I *Finally* Found My Life Verse

Life Verse

When I was 22 I got introduced to a guy in his 50’s named Bob. Big Italian guy with a commanding presence and booming voice of a southern baptist preacher. He was also a terrific salesman and all around person. He mentored me for years.

Bob had this crazy and radical transformation from an early and deep darkness in a mafia life through a relationship with Christ where he RADICALLY changed. Too long a set of differences to list. If you’re cynical about the “radical transformation” stuff I get it, I really do. But, let me carry on…

One thing he deeply held onto was his “Life Verse” from Joel 2:25, from the Old Testament. One of the last times I met with Bob he shouted to me (which was really his way of talking) in a loving but impassioned voice with expressive Italian arms waving “RICHARD, you should have a Life Verse! It’ll give you direction and something to meditate on. What’s it going to be RICHARD? Think about it, and get back to me! THIS IS IMPORTANT, DO NOT DILLY DALLY!”

But I never did it. Too much time went by, and I let life get in the way.

One day I got a call that he’d suddenly passed. At his funeral I thought about my Life Verse, but shortly after forgot about it until two months ago, and after thinking I’d narrowed it down to three verses.

This week in Denver I was with my parents at dinner. They’re both amazing. My mom is so caring, considerate, patient, and kind; my dad is so smart, wise and disciplined.

We walked into this trendy Italian restaurant with music blaring overhead and my mom said to me “Your dad is not going to like this music one bit…” (thank God, literally, she didn’t know what song was playing!).

The gracious hostess overheard and changed the music, but even still when we all sat down my dad says something hilarious about “You Hipsters and your music.” (I resisted an explanation that Hipsters were dudes who wore skinny jeans rolled up with outlandish beards whereas I identified more with Hippies who have long hair and the prolific usage of the word ‘dude’).

Late into the evening my dad quoted this verse out of the Bible, which hit me squarely since it was the same verse I’d been thinking about as my Life Verse the past few months.

Over 30-years I’d heard my dad quote lots of verses, but never this one. (sidebar: Bob’s having a conniption in heaven shouting at me “RICHARD, C’MON JUST MAKE A DECISION HERE!”). 😉

After quoting it, my dad says “I think that’s Jeremiah 33…” and I quickly interject “29:11…It’s Jeremiah 29:11.”

At which point I knew it was my life verse.

One, because I’d been thinking about this and hearing him say it was confirmation. Two, because my dad is one of the most prolific students of scripture and never have I ever (and I mean EVER) corrected a reference with him in decades of discussions.

Plus, well, I love this verse for all its meaning and it speaks to me.

So, Bob, 15-years later, here it is. My Life Verse. Unfortunately I dilly dallied and got distracted along the way, but I finally got it done.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11:

jeremiah-29-11

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Happy 11th Birthday Buddy

Dear Levi,

Today it feels like yesterday.

Yesterday, when I landed in San Francisco to frantic voicemails that I had to return home immediately.

Yesterday, when I rushed into the UC hospital labor/delivery room where our high risk OB doc sat us down and so gently and lovingly explained that you were going to be born that day and there was nothing left he could do.

And that you would be alive.

But that you wouldn’t live.

That the odds of you living were so impossibly low they weren’t even going to have a neonatal intensive care unit on hand.

It feels like Yesterday, where I called the head of the NICU unit at his home and begged, with sobbing and pleading, that he would send us a NICU team in the remote chance a miracle could happen. That the 22 week estimate of gestation were off by a week, and that 23 weeks could provide us a chance and MY GOD I BELIEVE IN MIRACLES AND HE SHOULD TOO AND I DO NOT GIVE AN EFF WHAT THE STATISTICS SAY, and that maybe the infection wasn’t actually septic. Maybe they were wrong.

Or that BY GOD and PLEASE GOD AND I AM BEGGING YOU HERE AND DOC YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO HELP ME SAVE HIM DO NOT ABANDON ME that there is some chance for a miracle. To which he finally said “Okay, there’s an impossibly small chance–I’ll be there with my best team, but if I tell you it’s over, then it’s over. Can you agree to that?”

Yesterday, when we were in the delivery room with 10 nurses and doctors in the room–one team for delivery, and another post-delivery neonatal, with equipment and an isolette wheeled in and electronics that I’d never before seen and were certainly not part of a normal delivery room. I was on my knees on the side of the bed with your mom, holding her hand. She was so strong, brave, and focused.

But I couldn’t quit crying, and begging and pleading and sobbing, and I whispered repeated prayers in a silent room where only a doctor was talking with your mom giving instruction, and at one point I was crying so hard I felt a nurse put her hand on my back to try to comfort me, and I was begging and pleading and calling out for God to rescue you and to intervene, PLEASE GOD WHY WON’T YOU INTERVENE AND WHY IS THIS HAPPENING…

Felt like Yesterday, watching the obstetrics team within seconds of delivering you immediately hand you off to what must’ve been a half dozen on the NICU team. Watching, as tears rolled down our cheeks hearing the doctor read off low Apgar scars–with more tears as more scores were read, and silence in the room of 12 people, half of whom were watching the scene unfold with the other half furiously assessing whether any lifesaving heroic measure could change the outcome, but GOD THE SILENCE and the somber quietness and WHY THE HELL IS THIS HAPPENING AND WHERE ARE YOU GOD and I am begging here for ANYTHING AND ANYONE, with rhythmic beats of electronics and a pulse ox monitor and eery silence with just one NICU doctors quiet and steady voice and a team of a dozen others, all of whom are afraid to look at me, and then after ten minutes there is a nurse starting to wrap you up in a swaddle and I felt like screaming NO DO NOT HAND HIM TO US SAVE HIM I NEED YOU SAVE HIM, YOU HAVE TO SAVE HIM…

Yesterday, it feels like we were just holding you and feeling your heartbeat while you laid on us for two hours, just you, me and mom…the chaos of over a dozen people in the room eviscerated, and it was just the three of us, in complete silence. No more monitors, no more beeping, no more whirring, just us and silence and GOD I DO NOT WANT THIS MOMENT TO END PLEASE YOU CAN INTERVENE THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO INTERVENE AND SAVE US I CAN’T BEAR THIS LOSS, and watching you lay on your mothers chest with her smelling your little newborn head and tiny patches of hair and rub your tiny arms and hands and feet. You smelled just like a newborn and you had all the features of a normal kid but wow you were so tiny so so tiny but so close, we were so close and WHY THE FUCK IS THIS HAPPENING SOMEONE HELP ME SOMEONE STOP THIS…

Yesterday, when two hours later at 2:10am where your heart stopped beating. And I was devastated…I walked downstairs as a mess to get outside, and found a guy sitting outside the hospital where I took a cigarette from him and with tears still pouring down my cheeks I inhaled deeply with devastation.

It feels like Yesterday, when we had a final few hours with you and passed you back to the nurse for the last time we would see you, and I can feel you right now swaddled and me holding you and my passing you back to mom one last time and WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING…MY GOD I AM STILL BEGGING YOU TO REACH DOWN AND SAVE HIM and hand you to your mom for one last visit, and then to the nurse to never see you again.

