Working with the stuck

I’ve been pretty stuck this last month. 

Call it being busy with life. Call it running my own website and doing my own projects with Kim Lloyd Fitness along with my work at Spurling. 

Call it buying a house for the first time in my life….

Call it the depression that I battle on a regular basis; the depths and magnitude of which I still don’t always understand. 

Whatever name I give it - the end result is the same. I’ve been very stuck, especially in my writing. I know that Doug sets a timer, sits down and pounds out a blog post every morning. I admire his diligence in that process.

Lately for me, when I sit down, I feel like I’ve lost my ability to speak. It’s unnerving. And strange. And scary. I believe it’s part of the groundlessness I’ve felt ever sense the sudden passing of a beloved client here at the gym.  

I’ve done plenty of writing over the past few weeks - plenty of bits and pieces.  But that’s all they are. Bits and pieces. I start, I stop - I re-read, I second guess. I stop.

I stop. 

And then I have to move on - to the next appointment - to work - to a call with a client - to packing yet another box of Pittsburgh Steelers’ stuff. (I’ve now filled six boxes…with more to go…). Before I know it, I’ve gone three weeks without publishing a post on my own site. 

I’ve had several days in the past week and a half where I’ve said - today is the day - I will publish a post today, no matter how bad it is. 

And I haven’t done it. 

I just can’t seem to pull the trigger. 

I’m listening to a book on will power. I’m trying to understand what it is that’s getting in my way. I’m writing about being stuck today because that’s my reality. Any effort to write something different would be hollow and meaningless. 

This is where I am. 

We all get stuck periodically - we all have days where it feels like we’re moving through mud - and days where our feet feel cemented in place. Days where we feel lonely, unappreciated, overwhelmed, and just flat out wiped. 

This isn’t the first time I’ve felt stuck with something. And it won’t be the last. But I know that the only way out is through - so I’ll keep moving, no matter how slow. I’ll keep sitting down to my computer - writing on a napkin at Starbucks. I’ll keep catching bits and pieces and I will publish a post on my own site eventually. 

And you will get unstuck with whatever it is that feels hard for you right now. Maybe it’s exercise - getting to the gym in the summer - maybe it’s nutrition - too many picnics and parties and weddings. What we won’t do, is throw in the towel. (The towels in Pittsburgh might be terrible, but we don’t throw them). 

What we will do, is ask for help wherever we need it. Someone to help us do the things we don’t feel like doing. Go to the gym, choose a healthier lunch, take a walk on the beach instead of crawling on the couch.

I had a friend once tell me to "act against it." If I felt like staying on the couch, then I needed to force myself to do the opposite. That's not easy to do. But it has been good advice through the years. I've discovered though, that the only way to "act against it" is to solicit the help of a friend.  
I’m not sure what you might be struggling with right now. I hope you're not struggling with anything at all. But if you are, I guess I'll just end by saying that you're not alone in your struggle, whatever it may be.

And if we can do anything to help, let us know.

Be kind to yourself.  

4 Walls To A Well Lived Life...

I truly believe way too many people just go through the motions of life and never actually create what they want, live their dreams, and fulfill themselves. 


Simply put, they never actually take them time to think about it. 

We can get caught up in the daily hustle and bustle, and soon you look back and you have to ask yourself...

Why am I still not happy?

These, in my humble opinion, are the four walls you have to build to live a life well-lived.

1. Awareness: Know who you are

This is the first wall that must be built and is the most important. 


The ability to know who you are, what makes you tick, what your values are, what makes you happy, etc. 

This wall, like the others, is never ending, but it must be started. 

Self-awareness is one of the largest skills we can develop if we want to live a more fulfilling and happier life.

It takes time but can be done through meditation, journaling, and just really taking the time to ask yourself deep questions about what's important to you, what's your character, and what are your motives and desires. 

2. Vision: Knowing what you want

Although I think self-awareness is the most important, this one is my favorite. 

Your vision. 

Why do you exist?

What are you trying to accomplish in your short time here?

Where do you want to go?

What do you want to do?

The answers to those questions and more are all a part of your vision. 

Just like it's important for a company to have a strong vision, I think it's vital for each of us to have a really clear vision. 

A vision creates two things:

Clarity and Drive. 

With a clear vision, you'll have an enormous amount of drive towards something that is bigger than yourself. 

3. Achievement: Know how to get it.

So the first two walls are the most important, but they're kind of "fluffy." 

They're not concrete and may be difficult to put on a paper, but the achievement is very tactical. 

Achievement is where you start learning how to go after your vision.


A Japanse philosophy of continuous improvement. 

1% Better. 

Become a lifelong learner. 

Find something in your vision, learn it, and be the best at it. 

There's an extreme amount of fulfillment in learning how to do something. 

We had to learn how to walk, we had to learn how to read, we had to learn how to be a good spouse, a good parent, etc. 

It's the things that we must learn that keep us fulfilled and happy. 

So whether it's learning a new career, learning how to be a dad, or learning how to squat properly, achievement is an essential part of a well-lived life. 

4. Fulfillment: Know how to enjoy it

Alright, let's back up for a second. 

You know who you are, self-awareness.

You know where you want to go, vision.

You know how to do it, achievement. 

Now it's time to enjoy it. 

Fulfillment is about finding the things that are a part of your vision, that you learn how to do, and now need to find a way to enjoy it. 

Let's talk through a couple examples.

When I first started the business I had to learn how to do it, the specific skills like finances, marketing, leadership, etc. 

