Motivation

In an email a little while back, one of my nieces asked “How do you stay motivated?”. Back in my heyday I was incredibly active and worked my way into pretty good shape. After two torn achilles, bouts with chronic plantar fasciitis (likely due to my very flat feet), a hip labral tear, and a continuous conversation with father time, “pretty good shape” has a different meaning BUT best believe I am still in no shortage of motivation! Coming back from major injuries like my achilles tears did push me to some low points but never has my will to keep pushing been broken. Here are some of my thoughts on why.

  1. There’s a saying I picked up while coaching. “There is no staying the same. Either your are intentionally working to be better or you are getting worse.” I want to see others work to be better in the most important areas of life. That motivates me to continue challenging myself to be better.
  2. I am a father that wants to challenge my two sons. I want them to find value in the selfless components of life. I want them to know life isn’t about making sure you get to bed on time. Instead it’s about busy days and long nights of doing the right things for the right reasons. It will take time for them to figure it out and throughout that time I have to strive to be a good example in both action and word.
  3. Being able to be active is a blessing that I don’t ever want to take for granted.
  4. I want others to know eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Eat more veggies and lean proteins and less of everything else. Drink more water and less of everything else. Starting there may still be a challenge, I know it is for me, but at the very least it eliminates the excuse of not knowing where or how to start.
  5. I am thankful for every opportunity I get to impact a life. That’s why I coach. That’s why I volunteer. That’s why I lead workouts and challenges. That’s why I blog.

There you have it! That’s my top 5! If you are looking for motivation and accountability then consider signing up for our Focus on Fitness Challenge that begins February 1st. It’s the first of our 121 Challenge series for this year. The next challenge will begin March 1st. Details will be announced very soon. If you are in the NC Triad, RTP, or surrounding areas, then consider checking out one of our community boxing workouts or setting up your own. I bet it will be a sweaty good time that you will find yourself looking forward too. Be sure to check out our hub once you decide you like how we get down! The year is still pretty new so let’s keep it proper and make it hype! -jp

 

Tune Out to Turn Up

I am beginning to realize that in order for me to turn up my quality of life, I have to stay committed to tuning out! Shock value reigns. The louder and more obnoxious the better. Accurate information is much less important than its ability to GRAB our attention. I have to remind myself of that and be careful not to let other people tell me how I should feel. I have to fight the urge to give in to popular public opinion and instead take time to form my own. My biggest strength should be that of discretion in both what I say and share. There are plenty of problems and challenges but there are also great pockets of harmony and joy. I now understand there is irresponsibility in not acknowledging both.

Technology very easily allows us talk and share information. With that ease can come a shift in perspective. We can find ourselves believing that talking and sharing are synonymous with taking action and caring. We begin to lose our desire to stand up for types of things that would make our parents proud. We stop striving for the higher standards we really want to live by. Our desires to stand out gets replace by the comfort and safety of fitting in. It just sort of happens and feels right, unless we focus ourselves on change. This isn’t meant to be the standard – seek a rush, face your fear, or live life on a thrill ride type of message. This is about getting back to the basics. Being responsible with our words, actions, and fighting our growing propensity to quickly point fingers. It’s a call to not let our feelings be dictated to us by others. A call to challenge the opinions of others based off our very own experiences. A challenge to be a little less sensitive and more understanding. A little less harsh and a little more forgiving. Get back to the basics of life.

So as we slide into 2018, let’s walk with diligent steps, fully focused on the real life we are experiencing! Let’s focus on how we are getting down at life! How we are are affecting those around us! How often our voice is the one of appreciation? How often our heart is filled with thankfulness? If knowledge is power, then we can’t forget knowledge of self. We can’t ignore it. If knowledge is power, then maybe, just maybe, self awareness is the charge we need to tune out and turn up our lives! Perhaps it’s the most effective fuel to keep us focused on living Hype4Life and inspiring others to do the same! -jp

Looking for tips or have some to share? Comment or send us email.

Thankful for Growth

As we celebrate Thanksgiving today many of us are thankful for many things. Our family, our lives, our Iove one’s, our health and many other countless blessings.

Today, As I walk the white sands at Destin Florida. I am thankful for my growth, personal and professional. Growth is uniquely measured. Everyone’s growth can’t be measured the same way. Our experiences, circumstances, starting point and make up could hinder/inhibit adequately comparing our growth to others. Growth is best measured individually or within the confines of a team. It’s best celebrated regardless how great or small. Growth doesn’t mean there was always success or the presence of support. It just means there was progress. From last thanksgiving to today we can say there was progress and progress must be celebrated.

When growth is celebrated regardless of size it can become:

Courage- to try again, to take more steps. To risk when previously risk wasn’t considered. This courage builds bricks against giving up.
Momentum- that creates energy for future growth. Momentum is the ingredient that supercharges our growth to greater growth.
Compassion- that reminds us of our shortcomings, inadequacies and creates empathy to assist in the growth of others.

As we are thankful today, remember, reflect and celebrate your growth and those in your circle.
Growth, yours and there’s could be the springboard to another year that your world could see how far you’ve come.

Keep grinding
Daniel

‘Tis the Season – Filter Funk

Sometimes it’s just too easy to get overwhelmed by the world and get lost in other people’s dreams and goals while completely dissing your own as either frivolous or unworthy.  Sitting at the breakfast table Sunday morning, I was reading the Sunday paper. In the Cary News section, I learned about a church that had put together a simple water filtration system that they were using to help the people in Puerto Rico.  The members of the church were going down in shifts there to bring the filtration systems and help with rebuilding efforts. In another article, a 93 year old man who was an artilleryman in WWII (but really wanted to be a paratrooper instead) made his first skydive jump on Saturday. 75 years later, he fulfilled his dream of jumping out of an airplane!  Switched over to FaceBook and a friend of mine and his wife has just returned from Renosa, Mexico where they spent the week building houses for the community there. Another friend ran her 10th half-marathon of 2017.  By this point, I sighed and told the cat, “I think your Mom may be a loser”.  He just blinked and then sauntered off, evidently it was too early in the day to have this kind of conversation.

Now at this point, I considered falling off the wagon by making blueberry muffins and washing them down with Mimosas while huddled in bed. Goolash and non-activity can temporarily make me feel better about life. However, being raised Catholic, that good feeling is quickly negated by guilt and remorse. So I went to a blog posting written by JP in early July that I have bookmarked – the “Life Filter”.  And I re-read the part that always speaks to me the most.

You figure it out. Don’t get pulled down. You don’t have to desire to make a million dollars. You can start with a desire to manage your 10 dollars better. To manage your 60 minutes of free time better. To find time fuel your mind. To build your body. Decide what matters most and go. Handle your business and find out how good it feels. Feed off that energy. Focus. Seek out opportunities that you decide are appropriate and have value. July 12, 2017

I read that a couple of times then got out a pen and piece of paper.  Now, I am not a New Year’s resolution girl.  I think making vows and pledges to change patterns in the grey month of January is a simply horrible idea.  My goal is to get through late Winter still having my jeans fit and my friends speaking to me.  So I started my short term list.  What can I do within the next 2 months that will help someone else?  I am not flying to Puerto Rico to volunteer, nor do I have the motivation or know-how to start some non-profit that will bring vaccines to children in third world countries.  Basically I don’t have the desire to make a million dollars but I have the urge to manage my ten dollars betterCaring House in Durham, which provides patients at Duke Cancer Institute affordable housing, needs some basic supplies like toilet paper, coffee, and trash bags.  I can do that – I had to go to the grocery store anyway.   Salvation Army sponsors Angels, underprivileged children who might not have a Christmas in ordinary circumstances but you know what?  They need new toys to stock in their Christmas store so parents can come in and select a brand new toy to give to their child Christmas morning.  So instead of going out to eat next week, I will take that money and buy a toy to donate instead. I started to perk up.  And first thing on Monday, I will send out emails to my coworkers and tell them if they would like to donate some money, I will go out next weekend and buy some toys that will be from all of us. This will work out well as my better half reminded me that I had already signed us up to sponsor 2 Angels and we needed to go shopping anyway.  Right!  See, I had volunteered to help but had forgotten about it in my funk. Then in came a text from a lady who I took some long training walks with in order to help her with her half marathon training – it was the 2nd one she had ever done.  She finished walking 13.1 miles in 4 hours!  She was so excited and wanted to thank me for my help and encouragement.  That’s when I realized that I was handling my business and finding out how good it feels. I was feeding off that energy. I was seeking out opportunities that I decide are appropriate and have value. So no, I will probably never be written up in the paper for my good deeds or altruistic nature. But that doesn’t matter if in the here and now, I am doing something for others.  Because knowing that makes me feel better about life and where I am headed.

-JR

Life Filter

The social media world is constantly talking. Your most powerful skills are those of discretion, focus, and filtering. Everything that moves you and entertains you doesn’t benefit you. Hyperbole is rampant. Words and images are in a constant battle to grab your attention. Discretion. Focus. Filtering. These are paramount. Don’t get distracted. Fight the urge to comment on everyone else’s life so freely, frivolously, and carelessly. There are so many wormholes to distract you. So many slants to make you FEEL better but leave you standing still when you try to LIVE better. You don’t need to read an entire book collection to get started. Start by turning on your life filter! Constantly refine it and start creating your own book. Be creative. Stay thankful for what you have. Stay connected to people and opportunities that help you grow. Decide and go. Decide and go. Decide and go. It’s OK to choose wrong. It’s process. It’s a skill. The next decision gets a little easier. Then the next. Then the next. You figure it out. Don’t get pulled down. You don’t have to desire to make a million dollars. You can start with a desire to manage your 10 dollars better. To manage your 60 minutes of free time better. To find time fuel your mind. To build your body. Decide what matters most and go. Handle your business and find out how good it feels. Feed off that energy. Be discrete. Focus. Seek out opportunities that you decide are appropriate and have value. You are building you. Refining you. When others notice, give them something of value. Share with purpose and good intention. -jp

Family Music Bonding with Prince

By: Nicole Benson
100% Cosigned by Danielle Benson

My father, Erick Benson, LOVES Prince. I can remember listening to Prince my entire life. As a small child I used to confuse Michael Jackson and Prince because they are both two light skinned artists that sang with a high voice. I’m pretty sure to this day this still frustrates and bewilders our father. Not that Michael Jackson isn’t talented but just isn’t, well…. Prince. When Prince died, we had to do a watch on our dad, to make sure he didn’t take off to Minnesota to mourn the Purple Badness. We even bought him an “Our Condolences” card to help him through this tough musical loss.

From cleaning the house, to road trips, to sitting doing work on his mid -1990s IBM desktop, Prince was always in the background.

Dad always involved us in anything he was doing so if he was jamming out to Prince, his two girls were too. Fun Fact, he can sing in a high falsetto when he sings the chorus to “Adore.” I can remember being in the back seat of the car with my sister sucking on lollipops, eating snacks, (snacks and candy? Yeah, we are his kids) and listening to Prince on our various family road trips. Prince’s funky beats kept Dad alert and entertained, while he enjoyed watching me and my sister sing and bob our heads along to the music. In fact, I don’t think much has changed from that young high schooler driving around Spartanburg listening to his Prince- well perhaps he slowed down…I imagine having a family in the car makes one do that.

Before the turn of the millennium I can remember sitting on the bed, with Prince playing in the background, Dad was busy doing something, when he stopped to explain to us the lyrics “They say two thousand zero, zero, party over, Oops, out of time! So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999! Not that an explanation was anything major, just a little moment where he stopped what he was doing to explain something new to us. Every time I hear this song I still, at 24, reminisce on him telling us the lyrics are a reference to the unknown of Y2K.

When we hear Prince, we think of our Dad, and all the wonderful bonding moments we’ve had involving him. How Dad shared his love of Prince’s music with us.

Hype4life is about creating that family bond. Whether that is through listening to the same type of music, joining challenges, or sharing a new recipe or workout. It is about getting hype and working through the grind, together.

Dad, your girls “Adore you.”

-Nicole and Danielle aka “The Most Beautiful Girls in the World”

Run and Let Run – Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad

One thing to know about me.  I don’t listen to music when I run.  Not even for the marathon.  I don’t listen to it when I drive the 12 hours back to my boyhood hometown.  Both for the same reason:  I have a lot of mind-clearing to do.  For me running is a conversation between personal aims and physical limits.  I think those two adversaries should have the floor rather than Lil John, JZ, Katy Perry or Beyonce.  But I know it isn’t that way for many, and for others, running is intolerable altogether without tunes.  Different strokes for different folks; live and let live; run and let run.  This is just my own eccentric view, one no doubt in the minority.  Make no mistake, though, I do love music.  Anyone who truly knows me, knows this to be true.  Even if you don’t know me well, I think it soon becomes self-evident.  I like this song EZ chose.  The rock-n-roll instrumentation is light-hearted and playful in spite of its plaintive lyrics.  Ironically, I think it would be a great running song (if I ran with music), especially coming on during the last half-mile of the run.

 

I guess with me running has led to a reversal in the so-called “the traditional roles.”  Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?  Why, huh?  “That’s alright,” I say to the notion of running…”I can *change* you.”  Well, it’s no surprise that, as in most other cases when those words are uttered, it’s soon proven untrue.  You don’t have to flip to the back of the book to figure out it was *me* that got changed.  Laugh if you want.

 

After the most recent Bull City run I completed, I said, “This atmosphere is awesome!” as I took part in some rather juvenile humor with my buddy Wayne on that brisk fall morning (let’s just say all those rolling hills of Durham move more than a runner’s spirit.)  The atmosphere, the weather and being done were awesome.  But those hills…ooooh-wee, man.  Oooh-wee!  Don’t get me wrong:  I think I ran a solid race.  Aww, but Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?  There were giggles at the end, for sure.  But wouldn’t it be great if there were some in the middle, too.  If I could literally, not figuratively (that’s  no fun) shut out the pain and tap into comedy gold at 6 minutes per mile.  Giggles, man.  And guffaws.  In reality, eeking out that last 10 percent of effort in sports and in life endeavors is more like the lyrics here…what’s wrong with my broken heart, Baby?  I can do it no better…  As for me, that’s what I tell myself anyway.  Until the next time.  “I can *change* you.”

 

Truth is, sometimes like many other folks I know, I’m a bit modest about how hard it actually is to achieve my fitness goals.  I never go with the hard-sell, and prefer the light  touch and light-hearted approach.  I’ve never been one to tell people what to do.  I can only tell what I’ve been through.  Like or no like, reciprocity, no reciprocity.  I put in that work(out) to get  those dividends.  I put in that sweat to get those results.  On and on.  So you know next time you hear me kidding, and saying I ran this past weekend, if I say I took a beating, just know that however it actually went down, I did push through.  Jokesters gonna joke… I Play the Fool When We’re Together.   I Cry When We’re Apart.  Putting in that work.  BUT if I ever break character and come off sounding as if attaining that runner’s spirit is easy, just know that in that last half-mile I surely and many times have thought, Why You Wanna Do This to Me?  I’m trying to love ya.

 

Stay Hype

JC

 

Running – Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad

We all have our favorites. Favorite foods, favorite book, favorite television show, favorite exercise. At one time, running was my long -time love. Turns out, Running did not love me. It was a destructive relationship. “Why you want to Treat me so bad ?”

I loved Running in Umstead Park.  Or heading to the track and running 400 after 400 at what felt like Carl Lewis speed. In reality, it was more Jerry Lewis than Carl. Just grab music and GPS watch and go. We had such a good and comfortable thing!

Playing on the headphones Nate Dogg “Regulate”, Rocky, or any Prince song. Little did I know, that the mind clearing, calorie burning runs would now leave the knees and hips stiff and sore” I even gave you my body“. Running, you know I love you, ” how can you do this to me?”

I gave it my all – 5Ks, half-marathons, a full marathon in the heat and hills of Raleigh. “You know I care“. Running was always a good thing. Now I am left to wonder if Running has moved on without me. “Why you wanna treat me so bad when you know I love you?”

There’s some talk going ’round town That you really don’t give a damn“. After all I’ve given, Running has the nerve to say, I’m too much for you. Why don’t you try the elliptical machine, the recumbent bike… or a little low-impact walk in the park. I mean “ain’t that enough?”

The message from running has become clear to me. It’s over. Running, “Why you wanna treat me so bad?” 

Stay Hype.

-EZ

 

 

 

 

Jekyll and Hyde – Fighting the Food Demon

Dare I reveal the EZ-Hyde? OK, I acknowledge he exists, that’s the first step to finding a cure. The question:  which is my dominant persona?

JandH

No manner of exercise can compensate for bad nutritional choices. For me, it is easier for Dr. Jekyll to handle the workouts and stay active. But, when it comes to food and drink choices, the doctor exits like famous Game of Thrones actors. Enter Hyde to the scene, scary yet intriguing riding in like the Dragon queen – I know it is better to run but I don’t. Hyde brings goolosh to the table. It is easy to take Bojangles sweet tea. Yea, I live to eat more times than I eat to live.

Forget the tea, what about a Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Sounds decent – nice carb and protein blend, right ?!  Nah , Hyde says add 2 Oreos. Lovely oreos opened and placed between the fresh slices of white bread . Double stuffed works too, especially if you want to pregame and game in one sandwich! Oh, how easy it is to get off track.

My man Rev motivates in the gym with “Winter is coming” and then he does one more set. He’s preparing. Staying on track. I’m self-talking Dr. Jekyll to stay with me for that last set.

So, here’s to more Jekyll and chicken-vege wraps and less Oreo powered goolosh. What are your favorite Jekyll and Hyde treats?

Stay hype.

EZ

 

Undiscovered Happiness

I have always been motivated to help others. There was a time when this consistently came at the expense of my own well-being. I would sacrifice sleep for workouts, coaching, and writing. I was hardly home. I burdened my wife with taking care of the kids and dragging them to basketball games where I was coaching. When I was home, I was often tired, distracted, or working. With all that, we were still a “happy” family… perhaps satisfied by knowing it could be worse. No love was lost. We made it work. We adjusted. We seemed normal. I was very fortunate. I always knew I was going to stop coaching high school basketball so that I could coach both of my sons’ teams. I had no idea at the time, but that was the game changer for my family. Before that, I didn’t know anything other than constant exhaustion. Exhaustion from giving myself to things I cared about outside my household. Once coaching high school basketball was out of the equation, I became more available to my family. It took almost a year get adjusted but over time I realized the redistribution of my time was not only better for me, it was better for my family. I know a year seems like a long time to adjust, but lots of dynamics had to change. My wife had to get used to entertaining my opinions and ideas about home life. I had to understand I couldn’t come in and take control of everything. I had to learn not to take dislike for my suggestions personally. Our boys had to get used to both mom & dad being around and all that came with that. There were lots of rough patches but I learned from the experiences. I now understand that I have a responsibility to myself and my family to stay attuned to how I deplete my time and energy. I also realize that rest to recharge has to become a higher priority as I mature. I am not completely cured, but do have a better understanding of what it takes to thrive in all my life pursuits.

Our insignificance is most significant. That is not intended to be received in a cold way. It’s meant to spark a desire to reevaluate how we are spending our time with an understanding that our absence will not stop others from living their lives. It’s intended to alleviate the fear of letting others down by adjusting how we prioritize our time and energy. It’s okay to leave work at work. It’s okay to set hard boundaries on evenings out with friends. It’s okay to miss a friend’s event because you have set that time aside for your family. It’s also okay to attend the event and shift the family time. Just don’t skip the family time, unless you see your friend’s event as a higher priority. Please notice what’s important here. Whatever you decide, let it be based on your priorities and NOT how anyone is going to feel about what you decide. That’s where it begins. Once you are able to start challenging your choices, then you will begin to understand that even greater things are possible. As you move into different challenges, circles, and experiences, you will likely find that others will want to follow your lead. Your life becomes an example of what can be accomplished by setting priorities and applying them to the precious minutes of our lives. -jp

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