Health is Wealth

The True Path to Riches

            In my journey through this life, I have had the pleasure of meeting thousands of people in many different industries and occupations. As I have progressed in business and expanded my dealings to include real estate and other investments, I have been very fortunate to meet many individuals with a very high net worth. In other words, they are what we call wealthy or rich. The knowledge that I’ve gained from the individuals is truly priceless when it comes to making money and dealing with the stresses of business. However, most of the conversations that I have with the wealthy people steer in a direction towards health and fitness. I would even venture to say that most of the time spent in conversation is me answering fitness and diet questions that they have. I find this interesting, because most of these people are much more financially successful than I am, but nevertheless I am the one giving advice. This has led me to an interesting conclusion: that true wealth lies in being fit and healthy.

Sure, money is important. To say that it’s not is to kid yourself. Nothing can replace money in the areas where money is concerned. Money is very important. But money can be replaced with more money. Most rich people have lost money in different investments only to earn it back later on. What are even more important than money are the things that cannot be replaced. Namely, health and time. The quality of life you have and the amount of time you have to live are by far the most important things in life. Being fit and healthy is the best way to ensure a high quality of life, as well as longevity. I’ve found that having a high level of fitness is also one best paths to self-satisfaction. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, if you are dissatisfied with your body or plagued with health problems, the quality of life will not be any greater than someone who has much less money and is perfectly healthy and athletic. A BMW or Ferrari or a mansion cannot replace a healthy, lean and toned body. Although, a lean and toned body in a Ferrari or BMW is mighty fine…

This leads me to my next point: the greatest investment you can possibly make is in your physical and emotional well being. I mention emotional because emotion comes from motion. By changing your physiology, you can dramatically alter your emotional well being. Studies show again and again that exercise is more effective than antidepressants and other drugs to promote an overall feeling of well being. I can personally testify that I cured my depression after being diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis by going to the gym and transforming my body through weight training. Now it’s a regular part of my life (almost daily) and I love it because it puts me in a great mood and makes me feel powerful as opposed to powerless against a disease. I train earlier in the day because I feel it sets me up for a good day. I’m able to deal with the stresses of life much better having already trained my body and elevated my mood. Being fit gives me a sense of power and control over my world. I don’t feel like life is happening to me, but rather that life is happening for me.

Of course, the other big factor in fitness and health is nutrition. Although I believe exercise is one of the most important things anyone can do to improve their life as a whole, diet is just as important. Because diet and nutrition are such a stigmatized subject and many people don’t like hearing or reading about it, I’ll keep it simple. There are foods and supplements that feed and nourish your body and there are foods and substances that harm it greatly. Your body is fueled by the nutrients you give it and your physical performance depends greatly on this fuel. Not giving the body proper nutrition is akin to making a bad financial investment over and over again without learning the lesson. I cannot even tell you how many “rich” people I have met that are severely overweight, out of shape and very unhealthy. You would think these people, who clearly have great knowledge of how to produce income in the marketplace through wise investments decisions, would understand the need to invest the body. Perhaps they do, which is why I get asked for training and nutrition advice so often by affluent people. But as we all know, it’s easy to understand something intellectually. It’s another thing to actually take and act on advice.

If you’re fit and healthy, congratulations! Stay on the path and live life to the fullest. If you are fit but haven’t quite made it in the marketplace yet, don’t worry. The wealth will come as long as you stay healthy and make good decisions. If you have affluence, but have failed to stay fit and healthy, remember this… there is only one true path to lasting wealth. And that, my friends, is to do whatever is in your power to achieve a healthy and active lifestyle.

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Thoughts Are Not Enough

THE PROBLEM WITH POSITIVE THINKING

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith“ – The Book of Timothy.

Being both an athlete and an owner of a somewhat large business in the fitness industry, I have noticed much more talk about the Law of Attraction and positive thinking as it relates to fitness and sports. Of course, these concepts are nothing new, but they seem to have found new life in social media circles as of late. I’m happy to see that there is an increased focus on the power of thought and philosophy as it relates to physical performance and health. I do, however, become a little concerned when I see so many people post about thinking positive without talking about the other major factor in achievement and health, WORK. Thoughts alone are not enough. You still have to do the work to succeed. Positive thinking without hard work is delusion. It’s the same as walking into a garden and chanting, “There’s no weeds, there’s no weeds.” Guess what? There probably is weeds and they will take over the whole garden without working to rip them out.

