Thursday, September 21, 2017

Doers and Donters

Soooooo, one of my favorite movies is Pain & Gain.  I watched it again recently, and without giving away too many spoilers I'm going to depict the main plot and why I think it's a great concept to grasp.  The movie is based on a group of body builders (fitting right?) working at the Sun Gym in Miami, Florida in 1995.  The film states itself to be a true story multiple times throughout it's run, and after reading more of the details of the events "loosely" based is more of an accurate description.  However, the story is still very interesting none the less.  The main characters of this body building trio are Daniel Lugo (Mark Whalberg), Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie), and Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson).  The story's main premise is one of Daniel Lugo's desire to attain the American Dream and a rightful calling to a better life he thinks he's destined for.  Now before we go further and explain some of the details and plans he hopes to achieve this, let me just preface with saying I AM ONLY USING THE STORY AS A METAPHOR.  Cool, now we've squared that away.

In the beginning, Lugo is the manager of the Sun Gym as a personal trainer, living a lower class way of life and barely making ends meet.  Lugo is an avid believer in motivational speaker Jonny Wu's philosophy of being a "Doer" and not a "Donter".  Multiple scenes showcase his pitiful life and the envy he has towards others more successful than him.  Constantly obsessing with the American Dream and the riches others seem to have, Lugo hatches a plan to extort one of his wealthy clients to manifest his destiny and claim what is rightfully his.  He recruits help from two other personal trainers at the gym, Doorbal and Doyle.  The story is told with a dark and comedic undertone as the gang calculates and schemes their plans and fail multiple times in apprehending their victim, until they finally capture him and begin a month long series of torture and manipulation tactics to acquire his assets and assume his identity.  Again, these methods to achieve your goals are not what I'm endorsing, however the ideology of seeing your potential, devising your plan to achieve them, and being relentless in your pursuit is what I'm advocating.  Lets dive deeper...

In life we're given many opportunities to either Do or Don't.  It's as simple as that.  We over complicate decisions with the shades of gray and the "what ifs".  We worry about what others are going to think, we worry about how it's going to affect our day to day routines and our norms.  And worst of all, we focus more about how we're going to get there, rather than just starting somewhere.  We stop short of our dreams simply by shutting ourselves down saying we couldn't possibly achieve the highest summit of success.  But why?  Don't get me wrong, I've done it, and I'll probably still do it from time to time.  But why do we do it?  Daniel Lugo didn't see it that way.  He attended a motivational speaker's seminar and realized the difference between him and the successful individuals he had idolized was not the opportunities they were given.  Rather, it was their innate ability to Do rather than Don't when opportunities arose.  How many times have you been given an opportunity and rather than Doing, you became a "Donter"?  I've done it so many times in my life I'm embarrassed to admit it.  My entire childhood and young adult life I grew up very insecure and timid.  I had no confidence to pursue anything, even passions or hobbies.  I think one of the most prevalent examples of this from my past would be when I wanted to try out for the drum line Sophomore year of high school.  I've been playing the drums since I was 11 or 12 and it's one of my deepest passions in life.  But as a young individual, I had no confidence in my ability or even my passion to share with anyone.  I was so sure on the possibility of failing that I didn't even let anyone in to show me more and help me grow.  Until somehow my dad finally convinced me to try out as he saw my potential in me and challenged me to develop my talent into a skill.  So I tried out my sophomore year and I made it!  I knew I wasn't the best and I had a lot to learn during the summer to catch up to some of the other guys there, but I had made it and I was hungry for more.  By choosing to be a Doer one time I had changed my future's outcome infinitely.  Imagine if I had chosen to bail on that opportunity?  I could have never developed my drumming skills and ultimately lost so much passion and maybe even given up altogether.  BUT I didn't, and now I couldn't imagine my life without the drums.  I still play them almost everyday, even now!

Lugo's choices were definitely the wrong approach to attaining your dreams.  Stealing something from someone else to better your life is never the right way to achieving success.  But on the flip side, his vision of himself, his self confidence, and his potential is exactly what more of us need in life.  You have a higher calling and limitless potential despite your circumstances.  You have to be relentless in achieving your goals but they ARE attainable.  You have to be a DOER if it's something you know you deserve.  Think about your life now.  Whether it be a promotion, a new job, your first body building show, or even a date with that special someone you wish to see yourself with.  You have to see yourself in that role and become someone who does things to make it happen.  Without giving away too much of the movie, when Lugo is sitting his motivational speaker's seminar, Jonny Wu has three pieces of advice for the class.  "Get a goal, get a plan, and get up off your ass!"  It's very simple and scary.  But I know anyone reading this has that potential.  So let's make it happen fam!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

To Share or Not to Share

Recently I was reminded of my experience during my first body building prep and the process of setting the goal and then reaching it.  More specifically I was taken back to the time of when I decided to share this goal with others.  All in all, my prep was about 10 months long from the point of transitioning my normal routine of lifting and eating, to a more structured body builders approach in terms of hiring my coaches and nutritionist and tweaking my training around building my body to compete.  I had set the date of my first show for September 3rd and fixated my eyes on the goals at hand and didn't look back.  In the first 6 months however, I didn't share my goals to compete with anyone except a few people (girlfriend, parents, coaches).  But I do remember the time I finally did share with someone outside my few trusted confidants that I would be competing and that this transition was a complete overhaul to my entire life.  In this entry I want to depict the moment it happened, what I realized after my goals had been met, and what it did for me.

I remember being 6 months into my prep and I had just started a new promotion at work. I was immersed in a new venture both extra curricular with body building and at work with my new position.  In the process, another friend of mine had started the new position with me as we had been hired together.  I had known him for awhile now, and was aware of his highly motivated and determined-goal setting life style he was living.  He was always a staple of positive thinking and a role model of realizing your dreams and being relentless in the pursuit of them.  But for some reason I still didn't feel comfortable sharing this secret that I had been keeping.  I couldn't tell you why; maybe it was because fitness wasn't his passion?  Maybe it was because I was insecure about the vanity of the sport?  Regardless, I had many insecurities in the beginning (still do) and I didn't know who to trust with this goal.  Until one day we were working late, it was quiet in the office and he asked me some probing questions about my outside life that I hadn't really shared with him before.

We discussed our 5 year plans and goals.  We talked about where and what we want to be doing in the immediate future but also about what we were doing right now to moving towards those goals.  So I started to mention my thoughts about lifting and fitness, then diets, and eventually BODY BUILDING.  I did it!  Like letting a fart slip in front of the girl of your dreams, I had spilled my secret to someone neutral, unfamiliar, and unbiased to me.  Now being completely unfamiliar to the fitness lifestyle in general, he naturally had many questions about what the sport is and how it works.  The easiest frame of reference to share with my friend was share one of my heroes and main sources of inspiration, Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Of course at that point, we had made a connection since everyone knows Arnie.  After that, he asked me the most important question.  When I was planning on competing?  I told him September 3rd and he smiled as if he knew my dreams were already at my fingertips.  After that day he would periodically check in with me.  He wouldn't tell everyone else or make a big scene, but more of just reminders and questions about how I was feeling or how training was going.  Finally, the show date was here and I was nervous. Every single tedious and obtuse ritual of prep had gotten me this far and at this point there was nothing more I could do but put on my best show and try to have some fun through the nerves.  The day of my show, however, I remember without prompt or reminder. He had sent me a picture of a phrase written on a piece of paper he used to keep in his wallet that said, "We become what we think about".  I didn't realize it at first, but what he was doing my entire journey was holding me accountable.

Through the whole process I had realized a truth about myself that had never occurred to me before.  I prefer to be held accountable for my goals by others.  There's a sense of purpose and determination that takes over me when I use motivation of doing something for someone else, rather than just completing something for myself.  I work harder and more relentlessly when I know someone else is counting on me to do it.  But this doesn't have to be the case for everyone.  The flip side of this coin, however, is choosing not to share our goals or passions with others and only holding ourselves accountable.  There's a quote unanimously told in different ways: "Make goals, be quiet about them, crush them, rinse and repeat."  Simple enough, right?  For some maybe, yes, but both have to be tried and tested eventually to see for yourself.  I had tried the latter approach for many years, only to yield unsuccessful results.  It doesn't mean I wasn't capable, only that there was a piece of the puzzle my brain couldn't fabricate to manifest my destiny.  The drive of knowing someone else was depending on me to do it.  Goals are the name of the game in order to reach your potential, but setting yourself up for success and learning your best workflow to achieve your goals, is half the battle.  Don't wait years to try a different approach like I did if your not reaching your potential.  Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is the definition of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."  I'm challenging you today to find out whether or not sharing your goals with others is your missing piece of the puzzle to success.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Necessity of Failure

Yo yo!  We back fam!  This post is long overdue and I apologize, but now that work has slowed down a little I can finally get back to focusing on Easton Fit and sharing some thoughts and things I've learned so far in 2017.  SO!  I'm going to come out of the gates swinging on this one: I want to talk about failures and why they're necessary.  OOO!  SCARY!  I know it's a touchy subject but it's something I've encountered a bit of this year and I need to discuss what I've discovered in light of these "failures."

First of all, people often tend to see failure as a negative thing.  I can see why, but let me share why I'm disciplining myself to see failure as an opportunity.  You see, failure is like a creature dependent on energy.  Failure can only thrive on the energy WE give it.  Its symbiotic nature is like a leech feeding off your fears and insecurities.  Failure can only exist if we let it, and it can only hold us back if we let it.  So this sounds like some self help, pick yourself up by your britches sing-a-long and try again right?  Well, yes sort of, but let's break down how we can change the image of failure forever.

Recently I competed in a body building competition to start the year off and get myself back in the groove of competing.  I had been keeping my body at a pretty low body fat percentage while maintaining a flexible diet most of the early part of the year and did a rigorous 30 day prep just before the show to dial in.  I can say that my physique was at its most muscular I had ever seen it and I was confident in my posing from my previous experiences.  But fast forward to show day, and after a day of posing, oiling and applying many coats of tanner, I got 4th place.  I had failed.  It didn't make sense to me.  I was in my best shape, my posing was on point, and my energy ignited the stage more than anyone else there; and yet, I had failed.  I couldn't believe it and I didn't understand.  This was one of the first times in my life that I had allowed myself to feel confident in my work and know that I had deserved the reward at the end.  But I didn't get it and it broke my heart.  Now, all my family and friends comforted me and assured me that I should have won as well, but we all know that sentiment can only go so far.  There's only so many times you can hear your grandma say, "Those judges don't know what they're talking about."  So what did I do?

Well, after binge eating just about every brownie, cookie, and donut I could find, I decided that I needed to do something with this "failure" and turn it into a fuel for myself.  I had to first look back at that day, grade my performance in my head, and subsequently compare it to the other competitors as well.  To accurately weigh our efforts we need to be honest and fair and hold ourselves accountable even when it's difficult.  Most competitors on social media will tell you to not worry about the results and that comparing yourself to others isn't healthy.  But this was a body building competition, and I don't know about you, but any competitions I've ever been apart of have been about beating the guy next to you.  Not always the case, but in most sports or head to head competitions that is the end goal.  The idea that everyone is a winner and that the journey out weighs the reward is a newly adopted philosophy that I believe can soften your drive and eventually invite complacency.  If you want to fight your failures and ultimately your fears you need to feel the fires of your failures and use them to battle your next challenge.  In my honest opinion I believe I should have won 1st place that day.  I believe all elements combined that I possessed the best overall package on that stage.  There: I said it and I don't feel bad.  I don't feel like a poor sport or sore loser because I even gave the guy who won a hug, and I meant it as well.  I had to accept what had happened and trust that this was all meant to be for some reason.  It didn't happen over night and it wasn't easy to over come.  But over the course of a few weeks I was able to accept my ruling and I have begun to trust in the overall process of why it happened in the first place.  I am trusting that through this failure I will come out bigger, stronger and that I will possess a new found courage that will hopefully burn through my fears the next time I step on stage.  The final piece of this puzzle is to learn from the results and not let it hold you back.  This could be the most challenging step of all because we must take everything we've learned and ultimately say, "I will try again, but this time..."  We have to approach our next challenge whether it be the same endeavor or a new one with a new callused skin and a fiery passion that will be evident to others around us.  Some would call this vengeance or retribution, and will warn you of the dangers of pursuing this passion.  But call it what you will, all I ask is that you don't give up.  I'm not recommending the use of hate or malice in your challenges, but rather a fearless courage that will push you past any boundaries that once stuttered your efforts.

I hope sharing this recent "failure" and it's subsequent epiphany for myself, can help you through a "failure" you've been struggling to accept and move past yourself.  Eric Thomas once said, "Just because you failed, don't make you a failure.  And just because you lost, don't make you a loser."  This wasn't always something I believed for myself, but after grading my efforts, trusting in the process, and ultimately learning from my failures, I now know that my "failures" will never define me, but they will guide me...and I will succeed.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Get Your Shaker Bottles Here!

Happy Monday, Fitfam!

above: 28 oz
Exciting announcement today!  We still have more Easton Fit shaker bottles for sale! And who doesn't need another shaker bottle am I right?  But what you don't need to do is spend $12 on a plastic cup.  Look no further!

We have two sizes (20 oz and 28 oz), for $5 and $6, respectively.  Head over to the contact page to place your order or more information!

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A week of Meal Prep/Macro Friendly Pizza

Another Wednesday is upon us! 

If you're anything like me, you're at the point of the week where dieting seems stupid and pointless and you have a great personality so who cares if you eat 143 pizzas tonight am I right?

Hang in there fam.  I have a couple pieces of advice to fight those cravings and stay focused on your routine.  I wanted to share with you all what a typical shopping list for the week looks like, but first of all, what I've found is that preparation is truly key when it comes to diet.  I (try to) prep all my food for the week on Sundays, but you can honestly prep whenever you have an ample amount of time to do so.  I say ample because while it will take some time, it's way easier if you cook everything at once.  Trying to rearrange meals and carbs and all that when you run out of one thing is a giant unnecessary headache and can mess up all the rest of your meals.  The easiest way to fix this problem is think about the how much chicken, for example, you eat per day, and per week, and try to prepare that amount.  I know...math.  This may seem like common sense, but trust me, the one time you get cocky and think you know, you end up opening the fridge in the morning and you're out of rice :))))))))))))))) Mind you, this is not the end of the world, but when those hard days hit where the last thing you want is another meal of ground turkey and green beans, if you're out of green beans, it's an easy excuse to cheat and get off track.  

All through my prep and off season, my diet stays fairly consistent as far as the staple foods I buy.  My list will include:

1.  Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2.  Extra Lean ground turkey
3.  Lean ground beef/some sort of lean steak if I'm feeling wild
4.  Bananas/sometimes strawberries or a frozen berry blend for shakes
5.  Steel cut oats (My go to breakfast.  Throw in some protein powder, egg whites, almond butter, and bananas.  Bomb.)
6.  Brown rice/potatoes
7.  Frozen veggies (you can get creative here, choose a vegetable that you enjoy, but make sure you check the macros on the back!  Some brands add flavoring, butter or other sauces that are unnecessary.  I know butter is great but you know what else is great? Unclogged arteries.)
8.  Rice cakes
9.  Protein powder/bars (like we talked about last week, watch the intake of these...a snack and a post workout shake, or adding it to your oatmeal if fine, but not for 3 meals a day everyday.  That'd be gross.)
10.  Unsweetened almond milk 
11.  Egg whites
12. Almond butter

And that's pretty much it! This is a very simple list, but it is your prerogative to get fancy as you want with your meal prep.  Just make sure that you take the time to read the labels!  Pay attention to what you're eating and don't absentmindedly snack on garbage just because it says "gluten free."  

My pizza.  So art very wow
Now that that's all taken care of, I also wanted to share a recipe I found for macro friendly pizza!  I can't take any credit for this recipe, but it was a serious life saver on my preps when I couldn't fathom eating one Tupperware meal. 

Just follow this link to get the recipe:

I topped it with fat free cheese, a low calorie pizza/tomato sauce, reduced fat pepperoni and some ground turkey.  And alllll of the spices. Again those macros.  Or don't.  Pizza is good for the soul.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Legs/Lower Back Workout!

Enjoy this Legs and Lower Back workout! Guaranteed you won't be able to walk the same the next day. 

- Squats: 5 sets (14, 12, 10, 8, 6, increasing weight)

- Seated Calf Raises: 4 sets of 20

- Leg Press: 5 sets (14, 12, 10, 8, 6, increasing weight)

- Good Mornings SUPERSET with Romanian Deadlifts (4 sets of 10)
       Note: it's very important to keep your back and legs straight and stiff to focus on the 
       lower back and hamstrings/glutes. 

Happy Friday y'all!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Macros and Back Rows (chest/back workout)

Let's talk macros.

People throw this word around a lot.  Tracking macros.  Counting macros.  Balancing macros.  It all can get really confusing and everyone you talk to will have a different opinion about the perfect amount you should be eating.  If you don't know what macros are, I will summarize it in the most basic terms possible:  (disclaimer: not a scientist/doctor/dietician, bare with me people) "macro" comes from the full word macronutrients, which are pretty much the substances your body and metabolism need to grow and function.  Basically, the nutrients that you need in large quantities (hence the macro) to live - proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.  Again, that is a very basic definition.  But that's what bodybuilders, and people who want to lose/gain weight, mostly track.
A typical prep for me: steak, chicken,
potatoes, broccoli, turkey

The tricky part is that everybody is *shocker* different.  So everyone's body responds to different ratios of macros differently, and increasing/decreasing specific macros serves different purposes. Unless you consult a medical professional or dietary specialist, it's hard to know EXACTLY what macro split will work for you.  There's tons and tons of articles online that will sweeeear by high protein, or high carb, or low carb, or high fat (where my keto fans at) but again - every body is different!!! If you are trying a diet or hitting certain macros, and you've given it time to the point where you feel you should be seeing results (not just one week), maybe it's not what's best for your body type.  It takes experimenting and TIME.  Just like building muscle, perfecting your diet is a learning process and involves getting in touch with your body and paying attention to what makes you feel the best.  

If you're new to the macro world and have no idea where to start, don't fret.  Nobody knows what they're doing when they start.  Pinky swear.  Figuring out what worked for me and my body took time, and ended up being way different than what I thought.  That being said, if you're just starting out I have a couple pieces of advice.  From a real person, not a dietician.

1.  You don't have to go 0-60 overnight.  If you are drastically changing your diet, make a plan, but give yourself grace.  In my experience, people that say "I'm not eating any bad food ever again!!!!" end up giving up their diet in like, a week.  Have a donut every once in a while.  It won't kill you.

2.  Start with making smarter choices.  If you're used to having a burger and fries every day for lunch, aim for something not deep fried or covered in ketchup.  Not every meal has to be grilled chicken and rice and broccoli.

3.  Speaking of chicken and can make chicken and broccoli not suck.  For me, it's all about seasonings.  And garlic.  Lots of garlic.  Eating clean does not have to be bland!  And it'll save you from getting tired of the the same food everyday.  Trick those taste buds.

4.  Try to balance all your meals.  If you don't want to go crazy with the macro tracking at first, try to at least have a good source of protein, carbs, and a little fat with every meal.  For example, if you're going to have cereal for breakfast, have some eggs with it.  If you eat a muffin for breakfast every morning and feel like dirt by lunch even if you're not hungry, most likely you're body is just missing a proper energy source.  Muffins are mostly carbohydrates (sugar, in this case).  Get some protein in there!!

5.  Protein powder can be a godsend in the sense that eating enough protein during the day can be rough.  Nobody likes chicken that much.  However, don't become dependent on it.  If you have the opportunity to eat real, whole food, do it.  But protein shakes are good before or after a workout, or for an additional protein source.  

Easy peasy, right?  Right.  Not rocket science.  You just gotta get started.

And now, a chest and back workout!  An interesting split I hadn't tried until recently, but I've actually been lovin' it.  

Flat bar bench press
Incline bar bench press
Bent over barbell rows
Single dumbbell rows
Cable flies

You can mix up how many sets/reps/and whether you increase or decrease in weight as you go.  Usually I do 4 or 5 sets or each exercise and add weight as I go along, and do as many reps as I can at that weight, starting at 12 for the lightest weight.  

Thanks for reading, fam!  Start your week off strong!!