Health_Clubs

Gym Cardio Theatre Category:Gyms_and_Health_Clubs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having had memberships at dozens of gyms it has become pretty comical that no matter where I go a majority of the women are on cardio machine while the guys are lifting weights.  If you are favoring one type of exercise over the other you may be missing out on some significant benefits.  There is an art to finding balance in the work that you do at the gym.  Under do it and you are just spinning your wheels, over do it and you will sabotage your progress.

Especially if you have hit a bit of a plateau it might be time to change things up.  Try this workout:

  • Pick 5 exercises: Pushups, Air-squats, Pull-ups, Lunges, twisting crunch.
  • Do 5 sets: 25 reps, 20 reps, 15 reps, 10 reps, 5 reps.
  • Between each round run 5 minutes on a treadmill or some other cardio equipment.

This workout is pretty tough but it will push you and can be adjust dependent on your current conditioning level. If you workout at a pretty busy gym like I do try doing the entire lifting phase with the cardio before (10 min.) and cardio after (10 min).

Have fun and tell me how you did.

Learn more about me:

5 Pillars

I love what I do for a living, working with individuals to transform their lives is extremely rewarding and never dull.  Having worked with hundreds of people up to this point I can tell you that while some basic parameters do exist (burn more calories then you eat) there is not one size fits all success formula.  Today I am going to give you a list of the top-five tendency I see with in clients that are successful at losing weight and keeping it off.

  • Be honest:  Sure, that bag of chocolate bites is around 150 calories but does it make sense that a fit individual would eat these on a daily basis?  In order to lose weight you have to be completely honest about what you put in your mouth and emphasize quality over quantity.  It is the difference between seeing food as a way to fuel your body and food as something you consume to pass the time.
  • Focus on the process: Don’t get caught up in what you will eventually look and feel like once you finally achieve that fitness goal.  What does your daily/weekly/monthly plan look like?  Get some basic behaviors down that you can check off at the end of the day and set small goals that you can evaluate each week.  When you stay in the moment and attend to the choices you are making right now the success will work it’s way out.
  • Support:  Who is on your team?  A client of mine was working on better portion control at dinner and had discussed this with his wife not knowing his youngest daughter was listening.  During the evening meal one night he reached across the table to get another dinner role and was smacked on the hand with a spoon.  “No Daddy!”  When faced with stern six-year-olds it is better to back down and appreciate the lesson you have just learned.  Employ as many people as you can on this journey, the more support you have the better.
  • Journaling: All my successful clients utilize something to track thoughts, accomplishments and work through barriers.  Find an app, start a blog, or just invest in a notebook but make sure you have something to get something brief down about your day.  They track the foods they eat and the activities they participate in.   You could come up with a scale that will allow you to rate yourself and give a quick reason behind the grade.  Also, try voice recording, most computers and phones have some type of note recording software.  Even if you don’t review it just hearing yourself out load helps.
  • General Activity:  At my heaviest weight (260) I was spinning for an hour, five-days-a-week at 5:45 in the morning then, going to work.  The thing is, once I was at work I really didn’t move for the rest of the day until I went home and surfed cable until I went to bed.  You have to stay as active as possible and you are better off finding 5-10 minutes here and there to just walk around then only working out once and sitting on your butt for the rest of the day.

Please, there are other pieces to this puzzle and if there is something that you have found to be helpful please post up for the benefit of others.

Find out more about me and what I do:

Taking Fitness on the Road

Two girls, teens perhaps... these young ladies...

Oh, hey, come here much…  

Travel can be a significant barrier for those of us that are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  But you say, “Matt, I’m on vacation, that means I check the diet and exercise at the door so I can make room for Pina Coladas and long days of pool-side lounging.”  BS!! Ask yourself how you felt the last time you spent several days of drinking and eating like crap combined with inactivity.

When you look at vacation and travel through the lens of the healthy person you want to be it becomes difficult to imagine that high school spring break where you lived off of Peanut Butter Captain Crunch and Beer.  Like everything we are going for a balanced lifestyle no matter where you are.  Keep the basics in mind, find a reason to be active every day and watch the higher calorie foods and drinks.

I have developed the habit of looking for something fun and active to do when ever I go out of town that allows me to experience the place I am visiting.  This has resulted in some pretty fun experiences like paddle boarding in South Caroline and a 5K scavenger hunt in New Orleans.  There are just as many things to do as a family if you are committed to your self-care and plan ahead just a little bit.

Have a great Monday!!

Learn more about me:

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Tape measure

Tape measure (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My clients come to me with the best intentions in the world and they want so much.  “I want to have a six-pack,” I want to impress the girl/guy/other of my dreams with my physique,” “I want to drop 5 dress sizes before my wedding next week.”  All great intentions but, all the hope in the world is nothing without a little planning to go along with it.

Weigh loss and lifestyle creation, like any journey, is only realized through good planning and consistent follow through.  Anything less would be like starting a road trip without a destination in mind, “are we there yet, I don’t know.” Sure, you want to lose weight, that is your destination, but successful individuals don’t obsess about how they will look when they get there, successful individuals focus on the journey.

