Category Archives: My Favorite Things

What’s your plan B?

This past week I found myself back in Southern California at one of my favorite hotels, the Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles Westside.  It is in a great location to several of my clients’ offices, great dining/entertainment options and most importantly, it has a great gym.

So of course, Thursday morning comes along and you can bet you can find me downstairs in the gym getting my workout in.

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So there I am, headphones in, lifting and waking up when I notice it.  The line for the cardio machines.  As you can see in the picture above, there were only 5 pieces of cardio equipment and there was literally a line of 5 people waiting.  Then over the course of the next 15 minute minutes I noticed a trend.  Folks had an average ‘willingness to wait time’ of around 5 minutes.  If a machine opened within 5 minutes of their arrival, they were good.  If not, they were gone.

Now I want you to notice something else about the gym in the picture above……look at how much space there is in this gym!!!  And by the way there is an entire other section to the right past the balance balls!!!  It is probably my favorite part about this gym, the sheer amount of open space.

With all of this space, what are people waiting for a machine?

And why are they leaving when one doesn’t open up?

And I realized, it was because they did not have a plan B. 

Every time I walk into any gym, I have a plan as to what I want to do but based on space, others using equipment, weights available that plan can and often does change on a dime.

So what are my plan Bs?

First and foremost is beachbodyondemand.com   I make it no secret that I am a BeachBody Coach and love helping others find their strong.  What I love about this particular resource is I can stream the program that best fits the resources I have.

Only the weight stack available? – Body Beast

Space in the corner open? – Insanity Max 30

Need to improve flexibility? – Piyo

Sometimes I get there and there are no weights at all but the treadmill is open.  In times like this, I am more than likely going to do a HIIT session of sprints.

Gym full?  I enjoy doing my longer steady state runs outside so time to active MapMyRun and head outside.   Or………every hotel that is more than one story has stairs, you know the original Stairmaster.  And if you are in San Diego, my favorite stair spot is at the Convention Center so head out and hit them!!

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Whatever your plan B is for you, the most important thing you can do is something!!

It killed me to watch people give up and leave the gym that morning.  I hope they came back later and got their workout in but don’t let anything get in the way of your health.  Especially something as simple as the treadmill not being open.

So how about you?  What is your favorite plan B?  And if you need help with your plan B – don’t hesitate to reach out.  I am more than happy to give you a couple dozen ideas that will work for you.

So you think you can’t quit Diet Coke? So did I.

This past month I was lucky enough to tag along with my wife on a Caribbean cruise that she earned through her Beachbody Coaching business.  This was our first cruise so everything about the planning process was new to us and if you have sensed anything about my approach to travel from my ramblings, I am all about the planning to ensure success in fitness while on the road.

If you have not been on a cruise before, you plan for shore excursions.  You plan what dining rooms you will be eating at each night, you plan your nightly shows and you plan…..your drink package.  The options available among the drink packages is ridiculous.

  •  Just water bottles, we got that.
  • Everything but alcohol, we got that.
  • Beer, wine and well drinks, we got that.
  • If its on the boat, you can drink it, we got that.

Heading into the cruise, I had two non-negotiables when it came to a drink package:

  1. It had to include bottled water
  2. It had to include sodas

Truth be told, I am mildly addicted to Diet Coke.

OK – more than mildly.

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I probably drink close to 6 12-ounce servings a day if I am being completely honest with myself.  So the thought of not having access to my beloved silver can was not something I wanted to deal with.  So I bit the bullet and upgraded the Beer/Wine/Well package to include both bottled water and soda – potential crisis averted.

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When we boarded the ship and entered our stateroom, we were greeted to our specialized Royal Caribbean insulated cups, with a special micro-chip that enables the soda machines to function.  I already felt taken care of, the Diet Cokes could flow already!!

We had a phenomenal time on the cruise.  We dined, we danced, we laid on tropical beaches, we snorkeled.  We had the time of our lives but after 5 days, the wonderful crew of the Oasis of the Seas were pretty adamant that we needed to get off the ship.  So the night before we got back to Florida I packed up all of my things, including my new insulated specially  micro-chipped cup) and that is when it hit me.

I had not filled it with soda even once!!

Now my wife has been on me for years to kick the diet soda habit.  I know it is supremely  bad for me to add all of those chemicals to my body but until this point, I could not tell you the last time I had gone 5 days without a soda, including my stint in the hospital after my black belt test (read that story here).  So I was left wondering, why could I do it without thinking on the ship but struggle for years on land?  Here is what I came up with.

