Weekly Dose of Coach #145: The Magic Words

The Magic Words

Maybe it's me, but the older I get it seems like I hear more and more excuses of why people aren't in a situation or place they think they should be.  Maybe it's because my profession is full of those who can find every excuse why they didn't make the team, or why they can't lose weight or why they can't show up on time for work.

Today I turn 40.  And as I reflect on the last four decades of my life I can remember plenty of times where I made excuses, felt sorry for myself, thought I was owed more than I was getting, thought I should be farther along than I was.  Because when you hit an age like 40 you start to ask yourself, "Am I where I wanted to be?"

The answer for me is generally, "No." This is because the goals and standards I set for myself are pretty high. However, what I do know is I am exactly where I am today because of the accumulation of the choices I've made. Yes, I've been through some crappy stuff like divorce, business failures, the housing market crash, but so have millions of other people. These aren't excuses, they're learning opportunities.

My life and career has given me the opportunity to become close with, study and observe some very successful people in business, sports and life in general.  I've found a common denominator in all of them. It's not their talent, their work ethic, their training or the circumstances. Rather, it's one thing that all of us can easily do.  Your life can completely change when you accept this and say these three magic words:

"I am responsible."

Author Brian Tracy in his book, "Get Smart: How to Think and Act Like the Most Successful and Highest-Paid People in Every Field," wrote "It's impossible for you to blame someone or something else for a negative emotion and accept responsibility for the situation at the same time."

He goes on to explain that this "positive, present tense affirmation eliminates negative emotions of all kinds, instantly."  And that because your mind can only hold on to one thought at a time, positive or negative, "you can cancel any negative thought at any time by simply repeating to yourself over and over again, "I am responsible.'"

There's an interesting thing that happens when people start to get this responsibility thing. They start to make more money, they start to lose weight, their relationships with their family improve, their skills improve, they start making the teams that no one gave them a chance to make before.

Why? Because accepting responsibility is your first step to true commitment.  It makes things clear. It opens your eyes to the path you need to stay on.  Because you are accepting responsibility, you attack with a positive mindset and the energy you have behind it has a purpose.

Next time you are felling sorry for yourself or you have negative emotions creeping in about where you're at in your life, try saying the words, "I am responsible" and watch how you attitude changes. Say this enough and a crazy thing will happen, your life will change. 

 

Go Get It,

Coach Jeff Higuera

Weekly Dose of Coach #144: Your Most Powerful Change Agent

Your Most Powerful Change Agent

There's a story about the the famous financer JP Morgan that a man approached him with an envelope saying, "Sir, in my hand I hold a guaranteed formula for success, which I will gladly sell to you for $25,000.”

Though Morgan had no idea what was in the envelope he replied, "If you show me and I like it, I give you my word that I will pay what you ask."

The man agreed and gave him the envelope.  Morgan opened it, and took out the single sheet of paper.  He gave it a quick look, handed it back to the man, pulled out his checkbook and wrote him check for the agreed amount.

The contents of that letter:

1.  Every morning, write a list of things that need to be done that do.

2.  Do them.

The most powerful change agent you have isn't just simply action.  Action, unfocused is a waste of time. Your most powerful agent is your integrity. It's first being honest with how you are.  It's having purpose, expectations, and a clear direction in which you want to go.

In the book Legacy, the author writes: "By focusing on accuracy of action, we can change the relationship we have with our own thoughts.  If we are our word to ourselves, then our thoughts become more committed, intentional, decisive. They become agents of change."

At the end of the day, no one is responsible for the results in your life except you.  Besides uncontrollable circumstances, you are where you are today because of your integrity.  You are not a by product of what you say, you are a by-product of what you do. People do not trust you for what you say, they trust you for what you do.  And people will not follow you for what you say (for long), but will follow you to the end of the earth for what you do.

My integrity with writing these emails is challenged every morning I write them. Just like the negative thoughts creep in as you're driving to the gym, my mind starts telling me: You should just sleep in. You have nothing to write about. There's nothing wrong with taking a week off.

But then I remember why I do this.  First, because it's something I committed to. Second, if I can help or just encourage one person, it's worth it. 

At the end of the day, every thing that you do that is worthwhile will demand your integrity.  You have to make your word your story. Align your head, mouth, heart and feet. And then take the advice above, make a commitment to what you need to do, and do it.

