The Times, They Are ‘A Changing’

 

Are you prepared?

I’ve been thinking very deeply about Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods and what it means to the marketplace as a whole. What does is mean for those of us who have businesses or jobs? Marcus Aurelius writes:
“We have but one job, to be good people.”
While this is true, we all have another job– to meet and actually exceed the demand of the marketplace. The market is the greatest human invention ever. It is essentially voluntary cooperation between people and that is a beautiful thing. It gives us unlimited choices in entertainment, food, travel, occupation, knowledge. However, the marketplace is also highly demanding and can be very very cruel. It often has no regard for whether you have a good product or not. The market doesn’t care whether you’re too tired to make cold- calls that day. The market doesn’t care if you’re having a bad day and it takes too much energy to smile to a customer. It doesn’t care if you’ve been in business for a month or for a decade. All of us must meet the demands of the marketplace EVERY SINGLE DAY if we are to thrive. In fact, we all have one boss– and that’s the market.

The market determines the type of people we hire, the type of customers attracted to us, the types of products and services we offer, the hours of operation. As seen with Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, the marketplace is changing and we all must be vigilant about keeping very high standards and delivering an incredible experience EVERY SINGLE shift, month, week, day and year. I realize sometimes people may see me as a demanding boss and fairly high strung, but the truth is I understand what it takes to make it in the marketplace today and it’s very different than 5, 10, and especially 50 years ago. During these hot summer months, (and really all months to come )the marketplace will demand even higher standards– more energy, world-class products , great marketing, energetic workforces, and obviously 10x clean facilities. In other words, both the marketplace and employers will be looking for producers- people that don’t just go the first mile, but go the extra mile, to meet the demands of the rapidly changing market. Are you going the extra mile? How has your industry changed or how will it change? Are you doing whatever it takes to thrive?

In health,

25 Things I Wish I Knew in High School

 

I don’t have any regrets in life. I would not go back in time and change anything for fear that it would alter my current reality. I like to think that I drive through life looking mostly out the windshield rather than just using the rear view mirrors. That said, there are some things I have learned in my life that I wish I had known in high school. Having known these things, I believe, would not have necessarily changed my path through life, but rather allowed me to deal with circumstances with more calm and poise than I have in the past. So here we go…. 25 Things I Wish I Knew in High School.

  1. You become what you think about most of the time. So monitor your thoughts.
  2. The only thing you can control is yourself and your choices, not others.
  3. Your friends may not necessarily share you values, so be willing to make new ones.
  4. Know that you are not thinking clearly unless your thoughts will lead to a positive outcome for you and you loved ones.
  5. Building disciplines now will lead to a life of freedom.
  6. The pain of a breakup will not last forever, although you think it will.
  7. You family wants you to do well, but may not understand what drives you. Show them by communicating clearly what you are doing and why.
  8. Don’t think local. Think global.
  9. Be careful whom you take advice from.
  10. Seek out mentors rather than jobs.
  11. Training your body now will help you for the rest of your life.
  12. Alcohol, weed and cigarettes can destroy self discipline, so be mindful of these substances.
  13. Start to build multiple flows of income.
  14. Do not go out and “get a job.” Instead, learn how to live and get financial independence.
  15. Start developing a philosophy for how to live now! Hard times will come. You will need a philosophy of how to deal with them.
  16. Everyone has value. Don’t disregard or underestimate someone. They may become your friend or you may do business with them years later.
  17. The highest ideal is individual liberty. Don’t forget that, but don’t waste time lecturing others about it.
  18. Never say, “I can’t afford that.” Instead, “how can I afford that?”
  19. Be humble but confident. Don’t let your ego control you.
  20. Believe you can do anything you set your mind to do, and never, ever let anyone tell you can’t.’
  21. There is nothing you can’t do if you take enough actions and educate yourself on the right strategy.
  22. Don’t operate from a place of scarcity. Your biography is not your destiny.
  23. If you want something, give it away first. If you want friends, be friendly. If you want love, give love. If you want recognition, give it first. If you want happiness, be grateful.
  24. Sometimes the girl sitting next to you in math class will become the love of your life, your soul mate-your queen. So treat her better all the time.
  25. The best revenge is massive success. The best revenge is to “not be like them.”

