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Today (Monday) I put all my work away and walked into the woods to get away from all the busyness and noise and really reflect on life for a change. What a good way to start your week. Over the past few years I’ve enjoyed the privilege of reading snippets of wisdom that my friends and colleagues have shared as they celebrate their birthdays and for once I want to do the same. It’s been one hell of a year! I’ve lived a lot and learned a lot and maybe, just maybe, some of my nuggets will prove beneficial to you. Here it goes: Life is meant to be shared. I’ve learned this one from so many angles this year it isn’t even funny. When I think about all my fondest memories, they involve others. Sure, I’ve enjoyed some pretty incredible stuff by my onesie but those memories don’t tend to stick out as much. Nowhere has this been truer in my life than in training for triathlon (and all the other endurance stuff I do). I’ve struggled more this year than ever with motivation and desire to train and it mostly boils down to training solo so much of the time (weird schedule over here). Community matters so much! There is a lot of joy to be found in time spent with others and I am trying to get back to that place in sport as well as in all other aspects of life. That being said, I encourage you to call some folks. Setup a workout together. Plan a dinner party. Do something. Be intentional - it’s pretty awesome. Play. Have Fun. Why so serious? I feel like it is so easy to get caught up in the fast flowing river of adulthood and forget that inside all of us is still a child at heart. This is the other piece I’ve struggled with this year - when training begins to feel like work instead of play (or stress relief) it turns into a grind. Do that for too long and it can really wear on you. Finding ways to play in all aspects of life is so crucial to living a full life and staying young. What has that looked like for me? Workouts without structure, long hikes, boat rides and playing games with friends. It’s not about the money. I mean it kind of is - you do need to survive, but ultimately pursuing money for the sake of money is the wrong way to go about life. Real and true meaning is found elsewhere. My sister-in-law once gave me some really great advice: “Pursue excellence in what you love and the money will come eventually.” Simple truth. Stated another way by my boy Macklemore: “Make the money, don’t let the money make you. Change the game, don’t let the game change you.” Everything changed for me when I stopped focusing so much on the numbers and just focused on being a better coach and loving what I do more and more every day. I get to change lives with what I do, I mean how awesome is that!? Saying “no” is okay and necessary. I already wrote on this one a bit in a separate blog post, but there is a lot of power in knowing your “why” and sticking to that vision. It’s the thing that excites you - that gets you out of bed in the morning. In a world full of options and distractions it is easier than ever to lose sight of your vision and say yes to too many “good things” that distract your from the great that you really should be chasing after. Tying back into the point above (because everything is a little bit connected) - saying no allows you to be intentional with the things and the people that really matter. Sometimes you just gotta say “yes” and see where things lead. This one might feel a little contradictory and well…tough cookies. It is my birthday after all ;) I operate pretty intuitively most of the time and there are times when you just have to listen to your gut and say yes. This year has been full of some of the best unexpected surprises from saying yes at the right time and leaning into it. There is a BIG difference between knowing something and (truly) believing it. I’ve seen this in my life and in others. It’s funny how much of a disconnect can exist between what you say, how you think and, ultimately, how you act. Often, if you stop for long enough to reflect on the actions you take versus the way to think and speak, you will be surprised to find that there are some underlying beliefs you have accepted without realizing it. These deep beliefs can really hold you back if you don’t take the time to dive in deep with them. To that end: Aim big. This is one I’ve just dug in on more recently. There is that old saying that “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” Well let me tell you something, you are one heck of a big bottleneck and if your dreams stop at you and your abilities, they’re way too small. It takes guts, a little bit of faith and a whole lot of trust in others to dream big and do big. I’m not there yet (at all) but awareness is the beginning of change. It’s okay to be scared. Without fear there wouldn’t be opportunities to be courageous…never beat yourself up for feeling scared. You’re human. If you don’t feel fear there is something wrong with you (seriously). Use it. Reframe it. Be brave. You are far more courageous than you know. What perhaps worries me more than fear itself is fear that we have but are unaware of. In a world where being busy and productive are so rewarded it is far too easy to lose touch with the small voices buried underneath the noise. The more silent fears, the hidden scripts that form the foundation of belief that we act from. Sometimes these more subtle fears (like the fear of failure, of no one wanting to hear what you have to say, etc.) are just beneath the surface but we are too busy to actually feel them and instead do everything we can to numb them away. Normal is lame. Be weird. Seriously. In a world that wants you to be vanilla, be different. Life is so short and you shouldn’t spend a second of it being anyone other than the awesomely unique person that you are, flaws and all. It takes a little courage, but dare to be authentic. Have a little whimsy. Mix in some moxy. It’s freeing and it empowers others to do the same. The world doesn’t need more vanilla, it needs more incredible, authentic, weird people doing great things. There’s some seriously dark stuff in the world. Be a light. Seriously. Take a deep breath and realize we all have our baggage. Meet the world with love and a smile. It goes a long way. Some day you may be the one struggling and a stranger’s smile may change your day. That’s it for now. There are more but these are the best. What about you? What are you learning? Leave a comment! We are all better when we learn together and sharpen each other.