Now, in order to truly live our vision, I had to learn how to enjoy it. 

That meant finding the things that I really enjoy doing the most.

Another easy example...being a dad. 

Right now I'm building the wall of achievement. 

I'm learning the skills, and eventually, once the skills are developed, I'll learn fulfillment, the aspects of being a dad that is most rewarding, which comes from a continuous improvement of my self-awareness. 

Let's tie a bow on this...

For some of you that struggle to think "bigger picture" like this let's relate it to fitness. 

Before you even start a fitness routine or a journey to a healthier you, it starts with being self-aware. 

You are aware that you need to change. You become aware of why, why now, and what your motives and desires are. 

From there, you create a vision of what success looks like. 

A breakout of this would be goal setting. 

Goals are just milestones that are moving you closer to your vision. 

At that point, you get into the skills...

Learn how to eat properly. 

Learn how to exercise regularly. 

Learn specific movement patterns, learn recipes, etc, etc. 

Learn the tactics. 

From there, you find what you really enjoy, you master it, and that's when you become fulfilled and enjoy the process.

Alright, you good?

Start thinking about who you are, what you want to go after, learn it, and master it. 

The four walls of a well lived life. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling



















Stop beating yourself up over summer

It’s no secret to many of you that I spent my senior year in college in a convent. I lived with six members of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, and I entered the convent with the intention of becoming a nun. (Some folks assume I just couldn't find an apartment..)

Sister Nancy was the most opposing of the six sisters - with her tight curly perm, ferocity for Notre Dame football, and a deep commanding voice that could bring a room to attention in seconds. In fact, she seldom needed to speak to command attention. 

She scared the ever loving snot out of me. 

But underneath the tough exterior, Sister Nancy was quite kind and compassionate. She worked in education and in leadership within the community and was well-respected and well loved by her students and fellow nuns.

She was a blend of toughness and kindness - and while I mostly feared her for the toughness, I also knew she was compassionate and caring (even if the outer-layer seemed thicker. Much thicker…)

Sister Nancy came to mind a few weeks ago when a client came in and mentioned that her previous few weeks of summer had been filled with too many parties and too little exercise. 

“I know you preach kindness,” she said. “But I really need to get my butt in gear.”

I preach kindness to combat the self-judgment so many clients are already placing on themselves. As one nutrition coach recently put it, most of us already have our own drill sergeant playing in our head - as a coach, I’m not interested in adding to the punishment. 

But as I’ve said before, kindness is not separate from accountability. Kindness is not apathy. Compassion does not mean listlessness. It doesn’t mean that you don’t work hard or that you throw in the towel because you fell away from your nutrition plan for a few weeks in the summer.

That's not compassion and that's not self care. But it's also not focusing on what's in front of you. Which is opportunity.

Kindness and compassion can look a lot like Sister Nancy. A little toughness on the exterior - but a lot of patience and kindness on the inside. 

Make a plan. Move forward. Find someone to help keep you accountable to your goals and that plan. But don’t judge it. 

This is the time of year when many of us start thinking about the reset button. August is winding down, kids are going back to school, and we start thinking about our plans for the fall. It’s good to start thinking about what you need, where you want to be, and how you want to get there. We’ve got some good stuff planned for September to help you with all of those pieces. 

And if you need a Sister Nancy to get you fired up, I could probably give you a little of the tough Sister Nancy.  

It's a Daily Struggle...

You may not believe this...

I haven't worked out in almost two weeks.

In the last 3 months, I've had a total of maybe 15 workouts, something I usually get in a month.  

I don't weigh myself often but last week when Megan was at the doctor's office I hopped on the scale and I couldn't believe it. 

I'm up at least 10-15lbs. 

My nutrition is a B at best, and typically involves at least 3-4 desserts weekly. 

Some of you know my struggle with obesity. 

I share it often because I think it helps all of you relate. 

You can read it here if you haven't read it yet. 

I'm here to tell you that I don't know what you're going through, but I do know that for me, and for you, every day is a struggle. 

Now, I could come up with some excuses like...

Having a then pregnant wife and now a newborn around the house. 

Taking care of a dad who really should probably be in an assisted living facility but is too stubborn to do so. 

Running a customer service business with hundreds of clients, 6 rock star team members, and having to step up even more recently with vacations and new hires. 

But I don't think that's what it is.

I've been busier....

I've worked harder...

It's just life. 

We all go through ebbs and flows. 

It's just part of the journey. 

I'll get back at it. 

You see, I love the wheel of life. 

My relationship is better than ever with Megan...

The gym is busier than ever...

I'm more present in life...

Every spoke on my wheel right now is rocking and rolling except the physical fitness aspect. 

And guess what?

That's ok. 

When I'm ready, the physical fitness and nutrition spoke will excel and I'll start to see results again.

Here's what I won't do...

Give up.

Punish myself.

Stop trying to sneak a workout in or make a little better nutrition choice. 

I don't know what you'll get out of today's post. 

As always, I write these fresh daily covering whatever is on my mind. 

As I write this my newborn son is sleeping in the arms of my wife right next to me, so although I need to drop a couple pounds, I'm ok :)

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Succes,

Doug Spurling










It's Not What You Think...

I was sitting in the pediatric office for Kaden's first appointment since being home and I saw a quote on the wall that I just had to share with you...

A lot of us get into this journey with the goal of wanting less.

Less weight...

Fewer inches....

Less body fat percentage...

