Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Future of Trinity Training Group?

We have changed our path over the past year. While there are no new posts being added to this site, we still find there is a tremendous amount of visitor traffic. With that, we are keeping the site up but not answering any comments or questions.
So what is the real future of TTG? Not much. We still love pushing ourselves beyond our limits, just not blogging about it! Haha.
Please use the search bar in the right column to find something of value to help in your quest towards peak functional physical fitness!
Best wishes,
Lou Hayes, Jr.

Monday, February 20, 2012

EVENT: MALTZ Challenge 2012

Click to enlarge this photo flyer.

No need to repeat the info. Just click on the above image for the details. As last year, the DEA's 2012 Chicago Field Division event will be at CrossFit Darien in Woodridge, Illinois.

Click here for my post for preparation ideas.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

EVENT: Intro to CrossFit for Law Enforcement

The Illinois Tactical Officers Association has paired up with Chicagoland's CrossFit Darien (Darien-Woodridge Illinois) for this event.  Many of you readers know I am one of the elected directors of the ITOA. I also sit on its Physical Skills Committee that oversees control tactics, combat fighting, and physical fitness training. The Physical Skills Committee is hosting a beginner class for those law enforcement officers interested in learning more about the CrossFit strength and conditioning system.

  • Intro to CrossFit for LEOs
  • Sat, Jan 21st, 2012. 9a-3p.
  • CrossFit Darien, 8102 Lemont Rd, Woodridge, IL
  • Event flyer: Click here.

I will be moderating the seminar and will also be one of the presenters. The hands-on portions of the class will be led by certified and experienced CrossFit trainers - WHO ARE ALSO ACTIVE CAREER POLICE OFFICERS AND SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES.

Because all the presenters and trainers are volunteering their time for this event, the price is extremely low: $25 for ITOA members ($65 for non-ITOA members, includes a one-year ITOA membership).

If you've been considering starting CrossFit, this is the opportunity.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Hard Routine 2011 - Winners and Quitters

So The Hard Routine 2011 comes to a close today. If you are expecting me to write about everyone is winner, then you have a surprise ahead...

The Hard Routine had all sorts of participants, each with his or her own goals or "rules." That's what I appreciate most about the campaign - everyone sets out on their own path!  Some wanted to eat better. Some changed things up with a new exercise routine. Some needed some tweaking, while others  required nothing less than a complete transformation. The Hard Routine for some translated into very small changes, as they may have already been living relatively clean lives. For others, it may have been better to call it The Impossible Routine.

I'm so proud of those of you who have contacted me with your success stories. You have all motivated me in unique ways. Please keep up the great progress. Some of you are with me through December on an extension of the campaign. Let's hit the New Year with some serious fitness, health, and wellness!!

There are a couple groups I'd like to separate everyone into: Winners and Quitters.

Here's to the Winners: The winners are those who set out with a challenging set of rules. They put some serious thought into what lifestyle changes would help them in their journey toward fitness, health, and wellness. They printed out and signed their Personal Commitment Contracts, and posted them at their desk at work or on the fridge at home. The winners dragged friends and family into The Hard Routine for support and encouragement. Winners posted photos of themselves, sent out email updates, and used their "support groups" to talk about successes, temptations, and stumbles. Some of the winners even changed course midway through The Hard Routine, re-navigating towards something new and adjusted.  Winners pushed away those all-too-easy poor food choices and made tough but deliberate decisions to exercise. Winners have been looking forward to December 1st for two months now. They've thought about some huge pasta dinner, or can of soda pop, or gargantuan slice of chocolate cake - and you deserve it for all your HARD work this campaign. Winners saw The Hard Routine through to the end and will make lasting changes to their lives.

Here's to the Quitters: There are many types of quitters in this campaign. The first type are those who had no real interest in The Hard Routine to begin with. They may have responded to a Facebook event invitation with "Attending" or replied to my emails simply to humor me or to feel included. Maybe I should have been more blunt in the beginning: I don't care if you participate or not. I'm not the one who looks in YOUR mirror each morning. But I do know that there are those of you who responded as participants who did absolutely nothing. Then again, maybe you're not a quitter - that just makes you a liar seeking the approval of others. Moving on.... Then there are those quitters who signed Personal Commitment Contracts with the best of intentions. But somewhere along the way, the only times these folks thought about The Hard Routine was when they found a nagging email update from me in their inbox.  Quitters grabbed that guilty beer with friends, ordered the french fries, and slept in rather than exercise. The quitters didn't let me down; they let themselves down. (And sadly, most of them won't even read this message when it gets delivered to their email accounts.)

