Daily Dose of Coach #422: 3 Apps I Use Daily for Health and Performance

You may have heard the statement, "what gets measured, gets done."

This is true for everything, especially health and performance.

I wanted to share with you three apps I use daily to track three significant aspects of this: nutrition, sleep, and training.

App #1: Myfitnesspal

If you read my emails, you've heard me speak plenty about tracking food. Especially if your goal is to lose weight and/or improve your body composition (decrease body fat + increase muscle).

Tracking food through this app has always been a game-changer for me and, in my opinion, has been the biggest contributing factor I've seen in those who want to lose weight.

Myfitnesspal makes food tracking simple and easy. Once your body weight goal is established, it helps you determine the estimated calorie range you should take in daily, including your macronutrients (carbs, protein, fats)

As you scan foods on the barcode or put in your recipes, the app has almost every food you can imagine in its database. It lets you choose the number of servings and delivers to you the full nutrition content of what you just ate.

I use the premium version that gives you your macronutrient breakdown for every meal as well as lists the foods you ate highest in carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

The good thing about this app is the only device you need is your phone and is compatible with all software.

App #2: Pillow

In the past, I've used my Fitbit to track my sleep. However, between accuracy problems with the heart rate monitor, activity, and sleep tracking, I moved to the Apple Watch.

Yes, for Pillow, you will need an Apple Watch.

Anyway, the Pillow app is a free app that tracks your sleep through your watch. You set up your sleep time goal and let the tech do the work from there.

After each night of sleep, you'll be able to see how long you slept vs. actually time in bed, your sleep quality in a percentage form, and a breakdown of when you were awake, in light sleep, REM, and deep sleep.

In the free version, you can monitor this daily. You'll have to upgrade to the premium to check your history, see how your heart rate fluctuates throughout the night. Through that info, the app can help you find your optimal bedtime.

App #3: My Training App

This isn't necessarily a plug for my training app, but rather how I use it to track my training.

Just like the programs I design for my clients, I create each one of my plans in 8-12 week cycles. Or, I have my smart friends help me design and try new programs I've never done before.

No matter what, they can all live in my app, are scheduled and tracked every time I do them.

The app can track everything, including body weight, body composition, holds before and after photos, and can be directly linked to your Myfitnesspal account to track your daily calories.

The thing I love about the app that as it tracks your weights, it notifies you whenever you've performed a personal best in weight lifted or volume, as well as keeps your estimated one-repetition max.

To me, this is important because I base most of my training programs on percentages.

In the newest version, when you complete your workout, it asks you to rate the difficulty of the program. This helps with not just how hard the workout was, but can also be affected by how you are feeling that day.

All data is saved and easily retrieved and usable on the app.

Daily Dose of Coach #421: The Humility Trait

"As a leadership trait, humility is a heart attitude that reflects a keen understanding of your limitations to accomplish something on your own. It gives credit to forces other than your own knowledge or effort when a victory is won or an obstacle is overcome." Ken Blanchard

Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

In 2014, he threw his 509th touchdown pass, surpassing Brett Farve as the all-time leader.

As a fan of Manning and the Denver Broncos it was incredible to witness. But, what I found even more incredible was how one of the classiest players ever to play the game handled his success.

When Manning threw 508 and tied the record, rather than celebrating he went back to the bench and started preparing for the next drive looking at coverages and talking to his coaches.

The next possession, Manning threw touchdown 509 putting himself alone on top of the record books. As the night concluded, the Broncos walked off the field with a victory over the 49ers.

After the game, Manning was able to celebrate with his teammates in the locker room getting the game ball from coach John Fox. In his post-game speech , Manning with all the humility and grace in the world said this:

"Great team effort guys. Obviously, this is a special night. But it's only special because the way we played on both sides of the ball. That was a great team win. Let's keep it going, and I'm honored to be your teammate. I appreciate you guys very much, let's break it down..."

Peyton Manning possesses the greatest quality a leader can have, humility. Humility has allowed Peyton Manning to utilize his God-given talent and opportunities, passion and work ethic and turn it into being considered one of the greatest to ever play.

