Wednesday, June 29, 2016

4 tips to build your ideal lifestyle

1.  Stay all around fit.  When searching for your ideal lifestyle, you need to be fit inside and out.  You need to have physical strength to keep up with the demands of life.  You need to be internally fit to reduce your chances of sickness and disease.  You need to be spiritually fit to stay centered and focused on the present moment.  You need to be mentally fit to engineer your life the way you want to live.  You need to be emotionally fit to communicate well and handle the stress of day-to-day living.  You need to fuel your body nutrient dense foods (most of the time) to maintain a high performing physical self.  By combining all of these components, you will improve your productivity, gain laser focus on your ambitions, develop discipline and tenacity and ultimately create a clear vision of your ideal lifestyle.  Once you recognize this vision, these above components will energize you to attack life everyday. 

2.  Learn how to build supportive habits.  Ultimately, your habits dictate the life you want to live or the life you wish not to live.  Everything we do in life is habit.  Brush your teeth.  Drink the coffee.  Eat breakfast.  Smoke the cigarette.  Drive to work on the same roads.  Drink alcohol after work.  Whatever it is, it’s your habits that manufacture your lifestyle.  For example, if you want to get in great shape, you need healthy and supportive habits.  Start small and make drinking water a habit.  Once that becomes automatic, then add in 2 more servings of vegetables.  Once automatic, then add more protein.  The snowball effect will ensue.  Keep going through this process of small habit change and do this for months, even years.  Your lifestyle will eventually evolve.  Studies suggest that it takes at least 66 days to form new habits in your life.  Be patient, be consistent, and stay on course.  If you slip up, stay optimistic and move on to the next day.  In the end, stay accountable and build habits that will set you up to live your ideal lifestyle. 

3.  Be optimistic.  I am a firm believe that positivity sets you up to live your ideal life.  I am not sure if there is research on this subject, but I can bet that your odds increase of you achieving your goals and ambitions when you live a positive life.  Optimistic people flock to optimistic people.  And when you are constantly surrounding yourself with positive, motivating and inspiring people, you will tremendously raise your chances of living a great life. 

4.  It’s all about personal growth.  This is the foundation.  Personal growth is your total self.  When you are relentlessly working on improving who you are as a person, you are bound to live the life of your dreams.  This is not a cookie cutter and fallacy approach.  You are tenacious and proactive.  You are driven and hustle everyday.  You know that ACTION is required.  You understand that it’s a long-term philosophy.  You are life long committed.  Read the good books, go to the workshops, enhance your communication, listen well, take notes, take time for stillness, and most importantly, be audacious!  Audacity is needed when you are going for your ideal life.  It will get hard and you will be scared but stay brave and fearless because if you keep going, your ideal life is bound to happen.    

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Bullet points from my talk with a local business

Just spoke to a local business... here were my bullet points:

-I started with a series of questions...Did you brush your teeth this morning? Did you do something to your hair? Did you go to the bathroom when you got up? Did you drink a cup of coffee? Did you drive to work the same way as you did yesterday? See we all live life based on our habits. So that means HABITS CREATE THE LIFE YOU LIFE! If you want something, it is vital to build the habits and daily rituals to achieve that something. 

-With that, don't overhaul your lifestyle. Start with tiny adjustments. Be consistent. Celebrate your small victories. If you keep going, you will get the results. Studies suggest that it can take a minimum 66 days to instill a habit. Don't quit!

-There is no finish line; this was a major point that we discussed. The way I teach fitness and wellness is that you must create a lifestyle. You can have short term goals to go after but you must create the mindset that this is life long. You keep going. Be tenacious. Accept the roller coaster. But just keep going!

