Players Are Made In the Off-Season! (Video)

The high school season is over, and basketball players are finding themselves with quite a bit more free time then they are used to. Well, guess what? It's time to get better. Now is the time you should be reflecting on last season and begin to think deeply about your goals on the court in the future. What will you do this off-season to achieve those goals? An athlete who has spent time in past off-seasons working to improve is Meagan Ratliff. As a junior this past season, she averaged 12 points per game and earned 2nd Team All-MWC while leading Silverton HS to a state playoff birth. Check out this feature on Meagan as she talks about last season and looks to her senior year.

The Importance of In-Season Training (Video)

The regular season is coming to an end, with many teams fighting for playoff seeding. While some players will elevate their level of play, others will find that they are fatigued. I talked earlier about training to prepare for a season, but many players neglect to develop a productive in-season training program. Throughout the season, players’ are experiencing strong wear and tear on their bodies. Even those who have been able to remain healthy find themselves feeling sore and stiff. When this feeling sets on, it can be easy to neglect any extra training and opt for the couch.

In-season training is vital to maintain your level of performance. While it is possible to improve your performance in-season, the main objective is to maintain. Here are some tips on in-season training:

Strength train

If you are getting tired in the games, running 3 miles after practice is not the answer. This will only do more harm to your athletic performance. Steady-state cardiovascular exercise actually decreases muscle more than it builds. It also adds extra stress on your joints. Strength training is the best way to keep your muscle mass and maintain your performance.

Quality over quantity

Quick, intense workouts are preferred over long workouts. Remember, you are practicing for 2 hours at a high-level. The last thing you need is an added 90 minute workout. Try and be productive in a 30-45 minute time period.

Recover, recover, recover

The most important one of them all. It is hard to be overtrained, but it is easy to be under recovered. It is vital that you don’t neglect the importance of recovery activities such as foam rolling, mobility work, and stretching. Not only will these help you maintain your performance, but they will also decrease your chance of non-contact injuries.


Alex Roth (Sr., West Salem HS) is currently having his best season to date. A large part of his success is the attention he has started to give his off-court training. Last fall, he started training with Kevin Turner in Keizer, OR. I am very thankful to Alex for allowing me to feature one of his workouts on my blog. Good luck with the rest of the season!

(Check out Kevin Turner’s blog and training info at

In His Words: Trever Ball on Finding Balance Primally

I am excited and grateful to have Trever Ball provide a guest post this week. I have the deepest amount of respect for "T-Ball" because of his ability to successfully balance so many things in his life and still live with a growth mindset. To learn more about Trever, check out his website, PrimalTBall. -----------------------------------------------------------------

Recently I have had the pleasure to work with some outstanding individuals in my day to day meanderings as a Health Teacher and Athletic Trainer at McKay High School. One of those individuals is doing some phenomenal work in regards to strength and conditioning and has inspired and motivated me to become better as an educator as well as a leader in multiple avenues that I have contact with. That special individual is Matt Espinoza who many have come to be positively affected by. However, I am also an adjunct professor for Willamette University in their Masters of Arts in Teaching program while being married to an amazing 2nd grade teacher who has blessed my life in ways that I could never have imagined by tolerating my busy schedule that is centered around our two remarkable and unforgettable children, Gunnar (5 years) and Grace (2 years). Now, before you stop reading due to insignificant information overload, let me get to the point of this rant. With everything that I have a hand in, it gets very difficult to balance it all effectively in a world that is also unpredictable. This is the purpose of this post: how is balancing family, work, and living healthfully even approached?

Here is how I have been fortunate enough to not only survive, but also flourish under such intimidating circumstances.

The first thing I want to put out there is the fact that none of this has come from my own fruition. I am merely using ‘the wheel’ that has been invented and mastered by many capable and hard working people in my life. And that is where I am going to begin this discussion on balance. In order to even approach a life with balance, you first need to know and commit to goals that are significant enough to warrant your full attention and commitment. Throughout my days as a husband, father, teacher, and Athletic Trainer I am constantly setting and achieving specific, measurable, realistic, and timely goals. And that is where my demonstration of this balancing act begins and centers around.

A significant resource that I have been blessed with as a guide has been Darren Hardy’s "The Compound Effect." (Compound Effect website - click here). What I learned, and then assimilated into one compact document to put into practice, was that habits need to be created around routines that are centered on our life goals and core values. This process of compounding the greatness in our lives is enhanced when we can measure progress and then adjust from there. This is where I focused my energies as I daily attempt to balance the chaos of education with family life and athletics. The form I created made it very simplistic and effective as I then proceeded to give it to two close friends, one that was going to be firm and the other to be a listener and encourager. Those conversations typically happen in a brief phone call or conversation and adjustments are made or kudos given accordingly. This has really allowed me to set and accomplish goals that matter and make a difference in my relationships, work environment, and professional practice. I hope it helps you as well.

Ultimately I strive to accomplish three things to maintain a good level of balance that maintains the integrity I try to uphold throughout my life.

Create Routines

When routines are based on your values and goals, then those around you work harder than you can imagine helping you accomplish the goals you set for yourself.

Enlist support

Ask those closest to you for feedback that is honest and unbiased after you proved them with as much background information on your goals you are setting out to accomplish. Nobody likes to be pestered with surprising or stressful tasks that they didn’t have a say in creating.

Change your self reflected Behaviors

With the feedback you get from those closest to you now you have to ACT on them. How did your routines go? What hindered them from happening and how can you adjust? Were there things that got in the way of you doing those things?

At the heart of developing quality routines with tangible accountability is the premise of maintaining your fitness and nutrition in order to practice that which is deemed to be significant. Those practices have ultimately been the foundation for which I have been able to find the balance that I hope to continue to sustain this trajectory for my family and career. The practice of maintaining a Primal way of life really starts with behaviors and routines that I have been practicing now for just a little over a year and I have experienced an immeasurable amount of energy increase and my ability to stay focused has also improved. I still have things to work on, but I do not get overly concerned about those hang ups because I know that any behavior of mine can be altered into a healthy habit when I direct my focus accordingly. The second form that is attached is based on the previous template with a focus on my physical fitness and Primal/paleo specific nutrition. Take a look and again, I hope that from these ramblings you have gained something that will make balancing this hectic mess we call life with that which is the most important to you.

In His Words: Jordan Carter on Off-season Training (Video) With high school basketball season approaching quickly, players should already be preparing for the first day of practice. Take a look as Jordan Carter (Corban University, Jr.) begins his on-court preparation. Also, he shares his thoughts on what young players should do in the off-season to improve their game. Corban begins practice this week. Good luck on a successful season, Jordan!

View Video on YouTube Site

In His Words: John Olinger - Creating Your Own Luck

I am honored to have John Olinger provide this weeks content. I have always looked up to John, both as a person and a basketball player. When I was in high school, watching him during his senior year motivated me not to give up; that the possibility of succeeding at basketball despite a lack of early success. Most importantly, his words are great lessons to everyone. You can check out more of John's writing at his blog, Like Me, Only Different. Thanks, John! +++

If you looked at my life now - the things I’ve gotten to experience with and because of basketball – you would assume I was always one of the best players on each team I played on growing up. You would assume the results are natural from being one of the best. You would assume it’s always been as easy as it looks in retrospect. And your assumptions would be wrong.

It’s been said nothing worthwhile comes easy, which is true of my journey. The things I’ve experienced with and because of basketball are worthwhile but they weren’t easy. And I don’t want you to think that I’m so great – I just tried to make the most of every opportunity, and some things worked out. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about my journey in basketball, and life.


In elementary school I liked basketball, but I spent much more of my time as a long distance runner. The combination of being a runner with my genes, led to me being a pretty scrawny kid. My mom had been deeply involved during my time running, but when she passed away after a bout with breast cancer, I turned my attention away from running and onto basketball. And though my attention turned, my body did not. I was still a scrawny kid as I started to play more and more basketball in middle school. I made the “A” teams in both my seventh and eighth grade years, but was the one of the last guys off the bench. I kept working on my game throughout the summers and off-seasons – knowing I had a lot to improve upon.

