Using Coaches as Guides To Achieve Greater Success

3 Hikers In SnowHave you ever found yourself stuck and not sure how to improve your business? Have you thought about getting help from a business coach?  Coaches are guides who’s outside perspectives help those they assist reach their goals and improve their skills. In essence they are facilitators. Coaches have been an important part of my life in athletics, business and life.  The first coaches I can remember were the parents, including my dad of Jackrabbits. Jackrabbits is a cross-country skiing program for kids aged 3 – 12 years old.

For those unfamiliar with Jackrabbits it is a program similar to scouts and girl guides, but on skis that takes place in the winter.  We even had badges for accomplishing different skills and milestones; mine are still tucked in a box for safe keeping.   Since then I have had many coaches for different purposes and at various stages of athletic and business development.

A fire lit inside of me in 2007 that was so strong that I knew it was time to make the transition from employee to business owner. Unsure of where to start I enlisted the help of two coaches.  With one we were focused on developing the business strategy and figuring out how to manage the re-branding of a sole proprietorship to a new corporation and the switch from employee to entrepreneur. The other guided me through the business plan creation and successful negotiations with the gym owners.

It was with their help that I navigated my way from working for a major private fitness gym as a Personal Trainer, to owning an independent business that operated as a strategic alliance within the same gym in less than five months.

Coaches provide a non-partisan sounding board for ideas,  help elucidate resolutions to problems, celebrate successes and keep you on track.  There is no doubt in my mind the start of Lifemoves was accelerated because the coaches provided the pilot light with their of years of business knowledge that perhaps, without coaching I would have found on my own but over a much longer period of time.

While competing in biathlon the importance  of having a diverse number of coaches became very important.  When I attended a Junior Canadian national biathlon summer camp the coaches there were able to pick-up things I needed to work on that my local coaches didn’t see. This was because they had their unique perspectives and knowledge base.

Over the years I have had a few more business coaches all with different areas of specialty, such as financial management or purpose and vision.  Each coach was sought to help find a solution to a major stumbling block in my business.

If private coaching seems difficult to afford try starting with group coaching or think of coaching as an investment for greater future earnings. Next week I will be attending a business coaching group for the first time with many other entrepreneurs.  This excites me because I will be with a group of like minded individuals all interested in accelerating their business and learning from each other as well as the coach.

What are your thoughts on business coaching? How have they helped you?

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Rediscovering My Story

Prairie Grain Elevators

As a birthday gift my mother sent me a photo of grandfather (her father) along with a few of his personal effects (he passed away in 1998), which included a resume of his medical education and publications.  He lived to be just over 90 years old, so how could two pages tell his story? He grew in Weyburn, Saskatchewan not far from Regina where I spent my FORMative years.

He and I went to many garage sales, he inspired me to become a health care professional and helped form my desire to learn photography (I wish I had learned more from him about film photography). There is a photo of him at my age; we look a lot a like, but I also have my paternal grandfather’s chin, who I never met..

My 40s are approaching, so I thought it was time to review the first nearly four decades.  We tie our identities to many things including what happened in our past, our occupations and our families. While our pasts have shaped us to become who we are today, they don’t have to shape tomorrow.  Each decision we made has had an effect on our lives; that decision could have been simply turning left instead of right a few years ago while walking to the grocer.

It took me many years to be able to comfortably, authentically and confidently share that depression and suicide attempts were part of my life.  The bullying that lead to these is no longer the story I tell, but I realize those years deeply affected my initial level of trust I hold towards people and how I handle particular situations.

Writing out my story from my birth in London, Ontario in 1976 to two wonderful parents, who have been married for nearly 50 years to today when I myself have been married for one and half years was quite a journey of discovery.

Those years after moving to Vancouver were quite traumatic, however I no longer have the emotions attached to high school bullying.  I jettisoned many of the self-defeating beliefs when I attended Unleash the Power Within with Tony Robbins.

What I also discovered is that I really didn’t celebrate that much. Each event I wrote down initially with very little emotion and often skipped over some major accomplishments and awards.  When I went back to fill in the blanks I started to feel very proud of what I have accomplished.