-Master the fundamentals. Masters of business, masters of karate, masters of football, masters of golf, masters of marketing... They all have mastered the fundamentals...AND continue to do the fundamentals. If you master drinking water and eating vegetables, you will be on your way to getting in the best shape of your life. It starts with the basics!
-BE YOU! This is a big one. Don't compare YOURSELF to anyone. Be YOU! Find YOUR passions. Find what works for YOU. Explore YOUR possibilities. Look YOURSELF in the mirror and accept YOU. Yes, continue to improve YOU, but if YOU are not ok with YOU right now, in this moment, YOU will only get so far!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hawaii 70.3 Race Report June 4th, 2016

Seven weeks before this race, I was not planning on competing.  But things worked out and I was fortunate to sign up and get over to this unbelievable destination race.  I flew in on the Thursday before the race, just in time to assemble my bike, shake out the legs, get a couple nights of good sleep and pick up my race packet.   I was very grateful to be with my good friends at this year's race.  Adrian, Faron, Vlad, Pablo, Andrea and Renata all made this year's race awesome!  Being around positive and motivating people truly helps your mindset. 

Leading into this race, my Coach Jim Lubinski had me doing LOTS of bricks.  For those of you that do not know, a brick workout is a bike followed by a run.  Over the last 2 months, I completed somewhere around 15 brick workouts.  This teaches the legs to get used to running off the bike as that is a hard skill to master.  We also did a lot of tempo and medium intensity efforts to build my race pace endurance.  I was feeling very strong coming into this race.  Consistency is my weapon.  I may not be genetically gifted in this sport, but my consistent work ethic and relentless attitude makes up for the natural DNA I may not have. 

I woke up race morning ready and excited for the day ahead.  No nerves, just excitement to see what I can do.  The goal was to break 5 hours (last year I went 5:00:41).  Going into the race, I knew managing the heat would be key to a good performance. 

After a good night of sleep, we arrived to the race start at 5:45.  My swim wave would start at 6:45, so I had plenty of time to set up my bike gear, warm up and take a quick selfie for social media! LOL  

My warm up consisted of a light 5 minute run, dynamic warm up drills, and a few 20 second pick ups to get the heart rate up and the body sweating.  Mission accomplished. 

I made my way down to the beach and jumped in the water for a quick warm up swim.  Swimming in Hawaii is something else.  Clear, blue and warm water, fish swimming next to you, and beautiful rocks on the bottom.  I hadn’t been swimming too much leading up to this race but I felt strong and efficient with my swimming, so the goal was to go out fast, settle into a good pace and draft when I could find some good feet. 

At 6:44, the cannon went off and the “human washer machine” was on.  Arms flying, legs kicking, and splashing all around.  I went out in a full sprint.  I needed to get away from the chaos as quick as possible.  I am not the fastest swimmer but my experience helps me to stay calm and stick to the plan.  Once we got out a few hundred yards, I found some clear water and decided this was a good time to get into my rhythm.  But within 10 minutes of the swim, I felt my new 559 Multisport speed suit starting to rub my neck.  Then my left arm pit.  I totally forgot to apply body glide on my neck and arm pits and I felt the affects of that mistake.  New suit and salt water equates to chaffing.  That bugged me the rest of the swim but it didn’t stop me from execution.  During the swim, I drafted when I could and kept my form intact.  For me, the swim is all about managing my energy.  I know it’s a long day so I do my best to stay within myself during this first leg of the event.  Once we made the turn around to the last buoy, I increased my arm cadence, kicked the legs out and started to focus on the bike. 

Swim time: 36:59

I exited the water and ran hard to the transition area.  Since I was not wearing a wetsuit, it was an easy and fast transition.  I ran my bike to the mount area, but instead of getting on my bike right at the line, I passed the congestion of athletes and I ran my bike up the short hill and then hopped on. 

Transition 1: 2:41

Once on the bike, I got in my bike shoes (since they were already clipped on my bike) and started to spin the legs.  And immediately needed to sip some water and get in some calories.  I quickly realized that my rear bike mount that I had put on a few weeks before was not easy to get a bottle in and out.  Once I grabbed my water bottle, I had trouble putting it back into the bottle cage, so I quickly stopped and put it back in.  I knew that would be a hassle the whole bike so I figured I wouldn’t really use it the rest of the ride.  I would stick to my front bottle cage for easy access.  Immediately, my legs felt a bit deflated so I took my time to warm them up. 

