Category Archives: Motivation

No Excuses for Fitness

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What’s your excuse?

For the past month, we have been extremely busy here. We just made a trip to Texas to baptize one of my nephews, we are in the middle of relocating to the Washington, DC area, and have taken three new additions to The Warrior Family. Colin, Kenneth, and Isabel Parker have been in our lives for over seven years now. They made the trip down to Georgia to spend time with us before the move, and boy, have we been busy!

Everyday it’s something new, and this is exactly how I wanted it. You see, the Parker kids are from a small town called Murphy, NC. Since it’s summer time, and soccer season is over, they haven’t been as active as they were during the school year. Thankfully, their mom was willing to let us have them for these two weeks, and we have already had so much fun. That being said, we have not stopped keeping our fitness in check. We have made sure they are eating healthy, playing sports EVERY DAY, and have even taken them to an awesome obstacle course we have here in Fort Benning known as the Downing Mile.

The kids just loved running around in the woods, jumping over the obstacles, and climbing across the horizontal ladder. So, we recorded it so that we can share it with you.

The moral of the story is this: no matter how much fun you’re having, you should never make excuses for your health. We have had the best time here, yet we make it a point to do physically taxing activities daily. The Parkers are getting indoctrinated into our values- getting strong, getting smart, so that we can help people – all while making memories which will last for a lifetime.

So, what’s your excuse? Trust me, it’s not good enough. No matter what, get out there, make your families fitness a priority, and get some!

Here’s the video. We hope you enjoy!


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Life’s Mountains : Capitalizing on Achievements to Instill Life Habits

As parents all we want is for our kids to be successful, yet we often don’t spend enough time teaching them how  exactly to achieve this success. With our busy work schedules, dirty houses, crying babies, dirty laundry, and piles of bills to pay, it’s easy for us to miss out on several key opportunities to teach our kids some very important life lessons on how they can become successful.

Since time for parents is often limited, special emphasis should be placed on the quality of the time spent with our kids. Not only what we are physically doing during that time, but the lessons that we teach them during that time as well. One thing that I learned early on in life is that when the time is right, you strike without warning – trust your gut! This is the mentality that led me to marrying my wife of over 10 years! So, I’d like to share with you all an opportunity I capitalized on to teach my son about how to achieve continued success. Continue reading

Training Ferocity : Sunday fun with kicks, kettle bells, and waterfalls

We didn’t choose a name like The Warrior Family for nothing. Part of what makes us unique is that we all have a deep passion for fitness, fighting, and working hard to accomplish our goals. At one point in time, the both of my boys were involved in Mixed Martial Arts, and they would have three to four training sessions a week! Now, it’s my oldest son who has continued sharpening his skill in jiu-jitsu, and stand-up fighting, while my youngest son gives his best shot at Baseball.

On my free time, I enjoy spending hours conducting research, listening to podcasts, and watching videos that make me more knowledgeable in the strength and conditioning realm. One thing that I have learned from following amazing coaches like Zack Evan-Esh, is that the difference in performance from your young athlete comes from what happens after the game, and after those long practices.

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that after each training session, my oldest son and I would discuss everything that happened on the mat. We would talk about what he did well, what he could have done better, and how his actions contributed to achieving his goals.

This was EXTREMELY helpful in developing my sons mental toughness, and made him more productive during his sparring sessions.

However, with both of my boys, there are two aspects that they are still lacking in their athletic ability – ferocity, and strength. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is absolutely normal, I mean…they’re kids, right? Maybe for normal kids, but not so much for mine.

Now that my boys are getting older, I am beginning to expose them to some of the harsh realities of life. One of those realities is that there are people in this world who will want to harm you, or the ones you love. Some will have material motives, some will be more complex; however, whatever the case may be, you should always be ready to take a stand, and protect what is yours. I owe them that type of honesty, they deserve it. It’s hard to explain to a kid why daddy got sent to war those three years, but if I can make them understand this, maybe they won’t hold it against me in the future.

 

I owe them that type of honesty, they deserve it

 

Our Sunday Fun-day

 

One of the reasons that I began following Strength and Conditioning Coach Zack Evan-Esh, is because he bases his training around a strong set of values – The Code. His belief is that in order to succeed, you have to work you a** off, and I completely agree. This past Sunday, my wife and I picked up a free-standing punching bag for our boys to get some additional training on. Now, I’m no Black Belt, but I know how to fight, and I know how to train. So, I decided to have some fun with the boys, test out our…I mean their new toy.

First and foremost, no shirts allowed…it was that kind of party. We each grabbed our gloves, kettle bells, laced up our shoes, and headed out back. Here’s the workout:

Using a timer app set to beep at every thirty seconds, the three of us would take turns either punching the bag, or conducting an exercise. We would do two complete rotations, adding up to three minutes of work (the typical length of a sparring match). In total, we did four sets, simulating four rounds of sparring, with a 60 second rest between each set. Here’s a breakdown of each round:

  1. Bag: Roundhouse Kick / Switch Kick (practicing both)
    Exercise: Standing Kettle Bell High Pull(10lbs/40lbs)
  2. Bag: Jab/Cross combination, side-step, repeat
    Exercise: Air Squat
  3. Bag: Push Kick (lead/trail leg alternating)
    Exercise: Jumping Jacks
  4. Bag: 2x Rapid Jab/Cross combination (1,2/1,2)
    Exercise: Burpees

When I offered them the opportunity to back down, the littlest one simply asked, “Which one is next, daddy”.

With the excitement of having the new bag, and the intensity from the workout, we all had a blast. Helping the boys push through mentally, and watching them REFUSE to quit made this experience amazing. When I offered them the opportunity to back down, the littlest one simply asked, “Which one is next, daddy”.

Since the boys worked so hard, and they wanted to do more, I decided to make things a little more fun. We took our kettle bells to a field just outside my house, and ran our water hose over the fence. I set a marker for the boys about 25 meters away from where we started, 100 meters for me, and turned the water on. The goal was to pick up the weight, run around the marker, come back through thewaterfall”, and cool off with the water hose until it’s your turn again. We didn’t keep count, but I know we did at least five sprints to the marker, and back. The last two were done without the weight so that we can feel like The Flash, as my youngest would call it. It was awesome seeing my boys have so much fun spraying each other down, encouraging each other, and really trying their best. At the end of our session, we cooled off with the water for a while, and had our post training talk.

 

“Do you want to feel powerless, like you can do nothing, or do you want to feel confident in knowing that, if you had to, you could do whats necessary protect mommy and brother?”

 

I went on to ask the boys if they knew why we train so hard in this family. My oldest said, “To get strong, and help other people”, which is consistent with our family values – kudos to you, Caleb. The youngest didn’t have an answer, so I explained it to him that we don’t do it for ourselves. We train for our family, their future children, and my future grandchildren. In the past, I used the example of an intruder breaking into our house to explain something to the boys. I asked them, “Do you want to feel powerless, like you can do nothing, or do you want to feel confident in knowing that, if you had to, you could do whats necessary protect mommy and brother?”

When I told my wife about that discussion, she seemed unhappy at first, but we can’t escape reality. I can spend my “fun” time with the boys playing video games, or watching movies, which we do on occasion; or, I can use that time to develop them into healthy, thoughtful young men by training with intensity, bringing out that ferocity that will help them succeed in life – and ending the session by engaging in deep conversation about life, family, and what it takes to be a good man.

Yeah, it was a good Sunday.

Here are some photos of our post workout fun!

 

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Big brother is always watching

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The best type of motivation

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Mateo getting a good throw

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“Little brothers never quit!” – Mateo

Quit Stalling! : Re-define success and regain your momentum

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

When we were growing up, we were always asked “What do you wanna be when you’re an adult?” A fireman, an astronaut, the President, an Army guy…we would come up with the most amazing dreams. We could easily visualize ourselves achieving these great feats when we were children. So, let me ask you, what are you now?

If your answer is different from what you remember dreaming about as a kid, this could be due to several reasons:

  1. Your interests have changed
  2. You don’t believe you can do it
  3. You let others talk you out of it
  4. You are no longer your priority
  5. You gave up

Yeah, I know that sounds rough, but it’s ok. I wanted to share these thoughts because, for a while, I felt the same way too. However, from spending so much time helping others grow, I realized that I needed to take a step back and give myself a hard look. I had to ask myself again, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” When I realized that I was no longer moving toward any of my previous goals, or toward any goal for that matter, I had to ask myself, why? After some hard self assessment, these are some of the answers I came up with, and at first glance, it seems I have failed to reach any level of success – but I was wrong.

Friends, for quite some time I have spent hours studying, analyzing, and discussing with others, what exactly qualifies as success? How do we get there? Here are some things that I have learned that have fired me up, and have put me back on the right path.

First, no great person achieved anything by merely thinking about it. Nor, is there such a thing as an overnight success. As with everything great in life, hard work is the answer. I remember telling my son that we should never be hungry for immediate gratification for what we do. The greatest achievements in life are earned through years of dedication, and devotion to ones passion. I used the example given by Thomas A. Edison when discussing the amount of time it took him to invent the light bulb. He stated,

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Would we say that he was unsuccessful?

Author, and former power lifter Chris Moore uses music to further explain this. In one of his podcast’s (check out the Barbell Buddha Podcast), he mentions that we often spend too much time focusing on the ending, the point of gratification. This would be the same as attending a concert, or listening to a song, just to hear the ending – it makes no sense! It is the sweet melodies, the notes, the rises and falls that make music beautiful, and exciting. Why would we not look at life this way? My interpretation of success made it easy for me so feel as if I had failed, when in fact, I had only scratched the surface. When I would see this failure, the desire to quit entirely would often become overwhelming, and I know this is the case for many others.

So, why do we fail to reach success?

One of the main reasons we fail to reach success is because, as I stated before, we treat it as an ending, instead of a process. Just because I’m not the President of my company today, doesn’t mean I won’t be there eventually. As long as I live each individual day to the fullest, keep the end in mind, but work and live in the present, I have succeeded that day! This, my friends, is progress.

Like I mentioned in our last post, you climb a mountain one step at a time. If you try to look up at the tippy-top the entire time, you can grow dizzy, and faint; but if you focus, and take one hard step at a time, you will eventually get to the top. Times will get hard, and you may lose ground from time to time, this is OK. Remember,

“Yesterday ended last night” – John C. Maxwell

When you get a chance at a new day, tackle it with more intensity, and focus – that will make it a successful day. In the future, those days will be viewed by others as your lifetime, so treat each one as if it were special.


If you like what you read, add us on Google+, share us on Facebook, and like us on twitter @thewarriorfam.
Leave a Comment, Folks!
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Mental Coaching: 3 tips to help your child work through those tough training days

A common theme amongst American families is the years of peewee football, wrestling, soccer, and baseball that we expose our children to. A parent wants nothing more than for their children to find exactly what makes them happy, so that they can have hobbies to break the monotony of school, chores, and homework. However, often times the young athletes get very passionate about their sport, and tend to feel pressured to perform well for themselves, or their parents. Continue reading

Break the Silence! : A simple way close the communication gap!

The cold shoulder

One of the hardest things to maintain, and usually one of the first things that falls apart in a relationship is communication. Whenever we get upset with someone, we are often quick to give the cold shoulder, and bed down next to each other without saying our routine “goodnight”, or the “I love you” – but why? Not speaking to the person we care about most is the exactopposite of what we should do when times are rough. However, if you’re like me, this can sometimes feel like one of the hardest things you could possibly do.

The TDY Backburner

In the military community, having to go on temporary duty status (TDY) usually causes several mixed emotions in the household. Much of this is because of how easy it is to lose focus when you are removed from what’s most important to you, and are required to perform exceptionally well for a school, job, or any other task that you can think of. Going on TDY usually involves you having to go out of town, staying for a period of a few days to a few weeks, and typically requires more than one person – so naturally, once the job is done, people are going to want to hang out, and talk about their experiences.
My most recent experience with going on TDY was attending the United States Army Drill Sergeant School, and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t on my best behavior. After class was over, I’d study, do some exercise, and then go out to have dinner with my friends. Initially this was ok, until the dinner bill started stacking up; the phone calls home were less frequent; and what should have been my main priority (my wife and kids) had been placed on the TDY back burner. This, my friends, was no Bueno!
The end result was a very cold atmosphere to say the least. Conversations were awkward, car rides were often too quiet, and I had a hard time enjoying my family, mainly because I felt like such a dirt-bag for treating them this way. This was especially true when I could see just how much my boys had missed me, THEY WERE ALL OVER ME! My wife, however, was not the happiest.

Why she is better than me

The awkwardness continued for a few more days, and we eventually hit somewhat of a breaking point. That is when my wife did something that probably saved our relationship, and showed me exactly how dedicated she was to me as a wife.

In the past, we have been blessed with the opportunity to attend many marriage seminars at the expense of the military. My wife and I would volunteer to go to these as often as we could – we both seemed to understand the importance of educating yourself of how to keep a marriage strong. One of the tools that we picked up at these seminars was shared to us by another couple. Whenever these two would have problems communicating, they would buy a card at the store, and write a message to their spouse stating why they loved them that day. When they were done, they would hide the card somewhere creative so that at some point throughout the day, the other person would find it, and be reminded of how the other felt about them. This would do several things:

• It opened lines of communication between the couple
• It would brighten up the persons day
• It shows that the person leaving the message is actually WILLING to put forth some effort toward strengthening the relationship

Often times, that little bit of extra effort is all that your relationship needs!

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”- unknown

We actually kept this card to use as a reminder of how bad things can get, and that with dedication, even the TOUGHESTof times can be worked through! (We’ll post an update with a photo for you in the future)
Try it!

So, if you’re in a similar situation, and want to open lines of communication again, give this a try! The initial message can state how the card is supposed to work, followed by your first entry – why you love your spouse that day. BE CREATIVE! Hide the card in their gym bag, their favorite book, underwear drawer, or sneak out and tape it to their steering wheel. Remember, in the end, it’s the effort the two of you put into fixing the communication issue that will make your relationship stronger than it was before. I know in my case, when we see things getting unnecessarily awkward, we are much quicker to talk things out than we were before. Plus, sometimes, it’s just something nice to do for the one that matters most to you.

Bystanders vs. Up-standers

Knuckle Up!

You will most likely never forget the first time your kid punches someone in the face. The huge rush of emotion that they experience usually leads to a long spell of crying, and anger – this is normal. About two weeks ago, my youngest son, Mateo, got into his first fist fight. When he plays outside, we leave the kitchen window open so that we can hear what is going on. When I heard the screaming, I knew it was coming from Mateo. When I got outside, I noticed it was my son, and his two friends standing next to an adult who saw what happened, I paid her no mind.  I’m really big on getting the story from the boys first, before I listen to a complete stranger, and he said, “I accidently punched him in the face!” At that point, I knew I had to dig in to find out what really went on.

First, I checked the other boy to see if he was ok, and then my son and I walked him home (Mateo was bawling the whole way). When we met up with his mom, I apologized to her, and told her my son punched her boy while they were on the back of the truck. Our families are pretty close so she didn’t mind much, but I did demand that my son apologize to her boy immediately – this made his crying worse. After some stern motivating, my son finally apologized. The two boys shook each other’s hands, and went on with their days (at least the other boy did).

When we got home, I demanded an explanation from my son. Though we teach the two boys how to fight, we don’t support unnecessary violence. What he told me next, made me take a good long step back, and gave me a new respect for my six year old son.

“Daddy, he was cursing at my friend, and I told him to stop! He didn’t stop, so I punched him in the face”

The entire time he was explaining this to me, he was crying his little eyes out – all I could do was smile.

Family Values

One of the things that I am big about is teaching my kids the family code, a set of values if you will. When you ask our boys “What do the Rodas’ do?” ­­they respond, “Get strong, and smart, so that they can help people”. I remember teaching this to my oldest son back in Germany when he was about five years old. Now, since my youngest son has been hearing it his whole life, he actually put the family code into effect! So, when my son told me why he did what he did, I told him that I was proud of him. Initially he was confused, and gave me this crazy look as if he wasn’t hearing what he thought he just heard, but I repeated myself, “I’m proud of you, Mateo”. It was amazing to me how something that I thought I was having them repeat in vein, actually wired them to act bravely in a situation where most would just keep to themselves. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to someone who is doing wrong by others. The fact that my six year old son has it in him to not let these bad deeds go unpunished, shows me that he will one day grow up to be a great man.

Building the Up-stander

My wife and I are firm believers of keeping the knife sharp. The both of us constantly pursue higher levels of fitness, we keep our children active in various sports, and we have even had the boys training in MMA/Jiu-Jitsu for a little over a year. Before the boys are allowed to play video games, they owe me 3-5 minutes of some form of physical activity. This used to consist of push-ups, sit-ups, and squat jumps; however, recently we began sparring with the focus mitts (this develops punching/kicking speed, power, and develops hand/eye coordination).
 
 (Some pics of the boys getting sharp)
 
The physical portion, however, is a small part in developing an up-stander. What has worked in our favor is the example my wife and I have set for the boys. There have been countless times where I have had to pull my vehicle over, and make on-the-spot corrections to Soldiers doing the wrong thing while in or out of uniform. When my boys would ask why I yelled at them, I tell them that they were doing the wrong thing, AND THAT IS NOT OK!

There was even one evening when we were leaving the mall, I couldn’t help but notice a car that had its rear window fogged up. When I looked inside, I saw a large male leaning over this young girl, pointing his finger at her, and yelling at the top of his lungs. Almost immediately my wife noticed my posture change, and she knew I was about to act. I gave my wife the keys, and told her to start the truck. As I approached the vehicle, I could tell that the girl had been crying, and that the man yelling at her was either drunk or high. I banged on the trunk of the car to get the man’s attention, he seemed shocked. I motioned for him to step out of the vehicle so that I could talk to him – he simply nodded, uh-uh. Frustrated, I called him out of the vehicle loud enough so he could hear me – once again, uh-uh. I went up to the girls window, and asked if she was ok, she put on this fake smile and said “yes”. This was as far as I was going to invest myself since I had clearly destroyed that mans power base, and any sense of pride he may have had beforehand. So, I notified security of the situation, and let them handle the rest. The conversation that followed was one that came to mind when Mateo told me what he did.

The boys seemed confused as to why I wanted that man to step out of his car. So, I told them, “If that man wants to hit and yell at that girl in the back of that car, he’d have to get hit and yelled at by me first”. Noticing that I had confused them a little bit, I reminded them “Boys, what do the Rodas’ do?” and we went over the code again, “Get strong, and smart, so we can help people”. I had to explain to them that I wouldn’t be teaching them these things if I was not ready to put it into practice myself – whether that girl deserved what she was getting or not, I wasn’t about to let my boys witness me not doing anything about it, or at least notify the proper authorities. They need to know that there are ways to help!

What is an Up-stander?

I actually learned this term from my oldest son recently. An Up-stander is someone who stands up for someone when they get bullied. They are the ones who give power back to individuals who may feel like they have none, and give a sense of hope to those have lost all of it. I’m proud to say that my boys are up-standers, and will continue to set that example for them.

So, what are you? Are you a bystander, or are you an up-stander? I’m not saying you have to go banging on peoples trunks, but if I were to just have pulled up behind them and honked my horn a couple of times, maybe that would be enough to tell that man hey, we’re watching you, stop being a PUNK! Mateo could have also walked away from the situation, but since his friend was getting messed with, his passion got the best of him, and he stood up – which is exactly what he was taught to do.

Make the effort, do your part, fight to make your family better.
This is what we’re all about. 

Fight on friends! – The Warrior Family

 
Note: all three boys involved are fine, and are still friends today

__________
If you like what you read, add us on Google+, share us on Facebook, and like us on twitter @thewarriorfam.


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