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Tag: fitness

6
Dec

Best Books 2014

Reading as much as I do, it’s hard to narrow the stacks of great books down to a handful of memorable classics. Here are the top ten books that really stood out and made a difference in my life in 2014:

Best Books 2014

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. This may be my favorite book of the year. Yes, there are plenty of self-help books that say virtually the same thing as Sincero’s book, but almost none do it with attitude. I love the humor, honesty, intimacy, personality, and daring of the author. I love the book so much I reached out and interviewed Sincero for my podcast. She’s sincere, funny, open, and a living badass of the polite I-won’t-hurt-you but I’m-going-for-my-dreams-so-stand-back sort. Fun, wise, empowering. Read it.

Spartan Up! by Joe De Sena. This one lit a fire under my butt and made me want to get out and run up steep hills with my shoes on fire. Since I’m already working out intensely, thanks to personally training with Body-for-Life fitness legend Bill Phillips, I didn’t feel compelled to enter a Spartan endurance race. But I found this book inspiring, motivating, and heart pounding. I love his concept of “obstacle immunity,” which means hard core exercise builds inner strength to easily handle the stresses of normal life. He’s right. After intense exercise, traffic is nothing. Great book.

The Science of Living by Emmet Fox. This book clearly explains the teachings of New Thought pioneer Emmet Fox, most famous for his little books, such as The Mental Equivalent and Make Your Life Worthwhile. Though Fox taught and published in the 1930s, The Science of Living is a recent publication based on his private classes with metaphysical students. I love its clarity, plus it made me feel like I was in the room with him. This fully explains what the philosophy of Mind Science is all about. A true gem.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I’ve read this 1937 classic before, of course, but after reading a recent biography of Carnegie (Self-Help Messiah), I decided to read it again. It is a masterpiece. I am in awe of Carnegie’s conversational writing style, powerful stories, and crisp message. I wish just one of my books was this good. The message, while simple, is as relevant today as it was over the last several decades. Priceless.

Making the American Body by Jonathan Black. I found this book hypnotic. It masterfully tells the story of the men and women who shaped fitness in the United States. That may sound boring to you but believe me, the feats, feuds, and fuss of the often egomaniac men and women who urge us to get fit is an entertaining, enlightening, and even appalling read. My only disappointment is the author somehow left out Bill Phillips, who is a living legend in fitness. Otherwise, riveting.

A Moment in Time: The Steve Reeves Story by George Helmer. I’m one of the biggest Reeves collectors in the world. I have the famous body builder/movie star’s gym, car, clothes, trophies, and more. My collection is impressive enough that Lou Ferrigno (The Hulk) came to see it. This long awaited biography, by Reeves’ personal friend and executor of his estate, is mesmerizing. The hundreds of photos are worth the price of admission alone. The stories are alive. It’s a loving tribute to a legend; the definitive biography of the original Hollywood Hercules.

The Devil’s Horn by Michael Segell. As you may know, I’m now a saxophone player. (Afflatus, my baritone sax album, came out last month.) This is the hands-down best book ever written on the dramatic roller-coaster history of the sax, an instrument once considered the “devil’s horn” by some while others swooned to its cool sound. It was once the most popular instrument in the world (until the guitar got plugged in). The man who invented the sax – named (no surprise) Adolphus Sax – went through business failure, ridicule, controversy, political manipulation, envy, and even a death threat. An astonishing book.

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. Nicholas Herman, later known as Brother Lawrence, lived in France in the 1600’s as a kitchen working monk. He dedicated his life to constantly living, working, playing, and praying “as in His presence” at all times. “His” means God. If the God word pushes a button in you, exchange it for Divinity or something else. This little book of conversations with, and letters by, Brother Lawrence has been changing lives for centuries. It did mine, too, and deeply influenced the writing of my forthcoming book, The Secret Prayer. There are numerous editions of this holy work around, many published in English for the first time around 1895. Highly recommended.

Managing Thought: How Do Your Thoughts Rule Your World? by Mary J. Lore. I love the direct simplicity of this well crafted book. It helps you understand what your thoughts are doing, whether you are aware of them or not. Of course, once you are aware of your thoughts, you are now separate from them and more in control. A practical, inspiring guide.

