My Body Changed When I Learned to Love It

by Kat Martin

inspirational-quote.bringbackfit.com

I want tell you a story about perspective.  

I struggled for 15 years to get to my goal weight – 15 years!!! From age 15 to 30 to be exact. I literally never saw my goal weight on the scale throughout my entire twenties.

Now I see it everyday. The interesting thing is, I don’t even care about what the scale says now – I’m too happy trying to be my best self every day.

How did I get here?

I CHANGED MY PERSPECTIVE.

What you focus on grows.

For most of my twenties, I dieted endlessly and focused on RESTRICTING myself. Boy does that NOT WORK – please don’t waste time, effort and energy on that approach like I did. 

Our bodies and minds don’t like being punished or restricted. It forces the defense mechanism to kick in. The more I restricted myself from my so called “no no” foods, the MORE I WANTED THEM.

I had to completely change my perspective to get out of this vicious cycle. I started looking at food as my friend rather than my enemy

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I want you to remember this law: What you focus on grows.

The more I focused on putting as many colorful veggies, lean proteins, and some complex carbs into every meal, the easier losing body fat became. I started craving healthy food options more often because my mind would think, “I feel so good after eating like this.”

And guess what?

I craved unhealthy, sugary, simple carb foods less because my mind thought, “This will not make me feel good. I feel sick or bloated after. I know I’ll have low energy and focus.”

I treated my best friend like crap

My switch in thought patterns extended to exercise too. I’m just going to be fully honest and say I hate the elliptical machine. I can’t stand that thing anymore. I spent hours endless hours on that torture device trying to force my body to be what I wanted it to be. I never made one pound of progress.

Why?

My perspective was off.

I’m not saying anything ellipticals are terrible. They’re great for people who have trouble running or have weak knees. But couldn’t I get more creative than doing a totally unnatural movement? Humans weren’t designed to move like this. 

I used to FORCE myself to the gym by thinking, “I have to go or I will never reach my goal weight. I have to go or I will get fat.” 

Thinking like that day in and day out is exhausting. It weighs on you and drains your mental sources. It’s like you’re fighting yourself every other day. What kind of life is that?

What I was doing, simply was not working. I had to overhaul my perspective for my own sanity. 

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I remember one night, almost two years ago, weighing myself and seeing I gained 5 pounds. I was horrified. I’d been working my ass off in the gym for two months and this is what I get?

I sobbed hysterically and drowned my sorrows in a pint of Haagen Daaz chocolate ice cream. I was angry, confused, heartbroken, full of guilt and shame. 

There I was in my apartment, alone, naked, makeup running down my face, and all I could do was curse belligerently at my body, “WHY DON’T YOU WANT TO BE THIN!? WHY!? WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE LIKE THIS!?”

Looking at myself in the mirror, I wanted nothing more than to give up. All my efforts were pointless right?

I’m surprised I didn’t punch and break the mirror now that I think about it.

After a few minutes of eery silence in the room, it hit me like a ton of bricks: my body wants to be more than thin, it wants to be strong and healthy.   

My body loves me, it takes care of me, it keeps me alive; it allows me to walk, run, climb, sing, dance, play and do so many wonderful things. My body is my best friend in the whole world. It does everything I ask of it. And here I was treated it like crap.

Frankly, I was treating my body like crap for a long time. I ate too much. I injured it by working out too much or too hard (to make up for eating too much). I told my body it wasn’t good enough, not thin enough and not fit enough. To add insult to injury, I drank alcohol and even smoked. Is it any wonder my body was showing some resistance?  

I treated my body horribly, yet she still worked for me. She did everything I asked her to do, and when she couldn’t, she tried her best anyway. Who else is there for you like that, always having your back? It’s a rare, beautiful thing to have someone in your corner.

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That was the most amazing epiphany of my life. I vowed then and there to LOVE MY BODY BACK. Everything I would do going forward would be because I loved my incredible body, not because I hated it.

That moment completely changed my perspective on “working out.” I gave up “working out” because it didn’t serve who I was or what I was really trying to achieve. My thoughts changed from, “I have to workout” to “I’m blessed I get to train today. I get to move. I get to enjoy my body and everything it does for me.”  

I said goodbye to the elliptical and even stopped going to the gym for a while.  

Instead, I started doing more yoga in my apartment or a nearby park. I started swimming, I took dance and gymnastics classes. I started learning how to do proper push-ups, wall squats and other exercises to learn to master my bodyweight.

At one point when I was working a lot and taking academic classes, I would find secluded spots to do 5 push-ups, 1 minute wall squats or sit-ups throughout the day. It felt so good to be active.   

I would play music in my bedroom and just dance away when the mood struck me – I felt so free. 

When I visited my sister and her kids, I started playing with them instead of just watching them. I climbed trees, practiced cartwheels and played on the jungle gym with them. I even showed them how to dance and they loved it! I loved it too. Everyone laughing and having a good time reminded me how much fun I used to have when exercising.

Everything I did, I did for the love and appreciation of my body. And guess what?

SHE REWARDED ME. The body fat started coming off. As well, I was gaining flexibility, old injuries were healing faster, I felt energetic throughout the day and I felt less stressed out. I felt as happy and carefree as an 8-year old again.

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A new frontier.

You don’t have to spend an hour in the gym everyday to lose body fat. That’s just one approach. If it’s working great, keep doing it! But if it’s not working, maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe everyone needs a break from the gym from time to time?

A more effective approach for me was to seriously focus on my nutrition intake and nutrition habits, to have a variety of training methods and to be move active throughout the day.

Two years later, I’m back in the gym. But it’s a completely different experience now. I go to have fun, to explore, to become stronger, to push myself and try new challenges. I go to the gym to give my body the love it deserves.

It may have taken me a long time to get here, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is I’m here and I’m loving it. I hope one day I’ll get to train around other people who love their bodies too.  

Love life.

Kat Martin
MOS Supercoach, Los Angeles

 

Sharing is caring. Friends don’t let friends mindlessly “workout.” Friends help and support each other. Help your friends as they try to make positive changes in their life. If you know of anyone who may benefit from this content, please share it with them.

Crazy Shit My Clients Say

by Juan Antonio

We have stories about who we are. And who we think we are. We have stories about how things go for us. And how we think things should go. We have stories about what stuff means to us. And what that stuff could say about us.

Humans tell stories all the time.  

Let me tell you, working with clients in the wild west called “getting physically fit,” brings a lot of crazy stories because of all the complex emotions involved. I have enough to fill three books.

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Here’s a new series called, Crazy Shit My Clients Say – crazy things people say that have profound truths deep within. They belong on the silver screen, but luckily, I captured them in and around the gym.

I think I’ve been a “random gymmer” my whole life. I’ve always struggled to find a good training regimen I can trust. Honestly, I’m done with this Men’s Health shit. I’m going to start seeing a personal trainer, simply because I have no *real* clue what I’m doing when I go to the gym.

1)     Haven’t we all been here? We go to the gym without a specific game plan in hand and mindlessly lift weights or hop on a treadmill. We didn’t think through our goal, how this gym training session aligns with that goal or why we even have that goal to begin with.

Why think through all this stuff when I can just lift heavy weights!?

Maybe we do this because…

…the gym has weights and treadmills?

…we see other people lifting weights and on treadmills?

…my friend is fit and he/she lifts weights/runs on the treadmill?

That “why” will be what drives you toward to your goal. If it’s vague or weak, what do you think is going to happen when it gets tough? (And it will)

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I’m not a mind reader, but I hope you know exactly why you’re going to the gym each and every time. And I hope you know exactly what you’re doing and why. Without that overarching purpose to guide you, you’re essentially walking into the gym blindfolded.

If you’ve ever walked five feet with your eyes closed/covered, you know you won’t make it far without getting hurt, lost or frustrated.

2)     Most people I see at the gym are “random gym patrons.” It breaks my heart everytime I see someone just going through the motions. We don’t do this when planning a vacation, organizing a night out or even deciding what to wear.

Why do we think this is acceptable when approaching our fitness goals?

If you’re a random gym patron or feel blindfolded when in the gym, let 24/7 Coach do all the thinking for you. 

 

 

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“Winging it” is what leads to struggles in the gym. But this is a struggle you can control and minimize if you sit down and write out a gameplan. Pen and paper, Word, Excel, drawing pictures – it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you do it. Taking 3 minutes to figure out your real why will save you 3,000 minutes of blind monkey work. 

Please. Figure. Out. Your. Why. You owe it to yourself.

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3)     I’ve had enough of this “bro science” and advertising-masquerading-as-knowledge too. A major reason people quit the gym or get no results is because of piss poor training regimens.

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You really expect me to trust the program suggested in the magazine that’s pitching magical supplements on every other page?

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Yeah…some people really shouldn’t be about that advertising life. 

I won’t even go into the synthetically enhanced “fitness models” or jaw-dropping photoshop skills required to produce most images in the media.

I’ll just say that poor programs leads to poor results.

You’re right, finding a program with integrity and high standards is a rare find. It’s the unicorn of fitness. But they do exist. Don’t lose hope just because of all the sleaziness and shiny, vascularized muscles flooding the marketplace.

You’re body and mind are counting on you. I’m on your side too. 

4)     I truly hope you’re personal trainer has a real clue. Too many personal trainers don’t belong in the world of strength & conditioning. To quote Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid, “There are no bad students, just bad teachers.”

Top 10 Mr. Miyagi Badass Moments part 2 (#10-6)

If a teacher does something wrong or questionable, what do you think the student will do?

When you have somebody behind you as a mentor, right or wrong, you get empowered. The student will do what he was instructed to do. By enlisting said trainer’s services, you’re now following his lead. Either you’ll get lead up a path to discover your best self or you’ll be left running around in circles more frustrated than before. I wish you the former.

Top 10 Mr. Miyagi Badass Moments part 2 (#5-1)

Dude. I’m going to this sick-as-f*ck rooftop party in LA this weekend. I’m going to be naked in a hot tub with a bunch of hot chicks! I need to look Rocky III shredded. I wanna be so tight that all the guys want to be me and all the chicks want to be with me. Let’s hit it hard this week to get me there.

1)     For starters, this was Sly in Rocky III:

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In a Muscle & Fitness interview, Sly says he got his body fat percentage to 2.8%. To reach this state, he said he:

a) ate only 10 egg whites and a piece of toast a day

b) had a piece of fruit every third day

c) jogged two miles in the morning, followed by two hours of intense weight training

d) napped in the afternoon, followed by 18 rounds of sparring (in boxing, 1 round is 3 minutes)

e) performed another weight training session in the evening and

f) finished off the day with a swim.

Eat your heart out Michael Phelps.

Knowing what you now know, ask yourself: “Am I really willing to do what’s necessary to meet this goal?”

Keep in mind that the “goal” here was Sly’s goal, not yours. You don’t want to hear this, but you need to know: that 2.8% body fat will be damn near impossible for 99% of the population. I’d suggest adjusting your expectations and matching behaviors to the desired and realistic outcome.

Listen, you don’t want to be at 2.8% body fat anyway. I bet Sly felt like shit every day during his preparation. So will you. But Sly had the luxury of having millions of dollars and a lucrative film franchise riding on his success. You don’t.

Do you really want to be “shredded” or did you just get convinced you need to be shredded?

Maybe focusing on what you can do instead of what you look like will get you far?

2)     Look, I get it. The girls are “hot” and you think you have to be hot to get them.

How did this wild idea make its way into your mind?

I’ll let you figure that one out. 

If you haven’t learned this yet, let me save you a lot of time, money and energy: you don’t need to be “hot” to get with “hot” women.

Shocking, I know. But it’s the truth.

Quality women don’t give a shit about what you look like as much as they care about how you make them feel. If you’re hitting the gym to try to get laid, you’re wasting your time. Going down this path you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment.

Your time might be better spent learning how to be interesting to women, learning how to talk to them and learning how to make them laugh. That might get you laid. But even if it doesn’t, those skills will be with you for the rest of your life. 

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A “six-pack” is useful for what exactly?

