The Things We Carry

The day after I broke the school record for wins by a softball pitcher, I asked my teammate and good friend Aimee, who did the school tv announcements in the morning,  if she would please not make a big deal about my achievement the next morning on the school announcements.

I was proud, don’t get me wrong, but I absolutely melted in the face of attention.

She promised. 

The next morning, when her piece of the news was complete, I was relieved that she had mentioned the highlights of the game without making a big deal about the record. 

Then the camera panned to Andrew, a theatre major who relished the spotlight. Aimee hadn’t mentioned the record, but she gave Andrew full license to go on and on and on and on about it. There was a sign and possibly streamers, while he did his best Howard Cosell impression. 

I was mortified.

(Aimee is now a sports psychologist who works with professional hockey players so presumably, she was doing her early work in exposure therapy). 

As my classmates trained their attention on me, I opened up my book bag and stuck my head inside. Yes, I really did this. 

My reaction to attention, positive or negative, is visceral - my face gets hot, my ears catch fire and I tug at them; I can't make eye contact. People get awkward just watching my awkwardness. 

But hey, the good news with being 41 years old is that I'm past that stuff. 


Two months ago, my coworker Judy brought in her microphone headset for me to try out during a team training class. My voice doesn’t carry well and as our classes have gotten bigger, even my best outside voice loses the battle to the blaring music and hum of conversations. 

I knew I needed to at least try a microphone, but took one look at the headset in Judy's hands and was a teenager all over again, frantically looking for a book bag in which I could stick my head. 

Judy turned the headset on and talked into the microphone.

“See?” she said, talking into it. “No big deal.”

Right, I thought. Right. Totally. I’m an adult. No big deal. Nope, this is fine, totally fine. I’m basically on stage everyday when I coach. Yup, totally got this.

She put the headset on me and I walked over to the class of 20 people waiting for me.

It's like I'd been dropped into a Wonder Years' episode. 

I looked around for a moment before shaking my head and ripping off the microphone. 

“Sorry,” I said to everyone and tugging on my ear. “You’ll just have to listen closer.”

I’m 41-years old and comfortable in my skin.

But in that moment, I was 17. And the experience was completely unnerving. 

In retrospect, I'm grateful I was so completely triggered. 

Because I work in a field that is ripe for that kind of reaction. 

Middle school and high school are tough years for many of us. We're figuring ourselves out, finding what we like, who our friends are, what we're good at. And many of the people, women and men alike, who walk through our doors have had some sort of traumatic experience in a gym or fitness setting. 

I actually don't know how to swim. In high school when it was time to swim for gym class I would stay in the shallow end of the pool and tell Mrs. Pompa that a person could drown in as little as two inches of water and that it was abuse to make me wear a bathing suit.

But really I was humiliated that all of my friends were swimming laps and I was hanging out in the shallow end. 

We are hard wired to remember those feelings.

We don't forget what it felt like to be picked last for kickball, to sit on the bench during soccer or finish last in a relay race. We don't forget what it felt like to wear those horrific polyester gym uniform shorts that were only three inches long while Mrs. Pompa made us square dance (promenade!). 

Sometimes it's easy to forget what people carry when they come through our doors. Not just what they carry now, but what they carry from 30 years ago. The white hot scars that never go away. 

It's easy to look around, as coaches and fellow clients, and make assumptions about the people we see. We all carry our experiences, both old and new, and those experiences inform who we are and what we've become. 

I guess that's why my go-to saying and sign off is to be strong and be kind. 

Be kind. Be gentle. You never know what someone else carries.

And as your coaches, we promise to do the same. 

Be Like Baby...

Most of you have met or at least heard about my son, Kaden. 

He's 7.5 months old and doing great, and as I was thinking about what to write about this morning I was watching him on the ground, struggling, and it popped into my head...

Act like a baby!

That's almost the perfect analogy for the journey a lot of us are on if we're trying to accomplish a goal like losing weight. 

Right now he's learning how to crawl. 

He gets up on his and hands and knees, rocks for a minute, and then collapses onto his face. 

Somedays he laughs when it happens, other days he cries when it happens.

But every day, he gets back on the ground, gets up on his hands and knees and starts rocking. 

As most of you know, that will soon lead to him crawling. 

But not today, and probably not tomorrow. 

However, if he just gave up the first time, or even the tenth time, he would never learn how to crawl. 

And guess what?

As soon as he crawls he's going to want to walk, then run. 

He'll always want more :)

Before he could come up to his hands and knees and he learned how to sit up, and before that he learned how to lift his head. 

It's all a journey. 

There's good days and bad days...

There are days filled with laughter and other days filled with tears...

But today, you'll find him back down on the ground rocking on his hands and knees. 

Sounds just like our journey right?

Yesterday may not have gone as planned...

You may not be where you want to be...

But the worst thing you can do is throw in the towel and give up...

