It’s almost October.
Last quarter of the year.
Last quarter of the DECADE!
i say it often, the time will pass anyway, so you might as well be striving to live your best life.
However, there is a disconnect which often lulls us into thinking we have more time. And for many of us, Lord willing, we do have more time.
But what if you didn’t? What if your days were actually coming to an abrupt end? (SPOILER ALERT: THEY ARE!)
If you had the exact day and time of your demise from this world, would you change the way you do things? Would you change the way you speak to people? Would you change your job/profession? Would you be in greater pursuit of joy and work harder to rid your life of that which does not serve you well?
Whether it was January 1, 2019, some time long before that, or some time since then, you know there are things you wanted to accomplish. Perhaps some of those goals have alluded you. Perhaps some you gave up on as quickly as the thought arose. Perhaps you’re waiting for the “right time” to shoot your shot. All those things are normal human behavior, but the older I get, the more I realize “normal” will not produce the thriving life you desire.
People grossly underestimate how much of an impact small, daily improvements make. I know the math doesn’t always add up, but if you get 1% better at something each day, that’s 365% better in a year’s time! Is that worth your time? Is that worth the effort? Is that something you can look back on and be proud of the work you put forth?
Three months until a new year, a new decade, a new hope. But as you read this, you have days until a new month, hours until a new day, minutes until a new hour. Each passing moment is an opportunity.
You don’t have to wait for some arbitrary time or event, you can literally take action right now. As I’ve said before, you don’t need all the answers (trust me, you’ll never have them anyway!), you just have to do something to move the needle forward.
The time continues to pass and your days are numbered. If you’re not in pursuit of your most elite self, I HIGHLY encourage you to begin that path. If you happen to be one of the few who is already on that journey, KEEP GOING! Regardless of what we achieve in this life, we will all be shadows and dust in the end. Make your time count, and know you can accomplish great things if you so choose.
September 6th, 2019 would have been my Grandma Jackie’s 100th birthday.
Growing up, I always remember her saying she wanted to live to be 100. She’d say it with a smile on her face, and for most of my life I never doubted she would see that day. Unfortunately, her body had other plans, and she passed away back in 2008.
A vast majority of the time I can be found with a smile on my face as well. I am a genuinely happy person, and naturally optimistic. I like to think I was born this way, but the older I get, and the more I realize happiness and gratitude is a CHOICE, the more I believe it was the model shown to me, with my Grandma leading the way, that shaped the way I am today. Sure I have my fair share of trials and tribulations like everyone else, but my Grandma’s spirit has always been, and remains, a constant influence in my life.
You see, along with my Dad, she helped raise me from the time I was 4 until she moved back to St. Louis (where most of my family is from) when I was in high school. At times she lived with us, other times she was right down the street. I would spend most weekends at her house, goofing around, watching Notre Dame football, eating blue bell ice cream with Hershey’s syrup, tossing a ball around, and playing game after game of Scrabble.
(Side note: If I routinely beat you in Words With Friends, you can thank her for that!)
She lived a simple life. She loved watching Sound of Music every time it came on tv, and at some point my dad finally bought her a tv with a VCR player, and we made sure she had that movie to watch any time she wanted. She lived on her own until the last couple months of her life. She would walk to the grocery store, take the bus for her other errands, and volunteer in her senior center office. When she moved back to St. Louis, we would talk on the phone on a regular basis, and go visit her a couple times a year.
Our visits never consisted of much excitement, and that was exactly the point. It was truly about spending time with the most important people, and simply enjoying each others company. She didn’t need to go on an adventure or go shopping, she didn’t care if we went out for dinner, and she could not have cared less what was happening in politics. She was simply and unequivocally grateful to have our presence.
At any random time she would say out loud, to no one in particular “Oh Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you for this day.” It was never trite, and she wasn’t saying it just to say it. Every time she spoke those words, she truly meant it.
And here’s why I believe that to be true.
