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How to Live With Fire

Recently I’ve given much thought to Reebok’s campaign to #LIVEWITHFIRE.  From time to time I get philosophical and sort of lost in abstract thought of the weirdest things.  So this blog is me inviting you for a road trip with me and my brain.  Turn the music up and take a look around my cerebral cortex as I ponder what it is to “Live With Fire“.

Living With Fire is NOT Complacent

ComplacencyFirst, I think about what it isn’t.  Living with fire is not complacency. I think its important to be fulfilled, and even satisfied, about where you are going – but maybe not be overly satisfied with where you are.  Content with your present, but pressing on to be all who you were called to be.

Living with fire is not living with rage, or resentment.  That state of mind can drive us to overcome and accomplish a lot of things, but to what cost?  In that frame of mind, we are rarely satisfied in accomplishing anything except vengeance, and still are never satisfied.  No, friends, that is NOT living with fire.

tenaciousTenacity, perseverance, consistency, courage, willpower – THESE are a few defining characteristics of what it means to me to  #LIVEWITHFIRE.

1. Living With Fire is: Tenacity

Tenacity is defined as the quality of being determined to do or achieve something.  And I love the following definition: firmness of purpose.

2. Living With Fire is: Perseverance

Perseverance is next on my list of defining this Reebok Mantra.  Perseverance is definitely a synonym for tenaciousness, but lets further define living with fire by defining perseverance with a definition from Webster: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.  To me, living with fire comes alive in the second part of this definition; to continue DESPITE difficulty!  I think I should end the blog now – but I wont.

3. Living With Fire is: Consistency 

consitstencyConsistency brings the “ing” to the phrase. See, to live with fire could be mistaken as a moment in time, but livING with fire gives the idea of continuing to strive for that “pressing forward” . To be consistent in our quest to live with joy and zeal for more in life. Consistency could have a couple of different meanings. Both of which I believe are applicable.

The first, is degree of firmness, density, viscosity, or resistance to movement or separation.  Our ideals and level of effort should have a routine firmness. Not hot and cold, not soft and hard, but consistent effort in every attempt. Then, the more traditional thought for the way we describe consistency is the ability to be asserted together without contradiction. This would also be the idea to live beyond contradiction, above reproach. (We all fall short here, but when we get it right what victory we have.)

courage-john-wayne4. Living With Fire is: Courage 

This brings us to courage on my synonym list of living with fire. Webster says courage is: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.  Interesting that courage is not the absence of fear, but for someone to withstand fear or difficulty.

In other words, to persevere even in the face of fear. OK, I hear! WHOA!

will power5. Living With Fire Requires: Will Power

Lets finish our thoughts of Living With Fire by defining “WILL POWER”: The strength or will to carry out one’s decisions, wishes, or plans.  This definition left no discussion for feeling or emotion.  The idea is to DECIDE on what you want and SEE IT THROUGH – not allowing circumstance or excuses to compromise your decision!

What if we all “lived with fire”, in learning more, loving more, living more?  I believe the key is in the desire.  Decide what it is you really want.  Dig deep to find a burning desire to accomplish or acquire it with a relentless, stubbornness that knows no quit.  Never never never give up!

I believe this so much, I tattooed it on my body:
SEMPER PERSEVERA – Meaning, Never Give Up.

Never Give Up

Here are some pictures of some amazing athletes who clearly Live With Fire and never gave up – even when they had some pretty awesome excuses. If this doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will. 

amputee

Bethany-Hamilton


141100_-_Athletics_track_female_arm_amputee_close_up_-_3b_-_2000_Sydney_race_photo

bp1

ronniedicksonclimb-222x300

Victor_Konovalov_Interview_-_www.Wheelchair-Bodybuilding.com

19a08ca895 

scouttrain-300x199

images-12

oscar-pistorius-double-amputee-sprinter

171944762

live with fire

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

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re·bound verb \ˈrē-ˌbau̇nd, ri-ˈ\

Rebound: Return, bounce back, setback, backfire, move backward. 

Stev Pfiester, Light Heav WeightI recently took 18 competitors from my gym, Max Fitness, to compete in the NPC Southeast Classic. The goal was hitting the stage. Not winning a trophy, but using the stage to make us push harder and be our best.

