About Me

I have been a teacher of fitness and health for thirty years. In 1989 I was certified for personal training with the National Acadamy of Sports Medicine. I had a gym in Santa Barbara for eight years. Co-owned and created a spinning bike company which manufactured bikes for five years. Also I have worked with nutrition companies for twenty years. Along with many wonderful non famous people I have trained many celebrities, and members of the Royal Family. My own athletic past consists of long distance running, long distance cycling, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, rollerblading, hiking, sand running, track work, and weight training. I have authored two fitness columns in local papers, and have been writing this blog since January 2010.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Mindfulness and Nutrition

Now that you have been focused on training your mind to avoid negative thinking and negative behavior, lets apply that to your nutritional needs, and how you choose to feed yourself.  If we understand that we are the ones that choose every thought and every action in our lives, then we know that when we choose to eat poorly, there is no one else to blame but ourselves.

It is typical for many people who want to lose weight to feel as if they have no control over choosing to eat unhealthy, fattening foods.  Of course this is not true.  We always have control over what we eat, but many people choose to eat those unhealthy, fattening foods because they have become addicted to them.  People who eat a diet that is primarily made up of white flour, white sugar, high fat, processed foods, can actually become just like a drug addict.  Their bodies begin to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good, only when they are eating those unhealthy foods.

This is the reason why we have so many obese people in our country.  We are a nation of food addicts, and it is on the increase each year due to the amount of processed and fast foods that we consume.  A person that has created this addiction will have the same difficult time getting off of it as a heroin addict has getting off of heroin.

So how does one stop their food addiction?  Just like any kind of addict, they will need to have support, focus, discipline, and a commitment to turning their situation around.  It won't be easy, but it can be done if one wants to get healthy and lean.

Working with our mindfulness training can help.  You must remember who is in charge, what results you are looking for, and then make the right choices to get you there.  If you continue to let your unhealthy foods have power over you, your results will be the same.  Be stronger than that.  Choose to get the results that you want by being in power over that side of you that wants to give in to bad foods.  Choose to get the results you want.

It is insanity to spend your life always wanting to lose weight, but continuing to eat unhealthy food.  It simply makes no sense to getting the results you are looking for.  It is somewhat similar to wanting to be a long distance runner, but never going out to run.  Or wanting to wake up in the morning to meditate, but never doing it.  You can talk about it until the cows come home, but unless you put positive action to it, it just won't happen.

When you are in situations where bad foods tempt you, remember who is in control.  You are, not some outside entity.  No matter what has happened in your life to cause you to overeat, you can change it by taking control of your thoughts and actions.  I realize that it is not always easy, but why do we always think that if it is not easy, we can't do it.  Of course it won't be easy if you have created a food addiction, but will it be easy to continue on a path of self destruction and ill health?

We must take control over how we choose to live if we want to be healthy and happy.  Being over weight is not just about size.  In fact size is the least of it.  Being over weight is mostly about your health and the quality of your life.  It is also about the fact that eating bad foods gives you little to no nutrition.  Without the right nutrition, your body can not function properly, and can lead to many different types of disease.  Your quality of life will not be there if you are obese.

That is one of the biggest problems with over weight people, they tend to focus only on their size.  If you could be 100 pounds or more over weight and be healthy, this conversation would be mute.  However you can not be obese and be healthy.  Obese and healthy do not go together.  We need to stay focused on the real issues when it comes to our obesity epidemic.  In order to be at your best with your health you need to have a body fat that is healthy for your age.  Anything over 30% is considered obese.  I would bet that 30% is now average in our country.

Most people who battle a weight problem, are eating from some kind of emotional issue.  It is so important to try and identify what those issues are if you ever want to gain control over it.  Knowing how to eat right and exercise is not the only answer when someone is eating emotionally.  You must go to the core of your issue, face it, and understand that food is your way of dealing with your problem.  Getting counseling for these problems is a good step to take.  There are also many books on this subject if counseling is not an option.  Not dealing with the emotional reason why you are eating will never solve this issue.  You might lose weight for a period of time, but it will most likely return if you have not addressed why you are eating emotionally.

So when you are faced with making choices of what you are going to eat, make sure you stay focused on the results you are wanting.  Choose to take control over yourself and eat healthy.  Choose to stay focused on creating a lean and healthy body.  Choose to stay in power over yourself.  Choose to have the life you are wanting by doing what it takes to get there.  It is all up to you.....no one else.

