All Posts by Coach Dean

With Your Help, We SHALL Overcome.

As you may know by now, Gov Sununu has issued a Stay-At-Home order from Midnight Friday March 27, 2020 to Monday May 4, 2020. As a "non-essential" business (who makes THOSE rules?) we will be doing what we HAVE been doing, just expanding it to its fullest potential by going all in on virtual training until we are allowed to open back up the gym doors.

Actually let me rephrase that - WE already have been all in on it, as those of you who are joining us that way know and love. Now YOU are going to be going all in too! 🙂

In anticipation that this might happen we order 70 spankin' new bands to use in our training. We will be getting those in over Recovery Week and making them available. We will also be keeping up on our stock of essential supplements (see what I did there?) so you won't run out. 

Look we all know this isn't ideal. But the fact of the matter is we had a recovery week scheduled for next week, which is going to give us some time to help you work through any technological kinks, get you the equipment you need, and get back up and training you the Cr8 Fitness way.

Here's the thing. Cr8 Fitness HAS a physical location, but Cr8 Fitness is NOT the little gray building on New Orchard Rd. in Epsom. 

YOU are Cr8 Fitness. You are the spirit and soul of what makes this place tick. We knew that from the very day we opened in our back yard - there was no gym then either. Any yet here we are. 

I am counting my blessings. 10 years ago the technology to do what we are doing wasn't even available to small guys like us, if at all. Now we can continue to interact and enjoy each other, even if we are miles away. Don't look at as anything more than amazing! it has been a lot of fun as we have invited each other into our "spaces" - Basements, home offices, living rooms -you name it.

So don't fret and don't even THINK about giving up. I am blessed with a techy mind, and I'll be available to help you get what you need up and running - one on one if that's what's necessary.

We SHALL overcome. By sticking together, loving on one another, and training like our lives depend on it. 

Because they do.

Make It Happen

Coach Dean

Yes Virginia, There Is Still A Recovery Week

There have been some questions regarding if we are still taking our scheduled recovery week next week, March 30 - April 4.

The answer is YES, for 2 reasons.

1) First and foremost, because it is a scheduled recovery week. Duh! 🙂 Seriously though this is part of your training plan; work hard for your training phase, and then Rest, Recover and Regenerate. You can read more about that from a previous article here: You Are Not A Unicorn

2) Second, and I feel kinda weird saying this, but recovery weeks are not, "Nancy and Dean Vacation Weeks". Yes, once a year we plan a trip during a recovery week, which is in truth the ONLY time we can go anywhere. Usually they are a focused work time prepping for the next training phase. Many of you know we had planned next week to be a family trip, which was cancelled because of the Coronavirus Pandemic, and since we are not going wondered if we would stay open. First read #1 again. 🙂 Recovery weeks are one of our core training principles. And secondly Nancy will be making a previously unplanned trip to visit and care for her father, who was put in home hospice this week and does not have much time left. She needs to be there, I know you understand.

I would be remiss if I did not express my gratitude at how y'all are supporting us during this time. You have smoothly pivoted to our hybrid training model of live and Zoom training sessions, you have kept the energy high and the spirit fun, even in very trying times. My encouragement to you is this...

Stay The Course. 

Although we still hope it doesn't happen, we are planning as if NH will direct a "shelter-in-place" at some point. We are prepared to serve you through it, if it should happen. I am direct person, so I will be direct here - we need you to stay with us if we are to survive. The reasons you choose to train here have not changed, the need to exercise regularly and eat well have not changed, and if anything, being part of a supportive family is even MORE important during times when we are more isolated physically.

So relax and take a break from hard training next week. Get out and take a walk. Visit our Vimeo Page and folllow along with our 30 Minute Relaxation Flow or Livin' La Vida Lacrosse Ball mobility sessions. 

And who know, Coach Dean might even do a popup Facebook Live session with y'all next week!

So keep at it. Work on your Coach Catalyst habits. Get to training how you can today and tomorrow.

And keep smiling, We love you all.

