Trust Your Heart

Warriors!

Often in life we are faced with struggles, they come in all shapes and sizes. I was raised to always look for the positives, to always know that everything happens for a reason, and that the hardest battles are always meant for the strongest warriors.

Your strength isn’t determined by how big your biceps are or how much you can deadlift; it’s about heart. So how do you measure the size of your heart? Simple, look at where you pour it into, your relationships, your work, your training?

If you put everything you got, into everything you do then you’ll never leave anything behind.

Even if you fail spectacularly and come crashing to the ground you have to remember to get back up. Failure is a part of life, it’s how we grow, it’s how we know to set our limits and then how to exceed them. However, true failure is when you get knocked down and stay down, that’s when everything starts to pile up and the odds seem insurmountable.

No matter how big or small the failure is you have to understand there is ALWAYS a silver lining there. Even if the goal is to strike gold and you miss, but you hit silver instead you should still be incredible happy you hit SOMETHING.

SOMETHING is always better than NOTHING

Take my recent experience

I was invited to go present at a local university, I was so excited for the opportunity and worked tirelessly putting together a great presentation to talk about how being involved in the community and the influence of charitable work will help shape you as a person. The DAY OF the presentation I had actually switched a slide out because I had heard about an incredible professor going out of their way to help hurricane relief out in a very unique way.

I had studied my note cards

I knew exactly what I was going to say and how to say it

I showed up and was taken back by the setup at first, but still viewed the opportunity for what it was. As I waited anxiously for the seats to fill I saw the clock ticking away and for a moment I was disheartened. I could count the number of people in attendance on one hand, but I knew what the task at hand was so I proceeded as I planned and practiced.

Every slide that passed I only became more passionate and more fired up because I was pouring my heart out, putting everything in, and leaving no stone unturned.

Finally, after all was said and done I took a breath

In my head I said to myself “If one person walks away with 1 thing it’ll be worth it,” and that’s exactly what happened. He [Brian] said he was looking to get into volunteering with a local big brother/big sister program and after hearing my talk, and the organization itself [Big Brother/Big Sister] being there he knew it was a sign and thanked me.

Then a young woman came up to me from the crowd, she was a member of a community service Greek Organization on campus. She emphatically agreed with me how important it is to give back and gave me a list of things she had helped do. We exchanged cards and she had hoped to pass my information to the future members of her greek to have my come speak to their whole chapter.

Then it happened…

There was a young woman outside the curtain, but had listened to the last 15 minutes of it. She immediately told me she was disappointed she didn’t get to hear the entire thing, but she then introduced herself and told me what she was a part of.

“I am an executive officer on our Pre-Veterinary Club here at Delaware Valley University as well as the National Vice President of the American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association. Both organizations are teaming up to host a Northeastern Regional Pre-Veterinary Symposium for 300 undergraduate college students from different universities

I discussed your motivational lectures with my fellow executive board members and they agreed that you would be a great asset to have as our Keynote speaker for our Friday night dinner! Hopefully, if we sell out of all of our openings, we will be expecting around 350-375 people for the dinner!”

Never in my life would I have imagined I would be invited to such an event let alone be called a Keynote Speaker, but that’s not all, they invited me to their meet and greet sessions the following day!

Needless to say I accepted the OPPORTUNITY and could not thank her enough for extending the invitation my way.

Things happen for a reason…Even though I only presented to 5 (including my own mother) and was frustrated at first there truly was a silver lining that led me to strike GOLD.

The morale of the story, stay positive, trust the process, and most of all trust where your heart leads you.

 

5 Laws Of Irrefutable Teamwork

Warriors!

I felt the URGENCY to share yet another incredible experience that I had the honor to take part in over this past weekend.

If there is anything that you learn from this article let it be this…The Obstacle IS The Path!

Over this past weekend I participated in my first Spartan Sprint, but I didn’t embark on this journey alone, I stood shoulder to shoulder with 24 of my fellow warriors and even picked up an additional lone warrior along the way.

Some teams entered to compete

Some entered for glory

Others entered to face their fears

We entered the home of the Philadelphia Phillies – Citizens Bank Park; we were armed to the teeth in Black and Gold like an Army ready to take the field and burn every single boat. img_2429

Everyone who saw us said 1 of 3 things “What the $@*&,” “You guys are serious,” and “Who are you guys?!” We may not have shown up to compete, we may not have shown up for glory, but we SHOWED UP.

The race was outside every single person’s comfort zone and as we took the starting line we all knew that we’d go farther TOGETHER than any of us would alone. Although only “15,” of us could start before the next wave let out, we waited, and we met every single obstacle together. img_2428

We had all waited for the moment for months and our opportunity was finally here, it was time, it was OUR TIME. We made our way through the Phillies locker room first to do a series of a push ups, then some stairs back to the main concourse, and then the first big obstacle, a cargo net triangle with NO SAFETY NET. As each of us made it over you could hear some people saying “This is scary, I don’t know what to do.” which brings us our first major law.

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1st Law Of Teamwork – Communication

You can’t climb the corporate ladder by yourself, you can’t get a varsity letter if you’re not on a team, and you most certainly can’t be an effective coworker if you can’t TALK to one another. If someone tells you they’re scared, listen to them, and tell them that you are right there with them. Ask them what you can do for them to make things a little less scary, that may be the little thing they need to get through any obstacle.

After the cargo net we made our way up the stadium’s ramp, level by level we crawled our way to the top section of seats. We faced weighted jump ropes, weighted pull downs, and then the stairs began.

2nd Law Of Teamwork – Have Fun Together

When times are at its toughest and you seem like you’re up to your neck in mud start singing Britney Spears, someone is bound to start singing with you. There will be moments in your life when you feel like you’re drowning; moments when you feel like the weight of the world is crushing you. Life will always have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but when you have support from a family, team, or loved ones they will always try to make you smile and make it a little less bearable.

 

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In what seemed like the most monotonous serpentine patterns we zigged and zagged, up and down the ENTIRE nosebleed section of the stadium. There were points where we had to carry a heavy sandbag and other times we had to carry what seemed like 30lbs of sloshing water through a giant canteen.

3rd Law of Teamwork – Share the Load

Teams are always composed of a number of individuals, each person may have a strength and each may have a different weakness. Someone on your team may be great with computers while someone else has no idea how to even take a screenshot. If you know you’re weak in an area ASK FOR HELP, you’ll not only learn something about yourself, but those around you.

Just like a set of bowling pins our team knocked each of these obstacles out one by one.

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4th Law of Teamwork – Bend the Knee

When an obstacle stands in your path most times the obstacle IS the Path! Just because there is an 8 foot wall staring you down doesn’t mean you go around, you bend the knee. One of the promises I made to our team was I would be the first person to the obstacle and the LAST person to go over it; especially at the walls which I kept calling hurdles because it’s all they were.

I put my back against the wall, bent a knee, and let everyone step ON me so they could get over said obstacle.

After 24 different pairs of feet stepped on my thigh and in some cases my back I finally made my way over. When you commit to serve others you are doing a service for them as much as yourself. A good leader should always be willing to bend the knee in order to further the success of the team.

“If you want to go fast; go alone, if you want to go far; go together” – African Proverb

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5th Law of Teamwork – COOPERATE

Don’t just be a group of individuals; be a group of unified individuals.

If you want to work together as a team you have to learn to cooperate with each other, not compete against each other. Yes, friendly competition is healthy once in a while, but it doesn’t have to be like the typical kid jumping up and down on a diving board saying “MOM LOOK AT ME! MOM LOOK! MOM LOOK!”

People will notice how you dress alike

People will notice how you act around each other

People will notice how you smile

People will notice how you are willing to help

Make cooperation a higher a higher moral value than a competition

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As we approached home plate we huddled around one another, we told each other how proud we were of one another, and then I told everyone “when you cross that finish line, put your hands straight up over your head because you did it, you ARE victorious, you are WINNERS, and you DESERVE THIS.”

We had done it

We had come together even more in the weeks leading up to it and after 1 hour 45 minutes, it was over. There were hugs, high fives, and even some tears, but we did it TOGETHER.

Together we told each other it would be ok, we smiled and laughed as often as we could, when someone struggled someone else showed grit, when someone said they couldn’t another got down to help them get up, and together we worked FOR each other; not against.

 

Back to School

Warriors!

Do you remember what it was like the week before school started? The excitement of back to school shopping, getting new clothes, the haircut, and especially getting your class schedule. That one piece of paper set the tone for your entire day! That one little sheet of paper would tell you if you were going to have the hardest teachers or last period lunch.

and that was just high school!

How about your first day of college? The sense of being on your own, not having to get up at 6am to get ready to wait for the bus, the fact that you could pick and choose whatever classes you wanted, even in some cases give yourself a “snow day” although it was most likely 75 degree on a spring day?

Going back to school was/is probably one of my favorite and most memorable experiences growing up.

I say IS because last week I was invited BACK TO SCHOOL at my alma mater to present to 70+ students at Delaware Valley University. I was asked to come speak to two different classes ranging from freshman-seniors,small animal science-zoology majors; students across all demographics.

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Obviously, when I was approached to come speak I immediately jumped at the opportunity and prepared for the speech to the best of my abilities. As I as I was coming up with my topics I thought “I came here for Criminal Justice, what am I going to say to a group of future veterinarians!” You would think that there was no common ground to stand on, but I thought long and hard in to the past for this one.

There was no fear that crept into my mind only subtle thoughts from old friends and past discussions that I had heard them talk about…really they were complaining which always came in 1 of 3 comments Continue reading → Back to School

Standards and Practices

Warriors!

As we all know goals are a huge part of what will keep you successful while keeping your eye on the prize. The same ideology can be said about exercise and training and for the last few months I have been TRAINING for my first powerlifting meet. Training implies that you are focused on a single event/day and have to meet a certain level of standards for that day.

Powerlifting is ALL ABOUT STANDARDS

As soon as I walked into the hosting facility there were repsentatives from USPL directing traffic. They were all dressed in matching blazers, introduced themselves, and pointing you in the direction you needed to go. 

First, it was time to check in and get your gear checked. You place everything on the table from your weightlifting belt all the way to the socks you’ll be wearing (in some cases your briefs too!)) 

After You get the all clear it’s time to weigh in

Some competitors (like myself) were casually waiting while others were frantically chewing gum, spitting in a trash can, or engaging in other methods of cutting as much weight as possible before stepping on the scale.

Now for those who are unfamiliar with this world here are a few quick guidelines:

  • There are 3 lifts: Squat, Bench, and Deadlift
  • There are several federations that you can participate in
  • You must listen to the judges lift cues
  • Each one has its own series of rules and regulations
  • Competitions are also broken down into RAW or GEARED
    • RAW – Is only using equipment like a singlet, chucks, wrist wraps, and a belt
    • GEARED – Is wearing a compression suit or sleeves that allows you to lift more weight
  • There are weight classes for Juniors, Open, and Masters all with their own age brackets as well

So here’s how it works

During each lift you have 3 judges who are keeping a VERY watchful eye on your technique and each judge has a switch tied to two different colored lights, one white and one red. The goal is to obtain 3 white lights, if you get 2 white the lift will still count, but one judge saw something that wasn’t to the standard. If the judges decide to give you 2 or more red lights it’s a “No lift,” and the weight doesn’t go towards your total.

So you have 3 lifts and 3 attempts at each lift

So you are essentially training for 2-3 months for 9 lifts…

Now I have always considered myself a strong guy and had a good understanding of weightlifting/training in general. I also knew that being 5’8 would grant me huge advantages in lifting due to the decrease of levers within the body.

…7 Hours later… Continue reading → Standards and Practices

“This is just the beginning of my story” – Dan’s Transformation

Imagine if you had taken a different turn in your life that would’ve placed you on a different path with different values, goals, and even your social situation. If you had made a different choice you may not know the people you know and you might have ended up a completely different person!

Everything happens for a reason, right?

When I first opened up TFW Doylestown I was running the program out of the Plumsteadville Firehouse Banquet Hall. There was barely any equipment and there were barely any people, BUT there was one particular individual who came in with his mom in the beginning. Continue reading → “This is just the beginning of my story” – Dan’s Transformation

“Do What Makes You Happy” – Paige’s Transformation Story

Ever find yourself scrolling mercilessly thru your Facebook feed?

Most of the time you don’t even look for anything particular and then BAM! funny cat video or BOOM! Mouth watering delicious food, but you know that you can’t even boil water.

9/10 Times that’s how everyone approaches social media, you’ll “like” something here and there, but it takes something extra special to catch your eye. Something that is just screaming LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! Well that was the case in Paige’s situation Continue reading → “Do What Makes You Happy” – Paige’s Transformation Story

“The Best Decision I Ever Made” – Ted’s Transformation Story

When things don’t go your way you get bitter, getting bitter leads to getting frustrated, and then what? Do you let your frustrations lead to worse feelings?

You COULD let yourself feel like that

OR

You use those feelings in your heart to push forward, you stay in your lane, and keep your eyes

When you mix determination and passion you get grit.

For the last year Ted has had his fair share of frustrations and setbacks, but those only set him up for his greatest comeback. He has STRUGGLED with his weight for years yo-yoing from 240lbs  to 310lbs, back and forth, up and down.

At His Wit’s End…

“I knew if I kept going down this route I was not going to be around to see Colin (his son) graduate high school.”

He Tried EVERYTHING

Commercial Gyms, Trendy diets, Cross Fit, and Isagenix to name a few

“All had good temporary results but were not sustainable.”

Finally, I decided to walk through the door at TFW.

Something about it spoke to me physically and emotionally that I didn’t hesitate to commit for a full year knowing if I was paying, I would show up.

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Continue reading → “The Best Decision I Ever Made” – Ted’s Transformation Story

“This Was My Opportunity” – Mike’s Transformation Story

When Mike first walked into our dojo it almost 7 Months Ago at a charity event for a young boy named Nicholas.

Read More About Nicholas Here >>

He walked in with his wife (whom is close to Nicholas and his family) bringing raffle baskets and other assorted treats to help raise money.

Mike was wearing jeans and the most epic ugly sweater ever.

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Mike and his son Brandon

He wasn’t coming to participate in the event, but was there to support it the best he could. Continue reading → “This Was My Opportunity” – Mike’s Transformation Story

Take Charge, Take Ownership, Take Back Your Life

2 years ago this woman comes walking in through our doors and tells me she’s been in dance for 15 years of her life and not just any dance; a ballerina.

One of the first things she tells me is she wants to “put on weight and feel healthy,” and I immediately smiled at her, asked her what her goals were, and knew at that point there was something special about this woman.

Jen H Before Front

Immediately most people would have said “Oh you look great,” or “Oh you’re one of THOSE that want to put weight on,” but it’s not about what other people say, its about what YOU feel.

The common misconception most women believe is that lifting weight will make you “bulky.” 2 years later Jen is the opposite of bulky and has embraced the concept that “strong is the new sexy.” When she first came in she knew that these were the first steps to her own healing process. She knew that after a few weeks it was MORE than a fitness program, it was a family, a place she could go when she needed it most.

This is her story.

 

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How To Conquer Your Fitness-Phobia

In a physical therapists office, a long time ago (somewhere in Jersey)…

I was facing one of the hardest battles of my life, trying to bend a knee 90 degrees after ACL surgery 2 weeks prior. Like most people coming back from surgery physical therapy is pretty routine, but what most don’t realize is its pretty difficult. Your muscle, ligament, bone, organ, whatever procedure you had, it makes no difference your body was put through a traumatic experience.

Trauma can cause FEAR

As we all know FEAR can mean two things “Forget Everything And Run,” or “Face Everything And Rise”

There was a time I was afraid of fitness, like you

There was a time I was afraid of exercise, like you

I was 270lbs and I was AFRAID of experiencing all those negative feelings. The initial tear, the fact my knee would blow out at the drop of a hat, the struggle of going up stairs, and my biggest fear, falling again. I’ll never forget when I slipped getting into the shower post surgery and practically broke down in the fetal position, all those feelings surged back through my body in an instant. Continue reading → How To Conquer Your Fitness-Phobia