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Fit for Life: Accentuate the Positive - Eliminate the Negative

Sunday, May 28, 2017


Matt Espeut

A few months ago, I hired a sales consultant to help me and my team structure my sales process. As I stated in the past, and continue to admit…. we all need coaches on different levels, to help us get to where we want to be, regardless if its fitness, business, or on a personal level.

Every week, my consultant either meets with me personally, or I go to his group workshop, and discuss strategies with other professionals in different industries. This is helpful, because everyone has similar struggles, and it is nice to talk about them openly, and discuss solutions to some of the issues we all encounter. Every week the group starts with "good news” where we go around the room and talk about the good things we recently encountered. That’s it! Just the good news. We don’t talk about the negative things at this point, because the boss wants to get the workshop off on a positive note. 

Last week someone asked, “why do we start with good news”? And his answer was…because the suck factor is everywhere, and it’s too easy to talk negative, so we are going to shine the light on the positive, and understand that behind every suck item, there is something good, and we can find it easily if we start looking in the right direction.

Then I started listening, taking notes, and drawing conclusions in my head, and I realized that it doesn’t take any more energy to find the good in things than it takes to find the negative. Actually, it costs us energy to think negative, and positive thoughts give us energy.

Then this all got confirmed in a book I am currently reading. In one chapter, it states that a person in a positive emotional state has more mental capacity, better decision making capability, and increased receptiveness when performing tasks. Whereas someone in a negative emotional state is more cynical in their decision making, causing their ideas and beliefs to go against their and your best interests. Now I know it isn’t always possible to be in a good mood when the suck factor is in high gear, but if you try, you might succeed. 

Here are some suck factors that can be turned around:

Going to the gym at 5 a.m. could suck when the alarm goes off first thing in the morning, but you are going to feel fantastic after. You are going to do something that will earn you a positive return on your time and energy, promote great health, leave you feeling accomplished, and on your way to a better you. Don’t look at the task, see the result, and instead of looking at it as “it sucks to get up early, see it as I will get my workout done and feel great before 3/4 of the population even wakes up.

Going to work for some folks sucks, so they dread going in every day. But what if these folks lost their jobs, and didn’t have any income? What if your job was washing windows on skyscrapers? Remember if you do something under your own power, and nobody is forcing you at gun point, you don’t HAVE to be there, so try to make the best of it and look for some good. It can always be better, but it can also be worse. (remember the show “dirty jobs”?) And if your job is that bad, quit and find a new one. Nothing will change until you do.

Summer high school football practice can suck. When it's 90 degrees, and you can barely breathe outside, the thought of working out sucks. But I told the kids I coach last year that they didn’t HAVE to be here, they GET to be here. If you were in a third world country, they wouldn’t have organized sports. If you do well on the field, you will get the opportunity to go to college. If you were locked up in the training school, you wouldn’t have this opportunity. I tell them that playing football is a privilege and they don’t HAVE to play.

The day from hell. I love it when someone says, “what a crazy day” or "I had the day from hell”. I ask, “what went wrong? Did something happen? Was there a fire, car crash? Did someone die? What was so crazy or why were you in hell? Then after they tell me about their day, they realize getting stuck in traffic and losing their car keys wasn’t so bad.

What I am saying is that every situation can have a positive spin. Unless you are a completely negative person, and you choose to find fault with everything, you can always find a silver lining in every dark cloud. Negative people will find a problem for every solution. Think about that.  No matter how fun or exciting a task you are doing or are going to do, a negative person will find a problem with it.

Installing a new swimming pool? A negative person will tell you that your insurance will increase, it’s a waste of money, or someone will drown to death. Going on vacation to another country? Not them. Too much malaria, kidnapping, and food poisoning in other countries. Tell them you’re going to the gym, they’ll tell you that you could get hurt. Buying furniture? The place you are buying from is going to rip you off. Eating out? Too expensive, and I heard that place wasn’t good. Going for a drive? Your car may break down and you could get a flat. Watching the Superbowl? Athletes are overpaid, and the game is fixed.

So do you see how easy it is to get mixed up in the negative bullshit that surrounds us every day? It’s best to stay away from negative thoughts and people as much as you can, because these people and thoughts will bring you down. Instead, find solutions and stop looking for problems.

The good stuff is there, and if it’s not, you can create some good vibes to energize you. Hold the door for someone. Nine out of 10 times you will get a thank you and that will feel good. That other one time when somebody doesn't thank you it's because they have stuff going on in their life and it's probably worse than yours so don't take it personally. Say hello and smile. You won’t get until you give.

Start today

Whenever something or someone throws a negative twist at you, put a positive spin on it. If a problem arises, don’t dwell on the problem, find a solution ASAP. Car breaks down, call Uber, and figure out a solution, don’t dwell on the fact that your car isn’t working. Stuff happens, get over it and move on. Complaining won’t solve anything. When something sucks, find something positive about the situation, and as always, we need to put things in perspective. Rate your problems. Are they first world problems, like losing power, or are they third world problems, like your kids dying from starvation, or incurable disease. Chances are your suck factor doesn’t suck too much after all.

Matt Espeut, GoLocal's Health & Lifestyle Contributor has been a personal trainer and health & fitnesss consultant for over 25 years. He is the owner of Fitness Profiles, a one on one, and small group personal training company, as well as Providence Fit Body Boot Camp, located at 1284 North Main St., on the Providence/Pawtucket line. You can reach Matt at (401) 453-3200; on Facebook at "Matt Espeut", and on Twitter at @MattEspeut. "We’re all in this life together – let’s make it a healthy one


Related Slideshow: The 7 Best Health and Fitness Apps

Here is a list of some of the most obsession worthy health apps.

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MapMyRun is the number one selling running app for a reason:  it is easy to use, offers community support if you want it, and tracks and stores your exact routes for you.  If you are training for a race or a serious runner, users say that the extra perks in the upgraded paid version are well worth it. 

Made for iPhone, Android and Blackberry 

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MyFitnessPal seems to be the clear favorite amongst everyone polled.  It is helpful not only for the fitness tracking aspect, but everyone polled mentioned how much they loved the food/diet aspect as well. From carb counting for diabetics to recipe ideas to complement your fitness goals, users love this app. 

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JeFit is another fitness app that has rave reviews.  It not only tracks progress for you, but offers a huge database of workouts.  While many apps offer community support, JeFit allows you to sync workouts with friends who use the app, offering a (real) virtual buddy system.

Made for iPhone and Android

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Strava gets the highest mark of all the cycling apps.  While it is also great for runners, the cyclers seem particularly inclined towards the fierce competition that can be ignited by this app.  You can track all of your rides via GPS, then you can compare your efforts to those logged by others in the community on the same stretch of road.  You can also join ongoing challenges that can net you great prizes (in addition to bragging rights). 

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YogaStudio gets the top vote for Yoga apps.  It has a lengthy collection of full class-length videos available at your fingertips.  Unlike many other apps, this one also allows you to customize your own video yoga class.  All of the poses are done by qualified yoga instructors, and you can find classes suitable for all levels of yogis.

Made for iPhone only

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SimplyBeing meditation app offers the best of both worlds.  You can choose to run this app as a background for your meditation with soothing music or natural sounds that run for a set amount of time.  Conversely, for those of you who have trouble focusing during meditation, you can choose a soothing voice-guided meditation. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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Fooducate is an app all about educating people so that they make healthier food choices.  Although not perfect, this app is easy to use (you can even take pictures of bar codes to instantly find foods in their database).  It gives food a letter grade, tells you the pluses and minuses, and gives you better ranked alternatives.  You can also use it as a weight loss tool by tracking your daily calories. 

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