  • Patterns are powerful – I did not have a routine on the ship.  Everything was a new experience that required a new pattern.  I noticed as soon as I got off the ship I was looking to hit the 7-Eleven for that silver label.  I had to evaluate my habits (how I drive to work for example) to see where/when the Diet Coke consumption had become mindless and make it conscious again.
  • I had options – On a cruise, you can get basically whatever you want…and get it everywhere.  I have had to set myself up to succeed the same way.  I drank more water on the cruise than anything else because I could get it easily (easier than the Diet Coke actually).  Set yourself up to have other more healthy options.
  • Make it difficult – I think this is the main reason for my lack of Diet Coke consumption on the cruise actually.  The soda machines were not convenient to where we camped out.  It was easier to grab a water than a Diet Coke.  SO i am going to carry that over and not buy Diet Coke any longer for the house (again, making other more healthy options more convenient)

They say it takes 28 days to make or break a habit.  At this point I am 8 days into this journey and have no intention of turning around.  If I can do this, so can you.  Whose with me?  Whose kicking soda to the curb?

What would you give up?

Welcome to the Lenten season!!  That wonderful time of year when some choose what vice they will give up in order to worship the One who gave up everything for them.  If your Twitter/Facebook feed is anything like mine is, it is filled with people either disclosing their vice of choice or professing what indulgence they will do without until Easter.  All of this sacrifice got me to thinking, what would I really like to ‘give up’ (read ‘purge’) from my life?

What would a Road Warrior like to give up if we really could?

So in honor of Lent, here is my top 40 list of things I would more than happily ‘fast’ from this Lenten season:

  1. Flights that depart prior to 7:00 AM: They look great on the calendar.  “I’ll be able to spend the night at home the night before the trip” is a great way to convince yourself you are doing something special for your family.  Reality is they want to kill you when you are getting ready at 4:30 in the morning.  This is a no-win scenario any way you cut it.
  2. Turbulence: Seriously, if I wanted a roller coaster ride, I would head to the nearest Six Flags park.
  3. Sitting in coach: Yes, I am spoiled but if I get to make the list, sitting in coach is one of the first things I would be willing to ‘give up’ for Lent.
  4. Foam Mattresses: I sincerely would like to introduce whoever invented these beauties to karate mat.  They deserve a good kick in the head.
  5. Airport Food: Yes, there are some good spots but for the most part it is abysmal.
  6. Weather Delays: Hey – this is my list and I get to declare that there are no more delays due to white flaky stuff falling from the sky.Calendar
  7. 3 day trips that span 3 time zones: Seriously, why can’t we book multiple appointments in the same time zone (let alone the same city)?
  8. ‘Day Trips’ lasting 16+ hours: We seriously need to reevaluate what constitutes a ‘day trip’.  Just because you can get to/from a market within a 24 hour period does not necessarily mean you should.Ceiling Height
  9. Hotel ‘gyms’ that consist of a treadmill and a broken down StairMaster: And putting a paper note of apology on the broken treadmill does not make it any better.  Fix the equipment for God’s sake.
  10. The casual traveler who thinks the RoadWarrior life a glamorous one: Really?  Yes, I get to ‘see’ lots of great places.  As long as you define ‘see’ as a path that consists of the Airport, hotel, client office followed by a return visit to the airport.
  11. Taking flights on a non-preferred airline: I fly one preferred airline for a reason (see #3).  I would like them to fly direct from every possible location to every possible location.  Is that too much to ask?
  12. Compact Rental Cars: I hesitate to call half of these cars.  I don’t know how Europe deals with it.
  13. Sunday Travel: I sincerely HATE this.
  14. Friday Return flights: Second only to Sunday departures.  Sundays and Friday are made for family and home.
  15. Conferences: Oh if one could only dream of this world.
  16. Hotel rooms without coffee makers: This is just mean!!
  17. Hotel up-lighting: I realize you want the building to look good from the exterior but if we could manage to find a way to not have a metal halide light equivalent to the sun pointed directly into my window, I would appreciate it.
  18. The forgotten toiletry: There is always something I miss replacing.  Couldn’t a magical fairy replace it for me without my involvement?
  19. Out of Office: Why even bother?  I am always Out of the Office.
  20. Emails from your travel booking system: Yes, I know my trip is upcoming.  So is the one you will email me about tomorrow.  STOP!!  You are just filling up my email box.
  21. TSA Security Line Banter: Yes, I know I need to take off my shoes and belt.  I even know that I am not allowed liquids or gels in containers larger than 4 oz.  I do not need to be continually educated about the procedures as I stand in line to go through the Pre-check line for 20 minutes.denver-tsa-line
  22. Travelers who travel once a year who are TSA Pre-checked: Why did you even bother?   You waited way longer for your interview than you would have going through security.it will fit
  23. Travelers with no sense of special awareness: No, your overstuffed ‘roll aboard’ is not going to fit in the overhead compartment on this Embraer Jet.
  24. Overhead compartments in an Embraer Jet: Really Embraer?   There is not even room for my jacket on the left hand side of the plane.
  25. Clueless casual travelers: (Sensing a trend now?) People – shoes come off, all metal and electronics out of pockets and liquids out of the bag.  It really is not that hard and by the way, look back up at #20 – we have been listening to them tell us this for the last 15 minutes straight.
  26. Barbie Ironing Boards: I paid good money to sleep in your hotel room.  Please provide me an ironing board that actually allows me to iron my shirt.
  27. Something forgotten at home: As hard as I try, there is always something I miss at home.  I get the text from my wife and just want to crawl into the fetal position.  I really could do without this.
  28. Booking 9 AM meetings that start EST when you are actually in PST: This one is completely self-inflicted but dear God, I have got to pay more attention to when a call starts relative to where I will be sleeping the previous night.
  29. Co-workers scheduling calls that start immediately after you land: I realize that the time was ‘free’ on my calendar but seriously, do I have to put an appointment on my calendar that says ‘walk through airport’.
  30. Rental Car Shuttle buses: I know it is impractical but man I wish every rental car pick-up was on airport property.
  31. Unrealistic per diems: I am not an extravagant traveler by any means but sometimes, the hotels that you can get for the company per diem are just not up to snuff.
  32. Expense reports: I know, I know. The aps that are available now make this way easier but I still do not know a single RoadWarrior who enjoys this process.
  33. Useless upgrades: I cannot tell you how many times I have been ‘upgraded’ to the suite level at hotels when I am checking in at 1:00 AM and checking out at 8:00 AM.  Thanks for the extra sitting space that I will not use.
  34. On Demand Movie Preview Channels: I never order them (I have Netflix after all) and as much as I like Mario Lopez, I really don’t need to see him every time I turn on the TV.
  35. Brown Food: Why is it that restaurants (hotel and airport restaurants in particular) serve mainly brown food?  Is it really that hard to make a salad?  There has to be more green than brown food out there, right?
  36. Promotional emails: From everybody.  I am pretty convinced that Southwest Airlines monitors your flight schedule and purposefully sends you an email while you are in flight so you will think about them when you land.
  37. Office get-together emails: It is just mean to send me an email about the leftover bagels/donuts/pizza/happy hour that is going on in the office today.
  38. Slow airport wi-fi: When Jerry Jones built the new Cowboy Stadium, he wanted to be sure that it had the bandwidth to support over 100,000 people posting to social media at the same time without lag.  Airport IT Directors, please take note.
  39. Checked bags: No one needs this drama and time suck.
  40. Worrying about any of this stuff: Life is too short to allow any of the above to affect you.  Love others as God loves you and enjoy the journey.

