Do the math

I’m bad at math. I know that, you know that because I’ve written about it, and at least a handful of my clients know it because of that one time someone accidentally hit a personal record of 205lbs on the trap bar deadlift…

One the biggest challenges we have day to day is helping clients focus on what they are gaining, and not what they are losing. We live in a culture that begs us all to be less - to be smaller - to lose body fat, to lost inches around the waist. Rarely is anyone talking about ways in which we can be more.

When you begin a new exercise program, you are gaining energy. You are gaining better range of motion by doing more soft tissue work and dynamic stretching at the beginning of your workout. You are hopefully thinking better, feeling better, and sleeping better as a result of your new exercise routine.

On convincing them that they can set out to be more, and not less. This is an uphill battle when most of us, women especially, come in to the gym trying to lose body fat, inches, weight or appetite.

But often, after a few months in the gym, clients can become frustrated with all of the things that they are “only” doing. (Which is why no one is allowed to say only to me.) On the other hand, I understand how lifting weights can feel stagnant sometimes. Which is when I like to bring out my calculator and introduce the concepts of progressive overload and total volume.

Progressive whaaaa??

Progressive overload is a fancy schmancy way of saying that you increased your workload for an exercise by either adding more weight or more repetitions to your workout. For example, if you perform three sets of eight dumbbell goblet squats with 15 pounds in week one, you squatted a total of 360 pounds.


The next week, let’s say you lifted 15 pounds, but added more repetitions and sets. So you did 15x10x4.

Most clients are still stuck on the idea that they are “only” lifting 15 pounds. But when you do the math (with a calculator if you’re me), the reality is that you have now lifted a total of 600 pounds.

600 pounds.

That’s an increase of almost 50%.

The deadlift is another lift where clients tend to minimize their workload.

In the beginning, we start with the kettlebell deadlift, which is an excellent exercise to learn how to properly hip hinge (which translates into helping you pick things up from the floor in a way that keeps your back healthy and your knees happy).

Often we begin clients with a 35lb kettlebell to build a solid movement pattern, but it isn’t very long before we graduate to 50 or 60lbs. After that we progress to the trap bar.

Most clients average between 85-105lbs when they begin using the trap bar. Last week, I had two clients use the trap bar for the first time, both at 85lbs. They did 8 reps for four sets.

They lifted 2,720 pounds. And that was just on the deadlift.

Next time you’re frustrated with what you’re not losing, or the fact that you only lifted a certain amount of weight, step back, pull out your calculator, and do the math.

You’re gaining strength every day.

Celebrate that.

Celebrate you.

How Much Are You Willing To Change?

You either love it or hate it.


I actually crave change. 

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

1%. Right?

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

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

How much are you willing to change?

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

There is no right answer. 

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

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

Here's why. 

What you change is a direct reflection of your results. 

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

The same input will always equal the same output. 

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

I don't know. 

That's up to you. 

We need to think of it as a spectrum. 

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

No change = No results. 

Pretty simple. 

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

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

Are you willing to have no alcohol? 

Are you willing to say no to all sweets?

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

7 days a week. 

365 days a year. 

No exceptions. 

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

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

That's that extreme side of the spectrum. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

That's always the biggest disconnect we see. 

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

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

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Two Drives To Success

Having now spent over a decade in this industry, and working with hundreds, if not thousands of people, there are usually only two drivers to long-term success.

Getting started is the hardest part…

However, once you start, if you find a a supportive community, sticking with it for the first few months is typically doable. 

But what happens?

After a few months, you may see some results, but probably not the results you were looking for. 

Other than expecting it to be easy and usually thinking those 20lbs is going to come off quicker than you put them on, there are really two drivers to long-term success. 

Getting results is the hardest part, and I know how frustrating it can be, I've personally been at a weight plateau for all of 2019, with a goal to shed about 20-30lbs.

The two drivers?

Frequency & Nutrition.

That's it. 

Simple, not easy. 

Almost anytime we see someone who is not getting results, it typically is one or both of those things. 

If you're coming to a place like Spurling, we know you're doing things safe, and the program is usually not the problem, although we always want to make tweaks to what we're actually doing, most of us would benefit from just showing up more. 

For most people, I recommend a minimum of 10 workouts per month. 

Again, for most people, people that have no major injuries, no complicated medical history, and people who have goals of looking better, feeling better, and moving better. 

Ten is the minimum to see results at the pace you want to see them at. 

Now, just like anything else, more is better, but there is a limit. 

I'm a huge fan of everyone having at least one day off a week. 

So, doing the quick math, I'd say a max of 25 workouts a month. 

10-25 workouts a month. 


Driver number one is frequency. 

If you're not getting results, bump up your frequency is see what that does. 

Driver number two is nutrition. 

I wish it wasn't. 

I wish we could eat and drink whatever we want, but that's not how our bodies work. 

You could be busting your hump 15-20 times per month in the gym, but if you're nutrition isn't lined up, you're not going to see a change.

That's what's happening with me right now. 

