Two Ways to Achieve Your Summer Goals

Summer Goals 2017When you think of setting goals what comes to mind? Do you think it’s a bunch of ‘woo woo’? Do you think it’s only for the ultra-motivated athlete or business person? Do you think setting goals sets you up for failure?

In my mid-twenties I landed my first management gig at a large retail chain. I was responsible for almost 20 people and a multi-million dollar operation. This position required me to set goals for the sales of our store as well as each individual team member. So, I read everything I could from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits to Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People in hopes of leading my team and store to success. I learned a lot from books, my mentors and life. Thankfully I was able to string together some goals that we not only achieved but blew away.

Those lessons have evolved over the years and I’ve applied them to multiple areas of my life including my health. I’ve realized that when I set goals I’m more likely to try and achieve them. As Wayne Gretzky has been quoted over and over, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Having goals gives me something to take a shot at.

Over 150 days have gone by this year. Did you have resolutions 151 days ago? How are those going? Is it time for a reset? Is it time to renew?

There are hundreds and thousands of ways to approach goal setting. There’s a flavor for everyone and no wrong way; if it helps you then go for it.

Here’s how I’ve set and achieving goals.

Small Goals

This goes against my nature and probably your nature. A few years ago I would set the goal of losing 30 pounds in 30 days. I would say this is the week I’m going to hit the gym every day. My goal would be to not eat any sugar for the next 30 days.

The problem for each of those was that they were totally unrealistic. For 45 years I had developed habits that were totally opposite. Think about that; I thought that by setting a goal was going to magically turn around 45 years of bad choices. The goal needs to be realistic and 30 pounds in 30 days isn’t very realistic, especially if you are making a lifelong commitment to health. If you are making a lifelong commitment then the next 30 days are a drop in the bucket, they are important but they aren’t the end goal.

48 Hour Goals

I took the approach of making two day goals. The next 48 hours seemed much more achievable than 7 days or 30 days. Out of those 48 hours I would be sleeping at least 12-16 so that left only 32-36 hours that I needed to manage. It’s not that I didn’t have goals that were further out, it was that I was focusing on achieving more immediate goals.

Wins Create Momentum

Getting some early wins keep you motivated to go after more wins. Achieving goals can easily take on a snowball effect. And when you start getting wins you start creating momentum and that is priceless to your success.

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone Has Been a Beginner In The Gym

Have you let the fear of not knowing how to do something prevent you from trying something you’ve never done before?Have you let the fear of “being a beginner” hold you back from starting or learning something new that will benefit your life? This is where I was at with my health a few years ago.

I hadn’t been in a gym in years, actually, it was more like a couple decades, at least. Let me tell you, there were plenty of intimidating images that ran through my mind when I thought of what it must be like inside those four walls. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt it was full of beautiful buff people. Inside those doors were guys and girls that were ripped, shredded and bursting with amazing physiques. Elite bodybuilders and magazine cover models dwelled inside the iron shrine, not middle-aged dudes who could barely climb a flight of stairs.

Then there were the thoughts of how I would look. Forget about the beautiful people, how was I going to look working out? When I thought of getting on an elliptical machine or treadmill the only thing that went through my head were  YouTube videos of people ending up on their butt or face. And then I won’t even get into my fears of how I would looking lifting weights – ha!

When I made the decision to hit the gym and start exercising there were a couple of things that I had to face head on right away.

Fear of Not Doing it Right (And Looking Stupid)

Nobody likes to look stupid and the fear of not knowing how to work the equipment, do certain exercises and even stretch properly was a real deal for me. I didn’t want to look like the inexperienced gym-goer that I was. Obviously, from the way I looked, I had little experience in the gym, but still…ego played a part 🙂

The one thing I realized after walking through the doors was this; there were plenty of other people in the same place that I was. I wasn’t alone and there were others; men and women of all ages wanting to get healthier just like me. People just like me were learning how to use the equipment and when I saw that the fear of not doing things right or looking stupid began to fade.

Unrealistic Expectations

Having unrealistic expectations in regards to weight loss, becoming fit and healthier was, and still is sometimes, one of the biggest challenges I deal with. Everyone wants to see results right away. Everyone wants the magic bullet. But the uncomfortable fact is that it takes work. It takes eating right, using the appropriate supplements and sweating a lot to get the results.

Three Keys for Beginners

  1. Start at your own pace – don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Don’t be concerned about how fast or long someone is running on the treadmill. Don’t focus on the guys or girls who are ripped because they’ve been working out for most of their life. The most important thing for you is to start and not give up.
  2. Set realistic expectations – make up your mind that you are in this for the rest of your life. For more than 20 years I didn’t eat right and didn’t exercise. You don’t turn around years of living unhealthy in a few weeks or even a few months. It takes time to get healthy so develop that mindset from day one.
  3. Connect with a community of people who share the same health goals as you.

