Tag: meditation

08.01.2020 /

Everything happens as it should

There I was, frantically looking for my passport. Typical, I leave my packing till the night before. I looked everywhere. It was nowhere to be found. My flight was in a few hours at 5 am…

My brother bought me a flight to LA for my birthday. It has become an annual thing (pre-Covid) for the last few years. We used to go to LA as a family every year, so this is a place that we hold dear to our hearts. The energy there reminds me of our family, our dad.

I was in complete disbelief. I’ve never missed a flight (or lost my passport) ever before. And there it was, 1 hour before my flight and my passport was gone. I was pissed. All the meditations I’ve done to this point seemed null. I couldn’t understand why. I was so angry at myself. How could I have lost it? Why is this happening?

My brother was already in LA waiting for me, so I had to go. I expedited a new passport and booked another flight, which was not cheap. The soonest I could go was the next evening.

What was the good from all this? I got to spend my birthday with my lovely girlfriend. She knew how upset I was so she booked us a day at Thermea, a beautiful spa. She really helped me be present in the moment.

Through this whole time, I could barely move my neck. Injured from working out. But I know it was a multitude of things; Stress, pressure, anger, sadness of my father passing.

I landed in LA. I finally made it! I tried to make the most of the short time I had there. Even though I was only there for 2 days, it was worth it. I spent my time there with my brother and my 33rd birthday was amazing.

On my way home, I was sitting in the terminal of LAX airport. I had a lacrosse ball that I was rolling my neck and back against a wall. My neck was fucked. I could barely move it, like batman. As I was rolling, this beautiful girl walked by. I made a second glance and thought, “Wow, she is beautiful.” This thought passed by and left just as she did.

Walking onto the flight, looking for my seat scanning the isles. I stopped and found my seat. Who happened to be sitting next to me? That girl. The guy in me was trying to act cool. I put my bag into the above compartment. We caught eyes for a second, I smiled, she smiled back and then I sat down.

My usual ritual when I fly: Journal. I wrote about my experience of my trip. As I journaled, I noticed she kept glancing over but didn’t think much of it. Whenever the plane takes off, I always get anxious, so I meditate. The sound of the plane taking off is quite soothing, for my mind and stomach. As we were in the air, I noticed a Tony Robbins podcast playing on her phone.

For whatever reason I felt I needed to talk to her (and no, not because she was beautiful). I pointed at her phone, she slowly took one headphone out. And I said, “He changed my life.” She took out the other headphone and said, ‘”Mine too.”

We both opened up and had such an amazing conversation, one that I normally never have with a stranger. We quickly had a deep connection. She asked me why I was there. I explained that I was there for my birthday and that our annual trips to LA reminded me of my father who recently passed. We both started to get emotional and tear up. She was silent for a few moments. She looked at me and said “my sister commited suicide.”

Right then and there, I knew that I was meant to talk to her. I knew that everything that happened thus far led me here. She told me the entire story. I felt so sad for her. It also made me reflect on my father passing.

I had such a hard time dealing with his death. The fact that it felt so abrupt. Everything seemed fine and then all of a sudden, boom, he had 4 weeks to live. When he passed I couldn’t help but beat myself up on how I treated him. How I always wished to have a better relationship with him.

I’ll never forget the next thing she said to me. “You had time to say goodbye, I wish I had that with my sister.” That put everything into perspective. She was right, I had time with him.

Even though my father was gone, I had time with him to tell him everything I wanted to tell him. And all of a sudden everything; the pain, the passport, none of that mattered. I felt lighter. I felt more at peace. I knew it was all worth it.

What did I learn from all of this?

Things, people, situations come into our lives, even if just for a moment, to teach us lessons. To help us. Often times it is very hard to see, especially when it’s ‘bad’, but it’s happening for a reason. It’s happening exactly as it should.

To that girl I met for just a moment. Thank you. I am truly grateful for you.

Love,
Stephen Alberto Ramos

05.21.2020 /

How meditation has saved my life

I woke up at 7am. Brushed my teeth. Sat in my meditation spot. Set the meditation timer (calm app) for 20 minutes and closed my eyes. The same routine I’ve done for the last 3 years of my life.

