A gust of wind

In the book “Tattoos on the Heart,” Father Gregory Boyle tells the story of a young man battling a heroin addiction.

In counseling the boy, he says “you have to crawl before you can walk and walk before you can run.”

To which the boy replies with tears in his eyes, “But I know I can fly. I just need a gust of wind.”

The little gust of wind for my cape here came from a fan. But you never know where that gust is going to come from that's going to help you fly. 

I was listening to the book on my drive down to the gym yesterday and paused it after he told this story. I couldn't listen to anything else.

It was one of those lines that landed on my heart. 

I know I can fly. I just need a gust of wind.

We all want to run before we can walk.

Restraint is so difficult.

We know in the world of health and fitness that adopting a restrictive diet or trying to work out five days a week, in the beginning, is often the recipe for failure. We decide to run a 5k and bust out 20 miles in a week and then our bodies break down and we find ourselves battling injuries because we didn't have the patience to pace ourselves.

We adopt a no carb diet only to find ourselves gorging on a piece of cake seven days in to the 30 day plan. 

We know that in order for behavioral change to stick, we have to start slow, and stack one block at a time. 

We have to crawl before we can walk. 

We know this.

But it's that last line from the boy that pulls so hard at me. Crawl before we can walk, yes. Stacking the blocks one at a time, yes.

"But I know I can fly." 

What this boy is speaking to, is potential. 

The definition of potential is "latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness." I believe we all have it within us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. It's up to us to determine what that means. 

And yet..

"I just need a gust of wind."

I think we sometimes beat ourselves up over our own potential. Do you know the number one comment I hear from clients whenever I ask what we can do to help support them in the process?

"Nothing. It's not you. It's me. I just need to do a better job. I know what I need to do, I just need to do it."

To those clients I'd say no.

Stop being so hard on yourself. 

Yes you have the potential. You know you can fly. I know you can fly. 

Sometimes you just need a little gust of wind. 

Let someone else be that gust of wind for you.

A Different Look...

"How often should I workout?"

It’s a common question we get on day one when we meet with new people, and it happened again last night.

"I'd like to come 3-4x per week."

That's the common response for beginners and experienced folks alike. 

What's the problem with that?

It's not that 3-4x per week is right or wrong.

In fact, let me comment on that for a quick second. 

How often do you work out now?

If the answer is zero, even once a month is going be better than nothing. 

And in fact, sometimes setting the bar high, like the above example of 3-4x per week, although it sounds good on paper, may set the bar too high. 

I'd rather set the bar lower and constantly feel the accomplishment of going over it than set the bar too high and have the disappointment of feeling like I can never reach it. 

So, even if you want to workout 3x per week I'm going to challenge you to look at it differently. 

What's 3 x 50 (let's plan on two weeks off or vacation)?


Why don't we say I want to workout 150 times this year?

Isn't it really the same thing?

I like to think of goals on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. 

150 workouts in a year...

40 workouts in a quarter (90 days) ..

10-12 workouts a month...

10 workouts in May!  

That doesn't sound so bad, right?

In reality, it's the same answer as 2-4x per week, but the bar is instantly more attainable.

Now, more than most, I’m not one for lowering the bar.

I don’t want you to think this mindset shift (that’s all it is), is lowering the more.

It’s still going to be work, we can still raise it, we’re just looking at it differently.

To summarize in online line, think of frequency on a monthly basis not a weekly basis.


You have a much higher chance of achieving it. 

Something will come up this week. 

Kids will get sick.

You'll get stuck at work. 

Some life event will get in the way. 

So if you're hell-bent on getting 3 workouts in this week, it instantly sets you up for failure. 

However, if you know that you have three more weeks to get in your 10 workouts you simply adjust and execute. 

Same thing with the yearly goal of 150 workouts.

If you didn't hit your 3x this week it no longer feels like a failure because you have the other 49 weeks to get in your 150. 

Now, you can't be crazy and think you're going to get 150 in 100 days, but it builds in life's way of always putting up hurdles. 

So my question to you...

We're just about to wrap up April.

That means eight more months in 2019.

How many workouts are you going to get the rest of the year? 

Reply and let me know...

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

This Is So Underestimated

I was chatting with a client last week about their results and frequency, and I reminded her of one of my favorite lessons....

We overestimate what we can get done in a day or a week, but we underestimate what we can get done in a year. 

Read that again for me...

We overestimate what we can get done in a day or a week, but we underestimate what we can get done in a year. 

Think about that. 

Quite often we have goals like...

" I want to go to the gym 4-5x per week." 


"I want to lose 20lbs before the summer."

Well, what happens?

We try to go gung-ho, try to cram so much into a day or week, end up puttering at everything, getting frustrated that we might have set that bar too high, and then wake up a year later and neither of those goals have happened. 

I don't like to "lower standards" because I do think that most people underestimate how hard it is to actually see change, especially when it comes to fitness and nutrition. 

However, I do think we overestimate what we can get done in a day or a week. 

We have this glorious goal that we're going to come to the gym 4-5x per week, all while working full-time, taking care of the family, etc. 

The reality is, although that's great when that can happen, I think if that's your mindset you're setting yourself up for failure.

There is going to be a week or weeks where that is not possible, and now you have failure in your mind. 

So, now that you have failure in your mind because you set the bar too high, you go into hibernation mode, and say "screw it". 

That means not working out for weeks or months, making poor nutrition choices, and having a hard time getting back on track. 

Our most successful clients come 120-150 times a year.

We have a board at the gym called the "Frequent Sweaters Club."

In order to get on the board, you just have to come ten times that month. 

Sounds easy, right?

That's just 2-3 times per week. 

You'd be surprised how hard it is. 

I will tell you, for most people, that should be their goal every month with fitness. 

Get on the Frequent Sweaters board. 

Our most successful clients are not coming 4-5x per week, they just get on the Frequent Sweaters board every single month, 12 months a year. 

To stay on track with my original line of underestimating and overestimating...

I'm all for setting big lofty goals, trust me.

But when you set the bar too high each day or each week, thinking that you're going to get all this stuff done, you end up never moving the needle forward. 

You wake up a year later and no progress is made. 

But instead, if you take better action on less, consistent smaller action, you become thoroughly surprised what can get accomplished in a year. 

It's what makes 1% Better so important. 

Show up. 

Take small actions. 

Don't set a bar so high you can never reach it. 

And over the next 100 days you'll be 100% better :)


1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Which Path?

Which path do you take?

As humans, we're naturally wired to take that path of least resistance.

In fact, everything is designed to take the path of least resistance.

Whether it's water, electricity, or our brains, it will always default to what is easiest, what is the shortest, quickest, or least challenging way.

Did you know wolves evolved to domesticated dogs because it was easier to scavenge on human trash than track down prey?

The path of least resistance.

So what's the solution?

Awareness is always number one.

Whether it's in fitness, nutrition, work, or life, we're always going to default to the easiest way of doing it (or not doing it all because that's actually the easiest).

So you have to consciously be aware of that, and continually remind yourself that the path of least resistance is not always the best way.

The people that have success, in any area of life, fitness included, are the ones that don't take the easiest path...

Getting up at 430am is not easy...

Showing up every single day, writing every single day (like this), for over 1000 straight weekdays is not easy...

Thinking that a 14-16 hour work day is normal is not easy...

But I know those three things, amongst a handful of others, are my personal competitive advantages.

I simply know, because it's not easy, most people won't do it.

Because it's a harder path to take, they'll be fewer people on the path, and I'll be farther ahead than most on that path.

Now that's a personal or business example, but you can relate that to any one thing...

Showing up to the gym when you have "better" things to do is not easy...

Meal prepping is not easy...

Journaling your food is not easy...

Saying no to takeout and instead making a healthy choice is not easy...

And it's why most people won't do it, so if you're looking for results, those are the things you need to do.

Go against the grain, go against what is normal or status quo, and do what others just are not willing to do.

With all that being said...

You can also use this to your advantage.

Since we know our brains are naturally going to go with the path of least resistance, we can do things that play to that.

For example...

Putting the alarm clock across the room so you have to get out of bed to shut it off...

Preparing your gym bag the night before and putting it by the door...

Hiding (or not buying) some of those food goodies (there's actually a company that sells food storage that locks for a certain amount of time)...

Have healthy foods on the counter that is quicker to access...

You get it.

