Monday, August 21, 2017

Mt Elbert: 5 Lessons Learned From My Old Man While Hiking Colorado's Highest Peak

"Do not think that what is hard for you to master is humanly impossible; and if it is humanly possible, consider it to be within your reach."
-Marcus Aurelius

A few months ago I posted a blog called, "Achieve Your Mountain".  In this article, I wrote about how I perceived success as a object sitting on top of a mountain waiting for you to reach it.  I still agree with that statement, however, following a recent trip to Colorado, I believe success is much more than achieving a positive end result or a goal.  Success is about the journey and the people you surround yourself with that will determine your end result.

In summer 2016, my father reached out to me and stated he wanted to hike a 14,000 foot peak for his 60th birthday.  Easy enough.  All I have to do is meet him at the Denver airport, rent a car and start marching our way to the to of a mountain.  I initially planned this summit weekend for August 2017.  This weekend would consist of reaching the top of four mountains all of which are over 14,000 feet tall. During the planning process,the first mountain we chose to hike would be Mount Elbert. Sitting at 14,439 feet tall and just outside Leadville Colorado, Mount Elbert is the highest peak in Colorado and the second highest in the lower 48 states.  After month of planning and preparation, the time had come to hike the 4.5 miles to the top.  With 4,500 feet in elevation gain, we would find out this will be no easy task.

We started the hike to the top of Mt. Elbert at the northeast trail head at 5:30am.  This day was highly anticipated and we could not wait to sit on top of Colorado's highest mountain.  We began our hike up a few switch backs and south toward a sign at a fork in the trail.  We took a right at the sign which was labeled Mt. Elbert.  As we ascended towards the top, we occasionally took breaks to take our jackets off, refuel on cliff bars or take in the sights of the surrounding rocky mountain wild life.  Every thing was going as planned until mother nature had a different idea for us.  Anyone who has been to Colorado knows that the weather can be very unpredictable and can change very quickly.  Blue skies turned to grey and black thunderstorms. It began to rain.   After waiting in the trees for 15 minutes this system passed through and we were back on the trail.  As we reached the tree line we noticed many people coming down the mountain and gathering under trees.  A second storm developed and we were once again stuck under a tree in a thunderstorm.

After the storm passed, many hikers decided it was best for them to turn around and return to their vehicles.  Not me and my old man.  We stared Mt. Elbert in the face and we had come to far to turn back now.  After the storm passed, it was our turn to make our push to the summit.  With the skies blue and the image of the beautiful mountains of Colorado appeared,  we made our push to the summit.

The treeline is an area in which trees are capable of growing.  As the elevation of the mountain increases,  the oxygen percentage in the air decreases making it incapable for trees to grow.  This decrease in oxygen also plays a major role when it comes to hiking.  The higher a person hikes, there is a decrease amount of oxygen for a person to breath.  The higher we climbed, the lack of oxygen began to take a toll on my dad.  The higher we climbed, his pace began to slow down, rest breaks became more frequent and the thought of failure began to show face.

As time passed, we kept pushing our way to the top.  I noticed my dad was in pain but the old dog kept pushing onward.  As we hiked, we would pass people who would tell us, "not today" and "this is much harder then I thought. I need to turn back."  When we thought we almost made to the top, a snow storm began to approach.  We took shelter against the side of the mountain against large boulders thinking we would be protected from the storm.  People kept passing us on their descent trying to beat the bad weather approaching.  When everyone turned back, we embraced the storm.  It was 2:00pm when 50-60mph winds blasted snow into our face.  The storm didn't last long but it came with a punch.

Shortly after the storm passed, we began our ascent again toward what we thought was the summit. On Mt. Elbert, there are three false summits. As we approached the second false summit (13,900 ft elevation), we realized we were not even close to the top.  Sitting on top of this summit, we took a break.  As we rested, my dad would explain to me how humbling of an experience this is and he never imagined that this was so physically challenging.  He explained to me the amount of pain his knees were in and how hard it was for him to keep moving.  At his lowest point of the trip, I decided to facetime my nephew/his grandson.  "WOW GRANDPA! Where are you?" Ethan asked over facetime.  " I am so proud of you grandpa you are awesome!"  After eating his fair share of humble pie and hearing the words from my nephew, he had the energy and the courage to keep moving forward.  Slow and steady up the side of this mountain we kept pushing our way forward to the next false summit (14,300 ft of elevation)  With the end finally in sight, we took one last break before our final push to the top.

