Top 10 Ways to Start Your Wellness Journey

unknownIf you’re new to my writing…

My name is Michael Rizk, I am a Lifestyle and Performance Catalyst. My background is in personal training, massage therapy, chain reaction biomechanics, life coaching and I’m an educator at heart. I’ve discovered that people come to me to enhance their Body but their Mind holds them back and their Spirit suffers. I help people take a Mind-First Approach® to transforming their body, reclaiming their health and becoming a leader in their life. My writing reflects the 3D conditioning experience I provide my clients every day in central New Jersey. If you can’t get your mind on your side, don’t expect your body to look, feel and function the way you want it to. If you have any questions, please email me anytime at mike@conditionforlife.com. If you’re interested in becoming a member but you don’t live close, just know that our most successful clients have never stepped foot in our facility (Skype, FaceTime, phone, etc.) May my writing inspire you to strive to live life in a thriving state! Be well.

 

Top 10 ways to start losing weight

  1. Be aware that you’re current strategy is not serving you
  2. Be fully accountable to all the reasons why you gained weight (it’s not because you’re lazy, a foodie, bored or de-motivated—those are labels and justifications), embrace the whole truth

* Create space and grant yourself permission to feel the painful feelings associated with your current weight—imperative to healing your body (most overlooked facet of losing weight)

  1. Appreciate that why you gained weight is actually more important than losing it (finding your why is the key to losing it)
  2. Don’t do more, do less by not continuing to give energy to the problem
  3. List the 3 biggest stressors in your life and tackle them one by one with the intent to resolve each
  4. Restore every important relationship in your life even if that means forgiving someone or asking for forgiveness
  5. Ditch your late night numbing activities and get to bed
  6. Start finding better ways to nourish your body, mind and spirit
  7. Don’t exercise; engage joyous recreational activities, calories are far less important than having fun
  8. Learn to love yourself and eventually you’ll start believing you’re worthy of the efforts it will take to get you there

Notice that “diet and exercise” aren’t even required to lose weight. Moving your body and consuming whole foods are part of a balanced lifestyle but they cannot and will not heal your mind and spirit. Focus on feeling good and looking good will follow.

Question: Can you please share your story with your weight? What have you tried? What’s worked for you? What have you learned? We believe weight gain is a physical manifestation of a spiritual/emotional issue.

Living your preferred life isn’t glorious

pnp-planeIf you’re new to my writing…

My name is Michael Rizk, I am a Lifestyle and Performance Catalyst. My background is in personal training, massage therapy, chain reaction biomechanics, life coaching and I’m an educator at heart. I’ve discovered that people come to me to enhance their Body but their Mind holds them back and their Spirit suffers. I help people take a Mind-First Approach® to transforming their body, reclaiming their health and becoming a leader in their life. My writing reflects the 3D conditioning experience I provide my clients every day in central New Jersey. If you can’t get your mind on your side, don’t expect your body to look, feel and function the way you want it to. If you have any questions, please email me anytime at mike@conditionforlife.com. If you’re interested in becoming a member but you don’t live close, just know that our most successful clients have never stepped foot in our facility (Skype, FaceTime, phone, etc.) May my writing inspire you to strive to live life in a thriving state! Be well.

 

Living your preferred life isn’t glorious

When working with clients, we help them strive to live a Preferred Status lifestyle. This happens by way of making decisions consistent with your personal values and vision for your life.

We invest considerable time upfront managing our client’s expectations to ensure they are positioned for sustainable success. To that end, we help them realize that making the “right” decisions almost never feel good in the moment.

It’s the difference between instant gratification and long-term satisfaction. Do you want to feel good now or feel great later? There is no wrong answer unless it conflicts with what’s most important to you.

Your ability to delay gratification is directly proportionate to how much you love and believe in yourself. If you do, you have the capacity to make the right decision even though you’re not guaranteed an immediate result.

However, if you keep loving and believing in yourself via constructive actions consistent with your life’s vision, the real growth and transformation that occurs can’t be seen because it’s inside.

If you’re more interested in external than internal transformation and therefore, have a need to be recognized, I’d say you’re doing the right things for the wrong reasons. Loving yourself may not easy but it is worth it.

Remember this: If it’s easy and enjoyable, you’re probably not changing. If it’s difficult and uncomfortable, you’re a work in progress.

Question: Can you share a short story about a difficult change you’ve made that has improved your self-worth as a result?

More Cunning Than Negative Self-Talk

fox-fox-fox-red-running-snout-cunning-view-grass-green-backgroundIs defensiveness.

You’ve presented a problem with no real solution in sight.

You are offered a potential solution but now you downplay the problem.

Not because you don’t need a solution but because you don’t want to be accountable to the problem.

The key to overcoming defensiveness is embracing the truth…all of it.

Only then can you choose to heal instead of continuing to numb the problem.

The Imbalancing Act

The following is a guest post from Condition for Life Client, Kim Kaschak

Balance. What does it mean to live a balanced life?  If you had asked me two and a half years ago before I started my journey at Condition for Life, I wouldn’t have had a clue. Back then I didn’t realize that I wasn’t living one. I was about a year out from my second weight loss surgery and my main focus was to lose weight and get my body in shape. It didn’t matter where I was emotionally; it didn’t matter where I was spiritually; and to tell you the truth, I didn’t understand the importance of balance. But I certainly do now!

What I’ve learned is that my Body, Mind and Spirit need to be in balance in order to achieve and maintain the goals I have for myself.  If my mind suffered, then my body would suffer and my spirit would fall…a surefire recipe for disaster.  I could diet and exercise as much as I wanted or even undergo another weight loss procedure but if I didn’t get to the WHY behind WHAT led to my obesity, then I was setting myself up to fail time and time again.

After three years of maintaining my weight loss, I was struggling emotionally, had regained some weight and realized my emotional needs far outweighed my physical wants and what I envisioned for my body.  So I made a choice to shift the balance away from my body and to take the time to dig deep, reflect back and tackle those emotional issues.  It wasn’t easy dealing with painful thoughts and feelings but I have made tremendous progress and I can feel myself shifting back into balance. I am healing from the inside out, mind-first and I have learned the weight gain was a part of the healing process and will come off naturally as I come back into a healthy balance.

The most important thing I’ve realized from this journey is that sometimes we need to choose imbalance in order to achieve balance.  Once we do, all other areas will fall back into place naturally.

 

What’s getting in the way?

unknown-6People come to me to reach their health, fitness and wellness goals. They are focused on WHAT they want to achieve and I’m focused on WHY they haven’t already achieved it. So I take them through this simple exercise, which establishes a framework we can progress their journey from.

Where do you want to be in life?

  • Fulfilled
  • Wholehearted
  • Encouraged
  • Energized
  • Rejuvenated
  • Comfortable
  • Capable
  • Confident
  • Courageous
  • Under control

Where are you today?

  • Searching
  • Fearful
  • Discouraged
  • Exhausted
  • Surviving
  • Uncomfortable
  • Uncertain
  • Low self-esteem
  • Concerned
  • Out of control

What’s keeping you from getting there?

  • Fear (uncertainty, unknown’s, what-if’s)
  • Self-Doubt
  • Previous experiences
  • Upbringing
  • Busyness
  • People-pleasing
  • Shame
  • Pride/Ego
  • Procrastination
  • Lack of worth

If your focus is kept on what you WANT, you’re missing the point. Focus on WHY you aren’t already there. When you keep asking WHY, you discover a truth and once you become accountable to it, you discover your potential.

“Obstacles do not block the path, they are the path.” Anonymous

 

Question: What do you think gets in the way of you reaching your fullest potential? We would love to hear from you. Thank you in advance for your contribution to our collective success!

Diet and exercise isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

unknown-5I serve the health, fitness and wellness industry and here’s what I hear my clients say:

  • I’m tired of living in fear.
  • I’m tired of being anxious.
  • I’m tired of overcommitting.
  • I’m tired of under delivering.
  • I’m tired of people-pleasing.
  • I’m tired of not believing in myself.
  • I’m tired of being so offended.
  • I’m tired of not standing up for myself.
  • I’m tired to drinking to take the edge off.
  • I’m tired of having to keep up with the Jones’.

At the same time, people are under the assumption that if they could just lose weight, improve energy, enhance posture, develop strength or tone up, all of the above will handle itself. It doesn’t and it won’t. A perfect diet and exercise routine will at best improve your appearance and physical capacity but it can’t heal workaholism, people-pleasing and poor time management. Those are skill-sets, which can certainly be developed, just not by way of a movement and meal plan.

My clients are the only ones who are tired. I’m tired of our industry:

  • Confusing looking good with feeling good.
  • Using diet and exercise as a cure all.
  • Addressing spiritual matters with physical tactics.
  • Treating symptoms and not root causes.
  • Being critical of instead of compassionate for others.
  • Conditioning the body and not developing the mind.
  • Holding instead of teaching people accountability.
  • Doing the “right things” for the “wrong reasons”.
  • Creating dependence instead of independence.
  • Addressing waistlines and not the whole person.

But I’m transforming what I’m tired of into a real-life program that positions people for sustainable success beyond the four walls in which me meet. My objective is not to keep people forever; that’s not success. My goal is to encourage and empower people to stand on their own two feet. That’s strategic, selfless and by definition, true success. This is what It means to be a Catalyst in the lives of others.

I do not fix my problems. I fix my thinking. Then problems fix themselves. Louise Hay

Unlocking the Power of Intention

This is a guest post from my colleague, Condition for Life Lifestyle & Performance Catalyst, Michael Cassalle.

I fell asleep the other night thinking about the effort required for growth — amongst other things like why do we drive on the parkway and park in a driveway, does Big Foot really exist and if a tree falls in the woods with no one around does it make a sound? As my brain rambled on, I kept going back to thinking about what gets in the way for many of us when change/growth/transformation is the objective?

My head, heart and gut came back to these two areas: intentionality and word selection. While this may not be the crux of the issue for everyone, I believe it’s in the subtleties and the nuances where we can ourselves be a greater catalyst to our own situation.

What do I mean by intentionality? For me, intentionality is creating enough context and clarity paired with direction and desire to see a path and choose it.

When we tap into our thought life, our inner world, whether by journaling, simply pausing, meditating or prayer, it’s important we become clear and concise with our inner dialogue. We must ask the necessary questions like what, how and especially why. The purpose is to go beyond intrinsic motivation — which has a tendency to be short lived if not provoked — remove inertia and, most importantly, create a force, an almost gravitational pull forward. You’ll feel this from the inside out; every cell and breath will be moving you ahead; not perfectly or without friction but intentionally and purposefully.

Now, let’s consider our word selection. We must be judicious, charming, persuasive, delicate, selective, convincing, stimulating and so on with the words we choose when we speak and think of change.

Plenty of words may seem simplistic and innocent by nature but every one of us has different personal triggers, connotations and correlations. What might sound inspiring to one might sound daunting to another. The word “change” itself can be overwhelming where as the word “evolution” might sound romantic and paced. We may say things like “play an active role in your life” or “grab the bull by the horns” but maybe that’s not your speed. Perhaps those words insinuate a controlling, excessive nature that might be overwhelming or daunting, creating an occasion you don’t want to rise to.

For my life, I want it to be about “showing up and giving it my best” and “living all-in”(recovering gamblers might not appreciate that one). Instead of “seizing opportunity” I want to “be open to all the possibilities.”  For me it’s less about “managing” all aspects of my life and it’s more about genuinely being “involved” in all aspects of my life. In essence, we want the words we choose to invoke Love not Fear. When we can wisely tailor this inner dialogue, we can cultivate a joyous journey as opposed to a labored trek.

It’s important for all of us to uncover these things about ourselves, explore them, harness them and leverage them so we can not only get ourselves to the water but we can drink from it. There is no one that knows us better and spends more time with us than ourselves.

How to get rid of big problems…

header_bigconferenceproblemsStop giving energy to them!

What’s More Important: Looking or Feeling Good?

Unknown-4The two most requested fitness and wellness goals are to “look good” and “feel good.” While they sound similar and are related, how you approach one versus the other couldn’t  be more different.

In short, looking good is a body-centered goal; feeling good is a spirit-centered goal. Neither is right or wrong, the question is: Which is more important to you?

If you look good but don’t feel good, is it worth it? How about if you feel good but don’t look exactly how you want? You may start thinking; can I do both at once? Well, the Russian Proverb states: If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.

The answer largely depends  on whether you’re more interested in instant gratification or long-term satisfaction. A number of other complex factors also play a role: upbringing, character, environment, values, mindset, etc.

My suggestion is to think of  the Body-Mind-Spirit as three rings:

  1. Body as the outer ring
  2. Mind as the middle ring
  3. Spirit as the inner ring

When we prioritize looking good, we would consider it an outside-in approach; which can be seen as shallow and on the surface. On the other hand, when we prioritize feeling good, we would consider it an inside-out approach; which can be seen as deep and below the surface. Instant gratification or long-term satisfaction.

I can tell you, it’s much easier to engage a looking good program than it is to embark on a feeling good program. Looking good primarily focuses on behavioral changes while feeling good focuses on emotional changes. Most people will change their diets before taking an honest look at their emotional capacity.

In my 15+ years serving the health and wellness industry, I’ve observed that people come to me to enhance their Body (looking good) but it’s their Mind holding them back and their Spirit that suffers (feeling good).

To that end, I firmly recommend and exclusively deliver feeling good programs. And, to be honest, it is the most satisfying and rewarding approach to improving health and happiness for both my clients and myself.

The New Year’s resolution centers on looking good and we can all see how well that works. So the question becomes: If the traditional / familiar approach doesn’t work, do you have the courage to try something new?

Again, nothing wrong with looking good except that it is far more sustainable as a byproduct of feeling good.

Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” Bernard Williams

Question: What’s your experience with looking and/or feeling good programs? Which worked better for you? What advice can you offer? Please leave your comment below.

Getting to the simple side of making change

UnknownOne of the biggest roadblocks to change lies within the complexity of change itself. With so many moving pieces in life and the various roles we play daily, how are we to decide what comes first and what comes next? Edmund Burke says: “Good order is the foundation of all things.” To help my clients navigate successful lifestyle changes, I get them focused on three things:

  1. Desire
  2. Priority
  3. Value

Desire

If your change efforts lack focus and clarity, it is unlikely you will accomplish anything. The Russian Proverb states: “If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.” If you have multiple desires, it is imperative you contemplate which is the most important. The best way to do this is to look for the lowest common denominator. If you sense a theme around several goals, you can combine them to make your decision a bit easier. However, your ability to decide is directly proportionate to your ability to realize your desire.

To get clear on your desire, ask: What specifically do I want to achieve?

Priority

Not too long ago, there was never a plural version of the word priority.That was it, just one priority. Multiple priorities actually insinuate a lack of priority at all. But don’t mistake importance for priority. There are of course many important aspects to our lives; such as family, spirituality, work, etc., but if your personal needs are not a chart topper, your goal may be more a matter of wishful thinking.

To get clear on your priority, ask: What is my highest priority? Then ask: How can I optimize my schedule to reflect my priority?

Value

Your values are an expression of what you find most important in life. It may be balance, integrity, resilience, impact, vitality, etc. Roy Disney says: “It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are.” The importance of values are that you’re not always going to “feel” like achieving your goals and it’s important you can anchor to something more meaningful than your goal itself during those challenging times. As you make decisions consistent with your value, it will deepen its meaning and strengthen your connection to it.

To get clear on your values, ask: Why am I doing what I am doing?

Identifying your desire, priority and value will take some time BUT it is not spending as much as it is investing time in yourself. My last key point is that you must believe you are worthy of your own efforts…simple in theory, difficult to practice but a choice nonetheless. Brene Brown, the most amazing shame researcher assures us: “There are no prerequisites for worthiness,” so we can just start acting as if we are already who we desire to be.

Question: What struggles have you encountered while trying to make change? What have you learned from them? What advice would you offer to others? Please leave your insights below…