Four Pro Tips To Conquer The 2017 Calgary Stampede Breakfast Season!

Alright folks, it’s about that time of year again. Birds are chirping, sun is shining. And you have a hankerin’ for a whole mess of pancakes, drizzled with syrup and a side of bacon or some sausage links if you fancy. That’s right; Calgary Stampede 2017 is just around the corner, and as a born and raised Calgarian myself, I’m not afraid to admit the very best part. It’s the ten days of what seems to be endless Stampede Pancake Breakfasts around the city. Most of them are FREE too… what a dangerous game!

But, just like any cohort mission, there are tactics and strategy and protocols you should follow in order to successfully accomplish this great endeavour. Whether you’re just out for a “treat meal” or you are part of a workplace pancake eating challenge, these four pro tips will help you to conquer the mighty Stampede Breakfast.

  1. Do some recon – That’s right. A well planned trip around your ideal schedule and/or dietary concerns (yes there are gluten friendly and health-conscious options too! Read below!) will save you tons of time in line at hot spots, help you to avoid politician traps, help you to avoid death or death-like symptoms and may even help you scout out where the best live entertainment is to accompany your morning feast. Heck, if you plan it right you can “Pancake Hop” around two or three separate events per day to tackle many more breakfasts with ease and efficiency. Set a timer, spend enough time to savour the flavours and jump to the next one. Boom. You’re welcome. Here’s the official 2017 Stampede Breakfast Guide to help you out with your strategy.
  2. Take friends! – Not to poo poo your ambitious solo-feasters, but really, whether you’re trying to bulk up ’cause it’s “growing season” or not… maybe you’re actually trying to lose weight and these next ten days are going to be the bane of your existence… if you have a tribe of Stampeders with you, regardless of their goals this will help. Why? Well first off it’s wicked fun, right? Secondly, the folks that are interested in bulking will take care of the leftovers from those of you who might have enough sensibility to stop eating before you see the light… it’s win-win, right!? (I’ll explain more in detail below) Help each other. That’s what friends are for. And leftovers. Good friends are also for cleaning up leftovers.
  3. Stuck in a Pancake Eating Challenge? I got you! Here’s how to win – We are going to use science for this one. Satiety, or the feeling of “fullness” regarding appetite kicks in for most human beings at about the twenty minute mark of eating. That’s right, it takes your body that long to recognize there might be a problem if you do happen to overeat within that window. See where I’m going with this? For those of you who are up for the challenge, I dunno, maybe for a half day off work or something with the office buddies – try this out. Eat as much food as humanly possible within twenty minutes. I think I might have done like 6 of those monster pancakes a couple years ago, but I’m an average guy – six foot, buck eighty. I know there’s some dudes that could take me to the cleaners on that. So, go for it. That’s a pretty consistent way to put on mass outside the Stampede season too, by the way. Eat, eat a lot and eat fast as to trick your brain into how much you’ve actually eaten. Sneaky, right?
  4. Want to enjoy a “treat meal” or two, but don’t want to go off the deep end? I got you! Here’s how to win – Science again. It’s important to be mindful about your eating all the time if you’re watching your waistline. Up for the challenge? Two key habits: Eat slowly. Eat until you’re only 80% full. Why? Satiety again. By the time you feel 80% full, if you’ve eaten slowly you’ll feel satisfied. it’s super neat how that works, even while facing stacks of pancakes! Use your body to your advantage. Often times while coaching clients on their nutrition and behavioural goals I find their biggest struggle is not actually taking the time to eat and only eat. It’s always on the run, generally with no concern to the process. Slow down and enjoy your pancake. I bet you’ll surprise yourself. And I call it “treat” not “cheat” because cheating would imply this is a test. What do people do on tests? Fail them. Your nutrition is not a test. Work away at it one step at a time and know that with 90% effort, you can expect 90% results. 12% effort… see what I mean? Eat what you want but understand the outcomes.