Less jiggle...

It's all about removing and having the mindset of less. 

Well, how about this?

"Health is not about the weight you lose but the life you gain."


That's a perfect way to think about it, right?

You see, with the goal of less comes two things. 

If you're all about less weight and fewer inches it creates this negative mindset that as soon as you stop seeing results, you get frustrated. 

Also, what's the point of having less if it doesn't create more?

What happens if you lose all that weight and drop those inches but you're still not happy?

The real reason why we want less weight, fewer inches, and less jiggle, is to live a more fulfilling life. 

The confidence to wear that bathing suit...

The strength to not ask your husband for help carrying in that 50lb bag...

The ability to go on that family hike and not get winded...

So, really, even though we think we want less, it's still the end goal and the reason why we're doing it is to gain more out of life. 

More strength.

More happiness.

More of what you love. 

More confidence. 

More enjoyment. 


Make sense?

"Health is not about the weight you lose but the life you gain."

Alright, I'm off to go change a poopy diaper!

I'll be back tomorrow :)

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling





Running the race

Over the weekend, I had the good fortune to run the Beach to Beacon 10K race in Cape Elizabeth, Maine for the third time, along with Coach Chris (who ran the race in under 40 minutes) and about 12 of our Spurling clients. 

With over 6,500 runners in the field, the actual starting line is a faint green sign in the distance, especially for those of us lining up to run our 10 and 11 minute miles. The crowd of runners is so dense that you shuffle more than run when the gun originally goes off. 

But something happens when you cross that starting line.

The herd of runners begins to spread out a little - you’ve got some space - and the next thing you know adrenaline kicks in and boom -  you're practically sprinting in that first half-mile with the Chariots of Fire song playing in your headphones, thinking of yourself as FloJo, graceful and gliding and…

Suddenly you’re gassed because you just ran a seven-minute mile when your typical pace is 11:00 minutes. Your legs are burning, and you realize that if you don’t settle into your own pace you’ll never even finish the six-mile race.

Those kinds of starts are common in big races like the Beach to Beacon.  

We start many new things in life the same way we start a race. With purpose, intention, and determination, but it usually doesn’t take long before we encounter our first hurdle. Maybe we started our new fitness plan with so much enthusiasm and gusto that we injure ourselves. Or we fatigue ourselves. We hit the gym five days a week and realize within a few weeks that we just can’t keep up with that pace. 

The interesting part of running a bigger race is that when you get to the middle miles, you’re still never alone you now have enough space and time to compare yourself with other runners. You look at some and think “there’s no way I’m going to let that 80 year old man finish in front of me.”  

And then a minute later he sprints past you and you lose your momentum again. If I can’t keep up with an 80-year-old man then why am I even bothering with this at all? The thing about the race though, is you’re not likely to quit and walk away. Not with so many spectators watching. Not when you said you were going to finish this race. Not when this was the one thing on your bucket list. 

So you settle into a pace, dig deep for your why (what the hell was I thinking when I signed up for this thing??) and construct the plan that will allow you to finish. 

The worst and best part of the Beach to Beacon is the finish. It’s almost all uphill. After slogging along the first five miles in the heat and humidity, you get hammered with hills. But by the time you make your entrance into Fort Williams Park, the route is literally lined with people.

When you make that turn into the park you’ve got another half-mile to go to the finish. 

Running uphill, totally gassed and wanting to puke nobody stops to walk, It’s like everyone collectively rides the positive energy of all of the spectators cheering them on and surfs that good vibe to the finish line. 

Not easy, no. But it’s other people that get you through. 

Life is like a box of chocolates sure - but it’s also a lot like running a race. We start out fast and with enthusiasm, lose track of ourselves a little in the middle, and need to do a little soul searching and depend on some cheerleaders to get us through to the finish.  

I don’t know what your goal is. I don’t know what it is that you really want to do in your life. But I’d love to hear from you and we’d love to know how we can be your cheerleaders to help you get where you want to go. 

Whatever you do, please be kind to yourself in the process. 

It's Never Straight...

Each and every day we handle conversations from clients or prospective clients that revolve around results, the speed at which they're happening, or not happening. 

We hear it a lot, but I think it's important to have a continuing reminder in your head that success is never a straight line. 

Let's take it outside of fitness first. 

When in life is success ever a straight line of progression?

Hardly ever. 

You struggled to sit upright as a baby, you then learned how to balance on your bum. 

You started crawling, tried to stand, fell, and eventually after several falls learned how to walk. 

You fell riding your bike before you got better at that. 

You maybe struggled in school before you figured it out and graduated. 

You were dumped or told no in relationships until you figured it out, and it still can be a rocky road.  

You struggled in your career, and still, have good days and bad days. 

In life, let alone fitness, success is never a straight line. 

And until you realize that and use that as part of what makes it so fun you'll continue to get frustrated, mentally beat yourself up, and stay discouraged. 

So when it comes to fitness you have to mentally prepare that things are going to not go your way. 

Stay positive, have a growth mindset, but know that it's never going to be this continuous flow of results. 

You're going to miss a whole bunch of workouts...

You're going to go through a stretch where you don't workout for months or even years...

You're going to make some poor nutrition choices...

You're going to gain weight when you're trying to lose weight. 

You're going to not make it to the gym because something else calls in life. 

And guess what?

That doesn't mean you're a bad person. 

It means you're human! 

Part of the fun of this journey is realizing it's not going to be a straight line. 

I mean how boring would that be?

Part of the fun can be troubleshooting why you're not getting results, seeing what you can change, analyze your behaviors, and try new things.

It's what makes it so fun! 

That's the way you have to look at this journey. 

It's not about the workout today. 

It's not about how much protein you had today. 

It's not about how much water you drink today. 

It's about the journey. 

And this journey is going to have some highs, and it's going to have some lows. 

And that my friends is what makes life so fun :)

Keep at it. 

Success is never a straight line. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling




A Checklist For Fitness

I love checklists. 

It literally stresses me out that there are people on this earth that don't manage their day with checklists. 

How do you do it!?

Yesterday Kim wrote an awesome piece about a pie chart for fitness, and it got me thinking...

What would a checklist for fitness look like?

So I put one together :)

Print it and out and be sure to follow it each day. 

Let me know if this helps you. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

A pie chart for fitness

Over the weekend I created a pie chart for fitness with the components I think are helpful to think about in the pursuit of fat loss and fitness.

20% Training

Yes, this is only 20% and some might argue that it’s even less than that. It doesn’t matter what avenue you choose when you begin training. It could be Crossfit, Insanity, yoga, or a home workout using nothing but a TRX. It’s so easy to hyper focus on the method of training that you can almost paralyze yourself with indecision about which approach is right. One friend lost 50 pounds with one approach, another with a different approach and the next thing you know, you’ve tried seven different boot camps and DVD's and nothing has worked. 

10% Patience

This number also might be a little low. Patience is the part of the process where you stay the course. Choose one method of training and stick to it. Choose one nutrition approach and stick to it. It’s tempting, especially for fitness professionals, to jump from program to program to try something new - it’s tempting for non-fitness professionals to begin with one method of training and then find out about another method and the next thing you know, you’ve tried 10 different approaches in two months. 

Choose an approach - choose a gym, choose a coach to work with, choose a nutrition approach and stick with it for six months. 

30% Nutrition

You’ve heard this before and you’ll hear it again - you can’t out-train a bad diet. It doesn’t matter if you burn 1,000 calories in a workout, fat loss won't happen if you aren't keeping yourself in a caloric deficit. Nutrition is so important that you don’t even need to train to lose weight. If you are on point with your nutrition, and on point is different for everyone, then you will lose weight regardless of what you do in the gym. 

40% Kindness to yourself

I think I need to be clear about something here:

Kindness to yourself is not apathy. It’s not a free pass to say I’ll eat what I want, drink what I want, and throw in the towel on this whole process because it’s just not working anyway.

That’s apathy and I can promise you from experience, that’s a dangerous place to be. 

Kindness is caring enough about yourself to make the best choices you can taking into account your stress level, mood, and life demands on a given day. Some days your body might feel so wrecked by a lack of sleep and life stress that you need to make careful choices about your self-care. Maybe it's a nap, maybe it's a massage, maybe it's 30 minutes in a Starbucks with your headphones on and a good book. 

Kindness to yourself is prioritizing your needs. You might feel like you need a good kick in the pants from your coach to get motivated, and if that's what you need then we can do that. Kindness might mean I kick you out of the gym because you showed up for your workout having not slept in 36 hours.

Kindness is getting enough sleep and rest and prioritizing your recovery. 

Kindness is not beating yourself up more when life is already taking its punches at you, and this is where I think I can be misunderstood. If you missed your workout yesterday and I'm going to tell you that it's ok. 

Because beating yourself up for what you did or didn't do the day before serves you no purpose. 

Avoid Overcomplicating Things...

There's a lot of frustrations in the fitness industry as a consumer but one of the biggest is the amount of information out there and not knowing what to believe. 

Can I eat fruit?

Is sugar bad for me?

What's raw food?

Should I do HIIT?

Isn't resistance training going to make me bulky?

I get it...

You don't know what to believe. 

So what's up with all the confusing information?

First off, there is most likely two reasons for it...

1. This industry is like none other as far as regulations go. My team and I who went to school for exercise science, have degrees and a bunch of letters after our names, are lumped into the same "fit pro" umbrella as the guy or gal who went online and got a quick certification or took a weekend course and called it good. Or even worse, the folks that just sell stuff but don't even have any educational background on it. There's really no regulation as to who can be in this industry. 

Because of that, you have a lot of misinformation (and opinions) being sprayed over the internet. 

2. The shiny object sells. Consumers like you and I are easy to fall for the quick fix. The pill that boosts your metabolism, the shake that can shred fat, or the belt that jiggles my belly away. 

Unfortunately, it's all crap, they know it and we know it, but good marketing can sell anything I guess. 

So how can I help?

One, I think it's important to really understand the above two statements. 

Two, avoid the overcomplicated things. 

Success in this journey only comes down to three things....

1. Sustainable Good Nutrition Habits

It's not about a meal plan that you follow for a couple weeks and bounce back. 

It's not about a detox you do for 21 days.

It's about sustainable, daily, smart nutrition choices.

Fill your day with lots of water, lots of veggies, and lots of protein.

Execute on those three things every single day and I can promise results. 

2. Sustainable Exercise Routines

It's not about the new fancy exercise tool or finding the workout that makes you so tired you can't even pick up your arms the next day. 

Any one can make you tired and sore, but did you actually get better? 

Did you actually get results?

Sustainable exercise routines are safe and appropriate routines for your abilities, goals, and injury history. 

Ideally there monitored by a coach so you can assure proper form and technique, as well as have someone there to adjust things as needed, and keep you motivated and accountable. 

