How to Get CFL Schedules on Your Phone

I know you love the game, but do you honestly have the time to set calendar reminders for all 18 games in the CFL season? … Didn’t think so.

No need to worry, I’ve gotcha covered 😉

My Memory is shaky at best when it comes to dates and times, so I write everything down.

I know you love the game, but do you honestly have the time to set calendar reminders for all 18 games in the CFL season? … Didn’t think so.

No need to worry, I’ve gotcha covered 😉

Click the banner below to download your CFL team’s full schedule directly into your calendar.

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Continue reading “How to Get CFL Schedules on Your Phone”

6 Tips to Survive Training Camp

Training Camp Survival Guide: 6 things every football player needs to know

After spending all offseason preparing your body to endure the marathon style grind of the regular season there is only one thing standing between you and that opening kickoff of Week 1 – Training Camp.

No matter which league you play in, camp a beast! For two or three weeks you practice and compete once or twice per day and then you have a few hours of meetings. Once you add in three meals and possibly some therapy time, you’re left with only a few minutes to yourself each day.

This downtime is where the real battle is won and lost.  Ask any veteran player and they will undoubtedly agree.

By day three or four most first-timers (more affectionately known around the world of sports as “rookies”) will be begging for mercy. Lactic acid will set up shop in the legs, perma-fatigue sets in and dehydration can become a real threat. Meanwhile, savvy vets usually don’t hit the wall until days later, if at all.

Training camp is tough. That’s something everyone will admit. But, what are those upperclassmen doing to keep their performance peaking all through camp that the young guns aren’t? How do the more experienced guys maintain a razor focus in the early morning and late night meetings?

Well, I don’t know what you do, but here are 6 Training Camp Hacks that help me keep a spring in my step during the toughest part of the year.

How to Survive Training Camp

  1. Hydrate Often
    This one is simple. Ask anyone who studies the human body and they will tell you that it is made up of mostly water. Exercise makes you sweat – obviously. Why is that important to know? Well, most soft tissue injuries that I’ve seen (pulled muscles, strains, tears) tend to happen when you are dehydrated. With this in mind, you need to put an emphasis on keeping your body’s hydration level in the optimal range whenever you’re active.
  2. Eat Clean
    The energy that your body runs on comes from the calories that you take in when you eat. Let it be known, not all calories are created equal, so it’s really important to fill up efficiently.Try to refuel with nutrient-dense meals so that your body can recover from the stress of long, challenging practices. Your muscles need carbs and protein to bounce back after a hard workout, so if you want to maintain your strength during training camp make sure you focus on your food intake.
  3. Stretch & Foam Roll
    Most of us are not nearly as flexible as we could be, myself included.  I spend a fair amount of time working on my flexibility and mobility during the offseason, but during training camp, I always make a point to stay on top of it.On a regular day during training camp, I will stretch and foam roll on my own no less than three times. Once in the morning when I get out of the shower. Then again after practice before I leave the field. And again, one more time after I take a shower at night.I always try to stretch my muscles when they are warmed up. This is the best way to make sure that you don’t hurt yourself. A good stretch should be held for at least 20 to 30 seconds. Likewise, when it comes to foam rolling, think about spending a similar amount of time working on each muscle group. As an athlete your body is your “vehicle to success”, so you would be wise to give it a tune up regularly.
  4. Take Naps
    During my first four seasons playing in the CFL, I have mastered the art of the Power Nap. It is probably my secret weapon. Don’t be afraid to hit the pillow for a quick 20-minute snooze after lunch.Also, if you’re going to be napping just make sure that you bring your alarm clock. The last thing that you need is to sleep in and end up late for meetings or practice. You don’t want to make a bad impression on your coaches before the season even start.
  5. Cold Tub & Contrast Shower
    After a few days, you will slowly start to get sore from a build up of inflammation and lactic acid if you’re not proactive. Cold tubs are a classic way to refresh the body after a grueling day on the practice field. You don’t need to spend all day in there, though. I usually notice a good improvement after a quick 5-minute dip.The only thing that I like better than the cold tub is contrasting. Contrasting is when you flip back and forth between hot and cold. There are varying arguments for how long you should spend in each. Personally, I like two minutes cold, three minutes hot, back and forth for 2 – 4 cycles. If you don’t have access to a cold tub you can always do this in your shower too.One rule of thumb: If you are about to be active, finish in the hot water so that your muscles are warm and ready to move. If you are done for the day, end your session in the cold.
  6. Bring Seeds!
    Sunflower seeds are a tired man’s best friend! When you’re in a meeting and you feel each blink getting longer and longer, don’t reach for an energy drink. Instead, grab a handful of sunflower seeds and a paper cup. Eating sunflower seeds actually takes a lot of effort, so it’s an easy way to trick your brain into staying focused. Plus, if you don’t know too many guys on the team you will definitely make a few new friends once you bust out the package.
    If I can offer you some bonus advice on meeting room seeds, share wisely. Never hand over the bag!If you let them pour, you’ll be buying some more…