Lessons from my 28th

Today (Monday) I put all my work away and walked into the woods to get away from all the busyness and noise and really reflect on life for a change. What a good way to start your week. Over the past few years I’ve enjoyed the privilege of reading snippets of wisdom that my friends and colleagues have shared as they celebrate their birthdays and for once I want to do the same. It’s been one hell of a year! I’ve lived a lot and learned a lot and maybe, just maybe, some of my nuggets will prove beneficial to you.Here it goes:

Life is meant to be shared.

I’ve learned this one from so many angles this year it isn’t even funny. When I think about all my fondest memories, they involve others. Sure, I’ve enjoyed some pretty incredible stuff by my onesie but those memories don’t tend to stick out as much.

Nowhere has this been truer in my life than in training for triathlon (and all the other endurance stuff I do). I’ve struggled more this year than ever with motivation and desire to train and it mostly boils down to training solo so much of the time (weird schedule over here). Community matters so much! There is a lot of joy to be found in time spent with others and I am trying to get back to that place in sport as well as in all other aspects of life.

That being said, I encourage you to call some folks. Setup a workout together. Plan a dinner party. Do something. Be intentional – it’s pretty awesome.

Play. Have Fun.

Why so serious? I feel like it is so easy to get caught up in the fast flowing river of adulthood and forget that inside all of us is still a child at heart. This is the other piece I’ve struggled with this year – when training begins to feel like work instead of play (or stress relief) it turns into a grind. Do that for too long and it can really wear on you. Finding ways to play in all aspects of life is so crucial to living a full life and staying young.

What has that looked like for me? Workouts without structure, long hikes, boat rides and playing games with friends.

It’s not about the money.

I mean it kind of is – you do need to survive, but ultimately pursuing money for the sake of money is the wrong way to go about life. Real and true meaning is found elsewhere. My sister-in-law once gave me some really great advice:

“Pursue excellence in what you love and the money will come eventually.”

Simple truth.

Stated another way by my boy Macklemore: “Make the money, don’t let the money make you. Change the game, don’t let the game change you.”

Everything changed for me when I stopped focusing so much on the numbers and just focused on being a better coach and loving what I do more and more every day. I get to change lives with what I do, I mean how awesome is that!?

Saying “no” is okay and necessary.

I already wrote on this one a bit in a separate blog post, but there is a lot of power in knowing your “why” and sticking to that vision. It’s the thing that excites you – that gets you out of bed in the morning. In a world full of options and distractions it is easier than ever to lose sight of your vision and say yes to too many “good things” that distract your from the great that you really should be chasing after.

Tying back into the point above (because everything is a little bit connected) – saying no allows you to be intentional with the things and the people that really matter.

Sometimes you just gotta say “yes” and see where things lead.

This one might feel a little contradictory and well…tough cookies. It is my birthday after all 😉 I operate pretty intuitively most of the time and there are times when you just have to listen to your gut and say yes. This year has been full of some of the best unexpected surprises from saying yes at the right time and leaning into it.

There is a BIG difference between knowing something and (truly) believing it.

I’ve seen this in my life and in others. It’s funny how much of a disconnect can exist between what you say, how you think and, ultimately, how you act. Often, if you stop for long enough to reflect on the actions you take versus the way to think and speak, you will be surprised to find that there are some underlying beliefs you have accepted without realizing it. These deep beliefs can really hold you back if you don’t take the time to dive in deep with them. To that end:

Aim big.

This is one I’ve just dug in on more recently. There is that old saying that “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” Well let me tell you something, you are one heck of a big bottleneck and if your dreams stop at you and your abilities, they’re way too small. It takes guts, a little bit of faith and a whole lot of trust in others to dream big and do big. I’m not there yet (at all) but awareness is the beginning of change.

It’s okay to be scared.