Yeah, it still feels like it was Yesterday. 12 years later. And I am still so raw. Broken. Angry. Sad. Hopeless. Somehow I’m also at peace. Content. Understanding. Trusting.

And I can’t explain it. I want to change it, I want you back and I want you back and…

Yet I still wouldn’t change it.

At moments it didn’t feel like God was there. But I know He was, and it happened as designed. I really believe that. Then, and now. Even though there are still times when it feels otherwise.

A few months after we lost you I was speaking with a guy who also lost a child shortly after birth. As we were talking at a certain point his voice trailed off, and as he was looking in the distance he said quietly “I lost my kid over ten years ago and people say it gets easier…but it never does.”

Today feels more like yesterday than yesterday ever did.

Happy Birthday buddy. I miss you so much. You have no idea. We all do.

Love,

~Dad

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The Ironman First Timers List

Ironman pic for blog

The longer I wait at this point, the more I’ll forget. So I wanted to write down a hit list of all the things I learned throughout my process of training for an Ironman triathlon. This includes a list of things I learned in preparation for, and during, the event. It is ALL jumbled together. Good luck sorting it out.

My caveats:

1). My knowledge is limited. If you haven’t done an Ironman, I still might not have more knowledge than you. So go get your own info and test this stuff out. I am NOT an expert. I am an average dude who two years ago was 50 lbs overweight and had never even run a marathon. I completed Ironman Coeur d’Alene with VERY limited time to work out, and a VERY full time gig. I you’re debating whether you can do it, you probably can. The fat kid in me is cheering you on. I hope a few things in here I learned along the way help you out.

2. I have no idea from where I am puling this info at this point, b/c I read so much and asked questions of many along the way–and received great advice. So I am quite sure little of the below is original thought, it is stuff I either learned through personal experience, or more likely what I learned from others.

Here’s my list. In no particular order:

1. If you’re debating doing a triathlon, sign up and do it. Do not wait for some magical moment. Pick one reasonably far out, but not too far out. And just get going. Most shit doesn’t get done because people don’t ever really commit. The other reason shit doesn’t get done is that people commit and then fail to execute. So, it’s really this simple. 1. Commit. 2. Execute. Sorry, I really wish I could complicate it some more. But I can’t.

2. If you can get a coach, get one. (I didn’t). If not, be prepared to read, research, and do some trial and error. Learn what works with your body. Yes, my eyes rolled too when I hear people say that. But it’s true.

3. There are some great triathlon books, one I skimmed was something something triathlon something Bible. By someone. Or something like that. Just check out Amazon reviews and googling for great books. I did a ton of very rapid fire reading across the Inter-web, grabbed the stuff that made sense and passed on the rest.

4. Ditch some advice that doesn’t sit right along the way. If I’d listened to all the “experts”, I wouldn’t have made it through my training (got really sick w/ flu and couldn’t work out for three weeks about 12 weeks prior to IM, and several experts said if you miss more than a week of training altogether you should bail). Obviously, I didn’t listen to that portion of advice.

5. But generally heed advice of experts. I got way more good advice than bad. And ask a lot of IM’ers questions. Not just experts, even people that only did a few Ironman events–because sometimes their learnings and advice was markedly different, and in some ways equally as helpful, as the “experts.”

6. Nutrition is super killer key on race day. Begin prepping for this using your long training day and mimic what you’ll eat on race day–from when you wake up until the end of the day. Start this months prior to your Ironman.

7. My typical “long training” Saturday food consisted of: egg-banana-yam-baked-stuff (more below) around 5am…Getting your early calories in on IM day is CRITICAL, b/c when you’re out you’re largely out. Body can only process about 300 calories (incoming) an hour on the bike, and about 100 kCals (incoming) on the run. And that day you’re going to burn about 15-20k calories. So you’d better have a lot stored up. But don’t also overeat, esp prior to the swim. That can suck.

8. My Ironman breakfast thingy is this recipe: one can coconut milk, 12 eggs, 3 bananas, 1-2 (already baked) garnet yams, honey to taste + some splenda, and 1/2 cup to 1 cup coconut flakes all blended together and then baked into a loaf, meh 375-ish for 60-mins ish? It’s a great loading dose of protein, carbs, and fats. Super high calorie. NOTE, I didn’t eat ALL of this on training day. I’d make a loaf of it for the week and eat slices in the morning. I love this recipe. I might not have all the measurements right above, I pretty much just eyeball things and adjust to taste/consistency. You can opt out of the yams and it’s still great, but I like garnet yams.

9. Carbo-Pro + Cytomax were beverage staples of mine on the long bike ride (supplements to my water bottles). Other items: Honey Stinger waffles (not Paleo), dried fruit, almond butter and jelly sandwich on gluten-free bread (one before and midpoint on ride), bananas, and bonk breakers are the single best source of kCals I found for the bike.

10. Get a bento box for your bike. I didn’t even know what this WAS or that they even EXISTED up until 12 days before my Ironman. I learned it from a local expert (who REALLY IS an expert and amazing Ironman competitor).

11. Get fitted for your bike. It should be less than $100. Do this before you do all your training, or a lot of it. Do it even if you’re a month out. But don’t wait until you’re a month out.

12. Learn fundamentals and form for all three sports, particularly swimming. Join a Masters Swim program, but much better than that is to take a Total Immersion course. I would NEVER have finished the 2.4 mile swim without Total Immersion. Game changer for me. Two beat kick. If you don’t know what this is, it will CHANGE YOUR SWIM dramatically. And for the better. Google it.

12.5. (yes, I just did a 12.5) Join an Ironman Facebook group. Ideally, there is a group of people in a closed forum on Facebook for the event you’re participating in. I made some virtual friends that have turned into enduring ones, and learned a TON of great stuff along the way. And it was encouraging.

13. Check out Chi Running, 26.2 is a long time on your legs–esp after being in the water and bike for 8-12 hours (for us slow ones). It’s the training that wears your body out–so focus on form, and it’ll serve you on the day of the big event too.

14. The hardest part really isn’t finishing the Ironman, it’s finishing the consistent training required to get you to a level of fitness to do an Ironman. Yeah, the Ironman is a long day. And I am NOT at all undermining how hard it is to finish, there are probably a lot of Ironman finishers who would be pissed to think I’m suggesting otherwise. But, the Ironman is just one day. And it’s backed up, largely, by your training. Yes, IM day is a hard day. And amazing. And cathartic. But months of training are really what carry you. Though there’s a fair amount of mental mojo required on IM day too.

15. Create a checklist for Ironman day, and start working on it and putting stuff together a solid month out. You do NOT want to show up to your destination and have to figure stuff out or buy more things. I found checklists online. Look at a few of them then create your own or use one that looks solid. On that checklist, you should add one thing that will not be on any other checklists: do not get Gorilla Glue on your front brakes the night before Ironman (yeah, that happened).

16. If your IM swim is in cold water, you REALLY SHOULD do some cold water swimming beforehand. Your CNS, when cold water hits your forehead, will start to go into a state of shock. It’s very difficult to pull yourself out of this, your heart rate rises and you naturally start hyperventilating…this happened to me the 1st time I swam in the SF Bay (my first open water swim ever, four weeks prior to the IM). The temperature, open murky water, waves, along with a vigorous swim just creates a tough environment. I assumed this would happen to me, because I’d read about it. But I also believed that I would be able to talk myself through it. Which proved difficult to do. The only way I got adjusted was to get my body used to cold water swimming through frequency, and eventually my body got used to it. Plus, training in 52-55 degree murky SF saltwater was WAY tougher than a 62 degree lake swim (though the swim was in rough waters that day, wasn’t prepped for that).

17. Paleo. I’m a huge fan of Paleo. When I’m on the Paleo wagon, I feel as strong as a….Caveman (see what I did there?). But you’ll have to supplement, you need SOME carbs. I added white rice and white potatoes to my diet, and garnet yams–I eat those with almond butter all the time. And Taro bubble tea…because, well, Taro is a root, and somehow this is in someway tied to Paleo. And I love it. There, I said it. I love bubble tea.

Also–get your body fat down. Not too low, you need enough storage of kCals. But anything in excess is a serious penalty for your time, joints, etc. I was at about 9% body fat, maybe 9.5% on Ironman day, which was fine. In retrospect I wish I’d worked harder to drive down to about 7-8%, but I got as close as I could.

18. Do a triathlon or two before your Ironman. For me, the Ironman was my first ever triathlon. This is not the best idea, but apparently I am full of “not the best idea” ideas, and this was the way I wanted to do it.

19. Schedule everything. And I mean everything. And I got off schedule, of course. But having a schedule ensured I was more on than off. And kept me focused. When I got off schedule I simply revised my schedule. And I did nothing social for most of my training. I worked. A lot. I worked out. Some. I slept. Some.

20. Quit drinking. Yes, really. You don’t have to. But I felt like I ran a lot cleaner free of alcohol, and a big part of my training focus was maximization of efficiency. Drinking is overrated anyways.

21. When doing swim training, watch some Mandy McDougal videos on YouTube. Especially the one on breathing. You actually WANT to keep some air in your lungs, it’s what keeps you buoyant.

22. Wear two caps if you’re swimming in cold water. Ideally a neoprene one underneath your other cap.

23. Don’t add anything new 2-3 weeks prior to your IM. NOTHING. No new shoes, cap, wetsuit, bike, socks. Nada.

24. Get your bricks in, one a week. I don’t think you need to do more.

25. You can’t win on the swim. But you can lose on it. Make sure you get enough yardage in so that you can finish the swim comfortably.

26. BUT, after you’ve trained enough on the swim to know you can finish comfortably, spend as much time as you can on your bike. That bike is one long ass ride. Speaking of asses, yours will be in some serious pain at the end of the ride.

People asked me “so what’s it like to be starting a MARATHON after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles?” You know what the honest answer is? Ummmm, flipping AWESOME. Yeah. Awesome. To be able to run–even if you have to run a marathon–after being on a bike generating this condition called “raw butt” for 6-10 hours is simply unbeatable. After 112 on the bike, you will be THAT PSYCHED to be starting your run.

Not because you love running. But because at that point, you hate biking. Hate.

27. Supplement long rides with spin classes. I went to spin once or twice a week. And I did one long ride on weekends. That was the extent of my biking prep for most part. Could never get out of work in time to do a decent road ride during week. And I never did enough biking. This was my weakness.

28. Be prepared to wake early. I did a lot of my workouts from 5:00-7:00am. Did I mention you’ll have no personal life during your training time?

29. Pack a fresh change of clothes in your Bike to Run transition bag. Remember, I told you this list was going to be a combination of training tips AND in-race tips, and it’s totally mashed together? Sorry.

30. Use salt tabs on the bike ride, the ones without caffeine. Caffeine has a useful life of only about 4-6 hours. For energy and recovery I used a product I love called LifeShotz (note, I am one of their Advisors…also note, I do not care whether you use it or not).

31. Drop the glow sticks at the finish if you’re finishing at night on IM day, it’ll mess up your picture. 🙂

32. Start slow on race day. It is easy to burn through your glycogen fast and early. It’s a super long day, save it.

33. However, if you get to be a decent swimmer, do not start too slow. I thought it would be better for me to try to pace with the 1:15-1:30 group for the swim. Huge mistake. Because I am a bad swimmer? No. Because you will be situated with 1,000 other bad swimmers. Plus yourself. I could’ve swam a 1:10 pace, I should’ve swam with the 1:00-1:15 crowd. The 1:15-1:30 swimming crowd is like a bar fight at an irish pub.

34. Hydrate enough. But don’t over hydrate. But hydrate enough. 🙂

35. Yeah, it’s okay to pee in your wetsuit. When it is cold out, it also feels good. #truth

36. They also say it’s okay to pee on your bike. In my mind, this is only okay if you are attempting to do a sub-12 Ironman. #thatisalsomytruth There is something wrong about someone who is biking very slowly on the Ironman, to simply take a leak on said bike to save 30-seconds from stopping.

37. You can pee on the run in your shorts. But same applies above. Though, I will say that for my first marathon ever I missed a sub 4 by 33 seconds due to a last min bathroom stop. I still wish I’d peed in my shorts. But I can’t quite get the hang of this, plus I’m too vain.

38. Don’t overtrain. Seriously, two weeks out start tapering. And if you overtrain to point of injury then you’re in trouble. So train. Hard. Don’t overtrain. #seriouslydonotovertrain

39. CrossFit. I did this 2-3x/week as part of my training. I’m a fan. Not everybody is, but it’s changed my life. If you do CrossFit, though, do lighter weights and higher reps. And stop CrossFitting 1-2 weeks prior to your event, or if you go within days of the event use REALLY light weights and do not push yourself to the max.

40. Bodyglide for the wetsuit where you will chafe. If you forget body glide, you will pay the price around your neck that week.

41. Take a dramamine before your long swims, do it race day too.

42. Know how to change your bike tire. And make sure you carry at least two spares on race day, and one in your half way bag.

43. You need a day of rest. Pick a day and take it. Mine was a “floating” rest day during week. Not the best thing to do, but I needed to do it that way out of necessity. Better to pick a Monday and rest that day after a hard training weekend, or only do light active recovery stuff.

44. Get enough sleep. Nutrition and sleep are really vital throughout this entire process. You are taxing your body to high levels, you need to get reasonable sleep.

45. GU w/ amino’s for the run…I carry five with me for a marathon, one before it starts then one every 45-mins thereafter. And I alternate water and Gatorade at each of the stops.

46. On the bike, use higher gears and maintain a high cadence–about 90 RPM. Lower gears burn your leg muscles faster.

47. You will likely feel really bad during the Ironman. Expect this. And keep going. Or pull over to regroup. Just don’t stop permanently.

