Do You Have Your Mind Right?

Scott Klasen, MS, CSCS, Co-Owner, Peak Performance Training

Over the past year and a half or so there has been something troubling me more and more. That is, why do some of my clients get outstanding results, while others manage marginal results at best? Obviously this is a loaded question with literally hundreds of possible answers ranging from client effort and dedication to me being lousy at my job and just about everything in between.

However, when I went back and assessed those clients who were successful in achieving the results they were after, I started to see a pattern. What I found is that it had less to do with physical ability and more to do with what’s between the ears, or their mindset.

Almost entirely, my most successful clients all have one thing in common – they believe in themselves. Quite simply, they think they can. While they might not have the vision on how they will achieve the desired result right then and there, they do know that they can and will get there.

One thing that I can say that I and others in my profession have not paid enough attention to is the extent to which outcomes are controlled by the power of the mind. I’m totally guilty of this. While we obsess over details like workout periodization and the ideal diet, we miss the low-hanging fruit of one’s mindset. Just like it would not make sense to do the dishes before you ate the meal, might it not be prudent to first make sure we have our mind right before tackling more difficult tasks like creating new habits and lifestyle changes?

Consider this – researchers estimate that the average person has upwards of 50,000 – 70,000 thoughts per day. This translates to 35 – 48 thoughts every minute! That’s a lot of thinking. Let’s face it, we all talk to ourselves – a lot.

Now have you ever paid attention to what you’re saying to yourself? Of this total number of thoughts, it is estimated that up to 80% of them are of the negative variety. So for the average person, that’s up to 40,000 – 56,000 negative thoughts each and every day. And as it turns out, approximately 98% of the thoughts we have are exactly the same as the day before. Are you beginning to see the problem here?

The things that we say to ourselves or our self-talk really do have a profound effect on the results we get. Unfortunately, if we are constantly saying negative things to ourselves, it will surely impact what we want to accomplish.

To further illustrate my point, consider this often-cited 1980s chemotherapy study. Most are probably familiar with the placebo effect. This is where an inert or inactive substance is given to a patient or participant to see if it creates either a beneficial response or no response. This particular study took a look at the nocebo effect where an inert substance was given to see if it could create a harmful effect.

The researchers took a group of cancer patients and split the group in half. Half of them were given an actual chemotherapy treatment while the other half was given a water injection but told they were receiving chemo. The findings were astonishing. Of the half that received the chemo, 100% of the participants proceeded to lose their hair. Nothing shocking here. What was surprising though was that 30% of the participants in the group that was given nothing but water lost their hair too! In other words, just the thought and the expectation that they would lose their hair caused them to actually lose their hair.

Now let’s apply this to where I spend my days in the world of health and fitness. Take the client whose goal is to lose 40 pounds of fat and get down to a more healthy body weight. Do they really want to lose the weight? Yes, most probably really do. But, do they really believe that they can lose the weight? That might be another story. If it has been proven that we can lose our hair just by thinking about it, it would also seem entirely possible that we could negatively think our way out of losing weight.

Still don’t think your negative thoughts matter much? If not, just ask yourself this question: If you were to talk to your friends like you talk to yourself, would you still have any friends?

So why do some thrive and attain all of their goals while others seem to get stuck in a flood of negative thoughts and don’t reach their potential? Carol Dwek, author of the definitive book on mindset, aptly titled Mindset, explains that we each have either what is known as a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

She states that the view (or mindset) you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life and can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value.

Those with a fixed mindset believe that their qualities are carved in stone, which creates an urgency to prove oneself over and over again. In this mindset, success is about proving you are smart and talented – validating yourself. Fixed mindset people believe that if you have ability, you shouldn’t have to work hard and that everything should come naturally. Either you have it or you don’t. And most importantly, if you don’t, it’s not worth the effort of trying.

On the other hand, the growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just a starting point for development. In the growth mindset, it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new – developing yourself. The growth mindset is what allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.

The fixed mindset creates an internal monologue that is focused on judging, and while the growth mindset is still sensitive to negative information, it is more attuned to the implications for learning and future constructive action.

For example, when someone with a fixed mindset fails in their attempt to eat a more healthful diet, they often beat themselves up about it and feel that they are an incompetent, weak, or bad person. Here the problem solely lies with them as a person.

While a growth-minded individual may still be upset with the results, they take a totally different view of the situation. Rather than beating themselves up, they ask questions such as, “How can I learn from this?” Or, “What can I do better next time?” They realize that the failure doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with them as a person and that the change they tried to make just didn’t work for them. Most importantly, they are ready and able to make new change – a change that gives them yet another chance to be successful in the future.

The key here is to be able to change our internal monologue from a judging one to a growth-oriented one. In the end, we have a choice. Mindsets are just beliefs. Beliefs are nothing more than thoughts we’ve repeated over and over in our heads until we’ve made them into personal truths.

While it might have taken me longer than I care to admit, I think I finally identified the formula to my successful clients’ results. They start by getting their mind (thoughts) right. These thoughts form their beliefs, which then turn into behaviors. Behaviors lead to actions, which ultimately manifest themselves into results. There’s the recipe – fairly straightforward.

As I wrap this up, I think it’s appropriate to end with this quote from Mike Ditka: “Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right.”

I Fell Off the Wagon

Scott Klasen, MS, CSCS, Co-Owner, Peak Performance Training

So I had this plan. My plan was to switch from a bi-monthly newsletter to a quarterly newsletter, and in its place start writing blog posts a few times per month. Seemed easy enough. I knew what I wanted to do. I knew how I was going to do it. I even knew why I wanted to do it and I still failed anyway.

It should be said that I am not a big fan of marketing. Maybe a better way to state this is, I don’t like doing marketing. It’s not where my talents lie and I’m just not very good at it. I’ve read books and even understand many of the concepts but still struggle to put them into practice.

Given the choice, I would much rather be coaching a client and formulating a plan to get him/her to their goals than spending time developing an email campaign designed to get you to use our services. Maybe not the best recipe for business success, but it is what it is. I love doing the former and find the latter boring and time consuming at best.

Now back to my plan. I thought the best way to get in the habit of writing blog posts was to just do it. I figured if I did it everyday for 28 days it would then become a habit. On May 1st of this year I did write my first blog post as it just happened to coincide with the Community 28-Day Challenge we were running at the time.

