Monthly Archives: April 2012

Quitting? “NO!”

Some guys get knocked down and that’s all she wrote. Other guys, like UFC fighter Chris Leben, need to get knocked down a few times to just get them started. When others are contemplating quitting, this is your time to  take it up a notch. Me Quitting? Never. I’d rather start over a million times before I quit once.


Beyond-Raw Journal “FINALE”

Who wants to try something new when it really counts?  That’s exactly what GNC and FitFluential asked me to do.  GNC asked me to use this amazing new line of products they call their “Beyond-Raw” line to get ready for my next event.  Normally I would accept and try anything with no reservation… EXCEPT this time I really needed to be in tip-top condition.  Not just for photos, but Bonnie and I and a group of nationally recognized trainers were leading a Fitness Retreat in Cancun Mexico (pictured below) for Fit Studio and My destination wellness.

As a trainer,  on-lookers compare what you are saying by living it.  In other words, our words are validated by our physiques.  There are no excuses when you talk the talk but can’t walk the walk.  So I had my reservations.  I didn’t want to be judged a hypocrite if this “stuff” just didn’t work.  I know how to dial in my training, and I know how to tweak my diet down to the last calorie.  I can cut 12 pounds of water in 6 hours… but what was I thinking when I told GNC -DAN to send the Beyond-Raw supplement to Florida?  It was on.  Didn’t help that I was starting this “experiment” at the heaviest and softest I’ve been in over 6 years.  Or that I only had 2 months to drop about 20 pounds or 6% body fat.  But a deal is a deal… It had better work.

The first month I cut back on the calories and began the supplementation and immediately I lost about 5 pounds in the first two weeks.  I was floored.  I was thinking to myself, this is a cakewalk.  AND THEN…. n o t h i n g… for the next month.  I couldn’t get the scale to move.  I resorted back to a body composition report and realized… my body fat was indeed decreasing as I lost 3 more pounds of fat but gained 3 pounds of muscle.  I’m almost 42 years old.  I haven’t gained muscle in over 6 years.  I redid the body comp every day for a week because I thought I was dreaming.  I dropped from almost 13% body fat to 9.1 in less than a month. This gave me a fever to push as hard as I could.  The discipline to eat and supplement perfectly was effortless because I was seeing my body respond daily.  Don’t get me wrong, after the initial loss, I was discouraged, but after the body comp showed the mass gain… I was sold out for the “Beyond Raw” line.  I wanted all I could get.

The question is,  after your training, after your nutrition, how much can supplementation really do???  Listen; genetics, training and nutrition can only take you to the edge. When you are ready to jump, you better be packing “Beyond-Raw“.

Before & After:
Here are my “RAW” pics – and a couple photos from a photo shoot I took the same weekend as my after shot.

Here’s what I did:

I started my day, training or no training,  with one scoop of RE-GROW.  In short, this protein is formulated to increase lean muscle anabolism and decrease  lean catabolism.  If we can train hard and not break down muscle, and still stimulate growth… then I want more.

Next I would take Re-Fine before training.  If I wasnt weight training I’d take Re-Fine before conditioning, even if it was yoga.  What I loved about this pre-workout thermogenic is I was able to stay focused during the rush.  Didn’t notice the fat loss until it mattered most.  From 9% to 6% it was completely apparent.

I used the Re-Power as a recovery drink.  The BCAA are made to absorb fast and preserve muscle, and prepare them for the next bout of intense training.  It is one of those supplements that you can feel working to repair muscle.  The last supplement was the most confusing for me, and the one that forced me to do a little research to understand the mechanisms at work.

Re-forge is taken at bed time. Anyone who schools themselves on rest and repair is aware of how important our endocrine function is at night.  This is when our body is re-pairing and re-building the cells that we spent brutalizing all day.  Re-Forge is what is responsible to encourage our body to release the right hormones and enzymes to maximize repair and lean muscle growth during our sleep cycle.

