Monday, December 15, 2014

Who You Come From

When you are a child, you have no concept of the life that will unfold before you. All you can see is what is front of you. Its almost like looking at a beautiful picture and only seeing the large, sweeping colors and shapes of that picture. You really don't appreciate the nuances and delicate aspects of that picture until you take the time to investigate and uncover the effort behind the picture. Life is very much like that. As you grow older you begin to explore your life on a deeper more reflective level. We begin to reflect greatly on our daily existence and the decisions that lead to that existence. So much of what we become in life is dictated by the decisions we make. Almost all of those decisions we make are underneath our own control, however, there is one glaring decision that we have no control over...the people we come from.

The longer I live the more thankful I am that I have been blessed to come from my parents. No one on this planet gets to choose who their parents will be. Its amazingly strange that so much of who we become is predicated upon who we come from. I am obviously grateful that my parents decided to have me, but more grateful that they decided to be very intelligent in regards to how they set up my life.  My mother and my father were smart with their money, valued education for themselves and my brother and I. They expected us to act appropriately and be kind and caring to others. Overall, they have loved me, encouraged me, counseled me, hugged me and challenged me. And then they did the best thing any parent could do...they let me go and become the person I wanted to be. They never smothered me. That let me fly away from the nest and never asked me to return for their sake or because they did so much for me growing up. They did their job with a tremendous amount of classiness and love and when it was time they set me free into the world.

However, I recognize that there are so many people who never got that. So many people who have become bitter, scarred and hurt by the people who raised them. It hurts me to see people raised by other people who had no plan or real understanding of the impact of raising children. So as it goes...those parents have children and pass on their insecurities, anger, lack of proper decision making skills, poor financial practices and so on and so forth to their children. And then that cycle repeats itself.

My goal in writing this blog and many of my other blog entries is for someone to see this and know that I care about you. I know you've been treated badly and that your actions many times follow what you've seen early in your life. I also want you to know that you don't have to be defined by who raised you. It might have been a large part of who you are now, but it does not have to be a large part of who you will become. I know the road is an uphill one and it seems insurmountable sometimes, but you can begin to make better decisions that will positively impact your life for years to come.

My daughter is one such example of that. My Rosie is adopted. Her birth mother made one of the most heart wrenching decisions any mother can make in life. She created an adoption plan for her child. An in that plan she was given the opportunity...the choose the parents she wanted to raise her daughter because she knew she could not do it based on the life she was living. There was nothing more powerful than my wife and I sitting in front of Rosie's birth mother when she was eight months pregnant with Rosie. She looked my wife and I directly in the eyes and said "this is your are going to do a great job...this is your child." This was a 21 year old woman making the choice to give her flesh and blood a better life. The most gratifying aspect of that decision is that we all helped break the cycle. Rosie is going to be the first person in her biological family's life who is going to get the shot at life that she was meant to have.

What kind of shot at life do you want to have? Do you want a life that is shallow and superficial? Is is like a beautiful painting that is only admired for its surface level quality? Or do you want a life that is rich with wisdom, care, respect, encouragement, love and appreciation. That's a picture of your life that is deeply symbolic of good decision making and more careful thought of the outcomes for yourself and others. And while you can't choose who raises you, you can definitely choose to explore your life in a more meaningful way and make better decisions. Take a hold of your life and begin to fly.

Until next time...

Dr. D

Friday, December 12, 2014

Drive Your Health in 2015

The concept of health is often thrown around, but rarely understood by so many people. The big time catch phrase is "I just want to be healthier." While that is a great step in the right direction, it is often much better to define the terms that we use so that they can help guide us towards what we really want. When I was going through my undergraduate and graduate school education we always talked about health and wellness and how they were defined. We always defined it by the most basic aspects of humanity. Looking at a person's level of wellness and happiness occupationally, emotionally/socially, physically, intellectually, environmentally and spiritually will show you quite a bit about their healthiness.

I was recently contacted by Lindsey Caldwell from the Recall Center about helping them to get out the word about the importance of "Driving Your Health in 2015." What I like about the info-graphic to the left is that it makes a conscious effort to discuss many medical based points about improving one's health. Being educated about medication safety, doctor visits and screenings are essential factors in the overall well being of an individual.

However, it is still important to look at the person as whole so focusing on the effectiveness of activities and strategies to promote well rounded health are essential. Here's a few tips that will enhance your overall well being in all areas of your life:

Social/Emotional Health: Focus on creating mutually positive and nurturing relationships with friends, family and co-workers. Stimulating relationships with several people in your life will lead to greater feelings of contentment and peace.

Physical: Be active regularly and more thoughtful about how you treat your body. Create positive associations between activity and total well being in your life.

Intellectual: Engage in realistic yet challenging mental activities on a monthly basis.  Pursue new opportunities to expand your academic horizon or learn a new skill. This will promote mental alertness and acuity.

Environmental: Be thoughtful about how your actions affect your surrounding environment. Focus on being less wasteful and more considerate about your consumption of products and materials. This will promote a sense of greater purpose towards the environment you live in.

Occupational: Evaluate the happiness and effort you provide in your job. Take the necessary steps to work in a profession and/or job that provides upward mobility, increased educational opportunities and feelings of satisfaction.

Spiritual: Be mindful of the larger meanings of life and taking time to quiet your mind to better appreciate the goodness in your life.

Overall, if you can focus on a few powerful options in each of these categories then you will live a more fulfilling and worthwhile life.

Until next time...

Dr. D

Monday, November 17, 2014

Saucony Triumph Running Shoe Review

The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC. on behalf of Saucony. The opinions in this blog are my own.

I've had the opportunity to wear and run in many pairs of running shoes in my life. While I am no longer the competitive sprinter I was in college, I continue to run as a recreational and fitness based activity. So, the type of running shoes that I wear are still important to me. A good running shoe not only helps you enjoy running, but more importantly it contributes to keeping your feet fresh and free from potential chronic injuries.

I have very few rules when it comes to the type of running shoes that I wear, which helps to keep it very simple in my mind when looking for my next pair of shoes. One, the shoes have to have excellent heel support. I've run thousands and thousands of miles since I first started running and I have zeroed in on what works for keeping my feet performing optimally during runs. Shoes that are more minimal or that focus on very little structural support do not work well for me. Those types of shoes always contribute to an onset of chronic plantar fascitis for me. Shoes with great heel support continually keep me from having this issue so a supportive and strong heel is a must in a running shoe for me.

Secondly, I like my running shoes to have a funky and cool aesthetic design to them. While safety
and performance are first in my mind, how a shoe looks is definitely important to me. What's the old saying...look good, feel good! Over the past few years I have enjoyed the increase in funky colored shoes with crazy designs. It really spices things up and adds a different dimension to running shoes.

With that being said, how does the Saucony Triumph running shoe measure up to my two rules for running shoes? Very well! These shoes are light and airy, but also supportive and sturdy at the same time. It seems that shoe manufacturers are transitioning to this type of shoe construction and I am a huge fan of it. After running several miles in the new Saucony Triumphs I felt a sense of ease and relaxation. However, the true test was when I did my sprints in the shoes. I still do many of the same interval track workouts I did in college and I wanted to make sure these shoes help up on those runs. The result....success! This shoe continually performed well in various types of running that I put it through.

And now to the you can see this shoe is totally loud!! And I love it. When I opened the box to these bad boys I was greeted with the #whoaface pics of different people and an audio saying it. That was a nice surprise! But I also liked how the color of the shoes just popped when I looked at them. One of the first thoughts I had was that I wanted to not only run in these shoes, but also wear them around when I go out because they have major style. So, beyond just running, I have enjoyed lower intensity activities like walks with my wife and our daughter in these shoes.

Overall, I highly recommend any recreational runner or exerciser to get these shoes because they aregreat for performance/comfort. Plus, they really have some killer style and design to them. Thanks for reading this review of the Saucony Triumph running shoe. I hope you enjoyed it!

Until next time...

Dr. D

Monday, October 20, 2014

Beer and Community

As you may have noticed, my family and I tend to travel a lot these days. My goal is that we never stop doing that as we really love exploring and experiencing new places all over the globe. When you travel frequently to far off places or local hot spots, you often find so much that you thought you would never find. It is the unexpected that continues to keep me going back for more trips. Nothing was more unexpected and amazing than my encounter with my friends Jerard Nighorn and Brian Gajeski.

I met Jerard and Brian while at the 2013 IHRSA show in Las Vegas. Jerard and Brian had a booth on the floor at IHRSA. What's funny is that I didn't meet Jerard or Brian at their booth. It was a small encounter in the lobby area of the event. I was doing my normal thing of chatting with new people and Jerard noticed that I was the person who was talking to everyone. He sensed my energy and just wanted to chat. That chat almost a few years ago was the beginning of a friendship. While we discussed the Vemma products they had at their booth and health/fitness, what really got me going was that Jerard just genuinely wanted to get to know me. We talked about our love for NFL football and it was then that I learned that he and Brian live in Green Bay, Wisconsin...home of the Packers! Going to a Packer game was a bucket list opportunity for me. I didn't know how I was going to be able to go to one of the games, but I figured maybe one day. Literally after knowing Jerard for a day he invited me out to a game in Green Bay! Just like that. Community (little did I know that people in Green Bay are just the most generous people I have met on the planet). Jerard is a season ticket holder and he wanted me to have that experience. I barely knew Jerard, but he treated me like family. I was astounded.

Almost two years later I finally made good on that trip. I am writing you from Green Bay, Wisconsin and I am telling you it was a life changing trip. That generosity, kindness and community that Jerard and Brian showed me at IHRSA was 10 fold in Green Bay. I have never met nicer people who also love to drink beer! As I made my way through the legendary tailgating atmosphere at Green Bay I was astonished by how many people greeted me with a warm smile and kind words. Brian, who has a gym in town called The Bod-e, introduced me to several of the members at the gym. They were just the kindest people around. They had their own tailgate area and it was so amazing to see all of these people who work out together, but who also celebrate and enjoy life together. It was more than just fitness for them. I loved it. We drank lots of booze, laughed really hard, told some funny stories and watched the Packers play in historic Lambeau Field. It was a trip of a lifetime...I'm definitely going back!

As I sit here in the airport ready to go back home to Las Vegas, I am reminded of the good the world
still has in it. People truly do make the world go around. And people can make the world go around in a positive direction or a negative direction. Whatever attitude people bring to their lives is what they will end up growing. Good begets good and bad begets bad. The people of Green Bay certainly show that goodness is alive and well. They helped me fall back in love with the idea of community. This is a community of people who literally will hold your cup of booze when your hands are cold or they will give you the shirt off their back. Seriously, an awesome gentleman let me borrow his Packer's sweater so I would have something green to wear for the game. I was just blown away by how amazing people can be when they operate at the highest level of community. No one was obsessed with their figure or how many calories they were taking in. Nobody was focused on who looked the best. And everyone was positive and uplifting. What mattered the most was being good to other people while having a great time. That's living. Cheers!!

Until next time...

Dr. D

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Make It Count

The longer you live the better you understand the value of living each day. As a person in my mid 30's I believe I have finally reached an epiphany about life that you just can't have when you are in your 20's. Its a rather grim epiphany, but for me it drives home the point about our existence and how we spend our time during it. One day I'm going to die and so are you. There...I said it. Sounds terrible right? But actually, its not...

I think it sounds like the blaring horn that we all need to remember in our lives. Every day is a gigantic blessing. Its a huge opportunity to do something powerful with your life because nothing is every promised to us each day. How did I come to this epiphany? It was really an accumulation of things in my life. It was the end of my networking group, Connect to Fitness, and me thinking how I really wanted to spend my time helping others. It was and still is watching my brother, Wordsmith, rise to fame as an independent hip hop artist. It's seeing my staff members at Club Ridges happy and healthy and working a job that gives them so much love and fulfillment. Its seeing my wife and my daughter take a picture together on a hiking trip. Its seeing my parents still in love after all these years. Its just so many things, so many people, so many situations that have added up to me staring down the barrel of that gun and knowing that one day I will just be a memory on this planet.

Once that epiphany hit me, I've been running full steam ahead towards the life that I've always wanted to live. I've become more considerate of what my family and friends need and desire. I hug my staff more and tell them how much I love them. I thank my parents for being wonderful people. I provide even more praise and encouragement for my brother in his music career. I wake up and I think "who has it better than me?" I've been blessed way too many times. More than I deserve I feel, but you know what? I am going to keep running as hard as I can to visit that random country that fascinates me. I'm going to eat more exotic foods, go to more beer and wine festivals, do more spontaneous off the cuff things. Why?

Because one day its going to be over. And guess what? I don't want to regret my life when I'm near the end. I don't want to look back and think...what the hell did I do with my life? That's something that I just can't bear. That's something I just won't allow to happen. And I don't want it to happen to any of you as well. You have the opportunity every day to make something positive happen whether it be big or small. You own that choice. What are you doing with that choice right here, right now? Its up to you, but can keep telling yourself that you have all this time, but the truth just don't know.

Get after your life. Make. It. Count.

Until next time....

Dr. D