A year later

The snow crunched under my feet as we hiked in towards the harbor.

I looked down at my boots, picking my way around tree roots and patches of ice as we hike our way towards the water. 

I remember, in that odd way that particular details stick in our minds, hiking this trail with you almost 10 years ago, wearing white nike sneakers and you laughed when I tried not to get them dirty. 

“We’re hiking,” you said. 

“Then I should have brought different shoes,” I grumbled. 

My mother n’ law and wife hike ahead of me, Mary carrying your ashes in a canvas bag, the two of them sharing memories of trips to Maine with you thirty years ago, and I lag behind, in disbelief that you’ve already been gone almost a year. 

You didn’t want a funeral, so we didn’t have one. You wanted a party, which no one has been able to throw just yet, and you wanted some of your ashes spread in Ship’s Harbor, so we’ve come to do that today. 

Grief is a weird animal, and one that I don’t fully understand. I miss you in different moments, at different and often unexpected times. I didn’t know you as long as the rest of your family, and it sometimes means that I feel less of a right to have much grief. As though grief is measured in moments spent together and not in the power of the connection felt. As though my love for you was predicated on me marrying into the family, and not on the way I could make you belly laugh. 

And I prided myself on getting a good belly laugh from you. 

When we get to the harbor, I stand back, letting Mary and Sheila have their moment together - trying to respect their reminiscing about coming here when Sheila was a kid and you still had 30 years of your life ahead of you. They each take a turn spreading your ashes, when Mary turns to me.

“Do you want to spread some?” She asks.

I nod, and she fills a cracked red solo cup with some ashes. 

I’m a bit startled by the red solo cup, it seems less than ceremonious, but then again, you were a frugal yankee and would probably appreciate the simplicity of simply using what was available to do the job. 

I scramble down the rocks to get closer to the water, determined to get you to the water that you loved so well and not accidentally spread you on the seaweed. I crouch to my knees as the waves lap the rocks in front of me. I’m not sure what to say as I hesitate to throw you in the water. Just that I miss you. That life is different without you. That I hope you know how much I loved you, because I can’t remember if I said it. 

And with that, I let you go, back to the water. 

RAS

Do you ever get a new vehicle thinking that you are the only one with that model or color, and then all of the sudden you start seeing the same one everywhere you go?

RAS

Reticular Activating System. 

It's the awesome computer in our brain that most of us never use on purpose. 

What we think defines who we are. 

It's not that there are more black trucks on the road than before, you're just now thinking of black trucks so you see more of them. 

But it's not just thoughts on vehicles, it's everything. 

Every day we have thousands of thoughts that seem to leap in and out of our minds. 

Those thoughts greatly define who we become and what we achieve. 

Think about the kinds of thoughts you've had today. 

People tend to dwell on what's not working, and our thoughts are dominated by problems and self-criticism.

The RAS is the attitude programming in the brain, and you can control it. 

So if you're telling yourself you can't do something, you won't be able to do it. 

Worrying has the same effect. 

Attitude is the only thing we can control in life, yet it's also the most powerful. 

A very efficient machine, the RAS zeros in one any area of interest. 

So if our attitude is negative, we're going to have negative outcomes. 

So, what does all of this mean for you?

If you're looking to achieve certain outcomes in life and in fitness, immerse yourself in positive thoughts about it. 

Any statement you make to yourself makes a thread in your brain and the more thoughts on that topic that stronger the thread. 

So why not make them positive thoughts?

It's the only way to get a positive outcome. 

That's why goal setting is so great. 

Goals focus your attention and force your brain to attract what you want. 

Most people spend more time planning a vacation than they do planning a life. 

Setting goals in every aspect of life, including fitness, puts your RAS to work. 

I know it can be challenging, but just like when you think about black vehicles you see black vehicles, when you think about positive success, you get positive success.

Mindset will always trump everything.

Hope this got some wheels turning.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Enjoy the snow! :)

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Why Is Spurling So Expensive?

A little different post today…

Last week I did a focus group at the gym that I called “Design The Future of Spurling.”

Basically I took feedback from about 40 members on what they like, what they want to see change, and what new ideas they have.

We’ll then use that feedback to design the future of Spurling and set out to make as many of the changes requested happen as possible.

One of the questions that I asked was…

“What do you tell your friends about Spurling?”

Almost everyone said…

“It’s expensive, but…..”

And listed the reasons why they see the value.

I have about 101 posts planned based on the feedback from the other night (like how we’re nothing like CrossFit, our expansion plans, and how we’re going to add more changing rooms), but today I thought we’d address the line…

“Why is Spurling so expensive?”

Here are my top six answers…

  1. Anything that is the best is never cheap. We are expensive because we are the best at what we do. Sorry, but it’s true. According to industry experts we are the healthiest gym under 10,000 square feet in the country. If you want a good hotel you don’t expect to pay $49/night. If you want a good restaurant you don’t expect a dollar menu. Best and cheap don’t exist.

