MAX Blog

The Importance of Individuality

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No two snowflakes are exactly alike. Each is beautiful and unique in its own way. Snowflakes do, however, share a common goal- to reach the ground. Due to the laws of nature, each snowflake begins its journey the same. However, along the way, the individual snowflakes encounter different experiences. Some snowflakes will fall blissfully to the ground. Others will run into each other and join forces. Some will be faced with blizzard storms and many will dissipate before they ever reach their goal. 

We, like snowflakes, are all different. Even when we share the same goal, our paths will be unique. Some of us are self-motivators, others need a little outside help. Some are blessed with resources, others need to be creative. Some can persevere through the tough times, others will quit.

Your journey is special to you and it is your responsibility to do your best along the way. Do not worry if your coworker is losing weight faster than you.  Likewise, be wary of flaunting your success to others who are struggling. Do not give up if you do not make the team this year, for some of the greatest athletes did not peak until they were older. Some can quit smoking cold turkey, others require support. Your path to success is individual to you, and only you.

Life is unpredictable. When setting a goal, you are bound to encounter something unexpected- an obstacle, a delay, a blessing, an opportunity. Whether good or bad, there are just some things that are out of your control. One thing, however, is always up to you. One thing will always be your decision.

Your character.

Choose humility in successful times, courage when fear sets in, thankfulness in favorable outcomes, confidence when challenges arise, and perseverance when every inch of you wants to quit. Do not conform to what is popular, do not succumb to the negativity, this world needs beautiful, extraordinary individuals.

Many of us will share a goal, but our methods, results, and most importantly, our actions are special to us. Remember, you are amazing, full of talents and gifts that are uniquely yours. You are a child of God and are fearfully and wonderfully made. Reach deep inside and become the best version of you. Your snowy destination awaits, little snowflake. Go get it.


In preparation for the upcoming US Open Taekwondo Championships, we designed this workout for a few of our athletes. Even if you are not a fighter, you are going to love this workout! It hurts so good! 

To stay focused on our workouts and not the clock, we use this small, inexpensive, multi-use timer.

"Warrior Workout"

Round 1

  • 5 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio

  • Tabata Burpees (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, for 4 minutes total)

Round 2

  • 5 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio

  • Tabata Grasshopers

Round 3

  • 5 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio

  • Tabata Jumping Jack Combos

Round 4

  • 5 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio

  • Tabata Hollow Rocks

 

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9 Resolutions You Should be Making This Year

The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.
— G.K. Chesterton
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3, 2, 1, Happy New Year!

It is time to let go of the past and look forward to the future. The New Year brings us all a chance to start over! If you resolve to lose weight, quit smoking, earn more money this year, we promise to be with you every step of the way to help you reach your goals. However, consider making resolutions to better your soul, refresh your spirit, revitalize your way of thinking, and begin to change you from the inside out. 

 

Here are the 9 resolutions you should be making this year:

  • Make time for you. We are plagued with stress and it is literally making us sick. Refresh and renew your mind, body, and soul. Meditate, take a bath (throw in these incredible bath bombs and relax), read a book, enjoy a glass of wine, pray, get a massage, do whatever is necessary to take care of you.

  • Believe your self-worth is more than a number. Your value is not determined by the number of followers or likes on a picture. Always remember, Hitler had millions of followers, Jesus had 12.

  • Do not judge. It seems so simple, yet we find ourselves forming opinions, jumping to conclusions, and making fun of others. Work on keeping your thoughts positive and avoiding stereotypes. Judging someone does not define who they are, it defines who you are.

  • Unplug. Technology is consuming us these days. From the moment we rise in the morning, until we lay down our heads at night, we are victim to our devices. It is time to unplug. Take a break from social media, limit screen time, or delete it all together. Last year, I began with “Tech-free Tuesdays” and found myself actually craving that day. The freedom, the lack of stress, the amount of spare time I had on Tuesdays was eye-opening. Within a few months, I deleted all social media apps from my phone. Best. Decision. Ever.

  • Reconnect with your true loved ones. If you do use your phone, use it for its original purpose- to call someone. Instead of watching funny cat videos or checking your Twitter feed, use your time to call a relative or text a college friend. Take the time to write a letter or a "thank you" note. When you need it the most, you will seek comfort from your loved ones, not your internet "friends." Hopefully, they will still be there.

 

  • Stop comparing yourself to others. You are unique and wonderful in your own way. I know personally how hard that is to believe. Appreciate you, enjoy your successes, find inspiration in others, and always count your blessings.

  • Do not believe everything you read or hear. With the vast amount of information that spreads across the media, it is hard to decipher what is true and what is false. In the health and fitness world alone, this was a year full of misinformation- detox diets, waist "training," so-called superfoods, just to name a few. Take a moment and do a little research before you push that share button.

  • Collect memories, not things. Over time, our material items lose value, gather dust, and are forgotten. But memories live on. Walk barefoot on the beach, visit a National Park, take that vacation, travel the globe, go and explore God’s beautiful, amazing world around us. Fill your life with adventures! Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.

  • Love. Love with all your heart. Completely. Unconditionally. Without abandon. In the end, it is all that matters.


Join us in our New Year tradition- the countdown workout! 

"Countdown to a New Year" (view video for exercise demonstrations)

  • 100 Jumping Jacks

  • 95 High Knees Running

  • 90 Heel-to-Butt Running

  • 85 Calf Raises

  • 80 Mountain Climbers

  • 75 Torso Twists

  • 70 Lateral Obstacle Jumps

  • 65 Back Extensions

  • 60 Sit-ups

  • 55 Half Squat Jumps

  • 50 Alternating Lunges

  • 45 Heel-to-Butt Jumps

  • 40 Dips

  • 35 High Knee Skipping

  • 30 Push-ups

  • 25 V-ups

  • 20 Squats

  • 15 Tuck Jumps

  • 10 Burpees

  • 5 Inverted Burpees

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The Challenge Begins!

Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. They’re what make the instrument stretch- what make you go beyond the norm.
— Cicely Tyson

Our Fit & Fabulous February Challenge has officially begun! Today, you begin your 28-day commitment to a healthier you. Be sure to join below to be entered into our prize drawings and receive updates throughout the challenge.

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In all the excitement to reach our goals, we tend to just jump right in. But if I have learned one thing from my past failures, it is that success is a continual cycle of preparation, action, and evaluation. So, before we lace up our running shoes, it is time to set some goals.

A goal is only a dream until you write it down on paper! Grab a journal, or if you prefer, I am sure there is some cool goal-setting app out there, and jot down your goals for this challenge. What do you want to accomplish in these 28 days? Remember your goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). In your journal, you will also track your progress. To help with this, you may want to include your start weight, waist measurements, pant size, blood pressure, etc. 

Next, take your "before" picture. You can decide later whether you would like to share the photo and earn some prizes! For now, just keep it as reference of your progress. Trust me, you will want it at the end of the challenge. 

Alright, now for the real important stuff- FOOD! From an athletic perspective, I can ensure you that working out all day is not going to get you the results you desire. Food is a huge component in athletic performance, weight loss, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While a perfect diet is ideal, the chances of you sticking to it are slim to noneOver the years, I have tweaked my diet until I found one that can fulfill my performance needs while still satisfying my desired tastes and overwhelming sweet tooth. Finding your perfect balance takes time. So, for this first week, let's just make some small changes that will lead to big results!

  • Get off to a good start. A healthy breakfast will set the tone for the rest of your day.
  • Include a fruit and/or vegetable and lean protein serving in each meal.
  • Use small plates. This one is tried and true. It is the easiest way to control your portions without all the measuring.
  • Follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of your diet should be whole, nutritious food, while 20% is leftover for your eating pleasure.
  • Water, water, and more water. The goal is half your body weight in ounces (180 pound person should consume 90 ounces of water or about 6 bottles of water) plus one bottle for every workout.
  • Make your own meals. This one is going to take some planning, but will make a huge difference! Consider this, the spaghetti and meatball dinner at Olive Garden is over 1000 calories (not including the breadsticks and salad) while the homemade version is easily half that amount.
  • Finally, plan out your week. A little preparation keeps you from an impromptu (and diet-blowing) visit to the drive-thru window.

For those of you with weight loss as a goal for this challenge, trimming just 500 calories a day leads to one pound loss each week. Start by making the above small changes and then keep checking back throughout the challenge for more great tips, meal suggestions, and sample diet plans.

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Last, but definitely not least, let's talk fitness! Bear with me,  I know this is a lot to cover for one day, but preparation is key! For this week, Steve and I have carefully chosen a week's worth of workouts for you that complement one another and appeal to all different fitness interests. The weekly plan includes 2 or 3 active rest days (depending on your preference) which will aid in proper recovery and ultimately better results. While most of our workouts can be done with no equipment and in the comfort of your living room, we will include workouts with weights, medicine balls, jumps ropes, etc. If you do not own or have access to this equipment, we will always include a no equipment version or make another workout suggestion.

Well, that basically covers it! Now it is time for you to take a picture, make your goals, plan your meals, go grocery shopping, and get ready to rock this challenge! You GET what you GIVE!


Workout- Day 1

You have a lot of planning and preparing to do today, so for our first workout, we are going to participate in what I like to call "active rest." Being that this is your first day, you may want to be more "active" than "rest." As the challenge progresses, you may need to use these days to stretch, rehabilitate, and rest your muscles. 

Active rest activities include going for a walk, enjoying a bike ride, taking the family ice skating, or swimming some leisurely laps in the pool. If weather has you cooped up inside, try some housework (you know cleaning those baseboards is no easy task), going up and down your basement stairs, or a favorite among couples- a little bedroom nookie (yes, that counts!) The whole idea is to stay active and not spend your rest day vegging on the couch. 

Enjoy your first day of the challenge, and get ready, because tomorrow's workout is a tough one!

 

 

 

What Will You Bring?

What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.
— Vern McLellan

Today marks the beginning of a new book. A blank page ready to be filled with great adventures, twists and turns, and a hero who lives happily ever after!

In reality, it takes more than pen and paper to achieve our dreams. We must go out and live them! We must put forth a valiant effort in everything that we do. We must fight our demons and climb over each obstacle that stands in our way. 

What will you bring to the New Year?

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I am a firm believer in goal-setting. It is important to determine your biggest dreams and desires. Write them down, shout them from your rooftop, but do not forget to put them into action. New Year's resolutions are often forgotten as quickly as they are established. It is up to you to bring your very best! Bring your hard work, your perseverance, your optimism, and your passion. Get up early, read often, take care of your mental well-being, clear your head of negativity, workout, eat healthy, and sleep well. You have the chance to be the hero of your story. Ultimately, your success depends on you and what you bring to the New Year.

 


Some of the most popular resolutions are to lose weight, adapt a more healthy lifestyle, and to begin working out. No need to join a gym or spend money on the latest fitness gadgets and weight loss diets. We are here to help with over 100 workout videos (and more to come), motivational blogs, and monthly fitness challenges. Join us this year and make all your fitness dreams come true! You GET what you GIVE!

"Countdown to a New Year" is the perfect workout to kick start your New Year's resolutions! 

 

 

A Dream Come True

If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.
— J.M. Power

We all have dreams. We dream of the future, of achieving great things, of a world filled with peace, of hope, of love. While some dreams may be more lofty than others, each one is unique and special to us. Unfortunately, sometimes our dreams are just that...dreams.

Just closing our eyes and thinking of better days will not bring us the success we desire. Trust me, I have tried. We must open our eyes and turn our dreams into reality. Stop waiting for things to be perfect, or the timing to be right, or the finances to be there. Stop wishing for things to be easier. Stop hoping someone will do it for you. Stop dreaming and start doing! It is our responsibility to make our dreams come true! 

I am a perpetual dreamer. I am constantly thinking of the future- one year from now, 5 year plans,  where do I want to be in ten years? I am a goal-SETTER. Sadly, I am not always a goal-GETTER. Dreaming is the easy part, it is the next steps that tend to get in our way.

Together, let us make our dreams come true. Wake up, work hard, never give up, dog it day in and day out until our goals become reality. If we can dream it, we can be it. If we can think it, we can do it. I believe in us. Do you?

If your dreams involve fitness- losing weight, having a gold medal performance, completing a 5K, making the Varsity team, etc.- we have a week of workouts for you! Grab your running shoes and get ready to make your dreams come true!

 


The 3 Essentials to Success

The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.
— Thomas Alva Edison

Thomas Edison was a great inventor, an innovator, a mastermind. He was a genius. But, even a genius struggles. Even a genius fails. In fact, he failed a lot. While many of us quit in times of adversity, Edison was known to take a more positive approach, " I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that won't work." 

With our New Year's Resolutions in full swing, we are surely going to run into some bumps along the way. There will be times we succumb to our late night ice cream cravings and times we would rather hit the snooze button then get in a morning workout. Edison knew there was more to his success then just his brilliant mind, it took years of hard work, the ability to stick-to-it when things did not go his way, and good old-fashioned common sense.

While our goals may not be as lofty as his, they are still important and worthwhile. So, work hard, stick-to-it, and use common sense. Soon, your light will shine too.



Here are a few ideas for your workouts this week:

No equipment? Try "Intervals of 4"

Short on time? Try "21s" 

Want a tough one? Try "Legs Feel Like Jelly" 

Quality Over Quantity

Quality, not quantity, is my measure.
— Douglas William Jerrold

In the last years of my sport career, I learned the importance of quality over quantity. As you get older, the "real world" takes over and it seems that there are never enough hours in the day to even begin to accomplish all that you have planned to do. I noticed my training was squeezed in between jobs, school, and wanting a social life. It was exhausting and everything suffered from it. So, I changed things up. No longer did I worry about putting in hours after hours of training, instead I concentrated on the quality of my training. Quality over quantity. 

I have always been a fan of quality over quantity. I grew up in a small church, lived in small towns, worked at a small restaurant, and went to a small college, where everyone knows your name and loves you like their own. Recently, Steve and I downsized our martial arts and training facility and now run a private gym. It was one of the greatest decisions we have ever made together. I love knowing everything about our students and being able to give them one-on-one attention. At first, it was tough. I worried about the perceived value of a small gym. Many believe that bigger is always better- they want the most machines, the largest building, and the latest equipment. But, while there are definitely some good things about quantity, I still enjoy the mom and pops place over the big, corporate franchise. 

In a world where our success is measured by the amount of  "likes" and "follows" and "subscribers" we have, it is easy to feel like a failure. Steve and I share social media pages and between the two of us, we have less "friends" than everyone we know. Pathetic, right? But, I look at our friend list and realize that we have been blessed with a great group of people who we can truly call our friends. The concept of quality over quantity can be used in so many ways. In everything that you do, make sure there is quality. Have quality friends, work for a quality employer, be a quality employee, make quality time for your family, eat quality food, and perform quality workouts. Quality over quantity. Every time.

"Every Minute"

Every minute on the minute (EMOM) for 5 minutes:

  • 2 Squat Tuck Jumps
  • 5 Squats
  • 10 Jumping Jacks

EMOM for 5 minutes:

  • 2 Diamond Push-ups
  • 5 Push-ups
  • 10 Mountain Climbers

EMOM for 5 minutes:

  • 2 Burpees
  • 5 Curtsy Lunges
  • 10 High Knees 

EMOM for 5 minutes:

  • 2 4-count Shoulder Taps
  • 5 Bird Dogs
  • 10 Plank Jacks

Watch the video for a demonstration of the workout and how to perform the exercises.

Today

Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.
— Napoleon Hill

I did it! I finally finished another semester of school. It took two extensions, months of late night papers, and an entire week of cramming for finals, but I did it. Usually at this point, I have an overwhelming feeling of relief and accomplishment. But usually, I do not put myself through such stress....such unnecessary stress. I work better under pressure, always have. But this time, I almost did not make it. Maybe it is my competitive nature, maybe it is my need to do a million things at once, or maybe, just maybe, I  did not give my best effort.

Wow.The truth really can hurt sometimes, but it is good for me to hear it. I can say as much as I want that I was busy and overloaded with things that needed to be done.  All of this is very true, but if I were to be totally honest with myself, I put my schoolwork on the back burner and placed higher priority on things that probably could, and should, have waited.

I love this motivational quote by Nike!

I love this motivational quote by Nike!

I find myself sounding like my mother more and more these days. At the gym the other day, I told one of my students, "When mom says it is time to go, it is time to go. Not 'later,' not 'hold on,' but now." Such simple advice, and yet, I am probably the biggest offender. You see, when we really want something, we are quick to get up and do it. But, when something is hard or not as fun, we tend to make any and every excuse to get out from doing it.

Starting a fitness routine, getting back on track with your weight loss program, signing up for a big race, finally getting around to quitting smoking, all tend to be set aside for some other time. "I will do it when I have time." "Eventually, I will get around to it." I will start on Monday." No more excuses! There are seven days in the week and SOMEDAY is not one of them. 

I know how hard it is. I get it. But, today, you will begin what you have been putting off. Today you will finish your goals. This is the day you will look back on and be thankful you went for it. Today. Not tomorrow. Not someday. Today. 

"Killer Kombos"

2 to 4 rounds of:

  • 10x Burpee, 2 Spidermans, Tuck Jump Combo

  • 10x 4 Mountain Climbers, 2 Grasshoppers Combo

  • 10x Side Burpee, 2 Abductions, Heel-to-Butt Combo (alternate sides each time)

  • 10x 4 Reverse Crunches, 2 Straight Leg Roll-ups Combo

Want to Get Ahead? Stop Looking Back.

Tomorrow, I leave with one of my athletes to the biggest tournament of her sport career. She has trained so hard, maintaining complete focus even through the holidays. Yet, something seems wrong. My normally strong, confident, determined athlete, now appears defeated. I ask what is on her mind, and her following words broke my heart, "I am so tired of coming up short. I just want to win." How crushing it was to see someone I love, who pours her heart and soul into every bit of her training, be burdened by previous shortcomings.

Sometimes, no matter how much effort we put forth into the future, we are unable to shake the past. We are plagued with uncertainty, afraid of repeating failures. Maybe it was a past romance that ended in heart break, a series of diets that all lead to the same disappointing result, rejection letters, getting cut from the team, or falling short of the podium. Unfortunately, this little doubt that creeps in can be detrimental to our success. We must let it go. All that matters is now. This is your year! 

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Why this year? Why will it be different this time?

This time you are going to fight for what you want, you are going to keep your eyes fixed on the prize that awaits, and most of all, you are never going to look back!  Who cares if you failed before? Your past does not define you, it shaped you. You are strengthened by your adversities, your losses, and your defeats. In this strength, you will find your courage. Your new ending begins now and nothing is going to stand in your way!