Friday, June 30, 2006

Law # 9 ~ Loving It

Your workouts involve commitment, determination, planning, consistency, and intensity. If you don’t like what you’re doing, then there’s no way on Earth you’ll succeed. Enthusiasm is a huge piece of the puzzle. Get creative and stay curious. If you enjoy doing Power 90 exclusively and it works for you, then keep doing it until it doesn’t. If you get part way through P90X and it’s not your cup of tea, then stop and do something else. Something’s got to bring you back day after day, week after week. Love it (tolerate it) or leave it.

I don’t know about you, but if I don’t like or love something, then I don’t do it. Period. On the other hand, I’m extremely motivated when it comes to doing the things I love. Folks always ask me what I think are the best ways to get into shape: “Is Power 90 really the best program for me?” “What do you think about spinning?” “I hear that kayaking is the fastest growing sport in America, will that get me in shape?” “If I run more, will that help me burn off extra fat?” The truth is, they’re all great ways for losing weight, getting in shape, and living a healthy lifestyle. If any of these things feel like work to you, then they won’t work for you. Especially in the long haul. People fail to finish fitness programs because they don’t enjoy what they’re doing.

It boggles my mind why anyone would continue to do anything they don’t enjoy. Call me crazy, but I believe that loving what you do is the key to joy and happiness in every category of life. If you’re dealing with a lot of emotional drama, slaving away at work and eating junk food, then how in the hell will you stick with a workout program that you dread before starting it? It helps to be enthusiastic about what you’re doing. It’s a thrill for me to see the thousands of folks start and complete my workout programs. It means that “fun and variety” are key components to people’s success. Power 90 and P90X work because Beachbody supported me in my quest to incorporate the things I love.

The formula for figuring out what you love (this applies to everything in life) is simply being creative and curious (see Variety). Curiosity and creativity involve finding ways to modify, integrate, and alter your workouts so that you can incorporate the things you love into your daily routines. I’m at the point in my fitness journey where I’m not exactly sure what my workout is going to look like ten minutes before I start it. I often develop my workouts on the fly. This approach allows me to be creative as I make my way through it. I do this when I ski and rock climb, so why not with my workouts? I’ve been noticing lately that some people in the Beachbody community have been combining different programs to create personalized workouts. This is genius! They’re mixin’ it up and finding ways to enjoy it. Loving it helps you stick with it. Sticking with it will happen when you find ways to make it interesting. I recommend this strategy only after you’ve completed a full round of Power 90.

If you’re anything like me you’ll discover that the same thing over and over doesn’t work over time. FIND OUT WHAT YOU LOVE (no matter what anyone else says) and do that. If you stay curious, try new things, abandon the exercises you dislike, and stick with the ones you love, then you’ll discover a fitness philosophy that you’ll stick with for a lifetime.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Law # 8 ~ Stress & Sleep

Stressed-out, sleep-deprived people don’t eat right and exercise regularly. Stress depletes energy, strength, and desire; while poor sleep habits affect your moods and immune function along with cognitive and motor performance. Burning the candle at both ends makes it impossible to be fit and healthy.

Do you realize that if you took the fear and anxiety out of every “stressful” situation in life, the end result of that situation would greatly improve? You can panic and freak out all you want, but time will still pass and life will happen, whether you stress out about it or not. So why not choose patience or curiosity? Patience is a virtue, and who wouldn’t want to be virtuous in a stressful situation? To be curious means asking the right questions to help find solutions. When does fear, worry, or anxiety ever help a situation? Stress occurs when we are incapable of moving through a situation logically, peacefully, positively, productively, and gracefully. To be stressed out takes a lot of energy. Allowing stress to overtake you means you’re having a tough time dealing with reality. Don’t let stress be your scapegoat. Stand up, take a deep breath, and see if you can deal with reality under pressure.

I like the parable about 10 people standing in line at a bank. Three robbers come storming in screaming, yelling, and waving guns around. They terrorize the place and steal everyone’s jewelry and money. What’s the moral of the story? Ten people experiencing the same event will have very different reactions to it. Some will never recover, while others will have a crazy story to tell at cocktail parties. How do you respond to the events in your life?

I like Byron Katie’s 3 Kinds of Business Theory.

1. God’s Business: The things that happen in this world that are out of my control.

2. Their Business: The choices other people make based on their life experiences so far.

3. My Business: The choices I make that shape my life.

Don’t waist your time on gossip, ridicule, envy, self-pity, anger, guilt, arrogance, impatience, regret, manipulation, jealousy, fear, worry, and anxiety. It’s too stressful, and it destroys the energy you need to stay healthy and fit. If you choose understanding, truth, clarity, patience, devotion, gratitude, acceptance, wisdom, and forgiveness you will have peace of mind and all the energy in the world to do what ever you want.

Sleep does more than make you feel rested. Two recent studies with healthy volunteers demonstrated suppression of immunological function after one night of modest sleep deprivation. The activity of certain white blood cells and the production of chemicals essential for immune system performance significantly decreased. After a good night’s sleep, most immune functions went back to baseline levels. About 40% of adults experience sleepiness that interferes with daily activities. Most U.S. adults get less than seven hours of sleep per night during the workweek, while research has determined that certain parameters of immune function are enhanced by more than seven hours of sleep.

Another study showed that the leading cause of traffic accidents in this country is NOT alcohol, but sleep deprivation. If you don’t have enough energy to stay awake to drive your car, how will you have enough energy for a six-day-a-week workout plan? We’re not sleeping enough hours, and the limited time we spend trying to sleep is filled with so much mind chatter that we never get the rest we need. My New Collegiate Merriam-Webster English Dictionary defines sleep as follows: the natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of the body are restored. In the Taoist philosophy there’s a belief in yin and yang energies. These are opposing energies that create balance. Exercise is yang energy. Sleep and rest is yin energy. There must be proper balance between vim and vigor (yang) and inward calm (yin). If you don’t get enough sound sleep, your body will NOT receive the proper restoration it needs to complete or succeed with any fitness program. So TiVo American Idol and go to bed!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Law # 7 ~ The Plan

SCHEDULE ALL WORKOUTS IN ADVANCE. This creates accountability. Plan an entire month ahead of time. Try to schedule as many workouts as possible with friends and/or family who have similar goals. WOWY was developed so that you could find an easy and effective way to stay accountable and work out together. Now we’ve got people in Trumbull, Connecticut (my hometown) doing Power 90 with people in Hollywood at the same time. That is cool!

I believe that your workout calendar is our most important tool. Power 90 and P90X have everything you need to stay consistent. But for those of you that are having trouble with motivation and consistency, you need to place that calendar where you’ll see it every day. The bathroom mirror, refrigerator, next to the TV, or right on your front door if you have to. I have a desk calendar that stares back at me every day. After 25 years of training I still write down the type of workout I’ve done, and circle the day I did it. At the end of the month, I add them up. My goal (for the last 21 years) has been a minimum of 20 workouts a month—that’s 240 a year with 125 days off.

I’ve always said that you can focus on Intensity and Variety, but if you don’t know what you’re doing and when, you’re toast. It amazes me how so many people wake up in the morning and don’t know the exact time they’re working out that day. We’re pretty good at scheduling when to go to bed, when to eat, and when to watch our favorite show on the tube. We find ourselves trying to squeeze workouts in. The “fit it in whenever” approach might work for a little while, but never survives in the long run. You can’t have a fitness lifestyle if you don’t have a long-term plan.

Beachbody provides the variety—and even the motivation through the boards. Your job is to plan ahead. If you don’t lock down a time for your workouts, they won’t happen. If you make a point to schedule your workouts in advance, your chances of success will skyrocket. My calendar has been a simple and powerful tool for me for over twenty years. Without it…I’m lost. With it, I’m organized, committed, and successful.

WOWY is another tool to help you lock it in because it creates accountability. Accountability: the obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions. I schedule six workouts every week. I am accountable to the people I schedule them with. Monday I take off. Tuesday I meet four guys at 5:00 PM for a weight workout. Wednesday I meet one to three people for cardio at 5:30 PM. Every other Wednesday I meet friends at 7:30 to rock climb. Thursday I do weights at 5:00 PM with the boys. Friday is cardio or leg/plyo day at 4:30 or 5:00 PM with one to three friends. Saturday is yoga at 4:00 PM. I meet two to four friends at the yoga studio. Sunday is a gymnastic work out with my crew. It’s locked in!