Without fear there wouldn’t be opportunities to be courageous…never beat yourself up for feeling scared. You’re human. If you don’t feel fear there is something wrong with you (seriously). Use it. Reframe it. Be brave. You are far more courageous than you know.

What perhaps worries me more than fear itself is fear that we have but are unaware of. In a world where being busy and productive are so rewarded it is far too easy to lose touch with the small voices buried underneath the noise. The more silent fears, the hidden scripts that form the foundation of belief that we act from. Sometimes these more subtle fears (like the fear of failure, of no one wanting to hear what you have to say, etc.) are just beneath the surface but we are too busy to actually feel them and instead do everything we can to numb them away.

Failure is necessary.

It builds grit. Grit is good. I wouldn’t change a single thing! The lessons learned from mistakes are invaluable.

Normal is lame. Be weird.

Seriously. In a world that wants you to be vanilla, be different. Life is so short and you shouldn’t spend a second of it being anyone other than the awesomely unique person that you are, flaws and all. It takes a little courage, but dare to be authentic. Have a little whimsy. Mix in some moxy. It’s freeing and it empowers others to do the same. The world doesn’t need more vanilla, it needs more incredible, authentic, weird people doing great things.

There’s some seriously dark stuff in the world. Be a light.

Seriously. Take a deep breath and realize we all have our baggage. Meet the world with love and a smile. It goes a long way. Some day you may be the one struggling and a stranger’s smile may change your day.

That’s it for now. There are more but these are the best. What about you? What are you learning? Leave a comment! We are all better when we learn together and sharpen each other.

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Addition by Subtraction – My Year of Saying No

NO. Such a simple word, really. Just two letters long, yet it has been such a difficult word to master.

N. O.

Why is that so hard to say sometimes?

Some days I look at my two year old niece and am just astonished by how quickly she learned the word no. It’s incredible, really. She’s good at it – uses it without hesitation.

NO. 

It’s simplicity is beautiful. She’s not trying to please anyone. She’s just stating how she feels and what she wants in that moment. Is it lacking a little tact? Yes, but that’s to be expected of a 2 year old.

No is a powerful word, capable of shaping the very direction of your life, yet saying no can be such a chore. It comes loaded with a certain amount of fear that no two letter word should possess – fears of offending or disappointing others, of missing an opportunity, or of being improperly judged as being selfish or self-centered.

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There Is No Try: Believe in Yourself

Do or do not. There is no try. It’s cliché, and yes, Yoda said it, but if you remember anything I ever tell you, remember that. Better yet, don’t just remember it. Believe it.

In my time as a coach, I have picked up on many behavioral patterns. The most interesting are those that make or break people as they pursue their goals. The pattern I want to discuss today is belief.

Beliefs Are Powerful

Beliefs are extremely powerful and hold the potential to shape outcomes. For example, I believe humans are incredibly capable beings. I believe we all have potential to learn and adapt to just about anything if we put our minds to it. These beliefs shape how I act and how I treat my clients. When you treat people as remarkably capable, they tend to become that, sometimes despite themselves.

In this game called life, our outcomes are largely shaped by what goes on between our ears. The most successful among us are those who have mastered their minds. What we choose to believe is such a vital part of that mastery, but it often starts on an almost imperceptible level. Let me get more specific.

Self-Talk Is Poppycock

We constantly talk to ourselves, often without realizing it. There are a hundred different names for it: self-talk, hidden scripts, inner monologue, etc. Whatever you call it, it happens, and it shapes what you believe, how you act, and what you accomplish.

“I believe we all have potential to learn and adapt to just about anything if we put our minds to it.”

All too often I overhear phrases that start with “I can’t do this…” or “I’m no good at that.” To be fair, sometimes it is 100 percent true. But most of the time it is total poppycock.

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Supertip #1: How to Nail Your Daily Hydration

Proper, consistent hydration is crucial to successful weight loss and performing at your best. Today’s video covers a quick tip to help you make sure you nail it on the daily. For those of you who would rather read, here is the run down:

1) Grab your go-to water bottle. Anything works. Carry it with you as often as possible. This helps remove any hurdles, both mental and physical that may be holding you back.

2) Measure. If you don’t already know how much it holds, measure it using a pyrex container or anything else that is graduated in ounces.

3) Do some math. Take your daily intake goal (lets say it’s 80 ounces) and divide your the volume of your container into that amount (let’s assume 20 ounces for a result of 4).

