August 17. 2016

Functional Training

Good morning.

A thought occurred to me just the other day. I am trained and certified in what is called functional training and have had extensive schooling on this subject. Just for clarification, functional training is training that mimics everyday life or what you do in everyday life. So I started to think about how bodybuilding and training functionally can differ or how they can be the same.

For the past year or so, I've kind of allowed myself to be fooled into believing what I have been doing in the gym is not functional. Which is interesting considering how I approach my training. The thought of functional training came to me while I was in one of my last physical therapy sessions (which if you've read my previous blogs, you'll know why I was there). 

It occurred to me upon speaking on the subject that a lot of what I do for bodybuilding, is in fact functional to the extent that I using it to be a better bodybuilder. For instance. I have this method for calf raises. This is not my original thought, but something I picked up along the way from reading others thoughts and watching their training styles. On a seated, standing or leg press calf raise, I will allow the weight to bare down on my calves and stretch them for thirty seconds to a minutes at the beginning of each set. After I've done this, I will then spike my calves upward and hold them in that position for up to 10 seconds.

The reason I started doing this was because during posing practices, I started to have issues cramping when I'd do my calf spiking. Well the only way to solve that in my head was to increase my lactic acid threshold and train the muscle to be comfortable in that position. I have done this for almost a year now and I can calf spike like nobody's business. 

I do something very similar with my quads. I will squeeze them as hard as possible at the top range of motion during a leg extension to get the muscles to be prepared to fire when I bare down on them on stage.

So it's funny. All this time, I kind of alluded to the fact that you can do functional exercise as a bodybuilder. A lot of folks don't believe it or perhaps do not do the same things. I am a statue on stage. I do not shake or treble, unless I am just so depleted my body starts to shut down a bit. For the most part though, I can move, hit my pose hard and keep moving with no issues. I continuously pose all year, even in the "off season". The reason I do this, is so that my muscles are functionally strong for the job I am trying to get them to preform.

When I was training to become a firefighter, I did the very same thing I did here but differently obviously as they are complete opposites as far as training goes. For months and months I would train in a very specific manor to make wearing my bunker gear, carrying my SCBA (breathing apparatus) and a five inch hose much easier. Which for those of you out there that are in the know, it's not easy no matter how you train. The point is though, I wanted to be used to it. So I did specific exercises to train my body to take on that extra weight. This helped me enormously and it was all very functional.

So my point in evening bringing this up is that no matter what you do for a living, be it firefighting, bodybuilding, track, office work...etc. Functional training is key. Absolute key. Without it you are just moving weight without purpose and most likely will see little to no great benefit or results. I know because I've been there. Lifting without a purpose.

Don't get me wrong. I do enjoy moving weight just like the next guy. There is nothing more fun to me than pushing out a strong bench or squat. The older I get though, the more I realize the importance of performance specific exercise. It is key to staying in shape as well as just making your life easier. To me the amount of weight I move is no longer of importance like it was when I was a very young man. I've had time to learn and really hone my skill set in the gym. Now it's all like second nature, but I am constantly learning as well, which is something I'd recommend for all of you. 

So you may say, I lost site a bit or that I was training in a way that was relevant but mentally I checked out. This is where having a coach is key. Without my coach, I would have never, and I'm being completely honest here, accomplished anything that I have in the past two and a half years. He pushed me, guided me, and molded me and even though I did not realize it, he helped me adapt my mindset to train functionally as a bodybuilder. Which is something I am extremely grateful for.

Today I'd like to challenge all of you out there. When you're in the gym, ask yourself this. What am I trying to accomplish and do I really know how to accomplish that goal? If the answer comes out in a way that you need help, I urge you to seek it out. You will be grateful you did just as I am. Sometimes we just have to have someone else help us. There is nothing shameful about that. It's how we learn and progress as human beings.

Train hard, but do it intelligently.

Enjoy your time in the gym and use it with purpose.


Thanks so much,


Adam Hartley

Co-Owner/Coach Custom Fitness Consulting 

ahartley@customfitnessconsulting.com (email for plan inquires)



August 12. 2016

Teacher, Teacher

Why hello there everyone! It’s been forever! Hope you guys missed me and my spunky self! I am not going to lie it took a big weight lifted off my chest only writing one day this week. Why is that? My thoughts were constantly consumed about what I should talk about for you guys and my mind always fell on talking about my problems. Example, me crying about my body issues. Anyways so now that I have gotten a breath of fresh air, at least trying to. I swear this heat is going to make all bodybuilders go extinct. This heat is awful, I can’t wait to be cold again either from being lean or the winter. Both would be a dream!

