October 26. 2016

Changes

Over the course of my life I've had many changes and I have not always embraced them or even accepted them. There has always been a common theme in each change I've gone through though. Changing for the better. I cannot recall one change I've had that negatively impacted my life. That doesn't mean I haven't done things in life that didn't impact me negatively, no, it means when I truly made a change it did not. 

Sometimes, for me especially, there comes a negative experience to get to a positive outcome. Or most likely it's not even an experience, it's the perception of negativity. All of my changes haven't occurred this way, but a lot of the best ones did. I'll give you an example.

Before I started with Custom Fitness Consulting (as a client) I was overweight, and excessively so in my opinion, to me that was a negative experience in my life. By having gone though that though, not just once, but several times throughout my life, I was able to make the decision that I did not want to go through it again. Obviously the entire time I was overweight was not a negative time, but the way I felt, perceived myself, and my general health was. So I made a conscience decision to go through a change. 

Changes don't always have to be hard or even big, they can be easy and subtle at times and make an enormous impact. Years ago I didn't say "I love you" to my wife as much as I probably needed to. Someone I met taught me that it's important to say these things because number one, you mean it, number two, you never know when the last time you'll be able to say it is. So I made that subtle but impactful change in my life and it has definitely been for the better. 

How do we know we need to make a change? Well it's something we must discover from within often times, other times it's suggested to us by a health professional. Either way, you do not have to fear it. As someone who has completely altered who they are over the years, I can tell you, it's scary for sure, but it's doable and it's not as difficult as you'd imagine.

If you're unhappy with you weight for instance, there is a solution and often times it's not nearly as hard as you would have thought. I now can change my diet ever so slightly and I'll start to drop weight, or I can do the same with gaining. It's because I trained my body to adapt and I've given it the time to build the muscle it needs through proper nutrition and exercise to have a healthy metabolism. 

Being a changed man, and continuing to change is the only way I know how to stay happy now and adapt to my surroundings. I cannot be complacent and sedentary, no way. I have to constantly alter and move towards staying on top of things. 

If I can do this, and easily do it, chances are good that you can as well. You only need to try. If do not try, you cannot fail, but you also cannot succeed. Sometimes we fall, and fall hard. That doesn't have to be the end. We do not have to resign to falling or failing. We preserve, we fight, we stand back up and give it our all, our everything and keep going forward no matter what. 

Don't be afraid to change. Don't be afraid of failing to change. You can do it if you try and never give up on yourself. Some of us have longer roads ahead of us than others, but that does not mean we cannot accomplish the end result. It doesn't mean it was easier either. 

Embrace your journey and take life for what it is, a challenge that we can get through if we desire it strongly enough.

Enjoy your week and weekend folks! I know I will and I will never stop fighting, and I urge you to do the same.


Thank you,


Adam Hartley

Co-Owner/Coach Custom Fitness Consulting

ahartley@customfitnessconsulting.com for nutrition and exercise plans



October 21. 2016

Work With What We've Got

Hello again, its late Thursday night and I am currently watching a movie before I switch to reading until I pass out for the night. Movies and books bring such imagination into my life, that’s why I enjoy them. But I am a dreamer, I envision my goals and that’s how I am motivated.

These last few weeks I have been very excited about the process again but a few times this week I have been feeling a little down. Being around the team can be a challenge for me. I love everyone, but their struggles are different from my own. I see and hear them talk about their own goals and I cannot relate which is very hard for me. I feel if you can’t in some way relate to someone, given the situation, then you cannot understand what they are talking about. I still try and do my best to at least be there to listen and support.

I have been thinking lately about what my strengths are. I am not a particularly gifted athlete. I have never been an athlete in my life. I don’t have much muscles. I don’t have the complete knowledge behind the sport. I do not have a genetically gifted physique. The one thing that I have that no one has, is my heart. I am not saying that I love this more than anyone else, not at all! No one has my heart. No one will love this sport the way I love it.

Tomorrow is my check ins again and I am a little anxious for it. Check ins are what set the tone for my week so I get a little emotional when I haven’t been my best this week. One night this week I did not follow my plan and although I didn’t eat unclean or binge I still feel guilty. I chose my friends over my progress this week. It’s hard now that most of the team is in offseason and I am just now transitioning to prep mode. See I told you, everyone is on different pages! That is something I am trying to learn to accept as well. 

