The mountain doesn't care

Years ago, when I was in the throws of my hiking life as an employee in Rocky Mountain National Park, I spent every day off doing one of the many hikes the park had to offer.

At the start of every hike was a a sign exclaiming various truths about the mountain.

One truth was that a bobcat might eat you. My friend Dave always assured us that if he sang Neil Diamond’s “Kentucky Woman” at the top of his lungs, he’d keep any mountain lions at bey.

After hearing him sing, I agreed.

But the other truth proffered on every sign was that, quite simply, the mountain didn’t care.

You needed to get off of the mountain before the storms rolled in every afternoon.

The mountain didn’t care about your opinions, feelings or excuses. It didn't care if you started your hike late, as I did one afternoon, that you'd have to squat on one leg above tree-line to avoid the lightening strikes. Which was REALLYREALLYHARD.

You could offer all of the B.S. you want, but the bottom line on the mountain stayed the same -storms would roll in above treeline in the afternoon because the mountain didn’t care.

And you know what? Fitness is no different.

You can’t buy fitness. You can’t steal results. You can’t fake effort and still get results. As much as I try to send out a message of kindness and compassion, I find this situation to be a case of both/and.

I want you to treat yourself with kindness and compassion and to be patient with your body, your mind and your efforts. But I want you to put forth the effort. Because if you don’t - fitness doesn’t care.

You absolutely, unequivocally, no bones about it, have to give something to get something. You have to. You have to show up and do the work. You either do the work or you don’t.

And if you are struggling to get results, are you being honest with yourself about your efforts?

I completely embrace your efforts to do the best that you can. I will cheer-lead you all day if you are doing a little more today than yesterday. I will be jumping up and down in your corner as you make the small changes, week by week, as you move towards your ultimate goals.

In the past five weeks, I’ve been doing my fair share of running, returning to the fitness routine that got me through my twenties and half of my thirties. And as I chugged my way up a hill today, I was reminded of an interview I saw years ago with Lance Armstrong, prior to his admission of drug use, where he talked about embracing the discomfort.

The only way to even participate in the Tour de France was to embrace the pain and discomfort that came with the ride.

I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer - but let’s face it, if you really want results, you need to expect some struggle.

You have to, in the words of my former college lacrosse teammate Sandy, embrace the suck.

Because fitness doesn't care.

And I mean that in the nicest way possible...

Rules

Let's imagine something for a minute...

Imagine if there were no rules. 

Imagine if it was okay to drive 100 mph on the highway

Imagine if you could jump from a skyscraper and not die. 

Speeding and gravity. 

They are rules. 

Rules that we have to follow. 

What are the rules in your own life? 

I consider productivity to be a strength of mine. 

However, just like anything else, it's a skill that must be practiced.

I think people forget that. 

You don't just wake up and instantly become productive. 

You must practice it, recognize the negative patterns, reinforce the positive behaviors, educate yourself on it, and continually implement it.  

It starts with your rules. 

Do you have a rule about what time you wake up?

Do you have a rule about what time you go to bed?

Do you have a rule about not checking e-mails until 10 am?

Do you have a rule that you must get at least 20 minutes of exercise every day?

How about a rule that you won't waste time on negative people or dwell about negative things?

Do you have a rule that you won't eat sweets more than once per week? 

You create your own rules. 

Think about the nutrition side. 

A vegan is someone who doesn't eat animal products. 

It's a rule. 

You can't eat steak three nights a week and be a vegan. 

Now, being vegan is a choice, but with that choice comes a set of rules we must follow. 

Being productive is a choice, but with that choice comes a set of rules you must follow. 

Just like being fit is a choice, but with that choice comes a set of rules you must follow.

I have a list of rules that I follow every day. 

You have to start with that. 

You have to put up some guardrails. 

I'll share a couple of my rules...

I get up at least an hour before the rest of the house gets up.

I read, every single day.

I write, every single day.

I plan the next day the night before. 

Those are rules. 

They are non-negotiable. 

I think we sometimes forget that.

As much as we preach the “1% Better” life, and the slow and steady lifestyle, you have to realize something…

The bigger the transformation you want to make, in fitness or anything, the bigger the change you’re going to have to make.

We can’t sit back and just keep blaming it on things…

“I’m busy right now…”

“It was a short week…”

“It’s the holidays…”

The problem with that mindset is every week is going to bring up those obstacles.

Those problems are never going to stop.

We’ll always be busy, we’ll always have holidays and family obligations, and things will always come up.

That’s where your rules come in.

If it’s truly a rule you get it done no matter what.

This post comes to you every day at noontime.

It doesn’t matter if I’m busy, sick, tired, or traveling, I never miss it.

It’s a rule.

Do I miss other things?

Of course.

But my rules are non-negotiable.

The people that follow their rules and get them done every day no matter what obstacle presents itself are the ones that have the most success.

We’ll always have problems…those are not going anywhere.

However, are you going to be the person that just justifies with excuses every time you don’t do something, or are you going to make it a rule and get it done no matter what it takes?

Is it always easy?

Of course not. 

So...

What are your rules?

You have to set boundaries. 

You have to set guardrails.

Don't let external forces control your productivity. 

That's this weeks challenge. 

Set three rules that you're now going to live by every single day. 

As you continue to get better at this, you'll tweak the rules you do have and begin to add some others. 

Alright. 

What are your rules?

I'd love to hear them. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

PS: Taking care of yourself, self-care, should be a rule for all of us. If you’re ready to make that a rule and become the best version of yourself grab one of the last spots in our 6-Week Transformation Challenge. Hurry though, we’re closing registration in 24 hours and we start Monday.

===>>> 6 Week Transformation Challenge

Never forget

I made a promise I in 2001. And today I’m going to continue to honor that promise.

To never forget.

In September of 2001, I was a 24-year old reporter for a small weekly newspaper in Western Pennsylvania. This was job number five for me since graduating college, but by all accounts, my first “real” gig.

There were five newspapers spread across the county, each with its own office in a different small town. Our first three pages were different, but after that, it was the same paper. My actual title was Bureau Chief.

I even had a business card.

From my press pass, though it looks more like a college ID photo. Complete with faux wood paneling behind me.

I worked at the Mainliner in Cresson, PA, the paper named for the railroad industry that was once booming but by 2001 felt more like ancient history. Trains still ran on the track across from my office and while the rumbling at first felt like a giant slice of good ol’ Americana, eventually the rattling knocked photos from the walls and spilled coffee on my rusty desk.  

I worked in a soon-to-be-condemned building with faux wood paneling warped from mildew, sharing the tiny space with Glenna, the office manager who took care of subscriptions and answered phones while I sat in the back room trying to make a stories out of town meetings where the main topics revolved around barking dogs and noisy roosters.

Most of my days were spent trying to find news in these sleepy Pennsylvania towns. Weekly papers make stories out of the local Boy Scout troops and school board meetings and of course, Friday night high school football.

People left home and subscribed to our newspaper for entertainment, not news.

Though the door to my back office closed, there was a windowless space above my desk and so I heard all of Glenna’s conversations and she heard mine. And together, before Spotify and Pandora, we listened to the radio. An actual radio with an antenna and a knob to turn the dial.