The goal was made, and the goal was met!  What we do now defines what we learned on our journey to accomplish our goal.  In the “realm” of goal acquisition, focusing solely on the goal can be a tragedy.  What I mean is, the goal is just that: “a goal” – a means to an end.  How we develop, the wisdom we gain, and the way we develop along the way is the real reward for meeting our goal.  Goals are not the real rewards.

Team max

Josh GayLets think backwards for a second.  By creating a goal to shoot for, you are inviting some level of adversity into your life.  How much adversity we will endure is measured by how grandiose the goal.  The “Goal” only gives reason to validate and hold accountable our hard work, our long suffering, our perilous effort to make our bodies fitter, our will stronger, our bellies hungrier.  I have never seen anyone train harder than when they were stretching themselves to reach a new goal. These guys did just that. Josh Gay‘s 60-day before & after picture shows just how hard they worked. Then, they hit the stage, and celebrated, and then they went home…

Score! Now What?

CruiseWhat happens after we reach our goal?  It is good after hard training to back down, enjoy the “win” and celebrate the goal acquisition. For me, it was going on a vacation (cruise). We hit the keys, then Mexico and then headed to Disney shortly after we got home. Yes, there was a lot of food involved. But, at some point, we must get back in the game.

We don’t pay off credit cards just to go on some huge spending spree waisting our money, discipline and hard work. It is ok to go charge a dinner, but then we pay it off immediately to avoid getting in the bad position we were once in. Whether the goal was physical or financial, it’s important to remember what you learned along the way and how you felt while you were working so hard.

Sloppy Joes Key West

The best way to prevent rebound is to give yourself a marked amount of time to enjoy your hard work. But after that time is finished, it’s time get back to work. It’s time to make new goals – both long and short term.

bench pressBefore you even reached this goal, you should already dream about what is next. Don’t take your eye off of the immediate prize.  Don’t focus on your future goals until you accomplished the one set right before you.  However; you should already be thinking about what is next.  This will prevent your downtime from turning into a complete train wreck and a complete rebound.

Doesn’t matter if we are talking about finance or weight loss, enjoy your success but don’t throw away your investment.  Remember what you learned along the way.  This is what makes you better, stronger, and more patient.  Make some goals, so you can push your limits!

Geared Up & Ready

Even something like a new pair of shoes can get you motivated to get back in the gym and hit it hard again.  I got these new Reebok ZigCarbons and love them. It was just what I needed to want to do cardio again.

Reebok ZigCarbon

My next new gym toy is Reebok’s Bose Headphone set. They help get my mind focused, shut out distractions and make the most of my time at the gym. Totally what I needed to tune back into my routine.

Reebok Bose Headphone Set

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

Formula for Success

goal“If you take your eyes off the goal, for even a second, doubt will rush your mind like a band of brutal thieves.”

Doubt intends to kill your dreams, destroy your desire, and beat you down with fear.  Evidence of this is obvious in the most trying times.  When we are hungry, when we are tired, when we are angry, when we are in despair…

arnold Be Hungry

When you are hungry, let that hunger be your purpose.  It is a burning reminder in your gut of what you want to accomplish. When you are tired and your eyes grow heavy, don’t be the martyr the world excuses you to be, no one owes you anything. If there is something you want, you stay up one more hour and you go out and get it!

Be Productive

train like you want itAnger?, rage? Make it productive, and focus the intensity of this moment into success instead of resentment.  No one can control your emotions but you.  And when you are in complete despair — Stop. Shhhhh. Be still, and listen.  You are more than “just being”. You have the potential to be even more than your desires. You have the ability to accomplish things you havent even dreamed of …yet.

One of my favorite quotes of all time comes by way of the late Henry Ford.  He reminds us that we can decide what happens next… he said “he who thinks he can, and he who thinks he can’t, are usually both right“.

Go Beyond 

“Attaining the goal isn’t success.  Success is found in the pursuit, attaining your goals is the icing on this cake we call life.”

