Taking My 40’s by the Balls…

Sylvester Stallone


“They say, you should try and approach every film as if it’s your last film. At my age, it’s a reality.”

– Sylvester Stallone at age 64 (Before Expendables 2, 3, Rambo 5 and…)

I’ll be 42 soon (July 28, 2014). I’m prepared to make my 40s my best training and overall life years ever. I’m going to grab age – and life – by the balls this year.

For real.

No holding back.

I’ve already started to and it’s only going to get better.

Come to think of it, this is probably one of the few birthdays I’ve had coming up that I haven’t been depressed about. Maybe because I’m looking at it as the start of something new and awesome as opposed to the “end” or another step closer to an “end” of this or that.

It’s interesting too that, when I turned 30, I owned a big, new house, had a “great” job as a scientist at a biotech firm and had a hot, young, blonde girlfriend. And, all I was is sad and depressed. Anxious and miserable.

I was happier and more confident and more “successful” on the surface back then, but now I’m coming into true happiness and confidence. The real, sustainable happiness and confidence that comes from being on my true path and purpose in life and not chasing the next thing that society told me I needed and should be pursuing to be happy.

What’s Possible?


“Being the person you want to be is what’s going to make you happy…”

– Owen Cook


I wrote this to myself in May of 2014:

“What’s Possible?

What would you truly be capable of if you lived fully – 100%?

No cutting corners. No fear. No EXCUSES.

Stop being angry about the past and the present and stop focusing on the limitations. Focus on where you want to GO. Don’t focus on the wall or the obstacles.”

My rationale is that, even if my potential is decreased by age, if I reach my full, age-adjusted potential now it’s probably still pretty awesome. It’s still probably better than I can even imagine if I nailed it 100%. I want to see what’s possible for me with total commitment to my life and goals on every level.

I guess I’m taking Stallone’s advice and approaching this “film” as if it’s my last. I don’t intend for this to be my last anything, but I think I need to treat it like it is. The first Expendables movie wasn’t Stallone’s last, but he approached it like it was…

Don’t Waste This…

I grew up with two main heroes or role models – Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I started working out because of them. I started bodybuilding seriously because of Arnold. As a kid of 12 or 13, I was looking at them in their movie roles in their 30s as guys I wanted to be like in every way.

What’s funny is, now I’m looking at them in their 60s – in real life – and taking their lifetime body of work and accomplishment in the real world as inspiration. Both of those guys have real staying power and have obviously achieved incredible things in their lifetimes – physically and everywhere else.

Both Stallone and Arnold have built careers spanning decades upon decades and have had awesome staying power. Think about it – Arnold’s bodybuilding pics from the 60’s and 70’s are STILL used on fitness and bodybuilding magazine covers today. And both of them are still making movies that are blockbusters.

Arnold and Stallone have stood the test of time. You can get lucky once or twice, but no one builds a successful body of work over decades and decades like these guys without a massive amount of talent and just plain hard-ass work.

I loved the new Rambo movie and the whole Expendables series so far. Stallone is in his late 60s now and he’s still awesome. He’s writing, directing and starring in his movies. He’s a major role model for me as a creative writer and artist.

A Badass is a Badass and Becomes More of a Badass With Time…

Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger

On the Rambo 4 DVD, there’s a short bonus featurette called: “Resurrection of an Icon.” It’s Stallone and the rest of the actors and others involved in the project talking about the making of the movie.

Not too far in, the actors start talking about what it was like to work with Stallone. Apparently, he’s super-intense. (Surprise, surprise…)

He’d work 16-hour days on set – half as director and half as actor – and, every morning when they started, he’d have notes and rewrites for the other actors that he did back at the hotel during the night. He worked on the way to and from the set, at lunch, over dinner, after a full day of acting and directing. And this was in Thailand in 110-degree heat and humidity.

How many 60 year olds would even survive a vacation in Thailand, let alone months of acting in, and directing, a multi-million dollar independent film?

Stallone did all his own stunts and suffered a bunch of physical injuries during filming too. He pretty much gets injured doing all his movies because they’re all physical roles and he does his own stunts. Badass.

“I tell actors what I tell myself. I know you’re tired. I know that maybe you’re burnt out. You may even be distracted and you’re not in the moment at all. You’re just working on pure technique. Emotionally you may be dried up.

“But, just take a moment and really embrace the fear of knowing that 10 years from now, 20 years from now, you’re gonna be watching this and you’re gonna be very, very unhappy that you didn’t dig down and try to get more outa yourself and KNOW that this moment comes one time.

“I know you’re tired. I know you’re beat up. But you still have the resources to pull something out if you really want it…”

– Sylvester Stallone

He sums it all up later:

“So, we’re talking about taking fear of a bad performance and using it to promote a good performance…”

And, here’s Stallone with his wife, Jennifer Flavin. She’s 22 years younger than he is…

Sylvester Stallone and Jennifer Flavin

He’s doing pretty well overall, I’d say – you know, for an old guy…

Men’s Role Models Are Getting Older…

Here’s another point that applies to men in general. When I was a kid, the role models I looked up to were in their 30s. Now, I have the SAME role models and they’re getting close to 70. I guess the age gap has stayed the same for me and I’ve just grown along with my original role models.

In general though, male role models are getting older and any man, at any age, can look at these guys and see them as role models:

  • Hugh Jackman – 45 years old
  • Joe Manganiello – 37 years old
  • Sylvester Stallone – 68 years old (Born in July, like me.)
  • Jason Statham – 47 years old (He’s a July Leo, like me.)
  • Randy Couture – 51 years old
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger – 67 years old (Another Leo.)

Arnold did Conan the Destroyer in 1984 at age 37, Commando 1985 at age 38, The Terminator 1984 and T2 in 1991 at 44.

One thing I need to add here though is that Stallone, Couture and Arnold all have a LIFETIME history of physical training. I think everyone above does to one degree or another. Exercise is truly the fountain of youth – especially combined with the best Life Extension doctors around the world that your money can buy… 😉

Living to 120…

I’ve always had it in my head that I was going to live to be 120. I never really thought it through – it’s just a number that’s been in my head for as long as I can remember. Of course, “regular people” think I’m nuts when I say that, so I rarely say it during the course of normal conversation.

Here’s the thing though – everyone on my mother’s side of the family has made it into their 90s. My great grandmother lived to 96. And, this is with stress, bad food and no real exercise. My grandparents had a daily walking habit most of their lives, but that was about it. If they all can make it into their 90s without even trying, what can I do with all the knowledge and effort I’m starting with in my 40s?

This means I still have two thirds of my life left to live. Another 80 years. And, if you look at Stallone’s example, I can hope to have another 30 or 40 years to kick ass if I take care of myself. And, of course I’m going to take very, very good care of myself…

Funny enough in “The 4-Hour Body,” Tim Ferriss says:

“Me? I plan on living to 120 while eating the best rib-eye cuts I can find…”

– Tim Ferriss

So, I think I’m in pretty good company on this 120 years old thing.

Your Life as a Work of Art…

“There Are Two Questions A Man Must Ask Himself: The First Is ‘Where Am I Going?’ And The Second Is ‘Who Will Go With Me?’”

– Sam Keen

I want to take just a few more words to shout out to two guys who are a few years younger than me and have really taught me a ton and helped me step up my game. Both of these guys consider themselves to be just coming into their prime now in their mid-30s after 10 years or more of hardcore self-development and work on themselves.

They’re Owen Cook (AKA “Tyler” from RSD) and Elliot Hulse. These guys are already doing big things in the world and are on their way to doing much, much bigger things. One of my major goals is to be part of the big things these guys are doing and have both as personal mentors at some point in the near future.

I started my real, organized self-development in my early to mid-30s so, now, at 42 I’ve got about 10 years for hardcore self-development behind me and am expecting to peak in life, fitness and success over the next few years – say around 45. And, I’m going to hold that peak for as many years as I possibly can. Into my 50s, 60s and maybe even further if I’m smart, on target enough and willing to work hard enough.


What Will You Build?

I was SO FUCKING DUMB in my 30s. Not academically, of course, but DUMB about life, what’s important and the universal principles of how life and the world works. Back then there really wasn’t a way to know much beyond going to college, getting a good job and working. Meet a nice girl, get married, buy more shit…

Back then there wasn’t even that much to know. And too much of it was mainstream bullshit anyway. It’s only now that the accessibility of information, knowledge and out-of-the-box thinkers like Owen, Elliot and even me, in the Paleo eating and living realm, has reached the point where we can all see a bigger picture and a bigger vision.

If you’re reading this right now, then you have the entire world at your fingertips. Anything you want to do or learn or figure out – or learn to do better – is just a few keystrokes away.

You can learn anything and you can become anything.

I certainly don’t know it all now – not even close – but, I have a foundation. I get it and I can see the big picture and the long-term vision. I have enough to be getting started and make things happen that will compound positively for me over time. Now I have a map that’s at least a reasonable approximation of the territory. It’s a good start and something I can work on refining over time.

I guess the difference between me now, at 42 and the me at 30 is that I understand – through hard experience and constant reading, introspection and self-improvement – the way our decisions and behaviors compound over time.

Here’s to the next 40 years of positive results compounding over time…



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The Long Road to Goals…

Hugh Jackman Failure Quote

I’ve done a few “Goals Posts” here on Practical Paleolithic – usually around the New Year. I was planning to do another one this year similar to the last two – 2010 and 2011. I’ve learned so much and have so many new tools, books and techniques to talk about. But the inspiration wasn’t really coming.

Well, the inspiration for a “regular” goals post wasn’t coming. What came is more of a story. I hope that this somewhat unorthodox goals post resonates with you. It may be even more useful to you than another round of tips, tools, techniques or empty platitudes. It’s my story and it’s me “pulling back the curtain” to show you some of what I’ve been through to get this far along on my path. It’s a sharing of some of the things I’ve learned about life, goals and success over the past few years.

I hope you like it. It’s from the heart…

Last New Year’s Eve (12/31/2012), I wrote a letter to my grandfather. He passed away in 2008 and I didn’t really know where to send it, but I felt compelled to write it. I left it next to one of the pictures of him that I have on the shelf near my desk.

I was pretty messed up that night. I’d had a really hard year and was in a serious depression. My passion was gone and I wasn’t interested in much of anything – especially writing.

So, I was a blogger who had just signed a book deal and the last thing I wanted to do is write – or even turn on the computer for that matter. And I couldn’t stand to be on Facebook seeing all the “awesome lives” everyone was living. Everyone but me.

I wrote to my grandfather that night because I needed help with something he could have helped me with if he was still here. My grandfather, Stan, was an accomplished musician for his entire life. He started playing the saxophone at 15 years old and was one of the founding members of the Glenn Miller Band. He’s in the original recording of “Moonlight Serenade” which is probably the most famous song of the Swing Era. He went on to become an accomplished symphony musician and a professor at a university. At his peak, he played four different instruments – flute, clarinet, piccolo and saxophone.

I hadn’t started a writing career until after he was gone. That’s what I needed help with. Stan practiced EVERY SINGLE DAY. He showed up and did his work day and night – he taught at the university all day and then came home, took a nap, had dinner and went to play a concert or rehearsal at night. He went to rehearsals no matter what. He never missed a day and I don’t ever remember him being sick and not going to work.

He got the work done every day from age 15 to somewhere in his 80s when he finally couldn’t hold his instruments up for very long. It wasn’t until his lungs and muscles were too weak to play that he stopped playing every day.

Turning Pro…

Stan was a “Pro” in Steven Pressfield’s terminology. I’m a huge fan of Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art” and “Turning Pro.”

I missed my chance to ask the Pro in my own family how the hell he did it. How the hell he did what he did all those years – when I’m sure he “didn’t feel like it” a lot of times.

So, I wrote to Stan and asked him to help me find the work ethic he had all his life. I asked him for support. I asked him to help me get my work done whether I felt like it or not.

I asked him to help me “Turn Pro.”

“It changes what time we get up and it changes what time we go to bed. It changes what we do and what we don’t do. It changes the activities we engage in and with what attitude we engage in them. It changes what we read and what we eat. It changes the shape of our bodies.”

– Steven Pressfield in “Turning Pro”

Do the Work and the Goals Come…

It wasn’t until tonight – exactly a year after I wrote that letter – that I realized he probably heard me and helped.

A year later, I had gotten the work done. Somehow, I got the work done. It hurt, but I got it done.

2013 was one of the most difficult and growth-filled years of my life, but I got the work done. I got it done well and I got it done on time. I did the work and, if I’m not getting too presumptuous, I “Turned Pro” this year.

How do I know? I actually had one of my big goals reflected back to me on Facebook. Talking about setting goals is one thing. Having one smack you in the face in your own News Feed is another.

The new edition of my book launches in just about a week – 1/7/2014. This is a goal that got started way back in 2010. At least officially – I’d wanted to be a writer and author for a lot longer.

But, 2010 is when I made the 100%, no going back decision to start a real blog, write an eBook and do whatever it took to make a full-time living as a writer.

Just a few minutes ago, I posted the full, front and back cover spread from my book to Facebook for the first time. It’s the first time this all felt REAL. That’s when I realized how big a goal had been accomplished.

Paleo Dieter's Missing Link Book Cover Spread

Starting with Nothing…

Spring of 2010, I had just finished my latest round of failures, was broke and was still living in my too-big house with the two mortgages.

The house was only 10 years old but had been falling apart since the day I moved in. That’s why it was so over-morgaged – I was borrowing to fix all the stuff that shouldn’t have been breaking to begin with. Being built in the real estate boom of 2000, it wasn’t really built to last – just to sell and turn a profit for the developer and the banks.

I hadn’t realized just how miserable I was there until I left. The neighbors were nuts and lawsuit-happy and there was a “homeowners association” that basically just harassed and fined the homeowners if they didn’t follow the association rules to the letter. Sounds like the perfect place to live a happy, peaceful and creative life, huh?

I’d sold off my CrossFit Affiliate earlier in the year. I was a great coach but a terrible gym owner from a business perspective. I sold off my Affiliate to my friend Bryce – I knew he’d take good care of everyone and that he had the drive and the resources to do something with the business I had started.

But my love of writing was there. I was blogging and Facebooking for the CrossFit business and thinking – if I could just do this full-time…

In the meantime, the wolves were at the door. I started selling Medicare Supplement Insurance in a last-ditch effort to keep the too-big, falling-apart house. (You can add insurance salesman to my mess of a resume…)

Now, I was focused full-time on “the financial opportunity of a lifetime” selling Medicare Supplement Insurance. It was a last-ditch effort to make enough money to save the house and get myself back on track. It was the final desperation move.

My friend Art once joked:  “If all else fails, sell cars. If that fails, sell insurance.”

I can now say that I’ve sold cars and insurance…

After a few months of 12-hour days cold-calling people who didn’t want to talk to me, I was completely burned out and a nervous wreck. And, I had SPECIFICALLY asked the supposed friend who got me into the job if there would be cold calling involved – if there was I wanted NO part of it.  His answer to the cold-calling question? “No way, man! They’ll be calling YOU…”

Yeah, right…

The insurance thing imploded with a single, drunken and psychotically paranoid email from the guy I was working for and I was done.

That’s when I showed up here in Old Saybrook, CT – to my family’s little summer cottage on Long Island Sound – and tried to collect myself and figure out where to go and what to do. I was burned out and exhausted and completely broken.

As a blogger and “Paleo guy” I was completely unknown. One hundred percent, totally unknown. No blog, no following, no book, nothing. I had nothing but a computer and a few dollars from the insurance thing I’d been doing.

It’s here that I made the decision to become a full-time author and blogger. It was this moment that I decided to entirely reinvent and rebuild my life.

The Long and Winding Path to the Goal…

There were a million ups and downs. Very, very difficult times. But I kept at it. I got rid of the house, cleaned up the financial mess I was in and kept going.

There were plenty of failures – public and private – and none of it was easy.

Last year at this time, I was in a deep depression. A year and a half relationship had ended two days before Christmas and I was due in bankruptcy court on the 7th of January, 2013 – exactly ONE YEAR from the date of my book release in 2014. How insane is that? One year TO THE DAY?!?

Back to Goals and the Lessons Learned…

Now, it’s back to the present and back to talking about you and your goals for the coming year.

JD Meier - Perfection


I guess I have four points to make with this post that may help you or be useful:

1) Just about anything is possible if you never give up and keep searching for answers. Follow your heart. Never stop searching for the path that will lead to your true calling and that one special gift that only YOU can give to the world because of all the good AND the bad that’s happened in your life.

2) Goals and life changes happen over the long-term. Sometimes the VERY long-term. This book thing started 10 years ago in 2004 when I began studying health and nutrition to save my own life and get my health back. There were a million ups and downs, doubt, heartbreak and difficulty. There were many public and private failures. My blog started in summer 2010, I self-published the first edition eBook in 2011 and the real book is just releasing in 2014. That’s a LONG time. Remember that when you’re setting monthly and yearly goals.

3) The life I had envisioned for myself years ago was only a basic sketch of what came to be – I didn’t even have the vision or depth of consciousness to imagine where I would be in every detail today. You choose a general direction and correct your course as you go. A lot changes over the years. You grow and evolve and so do your goals and ideas. Set your goals, but stay flexible – they’ll happen if you persevere, but maybe not exactly as you envision them. It’s a combination of setting goals and being 100% committed, but also knowing when God or the Universe or whoever (Your grandfather?) is nudging you toward something you need to do but don’t know it and don’t have it on your “goals list.”

4) As J.D. Meier says in “Getting Results the Agile Way,” think in terms of iterations or versions. He says: “Don’t let perfectionism get in the way. It’s better to produce something you can improve or iterate on, than to continuously block yourself while striving for perfection.” I started with an eBook, a simple blog and little else in 2010. You can see the original cover.

Missing Link Cover 2011

That first cover was just TEXT. The book, my blog – and who I am personally – went through a lot of versions, iterations and ups and downs. Get the real work done and forget about getting it “perfect.” Just get to work.

Stay At It…

That’s about it. I hope this was a useful post for you and can help you with your own goals – no matter how long they take.

Happy New Year and I wish you all the best in 2014 and beyond!



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To My Friends on Christmas Eve – 2013…

Bacon Christmas Tree

I clearly remember sitting here at my desk on Christmas Eve, 2010. I wrote a “thank you” to all my friends on Facebook that night. That was my first year back here at home in Old Saybrook, CT and it was at the very beginning of this lifestyle I had set out to build and all the goals I had set out to accomplish. It was a sincere and emotional “thank you” to all the friends – new and old – who I was spending all my time with on Facebook.

But, there was no heartfelt “thank you” post Christmas Eve, 2011 or 2012. I “missed” those two Christmases because I let life and circumstances get the better of my love for Christmas and the kid’s heart inside that I usually have when it comes to my favorite holiday.

This has been a incredible few years of growth, challenge, struggle and opportunity for me. I’d rank 2012 and 2013 as a few of the most challenging of my life. I was challenged on every level these past few years.

There were reasons I wasn’t particularly inspired to write or thank anyone those past few Christmas Eves. I could list all my struggles and circumstances in detail if I was pressed to – and a lot of it would be real and legitimate. But, honestly, I don’t care anymore. What I care about is the future that I’m growing into and the people – old and new – who care about me and who I care about.

I owe thank-yous to so many. Some are timely and many are belated because you weren’t thanked in 2011 or 2012 when you should have been.

What Christmas is About…

For me, Christmas has always been about hope and excitement. I can remember some very real times over the course of my life when we didn’t have much of a Christmas – or any Christmas at all. We had many good ones, but there were some hard times sprinkled in there. There were some times – long past and more recent – where there were much heavier things on our minds than Christmas.

At some point in my early adulthood, around twenty two years old, I resolved that there would ALWAYS be a Christmas for me EVERY YEAR from there on out. By then, I felt like I was enough of an adult and was in enough control of my life to make that decision for myself. In fact, I made a tradition of it. The day after Thanksgiving I would go to this one particular garden center in the next town and buy a big, real tree. And always a premium one – you can tell by the white ribbon with the blue polka dots… I’d spend the rest of the day setting it up and decorating it – usually with a trip or two out for lights or bulbs or whatever mysteriously stopped working while in storage for the year.

The reason it was the day after Thanksgiving that the tree HAD to go up was mostly because I spent the majority of my 20’s in school and that was the one day I knew I was going to have time to do it before the end of semester craziness started and ran right to a day or two before Christmas when final exams ended.

And, so a Christmas tradition was formed. I even used to study the entire day of Thanksgiving – with a short break for dinner then right back to work – so I’d be able to have the day after Thanksgiving free to do the tree. It was a big deal to me for years.

I have a lifetime of ornaments slowly collected and memories attached to each. I have lots of “orange cats” because that’s what people tended to give me – particularly my mom. I had a little orange cat named Scrappy for 16 years and that was sort of a theme that came up a lot. Scrappy isn’t here with me physically anymore, but every year I can smile when I pull out and re-remember each orange cat ornament and all the memories attached to it. And, it reminds me of the original orange cat who was my little buddy for a long time.

So, I guess 2011 and 2012 were my adult version of those childhood days when there were no Christmases or it was a distracted, lean or dramatic one.

For my friends with families it looks to me like Christmas is all about the kids. I think that’s what Christmas is really about – the kids. It’s about family and friends too, but the kids really light up over it. I always did. At least, before I learned there wasn’t really a Santa Clause…

I guess what I’m saying here is that we all have an inner kid who still gets excited about Christmas Eve and Christmas. Maybe you live this excitement through the eyes of your own actual children. Maybe, like me, you just have an inner joy and a kid inside that loves the holiday and the time of year. It’s a thing that’s embedded deep in our culture in America and the American Christmas is uniquely it’s own. It has pieces and traditions of all the people who came to this great country to be free and have a better life and brought their own traditions with them. It’s a uniquely combined thing that reflects those who celebrated it here in freedom. (The History Channel did a great documentary on the origins of Christmas. It’s worth a watch if you’re interested…)


I don’t think Christmas is some capitalist plot or greeting card company conspiracy. I think there really is magic in this time of year and in the holiday – even if it’s just the magic of the memories we have from simpler, earlier and better times.

New Traditions and Old Ones to Bring Back…

This year and last, I just put up a little, fake tree with only a few of my very favorite ornaments. The year before I didn’t even have a tree.

This is my tree for Christmas 2013…

Christmas Tree 2013

The stocking hanging I’ve had for as long as I can remember and it’s hung in only two other homes. Right on the front of the tree is an orange cat in a Santa hat with a tag that was personalized “Scrappy” and there’s a whole life’s timeline hung on the rest of the tree – almost 40 years worth. It goes on right down to the red Corvette ornaments – that I have two because my girlfriend at the time got me the same one I got myself because she knew how much I love and covet the Corvette. The two Corvette ornaments always go on the tree. I don’t care that they’re duplicates.

Besides the thank-you, this post is, I now realize, my own promise to myself to have a real Christmas from here on out. It’s a reaffirmation of that promise I made to the little kid inside who missed out on a few Christmases because the grown up world was too messed up to slow down and just play and be happy for the sake of sanity and life and being thankful for what we had.

Those times I thought were so difficult and stressful then weren’t anything compared to things that came later. Opening presents with my family and a significant other of 5 years was a joy and a snapshot in time I’ll never have again. Coffee and presents with my father and grandfather and that girlfriend will never be here again. Ever. I’m glad I had what I had and I’m glad I did things right for Christmas when I could in years past.

So, for me, this is the last year of rushing to put up a little, fake tree because a big one is “too much work” and “I don’t have the time.” This is the last year of not enjoying the day after Thanksgiving as the “tree day” and looking forward to it. I’ve made my own Christmas and my family has had its own traditions for years now. This is the last year I’ll have been “too busy” to do it right.

There are people who may not be with us next year and others who may be new to our Christmases next year.

So, if you’re enjoying this fun and wonderful – and uniquely American – holiday, good. Enjoy it because life is short and nothing lasts forever. People grow, change and enter or exit our lives. Make the most of it because little will be the same – including your family traditions – as time goes on. Everything grows and evolves in it’s own time and just the way it’s supposed to.

And, if this Christmas is a difficult one for you, I hear you and I understand. I’ve been there. I know. Try to remember the good times from the past and look forward to a better future. But don’t loose the present. Love, honor and remember those who aren’t with us and find joy in that memory and the lifetime of memories Christmas represents to you, personally.

It’s funny, sometimes the times that seemed so “complicated” at the time can be the ones we look back to later as the ones that were the most fun. I have a few that I’d gladly return to and embrace those who were there then and who aren’t here now.

If you’re in my life today – the real one or the virtual one – thank you for being there and Merry Christmas. I hope – and plan – that the Christmas Eve post you read from me next year will have a REAL tree in it and you and I are looking back at a wonderfully healthy, happy, successful and abundant 2014. In my original 2010 post, I actually used the same bacon Christmas tree image I have on this post. I think – just like the movie “A Christmas Story” that’s become a modern Christmas Day tradition – I’m going to make the “bacon tree” the one that goes on the Christmas Eve post every year. See, a new tradition is born…

Thank you for being in my life on this Christmas Eve, thank you for reading this and I wish you and yours all the best in everything this coming year.



PS: I want to specifically give my condolences to the Jenkins Family. World’s Strongest Man competitor Mike Jenkins passed away suddenly on Thanksgiving Day, 2013 and my heart and prayers go out to Keri and the rest of his family.

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It’s Time To Get To Work…



There’s work to be done. We all know that. Anyone who’s up to doing anything in this life knows how much work there is to do.

This is a post about getting to work – but it’s about getting to the RIGHT work and ignoring or minimizing the wrong work.

Many of us are working extremely hard, but not all of our hard work is in the right areas or at the right times to build extraordinary health and an extraordinary life.

My major challenge lately has been keeping up with this great wave of exposure my work has had. This is mostly because of the writing I’ve been doing for Paleo Magazine and the increased visibility I’ve had because of it. Continuing to write great stuff for Paleo Magazine AND my blog AND take good care of myself AND keep stress under control. It’s a tall order.

And, I didn’t even mention all the side stuff like email and Facebook and Twitter and continued reading and learning on everything health and business and self-development related.

It may be difficult and seem a bit daunting at times – but, it’s a great opportunity and an awesome positive challenge. I’m thankful for it and wouldn’t trade it for anything. And, I’m going to give this everything I have.

In “The Time of Your Life” Audio Program by Anthony Robbins, he jokes about having such an abundance of opportunity that you can’t manage it all and miss some opportunities.

So, you end up having a sense of loss over opportunity!?!

It’s crazy.

I’m not going to waste the opportunities in front of me.

As Seth Godin said in one of his talks on YouTube:

“How DARE you waste this Revolution!?!”

The world is experiencing a Revolution of Connection right now and there’s work to be done if we want to make the most of the incredible time we’re living through.

There’s hard work to do in our lives, in our work and on our health. There’s hard work to be done in our physical training and there’s hard work to be done on ourselves so we can continue to grow and evolve.

The Paradox…

But, so much of our work is about slowing down, becoming more present and focusing on WHAT MATTERS as opposed to the urgencies and noises of the moment.

The work we need to do isn’t always the work we THINK we need to do. In my own life, I find the truly important work tends to get lost in the urgency of the moment.

What I’m talking about is focusing on and capitalizing on the REAL opportunities.

The opportunities that will enhance and bring value to our lives and those we care about. The opportunities that nurture us in positive ways. It’s not about just doing what’s on our “To-Do” list.

YOU have to actively manage your life, your work and your list of “To-Dos.”

As JD Meier says in the excellent book “Getting Results The Agile Way,” either you drive your schedule or your schedule drives YOU.

This post is a call to action for myself and for you. Let’s start driving our lives and our schedules toward something extraordinary. Let’s stop being driven by the “latest and loudest” and direct our lives where we know we need them to go.

Slowing Down to Go Faster…

My friend and blogger extraordinaire, Jeff Goins actually just launched a series on his blog called “The Slow Down Challenge” that’s focused on slowing down and engaging with life in a way that matters – with presence and with purpose. http://goinswriter.com/smell-roses/

“When we live such frantic lives, we can end up moving from one thing to the next without really concentrating on anything in particular. We can hit the fast-forward button on life and not stop until the end. Which isn’t much of a life at all.”

– Jeff Goins

So, we end up in the glut of things to do – a glut of opportunities even – and we end up squandering this wonderful abundance by trying to do so much that we end up doing almost nothing of any real value.

We run faster and faster to keep up and we do more and more while accomplishing less and less.

The More Personal, the More Universal…

This post is about my own personal decision to focus on what matters and to get the REAL work done. Not the running and spinning and stressing and striving bullshit work. The REAL work.

The more personal, the more universal. I think there are more people than just me who struggle with this and would love to find a way out. Some are likely as desperate as I am to find a way out of the stress and the running and the pushing and to start enjoying the great abundance all around us in the 21st Century.

There are only so many hours in the day and rushing through them in stress – while not doing all the things you truly want to do and truly value – isn’t the way to live a life.

We go in this around and around mess where everything is compromised. Too much work impacts training and caring for ourselves. But, going too easy on ourselves sets us back in work and training. Working on a project that has nothing to do with work or health sets us back in both areas to the point that the project doesn’t feel rewarding when we progress on it.

It’s a mess. And, I’m putting an end to it. Today.

It’s time to live fully and do what we love fully. No matter what, we have to find a way to do it.

It’s False Economy…

Saving the hour or two in the day by skipping a workout or half-assing one that we do get done doesn’t save anything in the long run. In fact, I can say with 100% certainty that not putting everything I have into my workouts compromises my mood, health, digestion, focus, creativity and productivity over the long haul.

But, in the moment, it can seem so important to get some urgent thing done. You can always work out “tomorrow” right?

A few minutes saved here and an hour or two saved there don’t add up to an increase in productivity in the long term. It’s just the opposite. It creates a steady decline into lower creative output. (If you don’t believe me, check out “How to Be Excellent at Anything” by Tony Schwartz or find some of his stuff online.)

You can also ask Richard Branson:


Or read this post from my friends Aaron and Than over at Asian Efficiency: http://www.asianefficiency.com/health/exercise-and-productivity/

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that my work goals of increased output, high productivity and high creativity are actually served by taking the time I need to train well and productively, stretch as much as I need to, meditate, do yoga and eat well and sleep well.

And, this means that I have to focus on the health-building activities no matter what. Focus on the things that are important but not urgent. They don’t become urgent until they get neglected for too long and it’s too late fix them with shorter term actions.

Scary stuff.

And, this all requires that I manage computer time and work time effectively. If this was “back in the day” when I was in my 20s in college, I could go at it 24/7. I wish I could. But I can’t. My age of 41 – and probably the fact the I spent my 20 and 30s going at life with everything I had 24/7 – has made it a necessity that I slow down and work smarter as opposed to harder and longer.

As I said in Part 4 of my Adrenal Fatigue series for Paleo Magazine:

Sleeping less to work more is becoming a more and more antiquated idea as we move toward things that work in work and in life. It’s more and more accepted – even in more conservative business circles – that sleep actually INCREASES productivity over the long-term.

To fully heal or maintain robust health, we have to learn to take great care of ourselves and treat our health and sanity as an asset as opposed to an endless resource to squander. This can be difficult for many of us, especially those with a hardcore, old-school work ethic. The Type-A personsalities.

I want to communicate to you the same thing I have to remind myself of every day – being healthy, happy and rested is the ultimate productivity technique.”

And, when the shit hits the fan, these are exactly the places I cut corners to get more done. Maybe in the very short-term this is an OK strategy, but in the long-term it is not.

My health, my training and my ability to produce great writing and content depends on it.

And, so, it has to end. It’s stupid. And, I have real, important and exciting work to do over the next few years.

It’s time to GET TO WORK.

I’m going to be doing a series of posts on the topics of productivity as it relates to Paleo Living. To keep them accessible, I’ll be using the Twitter hashtag: #GetToWork.




  • “Stop Saying You’re Fine” by Mel Robbins
  • “Be Excellent at Anything” by Tony Schwartz
  • Asian Efficiency Blog

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Moving On…



Today I realized what it truly means to move on.

I’ve always been interested in the PRACTICAL side of things. How concepts translate into the real world. That’s the reason this blog is called Practical Paleolithic and that’s why my book “The Paleo Dieter’s Missing Link” is all about creating results in the real world with Paleo principles as opposed to following a dogmatic, non-individualized approach.

One of my biggest life challenges in the past 3 years has been moving on. I’ve had a lot of difficult circumstances and events to move on from and I’ve been terribly stuck more often than not.

I’ve had a really hard time moving past some things that have happened over the previous 10 years. I’m actually certain that I have some kind of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Yes, things were actually THAT bad in the past.

And, most of this bad stuff happened in the quest for “success” as it’s defined by Group Think and the old, Industrial Economy that’s dying out and determined to take as many people down with it as it can.

My New World…

I have a ton of wonderful opportunity in front of me. I’m writing 3 articles every issue for Paleo Magazine, my book – the book that I originally self-published in 2011 – found a publisher and will be in all the major retailers and on amazon in November of 2013. A lot of things are going my way.

What’s messed up is that I’ve continued to focus on the past. What should have or could have been different. All my mistakes. All the missed opportunities. It’s like looking at life through a distorted fun house mirror.

There have been a lot of days where all the weight of this past-focused thinking has completely incapacitated me. It’s gotten me stuck to the point I can’t move. It’s caused me to sporadically slip into terrible work habits and problems with lack of focus and procrastination.

Today, I broke free from it.

What I realized is that “moving on” is a physical process.

When I allow myself to get bogged down and effectively “stopped” because the past is so painful and disappointing, THAT ACT – the act of allowing myself to get stuck – is the ACT of not moving on. (Notice that I just talked about the PAST in the PRESENT TENSE? Interesting…)

When I push myself to do the new, fresh work of today – of Now – I am physically moving on.

This is the PRACTICE of moving on.

This is HOW you move on.

Where I’ve been stuck for SO LONG is in HOW to move on. You sit and ruminate and think and replay the past and get more and more stuck and more and more depressed. Then someone who probably means well – be it a therapist, a significant other, a friend – tells you to “move on,” to “let it go.” Of course we WANT to. But HOW?!?!

This is how: Do the good, positive, important work in your life IN SPITE OF the fact that you don’t want to do it at the moment. Do the work that you’re scared of because it feels too big for you. Do the work that someone in your past made you feel not good enough to do. Do it ANYWAY.

That’s the physical act of “moving on” and “letting it go.” And, this is the PRACTICAL side of the well-meaning advice no one has ever been able to tell you or me how to implement.

THIS is how to implement it.

And, if you’re truly stuck and don’t have positive, exciting, passionate work to focus on like I’m blessed to have at the moment, grab a copy of “Stop Saying You’re Fine” by Mel Robbins and work through it. I guarantee it will help get you unstuck.




  • “Stop Saying You’re Fine” by Mel Robbins
  • “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle
  • “I Don’t Want to, I Don’t Feel Like It” by Cheri Huber and Ashwini Narayanan
  • A whole page of resources and posts from my friends over at Asian Efficiency about overcoming procrastination: http://www.asianefficiency.com/procrastination/

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Strong Keeps Getting Stronger…

BOE 2012 Girl

Happy 100,000, Strong is the New Skinny!!!!

Strong is the New Skinny on Facebook just passed 100,000 followers!

Holy. Crap.

Strong is STILL the New Skinny…

Just last week I was talking to a close female friend. She’s beautiful and strong and muscular and quite a badass CrossFitter. And she was lamenting that she wasn’t “mainstream pretty” enough. Apparently, she’d even had a good cry over it the night before.

My advice? I told her to “be a Purple Cow” and sent her my “Is Strong the New Skinny?” blog post from 2010.

Here’s what I wanted her to see:

“…I say, to use Seth Godin’s term, be The Purple Cow. Now, I know women and the term “cow” shouldn’t really be used together, so before I get pummeled I’ll explain. A “Purple Cow” is something remarkable. In a world with more and more advertising “noise” and where there’s someone already filling virtually every need and every niche, a Purple Cow is something that stands out. A brown cow is boring, but a Purple Cow is REMARKABLE.

“If you’re a muscular woman, go after mainstream exposure. Let’s take muscular women out of the bodybuilding subculture and put them in the mainstream…”

– From my post: “Is Strong the New Skinny?

A few minutes later she texted back: “YES! A Purple Cow!”

The message in that post still rings true. Probably now more than ever…

Stumbling Into Meaning and My Life’s Path…

Summer of 2010 I had no idea. No idea about anything, really.

My life had been falling apart for the few years before – arguably for the 10 years before – and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next.

But, I was passionate about strength training, CrossFit and Paleo eating and living. And I was also passionate about writing.

Besides that, I’ve always felt that strong was the way to be – for women AND men…

I started blogging that summer with the crazy notion that I was going to make a living at it and write a Paleo Diet book besides. Everyone I knew thought I was out of my mind and needed to be “more realistic” and think about getting a “real job.”

Even crazier than thinking I would make a living at blogging was thinking that somehow my writing and work would “make a difference.”

I started this blog and spent that summer writing and Facebooking like crazy.

And, everyone thought I was nuts for spending so much time on Facebook. “Facebook is stupid!” “I don’t care what someone is having for lunch!” “It’s a waste of time!”

And CrossFit…

I had sold my CrossFit Affiliate earlier that year. But I was still training and most of my friends were CrossFitters. And, CrossFitters love Facebook…

So, many of my Facebook friends were CrossFitters. The CrossFit community was SMALL back then. A lot smaller than now. We’d basically friend request anyone with a profile picture that included anything CrossFit or Kettlebells.

Somewhere toward the end of the summer, I was inspired by a pic my friend Marsha posted of a shirt she made on Spreadshirt.

“Strong is the New Skinny, huh? That’s sort of cool. I bet there’s a blog post in that somewhere…”

There WAS one in there “somewhere…”

It took a few weeks before it came together in my head though. It came together after a run one morning and “Is Strong the New Skinny?” was written. I posted it and thought nothing more of it – I’d been “blogging for no one” most of that time. No reason to think that post would be different.

But it was…

Stacie Tovar

Going Viral…

Over the next few weeks I saw that post pass by in my Facebook feed here and there. I thought, “Cool – someone shared my post…” Then I started seeing it pass by more and more. And more. And more.

In its first two months on the web, “Is Strong the New Skinny?” was read and shared like crazy. Today, it has almost 25,000 views and over 7,900 shares. Wow.

It went “viral” as they say…

And, “Strong is the New Skinny” the Facebook group was born…

100,000 Middle Fingers at Stereotypes

I gave stereotypes the finger when I wrote “Is Strong the New Skinny? That summer I was into giving pretty much EVERYONE and EVERYTHING the finger. If it was status quo and mainstream, I was pissed off at it. That post was angry and ranty – and not even very well written now that I look back on it…

But there was raw passion and emotion in that post and I think that’s why it resonated with so many people.

Strong Keeps Getting Stronger…

I say “Strong Keeps Getting Stronger” because that’s exactly what’s happening here.

In 2009, “The Paleo Diet” had about 20,000 monthly Google searches. In 2010 when I started blogging seriously, it had about 80,000 monthly searches. Today it has over 600,000 monthly searches.

And, CrossFit is on ESPN. ESPN. And all the major fitness magazines – the ones that either dismissed CrossFit as a dangerous fad or just didn’t mention it at all – now have special CrossFit sections and features every issue. All of them.

I mention Paleo and CrossFit because both of those communities supported and were supported by Strong is the New Skinny (or SINS) on Facebook in the early days. I see this all as the rise of intelligence in training, eating and role models and stereotypes.

Adam Farrah and Carrie - Strong is the New Skinny

Me and my awesome friend Carrie Chase at CrossFit Relentless in West Hartford, CT.

The world is changing rapidly and dramatically and thinking about eating, training, health and what a “fit” or “attractive” body is for a male or a female is changing right along with it.

Strong is Everywhere…

Here’s a video from CrossFit HQ called “Beauty in Strength.” It’s from September 2012. Not gonna say Strong is the New Skinny is what inspired it… But I won’t say we didn’t… 😉


This is a great video of Christmas Abbott that’s made it’s way around the web. Nothing skinny about her…


And this is a post on TheAthleticBuild.com featuring the 20 best bodies in CrossFit – 10 male and 10 female. Not a skinny body in sight…


Gabe Subry OHS

Julie Foucher


And the guys aren’t left out either. Here are my thoughts from a while back on men and changing male stereotypes: “Body Image, Food Addiction and I’m Not Good Enough.”

The CrossFit and Paleo Connection…

Most of my best CrossFit and Paleo friends were made on SINS. And, my friends from the CrossFit Relentless family of gyms here in Connecticut were all around in the early days. They bought a lot of the first shirts and shared a lot of our early posts.

Through SINS I’ve heard from a lot of women who changed the direction of their lives with CrossFit, Paleo eating and the embracing of a strong and athletic ideal over a “skinny” one. Some of these women confided that they’d struggled with bulimia or another eating disorder.

Combine the “strong” ideal with CrossFit and Paleo and lives are shaped and changed.

A difference IS being made.

Strong is What You Build…

In the post “Strong is What You Build” I discussed at length the deeper meaning behind strong and building it. To me, strong is something you build over time. It’s about work and achievement and building character.

Strong is about self-definition. Deciding who you want to be and doing it and being it.

And strong women are becoming more and more mainstream…

I walked by Victoria’s Secret at the mall the other day. Here’s what was in the window. A workout top on a model with muscle. Mainstream. That’s an actual deltoid muscle!

Strong, muscular women are becoming more and more mainstream every day…

Now, I know she’s not going to deadlift 405lbs or rock a sub-4 minute Fran, but she’s got muscle and she’s showing it off. This wasn’t happening even a few years ago! It’s a Victoria’s Secret model!

A Victorias Secret Model with Muscle

YUP! That’s an actual shoulder muscle on a Victoria’s Secret Model…

And, on this same trip to the mall there was an Athleta store going in – right across from VS. That’s the first one in Connecticut. An entire store devoted to workout clothes for women. You can bet that a big company like Athleta has done their homework and knows it’s a growing niche. Corporations don’t gamble on stuff like that and they don’t build a new store in a new state if a market isn’t expected to grow dramatically. Especially in this economy.

In “Is Strong the New Skinny?” I actually said:

“I wanna see a girl with some muscles in the Victoria’s Secret catalog in the next few years. What do YOU think? If you agree, pass this blog post around and get busy!”

(BTW, I was actually attacked by a few feminist bloggers over that statement… Sigh…)

Lo and behold, a woman with muscles in the Victoria’s Secret catalog…

SINS Has Been About Learning and Growing…

We’ve all grown and changed in the past few years. I have. Marsha has. The Paleo Community has. CrossFit has. SINS has. You have too.

I’ve seen friendships and relationships come and go. I’ve had my successes – like a book publishing deal, two regular columns in Paleo Magazine and a lot of other great stuff. And I’ve had some pretty significant failures. I have plenty of regrets and things I wish I could do over. I’ve been hurt by people I thought were on my team and I’ve been supported by others who have always been on my team. And new and great people have joined my team and supported me. I’ve seen what’s real and who’s real and who isn’t.

But, “Strong is What You Build” and we’re all building and growing and changing. We’re all learning and we’re learning from each other. That’s the beauty of the community – or the communities that intersected on Facebook to create “Strong is the New Skinny.”

Less than 3 years into its existence, “Strong is the New Skinny” on Facebook has 100,000 followers. 100,000. I still remember when it was 10,000, then 25,000. 50,000 was a huge milestone.

Every single one of you voted with the “Like” button in favor of being strong, strong women, carving your own path and following your passion. It’s huge. HUGE.

Here’s to 150,000 and beyond.

And, A Personal Thank You…

Finally, this is a personal, heartfelt and very emotional thank you – to everyone.

The SINS community changed my life for the better. I’ve “met” and talked with hundreds of you. I’ve even met a few of you face to face. (Torrey!)

Me and Torrey at BOE 2011

All the likes and shares and comments and words of encouragement changed me, my writing, my life and even my self-image. All for the better. I’m grateful for all of you and I wouldn’t have missed even ONE of the conversations, messages or comments. The line between an “online” friend and a “real” one has blurred into nonexistence for me.

You’re 100,000 of my closest friends.



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You Can’t Start Earlier Than NOW…

Adam Farrah doing a Kettlebell Get Up

“Make Haste Slowly”

-Stuart McRobert in “Beyond Brawn”

It’s a funny thing when you look back on the last year or so of your life and say: “What the fuck was I thinking?”

The last year has been a blur of stress and activity. At least half of that stress was the final “clean up” of my old life which included some legal, financial and real-estate nightmares that needed to be put to rest. They’re done, but the process wasn’t easy.

And I’m still pretty tired from all of it.

Last year was a time when I had to make a mess, stress myself to the max and work my ass off. I had to put my positive goals and passions on hold or slow down on them significantly so I could create a safe and clear place – a foundation – to build those positive goals and passions upon now.

I had to let go of a lot of things this past year. Some were things I wanted to let go of – or couldn’t wait to – and some were things I wanted to keep or would have kept if things could have been different.

An Empty Cup…

There’s that old Zen saying about having to “empty your cup” before you can take in new knowledge. In the same way, my life’s cup is pretty empty now. I’ve made room for all the new, positive and wonderful things I wanted and envisioned for years. And here we are – ready to start.

Start. Fuck.

That’s the downside of spending a few years primarily putting out fires and cleaning up messes. No matter how positive REMOVING those things from your life can be, the end result when they’re gone is a blank slate. A blank slate at best. Back to zero.

I worked hard. And now, I get to start working hard. Fuck.

I get to start training seriously and intensely again. I get to start really focusing on eating and living Paleo 100% again. I get to start working toward making this blog one of the best in the World.

I get to start.

All the working and stressing over practical stuff like houses and moving and paperwork didn’t help my training. It helped create a nice, empty space to START hard training in, but it didn’t leave me better trained today than I was two years ago. If anything, I’m in worse shape today as I write this…

Let the Self-Talk Begin…

This is where I start to wonder why I didn’t do things differently. Train more, have a few less NorCal Margaritas, be Paleo 99% instead of 89% or 79%.

Couldn’t I have handled the last two years better? Couldn’t I have moved a little more? Couldn’t I have been a little more graceful and composed under pressure. Couldn’t I have done better?

I could have made better decisions.

If I really let this spin I can get furious. Furious about the time I wasted. Furious that I’m not someplace other than where I am right now. Furious about all the things I did and all the things I didn’t do or could have done differently. Furious about all the sacrifices I made that were either in service of someone else’s needs or just plain bad judgement on my part.

I could be someplace better.

Now Is All There Is…

I’m a huge fan of Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now.” That book changed my life back in 2010 and was actually the catalyst for this whole journey – the blog, the book, the move back to Old Saybrook, the daily meditation and yoga. It inspired me to follow my passions and live to be happy NOW. Not at some imaginary end-point in a future now. Now.

“The Power of Now” convinced me to live in the present and experience happy feelings there. It taught me to do what I love now – as opposed to suffering in the present to create a happy future that might never materialize.

That’s always an imaginary future.

All we ever truly have is now. We take action now, we’re happy now or we’re miserable now. Anything can only happen now.

Again today, the message of “The Power of Now” rings true for me: Stop resisting what is.

This is where I am and, for better or worse, the decisions I made brought me here. I could have made better decisions, but I made my decisions with the best information and judgement I had available at the time.

I did the best I could – as poor as that might have been at times.

But, now is all there is. Nothing I can do will change one single thing about the past. The only way possible is forward.

My life at this moment is all there is. I can relive the past in my head as often as I want. I can fantasize about an imaginary or ideal future all I want. I can wish and demand things be different.

They are not different and they won’t be different. Ever.

Some days at CrossFit Ironworks I have the slowest time on the board. Sometimes a few of the supermoms are training with more weight than I am.

And, yes, this is massively frustrating to me.

But this is where my life is at this moment. No amount of resisting what is or anger with myself or mental masturbation will change any of it. In fact, doing anything other than accepting where I am at this moment – the good, the bad and the ugly – will only delay getting to the better place I want to get to.

Start Where You Are…

Everything worth doing takes time. I never truly realized this before – as silly as that sounds.

You can’t become fit in a week. You can’t loose 50lbs in a month. You can’t get healthy and reverse a lifetime of inactivity and bad food in a summer. You can’t build a social circle in an evening. You can’t build a successful blog in a day. You can’t write a book in a week.

You just can’t.

It’s not even that most anything is that hard to do. What’s hard is making the decisions every single day to do the easy things that lead you to your ultimate goals – over time.

No matter how much time you’ve wasted in your life the only thing you can do is decide – right now – not to waste any more.

“I’ll be back baby, I just gotta beat this clock
Fuck this clock, I’ma make ’em eat this watch
Don’t believe me watch, I’ma win this race
And I’ma come back and rub my shit in your face, Bitch.
I found my niche, you gonna hear my voice
‘Til you sick of it, you ain’t gonna have a choice…”


Just Start…

If nothing else, this time of working to get “back to zero” has made me a much better coach. I can now deeply understand what it feels like to not be where you want to be in some areas of your life and not be able to get there in an instant.

True success is built slowly, one little bit at a time. The little successes and good decisions add up over time. I’ve seen it in my own life and I’ve seen it in those I’ve coached.

The only starting point you have is now, though.

Decide where you want to go and then get moving.

Just start. Don’t wait. Start. No matter how small a start. Start.

Get to work.



P.S – I wrote a post a few years ago that complements this one pretty well. Here it is: Is it Time for An Intervention?

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Taking This Paleo Life Seriously…

man alone in cave

Sooner or later, I think the quest for good health removes us from mainstream society. Not all at once, but slowly.

Each individual needs to decide how far he or she wants to take this, of course, but my path seems to be moving me more and more toward the “fringe.”

I’ve said in the past that my goal was to be a “Fringe Wacko.” Apparently, that’s becoming more and more of a reality.

“One can be instructed in society, one is inspired in solitude.”


In my Paleo Lifestyle column for this most recent issue of Paleo Magazine (Feb/March 2013), I said:

“It takes time to build a life that’s different from the one you used to live and different from most of the people around you. Living in a way that’s contrary to the culture at large – and counter to a lifetime of conditioning – isn’t always easy.”

This is even more true for me now than it was when I wrote it a few months ago. Virtually nothing in my life is following any kind of “normal” path. But, isn’t that a good thing?

I mean, if you live like everyone else, you’ll have a life like everyone else. Beyond that, every single human being here on Earth has a different experience of life. What works for one person – or even many – won’t necessarily work for others.

Even within the Paleo community, there’s a wide variety of personality types, diets, training habits, depth of implementation, etc.

Social Conditioning…

All of us are socially conditioned. It’s a fact of living in a modern marketing and media-dominated society. Some of us are more socially conditioned than others – and some of us in more negative ways – but there’s no denying that we’re all plugged into The Matrix to one degree or another.

I’ve struggled with this more than most I think – I was home schooled since second grade.

Because I missed out on a lot of social conditioning to begin with, I never really fit in. Difficult as a kid for sure, but now I see that I’m more comfortable than most living in my own reality and challenging social norms.

Where most people have a limit or a “set point” as far as how far outside of “normal” society they’ll go, I’m not really sure I do. If I do, I just haven’t found it yet.

Leaving the “Noise” Behind…

house in snow

Maybe it’s just because I’m snowed in here in my little beach cottage in Connecticut after a blizzard, but I’m finding myself more and more happy alone, in silence and working.

“In the end, it didn’t matter. That year made me a pro. It gave me, for the first time in my life, an uninterrupted stretch of month after month that was mine alone, that nobody knew about but me, when I was truly productive, truly facing my demons and truly working my shit.”

-Steven Pressfield

I promised myself this would be the year for big training and health progress, big writing progress and a quieter, more stress-free life overall. This past year – 2012 – I wasted a lot of time on things that were important to someone else and not important to me. I can’t ever have that time back. I can’t ever know what I might have created in that time or what positive impact a different use of that time might have had on my health.

I won’t make that mistake again. 2013 is my year to make the progress that matters to me.

The more focused on this I get, the more the noisy, useless, fake people fall away. As the clutter clears from my life, I’m finding that I have more and more time to invest in the positive relationships and projects of my life.

The Hermit…

the hermit tarot card

I’ve always been creative and introverted. It’s quite appropriate that my Tarot Soul Card is “The Hermit.” The card represents, among other things, the seeking of wisdom from within. It’s the archetype of the “Wise Old Man” and the lantern represents illumination, insight or discovery.

Blame it on being home schooled since second grade, but I need solitude to write and create and be who I truly am.

Lots of it.

This isn’t always easy for people who get close to me to understand.

When I’m running around “doing stuff” I stop being a writer. Writers write and they tend to do it alone in a quiet, comfortable space. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never bumped in to Stephen King at Starbucks. I recently read his autobiography and, lo and behold, he has a quiet space in his house in Maine where he writes.

Every. Day.

He didn’t say anything about Starbucks…


“Without great solitude no serious work is possible.”


“The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone – that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.”


I think I’m in pretty good company on the solitude thing…

I can’t have it any other way. I thrive in solitude. I thrive when I have plenty of uninterrupted alone time to think and build and create. I thrive in silence and I thrive alone. I thrive when I run on my own internal rhythm and I completely “loose it” when I’m being run by someone else’s needs and demands and schedule.

I guess what I’m saying – and how this applies to Paleo eating and living – is that it might be good for you to stop giving a shit what other people think about you and your choices and your lifestyle. Unless you want a life just like theirs, you shouldn’t be taking the advice of others or yielding to their peer pressure.

If deep and abiding physical solitude isn’t quite your thing, at least find yourself some mental solitude to make sure the agenda you’re following is your own and not someone else’s.

I guarantee there are places in your life – right now – where you can do more of something, less of something, start something or stop something that will improve your life. Make the decision on your own and do it. Never mind what everyone else is doing…



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It’s Up To You – Are You Ready?

Kristin Doing a PR Over Head Squat

“…If you had one shot, or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?”


Here’s a question for you: Where are you not giving and living 100% in your life right now?

What are you waiting for? Can’t you do better?

Here’s another: Do you have work to do on yourself or in your world that will make your life a better place in 6 months or a year?

Why aren’t you doing it? Whatever reason you have, valid or not, fix it. Now. Go.

And, finally: What can you commit to and start – today – that will make your world a dramatically different place over the course of this new year?

You know what you need to do. It’s no secret to you. Each of us knows where we can be doing better in our lives.

This stuff isn’t easy, though. This blog is all about fitness and training and Paleo eating and healthy living. These topics are – by necessity – about change and growth and making changes in our lives and our habits. Sometimes the changes are difficult and uncomfortable. Very often we learn a lot about ourselves in the process of making the difficult and uncomfortable decisions.

Paleo Diet Seminar at CrossFit Relentless in West Hartford, CT

“Ready When You Are, Bro…”

I’ve returned to CrossFit. I needed to. I needed community and I needed hard training. I needed to be around like-minded people. I needed motivation and support. I needed the energy and passion that comes with CrossFit and I needed a great place to train.

I’ve been friends with Merle Mckenzie from CrossFit Relentless since 2008 – before CrossFit Relentless itself even existed. The Relentless family of gyms is quite a force here in Connecticut. I can’t think of a place I’d rather be training or a CrossFit family I’d rather be a part of.

Now, Merle has a serious “no bullshit” attitude. Those who know him know what I’m talking about. I reached out to Merle because I needed help. I needed help with my training and I needed someone who would push me to do what I said I was going to do. Trust me, you don’t want Merle busting your balls about your lack of training motivation or not doing what you say you’re going to do. Maybe that’s where the “Relentless” name came from…

Now, I KNOW everything I need to train myself to a high level. I have a training and certification resume a mile long. But I wasn’t doing it. My motivation was virtually nonexistent. I was, basically, depressed. I was in a hole and couldn’t get myself out. I was doing great coaching and inspiring others, but I was earning an “F” in self-motivation.

I told Merle I needed help getting my fitness shit back together. His response?

“ready when you are, bro”

Typical Merle. No bullshit. Nothing fancy. No caps or periods either. :-) That one line cut through it all.

It was about me being ready. I had all the resources and support I needed. It was all waiting for me. The question was, was I ready to take the opportunity to do what I said I wanted to do?

Me Push Ups

No more excuses…

All my BIG excuses and distractions excited my life last year and January of this year. I could have laid on the couch for another 6 months sucking my thumb with my stuffed animals, my cuggie and some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but I wasn’t sure I’d be too excited about myself and my life this summer if I did that.

No one would have necessarily blamed me if I was still depressed and exhausted after the stress of the last two years, but I would have blamed myself. No matter what it took, I was going to get myself out of the mud and get moving again.

“ready when you are, bro”

That was it. It was up to me to decide where I was going to take this…

Choose to Focus on the Positive…

Throughout 2011 and 2012 I did too much waiting and too much living in the future. I blamed myself for – and took responsibility for – the behavior of others way too often. What’s even more sad, is I spent a lot of time accepting others for who they were and how they were showing up in the world while some of these same people criticized me for who I was and how I was showing up.

All that’s over now and I’m working to show up in the world with more strength, courage and integrity.

I WILL show up in the world with more strength, courage and integrity.

It’s time to get serious about building the life I want to live and live it. I think you should do the same if you’re not now.

The lesson I learned over the past few months is that I can live my dreams as soon as I’m ready. Everything I need to live and thrive and be healthy, successful and fulfilled is within me  and it’s within the world I’ve created for myself.

I have all I need. It’s within me and it’s within the world and the friendships and relationships I’ve spent the past 5 years creating and nurturing.

It’s not “out there” and it’s not dependent on a specific person or situation being in my life or not being in my life.

My success and happiness is dependent on me. It’s not dependent on what the non-starters of the world choose to think of me or how they choose to act in my life.

Loose the Non-Starters…

I spent the past year putting 80% of my effort into losers, non-starters and dead-end relationships. I was so drained by negativity and bullshit that I was showing up in the GOOD relationships in my life with too little to give.

Worse, I was showing up FOR MYSELF and for MY OWN life with little vigor and too little to give. I gave some of my best away in places where it didn’t matter and wasn’t appreciated.

Live in the Present…

Here’s a hint for you. Live in the present and evaluate your relationships mainly in the present.

Every time I go to one of the Relentless gyms I’m happy to be there, happy I went and I leave having pushed my limits and improved. I feel good in those places and with those people. I’m inspired to improve myself and bring more of myself to the world when I’m there and after I leave.

I’m not “waiting” to feel good “later.” I’m not waiting for it to get better there. It’s good there now.

Don’t wait for things and people to change. Stop making sacrifices. Stop sacrificing your values for others. Stop living your life halfway.

Stop living in the future.

Live now.

If things aren’t flowing in certain parts of your life now, it’s very likely you need to make some changes. They might be difficult and uncomfortable changes, but you probably need to make them.

Sometimes it’s hard to do what’s best for you and what will serve your long-term goals.

But, where will you be in 6 months, a year, two years, five years or a lifetime if you keep doing what you’re doing? Better make a change sooner instead of later…

Make This YOUR Year…

Can you step into your power RIGHT NOW and live the way you want? I bet you can at least start.

I’m going to make this my year. The past two years have been very difficult. A large part of them were spent cleaning up the mess that resulted from my leaving my old life behind so I could live the life I wanted and had envisioned for myself.

I’ve now got a blank canvas to create the life I want on. It took more than two years, but I HAVE that blank canvas now. It’s up to me. Life’s waiting on me now.

“ready when you are, bro”

I’m going to live that life now. I’m going to step into it and live it and make this my year to finally start living. I’m inviting you to do the same with me…

I want to be better. I CAN be better and I WILL be better. I want to bring more of myself to the world. I want the world to be a better place because I’m in it.

I’m ready.



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Strong Is What You Build…

sins shirts at usapl 2010

Strong is the New Skinny is an idea that spread. And spread. And spread.

We couldn’t have planned it. I don’t think it would have spread if we did plan it. The lack of a plan is what made it so great. It was completely organic.

It’s just over two years ago that Strong is the New Skinny started on Facebook. As I write this, “SINS” has 81,647 “Likes” on the Facebook Page.

Marsha and I had no plan when we started. We still don’t have a plan – other than showing up every day, being authentic and caring about our friends.

An Idea Whose Time Had Come

From Wikipedia

“The term ‘Internet Meme’ refers to a concept that spreads rapidly from person to person via the Internet, largely through Internet-based email, blogs, forums, Imageboards, social networking sites, instant messaging and video streaming sites such as YouTube.”

From Latest in Paleo

“Practical Paleolithic – Selected as Blog of the Week 10/11/2010. A little something for everyone here, and popularizer of the ‘Strong is the New Skinny’ meme.”

How about that? This blog “popularized a meme.”

(If you weren’t around in the very beginning, the post and Marsha’s infamous shirt that started it all is here.)

I never really thought it would last. Usually these internet things come and go, right? Strong is the New Skinny came but it didn’t go. I don’t think it’s ever going to go.

Strong is the New Skinny is a sign of the times and the Digital Revolution we’re living in . It’s about old ideals going away, creating our own ideals and living authentically to our own values.

I believe that’s the true reason Strong is the New Skinny spread the way it did and keeps spreading.

As much as it’s thumbing a collective nose at an unachievable stereotype for beauty and women’s ideals – and some really cool T-shirts – its a lot more.

For me personally, Strong is the New Skinny represents the idea that we all have the opportunity to decide for ourselves what we want for our lives and what standards we’ll live by. We all have a voice now and we don’t need permission from anyone to live our passions and define ourselves.

I spent a lot of my life hoping others would invite me to their party. The world has changed now and none of us have to wait to be invited to anything anymore. Each of us has the power to invite ourselves to whatever we have the passion to create.

Skinny is what you’re born with, strong is what you build.

Skinny is easy. You either win the genetic lottery and have a body that society covets or you abuse your body into the cultural ideal with too much cardio, not enough food and maybe some pills on top of it.

Strong is different though. Strong is about hard work. It’s about showing up day after day, year after year and decade after decade. Strong is about showing up setback after setback.

Strong is about taking control of your life, your health and your body and creating positive change.

You can’t buy strong. You can’t starve yourself into strong. You have to put in the work and the effort and train intelligently. You have to show up every day and do the work.

You don’t get strong without putting in the time and doing the work.

Skinny is something you either have or you don’t. Strong is something you can build if you want it bad enough.

Strong is saying no to taking what they give you and no to what they tell you you can and can’t do.

Strong is saying no to doing what you’re told by a pop culture machine that doesn’t care about you.

Strong not taking what you can get and being thankful you got it.

In broader terms, strong is about those of us who have been told no – regardless of talent, skill or willingness to work – now having the opportunity to decide for ourselves what direction our lives will take.

Strong is Strong is the New Skinny – Tens of thousands of people who clicked “Like” when presented with the idea of deciding for themselves what standard they were going to live by.



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