Friday, January 2, 2015

My Year in Review-2014!

It's that time of the year again! The first of January and everyone is looking at the upcoming year with new resolutions, goals, and life changes.

Before I look forward to where I want to go, I like to look back and reflect on the things I've accomplished. All too often I think that we don't take the time to celebrate personal accomplishments, goals we've achieved, and to be grateful for the things we have. I know I'm guilty of this, as I'm sure many of you reading this are as well. If we don't do this periodically it becomes easy to take things for granted.

Personal Accomplishments

I started this past year out training for the 2014 Punch Gym Sarasota Kettlebell Sport Championships where I hit a personal record, and won my division in the long cycle (clean and jerk) event as well as the best lifter long cycle overall. After that I switched gears and after 7 years off, began training for a powerlifting meet. I competed in Austin, TX in July at the Naturally Fit Games as a member of Team Plantbuilt (more on that later) in the deadlift-only event and added a 1st place medal to Plantbuilt's massive pile of 1st, 2nd and 3rd place trophies! Click here to read my review of the competition with Team Plantbuilt!

In addition to these strength competitions I continued my study of meditation, qigong and Taijiquan by getting deeper into Chen style Taiji and furthering my practice of Taiji sword forms. I have been studying these practices for over 3 years now, and the further I get into them the more I realize that these are never mastered but are rather life long pursuits of self cultivation.

Business Accomplishments

I continued to expand in my personal business by adding clients to both my in-person and online training and consulting programs, as well as continued to teach small group workshops in various training disciplines throughout the year. I had two interns work with me this past year and completed a study course in holistic fitness.

I was interviewed for 4 different internet radio shows / podcasts and interviewed for numerous magazines and print publications. Click here to listen to my interview on Mike Mahler's Live Life Aggressively podcast!

In November I hosted the AKA Georgia State Kettlebell Sport Championship with my friend Gary Schofield, and in December I co-hosted the 2014 Georgia's Fittest Badass All-Around Strength Competition with my friend and colleague Delaine Ross.

In January of 2014 one of my business partners Hugh Kinney and I travelled to the PGA Show in Orlando, FL to officially launch Elevated Performance Golf (EP Golf), our online golf fitness and performance resource, a free site with member-gate option as well.

2014 also saw the completion of an experiment I started with recording artist of the hip hop duo dead prez. Along with the help of Stic's wife, Afya a holistic nutritionist, we helped Stic accomplish his goal of building 20 lbs. of muscle on a 100% plant-based diet. No pills, powders, supplements, or drugs. Just a whole food, plant-based diet and lifting heavy iron! We all wrote a book documenting this called, "Eat Plants, Lift Iron" which is completed and going to print as I type this and will be available very soon! The Eat Plants, Lift Iron concept is slowly evolving into a brand and side-business for the three of us as well. Click here to check out our first run of Eat Plants, Lift Iron shirts!

Charitable Accomplishments

Over the years I've learned that the greatest accomplishment is in giving back. As huge advocates of animal welfare, my wife and I regularly volunteer for and donate to a wide variety of animal rights and welfare organizations. In addition to this, I have always wanted to be in a position to do more, so I started my own project called Plant-Based Performance.

Through Plant-Based Performance, and the help of the 40+ Plant-Based Performance team members, we have launched two books, "A Compassionate Approach to Health & Fitness" and "Know Your Own Strength" which in 2014 between the two have raised over $1,800.00 for Mercy For Animals, The Animal Legal Defense Fund, and Forgotten Animals Rescue. The books will continue to generate revenue for these great organizations as long as I keep the books in print, which will be for a very long time! Click here to help us support these awesome animal welfare organizations!

In addition to personal volunteering and donations, and the work from Plant-Based Performance, I was invited to join Team Plantbuilt early in 2014. Team Plantbuilt is a group of vegan bodybuilders & physique athletes, powerlifters, crossfitters, and now kettlebell sport athletes that raise awareness and money for vegan outreach and animal welfare organizations. In 2014 we raised over $40,000 for our non-profits, vegan outreach, and animal rights organizations! In 2014 I was part of the powerlifting team and in 2015 I was asked to be the captain of the newly formed kettlebell sport team. We will be back in Austin, TX competing at the Naturally Fit Games in June! Click here to learn more about Team Plantbuilt.

What's in Store for 2015?

I'm not really a "resolution setter" but I always make goals for the upcoming year. For 2015 I plan to continue to be active in animal rights and welfare through continuing to donate on a personal level, and through promoting the projects we've done through Plant-Based Performance. In addition 2015 will be a big year for Team Plantbuilt as we will be raising more money to donate to non-profits, vegan outreach, and animal welfare organizations.

I plan to compete in both kettlebell sport and powerlifting meets to continue to challenge myself, but - and maybe this is because 2015 will mark my 40th year in this lifetime - I plan to put a greater emphasis on meditation and qigong practice. In addition I will push flexibility and mobility work harder and get back to a cleaner diet. As of 1/1/15 I have been vegan for the past two years (vegetarian since April of 2010) but last year I allowed myself to overdo the junk food a little too much!

I plan to continue to grow my businesses and provide my clients with the best possible information on sport performance enhancement, health, and fitness.

2015 will no doubt be another amazing year for me, just as 2014 was, and I hope it's a great year for you!

If I can be of any help with your personal health, fitness or training goals don't hesitate to ask!

I wish you nothing but health, happiness and abundance in 2015!