From the mid 90’s until her departure, she dealt with some serious medical issues. Breast cancer resulting in a mastectomy, diabetes, 2 strokes, bone cancer, and ultimately stomach cancer (I’m sure I’m forgetting a few other things!). I don’t wish any of that upon any one, and that’s certainly not the most fulfilling way to live out the later stages of life. While it wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, in true stoic philosophy form, long before I understood any of it, she made a choice.
She chose to be grateful.
She chose to put a smile on her face.
She chose to spread joy to others.
She refused to complain about her woes because in her words “I don’t want to hear myself complain, and I’m sure no one else does either!”
She knew regardless of what she was going through, she was still alive, and each day was a gift. She had people to love and those who loved her, and she could still put a smile on people’s faces just by talking to them and being the light she was.
Often it really is the simple things in life that mean the most.
I still think about her all the time. Her silliness, her smile, her saying “Well, it’s time to shit or get off the pot!” (always cracked me up), and her absolute joy for life. She lived the way I wish to live, and I strive to embody her spirit as much as possible, every single day.
So today, I celebrate Jacquelyn Martha Zalmanoff, my sweet grandmother who would have been 100 years old today. I’m sure if she were still her, she’d be taking out her dentures, having a big ol piece of cake, and saying “Oh Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you for this day.”
I’ve had several conversations recently with people who have an identity crisis happening.
Change is tough for most, and it’s even harder when we don’t accept the change.
I’ve seen it happen numerous times over the years. People start to get in better shape, they’re losing weight, they’re thinking in a more positive manner, they’re making healthier choices…all the signs of success.
BUT, when they look in the mirror, they still see the person they were. The person in the mirror is still fat. The person in the mirror is still negative. The person in the mirror is still who they used to be, and getting rid of that image is more difficult than ever imagined.
Have you ever had success with something, and feel like you don’t deserve it. It could be love, money, health, career…you finally get what you thought you wanted, only to still feel like it doesn’t belong to you.
The problem lies between those ears of yours. Do you know who talks to you more than anyone else every day? YOU!
Ask yourself this, if you heard yourself saying the things you tell yourself out loud to someone else, would you be appalled? Would you stand by and allow those things to be said? Would you feel compelled to speak up and intervene? If so, it’s time to retrain your thoughts and redefine who you are.
We all face trials and tribulations in life, but it’s up to us to determine whether they define the person we are, or simply allow them to be things we experienced. When we set out to make positive change, we must understand it will change us, and that’s a wonderful thing. Furthermore, we must EMBRACE that change, and adjust the internal narrative accordingly.
For years I didn’t pick up a book. I had told myself over and over I wasn’t a reader, I didn’t like reading, it was boring, and every other bullshit excuse to not read. One day I wised up and realized I was never going to grow without reading. Ask me now, and I’ll happily identify as a reader, and it all started by changing my mindset.
When you constantly tell yourself losing weight is hard, it will be. If you don’t see yourself as fit, you will always hold yourself back. If you don’t believe you are worthy of love, you will always have relationship woes.
As an adult, who you are is determined by what you continually tell yourself. That doesn’t mean you can magically become rich just by saying you’re a billionaire, or an alligator by saying it’s so. What it means is your internal dialogue controls your actions more often than not, and you begin to identify with those stories. If you tell yourself you’re a fit person, you begin to exhibit behaviors fit people embody. Those behaviors then reinforce your new thought pattern, and the change you sought is now a reality.
What are you telling yourself every day? Is your personal narrative in alignment with what you say you want out of life? Are you willing to embrace the person you have become?
Be honest with yourself, take some time to answer these questions, and adjust accordingly.
As always, if there is anything I can help you with in regards to your fitness, nutrition, & mindset, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
I’m Marc Z, and I’m Making America Fit Again!
I hear people all the time talk about wanting to lose weight, get in shape, have a better mindset, etc, yet I see them do nothing about it. Or worse yet, a halfway committed effort is put forth, but since that only yields halfway results at the most, discouragement sets in and old habits come right back.