These are just a few tips from my experiences over the years. Hopefully, they will help you out when you report to camp this year. If you can think of any other keys to training camp success, definitely leave a comment and let me know!

– 22

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How to Master Your Habits

Our habits determine a large part of what we spend our time doing each day, so taking control over those unconscious drives can go a long way in helping us navigate towards our goals.

We all have habits. They show up in every facet of our lives; in our thoughts, our speech and of course, in our actions. You probably don’t even realize half of your habits because they are so deeply ingrained in your lifestyle. Yet, these unconscious drives play an undeniable role in shaping our reality and, ultimately, determining whether we find success or fall short of our mark.

Bad Habits vs. Healthy Habits 
Not all habits are created equal. If you are like most people, when you think of the word “habit” you can quickly generate several examples of harmful routines that don’t really bring us much value. These might include things like substance abuse, procrastination, excess spending, oversleeping, losing your temper, or any other acts that lead us away from our goals.

Poor habits, however, are not limited to our actions. Many of us (myself included) have had to work through self-destructive and limiting thoughts as well.  It is important to realize that the things we think about inspire the words we say and, in turn, what we say eventually becomes our reality. So, it is crucial that we not only focus on our physical habits, but also the thought patterns that shape our perspectives.

With all of this in mind, the difference between a good habit and a bad habit can be summed up like this: a bad habit is a reflex or thought that distracts you or sets you back.  A healthy habit, on the other hand, is something constructive that you routinely do in a given situation.

Habits don’t have to be extreme to have a significant impact. Some of the positive habits that I have been working on over the last 12 months are actually really simple; daily goal setting, packing my gym bag the night before a workout, and listening to audio books on my commute. All of these things, in some way or another, help me feel better about myself and make me more productive with my time.

10 New Habits
Here are some simple practices that you can try adding to your daily routine:

  1. Start your day by writing down one thing you are grateful for.
  2. Add 10 minutes of stretching to the end of your workouts.
  3. Make yourself breakfast before you leave the house each morning.
  4. Carry a water bottle with you all day.
  5. Spend 15 minutes reading each day.
  6. Instead of answering messages individually as they come in, set a specific time when you will read and reply to emails (or texts, etc.).
  7. Give someone else a compliment at least once a day.
  8. Write down your goals for the week each Sunday.
  9. Save $10 more from every pay cheque, just because.
  10. Add a new healthy food to your diet. Eat it once a week.

How habits are formed
In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg describes habits as a 3-part cycle he refers to as the “the habit loop.” In a nutshell, we are presented with a cue (also known as a “trigger”), we respond with an action (also called a “habit”), and then we are rewarded for taking that action. Trigger, habit, reward.

Example #1: You are walking through the mall and smell the sweet scent of cinnamon rolls (cue), so you forget about what you were doing and get in line (habit). Finally, after waiting in line for a few minutes you get your freshly baked treat, sink your teeth in and bang – satisfaction (reward).