What I meant to show in this blog is there are multiple hardships, especially for things you love. But at the end of the day no matter how down I am, I still eat my chicken and lift. Then I lay in bed in bed at night and pray that one day I will have changed my body from skinny fat to full blown competitor because that’s all I want. I want to compete and I want to be better. This little bump in the road is just that. I will get past this wall if it lasts only tonight or the rest of the month.

Work with what you’ve got. Most individuals are not actually blessed, they use their strengths to get to where they want to be. I use my heart, that’s why I am such a sap. Anyway I really need sleep guys so as much as I would love to continue to babble about my insecurities. I am going to try to relax and catch up on sleep.

Hold on guys to this roller coaster, until next time!

Cassie

October 19. 2016

Giving Up

There's something I've noticed over my lifetime that often times baffles me and that is that giving up is an option. People in our society give up and are content with doing so and simply moving on and sometimes just pretending that the thing they set out to achieve never happened. To me it's extremely odd and sad at the same time. Are we all doomed to fail time and time again and only learn from those failures after some undetermined amount of time? I don't believe so, but I do believe that as a society we give up before it gets to the good bits because we have learned to be complacent with results that just good enough. 

The reason I've been thinking about this lately is I often times think about throwing in the towel. On fitness and in many other aspect in my life. You know what, it's easier not to try and is to simply give up. So why try? What's the point? 

For one, it makes us feel better and have a sense of purpose. Every time I set out to do something and I complete it, I feel a great sense of accomplishment. I'm not one to give up easily and it's because I've had many failures before in my life. 

For two, we need something in our lives to fight for, otherwise life is pretty pointless and boring. If we're not fighting for something, then are we truly living? I think not. We are always in a constant battle for one thing or another. Be it our health, love from another person, having self value/worth, being at peace with our idea of a higher power, being happy in the work place...etc. 

So giving up doesn't seem like an option to me. Yet I see it so rampant in our society. It's almost like a disease that needs to be snuffed out. We are predisposed to give up when the going gets hard, which is sad if you look at our society historically. We are not people who give in or give up, but we've been fed life on a silver platter to the point of sometimes never having to do anything hard. There are so many tools at our disposal that make things almost too easy, that there is very little effort ever required to truly achieve something great. 

I'll give you an example. Let's say you want to lose ten pounds. That's awesome! It's achievable and I'd like to think quite easily so. The first thing most will do though is look for the easiest way possible to do it. They won't think of committing themselves to a rigorous regimen of diet and exercise. No they will be looking for the latest fat loss pill, fad diet, wrap, detox system...whatever lie is being sold that week, month or year to accomplish their goal. They will achieve less than stellar results because they will not be sustainable after said product is removed and then they will be extremely jaded by the fact that they did not achieve that goal truly and have a bad taste in their mouth for fitness and weight loss. 

I see it time after time on social media, which I won't even begin to truly express my feelings on that mess, but it's a sad state of affairs we are presented with. People who look like super models or athlete's claim "this or that helped me to look like a carved out of stone god", which is a complete and utter lie to be honest with you. Yet so many people buy into it because it will be the easy way. No one wants to take the hard way. Why would they? It's hard. Who enjoys doing something hard???

I'll say this hear and now. I lost seventy pounds in a year and I did not take the easy road because you know what? I've been down that path and it doesn't work. All these fads are just that, they will die out and then there will be something new to replace them. The only sure fire way to achieve anything in life is to bust your butt trying to achieve it. Sure you can find slightly more intelligent ways to do things, that's great! Work smarter, not harder, but you cannot escape the fact that you have to put in work. It's unavoidable. 

Being healthy, happy, spiritually fit, is not easy. If it was easy our entire world would be filled with happy people and it's not. We have folks wandering around trying to figure out how to achieve that happiness. I have the answer and I'm willing to share it with you all right now.

You have look at what you have been given in life right now, and become grateful for it. There is a good chance that you have it better than someone else out there, so there is no reason to be upset by what you've been granted in this life. Try to see the good even in the bad. It's not easy, I know that, but nothing worthwhile is. That is the key to happiness. It's simple. All you have to do, is take a step back and be grateful. That's it. If you can't do that, then seek out the reason for why you can't do that and try to alter your surroundings and attitude towards life. I always say we need to have an attitude of gratitude and I mean it. That is the way I try to live my life.