As you may know by now, this change stuff (fitness, nutrition, or other) is hard, and it's mostly a mental game.

Just remember, our brains are wired to take the path of least resistance, so you need to use that to your advantage in some circumstances and go against it in others.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Three tips to manage your time better

In the past few weeks I’ve started to track how I spend my time. Not to the minute, but every hour or so during the day, I jot down what I’ve done during the past 60 minutes. Like many of us, I’d like to be more productive, so I thought a time tracker might be a good place to start.

I feel like I’ve learned some important lessons during this process and I want to share those with you today.

You’re welcome in advance (and I apologize for the implied profanity. But poop show doesn’t sound the same…)


I’m not sure if sh*t show is a technically a personality trait, but if so, that’s my strongest one, behind introversion.

Anyone who has ever witnessed me trying to leave the gym at the end of the night has seen this in person, with my five bags, one coffee mug, one blender bottle, and keys? Where are my keys?

This morning, it took me an hour to get ready for work. I work at a gym, don’t fix my hair, and I’m not really required to do anything but smell better than a sweaty gym sock. Reflecting on the hour it took me to actually get pants on (sweat pants, yes), this is what happened:

*I spent ten minutes in the shower trying to get the pump to work on the new giant bottle of shampoo. That was after I got in the shower, realized the old bottle was empty, and then got out of the shower to get the new bottle. Eventually, I gave up on getting the new pump to work and took the whole damn lid off. That’s when a quarter of the new bottle fell out into the shower. I rubbed my hands in the glob of shampoo on the floor of the tub and lathered what I could manage into my hair.

Then I reached for the razor that conveniently hangs on the shower wall, because Sheila (who is not a sh*t show). The razor fell out of my hands, still slippery from the shampoo excursion, and came apart. My hands pruned as I tried to get the razor blade back on to the razor handle, and then it fell off three more times before I finally cut myself shaving my legs.

Because of course I did.

And I still missed the spot on the back of my legs that I always miss and I now have a Rapunzel like growth of leg hair.

You’re welcome for the image.

*I plucked a gray chin hair and then freaked out because it was A GRAY CHIN HAIR.

So tip number one - don’t be like me.

At all.


I spent another 15 minutes trying to find the lid to my Yeti mug. Yes, I have 7 other mugs in the cabinet and I could find lids to go with them. But IT HAD TO BE THE YETI MUG BECAUSE YETI.

This tip also applies to Tupperware and storage containers for food. Matching lids to containers is the bane of my existence.

Side note - when I was a kid, my mom used Country Crock bowls as Tupperware and finding the butter was a sh*t show. Maybe I learned to be a sh*t show from my mom. If you’re reading this mom, I’m sorry I said sh*t…


After my 45 minute adventure in the shower, I had to find clothes. Which I’d washed. On Sunday. And put in the drier. And that was as far as I got because my laundry cycle includes putting clothes into the washer and then into the drier and then onto my person. 

Which, if you’re curious, is how I finally got pants on.

So I think my advice here is to also not be like me. Put your clothes in a drawer. Maybe fold them too.

Nah….just put them in a drawer.


Have bacon and a hair dryer ready to get your 11-year old basset hound out of the yard where he’s been eating dirt and grass in the pouring rain and is pretending that he doesn’t know his name for 25 minutes while you also periodically come out and stand in the pouring rain yelling at him.

Those are just a couple of tips that are not really tips but things you should never, ever do if you’d like to be more productive with your life.

And if you’re tempted to have me watch some Marie Kondo Netflix show, I’d offer this in all honesty:

I wrote this post so that you, reading it, will know that you’re not alone. If you walked out the door with your pants on backwards (I did this Saturday night), forgot to pack socks in your gym bag (at least once a week) or spent 20 minutes looking for the pants that you had in your hand five minutes ago (that was last Thursday for me), it’s ok.

Chances are, if organization isn’t your strong suit, there are so many other things you bring to the table. Creativity, the ability to adapt to any situation, and you probably have a lot of empathy for other people. It’s easy to feel like if we are not more organized we are wrong. That if we don’t plan more, we’re wrong. That if we don’t do things the way we are supposed to, we are wrong.

Well, as I like to tell clients who ask me if they are doing exercises wrong in my classes, my answer is the same.

You’re not doing it wrong.

Just different.