Stop winging it and schedule in advance when to Push Play. Move your workouts to the top of your priority list. Don’t think about doing them whenever. Schedule them as if they were very important meetings or appointments. BECAUSE THEY ARE! You can love what you’re doing and eat like a star, but if you don’t plan those workouts (a month in advance) you won’t go far.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Law # 6 ~ Sport

Take your mind off of weight, inches, and body fat percentages, and put the focus on MOVING—dancing, rock climbing, in-line skating, running, team sports, mountain biking, etc. I personally happen to enjoy the graceful sport of table tennis. I don’t care what you say, it’s a sport! Think more in terms of “can do” and less in terms of “look like.” Sports are fun and help develop balance, coordination, and stamina—which helps accelerate and maintain your fitness. Go outside (or inside) and PLAY!

Every Sunday I head down to the original Muscle Beach in Santa Monica and meet a group of friends for a two-and-a-half-hour fitness extravaganza. We do a crazy combination of pull-ups, handstands, swinging plyometric dips, 15- and 25-foot rope climbing (hands only and sometimes upside-down), tons of wacky push-ups—we even throw in a back flip or two, and finish with a rendition of Ab Ripper X. Anyone that has attended one of the Santa Monica Fitness Camps has seen it firsthand. It’s extreme with a capital X. I love it, because it hurts me so good. This is NOT a routine I would do alone. I show up every Sunday morning to hang with the crew. As hard as the workout is, we’re there for the camaraderie, laughter, and encouragement.

We look at Sundays as an opportunity to incorporate sport into our weekly fitness routines. What started out as push-ups, pull-ups, and dips, has turned into (thanks to Chuck Gaylord) gymnastics for old guys. Sport is the main reason I stay fit. On the occasional Wednesday night, I meet up with a group to go rock climbing. Every fall, I get together with ski buddies and come up with ways to get our legs ready for the hill. Where do you think the Plyometrics workout in P90X came from? The Plyo/Legs routine in the Master Series is what I used to prepare for this year’s ski season.

To me, there is nothing better than the great outdoors. My sports involve cool crisp air, gorgeous views and climbing up or ripping down mountains. When I’m skiing or rock climbing, I’m one with my surroundings. I’m happy as a clam and at peace with the universe. I also try to mix in other sports like inline skating, ping-pong (trust me, it’s a sport), basketball, and mountain biking. These are sports I love to help me stay in shape. I encourage you to get involved in SOMETHING athletic—anything that would be fun and enjoyable for you. Try to care a little less about weight loss and more about accomplishment. There are so many different kinds of sports to choose from. Set a goal, take a class, sign up for a race, anything that gives you a reason to focus on “can do” and not so much “look like.” If you shift to an athletic mindset you won’t obsess about calories, inches, and your weight as much. “Can do” numbers like reps, range of motion, and amount of resistance become more important. Athletes care about improving their game, not how they look in their climbing gear.

If you can find one thing/sport that you really enjoy, then your day-to-day workouts will be less of a chore and more of a means to an end. Sports will also give you the opportunity to better connect and share with a partner. Whether you’re single or partnered with someone, it will give you a chance to meet like-minded folk. The people I know who have a regular sports pursuit are consistently fit over time, are rarely depressed or anxious, and meet tons of amazing people in the process. (See Fitness Camps)

For some of you the excuse of time or money, or fear of looking uncoordinated in front of other people will keep you from trying something athletic. There were tens of thousands of Power 90 and P90X customers who had those same fears. They stepped through the door anyway, and found a brand-new and exciting reason for staying fit and healthy.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Law # 5 ~ Reality

Why do we want life to be different than it is? Why do we think about who we were and who we’re going to be more than who we are now? We certainly talk a good game about who we are now. Why do we try to predict the future with the hope that wishful thinking is enough to change it? Life is NOT the way it was. It’s the way it is. Life is not our fantasy predictions of the future or our glory days of the past. Life is that thing that is happening to you as you read this. We fall into the trap of past and future because we think the here and now is not good enough. Back then and up there are keeping you from right now.

This crazy cycle of mind hockey stems from our inability to stop caring about what we think other people think of us. The truth is that other people aren’t thinking about you as much as you think they are. We lament for days, weeks, or years over some comment made in passing, by someone who forgot what they said two minutes after saying it. Other people’s opinions of us are none of our business. Their opinions are their unfinished business. “The man in the mirror should not cast stones from his glass house.” —T. S. Hortonhead (will explain during camp)

If you want positive long-term change in life, accept the truth of your situation and ignore the people that don’t support it. Let go of your ego and find ways to love who you are right now. Living in the past, the future, and for others destroys your ability to stay in the moment. Life has peaks and valleys, ups and downs, lessons and celebrations. This is how we grow and learn. If you’re struggling with your finances, get financial advice. If you’re unhappy with your health and fitness, do Power90. You could do nothing and hope that it all gets better on its own, or you could open a new door and find some answers. “You can’t solve a problem with the same brain that created it.” —Albert Einstein.

