Trading Problems...

If you're on a journey to a healthier and happier you, you know the road is not smooth. 

It's bumpy as heck. 

You start getting some momentum, lose focus for a little while, get busy, and the longer you're "off track" the harder it is to get back on. 

That's why we preach slow and steady consistency, not beating yourself up if you miss a week here and there, because, in the long-term, it's more about just showing up consistently. 

Ok, we get that. 

But, I'm on this road to a healthier and happier me, and I still have "problems."

And that's the problem!

We think that once we get going, once we hit a certain goal, once we accomplish something all our problems go away. 

In his book "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK", Mark Manson talks about how life is all about trading problems for better problems, but it's also an understanding that we'll always have problems. 

Let's think about it...

When you first start a fitness journey you're scared, you're intimidated, and you're not in the shape you want to be in. 

That's a problem that you're looking to solve. 

So, let's assume things go great, you find a gym you're no longer scared of, you're into a routine, and you're getting results. 

And guess what?

A new problem emerges...

You now have to balance how do I fit these three hours at the gym into my hectic life. 

Who and what do I say no to at home or at work in order to take a priority of ME for a couple hours?

Still a problem, but a better problem. 

Let's keep rolling...

You're crushing it, you've found balance in your schedule and you're getting all kinds of results. 

Another problem emerges.

You may have to go buy an entirely new wardrobe, you may have a nonsupportive spouse or some jealous friends that make fun of you every time you try to eat healthy. 

Again, a better problem, but still a problem. 

The problems I solve today running a business with seven employees, hundreds of clients, a kid, a wife, and all the other factors that play into it are completely different (and better) than the problems I had to solve six years ago when it was a one-man operation and I just started dating Megan. 

But there still problems...

This is a great reminder, and something Mark preaches in his book, that we will never eliminate problems in our life. If you set yourself up with that expectation you're going to fail. 

The goal is that you continue to grow and develop, in all aspects of life, so that you trade bad problems for better problems. 

But they'll always be problems....

And that's ok. 

That's what makes it fun. 

We're internally motivated to solve problems. 

As much as we dream of everything being perfect and going smoothly 110% of the time, we crave the ability to fix stuff that's broken, we crave problems. 

We just hope we're trading good problems for great problems. 

I'll end with my favorite quote from the book...

"There is a simple realization from which all personal improvement and growth emerges. This is the realization that we, individually, are responsible for everything in our lives, no matter the external circumstances. We don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond...

Life is essentially an endless series of problems. The solution to one problem is merely the creation of another....

Don’t hope for a life without problems. There’s no such thing. Instead, hope for a life full of good problems."

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Motivation doesn’t always mean hell yes

I remember exactly where I was the first time I saw the movie Rocky. 

My younger brother and I watched, mesmerized, as Rocky drank raw eggs, chased chickens, and performed one arm push ups. By the time he boxed Apollo Creed in the final scene, we were standing and cheering as though we were at a live fight. (And using the couch cushions as heavy bags, which went over well with Mom.)

The next day I piled on gray sweatpants, a winter hat, and took off down the rural road we lived on for a run. 

Within five minutes, I was completley gassed, had a stitch in my side, and wondered how anyone could run in sweatpants. 

While my motivation on that run was short lived, Rocky was my introduction to the concept of motivation. The story and the music, cliche though it was, made me feel like I couldn’t sit still- like I had to go out and exercise - and also that I should take up boxing, which my mother shut down quickly.  

By the time I played high school sports, we used warm up tapes filled with Pat Benatar, Europe, and the Gin Blossoms to get fired up for basketball and volleyball games. For some reason, my teammates always thumbed down my suggestion for Barry Manilow’s Copacabana though...

Some times we use quotes. Sometimes music. When I was in college and my mentor was dying of cancer, he told me that what he missed most was running. And so I was motivated to run for him - because he couldn't. 

But rarely is motivation so clear. 

Most people, myself included, struggle at times to want to work out. During my worst depressive episodes, it's more than enough to brush my teeth and get to work. Everyday life, fatigue, and the emotional strains of life can make it difficult to make dinner, let alone get to the gym. 

Recently I was listening to a book on habits and the author suggested that motivation doesn't always mean that you're thinking hell yeah. 

I rewound the book and listened to the statement again. 

Motivation does not always mean hell yeah. 

For most of my life, I have enjoyed playing sports, exercising and working out. Over the course of almost 41 years, I'm lucky that I've had some hell yeah moments. But most of those came in sports - when I was excited to play a game and compete. 

Since I've been working out and running on my own, I've had very few hell yeah moments. I often sign up for races and wonder what the hell I was thinking as I drag myself out of bed at 5:00 on a Saturday. My motivation is that I signed up for the race and...I know I'll feel a great sense of accomplishment afterwards. 

Doug often talks about finding your why. You might want to work out so you can keep up with your grandkids, get off of medication, or improve your mood. Knowing and getting in touch with your reasons for working out can go a long way in getting you to the gym. 

Motivation does not always mean hell yeah. 

But if chasing chickens for your workout and running the streets of Philadelphia will help motivate you, let me know.  

 

Introducing...

Do you struggle with what to do, how to do it, and staying motivated?

If you answered yes, I wanted to let you know about a brand new offering we're announcing today for the first time.

Introducing...

Spurling All Access

Joining our gym is the best thing you can do.

You not only are told exactly what to do and how to do it every single time you come in, but more importantly, you build relationships with the coaches and fellow members, and you really feel a part of the community.

Well that's not going anywhere!

But...

We know not all of our followers can either afford our services at the gym or may not live within driving distance.

Also, we keep our prices high at the gym because we offer an incredible service there, and want to keep our membership small (we're almost at capacity).

But...

We wanted to come up with a more affordable solution that you can do anywhere, anytime.

That's what Spurling All Access is.

All Access is our online coaching platform, our "virtual" location.

Think of it as the Netflix of Spurling Fitness.

Here's just a small sample of what you get (100% online, available anytime, anywhere)

  •  A Members-Only Website with Content Updated Daily
  •  Daily Workouts Posted
  •  Video Library of all Exercise Demonstrations
  •  Suggested Workout Schedule
  • Nutrition Videos Added Weekly
  •  Nutrition Manuals
  •  Recipes Posted Weekly
  •  Grocery Lists & Shopping Guides
  •  Meal Plans & Nutrition Guides
  •  Members Only Facebook Group with A Supportive Community
  •  Mindset Growth Videos
  •  Goal Setting Videos
  •  Vision Creation Videos
  •  Weekly Accountability Check-Ins
  •  Online Support From our Certified Coaches
  •  & More!

The best part?

It's just $1 a day, yup, just $30 per month.

Sign up here ===>>> Spurling All Access

Now...

I want to make one point super clear.

Is this as good as joining our gym here in beautiful Kennebunk, Maine?

Of course not!

The gym is and will always be our best solution.

It's where we dump our blood, sweat, and tears into every single day.

Nothing replaces the in person coaching, support, and daily encouragement.

However, Spurling All Access stemmed from several people asking about a more affordable option.

We want to keep our community at Spurling Fitness small and tight-knit, that paired with our incredible coaching is why our prices are the way they are.

But, we can still bring a really good product to you, 100% online, with the ability for you to do it anywhere, anytime, without putting more stress on our four walls, and making it more affordable to you.

Also, for those who enroll in Spurling All Access, you are assured everything you see online has been tested and used with hundreds of clients in person before you ever see it online, so you know it works!

We're super excited for this additional option to all things Spurling.

I hope you understand why we're doing it and who it's right for, our transparency is something I always want to be known for.