Back to the point of today! It is that time of year again. Everyone is headed back to school. Well a majority of the population. I am one of those people and boy I cannot wait! I am kind of a nerd and really enjoying going to the library, reading, learning, etc. Plus I like being busy. Working a new job and getting to start school again brings so many more new experiences for me.

It has taken me a long while to enjoy school and work. I used to despise both but now I look forward to it, most of the time. With the new opportunities there will be new stresses or obstacles to overcome. It is how you handle it. I for one do not always handle stress the best. I get emotional or I get upset over something that has no reason.  It takes times, patience and focus to succeed. That’s probably why I enjoy bodybuilding. You can take many things in life and apply these skills and you will grow exponentially in the given area.

At the end of the day we can always improve. So what did we learn last time? For myself, I have to apply the same amount of time into work, school, and bodybuilding or they might become uneven. That’s where the chaos happens. There has been so many things I have learned this year about myself. The biggest thing I have learned is multitasking. I was awful at that in the past.

I wouldn’t stick to school, or work very long, and forget trying to get me to follow a diet! It is a month until I turn 22 and I get told on a regular basis that I don’t seem like a 21-year-old. That I seem a little older. I laugh at that because I act like a 5 year old sometime, just being a cry baby! My whole point of this blog is to take enjoyment and be excited to learn something new and to work, putting effort into something you can be proud of. A job, degree, or your body…etc.

Today I steered away from talking about my weight or body image because that is one thing that I let cloud my judgement. There is so much else going on. You know what? It may still bother me today, tomorrow, maybe even a year from now. I could think this is one thing I can’t wait to improve on, this is another opportunity to make myself even better than I already am.

Here is to next steps. New job, New classes, new adventures!

Have a great weekend friends!

Cassie

August 10. 2016

From the Heart

Health is defined as the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit; especially :  freedom from physical disease or pain. 

Sound body, mind or spirit. Those are quite powerful words right there. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and thought you were in this exact spot? Of sound mind, body and spirit? I know for me, sometimes it can be a real struggle and often times it's hard to look at oneself and say that you feel that you are that way. It's a very interesting thing to because most of us are probably pretty close, but we need that extra little bit to get us to the end result. 

Let's break it down. Being of sound body. What does that mean to you? To me it means waking up in the morning and living another day with a smile on my face.Even if I'm not always happy, I am alive and without major life debilitating diseases or disabilities that prevent me from moving forward. 

Sound mind is a bit of a more difficult task. We are constantly sizing ourselves up or second guessing ourselves, and if you're not, you are one of the few I've run across who has the uncanny ability to not do so. So being of sound mind does not have to mean that we are perfect upstairs, just like we are never truly perfect on the outside. To me it means that we are doing our best to make the right kind of judgement calls and can go to bed at night knowing we tried our best. That we are generally good people of good will and love each other as much as we are able to.

Sound spirit is probably the most difficult one to address. To so many people this can mean so many different things. I won't get into the exact specifics about spirituality but I believe different than others, just like you most likely do as well. When I have a good or a bad day and I can go home to my children or they can come to me, and my wife can come home and we all are able to hug each other and express our deepest emotional love. That to me is spirituality. Spirituality is generally the belief in connecting with something bigger than ourselves, but what is bigger in life than watching your kids flourish and grow?

Today I live and breath a healthy lifestyle and I am far from perfect. Right now I'm not dieting for a competition, so I'm relaxed on my eating a bit and I hit the gym but have more fun and try to really enjoy the experience. I take time to truly enjoy my family and experience different things with them.

There is so much more to life than we realize sometimes that it's easy to lose focus.It is also easy to deviate from all that makes us healthy. If we allow ourselves to be weak, we will be weak. If we allow ourselves to be strong, we will be strong. To me it's that simple. 

People have often asked me "Adam how do you stay so disciplined". To that there is no simple answer. However, I believe it has a lot to do with my predisposition to  obsess about things. I have the ability to change at the drop of a hat, but it was not always this way. I just trained myself to be this way. As long as I continue down the right path, that should never change. 

