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“Work Harder” – Gary Vanyerchuk

Have you ever heard a speaker, read a line in a book, listened to an interview or a podcast where someone said something that actually hit you square between the eyes?   Yeah, I figured you had.

This past weekend I got to hear Gary Vanyerchuk speak at conference for Beachbody Coaches.  If you don’t know who he is, Google him because his story is awesome but to summarize, he is on the cutting edge of social media branding.  The way he analyzes each platform for its strengths is right up my alley.

Once you know their strengths – play to their strengths.                              

In general his strategy is to make your content work as smart as possible.  It is not just about throwing content out there, it is throwing the right content that is designed to work on that specific platform.

Now with that background out there, what he said that punched me in the face had nothing to do with content, branding or social media.  His message could be boiled down to two words…….

Work Harder!!!!

C’mon??  Really??  I just finished reading 2 of your books and you are going to give me “Work Harder”!?!?.

Then he followed up those two words with this gem;

“It is actually against my best interest for each of you to succeed.  The more of you that put what I tell you into practice, the more expensive my ads become.  So why am I willing to tell you all my secrets?  Because 90% of you will never actually work harder!!”   – Gary Vanyerchuk

The thing is, he’s right.  The vast majority of the 25,000 or so people who heard that message will not put it into place.

“You don’t know how hard I work.  I already work really hard!!  How can I really work any harder?”

I lost track of how many times I heard this over the last 24 hours from conference attendees.

Honestly for me, I knew I could not push back against that line of reasoning.  I can work harder.  Harder on my relationships.  Harder on my fitness.  Harder on my diet.  Harder in my work.  Harder in my business.

I think what most people miss when they hear “Work Harder” is that the message is not necessarily “Work More”.  So what else can it mean?

Work Focused:

Be honest, how many times do you take out your phone to do something specific and end up perusing your Facebook news feed.  Or your Twitter feed?  Or Instagram?  There is a reason I put this one on the top of the list for me, I need to improve here.

Work Efficiently:

I want you to do something for me.  For the next week, keep track of how many times you are distracted from the task you are looking to accomplish and then track what is pulling you away?  Then ask some hard questions:

Am I setting myself up for this?

Is the environment conducive to getting stuff done or distracting?

Am I looking for distractions?

Am I trying to put tasks together that are polar opposites?

Mix it up:

Just like you may use Yoga as a way to practice active recovery on your “rest day” from working out, use things like personal development as a way to “take a break” from work.  I have been in the habit of doing my own personal development in the mornings.  I am going to experiment with splitting it and doing half in the afternoon/evening as a way to recharge.

Work with a sense of priority:

Here is something I am going to try in my daily life – just like I rank tasks A/B/C as to their priority in needing to get done, I am going to rank them in my desire for doing them.  I am not sure what it will look like just yet but my plan is to mix the tasks I like in with those I don’t so I can keep motivation going throughout the day.

So what does your “Work Harder” look like?  What area of your life would you change if you had a magic wand?   Guess what, you do.  It is called effort and it is the only thing you get to control in this life.

The things you need to bring to Summit that you might not be thinking about.

So we all know that my day job keeps me on the road about 80% of the time (you didn’t think I named this blog after the movie did you?)  Well over the course of the last 15 years, I have identified a few key things to bring with me on trips like the one upcoming this week to Nashville.  For those of you who are not aware, this week 25,000 or so Team Beachbody coaches will gather for great learning, workouts, company updates and of course FUN!!!

While the lessons/guidance below is specifically targeted for the Beachbody audience, anyone who attends any conference can benefit from the lessons below.  So here we go, here are few things you can do now to make sure your experience this weekend is top notch!!!

Plan Ahead:

I cannot overemphasize the need for this in order to make the most of your time.  Look at your track and commitments.  Think about how you are going to get from place to place, outfit to outfit and get the “extras” like visiting The Core in.  If you have not been before, talk to the other coaches in your organization who have as to what was most impactful to them and prioritize.  Then plan on not only the session times but also the waiting time.  Trust me, you do not want to be showing up to anything last minute this week.

Make Single Servings:

If you are anything like me and Joy, you are not even going to consider making it through this weekend without Energize and Hydrate.  However those tubs take up a lot of room in a suitcase.  That is why I always make individual servings in small zip-lock bags before I head out.  The individual packets let me “dump and shake” without any mess to clean up or tub to lug around.  Anything that is left over just gets put back in the tub when I get home (actually for me, I just take it on my next trip).

Pack a……

Water Bottle (that doubles as a shaker bottle):

shaker bottle

This is probably the most important  thing you can remember.  It is going to be hot.  We are going to be working out.  There will be 25,000 of us running around.  The convention center will do their best to keep up with us but in my experience at large conferences, they rarely do.  If you have your own water bottle with you, you can always run to the fountain or restroom and fill up.  Bonus points if it has a built in filter.

Might I also recommend that it double as a shaker bottle?  That way you are only lugging one around with you and saving space in your luggage.

Dish washing soap

shampoo

This one just got added to the list this year.  Think about it, if you are going to use the same bottle for 4 days, you are probably going to want to wash it out.  There is no really good way to do that in a hotel room unless you bring your own dish washing soap.  Just grab a small travel bottle (the kind intended for shampoo, etc) and fill it on up.

Drawstring Backpack

cinch backpack

This is actually just under water bottle in order of importance for me.  With all the running around we are going to do at Summit, these are so handy.  Yes that Coach purse is beautiful but do you really want to bring it on to the streets of Nashville during the super workout?  Didn’t think so.

And guys, this goes double for you.  This fantastic little bag, that packs to nothing in a suitcase, will enable you to bring your phone, wallet, notebook, room key, etc without worry of them falling out of your pockets.  Something that has happened to me multiple times.

Small Wallet

You are not going to need your full wallet with you.  Especially during events like the Super Work Out.  Get a small wallet that will fit your ID, bank card, medical ID and a small amount of cash.  That way, God forbid, if something does happen, it is not your entire life that is missing.

Multi-plug Charger

multi

As someone who stays as many nights in hotels a year as he does at home, trust me on this one.  There are never enough plugs (at least handy ones) in a hotel room.  Now, if you are sharing a room, divide that under-abundance by at least 2.  This small little device is a life saver.

Bonus tip:  Carry it with you to the sessions.  That way, if you need to charge during the sessions, you can always offer to plug it in so multiple people can charge with you.  It is all about being neighborly!!!

Portable battery chargers

battery charger

These are not just for Pokemon Go!  You already know your phone is your life.  The last thing you want is to be leaving the Billy Idol concert (you did qualify, right?  No, its not too late!!), when you pull out your phone to call Uber just to realize it is dead.  Another example of where the weight and space they take up is totally worth it.

Costumes

SillyIdol

As a first time attendee you may be tempted to just “go check it out” rather than go full throttle in participation (I am referring to the 80’s party) – trust me, go full out.  When else as an adult do you get to play make believe like this anymore?

Large zip-lock storage bag

I am talking the storage bags that go under your bed, not 1 gallon freezer bags here.  Your workout clothes are not going to be smelling the most rosy by the time you pack up to head home.  And believe me, you don’t want your bag to be smelling like your workout clothes (have you tried fitting your suitcase into the washing machine before?).  Pack up all those smelly clothes into the bag, zip it up and then IMMEDIATELY UNPACK THEM WHEN YOU GET HOME.

Bonus Tip: Throw a dryer sheet in your suitcase before you leave home.

So there you go, my tips from a RoadWarrior on what you can pack to help you make the most of Nashville and Summit.  Now, this does not even scratch the surface of the things you should have already thought of (like a notebook for all the great ideas you going to glean) but I hope it will help with the more obscure.

Can’t wait to see you all in Nashville!!!  I will be the one in the Leopard Pants with Team #RisingPhoenix!!

Happy Freedom Day!! – Time for carb-less chips!!

The Fourth of July!  Independence Day!  (Treason Day if you are from the UK as one of my good who does hail from Britain proclaimed on Facebook this morning).

It is a day for celebrating, fun in the sun, fireworks and backyard BBQs!  A time for  sweet creamy desserts and salty sides.  But as someone who is currently watching and limiting every carb he takes in, how can I partake in the fun and not be a total Debbie Downer to everyone else?  Enter Carb-less Chips!!

So this morning in prep for our family BBQ, I was making Cloud Bread and decided to experiment on a smaller scale – what about chips?  They turned awesome and you are beneficiary.  Seriously, enjoy

Ingredients:

  • 4 Egg whites
  • 1/2 Tbsp of Water
  • 1/2 tsp of Chipotle Pepper
  1. Pre-heat over to 400 degrees.
  2. imageCombine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk well.
    1. Note:  I use Chipotle Pepper for the spice in this because I like it spicy, feel free to play with the spices that speak to you)
  3. imageSpoon mixture into a cupcake pan (I prefer the mini-cupcake pans but whatever will do) until the bottom of each cupcake is just covered by the mixture.
    1. Note:  You are going to be tempted to overfill, don’t!!  They will come out much crispier the thinner you pour your batter.
  4. Bake for 13-15 minutes checking to make sure they do not burn.
  5. Remove and eat immediately.
    1. Note:  You can also immediately spray with coconut oil and salt if desired.

image

Now you have a way to battle the bowl of chips on the picnic table that everyone else is diving into.  Enjoy!!

The Art of Aging Gracefully……Screw That!!!

I am going kicking and screaming all the way……just being real.

I agree with Tony Horton who recently proclaimed to CNBC that Aging is for Idiots .  I see no reason to allow Father Time to have his way without the fight of his life.

Now with that said, I have had some recent reminders that I am not the young guy I used to be anymore.  For example, just a couple of weeks ago I heard the following statement while visiting a BJJ gym in LA:

IMG_2457

“Yeah, you’ve got that ‘Old Man Strength’”

What!?!?!  Old Man Strength!?!??!!  How about just ‘strength’? Then I took a long hard look around the mat and realized, I was the oldest on the mat by at least 5 years (OK, maybe 10).  That lead to the realization that I could count on two hands how many folks I had rolled with this year that have me beat in age.  How did this happen?  How am I suddenly the ‘old guy’?

Oh, and then there is work……

family

“I can’t believe you have a child that is driving!”

Not quite sure how to react to this one.  Is it because you can’t believe I could be old enough to have a 16 year old child?  Or is it because you cannot believe that my gene pool would be able to produce an offspring with the mental capacity to control a motor vehicle effectively?  I really hope it is the prior although the later certainly is in question.

And then there is Facebook….

wife

“When I grow up I want to be like you and your wife!”

This coming from a thirty-something fitness enthusiast.  You see, Joy and were both presented with the opportunity to audition for the next Beachbody Infomercial for The 21 Day Fix Extreme program by Autumn Calabrese, an opportunity we both jumped at.  So just us and 11,000 other Beachbody super fans are a part of a Facebook group where we regularly post specific assignments and encouragement.   Looking at the feed in this group is inspiring, motivational and humbling as well as a gut check.  You see in this group, I am definitely raising the median age (my wife however is ageless so she is having no affect ).

Why am I sharing all of this?  Because while aging chronologically is inevitable, how you age physically is absolutely a choice.  Not much is within our control any more; politics, economics, job stability, Brexit and the thoughts of others affect us daily but we have zero control over them.  What do you have control over?

  • What you feed your body – are you giving it whole foods in the right portions?
  • What you feed your mind – are you reading regularly? Does the subject matter challenge you?
  • Moving your body – You know the First Law of motion…..a body at rest tends to stay at rest, a body in motion tends to stay in motion. Be in motion – whatever that looks like for you.
  • Effort – Are you giving it everything you can?
  • Consistency – see that whole First Law of Motion thing above

So yeah, we all grow older but how we grow older is a choice.  I choose to embrace Old Man Strength and to control what I can and not place undue worry on what I can’t.  Now if I can just find someone to help me with my old man wardrobe…….

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.

dca ddict

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.

image

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?

Do you exercise, work out or do you train?

Let me start off by saying there is no “right” answer to the question above but how you answer tells a lot about your attitude towards fitness.  It is actually a question that I have really struggled with recently.

“Why do I work out the way I do?” And more pertinently “How do I really want to train?”

Maybe it will help if I define the three options for you.

Exercise:

The person who says “I am going to go exercise” typically does not have a real plan in place.  They may be the one who hits the hotel gym and decides based on availability as to whether they are going to run or hit the elliptical that night.  Now mind you, they are still ahead of 28.3% of Americans, who according to the Physical Activity Counsel have done NO EXERCISE AT ALL over the last 12 months…..and they even included walking the mall as a form of exercise!!  The reality is this group is also the least likely to see any type of real and persistent results from their efforts.  It is also the easiest mindset with which to skip altogether and find yourself among the 28%.

Work Out:

These are the people who typically have at least a semblance of a plan.  They know the muscle group they are going to target or the cardio exercise for the day.  They are usually intentional in their workout and they may even have specific goals for the work out (for example, today my goal was 40 minutes on the treadmill at 7 mph).  They make their time for their work out a priority.

Training:

These people have a specific goal in mind.  For some it is a race (think marathon running), for others it is a competition (fighters and bodybuilders), others still it is an amount of weight to drop.  For me it has been various rank advancement in karate or the occasional grappling tournament.  There is a different intensity to the workouts but more importantly, there is a different intentionality.  You are there in the gym, or on the mat, or on the road with a specific goal and purpose all of which leads up to a larger result.

So why bring this up at all?

Because I find myself in a time of transition.  For the last 7 years I have had something to train for and right now, I don’t.  A random set of circumstances has really thrown my training off the rails.

  • Schedule changes at the dojo preventing me from getting in regularly.
  • Work obligations getting in the way of my lunch BJJ sessions.
  • Nothing on the calendar to run towards (although I am going to run a Disney Race at some point)
  • Traveling an average of 4 days a week

All of these have conspired to put me in a spot where I am not training for anything specific right now.  There have actually been moments over the last few months that I have found myself walking into the gym with absolutely no plan…..and it terrifies me.  The good news is I am still walking in the gym or pressing play every day though.

The reality is that people who have something to train for are more intentional about their exercise regime and far less likely to miss a workout.

No- I don’t have a study to back that claim up other than the anecdotal evidence and my own experiences but the bigger question is how do embrace that fact and apply it?

I want you to think back to High School Physics class and to Newton’s first law of motion.  Do you remember?

A body at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by an external force. 

Intentionality is that external force to our stagnation.  The Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG for all of you Good to Great fans) is what moves people from exercising to training.  You have to have something you are working towards, or running from, that is so motivating that you not only exercise but you do so with intention.

I am on the hunt for mine now and I will be sure to share it when I identify it.  I am one of those weirdos that are not motivated by a number on a scale but by the things I am able to achieve.  That doesn’t mean that the chasing a number is wrong, it is just not what does it for me.

So what is it that will take you from exercising to training?  What is your BHAG?  Can’t wait to hear from you.

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!!!)

Autumn

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.