If you want to learn more about Spurling All Access and enroll today, just click the link below.

===>>> Spurling All Access

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

PS: Enroll for just $1 per day in Spurling All Access

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Are You Up For It?

Run your own race. 

Quite often we can catch ourselves trying to either keep up with someone else or trying to run their "race" entirely. 

And I'm not talking a 5k here...

I'm talking life. 

As you go on this journey of a better you, a stronger you, a more empowered you, it is just that...

YOU. 

Now, you can have supporters and people to lift you up and inspire you, but it's important that you run your own race. 

We can catch ourselves looking at pictures online or comparing ourselves to others in the gym and saying things like "I wish I was like her."

What we don't realize is they may have been putting in the work for years and years, and you're now just seeing the result. 

They've made countless sacrifices, stacked several wins, and you're now just judging how they are now. 

Or, physically they seem great, but maybe they're dealing with mental and emotional things at work or at home that you couldn't even imagine. 

I get it. It can be frustrating...

Run your own race. 

Your journey is unique. 

Make it that way. 

Don't compare yourselves to others, don't try to keep up with people that have been going at it a lot longer than you, and remember this too...

As much as you look up to people, there's always someone looking up to you. 

Maybe it's that lady on day one who is still confused with what a foam roller is. 

Going over, saying hi, and giving her a helping hand can make a big difference. 

Don't compare yourselves to others, focus on your journey and what you need to improve on, but just like in races, if a fellow "runner" needs help, feel free to give them a little push. 

To build off of that...

Don't run someone else's race. 

We all have our own goals, we all have our own battles, our own stories, don't try to live vicariously through someone else's by running their race. 

Set your own goals, pave your own path, and create YOUR story. 

Run your own race. 

It doesn't mean you have to go at it alone, but it does mean that your kind to yourself. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Personal Struggle and How Yesterday Was Terrible...

Well, that's a pretty negative subject line, huh?

Most of you know I have struggled with weight my entire life. 

If you haven't read my story you can read it here

But today I'm here to share a different story and to show you "I get it."

About six months ago I was having heart palpitations and I went to ( okay, Megan made me) go to the doctor. 

This was the first time I had been to a primary care doctor since I had to get a physical to get in college back in 2007. 

The doctor did a full overview of things, that standard height, weight, blood pressure, he did an EKG to look at my heart and it all checked out good. 

He asked me to explain a typical day, so I did. 

I explained to him how I had a very addictive/obsessive personality, never stop working, and drank two pots of coffee a day.

Well, there you have it. It doesn't take a doctor to figure that out. 

Coffee is great for you, but two pots of coffee will put your heart through some serious stuff. 

He told me to chill out, limit the coffee, slow down a little, and let's follow up in six months since everything else looked normal. 

Yesterday was the six month follow up visit...

I had felt fine the last six months, a couple times felt my heart race on days I knew I had too much coffee, but for the most part, I was feeling great. 

What happened yesterday had nothing to do with my heart...

I got called in, the medical assistant took my height, weight, and blood pressure. 

The usual stuff. 

I had seen the scale creep up, but it didn't really register with me. 

The doctor came in, we talked about my heart, he had no worries about it, I got my flu shot, and I thought I was on my way. 

As he's getting ready to finish up his notes on the computer he turns to me and says...

"I know you don't need me to tell you this, but you've gained 13 pounds since I last you."

Instant change of emotion. 

You see, hearing that, it's not the 13lbs, I knew I had put on some weight (don't they call it sympathy weight) in the last few months of Megan's pregnancy and these first couple months of Kaden being born. 

I knew I had gained the weight, that wasn't the surprise. 

It was the emotional state it brought me back to hearing it from the doctor. 

It INSTANTLY brought me back to my middle school and high school days when I was 380lbs and all the doctor would say is "you know, you really need to lose some weight."

Don't you just want to slap them when they say that?

It was a trigger...

Instantly I felt defeated, upset, and frustrated. 

Again, it's not that I didn't know I had gained the 13lbs, or I'm worried about how to take it off, I know all of that. 

It was the flashback to my days of almost 400lbs, and the mental state that it put me in. 

I shared that story with you today because I want you to know...

I get it. 

We get it. 

I'm not living your life, we all have our own struggles, we all have our own stories, but I can at least relate a little. 

I've struggled with weight my entire life, and it will always be a battle that I fight. 

But that's ok. 

Without that battle in my life, I wouldn't be who I am today. 

1% Better, right?

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are you telling yourself?

It was 1986 and our gym teacher Mr. Stock, with his polyester track pants and polo shirt marched us from the elementary school, down the hill to the high school track. 

He announced that Ronald Reagan was personally interested in how long it would take each of us to run four laps around the track. As it turned out, President Reagan cared deeply about how many sit-ups I could do, whether or not I could climb a rope, and how far I could climb up the ladder in the gym before I became paralyzed with fear. (Not very far as it turns out.)

A kid named Danny Beyer ran those four laps in six minutes while the rest of us alternated between walking, jogging, holding the stitch in our sides, and crying in the middle of the track. We longed to go back to a classroom where we could sit quietly with our Skillpack books. 

I don’t remember what the eight-year-old soundtrack in my head was playing exactly - but I imagine it was some version of: this sucks this sucks this sucks this sucks and why the hell does President Reagan care how fast I can run when we’ve never met? 

A few years later when I took up cross country, somewhat willingly, and had learned the full spectrum of swear words on the school bus, it was a much different soundtrack playing in my mind, but the tune was similar.

What the hell was I thinking? Why did I sign up for this? It’s hot. My side hurts. Running is stupid. This sucks. Math class sucks too. Everything sucks. 

The voice in our heads is very convincing, and I don’t know about you, but it's rarely Morgan Freeman offering words of wisdom. My inner voice favors sarcasm, and I often find myself spouting off comments like “I want to put my face in a blender” or “I’ll be rocking back in forth in the corner if you need me.”

For some of us, it's not sarcasm. It's flat out cruelty. We talk to ourselves in ways we would never talk to another person.

"I can't do this. I'm so weak. What was I thinking?"

My negative inner voice is one of the reasons I've turned to mantras. 

Not only during my long runs but on days when my thoughts are racing a million miles an hour and I need to jam a stick in the wheel to make them stop, mantras have helped.

Lately, it’s been “mind like water, body like a mountain.” 

On my longer runs, I’ve settled on the phrase, I am strong, I am capable. 

One of my favorite expressions came from a book I read years ago called Running Within - and the writer suggested the mantra of “health is me, I’m injury free” when you’re on a run and a nagging pain starts creeping up on you. 

It sounds a little hokey, but when you've got an injury, it's difficult to focus on anything else. This little phrase can help to break up that focus. 

It can be so easy to let our minds wander and focus on the suffering - and for many of us - exercise can feel like a form of necessary suffering. It’s something we know will make us feel better afterward, but for many, the actual process of training isn't always pleasant.

Finding a phrase that you can return to when you are having an especially trying day or difficult workout can be helpful in putting your mind and thoughts in a better place throughout the workout.

You are good.

You are deserving of love and kindness and compassion. 

And if you need someone to remind you of that, well, consider this your reminder.   

FOCUS

Life can get crazy.

I get it. 

Work, family, kids, school...

Where do you fit it all in?

I get that question a lot.

I now can relate even more with a 2-month-old at home. 

Family, your spouse, kids, work, etc...

We all have a long list of things that keep us busy each day. 

How do we get it all in?

FOCUS

It seems simple, but it's easier said than done. 

Follow One Course Until Successful. 

Right now, this e-mail is the only thing I'm focusing on. I'll be 100% all in until it's done. 