Don’t Give Up Just Because “Life Happens”

If you woke up today and are reading this then there’s a good chance that something happened OR will happen that you didn’t see coming. Your car breaks down, you trip on the stairs and twist your ankle, your computer crashes, your child is sick, you didn’t get the promotion, etc…The point is “LIFE” is going to happen, the stress of those situations is going to come crashing in and you have two options in how you respond and how you let it affect you and your health.

Option One: Let Stress Get The Best of You

Consider these facts as reported by WebMD

  • Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
  • Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
  • Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
  • The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.

Before I got serious about my health I was experiencing each of these to some extent. When I encountered stress my immediate reaction was – FOOD. Even today, as in just a few hours ago of writing this blog post, I faced a big serving of stress and I immediately felt the desire to go hunting for something to eat.

Option Two: Conquer Stress and Win

Stress definitely has it’s roots in the mind and there are a number of mental tools to deal with that side of stress. But, one thing I have found that help keep stress in it’s place is the dreaded E-word; EXERCISE. And yes, I get it and have been there – nobody wants to talk about it or do it but if you are going to conquer stress it’s going to take work. There will be a level of discomfort involved.

Exercise

My personal experience with exercise and the positive impact it has had on my ability to deal with stress has been incredible. Over the last eighteen months I have experienced a physical change in my brain, no just my mind and emotions. If I miss working out for more than two days I start to feel the effects in my brain. I will begin to feel slower in my ability to process things and will lose my mental edge.

The American Psychology Association reports the following:

Biologically, exercise seems to give the body a chance to practice dealing with stress. It forces the body’s physiological systems — all of which are involved in the stress response — to communicate much more closely than usual: The cardiovascular system communicates with the renal system, which communicates with the muscular system. And all of these are controlled by the central and sympathetic nervous systems, which also must communicate with each other. This workout of the body’s communication system may be the true value of exercise; the more sedentary we get, the less efficient our bodies in responding to stress.

How I Started Exercising

I love challenges. Over the past three years I’ve competed in several different health challenges. Even as I’m writing this post I am finishing a year long challenge sponsored by 1st Phorm supplements called My Transphormation Starts Today. But I love the competition and being in the trenches with a group of other people pushing towards a shared goal.

Through my challenges I have learned a number of things.

First, I’ve learned NOT to set unrealistic goals. If you haven’t exercised in quite a while don’t expect to run three miles within ten minutes your first time out. Don’t expect to lift like Arnold your first time slinging the barbells. Set your expectations high enough that you are going to need to sweat and work hard, but not high enough that you become discouraged fifteen minutes into your first workout.

Second, you need to be consistent. I started exercising three times a week and doing 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. Over the course of the first six months I worked up to three times a week at sixty minutes per session. But, by the end of my first year I was hitting the gym five times a week and doing a variety of cardio and core exercises. During the second and third year of my health journTrust the Processey I began to lift weights in addition to my cardio. But the key was staying consistent and committed to working out.

Third, trust the process. Eric Thomas says you have to fall in love with the process. And when you fall in love with the process the results will come. You have to take a long term outlook with your health. If you are looking for a quick fix and not a lifelong change then give it up now. You will need patience and when things are tough and you aren’t seeing a lot of change you will have to trust the process and know that your persistence will bring the results.

Life is always going to happen but in the midst of it you have to stay committed to your goals, remain consistent and trust the process. Don’t give into the temptation of justifying poor choices just because “life happens”. Push back against “life” and run towards the prize of a healthy and productive life.

 

Obese and Depressed Was Not My Purpose

Before and after weight loss and depressionHave you ever found yourself waking up each morning with a feeling of depression and defeat? Have you experienced times where you felt your health habits were out of your control, that you were a slave to your appetite? I found myself in that position, at some level, for more than two decades.

On the left side of this picture you see a guy who was spiraling into depression and dealing with increasing health issues with each passing week. On the right side you see a guy who took control of his health and now takes on each day (well, most days – ha) with optimism and positive expectation instead of dread.

Being overweight has plenty of physical challenges but it also has many mental and emotional challenges. For me, the mental side of things was significant. I didn’t even realize how bad it was until I started to lose weight, exercise and get healthier. I thought the way I was feeling was just the way it was.

Studies have shown that obese people are about 25% more likely to experience a mood disorder like depression compared with those who are not obese. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys reported that 43% of adults with depression were obese, and adults with depression were more likely to be obese than adults without depression.

