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Achieve More Through Your Success Circle

Yahoo!! Happy 2014! Otherwise, same shit different day. That is unless you’re really real about changing you and have an action plan to do so.

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” Oprah Winfrey

You’ve likely seen a ton of stuff about goals, resolutions, or what I like to refer to them as, realizations.

You just might feel inspired to set yourself up with a few goals after these emotional hits.

But the thing is, things around you have to change if you want to change.

“Friends”, cut ’em.

Employers, change ’em.

Routines, switch ’em.

Without trust or support, it’s likely you’re not changing and at this time next year you’ll be in the same position.

But around here, we aren’t about being in the same position because we’re Ambitious, right?

So below I’ve laid out the ground rules for you on how to set up your success circle to actually achieve your goals. To be happier, to feel accomplished, to actually be the person you really want to be.

Get out a pen and paper and let’s get started.

1. Write down up to 5 great friends who you can go to to talk things out.

2. List your goals in their order of importance with a brief description.

3. Write down and list the things that your friends can do to help you achieve those goals.

4. Meet with each of your friends individually to talk about your goals and their ability to help. Ask them if they can and are willing to help you reach your goals.

If your goal means that much to you than you cannot be afraid to share your goals with those close to you.

This, along with a good coach who works with you on a program, that fits your life, with variables to aid and adjust if needed, will be the key to your success.

5. Finally, send, not text, not tweet, no status update, a sincere thank you to each of your friends that took the time to listen to you and gave you their word on being there for you when needed. Let them know that you appreciate them and are thankful for their friendship. ‘Cause that’s what friends are for.

Here’s to you becoming a better you,



Grading Your Health

We are currently in the middle of a Fall fat shed challenge here at Ambitious Athletics. Members who participate in the challenge receive personalized education and quality one-on-one attention throughout. Here’s a beefed up email I sent out to the participants awhile back. I thought everyone could learn from it.


You can work your ass off and do everything right but still lack optimal progress. Sleep and stress are crucial to one’s success and must be regulated like your training and nutrition.

Quality strength and conditioning + nutrition + sleep + stress management = optimal results

Quality strength and conditioning – strength train 3-4 times per week, heavy condition once per week.

Nutrition – knowing your metabolic rate and what body type you are is crucial for macronutrient set up.

Sleep – 7 quality hours of shuteye, no excuses. Manage your time better.

Stress – chill out! Hate your job? Quit and find something you love. Need a change of pace? Follow the green signs hanging above the interstate to your new dream spot.

Results – do you want ‘em or not? Things that are worth achieving don’t come easy.

Stress test: __Blank__ often stresses me out.

Write your answer down and begin to work on dissolving the issue.

Think about it - stress causes anxiety and anxiety ties your stomach in knots which then wrecks havoc on your eating and sleeping patterns, while the food that you do eat and semi shotty sleep pattern attempts to rebuild, rejuvenate, and balance hormones (cortisol). Stress doesn't allow for a full rebuild or rejuvenation. It becomes a cumulative cycle that you must break to restart your healthy habits.

Sleep test: __Blank__ often prevents me from getting 7 quality hours of sleep per night.

Write you answer down and begin to work on dissolving the issue.

Check out your body after you get a solid 7 hours of sleep on the weekend compared to during the week, most people can easily tell how much tighter they look after quality sleep. Also, record your mood changes and overall mental well being. Take pictures of yourself all week long. No, not duck face Instagram selfies, real full body pictures, like the ones your ex boyfriend would post of you after your tweenage breakup. But seriously, take a picture, it lasts longer and definitely speaks more than 1,000 words.

As far as achieving results, this is a reminder that your exercise program stimulates muscle growth while nutrition builds muscle growth and creates fat burn; more muscle equals more fat burn. Which means you've got to eat, and eat clean. You wouldn't starve your car or feed it garbage like Marty's DeLorean Time Machine and expect for it to run efficiently would you? This isn't some Back to the Future movie, it's real life.

Everything in Moderation = moderate results.

Your homework: 1 week

1. Check your value of clean meals. Say you eat 4 meals per day X 7 days of the week = 28 meals. 90% success = 25 perfect meals. Anything below that will provide you with minimal success.

2. Record your solid sleep hours. Every morning upon waking, write down the total hours that you slept. Separate weekday and weekend hours.

3. At the end of the week grade yourself.

Grading scale

A = 95% perfect meals & 35+ hours of sleep (49 hours incl. weekend)

B = 90% perfect meals & 33.5 hours of sleep (45.5)

C = 85% perfect meals & 29.5 hours of sleep (42)

D = 80% perfect meals & 26 hours of sleep (38.5)

"C’s may earn degrees" but won’t land you the body that you truly seek.

Extra credit: At least 10 minutes of uninterrupted meditation/self reflecting/me-time per day.