I'll then move on to the next thing that needs my attention. 

I get it, things come up, babies start crying, phones start ringing, etc.

Address those when needed... 

But take advantage of every opportunity you can to put your head down and focus on one thing. 

Control your environment as much as you can. 

Can you put your phone in the other room when you're working?

Can you take REALLY take advantage of the 2 hours today that you don't have the kids?

You see, it's like a bragging right to be busy. 

I don't get it. 

I know a lot of people that are "busy," but at the end of the day what did you actually get done?

It's not about being busy, it's about being productive. 

No distractions. 

For me..that means I block everything. 

I work in 50-minute blocks. 

I build in procrastination. 

I have a meeting for 50 minutes. 

Then I check my phone for 5-10 minutes, check social media, listen to voicemails, etc.  

I write a blog post for 50 minutes. 

Then I check the latest sports news for 5-10 minutes. 

However, for those 50 minutes, I'm ALL IN.

FOCUS. 

I think a lot of people get caught up in thinking they're busy...

Yet when you look at how they spend their day it involves a lot of multi-tasking, checking social media at the same time, having the TV on in the background, checking e-mails just for the heck of it, etc. 

At the end of the day, nothing really gets done. 

There's a reason why you'll very rarely see me at the gym before noon time....

I still love our morning peeps but between the hours of 7:00 am and 12 noon, I work undistracted. I lock myself in my office, I have a punch list, and I hammer it out like no one's businesses. The TV isn't on, there're no distractions. I would bet I get more things done in those five hours then some people do in a week. 

I challenge you to really analyze your day. 

Are you actually productive, or are you just busy?

It's the same thing with fitness...

Did you know when you focus on just one goal of habit the success rate is 90%?

Yet when you focus on two goals the success rate drops to 30%.

FOCUS.

1% Better. 

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling 

Less Is More...

Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.

I believe Albert Einstein said the above line. 

He was a pretty smart, right?

KISS

Keep it simple stupid. 

In today's fast-paced world, I think we could all benefit from more simplifying. 

Generally speaking, I try to run a pretty simple life. 

I always use to say that you could fit all my possessions in a small box (that changed once I got married...and had a kid). 

I also always laugh and tell Megan that if I was still single I would totally live in one of those tiny homes.

At its core, I run a very lean and simple business. 

Kim always makes fun of me, but I have a shirt for each day of the week, one to workout in, and one to wear for the rest of the day. 

I love the clarity and efficiency that simplicity brings. 

You can look at simplicity in many facets of life, but for today's main lesson, let's focus on fitness, nutrition, and gratitude.

For fitness...

Quite often we can get bogged down with all the different exercises, this one for that muscle, or cardio versus strength.

At its core (pun intended), fitness is quite simple. 

Movement. 

Just move. 

Don't try to make it more complicated than it needs to be.  

Even if we want to take it one step further, all of those exercises you see here at Spurling or anywhere else really only fall into 5 categories.

  1. Upper Body Front Side (Chest, Shoulders, etc)
  2. Upper Body Back Side (Back, arms, etc)
  3. Lower Body Front Side (quads)
  4. Lower Body Back Side (glutes, hamstrings)
  5. Core

That's it. 

Thousands of exercises, but they all fall into those 5 categories. 

We keep it simple. 

We want to make sure you get 1-2 exercises for each category at each workout. 

It's a full body workout. 

We all need to move our entire body, no need to make it more complicated than that. 

Most all of us would benefit from doing that full body routine 3 days per week with a day or two in the middle to recover. 

That's it. 

Do that 52 weeks a year and you're ahead of 99% of people. 

Even if you want to get fancy and throw in some other stuff (running, yoga, etc) just splice it in on the alternating days. 

Move. 

That's all we're asking. 

Fitness is just movement. 

As far as nutrition...

We know the internet is smothered with tons of information and you don't know what to believe. 

As always, look for the common themes. 

We could all benefit from more water...

We could all benefit from more protein....

We could all benefit from more vegetables...

If we get caught up in all the complexities we tend to get nowhere...

However, double down on just those three and you'll be way ahead of the game.

Keep it simple. 

My favorite...gratitude.

The third piece to this triangle. 

In my opinion, it's just as important as the fitness and nutrition stuff. 

If you don't do any form of gratitude or meditation just start off simple. 

Go to bed every single day and ask yourself the following...

"What is one thing I'm grateful for?"

or...

"What was the best part of my day?"

You can do the same thing when you first wake up. 

From there, I highly recommend journaling. 

It takes all the chaos that goes on in our minds, gets it out, and onto paper. 

It will help you think more clearly, give you more mental energy, and of course, force you to write down all the good in your life. 

So there you have it...

A not so simple post on being more simple. 

I'll leave with this...

Life is short and sweet, don't clutter it with nonsense. 

What is one thing you're going to do today to simplify your life?

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A story about pantyhose...

When I was a kid, my mom and I had regular battles over a range of topics - whether or not I had to wear a dress on formal occasions, why I couldn’t take my shirt off in the yard when I was hot (I was five), and why it was a bad idea to stand up to pee. 

The biggest fight we ever had though, was the day she pulled out a pair of green leotards for me to wear under the dress that I had already rejected.

As far as I could tell, she’d peeled a layer of scales off of Puff the Magic Dragon and was asking me to put the dead skin on my legs. 

That’s when I took off screaming to find my dad and ask why I couldn’t, please, just wear the Tonka pants of which I was so fond. 

My opinion didn’t change years later when my mom handed me a pair of pantyhose to wear under my high school graduation dress. 

I pulled the shriveled nylons out of the package and held them up to my waist in disgust.  

“You bought the wrong size,” I said.

She didn’t look up from the dress she was ironing. 

“They’re one size fits all.”

Anyone who has ever worn pantyhose knows that one size fits all is total bullshit (sorry Mom, that I said bullshit. Again). 

And yet many of us still find ourselves pursuing a one size fits all approach when it comes to fitness, nutrition, and even relaxing. We are all of us, myself included, inspired and influenced to make habit changes based on what we see and learn from others. I am incredibly guilty of this. I’ve learned a lot from Doug since I worked with him - especially when it comes to productivity - and last year he inspired me to buy a planner for 2017.

So I did. It was a blog planner and it was filled with good ideas and structure for how to maintain my blog. My last entry was in May. 

I’ve tried to use planners a few times over the years, and each time, I find myself returning to the simple habit of list building. Planners are a perfect fit for Doug’s personality. That planner eventually made me feel boxed in. I wilt a little on the inside at the idea of all of my days being planned. 

But I tried it anyway because I admire Doug’s productivity and am trying to find ways to finish more of my own projects. But it won’t be from using a planner. 

Because your habits have to suit you. 

Let me say that again.

Your habits have to suit you. 

So how do you know exactly which habits are right for you? Self-knowledge. What do you know about yourself? What kind of learner are you? Where do you get your energy? Are you an introvert or extrovert? 

How do you respond to outer expectations? Will you show up to the gym because you’ve made an appointment and you don’t miss appointments? When we first started Team Training at Spurling, there was a group of three or four ladies who began asking each other if they’d be at the next class. Now, we have a group of 14 or more people who expect to see each other for class, and if one person doesn’t show up, they notice. 

How do respond to inner expectations? I told myself I would workout three times per week and I’m going to do that. 

We need to see ourselves accurately before we can change.

Self-knowledge and self-awareness can be tricky. Sometimes it can be tough to acknowledge some truths about ourselves, especially when it relates to behaviors we’d like to change. But taking the time to understand what’s important to us, what we value, and what we like and don’t like can go a long way in helping us develop habits that suit us. 

