A New Identity? by James Leath

I would like to suggest to you that the reason you cannot keep weight off is because then you would lose who you are. Let me try to explain.

When people who have spent most of their life overweight start losing weight, they start seeing uncharted area in the form of attention. Where before, that person had to be funny or angry or make people feel sorry for them to get attention, now they lose some pounds and people tart paying attention. This is scary or maybe better, uncomfortable. They don't know how to be the thin version of themselves, so they usually sabotage themselves, whether they are conscious about it or not.
Warning: what I am about to say is usually when people put up their walls and get defensive. So, before you do, think about it for a second.
If you are going to lose weight, you have to leave the identity of being "the fat one". Be honest with yourself. Who would you be if you left that identity? How would you act? Could you handle all the attention you would get for losing all that weight? Do you really want to be thin? Really? If you can't answer those questions right away, its okay. Most people in your shoes can't, either.
So, you lose a few pounds, people start noticing, and then you do one of two things.
  1. You get comfortable and take a "break" in the form of a cheat day that turns into a cheat week, or you stop exercising as much because it gets boring or hard.
  2. You aren't losing weight fast enough and you feel like a failure so you decide if you are going to fail, it will be on your terms so you mess up intentionally.
Whichever one you do, it doesn't matter. The point is, you need embrace what you will become instead of living in the shadow of what you have always been.
So, what do you want to be? Then, live the way that person would live. Need help with the details? No you dont. You know what to do. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz http://youtu.be/xvj85cOWD54, "You always had the power."Corny, I know, but its true.

What are you going to do?

Fat vs. Muscle-Mythbuster alert! by James Leath

Contrary to popular belief, fat does not turn into muscle. You have fat cells and muscle fibers. Fat cells get filled with the energy you consume but fail to use, and muscles grow when they are strained beyond their usual capacity. Another thing I hear often is people say "Muscle weighs more than fat." Question: Which weighs more, a pound of metal or a pound of feathers?" They both weigh a pound, but the density of the two are very different.  Take for example, a mushball (fat) and a baseball (muscle). Both weigh about the same, but the density of the baseball is a lot higher and the mushball is a lot bigger. Also, as an added benefit to having muscle, you burn more calories because muscle requires more energy to function properly, as opposed to fat that uses little or no energy to simply exist.

Getting Serious About Your Life by James Leath

This guy is amazing. I read his blog, I read his book, and I am a big fan of his philosophies. Check him out! Blog Written by: Todd Durkin Website: ToddDurkin.com Check out his book The IMPACT Body Plan (In full disclosure, I did not get permission to post this. I just thought it was awesome. Enjoy!) 

There’s no surprise in the fact that I spend time each and every day talking with people about their goals. After all, as a trainer and performance coach, that’s what I do. Normally, I love this part of my work. I like nothing better than to see my clients, teammates and friends succeed.

You might be wondering, “Where’s Todd going with this?” Well, there’s a problem that I want to take head-on: I’m frustrated with people just TALKING about their goals. Talk, talk, talk. I want action! ACTION is what will set you apart. We’re on a mission and people on a mission are serious. Are YOU serious? ARE YOU SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR GOALS?

If you are, I would love to see it. I want to see your seriousness in your CHOICES. I want to see your seriousness in your ACTIONS. I want to see your seriousness in your RESULTS. I’m on a “Get Serious” campaign. Join me. Let’s get serious, NOW.

You’re reading an article written by a personal trainer so you probably have at least one goal about your health, fitness and well-being. Great. It’s all you need to start – one goal and the commitment to follow the next few steps.

Start with a personal inventory. A personal inventory is a great way to be honest about how you feel right now. It doesn’t need to take long. In less than 20 minutes, you can sit down with a piece of paper and start to write about how you feel. I did it and so can you. I sat down a week ago and wrote a personal inventory and it was a big kick in the you-know-what. If you think about it, how can we expect to get serious about a goal when we hesitate to get serious about how we feel right now? We can all benefit from a little self-reflection.

