MAX Blog

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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How to Grow Your Family Gardens

Remember that children, marriages, and gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
— H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

A few years ago, Steve began a square foot garden. He carefully prepared the soil, planted the seeds, watered them, fed them, nurtured them, and watched them grow. In time, the garden overflowed with strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, beans, peppers, and carrots. Collard greens became a daily meal just to keep up with the abundant harvest. It was a beautiful sight. Because of his continual care, hard work, and dedication, his garden thrived.

NURTURE

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For a garden to grow, it requires daily, nurturing care. Too much water, not enough sun, pesky intruders, high winds, and bad soil will surely damage the delicate plants. There are many things in our lives, especially in our families, that require such diligent care, including raising children and building a strong marriage.

Like his garden, we must tend to our child’s every need, especially during the developmental stages. The same holds true for our marriages. We must strengthen our family gardens with love and respect, encourage them with grace and forgiveness, and watch them grow!

Of course, this is easier said than done. There will be trying times and seemingly impossible obstacles. It will require hard work, maybe harder than you are willing to give, and constant care. You will need patience, support, protection, and most importantly, faith. We must put our trust in God and remember His plans are for good, not to harm but to prosper, to grow, and to thrive!

PATIENCE

In Steve’s garden, there were seeds that took only days to sprout and were ready to harvest within a few months. Others, like our pineapple, took years…literally years! But, they were worth the wait and the work.

Anyone with a toddler knows the importance of patience. This morning, my precious two year old threw a tantrum within minutes of waking. Such a mean mommy I was to not let her have a piece of Halloween candy the moment she got out of bed! Patiently I waited, teetering back and forth in my mind between prayer and frustration. Eventually, she peeled herself off the floor and we enjoyed a healthy breakfast together snuggled up on the couch. Tantrums require patience. Trying to catch and dress your wild child requires patience. Helping them finish a science project your little darling had a over month to complete requires patience.

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Marriages are not any different. We may not lose our cool over a piece of candy, but we are easily frustrated with our spouses. Stress, finances, habits, can all lead to meltdowns if we do not patiently work through our problems. There will undoubtedly be tough times. Crippling times. Our patience will be tested. Despite our greatest efforts, the road to recovery will seem unreachable. It is then we must call on our character-building, faith-defining, patience and wait for our relationships to grow.

SUPPORT

There were certain plants in his garden that required additional support. His tomatoes grew upright and became heavy when they produced fruit. Without the support, the plants would break or bend to the ground and be susceptible to disease and pests. His beans and peas would sprawl everywhere without guided support, quickly overtaking the garden.

Children definitely need our support, our guidance, as they grow. We support their hands as they learn to walk, we support their curiosity as they explore, we reluctantly support their choice in boyfriends and then offer support when they are heartbroken. Likewise, supporting our spouses is imperative to a strong marriage. Without support, our families are left to fend for themselves, possibly growing in the wrong direction or becoming overburdened with the pressures and demands of this world. In addition, we may need to seek outside support.

First and foremost, come to the Lord in prayer. James 1:5- If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. Next, seek counsel, a family member, or a trusted friend to help you through life’s difficult times. Raising a child is tough. Being married is tough. Both are absolutely worth it, but tough. A little support can help your family grow!

PROTECT

Steve’s garden was not without its struggles. The Florida sun proved too harsh for some of his plants and required additional shade. A few squirrels became very fond of his fruits and vegetables, causing daily damage. Aphids, birds, and our new puppy also had their fare share of fun in his garden. He introduced ladybugs, built enclosures, and did all he could to protect his developing plants. Even the strongest of trees can succumb to external attacks.

For 30 years, I watched my father’s avocado tree grow. At nearly 60 feet in height, it has survived frosts, droughts, and hurricanes. Despite the unruly environmental factors, it produced an incredible crop year after year. This last crop was a bumper crop, producing an overabundance of avocados. The harvest was so large, we spent hours as a family picking up fallen avocados from the ground before they rotted. The tree was flourishing so we did not even see the disease that began to take over. A couple of months after this great harvest, the tree was completely dead.

Disaster can strike at any moment. In our worst or in our best of times. It can build up throughout the years or arrive in the blink of an eye. We live in a fallen world that is unpredictable and does not discriminate. It attacks your strengths and your weaknesses, comes after you and your family, and appears without warning. Like extra watering or a little weeding, some problems are easily thwarted. Others will crush us. This crazy world will corrupt our children and our marriages, deceive them, offer them “happiness,” and send them down a thorny path. Everyday, we must put on our armor of God, raise our shield, pull out our sword, and defend what we cherish most.

Last year, our house was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irma, followed by a series of tragic events that nearly destroyed our family. Our faith was tested, our love questioned, and our future was uncertain, but we believe in the power of prayer, the strength of someone much bigger than ourselves and our problems. We know what it takes to make our garden grow.

Recently, we moved back in and are slowly getting back to our routine. But it is going to take time to fully return to normal. This week, Steve started a new garden, only this time, our daughter was old enough to participate. How wonderful it will be to see the benefits of gardening through her eyes! As she watches the little seeds grow, she will learn important life lessons required for their garden to prosper.

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Put in the care. Watch your gardens grow.

We absolutely love to grow our own food! Gardening has become a family affair in the Hayes household. We are far from experts, but this variety seed kit and helpful planting guide make getting started easy!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.

A Season of Love

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
— 1 Corinthians 13:13

It is funny the things in life you can handle, and those that you never quite figure out how to manage. The holiday season can quickly become one of those things...

It all begins with a smile. Maybe it happens the first time you hear your favorite Christmas carol, or when the weather gets cooler, or as you pull out your ornaments full of memories. But, slowly it becomes more of a chore than a season of joy. You are desperately trying to find the perfect gift, frantically attending every party, social event, and Christmas pageant, cooking, decorating, wrapping, traveling... and somehow you still manage to never feel "ready" for Christmas. 

Last night, however, everything changed. A prescription of bed rest, forced me to take a break from all the chaos. There I was, on the couch, making yet another list of everything that needed to be done, when it suddenly hit me. Nothing on the list mattered. The room was lit by the glow of the Christmas tree, Hallmark holiday movies on the TV, the smell of evergreen filled the air, and most importantly, the people I loved most were there with me. 

If there was not a single present under the tree this year, I would still have the greatest gift of all. Love.

If the decorations were not perfect, there would be love. Whether we eat a 20 pound turkey or PB & J sandwiches, there would be love. Even if our loved ones are gone, serving oversees, unable to travel, or smiling down on us from above, there would still be love. 

Love is the reason for the season. God sent us the greatest gift of all. Now, it is up to us to continue spreading the love. Nothing else matters.

Merry Christmas... with love.  


 

 

"1000 Rep Fat Burn"

It may sound strange, but one of the best ways to relax is to get in a great workout. You are going to love this rep challenge! Take a moment and try it today!

 

 

 

Be Kind. Change the World.

Ah, kindness. What a simple way to tell another struggling soul that there is love to be found in this world.
— A.A. Malee

Hurricane Irma, one of the largest storms in history,  ripped through the entire state of Florida, leaving a path of death and destruction in its wake. We were fortunate enough to survive the storm, however, our house did not fare as well. Flood waters flowed throughout the rooms, while a damaged roof leaked water from above. The deck was demolished, the fence laid on the ground, and debris littered the yard. As heartbreaking as it was, this story is not about our devastating loss, but about the days that followed...

After 96 hours straight of rescuing those stranded in flooded waters, Steve was given the day off from the fire station to go home and rest. Unfortunately, there was not time to rest, for water damage restoration is a time-sensitive process. He was exhausted and I was no better off. Evacuating days prior with a one year old and three dogs resulted in numerous sleepless nights. So there we stood in the middle of the damage-too tired to think and too overwhelmed to even know where to begin- when cars began to pull into the driveway. Help had arrived. 

Family, friends, even complete strangers, took time away from their own needs to tend to ours. What should have been weeks of work, took merely hours. They ripped out carpet, bagged clothing and linens, brought cleaning supplies, cut out drywall, picked up debris, and even made dinner. It was incredible, inspiring, and it was only the beginning.

Our friends made a few phone calls and by the end of the day, entire communities had pitched in to help. Someone we had never met, opened both their heart and their home to us so we could have a place to stay. While I made insurance calls, bags of laundry were distributed to people wanting to help, cars were packed with salvaged items, and later unloaded into storage. One good deed after another. We never asked for help, but that is the beauty of kindness, we never had to.

The sun began to set and Steve had to go back on shift early the next morning. It was time to call it a day. A long, emotional, and tiresome day. The drive was quiet as we tried to process it all- the house, the damage, the months to come. How could we possibly afford to start over? How could we handle all the stress? What about the baby? Just when I was about to break down, Steve broke the silence. "They say God never gives you more than you can handle."  We giggled. In our 12 years of marriage, this saying has become our mantra. It seems that God thinks we are pretty tough. Maybe it is because He knows there is still good in this fallen world, and what we can not handle on our own, He places others in our lives who will come to our aid. Little did we know, the acts of kindness would continue. 

We were met at the front door of our temporary residence with a post-it-note that simply stated, "Welcome Home." Inside, we discovered the closets were filled with our clothes, all cleaned, pressed, and hung. The refrigerator was stocked and the pantry overflowed with food, dog treats, and supplies. A borrowed crib had been set up for our daughter and toys were placed nearby. On the counter were gift cards, cash, and notes of encouragement from the neighbors. We were speechless. In that moment, there was a sense of peace that overtook all the fear. We may not know what tomorrow will bring, but we knew everything would be okay. For that day, in the midst of despair, there was kindness. 

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We live in a world seemingly consumed with fear and divided by hate, but there is good to be found. There are people with a genuine desire to help others, to give hope to those that struggle, and to be the good we so desperately need. These small acts of kindness are by no means small- they are life-changing. In this past month, there have been earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, and just this past weekend, the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. Tragedy surrounds us and our hearts are heavy. But, in all the devastation, the chaos, and the fear, there is love. Some of the greatest acts of kindness come in our darkest hours. There are those that run towards the gunfight, those that sacrifice themselves to save others, those that do what they can by donating money or supplies, and those that show up after a hurricane to help rip out water-soaked carpet. These are our everyday heroes, and for them, we are eternally grateful. 

In everything you do, be sure to do it with love. Your acts of kindness, no matter if they are great or small, can change a life and change the world. 

A Little Bit More...

What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.
— Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Every year, I look forward to going home. You can not help but to smile when you walk in- the twinkling Christmas lights, the smell of homemade cookies, and mom sure knows how to decorate for the holidays. The tree is always spectacular, filled with ornaments from our past, each with their own special meaning. The Snow Village  takes you down memory lane to her time in a small Minnesota town. And as far as decorations go, well basically everything comes down and something Christmassy takes its place. Including my sister and I's homemade gifts from grade school! That pine cone tree I made nearly 30 years ago still comes out, my sister's plastic bag wreath still has a spot, and our clothespin reindeer are still hung with care. Mom truly loves those gifts because they came from our heart not from our wallets. In fact, to this day, if you ask her what she wants for Christmas, she will promptly reply, "A clean house and a happy family." I get it now, mom, I really do.

For the first time in our lives, Steve and I can honestly say we do not need or even want anything this Christmas. Sure, we wish for love, safety, world peace, but nothing you can physically wrap and tie with a bow. We are content with what is in our closets, Steve does not want any new video games, while new fitness equipment is cool, I prefer my old dumbbells, and our new home is finally complete. We really can not think of one blessed thing....and it has changed our perspective. Now, instead of rushing to the stores after work, I take my time driving home, turning down different neighborhoods and seeing the lights. Steve is not frantically searching the internet in hopes of topping last year's gift, instead he is working on his garden and rebuilding a reindeer he made in shop class many years ago. 

Christmas is about family, making memories, traditions, spending time with loved ones, being blessed, our hearts filled with joy, and experiencing true happiness. No expensive gift under the tree can give you that feeling, at least not forever. Christmas doesn't come from a store. Christmas, perhaps, is a little bit more...

"Upper Body Supersets"

This is a great workout for all fitness levels. Build muscle, lose fat, tone up, and slim down with supersets! Please watch the video for the workout demonstration by MAX Trainer, Steve.