Imma keep saying it, for things to change, things have to change!
In our instant gratification society, people often want results as fast as possible. If someone needs to lose 50lbs, we all know it will not realistically happen in two weeks. However, what is possible is quick victories to foster a positive mindset, which in turn leads to a higher level of commitment to achieving a specific goal.
So how can you get some quick wins under your belt? You have to be all in.
We’ll use health and fitness as an example. The stats say 80% of people who start a new exercise program stop within 6 weeks. Why? Because they’re not seeing results, they’re sore, they’re hungry, they think they have to eat tilapia and steamed broccoli all the time, and the list goes on. Now the REAL reason people stop so soon is because they’re not getting the desired result. If you were getting better, you’d keep going even if you were sore and tired and hungry.
The solution lies in your commitment. You have to be FULLY dedicated to the goal you want to achieve. You can’t say you desperately want to lose weight, then drink alcohol Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. That’s not being committed, that’s half assing it. You gotta use your whole ass if you want the results!
Now, being fully committed to a health and fitness goal doesn’t mean giving up everything forever, but I believe going all in on a few key habits, for a concentrated amount of time, can give you the aforementioned quick victories and propel you to keep pushing towards your goals.
I recently started the 75 Hard Challenge (look it up if you’re not familiar with it), and to summarize, it’s about doing a few simple habits, consistently and without compromise. every single day over a 75 day span. I realize that’s a lot for some people to wrap their head around, but I KNOW it will change me for the better both physically and mentally. If we’re keeping perspective here, 75 days is not THAT long of a time frame (I can rationalize damn near anything:-)).
Now, if you need that quick win. If you’re looking for some momentum in your health and fitness journey, here’s what I would recommend. Take a 30 day span, and GO ALL IN! Commit to implementing healthy habits every single day, without exception, for 30 days. If you do, I promise you will keep going on day 31!
What would those habits entail? This is not an exhaustive list, but a good start for most:
Those 4 things alone would do wonders for most people, regardless if you’ve been working on your health and fitness for years, or just getting started.
To reiterate, this doesn’t have to be an all or nothing endeavor all the time, but consider giving a full fledged effort for a short amount of time, build some internal encouragement and momentum, and take control over your mind and body.
Hiring a fitness and nutrition coach, whether it’s a group setting or 1:1, is often viewed as expensive, and sometimes labeled a luxury item.
With the current U.S. overweight/obesity rate at 67%, I’d say it’s becoming more and more of a necessity. People may know what to do, but they’re not doing it. I’m not negating cost as a factor, so let’s break this down a little.
Before I dive into this, please know I realize we’re not all the same, nor are we all afforded the same lot in life. However, at some point we all become adults, and we MUST take personal responsibility for ourselves. Life may have given you a shit sandwich, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep eating it!
Ok, moving on…
When looking at WHY we’re overweight, we have to pinpoint overconsumption. Yes there are factors that affect the way we individually react to food, but too many calories on a consistent basis causes weight gain.
MANY people visit Starbucks (or something similar) every single day. On average, doing a little math with reported earnings, the average amount spent is $8.00 of unnecessary and excess calories. That equates to $240 a month!! Even on the low end of $3-4 per day, we’re still looking at roughly $100-120 per month.
Now let’s take a look at food. The average American dines out 18 times a month, at about $12.25 per meal (I’d like to know where these people are eating cuz that’d be cheap compared to my area!). Doing the math, that’s $220 per month. I honestly think that’s a low number, but it’ll work for this.
I still hear people say how expensive eating healthy can be. I mean, if you’re buying everything at Whole Foods, then yes, your grilled chicken and veggies will be $800. For everyone who actually pays attention, though, it’s FAR cheaper to cook your own food, even the healthy stuff. I’ve calculated this many times, and it’s rare for me to spend any more than $4 per meal when cooking at home. My current breakfast of 2 whole eggs, 2 egg whites, and 1/2 a bagel, literally costs $1. Yes, that’s ONE DOLLAR. You can’t even get a crappy fast food breakfast sandwich for that, and at Starbucks it’ll cost you 4X as much.
So, subtracting the cost of cooking at home from dining out, you could easily save $150 per month.
By eliminating the Starbucks habit, which most likely is unnecessary, and controlling your intake more by preparing your own food (which will definitely help you reach your health and fitness goals faster), one could easily save $250-400 per month. That alone would allow you to hire a good coach/join a good program/get the professional help you need.
One more cost to take note of, which I have seen play out numerous times over the years for my clients: medications. A large portion of medications taken on a daily basis by Americans are due to preventable issues (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol). By taking better care of your body, I often find people lessening or completely eliminating these costly medications. This could quite possibly be the biggest savings of all, and more than pay for the cost of getting the help you need.
Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s not fun to quit dining out and give up your Starbucks habit. But it’s also not fun being deconditioned, losing functionality, being limited in life because of your lack of health, giving money to doctors and medications for something YOU can prevent.
Your quantity of life will probably be long, but what will your QUALITY of life look like? People invest in homes and cars and stocks of start up companies and all kinds of other “things,” while often neglecting the most important invest of all, THEMSELVES.
If you feel money is holding you back from getting the professional help you need, I encourage you to take inventory of your spending habits, and figure out which ones are holding you back. Like most things in life, we afford the things that are priorities for us.
Make YOU the biggest priority of all!
I see it happen often. Someone will walk in the gym, and someone who hasn’t seen them in a while will say something like “WOW, you look great!” Then the receiver of the compliment will say “Huh? No, I still have a long way to go” or “Me? But my (insert negative body image issue here) is still too big.”
I know many of you are nodding your head right now because you do it all the time. Not just at the gym, either. When you’re out with friends. When you see family. When some random person compliments you on your hair.
Let me give you some perspective…or at least MY perspective…on why your reactions are flawed and what the appropriate response should entail.
We live in a VERY self centered society. People are constantly looking down at their phones. People avoid eye contact at all costs. So many individuals shy away from unnecessary human interaction. We post more “selfies” than “themies” (I just made that word up, so now it’s a thing!).
Because of all that, I believe when someone gives a compliment, it’s genuine. Sure you get the occasional flirt, but more often than not it’s someone simply seeing some good and commenting on it. And since they’ve taken a moment to not only recognize, but speak up as well, I believe compliments are more sincere than ever.
With that being said, the appropriate response is simply this: THANK YOU!
(You don’t have to yell it, but you can if you want or if you’re in a noisy environment)
When someone compliments you, just thank them. Don’t deflect. Don’t shy away from it. Don’t feel obligated to compliment them back. Just say thanks!
Here’s the real issue when deflecting compliments. In a backwards sort of way, you’re basically telling that person they don’t have good judgement and they don’t know what they’re talking about. Try saying THAT to someone the next time they compliment you, and see how it turns out.
In a world full of spiteful people and nasty comments online, it should be refreshing to have someone take the time to offer up a compliment. Don’t negate the joy they are spreading due to your own insecurities. We all know we’re our own worst critic, but maybe if we listened a little more to the kind words being spoken to us, we wouldn’t be so hard on ourselves.
So the next time someone compliments you, respond with a heartfelt THANK YOU, and go about your day with a smile on your face!
I didn’t want to spill the beans too soon, but this finally got approved and I have been cleared to share. I have teamed up with the League of Masticators Against Obesity to bring you this revolutionary new diet. RESULTS GUARANTEED!!* I would love to help you navigate this highly effective program, so let me know when you’d like to get started!!
Let’s get this party rollin’!
Day 1-You will drink water only, 200oz of it. Has to be water attained from a garden hose, but filtered through a coffee filter. The vitamins and minerals in the garden hose tap water will help to flush out the toxins in your body better than regular water, and the coffee filter will insure you don’t have any chunks. Easy peasy.
Day 2-Start your day with 8oz of bacon (nitrite and nitrate free, of course), and a dark chocolate bar, at least 70% cacao. Much like the popular bulletproof coffee, the fat in the bacon should help keep you full until the afternoon, and the antioxidants in the chocolate will finish the cleansing process the garden hose water started. In the late afternoon, you will begin to eat an entire rotisserie chicken, bones and all. This should be done slowly and consumed over a 5 hour period, making sure you chew each bite EXACTLY 40 times, no more, no less, because science and stuff. Finish the day with 24oz of room temperature water attained from a bathroom sink faucet only.
Day 3-You should be feeling spry and fresh by this point. Within 3 minutes of waking, consume 3 large grapefruits, rind and all (don’t want those nutrients going to waste!!). Wash it down with 12oz of 2% chocolate milk. The milk should be in the cartons like we used to drink in the school cafeteria. Lunch will be one ounce of salmon, and 1 loaf of gluten free/dairy free/sugar free/paleo & keto friendly/vegetarian bread product. Before consuming the loaf, spread salted butter across the top, and sprinkle cayenne to get that metabolism fired up. Dinner will consist of an entire bag of Caesar salad, and one Twix bar. Make sure you only eat one, because science again.
Day 4-Juice time!! In a blender, combine the following for your high powered, detoxifying, nutrient filled, tasteplosion:
If this does not fit in your blender, sterilize your bathtub and use an emulsifier to blend.
Drink this throughout the day. Makes enough to keep you sustained and full of energy!!
Day 5-Follow closely, as this is where it all comes together. You will need to sleep until 10:37am central standard time. Due to the potency of the nutrients you will have consumed over the past 4 days, combined with circadian rhythms and more science, this sleep is crucial to seeing the desired benefits. Then, upon waking, take a cold shower for 12 minutes, while simultaneously eating the other Twix you didn’t eat on Day 3. The rest of the day you will consume copious amounts of social media, while incessantly posting about this diet and urging all your friends to join in the fun. For dinner you will dine upon spicy tofu burgers, 3 kale leaves, and Chickfila lemonade.
There you have it folks, your 5 day plan to lose weight and body fat, and transform yourself faster than you can say Make America Fit Again!! Happy Dieting:-)
OR, you know, you could invest in yourself the right way, educate yourself on how to eat nutritiously without depriving yourself of the things you love, and quit looking for a short term fix for a long term problem. I know it sounds crazy, but oddly enough, it works really well. And if you’d like help doing that, I’d love to serve you.
In case you didn’t figure out, this is satire. PLEASE don’t friggin’ attempt this. Doing so is at your own risk (although if you do, please have video documentation because that would be awesome:-) )
What I’m going to tell you today is not groundbreaking news.
It’s not a new concept.
It’s not my idea.
However, when implemented properly it will absolutely change your life.
What I want to implore you to start doing, it you’re not already, is express gratitude.
Like all the other things good for you, it’s easy to say, but often much more difficult to implement on a regular basis. Please allow me to give you some parameters and action steps to make gratitude a daily occurrence.
Step one in this process is to get a physical journal, notebook, etc to record your daily gratitude. I recommend doing this first thing in the morning or making it the last thing you do before going to sleep (or both if you’re feeling spicy!).
Next, write down 5 things you are grateful for. Don’t hold back here. You can be as selfish or unselfish as you want. If your iPhone brings you joy, write it down. If you’re thankful for the health of your family, write that down, too. This exercise becomes a great reminder of all the big and little blessings you have every day.
Expressing gratitude can be a very personal thing. However, I do believe it is something that should be shared with someone close to you. A spouse or significant other, your bestie, a parent...someone you know and trust, who will listen and share the experience with you. Oftentimes over dinner, my girlfriend and I ask each other “What are 3 good things that happened today?” It’s a great way for us to not only connect, but to remind ourselves of the good from the day, even if we feel the day didn’t go as planned. We all have problems, but sharing your gratitude can serve as a reminder things aren’t that bad.
Gratitude should also be expressed outwardly. I highly recommend seeking opportunities each day to express your gratitude towards others. You’d be amazed at how much of a difference you can make by simply engaging with others who cross your path.
If you’re purchasing something from a store, put your phone away and give a compliment to the cashier. Send a text to a friend and tell them how much you appreciate them. Mail...yes, like physically mail...a thank you note to someone deserving.
Not to sound super hokey, but living a life of gratitude can absolutely change your outlook on life, and help you experience life at a level greater than most.
Oftentimes in life when we want something we don’t currently possess, we must do things we don’t currently do to achieve our goal. Unfortunately, far too many times we just keep doing the same thing expecting for something to magically change.
Unless your name is Alladin and you just rubbed a genie out of a lamp, you may want to reconsider your approach.
Better health, more money, more fulfilling relationships, a greater level of happiness…all require CHANGE on your behalf. There is no one and no thing to do it for you. It has to come from YOU.
That being said, I know many people get paralyzed by not knowing what the next step should be, and end up doing nothing at all. Since my field of expertise is health and fitness, and the overwhelming majority of our population desires weight loss and an increased fitness level, below are some “simple” first steps to facilitating positive change to get the needle moving in the right direction.
Easily the greatest topic of contention and frustration in the health and fitness industry, nutrition is the gate keeper to weight loss. You can work out all you want, but if you’re not willing to do things differently with your diet, your weight and body fat goals will never come to fruition.
Going for the proverbial “low hanging fruit” is typically the best place to start. Instead of approaching things from a restrictive standpoint, I would like to suggest ADDING a few healthy habits instead.
These 3 simple habits can have an enormous impact on your waist line, your overall energy level, and most importantly, your health.
Now let’s use this same “low hanging fruit” approach to help increase your fitness level.
Your actions and behaviors simply can’t remain the same when it’s change you desire. You MUST do things differently, and not get trapped into inaction. Utilize the simple tactics above to begin making small, but measurable steps in the right direction.
If there is anything I can do to help you along your health and fitness journey, please let me know. I’d love to coach you to a happier, healthier existence!
It’s that super dee duper time of year again: Tax Season.
If you’re like many people, you feel increased stress around April 15. Tensions can run high from the pressure of getting the forms filed on time, or coming up with the funds to pay your (hopefully not too big) tax bill.
You owe it to yourself to keep your stress under control as much as possible. When your body is subjected to ongoing stress, unhealthy changes occur at the chemical level, and these changes can lead to food cravings and weight gain.
How does your body react to stress?When you experience stress, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. In small amounts, cortisol does not present a problem. But when the stress is chronic, such as during the weeks surrounding tax season, the concentration of cortisol in your body stays elevated with undesirable results.
For example, you will crave foods that will give you quick energy, such as candy bars and potato chips. Arguably tasty, but the presence of cortisol will cause many of these extra calories to be stored as abdominal fat.
You may also find it hard to eat in moderation while stressed because cortisol can interfere with the chemicals in your body controlling appetite.
Now for the good news…While you can never get away from all stress (nor would you want to), there are several strategies you can implement to keep it under control, thus tempering the effects on your body. Consider the following tips to outsmart stress in your life during tax season.
Use these stress-busting tips to get you through the 2019 tax season unscathed!
Looking aheadWe’ve all heard the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing expecting a different result. If you find yourself stressed about taxes EVERY SINGLE YEAR, here are a few things you can do to stop the madness.
Begin forming a plan to reduce the stress of next year’s tax time. Decide where you will keep the necessary paper work throughout the year, gather phone numbers and addresses you will need, check with your tax preparer to see if your withholdings are optimal, and start a list of notations you will need when tax day rolls around again. Make sure this is the last year that Tax Day causes you anxiety!
What do you do to relieve stress in your life? I’m always interested in new stress-busting tips! Leave a comment below.
In addition to coaching people to better fitness and nutrition, Marc enjoys writing and helping expand people's minds to live their best life.
Want to learn how to stay in shape on a busy schedule? Download our free guide!