Till Monday.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gaining More Control Over Your Thoughts

If you have been doing your work on controlling your thoughts and emotions, you should have begun to understand the power in it.  Keeping yourself out of negative thought, avoiding taking things personally, avoiding assumptions, and taking your power back from those lazy, procrastinating, and fearful parts of yourself, will help you to create the life that you want.

Let's add in a few more things to our mindfulness training to think about that will help you to step into your power even more.  The other two agreements from the book, "The Four Agreements", are to "Be Impeccable with Your Word", and "Always Do Your Best".  Following these two agreements will be very helpful to achieving a life of success in all you do.

Being impeccable with your word is paramount to respecting yourself, and having others respect you .  This means so many things.  Among them is to always do what you say you are going to do, whether it is to yourself, or others.  If you tell someone that you will be somewhere at a certain time, be there at that time.  If you tell yourself that you will exercise everyday, then exercise everyday.  Whatever you say you will do....do it. 

I was watching a show recently with Maya Angelou as the main speaker.  I love this woman.  She is eloquent, full of grace, and exudes a peaceful and loving energy.  She is also very wise.  One of the things that she said, was that our words are one of the most powerful things that we have.  Our words create everything.  Whether words are spoken out loud, or creating thoughts in our heads, they are powerful.  We need to be aware of every word that we speak or think for that is what creates our lives. 

If we are sitting around talking trash about someone we know, or someone we don't know, it is a complete waste of our time, and does nothing to improve our existence.  If we are sitting around taking about or thinking about how bad things are, or focusing on all the negative, that is not being impeccable with your word.  We must choose our words to fit what we want in our lives.

Positive words and positive thoughts are what will help us to feel better and help us to achieve the things we want out of this life.  You are the only one that chooses your words and thoughts.  Begin choosing the words and thoughts that will keep you on the path to what you want in your life.

"Always Do Your Best" will assist you in everything you choose to do.  If you are wanting to get into shape, but are choosing to be lazy and not exercise, that does not fall under the category of doing your best.  Doing your best would be to ignore that "lazy" part of you and get up and exercise. 

If you are wanting to have a great career, but are not willing to do the work it takes to get there, that also falls under the category of not doing your best.  Remember you can not give into the parts of you that stop your progress in getting what you want in this life whether it is about your health, your career, your passion, or your family.  Doing your best is how you can become who you want to be.

There are some days where your best will be better than on other days.  However doing the best you can everyday will always be more productive for you than giving into your weakness's and your fears.  We can always do more than we think we can if we just try a little harder.  Don't let your debilitating thoughts stop you from doing your best.  Keep your focus on the results you want out of life.  Always do your best!

You might be thinking that all of this mindfulness training is a lot to think about.  It is, but you are thinking all of the time anyway.  Why not take the control and power over your thoughts so that you are the one that is consciously creating what you want, rather than your mind just going on willy-nilly with negative and non-productive thoughts.  Be the captain of your own ship....take control of what you create....be mindful!

I want to reiterate once more that this kind of mind training is a life long project.  You will not master it in a month or two, but the more you practice controlling your thoughts and emotions, the more you will create the life that you dream of.  It is like exercise....you have to keep doing it for it to work.  You have to practice, practice, and practice, it before it will become automatic for you.  Its worth it...trust me.

Next week we will begin to apply our mind training work into our everyday tasks, such as what we choose to eat, and how we choose to move.  You can become the master and commander of your life if you choose to....Keep on track with your mindful thinking....see you next week.

Till Monday,

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another Step for Mind Training

Last weeks lesson was to practice controlling our thoughts to avoid any assuming, or taking things personally.  Let me just say that I have no illusion that anyone can master this in just a week.  I have been working on this for years, and I still catch myself going into assumption, or taking things personally.  However, I am much better at it than I was before, and I expect to get better at it as my life goes on.

As you continue with your practice of changing negative thoughts to positive, and choosing not to take things personally or assume things, lets add another lesson to the mix....choosing to take your power back from emotions that stop you from succeeding at the life you want.

As I was saying to my class last week, we all have many different parts to ourselves that can control our behavior.  We have the part of us that wants things in our lives, such as being fit or in shape.  We have the part of us that wants to be successful so that we can live the material life we choose.  We have the part that wants to create something that fulfills us such as a career or family.  These are all things that can be a driving force inside of us.

Then we have the parts of us that tend to override many of our wants and desires.  Laziness, procrastination, lack of focus, boredom, fear, and the inability to be uncomfortable are a few of the parts in us that can stop us from ever succeeding in getting what we really want out of our life.

Why is it that we give in to the parts of us that stops us from getting and doing what we really want?  I think the answer is simple.  It is easy to be lazy.  It is easier to procrastinate.  It is easier to be scattered and not focus.  It is easier to be physically comfortable. 

