Things I Should Do Everyday! By Axis Labs Athlete Josh Black

Spend time with those you love-

After losing my father and sister in 2004 along with witnessing others lose those dearest to them, this tip is my number 1. The most important thing in my world, the thing that matters the most, is my family. I love the quote, paraphrasing "The greatest work one can do, is the work within the walls of your own home." Not too long ago I read an article, I can’t remember the specific details besides the outcome of the study. There were a number of nurses in hospitals who cared for those that were terminally ill. The nurses asked the patients what regrets they had in lives. They found that the number one regret was that the patients wished they had spent more time with family and friends.

I love the quote, "Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation". Brain Tracy

When we are struggling and life’s challenges come our way it is hard to remember all the things we already have. Reflecting on your successes and gifts in your life, help put today’s challenges into perspective. Your problems will no longer seem as big as you initially thought they were.

Laugh out loud-

Another quote I love, "Life is better when you are laughing." I have found, especially as an elementary school teacher, if I take life too seriously and I stop and forget to laugh at the little things, I am uptight and unhappy. Laughter heals the soul and makes those moments of hardness and intensity soften and dissipate. If you feel like there is nothing to laugh about, examine the good things in your life however great and small they may be. Learn to laugh at yourself and your mistakes,

we all make them.

If you keep making the same mistakes over and over again, that’s not a laughing matter, that’s you not learning from your mistakes. Hit your macros/Track- I have learned through experience that I have an addictive personality, especially when it comes to food. I have abused food on a number of occasions to either celebrate, or sulk in my sorrows, food was the comfort. No big secret, my success in fitness and health is directly related to what I eat. If I don’t track, I will eat, eat, and eat some more. I was obese a few years ago, that method did not work for me. I have heard many breakdowns of different percentages of the importance of diet. 80% diet, 20% exercise, 90% diet, 10% exercise…….The point is diet is always the larger of the two percentages. Healthily living brings happiness, enthusiasm for life, and overall feeling better about yourself. These wonderful things CANNOT come to pass unless you are tracking or at least paying attention to what is going in your mouth. I am a recent convert and believer in flexible dieting and hitting your macronutrients that you set to meet your fitness goals. With that being said I believe in having a healthy diet filled with nutrient rich foods. Veggies, fruit, protein, and fats are all important to me. So is the 10%-20% of things that I eat that are not so healthy. This last cut I ate gummy bears every day and got shredded. I may have a piece of pizza, here and there but hey, no guilt here. I am hitting my macronutrients.


Say more please and thank you-

I am to the point now that if I miss a day of working out, I feel like I have missed eating or sleeping, or better yet, I am not breathing. Has it always been this way or is it easy to stay motivated every day? No I’m human. I don’t care who you are or what you have accomplished in your life, everyone has hard days that you have to motivate yourself and push through the lack of motivation you might have that day. I have had the privilege of being around and getting to know Mr. swoldier himself, Steve Cook. In my mind the top physique competitor in the world. One day we were talking in the gym, the week before Olympia, he looked phenomenal! He mentioned he was having a hard day in the gym. Yes Steve Cook had a hard day, even though in my mind, he looked amazing and was doing great! When it comes down to it, if it’s important to you, you will find a way to get it done. The days that I have woken up with the stresses of the day on my mind, the days where it seemed like everything is going wrong, the gym is my remedy. I go into the gym for an hour or so and destroy the weights. I take all my frustration out on the weights. Better than taking it out on my wife and kids. Best 60 min therapy session I could pay for. Of course a gym membership is a lot cheaper than seeing a therapist. I have heard people say exercise promotes endorphins and makes you feel better, amen to that! I am an addict and I am not afraid to admit it. I am addicted to the pump, the intensity, the burning of weight training.

Meditate, time to think-

Now a day’s life is busy, maybe crazy and noisy would be a better description, at least in my home with four, almost five kids. In my home my kids are running around, the TV is blaring with kid’s shows, work is even worse, granted I work at an elementary school. There is not a whole lot of places where there is peace and quiet for you to meditate. My meditation time takes place in the early morning as I drive to the gym and listen to inspirational music, the other time is in the morning before school starts in my classroom. What do I meditate about? Lots of things. Usually it’s a planning/visualizing time for me to think about what I want to accomplish that day. This is also a great time to ponder on the things I am grateful for in my life. Whatever it is you want to meditate about make sure they are positive thoughts. Productive mediation does not happen when you rake over the negative coals in your life.

Learn something new/Read-

No one knows it all, even though some may think they do. I know I have had situations where I thought I was the expert, and in reality I had a lot to learn. Be humble enough to realize you’re not perfect and there are always lessons to be learned, secrets to be discovered, and yes knowledge is power. Be teachable! There is always something to read or listen to that will help inspire and motivate you to reach your goals. There are so many others out there with more life experiences then myself. They have been there and done that, some much better than others. I love the quote, "the smart man learns from their own mistakes, the smarter man learns from others." With that being said it seems like I always have to make the mistakes first, then hopefully learn from them. Reading is the keystone to knowledge. Choosing things to read that you are interested in is key. I would not pick up a book about sewing, because I wouldn’t read it. I have nothing against those that sew, I see the value in the skill, but again I am in no way motivated to read that book. Now if you put a book in my hand about nutrition, exercise, supplementation, or inspirational stories I will devour it. It’s no different with your kids. If you want them to read a book, let them pick it out. The moment you become complacent in your knowledge base and learning something new, this is the moment you lose your forward momentum. You lose your ambition and motivation to grow and become better than who you were yesterday.

Listen to uplifting music-

Music has been influencing man from the beginning of time. It doesn’t matter what mood you are in, good or bad, music can change your disposition in an instant. There has been so many moments in my life that I have felt like I could not bear the burdens and trials that I had been given. The remedy, music. Music touches my very heart and soul. Music with all its varieties of genres has the power to unleash or tame the beast within. When I am thinking and meditating I listen to music that is classical or laid back. In contrast when I am at the gym lifting heavy weights I want something upbeat, intense and in your face to get the blood pumping. The point is, use the right music at the right time to help you accomplish your goal at that moment.

Say I love you-

Even though this one is listed last, it is one of the most important. Hopefully you have someone in your life you are able to say these words to on a daily basis, whether it be a parent, spouse, child, coworker, whomever you value, maybe you only have yourself to tell that you love. That’s ok, you should tell yourself often that you love who you are. With others it’s so important to tell them you love them because as I have learned it may be the last time you see or talk to them in this life. The last time I spoke with my older sister was on her 34th birthday. I called earlier in the morning as I was driving to work and I wanted to make sure I wished her a happy birthday before the day got away from me. I woke her up so the conversation was quick. I told her happy birthday of course but also that I loved her. I never spoke to her again as she passed a week later. As my father’s health declined and I knew the end was near, I called him every day to talk with him and see how his day was going and to tell him I loved him. This last week a friend’s 11 year old son was tragically killed in a school bus accident. My heart is so sadden for their loss, I can’t imagine the pain they must be feeling. My oldest son is 10 so it has been emotional for me as I have imagined losing him at this age. The point is, don’t let time pass by without expressing the love in your heart for others.