And because it seems right to remind everyone, including myself, at every opportunity - be kind. To yourself, to the cashier at the grocery store, to your annoying co-worker, and to everyone - because we need more kindness in this world. 

When Life Feels Like Stretch Armstrong...

Remember the toy "Stretch Armstrong?"

You know what I'm talking about...

The blonde hair, muscle-bound, gel-filled action figure that was popular in the 80's and 90's. 

A normal looking guy, you could take his arms and legs and stretch them as far as you wanted, spreading himself super thin. 

That's the perfect analogy for my life right now...

And yours may feel the same way.

Hopefully, me opening up about it and talking through some strategies that I'm using may help you out a little. 

A thriving gym business with hundreds of clients that I want to see every day...

A rock-star team of employees that I want to help and inspire every day....

A wife who needs my love and attention and a break from Baby Kaden every once in a while...

Baby Kaden who is growing so fast and I don't want to miss it....

A consulting business that has me inspiring other gyms to have the success that we do at Spurling but demands a lot of time and travel...

An elderly dad who likes to fall, not listen, and forgets when his appointments are...

Where does "me time" fit in?

The list can go on and on, and I'm sure each of you has your laundry list of things that are stretching you thin in life right now and feeling like that Stretch Armstrong doll.

Luckily for me, I see this stuff as a learning opportunity and love the challenge.

Each of those above things and more are all vitally important to me, and sometimes it can feel like they all require my time at once, and because of that, we're spreading ourselves thin, and just putting a little attention on each, instead of being all in.

So how do you improve it?

And just as important, how do you carve out time for you?

Here are a couple strategies that I'm implementing right now that are helping me, and maybe they can help you...

1. Find your why again. The other day I revisited my entire purpose. I sat there, in dead silence and asked myself the hard questions. What gets me out of bed each morning, how do I want to make a difference, what's important to me, etc? I revisit it often, but it took revisiting it in the mental state I was in to get some growth out of it. Always remember why you're doing what you're doing. What's your why? That creates strategy number two.

2. Know your guardrails. This is hugeFor me, I have certain guardrails in my life, that if I don't catch myself, I'll let them down, and it will cause me to go off track. Just like on a highway, life is moving fast, and you need those guardrails to keep you on track, and moving in the right direction. Some guardrails for me include family first, my morning routine, and communicating with my team and clients every single day. So, those are only three but think about it.

Recently I would catch myself working late at night, not paying attention to Megan or Kaden. Family first is one of my guardrails. I catch that and need to adjust, work can wait.

My morning routine. For those who have followed me for a long time you know, I'm about as routine as can be. It's been an adjustment with Kaden because I can't always do it when I want to do it, but I know my days are MUCH better when I get my morning routine in. This includes gratitude and appreciation, reading for at least 30 minutes,  writing this post, and reviewing my big 3 rocks for the day. In total it takes about 90 minutes. I see a very clear difference in my physical and mental state when it's a day that I don't get my morning routine in. That's a guardrail for me, if I catch myself not doing it, I need to make an adjustment.

And just as a final example, guardrail number three is communicating with my team and my clients every single day. I don't ever want to take them for granted, and it's important for me to communicate that every day verbally and through action. I may not be able to be physically present every day for them, but I will always call, text, or shoot them a nice note. Every single day. That's important to me.

The one guardrail that I still have not installed again is some me time. The morning routine is part of it, so it's there, but it's not where I want it to be. That includes things like getting my workouts in (I often cancel my workouts right now to get work done, meet with clients/team members, or take a phone call) and leaving some time to think and reenergize without interruption. It's not non-existent, but it's definitely not a firm guardrail yet. I'll get it...

The other thing I like about guardrails is it not only keeps what is important top of mind and keeps you focused, but it tells you what to say no to. 

For example, I've said no to more consulting opportunities and traveling right now. 

It's a huge interest of mine, but if I want to keep family first, keep my morning routine, and communicate with my team and clients every single day, I can't increase that workload right now. 

Do I want it to travel more and help more gyms? Of course. But as of today, I haven't found a balance of adding more, while still staying all in with my current commitments. 

Saying no is hard, but it's important. 

Guardrails also help me stay focused day to day, saying no to little things that take away from family first, and being there for my team and my clients. 

What are your guardrails? 

Just like with anything, write them down, and keep them top of mind. 

Is it perfect? 

Of course not. 

But it's better than it was yesterday and tomorrow will be even better. 

When like feels like you're being pulled in a million directions, your spread thin, and you want to be all things to all people, remember these two strategies. 

Know your why, and put your guardrails up. 

Hopefully, you found some insight in today's lesson. 

I want you to know that we all struggle, we're all fighting our own battles, and all any of us can do is continue to strive to get a little better. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Procrastinating Poet

During my senior year of college, I took a poetry workshop class. Each week, two different students submitted a piece of work for the class to critique, and by the end of the semester, we submitted a collection of work for the final grade.

The class cemented what had become my growing suspicion that I was terrible at poetry. One of my submissions for the class included these brilliant stanzas:

The sun is shining, the grass is green
Last time I checked I still had a spleen
I am happy.

I saw two lovers kiss on my way to class
A kid on school bus flashed me his a**
I am happy.

A fellow classmate suggested that this poem was exactly why people didn’t write about happiness. 

The class felt like such a strain that I put off the writing at every opportunity. By the time my portfolio submission was due, I had little to work with, and no cover poem. So I opted for honesty and wrote the following piece:

Procrastinating Poet

Meant to write a poem. 
But the weather hasn’t been
quite
right
for writing poetry. 

I thought it was witty and maybe a tad clever, but my professor saw it for what it really was. A shoddy last minute effort at my portfolio. She was kind to give me a B. 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve talked a lot about willpower - about decision fatigue and ego depletion and how willpower is a finite resource. So what is the solution to making better and healthier decisions at the end of the day, when your willpower is depleted? Here is a quote from the book I've been referencing (Willpower):

“Successful people don’t use their willpower as a last ditch defense to stop themselves from disaster, at least not as a regular strategy.” 

The writers of the book suggest that folks who use their self-control to not to get through crisis, but to avoid them, have more success (defining success is another matter altogether). Taking your car to the mechanic for regular maintenance before it breaks down, giving yourself enough time to finish a project so as not to stress yourself out - playing offense instead of defense. 

When I got to this part of the book, I laughed out loud. 

I’m such a procrastinator that years ago, when I wrote a weekly newspaper column for the local paper in Pennsylvania, I titled the column “At the Last Minute.”

The column was due every Monday evening, sometimes I could push it until Tuesdays, and every week I’d start sketching out an idea on Thursday and then completely ignore the work until Monday night, when I would literally stand on my head looking for ideas, and writing and re-writing and finally submitting whatever I had. 

Not unlike these blog posts really….:-)

So how do chronic procrastinators like myself learn to, as the book says, play offense instead of defense? (And these suggestions come straight from the book)

1.Know your limits

Willpower is a limited resource and it’s depleted and used in more ways than we realize throughout the day. Walking past your co-workers candy dish 25 times throughout the day and never indulging - dealing with computer or technology issues- going to the gym when you don’t want to - getting out of bed when your body needs more sleep - these all affect your willpower. Recognizing that you are going to be out of willpower by the time you go out with friends for dinner that night might help you better prepare to make a nutrition choice that is on par with your goals. (One suggestion in these situations is to order first, so as not to be influenced by the decisions of those around you.)