If you're exercising three hours a week or less I would recommend making it 100% resistance training based because it's the most bang for your buck. 

Once you're over three hours per week then you can start adding in additional things like steady state cardio, interval cardio, and others. 

3. Good Sleep & a Positive Mindset. 

Ok, I know, I kind of snuck two in one there but hear me out. 

Good sleep may be the most underrated way to increase your health. 

It's about quality sleep. 

6-8 hours per night of deep sleep. 

Shut the screens off an hour before and focus on quality sleep. 

To pair with that, throughout this journey a positive mindset is a must. 

This is a blog topic in itself but just so know success is never a straight line. 

You're going to go through ups and downs, you're going to be hard on yourself, and you're going to get frustrated. 

It's vital to keep a positive mindset throughout this journey. 

So, avoid the overcomplicated things. 

Focus on sustainable nutrition habits, a safe exercise routine, solid sleep, and a positive mindset. 

It's the most ordinary things done consistently that proves excellence. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling









The Four Agreements

I'm not sure how this one will tie into fitness but I felt compelled to write about it. 

The four agreements. 

The four things, as good human beings, that we need to keep in mind and take action on. 

The four things that create love and happiness in our lives. 

Understanding these commitments is easy and simple, but actually living and keeping these four agreements can be one of the hardest things. 

Integrate these four agreements into your life and every area will improve, fitness included. 

1. Be Impeccable with your word

This is integrity. 

Doing what you said you were going to do. 

Committing to what you said you would do. 

Saying only what you mean. 

It's also avoiding using negative words to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. 

This can have a nice carryover to the negative self-talk we often feed ourselves throughout a weight loss journey. 

Use your words to drive happiness and love not negativity. 

2. Don't take anything personally. 

What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. 

Nothing others do is because of you. 

When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others you won't be impacted by their negativity. 

This one clearly carries over to several facets of life, but it also has some weight throughout your fitness journey. 

"Oh come on Doug, why are you getting that grilled chicken dish? What are you trying to eat healthy or something? Just get the burger and beer!"

We've all had that. 

We're trying to make healthy choices and our social circle gives us a hard time about it. 

Now hopefully they're just joking, but it can still weigh heavily on you. 

Don't take anything personally, keep your head down, stay positive, and focus on your journey. 

3. Don't make assumptions

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. 

Communicate with others as clearly as possible to avoid misunderstandings.

Whether it's communicating with your coach, communicating to your spouse, or communicating to your coworker, don't make assumptions. 

Spell things our clearly, ask good questions and don't assume. 

4. Always do your best. 

This is my favorite one. 

In every moment, you should always be doing the best you possibly can. 

Life is too short for half hearted efforts in anything. 

Now, an important thing to understand before I go on...

Your best is going to change moment to moment.

Your best when you're sick is not going to be as good as when you're healthy.

Your best when you're tired is not going to be as good as when you're rested.

That doesn't matter though.

In any situation, always do your best, whatever that looks like at that time. 

Jump higher.

Put 100% effort in 100% of the time.

Always do your best. 

You good?

How'd you like the four agreements?

If you liked them I would highly suggest reading the book. You can grab it here

I hope you have a great weekend! 

I'll be back on Monday to pick things up where we left off. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling





Spaghetti Squash With Asparagus, Ricotta, Lemon, Thyme....Delish!

Happy Thursday!!!

I know you have been asking....."what do I do with this spaghetti squash......."

Make spaghetti with it, of course!

This is more of a winter into spring meal but there is no rule against eating a spring vegetable in the summer ;)  Sometimes, you have to look outside the box.  

This version is vegetarian so any meat lovers out there, feel free to spice it up with some grilled chicken or some steak tips!

Happy Noshing!!



1 small spaghetti squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 pound asparagus
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 medium lemon)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (from 4 to 5 sprigs)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted


Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Brush the cut sides with 1/2 tablespoon of the oil. Place cut-side down on one half of a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 35 minutes. Meanwhile, trim the woody ends of the asparagus and cut the stalks on a diagonal into 2-inch pieces.

Remove the baking sheet with the squash, add the asparagus to the other side, and toss with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Place a garlic clove beneath each squash half. Return the baking sheet to the oven and roast until the asparagus is tender and starting to char, and the squash is easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place the ricotta, lemon juice, zest, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, and stir to combine.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully remove the garlic cloves from beneath the squash. Add to the ricotta and mix well. Add the asparagus to the bowl.

When the squash is cool enough to handle but still warm, run a fork through the flesh to separate and remove the strands from the shell. Add to the ricotta mixture and stir to combine. Divide between plates or transfer to a serving platter and top with the pine nuts.

Home of original recipe:

Is That It?

This one's going to get interactive.

If you're reading this in a place that allows you to I want you to step back away from your phone or computer. 

I want you to jump as high as you possibly can. 

Just once. 

How'd you do?

Now, I want you to go back and jump higher!

I'd bet my life on it that you jumped higher the second time. 

But wait?

The first go around I told you to jump as high as you possibly can? 

What happened?

You didn't jump as high as you possibly could the first time because you didn't use every ounce of potential you had inside of you. 

The point?

You have more potential inside of you than you could ever imagine, you just need to bring it out. 

I did this drill with the team last week as a way of demonstrating potential and what kind of effort you bring every day matters. 

We have everything we need within us to grow, to conquer our goals, and to achieve our dreams. 

