Tag Archives: work out

Lessons from a near death experience….

So Facebook was kind enough today to remind me that four years ago on this day, I was testing for my black belt in American Karate.  It was a night that I do not remember and one that I will never forget.  That was the night I discovered I had an Atrial Flutter.  It was a night that started a week long hospital stay that included medically induced comas, CAT scans, EKGs and eventually a cardiac ablation (want the full story?  Read it here).

“You do realize you almost died, right?”    –     Dr. Kevin Wheelan

Even though I had just awoken from a 36 hour medically induced nap, couldn’t remember large sections of the previous 48 hours, had two black eyes and was sore everywhere – the severity of my situation did not really hit me until I heard my cardiologist reinforce those words.

The days are now few and far between when I do not think about how lucky I was to survive.  They are also few and far between that I do not think about the lessons that experience taught me.

Prioritize your health:  If I had not made a specific effort in the 18 months leading up to the test, I firmly believe I would not be here today (did you read the link above?).  The majority of the leading causes of death in America are due to preventable diseases that can be controlled/prevented through diet and exercise……so DIET AND EXERCISE!!!

Listen to your body:  If I had not been so hard headed and determined to do whatever it took to get my black belt, I would not have ended up in the hospital.  I knew early on in my test that something was off.  I think I even knew a couple of weeks before that during one of my training sessions.  If I had really listened to my body, I would have had it checked out.

Pay attention to what you fuel it with:  One of the questions that the medical staff asked me repeatedly was did I fuel up with Monster or Red Bull or place energy drink name here.  They only asked me about drugs once.  That crap puts people in the hospital regularly, I avoid it like the plague.

Prepare for the worst:  I have been fortunate to have good guidance on planning for the inevitable.  If I had not made it, Joy and the boys would have been taken care of.  However, not everyone is in that boat.  If you aren’t, get there.  We are not promised tomorrow but we are promised that those around us will have to carry on.  Take care of them.

Bonus learning – If you are in the Dallas area, immediately go to www.lifefight.org and become a member.  Should you or anyone in your family ever need their services, you will thank me.  We spent months of effort and thousands of dollars avoiding a huge medical bill that is completely avoidable.  Think of it like AAA for your family should they ever need air ambulance service.

Pray like it depends on Him:  Between this event, Joy’s Breast Cancer diagnosis, Tyler’s Papilledema and Charlie’s depression, we have learned to pray in earnest around here.  My prayer life got immensely deeper as I recovered and gave thanks daily.   With it came a deeper peace I had not experienced to that point in my life.  Pray like it depends on Him…….because it does.

Now are those the only things that I learned, of course not, but they are the ones that have stuck with me and I think about almost daily.  Knocking on deaths door will change you.  Hopefully I can have done enough knocking for all of us to learn the lessons.

Have Gi – Will Travel: Greensboro Combat Sports

So let me start this post by saying the martial arts community in Greensboro, NC is not what I expected it to be.  For the first time on this National journey, I felt really limited by my choices to train at.  A quick Google search came up with 3 options……THREE!!!

Gym A:  Just posted a letter announcing ownership change and that everything will be just fine……nope.

Gym B:  No website.  No reviews.  No Facebook page……..nope.

Gym C:  Greensboro Combat Sports/Royce Gracie Jiu Jitsu……we have a winner!!!

To summarize, the instruction was good and detailed and the instructor made sure to work with all students in the room.  As with most schools I visit, the number of beginning students by far outweighed those with significant experience but the diversity in the room of body styles, gender and age was great to see.  All in all, worth the mat fee and very glad I took the time to go check it out.

Instructor:  

GCS - Blayne

The class (and school) was lead by a purple belt, Blayne Turnmire (pictured above winning double gold at a recent tournament).  Now before you run off saying “The school is run by a purple belt!!”- as near as I could tell, yes, it is.   Based on my research though, he is also one of the highest ranking people in the Triad area and definitely in Greensboro.  His teaching style was a bit laid back compared to other instructors I have had but it did not lack in detail.  We worked several stand up self defenses (loved it – I don’t do this enough) and then worked on knee-on-belly.

After drilling for 30-minutes or so, we rolled.  Good skill level in the room and a few guys were going hard.  Several of them were competing in a sub-only tournament the following weekend so they were getting after it.  From what I could see on Facebook, looks like they did well and that was not surprising based on my experience with them on the mat.

Attitude towards outsiders:

From what I could gather from Mindy (she really runs the place), the gym regularly has RoadWarriors like myself dropping in for training.  She was quick to respond to my inquiry (and I inquired very much last minute) and commented a couple of times of how she is always surprised how often it happens.  In fact, I was not the only traveling visitor that day.  They had another regular who comes down from Columbus, OH on a regular basis.

As I mentioned before, the class felt less formal than some that I have experienced but when I think back on it, there was definite structure to it.  We bowed in and then went straight into warm ups.  There were no pleasantries between the students (lots between the instructor and the students), it was pretty much straight to work.   Nothing rude or exclusionary mind you, just not a lot of chit chat and welcoming (go back up and see that diversity comment again).

I want to make sure I am painting this picture correctly, I never felt unwanted, shunned, second class or any other form of being boxed out as an outsider.  However unlike other gyms I have dropped in on, I think I would have to reintroduce myself to everyone there.

Facilities:

Located just West of downtown Greensboro, the gym is in a converted warehouse building, it has a HUGE mat space that is separate from an additional mat for stand-up training.  It also boasted full weight training equipment scattered around the gym.

One warning, it is not the CrossFit gym……the one that happens to be next door.  You can guess how I know they are separate facilities.

Overall Experience:

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I really enjoyed my time at Greensboro Combat Sports.  I actually took part in a fight fit class before rolling so got to experience a couple of different types of training.  The technique instruction was exactly what I have been trying to work on so it fit with my training perfectly.  And while the atmosphere was a bit more lax than what I have experienced elsewhere, the jujitsu was on point.

So if you find yourself in the Greensboro area and are looking for a place to train, look no further than Greensboro Combat Sports.  It is proof that just because you don’t have much of a selection doesn’t mean that you don’t have the opportunity to get some great training in!!

See you on the road!!

 

Get the most out of your RealWorld Experience!!

realworld

Yep, it is that time again already, the annual RealPage User Conference aka REALWORLD 2016!!!

Now this is going to be my 6th RealWorld Conference (how can that possibly be?).  For those not in the know, RealWorld is the conference specifically dedicated to RealPage and their partners where we showcase the latest developments in the industry, the product improvements being delivered/developed and most important, thank our partners for their continued partnership.  It is 3 days of networking, learning, previews and fun but let’s face it, it is also long days, longer evenings and tight schedules.  In order to make the most of the sessions and travel fit, you have to have a strategy to thrive.

This is also my 3rd year of providing a few of my tips and tricks to not just surviving the conference but really making the most of it for both education and fintess.  So here are my RealWorld rules to live by:

Tip #1: Plan ahead:

I know I say this every year but I cannot over emphasize this one enough; Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail.  If your plan is showing up at the conference and “figure it out” you are in for a rough time.……not going to happen.  There are just too many great options of sessions to attend and fellow RealPage users to meet.  If you don’t plan ahead you are guaranteed to miss a ‘can’t miss’ session and for sure your workout is not going to get done.

Realworldapp

So if you haven’t already, go download the RealWorld App right now.  Seriously, I’ll wait.

Now, immediately start adding your must attend sessions to your calendar.  Might I suggest ‘Stack the Deck with Business Intelligence’ on Tuesday morning as a starting point?  I hear the speaker for that one is sub-par but the material should be great!!

Once you know when your ‘Can’t miss’ sessions are, you can fill in the rest of the time slots for meetings, networking, product demos and down time.

Tip #2: Stay hydrated:

water bottle refill

You know you should normally be drinking 8 glasses of water a day.  Well , this year we are at the beautiful Wynn hotel.  If you have never been to a conference at this hotel, I will give you fair warning, it is a long way from the rooms to the conference center.  A LONG WAY!!  So you are going to be walking more than you normally do and potentially imbibing on an alcoholic drink or two in the evening, and oh yeah, this is all happening in the middle of the dessert.  I am going to recommend you up your water intake from the standard 8 glasses.  Trust me, you will thank me when you are waking up on days 2 & 3 of the conference.  Now this is where planning comes in again.  I find that it is a very rare thing to find a conference center that keeps the water pitchers/bottles full throughout the conference.

SO BRING YOUR OWN!!

You may not always be able to find a nice chilled bottle of FIJI but you can usually find a water fountain to fill up your own bottle.  And if you are anything like me, you find an empty water bottle strangely motivational.

Tip #3: Recharge:

weary traveler

This will look different for each of us but I find I need a point in my day to recharge more than just my phone.  For me, it is time in the gym.   I can get my head on straight and work all the kinks out that I am feeling from standing all day.  For others it is a power nap in the room, others it is 15 minutes in the sun out by the pool.  Whatever it is that recharges and helps your re-center your mindset, make sure you have time built in each day to accomplish it.

Now we also need to think about that phone, so don’t forget your mobile charger!  We want to hear your thoughts throughout the day (follow the hashtag #RWconf2016 to join the conversation).

Tip #4: Eat well & Eat often:

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Make sure you take the time to eat like you should.  Do not sacrifice the quality of your diet because you need to rush somewhere.  Stop by the store on the way to the hotel and grab some snacks for the room (don’t get me started on the mini-bar options for $10 bucks each).  Put a bar in your purse.  Throw an apple in your bag for later in the day.  Your body needs fuel to thrive vs. survive.  Give it what it needs.

Bonus Tip:  Most hotels that host conferences have pretty good gyms.  Gyms where they actual stock fruit for the taking.

Tip #5: Have fun:

If this is your first RealWorld Conference, you are in for a treat.  It is a blast, especially the party on Monday night.  Although not themed this year, in the past we have celebrated the lives of people like Dr. Seuss or given our best superhero impersonation.

wolverine ABDr. Seuss

The party is a celebration of our partnership with all of you and we pull out all of the stops.  This year promises to be a lavish affair….even if Wolverine will not be showing up.

Bonus Tip #6:

For those of you who are runners (or are even thinking about running), I cannot recommend skipping the treadmill in the morning enough.  Running the Las Vegas strip in the early morning is in my top 5 runs in the country.

Seriously, the people watching is unbelievable!!!

In fact, even if you don’t run, wake up a bit early on Monday or Tuesday and head out for a walk.  I promise that not only will you feel better but you will have conversation topics for the rest of the day!!

Time for me to go pack and finish my presentations but hopefully I will see you at RealWorld!!

Have Gi – Will Travel : North Broadway JiuJitsu, Bryan Guidry Fitness Training

In researching for a trip to St. Louis, all of the opinions, reviews and most importantly for me, operating hours (they were open later than all the rest) were pointing me to North Broadway Jiu Jitsu – Bryan Guidry Training.

I happened to attend on a day that the focus was No-Gi so I should probably call this one “No-Gi : Will Travel”.   I also had the good fortune to be able to attend on a night when both traditional class and all rank sparring sessions were being held so I got to roll with folks of all belt ranks and experience a great deal of what NBJJ has to offer.

To summarize, the instruction was great.  Although the group was a bit slow to warm up to the outsiders in the room (they were never cold), once we started going, the atmosphere was one of encouragement and support.  The rolling was strong and intense but without ego or intent to harm.  All in all, I had a great experience.

Instructor:  

Bryan Guidry

Professor Bryan was one of the best teachers I have experienced in a while.   My first class was all about technique and drills.  We were specifically working on sweeps from Butterfly Guard.   He was detailed in his explanations, clear in his demonstrations and then most importantly, followed up with specific instructions/corrections to each of us as he observed us working the techniques.  This last step is one that I have seen several instructors skip.  Even with the outsiders, Professor Bryan was observing and providing the feedback necessary to get the technique right.

I was also fortunate enough to get to roll with him in the sparring class.  Like any good instructor, he would let me get in trouble, attempt to work out of it and then show me that everything I was doing was futile.  Six minutes of attempted survival.

Attitude towards outsiders:

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Bryan Guidry has developed a reputation as the place to train in St. Louis.  With this reputation comes a lot of folks that are in just for a session or a week.  In fact, on the evening I visited there was another guy who was in from upstate Missouri looking for a place to train when he is in St. Louis 3-4 days a week.  All this to say, this group is very used to visitors.

The guys were obviously tight knit with a great deal of pre-class conversation around who was rolling in the upcoming submission only tournament, how people’s jobs were progressing, etc.  There was not a lot of pleasantries with the two ‘newbies’ before class but once Professor Guidry got class going, the group was warm and welcoming.  Truth be told, this may also be my introverted nature coming through as well.

Once we got rolling, the guys were great.  No egos, lots of diverse styles and a great willingness to help each other.  Great culture.

Facilities:

OK, this is a gym you are going to want to map out to get to.  If Professor Bryan ever has someone say they were ‘just driving by’ – they are full of it.  It is off the beaten path however the facility itself is definitely put together to train.  Located in a converted warehouse building, it has a large mat space (there were close 20 of us rolling at any one time), a full weight/cardio room and sauna.

Both men’s and women’s locker rooms and showers are available.  Bonus was the ”member lounge” that doubled as a spot for the kids of those rolling to hang out in.  Only downfall to the space was the pillars in the middle of the mat.  Completely avoidable as you roll but could get in the way when Professor was demonstrating a technique.

Overall Experience:

I really enjoyed my time at North Broadway Jiu Jitsu.  I have definitely been to better facilities but the skill of Professor Bryan both on the mat and more importantly, as an instructor, as well as the guys who were rolling make up for any short comings that the facility may present.  My only regret was I was not able to train in the Gi but that was all about timing, besides, Professor Bryan has a whole series on the internet so I can study with him while I am at home or on the road.

One final note, you will notice I didn’t mention anything about the kids program or women on the mat.  I am 100% sure this was just due to the timing of my visit but I did not see either while at NBJJ.  The only reason I mention it here is it is normally a big part of my assessment of a gym.  In this case, there were no kids classes offered on the Tuesday I had the opportunity to roll.  As for women, none showed for the classes I took but one scroll through their Facebook page clearly shows that women regularly attend (at least) Gi classes.

So if you are in the market for a training facility in St. Louis, North Broadway Jiu Jitsu is worth the visit.

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…….

NAA is coming!!! Are you ready to put you first?

MY TOP 5 CONFERENCE SURVIVAL TIPS

As a part of my ‘real life’, I participate in the occasional conference.

Actually, I live in conference hotels from mid-June through the end of August.  

Over the course of the next 3 months I will attend, participate on the exhibitor floor, be a part of the host organization and/or speak at at least a half a dozen conferences.  In fact I will be packing this weekend to join 9000 other people from the apartment industry for the annual National Apartment Association Education Conference in San Francisco.  This season is a brutal but very necessary season for my industry and through experience over the last few years, I have developed a strategy to make the most of both the conference material and my health while I am on the conference circuit.  Here are my conference rules to live by:

Tip #1: Plan ahead:

I cannot over emphasize this one enough; Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail.  If your plan is showing up at the conference and getting a workout in ‘whenever there is time’……not going to happen.  How would that play out if you planned on getting together with your clients ‘whenever there is time’?  It wouldn’t.

Plan your day and block out your workout time.  How much time do you need?  Where is the gym?  Is the conference so far away from your room that you will be walking 20,000 steps each day anyways?  As I look at my calendar for this upcoming week, I know I have to get my workouts in in the morning or they are simply not going to happen, my afternoons are filled with appointments and evenings with industry events.  For me it means running  early (this year we are running the Golden Gate – so excited) and hitting the weight room in the early evening before dinner to accomplish Tip #3.

Tip #2: Stay hydrated:

You know you should normally be drinking 8 glasses of water a day.  Well if you are going to be in a ginormous conference facility, walking more than you normally do and potentially imbibing on an alcoholic drink or two in the evening, I am going to recommend you up your water intake from the standard 8 glasses.  Trust me, you will thank me when you are waking up on days 2 & 3 of the conference.  Now this is where planning comes in again.  I find that it is a very rare thing to find a conference center that keeps the water pitchers/bottles full throughout the conference.

                SO BRING YOUR OWN!!

You may not always be able to find a nice chilled bottle of FIJI but you can usually find a water fountain to fill up your own bottle.  And if you are anything like me, you find an empty water bottle strangely motivational..

Tip #3: Recharge:

This will look different for each of us but I find I need a point in my day to recharge more than just my phone.  For me, it is time in the gym.   I can get my head on straight and work all the kinks out that I am feeling from standing all day.  For others it is a power nap in the room.  Others it is 15 minutes in the sun out by the pool or on the deck.  Whatever it is that recharges and helps your re-center your mindset, make sure you have time built in each day to accomplish it.

Tip #4: Eat well & Eat often:

Make sure you take the time to eat like you should.  Do not sacrifice the quality of your diet because you need to rush somewhere.  Stop by the store on the way to the hotel and grab some snacks for the room (don’t get me started on the mini-bar options for $10 bucks each).  Put a bar in your purse.  Throw an apple in your bag for later in the day.  Your body needs fuel to thrive vs. survive.  Give it what it needs.

 Bonus Tip:  Most hotels that host conferences have pretty good gyms, gyms where they actual stock fruit for the taking.   

Tip #5: Have fun:

I just added this one to the list this year.  I usually enjoy myself at these conferences but this year I am being intentional about it.

So even if you are already on the ground enjoying the “fruits” of Napa Valley– these are little things you can do to set yourself up for a great time without feeling too much wear and tear.

Time for me to go pack and here is hoping to see you on the road.