Sunday, December 28, 2008

Why Talent is NEVER Enough

As I watched the Dallas Cowboys get their you-know-what kicked today, the only thing that made it somewhat palatable was the fact that I was watching them lose while on vacation - in Aruba. But the gentle Caribbean breeze, the swaying palm trees, and the clear, blue ocean could only do so much to ease the pain. How could a team with so much talent perform so badly?

Professional sports is no different from any other industry. Just because the talent is there, it doesn't guarantee that success will follow - as the Cowboys so convincingly demonstrated today. With all that skill, what else could they possibly need to ensure success?

As a life coach, I work with talented people all the time who have not been able to reach their professional goals. So, the question becomes - why?

I think there are a few additional ingredients you need to add to your talent and skill to increase your chances of victory. These include commitment, passion, the willingness to work, synergy, and a continued effort to develop.

Commitment - the ability to stay the course when times are difficult and obstacles come your way.

Passion - an unyielding, powerful, compelling feeling that drives you to relentlessly pursue your goals.

Willingness to work - goals, hopes and dreams are great, but if you aren't willing to put in the sweat equity, you can forget it. It's called work for a reason.

Synergy - cooperation, working together for a common purpose or benefit. You can never achieve success without the help of others. If you are team of one - you will lose.

Continue to develop - even Tiger Woods has a coach. The minute you think you have nothing else to learn is the minute you lose. Get a mentor, coach, or hey, just listen to your boss every now and then.

So what was the problem with the Cowboys? How could they get stomped 44-6 against the Eagles? I'm sure ESPN will tackle this question over and over and over and over...well, you get the picture. But my personal opinion? No passion. No synergy. And that will put in the loss column every time.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Week 16 - Who Controls Your Destiny?

It's week 16 in the NFL. Crunch time. Various teams are not only playing to win a spot in the post-season, they are watching other games, figuring out which teams have to win or lose to help their chance of getting in. For example, check out this scenario (see if you can keep up!)

The Vikings fumbled seven times against the Atlanta Falcons, losing four. Those turnovers, along with a host of other mistakes, did them in and left Minnesota hoping for a Green Bay victory over Chicago Monday night. Should the Bears win that game, the Vikings would need either to beat the New York Giants in their regular-season finale or hope for a Bears loss the same day at Houston.

On a more personal note, I had the unfortunate experience of watching my Dallas Cowboys lose to the Baltimore Ravens last night, relinquishing control of their playoff destiny. Not only were they no longer in control of whether they would see post-season play, they had to depend on the Washington Redskins to win to help them out.

Now, for anyone who knows anything about sports rivalries, there is no love lost between the Cowboys and Redskins, and while I secretly hoped the Redskins would win, I couldn't root for them. But here we are, week 16, hoping the Eagles would lose to the Skins. We had put ourselves in a position where we were depending on someone else to deliver our victory.

What about you? Have you placed your destiny in the hands of someone else? If you're not sure, ask yourself a couple of questions. Do you say things like:

  • If he or she was more supportive I could...
  • If my boss would do more to help/encourage/train me I could...
  • If I had more time I would...
  • If that wouldn't have happened last year, five years ago, ten years ago, things would be different now.

If you're guilty of any of these, or something like it, it's time to take back control of your destiny. Who has control over your finances - your career - your relationships? If you think it's anyone but you, you've relinquished control!

Don't live your life sitting on the sidelines, watching as others control your destiny. Get in the game, call your own plays, and take responsibility for your success. After all, that's the only way to guarantee your victory.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Do Something Different - NOW

I spoke with a good friend today, James Cooper, who launched his speaking/consulting business about the same time I did. Years ago, we sat in workshops polishing our skills with some of the best in the business. Now, we both have managed to create wonderful businesses where we get to inspire, coach, and help people design and create a life that fulfills them.

One of the lessons we've both learned over the years is that when things aren't going your way, you can't wallow, worry, or fret. You have to decide to DO something. And 9 times out of 10, you have to do something different. And 10 times out of 10, you have to do it NOW.

My entire coaching and consulting platform is based on "Getting Radical", which encompasses that entire concept of doing something different - NOW.

When I wanted to get fit - I did something radical by going to Utah for 4 weeks and then coming back and joining a workout group that has a leader who refuses to let me fail.

When I wanted to provide a platform for women to gain information, strategies and tools to help them succeed, I created the "Get Radical" Women's Conference.

What about you? What can you do differently - NOW - to change your situation, your circumstances, or your state of affairs? It can be a small step or a huge leap - but it must be something. Don't wait for a new week, a new month or a new year. Now is the time.