Am I happy every second of every day? Am I perfect every second? No of course not. I do however try and I do not give up. Sometimes I'll have a slip up and that's ok. Life is not a race! There is no finish line and it's not over until it's over. Which means we have to make the best out of what we have and strive to achieve what we set out to no matter what. 

Do not give up on yourself. If you're struggling, fight harder. If you feel like you can't fight harder, take a step back and evaluate that emotion, but don't stop, don't give into it. Just acknowledge it's there and move forward. I promise you that you will feel better eventually. All of us are capable of achieving great things, we just have to try. If we do not try, we cannot fail, but also cannot win. 

Have a great weekend everyone. Don't give up on yourselves and remember to love those around you as well as yourself!


Thank you,


Adam Hartley

Partner/Coach Custom Fitness Consulting

ahartley@customfitnessconsulting.com

October 14. 2016

Oops I hit a bump….

Hey y’all! What’s crackle lackin’?! What’s shaking bacon?! Hehe! I’m not completely sure why I love this time of year but it is like my season! I just am in a great mood and love the fall. Basic white girl? Um duh! I enjoy layering and being cozied up, I think it is a comfort thing.

So as a warm up, I want to briefly go over what has happened in the last year. About this time last year was when I started my prep for when I competed in May this year. Yes, I had an 8-month prep, no I wasn’t in a deficit that long but it was a starting point. In my mind I just wanted to dedicate myself to the process and try my best. Sure I messed up quite a few times but it was my best and for that I am thankful. Another accomplishment that I am proud of was the mindset and determination. Every night I would lay in bed excited for a new day!

Things I want to improve on this next year. I want to go through the cutting phase with all I got and have the most positive attitude. NO ONE can tell you how much your body will hurt if you compete. You are pushing your body to its EXTREME. It will be painful, you will be hungry, and energy will be low. It is just a part of it. No reason to be a crabby patty to your loved ones because maybe they’ve looked at you the “wrong way”. I found myself apologizing for snapping at everyone around me because I was stressed. But that’s the thing about stress and being anxious, it just opens a huge can of worms.

 I also want to fully get down a solid growing season after I am done competing next year. Not knocking my progress this year, but next time I would like to work on my relationship towards introducing food back into my diet after being hungry for so long. Next time I’d like to slowly ease my carbs back up and turn down my cardio. Have a transition phase from your cutting phase to your growing phase and vice versa from your growing to your cutting (kind of what I am doing right now!)  I am a huge fan of what I would kind of call a buffer period. Jumping from one thing to the next is setting you up to fail.

To wrap up, in the last month I made my change. FINALLY! Went from eating my feelings, not knowing if I will be able to ever compete again, to eating clean, then starting a new nutrition plan, and finally starting my new workout plan. I can’t tell you guys just to do it but you know when something just clicks! Tomorrow is my check in, Saturday is my rest day, then refeed Sunday! Holla! I am not scared of a word like “fat/skinny”, % body fat, or a number on the scale because these items do not describe me for who I am. I am a competitor, now watch me work!

Have a great cool October weekend,

Cassandra

October 12. 2016

Staying on Top

The last several months I've really had a lot of reflection time and noticed a trend in myself that I don't necessarily think of as a positive thing. That trend is allowing stress to take a strangle hold over my emotions and often times my actions. This is not an easy thing for me to talk about, but I believe baring my soul for all to see is one of many ways I can help myself improve and perhaps help others to improve as well. 

The year is almost at a close and I have accomplished many, many great tasks. Yet often times I am left feeling somewhat unfulfilled and desperate to place something in the gap I have been missing in my life. Struggle after struggle has hit my door and I have preserved despite the fact that many times I probably should not have. 

Just the other day I was sitting and reflecting and asking myself this "what is missing"? It's not that simple. I cannot answer it with one answer or solve it in a day, but I realized something while I was sitting there. Nothing is missing truly. What is missing is my ability to see life for what it is. A blessing. I have said many times I am a blessed man, and I do in fact believe that. When I get to a low point however, I find myself forgetting those blessings. It's easy to push all the positive aside and focus only on the negative. In fact it's too easy. 

