Tag Archives: motivation

TAP 15: The Flylady – Stop the CHAOS (Can’t have anyone over syndrome)

Marla is the Flylady – helping people for 16 years to get and keep motivated to be on top of their homes and clutter.  But The Flylady is so much more than that – with such a big heart – Marla talks to us about staying in control and keeping the CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) away!

Things That I Have Learned

The post Things That I Have Learned appeared first on Fitness Advice From London's Best Personal Trainer.

Too Distracted to Have a Purpose

Going through life without a particular purpose is okay. You get by. You don’t go anywhere, but the days pass. There’s television—with the Super Bowl, pro wrestling, reality shows, infomercials, dramas, sitcoms, news and video games. We have food and drink, real and man-made, fast and home-delivered. There are drugs and alcohol. Our wandering attention is captured by the endless dilemmas presented by the news media, the hopes offered by advertisers and the general threat of daily living in a post-9/11 world.

Purpose? Who needs, considers or has time for purpose?

Purpose, I might point out, is often interchangeable with goals and motivations and is cousin to reason and incentive.

We are choked with entertainment and distractions and goofiness. I’ll just slap on my earphones and listen to some sounds on my satellite radio while I check out my iPhone. Yo. “Terminator IX” is playing at the Coliseum of Theaters, and I can purchase tickets with my credit card over my cell phone.

Several dynamics are at work obstructing purpose, the main driving force in a productive and aspiring individual, community and society.

• In today’s delirious world a person can be too distracted to have a purpose.

• He is rendered shallow by the senseless frivolity surrounding him and fails to consider the need for purpose.

• He recognizes the value of purpose, realizes the commitment, dedication and hard work it necessitates, but chooses ample distractions to avoid its responsibilities.

• The importance of purpose is clear; it is hastily installed, yet as hard as he tries, he can’t sustain its requirements. The lure and clutter of amusements are too demanding and overpowering.

Purpose never had a chance.

Life without a purpose is like a hand without a thumb; you can scratch, point, tap, count up to four, but you can’t get a grip on anything. You can grasp, but you can’t hold on.

Folks without purpose fall asleep at the wheel, get off at the wrong station and put their pants on backward. They get by, they make it through the day, they may even have family and friends and a good-paying job, but beneath the first layer of skin there’s Styrofoam.

Styrofoam is a modern invention that efficiently replaces real substance. Cheap, lightweight, a great filler, it insulates and withstands hot and cold—the perfect substitute for purpose where purpose does not exist. Styrofoam is everywhere today. I suspect I myself have pockets of Styrofoam.

Occasionally I notice that I’m zipping along yet neither moving forward nor back. I look down, and lo and behold, my pants are on backward. I hate that. Not the Captain of the Bomb Squad—without a compass, adrift in thin air, altitude unknown, zipper to the rear and targetless.

Mayday. Mayday.

No panic; been there. It’s just a warning, like the blink on the dashboard that indicates our seat belts are a nuisance; a painfully welcome and familiar signal to arouse and remind us to watch where we’re going and what we’re doing and why—huge and ripped or lean and mean—if we want to get there.

When purpose wanes, when motivation recedes, when a goal is not in sight, I become restless, sluggish and stale. I, as you, am unlike my video-game, fast-food counterpart, and the condition soon becomes evident and quickly unacceptable. Steps must be taken to overcome the stall in my forward movement, my flight, and I look toward my training to amend the minor disaster. I have observed that my personal life and my training are inextricably entwined, and fixing one gives health to the other. And the closer I look, the more I’m convinced it’s my training that determines the desirable flow of my life—events, moods, energy and spirits.

Training without purpose is like shopping at the supermarket without a shopping list, an appetite or any memory of what’s in the refrigerator or on the shelves at home. You wander the aisles and finally come home with a 25-pound bag of Doggie Chow.

So what if you don’t have a dog? It was on sale.

You know why you go to the gym and eat right. The list’s as long as your arm, yet you sometimes forget. Life’s like that. It rolls along with ups and downs, through hot and cold, and moves in mysterious cycles. We’re eager and joyful and hitting the mark day after day, and then the mark eludes us—we become irritable, withdrawn and careless.

Speak for yourself, Draper.

We wonder why we bother. We punch at the air and kick inanimate objects and hiss. Swell. Now we’re soft and puffy, and the weights feel like they’re bolted to the floor. No more veins, pumps gone. Good-bye, cruel world.

But wait: Don’t flush away months of training and sacrifice in one pull of the handle. We gotta continually feed the fire within. The flickering embers grow cold if we don’t review the reasons for our efforts, relive our successes, revive our goals and remember we’re special, sort of.

• Review regularly takes place in the subconscious—preparation.

• Reliving our achievements is occasionally done when we feel generous and slightly numb—encouragement.

• Revival of goals must be done at appropriate intervals with intention, humility and high hopes, as often as it takes for them to become certain and real—reinforcement.

• Remember, we know people who don’t have goals, never heard of them or made them and forgot them—dead men walking.

Your goals, your level of motivation, concentration of incentives, clarity and depth of reasons—your decided purpose—determines your training efficiency and effectiveness and joy. Think “why” before you lift, and lift hard.

Time to rest the wings, bombers. Last one to leave the hangar, douse the lights, would ya?

Tomorrow we fly like eagles.…

—Dave Draper


Editor’s note: For more from Dave Draper, visit www.DaveDraper.com and sign up for his free newsletter. You can also check out his amazing Top Squat training tool, classic photos, workout Q&A and forum.


New Year Kick Up The ***!

Happy 2014 to all of our team at UP and our family of clients, supporters, and well meaning critics! A lot of people tend to use 1st January messages as opportunities for introspective navel gazing or excessive and overly optimistic cheerleading. Hopefully I will manage to avoid both approaches Read more . . .

Everyone’s A Critic So Please Yourself!

Sometimes in life it feels as though everyone is a critic. Certainly in the business world it often feels that you just can’t win and that everyone is out to get you.  The sad fact is that this natural human condition, to criticize and knock others, spills over into every walk of life and will Read more . . .

From Twig to Big: Interview with Vince Del Monte

[CLICK HERE to download a PDF of this Issue Instantly. Learn More]

7208-vincedelmonteHave you ever wanted to be like “that guy”? You know, that guy the girls talk about––poke each other and point to in the gym, in class or in the club because he’s swole? That guy the other guys walk past the trainers to approach and ask, “What can I do to look like you?”

Maybe you’ve thought, “I’m just a regular guy with bad genetics,” or, “I’m a hardgainer and don’t build muscle easily,” or, “I want a rock-hard, muscular and ripped physique while still being fit and muscular, but my current routine isn’t getting me there.” Or maybe you’ve kept your shirt on at the beach or worn long sleeves and pants to hide your scrawny arms and chicken legs while watching five hot girls give “that guy” their number.

Like you, Vince Del Monte was skinny and wanted to be that guy. He eventually found a mentor and transformed himself, gaining 41 pounds of muscle. More important, he’s been a mentor for countless other guys and helped them break out of the mold to build more lean muscle than they ever thought possible. I caught up with Vince to get some tips to help you get there too.

DY:  You were one of those skinny guys, but unlike others who have failed, you went through a major muscle-gain transformation. How did that come about?   

VDM: There were three strange reasons: First, I was sick and tired of my nickname, “Skinny Vinny,” and wanted everything I thought muscle would give me—confidence, girls and respect. Second, I had just graduated from Western University and completed my eligibility as a cross-country and track-and-field athlete, so for the first time in my life I could work out with weights without concern about gaining weight. Third, I was starting a career in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, but no one wants to work with a scrawny twerp, so I needed to start looking the part to become attractive to prospective clients.

DY: When exactly was your transformation period, and how much muscle did you gain? 

VDM: Literally, the day after I graduated from Western University—it was May 4, 2002—I took my first official “before picture” and started my muscle-building quest. Six months later—October 26, 2002—I took my first official “after picture.” It’s funny how I remember those dates.  I started at 149 pounds and finished at 190 pounds, and my bodyfat went down a few percentage points. So I gained more than 40 pounds of fat-free mass, a.k.a. muscle, in exactly 24 weeks.

Editor’s note: Vince Del Monte’s new column, Twig to Big, begins in the next IRON MAN. You can get more info on Vince’s program at his blog at www.IronManMagazine.com or www.VinceDelMonteFitness.com.  IM

[CLICK HERE to download a PDF of this Issue Instantly. Learn More]

Airborne: Lift Now, Lift Hard, Lift Good

7209-prime1I’ve never been a student—that is, one who studies. School from grade one was a ladder I had to climb to get out of the hole I was in. It seemed like a very deep hole with a steep ladder of many rungs. I tried filling the cavernous space with water and floating to the top, but that failed. I did learn how to swim.

As time went by, the subterranean dearth of knowledge became a barbwire wall to be scaled. Gee, that’s a very tall wall. Tunneling the barrier didn’t work, and before I was 10, I broke a wrist trying to leap the towering confine. I did learn how to dig, leap and fall, and I learned a thing or two about futility, patience and perseverance.

Growing up is hard to do.

My brothers were older and from my viewpoint much better at the task. Their secondhand toys didn’t help, so I got me some used weights from a neighbor. Ever since that day I ceased trying to grow up. Growing big and growing strong took its place. Now a B71, I cruise the steel-blue skies, a somewhat sinewy child not planning to land anytime soon.

Have Iron, Will Travel.

I’ll zoom south to Goldsville, California, as soon as I complete this educational essay on the fine art and play of moving iron from one place to another repetitiously to keep the mind sharp, the muscles active and the might from flight. There I shall put into practice the simple recommendations I convey today.

Today’s recommendations:

Pause. Take a moment. Dare to look at yourself in the mirror without judgment, ridicule or unseemly pride. Now take a deep breath and ask yourself, Who am I, what am I doing here, and what exactly do I want from my training experience?

Can you do that, bombers? It’s difficult, isn’t it; more difficult than you expected?

Me? I cannot do that. It doesn’t even enter my mind. Why bother? As soon as I enter the gym, I’ve got to grab some iron and go. The last thing I need to do is think about stuff like who am I.

Who cares? What difference at this point does it make?

Lift now. Lift hard. Lift good.

Incidentally, I’m here for fun and to build muscle ’n’ might, health ’n’ character; improve sports performance (Slapjack, Go Fish) and survival abilities; kill time and overcome insecurities (neither of which I have, personally); beat myself up badly, pay off guilt and keep evil away. That’s it, folks.

Here’s a challenge for the lifter who knows a muscle burn from an injury, a pump from an inflammation, one-more-rep from the last rep: The next time you cruise the gym (the gym on the corner or the barbell in your basement), allow yourself to go on autopilot for an hour…okay, 30 minutes. It’s necessary. Rule and order are good, routines are great; but we must let go occasionally to know who and where we are. Detach and discover; let go and learn.

You’re meeting your self in action, the only way to know the truth. The questions you ask answer themselves.

Here I am. There are the tools of resistance. Go.

But, but, but… I, I, I… duh.…

Hint: Do some ab and torso work to warm up. Have I ever mentioned rope tucks or hanging leg raises? These get me going every time, and give me time to appraise my body and access my needs, possibilities and desires. The first set opens the door, and in I go like I own the joint. Today is supposed to be back and shoulders, but they feel worn and achy, I notice. Hmmm. The bi’s and tri’s scheduled for Friday feel like they could use a tender-loving kick in the butt today—some tri-sets, like old man Draperwitz brags about given half a chance.

Why’s he always underscoring the advantages of supersetting?

Because they’re a blast, and they work.