After multiple neck surgeries, super-bowl losses, and getting ousted by the team who drafted him, Manning continued to be true to himself.

It's much more than throwing touchdowns. The records are all due to the preparation, the hours of work, the leadership he exemplified, the passion for mastering his craft and making others better around him.

The very best become the very best because of humility.

As leadership author John Maxwell says: People with a lot of talent often perform at a high level, but the greatest--the absolute best of the best--achieve the highest heights because they possess the spirit of learning."

Approach what you do with humility. Let every set-back lead you to a learning opportunity. Embrace the work and effort you have to give to be the best. Appreciate and thank all those around you who make it possible for you to succeed.

Daily Dose of Coach #421: Sleep, Inury and Young Athletes

One of the primary areas of performance I try to speak with my young athletes about is sleep.

Because of the pressure of schedules, homework, travel, practice, training, social life, etc., sleep seems to be one of those things that is cast aside.

Add social media to this and a child, when they are supposed to be going to sleep, waste precious minutes scrolling through pages of nonsense. This, all at the cost of preparing for and the act of falling asleep.

A study in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics called, "Chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased sports injuries in adolescent athletes," found if athletes don't get eight hours of sleep per night, they are 1.7 times at greater risk of injury than those who do.

This could be due to decreased reaction times and overall cognitive function.

If a young athlete has weekend games, sleep debt can certainly add up over a long week of over-scheduled responsibilities and lack of prioritizing sleep.

Over-scheduled or not, the athlete must commit to placing sleep as a priority. It's not just performance, but the health of the athlete that could be at stake.

Daily Dose of Coach #420: Getting Rid of Crap Carbs and Sugar

I am currently trying two get two things out of my life, crap carbs, and refined sugars.

Crap carbs are processed carbs (or, to keep things simple for myself; any bread). Refined sugars are sweets like ice cream, candies, pastries, etc.

Picking up food for my kids last night already had me tempted. As I drove home with the smell of Chic-Fila Waffle fries in my car, it was damn near impossible not to reach over and just grab one. But, I didn't.

There are plenty of reasons to not eat crap carbs and refined sugar. Many times it's training our brain and our taste buds to help us accomplish this.

There's a great article called, Seven Uncomplicated Ways to Re-Train Your Tastebuds and Eat less Sugar , by the Poliquin Group. It dives into why we can't seem to get enough sugar and how food companies take full advantage of this.

It then gives this list of seven ways to take in less sugar:

1- Don't add sugar to food or beverages

2- Replace processed carbs with complex carbs

3- Read all food labels

4- Plan meals around whole protein instead of carb-based foods

5- Avoid all sweetened beverages and fruit juice

6- Minimize fructose intake

7- Accept that there is no healthy sugar.

Looking at this list, I'm sure you can find one or two you could improve on. For me, it's planning meals around whole protein and simply replacing processed with complex carbs.

Reducing the sugar in your life is never an easy thing to do. But it may be the best thing for your health and performance.

Daily Dose of Coach #419: Ready Vs. Prepared

“You hit home runs not by chance, but from preparation.” Rodger Maris

Preparation is one of the most overlooked and underutilized areas of success.

Most of the time it's because we are okay with being ready, rather than prepared.

I can remember multiple times when I didn't give my best performance in something from school, to sports, to delivering as a coach because of my unwillingness to adequately prepare.

Being ready usually gets done what needs to be done. You show up; you are ready to do what is asked of you. There isn't much thought of what you are going to do until you show up.

While being prepared is much different. When you have prepared you've taken time to think.

You've done your research on either your opponent, or the best way to complete and deliver the task at hand. You've taken time to rehearse and practice. You have a different level of expectation for yourself and feel a greater sense of responsibility for performing well.

So what stops us from being prepared over just being ready. I think it's a few things.

First, its arrogance. I remember the first presentation I did for the National Strength and Conditioning Association way back in 2003. I was a young, a little over-confident, and thought I knew the material so well I could walk in and do a great job in the presentation.