Not sure what it means to "Get Radical"? Here's what it means to me:

“Get Radical” is a Call!

A call to become bold and courageous enough to depart from the usual, expected or ordinary in order to take charge of your professional and personal life. A call to live with purpose and passion in all that you do. A call to experience fulfillment and contentment in your family life and in the business world. A call to enjoy the fruits of your hard work and reward yourself with some fun!

“Get Radical” is a Challenge!

A challenge to step out of your comfort zone and explore new possibilities. A challenge to get the skills, education, and information you need to make smart choices when going after your goals. A challenge to set aside fear and replace it with faith and courage. A challenge to step out of doubt, uncertainty and hesitation and onto the path to success!

“Get Radical” is a Lifestyle!

A lifestyle dedicated to continuous improvement in your finances, career, relationships, health and wellness, and fun! A lifestyle that understand the importance of investing in one’s self to continually learn and grow. A lifestyle that embraces the philosophy of selflessness – being willing to share with others by giving back!

So, tell me, (really, leave a comment!!), and let me know what you are going to do different - NOW!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Doing What You Hate...and Loving It!

Things have been hectic since my return from Utah from what is now The Biggest Loser Resort - getting back into the swing of things, catching up with clients, and planning the 2009 "Get Radical" Women's Conference. But, I knew if I wanted to continue with my fitness goals, I had to find a way to stay focused.

A friend told me she trained with a small group with a trainer that was a former NFL player. I thought this would be a great way to stay consistent with my workouts - so I signed up. I went for my first session ready to work. Two hours later - I decided that this man was a complete lunatic. Running, lifting, abs, weights. I didn't think it would ever end. Those 2 hour hikes in Utah suddenly didn't seem so bad!

But working out with him the last couple of months has taught me a few things. First thing I realized? I hate exercise. No if, ands, or butts about it. Utah was great because I was on an adventure - taking in the outdoors, meeting new people and having my meals prepared and served to me. It was wonderful. But now? I'm in a gym, three days a week for about 2 hours working out with a trainer that has ZERO sympathy.

Pushups, pullups, situps, running steps, sprints on the treadmill, 100mph on the bike, squats, lunges and weights - all with very little rest. Each day I go to the gym, it's a challenge. I know I'm going to sweat. I know I'm going to be challenged. I know every part of my body is going to burn. I know I'm going to be watching the clock from the moment I get there until it's time to leave. But, I keep going. Why? Because working out has taught me a couple of other things.

I hate exercise - but I love the way I feel when I'm done. Who would have thought that I could do curls, calf raises, or leg extensions with heavy weights? Who would have thought that I could run 8 flights of steps and not pass out (or have my legs give out)? Each time I think I can't - at the end of the session - I did. And the sense of accomplishment is a natural high!

I hate exercise - but I love the way I look. My clothes fit better and I'm stronger than I've ever been - and getting stronger.

So, I've decided that it's not so bad to do the things you hate if it can produce some things you love.

Will it be hard? Yes. Will you need to stay focused? Yes. Does it require commitment? Yes. But it's worth it.

What is it that you hate to do but know that it will give you the results you want? I challenge you to just do it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's All About the Numbers!

I'm baaaaaaaaack! After 4 weeks of focusing on my health and fitness in Utah at Fitness Ridge (now The Biggest Loser Resort), I'm finally back home on the east coast. After portion controlled, healthy foods and hours and hours of daily workouts - what were the results? Well, here's a breakdown of the numbers:

168: Number of hours exercised
1,080: Number of approx miles hiked
33,600: Number of calories consumed
98,500: Number of approx calories burned
12.5: Number of pounds lost
6.4: Percent of body fat lost
13: Total number of inches lost

So, there you have it. 28 days of working my you know what off! Was it worth it? Absolutely.

By the way, what I didn't tell you was that at the end of week 2, I got sick. In the middle of week 3, I had to go to urgent care to deal with a cough that was deep in my chest. Try working up your heart rate up while you're hacking a dry cough! But I figured I could either cough in my room, or cough on the hiking trail. And while my body wasn't up to par, I took the medications and continued to give it all I had.

So now what? My plan is to continue with my healthy eating and focus on 60-90 minutes of exercise a day. I'll also be looking to make fitness a lifestyle, including more walking, bike rides, and other activities that keep me moving. My fitness level has increased tremendously, so now, an hour of cardio seems like child's play!

Finally, I want to share one number with you that I am most proud of.