Validation? Admiration?

*Slow clap*

I don’t know. All I know is those 2.5 seconds of fame, from the moment you take off your shirt, to the moment you look for _________ (whatever you’re seeking), won’t last long.  

What then bruh?

You still have to engage with women. And you have to keep their interest. Flashy abs won’t help you there.

3)     Aaaah, yes. I see the “let’s-workout-so-intensely-that-fat-just-melts-off” approach far too often.

Hitting the gym extra, extra, extra hard for a couple of days is supposed to magically erase that entire pizza I had over the weekend right?

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Nope.

It won’t even make a dent for all those beers you had at the baseball game either.

And it sure as hell won’t make up for missing the gym for the past two weeks. I know it may feel like you burned 5,000 calories during that one magical WOD (“workout of the day”), but you didn’t. You cracked 800 calories if you’re lucky.

Counting calories is a fool’s approach to the game.  

The only way body fat comes off is by consistently going go the gym. Show me how many times you’ve trained the last 90 days and I’ll map out in simple math and colorful graphs why you’re not losing body fat.

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If you remember nothing, just remember that consistency is the only guaranteed way to get the results you seek.

How consistent are you on a scale of 1 to 10? 

I landed in Chicago for a high level meeting and thanks to someone rushing on the plane, coffee got spilled all over my Calvin Klein shirt. I dashed to the nearest mall and came across a “40% off sale.” Ecstatic, I rushed inside hoping to snag a cool dress shirt. To my dismay, they couldn’t find a shirt my size in the ENTIRE section, let alone the sale rack. I felt like an oversized, fat man walking around the store. It was humiliating. Even worse, I felt “off” during my meeting. Not so much because of the coffee stain dead center on my chest, but because I couldn’t get over how tight my belt felt, how shitty I ate on the plane and how I’m not doing enough in the gym.

1)     That sucks man. Maybe you just stepped into the wrong designer store that only carries “athletic cut” shirts. But I’ll have you know that Ross and Target are around and successful for a reason. They have a wide selection to suitable clothes in all colors, shapes and designs. I’m sure something will grab your fancy.

2)     You bring up a very good point bruh: people grow up in a world highly focused on physical appearances. From a young age, we’re repeatedly exposed to super pretty people in magazines, movies and TV.

Is it any wonder people grow up feeling inadequate, hyper focused on image, and feeling self conscious?

Seeing that so often, I can see how it can make you feel inadequate and self-conscious. I’d say that’s a normal response. Show me something 130,013 times and I just might start to believe it.

But do you know what developed in me after so much exposure to stimuli like this? I didn’t react. I responded.

When I first saw Ah-nold in Predator or Sly in Rocky III, instead of being envious of their physique or wondering why I didn’t look like them, I was inspired by their image.

How hard and how long did they work to achieve their desired goal?

What did they do to get to that level?

What did they think about when they got lonely?

Who knows what the world would be like now if Instagram or Facebook were around in the Ah-nold / Sly glory days.

Fortunately, we have The Rock’s Instagram account. Exhibit A:

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The Rock = One. Cool. Dude.

On the women front however, it was a different story.

After consistent feedings of Melrose Place, General Hospital and Baywatch, I realized that there are a lot of “hot” people out there. When you scientifically break it down to fundamentals, all pretty people pretty much look the same. 

The only real thing that makes them different is their face, mind, personality and core values.

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Taylor Swift’s a Pegacorn. 😉

A pair of double D’s can easily be purchased. And they look the same no matter where you plug them in. Same goes if they opt for high C’s.

Sure, looks may get my initial attention, but alone, it’ll fade quicker than my interest in watching a One Direction concert.

The older I get, the more books I read. The more I read, the more selective I am about everything. I have a super narrow, hyper focused algorithm of what I find attractive.

So unless you’re 5’10, blonde and doing a sold-out world tour right now, nah, I’m good bruh.

3)     A lot of frustrations are going to come your way living a fast paced life. Don’t let something as small and insignificant as coffee-on-a-shirt or silly garments ruin your day. It’s just coffee on a shirt.

I’d be more upset if someone hit my car while I was busy writing a thrilling chapter at Starbucks. But even then, it’s just a car. So what?

I don’t let outside forces mess with my inner mojo. If you let in any hint of negativity into your world, it’s only going to spread and breed on itself. I keep BS and negativity out at all costs. I just don’t focus on it.

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I’d rather focus on the 2% positivity going on in my world, than 98% of the BS-negativity going on across the globe any day of the week.

4)     Do you know how hard it is to eat clean while traveling?

It’s fucking hard.

And we won’t even get into the drama at airports, not sleeping in your own bed or the time zones that throw your body for a loop – fuck you jet lag!

The fact that you’re even aware of your less-than-stellar eating while traveling already puts you ahead of the curve.

Why eat soda/cookies/peanuts on a plane when you can order some room service or go to the local steak house and bill your company for lean meats and healthy veggies? (Hint, hint :-p)

5)     One last thing, I admire your mindfulness of how often you’re making it to the gym. With such keen awareness, I highly doubt you’re “oversized.”

Maybe you have a handful of pounds or two to lose, but you don’t have to beat yourself up over it. The world beats you up enough as it is.

Instead of just focusing on those few pounds you have to lose, what about focusing on how you’re making it to the gym on a regular basis despite a busy work schedule and competing family/social demands?

That’s fucking fantastic.

And don’t overlook your small wins:

– You lifting heavier weights means you’re getting stronger.

– You running at higher inclines means you have a higher cardio capacity.

– You eating more veggies everyday means your goals are getting closer and closer.

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All those small wins count my friend. And small wins lead to big wins.

Your big win awaits you.   

There is only trained and untrained.

JASignature2Blue.bringbackfit.com

Saul Juan Antonio Cuautle
Founder & CEO

Friends don’t let friends mindlessly “workout.” Friends help and support each other. Help your friends as they try to make positive changes in their life. Give them the gift of 24/7 Coach. If you know of anyone who may benefit from this content, please share it with them. 

Note: My clients didn’t actually say XYZ. Rather, I heard most of the sourced dialogue while at the gym, when visiting a new gym, while observing personal trainers with their clients or when encountering random people talking about fitness related things. But you like the title don’t you? It’s sexy.

To Wake Or Not To Wake? (6 Tricks That Get Me Into The Gym)

by Alyssa Glidewell

sleepdog.bringbackfit.com

I shall get up early and go to the gym.”

How many of us had this thought right before going to bed? Good thought huh!? You even got your workout clothes ready and set your alarm too.  You went to sleep and life was good. Until you woke up in the morning and this happened:

Brain: It’s too early for you. 

Me: You’re right – I’mma hit this snooze button.

Brain: Still too early girlfriend. And it’s cold!

Me: Ugh. You know I hate the cold. Just one more snooze button.

Brain: Wake up girl, I’m still sleepy, but it’s almost noon and I’m hungry.

Me: Oh my, we haven’t eating since last night!

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So much for waking up in the morning. Ugh! Why can’t you get up when you were supposed too?

Is the bed is too comfy? Yes.

Are the covers just perfect around you? Yes.

Are you snuggled in the optimal rest position? Yes. 

Does your body say wake up, but your brain is like, “Nope. Not today.”? Yes.

 If you said yes to any of these… Well I hear ya! 

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THE STRUGGLE IS REAL!!!

Waking up is one of the hardest things to do in the morning. I mean, why wake up for a training session when you can stay in your bed and keep dreaming your lovely dreams away?

For me, training in the morning is the best option because 1) You get it out of your way early, 2) It jump starts you into your day, instead of waiting for coffee to kick in and 3) life gets so busy throughout the day that I end up missing/skipping/wanting to pass on my training sessions.

I don’t know too many people who are naturally a “morning person.” I’m convinced they only exist in high school and college because they have to get up early. But what about the rest of us who want to start or who are struggling to wake up to get our training going?

Here are six tips that help me get my training sessions going in the morning.

1.Put your phone/alarm across the room.

Seriously! This helps A LOT. If your alarm is too close to you, then it’s super easy to hit the snooze button and that’s not what we want. Put your phone/alarm on your dresser/table/whatever you can find across the room. It forces your body to get moving by physically getting you out of the bed to turn it off.

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Sidenote: Have a sound that works for you when waking up. If an annoying, loud, barking noise gets you up, than good for you. For me however, I don’t do well with those type of noises. They can create an instant headache for me and just ruin my morning. And a ruined morning can lead to a ruined day. I have a loud ringer, but the alarm is more gentle to my ears and brain.

2. Make your bed first.

Since you got up to turn off the alarm, you might as well fight off all that sleepiness and make the bed. This small trigger tells your brain that sleeping time is over and you’re ready to get a start to the day.

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Trust me, this works everytime! I fight with my brain on this one all the time, but once my bed is made, I don’t want to sleep in it anymore – it just looks too pretty. 🙂

3. Stretch those muscles.

Still feeling sleepy? Stretch the muscles out. They will definitely feel tight, but once your body gets moving, everything starts to turn on slowly and your brain is getting the feedback of needing to function to perform work.

Stay away from any floor stretches as your brain will trick you into laying on your back and then falling asleep. (This as happened to me plenty of times. And Juan Antonio admits to being caught by this brain trap.)

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Move your arms, do some lunge stretches and throw in some downward dogs – that will definitely get your heart pumping a bit.

4. Enter some fresh air.

Another great way to wake up is when I open a small crack in my window to smell the fresh air. I’ve always loved the early morning air. And something about it makes me want to get out into the world and enjoy more of it.

If you’re lucky enough to have a balcony or backyard, definitely go there! Even if just for a minute, you’ll be surprised how that one minute saved you from the deadly snooze button.

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Now, depending on where you live, this one may/may not work. On too many occasions, I’ve smelled the garbage cans on trash day. Sure those smells woke me up, but it was all, “Yuck!”

5. Turn up some uplifting music. 

No classical, R&B or anything slow!! Trust me, you’ll miss the gym, be late to work and wonder why you’re starring in John Legend’s “All of Me” video.

Pick some music that makes you want to dance or puts you in an energetic, good mood. I have a variety of music that I listen too, so it could be anything from Top 40’s, reggaeton, dubstep, rave, radio mixes and trance for me! Make the music your anthem in the morning and it will instantly pump you up for the day.

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Sidenote: I heard Neil wakes up to Taylor Swift. If “Shake It Off” or “Style” is what’s getting him into the gym at 5AM, then obviously keep waking up to Taylor Swift!

And I can’t officially confirm it, but I heard that Juan Antonio also wakes up to Taylor Swift. Specifically “Clean.” That’s so slow JA! How “Clean” helps him get up at the ungodly hours of 230AM, 330AM or 430AM is mystery to me.

6. Schedule and repeat.

Repetition helps your body wake up naturally over time, so the more you practice the schedule you set, the more easier it becomes.

Try this trick: wake up 15 minutes earlier than you normally do. One week it’s 7:45AM (instead of 8AM), the following week it’s 7:3AM and before you know it, you’re at 7AM! Get to your desired wake up time slot and then simply practice, practice and practice. The more you hit your desired target, the easier it will be to get up.

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Sidenote: Schedule something fun or go on adventure so it will get you excited to wake up early and go! I get excited when I have something to look forward too in the morning.

I never found the gym super exciting, but whenever I see new training routines from Juan Antonio to try, I’m like, “OMG! I can totally kill that incline run!” or “Psssh. Those weights & reps are going to be a piece of cake.”

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Yes, going to the gym is now an adventure for me and when I look at it as an adventure and challenge to try, it’s so much fun!

24/7 Coach was created to to make the gym fun again. It’s filled endless adventures and challenges to get you the results you want.

These are just a few helpful tips that I’ve found to really work for me and several other people. You’re free to give all my tricks a try.

Everyone has off days, but make sure your off day doesn’t turn into an off week – this can happen so easily! Even on the weekend, it may be harder but TRY, TRY, TRY to get up like you would normally do on the weekdays.