So there it is… My Journey that took me “Beyond-Raw“.  The before and afters were for me only, but a picture is worth a thousand words.  When you have gotten every ounce of muscle out of your training and nutrition, i hope you do your self a favor and try “Beyond-Raw”  it’s truly “BEYOND-RAW

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Iron sharpens Iron

I’ve heard it said, “One of the biggest keys to success, is to surround yourself with like minded people that are successful”.  This statement alone,  is ambiguous at best.  Successful at what, and to what extent, and to what cost?  Is it equally important to surround yourself with others that share your feverence for success and the drive to reach the same goals?  I think it takes both, and then some.  Sometimes this means redefining your belief systems, redefining your self-worth, and sometimes even redefining… you!

Listen to what I’m about to say….  No matter your drive, no matter your will, you will still fail. It isn’t enough to know what you want.  It isn’t enough to just know how bad you want it. Even if you believe you can truly achieve it, you WILL still fail – UNLESS…You surround yourself with people who have walked this talk before you, and not only achieved what you strive for, but continue to live it out daily.  Take money for instance.  Many have achieved wealth, but to what cost.  Losing marriages, family, years of life, for this dream of wealth… is that success?

Now for my expertise, health and wellness, many people aim to get fit and change their lives forever but again, to what cost?  Are they hating every rep of every exercise? Are they whining at every brussel sprout they swallow? Are they miserable in the pursuit of “happiness”? We must seek out friendships, mentors and teachers that can give us the direction, discipline and accountability we need to stay the course.  Allow me to give you a few extreme examples I witnessed first hand.

Reality TV:  Formula of Success

In 2oo7 I was the trainer for a summer weight loss reality show called “Fat March” that aired on ABC.  A year later I was cast as the trainer for VH1’s “Bridal Boot-camp”, another weight-loss reality show. Working in this “reality genre” game gave me a firsthand look at the lengths production companies will go to making sure the environment created will not only produce results, but sensationalize the outcome.  Take other weight loss reality shows into consideration as well.  The formula for success is the same, and in all of these shows, the weight loss was truly amazing.  Even the production companies, that know absolutely nothing about real weight loss still know,  Iron sharpens iron.

The Problem

When the cast was surrounded by people with like-minds, trainers who can help them reach their goals, taken away from temptation, and emerged in accountability 24/7, yes, the outcome was amazing… but so was the complete devastation of seeing it all unravel once they returned home.  Except for just a few, the entire cast gained all of their weight back upon returning home.

So what happened?  The one thing these “reality shows” do not teach is how to cultivate and control an  environment that will perpetuate this new fit lifestyle.  These people finally changed their lives forever – or so they thought.  Some of them losing almost 200-300 pounds, only to return home and gain it all back again.  Tragic!  And it could all have been avoided.

If you suddenly quit drinking, would you lose any friends?  If you wanted to save money and quit going shopping, would your friends finally quit calling?  If you want to lose weight and stopped going out to eat, would your “bro’s” support you?  The first problem is giving in… You might go to the bar the first time to hang out, and order water, but eventually your good intentions will fall prey to “just one”… shopping?… “oh it’s just an afternoon and, I haven’t seen my girls in so long”… OR.. “what could it hurt, I’ll go with the gang and just order a salad”.

The Answer
LISTEN TO ME…  Surround yourself with like-minded people who understand your drive as much as your weakness, ones who will pull you along just from the momentum they have in their own lives.  People who will help you stand and lovingly hold you accountable.  People who understand the depth of your commitment means more to you than the instant satisfaction of the moment. It’s the only way.

Whatever it is you are striving for, surround yourself with people who know the depth of your desire and are living it.   It will be easier to stay on course and you will be strengthened in the process.  You will know you are successful when someone is looking up to you too, the same way you were once looking up to others.

If you Run from the fight, you might miss the Glory!

The temporary pleasure of sin will never out weigh the devastating long term consequences, as the temporary pain of training will never out weigh the amazing long term consequences! 

