WILL YOU FAIL IN 2016?

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“Brad Alan Lewis, 1984 US Olympic M1x Trials” – Photo Steve Fontanini, LA Times

WILL YOU FAIL IN 2016?”

Welcome to a new year. As you wake up this morning you begin to reflect on the past year and what you accomplished and what you did not. 2016 will be a new start. You may have even scribbled your goals last night on a cocktail napkin.

New Year’s resolutions are goals. Even if the goals are lofty they are still an indicator that you want to improve.

You want to be better.

It is great to want to be a better person, a better parent, a better friend. It is great to want to be healthier, stronger, and happier. It is great to want to have more financial stability, more status in your career, more success.

2016 is also an Olympic year. It is great to have dreams and aspirations of representing your country and winning an Olympic medal.

Is it possible that you will fail?

Many people and athletes are afraid of failure and will choose one of two paths:

They will not attempt to accomplish the goal.

They will overextend themselves to accomplish the goal.

Choosing either option is taking an extreme. If we are static in pursuing our goal, we will never know if our goal is possible. If failure is not an option, the pursuit may not leave much room for anything else.

Are we afraid of failure? Is failing so awful that it is not worth just trying to improve ourselves?

For 2016, be aware of certain traps that may prevent you from achieving your goals. These traps are failure “patterns” that you should address and attempt to avoid:

1. “Until I”

“I cannot exercise…I cannot eat healthy…I cannot get up early…UNTIL I…”

It can be very easy to not start something because you need to organize everything else before you begin. You believe that everything else is more important. Household Chores, work emails, and other STUFF are still going to be there whether you begin or not.

Make a list

Make a list of 2 or 3 things that you have to accomplish today, tomorrow, and even next week. Make your goal one of top things on the list. The “day to day” items will still be on your list, but will not be on the top of your list.

Shift your priorities

Remind yourself that your goal is now one of the most important items on your list. Shift your focus on the goal rather than something that is not as important. Post, create or carry a reminder with you to keep your priorities on your mind (i.e. a photo of your children to remind you of health, or a slogan on your wall to motivate you)

2. “However”

 “I know that I lost 5 lbs…I know that I ran my best 5k…I know I got the promotion…HOWEVER…”

It can be very easy to focus on the negative rather than positive. Negative self-talk seems to creep up when things are going well.

Feel Good

There is nothing wrong with feeling good about what you have achieved. Allow yourself to enjoy your accomplishments. Surround yourself with people who support you. Avoid people who are not as positive about your success.

3. “Never”

“I NEVER seem to have time…I NEVER seem to have the energy…I NEVER seem to be motivated…”

It can be very easy to stall. You may finding your mind wandering and wondering how you are going to reach your goal, instead of going out and accomplishing your goal.

Be Direct

Reflection is okay, however set a time limit. Follow direct guidelines that you or someone you trust create for you. You need space and freedom to go at your own pace, however make sure the path leads directly to your goal.

4. “If…Then”

“IF I go to the gym, THEN I won’t have time to cook a healthy meal…IF I cook a healthy meal, THEN I won’t exercise…”

 It can be very easy to make excuses, and you may abandon one goal for the other. Everyday we  have to make choices. If we are unable to check items off our list, then we may give up.

Life is short

Remind yourself that life is short. You will not always have time to accomplish the things you want. Yet, it is not the end of the world. Spend your energy thinking of creative ways you can squeeze things in, or prioritize things  later in the week.

Accept the Challenge

Getting everything done is a challenge. No one every said that things would be easy. Draw upon your past experiences in which you were a rock star and were able to get everything done. Be confident.

5. “But Maybe”

“I am on track with my nutrition…I got that bonus…I won my competition…BUT MAYBE…”

It can be easy to forget that you are on track to achieving your goals. Just because everything is going well does not mean it will not continue to go that way.

Remind Yourself

Remind yourself that it is okay to feel good. Having support in the process reaffirms that you are doing great, and you should continue to do so. You have to focus on yourself, even if others are not achieving their goals. Your success is not contingent upon their success.

Laugh it off

Laugh off the stress you accumulate in achieving your goals. The pressure can be overwhelming, and therefore the only choice is to balance it with something that is fun and easy. Take a break!

6. “Now what?”

“I achieved my goal of saving money for our wedding…NOW WHAT?”

Congratulations, you achieved the goal. With nothing else to focus on it can be very easy to fall back into the pattern of self-doubt, over analyzing, and not trusting in your next goal.

Begin Again

I believe that that we as humans were born to be resilient, to stretch our limits, and to achieve remarkable things. Free will is a gift that allows us to choose our own path. When our goal is accomplished it is time to celebrate with the ones who care about us and support us. It is time to check that goal off our list, and believe in ourselves.

It is time to begin again.

Moral of the Story

“Because if you never try, you’ll never know, just what you are worth.” – Fix You, Cold Play

My father received a partial bone-marrow transplant over 10 years ago. He is now beginning to experience the complications from that. Over the holidays my wife and children were able to visit with him and my family. As he and I drove to pick up the take-out meal, we talked about life and how lately things have seemed bleak with the world with all the fighting and “offended masses.”

He started to cry.

I really have only seen my father cry two other times in my life, therefore I was listening.

He told me that everyone spends too much time and energy on what they cannot do or what others are not doing for them.

Meanwhile we are not spending the time and energy we have on the one thing we can control. Ourselves.

“We have to try.”

2016 Olympics

In 1984, Brad Alan Lewis failed to qualify for the Olympics in the Men’s 1x.

However, he did win the US Olympic Trials in the Men’s 2x, and go on to win the Olympic Gold Medal on Lake Casitas, in California.

For my future Olympians, the traps above apply to you as well. Just because you are an elite athlete does not mean you do not succumb to the stresses of competition and doubting yourself. In 2008, I believe I had all my mental demons under control. Therefore, when I did not make the US Olympic Team it was a shock.

In my own mind, I could not fail.

Reality has seeped in over the last 8 years, and I know now that I really had no chance of making it.

However, I did try.

You have to try, because in failing you learn so much.

I am always proud of that fact, and I will take comfort in that the rest of my life.

"Patrick Hoffman Rufo, 2008 US Olympic M2x Trials" - Photo by Jenna Rufo, Wonderful/Supportive Spouse

“Patrick Hoffman Rufo, 2008 US Olympic M2x Trials -10th place” – Photo by Jenna M Rufo, Wonderful/Supportive Spouse

For more information on training programs for rowing, rowing technique, Kettlebells, Clubbells, DISC, and the Process Communication Model® like me on Facebook at RUFO OPTIMAL WORKOUTS.

WHICH ERG SCREEN ARE YOU?

 

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THE ERG SCREEN

The Concept II Rowing Machine or “Erg” has come a long way since I was in college. Since the Model “D” was introduced, owners have had the luxury of using the PM3, PM4, and now PM5 monitors. If you are new to indoor rowing, here are some of the screens we used to have to stare at:

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PM1 – For the Model “B”

pm2

PM2 – For the Model “C”

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Bicycle Speedometer – For the Model “A”

 

 

 

 

 

The newer PM4 gives you access to a ton of training data, record results with a log card, as well the option to play the Fish Game (which I hate, but that is another story).

"The Fish Game...ugh"

“The Fish Game…ugh”

Usually, your coach will determine which screen you will use during a workout. It is important to them because they want to monitor and record your training data as you complete the workout.

It is your choice as well, because you want to get the most out your workout. The data will always be there in the end, therefore maybe it is time for you to explore which screen you might choose to get the best result.

PROCESS COMMUNICATION MODEL®

"Yes, you do..."

“Yes, you do…”

I have many athletes that use the indoor rowing machine that hate it.

One of the main reasons they hate it is because they have to stare at the screen every single stroke. This past month, I explored “2k Anxiety” and how to overcome it. Using the AthleteDISC profile allows you to become aware of your behavior and have the ability to change it to yield a positive result.

The Process Communication Model® digs a little deeper. It gives you further insight on your personality and why you make the choices you make.

In November, I wrote about my daughter and the Process Communication Model® . As a PCM Certified Trainer, I find Athletic Profiling has been very useful to my athletes and I because we are able to understand and control all the variables.

We can also eliminate the variables that don’t matter.

CHOOSE YOUR SCREEN

Which erg screen are you? There are 5 options on the current PM3, PM4, and PM5 models. Let’s review the six personality types and which screen the pure personality type may choose.

THE STANDARD SCREEN – Persister

"Straight shooter here..."

“Straight shooter here…”

The Persister personality type will choose the standard screen for two reasons:

#1 This is the screen that most coaches will choose. It is also the screen you will see at most indoor rowing competitions.

#2 It gives them just enough data.

Persisters insist on doing what is right. Assisting their coach and helping the team is the #1 priority. Even if they do not enjoy using this screen, they want to follow the program. Having too much data is okay, however the Persister would just rather focus on one or two pieces of information – the average split, meters, or stroke rate. Persisters would like the entire team to use the same screen.

THE DATA SCREEN – Thinker

"Where is my HR monitor strap?"

“Where is my HR monitor strap?”

The Thinker personality type needs more information. The fact that the data screen allows them to see it all in one place is even better. As a strong thinker AND persister, I could go either way. It all depends on how important the workout is to me. Allow your Thinkers to absorb all the data they need because the sixth 500 meter split is just as important as the last 500 meter split.

They will also be able to predict and provide you the mean average deviation of the team’s average 500 meters compared to the 5k you did 2 years ago on that rainy day in April…just because!

THE FORCE CURVE SCREEN – Imaginer

"Too much legs at the front end, let's try..."

“Hmm..Too much legs at the front end…”

The Imaginer personality type is okay with data. However, rowing is about how the boat and the athletes move together. Imaginers would rather focus on the rhythm and pace of their piece.

"New Age Philosophy Major"

“New Age Philosophy Major”

The force curve screen is perfect for them because they will be able to focus on what their stroke looks and feels like so they can optimize it. Meanwhile the coach STILL can see the data that is important. Imaginers understand they need to go fast, however too much information and distraction may overwhelm them. Provide your Imaginers with the “ideal” curve and give them time and space to figure out how to create it.  I have been exploring my Imaginer side for the last 3 to 4 years. I enjoy training alone now, and I enjoy dissecting every stroke. The split is not so important.

THE PACE BOAT SCREEN – Promoter

"I TOTALLY got this..."

“I TOTALLY got this…”

Why don’t more athletes or coaches use the pace boat screen? The Promoter personality type says, “I race better on the water because I’m racing another boat.”

Give them what they want. Just because you want them to focus on pacing themselves or fixing their technique will not change the fact that you want them to race and pull a personal best on their next test. Set the pace boat. Maybe not at their goal pace, but a little bit slower, so they know they can win. Promoters want to win and be the best. Get out of their way and let them do their thing.

I use the pace boat screen a lot now with my athletes. It makes it easy to set attainable goals within the session. As a current Promoter, I want results out of every training session.

Race plans should be loose, because athletes can adapt on the fly. Even if they are behind with 300 meters to go, you may witness the most epic sprint because THAT’S WHAT THEY DO!

THE WATTS SCREEN  – Rebel

"Just Because..."

“Just Because…”

Data, Racing, Force Curves…um, it all sounds good, but your Rebel personality type will just choose the Watts screen that is left because they want to be different.

Rebels will get the job done, but if you force them to do things your way or the team’s way then you might run into trouble. Offer them the Watts screen first and they may just laugh.

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“Coach, how am I going to know how fast I am pulling?” And they will choose another screen.

Having playful contact with my Rebels allows me to step outside the seriousness of training because I need to remember training is fun!

They may just surprise you. Rebels are creative you know. If you have a set race plan, give them the space to be creative. They may come up with the next new pacing strategy strictly off of Watts.

THE MAJORITY – Harmonizer

The Harmonizer personality type will choose the majority. It is important to do what the team wants and be supportive. Harmonizers will not rock the boat, and will make sure everyone is on the same page. If a Harmonizer is sitting next to a Rebel then you may have two athletes using the Watts screen because the Harmonizer doesn’t want anyone to feel left out.

"YOLO..."

“YOLO…”

I will always support that, even if it means the Harmonizer doesn’t do as well on their test.  Creating team culture is sometimes more important than the training sessions.  Harmonizers also want to be healthy and strong so doing “calorie” workouts are a great way to shake things up for them.

DOES THIS APPLY TO OTHER CARDIO MACHINES?

"What do you gravitate towards?"

“What do you gravitate towards?”

Absolutely! A treadmill or elliptical machine has all the same data, so what information to you prefer to stare at for the duration of your workout?

MORAL OF THE STORY

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Which erg screen are you?

As an athlete, you should go with your gut. Which screen do you WANT to use? Have you ever considered using it?

As a coach, are you okay with allowing athletes to choose their screen? In the end you are still getting the data you need.

Every athlete understands that on the water they do not have control of what they see and hear. However, if you want to build confidence and get the best performance out of each of your athletes then maybe it is time for you to shift the way you think?

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Are you ready Leo Young?

What do you say coach?

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“Aki Kurose Middle School 10-min indoor relay World Record, Dec 2011”

For more information on training programs for rowing, rowing technique, Kettlebells, Clubbells, DISC, and Process Communication like me on Facebook at RUFO OPTIMAL WORKOUTS.

Last chance to check out the DISC2K – Philadelphia Seminar on January 9th, 2016!

Online consulting and Skype sessions also available.

“The 12 Things in Fitness That are so Insane to Me”

This is the most wonderful time of the year. In just a few days we will begin shifting our focus to “Peace on Earth” and “Auld Lang Syne”. We will be exchanging holiday gifts, connecting with loved ones, and taking time to appreciate what we have.

However, there is still time to poke a little holiday fun at things that we cannot stand…

Which leads me to my favorite holiday movie line of all time:

“Take it Russ”

Russ reminds us that are just some things that we hate and would rather do without. There are just some things in fitness in my opinion that should just go away; therefore I would like to add my own spin to one of the more beloved songs of the holidays.

12. “Twelve” Different Biceps Curls

 In anatomy and physiology, we learned about the joint actions of muscles or the primary movement. The Biceps Brachii or “Biceps” have one joint action they are primarily responsible for.

“FLEXION”

That’s it. That means the one exercise that make the Biceps independently bigger and stronger are Bicep Curls. I am okay with Bicep curls, yet everyone seems to love biceps curls. They love them so much that there is actually over 50+ “different” Bicep curling exercises.

For the purposes of body building, it is important to “work all the angles” to get the “maximum pump” for the muscle. For the general public, energy might be better spent teaching people how to incorporate the biceps into full body exercises that will help them get fit over all.

 “Talkin’ about the Cayotes…”

Yeah, we don’t need a million different ways to work the Biceps.

11. “Eleventh” Session Free

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Big Box gyms want to sell you personal training sessions. In their incentive to get you to buy more sessions, they will tend to throw in 1 more free session.

A few years ago, I went to LA Fitness to do some research. The personal trainer there sat me down to find out my goals, as well as sell me some personal training sessions. As he went over the personal training packages, he said, “The more sessions you buy, the more free sessions you get.” He continued to describe the benefits, and I realized that he was selling me 30 minute sessions.

Therefore, even if I bought ten 30 minute sessions, it would only really be at total of 5 ½ hours of training.

I don’t know about you, but it takes many of my clients 15 to 20 minutes just to warm up (mobility, stability, flexibility).

“Just need one rep…”

 Maybe that’s all we need…

 10. $10 a month

A recent article on UPROXX regarding Planet Fitness has been circulating on Facebook. The article describes how gyms may target individuals that will pay the monthly fee, but never set foot in the gym. This comfort of knowing they have a good deal on a membership is enough for individuals to keep paying, but never-ever going.

For 2016, I suggest you look for the quality of training you could receive, rather than the quantity of money you may be saving.

“Crushed it…”

There is no price on your health.

9. “Nine” DVD’s

 "13 DVD's"

“13 DVD’s”

"11 DVD's"

“11 DVD’s”

"More Options?"

“More Options?”

“How many DVD’s does your set have?

 

 

 

We Love our fitness DVD’s. Every time a fitness infomercial is on, I find myself lulled into watching. For the most part, I want to see if there are any new concepts that these fitness entrepreneurs are bringing to the table.

As I wrote last week –  They aren’t

But they are great at marketing.

Seems like you can’t get fit unless you have the complete box set of DVD’s.

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“I guess it looks as if you’re reorganizing your records. What is this though? Chronological?”

“Autobiographical.”

“No f***ing way.”

Why can’t they just put all the content on one single DVD or Flash Drive? DVD’s are like records people. All my CD’s are down in my basement, and I occasionally take them out, dust them off, and put on All-for-One.

Otherwise, they stay in the basement.

8. “Eight” Accredited Certifications

“I am kind of a big deal.”

I can be accused of this as well. In my quest for training knowledge, I have found myself with quite a few letters after my name. Enough that I cannot fit them all on a business card.

However, my clients and fellow fitness professionals really don’t care how many certifications I have. The letters after your name only mean something if you apply what you have learned. I still need to list all the letters in my bio so potential clients can see my experience, but I don’t wear it like a sign on my chest any more.

There are also too many certifications out there. In the world of Kettlebells, there are two that stand out. The SFG (StrongFirst) and the RKC (Russian Kettlebell Certification).

 Now another Kettlebell certification is coming out through Strength Matters – the SMK, and it involves former trainers that used to be SFG and RKC.

“These are O.R. scrubs.”

Now I have to spend more money to get more letters after my name…wonderful!

7. “Seven” Minute Abs

The fitness industry has done very well in creating content that just involves the core. However, if you train the full body, you incorporate the core into every exercise.

The first thing we teach in Kettlebells training is how to utilize and engage the core. The core connects the lower and upper extremities, and is critical to moving well. Therefore, it really isn’t necessary to just do crunches and sit ups at the end of the workout, because you should have already taken care of that earlier in your session.

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Why train the core, when you can get this!

6. “Six” Workout Selfies

six selfies

Workout selfies. Hmm.

As a competitive athlete, I never thought of taking photos of myself working out. I never wanted my opponents to know what I was doing anyway.

“I can barely lift my right arm ’cause I did so many. I don’t know if you heard me counting. I did over a thousand.”

 People should feel good about themselves. Just make sure to get a workout in!

5. No bare feet (“Five Fingers”)

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I hate wearing shoes. Ever since I became a Kettlebell instructor, I cannot train with shoes. As a rower, I didn’t wear shoes either. Now shoes hurt my feet. I only wear them to make public appearances, and because my wife makes me.

I really do like the Vibram Five Fingers. I can buy into minimalist footwear. The thing is that they cost over $60, and I refuse to pay that much for shoes. If you train a lot, then you wear your shoes out in 3-6 months. I cannot justify spending this much, just so I can workout for an hour a day.

However, gyms will never go there because of liability.

 

Whether I am wearing shoes or not, if I drop that amount of weight, I am going break something…

4. “Four”Quad Stretches

stretches

“Hold on, I need to stretch…”

If you have a limited range of motion, then you should relax and stretch the muscle. Stretching before training should only be necessary if you cannot get your body in the proper position to train.

Wherever I go, when people are “warming up”, I will see them do the “Standing Quad Stretch”. It is the symbol for all us middle-age athletes trying to “get back in shape”.

Check out the Knee Pain Explained website.

Most of us learned to do it wrong, and we are probably causing more bad than good.

3. “Three” Sets of 10

 MASSIVE

I can honestly say that the first time I have met with an athlete and client that has experience with strength training they always say the same thing:

Me: “How many reps and sets have you been doing?”
 Client/Athlete: “Well, I have been doing 3 sets of 10…”

 

Every client. Every athlete.

I believe it is time to retire 3 sets of 10. Whomever patented that program should be collecting royalties. “3 sets of 10” is on par with common fitness phrases like, ” “Feel the burn,” “No Pain, no Gain”, or “Burns up Carbs”…

2. “Two” Calf Machines

Calf machine 813GVCKG+IL._SL1500_

 

 

 

 

 

Why are there only two calf machines at any gym? Actually, why are there Calf Machines period? For some people the calf muscles are an attractive feature, however, there does not need to be a giant Hammer Strength Calf Machine taking up space in the gym, just so you can do this:

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“One, Two, Three…”

Here is a great way to work your calf muscles, and you do it every day…

Yes, walking up, and running and down stairs works the calf muscles just the same. And you are using your body weight…

1. One “Shake Weight”

When I was still competitively rowing and going to school for personal training, my wife mentioned that QVC was looking for fitness models to advertise a new product called the “Shake Weight”.

I looked at her and simply said,

“No….”

When she looked up the product. She looked at me and said,

“Oh…”

Moral of the Story

 Don’t be a fitness model for QVC and model the Shake Weight.

REAL MORAL OF THE STORY

Happy Holidays to everyone!

(Sing to the tune of “12 Days of Christmas”)

The 12 Things in Fitness

“That are so Insane to me…”

Twelve Different Biceps Curls

Eleventh Session Free

$10 a Month

Nine DVD’s

Eight Accredited Certifications

7-Minute Abs

Six Workout Selfies

No Bare Feet!

Four Quad Stretches

3 sets of 10

Two Calf Machines

And one Single “Shake Weeeighttt”

 mens-shake-weight

For more information on training programs for rowing, rowing technique, Kettlebells, Clubbells, DISC, and Process Communication like me on Facebook at RUFO OPTIMAL WORKOUTS.

Also check out the DISC2K – Philadelphia Seminar on January 9th, 2016!

Online consulting and Skype sessions also available.