Take care of your own SHIT!

Many of us fly so often that we usually ignore the “incase of an emergency” safety brief delivered by the flight attendants. However there is one phrase uttered during this brief that has a much deeper meaning than just “in-flight safety”. That phase is:

 If you are traveling with small children, please put your mask on first before helping others…

Put your mask on first

Have you thought about what that statement actually means?

The flight crew is basically saying, “If you faint or die as a result of not being able to breath, then you are of no help to your family. This means that in order to help anyone with anything, you must first be capable of performing the task yourself. For example, if you are weak, out-of-shape, and unhealthy and the “shit goes down” you will most likely be a liability instead of an asset…

Take care of yourself first

In early June of 2016 I found myself with 35-lbs strapped to my back hiking through the hills of Spokane, Washington for 12-hrs straight while constantly being yelled at by a couple of former Navy Seals who despite being in their 50’s looked like they could still whip some ass!

I was participating in SEAL FIT 20x Challenge which is basically a small glimpse into Hell Week! Over the course of 12-hrs we rucked (hiking with added weight) over 25-miles carrying 35-lbs. In addition to the rucking we ran hills, did hundreds of burpees, pushups, squats and pull-ups. We were also subjected to cold water and many group challenges that forced us to work as a team. As you can probably imagine this Challenge was the real deal and by far one of the hardest 12-hr stretches of my life.

This event taught me a lot about not only myself and what I was capable of, it also taught me a lot about life…

This event was all about the TEAM! And like a team we started together and we finished together. But it is much more complicated than that. A TEAM is only as strong and as fast as it’s weakest members. Leaving people behind was not an option. This meant that if some one wasn’t pulling their own weight we as a team had to carry it for them. And that’s exactly what happened…

SEAL FIT 20x "Secured" Spokane Washington

SEAL FIT 20x “Secured”

Despite having clear physical standards there were a few people that showed up to the event highly under-prepared. As I mentioned earlier we were all carrying 35-lbs in our backpacks. Well just a few hours into this challenge we had a couple of teammates who just could not keep pace with the rest of the group. The solution was to take their packs and take turns carrying it. This meant that you were carrying not only your pack but the pack of someone else. So instead of carrying 35-lbs like everyone else you now had to carry 70-lbs because others could not carry their “own weight”.

As the day went on these certain teammates became more and more of a liability to the team! It was fascinating because I quickly realized that if everyone just took care of their own shit and carried their own weight, we as a team would have moved much faster and accomplished much more!

I then realized that the same is true for life. How many people in today’s society are under-prepared and dependent on other people to survive? There are far too many people just hoping, wishing, and waiting for something or someone to come and improve their life. These people spend more time and effort worry about our next President, then they spend towards improving their own life!

long-after-this-election-is-over-trump-and-hillary-will-3203178

 

If you want to make your life and even the world a better place you must first start with yourself and your local community. Before you doing anything else you should first – Take care of your health, feed your mind (continue your education), help your neighbors, improve your strength, eat better, meditate, and spend more time with your family and friends. In other words, TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN SHIT FIRST!!! Honestly the world would be much better if we all just did our part and “carried our own weight”. So from this day on, make it your personal mission to tie up all your “loose ends” before worrying about what other people are doing! Because we as humans are only as good as our weakest members.

socrates quote

 

 

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The Real Reason you have not achieved your fitness goal!

If you not yet achieved the body of your dreams, the reason is simple, you have not yet pushed through “THE DIP”! Now this can have one of two meanings:

  1. You are currently in the dip and it is only a matter of time before you push through and become a sexy beast. Or,
  2. Every time you find yourself in the DIP, you QUIT!!!

If you have been working out consistently for at least 3-to-6 month you are most likely in a dip. The dip as you will soon learn is a necessary part of the process. So don’t worry how you ended up in the dip and instead ask yourself,

“Am I going to rise-up and push through the dip, or am I going to quit and (once again) fade into the background of life? 

