How to Align Yourself for Success

I’ve had the pleasure of being a personal trainer for over 14 years now.  I’ve seen all walks of life during that time. Despite everyone’s differences, when I ask people what their goals are the vast majority will answer the same things, to “lose weight” or “tone up” or “lose fat.”  Not surprising considering 70% of the American population is overweight with nearly 30% of them being obese. The who, what, when, where, why, and how is a complicated, multi-faceted issue that we’ll save for discussion another day.  On a superficial level I understand.  We all want to look good.  But honestly, more than anything we want to feel good and we think by achieving the ideal body it will do just that…make us feel good.  Unfortunately, most won’t allow themselves to feel good in the present moment until the body fat goal is reached.  This is a double edged sword and where a lot of people can get stuck seeing little or no change.  In order to see the change you have to become the change and this requires you to align yourself energetically and emotionally with the feelings you are after.  If you are constantly in a state of dissatisfaction with how you look and not achieving your goals in light speed that’s exactly where you end up staying.  Essentially the process becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  However, the good news is that we can utilize the same principle by embracing the process and emerging ourselves in the journey towards our goals.  How you may ask?

The first thing that you can do is change your approach to the process.  Rather than having all of your happiness ride on how much the scale says, begin to focus on the benefits and feelings that exercise produce.

More energy – Despite what you may think, energy begets energy.  By working out consistently your physiology changes to the point where your body is able to deliver more oxygen to the body, this increases it’s efficiency to produce and utilize more energy, which of course allows you to handle the demands of the day to day grind with ease.

Mentally clarity – Life can feel like an absolute shit storm sometimes, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and paralyzing you to the point of being unable to think straight.  Working out eradicates this feeling almost immediately every time.  The fog lifts so to speak, answers to questions you have suddenly come to you, and your problems seem to shrink exponentially by the time you’re done.

Empowerment – Nothing can help you gain confidence more when you begin to realize your true strength and potential in the gym.  Having the strength to do a pull-up, bench press your weight, running a personal best in the mile, or simply being in the best shape of your life is HUGE for your self esteem.  And it carries over to every other area of your life as well.

Getting high – No I’m not talking about drug use!  I’m talking about the natural high from the feel good hormones that are released during exercise…specifically endorphins.  These babies are what give you the euphoric feeling from a workout.  J. Kip Matthews, Ph.D, a sport and exercise psychologist explains, “Endorphins, which are structurally similar to the drug morphine, are considered natural painkillers because they activate opioid receptors in the brain that help minimize discomfort.”  So getting in and getting your “natural” high on will certainly have you feeling good more often.

Increased libido – No explanation necessary! 🙂

The second step is to develop solid “fitness goals” that empower and fulfill you.  If you have personally read even a fraction of my writing you’ll know that I’m big on finding a fitness event to train for.  It produces greater purpose to our workouts and puts us on the track for long-term success. It could be anything from running your first marathon, doing a Spartan, or participating in a triathlon. As long as it’s an activity you find enjoyable and is within the realm of physical fitness, you are on the right track.

Always remember this…the scale can have you jumping for joy one day and crying the next, but the exhilaration of crossing the finish line after months of preparation and training is something that will stay with you forever.  And more often than not, the pounds will come off as a result of your training. So in addition to creating good memories and getting into fabulous shape, you become lean and mean in the process.

Here are three tips to getting started on your fitness quest:

1. YOU ARE ALWAYS READY: Does this sound like you? “I need to get into better shape before I can do that.” Quite the contrary! At any given fitness event, there will be a range of participants with various fitness levels. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to participate. So set the goal. You will get ready in the training process.

2. CHOOSE AN EVENT: This may seem obvious, but too often this simple step continually gets put off. Until you make the commitment and actually sign up, it’s only an idea. After you register, you will have an official training deadline. You will be less likely to skip workouts because you’ll want to do your best for the big event.

3. RECRUIT YOUR FRIENDS: Why do it alone when you can have buddies be a part of the process? There is added accountability and a tendency to strive for better results when you have the positive support of your friends. Plus, people create a special bond when they sweat together, and you will just have more fun!

And last, find other activities and hobbies that get the good vibes going.  These can be fitness or non-fitness related.  As long as they aren’t counterproductive and/or destructive to the path you are on.  Physical activities could include hiking, yoga, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, sports.  Some non-fitness related ones, meditation, hanging out with friends/family that help lift you, playing a music instrument, reading things that inspire you, etc.

All in all, the objective is keeping yourself in alignment with feeling good…NOW!  This is the best way to ensure that you achieve your goals without being at the mercy of the outcome and realizing that the journey itself is the ultimate reward.

Lessons Learned from Spartan

041Two days removed from the Spartan Race, I sit here and write with a respectable amount of confidence that I’ve finally washed away all the mud from those “difficult to reach” spots.

However, I’m still left with an insatiable itch for more. As I reflect on all the filthy goodness the Spartan brings, it got me thinking that there are many valuable lessons that can be learned from the madness of it all. More importantly, lessons that can be applied to one’s fitness journey.

All too often, our approach is backwards. We focus on and obsess about what the scale says and how our clothes fit. Don’t get me wrong — having weight loss goals are important and should be taken seriously on a certain level, just not to the point where our whole success and purpose boil down to what an inanimate object like the scale says. Besides, the scale is the master of cruel and unusual punishment. It can have you jumping for joy one day and crying the next.

Instead, why not switch to a “fitness first” approach? It’s no coincidence that the greater the fitness level, the leaner and meaner the body becomes.

So what does Spartan have to do with it? First of all, let’s begin with the end in mind. There is a great amount of exhilaration and a sense of accomplishment crossing a finish line. It’s where all of your hard work and dedication come to fruition. This is experienced at all fitness levels. Whether you’re just beginning your quest or are a seasoned (slightly aged) veteran like me, the satisfaction is always there — everlasting.

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s not forget about the journey! And here’s where the Spartan reveals what the process should involve for true success.


Does this sound like you: “I need to get into better shape before I can do something like that.” Quite the contrary! There’s always a wide range of participants — men, women, all with different fitness levels — every year. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to participate. The only obstacle you have to overcome is the decision to do it. But once you do, an amazing thing happens. Your training purpose changes automatically. Instead of worrying about mastering the scale, now your focus is on mastering your fitness.


Nothing worth accomplishing in life is void of challenge. And believe me: Trucking up Thomas Pence Ranch repeatedly will test your limits. Add mud, walls, rope climbs, bucket brigades, and elevation to the madness and even the fittest runners are reduced to slowing down to catch their breath. But continuing to push through and embrace the challenge only makes the accomplishment at the end that much more gratifying. Remember this: The greater you challenge yourself, the greater the results you will receive.


You may not be aware of this, but life will always be filled with obstacles. Some will be small while others greater. Throughout the Spartan there are countless obstacles to overcome — walls to climb, muddy pits to crawl through under barbed wire, hurdles to jump, and walls to climb. Depending on where your fitness level is, how you overcome these obstacles will vary. Initially, an 8-foot wall may feel more like 80. But the more obstacles you have, the better you will get at overcoming them. Rather than viewing obstacles as a hindrance, look at them as a guide. And in time, that same wall will appear more as a small hurdle.


You don’t need to overcome obstacles alone. Most people run the Spartan with a team. Throughout the course, everyone is positive and cheers one another on. Sometimes we need a little boost getting over the walls of life, and having a solid support group will only make the journey easier. So recruit like-minded people and friends for support — a little help from friends can go a long way.


Any great accomplishment deserves a reward. And guess what was waiting at the finish line? A medal, some tall cold ones, and most importantly…the satisfaction of knowing you are now a better person physically and mentally after it’s all done!


I am always amazed at the kid-like nature races like this brings out in everyone. It truly is the best part! Costumes are donned, mud wrestling may ensue, and everyone is time-warped into an ageless bliss. Remember growing up in a world where there were no deadlines, meetings, errands, etc? We simply played. Whatever your motivation for getting in shape, I encourage you to find your fun.

Life always comes with responsibility, but we can still take the time to reconnect with that timeless part of ourselves. Whether it’s the Spartan, going on a scenic hike or simply playing with your kids, take the time to do it every week. Follow this formula and you’ll achieve results greater than imagined and enjoy the journey along the way.

Jason Wanlass, the owner of Champion Fitness Training in Meridian, has more than 20 years experience in the fitness industry. Contact him at or