Take a look at your week, what small behavior change can you make each day to move yourself one step closer to the next 5 lbs. of weight loss?

Happy Monday!!!

Work, Life, Balance, WTH!


MMMMMMMmmmm Beer!

Oh, you can talk the talk but can you walk the walk?  I have a confession to make, I haven’t always been a shinning example for my clients and for a while it was, “do as I say not as I do.”  Now, I am not saying that I was hitting the drive-thru on a regular or surfing my coach when not in session but I managed to pack on about 60 pounds that I didn’t need.  Mostly, this was from eating heavy portion and pretending like craft beer didn’t have any calories in it while finishing off a bag of chips.  Under the eyes of the exercise gods I was a major sinner.  I actually remember training an individual at a private studio and over hearing another training comment on how out of shape I looked.  Yep, it was that bad.

The thing is I had it going on.  A busy personal training schedule, full time enrollment in graduate school and a girl friend that was an amazing cook.  I became very good at making excuses as to why I wasn’t hanging around at the gym after training sessions for my self-care.  Well, I have a paper to write, just a couple of hours until my next client, I need a nap, and going out with my girlfriend later need to rest up.  Excuses, excuses, excuses and you know what they say about excuses.

Finding balance is your life is a skill that takes time to develop and a lot of trail and error especially if you were brought up valuing certain things over others.  Just because you are bringing home the bacon doesn’t necessarily mean that the people in your life are happy with you or that you are making the most of your life.  I have met so many people that have well paying jobs that have completely forgotten what it even means to take time for themselves and just relax every once in a while.

Teaching your clients how to balance their professional lives with personal while still fitting in exercise and social events takes some time but can be very rewarding.

Here are some strategies.

Develop an Individual Wellness Plan: What does healthy living even look like for your clients, how do they feel about exercising on their lunch break verses exercising after work.  I use these plans to get an understanding of what we need to work on and what the end point even looks like for my client.  This also is a useful reference for those times when they are feeling a little less then motivated, have them review their desires and push through with action

Push the Minimum: You don’t always have to hit two-hour, no-pain-no-gain sessions in the gym, how about just going for a walk, or paying just a bit closer attention to what you eat that day.  One of the biggest de-motivators that I see are my clients perception of the work they have to do.  Have conversations and ask them, “if they don’t feel like running is going for a walk all that bad?”  If I can just get them to commit to the minimal amount we often times find that they want to do more once they get going.

Plan, Plan, Plan, Then Plan Some More:  When I decided it was time to lose that extra weight that I was carrying around I had to mark when I was working out and when I was eating on a calender.  If your clients are already using Outlook or Google Calender encourage them to put that workout on the same scheduler they use for PTA meetings.  If they plan to fit the self-care in then they to have to scramble to find the time.

Develop a Support Team:One of my favorite stories that I got from a client recently was how they got smacked on the hand by their eight-year-old reaching for more chips at a Mexican restaurant.  The more people your clients make aware of the effort they are putting in the more little hands they will have smacking them when they start to stray from the path.  Accountability is huge and it is just one of the things that goes a long with coaching individuals and my clients tell me all the time if I wasn’t there they would not be sticking to their program.  I say, the more the merrier, encourage them to get as many people in their life as possible involved.

Personal Training Overlooking Melbourne Catego...

Accountability buddy

Kick-it to the Curb: Diets Don’t Work

English: Barbie vintage booklet about how to l...

My last diet book

I hear something similar to this at least once a month.  “Hey, have you heard of the new cave-man, vegan, half-protein, partial lard, candy-corn, milk-steak diet?  My sister started it last month and has lost about 35 pounds with no end in site.”  Diet products are a multi-billion-dollar business that plays to the desire of individuals to lose weight without doing that much work.  They offer you a fast track to dropping the pounds through structure and promised results.  The problem is, they just don’t work.

However, there is hope and I am going to share the secret that those hundred-dollar diet books don’t want you to know.  It turns out that eating less fat and exercising are the keys to losing weight and keeping it off.  I know, mind blowing, right?  Niklas and colleagues whom studied data put out by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey  on over 4,000 obese individuals made some interesting discoveries.

“Those who exercised more and ate less fat were significantly more likely to lose weight, additionally we found a correlation between joining weight loss programs and greater reported weight loss, which may speak to the importance of structure in a weight loss regimen.”

The study also found that there was not a correlation between over the counter or prescription diet pills/supplements and long-term weight loss.

So, did I sufficiently burst your bubble?  Diets just don’t work.  One of my biggest pet peeves is when the client tells me the number of times that they have tried Weight Watchers.  You have to wondering why someone has to do  a program more then once if it is effective.  In order to lose weight it really is as simple as eating right and exercising, no magic pill or food is going to come along anytime soon and change that.

One of the best investments that you can make in yourself if you are serious about losing weight is it is going to take some research and planning.  Find professionals to get the information you will need to develop an individualized program that take your specific needs into account.  Most of all, you have to recognize that you are making a lifestyle change and it is going to take some time.  It took years to put the weight on and if your expectation that it will come off in months you are kidding yourself.