My boss and co-presenter at the time was a little older and wiser than me. He wanted to continue to rehearse our presentation. He wanted to practice on the car ride there, dinner, the hotel room, breakfast, basically any free time we had.

I thought it was ludicrous. In my mind, I'd done all these things so much I could walk out and talk about it to anyone.

And though the presentation went well, I remember thinking it could have been much better. There were things that if I just would have thought about and prepared, I'd have done a much better job. I left some on the table, and it still bothers me to this day.

Second is procrastination. Preparation takes a time, energy, and brainpower. It's like studying for a test in school. How many times have we put it off to the last minute, hoping for the best? You may be able to get away with that in school, but in real life, these things matter.

Third, is lack of desire. Those who prepare and prepare diligently have a desire to be the best at what they do. They leave no stone unturned. They are confident on the big stage because they know they have done all the work. Being ready, but not being completely prepared, is saying that you care, but not that much.

Coach John Wooden said, " Preparation doesn’t begin with what you do. It begins with what you believe. If you believe that your success tomorrow depends on what you do today, then you will treat today differently. What you receive tomorrow depends on what you believe today. If you are preparing today, chances are, you will not be repairing tomorrow."

Are you ready or prepared? Make sure you ask yourself this question before anything you do. Your success and how far you will continue to go will 100% depend on it.

Daily Dose of Coach #418: The Quaility Every Team Needs

“I want winners. I want people who want to win.” Mike Singletary

Early in Michael Jordan's career, Jerry Kraus, the newly hired general manager sat down with Jordan to discuss the current roster. Of the twelve players that was currently on the roster, Kraus wanted only three. He believed these three players were the core of the team. They also fit the new system of play, Tex Winter's triangle offense.

As he began the discussions with Jordan, Kraus emphasized, "I believe you have a chance to be a great player. I'm going to try to get players around you who to work with you."

Jordan said emphatically, "No...don't get players who can work with me, get players we can win with."

With regards to just about anything in life, but especially sports, there aren't too many characteristics that are more important than competitive fire or a burning desire to win.

Jordan knew this at a young age, as he was one of the most well-documented competitors of all time.

Early in my career, I was training a CEO of a fortune 500 company. I asked him, "When you hire someone, what do you look for?"

His answer was, "Character, over-average intelligence, and a burning desire to win.

This list has stuck with me since and is a guideline I've used in trying to place people around me.

Like Jerry Kraus, I've gone the route of finding people to compliment what I did well. And they did. The mistake was when I found these people, but they had no "juice." They had no fire their belly. They were complimentary, but not competitive. They did not possess that burning desire to win.

I have learned you cannot motivate the unmotivated. Instead, find those who are motivated and feed that drive.

Vince Lombardi said, "Winning is not everything, but wanting to win is." Michael Jordan found these players and won six NBA championships. His relentless drive to win attracted and pushed the players around him to greatness.

Never underestimate a competitive spirit. It's the number one collective quality every team needs.

Daily Dose of Coach #418: Adversity, Getting Benched, and Handling It

New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning will go down as one of the most celebrated quarterbacks in this storied franchises' history.

A winner to two Superbowl's and two Superbowl MVP's, Manning has been nothing but the consummate professional since he entered the NFL in 2004.

If you follow NFL football, you'll know that past few seasons haven't been great for Manning and Giants. And this year started no better.

And starting 0-2, the Giants decided to bench their long-time quarterback, replacing him with Daniel Jones, the sixth pick in this years NFL draft.

Yesterday, I listened to a locker room interview with Manning as he showed the world, once again, how to be a professional, a great teammate, and how to put the team in front of the individual.

In this day and age, this is rare. And the attitude of "me first" and putting oneself before the team is plaguing everything down to youth sports.

You see it as early as little league and into high school sports. Kids jump teams because they don't think they are playing enough or can't deal with competing for the position they want to play.

