Tag Archives: Focus

It Keeps Coming Back

Have you ever had it where you can’t get that song out of your head? You heard it that one time and then there it sat, just the few lines you remember, on repeat, all day. At first it was catchy and you really liked it but now you are frustrated you can’t stop it. Then one morning it is gone and you don’t even realize it, until some one comes along and mentions the song or says something that reminds you of the song. Then there you are back to where you started. Just a few lines, on repeat, all day. This has been happening to me lately but it is with a question that I heard recently rather than a song. I think about it all day, sometimes for multiple days in a row, and then one morning it is gone. Then someone comes up and asks me a question which triggers a thought process that leads me back to that same damn question again. Then I’m stuck again, thinking about that one question over and over. This has been my last two to three months. I keep coming back to one question no matter where I start. It could start many different ways.

  • Where are you off to next?
  • When are you leaving us next and for how long?
  • Why are we/am I here?
  • What do I want to do for the rest of my life?
  • What are my goals in life?
  • Am I where I should be?
  • Where am I going?
  • What do I truly love to do?

All of these questions lead me back to the one main question that is eating up the hours of my sleep at night. Some of you are probably thinking “Just tell me the damn question!” Others may be thinking “If you would just answer this stupid question then you wouldn’t have to think about it anymore.” To those of you with the first statement, I will tell you shortly. To those of you with the second statement I say, easier said than done (the rest of this post will prove that to you).

The first time I heard this question was when I clicked on a Facebook article which took me to a blog with a video imbedded in it. This is the video.

There are a few questions and thought provoking statements in this video but the one that really stuck with me is….

Drum-roll Please………

“What would you like to do if money were no object?”

The first time I heard that my brain did a backflip it got so excited! Then it was flooded with thoughts and ideas and I’m pretty sure I had a nap shortly after because my brain was so overloaded. There are SO MANY things I would do if money was no object. If I could just go and do the things I love to do and not have to worry about money……the list is endless!

  • Traveling
  • Working out
  • Helping others reach their goals and dreams
  • Playing sports
  • Eventually getting a house and having a gym and mini library in it.
  • Build/design that house myself
  • Live in the middle of nowhere
  • Hike every day
  • Go back to school

Those are just the broad categories to which my brain goes to fish out different ideas, story lines, possibilities, opportunities, directions, and plans. Each having multiple different streams to follow and directions to go. For example: Traveling may take me to Europe for a year or two. It could take me back to Oz or New Zealand for a year or two. I might just go explore British Columbia here in Canada for a week or a few months, by myself or with a tour group. And any of those places might be the final resting spot for my house and eventually a family. From there the other categories look very different depending on the rout my traveling takes. If I go to Europe would I work for the whole time, would I travel first then pick a spot to work, or would I work for a bit and then travel? If I went to Oz, because I already wasted my work/holiday visa, would I get someone to sponsor me to work there, or would I try to get into University to learn about psychology and/or creative writing? Again these are just a few examples of how that one questions has woven itself into a very complicated and criss-crossed web.

Now that you know the question and how my brain tries to go about finding an answer, lets talk about it a bit (for those of you who watched the whole video you will have maybe picked up on some of this already, but for those of you who skipped that part I’ll recap a bit for you). “What would you like to do if money were no object?” You may be saying “But that is what money is, an object.” Okay sure, thinking outside the box for a bit here though, if you didn’t have to worry about money then what would you do? If you knew that no matter what you chose to do, the money would work out in the end. What would you do? Would you travel more? Would you finally get your dream job rather than the one you hate to work at now? Would you move to that city you visited and loved when you were 21? “What would you like to do if money were no object?”

For such a simple looking question it can take up a lot of time and energy. TRUST ME! Now, taking up time and energy isn’t always viewed as a good thing but I think in this case it is. It has lead me to dream, understand myself better, and explore ideas I never thought about before. There are two parts of the video really make this central question resonate with me.

Part 1: If you focus on getting the money you will end up doing things you don’t like doing so you can go on living, doing the things you don’t like doing, which is STUPID! I especially like how he says “which is stupid” at the end.

Part 2: “Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.”

Part one is a play off of something I have never understood. Why do we work so hard just so we can buy things to impress people we usually don’t even like? I would way rather have someone like me because I am true to who I am and love what I do, than have someone like me because I have fancy boat. What happens if I don’t have that boat anymore? Or if the neighbour gets a nicer boat? People can always have nicer things than you do, or take your things away from you. People can not take you away from you. People can not take away that passion you have for travelling, sports, art, or music. I would argue that those passions and things you love could more part of you than your own hand is. Your hand can be taken from you, but your passion can not.

Part two is something I have lived my life by since the start of my university career. Half a semester in to Engineering I hated it. And even though people had told me I would be great at it, I would like it, I would make a ton of money at it. I knew I had to make a change. I wasn’t enjoying anything to do with engineering, I hated classes, I hated my profs, I hated the idea that I would probably end up behind a desk looking at dials and numbers ( I know there is more to it than that, but you get my point, I didn’t like it). The only thing that was “good” was the money at the end, and I hated that. I couldn’t handle seeing myself with lots of money but hating my job, and ultimately my life, every day. The money I may have got wasn’t worth it. So I switched to Kinesiology to become a Personal Trainer. And I loved it. Classes were actually enjoyable, I actually wanted to learn about it, it was sporty and my life has always revolved around sports, it was a great fit. The only downside was, I wouldn’t make very much money in this industry (at least that was what I was told and what was generally accepted). But I didn’t care. I knew that if I loved my job and my area of work that I would want to learn as much about it as possible and that would make me a great trainer. I also knew that if I loved my job it would show and that people would gravitate towards that. I never really worried about the money because I knew that If I loved my job I would work hard at it and that would get me opportunities and then the money would kind of just…….work. I won’t lie, there were some pretty tight times and there is bound to be some more ahead of me as well, but I know that if I continue to work and enjoy what I do then it will work out. Or I will find a way to make it work because I have the drive and passion and I won’t give up on it.

So, here I am again back at that same damn question. “What would you like to do if money were no object?” I still don’t have an answer, and I don’t know if I ever will. I’m thinking it might even change over time, I don’t know. All I do know is that I have general ideas as to what I think I want my life to look like. What I think I need to have in my life so that I could wake up every day and be happy. Happy to go to work. Happy to be with the people I am with. Happy to be alive. Happy to have possibilities and opportunities. Excited about what every day could have in store for me. I don’t know exactly what all that is but I am going to try my best to line up the things that I think will get me as close to that kind of happy as I possibly can get. Hopefully one day I can tell you all exactly what I would like to do and what makes me happy.

Until then, Stay Positive, Be Better, and Go Get It!


The Champions Mind by Jim Afremow, PhD


So writing book reviews are hard even when you enjoy the book…. especially when you enjoy the book. I have had to do a few different book reviews over my time as a university student but never was it this hard to keep it short. I have so many good things to say about this book and there were so many sections that helped me, I just want to basically rewrite the book. But I’m not going to because that would not be a REVIEW and it would be super long, and this post is already….not short.

This book has completely changed how I think and act when it comes to sports and even life in general. It has helped me to set goals, see the positives in every situation, not beat myself before I even start, and taught me many other things that have made my training and, more importantly, my life more enjoyable.

After reading this book and now reviewing it, it seems to me that the first seven chapters give you mental tools and small examples of those tools. It is the first two chapters that I found most interesting and helpful, especially the second. Then they have a chapter all on Olympic level athletes and how they used the tools to get to that level. These stories were interesting and helped me to see how others put the tools into play. The last three chapters talk about taking all the tools you were introduced to in the first seven chapters, and read about other people using for Olympic level training, and how you take those skills and mold them into your own game plan and mental training. This section was much easier to get through as it again had some information that I found quite valuable. So what parts of the book did I find the most helpful? In the following paragraphs I am going to touch on my favourite three chapters and how they each made an impact on my life.

The first chapter; Be Your Own Champion has a lot of good questions and thought provoking statements throughout it. The section The Champion Question has one of the best questions. It will get you thinking about what you need to do, and stop doing in order to be the best version of yourself. The question? “What will your life look like when you have become your own champion?” So think about what your day, work, and/or training session would look like when you are a champion. What things would you do differently, what would you add into your life, and what things would you not do because they affect you negatively?  Other questions from this chapter that really got me thinking were “How will I be a champion today?” and “How was I a champion today?” You would ask these of yourself when you wake in the morning and when you go to bed at night, respectively. I found that asking myself how I will be a champion today helps me to prioritize and focus my day ahead.

A couple other sections of this first chapter that I really liked are called The Champion’s Will-Do-Now List and Lead By Creed and Deed. They both list ideas that will help keep you on task, stay positive, and motivate others. So for me, being a lists guy, these two sections were very attractive to me. The Champions Will-Do-Now List has some really good points to ward off procrastination. Things like scheduling out your day, and making sure that it is a realistic schedule. Setting priorities and being organized help tremendously as well. If I have my meals planned out and figure out which project I am going to work on at what time throughout the day I get way more done. If I just ‘let it happen”, there is a lot of nothing that ends up happening. The other point that is brought up is to keep your work area clean. The less clutter at your work desk, or station, the less stress you will have. Lead By Creed and Deed had some really good points about leadership. These are the ones I found hit me the most:

1. Develop a vision for success and stay enthusiastic pursuing it.

2. Great leaders invite feedback from others as opposed to blocking criticism. Always share credit and accept blame.

4. Care, really care, about others. Take an interest in the person wearing the uniform, not just that person’s performance.

6. Realize that your impact goes beyond your performance; lead by example, on and off the field.

9. Share in all of the sacrifices and hardships of the team, never asking others to do what you are unwilling to do.

This first chapter also goes on to talk more about working within a team, whether that is in sport or outside of sport, as well as how to deal with change and disappointment.

My favourite chapter in this book is chapter two; Master The Mental Skills. This chapter explains mental skills and drills that will help you attain a champion’s mindset so you can achieve your full potential. Goal Setting is the first section in this chapter and rightfully so I think. I think it is one of the most crucial parts of becoming the best you you can be, hence why I wrote a whole post just on goal setting (Goals. Of the hockey sort, or maybe not) and why I will probably write more eventually. Without goals there is little direction for your action. Another section I really liked in this chapter was Self-Talk. This section has a very interesting story “Feed the Good Wolf”, which was some of the inspiration behind my post Why Not Be Positive. If you have not heard this story or legend (I prefer to call it a legend because to me that makes it more powerful) you are missing out. For those of you who have not heard of “Feed the Good Wolf” here is the LEGEND:

A grandfather explains to his warrior grandson that there are two wolves within each of us: One wolf is positive and beneficial, while the other wolf is negative and destructive. These two wolves fight for control over us. The grandson is curious and asks, “Which wolf will win?” The grandfather replies, “The one you feed.”

BOOM. There it is. Short. Sweet. To the Point. How you talk and think to yourself will effect how you perform, live, and feel. Make sure your thoughts and words feed the good wolf.

There was a lot of good information in all the other chapters but the one other chapter that I found helpfull was chapter seven: Zen in The Zone. Chapter seven is another very interesting chapter and one I found very useful. It has different stories about teaching Zen along with how it can be connected to sports and a self-reflection question to further your thinking. Below are the sections I found most helpful.

Maybe – The story that goes with this one is that a farmer keeps saying maybe to things. It starts out the farmer had a horse run away and his friends came over and said “such bad luck”. The farmer said ‘maybe”. then the next day the horse came back with four more wild horses. “Such good luck”, the farmers’ friends said. “Maybe”, said the farmer. The next day the farmer’s son tried to ride one of the wild horses and fell off and broke his leg. “Such bad luck” said the farmer’s friends. “Maybe” said the farmer. The next day military officers came to draft young men into the army and seeing the son’s broken leg, passed him by. Not judging an outcome until later when it has had time to play itself out to its entirety will help you to keep calm and relax. This section was also part of the reason I wrote the blog Sometimes You Win and Sometimes You Learn, Because There is a Reason. which has to do with not judging things right away. Sometimes “bad” things happen but then days, weeks, or sometimes years later you are thankful for that “bad” thing because it taught you something or allowed you to do something you otherwise would not have done. Self-reflection question: Do I stay calm and centered when the sport gods hurl hardships my way?

Working Very Hard – The story for this one is slightly confusing and it isn’t until after they explain it that I understood what it meant. Basically it means that you need to be focusing on what you are doing in the moment, day-to-day, rather than worrying so much about the end result you want. If you are always looking where you want to end up then you are not giving the attention to detail that your day-to-day activities require and thus will not get to your end goal. Take care of the process and the results will take care of themselves. Self-reflection Question: Am I just mindlessly working hard, or am I aware of what I am doing?

The King and the Peace Contest – This story is kind of weird and long but basically it gets at that real peace comes from inside yourself. Staying calm mentally in a big game or situation is very crucial to the success of that game or situation. The only way external factors can affect your mental calmness is if you let it. Self-refection question: Do I keep cool and composed in the heat of competition?

Breathing – Practicing deep breathing will ease stress and bring about a state of relaxation. When you breath shallow oxygen intake decreases and muscle tension increases. So you want to relax? Deep breaths! Self-reflection question: Do I breathe easily and deeply throughout my day?

Destiny – You control your own destiny. You can only accomplish what you profoundly believe you can accomplish. Therefore believe that you are destined for great things in your sport and work hard in your daily tasks to achieve your dreams. Self-reflection question: How great could I play if I thought and acted as if it were impossible to fail?

Chasing Two Rabbits – This one is really simple. He who chases two rabbits catches neither. Pick one thing to work on and really go for it. Self-reflection question: Do I place all of my energy and effort on doing one good thing at a time?

These simple zen stories, along with others, really helped me to get myself into “the zone” for training sessions, gave me inspiration for other blog posts, and help me perform my job to the best of my ability. Like I said earlier these three chapters were my favourite but I did learn a lot from the other chapters as well.

Chapter three: Be In It To Win It contains sections like coming up with a slogan, what music you listen to, staying within yourself, and trusting your abilities. Chapter four; The Wisdom of A Champion speaks to mistakes, failures, knowing your why, and controlling what you can. Chapter five; Exercise, Nutrition, Pain, Injuries, and Regeneration is about exactly what it says it is about. The difference with this one is that each section has points and steps to help you work through injuries, nutrition, etc.

Chapter six: Take Control of Your Personal Destiny has psychological studies that will give you information on tools like meditation, how performing sports in a group can help or hinder your performance, and the benefits of a gratitude journal.

Chapter eight: Golden Reflections is the chapter that has all the stories of the Olympic athletes. Chapter nine: Your World-Class Game Plan starts with a mental game scorecard where you rate yourself on the different aspects of your mental game. This chapter then goes on to talk about how to prepare for a game, practice, big event, change, etc. Chapter ten: Long-Term Survival of The Most Mentally Fit has many examples within it of athletes who were or have been very successful in their respective sports for a long time and how they did it. Things like setting golden priorities, being resilient, or not overextending yourself. There is then a very short Epilogue: The Ultimate Victory is Yours and two very important lists in the Appendixes. The first is Be a Champion Student-Athlete and the second is Be a Champion Sleeper.

This book also had tons of great quotes, so last but not least I leave you with some of my favourite quotes out of this book. There are many to choose from but these are the ones that really hit home for me.


“Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.” – Muhammad Ali

“The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when no one else is watching.” – Anson Dorrance

“The time is now, the place is here.” – Dan Millman

“Every survival kit should include a sense of humour.” – Anonymous

“Warriors don’t slouch into battle.” Anonymous

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

As always Stay Positive, Be Better, and Go Get It!

Squat Every Day: Week 4


Day 31. The one day hiatus.

Week 4 continued to be difficult both mentally and physically. Mentally it was less to do with being bored and more to do with just being tired and run down. In the last 50 days I took 4 days off of work. One of those days we still came in for a team meeting. Another one of those days was a slow-pitch tournament in some of the hottest weather so far this year. The remaining two days were a CrossFit competition.  In all of those 50 days I also trained all but three days. So I didn’t really have any days off. Add onto that I have two big projects for work I am currently working on outside of work hours (creating a gymnastics program, and creating movement standards for the gym) and I am working towards getting my OPEX Certification (the biggest demand of the all). So needless to say I have officially packed my schedule full and maxed out my brain usage. As long as I can schedule things in and keep up with each day’s “ToDo list” I am usually good to go, (I like having things to do to keep me from getting bored) but over the last monthish I have struggled to do that. Starting today that is changing though. I have learned a lot about myself over the last month and have already crossed quite a few items off my “ToDo List” today that have been on there far too long.

Sitting back and looking at it all I am happy with the progress of my squats and with how much I have learned about myself.

Recap of GAINS in 30 days:

-Back Squat 1RM: 310 -> 345

-Front Squat 1RM: 270 -> 295

-Deadlift 1RM: 400 -> 418

-Back Squat 10sec Pause: 255

-Walking Lunges: 200m X 3, 4 days/week

-Close Grip Bench Press stayed at 270

-No Sore Joints

I figure I can max out for about a month straight before I absolutely have to take a day off. I am not totally sure how much my work-load has influenced that but I hope to figure that out in the next couple weeks to a month. The plan is to take today and crush out some work I need to get done over the next two days, then take tomorrow and have some time for myself. I still work in the morning and the evening tomorrow but I can sleep in an extra hour or so (till about 6:30) and over lunch I am not going to concern myself with work at all. Tomorrow is a day that when I am not at work I will be simply relaxing and hopefully reading a book which has nothing to do with work at all. It will most likely be Game of Thrones so I can let my mind go to the fantasy world and check out from this one for a few hours. That is something else I have learned about myself. I need to take an hour each day or a couple hours every 3 or 4 days and mentally check out. It comes with physically checking out to a certain degree as well. In a perfect world it is just me and my book for a solid two hours. No people, no work, no fitness, no noise, and no caring about what I eat (if it is in the middle of the day). Once I get through these two days I plan to get back on the Squat Every Day wagon and the “ToDo List” wagon as well.

To the squats and what I did in week 4. This week I ended up taking out the serious gymnastics training and one of the CrossFit classes I added last week. I kept in some fun and unstructured gymnastics work which ended up being lots of handstand hold and handstand walking practice as well as some core work like hollow and arch rocks. I also kept the competition team training in on Saturdays. I have managed to keep almost all of my different variations of squats at the same number over the last week but Day 29 and 30 of Squat Every Day brought along some misses at numbers I had achieved before. That was the final alarm going off as to how much my body can handle. Thus the reason for my rest day tomorrow.

Hopefully after a day off and getting work sorted out over the next couple weeks I can continue to see results. One new thing I am going to introduce is to have a “fun squat day” every Friday (Funsquat Friday). Last Friday I did back squat @275 in the following pattern:

1 Back Squat every :30s for 2 min (5 reps)

rest 2 min

1 Back Squat every :30s for 1:30 (4 reps)

rest 2 min

1 Back Squat every :30 sec for 1min (3 reps)

This week another coach wants to do the “3 bars of death” so I’ll do that with her. It incorporates deadlift, back squat, and press. You load the bars with whatever weight you want. Once you declare a weight for an exercise you have to stay with it. You can only do 1 rep of each exercise per round. You accumulate 10,000lbs as fast as you can in however many rounds it takes you. Sounds like fun right?

Links for the previous weeks:

Squat Every Day: Week 1

Squat Every Day: Week 2

Squat Every Day: Week 3

Till next week (I’ll let you know how “3 bars of death” goes), Stay Positive, Be Better, and Go Get It!

Squat Every Day: Week 3


Week 3 in the books and it wasn’t easy. This week was a big mental challenge for me, as well as obviously physical but more mental and here is why. First off, because I get bored really quick I wanted to add in a few more workouts and see how my body reacted. So I added in two CrossFit classes. One on Thursday and one on Friday. Thursday went really well (I’ll touch on that more in a bit) and Friday was a grind mainly because it was just plain old hard workout (CrossFit Games Regional WOD #6). Secondly I think that the squats are starting to accumulate on my body and my mind. This is not a surprise. I knew there would come a point where my body couldn’t keep adding weight to the bar. The part that surprised me is that my mentality towards the squats went first, I think it is a sign of things to come for my body.

The biggest mental block is coming from not respecting the numbers. This week my back squat went up again and got me to 10lbs off of a double body weight Back Squat. That was really cool for about two days and then that excitement wore off and all I want to do now is back squat double my body weight. It doesn’t matter where I started I just want to reach the next goal. This can cause issues because it then seems like you are just constantly chasing goals and never enjoying the ones you reached. It wasn’t until I sat down and looked at my starting numbers and compared them to now that I saw the progress I had made. In these three weeks my back squat has gone from 310lbs to 345lbs. That is 35lbs in 21 days, not bad. In those same three weeks my front squat has gone from 270lbs to 295lbs. A 25lbs increase in 21 days, respectable. That is when I really seen how well this was working for me. So this next week coming up I am looking at what I have done rather than looking how far I still have to go and hopefully that will help me get mentally back in the game. This week I am also taking away the CrossFit classes and serious gymnastic training. The reason for subtracting this is that I want to see where the tipping point is for my body in relation to just the squats. Originally I had thought I would ease my way into the “squat every day” plan and then in weeks three and four I would add in more training to see how much total volume of training my body could handle. Then I talked with a few of the other coaches at the gym and kind of revamped my plan. I am still getting gains from just doing squats so why change. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So that is the reasoning behind going back to purely squats, deadlifts, lunges, and bench press. I will still sprinkle in some things like handstand work or pull-up work because that is low impact so it will not hamper the gains from squats. Plus I really enjoy playing around with gymnastics and I need to get back to having fun in the gym as apposed to just beating myself down every day.

Along with keeping in some fun gymnastics I am also going to keep doing the close grip bench press. This week was the first week adding in some bench press and it went well. Managed to keep my close grip bench press at my previous PR even after neglecting all upper body work for two weeks (normally that would have set me back 2 months). Another really cool thing that happened in my training this week was on Thursday when I was in class. The workout was (30 wall ball + 30 Burpees + rest 3 min) X3. Up to this point the most wall ball I had done unbroken was 20. On this day I did my squats in the morning (I prefer to get them done nice and early), then came back in the afternoon and did the class WOD at the gym. This was the first time I had ever done 30 wall ball straight and it felt great. Then to make it even better not only did I go straight through in round one, but also round 2 and round 3. I was pretty happy with myself even if we did have a 3 minute break between each round.

One day that I was not excited for from the beginning of the week was the front-back squat day. I did it again this week so I could get it away from the 10 second pause squats (doing them in week four). In case you were wondering, front-back squats still suck.

Looks like this week I have to take some of my own advice, which I leave you with at the end of all my posts.

Links for the previous weeks:

Squat Every Day: Week 1

Squat Every Day: Week 2

Stay Positive, Be Better, and Go Get It!

Squat Every Day: Week 1


Last Monday I started on a mission to be better which relied heavily on increasing my leg strength. I have known this to be an issue for a long time but just recently some testing that I did really showed me how much I needed to improve my leg strength. Here are the numbers that got me really thinking:

#1 – Front Squat 1RM 270lbs in relation to Close Grip Flat Bench 1RM 270lbs

#2 – Clean 1RM 235lbs in relation to Push Press 1RM 225lbs

When people hear those numbers they usually say something like “How can you bench that?” or “How is your bench as much as your front squat?”. Sure maybe my upper body press is good but my answer to those questions: My legs are weak. There is no way that my arms should be able to push as much weight as my legs. There is more muscle and much bigger muscles in your legs than your arms so your legs should be able to push more weight. When doing a clean and jerk the hard part should be the clean. Well for me it’s different. I know that if I can get it to my shoulders…. I can get it over head. I knew that was kind of backwards but it wasn’t until I saw the actual numbers that I realized just how backwards it was.

So how did this happen you ask? To be honest, I don’t really know but I do have a theory. My theory has a lot to do with the fact that over the last several months I have been playing hockey once a week, ultimate frizbee twice a week, and flag football once a week, all while working out at the gym six days per week. That is a lot of running (and skating which is basically one in the same as running in my theory) which is a lot of volume and cardio type work for my legs. Cardio and strength are not always friends and usually do not play nice with one another. So my theory is that my legs were doing a lot of cardio which stunted the strength side of things (there were still some strength gains). Where as with my upper body I had just been doing strength work basically (1-15 reps rather than hundreds like there would be for my legs when running) so there was big gains in the strength department for my upper body because cardio didn’t get in the way.

Now I have no hard core proof that that is what happened but in my head it makes sense, as well as in the heads of a few other people I have ran the theory by. In seeing the numbers and thinking my theory has some truth to it I started looking for a way to improve my leg strength. I looked into 5/3/1 method a bit. I thought about not playing sports for 2 months and seeing what would happen (going insane would probably be what would happen, so that was crossed off the idea list pretty fast). I thought about doing CrossFit Football again (only this time there wouldn’t be as many sports so hopefully the strength gains would be better for my legs). And then I heard about this “squat every day” thing. I was immediately hooked, just the name flicked on the ‘leg strength” light in my head. I did some research, watched/listened to a few podcasts, read a few articles online, and applied some of my own creativity. The main influence behind squatting every day is Corey Gregory. I went through his program and figured out patterns for when he did deadlifts, lunges, and pause squats and then added in my own little twists here and there.

So one week in I have increased my front squat to 275lbs and my back squat to 320lbs (from 310). I have done front squats twice and backs squats five times. I did deadlifts on two days and lunges on three days. Every day was to a one rep max for the squats except for Sunday which was a 70% day and a day I looked forward to from about Thursday on.

I’m not 100% sure about the science behind the lunges but I think they are what saves you in this program. Using lunges as a warmup every day my legs feel pumped up, turned on and ready to do work, which when you are maxing out on squats is fairly important. Adding them in three times per week as a “cardio” gives my legs lots of reps under low impact and keeps the ligaments, tendons, and muscles strong and engaged.

All in all, week one went well. I increased both squats and made my legs do a lot of work without being very stiff and/or sore at all. I’m excited for week two which is much of the same but I am going to add in some gymnastics work as well. On days that I just squat I will add in a gymnastics workout. On days I do squats with lunges, or squats with deadlift I am going to add in some skill and accessory gymnastics. On the day I do squats, deadliest, and lunges I’ll probably just leave it at that.

We will see what happens as this is kind of an ongoing experiment.

Stay Positive, Be Better and Go Get It!

Sometimes You Win and Sometimes You Learn, Because There is a Reason


Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.

A bit of a twist on the saying “sometimes you win, sometimes you lose”. Every time you lose, or fail, or do something wrong, there is an opportunity to learn. You learn to not do that activity that way again. You learn that that plan was not the plan you want to use next time. I think there is something to be taken away from every situation. Losing, failing, falling, doing it wrong. All these things happen but they also teach you something every time. I’ll share an example with you.

When I was travelling in Australia I had a work/holiday visa. I had travelled for 6 months and just got some work lined up to go for the next 6 months. Things were looking good. I had achieved my dream of going to Australia and travelling around the east coast and now I was about to check off another item from the “To-Do List” and work in Australia for 6 months. Then I got an email. My personal training certificate needed to be renewed by the end of March and in order to do that I had to renew my CPR training. So I started to look into getting my CPR renewed before I started work in Australia. Eventually I figured out that a CPR training was only good in the country it was taken in. In other words I had to go back to Canada to renew my Canadian CPR so I could keep my Canadian personal training certificate. After talking with my parents and going over scenarios in my head it was decided that I would go back to Canada, renew my CPR, and find a job there. I was super bummed out about it all. I mean it was one of my dreams to travel AND work in Australia but I knew I would need my personal training certificate after my Australian visa expired, so I bit the bullet and came home early.

Now you are probably thinking that really sucks. And honestly as I write this I am thinking that really sucks, but then I remember some things that happened when I got home. The main thing was that about two weeks after I got home my grandpa passed away. Now had I still been in Australia working I might not have even found out about it till weeks after as the area I was going to be working in was in the outback and had minimal cell and wifi service. So I would not have been at my grandpa’s funeral, and I would not have got to read his eulogy. Getting to read my grandpa’s life story at his funeral was a great honour for me. Especially when people that knew my grandpa very well came up to me after the service and said things like, “You did an awesome job”, “Your grandpa would be proud”, and “Your grandpa would have really liked that”.

So yeah maybe I missed out on 6 months of achieving a dream because I didn’t think ahead, but had I renewed my CPR when I went home in December I would have missed my grandpas funeral. And now next time I travel I will be sure to check that I do not have to renew or update anything while I am gone.


It happens all the time, to everyone. We lose, or things don’t go to plan. They come in all shapes, sizes, and have varying degrees of effect on our lives.

As I was writing this and rewriting it, and rewriting it again, and again, and 5 or 8 rewrites later I realized this wasn’t just about winning and learning, but also about coming to understand that things happen for a reason. Chances are they don’t make sense at first but in the end those wins, losses, hardships, and eventual successes, made you who you are today. Without every single one of those experiences you would not be the you you are today. Had my grandparents not passed away when they did, I would not have the same appreciation for life, and living it, that I do today. Had I taken a chance on a possible full-ride scholarship in the states I wouldn’t have got into the personal training field as soon as I did. There was a reason, or a lesson to learn from all of those experiences, from my grandparents passing away, and from me not going to university in the states.

I don’t know if there is one ultimate plan for each of us or how that all works but I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Stuff doesn’t just happen so that it can happen. My grandparents didn’t die just because they did. I didn’t go to university in Canada just because that is how it happened. My trip to Australia didn’t get cut short just because I had bad luck. My brother didn’t get in his accident, and almost die, just because he had bad luck. My grandparents passed away and I learned that life is precious and I need to embrace it and live every day to it’s fullest. I went to university in Canada and ended up in an area of work that I find hard to call work because I enjoy it so much. My holiday in Australia got cut short so I could be at my grandpa’s funeral and so I could start my career as a personal trainer and learn from all my amazing co-workers and new friends at the gym. My brother was in a very horrific accident so that I could again learn to appreciate life even more, and so that I could see that determination pays off and gets you walking way before anyone thought you would.

Doesn’t the second version of those situations seem a bit more happy, and purposeful? Like I said earlier, things don’t always make sense at first but I have found that if I trust that eventually something good will happen or I will learn something from that experience it takes the sting out a bit. Sometimes it may take a few hours for it to sink in and for you to realize what the lesson was. Other times it may take months or years before you stop beating yourself up about not going to university in the states, and for you to finally realize that if you had gone you would not have this amazing job. Trust in the process, you will eventually pick up on the lesson or the reason. Sometimes you have to fall before you can achieve greatness.

Stay Positive and Go Get It!


Do What YOU Can Do


Do what you can do, GENIUS! Of course you’re going to do what you can do, what else would you do? You’re not going to do something you can’t do, because, well…..you can’t. If you can do something then that is what you will do.

If you had to read that once, or twice, or maybe six times over don’t worry, even I read it over, and I wrote it. What I’m trying to get at is that if you know you can’t do something right at that moment then don’t worry about it. I see lots of people getting caught up in what other people can do and freaking out because they can’t do it. If you know you can’t run a 15 second 100m that’s fine. How fast can you run 100m? Then run it that fast. You can’t squat 400lbs? Neither can I, but I can squat 275lbs so that’s what I’m going to do. I might try 280lbs because I like to challenge myself but I’m not going to throw 400lbs on the bar and crush myself with it. That doesn’t help anyone, especially not me. I am also not going to dwell on the fact that he can squat over 100lbs more than I can and let that mess up my day. Maybe some day I will be able to squat 400lbs or run a 15 seconds 100m but today is not that day. I am going to work smart and hard to try to progress to those goals. Just don’t let yourself get caught up in the moment when you see the guy behind you deadlift 600lbs and you are about to lift 400lbs. Once upon a time he was struggling to lift 400lbs too. He has put in A LOT of hours to get to that 600lbs deadlift, plus he probably weighs another 80lbs more than you and is probably a half a foot taller. You may not be able to lift it now, but maybe with lots of hard work you can some day lift that 600lbs too.

Most of the time it is not going to do you any good to be worrying and stressing over what other people can do. It is not bad to know what they can do and the difference between them and yourself, as it can give you something to work towards. But if you are stressing out because someone else is better at something than you are, you’re not doing yourself any favours. You can’t do what they can do, that’s fine. There are probably a couple things that you CAN do that they CAN’T. It does you no good to focus on what you can’t do, that’s not a very good mentality. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and you just have to try to play to your strengths and improve on your weaknesses. Try to create the best you that you can and be better than yesterday.

It comes back to competing against yourself rather than the people around you. So next time you hear about or see someone lifting more than you or doing something better than you, don’t sweat it. Just focus on your task at hand and do it to your best ability. Use that difference between you and the other person as motivation rather than let it cripple you. Do what YOU can do!

“Today you are you, that is truer than true, there is no one alive who is youer than you” – Dr. Seuss

Stay Positive and Go Get It