Example #2: Your friend is on her way over to your house to hang out for the afternoon. While she is on the way you get a phone call, “hey, do you want anything from the coffee shop?” (cue). You aren’t actually thirsty or craving anything, but you automatically reply, “Sure! I’ll take a small regular, thanks.” (habit). Then, a few minutes later someone is at your door with a 315 calorie gift, just for you (reward).

Habit triggers come in all shapes and sizes. Your brain works like a giant network of ideas and memories, each one connected to another. Simply put, a trigger is a spark that initiates the chain reaction of neural activity which leads up to action.

Most triggers are either environmental (i.e.: driving past Starbucks), sensory (i.e.: the ringer on your phone, the smell of McDonald’s fries), or psychological (i.e.: boredom, loneliness, fear, anger, etc.). Of course, there are other types of cues, but regardless, they all serve the function of initiating that habit loop.

A reward is just what it sounds like. As mentioned, your brain is like a network of ideas. Whenever you notice a particular trigger, your mind begins to make assumptions about the things that will accompany or follow this cue. When your brain learns to connect a certain trigger with a particular outcome, we are then motivated to take action (habit). If this action leads to a reward the habit loop is strengthened and the cycle becomes more likely to continue.

So, here’s the cycle one more time.

Trigger, habit, reward.

Catalyst Habits
Knowing all of this great stuff about the formation of habits is cool, but how can we take that information and apply it to our lives immediately? Well, because our habits determine a very large part of what we spend our time doing each day, taking control over those unconscious drives can go a long way in helping us navigate toward our goals.

It can be overwhelming to think about overhauling your life to realign your personality with an ideal version of yourself that you are striving to become. So, instead of spreading yourself thin and taking on a ton of new challenges all at once, try focusing in on one or two catalyst habits.

There has been substantial research on catalyst actions (or keystone habits as they are called in The Power Of Habit). When put to good use, these catalyst habits have an ability to trigger a domino effect of productivity and efficiency. Simply put, a catalyst habit is a routine which generally leads to another constructive act, making all tasks that follow easier or more likely to be completed.

A simple example is making your bed in the morning. Making your bed in and of itself might not change your life, however, beginning your day with a ritual involving cleanliness and attention to detail can setup the rest of your day for more of the same. Carry that momentum with you into the kitchen and wash your dishes after you eat breakfast. Now with a clear kitchen table, you feel inspired to pack a lunch for the day. Then when you take that break around noon, you don’t have to wander around for 15 minutes deciding which fast food restaurant is the healthiest. All because you made your bed and started a wave of positive energy that carried you through the rest of the day.

Catalyst actions can be difficult to identify. In my experience, the best way to find them is by taking a little time to build some self-awareness. The key here is to reverse-engineer the momentum.

Think about when you are at your best. Times when you are most productive and most disciplined. Where are you when you feel energized and focused? What does the area look like? What items are around you? Who is there with you? What time of day is it? What were you doing leading up to this moment? Did you just eat? Were you taking a walk when a great idea popped into your head?  Did you have a particular song on in your headphones?

Try to isolate all of the variables in the scenario so that you can better understand how you got into that focus zone. Really take some time to think about what inspires you in great detail. If you can identify your triggers, you can create motivation on demand.

Creativity, dedication, and positivity can seem to come in waves. Some days the ideas are coming by the dozens and we have enough juice to hit the gym twice. Other days we just can’t get anything going. That is why it is so important to keep control of our habits.

Regardless of the goal, it is critical that we pick up on the patterns that put us at our best. As your awareness develops you will learn which buttons control your cues. If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to build constructive routines around these triggers and truly make success a habit.