After completing my 1304th+ session (252 hours 44+ minutes), I received a text from my long time friend, Kevin.

“Happy World Meditation Day” he said.

I didn’t even know this day existed. But to honour what it has done for my life, it is only fair that I share with you how it has saved mine.

It has become a daily ritual that I must do everyday. Just like physical training has changed my body, meditation has strengthened my mind. Learning to find the calm amidst the noise has helped me with my anger, depression and anxiety, the most.

How so?
By helping me become present in the moment, where the past and future don’t matter. I used to live in the past AND present. I would relive painful situations/memories and recreate the same emotions over and over and over. Sometimes still do.

But what is that actually doing for me except create disease of the body and mind? We aren’t truly living until we can be present. In this moment. Right now. I learned when the Dr. told us that my father had 4 weeks to live. Sitting in the hospital with him, everything became so clear. Nothing else mattered, the money, recognition and material things. The only thing that mattered was each moment that we had left with him.

You are not your thoughts,
You have thoughts

This really changed my world: I am not my thoughts. Meditation gave me the space to seperate myself from the thoughts in my head. Learning to let them pass by like the wind and not let them take me away and spin crazy (untrue) made up stories in my head.

It has also really helped me tone down my anger. I am by no means perfect and have lots of work to do, but I have come a very long way. And for that I am so proud of myself. It has helped me build a buffer around my thoughts so that I can respond, instead of react to situations or things that would normally have made me explode in anger.

It also really helped me slow down. To be present with each conversation, each task without trying to multi-task 5 different things at once.

There are some good sessions. Some really hard sessions. Some sessions where I wasn’t present at all. But what I learned is that it is not about how ‘good’ you are at meditating and understanding that everyday is different. The most important part is just the simple act of sitting down and spending time with yourself. Building self awareness through quieting the mind.

I used to get mad at myself. Ruminating about the past. Worrying about the future. Then the timer goes off. But now I know that it is part of the practice. Just like anything, it’s the consistent, disciplined repetition of a simple habit that has profound change.

The stats of my meditation practice I mentioned up above is to not brag. It is to show you how one simple act, everyday, adds up. Daily training of the mind compounds and can truly rewire the brain and change it for the good.

It doesn’t take much:

  1. Set it in your calender: Same time everyday. I do it first thing in the morning, which I found works best for me. All you need is 5 minutes.
  2. Make it easy: have a spot set up for you to do it, so there’s no excuses.
  3. Start with guided meditation – Apps like (calm, headspace, waking up) are amazing to get you started.
  4. Have an intention and purpose of why you’re doing it – Commit yourself to it.

Now here we are, 3 years later, after my first 2 minute meditation session. And I haven’t looked back. Again, by no means am I perfect. I have my good days and my bad. But I’m human. And as humans we all make mistakes but, in my opinion, it is our duty to learn from them and make this world a better place. Internally and externally.

I am beyond grateful for meditation. It is hard at times, very hard, but this is a practice I am dedicated to continue, everyday, for the rest of my life.

The best part of it. It’s FREE.

Grateful,
Steve Ramos

03.22.2020 /

Together

We are ALL in this together.

No matter how hard things may be, know that there is a lesson within all of this. Sometimes the lessons are disguised as really bad things. But on the other side, if we learn from it, is a stronger you. A better you.

Let’s do what we can now, to build a stronger body and mind.

How to find calm amidst the chaos:

  1. Meditate daily – create space amidst all the noise. 6 breathes can lower your blood pressure.
  2. Exercise – even just 20 minutes a day goes a loooong way.
  3. Go for a walk – spend time in nature, it’s beautiful.
  4. Connect with loved ones – Facetime if you have to. We all need to show love and support and make one another smile.
  5. Be grateful – that we get to wake up and live another day.
  6. Recover – get back to a solid sleep routine of min 7 hours of sleep.
  7. Help others – get out of your own head and help other people. Whatever that my look like and see how you feel after.
  8. Reflect and re-evaluate – On some unattended things you’ve been putting off. This is a sign to now go for what we want. What we know we NEED to do for ourselves.

