Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Stop Judging & Feeling Judged, The Release We Need in 2014

What is it with me offending people? I have some crazy ability; I can do it just by walking.
  • My wife told me she thought I was cocky the first time we met because I had wild, curly hair.
  • A co-worker told me she didn’t like me because I was too upbeat and happy all the time.
  • A stranger told me to stop acting like I was better than him just because I had muscles.
  • Multiple times I’ve been told that I think I’m better than people just because I go to church.

I think you can relate. Numerous of times in my life I’ve been judged without even opening my mouth.  In all honesty, I’m guilty too. 
  • When I was younger I used to judge people because they had money.
  • I used to think if people weren’t fit then they didn’t care.
  • I used to think Christians were hypocrites.

People will judge or feel judged just from reading this article.

(Note: “judging” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For example, being of good judgment towards a dangerous person could save your life. For the purpose of this article though, I mean any feelings of animosity, hostility, resentment, disrespect, offensiveness, etc., stirred up within yourself, or towards another human being, causing moderate to severe distress within yourself or them.)

After 31 years of walking on this earth I’ve realized what a waste of time and energy it is to do both. I’m making a commitment in 2014 to keep working on some very important things:

Before you put something out there, post something, say something, do something, make sure it’s coming from the right place and only the right place, LOVE.  Analyze what your intent is, decide if it’s important enough, and deliver it so that it’s heard right. If someone still takes it the wrong way, then that’s on them.  There’s nothing you can do about it.

Before you get upset about what someone else says or does, make sure you analyze their intent. Where is their heart? Do they mean well? Do they just have a different perspective from different life experiences? Did they really mean to disrespect you when they said or did that?  Or was it an innocent comment or action that you took the wrong way?  Does it really matter if they live their life a different way?  It’s not weird, just different.

Authentic is defined as “not false or copied, genuine, REAL.”  No matter what, you have to be true to who you are. You can’t worry about how others will react. Molding into their belief system isn’t healthy for your soul. Walking on egg shells to appease them isn’t either.  I’ll never forget an older African-American woman I used to work with. Talk about blunt, this lady had no filter. She told you if your pants were too tight, if you had a booger hanging out of your nose, how you should do your job, what she thought about religion, politics, abortion, all things that no one ever wants to talk about.  But she said it out of love. And the reason I love and respected her so much was because she was REAL. What you saw was what you got. She didn’t hide anything. She was herself in every situation.  #nevertrytogainthewholeworldbutloseyoursoul

This is a concept I use in all aspects of life---to-do lists, fitness performance, trials and struggles, and especially emotions. You should always act with the utmost decency, integrity, and character towards other human beings. But once that’s done, then you have to remember, you’ll never make everyone happy and it’s exhausting to even try. Care about people and how you affect them, but don’t care so much if they’re just misinterpreting, assuming, or implying who you are and your character, and not putting an honest effort towards number two above.

We weren’t given that right (unless you're Judge Russo). God didn’t put it on our responsibility list. I fall back on these Words: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Eph 4:29)

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?” (from Matt 7:1-5)

We should always be open to constructive criticism and opportunities to change and become better. If there’s validity to reactions and opinions against us, take it and grow from it. If there’s no validity, and it’s just a bunch of hogwash, then don’t let it prohibit, prevent, and detract you from focusing on better things. People don’t define you and their opinions sure don’t either. “Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matt 6:27) 

Judging and condemning can wreak havoc on your health and well-being. Don’t let it get the best of you today. It’s an absolute game-changer.

Keep striving to make 2014 the best year yet.

It's not about us.

Coach Theo

Friday, January 10, 2014


You want to be in the best shape of your life.  But what does that mean and how do you get there?  If I had to pick my TOP 10 FITNESS TRUTHS FOR OPTIMAL PERFORMANCE, meaning your must-haves for getting in the best shape of your life, these would be them. They are not in any particular order, except number one, two, and three. Nothing really comes before them. (this blog was written from my ipad, please don't mind any typos)

It works and we all need it.  Announce to the world what you want to accomplish. Tell your family and friends. Post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Make it known what you're striving for. Magic happens when you put it out there. It becomes real. Things will work around you. People will encourage you. And you don't want anyone to think for a second that you're a quitter now do you? #nopressurethough

Action step: Actually report to somebody each week about your progress or lack thereof.  It could be a coach, mentor, friend, sister or brother. Just have someone that knows what you’re doing and is willing to hear you out and call you out if you’re not doing it.  #checkyourselfbeforeyouwreckyourself