In fact, not only does it take work, it takes massive action to achieve your desires and make sure the garden of your life is beautiful. What does that mean? It means that it usually takes even more work than you think it’s going to initially. So be prepared for that. Not only do you have to think positively that you can do something, you must be ready to work as if your life depends on it. I believe like the quote says, much of life is a battle. We all must battle everyday against the negative thoughts we have. We must battle against the obstacles that stand in the way of our goals. We must battle against darkness in the world by becoming a beacon of light. But a battle takes work. Thinking you can win is not enough. You must begin the race by doing the work of taking the first step and then having the belief you can finish, and then following up to make sure you do. Optimism itself will not do. Positive thinking must lead you to take action for it to be useful.

The last key to making sure win the battle is keeping the faith in yourself and others. What good is it to fight for what you want if you let the fight change you into something you are not proud of? Look all around and you’ll find people who have been jaded and disillusioned because of their struggles in life. This is where positive thinking comes back into play. It takes both hard work and positive thinking, especially while the work is being done. Hard work has the potential to change us into worse versions of ourselves unless we have faith the work is worth it in the long run.

So remember, believe you can succeed, fight the fight to make success a reality and always keep faith in yourself and others that you can persevere and the struggle will be worth it. Remember too that few things worth having ever come easy. Positive thinking alone may only lead to disappointment without applying the massive action needed towards achieving your goals.

10 Bests List (Fitness Edition)

Best Exercise for Quadricep Mass–Leg press. Many would say heavy squats, but I believe that the ability to change angles of your feet on the leg press allows for overall quad development and emphasis, rather than on the glutes. Those who I have seen that squat regularly appear to have overdeveloped glutes.

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 ways 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, respectively, 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 supplement 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 your 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)

 

BonusBest 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)

What Do You Think?

Dominating Thoughts

“The greatest secret is, you become what you think about most of the time.”- Earl Nightingale

The above quote is one that I consider very true. So true in fact, that most would ignore it as a truism. Of course, they may understand the quote intellectually, but to embody the advice is a whole other thing. First, a distinction- you are not your thoughts. You are the one that produces them. You are the one that listens to them and chooses whether to act on them or not. That said, people often go towards the direction of their dominating thoughts. These are the thoughts that persist in their mind over and over. Many experience these dominating thoughts when they lie down and attempt to sleep. Some of these thoughts may be unfinished business. Some may be goals. For the majority of people who do not know how to harness these dominating thoughts, they are a curse- and incessant voice in their head that will not subside. For a select few, however, these dominating thoughts are the very fuel that drives them to get up and get to work. These thoughts are what allow these select few people to persevere through tough times.

I believe that your dominating thoughts, along with the use of reason can be your biggest tool to getting what you desire in life. Putting an idea in your head, never letting it die and then taking massive action to make sure the idea becomes reality is how all great things are built. I’d be willing to bet though that most people would equate anxiety with their dominating thoughts. To these people, their thoughts are not fuel for action, but a source of negative emotions. Perhaps it’s unfinished business, or their conscience nagging at them. Perhaps the thoughts can be likened to an hourglass, reminding them that time is running out. Or, perhaps these dominating thoughts are unhappy. Perhaps they are what the mind is producing to reveal to us that “we are living lives of quiet desperation”, as Thoreau phrased it. What amazes me is how these dominating thoughts affect people in different ways. How can one person use his desires and ideas to fuel a life of action, while another will let these thoughts literally drive him crazy? I think the answer is twofold; 1. Ideas can only act if you do and it’s difficult for us all to know where to begin to take action. 2. We are afraid of our thoughts. Some of the ideas that come to us cannot be spoken in polite conversation and therefore we learn not to trust our thoughts. So what can be done to transmute our dominating thoughts into reality? Reason.

Thoughts by themselves are nothing without reason and action. We need both to flesh out what is a solid, worthwhile idea from the garbage that our minds are capable of creating. My advice is to use reason to analyze your dominating thoughts and then decide if any of them are worth taking massive (not a little) action to put into reality. I will tell you that everything I have ever achieved in my life has come from my mind and body being fueled by dominating thoughts. From building businesses to allowing myself to fall in love, all were because of following my dominating thoughts. When I compete in bodybuilding, I put an image of exactly how I want to look in my head. I get obsessed with it and then put a plan in place to achieve it exactly. Yes, dominating thoughts can be likened to an obsession, but not all obsessions are negative. Like anything, obsession can be used as a tool. It can be used to build something incredible. It’s all up to you and what you focus on. Examine your thoughts. What do you think about most of the time? Use reason to decide whether those thoughts are serving you or you holding you back. It’s all up to you. Maybe it’s time to get obsessed about something constructive.