One of my favorite sayings in these situations is you have to "give them no choice." Meaning if you want a spot on a team, if you're going to be recognized as a great contributor in anything you do, it's your responsibility. Ninety-nine percent of the time you can't blame it on anything else.

Manning is a competitive elite athlete. He's disappointed. It never feels good to be demoted, especially in the national spotlight.

But, I admire his ability to keep it about the team, helping Daniel Jones become a better player, and about figuring out a way to get his team back to winning games.

Take note, especially young athletes. This is how you handle adversity. You don't cry and blame things on everyone else. You do what's best for your team, continue to work hard, and work to the point where the team has no choice but to put you back where you belong.

Daily Dose of Coach #417: How to Get 5 Servings of Fruits and Veggies a Day

For most of us, it seems difficult to get in 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. But for optimal health and performance, this should be a non-negotiable.

Below is a breakdown of how to get this done:

Breakfast: Add a 1/2 avocado with two eggs. But blueberries in your Greek Yogurt or Steel Cut Oatmeal.

Mid-Morning: Pack a Banana, Orange, Baby Carrots, or Sweet Peppers.

Lunch: Have a mixed-green salad with a protein topping (grilled chicken, steak, tuna).

Mid-Afternoon: Protein shake with some type of green like kale. Add mixed berries as well.

Dinner: Have vegetable kebabs with steak, chicken, or shrimp.

After Dinner: Greek yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit (blueberries, mixed berries, grapes, pineapples, etc.)

Daily Dose of Coach #416: The Greatest Limiting Factor in Performance and Health

Dr. Cheri Mah, of the University of California San Francisco, who is a sleep consultant for all major American professional sports, did a study on the effects of sleep and athletic performance about ten years ago.

The original study was with collegiate basketball players. Her research showed how players who went from 6.5 to 8 hours of sleep per night made large improvements in their performance.

The statistics were pretty staggering: a 5% increase in speed, 9% increase in free throw percentage, and 9.2% increase in three-point percentage. These improvements happened in two months.

In her research with other athletes, she found everything from football and baseball players having better reaction times, to tennis players having better first serve percentages.

Her work concludes that athletes need 8-10 hours of sleep!

And not just athletes. Lack of sleep is an epidemic in industrialized nations and is a precursor to everything from type II diabetes, to cardiovascular disease to anxiety and depression.

Sleep is a low hanging fruit. It's not something most of us have to work hard for. It's something we just need to commit to doing.

While athletes need to commit to 8-10 hours of sleep, adults should commit to at least 8 for health and performance reasons.

Whether you are an athlete or someone who wants to perform at a high level in life, your health is where it all starts.

And health begins with getting plenty of quality sleep.

Don't take this for granted, it could, right now, be your greatest limiting factor.

Daily Dose of Coach #415: Losers and Should Of's

“Don’t be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one, it makes you that much stronger. If you do little jobs well, the big ones tend to take care of themselves.” Andrew Carnegie

Baseball legend, Ty Cobb was thought to have a nervous tick of kicking the base every time he got on first base. However, this was no tick at all. It was a seemingly paltry strategy to move first base closer to second base.

By doing this enough times, Cobb thought he could get the bases a full two inches closer together. By doing this, it improved his chances of stealing a base or reaching second base safely on a hit.

When you think of two inches, you would think that wouldn't make much of a difference in ninety-feet. But a great competitor understands it's the small things done with consistency and focus that make all the difference in the end goal.

And not just at the end of a game, but at the end of the season, or the end of any goal we are trying to achieve. Author Kevin Eastman says, "Every day counts on the last day."

I'll take it a little bit further and say every action or inaction we take EACH day counts on the last day.

Taking plays off during a game, taking workouts off because you just don't feel like working out, giving a half-hearted effort in practice because you think practice doesn't matter, it all counts.

Whether your goal is to win a championship, look like a physical specimen, or become the top salesperson in your company, everything counts!

There are a lot of things that get away from us during the day that should have been done. And when the time comes for results, and they weren't achieved, you'll have to sit back and say, "I should have done this."

Most of the time you find those should of's weren't that difficult to do, you just decided at that time it wasn't that important.