2. Make a to-do-list

This is one habit I've always done, and I find that it helps a little. When I don't make a list to get things out of my mind and on to a piece of paper, you can find me pacing the gym and muttering things under my breath. The gym is a stimulating environment, and I use a lot of willpower to just focus. Making a list helps me to get my tasks on paper and out of my head, freeing up my unconscious. 

3. Don't forget the basics 

As it turns out, our unconscious is also affected by subtle cues such as a clean desk and a made bed. Although we might not care about whether your bed is made or your desk is clean, these environmental cues subtly influence your brain and your behavior, making it less of a strain to maintain self-discipline. 

4. Pick your battles

We can't control or predict the stresses in our life - the loss of a job - a breakup - a sick family member, but we can use the calm periods to play offense. We can use the less crazy times in our lives to make new changes, to start a new exercise program or make some nutrition changes or learn how to knit. 

I have a friend who was just laid off from her job. With such a major life change on her plate, now is not the time to try to make other big life changes. 

5. The nothing alternative

I've used this strategy quite a bit in recent weeks, especially with writing. When I commit an hour to writing, I don't allow myself to do anything else with that hour. I'm allowed to not write - I can pace the room, pet my dog, scream at him in horror for eating a cricket - but I'm not allowed to do anything else - like check social media or email or Amazon.

I love the authors' suggestion of playing offense, even though it's not something I always do very well. We used a habit-based approach in making changes to nutrition and exercise, trying to focus on what habit a week, or even per month to help keep the process less overwhelming.

The line is clear - write or do nothing. And as the author's suggest, the most lasting technique for conserving willpower is building a habit.  

Learning to plan ahead, whether that's stocking your refrigerator with healthy foods, removing the tempting food from your house, or putting your gym bag on your front seat in the morning on your way to work, can help you conserve willpower and make the changes you want to make.

Sometimes you're going to come up short. Be kind to yourself in those moments though, ok?

 

"I’m not sure what you have in the water or maybe you pipe in subliminal messages with the music, but whatever it is, it's true; Spurling is magic….I have drunk the Kool-Aid!"

IMG_0328.jpg

"I feel very strongly about my feelings towards the entire Spurling team and I truly believe it is important for folks to know they have influenced and/or impacted my life.  

It has been almost exactly four months since I first came in to see what you were all about. I remember telling you that I really didn’t like exercising as such and if I joined I wasn’t worried about dieting so much because I wasn’t going to negate all that work I didn’t like by eating stupid stuff! 

So here we are 16-17 weeks later. I still cannot say that exercising/working out is one of the top 10 things I would choose to do, but I have had a somewhat mind-boggling shift in my brain. I have a hard time wrapping my brain around this, but I actually look forward to coming into sweat, grind my teeth as I do floor presses and feel the burn of the goblet squats! 

My biggest goal when I started was to get into an exercise routine and break the pretty much sedentary lifestyle I had gotten bogged down in over the past few years. OK, I’ll be honest, several years! I was pretty confident once I plunked down my money and got into the habit of coming, I would be successful in reaching that goal. And I was also pretty sure that it would be like everything else I had tried; that I would not look forward to it, have to drag myself there and be thinking of excuses of why not to come, even when I was there. I knew my head would be telling me that “you are paying a lot of money for this, so you’re going to go whether you like it or not!” All of those thoughts, every single one of them, never popped into my psyche from day one!

I’m not sure what you have in the water or maybe you pipe in subliminal messages with the music, but whatever it is, it is true; Spurling is magic….I have drunk the Kool-Aid! I cannot believe that I look forward to coming to the gym. Now that school has started I find myself planning my times a couple of weeks ahead just so I make sure I get a spot. I somehow feel disappointed when I can’t come in three times per week or I have to cancel. I don’t feel disappointed in myself but like I’m missing my favorite thing in the world to do and not getting to hang out with my friends. Weird since I go by myself and really don’t know very many people there. This summer when I went on vacation for two weeks there wasn’t a day that went by I wasn’t thinking about not being there. It wasn’t in an obsessive, unhealthy, OMG I’m going to gain wait or get out of shape because I didn’t go, but because I missed it. This can’t be me! And you need to know I don’t think this would have happened at any other gym. Truly. I’ve tried most of them!

Since the end of May, but especially since taking the F.L.A.G. nutrition class with Trent I have lost 14.5 pounds, and although I haven’t measured I know I’ve lost inches. My clothes fit better and in fact I’m going to have to buy some new clothes once cooler weather arrives. I feel better. I’m not as tired and I have more energy. I sleep better. I can climb the three flights of stairs (74 steps) to the third floor of the building our faculty meetings are in, without sucking for air. I can fit more comfortably into the chairs with the desk arms! J

As far as losing weight, that is a bonus. While I guess it is expected that with regular exercise one is going to shed a few pounds and I while do have more than a few pounds to shed, that was never a huge focus of signing on. I wish everyone who wanted to take Trent’s nutrition class could afford to do so, or that folks knew the value of it. I always thought that I knew what good nutrition was and it was just I made a choice to make bad choices. Trent taught me so much in just a few short weeks and it was good to bounce what was going on and for me just to meet a new group of folks. I really have changed my eating habits and they are things I can live with and now I understand. Weight Watchers was great for me anytime I did it, but as soon as I stopped I went back to my old ways. Programs like that don’t teach nutrition, what to eat and why. It was a light bulb moment to understand the importance of protein, but all within balance. On my cross-country road trip, I bought only good choices for snacks in the car and when I stopped for gas I was able to avoid the junk food because I knew I had good stuff in the car! The free hotel breakfasts I chose hard-boiled eggs, oatmeal, and fruit. I would have never done that before, and in fact, I probably would have skipped it altogether and found a McDonald’s McGriddle sandwich. I never felt deprived or like “those” were foods I wasn’t “allowed” to eat.  I eat things now because I want to eat them! It is a conscious effort and pretty much a habit. On the other hand, I don’t deprive myself. If I want something that is not such a good choice I have some on occasion, but you know what, it somehow doesn’t taste as good as I thought it would. 

I was worried about what would happen when school started because we truly have a cafeteria that is like a gourmet restaurant. Everything is cooked on site and there are very few processed foods and the salad bar is to die for, but so are the hot lunches, deli bar, soup bar, bread and dessert options. It is always hard to pass up the fried shrimp, baked stuffed haddock or Taco Tuesday in exchange for greens, or take an apple or kiwi instead of the strawberry shortcake. I’ve worked it out by making the decision to only go over to the lunchroom on Wednesdays and the other days I take my lunch. Win-win!

Why am I telling you all of this? Because Spurling is special. The byline is true….it isn’t your typical gym. I don’t feel intimidated by anyone or anything. I feel pushed but not farther than what is realistic and not far enough to hurt myself. I’m pushed just enough to do a little more than what I think I can do. When Kim says to do 12-14 reps, it is up to me to decide to push just a little further when I’d really like to do 12. The folks working out are friendly and I never feel like I’m being body-shamed by anyone. That is huge! I feel like the coaches, all of them, are there because they want to help people get better and they truly enjoy what they are doing….it bears repeating, they are there to help people. While I know in the end we can each only help ourselves and it is up to us whether we choose to do that, but I would not be where I am right now on this journey if it wasn’t for all of you. I try to work with all the coaches when my schedule allows and I think I have worked with everyone. That is important to me. Each and everyone is special and has their personal way of motivating and helping me feel good about myself. Chris, Josh, Trent, Kim, Tori, you are the reasons I can say my life has been changed and touched. Hopefully, I didn’t leave anyone out. I do read every single one of your blog posts and Kim’s on Wednesday, and all the posts from Trent on Facebook and from everyone else. 