There are also some very pivotal moments in my  life that changed my direction completely.  One was deciding to come back to Vancouver after my undergraduate degree to attend UBC for non-degree related upper-level courses.  During this time I broke up with my fiancée and met Dr. Christensen, who has a spinal cord injury.  He was my first personal training client. Our six months together propelled the focus of my life’s work on providing those with disabilities, medical conditions and injuries with the opportunities, knowledge and facilities to stay active for life. It also inspired my vision for my own facility – which is almost crystal clear.

Being fired from my first job in fitness was devastating. However, one week later I was hired to as Personal Trainer at Fitness World within two days of handing in my resume.  During my eight years with them I blossomed into one of the top in the company for Personal Training sales, met my very dear friends and best woman at my wedding, met my lovely wife and I started Lifemoves as a strategic alliance with them.

Growing up in the Prairies really does define my character and pride. There is a very good poem by David Bouchard:

On the prairies I learned to embrace the snow and winter. I learned to cross-country ski, a sport I will be enjoying my entire life. My first twelve years also gave me a couple of pseudo elder brothers – the Jensens.  The two boys, Erik and Olaf were both older than me, but we did a lot together including learning to ski in Jackrabbits, playing with legos, hiking the Rockies and many Christmas dinners.  Being the youngest, of course I ended up with the hand-me-downs; a good thing in the end.

My time in Saskatchewan changed my blood colour to Rider Green.  Brock and I would get free tickets from Safeway to the kids’ end-zone area and then sneak into the main stadium claiming we had to call home (the only pay-phones in the place were in the concourse). One of my fondest memories is of attending a touch football camp at Taylor Field (now Mosaic stadium). We were mentored by some of my heroes. I still have the t-shirt, but it is a tight fit and my wife won’t let me wear it.

Growing up with my parents – no choice there, love them to bits shaped my values and the type of marriage I sought. I can not count a single divorce in my extended family, nor that of my wife’s.  My mother is doting and very caring, while my dad has is own unique way of showing is  devotion to my well-being.. He challenges me to always be better than I am by being very direct.

While I was younger both parents came on the family hikes and cross-country ski trips, but once I started to carry a pack, which was initially just my sleeping back the adventures became more just myself and my dad.

My mother was very happy being a wonderful children’s librarian who knew that if she climbed the library ladder who role would shift a way from the children. She had a knack for finding the oddest things. She would help me with my school projects. While my dad built a software company out of his home. He sold the software in the 80s and we moved – with great protest on my behalf to Vancouver in 1988.

It is his tenacity, hard work and entrepreneurial spirit is why I now own my own business. Being entrepreneur has tremendous challenges at times, but also many amazing rewards. The thought of working for someone else makes me shudder. My summer of kayaking and flexible hours working a training log software helped to understand that coding and software development is something I too enjoy.

Now, there are many similar products, but he was ahead of his time – nearly 20 years, but lacked the resources to make it big.  This makes me think, how can I gather the resources to go after my big audacious idea that I came up with in 2000?

Even with the thunderstorms and heavy rain in the winter, I am still very gratefully for the first year of kicking and screaming twenty-five years ago.  Vancouver is a wonderful place to live. Although I wish have traveled to Europe and USA, I will always come back home to Vancouver.  The day my parents permanently move back to Vancouver I will be jumping up and down with great glee and joy.

Moving to Vancouver has led to many adventures and accomplishments.  It was in Vancouver I started to pursue my dream of learning to fly by joining the air cadets. That same year I tried Biathlon. The shooting added a layer of complexity and joy to cross-country skiing. Sign-me up!

A couple of years ago my dad revealed that he become a coach to help me become a better athlete. Last year he was named Biathlon Coach of the Year for Canada.  It was a BC Winter Games where I came home with several gold medals and one silver in Biathlon – I was grinning ear to ear!  Without Biathlon I would have never realized my own Olympic dreams. He was instrumental in the Vancouver 2010 bid; he and I both had volunteer roles at the Biathlon venue in 2010 and on the field of play.

He was on the range while I my role was an Anti-Doping chaperone. What better vantage point than to be in the tick of things with the athletes spectators and the media? Wow. We were even able to watch the  Women’s Biathlon before our own events.

One thing that has become crystal clear during the last four months is that there are things that might set you back, some times in a very traumatic and dramatic way, but they are meant to propel you to even greater things.  For me, having to move my business suddenly to June made momentarily question my purpose, however it introduced me to someone who then connected me with my own clinic space.  My business now has a stable foundation to growth.

The process of exploring my own story is helping me understand that I don’t celebrate my accomplishments as much as I need to.  Also, that there have been certain things in my life that have shaped my beliefs about finances and money. Thought patterns that I am in the process of changing dramatically.

Try writing out your own story. What do you discover? Find a quiet space, grab some tissue and water, now start writing.

A Breakthrough Grouse Grind: 90th Climb

Today my motivation was waning and I didn’t feel like going to Grouse Mountain, but I did. I ascended the Grouse Grind for the 90th time in my life (that is with the Grind Timer, which makes it more official). Now, the official count down from 10 begins on my quest to reach 100 by the end of the season to honour a client who passed away this year. This is a big audacious goal because the most I completed in one season was 35 (last year) and when I reach 100 it will be 49 climbs for the 2011 season.

The weather forecast for today was 90% chance of rain and sure enough, someone had posted on Facebook that it was like a monsoon in North Vancouver. I decided to get going anyways, because that is what Barb would do and because I always know that I enjoy myself once I am moving along the trail. Finishing one climb today is alson what was needed to stay on track.

My routine is to first release my hip and lower-back muscles, especially around the pelvis with a little trigger point therapy then had some myofascial release with a foam roller called the Grid, next are few upper and lower body fascial stretches to make sure that my body feels loose and ready to roll. If I don’t do this I will inevitably find that my lower-back fatigues around the 3/4 mark.

Missing the Seabus on a holiday is always annoying, because you have to wait for another thirty minutes. Finally arriving at the mountain around 10:00 AM, I noticed that I left my timer and pass at home – was today meant to be? Part of being an entrepreneur is being able to problem solve on the fly and sometimes make quick decisions. Guest services are great, they have all my information and they are able print a downloading ticket and manual input our Grind times. People forget to bring their gym pass every day at Steve Nash Fitness World.

After setting my watch for 10:30 intervals, a 42 min finish time I pressed the start button to begin my ascent. The time it takes to get from the start to the big warning is usually where I assess how my body is going to perform on that day – 3:00 minutes. Not to slow, but not super-fast. During the first quarter I felt like my legs were feeling loose and turning over quite well. That quarter flew by in 9:20 minutes, my quickest is 8:16 – today wasn’t fast, but it was still well under my daily goal.

My mind started to figure out how much extra time I had due to the first quarter cushion so, I begun to speed-up. The second quarter mark approached in a blistering time of 9:37 (best of 9:36). Alright, “Could I finish in less than 40 min today?” Pacing on this gruelling climb is very important. My hips, legs and lower-back were feeling great, I knew I could go a little faster. I learned the lesson of going off pace during Seak the Peak Relay ’11 in July when I had to slow down because of calf-cramping, which meant I nearly missed my sub 2 hour finish time.

“Keep a steady pace,” I repeated to myself.

To go faster the trick is to turn-over the legs more quickly, by taking advantage of the terrain by changing your tactics. One example is to sprint wider flatter sections. I knew I was on track for a faster time when finished by the 3/4 in 9:38. Now could I push even more get another season’s best on the last quarter? Only time would tell. Feeling charged-up I knew I had a little bit of extra energy, the faster I went the less time there was left to the finish line.

It took a lot of will power not too look at my watch. Technology is great, however there is tremendous power in also learning to run by feel. There is last set of stairs, where you either go left and it is longer and not as steep or you go steep and more intensely up. I chose right. The rest of the climb is scrambling over rocks – which is the most fun part of the Grind for me because I know I am almost finished and I can leap from rock to rock, even using my hands sometimes.

Since the last interval of 10:30 min had not gone off, I knew I was really close to finishing in less than 40 minutes. Sprinting up the last part of the gravel to the timer, I tapped the timer and pressed the lap button. The last lap is a cool-down; it is a measure of my recovery which can be 1-2 minutes. The point is to see how long it takes my heart rate to drop below 120 bpm.


Q1 9:20
Q2 9:37
Q3 9:38
Q4 10:32
(rounded)

Stunned I read my elapsed time of 39:07!

Follow heart beat by heart beat at TrainingPeaks.com- click here or my 2010 Personal Best

The last quarter was nearly 30s faster than my previous time. My official published time starts at 12 am because it was manually entered and is just shy of my season’s best.

This was an outstanding time for my 90th climb. Keeping reading as I go for 100 by the end of October. The Grind closes when the snow hits the ground and it becomes unsafe.

The lesson today is that you can gather all the data you want, but the decision is really completed with instinct and feeling. Some days are break through days while other are steady as you go. Either way keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep climbing.

Related Posts

  1. 2011 BMO Grouse Mountain Run
  2. Paying Tribute to a Client Who Loved the Grind

6 Ways to Elevate Fitness Professionalism: Post-Vancouver Think Tank Thoughts

Friday night I was invited to a meeting of the minds by Carmen Bott of Human Motion who is also the new provincial director of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). This meeting brought together some of the top Strength and Conditiong Coaches, Personal Trainers, Physiotherapists, Kinesiologists, Yoga Instructors and Fascial Stretch Therapists in Metro Vancouver.

One big question that came from this gathering was “How can we elevate the standards of fitness professionals?” This was in order to figure out who we could invite to present at a provincial NSCA conference who would attract the veterans and the rookies.

I have been involved in the health and fitness field since 2000 and since that time have always surround myself with people who will motivate and encourage me to elevate my standards of practice. To raise our standards as a collective we need to lead by example, those who are poor or weak in one profession will eventually leave.

Anyone who is in the top echelon of their profession is there because they have they too have sought to be mentored by those who have been in the trenches for many years if not decades. I have been aware of a pervasive feeling of annoyance because many Personal Trainers are lured into the business with promises of a quick few weekends of study, an exam and then being able to bill out $65 per hour without really honing their craft and leading clients through exercise that they cannot execute properly – possibly doing harm soon or in the long-term. They quickly learn that after expenses their take home is not $65 per session and hopefully they learn that they are billing their time not their expertise.

The state of the industry is that young and easy to get into the fitness industry, but there is also a lack of mentorship afterwards. I have had clients, have used the services of trainers for years, say “Wow, I have never had someone teach me that,” with some something as simple as cueing scapular retraction and depression during a lat-pulldown (that scares me). Trainers get their certifications and then think they can become independent trainers right away – are you an entrepreneur? No, you own your job that is it.

The independent training studios are so full to brim that the experience of clients starts to decrease in quality. Does the consumer know the difference between an expert trainer and someone who is fresh on the floor – who is there to push you to your limits? Generally not. The culture of these studios is to hold on to the clients that you have, don’t coach other trainers – because they are the competition. Could they become better than you, maybe? If you have any business sense you will know that there are plenty of clients for everyone and that each professional has their own niche, or at least you should!

Six Ways to Raise the Bar

Is it up to us to elevate the game of those who do not wish to? You can only coach those who wish to be coached.

  1. It starts by creating an environment where we speak to each as peers whether you have 1 year of experience or 20 years of experience – we all have different life experiences, therefore different insights into human movement and how to teach people to become better at it.
  2. Surround yourself with peers who challenge your way of thinking (whether you end up agreeing or not).
  3. Be open to new ways of thinking, new ways of teaching, new ways of doing business – e.g. look at all the technological changes.
  4. We need to mentor the young ones who are eager to learn and are ready to be coached.
  5. Be proud of your profession. It doesn’t entirely define you, but shout it out!
  6. Learn from everywhere – books, peer-to-peer discussions, workshops, even outside of your profession

When I told someone I was going to be a Personal Trainer they asked, “When are you going to get a real job?” It took awhile to make a living, because I had to buck the trend that “there is no money in fitness!” What BS! By the way – I am a Kinesiologist (another pet peeve is Kinesiologists calling themselves Personal Trainers, just because not many people know what a Kinesiologist is or does).

Only those who really want to be the best at what they do will go out and meet the best at what they do. They follow in their foot-steps while creating their own path.

Today I met some of the leaders in our field in Vancouver as well become reacquainted with others who I haven’t seen in a long time. As Canadians are we too meek to step-up and say confidently “We know stuff! Let’s share!”? Today was the first step in sharing our knowledge. Step up and be confident, people pay us for expertise not our time.

Other thoughts from this meeting by my peers that were written in less than 24 hours:

Fit Pro Think Tank Sept 2011

Bridging the Gap Between Strength and Conditioning and Yoga

Using Technology to Keep Motivated with vV0(2max) Interval Analysis

Technology helps me keep motivated since my goal races of Seek the Peak and the Grouse Mountain Grind Race are 6 and 9 months away. Performance management tools (software and devices) have come a long way in twenty years. I started using Polar Heart rate monitors to ensure that I was in the target training zone, not too high and not too low. Heart rates had to be just right like Goldilocks. The problems with using a heart rate monitor alone are that they don’t show far you go or your pace for each zone. Last July, after using Polar monitors without GPS since I was a teenager, I was convinced to switch to a Garmin 305 Forerunner with GPS to track speed, distance and heart rates.

In business management there is a saying “what is measured, will be managed,” so what are your key performance indicators when improving your fitness? Mine are 1. Speed at lactate threshold increases; 2. heart rate at X speed decreases or speed at X heart increases. Recently my focus has been to boosting my VO(2max) and vVO(2max), the maximum amount of oxygen my body can process and at the pace that I can sustain that effort at.

Combining the GPS of the Garmin Forerunner 305 with Training Peaks WK0+ enables me to analyse each training session to see if my speed at certain heart rates is increasing. By comparing the same type of sessions over several weeks noticed some trends. Below is a comparison of the last three weeks of vVO(2max) interval sessions which were mostly completed on the treadmill at 8.9 – 9.2 mph for vVO(2max) periods.

Date

vVO(2 max) Intervals (Work:Recovery min)

Duration

TSS(IF)

Normalized Grade Pace

Min HR

Max HR

Avg HR

Recovery Pace (mph)

26/01/2011

3.0 : 3.0

24:11.0

38.1 (0.936)

7:55 (203.3 m/min)

115

195

153

5.1

21/01/2011

3.5 : 3.0

25:58.0

0 (0)

114

188

153

4.5

19/01/2011

3.5 : 3.0

25:58.0

0 (0)

108

189

154

4.5

14/01/2011

3.5 : 3.0

25:59.0

0 (0)

99

185

153

4

05/01/2011

3.25 : 3.0

24:59.0

0 (0)

100

187

152

4

03/01/2011

3.0 : 3.0

24:06.0

0 (0)

93

187

151

4

Today was such a beautiful day that I went outside on a fairly flat area of North Vancouver. It was quite a challenge to figure what 8.9 mph – 9.1 mph feels like on the road (see this workout on training peaks). This week is a recovery week, so the duration of the work period was reduced to 3.0 min. Throughout the last three weeks I was able to keep the average heart rate similar for each session, maximum heart is close to the same level, recovery pace increased without a big jump in heart rate while speed for each interval increased from 8.9 mph to 9.1 mph.

All of this data only becomes information when it is analysed and then knowledge when I use it to adjust my training. Over time next four weeks I will continue to complete these vVO(2max) intervals and retest my VO(2max) at near the end of February. Tomorrow I should have the Footpod for the Garmin which will log the indoor pacing more accurately during inclement weather.

Seeing these small increments and feeling the ease at which I am able to run for 40 minutes is keeping me motivated to continue training for Seek the Peak and informed that my workouts are having the physiological affect I want.

How do you keep motivated to reach your fitness resolutions or goals? How do you keep motivated to reach your business goals? What do you measure? How do you translate the data in information and then into valuable information that affects your decisions?

Related Posts

Getting Unstuck from Doing Long Slow Distance to Increase VO(2max)

Banishing Depression with Energy Management

Last year I discovered that the instesinty of my depression related to my mindset and how I managed my energy. This year I am getting unstuck from letting my work get in the way of my physical training. In 2011 I am taking a very different approach to training for Seek the Peak and the Grouse Grind while maintaining a busy Kinesiology practice.

In November I really started to monitor various volumes and intensities of exercise with how tired or depressed I felt afterwards. My depression symptoms were clearly related to how much training stress, how much work stress I was under, how much exercise I did and how much I reconnected with the outdoors. In the summer I discovered trail running and this winter I am snowshoeing.

If I had not balanced the high fatigue days with proper recovery strategies including nutrition and recovery or off days my symptoms would become worse. Last year I thought depression was something “I had to live with for the rest of my life.” Not so, it can easily be managed. It is not a life-sentence; I know believe that my depression is gone. When I feel the symptoms I know it is time to down regulate my stress a variety of ways including alternate nasal breathing, Yoga, a recovery walk, nutrition, stretching, a day off, vacation, more sleep and/or the infrared sauna.

When I look at my work schedule it is clear that most Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually full 10 hour days while I have been able to carve more time on Mondays and Wednesdays. Fridays and the weekend have less going on so that it is possible to complete more fatigue inducing training on those days and have a bit more space to recover before getting back to writing, business development and spending time with family and friends.

During the week there is a lot of fluctuation in terms of demands and scheduling, so my workout times are slightly less rigid. Though, I will always find time to fit a training session in. Anything that requires more creativity or detailed work I need to do it in the morning when my mind is clear; this means a training session before lunch. Lunch is a perfectly timed hour when I can replenish my mind and body. When 1:00 PM rolls around I am ready to tackle what needs to be done. The confidence gained from completing each training session keeps me happy and energized.

These days I am focused on managing my energy by finding ways to keep it consistent and at its peak, this included getting off the stress train of caffeine. It has now been over two weeks since I quit drinking coffee. Too much stress was contributing to my depression.

Do you manage your time or your energy? Too much stress, including exercise stress combined with poor nutrtion makes depression symptoms worse. Reduce stress by being flexible with your exercise times and quantity to stay on track with your fitness goals. For example if your day went side-ways and you couldn’t go for your 45 min walk at noon, but you have time and energy for only 20 minutes in the evening go do it, because you still receive many health benefits.

How to Succeed by Winning Each Period

“Win each period,” was ingrained into my psyche while I was volunteering as a student athletic trainer for the University of Guelph Women’s Hockey team. This mantra re-told by their coaches during each intermission between periods, at every hockey game. When the team won each period, they won the game; this was about execution and taking appropriate action.

How do you “win each period” to succeed? Once the goal is set it is about doing everything in your power to execute the action steps necessary to get there. In ten years of kinesiology practice I always coached clients that by completing each step of their fitness or rehab program, their end goal will be reached.

This mentality is the same in business, life and sport. First, determine your goal, write it out and place it somewhere highly visible. Now take this goal and break it down into smaller action steps. How detailed you get is completely up to you.

What is a period? The periods are defined in various ways. David Allen of “Getting Thing Done,” fame asks people to align their 50,000 elevation goals with their runway action steps. In business your outcome is a result of your actions; even in-action is an action, because you are choosing to do something else. In sport strength and conditioning – your fitness level today is a measure of the training you have done in the 30-42 days previous.

A period is any length of time that you desire. Often in business we speak about Quarters, but quarterly reports are an after affect of what has happened in the months, weeks, days and hours that are part of that Quarter. Winning each period is about breaking down your goal into a set of actions, such as an Annual Plan. From there take the annual plan and break into to quarters, months, weeks and days.

There are often things that come up in the day that must be taken care of in that day however, set out each day and week with a few items that must get done for you to be successful. Ask yourself what are a few actions that you can take today that will progress you towards your goal.

How do I stay focused during each period? When evaluating new tasks and projects, ask yourself these questions –”will this _______ take me towards or away from my goal?” and “is this something that I can be the very best at?(my hedgehog)” We are on a path that is constantly diverging, with constant decisions to go left or right. How often do you evaluate that you are winning each period? Today I set out to complete a sub 40 minute Grouse Grind, in this case it is broken down in quarters. I knew that each quarter had a desired lap time. As well, that I had to be at the 3/4 by 31 minutes to complete finish under 40 minutes. At the start my Garmin Forerunner was set to alert me every 10 minutes. I had two places to evaluate my progress, every 10 minutes and at each quarter. Each time I reached a lap point or the alert chimed I adjusted my pace so that finished in 38:48.

How closely do I monitor each period? Don’t forget to review. The more closely you pay attention to your own metrics, the more adaptable you can be to changing environments. A win can be the fleeting moment of reaching your goal or knowing that your plan is working and progress is being made. You don’t have to scrutinize every detail, but look for trends. Are you wandering away or towards your destination? I didn’t pay attention to my financial metrics for awhile and then it was much more difficult to get back on course. The lesson is that the more closely you monitor your wins/losses the easier it will be to get that next win and stay on your desired path.

Resources

(two of my favourite business books)

Allen, David Getting Things Done

Collins, Jim (hedgehog) Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t

How do you evaluate success?

Climbing Mountains for BC Children’s Hospital Grind for Kids

It was nearly 20 years ago when I first completed the Grouse Grind in North Vancouver while training for cross country skiing. I remember being in awe of how steep and how challenging it was. It took me until three years ago to get back on the mountain.

Grind for Kids
Participating in Grind for Kids motivates me because I know that I am participating in something that gives back twice: it increases my own fitness while raising money for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.
This type of fundraiser reminds of Jump for Heart – a jump rope event back in elementary school aimed at raising money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Unlike a singular event where you gather pledges to participate on one day, Grind for Kids offers nearly four months of opportunity.
Meeting Jason Chong who completed over 400 Grinds this season and 1,000 in his lifetime, inspired me to finally get on board with Grind for Kids. Thankfully my previous 20 climbs count towards my total goal of a minimum 35.
I founded Lifemoves because I believe that movement is an integral part of life, no matter what your current physical abilities are or what your fitness level is. Giving back to BC’s children is important because it will enable them to enjoy more of life’s movement such as running around in the park, riding a bike or swimming in the ocean.
Supporting this foundation is important to me because it is one way I can thank everyone at children’s hospitals in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
6 months and 4 years old
I was born with a medical condition that made my life very tenuous and my parents were quite concerned about my survival. I had surgery twice as a child, once in Ontario when I was 6 months old and another one in Saskatchewan when I was about 4 years old. All I remember of the second in surgery is the ticklish sensation of having the stitches removed. I also have several good scars to tell the stories with.
As a stubborn 4 year old, I placed my hands in my pockets while going down some icy steps, even though my mother told me not to. There are consequences for such actions, and I hit my head on the stairs. Thankfully the hospital as only a few blocks away.
Youth
There were two major times I was in BC Children’s Hospital while in high school. The first was when I ended up on my back, twisted in a snow fence after falling during a cross country ski race in 99 Mile House. After being carted out by snowmobile and ending up on the front page of the local paper, my Dad drove me, sedated and braced in his car, back to Vancouver. I was kept on a minimal diet for three days in case I needed surgery. Thankfully, I didn’t.
This crash happened just before the BC Winter Games in Vernon, which I had qualified for by being first in my zone. I watched the games on TV as all my friends raced on the trails of one of my favourite places to ski. Determined to get back to skiing, I even went up to Hollyburn Lodge on Cypress Mountain by snowmobile while still in a cast.
The second time was when I needed corrective surgery for a deviated septum which was making breathing difficult (it didn’t fully correct). I am not sure how my nosed ended up sideways because I don’t remember breaking it. I woke up to a orange popsicle being handed to me by a nurse, who was also my friend’s mother. Getting the stuffing taken out of my nose was one of the most painful experiences in my life. Thanks Mom for letting me squeeze your hand!
As you see, there are many reasons for me to give back to all those who made a big difference in my life, most likely making it possible for me to continue. My wish is for the kids to have the best care possible and their parents to have outstanding support during their child’s illness.
Please help make a difference on my behalf by donating or pledging for for each climb:

Sprinting Up the Grouse Grind

Today I decided to train my ability to sprint up a mountain. Think I am crazy? As an entrepreneur I am always pushing against the grain and trying to do things a little differently while still following in the strides of those who succeeded before me.

This training session’s focus was stick to the plan by executing the plan properly and evaluating the process. Time up the Grind takes care of itself.

At the beginning I set two goals: 1. Go as fast as I could go during the 30 second sprints. 2. Recover and stay within the recovery heart rates for two and a half minutes (155-160 bpm). My mind did drift to thoughts of, “How long is this going to take me?” and, “Will this result in a new seasonal best?” I caught myself and re-focused on my pace with the knowledge that time takes care of itself without any interference.

These intervals are tough, especially as I built up some lactic acid during each one, which never fully flushed out during recovery. Each sprint started with different challenges like the terrain becoming steeper or getting caught behind people on a narrower section and not being able to pass due to safety concerns.

The Garmin has different tones for high, low and in goal as well as a count down to the next interval and I’m starting to get used to them. It’s something that Polar never seemed to grasp; they used same tone for everything so you had to always look at your watch.

Recovering was challenging. I am used to pushing my heart rate to 170-185 bpm during the Grind. The recovery intervals were supposed to be between 155-160 bpm. Try lowering your heart rate while going up hill! Sometimes I found myself having to check back in and slow down to recover properly.

View Details of the Training Session:
Includes heart rates, elevations and a player to watch the changes with Google Maps.

My final push was again from the second timer around to the back of the chalet. This is feeling much stronger, though today I wasn’t quite as quick nor was my heart rate up to the level it was last week. I set my recovery period to last until I reached 120 beats per minute. This is to evaluate my fitness. Generally, the faster you recover, the fitter you are.

Final Grind time today was 43:25. This includes about one minute to change workouts on my Garmin because I chose the wrong one when I started. I am getting faster on the first section and I feel that I could push myself a little more when I reach the top section where there are more rocks as you crest up to the finish and into the open.

Sunday, it is time try a lactate usage session.

Other Grind Posts
Using Lactate Balance Point
Nutrition Strategies

4 Strategies to Jump Start Your Motivation

How to Stick to the Plan and Get Things Done:
Sometimes sticking to the plan is difficult on those days when you are not motivated. I woke up this morning not feeling very energized, but I already had an ascent of the Grouse Grind planned. Even though it took me a while to get myself organized and out the door, I did get up the mountain today.

What got me going, even if it was later than I planned? It was remembering the feeling of being on the mountain, the feeling I have once I crest over the top and how empowered I am after completing another goal.

I remember training for Biathlon and there were days when I woke up not feeling like training, but I went anyway because I knew how much I enjoyed being out on the snow, at shooting practice or in the summer, on my roller-skis.

During times when you are lacking motivation or feel that all the tasks or training sessions that you are doing are not worth it, here are four strategies to boost your motivation:

  • Evoke Positive Emotions: Take time to evoke any positive memories and emotions you have with what you are about to accomplish. I remembered how beautiful it is to be outside moving my body and how amazing the view is from the top of Grouse.
  • Ask Why: Ask yourself why you are doing it. Maybe it is what is on the other side. Today for me the answer was, “I am training for the Grouse Mountain Run in September.”
  • Think of the Accomplishment: Sometimes just the feeling of accomplishment is enough. Just knowing how you feel after your training is done adds a little charge. I looked forward to the endorphins.
  • Change Your Voice: Change what the voice inside your head says from “I can’t do it” or “I am too tired” to “I can do it” and “I have lots of energy.” You will be amazed how changing your internal mantra can uplift your spirit, enliven your motivation and help you tackle anything that you previously really didn’t want to do.
  • Get Started: Build momentum by getting started. Take the Action Step, as defined by David Allen of “Getting Things Done,” towards what you planned to do. This morning it was gathering everything I needed to go up the Grind. This included my pass, water and heart rate monitor. Taking the first action lead to another action of me leaving the house. I got over the original inertia and now had momentum to get me to my destination.

Use these strategies the next time you are lacking motivation to get you kick started. Let me know how they helped and share your own motivation tips in the comments section below.