We just need someone or something to bring the potential out of us. 

I mean that's really the definition of a coach. 

Think outside of fitness and go to sports or careers coaches. 

They may teach you a few skills, but all they're really trying to do is bring out the best of what's already inside of you. 

You have everything you need to achieve your goals. 

You have the potential inside of you. 

You just need to bring it out. 

You have a choice every day of how much you're going to show up.

You have a choice of how much effort you're going to put forth in everything you do. 

It's inside of you, and only you can choose whether you decide to bring it out. 

It's time to reach your potential, bring out the best inside of you, and do the small stuff while no one is watching.

That's what makes the biggest impact. 

Jump higher!

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling 



Three tips for training around an injury

Though I’m not old, (40 is the new 30, right?), I am confronted on a daily basis with chronic aches and pains that come from nowhere.

It's like my body is now cashing in all of the checks I wrote in my teens and twenties. One day my Achilles hurts, the next day it's my Achilles and my knees, and by Wednesday, I don't know what the hell I did to my shoulder but that's messed up too.

Who's kidding?  

As it turns out, just Father Time.

I'm not sure that anything is more discouraging than feeling like you can no longer do the activities that you want to do. Suddenly you feel old and worse yet, incapable. For awhile you grind through the pain and depending on the issue, that might be okay for a time. But eventually, that will catch up with you too. 

Before long, out of sheer frustration you might decide to stop doing anything at all, though as a friend once told me "my aunt stopped working out because her back hurt and that was 40 years ago."

Once you stop doing anything, it's difficult to start up again. 

So if you're looking for the number one tip for training around an injury, it's gotta be this one:

1. Don't stop training

At Spurling, we've seen a number of clients who work through and around pain and injury on a daily basis. If you check our Instagram feed, you'll see a picture of our client Anne planking with a boot on her foot. She works around her aches and pains. In her mind, that's just part of what you do. In many other folks minds, that's when you take time off. Depending on the specific injury, some time off may be in your best interest, but in many cases, there is still something that you can do. 

If you have knee pain, you can still focus on your upper body. If you have shoulder pain, you can still focus on your lower body. If you have both, no worries - there's still core work and other regressed exercises you can likely do.    

Also on our Insagram feed and Facebook page is a recent video of our client Andrea planking with 60 pounds worth of chains on her back. She held the plank for close to a minute (or eight slow breaths) and did four sets. Combined with some other core work. 

I would have given her more chains, but she was already using them all. 

Aside from the fact that Andrea is ridiculously strong and that video is diesel, she is a client who often reminds me of how much you can still do, even when you have restrictions.

At 54 years old, Andrea is less than three years removed from a double knee replacement. Since that surgery, she has dropped 20 pounds and has maintained her fat loss. With the knee replacement came certain restrictions - there is plenty that she cannot do - and like many other folks adjusting to their bodies with age - probably plenty of days she'd like to take off.

But she consistently shows up for her workouts three times per week. And does plenty on her own in between. 

When I asked what advice she might have for folks trying to work out around an injury, she offered this next tip. 

2. Be willing to do a different routine than you used to do

A little while back I wrote a post about training for the past, which is a difficult habit to break, especially for those who have been training for many years. It's so easy to focus on "getting back to an 8-minute mile or 2x bodyweight deadlift" instead of training for who and where you are now. Just because you can't do the same exercises in the same way you used to doesn't mean you need to quit training - but it might mean you need to make some adjustments for the long game. 

Andrea can squat - but not to parallel - and because of that knee replacement, she can no longer do any exercises from her knees. I've also seen her deal with hip and shoulder pain at times. But what I've come to appreciate most in working with her is her focus on what she can do and the way she takes her ego out of her decision-making. If she can't do an exercise she'll flat out tell you.   

Sometimes, myself included, we do exercises we know we shouldn't be doing. (Like maybe bench pressing only 5 months out of shoulder surgery even though it kind of hurts). I have no good reason for doing that stupid stuff other than letting my ego get in the way. 

Andrea's third piece of advice (she practically wrote this, thanks Andrea) is this:

3. Find a coach

When you are dealing with an injury, find a coach who can program properly for you. In the case of knee pain or a knee injury, which most folks over the age of 35 have in some form or another, there's still plenty that you can do, but there's also a list of exercises that you should probably avoid, and certain other muscles you really need to strengthen. Finding a coach to help you navigate those decisions can go a long way in helping you build back your confidence in training, and having some trust in your body again.  

After I wrote this original post, another client, Stella, came walking into the gym with a hamstring strain after having torn her other one last fall. But she showed up, took her ego out of the equation and did what she could. We see clients like Stella, Andrea, and Anne all of the time.

Injuries and chronic pain are frustrating and discouraging. But don't let that stop you from trying. With the right programming, the right coaching, and the right approach, there's still plenty you can do. 

If You Have It...

Meet Tori...

She's a busy mom of two who works full time. 

She's just like you and me.

Except for this past weekend while we were lounging on the beach or hanging around the house she ran a triathlon.

Tori started at Spurling just 5 months ago.

She was depressed, exhausted, and out of shape.

She knew it was time for a change, but she didn't know where to start.

She trusted the team at Spurling, listened to the coaches.

She didn't over commit, she is consistent at the gym, showing up about 10-12x per month. 

She set a goal when she first started at Spurling of running a triathlon, thinking it would take a couple years. 

Little did she know, through consistency, commitment, and the community around her she was able to complete the Tri for a Cure this weekend just 5 months after setting that goal. 

