Achieve (20)

Letters to the Boys: Clarity Conversations

Boys, muchachos, hope this finds you in a positive state of being.


Today’s topic is an important one, one that will no doubt be the key to all relationships in your life.


You know from hearing me talk about Mind Map and the quality of your mindset that a lack of clarity will cause us to go into a threat state.  When we feel threatened, emotion rises up and we are quick to go into a reactive mindset.


Rarely, if at all, does anything positive come out of a reactive mindset.


Clarity is the key to all forward progress.  Remember, it doesn’t matter how big each step is, it only matters which direction you are taking your steps in.


Allow me to first discuss how a lack of clarity in any relationship will cause a divide.  Let’s say it was your mom and I.  If a concern came up and we didn’t’ discuss it, what happens is that I would begin to think one way about it and mom would begin to think about it another way.


Overtime, we add different layers of complexity to the thought and momentum builds.  The problem usually comes into play when we can see that momentum of thought has been building for each of us, but, in the opposite direction.


Whereas in the beginning it may have only been a millimeter apart, over time that gap can widen to a proverbial mile.  Many times, it’s tough once a relationship reaches this point to recover.  It can be done, but it takes work.


A relationship is much better off starting from the truth and gaining clarity.


So, how does one deal with this?  First, you must realize that a lack of clarity usually comes about because of a fear of conflict or confrontation.


Every single thing the brain does is through a frame of survival.  At an animal level, if I thought you were going to disagree with me and I were like most people, I wouldn’t say anything because my subconscious fears a physical threat, because in any physical threat, the chance for survival goes down.


It’s just like in public speaking, people fear public speaking because the brain views judgment as a HUGE threat to survival.  Once you realize it for what it is, the fear loses its power.


There is great wisdom in the saying, ‘The truth will set you free’.


In any relationship, all progress starts from the truth.


If you realize that you can’t logically have a calm conversation, then you are to wait and approach the topic at the appropriate time, preferably after you’ve taken a walk and told the other person that you’d like to have a clarity conversation.


Once the other person knows that they are going to be having a clarity conversation at a specified time, the risk of them feeling judged and ambushed is greatly diminished.  Remember, there are at least two sides to every relationship.


It’s all well and good if you have a calm and clear focus but if the other person doesn’t know it’s coming, they are going to be emotional and reactive and the divide will only grow.


Once you set up this conversation, lead with the truth.  The truth is not good or bad, it’s just the truth.


People generally respect the truth, as much as it may cause pain at times.  But a web of lies and half-truths will only lead to more pain as the story about the experience gets more diluted.


Set boundaries for the conversation so there is further clarity about how this will go down.  I have found that I will talk first or vice versa, then the other will have their uninterrupted time, works very well.


This is not a debate, it’s setting both minds straight through the scope of truth and clarity.


No one likes confrontation, it’s human nature.  However, conflict unresolved is 10X more powerful than if we actually talk about it.


Man up boys, man up.

The Winner’s Mindset: Competitive Spirit

The Winner’s Mindset: Competitive Spirit


When I first started to compete in bodybuilding, I did it just to compete, for the experience.


And as most things go in life, I got the seed planted in my head that more is better.  A joyful experience turned into one of external circumstances, which never ends well.


As the years went on, I learned to savor the process of competition and getting ready.  The day of the show was just a celebration.


In 2007, I had won my first show and one week later I was competing in a bigger show that I had already done numerous times.  I thought this was going to be my year to win that show.


Well, at the weigh-ins, I saw a competitor who would later become a good friend, and I knew that there was no way I could beat him.


He was a professional caliber athlete and later did turn into an IFBB pro.  Yet, I wasn’t disappointed.  I had enjoyed the process of being the best I ever was up to that point.


Up on stage, I gave it everything I had and it was an honor to go against such competition.  My spirit was enhanced, I was inspired.


Which begs the question: what is the point of competition?  Is it win, lose or draw?  Yes and no.  The only person you are competing with is yourself. There are certain ways to express the human spirit, the main ones being: sport, art and music.