Lesson 1: Nothing substitutes for hard work and dedication

When it came time to try out for the freshman team at my high school, I was the last guy to make the team. At the end of my high school career, my coach said the only reason he kept me as a freshman was because I was a nice kid and I worked hard. Yet, my game was improving – I remember one of my freshman teammates remarking that my ball handling had really improved, and he wanted to know how. It was one portion of the previous summer’s workouts – twenty minutes of ball-handling drills every day. When our freshman season ended I continued to work hard on my ball-handling and other parts of my game, hoping to be a bigger contributor on the junior varsity (JV) team.

As JV tryouts ended my sophomore year I was no longer the last guy kept. A few guys from our team the previous year didn’t play which helped, but also my game had improved. I turned into the sixth-man on our team, being a regular contributor off the bench. Throughout the year I continued to work on my game and I thought it looked bright for me to join the varsity team the next year. As the school year ended we had a head coaching change on the varsity team, meaning it was a fresh start for everybody. I played well in the summer league games in front of the new coach, so it seemed to me that I must have impressed him and set myself up well for the upcoming season.

Lesson 2: There is only one outcome when you quit

Yet, as tryouts started during my junior year, the new coach asked me to spend most of my time playing JV. He said I could swing (meaning playing for the JV team and the varsity team), but that pretty much meant I wouldn’t play much varsity as a junior. It felt like a slap in the face. I had worked so hard, and frankly, I thought I was good enough to contribute. And if I wasn’t going to get to play as a junior, then I probably wouldn’t get to play as a senior. It seemed that basketball wasn’t going to work out for me, so I heavily considered quitting.

I can’t remember the exact reason I didn’t quit – maybe it was because I loved basketball, or I really hoped I would get my chance – it doesn’t matter the reason, all I know is that I kept working hard and did whatever I could to prove my level of play. In the end, I didn’t get much of a chance on the varsity team, only playing in one game that really mattered during my junior year. But if I would have quit, what happened next would have never been possible. If I had quit there was only one outcome – I would have no longer been a basketball player at my high school.

In the summer after my junior year, two guards from our program transferred schools. And this meant our coach had no set options at point guard.

Lesson 3: Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity

If a guy says he wants to be a great basketball player but doesn’t actually prepare to be a great player, it is almost 100% certain he won’t be ready to be a great player when the opportunity comes. You don’t just wake up one day and become a great player – who you are as a player (and a person) is born over a series of moments leading up to an opportunity, not on a single occasion. The reality is that you can prepare for something your whole life, and the opportunity you are expecting may never come. (I do believe God uses all our experiences to prepare us for things, even when we don’t get to do what we want or think we are preparing for – but that is a longer discussion for another day.)

While preparation does not guarantee opportunity, what if your opportunity does come? That’s my story as the two other point guards on our roster transferred before my senior season. The coach threw me the keys to the team, and it turned into a magical year for me. Our team won the Valley League with me as the starting point guard. The season was capped with my selections to the Valley League 1 st- Team, as well as the 1st Team All-State Tournament. I ended up leading the State Tournament in scoring – even tallying more points than guys who went on to play short stints in the NBA.

Some people would say I was lucky. Others would say you make your own luck. Isn’t that life though? Sometimes you’re in the right place at the right time, and other times you aren’t. But when you are in the right place at the right time, your preparation is what will determine what happens. I didn’t magically become a better basketball player my senior year of high school – I had been preparing for several years for that opportunity. If I had quit there would have been no opportunity. And if I hadn’t worked hard, there would have been no luck.


After high school I went on to play a year at a Division 1 school (Portland State University), before a year at a JUCO and three years at a Division 3 school (Willamette University). I was selected All-Conference two times and had a fabulous time as a collegiate player. If my basketball journey ended there I would have been happy.

I also started my MBA while I was still playing for Willamette. When I finished my MBA I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to continue my time as a player. I was able to go to Israel with Athletes in Action (AIA) – traveling the country by day, and playing games at night. That led me to play on a traveling tour in the US with AIA, which ultimately opened the door for me to spend two seasons playing in England.


My time as a player has officially come to an end, but I’ve been really blessed to land a job where I still get to work around basketball. This job is a culmination of what has happened over a series of years in my life – combining my playing and life experiences, with my education. And frankly, it is all tied together with basketball playing a central role in what I’ve done, and will continue to do.

The rest of my life and basketball journey has been largely shaped by what happened as a senior in high school. My senior year in high school was shaped by the years of hard work prior to it. I didn’t know that when I started – I just knew I loved basketball and wanted to work hard at it. My encouragement to you is to find what you love and work at it. You may not get the opportunity out of it you want, but if you quit there’s only one outcome. Your hard work is preparation for something – and in the end, you won’t be sorry for giving it all you have. That’s where luck is made.

Looking at where I’m at now makes it seem like it must have been easy, as if it just happened for me. It doesn’t just happen – things ultimately happen because of preparation. God often opens doors when we least expect it, and the person who is ready for that opportunity is the one who has prepared.

In His Words: Taylor Mounts -- Chasing Your Passion

Taylor MountsTaylor Mounts is the Men's Basketball Graduate Assistant Coach at Eastern Washington University. I have had the honor of helping him improve as a basketball player in the last few years. I previously wrote a piece on him after his performance on senior night. Thank you, Taylor, for sharing your thoughts with Dynamic! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I’ve heard people question my goals and passion since I was an 8th grader. When I went from a small, private middle school to the best high school in state of Hawaii (Iolani School), teachers said, “Well I don’t know if you can do it.” Some coaches said, “I don’t know if you’ll be good enough to make the varsity your sophomore year.” I just kept working; on my game and my school work. I loved playing basketball - always have since I was about 9 or 10 years old. So after two state championships, three league titles, league player of the year and all state honors, people admitted they were wrong. I never said “I told you so.” I think it’s always been better when others say it for you. When it came time for me to go to college, I wanted to continue my career playing basketball at the Division III level. The thought of playing Division I or II didn’t appeal to me. I wanted to play and not sit on the bench. I thought DIII would be great because all the kids play there for the love of the game. No scholarships, no fanfare. Working out in the off-season was your choice because of NCAA rules limiting times coaches can work with the players. I decided on Willamette University in the spring of my senior year in high school.

My freshman year, I didn’t come into school in shape. I was 6’5”, 230 pounds, but it wasn’t good weight. I spent the previous summer after graduating from high school drinking beer and lifting a lot of weights, but no running involved. I didn’t have a good diet and thought that I could be successful based on my success in high school. I was wrong. I wasn’t in shape and got outplayed by guys in practice and open gym. I wanted to quit and move back to Hawaii and go to a Division II school. I ended up deciding against it when Kip Ioane became the head coach at Willamette. I still felt like if I got myself in shape, I could be a good player.

I didn’t realize what working extremely hard meant until I first worked out with Cameron Mitchell. We started to work out in the spring of 2009. We would shoot for about an hour and half. No breaks, just shot after shot after shot. Then we would lift weights. We would do this probably 5 or 6 days a week. Cameron now plays professionally in Australia and would be a mentor for me in the way I worked out and took care of my body.

That summer, after my freshman year, I went home to Hawaii for the summer wanting to be a starter my sophomore year. People again thought I was crazy. As a freshman, I played in a total of 8 games and scored 6 points (total, not average). I started to eat very healthy and did away with sodas, sweets, and snacks. I worked out everyday and ran 3 days a week. I was obsessed with coming back in shape and proving people that I belonged. I came back at 215 pounds. Everyone thought they saw a new person. But I was still second on the depth chart at the power forward position. Within the first month of practice, I earned the chance to be with the starting rotation. I ended up starting my whole sophomore season. A coach that would be very influential in helping me become better is Josh Erickson. He played the previous year and joined the coaching staff when I was a sophomore. He had always been like a big brother towards me and would take time to rebound for me, despite his busy schedule. Josh helped me become a better person and player. I averaged 14 points and 7 rebounds per game, yet people still wondered the next year if I would do better. They said, “Well, the only reason you did good this year is because no one knew who you were last year. People are gonna gameplan against you, and you probably won’t score that much.” Even a coach on our own coaching staff said, “You’re not gonna be Cam. (who led our league in points and rebounds). You’re not gonna score that much.” Those words only motivated me more.

I knew I need to work harder than the previous summer, so I started to work out with Matt Espinoza (Noza) of Dynamic Performance Development. He took my game to new heights and he taught me to be better every day I get in the gym. The next season at Willamette University, I averaged 20 points and 8 rebounds per game. Despite being second in the league in points and rebounds, I was selected as Second Team all-conference. The thought of become a First Team player made me work harder the offseason between my junior and senior year. I worked out with Noza about 3 times a week in the spring and had my usual workout in the summer (individual workouts at my high school in the morning, then lift, and sand workouts). I came back early in the summer to have a 3 week “grind session” with Noza and Jordan Carter, who will go on to score more than 2,000 points at Corban College. The schedule: 8 am, stairs at the stadium for about an hour then at 9 am was lifting for an hour and half. There was a break from 1030am-4pm then at 4pm we would do individual workouts for an hour. That was Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday, we did a leg circuit for 45 minutes. It was weights and plyometrics. We would also do hills, sprints, and play open gyms.

I regularly threw up while working out with Noza because of the way I pushing my body to its peak. So by the time school started, I was already more in shape then everyone else. Noza and I continued working out throughout the year. Our team did not have that much success but I kept pushing and trying to be the best captain that I could be to be a good leader. It would be a season with no sleep and a lot of anxiety. I averaged 18 points and 8.5 rebounds per game yet was chosen as Honorable Mention. It was a big disappointment and from my eyes, I failed. I realized that this season was not for me to succeed personally in my senior year, but to bring along the younger guys to build the foundation of Willamette basketball. I made a positive out of a negative and I treated the freshman and sophomores on the team better than I was treated as a young player. I felt like I left the basketball team better than when I got there. My new focus was towards my next adventure: collegiate coaching.

I wanted to be a Division I graduate assistant and it would be a long spring to find out where I would actually go. People thought I was crazy because they mistook my wild intensity to the game with the thought of me being crazy and too volatile to coach. Again, had to prove people wrong. Various coaches and players said, “Division I Grad Assistant from a Division III school? I don’t think you can do it.” I laughed at the notion of someone saying that I couldn’t pursue my passion because they thought it was too hard or I wasn’t worthy enough to coach at the Division I level. In my mind, it was crazy to just “find a job so I can make money”, which was the plans for most of my friends that were graduating from college. I wanted to wake up everyday and love what I was doing. I didn’t want to have a back up plan. I wanted to take a risk and jump in with two feet into coaching with a slim to small chance that someone would hire me as a GA. I sent out about 200 emails with resumes to every Division I college on the west coast. I got 3 responses. One was a coach at UC-Davis who was trying to fill a spot quickly but couldn’t guarantee me that they could get me into their Master’s program. Another was from my home state at the University of Hawaii. And the third was from the Eastern Washington University (head coach Jim Hayford was previously a coach in my league at Whitworth University). It came down to Eastern Washington University because Coach Hayford responded to every one of my emails within the hour and I thought that if he took the time out of his day to email a DIII player back in the middle of his busy season, then he must be a man of character. Coach Hayford gave me a shot and I couldn’t be more thankful to the man.

I’m three weeks into the job. I don’t get a lot of sleep and work long hours, but I am enthralled to wake up everyday and go to the basketball office. Coaching basketball? I can’t believe people call this work. I am a Division I GA and my next goal after I get my Master’s is to be an assistant Division I coach by the time I’m 28. My ultimate dream is to be a Division I head coach. People say, “Well it’s a tough business to get into and stay in.” People think I’m crazy. That seems to be a theme of my journey.

My challenge to you is dream BIG and find a way to accomplish your dreams. You only have one life to live; why not live it with waking up everyday ecstatic about starting your day. Don’t settle for a life that is smaller than the one your are capable of living. Out work everyone and be good to people, in return they will be good to you. The rest will take care of itself. And remember: nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks.

In His Words: The Transformation of Kevin Turner

Kevin Turner...Then and NowThe following is a guest post from Kevin Turner. Keven has battled issues with his health and fitness for much of his adult life. He recently committed to a healthy lifestyle and has not looked back. What he has accomplished is the product of developing habits that fit his lifestyle. If you are inspired by what he has done, then click here to develop YOUR path to a transformation. ----------------------------------------------------------------------

“In a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.”

-Warren Buffett

A year ago I felt trapped. I couldn’t exactly tell you how or why I was trapped, but I knew for certain I was trapped. Whenever these thoughts would creep into my mind, I did my best to ignore them and focus on something else. But, these feelings were a legitimate warning sign. Much like the “check engine” light on your car, my feelings of being trapped were telling me that there was a problem. As I look at it now, I can see clearly what the problem was, but at the time, inside the situation, everything seemed so overwhelming. Now, I understand that most of what I’m going to be saying in this post, people will believe is just positive thinking nonsense, but my hope is that a few won’t. A few will see there is value to a shifting mindset and will work to begin improving their lives as I have. But first, a little backstory.

For much of my adult life, I have known about nutrition, but done nothing about it. I lived like there were no consequences for my eating choices and lack of exercise. When I was a kid, that was how I acted. All of my summer meals were either usually, macaroni and cheese with hot dogs, hot pockets, or top ramen. I would wash down these tasty treats with 4-6 sodas/day. But, I was young and active so I didn’t reap too much of the consequences. The problem was, I never established healthy eating habits, so when I got older I still ate like a kid, with massive health consequences. I was never in great shape, but no one would say I was fat in high school. But, once I got into college, yikes!

The term “freshman fifteen” is thrown around in a joking way, to explain the weight gain almost all college freshmen have in that first year. This term makes it easier for people to rationalize putting on weight in college because “everyone is doing it, it’s the freshman fifteen”. And, the dorm food you get is no help. Sure there is a salad bar and most of the time they offer a veggie (and this includes corn and beans, both not veggies). But, who wants a salad, when you can have pasta, pizza, and burgers? Also, many college students drink excessive amounts of alcohol, get too little sleep, have too much stress, and generally don’t care for themselves like they should. My main vice was food. I loved late night pizza runs. I was a big fan of seconds at the dining hall (no seconds on salad, or firsts for that matter). And during finals week, I was a huge fan of the late night dining hall hours that would allow me to get donuts, burgers, and soda after midnight. The weight I gained in this year 1997, is still causing me problems in 2012. And, each year it got worse.

I could see there was a problem, so I would get inspired and decide I was going to make a change. I would read a book, or see a speaker, or listen to a friend and I was gung-ho to get in shape. The only problem was, I wasn’t committed to a lifestyle change. The key to changing my fitness level was changing my diet, I was just never willing to do that. So, I would workout hard for between a week and a few months, and then give up because I wasn’t seeing the results I had hoped for. Each successive failure reinforced that I had no willpower and was too weak to change. I felt defeated and embarrassed, and continued in my unhealthy ways. And, as I started coaching basketball, and my life got busier, I had plenty of excuses for my poor food choices and lack of exercise. Each year for the last 4 years, I have put on an average of about 13 pounds a year. That’s 54 pounds! It’s crazy for me to think now, and people’s jaws usually hit the floor when I tell them at my heaviest I weighed myself I was 317 pounds. I was heavier than that, but at that point, I was too afraid to see what the scale said. If I was 6’10”, this wouldn’t be such a huge deal, but I’m 5’9” on a good day in shoes, so 317 means I resembled the mayor of munchkinland (I was basically a bowling ball). Even though I knew I was unhealthy, I was afraid to go to the doctor, and I made no attempt to change my habit because, remember, I had tried that already and failed. As I talk to people, I see that this is a common theme for many people trying to lose weight, but yet very few people talk about it.

Weight is a sensitive issue. It is not something people feel comfortable talking about, so it is almost a taboo topic. However, this is detrimental. When I was 317 pounds, I wish someone had of confronted me on my unhealthy ways, but everyone around me was being “polite”. However, it actually seems pretty impolite to watch as people you care about slowly kill themselves. So, I’m trying to talk about it honestly and put it all out there. Hopefully, that doesn’t offend anyone, I just want people to know that change is possible, and that anyone can do it. I was the king of the self-defeaters. I was like a horse with my self-defeating blinders on. Any message of hope was forced to pass through my skeptical lens and often rejected because, “I had heard it before, and I just can’t change.” Kevin getting savage in his house So, I lived at over 300 pounds for probably two years. I had to suck in my gut to fasten the seatbelt on the airplane to avoid “the fat guy” extension. I shopped for my pants in the “portly” section (true story). And, I always tried to pick the bigger side of restaurant booths to avoid the embarrassment of not being able to fit in the booth (which happened on more than one occasion). You would think with all of this, I would have been inspired to change, but I wasn’t. I instead focused on avoiding the problem and not thinking about it, because thinking about it caused that “check engine” light to go off again. Because of my size, I rarely went out, never dated, and spent nearly all of my free time in front of the TV. I’m not exaggerating when I say most weekends I would spend 10-12 hours a day in front of the TV. That is really embarrassing, but I know I’m not the only one that is like this. When you don’t want to go out, your options are limited. I remember how lonely and depressing this was, so I want to get it out there that people can change from that situation. I don’t want people to get the wrong impression, I didn’t feel like a depressed troll locked up in a basement feeling bad for myself, and eating Doritos. I was still functioning at a fairly high level at my job, and most people would probably say I was funny and nice, but I knew that in reality I was stuck in a rut. And yet, I did nothing about it.

That all changed in December of 2011. I’m not even exactly sure why. I decided things were going to be different, but it wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution, I didn’t think of that until I had already started. It just sort of happened. I know that there are specific things that helped that I will mention in a second, but the actual cause for me to decide to take action is still unknown to me. The three most important steps I took in my lifestyle transformation are listed below. I hope they will help other weary travelers on their weight loss journey to find their way.

1. Surround Yourself with Positive People. Once I started losing weight, I knew I was going to need help. I wanted other people who were working on achieving goals to start meeting once a week so we could encourage each other to stay on track. So, I talked to a few friends and within a week I was meeting with a friend who had started his own business supporting thirst relief in Africa and South America, Matt who was running his successful personal training business, and others pushing themselves. This was huge. Hearing their successes and sharing my own created a really positive dynamic that pushed me more than I could have without them. Create this “inner circle” immediately.

2. Make It Public. The beginning of any habit change is the most difficult part and requires the most energy. Once your new behavior becomes a habit, it is much easier to sustain. So, in the first few weeks, making a contract on really helped keep me accountable. The short version is, if I didn’t meet my weekly weight loss goal I was going to donate $15 dollars to charity. So, it was easy to think when I was tempted to spend 10 dollars on fast food that that meal could actually cost me $25. This really helped me, the king of no willpower, to resist temptation early on. Find a system that works and use it. There must be real consequences attached to it. There is no other way.

3. Focus on the Journey, Not the Destination. When I first started, I weighed 289.5.lbs. I wanted to get to 185lbs. I remember when I told people that was my goal, they looked at me like I was crazy. That’s okay, I knew I had to focus on the process and the results would take care of themselves. Now this is not to say that I didn’t get overwhelmed from time to time, because I did. I would take my eyes off of the little changes I was making daily and think about how much more I still had to go. The best thing I have found is to celebrate the weekly victories. If I lost 2 or more pounds for the week, I would focus on the fact that I was headed in the right direction. Sometimes I would find myself saying, “Three pounds?! That’s it! I’m trying to lose over 100, this is just too slow.” That kind of negative thinking is what helped to sabotage me in the past. When this came up, I would talk to one of my “inner circle” and they would help me get refocused on what matters. I am not all the way there yet. I am about 65 pounds into my journey, with about another 40 to go. Again, I try not to focus on the destination, I just worry about making daily choices that support my goals. I still screw up a lot, but that’s all part of the process. I have learned not to beat myself up as much, and focus on the great things that are happening in my life.

The weight loss has helped to spark changes for the better in other areas of my life as well. If you can relate to how I felt, leave a comment on this blog or head to my blog at and get in contact with me. I’d love to exchange emails and see if I could be a source of encouragement. I adopted a motto once I started my lifestyle transformation as a reminder of what I’m hoping to achieve, every day getting better. Every day, I just want to improve, even if it’s just a little bit. EVERY DAY GETTING BETTER