All you can do is show up for another day, give it your all, and aim for progress, not perfection. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

PS: We have just 6 spots left in our Metabolism Makeover. If you're looking to get ready for summer, tone up, drop pant sizes, get stronger, build confidence, and give that metabolism a boost you must act now. We start April 2nd, but orientation is next week! Click here to learn more and register. 





Is That All?

I mentioned last week I had LASIK eye surgery. 

Things are going great, I can see better than ever, and only one thing sucks about it...

You can't workout for seven days after surgery. 

For seven days you can't touch your eyes, and they don't want sweat dripping down your eyes, or your eyes straining too hard. 

Now, as much as I'm bummed about not being able to workout for a week (especially during the MYZONE Challenge going on right now), I have used it as a good lesson. 

One of the biggest reasons why I love the Spurling Community so much and am proud of what we've built is because there's so much more than just workouts...

We can work on accountability...

We can work on nutrition...

We can work on our relationships...

We can work on gratitude...

We can work on recovery...

I like to describe it as spokes on a wheel. 

If you think of a wheel, with say a dozen spokes, the workout aspect is just one of them. 

Instead of getting too bummed out about not being able to workout for a week (I was on a good streak after bouncing back from the holidays/Kaden's first few months), I'm using it as a time to work on the other spokes. 

I've stayed right on par with my nutrition, and in fact, I would say it's been a little better since it's been a big focus. 

I have been sleeping more, spending more time thinking about what I'm grateful for, and spent the entire weekend hanging out with my son all day. 

Now, all things I could/should be doing all the time, it's not that I couldn't, I just made them the focus. 

Have heard the saying TOMA before? 

Top of Mind Awareness. 

That's all this stuff is. 

The hurdle for me not being able to workout has just brought the other spokes higher up the totem pole, more top of mind.  

So, wherever you are on your journey...

Remember, it's never going to go smooth. 

It's never going to be perfect. 

You're never going to be A+ at all spokes on the wheel. 

Every month, every week and every day you'll focus on one spoke over the other. 

It's about progress, not perfection, right?

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

PS: I can't wait to get back to working out and if you'd like to join me we have a few spots left in our Metabolism Makeover. It starts April 2nd, but we have orientation on 3/29 so you must register soon. Spots are going fast. Click here to learn more and register. 






LASIK, Vacation, & 700

Yesterday I had a laser beam burned into my eyes...

I had LASIK. 

For the first time since 6th grade, I can go without glasses or contacts.

For the first time this morning in 15 years I won't have to put my contacts in. 

I stacked the surgery on the day after my 10-day vacation so only people I would never see again would have to see me with glasses (I have to not wear my contacts for the 5 days prior to surgery). 

So, what does all of this have to do with you?

Well, one, just like I get to know you, I want you to know me. I don't want to just be the person the bombards you with daily e-mails, I want to build a relationship, and shining a light into my personal life every once in awhile is a great way to do that. 

Two, I think there's a great lesson. 

I want to let you in on a little secret...

This e-mail, along with the other ones you've received for the last 10 days is actually being written before I even step on the plane for my vacation. 


It's a priority for me to connect with my community every single day. 

I know I won't have access to a computer for the next 10-12 days, and it's a priority of mine to show up in your inbox, every single day, Monday-Friday, at noontime. 

It's a rule for me, a non-negotiable. 

And I'll soon pass 700 e-mails sent, 700 straight days of never missing. 

The lesson for you?

If it's important you'll find the time. 

"I don't have time" is the biggest excuse on Planet Earth. 

One of my favorite lines is...

Instead of Saying "I Don't Have Time," Say "It's Not a Priority"

Think about that for a minute...

Instead of saying " I don't have time to workout."

Try saying " It's not a priority for me to workout."

It sounds different, right?

And it's the truth...

Listen, I'm not here to judge, I'm human too, there's plenty of things I've dropped the ball on (workouts included), but the hard truth is that when I said no to something, I've said yes to something else. 

It's okay that you didn't work out, but when you don't you're saying it's not a priority, and if something else is a bigger priority, that's cool, but if it's a priority to you, you'll find the time. 

Again, I've said no to other things, but showing up for you every single day at noon time is a priority of mine. I'll say no to something else, to say yes to this because I've made it a priority, even if that means writing 12 e-mails and scheduling them before I leave for vacation. 

It's up to you what is a priority in life, but if your health is a priority, stop saying you don't have time, and instead admit that it's really not a priority. 

When you choose to make fitness a priority, you will have to say no to something else (sleeping in, being home right after work, etc), but if it's a priority, you'll find the time. 

Hope that helps. 

I can't wait to see you (pun intended) soon. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling 

PS: Accountability is the key here. We all know we need to exercise, but sticking with it is the hardest part. At Spurling, we have what we call our "3 uniques," coaching, community, and accountability. If you're looking for more accountability, click here, fill out the form, and we'll set up a time to see how we can help. 