  2. It’s a value exchange. I hope that people see it as an investment, not an expense. Would you rather change your life, live longer, not be on medications (which probably cost more than a membership), and invest in your health, or not take care of yourself and be unhealthy? It’s an investment that gives you a return.

  3. You have to value coaching, accountability, and community. Those are our three uniques, and it’s what we focus on. If you don’t value having a coach with you at every workout showing you what to do, how to do it, and keeping you safe it’s not the investment for you. If you don’t value being held accountable, and being a part of a place that doesn’t just take your money and never reach out if you don’t show up, we’re probably not the place for you. And finally, if you don’t value being a part of a community, a group of people who all know each other, who all support each other, and who are all here to get better, it’s probably not an investment you’ll find value in.

  4. Think of us as a hybrid of Personal Training and a traditional Health Club. Typically personal training costs between $60-$100/hour. Which means if you wanted to come 2-3x per week you’d be paying upwards of $1000/month. A typical health club costs between $10-$100/month, but you usually just get to use their equipment and don’t get much, if any, guidance. We’re in the middle. You’ll be here with other people, so we don’t need to charge you $100/hour, but you’re never left on your own like at a health club. Our average membership comes out to about ~$20-$25/session.

  5. We all pay for stuff that others don’t find value in. That’s totally okay. Some love the $5 fancy coffee drinks, and others will just make coffee at home. Some love a fancy car with a big price ticket, others are okay driving the 1989 Toyota Camry still. Some love a big house with lots of stuff, others want nothing. Some spend their money on travel, some don’t. Some have a $200+ cable bill, others laugh at that. Some buy the latest iPhone, others just want anything that can make a call. I can go on and on. It’s not that Spurling is expensive, it’s just right for those who find value to it.

  6. We can’t be cheap. Think about it. The cheaper we are, the more members we need. We decide to cap our membership to make it feel less like a health club. The cheaper we are, the less coaching staff we can have. We decide to have a full-time coaching staff that this is their career, not just a hobby. We decide to have a coach with you at every workout. The cheaper we are the less we can hold you accountable. We decide instead to have a full-time coaching staff that part of their 40 hours is “accountability” where they reach out to people outside of the gym to see how they’re doing. The cheaper we are the less community things we can do, the less we can donate to charity, and the less impact we can make.

Here’s reality…

We want to help as many people as we can, and we have future plans to create more offerings outside of Spurling Fitness that can help more people.

However, we are the Ferrari of fitness.

Our goal is to deliver 10x the value, but this is an investment for most people (~$200/month).

And unfortunately, if you see it an an “expense” and not an “investment” we’re probably not right for you at this time.

Finally, it’s okay if we’re not a good fit for you.

You have to do what is right for you, and only you know what you value.

McDonalds and Fleming’s both serve beef, and they both have happy customers.

We're not bashing the health club or any other fitness offering, they are right for some people.

Spurling exists to impact, empower, and change the lives of those who are intimidated by the typical gym environment through strong coaching, relentless accountability, a family-like community, and a desire to get 1% better each and every day.

If that resonates with you at some point, we’ll be here.

We’re stronger than ever and not going anywhere.

If it doesn’t resonate with you, that’s cool too.

We still love you :)

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Lemony Lentil Soup

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced

  • 2 medium carrots, diced

  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

  • 6 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)

  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over

  • 2/3 cup whole-kernel corn

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon curry powder

  • (optional) pinch each of saffron and cayenne

  • zest and juice of 1 small lemon

  • sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

STOVETOP:

  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent.  Add garlic and sauté for 1 more minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.

  2. Stir in the vegetable stock, lentils, corn, cumin, curry powder (plus saffron and cayenne, if using) until combined.  Continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer.  Then cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are completely tender.

  3. Using either a hand blender or traditional blender, puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency.  You may need to do this in batches if you’re using a traditional blender.  And always be careful, since hot liquids expand while blending. 

  4. Return the pureed soup to the pot, and stir in the lemon zest and juice until combined.  Taste and season the soup with sea salt and black pepper as needed. 

  5. Serve warm.  Or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Source: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/lemony-lentil-soup/

Fixed vs Growth Mindset

Yesterday I talked about the 4 Pillars to Fitness Success with the first one being Mindset.

Under mindset I talked about Fixed vs Growth Mindset and had a few people ask me to go a little more in depth, so let’s talk about fixed vs growth mindset.

For those who are readers, I highly recommend the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.

Basically the book talks about how there are two mindsets; the fixed and growth mindset.

The Fixed Mindset

A fixed mindset is one where you believe your talents and abilities cannot be improved by any means,  that you are born with what you have and no part of you can be improved.

A person with a fixed mindset believes challenges and less than ideal outcomes are negative.

A person with a fixed mindset attaches themselves to outcomes, e.g You haven’t done a push-up in 20 years but you try a floor push-up and at that moment you can not perform one.

A person with a fixed mindset would believe they can’t do push-ups.