Today's lesson...

To quote the great Walt Disney...

"All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them."

We all have dreams just like Tori.

The difference?

She has the courage to pursue hers. 

That's the hardest part about this whole fitness journey thing...

It's bigger than just wanting to lose weight or tone up, we know that. 

We all have aspirations, dreams, and goals. 

However, if you want to achieve them, the first step is building up the courage to pursue them. 

What are you doing today to take one step closer to your dream?

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

PS: If you're ready to create your own Spurling success story like Tori did and pursue your dreams click here.



Tomorrow's Meeting


It may be my favorite word. 

What does strong mean to you?

You see, the reason why I love the word so much is it has a unique meaning for each person. 

When we quickly think of strong we may think of muscle-bounded gym rats, but that's really not the case. 

Strong takes on a definition that only you can create. 

Strong is...

Strong is being able to not ask for help lifting your trailer tailgate off the ground. 

Strong is being able to carry in that 50lb bag of dog food. 

Strong is being able to put yourself first. 

Strong is being the best parent you can be. 

Strong is taking initiative in your career and paving your own path. 

Strong is saying no to things that distract you from what really matters. 

Strong is fighting for what you believe in. 

Strong is having the willpower to make the hard decisions that will ultimately move you closer to your goals. 

Strong is walking through the doors of a new gym and admitting you need help. 

Strong is being emotionally fit enough to handle life's ups and downs. 

Strong is...


Only you determine what strong means. 

Tomorrow we're hosting our Spurling Charity Workout to benefit Maine Cancer Foundation.

We've done it every year since we've been in business and have raised thousands for fighting cancer right here in Maine. 

When we think of those who are fighting and those who have fought the very tough battle of cancer, we think of strong. 

Tomorrow we meet up to have some fun, raise some money, and show some support for those who are strong. 

The workout kicks off at 8:30 am, so please arrive 15 minutes early to find parking and get signed in. 

We'll have you back home by 9:45 :)

I hope to see you there. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

PS: If this is the first time you're hearing about the event tomorrow, learn more and RSVP here





What's On The Other Side?

The book I'm currently reading right now is called "Tools of Titans" by Tim Ferriss.

It's basically dozens, if not hundreds, of interviews with billionaires, CEO's, celebrities, and more.

Really cool stuff, I'd highly recommend it.

However, I noticed after reading the interviews there's one commonality amongst everyone.

One of the questions Tim asked everyone was...

"If you could put something on a billboard for everyone to see, what would it say?"

Now, you'd think you would get 100 different answers, but what was interesting, was every individual pretty much said the same thing. 

Stop worrying, it's going to be okay. 

I found that very interesting. 

They could have said anything, but over 90% of them basically said something to do with fear, it all working out, and to stop worrying. 

To quote Jamie Foxx from the book...

"What's on the other side of fear?"


This obviously can be a much larger lesson in life about getting outside of your comfort zone, not stressing about the things that don't matter, or anything of that nature, but let's keep it focused on the fitness journey. 

You see, I don't think we're in the fitness business. 

We're in the customer-service, fear elimination, empowering the heck out of you, change your life business. 

We just happen to use a gym as our tool to make that happen. 

Fear is what's holding us all back. 

Fear that we're going to look stupid....

Fear that we're not going to know what to do...

Fear that we're going to hurt ourselves...

We spend so much time worrying about this journey, stressing about what's to come or how to start, that we never actually even start.  

But think back to all the big decisions you made in your life. 

Going into it you probably had a whole lot of fear, but how did it turn out?

What was on the other side?

All good, right?

It turned out ok. 

When you think of fear don't think of Forget Everything And Run.

Instead, think of Face Everything And Rise.

Anything that is going to change your life is going to have some fear going into it. 

But just remember the Jamie Foxx quote...

What's on the other side?


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

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

PS: The team at Spurling decided to help you with the fear of walking into a gym and filmed a short clip to the Three's Company song, Come Knock on Our Door. You'll be sure to get a good laugh. Watch it here.



Gauging your effort

When I first moved to Boston, I joined a slow pitch softball team called Wild. Many of us were in our late twenties and early thirties, and we did what we could to live up to the name.

I was at third base in one of my first games and made a diving stop on a sharply hit ground ball. I almost surprised myself with my reflexes and stood up only to hear my teammates yelling at me. 

“Try harder!”

My face betrayed my indignation before the shortstop wandered over and explained that was the inside joke for when you couldn’t possibly have tried any harder. 

Irony. Or something.

As I’ve moved into the realms of personal training and coaching, we don’t often talk about effort. The goal for so many folks is to just get started and build consistency that’s it’s easy to forget about what happens when you do start exercising or going to the gym on a regular basis.

But once you do build that routine, the next question becomes:


The Borg Scale (No, not like Victory Borge) is also known as the Rate of Perceived Exertion Scale and is a way of measuring physical activity intensity level. On the Borg scale, the measurement is from 6-20. Six is no exertion at all, nine is very light, 15 is hard and 20 is your maximum effort. 

We recently began a challenge at Spurling to hit 100 workouts between July 1st and the end of the year. Not all of those workouts will come in the gym, and many folks have asked what constitutes a workout outside of the gym. My question is, how hard do you feel you are you working during the activity? 

Next time you walk the dog or walk your friend pay attention to your effort level. According to the CDC “a high correlation exists between a person’s perceived exertion rating times 10 and the actual heart rate during physical activity; so a person’s exertion rating may provide a fairly good estimate of the actual heart rate during activity (Borg, 1998).

