Keeping The Fight When You Want To Quit

While I was working out in the gym, I had a conversation with a friend who had recently experienced the deaths of his best friend & sister within a week’s time.  Even with his obvious heartbreak, he was getting through his workout with commitment.  Seeing his inner strength toward suffering reminded me how important it is to keep the faith during the storms of life.

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Live long enough & you will have the battle scars to prove that your character has been tested.  There are some fights in  life, some setbacks & struggles that leave you wondering, “Will I ever come back from this?”

-a failed marriage has taken the fight out of you

-a lost job and you had to move back in with your parents

-the death of a child or spouse has you broken & numb

-people you thought would be there for you have let you down.

On the outside you can appear to be the strong guy, but on the inside you’re Minnie Mouse.   This is the most challenging fight of all, the fight inside, in our minds.  It’s the self-defeating thoughts we think that strips us of our power.

It’s never about what “they” say about you that makes you feel defeated.  It’s what you say about you that brings your defeat.

Put the past behind you.  Your past doesn’t have to dictate your future.  Today you have the opportunity to get it right.  “When you hold on to your history, you do so at the expense of your destiny.”  TD Jakes

  1. Don’t Quit

            Make the decision that no matter what you will not quit.

  • Take quitting off the table. Quitting is not an option. When you feel overwhelmed with worry or fear, tell yourself, “I got this.”
  • You didn’t survive everything you have been through to drown in shallow water.  Don’t give up because the moment you’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before a miracle happens.

       2.  Keep Moving

When I was healing from a loss in my life there were days when I had to tell myself over and over, “one step at a time.”  The thought of going through a whole day was enough to make me want to go to bed and pull the covers over my head.

            Keep consistent to your routines.

  • Like my friend, it was his routine to come to the gym & he stayed true to that in spite of how he  felt.  There is a comfort in routine that keeps us anchored.
  • Move your body even if you don’t FEEL like it. Feelings come and go that is why you must make the decision to not quit, and trust that the good feelings are going to come. The sun will shine on you again.

       3.  Rise Above

            Fight & pray for the struggle to transform you into a better version of yourself.

  • Rise above the pain to become someone stronger, nobler, wiser, braver, more beautiful than the old you.
  • Rise above the self-doubt and same old stories that leave you feeling like a victim. Tell yourself a new story where you are experiencing success, love & happiness.
  • Perception is everything. See yourself as a conqueror and speak your destiny into existence.

Romans 4:17  Call those things that be not as though they were.

Fight the Good Fight

Supercharge Your Favorite Protein Shake To Boost Metabolism & Health

When it comes to getting muscle friendly & power packed nutrition, it’s hard to beat the protein shake.  It can be doctored up with a variety of ingredients to make it tasty or stripped down to protein powder & water to get on-the- go nutrition.  Whatever your goals, the protein shake can be adapted to meet your needs.

The protein shake is like a one stop shop where you can make additions that will burn fat, boost testosterone, load you up on antioxidants & speed recovery.

Take advantage of supercharging your protein shake with adding 1 or all of these hassle-free additions:

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Protein Powder:  Growth & repair of muscles

  • If you are active then you want to aim somewhere around 0.8-1 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight daily.
  • If you’re dieting and exercising, aim higher, between 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of your bodyweight per day. As your caloric intake decreases, your protein needs will actually increase.

Muscle Milk or Gold Standard Whey are my favorite brands.

Egg whites:  Lean protein source

  • Egg whites are a top source of lean protein with absolutely no fat.  It also offers important nutrients like folate, selenium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Wheat Germ:  If your goal is to boost testosterone

  • Wheat germ contains zinc which keeps testosterone levels elevated during periods of intense training.  Testosterone is crucial hormone to both men & women for building muscle.  Wheat germ also contains selenium, which is involved in thyroid hormone production that keeps the metabolism running smooth.

*11x more test-boosting zinc found in W.G. than in chicken breast!

Add 1-3 TBS to your shake

Yogurt:  Digestive aid

  • The probiotics (good bacteria) aids in digestion and keeps you regular.

Chia Seeds:  Fights cravings

  • Can you believe the chia pet is a superfood?!  It definitely is with a whopping 11 grams of fiber/ounce.  The fiber in chia seeds swells & forms a gel in your stomach.  This gives you a feeling of fullness.  I use chia seeds in some of my recipes when I want to make a pudding type texture, see my “chocolate cherry bomb recipe posted 6/13/14.”

Add 1-2 TBS to your shake and I even put a TBS in my oatmeal.

Cinnamon:  Helps control blood sugar levels & eases aches & pains

  • ½ a tsp. of cinnamon daily can help keep blood sugars level, which prevents you from “crashing.” Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory compounds which can be useful in reducing pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, joint pain & muscle aches.

Glutamine Powder:  Prevents muscle breakdown

  • If you are lifting weights & experiencing a stressful time in your life, glutamine will prevent muscle breakdown.   It does this by fueling the immune system & others parts of the body.  This amino acid also speeds recovery, increases growth hormone, & will increase the storage of muscle glycogen to help you in hard training sessions.

AYURVEDIC Fat Fighting Tea See recipe in blog post “Get rid of stubborn fat,” posted 5/14/14

Add about ¼ cup to your shake

Fenugreek:  Increase libido & lowers cholesterol

  • Fenugreek seeds have been found to help increase libido for women & men.  It can also lessen the effect of hot flashes and mood fluctuations during menopause & PMS.
  • Studies show it can lower blood sugar after eating.  Some small studies have found that fenugreek can help with acid reflux. Because it’s high in fiber, fenugreek may help treat or prevent constipation.

Tumeric:  Anti-inflammatory 

  • It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.

Ginger:  Anti-inflammatory

  • Ginger contains chemicals that helps reduce nausea and inflammation.  It also can be used to treat heart burn & acid reflux.

Vegetable &/or Fruit Juice:  Load up on nutrients

  • Adding your veggies & fruits into your shake can help you get in the daily requirements of vegetables & fruits.
  • I don’t follow a specific recipe when making my vegetable and fruit juice.  I use whatever is in my refrigerator.  If I have frozen blueberries, strawberries, & raspberries, I will blend it in my Vitamix while gradually adding water to get my desired consistency.  You can follow this same process with your vegetables too.
  • I save my milk cartons to store my juices to make shakes throughout the week.  This makes it easy to whip up a protein shake in no time.

Add about ¼ to 1/2 cup of each for a meal replacement shake.

 

4 Ways To Turn Anxiety Into Your Ally

“I told the doctor I was overtired, anxiety ridden, compulsively active, constantly depressed, with recurring fits of paranoia.  Turns out I’m normal.”  Jules Feiffer.

It’s no surprise that we all have issues that bring unhappiness, restlessness & tension into our lives.  Anxiety plagues 40 million people in the U.S.A.  Often times we feel weak or ashamed because of our anxieties.

Generally the quick fix is antidepressants, alcohol or being the frequent caller on the psychic hotline.  Advertisements & commercials these days make it seem like sunshine & whiskey go together, but it’s an illusion of happiness.  There are times when medication is needed & knowing the difference is crucial.

Here are some strategies that can help you turn your anxiety into your ally:

  1. Practice Journaling, Prayer or Meditation. (Guys, this is not just for females.)

Journaling or practicing your prayer life is a safe place for you to get out your emotions and process through them.

  • You can sort out your irrational & rational thoughts and become more focused.
  • Journaling is a way of developing self awareness which will enable you to be more compassionate to yourself and others.
  • Gradually you will learn to live from the inside out instead of the outside in. This will help you feel lighter & more in control.
  1. Be a best friend to yourself. 
  • When we judge our feelings it creates more anxiety and shame. When friends share their fears & anxieties you probably immediately give them encouragement and acceptance. Practice this with yourself. You are a human being & it’s okay for you to feel fear, anger, confusion.
  • Don’t fall into playing the victim. A good friend will tell you the truth & not let you get away with feeling sorry for yourself too long. When we get upset or scared about something we wonder “what is wrong with me:” Then we get afraid if we don’t fix it then we won’t be accepted by our partner or friends.
  • Rejecting your feelings is not going to cause them to go away.

Denying your emotions is like trying to get the ocean to not have waves or ripples, it’s impossible.

When we give up trying to figure out why we are the way we are, we can feel peace within ourselves.

  1. Let go of trying to be perfect.

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  • When we focus on our imperfections it brings us down. Imperfections make you interesting.

How boring the world would be if we were perfect. The most brilliant artists and authors were dysfunctional. Robin Williams said, “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You musn’t lose it.”

  • That stubbornness, kookiness, phobia & anxiety can become our greatest ally when we practice self-awareness & keep it in check.
  1. Take care of your body. 
  • A lot of anxiety can be taken care of by exercising, eating right and getting enough sleep. Exercise is a positive way to release stress & feel better instantly.
  • It may be difficult to get started if you haven’t exercised in awhile, but make yourself do it for a solid 2 weeks, & you can change your life. Start with 15 min. of walking. It doesn’t have to be some big overwhelming challenge. Start to move more & make healthier food choices. Trust the process. It’s that simple.

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How To Build the Perfect Circuit Workout To Lean Out

Circuit Training is a great way to get the benefits of strength & cardio training in one workout.  I love to lift weights, but I would rather run in a rain storm than do cardio on a machine.  Circuit training is my solution.

What is circuit training?

Basically you do one exercise immediately followed by another.  For example you can select 3-5 exercises & perform them one right after the other.  This is done with little or no rest between them.

I teach a circuit training class at the UFC Gym in Mandeville, Louisiana and this was one of the routines I had the class perform.

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Round 1:  (50 seconds on each exercise)

Cable low row

One arm row

Deadlift

Squat Pulse Jumps (wide stance squat, pulse 3 times then jump)  Fire in the thighs! Whew!

-rest 1 min then repeat 2 more times

Round 2:

Close grip press (narrow grip on barbell to get triceps)

Tricep dips on bench

Heavy walking lunges

Squat with tricep extension

-rest and repeat 2 more times

  • 6min of shoulder burnouts: 3 exercises done without rest for 6 min
  • 6 min of ab burnouts

This is one example of many ways you can build a circuit routine.  Another example workout is doing a strength exercise followed by cardio.  I do this when I want to work really hard &/or get shredded fast.  You have to be willing to bring your A game because it’s intense.

For example:  Chest press & Jump rope, after each set of chest press follow it with 1 min of jump rope.  Then do another exercise followed by 1 cardio min. & continue that template for your entire workout.  You will be busted but shredded in weeks.  Jump rope is a suggestion for cardio, but you could do jumping jacks, high knees, squats, step ups, skaters, etc.

Advantages of Circuit Training:

  1. Lean up- it will help you lean out and get ripped.
  2. You save time by getting cardio and strength in one workout.  In & out of the gym fast.
  3. Places a greater demand on the body which dramatically increases your metabolism & leads to increased fat burning long after the workout.
  4. Improves conditioning & muscular endurance.

*When putting together your circuit take into consideration the busyness of the gym when you plan to workout.  You can adjust by keeping everything in close proximity.