Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sharpen the Saw: How do you sharpen your axe?

Been thinking alot lately about how to be more organized, more efficient and to live a more productive and effective life. With our baby now here time is even more precious. My life is no longer my own, but that's a good thing. Learing to effectively be a husband, a father, a follower of Christ, a business owner, a son, a brother, a friend and a super fit and strong man takes some serious discipline (at least if you want to do it right). Naturally, I am an idea man. I love ideas, I love to study and I love to meditate on biblical truths, ethics, morals and philosophy. The challenge is that reading something on paper is drastically different than ACTUALLY LIVING it out in your daily life. Hence my need to continually refine and reshape the way I do things and the way I plan.

This first month has been busy. I'm working more, planning more, and just doing more things. Much like any new parent, having a child tends to put life into the more SIGNIFICANT category and that makes me want to do things better now for the future of my family (wife and daughter). With my tendancy to be an "all or nothing" type of person, I'm either going 100% or I am relaxing, sleeping and resting. There is no in-between mode for me.

So I pulled out one of the best books ever written in my oppinion, Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. A masterpiece! The chaper that comes to mind for me at this stage in my life is the chapter "Sharpen the Saw." This chapter basically states Covey's principles of Balanced Self Renewal.

If you are in the personal training business or any other service business for that matter, you already know how demanding training clients can be due to the energy exchange between you and the client. As a trainer you cannot have an off day. You need to be at your best, happy, encouraging and ready to pour out your energy and love into that client to get them to do what they would not do on their own. That is why they come to us and that is why we can make a living doing what we love to do. The challenge for me lies in the fact that I tend to push, push and PUSH until I get sick. The good news is that I am learning and have learned alot last year about how to take care of myself.

Last year for me was tough: parasite in my spleen, shingles, 5 or 6 sinus infections, the flu, and high blood sugar levels. I got healthier by cancelling my night classes so I could get home earlier and by upping my hours of sleep. Of course eliminating sugar was probably equally as helpful. The bottom line is that we all need to learn how to continually renew ourselves and stay healthy. Much like the man in the forest who is cutting down the tree with a dull axe, he will eventually burn out, get sick and bear little fruit in his tree cutting efforts. If he knew that if he took the time to sharpen his axe, he would expend much less energy and triple his productivity by that simple act alone. We really do need to set aside time to re-sharpen the blade!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My Axe Sharpening Principles : PHYSICAL / MENTAL / SOCIAL / SPIRITUAL

1) Get to sleep by 10pm at the latest. This one habits has kept my immune system nice and strong. As soon as I break this rule my health goes down the tubes.

2) Don't work late more than one night a week. This was hard for me initially because I hate turning down work. But feeling healthy is better than having a couple of extra dollars in the bank.

3) Eat real foods (as often as I can). This is a no brainer. Real foods are what God designed for the body. Supplements are great as long as they are whole foods based and contain real food. Water.............well.......isn't that obvious!

4) Take 2 to 3 vacations per year. This is huge for me and Yoana. Now with Marianna here we will definitely want to expose our daughter (and ourselves) to beautiful and interesting places. This year we have already decided to go to San Francisco (we have never been), Hawaii (Kona) and New York City. For us getting away renews our spirits, gives us a chance to rest, and exposes us to new cultures, new foods and new friends.

5) Read and Study and then teach what I have learned. When I stop reading and studying I can sense an immediate boredom and dullness in my approach to work and life. Maybe it's the teacher in me but learning energizes me and excites me. And then TEACHING what I am learning is the ultimate AXE Sharpener as it makes me learn how to do what I do more effective and more efficiently.

6) Pray..............a day without prayer is a lost day for me. I honestly don't know how people get through life without praying

7) Saying no to meanningless things! I have learned to say no to things that really don't matter and to give up activities and habits that have no beneficial impact in my life.

8) Focusing on less! This is huge. I gave up Golf for now because it was too time consuming and was not gving me enough time with Yoana. Giving it up was liberating and freed up a lot of time!

9) Listening to good music! I think we can all relate to this one!

10) Exercising (including strething). Although my exercise sessions have to be very low volume because I'm basically training all day (at least in teaching my clients movement).

For sure some of you will have other ways to sharpen your saw and regenerate yourself. After all, if we don't renew ourselves continually we have much less of ourselves to give to others. How do you sharpen yourself mentally, emotionally (socially), Physically, and Spiritually?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Reflections from a new parent (12 days)

"Hey Mom! Do you really think it's a good idea that I be eating pizza at such a young age? I mean aren't you and daddy supposed to be trainers and be healthy and stuff?"

Marianna is 12 days old today and Yoana and I are so happy to have her home with us. Yoana and Marianna are both doing well. Of course Yoana is big time sleep deprived but slowly and surely they are learning how to harmoniously work together and keep the feedings consistent. As a brand new parent, here are some observations I have on babies, parenthood and life in general.

1)I should have bought stock in diapers and wipes. It is amazing and alarming to see the quantity of diapers and wipes we use daily. Our friends and clients keep asking us what else we need, and the reality is that our clients, family and friends have already been so generous in giving everything that we need for Marianna. But when it comes to diapers and wipes, you can never have enough....never!!!

2) Holding your infant baby on your chest, skin to skin, is just about the coolest thing I have ever done. Life just makes sense when her tiny little heart beat is beating on my chest asleep like a little angel. Yoana and I have both found this position to be one of the best parts of our day.

3)Freedom and Options are essential! I thank God every day that I own my own business and work for myself. The amount of freedom and choices you have allows you to balance family life very well. That doesn't mean you don't work hard, quite the contrary. When you own your own business, you work harder in some ways but much smarter in other ways. I arrange my training schedule with clients so I am able to go home for hours during the day and help out with the baby.

4) Your motivation and priorities become stronger. The day Marianna was born I became I different person. Life has more meaning and you realize that every decision you make has a profound effect on your whole family. Your life is not about you any more and that's okay. You actually get a new strength and new energy fueled by your new family. The only thing I can say is that it feels "super natural" and God gives you the power and strength to do things you could have never done. Truly miraculous!

5) The Future becomes more important. That's not to say that living in the present is not important. The present is all we have. What I am saying is that you immediately, instantaneously develop a sense of urgency about getting things done and planning for the future. You look years ahead into the future to see what challenges might arise and this in my case changes my actions and behavior today. Is this a good thing? I think so. It forces you to take some things more seriously (creating family values, family traditions, finances, future college fund, trips, education, housing) and it also forces you to take some things less seriously (stress, anxiety, frivalous activities, negative people, expectations from others, keeping up with the Jonses mentality).

6) Meekness and Humility. Focusing on a baby and less on yourself really is a blessing and does bring joy. I wonder how many depressed people are instead just suffering from an intense focus on themselves. I know for myself I am most bummed, stressed and depressed when I focus on myself too much. Their is no joy in that. There is SO MUCH JOY with a newborn because it forces you to get away from selfish introspection and focus on them.

7) Having a baby open her eyes and look at you is UNREAL!!!!!!
Seeing deep into the eyes of a baby is mysterious yet mesmerizing. To see a life so pure, so innocent, so fresh with potential puts things into perspective really fast. Any parent will agree with me and understand this.
I haven't done too much. Pistols and handstand push ups against the wall have been my daily routine, GTG style. I also deadlifted on Monday, got up to 315 just to see where I was at. A long cry from my 415 a couple of years ago. Also have been doing some RKC snatch tests as conditioning (30 + 30). That's about if for training. My goal of running some track meets this month and in February are probably shot for now as I need to be around on the weekends to help Yoana (obviously). More than likely April will be my first meet: UCSD Invitational.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Our Baby Girl is here!!!!!!!

Happy New Year to everyone!

With great pleasure we announce the birth of our baby girl Marianna Teran Snideman.
She was born Saturday December 29 at 9:23pm. She weighed 7.2 ounces and was 19 ¼ inches in length. And of course she is gorgeous!

The whole experience was by far the coolest experience of my life. All I can say is that I have a lot more respect for what women go through and I appreciate more what my parents went through bringing me and my siblings into this world!

Yoana did an AMAZING job. After seeing her go through those contractions for hours (brutal to say the least), it was encouraging to see that the baby was ready to come out. I am more convinced now than I was before of the need for high intensity strength training for women. When it came time to push Yoana’s strength and fitness levels kicked into high gear. It pays off to be super strong and super fit!!!!

The emotions are overwhelming. Every feeling a human being can experience is magnified times 1000 when you see and touch and hear your little child for the first time. At first you’re in shock, then awe and then in a bit of panic kicks in. Can I do this? Do I have what it takes? What if I mess up? Thoughts I’m sure most parents have. But the doubts slowly start to melt away when you hold your little baby and she looks in you in the eyes. Life starts to makes sense and immediately, instantaneously, life becomes more important and significant in a way that could only be described as supernatural. Those of you who are parents will understand.

And so we start our journey into parenthood I would ask that all of you would pray that Marianna would be very healthy and that God would give Yoana and I wisdom as parents.

Blessings to all!

Franz, Yoana, Marianna