So unless you understand that getting what you want out of life will take focus, effort,commitment, and work on your part, your dreams and desires will most likely never come to fruition.  

To get into shape and be healthy will require you to get uncomfortable.  Exercise does not work if you are always comfortable.  It requires you to expand your comfort zone by pushing yourself to the place where your body is challenged.  That is where positive physical results happen.  Choosing to eat healthy foods is not always comfortable. You must be able to walk away from the foods that sabotage your healthy diet.   Being disciplined with exercise and eating healthy is about you not giving into your lazy or procrastinating parts of yourself.

Doing the work to get the career that you want is not comfortable or easy, it requires hard work, focus, discipline, and effort.  Studying, creating, and giving 100% of yourself to the development of a career is going to take you out of your comfort zone.  You must mentally conquer the part of you that would rather play, procrastinate, or be lazy if you want your career dreams to be realized.

We all have many different parts to us, and it is up to us to decide which parts we will give power to.  If you give power to your lazy, procrastinating, victim, part of you....I will venture to say that your life will not turn out the way you would like it to.  If you give the parts of you that are about discipline, focus, effort, and hard work the power, you will have a life that will most likely be on track for success in whatever areas you apply this to.

It all comes down to what you are willing to give, and do, will be what you get out of your life.  It is you that has the power to become or do what ever you dream of.  However if it is just dreaming with no focus, discipline, or effort behind it, be prepared to have it be just that....a dream.

You will not get into shape by just wanting it.  You will not succeed in anything by just wanting it.  If you give the power to the part of you that is willing to work hard, be disciplined, and focused, you can achieve what ever it is that you want from this life.  Give your power to the part of you that can create the success you want.

So when you are choosing laziness, procrastination, or any other emotion that stops you from having the life you want....choose again.  Practice taking your power away from anything that stops you from living the life you want....it is all up to "You"....do what it takes to get it...practice, practice, practice!

Till Monday,

Monday, January 10, 2011

Continuing to Choose Our Thoughts

Last week I had you focusing on your thoughts, particularly you negative thoughts, and how you can shift those to a better thought.  As I have told you before, we all have an average of 60,000 thoughts go through our heads every day, yet most of them are done in an unconscious manner.  Many of these thoughts are trivial, or benign, such as noticing that a chair is red, or perhaps noticing that the mail arrived.  The thoughts that we need to be more concerned with, are the ones that effect our moods, energy, and how we react.

Any thought that you have that is negative, like thoughts that are putting yourself down, or thinking that bad things might happen, are the ones that do not benefit you.  These are the thoughts that you can change, and shift it to a thought that feels better.  Remember, thoughts are things that create, so negative thinking is never the path to choose.

So this week I want to take it one step further.  Let's talk about those thoughts that we have that may not seem negative, but are, like assumptions.  I have spoken many times about the book, "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz.  This little book is brilliant, and I highly recommend it as a source to help you get on track with your thoughts.

One of the four agreements is, "Don't assume".  Now if you are like me, and quite frankly like most people, you probably have done a lot of assuming in your thought process.  For instance, have you ever assumed that something bad might happen?  Have you ever assumed that someone was thinking something negative about you?  Have you ever assumed that you would fail at something before you did it?  If you have done this, and I am assuming you have (see how that works :>)), I can bet that most of the time the thing that you were assuming did not manifest.

When we assume something, we put ourselves through the emotions as if it has happened.  Whether it is worry, fear, anger, or any other negative emotion, it is never beneficial for us to assume and then go through the emotions of a situation that has not yet happened.  Some would say that when you assume something, you are actually helping that situation to happen.  That is an arguable point, but either way assuming is an unnecessary waste of time.  It is better to react to situations when they actually happen, rather than make them up in your head, react to the imaginary situation, and then assume it will happen in reality.

Another thing that we do in our thoughts, and again another of the four agreements, is to take things personally.  This is such a hard thing to grasp, because we all take most things personally, even though they never are.  It took me years to get this, but I realize now how true this statement is. 

When someone is saying abusive things to us, we automatically take it personally, how could we not?  Well if you understand that everyone communicates from their own experiences, their own insecurities, their own life situation, then we can understand that whatever they say or do, is about them, not anyone else.

Most of the time if someone is being rude, abusive, or mean to another, it is coming from what they have experienced.  It is coming from how they feel inside, not about you.  For instance, if your parent has belittled you, or told you you were anything but special, unique, and wonderful, I guarantee that your parent had been belittled, abused, or tormented by someone in their past.  A person like this is acting out their dysfunction by projecting it onto those around them to help them feel better, to help them feel powerful.  It is never about the other person, it is always personal to them. 