Document reality. Yeah, this is the really painful part. This is the part where you take “before” pictures of yourself if you want to lose weight. This is the part where you take the IMPACT Fit Test if you want to increase your fitness level (see Chapter 7 of The IMPACT Body Plan). This is the part where you measure where you are right now . When we measure and document reality, we know how far we’ve come when we get to the finish line and we value the results even more. Serious people know they will succeed, so don’t be afraid to take the “before” picture. The “after” pictures will be that much sweeter. It’s time to face the music, my friend.

Understand the difference between babysitting a goal and achieving a goal. Yes, babysitting. Some of us have been carrying around the same goal for years. It’s been our constant companion. Maybe you want to lose body-fat and change your body composition. Maybe you want to be pain-free. Maybe you want to be a better role model for your children as they form their values about health and fitness. Maybe you want to start your own business. Whatever your goal is, I’m pretty confident that goals are meant to be accomplished, not carried around. So, take ACTION and get serious.

Address your weaknesses. About the time we’re teenagers, we start to see our personal tendencies. Some are strengths. Some are weaknesses. I’ll save the speech about turning weaknesses into strengths for another article. Right now, we need to make sure our weaknesses don’t get in the way of achieving results. Serious people recognize their weaknesses and address them before the damage is done. A friend of mine on the East Coast is a perfect example of this. He lives alone and says that without someone to hold him accountable, he never makes progress on his goals. He finally hired a personal coach. His coach holds him accountable. His coach is like a little bird sitting on his shoulder in a restaurant when he travels for business. And on the couch at home when he’s too tired to cook. And at the gym when he needs some motivation during his workout. Whatever your weaknesses are, deal with them NOW. Don’t let them do you in… again.

Do the work. It has to be said. None of this is easy because change is hard. But if you do the work, change will come. If you do the work and are disciplined, you will succeed. If your goal is to change your body – weight, percentage body fat, metabolism… your overall body composition – you must do the work. Showing up to the gym three or even four times a week by itself will not bring the change you desire. Training hard is only part of the formula. You’ve got to change your nutritional habits. You’ve got to learn how to recover better. You’ve got to get enough sleep. You’ve got to do the work. No more excuses.

Keep your eye on key indicators. Success won’t come overnight. It will arrive slowly, but it will arrive. Know the indicators of success. Watch for them. When you’re making progress, the indicators will tell you. When you get distracted, when you stop doing the work, when your weaknesses get the best of you; the indicators will tell you. Keep your eye on your energy level, your performance level and how you look and feel. These are the key indicators of success when your goal pertains to health, fitness and wellbeing. Watch them like a hawk, because they will keep you honest.

That’s it, my friend. Only six steps to “Get serious” and you can do it. It’s time to take that goal you keep talking about and get serious about achieving it. You can win the battle. You can beat the odds because you’re not alone. We’re in this together. I’m on a campaign to get serious and I invite you to join me. We will be serious together. We will face reality. We will conquer our weaknesses. We will do the work. We will succeed and then we will celebrate. Write to me – tell me what you commit to getting serious about. Tweet me, Facebook me, or just tell me when you see me. I’m serious.

Peace and love,


Favorite Music, April 2012 by James Leath

My top spin class and workout playlist songs this month:

  1. I Wanna Go, Britney Spears
  2. Little Lion Man, Mumford and Sons
  3. Eye of the Tiger, Survivor
  4. Battlefield, Jordin Sparks
  5. You're Going Down, Sick Puppies
  6. Lighters, Bad Meets Evil, Bruno Mars
  7. That's Not My Name, The Ting Tings
  8. Live Like We're Dying, Kris Allen
  9. Right Here, Right Now; Fatboy Slim
  10. Never Say Never, Justin Beiber

#1 Spin AND workout song: 

Do you have an All-Time favorite?

The Angry Boy and a Box of Nails by James Leath

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

3663DA2E-666E-449B-9E6C-447F5C2F0D83The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”

The little boy then understood how powerful his words were. He looked up at his father and said, “I hope you can forgive me father for the holes I put in you.”

“Of course I can,” said the father. -

I don't remember where I got this story, but it rang true with me as I look back on my younger days.

I think the lesson the young man in this story learns is such an important one and also is a lesson that unfortunately many of us learn much later in life.  When we are young, saying or doing mean or hurtful things out of anger or frustration to the ones we love (or even strangers for that matter) seems pretty easily remedied.  As children we are confident that the adults and people in our lives are more then capable to forgive and forget our offenses no matter what we would say or do.  It’s not until we reach adulthood that we realize the long term damage our words and actions can have on one another.  Suddenly as adults we look back on our own lives at the times when someone hurt us with their cruel words or actions and although we were able to forgive them, there are some things we discover were never able to truly forget.

The fact is there are some things that we may say or do that ultimately can never be taken back no matter how many times we apologize to the one’s we hurt.  Unfortunately we tend to realize the level of irreversible damage we caused only in hindsight and even more, the ones we tend to hurt the worst are the people we usually love the most.  As the saying goes, “To err is human, to forgive divine,” which is true, we are human, we make mistakes, and sometimes we say or do things we don’t mean out of anger in times of great frustration or sadness.  Yet, every time we are in a dispute with a friend, disagreement with a loved one, or even just having a bad day,  it’s so important to remember to pause and take a moment to think about the possible permanent repercussions our actions and words could have on others.  It’s only natural that we will have times in the future where we will lose our tempers or be pushed to personal our limits.  However, when we find ourselves in those times of great frustration or anger, we must be sure that whatever we say or do in those moments won’t,  like the nails hammered in the fence, end up leaving permanent holes in the one’s we love and in relationships important to us that we will never be able never undo.

Favorite Songs-March 2012 by James Leath

My top spin class and workout playlist songs this month:

  1. Breaking the Habit, Linkin Park
  2. You're Gonna Go Far Kid, The Offspring
  3. High School Never Ends, Bowling for Soup
  4. New Divide, Linkin Park
  5. (If You're Wondering if I want you to) I want You To, Weezer
  6. Second Chance, Shinedown
  7. I'm Not the One, 3OH!3
  8. It takes Two, Rob Base
  9. Animal, Neon Trees
  10. Yeah!, Usher
What is blasting in your ears this month?

Athletes are the last stronghold of discipline we have on our campuses today by James Leath

D. W. Rutledge, Executive Director of the Texas Coaches Association, talks with college seniors who have chosen to enter into the coaching profession. One of the questions he asks is "Why do you want to coach?" Seems simple enough, yet it is amazing how many of these students did not have a clear answer! Other questions he poses are, What is your purpose of coaching? What is going to motivate you to get up everyday and go to work?" He believes you must have a purpose and a passion for what you do in any profession.He goes on to say,

"If a coach is getting up to go to work just to win football games, then I think he job is with a shallow purpose. If we are getting up and going to work because we feel we can change the lives of young people we work with, I can see a purpose of the work. If I am going to work in the morning to try to turn the lives of young people in the right direction, then it is something I can feel proud about. It is something I can have passion for.

Students need positive leadership! Be the man/woman your students want to be. At the end of your life, you will have left a legacy with countless students.

Favorite Songs-February 2012 by James Leath

My top spin class and workout playlist songs this month:

  1. All of the lights, Kanye West
  2. Stronger, Kanye West
  3. On the Floor, Jennifer Lopez
  4. Smooth Criminal, Michael Jackson or Alien Ant Farm
  5. Written in the Stars, Tinie Tempah
  6. I Gotta Feeling, Black Eyed Peas
  7. The Time (Dirty Bit), Black Eyed Peas
  8. Alive, P.O.D.
  9. Like a Prayer, Jay Smith (origianlly by Madonna)
  10. Bleed it Out, Linkin Park
What are you diggin this month?