Shrimp & Sausage Skillet


  • 1 lb of medium or large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 6 oz of pre-cooked smoked sausage, chopped (choose your favorite)
  • 3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 of a medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • Olive oil or coconut oil
  • Optional garnish: chopped parsley


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with some olive oil or coconut oil
  2. Season shrimp with Old Bay Seasoning
  3. Cook shrimp about 3-4 minutes until opaque – remove and set aside
  4. Cook onions and bell peppers in skillet with 2 Tbsp of olive oil or coconut oil for about 2 minutes
  5. Add sausage and zucchini to the skillet, cook another 2 minutes
  6. Put cooked shrimp back into skillet along with the garlic, and cook everything for about 1 minute
  7. Pour chicken stock into pan and mix through to moisten everything
  8. Add salt, ground pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
  9. Remove from heat, garnish with parsley and serve hot

Asparagus Sweet Potato Chicken Skillet


  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and ground fresh black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup chicken broth or water
  • ½ lb fresh asparagus (the spears should be cut at a diagonal in 1 and 2 inch pieces)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper


  1. On a plastic board, cut the chicken into small pieces and season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, garlic, and chicken.
  3. Sauté the chicken for about 7-10 minutes or until it is cooked through. Don’t forget to stir well. Set chicken aside.
  4. In the same skillet, add sweet potato and chicken broth.
  5. Cook for about 7-10minutes or until the sweet potato is cooked.
  6. Add asparagus and cook for about 4-5 minutes.
  7. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.

Injuries suck

Originally this post was titled strategies for dealing with injuries. 

But I'm highly caffeinated and feeling really blunt.

On Sunday, I strapped my running shoes on and turned in my first long run on the way to training for the San Diego marathon. The marathon is my great white whale.*

Completing a marathon is on my bucket list and so in February I took the plunge and signed up to take a 26.2 mile foot tour of San Diego. I don’t run the way I did in my twenties and early thirties, when I logged 30, 40 and 50 miles per week and couldn’t be dragged into strength training.

In fact, I remember going into the weight room at Penn State Altoona with a friend of mine and struggling through two ugly reps of the bench press with a 45 pound bar. 

It practically pinned me.

I felt weak, inadequate, and completely out of my league. It would be another eight years before I went into a weight room and didn’t head straight for the treadmill.

This past Sunday, I headed out on the country roads near my house and as I jogged past the farms and along the river I was reminded of why I fell in love with running in the first place. It’s meditative. It’s peaceful. It’s cathartic. 

I got home after 7 miles and felt great. My only goal with the marathon and training is to stay healthy. 

Less than 24 hours later, my right foot started to hurt. By Monday night I could barely put weight on it. By Tuesday I was limping around the gym floor spitting nails and cursing my body. 

I could have put my fist through a wall. 

I don’t know if the phrase is unique to Western Pennsylvania, but “I ain’t no spring chicken no more.” I get that. I’m not old. But I’m not young. And my body is coming to collect on every check I wrote in my teens, twenties and thirties. 

And every time I get a nagging injury my self-esteem takes a hit, I become petrified of re-injuring whatever body part has given up on me this time, and I get depressed. Exercise is my main form of managing my depression and when I can’t workout, it’s not good for me. 

The great thing about aging though, is the wisdom that comes with it. As frustrated as I am right now, I have some go to strategies for getting me through. 

1. Writing

I write blogs now, but for years I journaled. Writing helps me process life events, make sense of how I feel and what I’m thinking and gives me a chance to really get my emotions out. Today’s journal entry looks something like this:



2. Workout around the injury

I don’t know how long I’ll be limping around on one foot, but I’m obviously not going to put in four miles today. I am, however, going to set a timer for 15 minutes and deadlift my face off. Almost without fail, there is something you can do to work out around an injury. And in the past few months, I’ve seen clients come in with a broken leg, sprained knee, and eight weeks out of a double hip replacement to get in a workout. 

I’ve also seen clients come in and workout while going through chemotherapy. 

There is always something you can do. 

3. Stay connected

We encourage all of our clients to continue coming to the gym despite injuries. Even if they only get on a foam roller or do some light stretching, the community connection can go a long way in keeping your spirits up. When I was a college coach, injured athletes were never excused from practice. Social connection is critical, especially at times when we really don’t feel like it. 

I know the word tribe gets thrown around a lot these days, but I can promise you, I’m leaning heavy on my tribe right now as I negotiate this injury.

I often tell new clients that we have very few truly healthy people with whom we work. Almost without fail, we have some nagging injury that crops up from time to time. That includes us coaches. And not just the ones over 30. We all deal with injury at some form or another. 

Lean on your tribe. Ask a coach what you can do. Let yourself be emotional. But don't give up on yourself. 


The Ultimate Guide To Understanding Fitness...

I know there's a ton of information out there on the Google, as I call it. 

We get questions every day that starts with...

I read X on the internet, what do you think about it?