If your RPE is 13, which on the Borg scale is working somewhat hard, and you multiply that number by 10, then your heart rate is like 130 beats per minute. (That's why Borg skipped the first five numbers). Researchers have found that measuring your own effort is a quick and effective way to judge intensity. (Click if you want to read more about the Borg Scale).

This is a 6 on the Borg Scale. 

This is a 6 on the Borg Scale. 

For a person with a higher fitness level, walking the dog may feel like a 9, which on the Borg scale is the equivalent of very light and her heart rate would be around 90 beats per minute. For someone who is sedentary and deconditioned, walking the dog for 20 minutes may be a 15 on the Borg scale (hard) and her heart rate is around 150 beats per minute. What matters most is measuring your own feeling of effort and exertion, and not how it compares to other people’s.

Don’t underestimate that last piece. Evaluate your own feeling of exertion - not how your friend feels. But also be honest - if you are out walking, measure your effort. (Heart rate monitors can be useful for this, but again, if you use the Borg scale and multiply by 10, you'll get a good estimate.)

If you want to see results - which for many is fat loss - the exercise needs to be, according to the CDC, 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity - which means at a minimum, brisk walks. If you are already doing that - the next challenge is to move towards 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. 

The bottom line is that while it is important to get up and move and start doing something, it's equally important to begin paying attention to your effort. 

So, in the words of my Wild teammates, sometimes you may have to try harder. 

But make sure to have fun while you do it. 

This is a 20 on the Borg Scale. 

This is a 20 on the Borg Scale. 

October 2009...

October 2009...

I was a junior in college and thought I had life all figured out. 

I was 20 years old, finally had a group of friends for the first time, and was loving life. 

I've been working since I was 14 and throughout college was no different. 

I would go to class from 7-2 and then work from 3-8. 

On the weekends I'd either go home to do a couple shifts at the nursing home where I worked throughout college or work a weekend shift at the gym I was working at during the week. 

Well, this fall weekend in October of 2009 was a little different. 

I drove home from college and walked into dinner on the table with my parents and brother sitting there waiting for me. 

Within seconds, tears rolled down my mom's face, and she blurted out...

"I have cancer."

I didn't know it at the time, but that has been one of the most defining moments of my life to date.

I wasn't really sure what to do. 

I went back to college that Monday, went back to work, and back to "normal" things. 

Each week I would call home to get updates and every couple I would drive back home to spend time with the family. 

The remaining fall semester was a blur.

I failed classes, lost friends, and really was never present in anything. 

Over winter break things progressed and I watched my mom struggle to walk up stairs, cry as she had to try a wig on, and eventually get so weak she could barely walk. 

That spring semester of 2010 was a repeat of the fall. 

I don't really remember much other than I know I failed Chemistry yet again, watched my dad cry for the first time in 20 years, and helped my younger brother grasp the news that mom wasn't going to be able to leave the hospital to watch him graduate high school.

My mom eventually moved from the hospital to the hospice house. 

On June 14, 2010, I held my mom's hand as we surrounded her bedside at the hospice house and watched her take her last breath. 

She was 52.

Some of you have heard the story before...

Some of you are reading it for the first time...

I share it often because it's a big part of who I am.

It's a big part of who Spurling Fitness is.

Unfortunately, I'm not the only one with a story like this. 

I'm sure we all know someone, maybe even yourself, who has had to battle cancer. 

Since my mom's passing, I've had this ferocious fire inside me that motivates me more than I can describe. 

I choose not to use my mom's passing as a way of feeling sad, but instead, as a way to make an impact, to empower people, to change lives, and to make a difference in the world for the very short time I'm here. 

It would mean the world to me if you, your friends, and your family could make it to our Spurling Charity Workout benefiting Maine Cancer Foundation this Saturday, 7/22, @ 8:30 am. 

We're asking for a small donation at the door, and we'll host a 45-minute circuit-style workout for all ages and fitness abilities. 

I hope to see you there! 

===>>> Spurling Charity Workout benefiting Maine Cancer Foundation

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling










Jar of Awesome

We spend a lot of time talking about happiness, gratitude, and positive thinking here. 

I think we all "get it" but then that begs that question of how do I work on it?

There's no right answer...

Some people are motivated by scare tactics like...

If I live till I'm 80 I only have about 18,000 more days to make an impact on this world. 

Why spend any time being unhappy when we're here for just a short time?

Some people are motivated by surrounding themselves with positive people...

Being a part of a community, a part of something bigger than yourself, or a having a social group that is less about drama and negativity and more about happiness and positivity. 

But how do I think most people are motivated to be happier and more positive?

Just like nutrition and fitness...

Small daily habits, small daily wins, stacked on top of each other. 

And that's where the Jar of Awesome comes in.

Grab a mason jar and leave it where you see it every day. 

Next to it is a pile of scrap paper. 

Every day write something down that was awesome about that day and put in the jar. 

It could be something big like your son graduated from high school and it could be something small like the sun came out today. 

You could even keep it displayed in the house and get the whole family involved. 

Why does an exercise like this work?

It forces you to keep happiness and positivity at the forefront, and there is something awesome happening each and every day, it just takes the jar to remind you what it is. 

Try out the Jar of Awesome and let me know how it goes. 

Life is way too short to be nothing but positive and happy, and maybe this Jar can be the tipping point to helping you get there every single day. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling