Friday, January 28, 2011

It's Up to You

"A day is more than just a day. A day is opportunity, freedom, a chance to get better, a motivation to live. Yesterday is gone but TODAY is here! And tomorrow is awaiting. The amount of life you put in today will enhance what tomorrow brings. So LIVE TODAY! BE IN TODAY! GO FOR IT TODAY! Make TODAY unbelievable!"

Your thoughts turn into action so if you are continually thinking high level, positive, genuine, inspiring and motivating then your actions will turn into these words. "Get rid of the vampires in your life. These are the people that will suck you dry and not care." says Todd Durkin of Fitness Quest 10. If you are trying to do BIG THINGS and have BIG GOALS then what is the point of having poison in your life. You need to eliminate anything that will stray you away from your goals. It might be hard at first. The peer pressure is tough but you can break through. You can create freedom. You can create legendary ism (yes I made that word up). You can create greatness. You can create the day, the week, the month, the year, THE LIFE that you want. It's up to you though. It's up to you to make that decision to be ELITE, to think a certain way, to act a certain way to BE A CERTAIN WAY. It's up to you! What do you do daily, weekly, monthly and yearly to become a better person. Do you sit around and wait for success and glamour to come to you. Or do you go out and create significance in your life and others. Do you inspire people to do amazing things? Do you get inspired by reading or watching others do amazing things? It's up to you!

Take a deep look at yourself in the mirror. Seriously, try this...try staring at yourself in the mirror for 60 seconds. Look deep into your eyes. What do you see? Do you see strength, confidence, esteem, greatness, belief, a strong you? Can you even stare at yourself, looking deep into your eyes for 60 seconds. It's harder than you think. If you pass this first test the next step is to recite your goals out loud while staring at yourself in the mirror. Let your subconscious mind believe your thoughts. Be genuine and passionate when you recite your goals. Say them in the present tense, like if you had accomplished them already. "I lost 25 pounds", "I earned $10,000", "I finished Ironman Arizona". Your subconscious needs to hear in order for it to actually be real.

Do you really want it? Do you want to improve? Do you want more knowledge? Do you want better relationships? Do you want better communication? Do you want more athleticism? Do you want a healthier life? Do you REALLY WANT IT? Will you condition your mind with personal growth books and CD's? Will you condition your body with exercise, good nutrition and recovery strategies? Will you condition your soul with quiet time, church, praying (whatever works for you)? It is up to you!

Take the time to deeply look into your soul. Where are you? No! Where are YOU? The real you. The YOU that wants freedom in your life. The YOU that wants happiness. The YOU that doesn't need drugs or alcohol or pain medication. The YOU that doesn't need gossip, poisonous words, or negativity. The YOU that needs health, friendships, love and generosity. The YOU that will change people's lives, mentor hallow souls and the YOU that will create significance.

We all have it! But we must use it. It's there. It's right there inside of us. But we must find it. We must search for it. Because "IT" will change us forever. "IT" can be so heavenly. "IT" can fulfill our bodies, our souls and our minds. So remember, TODAY, TODAY is amazing and when we take advantage of TODAY we LIVE tomorrow.

Take a deep breath......

Take another one.....

and keep climbing the stairs. Watch out for the misdirection and stay on that path to doing whatever you want!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Read These Books

5 Fitness Books You Should Read

Ok, I am going to give everyone some homework this week! I need you to go out and buy these five books that I mention below. I feel like a 3rd grade teacher giving out reading assignments but the books I have referred below can dramatically change your outlook and knowledge in the areas of personal growth, fitness, nutrition and health education. You can get any of these books at

1. IMPACT Body Plan by Todd Durkin. This book is not only a great workout resource but it will give you tools and strategies to improve your personal growth and development. Todd Durkin is a leader and motivator in the fitness industry and trains some of the top football players in the NFL, including Drew Brees and Ladamian Tomlinson. Todd’s motivating attitude and high tempo workouts will get you energized and feeling on top of the world.

2. CORE PERFORMANCE by Mark Verstegen. Coach Verstegen is an innovator in the sports performance industry. His unique program was the foundation to the functional training era. This book gives you simple life, workout and nutrition strategies to not only enhance your physical prowess but will also assist with your confidence and self-esteem in your every day life.

3. FUNCTIONAL TRAINING FOR SPORTS by Michael Boyle. This resource changed the way strength and fitness coaches trained. Because of Coach Boyle’s training, we no longer looked at training muscles in isolation. Instead, Coach Boyle began using full body athletic movements to train athletes so they could maximize their individual sport skills. Boyle’s simple methodologies are perfect for any individual looking to get in the best shape of their life.

4. THE FEMALE BODY BREAKTHROUGH by Rachel Cosgrove. This cutting edge manual gives real life stories of hard working women who decided to change their life with exercise and nutrition improvement. Rachel gives basic strategies to women to improve their self-esteem, their self worth and their overall mindset. The tools in this book are not just for women, though, they can be used for any individual looking to enhance their strength and conditioning levels.

5. THE ART OF EXCEPTIONAL LIVING by Jim Rohn. I know this is not a “fitness” book but this book can single handedly change your life. If you practice the strategies Mr. Rohn lays out for you, you will become a more optimistic and stronger person. Your everyday life will improve and you will learn to live life to the fullest.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Inspiring Others

As I sit here winding down from a busy day I think to myself "Do most people reach their full potential?" There is so much we can do and so much we can achieve. Is there a way to educate more people and give them the inspiration they need to want to better themselves. Living to me is waking up each day wanting to take on my challenges and having enthusiasm with anything I do. This is a difficult task for most people. But how can we inspire more people? When you guide and motivate other people to high levels, you feel strong and content. Here are 6 ways to guide others to greatness:

1. Invite others to workout with you. Working out is positive, creates strength and energy and gives you a sense of accomplishment. When you workout with others you build relationships and connect deeply with your peers. There is nothing better than a group of positive individuals sitting around after a workout with smiles on their faces knowing they just took a step closer to their goals. So next time you workout, get someone to come along with you, inspire them, motivate them, guide them to greatness!

2. Recommend positive reading material. This is monumental. Reading can expand your thoughts, your knowledge, the way you think and open your mind to new ideas and methods of living life. No need to try and reinvent the wheel when there are very successful people out there giving you the keys to personal development. Start reading these books: "The Art of Exceptional Living" by Jim Rohn, "Tdday Matters" by John Maxwell, "Goals" by Brian Tracy, "The Pyramid of Success" by John Wooden and "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie.

3. Always be conscious of your words. I am reading "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz and the first agreement is "Be impeccable with your word." We get caught up in gossip and negative speaking too many times in life. We need to always be aware of how our thoughts affect other people. Our words can affect others so greatly, either in a postive or negative way. You can inspire others by speaking positive words and never speak negative about anyone. Try to do this.

4. Your character counts. Inspiring others to greatness starts with your true character. John Wooden says "your reputation is what others think of you, and your character is who you really are". What do you do when no one is looking? How do you act when no one is looking? This is the definition of character. When you have a strong character, others follow your lead and rise to greatness. Think about what you will do next time a tough time arises.

5. Keep pushing for betterment of personal development. Look at the people you are surrounded with in your daily life. Are you the one pushing them to get better? Or are you the one getting pushed? Whatever role you decide to take, know and understand that you inspire others when you continue the climb to your goals. When you have a group of determined and hard working peers, you will all strive for greatness. Choose your crowd wisely and know that the people you are surrounded with can take you down the right path or take you down the wrong path. You decide.

6. Believe in yourself at all times. When you believe in yourself you give a sense of confidence and strength to others. It will be tough to inspire others if you can not inspire yourself. Work on your self esteem with mental conditioning affirmations. Whether you enjoy meditation, praying, listening to soft music or just plain ol' quiet time, these strategies will help you center your thoughts and get you focused on your goals and personal development. When you start believing in yourself you will start to believe in others and lead them to greatness.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Mind Game of Running

Running – Get in your Head
By: Justin Levine

When most people think of running they think of logging miles, what type of shoes should I buy, what workout should I follow, what type of stretches should I do and so on. Well today I am going to talk about improving your mental game to improve your running game. This component not only can help you improve your performance but can tremendously help take your game to a whole different level. Mental conditioning needs to be worked on just as much as the physical conditioning side of things. We need to teach and train our thoughts to be positive. Did you know that 80% of most humans’ thoughts are negative thoughts? The crazy thing about this issue is that we can do something about it. We can change our attitude, our thoughts and our mindset. But just like running a faster 5k or preparing for a marathon, we must put in the training to improve our performance. And it just doesn’t happen over night. It takes daily affirmations, consistent positive thinking and a burning desire to want this change. So I have laid out 5 mental exercises for you to work on to improve upon your mental conditioning. The key is to actually take the time to work on these strategies. You can read these over and over but nothing with change until you actually practice these strategies. And yes, these are for everyone!

1. Daily Affirmations. First, when you wake up you must create positive thoughts before you even jump out of bed. Do not wake up muttering, “ugh, another day.” Say things like: “Today I will be my best and give my best”; “I will move closer to my goals”; “Nothing will get in my way”; “I will tackle my problems with a full head of steam”; “I will drop body fat”; “I will improve my times in my workout.” These thoughts will turn into actions and you will see a tremendous change in your mindset and your life. You have to be conscious of this exercise, as it is very easy to just get out of bed and “get through another day”. Remember each day is a new beginning, a fresh start, and a brand new chance to create greatness. We cannot focus on yesterday but having a good and better yet GREAT today will make for a better tomorrow. Secondly, after a long day, when you are lying in bed about to fall asleep, finish the day with a positive thought. “I did my best today”; “I am so happy to be alive and tomorrow will be another good day”; “Good job on your effort today”; “Tomorrow will be another great day”. Starting and ending your day with positive affirmations can be a game changer.

2. Believe in yourself at all Times. During the day you must create a mindset that truly believes in yourself. Do not put yourself down or have disbelief in accomplishing a certain project, or workout, or task. Think of the self-degrading comments we tell ourselves sometimes. Would we like it if someone else said bad things about us? Absolutely not. That would make us very angry. But yet too many times we are putting ourselves down and disbelieving in our abilities. No matter the task at hand, do the work necessary to kill it. If you have the action and the mindset you will accomplish. Believe in that and you will start doing Big Things.

3. Try some meditation. Have you ever sat in a room or in your car with complete quietness, your eyes shut and focused on your internal thoughts and mindset? Try doing this for 10 minutes everyday. Do it before your workout or before you step into your office or before a big race. Meditation can relax your mind, get you centered, focused and energize your thoughts. With such busy lifestyles our mind is always racing and thinking of the next step. Focus on zoning out and direct your attention on your thoughts and your internal motivations. What drives, inspires and motivates you? This internal conditioning can be a supercharge in energy that you have been looking for.

4. Positive self-talk. This one goes hand in hand with running performance. During workouts and training you must create a positive self-awareness that will lead to successful performance. It is easy to talk ourselves into not completing the recommended distance or the last few intervals. Continually tell yourself that you can do the mileage and you can push through the tough intervals. This will transfer over to your racing as when you are pushing and giving it your all, you will be able to push through that uncomfortable zone and have a successful race. When those negative thoughts enter the head, immediately erase them and turn them into positive thoughts. “Keep going”; “Yes, I can”; “I can hold this pace”; “I can do 1 more hill repeat”; Your performance goes in the right direction when you think positively.

5. Write down all of your goals. This can be a road map to a successful training program. What do you want? Faster 5k? Run a marathon? At the end of each season, you need to assess the previous season. What were your strengths? What were your weaknesses? What will be your goals for the next season? Goals are just random ideas and thoughts until they are written down. Create a game plan that you can look at everyday. When your goals are in sight every morning when you wake up you are more likely to stay on path to accomplish those goals. The next step is showing those goals to a mentor or a coach. Now you are held accountable to achieving your goals. Meet with that person periodically throughout the year to talk about where you are at and what you need to do to stay on path.

Running is a physically demanding sport and you need strength, endurance and speed to improve your physical performance. But the mental side of things is just as important to work on. If you create a mental conditioning program to improve your overall thoughts and mindset you will become a better athlete. Become great and do big things by working on the strategies above. It is time to be HUGE! Keep living and keep training and big things will come your way.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

10 Workout Strategies for the Fitness Professional

10 Workout Strategies for Fitness Professionals
By: Justin Levine,,

After a forum topic discussing how fitness coaches get their workouts in, I decided this would be a very informative article. Practicing what we preach might be the most important aspect of our job. Nobody wants a deconditioned and unhealthy fitness coach telling them how to get in shape and what foods to eat. We must take the time to focus on ourselves and get fit. Our schedules are busy, we spend so much time helping others and educating ourselves and yet I show up to seminars and see many fitness professionals out of shape. This is breaking code for our profession. So this article will give 10 strategies to assist the fitness professional get workouts in during the week.

1. Schedule them in. Just like we are anal about our schedule of clients we must be anal about scheduling our individual workouts. Look at your schedule on Sunday night for the upcoming week and add your workouts to that schedule, just like if it was an appointment. And don’t say you don’t have time. Make time, just like we would tell our clients. We would advise our clients to do this same strategy so practice it yourself and get your training in your schedule.
2. Keep your workouts short. Tabata! That is about all I have to say for this one. If you are so cut for time then hit 2 rounds of Tabatas. Perform a short dynamic warm-up and then go for it! It will take you less than 15 minutes to perform this workout. Just like we would tell our clients, No excuses!
3. Set a workout goal. Alwyn Cosgrove gave me the idea to set a workout goal throughout the year. How many workouts can you consistently get in the upcoming year? Be realistic with yourself. Every time you complete a workout, write the number in big red numbers on a calendar. Go hard to hit your goal.
4. Train for something. 5k, 10k, half-marathon, triathlon, or a fitness challenge. These are all fabulous motivational tools to spark some motivation to get your training in. Show your clients that you not only have the drive and discipline to become a great fitness coach but you can get out there and compete as well. I know running or other endurance sports are not for everyone but you can find an activity that you might enjoy and then you train to become the best you can be. How about Crossfit games? JK
5. Train with your clients. Coach Boyle mentioned that he performs airdynne sprints with his clients after their workouts. This is a great way to build relationships with your clients. Throughout the year I advertise “Workout with Justin” nights. Clients sign up to crank through a workout with the owner. A great way to bond with the members of your facility. Again, building relationships with clients should be a priority.
6. Get a training partner or group. Again something we always recommend to our clients. This is a great way to keep you on your training schedule and keep you accountable. It makes for a fun and inspiring training session and allows you to strive for higher results just like the members in your facility.
7. Workout early. Most fitness coaches are at the gym at the crack of dawn so this may not be an option. But if your schedule allows for a few mornings a week to workout early, it’s a must. Get your day started on a positive note and check it off the list by working out early.
8. Train with other trainers. Set-up a training session with the other trainers of the gym. Show the clients and/or members that the training staff is fit, in shape and works hard. Once a month, instead of our usual trainers meeting, we workout together. This builds staff unity and connection.
9. Foam Roll/Stretch Class. I just started this 2 months ago. Pick a day where your schedule is lighter and allows for this type of class. I chose Sunday evening at 4:00 pm. I invited my clients, family and friends to this active recovery class and we spend time rolling, stretching and getting the body prepared for the upcoming week. Eventually I will charge $8.00 for this class but I am getting people interested first. Sometimes during the week it is hard to find time to work on our limiters so having a scheduled class can be a great way of getting it in.
10. Have a goal. Do you want to lose body fat, increase your deadlight, run a faster 5k, or improve your tight hips? Spend time writing down your fitness goals so you can have direction and motivation.

Remember this is a priority and a perk of our profession. We get to stay in shape for our job! So as an industry, let’s all work on improving ourselves, not only professionally but athletically and physically as well. You will see an improvement in your job, your energy and the way you interact with your clients.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Climbing the Mountain Starts With The First Step

It is the first week of January. It's a fresh start to a challenging climb. The year starts off with an abundance of energy, motivation and exuberant attitudes. People are "ready to roll". See, most people do not recognize that you can create a magnificent year. You are in charge of your "lucky" decisions and experiences that come your way. If you devise a game plan and manufacture a step by step program to conquering your goals, guess what, you will....

Do not wait for "lucky" times to come your way. We can not sit and wait for "our lucky break" or that winning loto ticket. We can not just expect lean and sculpted bodies. We can not expect to get some form of pleasurable results without hard work. That is the foundation of accomplishment. If you watch Joe Paterno, Urban Meyer, John Wooden, or Phil Jackson do their job, they are top of the food chain hard workers. They are advocates of discipline, personal development and mental awareness. That's why they are successful.

Well you can be super successful too, in your own way. You can have plenty of wealth and happiness and powerful and strong relationships if you decide now, to be elite.

So the mountain is high. We will drive up that beast, step by step, day by day, month by month until we reach the top and celebrate personal growth, strengthened character and higher achievement.

If you are serious and want results you will write down your goals with the necessary steps to succeed. Don't wait, don't say "it's in my head", don't just write them on scratch paper, take the time to sit down and contemplate what YOU WANT this year. Then type them and print them out, and highlight each goal and set them in a place where you will look at them everyday.

This will be a fast moving, inspiring and high level year. And with dedicated minds and positive attitudes, you will get to the top and commemerorate the journey.

P.S. Be on the look out for my cutting edge DVD titled "The Ultimate Dynamic Warm-up."

Past writings