There you go. These are 25 things I wish I would have known in high school that I know now. Had I know these things would my life be different today? Probably. It’s impossible to tell. I will say this; while I can’t go back in time and teach my younger self these lessons, I’m eternally grateful that I have discovered them now. I guess the one thing time affects for all of us is perspective- if you allow it to. Time has given me incredible perspective and I don’t take that lightly. I’m curious, what would you teach your younger self? Please send your comments!

 

In Health,

 

Sean

Don’t Major in Minor Things

Are You Majoring In Minor Things?

“I can’t get no, satisfaction.”- The Rolling Stones

 

There is an area of my life where I am not satisfied. It’s true! Call me insatiable. Call me ungrateful. Call me whatever you like, just don’t call me comfortable, because I’m not. This area of my life nags at me for attention. It keeps me up at night. It forces my mind to work overtime on how to quash this unease. This dissatisfaction in my life has forced me to question why I have not paid more attention to it before. The answer I have arrived at is the purpose for this article.

The reason I believe that many experience dissatisfaction, sadness and a feeling of lack in their lives is because they focus on things that don’t matter rather than designing a life. In other words, if life was a university, they are majoring in minor things. Many are well versed in sports statistics, celebrity gossip, the new flavor of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and so on. I’d liken this type of trivia to pouring trash into your mind. The mind’s capacity for knowledge is so great, yet we fill it with information and stories that keep us from achieving our true potential. I think we are guilty of this to a certain degree. Why? I would suggest the answer lies in our human desire to seek out pleasure and avoid pain. Trivia is fun, it’s exciting, it’s good in conversation. However, the pleasure gained from it is fleeting.

Disciplined thought and action on the other hand, will lead to long term pleasure and avoidance of many day to day pains that plague us. However, it’s not sexy. Talking about your disciplined routines and life goals at a party or family event will likely get you awkward stares, and rolling eyes. Thus, we go back to majoring in minor things- to avoid the social pain we might face. We all have the desire to be liked by others and our ability to do so determines a great deal of success. However, in our desire to be liked by others, the danger of being distracted by things that don’t matter becomes very real.

If you are not where you would like to be physically, financially, emotionally, it’s because you are not making that area of your life a priority- A MUST, if you will. You always get you MUSTS in life. You find a way to make them happen. But, if you are focusing on other areas instead, you are essentially HOPING for change without making those areas a priority above all else. So, be careful what information you pour into you mind. Choose you majors well and take massive action be sure that you are getting what you determine you MUST have. If it must happen, you will find a way. I have decided to refocus attention on those areas I believe are lacking. I hope you find the will to do the same.

In Health,

Sean

Forget About Body Fat Percentage (Maybe)

 

In the fitness world there is an obsession with knowing one’s body fat percentage or BF %. Of course, knowing your numbers in any aspect of life is certainly better than blindly walking through the world with your head buried in the sand. However, I’m going to comment on what I believe is an unnecessary fixation on the BF% number. First, most of what follows will be a commentary on athletes. If you do not train in the gym towards a goal, then yes, you should probably take a keen interest in what your body fat percentage is. Moreover, if you are sedentary and do not exercise, or you do but still have a large amount of body fat around your midsection, it’s likely that you have an unhealthy amount of visceral fat around your organs, which is very dangerous. If you need a kick in the pants to get up off the couch and get moving, go test your BF % and work to decrease it. Good. I’m glad that’s out of the way. Now we can move on.

Also, there is value in knowing what your lean body mass is. If you are eating one gram of protein and carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight, you’re likely taking in too many calories. A better formula would be to eat based on what your lean body mass is (total weight –bodyfat). So, if I weight 180 pounds, but my lean body mass is 165 pounds, I should be taking in nutrients based on 165 pounds. This is especially true is fat loss is your goal.

Okay, so you’ve gotten through the first part of this and you’re thinking “Sean, I do train hard and I’m an athlete. Don’t I need to know my BF %? “ My answer to that is no. Let me explain. As a trainer and health club owner, I see too many people become distracted by obtaining a lower BF % and I believe this is the wrong goal. For most cross fit athletes, MMA fighters and other professional sports, the amount of body fat one has is nearly irrelevant. What matters more is performance and the ability to produce on command. For this goal, you need to have a little body fat for the body to tap into for energy. If, on the other hand, an athlete becomes obsessed with some abstraction like BF%, his or her ability to perform will be hindered by an unneeded distraction about knowing a piece of information that will not help them.

It should also be noted that body types range widely between person to person. Some folks might walk around at 10% body fat and looked cut and jacked out of their mind simply because they hold fat in different places. I know guys with 15% body fat with incredible abs. The same goes for women. So, if your goal is purely aesthetic, and you train hard and are healthy, the mirror is a much better guide than a BF measurement. Again, some people are genetically predisposed to store more fat in their legs and glutes. Some people store it in their midsection. Where your body fat stores are has at least as much impact on how you look as BF %. Bottom line here, bodybuilders and physique competitors should let the mirror be their guide.

Another very important thing to remember about body fat testing is the inconstancy in which results occur. The method of testing- calipers, bioelectrical impedance, hydrostatic tanks- they all produce different results. Most bioelectrical impedance machines, (the ones where you grab the metal parts and hold your arms out) are very unreliable and produce varying results hour to hour. This is especially true if you are well hydrated or have an increased intake in sodium. My wife and I just competed in a bodybuilding and physique show and our coached Jon and Swann DeLaRosa (www.JonDelarosa.com) (www.Swanndelarosa.com) kept our sodium intake high throughout the entire contest prep. About three weeks into the prep, one of my employees at the gym wanted to test Holly’s body fat and the result from the machine was so ridiculous that I made me laugh. It didn’t make her laugh thought. Despite having become significantly leaner, the machine had her at nearly 30 % body fat- overweight / obese. (@fitlilwifey) on Instagram if you want to see how she looked on stage.) (@libertyfreak for my photos). I reassured her not to worry and explained how the reading was off. But, Holly was nearly de-railed by a piece of false information. She should have trusted the mirror and herself. Calipers and hydro tanks are more accurate, however, it’s worth repeating that your BF% may not have any relevance to you depending on what your goals as an athlete are.

In closing, if you are an athlete, don’t focus on BF%. It’s a complete distraction to you and will hinder your ability to achieve your goals. If you are NOT an athlete and you know that you have a significant amount of fat to lose, or your gut is solid from too much visceral fat, then you should know your BF% number and work to decrease it via training hard and fueling your body with the proper nutrients based on your lean body mass, not your overall bodyweight. Again, the real takeaway here is that there is no cookie cutter approach or metric that can be applied to the whole population for anything in life. That includes ideal BF%, BMI, sodium intake, or anything else. Know thyself. Don’t be defined or distracted by a number!

 

 

In health,

Sean

7 Qualities of a Leader

7 Qualities of a Leader (And The Only Way to Earn More Money)

Everyone wants to make more money, but few are willing to take on the responsibilities and execute the duties associated with bringing more value to the marketplace. Value is really what we are talking about when we talk about money. Now, everyone has value. As a person. As a husband. A wife- you name it. But in terms of income, value to the marketplace is what determines your pay. Sure, you may be able to fool or scam some people short term and make a bunch of cash, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time as the saying goes. Eventually, the laws of compensation will catch up with everyone and everything in this universe. That said, here are the Seven Qualities that will ensure your income rises regardless of the economic climate. They just also happen to be the Seven Qualities of Leaders.

1.VISION- To ensure more income for yourself and to be a great leader, you must have the capacity to see what is not yet there. You must have vision. You must tap into creativity- the energy source that brings life to all new things. Yes, you must see things as they are, but not worse than what they are. THEN, you must have vision for what could be better. After that, massive action is necessary to see your vision become a reality.

2.COURAGE- This, in my opinion is the most important trait to have. Without courage, nothing happens. Fear will always cloud your thinking and get in the way of your success. An example of courage in the marketplace is making cold calls to prospects or asking existing clients for referrals. That takes courage. Simply showing up to work and going through the motions takes no courage. In other words, to utilize courage, you must be willing to be uncomfortable- that’s the only way you can grow. All growth comes from a period of discomfort, and making more money requires doing what others are not willing to do.

3.INTEGRITY- No one will follow a person without integrity for a sustained period of time. Being a person of ethics and values- having a code and living by it will cause others to trust you and trust your judgment because they believe that you have their best interest at heart. This matters a great deal in every relationship, including those in the marketplace.

4.HUMILITY- Having a modest view of your own importance as it relates to others is vital for any leader. Of course you are important, but no more important than anyone else as far as they are concerned. Understand that everyone is the star of their own movie!   You are merely the cameo appearance. So, if you want to succeed in being a leader and making increased income, check your ego at the door. If others see you as being a person who lacks the humility to accept the importance of others, you may do well, but it will not last. People like to follow others they respect. And employers love to pay respectable people more.

  1. STRATEGIC PLANNING- This quality is so needed today, I could write hundreds of pages about the subject. The bottom line here is that, the tactical work of doing the job as it is required and the strategic work of planning the future work that must be done for increased levels of success are two very, very different things. Most believe that by showing up and doing the job as required is enough to be compensated more (because there exist so many people who can’t even do that!). The truth however, is very different. The truth is that in today’s marketplace, strategic planning is required to ensure that you become irreplaceable. Look at great leaders in history- they all had the capacity for strategic planning. Disney, Jobs, Washington, Churchill- Marshall, Khan- all of these people were incredible planners and that’s why their names will be cemented in history.
  2. FOCUS ON STRENGTHS AND USING THEM- Great leaders focus on their own strengths as well as the strengths of others and plan a way to best employ those strengths. In other words, they don’t complain that “everyone around here is stupid” or “I’m the only one who really works hard.” Those are limiting beliefs that will ensure you never get to where you want to be. Those who focus on the tools they have and how they can possibly be used to accomplish a goal will usually figure out a way to get it done, even if they are lacking a certain tool or trait. This is due to the fact that they are more mindful than those who only see faults in others.

7.FOCUS ON RESULTS- At the end of the day, RESULTS RULE. PERIOD. END OF STORY! If workplace morale is down, month over month or year over year revenues are down, there exists an exponential increase in the costs associated with doing business or some other massive problem, you must figure out what is not working right. What needs to be optimized? What needs to be innovated? Who do you need around you to accomplish your goal? Who is not a right fit? What must happen to make your world incredible both at work and outside of it? Results rule. Do not keep going down the same road because you’re used to it. What if a giant tree or sinkhole was blocking the road? Would you still consider the route? Of course not. A great leader would formulate a new plan of action and then implement it to get the desired result. Change your approach until the result you want is reached.\

There it is. Seven Qualities of a Leader/ Seven Ways to Make Sure You Get A Raise.

Remember though, it’s not enough to understand something intellectually. You must embody it. You must live it and keep on living it so that others will follow you and help you achieve your desires!

10 Bests Lists (Fitness Edition)

10 Best of List – Fitness Edition

Best Exercise for Quadricep Mass- Leg press. Many will say heavy squats, but I believe that the ability to change angles on the leg press allows for tension overall quad development and emphasis, rather than the glutes which I’ve seen become over developed in some people who squat regularly.

Best Fitness Accessory- VersaGrips. These grips are a great way to protect the hands and prevent calluses, but they are double as lifting straps that can help you use more weight than your normal grip would allow. They are very comfortable, can be used during the entire workout and help a great deal with back exercises. (Runner Up- Weight Lifting Belt)

Best Cardio Machine- Stepmill. Not only is the stepmill difficult, it can be used in a variety of way to improve the calves, quads, hamstrings and glutes. Overall caloric expenditure on this machine is higher than most other pieces of cardio. (Runner Up- Jacobs Ladder)

Best Arm Mass Building Exercise- Close grip bench press/ Cheat Curls with forced negatives. These two movements, one for tricep mass and one for bicep mass will beef up your arms a great deal if performed correctly.

Best Abdominal Exercise- Hanging leg raise. Not only does this exercise give traction for the spine and stretch out the lower back, it also strengthens the entire core. This movement is also very applicable to sports. (Runner up- Planks)

Best Chest Exercise for Pectoral Development- Incline dumbbell press. Some would argue the incline barbell press is better for building strength and power. I agree. However, dumbbells can be used in a variety of ways and angles that allow for more pectoral activation and emphasis and less shoulder recruitment. The amount of gym goers who have undergone shoulder surgery from barbell presses is endless. Keep that in mind. (Runner Up- Cable flyes)

Best post workout supplement- Whey protein isolate. Loaded with L-leucine and other essential amino acids, this supplements digests quickly and also has an effect on spiking insulin post workout, which aids massively in repairing muscle tissue. (Runner Up- Fermented Branch Chain Amino Acids BCAA)

Best pre workout supplement- Caffeine with Creatine . One stimulates the central nervous system and allows for increases in endurance and strength. The other allows for extra water to enter muscle cells resulting in increased endurance and causes an increase in protein synthesis- meaning your muscles grow.

Best back exercise- Pull ups- Not only are they one of the hardest exercises, they also are one of the most applicable to sports and real life situations. If you only did pull-ups for back work, you could still achieve an impressive back.

Best Butt Exercise- Reverse Hack Squats. Doing squats on the hack squat facing the pads allows you body to drop back and keep the tension on the glutes as if you were sitting down in a chair. I like the hack squat because I find it to be somewhat more accessible for people than barbell squats. Also, it’s much easier to do partial reps on this machine and absolutely tear up your buns. (Runner Up- Deep Barbell Back Squats)

 

Bonus- Best Time to Workout for Muscle Gains- Afternoon Between 3-6pm (if you wake up around 6-9 am. The afternoon is when your core temperature is the highest and it’s likely your strength will be as well. (Runner up- first thing in the morning fasted-great for fast loss and boosting natural Growth Hormone)

Check Your Carbs

Check Your Carb Sources

If you are overweight or carrying more body fat than you’d like, there’s a very high chance that you are eating too many carbohydrates. Carbohydrate consumption triggers the pancreas to release insulin to bring down blood sugar. Insulin then transports the glucose in the bloodstream into muscle tissue for repair or it stores the glucose in fat deposits. Since most Americans are consuming carbohydrates in abundance at every meal (and many don’t even know what a carbohydrate is) I suggest that you reduce your carb sources to only one or two total. My reasoning behind this is twofold; 1.) so that you can properly identify and measure out exactly the amount of carbohydrates you are consuming and 2.) so that you can identify if certain carb sources are causing your body distress and messing with your metabolic and digestive functions. The truth is that many people have an immune response to certain foods. Dairy, grains, soy and sugar, nightshades and citrus are all very common allergies for people.

The second reason given is also somewhat of a revelation that I’ve had recently. I’ve been battling autoimmune disease for the last 15 years. I thought that I had finally narrowed down the culprit foods to wheat and dairy, however it wasn’t until I began prepping for a bodybuilding show and my only carb source became jasmine rice that I realized my body gets inflamed from starches such as beans and potatoes as well. I had been consuming those foods, the same ones causing minor inflammation in my body for years thinking that I was doing better. I was, but it wasn’t until I really eliminated them for a period of time that I finally realized I may be better off without them. Also, it’s very easy for me to measure out the jasmine rice throughout the day so that I can properly measure the amount of carbs I’m getting. I find it much more difficult to do this eating sugars, flours, potatoes, beans and other carbohydrates.

The famous strength coach Charles Poliquin says you have to “earn your carbs”- meaning that your body fat must be low enough to utilize the carbs without turning them into fat. This happens from training intensely and being diligent about measuring your carbohydrates throughout the day. This is not to say that you need to deprive yourself of food or not indulge on occasion, but frankly, most people don’t need to eat as many carbs as they do. There are no “essential carbs” like there are amino acids and fats. Carbohydrates can be a great energy source for training, but if your bodyfat needs to come down, they are the first macronutrient to begin scaling back. So, learn which carbs you respond well to and then be sure to measure them out and consume the majority of your carbs around the time you train. This will decrease the likelihood they will be stored as extra fat.