Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving Thanks: My Favorite Holiday

Teammates – I’m not one for re-running posts but sometimes I find repeating a post instead of rewriting one to say the same thing can be more beneficial. Below is last year’s post – my attitude about it and about Attitude in general hasn’t changed one bit, in fact, during this challenging year, I think it’s more important than ever to understand the importance of Attitude and how it can change your outlook, your direction….your life. The number one thing to remember is that your life is your responsibility – what you accomplish is totally and completely up to you.

While you’re thinking about this on what is my favorite holiday of the year, remember to give thanks to the people in your life that you care about – by giving thanks you’ll be gaining perspective, and by doing this you’ll be setting the cornerstone for one Fired UP Attitude to live the life YOU WANT!

Happy Thanksgiving Teammates!


Here’s last year’s post: Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Giving Thanks -- My Favorite Holiday

My favorite holiday of the year - Thanksgiving, it just edges out Fourth of July in my book because of what it stands for – Giving Thanks. Teammates ask me all time – what gives with the constant Fired Up Attitude Alden??? Some who don’t know me throw the bullshit flag at me and call it false motivation until we spend about 2 minutes together – which should be about how long it takes you to read what I’m about to write…in my book Attitude is the number one thing you need to control before you tackle any goal you have in mind – especially if you’re looking to work on your body – Attitude is 100% up to you – no matter how powerfully positive or miserably negative you are – you’ve made that decision and you’ve made it based on a perspective that you’ve allowed your brain to accept. Your perspective in life fuels your Attitude – think you’re gonna fail, then you will; think you’re fat, then no matter what anyone tells you – you’ll remained focused on being fat; conversely, think about winning, then you’ll be thinking about how to win, and you’ll be on your way to victory; want to lose 10lbs, then you’ll determine how to lose it, and make it happen…no matter what it is, how you view your challenge is directly dependent on what perspective you adopt, and that perspective is your Attitude’s foundation.

So what’s this got to do with Thanksgiving? Everything! It’s about everything that’s TRULY important about your perspective in life – I give thanks for being able to move, to see, to feel, and especially to love my family and friends. We ALL get caught up in the rat race of life and when we do, we usually lose our perspective on the things that REALLY matter versus the things that seem to matter at the moment.

This Thanksgiving – take a moment to give thanks to the things that matter most in your life, and once you do, you’ll realize that you’ve discovered the power source to your own Fired UP Attitude…and if you’re struggling to figure out what thanks you should give – drop down and push’em out – then give thanks to the fact you can do a push-up – I know a whole bunch of veterans that wish they could do what you CAN do.

Happy ThanksGiving – CHARLIE MIKE - ALDEN

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Commit to Compete and Complete

Teammates - the title says it all: Commit to COMPETE and COMPLETE. I'm not talking about a completing a marathon or a triathlon - I'm talking about having the discipline to COMPLETE your goals (dreams with deadlines). There are too many folks out there that start a job, project, program, course, mission, or task (or whatever you want to call something that has a start and stop to it) only to come up with an excuse on why they didn't complete it. You've heard my stories about folks approaching me about their reasons why they didn't become a Navy SEAL. The truth is completing something is more uncommon than it should be. Why? Because we humans have the ability to reason - we can rationalize anything if you give us enough time to think about it! The rub with reasoning is that it works both ways - you spend as much time rationalizing why you should do something versus not doing it.

In addition to our innate ability to reason is our human wiring - our instincts - that drive us to avoid pain and pursue pleasure. When these two elements act together, the ability for us to create an excuse for not completing something (especially if that something requires hard work and dedication without immediate payoffs) is very high. Hence the reason why there are so few millionaires in the world - earning money is hard, earning more than most is even harder. Same can be said for losing weight or earning a gold medal or being #1 at something. So what's the trick to completing something?

I say: learn how to Commit to Compete and Complete.