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Everyone is different, has different schedules and lifestyles, but find one that works for you and how you live. Everything takes time. It’s my hope that with a little experimenting and practice, you’ll find something that works with you. I hope some of my tricks help.

What helps you wake up in the morning? I’d love to hear it and give it a try. You can never have too many tricks in your toolbox!

Train, love and live.

Alyssa-Glidwell_Bringbackfit..com_

 

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Alyssa “Pinky” Glidewell
Creative Director

Friends don’t let friends mindlessly “workout.” Friends help and support each other. Help your friends as they try to make positive changes in their life. Give them the gift of 24/7 Coach. If you know of anyone who may benefit from this content, please share it with them.

Had To Go See About A Girl

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If the professor calls about that job, just tell him, sorry, I had to go see about a girl. – Will, Good Will Hunting (1997)

(Here’s the second part to my last piece on my car wreck.)

Fast forward to April and I’m a few months into my physical therapy. It’s going well, my mobility is coming back, my pain is diminishing and I’m starting to feel like my old self again. (Or new self?)

Then life happened.

Sadly, Juan Antonio’s friend Brian Rozelle passed away from bile duct cancer. JA did not take it very well.

He expressed his grief in Brian’s story of Selfies and Happyness. If you somehow have not read it yet, trust me, you want to know this story.  

So there we are at AT&T park for Brian’s Celebration of Life and I’m looking at a sea of happy-sad faces. As I’m looking at videos of Brian and talking to many of his vast friends, it hits me, I’VE MET BRIAN BEFORE.

It was a long time ago during a rugby game. Brian and my cousin we’re playing while I was drinking beer and cheering them on.

I heard what his friends and family had to say about the man I only met in person once before. Why couldn’t I connect the dots with his face on countless Cycle for Survival promo events at Equinox?

I felt like a sucker for missing my chance to get to know him better. The more I heard about him, the more I wanted to know. It was easy to see why every person there had tears in their eyes and smiles on their faces.

I picked up a couple of Team #RozelleStrong shirts on the way out. Seeing those bright orange letters made me feel inspired and invigorated. I proudly wear that shirt  when I want to honor Brian’s legacy or to give myself some extra strength.

Smooth pick-up lines

Flash forward a couple of months. A friend from work invited me to a Giants game. Even though I have many Giants shirts and jersey’s, I think the only thing appropriate to wear to AT&T park is my #RozelleStrong shirt.

On extended train rides, I get ancy. This trip to SF was no different. So I walked around the train and after a few minutes of random wandering, guess what?

I saw the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.

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I wish this was more romantic and I could say she was sitting on a moving train and I chased after her with some Dashboard Confessions playing in the background, but the truth is, she was leaning against the restroom door texting on her phone. I didn’t need to use the train restroom, but with beauty like this, you have to say something – say anything gentlemen!

I asked her if she thought her train seat was comfortable (she was leaning against the door) and that the smell by the bathroom wasn’t too bad.

I’m typically waaaaaay more witty than this, but for the first time in forever, she kinda stumped me. Nevertheless, she smiled and asked if I needed to use the the restroom. I had to say yes to not appear like a full-blown stalker. So I go in, stand and count to ten, wash my hands, check my teeth and go back out.

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What an idiot move on my part. She went back to her seat and I had no way of chatting with her again. Why did I think she’d wait outside a bathroom door for me to finish? I’m not Aaron Paul. And why was I too nervous to ask for her phone number?

As I walked back to my seat I knew something special had happened, but wasn’t really sure what. I sat down with my friend feeling like a dumbass all the way to San Francisco. When the train stopped, we all got off to a stampede of orange and black.

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Pulling a Sean Maguire

My friend, who I ‘m eternally grateful to, suggested we stop at Safeway to get a sandwich to bring into the park. As we walked into Safeway, who did I see?

The woman from the train wandering around looking for supplies.

I was not going to punk out again. Not twice in one day and not twice on the same woman! I look down on chest and stare at the upside down words “Team #RozelleStrong.”

rozellestrong.bringbackfit.com

What would Brian do?

I took a deep breath and walked over to ask if she needed help finding anything. I credit Brian’s shirt with giving me that extra nudge of courage.

Actually, I’m lying. I yelled across Safeway saying, “It’s the girls from the train!” Yeah, I probably sounded like a jackass, but I felt like a winner.

I never go grocery shopping (all online ordering for me) and was in a Safeway I’d never been in before, but I played it off like I come here all the time. She was looking for guacamole, so I tracked down a store-clerk with lightning speed and he pointed me in the right direction. I came back to her with three choices. As she’s mulling over the options, I’m practically staring at her wondering if this is a dream.

I asked if she was going to the game, but like a stab in the heart, she tells me she’s going to watch it from a bar across the street. My friend and I had incredible seats – 8th row right behind the dugout – and I would have easily given my left leg to give her my friend’s ticket, but he wouldn’t budge.

If Robin Williams’ Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting taught me anything, it’s YOU GO SEE ABOUT A GIRL.

I calmly said, “I have lots of friends with extra tickets, would you like to go to the game?” I handed her my business card and said, “I’ll see what I can do.”

Yup, Robin Williams would be proud of me. The Bourne Identity too.

My friend and I had done some business with AT&T Park. As a thank you for our last minute technical wizardry, we were granted access to a special tour of the broadcast booth, the archives and the backbones of venue operations. While we were going through all this broadcasting stuff that I normally geek out on, all I could think about was texting my dream woman. I wanted to send her pictures of all this cool stuff and how I wish I could be sharing this experience with her.

I made the decision that she had to join me at the game. I paid no attention to the fact that she had two girlfriends with her and that I’d have to buy them tickets too. I’d do anything to ensure I saw her again right now. I couldn’t wait. I considered it a calculated risk worth the investment.

As it was game time, all of my friends with tickets had either already sold them or were out of town, so I did what any self-respecting man would do. I left our sweet club seats, went outside and tracked down the nearest ticket scalper.

I was straight up: “I’m desperate to buy three LEGITIMATE tickets.” Lucky for me, I scored three tickets.

I called her with the good news. She wanted to know how much the tickets were. I did what any classy man would do and lied. “Oh, I got lucky, they were only $25 each.” (They were considerably way more than that – shhhhhh.) She was so surprised and thrilled, she hopped into an Uber. “ETA 10 minutes!”

10 “girl minutes” of course; in reality it, was 20 minutes or so, but I needed every second to calm my butterflies.

In those 20 minutes, my heart beat as though it never had before. I felt so….alive…so genuinely happy. I stood there in a daze daydreaming of the train ride and Safeway encounters over and over again. All the girls jumped out of the car with zeal. I took them for a quick drink across from  AT&T Park and I still couldn’t stop myself from staring at her. That second beer either made it easy to hide or easy to see my staring.

creeper.bringbackfit.com

Fortunately,  I didn’t creep anyone out.

Next thing I know, we’re all walking into the ballpark, getting our bobbleheads at the front gate and when my dream girl said, “I’m waiting slow poke – hurry up…come on, to the garlic fries stand we go!”, I knew the next stage of my life had officially begun.

I’m one lucky sonuvabitch.

Flash forward to the seventh inning: I fell for my Dream Girl then and there. We fit so well together. Our chemistry was insane. It was all so effortless. It was like she was my other half. I was so fascinated to learn everything about her. I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun at a sporting event, especially with watching so little of the actual game.

By pure dumb luck, her parents happened to be at the game. Most guys would freak out at that thought. Not me, she suggested we swing their way to say hello. I must have been on my game, because they invited us to dinner, followed by all-night dancing and brunch the next day.

Note to guys: if her parents like you, your life just got way easier. So, do her parents like you, yes or no?

Defing Men’s Health logic

Honestly, I don’t know where I’d be without her. When I have a problem or a success, she’s the first person I call. She’s the first thing that comes to mind when I wake up and the last thing I think of when I go to bed. She supports me through thick and thin. God, I feel so blessed.

While I was just starting to get back into shape and not nearly where I wanted to be physically, I landed my dream girl. That defied Men’s Health and People magazine logic. I credit my mental strength and stubbornness.

For long time, all those photoshopped images were always in the back of my mind. They’re why I hated taking off my shirt in public, why I hated wearing tight fit clothing at the gym and why I hated myself every time I caved to a slice of pizza on a non-cheat day. I don’t know how many times I kicked myself, but it was enough to bring me down on too many occasions.

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None of those fake pictures mattered anymore. And Dream Girl didn’t even care about photoshopped images, or filtered Instagram images for that matter. She cared about who I was in the real world. She saw through all my “fluffiness” and fell for me – who I am in on the inside.

Juan Antonio once told me, “Women don’t care about looks as much as they care about how you make them feel. Looks are fleeting but emotions stay with you. ”

That little hoe, he’s right. I didn’t need chiseled abs or huge arms to get the right girl. I hope more guys can one day say that too. And if you’re lucky, she won’t even mind the fact that you snore.

I’m back to working out. I’m working hard to get back into the activities I love. Lucky for me, Dream Girl is joining me on more and more adventures. Maybe I’ll be able to get her surfing or snowboarding soon?

If the last six months have taught me anything, it’s these three things:

1) No matter what curve ball life throws (because it will), just be like Buster Posey and aim to hit a grand slam. Don’t be afraid to swing for the fences. Go for it. Don’t let fear hold you back from what you want. With the right mental strength, anything can be accomplished. And don’t be afraid to be yourself. As Juan Antonio says on the daily, just “Keep Going.”  

2) Your health is the most important gift you’ve been given. But it’s also the one gift you can give yourself. If your health is in order, everything else will fall into place. But if it’s not, things can get ugly pretty fast.

3) The world can be a beautiful place. Smile and appreciate the sun shining on you. Make time for what you deem important and for those you love. Love is timeless, health is forever. And without health happiness and love, we have nothing.

Forgive me my friends, I’ll be tied up doing couple things for the foreseeable future. #SorryNotSorry 😉

“If you dream it you can do it” – Walt Disney

Neil Thomas
COO / “The Connector”

 

Sharing is caring. Friends don’t let friends mindlessly “workout.” Friends help and support each other. Help your friends as they try to make positive changes in their life. If you know of anyone who may benefit from this content, please share it with them.

Fitness Questions & Actions 2: Say no to “fly honies”

by Juan Antonio

Our Fitness Questions & Actions series is meant to provide real answers, for real people, in the real world.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. There is no question too big or too small.
  2. There are no silly questions. (but maybe some silly answers)
  3. Friends don’t let friends train without purpose. If you find something helpful, share it with your friends.

In this edition, we address workout videos, the effectiveness of jazzercise, planks for core strength and Functional Patterns.

Have a question of your own? Tweet your question to @MindsofSteel or email us at info@bringbackfit.com

How do you feel about workout videos like Jillian Michael’s 30-day shred? Do those actually work?

I think pretty much all these “follow-me-along-as-we-workout-together” videos and/or DVDs are a waste of time and space.

It’s all the same things I saw in 2005, in 1995 and in 1985. In over 30 years, nothing has significantly changed with this approach except better fashion choices and more reasonable hairstyles.

24/7 Coach will prove to be the world’s first true fitness innovation. Try it out and let us know what you think.

Actually, the production value is there with high definition visuals, upbeat tempo music and eye-catching graphics. 

Bottom line: 98% of what I see in all these different “workouts” sucks. The core features are terrible.  

All these terrible attempts at video exercise instruction share three poor commonalities:

  1) a sexy/fun/interesting/different sounding title 

  2) a pretty person/celebrity front and center, leading the “workouts” and

  3) the illusion and promise of fast results.

And of course, you always have the batshit crazy like, “Country Hip Hop Dancing.”

Yeah, some things you just can’t make up…

Some product examples I found semi-randomly surfing the web just now include: “20min of Legs & Butt”, “10min to a Six Pack”, “Shay’s 15min Beach Body Burner” and “The 17min Killer Ab Routine with Ariel.”

