ARE YOU READY TO GO ALL IN?
Welcome to the All In Challenge.
I’m so happy you decided to go “All In” when it comes to your health. The All In Challenge is a product of all my years of experience as a personal trainer, professional athlete, firefighter, and Crossfit trainer. For the past 20 years I have been studying the human body and how it responds to exercise, stress, and recovery. This challenge is a culmination of everything I have learned along the way, and will give you all the benefits of my experience without having to make the same mistakes I made.
I’ll give you a brief run down for those of you that aren’t familiar with my story. I graduated from FIU in 2006 with a major in exercise physiology and a minor in the hustle culture that is so dear to our American culture. During my studies I started working as a personal trainer and did what any new inexperienced trainer does, I beat my clients into the ground. No pain, No gain was the motto I lived by, and while I was in my 20’s train hard everyday worked pretty well. So I figured what’s good for the is good for the gander right?
Wrong! I wasn’t training 25 year old colligate football players, I was training middle aged professionals under high levels of stress with families that were training to be healthy, not win a spot on the football team. Unfortunately I didn’t understand what health really was at the time, and many people paid for it, including myself.
In 2007 I started a new journey, actually two new journey’s, becoming a firefighter and a professional MMA fighter at the same time! As a firefighter I would work 24 hours and get 48 hours off, this allowed me to train as a fighter on my off days. What I didn’t realize is firefighter’s get 48 hours off for a reason. Firefighting is one of the most stressful jobs there is. Due to the fact that you are on call for 24 hours and in those 24 hours you deal with everything from ducks in a sewer to fires at 3am. In Miami you also run medical calls so anything from a stomach ache to a gunshot wound. Nothing will wake you up at 3am like a shootout, car wreck, or house fire that requires you to break open a door and fight a raging fire while looking for possible victims.
Now add into that boxing, wrestling, jiu jitsu, and weight lifting on your “off” days and you have the perfect recipe for stress related illnesses. I basically spent 5 years in a constant state of stress and by the end of 2012 I was so over trained and beat up that I couldn’t even get out of bed. I became depressed, anxious, and suffered from insomnia. This lead to my quality of life becoming so bad that I contemplated suicide.
At this point I knew that my lifestyle was literally killing me and I needed to make some big changes. I began to research my symptoms and realized that I was in what is called stage 3 adrenal fatigue.
Stage 3 adrenal fatigue occurs with ongoing, unrelieved stress. Cortisol and adrenaline, hormones we will discuss later, tend to be low. Chronic fatigue is common and occurs more frequently in people that have undergone major stressors in life, or sustained levels of high stress without recovery.
- Extreme fatigue
- Difficulty getting out of bed
- Poor focus, memory, concentration
- Low blood pressure
- Blood sugar dysregulation
- Dependence on caffeine or stimulants or caffeine and stimulants no longer have an effect on energy
- Salt cravings
- Sleep issues—can sleep for 12-14 hours and still feel tired, or have insomnia
I’m sure you have heard the saying “work yourself to death”, well this is what that actually looks like. If you do not relieve stress it will continue to build up until it kills you. That’s when I truly began to learn what it meant to be healthy.
I used to think that being healthy was 7% body fat and a six pack, but when I had both of those I was actually the most unhealthy I have ever been. My experience with adrenal fatigue has taught me that True Health is a state of mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual balance and in order to achieve that you need to be “All In”.
Being All In means understanding that every decision you make has ramifications for the state of your health. Our bodies are complex organisms that are run by systems in constant communication with each other. If one system, say our endocrine system is off, it has a cascading effect for all of our cardiovascular system, nervous system, and digestive system. That is why it’s so important to stay in balance. In order to be in balance we have to first be aware of what puts us out of balance.
We have all heard the term stress kills, but have you really thought about why that is? Stress on its own is actually healthy for you. You need stress to grow, the problem arises when you allow a little positive stress to become long term negative stress. Let me explain the difference.
Positive stress is called eustress. Eustress is short term, motivational, exciting, and actually makes you grow. Think of going to the gym, asking someone on a date, or starting a new job. This stress is healthy because it pushes you to grow as a person and experience new things. It also keeps you alive. If someone or something is trying to hurt you, your stress response kicks into gear and makes you faster, stronger, and more alert. The problem arises when your brain thinks you are in constant danger. You see our brains don’t know the difference between real stress and perceived stress. That’s why a nightmare wakes you up at night. Even though you are perfectly safe in bed, your brain thinks you are in danger and floods your body with the chemicals necessary to survive that danger.
Negative stress is called distress. Distress is long term, creates imbalance, anxiety, and decreases health. Think of a job you hate, chronically bad food choices, too much intense exercise, and constantly being glued to your phone. This kind of stress builds up over time and leads to accelerated aging, preventable disease, and decreased quality of life. Unfortunately for us our society is full of distress. Everyday we are bombarded with harmful chemicals in our food, a constant stream of negative news, 24 hour electric stimulation in the form of emails, notifications, and social media, not to mention the difficulties of family relationships, financial obligations, and something as common as traffic.
The problem we face as a society is that we spend too much time in a stressed out state. This state leads to anxiety, depression, and finally disease. The purpose of the ALL IN CHALLENGE is to help bring more balance to your health. By focusing on more than just eating better we create a holistic approach to our health leading to a better quality of life, better performance, and a longer life.
Stress comes in many forms that you may not even be aware of because you are so used to being stressed out. Our food has chemicals that stress the body like synthetic fertilizers, our detergents have stressful chemicals that aren’t even listed on the bottles, our water has plastics that leak into them from the bottles they are in, our skincare products contain ingredients that harm our endocrine systems, the shows we watch have violence that activates our stress response, social media creates stress through arguments, the news uses fear to stress us out, not to mention traffic, work, intense exercise, wifi, relationships, finances, and finally more traffic! We are literally being bombarded with stress from every angle, yet we wonder why we are seeing alarming rates of completely preventable disease continue to rise year after year. It’s becoming more and more clear that it’s going to take a radical shift in the way we think of health and wellness to see long lasting positive change in our lives. That is where the ALL IN CHALLENGE comes in.
The ALL IN CHALLENGE is a 6 week introduction to what its like to live a life committed to holistic health. The challenge focuses on four pillars of health, that when combined create a noticeable effect to your performance, health, and quality of life. Those pillars are sleep, training, nutrition, and meditation. The focus of the challenge is to help you incorporate these practices into your life in 2021, thereby giving you the tools necessary to have your best year ever. Here is a breakdown of what the challenge provides.
Nutrition- This challenge will focus on one thing when it comes to nutrition, eating whole foods. We are not asking you to do anything but focus on eating whole foods. Whole foods are plant and animal foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible, before being consumed. Think anything that has one ingredient or that goes bad quickly. NOTHING in a box!
We have teamed up with a local meal delivery company and designed 2 different menus specifically for this challenge. One plan focuses on performance and the other on fat loss. These meals are under 10$ each, cooked for you, and delivered to the box 3 times a week. This makes your nutrition super simple, affordable, and saves you the most valuable resource we have time. Spend less time shopping, prepping, and cooking by investing in healthy, delicious, whole food meals made just for you.
Training- One of the best lessons I’ve learned over the years is that you can’t overcome nature. As humans we are hardwired to be work in harmony with nature and when we do we get our best results. Can you imagine early man trying to plant crops in winter and expecting to reap a harvest? Well that is what we do when we attempt to lose weight on January 1st. We are going against the natural order of things.
Winter starts on December 21st and in winter we are designed to sleep more and gain weight in order to survive. That is why so many people fail to lose weight at the beginning of the year, it goes completely against nature. The best time to lose weight is in the spring when we have more energy, more daylight, and are naturally inclined to do it.
That is why in the ALL IN CHALLENGE we will be focusing on building muscle not losing fat. Our bodies are primed to build muscle in the winter. Our physiology is designed to build in the winter because nature dictates that. With less daylight we sleep more and move less, creating the perfect environment to build the muscle that will help us burn fat in the spring.
Our training will reflect that. We will be training 4 days a week, focusing on compound movements, and following an upper lower body split. Monday’s and Thursday’s are upper body days, and Tuesday’s and Friday’s are lower body days. We will be also be including recovery days Wednesday’s and Saturday’s. All workouts will be progressive and include optional cardio to maintain cardiovascular health.
Meditation- One of the most overlooked aspects of a healthy lifestyle is stress relief. We are great at putting our bodies in a stressful state but we are terrible at taking time to relieve that stress until we are forced to because of disease or disaster. Going ALL IN means prioritizing our mental and emotional health as well as our physical health. By being proactive in taking care of our mental health we will improve our training, cognitive abilities, sleep, relationships, and performance. All it takes is a little meditation.
Our meditations will be a daily practice starting at 5 mins a day and building up 1 minute each week. This meditations are custom made to help you become better at taking time for yourself each day. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, improve quality of life, and increase lifespan.
Sleep- I can design meal plans for you, write the perfect workout, and record guided meditations until the cows come home, but none of this will work if you don’t prioritize your sleep. Sleep improve’s athletic performance, improves learning and memory, and is absolutely vital to building muscle. Going ALL IN means getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night. We will provide you with every sleep tip in the book and if you need me too I can tuck you in at night.
The ALL IN CHALLENGE is 6 weeks long and is designed to help you develop the good habits necessary to have your best year ever. We will provide you with daily tasks to perform enabling you to make small changes consistently that over time lead to big results. By going ALL IN and focusing on holistic health you will improve all aspects of your life not just the physical ones. These habits will allow you to continually improve over the course of your life and have a ripple effect that will affect your family, community, and the world.