Updated: 11/10/2018

New York, New York

New York Marathon Vision Board

An iconic setting, an epic moment and the vision of my dreams.

I’ve been dreaming about qualifying for the New York Marathon for years.

To qualify for New York, I need a time, a really fast time. A time my legs have never done.

Like all my big dreams, I first write the goal in my journal.

I force myself to believe I can succeed.

It’s not always easy, sometimes I don’t believe myself. Okay, most times I don’t believe myself.

The beautiful part is at some point, through hard work,  I DO BELIEVE myself.

“The body can only go, where the mind has been.”

 

My first qualification attempt took place at the Boston Marathon in 2016. Boston’s euphoric event amazed me. I understood why this race was every runner’s dream. Robert and I worked for years to qualify. After hundreds of hours of training, and 2 qualifying attempts. We finally qualified in at the Long Beach Marathon in 2015.

We broke the coveted 3 hour mark. Coming in at 2:59.

 

 

It was a chilly, sweet morning in Boston. Robert and I boarded the bus to the start line accompanied with the world’s greatest runners. Everybody looked fast. Mind you, Robert and I finished the Long Beach Marathon 19th and 22nd out of 3,300.

I felt nervous. I felt excited. I felt ready. We wore the coveted red bib. The fastest bib Wave #1.

“I set the race target: 2:53

The time needed to punch a ticket to the World’s Fastest Marathon, the New York Marathon.

The crowds erupted as the race began. The nervousness was gone. The fastest march to the finish line began.  Robert and I were swallowed by the sea of runners. Besides the sheer number of people, I was surprised by the speed of the runners. Surely this will clear out, I thought. Everybody can’t run at this pace.

But they did.

Mile after mile after mile.

6:25, 6:18, 6:20…

No, matter how fast I ran. I couldn’t pass anyone. Everybody was fast, lightning fast.

I was supposed to be the fast one.

I’ll be honest, I get this weird feeling, whenever someone runs at my pace. Like I’m drowning. Like I can’t maintain the pace. Like I’m not good enough. You see, I’m not a runner, I played basketball and baseball in high school. So running with the world’s elite, I felt like an impostor. Everybody at that level, including Robert, ran track or cross-country. I lifted weights. I wished we we’re lifting weights that day.

Imagine if someone tied you to a car and drove off.  You hang on for dear life, running at speeds your legs weren’t designed to handle. That’s how I felt that day, and then I cracked.

I felt like I got hit by a truck. My legs ached so much. The pace was ridiculous. The runners speeding by me, adding salt to my fresh wound.

By mile 13, I knew there would be no NY Qualification. Heck, there might be no finish. Robert was nowhere to be found. He dropped before I did. I decided to wait for Robbie D.

“To either suffer or celebrate together. We did both.”

We gave painful high-fives to the thousands cheering.

Boston became the celebration for years of effort.

As we turned in Boylston’s street.

The finish line neared closer. Robert and I embraced.

 

“We did it!”

Well almost…

3:37?

Not exactly the 2:52 we aimed for.

I set many goals that seem impossible. They can overwhelm me. Whether they be business, personal or life goals. I set them as big as possible. Then I go out there and fail.
I fail again and again.
Failing never feels good. But failing is a prerequisite for success. There was no  NY qualification in Boston, but I vowed to try again.

Then the injuries began…

“The unimaginable happened. During a comfortable 40-mile bike and six-mile run, I felt my calf pull.
I shut down my run immediately. Uber to the rescue. I was crushed.
For a moment.

Then I realized all the blessings in my life. I would recover, and if I didn’t I would be okay.
I focused on different workouts, nutrition, flexibility and promised myself I would control what I could.”   -June 2017

 

One year went by.

 

“Not all stories have happy endings. In life, sometimes the hero doesn’t win.
I worked all year for a chance to qualify for the New York Marathon. Mile repeats, sprints, Ironmans, hundreds of hours of training.

I suffered a fluke calf strain back in June. I rested, I healed, and I completed my best Ironman to date.
2017 was supposed to be the year I qualified.
Today, I woke up excited. My calf felt great. But at 1.5 miles, the pain returned. I instantly realized New York 2018 was out.

As I ran in pain, I knew this would be my last sad mile of 2017.
I share this, not for you to feel sorry for me. I share this because sometimes people wonder why I work so hard? Why I try so hard? Why I get up so early on a Sunday?

I try so hard because I’m deathly afraid of failing. Failing at anything. Failure scares the sh#t out of me.
I’ve failed more times than anyone will ever know. And it always hurts. Always.
As many times, as I’ve failed. I’ve always found a way to pick myself up. Never give up on your dreams. In life, in sport, in business. Never give up.

Sorry, New York. I’ll have to wait another year.”  -November 2017

 

Two years went by.

But my New York dream never relinquished.

When injuries happen. When accidents happen. When life doesn’t go your way.
It’s easy to be sad.
I’m working my tail off and nothing?

This freaking sucks, life isn’t fair.
But wait…
Life was never supposed to be fair.
Life doesn’t care.
Life relies solely on your attitude.
Life is what you make it.
Life is what you do.
Life is how you respond.
Life is what happens when you get knocked down.
Life happens when you get up.

I trained, I trained not only the body but the mind. I know what needs to happen to qualify for New York. I know it’s a two-year goal. I know, I need to run faster than ever. I know, I know, I know!

For the past year (when I wasn’t hurt.)

  • I did speed work (fastest mile: 5:07.)
  • I did half-marathon work (ran 5 in practice.)
  • I worked on my cardio through the bike and swim.
  • I lost weight (I’m 5 pounds less than my fittest weight ever.)
  • And I added my secret weapon:

Breaking Two’s Turbo Pegasus coupled with yellow laces.

My generation’s PF Flyers

Guaranteed to make every kid run faster and jump higher.

The body can only do what the mind believes.
My body is ready.

The mind is ready.
The time has come to punch my ticket to New York.

The Long Beach Marathon is here. Oct 7, 2018

Goal needed to qualify for New York:

13.1 miles <1:25  Pace: 6:25/mile

 

 

 

 

Things go exactly as planned…

“My saddest finish line ever. I did everything right. The weather was perfect. The course flat. The training complete. I just didn’t have it.
The goal 1:24:59 for 13.1 Qualify for NY.
It was going great. No injuries, minor cramping on mile 6, but no big deal.
I beat a huge hurdle at mile 7. I fought and held up.
My pace was still there.
3 more miles and then the turn to the finish line.
I had a choice. If I pushed, I would be close. If I pushed, I had a chance. If I pushed, I could blow up.
Only one real choice, push.

Boom!

I blew up and I was walking.
There would be no qualification today.
In fact, it ended up being my worst half ever.
I crossed the finish line, filled with sadness.
But the pity party will only last a few more hours.

Then it will be time to get up, reassess and do what I believe in my heart is possible.”  -October 2018

 

“What happened? What went wrong?”

I had no idea what happened. I went to the restroom, and then the answer literally came out, bright yellow.

Yellow Pee?

I replayed my water stations:

mile 2: skipped

mile 4: dropped cup

mile 6: missed station

mile 8: done

Rookie mistake, hydration. A tip so basic, something I always cover with my clients, water?

Nevertheless, I would learn my painful lesson.

  • I added low heart rate training (new insight from my NASM Optima Conference)
  • I added tempo runs.
  • I read more (brain power.)
  • I ran the Temecula Half Marathon and practiced drinking water from cups at race pace.
  • I competed in an Olympic Triathon and practiced drinking water from cups at race pace.
  • I found another race: 

The Silver Strand Half Marathon

Coronado, CA Nov 11, 2018

Goal needed to qualify for New York:

13.1 miles <1:25  Pace: 6:25/mile

Here’s the link to track my race: https://register.chronotrack.com/event/tracking/eventID/45521

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently” -Henry Ford

The time has come to embrace the pain. Come on little legs, don’t fail me now.

Tony Arreola

Runner

Author, “Get Me Medals”

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.

Before you start, make sure you know what to do. Take our Fat Loss Quiz to know if, you know the right stuff.

 

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 Arreola’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!

 

Robert Diaz

 

NASM CPT, WLS, BCS

Are you ready to get skinny?

Take the quiz to find out.

What you don’t know, can hurt you.

Starting a new fitness program can be exciting. But please make sure you avoid these classic rookie mistakes.

1. Don’t exercise too hard.
We’ve all seen that person doing every exercise they’ve ever known. Don’t be that guy.
2. Don’t exercise for more than one hour.
An hour is the maximum time for your first time back. Heck that’s more than some people do in a month.
3. Don’t think you’re going to get in shape today. You’re not. No one has… ever.
4. Don’t set overly aggressive goals. Lose ten pounds in ten days? Doesn’t happen. And your friend that “did,” is probably still fat.
5. Don’t do celebrity workouts. celebrities are people, not fitness experts. some aren’t too bright.
6. Don’t do two-a-days. You know the old adage, “I’ll go double tomorrow.” No you won’t, you barely went single today.
7. Don’t buy new equipment. You won’t use it. Build habits first, and then invest in equipment.
8. Don’t forget your towel. Nobody likes wiping others sweat. Yuck.
9. Don’t stare at people at the gym. It’s creepy. You know who you are.
10. Don’t stop to take the perfect selfie. It’s awkward for everyone.
11. Don’t hog the equipment. It’s not yours, you don’t own it. Sharing is caring.
12. Don’ t starve yourself. Cleanses, ridiculously low calories, and fasting causes havoc.
13. Don’t weigh yourself after every workout. You can’t lose fat after a workout. You can lose water, but that’s not the same. Fat loss takes time.
14. Don’t workout when you’re sore. If it hurts too move, you’re doing it wrong. Rest.
15. Don’t wait. Start now, start small, and start making progress.

 

Tony Arreola

Best Selling Author, “Get Me Skinny”

“Hay mijo, you have to relax, it’s Christmas.”

My mom looked at me with a sly grin.  Mind you, I offered to buy my Mom a new car when she reaches her fitness goals (offer not valid for everyone.)

Her goal was to lose 30 pounds. She’s lost 10 so far, but when the Holiday season comes, she runs out of steam.

 

Why?

How can we avoid the Holiday pounds?

I don’t know about you, but I hate throwing away my results. And I’m sure my mom hates wasting another year taking the bus. Okay, I don’t make her take the bus, Uber works well.

When it comes to Winter, our bodies default to our cold, harsh, winter caveman days. This was a time, when we as a human species needed to hunker down, needed to eat as much as possible (when food was available) to survive. Without this mentality, I would not be typing this blog. We would not have survived the first harsh winter.

Great for survival, bad for our bellies.

It’s been a while since I hunted for a meal. Sometimes, I can just send a text to my girlfriend or push a button for Postmates to get fed.

But, the primal instinct remains inside of us. It takes effort to get outside when it’s cold. It takes effort to stop eating. It takes more effort than in the spring.

Through extensive trials with our clients we’ve found 6 proven ways to fight those fattening Holiday pounds.

Tip #1: WHEN YOU’RE FULL… STOP EATING

How many times have you been satisfied at a meal? Let me guess, always. When you’re full, take a deep breath, smile and stop eating.

Pro Tip: Tip: Ask yourself, “Am I still hungry, bored, or just eating to eat.”

Tip #2: DRINK WATER

Contrary to popular belief, the stomach isn’t an endless garbage disposal. It’s an organ with a fixed size. When you fill it with water, you’ll eat less. This is a good thing, for you and your waistline. Drink as much water as you can.

Pro Tip: Urine color is a great indicator of proper hydration. “Clear pee means a healthy me.”

Tip #3: EAT A LIGHT SNACK BEFORE THE MAIN EVENT

Don’t arrive “starving” to a special event. If you have nothing in your system, you’re much more likely to overeat.

Pro Tip: Eat a light snack, like an apple or an orange 15-30 minutes prior.

Tip #4: EATING IN HERDS

Did you know when you eat alone, you’re less likely to overeat?  Add one person, you eat up to 35% more. If the group exceeds 7, you’ll eat 96% more. This is an alarming stat, perfect for the Holidays. Be aware, and always be mindful.

Pro Tip: Farmers feed chickens together to create this overeating herd affect.  Don’t let the environment trick you into overeating.

Tip #5: STAY AWAY FROM CALORIC LANDMINES

Watch out for high-caloric foods. High calorie foods like guacamole, cheeses can wreak havoc on your goals. Imagine shopping on Rodeo Drive with a limited budget. You would check every price tag before you buy. Same for food. Check the calories of any new foods. Better safe than sad.

Pro Tip: Use our favorite calorie app My Fitness Pal, to find caloric landmines BEFORE you blow up (literally.)

Tip #6: STAY AWAY FROM THE FOOD-PUSHERS

You know exactly who I’m talking about. Your Tia with the tamales. Your Uncle’s can’t miss casserole. Your eggnog downing cousin. Stay away, learn to say no, or if they get really annoying, resort to name calling. Totally kidding about the last one, kinda.

Pro Tip: When facing food pressure, look them in the eye and say, “No thanks, I’m stuffed.”

We’ve shared these tips with our clients, and they have experienced a happy and healthy Holiday Season. Remember the goal is to celebrate life, to enjoy each other. And like I told my Mom, I enjoy our lives more when she’s healthy.

 

Special Bonus: Survival Guide Checklist

Remember nutrition is only one side of the equation.

If you want to eat more, you need to move more.

Read our cardio guide to find out which movement burns more calories.

 

Tony Arreola

NASM Master Trainer CPT, WLS, CES, SFS, WFS, BCS

Best Selling Author, Get Me Skinny.