December 23. 2015

Why we must fail in order to succeed

Hello friends! Today we are two days away from one of the biggest holidays of the year. Your holiday could have potentially started awhile back depending on what you practice or believe, but the same will hold true regardless. FOOD. So much of it! It's right around the corner and all of it (well most of it) is toxic, fatty, junk. Yet 9/10 of us will indulge and more than likely it will be an overindulgence. Why?

Well, that's an interesting thought. Why must we fall? Why must we stray off the beaten path and not stay the course around a holiday. Most will probably tell you "not me, never. I'm strong enough". Then again, most are probably either A) Lying to you and themselves or B) Actually strong enough to make it through (which means hiding away from everyone I believe in most cases). 

In order to feel like a part of society, we must sometimes put our guards down and live a semi normal life. That's not to say eating health is abnormal, it's just not a normal behavior for most of our society. Which is an entire nother topic for a different day. We must occasionally give into these deep seeded urges and just eat that piece of cake or have that bowl of macaroni and cheese. 

You're probably thinking "But Adam, that makes you weak! Cheating on the diet you're on year around will screw the whole thing up!!!". Well, no, no it won't. In fact, it may actually help. 

A lot of us, especially the competition minded folks, will often take a good diet and make it a bad thing. How is that possible? By making food the source of our entire existence. Think about it. If you are eating clean and healthy all year around, but you're constantly dreaming of eating junk, does that make you more or less healthy? We must think about the physiological effect that food can have on us and learn to deal with these annoying quirks. 

I have found over the years that if I torture myself, then I am more likely than not to have an enormous food rebound. Meaning, I will eat myself into almost a coma because I have deprived myself of the simplest pleasures in life. Food is not all that exists, but it is a key component to survival and a very important factor in a lot of folks moods and energy stabilization .To have a strong body and spirit, you must have a strong diet and one that is sustainable all year around.

Failing as most would call it, is not a bad thing. In order to become stronger, faster, smarter, more focused, determined...etc. We must often times fail. We fail in order to learn from our mistakes or our missteps to build ourselves more equipped and more prepared for life. If you fall down, all you have to do is get back up. It's that simple. You don't need to dwell, procrastinate, be self loathing or depressed. I'm telling you, just stand back up and say "I can do this". If we never failed, I'd wager life would be pretty boring. 

So what should you do for the holiday season? I say enjoy it. Enjoy your family and friends. Just keep in mind the harder you fall, the harder it will be to stand back up, but it doesn't mean you can't get back up. You just have to put forth the effort. Indulge, but keep that goal of health in mind. While one or two bad meals won't hurt you, it could be a slight set back. At the same time, you need to be able to disconnect and breath. So do what makes you happy and get right back on track afterwards. You'll be much stronger and happier in the long run.

Life is short and we must enjoy it, cherish it and look forward to its challenges. 

Have fun this holiday season friends. Be careful. Be smart and don't give up on yourself. I believe in you.

Adam Hartley

Custom Fitness Consulting Co-Owner/Coach

December 15. 2015

Staying the Course and Being Happy in General

Hello friends! I wanted to talk about a topic this week that is always on my mind. Personal satisfaction and personal happiness. Which funny enough seems to go hand in hand with personal awareness. 

Over the years, I have battled with depression and a sense of self loathing. A lot of what I experienced can be attributed to my lack of taking an active role in my own health and well being. Why did I not do something sooner? This is a question even to this very day, that I ask myself. The end result was all that mattered to me, and I forgot to sit back and experience the journey. 

Not that long ago, I was a very, very unhappy person. There were a lot of stressors in my life that I simply did not know how to cope with. I was a father, husband, full time worker, student, gym rat and trying to run my own business. At some point I decided I needed to lessen my load, though it took me several years of suffering mentally to do so. Now what I was doing was not out of the norm for most people. A lot of people are parents, spouses, working, going to school and doing extra activities. My issue was that I was so consumed by them, that life was literally just passing me by and I wasn't taking care of myself like I needed to. 

The first step I took was to figure out what exactly I could eliminate or lessen to get rid of some unnecessary stress. For me the things I was doing were not easy to change. You can't just stop being a father or husband. You can't just drop out of school or quit your job (at least if you want to be a success). There's no way you can stop being a gym rat either! :)

So I decided to evaluate how much time I was spending on each activity and changed them in a more intelligent and thought out manner. 

First and foremost. Being a father is above all the most important thing in my life. There is nothing quite like the feeling of helping someone grow and develop habits that will mold them into hopefully great and loving people. So with this, I decided I needed to take a bigger role. To help my children feel more loved and be the father I always wanted to be.