Dean and Nancy

Better To Trip With The Feet…

“Better to trip with the feet than with the tongue.” —Zeno

None of us likes the experience of feeling "negative" emotions.

Stress, uneasiness, unhappiness, disappointment, or downright fear - they all feel, well, BAD.

And honestly they are supposed to. In fact it might have been one of those emotions that drove you to start training with us here at Cr8 Fitness, eating better, and working on building good health habits. I know the driver when I started my own 100 pound weight loss journey was fear; that I wouldn't have the energy to play with my kids, that I was doomed to have high blood pressure and diabetes, that I was digging myself and early grave. Those feelings drove me to take action and do something about it.

And I see you doing the same thing -  turning negative emotions into positive actions. 

Many of us are going through a lot of negative emotions right now. The Coranavirus is causing many people anxiety, fear, depression and anger. 

Can I encourage you not to play that game?

I am not being a Polyanna here. There are some real challenges we are facing, I am not blind to that. But don't let negative emotions linger. No good comes out of that. Respond, don't react. 

I am self-aware enough to know this. If I am not careful, when I am stressed I can say unkind things to the people I love the most. And that's where that quote comes in. Harsh words don't have an "undo" button. There are going to be some irritating people doing some irritating things through all this. But that's no different than any other time, right?

Now is the time to practice an extra level of kindness. We need each other. I realize that now more than ever. 

And I also know this - that Nancy and I are proud of you all, the amazing Cr8 Fitness family. The last couple weeks we have had to adjust and adapt the way we deliver our services. And you have adjusted and adapted with us. In fact you've done more than that - you have been an incredible encouragement along the way. It was a tiring week last week, I am not going to lie. But your support and pledge to continue to allow us to serve you in new and different ways is energizing. It makes us want to work even harder for you, so thank-you.

And Remember This: The reasons to commit to your healthy and fitness have come into even SHARPER focus over the last couple weeks. 

The reason older adults are more at risk for COVID-19 has less to do with the number of years they have been on earth, and more to do with the fact they have not been fighting the good fight to stay active and healthy. Those who have sought to preserve and build muscle, eat nutritious foods, and maintain healthy immune systems are way ahead of the game. Now is not the time for any of us to stop fighting that good fight. 

If there is good to come out of this, and there will be, I hope one of the "good" is that more people will purpose to take care of themselves better.

And practice more kindness.

Yes Dean Carlson, I am talking to you.

Make It Happen!

- DC

P.S. If you want to practice a little kindness AND help our local small business community, click here

5 Ways YOU Can Lead When Life Gets Crazy

Truth is you already ARE a leader. 

You may not lead a company, a country, or an army. But not many of us do.

And you don't have to lead hundreds, thousands or millions to make an impact.

Whether you realize or not, a commitment to better health shows real leadership. It demonstrates that you are not content to let "stuff" just happen to you. You are not content to give in to what others say are inevitable as we age - low energy, less muscle, more weight gain. You know that if you take action the "inevitable" can be delayed, and you can not just live, but thrive.

Because you are rising to the challenge, others are watching you. And many are inspired to take on the challenge themselves. That is leadership.

Right now, at this point in history, the whole world needs good leadership. But it starts at home, it starts with you and me. The best leaders are focused on how to serve others.  Here's some ways to lead and serve in the days to come.

Be Kind. Yes, people can be jerks. Don't be one of them. Respond don't react. Let the other guy be the blowhard on social media. Criticizing someone else is easy. ​

Reach Out: Is there someone you know that might need a hand? An elderly person who needs to know someone is out there that cares? The kid down the street who might be hungry because schools are shut down and that is what they rely on? Now is not the time to have a policy discussion about the merits or failings of public assistance. Now is the time to help where you can.

Stay Calm: Yes, things are unsettled and for some a little (or a lot) scary. Stress levels are up for many. It's easy to get irritated and angry with those around us, especially family. Sometimes I just need to go outside and take a walk. You are welcome to join me.

Lean In: Keep your routine as much as possible. Circumstances around you may have changed, your health and fitness needs have not. Don't stay up all night keeping up on the latest news - get your sleep. Stay active and keep moving. Put healthy food on your plate. Keep the alcohol consumption reasonable.

Stay in Touch: We are family, don't cut us off. Visit the "Fit, Healthy, Happy" group and see what's going on. Let us know how we can help. One of the best parts of what we do is getting to see you every day, and if and when that can't happen in person, we gotta find a way! 

Thank-you for being part of our family, and allowing us to be part of your life. It's times like these when we realize how special of a place you have in our hearts.

Oh, the best leaders also wash their hands - often! 🙂

Be good. Do good.

- DC

Please Read: Updated Gym Action Plan 3/15/2020

Coach Nancy and I have been closely monitoring the news feeds and staying abreast of the latest recommendations and protocols. We are taking it one week (and really one day) at a time as far as the current training schedule goes, Yesterday we highlighted what we are doing in the gym to keep you safe, and this is a further update.

We have thought long and hard about how to maintain best practices while still providing service to you. For now we are staying open, but with some significant changes as follows:

9:00am Ladies, 4:00pm and 6:00pm training will be held outside. Early morning classes are invited to train in the afternoons without notifying us. I (Coach Dean) will be co-coaching with Coach Nancy when needed (such as a large class size) to keep you safe and training appropriately. We are well equipped to modify training for all levels and abilities. 

5:00am and 6:15 will continue to train indoors, but all windows and doors will be open. If you are uncomfortable being inside, come in the afternoon.

Important Notes:

1) Dress According to conditions. You might have to mess up that beautiful "do" and wear a hat and gloves. Layer clothing.

2) Parking. There is overflow parking across the street, to the RIGHT of the driveway in the grass. Please do not park to the left in the field. To the right is family property, to the left is not. Play nice.

3) Communicate with us. Please let Nancy know you are coming to an afternoon class if that is not your norm. She is extremely busy attending to many challenges, so a little help is appreciated.

4) This is the plan for the upcoming week only. We will monitor the situation and further alter from there. We may end up taking recovery week early.

More Thoughts:

The plan is to get you a complete two-week training schedule out by the end of the day tomorrow that you can do at home if you desire. Now is NOT the time to stop self-care. Exercise, eat well, get sleep, relax.

I am not averse to saying that Cr8 Fitness is better prepared to handle this than 99% of the fitness facilities out there (or more). 🙂 We have the facility, skills, and property to comply with recommendations from the government for best practices and social distancing when necessary. Even with that being said, we are counting on you, the Cr8 Fitness Family, to help us weather this storm. Businesses like ours aren't the ones that are going to be getting assistance - we are on our own. I am not too proud to say we need your continued support and patronage to get through this intact, and I thank-you for choosing to train with us and be part of the family.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Coach Dean for Coach Nancy

My Daughter Karalynn’s Service Trip

"You want to do what?"

"It costs what?"

Yeah, that was my dad reaction when my my 15-year old daughter KJ told me she wanted to go on a 6-week mission trip this summer, and the total cost was upwards of 5K.

Was this shy little girl (not so little anymore) really going to leave me for 6 weeks and venture out into this great big wide world by herself?

In reality, it's not even close to being by herself. To start with her cousin Jillian is raising money for the same trip. And the organization that is leading the trip and preparing these student leaders for this ministry opportunity, Reign Ministries, has really impressed me - and that ain't easy. 

I am a big believer that when a kid wants to get out from behind a device (no phones allowed on this trip!!) and train and act to serve others that ought to be encouraged. And when it's your own kid, that's like a double bonus! I'm a big believer in helping organizations that are trying to do some good in this world, and put my money where my mouth is toward those whose worldview is similar to my own. And I am also a big believer in personal responsibility and effort. if you want something to happen you have to take action to make it happen.

So yes, I will be giving to my own daughters cause. But Nancy and I made it really clear the heavy lifting was her responsibility. That includes sending out fundraising letters and following up. But it also included everybody's favorite 4 letter word.


True story. Like "get a job" work. Like, physical labor work. And I am proud to say she is all in on that too.

You see I don't have any problem giving to a worthwhile cause, but I want to see you are putting in effort to earn your own keep as well. So we laid out a plan.

First, start applying for jobs. She starts work tomorrow at Subway - Nice. 

Second, I offered to help her strip all the copper pipe and fittings out of the old house, reclaim all the electrical wire, pull out the old radiators - whatever we could demo - and sell it for scrap to raise additional funds. We started work on that last Saturday. It really tickled me to see her grab the Sawzall and sledgehammer and get to work. We have a ways to go, but I am really proud of her for diving in the way she did. I took some pics and video as actual real life proof!! 🙂

KJ doesn't know I am even writing this, so she expects absolutely nothing. And maybe that's what she'll get. 🙂

But I thought it wouldn't do any harm to do a little crowdfunding for her either, right? Here's two ways you can give her efforts a boost. 

#1)  If you'd like to directly help send KJ on her trip, you can visit the link below and select - Carlson, Kay (P009852) - as you know every bit helps.

#2) Simply click the share button and share this post. The more I can help her spread the word and share her vision the better. 

Thanks for indulging a proud dad!

- Dean

You Have To Train THIS Way

Getting old is not for sissies. So you need to stop acting like one in the gym. You can't just go through the motions half-heartedly. ESPECIALLY when you are in your forties, fifties, sixties and beyond. When you start getting up there in years you have to work harder to just maintain your current levels of strength and fitness, never mind get stronger. At Cr8 Fitness we are well aware of the challenges that come with bodies that are aging. If you are 60 we are not going to train you like you are 20. We are going to give you appropriate exercise prescription - but it's up to you to bust your butt to "fill your prescription".

Here's the rub. Once you've gotten into the habit of regular exercise, to continue getting better you have to start pushing yourself harder over time. There are a ton of ways you can do this; lift heavier, train longer, less rest, more time under tension, just to name a very few. 

When you are new to exercise, you don't have to do much to get tired. But you do need to do something, "I'm to out of shape to exercise" is one of the lamest reasons I have ever heard to do, well, nothing, How are you going to get IN shape if you stay on the couch?? Yeah it's hard. It's SUPPOSED to be hard.

The principle of introducing "more" into your program is called Progressive Overload. If you train here, it's the way we program our training phases. As the weeks progress, the training programs introduces additional stress to your system, so you get better. We program recovery phases in throughout the training cycles, and carefully design the programming so you can continually improve. 

Progressive Overload is not a term you probably use in your everyday vocab, but it's necessary to apply if you want to get and stay strong and healthy. I invite you to dig into Dhimant Indrayan's latest article on progressive overload. It offers both a deep dive into the science and practical ways to make it work in the gym. And yes, it applies to you whether you are trying to lift 400 pounds off the floor or your granddaughter out of her crib.

There will be a quiz next time you come in! 🙂

Make It Happen,

- DC

Have you met the “Don” of Cr8 Fitness?

What can I say? Don Harty just plain rocks. He makes us laugh, he makes us thing, and he inspires us to never stop getting better. Here is his story, at least until now!

On Thursday I was honored to receive my 3 year shirt at the end of training with my 6:15AM class. When I got home I reflected on why I joined the CR8 Fitness program and how I have benefited from the 3 years with this program.

 First of all, why did I join? 

I have never been a gym guy and never worked out on my own either. I have always been an avid hiker and mountain climber since I was a teenager and with all the hiking I did my lower body was in pretty good shape. My upper body was a different story. I had always been overweight and just before joining CR8 I tipped the scales at 230 pounds. The only exercise my arms got was from writing sales receipts and tipping 12 ounce beers. For several months several of my friends who belonged to the gym kept telling me that I should give it a try, two weeks free to see if I liked it. I kept telling them it wasn’t for me.

Then in September 2016 I won a lottery to climb a mountain that had been on my bucket list for years, Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. I worked hard to get in shape for this climb by hiking a lot of mountains here in NH to get my legs in shape for this 18 mile trek. I arrived in Yosemite with 2 friends and the 3 of us set out at 3:00AM by flashlight to make the climb up the John Muir trail. It was a steady uphill climb and I struggled due to my being 40 pounds overweight and 61 years old. My friends had to wait for me several times as they were in better shape. We finally reached the crux of this climb, the infamous cables leading up the last 1/4 mile of 45 degree slope. After attaching my safety harness I headed up the cables and after a short time realized I was in big trouble. I had no upper body strength and this stretch of the climb required you to pull yourself up by your arms. Every 20 feet I needed to unfasten my safety clip that tied me into the cables and reattach it on the next stretch of cable. My heart was pounding and my arms were like rubber. I’m not a religious person but I remember saying “please, God don’t let the heart attack come when I’m not attached to the cables”. That would have resulted in a 3000 foot fall down an almost vertical cliff. Meanwhile a small parade of hikers had formed behind me because I was going so slow and there was no way to pass me. I heard some grumbling behind me and one voice stood out. I heard the words “old fat bastard” and I knew the words were directed at me. I finally made the summit of Half Dome and after a short rest headed back down to the valley. It was at this point I vowed to myself that if I wanted to keep hiking and pushing the limits at my age I needed to get my whole body in shape and lose weight.

I got home and called Nancy and asked how do I sign up for the training program. I joined shortly thereafter and I have been a part of the program for 3 years. 

What have I gotten out of the program? 

The bottom line is that the training and nutrition program that Nancy and Dean offer at CR8 Fitness has given me a new lease on life. Over the first six months I went from 230 pounds to 180 and my conditioning was the best since I was in my 20’s and finished hiking the 2000 mile Appalachian Trail. I have been able to do things that most people my age would not even consider trying. The great thing is that after 3 years, although I have the occasional relapse I always am able to get refocused with the coaching I get from Nancy and Dean.

There is no question in my mind that if I had not joined the CR8 team 3 years ago my life would not be nearly as fulfilling as it is now. It’s great to “make it happen”.

- The "Don" of Cr8 Fitness,

Don Harty

Shorten Your Long Term Planning

What if your "long-term planning" consisted of sitting down for just 5 minutes every night and writing out how you are going to make tomorrow count?

It's always going to be the little steps - save another dollar, do another rep, read another page - that are going to add up to wealth, health and wisdom.

5 Minutes to get a little better every day.

Make It Happen.

- DC

Are You Getting, or Growing?

Another New Year has started, and with it comes one indisputable fact; You, and I, are getting older. 

But ask yourself this question.

Do I want to merely get older, or do I want to grow older?

There is an enormous difference.

As long as you are above ground you are going to get older. But growing older is an entirely different animal. 

There are a few things I want to grow in as I get older. 

Kindness. Wisdom. Grace. Understanding. Compassion.

In the physical realm I want to keep growing as well. It's a well known fact that even older adults can increase their muscle mass and mobility. I want to stay as strong as I can for as long as I can. My training goals in the last 10 years have definitely changed. Sure I still want to look good in the mirror, but it's become more than that. I look around and see people my age (53 - not all that old, unless you are teenager) losing physical abilities and capabilities. And I am not talking about feats of endurance or strength. Losing their ability to stand up straight, or get up and down off the floor, or walk a few flights of stairs. In their fifties!

That's why my goal is to keep my legs strong and my hips mobile for as long as I can. Don't lose your legs! It's why keeping my shoulders intact and my knees healthy is so important. 

Here's the rub; As you age you need to work harder at these things than you used to. CONSISTENT strength training and mobility work. Good nutrition and sensible supplementation. You can't stop any of those things, even when it's uncomfortable, you don't feel like it, and it hurts.

The alternative is to just passively atrophy, lose strength and mass, get weaker, and lose basic abilities. Doesn't sound like fun to me.

It's your choice. Get. Or Grow.

Choose Wisely,

Coach Dean