February 5. 2016

Naysay the Naysayers

Hello fit fam, and Good Morning sunshine’s, it’s Amanda again, and I have a new topic I want to discuss for this week. I want to talk about not just my personal experiences with generic stereotypes, but how negative feelings can completely halt progress as well. I am choosing to write this as I was experiencing some negative feelings tonight and I figure the best time to share my thoughts is when there is actually emotion around it, as I warned you guys in my first post, I ramble sometimes, but tonight I want to share a little rant with all of you.

I want to start this off by alliterating that not just low carb or body image negativity can alter prep, external influences can halt you just as much, as they can get in your head. I don’t mean simply just making a mistake, but I mean within relationships, schoolwork, stress, family conflict, and so on so fourth. No matter how badly something hurts you, and no matter how badly you just want to break down and crumble as the stress overwhelms you mentally and sometimes physically, you have to remember your worth because no matter how detrimental a situation may seem, or how malicious someone was towards you, he or she (or it) is just a miniscule detail in this story, so keep on keeping on and keep that head in a positive place, because it will het better. You’re working way too hard to let someone or something get in the way. Everything happens for a reason and no matter what, it’ll be okay in the end because if it’s not okay, it’s not the end. Whether you’re a beginner, an athlete, or someone with general goals, you’re awesome and you deserve the best and don’t let ANYBODY make you feel otherwise. Rant over. The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That's what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they'll go through the pain no matter what happens.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger

Okay, so on a better topic, I want to smash a little cliché for all of the ladies out here, and those who contemplate this theory… ready… okay. “IF A GIRL LIFTS WEIGHTS, SHE WILL LOOK LIKE A MAN”. My first response I want to share with you about this saying goes as follows… “noooooope”. I grew up with people constantly judging every move I made, and I tended to believe most things, true or not (I’m super gullible so my momma always liked to tell me that I drink the kool-aid) so I believed anyone who put me down, which didn’t end up too well for me. When I started lifting, each movement that I utilized I kept the idea in my mind that I may get bulky which I now know, isn’t true, but for a young growing teenager, everything that could possibly go through my mind, did just that. As I was training improperly, I was increasing in size as I wasn’t loosing fat, so I convinced myself that the stereotype was true and stopped lifting but at the end of the day, it was a mistake and yeah, was I bulkier? Yes. But did I look like a man? NO. As I learned about what it truly takes to be successful in this industry and just because you appear to aesthetically look a certain way, it doesn’t mean that’s how you’re going to look year round, and with proper guidance, the only thing you can do is improve. I know all of you (because I do it too), look up towards the fitness models that we see in magazines and on instagram but I can pinkie promise you all one thing, and it is that that isn’t created by just running on a treadmill for endless hours a day. Those men and women have been putting blood, sweat, tears, passion, and a lot of heavy lifting into this sport. Don’t believe all that you read, and don’t let others stray you away from something you want to do just because of a negative cliche… venture off into that weight room and kick some booty because then… the booty will grow… (and who doesn’t love booty gains)

Sometimes to this day, I still convince myself I look bulky, but I know that bulky doesn’t mean manly and I know you all know the same thing. Those bad thoughts that come from ideas that others convince you are no longer in your head. Flush them out, take those progress pictures and make every single a day a good one because mentally if you’re proud of what you’re going to do in order to better yourself, because that’s all that matters. Negative or positive comments from others can help raise that self esteem, but in reality, it’s all you when it comes to what will help you the most mentally. Never let external forces inhibit your happiness because the opinions of others and the general commentary from others can be summed up in one word… ignorance.

So as Arnold says, “DON'T LISTEN TO THE NAYSAYERS”. There will be countless people who jump at the chance to tell you that you’re unable, but you have to block it out of your head and just prove them as well as yourself wrong. Everyday is a new page in the book of you, and people are always talking, but their opinions may not be aligned with yours, as they’re YOUR goals and dreams, not theirs. Negativity will always be around you, but it’s up to you to ignore them and replace that was positivity and the urge to show everyone (especially yourself), just how awesome and feminine you can look.. Pick up those weights and make some PR’s. Happy Friday everyone, lets make the best out of this weekend as well as next week.

As always, go out and kill the day guys, because I know you can and you should know it as well, plus, never forget that it’s a marathon and not a sprint.

- Amanda

Feel free to follow my fitness journey to the stage the on this blog,

Facebook: Custom Fitness Consulting

Instagram: @amanda_karas (fitness posts soon to come)

February 3. 2016

I Am Who I Am

Hello friends!

Today I'd like to write about something that I feel is a misinterpretation of myself as well as others around me.

When I go to the gym or the grocery store or pretty much anywhere, I'm usually looked at and most likely judged the second someone sees me. The reason I believe this happens is because, well I'm covered in more tattoos than most folks, and I'm in pretty good shape. My hair is always in a buzz type style of cut and I may seem like a non approachable person to some. It's interesting and sad at the same time because I am a really nice guy if you get to know me.

The other day I was approached by someone at the gym and asked a rather rude question (not about me), which I'll save you the details of the question as it doesn't really matter, but they asked this based on what I look like. They thought I would think the same way as them because I looked a certain way. I find that baffling and at the same time quite intriguing. For me, I never look at another man or woman and think "I know everything about this person based on their appearance", I just don't. Now I won't say I'm perfect and that I have never pre-judge people only to be proven wrong. I think that's part of human nature. I will say though, that I take a very active stance on not judging a book by it's cover.

