No Regrets


“A man is not old until his regrets take the place of his dreams.”
~Yiddish Proverb

Regrets – we’ve all had them. “I wish I had more education.” “I wish I had waited longer to get married.” “I should have traveled more before I settled down.” Should have, would have, could have… But we all know, we can’t change the past, and living those regrets just keeps us hung up in the past preventing us from moving forward.

A friend of mine recently shared that a 60+ woman she works with was looking at photos of other employees during a company outing, and this woman commented about a younger 30 something woman who was overweight. Her words were “She needs to lose weight.” Then she went on to say, “I know I am fat, but I’m old.” Wow…You see this woman was about 50 pounds overweight herself, but because of her age, she accepted the way she was, chalking it up to the fact that she was 60+.

You may have heard the Serenity Prayer that begins with: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” That’s a great prayer and something we hear quoted quite often, but have you ever thought about the reverse – accepting what you CAN change? I think that’s called a “cop-out.” You see we can always make excuses about what we haven’t done, or aren’t willing to do, and we do a pretty good job at convincing ourselves. Accepting the way we are just because we’re a certain age - whether it’s being overweight, out of shape, or chalking things up to our “genes” are all cop-outs. Yes we are all aging – that’s inevitable, but is there a way to age healthy? I believe so, and it starts with you and your choices.

Most people live their lives regretting more of what they didn’t do rather than what they’ve done. We’ve all made mistakes and hopefully
we’ve learned from them. That’s what life experiences are all about, and that’s how we grow. But have you reached a place in your life where you may be regretting that you didn’t start earlier on reaching potential goals? Maybe you feel like it’s too late to go back to school, meet someone new, start a new career or even get back in shape. If that’s the case, then I’m here to encourage you to stir up your dreams and your goals, no matter what age you are.

I’m a firm believer that it’s never too late to start working out, even if it’s beginning with 10 minutes a day and increasing gradually. Everyone knows that exercise is good for your heart and keeps you slimmer, but did you know that exercise also:
  • Improves your balance
  • Helps you sleep better
  • Keeps you in a better mood
  • Increases your energy level
  • Improves your sex life (maybe I should have had this one at the top to keep your interest!)
  • Keeps you living longer!
My point being - Don’t let your life be a life of regrets. You are not a victim of your DNA, your culture or the fact that you’ve slacked off a few years. Let today be the day you make a pact with yourself to become a healthier you, whether you are 20, 50 or 70! The small steps you take in the right direction will become easier tomorrow and even easier the next day.

None of us are guaranteed how long we are here on this earth, but the benefits you will reap through exercise will certainly increase the quality of your life while you are here. Your life is a gift – so don’t wake up tomorrow regretting what you could have done today that could mean the difference between years of disability or years of healthy aging. I’d love to help you get back on track.

Taking the Risk Towards A Great Outcome

"Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it, establish your priorities and go to work." ~H. L. Hunt

Decisions – we all make them throughout each day; what time we get out of bed, what we wear, where we go, people we interact with, what we eat and so on. In most of our daily decision-making, we don’t think too much about consequences. Many of us just make decisions without thinking through all the potential scenarios. Often we end up making spontaneous decisions that can leave us living with the regrets that go along with poor decision-making consequences.

Recently I read a book by Ben Carson, M.D. which is actually a call to action book: Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose, and Live with Acceptable Risk.” Dr. Carson, who is a director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Maryland, has created a different way to think about risk. He calls it “Best/Worst Analysis (B/WA) formula,” and it’s simply asking yourself these four questions when a decision is on the table:

1. What is the best thing that can happen if I do this?
2. What is the worst thing that can happen if I do this?
3. What is the best thing that can happen if I don’t do this?
4. What is the worst thing that can happen if I don’t do this?

Once you take your decision in question through the four steps, you review each answer and then you’re going to want to make your decision based on the most positive potential outcome. This can apply to any area of your life – relationships, (“Should I commit to this person or not?”) career opportunities, (“Should I bite the bullet and take the new job I’ve been offered?”) or large purchases, (“Is this the right time to buy a new home?”) The list is endless, and no decision is really too trivial to not take the time to run through these four questions – even if you don’t write it on paper and it’s only in your mind.

I started thinking closely on this subject and began to dissect everything that crossed my decision-making path. Of course, I started to analyze the exercise factor and thought about those who always have a reason why they don’t exercise or belong to a gym:

  • What’s the best thing that can happen to me if I exercise today? “I’ll feel very good about myself when I complete my workout.”
  • What’s the worst thing that can happen to me if I exercise today? “I could fall down and hurt myself.”
  • What’s the best thing that can happen if I don’t exercise today? “I won’t be sore tomorrow.”
  • What’s the worst thing that can happen if I don’t exercise today? “It will be easier for me not to exercise tomorrow or the next day.”
  • What’s the best thing that can happen if I join a health club or gym? “I’ll get in shape and become healthier.”
  • What’s the worst thing that can happen if I join a health club or gym? “I’ll pay the money and never go.”
  • What’s the best thing that can happen if I don’t join a health club or gym? “I’ll use the money that I would have spent and take my out-of-shape self to happy hour or buy “things” that I won’t remember a month from now.”
  • What’s the worst thing that can happen if I don’t join a health club or gym? “I’ll stay the way I am, possibly becoming more out of shape and experience poor health.
The above examples make it pretty easy to see what your best decision would be. OK, so maybe your answers wouldn’t be the same as these, but you get my point. If you take the time to assess your decisions and then analyze what the potential outcome could be, it helps you put things into perspective and make the best overall decision. Try it with any area of your life. It has helped me see things differently especially in my business decisions.

So whether you are contemplating a change in a career, relationship or even a health and wellness decision, ask yourself Dr. Carson’s four questions. You might just risk a great outcome!

How Are Your Communication Skills?

There is an energy field between humans. And, when we reach out in passion, it is met with an answering passion and changes the relationship forever. ~ Rollo May

Most of you are more than just familiar with social networking – whether it is through LinkedIn, Facebook, My Space, or Twitter. How many of us can’t even go through an hour of the day without texting, emailing
someone or checking your Facebook? Yes, I realize you are reading my blog right now, which is a relatively new way people interact with others – building communities of people who are interested in what others have to say. And yes, many of you correspond with me via text, email, Twitter or Face book.

There is no doubt that social media is opening the doors for people not only like me, but others who have a message to share and who want to get it out to as many people as they can in the shortest amount of time. It is an honor to me that you find something I may have to say of interest.

I am all for these ways of marketing or networking yourself; however, recently I started thinking about all of this and began to notice something everywhere I went. Whether it was on public transportation, walking through the mall or the airport, driving down the highway or just walking through the gym, I noticed a common theme. People were consumed with texting, emailing or listening to IPods of some sort via earphones. I never even made eye contact with these people. Their faces were buried in their phones while their fingers were typing away. The only way I would have noticed this was simply the fact that my own cell phone had stopped working! How we immediately freak out when that happens and try to get to the nearest Verizon store before we miss another call or text!

I began to think about interactions of humans. I was in my backyard recently just soaking up some sun (between the rainy days) and I heard birds all around me going crazy with their chirping. My first thought was – “Wow – are those birds annoying!” Then I started thinking about how those sounds were the birds communicating to one another. They were relating to each other. I thought for a minute about how it would be if they were too part of the information technology of the world and communicated via machines and such. Yes, it sounds a bit off the wall, but it did help me to see what we miss when we stop interacting with others one on one. Maybe we’re trying to become like the birds with Twitter! (Ok a bad analogy!)

A friend of mine recently shared that he drove his 14 year old son and one of his close friends to baseball practice and it was a 30 minute drive. He described the drive as “silent” as both boys were buried in their cell phones texting. And one of the craziest things he said was that often the boys were texting each other sitting a foot apart in the back seat! Have we become so dependent on these devices that we no longer know how to interact with one another face to face or even voice to voice?

This also reminds me of something I recently saw on Facebook, and I actually clicked on it myself. It said: Become a fan of “I love my mom.” I joined along with countless others, and then it occurred to me. Why do I have to click on something on a social networking site to show that I am a fan of loving my mom? I laughed to myself because I do call my mom – she isn’t on Face book, Twitter and the like. She is a wonderful mom and I let her know that often – and not just on Mother’s Day.

My point being – sometimes we can get so caught up in the latest gadget or netw
orking tool that it keeps us from being relational one on one with people who may possibly make a huge impact on our lives or vice versa. How many times have you called someone and they don’t pick up, but they’ll text you right back? What’s up with that?? Often we lose our social skills and when it comes to a situation where we have to relate face to face, many are left feeling awkward and less confident. My kids even tell me about how boys and girls who break up with each other via text messaging!

I know many of you do belong to fitness clubs and you go in with your gear, get to business with your earphones and IPods, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But my challenge to you is this – next time you go into your fitness club, keep in mind that you are there with like-minded people. These are people who care about their health and are making giant steps of faith to either maintain or reach goals that are important enough to take them away from perhaps an evening at happy hour or a night on the couch eating junk food. Step out of your “me zone” and make eye contact, give a word of encouragement to someone next you on the treadmill or weight bench and simply acknowledge that person. You never know - that person could be an important key to helping you unlock your future or possibly even theirs!

I may not be able to personally interact with all of you, but if you see me and I'm head - down buried in my phone, remind me of this blog! Let me know how I can help you reach your goals.

Everything is beautiful – or is it?

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched ... but are felt in the heart. ~ Helen Keller

When asked to define beauty, how many of us automatically picture in our minds something aesthetically beautiful? You may imagine a rose bud opening up or a majestic landscape. If we were to think of a person as being beautiful, I would have to admit that I would imagine an outwardly very attractive person - someone who captivates me by their physical beauty. We've all heard the old saying "Beauty is only skin deep," and we try to act like we believe that, but show us someone like Susan Boyle from Britain's Got Talent, and before she even opens her mouth, people are laughing and making fun of her based on her outward appearance. Yes she did “wow” the crowd, but after she’s discovered to have such an amazing voice and she’s got a signed contract, what happens? She’s given a makeover - to conform to what society believes acceptable beauty to be.

It's very easy to get caught up in the "beautiful people" zone. It's become such a staple, that even extraordinarily good looking people are left feeling bottom of the barrel, like they don't measure up. We are bombarded with what Hollywood and New York tells us is beautiful. Even people in their 20’s are reaching out to aesthetic medicine and other ways to hold on to their youth or to just keep up with what society says they should match up to.

On a recent visit to the Sonoran Desert’s Botanical Garden in Arizona, I learned a great lesson. What I thought would be a somewhat boring tour through the desert helped me to see things in a totally different light. I always thought of the desert as dry and desolate with prickly cactus, snakes and scorpions.
What I discovered was that many of those prickly, sticky, plants contained numerous food properties, as well as medicinal benefits, and I left there with a reverence toward the desert that I would never have had without hearing from a knowledgeable tour-guide the purpose of each of those desert plants and how they provided housing, medicine and food for countless people throughout the centuries.

You see those plants were strategically created with a purpose in mind - often multiple purposes. Just as we come in different shapes, looks and sizes, we all have purposes. You may not even realize what your purpose is, or you may feel you have so many purposes that you are overwhelmed, confused and therefore unfocused. Many often make the mistake of thinking they are supposed to have one giant purpose that sticks out like a sore thumb, and when they don’t recognize it, they become confused thinking “What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I know what my purpose is?”

I’m a believer that throughout the course of our lives, we have multiple purposes and it’s the things that we have passion for, things we feel compelled to change or make a difference in – those are the callings we have, and we need to press forward with those things.

You all know what my passion is by now. Fitness is such a calling in my life that I live and breathe it. I won’t try to force my passion on you, but one thing I will do is reach out to inspire, encourage, train and motivate you to become a healthier you. You see, when we exercise our physical body, we not only cause it to conform to the state it works most efficiently in, but we also generate a sense of confidence in ourselves that exudes out of our pours; and we all know that confidence is attractive.

Although you may not be “Hollywood worthy” from the outside, once you develop a solid wellness plan, a healthier, more confident you will emerge as your true beauty shines, tapping you into a more purpose-filled life.


Joe Gigantino Jr.