Are you happy or unhappy with your grade? Record your grade below in the comments field.

If you’d like more help, sign up for coaching here.

Hope this helps.

Dedicated to your health,


Comments Submitted by Melanie on 11/19/13:

for 2 weeks, i have been an A, but i was a C for a looooong time after i moved away from Carmen and couldn't train with him any more :/

"Ohhhh Dear Dad, Can You See Me Now?"

My career with human movement began before I realized it. While I was aware of my passion for it as a young athlete, it officially started in 2006 while my dad was in the ICU recovering from a stroke and an aortic dissection, the splitting of the largest artery that supplies blood to the rest of the body. As a young athlete, I was able to listen to feedback from coaches, internalize it, manipulate it, and adapt it to better my swing, crow hop, pass, juke, catch, etc. at any given time. It’s a gift that my dad passed on to me.

When the doctors told us that Dad might not ever have full function of his left leg or be able to walk again without assistance, I was determined to prove them otherwise. Just like you I’m sure, I knew my dad was a super hero and this wasn’t going to hold him down.

With knowledge from my sports endeavors, I knew that if an individual could mentally understand it, he/she could produce it.

Day in and day out, I worked with my dad to help trigger nervous system pathways to help regenerate touch, feel, and movement, otherwise known as neural transmission. Repetitively moving his leg through space, touching it, poking it, rubbing it, and applying manual resistance to it, all while he was mentally engaged. We attempted to create a firing response from within the nervous system. Weeks went by with no response.

Then one day it happened, he voluntarily was able to move his toes. Days later and after more work, he was able to lift his foot just slightly off the ground from a sitting position. This was followed by a somewhat standing position for a couple of seconds with support, to fully standing with support, to relearning the walking pattern between parallel bars, to a walker with ankle assistance. The Physical Therapist and Doctor were both impressed and did credit me with my ongoing help. Little did I know, this was just the beginning of my career.

My love for training stems from the activities I did with my dad at the gym, in the batting cage, on the golf course, on roofs, and everywhere in between prior to his aortic dissection. And my pride in and passion for training grew from being able to do so much with him as he worked toward recovery. The memory of my dad reminds me to treat every client the way I would treat him.

His rare condition planted too many questions in my head in which I’ll never have all the answers to, but I quickly started my research just after his death later in 2006.

Since 2008 I’ve earned many certifications through various credible sources enabling growth in my philosophy and knowledge for the human body. The certifications I hold are also held and used by some of the most credible coaches in the world.

Although I’d like to help as many people as possible, I can’t stand to work with those who really don’t care about their health and body overall.

Many of my past and present clients can tell you, I will go out of my way and make time for you and any questions you might have. The time spent with my dad during those weeks in the hospital reminds of the why I enjoy working with clients on a personal level. I love helping people succeed.

Since beginning this career path, I’ve had the pleasure of working with and meeting some amazing people from all over the world. I’d like to think that my dad is happy knowing that he’s inspired me to live a life helping others.

My Dad’s love for sports, particularly golf, and life will forever remain on the 10th hole on the Penn State University golf course. Sponsored by his golf buddies and Ambitious Athletics.

My first visit to DC, early 1990's

Thank you again for your support,

Carmen Sturniolo

Owner, Ambitious Athletics

Are Your Friends Holding You Back?

Your friends are either helping you strip the fat off or are helping you keep the fat on. One way or another it’s been scientifically captured that our friends have a profound influence on our health. That’s just it, who you surround yourself with will either help you in a positive or negative way.

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with”(Jim Rohn). Well it’s certainly true.

Successful people hang out with other successful people and criminals hang out with other criminals, it’s a mindset.

But in no way does this mean it always has to stay that way.

I’ve always kept this quote close to me, and you should too.

“You can’t soar with the eagles if you’re hanging around turkeys”

Like most parents, mine had a great judge for character when some of my friends would show up at the house. I’m sure you can relate. Gradually, I learned from this.

Happily, I also received on a few qualities from them that help me cut ties with people I didn’t wish to associate with, with ease.

Simply put, if you’re a happy person who seeks the most out of life, can think creatively, believes that health is wealth, is doing what it takes to chase your dreams, and remains humble, than you’re most likely a person that I’d spend my time with.

Here are a few questions to think about:

1. Have I achieved or am I on the path to achieve the most important things to me?

2. Of the five people I spend most of my time with, do they bring the best out in me?

3. Do those five people make me happy?

4. Do they challenge me to be something better? Maximizing my capabilities.

5. Do they support me?

6. Are they keeping me healthy?

Think about these questions and look around to see if you are in fact surrounding yourself with influential people that have your interest at heart.

The greatest asset we have as humans is the ability to change.

Dedicated to your health,


3 Decades of Life and a Stack of Pancakes

The clock just tripped over midnight, making it July 16 2012. We just arrived back to our hotel in Niagara Falls after hanging in Toronto, Ontario, watching Blue Jays baseball and eating damn good Italian food in Little Italy Toronto.

“I want a stack of pancakes, double covered and smothered in maple syrup.” I said to my fiancé.

Becca looked at me with the “are you serious?” face.

“It’s my birthday, time to celebrate! I can eat and want whatever I want. For heavens sake, I’m F’in 30!”

We walked to the 24-hour Denny’s down the road, occupied a booth and I ordered 4 pancakes, 3 scrambled eggs, and a pile of bacon; the first meal of my thirties. Becca threw her hood over her head and napped on the table. (Just her head, she didn’t lay on the table. However, I’m sure she wouldn’t have been the first to do that in a Denny’s.)

I know it sounds ridiculous that your Personal Trainer is telling you all of this but where I’m about to go is going to make sense, I think. Stick with me.

I sat at the table like a kid celebrating his 5th birthday, really the first birthday you actually remember, staring at my meal and thinking back over three decades of life I’ve just accomplished and celebrated; I’m lucky.

But what I thought about wasn’t the ups and downs or the accomplishments and failures. I thought about what makes me happy and what pisses me off or stresses me out.

Mentally, I made and thought about the two lists: • The “love” list quickly filled with a lot of adjectives that represented the people and things in life that I like to associate with, that make me smile and excel in life. • The “hate” list wasn’t all that long, maybe four or five things that cause me stress. Most of the things that made this list revolve around technology.

I whole-heartedly believe that stress kills. There is absolutely nothing good related to stress except the fact that you should stress your muscles and bone to grow and formulate anew, other than that it should be avoided at all costs.

So at 1:30 am, during my pancakes, eggs and bacon adventure – one of the best birthday meals of all time – I vowed to shorten that “hate” list as much as possible and enjoy a stress-free life in the three decades to come. I developed my 30-year action plan and I’m giving you the first look. • Spend more time with my soon-to-be wife. • Spend more time with other people who I love and who positively influence me. • Limit text message conversations and spend more time communicating via phone. • Check email only twice per day. • Remove email from my phone. • Limit social media activity to once-per-day. • Attend more baseball games. • Enjoy more of the great outdoors • Play more golf. • Give more to my clients. • Implement these new rules into life immediately.

It’s been just two weeks since returning from our trip and living the 30 life, and I can honestly say turning 30 is a good thing. I hope I'm this lucky for the next 30.

How many of you actually take the time to do that. Pause life, step outside, examine, and change what you don’t like? Have you been successful? Why or why not? Please feel free to share your experiences in the area below, I'm sure everyone could benefit from your experience even if pancakes weren't involved.

Dedicated to your health, Carmen

And the winner is...

First and foremost, we want to thank all of you who took the time to vote for your friend on the Ambitious Facebook wall. We really had a good time watching the votes pour in as you rooted for your friend. I'm sure they too appreciated your support. But for the moment you've all been waiting for; for one free month of fitness Bootcamp and a steak dinner for two, the winner of the 2011 Holiday Contest is…

Ms. Sarah Piggott

We still aren't sure what kind of campaign Sarah put together for this domination, but we do know it involved borrowing holiday cookie cutters and bringing well-decorated Christmas cookies to bootcamp on the final day of this contest. Congratulations, Sarah!!

We were told that the cookies above were the rejects. Does anyone know if the fancy, artsy, non-rejects made it in to the mouths of voters :) ??

Please head back to the Facebook page and comment on this post by congratulating Sarah Piggott on a well-deserved holiday victory. We are glad she'll be sticking around and mastering the ropes :)

Have a great holiday season, and happy New Year! Dedicated to your health, Carmen

HOLIDAY CONTEST - WIN One Month FREE Bootcamp and Dinner for Two

As a Happy Holidays and THANK YOU for all of your hard work and support, Carmen and Emilie at Ambitious Athletics want to hook you up BIG time. Although Santa won’t be dropping you off a new sexy, strong body for Christmas, we thought that we might be able to provide you with an extra incentive to maintain everything you have worked so hard for.

We’ve created a fun little contest for you and your friends to enjoy while attempting to keep all the holiday stress at bay.

Now through December 16, compete to win one month FREE Bootcamp and dinner for you and a friend.

It’s the holiday season where spending time with friends and family is supposed to be fun. ☺

Here’s how it works:

1. From the Ambitious Athletics Facebook page use the "Recommend This Place" to get started.

2. Copy and paste the following message into the open field and select “Friends” from the drop down menu to the right.

Hi everyone - I am competing in a holiday contest to win a free month of fitness bootcamp through Ambitious Athletics in Washington, DC. Help me win by “liking” this page and posting my first and last name on the wall anytime before Dec. 16. The winning prize also includes dinner for two at Medium Rare in Cleveland Park. ☺ Thanks in advance for your help.

