Category: Self Improvement

10 Things I Learned in 2016

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It seems like it was just a few weeks ago that I was heading to Indianapolis with  Joe Young to attend the Joel Jamieson Certified Conditioning Course. Personally, it was a fantastic year. I married an amazing woman, I made strides to better myself by doing more continuing ed than ever and I was able to work with some amazing clients, groups and colleagues at the Training Room. Here are my top 10 lessons from 2016. Continue reading “10 Things I Learned in 2016”

The Coach Code

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If you’re a strength coach, physical preparation coach or trainer in the “fitness” industry then you will want to make sure that you are coming across as being a professional in everything you do. This post was spurred by a comment from a new client of mine who mentioned how his previous coach at a big name chain gym “would routinely text and browse social media during a session”. After being around so many good coaches and with ten years under my belt I have seen a lot in the weight room ranging from a commercial gym setting to collegiate and team training facilities as well as a more private training experience. I do not claim to know all the do’s and don’ts but I do follow a few simple and effective rules that help keep the professional barometer in the right area. Continue reading “The Coach Code”

Top 10 Takeaways from “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers”

Why Zebras Book Cover.jpg

 

While I was away on vacation in St. Maarten I re-read one of the most encompassing books on stress there is out there. Reading about stress on vacation……..there’s a joke in there somewhere. Robert Sapolsky’s “Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers” is a must read and having done so originally around three years ago I decided I wanted to go a little more in depth this time. In between pina colada’s and laying out on a sun soaked beach I took a bunch of notes. I have narrowed it down to a top 10. Continue reading “Top 10 Takeaways from “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers””

Training Room Seminar

TR Symposium JPG

 

 

On Saturday July 25th the Training Room staff will host a symposium at TR2 in Somerville. The topics to be discussed are as follows.

  • “Building a Stronger Runner” – Chris
  • The TGU: Benefits & Breakdown – Derek
  • Train Like an Athlete – Jonathan
  • Defeat & Dominate your Deadlift – Alex

Sign-up is open through the “One Day Workshops & Events” tab on thetrainingroomboston.com

What Happened to Strong & Tough?

You’re strong but are you tough? What do the words, strong and tough mean to you? Feats of strength are posted all over social media, but the toughness aspect has slowly faded away from modern culture. A pet peeve of mine is how “soft” we have become as a society.  Some of the following can be held responsible for the slow deterioration of the definition of “tough and strong” in relation to men. Continue reading “What Happened to Strong & Tough?”

5 Food Rules to Follow

 

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In order to stay on top of your goals, whatever they may be, nutrition plays a key role. When it comes to food, we all need guidelines and here are 5 practical rules to embrace right now. Continue reading “5 Food Rules to Follow”

Eat Well, Live Well February 2015

Some tips on grocery shopping from Eirinn Dougherty and how much you could save by cooking at home on a regular basis.

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Continue reading “Eat Well, Live Well February 2015”

Tom Brady & Your Nutritional Choices

With SuperBowl Sunday in full effect it’s a good time to discuss nutritional options. Being a Giants fan, it’s not easy seeing the Patriots being successful while living in Boston. At least we’ll always have David Tyree. This article is the first in a 2 part series. The second article, “The Personal Paleo Code – A How To” will be published on Wednesday, February 4th. I came across this Tom Brady article on how well he looks after himself. It is a fascinating insight into Brady and the “lengths” he goes to make sure he stays in peak condition. The reality is you don’t have to be a multi-millionaire to take this approach. You do however need to make some honest decisions with yourself.

Continue reading “Tom Brady & Your Nutritional Choices”

How Colaiste Ide Set Me Up For Life

 
 
 
Colaiste Ide is today known as one of the best resources for American college coaches looking to recruit players to play in the college setting. Jim Conroy and Danny Crowley have to turn people away due to the courses popularity in Ireland. The groundwork was put in by Jim, originally running the course on his own back in the early days of the program. After doing my Leaving Certificate back in  1999 I had no clue what I wanted to do. My points on the leaving had me half way to being a doctor. So close!  After seeing a special on Irish television highlighting the purpose of the course my mind was made up. Continue reading “How Colaiste Ide Set Me Up For Life”

The 5 Paths to Being the Best at Anything

 

Great article by Eric Barker on how to become the best in your field by following 5 paths he deems essential in order to get to the top.

