The Greatest Fitness Book Never Written…


I was talking with a friend the other day who also works as a trainer and we were talking about the reoccurring cycle we see throughout the year. January brings a renewed interest in fitness and wishes to shed the gains of the previous year. Most clients stay strong through the month before easing back off  when the excuses begin. Typically beginning with the Superbowl, moving into Valentines Day, bring on lines like, “It’s just one day, it won’t hurt,” even though those leftover wings and dips, chocolates and sweets carry on for the next week. Add the cold weather factor this time of the year when it’s easy to hide these slips under a few stylishly planned layers until “Holy crap it’s almost spring break!!!” Clients reengage and promise to commit once again to logging their meals and following through with their solo workouts and cardio during the week. It’s no different than cramming for a test in that this maximized effort is for a short term purpose. Working to fit back into that swimsuit rather than working to stay in it. By this time of the year we’ve seen Spring Break, St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, Cinco de Mayo and other “It’s just one day or one week, I’ll get back at it as soon as (fill in the blank)” pressures come and go and many clients find themselves frustrated to be right back where they were before the new year began. These frustrations lead to misguided beliefs that they don’t have the ability to reach their goals because “it runs in the family”, slow metabolism, low testosterone, thyroid and other self-diagnosed “reasons”. Some even shift the responsibility on to us, the trainers, blaming the style of training because Joe and Jane Blow did something else and they look great. No, Joe and Jane set goals, DESIRED to reach them and did not quit even once they got there.

I wrote back around the first of the year about making resolutions stick. It’s equally frustrating to a trainer to see clients struggle with these things throughout the year and especially year after year as it is for the clients themselves  It would be very easy to say “Quit putting crap in your mouth,” but it’s deeper than that. Most people simply attack goal setting in the wrong way or too ambiguously, setting themselves up to fail. Others wish and want to achieve their goals, but they don’t DESIRE to achieve them. One of the greatest books on setting, attaining and maintaining fitness goals won’t be found in the health, sports and exercise, or even the self-help section. You’ll find it in the business section.

Think_and_grow_rich_original_coverIn 1937, Napoleon Hill wrote the book, and later video, “Think and Grow Rich”, containing the 16 “laws” of achieving success, modeled after individuals such as Andrew Carnegie, Edwin C. Barnes and Marshal Field. Success in a fitness and wellness program are said to be 80-90% nutrition and the rest hard work and rest. But, without starting on a firm foundation, you lack the inner voice reminding you what you are doing this for. That voice that doesn’t let you skip a workout or tells you that this weekends drinking binge and gastro-disaster are ok because you can make up for it next week. To truly succeed, you need more than wishes and wants. It has to be bigger than just reaching a goal. DESIRE is about the climb, reaching the top and remaining the king or queen of the mountain. Only when we get to  and remain at the peak can we look out for that next summit that is just a little bit higher to set our sights on next.

Hill writes that “the method by which DESIRE for riches can be transmuted into its financial equivalent, consists of six definite, practical steps…” These steps translate directly into how we set our goals for fitness and wellness. It begins with fixing in your mind exactly on what it is you are trying to achieve. It is not enough to simply say “I want to get in shape.”

First: Be definite on your goal.

Second: Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the results you DESIRE.

Third: Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the results you DESIRE.

Fourth: Create a definite plan for carrying out your DESIRE and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.

Fifth: Write out a clear concise statement on the results you intend to achieve, name the time limit for them, state what you intend to give in return and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to reach the goal.

Sixth: Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before going to bed, and once when you wake in the morning. As you read this each time, visualize yourself already having achieved your goal. Feel and believe to yourself how you would feel as if you had already achieved your goal. This psychological imprinting is the crucial difference between your wants/wishes and true DESIRE.


Bonus – BURN YOUR SHIPS and Create a BURNING DESIRE: Hill tells the story that “A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own. He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed them to the enemy’s country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave them the order to burn the ships that had carried them. Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, “You see the boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice, we win or we perish!” They won.

Make your goals public, whether that be with your spouse or family, co-workers, Facebook etc. Share your statement above with them as well as your progress along the way identifying trouble areas and upcoming potential to slip and fall. Establishing partners in accountability holds you to your DESIRE, effectively eliminating sources of retreat before reaching your goal.

– Michael


‘I Drank the CrossFit Kool-Aid ‘ by Bob Harper


When I was first introduced to CrossFit, I found it to be the hardest workout that I’d ever done. It wiped the floor with me, and I fell in love with it immediately. The results that I have seen in my strength and physicality have been unparalleled to any other things I have ever done in my more than 20 years in the fitness business. I drank the CrossFit Kool-Aid.

I’ve been doing CrossFit for about 18 months now, and it all started because I was looking to try to bring something new onto my show for just one episode. There was a lot of talk about CrossFit, so I thought I’d give it a go. The rest was history. I walked into a box called Brick CrossFit in West Hollywood, and I got my ass handed to me. It was love at first burpee, and I’ve been hooked ever since, and now I incorporate this workout as my primary way to work out my contestants on The Biggest Loser.I believe in it that much.

