Monday, November 30, 2015

The Holiday Gauntlet

The Holiday Gauntlet

  I recently ran in my second Spartan Race. I highly recommend the experience to anyone. It is especially fun with a group of friends. The race was an 11.5 mile obstacle course. At then end you are physically, mentally, and a little emotionally drained. Believe me, it was a lot of fun but you are a little beat up by the end. The kind of beat up that will make you just want to sit around and do nothing for several days.
     Well, that’s kind of like what the holiday season is like and down south it is a full swing! The holidays usually run from a couple of weeks after Halloween until about the day after the Super Bowl (that's almost three months!). 90 days is way more than 11.5 miles! Only these "obstacles" are a little different. Instead of these obstacles being fitness related, these are walls and pits to try to trip up your fitness journey. Obstacles like parties, kid's school functions, travel, cold weather, getting sick, and tons of FOOD!! All of these obstacles are not bad things but they can distract or deter your fitness goals. The holidays foster a spirit of giving to others. Which is a wonderful mindset that we could probably use a little more the rest of the year. BUT, I challenge you to not forget about yourself. Remember the time and investment you have put in on this fitness journey. Think about how much healthier your are this year as apposed to last year. Think about how much healthier you will be next year if you stay on the path!  Yes, it is ok to be a little selfish about the path you have chosen to go down to become a better, healthier version of you!
    You might be saying things like; "that's easy for you to say coach!", or " you don't know my family" , or " we are going to be all over the place from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day!" Well, guess what? I have the same problems, crazy schedules, and definitely the crazy family! So, now that we are on a level playing field, how about a few ideas to stay on track.
    First, keep working out! If you miss a class, don't miss the next one. If you have to travel, ask your coach/workout partner to send you the workouts that you are missing so you can maybe squeeze a few in on the road. If you get sick, get well, then get back at it. If you have to miss for a school function ask your coach if there is a make up class you can jump in for a day. Get your work in.
    Second, when it comes to meals this time of year, make a plan ahead of time. If you can handle having a few bites of the bad stuff during the holidays, go for it!  If you feel like you can't, bring a healthy dish. There are always meats and veggies every holiday meal. If you are traveling, make a healthy menu request/substitute. You never know, you may start inspiring some family members to start asking questions about your healthier lifestyle.  I know for me, if people are asking me about it and watching me... it is easier for me to not make mistakes. 
    Third- I know that the holidays can be emotional for many people. Make a mental game plan for when things get a little tricky. Make a plan to have an outlet besides food!  Can you use something other than food to remove some holiday stress?  Take a walk.  Go to the mall and buy those smaller clothes that FIT YOU NOW.  Take a ride to Starbucks for your favorite, black, holiday brew. Have a buddy that can keep your accountable if things get iffy. You CAN HANDLE it! You need to be PRO-active! 
    BUT, and please remember this part, if you have a few slip ups don't beat yourself up! Jump back on the wagon and start plugging away again! Remember all the reasons WHY YOU started this journey.  Everyone must refocus from time to time.  It will always be a constant flow of "in the zone" and "I just want to quit". But don’t quit! You are worth it! I hope you all have a great holiday season! 

 Happy Holidays!
 - Coach Matt 

Friday, November 20, 2015



I snuggled down into my seat at the Grand Theater to watch the new James Bond movie, Specter.  Side note- kind of grosses me out thinking about snuggling into a theater seat, but thats another story.  I arrived at the theater early to ensure I had a seat and ample time to get refreshments.  News flash, there is nothing healthy at the theater…  Nothing.  I ordered some popcorn and a diet coke (because I’m watching my figure) and enjoyed the show.

After the movie was over, I was disappointed in myself for getting popcorn because I already had a cheat meal for the week.  

***Before reading on, remember, this is my journey.  If you want to crush popcorn or alcohol or drink star bucks out of a red cup, I’m not judging.***

So, the good old popcorn got me to thinking.  Could I have made a better decision?  Yep.  How?  A very easy way to make a better decision is to think about it before you make it.  At Versus we call this self talk.  Sometimes I like to shorten and simplify the entire process and ask WHY.

Personally, I find asking Why is very helpful in any situation.  Here are some scenarios where WHY can help:

  1. I want three cupcakes.  Why?  Because I deserve them.  Why?  Because I’ve been working out pretty consistently lately.  Why?  Because I want to feel more confident in my clothes and in front of the mirror.  Why?  Because feeling more confident makes me happy.  Will the cupcakes help you with confidence and happiness?  Maybe for five seconds, but not in the long run.  Is the cupcake worth it?  Probably not.  Could you make a better decision?  Yep.
  2. I have a gym membership but I’m not seeing results.  Why?  Because I go at my own speed and don’t push really hard.  Sometimes I don’t even go.  Why?  Because its tough.  Why?  Because I’m not consistent enough I guess.  Could you set one goal at first to make improvement easier?  Yep.  I could make it a goal to show up two times per week.  Will showing up more help with results?  Yep.  Would pushing a little harder from week to week help with results?  Yep.

Those are only two scenarios but WHY could be used in countless ways to help break a situation down.

IMO, we have an emotional side and a rational side.  The reactive, I WANT IT NOW, side is our emotional side talking.  The WHY principal can help in calming and channeling the emotional beast.  The rational side pops up when we slow down and ask ourselves WHY or question our actions in general.

IMO, questioning our actions is very very important.  If we always act impulsively with little thought behind our actions, things can go wacko quickly.  Also, acting with no plan and no criticism yields very little results.  Thats why I believe WHY, is so important.

Try asking WHY today and see how you do with it!  Have a good one!