Weekly Dose of Coach #143: The Strength of a Woman

The Strength of a Woman

This past weekend I had an opportunity to reflect on some of the women I'm fortunate to have in my life.  Words like compassion, strength, tenacity, empathy, loyalty and love all kept circling through my head.  I think about the struggles they took on in their lives and how they came out on the other side more impressive than ever.  I think about the multiple responsibilities they take on, and wonder, where they found the strength.  I think about their patience and ability to put up with the other gender.  I think about watching my wife bare our children...are you kidding me!

This weekend my boys and I went to get my wife a card for mother's day. Tyson instantly found the one he wanted.  It was a picture of Wonder Woman and said something to the fact of mom being our "Super Hero." Tyson's at the age where he loves super hero's.  But it's not surprising that he recognized his mother as one.  Everything Wonder Woman has, his mom has (besides a lasso and impenetrable wrist shields). 

As far as the other women in my life go, my grandmother is in her 80's.  She lived through an abusive relationship but never once showed a sign of weakness...ever.  She also played baseball with us until she was in her 60's and would take ground balls off the chest and throw you out at first.

My mother went back to school in her 30's while raising three children and having a full time job.  I just remember her studying all night long because she didn't want to miss the time spent with us during the day.  She eventually became a nurse and started making a more money than we ever had and it changed our lives.

My sister, one of the strongest mentally and physically people I know, struggled through school.  She had some difficult relationships in her life that left her completely broken.  But now she has a family of 4 kids, has her master's degree and is a successful bi-lingual teacher.

And my wife, who has taught me more about what it takes to be great than anyone else. She walks her talk.  She puts everyone first. She is meticulous about the details. She is beauty, strength, love, patience and tenacity all rolled up into a little 5'3" bundle of fire. 

 Woman bring beauty to the world.  They bring strength in a way men cannot. The expand everything they touch.  Author John Eldredge says, "Women are the crown of creation--the most intricate dazzling creature on earth."  And I love the Marilyn Monroe quote, "Woman who seek to be equal with men, lack ambition."  She's right.  They're all right.  You are all amazing.

Happy Mother's Day.

 

Go Get it,

Weekly Dose of Coach #142: Mental Notes that Matter

Mental Notes that Matter

We are constantly taking mental notes. Many of these notes are from what we see, hear and observe.  These things inspire us, motivate us and maybe even make us think about making a change.  But no matter how many positive meme's or success stories you run into every day, these are not what will eventually drive you to make that change.  

I watched a documentary this weekend that told a story of a DEA agent who was working against the Columbian Drug Cartels in the 80's. While in Miami, he had a hit put on him by drug lord, Carlos Lehder. One day, while at a stop light, he noticed a motor cycle with two men on it approaching him.  He thought this was the end for him.  But as the assassins approached they noticed that the agent recognized them and he had pulled out his side arm.  Instead of the assassins carrying out the hit, they sped off. 

This DEA agent said the mental note of seeing these two men dressed in all black approaching him in his rear view mirror, changed the course of his life. After this brush with certain death, he said, right then and there, he knew what he was put on this earth to do. Destroying the Cartel would become his life's passion. He ended up being a big reason Lehder was eventually taken down. 

When you decide to change the course of your life, it's done so because something is stirred inside of you. This is why all this inspirational stuff we take in is nice, but it's not what we see, hear and observe it's what we actually experience that will change us. 

Experience drives home the mental notes that make us act with passion.  You may be able to think of one or two events in your life that changed you.  Many times these they come with failure, pain, hurt or struggle.  The key word here is experience. It has to touch something deeper.  It can't be something you just think you should do.  And before you find this, life is just mostly...waiting to find this.

I'd like to share with you a difficult moment that changed my life.  It happened only about 6 years ago. I went through a period where I had lost everything I'd worked so hard for, real estate, income, savings, business, all within a year.  I was with my daughters getting groceries at Wal-Mart.  The cart was full.  The total was probably $80 to $100 dollars. As my daughters sat in cart, I went to pay and nothing worked.  I had to leave all the food there in the cart and walk out, my daughters questioning why we couldn't take home the food.  This mental note is with me forever and changed my life.  I decided right there, my family would never experience anything like this again and I'd do everything I could to make sure of it. To this day, this thought, this mental note drives how hard I work every day. 

You have to experience failures, difficulties and embrace what life has to throw at you to make a change.  Leadership expert John Maxwell says there are "change indicators" in a person's life: "1) When they hurt enough they have to, 2) When they learn enough they want to, 3) When they receive enough they are able to."  Of all of these, #1 is the most powerful and delivers you the mental note to drive yourself to change daily.

Don't ever forget the difficult things you go through.  Remember how you feel. Embrace it, and turn it into fire.  Your passions are rarely what you think you want.  Your passions are what you are.  And these passions, driven by powerful past experiences, are what you eventually become.

 

Go Get it,

Weekly Dose of Coach #141: Lessons from 7000 Push-Ups

Lessons from 7000 Push-Ups

Last month I decided I was going to commit to 6000 push-ups.  That was 200 per day.  A few weeks into it, I thought I would step it up and do 7000 instead.  Last night, I finished my 7000 push-ups in front of the TV with my son Tyson doing a few here and there along side of me.  When I finished, it was one of those cool feelings of accomplishment.

It's something I said I was going to do, and did it.  It wasn't awfully easy, but as hard as 226 push-ups a day sounds, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.

But the reason I challenged myself to do this has nothing to do with being able to tell you I did an absurd amount of push ups. After all, the world record for non-stop push-ups (at one time) is 10,507 by Minoru Yoshida in 1980. The most I did in a row during the month was 60.  The most ever done in 24 hours is 46,001 by Charles Servizio in 1993. The most I did in a 24 hour period was 600.  This was by doing 25 every 5 minutes on a Sunday afternoon while watching the NBA playoffs for 2 hours.

But there were some lessons I learned throughout the month that can cross over to anything you do in your life.  Here are my thoughts:

1.  Committing isn't as easy as just saying it:  Challenges are always fun.  But, in order to stick to something every day, you have to have a reason too.  A lot of people told me they were going to join me.  I don't think many of them made it all the way through.  I made it because I had a reason, a "why."  First, it was important for me to finish what I said I was going to do. Second, I was interested to see if my body would change physically.  Third, I wanted to challenge myself to do something I've never done before.  Lesson is, before you commit to something (especially something you have to do daily), remember to know exactly why you are going to do it.

2. There's a cycle in committing to something every day:  The first few days, especially day one, it's excitement.  The first day I did 400 push-ups. I would have done more but my arms were pretty shot.  The next day I was so sore I barely made 200.  The second cycle starts around day 5 or into week 2 once the excitement wears off.  This is where you start questioning what you are doing or if it's really worth it.  You start telling yourself, "this is stupid, what am I doing."  It's important to have your "why" during this phase or you'll never make it. If you make it through the second phase the third phase starts about week 3.  This is where everything starts to click. I went from doing a set routine of 10 pushups every 30 seconds for 200, to 15-20 every 30 seconds.  Not only was I getting stronger, but I was knocking them out faster.  By the end, I was just doing 4 sets of 50.  If you get to this point, you're in a routine and it's just a part of what you do.

3.  It helps to write down and see your progress:  We have a calendar on our fridge my wife organizes every month.  She's amazing at it.  It has everything in our life on it.  It's very organized and very well written.  So you can imagine how she felt when all of a sudden there was my bad handwriting on every day, 200, 220, 200, 250, 400.  But, I was able to see my progress every day.  I tracked it and tallied the total every week so I always knew where I was.  No matter what you are trying to improve in your life, track it.  

4. It's amazing how much time we waste:  We say this all the time.  But a challenge like this really opened my eyes the amount of time I have to get things done in 5-30 minute spans.  I really suck at this in a lot of things.  But I think this was my greatest lesson served.  I hope that I can take this lesson and apply it to other things in my life that need to get done.  More important things like playing with my kids, helping my wife or just sitting down and having a 5-30 minute conversation with anyone of my friends or family members.  I can see my wife rolling her eyes at this but I really hope I can commit to doing better at these things.

I love the quote, "Anything worth doing, is worth doing every day."  It's important for you to find what those things are.  Because no matter what, you are committing to something every day. And these commitments are what eventually shapes your future.

Daily Dose of Coach #140: Moving to Weekly Dose

Moving to Weekly Dose

Today marks my 140th Daily Dose of Coach.  With that, I'm moving to a weekly dose.  With the current projects I have going on, I'll be spending a bit more time working on those on these early mornings.  This is a lot more difficult for me than I'm sure it is for you as this has become such a fun part of my morning routine.

That being said, I appreciate all of you who continued to see these in your inbox every morning and read them.  I plan on getting back to daily, but for now I'll continue to send these out on Monday mornings as well as share good articles and inspirational material via social media.  You can find all of my social media links at the bottom of the page.

Until Monday..

Daily Dose of Coach #139: Pebbles in Your Shoe

The Pebbles in Your Shoe

 

If at all possible, your goal should be to place yourself in an environment that gives you the best chance of achieving your goals. Great teams strive to do this.  They set standards that only attract the quality of character that they are looking for.  Their team is constantly motivated to live up to and hold each other accountable to these standards.  Former coach Lou Holtz said it like this, "Motivation is simple. You eliminate those who are not motivated."

I've found this to be one of the great truths in life and always tried to place myself around the best at whatever I do.  I was always taught the proverb, "He who walks with the lame, learns how to limp."  

Muhammad Ali put it this way,  "It's not the mountains that wear you out.  It's the pebble in your shoe." Anyone can get to the top of the mountain if they put themselves in a great place to do it.  That's what great teams do for you.  That's what great coaches do for you.  That's what great partners, friends, and family do for you. They help you up the mountain, they aren't the pebble irritating and wearing on you all the way up.

Work hard an to control your environment.  Analyze your life in terms of it's environment.  Seek to eliminate the pebbles in your shoe.  

 

Daily Dose of Coach #138: Adventurous Vegetables

Adventurous Vegetables

 

I really suck at cooking healthy.  The way that I combat this is just eat things as in their nature state as possible.  It's fine for me. Boring is something I decided, long ago, was a good route in things like nutrition.  But that's not the case for everyone.  In fact, my wife hates it. She thinks it's boring, tasteless, and usually figures out a way to make the really "blaw" vegetables have some flavor. It amazes me every time.

So when I saw this email from Precision Nutrition, 3 Steps to Prepping and Loving Your Veggies, I had to read and share.  It not only gives you a three step process in finding and preparing your veggies but then gives you a bunch of examples of combos for it..perfect.  Enjoy the article and your veggies.

 

Daily Dose of Coach #137: Relationships and Results

Relationships and Results

 

I was speaking with a co-worker of mine last night and explaining to him that there were two words I use when I speak of success in my industry, "relationships and results."

Actually, it's in any industry.  Understanding what a quality relationship is and learning to build them is what gives the other person trust in you. Great personal relationships ebb and flow in what each person gives to the other.  But in business relationships, it's a little different.  You have to always be thinking on how you can add value and give to the people buying your service in any way possible. 

Once you are able to develop these relationships, that gives you a chance to deliver results.  And the results you give are based upon three things:

1.  Knowledge and care the results the person is looking for.

2. Competence in being able to deliver these results

3. Ability to influence the person to commit, believe in and trust the process in getting these results.

If you are great at relationships but can't deliver results, you'll just be thought of as a really nice person.  It will be hard for your clients to leave you, but they eventually will.  It will be like a, "I think we should just be friends" break-up.

If you are bad at relationships but good at results, you'll be the person people just have to put up with.  You're more than likely arrogant, not pleasant to be around, and think those people are lucky to have you rather than the other way around. Once people get what they want from you, they'll just disappear. More like the, "I'm just going to avoid them and hope they disappear" break-up.

Be great in both relationships and results.  If you do, you'll always have a business, a following and help a lot of people in the process.

Daily Dose of Coach #136: The Link Between Training and Success

The Link Between Training and Success

More confidence, built in daily training (body, mind, and spirit) have all been linked, in one way or the other, to the highest paid and most successful individuals.  In my observation of successful individuals, there are a few primary characteristics that stand out in these people:

  • They have an over-optimistic and almost unrealistic belief in what they do.
  • They have supreme confidence in themselves, almost to a fault.
  • They are obsessive in their preparation in everything they do including physically training their body.
  • They have a way to escape or relax their obsessive, idea driven mind, and can calm their “demons” through spiritual practices such as meditation or prayer.
  • They live with a purpose and have the extreme ability to focus on how to accomplish this purpose.
  • They fail and fail and fail and refuse to give up no matter what.
  • They never take no for an answer

Training your body has an amazing and powerful effect on sustaining the characteristics of a highly successful individual.  If your goal is to be the best at what you do, to become the most valuable person you can become, why wouldn’t you take your health, energy, and confidence more seriously?

And if being the best, making more money, and living a more productive and influential life are important to you, than maybe these 6 reasons can help change your thoughts on it.

1.  Training Improves Level’s of Energy:  Health is energy.  What is the real point of health?  It is efficiency.  It is your physical body performing at it’s highest levels to create and sustain the energy to deliver your purpose to the world.  Thomas Fuller simply stated, “The difference between men is energy.”

