Goal Setting: Differentiating Failure from Absence

Hey! Sup?

Let’s talk about falling flat on your face.

Take a second and think about a time you when you failed. It sucks to look back. It takes over your brain. It reminds you of your inadequacy and disappointment. There’s a deeper hurt that is only felt because you STILL wish you had accomplished the goal you were so adamant about.

Now pause. There’s a caveat.

That time you failed – it can’t be a time you bailed. It can’t be a time you gave up before it even began.  It can’t be a promise you broke. It can’t be an unused treadmill. It can’t be a promise to run a 50 mile race only to realize a month later, it doesn’t sound fun anymore.  That is being absent.

What is failure? It can be a time you prepared to accomplish something great; you followed through and came up short. It can be a time you saw some progress along the way, followed through on the commitment and still felt the pain of loss. It’s second place after busting your butt to win first. 

The pain from failure or absence comes from your own perception. You are the only one who knows where you lie.

You can feel the pain of failure when you wish you had been just a little more prepared. Just a quicker step left to intercept a pass. Or came up a few strides short in a race.

I can’t impress the importance of differentiating between failure and absence.

Looking back at my time, I think of only a few truly painful experiences representing failure. I don’t really care if I came in first, second, third or last. I know if I followed through, it was a positive experience. Failure sucks, but I am better off having gone through it because I can look back at it and I want to learn from it. 

Being absent hurts. Absence is a lack of even showing up. There is no room to improve because you were never there. You bask in the dread and regret.  There are broken promises. Moments of indifference leading to pain. And if you are anything like me, pain of absence is way worse than the pain of failure. 

How do you fight absence?

You battle absence through action. 

Action defeats absence.

Whatever you are setting out to do, act. Don’t wait for the perfect time – that will never come. Are you trying to lose weight but want to finish off the rest of your food before you start eating healthy? All you’re doing is enabling yourself by keeping it around. Throw it away. 

Discipline yourself with action every day. You don’t need the perfect program, the perfect plan. You just need to show up. Even if it’s taking a walk to the end of the street and back in preparation for a marathon, something is always better than nothing. The hardest part is showing up.

And you DESERVE to give yourself the CHANCE at failure because you know as well as I, the pain of absence hurts that much more.

Park Workout 101

In this time of social distancing, the hard part is finding time and space to break free from our little bubbles. Waking up this morning, I rolled out of bed angst-y, angry and a grump to the Nth degree (just ask Heather).

Bout time to get out, shepherd some strength and HIIT something to calm the nerves.

I’m challenging you to this workout today. Whether it’s at home or at a park, the goal is to break from from what you are used to. Reach outside your comfort zone and develop a bit of freedom despite our tightly packed world.

Goals of the workout: Upper body strength-endurance, core and Sprint conditioning.

Needs: Stretch band to loop around something (basketball pole, door frame anchor, etc) and space (preferably a straight shot)

Set 1: Upper body strength – endurance (2-3 sets of 15-20 reps with minimal rest)

2 arm kneeling overhead band press

2 arm band Rows

Pushups (6-8 reps)

2 arm band curls

2 arm Banded Tricep press

Set 2: Core and Gut strength-endurance (3 sets with minimal rest)

Plank Hold (60 seconds)

Spinderman crunches (20 total)

Leg Raises (20)

Set 3: Finisher (10 sets)

Sprint 10 seconds at 90% intensity

Rest 60 seconds

The Duplicity of Self Thoughts

Today, I found some clarity.

You ever find yourself so deeply engulfed in your thoughts, thinking so deeply about your situation that everything just accumulates and sends you into a space that gets you thinking exclusively into a worst case scenario?

I remember a point, specifically, three weeks ago where I was driving in my car. Wondering why anybody would look to me for inspiration in health, when my own health and fitness is ‘suboptimal’. Why would anyone DARE take a grain of information from someone who struggles with binge eating. Why would someone decide to work with me, when I also have a hard time getting the workouts in? Why would anyone work with someone who doesn’t flaunt their six-pack like a Greek God?

The negative voice is loud some days.

The negative voice is motivating on others.

But I have to admit – negative thinking is an integral part of my everyday thinking. It’s the voice that tells me to spend more time with Lily. It’s the voice that beats me up when I KNOW I’m slacking. It helps me grow. It makes me accountable to myself. It tells me that I don’t KNOW anything despite working hard for the last ten years to figure out how I can better serve people.

