Marine's Daughter

The only thing stronger than a Marine is a Marine's Daughter

That First Day Back at the Gym

It’s a day we all dread. You’ve let yourself get sucked into excuses. You’re too busy. It’s too early. A million excuses and then the day comes when you realize you have to get back at it. No more excuses. You push through those doors and take a deep breath. Unfamiliar faces greet you. Cold metal equipment seems unwelcoming and brutal just on site. You’ve got to do it. You made it this far. You step up to that treadmill. A few minutes into it you realize how bad you suck. It would be too embarrassing to quit now so you sweat and puff and push yourself. When you are done just want to get out of there.

Not everyone feels this way that first day back at the gym after a long hiatus but it is typical for many. There’s really no way around it other than a) don’t quit in the first place and b) suffer through it until it gets better. Here’s some advice for that first day.

1) Wear comfortable clothing

Squeezing into that compression gear that looked so great when you were there every day probably isn’t the thing to do. Suck it up and wear the baggy sweat pants with a plain tee shirt. You won’t be so self conscious and you’ll remember you are there to work hard not impress people. Don’t buy new shoes. Wear your old ones for a couple of weeks until you are back on track. There’s nothing worse than suffering through a workout and developing blisters in the same day.

2) Go Alone

It’s nice that your buddy wants to go with you but seriously the danger of that is you may both talk each other out of working hard. Misery loves company and there have been many times that the good intention of consoling each other turns into excuses for quitting early. Go alone for the first few weeks and just concentrate on working hard, pushing through, and sucking it up. You don’t need any distractions. If you go alone you have a better chance of succeeding.

3) Stay Focused

Walk through the door. Sign in. Put your head phones on. Step up to the cardio equipment. Do the work. Don’t talk to other people. Put the cell phone away. Don’t fidget with your clothing or gear. Just decide to get it done. It’s pretty simple.

4) Don’t compare yourself to others

There’s a huge temptation to look around the gym and compare yourself to others. Human nature makes us check out the competition. We are most likely to pick the most fit person in the room to compare ourselves to. If you do this the first day you are setting yourself up for failure. Your mind will play tricks on you and tell you that you’ll never make it. Why try? Remember that the only competition should be yourself for the moment. You can get competitive later on. Right now you are here to do a job and that is to lay the foundation for better health. You don’t need to be pretty. You don’t need to have the best body. At the end of the day you just want to be able to say that you accomplished your goals and you didn’t quit.

5) Make a plan before you go

Chances are you have a pretty good idea of how back you are going to suck the first day back at the gym. You know that you aren’t your ideal weight, body mass, or muscle mass. You know that you are going to get winded. Before you go, write down a reasonable goal to work towards. 30 minutes on the treadmill, an upper body workout and x amount of sit-ups is pretty reasonable for anyone. From this you can judge what your future goals should be. Always have a workout plan before you go to the gym and keep a workout log so that you can look back and see where you’ve been and how far you’ve come. It’s also helpful if you get off track to use the log to estimate your goals. Of course if you use a log and a goal plan on a regular basis you probably are less likely to be in the situation of that sucky first day back at the gym.

6) Get enough sleep the night before

We advocate early morning workouts because you are less likely to have an excuse not to skip a workout if you get it done first thing in the morning. Even if you don’t buy into this theory or you have to work out at a later time it is still important to get enough sleep. This is true for any training situation. A big part of getting fit is the valuable recovery time. If you go full tilt and don’t get enough rest your chances of burning out fast and losing muscle are increased. Turn out the lights.

7) Know that you can only go up from here

When you are on that elliptical every muscle is aching, and you can’t catch your breath, know that it can only get better from here. You have to do the work. I repeat. YOU HAVE TO DO THE WORK. There’s no magic pill or secret to getting back to fit. You are either constantly moving forward or sliding back but there is no just maintaining without any effort. Sorry folks that’s just for the story books. You put in your time every day or every other day and it becomes a habit. Next thing you know you feel better and you’ve made progress. There are no shortcuts.

8) Just suck it up

Seriously there is no one that is really going to hold your hand through this first day or any day. Even if you hire a trainer, a good trainer, they can’t make you feel better. You’ve done this to yourself. There’s no way to sugarcoat that . Now you have to pay the price. The longer you’ve been away, the higher the price and the longer it will take to get back on track.. Suck it up. How bad do you want this? How much are you worth? Stop whining and feeling sorry for yourself. Just do the work.

There are all kinds of obstacles in life. Most of them we build ourselves. You have to have a Marine mentality to be able to deal with adversity. Adapt or die. You have a choice. You can either accept the consequences of your actions and take steps asap to correct your mistakes or you can blame everyone and everything else, make excuses, and lay down and give up. Giving up creates a lot of unnecessary misery. You aren’t always going to be comfortable but you can sacrifice from the start and have something to show for it or you can still be uncomfortable and have little accomplished. Anything that is worth having take effort. The things that come easy slip away and have much less meaning. Which do you choose?

Keep Your Eyes Open

There are things we don’t want to see. It’s too painful or we don’t want to get involved. It may be conscious or not. There’s a difference between keeping your eyes on the path to keep going the right way and the way we purposely don’t look around as if it will keep us from getting pulled into the chaos around us.

Keep your eyes open.
Don’t miss the opportunity that comes your way. See the sabotage before it takes hold. Always be aware of your surroundings not just what’s ahead.

Consistency Matters More Than Fireworks

The Old Marine can still walk long distances uphill and wherever he wants to go. He used to run and he could run fast but what I remember the most about him running is that he could run slow and steady forever. What I admire the most is that he is consistent. He works towards a goal until he gets it. No parades when he makes it. No boasting along the way about what he’s done. He’s steady. It’s what his friends love most about him. It’s what’s made him successful in life as well as health.
Here’s the Old Marine’s formula:

Work every day.
You don’t take a day off even on vacation. You find a way to make it a priority and work it in.

Speed doesn’t really matter.
Unless your training for a race, speed doesn’t matter. Put your head down and just do the work.

Not everything has to be fun.
Working towards a goal isn’t always fun. It doesn’t have to be. It’s work. After a while your mindset understands that work is not grim.

Have common sense not fear.
Caution is good but paralyzing fear is for candy as*es. Forge ahead.

Keep it simple.
You don’t need a fancy gym or computer to do your work. The basics usually gets the job done.

Focus.
Minimize the distractions. He says he’s going to die with his flip phone. I believe him. Visiting with everyone at the gym or the office doesn’t get the work done. Turn off the distractions and get things done. They’ll get over you not being at their beckon call.

Keep your word.
Write down your goals then keep your word. If you can’t keep the promises you make to yourself, you certainly won’t keep them to other. Be impeccable.

Quit Talking About It.
Just do it.
That is all.

Do the Tough Stuff First

Do the tough stuff first. I’ve been a professional at procrastination in the past. Finding a reason to justify putting something off that I didn’t want to put the effort into doing was easy. One of the things that has made my comeback successful is to do the tough stuff first. It was hard getting back into an exercise routine. So I made myself do it first thing in the morning. That way I don’t have anything that gets in the way. No excuses of a long day, appointments, or such. I get up an hour early which means 3am. It is a commitment that I am not willing to change because it works. I feel better. I get things done. I never have the guilt for lack of discipline or skipping a workout. I just do it.

When there is something else that comes up that I feel myself starting to drag my heels on I just jump in. This has also made me more creative. For instance I find that making appointments over the phone just annoys the hell out of me. For doctors you have to verify information every damn time. I get why. I’ve worked in the medical field. Being put on hold and do all that still annoys me. So now when possible I make my appointments online. More and more clinics and businesses are doing this. It makes sense for them and for me and I am more likely to get it done. Whenever I have something that makes me drag my feet like that I try to find a back door that makes it easier or at the very least less annoying.

The consequences if you don’t do the tough stuff first:

1) You have it hanging over your head all day long
It drags you down and you think about it all day long if you don’t do the tough stuff first. If it’s exercising you tend to move even less than usual during the day because you are “resting up”. If it’s an essay to write you may think of all these brilliant things all day long then get to the evening only to find that they have all vanished from your head. Cleaning only gets more tough as the day goes on and you are tired from the day’s activities.

2) You run out of time
If you save the tough stuff for later in the day you may just run out of time to do it. Say for instance you haven’t estimated very well the time it takes to do the tough stuff or it is actually tougher than you thought, you may find yourself staying up late or simply running out of time period.

3) It’s easier to make excuses to put it off
As the day rolls on you can accumulate excuses not to do the tough stuff. Exercise is famous for this one. You decide to go to the gym after work. It’s been the day from hell at work and coworkers decide to have a beer after. You’ll go after one beer. Nope. Too tired now and you need one more beer anyway.

4) People can talk you out of it
If you don’t do the tough stuff first other people have the opportunity to talk you out of it. This is sabotage. Your drive to get it done makes them think they look bad so they do everything they can think of to get you to do what they are doing- nothing. Everybody has at least one friend that finds a way to bring them down.

5) You don’t get the high
There’s a certain kind of euphoria that comes with getting things done right away. You float a bit for the rest of the day knowing that everything from here on is the easy stuff. If you don’t get the tough stuff done first you lose that feeling. Even if you get it done by the end of the day, the victory simply isn’t as sweet.

The Last Diet You Ever Need

Roaming the bookstore I found so many diet books that I cringed. There were some that I remembered from years ago, some that seemed shiny and new, and some that were just plain nonsense.The thing is that losing weight isn’t really rocket science. We want it to be easy and we are always attracted to the newest ideas but what it really comes down to is something quite simple. Brace yourself. You may not be able to take this. You may have to sit down.

The Basics:

Calories in = Calories burned = maintain weight
Calories in > Calories burned = gain weight
Calories in < Calories burned = lose weight

Bonus Material:
If you want to look ripped or lean eat less fat and use Basics #2
If you want to be less hungry increase your protein and decrease carbs. Use the basics.
Eat whole foods instead of processed if you feel like crap. You are what you eat. Again, use the basics.

There are all kinds of free calorie counters available including apps for your phone for convenience. Be smart and eat reasonable portions. For the first few weeks measure your food accurately. After that you can eye it as long as you stay honest. You can use exercise machines that track calories burned or there are apps and online information for figuring effort and duration. You can also just wing it. If you find yourself gaining weight simply watch your portion sizes and move more. Fine tune things from there. You can keep dieting simple by eating a reasonable portion of food that you love and moving every day. You don't need a new book or an expert to tell you what to do. It's basic math. Every pound is worth 3500 calories. Losing two pounds a week is a healthy target in order to keep the weight off. Change one bad habit a week.

Keep things simple and basic for success.

The Power of Precision

There is power in planning. I love to plan and I can create some truly awesome goals. Since I was a teen I could plan transitions like nobody’s business. The trouble was in my follow through. It’s not that I didn’t have good intentions. The next great plan was always better than before and was a recipe for success. The problems came when I didn’t follow the plan with precision. The Old Marine is a perfectionist. Maybe that’s why I resisted it for so long. He drove us crazy at times with every aspect and detail of our lives. It created a rebellion that had the opposite effect he wanted for his teachings. Sadly, at times he thought he could beat the imperfections out of us. That left a sour taste in my mouth for precision in general. The other lesson in precision came from my mother who was an amazing Italian cook. She never followed a recipe. It was always a handful of this or that or “add enough until it looks right or smells right”. There was no precision learned from my mother in anything. I am not alone. With each decade comes another “movement” towards free spirits and doing your own thing. Yet, it is the people who exercise precision that get things done and accomplish their goals. It’s take a long time for me to appreciate the Old Marine’s truly good intentions in teaching me precision.

Now the more I employ precision and see the power of success that comes with it, the more I want to use it. I started with learning the power of time management and took such simple steps as to measure my food instead of simply eyeing a portion. These steps seem small but they are precision at it’s best. Once I saw how effective it was to budget my time as well as my calories I started keeping a journal to track success.

In a nutshell:

* Manage your time every day and make a point to be on time.
* Schedule important things first
* Measure your food and track calories and macronutrients for a great body
* Be specific when speaking. Think before you speak. Say exactly what you mean.
* Keep your promises and follow through.
* Focus on the task at hand and strive to do each thing well.
* Avoid mindless activity.

Goals:
Make SMART Goals. Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Relevant. Time-bound
Consider how much time a goal will take to reasonably complete it.
Make reasonable goals. A goal that doesn’t challenge or sets the bar too high is not precise.
Do your best. Strive towards goals. Success is in the daily journey.

You Can’t Sit On Your Ass and Expect the World to Change

A good life is all in the basics. To have a good life to have to do the work. It’s plain and simple. You don’t want to hear that. I don’t want to hear that. We all want our dreams to be easy. I blame Cinderella for that. To have a great body, an enviable career, or a beautiful home you have to put in the time and effort. Here’s the breakdown:

* Pay attention to the details.
Every bite of food you put in your mouth is part of the chemistry of your body.
Every physical action you do could be the difference between mediocre and greatness.
Every thought and idea should be written down. Pursue the ones worth the time. Exclude the bullshit.
Every word out of your mouth can make you or break you. What you say and how you say it makes an impression.
Every moment wasted is time that you never get back. You could have used that to achieve your goals.

* Make one change at a time.
Changing too many aspects of your life could set you up for failure. Few people can do it overnight.
Focusing on one thing and doing it perfectly makes a strong foundation for success.
Gradual change takes patience but it pays off in the end.

* Self-Discipline is key
Convincing yourself that one little cheat doesn’t matter is self-sabotage.
There’s a difference between self-discipline and deprivation. Know your limits but push it too.
Get the hard work done first. Procrastination is a deal breaker.
No excuses. Period.

* Manage your time well
Don’t fly by the seat of your pants.
Make a daily schedule and stick to it.
Schedule your most important things first then fill in with the rest.
Find spare time by using a simple morning routine and use other ways to make your actions efficient.

* Get out there
It’s tough to network if you just sit at home staring out the window.
Get involved but keep your eye on the prize.
Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself or strike up a conversation.
Be sure to make a good first impression. It’s important.

* Keep it simple
Stress is created by complications.
Sticking with the basics makes things easier.
Worry about your own deal. Don’t get caught up in drama.
Move straight forward. Steady as she goes.

If you want to change the world start with yourself and your own immediate environment. When everyone does that the world becomes a better place. The things that won’t solve your problems are allowing yourself to remain the victim or sitting on your ass. Stop convincing yourself of your limitations and just do something.

Simple Morning Routine

Marine’s Daughter is about how to use the simple basics of routine and discipline along with plain hard work to
achieve the goals that make life better.

Here’s my simple morning routine:

3am Rise at first sound of alarm
Bathroom
Toilet
Teeth
315 Exercise: Use Glider for brisk walk 45 minutes
4am Shave
Skin brush
Shower
Deodorant
Contacts
Comb hair back and secure
Moisturize skin
Minimal Makeup
Dress for work
5am Unload dishwasher
Check calendar
Tidy house
Take medications/vitamins
Make coffee
530 Out the door to work
6am-2 Work or see off day

I do my routine the same way every morning so that it stays automatic and it’s easy to do. This way I don’t forget anything either. Getting my exercise in first thing ensures that I get it done. I won’t have any excuse or conflict in schedule if I do it first thing in the morning. Staying with the basics keeps my stress level down. I don’t use anything too costly or elaborate either. I never have to wonder where the money is going to come from if I just use the basics for everything. I use coconut oil and Vitamin E to moisturize my skin inside and out. These are not costly products and can be used for multiple purposes.

Decide and Execute

Even though I’ve been a Marine’s Daughter all my life I didn’t always
listen well or act on the lesson’s he tried to teach me.
I’m a dreamer that’s guilty of wishing that things were easy
and then getting angry when my dreams didn’t just happen without any
effort. Being a good person didn’t just instantly entitle me to a good life.
I finally got it into my head that if I want a good life I have to work for it.
That means I have to DECIDE to do something. I can’t remain frozen in time
just waiting for an opportunity to fall from the sky. If I want something
I have to plan for it, execute that plan, and then adapt to new ways of doing
things. I’m a great planner. I can write down my goals and make charts with the
best of planning experts but my follow-through stunk. Now I pay attention to the
old Marine and hear his voice in my head sometimes when I want to quit. It’s taken
me a while to get to this rational but I looked at my life and saw that it was going nowhere.
So, dreaming still happens but now I decide what to do about it.

DECIDE
Decide what it is that you want to accomplish. I highly recommend considering
balance: mind, body, spirit into the equation. When deciding on a new project or
action for yourself, determine how it can fit into the big picture of you. Once
you decide to do something you should think about the time commitment involved
and if it is realistic to pursue given the time that you have or if you need to
make a realistic change in your time management to accommodate your action.
Should you decide to make the commitment to take action then you need a plan.

PLAN
Planning should be kept simple. Intricate plans fail easily. Intricate is different
than thorough. Keep your plan simple with the rule of 3. Take on 3 important tasks on any given day,
use 3 steps for each task. Write out your plan. If you use a computer print it out but its
important to have a hard copy of your plan or goals for you to see. A good way to go about it
is to start with goals for the month. Then make goals for the week based on monthly goals.
Last, make your daily goals out for the entire week in one shot based on weekly and monthly
goals. (I’ll outline this in an easier to read format here)

EXECUTE
Deciding and planning is great and it’s exciting but once you have done all that
don’t just sit back and bask in the glory of…thoughts?
Take action on your decision immediately and make a point to adhere to your goals
every day. It’s important to act and keep the momentum going in order to be
successful. This is where the self-discipline comes in. Stay focused and on track
by using a journal to review your progress and record how far you have come and
what you are doing to move forward. This doesn’t have to be complicated.

In conclusion, decide, plan, execute. Keep it simple. Do the work. It won’t be
easy. Some days you will want to just take off. Don’t quit. There is satisfaction
in mere endurance and the rewards will come but you have to do the damn work.
You don’t get a free lunch and you don’t get dreams handed to you. Trust me.
I expect reports in the comments.

Are you tough enough to make dreams happen??

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