How to Lose 19 Pounds in 2 Months

I’ve been at the same weight and fitness level for the past few years. I had definitely hit a plateau and needed a new challenge in order to lose weight and up my fitness game. Enter – the Ironman (I mean, you didn’t think I would just run a 10k did you?). So, I signed up for the Ironman two months ago (race is in July 2017) and started training. Fast forward two months, and I’ve lost 19 pounds and two pant sizes and have never eaten this clean or trained this hard before.

adam-running-2One of the best ways to lose weight is to train for an event. It’s not just about the physical training, it’s about signing up for an event (whether that’s a 5k, a Spartan Race, an Ironman, a bodybuilding competition, a yoga retreat, hiking Kilimanjaro, etc.), committing serious money to register for the event and paying for a coach or personal trainer, and committing to the suffering (saying no to junk food, timing your food, training longer hours, saying no to social engagements). If you are serious about losing weight (and I know many of you will be as we enter the new year), then you need to find a reason to push through the mental, physical, and emotional pain.

Eat less. Fuel your body with whole foods. Move more. Simple, right? If it were in fact that simple, we wouldn’t have an obesity problem in our country. I love it when people tell me that they eat healthy, but clearly aren’t or are just consuming too much. Many of us consume way too many empty calories and/or eat more than we think. Track your meals in a food journal or count your calories in an app and you’ll have an objective view of what you are really eating. That latte from Starbucks has 200 calories and then you add on a bagel and cream cheese and you’re at almost 700 calories in minutes, with hardly any good nutrients. Hours later you’re already hungry because you didn’t fuel your body properly. Instead, how would you feel if you ate 2 whole eggs and 4 egg whites with a banana? And two to three hours later, you had some Greek yogurt with 1/3 cup of walnuts and some blueberries. Sure, it’s healthier for you, but you will also just feel better!

What I’m telling you is probably not new information, but there has to be meaning behind why you want to lose weight and live a healthy life. The meaning will be different for everyone (live longer, be able to play with your grand kids, look hot in a bathing suit, run a marathon). Whatever it is that is motivating you to lose weight – keep that in the forefront of your mind as you are committing to your new goal and experiencing the pain. Because it’s simple, but it’s not easy.

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or certified personal trainer. This is just what has worked for me based on the information I’ve been given by my coaches. What works for me, may not work for you.

Here’s what a typical Ironman training week looks like for me (about 15 hours of workouts):

Monday – Recovery day, easy swim for 1500-200o yards, some strength training on core and back, stretching and using a foam roller

Tuesday – 1 hour 40 minute bike ride a Z1 pace (heart rate of 134-144) followed by 25 minute transition or block run at a Z1 pace (heart rate of 140-150)

Wednesday – 1 hour 30 minute to 2 hour bike ride with interval training – 3 x 10 minutes segments at a very low cadence (i.e. pedals per minute) and descend – for example 75, 70, 65 with 5 minutes recovery ride in between. The cadence bike ride is in Z2 (heart rate of 144-154), followed by a 25 minute transition run and a ton of stretching and rolling

Thursday – Masters Swim Class for 1 hour 15 minutes, usually 3000 yards worth of drills, conditioning, etc.

Friday – 3 hour 25 minute bike ride at Z1 pace, with a 30 minute block of low cadence at the top of Z1, but not over it. This is followed by a 30 minute transition run, stretching and rolling. These days can hurt!

Saturday – Drill set swimming, 1500-2000 yards and then a 1 hour bike ride at Z1 pace with some intervals

Sunday – 1 hour 40 minute bike ride at ZR (recover ride – heart rate is below 129) with a 4 minute sprint in the middle at peak heart rate, followed by a 1 hour 35 minute run (usually about a 1/2 marathon for me at top of Z1 heart rate)

Before my training started we built a histogram for all my training weeks up until the race – there is a base phase, growth phase and then I will cut back on training a couple of weeks before the event. The above is a typical week; some weeks will be recovery weeks based on my stress load and some weeks will increase to 25 hours of training. The point is – there is a plan. In order to execute the plan at the highest level the maintenance of your body is crucial. You need recovery days, you need a tremendous amount of healthy, dense nutrients for your body, you need to stretch 2-3 times a day, and use a foam roller several times a day for 10-30 minutes. The key is to take care of your body to allow for growth.