Best supersets when I was a kid (anytime between 1963 and 2006):

• PBN (presses behind neck) and seated lateral raises

• Deadlifts and dumbbell pullovers

• Dumbbell inclines and seated lat rows

• Standing barbell curls and lying triceps extensions

• One-arm dumbbell rows; do left, then right (sort of a superset)

• Full squats and dumbbell pullovers

• Seated dumbbell incline curls and overhead triceps extensions

• Front presses and bent-over lateral raises

• Leg extensions, leg curls

Everything was four or five sets x 12, 10, eight, six reps—max effort without passing out or wiggling like a fool; focus intense, form purposeful and pace moderate, unfailing and steady; lessons learned countless, constant and continual.

Not much has changed, except everything.

Is that a 25-pound dumbbell? Can I borrow it? I’ll put it back when I’m done. Promise.

Honest to God…Kid Draperski

—Dave Draper


Editor’s note: For more from Dave Draper, visit www.DaveDraper
.com and sign up for his free newsletter. You can also check out his amazing Top Squat training tool, classic photos, workout Q&A and forum.


Stronger + One Last Rep



This is a brief update for the screening of Stuart Allman’s film “Stronger + One Last Rep” on Friday, November 8th.

Actor David Patterson will be in attendance for the screening.

Use the “ASLAFF2013″ ticket discount code online to pre-purchase your ticket.  Your ticket should only be a miserly $5 with the discount code.

Plot Summary:  Stronger + One Last Rep is the story of David Patterson, an athlete who has committed his entire adult life to the pursuit of bodybuilding.  Through an introspective conversation David discusses his passion and what drives the sacrifices he made to pursue his singular goal – Stronger.

Date: Friday November 8th
Time Block: Block “C”, 5-6:30pm
Location: El Portal Theater in North Hollywood, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601

Festival Website: http://allsportslafilmfest.com/

Other films shown in this time block: A Single Step, Tri(p) Color, Killer Cueball, Je Veux, Runners, Tempting Fear, Parkour Race:

Thanks and hope to see you there.

Stuart Allman

Who’s Better Than You?

7206-train10Even though I currently live in the South, it’s difficult for people to miss my New York accent. I’m all New York. In fact, I owned the gym in Brooklyn that gained national attention when the movie “Pumping Iron” was filmed there. I was raised in an ethnic area, mainly Italian and Irish.

Growing up in my neighborhood was like the Little Rascals meets “The Sopranos,” if ya know what I’m talkin’ ’bout. Everyone—and I mean everyone—was a peak-performance expert. We didn’t have seminars or CDs, but we did have the front stoop and the curb.

I remember walking down the street as a kid. I was down, mopey, head hanging low, really dragging. Then I heard a shout from Mr. Roettger, who was sitting on the stoop.

“Who’s better than you, Johnny boy?”

“Well, you know, Mr. Roettger, Joey just beat me up.…”

“No, no, no!” Mr. Roettger shouted. “That doesn’t matter. Come sit on the stoop with me. Tell me, Johnny boy, who’s better than you? And say it like you mean it, kid!”

“No one is better than me, Mr. Roettger,” I stated in a less than enthusiastic voice that he chose to ignore.

“That’s right, and don’t you ever forget it, kid! Always remember, you’re from 10th Avenue. I don’t care if you are getting beat up by Joey or in the business world when you get older—you never let it beat you! You get up, brush yourself off and keep on going. That’s how we do it!”

Then a few days later, I was walking, head hanging low, and there he was again. “Who’s better than you, Johnny boy?”

“Well, you know, Mr. Roettger, we just lost the game.…”

Mr. Roettger just laughed, walked out to the street and said, “Pull up a curb, Johnny boy.” So we both sat on the curb, and he looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Who’s better than you, kid? And say it like you mean it.”

This time I said it with enough passion that I almost believed it: “No one is better than me, Mr. Roettger!”

“That’s right, kid. You’re from 10th Avenue. You may lose now and again, but you come back stronger and harder the next time. You may get knocked down, but you never stay down. That is how winning is done! Got it, kid?”

This went on my whole childhood, and it didn’t just happen to me; it was for all the kids on 10th Avenue.

My point is, no one is better than you, and don’t let anyone tell you anything different. Now, go look in the mirror—yes, you—and say, “Who’s better than you?” No one! This is your life, so you may as well starting living it to its fullest—and that starts with knowing that you are a gift to this world and no one is better then you. Got it?

—John Rowley


I Hear You Knocking at My Front Door

7206-train9Right about this time every year for the past 13 years I have glowingly declared that the days are getting longer. I’ve leaned back as I’ve bedazzled my keyboard and reminded us it’s time to ramp up our training and get in shape for the rocking summer ahead. It’s what we do, bombers. We’re muscle builders and iron heads, lifters of steel and sculptors of bodies.

Having set the stage, I, with contagious excitement, have detailed a thoughtful menu and a thorough workout to refresh our winter-logged minds and build lean, shapely muscle and powerhouse might. Sets will fly and reps will soar while we lift up the iron and gulp down the protein. Yes, indeedy, that was then.

Today, however, my mind is numb. I can’t think of a meaningful thing to say. Zap. I just deleted another page filled with stale words, sentences and phrases. That makes an even bodybuilder’s dozen since I started to write this. A bodybuilder’s dozen is any number between eight to 15 repetitions, depending on the pump and burn.

Yeah, right! And when’s the last time you had a pump ’n’ burn, Mr. Mighty Max Muscle Marvel Man? I thought I was getting a pump last week, but as it turns out, I strained a tendon and it was swelling from the injury. Rats!

It gets worse: Due to circumstances beyond my control, I missed a workout last week. That was no big deal back in the day when I trained twice a day, six days a week, but nowadays “a” workout is half my workouts for a seven-day period. At that rate I won’t qualify for the Mr. Droopy Drawers finals of 2013. What will my grandkids think?

Odds are I’ll be out of the running for the Most Skin Hanging Loosely Award this year. Heartbreaking! Get this: I have the original of Sinatra singing “My Way” on digital—not to mention my black-and-white checkered posing trunks, my top hat, bow tie and walking stick.

Note: I don’t compete for the trophy. I confess, I just love the applause.

Another brave confession from the bottom of my open heart: I do not want, need or desire to see the inside of a gym for the rest of my life.

This is my public statement, of course, until I—hand-to-throat gasp—actually miss a training session. Should I in real life skip, omit or otherwise fail to work out, grief commences immediately and severely. My back bows, my knees buckle, and I’m suddenly three inches shorter than normal. The world spins, my head cocks to one side, my sopping tongue protrudes from my gaping mouth. I look upward from drowsy eyes, my voice muffled as I search for words. Limp hands reach for support as I haplessly lurch from place to place.

“Hey, buddy! Can you give me a spot?”

Ummm.… How about mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (providing you have one of those protective masks handy), a miniature brain transplant, a pair of electrifying backstage passes to the OhBama Pageant, whatever that is.

Two workouts a week seem to do it for me. I’d do more if I could, but I can’t, so I don’t. If I did, I’d be miserable, so I do what I must, can, should and will. Exactly!

It all used to be so easy: Enter gym, see dumbbell, lift dumbbell, go home.

Best workout:

• Rope tuck, leg raise and freehand squat combinations for 15 inspiring minutes

• Seated dumbbell curls supersetted with low-incline dumbbell flyes-to-presses (3-4 x 10, 8, 6, 12-15)

• Wide-grip pulldowns behind and before the head supersetted with machine dips leaning forward and back with bombastic finesse (3-4 x 12, 12-15)

• Lying bent-bar stiff-arm pullovers and triceps extensions, a jumbo bombo combo (3-4 x 10-12, 6 reps)

Laree and I have a little fox that visits us midday for scraps of food. So cute, about 30 inches long, nose to tail’s end, and 10 pounds soaking wet. I want to be a fox when I grow up.

Fox rocks.… Go.… Godspeed… D

—Dave Draper


Editor’s note: For more from Dave Draper, visit www.DaveDraper.com and sign up for his free newsletter. You can also check out his amazing Top Squat training tool, classic photos, workout Q&A and forum.