THANKS-giving

Teammates support one another and pick up the slack when needed.

Teammates support one another and pick up the slack when needed.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’ve decided to devote each day leading up to one of my favorite Holidays with a person or group of people for whom I am thankful.  There are a lot of people in my life, in the 41 years I’ve walked this Earth, that have made a difference.  So, I hope I have enough days between now and Turkey Day to show my appreciation.  Here goes.

First and foremost, I thank my beautiful wife, Maria.  Not only is she the love of my life, but her unwavering support for me has been nothing short of amazing.

Okay, I’m not the first guy to start a speech or long-winded talk by thanking his wife.  I also won’t be the first to sit up here and say my wife is my partner.  Or that she and I are great teammates.  You’ve probably heard that before.  You may have even heard analogies and references where men compare the relationship with their wives with the likes of great entertainment and sports duos like Montana and Rice, Jordan and Pippen, Bebe and CeCe, or Hall & Oats.

Okay, I’m probably dating myself a little (or a lotta) bit with those references, so how about this one: Lebron James and Dwyane Wade, the focal points of the 2-time defending NBA Champions Miami Heat.   Dubbed by many as Batman and Robin, that might be the more applicable analogy for the relationship my wife and I share.

You might expect me to say what you might expect most men to say, that I am Lebron James.  I am the multiple MVP winner, the face of the league.  And if I am Lebron, then Maria, well, she must be Dwyane Wade, a great player, but subordinate to me.

Nope.

The All-Star in our family, the MVP, the one who is carrying this team we call the Blufords, is my wife, Maria.

You see, about a year ago, I made the decision to pursue my passion and my dream of helping, inspiring, and encouraging people through fitness.  I believe whole-heartedly in the importance of exercise, not only for physical well-being, but for mental and emotional health.  And more importantly, having just turned 41 and faced several of the life challenges that people cite as preventing them from continuing their fitness- school, work, marriage, parenthood, age- I am convinced I’ve discovered in what I call Ultimate Muscle Confusion the perfect system for sustainable fitness.

Oh, back to Maria (after that short commercial break).  Without blinking an eye, she supported my decision to walk away from an ascending career in Corporate Finance, a career that, after earning an MBA from Santa Clara University (for which we are still paying for, by the way) saw me excel at both a CFO and VP of Finance for two successfully sold startups.  When I told her I wanted to do what I felt God wanted me to do, she said ‘ok’.   When I told her it might be a “few” months before I was able to start making money doing it, she said ‘ok’.  When I said things would be stressful for a little while, she said ‘ok’.

What an amazing woman she is.  Maria “Lebron” Bluford.  The Queen, if you will.  She is our team’s main scorer, the one we turn to when we need a bucket.  Without her, our odds of winning are slim to none.  But make no mistake about it.  I understand fully that as her sidekick, my role is also important.  Like Wade with Lebron, I support her whenever and wherever I can.  When I can’t score, I can rebound (help clean the house) and play defense (pick up the kids and help them with their homework).  And even though I am not the player I once was (remember, Wade was considered a top 5 player for much of his career and won a Championship BEFORE Lebron came to Miami), there will still be days (games) when I remind myself and her that I can pick up the slack when absolutely necessary.

The main difference, thankfully, in comparing Maria and me with Lebron and Wade, is that the roles of those two are cemented.  The gap between the two, mainly because of age, is widening.  In contrast, I traded in my pencils and laptops for dumbbells and resistance bands so that I could fulfill my calling.  But I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think it also presented the best future for my family.

I firmly believe that my decision to trade in suits and board meetings for athletic apparel and fitness bootcamps will provide more riches than I could ever need.  The financial success my family will enjoy will be trumped only by the satisfaction of helping thousands of people change their lives.

When that day comes, I’ll once again be our team’s main scorer.  I’ll be the captain, the MVP.  And if I’m being perfectly honest, that’s what I want.  Not only as a former athlete and competitor.  Not only as a man.  But also as a guy who wants to give to his wife and children the best of everything.  I am confident I will be Lebron again one day.  And Maria will be Dywane Wade.  Yes, I’m convinced that one day I’ll once again be Batman.

But for now I’m happy to be Robin.

Thanks, Babe.

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Accounting and Finance Consultant

I have over a decade of senior level Accounting and Finance experience, primarily in startup or small business environments.  I have an MBA from Santa Clara University and extensive experience in creating systems to increase efficiency around Accounting, Finance, and other Business functions.  My specialties include Quickbooks, as well as Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Access Database creation and integration.  If you need help managing or growing your business, please contact me for a free quote or proposal.

Bobby Bluford
bobby@bobbybluford.com
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As we get older…

I (left) had a tough time in the mud, but finished MudFactors’s 3.2 Mile Obstacle course. More importantly, with the help of my buddy and wonderful wife, I remembered what life should be about and had a blast!

As we get older, we lose a sense of what life is all about.  We’re born embracing all of the curiosity and fun that living brings.  But slowly over time, that innocent, untainted enthusiasm is chiseled away, often leaving no more inside of us than bitterness and skepticism.

Remember when you would come home from school or church and go straight outside?  I can still remember my mom yelling at me to change out of my “good clothes!”  Remember how excited you were when the boy down the street knocked on the door and asked if you could come out and play.  When we didn’t immediately weigh the request against all of the other obligations and responsibilities we had?  Remember when all that mattered is that you were outside in the sun and dirt, running around?  Remember when you weren’t worried about the report you had to finish for school the next day or the meeting you had at work on Monday morning or what you were going to make for dinner or the clothes that you still needed to wash, dry, and fold?

True, some of this is a product of just being young, naive perhaps.  And as you get older and have people dependent upon you instead of the other way around, you must naturally change your approach to life.

But a lot of us take it too far.  Most of us forget how much fun life should be, taking instead a much more serious, calculated, “responsible” approach.  Those who know me might argue I’m the poster boy for that way of thinking.  “Addicted to Improvement”, my self created tagline and brand, has often meant I take life–and myself–way, way too seriously. Read more of this post

Grow Up and Accept Responsibility!

The Los Angeles Clippers started the season hot, sparking debate about "who's the best team in L.A. But things have changed and if not careful, they'll find themselves with a new coach, victims of the 'the coach lost the team' epidemic.

I was watching ESPN the other day while working out (I can hear all of my bootcampers telling me to ‘Stop Bullshittin’!) and one of the stories was about the Los Angeles Clippers, who after a start to the season that promised (and showed) great potential, have seemingly taken their rightful seat next to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers as the ‘other’ team in Los Angeles.

No one would argue that the loss of newly signed Chauncey Billups, a proven veteran with skins on the wall, was significant in curtailing the team’s ascension to the NBA elite. Still, they have Blake Griffin, one of the league’s brightest young stars whose aerial assaults on the rim are renowned. And they do have DeAndre Jordan, as athletic a center (at 6’11”, 265) as there is in the league. They also added the much-needed outside shooting of Mo Williams, who only a few years ago teamed up with Lebron James in Cleveland to lead what was before and has been since a mostly moribund franchise to the NBA Finals. And for toughness and the dirty work that doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet, I present to you the salty veteran Kenyon Martin. Oh, and by the way, Chris Paul, a perennial All-Star recognized as one of the top handful of point guards in the league, came over this season in one of the year’s few blockbuster trades. A lineup with talent, right? Young talent. Exciting talent. So what’s the problem? The coach! Read more of this post

Super Stacks

Two of the more popular workout methods, if you will, are Super-Sets and Stacking, also known as drop sets.  With the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) I’ve been doing lately, I do a lot of the former.  The same can’t be said for the latter.  I used drop sets, a great way to break through strength and size plateaus, regularly when I was younger, especially when I was playing football in college and couldn’t gain weight to save my life. (There are days I wish I had that problem still.)  But with a hectic schedule that forced me to reduce the time I spend in the gym and, frankly, a change in goals from wanting to be the strongest and biggest I could (while still athletic, of course) to aspiring to be lean and fit, I’ve all but eliminated them from my regimen.

Welcome back, Drop Sets!  And meet your cousin, Super, “Set” that is.   Read more of this post

Recipe for Change: Less Everyday

Last week, a friend asked what I’d given up for Lent. Well, since I am more of a “Recovering Catholic” than a Catholic, “I suppose I have given up GUILT this year,” I responded. So far it feels pretty good to not worry about a stray chocolate chip (the year I gave up chocolate), a slipped F-bomb (the year I gave up cussing), or being bitchy (the entire 40 days that I refrained from caffeine).

I’m already solid with workouts since I teach six classes per week and do my best to practice Bikram yoga (http://bikramyogalajolla.com) when possible. I generally eat well and don’t have too nasty of a potty mouth (though some may disagree!). So, in recent years, Lent has been purely about guilt for me, which I suppose is ultimately the objective. I would set my sights too high and invariably fail. Technically, Lent is the 6-week preparation period from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday when Christians ready themselves for Holy Week and Easter with prayer, almsgiving, repentance and self-denial. But, for many of us, the religious aspect is lost and Lent is simply relegated to an incentive program to get us moving on a new exercise regimen, diet, or unrealistic deprivation, literally guilting those of us raised on tabernacle wafers and watered down box wine to get to mass, skip the caffeine or sweet-tasting mouthful, and to exclaim “oh, shizer” instead of “oh, shit.” Read more of this post

‘American Idol’ Fitness

This week I made my debut on American Idol. Since I possess very little vocal talent, I suppose I should clarify. My awesome pal, Stephanie, called earlier this week with tickets to the American Idol screening in Hollywood, and although my first instinct was to pass (as I have kids to shuttle, homework to supervise, classes to teach and clients to train), I chose to drop everything and drive those hundred miles up the coast to Hollywood in search of one of my all-time idols—Season 10 judge and Aerosmith front man, Steven Tyler.

Four of us 40-something mommies giggled and chatted on the ride up as we played hookie from the minutia of our daily lives. We somehow also managed to create a sign made with bright poster board, colored Sharpies and a funny caricature cut-out of Mr. Tyler’s prominent lips and rockin’ hair. The final product was a work of multi-tasking genius. Colorful and to the point, it read: “Steven Baby…Walk This Way and just Gimme a Kiss!” with a thick arrow pointing down toward the sign holder. We elected our cute blond friend, Maureen, to wield the sign! Needless to say, our plan worked. After waiting outside the studio for hours and making friends with other Idol fans, we were assigned our seats. When the studio usher looked us up and down with her discriminating eye to assess how we’d “read” on camera if it happened to pan over us, she also read our sign. We were clearly not here to see any particular “idol,” we had a higher calling: Steven Tyler! Read more of this post