In Person Training VS Online Training

well HELLLLOOOOO there!

It has been forever since I’ve shared a post with you, and I apologize, but I’ve been a little bit BUSY.

Once you’re all caught up on that, you’ll be happy to know that living the majority of my life in a gym has really helped to inspire what I hope will be incredibly helpful posts.

So let’s dig in to today’s post and hash out the benefits of different types of training.

One of the biggest issues facing training today is that it has been cheapened by its own. Trainers who deal under the table and use fitness facilities without expecting to pay has driven facility pricing up and the professionalism of training down. This is a pattern that professionals like myself are trying to fight.

So, how do you know if you’re getting a GOOD personal trainer?

Well, for starters I would recommend being a bit more picky when choosing your personal trainer.

Think of your personal trainer as a part of your medical team. Would you go to just any old doctor off the street? Your trainer should be chosen with care.

Once you have established how to pick a trainer, the question may then be if you should hire an in-house trainer at your local gym or an online trainer. And here is where it can be tricky….

Training is not regulated. Anybody can open an online training business and call themselves a personal trainer (or worse, a celebrity trainer).

fake personal trainer

One BIG upside to hiring an in-house trainer is that most gyms require a national certification and they make sure trainers keep up with continuing education credits.

So, when you looked in to that online trainer who charges over $100 a month, did you research their credentials? Do your homework and keep yourself protected.

Another issue with training is what I believe to be the BIGGEST thing an in-person trainer can help with: FORM.

A hands on trainer can help make minute adjustments that lead to better muscle recruitment which will in turn help you reach your goal faster. These adjustments need to be made in person, cause I don’t care how awesome you think you are, Skype won’t cut it when you need to truly make adjustments. Hands on adjustments make all the difference in the world AND help to prevent injury.

In house trainers can also help you to track progress more effectively. PLUS, if you struggle with getting workouts in, an in-house trainer is a great way to set up that habit. My clients are given homework to complete each week and I ask them to check in with me at the gym, even if they don’t have an appointment that day. This ramps up the accountability factor we all need.

Are all trainers created equal?

Absolutely not!

I am blessed with a staff of trainers who are willing to continue to learn. A lot of trainers are only willing to go as far as the money. A good trainer will give you more than you paid for. A great trainer will depend on science to blow theory out of the water and help you reach your goals faster than you thought possible.

ron b science

So, how do you pick a trainer?

Do your research.

If a trainer is dealing underhanded and unwilling to pay a gym to train there, they won’t be fully committed to you either. An online trainer should be researched just as carefully and make sure you’re not simply looking at pictures……you can get those anywhere.

Seek out referrals for a good trainer in your area OR check out ideafit.com for a listing.

Is training cheap?

I wouldn’t trust it if it were. Good training will encompass the entire lifestyle, so it should take a chunk of time out of the trainers schedule. Consider this when looking at trainers. Also consider the fact that the better and more experienced the trainer, the more expensive they will be.

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty for training, you are paying for far more than that 1 hour session. If you’re lucky enough to get a trainer/nutritionist combo, then you should be getting plenty of nutrition education along with strength training, exercise sequencing, cardio workouts, flexibility training and core work (every day with me is core work). This is why training should be considered an investment. If your trainer doesn’t take your investment seriously, find another trainer.

no free training

Training is a great way to get results, stay injury free and develop a love for fitness…..IF you find the right fit.

Keep on moving,

Michelle

 

 

The Road to Figure, becoming a bodybuilder, and why you should do what suits you best

Happy Monday people!!!!!

This particular conversation/post has been on my mind for months now (I have a very busy mind) and it will more than most likely make it to video…..for now, we’ll all read together :)

If you’re just looking to lose some pounds and have zero interest in lifting anything…..please read on! I promise you will get something out of it ;)

Bodybuilding and the Figure decision:

gym selfie 7jpg from fasted cardio, calorie restriction and circuits……

Musclemania 2015 Front Side Pose to competition.

I’ve been involved in the fitness industry for over a dozen years now and I came from HATING sports and fitness of all kinds. I was never athletic and my start in fitness came in the form of yoga. So, after teaching yoga and a load of other aerobics classes, I began to develop an interest in weight. The weight training I did was not bodybuilding as it was mostly light weights with just enough reps to keep me small (there will be a WHOLE other post about our obsession with small-ness soon). It wasn’t until a year ago that I decided to get serious, start an actual bodybuilding program, stop trying different fads, and possibly even compete.