First off, I'm glad they trust enough to ask us our opinion, so keep the questions coming. 

However, with all the noise on the internet, I wanted to help you understand fitness, from a broad perspective and remembering one of my favorite principles. 


Keep It Simple Stupid. 

Here are the 5 components of fitness that we feel everyone should have, and for the sake of simplicity I'll leave out nutrition and mindset, which we are firm believers they are just as important, if not more important to the big picture. 

1. Goals & Screen

This is where it all starts. 

I don't care if you want to do Zumba, Weightlifting, or Belly Dancing, it starts here. 

You need to know your goals (what you're trying to accomplish) and how you move. 

What are your injuries?

Why does your knee hurt when you go upstairs?

Does your back hurt?

We put every new client through what we call a Success Session. 

It's used to learn about them, but it's also used for us as a screen. 

For example, at least half of you reading this should not be pressing anything over your head. 

You don't have the mobility to get it there without using the back. 

Yet a newbie isn't going to know that, they're going to take some random class and get hurt. 

Then come see us :)

A screen is important so you know what you can do, can't do, strengths, weaknesses, etc. 

From there...


That's our acronym for a warm-up. 

It doesn't matter what you're doing, running, interval training, or squats, you have to warm up. 

And no, walking on a treadmill is not a warm-up. 

R stands for range of motion. 

Picking a few movements that work the joints through the complete range of motion. 

A stands for Activation. 

Picking a few movements that activate or prime the muscles

MP stands for Movement Prep.

Doing some "practice" reps of movements that you're about to do in the workout. 

3. Strength & Power

Again, It doesn't matter what you're doing, we firmly believe everyone should have a strength component to their routine. 

When I say strength I don't mean big and bulky muscles, I mean the strength to get up off the ground if you fall,  or carrying in the dog food from the car. 

Here's the thing though...

If under good coaching, you can't be afraid of picking up more then those 5lb dumbbells. 

Think about. 

How much does your kid weigh?

How much does your suitcase weigh?

Everything in life we have to be "functionally strong" at weighs as a lot more than 5lbs, yet we're still afraid to lift heavy. 

Power is putting some speed on that strength. 

As we age we lose our power, the ability to generate force.

However, we can enhance that by adding power to our routine with things like medicine balls slams or small jumps. 

4. Metabolic

This is what most to as "cardio."

For us, this is anything over a minute or so. 

It could be a short duration movement like a sprint or pushing a sled, or it could a be a longer duration event like a 5k run. 

Which one of those is based upon your goals and ability, but the premise is very similar. 

Your heart is a muscle, and just like your biceps, you need to work it. 

A lot of people think we don't do cardio. 

That's simply not the case, just ask our clients. 

You just won't find rows and rows of cardio equipment because we think that's boring :)

5. Recovery/Stretching

This is where things like flexibility, massage, and yoga come into play. 

No, your muscles can't get longer, so if anyone tells you that slap them in the face, it's physically impossible. 

However, your muscles do need recovery work and light stretching. 

So there you have it. 

The 5 basic categories of fitness. 

So how does it all fit in?

If you have 3 or fewer days I would put it all together each day. 

  • 5 Minute RAMp
  • 20 Minutes Strength & Power
  • 20 Minutes Metabolic
  • 5 Minutes Recovery

If you are working out 4 or more days a week it's probably worth breaking up with a RAMP in the beginning of each one. 

Monday: Strength & Power

Tuesday: Metabolic

Wednesday: Strength & Power

Thursday: Metabolic

Friday: Strength & Power

Saturday: Recovery

Sunday: OFF

Remember, keep it simple. 

This is still overwhelming for some, and that's okay. 

I would probably get overwhelmed at what you do for work :)

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling 







Slow Cooker Sausage & Egg Casserole


  • 1 medium head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 12-oz package breakfast sausage, cooked and sliced
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar, divided
  • 10 eggs
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 5.08.06 PM.png



  1. Grease the ceramic interior of a 6 quart slow cooker well.
  2. Layer one half of the broccoli, half of the sausage and half of the cheese into the slow cooker. Repeat with remaining broccoli, sausage and cheese.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, whipping cream, garlic, salt and pepper until well combined. Pour over layered ingredients.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or high for 2 to 3 hours, until browned on the edges and set in the center.

Can You Wait?

Our daily lives are filled with instant gratification. 

Think about simple things like Facebook. 

How excited do you get when someone "likes" your post and the red dot pops up?

In the kitchen, you press a button and your food can be heated up in under two minutes. 

The microwave. 

Fitness is filled with instant gratification promises. 

Six pack abs in six weeks. 

Ten pounds in ten days. 

Our society is filled, and in some ways, craves instant gratification. 

But is that what makes us happy?

Yesterday Coach Chris did a presentation on this topic, talking about obstacles in life, how every obstacle creates an opportunity, and if the obstacle is easy or quick to get through, it's not that satisfying. 