It’s important for you to understand that if you have a fixed mindset, its not your fault. It’s likely something from your past that molded your thinking without you knowing.

Here’s a typical scenario.

Meet Mary

  • Lets imagine an average American girl in todays world, her dolls and her tv shows all show skinny, girls/ladies.

  • Mary doesn’t take much interest in sports/exercise.

  • She was never taught fundamental fitness movements & kinesthetic awareness yet she was asked to perform sports in gym class. Since she had no proper training, she felt uncomfortable with exercise & sports so she never played any or learned to exercise.

  • Mary has decent genetics so she stayed slim through high school yet she is still self-conscious because everywhere she looks (tv & magazines) show skinny women.

  • She gains a few lbs through college but still not overweight. Fast forward five years, shes in her late 20’s, still has never learned to balance exercise in life but now is starting to gain weight.

  • Her hormones and metabolism are changing….she is not unable to eat + drink what she always has.

  •  Now Mary is overweight so she decides to run because that’s all she knows how to do.

  • She doesn’t think she is athletic enough for movement and is too self-conscious to try on her own or at a gym.

The Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is where you believe that all aspects of your life can be improved through embracing discomfort, hard work and persistence.

A person with a growth mindset does not attach themselves to outcomes, e.g You haven’t done a push-up in 20 years but you try a floor push-up and at that moment you can not perform one.

A person with a growth mindset would say, welp it has been 20 years, why would I expect to do a push-up? I need to work on these!

Bring Back Mary: Growth Mindset – Spurling version

  • Mary is 20 lbs overweight, barely uses her gym membership because its boring and she doesn’t feel comfortable.

  • Her friend begs her to come into try Spurling so she comes during a bring a friend week.

  • She has trouble with some of the exercises, but the coaches regress the movements and keep her going.

  • Although tired and out of breathe, Mary is proud of what she just accomplished.

  • She signs up for 12 month membership, and loses 15 lbs in the first 90 days.

  • Mary is now outgoing, move confident than ever and had the most successful year of her career.

How You Can Transition From a Fixed to Growth Mindset

It’s important for you to understand that you were born with a growth mindset…or otherwise you would of never learned to walk.

There are two important points I want you to know:

  1. You are not stuck with a fixed mindset

  2. Even if you have mostly a growth mindset, from time to time you will slip into the fixed way of thinking…this is normal and its okay.

Catch yourself!

Replace I can’t, with I can I just need to work at it. 

Trust me, you can do 99% of things you would ever want to do.

This is not to say you will be close to good at them without any practice but you can do whatever it is to some extent.

When you find yourself setting limitations or letting others set your limitations, snap out of it.

Remember, YOU are the greatest miracle…no computer or anything else has as much ability as you have.

Just realize to do those things you need to progress small steps forward each day and that it will be an adventure; unexpected things will happen, you will have to alter or maybe even change your entire course, there will be highs and lows – embrace it all.

And if you do something and it doesn’t workout the way you wanted it to, feel good about yourself because you just over came a challenge. Next, look at it, whether a push-up or a new job and think, what did I learn from this?

Remember that failure is an event, not a person. Zig Ziglar

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

4 Pillars To Fitness Success

We are under 50 days left in the year.

Can you believe it?

As you look to finish out 2018 strong and set some goals for 2019, I want you to keep something in mind.

There are four things that are involved in fitness success (fat loss, getting stronger, etc).

If you master all 4, I can guarantee success. 

They are...

The 4 Pillars of Fitness Success.

Just like an old house, pillars are what hold everything up, without them, things crumble. 

However, if you can dial in these 4 pillars, your results will go through the roof. 

1. Mindset

This is, in my opinion, the most important pillar of fitness.

Fitness can be dumbed down pretty easily…

Work the full body, move inefficiently, and have fun doing it. 

It's the mindset that keeps you consistent and keeps you on track. 

You have to get your mind right. 

You've heard me say it before, but I believe this starts with finding your WHY. 

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Why is that goal important to you?

Growth mindset vs fixed mindset. 

Do you think this is all you can do(fixed) or do you think you can always be getting better, always making progress(growth)?

Positive vs negative. 

It all seems simple at the surface, but once you dig a little deeper, you quickly realize this is the hardest pillar to master.

2. Nutrition

You've heard different numbers, but it's said that fat loss is 80% nutrition. 

"You can't outwork a bad diet."

Guess what?

It's true. 

Dial in your nutrition and the other stuff becomes an added bonus. 

Our big three "rules"

-Get 100 grams of protein

-Get a vegetable at every meal

-Drink 1/2 your bodyweight in fluid ounces…of water.

Master those three and everything else falls into place.

You'll see no mention of following this diet or follow that diet. 

When you're on the road at your kids' basketball game and your "diet" says to eat chicken and asparagus, but you don't have chicken and asparagus, what are you to do?

Build sound habits and the rest will follow. 

3. Training

Seems obvious, right?