This is probably the most misunderstood training principle. Results happen in the rest phase. Too often we see and hear people who want to go hard and long every day of the week, all year round. I used to be there so I get it. Then I started learning more about adaptation and stress and applied the principle that Less is More. My performance went up and so did my results. About every 3-4 weeks, especially if you train hard like us, it's time to back off a little bit and REBOOT. This means taper about 50% intensity and perhaps volume too. You also shouldn't work out every day in my opinion, 5-6 days a week is a lot (again if you're training really hard like us). And 45-60 minute sessions should be plenty. No 2-3 hr sessions. That doesn't make sense and it’s not effective (unless you're hitting one long session a week to prepare for a marathon or endurance event). Finally, I'm a firm advocate of the HIGH/LOW method. Go high intensity one day, low intensity the next. Or high two days, low the next two. Applying these concepts will really help you feel fresh and continue to see your body respond to your hard work positively. Think about how much stress is in your lives already. Pounding more on top of it with your workouts, will not do your body any good.

Action step: Plan rest days. Period. #nopainyougain

I tell you what, if I don't have something to compete in every few months or so, my motivation goes way down. It can be so simple too: a 5k race, a pull-up challenge like ours coming up on jan 31 (www.pullupsforzoe.com), or a silly ab challenge for 15 days you do with your friend. We have one of those too (www.shop.fitmeupfitness.com). It's just like everything in life.  You need to constantly set goals and benchmarks to keep you rising to the next level. Life is a journey, and yours never ends. If you don't set goals, big and small, it may feel like it does.

Action step: Find something to sign up for today. It doesn’t matter if you’re ready or not. You’ll get ready. Once you sign up, you’ll have to. #fakeittilyoumakeit

7. STRENGTH TRAINING IS A MUST. Don't think of heavy lifting here. People, especially females, seem to worry so much about building "bulk." That's not easy to do you know. You can do resistance training with bands, body weight, weights, all kinds of fun gadgets that we use at FMU, like sleds, battle ropes, and dynamax balls. Everyone in the fitness world agrees that building lean muscle is paramount to any effective workout regimen and should be a main focus. It keeps your body strong and mobile, helps improve flexibility and prevent injuries, and burns fat more than certain cardio work does.

Action step: Incorporate strength training 2-4x per week into your routines. 20-30 minutes, even if just body weight. Never doubt that pushups, air squats, pull-ups, planks, and BURPEES can get you in the best shape of your life. #dontbeafraidtogetstrong

Mixing up what you do, when you do it, and how you do it is a staple of any solid fitness program. Don’t fall into the trap of hitting the same routines for too long. Even though you have staple exercises you like to do, you can alternate the rep schemes, sets, styles, formats, and protocols.   For example, take the pushup. You can do them slow, fast and explosive, with feet on a chair or a fitness ball, hands wide or hands close together, to the side or walking forward, holding for ten seconds on the bottom position, tempo style which is slow down and slow up, push-pause style which is push to the top, pause at the top then back down. The options are endless.

You can and should mix up the apparatuses you use as well for your workouts. We use all types of equipment like barbells, dumbbells, medicine balls, straps, rings, tires, battle ropes, sleds, slam balls, plyo boxes, etc.  

Action step: Don’t change your workouts every day. You should stick to a routine that you follow for about three to four weeks. Your body needs time to adapt and respond to the stimulus you applied to it. Then change up during your reboot week and come back with something different for the next four week block.

5. RUN.
Fast. Slow. Hills. And stairs. Running is one of the human body’s most natural forms of movement. Many people will disagree with me on this one, especially fitness trainers. There seems to be this whole new push in the training world to bash running and promote nothing but high intensity cardio. So I'm going to make sure I state that I guarantee, hands down, without a doubt, the only way I'm ever in the best shape of my life, is when I'm running. Not just fast, not just intervals, not just a long slow and steady meditation run, but a mix of all of the above. My conditioning gets better, my body fat stays lower, and my weight stays where it needs to be. I encourage running as much as possible to anyone who wants to be in the best shape ever. Here's my disclaimer though: if you have restrictions or limitations or a situation when running would cause problems or pain, then of course, you can't do it. Should you run more than three times a week? I see no reason to. Should you run the same pace every time? Absolutely not. Go back to variety is key here.

Action step: Run fast one day. Run medium intervals another day. Run long and on cruise control, purposely slower than your race pace, another day.  Slow and steady doesn’t always win the race. But neither does sprinting like a spastic animal every workout either.