I'm working out consistently 12-15 times per month, but I have not tightened up my nutrition, thus I have pretty much maintained my body composition and weight since January. 

Now, the cool thing (I guess), is imagine if I wasn't working out 12-15 times, and still eating the same way I am?

I'd probably be up 12-15lbs!

So, frequency can mask a little bit of your results, so just know that. 

But the fact of the matter is, if you want to see body composition change your nutrition needs to be on point. 

You need be in a caloric deficit, you need to be drinking lots of water, and you need to be getting lots of protein to keep you full and repaired. 

Those are the big three. 

Again, simple, not easy. 

So, if your frequency is on point, start to take a harder look at your nutrition. 

For 99% of the people we meet with it's usually one or both of these drivers that are limiting their success. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Can You Put A Dollar Sign On Your Health?

I wrote the following post in 2016, and the article that I linked in the post below I wrote in 2012.

All of this is still so true, and I thought of this post after a conversation I was having with a client yesterday about the cost of medications, co-pays, etc. and he said that his membership at Spurling eliminates the need for all of that…so it actually saves him hundreds of dollars a month.

I reference my dad in the following post, unfortunately, my dad passed away in October from a heart failure.


I'm  getting ready to head down to Massachusetts to take my dad out to lunch for his 70th birthday. 

Each year my brother and I take him to his favorite seafood spot on the waters of Gloucester, MA. 

My dad was a big fisherman in his youth so he loves having lunch on the water. 

For me, it's totally worth the two hour drive just for lunch to see the smile it puts on his face. 

For most of us going out to lunch is a normal thing. 

For my dad, and people whom are in similar situations (I'm sure you know someone), it's no small task. 

We have to coordinate the trip around his dialysis days, make sure he brings his pills he has to take with meals, and my brother has to walk next to him the entire time to assure he doesn't fall. 

Quite often when I'm around my dad, I ask myself, can you put a dollar sign on your health?

I bet you my dad would empty his accounts out yesterday if it could reverse his health issues of kidney failure, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and more. 

But the truth is...he can't. 

I realize I'm coming from a bias place when I say this, but I truly believe that investing in your health has the greatest return on investment. 

By going to the gym a couple hours a week and eating healthy NOW, you're buying yourself time, our most valuable asset. You're saving yourself YEARS of health costs, physical stress, and more importantly, emotional stress. 

I've always found it interesting that people will spend $200 on a dinner out once a week, have a $500 car payment, or splurge on a new outfit, BEFORE investing in their health. 

You can't change genetics, but next to that, health is the number one thing that determines how long you have on this earth. Investing in your health literally adds years to your life. 

A healthy lifestyle makes the difference between miserable at 70 watching the fishermen, and someone being 70 driving their boat and going fishing. 

In 2012 I wrote a blog post titled "Can You Put a Dollar Sign on Your Health?"

I went over the costs my dad currently has for healthcare including insurance, prescriptions, CoPays, medical supplies, gas to doctors and dialysis, etc. 

It totaled over $1300/month! 

The sad thing is, growing up with him, I know most of that could of been avoided with a healthy lifestyle of not smoking, eating decent, and breaking a sweat a couple times a week. 

So think about...

Can you really put a dollar sign on your health?

Eating healthy is hard, and for some, working out can be a challenge. You may think a gym membership is not in your budget. 

But think about this...

My mom never saw my brother graduate high school, and she won’t see my brother or I get married. That’s something money can’t buy. 

My dad spends the majority of his week in a doctor’s office. He drops thousands of dollars a month to keep himself alive. 

In both instances, this wasn’t bad luck. It was directly linked to unhealthy life choices. 

I didn’t write this to have you feel bad for me, trust me, I'm super fortunate to still have my dad around, and I know their are SO many people reading this who have gone through much worse. 

I wrote this in hopes that you will read it, take my advice for what it’s worth, and realize that investing in your health has THE GREATEST return on investment. 

You are given one life. Take care of your body, because you only get one of them, and your health, yeah your health, it’s priceless.


It’s crazy to read that piece, now having lost my dad just six months ago.

However, it’s a great reminder of the power a healthy lifestyle can have.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

PS: If you’re looking for a lifestyle change and want to drop some weight, get stronger, improve your fitness and nutrition, reduce some stress, and sleep a little better I invite you to join us for our upcoming 6-Week Lifestyle Program. It kicks off on 4/22, after the schools April Vacation.

Click here to learn more and inquire about the program.

If you’re already a member, click here to join in on the lifestyle challenge for free.

Your Ultimate Guide To A Fitness Routine...

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 us 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 than 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 do 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. They attach to bone, and your bones don’t grow once you’re an adult.

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 (Small Group PT)

Tuesday: Metabolic (Team Training)

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 :)

That’s why we always recommend having a coach, or in our case, a team of coaches scripting out your journey.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling 

Waiting for Godot

When I was a junior in high school, my English teacher had us read “Waiting For Godot,” the play by Edward Albee. 

