Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

As athletes, we search for and live for that certain something that makes sports great. Each person’s desire and reason for competition may differ, and the list can be never-ending, but here are some personal examples:

-To overcome challenges against an opposition
-Being the “under dog” and finding a way¬†to win
-The constant preparation for game day
-To do something¬†you were told you couldn’t
-Have a sense of belonging to a team

Eventually that day comes when we can no longer compete or be victorious at something. So what do you do?! That’s the inevitable question that many of us are asked without having an answer. Now there are some people out there that can take that same competition mindset, or what I have called “The Athlete State of Mind”, and transition it over to real world applications. BUT, there are some that can’t. This leads to¬†the question of, “What do we do?”

After 17 years of playing football my time came when I was done with football. I struggled with this transition and searched for something to fill that void and empty feeling that sports gave me. Over the past few years, I have developed some-what of a personal philosophy or personal creed to help with this. I had come to the realization that I would no longer be competing in athletics on a regular basis like I was raised and taught to do. But with this new way of thinking, I would be able to work towards something as if I was still competing. I explain it to people like this: being an athlete is a state of mind. And it only involves a handful of rules to live by:

A ‚Äď Accountable. This one is at the top and listed first for a reason. When you are done with sports and your teammates are not there to make sure you do your part, you have to become personally accountable. Whether it is with family, friends, group commitments or your profession, no one is going to hold your hand to make sure the job¬†gets done.
*You are the only one that can ensure you do your part.
T ‚Äď Thorough. Being thorough on the field and in preparation comes natural when you are dealing with sports. If you want to win, you have to make sure all your X‚Äôs and O‚Äôs are in order. You have to plan for¬†any circumstance and all scenarios so you don‚Äôt lose. When the ‚Äúreal world‚ÄĚ comes along, the worst case scenario is not just a notch in the loss column, it can mean a loss of your job, loss of responsibilities and even lost opportunities.
*The details carry much more weight.
H ‚Äď Hungry. Being ‚Äúhungry‚ÄĚ has many meanings when it comes to athletes but as an adult, it means something very specific. Always being hungry for something more is a must. Never being satisfied is a great motivator as it drives you to continue on and be better. When¬†I was¬†competing, it was always for the championship, setting new records or getting that starting position over someone else. It was always sink or swim. In the professional world, it is also sink or swim and can make the difference between doing something great or just being average. Set the bar high for yourself and give yourself something to work towards.
*Be hungry for more.
L ‚Äď Learn. This one is a great one to live by on a day-to-day, hour to hour and minute to minute basis. Whatever industry you are in, no matter your title or position, you HAVE to continue to learn. Practicing your sport everyday is a sure-fire way to ensure an improved skill set. And that still holds true for when you are working because learning anything and everything about your job will end up being the difference maker between you and your co-worker (competitor).
*Make sure you arm yourself with all the necessary tools to succeed.
E ‚Äď Efficient. Yet again, here is an important one to remember and make sure to implement. This one can directly impact your productivity and therefore your overall success. It‚Äôs easiest to first understand how it relates to sports. As athletes, time management is of the utmost importance. Finding a balance between breaking down your practice film, analyzing the opponent,¬†the multi-hour practices, weight training and recovery is, and always will be, the priority. If we spend too much time on one aspect, unfortunately, another aspect will suffer. For instance, if you‚Äôre a quarterback and you work on your throwing motion and timing with receivers, then you‚Äôre NOT spending the required time on understanding the defense. You can throw a perfect spiral and a long ball but if the defenders are always there defending the passes, your completion rate will suffer. There is NEVER going to be enough time in the day for everything but if we can be as efficient as possible, our ‚Äúcompletion percentage‚ÄĚ will improve. As¬†I get older,¬†I realize that there is even less time available. So as¬†you go through the day, you¬†must prioritize¬†to be as efficient as possible. Time management and prioritizing are synonymous with efficiency.
*Efficiency leads to productivity.
T ‚Äď Try. When I talk to people about this one, there is not much that needs to be said because it is self-explanatory. In order to succeed, you must try. Whether that means trying something new or trying something for the 100th time, you must give it a go.
*You can NEVER achieve or succeed at anything if you don’t try.
E ‚Äď Exceed (Expectations). If you think about it, goals, benchmarks and even records are here for a reason. That is our way to gauge and track progress. In a way, they also differentiate average from awesome. As an athlete,¬†I definitely¬†never wanted to be just average. Don‚Äôt get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being the 3rd, 4th or 5th best player on the team. In fact, in the NBA, they give an award for the best 6th man on a team. It‚Äôs all about knowing your role and doing it the best you can. Exceed YOUR OWN expectations is how I look at it. Regardless of how talented you are or what place you rank, you should always aim to improve. Set personal goals and do EVERYTHING on this list in order to exceed YOUR expectations. As I mentioned before, records, wins and stats are good but that is comparing your success to others so first, you should compare you to you.
*You should Always be better than the you were yesterday.

3 Tips to Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

Posted: October 8, 2017 in Misc

Here are 3 quick tips I use to maintain my healthy habits. But for some of you, these tips might just help you take back control over your eating and establish better habits:

1) Eat the same breakfast every day. Each morning we wake up with a set amount of willpower. I find that if I use up that willpower on the very first meal of the day, I have less “ammo” for the rest of the day. So when it comes to pancakes, waffles and other delicious breakfast foods, by resisting the temptation early, I will have more willpower should any temptations¬†arise in the afternoon.

2) Don’t skip meals. When we skip meals our brain goes into ‚Äúsurvival mode‚ÄĚ. That might be a tad extreme but bare with me. Because the brain needs a lot of energy to function correctly,¬†if we skip a meal, it becomes hungry. The body will do whatever it can or whatever it needs to get that energy. In order to combat that and have a functioning brain (and body), I try to eat steadily throughout the day.

3) Try to exercise 2 times a day! I know I know, this might seem ridiculous but it can be simple. Do one in the morning and then again in the afternoon / evening. It can be something as simple as a 5 to 15 minute walk. It can be a little easier for¬†me because¬†I am¬†in the gym all day but for someone who is not, you¬†just need to¬†plan for¬†dedicated movement. That little time is enough for your body to produce Serotonin. Serotonin is a byproduct of exercise that can affect your mood in a positive way. It‚Äôs sometimes referred to as the ‚Äúfeel good‚ÄĚ hormone. Without Serotonin running through your body, it will seek out that same ‚Äúfeel good‚ÄĚ feeling¬†via other¬†means. And sometimes, that means grabbing unhealthy / sugary foods that give you a false sense of ‚Äúfeel good‚ÄĚ.

Hello everyone, thanks for checking out this week’s blog. I have a new series I want to share with you and this is it’s first installment. It’s called, “Ask the Man Who Knows”. I will be picking the brains of the¬†brightest minds¬†in the¬†fitness world¬†as well as¬†health¬†departments at various universities.¬†Each interview will¬†consist of¬†multiple common,¬†as well as, complex questions regarding¬†mental and physical strength,¬†nutrition and everything in between. For it’s debut, I went back to my beginnings, to the man that inspired me, challenged me and educated me.¬†My professor at Millikin University,¬†Trevor Bates.

Trevor Bates





Let’s get started!

Prototype Fitness РHey Trevor. First off, thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to meet with me. I want to discuss some common health and wellness questions that the people of Prototype Fitness, and others in the fitness community, may have.

Prototype Fitness РFor those out there who may not know you or had the pleasure of sitting in on one of your seminars, can you give a little bit of information on your educational background and your current role in the world of health and wellness?
Trevor РYes of course. I received my BS from Millikin University, my MS from the University of Illinois. Currently, I am the Associate Dean of Health Sciences at Heidelberg University.

Topic #1: Mental Health
Prototype Fitness
– Well Trevor, here at Prototype Fitness, the goal is to live a healthy lifestyle consisting of being active, eating healthy and staying positive. How important is it to constantly improve all areas in one’s life? Does bettering all aspects mean a better quality of life?
Trevor – Beyond important, it is imperative.¬† All parts of life are connected. To try to separate the mind and body in the pursuit of improving one or the other is futile.¬† The quality of one’s life is arguably tied to the length and abilities that one has during their life.¬†To be healthy mentally and physically will surely affect both.¬† If someone is seeking to improve any aspect of their life, they should first recognize the interconnectedness of physical, mental, social, and spiritual health and address all of them together at a steady pace instead of one or another at different paces.

Prototype Fitness – Being positive and having a positive outlook on life can sometimes be extremely hard to do. What are some ways to help people stay positive even when faced with adversity? Is it as simple as telling yourself “be positive?”
Trevor – Reasonable and recognizable goal setting that encourages you to acknowledge every success, whether¬†great or small, has to be a part of one’s philosophy.¬† Set backs will surely happen and we all need to see the progress along the way to keep us motivated to reach that next goal.

TOPIC #2: Food and Nutrition
Prototype Fitness – Let’s take a look at the eating and nutrition part of this whole process. If you were to put a percentage on the importance of eating consistantly healthy, compared to exercising, what would that number be?
Trevor – 50%

Prototype Fitness¬†– Basically, you can’t have success with one or the other, it must be a total comittment between diet¬†and exercise?
Trevor – Absolutely.¬† I like to use examples and I would say it is like a marriage…it takes two committed partners.¬†One can work as hard as they want to, but if the other half is not contributing, the overall success is limited.

Prototype Fitness РGood example. That makes sense. I have another question about the importnace of nutrition. Would you agree that a person looking to improve their physique or loose weight or improve their health, would have to be very dedicated and discipline with their eating habits in order to reach their goals?
Trevor – Yes.¬† The old adage “…you are what you eat…” was no less true when it was first said than it is today.¬† A good example can be found with cars: a premium vehicle needs the right fuel for you to get the best performance and if you give it subpar fuel for too long, it will quit on you.

Prototype Fitness¬†– So far 2 for 2 with the examples.¬†Here is a question that is very common. “Eventhough I am a female, do I need to eat protein? I mean, I don’t want to get big and bulky”. So my question to you Trevor, is, do women need to consume protein while participating in a fitness program?
Trevor – Yes. Proteins are made from amino acids which are the building blocks of the toned muscle that women (and men) seek to have.¬† It would be like expecting spaghetti to be converted into muscle…it’s neither likely nor practical.

Prototype Fitness¬†– Well that’s good to hear. Protein is beneficial for everyone looking to maximize their efforts in the gym. What are a few benefits of protein¬†and what is it good for?
Trevor – Building muscle, improving digestive system function, serving as essential catalysts (starters) for many of the processes that the body does on a daily basis.

Prototype Fitness РNow when it comes to protein intake for women, how would you calculate or decide the proper amount? Is it the same for everyone?
Trevor – It is based on their body weight and goals of their overall fitness program.

Prototype Fitness РWe all know and understand that if you want to gain weight, you need to eat more. But the common misconception is that if they are trying to loose weight, that means eat less, and more specifically, not eat at all. Can you elaborate on the importance of eating food eventhough they may be involved in a weight loss program? Are they doing more harm then good?
Trevor – It is less about the amount and more about the content of what you eat.¬† The body is very protective of itself and it studies our habits.¬† If we do not give it fuel on a consistent basis it will go into self preservation mode.¬† This means that when we do eat, instead of using that food as fuel to make us stronger and to build on the exercises¬†we¬†engage in, it will store that food in the only form that it can store things indefinitely until the next time¬†we give it more substance… and of course, that is in the form of fat.¬† So the next time you consider not eating or think that it is in your best interest, think twice, because you can not outsmart your body.

Prototype Fitness РVery well put, thank you! Unfortunatly, that is something people struggle to understand.

TOPIC #3: Fitness
Prototype Fitness – Ok Trevor, nutrition is undoubtedly an important part of achieving any sort of a fitness goal, but let’s switch topics and focus on the exercise part of the equation.
Trevor – Sure thing,

Prototype Fitness РOne of the most common questions I get asked, actually comes in a series of 3. They are:
1) How many times a week do I have to workout
2) How long does each workout have to be
3) How long do I have to continue this process?
People tend to ask these questions as if fitness were a simple mathmatics problem. Can you better explain some of the variables involved in an exercise program that may require one person to spend more time, complete more workouts per week or participate in a longer program than someone else?
Trevor РGoals, goals goals.  It is all about where you are and where you want to be.  In between those two things are your goals.  Everyone will start at a different point as it relates to their initial level of fitness and we should be leery of people that will suggest a standard approach for everyone.

Prototype Fitness¬†– So would you agree that each individual workout program should be based on that person’s specific needs and abilities? Therefore being different than everyone else’s? There really isn’t a cookie cutter approach?
Trevor – Exactly.

Prototype Fitness¬†– Wait…are you saying that¬†people can’t just go to the grocery store, buy a workout magazine, try Jay Cutler’s 12 week contest prep program and end up looking like him? That won’t work?!
Trevor –¬†People¬†can do what ever¬†they like, but if you want something that works, then I would suggest against that approach.

Prototype Fitness¬†–¬†Just checking, thanks.¬†Here is another¬†topic that I would love for you to elaborate on. There are many benefits to resistance training such as increased bone density, increased muscle tone, decreased body fat, increased strength, etc. The list goes on and on, so why do many females shy away from weight training? Is it possible for a female to get (naturally) “big and bulky, like a bodybuilder”?
Trevor РYes and no.  Women produce only small amounts of the hormone testosterone that men produce in bulk.  With only producing small amounts, women have a lesser ability to gain and maintain large amounts of bulk with similar efforts of a male counterpart.

Prototype Fitness РBut will they recieve the same benefits from resistance training as men do?
Trevor РYes.  The benefits are uniform. The results however, will vary from person to person which has to do with something that we have no control over. And that is our genetic make up.

Prototype Fitness РOk Trevor, only a few more questions. You ready?
Trevor – Yes sir.

Prototype Fitness¬†– I would like to get your thoughts on bodyweight exercises. Say I am on the road and don’t have access to any dumbbells, barbells or squat racks to go through my normal strength training routine. I will be away for an extended period of time and therefore away from the gym. I do have some downtime at night and an adequate amount of space in my hotel room. Is it possible that I maintain the strength I have worked so hard for without lifting a single weight?
Trevor РI love this idea and this is the bulk of my exercise program.  I find that it is easier to maintain a program that offers me the flexibility to be active wherever I am and takes away my excuses of needing a facility or having to go out into the elements when the weather is unpleasant.

Prototype Fitness¬†–¬†Ok, that¬†should¬†give some people hope evernthough they travel. What are some¬†example¬†exercises¬†that would be good to do?
Trevor РI suggest a mixture of exercises that will target large muscle groups such as squats, push ups, dips, lunges, leg raises, etc.   You can travel with a thera-ball and/or a set of small dumbbells to make your basic body weight exercsie program even more involved no matter where you are.

Prototype Fitness¬†– Is cardio an option as well, eventhough I don’t have a treadmill?
Trevor – Yes, it’s all about the pace.¬† If you allow smaller amounts of rest and alternate body segments during your exercises session, you will create a cardiovascular challenge in addition to your weight training.¬† This is ideal for a person that wants to improve their overall fitness, improve tone, and work their whole body in a reasonable amount of time.

Prototype Fitness¬†– That’s perfect. Seems like there are significant benefits to exercising like that.

Prototype Fitness
– Ok Trevor, that’s all I have this time. I want to thank you for taking the time to help fellow Protoypers, fitness enthusiasts and myself. We can all benefit from learning from the best. I know I have.

Prototype Fitness РDo you have any  final words to of wisdom or thoughts you want to share?
Trevor РYes. Be consistent.  It is better to cut back than to cut out on your exercise program.  Plan ahead and find a way to be minimally active when you are away from home.  Be honest with yourself first and foremost because you know how hard you are working and what you are capable of doing.  Be supportive.  Find a workout partner even if they live in another city or state and support each other. It is much easier to be consistent and honest, if you have support.

I’d like to sincerely add, that Mr. Joe Albin is a premier professional in the fitness profession and I look to him for ideas and inspiration for my on personal health and wellness.

Prototype Fitness РThank you Trevor. Look forward to hearing more from you next time.

In this edition of Prototype Fitness’ blog, I wanted to take a different approach to fitness. I want to talk about the power of the mind and how it can directly impact your day. After experiencing this personally many times, I want to re-visit it and show you¬†how something so simple can be¬†so beneficial.

Your alarm is set for 6:00am, giving you plenty of time to prepare your food for the day and get ready for work. You roll over and happen to open your eyes and what do you see? Your clock showing 5:35am which mean you are awake too early! At this very second, you have¬†to make a choice: you can quickly close your eyes and try to squeeze in those “extra” minutes or get up and start your day.

Let’s say we are those people who get up. Why do we do it? Why don’t we go back to sleep? Why would we want to get out of bed early? The answer I give…why not?! I just gained extra minutes in my day to start or accomplish something that I may not have¬†been able to before. Right out of the gate, your outlook is about production. A “can-do” or carpe diem mentality that came from getting up early. With those extra minutes, you may now have time to say, “I love you” to your spouse or kids instead of texting them. You may now have some time to¬†eat a real breakfast instead of a cup of coffee or nothing at all. If those aren’t good enough reasons, how about not¬†sitting in traffic and white knuckling it to a boiling point? Maybe you even get to work on time for a change. The physiological benefit from that alone;¬†lower stress levels and reduction in cortisol production is worth it.

What will you do with the extra time you all of a sudden have? Could you finish up that presentation that was supposed to be done last night? Or how about meeting a few minutes early with the boss to mention a few ways that YOU can save the company money? You now have all this energy from the healthy breakfast you ate, the big guy is now looking at you as a real go-getter, and you still have more time to give. All because you made the choice to get up and get going. With all of these positive situations you put yourself in, you¬†will find yourself¬†doing¬†more and becoming more efficient. Whether it be at home, at¬†the office or at a relative’s house, “success breeds success”.¬†Being successful means you are¬†doing the right things and doing them¬†well. The personal satisfaction that comes with that will¬†inspire you¬†to do more.

Success in your personal life, professional life, and social life, are all based on the choices you make. Success is a choice and not a right. It can all start with choosing to get up and get going.

Welcome to Prototype Fitness

Posted: February 6, 2012 in Misc

Hello everybody and welcome to Prototype Fitness. Each week I will bring to you fitness related articles, different  topics to discuss, some common misconceptions in fitness or just thoughts of motivation to help keep you going. If there are any topics that you would like me to discuss, I would love to hear them.

It’s not only my passion, but obligation as¬†your fitness professional to bring to you correct, up to date fitness information. We all know how hard it is to get to the gym, or just do your workout in general when everything and everyone around you is telling you not to. Whether it be work, family, friends, other commitments, whatever, the main goal¬†is to get it done. Now add on top of the workouts, eating right and taking care of your body that way. It’s a lot, I know. But I am here to assure you that it¬†is possible regardless of what your situation or profession is. I will help you find not only what workouts to do, but how to balance them¬†with the rest of your life to be successful and healthy.

So make sure to check back every week for more posts and chime in with your thoughts. Together, with prototype fitness, we can all accomplish out goals and live a happy, healthy life.

“Preperation with Execution = Success”
-Joe Albin