Thursday, May 29, 2014

Healthy living is the priority

Healthy living is the priority

“It’s not realistic to only eat raw food for healthy nutrition. 
Our society is not built this way anymore.”

I was having a conversation with two guys who are affiliated with Visalus.  Visalus is a company that markets weight management products, with the main product being the “Vi-shake”.  First of all, these two guys in particular are very passionate and love life.  I was definitely in the presence of positivity and life energy.  I enjoyed our conversation as we talked about personal growth, business development, healthy living, basically the things I love to talk about.  I think it was pretty cool that we both have our unique visions to help people change their lives.  So whether I advise Visalus or not, I liked these two guys.  I was asked my opinion on supplements and what I advise my clients.  I wanted to elaborate on my thoughts…

“I am a huge advocate of creating a healthy lifestyle first.  No supplement or vitamin is the end all be all to nutrition and health.  Understand this first.  When supplements are shoved in our face, we start to think the product is better than real food.  This is false.  It puts the wrong message out there for the community.  Nutrient packed foods are a far better solution than any multivitamin or Vitamin C supplement.  The actual definition of supplement states: Something that completes or enhances something else when added to it.  So a supplement can complete the human diet when used appropriately.  If you eat fast food and drink soda during the week, a supplement will not give you better health.  I would rather someone make changes in their overall nutrition program first before supplementing their diet.  If you need more Vitamin C, eat Vitamin C rich foods.  If you need more protein, eat more lean meats and eggs.  If you do not know, the next step is to food log.  If you do not know what is coming into your body, you will have no clue where your deficiencies lie.  To take a Vitamin C tablet or other supplement without knowing your actual intake is negligent and can be harmful if consumption is too high.  Thinking a “protein shake” will be the magical cure to your weight problem is nonsense.  Nothing is better than a healthy nutrition plan, hard work in the gym and consistency to the overall program. It’s a mindset.  It takes determination and effort. It’s committing to the lifestyle.  Now if a supplement can assist you to become a healthier person and be a tool for you to make healthy changes in your life, I am all for it.  There can be a place for supplementation in the human diet.  Short on time?  Grab a protein shake.  Iron deficient?  Utilize an iron supplement.  Not eating enough fish and omega 3’s?  Use a fish oil product.  But the idea is to create a foundation of natural health first.  Pack your diet full of nutrient dense foods.  Drink water.  Workout.  And be consistent.  This is how I view the idea of supplements.”

After hearing me passionately speak my mind, one of the gentlemen responded by calmly saying, “You are 100% correct.  It’s all about creating a healthy lifestyle and getting your nutrition from real food should be the priority.  But it’s not realistic for most people to only eat raw food for healthy nutrition.  Our society is not built this way anymore.” 
It’s a sound point he made but this quote really stuck with me.  I really had to wrap my stubborn brain around this hypothesis.  Does our society really have a problem?  Are we at a point where the majority of the population does not get it?  Do most people need these supplements to create a healthier life? 

Let’s take a look at some alarming statistics…

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention,

·      69% of Adults age 20 years and over are considered overweight or obese. 
·      18.4% of adolescents age 12-19 are obese
·      18% of children age 6-11 are obese
·      12% of children age 2-5 are obese
·      26.6 million adults have been diagnosed with heart disease

What?!  These statistics are disturbing to say the least.  Our society does have a problem when it comes to lifestyle habits. 

Now, let’s take a look at a few statistics regarding the supplement industry…

·      The percentage of the U.S. population who used at least one dietary supplement increased from 42% in 1988–1994 to 53% in 2003–2006
·      The supplement industry has produced about $32 billion in revenue for just nutritional supplements alone in 2012.  It is projected to double that by topping $60 billion in 2021 according to the Nutritional Business Journal.
·      More than one-half of U.S adults take dietary supplements

Ok, so here is how I am looking at the overlap of these two areas.  Heart disease and obesity is rising.  Our children are getting heavier by the year.  Activity comes in the form of facebook and video games, not playing basketball and riding bikes.  The supplement industry is also on a steady incline.  Americans are using supplements more than ever.  If these supplements are meant to help us live healthier lives why are these heart disease and obesity statistics continuing to rise?  Our health as a country is declining.  But supplements are rising.  So where is the problem?!

The problem with our society is the overall mindset.  We need a shift in our consciousness.  We need to alter our definition of health.  We need to get our priorities straight.  We need more people to encourage this way of living.  NOT, prescribing “fast-acting” products.  We can live healthy without artificial products.  We can live healthy with the assistance of supplements.  The idea is build a solid foundation of health.

So can a supplement be of assistance to your healthy plan?  Absolutely.

Will it be the magic bullet to you achieving results?  Absolutely not. 

My answer…

Here we go... 

Are you ready for the next great thing?

I am not promising fast results.  This “product” will take a life-long commitment.  Something in your head will have to click on and say, “I can do this for the rest of my life.”  I will not force a protein drink down your throat.  I will not tell you to shove 10 vitamins down your mouth everyday.  I do not have the magical berry juice.  I will not advise any type of fasting (We need food for crying out loud).  What I want you to consider is the habit of health.  It’s having the dedication to yourself to workout consistently, eat sensible foods (doesn’t have to be perfect) and follow a healthy plan.  It’s long term.   The first step is to create a foundation. 

Start by drinking 72 ounces of water.  If you are not doing this, don’t take supplements.  Start with the basics. 

Start by getting to the gym 3 or 4 times a week.  When you are at the gym, don’t over do it.  Push yourself but do not hurt yourself.  You want to push your limits every once in awhile in your workouts.  If you do this every time, you will eventually get hurt. 

Start by buying some healthy groceries.  Eat more vegetables and fruits.  Get some good lean proteins.  Limit the processed sugars and simple carbohydrates (notice I did not say eliminate).  Use a specific diet plan to assist your lifestyle but do not let it take over your life. 

Find balance.  Be smart and do not feed your children Lucky Charms everyday.  Once or twice a week, I am ok with but everyday is careless.  Learn to make healthy choices most of the time.  Create a healthy balance that you can sustain. 

Use a supplement or aide when you are in a time constraint or you notice you have a nutritional deficiency.  Don’t haphazardly consume drinks, pills, juice or liquid vitamins just because your friend told you it’s healthier.  Research.  Know what you are putting in your body.  Ask yourself why you are putting “x” in your body. 

Recognize your lifestyle patterns.  If you do not have a habit of health, no supplement, no diet, no extreme workout plan, nothing will work and be sustainable until you build a long-standing habit. 

Do not kid yourself.  Do not buy an $80 vitamin pack because it promises weight loss.  Do not believe a “60-day” workout plan will completely transform your body. 

If you want a lean physique, if you want to see your abs, if you want muscles, if you want less fat…you must commit to a specific lifestyle.  If you are looking to drop a few pounds before your class reunion, tighten up your nutrition for a couple months.  But do not revert back to your old ways.  Continue your healthy journey.  It will take more than 60 days.  It will take more than just a drink or pill.  It will take dedication, perseverance, determination and constant effort. 

Can we debunk this “Society is not built this way anymore” statement?  I believe we can.  But it’s up to each individual to choose healthier living.  Each person is responsible.  Every parent is responsible for his or her children.  We can do this!  Set your mind!  Believe!  Your life depends on it!

**I do not have anything against weight loss products or nutritional companies.  What I do have a problem with is claiming a product is the “magical” formula to a healthy life.  Many people have done great without any supplements.  Vice versa, many people have used supplements to aide their healthy life.  As a community, let’s first encourage healthy living before we prescribe artificial supplements. 

Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Single Best Strategy for Productive Living

"If it's important to you, you will find a way.  If not you'll find an excuse."

Nothing works without consistency. In our society, too many people are looking for quick fix formulas that promise results. If you really want to be successful, productive, build a strong business, attain high levels of fitness and truly take advantage of life, then I recommend starting with this one strategy below...But do not expect over night results with this task. You need to complete this tactic every week, for many weeks; really for many months. It needs to become a habit. This discipline sounds strict and rigid but this consistent habit will free up time to do other things in your life.
A habit of mine every Sunday is to build my week ahead. Whether I am out of town or at home, I find a quiet place, turn on some soothing music and I start building my week. I take out a blank weekly design template that I stole from Robin Sharma. If you do not know who Robin Sharma is, I recommend you reading his blog and watching his videos. He is a leadership coach and consults with some of the biggest companies in the world. He is the author of the best selling book, The Leader Who Had No Title. His strategies have tremendously helped me lead a more productive and fuller life.

I first start by writing in all of my fixed appointments. These are the meetings or activities that do not change week by week. I know this schedule by heart but I still write them in my template. Next on the schedule is my family time. I find pockets of time during my workweek when my priority is my wife and daughters (morning time, dinners, activities, dates, etc.). During the weekends, I do not write in "family time" because that is my focus on most weekends, unless I am traveling. I then write in my personal workouts. I have my own performance goals so my training is very important to me. I usually schedule these workouts around my work and family schedule. I either work out really early, before my family is awake or take an hour out of my workday to make it happen. Since I own my own fitness training facility, this makes things easier for me to get my workouts in.  But don't make the excuse of "I don't have time to workout".  Make time.  Find time.  We all have the time, it's just utilizing our time effectively.  Once my schedule is completed for the week, I move on to the back page.

On the back of these time management sheets are my "to dos" for the week. I write down everything that needs to be done. Things like articles I need to write, any business tasks like marketing/finances/or staff communication, and any emails/calls that are needed to make. Once I complete a task, I highlight it, which gives me a sense of esteem and accomplishment. On the top of these sheets, I write out a "weekly focus message". This week was "Be into others.  Relationships are key".  This gives me a laser focused mindset on a specific idea that I need to work on all week. If I feel I need to focus on that specific idea more, then it becomes the next week's focus message.

Over time, this strategy has enabled me to reduce stress, tremendously increase productivity, spend more time with my family, build a better and stronger business, train and compete in triathlons and other running races, improve my relationships, have laser focus on my priorities and overall live a more enthusiastic way of life!

If there is one strategy that I recommend for personal productivity and life development, this it! I am not a fan of the "I don't have time" excuse. If it's important, I make time and it gets scheduled. My goal is to have 52 weeks in a row of these sheets filled out!

Set Big Goals, Start small and Act now!

For more information regarding my programs, go to my brand new website,

If you are ready to reach for your ULTIMATE BEST or if you have any questions regarding this coaching program, please contact me at

No let up and keep striving, 

Justin Levine  

Past writings