You have to move to burn fat and build strength.

We're a fan of full-body metabolic resistance training. 

Basically, a fancy term for strength exercises (squats, lunges, rows, push ups) done in a circuit fashion so you get the optimal result. 

You not only work your full body and get stronger, but you shred tons of fat because you're doing it in a "circuit" fashion and get a great cardio effect. 

For most people, 3 days a week of moderate intensity (like sessions at a gym), and 1-2 days a week of light intensity (like taking the dog for a walk) is all you need.

4. Recovery

Think about what happens when you don't get enough sleep.

Your mind isn't right. 

You're tired.

You eat like crap because you're tired. 

You don't workout because you feel like crap and are tired. 

That's why recovery is so important.

Sleeping 6-8 hours a night does so many intangible things. 

Make it a priority.

Oh, and that stress word.

Let’s manage it.

It’s important.

So there you have it.

The 4 Pillars of Fitness Success.

Simple?

Yes.

Easy?

No. 

But take a look at your situation and see what pillar needs the focus at this time and start chipping away. 

1% Better. 

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Bonnie Raitt Squats - Finding My Voice

I stood at the podium at center stage and surveyed the auditorium. 

The balcony was empty, as were most of the first floor seats, save for my 20 or so eighth grade classmates. 

“O.Henry,” I began. “Who was he?”

I paused after the first sentence and gripped the side of the podium, startled by the sound of my voice in the microphone. As someone who rarely spoke above a whisper, the volume of my voice was seemingly booming, echoing off of the hard wooden seats and cracking plaster walls. I shook less and less with each line I delivered before returning to my seat, trembling as the adrenaline left my body. 

At the end of the class, Mrs. Howard tapped at my Jansport book bag as I walked out of the auditorium. 

“You have a knack for public speaking,” she said and I nodded shyly before walking to my next class. 

I think we were both surprised by the clarity and strength with which I had spoken, since I was loathe to speak up in class or make eye contact when speaking to a teacher. It was the first time I realized that I really had a voice. And I didn’t know quite what to make of it. 

Talking was always a problem for me as a student. My dad would come home from each parent/teacher conference and give me the same lecture. “They say that you are a good student but that you need to speak up,” he would say. “You need to raise your hand more. And you mumble too much. You need to E-NUN-CI-ATE.” 

For added emphasis, he would over-enunciate the word enunciate, just to be sure I got the message. I did get the message, I just didn’t care to speak up in class. I didn’t want to raise my hand, I certainly didn’t want to draw attention to myself, and the last thing I wanted to do was use my voice for, well, talking.   

This story came to mind last week when, for the 10th time of the day, someone misheard my directions for an exercise. 

“What is a Bonnie Raitt squat?” Suzanne asked one day in our team training class. 

“Um…I don’t know, but I asked you to do a body weight squat…” I replied. 

We now do Bonnie Raitt squats in class regularly. 

“What is a lame-ass squat?” Another asked on a different day. 

“Well, actually a landmine squat,” I said, as I shook my head, thinking of my dad’s yearly lectures. 

Finding my voice has been a life-long process and certainly not one that’s come easy. It took a number of seasons coaching high school and college kids before I realized that I needed to treat every practice and game as though I was on stage. That I needed to flip a switch and turn my voice and my presence “on” so that I could command the presence that a coach should command.

I don’t write about this today for any other reason than to acknowledge that finding your voice can be really difficult. Whether it’s finding the voice to ask more from your doctor, the voice to stand up to your boss, the voice to advocate for your children or your family, it can be really difficult to put yourself on stage and find the ability to speak up. It can be startling to hear your own voice ringing out in anger, in excitement, or in delight. 

But how much better do we feel when we have some solidarity - some understanding that others have been where we have been - have felt what we have felt. So we try to give voice to struggles and to joys.

You have a voice.

Remember that you have a voice. 

And as much as possible, surround yourself with people who support you and give you the courage to use that voice. 




It's Not What You Know...

Most of these daily posts that I write come from conversations I have with clients, conversations I have with fellow business owners, or…

random thoughts at 2:30am when I can’t shut my brain off.

Today, you’d be happy to know…

it’s from a conversation I had with a client :)

Yesterday I was having a meeting with a client who’s in a very similar space as me.

He runs a leadership coaching business and is in the midst of launching his first book.

He has struggled with weight his entire life, yo-yoing back and fourth significant amounts.

We were chatting yesterday about his business, his journey, and how what I do, he does, and our team does is all just coaching.

Sometimes it’s coaching you in fitness, in Phil’s case it’s about coaching leaders, but it’s all just coaching.

It’s about bringing out the best in you.

We spent time talking about how we can be a better coach for him with his fitness and nutrition, how similar it is to how he coaches his business clients, and a line kept coming up.

Action.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes…

“It’s not always what you know, it’s what you bring everyday.”

Read that again.

It’s so important.

Quite often when we think about fitness, or any area of life, we spend so much time worrying about the “how” or the learning component so that we know more.

