Self-Improvement Must Reads!

This week we share some books that we think everyone should read or at least be aware of. Self-improvement books can inspire us to make better choices and enhance our lives. Whether you are humming along in life, going through a transition, or are just a continual learner, we challenge you to check out some, or all, of these books. Keep learning. We may not always have time to sit down and read a book. A few ways to keep learning, on the run with tools like these:

• Blinkist
• Audible
• iTunes University/iTunes
• Podcasts (like Optimal Health Daily on Spotify or Precision Nutrition’s Eat, Move and Live Better podcast on iTunes)

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz.

The Four agreements offer a code of conduct that can bring about a feeling of freedom and happiness: 1) Be impeccable with your word. 2) Don’t take anything personally. 3) Don’t make assumptions. 4) Always do your best.

Think you’ve heard all you need to hear? Think again – Ruiz’s insight is the stuff of legends!

On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life by John O’Leary

After suffering burns on 100% of his body as a child, not to mention amputated fingers and more to boot, John O’ Leary learns that we might not be able to choose what life throws at us, but we can choose how we live our life. Get ready to be inspired!

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

You hear this often at Ellipse Fitness, “what is your WHY?” In order to achieve a goal, the WHY needs to be deeply personal and it needs be a driving force, or else this will probably be just another one of those goals we fall short of without ever really giving it an honest try. It’s not enough to say, “I want to lose weight.” The WHY might be, I want to be healthy so I can keep up with my grandkids or be there to take care of my spouse as we age! Almost as difficult as discovering your WHY in life is staying true to it and keeping it alive.

The 10x Rule by Grant Cardone

Think BIG! In this book Cardone discusses how to invest 10x more and reach 10x further. Success always requires more effort than we anticipate. Be obsessed with your goal. Find direction on how to shift your goals and focus to reach for more by working harder, building your commitment, and finingd inspiration to accomplish it!

The One Thing by Gary Keller

Gary encourages you to prioritize your to-dos by importance, become disciplined in what you want by creating a habit of it, do NOT multitask, visualize the steps to get to your goal, and never compromise your personal life for your professional goals…instead prioritize your work time to perfection!

What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Shad Helmstetter

Negative programming prevents individuals from becoming and doing exactly what they want. Any amount of inspirational reading will only provide us with techniques that could work if put into practice. This book explains the principles of self-talk – a unique way of reversing negativity, optimizing outlook, focusing plans and achieving success. The key is in affirming, telling yourself the right things which then reflect in a more positive lifestyle. Sometimes it really can be that simple!

What are you waiting for??

The Third Leg: It’s All About the Mindset!

Remember our 3 legged stool?

A good carpenter has to make sure it’s foundation is solid and the legs are evenly balanced!  When planning your weight loss/fat loss and healthy lifestyle, I suggest the same!  You’ve got to get the three things in line that will change the way you look, think and feel about your body.  Eat Right, Exercise Right and THINK Right!  In close to 10 years of helping people on this journey, it seems that MINDSET is the biggest indicator of success.  When I see that gleam in your eye…it’s time!

Get your Mindset Right—Get your head in the game!  No one is 100% perfect all the time, so cut yourself some slack!  If you miss a workout, go the next day, if you eat a “bad” meal…drink a bunch of water, journal the intake, turn the page and make the next day better…beating yourself up won’t burn those calories, and you’ll only waste time…which no one has enough of!

Find a group of supporters!  These are people in your corner and on your side when it comes to losing weight!  Maybe this is a close girlfriend who joins and the gym with you and goes to class a few days a week, so you don’t feel like you don’t know ANYONE.  Or make friends in a group exercise class and find others who share your love of kickboxing! Having a network of people to rely on will make the obstacles seem easier to overcome!  Maybe start an “active living” book club where all the people are reading healthy living books and reporting back on the results!

Look for inspiration on Facebook or other social networks!  There are so many sites with inspiring quotes or testimonials of people that have overcome small and large challenges!  Most likely you’ll find something or someone you can relate to, that will keep the journey funny, pleasant but also personal.

Keep a Journal and Keep it Real! A great idea is to keep a journal where you not only log your food, but log your mind set!  You can jot down a good tip, or a funny quote, or even a new recipe you may want to try.  Journaling is a great way to remember your progress and keep your eyes forward.  What you learn in the past, when applied to your future…is wisdom!

Are You Ready?

What is it that separates you from your aspirations? Or from being at the very top of your game?
If you want to be a top salesman – what is it that is keeping you from accomplishing your goal?
Is it education? 
If so – what books do you need to read? 
 Who do you need to meet or consult with?
 What audio CD’s do you need to listen to? 
What seminars do you need to attend?
Is it experience? If so – who can you study under to fast track that experience?
 How many clients would you need to get in front of to get more experience? If you currently call 20 clients per week, if you got up to 25, that would be an extra 250 appointments per year (or over twelve extra weeks of experience each year compared to now).
What about a personal goal of fat loss or muscle gain? What if you want to lose 20lbs?
What foods would you have to eat on a daily basis? What training would you have to do? How much cardiovascular work? How many sets, reps, exercises in your weight training program? Should you even have a weight training program?
What is the best club in your area? Who seems to be getting ALL the results? What time commitment realistic for you?
Are you just lacking the information? Are you lacking a plan? Do you know what to do and just aren’t doing it? Are you supposed to take a 6am class or sleep in instead? Are you just not taking action?
I bet some of you have never even figured out these factors. Some people prefer to stay the same, yet complain about where they are, and how hard it is, and how it’s “different” for them.
As we wind up 2011, are you where you wanted to be 12 months ago? What about 12 months from now? What steps do you need to take?
If it’s a lack of information – then get that information and then take action.
 If it’s a lack of action – then get moving and DO something.
We’re here to help, but we can’t want it more than you! Write down your goals and let’s set up your action plan, TOGETHER!

“Feeling healthy & feeling good about yourself is not a luxury – it’s an absolute necessity.”

“Feeling healthy & feeling good about yourself is not a luxury —- it’s an absolute necessity.”

MOTIVATION—sometimes you give it, sometimes you need it!
Please feel motivated by Jayne O’s journey! Jayne wrote this story of her 8 weeks of the Rock your jeans challenge, and I felt it may touch a lot of us who are struggling with a reason to stay on track!

Remember why we’re named Ellipse! Life isn’t a perfect circle. The straight and narrow path is filled with turns, curves and pot holes! To stay on track you may need support! Or—you may want to offer support to others! We’re all in this together!

Way to go, Jayne!

The past 8 weeks were such a turning point in my life. My first task in the “Rock Your Jean’s” program was to develop a mission statement to keep me focused and on track. Knowing that I needed a drastic change in my lifestyle I came up with the following statement: “Feeling healthy & feeling good about yourself is not a luxury —- it’s an absolute necessity.”

I knew I needed a change in my life and it needed to start NOW. I was working out prior to “Rock Your Jeans,” but when this opportunity came along I jumped at it. The program was such a whole body experience for me, educating me on the importance of nutrition, taking time to de-stress, as well as exercise. Ellipse always stresses that 80% of what we do in our nutrition and sure enough, once I tighten up the food plan I saw and felt amazing results. Ready, set, GO……..

The first week of my journey was the hardest. The bootcamp/cardio night scared me. Typically when done with a workout you feel so good about yourself, this one was different for me. I left that night and I drove home with tears in my eyes thinking, I can’t do this. It was a tough workout for me. I got home that night and took a nice warm bath and talked myself into how good this was for me. My motto I grabbed at that point was “Feel the fear and Do It Anyways.” The next morning I got up for strength class at 5 am even though my whole body was completely sore. As the weeks went on the soreness got better but I continued to push myself. The coaching and camaraderie with the RYJ members was outstanding. I have never been pushed so much in my life!! Wow who would have thought I could do so many squats, lunges, fire hydrants, and high knee runs. It was a great journey for my husband and I to accomplish together, too! We have helped and encouraged each other through the journey.

At 4 weeks when we tried on our jeans (2 sizes smaller!) and I was able to button them. I was so proud of the progress I had made, but I wanted more. I started my journey in a size 22. At final jean try on I was able to button a “16.” WOW!!!! I finally accomplished a goal in my weight loss journey. I am excited for the next few months! Even though they are the hardest with holidays, I know that the support of Ellipse is what I need to succeed. Ask me motto now…“Still Rockin It!”

Success before Work

I love fall and one of the reasons is that I’m a Packer Fan!

I had the joy of attending the season opener this year against the Saints and let me tell you, it was a BLAST!  Everyone was in a great mood and the crowd was AWESOME!  There were fireworks, national bands, a giant flag and Bart Starr carried in the Packer Flag (he’s my FAVORITE Packer—FYI)

As usual, I cried during the national anthem and proudly held up my colored card to help the crowd form a flag across the whole stadium.

Lambeau Field Card Flag

There are a lot of other reasons I love this season, too!  In the fitness business…it means we get BUSY again!  With kids back in school and people returning to a bit of normalcy, I get to see some old faces that perhaps were on a summer hiatus.  Many new members join in the fall and it’s always nice to be part of someone’s journey to health and wellness!  Although, also what this means is in my world—we get back to HARD WORK!

Have you heard this quote from Vince Lombardi?

The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you’re willing to pay the price.”
-Vince Lombardi

I’ve been called a “work a holic” by more people than I count.  Sometimes I’m not sure it’s a compliment, but—I take it as one anyway!

I sincerely believe what this quote says.  Hard work is the price we pay for success!  I don’t care if it’s business success, weight loss success or success on the football field!  Very rarely do you meet anyone who was accidentally successful.  Usually they worked hard, they practiced, and they put their mind to it and set their eyes on the prize!  Oh sure, there are plenty of humble people who won’t admit to just HOW HARD they fought for their success—but, we know the truth don’t we?!?

Rarely does someone “accidentally” get into a smaller pair of jeans.  They work at it!  They watch their diet, monitor their exercise, drink their water and make some changes to achieve their goal!  In business, I’ve never met a CEO who didn’t say “I’ve definitely put in my fair share of 60 hour weeks!”

We can ALL have success!  We not only have to work harder but smarter!  Knowledge is POWER!  We’ve learned that you don’t need to run mindlessly on a treadmill for hours as the best way to burn fat.  We shouldn’t deprive our bodies of important nutrients to save a few calories-it slows down our metabolism!  In business, delegation with follow up is ok-you don’t need to do everything yourself!

I hope these few words inspire you to make a few small changes toward your success!  Work hard and work smart!  If you’re on the sidelines right now, hearing the success stories of someone around you and wondering if that will ever be you, I’m here to tell you—it only will if you make it happen.

Success doesn’t happen by accident.  Using a coach or a mentor or a trainer is great—they are tools in your tool box to reach success…but in the end…you’re the one that has to do the work to reap the rewards.

Let me know if I can help!  Here’s to your success!


Sea Turtles… and Distractions that Lead Us in the Wrong Direction

I read a great article by Jon Gordon, and I wanted to share it!  We’ve been talking a lot about “laser beam focus” in a business mastermind group I’m part of, and I admit, this is a challenge for me!  Too many things, too little time—the story of many of us!  This article touches on the same topic, but in a way I think could prove beneficial to many.  Enjoy!

As I walked on the beach the other day I noticed that certain areas were closed off by fences and signs that said “Sea Turtle Eggs.”

I remembered reading that female sea turtles swim to shore between May and August to dig nests in the sand and lay their eggs. Months later, the eggs hatch and the baby turtles follow the pure light of the moon back to the surf.

In a perfect world, the pure light of the moon guides every turtle back safely to the ocean. 
However, as we know, we don’t live in a perfect world.

Sea Turtle hatchlings instinctively crawl toward the brightest light. On an undeveloped beach, the brightest light is the moon. On a developed beach, the brightest light can be an artificial light source emanating from restaurants, homes and condominiums along the coast.

Unfortunately, these powerful artificial sources of light often attract the hatchlings and cause them to move in the wrong direction when they are born.

Rather than follow the pure light of the moon to the ocean the sea turtles follow the wrong light to a disastrous outcome.

It occurred to me that we humans face a similar challenge.

Rather than follow the path we were meant to follow, unfortunately we too often are distracted by things that move us in the wrong direction.

Technology, online games, too much time on Facebook, bad habits, addictions, stress, busyness and meaningless distractions lead us astray.

Instead of following the pure light of perfection we allow bright and shiny artificial things to sabotage our journey.

So, what about you?

Are you following your priorities and pure light to the right destination or are you allowing artificial distractions to lead you in the wrong direction?

Are you following the path you were meant to follow or are you letting meaningless things keep you from being your best?

The great news is that unlike sea turtles we have the ability to think, adapt and change direction when we realize we are following the wrong path.

We can tune out the distractions and focus on our priorities and let the pure light lead us to an ocean of possibilities and a great future!

The Story of A Goose

Who is a motivator?

Motivators are not just paid speakers, respected authors, or television personalities.  All people are motivators.  The question to ask is what message does each person convey. 

The following story, “The Story of a Goose,” is a well-known story by an unknown author.  I use it often in any team building situation.  I first heard the story working in an upscale preschool in St. Louis City.  The team there was falling apart.  This story brought us back together.

The Story of A Goose


Next fall when you see geese heading south for the winter flying along in a “V” formation, you might be interested in knowing what science has discovered about why they fly that way. It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. People who share common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier, because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.


When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the draft and resistance of trying to go it alone, and quickly gets into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front. If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed the same way we are going.


When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point. It pays to take turn doing hard jobs.


The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. An encouraging word goes a long way. What do YOU say when you honk from behind?  Is it encouraging? 


Finally, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by a gun shot and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow him/her until he/she is either able to fly or until he/she is dead, then they launch out on their own or with another formation to catch up with the group. If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.


Do I have the sense of a goose?  In what ways?  How can I share one of those ways with someone who has not developed that sense yet?  How can I improve on my V-formation?


Share this story with someone special who doesn’t know they are one of your special geese.  Share it also with another who has fallen out of formation and needs a goose.



“One Little Rose”

I would rather have one little rose
from a garden of a friend
than to have the choicest flowers
when my stay on earth must end

I would rather have one pleasant word
in kindness said to me
than flattery when my heart is still
and life has ceased to be

I would rather have a loving smile
from friends I know are TRUE
than tears shed around my casket
when I bid this world adieu

bring all your flowers today
whether pink or white or red
I’d rather have one blossom now
than a basketful when I’m dead….author unknown

The first time I read this poem, I was a little girl. It has made a strong impression on me. In times of great emotion, I often pull out the tattered copy to lament on other times. I’ve made a resolution to recall only times of elation, thanksgiving, and peace.

I dedicate this to all my friends and future friends struggling right now. You may not be able to control the ‘weight of your load. You can only control the strength of your back.’

Be strong! Live for today, and never look back except on times of happiness, thanksgiving, or peace.