Work harderLastly, it isn’t enough to just dream. I love visualization. Wondering what if, thinking just maybe…  Hoping, even praying, for that desire of your heart.  Instead of praying for “the goal”, pray for the opportunity to make a way for your goal. The satisfaction of accomplishment comes in the effort – the blood, the sweat, the tears, the years, in pursuit of the “goal”.  Attaining the goal isn’t success.  Success is found in the pursuit, attaining your goals is the icing on this cake we call life.

“Vision without execution is just hallucination” Henry Ford

Equation for Success

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

So You Want to Compete? Encouragement for the Future Competitor

Have you ever been interested in body building or physique contests? Have you ever wondered what its like on stage, back stage, or even in the crowd  on the night of the event?

npc bodybuilding, figure, physique and figure

Preparing the Body

Daytona ClassicI know how I felt when I first thought of getting on stage and seeing what this whole competition things was all about. I was terrified. I didnt know anything about diet, tanning, posing, how to pump up, what suit to buy, what to eat the night before, and on and on and on. I realized I probably wasn’t alone, and that this “abyss”of the unknown may be keeping many from trying one of the toughest sports in the world when it comes to training and nutrition.

Competitors don’t risk falling off of a balance beam after years of preparation, or getting knocked out by one rogue lucky punch but, instead, the competition is soley in the preparation. The day of the show is merely an unvailing of a sculpture (or science project) that took months, and even years, to perfect – or at least improve.

Preparing the body for  a show takes a lot of planning (and, as you can see in these pictures below shot at the hotel competition day, a lot of packing, cooking, supplementing and planning ahead).

Bodybuilding, Physique, Figure & Bikini Competition prep GNC vitamins  bodybuilding diet bodybuilding prep hotel gym

Preparing the Mind

Team Max This type of discipline is grueling – and takes a lot of mental fortitude and drive to keep going till the day of competition. This is when, as a coach, a little encouragement can go a long way. I have close to 20 people that are going to compete with me in an upcomming physique event, and the following is a letter I wrote them to encourage them to persever till the end.  I wrote this letter to encourage them to say the course no matter what their brain or body is telling them.  I wrote this letter to push them to keep faith that in 5 weeks their bodies will be the most amazing aesthtically that they have been in years, if not ever.

Dear Competitor,

Letter to my clients and future competitors out there where ever you are:

Bikini CompetitorsFirst, I want to applaud you all for your commitment, drive, discipline and self-denial – and your courage and your desire to step out into this scary world of physique competitions. 

Secretly I am hoping you find it very fulfilling, beyond the seemingly narcissistic focus it may have at first glance.  I promise you, this level of commitment, self denial and discipline has perfect carry over into our daily lives.  It teaches us to be better parents, boss’s, moms, dads, husbands and on and on… 

Here we are guys… 5 weeks to go. Some of you are still on the fence, and that is ok.  But next week we are either crossing the line of committing to April 6th, or we are going to gracefully bow out for another show. I am asking you to humbly allow me to help you with that decision.  Lets decide together if your physique will be show ready or not. 

Please don’t let fear into your heart, or head, when it comes to this decision of competing.  It is only a question of being ready or not physically.  Emotionally and mentally you will be wondering “what if” all the way up to and even the day of the show.  So get that out of your head.

You guys have already overcome so much.  We have only been training as a team for 5 weeks so far, and every single one of you has amazed me with your level of commitment. We still have 5 weeks to go.  I’ve never had a team with so many firsts, so personally I am overwhelmed with excitement.

What If’s…

Men's Physique (before)Guys (and girls), I know the inbody is messing with your head, I know the scale is your best friend in the morning and then your nemesis by noon.  You feel so weak trying to finish the most menial tasks around the house, never mind making it into Max to train.  When you finally do have time to train you may feel like you’re letting something else go, or putting other priorities on the back burner.  You are paying the price, you are paying your dues.  You will all have different levels of sacrifice depending on your support structure at home.  Some friends and family are supporting your every move, keeping you accountable, reminding you of how amazing your commitment is – and others… not so much. 

Your spouse may feel left out. You may have guilt about picking your kids up at school only to drop them off again so you can train. Your best friend may miss her drinking buddy, or even be jealous that she doesn’t have the guts to commit to this epic training.  Get all of this out of your head, because when your friends and family see you on the stage, all will be forgiven. 

Tell me I can'tI have seen my clients go to a show with a skeptic husband, and I watch his face as his bride walks out on stage and his jaw drops.  He stands to his feet and screams, number 17, number 17…  Or the look on the faces of your kids shouting from the crowd, mom… mom…  As a coach, this all plays a part of why I drive you guys, and beg for more when you have nothing left to give.  If you are struggling with this, stay true to training, stay true to yourself. The one thing they can’t argue the day of the show is that you deserve the applause they are hearing for you right now. 

I would like to encourage you, however, to arrange your schedule to train early or later or in the middle of the day as to not affect your friends and family as much.  The less impact our training and diet has on disrupting our social lives, the more supportive our loved ones will be.  It is a sacrifice to get up early, to get that extra cardio before your spouse or kids wake. It is a sacrifice to make PB&J sandwiches for the rest of the family when you’re dying to lick the spoon. It is a sacrifice to go out for drinks with friends and sip on un-sweet ice tea in a martini glass – but you didn’t think that all this sacrifice was just in the gym, did ya?

Bodybuilding TROPHIESSo here we are… 5 weeks out.  We feel too fat, too flabby, too skinny, too hungry. By now, I think I have had a chance to talk to each of you about dialing it in for the show.  If not, lets talk Saturday so we can straighten out these questions.  But in the mean time, stick to the program. Regardless if the scale doesn’t move, stick to the program.  If you feel skinny, it doesn’t necessarily mean eat more, and if you’re having a fat day it doesn’t mean you need to starve yourself. 

You must “stay the course”.  I know you are hungry, tired, emotional, scared, insecure… because I feel these things too – but guys, I can tell you what its like the day after… the accomplishment, the pride, the feeling as though you worked so hard and you deserve the compliments that people give you.  It is worth it in the end.

Lets all commit to taking our training and diet up another notch.  Don’t put your family and friends second, don’t let fatigue and hunger slow you down, don’t let your eyes tell you your not going to be ready, and never, never, never give up.

StevO’

Think It’s Too Late?

Steve Pfiester trains female bodybuilder

Dr. Josefina Monasterio STARTED competing for the first time when she was 60. She is one of our Team Max members who will compete in the upcoming Southeast Classic in Hollywood April 6th, even after hip surgery. So, NO it’s not too late. Read Dr. Josefina’s story…

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

Sculpting Better Legs: Simple Leg Workout to Improve Your “Sweep”

vastus lateralisIf you have been following this mess I call a blog at all for the last 5 months you may have heard me whine and whine about my knee. If not, you’re in luck because here I go again.  5 months ago I was getting ready for my first ever MMA tournament.  I know,… shut it! But anywho, I was gonna try. Here’s a shocker: my 42-year-old butt got tore up by a 19-year-old monster.  I tore my medial meniscus and sustained a 90% tear to my MCL.  I was devastated, but now I’m back and I want to not only return to competing, I want my quads bigger and stronger than ever. The area I want to focus on for this workout is the Vastus Lateralis, the largest and most outer portion of the thigh.

How to Improve Your Sweep

Bikini competitors legsHow do we isolate out the vastus lateralis muscle, or as we call it in the physique world, “the sweep”?  Vastus externus or vastus lateralis, depending on your A&P professor, is the largest of all the quadricep muscles. The action of this muscle is to extend the tibia or shin bone at the knee, but I’m here to help you learn how to perform knee extension to isolate out the other muscles that synergistically aid in this action.  In sculpting, it is very important that we learn isolation. Whether we are a bodybuilder, a bikini competitor or a stay-at-home mom that wants to scult their body, we can all use these principles to learn to sculpt nicer legs.

Target Training

target fatFat burn or spot reducing fat  can not be limited to specific areas of the body, no matter what  “bogus science” and pills tell you. However, sculpting most assuredly can be reduced to a single area, action, and in some cases, specific fibers of a specific muscle – all based on how we execute the exercise.  You don’t need a degree in kinesiology to learn these principals, just a little common sense is all.

So, how do we excite and fatigue the fibers of our outer quad to hypertrophy our SWEEP?

Narrow-minded

Leg press sweepOk, so here is one exercise you should be narrow-minded about. Narrow is better when we talk about our stance to accentuate or facilitate the contractile tissue of the outer quad.  So lets think narrow when doing squats and leg extensions.  Whatever exercises you do, stand with a more narrow stance (feet together).  You may stop and ask, does that mean if I stand wide, I will work my inner thigh and medial quads?  Yeppers! Now you are getting it.  (another blog perhaps)  Moving on…

Self-Centered

building better legsWith leg extensions, it’s all about being self-centered – literally. If you point your toes outward, you are working the  vastus medialis, the tear drop shaped muscle on the medial side (inside) of the legs close to the knee. Since we want to work the opposite side of the legs, then (yes, you guessed it) we want to point our toes in the opposite direction, pointing toes together. Note: this doesn’t work by just pointing the feet from the ankle down, the whole leg must internally rotate to the center to excite the appropriate muscles.

Here is an example of my own leg workout where I use these same principles to improve my sweep.

Yesterday’s Leg Workout

Warm up:  4 sets / 20 reps  

Deep weighted walking lunges  (35-50 pound dumbbells) 45 seconds rest btw sets

Couplet: Leg Press & Leg Extension Super Set
(zero rest between super set, 1 minute between sets)

#1 Heavy leg press
5-8 plates each side, narrow stance (4″ apart) and push only on your heels
10 sets / 15 reps

#2 Moderately heavy leg extension
Moderately heavy leg extension (130lbs-160lbs) internally rotate your femur’s in (toes are pigeon-toed), and squeeze your outer quad in terminal extension.
10 sets / 12-15 reps

Repeat Super Set 10 Times

Puke and repeat for 10 rounds(sets) with 1 minute rest between (rounds) sets

Here are some pics from my last show, the Daytona Classic, just 10 days after getting hurt.

daytona classic

I Don’t Get Picked Last Anymore

i don't get picked last anymore

I created this mantra, featured on DetourBar.com today, to remind people that all your workouts have a lot of benefits, outside of just appearance. Even though getting “picked first” is not the reason I train hard, training has affected my overall athletic performance – and it affects so many other areas of my life too.

When you are in the gym, training your guts out, don’t just focus on how your muscle looks or even how you feel in that moment. Think of all the opportunities your new fit body gives you – to be a better athlete, employee, spouse, parent and friend.

 

CLICK HERE to get the full-size mantra.

CLICK HERE to read Bonnie’s Blog for DetourBar.com:
8 Tips to Reinvent Yourself.

I WILL FAIL!

Next time you gain ground and next time you find yourself making any headway, no matter how insignificant, FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT to keep it!

i will fail

BUT, I WILL NOT FAIL MYSELF!!!

#RESPECTYOURSELF 

Before You Quit…

What if you were on the brink of something great? Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Henry Ford all shaped our world, yet failed over and over and over before they became the amazing men as we know them.  But they were all just as amazing even before they overcame. The fact that they had every reason to quit, yet did not, is why we know how amazing they are even to this day.

What if the next number called was your million dollar bingo but you walked out just one number to soon?  You must keep the faith and hope that your hard work is on the brink of a huge pay off.  Keep your eyes on the prize, don’t let doubt, or the temptation to quit, lie to you.  Maybe the struggle you are enduring is preparing you for the success you are on the brink of achieving!

if u quit now

There’s Only 1 Thing You Should Quit

never give up

No More Weakness

Mental fortitude is as important for me as physical fortitude.  My parents were Old School German Disciplinarians.  My fathers’ favorite quote was “brains, not brawn”.  I like to think I married them both. Physical aptitude is secondary to cerebral prowess.

body vs brain

Things I think about:

Your body won’t do what your brain won’t allow.

Fear of failing fuels me both mentally and physically. 

My weakness is allowing my doubt, or my fears, to get a head start and lobby my brain for even a second of attention. 

When I push out doubt… and I will, there is nothing I can’t finish!

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