Archives For Personal Growth

In the first installment of Cheaters Welcome, I gave you my first step to making positive changes to get you on the path to a successful body transformation.  In today’s world, it’s difficult to overlook the constant reminder that body image is what rules our Instagram, Facebook, and Television.  When you make a decision to better yourself, it is very difficult to not judge yourself based off of what you see everyday.  The media pummels you everyday to the tune of six pack abs and booty goals.  The best exercise that you can do to change your body, starts with between your ears.

Step 2: Smile 🙂

Fitness is hard, there is no doubt about that.  However, we make it harder by setting standards that we can’t live up to.  When you take the approach that you need to change your entire life to achieve your goals, it is inevitable that you are setting yourself up for failure.  Fitness is supposed to be something you enjoy, not dread.  You don’t need to hit the gym 7 days a week to see results (unless that is what you enjoy!). The most important change you will make, is to always smile.  Have fun with your training, have fun with your fitness, have fun during the whole experience and journey!

Step 3: Move A Little More

Step 2 and Step 3 can essentially be combined into one.  You don’t need to dread going to the gym to get real results.  If going for a walk is your thing, then grab the hand of a loved one and go for a walk.  If you want to take a hike on a beautiful Sunday morning, leash up your dog and find your favorite trail.  If sports are what you enjoy, get together with your buddies and get a pick up game of basketball.  Even playing with your kids after school is considered fitness.  The point is to just move more, and move often!  Don’t get caught up in the grind of hitting the gym everyday.  Get outside, do something fun with friends or family, and always remember Step 2… SMILE!

If you haven’t noticed already, I like to take a different approach to fitness then most gym owners do.  I got into this business to help as many people as I can, and I’ve realized that the solutions don’t always happen within the four walls of my gym.  I will be putting out my last two steps to transforming your body and mind in my next publication.  That will be released by the end of this week.  Please subscribe to my blog to continue following my thoughts on fitness, wellness, health, and business.  If there is anything I can do for you, please send me an email at, and follow me on Instagram at @mike_ercolano.

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If you read the title and clicked on this link thinking you were going to be directed to a site for swingers, well I apologize because we are talking pizza not partner swapping.  In today’s world of perfect Instagram pictures, Facebook profiles and Snap Chat filters; it is easy to think that everyone and their mother has six pack abs and booty goals (I think a hashtag belongs in there somewhere).  It is hard to not get sucked into the distinction that there are a lot of perfect 10’s in the world, and you are just sliding the scale from a one to a number one with cheese.

Well people, I am here to tell you that you are 100% correct (I’ll bet you that you didn’t see that coming)!  There are a lot of amazing bodies and super attractive people in this world.  Unfortunately, for most of us with “normal” bodies, and “normal” body #goals, the constant reminder that there are people with Greek God like genetics out there is greater today than any other time in history.  I’m here to spit a little truth at you though… no one actually gives a shit about a perfect body.  Actually, I lied, the people who have them think it matters.  However, to everyone else all a perfect body is, is an unrealistic ideal that makes absolutely no fucking difference in how healthy, happy, or sexy you are.  It’s time to GET OVER IT!

This may seem like a cliche statement, or one that is equivalent to the participation trophy, but in my personal opinion sexy means someone who isn’t trying to be perfect.  Someone who is confident enough to work on and embrace their “imperfections,” as opposed to trying to look perfect in an Instagram picture.  The problem doesn’t lie with our pursuit of perfection, the problem lies with what we feel perfection is.

Whenever I meet with a new client, we have what I like to call a strategy session.  During this time we talk about all of their goals, and we start to develop a plan to reach those goals.  What I’ve found is that most people have goals that revolve around losing weight, and how they look.  Great!  However, having an unrealistic view of what that looks like is detrimental to not only goal setting, but goal success rate.

Step 1: Get Over It

All to often we harp on the fact that we aren’t “perfect.” If perfection is what you are seeking, perfection is what you will find… in everyone else, besides yourself. We let this concept of perfection reroute our goals to an ideal that can never be fulfilled. The moment we stop searching for the “perfect body,” is the moment that the paradigm shifts to a more positive approach. The only way to truly succeed is to stay positive. Chasing goals and dreams is inevitably hard, but becomes impossible when we have an ideal that is not practical. Stop searching for perfection, stop comparing yourself to that “perfect” model (she probably sucks in bed anyway 🙃), and start seeing how PERFECT you truly are. It’s time to get over your self conscience image, and start loving yourself for taking steps to make a change!

