What gets measured gets managed

Unknown-8How do you measure success?

Because what gets measured, gets managed.

If you’re measuring body weight, then you’re managing calories.

If you’re measuring will power, then you’re managing with a critical spirit.

If you’re measuring motivation, then you’re managing the outcome more than the effort.

If you’re measuring “fitness”, then you’re managing tough workouts.

If you’re measuring cholesterol, diabetes or high blood pressure, then you’re managing saturated fat, sugar and sodium consumption. (Even though fat, sugar and sodium don’t cause those things—See Kate Deering)

All of these forms of measuring success are associated with pain and why we don’t like them and therefore don’t work well.

Imagine measuring success in a whole new way…

Imagine measuring happiness by managing the quality of your relationships.

Imagine measuring portion control by managing the thoughts and emotions leading up to emotional eating.

Imagine measuring discipline by managing a balanced instead of extreme approach.

Imagine measuring self-worth by managing a spirit of compassion and more importantly, self-compassion.

Imagine measuring success by acknowledging you’re “not a body with a goal” but an individual, lead by a mind and driven by a spirit.

If you don’t satisfy all aspects of who you are, then you jeopardize both the sustainability and enjoyability of your efforts.

No emotional eating for 10 days

Unknown-7Life is certainly full of ups and downs and I’m realizing we all deal with them differently: some eat, some drink, some medicate, some exercise, some spend $$$, some disconnect, some take it out on others, etc. Whatever your flavor, these are all tactics that help us numb the pain we’re facing at any given moment.

My go to has always been food and given I’m in the health and fitness industry, it was very difficult for me to share my coping mechanisms with my clients. They would pour their hearts out and while I wanted to say “I understand”, I simply encouraged them to try harder next time.

My lack of vulnerability was driven by the fact that I was the professional and I was being paid to be the perfect role model. At the time, I believed my imperfections would be heavily judged, I’d lose all my clients respect, I’d have no job, nowhere to live, no food and I’d probably die miserable. A bit extreme…yes! Emotions can be that way but it was my worst case scenario and it caused me to keep my human side a secret.

My inability to share my struggles created a disconnect between me and my clients: I was perfect and they weren’t. Little did I know, this didn’t make for a pleasurable experience and I was driving them away. Little did they know, I was broken too, I was struggling to stay afloat and I was “selling” my image to make a living.

Before I share the heroic win, I should tell you what I’ve learned: That we’re neuro-biologically hard wired for connection and we’re not meant to do life alone. We’re wired struggle but worthy of love and belonging. Brene Brown’s TED talk on the Power of Vulnerability put me on a path I’m proud of today.

Today, I engage with my clients from a place of honesty, transparency, humility, empathy and compassion. When they self-medicate, I don’t ask WHY and I don’t judge them; I ask about the drivers behind their behaviors. If I can understand the thoughts and feelings that led to their actions, I can offer them the generous support they need from me at that moment.

Then I one up em’, I share a personal struggle. I tell them that I emotionally eat too, that I don’t always move my body or sleep enough, that I’m embarrassed by how much I work sometimes, that I feel scared when I don’t have the answers and sometimes, I just want to bury my head in the sand and check out.

Lo and behold, my shared struggles are met by an appreciative smile, a thank you and even a hug at times. If I only knew then what I know now. I don’t regret it but one day I’m going to reach out to all of my previous clients to let them know what I’ve learned.

By the way, I haven’t emotionally eaten for 10 days in a row. I’m not doing it to be a role model or because I feel like it’s the right thing to do. I’m doing it because I’ve found ways to satiate my mind and spirit and my body is not all that hungry.

What I’m doing is no secret either, I’m mostly journaling, vournaling (verbal journaling on my iPhone using voice memos—yes I talk to myself), meditating, empowering myself through new knowledge and working diligently to actively listen to other people when they’re speaking.

If this is remotely interesting, you’re welcome to try what’s helped me create a Revolution in my life. Thanks for listening!

What my “fitness” plan did for me

images-4Most of us engage fitness plans to tone up, lose weight, improve energy or rid disease. If that’s all you’re looking for, you’re setting the bar way too low. Here are 5 things I’ve accomplished in addition to the aforementioned:

1. I’m not emotionally eating
2. I’ve stopped drinking coffee (have way more energy)
3. My listening skills have improved
4. I’m more positive without trying
5. I’m treating others more compassionately

You may wonder how this is possible or if it’s even related to a fitness program. Yes it’s possible and yes it’s related. I’m not working with a personal trainer or a dietician, I’m participating in a Lifestyle Management program. They are treating me as a whole person (body, mind and spirit) and all of my goals have simply been the byproduct of our encounter. Here’s the crux of what I’ve learned that’s helping me most:

1. I’m aware that where I am today is not where I want to be
2. My body is a reflection of my mind and change happens in the mind first
3. Living as my own worst enemy or biggest critic isn’t serving me
4. I’ve redefined my relationship with diet and exercise
5. My behaviors cannot surpass my love for and belief in myself

What I’m eating and how much I’m exercising hasn’t changed much except that I no longer associate pain with it. This is a very gentle, considerate and comprehensive program that aims to address my fundamental needs (first) so my desires can be met (second).

If you’ve struggled to reach your fitness or wellness goals and / or dislike the traditional process of becoming healthy, I’d strongly recommend you check out the Revolution.

By the way, I now realize that my mind has been holding back my body and my spirit has been suffering…this was the game changer for me.

Doing the right things for the wrong reasons

frayed-ropeFor many years, I’ve helped people do the right things (diet and exercise) for the wrong reasons (lose weight, tone up, lower blood pressure, etc.)

This may sound like an off the wall statement but allow me to create some context.

Over the years, we find ourselves partaking in a lifestyle that is stressful: sedentary, busy schedule, eating poorly, in debt, sleep deprived, broken relationships, etc.

Naturally, our stressed-out lifestyles manifest in predictable ways: we gain weight, lose hair, develop diseases, lose tone, become anxious, lose confidence, sense of self, etc.

As a quick-fix culture, focused on treating symptoms instead of causes, we leverage diet and exercise to reduce the effects of a stressful lifestyle…doesn’t work that way!

Don’t believe me? Look to the New Year…how many resolutions are broken within a week? Broken resolutions aren’t a people problem, they’re an approach problem.

Diet and exercise isn’t a feasible solution to reverse the deleterious effects of a stressful lifestyle. That would be like going bowling to get better at skiing or skydiving to get better at mindfulness.

If you want to rewind the effects of stress, deal with the stress itself, anything else is simply dodging the bullet.

What does diet and exercise look like for the right reasons? Before this is even possible, you have to redefine your relationship with it. I’d suggesting you start by referring to it as fueling and moving. Once seen in a different light, use it an an opportunity to:
– Lead a balanced lifestyle
– Live life at your preferred status
– Express your priorities and values
– Satisfy your body’s fundamental needs
– Care for yourself so you can care for others

When you do the right things for the right reasons, it never feels like a chore or never takes from you, it reinforces your values and adds to you.

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At the core of his existence, Michael Rizk is a game-changer. His passion comes alive when he’s helping people get from “here to there”. Whatever roadblock: mental, emotional, physical or spiritual, he operates in the best interests of his clients, helping them overcome their perceived obstacles. With fitness as his platform, he helps his tribe see that diet and exercise perfection can’t create happiness or fix what you believe about yourself. He accepts people exactly as they are and observes how quickly they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves. Michael realizes when one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered…and their waistlines follow. Today, Michael can be found writing a blog at a favorite coffee shop, on the phone consulting with corporations, on the road assisting pro athletes, in his studio empowering your everyday superhero or working hard to change the trajectory of world health and happiness.

Fitness as a Cover Up

We all want to look our best on the beach, at the wedding and on that special night out…that’s understandable but it calls our character into question.

Lets first appreciate our body is largely a reflection of our mental and emotional well-being.

When we get stressed out, we tend to eat, drink, and medicate so we can numb the pain. In turn, we get a little soft around the edges, lose a little tone and our needs fall by the wayside.

This is all OK except that we try to cover up our stories by eating less and moving more, leading others to believe life is all good. We’re ashamed to step onto the beach, into the gown and onto the dance floor as is, for fear that others will judge us for our appearance.

At this point, we’re doing the right things (making mindful choices) for the wrong reasons (avoiding judgment, hiding behind a “fit” body) and it takes from us.

We’ll always be judged, even by those who care. Personally, I’d prefer my waistline is criticized far more than my character for covering up my story.

Instead of dieting and exercising to cover up the stress of life, invest that time addressing the sources of your stress and your waistline will follow.

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At the core of his existence, Michael Rizk is a game-changer. His passion comes alive when he’s helping people get from “here to there.” Whatever roadblock: mental, emotional, physical or spiritual, he operates in the best interests of his clients, helping them overcome their perceived obstacles. With fitness as his platform, he helps his tribe see that diet and exercise perfection can’t create happiness or fix what you believe about yourself. He accepts people exactly as they are and observes how quickly they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves. Michael realizes when one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered…and their waistlines follow. Today, Michael can be found writing a blog at a favorite coffee shop, on the phone consulting with corporations, on the road assisting pro athletes, in his studio empowering your everyday superhero or working hard to change the trajectory of world health and happiness.

Happy or Healthy?

People come to me to get healthy (lose weight, get in shape, improve energy, etc.) but I’m seeing a trend; the majority of “unhealthy” people are also unhappy (slave to work, broken relationships, lack of faith, etc.).

So which one do I address first: Healthy or Happy? My job description points me to healthy but my spirit prompts me towards happy.

Sixteen years ago, I only knew how to address “healthy.” My sessions were very physical and tactical and my clients and I spent little time talking about quality of life issues; it was as if they were a distraction to our workouts.

Fast forward 12 years, I realized “healthy-first” didn’t work. Sure they were “fit” but my clients were working 16 hours a day, not seeing their family or pursuing their dreams.  Healthy ≠ Happy.

A few years back,  I started focusing on “happy,” engaging stimulating conversations centered on quality of life, vitality and well-being. Ironically, I’ve discovered when you address the whole person they feel happy and healthy follows.

In all honesty, it was a difficult transition to move from only training the body to also conditioning the mind and spirit too. Not easy, but certainly worth it.

Today, the majority of my clients are the healthiest they’ve ever been. But that’s only because I’ve learned how to unlock happy first.

How are you measuring success?

Running from fear

For so long I’ve run from my fears. Fear of success, fear of failure and fear of the unknown. But most importantly, the fear of facing myself. I ran from myself for a long time but I’m tired of running. So I’ve decided to stop and I’m trading in fear for faith. Faith costs more than fear so I’m taking out a loan on me. I’m investing in myself because I feel worthy of my efforts.

Here’s what’s helping me most:
– Journaling – all change happens in the mind first so I have to get connected to what I’m thinking about.
– Mindful meditation – I’m trading mind-full for mind-ful and Headspace is giving me what I need.
– Movement – I’m not exercising as much as I am moving, I appreciate my mental / emotional state impacts my physical capacity.
– Listening – Really listening to and engaging with people, not just nodding and calculating my response.
– Praying – I’ve done this all on my own for far too long, I’m fueling myself with the Spirit of God.

I heard the definition of fear and faith are the same: the belief that what we don’t see will happen. If it’s all the same, the choice is obvious.

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Michael Rizk has a passion for helping people get from “here to there”, from where they are today to where they want to be tomorrow. He believes everyone is a slight shift of their Mindset away from reaching their full potential and he treats everyone as they ought to be. Michael is the founder of Condition for Life, a Lifestyle Management company dedicated to helping people construct lifestyles in which their health, fitness and wellness goals are the byproduct of how they’re living. This sophisticated, refreshing and Revolutionary approach has inserted joy, contentment and fulfillment back into the process of transforming oneself. Due to the success of Michael’s approach, he’s created an online version of the studio experience he’s been providing for 15 years, called the Revolution. Michael’s also available in person, in studio and on Skype for all your wellness needs.