Because of the depression and lack of motivation it wasn’t easy to go to the gym. It wasn’t easy passing by Taco Bell and the convenience store on the way to and from the office to pick up my favorite comfort food. But, the more I said ‘NO’ to staying in bed and eating the wrong things and started saying ‘YES’ to the gym and better food choices the more the depression lifted and the more motivation I had.

Five Things That Got the Ball Rolling

  1. Community – I joined a health challenge that was organized by one of our local hospitals. This 12 week challenge required weekly weigh ins and connected participants through social media. Because of the community, encouragement and accountability it was much easier to start my health journey.
  2. Goals – In the beginning I didn’t set realistic goals and because of that I was easily and regularly discouraged. But, when I changed my mindset from a “quick-overnight-weight-loss” view to a “entire-long-term-lifetime” view it allowed me to start setting more realistic and achievable goals.
  3. Education –  I found blogs, books, podcasts and YouTube channels that taught me about exercise and diet. With everything I was learning I tried to keep an open mind and discover the approach that worked for me.
  4. Food – Understanding the impact that specific types of foods had on my health, specifically my emotional health. I realized that there were foods impacting my emotions as much as physical body.
  5. Supplements – I experienced there were supplements that helped me mentally and physically. Over the course of time I tried several different supplements and discovered the best ones that helped me achieve my goals.

Three Ways Exercise Helps Your Depression

The Mayo Clinic reports the following ways that exercise helps.

  1. Releases feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids)
  2. Reduces immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
  3. Increases body temperature, which may have calming effects

Make The Right Decision TODAY!

Overcoming poor health begins with making the decision to change today and then making that decision again the next day and the next day and the next. I love what Tim Bauer, or as he’s known by his fans, Tinier Tim says when talking about his incredible weight loss. Tim says, “I didn’t lose 225 pounds, I lost 1 pound 225 times.”

As you make the decision to exercise each day you’ll feel better emotionally. When you make the decision to eat right, even it’s just a little bit each day, you’ll feel better emotionally. Don’t believe the lie that exercise and diet don’t affect how you feel mentally.

You Determine the Results

You have what it takes to exercise tomorrow. You can choose to eat healthy and not let the cravings control you. Make the decision today that you will start, you will take steps forward. And then make the decision that even if you stumble and fall off the wagon you will get back up and start moving forward again.

If you have questions or just need someone to encourage you, I’m here for you!

BBQ Bacon Bomb – Oven Version

By popular demand here’s the recipe I created for my oven of BBQ bacon combs. The serving size that I made using the ingredients was huge, easily serving a generous size to 10-12 people. I split the ingredients evenly so I could make two bombs.

Ingredients:

6 lbs grass fed beef

2 lbs pork sausage

4 lbs bacon

Spices

6 large Jalapeno peppers chopped

6 large Chili peppers chopped

8 Banana peppers chopped

6 cups Spinach

6 cups cheddar cheese

BBQ sauce

Step 1: weave one pound of bacon on one foil covered cookie tin and weave another pound of bacon on another tin and bake at 400 for 15-20 minute. I used a thinner slice of bacon from Costco which ended up being 16 slices woven together on each tin.

bacon bomb weave

Step 2: place a rectangular piece of saran wrap on a flat service and create a rectangle with 3 pounds of beef

Step 3: season the meat with your favorite type of seasoning

IMG_4248

Step 4: brown the sausage

Step 5: cover the beef with peppers, spinach and sausage

IMG_4250

Step 6: place woven bacon on top

IMG_4252

Step 7: top with cheese
IMG_4253

Step 8: roll into log, the saran wrap makes it easier to roll
IMG_4254

Step 9: wrap in tin foil and refrigerate for a couple of hours

Step 10: weave the remaining bacon and place on tins

Step 11: remove the bombs from the refrigerator, remove from tin foil, place on bacon and roll

Step 11: bake for 60-75 minutes on 400

Around 30-40 minutes into the baking I took out and glazed with bbq sauce. I repeated this at 50 minutes and then again at 60 minutes

IMG_4270

IMG_4263

 

Slice, eat, repeat!

How My Health Transformation Started

Change Begins In a Moment

The moment my change began was a few days after my 45th birthday. I found myself in my doctor’s office (the picture below) for an annual wellness visit and all was NOT WELL. I was busting the scale at mochris rainey 45 years old before picturere than 270 pounds. My 47″ waist was as round as my 8-year-old was tall. My blood pressure and cholesterol was out of control. I was never diagnosed with sleep apnea but when you wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air you don’t need a doctor to tell you something is wrong. My mind was in a continual fog. I wasn’t able to concentrate and focus which impacted everything from my personal to professional life. The list was long.

What Was I Thinking?