Years ago I thought I would compete in the bikini division and even began some prep. If you’re even thinking of playing around with competing, I encourage you to get to know the different levels of competition and the competitors within them. You see, bikini was going against everything I was…..I naturally love weight in all forms, meaning I can put on muscle and fat pretty easily…taking it off is a different struggle entirely. Training for the bikini division was making me physically ill because I was going against my natural body type. So, last year I decided on figure and started training the way my body responds best :hard and heavy.

In my quest for a figure physique I was able to make peace with foods I had long since left behind (because eating ENOUGH is paramount) and I embraced the discipline it took to put the muscle on and eventually strip the fat off. While contest prep was hard, it was far from brutal or undoable…..coaching is key here. In fact, after a lazy summer (spent with diagnosing some health problems that have been left to their own devices for far too long), I am gearing up to start a new competition season, hoping to bring my best to the stage each and every year.

In my quest for Figure, here are a few things I have learned about Bodybuilding:

  1. You have to be humble. True bodybuilders are not proud and they really do not belittle others. We all start somewhere in this sport and we all realize that in order to be our best self we must be accepting of flaws….in ourselves and others.
  2. It’s not about the HOW MUCH. I always thought it was simply about how much one could lift, but bodybuilding is about having a critical eye that can look for balance. When striving for a balanced physique we have to step back often and assess the situation. When in prep, my legs have to be run to balance out. They tend to hold more muscle than the rest of my body put together….so lifting lighter, added plyo and running are crucial to success.
  3. Embrace your whole body. You cannot HATE your body into submission. It just doesn’t work that way. I had to learn that my body really did work as one unit and if I wanted that unit to be successful I had to lead it as ONE….not belittling or ignoring the parts I felt weren’t up to par.

3 month front progress  3 month back progress Progress pics 3 months apart.

I also had to get comfortable with the changes in my body. That lean machine on the right is NOT the norm as that is the night before stage. The human body (some more than others) likes some body fat :)

So, embracing the changes during and after show prep can be challenging (and a whole other post), but mastering that part of the mind is empowering to say the least.

Now, it’s your turn…..

What if you have no desire to compete?

What can you possibly learn from a competitor?

The lifestyle of a competitor is not that far off from what ANYBODY needs to reach any goal. Check it out:

  1. Consistency. This is the #1 thing you need to reach any goal. Just like in the middle of prep I can’t decide to start eating ice cream for every meal or just do yoga for my workouts, the DAILY things you do can drive you towards or away from your goal. Develop consistent behaviors that propel you forward.
  2. Check in with your progress. No matter the goal, make sure you are checking your progress. I’m not a huge scale fan, but progress pics are the bomb! I could tell on a weekly basis what was changing and what was lagging behind. Develop a progressive system to see how close you are getting to your goals. Try monthly goal checks and to-do lists to start.
  3. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. I know you hear it a lot, but you really can’t change ANYTHING (weight, money earnings, level of respect, kids behavior, career, etc.) without getting uncomfortable. So stop lolly gagging around and step into the uncomfortable stuff so you can move through and move on!

Whether you’re looking to start your own business or step on stage, you can learn a lot from the perseverance and consistency of a competitor. A lifestyle of success is directly related to a lifestyle consistent with your convictions and goals. Step out of your own way, into the uncomfortable, and fight for what you are after in life.

Stay humble, but stay strong,

Michelle

 

Summertime News and all things healthy :)

Good Morning!

I hope this post finds you feeling healthier and if not, drink some water……chances are you are dehydrated :)
So, I get that blog posts have been sporadic and that is due to contest prep. I am now 11 days out from my FIGURE debut at the Musclemania Lone Star in Galveston, TX on May 16th. If you want to read up on contest prep and check out photos, go HERE.

 

Posts will resume more normalcy once the competition is wrapped and my new goals settle in for the long haul. Since this is the final post pre-contest, I wanted to use it to address a few things and let you in on some of my upcoming news.

GYM RULES (watch out for these things if you want to reach your goals):

I’m going to be overly blunt here, but I’m tired of everybody wandering around totally lost….so here we go.

