Tag Archives: mental health

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.

If you want some things to change in your life…you need to change some things in your life!!

One of my former colleagues used to live by the mantra “If you want some things to change in your life, you have to change some things in your life”.  While it is the most obvious of truths, it is difficult for most to actually put in to place.

Think about it.  About this time every year, people start to assess their lives, determine what they would like to change and then make ‘resolutions’ around achieving that change.

C’mon, admit it.  How many of your resolutions have been repeated for 3-years or more?  I am willing to bet most of us have at least one.  I know that in past years, I certainly have.  So I have decided I am not going to call the resolutions of our past ‘resolutions’ any longer – I am going to call them ‘wishes’.  Resolutions imply being resolute – wishes are things that just happen.

Resolved [ri-zolvd]

                Adjective

Firm in purpose or intent; determined

Wishes carry the implication that the results are up to someone else.  The Genie gives Aladdin 3 of them.  Cinderella gets hers granted by her fairy Godmother.  Pinocchio’s are granted by wishing upon a star.  See the trend?  Besides all being Disney classics, they all also relied upon the power of others to receive their wishes.

If it is to be, it is up to me! ~ Anonymous

So how do we ensure that this year we make resolutions vs. wishes?

  • Wishes are nebulous – Resolutions are specific. Eat healthier.  Exercise more.  Reduce debt.  Be a better friend.  All of these are great aspirations but are horrible resolutions.  So if I eat a tomato today with my salad did I achieve the ‘eat healthier’ wish for the year?  Make sure your resolutions are specific in the actions that will help you achieve the larger more nebulous wish.
  • Wishes last forever – Resolutions have an expiration date. When are you going to achieve the end result of all of your hard work?  Put it on a calendar.  This is critical to making the next step work.
  • Wishes focus on the macro – Resolutions focus on the micro. If the end that you have in mind is to lose 30 lbs, we set a goal of a target weight (big picture).  While having the end product in mind is important, you need to focus daily on the little steps that will get you there.  Exercise 5 days a week.  Get your heart rate up to specific levels.  Make sure you do not exceed specific caloric intake levels.
  • Wishes magically happen – Resolutions can be measured. Now that we know what we need to do every day to step closer to our end result, track it.  Cutting back debt?  How much is being paid off and when?  Being a better friend?  Who are the 3 people you reached out to today?  If you did not track it, it did not happen.  Depending on the nature of the resolution, I am sure there are dozens of aps already designed to help you track the activity surrounding your resolution.
  • Wishes are luxury – Resolutions are necessity. When you wish for something, you are neither surprised nor disappointed when it does not happen.  After all, it was a wish.  When you are resolute about something, you are going to make it happen.  It is a necessity.  This especially shows through in 4 out of the 5 of my travel Guardrails.  Want to guess which rule is the one I break the most?
  • Wishes are private – Resolutions are public. Now this one may be uncomfortable but you are far more likely to achieve a goal, even a well-crafted one, when you have accountability.  Find a family member, a mentor, someone on the same path as you or even one of the many website/aps out there that assist with this.

Remember, wanting to make a difference in your life is a good thing!!  Let’s just make sure we are really making resolutions and not just making wishes.

Body Image – What’s your standard?

The holiday season is officially upon us, summer is officially over and for some, this comes as a relief.  For others (like me) it marks the end of our favorite season.  The kids are out of the house and back in school.  Football is back in full swing and the temps are starting to come back down which means there is no need to worry about how the bathing suit fits for another 7 months or so.  Somebody cue up the Kool & The Gang!!

Every year when we transition in and out of summer I am always fascinated with the obsession around the bathing suit.  With people across the nation fretting over the concept of the ideal body I want to ask you, What’s your ideal body?

Who do you spend your time looking at?  For some it is the models on the cover of the magazines.  Others, it is the folks that they see in the gym every day, you know the ones that seem to literally live there.  For me, it is the fighters who train their body to sustain an abuse that I hope you and I never know that I look at the most.  It is an image that I probably should not be so focused on but we are all friends here so I’ll put it out there.

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I spend A LOT of time paying attention to the fighters.  Their training techniques.  Fight results and the news reports around the fights.  These athletes are fittest of the fit.  They have a body fat % that can be measured in the single digits, they train up to 4 times a day and have positioned their bodies to withstand the most abusive physical demands you can imagine.  And yet somehow they are my benchmark.

I have a problem….

When it comes to body image, I have always said I have one particular goal.  I simply want to fill out a T-Shirt well.  I don’t want to be huge but I want to be fit……and then I watch a UFC fight.  These guys are in the prime shape of their lives.  Other than the heavyweights, I would guess that the average body fat % is about 7%.  Tack on 2 – 4 weeks of weight cutting (read: losing up to 25 lbs and dehydrating themselves to the brink of death) and these modern day gladiators present a statute that is completely impossible to keep, even for them.  Doesn’t mean that I still don’t have that mental image in my head every time I run, lift, roll or step on the mat…and it is not healthy.

The reality is I am a 43 year old man who will never step foot inside an Octagon.

Sure, I spar.  I roll.  I train but I am never going to test myself the way these athletes do.  I am also not on the variety of performance enhancing drugs/supplements that these athletes are.  There is literally no way I can achieve the standard they set.  However I still regularly find myself trying to.

  • I don’t have the testosterone level they do.
  • I don’t have the time to train multiple sessions a day
  • I am not dedicated to that purpose
  • It is not my profession…………but yet I still compare myself to these professional athletes who train for a living.

I think I finally know what girls and women around the world have been dealing with for decades.  How can we possibly achieve the standards we see in the media (even without the prolific airbrushing)?  We can’t.  The standards are not realistic and we are picturing the top .001% of the population (probably even more remote than that but still…..) as the ‘standard’.  So give yourself a new standard to measure yourself against.

Measure your future self against your current self.  The only one you are in competition with is yourself.  Simply be better tomorrow than you are today.  That is the gold standard.

Make the time!!

Every once in a while when I am traveling across the country, I land in a spot that is truly unique and when I do, I always try and dedicate the time to enjoy the uniqueness of the area.  Recently, that trip brought me to Buffalo, New York.  You see, Buffalo is a ‘stone’s throw’ from Niagra Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world.

So as this trip originally got booked, I started the researching where I could fit a visit to this natural wonder in.  The spot was obvious – morning before my appointment in the early afternoon.  Of course between when I first planned the whole thing out and the morning of, all that empty time got filled by all kinds of assignments, calls and follow-ups being scheduled (it is amazing what looks good on a calendar).  By the time I went to bed last night, the only way a visit was going to happen was if I got up early and headed up that way.

That morning was one of those ‘Steinbeck Mornings’ – you know, the kind with the best laid plans of mice and men.  Plans that I immediately wanted to ditch.

When that alarm went off at 6 AM – I immediately turned it off.  I had arrived after midnight the night prior, was tired and idea that I could sleep an extra hour was really enticing.  For whatever reason though, I could not go back to sleep.  I knew that if I did not take this opportunity to see the falls, I probably never would.  So begrudgingly, I arose, got dressed, had coffee and headed out on my 20 minute “stones throw” drive to Niagra, NY.

I am so glad I did!!

The falls are amazing.  To see that much unadulterated power falling over the precipice is simply breath taking.

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Was getting up early worth it, unquestionably, yes.

So much so that it is really questioning one of my “Guardrails”.  When I am on the road, I try and pack as much work in as I can.  The thought process is if I get it done on the road, I am not doing it at home.  But at some point there needs to be a balance of effort vs. spirit.  Seeing something like Niagra Falls did more for my spirit and productivity than the extra hour of sleep (or email) ever would have.  It was awe inspiring, humbling, rejuvenating and uplifting.

It also reminded me we have to make the time to revitalize the spirit.

So make the time to recharge.  Will it always be in the overspray of one of the 8 natural wonders of the world?  Probably not but it is still important.

It also reminded me we have to make the time to revitalize the spirit.

So make the time to recharge.  Will it always be in the overspray of one of the 8 natural wonders of the world?  Probably not but it is still important.

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.

What’s on your Bucket List?

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of catching up with a friend at church.  His wife is currently training for her first full IronMan and was out training in the Texas heat by riding 65 miles.  Like I am sure the spouse of any endurance athlete feels every once in a while if they are being honest, he mentioned he was ready for the race to be done so the training could end and it would no longer be on the bucket list.  So I asked him

“Well, what’s on your bucket list?”

His answer was not what I had expected at all.

“I have pretty much done mine.  Martial arts – check.  Hockey – check.  Bass guitar – check.”

That got me really thinking.  If your bucket list is done, what is left?  Simple – adding more items to the bucket list.

Ok Andrew – what is on your travel bucket list?  What the things you want to accomplish around your fitness goals and keeping sane on the road?  So here are the top 5ons my RoadWarriorFit bucket list.

Swim in both the Atlantic and the Pacific on the same day.

