Are You Mentally Fit?

Ice cube had it right when he said, “today was a good day.”

The break of dawn reminds us how important it is to get a good nights sleep. Did you rise up this morning feeling good or ready to stay in bed? Does your mind race at night without ever getting past the black and white checkered flag? Turn off the key and ride with me for a minute, I want to drop some cargo for the rest of this journey in case you ever overheat.

First off, I have to unload some truth about the status of our state.  Fact- In California alone, over 14 percent of all residents got up yesterday without a job. For all the complaints some may have about careers, taxes, fees and pay scales, take this moment to breathe in a deep breath and be happy that you have the opportunity to earn money for chicken breast and sweet potatoes. For those who don't have that opportunity right now, this article means even more. Most stress right now is financially based, in fact, these times have been compared to the great depression of 1929.

However, it is in these times of struggles that greatness and new paradigms are born. We can only achieve this desired outcome if we are able to meet the demands and answer it's call when the time is right. How and what am I talking about? I'm talking about our service to others. Service isn't just something we get at a window or pay for on a trip. All of us serve in some way or another, but its the meaning of our service that guides our life towards long lasting happiness and wellness.

Secondly, how do we serve, why do we serve and for what purpose do we serve? Asking these deep questions can be nerve-wracking, soul searching and downright stressful. In a financial, or my case a recent personal hardship, the last thing your mind wants to do is look deep to see what makes it tick. Its completely and ironically the MOST important time to do it though. If we don't truly know the WHY as to where we are and what we do, then nothing is stopping us from being where we don't want to be. The realization of our national current state of affairs hit me like a ton of bricks last week-

Call it trainer intuition, but I've felt for a long time now that stress has been on the rise. Some people in the industry may hate on me for calling it like it is or say I'm not being positive, but that's just because most personal trainers are scared to death about being ostracized for not having a smile 24/7. News flash baby! In the real world its okay to identify the negative so you can wash it away. Now let's get to cleaning–

The Reality of Stress

The fact is that millions of people right now (whether we want to deal with it or not) including our neighbors, family and friends, are stressed beyond capacity. Seeing it, feeling it and trying to be a force to help fight this dark cloud can be daunting task to say the least. No matter what career you are in, if you're not careful about where your energy flows, the needs of those you care about can lead you to exhaustion. Well, that's what happened last week as the wheels fell off on my motivation van. I had a breakdown and busted through some big personal roadblocks. In times of major unrest and discomfort is where you find out who you really are. I hit rock bottom last week and bounced back up beyond the top. Don't let me scare you with #realtalk, rather that I just want to relate because I know we are all made from the same DNA. I hit hard enough that it made me want to share my truth so that you might benefit if and when it ever happens to you.

So what does a trainer breakthrough feel like? Paleo? Exercise? Positive thinking? Not so much.

Call it stress or angst, all of us have had anxiety creep in occasionally and it can be a huge positive growth factor in our lives. Countless conversations with clientele and the public caught up to me in an instant on a drive home- this is what it feels like to have an emotional trailer attached to your waist throughout the day with no one to help pull it off. The weight of responsibilities, schedules and promises crashed down like an anvil thrown from a roof top. Client emails, face-book mail, consults and sessions had eluded to focus my energy and I couldn't figure out why.

After an entire week of heavy meditation, conversation and some sleepless nights I came up with the solution to cut the trailer for good-

What we are recognized for by others isn't of true importance as long as we recognize what true service we give to others. The notoriety, social status and flash of peers can burn for all I care. I'm in wellness to bring wellness to the world and to do it to the best of my ability; which is damn good. I love what I do and feel proud to serve others who feel proud to work with me. Whether its a phone call from Florida or a group session in La Jolla, we are all after the same thing- A better quality of life. Everything else can fade away  for what really matters most is the purpose of what I do. Find the purpose of why we do what we do and hold on tight. Let go of everything else that doesn't serve us and our own unique PURPOSE. It feels good to let go, you should try it.

It's no doubt that many of us have highs and lows when it comes to motivation for getting up and facing the day but what actual science really constitutes how it will all go down? We know that sleeping in a dark room and eating adequate nutrition, avoiding caffeine and breathing techniques can facilitate proper rest, but what about the state of our mental fitness? In this time of economic decline and social unrest, how do we hang on and ride with a calm, confident and positive mindset? As current research shows from Reed Davis in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition and Paul Chek states in his book, “How To Eat, Move And Be Healthy” –

“A stress on the body, whether internal or external, is always perceived and responded to in the same biology of elevated cortisol and sympathetic nervous system activation.”

Getting chased up a hill by a lion or worrying about the electric bill is the same stress on your physiology and will eventually lead to the same results. We know that lipid storage occurs in a sympathetic state via metabolism and there is no easy fix to turn off the stress faucet. Do we make it harder than it really is? Yes. Has the time has come to stop running for a while? Yes. Can you relate? Fill in the blank _______.

Existential Angst

Basically, existential Angst, sometimes called dread, anxiety or even anguish is a term that is common to many existentialist thinkers. It is generally held to be a negative feeling arising from the experience of human freedom and responsibility. There is an equal and opposite side of this coin however that creates hope, positivity and can fulfill all of our wildest dreams-

“One's values are immutable; a consideration of one's values may cause one to reconsider and change them. A consequence of this fact is that one is not only responsible for one's actions, but also for the values one holds. This entails that a reference to common values doesn't excuse the individual's actions: Even though these are the values of the society the individual is part of, they are also her/his own in the sense that she/he could choose them to be different at any time. Thus, the focus on freedom in existentialism is related to the limits of the responsibility one bears as a result of one's freedom: the relationship between freedom and responsibility is one of interdependency, and a clarification of freedom also clarifies that for which one is responsible.”

In other words, we CREATE our own values, identity and purpose. Our passion guides us into our careers and relationships but only if we have the courage to listen to it. I look at this current low in the financial state as a hidden blessing. It's a shakedown of all the old and a rebirth of the new. We all are given the ability to succeed and survive- we were born with a strong code of messages that cannot be undone.  The adversity we face now is more than just a challenge, but an opportunity to define ourselves by who we are, not simply by what we do. With a nationwide gut-check, millions of Americans across the country are now forced to reevaluate why they do what they do and if it truly makes them happy enough to do it. Call it bicep curls for your brain, psychological strength.

In a slump? Focus on the basics and pull yourself out! The cycles of our nutrition and exercise behavior habits fully depend on our moods, sleep and stress. In the wellness and fitness quest, we all strive everyday to eat, live, drink and exercise CLEAN daily. Our meals get cooked and stored, calendars are filled with sessions and appointments as literally every minute of the day is scheduled. The past 8 years have taught me a lot about planning to make the most of the challenges and push through to succeed.

Waking up feeling rested with rejuvenation can make or break your day. Our natural circadian rhythm and Ghrelin/Melatonin receptors guide us into positive thinking and fresh mental clarity, but are we truly living up to these standards? How much do our thought patterns about hope, life quality and the future affect our current reality and lifestyle habits? For myself I can honestly say it has been the difference in my eating and exercise beyond any other factor in the world.

Wishing you the best on your journey and appreciating the peaks and valleys. Go get you some! Just hold on and do what you can to help others, it will eventually return to you! Thanks for making it this far, I hope I've made you feel a sense of peace and optimism.

Jerry McGuire is officially putting down the Mic. Time to get on the mountain and climb.

In the words of Notorious B.I.G, “Stay far from timid, only make moves when your hearts in it, and live the phrase sky's the limit.”

Questions? Start here