Willpower: The Owner’s Manual by Frank Martela. This brief book surprised me with the 12 tools it describes for “doing the right thing.” I expected fluff, I got wisdom. People often resist will power, thinking it is pure ego or pure pain, when in reality will power is what you often need to align your desires, achieve your intentions, and attract what you want. Great book. Will yourself to read it.

And here’s a bonus title —

You Are the Placebo by Joe Dispenza. I’m not a fan of so-called scientifically based books describing how the world works, mostly because I can’t follow their terminology and the authors often disagree with each other, but this book is easy reading, easy to understand, and truly eye opening. Dispenza explains how it is possible to heal many “incurables” with thought alone, by detailing how the mind influences everything. In a way, this is a manual on how to create the placebo effect as needed. I read every word. Fascinating.

What about you?

What did you read this year that moved you?

Please post your comment below.

Thank you.

Ao Akua,

Joe

Member BBB 2003 - 2015

Member BBB 2003 - 2015

PS – My list of best books for 2013 is at http://blog.mrfire.com/best-books-of-2013/

Click to read book free

Click to read book free

1
Dec

Bill Phillips Secret

I’m a friend and a fan of Body-for-Life Hall of Fame fitness legend Bill Phillips, author of Transformation and other bestselling books, but I’m not an affiliate for anything he offers or sells. I’m writing this to share my personal experience with his new supplement, GHX10, which is supposed to help increase your Human Growth Hormone.

Like you, I see ads for supplements daily.

I used to take a bucket of them (supplements, not ads) every morning.

For years, I spent thousands of dollars on a prescription to help increase Human Growth Hormone.

I was over 50 and approaching 60 (and am now over 60) and was seeking the Fountain of Youth.

Feeling frustrated by the lack of results, and disappointed by the misleading claims, and tired of paying all that money every month, I threw it all away.

Stopped the supplements.

Stopped the drug.

I decided I would simply eat clean, workout, pray, and hope for the best.

Of course, I rediscovered Bill Phillips two years ago, attended four of his fitness camps in Denver, and have been working his program daily.

I’ve released weight, added muscle, and feel great. (I’ve written about my experiences on previous posts. See PS below.)

Recently Bill announced a new supplement.

Fitness legend Bill Phillips

Fitness legend Bill Phillips

It’s called GH10X.

It was created to help you increase Human Growth Hormone, a major key to rebuilding your body, releasing excess weight, and feeling youthful.

Bill says it can help increase Growth Hormone up to ten times.

That’s a pretty noteworthy claim.

He adds, “GH10x is an all-new, scientifically designed, nutraceutical – a natural supplement with medicinal like effects.”

Nutraceutical?

Because I trust Bill, I ordered enough GH10X to try for a month.

Since it’s simply a powder you add to a drink, it was easy to try.

The first night, I slept better than I had in years.

Years.

And my dreams became more vivid, colorful, and memorable.

The next morning my workout was stronger and more intense, with more endurance and less exhaustion.

I was impressed.

But I thought it might be a fluke, so I kept the experience to myself.

Three weeks later, I noticed that my muscles seemed bigger.

A month or so later, my wife said, “Look at your arms!”

And then when a service person came to the house to do a repair, and I saw him glance at my biceps (I had been in my gym and was wearing a sleeveless shirt), I knew something was working.

I went in the bathroom and took a selfie.

Yep.

My muscles are bigger.

The Evidence

The Evidence

Better sleep, more energy, increased strength, and bulging biceps.

I’m sold.

And yes, I ordered a lot more GH10X.

Bill is quick to point out that his supplements won’t work for you if you don’t exercise.

I already workout, using Bill’s methods.

Adding the new supplement seemed to turn on the after burners, push some sort of kick start nuclear blast button in my body, and engage my body-mind-spirit to fire up the back engines and sprint ahead.

I like GH10X.

Again, I’m not an affiliate for it and I don’t make a cent if you buy it or not.

I’m just sharing my personal experience of using it.

To learn more, go see http://eatingright.com/collections/gh10x

For the record, the only other supplement I take these days is Strongevity, also from Bill Phillips. It’s described at http://eatingright.com/collections/strongevity-rx ( I’m not an affiliate for it, either.)

To your health!

Ao Akua,

Joe

PS  –  My posts about training with Bill Phillips are at —

March 1 2013 http://blog.mrfire.com/transformation-on-demand/

May 16 2013 http://blog.mrfire.com/transformation-update/

October 22, 2013 http://blog.mrfire.com/transformation-part-three/

May 1, 2014: http://blog.mrfire.com/transformation-part-4/

July 25, 2014 http://blog.mrfire.com/transformation-part-5/

Member BBB 2003 - 2015

Member BBB 2003 - 2015

25
Jul

Transformation Part #5

Last week I completed my fourth consecutive physical transformation challenge!

I wrote about the previous ones over the last year and a half.* All have been under the guidance of Body for Life fitness legend Bill Phillips, and his wife Maria, with personal coaching from Scott York.

The results have been spectacular!

I'm an athlete!

I'm an athlete!

I’ve released about 60 pounds, packed on about 15 pounds of muscle, dropped at least one pants size, lost several inches off my waist, have made daily exercise my new habit, have a new eating plan, and feel like a new man.

While it’s taken commitment, persistence, and lots of perspiration, I have done it and am continuing to do it. I feel younger and stronger than ever.

I’m the new Hercules! (Or maybe one representing AARP.)

AARP's Hercules

AARP's Hercules

Working on age 61, I may be in the best shape of my life since I was a teenager in high school training to become the world heavyweight boxing champion. (It was 1970 and I was so young.)

I don’t want you to think it was a breeze to get here, though.

During the last twelve week challenge, I found myself slipping.

I wrote the following for myself and the others in the same challenge as me:

A message to all those who have stalled or stopped…

Recently I had to reactivate my intention, goal, and purpose.

After being in three programs, and eight weeks into my fourth one, I started to get comfy. I looked back and realized I had released 50 pounds, added 15 pounds of muscle, dropped a pant size, made exercise a locked in habit, and heard praise from people like my personal doctor, who says he has known me for 15 years and has never seen me look so healthy.

I figured I had achieved a “good enough” stage of fitness.

Somewhere in there I got relaxed and let my eating slide. I never pigged out, but I’d give in to temptation now and then. It’s easy to do, as I live in a test kitchen and my wife is on deadline with her cookbook. Foods are everywhere and so is the hypnotic scent of fresh baked meals. Even though it’s grain-free and sugar-free, it still has calories. It still counts. I’d eat a little anyway.

I didn’t think much of it.

But then I took my 8 week photos and scale weight.

Shit.

I didn’t like that there was no change AT ALL.

I felt like a failure.

That’s when I had to regroup and recommit.

To me, motivation (mindset) is more important than ANYTHING else. When you have made a decision and commit to it, nothing will stop you. Any diet will work. Any exercise will work. Of course, what Bill and Maria teach is the best. But without mindset, you (or I) won’t do anything. We will simply give in to whims and temptations and instant gratification.

So I reviewed my goals and decided I was NOT going to stop or stall.

I thought about the payoffs for being even slimmer, stronger, and healthier: increased self esteem and inner power, inspiration to others and myself in the world, the chance of accomplishing something BIG in the area of fitness, etc.

I recommitted to my 12-week goal and my lifetime goal.

Instantly I felt better.

By the next morning I felt renewed strength.

My workouts, which have always been intense, are even more on target.

When my wife offered me a dessert she just made, I politely said no. She didn’t bat an eye and honored my decision.

Right now I’m wearing a muscle shirt. It’s tight, so my stomach shows, but so do my biceps. And they are something to behold.

I’m posting this to remind each of us that we CAN achieve our health goals. It begins with a decision, and then ongoing commitment to it, and every day action. Having support (which we have here) is priceless, as big dreams are easier when you have people rooting you on.

I’m back on track.

Join me?

After I shared the above, I made a decision and turned on the afterburners to my commitment to fitness.

I completed the challenge.

The results speak for themselves.

I don’t know what your own personal goals are, but I’m pretty sure you can achieve them, too.

Why not go for it?

Expect Miracles!

Ao Akua,

Joe

PS – I fully endorse Bill Phillips. I am not an affiliate for anything he offers (he doesn’t know I’m writing this) but I fully recommend all of it. For more details, see  http://www.transformation.com/ or send an email to [email protected]

* My previous posts about Bill Phillips and my Transformation progress:

March 1 2013 http://blog.mrfire.com/transformation-on-demand/

May 16 2013 http://blog.mrfire.com/transformation-update/

October 22, 2013 http://blog.mrfire.com/transformation-part-three/

May 1, 2014: http://blog.mrfire.com/transformation-part-4/

19
May

Obstacle Immunity

I used to hate exercise.

Even though I’ve worked out with legends in fitness, and personally met icons like Frank Zane, Lou Ferrigno, George Foreman, Floyd Patterson and others, I never liked exercise.

I even own one of the largest and most well stocked private gyms you’ve ever seen, which includes famed bodybuilder Steve Reeve’s personal Universal machine.

I used to smoke cigars in it.

If I could pay someone to exercise for me, and still reap the benefits, I’d do so.

Gladly.

But personally training with Body-for-Life fitness legend Bill Phillips has changed all that.

I now look forward to getting my workout done every morning.

These aren’t walks in the park, either.

My 25 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) cardio takes all I have.

And the 45 minute weight lifting is something I almost hate to do but love having done it.

I’ve learned that I may resist it or resent it, but I never regret it.

But the best thing of all?

I’ve created something called obstacle immunity.

I learned the phrase from the book, Spartan Up! by Joe De Sena.

Inspiring, challenging book

Inspiring, challenging book

De Sena created and runs the incredibly intense obstacle courses/endurance runs/insane peak performance events called “Spartan” that about half a million people have voluntarily entered.

Crawling up greased walls, running through mud, sprinting over rugged hills, dodging fires or any number of totally unexpected obstacles is what Spartan is all about. And penalties for not completing an obstacle are fifty burpees (fifty!), the most intense body weight exercise ever.

Spartan is designed to challenge you beyond what you think you can do.

It’s Hunger Games without the politics or the killing.

But it’s still intense.

De Sena says when you achieve athletic success in the unpredictable wild environment that his creative mind conjures up, you develop a resiliency to anything life can throw at you.

Your inner strength becomes almost super human.

I’m not suggesting you enter a Spartan race or Mud Run or CrossFit gig (unless you are inspired to do so), but tackling something as challenging as a burning morning workout sets my mind’s resistance meter to high.

If I can complete such a self-directed rugged workout, then I can do almost anything.

I leave the gym ready to handle life.

And the thing is, life is then much easier.

I don’t know Joe De Sena, or even anyone who entered one of his Spartan events, but his book validates what Bill Phillips and my trainer Scott York have said for years: getting that morning intense workout done gives you “a win” that makes you feel you can handle anything for the rest of the day.

As Bill Phillips, Scott York, Joe De Sena and even my father all say, exercise is medicine.

Too many of us want the easy street.

And we want it now.

I’m all for an easy life, but I’ve discovered life gets easier when you choose tough physical challenges and use them to fortify your mental ability to handle the rest of life.

I know the thrill of challenges -- 8 certificates, 3 medals, and 1 honorable mention

I know the thrill of completing challenges -- 8 certificates, 3 medals, and 1 honorable mention

When you take on a physical challenge, and you learn to endure struggle by controlling your mind and delay gratification, the result is a type of unshakeable bliss and inner self-confidence you will never forget.

Plus you develop an internal ability to handle adversity.

You create “obstacle immunity.”

You will be almost unaffected by any problem, issue or challenge you may face.

Your ability to handle stress will have increased.

When you set out to attract your goals, you will not be easily disheartened or discouraged when you face any blocks along the way.

This can help make you feel that anything is possible.

Any dream.

Any goal.

Any intention.

And guess what?

Anything really is possible.

Arguing for limitations is just, well, arguing for limitations.

I think Spartan Up! is incredibly wise, inspiring, and challenging.

Read it.

And then go do something big that will build inner strength.

What are you doing to challenge yourself?

What can you do right now?

Well?

Ao Akua,

Hercules Joe

PS — We all need help in going for our dreams. Consider Miracles Coaching.

Membr BBB 2003 - 2015

Member BBB 2003 - 2015

1
May

Transformation Part #4

Look closely at this photo…

Bill Phillips presenting medal to me

Bill Phillips presenting medal to me

I am smiling as bright as sunshine itself.

You can’t imagine how joyful I felt when Body-for-Life fitness legend Bill Phillips presented me with a medal and a certificate for completing his 12-week transformation challenge.

It was my third time to complete his challenge in the last twelve months, and my third medal, but the first one presented to me in public by Bill himself.

I was as giddy as a star struck teenager meeting a super hero.

And I have met super heroes, like the Hulk Lou Ferrigno…

Meeting Lou Ferrigno in my gym one year ago (and 50 pounds heavier)

Meeting Lou Ferrigno in my gym one year ago (and me 50 pounds heavier)

And Superman Dean Cain…

Meeting Dean Cain (and I was 50 pounds heavier)

Meeting Dean Cain (and I was 50 pounds heavier)

But look at me now…

I'm a champion!

I'm a champion!

If you’ve been following this blog, you know I have been on a physical transformation journey for one year now. It started when I attended Bill’s Transformation Camp in February 2013.

I have stayed true to Bill’s teachings. I eat right, workout intensely five days a week, follow his principles for self awareness, spirituality, generosity, forgiveness, supporting others in their quest, and more.

The results speak for themselves. I’ve released at least 50 pounds of extra weight, added at least 15 pounds of muscle, and feel like a young Hercules.

A lot of people are supporting me, too, as you can see from this art that was given to me:

Hercules Joe

Hercules Joe

Bill’s latest weekend camp is called LIFE. It stands for Learning + Inspiration + Fitness + Energy. I just returned from the very first one at his center in Denver.

I loved it.

It’s a refined and more on target version of his Transformation Camp. The eating advice is the same, the workouts are changed a little, the new stories are moving and inspiring, and the daily worksheets (now in full color) are more specific; more like a game you can play to win every day.

I'm very proud of this accomplishment

I'm very proud of this accomplishment

One big change is Bill wants us to begin with a life vision.

From there, create a year goal, a six month goal, and then a 12 week goal.

That assignment alone helped me feel inspired and fired up to keep moving forward.

It’s no longer about twelve weeks; it’s about life.

I strongly recommend Bill’s work. It isn’t about weight loss per se as it is about living with integrity and wellness.

I regard Bill as a hero in my life; a source of transformation and inspiration from way back in 2004 when I entered and completed five back-to-back Body-For-Life challenges (and received an honorable mention for one of them).

Bill is a genius at sorting through all the conflicting data about health and fitness, and boiling it down to what actually works across the board for all of us.

He’s not a jock so much as a spiritual teacher in the gym.

He’s the Socrates of fitness.

The Buddha of health.

The Aurelius of spiritual-physical balance.

I love the man and his work.

His latest book, Transformation, should be read by all of us. (He’s working on a new book, which I am excited to read.)

Gorilla Biceps

Comparing biceps with the legend (Bill, not me)

The people who attend his weekend events are from all ages and all walks of life. Each has a story and a struggle, and each is ready to transform under Bill’s guidance.

Every time I attend one of his events — and I’ve been to four now — I am always moved by the people, their life paths, and their commitment to positive change.

Previous posts about Bill Philips and my Transformation progress:

March 1 2013 http://blog.mrfire.com/transformation-on-demand/

May 16 2013 http://blog.mrfire.com/transformation-update/

October 22, 2013 http://blog.mrfire.com/transformation-part-three/

I fully endorse Bill Phillips. I am not an affiliate for anything he offers (he doesn’t know I’m writing this) but I fully recommend all of it.

I’m told his May event is sold out. He just announced a June camp for June 6, 7, 8. If I were you, I’d go. For more details, see  http://www.transformation.com/ or send an email to [email protected]

Meanwhile, follow your dreams with passion, commitment, and the fire of inspiration.

This post isn’t about me (okay, yes it is) so much as it is a reminder that you can achieve your dreams, too.

Anything is possible.

Expect Miracles.

Ao Akua,

Joe

PS – Lucky you. You can watch me workout with Bill Phillips in this quick video filmed by his wife Maria. I’m on my last set of reps, lifting 100 pounds (two 50 pound dumbbells) like a gorilla ready for his feeding. Enjoy!

PPS –  I wrote the song “Believe” on my latest album in part due to Bill and his beautiful wife Maria (who released 60 pounds) believing in me. Hear a sample by clicking right here.

My new album is everywhere!

My new album is everywhere!