  1. KNOW YOUR GOALS!!!!! If you do not have specific you-centered goals written down then you are flying blind…..and everybody knows it.
  2. Be careful what “advice” you take. Over the past 6 months I have heard more bad advice escape the mouths of gym goers than I could read off the internet in a lifetime. I hear it on the gym floor, in the locker room and ALWAYS in the sauna. My personal favorite is the group exercise instructor who told a group of older ladies they should ALWAYS do their cardio fasted…..because obviously group X instructors have a PhD in exercise and nutrition science and just teach for the heck of it (I can say that, I was one). Do you realize that training fasted has never been scientifically proven for greater fat loss? More so, do you think a spin instructor knows that if there is a pre-existing condition like high blood pressure (which is rampant) training fasted can actually be a terrible thing? Food for thought…..by picky about whose advice you take. It doesn’t matter if you think they look fitter than you. Do they have more education then Google University?
  3. Don’t camp out on the machinery. Those fancy machines were designed for a purpose: bodybuilders who could no longer utilize heavier loads without risking injury. The machines stabilize you and make it possible to lift heavier and tear down more muscle fibers to produce muscular gains. Get it right with free weight and body weight FIRST, then move on.
  4. Don’t just sit there. Many people think they are taking an appropriate rest between sets, but 2 minutes is far too long. If you need more than 90 seconds of rest, lighten your load a bit.
  5. Mind your mouth…or at least what you put in it. Post workout nutrition is key to a sleek physique. Your muscles need energy or they can’t recover and perform.

Whew! Those are really my top 5 tips for YOU to get where you want to be. It’s not always about the size, scale or mirror…..it’s about goals.

Strong Camp 04 Photo by Paul Buceta @Strongcamp

What’s new?

LOADS of new things are coming and I am experiencing a refresher this Summer. Out with the old and in with the new :) I dig change….in fact, I crave it. Due to that, we are doing a total overhaul. Here are a few things you can expect:

  • Weekly real-time training videos. These will be termed Tabata Tuesday and will cover awesome workouts in minimal time with minimal equipment. You can do these workouts ANYWHERE, even on vacation (I’m even shooting some on vacation).
  • Nutrition programs. You requested it and I am hard at work on beginner, intermediate and advanced nutrition programs you will be able to download based on current goals.
  • Goal setting webinars. You know I’m a stickler for goals and I’m setting up FREE webinars so people can get a handle on how to set goals so they can actually reach them.
  • Monthly recipes in the newsletter.
  • Form videos on some of the most popular strength training moves.
  • A whole lot more including hang outs, Q & A’s, guest trainers, success stories, pretty pictures, and maybe even some fit getaways.

So stick with me as I finish this goal and head on to the next!

In health and fitness,

Michelle

MOTIVATION 101: How to get it and what to do when you lose it

Ever feel like you’ve just lost your motivation to continue towards your goal?

I can help with that ;)

The KEY to PROGRESS

Happy Tuesday Everybody!

Today’s post covers a tiny bit of a topic I get asked about all the time: progress.

Well, I say progress when most ask about results. To me, progress trumps what we view as results every time. Even though progress is admittedly important, how do we attain it?

One word: CONSISTENCY.

We undermine that word and treat it like either a nasty thing OR a super human trait. Let’s clear it up shall we?

For our purposes I will pull a very simple definition from dictionary.com

CONSISTENCY:  steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc.

Take a look at the first 2 words: STEADFAST ADHERENCE.

Consistency is formed by forming daily habits which lead you towards your personal goals. By the way, if your goals are unclear it will be impossible to become consistent.

If you are looking to make a lifestyle change for the betterment of your health, consistent choices towards that end must be maintained. In other words, you cannot hop from one diet to the next or one workout plan to the next or one theory to the next.

I know what your going to say….”But I read where I’m not seeing results because I’m not changing my routine enough.” WRONG. You think you read that when in reality what you read has nothing to do with you. If you are a desk jockey getting advice from sports magazines you CANNOT do what elite athletes do and expect their results…..sorry to burst your bubble.

A solid nutrition and exercise plan is needed to make lasting changes.

How long do you need to be “on” these plans?

Preferably, it should be a plan that can handle the changes you will make in strength as well as any biochemical changes within the body (i.e. muscle gain, fat loss, etc.). In other words: FOR LIFE.