Take it off of you. You know my motto: LIFE IS NOT ABOUT YOU. It can't be. You miss out on too much if it is. To a certain point, at the beginning of initial transformation, it is about you. You become aware of whom you are and where you're at and you know you need to change for the better to reach your potential. But then you transition to the WHY behind it all: because you know the change is needed for everyone who needs you. You lose weight because you want to look good, but why? Because then your confidence boosts, and when it does, so does your demeanor towards your wife and children. You want to give up drinking because it's affecting your health, but why? Because you'll gain more focus and clarity and not miss the little moments and people passing you by. You want to run your fastest 5k, but why? Because when you do, you prove that you can equip and prepare yourself to accomplish anything you put your mind to, and now you know that nothing can stop you. There's nothing holding you back. No more pity parties. No more poor me attitudes. There are people out there who need you. You wake up and perform at your best every day to fulfill your utmost duty and responsibility in life: to serve and lift up those around you to benefit and enhance the greater good of humanity.

Action step: Just be willing.  Not to necessarily develop a grandiose solution to solve the world’s problems, but to rise up when the opportunity presents itself to give back and help others. Be on the lookout. They tend to come when you least expect it. #whencalledfollow

Listen, any infomercial or fitness program is lying to you if they post an image and testimony of a person who lost 100lbs or has a ripped 12-pack of abs and claims it's all from their 30 minute a day DVD. They're forgetting to tell you something really important: that person drastically changed their eating habits. Nutrition HAS to be your main concern if you are serious about shaping up. You cannot outwork a bad diet. Don't get me wrong, you will get some results and still see change if you work out consistently and effectively. But you will only get so far. The extra edge comes from quality nutrition. I know this for a fact from firsthand experience. We just had our second baby. I let myself go for three weeks and loved every second of the desserts our friends and family brought over to help with meals. When I got back on track with my workouts, I didn't want to let go of the delicatessens. Well my body doesn’t want to let go of all of the body fat either, no matter how hard I work out. Not until I start eating strict again, (just yesterday by the way, oops) will I notice a big change again. Make sure you understand that WE DO NOT EAT RIGHT all the time.  We allow splurges. Never think this is about deprivation. It's all about delayed gratification. Eat right the majority of the time, and feel free to let loose 15% of the time. You gotta enjoy life. But you also have to take pride of the body God have you, and treat it well by fueling it with what it needs.

Action step: Focus on nutrition more than you workouts. #worksmartnothard

The mental game is everything. I'm going to promise you this; you need to have the mental game down before true transformation happens. You can have all the information in the world about nutrition and fitness and anything in life for that matter, but if you don't have the right mindset, you won't get far. You'll freeze. You'll give up. You'll make excuses. The body and spirit can't be treated until the mind is defeated. Defeat it and you'll move mountains. Let it defeat you and you'll stand at the bottom looking up.

Three things about the mental game:

A. TRIPLE AAA: be AWARE of who you are and where you're at. ACCEPT your situation and the cards you've been dealt. Then AWAKEN the giant within and do something about it.

B. PERSPECTIVE; once it changes so does your life. Do you see yourself as a miracle that was created and designed intricately and uniquely with meaning and purpose destined for greatness? Or do you see life as something that just happens to you as you go through the motions along for the ride? How you see your life determines how you'll react to it. When you put value on the talents, gifts, and abilities that you've been given, and the characteristics you have that are unlike any human being that has ever and will ever walk the face of the earth, you can't tell me that you won't be fired up to escape mediocrity and take charge of any situation or circumstance that falls in your lap.

C. RAMP UP AND REVAMP YOUR CONFIDENCE AND COURAGE.  We have a “what’s your 2014 game-changer wall” hanging up at our gym and it's not as filled up as it should be. After talking to some people it seems that three things are holding them back. 1. They don't think it's important enough. 2. They're afraid they won't achieve it and will look like a failure. 3. They don't think people care. I say, bogus, bogus, and more bogus. Look how the mind lies.  No matter how big or small, your intention does matter. If you fall flat on your face, it doesn't matter. Whether you believe it or not, to others, YOU do matter. Know that confidence doesn't mean you think you'll win all the time. It means you know you'll do the best you can. And courage doesn't mean you're not scared. It means that even though you're scared as heck, you still do it anyways because you know the place it can take you. You'll grow. You'll learn. You'll become a better human being all around, in everything you do.

You can’t leave home without it. It is the secret to true success and fulfillment in life and I’d be lying if I didn't include this on my list. I'm not even going to say much about it, as it would take more than a few blogs itself, except this: in my opinion, faith is usually the _____________ component. I’ll leave it at that for your own pondering.

Action step: Find something bigger and greater today. It's an absolute game-changer.

This is just where I’m at right now on my journey. I learn more and more each year as I discover and unlock the truths to my own health and performance status.

Until next time, remember…..

It’s not about us.

Never can be. Never will be.

Coach Theo

Friday, January 3, 2014

One More Rep

In fitness, you sometimes take it to a point where you can't go anymore....and then you take it one more rep. That could make all the difference. You wouldn't feel like jello, but now you do. The heart wasn't beating out of your chest, but now it is. You weren't going to puke, but now you fight to keep it down.

That one more rep.

You had to do it. The person next to you was. You couldn't let them beat you. Same with your mind. It usually wins, but this time you're showing it who's boss.

Who would have thought that :60 could feel so bad. Or that a little over 6 min of total work could tap your body out so much. The exhaustion. The fatigue. The light-headedness. You thought you were in good shape. And you are. It's just that one more rep.

You didn't hold back this time. You didn't pace yourself. You got out of your comfort zone. You dug a little bit deeper. Pushed a little bit harder. Gave it a little bit more. To get one more rep.

It does make all the difference.

You exposed your muscles, energy systems, and mental game to something they're not used to. They gained a new growth, burn, and strength. You gained a new perspective. Now you walk out of those gym doors a different person, with a different stride, a different gait, and a different composure.

That one more rep.

That’s all it takes in fitness and in life, yet sometimes we make things so difficult. We psyche ourselves out before we get started, because we see too many steps and too many obstacles, and not enough of the bigger picture.

Small steps. Incremental ones. Gradual and progressive. It may hurt at times. You may feel like you can't go anymore. But through that struggle is where you find something and someone that you never knew dwelled inside...if you would have stopped shy of that one more rep.

That’s where the magic happens.

All out.

Insane effort.

Extraordinary intensity.

In life sometimes you take it to a point where you can't go anymore....and then you take it one more rep. You didn’t feel like you were going to succeed but now you do. You didn’t think you could keep climbing the ladder but now you are. You didn’t think that transformation would keep happening but now you can’t stop it.

That one more rep. You don’t have to. But you choose to. Because you know it will make you better....

For them.

That one more rep. Hit it today. It's an absolute game-changer.

Ryan Cuts 45lbs and 26 minutes Off His Race Time, the game-changer

This is an extra special game-changer of the month, not just because of his off-the-charts accomplishments, but because he's my big brother.

Ryan Theo has tackled every one of his goals over the last 314 days:
·         Ran his Fastest 5k ever, going from a 10 minute mile to an 8 minute mile.
·         Ran his Fastest half-marathon
·         Lost a tremendous 45lbs
His latest challenge was the Men's Health Urbanathlon in Chicago---an 11 mile obstacle run with over 11+ obstacles. He went from the last 500 last year to the top 400 this year and slashed off an astonishing 26 minutes from his time. You just don't do that in one year. People get excited if they cut three minutes total off from their entire race time. Three minutes off per mile is downright insane.

Ryan has always been a self-driven human being.  He was a stellar student-athlete in high school and college. A straight-A student his whole life, I was always “the chosen one's” little brother. "You have some big shoes to fill," they'd say. But it didn’t bother me to be compared.  I knew he was great too.  And I didn't care about even trying to fill his shoes, I was following them. Somehow.  With my C and D self.  Eventually I would pull it together!

He was an all-Ohio football player and a top-notch wrestler. Get this; he was one of the heaviest weights, wrestling at 215lbs, while I was the lightest weight, wrestling at 103lbs.  Now, 14 years later we are only almost exactly the same weight.

So there's no doubt that when Big Daddy Theo puts his mind to something, he's going to accomplish it. It's like we always say, you just have to make that switch from “I kind of want it,” to “I want it so bad I’ll do whatever it takes to get there.”  Ryan made the switch back in January. And he's running full steam ahead doing whatever it takes to keep it on.

If you ask him, he hasn't made any huge transformations. It's the simple things, as it always is. Cutting back on fast-food and alcohol. Eating smaller portions. Putting more fruits and veggies and whole foods in his body. And ramping up his workouts to 5-6 times per week. 3x with us, 2-3 cardios on his own.

3 tips you can learn from him:
1. Sign up for something. I don't think this guy has any open month without some sort of 5k race of fitness challenge that he's signed up for.

2. Nutrition. He’ll tell you that one of his biggest game-changers is to stop eating later than 7pm at night.  

3. Working out. Just do it. Not Zumba either. Ok just kidding, that's a supplemental workout though---For fun. Practically speaking, no matter what, if you want to be FIT you have to do strength and resistance training and some form of cardio like running. The human body needs it.

My bro moved to Westlake after finding a transfer for his federal agent job about a year and a half ago. I'm glad he did. After bunking together our entire lives in a small bedroom with our younger bro too, a 5 hour drive to Pennsylvania seemed like an eternity. Now he’s only a few minutes down the road. I get to see him at our gym each week.  And my life feels a little more complete having my only blood-paisan in the area.

As far as filling those shoes…..

Well, he does a good job as a big brother not letting me.

Great big brothers do that. They don’t stay at the bottom….

Because they know they have to help get you to the top.

Thank God for Ryan.

He’s an absolute game-changer.