If you’re not familiar with the Challenge I’m referring to, the idea was that I was going post daily updates of everything that I ate and drank, any exercise I did, along with a bunch of tips to help someone complete our popular 28-Day Challenge program.

For those of you who actually followed along with me this past May, you’re probably thinking – you did post everyday for 28 straight days so what’s the problem? The problem was, May 28th was my last post… until today that is. Yes, not one blog post, Facebook post, article, or email. Nothing. Nothing at all for almost 6 months.

Looking back, going from one email newsletter every other month to blogging every day was too much. I simply bit off more than I could chew. Here’s the thing, after couple of weeks I actually started to have fun with it and dare I say – even start to enjoy it.

However, in order to get it done, my lifestyle had to undergo some changes. Some changes were good — I was eating better because everyone was watching and holding me accountable and I was pushing myself to do something outside of the norm — but others were not, which posed to be a problem. I know for a fact that I did not pick up a single book for 28 straight days – not good.

The reality was, it was not sustainable and even though I didn’t hate it, as soon as the 28 days were up, so was I.  At this point, I was really looking forward to not writing or posting anything for a while. In essence, my enthusiasm and going “all in” ultimately led me to falling completing off the wagon and with no immediate desire to get back on.

One week went by, then one month, then two. Then I missed a newsletter deadline and then another one. At this point it was like the floodgates were pushed wide open and I just said screw it. What’s another month? Then I started to get this “uneasy” feeling because I knew it was something that I should be doing, something that I had done regularly for years but for some reason just could not get myself going again.

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks! This thing that I had going on — not being able to take action, even though I knew I should – started to make me feel really guilty. This led me to feel anxious much of the time, which then turned into plain old stress. This is the exact same thing many individuals feel when beginning an exercise program and starting to eat healthier.

What we have here is actually a twofold problem. The first of which is biting off more than you can reasonably chew for a sustained period of time. When someone makes the decision to become healthier, it is perfectly natural to get excited and become motivated to change this, that, and the other thing.

However, in reality only a very small percentage of the population is able to make multiple changes at once and succeed. The statistics bear this out. From a behavioral change perspective, when someone is introduced to just 1 new habit or change, there is an 85% chance the habit will stick long term. Say this same individual is given 2 new habits to focus on at the same time — their success rate suddenly drops to 33%. If 3 new habits are introduced simultaneously, there is less than a 10% chance any one of these new habits will stick long term.

Not very good odds if you ask me. But this is precisely what happens in the world of health and fitness. We go from doing nothing to hitting the gym 5 days per week, ditch the drive-thru windows for salads, go from 5 hours of sleep to 8 per night, and start meditating because we hear that’s good for us too. Then we wonder why we could only last 3 weeks and go back to our regularly scheduled behavior, which leads me to my second point.

After our attempts to become healthier go up in smoke before our eyes — the feelings of guilt, laziness, failure, and self-worth all begin to creep in. We start to say negative things about ourselves over and over in our heads, that we then start to believe them, which makes the prospect for future possible change even that much more difficult.

I’ve had clients tell me they can’t succeed in their health and fitness because they must be too lazy. Yet, when I look at all they pack into their day from start to finish, laziness is clearly not the problem.

Let’s be honest, our lives are filled with things we have to do and our health often gets the short end of the stick. Then we hear what we’re supposed to be doing from the experts and it’s such a far cry from what we’re actually doing, we figure it’s not worth it and don’t do anything at all.

It’s what happened to me the last several several months and it’s what I see happening to many good intentioned folks everywhere.

I think that we can all agree that drinking enough water is a good thing, but trying to drink your water out of a fire hose probably would be a bad idea.  Next time, instead of taking too much on at once, start with just one new habit or change at a time.  Maybe it’s exercising twice a week for 30 minutes or eating an extra serving of vegetables a day.  Do this for a week, possibly two, and make sure you really own it.  Then, and only then, introduce another new habit.  The odds are, this time you’ll succeed.

Former Athletes Speak – Hanna Mar

When did you first meet the staff of PPT?  How did it come about?

I met the PPT staff when they began running the strengthHanna Mar and conditioning program at the tennis club I played at. I worked with them for most of high school up until I went to college.

What was your strength and conditioning/training experience before PPT?

The previous strength and condition I did was very general. It could have been applied to many different sports. At the time I was in good shape, but not the best condition for tennis.

How did the PPT approach differ from what you were used to?

I was not used to the precision with which PPT created workouts. PPT did an initial screening to pinpoint my weaknesses and find out what I needed to improve. Everything I did was tennis specific and targeted the things I needed to improve. These were continually monitored and updated so I was always focused on a specific set of things.

What did you notice as a result of their system of training?

I felt more efficient with my movement on court. I believe this was a result of the exercises and drills designed by PPT to target the movements that I did over and over again while I played tennis. I wasn’t simply training to increase my endurance, but also to improve how I moved on court.

At what level and in what sport did you compete in?

I played Division I College Tennis at Duke University.

What impact did the PPT approach to strength & conditioning have as you walked into the collegiate environment?

Going into college, I was apprehensive about the conditioning. The sheer volume of tennis and conditioning makes the college environment difficult, and the amount of time dedicated to strength and conditioning in college is far greater than what I had done before. With that being said, when I arrived at college my transition into the strength and conditioning program was comfortable. While there was some adjustment, I found that I was familiar with many exercises, from my work with PPT, and I was able to adapt quickly to those that were new to me.

Would you recommend PPT to other young athletes?  Why?

Yes. PPT caters to your individualized needs, both in terms of your sport and your specific areas of improvement. Each workout is designed with your best interest in mind because PPT cares about you as a person, not just an athlete.

Click HERE to view Hanna’s complete bio.

 

Former Athletes Speak – Nida Hamilton

When did you first meet the staff of PPT?  How did it come about?

I began training with Don and Scott in 2009. I played Nida Hamiltontennis at Score Tennis and Fitness when Don and Scott began running the fitness/conditioning program at the club.  I first was introduced to them during the group conditioning classes that were part of the tennis program.  As time went on, I really liked their approach to tennis-specific training and injury prevention, so I started taking private/mini-group training sessions with them to help further improve my game and allow me to become less susceptible to injury.

What was your strength and conditioning/training experience before PPT?

Prior to training with Don and Scott, my strength and conditioning experience was pretty limited.  Two times a week I would go to 30 minute conditioning groups before my tennis classes, but I never really did any extra individual training before PPT.

How did the PPT approach differ from what you were used to?

The PPT approach was very specific for what I needed to do to be a better tennis player.  Don and Scott created tennis-specific exercises to help strengthen my shoulders, core, and legs – the primary muscle groups involved in tennis.  They would also look to see if I had any imbalances in my strength or flexibility and address them to help decrease the likelihood of getting injured because of it.  They would also run me through some on-court drills to work on my speed and agility.

What did you notice as a result of their system of training?

As a result of working with Don and Scott, I noticed getting less small/nagging injuries even in the summer when the number of tournaments picked up significantly.  I also was getting better results during competition as my national ranking continued to slightly improve every year after I started working with them.

At what level and in what sport did you compete in?

I played tennis at a national level. Throughout my junior tennis career I had high rankings of #24 G18 national singles ranking (2009); #3 G18 midwest singles ranking (2009); #1 G16 national doubles team ranking (2007); and #1 G18 midwest doubles ranking (2009).  I later received a full scholarship to play tennis at Northwestern University where I reached a high doubles ranking of #2 in the country and became a doubles All-American (2011).  I also helped my team win the Big Ten Championship all 4 years and reach a high team ranking of #7 in the country.

What impact did the PPT approach to strength & conditioning have as you walked into the collegiate environment?

Although the conditioning program in college was quite different to what I was used to, I was able to transition pretty smoothly into the new environment.  Training with PPT kept me injury-free as I jumped into very rigorous cardio-packed workouts at Northwestern.  I was able to push through the exercises while some others had to sit out due to injuries obtained from the intense training.

Would you recommend PPT to other young athletes?  Why?

I would definitely recommend PPT to other young athletes because Don and Scott know what they are doing.  They don’t just put every athlete they work with through one training regimen; they tailor the program specifically to each individual athlete based on their sport and what they need to work on to get better.  And not only that… They are AWESOME people and they make the workout FUN!

Click HERE to view Nida’s complete bio.

Developing the Junior Tennis Player: Components of an Effective Program

Dave Mayo, CSCS

Although strength and conditioning programs have been a part of tennis for over 20 years, these programs have not evolved much during that time. I was reviewing the USTA website recently and noticed that most of the sports science information was significantly outdated. The overall approach to strength and power training has been to be as sport-specific as possible. The problem with this is that strength and power are general qualities. If you take a fast, strong, and powerful football player and put him on the tennis court, these abilities don’t just magically disappear. His stroke and court coverage abilities would be lacking, but with the proper skill training, he would become a fast, powerful tennis player. Taking this approach, here are a few tips for developing a junior tennis player in the weight room.

1) To get fast, you must do tennis specific agility training AND strength training.

There is no doubt that footwork and agility training have their place in developing a tennis player. The initial focus on developing the athlete should be to teach the athlete how to cover the court without wasting energy. This works 1 part of the puzzle: Efficiency of movement. Once the athlete develops proficiency in covering the court, she needs to get stronger. Athletes who are stronger recruit more muscles fibers which, in turn, generate more force against the ground. Combining these two approaches with plyometric training leads to an athlete that covers the court quickly and efficiently.

2) Every athlete should go through the functional movement screen at least once.

The functional movement screen is a tool used by strength coaches to identify areas of concern for an athlete. The athlete performs 7 movements that are scored on a scale of 0 to 3. Athletes who score 15 or below are at a higher risk of injury than those who score 16 or above. In addition, asymmetries are identified as these also tend to lead to injury. The information obtained from the functional movement screen gives the strength coach invaluable information for designing the mobility portion of an exercise program.

3) Don’t look just at strengthening, look also at mobilizing.

Most athletes will start a strength program by introducing resistance training exercises. While strength is certainly something that tennis players should train for, most often neglect mobility. This is a mistake that often has bad consequences. Some joints requires stability (movement restricted in 1 or more planes), while others need mobility (Allows for movement in all planes).  When you look at the kinetic chain (A fancy word for the body), you notice that the joints of the body alternate between needing mobility to needing stability. For example, the ankle is a joint that requires mobility, the knee requires stability, and the hip requires mobility, etc. It is this alternating fashion that allows for a wide range of movements. What becomes a concern is when a joint that is mobile becomes restricted. When that happens, there is often pain and dysfunction at the joint directly above or below the affected joint. In the case of the lower leg, if the ankle becomes restricted, there is often more movement that occurs at the knee. In this situation there is typically some pain at the knee due to the hypermobility that now occurs there as a result of the dysfunction at the ankle. Most people will attack this by trying to strengthen the knee, but until the lack of mobility in the ankle is addressed, the pain will continue. This can also be seen in tennis elbow. Tennis elbow is often caused by a restriction in mobility of the shoulder. The shoulder requires mobility while the elbow requires stability, but when mobility is restricted in the shoulder, more mobility creeps in to the stable elbow, causing pain.

4) Classify muscles by movement, and balance those movements.

Rather than basing your workouts around working each muscle, base them on movements. The current methodology in classifying muscles is:

Upper Body Push

Upper Body Pull

Lower Body Knee Dominant

Lower Body Hip Dominant

Anterior Core

Posterior Core

Anti-rotation/Side Core

You should perform full body workouts 3 times a week. Full body workouts tend to work better for tennis players because splitting them typically leads to soreness in specific muscle groups which affects stroke mechanics.

5) Perform single-leg unsupported exercises.

Squats, lunges, step-ups, and Romanian deadlifts are all great exercises, but there is not much of a balance component. Single leg squats, single leg RDLs and other single leg unsupported exercises work the primary movers, but also require greater activation of synergist and stabilizing muscles. If you were to break a tennis player’s court movement down, you would realize that this movement is a series of single leg movements with the other leg not being in contact with the ground. Strengthening the stabilizing muscles in the manner in which they are used will reduce injury and improve efficiency of movement.

6) Every program should contain a prehab component.