Being a husband is equally as important, but I could use some of the same time I spent with my children and utilize it to make my wife happy as well. This actually was quite easy to do. All I had to do was play a more active role. Listen to what the kiddos had to say and ask my wife about her day. Those simple things eliminated stress, not only from my life, but from theirs as well. 

My job. At the time I was working at a grocery store. I enjoyed working there, but ultimately knew that it wasn't where I wanted to be in 5 years or even 1 year for that matter. To me it was just a stepping stone. Something I could learn from and grow from. My employer was requiring me to work hours that meant between work and and school, that I would not be able to see my family nearly as much as I needed to. Thankfully for me, I had an amazing boss and he was very, very gracious when I approached him and asked if I could have less closing shifts or work a few days a week that would help me see my wife and children. A simple conversation solved that issue entirely. 

School. This one was not something I could change unfortunately. It was too important. So I just tried to maintain balance. I'd only study for a certain amount everyday and try to do it when everyone was gone at work and school. That way I could better use my time with my family.

The gym. Ahhh. My safety net, my temple, my place of relaxation. I had to come to terms with the fact that I was simply spending entirely too much time there. I was not getting things done and just basically farting around to waste time and destress. I found that by bringing it in, limiting myself to an hour (from start to finish), that not only did I see better results, but I had more time. Who'd have guessed that three hours in the gym was too much? :)

I solved or manipulated my life in a way that was more healthy and allowed me to get some peace of mind. Yet I was still depressed. Why? Well, good question. To this day I cannot fully explain why, because honestly, it doesn't make much sense to me.

What I can tell you though is that your diet can directly affect the way your brain functions. What I mean by that is, if you are not taking in nutrient dense, good quality, whole foods, you are not going to be getting optimal brain output. It has been shown in study after study that the mind is basically the second stomach. A happy mind makes a happy life. A good diet can change your world. I didn't quite grasp this concept and at times, I'll admit, I still struggle with it. It's a daily battle. But that's the whole point of life. To overcome what you thought you couldn't and improve yourself in ways you'd never imagined.

After taking stock of my life, changing my habits around and cleaning up my diet. I found myself happier, healthier, more cognitive, stronger (in mind and body) and overall just feeling better. That's not to say that sometimes I don't feel down in the dumps, it's just not nearly as often as it used to be. 

Deciding to take an active, not passive and never passive, role in my life and health, was the best thing I've done in my entire life.

Since that point I have accomplished great feats that I NEVER thought I could. This is not a brag session by any means either, it's to simply let you know, if I can do it, you can to.

I became a personal trainer, a father of three wonderful daughters, a husband of twelve years, a bodybuilder (who won his class in his very first show ever), a co-owner of a company I'm passionate about (Custom Fitness Consulting), an active member of my gym (getting done what needs to be done), a man of faith, a homeowner, and more physically fit than I've ever been in my life (I'm 33 and just starting to blossom!!!).

I did these things and so can you. You can achieve anything you set your mind to. All you have to do is have faith, put in some hard work, buckle down and just do it. Nothing in this world can stand in your way if you are determined enough. Make yourself, your family and your wellbeing a priority. 

Today I am happy and I am grateful.

Thank you friends.

Adam Hartley

Co-Owner/Health Coach Custom Fitness Consulting

November 29. 2015

Becoming a successful you. How can I achieve my goals?

Welcome to the first of many blog entries to come! Today I'd like to discuss what it takes to be a success in fitness in term of being a healthy, happy you. 

The first thing we must do in order to achieve any goal is to set one. 

Several years ago I was sitting around not doing much with my life other than eating, sleeping and going to my 9-5 job. I was content in the fact that I did have a job, I had a house, car, wife, children and pretty much everything else a man could want. There was something missing though. That something was my piece of mind and being a healthy human being. 

I went through my life day by day, never thinking of tomorrow, but living in the moment. I worked hard, but I played even harder. Needless to say, I was eating enough calories to feed a small village, and drinking like a sailor. Both of these things were a detriment to my physical and mental health and had me in a constant state of ups and downs. 

My entire life I grew up around people who were physically active and in most cases very fit as well. I found myself resenting them though as I never was that "in shape" or that good at sports or other various physical activities. So as a teen, I was the skinny kid, as an adult I was the chubby guy. There was no real middle ground for me because I truly believed I was doomed to live out a life of unhealthiness and continue down the path of being overweight and out of shape. 

It wasn't until suffering with this for years that I decided I had finally had enough. There's wasn't a epiphany or any bright light that burst on in my head. It just kind of happened. I mentally changed one day. To this day I can't tell you the exact reason why, but there were several factors that weighed into my lifestyle changes. My children for one, as I wanted to be able to keep up with them. For two, my person happiness and well being. For three, my spouse. Although I know she loves me and always will, I felt like she deserved a better me. Ultimately I changed though to better myself for myself and this is how you stay in shape, by doing it for you.

When I was 27 years old, I weight a whopping 250 lbs and stood at 5'8 with a bodyfat of about 25%. Today I am 33 years old at  205 lbs, still 5'8 and around 7-8% (estimated) body fat. How did I do this? What was my secret and why did it take so long? 

First and foremost, I didn't set a small goal. I told myself, I'm going to lose weight and I did because I was determined to. I dropped 70 lbs after working with a trainer for 9 months, but I still had a higher body fat percentage at about 17%. I was frustrated, and even though I weighed significantly less, I did not feel like a success or that I'd achieved my goals. 

For several years after that I basically gave up. I gradually put back on almost all of that 70 lbs. It took a few years, but it did come back. Why? Well despite my time spent in the gym, and believe me I was there a LOT, I was not eating right. I'd eat what I felt like eating and that's about it. 

My goals kind of took a side seat in my life and I became engulfed in my career, which I was being a personal trainer at the time. Funny thing being a personal trainer and telling others to be in shape while you were not yourself. I had to take an long, hard look at myself and see what I'd done to my body and mind. 

So I decided to make a smaller goal. My goal was to be fit. Not in terms of a number, but in terms of the way I physically felt. Any improvement I would take as a good step forward. So I decided to meet with a coach that I'd heard about named Adam White. 

When I first met Adam, I wasn't sure what to think, or how to take him. I had never worked with a coach and did not really understand the difference between being a trainer and being a life coach or a bodybuilding coach. To me it seemed as if one was the other and they went hand in hand. Man was I ever wrong. Adam taught me things I never had even heard of and educated me every step of the way on how to be healthier and how to not give up on myself. 

With his help and the help of Custom Fitness Consulting, I lost more than 70 lbs and I did my very first bodybuilding show. My transition took a bit longer than others, but I achieved more than I ever thought I could. Guess what? I placed 1st in my division in my very first show! So I won my class and am now nationally qualified as an NPC competitor. I never could have dreamed of doing this, not in a million years.

If you'd asked me 5 years ago, what will I be doing in 5 years, I certainly wouldn't have said bodybuilding. It was so out of the realm of possibilities to me that it wasn't even an option. Turns out I may have a knack for it and finally found that piece of mind I'd been looking for.

You're asking yourself, I'm sure, but Adam, that's not a short term goal? Well, you're right it's not. My short term goal was 
to get through each day believing in myself. To take it step by step and trust in the process of changing my body. It wasn't easy, not by a long shot, but I didn't give up. Not once. 

I'm no one special. I'm not a super hero or a pinnacle of fitness. I'm just a normal guy with a dream and some goals in life. The way I succeeded and will continue to succeed is through hard work, dedication and loving myself no matter what. 

So how can you achieve your goals?

-Listen to others who may know a bit more than yourself about nutrition and exercise. Set your ego aside and really dive into the learning process.

-Set small goals at first. Whether it's to lose 5 lbs or to get into that pair of jeans you've had in your closet for years. As long as you go day by day, you'll get there.

-Believe in yourself and love yourself. These are the two most fundamental things to do above all. If you don't love yourself, you cannot devote the time and energy in yourself you need to become a new you. If you don't believe in yourself then you will never push hard enough because you won't have the correct amount of drive to. Learn these things and you can do just about anything.

-Know your limitations and learn to work with or around them. Don't let anything stop you. Learn from your genetics, your injuries, you bad habits, whatever it is and adapt them to healthy solutions. Ask for help when you need help.

-Never ever give up. This one needs to be driven home more than any other point. If you eat bad for one day or one week, it's ok. It's not the end of the world. Obviously it's not ideal to your fitness and health goals, but you can get back on track. All you have to do is try. Believe you can, and you will!

Together we can achieve your goals and surpass what you thought was possible for yourself, much like I did for myself. I am pleased to announce in this very first blog, that I am now partnered with my coach and good friend Adam White. Together we plan to make a positive impact on the fitness community and help each person who comes our way to be the best they can. 

I am very excited to help you get to that point! To push you to that next level and be a friend and mentor that will guide you in the right direction.

My journey is far from over and I plan on continuing to push to that next level. If I can do it, you can do it. 

Thank you.

Adam Hartley
Partner/Health Coach for Custom Fitness Consulting

Blog Menu

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