I will reveal the next two steps in my blog that will be released early next week. Make sure you keep on the lookout for that. In the meantime, if there is anything I can help you with you can email me at If you are in the Randolph, NJ area, and would like more information on Next Generation Training Center, text NGTCR to the phone number 77094. Be sure to follow me on Instagram at @mike_ercolano.

Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.  Quite cliche, right?  Well it’s not cliche when you don’t listen to it!!  About six weeks out of Boston, I hurt my knee during a training run.  If this injury were to happen any closer to April 17th, I would have had to back out of my bid.  For over a week after the injury I walked as if Tanya Harding was my running coach.  When I finally could strap on the old running shoes, over two weeks had gone by.  I was pain free, and ready to hit the pavement.  Two miles down the road, I was limping myself back inside to sulk in agony.  I guess the injury wasn’t gone, and now I’m only four weeks out with no real idea on if I will be able to even run in Boston.  The next four weeks were going to prove to be the most crucial.

As I gave my leg two weeks off from running, maybe the two most important weeks of the training process were now gone.  Any endurance athlete knows that a week out you taper your runs, and I had to crank up my training right near the start of my tapering phase.  The problem was, I developed a severe case of the running itis.  Having not done anything for two weeks, it was hard to find (I should say MAKE) the time to go out running.  I got out to run twice in the final two weeks.  One of my runs was for some of the hardest 16 miles I’ve ever done, and another for only five miles.  I had effectively trained for 5 months, to blow it all in the last month.  Despite this, I was very confident in myself.  I was prepared for the best, and wasn’t expecting the worst.  This proved to be a BIG mistake.

I got up to Boston two days before the race.  I wanted to get up there and enjoy the city, and get settled in.  Still feeling confident that I was going to crush the race, I really enjoyed the city.  I went to Fenway, ate some great meals and drank whatever I wanted.  I knew it was going to be hot on race day, hotter than I have ever trained in before, but I figured that I could just drink a few bottles of water on Sunday and be good to go on Monday.  Again, prepared for the best, not expecting the worst.

Race day came, and the excitement of the day eliminated any doubt I still had left.  The city was alive!  There were people on every street, in every bar, on top of buildings and yelling from cars.  There were BBQs going on along the race route, and all 30 thousand or so runners were rockstars for a day!  I cruised through the first 10 miles as if I was out for a Sunday stroll.  The adrenaline from the crowds drowned out any fear of not finishing.  I took it all in, stopping to talk to people along the way, chatting with the volunteers, and flirting with the girls handing out water.  I had this race in my back pocket, it was going to be a breeze.  Little did I realize that I was starting to become dehydrated, and from all of the early downhill running my legs were fatiguing quickly from constantly decelerating.  I was not prepared for what was to come next.  The best was behind me, and that’s all I was prepared for.

I hit the halfway point, took a selfie and posted it for all of my “followers” to see that I was halfway, and kept moving.  I was still feeling food, but my legs started to get a little ache.  Completely normal after running 13 miles.  My plan was to pick up my pace in the second half, which was a great plan until I hit mile 17.  I felt the most paralyzing feeling I have ever encountered while exercising.  Both of my quads and my right calf decided to cramp up hard!  I felt like I was just taken out by a sniper.  My legs stopped working, and I came really close to falling flat on my face.  Just like that, my race went from the best, to the worst case scenario… which I was not prepared for.

The next nine miles ended up being the most trying and difficult three hours of my life.  While training, I could run nine miles in about 90 minutes MAX.  However, every ten steps I now took led to my legs turning into frozen rubber bands.  The only thing that kept running through my head, was how much I regretted not taking the final month of my training seriously.  It was to late at that point, and I had no other option but to grit my way through it.

Well, I did finish he race… barley.  It took me an hour and a half longer than I had anticipated it taking.  It was the hardest physical act I ever had to do!  I took it for granted that I was strong and in good shape.  Heading into race day, I was not physically or mentally prepared.  I thought I was just going to come in and crush it, 26.2 miles ain’t nothing!  Fortunately, there was a lesson learned in all of this.  Always make sure you are fully prepared for the absolute worst situation.  You should never take anything for granted, because the moment that you do it will come back to bite you in the ass.  I was prepared for the starting line, but adversity never shows up at the starting line.

“How about a real challenge?!?” And that’s how it all started. Six months ago I was in a friendly 6 week long fitness challenge with my business partner, Rich Mejias. We were three weeks into the challenge when I received this text message from him. Being the competitive, never say no to a challenge asshole that I am, I answered back with “bring it!” What followed next would put me into a tailspin of emotions, mostly surrounded by the dreaded feeling of regret. Rich simply responded back with, “The Boston Marathon.” 

Now if you know me at all, you know that running isn’t on my list of strengths. In fact, I fucking hate running! I apologize for the vulgar language, but I want to express the magnitude of how much I hate it. As soon as I realized what I had agreed to, I started thinking of excuses as to how I could back out. All of those excuses were squashed with the thought of fraud. If I backed out, I would be a fake. A liar. Someone who preaches one way to live, but lives another way. For someone who’s mantra is to live outside of your comfort zone in order to grow, it was my duty to accept the challenge. So I accepted it knowing that failure was a very real possibility, but failure was not an option.

When I was going though this internal struggle, I learned something new about myself. I learned that my convictions towards personal growth are strong. I instantly became more self aware, which grew with every step that I took during the training process. I’ve always struggled with insecurity. However, by accepting the challenge to do something that I never thought was even feasible, my self esteem grew.  It had nothing to do with completing my training runs.  It was something that was on a deeper, more spiritual level.  Everyday that I strapped on those ugly ass running shoes (I mean come on, can’t anyone find a balance between comfort AND style?), I felt myself grow as a person.  The days that I grew the most, were the days that I felt the worst.  Adversity plays an amazing role in self development, and I essentially plunged myself down the adversity toilet.  Little did I know, this would just be one of many lessons I would learn along this journey.  Sometimes you need to put yourself in a position of failure, in order to succeed in another area of life.  

How many of you have stepped on the scale this week, and have not been happy with what you saw?  How about just today alone?  In our society we have been stepping on the scale from the time the doctor smacked our bare ass for the first time as a baby… and guess what?  We cried then as well!!  The scale is the source of so much contention in our lives, and that’s because we have been so conditioned to believe it is the most important tool for judging our health.  In reality, the only thing the scale does is make us judge ourselves!

In my personal opinion, stepping on the scale is the single most demoralizing action someone can take when defining their health.  Ask any of my members at Next Generation Training Center, and they will tell you how much I hate it when they tell me that they have weighed themselves.  Unfortunately, a lot of people do this on a regular basis, and it sends them into a tailspin of negative emotion.  Let me make this clear right now… YOUR WEIGHT IS NOT A REFLECTION OF WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU ARE MADE UP OF!!!  There, I got that off of my chest.

Judging yourself off of your weight would be the equivalent of judging a book by its cover.  I know I know, very cliche but I couldn’t think of a better analogy to use at the moment!  There is so much more that goes into what that number on the scale represents, that it’s really unfair to JUST focus on that number.  If you were to hypothetically gain five pounds of muscle, while at the same time losing five pounds of fat, your weight would stay exactly the same.  So why are we taught from the dawn of our existence to care about weight?  Because first off, it is an easy measuring stick to use while judging people, and the path of least resistance is ALWAYS the right choice in the medical field (if you didn’t get that, it’s called sarcasm).  However, the main reason (in my opinion of course) is because instead of educating people about their weight, we would rather scare people into losing weight.

So, what am I actually trying to get at here?  If the weight on the scale is a lie, then what else could it possibly represent?  Well my friend, that answer will be reserved for another article.  I can write a book on this subject, but the most important thing I want you to understand is the concept of this.  It is not the weight that counts, it is what makes up that weight that counts the most!  I am going to leave you with this question to answer for next time…. Does 1,000 pounds of rocks, weigh the same as 1,000 pounds of feathers?