Every athlete should take care to prehab potential injurious areas. The shoulder and hip should be given special attention because of their requirement for mobility and the large forces that occur there. Wall slides, rotator cuff strengthening exercises, and YTWUs are good examples of shoulder prehab; while straight leg marches, leg swings, side lunges and rotational squats are good examples of hip prehab. Outside of the shoulder and hip, any other areas that are identified as problem areas during the functional movement screen should be given attention on an individual basis. A proper strength and conditioning program is a vital component in help athletes’ stave off injury and enhance performance. Hopefully these 6-tips will help you keep your young tennis players healthy, injury free and playing at the peak of their ability for years to come.

Sleep – You Can’t Live (well) Without It

Scott Klasen, MS, CSCS, Co-Owner, Peak Performance Training

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Have you ever heard someone say that, or even said those words yourself? I have to raise my hand on this one, and judging by the numbers, I’m not alone. According to some sleep researchers, you might just get there quicker too if you’re not getting high-quality sleep.

On average, we are getting 20% less sleep than we did just 50-60 years ago. For most of us, this amounts to a nightly reduction of 1.5 – 2 hours of sleep per night. I know, at first glance this doesn’t appear to be a big deal, but when you consider that this equates to at least 1 less night of sleep per week for the average person, it really starts to add up.

Ever thought about how you would feel if you skipped one night of sleep per week each and every week? The reality of it is, many of us are doing just that. Considering the fact that more than 40% of American adults report having trouble staying awake during the day, it is clear to see that sleep deprivation is a major problem that gets relatively little attention.

Sleep is crucial to the proper function of every single system of the body, and directly affects your mental, emotional, and physical performance, and we can’t escape the consequences of getting too little of it. The consequences of sleep deprivation are not pretty either. Try depression, memory loss, immune system failure, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, obesity, and yes, even premature death.

A large body of evidence exists that most people require between 7-9 hours of sleep each night for optimal function and prevention of disease. Currently, 35% of U.S. adults report sleeping less than 6 hours per night. Compare that to 50 years ago where only 2% of Americans averaged fewer than 6 hours of sleep per night.

Taken as a whole, this is a fairly recent problem. So what went wrong and what can we do about it? I will get into it all shortly, but to gain a better overall understanding, it is necessary to start with a little science. Sleep is broken down into three main stages: light sleep, REM sleep, and deep sleep. The initial stage of sleep is light sleep, followed by REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. REM sleep is critical for brain performance and organizing memory. When in REM sleep, your brain plays back the events of the day deciding what is important and what it should forget – essentially building your memory. When you get high-quality REM sleep, you wake up refreshed and refocused.

Whereas REM sleep is for the brain, deep sleep is for the regeneration of the body. It is during deep sleep where your body releases fat burning and muscle building hormones such as growth hormone and testosterone following that day’s workout. This results in an increase in muscle mass, decrease in body fat, and an overall improved recovery of all your body’s physical systems. When in deep sleep, your muscles are restored and immunity is built.

Sleep cycles range from 90-120 minutes. Your body cycles from light to REM to deep sleep and then back to light sleep. Depending on the amount of time you sleep, you go through 3-5 cycles of sleep per night.

Ever wonder why you wake up and feel tired in the morning but wide awake when it’s time to go to bed? It turns out there is a very good reason for this. The sleep-wake cycle, an important part of our 24-hour biological clock known as the circadian rhythm, affects nearly every aspect of human physiology, including brainwave patterns, hormone production, cell regulation, immune function, and metabolism.

It used to be pretty simple. People woke up when the sun came up and people went to sleep when the sun set. In short, this ensured we produced daytime hormones in the daytime and night time hormones in the evening, which ultimately led to balanced physiology.

Then lightbulbs came along, followed by televisions, computers, iPhones, and iPads – all of which have continually exposed us to more and more light. Circadian rhythms are controlled by what’s known as the master clock in the brain. In essence, all of this artificial light has tricked the master clock into thinking it’s daytime all the time and prevents it from doing its job appropriately.

Here’s how it should work: A person wakes up in the morning feeling refreshed and cortisol levels start to rise. (The purpose is to raise blood sugar and get the body energized for the day.) Cortisol should peak mid-morning. Cortisol then decreases throughout the day, which is important because it directly affects fat storage. Moving into the evening – the sun goes down, light exposure becomes less and less, which signals the body to start producing melatonin (the sleep hormone). Right before bed, cortisol should be at its absolute lowest point and melatonin should be on its way towards peaking. This creates the ideal environment to fall asleep quickly, enter fat-burning mode, and regenerate and rebuild the mind and body.

However, for many, this cycle gets reversed. Can you begin to see the problem when cortisol is at its highest point right before bed? Its role is to energize you, raise blood sugar, and aid in fat storage – three things you absolutely don’t need right before bed! Having a lot of energy at night and being excessively tired in the morning is often a sign that your circadian rhythm is out of whack.

If you have been struggling to lose weight, I can’t emphasize this point enough: to date, there have been 89 studies on sleep deprivation and weight gain, and 81 of them have shown a positive correlation.

Our hormones and blood sugar regulation changes when we don’t get enough sleep. Studies have even shown that just one night of sleep deprivation can make you as insulin dependent as a type 2 diabetic!

I’ve already mentioned cortisol’s role in the process, but there are a few other hormones you need to be aware of. Leptin tells the brain you’re full and to stop eating and ghrelin tells your brain to eat more. When you don’t sleep, leptin is suppressed and it turns on the transmitter neuropeptide Y, which causes you to crave carbohydrates. It is this process that leads to insulin resistance.

So, in a sleep deprived state, cortisol is high, leptin is low, ghrelin is high, and neuropeptide Y is high. Obviously not a good recipe if weight loss is your goal. If you’re constantly craving carbs, or waking up in the middle of the night looking for a sweet fix, this is most likely the explanation.

Okay, so I realize I’ve painted a fairly depressing picture thus far. However, this is where it gets better. The great news is there are many things you can do, most of which just involve the tweaking of your environment. The following are action steps you can begin taking today to reset your circadian rhythm and start getting great sleep.

  • Make sleep a priority. It goes without saying, but the suggestions that follow will prove to be useless if it doesn’t begin here. Individual sleep needs will vary, but to start, plan to give yourself at least 8 hours in bed per night. Note: you can’t get 8 hours if you only give yourself time for 6. For most of us, that means having to go to bed earlier.
  • Minimize screen time. The cells in the eyes that communicate with the master clock are the most sensitive to blue light. Televisions, computers, cell phones, etc. give off an abundance of blue light. Most experts suggest turning these off 2-3 hours before bed time. If that seems too difficult, try for an hour and gradually increase the time. And yes, if you’re having trouble sleeping and read from your Kindle every night, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
  • Dim the lights in the evening. The light bulbs in your home give off blue light as well, although not quite as much. Your body won’t make melatonin if your house is lit up like Wrigley Field because it thinks it’s still daytime. Instead, you’ll produce daytime hormones such as cortisol, leading to that late night “second-wind”, higher blood sugar, fat storage, and disrupted sleep. Gradually dim the lights throughout the evening until they are at their lowest setting an hour before bed and notice how you start to feel sleepy. Remember, our bodies are meant to go to sleep when the sun goes down!
  • Get daytime light. Getting adequate daytime light is just as important as limiting evening lighting. When you don’t get enough real lighting during the day, it’s more likely that your rhythms are going to negatively shift when exposed to artificial light in the evening. Sunlight exposure triggers your body to produce optimal levels of daytime hormones and regulates your biological clock. It is critical to get at least 30 minutes of daytime light per day without your sunglasses. The majority of us do not receive this on a regular basis. The body clock is most responsive to sunlight in the early morning, between 6 am and 8:30 am.
  • Get to sleep on time. You can get amplified benefits of sleep by sleeping during the right hours. It has been shown that we get the most beneficial hormonal secretions and recovery by sleeping during the hours of 10 pm and 2 am. This is when the magic happens. Sleep experts consider this THE most important sleep of the night while any additional sleep is just considered a bonus. This is the time when melatonin and human growth hormone secretion are at their highest, leading to optimal recovery, repair and rejuvenation of the mind and body. And no, sleeping from 1 am to 9 am is not as good because you are missing out on “magic time.” If you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep but are chronically missing out on this “magic time” window, it may be the reason you still feel fatigued when you wake up in the morning.
  • Use blackout curtains. Having light sources of any type in your bedroom can suppress melatonin production and disrupt sleep patterns. It is recommended that your room be so dark that you can’t see your hand in front of your face.
  • Lower the temperature. Studies have found the ideal room temperature for sleep to be around 60-68 degrees. Anything too far above or below this range will likely cause some difficulty sleeping.
  • Watch the caffeine and alcohol. If you have trouble sleeping, stop consuming caffeine by 2 pm and alcohol 4 hours prior to bedtime. Alcohol significantly disrupts REM sleep, which means you won’t be able to fall into deeper levels of sleep – meaning your brain and body won’t be able to fully rejuvenate. Those with sleep apnea please take note. Alcohol decreases muscle tone in the upper airway, which exacerbates breathing-related sleep issues where you’ll stop breathing more frequently and for longer periods of time.
  • Get optimal exercise and physical activity during the day. It does appear that morning exercise leads to higher-quality sleep and more time being spent in reparative deep sleep. However, if you can’t make morning exercise work for you, still find time for it later. The benefits of moving your body are crucial to great health and sleep, even if the timing is not perfect in the eyes of the experts.
  • Optimize your sleep nutrition. Everyone has an ideal ratio of carbohydrates, fat, and protein that will help them sleep best. Do yourself a favor and start with a big breakfast with plenty of protein and then experiment with what works best for you for lunch and dinner. For most, it will be hard to go wrong with a low-glycemic dinner eaten no later than 3 hours before bed.
  • Technology can help. I’ve already talked about how staring at screens can keep you awake at night. However, at times, you will be left with no choice. Install free software such as f.flux on your computer, which automatically filters out the amount of blue light necessary depending on the time of day. It’s super easy and takes less than 5 minutes to do. If you’re a little more technologically savvy, it is also available for iPhones and iPads as well. Also, check out lowbluelights.com for other gadgets and devices that will help filter out blue light.
  • Consider transdermal magnesium. It is estimated that upwards of 80% of the U.S. population is deficient in magnesium. This mineral is responsible for over 300 enzyme reactions, and in short, reduces your body’s stress load, thereby improving the quality of your sleep. A large percentage of magnesium supplementation is lost through the digestive process, which can be avoided by rubbing it directly onto the skin right before getting into bed.

In this day and age, it seems as though everyone is looking for the magic pill to lose weight, feel better, age more slowly, and perform better. I suggest that it’s entirely possible that it has been right here in front of us all along. The best part is, it’s totally free and available to anyone who wants to take advantage of it.

I encourage you to start at the top of the list and continue to work your way down to find what helps you sleep best. Sleep may quite possibly be the magic pill you’ve been searching for all along.

 

 

 

References

Lights Out by T.S. Wiley

Sleep Better by Shawn Stevenson

Your Personal Paleo Code by Chris Kresser

Every Day is Game Day by Mark Verstegen

It Almost Didn’t Happen

Scott Klasen, MS, CSCS, Co-Owner Peak Performance Training

Last month my wife Stacy and I traveled to Sedona, Arizona for some much needed mellow-yellow time. For us, there is nothing like heading out west to take in the breathtaking scenery (in this case, the red rock mountains), get into nature, and breathe some fresh air. The peacefulness of it all never fails to recharge our batteries from the everyday demands of life that builds up throughout the year.

Considering that Sedona is prime hiking land, it was our plan to start off each day with an early morning hike before getting into the rest of our day. However, five days before we were about to leave, I stepped on a brick that was embedded sideways on a trail while running and badly sprained my ankle.

Remarkably, it healed fairly quickly to the point we went out for our first hike six days later on the Teacup Trail. All was going well until we were about a mile from the trailhead and I stepped on a rock, tweaking my ankle again just so. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but the next morning I woke up and had a very difficult time walking. It remained that way for the rest of the trip.

So here we were on a hiking vacation and by day two, I knew for sure there would be no more hiking on this trip. While a bummer at the time, this single event turned out to be a monumentally important moment for me because I realized I was neglecting to learn and take seriously something that could improve not only my health and well-being, but also that of my clients.

For years I have read that meditation can help reduce chronic pain, blood pressure, headaches, anxiety, and depression. It can help you lose weight, lowers cholesterol, increases sports performance, boosts immune function, relieves insomnia, increases serotonin, improves creativity, optimizes brain waves, helps in learning, focuses attention, increases productivity, and enhances memory.