In a typical 15 hour workout week, I average 3700-3800 calories per day. On longer or more intense training days, I consume more and will hit well above 5000 calories, and then go back down to 2700-2800 depending on the training plan.

In a typical day I eat:
– Breakfast – 4 egg whites, 2 whole eggs, piece of fruit
– Mid Morning Snack– 6 oz of Greek yogurt with a scoop of whey protein, 1/4 cup walnuts, and some berries
– Lunch – 6-8 oz of lean protein (mostly chicken), veggies
– Mid Afternoon Snack – Veggies and hummus and/or piece of fruit
– Dinner – 6-8 oz of lean protein, veggies, and a salad
– After Dinner Snack – Scoop of protein powder or light meal depending on training
– Additional Snacks: Protein bars, gels, etc.

Now, this may seem strict (where’s the wine!?), but it’s actually very easy to get into the habit of eating this way. You’re already in some sort of eating routine (yours may just be coffee, bagel, coffee, pizza, gummy bears). Change it up! Meal prep on the weekends and know exactly what you are going to fuel your body with every day throughout the day. One of the biggest mistakes people make is actually not eating enough – which effects your mood, energy, and can lead to overeating later in the day. Fuel up and feel better.

Want to lose 19 pounds in 2 months? Train. Get a plan in place for your workouts and your nutrition and stick to it. To be really effective, hire a coach and sign up for an event. If you know you have to show up and perform, what decisions would you be making differently? It will not be easy. You are going to experience pain, you are going to have to make sacrifices, and it’s going to be uncomfortable. Get over it. You are capable of more than you think. The only way to grow is to experience some pain and break though to the other side of YOU.

New year. New you. Get up, get going, get yours!


Everything is Negotiable and One Thing That’s Not

Only four days until Christmas and I’m just finishing up my shopping. I like to buy experiences, rather than material items, for people so negotiation is always part of my Christmas shopping strategy. Smart people, not Scrooges, negotiate at Christmas and every other time of the year.

Everything is negotiable.

Booking a vacation to the Bahamas? Negotiate. Hiring an empire builder? Negotiate. Hosting a training event? Negotiate. Building a new house or purchasing a new car? Negotiate. Asking for a raise or flexible work schedule? Negotiate.

Here’s how:

  1. Ask. It’s really that simple. It never hurts to ask for an upgrade at a hotel or for a discount on goods or services. Perhaps you could get valet parking fee waived, get free shipping on a large purchase, have the bar service included for free at an event, or extend a payment plan by six months. Every successful negotiation not only saves money, but builds confidence so you will continue to build the habit of asking.
  2. Put your ego aside. One of the main reasons people don’t ask in the first place, is because they are embarrassed that they will seem cheap. Believe me, it’s exactly the opposite. The most financially sound and savvy individuals are the ones who understand the concept of saving money where they can and negotiating for better deals and terms. Get over yourself and get negotiating.
  3. Know what you want going in. You will be a much stronger negotiator if you start with the end in mind. Know what your ideal scenario is for the deal or discount; and know what your hard line is. You may want to only pay $30,000 on a new car, but be willing to go up to $35,000. Have a clear understanding of what you want and hold firm. There is likely someone else who can offer the same product or service who is willing to negotiate.
  4. Find out what the other party needs. Sometimes, you have something you could offer in exchange to make the deal happen. If you want discounted pricing on a new software, you could give reviews or testimonials about the product. Even a small concession on your part could work in your favor for bigger discounts or better terms.

adam-and-kids-winterOne thing that is not negotiable – how you make people feel. Do not be a bully and keep it professional. The best negotiations end with both parties feeling like it was a win-win. You can be a tough, yet professional, negotiator. End the conversation and negotiation (no matter how down and dirty it gets) on a positive note. Assume that you will be back to negotiate another day or may need a favor in the future. People will not always remember what you say, or what you do, but they will remember how you made them feel.

Now, on to my toughest negotiation of the day. Bedtime for the little ones.

Happy Holidays! 

Are Private Offices and Closed Door Policies Making a Comeback?

Over the past year, one of my companies, BlackRock Construction, has been building a new Hergenrother Enterprises headquarters. We are in the home stretch and last week I gave a tour of our new office building to my team. Dry wall is up. Windows are going in. And painting starts in just a couple of weeks. The office building has it all – a mix of private and open offices, spacious conference rooms with great views, a state of the art training room, and gathering spots like an open lounge, patio, and break room.

Designing and modifying the office building has been a long, detailed process so my antennae is up when it comes to functional work spaces and productivity. I recently read an article that got me thinking about the shift from open, collaborative work spaces to more private and quiet offices. For the past several years, it’s been all about the open door and open office for open communication. But how has that effected productivity? Is working in a shared space really the best way to get shit done? I’ve started to see a shift from shared to private spaces – particularly for CEOs, business owners, and leadership team members. Where once they were lauded for taking down their door and sitting with the rest of the team, they are starting to move back behind closed doors. Why? Two main reasons: lost productivity and lack of confidentiality.

Let’s be honest. How productive is it really to sit in a room full of people to work? Now, there are exceptions to every rule. For example, 50 call center employees who all have noise cancelling headsets or 50 introverted programmers may be able to sit a room together with no decrease in productivity. However, the average office worker is interrupted every 11 minutes and it takes more than 23 minutes to refocus and resume working on the original project. That’s a lot of lost time for the employer and employee and can also cause undue stress. In fact, instead of promoting more interaction, a lot of these people who work in bull-pens have starting plugging in ear phones and putting up “do not disturb” signs on the sides of their cubes just to get a few minutes of uninterrupted time. The issue is exacerbated for leadership and CEOs. How can you be expected to run a company when you are accessible all the time to questions, interruptions, small talk, etc.? It’s just not effective.

The other challenge, particularly for leadership, with being in shared space is the issue of confidentiality. It is very difficult to have a phone call with another leadership team member about an employee’s performance, or about a new company policy, or even with the employee themselves, when every time you need to have those conversations, you’re hunched over at your desk whispering into the phone or having to find a conference room to pop into to have the conversion. Again, these open offices mean lost productivity and breaches of confidentiality, not to mention, it’s just plain awkward.

So how can you stay connected with your team and STILL get work done efficiently, effectively, and professionally? Take control of your space and time.

First, get a door and close it. When you are working on a project or you have a meeting – close the door and get to work. When you are available and open to drop-ins, open your door. Pretty simple, right? What will be more difficult is training your team to not interrupt when  your door is closed if that is what they are used to doing. Use your EA as a gatekeeper or put a sign on the door. Do whatever you have to do to protect your time.

Remember when your professor had “office hours”? Not a bad idea. You could let your team and company know when you have scheduled office hours and be open for unscheduled stop-bys. Believe me, far less people than you think will use it. Usually those time vampires who are stopping you in the hall or inviting you to get a cup of coffee are just looking for a distraction for themselves. I usually ask them to connect with my Chief of Staff to get on my calendar and you would be surprised how few people actually get in touch.

If you don’t like the idea of office hours, how about time blocking into your calendar certain days and times when you do a “walk around”? Those are short intervals of time that you control where you are getting the pulse of the organization and are open to the small talk and quick questions from your employees.

Of course, you should also be meeting strategically with your team members once a week with a clear focus. Cut down on wasted time for everyone. No one likes to go to meetings just to meet. Your entire company likely has a ton of projects on their plate. Set an example and keep your meetings short, to the point, and leave with clear action items and decisions made. Your team will thank you and start implementing their own tactics to protect their time. After all, most of us do want to go home at some point in the day.

An open door policy and shared offices spaces is idealistic, not realistic. The intention is admirable, but in practice it falls short. You don’t want to shut out your employees and sit alone on your throne in your ivory tower, but neither do you want your entire day to be filled with distractions. That is not how to run a company.

There is a way to keep your door closed and communication open and it starts by taking control of your time. Set boundaries and encourage your team to do the same. People respect people who understand the value of their own time – it is a sign that they have clear priorities and are on a mission. That is a leader that others want to follow, even if they have to knock first.




Simple, Singular Focus for Exponential Growth

Last week I spent five days in the woods, hunting in Kansas with my Dad. What an amazing time to reflect. Regardless of how  you feel about hunting, there is nothing like being in nature for days at a time without any distractions and limited cell phone service. Yeah, sure, sometimes it can get a little boring (and I had about 37 business ideas that I had no one to email about), but it’s that ability to have the emotional fitness to unplug and just be that matters.

bullseyeAnd it doesn’t get any more primal, more basic, or more simple than hunting. Humans have been hunting for more that 2 million years! When you hunt, you wake up, eat, and sit (and sit and sit) and wait for an animal to cross your path. You are singularly focused and it’s freeing. Your only job is to watch for deer and listen to the sounds of nature in the woods. The draw to hunting for many people is that simplicity. The saying “get back to nature” means just that, going back to a more simple way of living (even if it’s just temporary). In this world that we live in today, our minds need a break from constant stimulation from our phones, Netflix, emails, social media, etc. And no one feels it more than entrepreneurs and business owners. Seventy-five percent of the people at the outfitting company I was at last week were business owners; they were looking for that simplicity, a break from their fast-paced routine where there are constant demands on their time and energy.

When we’re at camp, we’re at camp. When we’re working on our business, we’re 100% focused there. It doesn’t help our family life or our business life if we are only half in. The very wise Ron Swanson (Parks & Recreation) really sums it up, “Never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.” Or, in the words of Gary Keller, “If you chase two rabbits, you won’t catch either one.” They’re right on. When your attention and energy is divided, how effective and efficient are you really being?

Now that I’m training for the Ironman, my focus is 100% there, which means I don’t have the desire to snowboard. For the first time in 20 years, I didn’t even buy a pass to the mountain. Not because I don’t love snowboarding, but because I am completely focused on the task at hand and have made the Ironman my priority.  I chose to keep it simple and eliminate distractions, which ultimately reinforces my focus and gives me even more clarity to say no to other things. The problem is that the majority of us say yes to whatever invitation or opportunity comes our way because we are not clear on who we are or where our life and career are going. It can actually cause a lot of stress and anxiety always trying to do more, keep up, and show up to things that aren’t necessarily in line with your long-term goals. So STOP! Bring it back to the basics. Evaluate what you want and then say no to everything else.

The Ironman is such a great example of this. Over the course of your year-long training you complete a histogram showing how much time you trained each week, your recovery weeks, and your completely insane training weeks. You see where you are going and the results show up. I’ve lost 12 lbs and am in better shape after two months of training that I have been in my entire life. When you put yourself into an environment of intense focus and clarity, amazing results will happen. What if you applied this same concept to the time you spend with your family or making your next hire in order to grow your business? What would your relationships look like? What would your business look like? How much would your life change?

The most successful people are those who are able to say no to everything coming at them and only say yes to those things that align with their goals. In fact, they purposefully eliminate any distractions (shiny marketing ideas, dinner invitations, new business ventures)  that don’t support their vision and goals for the future.

How often are you saying no? How can you implement the idea of “getting back to nature” in your life? Scale back to a more simple, singular focus, and watch your life grow exponentially.

Guest Blogger Jay Mitiguy: What Does Lifestyle Design Mean to You?

For those that have read and buy into Tim Ferriss’ book The 4 Hour Work Week, that may mean literally working 4 hours or less per week, traveling the world, sitting on a beach, and checking items off your bucket list.

For others, maybe it means that they still work 40+ hours per week, but at a job they enjoy and get satisfaction out of daily; better known as work/life harmony.

And still for others, it could be a combination of things. Some people get fulfillment through varying periods of work and play, just from the sheer shift in focus.

The point being, that I believe lifestyle design has become this mythical, one size fits all, Nirvana that everyone is working to achieve. It’s important to remember though, that we as humans experience different things in life, and have unique perspectives and beliefs because of those experiences.

So let me ask again – what is lifestyle design TO YOU?

jay-blogRather than focusing on the end goal, we should concentrate on the concepts that lifestyle design teaches us, directly or indirectly. For me, building a life of my own choosing, is what it means. A prime example is how I’ve approached my real estate investments. Back in 2009 (when I graduated from college with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan and credit card debt), I began seriously considering my long term financial future, and realized that I didn’t want to be chained to a job for the rest of my adult life. At that point, I made a decision to find a way to start buying investment properties. After a year of re-igniting my passion for real estate, I created a plan to acquire my first rental property. A couple years passed as I was building my plan, paying down my debt, networking, and educating myself, but I ultimately ended up having the opportunity to build my own home, which was not in my original blueprints.

I am not only thankful for that opportunity, but realized that my “luck” was paying off and I was going to be able to leverage this into something more than my own home. I had built relationships with executives of a local bank during this time and I’d have instant equity in my new home to use via a Home Equity Line Of Credit. With that HELOC, I found a duplex in St. Albans that cash-flowed enough to meet my minimum criteria, and made an offer. We negotiated for a couple of weeks, and I ultimately bought the place. It now puts $300+/mo in my pocket after all expenses (real or anticipated) are paid. After 12 months or so, I had the property reappraised, and refinanced it to buy a second and even larger property with a partner. I’ve done this several times now, and what started out as a $1,500 out of pocket expense to an appraiser and doc fees to close on my personal home, has snowballed into 7 figures worth of real estate that I own/control.

That is the power of knowing what you want, educating yourself in a way so that you can achieve it, then executing the plan and making tweaks along the way. The road hasn’t always been smooth, but the journey is what matters most. It’s what teaches us and provides the opportunities for each of us to grow and improve.

Why is that little story so important? Because that journey among many others are what make me HAPPY and provide FULFILLMENT in my life, all while working towards a long term financial goal. Like most people in this world, I suffer from undiagnosed ADD. My mind is constantly switching gears, changing focus, and finding new things to enjoy, be passionate about, and indulge in. One day I may think that sitting on a beach in Tahiti is the ideal dream, and the next day I’m in tune with my charitable side and want to donate all my time and money to those in true need. But that is me and me alone. Each and every one of us is different; we have different wants, different needs, different desires, and different goals to achieve.

Lifestyle design should be about understanding exactly what it is that makes you happy and fulfilled, at each stage in your life. It’s not the end goal of sitting on a beach sipping cocktails surrounded by supermodels. It’s about understanding who you are, and finding ways to achieve your highest levels of success, in all facets of your life.

What is it that makes you happy and feeling fulfilled? Is it building businesses? Volunteering at the local animal shelter? Maybe it truly is sitting on a beach drinking cocktails. Whatever it is, understand it, and make decisions in your life to support your progress in reaching those goals. No matter how stuck you feel, nobody is holding a gun to your head and saying you don’t have the freedom to make those choices. And if by chance, you’re in a position where you feel like someone is, then change your position.

vermont photographer

Jay Mitiguy – President of Dowling’s, Inc. 

After graduating from UNC-Wilmington, Jay joined his family’s enterprise at the ground floor, ultimately working his way up to President of Dowling’s. In 2016, at the height of their business, he led them through an acquisition with the second largest national distributor, and has since reignited his passion for investing in and selling commercial real estate.

Jay has a burning desire to help people realize their dreams through commercial real estate and business brokering. He is a believer in lifelong learning and strives to give back to the community in ways that will empower the youth and underprivileged to chase their dreams! 

Read more from Jay on his new blog: