Pastoral counselor and physician Paul Tournier once said, “Everything that is worthwhile in life is scary. Choosing a school, choosing a career, getting married, having kids – all those things are scary. If it is not fearful, it is not worthwhile.” This reminds me of one of my other favorite quotes, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

Dan Brule, the speaker of the workshops this weekend, has given us many things to think about regarding how our breathing affects us and also how it can affect those around us. Let’s continue to face our fears, get outside our comfort zone and continue to work on our breathing in order to improve our health, mental capacity, focus and emotional control which will only strengthen our relationships resulting in more love and peace in the world!


Instead of my weekly words of wisdom, let’s take this time to click on the link below to hear/watch Dan Brule’s amazing message regarding the power of our breath. HOOYAH!

Breathe to be your Best –

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Weekly Writing – THOUGHTS

In his book, Unbeatable Mind, Commander Mark Divine asks his audience, “Are you feeding the Dog of Courage or are you feeding the Dog of Fear?” This makes me think of the character in the movie Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion, and how his wish was to have courage. Which dog are you feeding when faced with challenges? Let’s make sure we feed our dog of courage that is inside all of us with positive self talk, healthy habits and standing for strong values.

Speaking of strong values, speakers Michael Massucci and Greg Amundson are back this week! HOOYAH! Please do not miss this opportunity to learn and grow from these amazing people. Bring your friends and family to hear them as well. Let’s make it the best week of the summer living for others, having a growth mindset and continuing to remove any self-imposed limits.


Have you ever heard the statement, “Humans are creatures of habit?” A definition of this statement is “A person who follows an unvarying routine.” Don’t get me wrong, I believe in routines with positive habits, but if one doesn’t change how will one grow?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. I once read somewhere, “Change is the price of progress.” In her book, The Secret, Rhonda Byrne says, “The law of attraction says like attracts like, so when you think a thought, you are also attracting like thoughts to you.” Bryne goes on to say, “Your current thoughts are creating your future life. What you think about the most or focus on will appear as your life.”

How are your thoughts? Do you have a habit of focusing more on the negative things in life, wondering why certain obstacles are on your path and just wish for things to be easier? Or do you count your blessings, focus on positivity and attract more success in your life due to positive thoughts and positive habits? Let’s continue to realize that “like attracts like” and therefore follow what Steve Siebold says in his book, The Secrets of the World Class, ”Happiness is learning, growing and becoming.” HOOYAH!

Excellence as a Standard Video –

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Weekly Writing – EMOTIONS

If I was to ask you to write a letter to all those that have helped you in your life do you know who you would thank? Would it be teachers, mentors, friends, family?

In the bible, Apostle Paul ends his letter to the Romans in Chapter 16 thanking all those who have shaped him, invested in him, took a risk on him and also those who were crazy enough to join him. Author, motivational speaker and retired Navy SEAL, Mark Divine, says there are 5 mountains to self-mastery. They are physical, mental, emotional, intuitional and spiritual. At the Unbeatable Mind retreat, I found it inspiring to listen to a Navy SEAL talk about emotions. Yes, emotions. Divine believes one cannot become the best version of themselves if they don’t get in touch with their emotions. He asks his audience, “Which four dominant emotions drive your behavior? Do you operate out of fear? Anger? Jealousy? Love? Joy?” He encourages us to “Replace fear with courage, anger with joy, jealously with acceptance, pessimism with trust.”

How is your connection to your emotional mountain? Are you following in Apostle Paul and Divine’s footsteps to live with an attitude of gratitude, embracing love, acceptance, joy and trust? Let’s not let negative emotions derail us from commitments or keep us from bettering our relationships. Instead, let’s work to be our ideal selves helping change the world for good. HOOYAH!

Emotional Resiliency Video (3 mins. A must watch! ) –

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Weekly Writing – EXAMINE


Navy SEALS are all about challenges. One mile lunge walks, 1000 reps of an exercise or even a 24 hour walk in solitude. One may think some of these could be easy. Plug into your head phones and just jam to music all while the time passes by, right? Yet, we’re not encouraged to listen to music when facing these kinds of challenges. How come?

Philosopher Socrates once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” In his book, Just Breathe, Dan Brule interviews US Army Brigadier General James Cook (retired) regarding conscious breathing. Cook says, “The mind can fabricate a lot of fears. Conscious breathing keeps us present and in touch with reality.” He goes on to say, “This peace that seems to pass understanding can be hard for the ego to grasp.” Cook uses breath awareness to keep himself relaxed, calm, alert and in an energized state.

Where do your thoughts go when faced with a challenge? Do you just zone out singing to your favorite Beatles tune all while trying to avoid negative self-talk, pain or fear? Or do you examine your life, examine your thoughts and realize there is a greater path to lead us to our best selves? Let’s continue to follow in the footsteps of the ELITE, face our fears and learn to bring our attention to our breath which, as scripture says, “Brings us the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. “ HOOYAH!

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Weekly Writing – FEAR

Happy Amazing Mother’s Day!

Can I get a big HOOYAH for all the women in the world?! Did you know the two things we can control in life are our attitudes and our work ethic? My mother definitely instilled work ethic in me and I hope yours did too along with the understanding of the power of our attitudes. Pastor Charles Swindoll once said, “10% of life is what happens to us and 90% is how we respond.” Let’s continue to realize we are designed to be co-creators of our lives with God and make it the best we can be by how we respond to all that is happening for us. Remember, as author Greg Amundson says, “Things don’t happen to us, they happen for us.” AMEN!

Let’s keep up the consistently with this training and continue to persevere when those struggles (and weight vests) seem to be more than we can bear. I know with the help of box breathing and Dan Brule’s book I have found my body doing three deep breathes automatically in between challenging rounds. So, let’s keep yawning, being conscious of our breathes and making sure we love what our bodies want to do… MOVE! Here’s to making sure we are surrounding ourselves with those who will be honest with us, challenge us and help us become the best we can be.


All too often people tell me, “I need to get into shape Jennifer before I come to your classes.” Or “I am scared or fearful of all that I hear goes on.” When did people begin to avoid or actually fear what their bodies want to do? When did training or exercise become something that was all about vanity, judgment, shame and comparison?

1 John 4:18 says, “Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” It happens almost on a weekly basis that I am with a hockey team and I see kids on the other end of the ice getting punished with push –ups for something they did wrong. Or kids getting bag skated because they didn’t perform better in a game the day before. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in teaching others about consequences, as people need to learn that good actions produces good results. But when did we begin using something that should be a positive (exercise) as a source of punishment? Check out our video below on why we don’t believe in using exercises as a form of punishment and why at CES we believe in changing people’s mindset about movement and challenges. Let’s keep working towards what God meant for us to be….. yawning, energetic beings who love doing challenges while being in community with others! HOOYAH!

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Weekly Writing – BELIEFS

A few years ago I was taking some classes at Moody’s Theological Seminary. One day a professor asked, “If something becomes the norm in one’s society or culture does it make it right?” What are your thoughts to this question?

In scripture, Genesis 2:7 says, “The Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.” In his book, Just Breathe: Mastering Breathwork for Success in Life, Love, Business and Beyond, Dan Brule shares that it was this piece of scripture awakening a passion in him to become an expert in breathwork. It is Brule who goes against the cultural norms and is helping people see the importance of breathing and yawning. He states, “Yawning is a natural breathing technique that will improve your overall health and well-being. It energizes you, helps with sleep, mood and anxiety, and it discharges stress and tension.”

So, why do you believe what you believe? Have you been raised to think yawning is rude when it is actually what our bodies are meant to do to improve health? What other cultural norms are you following that may be hindering your performance or keeping you from becoming the best you can be? Check out our video below explaining a little more on why CES does the uncommon things to produce the uncommon results and wants you to become the best you can be. HOOYAH!

Video 4 mins –

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Weekly Writing – PLAY

One of my favorite moments last summer was when we decided to take our training crew to a football field. Was it being outside that made it special? Not really. Was it doing different drills together? Not exactly. What made it one of my favorite sessions was ending training in a game of tag. As adults, we got to play.

In the New Testament Jesus questions the elders on one of their traditions regarding hand washing. He argued, “It’s not what goes into one’s mouth that makes one unclean but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean.” (Matt. 15:11) I once heard, “Change is the price of progress.” In his book, 8 Weeks to SEALFIT, Mark Divine says, “Training isn’t working out.” We often hear people say they are going to the gym to “workout” in order to get bigger arms, more weight on their bench press or go run in order to zone out on the treadmill. But where is the play in doing those things, especially by one’s self?

When was the last time you played especially during a training session? Have you ever looked at training as an opportunity to laugh with others and have fun all because of the experience of pushing through a challenge together? I believe it’s time to challenge the traditional ways of training and begin to play, have fun and laugh while improving our over-all strength, coordination and athleticism. Here’s to leaving the old traditions of boring lifts in the past and make sure to train with a purpose today! HOOYAH!

Interested in learning more about the importance of play? Then check out these Ted Talks below. Enjoy!

Play is Vital for Us –

Importance of Play –

Why We Laugh –

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Weekly Writing – DISTRACTIONS

Years ago I heard the following statement. “No bible, no breakfast. No bible, no bed.” It was a particular father emphasizing what beliefs they have in their home. I love this, not just because of the concept of reading scripture daily, but it’s teaching a very valuable life lesson – delayed gratification.

In his book, Motivation, Tom Gorman defines delayed gratification as, “Acting upon a longer-term goal rather than a conflicting short-term want.” We all have goals. We also all have wants. Yet, as Gorman states, they usually “conflict” with one another. Maybe your goal is to play a Division 1 sport, but you want to be liked by your friends who are pressuring you to do drugs or alcohol. Maybe your goal is to be lean and strong, yet you want chocolate cake and pizza. Writer James Clear says, “Success usually comes down to choosing the pain of discipline over the ease of distraction. And that’s exactly what delayed gratification is all about.”

How are you with distractions? Are you quick to choose the easier route rather than have the grit to stick with your long term goals day in and day out? Or do you look at your list of goals every day, build your willpower to delay gratification and stay committed when competing desires arise? Let’s continue to be the uncommon whom chooses the pain of discipline and reaches their goals through grit, willpower and wholehearted commitment. HOOYAH!

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It’s a common reaction to my lessons. A look of fear, body language of defeat or sometimes even big crocodile tears. There has also been the random cuss words, sticks thrown and stomping of the feet when disappointment hits that there’s still things to improve. This usually leads me to ask players, “Who has sold you on the philosophy that you can reach your potential without honest assessment, struggle or work?”

The late professor and author of The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch, said, “The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” In his book, Discourses, the amazing philosopher, Epictetus, explains that without the crisis or conditions to stir Hercules into action he would of never had the arms, the physique or noble soul to accomplish anything. Epictetus continues, “With the absence of challenges Hercules would just rolled over in bed and gone back to sleep.” How boring!

How do you face disappointment? Has an event, challenge or person shown you that you aren’t as good as you thought you were? Are there walls keeping you from being whom you want to be today? Epictetus poses the question, “If you didn’t learn these things in order to demonstrate them in practice, what did you learn them for?” These “things” I believe that Epictetus is talking about are a strong will, character, grit, tenacity, leadership, etc. Things we don’t get while just sleeping in bed. Therefore, let’s face disappointment or struggles or obstacles knowing that it’s in these moments God is pruning us to be the best we can be so we can also help others be the best they can be. HOOYAH!

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Functional Training Video (2 mins) –
                Psalm 23 begins, “The Lord is my Shepard, I have all that I need.”   I look back on my competitive figure skating career and wonder if it could have been more joyful if exposed to scripture verses like this one.  Instead of focusing on performance to get approval such as from judges, coaches and parents, isn’t there possibly a more fulfilling way to live?
                I have a plaque in my office with Colossians 3:23 on it in order to remind me, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”  Ephesians 6:7 says, “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”  Amen and Amen!   Winston Churchill wisely stated, “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”   In her amazing book, Mindset:  The New Psychology of Success, Stanford psychologist  Carol Dweck says it’s important for us to see failure as a learning experience and opportunity for self-improvement.  She continues to explain the difference between fixed mindsets and growth mindsets. “Fixed mindsets avoid challenges in fear of appearing stupid whereas growth mindsets are more open to try new things, enjoy challenges and seek opportunities to learn.”
                Where are you on this spectrum?  Are you okay with only having the approval of God and not others when faced with a challenge?  Do you embrace adverse moment as opportunities to learn and grow in order to honor God instead of coaches, bosses, friends, spouses?   Let’s not get caught up on serving “human masters” which leads to frustration if you are hoping for recognition and acknowledgement.  Instead let’s work wholeheartedly for God who be the one who is there to always see one’s best efforts on their journey towards success.   HOOYAH!
-Jennifer Matras, CSCS, President  248-752-4470 
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