With each step forward,  we were getting closer and closer to achieving our goal. At 3:30 pm, 10 hours after we started our journey, 4,500 ft of vertical ascent and standing at 14,439 feet above sea level, we finally made it.  We were the only ones standing on top of Colorado's highest peak. When others turned back, we kept pushing forward.  As we stood on top of this mountain, it occurred to me that success is much more than a destination, its about the journey.

5 key lessons I learned hiking Mt. Elbert.

  • Success is a journey, not a destination.
    • Remember the journey and the people you encounter along the way.  Your journey to the top is just as important as the end goal.  Do good to others, encourage people to do great things, help others in need and embrace the hard times.
  • You're journey may change and evolve.  
    • Initially we planned for 4+ peaks with including other mountains like Long's Peak.  
    • Through the course of our journey and an unexpected difficulties. We manage to accomplish one peak.  At the end of the day we still achieved a goal we set.
  • Goals that you set may be harder than they appear. They may even have a false summit.
    • It is always better to over prepare for what challenges may be a head.
    • When you think you achieved your goal, it may be a false summit. The smaller goal blocks our vision until we achieve it. When then realize it is just a stepping stone to the bigger picture.
  • Eating humble pie.
    • The taste is horrible and tough to swallow.  During your journey you will be in a situation that will humble your arrogance.  
    • Eat it, digest it, learn from it and move forward.  Don't be discouraged.  Embrace it!
  • When others turn around, keep moving forward!
    • In your life there will be doubters, there will be people who turn back, there will be people who try to bring you down, there will be people who say your vision cant be accomplished.  Prove them wrong.
    • "Don't give up. Don't ever give up." --Jim Valvano 

    After embracing each other at the top, it was our time to turn around and make the descend down. Although I will never forget the moment the feeling I had of standing on top of Mt. Elbert with just myself and my dad,  I will never forget the struggle and hardship it took to make our journey to the top.  

    If you have a goal in mind that you want to achieve and experience the journey of success please sign up to my email list.  I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. 

    Over the next several months, I will be releasing a free online webinar. There will only be 25 spots available to the first 25 people who sign up to my emailing list.

    Monday, August 7, 2017

    GET MOVING! 4 easy steps on how I got off the couch and into the mud

    I know what you’re thinking, here is another motivational fitness blog that tells me to exercise. Yes. That is correct.  As a physical therapist, I work with many patients that are recovering from an injury that requires surgery, an overuse injury or chronic pain. Counter too many beliefs, the number one reason I see a patient is due to chronic pain from being inactive.  WE ARE SUBJECTS TO OUR ENVIRONMENT!  If we sit for long periods of the day, we become restricted in this position.  Our hips become tight, our core becomes weak and our tolerance to physical activity dwindles. Think of it this way, your body is kinda like a car.  It requires routine maintenance or it starts to break down.

    Before physical therapy school, I played college football.  During this time was in the best shape of my life.  I was working out 6 days a week.  When I was accepted into my physical therapy program in 2011, my body began to adapt to its environment.  Long school days with many hours of studying at night began to take its toll. Due to my schedule and long commute, I was unable to find the time necessary to stay in top shape.  My body began to change. I lost 35lbs in an unhealthy way.  I was 155lbs on a 6’1 frame at graduation (picture below) . My diet was terrible, my stress was extremely high and I my physical activity dwindled.  
    After physical therapy school and receiving my license, I started to practice my trade.  During the first year as a licensed physical therapist, I became very comfortable and slipped into a state of laziness. I increased my social drinking habits and played my fair share of video games.  It was not uncommon for me to drink a 6 pack of beer and eat a take-out pizza every Friday night.  My weight slowly began to return to an unhealthy and out of shape 190lbs (picture on below).
    At the end of this 2014, my friend called me and told me he achieved his extreme weight loss goal (refer to power of 225 Blog). Now, he wanted to run a tough mudder.  At this point I had no idea what a tough mudder was but I signed up anyways because that’s what friends do right? I figured it wouldn’t be hard to run a 5k in the mud.  Well, I discovered that I was wrong.  A tough mudder is a 12 mile run with very demanding obstacles.  I was not prepared to run 100 yards let alone a tough mudder. I knew at that moment I could either quit on my friend or start running.  I decided to run.


    • Starting:
      • Get off the couch! Plain and simple.  You cannot get in shape if you do not get off the couch.
    • Break your routine:
      • Some-one once asked me, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” 
      • Find something your passionate about and work towards it.

    • Create a Goal:
      • Get SMART- Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time
      • Create short goals that will keep you focused and encouraged through small victories that will allow you to achieve the bigger picture.
    • Run: 
      • Just get moving! You don’t have to literally run. You just have to believe in yourself and start moving!

    If you are having trouble finding the courage and you have know idea where to start? Subscribe today to my free mailing list for free up-coming webinars that will give you the tools you need to start moving!

    Thursday, June 8, 2017

    3 STEPS: How to create goals with VISION and a PURPOSE!

    Where will you be in the next 5 years? Furthermore, where do you see yourself in 3 years? 1 year? 1 week from now? What goals will motivate you to actually improve your life and others around you? Go ahead, take a second to answer this question before you continue to read. 
    Will you be standing on top of a mountain of success?

    Many of us are too blind to answer these questions due to poor vision.  Setting goals and achieving them increases self-satisfaction and the confidence to endure more difficult tasks life my throw at you.  Poor vision is the result of reduced ambition to create goals that we are ridiculously passionate about. For example, “I want to complete all my errands and house duties by the end of the week.” This is an example of a goal that many of us will make but are not very passionate about.  What will happen at the end of that week when all duties and errands are finished?  Will it really motivate you to achieve more in your life or will it take up your time in your schedule preventing you from doing what you are passionate about?  I believe that goals which lack substance are revolving tasks that fill up our time on a daily basis.  Goals without vision or passion that do not motivate you and will deny you the ability to become obsessive and passionate for other greater goals that are never attempted or created.

    In the previous articles, I presented the power of 225 and how one man’s journey changed the lives of people around him.  I explained how achievement is a mountain that success sits on top of.  Everyone has a 225 goal or a mountain but it is very difficult to acknowledge, create and pursue them. We become overwhelmed by the everyday life of nonproductive work. Our ambition, Gone.  Effort, Gone. Our ability to make a positive impact on others and be successful is stolen from us by the lack of desire and motivation to achieve more. 
    In the beginning of summer 2015, my brother-in-law came to me interested in running his first tough mudder.  He was pumped about finishing one but there was one obstacle in the way.  He is a diabetic.  In 2009 and almost 30 years old, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  After many months of training and 12+ miles later he completed his first tough mudder.  You see, he created a vision of him at the finish line, made a SMART goal and became obsessive to complete it.  In the end he achieve his goal! Here is how he did it:  

    3 Steps:

    1     1. Create a solid VISION with a WHY!:
    ·  Think of something ridiculously awesome that you want to achieve. Example: climbing a mountain, completing a marathon, a tough mudder, losing an extreme amount of weight, ect.

    ·  Know your why! Doing something and not knowing why you are doing it will result in failure.  Why are you trying to achieve this goal?
    ·  Where do you see yourself in 1 month? 6 months? 1 year,? 3 years? 5 years?
    2     2. Get SMART
    ·   Specific: What do you want to achieve? What do you want to do that will change your life and make a positive impact on the people around you?
    ·  Measurable: Distance, length of time, weight loss/gain, elevation climbed, ect.
    ·  Actionable: Create a goal that you can control.  For instances, most running events require you to sign up months in advance.  So take action, sign up, train for it and hold yourself accountable!
    ·  Realistic: “I want to wash my clothes and finish the bills.” Yes this is realistic, but lets be honest, it SUCKS. This isn't a goal you can become passionate about.  It is boring and pathetic. Create something that appears out of reach yet realistic. “I want to run a half marathon or marathon” or “I want to hike a 14,000 foot peak.” These goals may appear out of reach for many but very obtainable with the proper training and game plan.
    ·  Timed: Be realistic with timing. You will not be able to perform a couch to Boston marathon completeion in 1 month.  Give yourself a realistic time frame for the specific goal.  For example, before I ran World’s Toughest Mudder 2016, I planned and trained for 2 years. Along the way, I created smaller 1-3 month goals to keep me focused on the larger picture.
    ·  Share your goals with others! If you share your goals with others this means you are extremely passionate about what you are trying to achieve.
    ·  Tell people about your VISION and WHY. This will help drive you to get it done!
    ·  People who do not share their goals with others will not risk anything due to fear of publicly failing.  Not sharing goals with others decreases your confidence and creates insecurities that may hinder your vision. Use the fear of failure to help drive you to the top of your mountain!
    ·  A goal that you cannot invest 100% of your effort towards and you do not care to share with others is not a goal worth making. Become obsessive and attack it!

    Remember the old saying, "Rome wasn't built overnight. " Creating and achieving your goal will not happen overnight either.  Time, commitment, obsession, passion, perseverance, strength and courage is needed to accomplish them. You will not only need the physical toughness to achieve your goal but the mental grit as well. You may have head of the quote by Eric Thomas, “You have to want to succeed more than you want to breath, then you will be successful.”  This means you have to hold your goal at such a high priority that it becomes as important to you as the air you breathe. Do you have what it takes create a vision and then the passion to conquer it?  

    Monday, May 8, 2017


    What does it mean to be successful? A question many of us ask but few are able to answer. Does it mean getting that big promotion at work only to realize that you now just answer to a different boss? Or, does it mean living pay check to pay check, working 70 hour weeks coming home at 4am every night all so you can pay to keep a roof over your children’s heads and food on their plates? Success, whether big or small, is still success.  Whatever your personal definition of success is, the dictionary defines it as the accomplishment of an aim, goal or purpose.  Believe it or not, success is a purpose or goal that sits on top of a mountain waiting for you to reach it.

    If success is the accomplishment of aim, I set my sights on unrealistic goals.  Many people are afraid of creating unrealistic goals and prefer to live in the status quo.  They fear failing, rejection and deny themselves the opportunity to succeed at something greater than they believe is possible.  Last summer, I invited a friend of mine, who was facing many struggles and obstacles in his life to join me on a hiking trip in Colorado. I challenged him to take a risk, set an unrealistic goal and let’s climb that unrealistic goal called a mountain.  He agreed.

    From the very beginning, the difficulty of Barr Trail was obvious.  This path that leads to the top of Pike’s Peak, is not a simple stroll through the park. When hiking a mountain in Colorado, it is not only physically challenging but mentally as well. The further we hiked, the more the elevation took a toll on my friend.  The higher you hike in elevation, the less oxygen there is in the atmosphere. As we pushed higher, the amount of negative thoughts increased. “I’m not good enough” and “I’m not capable of making it to the top” filled my friend’s head greatly discouraging him from achieving his goal.  With a mile remaining to the summit, I gave him an ultimatum.  “You can either find the courage to prove to yourself that you are capable of doing great things, or, you can quit on yourself and hike 11 miles back down to the car. The choice is yours.” I turned and began the last one mile to the top.  After many hours of oxygen deprived hiking and the constant battles with self-doubt, my friend made it to the 14,110ft summit. Success!

    As people progress through life, success is molded and formed from what other people perceive success to be rather than through personal accomplishments.  You begin to believe that you are not capable of achieving unthinkable tasks and worry more about what other people think of you.  You constantly worry about what type of car you drive, the brand of clothes you wear, the number of exotic places you have been, the number of children you have and what their accomplishments are.  This image you have created in fear of failure and rejection becomes a reality.  It becomes what you believe is success when really it is all based on what others created for you. Is this idea of personal self-fulfillment based on what others think, a success? That’s for you to decide. I tend to believe success sits on top of a figurative or literal obstacle, a mountain that can and will be climbed.

    What is your mountain in 2017? My mountain is Long's Peak. 14,259 feet above sea level. This year, break free of the status quo and join us this summer. August 9th-13th 2017, 4 mountains 3 days. If interested in joining us this summer, please contact me at for further information. You don’t want to miss this!

    Friday, April 21, 2017

    What is Mile 12 Concept?

    Have you ever wanted to achieve something that was so big you believed it was impossible to accomplish? Better yet, have you ever set a goal so high other people believed you were absolutely insane, including yourself? A goal so crazy that you did not even attempt it because you believed the doubters were correct when their voices echo “YOU CANNOT DO IT!” as you lay sleepless in bed staring at the ceiling fan blades spin on an endless cycle. You believed the doubters, calling you crazy so you fall in line behind the rest of the followers. But what if you could accomplish a goal that is so crazy that when you accomplish it you even surprise yourself? I’m here to tell you that you can.
    Mile 12 Concept is not a person, group, organization or place.  Mile 12 Concept is exactly what it is.  It is a concept, an idea, that Motivates people to live an Intentional Lifestyle while Empowering them to accomplish things much bigger than themselves. The idea of Mile 12 Concept was created from the internal battle I faced when participating in World’s Toughest Mudder.
    World’s Toughest Mudder is a 5-mile obstacle course race that is run multiple times over a 24-hour period. This race tests the very core of each participant’s physical and mental capacities. Half way through the race, I began to walk up a steep mountain in the dark, I was soaking wet and cold to the bone. I was completely alone, and the only thing I could see came from the head lamp that was given to me by another racer after I lost mine. It was during this moment, I asked myself. “What the hell am I doing?” my internal battle had begun. “Why would I put myself through this form of physical self-inflicted suffering just to find my physical capacity?” It was during this time the words of the doubters and critics I have encountered throughout my life began to replay over and over again in my head.
    “You’re too small to play football." “Your SAT and ACT isn’t high enough for college." “You will never play college football and make the bus." “You will never play or work in professional sports." “You’ll never graduate on time.” “I regret to inform you your GRE score is not high enough for this physical therapy program." “You don’t belong in this physical therapy program, your grades are too low.” “You’re crazy for signing up for Worlds’ Toughest mudder, you won’t finish”.

    As I battled through the course, I reflected on these statements. I realized that I had achieved everything people said I was not able to do. I did go to college and I did play college football. I have worked with professional athletes. I did go to physical therapy school and became a license physical therapist. I believed I would finish the race. At the 12-hour mark of my race, I started to believe that after all I had been through in my life, I can motivate others by living an Intentional Lifestyle that encourages people to achieve greatness in their life. I continued to believe that if I can motivate just one person through my actions and words that they are capable of achieving something bigger than themselves then my mission is accomplished. If I could do this, it will make the 24 hours of a self-inflicted beating to find my physical and mental capacity worth it. I found my vision.

    My vision and the Concept behind Mile 12 is to Motivate others by living an Intentional Lifestyle while Empowering them to find their mental and physical capacity, exceed their limitations and achieve goals they never thought they could possibly accomplish. Whether its pushing your physical and mental limits by climbing a mountain or finishing an obstacle course race, Mile 12 Concept wants to provide the encouragement and motivation that will change your life and help you accomplish things you believed were impossible.
    This website serves as a place for people to share experiences, provide wellness and nutritional tips through online training and informative posts.You will also find yearly/quarterly updates on event weekends that provide leadership/motivational information through an active experience. I hope you enjoy Mile 12 Concept and the positive lifestyle and information it provides to help guide others through to achieve the unthinkable.

    Wednesday, April 12, 2017

    POWER OF 225

    POWER OF 225

    “Nobody is better than your best and your best will make you better.”  These are the words of Sean Corvelle, motivational speaker of Tough Mudder, which roared through the crowd as runners wait to start the event. 

    The first time I heard these words was in March 2015.  As I kneeled listening with two of my closest friends, I did not realize the positive impact of this day. 

    2 years prior to this race, one of my closest friends, Devon, contacted me regarding his weight gain.  At this point in his life he weighed in at 350lbs.  As he spoke, I heard grief and sadness pour through the phone.  Trying to hold back his tears, he discussed with me his discouragement and frustration of his life. 

     When he was finished, I gave him an ultimatum.  “You can either continue down this easy unhealthy path of being unhappy with your weight or begin a difficult positive body transformation. Until you become obsessed mentally about your goals, you will never achieve them. Extreme weight loss is an obsessive life change with a totally different mindset.  You have to be mentally tough to achieve it. Are you willing to do this?” He answered, “I will do anything.” I responded, “Well it’s time to take action and when you become 225lbs, we will do anything you want. We can take a fishing trip or hang out for the weekend. You pick.” 

    Over the next 18 months, I saw a complete transformation.  It was the middle of December 2014 when I received his phone call.  “Hey Brian,” Devon said, “you’re not going to believe this… Are you sitting down?” I responded, “What’s up man? Are you good?” With a victorious tone and a sense of pride, he responds, “I’m 225lbs.  I have thought about this long and hard I want to do a Tough Mudder.”

    In life, you are going to be presented with a 225lbs challenge. These challenges will be physically and mentally exhausting. These are the daunting situations that make you take a step back and take a real hard look of who you are at this given moment and what kind of person you want to be tomorrow.  Do I want to continue to go down a goalless path of monotony? Or, do I want to change into the positive intentional person I want to be. Devon, decided he wanted to give his best. For 2 years, he fought through the distractions and lost 125lbs.  He gave his goal the best effort and his best made him better. 

    Ask yourself, what is my best? Better yet, what is my 225lbs goal?  When you discover your 225lbs goal, become obsessive in achieving it. When you become obsessive, you give it your best. Nobody is better than your best and when you give it your best, your best will only make you better.