Life Events

TJ Featured In DNA Magazine

The art of physique competitions is always a story of hard work, consistency in all phases of your life and few get any recognition of their perseverance and dedication. Why do most people who step on a stage compete? A simple quote can answer that. The source of the quote is unknown, but it goes like this: “I don’t compete to win a prize, I compete to show a prize”. That is something that has always stuck with me since I saw it years ago. It speaks more about the journey, the experiences, the highs and lows that come with training, diet, and ultimately, life. So here is the page from DNA Online Magazine in which our very own TJ Prall has been featured. As a friend and colleague, I am proud of his success. Even more proud of the journey and growth he has experienced along the way.


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Achieve More Success with Rules Winners Follow

The philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that, “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” As far as we know, however, Emerson never completed a marathon, bench-pressed 300 pounds, or pitched a shut-out. Those who have, and those who have trained those who have, repeatedly say that the secret to success isn’t magical pills, high-tech equipment, or even transcendentalism. If you want to get stronger, lose fat, or achieve any athletic goal, they say, you’ve got to put in the hard work, and it’s got to be consistent. If you dont have a plan, you should consider getting one together. It will help keep you on track for the goals you set.

Set an ambitious goal. It shouldn’t be outlandishly difficult,  but it should be enough of a stretch that you’ll be excited to work toward it. Nobody who sets a goal of losing 5 pounds miraculously loses 20.

Be specific. It’s not enough to simply envision yourself succeeding at a goal. There are multiple studies have shown that intention fails about 75 percent of the time. Instead envision all the hard work that will make you succeed. To do this, break down your goals into the exact steps you’ll need to get there.

Who, What, Where, When. Multiple studies have shown that deciding ahead of time where and when you’re going to do a chore more than doubles the likelihood that you will. So give your steps to success a day, time, and place. Rather than “I’m going to weight-train three hours per week,” tell yourself “I’m going to the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8 until 9.” If possible, do this with other people who are successfully reaching their fitness goals. Science shows that willpower is contagious.

Why. Every goal should have a good reason behind it that matches your values and inspires you: to live long enough to play with your grandkids, or make your father proud, or help the world.  Then when you feel your willpower fading, you can remember your “why” and it’ll give you a boost.

Trust but verify. Your brain, will help you reach your goals by trying to close the gap between “where you want to be and where you actually are.” To do that, however, it needs feedback. It can’t tell you to keep doing crunches if you haven’t set a goal for crunches then counted how many you’ve done. Use this to your advantage: When you’re tempted to inhale that bag of tortilla chips, a quick jump on the scale will remind you and your brain that there’s still work to do.

Create If-Thens. When you tell yourself you’ll run on Wednesdays, your brain starts to unconsciously match the If (Wednesday) with the Then (run). You can also create If-Thens to ward off potential problems: “If I crave a frosted doughnut, I’ll eat an apple instead.” “If it’s cold and rainy and I don’t want to run, I’ll just put on raingear.” “If I think I’m too tired to work out, I’ll think about my ‘why.’” If-Thens start to work on an unconscious level and become habits, which spares your willpower.

Self-control is like a muscle: It improves with use. The more you carry out the steps toward your goal, the easier it becomes.

Reward your successes. Science reveals that one little gift can double your self-control, and it doesn’t have to be a box of chocolates. You can pay yourself for reaching a crucial stage, or watch an extra hour of junky TV, or simply think about what you’re learning from the process. Anything that makes you feel good will help you to be good.

Feed your self-control muscle. Studies show that willpower weakens significantly when our glucose level drops, and can inprove significantly even from rinsing your mouth with something sweet. (But skip the Splenda; it won’t work.) So plan your eating to keep your glucose stable throughout the day.

Recognize the will-power weakeners. Twelve-steppers are taught to be especially on-guard for slip-ups when they’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. If you feel tempted to lapse, do some “why thinking;” focus on your long-term goals and ideals.

Don’t exhaust your self-control muscle. Trying to achieve too many goals at once can overload it and reduce odds for success. If you’re training for a triathlon, maybe leave your goal of studying for the GRE or improving your Urdu until the race is done.

Focus on mastery, not performance. Studies show that when we stop trying to be good and start trying to get better we not only do better, but work harder and persist longer. And persistence and hard work, have a lot more to do with success than innate ability.

Shut it. Overconfidence is a proven impediment to success. Studies show that talking about our goals actually reduces motivation. Stop discussing what you’re going to achieve and you’ll be more likely to actually achieve it.

When life gets busy… Don’t forget to make time for your fitness!

I tend to be the type of person who is super busy all the time, and I like it that way, but when unexpected things come up it can be difficult to make time for everything.

For me, fitness is a priority and working out is a habit that I’ve been working to develop for quite some time, however there are still times it is challenging to try to get to the gym as often as I would like to.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I manage to get to the gym so often with as busy as I am, and to be honest, it’s pretty simple… I make a schedule for my week and I stick to it.

I would suggest having a day planner (or using one of the many calendar applications available on most smart phones) to keep track of your plans, but take a few moments on Sunday (or your preferred day of the week) to schedule in when you work/go to school, when you plan to hit the gym, and any other major errands/outings you may have. Keeping a schedule this way has helped me stay on track, especially this month since I’m trying to meet Kevin’s challenge of 30 workouts in 31 days!

Should you trust a Phd or MD with your health?

So each month its always great to go back and look at the highlights of the last month. For me, that was on a call with a local Physician at a Mens Health Clinic who “specializes in physicals”. What prompted this was a problem with my prostate. To start, its a $550 for the physical itself. $450 for “basic” blood-work on top of that. So let me tell you what $1000 would get me (thats with a Paid-in-Full cash discount). In general the Dr was very vague as to what was included, as it was, “a standard physical”. He still would not tell me what specifically would be done.


So I went past that and inquired about the blood analysis. He said they would check cholesterol. I asked for him to be more specific. He said “Total Cholesterol.” I then asked if they would look at the ratio of LDL and HDL. He said no. Further blood work would be needed then. He told me they would check for Thyroid function. Again, I asked for him to expand. He said they would check the TSH. I asked if they would check for T3 or T4. He said further blood work would be needed. Then he mentioned that they would check Testosterone. Yet again, I asked for what they were testing. He informed me rather quickly that it would be just “Total Testosterone”. Naturally, my reply was “what about Free Testosterone, or Estrone, or Estrodiol, or Progesterone or Luteinizing Hormones? By this point it was no surprise that he said more blood work would be required for such information. He then added that they would check the T3 and T4 in the Testosterone check. I reminded him that T3 and T4 are related to Thyroid, not Testosterone. I asked him if they would check RBC Zinc, RBC Magnesium, DHEA Sulfate, Fasting Insulin, or HbA1C. Can you guess what he said? No sir, all that costs more.


At this point, there was a moment of awkward silence on the phone while I could tell the MD was pondering while formulating a very pivotal question. As plain as day he asked, “Are you in the medical profession?” I replied with a succinct, “No, I am just a fitness trainer.” Shortly after this point, he went back into a sales pitch, where I interrupted him and told him I was not interested. I politely thanked him for his time and lack of education.


Moral of the story is that you can not always trust someone with a PHD or MD. In many cases this over-inflates the persons ego.  I am thankful for the mentors I have had both in college and in my professional career. When you trust your health to others, they sure as hell better know what they are talking about.


Fitness Journal – Why its Critical to YOUR Success

        We all look at the mirror each day, or some of us step on scale as frequently as twice a day. We begin to get so consumed with progress that we lose sight of the journey to get where we are. Whether its on your own, or with a trainer, you should have each workout recorded, and ideally, some type of food journal.
       In my 15 years working in the Fitness Industry, I love going back through the workout log or food journal with clients. It doesn’t matter if the client is struggling, hit a plateau, or know they have made phenomenal gains (Carol – losing nearly 200 pounds, Melton losing over 300 pounds). Going through the journal and records with them is like telling a story. And that is very true. You talk about the battles, both physically and psychological ones as well.  We look at the workouts and what was hard at the time, is beyond easy now. You see the measurements trend to healthier numbers, even if there were setbacks in the journey. Sometimes there have been arguments. Sometimes tears have been shed. If you asked me, or them, we wouldn’t change any of it. Why? Ultimately its only a question that you can answer for yourself when you have accomplished anything. Small or large, its the process that is worth looking back on and learning from. Reflecting. And you realize, it wasn’t about the numbers, the weight loss, smaller pants, or wearing a bikini for the first time ever. It was about you. Just being healthier, made you happier and more confident about yourself. And that has a lasting impact on the loved ones that surround your daily life.


     Now you see why it is so important to track your progress. A simple notebook will do. You can journal as much, or as little as you want. Some suggestions for your journal would include:
  • Nutrition  – What, how much and how it was prepared (backed vs fried eg.)
  • Workouts – Duration, HR, Sets, Reps, Weight, Rest periods.
  • Measurements – Weight, Body Composition, Inches, VO2, Pushups or Core tests.
  • Sensory – How you feel, how you slept, energy and focus
  • Supplements – What you took, and when. Did you notice a difference?


     Now that you are keeping a journal, don’t worry if you miss a day. Its like anything else, only the next moment in life is what counts. You can not change what has been done, but only impact what will be. Remember, if you are feeling down or that you aren’t making any progress, go back 20-30 days and see what life was like. You will realize that you have been keeping yourself accountable by writing it all down. When you see that, you focus on something to get better with. That pattern continues. Next thing you know, you are living a much healthier way of life. You have one body. Respect and appreciate what you have been given. Remember, I am here for you.

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