Losers lose and talk about their should of's. Winners get done what needs to be done. They take care of every day, every day.

Daily Dose of Coach #414: Athletes Success Is Found In Their Schedule

I read a great article this week by former New York Yankee's Director of Strength and Conditioning, Dan Cavalea .

In it, he talked about just how structured Derek Jeter was with his day, especially during the nine months of the season.

Everything important to Jeter's performance was scheduled and ritualized from training, to meals, to work, to rest and recovery.

To get and maintain this type of rigid structure, Coach Cavalea suggested asking yourself these questions:

  • What do I do in the AM when I get up

  • What do I do in the AM before lunch

  • What do I do after lunch

  • What do I do after work/school

  • What do I do after dinner

  • What I do right before bed

These questions will help you as an athlete develop the habits and rituals to become the highest performer possible. These should especially include improving and executing valuable practices in sleep, nutrition, and recovery.

Training in both skills and performance are usually the "easier" things to get done as a motivated athlete, but are only a part of what it takes.

Coach Cavalea quotes this years tennis great and US Open Champion, Rafael Nadal saying, "To win, you have to be prepared to suffer."

There's nothing fun about doing all these things consistently. But, this is the sacrifice that all great athletes and high performers will make to be the best for themselves and their teams.

Daily Dose of Coach #413: Three Daily Supplements for Health

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about not worrying about supplements until you have mastered the basics of your diet.

But even with improving the basics, daily servings of protein, vegetables and fish oils can be challenging to attain.

These supplements, taken daily, will help you accomplish this:

1. A Protein Supplement: Most days it's difficult to get the recommended amount of protein. When you are training, it's advised to consume 1g of protein per body weight. However, most males only ingest 110-130, while most females are around 80-110. A good protein supplement can fill the gap. The best way I've found to do this is one to two protein shakes per day.

2. Green Foods Supplement : Fruits and vegetables are another areas where we tend to fall short. On average, only 5% of men and women meet the recommended fruit and vegetable intake of 3-5 servings per day. An excellent green food supplement can help you reach that goal.

1. Fish Oils: The average American gets only 1/3 of the recommended 900mg of DHA and EPA per day. Fish oils contain DHA and EPA which are healthy fats that are only found in fish oils. Fish oils have been shown to help prevent and manage heart disease, lower blood pressure and reduce chances of heart attack and stroke.

Daily Dose of Coach #412: Can You Do This?

I often say if I was stranded on an island and I could only do one exercise, it would be the Turkish Get-Up . It incorporates just about everything essential in fundamental human movement from mobility to strength to coordination.

Physical Therapist and movement guru, Grey Cook, in an article named The Great Equalizers, wrote:

"The Turkish Get-Up challenges three levels of competency or capacity, and it will usually expose them in the order they need to be corrected. Let’s consider these three points as equal contributions of a complete physical perspective or the three equal slices that make up the complete circle.

Minimal movement competency—fundamental mobility and stability

Minimal physical capacity—strength, endurance, coordination

Technical competency—education and execution of a movement skill

In the video in this link , you'll see this woman doing a TGU with a shoe on her fist displaying movement competency, physical capacity, and technical competency.

If you're interested in just how well your body is functioning, grab a shoe, drop down to the floor and do a Turkish Get-Up with a shoe on your fist.

Do 2-3 repetitions each side. Go slowly through each step.

Notice the differences in how your body moves on one side compared to the other. If you can't keep the shoe balanced on your fist, notice at what part of the movement it falls to the ground.

Let me know how it goes.

Daily Dose of Coach #410: The Perfectionist

"Perfectionism is not the same thing as trying to be our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it's a shield ." Brene Brown

I used to think it was cool to call myself a perfectionist until I realized that being a self-proclaimed perfectionist doesn't get you anywhere or make you sound cool at all.

Now it just kind of makes me cringe when I hear the words, "I'm a perfectionist." Those words are usually followed with an excuse why something isn't getting accomplished. And that's all it is, an excuse.