On September 11, 2001, the announcement that a plane had struck the World Trade Center came in between songs on Key 95, the local radio station that promised hits from yesterday and today. The announcement was made as both of us were working intently at our computers, old Macs that were clunky and far from the sexy big screens you see today.

Tuesdays were the days we put the paper to bed, so I was designing my front page and Glenna was looking for news and we were barely listening to the radio. 

As the DJ continued talking and the words began to register, I stood up from my desk to look at Glenna.  

“Did I hear that right?”

Neither of us knew what we’d heard exactly, and turned our attention back to work. The World Trade Center had been bombed less than 10 years earlier, and while it was news, it was news that happened a world away. 

Then the radio station broke into the middle of a song to announce that a second plane had hit the towers. There was no internet at our office, and certainly no smart phones. Glenna pulled out an old tv she kept in the office and hooked it up.

On a black and white screen, we turned on NBC news and watched in horror as people jumped from the burning building. Then we watched the towers fall. 

At our office, the police scanner was always on, as ambulance chasing was part of my job, one that I ignored at every opportunity. While we watched the news, the fire whistle for the town blew, and the local scanner mentioned a plane crash in Somerset County, less than 50 miles from our tiny Cresson office.

Our country was under attack. And it was not just in New York City. I called my parents in the next town, and my mom said their fire whistle was going off too. Every volunteer fire department from our county was headed to Shanksville.

It felt like the sky was falling.

Then the day snowballed. Schools closed early, businesses shut down and people chased down their loved ones. A plane hit the Pentagon. It seemed that every few minutes, another plane was crashing. I called the editor of the newspaper, who said we were still going to print the front page as it was. With lead stories, if you look at the photo below, that included a new tanker for the local fire company, clear water, and a playground.

This is below the fold from September 11, 2001. 

In a rare stand of conviction, I drove to the main office and went toe to toe with the editor. I wasn’t alone. None of the reporters or photographers understood exactly what was happening, but a big part of it was happening in our backyard. Publishing a newspaper that didn’t reflect the confusion, the fear, and the emotion of the day felt wrong.  

So we scrapped the stories and went out in to the community. We covered the news conference regarding what we later learned was Flight 93. Many volunteer firefighters and EMT’s and medics from our area took off to help with the unthinkable job of searching for survivors  in New York City.

This is the only full newspaper I ever kept from my few years as a reporter. I keep it in part so that I too will never forget the panic, the fear, the pain, and the many lives that were lost that day.

Later in the day, on my way to be with family, I drove over a bridge that crossed the main four lane highway and noticed a car pulled to the side of the road. I parked behind the minivan and found a mother standing there with her two small children, holding an American Flag over the bridge for all of the drivers to see. The cars below were honking their horns and waving. 

I had my camera with me, and probably should have taken a picture. Instead, I walked over to her, a woman I’d never met before and stood with her and her children.

“I didn’t know what else to do,” she said. I nodded.

None of us did.

 

4 Lessons After 4 Weeks

I just wrapped up the fourth week of the #75Hard Challenge.

For those who missed the original post, four weeks ago I started a 75 Day Challenge that consists of….

  1. Two workouts per day, 45 minutes each, one has to be out outside

  2. Follow a diet, no alcohol, no sweets

  3. Drink a gallon of water every day

  4. Read 10 pages of personal development every day

  5. Take a progress picture

It’s been fun doing a weekly recap as it’s been reflective for me, hopefully, insightful for you, and it’s a big “bang for your buck” with multiple lessons in one post.

First up, let’s talk results. I have done two InBody’s (the technology we use at the gym to measure weight, body fat, muscles, etc). I’ve lost just over 5% body fat in four weeks, which I was super pumped about. I had been hovering around 24% body fat, and I’m trying to get into the teens, and ideally around 15%.

However, the most interesting thing? The scale weight went down just two pounds over the last month. I’m continuing to play around with the right amount of calories (I’m tracking all of it using My Fitness Pal), but with the increased hydration and the increased workouts, it’s very interesting how much my body fat has changed, but how little the scale has moved.

I guess another reminder that the scale sucks.

Another big takeaway this week has been the benefit of what I coined “thinkitate” time.

You know like meditate, but for thinking.

Similar to a lot of you, 99% of my day is spent talking with people. I’m either on the phone with clients, on video calls, talking with the team and clients at the gym, in meetings, etc.

We quite often never make time to just think, undistracted.

With the objective of two workouts per day, one outside, my outdoor one is usually a trail walk.

That time, typically early in the morning, has been my time to “thinkitate.”

Just let my thoughts wander…

It’s been refreshing, some new ideas, and some clarity.

Overall I’d give it an A+.

The third lesson I was reflecting on was how this stretch of the challenge is the hardest.

I’m a month in so the “newness” of the whole thing has worn off.

It’s no longer this new and exciting challenge, it’s doing the boring stuff every single day.

At the same time, I still have 45 more days, 6 more weeks, of doing this every single day.

For me, that’s really too far away for me to “smell the finish line.”

I guess I recognize that, and realize that days 28-61 are going be the toughest.

The new shiny thing has worn off, but I’m not a couple weeks away from finishing where I can push through it.

I’m weird, and that kind of fires me up more, knowing that it’s even harder, I know I have to stay focused, buckle down, and push myself, mentally.

As I’ve stated from the beginning, this is more a mental challenge than a physical challenge.

Yes, the two workouts in the day are tough somedays.

However, the harder part is the mental toughness.

Doing things when you don’t want to, doing the boring but important things (taking a progress pic or drinking a gallon of water) every single day, and pushing through the cravings to splurge on a beer or a dessert.

The final lesson this week I have is about quality time with family.

I’ve worked hard over the last year or two, the last 6-9 months specifically, to be more present at home and to be more engaging as a father and as a husband.

It’s definitely come out in other ways, but one of the best things I’ve enjoyed about this challenge is that Megan and Kaden typically join me for ~4/7 of the outdoor workouts.

The outdoor workout just has to be outside. It’s typically lighter in intensity compared to the other workout, which is usually strength or interval training.

So, the outdoor workout has been a lot of trail walks, beach walks, and outdoor exploring.

It’s been awesome to do a lot of those as family.

Megan and I get to have more quality time together, more meaningful conversations, no phones or screens around, just the three of us.

Overall, this has been one of the most “fun” challenges I’ve done.

Again, not only because it’s a physical challenge, but because of the mental and emotional side as well.

I would say I’m a better leader, a better business owner, a better father, and a better husband at this time, then I was before the challenge.

I’ll take that.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Not yet

Over the weekend I was doing research for the upcoming seminar Doug and I are hosting on mindset and motivation.

If you’ve ever done any reading on mindset, then you’re likely familiar with Dr. Carol Dweck’s research on a growth versus a fixed mindset.

In this particularly talk, she highlighted a school in Chicago where, students had to pass a certain number of classes to graduate, and if they did not pass a course, they got the grade not yet.

(*insert mind blown moment here)

They got a grade that let them know that learning is not finite, but a fluid, continuing process and, as Dr. Dweck says, gives them a path into the future.

(*Insert second mind-blown moment here)

What a fantastic way to think about learning and doing and just being.