Being healthy is probably the most important thing in life. If we are not healthy we cannot show others how to be healthy and we cannot let others enjoy who we truly are. This is my belief, but we are all in this life together, and I believe we were put here to help each other through the good times and the bad. Build each other up and help each stay in this healthy state. 

Today, if you have the time, reflect a bit. Ask yourself, am I truly healthy? Am I of sound body, mind and spirit. If not, how can I get to that place? 

One thing I can tell you is it doesn't happen overnight and it can change in an instant, but that's the game of life folks. We take each day as it comes and we do our best to be our best. 


Enjoy your day, family, friends and keep fighting for your health. It's worth it, I promise. 


Thanks so much,


Adam Hartley

Co-Owner/Coach Custom Fitness Consulting

email ahartley@customfitnessconsulting.com


August 5. 2016

Consistency

Hello there, welcome back friends! Ok so I am not going to lie I had a moment today. I am just going to come out and say it. I have been pretty motivated this week. Been perfect on my diet and pushing it in the gym. But today was different, I let doubt and insecurity rule my emotions today. My mind just wasn’t right and I broke down. I literally left on my lunch break, drove to an empty parking lot and just cried.

Why was I upset you may ask? You guys probably can guess it if you follow my blogs. I keep banging on this wall trying to get past it. I let a number on the scale ruin my whole day. What’s worse is that yesterday I was so happy and upbeat, thinking YA! I’m on the right track! I’m going to lose the weight again! Then the morning comes and I get on the scale. It is the highest it’s been this week. What the heck?!

I feel since this is the most I have weighed in a while that the weight should start rolling off! Nope wrong! It’s being stubborn and driving me crazy. It consumes my mind. All I find myself thinking about is my body image and weight. It’s exhausting and wasting time. Trust me I am tired of thinking about it or talking it. As hard as it is for me to keep going right now, I somehow manage. Whenever I’m disappointed in myself I can look past it and think we are going to fix this and we won’t ever mess up again. You just have to hang in there!

Day in and day out, stay at it. My weight this week was from 152-156lbs and was up then down this entire week. Which this is new for me. I am use to it staying steady then dropping. So ya I get discouraged. Am I doing everything right? I already messed up and gained all the weight I worked so hard to lose? Do I know what I’m doing?

It sucks guys! I went from being a competitive athlete to a person that needs to lose 15-20lbs. So maybe the weight or the pictures don’t show the work I have put in… yet! At least I followed what I should be doing and I should just take that small victory there. Be proud of what you can and accept the struggles.

These next few weeks I am going to be cutting back from writing the blog because I want to talk about some good topics that truly help everyone and not just me giving you guys my sad story. This is temporary and life goes on, I just keep telling myself that and hope I will understand it one day. Hope everyone enjoys there weekend and some downtime.

Peace out,

Cassie

August 3. 2016

Will It Ever Be Enough?

Not that long ago I can recall not enjoying the gym or working out in general. I liked healthy eating, but only to the extent that I'd do it when I felt like it, or when I didn't have something more appealing to eat. 

There were years where I was in the gym and I didn't even know what my goal was other than to lift as heavy as I can for as long as I can. This was probably the absolute worst thought process I've had as a person, and one I am very thankful to have mostly overcome. I won't say fully, because it's still partially ingrained in me and I struggle with it during every workout. Lifting for that moment and not for the long run.

Nothing feels better than pushing your max amount of weight for any exercise, at least to me. I would always try to max out on exercises. Try to find out what I thought my true strength was for each muscle. I'll admit it was fun for quite awhile, but the older I get the less and less I'm considering this as a viable option for me or an intelligent choice in general. 

For the most part right now, when I lift, I lift for the long run. Because of this, I find myself often times getting bored and not wanting to continue to lift this way. I love the gym and I don't think that will ever change, but again as I've gotten older, I've had to modify things. I'm not an old man in any regards, I'm only 34, but I have been through quite a bit in my life and sometimes I feel it even if it does not outwardly show. 

So the question arises in my mind from time to time. Will it ever be enough? When I think this, i'm thinking of multiple things. For one, I'm asking myself, will what I'm doing right now be enough to get me to where I want to be? Will I ever decide what I truly mean by that thought? Where do I want to be? Is there going to be a time in my life where I am able to stop obsessing about the amount I'm lifting or how many reps I'm doing? 

There are many other questions, but these are the ones that nag at me the most consistently. I'd like to say this is an isolate occurrence and only happens to males, but it's not. I see it just as prevalent in females as well. 

When I get in the gym, sometimes I forget where I came from or why I'm there. I get caught up in the alpha male dominance that is a part of my biology and want to lift heavier than the guy next to me, or be the strongest in the whole gym. Over time I realized just how silly this was, but it took a very, very long time to get to that point. 

While I am not old, I am not young, While I am strong, I am not the worlds strongest man. While I am fit, I am not the most fit out there. These realizations are something I had to come to through lots of internal battling. What I am however is the best me I can be. 

Right now, I am going through physical therapy for an injury that may or may not have occurred in the gym. There's no real way of determining that even though I had previously thought there was. The fact that I can still go to the gym is such a blessing in itself, that I just simply cannot take it lightly. There was a reason I went through what I did, my injury I mean. It was to help me learn more about myself. I know that sounds a bit far fetch and perhaps silly, but I truly have always believed everything happens for a reason.

My injury was not a severe one and thankfully so, but it did set me back in the gym. It forced me to re-evaluate the way I was approaching fitness and realize I had once again got into that mindset of "lift heavy or go home". What an absolute ridiculous thought process. 

When I was a young teenager, I was never into lifting weights and watched everyone around me get stronger, faster and seemingly better. I wasn't out of shape by any means, but I didn't have the most muscle or least amount of fat. I was not close to being conditioned at all though and as a result, when I did finally get into the gym at about 17, I felt like I had to go as hard as I could to make up for lost time. What a fool I was. 

There is no making up for lost time, there is only creating new experiences and learning from previous ones. 

To me, the gym is my safe haven. It's a place I go to feel happy and get some endorphin's kicking. Somewhere I can truly feel at home. It's funny, but it does feel like that. A home. A sacred place of health and wellness. 

My point today is that I am to the point where it is enough. I have gone back and forth, fought and fallen, and gone back to fight again. I will never stop fighting either. While what I'm doing is enough to be happy, healthy and fulfilled, that does not mean there's never room for improvement. What it means is that I have to accept that what I am doing right now has a purpose. It has a point and I need to focus on that point and not nit pick myself or let myself be swayed from the ultimate goal. To be happy and healthy. That's it. That's the goal for me. Everything else is secondary and if it happens, fantastic! If it doesn't, well that's ok. I am the best me I can be and that's all that matters. 

I am grateful for the good and the bad times. Everyday is a battle and I go in knowing I will win because I am determined and I have a strong will. Nothing can stop me because I won't let it. 

Today I lift with purpose and tomorrow I will do the same. That purpose is to continue on this awesome path of life and live it to it's fullest. 

Enjoy today everyone. Fight for your health. It's worth it.


I know I'll be fighting today. 


Thank you so much,


Adam Hartley

Co-Owner/Coach Custom Fitness Consulting

email ahartley@customfitnessconsulting for custom exercise and nutrition plans


August 1. 2016

There is No Excuse

Hey guys, I’m back and I think this is the longest time that you haven’t heard from me! Miss me? Anyways I took a break from writing and if you couldn’t tell I was a little off in my last post. I am going to explain why. I have been struggling mentally about the topic of fitness in my life. I just hurt inside. Everyone assumes it because of the weight but it isn’t just that. I have the feeling that I let myself, my coach, and my team down, from choosing not to compete because I wasn’t ready. I am a happy person for the most part so I hide that emotion and just try to get through this. So this is why I needed a break from talking about fitness. Just thinking about it makes me sad. What I miss most is conquering my goals each week and making everyone proud. I know I can do it again and I won’t let anyone down this time!

For about two months I have been loosely following a plan. By loosely I mean I have some extra chicken, almonds, oatmeal if I want. I don’t eat out, except when I was out of town which was bad! So for clean eating and giving what I can I am ready to start my next step. Carb cycling is what works best for my body and helps me mentally because my food increases through the week so I don’t mind the short term of being hungry. I was on a carb cycle for 7 months before my last show and it really worked for me. I am excited to start taking progress photos again and see what I can bring next year.