– 22

 

“The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg

For more on Habit Formation pick up a copy right here:

iBooks | Amazon

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Relentless

22 Books – Episode 2

Written by: Tim S. Grover

272 Pages (Paperback)

Scribner Publishing (2014)

Genre: NonFiction, Leadership, Motivation, Training

Purchase on Amazon : Download for iBooks

3 Sentence Summary

Relentless gives us a rare glimpse inside the headspace of elite level athletes and discusses the traits they share with those who achieve greatness in other walks of life. Throughout the book, Tim Grover shares gems from over two decades of experience working with the likes of MJ, Kobe and Dwayne Wade. In a lot of ways, this book is an unapologetically honest look at what it takes to become legendary.

22’s Review

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It made me feel… “normal”, in a sense (whatever that means). I think it’s because deep down inside I felt good to know that my insatiable compulsions to seek out progress were actually working in my favor, though most reasonable people might call such behaviour obsessive. Grover doesn’t waste time dressing up his ideas in academic prose or complicated metaphors. Instead, he cuts to the chase to make his point loud and clear.  This book is like the best friend you never had, who can keep it real with you and tell you exactly what you need to hear at the risk of hurting your feelings.  On the whole, this book is easy to read because it’s more of a compelling story than a long-winded lecture. The advice inspires action, which is the ultimate measure of effectiveness. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to separate themselves from the pack. It doesn’t matter if you are an athlete, a student or a career professional Relentless outlines a model of greatness that can take you from good, to great to unstoppable.

Actionable Advice

  1. Stop looking around for confirmation and support. Just focus on controllable factors. In the end, success is between you and you.
  2. Don’t just look for advice that supports your current point of view. Stay open to all kinds of feedback.
  3. Find your triggers and master them. Never let someone else push your buttons, instead, learn to channel your emotions into relentless energy.

Words From The Author

“Everything you need to be great is already inside you.” (p.5)

“Being relentless means demanding more of yourself than anyone else could ever demand of you, knowing that every time you stop, you can still do more. You must do more.” (p.5)

“Decide. Commit. Act. Succeed. Repeat.” (p.5)

“From this point, your strategy is to make everyone else get on your level; you’re not going down to theirs. You’re not competing with anyone else, ever again. They’re going to have to compete with you.” (p.8)

“If you want to be great, deliver the unexpected. If you want to be the best, deliver a miracle.” (p.19)

“You can’t claim you ran a marathon if you started at the seventeenth mile.” (p.164)

“Every dream you imagine, everything you see and hear and feel in your sleep, that’s not a fantasy, that’s your deep instinct telling you it can all be real.” (p.231)

“The greatest battles you will ever fight are with yourself, and you must always be your toughest opponent.” (p.231)

“Life can be complicated; the truth is not.” (p.232)

3 Thoughts…

  1. Everyone has different motivations for their grind. Grover suggests that “to have what you really want, you must first be who you really are.” When was the last time that you sat in silence and thought about what you would be doing with your life if money was no object?
  2. In one way or another, sacrifice always precedes achievement. What are you willing to give up in exchange for the chance to reach your biggest goals? Where do you draw the line? What sacrifices are off limits?
  3. In the words of the author, “you don’t have to love the hard work; you just have to crave the end result.” Do you agree? Is desire alone really enough to inspire life-changing action or does it take something more? What is the main thing stopping you from making your biggest goal a reality?

– 22 –

Are you looking for a new book?  If you haven’t read this one yet, you can find it on Amazon or iTunes through the links above. Once you’ve read, it tell us what you thought about it below.

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Johnny Sears Jr. Interview – Giving Back

The Streets of Hamilton were a little warmer this winter thanks to Johnny Sears Jr.

A Channel 22 Exclusive Interview

I’m all about positivity. I created this site to tell my story and share my experiences with family, friends, and fans.

I want to use this platform to promote the positive initiatives that my teammates and friends support in the community. Channel 22 gives me a chance to do just that.

These are the stories of local heroes making plays outside of the lines.

I’ve always admired journalistic mastery. That being said, I’m a little new to this whole thing, so bare with me. Take it for what it is, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the message. It took a while, but I’ve finally gotten the time (and resources) to put a little something together, so without further ado – Episode 1 of my blog mini-series/podcast Channel 22. Enjoy.

Check out my 1 on 1 with pro football player Johnny Sear here…


Listen to the extended interview with 5 minutes of bonus content Here…

Recap – The Streets of Hamilton were a little warmer this winter thanks to Johnny Sears Jr.

A few weeks before Christmas 2016, seven-year pro Johnny Sears Jr. had an idea that made a lot of sense. He thought it would be cool to give away all of the socks and shoes that he had laying around his house since he no longer had any use for them.

So, he went to the grocery store, got a big cardboard box and made a sign that he could tape onto the front of the box.

Johnny put the first box at the main entrance of Tim Hortin’s Field, in Hamilton – Home of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats CFL football team. Slowly the word spread. First came the socks. Then came the shoes and boots. Then came the emails.

Soon there were two boxes, then three… Eventually, the initiative was collecting donations at over 10 locations all across the city and the surrounding area.

People couldn’t help but agree – This was a great idea.

-22

To hear more about the amazing story of Johnny’s project…

Watch our 1 on 1 on YouTube

or listen to the extended interview on SoundCloud

If you enjoyed this story please Like, Subscribe & Share it with your friends!

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Connect with Johnny on social media

Facebook: Johny Sears Jr.

IG: @Go4ThaGusto

Twitter: @jjr0


Credits

To all of the sponsors and volunteers who helped to make this event a success, Thank You!

N0Z0N3

Make It Entertainment

Taylor Moving

AIM

Joelle’s & Jeff’s Guy Shop

Auger Properties

Barry’s Jewellers

First Ontario Credit Union (Stony Creek)

Hamilton Tiger-Cats Football Club

Overtime Football Club

The Reid Family

The Keary Family

Larry Irish

Arlene Frehs

Staff at Heritage Place Retirement Home

Juanita Stephen

J.R. Ahk

Mr. Ken

St Matthew  (School)

St Thomas the Apostle  (School)

Immaculate Conception (School)

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The Four Agreements

22 Books – Episode 1

Written by: Don Miguel Ruiz

138 Pages

Amber – Allen Publishing (1997)

Genre: NonFiction, Self Help, Spirituality

Purchase on Amazon : Download for iBooks

3 Sentence Summary

The Four Agreements is a guide to finding peace within yourself and freedom from negativity. Ruiz addresses the challenge of being yourself in a world where we live to please others. Ultimately, this book asks readers to test their reality in hopes of uncovering a new outlook on life.

22’s Review

This book is short and to the point. I read it in just a few days, and it wasn’t overly challenging to get through.  The author is somewhat mystical in his approach. He dabbles in spirituality and existential themes, but overall he keeps things grounded with concepts that pretty much anyone can grasp. There is no shortage of metaphors throughout the book. Ruiz’s style is creative, which allows him to dress up some rather simple lessons in the garb of age-old wisdom. Ultimately, this book is compelling because of the practical applications of the advice it teaches. I would recommend this to anyone who has ever felt like they just can’t get out of their own way, or for the person knee-deep in a bad situation. We all could use a positive influence on our lives, and The Four Agreements can stand in as that sound advice we needed to hear.

Actionable Advice

  1. Treat yourself better when situations don’t work out as planned. Harboring guilt and fear can only hold you back.
  2. Strive for clarity in all communication. To be right or wrong is less important than to be understood.
  3. Focus on the life you want to create. The opinions that you accept to be true determine your reality.

Words From The Author

“We keep searching and searching when everything is already within us.” p.15

“We have millions of questions that need answers because there are so many things that the reasoning mind cannot explain. It is not important if the answer is correct; just the answer itself makes us feel safe.” p.68

“Practice makes the master.” p.86

“The first step is to become aware of the fog in your mind.” p.106

3 Thoughts…

  1. What is something that you are grateful for today? What are three things you value above everything else in this world? 
  2. The author suggests that we lose track of who we are as we adopt the views of those around us.  If you never had to measure up to outside expectations from your parents and peers, what life choices might you have made differently along your journey to right now?
  3. According to Ruiz, our outlook is heavily dependent on our emotional state.  Do you have strong emotions? What are some feelings that tend to get you in trouble from time to time? (e.g., fear, jealousy, anxiety, apprehension, laziness, love, dedication, enthusiasm, empathy, etc.)

– 22 –

Are you looking for a new book?  If you haven’t read this one yet, you can find it on Amazon or iTunes through the links above. Once you’ve read, it tell us what you thought about it below.

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Do More With Your 24

You have to be willing to work on your craft every day. Here’s how I make time and stay productive.

orangebowl-practice

(My Northern Illinois Huskies practice in sunny Miami before a showdown with Florida State in the 2013 BCS Orange Bowl)

Sometimes life can get busy. That is true for everyone. But, if you want to be great at what you do, you need to be consistently productive. You have to be willing to work on your craft every day. You have to build a winning routine.

A routine is just a series of habits. Reflexes and patterns of action.

When the behaviours that you unconsciously fall back on are productive, then you are in luck. Productive habits help people make the most of their time. On the other hand, if you lack focus and have a tendency to be distracted or unmotivated, you should think about building some positive habits to get you moving in the right direction.

When trying to become more efficient, remember this fundamental rule. To create free time, you need to a) work less, b) work faster, or c) waste less time. The secret is to set yourself up for success.  It is always easiest to execute when you have a plan and the right resources.

 “Time is the most valuable currency you can spend and you ought to be in control of how you invest it.” – 22

Here are a few time management strategies that have helped me streamline my life. If you are trying to Be More Productive  consider these ideas:

“1 Tasking” – Do one thing at a time instead of multitasking. The majority of “wasted time” is lost in the transition from one task to another, focussing and refocusing. Work to complete one task at a time, so you will spend less time reorienting your divided attention.

Be Unavailable – Don’t respond to text messages or emails right away. Instead, schedule two or three blocks of time in the workday to filter through your messages and make any necessary replies. If you need to, turn off your notifications while you’re in “work mode”.

Wake up Earlier – This is the simplest way to add hours to your day. Obviously, not everyone is a morning person, but when you start your day early, you can get more done. Morning momentum can have a resonating effect that lasts through the rest of your day. Going to bed earlier is the easiest way to start this new routine. To give yourself the best chance to rise and shine; don’t skip meals, drink lots of water and try to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

Be Honest with Yourself – There is a difference between keeping busy and making progress. Are you prioritising your time so that the most important tasks are getting done first? Don’t just work hard, work smart! Get the most out of your day by setting goals and working towards milestones. Clear objectives will help you stay on task in the long run.

Make a List – People have made “to-do” lists since the beginning of time, but not all lists are created equal. The real value of a list is in its ability to illuminate a path to the finish line. Start with priority number one. Make a habit of writing a list before you go to bed each night. Then when you wake up, you can get right to it!

Use a Calendar – Have you ever wondered why every cell phone, tablet and laptop has a calendar app? Well, because they work! What if you’re not big on technology? No problem. Just print out a hard copy of the monthly calendar and put it up on your wall or bulletin board.  Write down important dates, so you can quickly remind yourself of what’s upcoming in the next few weeks.

Unplug Your Distractions – I used to play video games all day, non-stop. Then as my training schedule picked up and I started travelling more, I found myself out of time to work on important projects. I needed to make a change.  It took some major willpower, but eventually, I decided to take the batteries out of my Xbox One controllers and unplug the system from the wall.* This way it would be a huge hassle to plug it back in, turn it on and get distracted. To this day, one of the best moves I ever made.

For a good book related to this subject check out:

The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

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The ONE Thing by Gary W. Keller & Jay Papasan

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*moment of silence for my Xbox One… thank you

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