Competition should inspire you.  If you aren’t growing from the spirit of competition, then you are going about it wrong.  If you are measuring your worth by whether or not you won first place, then joy will be short lived.


Yes, you should want to win.  Heck, I want to be a killer every time I compete in something.  To honor competition requires such a mindset of ‘finish’.  Don’t take your foot off the pedal. Give it your all and leave nothing in the tank.


All of the mini-competitions you have just part of the bigger game of life.  Life, however, is a game that cannot be won.  Once you win, you must set new targets or risk dying a slow death of mediocrity.


Every expression of the human spirit must enhance oneself.  Every time I make writing a chore and start to think that my writing worth is what others think, I am no longer writing for the joy of writing. And I burn out, I no longer get lost in the process and the expression of creativity.  It becomes something else.


You need something or someone to compete against, so honor that entity.  Games are supposed to be fun and a game can only exist when you have someone to play against.


Feel the ups and downs of competition but realize that they don’t define you.  Competition is just a way for us to experience some of the flavorful emotions of life.


It’s about what you learn on the journey and who you are being on that journey.


And remember, it’s all your path.

Letters to the Boys: Walk a Mile in My Shoes

I hope you boys are following along with all of these principles.


While adding your own spice to make them your own, of course.


And I do realize that advice not asked for is advice that will be rejected.  So, I am glad that you are reading this at your own accord.


Ok, let’s get into what’s on my mind today.  That shoe was my very first baby shoe.  Braxton, you actually found it at Gigi and Pop-pop’s house one evening.


Funny enough, the sight of the shoe inspired this writing.  You never know where inspiration is going to come from, so always ‘be open’.


Now, to get to the point.


You cannot walk a mile in my shoes, nor can I walk a mile in your shoes.  Yet, we must do as best we can to understand that everyone is fighting their own inner battles.


The stuff that you take for granted are the things that other people are praying and wishing for.


You never know when a smile or a text message is going to change the course of someone’s day.  This is the principle of being the bumble bee.  As you know, I have a bumble bee tattooed on my arm as a constant reminder to always show up.


You guys have to be the change you want to see.  You guys have to be the person that can brighten any dire situation.


Since you cannot literally walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, don’t think that you can know why they reacted the way they did or why they took a certain action.


People’s actions probably will not make much sense to you and that’s because we each have our own unique thought patterns and temperaments.


Remember that judgment never does anyone any good.  Even if you are the judge, you may think that you are high and mighty, but the energy level of judgment is low on the scale of consciousness.  Judging can only bring you down, just as gossip will.


People are doing the best they can with what they have.  This means that people learned differently as they grew up and those patterns created certain neural highways that became their patterns.


Everyone is at a different level of development and on a different path.  No one wants to make mistakes or disappoint others, so don’t react as if other people’s actions were intentionally done to make your life more difficult.


Don’t sweat the small stuff and remember that it’s all small.


In life, have no hurries and no worries.


Be the role model, have an impact.


I love you boys and I am proud of you for taking action to better yourselves.

How to lift a mental fog

Turns Out Abe Lincoln Was Right

Turns Out Abe Lincoln Was Right

No one on the face of the earth, in the history of earth, has escaped a battle with their own demons.


If a real transformation occurs from the inside to the outer world, then it only makes sense that our biggest battles are fought on the inside as well.  Not on the outside against some grim rival or cantankerous enemy.


In 2008, I was out in So Cal for an extended period of time.  I had planned out going out to internship with the University of California-Irvine Anteaters (yes that’s their real school mascot).


If I hadn’t made my vision clear to those around me, the opportunity to house sit in beautiful Laguna Niguel wouldn’t have found me.  The universe works in mysterious ways like that, but I don’t want to get too far off track here.


I was just coming off a bodybuilding show, dating a girl that had broken up with me and then came crawling back and had just finished my second year of teaching.  I was offered the head strength coaching job at Bridgewater Raritan Regional High School, which I turned down because it wasn’t in alignment with my vision at that point.