For the most part, I was an A-B student in school. I had subjects I loved, like English and Literature, and others I didn’t like so well, like science and math. But it wasn’t until I took Algebra in eighth grade that the material just flat out confused me.

Mr. Lambie stood at the front of the room saying things like “if X=10 then…”

And I sat there thinking, if X=10 why don’t we just say 10 and leave the letters to other classes. (I still think that…just sayin’)

I’m not proud to admit this, but because of the sheer panic I had of getting a failing grade, I cheated. My friend Amanda sat next to me and let me copy her answers on tests. I was ashamed of cheating.

But I was terrified of failing.

As I watched Dr. Dweck’s talk on mindset, I tried to think of how my experience (and opinion) of math might be different if I hadn’t felt as though I were hanging over the fire of failure. Because that’s really what we’re talking about here.

F=failure.

You are either good or bad.

Smart or dumb.

Pass or fail.

And while I cheated my way through eighth grade Algebra, for the next three years I barely passed Plain Geometry, Algebra II and Trigonometry. The only reason I squeaked through any of those classes was my effort. I handed in my homework and tried. But I was also convinced that I would never understood the material, so while I put in effort to pass the class with a D, my mindset was already firm - I wasn’t smart in math. So I quit trying.

I also decided that I hated math. Because we often hate what we’re not good at.

In fact my only college level Math course was called Great Ideas in Math, and was filled with art and english majors who were convinced there were no great ideas in math.

I am trying to imagine what my mindset now might look like if someone had told me not yet.

You don’t understand the material…yet.

As a coach, I’ve become a stickler about the language I use around clients, and the language that clients reflect back to me. Because there is so much power in the words we choose. Those of you who come to the gym know that you may never tell me that you only did three sets.

You may never tell me that you just lifted 15lbs.

And it seems only fitting to include not yet into our gym (and life) lingo as well.

I can’t do a push up……yet.

I haven’t dropped a pants size…..yet.

But you will. I’m telling you now that this process can be long and difficult and filled with road blocks but it doesn’t mean you can’t get where you want to go. You might not be there yet.

But you will get there.

And if you can’t believe it for yourself, then I’ll believe it for you until you can.

3 More Lessons 3 Weeks In

I’m on Day 22 and feeling strong on the 75 Hard Challenge.

For those who missed the original post, three weeks ago I started a 75 Day Challenge that consists of….

  1. Two workouts per day, 45 minutes each, one has to be out outside

  2. Follow a diet, no alcohol, no sweets

  3. Drink a gallon of water every day

  4. Read 10 pages of personal development every day

  5. Take a progress picture

Week three brought on its own set of challenges and lessons…

  1. Overall I’m feeling 1000x better. Although I haven’t dropped a ton of weight yet, I continue to remind myself that I didn’t do this for the physical transformation benefit. I have way more energy, and my mindfulness and presence at home has drastically improved. Megan has certainly enjoyed that. My ability to focus and get things done has improved, I’m sleeping better, and overall I just feel more positive. I would say that’s largely due to the increased movement, better quality nutrition intake, and the water. A great reminder for myself, and for everyone, that although it’s great to get physical results with thins like this, sometimes the “other” benefits far exceed anything else.

  2. The more “casual” days are really hard. This weekend was Labor Day Weekend. Megan and I took off Friday-Monday together. Although I didn’t really have to troubleshoot any traveling, something I’ll have to do a lot of in October, I did have to navigate a very “unstructured” weekend. Meaning, during a typical week my days are very structured. Hitting the workouts, the reading, the water, is challenging, but it’s very scheduled and routine. However, on a weekend like this it took a lot of mental toughness and discipline to stay on track. For example, the last thing I wanted to do on a Friday night was workout, but I hadn’t yet hit my second workout of the day, the outdoor one. So as the sun was setting, I hit the pavement.

  3. We all need our level of “social.” I’m an introvert at heart, and I thoroughly enjoy my “me” time every day. However, we can’t downplay the enormous benefits of social accountability and support in any endeavor we take on. I can think of a couple examples in the most recent week. With this past weekends chaos, I had to get a couple workouts in my garage. Logistically I have everything you “need” to get a quality workout in (bands, suspension trainer, kettlebell, medicine ball, etc). I got them done, I just can’t imagine having that be my ONLY place to get a workout in on a regular basis. I think it’s a great compliment, and it’s helpful on days where you just want to sneak something in while your kid naps, but there’s no denying the energy and motivation that comes from going to a gym, especially one that has a positive community and other people supporting you. Also, because I’ve been so public about taking on this challenge, and there are some team members and clients doing the challenge with me, the social accountability and support has been super helpful to talk about it, and to stay on track.

Overall it’s been….a challenge.

As it should be.

However, the benefits have far outweighed the challenges.

I think it’s improved not only my inner-self, but in turn, those around me.

But now, my question goes to you…

Now that summer is winding down, Labor Day has passed, and the kids are back in school, what are you going to lock-in on this fall?

6 Week Transformation Challenge Now Open

We just opened enrollment to the 6-Week Transformation Challenge.

You can see all the details and get your early-bird spot here

=> 6 Week Transformation Challenge

In this 6 week complete fitness and nutrition solution our team will help you…

  • Decrease body fat percentage

  • Get stronger

  • Have more energy and better sleep

  • Build a routine and habit that you can actually stick with

…and how to do all of that in just six short weeks.

And the best part is that we will be coaching you and holding you accountable every step of the way.

In addition to every workout with a coach so you don’t have to think about a single thing, we’ll be meeting with you 1:1 on a bi-weekly basis to check-in, track progress, and assure you’re getting results.

Plus – you’re going to be a part of a 42 day nutrition coaching program through our app. You’ll receive a daily “to do” list with nutrition, daily check-ins with us on the app, and you’ll have the ability to message us right from the app if you have any questions.

So, if you’re ready to commit to something this fall, now that the kids are back in school and a routine is possible, it’s time to do something for you.

Enroll in the 6-Week Transformation Challenge now:

=> 6 Week Transformation Challenge

The 6-Week Transformation Challenge is how dozens of our clients have started their journey with us, it’s the perfect kick-start.

You can see all kinds of success stories on the registration page, but please keep in mind, you should enroll now, as we do only take 20 people in each round to assure we can give them the best attention, not overload our coaching staff, and assure we’re still providing a top-notch service to our current clients.

I can’t wait to work with you.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug

P.S. – To date, 6 Week Challenge participants have lost hundreds of pounds, gained so much strength, but more importantly, they’ve found something with fitness that they enjoy doing and it changed their life.

The Challenge works…and it will work for you too.

=> 6 Week Transformation Challenge

Do You Want To Look & Feel Your Best?

Do you want amazing results in 42 days, even if you’ve tried in the past?

Oh, and if you don’t get results, we’ll give you every dime back.

Maine summer is always fun.

We may be a little less focused with our nutrition choices, workouts are sparse, or not at all, and we definitely said yes to a lot of BBQ’s filled with lots of extra calories.

This may have results in you feeling a little sluggish, a few extra pounds may have creeped on, and you’re feeling ready to lock things in.

That’s super common, and we ourselves go through those same cycles in the summer.