Since I started CrossFit, I’ve read and heard about the critics talk about how unsafe it is, and my only response to that is any form of exercise can be unsafe if you don’t have the proper coaching, education and guidance. CrossFit is all about constantly-varied, high-intensity movements. And to do these movements, you have to have a certified coach to take you through this — or any type of physical activity.

I came from an endurance background of fitness that consisted of a lot of running, cycling and lighter resistance training. I created so much wear and tear on my body, not to mention that I was just getting bored with my workouts. I am 47 years old and am stronger than I have ever been with CrossFit. My metabolic conditioning is better, because I’m moving larger loads faster and for a shorter amount of time. There are some days that, with the exception of skill work in a session, my workouts can last only 10 minutes or less, and I love that.

I would tell anyone who is considering CrossFit as a workout option for them to make sure that the affiliate that they go to really has the knowledgeable coaches that are required to guide you through WODs (workout of the day) that consist of metabolic conditioning, gymnastics, Olympic lifting (my personal favorite) and power lifting. The CrossFit program is broad, general and inclusive, and most of all, the movements can be scaled down to any level of athlete. Just watch what I do with it on The Biggest Loser.

Image from Peter Lueders, from the April 2013 Issue of the Box Magazine, which features Bob Harper.

The Top 10 Resolutions AGAIN This Year Are…


1. Lose Weight

2. Getting Organized

3. Spend Less, Save More

4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest

5. Staying Fit and Healthy

6. Learn Something Exciting

7. Quit Smoking

8. Help Others in Their Dreams

9. Fall in Love

10. Spend More Time with Family

Here we are, almost a week into 2013 facing some of the same problems as last year. Making resolutions is the easy part. Taking that first step, not much more difficult. But, how do we make them stick? Why do we fail? How do we ensure that we don’t end up making the same resolution again next year? I find that from my past successes and maybe more often than not, failures are a direct result of overgeneralizing my resolutions, biting off more than I could chew in my expectations and LACK OF PLANNING…

I can personally look at this list and say that every one of them are on my list this year with exception for smoking, but that was on my list for many, many years before I finally succeeded. Now, repeating  resolutions is not always a bad thing as many of these common goals are relative to each person and the state they are in at the time. Getting more fit last year may have been being able to run a 5K and this year it could be a half marathon. Helping others with their dreams and spending more time with family can always be areas for improvement. But what about when we hit those walls. When it starts getting hard and we’re tempted to give in and cheat or worse, give up. That one goal, isn’t always just one goal. What hits me the most looking at this is how many, if not all of these fit hand in hand, kind of a “chicken or the egg” type of deal.

Now this may be an extreme situation, but it’s not that unrealistic. If I wake up on New Year’s Day and say that this year, I’m gonna spend more time with family but am not organized with my time because I am too busy focusing on helping others follow their dreams because I think that person might be the one I’ll fall in love with this year, I’m probably setting myself up for failure. Now if I’m also overweight and a smoker, it’s more than likely going to have an affect on my ability to fall in love and enjoy life to the fullest leading me to also love myself less and have less motivation to stay fit and healthy and more motivation to spend more on temporary fixes such as food, alcohol, shopping etc and as a result, saving less. Ya getting dizzy yet? Is it any surprise why we find ourselves in the same place year after year?

This is why planning is so important. Best place to start is a simple tool we learned in school, our 5 W’s and an H. Write your goal down and answer Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.

– Who do I want to spend more time with? Who else do I know who wants to lose weight and can work on this with me? Who do I know that is organized or on top of their finances and could help me learn to be better? Who am I going to tell about my goal so they can hold me accountable?

– What do I want to organize? What do I want to save for? What exciting thing do I want to do? What could get in my way and cause me to fail? What can I do to prevent this?

– When am I going to start? When do I want to accomplish this by?

– Where am I gonna put all this stuff? Where can I help others in their lives?

– Why do I want to do this? (For myself or for someone else? It makes a difference.) Why did I fail last year? Why am I still putting it off a week into 2013?

– How am I going to know if I’m doing it the right way? How can I sidestep those temptations before they arise? How will I know that I have reached my goal?

Here is a great set of tips from Psychology Today with 12 great tips to get past your barriers and make your New Year’s resolutions stick.

1. Resolve to do something that is truly meaningful, measurable, and achievable.

2. Keep perspective on what is important.

3. Check the strength of your commitment.

4. Plan for success.

5. Exercise self-efficacy.

6. Watch out for the Wheedler.

7. Follow a “do it now” philosophy.

8. Reward yourself.

9. Avoid blame.

10. Make accepting a discomfort part of your change plan.

11. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

12. Take a global approach.

Happy New Year y’all. Let’s make 2013 the year to go Against the Grain and break the cycle of our past!!!