Anyhow, I was getting those vibes from this chick again that something was off.  And to make it worse, I was getting those vibes that day before I was leaving for a month.


Sure enough, on day 1 out in So Cal, I got the phone call that she was ending it.


Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.


She had fooled me twice.  The signs were there.  But they were there with all the other 8 or so relationships I had been in prior to that as well, yet I ignored them.


So, alone in a foreign land, I fell into a deep funk.  I only had 1 or 2 books with me because I had decided that I didn’t have to be a voracious reader that summer, another big mistake.


And the only reason that sticks out in my mind is because the first thing I tried to turn to to help me were my books, only to realize that I only had 2 measly books in my bag.


I do recall one of those books was Brian Tracy’s ‘Goals’.


I tried to force myself to read it, but I was sinking into freeze mode fast.   Reading a page or two was a bear.


But I stuck with it for that week.  I would get up late, mope around, make a late breakfast (this was pre-intermittent fasting) and ride my bike 4 miles down to the beach.


The sun-light helped a little.


However, something I read in that book finally ‘clicked’ with me that made me realize I was in a pattern in my life of seeking out the wrong type of partner.  It was at that moment that I realized that until I recognized the pattern fully, that I would continue to repeat it.


Different face, same pattern, over and over.


What was that pattern?  I would date girls that I found physically attractive, yet they all seemed to have family issues and all seemed to be coming off of relationships.  And the blow of death from all of them seemed to go something like this: ‘You are the nicest guy I’ve ever met.  But you are too nice for someone like me’.


And each time, I would play the ‘what-if’ game with myself.  What if this, what if that?…Each time I felt as if I had to change my inner-being to be more a ‘bad-boy’ finally find happiness.


Well, there are two mistakes there: 1) No one nor no thing can bring you happiness.  Happiness is an internal game and 2) You cannot and should not change your BEING for someone else.


It was on that beach, sitting on the grassy knoll with a cliff on each side that I ‘got it’.  I literally started talking to myself, saying, ‘I love who I am as a person.  I really do.  I am a great person and I am done trying to change for anyone.  F-that.’  And I kept repeating it.


Then I took out the only blank notebook I had and wrote like a mad man.  I wrote out my thoughts and I wrote out what I knew in my heart at that moment would be the perfect match for me in terms of a partner.


I made up my mind that I could be as happy as I wanted to be.


This was pre-Mind Map days for little old me, so I wasn’t armed with the knowledge to know what was happening inside my head, but I knew it felt right.


Lucky for you, I am going to break it down here for you so that you too can see that you can make up your mind to be as happy as you want it to be.


A little Mind Map science here…


The brain is hard-wired for the negative.  It is hell bent on survival, first and foremost.  It is also the superior pattern-recognition machine.


This means that it craves order in the form of prediction-response, prediction-response and so on.  If it is not in this state, then it is in a state of reaction.  And when in a state of reaction, we are usually not in a state of happiness.


Now the two animal brains, the reptile and the mammal, have certain needs.  They are in line with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: physical needs (food and sex), connection, experience, relationships, etc.


Those two older parts of the brain literally have to be happy before we can move forward with our human brain, otherwise they will keep taking over until their needs are met or there is clarity within them.


Really, it’s the mammalian brain.  This is the region of the brain where connection and bonding occurs via a structure known as the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC for short).  If something is off in the mammal brain, we can usually rest assured that there is a relational issue and many times it’s connected to judgment and/or your environments.


Why those two things?


Well, the animal brains perceive things differently than the newer, human brain does. The most stressful time of the day for the human body is in the morning upon waking.


Going from an unconscious environment to a conscious environment; sleeping to waking.  This the reason that the main stress hormone, cortisol, spikes upon waking.  The hormones duty is to alert us to our environments, form predictions quickly so that we can form responses.