Follow Mike Ercolano, the author of this amazing and life changing blog, on Facebook and on Instagram at If you would like to know more about fitness, fat loss, nutrition and health, send Mike an email at

Yesterday marked my two year anniversary as a business owner.  Well, I should say, as a successful business owner.  I did own another business before Next Generation Training Center, however it was an epic failure.  This story I’ll save for another time, because today is all about reflecting on the good, and a few lessons learned along the way.  I can’t give you everything that I’ve learned, because I would have nothing to write about after this, and my mission to sit at home and do nothing but blog would be out the window.

As I was going through my day yesterday, I kept receiving messages from LinkedIn congratulating me on my work anniversary.  I just dismissed it as that was the day that I created my account.  The amount of emails, texts and notifications from various social media outlets I receive on a daily basis would make you think I am actually an important person on this planet; so when receiving all of these messages I didn’t think twice about it.  Until it dawned on me… holy shit, today is the two year anniversary of Next Generation Training Center in Randolph, NJ.  Maybe this is a good example of why my marriage didn’t last very long… hmm… now it makes sense.

When I finally realized that it was our anniversary,  I went through an immediate emotional roller-coaster.  How could I have forgotten this?  I should have realized it, and congratulated my staff for being rockstars at what they do.  I should have thanked all of our members who have made this possible.  What kind of terrible business owner am I?  Well, when I figured out that I can accomplish all of these things through a simple video posted to Facebook, the big picture became more focused.  Most small businesses fail within their first 18 months.  We are now on month 24.  We’ve accomplished something that only two out of every ten small businesses do.  That’s nothing short of inspiring.

Once the regret of forgetting wore off, and I cancelled my order of flowers for everyone (that’s what you’re supposed to do when you forget an anniversary, right?) I learned a valuable lesson.  If you don’t slow down on occasion, if you don’t stop to look around and take it all in, you will lose perspective of how successful you are.  Success is something that is ever evolving, always changing, and never fully accomplished.  However, it is also accomplished everyday in all of our lives.  I know what you are thinking, what the fuck is Mike talking about with this confusing contradicting bullshit?  Well here it is, in plain English, if you woke up today, you have the potential to be successful.  It is as simple as that.  You just have to CHOOSE to be successful.  You need to realize that success is a term that is defined in an infinite amount of ways.  A successful mindset breeds success, and you can say the same thing about a negative mindset.

Being caught up in the daily grind of multi-tasking and trying to get “stuff” done can easily take over your life.  In fact, I fell victim of that and it made me forget my work anniversary (thank God for LinkedIn).  I’ve learned that it’s important to slow down and reflect on your daily success.  Will I ever be happy with where we are at the moment?  No.  I always want to improve, grow and make a bigger impact.  However, that doesn’t mean that at this moment we are not successful.  Remember, success breeds success.  When you reflect on it daily, you will bring more of it into your life.  Don’t ever stop moving forward, but don’t forget where you are at the moment.  It’s hard to accomplish more, if you don’t realize your success now.

I recently wrote about prioritizing your goals.  This is a practice that has to be done on a day in and day out process.  Whatever your priorities are, make them YOUR priorities.  Living by someone else’s standards, playing by someone else’s rules, being someone you are not is the fast track to mediocrity.  How can you fully live a life of freedom, if you aren’t free to truly be yourself?

How can you fully live a life of freedom, if you aren’t free to truly be yourself?

The spectrum of self awareness is very broad with many pit stops, downfalls, successes and failures along this path of discovery.  As frustrating as this path is, it is one that must be traveled to discover personal freedom.  To many people get stuck on a path that someone else is plowing ahead for them.  Your path must be yours, and yours alone.  We can share a common road map with others, but only YOU can travel YOUR road alone.  Often times your path will change, come to a dead end, take a U-turn and get stuck in a roundabout.  This is a good thing, because each time your path changes you will learn through experience how to re-route your GPS.

The only way to take control of your future, is to let go of your present fears.  Fears are irrational ways our brain likes to keep us conforming to everyone else.  This is the safe route.  This is the way we have been taught since we were a kid.  You either fit in with the rest of the kids in school, or be singled out as a “weirdo” or “loser.”  Well speaking from one of those “weirdos” who grew up to break free from those chains, and make a life that is on my terms, with my visions and plans, and with my own mission, all I have to say is fuck fear.

Fear controlled the better part of my life.  Every opportunity I would have to show the world around me who I truly was, I would be hesitant to do so.  I would start to develop my own voice, just to fall victim to the safe and comfortable route.  This is why I failed at practically everything in my life.  I would follow the path of someone else, because it was easy.  There were no obstacles of judgement, because the judgement was being put on someone else.  This is a great way to develop resentment for yourself, your friends, loved ones and basically everything and everyone around you.  Depression quickly follows, and your life turns into one big conforming spiral of self-destruction.

Self-destruction shows up in many forms.  For some it is drinking, other gambling, many like to do drugs or outcast themselves from virtually everyone.  However, the form of self-destruction that does the most damage is the type that no one, not even yourself can see until it consumes your life.  This is the type that I fell into… avoidance through conformity.  Life is easy when you live your life on someone else’s terms.  It is, at least, on the surface.

2017 is just about a month in.  For most people, this is the time that your New Years resolutions start to go out the window.  We all live busy lives filled with family, friends, school, and work (except for me, because I’m a blogger now so I don’t work).  These are the reasons we can never accomplish the things we say we are going to, because life gets in the way.  These things are more important, and a higher priority than anything else.  At least this is what we say, right?  Well, I’m calling bullshit on that, and here’s why.  You are scared.

The psychological term for it is “avoidance.”  Now I’m no psych, so don’t go quoting me on that, but I’ve been to enough therapy sessions to know that what I see in myself is happening to others.  Change is hard, change is scary, but change is necessary.  How we VIEW change is the most important aspect.  For most people, personal growth is just not a priority.  Most people will not do whatever is necessary to take that step off the proverbial diving board into the deep end.  As I mentioned before, this is because of fear.  However, it’s not the fear of not being able to swim that is plaguing you.  It is the fear of the free fall.  The moments before you hit the water, and your brain has induced the idea that you may just belly flop, embarrass yourself in front of that hot life guard (do they exists besides in the movies?), and swim away with the absolute worst stinging throughout your entire front side of your body (I could have gotten descriptive there, but I refrained myself).

Do you see where I am going with this?  It is the process that is scary.  It is the thought that you may just fail!  Newsflash, THAT’s OKAY!  We all know by now that failure is a part of life.  It happens, it happens a lot, it happens often, heck it happens daily!  In fact, I encourage mistakes.  If I don’t make one mistake daily, that means I am not putting myself in a position to grow.  So, as some president (I think it was a president?) famously once said, “There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.”

Whether it is subconscious, or starring you right in the face, this fear is going to hold you back.  So what do you do about it?  You PRIORITIZE (finally getting to the point of this article).  When the ball drops to officially make it the new year, you have all these thoughts of hope and change, and how this year will FINALLY be the year you ________ (fill in the blank).  However, these plans drift off and blow away in the wind with the confetti at Times Square.  You know deep down inside what you want out of your life, but you allow other things and people to get in the way.  If you really want to lose weight, then DO IT.  The fear of falling into bad habits, causes you to do exactly that.

Prioritizing our life isn’t as difficult as you think.  You just need to know how to do it.  What I recommend is taking all of your goals, hopes and dreams, and putting them down on paper.  Once they are down on paper, then they are real.  When they are in your head, they are just ideas floating around in your brain’s cloud.  However, once you get it down on paper, they are legit.  There’s no turning back at this point.  Once you see all of your goals, new years resolutions, or whatever you want to call them –  you can then see what is the most important to you.  Start to order them from the most important to the least important.

Once you have your list of priorities, start to prioritize your priorities.  Let’s say you have 10 goals on that list.  Take the top 9, and throw them away!  In reality, you can only focus and crush one big goal at a time.  Make that one goal your priority; eat, sleep, and dream of that one goal.  Make adjustments in your life to accommodate it, and don’t take no for an answer.  If you need to sacrifice “you” time, then do it!  Remember, anything that is working on getting to that goal, IS “you” time.  There is so much more on this topic that I can talk about, but I am going to leave you with this one final thought.  If you are going to belly flop, don’t you want to do it from the highest diving board?  At least you will be remembered.