Is it too early to be starting? Um no! You live how you want to live! I want to start now for two reasons. 1. So I can get to a better maintenance weight. 2. I can feel more comfortable. Being this heavy hurts my body. My joints are inflamed and I sleep about 10-12 hours a day which isn’t like me. Those things don’t necessarily have to be a weight issue but I didn’t have these problems before.

So preparing for my next phase of training is really going to be a mental thing. Saying no to others. Being ok with my image when the results haven’t shown yet and continuously putting in work. A big thing I think many people struggle with is making excuses. Including myself. Oh I can eat this and start my diet tomorrow or I don’t need to do cardio today, one bite won’t hurt. In any given situation that may be true, that one time won’t hurt. But it is that bad thinking that you can just slack off and still get somewhere. If you really want something and then you will put in the work!

Saying no to others is a common thing people struggle with. As social creatures we don’t want to be left out of the fun! But I will say this true friends don’t judge if you don’t want to eat a cookie or that you can’t drink. One of my goals is to lose 15 pounds to get to a good maintenance weight, and with that I am giving up alcohol. My 22nd birthday is coming up I probably won’t have a piece of cake or a glass of wine. Does that upset me? It would be nice if I could but I am not in a place where I can enjoy those things again. The greatest gift I can give myself is sticking to my routine to achieve goals and watch my results happen. Seeing my progress is the best present I could ever ask for and I can continue giving to myself on a daily basis.

Thanks again guys for listening to me ramble on. Have a great week and stay strong to your goals!

See ya,

Cassie

July 27. 2016

What Drives You to be a Better You?

Hello everyone! Good morning!

Today I thought I'd do a bit of reflection and share my thoughts on what makes me want to be a better me. 

During the last several years of my life, I've had many challenges and hardships. My father went through cancer treatments four years ago, and we thought we were going to lose him at the time. I moved homes to a new area that I was apprehensive and afraid to be in because I'm not your typical run of the mill suburb dad (whatever that is). My wife and I had our third daughter, which just so happened to be our first unplanned child. I left my job to pursue a business that barely made ends meet (not this one obviously). My hormones became a wreck and I had to be put on lifelong therapy for them. 

So lots of changes. I won't say that any of them were bad. Not even my father having cancer and I'll give you some perspective on that in just a moment. I am of the belief that all things happen for a reason, even if it's small and seemingly asinine reason. 

When my father developed cancer (squamous cell carcinoma), we discovered he had a mass wrapped around his carotid artery.This mass was crushing the artery and not allowing him to get enough proper blood and nutrients to his brain. He under went chemotherapy and radiation treatments for six months in Houston, TX and it saved his life. 

While he was going through these horrific times, I was able to be there by his side most of the time and help him through it as well as help my mother cope. 

It was probably the single hardest thing I've ever been through in my life. Not a day goes by that I wish he didn't have to go through the pain and misery he did. Yet I am grateful for the occurrence. Why? Well for one, it gave me some perspective into my own life and how I was living it. Through watching him, I was able to see what can happen and hope that I could do anything in my power to prevent it for myself. Not for the sake of preventing myself from suffering, but for my family's sake. I also developed a relationship with my father of meaning, which I'll openly admit is something I'd been lacking for the better part of my life. So by going through this hardship, granted it was mostly his battle, I was able to take away some good. Even in a time of complete chaos and turmoil. 

I now have a loving relationship with my father that I did not previously and for that I am eternally grateful. It's obviously not perfect, but what relationship is? However it is there and I love him and am happy I was able to be by his side.

The same applies to my unplanned daughter. While she was not planned, meaning we didn't actually say "let's have a baby", I had a hope in my heart. My wife knows this and we'd make jokes among each other about it. I'll tell you something funny that occurred as well.

The week prior to finding out my wife was pregnant, I found out my cousin and his wife were having their fifth baby. I had a good laugh at their expense, in jest of course. They were upset but happy. The next week was April Fools. I called my other cousin (who is that cousin's brother) and told him my wife was pregnant. It's April Fools! So why not right? Well, it turns out that not only was my wife pregnant, but she was further along than my cousin's wife. So the whole time I was giggling it up, I was making a fool of myself! hah. 

After that we were in shock for many reason. I was however excited. Renewed and happier than I had ever been at the same time as being confused and questioning what I was going to do. How could I support another one? Well it all worked out and that little lady and I are like best friends. She's my little buddy and I love her so much.

So what drives me? What motivates me? This is something I reflect on quite a bit. Sometimes I struggle like I'm sure most do. Sometimes I'm self loathing or depressed, but at the end of the day I am able to say "I am blessed". It's true. I often times feel like the luckiest man in the world.

My drive comes from within. I want to better myself for myself, but also for those around me. I want a long and healthy life so that I may enjoy my family and they may enjoy me as well. 

So as sappy as it may seem, family motivates me above all. The older I get the more I cherish family. My love for them knows no limits. 

Today I will work on being a better me, just like I do everyday. I will continue to fight the fight and stay as healthy and happy as I am able to. 

I would ask for you to also reflect. Find what drives you. Figure out what makes you happy in life and hold on to it. Don't let it go and push yourself to be that better you.


Thanks so much,


Adam Hartley

Co-Owner/Coach Custom Fitness Consulting

Email me at ahartley@customfitnessconsulting.com for custom fitness and nutrition plans 

July 25. 2016

Just Another Day

Hey friends! Here’s to another Monday! And boy how am I already ready for next weekend. Busy isn’t bad, I’m just wore out! But hey I rather be productive with my time. So today I was going through the airport and once I got home from my trip I had gone through my head about what could I write about? I mean we all get writers block sometimes. Honestly most of the time whenever I blog it is me expressing an emotion I feel and currently I am just tired so I don’t know where to go from there…

Anyways these last few days I got to travel for the first time, somewhat on my own. My first time flying alone and the computer system erased my flight. What the heck? I was so excited and there was one thing after another but I stayed optimistic and made it to my destination. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   I had never been to the east coast so there was another thing I checked off my list of new experiences. On top of that I got to help out my team and support them at a national show. Sure being at a national show is cool but I love helping people out. That is where I find joy. Giving back to others. Especially ones that have been there for me.

I got to meet new people and view their journey and struggles through their eyes and see a new perspective. I also got to see a city I had never been to and explore.  The most important thing though is the memories I made, the laughs that were had and what not. I have to say though if you guys thought Kansas City was hot, Pittsburgh is worse. It is almost August and I’m still getting sunburned. I give up, my next mission in live is to be an albino elephant. Big and white. Speaking of big, Cassandra was awful on her diet this weekend….. wah wah wah…. I felt so sick at the end, it was horrible. Once my plane landed I went straight to the gym. I was tired but I would feel worse not going.

Anyways I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the new people, experiencing the new adventure and most importantly supporting my team. It has me so motivated to continue with my own personal journey.  

This coming Friday I will spend more time in depth on what the past week was like for me but for now I am going to get some much needed rest before Monday rolls around. It is 9:30 at night and I have to wake up early. Not complaining but I do need sleep. What can I say? I am human sometimes. 

This is short and sweet and honestly all over the place but hey this is me and sometimes not much needs to be said! Like I said usually whenever I write it is me venting about something. There is nothing to vent about. So what does that mean? Life is good! Enjoy the week guys and will be back later this week to give you all the juicy details.

Until then,

Cassie

July 22. 2016

Who Cares?

Hey guys! Here we are again with another blog. For those who took the time out to read my last blog, thank you! I had such great feedback and appreciate the support. If you haven’t read the last blog you should go take a look! So to follow up from the last topic, I want to talk about another personal struggle of mine. I’m talking about others opinions and letting them have an effect on you.

When I first started to going to the gym, I was so scared. I wouldn’t go unless I was with a friend and also would never wear headphones because I thought people would be talking about me. Whenever I started weight lifting the only thing I felt comfortable training was arms. I went a full month without training legs because I didn’t know what to do.

It has taken a long time to get where I am at and the journey is still not over. Before I would buy new gym clothes, trying to look cute, and even wore makeup. If you know me personally now let’s just say you are lucky if I’m wearing normal clothes and my hair isn’t a frizzy afro. I changed and I prefer it this way. I love going into the gym in old, over-sized gym clothes. I sweat, grunt, and make faces when I work out. That’s me!

Why should I care what other people think when I am in the gym doing what I want to do? I shouldn’t and I don’t! At the end of the day, what other people say about me is not going to help me get towards my goals so I will not let it hinder me! It is ok to feel self-conscious! Obviously I am self-conscious too, just about other things aka my weight gain! You don’t want to be the cockiest person in the gym but you don’t want to be the most timid. Find your comfort and what you enjoy in the gym and go for it!

Just like life, if you are not enjoying it then don’t do it! The best progress comes from that which has purpose and passion. If you are just a beginner curious about the gym and just want to get started then my advice is be open and ask questions. Seek professional help! There are so many different ways of training, that someone might give you information that will not work for you. You don’t want to be the cockiest person in the gym but you don’t want to be the most timid either. Find your comfort and what you enjoy in the gym and go for it!

So here we are guys, every day is a new starting point to trying something new. Have courage and work on consistency, you will be amazed at what you will accomplish! Shout out to the team competing at Nationals this weekend. Good luck to Debbie and Jose!

See you on the flip side,

Cassie  

July 20. 2016

Going Forward No Matter What

Good morning friends!

Today is going to be a great day and I'm excited for what is coming up in the next several months.

So a brief update on myself. I haven't spoken in great detail about it, but I will talk a bit. I had an injury to my right shoulder and upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid (large muscle in the neck) and all the way up to my occiput (base of the skull). The injury was caused by doing a single lift past my normal range of motion, which I did without thinking and it hurt me as a result. 

Now my shoulder has since fully recovered, no issues to be found, but the neck issue persisted. After months of therapy, ART, chiropractic, massage, doctor visits, x-rays, MRI...etc. I found that I have four small herniated discs in my neck. I believe they have been there for a long, long time and were aggravated by this shoulder injury. Now when I say small, I do mean small. That being said I have a lot of pain and muscle spasms. 

With the help of the doctors I am on the road to recovery! Lots of wheels in motion and none of them scary or invasive! 

So why tell you this? Am I trying to scare you?

Not even close. See my neck injury could have been from something not even exercise related and just been hidden by the fact that I hold all my stress in my shoulders, meaning they are almost never in a relaxed state. So they'd act as a buffer for my neck and over support it. Now that they are FINALLY relaxing, the other issue came out. Which is on the road to being fixed.

I am grateful and confident that this is only a very small speed bump. I won't even call it a road block. Here's the reason. I can still train, although not at 100% with heavy weight, but let's be honest that doesn't matter anyway. I can enjoy my kids, friends, wife, family and all the other aspects of life without worry. I'm not crippled up or in a situation where I need surgery. So I am extremely thankful, grateful and blessed. 

Going through trials and tribulations is one of the things in life I believe build a stronger, better person. I've had many, and I'll have many more. I take them in stride and smile at the face of adversity. My mindset is strong and so is my will. I will never, ever give up. Never. Ever. 

So what now? Well, I continue eating healthy, training intelligently and progressing. I also continue building good business relationships, friendships and love for my family. So business as normal. 

I did take a friends advice yesterday, because despite having years of knowledge, sometimes I overthink the simple stuff. Thank you Debbie for your recommendation of doing a de-load week. A de-load is not taking your workout to your hardest point, although it's not easy. I'm not doing a true bodybuilding de-load, but one that requires I do at least 30 reps of each exercise with lighter weight. Let me tell you, mixing it up like that kicked my butt!! I think I'm going to incorporate this into my normal training routine and do one every couple of months now. My workout yesterday was one of the best I've had in a long time! 

So today, I've got a game plan. That game plan is to be happy, healthy and grateful. I am blessed and cherish the wonderful life I have been given. I am thankful for all the amazing people I get to surround myself with and be apart of their lives. I will not be stepping on stage again this year, but that's ok. My plan is to train, build and go to Nationals next year. So not taking time off, just not getting on the stage. I also plan on continuing my own personal education and focusing on learning even more about injury prevention and maintenance. I do have a corrective exercise background, but you can never learn too much in my opinion. 

Stay strong today friends. Never give up and push through. Move forward in life and never backwards. Don't be confused either, if you fall, it does not mean you are going backwards. You learn each time that you fall. You learn how to properly stand on your own two feet and be more centered than you ever were before. Take each lesson and actually learn from them.

Keep out of the heat too!! It's going to be a scorcher here in Kansas City!! Moderation and hydration is key!!


Thank you and have a wonderful day!


Adam Hartley Co-Owner/Coach Custom Fitness Consulting

Email ahartley@customfitnessconsulting.com for custom Nutrition and Exercise programs

Follow me on Instagram at Adam_Hartley_CFC

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Custom Fitness Consulting    Olathe, KS 66061    913-815-8819