That wellness visit only confirmed what I saw in the mirror every single day – the guy I was looking at needed to make some significant changes quickly . But the biggest thing I struggled with wasn’t what I could see in the mirror. My biggest obstacle was found between my ears – my thinking. Food has always been my “go to” for comfort and quick relief in times of stress and challenges.chris rainey before

Life hasn’t been short on challenges and stressful situations to find lots of “comfort” in food. Late night snacks, early morning snacks, mid-morning snacks, afternoon snacks, fast food and junk food binges were the norm for me. Many mornings I swung by the convenience store to grab a slice of “breakfast pizza” and a large diet soda – yeah, I said diet, because you don’t want to add unnecessary carbs and calories, HAHAHA! And then, on the drive home, after a hard day at work, I would stop by the store again to grab a soft pretzel (my kryptonite), something sweet and of course a diet soda, HA! If you work hard you deserve to “treat” yourself – right?!

Decide to Fight!

The “moments of change” continued to take place. I began making the right decisions and saying NO when I wanted to grab fast food to “comfort” myself. I made continual decisions to fight to change my mindset and I do mean FIGHT! I knew if I didn’t change how I thought about food, exercise and overall health the future was not bright.

I was not willing to let the middle of my life become the end of my life because of bad decisions and stupid habits.

Challenges & Transformation

I started making changes with my diet and began to exercise. Over the next two years I lost over 50 pounds and almost 10% of my body fat.

70 Pounds Lighter - January 2016During year one I started to make small changes in my health. I participated in a weight loss challenge and placed in the top 20 of almost 1000 participants. This challenge was a catalyst for me and as the year continued I made several small changes that added up.

Year two was pivotal. I got serious about my eating habits and embraced more of a paleo, ketogenic, low-carb lifestyle. I got serious about exercising, hitting the gym 5-7 days per week and working out for 1-2 hours each time. Half-way through the year there was a psychological shift and I started to crave working out. I could literally feel a change taking place in my brain; the fog and unclear thinking started to disappear.

Even in the midst of a handful of sports injuries throughout the year, I didn’t stop. At times I had to take some days or weeks off to let my body heal. But, as soon as my body was feeling good enough to resume workouts I was back in the gym.

Now I’m in year three of this three year transformation.  To kick off this year right I joined four different health challenges; The 2016 Golds Gym Challenge, Bodybuilding.com 250K Challenge , a challenge with co-workers and then a year long challenge sponsored by 1st Phorm called My Transphormation Starts Today.

I’m more motivated than ever to continue to transform my life. I’m not settling with where I have been. I know I’ve got more and I am determined to grind and do whatever it takes to live my life with NO REGRETS! I don’t want to stop with changing my life but I want to inspire and challenge others that transformation is within their grasp as well.

2016 is the year of MY TRANSFORMATION!

My 3 Words: 70 Days Into the New Year

Several years ago I started following Chris Brogan. At the beginning of each new year he encourages his readers/listeners to choose three words to focus on over the course of the next year. For some reason this was the year Chris’ encouragement sunk in and as 2013 ended and the sun rose on January 1, 2014 I contemplated three words I would focus on over the next 365 days. 

The three words I chose were: intentional, bold and generous.

During the first few weeks of the new year I thought about the areas of my life these three words could be applied  – spiritually, emotionally, physically. I thought about how to apply them to my relationship with family, the team I lead at work and my health. I went a little deeper and thought about the “why” behind each of these words and the areas of my life I would apply them too.

So, I had come up with the three words but it wasn’t until after listening to a Chris Locurto podcast that the scales tipped and I put things into motion. On this particular podcast Chris was interviewing Rory Vaden and talked about Rory’s book Take The Stairs. I immediately downloaded the book and consumed it within a few days. This was the fuel I needed to push forward.

My health was first up because it impacts every other area of my life. Because I’m a reader and information addict I started identifying resources and tools that would help me achieve my health goals. I’m also competitive so I joined a couple of challenges to gamify my efforts including a citywide challenge – LoseToWinSTL.

My current Top 5 list of health and fitness blogs and podcasts :

Then I tracked down some tech tools and equipment to help me along the way:

  • FitBit is a bracelet that tracks my daily activity, including sleeping if I want. It syncs with my iPhone and I can also connect with others in the St. Louis area who are using FitBit so it adds a bit of competition to the equation.
  • MyFitnessPal is one of the best apps to track what you are eating along with your exercise (it syncs with FitBit) and your progress.

After 70 days I have lost more than 30 pounds, brought my cholesterol to normal (at least according to traditional medicine) standards and lowered my blood pressure to a normal, healthy state. My energy and mental focus has increased significantly. And although there have been challenges thrown in front of me – sickness, injury, stress – I haven’t let those things keep me back – I’m still climbing the stairs.

The journey continues.