We want to learn the best exercises for X….

We want to learn about the best diet…

We want to know…

More often than not, it’s not about what you know, it’s about you bring everyday.

And that’s the balance of good coaching.

Yes, you need to know, but really, what we’re trying to do is get you to bring your best everyday, to take action, and to do more than what you would normally do on your own.

It’s way less about the “how” and much more about ACTION.

I think it’s a good reminder for all of us…

Whether it’s regarding your fitness, your career, your finances, etc…

It’s more about what you do everyday, the action you take, showing up, giving it your best, working hard, and using what you know.

Bringing your best….

Working as hard as you can…

Showing up when you don’t want to…

Being on time…

Staying positive…

Having a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset…

All of those things and more will take you much further than anything I can teach you about the best exercise for your legs.

Thanks for a great conversation yesterday, Phil.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Remember Why You Started...

It’s a line that we have on the wall at Spurling, as you can see in the picture below…

41447950_1803007686415853_3202573111933272064_n.jpg

Today, though, I want to talk about the person in the picture.

As Marty was leaving on Friday she went over to our chalkboard that prompts members to write the answer to different questions.

The question on the board that day was “what was your biggest accomplishment in the last month?”

Marty knelt down and wrote…

“Getting back on the Frequent Sweaters board.”

For those who don’t know, we have a board in the gym that celebrates everyone who came in for at least 10 visits in the previous month.

She was excited that she had finally been able to get her name on the board again.

“It’s been awhile, Doug.”

That’s what she yelled as she ran out the gym, most likely headed back to work and family obligations.

It got me thinking…

Marty has a pretty cool story as a member of Spurling.

She’s been a client of Spurling since the very beginning.

She would faithfully come 3-4x per week with her friends, some of which are still members, others have moved on for one reason or another.

She was consistent and “crushing it.”

Then, family and work obligations set in.

She went back to work, had a family to take care of, and she went away for a little while.

Time went by and then I saw her name pop up in a session roster one day.

Next thing I know she’s back in the gym, crushing it.

She came back strong, frequency was high, and then again, family and work obligations set in.

Work changes, kid commitments, etc..

Over the summer she was “off track.”

A couple workouts in June, even fewer in July, and then she started to ramp things back up again finally getting back on the Frequent Sweaters board for October.

I think there are some valuable lessons here….

  1. It never ends. Marty is a former athlete and coach and is in great shape. But it never stops. Things come up, she didn’t come as often as she wanted, she had to take a break, but she came back. The journey of bettering yourself and getting healthier is never ending.

  2. The story probably sounds very familiar, maybe even to your own. We all struggle with consistency, we all struggle with balancing family/work, it’s never ending.

  3. Hitting 10+ workouts in a month is a big deal. I tell every new client their only goal is to come 10 times in the first 30 days. That’s usually not a problem in the first 30 days because it’s new, exciting, and you’re motivated. But what about 5 years down the road? Are you still averaging 10 workouts per month? Get on the Frequent Sweaters board every month, that’s the goal. That’s a big win.

  4. I hope Marty remembers why she started. In my opinion, that’s what keeps her, and all of us coming back.

If you haven’t started, just do one thing. Anything.

If you have started, and you’re struggling, know a couple things…

  1. You’re never alone.

  2. Remember why you started.

This stuff is hard.

It’s why I believe very few can have success going at it alone.

We all need a coach to help us and hold us accountable, a community to support us, and a family that is going to be waiting for us with open arms whenever we’re ready.

Keep up the great work, Marty. I’m proud of you.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling


Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1 2½- to 3-pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded

  • 1¼ cups red enchilada sauce, divided

  • 1 medium zucchini, diced

  • 1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 10.42.05 AM.png

Preparation

  1. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 450degrees F.

  2. Place chicken in a medium saucepan, add water to cover and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and gently simmer until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165degrees F, 10 to 15 minutes.

  3. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and shred with 2 forks. Transfer to a large bowl.

  4. Meanwhile, place squash cut-side down in a microwave-safe dish and add 2 tablespoons water. Microwave, uncovered, on High until the flesh is tender, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, place squash halves cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 400°F oven until the squash is tender, 40 to 50 minutes.)

  5. Use a fork to scrape the squash from the shells into the large bowl. Place the shells on a broiler-safe pan. Stir 1 cup enchilada sauce, zucchini, ½ teaspoon pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt into the squash and chicken. Divide the mixture between the shells; top with the remaining ¼ cup enchilada sauce and cheese.

  6. Bake on the lower rack for 10 minutes. Move to the upper rack, turn the broiler to high and broil, watching carefully, until the cheese starts to brown, about 2 minutes. To serve, cut each shell in half.