  1. Please tell me you see right through his bullshit of bullshit. What happens if we replaced the names “Shay” and “Ariel” with “Bob” and “Susan?” I personally wouldn’t train with someone who insists on naming fitness product X or fitness company Y after themselves. It just screams “ego” to me. 
  2. And where the hell did they come up with 20, 10, 15 and 17 minutes anyway? I guess 13 minutes just wasn’t enough to create a “body burner.”

All these videos/products are a joke. I’d run as far away from them as quickly as possible.

Please do yourself a favor and save your $11.99. Instead, go visit your local track or do some pull-ups at the park.

To me, all these videos are no better than this:

The real question is, will watching any of these videos bring real results?

I highly doubt that.

We have more fitness content available than ever before in human history. And yet, collectively, we’re only getting fatter and fatter. We’re drowning in fitness content. 

More content is not the answer. 

Follow-along videos are the worst offenders. They ask humans to (watch television) + (listen to quick exercise instructions) + (move your body just like the television).  

Add in the distracting music, the fast pace of the videos, the other 2-3 “fitness models” on screen, your heart rate going wild, not being able to breathe, being tired just 8 minutes in, your lower back hurting and you have a recipe for “I’m going to quit this bullshit DVD” in two weeks.

It’s asking too much.

These videos are not designed with getting you results in mind.

They’re designed to get you moving – which makes you feel like you’ll get results. But meaningful results don’t come from TV or cookie cutter workouts. They come from purposeful training.

Show me a video/DVD that promises results and I’ll show you 100 more that look just like it. All empty promises.

I suppose these videos are better than nothing right? 

One can argue that these videos are great when traveling. Maybe. I’d take walking or stretching any day of the week. (Both free you know.)

All I know is these type of videos will never beat out a) eating strategically for fat loss, b) lifting weights intelligently and interval cardio training.

NEVER.

One last thing. I think Jillian Michaels is great. She’s a strong woman who works hard to do her thing. I respect all the work she’s done to build up her brand.

The thing is, when you start to make it big, marketers have a way of finding you. Soon you find yourself saying “yes” to things you would have said “no” to in the past. I’m not one to judge someone else’s business decisions about their business, but it’s not how I run my show.

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Marketers ruin everything.

Now that I think about it, Jillian’s kinda hot. I didn’t find her attractive before, but I can see the appeal. But chances are the other 1,300 “fitness models” selling X, Y, Z videos/products are hot too.

If everyone’s “hot,” how do you differentiate yourself?

It sure as hell isn’t going to be tight yoga pants, colorful sports bra’s and “whoo-yoo! Come on, you can do one more rep!” statements.

Instant ninja action plan: Turn. The TV. Off. Find out what type of training you want to give a legitimate try and why. Give that training an honest 90-day trial. And say no to videos with “fly honies.”

Are Zumba and Jazzercise classes effective for someone trying to lose weight?

Hell no.

For people trying to lose body fat, build quality muscle or improve their performance, all these classes are a waste of perfectly good energy and intention.

Take a look for yourself:

Again, some shit you just can’t make up.

For those unaware, Jazzercise “is a 60-minute dance party with all your favorite artists including Pitbull, Maroon 5 and Rihanna. It combines dance, strength training, Pilates, yoga and kickboxing. With it’s hot dance moves and today’s hit music, Jazzercise feels more like a girl’s night out than a workout.”

That’s straight from Jazzercise, Inc.’s mouth.

1) If I was a music artist, I’d make sure corporate gyms were paying me royalty fees for all the classes I’d be helping them fill up. You know damn well all these yahoos are bumping Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” or “Style” to appear hip and trendy.

2) Surely trying to combine pilates + yoga + kickboxing + strength training into one cohesive product is a terrible idea.

In what fucking planet would this bullshit work?

Not on earth – that’s for damn sure.

But go ahead and ask a professional pilates or kickboxing instructor and let me know what they say.

I know, I know, “but they’re fun” and “they make you sweat a lot.” You know what’s fun?

A Taylor Swift concert. Going to the circus. Or losing the 15lbs you’ve been wanting to lose for the last 10 years. That’s fucking fun.

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Who wouldn’t have fun at a Taylor Swift concert?

You know that if you wear sweatpants and a hoodie during summer, you’ll sweat uncontrollably right?

“Fun” and sweating are not the best indicator of results.

Frankly, zumba and jazzercise and any other BS classes like it, are contributing to the reason people cannot lose body fat in America.

All these classes are corporate America at it’s worst.

Some marketing team came up with catchy wording, paired them up with sick beats and had the pretty, trim and energetic class instructor sell you on all the fun.

Sex sells, but I thought it was only guys that fell for it?

If you’re fit, trim and look how you want to look, you can pretty much do anything you want with a proper nutrition approach in place. If these classes are fun for you, by all means, rock out like it’s 1999.

But if you have more than 15lbs of body fat to lose, do yourself a favor and start walking uphill. 

Instant ninja action plan: Say no to BS classes. Find a treadmill, set it to 15% incline and walk at 3.0mph for 20-40min. And ask someone you trust how to do a proper push-up or squat.

I want to strengthen my core. Is doing planks sufficient or must I also incorporate the traditional core exercises like crunches?

With all lower back pain taking over America, everyone needs to strengthen their core.

If you want sit for hours at work, want to get rid of lower back pain or want to improve your performance in any form of physical activity, you want to strengthen your core as much as possible.

Having a strong core will make all aspects of your life better. Your core can never be too strong. But it can be so weak that one wrong sit-up, one improperly performed barbell bicep curl or picking up your two year old at a wrong angle could have you missing work for weeks thanks to a lower back strain.

It’s sad, but true.

Planks are great. They’re universally respected in the field of exercise science. They’re a type of isometric exercise that helps your core learn how to stabilize. Stabilization is a major function of what your core does during the day and while exercising.

But I don’t think they’re enough.

I also wouldn’t consider any type of “crunch” a traditional exercise. I’d consider all of them “bonuses.”

Traditional exercises for solid core strength I’d consider are push-ups (essentially a moving high plank the whole time you’re doing them), pull-ups (ahem, vertical moving high plank), squats and deadlifts.

There’s no way you can do this total body movement without solid core strength:

But you can do crunches all year long and accomplish nothing but a neck strain. 

I’ll keep it simple for now and tell you that it’s most effective to train your core as part of functional, compound movements.

If you insist on directly training your core or have to because it’s currently too weak, I’d advise you categorize them as such: rotation based, power based, lower abdominals based, isometric based and lower back based. 

I’ll go in the depth on this categorization in the future if you insist. For now, stick to functional/compound movements and you’ll be fine.

Instant ninja action plan: Do a plank. How long can you hold a plank for? Be safe and score 100. Get to 5 minutes and you’re a rockstar.

And think about this question over the next week: Are you doing core exercises to get a six-pack or to strengthen your core?

You don’t have to know the answer right now, but just think about it and realize they are not the same thing.

What’s your take on this type of exercise:  www.functionalpatterns.com ? 

For starters, this is Functional Patterns:

Very nifty stuff my friend. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I’ve just spent over an hour looking through the website and most of their youtube videos. And I’m glad I did.

I dig their logo. It’s clean, simple, yet elegant. And I like their taglines: Training for humans; Train intentionally, not habitually.

I can tell some serious thought went into their design and branding.

Reading the website, their mission reads: “At Functional Patterns, everything has a foundation rooted in science. The goal of Functional Patterns is to empower people to not only get to their physical goals, but to ensure that the goal will be sustainable.”

The mission statement combined with this About Us snippet: “Culture and Nature are the two most influential factors that shape who we are, and they also affect our health in the process. Our health is determined by how adaptable we are to our natural environment” are all I need to know that Founder & CEO, Naudi Aguilar, GETS IT.

I’m particularly impressed with their approach to MMA training. Seeing XYZ videos, my mind keeps thinking, “Functional MMA training at its finest.”

Since MMA is still a new sport to most of the world, I wouldn’t want to pigeonhole this method, so I’ll just stick to categorizing this as a “functional, movement based” way of training.

My initial impression is that Naudi is at the cutting edge of distilling dynamic, explosive movements. I’m curious enough to want know more about his method, as it strikes me as both unique and innovative.

You know how doing muscle ups or handstands are all the rage right now thanks to CrossFit?

Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years, everyone is trying to emulate some of Naudi’s badass movements.

But considering muscle ups and handstands are just basic gymnastics moves with an origin in the 1800s, it may take a while for them to catch on.

Three things do concern me.

1) What I see mostly seems like advanced movements for the majority of people. They demand some serious coordination, balance, agility, body awareness, flexibility, strength and the ability to put all those skills together explosively. If you can’t properly squat or do one strict pull-up, chances are you’ll struggle with this approach and get easily frustrated. As well, a lot of the movements seem to involve specialized equipment. No fancy equipment = no fancy movements possible.

2) The price point of $49.99 and $74.99 for a handful of Functional Patterns videos seems way out of reach for most Americans. But trainers and coaches could benefit from the knowledge found inside. 

3) Can the Functional Patterns method scale and be adopted by the masses? Maybe. If we could get more people to focus on improving how they move, how they perform and how they feel, instead of focusing on what they look like, it’s possible.

I wonder if too many people will count themselves out of this training method from the high caliber promo videos?

You know, something like, “This shit is badass! Naudi’s a straight up ninja…but I could never do that. I’m no athlete.”

badass.panda.bringbackfit.com

Rest assured folks, I know it seems like you have to be Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Batman or a professional MMA fighter to do these moves, but I’m sure Naudi has a systems for getting beginners and absolute beginners going.

The question remains: how does this type of functional training compare to CrossFit, Olympic Lifting or more old school traditional methods of training?

Only time will tell who’s left standing.

I know you really want to know about the intricacies of the fancy moves, but let me draw your attention to who created them. That story matters. Maybe more so than everything else.

Naudi’s bio may be the length of a college entrance essay, but I love it. It’s worth the read because it tells me his story.

Who is Naudi? Why Functional Patterns? Why do this? All the answers are in his bio. 

I look around at the fitness and health industry and I just see “paper bios.” Nothing with a grain of style and substance.

Instead, certification listings, “before” and “after” testimonials or photoshop-enhanced images showcasing physiques litter the internet.

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Worst are the cowards that aren’t even willing to put up a bio they can stand behind or those that won’t take the time to craft a quality mission statement to live up to.

Those yahoos obviously don’t believe in their product, so why should anybody else?

Naudi believes, lives and is his product. He’s a man who has learned to think for himself. 

Any man who’s open enough to use any of this wording: “poor self image”, “ego crushing”, “[extreme] depression”, “feeling helpless”, “broker than a joke”, “wearing a mask all my life”, “being alone and broke” and “living my life with purpose” when talking about himself, is okay is my book.

It takes guts to admit your previous shortcomings and be real about dark emotions.

Naudi’s committed to his mission, passionate about movement and enjoys the process of discovering things for the greater good. I admire his understanding of biomechanics and fascia and how they can affect training sessions.

He’s real about who he is and what he’s about. He has my respect.

I don’t know Naudi yet, but I’m a fan and I look forward to meeting him, talking shop and seeing him in action.

You’re in luck too. Since Naudi’s training center is in San Diego, I’ll make it a point to go visit him next time I’m in town. Then I can give you the full first person experience. Until then, I’ll add some of the DVDs to the R&D file.

Instant ninja action plan: Watch out Naudi’s promo video and identify one new move you want to try to learn. Learn that move.

There is only trained and untrained.

JASignature2Blue.bringbackfit.com

Saul Juan Antonio Cuautle
Founder & CEO

Friends don’t let friends mindlessly “workout.” Friends help and support each other. Help your friends as they try to make positive changes in their life. Give them the gift of 24/7 Coach. If you know of anyone who may benefit from this content, please share it with them. 

What Doing a 24hr Relay for Life Event With My CEO Taught Me

by Neil Thomas 

In Loving Memory of Brian Rozelle Team #RozelleStrong.bringbackfit.com

Long Live #RozelleStrong

I nearly forgot that I agreed to do this Relay For Life event. I told Juan Antonio (JA) I’d join him for a lap or two, or at least bring by a picture of Brian Rozelle so he could be at an event I know he would of supported.

As most of us in serious relationships know, our generation has gravitated to a new style of dating where we have our set “date” nights. My night before the relay was a doozie.

Instead of just having a glass of wine and an appetizer as planned, my girlfriend and I had a wonderful dinner at a stellar, upscale cafe. I was amazed my girlfriend knew so much about wine and suggested pairings to the bartender. I should have known then I was in for a long night.

The next morning, we did one of our favorite things – BRUNCH! Or as she likes to say, “Mimosas with a side of mimosas.” I was finishing my crabcakes benedict when JA called to ask when I would be there and if I could pick up some food supplies on my way over.

brunch.bringbackfit.com

HOLY CRAP. I’m supposed to be there. AND IT’S A 24-HOUR RELAY EVENT.

I get to the event wearing jeans and flip flops. I see JA being Superman – literally. He was running around in a tight blue shirt, had on these Superman socks and created his own “push-ups station,” where members of the Menlo Park Police Department were thrilled to join him. THIS IS GOING TO BE A LONG DAY.

To Quit vs. To Begin Again

Turns out I had no gym shorts in the car like I thought I did. So I did what any self-respecting entrepreneur would do, I rolled up my jeans to make some shorts and cranked up some Taylor Swift.

It wasn’t the prettiest sight, but it got the job done. Thank god I did have some old Nike free runners in my car and a fresh pair of socks. Otherwise, I would have done two laps and gone home.

There were some legit runners out there. This one girl, Little CIA, gave JA a run for his money. Every time I looked up, she was going strong with JA struggling to keep up with her. Sure, she was fresh and actually had a relay team, but I was more impressed JA was trying to keep up with her – she was the cross country team captain!

Then there was Nat Natalie, another strong runner than kept JA company. Turns out he forgot his ipod shuffle and was freaking out, but having cool people around to talk kept him sane. Thank you Nat Natalie and Little CIA for keeping my friend company.

Here’s what I guarantee you about the relay: no one else had a “pre-workout” full of mimosas like I did. I love mimosas, but I was paying the price. All I could do was push through my buzz.

buzzed.bringbackfit.com

I don’t know how JA was out there for so long because is was hot – DAMN HOT. I was sweating so much I felt embarrassed for the people around me. But that feeling quickly went away as people started recognizing us. We were those “crazy friendly guys” running around.

The most popular booths – aside from the taco truck – were the bead and luminaire booths. After completing a lap, you earned a bead. It was a cool, almost abacus like system of keeping track of how many laps you’d done. It came through when JA’s Garmin GSP watch ran out of juice after 7 hours. And we got to go home with a self-made necklaces to remember a day of courage!

For Sue - 180 beads for 180 laps.bringbackfit.com

For Sue & Pa Rozelle.

At the luminair boothe, you could write a personal message to either cancer survivors or to those that passed away to cancer. When I walked up to make one, I was asked, “Who are you here for?” The primary reason we came was to honor our friend Brian Rozelle and represent Team #RozelleStrong.

Then it hit me: my girlfriend had a brain tumor removed at 18 years old; my sister was diagnosed with melanoma at 22 years old; my girlfriend’s mother is still recovering from breast cancer; and my grandmother is also a cancer survivor. I was here for a lot more people than I initially realized.

For Emily.bringbackfit.com

After five hours however, I felt like I was going to die. (Side note – I broke my toe a couple days before dropping a huge machine on it at work.) My foot was killing me, I felt like I was overheating due to these jeans and all this sun made me want to take a long nap. I had enough for one day.

Driving home, I felt like a quitter. Those five hours may have seemed like forever, but they were only five hours. I also felt bad for leaving JA. He was really going to be a one person relay team – something I didn’t want for him.

Instead of going home, I pull into Equinox, Palo Alto. I did some bench press (I figured the heavy weights would give me a rush of adrenaline), showered, did a long steam, stretched, foam rolled and ate.

When I saw a clip of Robin Williams on one of the TV’s, I remembered his classic one liner, “You’re only given one little spark of madness.” Almost instantly, I was rushing home to grab some fresh clothes and bring JA some Chipotle.

I got the clothes, but zoomed passed Chipotle. I blame JA because on the drive back, all I could think about was what he told me the trick to 24hr races was: “Just find a way to keep your body moving.”

That little hoe is right. For anyone who does marathons or super-endurance events, if and when you stop moving your body, you’re fucked. Trust me. Don’t pull a rookie mistake like I did.

Proud To Fight Against Cancer

luminaria

At eight o’clock, Relay For Life had what JA called, “The toughest part of the day.” It was the luminaria ceremony. Here, every single luminaire was lit up all around the course – every, single, one. We all walked the track once with bagpipes playing and then a second lap in silence. Everyone was holding a glow stick representing us carrying their life torch on.

Walking that first lap, I couldn’t help the tears rolling down my face. I don’t think there was a dry eye walking. I thought of my sweet little sister Emily being told at Cedars Sinai that she had cancer. I thought of my girlfriend and Brian both being told the same thing at Stanford. I thought of how many people have been told those dreadful words, ”You have cancer.”

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JA told me he cried the first lap too, but oddly enough, was super angry during the second lap. He didn’t go into specifics, but by the time we connected a few laps later, he was back to his normal self.

He runs up to me and says, “You know what Brian once told me? He goes, ‘Dude, that girl you like so much is just a regular white girl!’ That may or may not be true depending on who you ask, but it’s still funny. I loved how ridiculous he was.”

I guess he just had to run with his anger to get it out of him. But just like that, his smile came back. 

Relay-For-Life-3

If you know anything about me, you know I’ll talk to anyone and everyone in the room. We instantly became BFF’s with this super cool woman Carolina. She was running the booth for the Menlo Park PD.

She recently lost her husband to cancer. Despite that loss, she was amazingly upbeat, funny and kind. She single handedly convinced me to stay overnight to truly support the cause.

JA offered me one of his one liners for comfort, “Remember why you showed up.” It took a while for it to sink in, but I got it. If all these cancer survivors, friends and families feeling such pain from losing loved ones can keep going on, why can’t I? Me chuggling along forward is a physical metaphor for their journey. Deep stuff.  

No matter how you slice it, Carolina is such a strong woman. I have so much respect for her. Even more amazing? She has three incredible tweens that are just as funny and upbeat!

I know because sometime around 1AM, my body checked out. I wanted to keep walking, but Carolina’s girls offered me some shrimp pizza. I stopped to eat and chat with them and by slice number two, the girls were trying to braid my hair, we were playing the dare game and were talking about all these ridiculous celebrities. We created our own Comedy Central in the middle of the night.

By 4AM there were about four of us left out there still moving –  JA, myself, Carolina and the commander of the Menlo Park PD. There was this incredible sense of peace walking the track with all the candles lit.

“You wanna hear something crazy broseff?,” JA asked me. “We’re losing this fight. But events like this and people like this give me hope that we could win. If we save one person, it makes all the difference. We just have to save one person.”

That little hoe made me tear up. I’ll admit it. I needed that one liner out – nothing would stop me from making it to the end. Not my toe, not exhaustion, not the cold and not my mind wanting me to go back to sleep.  

We had the smallest team – two people. TWO. Just JA and I. We were officially representing JA’s friend Yuhui of SBA Fitness in Menlo Park. To my shock, when the laps were tallied up, we accumulated the most team miles!!! We completed over 65 miles between the two of us.

JA also won the most spirited award for giving everyone inspiration with his undeniable spirit. Having known him almost a year now – although it seems like forever – I can honestly say, I’ve never met anyone with so much drive and determination. And this little hoe doesn’t even sleep ladies and gentlemen! I’m damn proud to call him my business partner and one of my best friends on earth.

I never dreamed we would win the relay event, but I’m damn proud we gave it our all and actually did. We made all those people afflicted by cancer proud.

We convinced Neil to stay more than his planned 2hrs!

Willing To Work

Would I do another Relay For Life event again? Hell yeah! If its for a good cause – sign me up for one tomorrow!  I don’t care if I’m not prepared, wearing a business suit or have a broken toe, I will give it all I have.

For me, another JA one liner was one of the highlights of my day. When he said, “You know Neil, you were supposed to do two laps and you ended up staying for 18 hours. You are most impressive.”, I felt like a superhero. This guy was the hardest working guy on the track and he thinks I’m impressive? Who wouldn’t feel inspired to take on the world!?

 

homer circles

Anybody can run if your mind is right.

I don’t have a traditional “runners body,” but when I set my mind to something, I will get it. I’m not someone accustomed to not getting what they want and I WILL NEVER GIVE UP until I reach the goal. As one of my hero’s Gary Vee loves to say, “You have to be willing to work harder than anyone else! WORK!” I can learn to work my ass off just like him and JA.

I’ve decided that no matter how busy my life becomes, giving back is something you must find the time to do. Whether you’re poor, rich, somewhere in the middle or struggling to even stand on your own two feet, if you can’t extend your hand to another human being, what’s the point of being here?

Life is just a series of experiences and this turned into an incredible one. The range of emotions I felt were unbelievable. I never would of had the opportunity to have all these great conversations and meet so many great people without this event. We all had a cancer story connection, but I think we shared a biggers sense of compassion and trying to give back to families and the community. All these connections made while going round and round around the course.

With so much ugliness out in the world, here were a group of people who donated their entire Saturday to show that they cared. I gotta say, that’s fucking awesome.

“If you dream it you can do it” – Walt Disney

Neil Thomas
COO / “The Connector”

PS. One last funny thing about JA. Even he breaks. Around 11:50PM, he was trying to get me to convince him to go home (he was a bit out of it). Thankfully, a nice fellow, Kyle, showed up ready to make coffee for whoever wanted one.

As soon as he made JA a mocha, it was like that complaining part of him melted away. Caffeine + Taylor Swift brought him back to life.

Taylor.JA.bringbackfit.com

JA’s friend Annah sent this to him late in the evening.

In the middle of the night, maybe a handful of people were still walking. What does JA do? He started running – FAST. It got to the point he was blazing passed us. “Clean” would be playing and he’d zoom past us three times for that one song. I timed him once and it took him about 1min 20sec to do a lap!

Eventually, Carolina yelled out, “Juan Antonio – you’re going too fast!” A few laps later, it dawned on him she was right. He slowed down and started to walk. When he looked at his watch, he was horrified. It read “12:35.”

That means the silly goose ran 5 miles at about a 7:00 minute per mile pace! Good if you’re just doing five miles, but stupid if you’re trying to run for 24hrs.

He paid the price on his next lap when his body started shutting down him. Maybe he should have been eating more food and less Ice cream? Luckily a two hour nap while listening to Taylor Swift was enough to bring him back to life.

I don’t know what Taylor Swift does to him, but it leads to incredible things. 

JA's more spirited when Taylor Swift or pizza are around

JA’s more spirited when Taylor Swift or pizza are around

 

 

Friends don’t let friends mindlessly “workout.” Friends help and support each other. Help your friends as they try to make positive changes in their life. If you know of anyone who may benefit from this content, please share it with them.

#RozelleStrong: Some Stars Shine Brighter

by Juan Antonio

Smile. The world is just awesome! – Brian Rozelle

IMG_3885

I’m doing World’s Toughest Mudder (WTM) later this year on November 14-15th. This will be my 4th go at this god-forsaken race.

I retired from WTM last year after breaking my ankle during the course. Let’s just say, I broke it, powered through it for 20hrs or so, then entered Pizza-Beer Land for two months because of it.

After three less-than-stellar attempts, retiring from the race felt appropriate. I was looking forward to joining my pals and getting back into the game of MMA training. Having not hit a heavy bag in nearly three years, I wanted to pound away on it like I was Conor McGregor. And call me crazy, but I think MMA training (and rockclimbing too) has a longer longevity than training for 24hr races.

For the most part, I felt reasonably okay with my retirement. I didn’t get to go out my way, but at least I went out like Rocky going the distance against Apollo. And that’s despite two bad wheels – “your feet are not designed for running” – and having a knack for rolling ankles when it matters most. 

Three months went by and it felt good to just train for fun; to just research. Not having a regimented schedule to stay in superhero shape felt normal. I even had beers, pizza and sweets whenever the opportunities presented themselves! Life was good.

And then life happened.

Regrets Can Eat Away 

On April 6, 2015, my friend Brian Rozelle passed away to bile duct cancer.

His passing shook me to the core. The days following the news of his passing, all I could think about was how I didn’t make it to his epic 30th birthday party.

I got my weekends wrong and had to go to LA. The days leading up to my LA trip, a little voice kept telling me to cancel the trip and go to his party. But I silenced that voice. 

The reason I shut it down was because I assumed Brian would have another epic birthday party/other epic parties.

I was wrong.

His 30th birthday party was his last one on earth. And I didn’t make it. I could have made, but I didn’t. And I have to live with that decision for the rest of my days. That regret eats away at me.

ben-affleck-batman.bringbackfit.com

“It’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.”

The Nudge That Went Wrong

I intended to speak at Brian’s Celebration of Life event at AT&T Park. I wanted to share a little story that I felt Sue and Pa Rozelle would appreciate. But my good friend Neil “wrecked it” for me.

I was in the back, enjoying warm tears coming down my face as I was listening to Brian’s family talk about him and then Neil comes over, nudges me on the elbow, and whispers in my ear, “Broseff, you should say something.”

As soon as he said that, my mind went into a tailspin.

The story I intended to share, all of sudden didn’t make any sense; it wasn’t warm and fuzzy. And it didn’t sound like it would make anyone laugh. I could already feel all those 600+ eyes looking at me, judging me, asking, “Who is this guy?” and “What’s the point of this story?” 

Pa Rozelle made it easy for people, “Anyone, please feel free to come up and say something.”

Dude! Come on, you have to pull it the fuck together.

I didn’t know what to say now. I was feeling super self-conscious, all this sweat was getting into my eyes, my shirt was feeling too tight to breathe comfortably, my hands were shaking, I had to pee and I wanted a beer – three to be exact. It was all bad.

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

I just couldn’t get out of my head. I was stuck.

I should have taken Pa Rozelle’s lead and put my speech on paper. You’re killing me smallz!

I should have done a stellar visual poem like Brian’s mom.

How can I follow after Brian’s family? I’m not as funny as Sue or as 007-slick as Nick Weiss. 

The pseudo MC even asked twice, “Do we have any more people who’d like to say something? Going once, going twice…”

Dude. This is your cue. Move your ass. REALLY? You’re just going to stand there? Move! Tell the people how you feel about Brian before it’s too late. What did Taylor Swift once say, “I don’t think you should wait, I think you should speak now.” SAY SOMETHING.

Even Kelly’s two little kids Sawyer and Steel mustered up the courage to say something beautiful about Brian. But try with all my might, I just stood in the back – speechless. Frozen. Lost in my own head.

I intended to go after Kelly’s kids, but before I knew it, we we’re all exiting toward the jumbo screen.

I missed my chance to say something. I can’t believe I let my anxiety get the better of me. I felt like the scum of the earth.

“13 For Rozelle”

Part of the reason I was frozen was because I had too much to say about Brian. Where do I even begin? All those moments and memories, all at once, were too much for me to handle. I couldn’t process them, my emotions and all the people.

When I started to get light-headed, I knew I was in trouble.

As you may recall, I managed some type of redemption in a tribute to Brian entitled “How One Man Beat Cancer Through Happiness and Selfies.”

I’m pretty sure Brian would call it “epic.”

What I didn’t mention was that although I started a website called www.13forTaylor.com (As in Taylor Swift), it could have easily been called www.13forRozelle.com.

You see, Brian is the one who introduced me to WTM.

I was training him for a traditional Tough Mudder and I got involved in a bit of a car accident. Let’s just say, I was on an early morning run and had to jump to evade vital organ damage. Unfortunately, my left ankle met the front of the car hood and didn’t like it very much. I couldn’t walk uphill and had to forego that Tough Mudder in Tahoe with Brian.

When I walked into his office to let him know I was out, I think he could sense my disappointment.

I was extra disappointed because Brian laid down the challenge of, “Bro, if you can finish it in 90 minutes, I’ll buy you an epic steak dinner!”

challenge.accepted_bringbackfit.com

Brian paid no attention to my disappointment and said, “Dude. A regular Tough Mudder is too easy for you anyway. You should do THIS.” He then showed me a promo for WTM. “It’s in 3 months, so it’d be stupid to do it then. But you should totally do it next year,” he said.

His words combined with that WTM promo, just made sense. I dedicated the next year to seriously training for WTM 2012.

Friends Support Each Other

Can I tell you something?

Brian was the only person who called me after finishing the race my second time around.

This was during those really tough months of Brian’s cancer battle and he was calling me from 3,000 miles away.

Who does that?

He’s maybe the only person who didn’t think it was “stupid.” Crazy, yes, but stupid, no.

It was Sunday night about 11PM EST. I was alone in some beatdown motel in New Jersey and I was trying to go to sleep. You’d think that after being awake for 40+ hours, it would be easy to sleep. Nope.

As soon as I picked up the phone, you could hear Brian practically yelling, “Dude! How’d you do!?”

I was so disappointed in my performance my second time at bat, that I wanted to talk about anything but the race. Those feelings combined with being in a broken down, dazed and semi-irritable state, meant Brian pretty much had to speak for both of us.

“Bro, so what if you didn’t get 13 laps. That’s not even possible. YOU FINISHED. That’s what matters. You covered 45 miles, didn’t break anything and are one of the few people on the fucking planet that could finish that race! That’s pretty badass.”

He got me. Those few lines made me feel so proud and put a smile on my face. My disappointment melted away. Brian then took it to the next level and said, “Bro. If I’m around next year, I’ll go to support you.”

That sonuvabitch.

That one line made my eyes all sort of watery. The fact that my friend would even consider flying to the east coast from California to support me while he’s battling life-threatening cancer is truly badass.

In that moment however, all I could think was, “Fuck Brian. This means I have to do all this bullshit again for another year! You’re killing me smallz!” 

Team #RozelleStrong Lives

I did the race again in 2014. Brian couldn’t make it. He had so much on his plate with friends, family, travel and leading the fundraising for Cycle for Survival as part of Team #RozelleStrong that come the week before Thanksgiving, he was exhausted.

How he managed to even do half of all that is still mind-bottling to me.

mind bottling_bringbackfit.com

I still wonder today if I would have done better last year if Brian was there. He would fit right in with all the WTM crazies and their friends and family supporting them through pit crews. Trust me, he’d somehow find a way to tower over their exuberant energy.

crazy tough mudder_bringbackfit.com

See what I mean – don’t you think Brian can top this?

I’m doing WTM again this year.

Is this my last time? I want to say, “Yes”, but who knows?

All I know is that at Brian’s Celebration of Life, his good friend Brauson said, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking? You should do WTM again this year.”

“But I retired,” I said.

“Yeah, Brian doesn’t believe in retirement. I think he’d want you to do it. Chris agrees. And if you ask Sue or anyone else, I think you’ll get the same response.”

I didn’t get a chance to ask anyone else, but Brauson might be onto something. For the first time, in a long time, it feels right to do WTM this year. I’m actually more excited than nervous. I’m reminded of how I felt when Brian first showed me the WTM promo.

13 for Taylor

All this time, I thought it was about Taylor Swift and maybe, just maybe, it was about having fun. It’s taking me long enough, but I think I’m coming full circle in doing the race again.

Maybe running this race is a way to erase that regret. Maybe it’s a way to honor Brian for as long as I can run it. Maybe it’s another way to keep Team #RozelleStrong alive.

Brian’s temperament and how he faced his cancer guns blazing is a constant reminder that some stars shine brighter than others.

Maybe one last go around, with Brian in my heart and mind, will allow me to go out in style.

I don’t know. But I can try and find out.

The New Face of Cancer

Long Live #RozelleStrong

Doing Brian Proud 

It just occured on me it’s August.

Yikes – I seriously need to start training like a superhero if I want to do Brian proud.

As such, I’m going all out, guns blazing by doing a Relay For Life event tomorrow, August 8th, in Menlo Park, CA. My friend Yuhui and her company SBM Fitness asked me to join their team and I shall deliver.

I commit to moving along that track for all 24hrs. It’s supposed to be a walk, but I may end up jogging, bear crawling, army crawling just to keep some sanity. I don’t know. We’ll see.

I’m not currently in superhero shape, but I have veteran experience on my side. I shall rely on my mental strength and Brian’s story to power me through the day.

If you’re in the area, swing by Burgess Park on 701 Laurel Street anytime between 11AM-8AM to show some support to those rallying to fight cancer. Maybe you’ll do a few laps to honor a friend that passed away or to honor a friend fighting cancer now.

I don’t know how the course is laid out, but doing at least 50 miles sounds about right. If want to buy Brian one Starbucks cup of coffee and donate $5 to jumpstart the Team #RozelleStrong fundraising efforts for next year’s Cycle for Survival, you’d only make Brian’s star shine brighter. Contact Vickie at vickiebrez@gmail.com for how to do so.

And if you feel inclined to drop off pizza, sweets, peanut butter & jelly or caffeine, I’ll be happy to take it all off your hands.

There is only trained and untrained.

JASignature2Blue.bringbackfit.com

 

Saul Juan Antonio Cuautle
Founder & CEO

ps. yes, www.13fortaylor.com is currently down. I took it down after last year’s race. It will resurface shortly…in some capacity…

 

Friends don’t let friends mindlessly “workout.” Friends help and support each other. Help your friends as they try to make positive changes in their life. If you know of anyone who may benefit from this content, please share it with them.

Just Get Back In The Game

by Juan Antonio

We have the power to begin the world over again.  – Thomas Paine

unbroken.bringbackfit.com

Broken v. Unbroken

I broke an ankle during a 24hour race last year at the infamous World’s Toughest Mudder.

For two months, I did no forms of exercise – ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Not even yoga, which is 90% breathing or pilates, which is 95% core.

I could have easily done either of those activities. I could have even hopped into the kiddie side of the pool, but nope, I didn’t do a damn thing.

During this time, I literally ate pizza every other day, lived off beer or just didn’t eat.

Being the holidays, anytime someone offered something sweet, I made sure to eat a double serving. I felt like I was “taking one for the team.” I mean, I can afford those calories, most people can’t.

Did I lose some leanness?

Sure. As long as I can still fit into my skin tight, superhero compression shirts, I’m good.

The problem is, I failed to notice my tight shirts stretch to adapt to your body. They’re great feats of manufacturing, design and engineering, but a major “whoops” on my part.

Did I lose some strength and conditioning? Of course – I lived off pizza and fucking beer!

Seriously, what did you think was going to happen?

Eat like crap and don’t move and you’re body will pay for it one way or another.

beers_homer_simpson_bringbackfit.com

What did you think was going to happen?

Did I want to get back in the gym?

Hmmmm. Some days yes, but most days, “FUCK NO.”

I can say the ankle was my primary limiting factor. After all, the doc said, “8 weeks of nothing weightbearing.”

With his french accent, it sure sounded like, “Watch Netflix and eat donuts” to me.

You can always come up with excuses of why you’re not where you want to be. The trick is to dig for the solutions. Tiny solutions are alway better than big excuses.

homer.beer2.bringbackfit.com

You know something’s wrong when the morning cold or rain are reasons you’re not training. I mean, when was the last time it was raining inside your gym?

I think a part of me was just burned out.

There are only so many times you can sleep for four hours, attempt to fight crime and work long hours at the office before the body just says, “Hey you, lugnut – I need a break too. Don’t give me one and I’ll walk out. And I’ll take brain with me.”

If you don’t listen to your body, it will make decisions with or without you.

I should have listened, because they walked out on me. All I had was beer to soothe and comfort me. Beer, like any other crutch is always going to be a temporary solution.

beers-quotes_bringbackfit.com

After I decided to stop being a pansy, the real question was, “Where do I begin?”

Running? Lifting weights? Yoga? Rockclimbing? Striking? Hiking?

Wait, what I am even training for?

With nothing specific to train for aside from becoming Batman, I thought it best to find out where I was at, relative to where I was and where I want to be.

homer v. batman_bringbackfit.com

Current v. Future

The simple, but not easy solution was staring me right in the face: just get back in the fucking game.

What are you waiting for?

Begin at the beginning

After long layoffs – be it having done nothing for months, years…decades – I would highly suggest you begin at the beginning.

If you’re a beginner or feel lost when going to the gym, 24/7 Coach is ready to help you.

What can you currently do right now?

If you want to be objective, take some baseline assessments.

Believe it or not, we in the fitness industry as a whole, can’t come to agreement on fitness assessments. Shocking, I know.

I hate waiting around. I’m not waiting for those yahoos, so I created one for everyday people who want get better with each training session.

classic Arnold.bringbackfit.com

Here’s part one of our standard, patent-pending Minds of Steel Baseline Assessments:

1.  2-minute Max Push-ups

Rest 2-minutes

2.  1-minute Max Squats

Rest 2-minutes

3.  Max Pull-ups

Rest 2-minutes

4.  Max Plank

Rest 2-minutes

5.  MOS Run

 

It’s pretty simple, I know. That’s the beauty of it.

Just go through it as described. And don’t attempt to change it. Believe me, I’ve already experimented with endless combinations and the order described is the best.

Would you argue with the glorious recipe over at Zachary’s Pizza in Rockridge?

Here’s what I scored after a two month, Home Simpson layoff, compared to what I scored last year in the midst of World’s Toughest Mudder 2014 training:

January 13, 2015   v.    September 13, 2014

1.  2min Push-ups     50  v.  82

2. 1min Squats           40  v.  65

3. Max Pull-ups          8  v.  25

4. Max Plank              1:13  v.  5:13

5. Maximum Velocity Run: SKIP (Ankle no bueno)  v.  8.5mph – 13:13

Nothing to call mom about, but not too shabby I must say.

FYI, I’ve been doing push-ups, squats, pull-ups and running for years, so I’ll score better than average for a long time to come.

You can aim to be better than average, or to be in superhero/Conor McGregor shape. I prefer the latter.

man of steel_bringbackfit.com

No fate but what we make.

You want to see something SUPER IMPRESSIVE?

Check out Clever Running Cat’s scores after only six-ish weeks of serious training:

clever running cat.bringbackfit.com

Clever Running Cat’s stellar improvement thus far,

Numbers don’t lie. Look at that improvement.

I’ll let all you whiz’s do the radio math, because all though these numbers are great, they don’t even touch on how Clever Running Cat has improved in terms of her eating, thinking, planning, mindset, feeling, energy levels and exercise techniques.

She just told me the other night that the most times she made it to the gym in one month last year was 11.

Now, she average’s going 20 times in a month!

If you make it to the gym five days a week, that body fat has no place to hide – it will be obliterated. Trust me.

If Clever Running Cat’s improvement doesn’t impress you, I challenge you to match and top it.

I’ll take you to Zachary’s Pizza or for lobster burritos if you can successfully do so.

I’m challenging you too GSP.

Am I where I want to be?

Take a look at where you’re at in your fitness journey:

Is this where you want to be?

Be honest. Be real.

Yes = keep going

No = do something about it – anything.

I don’t know = if you don’t know, how can anyone else know?

No one knows better than you what you want.

Maybe taking 13 minutes to sit down and think about what you actually want will save you the pain of joining a gym you don’t want to go to, or those silly 6AM bootcamp classes you won’t wake up for anyway.

Maybe you just want to go hiking, run at the local track or visit the community pool?

Maybe taking an honest look at what you’re eating, how often and when holds the true key to your success?

I don’t know, but I hope you do.

I can’t help you, if I don’t know where you are in your fitness journey and where you specifically want to go.

When in doubt, just follow this four point plan:

1) begin at the beginning

2) do something – something is better than nothing

3) walk everyday for 20 minutes

4) eat a bag of broccoli everyday.

If you don’t try now, when will you try? 

There is only trained and untrained.

JASignature2Blue.bringbackfit.com

Saul Juan Antonio Cuautle
Founder & CEO

 

Friends don’t let friends mindlessly “workout.” Friends help and support each other. Help your friends as they try to make positive changes in their life. Give them the gift of 24/7 Coach. If you know of anyone who may benefit from this content, please share it with them.

What Surviving A Near Fatal Car Wreck Taught Me

 

 

 

 

by Neil Thomas
man of steel.bringbackfit.com

About seven months ago, I was in a severe car accident. 

I was on my way home, at a stoplight, around the corner from my house in San Jose. Seemingly out of no where, I was rear ended by a driver going 65 miles per hour. Thankfully, I was wearing my seatbelt.

I’ll never forget the crunching noise of steel bashing against steel, the shattering of glass against the back of my head or that feeling of all my muscles from head to toe contracting uncontrollably at impact.

Weird thoughts were zooming through my head during the seconds of chaos. First was my instinctual reaction of, “This is it, I’m going to die.” Then the realization that I hadn’t. “OMG I’m alive!!! Then, “SONUVA – I just crashed my mother’s beautiful truck!”

Understand that my mother sacrificed her whole life to give me and my sister everything. This was the first new car my mother bought for herself. She let me borrow her truck strictly for the purpose of moving and now it was completely ruined. “She’s going to kill me.”

Superhero strength

Next thing I know, this superhero strength came over me. I snapped out of my head and into reality. Perhaps it was my boy scouts training coming back to me or that surge of live-or-die adrenaline, but in the middle of a crazy busy expressway, I jumped out of my mother’s battered truck and raced over to the car behind me. That compassionate part of me had to make sure the people in the car that hit me were okay. 

I saw a scared mother panicking in her seat, speaking to her son in a foreign tongue. After concluding everyone was basically okay, with no limbs lost or viewable major injuries, I suggested we get off the road to assess the damage.

We limped our cars off the busy road and into a well-lit parking lot. I was oddly calm and composed. “It’s all going to be okay,” my mind told me. Even more odd was the fact that no other cars stopped to offer assistance. Countless cars drove by as if nothing had happened.

To the guy that kept honking for us to move faster: CALM DOWN JERK. We were in a car accident.

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Please don’t text and drive. It’s. Not. Worth. It.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think she intended to rear end me. 

The good news: my mother’s well-built GMC truck only had the bumper at a 90 degree angle, with the back window shattered – you can thank my melon head for ramming into it. The bad news: her small Honda Civic looked as though it ran into a brick wall. Which, thanks to great GMC engineering, it practically did.

As we exchanged insurance information with the linguistic assistance of her son, I couldn’t shake feeling terrible for her. You’ve seen a Honda Civic right? It looked as though the Hulk had jump onto and off its hood.

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Since my head wasn’t gushing with blood and seeing that my mom’s truck looked drivable, I foolishly drove it back home. Once I pulled into my driveway, I called my mother on my shattered phone and told her what happened. How it managed to make a call is a mystery to me – hats off Apple manufacturing!

On the phone, my mother’s words really struck a chord with me. See, a few months before, I was in another accident. (Either I’ve got the worse luck with cars or people need to stop texting and driving.) The morning I was going to trade my that car in to buy a new one, the first thing my mother said was, “I guess you won’t be getting that new car.”

For some reason, those words stung me like a bad report card. Why didn’t she ask me if I was okay first? She later explained that she was being matter-of-fact and trying to lighten up the situation. Maybe she was onto something as I realize now that if I wasn’t okay, I wouldn’t even be on the phone, a medical professional would have been.

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Leslie Thompkins comforts Batman.

This time was different. My mother asked me if I was okay. She wanted to know if she needed to make the 200-mile drive from her home in the mountains to come check on me. She told me to go to the hospital immediately. Sure, I probably had a bad concussion (later verified by the doctors), but I’m a guy. Guys are tough. I was accustomed to getting banged up from my football and snowboarding days and all the injuries that come with doing that for years.

This accident didn’t seem like a big deal to me.

I wasn’t thinking clearly. I refused. I didn’t want to go to the hospital. Not because I was afraid of discovering injuries, which I knew I had, but because I didn’t have medical insurance. :-/ With my recent job switching, I no longer had medical insurance and knew I couldn’t afford a trip to the ER, let alone the ambulance ride.

My mother assured me the way only a mother can. She said some magical stuff; things you could pull straight out of a good 1940s movie, but I honestly can’t remember them. I just know I felt at ease and relieved.

You know what I do remember from that moment? George Jung’s father in Blow saying to his son, “Money isn’t real. It doesn’t matter. It only seems like it does” and thinking how ridiculous that was. Money is real. It was the whole reason I was afraid to get the medical attention I needed.

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Thank god for modern innovation. On my shattered screen, I managed to find my Uber app and chauffeured it to the hospital. Not to one close to my house, but to the one where my mother used to take me as a child whenever I had a bump on my head. 

Some things are permanent

Fast forward two months. I found myself lying inside an MRI machine because my vision was acting finicky. My doctor diagnosed me with “vestibular ocular disturbance,” but couldn’t determine why I was still experiencing gut-wrenching neck pain and kept getting migraine-like headaches throughout the day.

After a few more tests, it turns out my C4 and C5 vertebrae had moved 11mm and were pressing against my spine. If that’s not scary enough, get this: if the car that rear-ended me had been going a mile an hour faster or I had been sitting in a slightly different position, I could have been permanently disabled.

PERMANENTLY DISABLED. 

That knowledge stays with you. I was blessed and lucky at the same time. I’m also fortunate to live in a part of the country where some of the best medical minds and medical care are readily available.

I don’t take pain medication; I don’t like feeling cloudy. The best remedy my team of doctors recommended to get me back up to speed was intensive physical therapy with the ever wonderful and talented Lisa Drew of Silver Creek Physical Therapy. I took on five months of physical therapy sessions three days a week. Although I was late on a number of occasions, I made it through all 60 sessions. I even did all my assigned home exercises! Well, most of them anyway.

I’m a fighter 

I like being active. I love golfing, surfing, running, working out and being outdoors. Not being able to engage in my favorite activities damn near had me going crazy. I wanted to move my body, but understood that my body needed to rest, recover and slowly come back to life on it’s timeline. Not mine. If you’ve ever been hurt, injured or not allowed to do your beloved activities, you know how frustrating, deflating and maddening it can be.

Doctor’s orders: “strict, guided physical therapy three times per week. Nothing else beside normal everyday walking.”

Can you guess what happened to my body?

Yup, I gained some body fat. About 30lbs worth.

But it wasn’t just the lack of exercise that got me. I was riding this up and down emotional roller coaster of being in startup mode, experiencing the worst sleep of my life and couldn’t find suitable outlets for all my stress. I gravitated to food. I was eating poorly, eating too much and eating at the wrong times. Now that I think about it, I’m lucky I didn’t put on 60lbs.

It was torturous to see my closet of beautiful clothes begin to fit tighter and tighter every week. I still blame the stupid washer and dryer for shrinking my clothes!

The truth is, the weight gain was really on me and my questionable food choices during this stressful time. 

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But you know what? I accept responsibility for my choices. That double latte, mocha frappuccino and double Chipotle felt comforting when I was in pain. Food helped take the pain away. I was lucky to be alive! WHY NOT celebrate with an extra beer or two and have a pizza while I was at it? As you can see, too many thoughts like that on too many days in a row easily pack on the pounds.

But let me tell you a secret. I may not be one of those rock-hard abs kind of guy, but I’m a fighter. I always have been. Back me into a corner and you better be prepared for when I attack, because I’m relentless when it matters most.

Thanks to my friends and family, I was able to channel my focus, harness my energies and develop some killer mental strength during this tumultuous time. My parents stood by my side and helped keep my spirits up.

As did my our fearless leader Juan Antonio. He told me once I was able to get back in the game, “A new you will rise.” He confused me because I was sure he meant, ‘the old me would rise again.’ But as timing keeps passing, I think he’s onto something. A new me is developing and taking shape. Sonuva bitch – he stole my line.

But seriously, I can’t say enough good things about Juan Antonio and how he helped me navigate the twists and turns of life. If you know him, you know what I mean – he’s a real life superhero walking around in our modern day.

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“Superman Walks”: Amputees Find Superhero Strength Competing In Obstacle Course Races

I have a second part to this story. It’s good. Really good. I’ll fill you in on my next go around very soon. Look out for it!


“If you dream it you can do it” – Walt Disney

Neil Thomas
COO / “The Connector”

ps Here’s the amazing story of “Superman Walks.”

 

Friends don’t let friends mindlessly “workout.” Friends help and support each other. Help your friends as they try to make positive changes in their life. If you know of anyone who may benefit from this content, please share it with them.

13 Legit Life Lessons From Taylor Swift That Can Change Your Life

by Juan Antonio

Two things. 1) Taylor Swift is a marketing genius. And 2) In case you were unaware, she kinda broke the internet this past Wednesday with a simple belly button flash.

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Unlike #Batfleck, no one was petitioning against it. Instead, Reddit users ran wild with an epic meme battle. Unfortunately, my meme didn’t make the Huffington Post top 10 :-/

Okay, the internet and media love Taylor Swift. What the hell took you guys so long?…

What are some of the business/fitness lessons we can learn from her? I present 6.13 life lessons you can learn from Taylor Swift.

1. Only Produce The Highest Quality Product.

Taylor Swift takes two years to produce a record. She spends countless hours writing, re-writing, experimenting and working on her craft to produce over fifty songs for each record.

Come release time, she’s very selective in only picking the best 13 songs to share with the world. (And another killer handful for deluxe editions.)

Business savvy:  If you’re going to make a product, take the time, energy and effort to not just release any product, but to release the best product possible. Do the necessary research. Learn everything you can about your industry and competitors. Make a product that breaks the iTunes the f*cking store.

Our flagship product 24/7 Coach was created to start a revolution.

Why bother creating a “me-too” product? The world already has too many forgettable products. Worse yet, don’t fall into the Google Glass trap – a beautiful product that fails to solve a real problem. Don’t be a solution looking for a product.

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Fitness savvy:  In the training room, your mind and your body are your product. What will you create?

If your body just looks “good” in the mirror but can’t run a mile in less than 7:13 or you can’t pull-up your own bodyweight, you probably still have some work to do. And if you still hear, or worse, find yourself saying those dreaded words, “I can’t”, then your mind still has work to do. Further refinement and polishing are required.

As Bruce Lee once said, “training your mind is a lifelong process.” Now that you know that, you might as well accept it and enjoy the process.

2. Let Early Success Breed More Success.

Taylor Swift could have taken it easy after her second album “Fearless” sold millions of copies and won the grammy for album of the year. She could have parked herself on some beach and drank pina coladas. But that’s not her style. She had too much creative energy to share.

Instead, she let that success challenge her to try new things. She toured the world relentlessly and spent more hours in the studio to try to her make next album even better. Was that even possible?

Let’s just say she pumped out three albums that were superb and considering her most recent album “1989” shattered records across the itunes stores/music industry, it’s safe to say she’s legit and values improving yourself and creating new things for people’s enjoyment. She reminds me of Christopher Nolan in that regard.

Business savvy:  If you acquire 1300 users or land a huge corporate account, pat yourself on the back, celebrate with a nice lunch, but don’t stop. Don’t sit on past success thinking it will last forever or that you’re all of a sudden a big deal. Don’t fall into that trap.

Instead, pull a Zuckerberg and go out and expand your market share. Be relentless.

How many more people can you help? How many more innovative products can you create? As Steve Jobs and Elon Musk have shown, innovation only stops when you stop.

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Fitness savvy:  In the gym, don’t stop when you reach your goal to “lose 10lbs of body fat” or “run a half marathon.” You reached your first mountain top, now what? What will you work towards now? What will motivate you to keep going? Look beyond the mirror.

Can you learn advanced exercises? Can you run faster or with less injuries?

Continued success in the gym will come when you accept that success is fleeting and doesn’t matter as much as the process.

Enjoying to love the process is what will keep you coming back for more. The process will teach you that being fit is a lifestyle, not just something you do as a “New Years resolution”or only when beach season rolls around.

3. Keep Your Ear to the Ground.

Taylor Swift makes it a point to find out what her fans are doing, thinking and saying. She’s all about her fans. She follows them on social media, comments on their blogs and takes the time to chat with them on the streets.

Who does that? She does. She actually cares about her fans. She’s taken caring to a new level that won’t be unmatched anytime soon.

Business savvy:  How’s your relationship with your clients and customers? Are you actually listening to their concerns? How will you respond to those concerns? What can you do to show that you care more than anyone else?

I think we can all raise the bar on customer service. I say do everything you can to do what’s best for your customer. If that means going over six minutes for a scheduled 60 minute appointment, then go over. If that means responding back to emails at 11PM, respond back.

And if the last time you sent out a handwritten thank you note was in the third grade, please, do yourself a favor and send one out today. It’s the little things that go a long way to making an impact and making you more memorable.

Fitness savvy:  When you’re training, listen to your body. If you listen closely, you’ll notice it’s telling you things or trying to tell you things.

Having headaches every other day? That’s not normal. Constantly low on energy and can barely get out of bed? Something is up. Experiencing excessive muscle soreness and tightness? That’s. Not. Normal. Lower back killing you? Find out what’s going on!

The clues are there if you look for them. Take two minutes prior to starting your training session to lay on your back, close your eyes and scan your body from head to toe. What do you notice? What do you feel? What can you do to honor your body today?

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4. Abandon Your Comfort Zone.

Taylor Swift was dominating the country charts for six continuous years. She confidently left it to try something completely new and different in the form or a 100% pop album “1989.” She didn’t listen to the naysayers saying it was a mistake or she had no experience. No, she listened to her gut and trusted her skills.

(If you don’t have “1989”, WTH? What are you waiting for? Trust me, a) you’ll be a better person for listening to it and b) it will never be on Spotify. :-P )

Business savvy:  If you notoriously avoid calling customers on the phone – FYI texting does not count – or meeting them one-on-one, do it. Do it ASAP.

If you know nothing about running a successful business, pick up a book or learn from a master like two time “Inc. 5000” Greg Tapper’s by taking his stellar entrepreneur course. Know nothing about Facebook ads? Then learn about them. In the age of Google, almost everything is at your fingertips if you’re willing to take a chance to find out more.

The only excuses in a digital age, are the ones you come up with. What if the one new skill you try your hand at is the one that leads you to more customers? What if taking a calculated risk leads to your breakthrough?

GO FOR IT.

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Fitness savvy:  With your exercise and training plan, this is what will lead you far and wide: make it a point to do the thing you fear. Don’t think, just do it. Feel the fear and do it anyway. You’re human and being afraid is normal. But you have the power to look fear in the eye and say, “F*CK YOU. You won’t stop me. I will live my dreams, not my fears.”

Have faith in yourself and what you’re doing. Never lifted weighted before? Ask a friend you trust who lifts religiously, ask a qualified coach or start by reading this fantastic book: Strength Training Anatomy cover to cover. If you live in your comfort zone, you’ll never get meaningful results. Worse yet, you’ll never inspire yourself to do and be more.

5. Work Harder Than Anyone Else.

Taylor Swift, without question, is one of the hardest working people in music and entertainment. I’m pretty sure she’s the Gary Vaynerchuk of her industry.

She’s involved in all aspects of her brand – from composing the lyrics to her songs, to producing the albums, to the imagery, to hand picking the backup dancers, to mapping out the music videos and helping design the tour layouts.

Show me someone who works harder and I’ll listen to learn more.

Business savvy:  If you’re the head of your business, do everything you can to make it worthwhile for your customers. What can you do to ensure they’ll come back?

Don’t ever complain because you asked for his by starting a business. Just work harder to create the best business you can. This is your business. Who knows how to run it better, you who breathes it and lives it 24/7, 365-days-a-year, or some piss-ant MBA wannabee-entrepreneur who thinks a fancy education is enough to create an innovative and sustainable business?

Trust yourself.

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Fitness savvy:  If you’re not getting results in the gym, 8 out of 10 times, it’s because you’re not working hard enough. It’s that simple.

I don’t care how many Zumba classes per week you attend. It will NEVER on planet Earth get better strength & conditioning results than deadlifting, squatting, rowing, swimming or running uphill. Never.

Take five minutes on a lazy Sunday to honestly audit your training for the week. How many quality, moderate-to-high-intensity hours of work did you put in? How many hours did you put in last week? What about the week before? Why you get quality results or don’t is found in your training history.

Results from training are never an accident. It’s premeditated partner.

6. Be Driven By Passion, Not Money.

It’s abundantly clear Taylor Swift loves every single thing about music, storytelling and people. She’s been working on her craft for years. YEARS. Exhibit A of the grind.

If you think she just magically became the #1 pop star on the planet through a couple of music videos or #1 hits, I’m sorry, but you might want to study some Taylor Swift history.

She worked hard for years with the hopes of connecting with people through music and storytelling. With so much passion oozing from her for so long, is it really any wonder she’s loved the world over?

This isn’t rocket science, it’s called brand loyalty ala Apple and In N’ Out.

If she can get police officers to lose their minds and the President to bust a move, I’m pretty sure even Kryptonians would rock out to “Shake It Off.”

Business savvy:  Be honest about the business you’re in: are you really doing what you love?

Yes = great, keep doing it.

No = then for christ sake, please, find. what. you. love. Look for it until you find it.

If you have to travel the world over like a nomad to get your mind right, then that’s what you have to do.

Look for more or settle for less, the choice is yours.

If you have to leave that high-paying, but soul-sucking job to find what truly motivates you, then do it.

If you have to work shitty jobs for years, while you earn your big break, do it.

DO WHAT’S NECESSARY.

There are too many people out there that need your help. It would be a crime if you didn’t make an effort to help them. Your passion will carry you through all the bullshit, all the disappointment, and all the people that stand in your way, or fail to offer a helping hand.

Remember, it’s not their dream or vision, it’s yours.

If you love it, your dedication and determination to be successful will shine through in how careful and precise you are with your chosen craft.

If nothing else, it will make the initial stages easier when money may not be coming through the doors yet.

Keep your eye on the vision and big picture: how can what you’re doing connect with people in their mind and hearts?

Create something people want and they’ll be climbing over each other to give you their money. The money will always come if passion comes first. But no passion will always yield chump change.

Fitness savvy:  In the gym, passion doesn’t find you, you find it.

You find it by showing up again and again (and again). You show up late. You show up early. You show up on your birthday. You show when no else is on the training floor.

Have a crappy run? So what, press reset and try again in a couple of days.

Not getting results from TRX? Then pivot and give pilates and yoga a try?

All those bootcamps not bringing results? Then stop doing them and give running, uphill walking and swimming a try.

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You don’t become a master of your craft by looking for infomercial results. They’ll only come when you accept the fact that hard work is necessary to creating anything truly meaningful. If you’re looking for shortcuts stick to video games.

Embrace truth: the process of changing your body and mind will take some time. Learn to love it. Have fun with. And work with time, not against it.

Whether it takes three months, one year, ten years is all on you. This is your life. This is your body. If you don’t care for it who will?

The sooner you start loving the process, the sooner you too can become a master of your domain.

What valuable lesson has Taylor Swift taught you? Let us know in the comment below! And you’re free to tweet this to her. 😉 Long live #13forTaylor.

There is only trained and untrained.

JASignature2Blue.bringbackfit.com

Saul Juan Antonio Cuautle
Founder & CEO

Published author of “A Superstar Love Story: Powering Through the Friend Zone.”

Friends don’t let friends mindlessly “workout.” Friends help and support each other. Help your friends as they try to make positive changes in their life. Give them the gift of 24/7 Coach. If you know of anyone who may benefit from this content, please share it with them.