They say an athlete dies twice, and for the most part, it's so true. Identity is questioned upon the ending of an athletic career and then succeeded by a few months of frantic pacing around the house and long questioning looks in front of the mirror of, "Who are you?!"
Okay, slightly dramatic, but the interesting part is that, having actually been there, learning to fully experience life after being an athlete can be a real challenge. The silver lining though, is there are an abundance of important carry overs from athletics to life that apply to former and never-been athletes alike.
The Every day Athlete & The Sport Athlete
From a physical standpoint, we were all created to move, and the beauty about individualism is that we love to move in different ways. Alas, I do recognize some of us do not love to move, as statistics would show a horrifying projection for obesity to reach 44% by 2030. This projection, in my opinion, is a complete "if-then" equation, in which all of us need to unite and fight.
If we don't encourage one another to find our own love for movement, then we will continue to live sedentary lifestyles.
If the American healthcare system remains predominantly in the realm of treatment rather than prevention, then we will continue to be an unhealthy nation.
If we sit on our hands and cover our mouths, and ultimately do nothing, then we will allow obesity to become the new norm.
Excuses can be a slippery slope. They talk you out of something in the moment, which can create an ugly pattern of allowing yourself outs to all sorts of things.
Getting yourself to the gym to do something challenging and that you know may be painful, is one of the best ways to build self-control and direction in other aspects of your life.
If you can cultivate the willpower to make training your body a routine, you begin to reap the physical, mental and emotional benefits. For example, did you know that exercise helps control addictions, sharpens memory, and boosts your brainpower?
The Power of accountability
I will admit that for me it's way easier to go to the gym or cook healthy food when there is a goal in mind or someone to go with. If it's Wednesday, and I'm tired from working and have in my head that the week is only half way over, it's easier to give in to an unhealthy option like skipping the gym and plopping down on the couch with a bowl of ice cream.
When it comes to making yourself into who you want to be, it is imperative to set yourself up for success. Think of this first step like a construction company, who wouldn't go in to build a skyscraper without first laying a solid foundation. No foundation equals collapsing structure later in the building process.
How do we lay the foundation for success then? There are multiple strategies and philosophies, but one that has worked very well for me is to envision an end goal(s), and then work backwards by setting and establishing process goals to help reach that destination.
In fact, it has had such a tremendously positive impact on my life that I created the Synergy Scheduler, a free goal setting and accountability calendar, to help guide you towards long term change with your excuses way back in the rear view mirror.
You will find an abundance of free workouts on here to help you smash some fitness goals, and the majority of them are designed for every day and sport specific athletes, meaning that there are two difficulty levels for the same workout. Unleash your inner athlete!
If you want to be pushed even more, we can collaborate to personalize a fitness or nutrition program for you.
No one can make yourself, but you. Today is your day to cultivate and synergize inner greatness, and most of the time, it just takes a 5 second decision to do so. #makeyourself
I get asked this question all the time, is cardio the best way to burn calories and fat? Sparing my political correctness for another time, I must tell you that if you have asked this question, your intentions are good, but misguided.
Many people for some reason have this belief that running yourself into a sweaty mush on the treadmill is the best way to get a good workout and burn fat and calories. While it is true that getting a good run, row, bike, etc. in, is a great way to improve health, it is not the only way to achieve those things, nor is it the best way.
The way I see it, there are two very important indicators for success in relation to human fitness: 1) variety of movement and, 2) workout dynamism.
There is nothing more boring than just sitting or standing in the same spot at a gym for 30-40 minutes on a piece of cardio equipment. I mean, not everyone likes Orange Theory, okay?!
Variety of movement
The American College of Sports Medicine paired up two high intensity 12 minute workouts, a Kettlebell workout vs Interval Cycling workout, to compare metabolic results, and their findings may surprise you.
The Kettlebell workout included three circuits of four exercises performed using a style called Tabata, which consists of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest, and repeat for eight rounds. The Bike Interval session included three 30-second sprints of “all-out” effort, followed by 3 and a half minutes at a recovery pace.¹
The result? The Kettlebell workout not only elicited significantly higher levels of total calorie expenditure, but participants were in a fat burning zone longer and consumed greater levels of oxygen when compared to the bike workout.
Long story short, when we throw weights and different time combinations into a workout, our bodies benefit far more than staying in one spot on a piece of cardio equipment. Nowadays, this is typically seen as CrossFit methodology, or HIIT training.
Let’s get to that second word right away, dynamism. It is defined as “being characterized by vigorous activity and progress”, and when you read that I hope in your mind you put extra emphasis on vigorous activity and progress.
Think energy, power, drive, ambition, spirit, all those good things, and there you have dynamism.
As a trainer, I oftentimes see people come into the gym and spend a couple hours going from machine to machine at a lackadaisical pace, or even worse, sitting and texting.
For some people, this is very therapeutic and what they’re looking for in their workout, and that’s great, we are all different. But, as we started this article on the notion of burning calories and fat, this is the least effective method of training for that; therefore, I am unapologetically anti-machine hopping with phone in hand.
The main takeaway, is that the shorter more intense workouts like HIIT, CrossFit, and (of course) the workouts on this site, are going to give you the most bang for your metabolic buck.
If you haven't yet, register a free account to access the Workout of the Day and join the self-made movement to get the workout sent to your inbox every Monday and Friday.
1 Author Daniel J. Green Contributor Daniel J. Research Special Issue 2017 - ACE-
SPONSORED RESEARCH: HIIT vs. Steady-State Training. Retrieved from
It can sometimes be a real challenge to fit in a workout during a busy work day, exponentially so when it is on the road while traveling. Here are nine quick tips I learned while on the road for away games working as a collegiate coach.
1. Make it a Priority
This is perhaps the most important piece. Write it in your planner or scheduler. If you have your heart and mind set on the fact that you’re going to get your workout in for the day, it will happen.
In a way it is like making time to eat. You must feed your body in multiple ways, not just nutrition. Moving with purpose is one of those ways, it feeds your body in an additive way - strength, endurance, flexibility, energy - and a subtractive way - reduces stress, anxiety, insomnia, jet lag, and so forth.
2. Know Your Schedule Ahead of Time
Knowing your itinerary for the trip makes it easier to know when you can realistically fit in that workout.
Planning your workout into your day makes it harder to come up with an excuse not to do it. Consider it like scheduling a meeting, but with yourself.
3. Run a 5 Minute Search
While waiting for your flight, instead of burning time on social media, see what’s in the area you'll be staying. Does the hotel have a gym? Is there a better gym close by? Are there any green spaces?
See if there’s an image of your hotel’s fitness center online. Personally, I am not super fond of hotel fitness centers, so if there is a gym within driving or running distance get a day pass there.
Some gyms will even let your first few visits be free and you end up not having to pay a dime!
4. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Be a grape, not a raisin. Being dehydrated is arguably one of the biggest factors that could deter you from getting your workout in because you just flat out don’t feel as good.
Light headedness, fatigue, and joint and muscle stiffness can all be attributed to not getting enough water; thus, say no to that cranberry juice and yes to a cup of water on the plane.
Drink at least another 8-12 ounces as soon as you can once you arrive at the airport.
General rule of thumb: drink 250ml of water for every hour flying. Staying hydrated also makes you less susceptible to cold and flu germs.
5. Pack Your Own Snacks
6. Sign Up online
A lot of gyms will cater to potential new members by offering free day or even week passes.
On a recent trip to Seattle, there was an LA Fitness down from where I was staying. I simply signed up online and was given a 5 day guest pass that I could scan at the door.
No paperwork, no loop holes, just scan and go in.
7. Shorten Your workout time
Making your workout short and sweet, such as a 30 minute circuit or 20 minutes of cardio intervals can help keep you motivated to go, especially if you only have one hour and need to factor in a shower and time getting ready for the day.
You’ll be glad later on that you did a little something for yourself instead of nothing. There are some excellent workout options available for you under the Training tab in the Workout of the Day section. Simply register a free account to access.
8. Accountability buddy
If you are traveling alone, tell your significant other you plan to workout and have them follow up with you on whether or not you did it or not. Or you use the Synergy Scheduler and make it a goal for the week.
Either of these accountability options can be powerful motivators for some people. For the lucky ones, maybe you travel with a business partner who is also interested in getting in a workout or two on the road. Use your resources!
9. Make Use of Green Space
Finally, you don't need a gym to get in an awesome workout. Bring your own jump rope with you, they can be used anywhere and really diversity your workout. Here is a style I use with my athletes and in my own workouts.
Find a green space (i.e. a park, field, etc.), and do a workout outside! Too much inside air can make you crazy.
When it comes to successful people, there is usually a noticeable "it" factor radiating off of them. A swagger, a presence that makes them stand out in a group of people. Something that draws your eye to them.
They're usually the ones out-hustling their competition, making aggressive plays - think business or athletics - encouraging others around them to elevate their game, or relentlessly attacking a problem or task.
There is an intensity behind their eyes that many don't understand. But, what is it about these individuals that makes them great? Can the average individual harness this same fiery spirit to elevate their own life?
My first question: how do you define greatness, or success?
We all want certain things, so the definition of success is more individual than many of us realize. One of the most common, arguably opposite extremes I can think of, is the stay at home mom vs. the career-driven woman.
The mom sees her success in raising outstanding kids in a "perfect" home, with no notion of wanting to work in our social system, as it would take away time from nurturing her family.
On the other hand, the career-driven woman sees her success as climbing the corporate ladder, advancing her career, making money, saving for life after retirement, and has relatively little interest in starting a family as it could hinder her climb.
Different definitions of success, but the values needed to cultivate greatness in both situations, and many others, are the same.
Surround Yourself with the Right People
What are these values? For starters, I would like to introduce you to a man who is one of my personal heroes, Erik Weihenmayer. He is the first blind man to climb all 7 Summits (the tallest peak on each continent) and co-author of Adversity Advantage.
It is his quotes that are scattered throughout this article, because his unwavering will and faith in human potential are unlike anything I have ever read. He embodies Dr. Carol S. Dweck's principle of a growth mindset, which is that regardless of what traits and qualities we are born with, we can learn, improve, and thrive in difficult times.
His accomplishments alone are enough to inspire, but the way he talks about overcoming things that seem at first impossible, is unparalleled.
One thing Weihenmayer talks about, is surrounding yourself with people who will elevate your growth. You've probably heard this used with who you pick as your friends before, but the same goes for cultivating greatness.
In terms of athletics, athletes are quite lucky to be in an environment where their success is the main objective. A coaching staff, training staff, and administration are all there to support the athletes and ensure they have the resources they need to be successful at their sport.
For every day athletes without this support system automatically put in place, we must use our resources to develop our own.
"Regardless of how many strengths you possess, it's almost impossible to achieve greatness alone. Linking with the right people can elevate the breadth and scope of your impact. Others will have strengths you do not, and skills that compliment yours."
Finding circles of people who are driven, intelligent, and welcoming can be challenging, but not impossible. A few good places to start may be:
Reprogram Your Mindset
Overwhelming your excuses is much easier said than done, it goes back to the picture at the top about talking versus actually doing. What are your excuses? How do you reprogram your mindset to silence them and instead take action?
Convey Confidence to Build Confidence
The final piece I will leave you with, is building confidence. The most successful people on this planet have incredible self-confidence, or at least pretend to! In Norman Vincent Peale's classic The Power of Positive Thinking, he says:
"Feelings of confidence depend upon the type of thoughts that habitually occupy your mind. Think defeat and you are bound to feel defeated. But practice thinking confident thoughts, make it a dominating habit, and you will develop such a strong sense of capacity that regardless of what difficulties arise, you will be able to overcome them."
Personally, I have crippled my confidence in the past by comparing myself to others or trying to copy them. That's a horrible way to go about things, as comparison is truly the thief of joy.
In fact, most people, despite their confident appearance and demeanor, are oftentimes insecure. That being said, if you don't feel confident, fake it till you make it!
You become what you repeatedly do, so if you decide to put on your confident pants everyday, despite how you're feeling, it may just change your world!
Make Yourself Great
In summary, in order to make ourselves great, we must actively work on things that cultivate our greatness, rather than just thinking, reading, and learning about them.
Ultimate Guide to Having a Growth Mindset