The 29% challenge

I originally wrote this post last year but the message is timeless IMO! Enjoy!

The 29% Challenge!

As you all probably know by now, we are in the midst of a really energetic and inspiring transformation contest. We have close to 40 people committed to losing weight/bodyfat, building muscle, and feeling great and it has been REALLY fun to share their experience with them. BUT…

There is is always a “but” right?

At the end of the first week, I noticed that some people in the challenge were talking about the weekend and how they were likely going to cancel out all their hard work over the next few days. I wasn’t really surprised by this since this is typically the biggest challenge most people face.

However, these conversations got me thinking – how much progress do many of us likely lose on the weekend? The answer was shocking to me – 29% of week is a chock full of huge potential progress killers! Bad food choices, poor sleep habits, and excessive FUN (if you know what I mean) come to mind. For some people – all three probably apply! For our contestants – I put it another way. Out of the 42 days of the challenge, 12 FULL days of their challenge are either filled with opportunities to improve or filled with traps to fall into.

That’s almost two FULL weeks! I can assure you – that got quite a few of them thinking about their weekend choices when we talked about it. After all – they spent good money to join the contest. Would you throw away 29% of your money on any purchase? I know I try not to and I know they didn’t plan to either when they signed up.

So – why mention this at all? I want to challenge all you to start thinking of your weekends (or whatever days you have off) as full of potential opportunities to improve and lose the minefield mentality! I can assure that just this simple mindset shift will be powerful and liberating!

Another way to think about it – if you were presented with an investment that paid a 29% return, you would be silly not to make it right? However, so many of us don’t make that choice (myself included at times)! Just imagine if you took this challenge to heart for a month and came out the other side…

29% lighter? 29% leaner? 29% stronger? 29% more confident? You get the idea…wouldn’t that be AWESOME!?!?

What if you did it for 3 months? I am certain you would make more progress in those 3 months than most people make in a year!

It really comes down to a simple choice – do you want to start making a 29% return on yourself or not.

If you have the weekend “minefield” mindset and need some some help finding your 29%, please let me know. I would love to help you invest in yourself!

-Coach Green

Random fitness musings and common sensicals…

Here are a few random fitness musings and common sense stuff from the previous few weeks…

kenny rogers

Randomness #1 – “Knowing when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em” is a very valuable concept in the fitness setting. Here is an example from my deadlift session last week. I hadn’t slept well the night before this session and didn’t have high hopes for the planned, heavy single at the end of my workout. However, my first two work sets (a set of 5 and a set of 3) felt pretty good and that single seemed much more attainable as I got going…then Kenny Rogers reared his surgically “enhanced” face!

As I started to pull, the bar felt like it weighed a ton and I lost my core brace, causing me to ditch the lift. In years past, I might have played some angry music in an attempt to get fired up and try it again. However, something deep inside me told me that this wasn’t a good idea and I stripped the bar off to live another day.  Fast forward to this week – some simple goblet squats got my lower back fired up pretty good. I’m guessing that whatever the cause of this heat was lurking in there last week too so I’m glad I folded on that heavy single last week. Thanks Kenny.

Randomness #2 –  I have found that there is direct correlation between one’s level of clutter and one’s resultant level of productivity and success. An easy example…when my various work stations get overly cluttered, my productivity drops. If you find yourself constantly moving stuff around and/or digging through piles looking for stuff you need on your desk, do yourself a huge favor and commit to a regular clean out. Taking 30 minutes to regulate clutter at a work station is easily worth 3-5x that in saved time down the line.

Kasey’s B’s freezer – she had no idea what was in here!

A less obvious example…a unorganized refrigerator/freezer! When my fridge gets cluttered, it takes me longer to cook stuff, food waste increases (hidden leftovers), and my food cost goes way up. After several wasteful clean outs a few months back, I resolved to go more minimalist in the fridge and the pantry to keep stuff from accumulating. The result – we eat more of what we buy and waste far less food as a family. Grocery shopping is also easier too because I have a better idea of what we have and don’t have. Do we occasionally run out of stuff at inopportune times – definitely. However, the gain from the minimalist fridge/pantry approach far outweighs this occasional aggravation. Trust me – commit to a semi-regular clean out. You will thank me later!

Randomness #3 – Another valuable concept in fitness is remember not to “fix” things that aren’t broken. We had a client that came in for measurements and lost 4.5 inches and a full pound of body fat over the course of about 5 weeks using sensible eating and exercise strategies. These gains easily qualify as smashing successes! However, the first thing out of her mouth was “What should I do differently moving forward?”


After I recovered from a mild face palm, I told her that she should continue to do exactly what she is currently doing and “mine” it for everything she could. Once the gains slowed or stopped altogether, then I advised that we should mix up her approach. Another reason for my suggestion…when too many changes are made too often, it is much harder to identify what is working and what it isn’t!

Randomness #4 –  Never, ever underestimate the value of regular, small investments of time that genuinely make you happy or relieve stress. My example – I have had a subscription to the local Chattanooga newspaper almost continuously since I’ve lived here.

Is it a great paper? Not at all.

Do I even read all of it? Definitely not.

However, the 20 minutes or so it takes me to read the sports, business, comics, and any other random articles I find interesting has come to function as much needed “me” time. It relaxes me and gives me a brief escape from the nuttiness in my life. So much so that if I let my subscription lapse or miss a day, I GENUINELY miss it. On days when I don’t get to read it, I will occasionally get crabby as hell. I can honestly say that this “just OK” paper has become an indispensable piece of my happiness factor. If you don’t have something similar, I definitely recommend that you keep looking for it! Once you find it, protect it and savor it!

Randomness #5–  If my sleep suffers in quality or amount (or both), my ability to resist carbs (sweets in particular) crumbles like a cookie (feel free to eye roll). The worst part – I KNOW THIS ALREADY. My point – if you are doing something that you know causes you to do dumb shit, either stop doing it or resolve the underlying issue. No complaining – it’s on you.

Thanks Netflix and Mind of a Chef I was horrible about getting to sleep this past week and I was nicking carbs all week as a result. Last night, I took some of my own medicine from above and put the IPad away and was out by 10:30pm.  I slept great until 5am and the result of my actions was a clear head and no carb cravings today…

Lesson – if you find yourself crushing carbs when you shouldn’t, look at your sleep habits…there might be some answers there.

Hope you enjoyed this one – please comment below with any questions.

The value of patience

I have alway fancied myself as a gardener…growing healthy, organic stuff for my family has always fit in nicely with being a fitness and performance coach. Getting out in the dirt also helps me get away from day to day stress of owning my own business and helps me blow of some steam. More recently, the kids have begun to help me (as much as they can anyway) with small jobs in the garden, which I think is a really important knowledge set for them to learn long term. My eldest particularly enjoys smashing the caterpillars that eat her plants.

All in all, gardening is a good thing for me. However, all last summer was a hot, stinking mess with my gardening attempts.

See, one of my biggest problems in my attempts to grow stuff is impatience. I just want stuff and a lot of it to grow NOW! This tendency sometimes leads me to make silly decisions that cost me time and effort down the line. Here are two of the finer examples of my brown thumb foibles from last summer…

I had a ton of plants happily growing in my mini greenhouse in the early spring. Each morning, I would drag that out sucker out to get it in the sun and then pull it back in at night. I was doing great with this system until a very windy day came along and someone (raises hand) forget to put some ballast rocks in the bottom. Imagine my dismay when my greenhouse was blown over when I came home that night and three weeks worth of happy plants were smashed on the ground.

Three or four weeks later to the aforementioned incident, I had another nice set of plants growing in the greenhouse (with rock in the bottom this time).  My impatient side of me thought, “Hey more sun will really get these plants going to make up for the lost time!” so I moved them out into more direct sunlight for a few hours. Cue even more dismay when I came back out later that day to find that half of the plants had wilted from the excessive heat!

The common theme between the two incidents? I was too impatient with my efforts with no clear plan to guide them.

This impatient, unplanned approach that so easily sidetracked me last summer is actually quite common in the fitness world as well.

People want to get fit/strong/tone/lean/lighter/etc…And they want to do it now!

Unfortunately, they often try to get their results as fast as possible with little concern for the big picture and very little planning. Here is a more recent example we saw at the facility of someone getting into big hurry with their fitness that caused them to waste a lot of effort with little reward.

One of our clients was doing a great job of blending great nutrition, solid strength work, and timely cardio to get in the best shape of her life over the course of several months. However, after a hectic month or so at work and in her kid’s athletic season, she started to swerve off her plan a bit – life happens after all.

When she noticed the scale starting to move in the wrong direction, this was all it took for her to scrap her approach completely and start running like mad woman! In the past, she had always been able to easily “run off a few pounds”, so she thought this was all she would have to do to get back on track.

However, her new body didn’t agree with the old approach! As the miles increased and her lifting decreased, her strength that she had worked so hard to build started to wain. She felt beat up and crappy. When she came back in for a re-assessment about a month ago, her weight was still up AND she found out she had lost some muscle as well!

When she saw this, she was highly agitated. As we discussed the results, we kept coming back to the same concept that I struggled with early on last spring…impatience.

As we discussed her results and her situation, she came to realize that she has made a massive shift in her approach (i.e. excess cardio) without really thinking about the new rules she had established for herself (great nutrition + lifting + timely cardio). Her impatience then caused her to get even more off track than before.

To get her moving back in the right direction, I recommended to her that she cut back on the extra cardio and add the lifting back into her routine. I was pretty certain that this would jump start her metabolism and her body would eat up those extra pounds pretty quickly.

Fast forward a few weeks later and the results for her have been very promising. She feels stronger again, the scale is moving back in the right direction, and most of her frustration is gone. Most importantly, she is happy with her fitness again.

While the more patient and thoughtful approach may seem to take longer, the results that come with it are long lasting, less stressful, and that much more valuable. Try to keep this idea in mind when you are about to make an impulsive, impatient decision with your fitness. Try to slow it down and consider how this decision will fit into your plan.  I am certain it will save you a lot of time and effort if you do!

P.S. My gardening attempts have been much better this year. I’ve only killed off a few plants here or there with no extinction levels events…yet!

The Value of Perseverance

Perseverancesteady persistence in a course of action, purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. (

I decided to write this blog in honor of this frustrating weekend, which has been full of hurdles large and small. My goal here is to frame for you the value of perseverance when it comes to your fitness pursuits so that you can hopefully find it as well.

Some context for you…

One of my goals for 2017 is to see the number 249.9lbs on the scale without sacrificing strength in the process. How did I arrive at this and why is it important?

A few reasons really…

First,  I have been piddling around in my own fitness goals since the early part of 2015 when my son Wilder was born. I have been “working out” consistently since that point but with no end goal in mind. I have learned this about myself – I need an endpoint in my training. With this goal, I have a distinct time frame and easily measurable objective to strive for – two key components to a good goal.

Second, I haven’t seen that weight since sometime in college in the early 2000’s and to hit it when I am close to 40 years old and much less of a spring chicken than before will be (for lack of a better term) cool! Who doesn’t want to say they are in better shape in their late 30’s than their early 20’s?

Third, this goal will surely challenge my professional acumen for all it’s worth. After all, it ain’t easy to lean out, stay strong, run a business, and raise a family simultaneously!  I always tell many of my SCSF members, who share similar levels of cluster-ness, that they can do it too so it’s time to put my money where my mouth is.

Fourth, speaking of my SCSF crew, I am pretty certain that I will gain a ton of insights in the process of reaching my goal that will help me serve them better, which will definitely add value to process as well. I can’t say for sure but hopefully I can use some of my momentum to help pull them along when they are having bad days just like I did this weekend.

Getting back to that…the weekend frustrations started for me on Friday afternoon when I missed my prescribed reps on my big bench press set. My upper body progress has been struggling of late so I had even dropped my training weights to make sure I didn’t miss any more lifts. I was annoyed by the miss but the training process isn’t predictable so I just chalked it up to a bad lift…

However, later that night the bad juju continued when I didn’t get out to walk the dog. No big deal, right? Well, since I am due to run a 3 mile Warrior Dash on April 22nd, any extra cardio REALLY counts for me right now! Let’s say I’m not in thoroughbred condition at the moment…ugh!

Then I didn’t sleep well that night for whatever reason…blah

Then I wake up to discover that one of my bank accounts was in the red due to a totally avoidable mis-communication on my part earlier in the week. (insert lots of cussing here)

Which caused an important online order I had placed for next week to fail. (insert even more cussing here).

NOTE: I made sure it was internal cussing – no kids’ ears were burnt in the process.

Later that day, while in throes of attempting to penny pinch due to the aforementioned financial screw up, I went to the supermarket intending to only spend about $90 and spent $120 instead. UGH!

While cooking dinner, the kids let Jake the dog out by accident…then once he was corralled, I did! (insert wife’s cussing here since she caught him both times)

And I forget to mention some of the usual 2 year tantrums and brother/sister rivalry nonsense, and a baby that didn’t want to nap all day!

So, what does all of this mess have to do with perseverance and goals exactly?

Quite a lot actually!

See – this was the exact type of weekend in the past where I would go off the rails with my diet. Repeated episodes of stress and irritation like this in the past would mutate my good intentions into an instant case of “to hell with it-itus”.

Cookies, sweets, breads…you name it – I was eating it!

Taking the dog out for a walk? Not happening!

However, this weekend was different. I stayed the course and I persevered through it all without eating away my progress from the previous week (During my monthly self-accountability check-in, I lost 2lbs of fat and 6.25 inches!). No bad carbs snuck into my mouth on Saturday.  I even took the dog out Saturday night and sprinted with him up the hills in the neighborhood.

Is all of my stress gone? Hell no! (that bank thing) But I sure do feel better going into Monday knowing that I didn’t eat myself into a coma and lay around all weekend.

To finish up, I am always telling my SCSF peeps that making good decisions with diet and nutrition is easy when everything is going your way. It’s when life get stressful, hectic, and annoying that they have to incredibly vigilant about the behaviors that will take them backwards. That is where long term progress and sustainability come from…

The ability to persevere through the suck…

Hope you found this helpful and it helps you persevere…

Please comment if you did!