And to not end on a gushy note….just tell me, what gym can you go to and have a “Wine and Netflix” night, the fun dress up days, the fun video posts on Facebook and the evening with Melissa Boyd was amazing!

Keep doing what you are doing! You have it right in so many ways in my books and yet you still are continually trying to figure out how to make it better."

~Stephanie Sanders

Your 12 Week Year

Take a look at the calendar...

When you strip away the major holidays there's really only about 12 weeks left in the year.

So my question to you...

What does success look like in the next 12 weeks?

Can you get more done in these next 12 weeks than most people can in an entire year?

That's my goal. 

I'm going to challenge you and help you, to create a plan for these next 12 weeks to accomplish more throughout the rest of 2017 than you normally would in an entire year. 

The concept of the 12 week year is to think of every 12 weeks as a year, and each week as a month. 

The drives the urgency that every week you have to take massive action to get things done. 

So, it actually starts with the bigger picture. 

Think out three years from now...

What's your vision?

Where do you want to be?

Who are you with?

What are you doing?

How do you look and feel?

All of that is documented in your three-year vision. 

Then, each 12 week year is just a micro breakdown to move you that much closer to your vision. 

So, 12 weeks left in the year, what are the big things you want to accomplish?

I challenge you to pick things from each spoke in the wheel of life.

Also, pick things that are a bit of a stretch that you'll have to challenge yourself, but not too far out in left field that you'd just be setting yourself up for failure. 

So, maybe your 12 week year looks something like this. 

  • Drop 3 pant sizes
  • Add $1500 to my savings
  • Go on one family vacation

The big three. 

If we're hanging out on New Year's Eve, if these three things happened, you'd be happy with how the last 12 weeks went. 

You come up with your 3-5 big things you want to accomplish in the next 12 weeks. 

From there, under each big thing, you're going to write down the weekly action items required for each one. 

For example...

Big Thing: Drop 3 Pant Sizes

  • Keep my calories to 1200 calories each day (8400 weekly total)
  • Workout 3x per week (36 total workouts in the 12 weeks)
  • Get 7 hours of sleep (49 hours each week)

The importance of the 3-5 weekly action items is it takes a goal and forces you to think about what are the action items required to make that goal happen. 

Keep them short, condensed, and measurable so you know exactly what success looks like. 

Follow this outline and make the next 12 weeks and the rest of 2017 your most productive yet. 

For each category of life develop a 12 week year outline.

Mentally, start to think about everything as 12 week years, that now puts the urgency to treating each week like a month, and you'll be that much more productive and successful at accomplishing your goals. 

We'll be sitting here toasting to 2018 before you know it...

The next 12 weeks will go by no matter what...

Few of you will actually take the time to map out and write down your next 12 weeks, but those that do I can guarantee success. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

PS: I'll be back tomorrow with Kim's weekly guest post :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is ECOC and Why Do You Need To Understand It?

As most of you know by now, I try to spend my time studying behavior change, peoples drive and productivity, and less "X's and O's" of exercise. 

As much as I think variations of squats are important to know, I think what keeps people motivated long-term on a fitness journey is much deeper than that. 

I recently came across something and I just had to share it with you. 

It's called ECOC.

Emotional Cycle of Change. 

It's the five stages we all go through when we're going through ANYTHING that is voluntary change. 

Now, as always, I'll focus on how it applies to fitness, but you'll see that this level of behavior change applies to all facets of life. 

You go through this when getting a new job, a change in a relationship, or even as small as a new idea you want to implement. 

The ECOC is 5 stages.

1. Uninformed Optimism

This is commonly referred to as the honeymoon stage. You're excited, you can't wait to get started, you see all the great things that can happen because of this stage. You're informed, meaning you don't yet realize all the costs (time, energy, money, sacrifices) associated with making this change. 

2. Informed Pessimism

This is when things get a little rough. This stage is when you learn about all the costs associated with making the change and you may start to get a little angry or frustrated. You're out of the honeymoon phase, and now because you're more informed about what's involved, you either have to find ways to push through it or give up. Obviously, we want to push through it, but know that at this stage it's important to understand what you're willing to do to make that change and find motivators to push you through it. 

3. Valley of Despair

Before it gets good, it must get really bad. The valley of despair is when your frustration and anger is at its highest. This could be a plateau with your fitness and nutrition or the negatives of balancing a long-distance relationship. Remember, for today's overview, I'm keeping it brief and general so you can put the pieces together and understand that good fitness and nutrition is a behavior change, just like any other behavior change, it all follows this path. 

4. Informed Optimism

We're on the up and up. You start to get the hope and confidence again that you had in stage one. We know now what it takes to get the results, we're willing to put in the time and pay the costs, and we're excited about what the future holds. We're motivated, we know what drives us, and we're optimistic about what is to come. 

5. Success & Fulfillment

This is the gold star. You've reached your goal, and you feel fulfilled. This may be hitting a fitness goal, finding a career you love or saying "I do" to your best friend that you've been in a relationship with. It's time to keep trudging forward, you've achieved the desired outcome, and it's time to set some new goals!

Again, for today's introduction, I kept each stage overview brief. 

In reality, each stage could be its own post, but I know some of you love this stuff, and some of you not so much. 

Just remember, success at anything, fitness or life, is not a linear path. 

It's a series of ups and downs, and if you look at any behavioral change, they all follow these five stages. 

I'd love for you to think about where you're at and let me know what questions you have. 

I'll be back tomorrow to keep the week going strong! 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Keys To Successful Committment

Committing to something. 

What does that actually mean?

Whether we're talking commitment in fitness, commitment to family, commitment to a relationship, or committing to being a better employee, worker, or spouse it comes down to four things. 

1. A strong desire. 

Without a compelling reason, it's really hard to commit to something. You'll need a clear and personal reason to commit to something. When things get difficult (which they will) you'll need a strong desire and compelling reason to stay committed, if you don't have that as your base, you won't stay committed. With a strong desire, a strong "why", you are capable of much more than you think you are and you'll have a strong commitment. 

2. Keystone actions.

Once you have a strong desire to accomplish something, you'll need to identify the core actions that are going to get you there, the keystone actions. Remember, it's what we do that counts, and there are numerous activities to accomplish a task. However, it's important to stay focused on the "big rocks" the keystone actions, the things that produce the greatest results. Remember the 80/20 rule. 20% of your actions produce 80% of your results. Focus on the big things that make the most impact. 

3. Count the costs. 

In any commitment, there are going to be costs associated. It may be actual money, but it also may be the costs like time, uncertainty, loss of comfort, etc. For example, if you have a strong desire to drop some body fat percentage, there's going to be costs associated with it. You're going to have to dedicate time away from other things to work out, you may have to say no to some social things to not put yourself in a poor nutritional setting, and of course, there is the cost of probably feeling a little scared or uncomfortable in the beginning. With any commitment comes some type of costs, and you have to ask yourself, are you willing to pay the price?

4. Act on commitments, not feelings.

There will be plenty of times when you don't feel like doing the critical activities required for the desired outcome. Things like waking up early, going to the gym after work instead of going home, or maybe going somewhere you really don't want to go but you know it will make your spouse happy. It's during these hard times we need to learn how to act on commitments, not on feelings. If not, you'll never build momentum, and learning to do things you know you need to do, regardless of how you feel, is a core principle of success.

There you have it. 

The 4 keys to successful commitment.

As always, I love how this applies to not only fitness but all other aspects of life as well.

I'll be back tomorrow to wrap up the week. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

 

 

What a radish teaches us about willpower

“I know what I need to be doing. I’m just not doing it.”

Raise your hand if you’ve ever said this. 