Some of the greatest people I've met in life have been the scariest to others. I find it fascinating and a bit disheartening that our society has such a warped perception of beauty and greatness. Greatness (I cannot stress this enough and have mentioned it before) comes from your actions in life. Not from your clothes, body fat, the car you drive or anything else. You are a good person simply because you are a good person. You actions dictate who you are. They define you.

When I was younger, I also dealt with adversity, much like I'm sure 90% of people did. Let's be honest, kids are not nice to each other and I believe a lot of it has to do with them trying to figure out who they are. As I grew older, I made a conscience decision to change myself. Some would say for the better (those are the people who's opinions I value) and others would say for the worse. I changed so that I could grow into who I am today. A man, a father, a husband and a friend. 

By changing they way I thought, which I'll be the first to admit, was very childish and very harmful to me and others, I became a better person. I stopped looking so much at the outward appearance of people and started to see what was on the inside. Not all of us are made to be super models or bodybuilders. Some of us are built just to be who we were intended to be. It doesn't matter if you are that perfect perception of aesthetics. That doesn't mean you're healthy, and it doesn't mean you're a great person either. 

What am I trying to say with all of this? Well folks, what I'm trying to get across is sometimes it's counterproductive to simply look at a person and dismissively say "I'm better than them" or "I bet that person is a jerk". You cannot know a person, without making an effort to know a person. I've learned many, many times through my life that the people I would least suspect, are the greatest people I've ever met. They are the ones that inspire me and put a smile on my face. They are the ones that teach me to be humble and grateful. Often times, they are the ones that I can relate to the most. The people I would think are the least like me, are the most like me.

When you see someone, don't judge them, don't be unhappy because they have something you want. Be grateful for you who you are and be accepting of other people regardless of your own societal ingrained prejudices. This is a learned behavior and way of thinking. I truly think you have to reverse the damage done by this world in order to think like a free man or woman. I am one today and still I struggle. That's life. I wouldn't change it for anything. However, I take an active role in keeping my mind non toxic. I surround myself with people I respect and care about and in turn am given respect back. This has shaped who I am today, and I like me today and hope other feel the same way. Despite that though, I cannot change how anyone else in this world thinks. But I would heed those who are quick to judge. Look at yourself and search your soul. Don't be so quick to assert anger and distrust.

Love your neighbors, friends, family, and even those strangers that may seem kind of strange. Don't worry about someone else's bench press numbers or whether they have your perception of something they shouldn't. Be humble. It's the only way to be a success in life. I truly do believe that. 

Smile today people. Be happy for what you are given in life and be grateful for who you are. Remember to always move forward and never move backwards so that you can achieve your greatest dreams. 

A challenge for those of you out there that read this today. Approach someone you don't know and try to be friendly and helpful. Show them that you care. If they don't reciprocate the feeling, that's ok. You've done what you could, and that's all you can do. We are not in control of everything, and thank goodness for that. I wouldn't want to be. 

Stay safe friends and enjoy your afternoon. 

Thank you.

Adam Hartley

Co-Owner Custom Fitness Consulting/Coach


February 1. 2016

Reluctance to Accept

Hey guys, happy Monday! So today I am just going to talk about my week last week and how it affected me in my personal life and for my prep. Long story short last week was awful, it didn’t start off that way but as it progressed things just kept going downhill. By the end of the week I was mentally drained and I broke down and just let the anxiety, anger, panic; all these feelings I have been feeling throughout the week consume me. I was miserable and I didn’t want to talk to anyone or be around anyone, just alone and try to figure out what was going on! So what could have caused this? I am a very calm and would say for the majority of time a well level headed person when it comes to getting through things and handling them.  Sometimes it can take a day to get over what is bothering me or an hour, even minutes. I tried to wait for these feelings to pass, but things don’t always turn out that way.

By Wednesday I was tired, I have been busier than usual and it was running me down. What am I supposed to do? Give up? I’m too stubborn for that! I had class and prep to crush! It’s time to grind. Well grinding myself into the ground when classes just started back up and I am still 15 weeks out wasn’t the best idea. The negativity was quite literally just eating me alive. No one knows that though, they just think I’m being cranky. I am being cranky but there are reasons behind it. Don’t jump the gun and just blame it on me being “hormonal” or some lame excuse like that. It got to the point that I felt genuinely sick. Things were just going so wrong! And with that my weight started going up which made me more crazy. Someone please tell me how I get out of this whirlwind of craziness. Sadly there is no cure to the illness that plagues me, but there may be a treatment plan…

With all the feels and roller coasters I went through this last week, I finally had the chance to relax on Saturday. The stress is still there but having some down time has helped my body finally get the rest it needed. So basically now I’m halfway sane! Or so I thought… the anxiety was coming in waves. Just when you thought there was an end another came crashing in. I ended up dragging myself out of my dungeon I call my home and ran to mommy. I didn’t know what else to do and I felt scared. We spent the night picking at each other, like all mother and daughters do, and sipped on some tea(I chugged it- 4 cups later) enjoying the company and watching movies. I felt better.

When Sunday rolled around it was time for check-ins. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to actually take progress pictures or get on the scale but I had to see. I got on the scale and was down 4 pounds from the previous day. Saturday was my refeed and I have NEVER in my life dropped weight after eating my refeed meal. Let me tell you guys, I ate a huge meal also… So I took pictures and sent them in. I was on the right course and wasn’t as worried about the process. Later that day I finally drive home, having some negative thoughts but this time I would nip them in the butt before they grew into something worse. Once I got home I made a meal, turned on the bachelor, cuddled up with my cat (his name is Arnold, yes after Arnold Schwarzenegger), and swiftly passed out soon after. In my sleep I had a dream. I don’t dream often and honestly couldn’t wake up if I wanted to, I was down for the count. The dream was short but hit me so hard. It was a vision of myself having a conversation with Adam my trainer, and in the vision he said you are not losing weight fast enough you are not getting on stage.  Obviously that’s not how he’d really respond, but in my dream it was pretty frightening.

There it was.

This is what I fear.

My fear that I let hold me back.

No matter how many times people compliment you or how many people notice you, you need to be great for yourself and not other. I let the “weight” or “body fat” inhibit my happiness, and it paralyzed me. For you who don’t know, I have been very wishy-washy on my diet and training. Finally I have been consistent and it shows. That doesn’t take away my fear of giving my all and not being good enough. I am good enough today and will be good enough tomorrow. We all need to say that to ourselves and furthermore believe it! Looking back now I am taking away something positive to take from the experience. I can say I didn’t give up. Yes at times I stumbled but I kept going. I went to class. I did my workouts. I stayed on my diet. Each of those things could have went better but I didn’t throw in the towel.

In conclusion, take your huddles in stride, whatever they may be, and never let your circumstance beat you.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop” –Confucius


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January 29. 2016

The Beginning of an Awesome Journey

To my friends, acquaintances, fellow fitness enthusiasts, and even strangers (although not really because we’re joined by this little thing we call a fit family), I want to introduce myself.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Amanda and I am an eighteen year old from Long Island, New York, and for those of you who do know me, I’m still Amanda. For starters, I want to thank you for taking the time to read this and acknowledge my past, present, and eventually, my future. I hope to throughout this blog series, help you relate to me as I embark on this journey with Adam and the rest of the Custom Fitness Consulting team. Those of you, who know me, know that I tend to babble sometimes, but somewhere between that babble, I promise I’ll make some good points. Pinkie promise. I intend to bring a plethora of new material for you all to read, between struggles, strides to improve, the lowest of lows, and the highest of highs. I want to provide you guys with a raw perspective of the angles of bodybuilding that you can't see, as opposed to what you can. Fitness is such a mental feat and the reasons that anyone contemplating to pursue a future in the fitness world all has a story that you can't see, isn’t always crystal clear. Fitness isn’t always about wanting to get attention or attract others, yes, aesthetics are a plus, but they’re not even close to everything. If you ask me, the small things that you can accomplish throughout this process matter most – that feeling after you get a new PR, allowing the endorphins to flow, or even just releasing built up emotion on those weights in the weight room. Fitness means a lot, and it isn’t just superficial, as some believe. This journey is a compilation of ups and downs, as well as trial and error. Nothing in the world is perfect, but doing your best is as close to perfect as you can get. Before I back it up and tell you all a bit about myself, I want to start this off with a quote, “What we face may look insurmountable. But I learned something from all those years of training and competing. I learned something from all those sets and reps when I didn’t think I could lift another ounce of weight. What I learned is that we are always stronger than we know.” — Arnold Schwarzenegger.

On that note, I want to give you a glimpse into that little creative world that’s goin’ on in my head. My fitness journey started extremely rocky. I was an overweight child and that was reminded and drilled into my brain daily. I was bullied to the point I was afraid of the consequences from the other children and I never told my parents of any authority figure. I started boxing, but then looking into mirrors began to slightly mess with my head, as no amount of weight that I lost, appeared lost. To this day, I still remember those words that the other kids in my classes said to me. As school went on, I developed a slight eating disorder and I felt extremely awkward eating in front of people, which is when I tried almost everything to lose the weight, but I felt helpless. This pit in the stomach feeling began when I was in the fifth grade, and ended when I was a senior in high school. 8 years too long. I was always into fitness doing research and thinking all about the ways I can learn how to pick up some weights and see where it could get me, but I was too frightened of others judging me, that I put my foot down and just ripped off the band aid. The summer going into my senior year, I met a man of whom was a physique competitor, and we hit it off. Soon thereafter, we formed a relationship and he showed me the ropes, as well as build an extensive knowledge of what goes into this sport and for that, I’ll always be grateful. We were together for about a year, but we started sliding down a slippery slope and ended on bad terms, so there went my one support system, and I continued lifting but I fell back a bit until the summer going into my Freshman year of college (August 2015). Back in New York, I hired a coach and he had me on 90 minutes of cardio a day, so there went all of my muscle mass and I stopped training with him which again had me feeling extremely discouraged. After that, I moved from New York to Kansas and all I wanted was for someone to see something in me, which eventually came with the team and that means the world to me. If you’re reading this right now and you think your door will never come, it will. Trust me.

After a few weeks of conditioning, I started to feel like I have found a light in the tunnel that I’ve been trapped in for so long. Nutrition is crucial, and I actually had to increase my calories with this plan in order to drop weight so it appeared to me, that all I chose to do was a bit twisted. Now that I understand the multiple gears of training, I do what I can to follow everything to a t (even bringing a food scale to a college dining hall… yes, I get funny looks). I have fallen back where I wasn’t perfect, and it halted me. I thought I ruined all that I have accomplished but sometimes I just need to remind myself that it’s all in my head. These fall-backs had me feeling like a failure. Same feeling from childhood – but you know what? I’m not a failure and one mistake doesn’t even close to halt all the progress you made. This sport is mental so smile and smile big. Know your worth. Remind yourself that you’re incredible now, and it’s only going up from here. Since I had a slight fall back and a reminder of how I don’t want to feel, I am now dedicated and ready to take on the entire world and whatever it throws at me. (Watch out IFBB, I’m comin’ for you.) As this continues, I realized that food isn’t my enemy, and people will always hope you fail, but the only person you have at the end of the day is you, so make yourself proud. I may be young and needless to say, the youngest female on this team, but I intend to take advantage of that and make an example that even the darkest pasts can have the brightest futures. If I can do it, you can do it. I’ll be competing this year sometime, which is something I never thought I would build up the courage to do but you only live once so you have to take advantage of it. Not everything has to be perfect, but it always will be as good as you make it.

The last thing I want to leave you with is a question. Are you doing all you can do to reach your goals? Are you allowing yourself to make the most of every day? Where do you want to be? Can you get there by doing what you’re doing? Everyday the clock resets, and you get a new chance to change things up and make the most of this crazy thing that we call life. I can’t wait to share my prep with you all and even embark on finding all of these new life lessons out. The end is never known, and that is why you can't let yourself let you down. Life is what you make it, so let's make it the best lifetime we can. To end this blog, I want to include one more quote. “So let me tell you, as you prepare to go off into the world, remember six rules: Trust yourself, Break some rules, Don’t be afraid to fail, Ignore the naysayers, Work like hell, and Give something back.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Go out and kill the day guys, because I know you can and you should know it as well. Your past doesn’t define you, and it’s only on the up and up.

PS: Never forget that it’s a marathon and not a sprint.

- Amanda

Feel free to follow my fitness journey to the stage the on this blog,

Facebook: Custom Fitness Consulting

Instagram: @amanda_karas (fitness posts soon to come)

Youtube: Custom Fitness Consulting

January 26. 2016

Strength Beyond Strength

Hello friends!

Today I'd like to talk about strength. I don't mean physical strength either, I mean mental strength. Both are equally as important but without one, the other will never come to fruition. 

I remember when I used to struggle with everything, or at least it felt like everything. I wanted to eat, and drink and smoke and that was about it. My life was in shambles. At the age of 20, I had pretty much forgone all my willpower and just given up. There wasn't any particular reasoning behind this, other than depression, which seem to afflict more people than are willing to admit. I do however believe it had to do with a lack of strength. 

When I was growing up, I wasn't a very strong person. I was picked on in school, struggled with grades, fought with my parents and siblings and looked for any outlet to get me out of my head. This was a weakened state for me and one I am very grateful for having been put into. Had I not been picked on or struggled or fought with, I wouldn't be who I am today. I like me today. I'm not the best person in the world, not by a long shot, but I do my best and I believe I am strong. Physically and mentally.

Becoming strong was not easy, not even close. There were many obstacles and many struggles I had to overcome. 

The first one for me was to stop drinking. I'll admit it and am not ashamed to admit it, I had a problem with alcohol. A lot of what I write stems from that place and what I've learned to cope with life and be happy.  I am very, very grateful for my struggle with alcohol as well. Funny thing right? I am grateful for something that is so detrimental to my existence. The reason being is that I have beaten this demon for the last almost seven years and it has made me strong than ever. I couldn't have done it alone, but I didn't need to. I needed to have faith. Faith in myself. Something I had lost so long ago. 

The second thing I had to do to become strong was let go of the anger that I harbored from childhood. Nobody grows up perfect. Nobody. If someone tells you they have, they probably are repressing something or outright lying. Every person on this planet has challenges when they are a child. Either outwardly or inwardly. When I was able to forgive myself for one, for two the people I believe had wronged me in life, I was free. I was no longer a captor to the strangle hold my resentment had placed on me. Instantly there was a calm in my life that I had never experienced. For that I was thankful and became even stronger.

The third I did to become strong was decide to take better care of myself as a whole. Sure I'd stopped drinking, smoking and being angry at the world, but it wasn't enough. I needed to take care of my body in a much more compassionate way. Love myself and give myself what I needed. I began to exercise and eat more nutrient dense foods. The process was slow, but steady and progressive. I never looked back, only forward and I'll never look back again. The gym is now my safe haven. My meals are my life giving sustenance. My rest days are my times to reflect and be appreciative. 

Being strong is not just one thing, it's many things. I am strong today and I am proud, but I am also humble. I will never forget where I came from, or who I was before because for me that would mean the end. It would mean I no longer respect the process that I went through and I truly do because it was awesome. 

Have strength in you life folks. Believe in who you and do not allow others to ever dictate who you want to be. Only you can determine that and only you can put in the effort needed to accomplish your goals. 

I believe in you. The question is, are you willing to believe in yourself? Are you willing to push to that breaking point and then proceed past it. To look life in the eyes and say "I will succeed no matter what". 

If you trust in yourself, take it one day at a time, set small goals and never give up. You can and you will succeed. 

Have a great week friends!!!

Adam Hartley

Co-Owner Custom Fitness Consulting


January 25. 2016

Open Minded & Allowing Change

Hello to my fellow friends and other health enthusiasts,  

Today, we are starting on a new note. Hey guys my name is Cassie and I'm bringing you a new feel to Custom Fitness Consulting blog. For those of you that know me thank you for taking the time out of your day to listen and to consider my thoughts towards my take and opinions in things involving fitness and health related topics. To others that personally don't know me very well, welcome to the ramblings of a 21 year old college girl. If you are scared proceed with caution! So I will be bringing all kinds of new things for everyone to read! Yes the topics will mainly revolve around fitness and blogging, but I want to bring in consideration other things that we tend to forget or over look. Especially since fitness is so physically oriented we tend to forget about emotions and our mental beings. It's easy for us to see the outer shell because it is there, that’s why most of us are here now because we want to look a certain way. How about feeling a certain way? Feeling proud of yourself for running that extra mile or deciding to get a salad instead of spaghetti. It won't always be easy going through these trials and errors but each time you decide to say no you becoming stronger in a whole different aspect besides muscles #Gains! PS eating salad isn't always the answer, it was just an example! Carbs are my one true love. Anyways without any further run on thoughts or sentences, can you guys tell it's my no carb day? I'm now going to tell you guys a little about myself and where I am currently at in my life.

The way my fitness journey started wasn’t right off the bat “I want to do a show!”. I had just graduated high school going into my freshman year of college and I had spent most of my high school senior year and the summer in between eating pizza and binge drinking beer. I was a party girl, I was lost, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, my work ethic for anything and everything was down the drain. I had a friend I started going to the gym with and she showed me the basic lifts. I was scared of the weight room. I was so scared of the weight room that I wouldn’t wear headphones!

After a few months some-what weight training and cardio, I had went from 165 pounds down to 118 pounds. It was not a good way to lose weight, but there was a few people that competed at my gym and I became more interested and more comfortable. I did my first show and I tried doing my training and diet on my own. I did not do well at all! I couldn’t imagine how long and how much effort some of these athletes had put in for this one show. I was blown away by the passion and dedication they had for this sport. After that I knew I wanted to do better, when I got home I met Adam White. That is the day I sold my soul to fitness.

I began to understand training and a little bit of the dieting aspect. I trained hard but cheated on the nutrition. I withdrew from the show I wanted to do and instead ate anything and everything I wanted. I gained 20 pounds in  6 weeks! No it wasn’t water weight either…. It took me falling down to realize what I was doing was not going to work and it upset me that I did that to myself. I changed, I needed that change. To this day I am the healthiest I have ever been in my life! With my health on point, my physique goals are now attainable. I have been following and making better decisions based towards my nutrition for 18 weeks now. It's not about dieting or just following a plan but my lifestyle change. I think though when people say lifestyle change they get scared that they have to give up all this food, people idolise food. We put food on a pedestal. Food is there to make our bodies function. End of story.  I haven’t been on point everyday the last 18 weeks. I did turn 21 this year and have enjoyed a few drinks. I also spent thanksgiving with my family and ate with them. Everything else though I have tried to be on top of things. I am 16 weeks out now and I have no worries because I am doing everything I can to get to the end result!

The finishing note, what is our end result? OK we finished the show, what now? I reached my goal weight, what now? I graduated college, what now? There is no end until we are no longer living. Don’t limit yourself ever! If you have a bad day or are feeling down on yourself self reflect on the matter. How do you go from here? So yes I’m 16 weeks out from my show but one of the biggest reasons I am not as stressed on this one show is knowing that I will continue my growth after the competition is over.  I am opening my mind and allowing myself the opportunities to be successful.

You got this guys, keep pushing!


Feel free to follow my fitness journey to the stage the on this blog,

Facebook: Custom Fitness Consulting  

Instagram: @bicepbabe

Youtube: Custom Fitness Consulting

January 19. 2016

Living Life and Being Complete

Hello friends! This week I thought I'd talk about something that is more or a less a way of life for me. It's not always an easy way of life, and I often times find myself conflicted, but it's something I have learned that will help me get through the hard times.

When we decide that we are no longer in charge of everything around us and that somethings will just happen, no matter what we say or do. We can start to live free. We can start to be happy. That is something I truly believe. 

A few years back, let's say about 7 or 8, I was trying my damnedest to control every single aspect of my life that I could. I would be sick with anxiety, anger, fear, frustration and often times depression because I simple could not control. I couldn't control the outcome of my existence or of my friends and family, and I wanted to. I was a control freak so to speak. Someone who never wanted anything bad to happen, but would create negativity because I simply could not let go.

Along the way of being kicked by life over and over again, and please don't get me wrong, this was a very important thing that had to occur for me, I learned that I was not in control of nearly anything. I could not control the people around me or the things that happened on a day to day basis. I could only control myself, and that's still kind of debatable. 

Frustrated and in despair, I decided to just let go. To try a new way of living and really dive into it. From that point on, I decided to live life on life's terms. What does that mean exactly? Well it means to me, that I cannot control people, places or things. It means that I may not have as big of a say in the way things happen as I would like to think I do. It means I have to be humble, understanding and willing to listen. 

Now this went hand in hand with fitness. If I was going to live my life a certain way, it could not be in just one aspect of it. No it had to be in all aspects. In regards to fitness, I decided that maybe, just maybe, I didn't know everything there was to know. That I needed guidance despite my opinions and beliefs on how things ought to be. At the end of the day, it's not about what you know, but what you're willing to learn and put into effect to better yourself. 