My first day, the hike made me realize how out of shape I was. I was huffing and puffing, barely able to complete the 4.5 miles. And even though I did, it took me almost two hours. Well, on my last day, I did that hike again and guess what? My time was 1 hour and 14 minutes! I knocked 46 minutes off my time in just 4 weeks! I couldn't believe how much my physical ability has improved.

So, if I can do it, you can do it. If getting healthy is one of your goals, now is the time to go for it.

I'll leave you with one final thing - when you begin to eat healthy and exercise, you fitness level will increase exponentially compared to the number of pounds you will lose on a weekly basis. So focus on getting fit - the rest will naturally follow.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Do You Suffer From the "If...Then" Syndrome?

As I finish up my last week at Fitness Ridge (now The Biggest Loser Resort) in Utah, I was talking to someone about how great my experience has been when they said "Well, if I had that kind of time, I'd get healthier too."

My response? Bull.

Now, I admit that I have fallen victim to the "If...then Syndrome" on many occasions, but I've worked hard over the years to cure myself. Maybe you've been a victim of the "If…Then Syndrome" as well. Not sure? Take this quick quiz and see if any of the following statements sound familiar:

"If I had lots of money, then it would be easier to live a healthier lifestyle." --Well, Oprah has more money than anyone. We've all heard about her continuous struggles with weight.

"If I had more time, then I could workout and get fit." -- Well, I met someone who retired at 32 and had all the time in the world - and he was a 100 pounds overweight.

"If I had more support, then I would be able to stay motivated." --Newsflash - motivation comes from within. Only one person can be on the treadmill at a time - YOU. Only one person decides what goes in your mouth -- YOU.

And the "If…Then Syndrome" doesn't only relate to health and fitness. What about in your career? Do you have any "if…then" statements there? How about your relationships? Any "if…then" scenarios there? What about any other goals you have but have yet to reach? How many "If...Then" phrases are lurking in those goals?

But there is good news. There is a cure! And guess who has the cure for this syndrome? That's right...YOU do! So stop making excuses and make the necessary choices to do what you need to do to get what you want!

If you've ever taken my Get R.A.D.I.C.A.L Coaching Program, you know the "R" stands for "Realize you are where you are because of the choices you've made. If you want different results, you will have to make different choices."

I'll be leaving Utah on Sunday and reentering the "real world". You might be curious as to the results. Well, it won't be long now. I'll share all the numbers on Sunday!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Was B.B. King Right?

The Thrill is Gone...

That was one of B.B. King's most well known songs. And over the last couple of days, I've been asking myself if the thrill is gone from my time at Fitness Ridge (now The Biggest Loser Resort). The first week, I was excited, exhausted, and yet amazed at what my body could do. Week two, I knew what to expect and, feeling good about the results from week one, I challenged myself more. But now, it's week three...
*Six am seems to roll around much faster and I've started taking a few extra minutes in the bed.
*I'm also wondering - has that exercise instructor's voice always been that irritating?
*And - do we have to stretch after every class? I don't think my muscles can get any longer!
*Finally, walking into breakfast - I wonder if I'm really in the mood for another Monday morning of egg whites, soy cheese, and whole wheat English muffin.
Have you ever decided to do something that would change your life for the better and started out with so much enthusiasm, you knew there was no way you could be stopped? Maybe it was a savings plan. You faithfully set aside 10% of your income - until one paycheck it was 5%, and then finally, nothing at all. Or maybe, you were going to finally write that book, so you wrote everyday for at least an hour - until you skipped a day, then a week, and now it's been months or years. Perhaps it was a workout plan that you faithfully stuck to - until you overslept, got home too late, or were just too tired.
The "thrill" can last a few days, maybe weeks, and sometimes months. But you must understand that the thrill must go. It's part of the cycle. Think about your first day on a new job. How long did that feeling last? Or when you first started dating someone you really liked. Didn't that feeling of infatuation eventually pass?
There's nothing wrong with losing the thrill. It's what you do when the thrill is gone that matters. That's when the rubber meets the road. When REAL change begins. You're either going to honor your word to yourself, or you are going to once again let yourself get sidetracked with excuses. And that's the decision I had to make during week 3.
So what have I done during week 3? I've gotten up and hiked - everyday. I've worked out at every session. And I ate the egg whites, soy cheese and whole grain muffin. I stopped trying to find excuses and focused on my goal. I'm proud to say I am still going strong. I made a promise to myself to get fit and healthy and I plan to keep it - even though the thrill is gone!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Give Your Body a Reason to Change

Two weeks down and two weeks to go at Fitness Ridge (now The Biggest Loser Resort) in Utah! Once a week, we take a class called Treading. It is the class people fear the most. Why? Because the goal is to have you challenge your body to the point where you can hardly breathe, can't go another second, and if you throw up - that's a bonus.

It's an interval training class where you take your heart rate beyond your fat burning stage and into your anaerobic state. Here's a quick explanation:

The words aerobic and anaerobic refer to energy pathways that are utilized during exercise. Aerobic means "with oxygen" and anaerobic means "without oxygen".

Fat needs oxygen to burn completely so in order to burn fat during an exercise we need to move slowly and smoothly. This enables muscle cells to be supplied with enough oxygen to continue with its aerobic capacity and utilize fat as the main energy source.

Anaerobic exercise requires moving at an increased pace or with greater effort. Exercising this way burns more calories but results in a greater demand for oxygen which cannot be delivered in sufficient quantities to allow cells to continue burning fat. When we breathe heavy we start to develop an oxygen debt and muscle cells switch to burning mainly carbohydrates, this fuel burns quickly and does not require oxygen.

So, basically, we were asked to take our bodies to the limit in intervals. How did we know when we reached our limit? We shouldn't have been able to breathe through our nose, we should not have been able to talk, and when it was time to recover, we should be gasping for air.

For 5 minutes, you go all out. If you are use to running on the treadmill at 6.0, you should run at 7 or 8 and, oh, by the way add an incline. Then, you recover for 5 minutes. Go hard for 4 minutes, recover 4. All the way down to one minute.

During the class, Michelle, one of the owners and the instructor, kept challenging us to push harder - "giving our bodies a reason to change".

I thought more and more about that phrase, and realized that we all need to give our bodies a reason to change. Why? Because most of us have been lying to our bodies and now it wants evidence before it responds to you. What do I mean?

How many of you have said any of the following:

"On Monday, I'm starting my diet."
"Starting next week, I'm going to work out 5 days a week."
"I'm going to start cooking healthier."
"I'm going to cut back, soda, alcohol, smoking."
"I'm not going to eat out so much."
"I'm going to cut back my sugar intake."
"I'm going to walk for an hour everyday."

I know I've been guilty of saying those things. It's like crying wolf and your body no longer believes you. Your body now wants evidence that you really want to be healthy and fit, no longer just taking your word for it. Once you give it that evidence - by what you eat and how you exercise - it will begin to respond to you. Your endurance will increase, your heart will become stronger, your internal organs will work at the optimal level, and, oh yeah, you'll lose weight.

If leading a healthy lifestyle is on your list of things to do, then you have to give your body a reason to believe you this time...a reason to change.

By the way, I made it through the class - barely. I didn't throw up, but on every recovery, I was leaning on the treadmill as if my life depended on it! And if you're wondering about my'll have to stay tuned. I won't reveal the numbers until the end of my 4 weeks!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

We had been staring at each other almost a full 5 minutes. He looked at me and I stared right back. Neither one of us willing to back down. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore and was the first to cave.

"Please, Monte. Will you just pee for mommy. Pleeeeeeease!"

Yet, my cute, 7lb Maltese just continued to stare at me, unaffected by my begging and pleading.
You see, I'm not the only one trying to adjust to this crazy new lifestyle in Utah at Fitness Ridge (now The Biggest Loser Resort). My dog is also having quite the challenge.

When we arrived last Sunday, after almost 7 hours of travel, I finally took Monte out for a walk. He took a few steps, looked around, took a few more steps, looked around, and then looked at me as if I had lost my mind. You know what he did? NOTHING. Knowing he probably had to really go, I wondered what the problem was. Then I realized that we were in the desert. No grass. And this dog was refusing to go the bathroom in red dirt.

Later on that first day, Monte stared at me with slight disgust as he watched me put together the crate that he would be in when I wasn't in the room. This would be a HUGE change from life at home where he was king of the castle. With full reign of the house and a lush lawn to take care of his business, he was living the life. Here, it was a very different story. And Monte Rainey didn't look happy - at all.

But a funny thing has happend to both of us over the last week and a half. Monte happily pees and poops in the desert - granted, he did manage to find a tiny bush that he pretends is grass. And when he sees me putting on my tennis shoes? He goes into his crate - unasked - and lays down.

As for me, who would have thought that I would get up before the sun rises to exercise? But I haven't missed a 6:30am hike yet. I could never have imagined that I could survive on 1200 calories. However, I now sometimes leave a little food on my plate. I certainly didn't think it was possible to workout 6 hours a day and have the energy to stay up past 9:00 - but I do.