As much as we want quick fixes and instant gratification, it's not what actually makes us most happy. 

If you don't have to work for something, if you don't have to power through something, go on the journey, overcome obstacles, and find your grit to accomplish the goal, it's not that rewarding. 

Losing 10 pounds sounds great, but if all you had to do was press a button, it's not actually that satisfying or rewarding. 

However, losing those 10 pounds after months, if not years, of struggles, pushing through challenging times, and finally crossing the line, that's what is rewarding. 

Climbing Mount Everest is rewarding because of how challenging it is. 

If you could take an elevator to the top, or if it was just a stroll in the park to get there, it wouldn't nearly involve as much reward and pleasure as it does. 

Delayed gratification. 

It's one of the hardest skills to develop in all facets of life. 

If you can pass up the short term win now, put your head down and enjoy the journey, I promise the long-term wins will be much more gratifying. 

Do you agree?

Reply and let me know...

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

PS: Spots are filling quickly for March. If you're ready to start your journey to a healthier and happier you just click here and hit the giant red button. 





A New Month, A New Goal...

Can you believe it's already March?

It's spring-like weather lately here in Maine, and people are finally dusting off those winter blues. 

Life is good. 

As we head into a new month I want to ask you a very important set of questions...

We're sitting here in 30 days, on 3/31, what does life look like?

What does success look like?

List it all out. 

Get very specific. 

Not, I want to lose weight. 

How about, I want to lose one pant size or I want to lose 5lbs?

Not, I want to get stronger. 

How about, I want to be able to do 5 push-ups or I want to be able to squat 50lbs?

It doesn't matter that it's not a Monday. 

It doesn't matter that it's not a New Year.

Use the first day of the month to "reset."

Get very clear on what you want to achieve this month. 

I talked through a couple fitness examples above, but you can also do this for the rest of your life as well.

Now, once you have everything written down and you have a bulleted list of what you want to achieve the most important question to answer is...

What do you need to change to make that happen?

You see, having goals and dreams is great. 

We all want to be further ahead in our goals by the end of this month. 

Writing down what we want it to look like is important, but we can't stop there. 

What are you going to change in your daily life to make those goals for March actually happen?

Because remember, if you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got. 

If you want to achieve a goal that you currently are not achieving something needs to change.  

It could be nutrition...

It could be frequency or consistency...

It could be coaching or accountability...

But something needs to change. 

Don't go into a new month with the same approach and expect a different result. 

So, what's your goal for March?

I'd love to hear it. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling



The beauty of the switchback

In May of 1998 I boarded a plane for just the second time in my life, on a non-stop flight from Pittsburgh to Denver. I packed a pair of suitcases and my guitar, off to spend the summer working in Rocky Mountain National Park. 

Despite growing up in Western Pennsylvania and having never been there, I’d been obsessed with going to Colorado and living in the “real” mountains. Pennsylvania has rolling hills that us natives generously refer to as mountains.

But they're really hills. 

I spent a few days in Estes Park, which sits at the base of the Rocky Mountains (and is home to scenes from Dumb and Dumber)  before making my first trek into the park. I remember having to put my face face on the dashboard of the car just to see the snow covered peaks as we wove our way up Trail Ridge Road. 

Awe inspiring doesn't begin to do justice to the beauty. 

Over the course of that summer I hiked close to 300 miles of trails in the park. It wasn’t until I hiked the mountains of Colorado that I discovered and understood the beauty of the switchback trails. 

A switchback, if you’re not familiar, is described as an 180 degree bend in a road or path, especially one leading up the side of the mountain. Rather than hiking straight up the side of a mountain, you zig zag your way up however many miles of trails until you get above tree line and to the summit.

I thought of switchbacks a few weeks ago when a client came in after a very busy, packed weekend filled with tons of physical activity. The more she described her weekend activities the more I was re-thinking the best workout for her that day. 

“Oh no,” she said, reading my thoughts. “That doesn’t mean I want you to take it easy on me!” 

We haggled back and forth for a bit before meeting in the middle with some active recovery work added at the end of her workout. 

Sometimes we equate hard core suffering with work. We feel that we're only getting results if we're nose down in the turf sucking wind and feeling that we've burned 1000 calories. 


Achieving results doesn’t always mean plowing straight up the North Face of a steep mountain. It means adjusting your pace and carving out some switchbacks to help get you to the top.  

(As a side thought, aren’t you impressed with anyone who has reached the summit on Mount Everest? Or are you only impressed if they did so without oxygen? I would argue both are impressive.)

Switchbacks don’t mean that you don’t do the work. They just make the journey more accessible and manageable. Hiking eight miles of trail, switchbacks and all, is plenty of work. But they allow you, hopefully, to slow down every few bends, stop and look around and enjoy the view. And then, after a short rest and a long drink of water, you tighten your backpack and tackle the next part of the trail. 

I hope you're stopping every now and then to appreciate where you are at on your journey. That you can see the good views and truly absorb what you are doing well. 