And I think that’s the crux of negative thoughts to me. It eventually reminds me that I have a shit ton of people with a shit ton of confidence in me. It reminds me that I’m not flying solo.

That’s when the other voice rears its head. The positive voice we don’t appreciate because it’s way too easy to focus on negativity. It tells us we’ve got a squad. It guides you to drive your squad. It guides you to open a book and start learning. Or to go the extra mile with a deeper conversation, with someone who needs it.

The positive voice invites you to be your whole self, without worry. It helps you realize your world is a shared place, with an abundance of love.

So it’s really up to you to decide who to listen to. You can’t have one voice without the other.

Without fail, one thing is certain…

Your voice leads you to your thoughts, the thoughts lead to words, the words lead to actions, the actions lead to habits, the habits lead to your character, the character leads you to your destiny.

Just be careful when you decide who’s worth listening to.


At Home Hacks – Getting your Butt off the couch

Hey! Sup?

A couple people I work with have asked about being motivated/excited/disciplined enough to workout at home. Man, it’s not that hard! I guess I’m one of the weirdos though. I have my good days and bad days. It’s true.

But with the weather warming up, and the opening of the CHOPSHOP I figured I’d share some of my personal tips on working out at home.

  1. Make the workouts fun. You’re not going to be competing in the Olympics anytime soon. That shit got delayed until 2021. Ask yourself, what do you want to do that day? It’s much easier to workout if you can take a step back and throw in a few exercises that are fun to do. I always look forward to jumping, agility and power movements with a barbell. So lean on the stuff that you actually look forward to!
  2. Set aside a specific time to move every day. Instead of saying “I’ll do it later”, specify a specific time! For my schedule, I always take the first two hour break in my day to get a workout in, depending on what I’d like to accomplish on a given day.
  3. Reward yourself after your workout. A common method for brain hacking doctors who are way smarter than me say giving yourself a reward is good to keep consistent. For me, it’s having some tea or a cup of coffee at Starbucks (now at home) while finishing up client programs for the day. Makes it way more exciting for me to reward myself with something, even as menial as a cup of jo.
  4. Use the space you have available. You don’t need to take four days to clean every corner of the house to make a ton of room. If you can sit and stand up, you’ve got the space to hit a home workout.
  5. Be flexible with equipment. A ton of folks worry that they can’t exercise because the don’t have equipment. I had a client who had absolutely nothing to use for exercise equipment. BUT he did have a couple of half gallons of vodka laying around. What do you know, a couple of half gallons of booze can give you a helluva a workout?! Followed by a helluva good time post workout. Win-win!
  6. Challenge a friend. Shoot a quick text to a family member, friend, enemy or post something on a group. Way easier to do something when others are involved! And they’ll appreciate it, knowing you’re busting your butt while in quartantine!


What are your favorite at-home hacks for exercise? Cool movements you always look forward to?

Covid-19 and Owning a Small Business

With the very real threat of Covid-19, I find myself dancing on a fine line of anxiety and stress of the unknown.

If you don’t know what I am, what I do, I’ll do my best to explain.  I have built a small business as a fitness professional working with people at their location of choice. I do my best to support my family. I drive somewhere between 20k to 30 miles per year, from client to client busting my tail doing what I love. I’ve put four years of work, sweat and effort into helping individuals improve their environments. And when they struggle, I ensure they have a voice that helps them. Something positive, welcoming, judgement free and more than anything – a respectful perspective on whatever obstacles they want to zap from their solar system.

My business is a legitimate business (when the hell did that happen?). To me, that means that I am able to focus solely on my business without the security of a standard ‘job’. A couple of weeks ago, in the midst of my best year, I started receiving messages from people notifying me that self-quarantining (COVID-19) was their appropriate measure. And I can not do anything but respect them. It’s hard to continue moving when the world is telling you to stop.

I find myself on the other side today. Today I sit here thinking about how I can change. My brain wants normal. It wants everything to just snap back into place. It tells me to wait it out and that ‘my people’ are loyal.

Truth is, all that does is make me worry. And that’s the opposite of what I want.  I’ve busted my ass everyday to provide and it seems like overnight every hour and breath just sort of…stopped. But the truth is, who knows when all this craziness will end? Is my business viable in THIS world? 

With that said, the weight of the world has told me I need to pivot. Pivoting doesn’t mean more than diversifying streams of income to make sure I can keep supporting my family. It means starting something new to keep my world evolving.

Today, the world tells me to figure something else out for tomorrow. Where that takes me, I don’t know. But what I do know is that all this anxiety and stress of unknown outcomes is giving me a ton of motivation to shift from my ‘normal’. Which I KNOW will be good in the long run. But today, it’s stress.

And that’s my word therapy for the day.

I woke up this morning, stressing about the position of my business. So I decided to load up my mission statement and core values. I began today with my intentions. And today, they hit a little harder than it normally does.

  • Core Values
    1. Bring your best every single day
    2. Improvement through empowerment
    3. Knowledge drives discipline
    4. Discipline drives progress
    5. None of us is as smart as all of us
    6. Have a good-ass time and bring a positive voice

I know I’m not the only one who needs to let it out. So please, let your voice be heard. Say it out loud and let it be heard if you’re worried, freaked out, scared. Whatever it is you are feeling, let it be known because that’s going to affect the change you need.

Is Carbonated Water Bad for You?

Hey! I was chatting with a client the other day and he had a question that made me say ‘Hmm’. He asked the question in the title of the post.

As with every other answer I ever give, I want to be confident in saying Yay or Nay. On this one I more concerned with what was actually in the drink he was talking about.

So far, I’m having trouble finding anything credible that says adding air to water is bad. Plain carbonated water doesn’t seem to have a negative impact on your health.  Where it gets a little fizzy is when they start to add crap to it  from electolytes like sodium and folate to ‘natural flavors’/sweeteners, artificial sweeteners and the dreaded sugar. In seeing a few sources, it seemed like there was no harm in anything that was plainly labeled ‘carbonated water’.
Conversely, La croix is a popular drink these days, which is touted for it’s natural flavors and carbonated water (what the hell is a ‘natural flavor’ in the context of an ingredient, anyways?). La croix has recently been studied and found to increase a hormone called ghrelin in rats and non human populations. Ghrelin is one of the hormones in charge of hunger. So you could become more hungry with La Croix. But it also holds more in the ingredients than just carbonated water.
Where there is plenty of research, is in the world of calorie free soda/pop. Calorie free pop has phosphorous which has been linked to decreases in bone density. And certain sweeteners have been linked to brain tumors. 
So I’ve gotta throw that stuff into the ‘crap’ category.
As far as plain carbonated water goes, the jury is still out but nothing so far points to any worse than regular water.
Ok, there’s my take. Hope this helps! Have a great day!

Lessons from March Madness

If you’re reading this you probably know who I am. If not, here’s a quick wrap up – I am completely, utterly obsessed with college basketball and March Madness.

We are coming off the craziest weekend of March Madness that I can remember.  Tons of upsets, a rough loss for my Spartans but a ridiculous amount of fun. After ascending from my cave of college basketball – I came out of it taking a lesson from the University of Virginia’s basketball coach, Tony Bennett.

For anyone struggling with the idea of failure, I present to you the most humbling post-game interview I’ve seen. In context – the University of Virginia came into the tournament as the highest ranked team in the country. They faced off against the lowest ranked team in the tournament (UMBC). After taking a humiliating loss by 20 and becoming the first 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed, UVA’s coach came up to the podium to face the media.

Thinking about the stage and the long term implications, Bennett knows that this loss will mean something for years to come. To me, the acknowledgement of the risk being taken in showing up for the game really struck home. Demonstration of the fear of failure is a primary reason individuals get detracted from their goal. And to me, I see it everyday. You may gain weight one week. Or get demotivated because of stress and sleep. Or you just end up screwing up your diet. It’s not a big deal. Becoming comfortable taking risks in trying – as well as failing – needs to become something we all experience. Shoot for the friggin stars. Attack what you want to achieve. And when you fail, brush it off and accept it. The only way you truly fail is if you give up. And that’s not even an option.

I just became a fan of UVA and know they’ll bounce back next year!

Have a great day!

Mike Goose

All Bout Gout

Just saying that word makes me smile. I’m not sure why and I couldn’t care less. But it’s one of those words that just rolls off your tongue. 
Which is sort of the opposite of what gout is. Gout is when urate accumulates in your joints, forming little crystals, leading to tons of inflammations and soreness in the joint. Increase levels of uric acid in the bloodstream lead to gout, leaving in their wake a crappy, intense pain.
I had someone come to me saying he kept getting flare ups anytime he tried to get healthy.  Unfortunately, the most common person to come down with gout are males at the ages of 30-50. So for most folks with gout who get back into exercise, it’s going to be hard to turn off the brain and take it slow. You shouldn’t just jump back into the old routine if you’ve been sedentary for the last 15 years. So check that ego at the door, talk to a professional and get some guidance! That’s what we’re here for!
With that said…
Healthy ways to curb GOUT
Do more of the following:
  • Eating foods high in anthonyacins can help reduce bout of inflammation. Foods highest in anthonyacins: tart cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries.
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Increase water intake
  • Get protein from dairy and vegetarian sources
  • Get a food sensitivity test done and monitor which food sources cause inflammation


Limit the following:

  • Limit alcohol as much as possible (is it really worth it?)
  • Limit intake of meat, seafood and sugar
  • Sitting and being sedentary. Work to increase your work capacity in things that are fun but not too strenuous.

Breaking out of a Workout Rut

What are some general reasons people fall into a workout rut?

There are so many ways you can fall into a rut with your workouts! 
One of the most important pieces of the ‘health puzzle’ is integrating a realistic plan at an appropriate intensity. Especially at this time of year, individuals are motivated as hell on day one, kicking ass every day for two weeks. All the sudden they take a day off. And the next day thy’re still in recovery because this will only be the second day they missed in two weeks. From there, it snowballs and the year goes by, with them wishing they had kept up. 
Another important piece of the health puzzle is making the exercise relevant to what the individual needs. Is the person at a healthy weight and just looking to tighten up? Is the person bored with their current routine and want to learn new ways to stress their body effectively? When I am diving into workouts for individuals, I center them around two important pieces: Results and fun. When you work to see your body change and see it, you will continue working hard. And when you have fun exercising, the exercise becomes more like play, something we miss out on far too much as adults! 


Tips and tricks to get out of your rut!

1) Remind yourself of your ‘why’. Why are you going to the gym? Why are you taking steps to better yourself? There comes a moment with every new client I train that I can point to as our ‘why moment’. It’s an extremely important, vulnerable moment for someone to discover. But if you can find it and connect to it, there’s no stopping you. For some people, it’s a comment from a friend or spouse, a pair of jeans that used to fit, a vacation where it was way harder to keep up with the kids. Carry a notecard with your ‘why’ everywhere you go. Have it easily accessible and somewhere you HAVE to look everyday. Above the mirror, taped to the dashboard of your car. 
If it’s important enough to you, you will find a way. If it’s not important enough, you’ll find an excuse.
2) Exercise with a friend! The most successful people in health make the health thing a part of their daily lives. There were two ladies I trained about 5 years ago now, who just happened to be doing small group training with me. Eventually, they got into doing some 5ks together, some half marathons, and some marathons. They became best friends. And five years later, they still are! 
3) Find a new gym! If the gym you are hanging at is a bodybuilding gym but you’re a little less inclined to that type of mentality, shop around! The money you spend should be looked at as an investment in your health – if the gym you go to doesn’t support your culture, shop around your area! 
4) Sign up for an event! It can be any event. A 5k. A donut run. A powerlifting meet. The moment you sign up, you will have something to train for rather than just going through the motions. Dive all-in to what you’re training for and I guarantee you, you will learn a ton about yourself!
5) Get educated! You are what you do. Read some books on training, running, exercise. It’s actually amazing what the human body is capable of when you get to know what it can do.
6) Ask a trainer! It’s easier than ever to meet and find the RIGHT personal trainer. There are apps out there, endless websites and abilities to find the RIGHT trainer for what you are looking for. At the end of the day, a good trainer should be able to help motivate, push and give you an experience you can’t get anywhere else! And oddly enough, we’re not perfect physical specimens and can have our issues with food and exercise too. All the good trainers I know have also gone through periods of burnout! They’ll get so focused on their work and some days/weeks pass on their own health. So don’t be intimidated to ask for help! We’re people too!

Final advice!

Honestly, just have fun and play around. Try new things – try running. Lifting weights. Functional training. Ice skating regularly. Enjoying a walk every Sunday. Working out doesn’t have to be a production and the more you can integrate it into your life, the better!
Dork out a bit to find new exercise and ask for help when you need it. 
Work to improve one thing at a time. As that happens, add something else.
Happy Christmas, ya filthy muggles.