I was very overweight at this time, very unhappy, and not really a nice guy. I'll admit it, I still am not a nice guy from time to time. It's a struggle that I live with, but I try my darndest and smile as much as I can. For me to admit I could not change anything on my own was very humbling. I simply did not have enough support for myself in place. If you'd talk to me now, I probably would still say the same thing. I'm in great shape comparatively to my former self. My mind, body and spirit are in a much better place than they were those years ago. But I would not want to go on a journey like a life change alone. It's not that I'm not strong enough, or that I'm fearful of failure (after all failure is what makes us stronger). No it's that I have the experience to know that I need support. I'm not a loner, and I never will be. My friends and family make my life complete. Any journey worth having is a journey worth sharing.

When I decided that I wanted to get in shape and change my life. I couldn't have done it alone. There was simply no way. I'm not saying you couldn't, but I couldn't. My wife, children, friends and other loved ones supported me along the way. Sure sometimes they threw challenges in my way that I'd have to slap, but I was stronger because of my support system. I was stronger because I said, I'm not in control of this. What happens happens. All I could control is what I put in my mouth and getting my butt in that gym. That's it. Everything else was beyond my control. 

That's a humbling thing. Not being in control. Knowing that your fate is not yours to decide. It's also a very relieving thing. I do not have to decide everything. There are things in life that I don't have to be directly responsible for. I apologize for speaking in such broad terms as well. You can control things, or rather believe you do, but it's so much more rewarding when you decide to not do so. To live the way you are intended to live. Each day. One day at a time. Conquer the day, then move on and conquer the next. Never looking back but not looking too far ahead. Not getting your head into that messy place of "if I did this I'd be so much better". 

Subtle changes are the best way to improve almost anything in life I've found. I say almost anything because sometimes you do need a drastic change, but a lot of aspects of life can be changed subtly. 

My entire point of this blog today is to say "I give in life". I know I'm not in control. There are things happening right now, that I cannot change, I cannot conquer, I cannot fight. Despite these facts, I will NOT be broken. I will be strengthened and persevere. There is no need to give up, there is a need to succeed and a need to live happy. I am blessed, I am humble and I am truly happy despite those things that life throws in my way. 

Be strong today folks. Be strong for yourself, for your family and friends and decide to embrace life. To truly let it lead you the way you need to be led. 

Thank you.

Adam Hartley

Co-Owner/Coach Custom Fitness Consulting


January 13. 2016

The Path to Success

Hello friends! Today I liked to talk about a few different things on my mind that all kind of tie into each other.

Success. That is on of the most powerful words there is and one most people wait their whole lives to hear or feel. How do you define success and how do you measure it? 

For me, the first time I felt like a true success was probably when I met my wife. I was never a very secure teen and meeting the woman I love gradually changed that. It was because it gave me new confidence and allowed me to move onto other areas of my life where I wanted to feel the same. Now I'm not here to argue relationship statistics. I'm simply here to share my experience and how I came to feel like the man I am today. 

The second time I truly felt like a success was when I got married and then had my first child with the woman I love. The next two times were similar except just having two more children. Having a family made me feel like I'd achieved more than most men dream of achieving. 

The last time I felt like a success was when I took the time and dedicated it to becoming healthier. I can honestly say that my health and wellness took a back seat for a long time and for me to allow myself the time and dedication to do whatever it took, made me feel amazing. Not only that, but I proved to myself that I could do what it took to look good (well at least what my vision of what good was) and not be insecure about my body. I'll touch a little bit more on that later though. There are also many other instances I had occur where I felt like I did something truly righteous and that always makes me feel like a success. 

Do you see a pattern though in how I measure success? It's quite a bit different than a lot of people I know. My success has all been measured by the deeds that I do and the good I am able to create. Never have I once measured my success by my pocket book or paycheck. Why? 

Well, to me, and keep in mind this is simply my opinion, when I'm gone no one will remember how much money I had, but they will remember the things I said, or did that truly touched their lives. So that is what is most important to me and leads me to live the way I do. Now I'm no saint, not by a long shot. I truly do try to live a life of being humble though. I also am not saying that being wealthy is a negative thing. If I were wealthier, I believe I would have still came to the same realizations, but I wouldn't measure who I am by the money I had regardless.

So why is this relevant to fitness? Well, good question. For me, I have found that regardless of my financial situation in life, I can remain happy and push through to that next level. I will find a way to workout or eat healthy, even on a budget. There have been times where I've made less than 20k in a year and I was still able to maintain a healthy lifestyle and bang out workouts with a passion. Money or lack of money cannot hold you back if you do not allow it to. Sometimes, you just have to figure out how to make it work. Make sacrifices and give up what you thought was important before but realize it isn't. If it does not contribute to you being a better person, chances are, you don't need it. 

Why the money talk? Well, the lotto is on a lot of minds right now. :) Rightfully so. I don't believe it's ever been this high and also rightfully so, most people want that money. What is sad though, is that a lot of folks won't do any good with it, when they could. I don't want the opportunity to no longer be hungry and fight the good fight. Money doesn't change everyone, that's for sure, but it does change some and I don't want to be one of those people it changes. 

Now back to the more pressing thought. Body image. So if you've ever been overweight (like I was for most of my life), you've probably had the thought "I'd give anything to look like them". Or "if I lose weight, I swear I'll never gain any back". It's a thought that occurred a lot during my struggles as an overweight child and young adult. It's a sad way to think unfortunately. 

The thing that stinks is that even when you do achieve said look, there's this little nagging voice in the back of your mind saying "well I could still look better" or "I'm almost there but not quite yet". It's a struggle and one that maybe not just those who are overweight deal with or have been overweight.

Body dysmorphia can affect many people in all walks of life. As a society we have things constantly thrown in our face that tell us that we are not what we ought to be. Magazine covers that are so overly photoshopped the people look fake, or fitness videos highlighting only the most elite athlete, models eating hamburgers that would give most people a heart attack and on and on. The point is, a lot of unrealistic goals are put in place by these types of society definitions of "beauty". The old saying that beauty is only skin deep is more than likely being told to you by someone shallow or just plain ignorant. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

You cannot define yourself as a person simply by the way your body looks or the job you have or the money you make. No. Being a good and worthwhile human being is so much deeper than that. You need to look within, love yourself and be able to face everyday with an attitude of gratitude. So what does that mean exactly?

Sometimes, when I'm really in a rut and feeling a bit self loathing, I'll have to sit down and write out the things I am grateful for. This allows me to remember just how blessed in life I am and how fortunate I am compared to so many. It doesn't mean I have a perfect life, or that there's no room for improvement. It simply means that I can now realize what I have and be thankful. I can smile at the life I have and be appreciative for it.  

If you believe it, you can achieve it. I truly believe that in most cases and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. There are a lot of folks out there that will doubt you, just don't be one of them. Believe in yourself, love yourself and be who you want to be. 

So the point of what I'm trying to get across today is that you, whoever you are, you can be a success. You can and chances are you already are, but do not realize it yet. Just open your eyes, take a deep breath and smile.

Have a great night folks. 

Thank you.

Adam Hartley

Coach/Co-Owner Custom Fitness Consulting 


January 7. 2016


Hello friends! I'm a day late and a dollar short this week, apologies on the delay of posting! :) Sickness sometimes shows it's ugly face, and there's nothing we can do. 

To the point though! Be gone nay sayers! BE GONE!

Today I'd like to speak about negativity and ridding yourself of it and improving your overall outlook on life in general. 

All my life, I've had naysayers or people who were just plain negative try to sway me in one direction or another. Or they would simply just be down on whatever I was doing, no matter what it was. Why would they do such a thing? My true belief is that a lot of people, myself included, are insecure and push those insecurities out in an unhealthy and sometimes extremely devastating fashion. 

As human beings, we are bound to have challenges presented at almost every turn. It's just the reality of life. We can however learn to cope with these challenges and then also learn to overcome them. The first thing you need to do is learn when to not listen. As soon as someone starts talking negatively to me about something I'm doing in my life, my brain shuts down. I can still hear them, but I'm no longer processing what they are saying. The reason for this is simple. I have trained myself to ignore (not always, but most times) those around me who constantly bring me down. That's not to say that I'm surrounded by jerks, that's far from the truth. Like I said, most people just don't know how to express themselves. 

To overcome negativity that I'm presented with, and I'll give you and example, I simple think "I did this and no one can take that away from me" and move on to kicking the challenge's butt. So for example. After my bodybuilding show I was met with a lot of praise. I actually was overwhelmed by the amount I received, especially from people I didn't know. There were however people that outright accused me of using things none traditional to achieve a win. Or they would say "there's no way he did that without cheating somehow". These are people that either A) don't know me very well or B) know me but are not involved in my life at all. So what did I do? Well, at first I sulked a bit and was very, very insulted. But then it hit me, why do I care what they think? Why is it so important that they believe me in any way? Well, it wasn't and as soon as I realized that, I felt better and was able to go onto crushing my next goal. I decided to just move on, forgot what those negative folks were saying, and push onto my next task.

Words can be venomous or they can life giving. It's your choice to decide how you use your words. I don't believe the people that were negative towards me did it out of hatred. I believe they did it out of either jealousy, or out of sheer disbelief. I'm the last person who would have been expected to win a bodybuilding show by most people's standards but that's probably why I won. I came in and dominated and had the confidence to back it. Most didn't seem to notice that I had been working my butt off for over a year to get even close to contest shape. When I think about it now, I actually laugh a bit. To them, the timing seemed instantaneous, which couldn't be further from the truth.

In order to overcome negativity, I now smile in the face of it or simply just ignore it. It's not worth becoming a wreck over it. 

To succeed in fitness you need but to have one thing and one thing only. Determination. That's it. The rest will follow. With the right drive, you can accomplish more than you'd ever dreamed of and show yourself (not the world) that it was worth it.

With that said you have to be doing things for the right reasons to continue to be a success. Be healthy for yourself first and foremost. Learn to truly love yourself and have confidence in who you are and what you are trying to achieve. Be light hearted and try not to take life so seriously when it doesn't need to be. There are times to be serious and in gear, but we also need that down time. That time where we can truly be happy and smile about what we have in our lives. 

Don't give up folks. Don't ever give up. If you stay true to yourself, and try no matter how many times you fall, you'll eventually succeed. I know this for a fact as a man who has fallen and got back up more times than he can count. When I was dieting for my show, I had people left and right try to get me to go off the path of my diet. Why? I'm not quite sure, but I believe it's to feel better about their eating habits. I didn't allow this to happen. I stayed true to what I wanted to achieve. Achieve I did, and now I'm moving on to achieve the next thing in my life.

The point to all of this is that I truly, 100% believe that if you want to let others around you control and destroy your path in life, then it will and they can. But if you want to ignore others that offer up these bad vibes, you can chose to do that as well. If someone says "that sounds way to hard" or "I don't know if you'll be able to do it", take that as a challenge and prove them wrong. Do it for yourself though. Prove them wrong so that you don't doubt yourself. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of you but you. You can be who you want to be, if you choose to be. That's a mouth full. 

Stay motivated friends. Stay focused. Stay determined and again, above all, NEVER give up. If I can do it, you can do it. 

Thank you.

Adam Hartley

Custom Fitness Consulting Coach/Co-Owner


December 29. 2015

A New Year, a New You

Hello friends! I hope the holidays are treating you well. Today I wanted to touch on something that close to my heart and mind. The New Years Resolutions.

When I was a bit younger, let's say a decade or so ago, I used New Year's as a way to create a new goal. Or rather, what I thought was a new goal. What I didn't realize is that I wasn't fully committed to my goal and was simply jumping on a bandwagon to be part of the crowd. Little did I know that a month or two later, I would forget my "resolution" and continue on life as it was before I had made said goal. 

Now that I've had a bit of time and experience under my belt I know a few things that I didn't before. 

The first and most important is setting that small goal that I spoke about in my first entry. What I did before was set up unrealistic expectations for myself and create a lose/lose scenario. Really I did this without even fully knowing I was doing it. It was not even something I would contemplate, that I could set a goal and then stray so far from the mark. So why would I do this? Why sabotage myself? Part of me knew I was not ready to fully commit. The other part of me was, well to put it bluntly, just being lazy. Now this is not the case with everyone, just myself. 

The second and equally as important part is the "why now" factor. So what I mean by that is simple. Why does your goal start on a specific date, rather than let's say, right now? I believe wholeheartedly that it's a societal thing and perhaps just out of convenience. One thing I've learned, is that accomplishing a goal is never convenient and it most certainly isn't going to be the "norm" of what everyone else is doing. By establishing a date other than today, we may be doing ourselves a disservice. 

Let me touch on that second point just a bit more. So setting goals is a great thing. It gives you something to strive towards, something to achieve. Setting a goal and putting restrictions on it, may not be a good thing for you. Not all people are the same, but from what I've experienced in the gyms, is 9/10 newcomers will not stay.They will come in hot and heavy and burn out faster than you can blink. A lot of it has to do with the fact that they set themselves up to fail. I used to do this as well. 

What causes this failure? Well, it's all psychological I believe. When we set a goal, and it's so overwhelming we barely want to think about doing it, that means we probably set our standards a tad too high. The other problem is we get into this trap of "I'm going to start eating healthier tomorrow" or "Tomorrow I'm hitting the gym again for the first time in a year". By putting it off, even a day, we are less likely to follow through. I've yet to fully understand why this is, but I'm no doctor and just watch the patterns of people to try and understand. So what I believe however is that putting it off, even by a day, allows us to not fully commit. It allows us to say "well if I don't do it tomorrow, I'll do it the next day, and the next day, and the next day". It's an endless cycle of "I'll do it eventually".

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying New Years Resolutions are an awful thing. What I'm saying however, is that you absolutely, one hundred percent, have to commit or you will not follow through. So I know for me, I can say now that I will start something tomorrow, and anyone that knows me will tell you, I'll do it. But not everyone has a switch that they can turn on and off like that, in fact, I'm one of the only people I know that can do that. I'm not special or unique though, I've just trained my brain to commit to things that I set out to do. You can as well and you need to believe in yourself fully in order to do this. 

So what's the point of New Years Resolutions? I think they are just a way to start fresh, but we must utilize that resolution in a healthy and productive fashion. 

-Set a smaller goal and do not overwhelm yourself (you're more likely to succeed this way)

-Do not set too many goals at once (it doesn't matter if they aren't related, you can still become mentally overwhelmed and not realize it until it's too late)

-Stick to your guns. Don't allow ANYONE to sabotage you. If you said "I'm not eating cake this whole month", and someone offers you a piece of the most delicious looking cake ever. Just remember, you are trying to overcome what you couldn't before and your health is more important than that instant gratification. 

-Be realistic even in your small goals. If your small goal is to lose 10 pounds or 20 pounds, understand that you may or may not look that different based on your full body composition. Some people will look drastically different dropping 10-20, some you won't be able to tell at all. Every person is different and we all carry fat differently. Do not let this set you back. Simply pat yourself on the back for doing a darn good job and then set that next small goal. 

-Start today and not tomorrow. If you're reading this and you were planning on starting that healthy lifestyle tomorrow or the next day, why not just jump ship and do it now? What's stopping you? You will feel much better for doing this, I promise you. 

New Years and a new you. It doesn't have to be a bad thing, but it can be. So turn this into an opportunity. Take action now and hit that gym, cut out the sweets, put down the cigarettes, whatever you goal may be. Try now and try like hell, so that you can achieve what you thought was not achievable. You can do it if you set your mind to it and do not give up on yourself. I believe in you, now it's your turn to believe in yourself.

Enjoy this holiday season folks. Don't get too wrapped up in it. Stay safe, Take a cab if you need to and love your friends and family. 

Thank you.

Adam Hartley

Custom Fitness Consulting Co-Owner/Coach


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