2.  Training Improves Focus and Concentration:  Recent studies have shown that even one bout of exercise (even better than caffeine) can improve your mental and cognitive performance throughout the day. The long term response improves brain chemicals critical in expanding new nerve connections and brain tissue in the area of the brain for higher learning.

3.  Training Improves Sense of Achievement:  Successful people thrive on getting things done and personal achievement.  In all aspects of their life, they compete.  After completing your training there is always a sense of accomplishment.  Over time, persevering through a training regimen will do wonders for your confidence and your overall desire to improve will be apparent.

4.  Training Improves Physical Appearance: Training improves body image and physical appearance.  Feeling attractive never hurts when speaking of confidence.  Though confidence is much more than looks, how you perceive your body changes your presence. 

5.  Training Improves Transitions in Mindset:  Success, focus, and perseverance can bring high amounts of stress.  At the highest levels it can be unbearable, even lethal.  Training, like mediation, gives the mind a break.  It can improve anxious, negative, and depressive thoughts by releasing chemical substances resulting in positive feelings and helping to relieve stress.

6.  Training Improves Your Attendance: People who train are generally more healthy than their counterparts. By building immunity and decreasing your chances of major health risks, you show up more often.  You not only show up, but you show up with energy and purpose.  The more days you show up, the more impact you make, the more successful you can become.

Daily Dose of Coach #135: 4 Keys to Leading Your Team Members

4 Keys to Leading Your Team Members

Yesterday was a great day. One of my protege's, who I have been developing for 3 years now, was able to move to one of our brand new gym locations and completely take over the program.  Being able to mentor and grow people around me is one of the best things about my job.  But my favorite part is developing teams where people can thrive because they are able to depend on each other.

All good leaders recognize their success is based upon the team ONLY.  Coach John Wooden recognized this and knew that as the leader of his team he was responsible for creating this.  He said there was four ways he went about this:

1. Appreciate each member of the team for who they are:  This builds mutual respect and trust between the coach and player

2.  Believe that they will do their very best:  This helps set the bar for both attitude and their effort.

3.  Praise their accomplishments:  This recognizes a job well done and continually motivates players to produce positive outcomes

4.  Accept personal responsibility to them as their leader:  You, as the leader, are responsible for setting and holding the standards, developing each player and continuing to attract more great people to your team.

Coach Bear Bryant said it like this, "I'm just a plowhand from Arkansas, but I learned how to hold a team together--how to lift some men up, how to calm others down, until finally they've got one heartbeat together as a team.  There's always just three things I say:  'If anything goes bad I did it.  If anything goes semi-good, then we did it.  If anything goes real good, they did it.' That's all it takes to get people to win."

The people around you are your greatest asset.  Take Coach Wooden's simple advice on how to lead and develop other leaders around you. Speaking from experience, there's no greater reward then to see your team members thrive, grow and continue to succeed because of it.

Daily Dose of Coach #134: Why Diets and Diet Pills Work?

Why Diets and Diet Pills Work?

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I hope everyone had a great Holiday weekend. 

While enjoying the festivities, I observed a bottle of "Pro Clinical Hydroxycut -- 99% Caffeine Free" and took a closer look. I was interested because I was thinking, "who the heck would want to take Hydroxycut with no caffeine?" There had to be something else in it.

As I observed the ingredients on the back of the bottle my attention shifted to the Directions (see picture). It wasn't the recommended dosage, but the second paragraph that made me say hmmmm.  It read:

"For best results, use Hydroxycut for 60 days in conjunction with a calorie-reduced diet and regular exercise program. Consume 8 to 10 Glasses of water per day."

Interestingly enough, that sounds like the formula you need for weight loss, right there on the bottle... I'm guessing, and I could be wrong, but I doubt it, that most people buying these "rapid weight loss pills" are not as interested in the diet and exercise part. But even Hydroxycut understands that the real key to losing the weight is controlling energy balance (energy in/energy out).

This brings me to my point.  Committing to any kind of diet or even committing to following the directions when you're taking diet pills can work!  They force you to control your energy balance.  To lose weight you need to simply take in less energy (food) then you expend (metabolism and activity).  This creates the energy deficit you need for weight to start coming off.

When people go on diets they usually restrict calories and exercise more, no matter what kind of diet it is.  What you'll eventually learn is the problem isn't the diet, it's the sustainability and eventual lifestyle choices that bring you right back to where you started (sometimes ending up even worse).

If you're serious about your health, it's about much more than just changing the way you eat for a certain amount of time.  It's about making small, subtle, and sustainable changes that you can continue on for the rest of your life.  And yes, Hydroxycut can be a magic pill.  Actually, the directions are the magic. If you follow the directions exactly as they say (even if you don't ever take one), you'll lose weight.

Daily Dose of Coach #133: Between Saying and Doing

Between Saying and Doing

Last night I was in a conversation with a couple of member at my gym. One of them happened to be a woman I've never met before.  We were speaking on weight loss and the challenges it presents. I shared with them how was able to lose 9 pounds last month.  I explained it was a combination of two things.  I tracked what I ate (and ate better much because of it), and added running intervals into my program.  I told her I worked out 5 days per week and pushed myself pretty hard through those workouts. 

Her response, "It must be nice to be a guy. I'd give anything to be able to lose weight like you guys do." 

I responded by saying, "No, it's not about being guy, it's about being focused on what you want to achieve, and not letting anything get in your way of doing it. I've seen woman do it too."

She said in a sarcastic tone, "Oh yea, focus. I'm sure.  That's what all you trainers say."

At this point, I realized she was fine with where she was and moved on. But it reminded me of the story below:

“One time a fine pianist performed at a party.  After she was done, a woman said to the virtuoso, ‘I’d give anything to play as you do.’ As she sipped her coffee in slow motion she took a brief pause and said, ‘Oh no you wouldn’t.’

 

Soon a great hush filled the room as they were baffled in astonishment and massive confusion.  She continued, ‘You’d give anything to play as I do except time.  You wouldn’t sit and practice hour after hour, day after day, year after year.’

 

Then she flashed a warm smile and said, ‘please understand I’m not criticizing, I’m just telling you that when you say you’d give ANYTHING to play as I do, you really don’t mean it…you really don’t mean it at all.’"

Everything comes at a price.  The greater to goal, the greater the sacrifices you have to make.  It's never about things like age, gender, or circumstances.  It's simply, how bad do you want it and what are you willing to give up to get there.

Daily Dose of Coach #132: Forget Knee Push-Ups

Forget Knee Push-Ups

Right now I'm in the middle of a push-up challenge.  The goal is 7000 in the month of April.  Besides dropping and giving myself 20 throughout the day, It's inspired me to think a little more about the progression of this great exercise and why people don't transition well from the knees to the toes.

Most people are taught if you can't do push-ups on your toes, do them on your knees.  I can't imagine why.  To be honest, it's lazy coaching. And it's even more disturbing that these were called "girl push-ups."  I have 2 little girls who are 7 and 9 years old. They don't even know these knee push-ups exist because I refuse to give them that option.

That being said, not everyone can do a push-up on their toes.  But if it's a goal of yours you need to stop doing knee push-ups because, in my experience, I've never seen a knee push-up person transition well into a real push-up person.

So here are some quick ways to strengthen your push-ups without ever dropping to the knees:

1. Planks: Full, Elbow, Elbows bent: Push-ups are basically a moving plank.  Besides the movement at your arms, shoulders and ankles, the goal is to hold a strong neutral spine position.  Using both full (arms fully extended), elbows (standard plank), and eventually elbows bent (chest below elbows), you train different intensities of maintaining this static posture.

2.  Elevated Push-Ups:  By elevating the hands you decrease the intensity of the push-up by decreasing body weight resistance.  However, you still get the benefit of engaging the entire body.  Knee push-ups do not challenge the entire body and create stiffness like elevated push-ups do.  You will have a much better chance at transitioning to the toes by starting with elevated.

3.  Bottoms Up Push-Ups:  These are my favorite because you really get to teach how to engage the core at the toughest part of the movement. You start all the way on the ground, hands at your side, toes locked in, core engaged and knees extended.  From there you push up attempting to maintain a straight line from ear to ankle.  No pushing up into a cobra position first, shoulders and butt must come up together.  A cue I use here is "lead with your butt." This helps with engaging the core and not leaving their butt behind as they extend their elbows.

4.  Top Down Push-Ups:  This is basically the eccentric side of the bottom up.  At the top of the movement you slowly lower yourself to the ground. I usually cue them to "lead with the chest." This makes sure that their butt isn't sagging down and helps them maintain a strong and stable core position.

5.  Assisted Push-Ups:  Once you are able to maintain good posture through the push-up cycle and can do 1-5 solid reps, you can start practicing in more volume using a superband around your waist.  The anchor point can be someone above you holding the band or attaching it around a pull-up bar or anything else that will hold your weight.  The band will help you get out of the bottom position and assist in maintaining good dynamic posture.  As you get better, use smaller bands and decrease resistance by lowering the anchor point.

 

Daily Dose of Coach 131: A Following Vs. A Job

A Following vs.  A Job

Tony Robbins said, "Leaders are masters of influence; they know how to propel themselves and others to move forward in life. In order to influence people, they know what already influences them. They know who they are, what their ‘brand’ is, and who they are to others. As a result, they influence others to set a new standard for themselves."

Leadership expert John Maxwell says, "Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less."

Being able to influence allows you to create a following.  People who believe in who you are, what you represent and what you have to offer.  They first buy into you, then buy into your vision or mission. 

I've had many trainers and coaches say to me, "I'm not sure how you've continued to move to different gyms and maintain your level of production. I would never be able to do that."

What they are telling me is that they have created, for themselves, a job. They go to work and trade time for money.  Their ability to continue showing up, displaying hints of enthusiasm, not rocking the boat and being known as reliable, can help them keep that job for a very long time.  Their levels of influence don't reach much further than office politics or setting the basic standards of employment existence.

My advice to people who aspire to lead and influence is to continue to grow daily.  To discover through trials, failures and focus, who they truly are.  With that, as Robbins says, you understand who you are to others and have the ability to influence new standards in other people's lives.

That being said, there's nothing wrong with just having a job.  It's responsible, honorable and needed.  But, if you really want to make an impact in others lives, make it your mission to continually chip away at who you are.   Grab onto your passion, set ridiculously high standards for yourself, get really good at what you do, take major action on your mission, then influence others to follow your lead. 

Your example, your standards, you character, just who you are, will change people's lives and you will always have a following, never a job.

Daily Dose of Coach # 130: Why I Stopped Using Coffee Creamer

Why I Stopped Using Coffee Creamer

There is more of a moral, or lesson, to this story than just why I stopped using coffee creamer.  If you make it to the end, you'll find out.

Most of you know that coffee creamers are awful, but they make a cup of bitter black coffee so much better.  And, in my opinion, are addicting as well. Maybe it's the sugar or one of the other ingredients included that I have no idea what it is, but I was hooked on it for years.

Not too long ago I decided I wasn't going to continue spending money on this liquid death even if it was 2 for 1 every time I went to the grocery store.  I started calculating the calorie cost as well. Every tablespoon was 35 calories (of sugar and fat) and I'm pretty sure I put more than one tablespoon in each of the cups of coffee I had.

This was difficult for me and even more difficult for my wife.  She didn't understand how I could ruin our morning coffee experience.

After all. look at the marketing piece on Coffe-Mate French Vanilla Coffee, It says words like, "is the perfect way to create a delicious cup of creamy vanilla perfection" or "just the right amount of bright vanilla notes for a taste that's simply beyond compare", or "you create your perfect cup every time by adding just the right amount of flavor."

A little more research and my case was 100% settled. First of all, look at the ingredients: Water, Sugar, Vegetable Oil (High Oleic Soybean and/or High Oleic Canola), and Less than 2% of Sodium Caseinate (a Milk Derivative)**, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Cellulose Gel, Cellulose Gum, Carrageenan **Not a source of lactose.

As you may know, the ingredients that come first on the list are what it's mostly derived from:  Water, Sugar, Vegetable Oil (High Oleic Soybean and/or High Oleic Canola).  Hmmm, Sounds awful. High Oleic Soybean Oil is the food industry's latest replacement for partially hydrogenated that contained high levels of trans fats.  But the health benefits are really no greater, just packaged differently.

Besides missing the sugary and oily residue of my morning coffee, it's definitely one of the best health decisions I've ever made (duh). I've since switched to almond milk and my wife to so-delicious coconut creamer. When speaking to people about nutrition and changing their diet I always tell them, there is something you need to give up completely and something that you can modify that will impact your health immediately.  Mine was giving up coffee creamer completely. I would suggest you try and find the answer for you as well.

Daily Dose of Coach #129: You're Not Your Best Competition

You're Not Your Best Competition

You may have heard the saying, “stop competing with others and start competing with yourself.” I don't agree with this.

We tend to think we are better than we are and accept our mediocre efforts because of this.  There is always someone more committed, more disciplined, doing something better, smarter, working harder than you.  Competing against yourself isn’t enough sometimes. Yes, it would be nice if we could truly be the one who sets our own standards, but that generally doesn't work for most people.

Find someone who is better than you, constantly pushing you, kicking your butt on a daily basis. This can light a fire and push you to do more than simply competing against yourself.

Competitiveness should place in you a healthy contempt for your greatest competition.  Magic Johnson and Larry Bird had a healthy contempt for each other.  Bird said, “The first thing I’d do is look at the box scores to see what Magic did. I didn’t care about anything else.”  Magic said when the new schedule came out he would circle the two Boston games.  He said, “To me, it was the TWO and the other 80.”

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had furious battles that pushed them to building two of the richest companies to ever exist.  Jobs would go on tirades saying Gates made “third-rate products.”  Gates would say “there’s nothing about the IPad I look at and say, ‘Oh I wish Microsoft had done that.’”  In the end, Gates said, “We were not at war.  We made great products and competition was always a positive thing."

A tough competitor is something that you should be looking for constantly. They stretch you.  They motivate you.  They anger you.  They stir that competitive spirit that everyone needs to go one step further.

Daily Dose of Coach #128: 3 Ways to Improve Your Romanian Deadlift

3 Ways to Improve Your Romanian Deadlift

    The Romanian Deadlift is one of my favorite exercises for not only strengthening but lengthening the posterior chain.  By lengthening, I mean increasing mobility and dynamic flexibility of the hamstring and low back.

The first way to improve the RDL is to make sure you are going through a full range of motion.  Sometimes I have beginners go through a shorter range of motion (just below knees) before they learn to drive their hips back (hip hinge) and keep their back flat.  But as they continue to be able to control this movement, I continually increase their range of motion (plates to the floor).  Shortening your RDL's, like any other exercise, is just failing to strengthen and lengthen those muscles through a full range of motion. Start with lighter weight and learn to control this movement through a full range.  Once you get the technique down, you'll notice that by adding weight can actually "auto correct" your form and improve that loaded stretch.

Second, learn to first shift your hips back, then your knees, to clear space for the bar.  When an RDL is done correctly, the bar path is straight down.  This happens because the butt is driven back into a hinge, and while the knees are only slightly bent, the posterior weight shift of the body will drive the knees back to clear space for the bar.  Too many times, I see people bend the knees and then try to drive the hips back.  This not only kills the hip hinge but forces the person move the bar forward as they are moving towards the ground. Not good for the back, and does nothing for the hamstrings and glutes.

Third, finish the movement. Upon bringing the bar back to waist level, finish the movement by driving your hips through the bar (by squeezing your glutes) and pulling your shoulders back.  This ensures you are completing the exercise by by properly firing the hamstrings and glutes.

Daily Dose of Coach #127: I Am

"I Am" 

    Hall of fame coach, Vince Lombardi based his success on what he called the "Lombardi Model." This began with a simple statement, "only by knowing yourself, can you become an effective leader. It all begins with self knowledge,  the great 'I am.'"

Your own understanding or your personal values gives you the ground you stand on. It is this foundation you build your character and the ability to lead others. Lombardi stated, "from self knowledge we build character and integrity and from character comes leadership."

Why? Because knowing who you are eliminates all the things you think you need to be. It simplifies the choices you make on a daily basis.  I like to say it as, "others can, but I cannot."

Whether you know it or not, you are creating your "I am," with every choice you make. You are either healthy or you're not.  You're either a gracious or you're not. You either work hard or you don't.  And if you are a leader, you better have that "I am" established.  No one follows someone who falls in the middle , or someone who is, "I am sometimes" or "I am when I feel like it."  It's impossible to create belief when a vacuum of values exist.

What is your "I am?" Define it. Write it down.  Keep it with you at all times. Nothing is more powerful in shaping your future.

Daily Dose of Coach #126: 3 Supplements You Might Want to Take

3 Supplements You May Want to Take

A common question I've had over the years, especially when people start their training program is, "What supplements should I take?"

My initial response is usually, "eat right?"  But over the years I've found a few important supplements that can be added that really supplement your inability to get your daily recommended dose.

1.  A Protein Supplement:  If you've ever noticed it's difficult to get the recommended amount of protein most days.  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 two protein shakes per day.

2.  Green Foods Supplement: Fruits and vegetables are another area 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. A good green food supplement can help you reach that goal.

3.  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.