So I decided to make a plan of action for my life that will help me like I try to help others. What works for me may not work for you and you may not even agree with everything I'm about to say. That is ok. We all have to figure out our struggles and attempt to overcome them.

-When I wake up, I make sure to hug my wife. It may not be an immediate thing right when I wake up, but I always make sure to do it, even when it annoys her.
-I follow a strict schedule of small activities to do in the early hours of the morning. They are all very simple things but they keep me task oriented and allow me to have purpose at that time.
-I talk to my littlest daughter and see what's on her mind. You'd be amazed what a child can dream up or what they are thinking at different times during the day.
-I make sure to hold her because there will come a time where she will be too big to hold in the same way as I have been doing for the last three, almost four years.
-Throughout the day I attempt to have small goals that I must hit. Sometimes they are pretty pointless, but I still use them to guide me and push me towards a bigger goal.
-I make an effort to speak with almost everyone I love in my life every single day. They probably think I'm annoying because I call them all the time, but we never know what will happen and I believe that it's the least I can do to show affection.
-I exercise almost daily to improve the health of my body as well as my mind.
-I eat healthy throughout the day or at least attempt to. This is a great struggle that I face just like anyone else. It's hard, I will not lie, but when I slip up, I don't judge myself for it, I just push forward and try to stay the path from that point forward.
-When I go to sleep at night, I ask God (yes I am a man of faith) to forgive my transgressions from the day and to protect all those I love and care about.

I have been doing all these things now for many months and I will admit, things are still not perfect, but what is perfection really? 

Perfection is defined as- the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.

To be as free as possible. Funny isn't it? Perfection isn't even perfect in most people's eyes. Most folks would never read that definition and see that it says "as free as possible". Does that not mean that many of us have most likely already achieve some form of perfection in our lives but we are perhaps too harsh on ourselves? To me it does. 

My life is perfect. I however am not, but I strive to be as free as possible from flaws and defects. It's a daily process that one must work on for the remainder of their days. 

To get to the top, we must start at the bottom. In order to get anywhere in life we have to fight for what we want because it's never going to simply be given to us. You must try, fail, try, fail, try, try, try and never give up. All great things in life are achievable if you simple do not give up.

My life has been filled with ups and downs and now I can say with some certainty that I am truly on top. I may not be the richest man, or the flashiest or I'll admit even the smartest (even though sometimes I think I am), but I am a man of integrity and will. Everything I have in this life I worked for in one way or another and that means I am a winner. 

My message today is that sometimes or all the time, we need a reminder of what is important to us in this great thing we call life. The answers are not always right in front of our face and we must seek them out. We must fight for what we want and push towards the goal of harmony and peace. 

Today, take the time to figure out what you need to do, if anything, to improve your outlook on life and your health. Ask yourself if you're fighting for what you want and if you can fight harder.

Thank you all,

Adam Hartley

Partner/Coach Custom Fitness Consulting
ahartley@customfitnessconsulting.com
October 7. 2016

Updates on My Journey

It’s 8:42 PM and Cassandra Deans’ big ole’ body is sprawled out on her bed with no thoughts or feelings of moving. You know when you have had a long day and you finally sit down and you can just feel the throbbing in your feet?

I don’t know if anyone knows or has caught on but Thursdays are usually my long day. There is a lot of things to get done and I have to just keep going, plus it’s after a full week anyway so I start to drag. Sunday will be here soon enough, my one day where I have off from work and school. All I do on Sunday is eat, sleep, train, and study. I don’t do squat on Sunday but maybe I squat because hey that’s my leg day! See what I did there?

I got through it though! Every minute, day, week, and so on can be a challenge but I am stilling learning, that’s life! You can’t just give up. Or you can, although I have never heard someone say “I am glad I gave up or quit” right? Towards the end of the day I was moody. I woke up way before my alarm went off went to work, stayed late at work, went to the gym, and still had so many other things to do. I can’t forget about you guys! So my disposition going into the gym was I was feeling anxious and stressed from multiple things. I was being such a negative Nancy and falling back into being a little hard on myself.