However, now that Labor Day is this weekend and kids are going back to school, it’s time to get back onto a routine.

This September we’re kicking off our famous program…

It’s called the 6 Week Transformation Challenge, using our three uniques; strong coaching, accountability, and the most supportive community around, it’s the best fitness program around.

It’s a perfectly-balanced nutrition, fitness, and accountability program designed to produce measurable, visible results in just 42 days…instead of months, or even years.

We’ve helped THOUSANDS of people transform their bodies with this simple, easy-to-follow blueprint…and we want YOU to be next!

We understand that most people are nervous or intimidated by the typical gym, don’t know what to do, and are afraid they’re going to hurt themselves, or look stupid.

No worries, we got you.

Throughout your entire journey you’re going to have a coach by your side every step of the way.

You’ll have ultimate accountability, scheduling all your workouts on our app, with times that work for you.

Regular check-ins are scheduled with a coach to make sure you’re staying on track and you don’t have any questions.

And, from day one, you become part of the Spurling Family, the most supportive community around!

If this sounds like something you’re interested in committing to this fall just reply with the word “transformation” and we’ll send you over all the details.

Hurry though, we do keep those programs limited to 20 people that way we don’t overload our current clients and coaching staff, plus we can give you the best attention you deserve.

The program starts kicks off on 9/23, but enroll now to save your spot.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

PS: It’s time to do something for YOU this fall. It’s time to lose weight, get stronger, have more energy, and sleep better. Reply with the word “transformation” or click the link below.

PPS: If you’re reading this a current member of Spurling, you have three choices; ignore it, forward this to a friend or family member, or click the link below to participate at a super low member rate where you’ll get a membership upgrade, bi-weekly check-ins with a coach, and a nutrition program for 42 days.

New to Spurling? Click Here

Current Spurling Member? Click here

Things I've learned during this challenge

As I alluded to a few weeks ago, I decided to embark on the 75 day challenge with Doug, making a few adjustments to the rules (the older I get, the less I like rules). I’m tracking my food, hitting my supplements and water, reading personal development material, and doing two 30 minute workouts per day.

Mid-way through week three of this 10 week challenge, here are a few lessons I’ve learned (or re-learned) along the way.

1. Life happens

I was on a good role with this challenge until last Saturday, when we awoke to find ourselves without water at about 9:00 am - half-way through Sheila’s shower. I was leaving for Boston at 11:00 am to do a photoshoot for friends, and getting my first workout in for the day would be tricky if I didn’t have a place to shower before I left.

None of my local friends were home, and after spending a half an hour trying to figure out where I was going to take a shower, I realized that neither of my workouts were going to happen unless I did something crazy, like trying to get two separate workouts in when I got back from Boston at 10:00 that night. Or avoid showering.

No.

Technically, I’m on week one of this 10 week challenge, as I decided to start over again. And you know what?

I’m ok with that.

I didn’t skip the workout because I was tired or I didn’t feel like it. Yes I could have found a way to workout, outside, late at night, but I felt like for me, the best decision, both for my body and my mind, was to start over again.

So that’s what I’m doing. And I’m ok with that :-)

2. You can do anything you put your mind to

If any of you have seen me in the morning then you know two things about me. Nothing happens before coffee. And coffee.

Last Tuesday I worked the morning shift at the gym so that I could volunteer for Special Surfers. That meant that if I wanted to get two workouts in, I’d have to do the first one at 4:30.

A.M.

And damned if I didn’t find a way to drag my butt to the gym at 4:30.

A.M.

(Apologies to those clients who walked in while I was listening to Midnight at the Oasis that day. Apparently if I’m going to workout in the morning, it needs to be to AM gold.)

I often tell clients when I work in the morning that I could never do what they’re doing - I could never workout in the morning. And many of them tell me that it’s the only time they can make it work. I’ve often wondered if I would be able to say the same thing - if I’d be able to workout in the morning if that was my only choice.

As it turns out, I guess I could.

I don’t know exactly what got me out of bed that early or where my motivation is coming from right now. Maybe a little integrity - I said I was going to do this and so I’m doing it. Maybe some of it is competing with Doug and Josh, who are also doing two workouts a day.

Maybe a piece of me is competing for my age - the guys are 13 years younger than me, but if they can do it then so can I.

Actually, that’s exactly what’s motivating me.

:-)

3. I forgot about play

If you walked into the gym yesterday afternoon, you saw me with my baseball glove and a rubber ball playing an aggressive game of wall ball. My first workout everyday is a walk/run with some hill sprints and for my second workout, I’ve been mixing in weights. But I’m not going to lift weights seven days in a row. So one day last week I decided to return to one of my favorite past times growing up.

Wall ball.

We had a house with white siding and a two and half foot wide chimney. I spent most of my days throwing a rubber ball off of that chimney for hours. It soothed me as a kid, and as it turns out, it soothes me as an adult.

Throwing the ball off of the wall is cathartic, it’s meditative, and it reminds me of so many of the moments I passed in my younger days, when the idea of being a professional baseball player had not yet been squashed.

It’s been awhile since I’ve played a sport with any regularity, but my little games of wall ball have been a good reminder that workouts don’t always have to feel hard. Sometimes they can feel fun too.

And fun is good.

Lights, Camera, Action

Yesterday Kim and I recorded Episode 25 of the One Percent Better Show and we talked about procrastination.

Today, I’m not here to share the podcast (it takes a couple days for us to edit it and get it published), you’ll see it on Thursday, however, while recording I referenced this idea…

“Imagine if everything you did was recorded.”

It was in reference to Tom Brady and the “chip on his shoulder” he has to prove after being drafted 199th.

He has certainly been “accountable” to performing and showing up, but how much of that is because he has something to prove and, oh by the way, almost every move he makes is recorded.

But that begs that question…

How are you held accountable?

I think we all need/want accountability but quite often we don’t know what holds us accountable.

Some people need regular check-ins, some people need to know that someone is counting on them.

For me, I thrive off of social accountability.

I know that there are a lot of eyes on me at all times.

Whether it’s eyes on a post like this, eyes on me when I’m at the gym, or eyes on the community that we’re curating.

That’s a good thing because it keeps me accountable.

That’s also the reason I’m so public about the things I’m tackling (like this 75Hard Challenge, for example) as I don’t want to let anybody down.

But it got me thinking...

How would you act if you were being filmed 24/7?

The more you think about it, it's actually a great accountability mindset. 

There is no denying it, when the lights are on us, when we're on stage, and when the camera is rolling we probably act a little different, just like the athletes on TV, or an extreme example, shows like Bachelor in Paradise.

So, why not use that to your advantage?

Imagine that you're being filmed...

Would you sleep in and hit the snooze button five times?

Would you eat a donut for breakfast after voicing a goal of losing fat?

Would you not go to the gym, but instead sit on the couch and watch TV?

One of my favorite lines is...

"The hardest thing to do is to work hard when no one is watching."

Well, what if everyone is watching?

I always remind my team that the gym floor is their stage, and we're always "on."

People are watching you, listening to you, reading your body language, and noticing things out of the corner of their eyes. 

We only have good days and great days, there are no bad days because this is our show. 

What about your life?

