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Monday, April 14, 2014

"What can I expect?" she said.

And as long as I've been training, that was the first time anyone ever asked, and I hesitated....
The question was referring to the Bikini Boot that's starting next week.  20+ participants, training w me twice per week, hitting 2 yoga classes per week and an additional cardio/Bootcamp class plus a very highly recommended nutrition plan courtesy of the "Mike Dolce Living Lean Cookbook."
So what you can all expect is change.  You will see muscles in your arms and shoulders you never have.  You'll see abs you never have.  You'll see tone and definition in your legs, you never have.  You'll be running faster, you'll be breathing better, you'll have more balance, more focus, and more energy.  
Everything you currently do, you'll be doing it better by June 1. IF you show up, IF you work as hard as you can, and IF you follow the meal plan.  
Now, the woman that asked me this question, I'm not concerned about her effort or intensity, she's at the top and knows what she's getting into, I'm writing in general. 
Show up, work hard, follow the book and you'll be very proud with the results of your efforts.  Guaranteed. 


"What can I expect?" she said.
Change.  You can even try to hide your head under the pillow all year and think it's not going to happen, but it is.  It's the one thing we can't stop.  One way or another, everything changes.
Our scenery changes, our bodies change, our minds change, everything changes.  
What are you going to do?
Being angry or bitter about it, will only remove your joy.  
We age.
Our favorite players retire.
Our musicians disappear.
Our heros burn out or fade away.
Expect change.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


(Some intense Explosions in the Sky is in the background for this one.)
The first time I heard the phrase "bittersweet," was November 4th, 1994.  Most of my clients weren't even born yet and 30% of the others were 5-8 years old... Wow.   I'm not a guy that holds onto history and the "glory years," but I do remember great speeches and moments w people I care about.  I was 17 and we just finished our high school footba season.  We were just 3-6 heading into week 10 and playing a Solon team that had some real studs and headed to the playoffs.  We were a pretty tough undersized group of guys... But we found a little magic that night and won 10-0, removing them from the 4th seed and out of the playoffs.  
We gathered in the ends one for postgame talk like most teams do.  I don't remember the entire speech but I remember coach explaining what the term meant and how well it fit the occasion.  
Sad that it was over, happy that it happened.

Sooooo.... Here we are.  Two years ago, I was working w my dad and future finance, laying the floor down for our future yoga room, the Blue Chip Power Room.  I had a vision of bringing a non Lulu, non-snooty version of something I loved and found tremendous benefits in, Power Yoga.  (Don't be offended �� you Lulu's know how you come off.)
And despite closing soon, it worked.  I wanted to bring it to people who may not have tried it otherwise.  I think it can be a little intimidating for some people to walk into a yoga studio and I think there's a stigma, right or wrong about being judged or watched or whatever.  I'm lucky enough that I'm an idiot and give zero .... about that any of that.  But I'm 6'ish, 240ish, tattoos, bald head, beard or something, so hearing "you need some yoga," comes off a bit differently coming from me, same as hearing a smaller woman pitch weight training.  You expect to hear "go squat!" from a guy like me and "namaste," from her... But I tell you both and then go run 3 miles.  I knew I had an advantage because I don't believe in "boxes," or labels.  "Do it all."

Prior to the room, most of my personal training clients never tried yoga and thought it was a "wuss," thing to do.  
Prior to the room, most of my athletes laughed when I'd recommend it.
Prior to the room, no men I knew bothered with even trying it. 
Now?  They're searching for studios that offer classes when we don't, the athletes request it constantly and the men have felt the benefits.  
Mission accomplished and that truly, truly is my reward.  

I never turned anyone away.  Someone would text "how much is it?  I want to try."  I'd say $10.  They'd say "ok, maybe another time."  I'd say "get your ass to class!  My treat."

I receive texts and messages from former clients who are away at school or moved and they tell me about the studio they found or that they're going to become an instructor one day.  I doubt they know how happy that made me to hear.  

We tinkered around w adding different types of classes and found that a strength training element would be beneficial.  Again, people have their hang ups about certain things, telling women "weights won't make you bulky," isn't always recvd well.  But now they know.  Mission accomplished.  

So we're in the homestretch here... Only about 7 weeks or so to go, and maybe 35 classes or so.  Despite the decision to close, I'm going to enjoy our finale very much.  I have a feeling the intensity will be different.
Like a team headed into week 10 with nothing to lose.

...more to come.


At a younger age, everyone should lose their job.  They should get dumped too.  Oh, and eat tuna out of a can and potatoes for a couple weeks.  Sleep a couple nights in the park.  Maybe lose your apt for a month and not know where you're going to sleep?  That'll help too.  What else?  Ah, yes, be so worried about money and the job you just lost, that you go file for unemployment benefits.
You need to screw up sales.
The bar needs to crash on your chest.
You need to hear "No."
You need to fall, you need to fail.
(I needed no one to show up for classes)

In movement, we have positive and negatives and I use this often.  Lets use push ups as the example.  You can push and push and push and eventually be all out of the positive push and you'll make gains from "max-ing," out that push.  But you still have negative energy.  So when you're all out the push, you need to have a friend help you back and you work the negative, the drop, the fall as slow as possible and you do this until even that energy is depleted.  Its grueling and if you do this, and do it til complete failure, you'' make noises you never knew you could.  I train pull ups the same way.  You pull and pull and eventually, you're just dropping as slow as possible until its a completely worthless movement and the arms are rubber.
But through all that work, all that failing, comes strength and a shitload more.
You gain mental strength and a power you never knew you had.

Those humbling experiences mean so much.  How fragile and insecure it all really is, that presence of mind is needed to keep you aware, alive and hungry for life.

On a recent podcast, Rogan said "the worst thing that could've happened would've been to win the lottery at 22... I would've been a complete loser."  Because he never would've learned the grind, he never would've failed at anything because the money, unfortunately, buys success.  
And even when you think you've arrived and taste some success, you need the occasional slip ups and flops to remind you how easy it can all slip away.

Complacency will absolutely ruin you.

You also need to be your own critic and know when you've failed, even if they don't see it.  

All those moments at the top of the blog and others like it will build an inner fire, a desire for the grind, and a fearless heart.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

drop the leash, drop the leash...

I've heard variations of the story, so i'll try to write it how coach said it.
Back in the day of the travelling circus, mgmt would buy or trade for baby elephants to train for the shows.  When they were young, they'd leash the elephants with chains and pike the chains to the ground or something too heavy for the elephant to pull.  Over time, the elephant started to correlate the sound of the chain with an immovable object and not pull.  As the elephant grew older, the chain was all that was needed, because the elephant had given up pulling, always thinking the chain was attached to an immovable object when in reality, the only thing holding the animal back was a pike in the ground and a mental obstacle.

The sound of the chain was all that was needed.

   Most of us have had the "baby elephant," experience.  A lot of us are still hearing the "chains."  I've told this story out-loud, not sure if I've written it.  When I was in high school I was signed up to go on a college visit (I think I may have been in 10th grade).  The morning of the visit, my "guidance counselor," pulled me into the office and told me that she had removed me from the tour because I "wasn't college bound."  Now, being 37 I'm loaded with responses to that moment (insert huge grin), and I actually thank her now, but at the time it became a "chain," and a label and I told myself  "I'm not college bound," and I settled for that.

   Let's dive deeper...
We hear things as kids, good and bad, right and wrong, and they stick.  They become a part of who we think we are.  And then as we grow up, we hold onto it because we think it really is who we are...  but its not... and that's our search.
Who am I?

I think you should think about your rules.
I think you should think about why you do what you do.
Think about what drives you...
What turns you on inside..
What really fires you up and inspires you...
What are you passionate about?
What cant you live without?

I think a lot of us get to a point where we stop daydreaming and having those important conversations.
I think a lot of us have stopped searching for our truth and true identity.
I think we're so much more than we let ourselves be.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

@ home behind the sun 3/30

Too many people are concerned with too many people.  Dedicate that energy to improving yourself and not worrying about gossip or measuring yourself against others.


There isn't one ultimate style of training that everyone should be using.  Variety is the spice of life.


If you're wasting time hating your competition, work on becoming more confident.


If colleges are making millions on kids jerseys, the kids should be paid. 


You can really learn a lot by hanging out w kids (under 10) for a day.  
Remember when you believed you could dodge rain drops?
Remember when you couldn't step on a crack in the sidewalk?
It's strange how we grow older and let all of our uniqueness slip away... Only the brave will find it again. 