To know reality is to take risks. Risk requires perseverance, courage, and wisdom.

Take The Risk*

1. Risk Saying No—The first step toward having your own life begins with daring to refuse the demands of others. Saying “yes” because you’re afraid to say “no” is a recipe for resentment. Risk walking away from the fear of saying NO.

2. Risk NOT Defending Yourself—It’s only when you risk laying down your armor, shield, and sword (quips, retorts, and criticisms) that you discover who you really are. You can’t be hurt by letting others win.

3. Risk Appearing Stupid —Pretending to understand something you don’t, for fear of appearing stupid, only ensures that you’ll remain a fearful pretender. That is stupid. If you truly want to understand something, risk asking all the questions you need to. That’s smart.

4. Risk Bearing Your Negative Outlook—The weight of your problems is determined by how much you fear them. But the only weight any fear can have is determined by how much you try to push it away. Risk not “burdening others” with your negativity. The less you burden other people with your problems, the less of a burden they’ll be for you.

5. Risk Being Rejected— “No” is just a word, but fear of it is a prophecy self-fulfilled. Be bold! Risk asking for what you really want. Reject the fear of being rejected by daring to say “no” to the fear of NO.

6. Risk Catching Yourself In The Act—Your life can’t be both a show and be real. Whenever you catch yourself in the middle of some self-created drama or lie, just stop it. Risk being “The Real Thing” and not “all Show and no Go.” Life is real only when you are.

7. Risk Taking The Lead—You can never know the true pleasure and personal satisfaction of having your own life until you take the risk of finding it for yourself, all by yourself. Followers fear the road less traveled. Risk going out front by traveling the road called, “My Own Way.”

The way to live in this world is to live in the real world. Lift the burden of having to “keep up with the Joneses” all the time. Stop lying to yourself and everyone else about what you’re doing, what you’ve done, and what you’re going to do. Stop telling others about your hard workouts and clean diet, and all the while pretending that what you’re saying is true. If it is true…guess what? We’ll know. Reality is about discovering the truth about the here and now. Reality is the ability to accept your present situation and love who you are through the process.

* Source unknown

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Law # 4 ~ Purpose

When we exercise and eat right we feel better. When we feel better, we do more. When we do more, we meet amazing people blazing the same trail. A healthy lifestyle gives us the energy to be better than before. We create a desire to participate, share, communicate, and build a community. If you had never found Beachbody, you might be right back where you were—isolated with nothing to share, because you weren’t doing anything with anyone.

We come together because we all have one thing in common...the desire to improve our lives. Anyone willing to explore our message boards, chat rooms, and WOWY is given the opportunity to participate in something truly unique. The intention of helping yourself turns into a chance to improve or even save the life of someone else. We plant seeds that affect much more than our own weight loss and improved fitness. The moment we decide to share our story we create a shift in energy so powerful that it has the potential to change the world. Change, and the world changes with you.

When we’re in a state of fear and anxiety the people around us aren’t too thrilled either. If we have the energy to be kind, wise, and loving, we lift up everyone around us. The difference between these two states is CHOICE. Often it’s hard to choose wisely when you’re too pooped to get through the average day. Pre–Power90 many people feel overwhelmed, sick, and tired. Shortly after starting the program (even before any real physical change) something remarkable starts to happen. You feel better.

When you feel good you act quite differently than when you feel lousy. The people around you don’t need be told what kind of mood you’re in. They know. Your behavior (good and bad) has tons of energy and power that affects everyone in your world. You are what you eat and what you do! If you eat junk and do nothing, friends and family will sink with you or abandon ship. Not a terribly inspiring or productive outcome. If you choose to devote your time and energy to health and fitness with wisdom and courage you become a beacon of energy so powerful it could change the lives of thousands of people.