But I hope you don't feel like you have to make everything you do as difficult as possible. I'm not saying you don't have to work hard. 

I'm just saying you don't have to climb Mount Everest without oxygen.

Or a sherpa :-) 

As Coach Josh has said before, let us be your fitness sherpa. We'll do everything we can to get you to the top.  

Lights, Camera, Action...

Last night I sat with my wife and watched the Bachelor. 

I feel like I lost a few brain cells doing it, but she enjoys a few of the shows like that, and I'm all about spending time with her after a long day. 

Happy wife, happy life...right?

If you're not familiar with the show, cameras follow around a group of people as they try to "find love."

But it got me thinking...

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

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

There is no denying it, when the lights are on us, when we're on stage, and when the camera is rolling we probably act a little different, just like the folks on shows like the Bachelor do. 

So, why not use that to your advantage?

Imagine that you're being filmed...

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

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

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

One of my favorite lines is...

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

Well, what if everyone is watching?

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

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

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

What about your life?

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

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

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

Would you be meal prepping or working out instead?

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

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

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling





The Big 3...

How is it that some people seem to have time to get all things done, and other can't even seem to get out of their own way?

I'm a productivity nerd, but it can really be summed up with one quote...

"Most of us overestimate what we can get done in a day and underestimate what we can get done in a year."

Think about it...

If I want to lose 50lbs in a year, that's just a pound a week.

Totally doable, right?

We could do that in a year. 

But today?


Meal prep. 


Take the kids to school and after-school activities. 

Social media notifications. 


You get it. 

In the grand scheme of things, losing a pound a week over the course of the year is not that bad, we underestimate that, but we think we can get 100 things done in a day, overestimating what is possible in 24 hours. 

What ends up happening?

Checking social media, being reactive to every stimulus that comes in front of us, and never actually getting anything done. 

So, what can you do?

Do less. 

The Big 3. 

Another favorite line of productivity that I constantly remind myself of is...

Discipline = Freedom

You have to create rules, you have to build in daily disciplines of what you're going to say yes to and what you're going to say no to. 

I'm challenging you to have the discipline to only focus on the big 3 each day. 

What are the three things you're going to get done that will move you forward?

Most of us have 101 things on our to-do list, and what happens?

We get none of them done because we get so overwhelmed, we pick at all of them, allow distractions to come in, and never actually make substantial progress on anything. 

Limit yourself to three things. 

For example, my three today are:

1. Write this e-mail

2. Film video for clients

3. Workout

Will I get more than that done today?


In total, all three of those will probably only take me two hours. 

However, it allows me to focus on the three most important things. 

Once those are done, then I can move onto anything else if I have time, but I'm not going to allow distractions until those three are done. 

It also allows you to feel like you accomplished something today. 

Too often the list is so big, we never make any substantial progress on it every day, so every day feels like there is so much more to do. 

Make the list smaller. 

Being productive does not mean you're busy. 

It means you actually produced things that moved the needle, made progress. 

We all can be busy checking social media and responding to e-mails, but that doesn't result in any progress made. 

Being productive is a skill.

Just like any other skill, it takes practice and it must be developed. 

To practice, begin by writing down your big 3 for the day. 

Oh, and if a healthier life is important to you, a workout will be on the big 3. 

If it's not on the big 3, that's okay, but that's a clear indicator that it's not a priority right now so you can't expect results as you will constantly find other things to distract you or say yes to. 

What are the 3 things you're going to get done today?

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling












Clear Your Head This Weekend...

I wanted to share an exercise that I shared with the Spurling Team awhile back, most of them have been doing it every week and have been finding it extremely helpful so I thought I'd share it with you. 

Its' called the Freedom Session. 

It is used to help clear your thoughts and is really good for people who have a tough time shutting it off, especially as you head into the weekend. 

Here's what a freedom session looks like. 

Grab a notebook. 

1. 5 Positives From The Week

Write down the 5 best things that happened this week. We tend to focus on what we're not getting done, but I'm sure we can all think of 5 things that were positive. 

2. Clean Up

Do you ever have a clearer mind when your desk is clean? That's not by accident. Spend a few minutes cleaning up your desk, organizing all your papers, etc. Whatever "clean" looks like in your life, make that happen. 

3. Inbox Zero

This is huge. Go through all your e-mails and text messages and get down to inbox zero. If something needs to be saved move it to a labeled folder. The mind will be more clear if you don't have 1000 red notifications on your e-mail

4. 15 Minute Mind Sweep

Write nonstop for 15 minutes. Get everything that is in your mind onto paper. You can organize it later, but it will help clear up the anxiety and stress when you get it all on paper. 

5. Review Your Upcoming Calendar

Review next weeks calendar and make sure it looks good. Take care of any rearranging you need to do, daycare, etc. 

6. Review Your To Do List

We all should have a working to do list. Review it, see what still needs to stay on there, and get it organized for the next week. To do list are things that are single steps.