LESSONS: What’s the good from all of this?

The universe/God is making us ALL slow down. And cleansing the world and our minds with less pollution. Because prior to this, would we have?

This is teaching us that life is too short. So we MUST make the most of each and every moment. In the end, that’s all we truly have.

We get to spend quality time with our loved ones. So be present. Be grateful for all that we have. Because we truly have so much.

We are ALL in this together. WE GOT THIS.

Love,
Steve Ramos

Grateful for you.

02.27.2020 /

Happiness

Where do you find happiness?

For the longest time, I had been searching for happiness.

I thought that if I got to a certain job, made a certain amount of money and got a nice car I’d be happy. I thought that if I got my body to look a certain way, if I could get a certain girl and if I got respect from others, then I’d be happy.

I had been placing my happiness in someone or something else, expecting that it would give me the happiness I had always searched for. The funny thing is, once I got those things I wasn’t any happier. In fact, I felt even worse. 

I was truly fed up with my life. I was fed up with how I felt. I was fed up with my job. I wanted change so bad because I knew I was destined for more.

Most of all, I just wanted to be happy. I prayed to God everyday and asked him for help. Asked him to help me find happiness.

What I came to realize was that I had been searching for happiness in everything else, except myself. 

“(un)Fortunately, life puts us in a corner where we can’t run anymore and we have to look within.”

– Jay Shetty

I couldn’t run anymore. I had to face my own shit.

I had to learn to love myself, first. It was hard. Really hard. I had to learn to let go of the past that was holding me down. I had to learn to forgive myself of all my past mistakes. I had to learn to forgive all those I blamed and understand their side. Have empathy and compassion for them and know that they they tried their best.

We are all humans who make mistakes and sometimes the decisions we make, whether we are aware or not, can affect someone, positively or negatively, for the rest of their lives. To continue to put blame on them was childish. What happened, already happened. It’s done.

“I can’t change it.”

Is what I repeated to myself. So I stopped beating myself up and decided to change how I thought and I felt about it. 

We have the choice to relive an old painful moment over and over. This can give our mind and body the emotional response that it is still happening. The body doesn’t know any different. This can cause disease and chronic pain. 

Or we can actively choose to live in the present moment, where nothing is wrong. We can choose to focus on the positive in our lives, all that we are grateful for which can have the opposite effect. It can give us joy, peace and happiness. It can give us the space we need, to let it go.

Once I accepted the problem, forgave myself and others and decided to take ownership, my world changed. It felt lighter. It felt like I shed the weight of carrying the world on my shoulders. 

The crazy thing is, the whole time I was searching for happiness it was there the whole time. I just had to move past the clouds, walk through the storm. And at the end of it was sunshine.

Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. No person will make you happy unless you decide to be happy. Your happiness will not come to you. It can only come from you.

Buddha said it best:
When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Will Appear

When you are ready to look inside and really dig deep, you’ll find the happiness you’ve always searched for. 

I believe in you.

Love,
Stephen Albert Ramos
#teamfitpak

Grateful for you.

02.13.2020 /

Forgive

Life becomes easier when you learn to accept the apology you never got – #robertbrault

Often times the apology we’re waiting for never comes.

And if it does, it’s never in the way we expect it to be. So we still carry resentment or hate towards that person.

Can you relate to this? I can.

When in reality, letting go of the expectation that we deserve an apology is the first step. Then forgiving within so that you can let it go.

Reminder: Forgiveness is not saying what the other person did is okay. It’s telling ourselves that it’s okay to let it go within.

That which you hold within; hate, resentment and anger is poison for your body and mind. No one else’s.

It’s not worth it.

Forgive. Let go.

Love,
Steve Ramos

Grateful for you.

01.13.2020 /

Here’s my sleep routine to get BETTER sleep ?

I used to have HORRIBLE sleep. I was tired ALL DAY. Felt sluggish, hella cranky/moody etc. I was getting 4-5 hours on average. And wondered why I was irritable, snappy, depressed and extremely negative.

How you start your day is just as important as how you end your day. Have a solid routine for both. Think of it as a ritual that you must do everyday. If the longevity and quality of your life is important to you, than you will sacrifice some stuff you want to do in order to get better sleep.

Listen, if I could I’d stay up all night watching movies you better believe I would. But I got shit to do, clients to train and that is my living, so I need as much energy and focus so they can get the best of me with my undivided attention.

How did I change that? It took some time, but here is my routine that has changed the way I sleep. Now, I wake up feeling rested, better than before and have more energy through the day:

Each night I do my best to accomplish 80% of this list:

1. Meditation – am or pm. Focus on breathe.
Helps clear the mind from all the noise and stress in our life. When the mind is clear it can relax and rest.

2. Eating curfew
No eating at least one hour before bed. Stay away from heavy carbs, refined sugar and spicy foods.

3. No alcohol
Which raises your heart rate and will affect the quality of your sleep. Often times quality is more important than quantity but both would be ideal for a good night’s rest.

4. Limit caffeine intake
Limit to one cup a day. No later than 12-4pm depending on how sensitive you are to caffeine. Yes I know, extremely hard. What helped me was my fast which gave me a break from coffee which reset my baseline. Now a small cup of coffee in the am is all I need. Coffee detox?

5. Screen curfew – 1 hour before
No blue lights 1 hour before. Yes phone AND Netflix. The blue light resets your circadian rhythm and your body actually thinks it’s daytime.

6. Take magnesium – 1 hour before
Improves sleep quality. Helps body and mind relax.

7. Read (fiction, story based)
Helps body get into relaxation mode. I find when I read stories my mind slows down and it’s a trigger for me that bedtime is near.

8. Foam roll (focus on breathe)
Just like a massage. Full relaxation and recovery of the muscles. The body goes into parasympathetic response which = rest.

9. Dark and cold room
The body sleeps best when the room is dark and the temperature is turned down. So get some black out curtains if you have to. Turn over your phone or place in a different room and get to sleepin’.

Also (which I can write about in another journal entry.) Herbal teas, CBD, are other things to name a few to help you fall asleep. I decided to write things that you can do right now that don’t require anything but yourself and some self discipline.

Plan to get ready for bed, aim for the same time, so that you are getting minimum 7 hours of sleep. Most importantly, you have to believe that will get good sleep. Going to bed thinking your going to have shitty sleep means you will have shitty sleep. Have a positive outlook towards it, take the necessary steps to change and you will, with time, get better sleep.

Getting into a routine where you go to bed and wake up around the same time is huge. Obviously can’t always be the case but try your best to adhere to it.

WHY?

You can Accomplish so much more when you sleep more. More sleep = longevitiy and quality of life. It also allows you to access your full potential. When you’re sleepy your more hungry and you can make very poor nutrition decisions. It affects mood, metabolism, anxiety, depression , weight loss, just to name a few.

I had one client whose starting weight was 355 lbs. After a few months and lots of hard work with exercises and nutrition we dropped just shy of 300 lbs. But no matter what we couldn’t break the 300 mark. He worked 3 jobs and got 4 hours of sleep. For the entire time we were training him I begged him to get more sleep. He said he didn’t need it. I asked him for just 5 days of 7 hours of sleep. We shook on it.

And guess what? After the 5 days of sleep he broke the 300 lbs plateau! We made it to 295 lbs. How? When the body doesn’t get enough sleep it doesn’t release a chemical called leptin which helps regulate the control of hunger and metabolism. The decrease in leptin brought on by sleep deprivation can result in a constant feeling of hunger and can slow down your metabolism.

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Yes, this seems like a lot, but if sleep is important to you then you will do, at least some of this, in order to change your situation. Once you get into a routine it becomes second nature and it becomes easy. It requires a bit of work in the beginning to instill the habit but once you do you’re golden. I know you can do it. If you’re always tired and complain about it. But make absolutely no change, then how do you expect things to change? That’s on you.

“Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is insanity.”

Complain LESS, take action NOW and watch your life change.

Much love,
Steve Ramos

Grateful for you.

01.06.2020 /

5 day fast. Here’s what I found.

DISCLAIMER* This is NOT medical advice. Do not do without consulting your doctor or support from others who are experienced in this manner.

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I started the year with a bang. A 5 day fast. Yes, you got that right.
No food. Just water.

Water – with a pinch of himalayan sea salt and (unflavoured San Pellegrino. Along with herbal tea – rooibos, peppermint and chamomile.

Side note: I have been practicing intermittent fasting for a while now and have done 1 day fasts in the past.

Why the F would you do that? Let me explain.
Mental resiliency! I wanted a full reset of my body and mind. I didn’t want to be ruled by my hunger anymore. If I didn’t eat every 2-3 hours I would legit get ‘hangry’. I also wanted to mentally test my discipline and will power by doing something so extreme. It goes against everything that I (we) were taught growing up. You have to eat every day, minimum 3 meals a day, 365 days a year. But do we? Think of primitive times where they had to hunt for their food and would fast until their next meal, assuming that they made the kill.

Also, I’ve been recommended by a handful of friends who have done and continue to do 5 day fasts multiple times a year.

Benefits:
1. Prevent cancer – My mom had breast cancer and beat it with a mastectomy. My father passed away from stage 4 kidney cancer that spread to both lungs.
2. Longevity of life – Some of the people that have lived the longest have had some form of fasting protocol throughout their life.
3. Improve heart health, blood pressure, cholesterol levels – reduce risk of heart disease.
4. Boost brain function – Mental alertness and clarity.
5. Boost Metabolism – Amazing reset to metabolism for me.
6. Increase Growth Hormone – Increased muscle strength.
7. Reduce Inflammation – I train a lot so this is great for muscle and joint inflammation. Also foods I eat – healthy and unhealthy – could have caused inflammation within my body.

Day 1
I started the fast midnight of NYE which was a bad idea. Since the next day we had a family get together with ALL the food. My mother thought I was mad at her because I didn’t eat. I sat on the couch while my family and friends ate dinner at the dinner table. It was brutal. Hearing them eat and talk about how good the food was killed me. The first day was a huge test. But I passed it!

Day 2
Woke up feeling insanely hungry. I stood up from bed and immediately felt like I was going to fall over. I woke up from a dream of waterfalls. Makes sense since I’ve been chugging water up until this point. Had water with a bit of himalayan sea salt and peppermint tea.

My first client was at 6:30 am. As soon as I did some movement and mobility with him I felt amazing. I did a light training session. And felt pretty good. I wanted to do more but realized I needed to take it easy. I had a full day of clients and surprisingly felt amazing. I felt super focused and dialed in. Very energetic and felt the mental clarity that I was informed I would feel. Just didn’t expect to feel it this fast.

Had a crazy leg day. I pushed the limit on what I could do. I went lighted on the weights but had high volume. I told myself I was going to take it easy during the fast but I felt really good and pushed the envelope. Towards the end I felt a bit nauseous.

Had a podcast that night with the Brain Jiu Jitsu fellas – Ryan Caligiuri, Arlin Grey, Shawn Henry, Enrico De Thomasis, James Nakonechny – who are all experienced fast(ers). They all do it 2-4 times a year. I felt I was in good hands. As the podcast went on I felt fine as I was distracted with amazing conversation, also got golden advice and motivation to keep on going.

In the evening I had some chamomile tea and foam rolled. Felt AMAZING going to bed. Minus my heart pounding out of my chest. I noticed that my heart rate increased dramatically on day 1.

Day 3
I woke up with a surprise. I was thinking that I would feel better as my body would be getting into ketosis – body uses fat as fuel – but I woke up feeling extremely drained. I almost fell over as I got out of bed to go to the washroom. I had to snooze after (which I rarely do).

Training my clients felt okay as I did the movement and mobility with them. Did not feel hungry as I was focused on being present with them.

However as I got home, the smell of a candle set me off. I immediately got extremely hungry. Had some chamomile tea and thought I would feel better but my stomach was very uneasy. Felt like I could have thrown up or passed out.

When I went to bed I was having a hard time sleeping as my heart beat literally felt like it was going to pop out of my chest.

Day 4
This was the worst day of how I felt. I was very thrown off as I thought for sure my body would be in ketosis and I would feel the best the last 2 days. However that was not the case. I felt very sick: Stomach hurt, nauseous, very light headed, my body felt drained.

I had a class at the Community Gym that morning at 9am. I honestly questioned how I would get through it as it requires a lot of mental and physical energy to train and motivate 20 people. But as I did the warmup and went through the session I felt immediately better. As I was coaching I was a bit out of breathe but still pulled through.

Took it easy the rest of the day. Felt okay.

Day 5
Woke up knowing I had only one day left was a huge relief. I felt the same as day 4 but not as bad. Sluggish, very slow, lightheaded and stomach a still a bit uneasy.

Today was my last test as my family went to a Pizzeria. I sat there while they enjoyed amazing pizza. Again I felt I had come this far which I had more pride from.

I broke my fast with bone broth soup made by my #1 supporter, my fiance, Meaghen. It was worth the wait! She truly understood why I was doing it and helped me a ton. I am beyond grateful for her through this journey (and everyday). I love you babe.

How did I feel?
Not gonna lie. It was way harder than I thought. It was super challenging. My sense of smell was insane. The slightest smell would set off urges to eat everything insight. Even the smell of a vanilla candle set me off.

I lost weight (did not weigh myself) But could feel it and see it in the mirror. My clothes felt baggier. I don’t think I lost too much weight and nothing that I know I can’t get back to.

Also, It really messed with me mentally, in a sense that I felt I had to uphold a certain image (size) to feel accepted. As I have for the last 15 years of my physical training career. But that is definitely not the case. I am not valued by my body. I am valued and accepted by the way I accept myself and how I treat and add value to others.

I feel extremely proud of myself knowing that I had done something most people haven’t or won’t in their lifetime.

Lessons
Next time, I will not tell anyone  that I am doing a fast, other than those that have fasted and/or who support me 100% and understand why I’m doing a fast. It is so foreign to people that they don’t understand it. I found myself constantly having to justify myself to other people why I was doing it. Almost felt like people were offended that I was fasting (or maybe just in my head). So for next time (or anytime) I will fast in silence and only tell them once I’m done. Talk less, just DO.

Should you do it?
I’m not going to tell you to do it. But if you do your research and feel that this will benefit you, all you! First, consult with a Dr and have proper support and guidance through the process, then it is up to you to see how it can help you. Do at your own risk.

Verdict
I loved it. For the simple fact that it was hard as F. I’ve decided that I will do a 5 day fast, a minimum of once per year and supplement it with 1-3 day fasts twice per year. I find there is a true benefit for the body and the mind. I love testing my discipline and this is one way to do it.

I also realized that I took food for granted. To have food readily available to us at the click of a finger. I was rarely present when I ate. Just always tried to shovel it down my mouth like I haven’t eaten for weeks (almost every meal). But instead actually smell the food, chew it, savour it and thank god for granting me a beautiful life to eat anything I want, whenever I want.

My friend Aman Sidhu brought this to ligth as he finished his 5 day fast –

“Think about the billions of people out there starving. Not knowing when their next meal will be. We have food so readily available to us. We are SO BLESSED.”

It was hard as F. But I did it! I want to be able to incorporate this into my yearly routine as I know the benefits will help me long term. I want to live a long healthy life to be able to support my future family to the best of my ability both mentally and physically. I will continue to try other life “hacks” to continue to push the envelope of what I think (know) my body and mind can do.

As my friend and experienced guide, Arlin Gray, through this process told me:

Brother. You did it. ??
You just did something that >95% of people can’t do. Most wouldn’t even try it because it’s so far beyond their capabilities. Your brain just denied your body the second most important thing in this world for it’s survival because your brain knows the benefits and has that much fucking power to take the wheel when it matters. I’m GLAD it was harder than you thought. And you still did it. That’s discipline.Now tell me, if you can do that, what can’t you do?
Love,
Steve Ramos
Grateful for you.