For you to really give it your all you have to care about something - there has to be meaning to your reasoning machine (your brain) on why you're willing to suffer now. That is, the payoff of completing something is GREATER than not completing it. When this occurs then you have the foundation for success - you have a purpose, a purpose that you CARE about, that Fires you Up, that will keep stoking your Persistence engine when everyone else's has run out of gas. To keep the persistence fresh and purpose focused, create games for yourself to compete against. In life, your competition is yourself - no one else. You determine if you succeed or fail - you are the one responsible for taking and making the actions that will put you on a path of success or failure - the buck stops with you.

As we enter this holiday season and get ourselves ready to slam the chapter shut on 2009 and ring in a new year of goals in 2010, be thinking about what you are really wanting to make happen in 2010, why it's important to you, what it will mean to you if you accomplish it - find purpose in these goals, and when you're ready - write them down and commit yourself. When you commit yourself to something, you'll learn how to compete against yourself and win - and when you do, you've found your own winning formula for repeat success. It's all you. It's your call - I know you can do it - you just have know you can do it too - the only way you'll know is when you Commit!


Picture from wikipedia: Two crews racing in Lagan Head of the River (British Columbia, Canada). The closer boat is being overtaken by the boat on the far side.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why I March on Vets Day: Rancich

Teammates -- Last Wednesday, Veterans Day, Tom Rancich gave the speech at the Martha's Vineyard ceremony, on what he described as "a blustery day for a sad little parade". Take his words to heart. Alden Mills

"Good morning—thank you for having me here today. You are about to find out about a quirk of mine---perhaps it is because I was an English Major---or perhaps it is because I have spent too much time underwater---but I believe in semantics—the definition of words. So though I will remember, as I frequently do, my fallen comrades; Neil, Brian, Woody, Jeff, Voight and so many others who touched my life--- guarded it---they are not why I march today for this is not Memorial Day. And though I will always be in awe of the audacity and courage of our Founding Fathers, they are not why I march today because this is not July 4th. This is Veterans Day---a day set aside for those who served, survived and went on to live civilian lives. I believe that veterans bear a unique set of burdens---not heavier or the heaviest---but unique.

Sometimes the burden is sorta silly---standing in a hotel lobby having the clerk tell you “Yes, we have a military discount but the Triple A one is much better”. Sometimes the burden is surreal---bearing the rigors of combat and then ninety-six hours later standing in an opulent society that does not seem to know it is at war---in two countries---that somewhere a nineteen year old is fighting for his or her life. Sometimes it is tragic—--many laying awake at night wondering if there was something they could have done differently and their buddy or teammate would be alive. And sometimes coming to the horrible conclusion that you could have, and getting to live with that forever.

Sometimes it is just day to day challenges---trying to figure out how to live for the next 30-40 years knowing that nothing will ever be as important or as exciting as the last mission; or worse, trying to figure out how to live the next 30-40 years without arms or legs---or sight—or to live with the murmurs as people stare at your burns as you try to forget your disfigurement.

Sometimes it is sublime---Halloween I was at the Offshore Ale house and a girl came in wearing an American flag that she had cut a hole in so she could wear it like a smock---a collection jar in her hand with the words “You Lie” on its face; laughing—happy—protected. I was torn---part of me wanted to tear it off of her and give it a respectful end---part of me wanted to tell her about my friends that came home--- likewise draped in the flag---and how I felt about seeing her desecrate them---but I knew I wouldn’t do anything other than enforce her fantasy. In the end I just walked out—anything I did would have ended badly and likely I would bear the blame.

I am proud to be a veteran and I am proud of my fellow veterans. You can wrap yourself in the warm knowledge that the country is better…safer… for your service. You may sleep well at night, knowing that your slumber is guarded by people trained by the best…trained by you---and that they are living up to your standard of excellence.

You should revel in the honor that is given you—you answered your country’s call---you went into harm’s way---you succeeded in your mission and you did not falter. On the dark night when a foul wind rose---you did not shutter your house—but rather you opened your door and strode into the darkness to meet the challenge--- and wrest the night.

That is why I march today---thank you for your service."

Lieutenant Commander Thomas Rancich, U.S. Navy (retired)

Jim's Fitness Journey Part 1

Guest blogger: Jim K of Thessaloniki

How does change come to ones life? I’d say it usually is due to an external stimulus which triggers a “special” mechanism in people’s minds or it could be due to the fact that the person is fed up with his/her current way of living.

Looking back to my childhood years I can remember that generally speaking I wasn’t into sports, except for some football. When we’d run as kids I’d be the first one to stop because I’d get out of breath. As a teen I had some extra kg due to my love for food. Yes, I’d eat huge quantities of pizza or whatever was in front of me on the table considering eating big as something really worthy! Although I wasn’t fat I had to keep on buying trousers of bigger size time after time because of my increasing waist’s diameter.

However, my aforementioned low performance on running comparing myself to the rest of kids had started bugging me and after a certain point I realized it’d have to be changed.

* First I told myself that I needed to lose some weight otherwise this ongoing weight increase wouldn’t lead to anywhere good. So I managed to convince myself that instead of eating 3 sandwiches in the evening 2 would be enough and then the 2 became 1, and so I did it and the difference of before and after became more evident.

* I’d also buy slightly tight fit clothes so as to force myself sticking to my goal of getting thinner, and yes it worked (I keep using this pattern even today and it works BIG!).

Part 2: The teenage years

Thanks Jim! Teammates, two great suggestions from Jim here -- post comments with your solutions and I'll fire them out on Twitter (@aldenmills).


Monday, November 16, 2009

Jim's Fitness Journey

Teammates, last March I answered a great question from Jim in Thessaloniki: Is 300 Pushups Too Much? Here's a re-run of the blog, to whet your appetites for Jim's fitness journey -- starting tomorrow.

Take Two: Jim's question, via our YouTube channel:

“Nice workouts. I really liked your workouts: they work all the muscles great. I try to vary my schedule so that my muscles don’t know what’s coming and for example, I do 2 circles of your arm, chest, and shoulders workout and then finish off with 300 elevated feet pushups or other patterns.

Do you think this number is too much, after the 2 circles of Power 10 Workouts and leads to negative rather than positive effects? Of course just finishing off your entire workout twice is challenging enough.” Thanks, Jim

HOOYAH Mr. 300 Club! Is 300 pushups too much? Dunno?! Honestly, it’s totally up to you – I’ve heard of folks knocking out 1,000 pushups in a day. What I do know is that you have to ramp up your repetitions gradually and you need to ensure you give your body the break it needs. When you start playing at this level rest becomes even more important (as does nutrition).

One thing for sure, you’re in rarified air – so keep up the awesome work!

CHARLIE MIKE (SEAL speak for Continue Mission) -- ALDEN

Friday, November 13, 2009

Twitter Perfect Pushup Contest

Teammates -- If you are on Twitter, check out our Friday the 13th Twitter Retweet giveaway! My handle is @aldenmills. Here's the message:

RT TODAY to win 1 of 10 Perfect Pushups! Get Fired UP and check out Perfect Online http://bit.ly/VyJKe #followfriday

Good luck!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Breaking News from Marcus & Jim

Just in from Marcus Colburn! Like Alden says, you have to be ready for anything. GO 4 THE GUSTO HOOYAH!! Turns out that yesterday, when I went for a run, instead of going around a steep hill, I went for the downhill. Started jogging carefully down, got a little speed going -- OK, too much speed -- tripped on a root and found myself somersaulting to my face. Needless to say, I have fallen from higher than that before! As I got up, I assessed the damage. Just some dirt around my knees and some embarrassment. Easy day.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot I had heard a ((((((SNAP)))))! It seems I broke my arm in two. Went to the hospital -- they said, "You again?" I smiled as they x-rayed and put a cast on my arm. So I'm out of commission for a month but hey, I know I was going for it! I call it going above the call of duty :) Marcus Colburn

Marcus, Continue Mission and keep us posted!!

Jim, HOOYAH for sharing your fitness journey with military.com. Teammates, it will run on CHARLIE MIKE too but here's a sneak peek. Here's what I heard from the military.com team: "Great stuff! There is definitely a strong interest in SEAL content among our audience. I'll make sure we promote this as much as possible. Thanks again."

Thank you Jim!


P.S. More teammate stories are coming -- like Max on fight or flight and the importance of being ready for any and all contingencies. Stay tuned! AMM

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank you Veterans!

I would just like to say thank you for your service to all of our veterans. To all of you still on active duty, thank you for keeping our country safe. God bless the United States of America!
CM SEAL Team blogger: Tim Grizzell

Alden, love this quote: If a man does only what is required of him, he is a slave, the moment he does more, he is a free man. Think about it, free men end up finding each other! They are truly "PERFECT"ly free men. Carpe Diem!
CM SEAL Team blogger: Marcus Colburn

Veterans Day Philosophizing

CM SEAL Team blogger: Tom Rancich

"Rest in Peace"---nice sentiment--but what if you don't want to? In the Navy it is fair winds and following seas--and I am like---but the tempest is the cool part! And the old Irish blessing, "May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face". If you have spent your whole life living for the challenge, why be wished ease?

Perhaps this is a retired sailor waging philosophical and hating not being in the fray, but 60 years from now when I die--wish me the worst storm ever and an eternity of impossible challenges---and a G&B boat to face it in.

My favorite song, so appropriate for today, is "And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda". "The song describes the futility, gruesome reality and the destruction of war, while criticising those who seek to glorify it," says wikipedia.

"When I was a young man I carried my pack
And I lived the free life of a rover
From the Murrays green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over
Then in nineteen fifteen my country said Son
It's time to stop rambling 'cause there's work to be done
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we sailed away from the quay
And amidst all the tears and the shouts and the cheers
We sailed off to Gallipoli

How well I remember that terrible day
How the blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well
He chased us with bullets, he rained us with shells
And in five minutes flat he'd blown us all to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia
But the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we stopped to bury our slain
We buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then we started all over again"

Tom Rancich

Picture courtesy of wikipedia: George Lambert's Anzac, the landing 1915.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Go Above the Call of Duty

Mission Critical

Teammates, what’s the difference between success and failure? How about between winning and losing or the haves and the haves not?

Think about it – think hard … because success isn’t inherited or handed out in class or gifted during the holidays. NOTE – there one way and one way only to earn success: you work for it. But it’s not just work or even hard work, it’s more than that – it’s extra effort, what we call “above the call of duty”. This is what separates the men from the boys – the true winners from everyone else.

When I was in ninth grade, I had the privilege of learning from William H. Armstrong – author of more than 20 books, including “Sounder” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. At the time, he was “easily” in his late seventies – definitely eccentric but probably the most memorable man I’ve ever met. He had two quotations hung behind his desk. On the first day he read them aloud to us and told us to remember them. On the second day, he handed out a blank sheet of paper and told us we were having our first test – not a quiz – a test – if we aced it, we would receive an A for the semester. We were psyched.

He pointed to the quotations behind him – now turned around so all we could see was the cardboard backing … and he said: “Your test is to write down verbatim the two quotations I read to you yesterday.”

Needless to say, none of us received an A, but this point was indelibly made on me … and hopefully you’ll take them to heart, for whether your mission is to transform your body or your life, you’re gonna need to keep those close to you, especially when the going gets tough, as it always does.

They are:

“Before the gates of excellence, the High Gods have placed sweat.”

“If a man does only what is required of him, he is a slave, the moment he does more, he is a free man."

Go above the “call of duty” – put the extra effort in, and you’ll never be disappointed.


P.S. The stronger your body (fitness level), the better suited/equipped you are to go above the call of duty.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Perfect Handle Twist

CM SEAL Team blogger: Marcus Colburn

Hey team, ya know what I've noticed? You can use the different parts of the perfect products in many situations in a million places. Like the perfect pullup handles can be used in any gym or device because they have that perfect turning factor just like the perfect pushup devices & that is priceless! As you can see in my photos.

Any questions about anything? Fire away & fall back: just write this blog back with suggestions or questions in anything to make our days or yours go easier! PS... You will notice that I have the "perfect counter" hooked up at the top of a pullup cage to count either my head at the top or my feet kicking the top of the cage! "PERFECT"!

Marcus Colburn

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Perfect Ab Exercises Part 2

CM SEAL Team blogger: Marcus Colburn

To recap, the key is to TRAIN your abs hard in the gym, just like ANY other muscle...with RESISTANCE! Nuff said, on to some exercises!

Just tonight I was doing 8 sets of 5 on weighted crunches with 30 seconds rest for my abs and man do they feel thick and rock hard afterwards. Sure, there are a lot of machines you can find at your local gym that will target your midsection, but...here's a "Quick Bodyweight Tip" For Training ABS...

Most people are especially challenged with hitting their LOWER ABS. EASY DAY JUST TRY THESE "MMA-JUJITSU-HEAVYBAG SITUPS"(My own invention): as pictured (above) just wrap your legs round a heavy bag & start upside down & pop up & hit the bag with the knockout blows! Try this and send pictures to getfit@perfectpushup.com.

Or this might be an easier trick to try out today...

Find yourself a DECLINE BENCH and a bath-sized TOWEL.

* Roll the towel up into about a cylinder, about 6 inches high
* Lay on the decline bench with your head toward the top and your legs straight with feet on the floor
* Place the towel from left to right under your lower back and grab the bench behind your head with both hands to gain leverage
* The towel increases the range of motion in your abs and ALSO gives you incredible lower ab activation.
* Now, keeping your legs STRAIGHT, raise them in the air until you're in the shape of a "V" and breathe out forcefully at the peak contraction point
* Lower your legs SLOWLY but don't give them a break at the bottom.
* Raise them back up in the air and continue back and forth until exhaustion
* When your abs are toast, finish them off by bending your legs at the knees and doing "reverse crunches" in the same fashion, bringing your knees up toward your chest.

Really, any kind of exercise indirectly affects your abs so here's the
secret trick team: Train hard with passion & get ripped & stay ready!


Marcus Colburn

Monday, November 2, 2009

Perfect Truth about ABS Pt 1

CM SEAL Team blogger: Marcus Colburn

Hey team, here’s a "little-known" PERFECT TRUTH about ABS." Aren't you annoyed every time you read a "how to get abs" article and all it says is the same old, same old? You know what advice I'm talking about, "You already have a 6-pack but it's covered by a layer of blubber!" Duh! Tell me something I don't know. And that's true... SORT OF! You see, too many people have put in all the "hard work" to get to single digit body fat levels only to find that when the fat is gone... their abs are still FLAT AS A PANCAKE!

Wouldn't that suck?

You bust your butt and diet your brain off till you get single digit body fat and all you have it a "flat stomach" like a skinny runner. Now I'm sure many would be happy with just a flat and firm stomach but let's face it... the trophy of all trophies is a chiseled, dense set of 6-pack abs that you could bounce a quarter off of.

So here's "THE PERFECT REAL TRUTH" about ABS. You actually have to HAVE "muscle" on your abs in order to achieve that chiseled, "popping out" look! Plus, here's one more little "unknown" that will make getting a 6-pack EASIER...You see, the amount of muscle you have on your abs will determine whether you start seeing your "pack" poke through at 10% body fat or 6% body fat. I can see see my 4-pack at 13% fat because I have muscular abs. And TRUST ME...there's a WORLD of difference in that 4% gap, as anyone who's ever tried to "diet down" to single digit body fat levels will tell you! As far as I'm concerned, if I can look great at 10% body fat because my abs have more muscle and are more defined, then all the better...easier abs!

So you see, the key is to TRAIN your abs hard in the gym, just like ANY other muscle...with RESISTANCE!

Part 2: two exercises that will get you perfect abs.

Train hard with passion & get ripped & stay ready!


Marcus Colburn