It kind of sounds like a wonder drug, doesn’t it? There’s definitely something in there for everybody. So why didn’t I ever take it seriously? I guess because it seemed weird, too easy, and ultimately, I didn’t think it would work.

Well, since doing anything active while on vacation was out of the cards, I needed to find something else. You can only eat and drink so much each day! If you didn’t know, meditation is really big in Sedona. In fact, there seems to be a place about every half mile or so. My thought was to drop into any one of these and take a lesson or two from a professional.

The problem for me was the “new agey” feel these places had to them. I was willing to expand my horizons with meditation but had no interest in having my palm read and future told. I just couldn’t get past the weirdness of it all, so we wound up just staying in the car and eventually headed back to the resort. However, I was still inspired to give this meditation thing a chance and eventually downloaded an audiobook, Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield. It was perfect. In just under 2 1/2 hours on my own, I was able to learn the basics of meditation and, through some guided teaching, even put it into practice.

By no means am I an expert on meditation, but here are some of the basics that I have picked up so far:

Most of us are “on” all of the time dealing with all kinds of daily demands – professional, family, errands, a constant stream of emails and texts, and all the various forms of social media, to name a few. We have so much going on and have gotten so used to it that we don’t even realize it anymore. A problem arises when these become stressors and the body acts accordingly.

It is true that we need some stress in our lives. Some stress is good. It leads to excellence in our careers, on the athletic field, or whatever might be your chosen endeavor. It just can’t go on ALL the time.

When we become stressed, our sympathetic nervous system is activated, which triggers our fight or flight response. This is what gives you that burst of energy when you are in the middle of a cross-walk, see a car speeding at you, and are able to sprint out of the way – sprinting far faster than you ever could have under normal circumstances. This mechanism is available to us for one reason – survival.

Unfortunately, many of us live our lives in a constant state of survival mode and our bodies eventually break down under the onslaught of all the stress. Of particular importance to me in my work with my clients is that when someone is in fight or flight, the body produces cortisol. This is a hormone that encourages fat storage, which makes it extremely difficult to lose fat/weight even in the presence of eating well and getting adequate exercise.

The point of meditation is to quiet and calm the mind and create an awareness so that you are able switch out of sympathetic and into parasympathetic nervous system dominance. Over the past few years I have noticed that my mind has become more and more active. Many times I have so many thoughts bouncing around my head at once that it is extremely difficult to make sense out of anything.

There are many ways to meditate, but to get started, sit in a comfortable position either on the floor or in a chair with your spine straight and back long. Relax your shoulders downward, keep your neck long, head looking straight, and face relaxed.

Begin to breathe normally through the nostrils, feeling the belly rise and the ribs expand. Watch and focus on one aspect of the breath – the movement of air in and out of the nostrils or the lifting and falling of the belly.

When the mind wanders, gently bring it back to the breath and the aspect you have chosen to focus on. Don’t worry about how often your mind wanders or the number of thoughts you have. Just make note of the thoughts, let them pass, and then go back to concentrating on your breathing.

Consider starting with just 5-10 minutes and then increase the time until you can sit for 30 minutes.

Here’s the thing. Had I not sprained my ankle last month, I would not have given meditation a chance. I had been interested in it for a while, but something always seemed to get in the way. Had I been healthy in Sedona, we would have hiked every morning, come back and relaxed at the pool, had some lunch, taken a nap, and start to think about where to go for dinner. The point is, I’d of done just about anything except meditate because that’s what I’ve always done.

Since I first listened to Meditation for Beginners just over 4 weeks ago now, I have missed just one day of meditation. Let me just say that it is not as easy as I thought it would be and that I don’t consider myself to be very good at it. I’ll sit for just 10 minutes a day and it’s astounding the number of thoughts I can have in that period of time. Many are random thoughts of seemingly little importance that do nothing but cause my mind to be busy and take away the attention and focus that is needed for the big stuff. However, so far it has been more rewarding for me than I would have ever imagined.

Going in, I thought I would shoot for 3 days per week, but I’ve liked the results I’ve seen so much that I make time for it every day. I feel as though I’m starting to think more clearly, I have better concentration, and my memory seems to be improving. When my mind starts to race, I’m better able to recognize it and can stop it. Most notably, I have a greater level of patience, especially while stuck in traffic, and I now somehow react in a calm manner when another driver does something totally stupid on the road. Having to be in the car all the time, this has always been a huge source of stress for me.

So had it not been for my sprained ankle while on vacation, I would have returned home with my wild-running thoughts and emotions still getting the better of me. No doubt this would have turned into stress with me once again swearing behind the wheel of my car the next time I was cut off. This is just another one of those instances of wishing I had listened and taken action sooner.

Shrink the Change

Scott Klasen, MS, CSCS, Co-Owner, Peak Performance Training

Change.  In most aspects of my life, I struggle with it.  Change is hard.  It’s often uncomfortable.  It can consume vast amounts of mental and physical energy, and it takes time.

In my professional life, however, I am great at dealing with change, mainly because I have to be.  Information pertaining to health and wellness changes on a daily basis and I owe it to myself and the individuals that I work with to keep an open mind to new research and developments as they arise.

I’m very good at not marrying myself to any one single idea, philosophy, or program because I know there’s a good chance that somewhere along down the road I will have to change my way of thinking.  All I can do is take comfort in the fact that I’m teaching the best possible information and methods at this particular point in time.  When it comes to change, this is where I am at my best.

Unfortunately,  the rest of the time I tend to resist change like the old man who refuses to get an email account and still puts a stamp on the letter, takes it to the post office and wonders why nobody ever writes him back.  At some point, in order to get what you want, change needs to occur.

I live in a world where my main reason for being is to help bring about change in people.  Going from sedentary to active.  Changing a poor diet into a healthful one.  Pain-ridden to pain-free.  You name it, I’m always trying to foster some sort of change.

Every once in a while, I do run into someone who is willing to turn their life upside down and change every negative element all at once that is holding their health hostage and preventing them from reaching their goals.  Let me be clear – these people are the exception to the rule.  I have to admit, it’s awesome to witness these individuals in action because they tend to make so much progress in so little time.  These are the folks you look at six months later and can see, without a doubt, have changed their lives.

As for the rest of us, it appears we would better off taking an alternate path to the “all or nothing” approach to change.  In their book Switch – How to Change Things When Change is Hard, Chip and Dan Health reveal that one of the biggest reasons people fail in their attempt to change is because they simply wear themselves out from all the thinking and analyzing they are doing.  Paralysis by analysis I suppose you can say.  After that, they attempt to change too many things at once, get discouraged and quit.

I see this happen routinely.  A new client goes from the couch to exercise, from the drive-thru window to home cooking, and from poor quality sleep to hitting the pillow hours earlier than they are used to.  These are three HUGE changes when it comes to living a healthier life.  They also require a huge level of commitment and time.  Over time, it proves to be too much and the client slowly settles back into old habits.  Sound familiar?  This doesn’t need to happen.

Chip and Dan Heath further point out that when someone is having trouble with change, it is absolutely essential to “shrink the change.”  So instead of tackling exercise, nutrition and better sleep all at once, perhaps you could put your focus on just one change until it sticks.  Then, when you really own it, tackle the next change.  Sure, it might be a slower process, but it will allow you to experience success, thus decreasing the likelihood you will abandon the intended change altogether.

What follows is a list of my top 5 changes that you can make today.  These are the 5 changes that I have seen make the largest, most immediate impact in the lives of the individuals I’ve worked with on a daily basis.  If you’re the type that thrives on major change, then by all means pursue all 5.  If not, just pick one and really go after it.  Doing even just one of these will help you look and feel better.

One word of caution.  There’s nothing terribly exciting or sexy here.  In fact, you’ve probably seen all of these before.  All I ask is if you feel as though your health could be better, before you blow off the list, ask yourself, have I actually done these things?  Sometimes simple IS better.

1.  Move.  This is going to be different for everybody.  Maybe it’s working in the yard, a walk, a run, or a strength training circuit.  We are all at different levels here.  The point is, determine where you’re at and get your butt off the couch and just move!  You will feel better.

2.  Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners.  I can go on and on here, but eating sugar will make you fat.  It raises your blood sugar, which causes you to feel tired and sluggish.  It causes overeating and increases the odds of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  But artificial sweeteners contain 0 calories so they must be better, right?  Sorry.  New research continues to reveal that their effects are just as bad and, in some cases, even worse.

3.  Water.  Chances are, you could probably use more of it.  Every cell, organ, and system in your body needs water.  It helps to flush out toxins, aids in digestion, and carries nutrients to cells.  A healthy and efficient metabolism requires that your cells be properly hydrated.  Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day.

4.  Sleep.  If your body composition and weight is not where you would like it to be and you’re sleeping less than 7-8 hours per night – get more sleep.  The hours before 12am is where the magic happens.  These hours are twice as valuable as the ones after 12am.  This is the time when your body is in peak recharge and recovery mode.  If you’re trying to lose weight and having trouble, make sure you hit the sack no later than 10pm.

5.  Manage Stress.  91% of stress-related problems have to do with improper cortisol levels, usually on the high side.  Alternate nostril breathing lowers your cortisol, thus reducing stress.  Start by finding a comfortable seat and lengthen your spine.  Close your eyes, and exhale fully through both nostrils.  Simply take your right thumb and close off your right nostril, inhale through the left nostril, hold, close the left nostril with  your ring finger and exhale through the right nostril, hold and repeat, always inhaling through the left nostril and exhaling through the right.  Keep your breathing slow and smooth.

I know I said this was my top 5 list, but since you’ve read this far the least I can do is throw in one more!  Every day, I am more amazed at the impact that this particular change makes in people’s lives.

6.  Wheat.  Consider cutting back on it, or even better, stop eating it.  I’m going to save the science of it for a future article, but here are some of the things I’ve witnessed since we’ve been recommending this to clients over the past year.  Rapid and dramatic loss of body fat and weight, improved blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, better sleep, increased levels of energy and focus, elimination of food cravings, acid reflux, bloating and stomach cramping after eating, chronic congestion, joint and muscle pain, and skin problems including acne and psoriasis, as well as the elimination of autoimmune disease symptoms.  To be perfectly honest, if I hadn’t seen some of these things happen for myself, I wouldn’t believe it either.

Change is not an event, it is a process.  There is usually not one single event that will cause you to change, but rather, a series of steps along the way that facilitates the change.  If you’re looking to get to a place or a state in your life in which you’ve never been, change will be a part of the equation…just don’t forget to shrink that change.

 

Fat is the Problem, Right?

Scott Klasen, MS, CSCS, Co-Owner, Peak Performance Training

For at least the last 38 years in which I’ve been alive, the recommendation from the medical community has always been clear and clean-cut in what not to eat in order to avoid a heart attack.  We’ve been told that fat, specifically saturated fat is the main culprit responsible for clogging our arteries, which eventually leads to heart disease.

This has been pounded into our consciousness for so long that it has come to be fact.  Just as we don’t question that the sun will rise and set everyday, we also don’t question the notion that saturated fat is bad for us and if we want to fend off heart disease, we better stay away from it.  That is…until now.

In a rigorous study released earlier this month by JAMA Internal Medicine, the studies’ authors found that those with the highest sugar intake had a three-fold increase in their risk of heart attacks compared to those with the lowest intakes.  Yes, that’s a 300% increase!  More than 30,000 American adults with an average age of 44 were involved from 1988 – 2010.  This new research syncs with previous data on how sugar not only leads to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity, but also increased blood pressure, unhealthy (LDL) cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, as well as serving as a trigger for inflammation.

Previous studies have linked diets high in sugar with both increased risks for nonfatal heart problems, and obesity, which in turn can lead to heart disease and/or death.  But in this latest study, obesity did not explain the link found between sugary diets and death.  That link was found even in normal-weight people who ate lots of added sugar.  Among the other potential risk factors accounted for in the present study were total calories, overall diet quality, smoking, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and alcohol consumption.

Oops.  And here we thought fat was enemy number one!

Considering that the average American consumes 152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour a year, what does that mean for us?  It means that if you are someone who eats a cinnamon roll for breakfast, a super-sized soda for lunch, and a scoop of ice cream after dinner, you would be in the highest risk category – meaning your chance of dying prematurely from heart related problems is three times greater than for people who eat only foods with little added sugar.  For someone who normally eats 2,000 calories per day, consuming just two 12 oz. cans of soda substantially increases the risk.

So have fats been unfairly blamed?  It appears so.  With the exception of trans fats, fats are now viewed to be heart protective.  This includes omega-3 fats, and fats found in nuts, and olive oil which have actually been proven to reduce heart attack risk by more than 30%.

The point is, this is a major paradigm shift, and mark my words, there will be more to come in the years ahead.  Be ready to adapt, and be willing to change your mindset by abandoning decades old truths and be open to new findings that scientists and researchers are discovering daily.  Your health will thank you.

 

Sources:

Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults 

Quanhe Yang, PhD; Zefeng Zhang, MD, PhD; Edward W. Gregg, PhD; W. Dana Flanders, MD; Robert Merritt, MA; Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD.

JAMA Intern Med. Published online February 03, 2014.

 

Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet

Ramón Estruch, M.D., Ph.D., Emilio Ros, M.D., Ph.D., Jordi Salas-Salvadó, M.D., Ph.D., Maria-Isabel Covas, D.Pharm., Ph.D., Dolores Corella, D.Pharm., Ph.D., Fernando Arós, M.D., Ph.D., Enrique Gómez-Gracia, M.D., Ph.D., Valentina Ruiz-Gutiérrez, Ph.D., Miquel Fiol, M.D., Ph.D., José Lapetra, M.D., Ph.D., Rosa Maria Lamuela-Raventos, D.Pharm., Ph.D., Lluís Serra-Majem, M.D., Ph.D., Xavier Pintó, M.D., Ph.D., Josep Basora, M.D., Ph.D., Miguel Angel Muñoz, M.D., Ph.D., José V. Sorlí, M.D., Ph.D., José Alfredo Martínez, D.Pharm, M.D., Ph.D., and Miguel Angel Martínez-González, M.D., Ph.D.

New England Journal of Medicine.  2013; 368:1279-1290 April 4, 2013.

 

Would You Sell Your Dog?

Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS, Owner, Fitness Quest 10

Belief. It’s one of the most important ingredients for success. Athlete, executive, coach, actor, clergy… you name it. It doesn’t differ by profession or pursuit. You must BELIEVE. In yourself. In your talents. In your team.

It’s easy to BELIEVE when things are going well. Not so easy when there’s trouble. There you are, staring at adversity, feeling alone. Man, your belief is really tested. And that’s when you need it most. Some of you know this because you have lived it already. For others, it may be just around the bend.

How is your BELIEF right now? Your confidence? Your swagger?

One of the greatest stories of BELIEF comes from Sylvester Stallone. His story really is amazing.

Sylvester Stallone was a starving actor and screenwriter in New York City in the early 1970s. He had many, many auditions, and most of them ended in rejection.  Eventually, Stallone ran out of money, and found himself in a desperate situation that just kept getting worse.

And on the evening of March 24, 1975, Stallone was watching a boxing match between Muhammad Ali and a boxer named Chuck Wepner. Wepner was getting slaughtered, but he wouldn’t go down. He kept fighting back. Stallone kept watching as this guy got beat on by Ali, and still refused to quit.

It was that fight, on that night, that inspired Stallone to sit down, start writing and continue writing for more than 24 hours straight, without taking a break. Almost without pause, he completed the script to Rocky.

Now, this is where the story gets real good.

Stallone tried to sell his script, and again, he got nothing but rejections.

By this time, he was so poor that he ended up having to sell his best friend, his dog, just for money to buy food. Devastated, and not a lot richer because he only got $50, he kept trying to sell the script.

Finally, someone loved the script and offered him $100,000. For a starving and desperate man in the 1970s, that’s a lot of money. But he declined. Part of the deal Stallone wanted was that he, Sylvester Stallone, had to play Rocky Balboa in the movie. That wasn’t part of the offer, so Stallone said, “Thank you… but no thank you.”

A few weeks later, another offer came in even higher. Same story. They didn’t want Stallone, since he wasn’t a proven actor.” Stallone said, “Thank you… but no thank you.”

The offers kept rising until eventually they peaked at nearly $400,000. And he declined again and again.

Now think about this. The guy is poor, so poor he was forced to sell his dog. He wondered where his next meal would come from. But he was holding out until someone offered him the chance to play the lead role in his movie.

Finally, Stallone accepted an offer. Payment of $25,000 for the screenplay and the chance to be Rocky. Yes, that was it – $25K. One sixteenth of the largest offer, but Sly BELIEVED in his script, in himself, and in the potential he saw. He took the lower offer because it gave him the chance he was looking for.

Remember, as the saying goes, “If you can believe it, you can achieve it.”

Now check this out. The first thing he did after receiving his $25,000, was to go back to the person who bought his dog and try to buy him back. It ended up costing him a whopping $15,000, and a part in the movie to close the deal. The temporary owner and the dog were both in Rocky. For those of you who remember “Butkus,” that was Sly’s infamous dog – bought and sold because of Stallone’s financial trials and tribulations.

Amazing story. Amazing power of BELIEF.

We all know what happens in the Rocky movie. It remains one of my favorite movies of ALL-TIME. As a matter of fact, for any of you who have ever trained at Fitness Quest 10 or taken a class with me at a fitness conference, there is a very good chance you have heard  “Eye of the Tiger,” “Burning Heart,” “Hearts on Fire,” “No Easy Way Out,” or “Gonna Fly Now.” I love those songs!

The first Rocky won an Academy Award in 1976. At the awards ceremony, Stallone read aloud all the rejection slips for those who said his film wouldn’t work. Those rejections fueled his fire for years when no one else BELIEVED in him.

The story of Sylvester Stallone is a story of triumph. Of persistence. Of hard work. And BELIEF.

So, how about YOU? What about your BELIEFS? What are you working on to create massive success and lasting legacy? Would you go so far to “sell your dog” because you BELIEVED you would someday succeed and be able to buy him back?

I guess that’s the real test. How far would you go when you believe in yourself and your idea? Sly sold his dog. Others sell their cars and mortgage their homes. Some quit their “day” jobs on nothing more than BELIEF. Could you really do it? Could you really believe like this? What about when everyone around you said, “No… it’s impossible. It will never work.” How far would you go?

No matter what, who or how many – no matter the adversity, the disbelievers or the naysayers, keep believing. Find a way to achieve the dream in your heart. Because it is true, “If you can believe it, you can achieve it.”

And that is BELIEF!!!