So, as you can see there are a lot of ways you can conquer the challenges of Stampede Breakfasts. Whether your goal is to eat 3 pancakes at every single one this year or if you would rather just participate without losing the awesome progress you’ve made so far this year, I’ve got you covered. Keep in mind as I mentioned earlier, there’s also gluten friendly and health conscious options out there for “all y’all” that want to have a guilt-free ten days… one in particular Tuesday, July 12 Amber Approved Stampede Breakfast seems like a good bet for most of you leaning that way.

In any case, know that it’s only ten days and you can choose to do what you like. Enjoy life, enjoy food and enjoy the greatest show on earth. Calgary Stampede 2017 doesn’t stand a chance on your Stampede Breakfast skills now.

For more exercise and nutrition tips and tricks, or if you have questions regarding your fitness plan or maybe you’d like to inquire about our studio or remote training services, please feel free to reach out to me at schwartzm@inliv.com or leave a note below. 

Do vs. Show

I took May off of showing you all what I was up to. It was time for me to sit back and get out of the noise, the clutter, the stress of having to juggle the ominous “Insta-Twita-Book” and convey stories of what my life detailed and how my business was running as a trainer, coach and entrepreneur. Quite frankly, it was a great break.

I’m here to now pose the question; when you’re out being Insta-famous, are you really performing at your best? Are you really doing? Or is it possible you’re just showing what you’re supposed to be doing? For the camera… and for the likes… or followers…

Let’s think about it – a strong majority of social media influencers might actually be leading this hypocrisy. “Go and live your life!” … but document the WHOLE FUCKING THING while you’re at it for everyone to see….?

You see, if I’m watching coach buddy focus more on the lighting on his face and the gym logo backdrop of his IG story than the actual lift, or better yet the lift of the client he’s half-heartedly spotting… is he in that moment? Or is he telling a story? Nothing wrong with that if it is the case, but I think it kind of blurs the authenticity of so called “influencer roles” in the wonderful world of social media.

Is that living your life? Or is that perhaps showing the life you should be living? Can you really be right into it if you’re worried about the frame of the picture or the glaze of the donut hitting the edge of the coffee cup? Just eat the thing and be in the moment. I’d call into question the legitimacy of the notion to leave a paper trail, or more aptly – video highlight reel of your life.

This is the bane of my existence in the social media world and I’m sure i’m not the only one that feels this dilemma. That’s why it was awesome to detach, unplug and reset my values – I made one strong realization: I definitely didn’t need it for my business. It can help, but at the end of the day, social media is just a tool in the tool belt.

A hammer can help to build a house. But at the cost of your thumbs if you use it wrong.

Food for thought.

Breathe, Unplug and Avoid Death or Death-Like Symptoms

I’m back!

Hey everyone! If you’ve never taken a breather, I highly recommend it. Be it from social media, the phone and emails or just from the daily hustle and grind – it all adds up and sometimes it’s nice to just recharge and breathe.

I spent May doing just that. I’m refocused, energized and have realigned my vision, got a few projects really rockin’ and rollin’ and most importantly, I’m the fittest I’ve ever been.
I find that I have more energy than ever! I’m waking up with the sun every day, going for a jog with Dar or doing some yoga in my living room and then heading in to either volunteer at Ronald McDonald House or down to INLIV to work with an all-star personal training team to inspire some amazing lives! I even bike almost 200 kilometres every week for fun!
I can’t say it was all me. I owe a lot of it to resetting my mindset and that only really started to kick in about 6 months ago when I started getting coached through the same system I teach my coaching clients, Precision Nutrition’s Pro-Coach.

Between volunteering, creating, coaching, catching live music events around town, hosting two shows; one on TV and the other, my very own radio show (now available on iTunes!), entertaining (or more like being entertained by) my pup Darwin, it seems like there should be a lot fewer hours in my day, right? It’s all in how you manage your time, I s’pose.
I’ve attached some links for you to take a peek at some of the things I’ve been up to. I hope you enjoy it, share it and remember the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, burnt out or out of control – take a step back and breathe. Reach out if you would like some help or even just an ear to vent to.

SoundScape

Check out the TV show I host, SoundScape YYCTanner James plays some tunes, talks about the upcoming release of his debut novel and chats with me about the changing landscape of Calgary’s music scene and how he’s thriving as an artist in the wake of the gunslingers and oil barons of the wild, wild west. It’s a real doozy. Tune in.

PPLSKLZ RADIO

The first episode is out! Be sure to tune in on that commute to work or over lunch break for your hour-long dose of local music-fused with real discussion on proactive healthcare for musicians and music lovers. Chalked full of value, this episode includes the first part of a new gender series “What Is A Man” I’m unrolling this month, some great local artists including Jo-Jo O’ and the Woods and The Heirlooms and tips and tricks to help keep you moving and feeling great! Check it out below.

The Musician’s Guide To Surviving The Rock Star Lifestyle

Now available on amazon.ca, get your copy of my book in either old school paperback or fresh, like the kids these days – e-book. Order your copy today!

Thanks for reading, until next time… stay sweet!

 

Eliminate Excuses For Nutrition: Click & Collect

I think I’ve heard it all over the years. It’s too expensive to eat well. I can’t afford organic food. It’s such a hassle to grocery shop. I just need something quick… Basically everything.

All good. I found the solution. It’s called “Click & Collect” and it’s offered here in Canada at a whole bunch of Superstores! It’ll save you time, money and allow for you to get your meals down for the week. No more excuses on the nutrition front. I’m all about a helping hand and this service is a great way to keep your food stuffs on lock down.

Here is the gist…

Step 1:

Go online and create an account at superstore.ca, shop through your virtual store for all the groceries you want. Be sure to check the store that’s most convenient to your location and the time of pick up as well. The tutorial walks you through things pretty well.

How does this help?

This is great because you can plan shit way better. And you don’t end up buying a bunch of junk you don’t want in the house. And you can seek deals on produce and shit. Not actually shit, unless you’re into that sort of thing…

Step 2:

Confirm your pickup store and pick up time and proceed to pay online or pay at pick up. I tried adding my debit visa to my account and at first it said it was all good, but ended up not going through, so I just paid at the store upon pickup. Super easy either way, just do what fits you, boo.

How does this help?

Budget. You don’t overspend when you see the total value of your cart right there, right? Sure it’ll cost $3-$5 (depending on the day of pickup) but imagine that as your investment to not pick up the junk chips or cookies you were going to if you found yourself in aisle 13… plus I thought the $3 was fine as that in itself saved me the hour of walking around getting my $80 worth of groceries.

Step 3:

Go get your food at the store you picked at the time you picked. Really, it’s that simple. They even have loading bay parking spots at most stores as I found out afterwards. Walk in, say hey, they bring everything out and even load itineraries if you don’t want to. Pretty rad, right?

How does this help?

You quite literally just have to show up and check in. Make payment and carry about your day. Super convenient. Since most of us are sitting at work, take a break, load up your shopping list, plan a pick up after work and boom. Instead of spending an hour or more picking things up, you ensure you’ve got the freshest options ready to go. It kills. I dig.

Extra things you should know

You should look into PC Plus points. It’s a reward system PC has put together that automatically sends you a weekly debrief on the deals of the week that you tend to buy. You load these offers each week  or two and then you get points that go towards your account balance. Redeem these points for dollars off your grocery bill. It applies to everything – gas, booze, prescriptions, medical, groceries. Just keep your eye out each week on your email offers and plan accordingly. Save some dough.

Superstore generally has the lowest prices across the board. Good selection of weird natural foods, good cheap bulk food, you know… all the good things. Yes, they’re a bigger chain and while I’m still pro-small market… I sway between doing bigger runs here when things are tight on the budget and I have the Tiguan and the dog in tow.

One downside…

Here’s something I wanna hack. So far I’m not sure how to get them to use my reusable bags.. as I’m pro-green, I’m not thrilled about using plastic bags, however I just keep them for Darwin instead of buying doggy bags for his walks. So I guess in a sense I reuse the bags anyways… but still, if anyone finds out how to crack that part of the system, please let me know. I’ll ask them today upon pickup.

 

If anyone has other options in their areas, please feel free to share. This one is good for us north of the border. Great service, great innovation… great way to eliminate the food excuses.

Now go out and shop well! Stay sweet!

 

 

Leading With Your Heart

This story comes from a very special place. A story of inspiration for those of you who are looking fear dead in the eye and hesitating. Now, those of you who know me in person, or have been following me for a while may now know this about me – I’ve never been one to bite my tongue, so I figure, “why start now?”

I’m just gonna say it. The universe has a way of letting things work themselves out. I know you’re thinking, “Mike, where are we going with this, bud…?”

Just hang tight.

Tonight I was on the receiving end of something I feel may be an actual game changer for the brave soul that delivered. And boy, she delivered. It was interesting for me, because as the dreamer I frequently find myself on the delivery end so to be the one listening to an amazing, inspiring dream and just be in the corner thinking “eff ya!” was super chill. And the universe is going to reward her heart in so many ways and with much kindness. I’m so grateful to have been a guest to this party. I’m so pumped, B! So pumped. You’re gonna kill it.

For those of you who are facing fear… maybe you’re frozen in a place of comfort. Maybe it’s the only thing you know… this could be a relationship in your life that’s not giving you want you want and what you deserve. Or this could be a job that you’re working where you’re actually dreading each day…the added responsibilities that have been shuffled on to you… and like Mick Jagger says you “can’t get no satisfaction”…

Whatever the case. You must turn your brain on silent mode, and lead with your heart.

I’ll tell you a bit of my past few months. Let’s get some real talk in…

So I left my stand alone contract personal training business in February in favour of joining up with a team of amazing fitness professionals. Some still ask me, “why?”.

Simple. To find success and pursue your legacy you need three key elements. A great idea, a tribe that supports you, and the guts to ask for the support to embark on your legacy. Yes, that means you need money. I came to a place where I was in limbo on my own… I wasn’t learning much without investing a swack of money and time into my education, I only had Darwin, my year and a half old Golden Sheptriever (sure he’s adorable, but he wasn’t coming up with many great program design hacks or questions regarding the torque generated from rotational force…) and essentially, I realized even though I’m very entrepreneurial and self-motivated, I thrive when others are around me. The luxuries of entrepreneurship in health and wellness are far outweighed by the collaborative effort of team and the support I now have for my crazy-ass innovation and off the wall banter. I am a team guy. I really craved the environment I now look forward to each day with my family at INLIV.

And that’s my point. It’s only work if you’d rather be elsewhere. I get goosebumps when my tribe tells me about their passions… how excited they are that they figured it out. They quit their job like that – snap! And are so juiced to get on with what the universe was telling them. I get so amped and filled up with love when others share with me that passion.

Why? Because I know exactly what it feels like and I know how powerful it can be –  from experience – to have others rally behind you and do anything they can to help you accomplish what you are set to do.

I wouldn’t be here where I am if my tribe didn’t show me the love and support they have in order to push me to my dream.

And we are getting there. We’re bridging the gap between health and music and I am over the moon about it! But it certainly hasn’t been rainbows, garden sprites and unicorns… it’s been a long, arduous and very, very humbling experience. Eff, I had a friend give me “rations”; a ziplock bag filled with energy bars and packs of oatmeal since I “looked like I wasn’t eating enough.” Ha! Truth is, I’m down about 15lbs of body fat since we last really hung out, but in her defence, it’s like I go to war everyday. Not against anyone but myself. I am my own worst enemy and I understand the battle. That’s why I believe so hard in supporting others in their war against themselves. Sometimes you just have to get out of your own way.

So, if you’re heading into work this morning knowing your heart is elsewhere. Chase it.

If you’re just not into the relationship. Be transparent and give that person the decency of sharing your thoughts.

If you know there’s something out there for you and you’re hesitant to chase it down, I hear ya, it can be scary AF. But if you need the support, I’m in your corner. And your tribe is in your corner. Together with that in mind, think “what’s the best that could happen?”

Just jump.

My bro, Wes Knight would tell you “Paralysis by Analysis” is what kills dreams. So just do it and you’re half way there. You’ll recalibrate things and adjust along the way, it’s certainly not going to be perfect.

Just to ice it, my own mother found this online today – The Musician’s Guide To Surviving The Rock Star Lifestyle

I think you should check it out. I’m very proud of my work and that’s because it’s a tool that I can share with the world to help change lives.

And to close – if you know of someone that’s this close to stepping out and taking that chance, support them. If you, yourself are trying to negotiate that scary decision, lead with your heart. I’m going to revisit this when that brave soul is a month or two into her passion and I expect you to have moved by then. Start right now.

I mean, take this as a lesson in empowerment, social accountability and true courage. It take guts to call someone up out of nowhere and tell them your dream and in doing so, invite them into the pursuit. That’s one helluva inspiration if you ask me. Inspiration is rad. Passion is sexy. Heart is key. Smarts are sexy.

So yeah, expect “Leading With Your Heart v1.7” in no less than 90 days. Like I said, the universe works with magic.

And tonight I felt it.

Let’s go!

5 Step Meal Prep: Salad In a Jar 101

It’s simple. it’s healthy. It’s convenient. It’s friggin’ tasty AF.

Here’s the goods. Play with it. Make it your own.

  1. Pour some dressing down in the bottom. I dig the homemade wasabi dressing for an asian kick, or apple cider and olive oil for a fresh summer flavour. Boom. Mind blown.
  2. Thrown down with some berries if you’re into that sorta thing
  3. Veggies, veggies and more veggies. I like sprouts, carrots and lentils even.
  4. Protein!
  5. Nuts, grains and/or leafy greens

Boom. Cap it. Throw it in the fridge and you have a wicked easy lunch on the go.

You’re welcome. Now take a look at this awesome visual for inspiration.

Salad_InAJar_FB

Shadow On The Sun

Dear Mr. Cornell,

We’ve never met, but I wanted to let you know that you had a tremendous impact on my life, and this is a letter of thanks for all that you have done for the world.

It’s a shame that you are no longer with us, and it’s a wonder how many more lives like yours will end far before their time before we take notice and do something to help. Like, really help. I get it. I really do. I can only imagine how incredible the pressure must be in the place that you were. To have overcome drug abuse and addiction multiple times, that in and of itself is commendable. But as I’ve learned, that’s only the first step.

It’s unfortunate you weren’t given an outlet to express yourself after all the rehab. Or maybe you were, but you weren’t comfortable for some reason in expressing anything to anyone but your music. And we all had no idea. The turmoil inside your soul must have been a nightmare. It’s unfortunately that while everyone saw what Chris was on the outside; cheery, un-phased, recovered – they never thought to dig deeper and to ask you how you were really doing. Maybe you would have just told them what they wanted to hear anyways… maybe not. I like to think that if someone genuinely made a connection, I might have had a chance to thank you in person. Yeah, you were a legend. But everyone deserves an ear… maybe that’s all you needed. Someone to confide in. A professional shoulder to lean on. Someone to listen to you for more than Spoonman or Like A Highway.

To close, I hope to have a fraction of the impact on the industry and other musicians as you have had on my life. In a positive light, your passing has inspired me even more so to make a stand and pursue my dream of bringing an end to these tragedies in the music industry. Far too many die young and this is a great tragedy to world. Music touches the soul. Your songs and stories and musical ingenuity have inspired so many and will last a lifetime. So while we say goodbye, this is an unfortunate lesson that we can all use to reconsider how we approach proactive care. Depression, anxiety, stress, abuse, addiction… they’re all very real reminders that we are all just human…

Thank you for all of your work and passion to the craft. You will be missed deeply. Rest in peace.