3. At midnight on Dec. 16, the person with the most posts wins. It’s as simple as that.

4. The winner will be announced on the AA Facebook page on Saturday, Dec. 17. We hope you’ll take advantage of this awesome opportunity.

Thank you and good luck!

I gave my cigarettes away this morning, and haven't had any caffeine today

“I have to warn you, I gave my cigarettes away this morning, and I haven’t had any caffeine today. The time is now. F all of those people who are talking about and setting up New Year's resolutions, News Year's resolutions suck. They are just setting themselves up for failure, again. Why wait and plan failure? The time is now, Carmen” – Exact quote from my awesome hairstylist the moment I sat in her chair this morning. It couldn’t have been said better and yet it happens… every…single…year.

People think that just because the calendar is turning over that they must plan some monumental achievement. OR failure, as this research indicates

"A separate study in 2007 by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol showed that 78% of those who set New Year resolutions fail."

I’m not sure I understand where NYR derived from or why people feel the need to better themselves at years end.

Wouldn’t your birthday be a better place to date since that is the day you entered the world?

Another year down should be celebrated by asking yourself if you’re living your life to the fullest and are making the best of your time here on Earth memorable.

Instead of planning the monumental fail, where you’ll forget what you said you were going to do in the New Year, take these three questions and put them somewhere you’ll see them daily:

1. Am I happy?

2. How can I be happier?

3. How will I better myself today?

Everyday starts with your happiness, whether you like it or not.

Ditch the yearly reflection and begin your daily reflection.

Make abrupt changes and make them for yourself.

Your happiness will reflect in others around you.

Happy December 1, 2011

Bootcamp for Beginners

Apprehensive about joining a Bootcamp because you're afraid it may be too hard, your current fitness level won't be enough, or you just don't know "Debating whether or not to come? Want to improve your overall fitness level? If you can't even do 1 push-up or feel like you are about to die after 1 flight of stairs, don't panic. I started last Oct. going 2x/week to Bootcamp. I couldn't even do a push-up + would get winded after 5 min. of exercise. My knees are shot from rheumatoid arthritis + I had gained a lot of weight taking steroids for it. I wasn't sure I could do this. But now I can exercise through a whole class of 45 minutes. Yes, I do get tired and I am not gonna lie - I want to quit quite often, but there is such a feeling of accomplishment when I finish a class with sore muscles. Try the class with Carmen. Push yourself. Because seriously, as cliched as this is going to sound, if someone like me can begin to excercise (even if you start with only making it through 5-10 minutes of class), anyone can. It WILL get easier. Carmen is fantastic at taking injuries or problems into consideration, so NO EXCUSES!"

Stay Competitive. Have Fun.

A True Workhorse

Social support is the physical and emotional comfort given to us by our family, friends, co-workers and others. It is knowing that we are part of a community of people who love and care for us, and value and think well of us. In those words, please help me in congratulating Mr. Kevin Kraham in his hard work; dropping pounds of fat, 20 lbs. to be exact, a 100% increase bench press, squat and push press, and increasing his overall conditioning.

Kevin called me up just a few weeks after leaving the hospital. He had just recovered from a serious injury, and said he got my information from a mutual friend and was looking for a new Personal Trainer that wasn't looking to put him in the hospital or kill him.

Kevin just got through a serious injury that people often get when they are in a serious earthquake or bombing attack, yes you read that correctly, a serious bombing attack. The condition is called Rhabdomyolysis, or Rhadbo for short. It is an extreme over usage of muscles that can lead to severe tissue and muscle damage, breaking down the body. In Kevin's case, his former trainer had him doing way too many reps and sets of exercise way too early in a training program.

Progressing through exercise, Kevin has made a remarkable recovery and has excelled beyond his former goals. When people talk about workhorses and doing work, they're talking about Kevin. Luckily we train in a basement gym with no windows or too much public interaction because most people would not understand what the guy in the corner is doing; it's called hard work, and hard work delivers real results.

Kevin will be running a half-marathon in June.

"I train hard everyday because losing hurts more"

Please help me congratulate Mark Vedete on a job well accomplished. Over the last 8 weeks Mark improved his squat technique and improved his squat strength from 95lbs to 185lbs with near perfect form. Mark's Bench has also jumped from 110 to 165, Deadlift from 135 to 235 and he has proudly gained 12 lbs of muscle. However, he's probably most proud of his 300 yard shuttle run which he has shaved 9 seconds off his total time. He quotes "I train hard everyday, because losing hurts more." Mark's next goal includes leaning out and improving flexibility. Congrats, Mark!