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How Do I Achieve My Goals?
By: Matt Russ

I have enjoyed my career for many years now and have had the opportunity to work with and know hundreds of wonderful people. I have trained, coached, and counseled teenagers and golden agers, athletes and career couch potatoes. Over these years I have modified and improved my techniques and approaches, and tried to stay abreast of the latest techniques and methods in the field, and I will continue to do so. But most of the wisdom I have gained has come from observing human behavior and how people modify it. I have seen all types of people accomplish great things; perhaps more than they ever thought possible. I wish I could say that everyone I trained has achieved exactly what they desired and more, but the truth is not everybody has. The following are a few observations I have come to over my training career. I hope you can draw from these characteristics that have helped my clients be successful in achieving what they set out to do.

Success starts between your ears. The barriers you are facing are largely psychological. We will come up with techniques to modify your behaviors, habits, and hardest of all lifestyles. We must outline your triggers and mechanism that start unhealthy behaviors and learn to counteract and overcome them. Very few people have actual physical impairments that prevent them from exercising, and most can be overcome. Think and act positively.

Consider yourself an athlete. The only difference between an athlete and anyone else seeking to achieve their goals is that athletes compete formally. Athletes are focused, driven, and goal oriented. They will do exactly what it takes to win. They learn from each and every set back, and overcome adversity. They sacrifice. Athletes (and coaches) plan and analyze. Attain this same mindset and you will achieve success.

Outline and Plan. I will help draw the map, you have to make the journey. I require regular information on your eating habits, exercise duration, intensity, heart rate, medical data, etc.. The more specific input you give me, the more accurate and efficient the plan. Know this; when I stop getting the data I require, you are more than likely not sticking to the program. I realize it is cumbersome at times, but recording is crucial to your success. It is important to be structured and accountable, not just to me, but more importantly to yourself.

Objectives and Goals, Goals and Objectives. Daily, weekly, monthly, we will set little objectives that lead to big goals. Every work out, every meal can be building block, an objective that will add up in the long run. If you do not set objectives and goals there is nothing to accomplish and nothing to work towards. You have to set your own goals and objectives, but the first one always has to be making your health a priority; without it you have nothing!

Do not wait for divine intervention. I often hear "I am waiting to get motivated." Motivation is internal and comes from accomplishment and achievement. Inspiration is gained from others, and is external. Look for sources of inspiration, use them to achieve your goals, and then you will earn your motivation.

Do not say "I can't." Try, you can, I know it, I have seen it done many times, end of story. Eliminate negative self-talk, it gets you no where and ticks me off. I have no patients for self-loathing or self-criticism, because it is destructive and wastes our time.

There are no free lunches. If it is easy and quick it is probably does not work and may be unsafe. Few things in life worth having are easy, fitness and health is no exception. It takes discipline, work, deferred gratification, and time, but the payoff is huge.

Your victories and defeats are your own, I am only pleased to help you and support you.

About the Author

Matt Russ has coached and trained athletes around the country and internationally. He currently holds licenses by USAT, USATF, and is an Expert level USAC coach. Matt has coached athletes for CTS (Carmichael Training Systems), is an Ultrafit Associate. Visit for more information.

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape


Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.

Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:

Dave Snape

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