If you are unfamiliar, the play involves two main characters who spend the entire play engaging in conversation while waiting for Godot to appear.

Spoiler alert - he doesn’t. 

This was my introduction to the theatre of the absurd and I absolutely loved it. I loved that the play was open to interpretation, and my mind was spinning with ideas when we came together to discuss it. I was so taken with the play that my teacher moved me to a different class where other students found the play as interesting as I did. 

Somewhere in that discussion Mrs. Hostetler asked us all what our individual “Godots” were. I remember my friend Erin sitting next to me saying that her Godot was to be accepted to college. She did that and more, working now as a doctor in the Pacific Northwest.

My Godot was a book. 

I was waiting to write a book.

Little did I know, I was waiting for so much more than that. 

There are vocations, and then there are jobs. I spent much of my time in high school and early college thinking about jobs.  Then I took every single career test I could find. I looked around at all of my roommates and friends in college; they were education majors, physical therapy majors, occupational therapy, pre-med - they were all heading into helping professions, and most of them are still in those helping professions twenty years later. 

But I was trying to reconcile several things: my love of writing, my innate desire to help people, and the ultimate goal that I needed to make money to live. Ideally, I should have been a teacher. But one semester at Erie’s Cathedral Prep, the all boys’ Catholic High School in the city, fixed that. But if you didn’t teach with an English degree, what did you do?

Well, I can only tell you what I did.

I followed my curiosity. And I’m privileged that I was able to do that. Because as much as I am proud of the fact that I finally found my vocational calling at 39 years old, I also need to be realistic about a few things. First of all,  I never made much money in any of my jobs. So when I decided to become a personal trainer, I didn’t throw some high salary job to the side to do so. And second, I have a spouse with a stable job and benefits who has supported me through every existential crisis (and 14 jobs during our time together). I’ve had double-digit jobs, she’s had two.

I don’t discount that.

But this is what following my curiosity looks like: In retrospect, I was an awfully curious person, but was also indecisive, afraid of job commitment, and struggled with feelings of worthlessness that can come along with bouts of depression.

Depending on the circumstance, following your own curiosity can be really difficult.

As I come up on my three-year anniversary at Spurling, and reflect on how fortunate I am to be in a calling and not a job these past three years, I’m so glad to know that in my story, Godot finally showed up.

And I’m grateful.

"I Don't Have Time Or Energy"

Typically when we ask people why they don't work out it usually comes down to two things:

1. I don't have time. 

2. I'm too tired at the end of the day/I don't have the energy. 

First off...I get it. 

In 2019 I don't think there are many people left who are not “busy.”

We've created a life that involves trying to cram 25 hours of work into 24 hours, and we didn't even factor in sleep. 

So, here's the thing...

It's a catch 22. 

The reason you're tired and don't have energy typically has something to do with no solid fitness or nutrition routine.

And because you're tired and don't have the energy you become very unproductive and reactive. 

You become busy with busy work, reactive things, but never actually make any progress with anything. 

You look up at the end of the day and something that should have taken an hour took eight hours because you went at it when you were tired and lacking energy. 

Ok, so we get it. 

We're tired, don't have energy, and need to find the time. 

How do we fix it?

Well, I'm not here to "fix" you, you're not broken, so I'll just give you ten ideas that you may take action on. 

1. What are the three rocks that need to get done today? Most people say yes to 1001 things, and they chip away at all of them. Execute (taking action is the most important thing) on three things. Don't overload your list of things to get done. 

2. Touch it once. Meaning, don't get reactive and check a Facebook notification or an e-mail and then go back to what you're working on. Touch it once. Once you start it, you finish it. 

3. Say yes to what's important to you. If exercise and your health are important to you, you need to find a way to say yes to it. That may mean a discussion with your spouse that they need to cook dinner three nights a week because you won't be home until later, or that may be a discussion with your boss that you need to leave thirty minutes early so you can sneak a workout in. 

4. Exercise is an investment. Just like a financial investment, you put money in with the hope of a greater return out. You’re going to pay for it somehow, whether it’s on healthcare, medication, or on the preventative side (fitness). Once you start treating it like that you'll find the time and energy. You have to put a little in to get a lot out. 

5. The most common response we get after a workout is this "I was tired and lacking energy when I came in here and now I feel great! 1% better." That's the investment piece. You're making a short term sacrifice (sneaking away for a 45-minute workout when you're tired) for a long-term gain (having more energy after). You have to put a little in to get a lot out. 

6. Always remember Parkinson's Law. Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. If you have four hours to work on something it will take four hours. If you have an hour to work on that same thing it will take an hour. Set a timer for everything. I started writing this e-mail at 6:35 and I will be done by 7:00am. That's what I set for the time frame. If I just had in mind to write an e-mail this morning, I would find 1001 distraction, circle back to it, and it might end up taking me two hours. 