48. Did I mention yet that nutrition on race day is super critical? I wrote out my meal plan for training days and IM days MONTHS before the event.

49. Incorporate a protein drink into your daily workout life…I generally used whey at least once a day after tough workouts (SFH and GNC brands), but I also used a LifeShotz product called LS Vibe for recovery and overnight muscle repair.

50. During your Ironman, thank people. And say hi. I must’ve talked to 50 people during the event, and said hi to 500. Especially the volunteers. It motivated me, but also keep in mind these volunteers are just that–so extend some authentic appreciation. They’re giving up their entire day (plus days prep beforehand) so you can have your day. Thank them. I was really inspired by all the people there.

51. Carry ibuprofen. At mile 15 on the run, you will wish it were T3. Or even morphine. But, ibuprofen will do if you find yourself in a jam.

52. Remember, swimming is largely technique. Learn technique first, then you can limit your swim sessions. And focus on the bike.

53. Bank time on the bike (intentionally repeating myself). Get an indoor trainer to use if needed. The swim you can nail with good technique and limited hours in the pool. Biking time and performance and training also translates and carries over to the run. Running doesn’t help nearly as much with the bike. So if in doubt, train the bike.

54. Do a few Century rides prior to your IM. Note, I didn’t. The most I did in advance were a few 80-90 milers. If I had the time, and could do it again, I’d do about five 120 mile rides prior to the event. But if you can’t log that kind of time, no sweat. You’ll be fine. At least one Century would benefit you. There’s a big difference between miles 90 and 112.

55. Don’t get sick in training (again, sleep). DEFINITELY do whatever you can to avoid getting sick the week of your Ironman. I drank copious amount of elderberry syrup the week before the Couer d’Alene Ironman. And I stayed away from anyone that looked anything short of super healthy.

56. You’re going to hate it.

57. You’re going to love it.

58. Once you finish, you won’t be the same.

Enjoy the journey.

~Raz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Five Fitness Hacks to Lose 50 Pounds

Weight Loss

It’s the Super Bowl Sunday. Woooohoooo! So as a result nobody is going to read this, but it’s a-okay! I have to post when I have time, and right now I have thirty minutes before my scheduled run (more on the schedule thing later). *Also, I have no idea if these hacks will help you lose 50 pounds. I just needed a catchy headline. Also, there are six hacks listed, not five. But I wanted to have the first two words start with an ‘F’. #worstheadlineever

But, seriously, this is some of the stuff that helped me get in better shape over the past two years. And, well, I did lose about 50 pounds too. Though I’m still not brave enough to post before/after pictures yet.

Maybe someone will find this helpful after the nachos, Thin Mints (it’s Girl Scout cookie season!) and beer (not in that order, please! Thin Mints first, always the Thin Mints first people).

Over the last few years, I have become pretty fanatical about creating and living in a fitness regimen. It’s how I get my stuff to work for me; I’ve also fallen off the wagon more than a few times as well, so I’ve learned what helps keep me tracking and on-plan. Here are a few things that have helped me move closer towards my fitness goals, and perhaps there’s something in here that might help you as well.

1. Set quarterly goals, and tie it to metrics that you can use to evaluate your progress: I use body fat testing quarterly to monitor my progress to a targeted percentage, and then usually throw in some particular running event. I calendar it at least 90-days out for the BF testing. For my runs, I usually plan these out for the next year–so I’ve everything lined up for all of 2014.

Doubt it? My next body fat test is scheduled for Sunday, February 23d at 11:30am. I booked it two months ago, and I do this every 90-days. It’s the only way I can really track my progress. Though I use a pinch test and visual on vascularity (which I have little of, unfortunately, but enough to know how I’m doing) to track my progress week to week. I step on a scale daily, but more out of habit and care far less about the weight and much more about the percent of body fat.

2. Schedule your shit stuff: in my experience, you have to do this. Otherwise it will almost ALWAYS get bumped. And for optimal adherence, it’s  likely you have to do it in the morning. Two years ago I started by working out 3x/week, and that wasn’t easy–time, discipline, and fitness wise. Now, I probably workout 6-8x/week, and I schedule it pretty rigorously. Honor your fitness schedule, it’s not too much to give yourself. A one hour workout is 4% of your day. It will make you more effective, and generally speaking for every hour you workout you get two hours of your life back. I read that on google somewhere, so it must be true. And it just sounds about right.

Yes, there will always be something that seems to conflict with your workout–including your mood. Tough, gotta move past it (this is what I tell myself all the time). Every Sunday I sit down and plan my professional and personal week; on the fitness side, the CrossFit workouts are easy to schedule–every M/W/F early in the AM. But then I often schedule my running/biking/swimming in during the other four days, depending on whether I’m traveling or what my schedule is like. And if my schedule changes mid-week, then I revise to ensure I get the fitness stuff in.

I used to just try to let my fitness happen when time allowed. That didn’t work so well. So now I schedule it. Someone is invariably saying to themselves, “Man, I don’t have time…I just don’t have time.” I said that for years. Yeah, you do have time. Some weeks I easily cover 80+ hours a week (this is not every week, but never is there a 40-hour week either), and I could still use the time excuse to justify missing workouts. You have to make the time, and you have to give up something else to get the time. This is why I don’t watch TV. I didn’t even know the San Francisco 49’ers were in the playoffs until 48-hours before their last game. How is that possible? If I care about something I’m going to make it happen. If I don’t care about something, then I’m not even going to give it ten minutes of distraction. Staying up on football each week is a distraction from the things I care about getting done, professionally and personally.

Ultimately, controlling the schedule is the primary reason why I force myself to do the majority of my workouts in the AM–it’s easier to control your schedule before the day gets in full swing. Incidentally, I am not a morning person. I’d far rather crank my life out until 2 or 3am–I actually think I get into the zone between midnight and 3am. But, alas, I am not a screenwriter and so I have to adjust.

Here is what I have found about being an early riser: it often sucks waking up at 4:30-5:30am daily (but I usually sleep in until about 6:30am or 7am on the weekends). Especially if you just went to bed a few hours earlier.

However, it sucks far more to be fat and out of shape. So I finally chose the former. Plus, your body adjusts. After doing this for nearly a year I hardly need an alarm.

3. Meal Prep: meal prep is the Ford Model T equivalent to fitness. Trying to cook or prepare each meal when it’s time to do so is sooooo inefficient. So if you have the time to do this, great. And, I LOVE cooking. So while I’m totally stoked and find it mildly therapeutic to be in the kitchen cooking whilst listening to Johnny Cash, that time is taken from somewhere else. So I leave cooking to when I have time to enjoy it, and want something other than a pre-prepped meal.

Enter the Model T of preparing food efficiently. You have to automate it. Every Sunday I spend about 90-minutes in the kitchen, and I do all my meal prep for the week. I have 4-5 things that I cook each week, they’re total staples. I’ll crank it all out, put it away in individual containers, and that’s most of my food for the week. In the next week or two I’ll do a post on my 4-5 staple meals and my go-to fast meals or nutrition hacks that work for me. But this isn’t rocket science either. I found most of my meals from reading what other people do for their meal prep, and just picked what works best for me.

Meal prep isn’t only more efficient, but by having something healthy prepared and ready to go will help when you’re just spent and need kCals, and it’s easy to grab for something you shouldn’t which a prepared meal will help avoid. Plus, I try to keep anything unhealthy out of the kitchen–too tempting otherwise.

4. Alcohol: kill it. Why? It’s just inefficient and full of empty calories. Plus alcohol makes me sleepy. And quite hilarious. However, given that I’m already one of the funniest people I know, it’s better that I keep the competition even so the rest of you stand a fighting chance. 😉

Plus my body just runs cleaner when I’m off alcohol (right now, somewhere in Florida there is a woman named Carol who is doing backflips reading this #4 item…Yes mom, I knew you would be happy about this!). I took a month hiatus altogether from drinking recently and felt great. I love beer as much as the next truck driver (this is totally an inside family joke, but I can’t resist), and I’ve decided to pretty much stay off alcohol for the foreseeable future and leave it only for rare occurrences.

By the way, if someone told me to do this a year ago I would’ve never considered it. So all this stuff didn’t happen to me at once, like most things it takes time to dial in what works for you vs. others, and how far in you want to go.

5. HIIT training (or find your workout thing): Check it out, High Intensity Impact Training. Google it, basically short workout bursts. But the key is to find some form of serious physical activity that works for you. What I love might not be your thing, but the thing each of us have to do is figure out what our thing is.

So whether it’s running, CrossFitting, weight lifting, power walking, yoga, whatever, you’ve gotta find your thing. But one element that has really helped me is finding something with a class or group that has a schedule and offers me some accountability.

It’s one of the (many) great things about CrossFit and why I love it so much. While I want to go to my classes, I also feel somewhat obligated. Though that’s not the same mindset I have with my other workouts, especially running.

You know how some people like to get ready to go out for the night and they want the bathroom and bedroom to themselves, it’s like their “me” time? They don’t want any intrusions or fighting over the sink?

That’s like me with running.

If we run together, I must really really like you. Or feel highly obligated. 🙂

6. Cheat Meals: I try eat clean for nearly every meal (again, I fall off the wagon too), and some of you know that I’m a huge fan of the Paleo diet (meal plan, way of eating, lifestyle, however it’s supposed to be referred to). But I also let myself have two to three cheat meals a week. Some people think this is a lousy strategy and philosophically horrible, and that your eating style should be satisfying and healthful so that you shouldn’t have to eat a cheat meal. I have heard this from more than a few.

To which I offer this reply: please shut your pie hole while I finish my cupcake.

When I have a cheat meal I don’t all out binge until I’m nearly throwing up (okay, so that happened ONCE), but I’ll eat pizza…or possibly consume Dr. Pepper…or have a cupcake. Or cupcakes. Plural. Look, I get the perspective that one should have satisfying food that doesn’t necessitate a binge. Fundamentally, I agree. But on occasion, if one really digs it, then one should also have pizza and fried food, too. And the last time I tried incorporating those into my regular eating regimen I got really fat.

So I’m a fan of the cheat meal. Huge fan. On occasion, just not regularly. Total deprivation with food you crave isn’t good. But regular discipline with moments of deviating is fine, in my opinion. Of course, for others a momentary lapse causes the wheels to come off. You just have to figure out where you are in the spectrum.

There it is, some of the basics of what has helped me lose weight and get more fit over the past few years. There’s a few other things that have helped me along the way, particularly on the nutrition piece so I’m going to post some of those over the next few days–or week.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Go Broncos.

Go Seahawks.

(clearly, I’m agnostic on the outcome of this game–but at least I know who is playing)

~Raz

 

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good heartiness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Goodbye, Univera

As many of you now know, yesterday with the internal team and today with the entire external field organization I announced publicly my resignation from Univera as the CEO of International. I’ll be wrapping up my time at Univera through the end of May.

I have nothing but the greatest things to say about my time at Univera. The people involved, and particularly each of the field leaders as well as some key people internally (special thanks to Regan, a great boss and friend, as well as my teammates, too many to mention), have been nothing short of exceptional to me–you’ve been true partners all along the way. I’m also grateful to Bill Lee, who has provided me such an incredible opportunity these past four years.

raz-reagan

It’s now been 4.5 years, and after several expanded roles at Univera, I can think of no other job in North America that could have stretched me as much as did these past experiences. From good times to exceptionally tough times, from long-term strategic planning to dealing with urgent “today” issues, from driving to objective decisions based on market data to those decisions related almost wholly to heart, emotion and subjectivity, there is no other job that I can think of which would have been as powerful an accelerator in my personal and professional life as this one. It’s been 15-years worth of experience in a little under five years of time. And while I have learned so much, at the same time, I feel like I’m just getting warmed up.

Which puts me at a place in my professional career where, for a variety of reasons, I have selected to take a different path and move onto the next thing professionally. The dream that has existed at Univera for each of you still remains; for me, however, for now my dream and destiny rests elsewhere (the details of which I’m keeping quiet about for now). While I’m very excited about my future, I’m also bittersweet for the reasons each of you know.

What’s next?

Rich RazgaitisAs some of you recall, at Convention two years ago when I spoke about our goals and dreams, I made a firm commitment to achieve four goals in my life and created a plan in order to achieve each one. Two have been accomplished (a certain business goal, and also my trip back to Kolkata, India), yet two still remain to be completed–and I’m stubbornly determined to accomplish them both, in addition to some new ones along the way.

The two goals? One is to complete a book I am supposed to write, and it needs to be done this year. The second is a physical health goal, specifically to get down to 15% bodyfat. So I’m still going to succeed at these, no matter how frustrated or off course I’ve been with them both (and as an aside, neither should you be frustrated by any delays in your goal setting/achievement…you can still accomplish them, stick with it, keep re-loading as needed…don’t quit, don’t quit!), and those are going to be a focus this year in addition to my new professional endeavors.

And, there’s more writing I’ll continue to do. It’s not for lack of content that I haven’t blogged for the past month, for a variety of reasons I just felt better to let it rest. But I’m going to continue blogging.

And my focus will largely continue to be about personal development–to try to write in an authentic way, without idle BS that so often peppers our talk that gets in the way of truth, and to try to continue to share stories of people who have done either the ordinary or extraordinary, or have learned lessons along the way.

Some of them are stories of the deepest magnitude, a hero who touched–and saved–so many lives, like that of Rick Rescorla during 9/11. Others have been fun filled gifts of laughter and play, like the Forever Wedding Dance couple who taught us a simple lesson about celebration and having fun. And then there are stories about the unbridled passion to make a difference in the lives of kids–like Geoffrey Canada with the Harlem Children’s Zone. None  of those are original content, simply the pulling of stories of others with a few pieces of commentary alongside.

And it will continue to be sprinkled with some personal stories and anecdotes–some involving my business endeavorsTwitter, Facebook, Blogging and others around personal experiences. So those things will continue, and I hope you’ll freely participate along the way. You can also follow me on Twitter (@richraz2) or on Facebook (“Rich Razgaitis”).

What I get absolutely fired up about is to see people pursue their passion, whatever and wherever that may be, so that each of us can find their destiny and achieve greatness (which, has nothing to do with title or money). These can mean radically different things for all of us. The key, though, for every one of us, is to find and pursue with unbridled passion those things for which you and I were intended.

That is when the magic happens.

It’s the reason that I love movies like Crazy Heart. Stories of redemption, personal calling, overcoming a struggle to achieve greatness. I read a great quote the other day: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I love to connect with those who are fighting the hard battle–but also remain determined and destined to achieve greatness. At the same time, I would love to imprint upon others a distaste for apathy in a way that makes them sick. Yes, we should hate apathy (in most all cases) because it’s one of the greatest thieves from you pursuing your purpose. Being apathetic is giving up, it’s not caring. And once we’ve lost the heart and passion to care, well, I don’t know how to reignite that again–let alone help someone win.

So onwards with the stories of perseverance towards purpose.

Erica and the girls are both torn yet excited for our future. They, too, went “all in” with us on this Univera journey. I’m thankful for the sacrifices they’ve made to let me have the time and adventure with each of you. They’re ready for the next move, though, and are resilient and excited despite this being bittersweet.

I will miss each one of you. Tremendously. Together we have gone through it all, especially those of you who have been on this journey with me for years. It is, really, too difficult to put into words without sounding trite or filled with hyperbole. There’s a lot that’s happened. A lot we learned. And even more we gained.

So I’ll leave it at this: together we’ve been through it all, and I love you a lot. No matter what.

Thanks for a great journey.

Your friend,

Raz

fam-hawaii-black-beach2

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant info you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless significant for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Happy 5th Birthday Buddy

Levi's 5th Birthday
Here’s my annual disclaimer:

The reason I write in my blog is to connect with people. Not just from one segment of life, but from many. Usually the focus revolves around finding your purpose, passion, and renewal.

And as part of the thread of stories I try to share experiences and observations in leadership, volunteerism, wellness, as well as some events that are simply personal experiences that fall in none of those particular categories and, might, at times, be more personal.

Today’s entry is one of those. So if the personal aspect is too much, please skip this one today. The first entry that I made a year ago was here: Happy 4th Birthday Buddy.

Here’s today’s entry…

Dear Levi,

Today marks what would have been your 5th birthday.

This year I’m home instead of on the road, and lots has changed in our life–some for the better, and other parts not so much. But we’ve learned a lot, and we’ve grown a lot. God has been really gracious with us, and me, more than I deserve I am sure.

Royce is getting to be such a great soccer player, and has become so exceptionally good at reading. At night she reads to Zoe, sometimes “illegally.” She has a little flashlight that she pulls out after we’ve turned the lights off and I often catch her continuing to read into the evening. Mom makes her stop 🙂 (as she probably should) but the truth is I sneak in and give her a little thumbs up when I catch her reading and tell her it’s okay. She has such a heart for people, and an exceptional ability to communicate with others. And she’s intense, in a high-achiever way. Perhaps sometimes too intense (that’s probably from my DNA). I admire and love her passion and enthusiasm for life.

Zoe is amazing as well in her own unique way as well, she has such a compassionate heart. And is so incredibly creative. You should see (or maybe you did?) the latest “dog feeder” invention that she made out of who-knows-what materials–I can’t believe what she thinks up! I love it, every day it seems there’s a new contraption for me to scope out. Her ability to develop deep relationships and comprehend complex information is pretty amazing too. She processes so quickly, I love her ability to think thoughtfully and deeply for such a young kid.

I’m so proud of both of them, and so is Mom. And today I know we would be equally proud of you as well. I wish I knew your attributes that I could brag about, someday I’ll find out what those are specifically. I’m sure there would have been, or are, lots.

We talked about you a great deal this week, and more than ever, we miss you.

Yesterday and today, especially.

You might not know it, but Royce and Zoe each have their own “baby song”, which kind of represents them as a kid. This whole thing started with Royce, when she was in the hospital NICU as a preemie and we didn’t know whether she would live–or if she did the kind of life she would have. At many points the outlook was grave. During our daily drive to Morristown Hospital, Mom and I often would hear the song by Marvin Gaye (probably one of my favorite artists) “Aint No Mountain High Enough”, which came to symbolize our confidence and belief that everything would be okay with Royce.

Of course, we still play that song and think about those days. So, naturally, about a year ago Zoe wanted her own “baby” song that represented her! We chose, with a strong bias from Zoe, “I’ve Got a Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas!!! LOL. I think that’s hilarious. You can listen to the song, I think the lyrics are fine, but don’t watch the YouTube video–it’s a little too racy. Especially for up in Heaven. That could be awkward.

So you’re the last one without a song, and yesterday I thought we should pick a song for you on your 5th birthday. I wish you were here to help select it, but I think you’ll dig it. Unanimously we picked “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me. Your mom thought of it first, I can’t tell you how much she misses you. It’s beyond words.

Some people have told us that every year this would get easier. And while time helps heal some things, it doesn’t seem true as it relates to missing you. Every year represents another year without you, and we’re both comforted and saddened as the years go by. levis-cupcake

This evening the girls made little cupcakes for you, RoZo decorated yours–it’s the one in the middle, with all the balloon candles. And we went to play laser tag–we’ve never done it before, but the kids thought it would be something you would enjoy doing so they picked it instead of going to some princess movie, which I don’t think you would have liked as well.

There’s one project that I was supposed to do for you several years ago. It’s been on my mind, and I know I’ve been negligent in finishing it and I’m really sorry about it. This is the year. I have to do it, and I want to make a commitment to you that I’ll get it done.

Tonight, as I wrote a year ago, I hope that this message gets to you somehow and in some way. I think it will. Know that we love you so deeply, and we’re so glad that we even had you for a few hours. I wish it had been many years, but the hours and memories that have ensued are better than never having the gift of you in our lives.

Levi, here’s your “baby song.” I hope you enjoy it. Whenever we hear it we’ll think of you.

I love you buddy, no matter what.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

The Video of the Year!


playingtowin

So here it is…The Video of the Year! At least for Univera. It’s an amazing HIGHLIGHTS reel from ’09. During what was probably the MOST difficult business climate since the Great Depression–we, and specifically each of you, played to win. And win big we did. Take a look at what’s an amazing highlights reel of results from 2009.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all day. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Happy New Year! Now, Let’s Just DO IT!

Happy New Year

I used to scoff a bit at the New Year’s resolutions. But no more…

Everybody needs a “restart.” It’s one of the things that made high school or college so great; every year, or ever Semester, you got a do-over. But once you get into working adulthood, the do-overs are a LOT less frequent, and while they can be invigorating they usually are a bit more dramatic (new job, moving, so on). So the very thing that’s great about sleep–the separation of days which results in the proverbial “it’s a new day” sentiments in the morning, is what’s even greater about the New Year on a more broadscale spectrum.

But, you contest, “most New Year resolutions are out the window within weeks or months!”

To which I reply, “so what!”

We will not achieve if we do not try. And our success takes daily work and discipline, but also a day of commitment–otherwise the subsequent days won’t just magically follow. And sometimes, just sometimes, that newfound commitment requires a “new day.” Not always, but it sure can be helpful. So, I’ve come to really appreciate the little gifts we’re given, like a new day, a new week, a new year, and in this case as well a new decade.

So here it is…A few of my commitments that I’m making for the year.

1. Get it shape. Really get in shape. For 16 months I have had this goal of working towards 15% bodyfat (or less) while also exercising and eating well. I’ve ebbed and flowed on this one. And patellar tendonitis this past fall kept me from running my marathons and I fell off my eating wagon. Well, no mas! Erica and I have committed to really make health a priority this year. With my work hours, sometimes relentless travel, as well as natural cravings (I just love food–it’s that simple) I struggle with this one. But enough of the excuses. You’re all busy too. So, we’re getting in shape. We’re changing how we eat. We’re cleaning out the cupboards of junk. And we’re going to fight as best we can the constant deluge of our sugar-crazed society. How are we doing it? South Beach Diet and a rigorous exercise program for 90-days to kick start us, followed by a moderate and sustainable program. And I’m committing to run one marathon this year, barring any more tendonitis. Which isn’t going to happen! Done.

2. Personal development. I used to sell Cutco knives. And I did pretty well. But apart from all the money I made, what I really earned was the benefit of hours and hours and hours of personal development. It was part of my daily personal life as well as our weekly sales meetings, sometimes I taught them and sometimes I listened. But I always learned something–and it’s a behavior that is easy to let fall by the wayside. This next year I’m not going to let myself work on personal development “when it’s convenient”, but instead I’m going to work on it in a consistent and disciplined way. How am I going to do this? Using Success Magazine and it’s website, Philosophers Notes, TED, among other resources–including a little bit of work on developing some Spanish speaking skills.

3. Philanthropy. Last January I spent a few weeks abroad doing work, which probably in my mind receives the least amount of attention for meaningful contributions this past year (I tend to think of my success based on the metrics and results, which is important but can also be misleading) yet in actuality it was probably some of the best work that I did this past year. This coming year, I want to and should do more. And it doesn’t need to involve traveling anywhere, I can do it right in my local community. I volunteer with the Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia, where I want to spend more time. Also to help better promote and raise contributions for the great Univera Serve First program that helps provide nourishment to children everywhere. But there’s much more I’d like to contribute beyond this–financially and with my time.

There’s more, of course. I’m going to spend more time with the family. Be a better Dad. Develop more spiritually. Turn the phone off more. Improve my professional skills. Grow our business faster…

We all have our things we want to do. I believe one of the keys to keep committing, not give up, re-commit and re-commit, discipline, fail and get back up, and on and on. That’s part of the fun of a New Year. A redo, of sorts. And chance to make a (re)new commitment. I’m sure there will be some stumbles as I work towards my goals, and yours as well. But if we keep on pressing we will be far better off, than if we allowed ourselves the passivity and doubt that lies hiding in wait in our minds and bodies at times.

Happy New Year. Let’s make it a great start to an outstanding year!

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all date. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

The October Road Tour: LA, PHX, CHI

Blacked out, but not down, in southern California I had so much fun on the road the last week of October, and even since then so much has happened–including a SOLD OUT EBI in Lacey w/ nearly 300 attending the Corporate Office, along with a road show this week where we’ve been to about 20 cities. I am sitting in the Seattle airport having just flown in from Reno this morning and am on layover to Vancouver, having spent earlier this week in San Francisco, East Bay, and Sacramento. So back to the last week of October…Meeting with great leaders and getting to sit in as well as present in some incredible meetings with various teams! As you know from reading your weekly news and from e-mail announcements we’ve recently made, the Executive Team has been out and about, drumming up support for you as you optimize the 50% Matching Bonus for your Teams and your prospects. I know the other execs have equally impressive stories to tell about the Teams they hung out with, but since this is my blog, I’ll go ahead and tell mine. 🙂 It was a great group of leaders in Los Angeles this past Monday — lots of Vietnamese attendees and a pretty mixed crowd on top of that. The event was at this swanky restaurant and we had it exclusively for our use that night! We had more than 100 people in attendance and it was standing room only, so there was tons of great energy where probably 35% of the people were guests. The host, Khai Huynh, did a great job, the varied business and product testimonials were strong and moving as well, and to top off the evening, the power went out! So we finished the last 20 minutes or so by candlelight. A few people in the front were even shining the lights from their phones onto the speakers so that everyone could see them. It was very fun and it was so obvious that the Team there is committed to transforming Los Angeles! On the way out, a 75-year-old lady told me “I’m all in. I signed up last Wednesday, made a commitment to JUST DO THIS so I flew up to Portland for the Super Regional and had a great time — now I’m here on Monday night and I’m ready to go! I feel so much more energy since starting these products a week ago, and this is going to be an entirely family activity. Go Univera!” Now THAT’S COMMITMENT: ‘In’ on Wednesday/Portland on Friday-Saturday/Back to L.A. working the biz and bringing guests on Monday…love it. Tuesday at another restaurant in Phoenix was equally awesome though with a more intimate group of about 35 people — I’m thinking about 1/3 of them being guests. Barry and Connie Lucas were the hosts, and Connie kept answering most of the questions that I was asking of the audience! 🙂 I couldn’t blame her — she knew all the answers… When I left at 9 p.m., the group was still going strong. It’s so much fun to see the nucleus of energy of a small group that’s committed to making it big. Phoenix has huge potential and NEED given the debacle of real estate, and this is the group that will help transform it. I ran into a woman who was a realtor and has only been in for a few months, but said she was SO RELIEVED to find Univera. As a realtor, she’s busy but her work now is all in foreclosures, and said that it’s emotionally challenging and gut wrenching to see all these families once filled with so much hope facing the dejection of being forced out of their own home. So, in addition to the income, she loves the opportunity to bring about meaningful change to people, and that it’s so refreshing to be able to come to an event and have people that are uplifting, positive, focused on personal development — all things that are apart from the income that can be earned at Univera. Then, Chicago…Just off the hook. Ylinen’s led a great meeting, I even had dinner with “The Legend”, one of our next Diamonds, and spent some other time with fab Univera leaders. And, Kenny, totally rocked the close. Meeting was off the hook…And so is the momentum. Thanks to all the people in Univera that are making this dream possible for so many, and the contribution that’s led to SUCH A BIG WIN IN 2009! And there’s still more to come, we ain’t done “bringing it!” just yet…

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all date. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

A Great Fall Weekend at Xpand Your Business

With one-month Diamonds Luis and Gladys Cetina (left)

You could not ask for a better place to spend this past October weekend than at the Alderbrook Resort in Union, Wash., reveling in the great achievements of our newest Gold and Platinum Associates this past year.

Enjoying the fall atmosphere at AlderbrookBetween enjoying the crisp, cool fall air, the turning colors of the trees, and the magnificent view of the Olympics reflected in the clear waters of Hood Canal, can you believe we got a lot of work done as well?

I always say that big decisions are made at big events like this one. And between meetings with the Field Leadership Council and members of the Montreal leadership, I’m so excited for what’s to come in this last quarter of 2009, looking ahead to 2010! There were also great training workshops with everyone in attendance and even greater stories shared. I loved the heartfelt community-building and the recognition of so many deserving folks who worked so hard all year!

Celebrating with Marcella and David SkultetyIt was a sold-out event with probably about 80 different Associate accounts represented, and I’m thinking we actually had the entire resort here locked up for the weekend. I’m so grateful for everyone who made this such a memorable event.

If you were on our waiting list and didn’t get to attend, I’m really sorry you missed this great weekend, but never fear! Our next big event happens later this month at the Portland, Ore. Super Regional beginning October 23!

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Another Goodbye (not as in final-final!)

Following is a final Convention highlights and recap “goodbye”, starting with my own message to you and then followed by various clips from the Saturday session. Thanks again to everyone who participated, and also to all of the various (and many) Univera employees that worked so hard on this event.

And, by the way, thanks to all of those (and encouragement to others!) for your comments to the various blog entries along the way. Enjoy your Fourth of July, I hope it’s an exceptional and safe weekend for each of you.

Mr. Lee Encourages Everyone to Cheer our 10-year Anniversary

Blue Diamonds Al & Jan Keranen accept the 2009 YunHo Lee Award.

Diamond Associates Dr. Michael and Lisa Kaufman accept the Associate of the Year Award for 2009.

Diamond Associates David and Becky Ylinen receive the Rob Kalnitsky Award.

Reds are ‘Born to be Wild.’

Mrs. World 2007 Diane Tucker speaks from stage.

Boxer and “The Contender” star Joey Gilbert speaks from stage.

Singing “Sweet Caroline,” karaoke-style.

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Evening Session

What a great assembly of folks from Univera North America and Univera Korea. The evening is going to be wonderful — just check out the crowd gathering around Bill Lee!

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And now…a commercial break

Earlier this year, we announced our second Univera commerical contest to coincide with Convention 2009, which was open to all Field Associates. The 2-minute or less commercials ideally promoted either Univera overall, its products, or the business opportunity. They were judged on originality, creativity, and message.

We announced that James and Jesse Furlo were the winners of this year’s Univera commercial contest at this morning’s session! What’d they get for their creation: ‘How do you drink AgelessXtra’? A trip for two to Convention 2010, including 2 roundtrip airline tickets! Congratulations, guys! Check out the winning video below.

The very very close runner up picked up a $100 Pike Place Market gift certificate by submitting this brilliant fishing-themed video: ‘Live Longer…Fish Stronger’

I want to thank all of you who simply couldn’t contain your enthusiasm for Univera and just had to channel your creativity into conceptualizing and executing these great pieces! Thank you for your spirit and participation. See some of the other entries below:

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Saturday Morning

Thank you so much to everyone who presented and spoke at this morning’s session. From Km to Florasterol to Rhythmatix to L’Initie, I’m so excited that we had the chance to bring these products to everyone at Convention.

Below is a quick snippet from the skin care presentation with Stephen surrounded by some of our beautiful Univera ladies!

So excited to have the ECONET panel speaking to everything this morning!

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant info you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless significant for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Friday Evening Session

What a great evening that as one Associate described was just a roller coaster of emotions! Stuart Ochiltree kicked off the session by giving us a unique perspective of what Ten Years – One Truth means in terms of service. We heard some exciting news about how Univera’s Serve First initiatives are evolving. Univera favorite Dr. Taylor Hartman encouraged us to look within to find the humor and humanity in all of us. And comedian Michael Jr. closed the night with his unique and clean brand of comedy.

Thanks to these Associates who took the time and shared their thoughts with us:

There’s probably no better way to get people out of their seats than to shoot t-shirts into the crowd!

We’ve got a great evening session featuring presentations by ECONET CEO Stuart Ochiltree, Univera favorite Dr. Taylor Hartman, and Comedian Michael Jr.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all when. What is the most significant info you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Information-packed Friday Afternoon

Thank you to so many Field and Corporate leaders for giving of your time and effort these last two days to share your experiences, advice, and insight into building and sustaining a successful Univera business! To John Ryan, Glen & Reagan Hubbard, Harry Mathers, Kenny Rossi, Teresa Molina, Renee Poindexter, Dr. Mike Kaufman, Andre Bedard, and Renate Lundberg who led workshops today, and Ron Boyanovsky, Patty Middleton, Angelyn Toth, Harris Williams, Glen Crawford, Ann Magee, Al Keranen, and David Skultety yesterday, you have my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all that you do.

If you were not able to join us in Seattle this year, here is a quick sampling of some of the sessions this afternoon.

New Tools

Unparalleled Compensation Plan

Breakout Session: Keys to Networking Success

Thanks to all our Associates who graciously shared their impressions of today’s events!

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant info you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

A Birthday Interlude

You’ve probably seen Univera’s Chris Whalen buzzing busily behind the scenes at the store here at Convention. Well, it just so happens to be his birthday today as well. Happy Birthday, Chris!

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

It’s Showtime!

(keep checking this blog for more updates throughout the day, as I’m adding video as the day rolls out…here are a few clips so far).

What an great morning it’s been here at the Convention Center! I can’t even describe the amazing energy this morning from everyone who attended our morning General Session. Our guest speakers Neil Offen from the DSA and Paul Zane Pilzer, who is still signing books for our inspired Associates as I write this, were phenomenal and really helped to solidify what we all already know: that in between relationship marketing, direct selling, and the wellness industry, Univera is in the middle of the perfect storm of opportunity to bring the gift of health and opportunity to the world! Stay tuned for more today and through the rest of Convention!

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant info you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

The Day Before!

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Here we are, the day before the big event. Lots happened today. All the preparation moments absolutely flew by, it’s like we’re on a locomotive and can’t slow it down. But it’s all good, starting with a fabulous Diamond leadership meeting earlier today, some exceptionally run workshops this afternoon, followed by a lot of fun and celebration this evening–INCLUDING the 70’s disco dance led by the Boogie Machine. What a fun start to this event, looking forward to tomorrow morning.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant info you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Univera Convention ’09: The Day Before!

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Here we are. Seattle, 2009. Ten Years, One Truth. And it’s all coming together. 

Today’s my first of what will be a daily blog all around the events of the day and exciting things that are happening. Most of today’s entry is a VLOG, but some of the highlights included countless hours of preparation, store setting, computer terminals, product loading, registration coordinating, leadership meetings, unending rehearsals, points of frustration followed by triumphs of elation, and some humorous laughs along the way. 

It was a great day, sure to be a fantastic event. Enjoy the play by play, and don’t forget to add comments along the way. 

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all when. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good heartiness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.