“If you have a body, you are an athlete.”
Anyways, if you don’t already make a daily To-Do List, you need to start as soon as possible. We do all feel like we need more time in the day and this checklist can keep us on track, prioritize the most important tasks, aid in our time management, and get shit done.
Making a daily To-Do List completely changed my life, my business, and my drive. It keeps me on track, more productive, and accomplished at the end of the day. It also gives you tiny little fist bumps all day as you get to check things off one by one. I am obsessed with my to-do lists and I MAKE myself feel guilty at the end of the day if it isn’t complete. I simply need to get these things done daily if I want to reach my goals – and I am driven to do so.
You can create and manage this list(s) in the best way that works for you. This might be one big list written on paper daily or in your phone. To share my personal experiences, I am going to talk about what works best for me. You need to try out different things and see what works best for you.
Start with your goals – if you don’t already know how to set amazing goals, click here.
Break down those goals into daily tasks. What do you need to do, every day, to get to your goals? For example, I have a goal of having a passive income stream, so I set aside just 15 minutes a day to work on it. At first, I didn’t have a clue what that income stream would even be. Much of my first few weeks was focused on learning more about passive income. This counted toward my 15 minute daily goal. Then I decided on creating an eBook to see if that could generate passive income. During my 15 minutes a day, I work on my eBook. It isn’t near complete yet, but it’s a ton further along with these 15 minutes a day then I ever would be if I didn’t put that 15 minutes of “Passive Income Generation” into this list.
For these daily tasks, I created a folder in the notes in my phone called “Daily Tasks to Reach Goals,” and wrote down the 15 things I believe I need to do daily to reach my goals. They include checking emails, social media posts, completing my business To-Do List, and setting aside time to learn. These things are all important to me and are stepping stones to achieving my goals. I check them off as I complete them.
I then have an additional To-Do List, my “Business To-Do.” This is a separate list from my Daily Tasks, because they will break down everything I need to do within my business that day. For you, this could be “Work,” “Family,” “Home,” or broken down into whatever category (or categories) that you have a list of things you need to accomplish daily. I constantly add things to this list and assign a day they need to be completed. Some things are urgent, but others can be assigned a few days from now based on it's time sensitivity. I’m not putting anything off – I am simply prioritizing when they need to be completed.
I am obsessed with looking at these lists in the note section of my phone. Every time I complete something, it gets checked off. My day is not done when 6 pm hits, it’s done when I am finished with all the tasks on these lists. Once they are all completed, I erase all the tasks for that day on my Business To-Do and un-check all my Daily Tasks. This gives me a fresh start when I wake up the next morning and begin plotting how I am going to crush my day.
Tips to crush your To-Do List:
-Start with the easiest task to get the ball rolling
-Prioritize your day
-Don’t get into a habit of moving something unfinished to tomorrow
-For big tasks that are not time sensitive, set timers on how long to work on the task for, I do things in 15 minute intervals. If I am still being productive after 15 minutes and want to continue, I restart the timer. If I am at a stopping point or not being highly productive, I’ll stop and move on to another task.
-Don’t forget to add important things to your Daily Tasks that further your life and health such as exercise. I also set aside 15 minutes a day consisting of learning and thinking, most of which comes via audio books and podcasts and are completed while training or stretching.
Someone recently told me “if it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.” I quickly became a big fan of that saying. Life doesn’t just happen, it is what we make of it. By taking the time to figure out what we want in life and where we want to be, then breaking it down into daily tasks, we will be set up to live a life of dreams and not fantasies.
Don’t get me wrong, we do need to be thinking. In fact, this contemplative stage is vital to our goal setting. During this stage, we need to envision, ponder, and evaluate where we want to be, what we want to do, or who we want to become. Then however, we need to stop the “why” bullshit and get the fuck after it.
Set your goals, break them into daily tasks, weekly checkpoints, and monthly landmarks. Set timelines to them. Then every day, do what you need to do to accomplish them. Don’t put them on the back burner or change them to be something more attainable. Don’t wonder why you set that goal or reanalyze if you really want it. You thought about it, wrote it down, and need to chase it down. Whatever it takes, get it done and stop wasting time on the why. Just fucking do it.
Once we get there, or spend the allotted amount of time that we set to get there, we can sit down and reanalyze. This is the time we can now think once again and get all the analytical, philosophical, and investigative shit out of the way.
Did we achieve the goal we set or did we come up short?
If we did, do we feel like we thought we would when we set it? Does it give us joy, happiness, more free time, more money, more power, or whatever it was we were seeking through this goal?
Are we happy here and want to maintain? Or do we want to reset the goal to something beyond our current achievements?
If short, why were we not able to complete this goal. Is this something we want to continue to go after? Or do we want to change this goal and set our sights on something different?
Don’t change the goal to simply be more attainable. Remember big goals are what we want out of our lives to reach our potentials. But, maybe the journey here wasn’t what we thought it was and we don’t think that this goal is going to help our lives for the better. Change it to something else - just don’t change it because you still want to achieve it, but it’s just too big.
Stop thinking and get to doing. It’s the only way success is in your future.
When people come back after vacations, family issues, lack of motivation, etc, I always perform a body composition analysis. They are always reluctant and no one likes me that day – but it’s vital. I put them all on the InBody upon return for two reasons:
They need to realize what that time off did for them. This is a huge lesson in lifestyle change for the good and bad. If someone keeps their nutrition and exercise going while away from the gym – they will get some results. Maybe not incredible ones, but they will be moving on the right track. If they hit one of two, they will likely maintain. Often times, I am happy about this and maintenance is a great goal sometimes – especially while on vacations. Keep your daily activity levels up and you do have some room to splurge on local treats while in Bermuda, or the Cape, or wherever you summer. OR keep your food on track and enjoy the relaxation that sitting on the beach in Laguna brings. However, ditch both of your positive nutrition and exercise traits, and you will quickly see what happens to your body composition as your fat mass rises and your muscle mass decreases. No bueno for any of our athletes at Aspire. This is a perfect lesson in how they should be treating their daily lives away from the gym when life gets in the way in one way or another.
Additionally, doing a body composition as soon as you are back from a hiatus is vital to once again measure our progress. If you come back after 3 weeks and in that time get right back to all the positives habits, we preach at Aspire, you will be losing body fat and gaining lean muscle mass. Those improvements may not seem as drastic if we are only comparing against your old results. We need to retest to once again see where we need to go and where we’ve been.
Remember, this journey to health and fitness is a lifelong road. We need to develop habits to the best of our abilities and also realize when they have receded. It’s like pushing a boulder up a hill. Ideally, we will be constantly pushing that boulder up. Occasionally, we may let it slide back down a little. As long as we stop it as soon as possible and begin pushing once again, the journey to the top – our ultimate health and fitness goals – is inevitable.
The majority of the most successful people in the world get up early. Tim Cook, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and more are all known to wake up well before the sun rises. There is a reason for this – so much can be done before the typical person wakes up. Typically, your family is still asleep, calls are not being made, and last minute fires don’t have to be put out at the office.
This morning time can be your time – a time to take care of yourself both mentally and physically. Your mind and body work differently immediately after a good night’s rest and without the day’s distractions taking away from “your” time.
Sure, it can be tough to not hit the snooze button and keep sleeping. That’s reality – deal with it. I have not met anyone that actually enjoys the alarm going off before 5 am. I wake up every morning between 3:45-4:45 and it fucking sucks. There is nothing fun about it. Ultimately however, I love what I am able to get done in the morning. It gives me an incredible head start on the day physically and mentally. Champion boxer Floyd Mayweather often trained in the middle of the night because he felt it gave him a mental edge on the competition. While his opponents were sleeping – he was training. A strategy he would implement and visualize in a fight. A similar feeling comes to me when I am trying to solve a problem, be better than my competition in business, or overall conquer my day – I know that I have put in more work that my competition and did it while they were all cozy in bed. We have primal instincts still within – and in survival of the fittest, I am going to subsist and prevail. A lot of this strength is taken from the morning.
Here’s the deal – distractions and desires may not prevent you from hitting your workout at some point in the day. If you’re getting shit done, then keep your schedule, wake up at 7:30, and continue to kick ass. However, if you are constantly searching for that answer – more time to take care of yourself, inspiration to hit the gym, or how to schedule fitness into your busy professional, personal, and family life, the answer lies before that sun rises. Master your morning and you will dominate your life.
It’s probably a fact that most people need to drink more water, but often times we forget a vital component of hydration – electrolytes. There are 6 electrolytes that are essential to our bodies: sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate.
Electrolytes affect the amount of water held in your body, blood PH, and muscle function. Without electrolytes you will be peeing out all of the water you take in and quickly pushed to the sidelines cramping with insufficient hydration levels.
Essentially, just drinking water will simply hydrate the blood, often leading to peeing it all back out in clear urine. You think you are hydrating, but in reality that water is just passing through your body. Electrolytes provide the cells the ability to take in the water, hydrating them intracellularly. Pulling the water into the cell demonstrates true hydration and can only occur via electrolytes. Too much water without electrolytes can also cause a problem called hyponatremia, which can be life threatening.
Although proper hydration is vital for all humans, the importance is most prevalently seen in endurance athletes. Fully hydrating the body doesn’t just happen in one sports drink. You should also be taking electrolytes in the days and week prior to athletic events. Even in times without a competition on the horizon, especially in the humid climates of the world, a daily electrolyte supplement can be vital to achieving both peak performance and health.
If you are currently looking for a supplement for electrolytes, we currently recommend Salt Sticks, Base Salts, and Nuun (available for purchase at the gym).
- Step 1: Start with a BIG goal
- Step 2: Begin back tracking to today to establish a timeline
- Step 3: Divide that timeline into 4 manageable sub-goals with dates
- Step 4: Create 3 daily tasks to get you to your sub-goal
- Step 5: Week 1, hit 1/3 of those tasks
- Step 6: Week 2, hit 2/3 of those tasks
- Step 7: Week 3, hit 3/3 of those tasks
- Step 7: Continue until you reach sub-goal 1
- Step 8: If successful, continue until sub-goal 2 (and so on). If unsuccessful, analyze why. If you completed your daily tasks, create new (likely more aggressive) daily tasks. If you did not complete your daily tasks, start again on Step 5.
- Step 9: Look at these goals daily
- Step 10: NEVER GIVE UP
As tradition, the vast majority of CrossFit boxes around the world will complete Murph tomorrow, pushing our bodies through the grueling task of a 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another 1 mile run. I remember the first time I completed Murph, pushing myself beyond what I thought was possible, with Lt. Michael Murphy in mind. And it’s a pretty great feeling to be able to revisit that both physically and emotionally each Memorial Day.
1 mile Run
1 mile Run
Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you've got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.
Over the years, what exactly is RX in Murph has been a heated debate. One of the most popular ways to complete Murph is al la Cindy, with 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 squats for 20 rounds. Some will bump that up to 10-20-30 for 10 rounds. The CrossFit Games even did 5 rounds of 20-40-60 once. But, to truly complete RX, does the athlete need to go 100-200-300 straight through?
By definition, it says “partition as need,” so does that mean breaking it up by choice is RX? Do you have to wear a vest to make it RX also? This debate is an active thread on many CrossFit forums and comment sections. Personally, this answer has been up for debate in my head for years as well. It wasn’t until speaking with one of our Aspire Coaches, Victor, that he brought up the two greatest arguments of what is exactly RX that I’ve ever heard. First he asked if we want the most badass gym around, our RX needs to be 100-200-300 and if you have a vest you must wear it. Then, after I still had some slight skepticism, he asked me, “how would Murph do it? That’s RX.”
So there it was - RX is 100-200-300 and if you have a vest you must wear it.
This gives the opportunity to RX an incredible challenge and monstrous feat. At our gym, only some will do it. Many will strive for years to go RX. Some will never go RX. And that’s okay.
To Scale or Not to Scale
Often, our goal in metabolic conditioning WODs is to complete the workout as quickly as possible, pushing ourselves equally cardiovascularly and through the challenge of the movements - perfect movements with as little rest as possible. If “Murph” popped up as a Saturday WOD at the box, my goals for our athletes at the gym would be the above.
Memorial Day Murph however is another story. Once again, Memorial Day is about honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. The primary goal of metabolic conditioning isn’t Memorial Day Murph’s goal. Rather it is about honoring, pushing yourself to new extremes, and completing a task bigger than yourself. The Navy Seals believe that we only work at 40% of our physical capacity. The other 60% is ours for the taking, we just have to unleash it. Memorial Day Murph is about digging deep mentally and physically, much greater than any weekday or Saturday WOD at the box.
If you have the physical capacity to complete 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 squats without ending up with rhabdo in the emergency room, you should be completing Murph RX. If you don’t have that just yet, going RX is a goal that with accountability to your fitness, will be completed in the years to come.
Additionally, if you have a vest and can physically complete the reps with a vest on, you should.
Time doesn’t matter in this one. Murph is bigger than that.
Next up – too many people are chronically trying to learn how to improve their life. Reading self-improvement books, for example, can be a great way to improve yourself. But, they don’t mean shit if you aren’t putting things into action and getting after the principles the book suggests. Reading book after book, listening to every podcast you can, and attending local events with self-help superstars are a waste of time if you aren’t implementing the messages. Put the book down and start taking action. Reread your favorite book or re-listen to that podcast that made you motivated for a couple days. Begin implementing ALL of the strategies suggested. Don’t skip one because you think it won’t work for you. Buy into the whole picture. If it doesn’t work in the long run, drop it and figure out what works better. Don’t just sit, listen, and “learn,” take action and make it happen for yourself.
This is not battering individuals that seek different methods to improve their lives. I love that people are trying to better themselves. At some point however you need to ask yourself, “Are you really trying to improve yourself, or are you chronically learning how people can improve themselves?” You need to dive deeper into who you are taking this information from – finding out if they really are the person you want to become more like. Then, pick one individual/theory/message you’d like to model and implement it. Don’t get caught up in any he said, she said, they did bullshit. Start trying things out and see what’s taking you on the best path to your definition of success using your core values.
Learning doesn’t mean anything without putting it to use.
You can’t run fast if you feel like crap all the time. Emphasizing sleep, mobility, and listening to your body are vital to helping you become a faster runner. In terms of sleep at night – aim for 6+ hours of GOOD sleep. That’s not just lying in the bed – that’s cold, knocked out, sleep. Mobility should be performed at least 15 minutes a day with yoga, strengthening, foam rolling, and lacrosse ball work all in the daily arsenal. Finally, listen to your body. If it feels like it might need a day off – take it. However, make sure you body is telling you that and not your mind.
Click here for my favorite calf mobility exercise.
Don’t just show up, perform. Going on a 3 mile run isn’t enough to get faster at a 5k. You need to push it! Unless it’s a recovery run prescribed by your coach, you need to be making the most of every session. If you aren’t pushing yourself past your current threshold, your level of performance is going to plateau and you’ll need to accept your current abilities as a runner. If you want to get better, you need to push past those boundaries.
Training intervals is one of the best ways to get faster. The easiest way to do this are timed intervals because you don’t need a track or any special equipment. Set a timer for an “on” and “off” interval. During the “on” interval, you are going to run as quickly as possible for the duration. During the “off” interval, run or walk as slow as you please. Be prepared to repeat and run as quickly as possible as soon as the “on” interval begins. One of my favorite intervals is 3 minutes “on” and 2 minutes “off” for the duration of my run.
Without knowing where you want to go, how will you ever get there? Set goals of exactly where you want to be with your running. Make them lofty and specific. If you want to run a half marathon in less than two hours, don’t make the goal 1:59, make it 1:50. If you don’t hit that exact goal, no problem, you will reanalyze, see what you could have done better, and try again. Striving for a 1:50 and running 1:57 isn’t a failure. Sure you didn’t hit the 1:50 you set out for, but you smashed your original goal and now have the ability to hit the drawing board and see how you can achieve that 1:50. Don’t get too hung up in the exact result – it’s more about the experience, drive it took to get there, and where you will take yourself from there.
If you didn’t know how to swim, you wouldn’t just jump into a pool after I told you to swim a mile and start up. It would take massive amounts of time to learn how to swim properly to complete the task. Running is the same. You need to learn how to run correctly, efficiently, and safely.
Check out these running drills to help instill proper technique into your runs.
Sean Spire is the Owner and Head Coach of Aspire. Athletically, he enjoys lifting heavy shit, running in the middle of the day, and tough MetCons. Personally, he likes spending time with his amazing wife, Erika, and dog, Reef.