Now, most of the times, we are waking up in safe beds, and we don’t have to perform a mental inventory of our physical environment.  But, the brain is very, very sensitive to your environments and this means that most of the time it’s the people within your environments, be it at home, at work or in social settings.


Judgment is also critical to the older brains.  If I took you back thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of years, when humans traveled in packs and tribes, the kiss of death for you would have been judgment, negative of course, from the tribe.  Why?


Because if you were judged, you were moved to the outside of the pack, where the predators roam.  And if you really were judged, you were kicked out of the group and your chance for survival plummeted (this judgment is piece is the real reason that most people are so petrified of public speaking).


Without going too deep into the brain, I want you to realize that just having this knowledge can be enough to course correct for happiness.  Recognizing whom or what is causing the issue (don’t worry about fixing it yet) is usually enough to take a big step towards happiness.


Until we see the pattern, like I did back at the old So Cal beach, we will be in reaction mode, which remember a few paragraphs back, reaction usually means a lack of a state of happiness.


Ok, this is the BIG takeaway I want to get across.  Your thoughts drive your emotional state, not the other way around.


Yet, we have been led to believe that we can’t control our thoughts, so we get emotional and we let those drive our thoughts.  The problem with that is that the emotional centers of the brain the logical, human parts are like functional opposites.


When emotions are high, logic goes out the window.  When we are overly analytical and in our ‘engineers’ brain, then emotions are diminished.  When we are in a funk, we need to know that our thoughts are driving it but because of the emotional state we are in, the thoughts will be blown out of proportion, they wouldn’t make sense to our rational self if we were able to observe from the outside.


Ever wonder how things could be so bad for someone to commit suicide?  Well, now you know.  They’ve been digging a hole of deep, dark emotions for some time before they reach that point.


The brain will always answer any question you ask of it.  So, when in a funk, ask, ‘What’s great about this problem?’  You will come up with an answer that can move you forward.


Think clearly, take a breath and then you will realize that old Abe was right when he said, ‘We are about as happy as we make our minds up to be.’


Click Here to to Listen to a Closed Door Nutrition Workshop I did for the Local Police

I’m Training the Mind While He is Training the Muscle

On Christmas eve, two of my brothers, Budgy and Suga, and I did an early morning workout with a stand-in for our missing brother, Presh.  The stand-in just happened to be the deputy mayor, Greg.


Anywho, we were teasing Presh after the workout as to why he didn’t make it, as it is rare, after all, to have all 4 boys home in Hillsborough at the same time.


Presh marches to his own beat.


In one of the group texts, Suga Shane told him that we even trained some biceps at the end of the workout, which is a rarity in any of my workouts because it doesn’t really fit in with my general philosophy of training (refer to today’s podcast episode for more nitty-gritty on this).


Presh responded that he doesn’t train arms (he makes for a good student, ha).


I told him I don’t train arms either, I train the mind through any arms training that I do.


Most people totally miss the boat when it comes to training.  Yes, we want to keep the body healthy and pumping full of lymph fluid and we want to make the heart stronger to name of few.


But…exercise greatly affects the brain in ways that no drug can.


A second but; besides that, most people miss the reverse engineering of training to change the brain.


For example, we used our one set of biceps after a brutally hard leg workout to train the brain.  It was an empty 45-pound bar and the rule was, 100 reps, no putting the bar down.


Few men actually do all 100-reps or can make it without putting the bar down.


It’s the mind that fails in those cases, not the body.


You see, I use sets like that to train for mental toughness.


Every time in life that you can make the fire and heat a little hotter, you will make the steel of your spirit tougher.


Don’t miss the opportunities.


If you are looking for a great opportunity to turn up the heat, then check out or pass along this application for our $99, 30-day Anti-resolution program.



Think differently – Kyle Newell


Munchie’s Cold Hands

While preparing for this coming week’s Unlocking Your Inner Strength workshop, I have been digging back into a lot of brain science.


And, as it turns out, which I have been saying for years, the hands are highly tuned into the nervous system which means they are highly, highly tuned into the brain.