Create vs Consume...

“I know what I need to do…I just need to do it.”

How many times have you heard that line or told yourself that line?

We all do.

You see, education is rarely the problem.

As an industry, there is no shortage of information. 

If you type in "fat loss" into Google you get over 262 million hits. 

My point?

It can be very easy to consume. 

Both on our end and on your end. 

As fitness professionals, we're always trying to consume that latest information, understand what the latest research has to say and consume information in hopes of bettering the client experience, and your results. 

It can be a huge time suck, and you catch yourself consuming so much that that's all you do, and don't actually create anything. 

On our end, create would be putting on a great experience for the clients, creating results, creating engaging conversations. 

Basically the "do" or the action. 

It's the same with you as the human trying to tackle a fitness and/or nutrition journey. 

Quite often, because of all the information out there, it can be very easy to consume. 

We quite often hear lines like....

"I read this article that said eggs are bad."

"I read in this blog that eggs are awesome."

"Let me just do some more research and think about it before I sign up."


I'm challenging you to create!

It's not to say that you don't need to consume any information, we want you to be educated. 

But don't let that paralyze you. 

Instead, create your own journey....

Create a workout schedule that you can commit to...

Create some nutrition habits that you can build upon...

Create some relationships with friends and/or coaches that hold you accountable...


Don't get caught spending all your time consuming, and instead ask yourself, what are you going to create?

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Your Garden...

This warmer weather has us all thinking Spring, and for me, this morning, I’m thinking about my garden.

No, no, don’t fool yourself…

Not a physical garden, I wouldn’t know the first place to start with one of those.

I’m talking about the garden in our mind.

Every single action begins with a thought. 

The unconscious mind controls the heart rate, blood pressure, etc. 

The conscious mind is the "above the water" thoughts, such as logistical and emotional. 

But make no mistake about it, any action begins with a thought. 

Whether it's the choice to press the letters on my computer right now, or the actions of making a day a great one, they all begin with thoughts. 

And that's the best part...

We can control our thoughts, we can shape our thoughts. 

Our minds are a like a garden.

If we fill it with positive thoughts and dreams, we will live a positive and fulfilled life, full of bright and beautiful flowers. 

If we fill it with negative thoughts, our mind will be overgrown by weeds and we will live a negative life. 

Every day we have the ability to choose our thoughts, and those thoughts shape our actions. 

In every opportunity, you have the option to look at it through a positive lens, and that choice determines the subsequent actions. 

This is true for any facet of life, fitness just being one of them.

Fitness is surrounded by negative thoughts...

"I can't do that."

"This is going to suck."

"Look at her, she's so much better than me."

Remember, those negative thoughts lead to negative actions, and in fitness, a negative action is usually not taking action and just sitting on the sidelines. 

The same applies to nutrition...

"Screw it, I'll just wait until Monday."

"I had a terrible day, I need a glass of wine."

Those thoughts are always going to lead to negative nutrition choices. 

What's the difference between the guy who is 36 years old and looks like he has a constant frown on his face and the girl who is 96 years old and is full of brightness?

Positive thoughts. 

If you're reading this you have the choice to make every thought a positive one. 

You can do this. 

Above every cloud is blue sky. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Financial Fitness

You might be wondering why I'm talking about Money today.

We all know that finances can be one of the biggest stressors in life.

Financial wellness is one of the seven dimensions of wellness, and as I have discussed at length, they are all connected.

If you're stressed about money, if you financial health is not up to snuff, that's going to impact your physical wellness, your emotional wellness, and so much more.

Lucky for you, this weeks topic on the podcast is all about improving your financial wellness.

  • Listen to it on iTunes here

  • Listen to it on Spotify here

  • Listen to it on Google Podcast here

  • Listen to in on the web here

Improving your financial wellness is key to a healthy and balanced life.

Also, it is amazing how similar financial fitness is and physical fitness is.

The behaviors are almost identical.

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

  • Listen to it on iTunes here

  • Listen to it on Spotify here

  • Listen to it on Google Podcast here

  • Listen to in on the web here

Have an awesome weekend.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Make The Switch...

I had the awesome opportunity to meet with five wonderful ladies last night who joined the Spurling Family and will be starting on Monday.

If you’re reading this, welcome :)

I always ask people “why now” when they are sitting with me on their first day.

I get everything from “I finally have the time” to a life story filled with tears and frustration.

Last night one client made the comment that it was a message she had read from me, a mindset shift.

Today, I’m going to share that message again because I think it’s so important.

"I should workout"

"I have to go to the gym today"

We need to make the switch. 

That's one of our biggest goals at Spurling.

Fitness should be something you GET to do not HAVE to do. 

"I get to workout."

"I get to go to the gym today."

Fitness for most has always been seen as a chore, it's in the same category as going to the dentist or folding laundry. 

You know you need to do it, but you really don't want to. 

Why is that?

In my opinion...

It comes down to two things.

Safety & Fun. 

Most people don't know what to do in the gym. 

They walk in, see all the equipment, maybe mess with a few things or walk on the treadmill, and they walk out. 

They do that for a little while, get frustrated they're not seeing results, and quit. 

They are afraid they're going to hurt themselves, and if they don't hurt themselves, they get bored because there is no part of walking into a scary place that you don't what anything is that screams fun. 

Our goal at Spurling is to provide a safe environment (#1), where you don't have to worry about a thing since you have a professional coach telling you what to do at every workout, with a support community keeping it fun and engaging every step of the way. 

Whether it's with us, or somewhere else, if you want to make a change, if you want to have success in fitness, you need to make the mental switch. 

Fitness should be something you GET to do, not HAVE to do. 

You see, the ultimate goal is to make the mental shift away from once you "lose those 20lbs" you'll be done. 

Sure, it's important to have goals, I more than anyone I know, am a firm believer in goals, but we're never done. 

We don't hit a goal and then hang up the shoes. 

We don't just do fitness for a month or two and be done with it. 

If you have that mindset you probably also have the mindset that it's something you "have to do."

And that's okay right now...

But I would challenge you to work on making the switch. 

Fitness, getting better, 1% Better, is a motto we firmly believe must be inside you until the day you die. 

Find something you enjoy doing, challenge yourself, step outside your comfort zone, and stick with it. 

Is it easy?


But anything worth having is never easy. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

What do you really want to talk about?

What do you really want to talk about?

He asked me this question when I arrived in his office, syllabus in hand, asking about one of our assignments for that semester’s Moral Theology class. I’d met Father Drexler the year before in my Sacred Scriptures class, but it took me until the next year to work up the courage to even go to his office.

I was startled by his direct, yet kind, question. 

“Uh….my assignment,” I said, chewing on his words. 

“No,” he said. “ You want to talk about something else.”

I was 19 years old, and less than a month in to my sophomore year at Gannon University. Truth be told, I was burning with questions - but not about classwork. I was intent on figuring out my purpose in life. Sure, I partied on weekends with my friends, made lasting friendships, and played sports but I was absolutely burning with the curiosity of what God’s plan was for me. 

Father Drexler was one of those rare birds to whom I felt an immediate connection. With his ocean blue eyes and stark silver hair, he was a striking yet quiet presence.

Up until that moment in his office though, I’d never been invited to speak about my feelings. And I was both refreshed and paralyzed by his invitation. 

The next day, I showed up at his office with a manilla envelope filled with my writing. I had poems, thoughts, questions and essays written on scraps of paper, typed up on my word processor, and neatly printed on notepaper. I’d never shown anyone my thoughts in such naked honesty as when I handed him that envelope. 

He returned it to me the next day with the following quote:

“Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

When he handed me back that envelope, he also became my spiritual director. He became the first person in my life to ask me about my vulnerability. To ask me what was really on my mind. To listen to me and ask me thoughtful questions. To hear me with his heart.  

Later that year, I went on my first silent retreat where I relished five days of silence, sprinkled in with prayer and reflective time. I was given a book at the retreat titled “Why am I afraid to tell you who I am?” The book was about vulnerability - about learning what it means to open up, about what it means to allow others to open up. 

The best way to get someone else to open up? 

To open up about yourself. 

Maybe it’s because of that book that I write so openly about myself. Because maybe,  while I’m telling you pieces of my story, you can know that you’re not alone. That it’s not just you. That what you think and what you feel matter. That the feelings and thoughts you are most ashamed of might be shared by someone else. 

Tomorrow night, I’m hosting a book discussion on Brene Brown’s “I Thought it Was Just Me” book. The discussion is open to everyone, whether or not you belong to Spurling, whether or not you’ve read the book, whether or not you want to come and talk or just come and listen. 

We are all living our own questions - and we can live them on our own if we want to. But you don’t have to.

I’d love for you to join me. And even if you can’t join me tomorrow night, I’d still love to know what you’d really like to talk about.

Consider that your open invitation. 

On My Butt...

That’s where I spent the last 72 hours…

I went to bed Thursday night feeling great, woke up in the middle of the night to a monster inside of me, and was bed-ridden until Monday morning.

I’m not sure if it was the flu, some GI thing, or what, but man, I was down for the count.

It was so bad that Megan actually packed up her bags and took Kaden to her moms house for the weekend so they didn’t get it….

She would come back once a day to make sure I was still alive, dressed like a character out of Breaking Bad, disinfect everything, and then leave again.

I don’t get sick often, but when I do, man o’ man, I seem to get the worst of the worst.

As always, I had a few lessons from the experience…

One, the scale still sucks.

We drive home the point that the scale is one of the worst ways to measure results, as it never tells us the full picture of what’s going on, and there are so many things that can throw it off.

In a matter of 72 hours, I had a 13 pound “weight loss” according to scale.

Now obviously that’s largely water weight and me not eating for 72 hours, something that we know is not realistic in our normal routine.

It just goes to show you how much the scale can change on hydration level alone, let alone all the other factors that skew it.

Not really fitness related, but a lesson on sometimes “1% Better” is just getting through the day.

For me to lay in bed for a day and do nothing is about the most torturous thing ever, let alone having to do that for three days.

It was a good lesson on what’s actually important in the moment.

Rest and recover.

The projects can wait, the e-mails can wait, it can all wait.

That wasn’t easy in the moment, but I kept trying to remind myself of that.

I think all of us can relate to some extent.

Sometimes we feel like we have to get 1,000 things done and it’s a “bad day” if we don’t get anything done, or if we miss the gym, or if we’re not as productive as we think we should be.

It’s a good lesson on 1% Better can sometimes mean taking some time for you, resting and recovering, because that’s what is actually going to get you better, not the list of things to do in your notebook.

So my take home?

We can’t control everything.

It may be your intent to get to the gym three times this week, but who knows you may get hit with this GI monster and not want to move for 72 hours.

I think the best example of "1% Better” is doing the best you can with what cards you were dealt that day.

As for me, I’m feeling 100% and back at it.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

In It For The Right Reasons...

Why are you here?

Why are you reading this?

Why are you trying to lose weight? 

Why are you trying to get stronger?

It's my hope that you're truly "in it" for the right reasons. 

Quite often we approach fitness and this journey with a form of "punishing" ourselves. 

Because I'm overweight I'm going to punish myself with exercise...

Because I ate that cake I'm going to go workout...

I need to be so sore that I can't brush my teeth the next morning...

It's comments like that that scare me. 

People are in this for the wrong reasons. 

Exercise is not a form of punishment. 

You should not be working out so hard that you can't walk down the stairs the next morning. 

It's kind of like forcing a kid to eat his vegetables rather than letting him explore them on his own. 

If you force it, he will probably resist them long-term. 

However, if you create a positive environment around it, he'll discover the vegetables he likes best. 

Fitness is the same thing. 

You should be in it for the right reasons. 

In it to add to you, not take away from you. 

Add confidence. Add strength. Add empowerment. Add happiness. 

In it for the fun and community. 

In it for a desire to get a little better every day, 1% better. 

It's the people that are in it for the right reasons that see long-term success.

If you're in it just for the quick-fix, punish myself mentality I can only promise one thing...

Inevitably you will stumble, get burnt out, and never get back on track. 

If you're in it for the right reasons it's not something you have to do, it's something you get to do. 

If you're in it for the right reasons it's not something on your to-do list, it's something you can't wait to do. 

My goal for each of you is to find something, find an environment, find people that will lift you up, not bring you down and beat the crap out of you. 

Find things that cause you to be in it for the right reasons. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Create Some Freedom

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/free time on the weekends.

Well, that doesn't just happen magically. 

I recommend every Friday (today) 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. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

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