I am never sure whether to cry or get excited every time I think about completing this one.  I am the kind of traveler that if I am in sight of the ocean, I have to get salty.  So much so that I have been known to take the last flight out of Miami just so I can hit the beach for an hour or even squeeze in a 30-minute run next to big blue.  I have had the opportunity to complete this one slip through my fingers on 4 different occasions that I can remember.  The challenge here is it usually means I am getting up way early to swim before meetings and staying up way late to swim after my plane lands.   Throw in a 5+ hour flight and that is one really long day.  Going to have to happen though.

Complete a RunDisney event.

If you are unfamiliar with these events, you need to check them out at rundisney.com.  I have registered and paid for 3 different RunDisney events over the last 5 years, including the Inaugural Star Wars ½ Marathon.  I have even gone so far as to train (including the long runs) to be ready and something has come up to prevent me from going.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  TIME.  I am so into this that I even know what my running costume will be if (when, I mean when) I will be able to check this one off.  For a great read on how to really maximize this goal, check out my friend Jennifer’s blog here.

Visit all 50 States:

Last I checked I think I am at 42 states that I have visited for work (43 in total).  I have the sick desire to visit all 50 on work trips.  I know it is a basic bucket list items but still, I want to make this happen.

Run the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Yep, those steps.  The ones Rocky conquers in Rocky III.  The ones I went to run about 2 years ago and headed the wrong direction out of the hotel and never made it.  I can hear the theme music now and can almost taste the raw eggs.

Train at one of the top MMA gyms in the country:

I make it a habit to research, contact and train at the martial arts gyms in my destination cities.  Just this week I trained at Art of Eight in San Diego during my trip.  There are a few top gyms that I have the goal of training with (assuming they let me).  I am one of those freaks who likes to get kicked in the head and who better to get kicked by than those who train with the best?

Bonus item – Workout aggressively in an airport

This one is just silly and I think it would be fun to have someone video other’s reactions while I was doing it.  I want to plan and complete a workout in the terminal of an airport.  And not some walking lunges, wall sit easily hidden workout, no, I want Shaun T/Insanity, sweat dripping,  “What is that freak doing?” kind of a workout.  The kind that would have to take place in another one of those airports with an Admirals Club with showers in it.

I have been blessed to be able to do a lot of really cool things while on the road, especially around fitness but there are a few that have escaped me thus far.  This was my top 5 list – would love to hear yours.  Let me know in the comments below and I look forward to seeing you on the road.

Styrofoam cups and old magazines

I hate them both.  With a passion.

Not because I am some hyper environmentalist nor am I on a green movement to stop the destruction of our planet’s forestation.  No, I hate them because of what they represent to me.

They are the very image of surgical and treatment centers.

This upcoming Saturday, September 5th will be my wife’s 2 year cancerfreeversary.  Yes – we made up a term for it and yes – we celebrate it.  Over the course of the last 2.5 years, I have spent a lot of time in the waiting rooms of medical centers.

What the medical team won’t tell you when a loved one is diagnosed with any disease that involves long term care is the amount of exposure you are going to receive to Styrofoam cups and old magazines.  They won’t tell you that you are going to spend days in waiting rooms.  Waiting for diagnoses.  Waiting for consultations.  Waiting for treatments to complete.  Waiting for recovery.

Waiting.

Helplessly waiting.

Waiting where the only refreshment is either coffee or water – served in Styrofoam cups.

Waiting in rooms where there are old magazines everywhere.

For the loved one of someone going through something like cancer, you will wait a lot and it is the hardest part!!!  Yes, you will be a shoulder to cry on.  You will be a punching bag to work out aggressions.  You will be the encourager when they think they can’t keep going.  You will be a nursemaid as they recover from chemo/radiation/surgery.  You will be all of those things at once but in all of those times, you are doing something.  You can take action.

Once they go back with the medical professionals, you are left to just wait and pray.

Wait with a Styrofoam cup full of coffee and an old magazine to distract you.

I hate Styrofoam cups and old magazines.

But back to something more positive – celebrating the gift that is the cancerfreeversary.

This year we are celebrating by having what we hope to be the final procedure in her reconstruction journey.  In fact, they just rolled her back to administer the anesthesia and begin the procedure.  So I am sitting in yet another waiting room, with my cup of luke warm coffee in a Styrofoam Cup leafing through old magazines deciding between an issue of Seventeen from 2014 or Sports Illustrated from 4 months ago (at least it is featuring Ronda Rousey but with my passion for all things MMA, I guarantee there is nothing new in there for me).

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I hate Styrofoam cups and old magazines but I am so thankful for another opportunity to be here.  I am so thankful for the wonderful health care professionals who provide them and for their dedication to both their patients and their family.

I am so thankful to be celebrating her cancerfreeversary