Source: http://www.eatingwell.com/video/7053/how-to-make-5-ingredient-chicken-enchiladastuffed-spaghetti-squash/

Sweet Potato & Sausage Quinoa Bake

INGREDIENTS

  1. 1 cup of quinoa, dry

  2. 2 cups of water

  3. 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

  4. 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped

  5. 1 package of organic italian chicken sausage, sliced

  6. Sea salt & pepper

  7. Extra virgin olive oil

  8. 1/3 cup (or more to preference) of shredded gruyere cheese

sweetpotat.jpg

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f.

  2. Toss the sweet potato in olive oil, sea salt and pepper. place on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes until fork tender.

  3. Place quinoa and water into a small pot. bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until all of the water is absorbed.

  4. In a large pan, add a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. cook the chicken sausage until almost browned. add the chopped kale, another drizzle of oil, and sprinkle of sea salt and pepper and sauté until crispy.

  5. Mix the quinoa, sweet potato, kale and chicken sausage together in a large baking dish.

  6. Sprinkle the gruyere cheese on the top.

  7. Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Source: https://www.spinach4breakfast.com/quinoa-sweet-potato-sausage-bake/

There but for fortune

When my dad lost his job in the steel mills, he bounced around before landing a job as a corrections officer at a maximum security prison in rural Pennsylvania.

My dad is a mild-mannered fellow, good natured, kind and often a man of few words. He’s also 5’7 and about as imposing a figure as my 10-year old basset hound… 

One night, when I was 12 years old, my dad wasn’t yet home from work and I could sense that my mom was worried. I was picking up her anxiety and matching it with my own when we were both jarred by the piercing ring of our rotary telephone. My mom answered the phone, said a few words, before returning the living room, pale faced.

“There’s a bomb threat at the prison,” she said. “Dad can’t come home yet.” 

I’m sure I don’t know half of the stresses and situations my dad dealt with in his years before retiring from his job. I know it changed him, I know he grayed earlier than his brother who is eight years his senior - and I know retired as soon as he could.

I asked him once, a few years ago, what it was like to work around people whom you know have committed horrific crimes.

“Most of those guys,” he said, sipping his coffee and looking out the back window of our kitchen. “Most of those guys didn’t stand a chance. They didn’t have the privileges you guys had,” he said, referring to my brothers and me. I nodded, but didn’t know quite what to say.

I don’t often think of myself as growing up with privilege. 

We didn’t have a lot of money. There were some tough times especially when my dad lost his job. But one of the best descriptions of privilege I ever read is “if you don’t have to think about it, it’s a privilege.” 

Well, there were plenty of things I didn’t have to think about, and that I still don’t have to think about. 

Privilege doesn’t mean we haven’t worked hard or overcome obstacles. But recognizing that we have privilege can fundamentally change the way we see our lives as they are now. I have the privilege of being able-bodied. I have the privilege of living a middle class life. I have easy access to community, education and health care.

I write about this today because, as I try to make sense of what is happening in this world - some of which has affected my hometown of Pittsburgh, I wonder what it will take to help facilitate peace and kindness in places where peace and kindness seem so far away.

And I think about my dad, and his words to me.

I have been afforded many privileges in my life. It’s up to me recognize those privileges, and make the most of my opportunities. But it’s not just being grateful and appreciating what I’ve been given.

It’s also about using our privilege to help create opportunities for people who haven’t been afforded those same opportunities.

Be kind.

Triggers

Happy Election Day!

That's about as far as I'll go with my political opinion :)

Today I wanted to talk about a concept that I think if you can master, you'll be ahead of 99% of people. 

Hear me out...

Answer yes or no to these questions:

Should you brush your teeth?

Should you exercise?

Should you get your vegetables in?

Hopefully, you answer yes to all three of those, right?

Well, why does one of them get one more often (hopefully) than the others?

Trigger. 

Each morning when you wake up you pull the trigger (going to the bathroom, showering, etc) that it's time to brush your teeth. 

Now it's just part of your routine. 

You probably have a similar routine at night. 

Well, can't we just duplicate that for exercise and nutrition? 

We all know we should eat healthy and exercise. 

That's not the problem. 

It's behavioral change. 

We just need to make those things a habit. 

So, how can we make exercise and healthy eating a habit so we don't have to think about it?

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Change your environment. Do you find yourself making the same poor choices in the same place (in the office, on the couch after dinner)? It sounds simple, but all you have to do is change your environment, and the craving will probably go away. Because it's usually not a craving, it's a habit. 

2. Pick the desired trigger that you now associate with exercise. For example, are you trying to get it in before work? If so, really put an emphasis on the "morning commute" is the morning commute to the gym. Or when you brush your teeth, you're brushing your teeth to get ready for the gym. Put your gym clothes in your bag next to your keys, etc. T

These all seem like really simple concepts, but here's my question...

Are you doing them?

So here's my goal for you today. 

Do something tomorrow that triggers a positive action and reply and let me know what it is. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Barriers & Bridges...

Throughout life, we go through a lot of barriers...

I remember the barrier of trying to find my first job at 14. 

The barrier of wanting to lose all that weight before going off to college. 

The barrier to finding my true passion. 

The barriers to business. 