We all want some kind of magical end date because that is what media shoves down our throats on a daily basis. The truth is, to be truly healthy and fit it will take a lifetime because your body and your goals are ever changing.

Start by solidifying your goals and stop chasing other peoples goals. It’s cool to be inspired by others, but if you’re living through them it really doesn’t give you much time to live.

Then put habits into practice by committing to consistency. This means you WILL stick to your plan through rain or shine and no matter what the scale or your jeans say on any given day.

Give your plan a solid 4 weeks to start creating habit. COMMIT to the consistency, not the results. THIS one action will result in progress.

At the end of the day, I prefer a body being built by years of dedication rather than one 6 or 12 week hotshot plan.

Stay committed to YOUR goals,

Michelle

before1     ABS checkin Disney

IMPORTANT READ: Habits that hold you back from your goals.

Happy Thursday to you Fit peeps!

Today’s post has been burning me up for a while, as I find that MANY of us (self included) set totally attainable goals but struggle with reaching them due to ingrained habits that hold us back.

SOOOOO, today I’m going to point out your faults…… JOKING! I’m going to go over some of the most common habits we don’t even realize we have that are holding us back. Did that make sense? Either way, let’s move on…

GOALS:

I can’t overstate this (though you may think I do); YOU MUST get laser focused about your goals. Phrases like “I want to tone up” are akin to saying “I would like to not jiggle when I walk BUT I’m not in the right frame of mind to sacrifice anything to that end”. In today’s age, we have a lack of true goal setters in our midst. We mostly have those who think it would be awesome…..so long as they don’t have to get uncomfortable and life doesn’t have to change. Be a GOAL REACHER, by pinpointing your EXACT goal and taking the necessary steps DAILY to reach it.

GOAL

Your goal should be PERSONAL to you.

TREAT MEALS:

It is my honest opinion that there is far too much opinion out there (see what I did there????). So, I’m going to try to cut through the opinion cycle with a little science.

“Treat” meals are actually supposed to be well-planned re-feeds for those who are possible losing weight too quickly, placing their precious muscle in danger. Today however, anybody who sets foot on a treadmill will use the term “treat meal’ to justify ANY call to succumb to their wavering taste buds. Now, I’m not saying you need to live a life of deprivation in any way at all….you need a life of moderation. Too many treat meals will take you further from your goal, not propel you to it. Allow yourself small treats (which you track) and you will see results without the deprivation effect….or the backlash binge eating and weight gain effect.

cheat meal cats

NO MEAL TRACKING:

Imagine this….you’re driving down the road headed to the most fabulous weekend getaway you can think of when your car stalls out in the middle of the highway. You cannot remember the last time you put fuel in your gas tank OR what grade fuel you even used….You took the useless gauge out of the dash because it had a tendency to remind you of something you had to do, and you are just SO over that. So now, you have no ride, no way of getting to your destination and when a stranger pulls over to help you tell them of your wisest idea NOT to track when you put gas in your car and they leave you on the side of the road just to protect the gene pool. You see what I’m saying here? Don’t tell me you don’t have time or just don’t want to track your food. If you WANT results, you will suck it up and get it done.

ALCOHOL:

This is a biggie. Alcohol is filtered through your liver. Did you know that your liver is one of the largest organs involved in losing fat? True story. Your liver is where fat cells go to be processed and transported through the burning process, but your liver is now to overwhelmed to think about your fat because it will be trying to burn through your “I had such a rough week at work I NEED a little mini-vacay!” binge. It can take your liver up to 3 full days to work through 2 glasses of wine. Beer and hard liquor take even longer. That’s DAYS where your body is all but unable to burn fat. Want results? Give up the alcohol for 6 weeks and see what happens. If you can’t fathom that…..perhaps now is the time to reach out for help :)

ONLY WORKING OUT:

Your results lie in your movement all around…and so does your health. It’s easy to get caught up in simply working out for an hour or so, then spending the rest of the day sitting. Even if you have a desk job, fit in regular bouts of movement. Stand and stretch every 30-45 minutes, WALK to talk to a coworker instead of emailing, walk to the printer, take a walk at lunch or take a work time lunch class, park farther away, think outside the box and get the body moving.

GIVING UP BEFORE YOU REALLY GOT STARTED:

Why do other people deserve to reach their goals, but you don’t think you do? YOU CAN DO THIS! It takes time, it takes effort, it takes energy, and you will get uncomfortable…..BUT you are worth the time, energy and effort so dig your heels in and make things happen. One last piece of advice…don’t rely on Dr. Google. Stick with real professionals and get the help you need.

Now, go be awesome!

Michelle

Gym Time

Out with the Old: 5 Steps to Totally ROCK 2015

Another year has slipped by and while some are nursing hangovers (either from alcohol or rich foods) others are getting ready to tackle this year with the vengeance of a Spartan.

Before you dive head first, check out these steps to Totally ROCKING this coming year….and keeping your sanity :)

  1. Use one word. Instead of writing down every goal you want to accomplish, and transferring the ones that weren’t accomplished last year, try setting the tone of your year with ONE word. Believe it or not, 12 months can hold many life events and a whole lot of change. So, instead of writing goals in January that you’ll forget by March, try setting your year up with a word. This word should encompass what you wish to see in your year throughout all facets of your life (work, relationships, creativity, etc.). You can choose any word that really MEANS something to you and then place it on display where you will see it each morning. Here are some examples, but please use what’s in your heart: SUCCESS, LOVE, FORGIVENESS, PRESENCE, ORGANIZATION, KNOWLEDGE, WISDOM, KINDNESS, CONSISTENT, CREATIVE, BOLD, DARING, ADVENTUROUS….you get the picture. Be creative in your own way and let this word speak to you. NOW, about those goals…..
  2. Instead of 1 list of goals once a year, it is far better to set aside some time to write out MONTHLY goals. I know it seems a bit time consuming at first, but writing your goals for each month will enable you to reach far more goals by the end of the year. This gives you a timeline to accomplish your goals and sets you up for success. No more than 10 goals per month you over achievers! Keep it simple, but dream big. Each month, mark off what you have accomplished, then mark off what no longer matters to you, then you can add what is pulling towards your word for the year.
  3. Prioritize. This is a skill that anybody can learn, but few of us want to slow down long enough to do it. Do you ever feel like you are fighting against your true nature? Well, that is a sure-fire sign that your priorities aren’t in line. Take a few minutes to write down EVERYTHING you do (OK, for some this may take more than a few minutes), then start to check off what is either not necessary (like scrolling Facebook all day) or simply doesn’t feed you in any way. Take what is left and begin to prioritize by importance. For me, my top priority is to spend quiet time each morning setting myself up for a positive day. Next is my husband, then my kids. Time with them (together and separately) is highly important, so I make that a priority and no job or client can get into that time. Prioritize by what feeds your soul and you will find that life falls into place more easily.
  4. Have some FUN. I know all this talk about lists and priorities can drag some of us into school mode, so stay with me. Do you remember when you were a kid and you did things just for fun? I mean, I know I did some STUPID things that were just plain fun! Don’t lose that ability as you grow older. Walk barefoot in the grass, sing on the swing set (granted you haven’t gotten old and swing sets now make you sick), go to the zoo, eat the cotton candy (just not all the time), bake cookies, play with your dog, look like an idiot at Disney World! Make time to let go of how you think you should present yourself all the time and make a little time for FUN. This act will keep you balanced and keep stress at bay.
  5. Give back. One of the MOST rewarding aspects of life is giving to others. Choose to make 2015 your year of giving. You can redo your household budget to give more to your local church, charities or missions. You can donate your time to those in need of your talent. Think you don’t have a talent? There are many children who LOVE to read to and have nobody able to do it. Everybody has something to give. Take a treat or meal to your neighbor, give your kids friends a ride, offer to walk somebody’s dog, help your elderly neighbor with grocery shopping. There are ENDLESS ways to give, so tap into your resources and get giving! You will never be the same once you start :) And should you ever want to travel with me, just let me know and I’ll be happy to place you on my team.

There you have it, 5 simple steps that will change this year into a year like no other. Time stops for no man, but we can learn to use the time we have wisely.

Rock on,

Michelle

profile rolling

Nutrition Boot Camp Sign Ups have STARTED!

It’s official, Nutrition Boot camp is back! The Holiday Edition is HERE.

Check out the video for info on the WHY and WHAT of NBC:

This boot camp will cover SO MUCH information, but I always narrow down the focus so YOU Can see results.