Unfortunately way too many people give up once the going gets tough…

Thomas Edison quote, The Dip

Here’s the all too common scenario —You decide that today is the first day of the rest of your life! You’re going to stop making excuses and you’re finally going to get in shape. So you do your research and find a great gym with amazing trainers and finally begin this journey of self-improvement. At first, it’s way better than expected, you are having FUN, meeting lots of amazing people, and for the first time in a long time you are making PROGRESS! But then, out of nowhere, a big dose of reality punches you in the face, suddenly ending this fitness honeymoon causing you to tumble down into the DIP!

What is THE DIP?

The dip is the universal truth that nothing in this world worth having comes easy. The dip comes in many forms such as injuries, kidsmoney, an unpredictable schedule, or perceived lack of time. While those obstacles maybe obvious one of the most underrated is the lack of ambition for doing more than the just the bare minimum. Fitness is about self discovery and mastery of the physical world and the dip requires you to do more than just show up to the gym. 

The dip, Fitness, Kettlebells

The dip is the part of the journey where you transition from a beginner to a master. This transition requires you to get a deeper understanding of your path. This could mean improvement of your technique, balance, rhythm, timing, coordination, flexibility, body awareness, strength, or work capacity. The problem here is that the improvement of these aspects is HARD, it takes a lot of time and effort. However, they aspects won’t fix themselves so you must make a concentrated effort to improve or you will never progress. Sadly, for many people the decision to quit and find a new gym and a new trainer looks like a better option then battling these obstacles. 

There is good news, the DIP is what makes your accomplishment special. As the old saying goes; if it was easy everybody would do it, so the dip acts like a filter that weeds out all the pretenders, naysayers and wannabes. So the next time you find yourself at the bottom of a DIP, realize that the only path to success is through the dip, not around it. Quitting, joining a new gym, or looking for another trainer is not going to solve the issue. The “issue” lies within… So “bite down on your mouth piece and start swinging” because getting through the dip will be one of the biggest fights of your life. However if you emerge victorious you will be forever changed!!!

This blog was inspired by the book THE DIP  by Seth Godin which I highly recommend you read!

Seven “Life Hacks” to help you optimize your life

What does it mean to live an optimal lifestyle?

Optimal Lifestyle

It’s living a life of strength and health, both physically and mentally, while trying to remove as much stress and negative emotions as possible. While that definition may sound simple, actually achieving optimization is extremely HARD! That’s because life is well – it’s HARD! We have bills to pay, mouths to feed, bosses to please, and yet we still need to find time for own personal development. So yes, it can be HARD, to find the time for everything especially for ourself…

But luckily for you, I have been pursuing this optimal lifestyle for several years and as a result I have made some discoveries that have had a huge impact in my overall health, strength and happiness. Because these discoveries or “life hacks” worked so well for me, there is a high probability that they will work just as well for you!

So, without any further ad0… These “life hacks” are:

1. Kettlebells

2016 has become the “YEAR OF THE KETTLEBELL”!…

Garett Renon kettlebell motivation

This year, I have completed two high-level kettlebell certifications, StrongFirst (SFG) and Strength Matters (SMK). This means that the majority of my strength training over the past 8-months has been strictly kettlebells. The result? I have never felt stronger! But it is more than just an improvement in overall strength, I now also have better range-of-motion, increased balance, increased body awareness, improved cardio, a stronger mind and I have become harder to kill! It’s true! I completed SEALFIT’s 20x challenge despite having done little-to-none of their recommended training. How is this possible? Well in the Hardstyle-kettlebell world this is known as the “What the Hell” effect.

The “What the Hell” effect, is when someone does mainly kettlebell training but has significant improvements in non-related kettlebell activities. Sure these are antidotal stories but they are all over the place. For example many people have done nothing but kettlebell swings and turkish getups and increased their max deadlift, did their first pull-up, and even improved their time 5k running time, and the list goes on and on…

So if you are looking for the ultimate workout, it’s hard to find something better than kettlebells!

How to start:

Kettlebells are a great way to exercise and extremely safe provided you learn how to do the movements properly. So find the nearest certified SFG or SMK trainer to learn the basics. Then once you learn the basics it will be only a matter of time before you experience your own “what the hell” effect!

2. Bulletproof Coffee

Butter in your coffee

Out of all the “hacks” that are listed in this blog post, bulletproof coffee is not only the most delicious it might also be the most beneficial. Bulletproof coffee allows you to receive all the benefits of fasting (intermitted fasting) while providing you energy and most importantly keeping you satiated.

I am not going to go into any real detail about the science behind fasting, so if you want to know more please read this and this. If you don’t care about the science all you need to know is this — drinking bulletproof coffee allows you to easily fast for 16-to-18 hrs everyday. Why is this important? Because while you are fasting, you are burning FAT!!!

Benefits of drinking Bulletproof Coffee

  1. The fat from the butter satisfies your hunger, while allowing for proper hormonal functions. Not to mention that the fat allows for a slower absorption of the caffeine from the coffee which prevents the coffee “jitters” and gives you more consistent energy through out the day.
  2. MCT oil – This oil converts to Ketones which is an energy source preferred by the brain. The result? More mental clarity and another source of energy.
  3. Caffeine – No explanation needed, we all love caffeine and we all know the benefits…
  4. It is delicious!!!

How to start:

Brew your favorite cup of coffee, add some butter (1 to 2 table spoons), add some MCT oil (1 to 2 table spoons), blend until frothy, then enjoy!

For more information: http://www.bulletproof.com/

3. Grounding (or Earthing)

Earthing, grounding

Have you ever noticed that anytime you walk barefoot through the sand or grass you seem to immediately feel better both physically and even emotionally? Well this is because walking on the ground barefoot is actually really good for you, it’s called grounding (or earthing)…

This is a controversial subject but the truth is we have lost contact with the earth. Think about it – We live in cities, walking on concrete or carpet (and many other types of flooring) most of the time, usually wearing rubber soled shoes, so it should come as no surprise that our feet (or skin) rarely makes direct contact with the ground.

The idea behind grounding is we, just like our electronics, need a “ground” to release excess energy. Like I mentioned, this subject has many skeptics but the truth is, walking on the earth barefoot makes you feel better almost immediately. And if you don’t believe me, go try it!

How to start:

Find a patch of grass (or sand, or dirt), take off your shoes and just walk around for 10-mins!

4. Audio books (or podcasts) on double speed

Audio books on double speed. Speed reading

Do you want to get smart? Then listen to audio books. Do you want to get smarter faster? Then listen to audio books on double speed!

In a world of information ignorance is a choice

We are surrounded by a wealth of knowledge, but we often fail to pick up a book because it is hard to find the time to sit still and read. The solution to this problem is the audio book! Audio books are amazing because they allow you to learn while doing mundane tasks such as commuting back and forth to work, cleaning the house, doing yard work, waiting in line at the DMV or running on the treadmill.

For an audio book all you need is your phone, which I am guessing never leaves your side and a pair of earbuds. Suddenly some of the most boring tasks, become opportunities to learn. And it gets better! Most audio books are recorded with the speaker speaking really slow. This means that you can easily understand the book on double speed. So now you can listen to an 8-hour book in just 4-hours. And it gets better still! If you really enjoy the book, listen to it twice on double speed. So in the time it would take you to listen to in once on normal speed you can listen to the book twice, giving you an even greater understanding of the material!

5. Meditation/Breathing/Cold Water Therapy

wim hof method.

I put these 3 in the same category because they complement each other very well and produce similar results. The results are: Mindfulness (increases focus), reduced stress, improved sleep, improved immune function, improved happiness, mental clarity, improved body awareness, greater connection of your mind and body, improved circulation and expanded consciousness.

Meditation – The goal of meditation is to focus on nothing! That’s right! And it is much harder than you think. But the more you do it the better you feel because you are giving your mind a chance to clam down.

Tools to help you with meditation:

  • Muse – I have used this device for about 1.5 years and I absolutely love it! It give you real time feedback on your meditation! This feedback allows you to make corrections immediately which means you get better at meditating very quickly!
  • Binaural beats – Are an audio “biohack” that help your change the frequency of your brain waves. For example, the best mediations happen when your brain is operating at the frequency of 3Hz-to-8Hz which is also known as the Theta State. Binaural beats produce a frequency (there are many different frequencies to choose from) which helps your brain arrive at at its desired state. The app I use can be found here. I also just discovered some amazing Binaural audio tracks created by Aubrey Marcus and Cory Allen which also include a couple of guided meditations, and these can be found here.
  • Headspace – This is an app for your phone that provide lots of guided meditations. While I personally have not tried this app yet, the reviews are outstanding. There is a free 10-day trial. I am starting my trial ASAP!

Deep Breathing Exercises –  Improves circulation of oxygen throughout the body which increases overall energy and mental clarity. It also helps release endorphins, decrease stress, improves sleep. Helps improve focus, and increases brain function.

Cold Water Therapy – Improves circulation, improves immune system, improves sleep, improves cold tolerance, and most importantly it makes you tougher!

Tools to help you with Breathing and Cold Water Therapy:

Wim Hof Method – I did this about 5-months ago and it has changed my life! I was never able to deal with cold water, now I search it out…First watch this:

If you find what Wim did interesting, I highly recommend you check out his website and join his 10-week challenge. It will be the best $200 you have ever spent!

6. Book – You are the Placebo

You are the Placebo

This is by far the most influential book I have ever read! Unfortunately there is no audio version, however you can get a ebook which means you can read it ASAP. You can find the book here.

7. Composting

Compost. Garett;s life hacks

I have just recently started composting and let me tell you, it’s fascinating! You take most of your food waste – egg shells, vegetable scraps, yard scraps, coffee grinds, and even certain paper products, put it in a container, mix it up and before you know it, you have this amazing nutrient rich soil! It is like watching the circle of life happen before your eyes. What starts out as “dead waste” soon becomes thriving with life. The best part, is I use the compost to provide nutrients to my yard, which I then practice grounding on. I am not sure if there is any scientific proof to this practice but it sure seems that they healthy your yard, the healthy you become!

How to start:

Get yourself a composting tumbler and begin! It’s that simple. The tumbler I use is this one.

Summary

These 7 “Life hacks” have played an enormous role in the quality of my life and the best part, they are relativity simple to-do and fairly inexpensive. So I highly encourage you to give this “hacks” an honest try. However I understand there is a chance these hacks won’t work as well for you as they did for me and that is OK, we are all very different. But before you make that decision I encourage you to try for at least 30-days before giving-up.  If these hack do work for you let me know, I would love to hear your story. Now go get started!!!

 

I Suffer From Fitness Onism

Have you ever had the realization that you just can’t do it all?

The world is a HUGE place filled with LOTS of people you will never meet, cultures you will never understand, romances that will never happen, languages you will never speak, Countries you will never visit, jobs you will never have, books you will never read, musical instruments you will never learn, and hobbies you will never master (and the list goes on and on and on).

Healthy Life Experiment

Over the years I have also made this realization about the fitness world. I am interested in Kickboxing, Kettlebells, Bodyweight Plyometrics, Jiu-Jitsu, Power Lifting, Olympic Lifting, Yoga, Animal Flow, Parkour, Triathlons, Gymnastics, MovNat and Bodybuilding. If you just took one of those “systems” listed above it could take several years going 5 times a week just to, have a decent understanding let alone make any significant progress.

So how then do I get really good at all these things? The truth is I probably can’t especially once you consider that I also have two business to run, a new puppy to attend to, blogs to write, family commitments, a social life, and many other non-fitness related hobbies that I am also interested in learning about. I am not of fan of using the word IMPOSSIBLE but sadly, it is impossible to do everything (at least in this lifetime)…

It turns out I am not the only one that feels this way, in fact there is even a word to describe this feeling. The word is ONISM.

Onism – n. the awareness of how little of the world you’ll experience. 

There is even an amazing video about this “feeling”. Check it out (it is less than 3-mins long)

 

My favorite line from this video is:

“All the billions of doors you had to close in order to take a single step forward”.

So what does this all mean?

Is Onism a good thing or a bad thing? Is this knowledge supposed to depress us or make us feel better? Most people might find the idea of Onism depressing, but I think it is quite the opposite. The knowledge that we can’t do it all gives us a reason to “slow down” and focus on the moment. Remember we can only inhabit one body in just one place at one time. So instead of always worrying or wondering if the grass is greener somewhere else, just focus on making your current “patch of grass” greener. Lastly,  it is a great reminder to focus on the little things opposed to overwhelming our lives with the uncontrollable.

Onism,

How to use Onism to improve your life.

The solution is actually quite simple, but just because it is simple does not mean it will be easy.

The solution in 3 steps:

  1. Discover what makes you happy – This is critical!
  2. Trim the Fat – In other words remove all the non-essential out of your life. A Great Book Title “The Dip” by Seth Godin talks about how quitting can actually be a good thing. Now this is not an excuse to quit everything, instead, this book challenges you to analyze why you are doing what it is you are doing. If you can’t find any good reasons why you are doing this particular thing maybe you should quit. Because once you remove the non-essential from your life, you immediately free-up more time for the things that you are passionate about!
  3. Do the things that make you happy as much as possible! – A wise man once said; “It should either make you money or it should make you happy“.

onism blog, fitness

Summary

Onism teaches us that; in order to be truly happy we need to live in the moment and focus on the now! More specifically, we need to be aware of how we are spending our time. Our time should be spent (as much as possible) focusing only on the things we truly love while simultaneously removing the things we are less passionate about. If we are successful in doing this, we will have more time to spend doing the things we love. But please understand that by opening a particular “door” that makes you happy, you are also closing a billion other doors, but that’s OK! Because a successful life is not about concerning ourself with all the things we are missing out on (FOMO) it’s about focusing on what makes us happy NOW!

How much do you really know about yourself?

I bet that there is a high possibility that you know much less about yourself than you think.

How do I know? Well because answering one of the most popular self-help/motivational “questions” is actually very, very, VERY HARD! The question is:

“What would you do if money was no longer an issue”?

What is money was no object

Have you ever tried to answer this question? If you never have I must warn you, it’s difficult!

Try it! Go ahead (I’ll wait), close your eyes and take the next 5-mins and think about what you would do if you never had to pay bills again.

READY! Set the timer (on your phone) for 5-mins and go….

Did you come up with a satisfying answer?

If you did congratulations you have just discovered your life’s purpose…

However, if your answer was less than satisfying, it’s OK (most people have a hard time with this question), it just means you need to learn more about yourself. Because the question has nothing to do with money, it’s about TIME. The question is really asking:

What would you DO with yourself if you had nothing but TIME on your hands for the next 30-to-70 years?

Would you stay at your current job? Why or why not?

How would you spend your time?

time-does-not-equal-money1

Would you become an artist? What about a musician? Would you go back to school to finish that degree? Would you complete an Ironman? Would you enter a body building competition? Would you start a charity, if so, for what purpose? Would you finally take your hobby to the next level? Would you write a book? Or would you just lie on the beach all day every day?

The more you think about this question the more complex it becomes. But don’t worry; there is no right or wrong answer. It is your life; it is not up to me or anyone else to tell you what you should do. All you should be concerned with is, what makes you happy.

So again ask yourself – If money was not an issue, what would make you happy?

I ask myself this question all the time and I still don’t have a completely satisfying answer yet. Don’t get me wrong, I would definitely enjoy myself but if I am honest, about what makes me happy it’s having a sense of PURPOSE. We are not meant to merely exist, we are made to CREATE, EVOLVE, IMPROVE, and have a life of MEANING. We are meant to chase HAPPINESS. So while my answers are not completely satisfying (always happy, never satisfied) I do have some answers, I know I would continue to pursue the world of self-improvement but too what level and/or what platform, I am still not sure. But that’s why I always ask myself this question, because every time I answer it I learn something about myself.

And I bet that if you constantly ask yourself “what makes me happy?’ you will continue to learn something about YOU. The more you learn about yourself the easier this question becomes. And the easier this question becomes the more you learn about what makes you happy.

051107514c511e9525428b34f59c28284d3885-wm

OK, if you are still having a hard time answering this question I can give you one critical piece of information that is guaranteed to help you learn everything you can about yourself.

This crucial tip is – ask yourself WHY? Ask it all the time!!! Why are you currently doing what you are doing? Why do you like the things you like? Why are you making the choices you are making? Asking yourself WHY, gives you an all access pass to your inner-self.

There you have it, ask yourself WHY and learn everything you can about what makes you happy!

Working out is a lot like bowling

I do not consider myself a “bowler”; in fact I probably bowl once a year if that. So I don’t really understand the scoring system all that well. However one thing I do know about bowling is that once you throw a strike things become very interesting. A strike gives you 10 points, but there is much more to the story. When you bowl a strike you get 10 points plus a potential bonus on your next throw.

bowling meme

Explained by Wikipedia:

“When all ten pins are completely knocked down with the first ball (called a strike and typically rendered as an “X” on a score sheet), a player is awarded ten points, plus a bonus of whatever is scored with the next two balls. In this way, the points scored for the two balls after the strike are counted twice”.

This means that once a strike has been achieved the next ball thrown becomes extremely important. However if you throw a gutter ball after the strike, your strike becomes essentially worthless because you missed out on the bonus. In other words, a strike is only as valuable as your next 2 balls (insert laughter here).

8fbf616ce4945d1f0a71ec06c6c511c40b488eb69026d09d81840006b7278e76

The same is true for working out; the benefits of your workout are only as good as your next workout

If you have a great workout (STRIKE) but don’t follow-up with another workout within a day or two (GUTTER BALL) you missed out on all the potential benefits (bonus) that you can get from working out consistently. Any workout you complete is good for you, just like throwing a strike is good for your bowling score, however the REAL benefits only occur once there is consistency…

80/20 rule for haters (and supporters)

It stated with a peapods…

Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto developed the 80/20 principle after observing that 20% of the peapods in his garden produced 80% of the peas. He then later published a paper while at the University of Lausanne that showed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by just 20% of the people…

80/20 rule

However, this principle or “rule” is bigger than just peapods or land in Italy. It seems to hold true for most nearly every aspect of life, for example:

  • 80% of a company’s profits come from 20% of its customers
  • 80% of software problems are caused by 20% of the bugs
  • People wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time
  • 80% of problems (in life) can be attributed to 20% of causes.

And the list can go on and on…

So it should come as no surprise that 80% of the “hate” you receive comes from 20% of your “friends”. Likewise 80% of the SUPPORT you receive comes from 20% of your friends.

So what does this all mean? It means that you need to identify your “20%”.

Paretos-80-20-rule

Find the 20% of your supporters and keep them close, take care of them, thank them and most importantly spend more time with. These are the people that make you happy!!!

For the 20% of your haters – Remove them from your life! It is that simple. Life is too short to let such a small group of people bring you down.

 Give it a try!