Ever wonder why people feel compelled to push for more? Why people obsess with chasing something seemingly impossible? Why few try so hard?
Let’s start by defining a goal. Webster’s defines a goal as the object of a person’s ambition or effort. But I don’t think this is an accurate depiction.
Goal: the object of a person’s ambition or effort
Ever since I can remember, I had goals. Without even knowing the definition of goal, or having an adult explanation, I knew. In kindergarten when anybody asked me that predictable question. “What do you want to be when you grow up little Tony?”
I looked the giant humans straight in the eyes and responded,
“I want to be President of the United States.”
Please forgive my innocence. I obviously didn’t know better (I was five.) I thought of the highest goal imaginable and I set my mark. I wanted to achieve something noteworthy. My upbringing was less than spectacular, and I didn’t know it yet, but dreaming proved instrumental in any achievement.
Struggle became quite familiar. Our broken family crippled by financial problems. I would close my little eyes and imagine a better life. A life where my mom didn’t need food stamps, a life where we didn’t need to ride the bus, and a life where Santa didn’t skip our house.
It killed me to watch my mom struggle. I asked the giant humans for help. The adults preached education. But, I didn’t need an education, I needed rent money. The giants explained education would earn a scholarship to graduate from college, get a job, and then get money. And then get money. It seemed so long, but okay. I figured if I went to school every day, this would help my goal of graduating college. My very first goal was set: perfect attendance.
As I stood receiving my first award for perfect attendance from kindergarten to eighth grade, I remember my pride. I stood 10 feet tall that day. Every year Jack in the Box would give the perfect attendance recepients a coupon for a meal (a brilliantly sly marketing move.) It was the only time I could afford Jack in the Box. I felt like I needed the finest silverware for my cheeseburger combo. I sat like a young prince, ready to eat my well-earned meal.
Over the years, my goals evolved. Graduate college, move out of the hood, help my mom, and start my own company. I’m proud to say, Total Body Project has helped hundreds enhance their lives. Our recent goals consist of our first fitness device, a new personal training course, and a new pregnancy book.
But life is meant to be abundant. Goals must be both professional and personal. Enter the Ironman Triathlon. Most of you are aware of my ability to make drowning look like swimming. The invisible pools in the hood forged my swim stroke to look identical to Michael Phelp’s…puppy.
After I almost drowned in a 47-minute half-mile ocean swim. The Ironman Triathlon (2.4 miles of swimming, followed by 112 of biking and then a 26.2-mile run) seemed like a logical choice. When I told people about this goal, some laughed. But laughing at my goals doesn’t anger me, it inspires me. Laughter represents the right direction for my goals. They laughed when I started my own company. People questioned my reason for leaving engineering. Others are surprised when they learn of my Economics degree. Some even asked who wrote my books. When people laugh, I know I’m on the right track.
Even when I told Robert, my best friend, after we tanked the marathon at Long Beach. “Hey next year, I think we can run under 3 hours and qualify for Boston.” He thought I was delirious.
In 2016, Robert and I crossed the Boston Marathon with my biggest laugh yet.
For the past 6 years, I’ve worked tirelessly for my yearly Ironman competition. With only one goal in mind: qualification to the World Championships in Kona. I’ve recorded hundreds of hours of workouts, runs, swim drills, and cycling. I’ve watched my sleep, scrutinized my diet and did everything imaginable in preparation.
In one word, the Ironman is brutal. Six times I have stepped to the start line, and six times I got smashed by a train. Last year at Ironman Santa Rosa, I had the best Ironman to date. I had a poor swim, deciding to change my swim style slowed me down. I turned in my best bike leg ever and completed the marathon under 4 hours.
And I finished in … 37th place?
Nobody talks about 37th place. I needed one of the top 3 spots. I needed to be 2 hours faster. Two hours faster? I’ve worked as hard as I could, and I still need two hours?
As I threw up in the medical tent, after my best performance to date. I thought about quitting. It broke my heart. Maybe this goal is too much. Maybe I’m not meant to be at the start line in Kona. Maybe this dream is too big.
Maybe this is exactly what I need.
A goal so big, so big, that reaching it would yield incredible fulfillment. A goal so big, it requires not hours, not days, not months, but years. Years committed to bettering myself.
This is exactly what I need.
This Sunday I take another step as I compete in Puerto Rico in a Half-Ironman event.
1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, 13.1 mile run all under 5 hours.
If everything goes right, it will be the toughest and most rewarding 5 hours ever.
If everything goes right…
In response to Webster’s, goals are the driving force delivering passion to our lives. Without goals, you cannot have passion. Without passion, life is not worth living.
Without passion, life is not worth living.
I know my goal. Do you know yours?
Happy New Year Everyone!
Today is Day 1. The first day of a new beginning. The day that, wait, are you hungover? If you are, it’s probably best you read this tomorrow, or the next day. But for everyone else, welcome to a clean slate. And with every new year comes new goals. Maybe your goal is to quit smoking, earn that promotion, close that big deal, listen to what she says… even if you’re tired… and have work… so she doesn’t get upset and then you can spend the weekend with your friends without any judgement. You know, the normal resolutions we ALL have.
Day 1 for most of us means we begin the road to weight loss. Losing weight can be tough, but thankfully many of us were gifted the tools of success during the holidays: a new gym membership, a yoga mat, some dumbbells, or even a fancy elliptical machine that is currently… still in the box, waiting to be assembled. And while our ambitions are at an all time high, they’ll soon fall if we’re not properly equipped. Not just with tools but the RIGHT tools for success.
Losing weight is like a marathon. We are all on the start line right now. We know the finish line, but our nerves are on high alert. If we don’t pace ourselves, we will give up and fail. Trust me, I know this all too well. At the start line of every marathon, my training partner Tony and I, always had a plan. I would repeat this plan over and over again.
“Remember Robert, take it easy in the beginning, get a rhythm, and then set your pace. You got this!”
The race starts and the plan goes straight out the window. I dart down the course as if I’m being chased by a pack of wild dogs. I can’t tell you how many times Tony has caught up to me and reminded me of our trusted plan.
I always let the start line excitement get the best of me. Unfortunately, that’s how most of us are with weight loss. We sprint like a madman, and then must be pulled back to reality. Our minds know what to do, but once the gun goes off, logic disappears. We’ve all done it. We’ve started 90-day workout programs with a strict diet, only to give up after 7 days, if that. We’ve meal prepped for an entire week, only to throw away most of the food by weeks end. We take off sprinting and forget we still have 26.2 miles to go.
Quick shameless TBP plug. Starting off too fast isn’t the only fitness fail people make during the new year. If you haven’t already, check out TBP’s animated video on fitness fails. It’s hilarious and oh so true!
But just because we aren’t sprinting doesn’t make it easier. We still need the right tools to get us to the finish line. I’m getting tired of these marathon metaphors, but last one, I promise. The tools below are the ones you need before the race even begins. And without them, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s called the MAD PLAN.
These are the three most important tools needed to successfully lose weight. Simple, direct, to the point. But much like that elliptical machine still waiting to be assembled, many of us will leave these tools in our box waiting to be assembled.
Number one is MOTIVATION:
Why the hell are you doing this?
Really ask yourself this question. What’s motivating you? What’s going to make you get up early, or stay up late and put in the work? Don’t give me the BS excuse of: I just want to be healthy? No you don’t. There’s something else driving you. All of our motivations are different. Maybe you want to look sexy in that dress that doesn’t fit. Maybe you’re sick of asking yourself, “Does this make me look fat?”
Maybe you just don’t want to be a 232 pound fatty that is being made fun of because his suit is too tight at the wedding of your close friend who hasn’t seen you in a few years and comments about the fact that you can’t button your suit. Yup, that’s me! Look at those chipmunk cheeks.
Whatever your motivation may be, it must be deep enough to inspire you to not give up. Find your BIGGER BURN.
Number two is ACCOUNTABILITY:
Nobody can climb Mt. Everest alone. We need Sherpas, a team of other climbers and a crew at base camp telling us about the storms coming ahead. See, I told you no more marathon metaphors Losing weight is the Mt. Everest of FAT. We can’t do it alone! I repeat, we cannot do it alone. Once you have found your MOTIVATION, it is imperative we have a few people who are apart of our Accountability Alliance. These are people who will hold your feet to the fire when times get tough. When you want that pizza slice, who’s going encourage you to make a better choice? When you want to go out for beers, who’s going to remind you about that 232 pound fatty that… You get my point. It can be a friend, a family member, or more importantly, your significant other. If your partner is not on board, your weight loss success diminishes. The reason why TBP clients are successful is because we hold our clients accountable, weigh-ins, measurements, pictures. It allows us to gauge our success in short periods of time, in order to reach our long term goals. Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint. The stronger your alliance, the higher likelihood of success.
Number 3 is DISCIPLINE:
Making the correct decision, even when you don’t want to. Easy peezy! YEAH Freaking right! We’re bound to slip up. Sunday brunch? Happy hour? We will fail, because if it was easy, everyone would be a Victoria Secret model (My dream, not yours!). We won’t be perfect all the time, but we have to listen to that little voice inside our head. You know the one. That voice that creeps up and says don’t do it when you’re driving home and you’re a little hungry. You have everything you need for a perfectly good sandwich waiting for you, but you inexplicably pull into an In-N-Out drive thru, and order a triple-triple (yes those exists), with animal fries, then pay, while asking for a box with a lid to keep everything warm (I knew it was a problem when the cashier knew me by name). That voice has to be your guiding light. It can be trained to be powerful armed with the right Motivation and supported by strong Accountability Alliance. Your little voice can take over your choices and automate decision making. Discipline is about limiting the decisions taking us away from our goal, and maximizing the decisions moving us towards our goal.
If you’re still reading, first off, thank you. Secondly, your hangover is definitely gone. But more importantly, it means what you’ve read makes at least a little sense. You’ve found your true motivation and have people in mind for your Accountability Alliance. You even promised yourself to try harder to listen to your little voice. What I’m about to ask of you next requires you take a leap of faith with me. And you can’t laugh. Ok, you can laugh but you have to keep an open mind. Deal?
I need you to fill out a workbook. And not just any workbook but the Master Trainer, Tony Arreolaâ€™s Secrets of the Skinny workbook. Go ahead, finish laughing, I’ll wait. Before you brush this off, we’ve used this workbook as homework for our individual personal training clients and it really works. Trust me, when Tony first sent it to me I was a skeptic. But it works because it teaches the secrets you need to master before you even step foot into a gym.
Are you still with me? I told you I needed you to take a leap of faith. If this all sounds silly, it’s probably because you have been taken advantage of in the past. The fitness industry has tricked you into believing you can lose, 10 pounds in 10 days. Juice cleanses that jumpstart your metabolism. Or the top 5 fat burning exercises. As a member of the fitness industry, I’m sorry we lied to you, and this workbook is our mea culpa.
If you have failed to lose weight in the past, it wasn’t because of lack of effort. You were setup for failure because you weren’t equipped with the right tools. Now you have them. Use them and more importantly learn from the mistakes I, and countless other have made to make your weight loss journey as easy as possible. Take that leap of faith. If I can do it, so can you! Cheers to you and your fitness success!
NASM CPT, WLS, BCS