A healthy, fit body directly affects the mind and spirit. The brain and body are one. The reason why so many people reach for cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, and fast food is because it makes them feel good…for now. These short-term pleasures deliver a long list of physiological and psychological disorders and diseases down the road. A steady dose of exercise on the other hand will guarantee the opposite result—a lifetime of good health, energy, self-reliance and hope. “If you look after the body, the fragrance of the mind and spirit will come of itself.” —B.K.S. Iyengar

Having purpose takes the onus off of you and puts the focus on the people who need your help. The gift of giving is the greatest gift to receive. The people I know who practice this on a daily basis are well rounded, content, empathetic, wise, and happy. They say that about 3% of the people on Earth live in bliss. What the hell are the other 97% doing? Maybe we’re spending too much time on ME, ME, ME! I believe that our journey on this Earth is to be in service. Discover what you love, learn how to do it well, and share it with others. It’s also important to recognize when friends and family are not ready for change. The worst kind of advice to give is the kind that was never asked for.

Purpose is the driving force that moves you from here to there. Your purpose in taking care of yourself is based on intention and resolution. If your intentions aren’t clear, strong, and true; the best food, supplementation, and perfect workouts won’t help you discover what your purpose is. What are your intentions? Do you want to find resolution? What is the $24,000 question? If it’s about looking hot for the fitness camp, how will that hold up come Monday when the camp is over? Short-term goals are nice. If you want long-term success and a worldwide impact then put your energy into the long-term reasons why.

The key to success with Power90 and P90X comes to people who figure out that when you share your experiences; your wisdom, love, and truth, you begin to know what it’s like to live in that 3%. The message boards, chat rooms, WOWY, and coaches’ threads can be precious commodities. In these forums, we are given an opportunity to share everything about our journey with people going through the same thing.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Law # 3 ~ Intensity

YOU’RE TOUGHER THAN YOU THINK. The fear of pain or injury from working out is a mindset steeped in fear. You must learn to “Find The Line.” Do the extra rep or two, increase your range of motion, and increase resistance as you get stronger. Intensity goes hand in hand with Variety and Consistency. The combination of these three work together to create a platform for success. The programs provide Variety. Your plan will keep you consistent.

Intensity is the final ingredient that brings results. Here’s the science: in order for a physiological change to occur, there first needs to be a stimulus. This stimulus comes in the form of an overload. A principle known as GPO—gradual progressive overload. As you train over time, the overload should be slowly increased. Too much overload too quickly can result in injury. Lack of increased overload over time will result in plateaus. People who plateau often get discouraged and quit. Okay, the science is over!

1. Find The Line. The Line is that special place you need to get to if you want any program to work. It’s the desire to do get that extra push up, to increase the depth and range of motion on your lunges and squats, and not being afraid to add more weight and resistance as you get stronger. It’s discovering your pain/discomfort threshold so you can get the job done WITHOUT jeopardizing good form and avoiding injury. If you under-train or just plain old “give up” because you “can’t” do something the first few times, then you’ll never know what it’s like to be fit and healthy. Find ‘The Line’, do the best you can, and maintain good form.

2. The Over Under. You need to understand the difference between under-training and over-training. Under-training is where you keep doing the same thing, with the same weights, at the same intensity, and nothing much is happening. UGH. You know you’re over-training when you can’t get through workouts without hurling (see below), and you’re so sore for the next three days that you can’t walk, sit down, or feed yourself. You’re training properly when you have some soreness in your muscles—not pain in your joints.

3. Put on the Breaks. I’m a believer in listening to my brain’s interpretation of what’s happening to my body while exercising. Finding ‘The Line’ can be tricky. It will take some trial and error. Don’t be afraid to keep looking. You’ll know when you’ve gone over it. When this happens, it’s time for a break. Here’s a list of when to take breaks:

*Mid-set mini-break. Say you’re working biceps and you’ve mistakenly chosen a weight that’s a bit too heavy. You’ve set a goal of ten reps, but on rep six you’ve discovered that you’re not going to make it to ten unless you start crossing ‘The Line’. Stop for a beat. Hold the weights down by your side. (you’re chillin’) When you’re ready—continue to ten. You can also put the weights down and grab lighter ones. This technique will work with almost any exercise. This is why I tell you to keep your remote nearby. Think of it as a luxurious, respite of relief!

*Give yourself a break. Far too often I see people trying to be a superhero the first couple of weeks of a program. This aggressive attitude can often cause a phenomenon known as vomiting. To avoid this from happening to you, I recommend NOT trying to “push through it.” Superman wasn’t built in two weeks. He was born on an icy planet and…well, that’s another story. Do yourself a favor and kick it down to 80% when starting out the first one or two weeks.

*Illness or Injury breaks. If you’re sick or injured, then do the right thing: back off, back down, or modify. Hard exercise when injured or ill can be disastrous. You have to think long term. More often than not, taking a break is the smartest approach for your long-term success.