You never know what has happened in a persons day, or in their life for that matter, that makes them say or do the things they say or do.  Someone may have had a very bad day, and you come into their space where they direct all of their frustration onto you.  It wasn't personal, you just happened to be there.

This is why nothing is ever personal.  You can analyze your own life and look back at the times that you have lashed out at someone, or have been rude to someone else.  Wasn't it always about how you were feeling?  Wasn't always about you wanting that other person to feel bad like you do?  Have you ever been in a space where you are feeling really good and happy, and then abused someone else?  Probably not, because once again it is always personal to you how you behave, never about others.

If we are able to control out thoughts when it comes to thinking negatively, assuming something, or taking things personally, we can keep ourselves out of personal "hell" if you will.  How much of our personal pain come from these three things?  I can tell you in my experience with myself and those I have known, much of our personal suffering comes from this kind of thinking.  

Your lesson for this coming week is to catch yourself when you are assuming, or taking things personally.  These lessons will continue on for life, but this week is yours to begin the process.  By practicing conscious thought, you can create the life you want, be the person you want, and succeed where you want.  Remember that you are the main character, director, and producer in your own movie.  Why not create the movie you want to see with conscious thought and actions.  You can do it....

Till Monday,

Monday, January 3, 2011

Training Your Mind, as Well as Your Body

As we enter this new year, let's get serious about the work of being healthy of body, mind, and spirit.  We  know that talking about what we want out of this life is easy, doing the work to get what it is we want takes discipline, focus, effort, and mindfulness.

This year on every Monday of each week I will be giving you a lesson for that week that will help you to achieve your health goals.  As I have stated numerous times, we need to train our minds, just as we train our bodies, to have a healthy, whole, self.  The month of January will be focused on training our minds so that we can be more mindful of our thoughts, actions, and emotions.  When you are able to control these things and understand that these are the things that create your life, you can create the life you want.

Let's call it "Mind Training" with purpose.  What ever has gone on in your life so far is due to how you have been thinking, acting, and emoting.  The problem for most of us is that we have not been very conscious of how we are thinking, acting, or emoting.  We have done these things as if there is some outside entity controlling how we think, act, and feel, as if we are not in control.

The good news is, there is no other person in our heads but us.  No one else is choosing our thoughts, no one else is choosing our actions, and no one else is choosing our emotions.  We choose each and every time what we think, feel, and react to.  We just need to do these things with consciousness and mindfulness if we want to create the life we want.

Are you spending a lot of your time in negative thought?  If you are, it is you that is choosing to do so.  Begin to train yourself to think more positively by being conscious of your thoughts.  If you are in negative thought, a good way to catch yourself is by being aware of how your body is feeling.  Thinking negatively will always make you feel bad, whether it is having a tight chest, a rapid heart rate, or an upset stomach, negative thinking never leaves you feeling good.

When you are able to catch yourself thinking negatively, immediately switch your negative thought to a better one.  For instance, if you are thinking negatively about yourself by having thoughts that you are not good enough, or not ever going to achieve what you want in life, switch that thought to something like, "I am a good person, and I deserve the life I want".  Each of these thoughts are a choice, why not choose the one that makes you feel better?  The negative thought is usually never true anyway, so why burden yourself with these thoughts that are about something that does not exist?

Constantly remind yourself that you are a unique and wonderful person that deserves to be happy and healthy.  You have special gifts to offer to this world that no other human has.  You are like a snowflake, there is no one like you, beautiful, complex, creative, and deserving of the best of what life has to offer.  Train yourself to think positively about "You".

There is never any benefit to negative thinking.  When you think good and positive thoughts you feel good, and feeling good is the most important thing when it comes to how we are thinking.  When things in our life seem to be negative, it never helps to dwell in that negativity.  It does help however to think positively about a negative situation, that is how we can overcome the negativity in our lives.  Keep a positive outlook no matter what is going on.  At the very least, you will feel better and be healthier for it.

So during this next week, your homework is to make an effort to be aware of how you are thinking.  Practice thinking consciously.  Be aware of how your body is feeling, for that is the best barometer of how your are thinking.  When you catch yourself thinking negatively, switch immediately to a better thought.  Soon this will become automatic, just like when you exercise, it is never easy at first, but feels more natural and good as you keep doing it. 

As you keep training your mind to think better, it will become your natural way of thinking.  That is when you will notice how much better you feel mentally and physically.  You will feel more in control of how you are creating your life....the life that you really want!

Till Monday,