Something Amazing Happened When I Learned Self-Forgiveness

Have you ever felt that you’re just not good enough? I spent too many years feeling that I wasn’t worthy and I let external factors degrade my self esteem. I had moments where I was brought down to my hands and knees agonizing over my own life choices and the circumstances that I found myself in.

The pain was unbearable and yet somehow I kept slipping back into old habits and bad behaviors.

I was trying to escape from my own potential because I couldn’t bridge the gap between who I thought I was and who I thought I wanted to be.

During the after effects of making mistakes or isolating myself from people who cared about me, I realized that what I was lacking was a higher purpose. Instant gratification from gaming, recreational drugs, and sugar WILL take a toll on you sooner than you realize. When it’s too late, then you will find yourself in rock bottom wishing that you had made better choices.

Rock Bottom is an opportunity take inventory of everything that you have going for you and find a way to rise up again.

I don’t need to be anybody but myself. Who I am is good enough.

I forgave myself for spending my youth playing video games, for smoking weed to escape, and for not asserting myself. I still have to forgive myself for making mistakes or impulsive decisions that detract from my goals in life and I think that’s totally okay because I’m not trying to be perfect. I’m just trying to use my life to have an impact on the world.

Only I can give meaning to my life and it starts by letting go of the things that have weighed me down.

My reality is what I make of it. I’m willing to be uncomfortable if it means that I’m moving forward and making a difference. I’m willing to put myself out there to be judged because I can’t think of anything worse than selfishly holding back on sharing whatever gifts I may have to give. 

Focus on what you can do now.

It’s true that now is all that we ever have. Focus on what you can do now instead of stressing about what you have done. Maybe you just need to understand yourself better so that you can keep yourself in a position of strength and self-control while still allowing yourself to be vulnerable to love.

Maybe you just need to realize your higher purpose…

Stair Climbing for Rapid Fat Loss?

How often do you take the stairs? Did you know that stair climbing is one of the safest, most effective ways to make fitness gains and burn fat fast?

Stair Climbing is one of the safest, most effective workouts available for urban dwellers.

If I ever move into a high rise building, I would probably stair climb almost every day because it’s that sustainable. When I stair climb with my clients in various buildings, I end up burning more fat from my own body than what I even expected. My cardiovascular system made some serious improvements when I started to incorporate stair climbing into my life and now I am a strong advocate for stair climbing.

Climb up the stairs, take the elevator down.

One of the reasons that stair climbing up a building is so sustainable is that it’s very unlikely that you’ll experience any soreness from the activity since there is little-to-no eccentric portion of movement. It’s different if you have to go outside and return down the stairs because the downhill part is often what gets your calves and knees a bit more sore (tear down of muscles and other tissue). Of course you’ll get a lot of benefits from stairs outside, but there is just something unique about being able to climb a tall building and take the elevator down. You’ll recover way faster and it won’t impede other activities or training goals. Lots of benefit without the soreness.

Throwback to my first Big Climb

Disease prevention.

Because stair climbing is SO good for the heart and because there are many WELL KNOWN benefits of moderate-high intensity exercise, there is a good chance that regular stair climbing can help with healthy aging and longevity. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I’m not just passionate about fitness, I also care deeply about disease prevention and healthy aging. I’ve met too many people and I’ve had too many people in my life who have suffered through illness, sickness, and disease and I don’t believe it’s their fault — I do believe that we can do something about it though!

Give your body a reason to keep going.

As I mentioned earlier, I have many other motivations to take care of myself aside from “looking the part” for my career as a fitness professional. First of, I’ve experienced moments in my life when my body has let me down and caused me great distress along with emotional pain. Secondly, I have worked with people who have experienced all different types of ailments that I realized there’s no point trying to prevent one disease; you need to make effort to prevent ALL disease. The funny thing is that when you live a lifestyle that is truly about disease prevention, you end up feeling better about yourself AND burning more potentially harmful fat off of your body.

My very first Big Climb team

It’s okay to run out of excuses.

I am constantly fighting my own desire for comfort in order to make forward progress. My own meaning of purpose in life and my value to other people manifests from the knowledge and experience that I have and also my relatability — I struggle too. When I look at my experiences, I’ve noticed that in times when I am experiencing the most pain and discomfort are the times that I have made the most growth. I truly believe in disease prevention and I truly believe in the cure. It’s not just about personality responsibility, folks. We’re all in this together.

If my mission has moved you, consider contributing to my Big Climb 2018 fight to cure Leukemia and Lymphoma.

Click to give your support.

Dre Fitness is back. My readership of the blog has grown even though I haven’t been as active lately tells me that people appreciate the content that I create. I can only imagine how many people I can reach if I just stay consistent with content creation while continuing to be as authentic and genuine as I can be. Stay tuned for more!

 

 

3 Honest Examples of What I Eat

I’ve been asked lately about what I’ve been eating so here is a quick post to share with you today. You can see that even though I aim for nutrient dense foods, I also intake some inflammatory foods which I think is inevitable in real life.

Monday:

4AM: Chlorella algae powder w/ matcha powder (of green tea leaves). Feeling: Energized.

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Matcha (bright green, powerful energizing, brain boosting, antioxidant rich substance). Chlorella (dark green, extremely high chlorophyll making it a potent cellular rejuvinater and energizer).

5:00AM-7:45AM (coaching)

8:00AM – 8:20AM: abbreviated workout (20 mins of sleds)

 9:00AM Scrambled pastured eggs cooked w/ coconut oil. Black beans, a small avocado, some pepperjack cheese, a few bites of raw saurkraut (PROBIOTIC), and boiled chard.
12:30 PM Another round of chlorella/matcha because I was going back to coach.
1:15 PM: Meeting at the studio, food provided by management. Berries, then some of those deli wraps which did have flour, processed meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato.
3:00PM-6:30 PM (coaching)
6:45 PM amazing chamomile tea from Roy Street coffee
7:30 PM Organic grass fed raw home-made Kefir (PROBIOTIC)

Tuesday:

3:50 AM: Chlorella algae powder w/ matcha.

4:45AM – 7:30AM (coaching)

7:35 AM: Lots of blueberries as a gift from VIP member Deniz at LQA. Also a small peanut butter ball / protein snack that I had on the go walking from one training location to the next.

Blueberries are for antioxidant winners!

8:00AM – 9AM (coaching)
9:45 AM: Wild Alaskan King Salmon 8oz w/ raw saurkraut. (I wanted to have more veggies, but didn’t want to feel rushed during my short break so I just made it easy on myself and had the kraut).
11:00 AM: Americano from Analog Coffee. (nothing added)
12:20 PM: Small coconut nut butter protein ball (another little gift given to me from earlier) as a pre-workout energy source.
12:45 PM: Workout
1:45 PM: 16oz of coconut water (I just love a cold coconut water after the workout, not that I scientifically think it’s the best post-workout. It just makes me feel better than any of the hundred other post-workout drinks I’ve tried)
2:00 PM: Brew DR. Kombucha, “Spiced Apple,” flavor while chillin’ at Cal Anderson Park.
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Picture at Cal Anderson park yesterday for my Instagram followers and blog readers.

3:00 PM: 24oz of Wild Alaskan King Salmon. Took 20oz of fresh spinach and steamed it/ate it. Also 2 bundles of chard which I boiled and ate that. Only had half an avocado because I was getting so full from the veggies.
5:30 PM – 9PM (coaching)
9:45 PM: Organic grass fed raw home-made Kefir (PROBIOTIC)

Wednesday:

5:40 AM: Chlorella algae powder w/ matcha

6:15 AM: Workout

7:20 AM: Post-workout, I had the Boar’s Head, “Rainier,” sandwhich from the QFC deli in Broadway Market w/ a coconut water of course. Another Brew Dr. Kombucha, this time “Clear Mind” flavor.
8:00 AM – 1:00 PM (coaching)
10:20 AM: During a quick break between coaching HIIT classes, I drank part of store bought Kefir called “Grace Harbor Farms, Plain Kefir” from QFC. This particular brand IS real legitimate kefir, unlike many store brands.
11:40 AM: Drank the other half of the bottle of kefir (Sometimes I only get a few moments to consume anything so I try to make it count, or otherwise I go too many hours without eating probably).
1:45 PM: Pho Than Brothers Pho #1 Large with extra broccoli.
2:30 PM – 4PM (coaching)
5:00 PM: One Chipotle Burrito Bowl with white rice, black beans, fajita vegetables, chicken, pico, salsa verde, corn, 1/2 serving sour cream, guacamole, and lettuce.
7:30PM: Goat Milk Kefir and start preparing for my day tomorrow.
kf

Kefir, a fermented milk beverage with promising health benefits.

Planning ahead for tomorrow

 Tomorrow I’ve planned that I will have more salmon/greens because today wasn’t my best eating day. I’ve taken on more work and helped other trainers at OTF so I notice that when my schedule becomes more demanding, I find it more challenging to consume the top foods. I’m sure you can relate.
Healthy food

I can’t wait to get salmon back in my body.

I already know that I’m going to have my matcha/chlorella around 4:00AM tomorrow. By 9AM, I’ll have some pastured eggs meal similar to that I had on Monday. Then when 3-4PM rolls around, I’ll be preparing my meal of fresh salmon / greens that I’ll have just picked up from the store. I try to go to bed around 8PM because if I get less than 6 hours of sleep, I already know it’s going to be a STRUGGLE to choose healthy foods. Sleep is so crucial for making the right choices.

Tomorrow will be a new day though, with more opportunities for nutrient dense food. It’s not glamorous that I have to wash a bunch of pots and pans to keep up with my cooking, but you just gotta do what you gotta do. I sometimes remind myself what a blessing it is to have access to some of the best nutrition in the world here in my city of Seattle. Why let the opportunity slip by?

Motivation Monday: 4 Main Reasons that Inspire your Fitness Lifestyle

What is it that inspires people to get off their butts?

There are a lot of ideas that float through my mind on a daily basis. I’m always thinking about how to promote good postural alignment through exercise, I’m always thinking about expanding my knowledge of nutrition to educate others, and I’m ALWAYS thinking about glute activation (those who take my classes know the importance!).

Ultimately though, I’m in the business of motivation which is definitely a renewable resource even though at times it can feel scarce and elusive. But if it was easy, then it wouldn’t be worth fighting for.

Here are 4 big motivators for people in fitness.

We’ll start with the first fitness motivation…

1. That feeling

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Enter a caption

 

For any avid exerciser, nothing beats that feeling.

It’s that feeling of being sweaty, wet, drenched, soaked, and accomplished.

It’s that feeling of knowing that today you did something good for yourself.

It’s that feeling that helped you kick your addictions or at the very least replace a harmful addiction with a helpful addiction.

It’s that feeling of recovery knowing that you used your body for what it was made for — which is to move.

It’s that post-workout feeling that changed your mindset, attitude, and affected you in a deeper place.

2. Sex appeal / Confidence

Even if you rid the world of all social media, magazines, movies, and television, you’d still know an attractive person when you see them (in action).

Fitness provides a certain aesthetic beyond toned abs and arms. I argue that beauty is more often displayed in motion than under any static circumstances. That’s why everybody can be beautiful if they choose to be.

It is my understanding that women can appreciate the bodies of other women and also that even straight men appreciate an athletic male body as a matter of inspiration and perhaps for no other reason than it looks good and serves a functional purpose.

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Confident guy

Ultimately, confidence tends to be more alluring than any body part and what you really need is to be in a mindset of self-appreciation when it comes to your own body. I guarantee it is more productive to change the way you feel about yourself than changing the way your body looks. What’s interesting is that when you feel that you actually care about yourself, you’ll tend to eat healthier foods and your body transforms into a vessel of health and love in a matter of weeks, months, years.

3. Health / Longevity

I used to think that anti-aging was nothing more than a marketing term and it took me years to get beyond that. Now I realize that some people really do age slower when they take care. On one hand, you have genetics, and on the other hand you’ve got the lifestyle choices and environmental conditions that literally slow the aging of your human cells.

Unfortunately, a lot of people really do need to hit a very low part in their lives to make them realize that they NEED fitness. Often, a person will be diagnosed with a serious disease that perhaps cannot be cured, but may be managed through lifestyle intervention. Exercise, fitness, and nutrition truly is the holy grail for living a long, healthy, and worthwhile existence.

Here’s the short list of how fitness and nutrition can benefit a person:

  • Manage acute and chronic diseases
  • Prevent and cure many types of ailments
  • Maintain healthy mood and ward off negative mindsets
  • Promote positive community through fitness groups
  • Improve quality of life due to mobility, posture, strengthening of the bones, brains, tendons, joints, and ligaments
  • Reproductive health and fertility

If you take a diabetic person and have them train with me for six weeks, I guarantee their next lab tests will likely impress the doctor. I can change your life. Fitness can change your life.

exben

4. Other people

Let’s face it, sometimes we need other people. I’ve realized there are many positive things/activities for me that I just don’t have the motivation to do alone. But, together we are stronger.

When I got into personal training, I studied the industry and realized that it is a growing industry and that I could make a life out of doing that which I am most passionate about. People benefit from coaching and I have no doubt about that.

Some lucky people have friends who are willing to take them to the gym with them and give them help, encouragement, and perhaps even expertise. I tell ya, if you have somebody like that in your life, treat them like gold and take them up on that offer. Most people would kill for that.

Personal training sessions can run between $60-$120 easy in any major city. Workout classes tend to run between $10-$40 so those can provide a great value when the intensity and attention is appropriate.

Meanwhile, as many coaches mention, don’t compare yourself to others. I have a friend who in my mind has become very successful in business and I remember one evening I was feeling down on myself and beating myself up for not having made the proper investments and put the work in. Instead of wallowing in self pity, I re-framed my thoughts and said to myself, “You know what, I’m fortunate to have successful people in my life who can inspire me and to have a network of successful people, because it is way better than any alternative!”

Believe in the process and put in work: Be consistent.

So here I am, writing this blog putting in the work on a Sunday night to inspire people for the week. Maybe I’ll never have the business acumen that others seem to have naturally, but none of that matters because as long as I put in the work, show up every day, and be intentional in my life, there’s nowhere to go but up. Give me the challenges, I dare you, and watch me overcome barriers left and right. So I can keep inspiring others!

Thanks for reading.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel today.

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Why your sorry-a** posture needs thoracic spine/upper back extension today: one simple stretch to help you out

People say they just love me because I am so positive.

I can still write headlines that aren’t so fuzzy and friendly though! See above. Bahah!

Do you suffer from poor posture, pain in your spine, pain in your upper back, pain in your shoulders?

I’m only writing this because I care. Most of your friends and family won’t tell you that your posture sucks. Okay, maybe your mom will tell you to sit up straight, but most people believe that posture is your own responsibility.

upperbackextensionthoracicspineextension

Upper back/Thoracic spine extension and stretching at home on a foam roller

I’m here to help.

Be aware of the stability-mobility continuum.

In general, the neck should be stable, the upper back should be mobile, the lower back should be stable, the hips should be mobile, the knees should be stable, and the ankles should be mobile.

mobilitystabilityspine.jpg

Mobility/Stability continuum

The above statement is definitely a generality, but it applies to most people in the general population so it does have use.

By following these basic principles, a fitness professional can prescribe targeted exercises and stretches for an individual in need of optimal function.

Some people need to cure their bad posture, others are already wrecking their joints by exercising with poor form.

Here’s an example. If you are constantly performing back exercises with shrugged shoulders, over time it will probably end up stressing your joints. You need to be able to control the scapula by retracting and depressing the shoulder blade when appropriate.

Exercising with poor posture is like driving a car with axles and wheels out of alignment: it’s only going to work for so long until it breaks down.

Aside from the fact that good posture promotes a healthy self esteem and people respond better to you when you exhibit good posture, you also need to perform your exercises with good posture otherwise you’re not making the situation any better.

Our joints have a lifespan and you can increase the lifespan of your joints by exercising in good posture. Additionally, you can increase the lifespan of your joints by having training that promotes muscular balance and offers enough time for recovery.

(Related: Subscribe to my YouTube)

The healthy spine solution:

It CAN be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s the general idea to support a healthy spine…

  1. Train your glutes hard (glute bridge, weighted barbell hip bridge, single leg glute bridge, rear foot elevated split squat aka bench static lunge aka bulgarian split squat, single leg deadlift, barbell deadlifts, dumbbell deadlifts, barbell squats, goblet squats, etc.)
  2. Train your abdominals hard (TRX Pike, TRX knee tuck, ab dolly knee tuck, ab wheel rollout, reverse crunches, turkish get up, etc)
  3. Mobility in the upper back (upper back extension on the foam roller, upper back stretches on your chair, upper back stretch on the stability ball, upper back bends in yoga, etc)

These three keys will do WONDERS for your body. Moreover, you can also go ahead and stretch your hip flexors and other tight areas that relate to the hip. On top of that, perform some ankle mobility drills and strengthen your tibialis anterior and posterior and then you’re good to go!

Say hello to good posture forever

EVERYBODY has seen an elderly person with a horrible kyphotic posture that just makes you wonder how that even happened. Well, the truth is that they probably never performed upper back exercises and upper back extensions. As a result, their backs became hunched, which can lead to damages down the chain.

Upper back rigidity can lead to lower back pain

Everything in the kinetic chain is linked. You really need to address your posture from a holistic standpoint. If you have chronic lower back pain, it’s quite possible that it is linked to tightness of the upper back. Obviously I can’t prescribe for you through this blog, but it is worth being aware of for when you visit with a healthcare provider or fitness professional.

Take care of your body so that you can life a long, healthy and high quality life.

I don’t think you get more than one life, so make it count. You’d be surprised what happens when you start taking care of yourself.

foamroller.jpg

If you’re convinced, then buy a foam roller on Amazon today.