7. Review Your Project List

Not everything should live on your to-do list. If it has multiple steps it is classified as a project. Get all your projects on one list, and then extract out single steps of those and put them on your to-do list. 

8. Review Waiting For List

Your waiting for list is things that you can't move on until you get something or hear something. Maybe you're waiting for a phone call or e-mail to come back. Maybe you're waiting for a package to arrive or another co-worker to finish their part of the project. 

9. Review Someday Maybe List

This is the list of all the things you want to do but they don't really have any urgency. It's good to have on paper so that you don't forget, but you want to separate them from the urgent things like your to-do list and project list. 

10. Review Goals & Vision

We all should have goals and a vision for our life. They should also be written down. At the end of each week, I like to read my goals and vision to make sure I still like them, to make sure my actions are matching them, and to keep them top of mind. 

That's a freedom session. 

It will probably take you about 30-60 minutes but I guarantee you it will clear your head tremendously, and it will make the following week that much more productive. 

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

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Spurling Super Simple Sixteen Minute Sweat Session


I made that quite the title, huh?

But really, here's a quick and simple workout you can do anywhere, anytime. 

In fact, I just did it this morning in my hotel room. 

I'm down in sunny Orlando, Florida, stacked with meetings all day long and only had about 15-20 minutes this morning to get something in. 

I did it right in the hotel room, so no excuses. 

Whether you're looking for something to do when you're traveling or something to do at home if you have 15 minutes to sneak it in this is the perfect super simple full body workout. 

Here's how it goes:

Squat to Stand w/ OH Reach

Click the link to watch Josh (when he had hair) demonstrate. 

I perform about 8-15 of those to start. 

Why such a big range?

It's a perfect full body warm-up movement from head to toe. 

I just keep doing them, slowly, until I feel like I'm pretty warmed up. 

From there I go into a 3 exercise circuit. 



Side Planks

I like to do a descending ladder. 

Meaning, 10 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 breaths of a side plank on each side. 


8 squats, 8 push-ups, 8 breaths of the side plank. 

All the way down to two. 

You can scale that to what is best for you but the basic principle is to go through all three exercises, rest, and go through 3-6 rounds based on ability. 

I end with some light stretching such as a pigeon stretch

That's it. 

It will take you about 15 minutes but it gives you a nice burn and elevates the heart rate enough to make you feel good. 

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

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

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling





How far will you go?

My favorite book, which I've referenced before, is "Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion," by Father Greg Boyle.  

If you're unfamiliar, Father Greg founded Homeboy Industries, an organization in L.A. that helps to rehabilitate gang members. They started with a bakery, but now have an entire operation that includes screen printing and catering.

In the book, Father Greg tells the story of a 17-year-old boy speaking of his growing appreciation for his mother.

“Every Sunday, the entire time I was in jail, my mother came to visit me,” he says, breaking down and weeping. “She took seven buses every Sunday, just to get to me and visit my sorry ass.”

There are many stories from this book that I love. But this is one of my favorites. 

It resonates in part because I lived in Boston for five years and either walked or took public transportation everywhere. 

While I was relieved to not drive in Boston, the exchange was standing in extreme heat and cold to wait for the bus, and arriving home with a headache from the exhaust and nausea from the constant weaving, shaking and leaning of the bus. 

I'd have been hard-pressed to take seven different buses for season tickets to the Steelers (I thought this over and yes I mean it). 

And this story begs the question: 

How far are you willing to go for what's important to you?  

Many of us are searching for happiness - in our careers, in our relationships, with our creative outlets. 

But how far are we willing to go? How much effort are we willing to put into the process? How important is it to us?

A few weeks ago at a staff meeting, we talked about how often we hear the expression "pretty good" as coaches. 

How's your meal planning going?

Pretty good.

How's your nutrition approach going?

Pretty good. 

But here's the thing: If you want to drop 20 pounds in two months but only watch what you eat Monday through Thursday, then pretty good isn't going to make that happen. If you want to run a marathon but only run three miles twice a week it's going to be tough going on race day.

That's why we spend time talking about your why. Understanding why you want to run that marathon or lose those 20 pounds can help fuel the effort, especially when you just don't feel like going for that run. Especially when you are out with friends on a Friday night and the temptations are right in front of you. 

Wanting to make more money is a goal. Wanting to make enough money for your spouse to quit his or her soul sucking job and be more present and happy at home is about a life-change for your family. 

Wanting to drop 40 pounds so you can get off of blood pressure medication and get on the floor with your grandchildren and be there to see them graduate high school is specific and clear and will help you stick to your fitness routine every day; not just when you feel like it.    

While I FaceTime with my parents every Sunday morning now, that ritual took years to form after I left Pennsylvania. It seemed like such a hassle to sit down and talk on the phone or find ten minutes to call and talk on a regular basis.

I’m not proud of that, but it’s true.