 

In health,

Sean

Things I Have Done Right In My Life

Like most, I’ve spent a great deal of time and energy focusing on all the things that I’ve messed up in my life. I’ve made incredible mistakes and I’ve made them often. Some believe that failure, specifically failing fast, is the key to greatness. I don’t think that’s always true. Sometimes we don’t know why we fail exactly. We may think it’s one thing and it could be that actually we did multiple things wrong. Therefore, learning from failures is possible, if you know the exact reason why you failed and don’t repeat the mistake. However, I would urge warning about focusing on or celebrating failures. Focusing on what you’ve done wrong can take you into a very dark place and keep you there for a long time, maybe permanently.

So, while it’s possible to learn from failure, I think it’s far more beneficial to take a look at what you’ve done right in your life. Making a list of your victories allows you to see if there are any patterns you can recognize and repeat. It’s also good to remember all that you are capable of and have achieved. Therefore, while I admittedly have been somewhat down after reflecting on all my failures and mistakes, I decided to write out a list of what I have done right. Your list will be very different, but for the purpose of transparency for this exercise, here is what I came up with:

• I married the right woman
• I dedicated myself to her
• I’m obsessed with seeing her grow as a person
• I had children with her
• I’m dedicated to raising a family
• I’ve taken big risks that have paid off
• I’ve read at least two books a month for the last 10 years
• I’ve met new people and treated them well so that my network has grown
• I’ve traveled more than most
• I’ve studied philosophy
• I’ve studied biomechanics and biology and used them to build a business
• I’ve written regularly to keep my communication skills sharp
• I’ve stayed fit most of my life
• I’ve stuck with things even when they were hard
• I’ve quit certain things when I realized they didn’t work for my life
• I’ve kept my mind open to new ideas
• I’ve resolved disagreements quickly
• I’ve reasoned with myself to change my state when needed
• I’ve had confidence that I could make things work
• I’ve enjoyed money, but saved it as well
• I’ve thought of others’ perspectives in business
• I’ve created things that others value
• I’ve kept informed about events that affect me
• I’ve been able to calm my mind when needed
• I’ve been able to produce the energy to get things done
• I’ve been obsessed with learning
• I’ve been a person of character
• I’ve given to others and charity
• I’ve given my wife resources she needs to grow
• I’ve valued her freedom
• I went to college and graduated without debt
• I kept my eye on work while attending college
• I’ve seen the big picture without ignoring details
• I’ve had incredible fun
• I’ve invested money for the future
• I’ve not let myself get too comfortable in life
• I’ve focused on the good more than the bad
• I’ve focused on what I can give rather than what I’m getting
• I’ve cared about others and their needs without forgetting my own
• I didn’t give up when diagnosed with a vicious disease
• I’ve focused on building up my strength

What have you done right? I suggest you make a list of your victories. They will give you fuel and strength to power through the year. Take a few minutes and focus on how awesome you are!

In health,

Sean

Beating the Winter Blues

Beating Back Winter Blues With Heavy Metal

If there is anything I have learned, it’s the time between Halloween and New Years Eve can be a devastating time of the year for many people. The stress of the Holidays, the sugary sweets, the financial burden of buying others presents and especially the lack of vitamin D from sunlight- all of which can lead to negative emotional and physical states. I’ve always joked that if only we could skip the Holidays, there would be no need for New Years Resolutions because most of those resolutions are to fix what went wrong during the holidays. So, let this year be different. “How?”, you ask. Well, let me suggest that between now and the New Years, you make an effort to train your body like you’ve never done before. We will call this “heavy metal therapy”. The reason for that is because this holidays we are going to use the iron, (weights) in a way that drives us into the New Year with incredible momentum, strength and endurance.

Now, for this heavy metal therapy to be effective, it is important to remember that old habits must be broken. It was old habits that got us in the predicament we are now, therefore, we are going to start off by skipping the treadmill altogether. In fact, all of our cardio is going to be interval training with body weight or weights. We are going to focus instead on big, heavy lifts that stimulate muscle growth, burn fat and cause our bodies to produce more hormones that keep up feeling young and healthy. The main lifts we are going to incorporate to our weekly training us as follows:

-Deadlifts (rack pulls if you lower back doesn’t allow deadlifts)
-Bench press (seated machine or hammer strength press if shoulder injuries are present)
-Squat (leg press is lower back has problems)
-Pull ups (assisted if necessary)
-Dumbbell shoulder press

These movements incorporate many muscle groups to execute the lift properly. This will elevate your metabolism and begin to train

So here’s the plan; we are going to do each of these exercises twice a week throughout the winter months. The rep range is going to be between 5 and 8 reps (after proper warm up). Each repetition should feel somewhat heavy. You get to pick whatever accessory exercises you like, such as bicep curls, leg extensions, planks and shoulder later raise, but the focus is going to be these Big Lifts. Each workout should consist of 5 sets of these main exercises. Be sure to hit each twice a week for throughout winter, allowing the extra Holiday food to fuel your strength gains. Also, try to track the progression in weights week after week. You should find yourself mastering these lifts the more you do them and also begin to notice significant strength gains and hypertrophy in your muscles. Finish off every workout with 15 minutes of interval training(30 seconds on, 30 seconds off) with the following:

-farmers walks
-burpees
-jump rope
-push up to plank movements
-medicine ball clean and jerks.
-kettle bell swings

Last, try to get as much sunlight as possible so that your body can manufacture Vitamin D. Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD, is a very real thing that occurs when people suffer a lack of Vitamin D in their diets as well as lack of sunlight during the winter months. Too little Vitamin D can cause a variety of issues including, depression, compromised immune function, joint pain, asthma, decreased cognition and even increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. I personally supplement 5,000 IU of Vitamin D an K2 daily during the winter to ensure my body is operating properly. If you live in an area that still receives direct sunlight during the winter, get outside!

So there it is- an out of the box, heavy metal recipe to beat back the winter blues. Let’s change what the Holidays mean for our bodies this year. It doesn’t have to be a winter of discontent to quote Charles Dickens. Rather, it can be a time when you really learn about your body and what it is capable of doing. Your New Years Resolutions don’t need to be actions to repair yourself from the Holidays, but rather to propel your new self into the New Year. Happy Holidays from my family to yours!   We are eternally grateful for you and family. From our family to yours,
Happy, Healthy, Heavy Holidays!

Blueprint for an Incredible Workplace and Business

What follows are the notes I delivered to my staff. I think they are worth sharing and I’d like to give people some insight into my life as and entrepreneur and owner. If you can learn something as a staff member, manager or partner, I’ve done my job. For my clients, I’d like to even give you all a behind the scenes sneak peak of the philosophies that go into the business.

Fitness System meetings are anything but normal. I take pride in that. I don’t want there to be anything normal about us as a company. I want us to be remarkable. Incredible. Outstanding. Therefore, here are the notes from the last meeting. Follow these principles and we will all thrive and have an incredible workplace and life!

A. Outcome: It’s imperative that all associates know and work toward achieving their desired outcome every single day, every single shift. Outcome based work will yield immense results, while focusing on trivialities will destroy morale. (Example: Clean toilets = incredible environment. So cleaning the toilet is done with the outcome of providing an incredible experience.)

B. Focus: Most people focus on their problems and what is wrong. They focus on themselves and their own needs. I would suggest that focusing on how to deliver more value to others will give everyone a greater sense of accomplishment and well being.

C. Values and Adding Value: What are your values as a person? What is your personal philosophy? What are you doing to add value to others? WE DON’T GET PAID FOR OUR TIME. WE GET PAID FOR THE VALUE WE PROVIDE TO THE MARKETPLACE.

D. 3 Triads That Drive Everything in Life and Business:

1. Character, Positive Attitude and Willingness to Learn—These are the 3 traits of an excellent coworker

2. State Story and Strategy—The story you tell yourself about your job, your coworkers and your clients along with the physical state you bring to work and the strategies you employ will determine how successful and fulfilled you are.

3. Confidence Energy and Enthusiasm—All three are necessary to provide MAKE-YOU-HAPPY CUSTOMER SERVICE.

All of the above require all three parts of the triad to work. Without one, they are a two-legged stool. With all three triads working, you will be living in an incredible state and have and incredible work experience and life. You will also be adding incredible value to everyone around you.

E. Operating by the Golden Rule Principle: Who you are and what you do to provide the value to your coworkers, managers and customers that you wish they would reciprocate to you. “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” Don’t expect your co-workers to perform if you are not willing to step up for them.

F. What Destroys a Workplace: Negativity, Gossip, Focusing on Problems, Lack of Harmony, Lack of Discipline among ALL staff, AND ABOVE ALL—not getting enough leverage on yourself to make sure you do what you say you will do. In other words, what are the consequences for not achieving something? Those with massive leverage accomplish a great deal.

“The path of least resistance makes all rivers and most men crooked.” Most take the easy road. These choices lead to a lack of self-discipline that begins to destroy a person’s humanity.

Words to Know:

Entropy: a lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder. All businesses, relationships and people will naturally turn to disorder and chaos unless there is deliberate action to avoid it.

Habituation: the diminishing of a physiological or emotional response to a frequently repeated stimulus. Whatever we do repeatedly we get used to and we get bored or tired of. This is true for most people in a workplace, a relationship or even with something like driving a car. Habituation causes us to stop paying close attention to things and allow entropy to ensue.