There have been too many times when I haven't launched or didn't even start something because I was too busy being a "perfectionist. " This is so dumb.

The definition of a perfectionist is: "refusal to accept any standard short of perfection."

This could be confused with having an attitude of excellence. But excellence and perfectionism are entirely different. A better definition for perfectionism would be "refusal to start something, because of the delusional idea that I am or can get anything perfect."

In other words, perfectionism is procrastination. When you think you have to have everything perfect before you begin, it's just fear talking you out of it.

There is a distinct difference between an attitude of excellence and perfectionism. You build excellence in humility, while perfectionism is built in arrogance.

Becoming excellent takes volumes of effort, lots of failures, and persistence. In other words, you have to start, stop, regroup, and start over many times.

Perfectionism is an arrogance that you can get things perfect, and everything will be perfect that you do. Lack of persistence is disguised by claiming all must be perfect.

Think about this the next time you call yourself a perfectionist. Just get started. Make mistakes. Learn from those mistakes and continue to take action.

Daily Dose of Coach #409: Athletes, "Out-Do" Others in This

Young athletes love to boast and post about the "grind" and "hard-work" to their friends and especially on social media.

Here you'll see videos of them doing drills, working out, or pictures and videos of something showcasing their efforts.

That's great! But if you really want to separate yourself, out-do others in the small and boring things that don't get as much love as the "grind.”

Strength coach Eric Cressey posted a few weeks ago, "If teenage athletes want to take a big step forward in development, it would be wise to "out-sleep" and "out-eat" their peers. These two things are powerful magnifiers of everything they do in skill development and strength and conditioning.

It may not be as cool to focus your efforts on eating well and getting more sleep. But it's a game-changer. As a young athlete, these may seem unnecessary. But early commitment to these will yield big results in what you are trying to achieve as an athlete.

Not only this, but it will help you start to develop the habits of a high performer NOW! Not a few years down the road when you realize just how important they are.

Let everyone else "out-do" each other on social media with the "grind" posts. You focus on nutrition and sleep, magnifying your abilities and developing the habits of an elite performer.

Daily Dose of Coach #408: Carbs on the Go

I'm sitting in a trendy little coffee shop right writing this. After that, I'm going to attempt to uncover my best breakfast option. I like to try to include 1-2 servings of protein and some quality carbs to get me started.

However, that can be difficult on the go. So, this post is to help you navigate those situations.

Most of us don't have trouble finding carbs. But when in a time crunch and all you have is a local convenient store (or in my current case, a cafe' with a giant candy bar), there are a lot of options (mostly bad ones).

I've listed some ranked carb options. Grabbing one of these may help you not hit that mid-morning or afternoon sugar crash. You'll see I have seven good options and, at the bottom, three bad options.

Do your best to stick with 1-7!

-Best Option 1: Fresh Fruits - Banana's, Apples, Grapes, etc.

-Best Option 2: Fruit Salads - Many stores will have small plastic containers of chunks of fruit, like pineapples, grapes, strawberries, and blueberries.

-Best Option 3: Dried Fruit - Get the unsweetened assortment

-Best Option 4: Pretzels- Newmans or Snyders Organic Pretzels if you can find them.

-Best Option 5: Crackers - Whole Grain and or Organic

-Best Option 6: Granola Bar- Go with the oat-based assortment

-Best Option 7: Sports Drinks - Yes, there is a lot of sugar, but these tend to pick you up in a sugar crash pinch and are better than the rest of the options.

-Bad Option 1: Chips - If you have to. There are a lot of different chip options these days. Skip the Doritos and Cheetos. Look for something that at least looks healthier.

-Bad Option 2: Candy Bar - I've been known for saying snickers are just as bad for you as some "nutrition bars." Not sure if that is 100% true, but I guess as a last resort, this works.

-Bad Option 3: Pastries - Oh, how a cream cheese bear claw will improve your day. Once again, if all the fruit, chips, crackers are sold out, either make the pastry choice or just suck it up and don't eat anything. Just act like you're doing that fancy new fasting diet.