So, are you a winner or a quitter? I don't think you'll really need to spend much time on the answer. If this post pissed you off -- you're a quitter. Only an angry quitter would find themselves being described in the above rant.

Quitting is alright. You see, you make life for the rest of us easier.....in careers, in sports, in social settings, in school, in hobbies, in interests, in EVERYTHING. While I'd prefer competing for promotions, athletic victories, and good grades against the best competition available, I'll happily accept going against those who quit. It actually makes success for me easier. On days when I stumble or fail, even my marginal and lack-luster performances are better than those of quitters. Simply put, your quitting makes me look better. And I thank you for that. It reminds me that hard work wins out. Always.

Some last words for you quitters: Next time you are passed up for a promotion at work, or fail to get a job offer, or lose a sports game, or keep smoking cigarettes, or don't finish a book you started, or can't fit into that pair of jeans, or need to loosen up that belt - just remember that this most recent expression of loss isn't your first experience at losing. You are a quitter which means you've become somewhat of an expert at failing.  And somewhere, someone is appreciative that their competition wasn't challenging enough.  The good news is that you can always get back into it and finish up. You can start over. You can commit to a new attitude of winning. It's up to you. No one else.

Go ahead. Look into my past to see when I have quit at something. At anything. At any time. Ever.  I may not have always been the first to the finish line, but I did cross it everytime.....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

EVENT: "Below 100" Kettlebell Challenge

The Below 100 Initiative was pioneered by Law Officer magazine to reduce the number of annual law enforcement officer line-of-duty deaths to under one-hundred. There haven't been fewer than 100 LEO deaths in a year in the US in 65 years. To bring awareness to this excellent program, we are advertising an event to be held during the Illinois Tactical Officers Association's 24th Annual Conference in November 2011 at the host hotel (link). Here is the plan:

Donate at least $5 to the Below 100 Initiative fund (Checks made out to "Below 100").
Complete 100 "ground-to-overhead-anyhow" with a kettlebell, as fast as you can.
Top three times will be posted for the following categories:
  • Open (everyone, using 35#KB)
  • Masters (50 years of age and older, using 25#KB)
  • Women (using 25#KB)
Winners will get bragging rights. We're working on donations from various vendors and companies for top performers. Shirts? Police Equipment? Restaurant gift certificates? If any of you are vendors or sales reps, please consider helping out this excellent cause. 

Not attending the ITOA Annual Conference? We'll find a way to get you involved. We're always looking for volunteers, especially when we run an event like this -- rep counters, money collectors, participant motivators, etc. If you are from out of town, start a Below 100 Kettlebell Challenge event in your area and make donations to the newly established fund.

What is a "ground-to-overhead-anyhow?" The G2OA requires exactly what the name infers -- the participant takes the KB from the ground (between the feet), grips the handle with one hand, and lifts it any way s/he chooses into a fully upright and locked position overhead. The KB must touch or tap the ground on each repetition. The participant changes hands as frequently or infrequently as desired. What are some of the techniques? Snatch, clean-and-press, clean-and jerk...but the names of the movements aren't important. Most participants use a variation or blending of all.

How'd we pick the 35#KB, the G2OA, and the 100 repetitions? Police Officers, when in physical struggles, fights, or foot chases with criminals, need "burst energy." Typical cardiovascular and weight training does not adequately prepare the human energy systems for these short and intense bursts. We mix the 35# load (or 25#), the G2OA human movement pattern, and relatively short time duration (about 5 to 6 minutes for most participants) as a standard training tool. The 100 repetitions account for the goal of less than 100 LEO deaths per year.

How can I best prepare for this event? Well that depends which "event" you are talking about? If you are talking about that life-and-death struggle, then a well-rounded functional fitness program is the answer. But if you are referring to the Below 100 Kettlebell Challenge, then the plan is more specific. Start by using a 25-35# dumbbell or kettlebell and learn how your body most efficiently moves it from the ground to overhead. Then do it faster and faster. Learn a pace and intensity that allows you to last until the 100th repetition.

We hope to see you at the ITOA's 24th Annual Conference in November. Please find us to knock out your 100 repetitions!

And find the event on Facebook here. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Taking the next step toward Functionalism

There are those who describe workouts based on MUSCLES and those who describe workouts based on MOVEMENTS. How can you tell who is who? It's quite obvious actually. If you hear someone list body parts when they talk about their exercise session - they align themselves in the "Muscles Camp." If someone talks in terms of Pulling, Pushing, Trunk Extension, Squatting, Lunging -- then you have a Functionalist in the "Movements Camp."

It's been more than five years since I abandoned the "Muscles Camp" for something better. (You can read about my journey in either the Illinois Tactical Officers Association's ITOA News "Get Functional" or the CrossFit Jounnal's "SWAT Shapes Up.")  That something better began with Firefighter Jim demonstrating a couple of exercises with his kettlebell. I was immediately hooked. From that day on, I completely ignored everything I thought I knew about fitness, weightlifting, and cardio-respiratory endurance.

My transformation from that day with the kettlebell revolutionized my approach to physical training. My quick switch is definitely an anomaly. It's probably a little unrealistic to expect the same epiphany within those who haven't quite made the commitment to functional fitness. Most of those I know who have flipped sides towards functionalism have done so after gentle prodding, convincing persuasion, and endless pokes. So here are a few more pokes....

I'm going to list a bunch of "Muscles" movements and then list some "Movements" counterparts or substitutions.  Keep in mind that we functionalists don't worry about what muscles or body parts are used in many of the exercises, as most are multi-joint-multi-planar moves that cannot be simplified by isolated body parts. If you will not trust the intensity of the programs, at least try these movements for a few weeks. If you don't know them by name, then search this blog for a video or tutorial. If you don't find it here, it'll surely be on YouTube.

STOP: Situps, Crunches, Abdominal Isometrics. START: Hanging-Knees-to-Elbows (HK2E), Toes-to-Bar (T2B), L-sits.

STOP: Curls of all kinds, Lat Pull Downs, cable rows. START: Pullups, ChinUps, Inverted Rows. Then weighted pullups!

STOP: Shrugs, Upright rows. START: Farmers Walk, Power Cleans. Sumo Deadlift High Pulls (SDLHP).

STOP: Triceps work of all kinds. START: Dips, Ring Dips.

STOP: Bench pressing, dumbbell benching, butterflies. START: Pushups, Ring pushups, Plyo pushups.

STOP: Leg press, Leg sled, Leg extensions, Leg curls. START: Air squats, Back squats, Walking lunges, Kettlebell lunges.

STOP: Military press, Shoulder raises. START: Standing Push Press. Push Jerks. Clean-and-Press.

STOP: Stationary bike, Elliptical machine. START: VersaClimber, Concept2 rowing machine.

STOP: Complaining, Bitching, Making excuses. START: Deadlifts, Turkish GetUps, Back Extensions, Burpees.

I concede it is best to learn these starter movements without the added burden of sucking wind in a blistering circuit. Instead, first practice these exercises alone -- and focus on maximizing Range of Motion.  Scale or adjust them so you can operate in the full ROM. Each of these movements can be adjusted to account for whatever you want out of your workout program. For example, add weight until you can only perform three to five repetitions if you are looking for strength. Add more weight until only one rep is possible for power. Subtract weight and do a ton of reps without rest if you want to build stamina or cardio-respiratory endurance.

Whatever your physical fitness goals are, you will not be disappointed if you try some of these new exercises. I promise you that a MOVEMENTS approach is more efficient and more effective than a MUSCLES approach. I make the same argument if you are looking to drop your marathon time, increase your 100m sprint speed, gain muscle size, lose fat, jump higher, or (as George Demetriou says) "look better in a t-shirt." I'm not saying this is a cookie-cutter approach. To attain those listed goals, there are different ways to program in those exercises -- but the differences are in weight/load, reps, rest, intensity, and duration.

The MOVEMENTS are the same whether you are a grandma or a Navy SEAL.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Hard Routine 2011

By request, THE HARD ROUTINE is back in 2011. We ran the same fitness, health, and wellness campaign back in Fall 2009 and 2010, during the same two months. We'll be back at it this year too!
  • What is The Hard Routine? In a nutshell: It's a two-month campaign that jump starts positive behaviors in the areas of physical fitness and diet/nutrition. This is an online group that you commit to. There is no set program. YOU set the rules based on YOUR goals and needs. YOU sign a contract with yourself. I send out periodic email updates, some of which include YOUR testimony if you wish to share with the group. (Some of the stories are really inspirational!) Your email address and name remains private (except to me).
  • Basics: So here is what OUR Hard Routine is all about. Pick some clearly defined behavior and habit changes within both DIET and ACTIVITY categories. Some of the changes will be to add certain foods and activities, and some changes will be to abstain from certain ones. It's completely up to YOU to make those rules and guidelines. I will be here to make some suggestions and help you articulate to YOURSELF what your rules might look like be based on your current lifestyle and body type.
  • Why a formalized campaign? Because doing this by yourself is a real bitch. Doing this alongside a spouse, coworkers, friends, or family creates a postive support network to make healthier decisions TOGETHER for the two months. "Hey Joe, you want pizza?""No, how about grilled chicken instead." "Yeah, you're right....sounds better." Even if your support group is merely online or through emails, it holds you more accountable than going at it alone. Shared hardships.
  • Why a specific two-month session? Because goal-oriented training and conditioning must be related to a TIME or an end date. There is a light at the end of this tunnel, and it is December 1st! On December 1st, we each can re-evaluate what went good and where we need improvement. We can probably all make difficult decisions regarding food and activity for two months....right? Is this crash diet? Keep reading....
  • Should I keep a journal? Absolutely!! Keeping tabs on your food and your activity holds one more accountable. It can be as detailed as you are willing to make it...but keep it realistic. If weighing your food on a kitchen scale is your plan, that's a big commitment. Maybe tallying calories is even too much. Also, keep a log of your workouts. It keeps us all honest, and tracks progress too.
  • Who participates? Well last year we had folks from ALL walks of life. The largest group by far was police officers. But we had grandmothers, housewives, military members, corporate businessmen, and everything in between. Health and wellness knows no bounds.
How did this start? I read an article called The Hard Routine by Jason Dougherty. Some of his points are as follows:
  1. Recognize that there is a benefit to not getting everything you want.
  2. Understand that mental toughness is born of adversity; that it will atrophy if not constantly engaged; and that it carries over to everything you do.
  3. Objectively scrutinize one or a handful of things in your life that you think you need but could actually do without.
  4. Deny yourself those exact things for a specified period of time.
I took his points to heart and suggested to some friends that we try some "hard living" for a few months. It turned into The Hard Routine 2009. We had a group of nearly 120 participants. Last year, we ran it again with the same great results.

  • What are the physical workouts? You decide. They are whatever you want them to be. For some of you, you are already doing some terrific exercise sessions. For others, you need to get off the couch. I can point you in the right direction. Some of you might start out by walking 30 minutes each day. Others might commit to a more strenuous workout program. I don't recommend joining a gym for this! Let's begin slowly if you are relatively inactive now.
  • I need workout ideas. We have plenty of ideas based on YOUR goals and needs. Maybe you need strength workouts. Maybe you need cardio workouts. Maybe you need a beginner workout that is easy to follow. Maybe you have access to a gym or health club, or maybe you need to do the workouts at home. I will help you along based on what your physical needs are, as well as what equipment you have access to. Maybe the Prison Workouts (without kettlebell and with kettlebell) are a good start?? For some, walking a certain number of hours or miles each week is a great beginning.
  • I have no idea where to start regarding workouts. I'll help you. Just ask. Don't let that keep you from participating. No one is too far out of shape to begin. Sitting on the couch is a one way street...getting fatter and more out of shape!
  • I'm a woman and don't want to get bulky muscles. Many women are under a wrong impression that weight training produces bulky muscles. That is false. Women need weight training moreso than men. It would take a tremendous amount of serious weightlifting and protein supplements to get bulky. Likewise, the words "toned" or "toning" exercises are also false. There are only two ways to get so-called "toned." You must gain muscle, and lose the fat that surrounds those muscles. Weightlifting for women is a virtual MUST.
  • I have a big butt/tummy/thighs. What should I do? Well, first off, there is a rumor that situps or ab workouts will flatten a flabby tummy. That is called "spot reduction." It's the thought that the ThighMaster gives you thinner thighs. It too is false. To get thinner thighs, you must lose the fat that has settled there. We each have a genetically predetermined place that our fat settles. For me, it's the "spare tire." For many women, it's "grandma arms" or "thunder thighs." If you attempt to target those specific areas, you will find it discouraging...it doesn't work. Never has....never will.
  • What is the diet? We each have different eating downfalls. For me, it's ice cream and baked potatoes. Healthy eating choices are critical to making body changes. The diet is what you make it. For me, I'm avoiding alcohol, ice cream, sweets, and chocolate all together. I am limiting starches such as pasta, pizza, and potatoes to only a few meals per week. I will also limit bread and fried food intake. I am also making efforts to add leafy vegetables and nuts every day. But those are MY rules. You need to come up with your own! I'll help you. Last year, one of our participants said "NO" to all fried foods. He was really surprised to see how much of restaurant food is fried, especially appetizers!
  • This sounds like "crash dieting." Well it is, in a way. Strict dietary rules aren't a way to live your life forever, and certainly not love your life. However, after a couple of months of structured living, maybe keeping a moderate lifestyle will be easier for a bit longer. I'm only asking for two months!
If this is something you'd like to join, please email me at louis.hayes@comcast.net to be added to the email list (blind carbon copy). There will be plenty of email updates once October 1st hits. Until then, check back often! And check some of the posts from last season's campaign here.

Lastly, there is a Facebook "event" created for the campaign. Invite others to participate and share in your hardship this Fall.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Athleticism and Technical Exercise Movements

Athleticism is a hard-to-articulate term. EndZone Athletics (Washington, US) does a great job at writing about athleticism:
Athleticism can be defined as, "the ability to use a variety of motor abilities (strength, power, speed, agility, coordination, stability, balance, etc.) to effectively and efficiently perform a wide variety of sporting actions." Less complicated than it sounds, this definition simply means that being a great athlete requires possessing a variety of athletic qualities (motor abilities) and being able to use them effectively to perform sporting actions. Although specific "sporting actions" are different for each particular sport, most sports also have many common sporting actions required such as sprinting, changing direction, and jumping. The difference between an average athlete and a great athlete is the ability to perform these things effectively, efficiently, and consistently. 
One of the many benefits of functional fitness (specifically CrossFit), is that proper programming develops athleticism in its participants.

Programming includes the scheduling, selection of movements, formatting, repetition or round count, weight/load selection, and combining of exercises into a structured PROGRAM. Good programming is not randomized, though it can appear so. It does however, demonstrate variety.  Among DynaMax's ten listed traits of physical fitness (cardio-respiratory endurance, power, speed, strength, stamina, balance, agility, coordination, accuracy, flexibility), some are definitely more "athletic" than others.  These are the neurological traits: balance, agility, coordination, accuracy, speed. Other athlectic traits not listed by DynaMax include: stability, rhythm,  and reaction. (For more on these skills, read What is Fitness.)

The following are some of the exercises and movements I believe to develop broad athleticism. They make extra demands on the neurological system, not just the physical makeup of the musculature. These movements cannot be completed simply by brute strength or endurance. They require a technical aspect.
Do all of these movements on a regular basis, even though some do not fit the CrossFit tests of <Measurable-Observable-Repeatable> nor the <Large loads, Long distances, Quickly>.  At hte very minimum, do some during warmup sessions. These above listed movements and exercises cause neurological adaptations, honing the athletic traits of balance, accuracy, agility, coordination, and accuracy.  You will feel more "athletic" as you edge closer and closer to perfection with these drills.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


With the acquisition of a new lighter 360# tire for our guys and gals, I should post some educational videos. Keep in mind the largest of the three tires still tips the scales at 505#. The ambulance tire is only ~150# and is a great depth gauge for air squats and wall balls.

What exercises pair up nicely with flipping? Any trunk flexion movement: situps, HK2E, sledge hammer strikes, chopping wood. Battling ropes/firehose. Wallballs. Overhead presses. Pushups. Ring Dips.

What to avoid during a flipping workout? Deadlifts. Lunges. Power Cleans. Snatches. Front Squats.

For more on tire flipping, you can always click the label TIRES.

Flip away. Everyone is doing it!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tweaks, Turns, and Transformations

Am I the person I want to be? Do I live the way I want to live? Am I proud of how I treat others?

Admittedly, a considerable amount of my waking time is exhausted contemplating these questions. This past week, a refreshing encounter challenged me to rethink my comfortable answers.

I went back and read an old essay Weeding the Garden as I took some personal inventory. Three years ago, I wrote it as a reminder to analyze my daily and weekly activities for waste and unproductiveness -- and then rid life of those behaviors. (I recommend you read the post, if you haven't already.) For me, Weeding the Garden confronted time mis-management. I had consistently wasted hours in unproductive ways. During my re-read tonight however, I saw something else in it -- Idealism.

What is Idealism? It's a belief in a state of flawlessness rather than reality. For CrossFitters, the ideal of fitness is an athlete perfectly balanced across an endless list of physical skills. Dieters might reflect on Michelangelo's David or a magazine supermodel as their ideal. For Christians, the ideal human life is Jesus Christ. For most any hobby, interest, career, marriage, or thought -- there is a pedestal that comes to mind. It's a materialization of perfection; Conceptualized, yet unattainable.

Turn back the clock a few years. Recall what you deemed as being "ideal" back then. Are you who you thought you'd be? Are you doing what you thought you'd be doing? Are you living how you wanted to live? I'd argue that everyone maintains a constantly evolving image of what is "ideal" - in life, love, career, happiness, finances, or whatever interests you. But the real question isn't whether or not you are closer to yesterday's version of "ideal." It's whether or not you are closing in on TODAY's version!

So what is your today's version of ideal? If you had it your way, who would you be? What would you be doing? Who would you be with? Then you must answer a dreaded question: What changes in your life will help you reach your ideal existence? Some obstacles, problems, and issues are more identifiable than others.
  • Maybe the first obvious answers are something cosmetically simple like: "I need to lose fifteen pounds," or "Watch less television," or "Clean my garage." (Some relatively minor adjustments to daily life.)
  • Maybe the answers are more difficult: "I really need to quit smoking," or "Save money for an entrepreneurial dream," or "Go to college to finish a degree." (No, Mom. This doesn't mean I'm going back to school!)
  • Maybe the answers require a complete change: "Finalize a marital divorce," or "Stop sexual promiscuity," or "Join drug rehab," or "Make amends with a discarded friend." (Sounds like an hour's list of my advice during last night's patrol shift!)
Some aspects of life are more easily changed than others. It's clearly more difficult to confront a rocky marriage than it is to break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. The risks of changing careers is more palatable when you are single instead of having a spouse and children to feed. Starting a savings account is insurmountable when faced with compounding debt. Even old sinful habits continually tempt those with a commitment to Christ. I am not trivializing these tweaks, turns, or transformations. Some barriers to living an idealized life require nothing short of a complete turnabout. But the effort is well worth it. And I argue that NOTHING is impossible. I didn't say it would be easy; I said it would be worth it!

One big change of mine has been an adoption of a more old fashioned approach to life - filled with timeless ideals from centuries ago. These historical principles are just as true today as any time, regardless of popular trend, fashion, technology, or politics. For solutions to many of today's biggest pitfalls and tragedies, we need not look any further than past cultures who had combatted the exact issues. Yet most of us ignore their lessons. The same temptations, distractions, and challenges faced ancient cultures that I experience today.

Aristotle said: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. For me, some habits are easy: brushing my teeth, eating vegetables, fidelity, saving money, daily exercise, honesty. For other habits, I am committed but still struggle: being cautious of pridefulness, sharing my faith, cheering for the White Sox. I believe that each day presents itself with opportunities to turn an act into a habit. I'm getting better at recognizing those chances and choosing wisely. My optimism and resilience have allowed me to make some serious strides towards an idealized living - despite the inevitable setbacks.

Don't spend too much time in regret or thoughts about missed chances. Unlike modern machinery, life has no RESET button. No DELETE switch. We can't turn back time to change those regretful moments. Instead focus on the future and your vision of an idealized life. We can't always avoid accidents, disasters, or unforeseeable emergencies. But we as humans are programmed with something much more powerful: the abilities to react and to change and to press on. Taken as a whole, where you stand today versus where you'd like to be might be miles apart. The long road ahead may seem unchartered and difficult. But we hold many chances to close the distance.

Take stock in who you are today. Determine where you want to be tomorrow. Propose some changes. Take a step. REPEAT.

So....Am I the person I want to be? Do I live the way I want to live? Am I proud of how I treat others? Not yet, but I get closer every day. I'd like to think I'm done with the transformations, left with a couple big turns and lot of tweaks. But I'm not that naive....I'm still a long way off...