Friday, August 28, 2009

The Marble Story

Here is a story I dug up from my vast archives. Interesting angle on priorities, work and enjoying life. Enjoy!

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it's the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it's the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it:

I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whom-ever he was talking with something about "a thousand marbles." I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say "Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and our family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. It's too bad you missed your daughter's "dance recital" he continued. "Let me tell you something that has helped me keep my own priorities." And that's when he began to explain his theory of a "thousand marbles."

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.

"Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I'm getting to the important part.

It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail", he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays." "I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear."

"Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. "There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight."

"Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time."

"It was nice to meet you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. This is a 75 Year old Man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!"

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter.

Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. "C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast" "What brought this on?" she asked with a smile. "Oh, nothing special, it's just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles.

Friday, August 21, 2009

More About Cormax West Personal Training

Hello, Friends!

For most of us, summer vacation is over, kids are back in school, and focus is directed back to "getting back to business." For us, that's getting back to the business of fitness.... YOUR fitness, in fact, lol.

I heard a great quote this week - "Like anything else, with proper training, what was once hard becomes easy." Applies to fitness, too! Yes, it's hard to start. Yes, it's hard to stick with it. But it's so worth it! To reach your next level of fitness and health, no matter what your goals are, you need to constantly challenge yourself, and seek for consistency and professional advice. That's where we can help, of course!

So how well do you really know Cormax West Personal Training?!

Here are some interesting (or maybe not?) facts that most people DON'T know:

  • Our first "studio" was a 1500 square feet room on Main Avenue in West Fargo, with 3 sets of the Cormax machines, an assist pull-up and dip machine and an adjustable slant board for abs. We painted the walls ourselves and the ceiling was only 9' 6". Now that space remains unoccupied. Obviously a poor location
  • Some of our very first clients (from the Exercise Physiology Lab at Orthopaedic Associates) are still training with us to this day - 15 years later! (And look better and stronger now than the day we met them! We love you guys!)
  • Back in those days Monty had three jobs.
  • He worked in the Exercise Physiology Lab rehabilitating numerous ACL repairs and the like, as well as baseball hitting and throwing mechanics instruction, hockey treadmill training, running treadmill training, plyometrics training and strength training. The clientele ranged from youth to college to adult fitness to Olympic athletes and professional athletes.
  • He worked directly under a Physical Therapist in rehabilitating nursing home residence. Two notable memories were how amazing it was to see 80+ year old individuals regain strength, balance and coordination in such a short period of time and meeting and rehabilitating a man who suffered a stroke whom was a veteran football player from Super Bowl III.
  • He was also the Off Ice Director for Burggraf Skating Skills where he trained Mites through NHL players. He also expanded his program to figure skaters.
  • About nine years ago Monty became the first trainer to experiment with the Cormax line of strength training equipment. And still remains the knowledgeable source in Cormax training beyond the inventor, David Karlstrom.
  • We moved our training site to the West Acres Sports Center in October of 2008.
  • We welcomed aboard Lacey Igo as our PR & Marketing Director soon after the move. I can't thank her enough for her creative help.
  • We provide an innovative, results oriented and cost effective personal training service called Semi Private Training.
  • This spring we incorporated boot camps for youth and adults. All of the related information is posted on Facebook pages.
  • Monty at one time weighed 245 pounds in attempts to be a strongman competitor. Soon realized that weighing 60 pounds less is far more enjoyable.

Contract Pricing on All Semi Private Training Programs!

Lacey and I have researched our pricing in serving to help you, our local community, seek better fitness, health, and better quality of life! And we realized that we offer what people actually want at a discount -here are the facts:

We offer the most cutting-edge programs possible and constantly seek improvement in all we do; our clients get amazing results; and the training environment we create is positive, encouraging and FUN!

Our client niche is motivated, smart and hard working fitness enthusiast who don't need a trainer to hover them. Rather our clients want to know that when they walk in the gym they know exactly what they are doing that day with program in hand to log their progress and have an experienced trainer available to help set weights, modify routine and an be there as an extensive source of information to refer to for questions relating to health and fitness.

We are implementing contracts in order for the accountant to be able operate a budget and for us to have an idea as what time slots will be available at different times of the year to serve you better. EFT, monthly invoices and recurring credit card payments will also be offered for your convenience.

Additional programs such as boot camps are offered at discount to current clients in appreciation for your continued loyalty.


Many of you know that Doug Duran has purchased Cormax equipment last Christmas season for the gym. But in addition to Cormax, Monty implements bands training, rehabilitation, free weights, machines, his version of cardio training on treadmills, bikes and ellipticals. As well as tires of all sorts outside, speed training, jump training and other toys such as sledge hammer and tow ropes.

THANK YOU for your continued support, interest, and friendship. You're important to us!


Monty and Lacey
Cormax West Personal Training

The following is an article we found from some friends of ours.

Knowledge can lead to better health.

The Deep Fried Disaster
I am often asked how to lose weight quickly and easily.

Of course no one wants to listen to a lecture on the importance of healthy eating coupled with a solid exercise routine. That would preclude the quick and easy part.

So in a world where two thirds of all adults are overweight or obese, and some doctors predict that we will soon see a generation with a lower life expectancy than their parents due to obesity related diseases, I've come up with a solution that is both quick and easy. (Drum roll, please.)

Stop eating fried foods. (Gasp!)

Fried foods, despite having little to no nutritional value and being loaded with fat and calories, have become an accepted indulgence in our society. So accepted that many restaurants serve fries or chips alongside every meal.

It's no wonder that fried foods are the number one thing that most people crave – they are salty, addictive and plentiful.

Are Fried Foods Really That Bad?

In a nutshell, yes, fried foods really are that bad for you.

Take an average potato, bake it and you have 110 calories and 0 grams of fat. Take that same potato, turn it into French fries and you have 380 calories and 18 grams of fat.

Frying food is the easiest way to dramatically increase the calorie and fat content. And you know that extra calories and fat end up as extra body fat.

Other disasters that fried foods put you at risk for include:
  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Clogged Arteries
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Obesity
  • Acne
Fried foods have also been known to trigger Acid Reflux and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

Need I say more?

Going Fried-Free

Giving up fried food may not be easy, though it will arguably be one of the best things you do for your health and appearance. You will lose weight and improve your health by eliminating fried food from your life.

Keep in mind that, like all habits, the first thirty days will be the toughest. Make things easier by staying away from situations that place you in front of a big basket of fries or plate of doughnuts.

New Foods to Love

Instead of fried foods, enjoy the following:
  • Substitute a salad or fruit instead of fries
  • Baked potato – but pass on the butter and sour cream
  • Baked chicken instead of fried chicken
  • Baked chips instead of fried chips
  • Raw veggie pieces
You may be surprised how delicious these healthier options taste.

Help, I'm addicted!

If your diet has consistently included fried foods - multiple times a day or several times each week, then giving it up may take more work than simply trying healthier options.

You'll need to use some mental strategies as well.

To do this focus on all the negative things about eating fried foods:
  • Think of how bloated and heavy you feel afterward
  • Remember the heart burn you've experienced
  • Focus on the extra pounds you want to lose – imagine doughnuts and French fries sticking to your belly and thighs
  • Look at your acne
  • Feel the discomfort of being out of breath doing normal activities
You didn't think I was really going to skip telling you how beneficial exercise is to achieving your health and weight loss goals did you?

The bottom line is that exercise plus healthy eating will give you the body that you want.

What are you waiting for? Drop that bag of chips and call me for a workout that will change your life!
The Trans-Fat-Free Decoy
You've probably heard that many restaurants and food manufacturers have stopped using trans-fats. Don't get too excited. While trans fats aren't as bad as other fats, fried items are is still loaded with fat, calories, and sodium – all things that you want to avoid when trying to lose weight.

Before you eat a trans-fat-free item check the overall nutritional content. Does it contain saturated fat? What is the total fat and calorie count? What about sugar and sodium? Don't let a trans-fat-free label distract you from the overall nutritional content of the food.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Video: Wall Push-Ups

Wall Push-Ups

Shoulder workout for those of us who get bored quickly.

First the horizontal position: The Trick here is to think about pushing the floor forward with your hands so that you stay planted against the wall to prevent the feet from slipping down.

The diagonal position: Seems to be the easiest.

The vertical position: Tends to have limited range of motion because your head is in the way.

Wall shuffles: These are great for coordination and actually easier than they look.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The "Best" Test

The "Best" Test by Chris Widener
Some time ago, I spoke to a group of salespeople in Kansas City as they kicked off their new team. It was exciting to see them get excited about making a difference through their work.

The topic they assigned me was "Simply the Best." So as I prepared, I asked myself, "What characteristics would help someone pass the "Best" test? That is, what are the characteristics of those who become the "best" at what they do? Here are the thoughts I shared with them:

The Best are Optimists. You can't get to the top if you don't think that there is a top or if you think you can't make it. One characteristic of those who reach the peak is that they always believe that things can get better or be done better. This pushes them on to be their best.

The Best have Vision. They can see ahead of the pack. Their eyes aren't locked into the here and now. They see the bright future and what things will look like when they reach their destiny. While working hard for today, they live for the future! They do what Stephen Covey calls begin with the end in mind.

The Best Relentlessly Pursue Excellence. The status quo is not for them. They want to be the best and experience the best. And that means giving their best. They go the extra mile so that in everything they do, in everything they say and think, they are striving for excellence.

The Best have a Life Long Habit of Personal Growth. They don't want to stay at the level they are at. They want to grow in their work, their intellect, their spirituality, their relationships, and in every area of their life. And they discipline themselves to put themselves in situations wherein they grow. Personal growth doesn't "just happen." You choose to grow. I always suggest what Zig Ziglar does and that is to enroll in "Automobile University." Whenever you are driving around, listen to a personal or professional growth tape or CD. Over the long run you will grow. Also, read more. The old saying is true: Leaders are readers. So are those who pass the "Best" test.

The Best Understand that They will be Pushed by the Competition - and They Welcome It. Like the lead runner in the race who has someone on his heels, the best know that the competition is right behind them. They love it though because they know that the competition keeps them from becoming lazy and resting on their laurels. Instead, the competition pushes them to go faster and to achieve more - to remain the best by forging ahead.

The Best have a Quest for Leadership. Someone has to lead - it may as well be the best! Those who attain it get there because they want to. They want to lead and help make a difference. And they want to be equipped with the skills necessary to lead others on to a better place.

The Best Leave a Legacy. They aren't in it just for themselves, though they will surely reap the rewards of being the best. Rather, the build things that last beyond themselves, things that can be enjoyed by others as well.

The Best are Adept at the Two Most Important Pieces of Time and Personal Management: Prioritize and Execute. Just like weight loss boils down to eat right and exercise, personal management boils down to prioritize and execute. First, prioritize your activities. The important stuff goes on the top. Then, execute: do them. The best have habits and discipline that get them to the top by doing the best things and doing them first.

The Best Focus on Building Relationships. Success does not come alone. Everyone who achieves much does it with the help of countless others. How do the Best get others to help them? They treat them right. They embrace them and help them. People become the best because they help other people, and people like them.

The Best Make no Excuses. When they fail they admit it and move on. They get back up and do it right the next time. They let their actions speak loader than their words. They stand tall and do the right thing the next time. No excuses, just results.

The Best Understand that the Good is the Enemy of the Best. Yes, they could say, "this is good." But that would mean they have settled for less than the best. Many people think that good is good. Good is not good. Good is the enemy because it keeps us from the best. Choose your side: the good or the best. The Best choose, you guessed it, the Best.

The Best Dare to Dream. While others live the mundane and settle into a life they never bargained for, a rut, the Best dream of a better life. And then they take the risks necessary to achieve their dreams. They live by Teddy Roosevelt's quote: Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs though checkered by failure, then to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilit that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Want to be the best at what you do? Take inventory on the above characteristics and then start moving to bring your life in line with the characteristics of the "best." Then when you get to the top you will know that you have passed the "Best" test.

You are Made for Success!

Chris Widener


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