Hope you got a chuckle at one or two of the above.  See you on the road!

Sometimes you have to improvise

OK – I admit it, I am completely sick of the hotel gym with dumbbells that go through a whopping 50lbs (or in my latest adventure – 30 lbs) and the obligatory elliptical machine and (non-functional) treadmill.  It may just be the fact that I have been on the road a lot lately but it is getting old……fast.

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So you can imagine my elation when I walked into the gym at the hotel on the first leg of my most recent trip and saw her standing in the corner.  She was a 7 foot beauty.  Strong.  Lean.  Shiny.  The cable cross over machine of my dreams.

You mean I can actually do a pull up!?!?!

Oh how my expectations soared.  Pull ups, axe choppers, triceps extensions…….the possibilities were endless.

Or so I thought.

Until my dreams were crushed.  You see, the only attachment available for this wonderful piece of equipment was a straight bar.

What!?!!?   No rope?  No single handles?  No rowing handle?

How dare you crush my dreams!!!

It was time to improvise.  For a very brief moment I felt like Ed Harris in his portrayal of the NASA scientist in Apollo 13.   “OK Gentlemen.  Here is what they have in the capsule.  How do we make a square peg fit in a round hole?”  How do I make this work?  Then I went to work.  Scouring the room for resources.  What could I do?  What could I use?  And then, like a shining white light of salvation in the corner of the room I saw them.

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Towels!!

Your simple, everyday gym towel would come to my rescue.  Throughout my training I have often incorporated towels, gi belts and other fabrics into my workouts to train my grip.   This night was going to be all about using the towel to facilitate my workout.  With the way I feel today, I can tell you that I will be doing this on a regular basis.  My forearms are still on fire and the rest of my upper body is more sore (in all the right ways) than it has been in quite some time.