Is it possible to NOT gain weight during the holidays? You bet! It’s even possible to lose weight during the holidays if you are given the right guidance.

Check it out:

Januray 13 2014

This pic I was taking in under 1800 calories, about 80 grams of carbs, 160 grams of protein, and only about 20-30 grams of fat. My diet was MOSTLY veggies (not a bad thing really). I was having a hard time getting muscle definition to show and was all-around slowed down by stubborn fat and low energy.

prepweek4

I know the angles isn’t the same, but I don’t take a lot of photos in my bra :)

OK, so this one I am working my was up to roughly 2600 cals per day, 200 grams of carbs, 150 grams of protein and 60 grams of fat.

I’m eating WAY more and losing fat like CRAZY while I gain muscle. It’s a nutrition science miracle.

March 20 2014

As of TODAY, I am sitting at 2600 cals, 254 grams of carbs, 152 grams of protein and 60 grams of carbs.

If you think you can just eat the same and see results….I hate to disappoint BUT your nutrition is as unique as your fingerprint.

That’s why YOU need nutrition boot camp!

I figure your macros, yes, BUT I also teach you how to do it on your own so as things change you still see results! I make it easy for you.

PLUS you get recipes, meal plans for the BIG days (and the shopping days when time is scarce), workout plans to burn off major calories….not time, plus more.

Why wait until the New Year when you can start the New Year at your goal?!?!?!?

Sign up today!

How FiveFingers Got Me Back on My Feet

I’ll never forget the exhilaration I felt the first time I ran in my Vibram FiveFinger shoes. My feet felt almost as light and cool as if I were barefoot. Yet I could tread on concrete without pain.

Because my heel wasn’t protected by a thick sponge of plastic, I struck the ground with my forefoot. This reduced the jarring on my knee, so I was finally able to overcome runner’s knee (patellofemoral syndrome), the nagging pain under my left knee cap that had dogged me since college days.

I soon learned the downside of this kind of running. My calves were weak from a lifetime of heel strikes, and they cramped up when I ran up hill. For months this new pain stopped me from running. When my calves recovered, I’d try again, get carried away by the exhilaration, and hurt my calves again. It was more than a full year before I could comfortably and consistently run in FiveFingers the same distances I had run in traditional shoes.

Many people don’t find that struggle worthwhile. In fact, some got so frustrated they successfully sued Vibram.

Research on barefoot and minimal shoe running has been mixed.

Some small studies, including one of runners on the Harvard University cross country team support the practice.

But a new Army study suggests that lots of people — or at least the average soldier — won’t prevent injuries by avoiding heel strikes.

They found that 15% of the non-heel strikers and 18% of the heel strikers had reported injuries, but the difference was not statistically significant.

Making the Switch

I wonder if some of the minimal-shoe runners in the Army had an experience like mine, getting pain in their calves or Achilles’ tendons when they first try it. If so, this would be reported as an injury for the purposes of the study, which would explain why there were similar numbers of injuries in both groups.

Also some shoes marketed as minimal aren’t really, and runners may get worse injuries by continuing to strike with their heels while wearing them.

Irene Davis, director of the Spaulding National Running Center at Harvard recommends this list of true minimal shoes.

For those who do want to cast off their big-heeled shoes, Davis recommends a careful program of strengthening exercises.

And it turns out that Maj. Bradley Warr, the lead investigator for the Army thinks minimal shoes could be right for some people. He just doesn’t think the Army should impose a new foot-strike pattern on its soldiers.

“There are a large number of people with injuries who have corrected by changing their running style,” he told me. “It’s just got to be slow and easy, a little bit at a time.”

If you are running without injury now, you probably shouldn’t make a change. But as Davis pointed out, you might learn something about your own body by walking around (and maybe running just a tiny bit) barefoot, touching the world with your skin.

Maybe one day I’ll cast off my Vibrams and learn to run with naked soles.

A certified personal trainer in Oakland, California, Laird Harrison writes about sports performance and injury prevention at SportsWithoutInjury.com.

Laird_Harrison

Laird Harrison (Photo by Paul Miller, all rights reserved.)
Follow Laird on Twitter
Subscribe to Laird’s newsletter

FREE Workout Wednesday!

BOOM! A freebie exercise ball workout for you today :)

Grab a ball (steal only if necessary) and get busy!