4) Grab some rubber bands (4 in this example) and stick them at the bottom of the bottle. Whenever you finish a bottle, move a band up to indicate your progress. These rubber bands will serve both as a visual and physical reminder of your progress throughout the day.

5) Establish a time each day to check in on progress. I usually do this around midday and try to be half way to my goal. If I’m not, I take action right away to get back on track. Don’t wait to take action.

Need help figuring out how much you should be drinking on a daily basis?

Rules of thumb are okay, but to really dial it in to your body type, activity level and environment, reach out to us and we can assist you in setting the right goals for your hydration.

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The Single Secret to Becoming a Better Runner

Do you want to know the secret to becoming a better runner? Become more efficient. That’s it. Overly simplified, yes, but that is it.

An Example of Excellent Running Technique

All that training you are doing develops efficiency in one way or another. For example, those countless hours of training work to better your heart’s stroke volume, teach your body to efficiently metabolize fuel, and adapt the nervous system to fire your muscles in the most effective manner possible. The foundation for improving as a runner revolves around the idea of maximizing efficiency.

Continue reading “The Single Secret to Becoming a Better Runner”

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Bathroom Scale

A Day in the Life: Why You Shouldn’t Look at the Scale Every Day

A Day in the Life is a series of real, honest sneak peaks into the lives of our coaches and athletes as they wrestle with the same type of things you do.

It’s common advice that you will hear across the health industry: don’t look at the scale every day. Let me tell you something – I’m pretty bad at following that piece of advice. Recently I started several of my clients on a zig-zag approach to managing their caloric intake. I decided I’d dial up the discipline a notch and join them, especially since I’d like to train and race at a lighter weight for next year. It’s been awhile! I can’t remember being consistently this hungry for a long time. Then again I can’t remember the last time my weight really fluctuated very much, either. Hmmm. Funny how that works. Needless to say, I am jumping-out-of-my-skin excited for my re-feed day tomorrow.

A few things I’ve noticed so far (it’s day 3):

1) Our bodies are excellent at maintaining their set points (normal weight). For me that is right around 180-185 pounds. When I don’t make a conscious decision to establish some discipline with my diet, my body finds a way to get back to energy balance and maintain that weight. Consciously choosing to be disciplined and to have a plan are huge.

2) Along those lines, I recently wrote about establishing an abundance mentality instead of a scarcity mentality and how powerful that can be. When paired with having a plan, that saved me from pounding a package of Oreos during those tough parts of the day. I was able to think about my re-feed day (tomorrow, day 4) and push through the afternoon/evening gnawing in my stomach without faltering. Choose an abundant mindset – positive thoughts are powerful thoughts.

3) I recently decided I have nerd problems. My Garmin 910XT decided to end its life last week so I had to give Garmin a call. As usual their customer service was excellent and they kindly issued an RMA and replaced it for me out of warranty (thank you). But, I don’t get the replacement until they receive my old watch and then they send out the new one so I’ve been without my trusty device for about a week now (Garmin addicts are gasping, I know). I’ve discovered how much of a data-head I am and how much it ticks me off to not have it! I’ve had to relearn how to train without numbers always in front of me. Turns out I can hit run splits pretty consistently without a watch. Unplug every once in awhile. It’s not so bad.

 

gps-watch

4) Along those lines, I am also pretty bad at following my own advice of not looking at the scale daily. Today was a solid reminder of why. Typically I make the weight checking routine as standardized as possible: right after I wake up, take care of bodily business, and before any food or water. I’m always wearing the same amount of clothing. There is very little variance. Today, however, I got my butt out of bed early for a nice run with friends. I ate a small breakfast, drank some Powerboat Perform and had a good chunk of water after the run. I came back expecting to jump on the scale and see the rewards of my discipline (read: constant state of being hungry) only to find a number higher than yesterdays. That sucks. I was bummed, angry and in disbelief all at the same. I was sure the scale was broken. Until I cross-referrence another scale and found out it wasn’t. Drat! After a few minutes I came to and realized that between the additional food and water, I probably had an additional 2-3 pounds on me that I don’t usually have when I weigh in. Two lessons: weigh yourself the same way every time and do not obsess over it and check every day otherwise you will see weird fluctuations and get bummed out.

5) Even though I unplugged, I am super pumped about the new Garmin 920XT and will be like this when I can grab it at my local shop.

Jack Sparrow Garmin Meme

 

That’s all for today. See you all on the flipside!

-Coach Shawn

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