-Sugar Candy- At this point, you mine as well grab a 44-ounce soda and wait for your sugar crash.

Let me know of any other simple and quick options you use.

Daily Dose of Coach #407: Grip Strength and Hurricanes

As Hurricane Dorian starts up the Florida coast, I'm writing this from the comfort of a Walt Disney World Hotel. I guess our escape of Dorian and these few days of uncertainty had led to a bit of a staycation.

My escape reminded me that I need to renew my nutrition certification. And in going over the material I came across one of my favorite parts of the textbook.

It reads, "It means that if your grip is strong, you're probably strong. If you're strong, you probably have lots of lean body mass, strong connective tissues, a good dense skeleton, and motor control to recruit all these things. If all that stuff works well, the rest of your systems are probably working well too."

What a fantastic passage. Grip strength rules. It is the end of our strength. Pick heavy things up. Be able to hang from or pull yourself up on a bar. Grip strength is a better predictor of healthy aging than your cardiovascular strength (VO2 max), your flexibility, and your balance!

And if you happen to be in a hurricane or have to pick trees up with your bare hands in the clean-up, grip strength becomes a superpower.

Daily Dose of Coach #406: What Football Taught Me

"You have to play this game like someone just hit your mother with a two-by-four." --Dan Birdwell

This was an interesting weekend.

Between watching updates on Hurricane Dorian and the start of the football season, it's been a bit quite a mix of emotions.

Football season is my favorite part of the year. Though I played many sports, nothing quite captured my heart like the gridiron game.

I post this every year on the first week of football because I believe so much in what this game gave me and taught me in the six years I got to play.

I grew up in a small town in a graduating class of 26--the total school population was a whopping 120.

I played eight man football my first three years in high school because we only had about 16 kids on the roster. We were very competitive in our class most years, and I played quarterback, running back, receiver, punt and kick returner, and my favorite; corner back.

From the ages of 12-18, I was lucky enough to put pads on. And just as millions of others who've played this great game, football taught me a lot about myself and life in general.

Here are six lessons the game of football taught me. Some are serious; and some are humorous. I hope some of you will be able to relate with me to bring back some old memories of your own in playing this great game.

-1- The Absolute Pleasure of Playing the Game

I've played every sport. Nothing compares to being out on the field playing football. There was not a more fun sport to play.

The lights, the smell of the grass, the feeling when your team makes a great play, the feel of making a big hit or getting up after a big hit, crossing the goal line with the football in your hand, and of course the pure adrenaline of just playing the game.

Nothing pleasures the senses and is more enjoyable than playing the game of football.

This taught me to seek what I loved to do in life and never settle for anything else.

-2- Mental toughness

My sophomore year, I played in my first high school playoff game. We traveled to a small town to play a team who came out in all black looking like a bunch of big a$% grim reapers.

On the first play from scrimmage our toughest, strongest, craziest player got trucked on a college sweep shattering his rib guard and leaving him lying lifeless on the field.

He was a tough kid so eventually (to my surprise) got up. We, however, ended up getting blown out.

This one blow taught me a lot about how mental toughness can be cracked with one big hit.

This can happen in life. You have to be prepared for that day when you get hit so hard you think you have to give up. You can't give up.

-3- Brotherhood:

My junior year, we were one of the top-ranked teams in the state.

But after our first game, tragedy struck. Our center, a 16-year-old junior named Phil, was killed in a car accident.

In a difficult week to follow, we had to face our rival the following Friday. This team had beaten us for years. But this year was different. I've never experienced a group come together like we did that Friday night.

When won 7-6, I remember dropping to my knees with my teammates and bursting into tears.

We came together and won a tough game both physically and emotionally for Phil and his family.

This taught me about the importance of not just building a great team around you, but the strength of a brotherhood.

-4- Assertiveness:

Football taught me a lot about assertiveness and aggressiveness. It taught me to be the one who delivers the blow, not to be the one who takes it.

I specifically learned this lesson my junior year in the playoffs when standing in the hole and waiting for a gigantic fullback to plow me over instead of being the first to initiate contact.