What about you? Do you need to learn some new tricks? What habits do you need to break or change to create the life you want? I invite you to join me and Monte - for both of us have been retrained and are learning some new tricks!

Friday, August 22, 2008

What's Up With the Food in Utah?

I'm finishing up my first week at Fitness Ridge (now The Biggest Loser Resort) in Utah - with three weeks to go. The workouts continue to be intense with 2 hour hikes every morning and 4-5 additional classes throughout the rest of the day.

I have been so tired by the end of the day - I've been sleep before 10 every night! But it's amazing what your body can do and mine has been surprising me every day - burning thousands of calories. Just when you think you can't do one more squat, one more set, or even one more stretch, your body delivers!

So what are they fueling us with? All I can say - it's a good thing I went vegan/vegetarian a year ago! Otherwise, my body and tastebuds may have revolted!

Well, let me start by telling you what they are NOT feeding us. They do not have caffeine anywhere - no coffee, soda, or tea. Oh yeah - no juice. What do we drink? You either have water or herbal tea! Period. That's okay for me because I was already drinking green tea or water for the most part anyway. But the coffee and soda drinkers have had to deal with the headaches that come from withdrawel.

They don't use any meat except turkey/chicken/salmon - and out of 21 meals for the week, they use them 3-5 times. Since I don't eat meat and rarely eat seafood, they replace my meat with a bocaburger or just vegetables!

There is no dairy at the resort - that's right. They will use egg whites a couple of times a week, but everything else is soy. (They made a chocolate parfait with tofu - and it was pretty good!)
Looking for something white? Flour, bread, sugar, pasta? Nope. Not here.
So how much food do we get? 1200 calories. That's for the whole day - breakfast, lunch and dinner including dessert.

What's 1200 calories equal to? It's equal to a quarter pounder with cheese, large fries and a medium soda. Or 2/3 of an PERSONAL cheese pizza from Uno's. (That's right, you can't eat the whole personal pizza!) You could also have a Caesar salad, dressing, rustic bread, and large soda from COSI Sandwich and Salad shop.

Still, I have yet to be hungry! What have I been eating? French toast, pancakes, egg mcmuffin, bocaburgers, teriyaki bowls, meatloaf, stuffed potatoes, pasta, lots of good soup, sandwiches, fruit cobbler, and banana cake.

Now, none of these things taste like what you think they would, but nonetheless, if you want to make a change in your eating - things will not taste the same. That doesn't mean that they won't be good - they just won't be what you're used to. And I have to say that I've liked just about all the food.

If getting healthier is on your "to-do" list, why not start with your next meal? Whatever you choose - make it healthy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Getting Healthy and Fit - In Utah

What better time to start a blog than when I'm starting a new adventure!

I've been focused on living a healthy lifestlyle and last year, made a personal decision to give up meat, most dairy, and most processed food. Through that lifestyle change, I lost weight and felt much better. But that didn't do anything for my fitness level. So, in an effort to jumpstart my workout program, I enrolled in a 4-week fitness camp - in Utah called Fitness Ridge (now The Biggest Loser Resort).

After packing tons of workout clothes, new tennis shoes, and my doggie, I headed for the airport. I arrived this past Sunday - full of excitment and anticipation. Well, that all ended Monday morning when, at 6:30am, I headed out for my first hike in the mountains. By 7:15, not only was I ready to stop - I didn't think I had the energy to turn around. Instead, I just wanted to lay down by the side of the road and hope that someone would come by and pick me up!
But just when I was ready to give up, one of the guides came back to me and said 4 simple words - "You Can Do It". And for the last mile of the 4.5 mile hike (which was all incline), she helped me set a walking pace and talked me all the way to the top. I don't know how I would have made it without her.

What about you? Who is your supporter and encourager? Who can you count on to help you when you are ready to give up? Is it your spouse, a family member, a mentor, a coach, or someone you don't know but admire from afar. If you don't have someone, it's important that you find someone. They are the ones that will be your cheerleader - even when you're ready to lay out on the side of the road!

By the way, that hike was followed by yogalates, cardio circuit, circuit training, aquacise and tai chai. Yep, that's 6 hours of exercise - and that was just day 1!

I know what you're thinking - you're thinking with all that activity, we must be getting a ton of food for energy. Yeah, right. On my next blog entry in a couple of days, I'll tell you about the food. I'll keep you posted...just 27 days to go!