The barriers to raising a kid.

I'm sure I could go on and on, and I know you have your own barriers. 

The barrier to fit into those dress pants. 

The barrier to finding a job that you love going to every day. 

We also have emotional barriers like not believing we can do something, anger, or a feeling of disempowerment. 

But what happens...

As you continue to try to get past these barriers, doing small things to chip away at them, 1% better, you don't realize what's going on underneath your feet. 

You're building your bridge to get over it. 

When a barrier comes up in life, you have two choices...

You can turn around and give up.

Or you can build a bridge and get over it. 

We all have barriers, but it's those who can build a bridge to get over them that have the most success. 

Do you remember when you first lost those first few pounds?

That was a barrier, and whatever you did, you built a bridge to get over it. 

That bridge took you on a journey until the next barrier. 

That bridge now has to go back under construction to get over the next barrier. 

Life is a relentless pursuit of building bridges to get over your barriers in the way. 

Attack you barriers, build your bridges, and you'll have massive breakthroughs. 

1% Better. 

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

220 in a 110 World

I’m down in Kentucky for some business meetings, but right before I left yesterday the power was out at my house, and it reminded me of a great line I always try to think about…

Be a 220 person operating in a 110 world.   

For those who don't know, most of the US electrical runs on 110 volts. 

Some of the high energy big stuff requires 220 volts. 

Double the volts. 

A 220 person in a 110 world means a lot of things. 

If you're a 220 person...

Your energy is a step ahead of everyone else's.

Your productivity is superior to everyone else's.

Your attitude is extremely positive.

Twice as good. 

No time to be average. 

Think of how much that can carry over. 

There's so much negativity in this world. 

There will always be something to complain about. 

Why can't we challenge ourselves to be that 220 person in the room?

The person that shines brighter, the person that is more positive, and the person that leads the way. 

As always, there's a relation to fitness.

There will always be the people that keep doing the same thing, not willing to change, and expecting different results. 

There will always be the people who don't want to put the work in, who just want to be "average."

And there's nothing wrong with that. 

But that's the 110 world. 

If this resonates with you, you're the type of person that wants to go above and beyond, be that 220 person in the 110 world. 

Work twice as hard. 

Shine twice as bright. 

Be the energy for others. 

So many applications...

So I challenge you...

How are you going to be a 220 person in a 110 world?

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling


Jack-o-Lantern Stuffed Peppers

Slow Cooker Shredded Taco Chicken

2 chicken breasts
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies

Add chicken to the bottom of the slow cooker, sprinkle seasonings on top and then cover with diced tomatoes. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours. Shred chicken and allow it to remain in sauce.

Stuffed Peppers

4 bell peppers your choice of color
2 cups rice of your choice
1 shredded chicken breast from the above recipe
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can black beans rinsed and drained

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  While you are waiting for the water to boil, rinse peppers, slice off the tops and hollow out the insides, be sure to remove any seeds and the white part inside. If desired, use a small paring knife to cut out a jack-o-lantern face. When water is boiling, put the peppers and tops in and allow to cook for about 5 minutes until peppers are tender.  Remove from water and set aside to cool.  Mix the cooked rice, shredded chicken, cheddar cheese, and black beans together in a large bowl.  Fill each pepper with the chicken and rice mixture and top with extra cheese, if desired. Replace pepper top back on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until cheese is melted and pepper is done to desired tenderness.  

Alternately, once peppers are stuffed, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate, when ready to cook, preheat oven to 350, remove plastic wrap and bake for 1 hour.

Source: http://www.everydayjenny.com/shredded-chicken-rice-stuffed-peppers-halloween-style/

Create Some Freedom...

This weeks focus has been on planning.

I hope you have enjoyed it, and if you’re a client at Spurling I hope you enjoyed the entire 6-Week Lifestyle Challenge.

I want to wrap up the week by sharing with you what we call a Friday Freedom Session. 

This is an exercise I use to help me shift gears from "working man" to "family man."

During the week most of us are moving a hundred miles an hour, and all of the sudden we try to shut things off and switch our focus over to the family. 

Well, that doesn't just happen magically. 

I recommend every Friday taking 30-60 minutes and doing a Freedom Session. 

It will free up your mind and help you make a smooth transition so you can focus more on what's most important, family. 

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. 

If your life is chaos and you're not productive with your time it just will snowball into not getting your workouts in and making poor nutrition. 

It's all one big puzzle :)

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

If You're Furious With Your Results...

The journey we're all on can be so frustrating at times. 

You think you're trying hard, but yet you just can't seem to get the results you're looking for. 

Or, you're nervous and scared to start, that paralyzes you, and you never take any action. 

It can be frustrating for sure. 

However, what happens when we get angry or frustrated?

We say "screw it!"

We binge eat, stop working out, or try to do it on our own, but in reality, we end up just yoyo-ing around, and never make any progress, or worse, go backwards.

On this journey, which I call it a journey for so many reasons, you're going to go through ups and downs, nobody loses weight every single week, nobody makes progress 52 weeks a year, and that can lead to massive frustration. 

Next time you get frustrated (and this could apply to any moment of frustration, not just fitness) think of one of my favorite lines...

If you're furious, get curious. 

I use this in business a ton. 

If I'm frustrated with a team member or a result of something we're trying, it's very easy to get mad, but instead, I try to get curious. 

The same thing in a relationship. 

It's never all roses, sometimes you have moments of frustration. 

When you feel that coming on, try not to get furious, but get curious. 

We now have a 6’ life-size teddy bear in the gym.

We named him Carl. Curious Carl.

Although he acts as a hilarious prop (see our Facebook Page), he also is a good reminder anytime you see him to be curious.

Ask yourself why.

Why are you frustrated?

What's the problem?

What's the solution?

What could I do differently?

Am I doing everything possible?

Do my actions match my intentions?

Keep asking questions. 

Typically, that tends to reveal a lot more, especially a lot more over just getting furious about it, which does nothing. 

With fitness, by getting curious you may be honest with yourself and realize that you may not be trying as hard as you really can. 

You may realize that your intentions are great, but they're not always backed up by your actions. 

Getting curious may make you realize that you're doing the same thing you've been doing and expecting a different result. 

It forces you to be self-aware. 

So, next time you're frustrated, in fitness, or in life, remember the line...

If you're furious, get curious!

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling


Start where you are

I love this quote.

I love this concept. 

Because it embraces you for you. It's not asking you to change. It's not asking you to be someone different than who you are, right now, in this moment.

It offers permission, and it also offers some accountability. Accept who you are, and where you are, but take action.

Start. 

Begin.

Change the story you tell yourself about what all of the reasons you’ll start next week, next month, tomorrow. Too often we wait.

I'll start going to the gym on Monday.

After my birthday.

After that trip. 

You can start right now. But you have to change way you think about getting started.

The quote comes from a book of the same title by Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun whose work I've followed for a few years. The book is a guide to compassionate living. 

I'm a procrastinator. I'll do anything to avoid getting started. I don't know why. I just do. 

But I also like this quote because it's gentle. 

The quote "no excuses" absolutely works for some people. Many athletes are motivated by coaches shouting things like no excuses, and no pain, no gain. I still have t-shirts from high school with those quotes. They work. And they are true. You have to be willing to recognize when you're making excuses regarding change. You have to recognize when you're not making exercise and nutrition a priority.

But I don't believe that motivation, accountability, and self-compassion need to be mutually exclusive. 

Regardless of what it is that you're putting off, take a look at what you're waiting for. Sit with the why. Embrace where you are in your life.

Start with where you are.

Start with you who are.

Are You Making This List?

If you can't tell I am about as Type A as you can find. 

Everything is time urgent, I keep massive to-do lists, and I aim to get 1001 things done each day. 

Coach Kim likes to say to me…

"Doug, when would you like this done? Yesterday, right?"

There’s a big area of opportunity for me as well.

When you move fast, aim to get a lot done, and want to change everything, all the time, it can cause things to break or not go right.

But we do our best to plan, right?

And that’s the theme of this week…

Planning.

Here’s a strategy in planning that works for me and might work for you.

Why do we plan?

We plan so that we can set ourselves up for success.

As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail.

So, how do we plan the day?

First off, aim to get three things done each day. 

I limit my to-do list to just three things. 

If more happens, great, but if these three things get done, it's a win for the day. 

My to-do list for each day used to be dozens of items long. 

There's always ways we can do things better, meetings that can be held, projects that can be worked on, and I would put it all on one day. 

My coach (yes, even we have coaches) cracked the whip on me and got me to limit my to-do list to three items. 

Three big rocks. 

Three things that are the most important on that day. 

It's been tremendously helpful in not overloading my to-do list, and forcing me to focus on what is most important on that given day. 

Prioritize. 

Second, and I think the more valuable lesson that I'm working on is creating a "not to do" list. 

It's still a work in progress, but basically, I'm outlining the things I'm not going to allow myself to get distracted by, the items that are just busy work and not part of the big three rocks mentioned above, and things that I need to say no to. 

By creating this not to do list it allows me to focus even more on those big three rocks. 

Things on this list would included excess time on social media, outsiders asking to meet with me, and other small “sand” in the jar the should be filled with rocks.

In your day and in your life there will always be 1001 things you could be doing, opportunities, things you could be saying yes to…but what are you saying no to?

I'm trying to say no to a lot more. 

So, my challenge for you...

As you plan and create a daily to-do list try to keep it to the big three rocks.

What are the big three things that MUST get done that day? 

Really prioritize what the three most important things are. 

Second, start creating a not-to-do list. 

A list of things that you say no to, things that distract you from the more important tasks, and things that don't help you get 1% better. 

Creating this list has been a game changer for me, and should you choose to implement it, I know it can help you in your planning.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling