5 Reasons You Need to Hire a Coach

“Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardor and attended with diligence.”

Abigail Adams

A Coach Will Help You See The Light

The purpose of learning is to grow better and stronger than you were yesterday. Are you better today than you were yesterday?  Are you making the most of your potential?

If the question is no, this post could be exactly what you’re looking for.

A coach comes in many forms.  This can be a friend, a sibling, a colleague.  It doesn’t matter as long as it’s someone that can help you.  Of course, most people close to you will gladly help at no cost.  While this is great, sometimes you need a little more.

I’m talking about paying someone who’s an expert in their field to help you get better.  Yes, it’s an investment b/c people’s time costs money (and sometimes it’s a lot).  My experience has been that it’s well worth it.  In fact, I would put the Return on Investment of hiring a coach at 10x (10 times what you paid) in most cases.

Here are 5 reasons to hire a coach:

1.  Receiving another person’s perspective is invaluable

A lot of times we operate in a vacuum.  We only see things from our vantage point.  This can be a trap.  You get sucked in to a way of thinking and it’s really hard to get out of it.  It may just take someone that’s an expert in a particular field to help you change your outlook and propel yourself forward.  People are experts for a reason.  The beauty is that you can leverage this.

2.  Learn about what’s made them successful

What better way to improve on something than to work with someone that’s successful at what you’re trying to accomplish?  They’ve all been down the road you’re traveling.  They work with many other people just like you.  They see the good, they see the bad and they see everything in between.  They know what makes the difference between good and great.  That leads me to number three….

3. Learn about what their obstacles were

Either the coach has experienced the bumps a long the way or they’ve seen a lot of others in the same pursuit you’re in.  They’ve seen the successes, but more importantly they’ve seen the failures.  My golf coach, Pat Bernot (at Golftec in Columbus),works with a lot of other golfers.  He sees a lot of bad swings.  He knows what to look for….and, of course, how to fix it.  Every golf swing is different, but when you’re around it everyday, you start to pick up the little tricks to make progress.  There’s no greater teacher than failing at something and picking yourself back up.  A coach has either done that or has seen it.  They can help you learn from your mistakes and get back on your game.

4. You will be more accountable

You have someone that you’ve committed to.  You won’t want to let them down.  It’s one thing to let yourself down (that’s another topic for another day), but when you’ve committed to someone else it makes it much harder to live with failure.  At my Crossfit gym, we have a trainer that oversees all of the classes.  They get on us quite a bit, both about form and also to push us.  You don’t want to let them down and I definitely push myself more than I would if I was alone doing a workout.  They also teach us the right way to do things and help us break bad habits.  Without them, the workouts would be average.

5.  Simply being pro-active leads to inspiration

Resistance is everywhere.  I recently wrote about this  in My Five Keys to Defeating Resistance. It’s a tough thing.  We face it everyday, whether it’s procrastination, eating habits or working out.  If you take ownership of something and actually take a step forward in pursuit of your goal, this will undoubtedly lead to inspiration.  Think about a workout you had recently – how did you feel?  I bet most of you felt great about it.  I bet most of you made better choices when you ate.  Why? – b/c that workout just inspired you to make better choices.  That’s what being pro-active does.

A single conversation with a wise man is better than ten years of study. ~Chinese Proverb

I thought I’d share some real-life examples of ways I’ve vastly improved.  All from taking the step to hire a coach.

Golf – I’ve always wanted to be a good golfer.  I’ve played since I was about thirteen (recreational).  I was bad.  I’d go a whole round with maybe 4 or 5 good shots, if that.  At times it was embarrassing.  I started to play a lot of golf through work and I was sick of being bad (about a 22 handicap).   I started taking lessons about four years ago and I’m now a 12 handicap.  Anyone that plays golf, knows that’s a hefty improvement.  It took consistent lessons, including my coach analyzing my swing via video.  It also took a lot of work outside of the lessons.  It always does.  By the way, I highly recommend GolfTec and can’t thank my coach enough, Pat Bernot.  If you live in OH, there’s no better instructor out there.

Getting Things Done (GTD) – I decided that if I was going to make this my personal productivity platform, that I mine as well do it the right way.  I struggled quite a bit with implementing it and just took the plunge to hire a coach.  I worked with Julie Ireland of the David Allen Company.  It was awesome.  I learned so much.  We got down into the weeds and, once again, the return on my investment was at least 10x.

Presenting – I thought I was a pretty good presenter.  Then, I took a two day class on presenting from a company called Baker Communications.  This wasn’t an ordinary class where everything was happy go lucky.  They absolutely drilled us.  We would present, they would video tape us.  One guy would be in the room with us and then another guy would be in a room across the hall.  That guy didn’t see us live.  We would take a flash drive with the video and sit with the guy across the hall right after we presented.  He would critique the hell out of us.  It was humbling and it was awesome.  It made me better.  It made me realize I was mediocre compared to what the potential was.  Now, I’m striving to get better all the time.  Since then, I’ve joined Toastmasters to continue to refine and practice.

Negotiating – This is a big part of my job in corporate sales.  I went to the Karrass Negotiating class a couple of years ago.  Again, a two day training that was very intense.  The cool part is that it wasn’t just people in sales; there were a bunch of people on the buy side of businesses (purchasing/procurement).  We would role play, which I typically hate, but this was awesome.  I highly recommend this course for anyone.  We all negotiate in life (anyone buy a car recently?) and this helps in all facets of life, business or personal.

Working Out – I mentioned my Crossfit gym above.  If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a functional workout where you’re performing a workout together with a group of people and there’s a trainer that presides over the class.  It typically involves a combination of weight training, body weight movements, running and the like.  As I already stated, you get the benefit of having a coach teach you the proper form on certain movements.  And, of course, the benefit of having someone yelling…I mean motivating you during a workout : )  Most Crossfit gyms come at a premium expense.  They’re typically more than regular gyms, but I find that it’s well worth the money.

What is it that you want to reach your potential at? Think about it.  Where are you stuck or what are you good at, but want to be great at?  Chances are, what got you where you are today isn’t good enough to get you where you want to go tomorrow.

In closing, if you don’t have the funds to invest in a coach, I recommend doing the one thing we all learned how to do early in the life – read.  The average book is probably around $15 these days.  Reading has changed my life.  I’m pretty avid, maybe too much so at times.  My wife makes fun of me b/c I sometimes read many books at a time.  It’s a running joke.  Last year,  I wrote a post  on tips for reading: 9 Tips on Reading Non-Fiction.  This may be useful for you.

If you do have the funds and you’re thinking about hiring a coach for something you want to be great at – don’t hesitate.  It just may be the one thing that gets you over the hump.

If you’ve been inspired by this, please pass it on via twitter by clicking here. If you don’t have twitter, please email someone that you feel will benefit from this by clicking here.   Finally, don’t forget to sign up to receive my posts via email or rss (click here).  This way they’re delivered right to your in box or rss feed each week.

All the Best,

Jon

Take a Step Forward

KEEP CHOPPING!

 Take a Step Forward

Whenever you’re stuck, just do something.  It can be the smallest thing.  Just do something to move yourself forward.  I love the saying, “Chop Wood, Carry Water.”  The actual quote is a zen proverb, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.  After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”   It’s so simple, yet so difficult to execute.  My wife likes to use the term “Micro Movements” (she was a school teacher – 2nd grade).  I had a high school English teacher that used the term “Divide and Conquer.”  I still hear his voice saying that all the time.  

Yeah, I’m about to pass out

Don’t get me wrong – I get stuck all the time.  Sometimes I forget this basic concept.  I’m paying more attention to it, though.  Lately, I’ve kept this picture, to the right, as my desktop screen saver.  It’s from a crossfit competition I was in this summer.  We had to run a mile while holding two bricks.  I can’t tell you how hard this was.  There was a hill at the start and I wanted to quit right there.  My arms were so freaking tired, I couldn’t believe it.  I literally had to adjust the bricks every 10 yards or so or else I would’ve dropped them.  It was brutal, to say the least (the 25 deadlifts were fun right after that as well).  I got through it by telling myself to take one step at a time.  Just one step.  It was only about 10 minutes – not that long.  It’s a great reminder for me of taking one step at a time.

Here’s the thing..it takes a lot of work to reach your goals and do great things.  It’s the details, the little things, that make the most difference.  It’s hitting the gym when you don’t feel like it.  It’s saying no to the oreos that are staring you in the face (my weakness!).  It’s splitting that nagging project into 10 steps instead of thinking you have to tackle it all at once. 

One action at a time….get going.

New Year’s Resolution 101 – 7 Tips To Help You Get Fit

New Year’s Resolution 101 – 7 Tips To Help You Get Fit

First off, Happy New Year to you.  Thank  you for following me.  I know I don’t always post consistently (one of my goals for this year is to post more) so I appreciate your commitment, time and feedback.

The number one New Year’s Resolution is losing weight and/or getting fit, so I’ll focus on that.  We’re into week two!  I heard a stat that the average New Year’s Resolution lasts less than a month.  Instead of posting at the start of the year, I thought I’d post this at the start of week two….why?…..week two is crucial, maybe the most important week in starting a new habit, especially getting in better shape.  You’ve done well in week one, maybe fallen off the wagon a little bit over the weekend (that’s okay).  Now, you need to dig deep in week two.  If you can get through this week, you will be rolling.  In this post, I want to give you a few tips that have helped me.  

Let me start with a little bit about my experience with getting fit (or unfit).  They say in college that you gain the Freshman 15.  I, unfortunately, put on the freshman 25.  I did it in record time too!  I played soccer in the mid 90’s and our season ended in early November (weight 143 lbs).  By the time we weighed in around mid January, I tipped the scale at 168 lbs.  I know, you’re thinking how in the heck did I manage to do accomplish this.  For me, it was easy.  We didn’t practice at all, I didn’t workout once and I ate horribly (okay, I partied a little too much as well).  I’m one of those people that can put on weight really fast.  A week of no working out and eating below par and I add four or five pounds easily. The good news is that I can also take off weight fast. 

I think there’s also the holiday 20, if you’re not careful.  Fast forward to last year.  It was my first real Halloween with my 2 yr old son (at least where he was getting real candy).  If sweets are around, I’m in trouble.  It’s like they call my name.  I even would stay up after my wife went to bed to indulge.  Top that with the Holidays and I put on about 20 lbs.  I was my biggest last January – 192 lbs.  I was a bit disgusted with myself.  Fortunately, I found my gym that I still go to.  I’ve written about it before – it’s a crossfit gym (Crossfit New Albany outside of Columbus, OH).  It was exactly what I needed.  Even though I almost didn’t go back after my second workout b/c I could barely drive home (that’s what flipping a 350 lb tire will do to you – especially when you’re out of shape).  I talked myself into going and I still love it and look forward to every workout.  Couple with the new gym, I started a competition at work.  It consisted of weight loss as well as body fat loss.  We all put in $100 to make it worthwhile.  After the initial weigh in, we had a six-week weigh in and the final (after 12 weeks).  We all had to get tested via a Bod Pod, which I will go into more detail on below.  I was fortunate to stay disciplined and got down to about 176 lbs….and went from 25% body fat to 17.5%. 

This leads me to today.  I put some weight back on during the Holidays.  Thankfully, I’ve still been working out consistently, so I only put on a few lbs (not the 20 like last year).   I’m back into workout/eating for energy mode and I already feel so much better (physically, but more importantly, mentally/energy-wise).
Hopefully, you can take a nugget away from the following tips that have helped me.
My 7 Tips:

1)  Plan – First, your workouts – Keep a journal.  Plan exactly what you’re going to do for that day and for how long.  If you’re going to walk on a treadmill, write down that you will walk for 20 minutes.  Envision yourself doing this.  Don’t just write “20 minute walk.”  Write “I will walk for 20 minutes today.”  When you’re done, write how you feel in your journal.  Keep it simple.   Now, for your eating.  Use the same journal.  In the morning (or night before), write down what you’re going to eat.  Set a goal for how much water you’re going to drink.  Most say you should drink at least 60 ounces of water a day .  I shoot for 90.  Track this or you won’t hit your goal.  The same journal is the perfect place.  Here’s an example of mine:

o   Meal 1 – Breakfast – 3 Eggs with cheese, 2 slices of wheat toast with peanut butter (I’ve been following the zone diet, which essentially has you eat protein, carbs and fat with each meal). Eat within 30 minutes of waking up.  Try and eat before you drink coffee, as coffee will destroy your hunger.  This is a big thing for me.  I crave coffee first thing. 
**Note – I drink at least 10 ounces of water as soon as I wake up.  Then, at least 10 ounces with breakfast.  It’s a great start to your daily water consumption goal.
o   Meal 2 – Protein bar – be careful, most of these have a ton of sugar.  My favorite is the Think Thin bar.  Tastes pretty good and has very little sugar.
o   Meal 3 – Lunch – Turkey Sandwhich, Wheat bread, Avocado (avocado is a great source of good fat)
o   Meal 4 – Apple, String Cheese, Almonds (again, carb/protein/good fat)
o   Meal 5 – Dinner – Penne pasta with red sauce and ground turkey
o   Meal 6 – Protein shake before bed (Casein Protein is best at night b/c it digests slowly)
** Note – After breakfast, I believe meals two and five are the most important.  They’re smaller meals (i.e., snacks) and keep you from getting too hungry at other meals, therefore binge eating.  You will never feel too hungry or too full if you eat this way.  This is crucial to your success.

2)  Start Slowly – Don’t tell yourself you’re going to workout everyday or eat great every meal (workout at least 3 days/week to start).  I subscribe to the 80/20 rule (Pareto Principle)…if you eat well 80% of the time, you’re doing well (that’s about 5.5 good days of eating).  I try and eat 5 to 6 smaller meals a day….equates to approximately 30 good meals out of 35 for the week. Another way to look at this is to give yourself one day a week to indulge.  I’ve had success having one full cheat day.  So, I eat well Sunday-Friday, then let myself go on Saturdays.  I eat anything I want.  This does two things – one, it satisfies all those cravings so you’ll be okay for the following week, and, two, it actually helps with weight loss b/c it shocks your body (this is anecdotal, of course).  You may gain a couple pounds that day, but once you eat well the next day and hit the gym, you’ll be amazed that you’ll most likely be under the weight you were (before your cheat day).  Again, planning is key here.

·           3)  Get into a competition – Money is a good incentive….this will hold your accountable.  You have to post your results.  It became a great team building project as well b/c we were having so much fun doing it.  Results are what matter and 90% of the competitors did great.  Of course, trash talking and sabotage was encouraged : )
·          
M    4)  Make it official – If you don’t want to do a competition, get an official measurement…I mentioned the bod pod above…it ranges in price from around $50 if you do it once.  If you buy a package you can always negotiate (I got mine for $18 a piece, as I bought five).  You can find more about what this about and where to get tested near you at the Bodpod site…if you don’t have a location near you or you don’t want to pay for it, you can get calipers or get a different measurement – a lot of gyms have automated ways they do this.
·           5)  Set goals – Make it specific.  Not “I will lose weight”, but “I will lose 5 lbs by Sunday, 10 lbs by week six and 20 lbs by week 12.”  If you’re lifting weights then don’t be alarmed if you don’t lose as much weight.  Building muscle will add weight to your results.  However, your body fat will go down.  This is why I feel body fat is the best metric.  
·           6)  Take a picture of yourself that you can compare to a future picture.  I did this a couple of years ago when I did Body For Life and I can’t tell you how motivating it was.  From the first picture (which I hated, of course), to the four week picture – where I saw great results and gained more incentive to keep going.  More great results in week eight, and of course, at the end (week 12).  I still look at the before and after and it still is cool to see.
·           7)  Tell others what you’re doing.  This will keep you accountable.  No one likes to fail and the more people you tell, the more accountable you’ll keep yourself.  In week six when someone asks you how it’s going, do you really want to tell them that you gave up?  Didn’t thinks so.  Don’t underestimate the power of this.

SS   

      Some good resources that may help:

Workouts:

  • Crossfit – As I said, this is what I do.  I’m so glad I found this.  I don’t think there’s a better workout out there, bar none.  It’s a mix of functional body weight training, strength training and cardio.  You’ll workout with a team, with a trainer, you’ll compete and you’ll have fun the whole time.  Is it challenging….Yes!  But, isn’t that what we’re all looking for?  Everything is modified for your level, so don’t worry about starting from scratch.  If you’re interested, just type in Crossfit and where your live into Google.  Most metro areas have a few gyms now.  Watch this Video to learn more about CrossfitYou can watch me getting crushed in my workout yesterday here.  This was me doing what’s called “Man-Makers” (25 of them) after our “official” workout was done.  If you live in Columbus, OH, there’s no better place to workout than my gym, Crossfit New Albany.  It will change your life and I’m not kidding.  Check it out here.
  • Body For Life – Bill Phillips, the guy who started EAS, wrote this over ten years ago.  A twelve week eating and workout program.  Pretty standard workouts.  Easy to follow.  Great journal that goes a long with it.  I’ve done this in the past and you’ll get great results (although anything you can do for twelve weeks consistently will get you results).  Big on before and after pictures, which is great motivation.  Learn more about Body For Life here.
  • P90x – The big craze now.  I haven’t done the whole thing, but I’ve done some of the workouts.  Very intense and fun.  My brother has been following this for over two years and is in the best shape of his life.  The initial program is around three months. It’s a little over $100 for the dvd’s and you can do this in the comfort of your home with some minor purchases.  Learn more about P90x Here
  • Core Performance – The writer, Mark Verstegen, is known as the go to guy for professional athletes looking to perform better in their particular sport.  You’ll hear a lot about him during NFL Combine time, as potential draftees go to his gyms to hone their strength, speed, etc as they prepare for the NFL draft.  The focus here is on functional training for whatever it is you’re trying to get better at.  As the title says, much focus on your core, which is the cornerstone to any strong body.  Learn more about Core Peformance here.

Eating Plans

  • Eat Clean Diet – Focuses on eating natural foods without preservatives.  My wife follows this and has been for a couple years.  She’s in the best shape of her life….she has great discipline when it comes to eating (I wish I was more like here).  At least I get the benefits when she cooks for me : ) Learn more about The Eat Clean Diet here
  • Zone Diet – Essentially a mix of protein, carbs and fat that you eat at every meal.  Consists of approximately six meals a day.  This varies on what your goals are. Learn more about the Zone Diet here
  • Eating For Life – The supplement to Body For Life.  I followed this religiously when I did this twelve week program.  It’s so simple to follow and believe it or not, you can make some really tasty meals.  Learn more about Eating for Life here
  •  4-Hour Body – Tim Ferriss, the author of 4-Hour Workweek, just released this about a month ago.  It’s Number One on the NY Times Bestseller list.  Tim is a master at hacking stuff.  Anything from productivity, to reading, to travel.  And now, the human body.  A ton of useful information in this book.   Learn more about the 4-Hour Body here

Best of luck.  Feel free to post any good tips you have.  Of course, questions are always welcome.  Happy New Year to  you all!

Engage in Physical Activity and Gain "The Edge"

It’s funny how you forget what it’s like to have an invigorating workout. I recently joined a gym that specializes in CrossFit, which is a functional based training method. It focuses on full body movements and a more competitive routine. Lots of challenges for times and reps. I’ve been going to a normal gym ever since I graduated from college, where I played soccer. After growing up playing a sport at a fairly high level and training or playing six days a week, you get used to the daily challenge and routine. It’s been 12 years since my playing days and this has been a struggle when it comes to finding a training method that works, is challenging and, best of all, rewarding.

It’s totally random how I found this gym. I was at one of those bouncy places over the weekend for a friend of my 2-year old’s birthday party. My wife and I were talking to the mom of the birthday girl about a contest I’m in at work (12 weeks to see who can lose the most Body Fat % and Weight) and she introduced me to a dad of another child that was there. Turns out, this guy owns this gym about 2 miles from my house and he proceeded to tell me about the CrossFit method. I was hooked even before he finished.

They make you go through four sessions with a trainer to make sure you have the form down for various exercises (squats, pull ups, etc). I’m learning that the other purpose of this is to take you through their WOD’s (Workout of the Day) and see if you can hack it. No joke, these have been the hardest workouts of my life. One was 10 minutes (as many sets as you can get – 10 air squats, 8 situps, 6 kettle bells, 4 pushups, 2 burpees). I thought I was going to pass out after about 3 minutes. Not sure how I finished. Little did I know the next day I’d have to be pushing a tire over and over (yep, kind of like the strongest man contests you see on ESPN!). I can’t stress how hard this was (especially after doing other exercises). The concept is essentially pushing yourself to your limit and then teaching your body to push through, all the while giving you a full body workout.

So, what’s my point. We all know that physical activity is important, both for physical and mental reasons (I tend to think the psychological is a greater benefit). The challenge is that it’s very hard to stay disciplined and to push yourself to workout consistently. I believe working out is the most important ritual you can do each day that will permeate throughout all of your other dealings. From work, to energy, to family engagement, to providing an incentive to eat well. I like to call it “The Edge.” It doesn’t matter what kind of method you use, just break a sweat and do it consistently. I guarantee you will see the benefits in all facets of life.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What works for you? How has working out consistently helped you achieve your goals? Anyone out there tried CrossFit?

Be well,
Jon

Engage in Physical Activity and Gain “The Edge”

It’s funny how you forget what it’s like to have an invigorating workout. I recently joined a gym that specializes in CrossFit, which is a functional based training method. It focuses on full body movements and a more competitive routine. Lots of challenges for times and reps. I’ve been going to a normal gym ever since I graduated from college, where I played soccer. After growing up playing a sport at a fairly high level and training or playing six days a week, you get used to the daily challenge and routine. It’s been 12 years since my playing days and this has been a struggle when it comes to finding a training method that works, is challenging and, best of all, rewarding.

It’s totally random how I found this gym. I was at one of those bouncy places over the weekend for a friend of my 2-year old’s birthday party. My wife and I were talking to the mom of the birthday girl about a contest I’m in at work (12 weeks to see who can lose the most Body Fat % and Weight) and she introduced me to a dad of another child that was there. Turns out, this guy owns this gym about 2 miles from my house and he proceeded to tell me about the CrossFit method. I was hooked even before he finished.

They make you go through four sessions with a trainer to make sure you have the form down for various exercises (squats, pull ups, etc). I’m learning that the other purpose of this is to take you through their WOD’s (Workout of the Day) and see if you can hack it. No joke, these have been the hardest workouts of my life. One was 10 minutes (as many sets as you can get – 10 air squats, 8 situps, 6 kettle bells, 4 pushups, 2 burpees). I thought I was going to pass out after about 3 minutes. Not sure how I finished. Little did I know the next day I’d have to be pushing a tire over and over (yep, kind of like the strongest man contests you see on ESPN!). I can’t stress how hard this was (especially after doing other exercises). The concept is essentially pushing yourself to your limit and then teaching your body to push through, all the while giving you a full body workout.

So, what’s my point. We all know that physical activity is important, both for physical and mental reasons (I tend to think the psychological is a greater benefit). The challenge is that it’s very hard to stay disciplined and to push yourself to workout consistently. I believe working out is the most important ritual you can do each day that will permeate throughout all of your other dealings. From work, to energy, to family engagement, to providing an incentive to eat well. I like to call it “The Edge.” It doesn’t matter what kind of method you use, just break a sweat and do it consistently. I guarantee you will see the benefits in all facets of life.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What works for you? How has working out consistently helped you achieve your goals? Anyone out there tried CrossFit?

Be well,
Jon