Archives for June 2016

Let Me Tell You A Story…

Today I want to tell you a story. Do with it what you will.


Some of you may know that along with being a fitness trainer I’m also a musician, although I really don’t play very much anymore. I play the drums and even went to music school with the idea of being a professional musician. Well, sometime about 20 years back (it’s absolutely shocking that it was that long ago) one of my absolute favorite musicians was the great saxophonist Steve Coleman and one of my favorite drummers was his drummer Gene Lake. As luck would have it, they were playing at a club in San Francisco at one point.

At this time I was probably at my best as a player. I’m not one to brag very much but I was a professional level drummer then, even though it was never my real profession.

I went to the show and during one song Coleman invited people out of the audience to come and sit in.

Let me interrupt the story at this point to state that Steve Coleman is known for his extremely complex music. To even think about playing it you have to be in the very upper echelon of players and have the ability to effortlessly play what very few people in the entire world could. You can listen to this incredible clip to see what I mean:

It was during a particularly difficult song that he started inviting the audience to sit in. It was a tough song that I wasn’t sure I could get a handle on.

I fidgeted around and struggled with it, but ultimately I stayed in my seat.

Someone from the audience stood up, walked towards the drums, took my favorite drummer, Gene Lake’s, seat, and started playing.

Steve Coleman must have realized that the extremely difficult song he was playing wasn’t really manageable for mere mortals and switched to a song that was 10,000% in my wheelhouse. I could play the heck out of this one blindfolded and with one hand tied behind my back. Let me re-iterate that this was around the time when I was at my absolute peak as a player. The only problem was that I wasn’t the one who was behind the drums.

What made it worse was that the guy who had the guts to stand up, take a chance, and sit behind the drum kit, frankly wasn’t in my league as a player. He wasn’t bad, it was just that I really was much better. By the way, if you know me you know that I don’t brag. At all. This just happened to be the case here.

I listened as the incredibly smoking hot Steve Coleman band jammed like crazy for about 15 minutes, knowing that I passed up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

I think of this moment all the time and I thought of it again as I attended a 3-day coaching workshop last Wednesday through Friday. There were about 35 other people in the workshop from all sorts of disciplines. Health care workers, probation officers, teachers, therapists and others. It was a very hands-on interactive workshop and there was a lot to learn. My approach at these types of workshops is to participate as much as possible. It stems from the experience I told you about earlier. I have a limited opportunity to learn whatever the workshop is about and I want to take advantage of that opportunity by getting feedback on my interpretation of what we’re learning. I won’t have the opportunity to get such direct feedback from an expert again!

It always surprises me how many people at these workshops seem reluctant to participate. It’s as if they’re worried about making a mistake. I just hope they don’t regret that decision and, if they do, they learn what I learned 20 years ago.

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
2861 Grove Way in Castro Valley


How The Warriors Can Help Our Weight Loss

Sad and dissapointing. There aren’t too many other ways to describe the end of the Warriors season last night. Now I won’t pretend to be a huge Warriors fan. I am from Philadelphia, though, and I can write a loooooooong book on heartbreaking sports moments so I know just how Warriors fans feel right now.

Warriors weight loss

One of the reasons I love sports is that they can teach us about life. They teach us that at the end of the day all the excuses don’t matter. It’s about putting the ball in the basket. Did you do it or not? That’s it. How can this apply to weight loss? Well, that’s simple. You can make all the excuses in the world but did you do the things you were supposed to do to lose weight? Yes or no?

weight loss

Take all of the emotion out of it and you know the answer.

Starting today the Warriors are putting together a plan for next season. They have the draft next week, free agents to be signed or let go, contracts to be redone, etc. Now, emotional as they may be at the moment they’re a smart organization and they understand that if they let emotion enter into these decisions they might not make the best choices for the team as a whole.

Let’s apply that to your nutrition. Let’s say you didn’t get the results you were hoping for. You have two ways you can approach your next steps:

  1. Darn it! This is so hard! I’m never going to get this weight loss thing right. I just can’t do it! It’s too hard for me. Every time we have those office birthday parties I can’t keep from eating the cake and I can’t stop having a glass of wine every night after a tough day. What a failure I am at this!
  2. Wow. These results are just not what I’m looking for. Looking at what I did last week the birthday cake and the wine every night are probably not great choices. How can I change what I’m doing there? Well, I know when the office parties are coming so if I have a bigger salad and fill up on fruits and veggies for lunch the cake won’t be so tempting. I can also limit my wine to once a week. That seems like something I can do to help my weight loss.

Which one of these approaches do you think is more helpful?

I also created a fat loss flowchart for you to refer to in case you get overly emotional about these things.

Weight loss flow chart

I know one thing for sure. If you approach this whole process with a positive and matter-of-fact mindset you’ll have a much better chance of success.

Let me know what you think.

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
2861 Grove Way in Castro Valley


Men’s Health Week

Hello everyone! I’m not sure if you’re aware of it but this is National Men’s Health Week! Let’s celebrate! I just want to take a little time and talk about some of the issues men face with their health.

Society is a funny thing sometimes. We all know about the very real pressures women face in our society as far as how they should look and feel, etc. It’s a very unfortunate thing that can be extremely damaging. Well, men face pressures from society as well.

A national survey in 2011 showed that women were three times more likely to see their doctor on a regular basis even though men on average die younger than women and have higher mortality rates for heart disease, cancer and strokes.

Why is that? Well, this is me putting on my amateur psychologists hat but I think we’re still trying to be the “tough guy” in this regard. After all, would this guy see a doctor?

Tough Guy Men's Health Week

Our job is to provide and protect our family. We should just suck it up and do what we need to do. Right?

Well, here are some facts:

  • Men live an average of 4.4 years shorter than women.
  • Men are 6 times more likely to die from alcohol related causes.
  • Three out of four suicides are men.
  • Men report significantly lower life satisfaction than women in the UK Government’s national well-being survey.
  • Men are three times as likely to report frequent drug use than women (4.2% and 1.4% respectively) and more than two thirds of drug-related deaths occur in men.

There are many more disturbing statistics out there but the bottom line seems to be that, on average, men aren’t doing some of the things they need to do to take care of themselves and much of this seems to be on a stress related or emotional level. Remember that tough guy thing?

I’m going to celebrate Men’s Health Week by making an appointment for my annual check-up. We recently changed insurance and had to switch doctors so I’ve been slacking on that. I’ll do it today!

Men's Health Week

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
2861 Grove Way in Castro Valley