For some, this mindset tactic may not work, but for others, it could be a game changer. 

If you're on stage, spotlight on and camera rolling, you will make better decisions. 

It's easy to sit and eat a bag of chips on the couch when no one is around, but what if were you on camera?

Would you be meal prepping or working out instead?

If you want to have success you have to work hard when no one is watching, and that's not easy. 

Give it a try and let me know what you think. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

5 Lessons On Day 15

I’m on Day 15 and feeling strong on the 75 Hard Challenge.

For those who missed the original post, two weeks ago I started a 75 Day Challenge that consists of….

  1. Two workouts per day, 45 minutes each, one has to be out outside

  2. Follow a diet, no alcohol, no sweets

  3. Drink a gallon of water every day

  4. Read 10 pages of personal development every day

  5. Take a progress picture

Week two brought on its own set of challenges and I’ll share those five with you today…

It’s easy to get lazy: Week one had all kinds of energy behind it. This was something new, I was excited, and I was pretty laser-focused. However, what I noticed in week two was something different. The momentum and routine of things caused me to get a little lazy. Now, I guess that term is all relative, I’ve yet to miss any of the five things each day, but I started noticing small things. For example, in week one I would log my food in My Fitness Pal right as I was eating it, or within five minutes after it. On days 8 and 9, I remember getting a bit “lazy” and waiting until the end of the day to log all my food. Or, on the workout side, I typically get my outdoor workout done in the morning before the family gets up. However, I noticed I started pushing it forward from 530am to 630am, 730am, etc. It was still getting done, but it was starting to get pushed. Now, I’d love to tell you I know exactly what got me back on track, but really it was a combination of being self-aware and self-reflective, paired with the social accountability of telling everyone what I’m doing. As always, those traits can carry over to any facet of life.

The scale still sucks: I never went into this challenge with the number one goal of fat loss. Sure, it would be a cool benefit as I’m still carrying a few extra, rocking that “Dad Bod.” I mainly did this challenge for the mental toughness and discipline piece of it. However, I begin getting curious, so I hoped on the InBody on day 7 and again on day 14. Now, keep in mind, I’m taking a progress picture every day as part of the challenge, and I could tell a visual difference. I also feel my clothes fitting better, and I’m getting compliments from my wife, so that’s a win. But guess what, the scale weight was the same. Instant frustration had built in. However, as I dug deeper into the report, I had lost 4% body fat, but because of the double workouts each day, I have been packing on the muscle. Now, I still want to continue to drop some weight, so I adjusted my calories again, but I just thought it was a great reminder that the scale still sucks.

Outdoor workouts may be my favorite part: I’m all for a good strength training session, and I’m well aware that there are benefits you get from strength training that you can’t get from an outdoor workout. Ideally a balance, they would say. However, the time outside has been one of the best things about this challenge so far, for a couple reasons. One, it’s summer and Maine and so any reason to be outside more is always good. Two, it’s forcing me to explore areas of my surrounding town that I never frequent such as paths, trails, and beaches. And finally, there is no agenda other than move for 45 minutes. That has forced me to pick my head up, take it in, and be present. Sometimes I bring Kaden along, sometimes it’s just me. Either way, there’s no agenda, so expectation, just movement, and nature.

Everything takes longer than you think: It’s a natural law at this point. Everything we think takes 10 minutes, is going to at least take 20. The house project that you think will take five weeks is going to take nine. The reason why I bring this up is in order to prioritize this challenge, especially the two workouts, I’ve been forced to stay disciplined, plan the day, and choose what things are most important. I caught myself saying “I’ll sneak in a 45-minute workout right here in this 45-minute gap between calls.” The problem is, inevitably one goes over, or god forbid, you take a pee or talk to your spouse. Now you look up and you only have 40 minutes. This is true for work, deadlines, personal progress, and really anything. It always takes longer than you think, and you need to plan for that time. By far, the best characteristic that has carried me through this challenge so far is planning, and it’s just a great reminder to plan for things to take a little longer.

Win the day: The end can feel far away. Today marks 20% through the 75-Day Challenge. That can feel very daunting. I still have 60 days, two whole months, to get through. I’m already troubleshooting in my head all of the obstacles including traveling for 50% of October, and how I’m going to stay on point and get two workouts in. Or small stuff, like when I travel by myself who is going to take my progress picture (Megan so graciously, every night, has taken my progress picture)? But I have to remind myself that although it’s important to plan for those things, and I’ll do that, it’s most important to “win the day.” Focus on the present, do what you can today, make it your best, and take it one step at a time, one day at a time. Some might say, One Percent Better.

New challenges await, but so far, it’s been a “fun” 15 days.

I look forward to updating you next week.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Don't EVER call anybody old. Ok?

A few years ago, in a conversation with an athletic trainer about my sore shoulder, he ended the conversation with:

It seems to me you have a case of O.L.D.S.

I didn’t haul off and punch him because, well, assault. But internally, I let loose a string of indignant profanities. Old? At 35? Really? That’s the best you can do?

In his defense, as an athletic trainer he worked largely with high school and college athletes, the oldest of whom was probably 22. So yes, in his line of work, I was old. And let’s face it, 42 year old Tiger Woods has looked very old in some of his recent golf matches as he deals with chronic back pain.

But he also won the Masters at age 42. And ugh, I can’t stand Tom Brady as a Steelers’ fan (you’d feel the same way if he wasn’t on your team and you know it) he is re-defining the age limit at quarterback. And I absolutely respect and admire him for that.

No, what has bothered me most about various interactions I’ve had with health professionals over the past seven or eight years is the language they use.

There is a danger in telling people they’re old. Because what if they start to believe it?

A quick google search will give you links to a number of studies demonstrating that attitude has everything to do with how quickly you do age.

One study by researchers at the University of Exeter asked 29 people between the ages of 66 and 98 about their experiences with aging to determine what impact their attitudes and beliefs had on aging.

Participants had varying degrees of physical health. Some lived in care homes while others lived alone. The majority of participants indicated that they were in good shape, even though there were others in better condition.

Two people identified themselves as old and frail, even though they were in better physical shape compared to other participants. Their negative perceptions of their age led to a marked decline in health through participants removing themselves from social activities and exercise.

If you are familiar with the idea of the self-fulfilling prophesy, then you know the concept that your attitude affects the outcome. If you believe you’re going to fail at something, you’ll probably fail.

If you believe that you are too old to play golf, go to a gym, or walk you’re dog then chances are you will age faster than if you believe that you can still do those things.

Don’t get me wrong – one of the challenges of aging is adjusting expectations. I’m in the beginning of a challenge that has me doing two 30 minute workouts per day. That’s gone just fine until yesterday, when I sat on the bleachers for two hours and walked away with intense lower back pain. I’ll do my workouts today, but they’ll probably both include walking and stretching.

My body is cashing in on many of those checks that I wrote in my teens and twenties.

But it doesn’t make me old.

I look to my 73 year old parents as the best role models in this department. (If you see Dad on Monday, buy him a beer for his birthday…) My mom still gets down on the floor to play with my niece and nephew. Dad golfs every day, mows the lawn, pulls weeds in the garden. They are both incredibly active.

They both navigate plenty of aches and pains, but my mom said it best when she turned 70:

Don’t ever call me old.

In fact, don’t every call anyone old. Because they might just start to believe it.

7 Lessons After 7 Days

I’m one week into the 75 Hard Challenge.

For those who missed the original post, last week I started a 75 Day Challenge that consists of….

  1. Two workouts per day, 45 minutes each, one has to be out outside

  2. Follow a diet, no alcohol, no sweets

  3. Drink a gallon of water every day

  4. Read 10 pages of personal development every day

  5. Take a progress picture

After one week, I’m a bit sore from all the workouts, but overall feeling great.

That being said, it has not been easy, and I like to reflect on a a few lessons learned.

  1. Perfection is all in the planning. I’ve always been a planner, always will be. However, this challenge has forced me to take it to another level. Every Sunday I’ve mapped out the week. I’ve made sure my calendar is booked off accordingly, and everything (read, workout 1, workout 2, take progress picture, etc) is scheduled as an “appointment” in my calendar. I won’t miss an appointment. In addition to weekly planning, which I would say is the key, it’s looking at each day the night before and making sure it still all works logistically. With this many moving pieces, plus a family, plus two businesses to run, plus Doctors appointments and such for Baby Spurling # 2, planning has been key.

  2. Household Support. One of the best things I did was before the challenge started I asked Megan (my wife) a question. “Can you support me as I take on these next 75 days?” It’s annoying that I get up and go outside at 6am, I’m less available in the morning to help with Kaden. We have had to meal prep more, and every time she takes something out of the fridge I’m asking her if I can scan it with My Fitness Pal. There’s certainly been some road bumps like with anything, but overall, I feel without having this conversation beforehand I would have already thrown in the towel.

  3. I’m not really doing this for the physical transformation. I mean, I hope to drop some extra pounds, but really, I’m doing this as a “mental” challenge. I’m wired weird, and like doing things that other people think are impossible, too hard, etc. That being said, one of the biggest physical lessons I’ve gained over the last week is how calories add up quickly. We all think we’re eating “pretty healthy” but as I track all my food in My Fitness Pal, I realize that my portions have to be much smaller than what I’m used to, and I have to avoid snacking. Essentially all my calories need to come from my three square meals, however, if I had to guess, I was consuming an additional 500-1000 calories per day in “mindless” calories with things like grabbing a handful of this, or munching on something while feeding Kaden his dinner. It all adds up, and it’s certainly been a challenge to just eat my three square meals. Also, My Fitness Pal makes it very easy to track your food, they have evolved a lot since I last used the app years ago. Oh, and avoiding the alcohol and sweets has been a fun challenge too :)

  4. Outdoor workouts are so energizing. I practice meditation, I exercise, and I read a ton. I guess you could say I’m a person development nerd. However, the most clarity has come this week while doing my outdoor workouts. It’s typically done early in the morning, before the sun comes up, either on a walk or a hike in the nearby trail. The peacefulness this brings each day has been refreshing to say the least. Champ (my dog) is getting a lot more attention/exercise with this challenge too as I bring him along for these because I’m too scared to walk alone :)

  5. There’s a meme going around Facebook that says something like “Want to avoid peoples drama? Drink a gallon of water. You’ll be peeing too much to pay attention.” Although I’m pretty good at avoiding any drama, I would say that I’ve been peeing a lot. However, the true feeling of “being hydrated” is pretty incredible. We forget that most of us walk around in a state of dehydration.

  6. A lot of people have commented on how “dumb” it is that you have to take a progress picture every single day. I mean, how much change can you see in the day? Although it’s true that you won’t see something physical, I look it as an integrity value. I’m a man of my word, and I told myself, I committed to myself, that I would take a picture every single day. Doing anything for 75 straight days is hard, it doesn’t matter what it is. That’s what this is more about. It’s about creating discipline, structure, and planning to complete the daily boring things.

  7. It’s still a challenge. It’s still hard. Although I’m feeling confident going into week two, every day is hard. Yesterday for example, I was up at 6am on a Sunday to head to the gym for workout one, out on a boat all day fishing making sure to drink my gallon, and the last thing I wanted to do after getting off the boat was do another workout, and I’m confident if I wasn’t doing this challenge I wouldn’t of. Every day when the alarm goes off there’s that initial urge to hit snooze. Every day there are moments where I want to take the easy route, but that’s what this is about. It’s a challenge. It’s not supposed to be easy.

I’m sure each week will have it’s challenge, but I do believe that one of the hardest weeks in anything is the first week.

I’ve worked out some kinks, I know what to expect, and I can plan accordingly.

As always, I hope these are all life lessons. We can apply to them to fitness, business, relationships, and life in general.

I’ll update you next week.

Thank you to everyone who has checked in with me about how it’s going, and asking me to post updates.

That social accountability is a key piece and will be vital to the long-term success.

1% Better.

Spurling Seven....

We tend to overcomplicate things as humans. 

We try to make things a lot harder than they actually are and that causes analysis paralysis. 

We get stuck. 

The true art is in simplifying things. 

The more you simplify things the more you execute on it and the more people understand it. 

Movement and fitness are actually quite simple. 

We hear it a lot from clients and alike “hey, check out this cool next exercise I saw on the interwebz!”

We are all for variety, but we also don’t want to just do something just for the sake of doing something.

It has to produce a result.

Anyone person or thing can you make you tired, it doesn’t mean it’s making you better.

Although there are thousands of exercises they all fall under seven categories. 

We call them the Spurling 7 Pillars of Movement. 

Today, I felt like taking a break from more the “personal development” stuff and instead, geek out on some exercise science.

1. Squat

Most people are familiar with these. 

You're bending at the knees, a little at the hips, and making the motion like you were sitting down on a chair. 

There are different ways to squat, different pieces of equipment we can hold, and that's where the customization and art of coaching come in.

When we work with a client, unless they have a knee injury, they're squatting. 

It's a foundational movement. 

For some that may be a bodyweight squat. 

For others, it may be holding a dumbbell or a kettlebell.

And for some, they are holding a bar on their back. 

But we're all going to squat. 

2. Lunge

This takes the focus and puts it on one leg. 

Your legs are split out and you're driving primarily through one leg. 

This works more the backside of the leg, compared to a squat which primarily works the quads. 

Again, the art is in choosing what level is appropriate for you. 

Some may be doing a bodyweight lunge others may be holding a pair of kettlebells as they walk in a lunging motion down the turf. 

3. Hinge/Deadlift

This is the third pillar, and the final lower body one. 

The hinge is primarily a hip based movement. 

We're trying to keep the back neutral and move through the hips, while just barely bending the knee. 

This puts the primary focus on the hamstrings and glutes, or the posterior chain as we call it. 

These are exercises like the deadlift, single leg deadlift, and glute bridges.

It's a huge pillar as most people don't know how to activate or move through their hips, and as humans, because we do everything in a forward motion we're generally pretty weak on this movement. 

4. Push

Now we're onto upper body. 

This is where things like pressing movements come in. 

Everything from a push-up to pressing dumbbells overhead. 

These movements work the chest, shoulders, and arms. 

Again, rest assured, in each of these pillars there are hundreds of exercises, and it's important that we as coaches learn where you are and what your goals are so that we can give you the appropriate level, but everything still falls into one of these pillars. 

5. Pull

This is the opposite of the push. 

This is any rowing or pull-up type motion. 

It could be a band row or something as hard as a chin up or pull up. 

These exercises primarily work the back and the arms. 

6. Core

We've all heard of this one. 

This is where we work the midsection. 

It could be things like planks or toe touches. 

However, it can also be things like stabilizing exercises like a Pallof Press. 

Farmers carries also fall into this category. 

Please note: It is scientifically impossible to spot reduce fat. So yes, I too would like to lose weight in my mid section, and although doing core exercises will make your core stronger, it does not spot reduce fat in that area. Sorry, I’m bummed too.

7. Metabolic

Sometimes we forget the heart is a muscle so we need to train it just like we train the arms, legs, and core. 

Under this category is anything done for 30 seconds or longer. 

Special note: This could even be a "strength" exercise, but if it's done for 30 seconds or more it's actually more so going to work your heart than any other muscle.

Why?

If you're doing something for 30+ seconds, you may be able to use some weight, but it's definitely not going to be as much as if I only had you do 8-12 reps of that same exercise. 

When we get moving for that long of a duration it's a cardio workout. 

Also falling into this category is any of your traditional cardio like bikes, rowers, treadmills, sled pushing, medicine ball slams, etc. 

So that's it. 

Name me any exercise and I guarantee it will fall into one of the 7 pillars. 

So, as we look at designing a well put together plan it consists of two pieces:

1. Make sure we have at least one exercise from each pillar

2. Make sure we're doing the appropriate level of exercise at each pillar. 

The second one is the key, and that's where good coaching comes in. 

I may have different goals, I may move differently, and I may have some injuries, so although we both need to be doing a push and a pull exercise, what those are may be different. 

So there you have it...

A simple, yet not so simple, explanation of the Spurling 7 Pillars of Movement. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling


The challenge with challenges

A few weeks ago, Doug sent around an email explaining to the team about the 75 Hard challenge that he started this past Monday. In case you missed it, the challenge is that for 75 days in a row, you do the following things:

Workout for 45 minutes twice a day, once outside.

Follow a nutrition plan with no cheat days

No alcohol

Drink a bucket of water

Take a progress picture

Read 10 pages of personal development material per day.

If you forget any of these, you start over again.

My first thought when I read this was…..

No.

The immediate hole I poked in it was the workouts. Aside from the time constraint because of my commute to work, there was also the hard cold fact that I’d hate my life for the next two and a half months. I’m willing to suffer through some workouts, but probably not 90 minutes everyday…

Then there was the fact that this challenge falls during my 20 year college reunion that I’m headed to in late September and I’m certain that we’ll do the middle aged version of the State Street Stagger at some point that weekend (the one that has us going out at 7 and getting home at 10).

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I am in a place now where I’m ready for a sprint. Doug writes about that all of the time – in our training and nutrition approach we go through sprints and jogs. I’m ready to buckle down and do a bit of a sprint.

I often think about challenges like this as all or nothing, and I can get ridiculously competitive with myself and with other people. To a fault. One of the greatest gifts of aging is letting go of certain things.

And in the days leading up to this challenge, I embraced the fact that I didn’t have to do a challenge that had the potential to wreck my already well-abused body with overuse. I’m already prone to overuse injuries and I can’t afford another one. I know myself and I know what’s right for me, even if I struggle to practice it.

So I took a note out of Frank Sinatra’s book and decided that I would do the 75 day challenge – but I’d do it my way.

The only substitution I made is with my workouts – I’ve committed to two workouts a day, for 30 minutes each, one outside. I also added a box for taking my supplements, something that I’ve been trying to do everyday. I customized these 75 days to something that is challenging for me, but that also includes behavior changes that matter to me.

It is so freeing to realize that we don’t have to be beholden other people’s standards. You can modify the couch to 5K program and still run a 5k. You can still run a half-marathon if you miss a few training days. You can still make gains if you miss one workout a week. For those of you doing the MyZone challenge at the gym, you can compete against yourself to workout harder and earn more MEPS than you earned last month.

It’s certainly a balance, but you can fit these types of challenges around your needs. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

I’ll let you know where I’m at with my 75Firm challenge next week. :-)

How Much Are You Willing To Change?

A lot of people hate change. 

I actually crave change. 

Focused change usually means better, and I'm all about getting better. 

1%. Right?

We spend a lot of time talking about change, and I think that's good, but I think we can get caught up in the details too quickly. 

What I mean by that is we're very quick to want to know how many grams of protein we should get or what diet is best, but we haven't even asked the most important question...

How much are you willing to change?

Just like anything else, the bigger the change, the bigger the result. 

There is no right answer. 

Some people are only willing to change a few things, some people want to overhaul everything. 

I think it's important to reflect on what you are willing to change. 

Here's why. 

What you change is a direct reflection of your results. 

Sure, we all want results, but what have you changed?

The same input will always equal the same output. 

We all have this desire to be lean but are you willing to make the necessary changes and sacrifices to get there?

I don't know. 

That's up to you. 

We need to think of it as a spectrum. 

On one side of the spectrum is no change at all. 

No change = No results. 

Pretty simple. 

On the other side is extreme, let's say a bodybuilder or figure competitor. 

Some may want to look like that, but they're not willing to make the necessary sacrifices.

Are you willing to have no alcohol? 

Are you willing to say no to all sweets?

Are you willing to eat three square meals a day, no snacking at all, and each of those meals is just some protein and a vegetable?

7 days a week. 

365 days a year. 

No exceptions. 

That's what it takes, not including the exercise portion, to get as lean as what a lot of you see as a bodybuilder or figure competitor. 

Not to mention it probably took ten years of doing that 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 

That's that extreme side of the spectrum. 

Now, I don't know about you, but that's not my goal, and I think there's more to life than chicken and broccoli. 

However, with that mentality, I also can't expect to walk around with a six pack because I'm not willing to make that much change. 

Most of us probably fall somewhere in the middle of no change and the extreme example above. 

If you want to drop 50+ pounds you're going to have to make a lot more changes than the person that just wants to "tone up."

If you like your nightly glass of beer or wine and that dinner out with friends once a week, that's awesome, but we can't expect to drop ten pounds a month doing that. 

Just make sure that the desired result you want matches the change you’re willing to make. 

That's always the biggest disconnect we see. 

People want these grand results but their actions don't match and they are not willing to change as much as they need to. 

So, the question will always be, how much are you willing to change?

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

#75Hard

Today is day one of the #75Hard Challenge for myself, and some of my team that chose to do it.

It’s 75 straight days of:

  1. Two workouts every day, at least 45 minutes, at least one has to be outside

  2. Follow calorie limit, track all food, no cheats, no sweets, no alcohol

  3. Drink a gallon of water every day

  4. Read 10 pages of a personal development book every day

  5. Take a progress pic every day

If you miss a day on any of them, you go back to day one. 

Now, let me make something very clear before I go on, I don’t recommend this for many people, especially beginners.

However, I’m sharing it with you as I think there’s some good lessons.

I’m excited for this mental/physical challenge.

I haven’t locked in on something this challenging since Kaden came along. 

I love the discipline this will take, the early mornings, doing things when you don’t want to, all of it.

I’ve written about it in the past, but I think we need to approach this whole personal development/getting better thing like laps around the track.

Sometimes we’re “walking’” just cruising along, usually loving other things like social gatherings, good food, etc, but we’re probably not making a ton of “progress” in our laps around the track.

Other times we’re “jogging,” making good progress, consistently good, and covering some solid ground around the track.

Lastly, every once in awhile we need to “sprint.” A hard push, strict rules, doing things that you don’t want to, and you end up doing a lot of “laps” around the track.

Now this particular challenge is not really a physical challenge.

Although I’m sure I’ll see physical change, it’s about committing to those five things every day, and never missing a day.

This traits will carry over to all aspects of life whether we’re talking physical wellness, vocational wellness, emotional wellness, intellectual wellness, and everything in between.

It’s going to force characteristics like:

  • Discipline

  • Time Management

  • Integrity

  • Planning

  • Consistency

  • Doing things when you don’t want to

  • Not making excuses

  • Extreme ownership

  • Personal responsibility

I’m excited for it, and I’ll do periodic updates on here.

As for you, as summer wraps up, and for most of us, things settle back into a somewhat “normal” routine after Labor Day, maybe it’s worth considering if you want to pick something and go after this fall.

It could be a physical goal, it could be a career or business goal, it could be anything.

I think there’s enormous benefit in picking something super specific, with a deadline, and going after it with laser focus.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Which Path?

Which path do you take?

As humans, we're naturally wired to take that path of least resistance. 

In fact, everything is designed to take the path of least resistance. 

Whether it's water, electricity, or our brains, it will always default to what is easiest, what is the shortest, quickest, or least challenging way. 

Did you know wolves evolved to domesticated dogs because it was easier to scavenge on human trash than track down prey?

The path of least resistance. 

So what's the solution?

Awareness is always number one. 

Whether it's in fitness, nutrition, work, or life, we're always going to default to the easiest way of doing it (or not doing it all because that's actually the easiest). 

So you have to consciously be aware of that, and continually remind yourself that the path of least resistance is not always the best way. 

The people that have success, in any area of life, fitness included, are the ones that don't take the easiest path...

Getting up early is not easy...

Showing up every single day, writing every single day, for 5 straight years is not easy...

Doing the boring hard work every day, sweeping the shed as they say…

But I know those things, amongst others, are my personal competitive advantages. 

I simply know, because it's not easy, most people won't do it.

Because it's a harder path to take, they'll be fewer people on the path, and I'll be farther ahead than most on that path.

Now that's a personal or business example, but you can relate that to any one thing...

Showing up to the gym when you have other things to do is not easy...

Meal prepping is not easy...

Journaling your food is not easy...

Saying no to takeout and instead making a healthy choice is not easy...

And it's why most people won't do it, so if you're looking for results, those are the things you need to do. 

Go against the grain, go against what is normal or status quo, and do what others just are not willing to do. 

With all that being said...

You can also use this to your advantage.

Since we know our brains are naturally going to go with the path of least resistance, we can do things that play to that. 

For example...

Putting the alarm clock across the room so you have to get out of bed to shut it off...

Preparing your gym bag the night before and putting it by the door...

Hiding (or not buying) some of those food goodies (there's actually a company that sells food storage that locks for a certain amount of time)...

Have healthy foods on the counter that is quicker to access...

You get it. 

As you may know by now, this change stuff (fitness, nutrition, or other) is hard, and it's mostly a mental game. 

Just remember, our brains are wired to take the path of least resistance, so you need to use that to your advantage in some circumstances and go against it in others. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Don’t give away any at bats

Last Wednesday afternoon Sheila and I rolled in to Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati to watch my beloved Pittsburgh Pirates take on the hometown Reds while we were in Ohio. It was a brutally hot mid-western afternoon, and we settled in a few rows behind the dugout only to watch the favorite baseball team lose yet again.

For Pittsburgh fans, this is the time of year when we tend to focus our attention towards football (though I’m listening to the game as we speak). Football preseason has begun, summer is sailing into its final month, and at least for my baseball team, the games matter less in terms of wins and losses, and more in terms of younger players gaining experience and looking to the future.

When I was a softball coach, my team occasionally ended up on the other side of some very lopsided games. But the thing about baseball and softball is that you can’t wait for the clock to run out. You can’t turn the ball over to the other team. You can’t do anything at all but send your hitters up to the plate, one at a time, until you’ve made three outs.

And those at bats are a hell of a lot harder than you might think.

I’ve played in those games, I’ve coached those games, and I’ve watched those games as a fan. And they are hard. I think those are some of the hardest at games to endure.

As a coach, I always implored my players not to give away those at bats though, no matter how futile they might seem. Because even when you’re losing – even when the game is so far out of reach a victory is impossible, there are always two things that matter – taking pride in your effort – and understanding that every moment holds the possibility of something special.

We are right now headed in to the dog days of summer. Maybe you’ve been off-track with your workouts – maybe you’ve fallen off of your nutrition plan. Maybe this summer isn’t going the way you had hoped or planned.

But in life, as in baseball, these two things remain true – that you can take pride in putting forth your 100 percent, whatever that looks like.

And understanding that each moment, no matter how fleeting, no matter how hopeless it might sometimes feel, still holds the possibility of something special

Stop Telling Yourself Stories

You will never speak to anyone more than you speak to yourself in your head. 

Think about that.

We are constantly talking to ourselves, from the time we wake to the time we fall asleep. 

We talk to ourselves, tell ourselves stories...more than we ever talk to anyone else. 

Stop telling yourself stories. 

We're good at making up stories and telling them to ourselves. 

"I won't be able to do that."

"She's mad at me."

Today with e-mail and social media it's even worse. 

You read something on social media...

"Oh, he's talking about me."

Or you get an e-mail from someone and think...

"Damn, she hates us."

We are constantly telling ourselves stories, made up stories. 

We fill our head with negative thoughts, fake stories, and self-limiting thoughts about what we can and can't do. 

But the real truth?

Those stories aren't true, she doesn't hate you, and yes, you can do that. 

That's the truth. 

It's not the story we tell ourselves, but it's the truth. 

Have you ever read an e-mail or a post from someone and thought they were mad at you, only to realize that you read the tone of the message wrong, and they're not mad at you at all?

That's a story in your head. 

Do you ever think your boss is always pissed off at you, but if you took a second to talk to them face-to-face, you would realize that's not true at all?

That's the story in your head. 

Do you ever think to yourself how out of shape you are, how far you have to go, and how you can't do anything?

That's the story in your head. 

Confront any of the above scenarios, take action, and you'll typically realize it's a fairytale, you were flooding your mind with those negative thoughts for no reason. 

I'm right there with you. 

I always fill my head with stories...

"This client is not happy with their experience or results."

"This team member must really hate me for doing that."

But then I take action and confront it, and it's usually just a story I was making up in my head. 

So, whether it's a story about someone, or a story you're telling yourself about how you can't do something, stop telling yourself stories. 

Take action, face it head on, and you'll quickly realize it's all in your head. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling