How to lift a mental fog

Old Man Look at My Life

Old Man Look at My Life

I remember two years ago when I wrote an essay about Newell Strength in 60 years.

It was actually Christmas eve as I was writing it and I had to stop after every damn sentence to gather myself.

A few weeks later we had our staff holiday party and I shared with the team bits and pieces of what I had written and again, emotion overcame me.

I used to think showing my emotions was a sign of weakness, now I know it’s a sign of inner strength.

Nevertheless, when I wrote that piece about going into Newell Strength for one final workout when I was well into my 90’s, not a person in there knowing me from Adam, it was a flash-forward about life and the special memories and connections we make with others on a daily basis.

Life is precious, you know that, but YOU, like me, forget that sometimes.

Devon took this picture of me and Brax the other morning when I slept on the recliner with him as he was running a high fever.

I have been toying around with this idea of my Old Man article for a few weeks and this picture cemented it for me. Enjoy…

Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.

Braxton, you are a lot like me. Except you are better. I am proud of the man you have become. My life transformed when you came into our world. I think back to when I could still pick you up and hold you. You are still figuring things out and that’s normal. I want you to know that you are a great person and you have the potential to inspire the world. You are like me in that you want the best for people and yet, you struggle with how to accomplish that mission. You are like me, only you have completed my weaknesses.

Old man look at my life,
and there’s so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two.

Braxton, you are only 24 and you feel like you should have ‘made it’ already. Don’t worry, I am 59 and I still don’t know what I want to do with my life, fully. You have endless possibilities in front of you. The world is your oyster. You are going to be one of the greatest leaders ever to walk the earth, I believe that in my heart and soul. You are beginning to realize that heaven and hell are an in apart because paradise arises within YOU, inside your mind. The ‘two’ that you live with are the angels of fear and love. Always choose love, it will never steer you wrong.

Love lost, such a cost,
Give me things
that don’t get lost.
Like a coin that won’t get tossed
Rolling home to you.

Braxton, there’s that word LOVE again. Love can live forever and impact the world forever. Yes, you will have many relationships in life but they will ALL come to an end sooner or later. In the end, it will be just YOU and the trail of love that you blazed. Me and your mom will one day be gone but our love for you will never die. Your girlfriends, your brothers and sisters, your wife, they will all one day be gone too. Yet, your children and their children will always be able to draw strength from the LOVE you gave. Your love will never BE lost. It is the home of your spirit.

Old man take a look at my life
I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that’s true.

Braxton, you are a lot like me, only infinitely greater. And that’s what all parents want for their children. The greatest enemy you will ever face is the angel of fear. When you face it, walk through it. Put a knife into fear’s heart and scream a scream of victory at the top of your longs. That’s what I know you WILL do. Mom and my love for you will live on forever. We all need love in this life but I want you to remember that your ability to love will be limited by how much love you have for yourself. My life changed the day I literally told myself I loved WHO I was, out on that beach in So Cal. When relationships end, the love will not.

Lullabies, look in your eyes,
Run around the same old town.
Doesn’t mean that much to me
To mean that much to you.

Braxton, it feels like only yesterday that this picture was taken. I would love to live that moment over and over again. To look into those baby eyes of yours, the innocence, the pure joy. Always keep that with you, it’s a rare gift in an adult. Wherever you go in life, there you are. You can explore, you can go out and find yourself, but the hidden treasure is in your heart. The things of the material world will fall away, one by one. Moments like you laying on me are special, cherish them. Every minute is a blessing but once every so often you will KNOW when you are in one of those life long memories, a snap shot that is branded on your heart. We are proud of you no matter what.

I’ve been first and last
Look at how the time goes past.
But I’m all alone at last.
Rolling home to you.

Braxton, I’ve won some in life and lost some. I loved winning but I hated losing. That is the spirit of a competitor. Before you know it, you will be writing a letter to your son, only he too, will carry on the legacy. He will BE better than YOU and that is the best gift you could ever give. You are like me in that you draw inner strength from being alone, from sitting down by the river. Know thyself, know where you can connect to God and go there often. If you don’t go within, you will go without. Be comfortable Being alone, its one of the best places in the world to BE. When you can be alone with yourself, it means you truly love yourself.

Old man take a look at my life
I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that’s true.

Braxton, I know you are a lot like me, only you are better. Our spirits came into contact for a reason and we don’t yet the know the full impact of our spirits teaming up, but I do know its for something great. I would one day, in another realm, another life time, hope to find a spirit as strong as yours but you see, spirits, our souls are like finger prints, unique and never duplicated. Mom and I will look down your legacy from the skies above one day and have a smile on our faces. The physical world is fleeting. Your love and spirt will live on into infinity. Remember the impact that your words and actions have on others. Someone is always looking up to you and watching you. I am sorry for the times I acted in a way that came from a place other than love. Be better than I was.

Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.

Braxton, yes you are. Only you are better. Continue to bring your ‘light’ to other people’s darkness. The world needs a man like YOU. You are a lot like me, only better.

The Horrible Diet and Horrible Training Plan

Yes, I am going to recommend horrible programs for you to follow.  Horrible, according to your doctor and the mainstream that is.

I remember when I really grew my coaching wings.  I was sick and tired of following the dogmatic approach of body part training and conventional dieting.  I was bored mentally and I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted.  I knew there was a better way, but I didn’t know how.

That was when I entered college back in 1999.  I had some semblance of where I was heading but didn’t have an exact route.  It was a process of trial and error for sure.

I would head to the university fitness center and follow my full body program from the first book on training that I ever read, Big Beyond Belief by Leo Costa and the legendary Tom Platz.  I had actually ordered that out of a bodybuilding magazine, I doubt many millennials even know what mail order means, lol!

That program alone got me strong, very strong.  And it started to make a lot of my fellow co-eds ask questions as to why I was training squat and bench on the same day and why my workouts were so short compared to other people and on and on.

I tried to explain with my novice knowledge that training was more about the nervous system and stress response than it was about focusing on the external variables.  Most people either under trained or spent way too long in the gym and not enough time sleeping and recovering.  I remember distinctly from that book the A.R.E principle.  It stated that the alarm response was first initiated in the nervous system.

That is what happens when we train. This is then followed by the resistance phase in which the body adapts to the meet the demands of the new stress you are placing upon it.  This is where it will get stronger, grow bigger muscles and lose body fat if you allow it to.

But, if you aren’t managing yourself properly, you will enter the exhaustion phase.  I’ll admit that very few people push themselves this hard in their training to even sniff this zone.  This is called overtraining.  However, most people put themselves there by having out of control stress levels and not enough rest and fun in their lives.  I don’t want to go too far down that rabbit hole here but do know that it is all a matter of the nervous system.

My training philosophy was born, which I will get back to in a second.

Nutrition on the other hand?  Well, let’s just say that I wanted to get big and muscular and fast!  I ate damn near 4-5K calories per day and it wasn’t long before I was big and fat!  I even remember riding down the street on my bike (I used to ride everywhere around campus) and someone yelled out a car window, ‘Lose some weight!’.  Hmmm…I thought, that’s weird and a bit obnoxious.

I wasn’t sure how they knew from a drive by that I was overweight, after all I wasn’t morbidly obese (260 pounds).  And then I looked down in shame and noticed that my back tire, although not flat, was very much compressed and looking flat underneath my weight.

That was my first clue that there was much more to the old calorie in vs. calorie expended debate that had become common knowledge.  I started reading and then reading some more.  I even remember that by the time I was a senior I had developed my own philosophy on re-feeding and cheat meals.  I compiled all my findings and personal experience and set up an appointment with my nutrition professor.

Man, you would have thought that I had two heads the way this dude looked at my.  I quickly realized that he didn’t know jack sh** and that I was going to have to discover and implement this stuff myself.  To say I was ahead of the curve by the time I was a senior at UD would be an understatement.

And then, I graduated and began my internship with Rutgers Football strength and conditioning.  I had still had my full body philosophy of training but I did mix some bodybuilding methods in there when I wanted to really pack on muscle.  I learned a great deal that summer from JB (my first mentor).  The pace those players trained at and the weights they were lifting were insane.  I would eat meals with the team and dudes that were shredded would be throwing a half a stick of butter in their oatmeal along with 6 whole eggs.  I couldn’t believe it.

Back to the drawing board.  That was when it sank in that food was a drug and diet was more a function of what was going on in the internal, biochemical and hormonal environment into which the food entered had a much bigger impact than counting calories.  Yup, food’s effects on the human body were more about the nervous system than anything else.  As a later mentor, Dax Moy, told me: it’s not what you eat but rather whom you are when you eat it.

I continued to develop a blend of philosophies to come up with my own training and nutrition principles.  And they have continued to evolve to this very day and yes, they are horrible according to most doctors.  Yet, I would put my blood work ‘returns’ (much like you should ask for a tax return of a financial advisor before hiring them) against any doctor and I know I would come out on top.

‘Yes, Kyle, but what are these things you speak of?!’  Don’t worry my good friend, I was about to get to that.

For nutrition, here are my principles with a brief, very brief explanation for space’s sake:

  • You should practice eating less often along with practicing intermittent fasting. This means I eat twice per day and I don’t eat before 16 hours past my last meal, usually somewhere between noon and 2 pm.  This allows for much greater insulin sensitivity (better fat loss, and better able to bullet proof yourself against diseaseà insulin is responsible for a lot of inflammation in our bodies).  Forget all that B.S that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that you have to eat 6 small meals per day.  I call the B.S that they are rooted in.
  • Second, eat predominantly organic, grass fed sources of protein and fat. Yes, fat!  Cholesterol is the precursor to all sex-hormone production.  Too many men are walking around with bitch-tits and testosterone levels equal with that of a eunuch.  Now, if you are eating fat sources not from things like organic fed foods, then that is a different story and for a different time.  In addition, get your good poly-unsaturated fats from things like organic olive oil and avocados.  Fat is great for hormone production; protein is great for muscle repair and they are both very filling.  I eat what I want, when I want if they fit into these categories and as long as my fasting period is over.  Yes, you can have carbs, and even cheat days but again, let’s stick t the basics here and now.

For training:

  • Cardio as you’ve been told to do it is garbage and a BIG waste of time! Most doctors don’t have a clue about training, so let me educate you and them for a brief minute.  The muscular system drives the cardiovascular system, not the other way around.  So the more muscle you activate, the more cardiovascular output and stress you get, which makes the heart stronger.  How do you do this?  You train for peripheral heart action which means head to toe things like a pushup into a squat pattern.  Take your grandmother’s idea of yesteryear that stated you had to train a body part such as chest, rest two minutes, chat a little bit and then after that waste of an hour is done, you had to spend 30 minutes on a hamster wheel and throw that shit out the window into a trash dumpster and set it on fire!
  • You HAVE to lift weights! I am adamant about this.  Yes, you can run and ride your bike but those things will not make you a stronger body.  They will not grow much muscle if any and the slow long distance types of exercise actually raise cortisol levels (one of our main stress hormones).  And those forms of exercise do nothing to stimulate bone strength.  Yes, I’ll admit, I do those things here and there and they are excellent for brain health but not for being a strong S.O.B.  I don’t care if you are man or woman, you need to get the body stronger and gain some muscle, they are your fountain of youth.  Strength is the foundation for all of your other physical qualities.  Train with weights, train for the aim of getting out of breath and train full body.  No, you will not hurt yourself if you go about this in a smart way and if you aren’t sure what a smart way is, then hire a coach to teach you.

Yes, they sound horrible and I am sure snowflakes all over the world would run for cover if they were told this by their college professors.  Good thing I’m not their college professors.  As always, if you do the opposite of what the ‘herd’ does in life, you will usually be much better off.  It’s no different when it comes to your health and fitness.  Get after it!

An Amazing Way to Meditate

I remember the year.  It was 2010 and I was running around like a giraffe with its head cut off.

Newell Strength was starting to really grow some legs, Devon and I were getting more serious, I was a full-time physical education teacher and I was completing my Master’s Degree at an accelerated rate.

I am not one to become overwhelmed easily.  I have what you would call a very high ‘allostatic load’.  An allostatic load is how much stress an organism can handle before it boils over so to speak.  When we boil over, we enter the exhaustion phase of the stress response.

If you reach that stage, and if you are reading this and living on the planet Earth, I can be assured that you have, you will enter a freeze mode.  Freeze mode is the go to ‘f’ out of the three f’s of the sympathetic nervous system: freeze  à flight  à fight.  Think of freeze mode as a depression; It’s like you are trying to move in quicksand, the wheels are going but no forward progress is being made.

By the way, I will be giving you dribs and drabs of nervous system and brain lessons throughout these articles because I am a firm believer that if you know how you operate, you can combine that with the why you do what you do to live a better and more clear life.

Getting back to the story at hand.  I entered my then principal’s office to vent to him.  We always had a close relationship and still get coffee together every month.

I had a list sketched out on an unlined piece of yellow paper with all the things coming up that had deadlines that I still had to complete.  I had allowed myself to become too overwhelmed which is the opposite of happy for me.

He told me to slow down and take a breath, which I did.  And you know what?  I felt better almost instantly.  Yup, by taking a few deep breaths and slowing down, I could literally feel the level of overwhelm go from an 8/10 to a 5/10.

The stuff on my list still had to get done, but by slowing down I was able to create a clear plan of action and a pecking order of which thing would be done first, second and so on.  The brain cannot multi-task despite all the posers out there that claim there are great at multi-tasking.

What really happens when we try to multi-task is that we have to put the brakes on our thought, let it come to a complete stop and then switch tracks to the new thing we are multi-tasking with.  It may seamless and quick, but and this a big BUTT: it takes a tremendous amount of energy to switch tasks like this, which will leave you for less efficient than you could be, which is ironic because we think when we multi-task that we are being more efficient.

Think of this way; if you were to go out and run 100 meters straight, it won’t be too, too hard.  For some people, it would be pretty damn easy.  That is how your brain functions when it is focused on one task and one task only.  Now, let’s suppose I told you that you had to run 100 meters again, but this time it was going to be broken up into 25 yard splits.  This means that you would run 25 yards, put the brakes on, run back and then repeat that cycle one more time.

Anyone that has run shuttle before will tell you that this second option is way more difficult and taxing on the body.  Metabolically speaking, stop and start activities use a tremendous amount of energy (there is a fat loss lesson here too).  The deceleration, change of direction and then acceleration are very, very difficult as it is with the brain too.

Back to clarity.  A lack of clarity on what you are doing and where you are heading is a big threat trigger for the brain.  The brain is nothing more than a pattern recognition machine which means it prefers prediction + response and repeat.  A clear ranking of priorities will work wonders on your daily tasks and goals.

But my friend, that is not what I really wanted to cover in this first section of the inaugural ULYIS newsletter.  What I really wanted to cover is the most effective and simplest way to meditate that have ever come across.  And yes, it starts with the breathing that my principal had instructed me to do in his office.

All meditations as far as I know involve the breath.  Yogis have been teaching this for thousands of years.  To become parasympathetic (the opposing part of the nervous system to the fight or flight response), you need to be in a relaxed state.  We can accomplish this through our body by stimulating the vagal nerve.

When talking about breathing, this can only be done through a long exhale through the mouth, and yes, it does not get stimulated if we do a long exhale through the nose.  You should always perform your meditation breathing by inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.  When you do this, you are going to want to the belly to rise (NOT The chest).  Chest breathing and ‘belly’ breathing have opposing effects on the stress response as well.

Ok, now that I have explained the breathing to you, what is this simple meditation method I speak of?

I simply go outside (near water if I can find it, lucky for me we live on a creek and are a stone’s throw away from a river), start my breathing and scan my senses.  By that I mean, I will spend a minute or two on noticing what I see; the colors, the birds, the grass, anything really.

Next, I focus on what I can hear including the animals, the wind, distant cars, planes, water flowing or anything else that happens to be in my environment.  I then go on to do the same thing with feel, smell and taste.

Admittedly taste can be a difficult one but you can focus in on the mouth, the saliva, teeth and any taste that you imagine your environment would have if it did have a taste.

This whole thing can be done in as little as 5 minutes, if you spent one minute on each of the five senses.  You will feel your blood pressure drop and a sense of calm come over you.

Let me explain; the breathing relaxes the tone of the nervous system and being in nature connects with the mammal brain, the second layer of the brain if you will.  The mammal brain needs connection and emotion to become fully activated, both of which you will accomplish any time you are out in nature and you focus in on it.  From what I have seen throughout my coaching career is that most people lack any type of deep mammalian connection (one of the reasons that dogs are so wonderful!).

Yes, I know people are married with kids and on and on, but I am telling you, they do not connect on the level they should nearly enough.  Most people are just trying to make it through the day and human connection is really an after-thought.  And most people, when they do happen to be outside in nature, are glued to their smart phone.  Their phone is smart but they are becoming more stupid by the minute (I’ll cover this brain science in April’s issue).

Most people do not focus on their spiritual connection at all.  They know that it is important but they simply don’t make the time for it because it’s the old thing of ‘out of sight, out of mind’.  When we cannot see material results, we are usually apt to brush it off.

Yes, people go to church, but most (not all), go because they believe it will check the box of spirituality and out of a sense of guilt (judgment is very powerful).

I went on a string of weeks from that point forward where I would go out to a local pond and sit there or stand there for up to an hour just taking in my environment.  I would also go to that same park at night and just sit on a bench and stare up at the stars.  I found that after about 20 minutes, my mind went into a full state of ‘alpha’ which left me feeling high and euphoric.

I don’t always create the pocket of time to do these lengthy sessions anymore, but I do make sure I do some form of it.  In fact, just yesterday, I spent 10 minutes sitting out front scanning my senses.

We all become overwhelmed and we all think that meditation is a great idea.  But when people hear the very word meditation they think of something that will require will power and a ton of extra time, which none of us really has.  The brain will not form a habit around something that requires will power and if we think of something that causes us to go into threat, like finding an extra 20 or 30 minutes in the day, we simply will not do ‘it’ either.

Here are your assignments for the spirit before next issue:

  • Learn how to belly breath properly. Place one hand on your belly to make sure it is rising.  This can be done standing, sitting or lying down.
  • On your lunch break or around lunch time, if you do not have a regular break, I want you to go out and scan the sense at least twice per week for a minimum of 5 minutes.

Sound simple enough?  Good.  We will build upon that next month.  Peace.

Enjoy the Power and Beauty of Your Youth

When I was a young boy, I used to contemplate life and death a lot.


Probably more than most people do throughout their entire life.  It had gotten so overwhelming at one point that I would cry every single day after school and before bed.  I could not get my mind around the miniscule time I had here on earth.


And that was when I was 9 or so years old.  Every couple of years, I go through a similar phase.  I don’t cry over death anymore but I do cry over the periods of life that are passing me by.  I cry over the happy memories that I have in my life.  Heck, even writing that is making me cry while I am writing this.


I am 35-years old.  Life is going by like a bullet train.  Devon was telling me about a presentation she attended yesterday in which the presenter said that a recent study showed that people were only present in the moment 53% of the time.  Funny, I had recently read about the same study online and thought to myself: Phewwwy!


First of all, that is an impossible study to undertake.  People will always give the answer that they think is the most appropriate and they will project (like they all do on FB) the perfect life.  Second, I know how much I struggle BEING present and this is something I know and study a lot.


All of the major religions had at their core the ability to be able to be in the present moment.  So simple, yet, so hard.


If you are within a decade of my age, then this will be relevant to you.


It feels like only yesterday that I was in high school, playing basketball.  I remember the last game I ever played in high school in which I was carried by my friends off the court.  I have that photo at my parent’s house somewhere.  A moment that will always be frozen in time in my mind.  I often visualize that scene in the early mornings before visualizing my future.


I think back to growing up in my old neighborhood, the one in which my parents still live.  I think about all the stick-ball games we played with that core group of boys.  I think about playing Man-Hunt late into the night.  I think about carving my initials with my best friend at the time into the freshly laid side-walk (which is still there by the way).


Those were endless summers and times of innocence.


I reminisce about the last summer of baseball I ever played. I was 16-years old.  I didn’t give a hoot about playing high school baseball, but I didn’t want to give up the memories of playing for the township little league and senior league.  I was very aware of playing in the state tournament, trying to make it to regionals and the fact that my ‘little league’ career would soon be a thing of memory.  Yes, I cried when we lost that final game.


Man, this is tough to write (a wise man recently told me that if you can’t cry, you can’t truly write).


It seems like just last week that I was about to graduate high school and then I did graduate.  But it didn’t matter because I had one last summer to spend with my boys.  We went to watch American Pie, which was timely like you wouldn’t believe.  That represented ‘us’.  I still have a special place in my heart and spirit for that movie because it instantly transports me to that period of my life.


Fast forward a few years.  I was now in college.  I hated the first semester.  I was homesick as hell.  But I knew it was just another transition in life and that life was but a series of deaths.  Once one period died off, there was no going back.


And like the blink of an eye, I found myself giving my farewell senior speech to my fraternity.  Yup, you guessed it, I cried, uncontrollably.  It went by way to fast and I fell in love with that place.


I remember having a pizza date with Leo (my grandfather) that first fall out of college, being incredibly depressed because I couldn’t figure out the purpose of life on earth.  He always gave me his ear to listen to my philosophical questions.  Life continued to move forward.


I entered the bodybuilding world.  I think back to how much I learned about my will during that time.  I pushed my body and mind further than I even knew was possible.  It wasn’t the contests that were special to me, it was celebrating with my friends and family.  It was the journey of self-realization.  I went back to the well a few years ago to share the experience with Devon.  Those contests will always hold special memories in my heart.  That was a part of becoming who I AM.


I can transport myself to the day that I proposed to Devon on the river bank just a mile from where we now live. I was shaking like a leaf in the wind, so scared of that next phase of my life.  Yup, I cried and could hardly get the words out of my mouth, ‘Will you marry me?’


Thank God she said yes!  I remember fighting back the tears at our wedding.  I wanted to cry so badly because I was so happy but I didn’t.  I wanted to cry when I was dancing with my mom because of nostalgia but I didn’t.  I should have.


I remember when my brother Shane asked me to speak at his wedding (I guess what he really asked me was to be the best man lol).  I don’t even remember what I said, but I remember FEELING what I said.  It wasn’t a humorous speech; it was one of emotion.  We were no longer boys growing up, we were now men, all of us going our own ways.  Yup, cried uncontrollably again.


I teleport myself to when I ruptured both patellar tendons, 2 and half years apart.  Man, that first time around was one of despair.  I had no reference point.  I had no one to ask advice of.  I was down and out and then I fought back.  I allowed myself to feel self-pity for 2 days and then I was onto one of the greatest self-discovery lessons of my life.  With the help of Devon, I overcame the self-doubt of wondering if my leg would ever be normal again.  Then, as noted above, I competed.  Yes, it was to share the moment with Devon, but it was also so signify putting that horrific injury in the past, putting it in the graveyard even though there were many silver linings to it.


And then, 2 years later, it happened again, the exact same damn injury, this time with Devon at my basketball game in attendance.  Yes, the physical pain was off the charts but I could deal with that. We turned down away the ambulance at that YMCA on that fall night. I knew what it was.  Devon knew what it was.  I remember making it up to the bedroom that night, stopping off at the hallway bathroom.  I was hoping Devon was out of ear shot because I looked myself in the mirror and yes, I cried again.  I couldn’t go through that again.  It wasn’t fair.  She heard me, she came to my rescue once again.


I think back to when I made the decision to leave teaching.  Oh, dear God was that probably the hardest decision of my life.  I had security at a place I loved working with kids I loved.  But life was calling me in a different direction.  I agonized over that decision.  I remember crying on multiple occasions; while writing my letter to the superintendent, while sitting in my principal’s office breaking the news to him that it was time for me to move on.  I remember my last day teaching, the kids coming up to hug me.  I was a bumbling mess.  Life moved on.


I often think about how bizarre my first thought was when I picked up our first baby, Mateena, from the breeder.  Yes, I was ecstatic.  But my main thought was:  These next 12 or so years are going to go by way to fast, like the blink of an eye.  She is laying here next to me, 4 years in already.


I frequently think about the day that Braxton was born.  I knew I would be emotional but this time I made the decision ahead of time that I wouldn’t hold back like I did at my wedding.  I didn’t plan it, but I did know I would be emotional.  I remember seeing the crown of his head and weeping tears of joy.  The nurse laughed and commented, ‘Kyle is crying.  Daddy is so happy!’  And I was and still AM.


Now he is 17 months old.  Time fly’s boy.


I remember at the end of that year at our holiday team party for Newell Strength.  I wasn’t expecting anything from the team but then one of them handed me a large frame that was wrapped in wrapping paper.  I didn’t even finish opening it before the tears started.


Because I saw the picture on the poster.  It was of the PIT, the gym that I had built in my parent’s basement with the words in caption ‘success is deciding to simply begin’.  It made me FEEL all the times I wanted to give up.  All the times I got so burnt out that I decided my dream wasn’t worth it.  It was too much to bear.  It would have been easier to just find a comfort zone and stay there.  But something wouldn’t let me quit.


The point of all this is not to show you how emotional I can be.


No, the point is hopefully for you to realize that life is racing by us.  Time waits for no man.  Right now, you have the power and beauty of youth.  If you are in your mid-20’s, you are at the beginning of it.  If you are in your mid-40’s, you are on the back side of it but you still go it.  Life will go on.  You will one day no longer have the energy and physical strength and glowing skin that you now have.


Memories are being made, breath by breath.  Stop thinking about tomorrow or next week.  Life is NOW.  The moments of today and right now are ones that you will one day look back upon in favor and reverence and say, ‘I remember when…’.


Yes, those moments are right this second.  Live them.  Feel them.  Love them and cherish them.  Experience them and yes, cry about them.  What’s your story going to BE?

Kyle Newell’s Rules #6-10

In today’s show, the human strength expert Kyle Newell shares the immutable laws that he holds true in his life. They are classic principles which everyone else can practice.

Here are the show highlights of Kyle Newell’s Rules #6-10:

  • Subscription newsletters ([1:32])
  • Immutable laws ([3:09])
  • Rule 6 clarity is king ([3:31])
  • Significance of clarity (4:21)
  • Rule 7 have a morning routine (5:08)
  • Kyle’s routine ([6:35])
  • Rule 8 put your own mask first ([7:43])
  • Rule 9 rhetoric vs dialect ([9:01])
  • Rule 10 compassion towards self ([10:40])
  • Recap ([12:14])

Clarity is King

Kyle’s personal word for the year is clarity. The mind can go on a reactive state when it lacks clarity. Consequently, a lot of bad things can happen.

In most of his mind mapping sessions with clients, he saw the lack of clarity that people deal with in life. It presents a kind of ambiguity where you wouldn’t know what’s supposed to happen.

Significance of Clarity

Unspoken issues can lead to unwanted division in a relationship. Consider a husband who has something in mind that annoys him. His wife, on the other hand, thinks about something according to how she views his situation. This unspoken tension, however, grows over time and divides them.

That is why clarity is important—it lessens the intensity of the emotions that one suppresses. Everyone around you wouldn’t have a hard time knowing what you want when you’re clear with your thoughts.

Have a Morning Routine

Having a morning routine enables you to make the most out of your day. The most stressful hour is when the cortisol goes up for about 2 hours before you actually get up from bed. It’s the time when you move from being unconscious to conscious.

Regardless of how comfortable your bed is, the cortisol will alert you of the day. Most people wake up confused, and further allows this main stress hormone to take over. It could lead them to doing things they’re not in control of. This is why it’s important to have a morning routine.

Download and listen to Kyle Newell’s Rules #6-10 to learn about Kyle’s life principles that you can also live by. An expert in his field, Kyle wants to help people get better in life. Share this to your friends, family, and loved ones.

Check these awesome resources for today’s episode:

Unlocking Your Inner Strength website

Time Mastery manual
If you have any suggestions or other interesting ideas, please contact Kyle at or at You can also leave a comment or review on today’s show. We love hearing from you!

You Don’t Have Time to Be Sick

I often like to think of myself as Bruce Willis’ character from the movie, Unbreakable.


*SPOILER alert.


In case you’ve never seen it, he survives a horrific train crash in which nearly everyone else is killed.  Except, he doesn’t even have a scratch.


As the movie goes on and you learn more about him, turns out he has never broken a bone (neither have I!) and never so much as even had a cold in his entire life.


He is a closet super hero.


Well, I used to get sick quite often back when I was teaching.  And no, it wasn’t from the kids as much as it was that I was just running my body into the ground by teaching all day and building Newell Strength in the early morning hours before school and heading back there until late night, each and every night.


And then I stopped teaching.


I’ve only been sick once in the past 4 years and that was a quickie.


As a man, you don’t have time to be sick.  Yes, part of not getting sick is a belief system.  Call it crazy if you want but it’s true.  Look at the most successful and accomplished people that you know and I am willing to bet that they rarely, if ever get sick.


It’s probably not something that you’ve noticed before but that’s because you weren’t looking.  Take stock.


How could part of it be in the mind?  The mind and your emotions play a great deal into your immune system.  If fact, too much stress throws off the internal environment of our guts, which is home to 80% of our immune system.


But I’m not going to go too far down that path right now (I’ll save that for the super heroes in training for another workshop and article).  Nope.  I am going to give you some practical advice that will help you to be the healthy superman that you need to be.


First off, make sure you are getting at least 6 hours of quality sleep per night.  6 hours of quality beats 8 hours of tossing and turning every night of the week.


Second, drink water and lots of it.  A minimum of ¾ of a gallon per day.  Have you ever noticed how weak you felt when you last had the flu?  That’s because your cells began to become dehydrated.  Use a little reverse engineering and realize that if a bug is trying to fight its way into you, one of the ways to fight it is to hydrate yourself to clear piss.  Trust me, it works.


Next, you need to be taking the right supplement protocol to stay healthy.  As I was saying, the majority of the immune system is housed in the gut, so you need to do everything you can to ensure that it maintains a positive environment.


For that, you want to make sure you are taking a very good, live probiotic.  I take two per day at lunch.  Second, make sure you are taking a digestive enzyme.  I take hydrochloric acid, HCL.  Stress depletes levels of this in the gut.  Without it being present in the amounts that it should be present in, the bad bugs can begin to proliferate in the gut and weaken the immune system.  Take one in the middle of each solid meal.


Another key supplement is D3.  You are very low in this vital ‘pro-hormone’, I can guarantee it.  If you have had blood work recently, you are looking for a number north of 110.  Don’t buy into the norms that the doctors provide you, those norms are developed for all the Homer Simpson’s out there and that ain’t you.


The only way to get this number up to that range is to take 35,000-50,000 IU twice per week.  Most doctors will tell you to take 2,000 IU or so per day.  That noise you hear is me laughing.  That won’t do diddly.


Charles Poliquin told me a story once of a high-level CEO that was under his care.  This CEO had a HUGE business meeting in China that was potentially worth over $100 million.  The only thing is that the CEO had a very bad flu and felt like crap.


Poliquin injected him with something like 1.5 million IU’s of D3.  By the time the CEO landed, he was totally fine.  Every cell in your body has a D3 receptor.  Yes, vitamin C is good but it doesn’t compare to vitamin D in terms of fighting off illness.


Lastly, we have a bunch of lymph sitting in the gut.  Your lymphatic system (which is fluid connective tissue) stores the majority of your disease-fighting cells.


However, the lymph ducts and tubing are an odd one-way highway:  there is no upward movement out of the ducts and tubes other than being pressed and squeezed through motion, position, palpation or muscular contractions (this is another reason why regular exercise is SO important).


Motion will help pump the lymph into your blood stream which will help to fight off any bugs.


Now that you have the Bill Nye explanation, how do you do it?  Well, besides exercise, I use a small purple ball.  It’s called a ‘coregeous ball’ and I got it from Jill Miller’s website.  It looks like a miniature stability ball.


I lie face down with the ball firmly pressed into my gut.  I begin to roll all areas of my gut while also working on my deep belly breathes.  I do this for a couple of minutes each morning.  It is uncomfortable at first but it is well worth the return on investment.


And there you have it, my protocol for not getting sick.  Being sick will cost you financially but even worse it will rob you of your most valuable asset; your time.  Don’t get sick, you don’t have time for it!

What to Do IF You Get Injured?

I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV.

Although, my mom still says I should go back to med school.

But, I will claim outright that I know more about practical healing than any doctor I’ve come across.

It’s not the doctor’s faults. They have too many areas they are supposed to be experts in. Worse yet, they are fighting against the upstream flow of tradition and dogma.

Lucky for me and you, I broke the mold when it came to thinking about the human body.

In case you did not know, I have two totally reconstructed knees. No, I didn’t suffer an ACL tear, although I that would have been a blessing compared to what I went through.

I actually ruptured both patellar tendons 2.5 years apart from each other. And the tendons didn’t tear like tendons normally tear. Nope. They ripped in half both vertically and horizontally.

Normally a tendon rips off the bone, also known as an avulsion fracture. If you’ve ever know anyone that has torn a tendon, most likely they will tell you there was no pain. That is because the tendon stayed intact.

Well, tendons are LOADED with nerves as they are the power transmitters for the central nervous system. So you may be able to imagine the pain I was in when they both happened. Not to boast, but in addition to that, I tore several ligaments, my knee capsules blew out and my IT band with each injury. Twilight Zone type of stuff.

I am not trying to have a pissing contest with anyone. I am trying to lay the stage down for you to know that I have been injured severely and not so severely in the past and I have come to know some of the best ways to recover from an injury in a hurry.

As far as I am aware of, I recovered faster than any professional athlete or anyone in the world for that matter from anyone that has ruptured a patellar tendon, the most severe of all sports injuries.

But for you, maybe it’s a bad back, maybe a sore shoulder or maybe your knees are bothering you. The severity of the injury doesn’t matter. What matters is that you know how the human body responds to injury and what to do about it.

First, when an injury occurs, inflammation sets in. Inflammation gets a bad rap. Yes, inflammation, chronic I mean, is the basis for disease. However, when it comes to acute injury, we need inflammation as it kicks off the healing process. What we don’t want is swelling.

So right away, you know we do not want to try and limit or stop inflammation. But we do want to stop swelling.

What is the first thing a doctor or physical therapist or weekend warrior going to tell you to do? Yup, ice.


A ha! Therein lies the question. First, it’s important to understand when this phenomenon of icing started. I don’t have my book right in front of me, but I believe it was in the 1960’s, if not the 1950’s.

An adolescent boy was riding a train car and was hanging out of it. His arm, hit a pole and was ripped clean off. There were some doctors nearby and thank God, they know to put it on ice. So the arm was put on ice, the boy was rushed to the hospital along with the arm and they were able to save his arm.

It became a national news story. And the myth of icing for all injuries was born. A little scrutiny would have saved a lot of wasted time on couches for the injured patient in years to come. The ice did its job; it slowed down the blood flow in the dismembered arm. Because it slowed down he blood flow, the tissue in the arm didn’t die and thus, they were able to reattach it.

As you can see, the media completely misapplied the logical thinking and the doctors of the day even bought into it.

When we suffer an injury, the last thing we want to do is to keep blood from entering in. We need blood flow to bring in nutrients and to carry away the bad stuff that is causing swelling. Ice has the opposite effect.

The first thing we need to do is get heat on that puppy to increase the blood flow to the area.

The second thing we need with any injury, assuming you are more than a day out of surgery, is MOVEMENT. Again, this applies even if its something like a chronically bad back that you have had for years. Stillness will wreak havoc on your healing process.

The body is like one big pump. In order to pump the blood and lymph fluid, we need to contract the pump. This can be accomplished by movement and muscular contraction, which will further bring the good healing nutrients to the area and remove the crap ones that are keeping you from healing.

Movement also releases a host of endorphins, which are natural pain killers and feel good chemicals. The brain plays a huge role in how you feel and how you interpret pain.

Movement also increase peristaltic action, which is basically how foods gets moved through your gut for digestion. No movement and this comes to a halt. Not only will this increase your chance of constipation but you won’t be extracting all the nutrients from your food that you need for healing.

Lastly, the only way that a joint can be truly 100% healthy is to move the joint! Ideally through a full range of motion. This brings synovial fluid to the area which is like WD-40 for the joints.

Finally, with healing, use compression when possible. For my knees, I used thick neoprene knee sleeves. This helps with the pumping system and it keeps it warm, both greatly beneficial.

The next time a doctor tells you to ice, tell him to for a hike and ask him why? (Note that the only thing ice is good for are cold adult beverages and for pain killing*).

Choose Your Own Adventure

I remember going to the school book fair’s when I was in elementary school.


I used to love having a couple of bucks to invest into my early self-education, whether I bought a new book or a few cools pens or pencils to write with.


One of my favorite types of books to look for at the sale were those ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books.


You know the ones, where you get to a ‘fork’ and then it gives you the choice to turn to page x or page y depending on what direction you wanted to go.


It’s a brilliant idea.


You could essentially read the book dozens of times and never read the same book.  I am not sure if they even make those books anymore, heck, I am not even sure if they have school books sales any more.


By the way, even as an adult, a book must be read multiple times (up to 10) to fully grasp it.  And I am not talking about the choose your adventure books, I am talking about normal books.  You are better off reading 5 books ten times each until it becomes a part of you, rather than reading 50 books.


Back to the point.


Your life is a real version of ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’.  However, most people don’t realize this fact.  They think that life is what it is.  What a sad mistake to make.  A mistake that has led to billions of wasted, unused potential LIFE.


But it’s up to you, the individual to learn and internalize the fact that life can be what you want it to be.  We aren’t taught this in school.  Why you might ask?


School wasn’t designed to create dreamers and rebels.  It was designed in its current format to fill the needs of people like Carnegie and Rockefeller.  Moguls and giants of industry and believe me, I am not hating here, but they were very influential in creating the modern-day school system that was made to create ‘worker bees’.


The masses just go along with the flow.  Worker bees are taught to stay in line, do their job, don’t question the higher ups and kind of go through the motions.


Remember that I myself was a public-school teacher for 7 years and I come from a family of teachers.  Devon was even named the teacher of the year a few years back in Bridgewater, a HUGE school district.


So this is not a slight to teachers.  Their hands are tied.  The great teachers though inspire and encourage dreaming in their students.


When I made the decision to resign from a job I loved in 2012, which literally brought me to tears many days, a lot of the third graders didn’t understand why I was leaving them.


They started a petition to make me stay.  And it was rough because it was like a slow march to death of sorts.  I didn’t just cut the cord.  I put in my letter, ironically enough, the Friday afternoon before Hurricane Sandy ripped the literal roof off of Newell Strength, which was in late October of that year.


I had to go 2 more months until the winter break to fulfill my obligation of 60 days’ notice.


The third graders persisted in their efforts though.  So one day, I took a group of four of them aside and said, ‘Guys, what is the one lesson I have always taught you each lesson, from day one of the school year?’


They thought for a few moments and then Gia, one of my all-time favorite students said, ‘That we could do anything we want to do in life and that if we have a dream, we must go for it, all out.’


Not bad for a third-graderJ.


Turns out that they were paying attention.


I replied, ‘Exactly!  The greatest lesson I could ever give you guys is what I am doing.  I didn’t just tell you to go for your dreams, I am going for my dreams too.  I am living the example of what I want you guys to do one day.’


The look of ‘got it’ came across their faces.  And that was that for the next few weeks.  We enjoyed each other’s company but they now knew that there was no going back for me.


If you are one of the 99% of the ‘walking dead’, and I do say that affectionately, it’s time to wake the hell up.


And I am not kidding about being affectionate and compassionate towards the 99%.  I know part of my mission in life is to inspire people to step into their greatness.  I have a different relationship with the people that are already living their dreams, we mastermind together, we chat and we inspire each other, let each other know that we aren’t on this path alone.


Before you step onto this path, I want to warn you that it is the ‘loneliest planet in the galaxy’.  Why?


Because, most people won’t get it.  They won’t understand why YOU, are taking such a risk.  Why YOU are getting up an hour early to work on your passion.


Heck, even some family and friends will secretly want you to feel.  It’s a secret to them though too because it’s not consciously thought on their end.  But you will become a walking example of what’s possible in life.  And you know what that does to other people?


It reminds them, deep in their subconscious, that they aren’t living the life of their dreams.  And if they aren’t, then why the hell should you have the right to live your dream?  Who gave you that right?


Remember though that it’s not personal nor even logically thought about on their part.


When I was in the midst of making the decision to resign from my ‘cushy’ job, 99% of the people told me I was nuts, I would regret it, I was making a mistake and that I was flat out stupid.


But the 1% believed in me, Devon and my brothers and most importantly myself.  I knew that if I failed, I was still going to be in the game.


I wasn’t going to curl up in the corner and starve to death.  That is a paradigm shift in thinking for most people.  This fear that you may have about stepping out the limb of life is an illusion.


Your brain is hard-wired to think this way, so you must re-wire it.  The first thought one has when stepping out their comfort zone or in the case of a career, a secure paycheck, is the lack of security.


The thought of, ‘Wow, if I don’t make it, no more money will be coming in and me and my family will starve to death.’  That is coming from your emotional brain though.  When fear strikes, we think emotionally and emotional thought is the antithesis to logical thought.


The second factor of fear in these situations is again brought on in a roundabout way by survival. The thought of judgment from people in your life is just too much to bear for most people. If you fail, if you make a mistake, the brain thinks, ‘All these people will be able to tell me that they told me so.  They will laugh and revel in my failure.  I will have to go find a job with my tail tucked.  And I will forever have ‘lost face’ in their eyes’.


Yes, my brain went through all of these thoughts and stages but I made the decision to say F-YOU.  Failure isn’t final, it isn’t the end.


Think about this because it was a super powerful thought that kept driving me forward:  One day, your kids or grand kids will tell you that they want to be a ball player or an astronaut.  And you will tell them to go for it, go for your dreams!


But what if they look at you and say, ‘Why should I listen to you?  You didn’t go for you dreams.’


BAM!  That would hurt and it would be a painful reminder that they are right.


Listen to me dammit!


You have one life.  I don’t care how old you are.  I don’t care that you have a wife, 3 kids and a mortgage.  Those are all excuses.


And no one said you had to make the jump cold turkey or that you even had to leave the security of your J.O.B.  You can stay, that’s fine.  But staying does NOT mean that you can’t work on a dream or passion on the side.


Is it writing that you want to attempt?  Then make a decision to start writing ‘x’ amount of words per day.  Yes, you may have to get up a little earlier or you may have to not watch as much television.  Life is about choices and those choices are about how choose to frame each situation and experience.


You are at a critical impasse in your life.  The literal fork in the road to decide whether or not you are going to choose your own adventure.


It will not be smooth sailing.  The further on the path I go, the more obstacles I have faced.  But I wouldn’t give up my freedom to live my life on my terms for anything in the world.


What’s your choice gonna be?


Clarity is Power

My personal word for the year is clarity.


Maybe it’s because it has been burned into my brain that a lack of clarity causes the brain and nervous system to go into a state of threat.


But maybe it’s also because I possess self-awareness and I realize that clarity is one of my weaknesses.  And it starts with the self and then that will allow you to provide clarity for those that you lead.


Make no mistake about it, you are a leader.  It may be to your family; it may be to friends or it may also be to an organization.  Leadership requires one to be clear.


I have found as my leadership role grows in my life that the clearer I am on my direction and immutable laws of the life, the better those that I am leading are able to perform.


So why is clarity so important?  Well, Mind Map has taught me that the brain is a pattern recognition machine.  This means that we need prediction then response and repeat.


If there is a lack of a pattern or clarity, we retreat into a reactive state.  And my fellow man, there is a HUGE difference between response and reaction.


I recently finished a great book about General George Patton called Patton on Leadership.  Lucky for you, I have been writing notes like a mad man about my takeaways from the book which I will now share with you.


Some of these directly talk about clarity but most of them don’t. That don’t matter now that you know that clarity is leadership, which by itself is super powerful and will give you a huge advantage over damn near anyone else in life.


‘Winning is a habit, so is losing’:  Ah, one of my favorite words, habit.  All transformation is about habit destruction or formation.  We get used to certain patterns in life and then just tend to go on auto pilot.  The reason that winning in life seems so daunting to most men is because they have been stuck in a pattern of losing for so long.  And from some of my other writings you may remember that one of the most powerful forces in human development is momentum.


‘A leader has to be ahead of his men’:  Think about your family for a minute.  Are you setting the example for them that you wish for them to BE?  Are you preaching health and fitness yet failing to take care of your own self because your schedule is too busy?  Are you preaching to them to go after their dreams with gusto, yet you are sitting in a cubicle like a caged rat?  Get out in front of those that you lead.  Lead by example.


‘A leader is a man who can adapt principles to circumstances’:  Not sure if you caught it above when I mentioned ‘immutable laws’.  These are you guiding principles in your life.  So the first step in being able to adapt your principles is to know your principles.  I’ll give you an example of one of my mine; I am in responsible for everything that happens to me in my life.  Sound crazy?  Maybe, but it also gives me ultimate power over my life.  And when something goes wrong or a mistake happens, I apply the principle which allows me to learn and course correct.


‘Truly important decisions, those involving core principles, don’t require much time for thought’:  Again, you can see the importance of having clarity about your core principles in life.  Most people don’t have core principles, or if they do, it’s what they believe they should have as core principles according to society.  Think for yourself!  When you know your immutable laws, you can make lightening quick decisions regarding things like parenting, financials, fun and moral decisions.


‘Most leaders become leaders because they are uncommon and they know it’:  Dizzy Dean said ‘If you done it, it ain’t bragging’.  I done it.  By that, I mean that I am a leader.  I actually know this more from a little reverse engineering because I know that I am uncommon and a different breed.  But that’s not because I was given some genetic gift.  I simply chose to access my gift and instill discipline in my life to do the things that need to be done on a daily basis.  I have taught people my time mastery principles, my morning routine, my learning routines and I know that very few of them actually implement those things.  We have the same knowledge and information, yet it’s the consistent action that separates us.  Be uncommon and you will become a leader by default.


‘Every man who hears you speak must know what you want.  You can be wrong, but never be doubt when you speak!  Any doubt or fear in your voice and the troops can feel it.  Another thing, never give a command in a seated position (even on the phone)’:  Man, this is powerful.  When dealing with your wife, be a MAN.  Make a decision and go with it, even if it turns out to be wrong.  Doubt crushes forward momentum.  Men are supposed to be decision makers for the household and for the rest of the people they lead.  Followers are allowed to have doubt, but not leaders.  You know how you can make those that follow you have less fear?  By you acting with extreme confidence and having no doubt in your voice.


‘As Patton saw it, part of command is an ability to narrow focus, excluding from your field of vision those aspects of reality that would very sensibly create ‘fear’ in an average person.  If this is stupidity, embrace it wholeheartedly’:  This quote is directly related to clarity even though it doesn’t mention the word.  When I was building Newell Strength, I made some crazy decisions when you looked at it from an outsider’s perspective.  I wasn’t doing this out of carelessness. Nope.  I was acting out of absolute clarity on my vision and what I knew Newell Strength could become.  When I resigned from my cushy teaching job, I was told that I was nuts, stupid and short-sighted.  It didn’t matter, but it would have if I didn’t develop the ability to have such a  tightly narrowed focus on my dream.


‘Advancement comes from habitually doing more than you are asked to do’:  Be clear on what is expected of you and then do more than that consistently.  There will always be another rung on the ladder to go up for someone that does this.  I can tell you that from my role at Newell Strength.  Those coaches and personnel that have done this have had a steady climb and created the roles of their career dreams.  Those that haven’t, well, they floundered and got fired.


‘A genuine career requires a focused commitment of life energy’:  Are you just going through the motions?  Do you have a job that means nothing to you?  And if so, are you willing to chase the career that you want?  If so, you can only do that by focusing your energy like a laser on something that mentally engages you, day in and day out.  And you can only do this by focusing not necessarily on WHAT you are doing, but WHOM you are being.


‘A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds-Emerson’:  Remember how I said one of my immutable laws in life was to realize that I am responsible for everything that happens in my life?  Well shame on you if you don’tJ.  That law has allowed me to be able to look in the mirror of life, over and over, and say, ‘Kyle, what you are doing isn’t working, learn from it and try a different way or find a teacher that can teach you a different way’.  Those men that become so married to their ideas of the ways things should be done are the ones that suffer from little minds and probably little you know what’s too.


‘Leadership is about balancing timing with available resources.  Opportunities are easily lost by waiting for perfect conditions’.  Perfect conditions rarely if ever exist, but you wouldn’t know that unless you were clear about timing.  You need to know when to strike.  Some of this is intuition and gut feelings but it always comes down to knowing what available resources you have on hand, be it finances or people.


This book was awesome and I suggest you read it.  If not, just know that to be a leader and to BE a true man, you must bring clarity to each day.  Clarity to lead yourself first which will then allow you to lead those that are following you to the best of your abilities.


Now go get it tattooed on your left pec so you don’t forget it.