So how did I incorporate a towel(s) into the mix?  Here’s how.

Pull up – throw the towel over the bar and suddenly you have offset grip pull ups (these are no joke people).  Switch your hands and you have offset grip chin-ups or the one I hope to actually accomplish someday, towel grip pull ups.

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Crossover cable:  Triceps extension…done.  Upright rows….done.  Wood choppers…..done both up and down.  Weighted crunches…..done.   Bicep curls…..done.

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With dumbbells:  Need 70lbsers?  No problem, grab the 30’s and the 40’s and wrap the towel around the handles .  Now not only do you have 70lbs per hand but the weight will shift on you which engages all of the smaller stabilizing muscles.

Improved Ab work:  Ever seen those floor sliders to allow your feet to effortless glide across the floor almost eliminating friction?  Yeah, towels come close (double trick, hit up the breakfast buffet for a couple of paper/plastic plates instead of a towel).  Suddenly my abs are begging that we go back to the world of just trudging along on the treadmill.

So the next time you find yourself discouraged by either the type of equipment available or the condition of the equipment, think about the humble towel and how you may be able to put it to work for you.

See you on the road.

No Skip – No Excuses – No Gain November

The month of November has become a rallying cry for men all over the United States to help bolster men’s health issues including Prostate and Testicular Cancer awareness and research.  For years now, men all over the country have shelved their razors for the month as they participate in either ‘No-shave November’ or ‘Movember’.  Both are a great way of promoting very important issues that men often tend to ignore.

However this year, I was going to pass. 

Not because I don’t believe in the cause nor because I think the charity organizations are not well run (to the contrary, I think they are very well run_.  Nope, this year I was going to pass for one simple and very self-centered reason,

I just don’t look good with a beard.

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I know, it is completely narcissistic and self-serving but with the reaction I received last year, it is clear that the important people in my life prefer me sans beard.

However I wanted to give back and support the cause and I wanted to give you all an option also so I am hereby christening this month as No Skip November.  Evidently it is such a good idea that the folks over at Movember.com thought the same thing and added a movement challenge this year, so whether you drop the razor or not, you can participate.

So for every work out I complete in November, I am donating $5 to the Movember Foundation.  My plan is to not skip a single day in November, even rest days will be active rest days.  The side benefit of it all, it will also be a No Gain November as I .enjoy the holiday season.  However, I don’t want to do this alone.  I am asking for your help.

Nope – check that – I am asking for your participation

There are two ways you can participate:

Donate today:

Your donations are always welcome and appreciated.  You can make your donations here:  http://mobro.co/roadwarriorfit

Join me!!

I am looking to build a team of movers.  Pick the amount you are willing to donate to the cause and then register at http://moteam.co/road-warrior-fit-gives-back to join the team.  The goal is to raise $1,000 in total but just as importantly, the goal is to move.

The second best part about participating with me (the best is helping with awareness and research around men’s health issues) is you are setting yourself up for a No Gain November.  Ever wonder why eating better and exercising more are at the top of nearly everyone’s New Year’s resolutions?  What if you could focus on something else because you are already focused on your health and weight?  Well, you could.

In fact, my wife and I are hosting a No Gain November healthy living group beginning on November 9th.  It is 21-days of focused nutrition and activity and a great way to help hold yourself accountable and if you are so inclined, to help with a great cause.

So how about it, are you ready to join me in No Skip – No Excuse – No Gain November?

The best dates are Sweat Dates

Over the last 4 years, my family and I have dealt with a lot on the health front.  Four years ago, my son was diagnosed with a papilledema, a condition normally associated with a brain or spinal tumor (he did not have one).   I had a near death experience due to a heart condition (I made it obviously but if you want the full story you can read it here) and we topped it all off  with my wife’s battle with breast cancer, including the treatment, double mastectomy and reconstruction that comes with it (she has been cancer free for 2 years now and you can read her story here).  And that is just with those who live under our roof.

When you are confronted with these types of health crises you are forced to look at your health so to say healthy living is a priority with us would be putting it mildly.  It is woven through everything we do, everything we eat and in just about every conversation we have – my sons just love that part.

It also has led to a phenomenon we refer to as:

The Sweat Date!!

As we have traveled this road to health, we have begun working out together on a regular basis.  My wife and I are both BeachBody Coaches so often these workouts are conducted in our living room our outside on the deck but whatever the workout, we are spending between 30 – 60 minutes with each other pushing, motivating, teasing and sweating together.  They have become my favorite part of the week and when I really stop to examine the benefits of the sweat date, there are 5 key benefits that stand out to me in regards to working out with your significant other.