I was so excited to start the next plan today but I was in a mood that took away from what I have been looking forward to for months. MY ROAD TO A NATIONAL STAGE! Last year I couldn’t believe what I accomplished, sometimes I still can’t. So what can I accomplish this next year? I will tell you what! Whatever I want because I will do what it takes and not let my sore feet deter me, it will fuel my fire.

Some may think as my second year competing that it’s a waste to aim my sights so high. To me it’s not. I never think I am doing this to win or receive a placing. Sure when I start getting close to a show, my competitive side comes out, but being 9 months out all of it is about a girl with a dream and fire in her heart to go after a dream. Don’t limit yourself. Yes things take time but also you care about something enough you will find the patience for it.

For example I have been wanting to start a plan again for months! Finally coach let me and day 1, I’m already hungry. Smooth. Don’t be a baby. Get work done.

Anyway I know this blog was me just babbling on again, but I am going to try to sit down on Sundays to write something with more detail or depth. Tomorrow’s my check-in and I had a burger and sushi this week before starting my new plan. Anyone want to wager how many lbs. I’m up? I’m thinking 2 or hoping at least that is the case… ah no fear or anxiety to getting on the scale or taking pictures, it’s what we do to reach our goals! What are your goals?

Have a great weekend,

Cassie

October 5. 2016

Update on My Personal Journey

Hello friends and avid readers! 

Today I thought I'd take a moment and update those of you who have followed me and read my blog for awhile. 

Last week I received my first and hopefully last epidural shot for an injury I've been dealing with for quite some time. Now for those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about, I'll recap. 

Almost six months ago I injured myself performing an upright row on a cable machine. It's an exercise I've done a million times, but for whatever reason decided to do it a bit different that day. As a result I impinged nerves in my right shoulder, trap and into my neck. I went through active release therapy (which fixed my shoulder) and then discovered I had another injury that I actually had no clue about or cannot begin to guess its origin. 

After suffering with neck pain at the base of my head for months on end, I went to a doctor who my chiropractor recommended. He discovered I had two herniation's in my cervical spine. They were not bad ones, not even close, but for whatever reason they were causing me great amounts of discomfort and pain. 

Fast forward through physical therapy, rounds of steroids for inflammation, adjustments, x-rays, MRI...etc and I came to the point of nothing really making that drastic of an improvement. 

I decided to take a bold step and one I was afraid to take. My doctor recommended I get an epidural shot in my cervical spine which had a heavy dose of steroids and nerve block in it. I was extremely apprehensive, scared and well just down right not wanting to do it. The spine is one area that scares the daylights out of me to mess with, so I had to let go and give it up to the experts.

It has been exactly a week tomorrow and I am happy to report I am 100% pain free for the first time in almost six months. PAIN FREE!! haha! It's such an amazing feeling, I don't know how to describe it! 

Now obviously these types of shots don't cure you, but they aid in allowing you to heal properly. 

I have had to learn to adapt to some limitations I did not previously have and exercise at a different pace so that I may fully recover and improve at the same time. 

Going through this injury was an eye opener for me. I am not prone to injury, but have been injured in the past, so I am no stranger to it. Some of my worst injuries have come from the silliest things. I once threw my back out for a week by lifting a baby crib that weighed about 20 lbs. Come on!! 

My point is this. Each time I have a hardship, be it an injury, down time at work, a loss of a loved one, my own personal sadness...whatever you can think of, I try to see the good in what I've experienced. I could pout about it and get upset about all the lost time and gains I didn't get, but that's silly. I am in such a better place now than I was and I am extremely grateful and down right baffled that it's finally over. 

Now it's time to move forward and not look back. Continue to push towards always staying happy and thriving to accomplish more and greater things. 

My life is one surprise after another and though it sometimes stresses me out, I embrace it and love what I have been granted. 

Going forward I would like to push towards personal health as well as helping others to achieve their own personal health. I've had a lot of reflection time these last several months and have come to several conclusions. 

I love what I do and I love my family.

I am blessed beyond belief and each day am reminded of such. 

My time on this earth is important to not only me, but others around me who I can inspire or who I can learn from and vice versa. 

This is only the beginning. 

I can't say what I plan to do in regards to anything else other than this. I plan to continue to fight to keep my life in balance, harmony and fulfillment. It's that simple. 