7. 1% Better is ever so important here. It can be a vicious cycle. You wake up tired, so you're unproductive at work which causes you stress, you didn't meal prep so you make unhealthy choices, you get behind which makes you not have time to workout, you stay up late to catch up which means you don't get enough sleep and wake up tired. If you're not careful the vicious cycle will repeat itself. All it takes is one action, 1% better, to get out of the cycle. One more hour of sleep, one workout, don't get overwhelmed, just take one action forward. 

8. Eliminate distractions. The same people that say they don't have time are the same ones that know every reality TV show currently playing and the latest drama on Facebook. If you want to truly manage your time you have to be proactive, not reactive. Most people wake up and just react to what happens that day. If they're not careful they react to just checking that one notification, that one e-mail, reading that one article, watching that one scene, and although those are all little chunks, what they don't realize is throughout the course of the day those "just a minute" tasks added up to several hours. Eliminate distractions, whether that's apps on your phone, tabs on your computer, or people in your life :) (kidding, kind of)

9. Chip away it. You're not going to become Mr. or Mrs. Time Management over night. Just like any other skill, it's a skill that needs to be practiced. Pick one thing each day to work on and aim to get a little better each day.

10. Pigheaded discipline and determination. I read that line in a book. None of what you read is new. None of what I tell you, you don't already know. The difference? Action. Execution. Have pigheaded discipline and determination to fight the busyness, fight the lack of energy, and just do one thing to move the needle. Execution will always trump any great thought or idea. You have to take action. 

So, hopefully, one of those resonated with you. 

I know you're tired. 

I know you don't have energy. 

I know you're busy.  

But in order to get out of that vicious cycle, you have to take one action item, do one thing, and all the sudden that one workout could be what stems into a lifelong healthy lifestyle. 

I hope this one helped. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling


Can you believe it's already April?

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 4/30, 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 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 April 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 April?

I'd love to hear it. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Nail The Basics

Yesterday the team and I met for a half-day meeting to review the first quarter of the year and plan out the next quarter.

We have done it every quarter for the life of our business, and it’s awesome.

This meeting was a little different…

Quite often we talk about what are the new things we can do, what more can we do, what can we add, what can we change, etc.

This meeting we drove home one message…

Nail the basics.

For us, that means three things:

  1. Great coaching at every single session

  2. Hold every client accountable to their goals and attendance

  3. Continue to make sure everyone feels a part of the community as to not lose the “family-like” feel.

That’s it.

Nail the basics.

Because, you see, what happens, if you start to throw in too many moving pieces, too many new changes, too many shiny objects, it distracts you from the basics, and they start to fall.

So, sure, we have some cool things we’d like to do this next quarter (more community volunteering, some fitness workshops, build out our mentor/buddy system, and start to incorporate a “levels” system to really show each client what’s next), but we’re really just hyper focused on the basics.

I tell you all of this because it’s a good lesson for your life in general, especially fitness.

Sometimes we take on too much, we try to do everything at once, and as a result, we see the main thing suffer.

You see that in relationships.

You see that in families.

You see that in work.

And you certainly see that in your health.

So, what are the basics of your health?

It could be three things like:

  • Getting 10 workouts in per month

  • Journaling your food at least 80% of the month

  • Sleep at least 200 hours per month

It can be fun to add a shiny object in the moment and talk about all the fancy things like cool new exercises, fancy diets to follow, or whatever the latest and greatest trend is today on social media, but the truth is, the basics work.

I don’t know a single member who shows up on our frequent sweaters board (10 visits in the month) every single month, that doesn’t get results.

Nail the basics.

That’s our theme right now, maybe it can be yours too.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Episode Three: Recognizing and Overcoming Negative Self-Talk

Kim and I back this week with episode three of the One Percent Better Show.

In this episode we discuss the struggle with negative self-talk, the different types of ways we can talk to ourselves in a negative way, and some strategies you can employ to help you be kinder and more gentle with yourself.

  • You can listen to it on iTunes here.

  • You can listen to it on the web here.

  • You can listen to it on Google Podcast here.

  • You can listen to it on Spotify here.

We’re three episodes in, so this project is still in the infancy stage. We’d love to hear your feedback.

Remember, each episode is going to go deep on a particular topic underneath one of the seven dimensions of wellness (physical, emotional, spiritual, social, financial, vocational, and intellectual) and talk about ways you can inspire positive change in that particular area.

If you have any topics ideas of guests you’d like to hear on the podcast please let us know.

Also, it’s super helpful for us if you go on and subscribe (you’ll get notified every time we post an episode), and leave a review.

I hope your’e enjoying the podcast as much as we are.

This particular episode was a good one.

Kim lead most of the discussion as this is more area than mine, however, I did share some of the negative talk I give myself (what it means to be a dad, what it means to be a business owner, and the negative talks I give myself behind those two things), and some strategies I use to help that.

  • You can listen to it on iTunes here.

  • You can listen to it on the web here.

  • You can listen to it on Google Podcast here.

  • You can listen to it on Spotify here.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Touching your scars

Over the weekend, as I try to recover from a nasty cold that's been hanging on since Adam was a pup, I watched the American Experience Documentary about Maya Angelou.

I've been enthralled with Angelou ever since Miss Pauley, my high school English teacher, read one of her essays to the class my sophomore year of high school.

I was so moved by her words that our senior t-shirts from high school carried a stanza from the poem “I Rise” on the back. 

I was fortunate enough to hear Angelou speak in college, and aside from Desmond Tutu, I can’t remember being so mesmerized by the presence of one person.  

In a clip from the American Experience movie, she says “ When I write, I have to drag the pen across those scars.”

The statement struck me, as I envisioned dragging the sharp tip of a pen across a puffy, inflamed scar - over and over again. I think about my own writing here on this site, and the posts that have been most often read and shared. They are the posts of my depression, of my personal battle with my body image, of my personal stories. 

We know for Maya Angelou those scars were being raped at the age of seven, not speaking for five years, and spending a lifetime as part of the civil rights movement.

Many of us, when we decide to make a lifestyle change, are also touching over our own scars. We thumb over the scar of being picked last for teams on the playground. Over the scar of changing in front of others for the first time in gym class, comparing our pale white skin, our undeveloped and overdeveloped bodies to the teenagers across from us as we scurried to put on those awful gym uniforms. 

We touch the scar of inadequacy - perhaps we were the advanced math student or the gifted English student who suddenly found that when we ran to kick that soccer ball, it flew from the side of our foot and trickled only a few feet while others laughed.

We found that we could not do a front handspring on the playground. Some of us, not even a cartwheel. Too clumsy for hopscotch, too uncoordinated for baseball. Too overweight to keep up when we tried out track in seventh grade.

Despite being a good athlete, I despised gym class. And I nearly failed my senior year in high school because I refused to swim - because I couldn't. I was terrified of the deep end, where all of my friends were, I was mortified at changing naked in front my peers and the entire experience made me miserable.

As a coach who practically lives in the gym - I sometimes forget.

I sometimes forget that there are both men and women who, just by walking through our doors, are touching old scars. Scars of hurtful comments from well-meaning parents, cruel kids in school, and worst of all, ourselves. The scars of bathing suits tried on in the glaring harsh light of department stores, of shopping for new clothes and finding none that fit right and too many minutes standing naked in front of a full-length mirror in the morning - pinching our stomachs and cursing our will power. 

But I am also reminded of the rich words and experience that can come from touching those soft and tender places. For a writer like Maya Angelou, her willingness to “drag her pen over those scars” meant that I didn’t just read her words - they touched me - sat with me - changed me. 

For the men and women who find the courage to walk through our doors, to say I am willing to thumb over my scars about my body and myself - I remind myself that holding them in that vulnerability is the greatest gift I can offer. 



That’s just about how far we’re into 2019

Remember those New Years Resolutions you set three months ago?

How are they going?

Are you 25% towards your 2019 goals?

If yes, awesome.

If no, don’t fret, we still have 75% of the year left.

There is so much that can get done.

We’re just about one quarter in.

Evaluate how the first quarter went, but just like in sports, adjust your game plan if you’re not happy with your results.

Do you need to increase you workout frequency?

Do you need to improve your nutrition?

Maybe it’s your recovery and sleep you need to work on?

Pick one, don’t get overwhelmed, pick one thing to focus on for these next three months.

It’s time to take action, dial things in, and go.

It’s amazing how fast time can pass.

It seems like just yesterday we were setting our 2019 goals, and now we’re 25% through the year.

But if you need a “do-over”, I’m going to give you one.

You can REDO your New Year Resolutions right now, but you can’t waste a single second.

If your goal is fat loss, you need to start today.

If your goal is to get stronger, you need to start today.

If your goal is be healthier, you need to start today.

25% of the year is gone.

Will you make changes today or will you let another 25% pass?

Don’t waste another minute.

Start today.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Tactic vs Strategy

Watching a good chess player at work is all about strategy. 

The best team on the field or court very rarely wins because of one specific play, but because of the overall strategy, they came prepared with. 

Our lives, and especially fitness, are filled with tactics, but not enough strategy. 

"Use this belt, let it jiggle your fat, and it will magically make your waist smaller."

"Do this one specific exercise to tighten and tone your arms."

"Eat this superfood to boost your metabolism overnight."

Just like in business, tactics without strategy never works. 

The media does a great job at filling our minds with all different kinds of tactics to lose weight, tone up, boost your metabolism, and have more energy...

But what's the strategy?

Throw them all together and hope one of them sticks?

You get my point. 

There is not one specific exercise that is best...

There is not one specific food that is best...

There are just strategies that work.

For example...

My strategy is to workout 200 times this year through fun and engaging strength based workouts. 

I want to eat "clean" 80% of the time, but not let it cripple me to the point of not enjoying life. 

I practice daily mindfulness to keep most of my thoughts positive and have a 1% Better approach to fitness and life, which is this...

We only have good days and great days, and as long as I gave it my all today I know I'm better than yesterday but not as good as tomorrow. 

I can then fill that overall strategy in with specific tactics. 

I have a bookmark that I use for my daily reading, it has 200 boxes on it. 

I place an "X" after every workout, that holds me accountable to getting my 200 workouts in. 

I'm not saying tactics are not important. 

However, we don't want to stack a bunch of random tactics on top of a non-existent strategy. 

Have a strong strategy as your foundation, use that as your guardrails to keep you focused and on track, and don't get caught up in the fancy quick-fix tactics, you and I both know they never last. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling


Hello from beautiful Charleston, South Carolina.

Megan, Kaden, and I got a super cute little Airbnb on the water and we’re recharging the batteries for the next week.

Like many of you I have one speed, fast.

I talk fast, I eat fast, I work fast.

Not necessarily the greatest thing, but I’ve learned that’s part of who I am.

I take the one percent better approach and apply it to 100 Day Sprints, so that at the end of it maybe I’m 100% Better ;)

I’ve written about the 100 Day Sprint before.

Basically it’s some ambitious goals, projects, to dos, and growths you want to make in 100 days, and then you rest.

For me, it fits my personality.

If you think of a year being 365 days, I aim to have three 100 day sprints (300 days), and recharge for the other 65 days.

For me, that’s a good ratio.

For some, they need it be more of a traditional 5:2 ratio (Mon-Fri work, recharge on the weekends).

I’ve never really liked to “normalcy” of that.

I like to wake up at 4:30am and just go until I can’t possible go anymore, usually that means 8:30pm.

And I love it.

No complaints.

That also, as we all know, is not sustainable.

I have a pretty good pulse for when I know I’m reaching my limits, and I use travel to renew.

I travel a fair amount for work, but Megan and I always aim to schedule a more relaxing family trip at least once every 100 days.

I know that the travel creates some urgency in that 100 day sprint to get things done, and doesn’t allow me to “push past it."

For me, it’s just about getting out of my normal environment, seeing somewhere new, it allows me to turn things down a lot (I can never shut off completely), and really slow down the pace.

It renews me.

And that’s really the lesson here.

What renews you?

You’re balancing your family, your career, your relationships, and it all seems like it’s pulling you in a million directions.

How do you rest?

More importantly, how do you renew?

Good sleep is good rest, and that’s super important, but throughout each day, week, month, and year we need to find things that renew us.

Resting is great, but renewing is more important.

The difference?

Rest is doing nothing, sleeping, laying around, napping, etc.

Renewing is doing activities that bring you energy, that recharge your batteries, that relight the spark.

The goal is to find mini ones every day and then have larger ones throughout the year.

For example, I try to sweat every single day because I know I feel renewed.

I try to meditate, journal, and read every single day as it gives me energy for the day.

And for me, my hobby, traveling, is renewing.

For others, it’s stressful and not fun, for me, I love the energy somewhere new gives me, and I often can really slow down and get some quality renewal time in.

We know that in order to take care of those around us we have to be at our best. 

I know that if I want to be a good leader for the team, I have to be at my best. 

The coaches know that if they want to put on the best "show" for the clients, they first have to be at their best. 

You know that in order to take care of your family, you have to make sure you're taking care of first. 


How do you do that?

Find things the renew you. 

1% better. 

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Stop going against the grain

As most of you know, Doug and I started a podcast, and on Monday, we recorded episode two. If you’re wondering, I made Doug laugh aloud once, which is one of my secondary goals while we record. 


In the show, Doug and I both talk a little about our respective processes of writing a book. Doug’s book launched last week, and mine will be released in late spring.

If you were to ask any author what the best advice is for writing a book, most of them would say the same thing:


Write, write, write. 

Which is absolutely true. You can’t create something if you don’t find the discipline to sit down to do it. In Doug’s case, he worked writing into his morning routine. He made an appointment with his laptop every day and he kept it. That’s how he has been able to write a new blog post almost every day of the week for the past few years. 

I’m writing this, per my usual, at 10:30 on Tuesday night.

My process for writing a book has been much different. I sit down to write, get antsy, stand up, pet the dog, pour more coffee, scratch my armpits, shave my legs, pluck my whiskers, turn my hat on backwards, flip over the vinyl record, write three words, stand up, vacuum the office…..

Hell, I once tied myself to a chair with panty hose in order to keep myself put. But it just put a knot in the panty hose and freaked my roommates out.  

Ultimately, what allowed me to finish my book was external accountability. I found someone to meet with once a week and that meeting kept me accountable to the process. But I had certain pieces of the book that I would finish during the week, without necessarily following a set schedule. I couldn’t keep a daily appointment, but I could keep weekly accountability… someone else. And that made a big difference.

Somewhere along the way, I realized that I needed to work with my personality, instead of constantly trying to be something I’m not. I am never going to be Type A. I am never going to use a checklist. I am never going to be a linear thinker. I’m never going to be a morning person.

For a long time, I felt bad about many of my natural tendencies - sure I was creative, but I was messy, disorganized and scattered. I tried using a planner for a hot minute, tried to train myself to become a morning person, tied myself to a chair with panty hose - but in the end, I’ve had the most success when I’ve worked with who I already am. 

When I stop trying to force myself to be someone I’m not, good things happen. 

When I work with my personality instead of against it, I can find the slightly better version of myself that I’m looking for. 

Most days, that’s all any of us can ask for. But we can stop feeling bad about all of the things that we’re not, and all of the characteristics that we think will make us a better version of ourselves.

The best thing you can do, is do you, whatever that looks like.

Faucets & Drains...

We all have those people in our lives…

You know who I’m talking about.

They just drain the energy right out of you.

They constantly complain, take a lot of your energy to keep going, and are a real drag.

On the flip side, we have faucets.

Faucets are people with an endless amount of potential, forward motion, and possibility.

They are the source provider of the energy.

It is possible to turn a drain into a faucet.

It’s mostly choice.

It’s mindset.

How you look at things…

Are you an energy drag, or are you filled with forward motion and positivity?

Life is filled with enough drains, be a faucet.

I heard this analogy from the great writer, Seth Godin.

I love it.

Most of this stuff comes down to choice.

In her book Mindset, Carol Dweck introduces the concept of a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.

If someone has a growth mindset they believe they can achieve anything, when they get frustrated they persevere through, when they fail they learn, and they love a good challenge.

In comparison, someone with a fixed mindset believes they are either good at something or not, they give up when they’re frustrated, they think they’re no good when they fail, and they don’t like to be challenged.

To continue with the above example, your drains are fixed mindset people, and your faucets are growth mindset people.

In health and fitness it’s important to have a growth mindset, and either be a faucet, or surround yourself with them.

It’s going to be challenging (I’m not talking about the workouts, I’m talking about the long-term journey of just showing up), you’re probably going to fail at some point, and like bathing, you’re going to need motivation and accountability daily.

If you approach it with a growth mindset that excites you, and you know you can overcome it.

That’s why we’re such big proponents of having coaches with you at every workout, and as support throughout the entire journey.

A coach has a growth mindset, they can see the transformation before it even happens, and they can be your “faucet” of energy.

Keep going.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling


It's a big day.

Tonight is the launch and signing party of my new book, One Percent Better.

I'd love if you could stop by, will I see you there?

What's the book about?

In this day and age, we crave instant gratification.

We think there is a magic pill we can take for fast results, or that there must be a shortcut we’re missing in or health, business, or life.

Life is not about the home runs. It's about showing up every single day and hitting singles.

That is one percent better.

We’re not looking for the quick-fix.

We’re waking up every single day aiming to be the best version of ourselves; aiming to be a little better than yesterday.

Over the last decade I've inspired hundreds of people through the one percent better way of living.

Why did I write the book?

Whether it’s in the gym with fitness clients, in leading our team, or in consulting small business owners, I found myself sharing some core lessons repeatedly.

These lessons have a huge impact, it didn’t matter whether you applied them to fitness, finance, family, or any other aspect of your life, they inspired positive change in all aspects of life.

The magic of a book is it lasts forever.

This book is not designed to be read from front to back in a couple days.

It’s meant to act a “resource” and read a lesson here and there.

Keep it on your nightstand or in your office, and when you feel like you need a spark, read a lesson.

Read one lesson a day and get one percent better.

Tonight, I’ll be sharing a little bit more of my story, some lessons from the book, and giving everyone a free copy of the book as a thank you for attending.

I’ll even sign it :)

It would mean the world to me if you could make it.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

PS: If you’re coming, please do me a favor and RSVP by clicking the link below…

The Sacred Paws

I’m typing this at 10:49 on Tuesday night – by the time you read it, I’ll be slipping back in to my Pittsburgh dialect as I head home for a quick trip to see family.

Yinz guys wanna go dahntahn and drink some Iron?

That’s Pittsburghese for “would you like to grab a beer?”

Today, like many other days for me, has been straight out. From 9:30 am to 9:30 pm I have filled almost every minute of my day with something. And as much as I hate that it’s true - when I have days like those, everyone knows it because I’m a WYSIWYG - what you see is what you get.

It’s an area of growth for me, that I wear my heart out on my sleeve pretty much 24/7. Sometimes it serves me well, but I wouldn’t last a hot minute in a poker game.

When I don’t take a minute to stop and, I don’t know, take a drink on days like these, it’s not pretty.

It’s easy for me jam pack my days now because I love what I do. Between my own writing (now that Doug has a book, I need to write one :-), coaching, learning, doing podcasts and everything else, there is so much to do.

Often, it’s like I’m drinking out of a firehose – now that I found my career my mind is bursting with ideas and because my life is organized chaos, I’m constantly bouncing around from one thing to another throughout my day. Last week I said I wasn’t a checklist person, but I’m not a linear thinker either. My brain looks more like a million post it notes stuck all around a room.

I can get myself pretty out of balance in my days, despite loving what I do.

Tonight when I walked through the door, threw myself onto the comfy dining room chair and sat staring up at the ceiling, my 11 year old basset hound Rooney lumbered in from the living room and say staring at me patiently. I leaned over and picked him up, as I like to do, and he settled into my lap. I nuzzled into his head and smelled the familiar corn chip smell of his that I’ve come to love, and I used him as my weighted blanket. He breathes deeply, I breathe deeply. We both sigh contentedly.

And I was reminded of what Buddhists call the sacred pause.

But in this case, it’s the sacred paws.

It’s one of the things I love so much about dogs, and Rooney in particular. He lays down in the sun, stretches out in front of the heater, and stretches and groans long and loud when he wakes up from a nap. His presence is often my reminder to stop what I’m doing, bend over and scratch his ears, or pick him up, put him in my lap and just be with him.

Seeing him, being with him, is always my reminder to pause. It’s my reminder to stop mindlessly, breathlessly pin-balling myself from moment to moment and losing myself not in my tasks but to my tasks.

I’m grateful tonight (now it’s 11:27), for Rooney – with his long floppy ears, sad droopy eyes, and easy-going presence to remind me of the sacred paws.

Today, as you go about your day - find a moment - close your eyes in the sun - turn up a song on the radio - watch your goldfish swim in his tank - and pause.

{Introducing } The One Percent Better Show

We Started A Podcast! :)

For years, every time I would film a video or do Facebook Live for clients they would tell me...

"Doug, it's good, but I need to put my phone down and listen while I get other stuff done (cook dinner, fold laundry, drive)."

So, we figured what better way to spread our positive messages than through the Podcasting platform. Plus, I brought on my teammate and friend,  Kim Lloyd to join me as a co-host.

The Spurling Community currently consists of 3 main "branches"

1.  Spurling Fitness, our mothership, the gym we change lives in everyday

2. A coaching and education platform that we run for business professionals where we host workshops, events, and offer consulting services.

3. Our charitable foundation work through things like the Spurling Charity 5k, our scholarship, and we're even planning a mission trip :)

Although I do aim to clarify the three overtime, the fact of the matter is they are all integrated, and all share a common message.

One Percent Better.

Getting a little better every day, whether that's a health and fitness change, a better business owner, a better member of the community, or just trying to be a nicer human being :)

Well, The One Percent Better SHOW, will be our universal platform to talk about all of that magical stuff.

I'm excited.

Each episode is going to focus on one of the seven dimensions of wellness…

Physical change, emotional change, spiritual change, social change, intellectual change, vocational change, or financial change.

We’ll bring on guest speakers, do some live “coaching calls” with clients, and do everything we can to spread the positivity of the one percent better message.

I'm a fan of "shipping it" so we didn't wait for the perfect technology, the perfect sound, the perfect logo, but hey, it's episode one.

You can view it on iTunes here--->>>> The One Percent Better Show

Give it a listen and let us know what you think.

If you have ideas for future episodes just reply and let us know.

If you have a minute, we’d love for you to subscribe and leave a review on iTunes.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

4 Walls To A Life Well Lived

It was cold.

He was motionless.

Just that morning I was talking to him about how he likes his coffee.


John had died.

He was the 7th or 8th person I had to “wash up” to get ready for family visits since working there.

I worked in nursing homes and hospitals before getting into the fitness space, and I mostly dealt with Alzheimers & Dementia patients down in Massachusetts, with a brief time up in Bangor working with people who had suffered Traumatic Brain Injuries.

The short of it is, I worked with people who had just nearly faced death or those who were about to face death.

Humbling to say the least.

What does it mean to be you?

Ten years from now is the world better because of you?

What does it mean to have a life well lived?

In my short time on earth, I’ve summarized it to these 4 things…

1. Awareness: Know who you are

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


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

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

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

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

2. Vision: Knowing what you want

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

Your vision. 

Why do you exist?

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

Where do you want to go?

What do you want to do?

Ten years from now we’re sitting together over a glass of wine, what did it mean to be you?

What difference did you make in the world?

Or did we just go through the motions, complaining about whatever we saw on our News Feed that morning?

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

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

A vision creates two things:

Clarity and Drive. 

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

3. Achievement: Know how to get it.

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

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

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


A Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement. 

1% Better. 

Become a lifelong learner. 

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

What are you the best in the world at?

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

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

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

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

4. Fulfillment: Know how to enjoy it

Alright, let's back up for a second. 

You know who you are, self-awareness.

You know where you want to go, vision.

You know how to do it, achievement. 

Now it's time to enjoy it. 

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

Let's talk through a couple examples.

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

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

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

Another easy example...being a dad. 

Right now I'm building the wall of achievement. 

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

Living in the moment and enjoy everything that is so fulfilling to us.

I always go back to my days in the nursing home.

They taught me a lot.

But most importantly…

The challenged me to constantly ask the question…

What does it mean to be me, and what does it mean to have a life well lived?

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling