First Finisher is Moving! New Name, New Site, New Opportunities!

We have some very exciting news today.

First Finisher is a small, new start up and as we’ve grown we’ve discovered much about our mission.

Specifically, that our mission goes beyond just fitness.

Which is why today we are very excited to announce our new brand, Ouro Vitae.

Ouro Vitae is the next evolution of First Finisher.

Because we want to help you live healthier, for longer.

And we didn’t want to just stop at fitness.

Even though 21st Century medicine and technology allows us to live longer than ever, we are not living better.

The extra decades we’ve gained are plagued with diseases of the body and mind.

That’s why we created Ouro Vitae: to help you live healthier, for longer. Our dream is to never have to look back and say, ” those were the best years of my life”.

We want every year to be better than the last. With wisdom from both the latest innovations in science and the most time-tested remedies used for thousands of years, we will do everything possible to make this dream your reality.

You’ll still be receiving the same ground breaking fitness information and news…except now you’ll get much much more.

Ouro Vitae will focus on nutrition, lifestyle hacks, business and career success, dealing with stress and anxiety…

Basically everything you need in 2018 to make sure you’re living the best life possible, as long as possible.

You can find our new website at https://www.ourovitae.com/

We will still keep this site up for a while to make sure our followers are never confused.

Our social media accounts will also be changing to the “Ouro Vitae” brand in the near future.

We can’t thank everyone enough who has supported us so far.

We can’t tell you how excited we are to make this evolution and for you to be there with us.

All the best,

Andrew McDermot
Founder
First Finisher

 

Elevate Yourself Above the Battlefield: A Solution to Perpetual Mediocrity

Success isn’t about avoiding failure.

It’s about how fast you can come back from failure

“Falling off the wagon” is one of the biggest obstacles standing in your way to achieve your health and fitness goals.

Because when you get injured and can’t squat for months do you figure out a way to still hit your lower body or do you skip leg day for months?

When one drink turns into a nightlong binge of beers and Chipotle do you go full damage control the next day or do you crush a Denny’s Grand Slam out of self-loathing?

When you stay up too late watching Game of Thrones do you hit the snooze button or do you drag yourself out of bed because your future is more important than a few extra hours of sleep?

The decisions you make in these moments are the ones that will determine whether you transcend into something greater…

Of if you fall into a perpetual cycle of mediocrity.

To conquer these pivotal moments of adversity you must first realize they are inevitable.

You’re going to miss workouts, you’re going to binge on holidays, and you’re going to have days where life’s stress makes going to the gym unbearable.

Accepting this as an inevitability has a counter-intuitive effect.

It actually creates a sort of twisted peace of mind.

Because when shit does hit the fan, instead of a crippling panic creating a chain reaction of bad choices….

You’ve learned to expect adversity and you have a plan to deal with it.

Don’t let one battle cost you the entire war.

In The 33 Strategies of War, one of author Robert Greene’s six fundamental ideals to transform yourself into a strategic warrior of life is to Elevate Yourself Above the Battlefield.

He writes, “ In war, strategy is the art of commanding the entire military operation. Tactics, on the other hand is the skill of forming up the army for battle itself and dealing with the immediate needs of the battlefield.”

For example, if your goal is to lose weight, then your strategy involves dieting in a caloric deficient combined with an effective training program.
The tactics you use could be the type of training like HIIT,  5/3/1 Powerlifting program.

Or the type of diet you choose such as a keto or a slow carb.

Where you fall into this cycle of perpetual mediocrity is confusing your failure to execute your tactics with an execution of strategy.

Your plan to lose weight is the right one, you just didn’t stick to your tactics.

When you confuse strategy and tactics you tend to freak out and think the whole system is failing you, leading down that rabbit hole of bad choices and habits.

What you need to do in these moments of tactical failure is take a step back.

Going back to Greene, “ To have the power that only strategy can bring, you must be able to  elevate yourself above the battlefield, to focus on your long term objectives, to craft an entire campaign, to get out of the reactive mode that so many battles in life lock you into. “

So the next time you slip up, don’t panic and think you’ve failed your mission.

Take a big picture view of the situation and realize you’ve simply taken a small step backwards that can be can be easily fixed.

But you must act quickly, speed is the key factor here.

Review your strategy, then immediately begin executing the right tactics again.

One night of binge drinking, one missed workout, one cheat meal isn’t going to ruin months and years where 95% of the time you’ve followed a  healthy diet and  effective training program.

We would love to know some of your toughest set backs and how you’ve overcome them by leaving a comment in the comment section below.

Fitness is Freedom,

Andrew McDermot

3 Steps to Naturally Restore Your Energy Levels

In case you missed Part 1 of this article, we talked about the  secret to endless energy hidden inside every cell of your body.

It all starts at the microscopic level with the small biological batteries that power every cell in your body.

Your mitochondria – or what I like to call your “energy engine.”

In this article, I’m going to show you 3 steps to restore your mitochondria, and naturally supercharge your energy without caffeine, coffee, or any other stimulants.

Let’s dive in.

Step #1 Reduce Your Inflammation

Inflammation is often misunderstood.

It’s touted as an enemy 100% of the time.

However, it’s actually an essential function of the body.

If you have an injury or infection, inflammation is necessary to help protect and heal you.

Through a series of biochemical reactions, white blood cells and other chemicals are sent to the injured area to fight off foreign bodies.

Inflammation is also essential for post workout muscle growth as it’s responsible for muscle regenerating factors like IGF-1 and (COX) enzymes.

However, when inflammation becomes chronic, meaning your body’s inflammatory response  doesn’t stop when it should, you’ve got a problem

Chronic inflammation is one of the core factors in aging, damaging mitochondria and increasing mitochondrial dysfunction.

This wrecks havoc on your energy levels without you even knowing it.

Chronic Inflammation is caused by a combination of unhealthy lifestyle conditions like obesity, a harmful diet filled with inflammatory foods, stress, overtraining, smoking, and genetic conditions.

Chronic inflammation has been linked to diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s, and many others.

Step #2 Sleep BETTER.

Research shows a bad night sleep and sleep disorders play a key role in mitochondrial dysfunction.

In 2012, researchers identified the glymphatic system, which uses the cells’ mitochondria to remove cellular waste from the brain, particularly while you sleep.

In other words, as you sleep, the cells in your brain use their mitochondria to remove cellular waste.

Better sleep means healthier mitochondria cleaning out waste.

Americans aren’t getting enough sleep though and it’s a huge problem.

The Centers for Disease Control are even calling it an epidemic.

Most adults need to sleep 7 to 9 hours a night, according to The National Sleep Foundation.

But 37% of Americans are sleeping less than seven hours.

And even if you are getting enough sleep that doesn’t mean you’re getting the right kind of sleep.

It’s not just about how much sleep you get, but the quality of your sleep.

You need to be getting into deep sleep cycles where you sleep throughout the whole night.

Here are a few quick tips to get higher quality sleep.

Eliminate caffeine within 6 hours of sleep.

We all know how effectively caffeine can wake us up and keep us awake, but most people underestimate the true power this chemical has.

In healthy adults, caffeine effects the nervous system on average of 5-6 hours. Even if   you don’t physically feel the awakening buzz you normally associate with caffeine,  your body still does/ This inhibits  you from falling asleep and staying asleep.

Develop a regular sleep schedule

Your body has a natural circadian rhythm which dictates the optimal time your body needs to spend awake and asleep. When you’re constantly going to sleep and awakening at different times it causes chaos on this circadian rhythm, which leaves you groggy and tired.

Limit electronic devices two hours prior to sleep

When the sun goes down, your body naturally begins to produce a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is responsible for telling the body that it’s time to sleep, and it keeps us asleep throughout the night.

However, a certain wavelength of light known as “blue” light suppresses melatonin. Blue light is the type of light televisions, computer screens, and cell phones emit.

So when the sun goes down at night and you’re still watching TV and/or sitting in front of your computer, you’re actually setting yourself up for a less than optimal night of sleep.

Step #3 Start Using HIIT Training

Among it’s endless benefits, exercise also improves mitochondrial function.

A great way to boost your mitochondira is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). One study found just two weeks of HIIT “significantly increased mitochondrial function in skeletal muscle.”

HIIT is a is a form of exercise in which you alternate between very intense anaerobic periods and slower recovery periods for a shorter, more efficient workout.

So how do you start doing HIIT? It’s actually quite simple.

If you want to do HIIT right, and receive the metabolic benefits, then you need to work hard, and give it 100%.

As I said before HIIT is simply a form of exercise in which you alternate between very intense anaerobic periods and slower recovery periods.

This kind of workout can last anywhere from five to twenty minutes depending on your experience.

If you’d like to get started with a HIIT workout, here’s an easy and effective routine.

  • Warm up for three minutes
  • Exercise as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds. You should be gasping for breath and feel like you couldn’t possibly go on another few seconds. It is better to use lower resistance and higher repetitions to increase your heart rate
  • Recover for 90 seconds, still moving, but at slower pace and decreased resistance
  • Repeat the high-intensity exercise and recovery 7 more times. (When you’re first starting out, depending on your level of fitness, you may only be able to do two or threerepetitions of the high-intensity intervals. As you get fitter, just keep adding repetitions until you’re doing eight during your 20-minute session)
  • Cool down for a few minutes afterward by cutting down your intensity by 50-80 percent

(source – Dr.  Joseph Mercola)

There you have it!

Even just making one of these changes can have profound changes on your energy levels and unleash your vitality.

But together all three can really have some life changing effects.

Your Broken Energy Engine is Why You’re Always Tired

Broken Energy Engine.

It’s an epidemic that most people have no idea exists.

It’s a silent killer that doesn’t discriminate.

Yet, it’s draining the life out of you and wreaking havoc on your health and performance.

Whether you’re in great shape with six pack abs and 20 inch arms, or if you’re just beginning your fat loss journey and trying to lose weight…

There’s a good chance you’re energy levels aren’t as high as they could be.

If your energy levels aren’t functioning correctly, some of the symptoms you might experience include

  • weakness, lack of energy
  • trouble concentrating, becoming easily confused
  • forgetfulness
  • trouble completing basic tasks you once found easy
  • poor digestion
  • constipation
  • depression
  • insomnia
  • not feeling rested after waking from sleep
  • and relying on naps to get through the day

If your currently battling weight issues and it seems like burning away that fat is impossible, then there’s a good chance you just uncovered the culprit.

Even if you’re a seasoned athlete, there’s also a good chance you’re not treating your energy system the right away.

Meaning there’s an unbelievable amount of untapped vitality waiting for you to utilize.

There are two essential parts to achieving this.

The first is fix to your “energy engine,” the control center of your energy supplies.

Then you need to restore your body’s “energy currency.”

Think of this as the actual fuel for your energy engine that allows you to maximize your output.

Here’s what’s essential to understand about not only maximizing your energy, but also making sure that energy is sustained from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed…

It all starts at a cellular level with the small biological battery’s that powers every cell in your body.

Your mitochondria – or what I like to call your energy engine.

Maybe you’ve even heard of mitochondria before known as the “powerhouse of the cell,”

Mitochondria produce the energy currency that your body then uses to fuel your day-to-day activities.

Mitochondria dictate how you feel all the time. They’re the bedrock of a strong body and a powerful mind.

Stronger mitochondria make for stronger brains and stronger bodies.

Mitochondrial biogenesis, or creating new mitochondria, becomes crucial for vibrant aging, optimal energy production, and protection against oxidative stress.

The opposite – mitochondrial dysfunction – spells disaster for your energy levels, contributing to numerous problems including cardiovascular disease and obesity

Unfortunately, the enormous amount of energy your mitochondria produce makes them susceptible to free radical damage and decay as you age.

This means that your mitochondria become weaker and decline in number as you age.

Ultimately, all the things we associate with aging – fatigue, excess fat, and a decrease in muscle mass and cognitive ability – are all symptoms of weakening mitochondria.

Having optimally performing mitochondria allow them to produce more ATP, also known as your bodies energy currency.

This is the source of fuel that keeps every everything working in your body.

Healthy mitochondria and ATP going one and one together.

You need your mitochondria to be healthy to be fueling your body with the energy it needs.

For athletes and active people, we use even more ATP.

So if you’re not treating your mitochondria right, you’re at a huge disadvantage to achieving your goals.

You’re making everything harder on yourself.

Which is why in Part 2 of this article series I’m going to share with you the three steps you need to take to restore your mitochondria for all day long natural energy.

Trust me, if you want to unleash your vitality then you DO NOT want to miss this action packed guide.

Wisconsin Football Standout Kyle Penniston Talks Transitioning to the Next Level

Madison, Wisconsin—Wisconsin Football tight-end Kyle Penniston discusses his transition from high school football to Division 1 College Football madness.

This redshirt freshman graduated from Mater Del in Orange, California ranked as a four-star recruit from ESPN.com, ranked No. 6 tight-end in the country by Rivals and selected to play in the notorious 2015 Under Armour All-American Game.

His impressive high school accolades speak for themselves. Penniston was one of Paul Chryst’s top recruits for the 2015 class. After redshirting his 2015 season, Penniston made a killer debut his 2016 season by isolating a spot behind starter Troy Fumagalli.

With two touchdowns last season and a drive for consistent improvement, this 6’4” powerhouse is just getting started.

The transition from high school football to a faster, stronger and higher level is unexpected for any athlete. The playing field is different, the competition is better and you are no longer No. 1. No matter who you were in high school and what you accomplished in the past, you are thrown back to the bottom of the food chain.

Biggest Change Making the Jump to Elite Competition

“I think I put the same amount of time into training. But in high school you don’t have to focus in all the time. In college you have to be focused in all the time,” Penniston said.

Focus is vital in order to survive each rep in training—because each rep matters. The guy in front of you isn’t your friend, he is your competition. Without a hard-headed mindset, you will crumble right to the bottom.

Physical preparation is also a key element to perform at the highest level. In high school, Penniston explains that he only remembers doing the cold tubs after practice.

Now with Wisconsin’s top-notch facilities, he can do a variety of recovery modalities to get his body right—including NormaTec PULSE Leg Recovery System, hot to cold contrast baths, and wearing his compression tights.

The name is the game is ‘when’ and how much time you have to prepare your mind and body for that moment.

“It is important to take seven days to get ready for your next game,” Penniston said.

There’s no secret that when you feel good, ‘you play good.’ Every small meticulous detail of your preparation is taken into account the minute the whistle blows.

“If and when my time comes to train for the NFL, I want to train smarter,” Penniston said. “It is all about knowing your body well enough—how it is feeling and what to do with it to recover properly.”

Kyle Penniston might be a rising player in Wisconsin Football with an extensive amount of resources around him to get better, but at the end of the day, it is simply knowing when to train harder and when to rest.

“I remember I would workout 5-6 days in a row. You think you’re going to get bigger, faster and stronger but you need time off. You need to be smarter,” Penniston said.

 


How can you learn from Kyle Penniston?

( Additional commentary from First Finisher’s Andrew McDermot) 

Athletically, Penniston’s words are straight forward.

You simply can’t have your foot on the gas pedal at 100mph 365 days a year.

You’ll burn out your body and mind, resulting in the opposite outcome of what you were working so hard for.

But this same principle applies to your professional life as well.

We live in a socially connected world that gives us only slight glimpses into the world’s elite performers and successes.

You only see what everyone wants you to see.

As you’re constantly bombarded with Instagram pictures, tweets, and Facebook posts about “hustling” and “grinding”…

It can make you feel like what you’re doing is never enough.

A sense of guilt is always in the back of your mind unless your in the trenches all day everyday busting your ass practicing or learning new strategies to further your craft.

In today’s digital world it can feel like you’re being judged if you’re not posting constantly about how hard you’re working and proving how much time you’re clocking.

Now, the relentless pursuit of greatness, hustling, grinding are all essential qualities.

But today’s obsession with constant engagement makes us forget about how important  reflection, silence, and rest is.

Because just as Kyle Penniston needs time off from the gym and field to recover – to analyze his training progress – you need to take a step back to reflect upon your own progress.

In Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, author Alex Soojung-Kim Pang argues that work and rest are not enemies, instead work synergistically to provide you with optimal results.

“When we define ourselves by our work, by our dedication and effectiveness and willingness to go the extra mile,” he writes, “then it’s easy to see rest as the negation of all those things.”

“Work and rest are not polar opposites,” Pang writes.

When you want something so badly in life, it’s difficult to rest.

But when you do,  you’ll make some of your most important self discoveries.

Rest isn’t meant for meaningless procrastination time though. “If you want rest, you have to take it” Pang writes.

“You have to resist the lure of busyness, make time for rest, take is seriously, and protect it from a world that is intent on stealing it.”

Use rest to make sure you’re not just running in circles, but actually making progress in your endeavors.

Then, when you dive back into “the grind” take what you’ve learned and put your  entire heart and soul into it.

Not only is this a much more sustainable way of living, it’s a a faster way to becoming the person you most want to be.

Whether you want to take your athletic pursuits to the next level, move up the corporate latter, or throw yourself into a new adventure outside your comfort zone, remember to take moments to rest your body and mind.

Your Time Is Now – Tomorrow is Never Guaranteed

Today is yet another cold, misty morning and your over-sized silk comforter still begs for your attention.

Your eyelashes flutter up and down, debating when they should permanently stay open.

Rain drops caress onto your window sill, giving you an additional excuse to linger there, pitying yourself.

You are content in this moment, besides the nagging pit of guilt residing in your stomach.

Today’s accomplishments still lie on a naked white piece of paper. Empty, bare, and vacant.

I could give you many reasons that will motivate you to stretch your achy feet to the floor and become a better athlete.

I could give you a compelling speech why you should endure the gut wrenching pain, to feel the tsunami of lactic acid infiltrating your muscles, to be uncomfortable in your own skin.

The inspirational persuasive speeches could range across a horizon of topics —toughness, success, passion.

But only one is scientifically proven.

Only one definite re-occurrence will happen, despite the circumstances.

Others reasons are flawed; they aren’t sincere. You probably will become mentally tough—but there is no guarantee. Become physically stronger—but it’s a coin toss.

And you  might always want to do something different with your time. Eat. Sleep.

The choices are endless and unpredictable.

But what if I told you I knew an option that is reliable.

An ancient secret from years ago that has been concealed—untouched.

Only a select few know of it. Only top athletes and performers understand, and appreciate its worth.

Here it goes.

Time passes faster than quicksand. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Click To Tweet

Okay, I apologize for the satire. You already know this secret—we all know it.

But no one lives by it. No one has tattooed this ‘secret’ on their chest; swearing to embrace every day with open arms and not letting another wasteful second trickle out of their time box.

Time does not stand still. It does not slow down, and it does not wait for you to catch up. It keeps ticking.

Tick. Another year goes by. You’re 21 years old, gripping a leather diploma in your right hand.

Tock. You’re 55, reading the Sunday newspaper with a steaming coffee slowly piercing your left hand.

Time vanishes, dissolving quicker than you could imagine. You’re sinking in the quicksand of your life.

Now is the time to be present, to do the extra repetition, to add the extra weight.

Because tomorrow is never guaranteed. There is no formal contract with your scribbled signature.

There is no knowledge of the future, no regret of the past.

The only time is now.

Tomorrow is not here yet, and yesterday is only a memory.

Push yourself beyond what you think is possible and then some.

Use every bone, every muscle in your body—every inch of your being to better yourself.

One more rep.
One more set.
Another day, not another regret.

Give it everything today, before it’s too late.

Can’t Find Your Confidence? It’s Time to get Back to the Basics

One mistake. Another mistake. A series of mistakes.

Mistimed runs, missed shots, and countless turnovers.

One bad touch repeats itself the whole game. One negative thought multiplies.

One bad session turns into five unproductive sessions.

All until I am left thinking, “I don’t belong here.”

My confidence is shattered and a new player suddenly steps into my being.

Except this is a shy, timid player. Someone I’m not.

My memory of the player I was once is now blurry, vague and indistinguishable.

All these questions and new uncertainties begin to infiltrate my mind.

Why was I recruited?

What am I good at?

Do my teammates have faith in me?

This feeling leads me to a gloomy, ominous place filled with somber darkness.

With this mental state, I’m hesitant to be proactive in my movements.

I become hopeless in my mindset. I put my head down and I fear everything that’s going wrong, but never think of what could potentially go right.

If you’re any type of athlete or competitor, you too have been in this position before.

But your finger shouldn’t be pointed at your coaches, your parents or your teammates. This is your responsibility.

It’s your mind, your thoughts and your negativity dwelling on each mistake.

Many will say this state of mind isn’t healthy, but I would argue to the contrary.

This negativity can actually be somewhat productive in the development of an athlete. It shapes your mental infrastructure to overcome adversity. It tests your love for the game; what are you willing to go through to keep playing?

Is this feeling worth it?

The biggest test of character is your response to a loss of self-confidence.

If you have never experienced losing self-confidence, you don’t possess the mental toughness needed to weather through the worst storms yet to come.

When you’re in a drought, the only way to survive is to replenish your self-esteem.

You can’t focus on doing every tiny, incremental thing right. Go back to the basics and do you what you do well.

If you’re quick, be quicker. If you’re strong, be tenacious. If you’re a great teammate, show your energy and voice your positivity.

You have to start back at square one. You have to go back to where it all begin; to what got you recruited, to what first caught your coach’s eye,and to what brought you here to the next level.

Because you are here.

You are at the next level and you deserve to be here. It’s no coincidence that you have made it this far. People might have doubted you, people might have
put the odds against you; but you have already exceeded expectations of your family, friends and old coaches.

You have already made a lasting impression.

The only person you can do this for now is yourself and nobody else.

Counteract the distorted self-deprecation. Forget every single mistake you previously made.

Go back and remember the countless times you struck the ball the proper way, made three-pointers look effortless or threw the game-winning touchdown.

Reminisce on the feeling of goose bumps running along your arm; remember the feeling of euphoria.

The post-game showers that leave you with a rush of relief, a content smile draped across your face and a longing for this feeling to never end.

It starts with one positive catalyst—that quickly dominoes. With each domino you knock over, you lose one fear.

You’re no longer scared and you’ve regained the belief you once had in yourself.

The courage you once had.  And most of all, you regained the assurance in your ability that you do, indeed, deserve to be here.

That is confidence. This is your time.

Don’t let your own mind take that away from you.

The Zone: Where You Discover How to Live

I would be lying if I said soccer didn’t change my life.

I’ve been playing for the past 15 years. 15 years of sacrifice, sweat, blood, and of course—many inevitable tears.

But why have I continued for so long?

Everyone continues on for different reasons.

Some people choose to keep playing for the love of the game.

Some thrive on the feeling of accomplishment, challenge, and perseverance.

All those are justifiable reasons to dedicate such a large portion of your childhood to a competitive sport that could or couldn’t potentially take you to the next level—but my reasoning is a little different than the others.

It’s something called “The Zone.”

An addictive feeling  that overwhelms your being when you are completely invested in something you love.

You allow your flustered mind to mentally escape from reality.

Your focus is narrowly driven for x amount of minutes—and for those x amount of minutes, nothing else in the world matters.

You could be heartbroken, sad, angry, or upset—but in that minute, and in that moment, you have one goal: to win.

Your mindset shifts from school deadlines and relationship problems to solving tactical problems on the field and wondering when your legs will mold into bricks.

The emotions eating away at your heart are not of the last heartbreak, but of the devastation you endured the last time you lost to this team.

And now its time for sweet revenge, and there’s nothing that could hinder your chance at success.

I thrive on this control in my life. I crave the endorphins flourishing through my veins.

For 90 minutes, my only obligation is to have the right mindset and a clear mind.

But here is what they don’t put in that pretty, well decorated pamphlet that advertises division one college soccer.

You won’t love every second of it. You will go insane at one point and you will question everything.

It’s a constant grind and you will hate it at times.

You’re naive if you think tears won’t come streaming down your face because you might not be good enough.

You might not be strong enough.

And you just might not be there yet.

Where is there?

“There” is when you can comfortably love every second playing this sport because you have clocked in your hours and survived the journey.

Now you are enjoying the aftermath of it all. You have done your role, checked “college soccer” off your bucket list.

15 years later, it’s your senior year and in three months it will all be over.

17 years of playing soccer. 17 years of it all—and in three months your senior season will be over.

You are just now loving everything that is thrown at you because in a blink of an eye, it will all be over.

Soon you will be a washed up athlete, gaining weight by just breathing and stressing about how you will pay next month’s rent.

“There” is sometimes hard to mentally grasp, but don’t ever underestimate the value of time.

The thought of time is hypothetical and abstract.

It can never be grasped as something concrete or tangible, but it is the realest feeling you will ever experience.

The passing of time and the memories you make each day will live with you forever.

At times years feel like days, months feel like hours, and hours feel like seconds.

Don’t let time deceive you into failing to live up to your potential, not embracing every opportunity, and most importantly—fool you into having regrets.

Indulge now.

Indulge in every workout, every game, and every moment you get to spend
with your teammates.

Crave to conquer the hard times, and relish in the moments of pure success, and never let the slightest bit of raw emotions take away from your love of the game.

I would be lying if I said soccer didn’t change my life. In two years my hours will be clocked, my jersey will be retired and my career will be left on paper.

15 years later—here I am, still playing for me.

But you aren’t me.

Write your own story and create your own reasons to transform your body, mind, and life.

Whatever sport you love, physical activity you crave, or anything that entices endorphins inside your body while draping a smile across your face, do it.

Immerse yourself in “The Zone” and embark on a new journey and take a risk before time takes away this extraordinary life from you.

Never Regret Trying Your Best – Eternal Wisdom of Brett Favre

I was born and raised in Wisconsin, and in our state the Green Bay Packers are religion. On football Sundays every city around turns into a ghost town while we all tune in to cheer on the Green and Gold.

Growing up, my first memories of watching the Packers were of Quarterback, Brett Favre – the gunslinger from Mississippi who played the game with an unmatched renegade and sometimes reckless style.

No matter if the team won or lost Brett Favre would always leave you wondering  “how the hell did he just do that?” and/or “why the hell did he just do that?”

Favre is not only one of the best players to ever play the game, but he was one of the most exciting and enjoyable to watch.

On Saturday, August 6th 2016 Brett Favre was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio and secured his spot as a legend.

While accepting his induction, Favre gave one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard.

His speech was a lot like his career – unscripted, passionate, and you never knew when it was going to end.

It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me reflect on a lot of important things in my own life.

However, two stories Brett told resonated with me more than any of the others.

I want to share those with you, and hopefully inspire some reflection of your own life.

For about the first fifteen minutes of his speech, before even mentioning a word about his time in the NFL, the championships, the records, Favre talked exclusively about his family.

This  brings me to the first important lesson in Favre’s speech.

Family is everything.

I needed no reminder of this, but I think far too often some people do.

On the pursuit of greatness, scratching and clawing to get to get the top, and chasing enormous goals,people sometimes forget what’s most important in life.

And that’s the people we love and share the journey with.

Because the worst possible endgame I could imagine is achieving all your hopes and dreams and finding yourself standing on the top of the mountain alone.

When I first started my own career, I found myself with an opportunity of a lifetime, making more money than I knew what to do with, and the world at my fingertips.

I would constantly be told how lucky I was, life couldn’t get any better, that I was living in paradise.

And you know what, I was miserable, depressed, and hated every second of the day.

I was in a place I didn’t want to be, alone, and without purpose.

I tried everything in my power to climb out of this darkness, but nothing worked.

It wasn’t until I got back to my family, to a city I loved, with people who meant the world to me that I was able to begin to heal my wounds and find my purpose in life.

There’s much more to this story I’ll tell in the course of First Finisher.

But I believe without family, without the people you love and who love you, your endeavors in life will be empty.

When life hits you the hardest, you WILL fall without a team by your side.

So on your journey, whatever it is you hope to achieve, do it together with those you love, never take them for granted, and make every second count.

The other lesson I want to share from Favre came from something he said towards the end of speech.

“Don’t ever regret trying your best”.

When I watched the teary eyed Favre repeat this line a few times, these words cemented themselves in my soul.

Because there’s going to be times in life when you do everything in your power to succeed, yet you will fail.

There will be moments where murphy’s law keeps beating you down no matter how hard you try.

And there will be moments when you feel like giving up.

These moments will be the hardest of your life and make you feel worse than anything else you’ve ever experienced.

Times like these will either make you or destroy you, and a big part your ability to persevere comes from knowing you tried your best.

There’s an unbeatable feeling of power knowing you put your entire soul into something that matters to you.

When you half-ass your mission, fail to put in 100%, that’s not the will of a champion.

Champions pour their heart into every single second of every single day no matter how big or small the endeavor.

And knowing you did… builds a mindset of “I will not be denied”.

You may have setbacks and fall down, but you will always get back up and eventually you will succeed.

In the end your effort is the only thing in life you can 100% control.

Don’t ever forget Favre’s eternal words, never regret trying your best.

If You Have A Body You Are An Athlete

Over his career, legendary Oregon track coach, Bill Bowerman, trained 31 Olympic athletes,51 All-Americans, 12 American record-holders, 22 NCAA champions and 16 sub-4 minute milers.

During his 24 years as coach at the University of Oregon, the Ducks track and field team had winning season every season but one, and won 4 national championships.

But even with this remarkable list of achievements coach Bowerman’s influence and excellence transcended sports.

Along with Phil Knight, Bowerman was one of the co-founders of Blue Ribbons Sports, or as you might know it today, NIKE.

His obsession for improving the function and efficiency of running shoes inspired the first products that set the young Oregon start-up on its way to world dominance.

Out of the endless sums of wisdom one can derive from Bowerman, one quote has always resonated with me above all the others.

When coach was talking about creating the best running shoes on earth to be used not only by his elite athletes but any regular runner who wanted to buy them, he said “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

For myself, these words encompass the importance of sports and competition in our lives.

I think far too often we associate the word athlete with a professional athlete.

If you’re reading this, I assume you practice, train, or compete in some type of sport whether it’s organized sports, weight lifting, CrossFit, tennis , golf – you name it.

Whatever it is, you are an athlete and for each of us being an athlete means something  different but equally as important.

Because in your given playing field, in your arena, you define who are.

Now, I’m not saying you are defined by the success you have in a sport or that the level of expertise you reach equates to to the level of achievement you reach in other aspects of your life.

Save that thinking and responsibility for the pros.

What I’m talking about is something much deeper than that.

Sports help you discover how much work you’re willing to put in, how much pain your willing  to take, and how far your body and mind are willing to go.

Being an athlete sets the tone for every other aspect of your life.

It exposes your heart and soul.

It magnifies the amount of blood,sweat, and tears you’re willing to put into your mission.

More so, being an athlete breeds a sense competition our society so desperately lacks these days.

And I don’t mean competition against someone else or another team.

No, I’m talking about the competition that matters the most, and that’s you.

Because for 99.99% of us there will always be someone else in the world who can lift more weight, who can bring in more sales, is better looking, makes more money, accomplishes a greater feat.

You see, what sports have taught me, and can teach anyone, is something essential to living a fulfilling life.

And that is, “we’re either growing or dying.” ( A quote from the other founder of NIKE, Phil Knight)

In sports, you’re either getting better or worse.

In your career you’re either creating more value or you’re not.

In your relationships you’re either building each other up or your tearing each other down.

At the most basic of human levels and whatever your purpose in this world is…you’re either making the world a better place or you’re not.

So the next time you walk into the arena think about that.

Are you growing or are you dying?Click To Tweet

Ask this question when you drive up to the office tomorrow morning, at dinner with your wife or husband, while you’re laying in bed at night wondering why the hell you’re on this planet.

My parting words to you are this:

Be proud of being an athlete.

Reflect on all the ways it’s improved your life and made you a better person.

For me, its one of the defining aspects of my own life and something I will never take for granted.