Lesley Paterson – the rest of the story

Credit: Inside Triathlon Magazine

INTRODUCTION:

XTERRA World Championships 2011

Lesley could feel her heart pulsating and her  lungs  forcefully inhaling  while  stomping on her pedals and throwing her weight from left to right just as she had planned.  Just two miles into the bike leg she peaked  back and with her passionate Scottish accent, in fury, she screamed  “Oh f*ck it!”  Lesley didn’t apologize for those words then or now, all five feet of her. On one side  she’s  approachable, loving, and funny but  when that cannon fires she turns into someone or something else,  like a starving lion pursuing its prey in order to survive..  As you can imagine in most races she leaves a trail of carnage on her way to victory and after she crosses the finish line before anyone else , she transforms back into that approachable, loving and funny person again that we all love and know as Lesley Paterson, two time XTERRA World Champion.  

Only this year was different, there she was, at the XTERRA World Championships in perfect position out of the water.  She had executed her transition with surgical precision and now just two miles into the bike her front tire was punctured and  “oh f*ck it” came roaring out of her  verbally corrupt mouth,  what a nightmare!  She was done for, dead, put a fork in her.  All the preparation, training, money was out the window.  However, it was something out of her control and we can’t blame her for the flat.  I suppose she could just easily chalk this up to experience and use it as a tool to teach her athletes at Brave Heart. She could tell them that races don’t always go as planned even with the perfect conditions and  mental techniques leading up to a big race, right?

It’s her experiences like the one described above that led her and her husband to write a book called The Brave Athlete.  You probably know Lesley because she is a two time XTERRA World Champion and has also won the ITU Cross World Championships along with a laundry list of other gold finishes.  Now as a coach, Lesley doesn’t just train  your body to reach new peaks,  her husband, Dr. Simon Marshall,  utilizes the perfect training algorithm for your brain giving your mind and body the complete package.

simon and lesley

I read  The Brave Athlete and it delivered on everything regarding the mental side of sport that you can apply to everyday life, training, and racing.  It was the  huge bonus I was searching for  written by an XTERRA professional.  Dr. Simon Marshall takes the daunting task of describing our complex brains into three simplified categories:  the chimp, the professor, and the computer. They describe the brain in such a way that you can immediately see how each component is impacting your life, your training, and your racing and then take immediate action to adjust and become better.  Whether you are a rookie or a seasoned pro you should buy a copy or listen through audible if you are: new to racing, someone who loves racing, you want a breakthrough this season, and of course, the rest of the story.

NEW TO RACING

If you are new to racing, The Brave Athlete will give you tips and tricks to help you train smarter.  Lesley and Simon give practical tips such as tapping your fingers or counting at different cadences to take your mind off the pain and suffering.  They also give you the best preparation with processes to remain calm and not forget anything on race day.  It’s loaded with tips and tricks that you won’t want to miss and will put you at ease when the big day finally arrives.

Lesley, why should someone try out an XTERRA race?

XTERRA is kind of like family.  Other forms of triathlon are elitists, and they can judge, and they have all the gear but they don’t offer the support of each other like XTERRA. In XTERRA, you aren’t racing against the clock but the terrain.  XTERRA trail run series are a great place to start and will show you what being off-road is all about.

SOMEONE WHO LOVES RACING

If you love to race, you probably take your sport  seriously.  You are a dedicated athlete and some people might think you may be addicted to training but how do you know if you are?   Simon and Lesley help you decipher if you might have a problem.  They also walk through image issues which is very important, and more common than you know, for men, women, boys, and girls alike.  For both of these scenarios they walk you through how to communicate with your friends and family to help them on their journey if you think they might also have image issues.  In addition, they will help you train your brain so that you do not sabotage all of your hard work on race day.  They can help you  confront anxiety, jitters and give you a process to deal with it because they have been there in that moment and have overcome.

Lesley, what is your favorite memory of sport(s) (not including a World Championship)?

A memory from Rugby.  I played along side the grandson of legendary rugby commentator Bill McLaren and we would hear him on the tele all the time.  We won a particular tournament and Bill gave us our gold medals and I slept with it under my pillow for 6 months.  I was only about 9 but it meant so much coming from him.

YOU WANT A BREAKOUT SEASON

The Brave Athlete book was written to create a more holistic athlete.  They want you to succeed and have your best season yet mentally and physically.  They walk you through what racing is really all about and the psychology of racing and how you can use racing in your life to become a better person.  This book will only make you a better person and racer.  Lesley had to break out and she walks through that incredible process and the tools that Simon gave her to stay on top.

Lesley, your coaching marries the physical and mental side together.  How does that work since you are “LITERALLY” married to the scientist?

A lot of our dinner conversations are about our athletes.  How we can make them better when we put my experience and his science together.  I can understand the fears and the setbacks of an athlete because I am one.  I have also coached over 300 athletes and have a rolodex of past doctors, coaches, physiologists that I can connect with that I know or have used in the past.  Simon comes to the table with science and can know what is going  on with the athlete and prescribe ways to overcome obstacles.  We play off each other by giving our athletes  workouts that are both physically and mentally focused and they won’t even know it!  No one person or coach has all the answers so we are continually learning from each other and our athletes.

THE REST OF THE STORY

Getting a flat wasn’t ideal especially at the XTERRA World Championships but here is THE REST OF THE STORY. Lesley hopped off her bike and watched the leader pull ahead and others pass her as she grabbed her CO2 cartridge and tried to repair her tire.  She got back on the bike and with every ounce of strength she pedaled harder than  ever before but just one mile later it went flat again.  She hopped off and with her last CO2 cartridge she tried to fill it up.  Determined not to give up, she pressed on and fought through the bike and flew into transition six and a half  minutes behind the leader.  She would need somehow find a way to run a full minute faster per mile to even have a chance but she wasn’t giving up.  She started out on the run and Simon from the side of transition yelled on the top of his lungs.  She started passing other PROS and  with 1.5 miles left on the course she saw the leader and locked in like a fighter jet and made up her mind that she was going to make the pass.  She dug deep and caught the leader.  There was no one left behind her, she came across the finish line and had just run the fastest paced run in a race of her career.  She was the 2011 XTERRA World Champion!

2011 XTERRA World Champion
Lesley Paterson after winning the 2011 XTERRA World Championship

CONCLUSION:

Lesley knows how to win because she has won in some of the most unique ways.  Simon gave her the tools so that her chimp brain would emerge, her professor brain help her execute, and he made sure there were no viruses on her computer brain.  Even after those two flats she could go back to coach at BraveHeart and teach her athletes  that races don’t always go as planned but if you’re prepared for all surprises good and bad, you can emerge as a Champion!  So get prepared for this season for the good and bad surprises and pick up or listen to The Brave Athlete today or take the smog test on their website and get a phone call directly from Lesley to review your results together (try it here).

Marcus Barton – the rest of the story

With his eyes closed, he pretended that the sounds he was hearing were that of an airplane. The sounds of airplanes always gave him a sense of peace, probably because he had served in one of the most powerful Air Forces in the world. He knew those sounds were there to serve and protect him, whether he was in Panama during the Noriega event or at USSTRATCOM (the folks in charge of the nukes). Those sounds would make him certain of the future, but today he couldn’t shake it; he knew it wasn’t an airplane vibrating his ear drum. He squeezed his eyes a bit tighter, hoping it would help get him to a happy place. He thought of memories of his three perfect children or his best friend, his beautiful wife. He thought of summer days: him, his dog, and his truck cruising around town, windows down, Jack Johnson on the radio, and the smell of fresh cut grass in the air. No matter what memory he tried to recall, he couldn’t shake it.

air tran specialist.jpg
United States Air Force Air Tran Specialist

He opened his eyes and was brought back to reality. He saw and smelled white, sterile, stale plastic. He was lodged deep inside of what looked like a donut, which at the time was one of his favorite foods. He was laying lifeless, on his back inside of a CAT scan for the third time in 90 days. Helpless, a position and word that didn’t exist to him. He wasn’t comfortable inside this tomb-like technology, but his comfortable lifestyle is what landed him in it. You may even know that lifestyle.

You’re a nice, outgoing person. A good neighbor. You’re a good employee. You set resolutions each year that seem to disappear a bit faster than you’d like, but at least you try. You have a nice house and car, but you took down the white picket fence because your life is not perfect; it’s better defined as comfortable.

The guy laying inside that CAT scan, 40 lbs overweight, staring at the white plastic was the epitome of comfortable just 3 months ago; before this strange illness popped up. His favorite question at night to himself each was, “which flavor of ice cream will I have tonight?” Now, the question he was asking each night before he closed his eyes was, “am I dying?”

This stuff isn’t supposed to happen to nice people like him. He was in the CAT scan, because the doctors were looking for cancer. Certainly, he didn’t want them to find any, but if they did, he wants it to be early on. If the scans came back clear, he promised to make some changes, but promises are always broken. He didn’t need to make any promises; he needed to make it a necessity. A necessity for his wife, his kids, his dogs, and his friends. His friends that he had at that time, and the friends he had yet to meet.

The scans came back clear. Phew, but why in the world did this happen? A question that science may never prove, but maybe it happened just so that he would make the world a better place!

His three months of uncertainty weren’t a dream like George Bailey’s in It’s a Wonderful Life. No ghosts visited him like Scrooge from A Christmas Carol. This guy lived 90 days with the the grim reaper at his front door. His life had an eviction notice with his name on it.

With a clean test result, he had a new lease on life; he was determined to never look back and start exercising and eating better!

Sure, we have all heard that story from a friend with the best of intentions to make a dramatic change, but we roll our eyes and wonder how long their passion to live a better, healthier life will last.

Just like this guy, you watch your friend start working out six days week. For him, it was three days of cardio and three days of strenth training.

But this friend of ours, in six months, lost that 40 pounds. While on a trail run with a friend, his life and our life would be forever changed because we get to live better lives because of the man we call Mr. XTERRA, race director, multiple time XTERRA overall champion, ambassador, friend, brother, son, father, husband and most importantly, Marcus Barton.

Ö till Ö 2015, Foto: JakobEdholm.com
Ö till Ö 2015, Foto: JakobEdholm.com

THE REST OF THE STORY-

While on that trail run, 40 pounds lighter, his friend asked him if he had ever done a triathlon. Of course, he hadn’t, but he thought it would keep him motivated to stay in shape. That triathlon was called XTERRA, which is a style of triathlon that consists of an open water swim, and off-road bike, and an off-road run. At the time, he didn’t even own a mountain bike, but he believed it wasn’t about resources; it was about being resourceful. So, he picked one up for $50 at a garage sale. The rest is history as a decade has pasted since his first XTERRA race!

Marcus, why have you stuck with XTERRA for the last 10 years?

“Because road triathlons, in my opinion, are so boring. There’s so much variety in the different XTERRA venues and some beautiful countryside. My favorite venue I’d have to say is Oak Mountain (Alabama) for three reasons. First, it’s a BLAST of a race course. Second, I am from there, so I get to visit my family. My dad and brother come out to watch and scoot all over the bike course to catch us at numerous places. Lastly, I get to see all the XTERRA staff!”

Marcus isn’t a pro-triathlete, but he expects to perform at his best, and his best is on top of podiums. Just take a look at his results and you just have to laugh. It’s littered with 1st place overall finishes in 2017 at Oak Mountain trail run, XTERRA Fort Yargo Triathlon, XTERRA Panther Creek and if he didn’t finish 1st, he is still on the podium with a 3rd place overall finish at the USAT Off-Road Triathlon Nationals and 21st and top American in his division at the ITU Cross Triathlon WORLD Championships. Certainly, a different position than how we first saw him at the beginning of this article.

Marcus, why does it matter to you to win and perform at your highest level?

“It pushes me to train hard, be a little more regimented with eating and generally stay healthy. For me, it’s a motivator. Even if I don’t win, I want to perform the best that I can. The minute I stop trying to do that, I’ll probably let other things slide and fall out of shape.”

What is your favorite vicory over the years?

“Winning XTERRA Whitewater, which is a race I created and race directed the first two years”

Whitewater is a special place in America and is an Olympic training facility and is also a vacation destination in itself. Marcus has passed the torch since setting up the race. Now he runs the transition clinic the night before the race, which is where you will find him sharing stories, showing transition tips and tricks, and giving out free samples from his sponsors.

While he has sponsors, he has a full time gig like the rest of us. So, when he’s not racing, he’s a top performer at work, which is what indirectly brought him to Charlotte. After the United States Air Force, he made a move into Information Technology. He became a Microsoft Certified Trainer and consultant. Before his current position at Dell, he was recruited by Microsoft to take a job in Charlotte, where he still lives after 18 years. As you can imagine, Marcus doesn’t find himself on the couch much any more.

marcus barton
Marcus Barton XTERRA Credit XTERRA

Marcus, How do you have time for everything? Can you give us a glimpse into a typical week?

“I generally do two-a-days during the week. I’m swimming three days a week in the mornings and doing some other workout in the AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The evenings, I’m usually running or biking. The weekends consist of the longer workouts with running and biking. Every now and then, there’s a brick thrown in. I carry a typical work day on the week days, but I do travel a bit. I cover North Carolina and South Carolina for work, so it’s not uncommon for me to spend several hours a day in the car driving. Some of my longer trips involve overnight stays, so I have to work my training schedule around it. My kids are all in their 20’s, so they’re sort of doing their own thing now and Alba (his wife) supports me by being flexible with my hectic schedule.”

Conclusion:

Because of that 90 day scare, we all know Marcus Barton. He has made our lives better. He has helped people across the country find what they are looking for through XTERRA. He has hoisted trophies like a true champion. He has shared houses in Spain with the likes of Josiah Middaugh, Cody Waite, Rife Hilgartner and Dan Kimball, one of his fondest memories. Marcus Barton playing a practical jokeHe laughs thinking about giving an XTERRA 18 wheeler parking tickets, or taking the cutout of Kahuna Dave’s head, made by the XTERRA staff, at Oak Mountain one year when he couldn’t make it and he toured it all over the southeast (last seen here). He remembers deciding at a lunch, on a whim, to enter a race that was 7 hours away in West Virginia and winning it. He’s a friend to all.

Marcus, the season hasn’t started yet, but who do you think is going to win the XTERRA World Championships in 2018?

“I think Josiah Middaugh is going to kill it. I don’t know why, but I think we’re gonna see a volcano God erupt with him. I think on the women’s side, Duffy will be hard to beat. The waves will be back, as I predict that it will be another wet and sloppy race.”

So if you’re going through an uncertain time, think of Marcus and make some dramatic changes. Let’s all be grateful for the scare and that he defied the odds. Let his lesson, be our lesson and not wait for a scare. Skip the 90 days of uncertainty and just sign up for a race this XTERRA season! You will be glad you did and you can thank Marcus later for all the friends you are going to make this year!

How to use your wife’s essential oils to get lucky this Valentine’s Day!

We have all seen the social media post about Young Living essential oils and how they may or may not cure migraines, possibly assist in fertility, and potentially ease stomach aches. Let me guess, your wife saw someone raised from the dead with a mixture of thieves, frankincense, a splash of lemon oil, myrrh oil, and peppermint oil? We men sit there, shake our heads, roll our eyes. We then turn around, smile, and nod in agreement with our wife’s passion of trying to make the world a better place. But enough is enough.

The common guy, just like me, is a skeptic of these magic ”oils.” When something is to good to be true, it’s usually to good to be true. It’s not that we don’t want to believe our moms, wives, or girlfriends. It’s the fact that the three wise men brought oils to the manger over 2,000 years ago. It’s also the fact that when you explain these magic oils to me you talk about feelings and all I am asking for are facts. Girls, show me some science! Because in my world, depending on the time of year, I am Santa, I am the tooth fairy, and I am the Easter bunny. Let’s get real or let’s not play ladies.

I went on a witch hunt to prove them wrong! So show this to your wife; let’s be done with it and bury this thing for good.

My wife has been using oils for a very long time. In fact, my wife and her sister preach from the mountain tops and I have always kept quiet. So I plan to walk through frequency in food, your body, and oils.

Food has Frequency:

While I thought my wife was a little crazy, I found my own crazy in 2016. I attended a Tony Robbins conference with a bunch of guys from work. His technologies really spoke to me. I was amazed that he didn’t drink alcohol, was a vegan for 18 years, and had more energy and passion than anyone I had ever seen in my life. I wanted what he had, and don’t worry, it wasn’t essential oils. But he spoke of food and frequency and that peaked my interest.

Our bodies are matter and all matter has a frequency. We all give off vibrations. If your body is healthy it will have a frequency of 62-68 MHz. However, Tony seemed to be above this average because of all the energy he had, or maybe he was using some drug to get him into this high octane state.

He talked about how you can increase your body’s frequency by the food you eat. He talked about alkaline water, wheat-grass, fresh deep green produce like kale and broccoli. I was intrigued, but not sold.

Your Body’s Frequency

In March of 2017, I told my wife that I wanted to qualify for the XTERRA World Championship Triathlon in Maui. After she was done laughing on the ground, she said, “If you magically qualify, we will be there to support you, but Jordan remember, don’t be upset if you dont. Remember you have never competed in a triathlon, let alone ridden a mountain bike since we have been married.”

I needed to find a way to train a ton, work, have a family life and not burn out. That’s when I made the resolve to find ways to get more energy naturally. I decided to listen to Tony and start eating more plants and told myself I would be a plant-based athlete for just 30 days and here’s why:

You and I both know that we are not just physical matter. “We are made up of energy – all matter is – and bound together by an energy field. We’re talking atoms, protons, and neutrons. So, everything vibrates with an energy. And, the higher the energy, the higher the frequency. Positive feelings and thoughts evoke a higher frequency vs. negative feelings and thoughts which evoke a lower frequency. Our energy is blocked when we experience negativity, fear, or you guessed it, unhealthy substances. Think about it. When you consume really unhealthy food, alcohol, or drugs, doesn’t your energy feel low, dull or blocked later? This constant negative state can lead to sickness and disease in the body,” says Gina Martini.

What Gina is saying makes sense, because cancer functions at a frequency of 42 MHz. The onset of death has a frequency of 25 MHz. So when you think you could feel death in a room at a hospital. It’s probably because you can.

So that’s when I made the plunge and went to a plant-based, whole food diet. Want to know why, check out this chart:

MHZ of food
MHz of your food

So after a hard training session a friend would say, “let’s go get a burger.” I would think of this chart and see that I just put my body through absolute physical stress. My body is tired, it needed energy and a Big Mac wasn’t going to get me feeling good, so I chose to go make a green drink with wheat grass, kale, and broccoli. Did I get made fun of? Sure, of course, but I was getting results physically and mentally.

They could laugh all they wanted, I wanted to qualify for the XTERRA World Championships and believe me the short-term temptation of a Big Mac or any burger wasn’t going to be the reason I didn’t make it to Maui for the race.

Oil Frequency

Then it happened. I was listening to a podcast about food and they mentioned that the term, “Wake up and smell the roses,” literally came from when someone would physically smell roses, they would get a boost of energy!

You guessed it. I dropped everything and called my wife. I asked her if she had rose oil. She was so confused. I looked up the MHz of rose oil and found this:

www.youngliving.com
Young Living Essential Oil MHz

You see that on the top of the list? Rose oil. 320 MHz! That’s twice as high as raw vegetables! This is where my secret is and racing.

I made my wife give me her coveted rose oil in my last race in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In transition, I would grab it and take a huge whiff! I know it sounds funny, but as I was putting my body through this traumatic experience of physical exercise I could give it a boost through this rose oil. I took 7th place OVERALL! Mind you, my first triathlon ever in my life was just 4.5 months prior.

Literally, it raised my body from low frequencies. It put me in a peak state and helped me accomplish what I wanted and that was to qualify for the XTERRA World Championship!

Jordan Winar XTERRA World Championship
XTERRA World Championship Finish Line

So this Valentine’s day, first start with an apology and let your mom, wife, or girlfriend know that you will listen. If anything else, boys, wake up and smell the roses this Valentine’s day. And if your wife doesn’t have rose oil, you may want to get her some and get her vibrations functioning high, you can thank me later.

So to my wife, thank you, you helped me get to the top, even if I had to look around a little myself.

Mandy in Hawaii sending positive vibes after the XTERRA World Championship

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, MEN understand that we are made up matter, and that matter has an energy that functions at different frequencies/vibrations. So do your body a favor and feed it high vibration foods, feed your mind positive thoughts, and take a hit once in a while of some rose essential oils. It’s time you wake up and smell the roses.

And to all you ladies out there, who are tired of hearing that their husbands are tired, beat down and worn out! Give him some good vibes, feed him some high frequency food, let him smell some rose oil. Believe me, that testosterone supplement you’re allowing him to take, because he won’t change the bad habits of exercise, diet, and mindfulness, just might not be the answer.

Get Immediate Results Using This Simple Tool

I get asked a lot how I have time to sell, manage a sales organization, train for XTERRA triathlons, interview and write articles for www.jordanwinar.com, take my kids to school, and go out on a date once a week with my wife.  Below is a tool that helps me build my goals and get results.

Here is a proven way to get results that you can use and pass on to your team.

  1. Start with your ANSWER first.  When I say ANSWER I mean RESULT.  What RESULT do you want?  (write that down)
  2. Now, take that answer and use the below tool called S.M.A.R.T. to make sense of that result.
    • Specific – make sure it has a number attached to it
    • Measurable – how can you track it?
    • Attainable – do you believe it?
    • Realistic – do you have steps that will get you to your goal?
    • Timed – do you have a deadline

Now, that you have a S.M.A.R.T. goal.  Your next step is using a tool that Tony Robbins developed called and RPM plan.

An RPM stands for Results, Purpose, and Massive Action.

Here is a brief example of how you can do it on a piece of paper:

Conclusion:

  1. The key to achieving a goal is to define it and you can do that using the S.M.A.R.T. tool.
  2. Build your RPM as seen in the example
  3. Take immediate and massive action
  4. Know the purpose
  5. Always have another goal ready to go before you finish your last achievement

The key is to sit down and write down your goal.  That is the biggest and many times most daunting step.  If you can get past step three you will be well on your way.  Obstacles will come but you will have purpose to help you overcome those challenges.

I hope this helps you achieve new heights this year!

Branden Rakita – the rest of the story

We all want or seek validation.  It’s part of life.  Validation can come in public or private and we can get it through ourselves or through someone else.  Some of the best and most relational validation we get is through a fictional character portrayed in a Hollywood drama. But you won’t have to go to the movies today because Branden Rakita, Xterra pro-triathlete, lived the trilogy movie series for us and gives us the validation that we crave and will help you believe that real heroes still exist.

THE FIRST MOVIE: XTERRA USA CHAMPIONSHIP 2011

Branden Rakita, XTERRA Professional triathlete, lowers his mirrored goggles as the sun reflects off the water back into his eyes making him squint.  His black wet suit insulates his body as the nerves in his feet send his brain the message that the water he is standing in is freezing.  That freezing water is also the starting line of the 2011 XTERRA USA Championships in Snow Basin, Utah.  With him are hundreds of others looking to achieve the same goal that morning–winning.

The scene that morning was set up to unfold like a Hollywood drama.  The scene we are all familiar with that opens up focused on one particular character that you end up falling in love with. As the drama unfolds the character climbs the mountain, then the sun hits them at the perfect moment, the wind blowing their hair as the music begins to play.  The camera does a 360 degree view while he raises his hands and lifts his eyes to the heavens and smiles.  The character who just achieved a dream, makes the viewer feel validation in this remarkable moment. What previously seemed impossible, this character just remarkably pulled off a miracle and instantaneously becomes a hero! The theater erupts with cheering! We love those stories they give us validation and that is what we were expecting at the XTERRA USA Championship watching Rakita.

Validation for Rakita that day was winning the USA championship and he is no stranger to the pressure; he has been competing in endurance sports since he was just a kid. He competed in Ironkids, ran in state championship cross country meets, state track and field (running the 2-mile), as well as all the worldwise PRO races he’s competed in. He was prepared to win and was ranked in the top 5, so it wasn’t a hope, but more of an expectation he set for himself.  

Branden Rakita (credit 2XU)
Branden Rakita wearing a 2XU tri-suit.

At this point, if this really were a movie, you would grab a handful of popcorn, and as the movie progresses you move up to the edge of your seat and get ready for the predictable ending.   The race starts–he had a strong swim and was in the front pack in a stacked field. But then all of the sudden he was passed on the mountain bike by a guy that looked awfully familiar.  This familiar looking guy was wearing bib #25.   The race progressed and they transitioned into the run.  Then we watched the end of the movie as Brendan tried to catch the PRO listed as #25.  We yell and cheer, but then we see the finish line and #25 finishes just 30 seconds in front of Brendan. Branden took 6th overall, with only 32 seconds that separated his finishing time from #25 in front of him.  Where was our sense of validation? We had watched similar movies, but this one didn’t end the way WE wanted it.  

At the conclusion of any movie or, in this case, race, competitors, especially pros, look inward and analyze how they could have gone faster. They think about the little mistakes that they could have avoided to make up time. But most importantly, they have to answer those introspective questions that we ask at the end of movies from our seats. “What can I learn from this?”

Branden, what is your process of moving forward and learning from each race? How do you review your performances?  

Regardless of the outcome of the race I go through the race mentally again and make note of the positive aspects of the race and then areas where I need to improve.  The positive points I try to focus on what I did to make that happen, so I know how to repeat it.  I do my best to steer my thoughts away from a negative tone of thought such as, “I sucked at this” to looking at it as, “I can improve this more by doing this.”  If I am at a loss of how I can improve something I am struggling at, I ask my coach what we can do to make me stronger and do this better and I let him know what went well and what I think helped me do that particular thing well.

THE SEQUEL: XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2011

We, as humans, try and learn and then move on. But deep down a feeling lingers that at some point we will get some sort validation for the effort we are putting toward our goals.  As spectators the only way we can achieve this fairytale outcome is through a sequel.  The sequel to Brendan’s story was released in October 2011 on the beaches of Maui at the XTERRA World Championship, where every year the best in the world compete for the crown jewel in off road triathlon.  No need for a wet suit because the waters were warm.  Branden looked strong and was ready to take care of business and was easily spotted wearing his sponsored tri-suit labeled with Paul Mitchell, First Endurance, Rudy Project, SRM, Enduro Bites, Pro Cycling, Colorado Running Company, Inov-8, Effetto Mariposa, SRAM.

The cannon sounded and the water drowned out all the noise from fans and the loud PA system that echoed at the start line.  He had a strong swim and his bike was OK. He knew today he would have to dig deep on the run to make up some ground and move up on the leader board.  He came out of the bike transition and into the run. He started to make moves and entered in to the home stretch!

Branden Rakita (credit First Endurance)
Photo Credit First Endurance

While he was running toward the finish line he was closing in on another PRO that looked familiar. As he got closer he realized it was the same guy who wore #25 back at the USA Championship.  He pushed hard and ran by him and believe it or not beat him by 30 seconds.  But again, the music didn’t play for us, the hands didn’t go in the air, and he didn’t look to the heaven. We all knew the answer must be in the final movie of the Trilogy.

So, in two huge races, Branden and this other ‘familiar’ guy were only a total of 60 seconds apart. Sure, it’s unique that these two coincidentally finished so close, but what’s the point?  

THE FINAL MOVIE: THE REST OF THE STORY

It was January 18, 2013.  Branden wasn’t on a starting line.  He was probably at Pro Cycling Shop hanging out getting ready for the upcoming season.  A lady was interviewing a guy on TV. The mood was tense. The world for some reason was tuned in. Then it happened. The man said on national television that he had been using performance enhancing drugs to help him win 7 Tour de France titles and assist in his comeback in 2010. The lady was Oprah. The man was Lance Armstrong. He had unfairly taken titles away from many unsuspecting victims by cheating, except one guy you know.

Do you remember that guy wearing bib #25 who beat Branden?  And do you remember that same guy that Branden BEAT at the World Championship just a month later? And do you remember how combined, they were only 60 seconds apart (30 seconds at each race)?

That guy,the won who wore bib #25, was the same guy talking to Oprah that day. That guy, who Branden BEAT fair and square was none other than Lance Armstrong.

Finally, the theater erupts in cheers and popcorn flies everywhere! On January 18th, 2013, many elite athletes all over the world, including Branden, knew the feeling of being beatunfairly by Lance.  But that day, Branden was one of only a select few in history who knew the feeling of beating Lance. Branden beat him the only way he knew, the right way, with hard work and by playing by the rules.  He was a champion before but that day a hero was born.

Branden Rakita (credit XTERRA)
Branden Rakita (credit XTERRA)

Branden, you are one of the few people that have experienced this on the planet. What did you learn from that experience?

It was a case where I really reinforced the race is never over, I knew at USA Champs in 2011 that I was closing the time gap down and catching him, but came up short.  At Worlds I wanted to race to the best of my ability, it was in my head that yes I wanted to beat Lance, but it was not going to be the “end all be all” at the end of the day.  I had a horrible race in Maui that year and early on in the bike had to readjust my focus to find the positives during the race however small.  I didn’t know where I was in the race, but coming toward the finish I saw him struggling and gathered what strength I had left to catch him and pass him in the last 200 meters.

Branden, what is the most important message your parents have taught you that you would want to pass on to the next generation?

My parents have always instilled in me that hard work is how things get done and nothing replaces hard work.  You can certainly work smarter, but you still have to put the work in, there are not short cuts and it is okay to ask for help, but you must do the work. No one else should be doing it for you.

CONCLUSION:

Branden Rakita is a true professional. He learns from the close races and is grateful for the victories. But most importantly he gave us validation that the world is going to be ‘all right.’ He showed us that good people do still exist at the highest levels! Let’s all follow his lead and cheer for him this upcoming season on the XTERRA World tour!

You can connect with Branden on social media through INSTAGRAM @btrakita or Facebook at Branden Rakita (click the link to go to his page). Also, thank you to all of Branden’s sponsors ( Paul Mitchell, First Endurance, Rudy Project, SRM, Enduro Bites, Pro Cycling, Colorado Running Company, Inov-8, Effetto Mariposa, SRAM) for allowing him to give us this heroic story.

The fountain of youth discovered, mushrooms!

Over 8,000 meters up, the wind slices across the mountain of Shigatse, Tibet like frozen glass. You begin to understand the feeling of below freezing temperatures infecting the rest of your body as your hands and feet are numbed with every step. You knew you should not have come during this time of year but you were on an unwavering quest to find youth as you heard the legends of the monks at the base camp of Everest.. It was dark and you were alone as you looked for the Rongbuk Monastery the reason you traveled thousands of miles to reach what the locals call “the Peak of Heaven” to have the opportunity to listen and learn with some of their monks about natural powers of mushrooms they had discovered in their Eastern Chinese Medicine practice.

After traveling over 5,000 miles and climbing 26,000 feet, you made it. A monk led you into a small shelter and for what seemed like hours, he sat silently on the stone pebbled floor and then helped you gently warm up near the fire.. From pure exhaustion and euphoria that you reached your destination, you drifted away into the night into a deep sleep.

As the sun gently nudged you awake, the silence was deafening. You examined your body to ensure it hadn’t been affected by frostbite. You put your clothes on from the night before and stepped outside. You were met by God’s majesty as you gazed at the Himalayan range, which included you staring face to face with the peak of Mt. Everest as it looked down on you with a sly grin knowing that if you ever dared to climb her, she would try her best to never let you go.

You walked back inside and watched as a doctor prepared a morning hot drink for you as he added a compound that had the look of coffee but an earthy smell of tea. You sipped it and instantaneously you knew your life would never be the same. You had traveled across the world to find a secret that you now wanted to share with the world.

Yes, these special mushrooms are found deep in the heart of the Himilayan region and they have an unsurpassed ability to help you perform at new heights. And fortunately, you do not have to travel across the world to get the same outcome as the traveler above. What he experienced was the life changing benefits of mushrooms. The good news for us is that a man by the name of Tony Shields has created a unique mixture of 6 mushrooms called THRIVE 6that will help you perform optimally both in mind and body. You can be an inheritor of the benefits of his work and I had the opportunity to get his unparalleled acumen on mushrooms and his compound. When I first tried THRIVE 6 I couldn’t believe the benefits it delivers.

Tony Shields At His Farm

Mushrooms have been used for a very long time throughout the world for medicinal purposes. If understood correctly they unlock the potential to build immunity, help with heart related issues, memory, energy, sport performance, sleep, stress, and focus. In fact, in the 90’s a new type of mushroom was discovered after the Olympics when China had won several medals and attributed their success to a herbal concoction that included Cordycep mushrooms but where do they come from and which ones are safe?

SAFETY:

Tony, how safe are ingesting mushrooms and is it as normal as having a garden in your backyard?

It has been said that all mushrooms are edible- but some only once!

Unfortunately, there is no clear answer on the safety of ingesting mushrooms in general. Some mushrooms are nutritious and have amazing medicinal benefits, some mushrooms can send you on a journey of the mind… and others could even kill you.

As for medicinal mushrooms, there are many incredible species that have a long history of safe and effective use. Chaga, Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Maitake, Reishi, Turkey Tail, Oyster, Shiitake and many others are all considered very safe.

That being said, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to go foraging in local forests or their backyards for mushrooms- unless you are 100% confident in your identification skills. The best and safest way to consume mushrooms is to get them from trusted suppliers who test for product safety and level of beneficial compounds.

BENEFITS:

Tony what benefits does one have by ingesting mushrooms?

This can vary wildly by the individual taking the mushrooms, the type of mushrooms taken, and the dose.

One common characteristic that all medicinal mushrooms share is their ability to support and modulate the immune system. At first glance, this seems like a mediocre benefit, until you consider that our immune system forms the foundation for literally every system in our body, and therefore our overall health.

Tony, more specifically what type of mushroom should we take and when?

(All of these are found in THRIVE 6 by FRESHCAP MUSHROOMS)

Cordyceps?

Cordyceps has traditionally been taken to improve energy, endurance, and overall athletic performance. It does this by improving the efficiency at which our cells use oxygen.

Lions Maine?

Lion’s Mane is famous for its ability to support the brain and nervous system. People take this incredible mushroom to improve memory, mental clarity and focus.

Miatake?

Maitake mushroom has a high concentration of beta-glucans and is specifically good at modulating the immune system. Research has shown that Maitake can improve high blood pressure, and may be able to improve blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. Extracts from Maitake have also been used in Cancer research with positive results.

Reishi?

Reishi is known as the mushroom of immortality. Traditionally, Reishi has been used to improve overall vitality and promote longevity. It does this by bolstering the immune system and defending the body against disease. It has one of the longest histories of use of all the medicinal mushrooms.

Chaga?

Chaga is known as the King of Medicinal Mushrooms! Traditionally, Chaga has been taken as an anti inflammatory, as an immune modulator and as a way to protect cellular DNA from damage caused by free radicals.

Turkey Tail?

Turkey Tail (along with Maitake) has one of the highest concentrations of Beta-D glucans. It is famous for having powerful immune boosting effects, and has been intensely researched for its ability to fight cancer.

Tony if they want to really dive into mushrooms and the benefits of they offer how can you teach them more?

There are plenty of great books available to learn more about these amazing mushrooms. Of course, you can always stop by www.mushroompowered.com, and say “hi!”

Tony, why did you create THRIVE 6 and what will it deliver to us?

I have always been interested in mushrooms, for reasons I still don’t really understand, and the more I learn about them the more interested I become.

I am a huge believer in the power of mushrooms- and think they have a huge potential to benefit people all over the world- if only more people were aware of the benefits! FreshCap Mushrooms is my way of turning that belief into reality.

THRIVE 6 combines 6 powerful medicinal mushroom extracts that will help to strengthen your immune system, supercharge your brain power and boost your energy levels.

CONCLUSION: Whether you are an athlete, salesman, stay at home mom, or college student we can all benefit from this natural gift of mushrooms. I personally can attest to it as it has helped increase my VO2 max while also helping me enjoy my workouts more while in the pool, mountain bike, or trail running as I prepare for the upcoming XTERRA season. I have experienced first hand its benefits the very first time I tried them on a Saturday while mountain biking with friends when they noticed that I must have been feeling good based on my speed and attitude. Thrive carries so many health benefits that you can learn more about that could take over a lifetime.

So, if you are religious about having a cup of coffee in the morning you have to try adding a scoop of THRIVE 6 mushroom extract and reap the benefits of natures natural healing power. And everytime you take that first sip, think of Tony Shields and smile. Be thankful that you did not have to traverse to the base of Mt. Everest to enjoy the benefits he has given to us in THRIVE 6 and his business of FRESHCAP MUSHROOMS.

Josiah Middaugh – the rest of the story.

We all want to be the best at what we do, but being the best in the world doesn’t happen overnight. So, here is some advice from Josiah Middaugh, the 2015 XTERRA World Champion, on staying focused, growing, and being a professional through the good and bad.

Credit Ryan Dearth and Vailmag.com
Credit Ryan Dearth and vailmag.com

STAY FOCUSED:

From #232 to #1 took 15 years

On October 27, 2002 the world’s best professional and amateur off-road triathletes stood on a beach in Maui waiting for the cannon to explode for the start of the  XTERRA World Championship.  As the results poured in that day, there was one particular amateur who finished in the top 100, but the word PRO was not listed next to his name.  He was an age group competitor.  That day he didn’t have a single digit bib number and wasn’t a part of any press conferences.  His bib that day was #232. You will want to remember #232.

Every year, in Maui, Hawaii, these rare, almost super, humans descend upon the island to give their best shot to become THE XTERRA World Champion.  This event is the same to off-road triathletes as the superbowl is to an NFL football player.  For a professional off-road triathlete, there is no podium that is higher than the XTERRA World Championships.   To be a professional endurance athlete, it’s a prerequisite to be able to endure pain, a lot of pain.  At the XTERRA World Championship they will swim against the monster Maui waves, then maneuver over 30 kilometers of trails with more than 2,000 feet of climbing over rocks, boulders, rivers, logs, ruts, and 180 degree downhill turns on a bicycle.  The final stretch of the race requires them to navigate 10 kilometers of off-road trails, all with the goal of simply trying to finish.  Over 6 million people every year turn their TV’s on to watch who is going to cross that finish line first.

josiah profile picture

Fast forward to November 1, 2015, that guy who wore #232 in his first world championship back in 2002 came back.  He came back over and over again to finish what he started, to win.  (If you have the ability to turn on Thunderstruck by AC/DC, now would be the time).  He started the 2002 and the 2015 World Championship the same, with his feet in the sand.   Except this time his bib number was #2.  The #2 signifies how he finished in 2014, which was second place.  Everyone is met face to face with the ocean; those lucky enough to get the opportunity to be returning continue to get older, but the waves always stay the same size.  The cannon sounded and #232 was in the water.  He had a strong swim.  On the mountain bike, he wiped out, not just once, but twice.  He had to make up ground on the run; and he did just that. In 2015, he crossed the finish line with no one in front of him.  At the end of the day, the announcer stated, “The winner of the 2015 XTERRA World Championship is Josiah Middaugh!”  The celebration ensued and it had been 5,475 days since he wore #232.  Click here and experience highlights from that unforgettable day.

Credit XTERRA (Josiah Middaugh Wins 2015 XTERRA World Championship)
Credit XTERRA – Josiah Middaugh Winning the XTERRA World Championship

Josiah how have you seen yourself grow mentally over the years?  Any rituals you can share to help keep a rookie motivated this year or the veteran that is contemplating giving it up?

“Mental toughness needs to be nurtured just like other aspects of training.  It used to be very difficult for me to stay focused for an entire 10k run.  Mental toughness is forged in your training and sharpened by racing.  Don’t be afraid to fail and every hard workout and race is a chance to learn something about your physical and mental limits.  I like the quote “Failure is not the opposite of success, it is a vital component.”

Josiah, going into 2015, with so many close calls in years past, what was going through your mind?:

“I had been very close to the top step several times before, so I had a good idea of what it would take for me to execute on race day.  Instead of thinking “I’d like to win this race one of these years,” I changed my mentality to “I am going to win this race this year.”  I had a good progression all season and focused on all the little things in the months/weeks leading up to the World Championship.  I knew I had very good form going into the race and I was the fittest version of myself.  That said, the level of competition rises every year and sometimes your best isn’t enough.  Any championship race is just a measure of who is the best on that one day.  On that one day, it was me.”

DON’T SETTLE, LEARN FROM THE BEST IN THE WORLD

There is a great book I recently read called, The Ultra Mindset: An Endurance Champion’s 8 Core Principles for Success in Business, Sports, and Life by Travis Macy.   His stories are a fun roller coaster ride and will keep you motivated while you’re training!  He has completed over 120 ultra endurance events in 17 countries.  He also set a record for Leadman, which is an endurance event consisting of a trail running marathon, 50-mile mountain bike race, Leadville 100 mile Mountain Bike Race, 10k road run, and Leadville 100 mile Run, all above 10,200 feet in the Rocky Mountains.  Travis is obviously a great athlete, but in the middle of Macy’s book, #232 moved from Michigan to Colorado.  When Josiah moved, he began winning every snowshoe race in the United States and went on to become a national champion multiple times over.  Travis shared in his book how he couldn’t find a way to beat Josiah. So rather than competing against a world champion he decided he would hire him.  He called Josiah to become his coach and learn from the best in the world.  In 2018, do not try to reinvent the wheel.  Hire a coach.  But hire the best you can find, and who will take you to the next level because they know the pitfalls and their experience will save you years of frustration.

Josiah as a world champion and coach, what is the biggest pitfall you see amongst amateurs?

“We live in a world of instant gratification, but to be a great endurance athlete, it doesn’t work like that.  It’s about consistency over time.  Long term success comes with the systematic attainment of short term goals.  Dream big, but take small bites.”

Josiah is it possible to be coached by you?   If so, how can they contact you and what do you offer?

“Absolutely.  The best way to contact me is through my website www.middaughcoaching.com. We offer two different levels of coaching and both are individualized to your training history, current fitness level, life schedule, and goals.”

snow shoe race

IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU

I was blessed enough to be able to participate as an amateur in the 2017 XTERRA World Championships in Maui.  Josiah was 10 feet in front of me with his Synergy fast suit on.  He shook the hands of his fellow professionals and the cannon sounded.  When all the dust settled he took home a top 10 finish.

I was a fan before the race, but he earned my respect that day. Not on the beach, but at the Champions dinner that night and he didn’t even know he had just earned a lifelong fan. My wife and I attended the Champions dinner.  For us, it was a once in a lifetime event.  We sat amongst the best in the world.  We noticed that after the pro awards were given out, many pros quietly left the dinner out the side door.  In fact, a few pros that had sub-optimal performances that day, decided not to show.  Admittedly, if racing were my job, I might have left early as well. No hard feelings.

To make it even more understandable to leave early, the dinner went on for about 2.5 hours as they handed out awards to all the age group champs from earlier that day.  Awards all the way up to age 75.  I share this with you to help you understand. Before we point fingers, we must realize that you and I might have left early as well, had we been in their shoes and this was just part of our daily jobs.

The dinner concluded.  Everyone started walking out.  My wife and I were in the lobby of the Ritz and here Josiah came with his wife.  Josiah Middagh, the World Champion, sat through all the awards.  He probably clapped for everyone of them.  He probably remembered when he was #232.  I couldn’t help but tell my wife how I was impacted by the fact that he stuck around to show his support.  A class act and a great reminder for me to always be grateful.  He is a professional athlete and had just finished his hardest day of work earlier that day and left with a smile on his face.  

Josiah how do you seem to keep such a great attitude?  What drives you to keep a positive attitude?

“I feel a lot of gratitude for what I have been able to accomplish in my career.  I try not to take any of it for granted.  It has been a long journey for me, but I don’t feel like anything is owed to me or I am more deserving than anyone else.  I don’t define my self worth by any one race.  I always say you learn the most from the races you don’t win.  It is easy to have a good attitude when you win, but it’s your attitude when you come up short that says more about your character.  My family has been a great grounding force for me throughout my professional career and help me keep things in perspective.”

What is one piece of professional advice you would give to us that we could all use this year?

“Stay engaged in the process.  If you can stay present and engaged, then your goals will just be a product of your hard work and dedication.  People like to talk about lofty goals and what they are going to do.  They write plans and postpone them or don’t follow through.  Wake up every day with a plan and make it happen!

Conclusion:

STAY FOCUSED:

If you are tired of waking up early to work out and train, just remember Josiah Middagh when he was bib number #232 back in 2001; it wasn’t until he was bib #2 in 2015 when he won the World Championship.  That means it took Josiah Middaugh 5,475 days to bring the XTERRA World Championship title back to the United States.  So if you want to give up your New Year’s resolution on day 14,15, or 16 you might want to post a picture of Josiah on your mirror to remind you about resolutions.

LEARN FROM THE BEST IN THE WORLD

You can try and figure things out yourself, but behind every great champion is a great coach.  They will take you to the next level and help you bypass the pitfalls.  Search out a coach today and hold them to a high standard and expect them to deliver results for you!

REMEMBER, IT’S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT YOU

To be a professional you need to act like a professional–when you close a big deal or lose one.  The one thing you can control is your attitude. And your attitude affects everyone around you; so do them a favor and have a positive one.

We can all learn from the best in the world and make changes today to better ourselves and those around us. so that when our 5,475th day comes, we won’t be surprised; we will be prepared because we have been preparing everyday.

Here’s why your excuses are only helping the “other” guy

I recently saw this photo on social media posted by a former business professor of mine Dr. Schmidt who has always inspired and encouraged me through out the years. (If you only look at the picture, it should be impactful and I hope you can use it to share with your friends and baby boomer parents, friends, brothers and sisters.)

If there is one excuse that I hear more than others it’s about age. I am too young or I am too old. The other is, “They think I am to young or they think I am to old.” (Who are they anyhow)

It’s interesting that these excuses are only a perception. A perception that we create in our minds and limit us from taking action which is the key needed to unlock the door of a new adventure.

Isn’t it interesting that the best NFL quarterback is over 40?

Isn’t it interesting that the best basketball player in the world is only 33 but they call him old?

Isn’t it interesting that JFK was so young as a President?

Isn’t it interesting that Donald Trump is so old as a president?

We all put these self limiting beliefs on ourselves that completely stops us from doing something that could make an impact on our own personal history.

So I wanted to share this photo from Dr. Schmidt that he clipped from the paper. It’s shows that 65 years old is still young, obviously so long as you treat your body correctly.

This picture also shows that we are living a long time, so don’t count down the days until retirement but look at all the time you have left to create, inspire, and share your experiences with this year and years to come.

I hope you share this with your friends that have said they are to old or young. It’s just an excuse and it’s only helping the guy who is actually taking action.

It’s NEVER to late to turn your fate!

Sub-optimal performance can be corrected!

It’s easier to have or give an excuse than to find a way to get better. I heard a great story once about a charity golfing event where a guy was working hard on the driving range before they teed off. The pro walked by and said, “If you didn’t get out of your car with game, you won’t find it here in 10 minutes.”

People want instant results rather than steady growth over time. Put your time in today and get better!

The top 10 life changing and unique gift ideas this Christmas season!

Are you looking for a unique gift that could change your friend/husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/child for the rest of their life? Or maybe you have finally resolved that enough is enough and 2018 is going to be different from now on and you want to gift yourself something that could change your life forever! Here is my top 10 list for 2017 (this does not have an order of significance just depends on what your looking for, want, and need)

1) Universal Earthing Mat $58.99 Do you want to be the trend setter at the party or impress your super healthy but arthritic mother-in-law? This is the gift you’re looking for! It was made popular by Tour de France cycle teams for recovery. You sleep on this mat and plug it into the grounding plug in your wall and the earth gives your body a charge, literally. Here is a video that explains what “Earthing” is Earthing explained . It’s important to get a mat because to do it naturally takes 2.5 hours of walking barefoot and no one has the time to do that these days. Here is the link to click to pick one up on Amazon Earthing Mat. It’s a gift that they will use everyday and not even think about it and will make a huge impact in their life!

2) Organic Wheat Grass $14.95. The best white elephant gift exchange pick! This is a quick and inexpensive gift that will deliver 10 times what you pay for it to whoever is on the receiving end of this magic dust in a bottle! Think I am kidding? It’s known as an effective healer because it contains all minerals know to man and vitamins A,B-complex, C,E,I and K. It also contains 17 amino acids and is rich in protein! Still need to be sold? Here are 50 other reasons you need to gift this to someone you love! 50 more reasons you need Wheat Grass in your life! So if you are looking for a great gift and perfect for a white elephant exchange here’s a link for Wheat Grass.

3) Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within Live Event: $695

Ok, I admit this in is not cheap but if your looking for a dramatic change in your life then this is well worth it. I attended in 2016 and my wife went in 2017. You will walk on FIRE! This guy has list of A LIST clients like Oprah, the owner of Salesforce, Paul Tudor Jones, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and the list continues! And believe it or not the guy who founded Salesforce was inspired to quit his job at Oracle and start SalesForce because of this event. I think it’s worth $600. There are ways to get tickets to these events if you know people or maybe your work will pay for it as continued education. I highly recommend it! Check out his website here is a link to his live events. He’s not a motivational speaker he shows you how to change your mind and get the results you want and deserve! Trust me, it’s worth it!

4) Audible Membership and credits. This is audio books. You can download one book a month with this membership. Need help getting started? Check out Shoe Dog by Phil Knight the co-founder of Nike. Turn off the radio and music in 2018 and listen to more books. Listen while in the yard, exercising, driving to work, doing the dishes! Your mind will thank you for it! Here is a link to download the app and get started Audible App. Plus I will be releasing a free book called The Gazelle Mindset that you can listen to on it!

5) Coach/Trainer- (priceless) every year you try to change and by the third week of January you have given up. Stop it! Go get a coach or trainer! If you need help at work get a life coach to help you with your craft. If you want to excel in the physical aspect get a trainer! If you pay for a trainer, I assure you, you will show up for the work out! Stop making excuses and get someone to keep you accountable.

6) Massage Gift Card- (usually around $1 a minute). Your wife or husband need to be pampered. Cut out the stress and decompress. Schedule it for them so they can’t deny on going especially if they have never been! They might put up a fight at first but they will thank you after and want to go back for more!

7). Gazelle Mindset t-shirt $34 The athletic apparel company Zeno Athletics picked up my idea and has been selling them ever since! What is the Gazelle Mindset? Well is a book I am releasing for free on audible and kindle about your mind and why it’s controlling you. Here’s the premise, “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle: when the sun comes up, you’d better be running. However, if the Lion misses catching a Gazelle today he will live.  The Gazelle does not have a second chance if he is caught.  He must never tire especially if the Lion is well rested. He must always be prepared! You must decide to rebel against nature today and survive.  You were not born a lion, and be thankful because when you outrun the Lion today your story will be that much more significant because today you out ran a lion!”

The goal is to change your mind! Because if you can change your mind, you will change you life! It will be a welcome reminder and great story to share! Pick one up at this link The Gazelle Mindset t-shirt.

8) Race ($15-550) This is always worth video taping to laugh at when they open up this envelope with a race entry fee paid for the two of you! This can be a 5k, 10k, Triathlon, half marathon, marathon. My choice is always Xterra off road triathlons for the people that do these! They are fun and fast! It’s swimming, mountain biking and then a trail run! This is a unique gift that gives the two of you something to shoot for together! There are no refunds so this makes this gift stick better than a gym membership!

9) Brainwave App ($3) I have written about brain waves in the past and how our brains work at different frequencies. You can purchase a number of apps that deliver brain waves to your head but my favorite is by Bonzai Labs. Here is the link to the Bonzai Labs app that you can gift directly from the Apple App Store!

10) A letter of gratitude letter. (Worth more than you know). If you sit down and write down how this person/company has impacted you and made a difference in your life and what you want to do with them in 2018 would mean a lot and sometimes it’s easier for us to go on Amazon or run to the store and buy a gift then sit down for 45-60 minutes and write out a well thought out letter. It will mean to them more than you know and probably unexpected. Besides, the holidays bring stress so your letter will be come at the perfect time! We always find a way to complain so this season find a way to give the gift of gratitude it will lighten up their life and will give you light as well!

Have a very Merry Christmas and may you find the real reason for this season this year. He will ultimately change your life!