Feel better:

I know, obvious but true.  There is all kind of research out there about the effect of exercise on mood, mental health and of course, overall health.  More than all of that though, doing something with your partner for the long term benefit of you both is uniquely rewarding.  There is something to simply sharing the fight.

More Relationship Security:

In our BeachBody business, it is amazing to me how many men are insecure about their wife getting in shape.  Quite candidly, it blows me away.  Why would a spouse ever be against their significant other getting in better health?  But I can assure you, it is a real occurrence and happens way more often than you would expect.  However a shared journey to being fit builds bonds of security in a relationship as couples travel the road together.

Time spent together:

My wife and I have a blast when we work out together.  It is between 30-60 minutes where we are sharing an experience, working towards a common goal and in many cases, have a common enemy (yes, I am talking about you Autumn Calabrese!!!)

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Healthier eating:

When you focus on health together rather than just exercise, you have to spend time on your diet.  This is so much easier when you are attacking it as a team.   Meals can be prepared for the family and not for an individual who is ‘dieting” (I hate how we use that word) and if you are going through the effort of putting in the exercise you are way less likely to want to compromise those gains by letting your diet go to pieces.

Side benefit of the Sweat Date:

Couples that play together……..well, play together.  Let me spell this out for you, you are exercising, building confidence and connection together.  When you exercise, endorphins are released improving mood as well as health.  You are sharing experiences together.  All of these contribute to a heightened sense of connection in all kinds of ways.  Yeah, we call them dates for a reason.

So there are my top 5 reasons to make time for Sweat Dates in your relationship.  I promise you, if you make your family’s health a priority together your relationship will grow in all of the right ways.

Flip-flops, Jeans and Mickey Mouse – a lesson in wardrobe

I have a confession to make, I am a bit obsessive compulsive when it comes to what I wear on a plane.  I make it my mission in life to make sure I am dressed comfortably before walking down the jet bridge.  I have changed in to “street” clothes in the restrooms of more airports this year than most people will visit in their lifetime and if being able to completely change outfits without any item of clothing or patch of skin hitting the bathroom floor were an Olympic sport, I would have a really good shot at medaling.

You see, I like to travel comfortably.  Really comfortably.

I would say that on 95% of the flights I take, I am in jeans, a t-shirt and flip-flops (assuming the weather permits).  It is what I am most comfortable in and actually what I feel most confident in.

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Those who travel with me on a regular basis have gotten used to my obsession but this was not always the case.  When I first started making this a habit, I often felt judged by both my coworkers and fellow travelers.  When you are in sales or service, you are always on.  Just because you left the client’s office does not mean you are ‘off stage’.   One of the women I used to work for was a fabulous leader and was keenly aware of this fact.  She was always put together and on point.  I think my habit of being in t-shirt actually really bothered her for a while – until we unexpectedly sat together with a client on a flight back from a conference.

There I was with two of the most influential personas in my industry, having an in depth conversation about trends in the industry, future advancements and speculating on the next generations of tools to come forth……..

And I am wearing a Mickey Mouse T-Shirt!!

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I literally wanted to crawl out of my skin (or at least that shirt).  Here I was, trying to make a name for myself and I am wearing a cartoon character across my chest.  I was left with a choice, cower and apologize for not being dressed ‘more appropriately’ or be confident in who I was rather than what I was wearing.

Of course the story has a happy ending and I managed to not make a fool of myself and in fact, that shirt spurred on conversations about our families, vacations and my obsession with the company that is Disney.  It also taught me a very important lesson, the clothes do not in fact make the man.  I firmly believe that the man makes the clothes. I was far more confident in jeans, flip-flops and a Mickey Mouse t-shirt on that plane than I had been just 4 hours early in a sports coat and tie.

The clothes do not make the man.  The man makes the clothes!!

Since then, I would like to think that not conforming to the khaki pants and blue blazer uniform of the typical business traveler has become somewhat of a trademark for me.  I even think that some of my clients/coworkers would be disappointed if showed up for a flight in anything but a t-shirt.  The message in all of this?

Confidence is more important than conformity.

I would rather lose a client/deal because I was transparent than win one because I put on a false front.  It really is that simple.

Life is too short to put perception ahead of transparency.  So travel in a t-shirt, or a bow tie, or yoga pants or a 3-piece suit.  Just make sure it reflects who you really are and the skin you are most comfortable in.

Can’t wait to see what you are wearing.