Then my dad's brother had a stroke. And calling my parents changed from something that I "should" do to something that was important to me because I was reminded that life is short.   

What is important to you? 

And how far are you willing to go for what's important?

What Does A Rocket & Fitness Have To Do With Each Other?

What would happen if failing wasn't an option?

Think about it...

No possibility of failure?

What would you do differently?

Would you try new things?

Would you try harder at the things you're currently doing?

For some reason, failure has had this negative connotation. 

I think it probably started in academics when kids either passed or failed. 

Failure does not have to be a negative thing. 

Think about this...


You know, like the smartest people in the world. 

When they send a rocket off to space, it's off track 90% of the time!

Think about that!

90% of the time a NASA rocket ship is failing....

But it needs to fail. 

It uses the failures to adjust and stay on course. 

The failures are the guardrails. 

Think about all the great things...

The most delicious, best-looking cake. 

In the middle of making it the kitchen looks like a bomb went off, but we all judge the finished product. 

In the middle of the most intense surgery, it looks like a murder scene. 

We, of course, don't think about that, we think about the end result. 

The middle of a journey is messy. 

And you need to fail to know what the guardrails are. 


Two things to need to happen if you want to reach your full potential in anything in life (fitness, new career, more money, etc)...

1. You need to be ok with failing, and use it as a guardrail to keep you on track

2. You need to not associate failure with negative things. 

I fail every day. 

It could be that I failed to get everything done. 

It could be that I failed to lead a team member the appropriate way.

It could be that I failed to get a workout in.

But none of those "failures" are negative things.

They're just course corrections to keep me on the path to success. 

So, I'll ask you again...

What would happen if you couldn't fail?

Remove failure from the equation and that's how you should go about making your decisions. 

I know it's not easy, but you'll start to make better decisions, be more aggressive towards your goals, and thus, see better results. 

Remember back to to the rocket ship.

That's a great analogy for life. 

We're all going a million miles per hour every day, off track 90% of the time, but we still seem to get there, just like the rocket ship does. 

1% better. 

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

PS: If you'd like to work with us to help you build a healthier body, reply and let us know. 

How Can You Gamify Your Fitness?

Early last week we announced at the facility that we'll be hosting our second annual March Madness MYZONE Challenge. 

For those who are not aware, MYZONE is a heart rate monitoring software, and without boring you with the details, they gamify fitness. 

You get points for every workout. The harder you work the more points you get. 

The excitement of the challenge in our fitness community went viral over the weekend.

As always, I try to pull a lesson out of everything. 

Why the excitement?

We just made all of March a game for our clients. 

Collect points for your workouts, and try to beat the other teams (each staff member has a team). 

So, how can you gamify your fitness?

I've talked about it at length, but fitness needs to have a fun component. 

If you're just a hamster on a wheel staring at a television, you may be able to grit through it in the short-term, but you'll never stick with it long-term. 

Now, the cool thing is, fun or "gamifying" fitness can look different to each of us. 

Some of us are more competitive, some of us are a quite competitive. 

This doesn't mean you need to go jump on a box 100 times as fast as possible and try to beat your time. 

There is fun and competitive but keep in mind safety trumps both of those. 

So, here are 5 ways to gamify your fitness:

1. Think of reps as points. Instead of thinking you have to do 50 squats, think of it as 50 points. Set a goal each day for a certain amount of points and increase it each week. 

2. Do countdowns or ladders: Pick two exercises, one upper body, one lower body. Alternate between them and do a countdown. 10 squats, 10 push-ups. 9 squats, 9 push-ups, etc. You can down a countdown, or you can do a ladder (5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). 

3. Associate good behaviors with points. Getting 7 hours of sleep is a point, getting a workout of at least 20 minutes in is a point, hitting 5 servings of vegetables is a point, getting 100 grams of protein is a point, and writing down 5 things you're grateful for is a point. Get 5 points every day! 

4. Workout in a group environment. The reason why most people find fitness boring is they think it has to be this mundane thing, headphones in, a couple minutes doing this, a couple minutes that. However, what if you worked out with a buddy, did a "you go, I go" workout, or joined our Team Training where we make fitness fun. Groups can be intimidating, I get it, but if you find the right one, they can also be one of the best motivators. 

5. Join our MYZONE Challenge. Seriously. It's going to be a ton of fun, each staff member has a team, and I want you to join my team :)

Regardless of what you choose for fitness, indoor, outdoor, yoga, or strength training (hopefully all of the above), try to gamify your fitness.

It doesn't have to be anything extravagant, you could just play games in your head (wait, we already do that). 

It will be more fun, which will drive more consistency, which will drive better results. 

How do you gamify your fitness?

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

PS: Join our MYZONE Challenge in March by enrolling in our 30 Day Fitness Jump-Start. Hurry, we only take 20 people per month so you must act now, plus the MYZONE Challenge kicks off 3/1. Click here to register.