In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the hands are the key to unlocking the brain.


But let’s backtrack for a second here.


Twice in the past month, I went for a short walk with Munchie and didn’t put gloves on.  Not because of neglect or ignorance, but because I couldn’t find them.


Actually, it has happened three times, but the one time on our hike up in the Sourland mountains, Devon had me take my sox off to use them as mittens for Munchie.  Worked like a charm, thank God, because we were pretty far up the mountain.


Back to the story at hand.  One the main primal threats to the brain is cold (along with hunger, thirst and neglect).


I, myself, have always had very poor circulation in my hands to the point of pain when it gets real cold out.  Poor little Munch got this same trait from me.

The two other times I have been caught out on a walk with him, he started crying and screaming and I felt terrible.


It was because his hands were so damn cold.  Remember what I said before; the hands are greatly in tune with the brain and nervous system.  Now it all started to make sense why a person’s hands usually get the coldest the fastest.


It’s the quickest route to signal ‘danger’ to the brain.  If your knees got cold, it wouldn’t quite have the same impact would it?


Just a little connection to mind map from being open to observation, which further validated what I was working on for the upcoming workshop. Hands are the key to the brain.


What is your favorite thing in the whole world to study and learn about?


The more you are learn it and teach it, the more connecting of the dots to your favorite topic you can do.


Teaching is the greatest way to learn and the most rapid.


If you know someone that’d like to find the simple (not easy) path in the beginning of 2017, then send them to fill out one of our applications for our ‘Anti-resolution program’, which starts in a few weeks and is only $99 for the 30 day program.



Be different – Kyle Newell


That Damn Oil Burner Switch

A little over a week and a half ago, on our first Monday night at our new home, I was struggling to find the correct light switch.


I got home late from Newell Strength as I normally do on Monday nights and Devon was already sleeping.


I was only a new habitant of the house at that point for 24 hours, so as you could understand, I wasn’t fully familiar.


On the backside of one of our walls, there are two switches.


I flicked the first one, nothing happened except a faint noise.  Well, I thought, that’s not the one I was looking for so I flicked the next one.


Perfecto! I could now see in order to do a little night time reading and planning while my dinner cooked.


I went to bed a little after 10 that night.  When I got up the next morning at [4:30], I thought it seemed a little chilly.


After some investigating, it looked like they had the thermostats on timers.  I manually adjusted the upstairs one first to try and bring the temperature up from the balmy 57 degrees that it was currently at.


I did my morning routine for the next hour or so but the damn temperature still wouldn’t come up.


I went and worked out and came back and Devon had told me that she figured it out.  Ahhh, all was good now, I was starting to panic that one day into our new home we were having an issue with our heating system.


But about an hour or so after Devon left for the day, the temperature still was holding pat at 57 degrees.  It wasn’t so much that I was cold as much as I was annoyed.


I called the thermostat company.  The lady was trying to troubleshoot, but we were having no luck.  She was about to schedule someone to come out when I went downstairs to check that thermostat one more time.


Nope, nada, still wasn’t working.


On my way back up the stairs, I noticed a red paneled oil burner switch that was set to off.  I hadn’t seen that before, but I did know that it should have been turned to on.


Problem solved.


I had flicked that switch the night before and never switched it back while I was looking for a light source.


Sometimes, the answer is so darn obvious, yet we fail to see it.  We want to look and look and look for the answer which of course in our minds, has to be this difficult or technical thing.


Most of the time, it’s not.  Most of the time, the answer and the path is right there in front of you.


If you know someone that’d like to find the simple (not easy) path in the beginning of 2017, then send them to fill out one of our applications for our ‘Anti-resolution program’, which starts in a few weeks and is only $99 for the 30 day program.


Happy eve of Christmas eve to ya -Kyle Newell


Another Vicious Dog Attack, This Time on Munchie

Yes, there are two lessons here.


The first: there is a lesson to be learned in every single event you experience each and every day.


The second we will get to.


Last Saturday, we went over to see how our new tenants were doing.  I had to check on the cold water valve, which took a bit longer than expected, so Devon and Munchie were upstairs shooting the breeze with the girls.


The one girl had her two chihuahua’s away in a bedroom.  Well, about 40 minutes into our visit (way too long!), she let them out.


She was worried that the one brown haired dog was too nasty to be near Braxton, so she held him the entire rest of the time.


Well, just before leaving, we all went down to the basement so I could show them where the one valve was that me and my buddy were fixing.


The other chihuahua, a white haired one, was on the floor next to Munchie.


I was looking up at the ceiling at the pipe and next thing I know, the dog made a weird noise and Munchie was bleeding from his eye and lip.


Apparently he touched the dog from behind and it just snapped (a good thing Mateena wasn’t there or I am sure we would have had a dead chihuahua on our hands).


The owner was mortified.


Devon and I stayed calm.  Braxton was shook up for sure but a few tears and a Christmas cookie and he was happy.


We left shortly after reassuring the owner that it wasn’t her fault.


On the way over to Lowe’s, Devon started getting a pit in her stomach like somehow it was her fault.  Which of course, is the motherly thing to think, but it was in no way her fault.


She was beating herself up for reacting too slowly.  But here is where the lessons come in.


When in a state of stress, we often go into freeze mode, which causes us to not react or to react a bit slower than normal.  Devon was fighting millions of years of physiology, she had not a shot.


And from what I have seen and heard in the past with little dogs and little kids, I should have formulated a prediction and told Devon to hold the Munch man.  This would have been a response to my prediction, which goes along with the brain being a pattern recognition machine.


There is a HUGE difference between reaction and response.  One his human, the other is animal.


Yes, this can apply to any area of your life.  All I am asking you to do is to think about it and ponder it.


Munchie is okay.  His eye wound up swelling pretty bad and he had to go on a round of antibiotics because the bite turned into an infection. But it and that’s a big BUTT, it could have been so much worse.


His actual eyeball went unscathed.


Beware of the lessons in your life.


-Kyle Newell


P.S-You can BE different by getting off to a hot start with one of our limited 3-Week Test Drives.  It’s available to new and former members.  Find out more here:



P.P.S-You only have 10 or so days left to get in on Dana’s super special offer of buy 2 get 1 FREE for FST.  Shoot her an email at


The Echo Chamber of Stupid Fitness Advice

I had never heard of an echo chamber until this year’s election.


Basically, it’s when no outside voice or opinion can be heard or is allowed ‘in’ and the same information, correct or not, get’s ‘echoed’ back and forth.


And oh boy…how this sure does apply to the wonderful field of fitness.


Here are just some of the ‘echoes’ that your Tool Boy, big box gym, personal trainers are sure to be telling people coming into the new year.


  • Just work harder, that’ll work. Use all the will power you can muster because obviously you have just been weak-willed in the past.


  • Cut out carbs and count your calories. This will do the trick (and not to mention it’s pretty fun to carry around tupperware and a scale everywhere you go).


  • Make sure you do 30 minutes of ‘cardio’ after your machine based weight training session . This will ensure you are in the fat-burning zone and I know you have all the time in the world to spend here in my gym, like a human guinea pig.


  • Do what I do and you will look like me. My six-pack has NOTHING to do with having the right genetics and weighing 175 pounds soaking wet.


  • Train arms and abs one day and back and chest on another day. You can skip legs except for throwing in a few sets of leg presses a couple of times per week.



Man how I cringe when I hear these bums talk and spew this mis-information and ‘fake news’ of fitness.


It is a choice what you choose to believe.


But remember, what you believe for a long period of time will become a part of your faith (faith doesn’t just have a religious meaning).


Be careful and mindful of echo chambers and tool boys.


Here’s a way to save someone you love from the fake news of fitness;  get them a 3-Week Test Drive at Newell Strength.  It’s the best $99 gift you’ll ever give:)


Be different – Kyle Newell