“The 5 Paths to Being the Best at Anything” 

 

 

 

140 Better New Years Resolutions

 

Still struggling for New Years resolutions? Dave Asprey details why only 8% of resolutions are successful and also lists 140 you could potentially use as your own in his article:

“Why 92% of New Year’s Resolutions Already Failed, and 140 Better Ones”.

 

Articles of the Week

 

Over the course of the week there is a lot of reading  to catch up on. The inter web provides some great new ideas and also opens the way for discussion on many different hot topics. One that caught my eye was the discussion over knees out in the squat. Both Tony Gentilcore and Bret Contreras weighed in this week on the topic. Theres also a host of other great articles listed below.

 

My Take on The “Knees Out” Debate – Tony Gentilcore 

A Better Way to Cue “Knees Out” – Bret Contreras

How to Build Mass as a Tall Lifter – Lee Boyce 

The ReActive Warm Up – Eric Johnson and Ryan Johnson

The 10 Best Unilateral Exercises – Bret Contreras 

The Benefits of the Trap bar Deadlift – Mike Boyle (Video)

Wheat Threatens All Humans – David Perlmutter

Dementia Should be Fought With Diet – Nick Collins

 

What Grain Is Doing to Your Brain

Think that a wheat heavy diet is safe? You may be forced to think again. According to Gary Drevitch on forbes.com, grain and GMO produced grains are increasing Alzheimer’s and Dementia rates across the world.

It’s tempting to call David Perlmutter’s dietary advice radical. The neurologist and president of the Perlmutter Health Center in Naples, Fla., believes all carbs, including highly touted whole grains, are devastating to our brains. He claims we must make major changes in our eating habits as a society to ward off terrifying increases in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia rates.

And yet Perlmutter argues that his recommendations are not radical at all. In fact, he says, his suggested menu adheres more closely to the way mankind has eaten for most of human history.

What’s deviant, he insists, is our modern diet. Dementia, chronic headaches, depression, epilepsy and other contemporary scourges are not in our genes, he claims. “It’s in the food you eat,” Perlmutter writes in his bestselling new book, Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar – Your Brain’s Silent Killers. “The origin of brain disease is in many cases predominantly dietary.”

How We Got Here

Perlmutter’s book is propelled by a growing body of research indicating that Alzheimer’s disease may really be a third type of diabetes, a discovery that highlights the close relationship between lifestyle and dementia. It also reveals a potential opening to successfully warding off debilitating brain disease through dietary changes.

Perlmutter says we need to return to the eating habits of early man, a diet generally thought to be about 75% fat and 5% carbs. The average U.S. diet today features about 60% carbs and 20% fat. (A 20% share of dietary protein has remained fairly consistent, experts believe.)

Some in the nutrition and medical communities take issue with Perlmutter’s premise and prescription. Several critics, while not questioning the neurological risks of a high-carb diet, have pointed out that readers may interpret his book as a green light to load up on meat and dairy instead, a choice that has its own well-documented cardiovascular heart risks.

“Perlmutter uses bits and pieces of the effects of diet on cognitive outcomes — that obese people have a higher risk of cognitive impairment, for example — to construct an ultimately misleading picture of what people should eat for optimal cognitive and overall health,” St. Catherine University professor emerita Julie Miller Jones, Ph. D., told the website FoodNavigator-USA.

Grain Brain does delve deeply into the negative neurological effects of dietary sugar. “The food we eat goes beyond its macronutrients of carbohydrates, fat and protein,” Perlmutter said in a recent interview with Next Avenue. “It’s information. It interacts with and instructs our genome with every mouthful, changing genetic expression.”