I'll never forget that hit. I got absolutely blasted. I took this philosophy into my basketball career and decided I would drive to the basket with such aggression, if I was fouled, they were going to pay for it.

I also take this as a philosophy in life. You have to be assertive. You have to be the one who hits first. "Attack is the best form of defense."

-5- Perseverance :

Football is a game of inches, and those inches are difficult ones.

It taught me to get back up after getting plowed into the turf. It taught me to recover after making a mistake. It taught me to play with pain. It taught me to regroup and it taught me that success is perseverance.

Practice sucks, training sucks, two-a-days suck, but a victory makes it all worth it.

There is no greater lesson then the lesson of perseverance. To be successful in anything you do, you have to keep pressing forward. You have to keep getting up when you get knocked down. You have to stay committed to achieving your goals.

-6- Controlling Emotions and Fear :

I wasn't a big kid. As a freshman, I was 5'3" 110 lbs and my senior year I was only 5'10" 150lbs.

As a smaller dude in a game of bigger dudes trying to kill you, it was easy to let fear creep into my mind.

I specifically remember the bus rides to the field as a time when I really had to begin to control the emotion of adrenaline and fear.

Football taught me a lot about "getting it together," positive self-talk, and courage. What a game.

Take some time to reflect on some of the lessons you've learned from the sports or activities that have helped make you who you are today. And if you in Florida, stay safe!!

Daily Dose of Coach #405: Good Morning Protein

I 've experimented with a lot of breakfast foods. Some, because I was too tired to make anything and just did the old "grab and go."

Sometimes I didn't eat anything to see how long it would take before I crashed (bad idea).

Many times I've made the standard breakfast of oatmeal, fruit, milk or almond milk.

But my favorite and most effective is my protein breakfast. This consists of almost entirely protein and fats with some carbs.

Why? Because having a substantial portion of protein for breakfast helps control your appetite all day long.

While carbohydrate dominate meals will satisfy your appetite for the time being, protein will keep your hunger satisfied through the day. This helps with getting those drastic cravings that make you want to eat bad cabs and sugars.

Protein does a lot of things for our body. It helps build and repair almost all the tissues in our bodies, as well as helps to synthesize important hormones, boosts our metabolism, and, as stated above, helps us feel more satisfied in our meals!

Experiment with it and see if it changes your hunger cravings throughout the day. My go-to is 3-5 eggs and 1/2 avocado. That's anywhere from 18-35 g of protein, plus a little fat and fiber from the avocado to help curve those mid-morning or mid-day hunger pains even more.

If you don't like whole eggs you can try a protein shake, protein pancakes or waffles, egg white scramble with some fresh veggies, Greek Yogurt with fruit and nuts, smoked salmon or turkey on toast, few strips of regular or turkey bacon, or throw some peanut butter on some toast and wash it down with a glass of protein-rich milk or chocolate milk.

Give it a try. And if you have any other breakfast protein options, I'd love to hear about them.

Daily Dose of Coach #404: Secrets Of The Lean

Here's a great article I'd like to share with all of you. It's by the Poliquin Group called, "9 Secrets of the Effortlessly Lean."

I bullet pointed the 9 secrets, but when you get a chance, read it. There's a lot of excellent and simple info on shedding and keeping off body fat.

· - Maintain muscle mass through training and diet. Never do slow cardio to reduce body fat.

· - Avoid "deadline eating" in favor of a sustainable lifestyle change

· - Focus on the food quality rather than quantity

· - Eat to fight stress. A high protein, low sugar diet will elevate your mood and reduce stress hormones like cortisol that makes your body store fat.

· - Know that hormones matter more than calories and use it to your advantage

· - Figure out a way to eat, so you enjoy your food instead of obsessing over off-limit food or getting sidetracked by the minutiae of your diet

· - Be consistent. Eat the same basic stuff day after day, year after year, instead of continually overhauling your diet and lifestyle.

· - Take responsibility for your results.

· - Believe and commit