Bonnie and I were both brought up in the south, and for many of us that means that we were in church everytime the doors were open.  One of the phrases you hear a lot in the church is “we really hate SIN”.  Don’t tune me out, I’m about to make a point.  As much as church, Bon and I in our adult lives spent a lot of time in the gym as well.  One of the phrases we hear all of time at the gym is “I love my workout”.  So “we hate sin and love our workouts” hmmm

Hate Sin?  Not at all.
We love sin, its exciting, feels good, it’s attractive, it taste good, it’s a total rush…  No we don’t hate sin.  What we hate is the consequences of our sin.  Sin can lead to drug addiction. divorce, obesity, disease, or even death – not to mention total seperation from the Dude who created you.  (another blog, another time).  But to say we hate sin, well, that just isn’t true – but to truly hate the devastating affects of sin is such a huge reality it isn’t a lie to say “I hate sin”.  Hold on, here it comes…

Love your workout? Not truly… 
Right now I am doing 315 pound shruggs.  I think I just popped every vertebrae in my back, just ripped a callous, my legs are trembling and I have sweat in my eye and a charlie horse in my calf.  Love my workout? …not so much.

HOWEVER, I absolutely love the consequences that I experience from working out.  Health, aesthetics, energy, increased self esteem, confidence, the ablility to defend myself and my family against danger, and vitality are all considered bliss – directly related to the suffering and drudgery of the afformentioned workout.  Knowing the amazing results of hard training, I can honestly say, “I love my workouts”!

The same way a person who has been caught up in SIN becomes so hurt and disgusted with that lifestyle, another can honestly say they love working out becuase of the amazing results and positive influence, that it can acutally be said, “I love my workout”

In short...The temporary pleasure of sin will never out weigh the devastating long term consequences, as the temporary pain of training will never out weigh the amazing long term consequences! 

How do we change our belief system to be able to honestly say… “I love training”?

1. Set goals and BELIEVE you can attain them.

2. Visualize the prize (end game) seeing the goal as if its complete.

3. Make a plan that is realistic and effective to meet your goal.

4. Grow a pair.  Dont be afraid to “gut it out”. Know it will be worth it.

5. Start over a million times – but dont quit, not even once!

Fitness: Love it do ya?

We have all come across those, “beefers”… you know,  those crazy fanny pack wearing’ freaks that actually love the brutality of lifting weights, or those skinny little 1/2 dead marathon runners that get this euphoric “runners high” at mile 19.  All I get at mile 19 is a cab and a five guys burger.

Ok  seriously though, haven’t we all heard of people who boast of loving their workouts, even loving the actual burn they acquire while gutting out a few more reps?  Better yet, have you ever talked with a runner that actually cant wait to wake up and get their run started at 4 am – and worse, they love the way the concrete massages the bottom of their feet over the next 9 miles?

No friends, I’m serious… these people exist, they dwell amongst us, you hardly see them because they are at the gym about 4 am.  Secretly, I think they are all 1/2 “Vamp”… but that is another blog for another time.  Let me help to break this down for you, even if you are one of the creatures of early morning to which I am referring. Talking to exercise zealots, I often hear much of the aforementioned subject matter and I have to call Bull.

If you say to me “Seriously Steve, I even  love the pain I get when my calves are on fire during calve raises”!  Reeeeeeeeeeeallllyyyy??? (in my best Jim Carry)… Even a sadist doesn’t inherently enjoy pain.  The pain is only a conduit to a belief system and it validates a feeling, thought, hope, or memory that gives them so much pleasure that they associate the discomfort of training, to the positive feelings the training brings about.

Follow me through another example.  allow me to use my own story.  I havealways been one who struggles with my weight.  Mostly because I used to love love love to over eat.  I mean it was so bad I would back up from the table, take a deep breath, loosen my belt, and go back in for thirds.  How did I get over this?  I changed my belief system.  What if I told you now, I actually like the feeling I have when I am just a little hungry?  Well, I do.

After a bodybuilding show, I could gain 20 pounds in just 2 weeks.  I would binge eat and destroy all of my hard work from the previous 6 months.  Yep, destroy it all in 2 short weeks.  Believe me that is a lot of food.  Now knowing the destruction that my body deals with from gorging my stomach and organs at each meal, and the associated bloated feeling, tight clothes, nauseous, and laziness that comes with that type of binge and full feeling, it isn’t too hard to see why eating lighter and stop-eating-before-I-am-stuffed, begins to actually feel better than being full.  I now associate feeling tighter, skinnier, and attractive with a slight hungry feeling.

My pfiesterism is “fit feels better than food taste“.  And for me its true.  It didn’t happen overnight, but indeed it did happen.

Look for my next blog on learning to love your workouts and change your mindset.

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