Human genes, he says, have evolved over thousands of years to accommodate a high-fat, low-carb diet. But today we feed our bodies almost the opposite, with seemingly major effects on our brains. A Mayo Clinic study published earlier this year in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that people 70 and older with a high-carbohydrate diet face a risk of developing mild cognitive impairment 3.6 times higher than those who follow low-carb regimens. Those with the diets highest in sugar did not fare much better. However, subjects with the diets highest in fat were 42% less likely to face cognitive impairment than the participants whose diets were lowest in fat.

Further research published in the New England Journal of Medicine in August showed that people with even mildly elevated levels of blood sugar — too low to register as a Type 2 diabetes risk — still had a significantly higher risk of developing dementia.

“This low-fat idea that’s been drummed into our heads and bellies,” Perlmutter says, “is completely off-base and deeply responsible for most of our modern ills.”

Turning to Nutrition, Not Pills

This fall, the federal government committed $33.2 million to testing a drug designed to prevent Alzheimer’s in healthy people with elevated risk factors for the disease, but “the idea of lifestyle modification for Alzheimer’s has been with us for years,” Perlmutter says, and it’s cost-free.

The author hopes his book and other related media on the diet-dementia connection will inspire more people to change the way they eat. “Dementia is our most-feared illness, more than heart disease or cancer,” Perlmutter says. “When you let Type 2 diabetics know they’re doubling their risk for Alzheimer’s disease, they suddenly open their eyes and take notice.

“People are getting to this place of understanding that their lifestyle choices actually do matter a whole lot,” he says, “as opposed to this notion that you live your life come what may and hope for a pill.”

As we learn more about the brain’s ability to maintain or even gain strength as we age, Perlmutter believes, diet overhauls could become all the more valuable.

“Lifestyle changes can have profound effects later in life,” he says. “I’m watching people who’d already started to forget why they walked into a room change and reverse this. We have this incredible ability to grow back new brain cells. The brain can regenerate itself, if we give it what it needs.”

What it needs most of all, Perlmutter says, is “wonderful fat.” There’s no room in anyone’s diet for modified fats or trans fats, he says, but a diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil, grass-fed beef and wild fish provides “life-sustaining fat that modern American diets are so desperate for.”

Too few of us understand there’s “a big difference between eating fat and being fat,” he says. People who eat more fat tend to consume fewer carbs. As a result, they produce less insulin and store less fat in their bodies.

Change We Ought to Believe In

Changing minds, however, is an uphill climb. “The idea that grains are good for you seems to get so much play,” he says. “But grains are categorically not good for you,” not even whole grains.

“We like to think a whole-grain bagel and orange juice makes for the perfect breakfast,” Perlmutter continues. “But that bagel has 400 calories, almost completely carbohydrates with gluten. And the hidden source of carbs in this picture is that 12-ounce glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. It has nine full teaspoons of pure sugar, the same as a can of Coke. It’s doing a service with Vitamin C, but you’ve already gotten 72 grams of carbs.

“It’s time to relearn,” he says. “You can have vegetables at breakfast – the world won’t come to an end. You can have smoked salmon, free-range eggs with olive oil and organic goat cheese and you’re ready for the day. And you’re not having a high-carb breakfast that can cause you to bang on a vending machine at 10 a.m. because your blood sugar is plummeting and your brain isn’t working.”

Changing one’s diet is a challenge, he acknowledges. Giving up the gluten found in most carbs makes it even tougher. “The exact parts of the brain that allow people to become addicted to narcotics are stimulated by gluten,” Perlmutter points out. “People absolutely go through withdrawal from gluten. It takes a couple of weeks.”

But the change is worth making, he says, at any age.

“Nutrition matters,” Perlmutter says. “The brain is more responsive to diet and lifestyle than any other part of the body and until now it’s been virtually ignored. We load up on medications when our mood is off, we hope for an Alzheimer’s disease pill when we get older. I submit that we need to take a step back and ask, ‘Is this really how we want to treat ourselves?’”

The original article can be found here:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2013/11/14/what-grain-is-doing-to-your-brain/

 

Too Much Workplace Stress Can Put You In Danger Of………

Too much workplace stress can put you in danger of losing touch with the people and values that are most important to you. Professor Joel Peterson shares five guidelines for finding connection and meaning amidst wearisome daily routines. This informative article outlines how to keep work stress in check and also how to keep the important people in your life close to you.