So the take away from all of this is to not give up. You may or may not ever be a place that I was when I got injured, it happens. It does not mean it's over for you or I. It's like being on a diet and plateauing. You have to find a way to push over that place of resistance and sometimes it's easier than you may expect, and sometimes it's harder. Regardless you don't give up! Fight for what you believe in and for what you are passionate about. 

We all have some set backs in life, that's unavoidable, but we can choose to take what we've learned from those setbacks as a positive experience and learn to use them to our advantage. We are a strong people and we can accomplish more than we believe, all we have to do is try. 

Stay the path friends and if you don't have a path, find one and get going on it. What's stopping you? Push yourself and be what and who you know in your heart that you can be. That's what I'm going to do, and I'm not going to look back, only forward. 

Enjoy today, tomorrow and your weekend. Find peace in your life and love your friends, family and neighbors. We are all in this life together and we can be happy if we want to be. 


Thank you all.


Adam Hartley

Partner/Coach Custom Fitness Consulting

ahartley@customfitnessconsulting.com (email for fitness and nutrition plans)

September 30. 2016

Being All In

Hello friends and hello fall! I woke up I believe on Tuesday and was so happy because for once I wasn’t burning up in the middle of the night! Happy Cassie right here! Especially during this growing period I get hot really quick. Before when I was a little thing I was always cold. Now I’m always hot! I’d rather be cold though, I can always put on more clothes.

So it is exactly 20 days since my birthday and ever since then I have been eating clean. I have not binged or had sweets once. The morning after my birthday I felt awful. I had drank and ate too much. I guess that was my wakeup call. This wasn’t like me. Sure I liked to have a drink once in a while but how out of hand I got was unlike me.

These past few months were filled with excuses, depression, mood swings, and bad habits. I was saying “poor me my life sucks”. Well, yeah life was hard but I finally figured out that I can’t wait around for things I want to happen because I’m going through a rough patch. Even though these past few months didn’t go as planned, I learned so much and adapted to things. On the topic of fitness. Sure I did not want to gain nearly this much weight but hey I used this as a time to lift and improve, because next time I will never let it get this out of hand again.

The plus side is coming out of this improvement season I will have been in a surplus for 8 months. Whereas last year, I had been yo-yo dieting awfully then gained just straight body fat at a very fast rate with little muscle gain and had to diet for 8 months. So when I stepped on stage I was a tiny thing. Next year is going to be so much different!

Right now is my dedication to the last 3 months of my improvement season while myself and my coach set me up to got to nationals net summer. I also have school and work but not much else. I’m focused on what I want. I command my willpower because I know what I am capable of and I will not let anything get in my way.

On the last note I finally changed gyms. How refreshing to go to a new place to work out and not have the same place with the same machines every day.

 Enjoy this cool weather friends! I will be back next week.

Until then,

Cassie

September 28. 2016

Keeping the Passion Alive

Off-season. Down time. Injury recovery. Maintenance. 

When you compete in any type of sporting event or competitions, there is going to be a period where you are not preparing fully for that event. During this time, it can often be difficult to want to stay on course and allow old or bad habits to reappear.

Six months or so ago, I injured myself and it has sure put a damper on things in some ways for me. In others it has been a great learning experience. I am on an active road of recovery, or rather fighting to be there. It's been a difficult road in a way that I haven't experienced since my teenage years. 

I'll walk into the gym and find myself feeling lost because I have to think so much about what I'm going to be able to do that particular day safely and effectively without irritating my currently injury. Now luckily for me, I can do this. Some people have injuries to the point of not being able to work out period, or not being able to walk...etc. It could be much, much worse. But it's a two part dilemma I deal with. 

One is I'm in a down time period, which means I'm not in show prep. Since I've only prepped three times for shows, you would think this wouldn't bother me that much, but it does. You get to the point of feeling like you're not doing something right if you're not in show prep, which if you really think about it, it's kind of silly. 

Two my anxiety levels. Regardless of how I'm doing that day, I find myself anxious. This I believe is brought on by pure insecurity. We are after all our own biggest critics and even though I say to love yourself and and accept who you are, I do struggle like everyone else. 

Each day is a step in the right direction for me, even when I slip up or miss a day in the gym. What I've come to realize is that I cannot always be perfect and expect my results to be perfect as well. I set myself up for failure by thinking that if I can't do something that day, that's it! It's over, time to pack it in! 

Despite being injured and working on further injury prevention, having some down time at work and in the gym, I am progressing. I just have to remind myself that everything I'm doing has a purpose and it's not always going to be about looking good on stage. Being on stage is the most amazing feeling I've ever had. I didn't even care if I won, lost or placed, which most people would think "you're nuts"! What I cared about was getting there and putting in my all. Pushing myself to my absolute limits. 

So during this off-season, I'm still doing that, but I have different limits now. I can't go to that point of complete muscle destruction and destroy the gym. I have to train intelligently, which really is the only way to train in my opinion. With a purpose in mind and not just throwing around weight.

Just the other day, I was not feeling it at all. It was chest day and I love chest day, most guys do. After a few lifts, I just wasn't getting a benefit out of it. My muscles were not responding correctly from being overworked and I was fatiguing fast. I could have walked out and just called it a day, but instead my wife convinced me to do some cardio. Admittedly that's something I lack during my down time, and I'm sure a lot of people are the same way. It felt great though! I was so happy that I mixed it up in a way that challenged me. 

You go through certain motions so much sometimes, that they become second nature, which is awesome for form and discipline in general. For progressing though, you've got to mix it up every once in awhile. 

So I've set a new goal. I'm going to continue doing my normal routines and trying to build up weaker areas, but I'm also going to incorporate new things or things I haven't done in a long time. So what I'm saying is I'm going to mix it up and keep pushing. This will allow me to grow, not only as a person but as an athlete. To be well rounded and not just content with one type of exercise over the others. 

My goal in life is to always stay healthy or at least feel as healthy as I can. I am passionate about health, wellness and self improvement. These things take time and they are constant, but they are worth it.

I'd like to ask you out there to challenge yourself today. Unless you are in a show prep, try something different. Do some body weighted exercises. Hit up a fitness class.Or just lift light for a day. Do something out of your norm and see what you can gain from it. You'll be surprised at how difficult straying from that iron can be, but it often times is worth it. Giving our bodies a break. We work so hard to break them down but then don't give ourselves time to rebuild. Those two things are equally important and everyone responds to them differently. 

Me? I'm ready to rebuild, improve and grow as a whole. 

Today I will start with new purpose, new desire and renewed passion and love for what I do and who I am. I hope that you can do the same.


Thanks so much and enjoy your week friends.


Adam Hartley

Partner/Coach Custom Fitness Consulting

ahartley@customfitnessconsulting.com (email for info on nutrition and exercise programs) 

September 23. 2016

What’s the Plan?

The fear of not knowing.

Hey guys it’s that time again! It’s Cassie here to ramble on about life. So just a little refresher, I am a 22 year old bikini competitor that also works and attends school. I can be busy at times. Anyways this past week I have had some fear about the future.

When it comes to school I still haven’t declared my major and I am not entirely sure what I want to do. I go to class, I study, and I apply myself. You just have to keep trying and your path will reveal itself.  Being 22 most of my friends my age have graduated and already starting their career. I’m not close to being done. I have my first exams of the semester this week and I am like please one more day to study. My classes are not particularly hard but I still want to do well!

Then there is training. Ever since competing I haven’t had a meal plan and diet routine. You start second guessing yourself. Should I eat this or not? Should I train or take a rest day? Do I need to do cardio? Not knowing is rough. Especially when your team is working towards their next show and I don’t even know when I will be put back on a plan let alone know when I will get to compete again. I feel like days are just flying by and I am doing everything to keep up.

The one thing that is a possibility is I might get the opportunity to move away. Go to a new town. New gym. New school. New friends. A chance to start over. When I was younger I hated leaving Kansas City for long periods and would become home sick but now I’m like, take me away!

I think what is hard is not having any comfort when you’re stressed. Like having family, friends, or a significant other there for you. You’re more uncomfortable over these periods of time and you adapt. If you guys can’t tell I am struggling but I’m trying my best to keep my head above water. I look at today dreaming about the possibility of moving and start fresh, it keeps me going!

I don’t mean to be a downer this week but I am trying to be honest and open with what is going on and maybe it could help someone else. I hope you guys have a great weekend and this time next week my exams will be done!

Till next time,

Cassie

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