What’s Your Why?

To be successful we need to know not only what our goal is, but also what is the “why” behind our goal.

It’s your “why” that will get you up in the morning, out of a cold bed, into the darkness of early day, and into the gym when its easier to stay in a warm bed and hit SNOOZE.

It’s your “why” that will keep you consistently meal prepping on a Sunday afternoon when wine and a good book, or beer and football sound more appealing.

It’s your “why” that will remind you to order the salmon (or chicken breast) and vegetables on a night out with friends when your initial desire is to order the deep dish pizza, and the pizookie.

5 Steps to a Solid “Why”

Step 1. Choose a Goal
Think: If you could accomplish any goal and know with 100% certainty you would succeed, what goal would you accomplish?

Step 2. Identify the Life Benefits of Your Goal
Why did you choose this goal? What qualities and character traits would striving after this goal help you to develop? How does this goal help you to build relationships?

Step 3. The Best Self Test
After identifying the benefits of the goal, will this goal help you to become your best self? If not, head back to step one!

Step 4. Virtuous Character Traits
Once you have a goal that you know will help you grow into your best self. Identify the top character traits that you will need to develop in order to accomplish this goal. In other words, how will this goal help you to grow your character, and what specific character traits (responsibility, dedication, compassion, humility, etc.)

Think: How will these character traits help to improve other aspects of your life?

Step 5. Relationships
How will this goal help you to further build into your current relationships? How will this goal help you to develop and nurture new relationships?

Our “Why” fuels our passion and the energy we need to put into achieving our goal.

Our “Why” shapes our behavior, and helps us to take action towards achieving our goal.

Our “Why” helps us to see any obstacles as problems to be solved, making us more resilient on the path to achieving our goal.

What is your goal that you are currently focusing on? How strong is your “Why”? Who will you become as a result of striving for this goal? If you need any help with goal setting, let me know!

For Faster Results Part 2: Sleep Better

Sleep is when our bodies repair and build. To progress faster, to stay healthy (and sane) make sure you are getting adequate sleep to help you reach your health and fitness goals.

When we are young we have a lengthy night-time system, a 2+ hour event that might look like: dinner, desert, bath-time, p.j.s, story-time, etc. then… sleep. This system worked great for us as kids. The night time routine trained our brain to wind down and shut off.

As adults, we’re great at waking up, downing a cup of joe and getting busy with our day. But we can’t expect to be going full throttle right until our head hits the pillow and instantly drop down to a mental state that helps us to reach a peaceful slumber.

We need to develop a night time routine to shut off our analytical brains, unwind from a stressful day, and prepare our minds for a much needed night of sleep.

3 Tips to Sleep Better:

1. Schedule Your Night Time Routine
Just as we schedule our workouts, work-meetings, and date nights, we need to plan ahead for our night time routine. If you don’t plan it out, how are you going to be successful?

Think: What time is ideal for you to be in bed heading off to slumberland? (Hint: shoot for at least 7 hours sleep, and work backwards from the time you need to be awake). Now, set an alarm an hour or two before that time, a reminder to start winding down, to turn off the t.v., blue screen devices, and start your best routine for rest.

2. Plan Your Routine
Give yourself a time-frame for your nightly routine, say an hour or two. How do you want to fill that hour or two before bed to start winding down? Maybe it is watching a show with your significant other, making a nighttime protein shake, practicing your daily mindfulness or prayer, etc. (Hint: add a smell like lavender to your night time routine to associate this smell with sleep).

Jot down a night-time routine itinerary you can stick to on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you will need to test it out and edit it as you go.

3. Add Mindfulness to Your Routine
Practice a nighttime mind dump to get rid of the mental residue of the daily grind by journaling, meditating, praying, etc.

It can be helpful to review the day and answer a few questions to your nighttime routine:
• What were the three conversations I had today that were the most meaningful?
• What are three things I am grateful for?
• What did I accomplish today?

Switching to a state of mind that entices us to rest isn’t always easy, but we can train ourselves to follow a night time routine that helps our brain to switch over.

Do you struggle with consistent sleep patterns? What does your nighttime routine look like?

Maximize your Muscle to Live a Longer, Healthier Life

If you want to live longer, lean muscle mass might just be your best measurement to make sure you have a long life.

A 2014 UCLA study studied over 3,600 participants made up of men who were 55 and older, and women who were 65 and older. They found that all-cause mortality was significantly lower in participants who had more muscle mass.

“In other words, the greater your muscle mass, the lower your risk of death,” said Dr. Arun Karlamangla, a professor in the geriatrics division at the Geffen School and the study’s co-author. “Thus, rather than worrying about weight or body mass index, we should be trying to maximize and maintain muscle mass.”

Though, a study of this nature cannot definitely establish a cause-and-effect relationship between muscle mass and longevity, it seems clear that if we want to live longer we need to focus on body composition.

A 2008 Study by Ruiz et al. (and others) looked at over 8000 participants to find out what affect strength and cardiorespiratory fitness has on healthy aging. They found (also correlative) that individuals who lacked strength were more likely to die of all causes and that there is even a correlative relationship to lack of strength and cancer.

A final key observation of this dataset was that regardless of strength, individuals with higher cardio-respiratory fitness had a greater life expectancy than low cardio-respiratory fitness counterparts.

This landmark study provided the first direct evidence that physical strength or the processes of developing strength is intrinsically linked to healthy aging.

If you didn’t previously have a reason to get strong, and build muscle—now you do!

How are your body composition goals going? Are you solely focused on losing weight to live a long healthy life, or are you also focusing on building muscle, strength, and cardio-respiratory fitness?

Shoot me a message if you have any questions!

For Faster Results Fuel Your Progress

Diet is the foundation of the theoretical hierarchy of fitness. Chances are, if you are working out and not seeing the results you want, your nutrition needs to get dialed in.

Are you eating for pleasure or purpose? Think of the food we eat as the fuel that drives our health and fitness goals. When we eat purposefully, to promote our fitness, we give our body the best fuel for success.

3 Steps to Dial in Your Diet:

1) Pay Attention to What you Eat
Tracking your daily macros (fat, carbs, protein) helps you to pay attention to what you eat. It gives your nutrition plan focus, and helps you to eat the right things in the right amounts. By focusing on the right things, at the right time, for the right reasons you will begin to see the positive changes, and faster progress that you are looking for.

2) Planning & Preparation
The more our daily routine gets dialed in, the easier it becomes to plan meals, meal prep ahead of time, and even to plan out our macros for the day with the knowledge of our daily macro goals.

With “flexible dieting” you can add in otherwise less ideal food choices in one meal, say a glass of wine with dinner, because you know how your daily macros add up to still meet your goals.

Planning out each meal lets you tweak one meal’s macros to account for what you want to eat in a different meal that day so your total daily macros add up to you staying on track.

3) Executing
Executing your nutrition plan is a game of trial and error—a kind of daily dance consisting of: trying new foods, new recipes, and a variety of combinations to hit your macro goals. Executing your plan means risking failure, and daring to make mistakes. It takes starting over each time you take a wrong step by refocusing on your goals (your “why”) and reaffirming your desire to take a new step tomorrow.

I have always enjoyed the line from the Scent of a Woman: “No mistakes in the tango, darling, not like life. It’s simple. That’s what makes the tango so great. If you make a mistake, get all tangled up, just tango on.”

Is your nutrition fueling your progress? Learn to track your macros, to plan and prepare ahead of time, and to execute: put your plan into action.

The process of tracking your macros becomes easier and easier as it becomes a part of your daily routine. If you need help, just reach out to me.

The #1 Obstacle to Reaching Your Health & Fitness Goal: Time

Recently I asked the question, “What’s your #1 obstacle to reaching your health and fitness goal?”

And the most common answer (after “Donuts” hahaha) was “Time”.

Sometimes it is just a season of life where we need to sacrifice our workouts for our friends & families, our jobs, our homes, etc. But, if it is longer than a season, then it is usually a priority issue.

Most people agree that we need: physical, relational, emotional, and spiritual health. And that physical health is often a catalyst to improving the others. So why do we let our priorities stop us from improving our health and fitness?

On a plane flight, we’re instructed to put our oxygen mask on first, before we try to help others (children, family, friends, etc.) because at 35,000 ft. we have only seconds of useful consciousness before hypoxia sets. If we tried to help others to put on their mask before we put on our own we would begin to lose our ability to recognize faces, shapes, and perform even basic logic, until we pass out from lack of oxygen.

In our day to day life it’s not always so simple to see when we are giving so much of ourselves for others that we end up sacrificing our health in the process. When we de-prioritize our health and fitness for too long we are left an empty tank with nothing left to give to anyone else.

Make sure to schedule time for yourself! Imagine when you are your best self, full of energy, loaded with confidence, and stress free. How much would this help you with your relationships? How much more effective would you be at your job? How much less time would you spend worrying about life and instead focus on enjoying life?

Make a decision to re-prioritize your health and fitness to be a better parent, friend, boss, co-worker.

The people in your life need your help. Just be sure to put your oxygen mask on first.

What’s your #1 obstacle?

What’s your #1 obstacle to reaching your health and fitness goal?

1. Time
2. Money
3. Accountability
4. Work
5. Family Issues
6. Nutrition
7. Motivation
8. Lack of Direction
9. Donuts
10. Other