1. Get outside  of your head, and your office: The more you stay in one place, both mentally and physically, the more one-sided the world starts to look. That’s when priorities get warped. But high-energy, focused people can often replace one kind of engaging activity with another. Read great novels. Learn to fly-fish (that takes a lot of concentration, I’m told). Try to develop an exercise plan, especially one that takes you out of doors. Richard Branson pilots hot air balloons, Larry Ellison sails. Sergey Brin even learned the trapeze. Think of recreation as “re-creation” of your energy in a different venue.

2. Set Boundaries and stick to them: People who succeed are too often willing to subordinate everything in their lives to their quest for the top job. But once you get started on that path, it’s hard to slow down. So you have to set boundaries. Early in my career, I got a Sunday morning phone call from my boss and mentor who wanted to meet with me at the office about a deal. I was flattered, but I’d already decided that Sundays would be reserved for family. He respected this limit, and I went on to become the Managing Partner of the firm, where I kept Sundays for family for 20 years.

3. Stay close to your friends and family: I tell my business school students that the pop songs aren’t lying: love can be a powerful force if you cultivate it in your family and among friends and colleagues. Love is rooted in security, in self-esteem and in self-confidence. Deeply needy people have a harder time loving – they’re busy concentrating on themselves. But building a support network will help you with your needs, and will allow you in turn to give back to others. This “other-centered” mindset has a way of helping you put your own problems in perspective.

4. Learn to trust, even if it hurts: Trust is a fundamental part of building strong relationships, and avoiding the kind of mental vacuum that makes us feel suspicious and alone. To build trust with someone, you have to believe that he or she is able to put your interests ahead of their own, and that they’ll do what they say they’re going to do. When someone violates your trust, it can be difficult to bounce back and give someone else a chance. But, having been betrayed a few times myself, I’ve learned that it’s worse to recoil in wariness than to keep trying, learning better who to trust and when to trust them. Imagine that it’s your job to be trustworthy and to help others to be the same.

5. Just give: A few months back I agreed to fly halfway across the country to be with returning special operations servicemen entering the work force. When the day arrived, I had so many other pressures and deadlines that I was regretting my commitment. How could I give up an entire day? But by mid-morning, I’d lost myself in the company and good nature of these veterans, grateful to have had a chance to spend time with them, and inspired by their sacrifices. I was also more than a little humbled by the problems they’d taken on, which made mine seem tiny in comparison. With that perspective, I breezed through a very long to-do list when I got home.

Isolation is never the answer – instead, you want to surround yourself with, and reach out to, the people around you. If you start to feel you’re getting tunnel vision from incessant pressure at work, interrupt it. Consider starting with the guidelines above to help you find meaning and connection. We often feel locked into wearisome routines in life. The trick is to find ways to break out of them as soon as you realize you’re in one.

The original article can be found at:

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130830200630-11846967-the-business-world-can-tear-you-apart-if-you-let-it

 

Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid

Image courtesy of forbes.com

The way you approach life mentally can have a huge impact on those around you and also how successful you are in all your endeavors. Here is a comprehansive list of how to get on the right track mentally. I found this article on forbes.com and it was written by Cheryl Conner.

1.    Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. You don’t see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’ve been mistreated. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair. They are able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. When a situation turns out badly, they respond with phrases such as “Oh, well.” Or perhaps simply, “Next!”

2. Give Away Their Power. Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad. They understand they are in control of their actions and emotions. They know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.

3.    Shy Away from Change. Mentally strong people embrace change and they welcome challenge. Their biggest “fear,” if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant. An environment of change and even uncertainty can energize a mentally strong person and bring out their best.

4. Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control. Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude, and they use these attributes well.

5. Worry About Pleasing Others. Know any people pleasers? Or, conversely, people who go out of their way to dis-please others as a way of reinforcing an image of strength? Neither position is a good one. A mentally strong person strives to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but is unafraid to speak up. They are able to withstand the possibility that someone will get upset and will navigate the situation, wherever possible, with grace.

It takes much practice to hone mental strength

It takes much practice to hone mental strength

6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks. A mentally strong person is willing to take calculated risks. This is a different thing entirely than jumping headlong into foolish risks. But with mental strength, an individual can weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly, and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action.

7. Dwell on the Past. There is strength in acknowledging the past and especially in acknowledging the things learned from past experiences—but a mentally strong person is able to avoid miring their mental energy in past disappointments or in fantasies of the “glory days” gone by. They invest the majority of their energy in creating an optimal present and future.

8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over. We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.

9. Resent Other People’s Success. It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people’s success. Mentally strong people have this ability. They don’t become jealous or resentful when others succeed (although they may take close notes on what the individual did well). They are willing to work hard for their own chances at success, without relying on shortcuts.

10. Give Up After Failure. Every failure is a chance to improve. Even the greatest entrepreneurs are willing to admit that their early efforts invariably brought many failures. Mentally strong people are willing to fail again and again, if necessary, as long as the learning experience from every “failure” can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.

11. Fear Alone Time. Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. They use their downtime to reflect, to plan, and to be productive. Most importantly, they don’t depend on others to shore up their happiness and moods. They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone.

12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything. Particularly in the current economy, executives and employees at every level are gaining the realization that the world does not owe them a salary, a benefits package and a comfortable life, regardless of their preparation and schooling. Mentally strong people enter the world prepared to work and succeed on their merits, at every stage of the game.

13. Expect Immediate Results. Whether it’s a workout plan, a nutritional regimen, or starting a business, mentally strong people are “in it for the long haul”. They know better than to expect immediate results. They apply their energy and time in measured doses and they celebrate each milestone and increment of success on the way. They have “staying power.” And they understand that genuine changes take time. Do you have mental strength? Are there elements on this list you need more of? With thanks to Amy Morin, I would like to reinforce my own abilities further in each of these areas today. How about you?

Original article can be found here:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2013/11/18/mentally-strong-people-the-13-things-they-avoid/

 

Ferguson’s Formula

Sir-Alex-Ferguson

By Jonathan Carroll

Alex Ferguson recently addressed a Harvard business class here in Boston. The former Manchester United manager was loved by United supporters as he found a way to win with each team he managed. Club allegiance aside there are great aspects one can transfer from his philosophy into your own life in order to be successful. Here is a breakdown of some of the questions Ferguson answered while in the company of Harvard Business Professor Anita Elberse. A full transcript of the interview is linked at the bottom of this article.

 

Lesson 1. Start with the Foundation

“When you give young people a chance, you not only create a longer life span for the team, you also create loyalty. They will always remember that you were the manager who gave them their first opportunity.”

Lesson 2. Dare to Rebuild Your Team

“The hardest thing is to let go of a player who has been a great guy — but all the evidence is on the field. If you see the change, the deterioration, you have to ask yourself what things are going to be like two years ahead.”

Lesson 3. Set High Standards — and Hold Everyone To Them

“I constantly told my squad that working hard all your life is a talent. But I expected even more from the star players. I expected them to work even harder.”

Lesson 4. Never, Ever Cede Control

“There are occasions when you have to ask yourself whether certain players are affecting the dressing-room atmosphere, the performance of the team, and your control of the players and the staff. If they are, you have to cut the cord.”

Lesson 5. Match the Message to the Moment

“For a player — for any human being — there is nothing better than hearing ‘Well done.’ Those are the two best words ever invented.”

Lesson 6. Prepare to Win

“I am a gambler—a risk taker—and you can see that in how we played in the late stages of matches. … If we were still down—say, 1–2—with 15 minutes to go, I was ready to take more risks. I was perfectly happy to lose 1–3 if it meant we’d given ourselves a good chance to draw or to win. So in those last 15 minutes, we’d go for it.”

Lesson 7. Rely on the Power of Observation

“I came to see observation as a critical part of my management skills. The ability to see things is key — or, more specifically, the ability to see things you don’t expect to see.”

Lesson 8. Never Stop Adapting

“Most people with my kind of track record don’t look to change. But I always felt I couldn’t afford not to change.”

 

A full transcript of the interview can be found here.