Up the Down Escalator

An open letter to all our those in the Fitness Community
escalator
We recently came across a post from one of our 614Fitness family members.
Wils said:
“Some thoughts on aging. Staying fit takes effort. It’s like climbing up the down escalator: In order to maintain your current fitness level – to stay in the same spot – you have to keep climbing those stairs. The instant you slow down or stop, you start to go backwards. If you want to go higher, you have to climb faster.
The problem is, every year they speed up that f***ing escalator, so in order to stay at your current level you have to work harder.
(But) It’s worth it.”
It reminded us of a few things we wanted to share with everyone:
  • Staying fit is HARD!
    • There are no easy answers, no magic pills, unique gadgets or voodoo dolls. It takes hard work
    • excuseAnd…
  • You have to stay COMMITTED.
    •  If you don’t keep climbing that escalator, you are going to go backwards. There is no other way, no maybe’s, no if’s, no but’s.  Excuses are not part of a winner’s vocabulary.
    • So…
  • Surround yourself with like minded FIT-FRIENDS.
    • Relationships and commitments will make this medicine easier to swallow. The support of friends and family can be the elixir to get you motivated and fighting through the hard times.
    • And, as strong as you are…
  • You really CAN’T DO IT ALONE!
    •  That’s why you need to get yourself in here. Just like a lawyer should not represent him/herself, an athlete really needs a guide and an extra set of eyes, a trainer to push, pull, support and do whatever is necessary to keep you climbing the escalator of your fitness journey.
    • But still…
  • YOU’RE GOING TO SLIP BACKWARDS.
    • Give yourself permission and a little self-love … but then start climbing again, just a pause, not a period.

In summary … Stay strong, stay focused and stay committed. Get to the gym and crush that damn escalator!

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The Power of Perception

             perception

Take a moment and ponder the two beach scenes above. Fell the warm sea breeze, hear the rustle of the seagrass and hear the gentle sounds of the ocean kissing the sandy shore.

Now I want you to take a journey with me as we observe two families getting ready to take their youngster to the beach for the first time.

Family “A” is very careful to warn their youngster of some of the hazards at the beach: Sand fleas, sunburn, jelly fish stings, ocean contaminants and shark attacks.

Family “B” is very deliberate in telling their youngster about the joys of the beach: Sandcastles, sea shells, sea gulls and warm waters.

Now envision youngster “A” coming over that sand dune and imagine what they are feeling as they see the beach for the first time: fear, trepidation, worry, anxiety.

How about youngster “B” as they see the beach for the first time : excitement, anticipation. joy, expectations.

Look at the two pictures again.

perception

Same beach, same dunes, same ocean but our two youngsters have two very different experiences based on Perception.  Perception is a powerful tool of the mind. What we see in our mind first shapes what we see with our eyes second. The Talmud teaches us: “We do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.” How we perceive the things around us influences our actions and reactions.

One of our favorite examples of that in the fitness world is the ubiquitous box jump. Almost everyone who approaches it the first time has a perception in their mind that “They can’t do that!” That perception is, indeed a reality for them. But it is no more a reality than the different views of the beach. By changing the perception “I can do that.” or “I can work and train to do that.” The box is at the same time an impossible impediment and an energizing challenge.

Step 1: Be mindful of your Perceptions: Be aware of those voices, doubts and dialogues going on in your head. Don’t try to exorcise those thoughts, be aware and mindful of them. You may even try writing them down.

Step 2: Embrace those Perceptions: Try not to over-analyze or judge them, just accept that they are there. By accepting (and not fighting) them, you begin to rob them of their power.

Step 3: Chose to create new Perceptions: Let those old perceptions just lie there while you hold up and build new Perceptions. Let “It’s impossible” become “I love a challenge.” From “I could never do that” to “I can’t wait until I can accomplish that.” And so on.


The Talmud teaches us: “We do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.”

So, when you get ready to peak over that sand dune, you will see an ocean of possibilities and opportunities as vast as the sand and ocean.

Do not let your perceptions define you or your performance. Instead, use your perceptions to empower shape you and your performance. By building strong, positive perceptions, we build a platform for growth and success.

 

 

 

The One Thing

I don’t know how many of you remember the movie City Slickers starring Billy Crystal  and Jack Palance. It’s a good “buddy movie” and worth a trip to Netflix just for fun and laughs. Without going into the plot and premise too much, some city slickers go on a cattle drive to find themselves. Like many of the movies of this clichè, their adventures and travails along the way end up defining them in new, exciting and unexpected ways.

But one scene has stuck with me like a burr to my mental socks.

Curly, played by the late Jack Palance explains that..  “You city folks spend 50 weeks tying yourself up in knots and come out here for 2 weeks and ‘spect to get untied.”
“The secret of life is this,” holding up one finger. “One thing, you stick to this and everything else don’t mean sh*t.”

Of course I don’t mean to imply that it is that easy (or is it?)

About 4-5 years ago I was struggling with losing that last 10 pounds. I had gotten to 188-190 but was stuck. Little did I know that I was stuck in more ways than that. I made a fairly random decision to give up diet cola (soda-pop-soft drinks). Sure, I knew that sugar-y soft drinks were unhealthy and contributing to the rise in obesity in our society. And I had read mixed opinions about the efficacy of diet drinks on diet and health. So there was no scientific, health or medical reason compelling my decision to quit diet drinks. It was just something I wanted to do.

What I found was astonishing. It was a small thing. It was just one thing. And not really that difficult. But that one thing became the first domino to fall in a long chain of events. My mindset started evolving … slowly … incrementally. It kinda became fun, a game. If I could do this, what else could I do?

Let’s fast forward a few years. I got the chance to work with an amazing trainer, Marie Miller in some group fitness settings. At the same time, all of my little retirement investments were tanking (think 2007-2008). I thought, “Isn’t there something better in which I could be investing?”

A series of nagging injuries and repeated bouts of physical therapies led me to invest in some personal training and the results were immediately noticeable. We reached out to Marie. Her enthusiastic embrace of the vision, energy and insight spawned 614Fitness.

Not to oversimplify, but “just one thing” has taken us down a path of fun, excitement and passion. Nothing is more rewarding than a 614Fitness member finding great success and fitness. (And, I might add, way more fun than watching a stock fund go up and down!)

Just One Thing.

The simple step of giving up soda isn’t what resulted in an amazing fitness adventure. But just one thing is often all it takes to get us out of a rut, out of our comfort zone. To allow us to see the possibilities, to shed our limitations and to move off center.

Just One Thing. I urge you to try it. Doesn’t matter what “it” is, and most often smaller is better, simpler, less complicated.

Find your One Thing!

Mindset: The Missing Link to your Diet and Fitness

Everyone knows the famous formula for weight loss: Diet + Exercise = Healthy Weight. But that is not the entire formula. The important missing link is Mindset. 

I argue, that you can never succeed, truly succeed in either diet or exercise without the proper mindset. For this article I want to focus on the particular part of the formula: Mindset. So much has been written about diet and exercise that there is little or no need to repeat it here. there are a lot more experts out there qualified to guide you in those directions.

But Let’s talk about Mindset.diet

In this illustration, Mindset is the base of the pyramid upon which diet and exercise are built. Almost all of us have struggled with our diet and/or exercise programs… yo yo’s of ups and down, successes and failures. Each set back seems like a failure and a blow to our self esteem. This is where mindset comes in. The predecessor to every action is thought. There is no action without intention. Descartes stated as we think, we are: “Cogito ergo sum.” Many great thinkers from Descartes to Buddha to Plato to Yogi Berra: (to paraphrase) “Success is 90% mental and 50% effort”.  I would venture that in your efforts to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle you put in 100% effort and significantly less time working on your Mindset.

Modern author Carol Dweck in her book: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success asserts that we can control our mindset and thus control our outcomes. Having a successful mindset, resetting our thoughts and focusing on positive outcomes, is the foundation for success. For this reason, you must work just as hard on your Mindset as you do on your diet and your exercise.

When it comes to maintaining a successful Mindset for diet and exercise here are a few quick tips and hints:

  1. Surround yourself with positive messages and affirmations:
    • Write them on your mirror with erasable markers
    • Cut and paste them off the internet and post them on your refridgerator
    • Google affirmations and make one (or more) your screen saver
    • Make it your Facebook profile image
  2. Surround yourself with positive friends:
    • Find a group, a church/synagogue/mosque where you can hear those positive messages
    • Over and over again we hear this at 614Fitness and take great pride in affirming each other
    • Try to block out those who’s messages are no longer fitting your new dialogue
  3. Change your thinking by changing your language:
    • Try not to use words like “thin”, “fat”,”skinny”. Instead try “healthy”, fit”, “athletic”, “strong”
    • It’s not a diet nor an exercise program, it’s a lifestyle
    • “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” (Winston Churchill) – so embrace the failures as opportunities to start over.
  4. At least once a day, every day, be Mindful:
    • I am not suggesting you can “Think yourself thin”, but use some time to focus on the you you want to be
    • Find mindfulness in everyday, mundane activities. Washing your hands, sweeping the floor, chopping vegetables… each act can increase your mindfulness.
    • Visualize your successes, small and large
  5. Make corrections, but be gentle with yourself:
    • Catch yourself using negative words and images and correct them
    • Ask a trusted friend to give you gentle reminders to assert a positive mindset
    • Give yourself permission to falter, just get back on the horse and ride
    • And celebrate your successes, small and large

You may find that adding a healthy mindset to your diet and exercise regimen is the missing link to your success. You are in control of your own thoughts. Indeed they are about all you can control. Use your healthy Mindset to lead you to an even fitter, healthier you.