Side note: I did not wear a watch and raced completely by feel for this race.  I have been training this way and have been enjoying this process.  Mentally, I feel this creates grit and a good sense of feel for racing.  I am definitely the minority here as most triathletes swear by all of their technology.  But again, my experience gives me the ability to race by feel and still perform to my standards. 

My goal was to manage the heat on the bike and be conservative the first half and open it up the second half.  At the 10 mile mark, rain clouds rolled in and it started to come down on us.  This actually made for ideal biking weather, because the normal cross winds did not show their face and a little rain kept us cool.  The last 5 or 6 miles before the turnaround gave us a steady 2% ascent that you just have to put your head down and crank away.  But once you turnaround, you know you can fly for a few miles.  And that is what I did.  Here I wanted to open it up and push the legs a bit.  

The clouds started to move away and that intense Hawaii sun came out the final 10 miles of the bike.  A little discomfort presented itself due to my aero position most of the ride.  I would go through intervals of staying in aero and sitting up on my bike to stretch out my back and legs.  But I felt good still and knew the run was approaching.  Since I was not wearing my watch, I didn’t know exactly where I was at coming off the bike.  I just knew that it was time to throw down a good run. 

Bike: 2:35:20 (21.6 mph average)

As I approached the dismount line, I was already out of my bike shoes ready to put my running shoes on and go.  That’s exactly what I did, socks and shoes on, grab race belt and nutrition and go. 

Transition 2: 2:20

Right off the bike, I had a deep side ache that I had to manage the first mile of the run.  I think it was just from being in the aero position so long on the bike and then going right into the run.  But once the first mile was done, the side ache dissipated and now it was time to do my thing.  The goal was to run strong to each aide station, take my time and get in the fluids and cool my body and then keep going.  The first half of the run, I felt very strong.  Running with good form, head down and was doing my best to stay cool.  Every aide station entailed water in my fisherman’s hat that I wore, sips of fluids and sponges to soak the body.  Then right back into the rhythm.  I carried a small flask that was mixed with gel and honey.  Having that on me was very crucial to keep a steady stream of calories coming in. 

The run was 2 loops and once the second loop was starting, I hit a low point for 2 miles.  Just flat legs and a mental weak spot.  It also didn't help that these miles were on a golf course, slow and soft grass to run on and short and steep undulating hills.  I did what I needed to do at the aide stations and I was able to revive my mindset and my legs.  Once I hit the 9-mile mark, I started to surge into a good pace once again.  I stayed consistent with taking my time at every aide station and kept my body cool.  Last year, I faded the last 3 miles and I did not want that same outcome.  This year was different.  I actually started to feel strong and confident heading into the last 5k.  My legs were clicking over and my pace was strong.  “Keep the body cool and keep the calories coming in”, I told myself.  Many times, we forget to do this over the last stretch of a long triathlon and it can really slow down an athlete.  I did not forget to do this!

When I hit the last aide station at mile 12, I put on the jets and started to run as fast as I could handle.  I passed at least 20 people over the final mile.  It felt good to do that.  When I turned the corner and saw the finish line, I put my hands in the air.  I saw the clock and it read 4 hours 56 minutes.  Mission accomplished. 

Run: 1:39:19 (7:34 per mile)

Total time: 4:56:39
1600 athletes, I was 56th overall. 
170 athletes in my age group, I was 13th.  

When I was done, I quickly called Coach Jim and he told me my splits.  I was surprised to hear that my run was actually slower this year than last.  I felt tremendously better this year during the run but I took more time at aide stations and that affected my cumulative run time.  You figure if I took 30-40 seconds at 12 aide stations that can add up to 6-8 minutes.  That will be something that I will improve upon in races to come. 

Overall, I was satisfied with my race.  I broke 5 hours, had a faster swim and bike and executed a strong run.  I know I can get faster and I will do what it takes to make that happen.  Next, I have Vineman Half Ironman July 10th and the goal is to get as close as I can to the 4:30 mark.  Let's go! 

Thank you to Coach Jim Lubinski for all the guidance and mentorship.  
Thank you to my wife and daughters for putting up with my craziness.  
Thank you to my 559 MultiSport teammates for the fellowship and friendships.  
Thank you to California Fitness Academy for their sponsorship and support. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Striving for your ultimate best

In life, you should always be pursuing your ultimate best.  Stagnation is an evil sense.  It creates mediocrity.  This weakness can take you away from your dreams and goals.  You must be relentless in the pursuit of reaching your full potential.  It’s non-stop.  It takes work.  It is very difficult.  But the benefits are staggering and life altering. 

Here are a few ideas to think about as you pursue world-class levels:

  • Habits.  Everything we do in our day-to-day lives are habits.  They are simple routines that have been cemented into our way of life.  Whether they are strong and positive habits that assist your personal mastery or weak and mediocre habits that take you away from your goals, habits have been created due to the consistent formation of our daily routines.  Habits can be built and habits can be broken.  The longer you have practiced specific habits, the longer it will take you to reform and substantiate new and improved habits.  Here is the first activity: assess your daily habits.  Write them down.  Do they support your life goals?  Do they lead you to your ultimate best?  Will the habit lead you to mental clarity and physical strength?  Remember, this pursuit is to reach your ultimate best.  This is not a race against someone else.  It’s an individual challenge to reach your full potential.  Always look at yourself and find ways to improve.  On average, habits can take 66 days to instill.  The first few weeks of working on a new habit will be uncomfortable.  Push through this uncomfortable feeling.  If you persist, if you desire to form positive and healthy habits, if you want your goals to happen, it all starts with your daily habits and practices.  
  • Become a world-class thinker.  World-class thinking leads to world class action taking.  This starts with what you feed into your brain and body.  What music do you listen to?  What TV do you watch?  Who do you network with?  What books do you read?  What food do you eat?  How do you treat your body?  You cannot expect a car to run functionally when you load junk into the gas tank.  The car will simply breakdown and not perform at high levels.  The same goes for the human body.  What you put in the body, in the form of words, music, TV, people and nutrition all matters to what output you want to produce.  Guard your bubble and be very cautious of what comes in.  Go back to the first idea above: your habits.  How do you wake up in the morning?  Do you read a positive or inspiring book?  Do you eat a nutrient dense breakfast that will energize the body?  Do you exercise to release endorphins so you can feel good about yourself? Do you spend time to recite positive affirmations in your head?  These strategies can be a game changer in regards to how you live your day-to-day life.  If you start your day on the right note, more than not, you will have better days.  A new vitality will be unloaded and you will wake up ready to get from the day instead of just “get through the day.”  Your thoughts will change your world.
  • “Determination is a stronger trait than weakness.”  Yes, you have heard this one before but it’s worth repeating.  This thought was cemented into my head at mile 265 of my 300-mile run.  I was tired.  My body was beat up.  My mind was weary.  It could have been easy to throw in the towel and be content with running 265 miles.  But that was not the goal.  The journey was not over.  The depths of my weakness and vulnerability were suffocated by my determination.  This determination pushed my limits and led me to achieving a monumental expedition.  The same determination that enabled me to run 300 miles is the same determination you have to achieve your goals.  We all have it.  Weakness is the easy route.  Weakness is hitting the snooze button when you know you should be up for an early morning workout.  Weakness is giving in to pessimistic habits.  Determination will take constant drive.  Determination will be tough at times.  But this determination will guide you to your ultimate best.  Use your determination to fulfill your potential so you can truly live life to the fullest. 
Continue to work on you and persist for the next level of fitness, nutrition and your overall personal self. 

Past writings