Finally watched a bit of "Food Inc." Anyone else wondering when we became so irrelevant to our own government?  Monsanto is legal but there's a plant that grows for free that can reduce your risk of cancer, relieve pain, slows the progression of Alzheimer's, dissolve the effects of anxiety, can be used to treat epilepsy, can help with neurological damage, can stop HIV from spreading throughout the body, and can lower insulin levels in diabetics.
I know this isn't a new debate but, damn it's staggering every time it pops in my head.    We're headed in a pretty bad direction and I really don't see it turning around.  I used to believe candidates and votes meant something, but corporations and money run this country, not citizens.  
Buy local, be logical and get involved.


"Sometimes I think I'd rather hang out w dolphins instead of people."  Livi, my 7 year old.


There's a very soft generation of boys coming through.  Something big needs to happen to re-install a sense of masculinity.  I'm not a "man up," kind of chest thumper but there are some very blurry lines here.  This isn't about gender roles or anything like that, but there are some things a guy has to be able to do and I think the generation coming along now is lacking.
Who wants on the Podcast to debate this?


I train and sell real estate.  In both atmospheres I hear "you're not what I was expecting," as a very nice compliment.  
Thank you.


People ask me "hey have you heard of (insert pop artist)?"
So happy I have no clue who they're talking about.



I'm learning the importance of balance in life.  Unfortunately, I'm very used to the gogogogo energy and schedule and so is everyone else.  If you think I'm pulling back, it's just to breathe.  Pulling back isn't pulling out.
Make time for work, for play, for your family.  Make time for yourself.  Find balance and be comfortable.  


Anyone know how to add music to a YouTube video so it doesn't delete or block from being viewed on mobile phones?


I was at a maple-fest today... Not something I usually do.  I ordinarily do everything I can to avoid real social interaction.  But this was good.  
Might be what's missing.


If you're interested in listening to something other than mind numbing FM channels we have in Cleveland, try a podcast or an audiobook. I've taken that step and it's a real game changer.  
Podcast rotation: The Joe Rogan Experience is definitely number 1.  Too guests you'd probably like: Graham Hancock; Christopher Ryan; Aubrey Marcus and Neil DeGrasse Tyson... Or maybe it's Neil Tyson DeGrasse?  Check out Neils show "cosmos," on television as well. 
Also check out the Warrior Poet Podcast (philosophy), The Mike Dolce Show (fitness).

They've helped me turn my thoughts back to a higher sense of truth and life, as in what our lives should be and/or should be headed towards.  They've helped me question my own "why's," and rewrite or erase some old rules.  They've helped me raise my own bar for my own expectations as to what I want out of this short life. 
I refer to it often but rarely spell it out.  But the truth is, this will be over before we know it, some sooner than others.  Wrapping it up w some amazing stories and moments and experiences and connecting with people, that's everything. 


I wrote my first @ home behind the sun when I was 20 and it wasnt that different than this one.
Titled after a lyric in Pearl Jam's "Wishlist."
"I wish I was an alien... @ home..."


If we don't move or buy a new car, why do we have to renew our plates every year? 



Everything is water... 
Money comes and goes, energy comes and goes,  moments come and go, love comes and goes, everything flows.  When the gates are closed and nothing is able to flow out, nothing comes in and vice-versa.  If all you do is give, you have to be open to receive.  if all you do is receive, start giving back.  Don't hoard your money, don't hoard your energy, don't hoard your love.  Give and receive and keep it moving.  
Everything is water.

Monday, March 24, 2014

I Flipped It

Somehow, things flipped upside down and I didn't notice it happened.
I stopped counting sessions and started counting dollars.  And if you know me, that's probably a really weird sentence to read because I don't really give a $hit about money... or so I thought.  But I found myself pulling out a calculator far too often and adding up my minutes and then trying to figure ways to hit daily financial goals.  I never stressed about not having an appointment, I stressed the finances.

(I should have sat down to write to this a couple months ago, I would've figured things out sooner.)

Then it started to feel like I was carrying something on my back... I could feel weight.  I sat down to think in a quiet room, and within 5 minutes, my head was falling, my neck was aching and my shoulder blades were on fire.  The stress and pressure that I put on myself because of money had been felt in the physical form.  I remember standing up angry... pissed.  How could I do this?  How could I have changed?  How did I let money effect my priorities.

For about 24 hours, I was in a bad, bad mood.  I didn't talk much and I didn't train.
I went home after work, prepared myself for about a 60 minute jog and headed out.  Somehow I thought "This is probably what I need."
But my jog turned into a walk and jog.  Not because I couldn't run long enough but because I was listening to a Deepak Chopra audiobook and he was saying things that I needed to focus on and couldn't while running.  I needed to move my body slower and with control.
For the life of me, I cant remember the part that hit me, but I remember walking through the woods, getting emotional yet feeling clear and thinking "I've lost my way," and I was happy to know it.  I was happy that it hit me like that, to not feel lost or stranded at sea, thinking your swimming your ass off only to realize you've been swimming in the wrong direction.... and that the actual direction takes very little effort at all.
I turned onto my street to head back home... but then I thought "the book isn't over and my legs aren't tired," so I turned around and jogged another 3 miles.

I remember him say "I'm aware, I exist, I create," and that has been my calming mantra since that day.
No one even noticed that I was getting weird or stressed but it was totally kicking my ass and I honestly thought about quitting.
Now, rather thank thinking "How much is this day worth?" and wondering about money, I think "What can I make happen?  Who can I help?  How can I serve?"  Those words are so incredibly powerful to me, HELP and SERVE, just writing them down excites me.  Tomorrow, I know my schedule will from about 6am-8pm and some time ago, I would've debated trying to dodge some appointments.  Now, I'm packing my bag and extremely excited about the opportunity to be with people and make something awesome happen, to help someone break through a plateau, to have a conversation that helps someone, to deliver a training session that pushes physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  I have such an amazing job!  I really do.  I get to help people evolve and I don't do it in a douchy "Hey do this!" kind of way.  I've always said "I'm on the path too," and there are so many ways for everyone to grow.  Its not all you should take a yoga class (but you should) or go for a run or do this or do that, it's do what feels good, but don't be shy to push your boundaries and do different things even if they're uncomfortable or new or what you may think is out of you element.  My first yoga class was a few years ago and I walked in, largest guy in the room... probably the only guy in the room, and had no clue what a down dog was or what the heck she was saying with all this chatarunga stuff and everything else those whacky yogi's say :) but I dove in and it changed every single thing in my life.
Someone recently said to me (or maybe she text me) that my workouts delivered a similar emotion that yoga does, that my session opened up some feelings inside that were difficult to deal with but lead to a breakthrough... that's the f'ing paycheck.

I hope my random rants disguised as blog entries helps at least one person step out of their comfort zone and stretch for some positive growth or just to be a little wind in the sails.  The daily grind can be just that, a freaking griiiind and it can whip our butts.  Sharing our stories and connecting, thats the juice we need.
Peace, love and empathy.

Monday, March 17, 2014


I hung a poster with this quote in the Power Room... I don't know if anyone will really stop to read it and that's ok, I kind of bought it for myself.
I remember when this commercial aired...

On one side, I think "Oh, that's great MJ, but your freaking MJ so I'm not sure we're that comparable."
But on the other, it's easy for us to remember all the shots he hit, all the points he scored, all the awards he won, all the championships.  We don't remember the misses... but he does.  He remembers every slight an opponent ever gave him as he was coming up on young Bulls teams in the late 80's.  He remembers how bad the Pistons tried to physically hurt him and his teammates during those playoff runs from 87-91 and how they lost all those years.  Even going back further, the legendary story of MJ getting cut from his high school basketball team... He went home and shot free throws until his dad made him go to bed... Then he did it again the next day.

I'm mentioning this and using MJ as the motivation because FAILURE is everywhere.  I think back to everything I've failed in... relationships, jobs/careers, training, goals, etc.  Most people don't know, the Power Room is located in the same place my previous employment was, and that failed pretty miserably.  So going back in there and trying again, it made me wonder... a lot.
Failing in anything will make you wonder if you have what it takes to get over the hump, to get past an obstacle, to be successful.  I think you could probably fill in the blank with your own list of failures and think about the time you doubted yourself or wondered, "Am I good enough?"

You can never quit.
You have to know that hard work will pay off.
You have to be fearless, but not reckless.
You have to be open to criticism.
You have to be willing to grow and evolve.
You have to look everywhere for that growth.
You have to learn from failure.
And you have to let it go and try again.