Or if you’re sure. :-) 

I hear these words on an almost daily basis as a coach, and often say them myself. We utter the phrase out of ownership - a coach or teacher or therapist helped me figure out a plan, but I haven't executed it. 

My behavior change is writing. I know I need to sit down every day and write if I want to be successful at the craft. I just don't do it. 

Hell I once tied myself to a chair with a pair of panty hose to force myself to write. To just sit down and do it. A half hour later, I literally had my panty hose in a knot and hadn't written a thing. 

Humans are wonderfully complex and intricate beings though, and so making lifestyle changes, while simple in concept, are much more challenging in reality. 

A few weeks ago I talked about willpower, and specifically decision fatigue. Another concept referenced in the book I've been reading (“Willpower” by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney) is ego depletion.

Some years ago in an effort to understand willpower, the co-author of the book Roy Baumeister, a research psychologist, performed a study between two groups of students. Both groups were invited into a room with a plate of warm, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, chocolate, and radishes. One group was invited to eat the chocolate or the cookies, and another group was instructed only to eat the radishes. (I'm sad in my heart for that second group..) 

Afterwards, the students were taken to another room and given insoluble geometry puzzles. The group that was allowed to eat the cookies or the chocolate typically worked on the puzzles for about 20 minutes. Those who were only allowed to eat radishes gave up on the puzzles in eight minutes. 

Eight minutes. 

The theory was that much like a muscle, willpower could be fatigued through use. The students who were denied the cookies and chocolate had used up so much willpower in resisting the treats that they had little left in the tank to work on a puzzle.

It is these concepts - of ego depletion and decision fatigue (among many other factors) that sometimes come between the original statements: 

I know what I need to be doing. I’m just not doing it. 

We assume that knowledge by itself is enough to make a behavior change. That once you’ve been armed with the right information and the plan for change, the next step is the epitome of Nike’s campaign.

You just do it. 

Not quite. 

Think about your day. Did you walk past that candy dish 17 times without taking one piece? Did you resist unleashing an epic rampage against the co-worker who condescendingly told you how to do your job? Did you avoid banging your head against the conference table when Judy went off on an un-related 20 minute tangent about her root canal at the weekly staff meeting? 

Then you come home and your husband left the toilet seat up, again, and you explode into an expletive-laced rant about sitting in toilet water in the middle of the night. (I grew up with a few brothers, so this was a familiar rant) 

Because you used up much of your willpower after a long day at work, you’ve got nothing left to put up with your spouse’s annoying little habits. And you sure as hell don't have much left to not have that bowl of ice cream. Or not eat fast food. Or force yourself to walk two miles after dinner. 

As I mentioned a few weeks ago - willpower is a limited resource. We only have so much of it for each day - one of the studies in the book referenced parole hearings and how judges were more likely to grant parole at the beginning of the day than the end - and when we've used it up, no amount of knowledge in the world will help us make a behavior change.

So what do we do?

Next week I'll talk about strategies you can employ to help work with and around willpower to make the changes you want to make.

(Hint - avoiding procrastination is a big one.)

Be kind to yourself. 

 

 

 

The Core 4...

We talk a lot about a good nutrition base and how "you can't outwork a bad diet."

All of that is true...

But we get a lot of questions on supplements.

Are they safe, should you take them, etc?

First, I think it's important to understand what supplements are. 

The word supplement is defined as "to complete or enhance something."

Meaning, supplements do not replace your nutrition. They simply fill in the gaps and/or enhance it. 

For example, you won't hear us talk about meal replacements. 

We want your diet to be filled with real food. 

However, there are some essential gaps that need to be filled in the traditional American diet that supplements fit nicely into. 

Here are what we call the "CORE 4."

The four essential supplements that almost everyone would benefit from....

1. A Tub of Protein: Buying it by the tub allows you to save money per serving, although you can also get it in ready to drink shakes or single serve packets. The benefits of protein are endless including aiding in recovery, building lean muscle, boosting metabolism, and reducing inflammation. We recommend at least .8 grams per pound of body weight per day, but ideally, we're getting 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Taking a protein shake every day is a nice easy way to get an extra 30 grams that you can stack on top of what you get throughout the day with your traditional diet. 

2. Greens Powder: You hear it preached all the time. More vegetables, more vegetables! Vegetables have essential vitamins and minerals our bodies need to lower cholesterol and even reduce the risk of stroke. Vegetables also have great things like potassium and fiber which also aid in the reduction of inflammation and a added safety measure in preventing metabolic diseases. However, with all that being said, we know getting the right amount of vegetables (7-10 servings per day) is hard to do. A greens powder is something you can mix right in with an existing drink and each scoop gives you 5 servings of vegetables, with all the same benefits. How can you beat that?

3. Fish Oil: You may have heard of fish oil and its benefits. Fish oil contains the fatty acids that a lot of us don't get in a traditional diet unless we eat a ton of fish. Fish oil is great for heart health including blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides. It's also been shown to help with your vision, brain health, and even better skin. 

4. ZMA: ZMA is a combination of Zinc and Magnesium along with vitamin B6. If you struggle with recovery and sleep this is a must! ZMA has been shown to help with recovery and helps you with better quality sleep. Our clients rave about this one. 

I wanted to take a break today from the "fluffier" stuff I usually write about and give you some clear actionable education. 

We sell supplements only for the reason that we think when done right, there are a lot of benefits for you. 

We only sell 6 supplements because that's all we believe in, take ourselves, and feel comfortable and confident recommending to our clients.

If you go back to the definition of supplement, to complete or enhance, they can be a great tool to stack onto a healthy diet to give you that extra boost you're looking for. 

If you have questions just reply and let us know. 

You can pick up the CORE 4 kit at Spurling, or grab it here.

I'll be back tomorrow with Coach Kim's weekly guest post. 

1% Better. 

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

PS: If you're ready to really dial in your nutrition, we have a couple spots left in our next 6-week round of FLAG, Fat Loss Accountability Group. The next round starts Monday so you need to register today or tomorrow so we can get everything set up for you. Learn more and register here ===>>> FLAG  

5 Differentiators Between Results and No Results...

Success leaves clues. 

In every facet of life, if you pay attention, not only to what other people say, but how they act, their choices, and their habits, you can start to learn what makes someone successful. 

Now, a post for another day, successful can be measured in many different ways. 

For today's sake, let's measure success in achieving the fitness or nutrition goal you wrote down 30 days ago.

I like to study why some people get results, and why others don't.

In my opinion, there are five key factors that go into the difference between the person that does get results and the person that's frustrated because they can't seem to see any progress.

Now, there may be others, but these are the main five, the five that make the biggest difference. 

1. A clear picture of what success looks like. I say it all the time, write your goals down. I would bet less than 10% of you reading this have your goals written down. Answer and document the question "what does success look like?" Those that have a clear documented picture of what they're going after know what the target is, and are going to have more success hitting it.

2. A deep understanding of why they are doing it. I reference this a lot, for no other reason other than I think it's important. We spend a lot of time talking about what we're going to do (lose weight, drop inches), and how we're going to do it (circuits, nutrition, etc), but we don't spend enough time talking about why. What is the real deep down reason that you want to make these changes? As you know by now, it's more about that than it is the number on the scale. 

3. A positive growth mindset. This journey that we're all on that we call life is going to be filled with ups and downs, just like a rollercoaster. If you approach it like a rollercoaster, without the ups and downs, what's the fun of it? It's those that not only know there are going to be ups and downs, but they stay positive throughout the setbacks, use them as learning experiences, and are always aiming to just be a little better than yesterday, 1% better. 

4. They stack small wins. Making the healthier choice of the two when presented with two crappy choices is a small win. They don't go for the big home run, they don't yo-yo, and they don't try to bite off more than they can chew. Aiming to go for a walk around the block instead of not working out at all is a small win. Getting ten more grams of protein per day is a small win. It's these small wins, added up over time, that build this foundation, this wall, that is an indestructible creation of habits that create lifelong results. 

5. They show up daily. Consistency will always, I repeat, always, win out in this world. The relentless pursuit of just doing something every single day. I like to call it excellence in the ordinary. It's doing the ordinary things (sleeping, eating healthy, exercising a couple times per week) done with an extreme amount of excellence, consistently. 

As I mentioned above, success leaves clues. 

When you study successful people, they all follow very similar habits. 

Those with any kind of success in fitness and nutrition, follow the five habits above. 

They don't chase the shiny object.

They don't look for the quick fixes. 

They don't beat themselves up when things get hard. 

The funny part?

Notice I didn't talk about they do this type of workout, this specific exercise, or follow this fancy diet. 

Those are just tools. 

It's not the tools you use that make the biggest difference, it's the habits you instill in yourself. 

Which one of these are you going to try to develop starting today?

Go take action. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling 

 

 

Picking The Lowest...

Here in Maine, we're getting into prime apple picking season. 

It's a mandatory trip in the Spurling household, and this year will be extra fun as we get to bring Kaden with us. 

As I was thinking about it, it made me think of a great nutrition lesson I think we all can benefit from. 

Pick the lowest hanging fruit.

Some of you have heard it before, some of you have never heard of it, either way, I think it's good for all of us to keep at the top of our mind. 

As we look at making habit changes with nutrition, it's helpful to not overload ourselves and pick the lowest hanging fruit. 

As you know, there's a lot of information out there, a lot of contradicts itself, and it can be frustrating and hard to know what to do. 

Typically what happens is it just causes us to not take any action. 

The "pick the lowest hanging fruit" technique stems from picking the easiest thing you could work on and take action on immediately, rather than getting bogged down with information and not taking any action. 

For example, if you look at your nutrition and you realize you need to get more protein, drink more water, and eat more vegetables, it's important to only pick one. 

If you try to tackle all three of those habits at once, the watered down approach will typically result in an unsuccessful attempt. 

Rather, pick one, the one that you feel you can more easily tackle, and go all in on that one choice. 

Picking the lowest hanging fruit, putting all your effort on that one thing, and then, and only then, move onto the next lowest hanging fruit. 

Give the technique a try and let us know how it goes. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

PS: If you're looking to really dial in your nutrition and be held accountability through weekly meetings and daily check-ins with our nutrition coach grab one of the 8 spots left in our next 6-week round of our Fat Loss Accountability Group (FLAG). 

Click the link to learn more ===>>> Fat Loss Accountability Group (FLAG). 

 

I Give You Permission...

I'm not sure if you need it, but I give you permission to think bigger. 

I'm pretty confident most people don't think big enough.

Quite often we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life, going through the motions, checking things off lists, but we never actually take time to think. 

In order to think big, you first have to think!

Here are 9 random thoughts on thinking better and bigger. 

1. It's a skill. Just like any other skill, it must be taught and it must be practiced. Like I mentioned above, most people don't actually take time to think. If you want to get good at thinking you have to practice it. 

2. Dedicate yourself to it every single day. Whether it's 5 minutes or 5 hours, we need to take to just think every single day. I'm not talking about just the random thoughts that run through our heads, but actually finding a time and a place every day, where all you do is think. It seems so small, but when was the last time you let yourself slow down for even 5 minutes and all you did was think. 

3. The brain is best at creating ideas, not storing them. Let me repeat that, it's gold. Your brain is good at coming up with ideas, not storing them. How many times have had you had this great idea or thought, but then a day, an hour, or even a minute goes by and you forget it? As soon as you have an idea, you must write it down. I carry a notebook with me at all times, I have a small one next to my bed, and when in a crunch, use the notes app on my phone. Then, about once a week, I gather up all the notes, clean them up, and see what I'm going to take action on. However, without writing it down in the first place, it just becomes lost in your brain. Also, when you start to clear ideas out of your brain and onto paper, it clears up more "room" to creatively think.

4. Don't strive for certainty, but instead strive for action. As ideas run into our heads, we want to make them "come to life" or be perfect right away. Doing that is setting yourself up for failure. You want to see what you can put into action right away (see #5), but big thinkers are okay with ambiguity. Think broadly, and be open to multiple ways of doing things. 

5. The entire purpose of an idea is to create action. I call it the squirrel. Most people have 1000 thoughts running through their heads and because of that never actually take action on anything. We spend all our time complaining (see yesterdays post), or waiting for things to be perfect (see #4 above) before we end up taking action on it. I strive for imperfect action. Some may call it the ready, fire, aim approach. For every idea, I want to know the next step right away. I can envision what the end result or perfect looks like, but I don't' want that to cause analysis paralysis. Action always trumps any good idea.

6. You can accomplish 100x what you think you can. I've mentioned before that I'm a productivity nerd. I constantly try to study why some people can get so much done in a day, and others just seem to always look busy but nothing actually gets done. There's a lot that goes into that, but since we're talking thinking today, I definitely see how that plays a role. People that are unproductive probably fall into two categories. One, they are ideas people. They're great at thinking, but never write it down or take action on it, thus, they have dozens of "tabs" open in their brain and never actually get anything done. These are the people that think multitasking is good, and chip away at everything but never actually make progress on anything. Two, are the people that never actually take time to think, thus they don't have a clear direction of where they're going. Which ties nicely into lessons number seven...

7. Thinking creates a blueprint for your life. Way too many people fly by the seat of their pants, wake up 20 years later, and say, crap, where did life go? Taking the time to think, and to think big, allows you take control of your life and create a plan to live your dream life. This applies to all aspects of life. We want more money. Why? What's your plan to get it. Are you just complaining that you want more money, but you don't actually have a plan to get there? Do you know when you want to retire and what life looks like during retirement? How much money (not a random number) do you need for retirement? Do you take them to reverse engineer that number to see what you need to save this month to stay on track for that? This stuff doesn't just magically happen. Fitness. What does success look like a year from now? Really think about what you're life looks like. What brings you happiness? What do you need to change today to keep that one year vision on track. Create your own life through bigger thinking. 

8. Learn from every single experience. This is a skill I've been constantly trying to develop. I get business ideas from everything ranging from the books I read to the experience I just had pumping gas. Pick up your head, and learn from every single experience. Every single conversation, every single experience you have, there is something you can learn from it. Megan makes fun of me because I literally rip apart (in my head) every where we go. Not necessarily negative, but no matter where we go I look for ways things are being done and think to myself  "how can that be done better?" Whether that's making it faster, more efficient, more appealing, etc.  If you want to think big you have to learn from every experience. 

9. This will be the final one. Surround yourself with bigger thinkers. I really don't want to spend my time around negative people. I also try to surround myself with people who think bigger than I do. People who think changing the world is something they can actually do. I think there's a lot we can learn from anyone, but I really try to limit my day to people who are positive big thinkers, because that will only elevate me. If you're spending your day arguing on the internet, stepping over dollars to pick up pennies, complaining about how bad you have it, or thinking more than 30 seconds about what you're going to wear that day or cook for dinner that night, you need to think bigger. There's a reason why people like Mark Zuckerberg wears the same outfit every day. It's just one more thing he doesn't have to think about and can spend his time thinking about how he's going to change the world. 

That's my thoughts on thinking :)

I'd love to hear yours.

Keep thinking bigger.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling