Showing posts from January, 2015

Change Happens Best Slowly and Steadily Over Time

"Habit change works best in small sustainable shifts over time."

I heard Rich Roll say this on a podcast and it reminded me of something I wrote about earlier this week called "the aggregation of marginal gains." The point of the post was to highlight how improving just 1% of everything you do can add up to some pretty incredible things. A bunch of small changes spread out and added up over a large area can lead to dramatic gains.

I'm the type of person that when I find something I'm interested in I jump in 100% with both feet. There is a lot of good that can come from this. When I get excited about something I'm on board and I learn everything I can. My wife can always tell what I'm currently passionate about because I get obsessed with it. The problem is real lasting change isn't the result of a new obsession. The downside of my obsession is that once the passion fades it fades fast and suddenly my interest is gone.

Lasting change comes from ma…

Small Improvements Lead to Big Change

Yesterday I preached a sermon at Main Street Moravian Church based onLuke 21:1-4, the story of the poor widow who gave an offering of all she had, which was only two copper coins. 
My goal was to encourage the small church to be faithful in the role God has called them to, even if it only seems like all they have to give is two copper coins.

In my sermon I shared the story of David Brailsford. I first came across the story of Brailsford’s work in a great book I’m reading called Faster, Higher, Stronger. Brailsford was brought on in 2010 as the General Manager and Performance Director for Team Sky (Great Britain’s professional cycling team). It was a difficult positon to be in. No British cyclist has ever won the Tour de France and Brailsford’s job was to change that.

Here’s the cool part. Instead of going with all the training programs and mindsets of the past (which had not produced satisfactory results) Brailsford brought in a new strategy which he referred to as “the aggregation of …

The Importance of a Corner Man

Remember the movie Rocky? In the first Rocky movie, Rocky Balboa was a brand new fighter who didn’t know the ins and outs of what it took to be a champion in the ring. He needed someone who had been there before, someone who knew the strategies for success. Rocky needed a corner man who could inspire him, guide him, instruct him, challenge him, correct him, and push him to heights Rocky never could have imagined himself reaching. And fortunately for Rocky he found one of the best corner men there ever was. An tough as nails old dude named Mickey.
I listened to a podcast last week and the speaker was talking about the importance of having a corner man. 
Having a corner man is something that resonated with me as I thought about my last six months of pursuing greater health and fitness.
There has been multiple moments during the journey that I have wished I had someone behind me advising me, pushing me, stopping me from going too hard, and instructing me on what my next best steps shoul…

Don't Take The Easy Way

I noticed something in my pursuit of optimal eating and health. Whenever I cheat on my diet plans or skip a work-out my willpower is weaker the next time I am tempted. The good news is that the flip side is also true. When I am mentally tough enough to stick to the program and overcome all my internal excuses I get stronger and more hardened in my resolve to keep pressing forward. Not only that, but I feel great because I made the right choice and I get to enjoy the benefits that come from doing what is best for me. This is a principle that crosses over into all areas of life.

Doing the right thing almost never means doing the easier thing.

There is something inside us humans that is always looking for the easy way out, the path of least resistance. We look for short-cuts, quick fixes and 'hacks' of all sorts that will make us feel good without having to put in the work.

I see this happening a lot in churches with Sunday service attendance, small groups and devotional practice…

Get Better Through Healthy Fear, the Right Focus and Healthy Recovery

I listened to a fantastic conversation yesterday on the Fat Burning Man podcast (link) while I was driving in to work. 
The man being interviewed was Dr. Jeff Spencer (check out his website). Dr. Spencer is an Olympian who earned degrees in health and wellness, and has worked with successful athletes, business people and leaders since retiring from his professional athletic career, His passion is helping people achieve peak performance and reach the highest levels they can in whatever goals they are pursing. He has developed what he calls The Champions Blueprint (link), which breaks down the things champions do and helps people understand what they can do to become champions.
"As a former Olympian, team member of eight Tours de France, renowned chiropractor, international lecturer, and “life coach to the stars,” Dr. Spencer knows what it takes to overcome obstacles, create and execute plans, and achieve greatness." (see more at Abel James, Fat Burning Man)
The entire podcast …

Why Skipping Sleep is Bad for You

Read a fantastic article (Sleep Deprivation is Killing You and Your Career) about the importance of sleep for top performance and the optimization of your health. I was glad to see that many of the behaviors I'm changing in 2015 are in line with the recommendations in this article.

Here are a few things that stood out to me as I read.

According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, the short-term productivity gains from skipping sleep to work are quickly washed away by the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on your mood, ability to focus, and access to higher-level brain functions for days to come.

When you sleep less you eat more and have more difficulty burning the calories you consume. Sleep deprivation makes you hungrier by increasing the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin and makes it harder for you to get full by reducing levels of the satiety-inducing hormone leptin. (
Plus you're more tempted to eat junky, nutrient poor foods when you&#…

5 Steps Towards Healthy Living

Since I began my journey towards better health and greater optimization of my body I have reviewed lots of information related to food, diet and exercise. There is so much information out there that it can be a little confusing to figure out who to listen to and what advice to take. 
My sister recently blogged about how overwhelming it has been for her to move back to the United States from Guatemala and to be faced with the barrage of input and opinion about what health looks like. I find it very sad that as a country producing so many health "experts" we Americans continue to be so obese and sick. I don't want to be a part of that group anymore.
The more I dive into this the more I am discovering these five things to be true when it comes to health, food and physical optimazation. 
1) You have to be your own advocate.
Do you realize that most of the culture around you does not want you to be healthy and fit? Food companies definitely don't; they want you to eat their…

No Change, No Change.

Read this last night. Great applications for sports, health, business, church and other life ventures.

"All of us, from elite athletes and teams to weekend warriors, can become stuck in our ways and thinking, and we can find ourselves falling behind competitors who are more nimble, more willing to experiment, and more comfortable with pushing boundaries."

- Faster, Higher, Strong by Mark McClusky

Ironically I was part of a lunch conversation yesterday where this very thing was being discussed. We were talking about the importance of growing our business by being willing to experience change. Our CEO was talking about how critical it is to try new things, evaluate their effectiveness and then make adjustments as necessary. He challenged those of us at the table to be temporarily uncomfortable for the sake of improvement, efficiency, optimization and growth.

It is a pretty common saying which goes, "Keep going what you are doing and you'll keep getting the results yo…

Resolution: Get Better Sleep

Now is the time of year when everyone is thinking about their New Year’s resolutions. I don’t have a specific list written out, but I do have a bunch of things I’m thinking about. I have some behaviors that I am specifically trying to implement in 2015. To organize this I like to think about different buckets in my life, and I put my resolutions into each of them. Some buckets I have identified are self, family, heath, spirituality, and experiences.

One of the resolutions going in the “health” bucket is getting more sleep.
Let me begin by saying that I have always hated sleep. Hated it. The thought of going to bed and spending 7-9 hours doing ‘nothing’ used to be completely repelling to me. I would argue with people all the time about what a waste is was to sleep. Life is so short I didn’t want to voluntarily give up any of it to just lay around.
What I’ve come to recognize, however, is that I was looking at it all wrong. I didn’t see how sleeping would actually enhance the rest of th…

Rejoice in Being Chosen by God

To be a Christian means not only was my existence known by God, but a mark was put on my life from forever ago that I would be chosen to be loved as a child in his family. That is the foreknowledge Paul is talking about here (in Romans 8:28-30) - to be foreknown by God doesn’t just me he knows your coming. Rather to be foreknown by God means you have been chosen by Him. Both the OT prophet Jeremiah and the NT pastor Paul write about how they were specially chosen by God to accomplish His purposes before they were ever born.

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations"

Galatians 1:15 "But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me,"

The idea of God choosing someone makes more sense when you know this. The Bible talks about God knowing in 2 ways: 1) God knows all people and all things, (what is known as…

Make Someone Feel Good Today

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Maya Angelou

Pushing Beyond Exhaustion to New Strength

"Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction."

- William James, quoted in "Born to Run" (Christopher McDougall)

The Connection Between Love and Running; Sex and Speed

"Vigil couldn't quite put his finger on in, but his gut kept telling him that there was some kind of connection between the capacity to love and the capacity to love running. The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you got, being patient and forgiving and undemanding. Sex and speed --- haven't they been symbiotic for most of our existence, as intertwined as the strands of our DNA? We wouldn't be alive without love; we wouldn't have survived without running; maybe we shouldn't be surprised that getting better at one could make you better at the other."

- "Born to Run" (Christopher McDougall)