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Sunday, June 28, 2015

30 Days Sugar and Alcohol Free

Every year I challenge myself to abstain from alcohol and processed sugar, the stuff you find in sweets, candies, cookies, etc for 30 days.

I recently completed this challenge.

One quick update before I get to that:

I'll be hosting a 28 Day Fat Blaster challenge beginning in mid July.  I'll be posting more info about it on July 1st to the 1 Year 1000 Challenge page. I will also be sending out an email to let you know.  Make sure you are subscribed to my newsletter so you don't miss out.  Click here to subscribe

30 Days No Sugar No Alcohol

I am a pretty healthy guy, meaning I usually eat fairly clean (not a lot of sugary or fried foods) and I also enjoy treating myself every now and then to a few beers with friends or a sweet goodie ( cookies, doughnuts, cakes, etc...)

I also know that sugar is one of the most addictive substances out there.  Recent research has shown that sugar, on a chemical level, affects the limbic system in the brain (the part of the brain responsible for emotional control) in similar ways as some of the notoriously more addictive drugs out there like heroin.

When you hear words like heroin and sugar in the same sentence you might think: "C'mon Jesse, you are pulling my leg."

Think about this:

According to the CDC 38,329 people in the USA died from drug overdose in 2013.

Compare that to Sugar

Each year in the USA over 610,000 people, (according to the CDC) die from heart disease - Nearly 20 times more than drug overdose!!!

Leading causes: High Blood Pressure, High LDL Cholesterol, Overweight/Obesity, Poor Diet, Excessive Alcohol use, and physical inactivity

I once read a study that reported 96% of heart disease is preventable with healthy eating and exercise... 96%!!!!  That means that every year over 570,000 people die who would not have died had they taken better care of their health.


And what can be found in very likely 99% of unhealthy diets - SUGAR! 

What does sugar do to the body: Can lead to weight gain, cholesterol increases, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, diabetes, headaches, etc...

It is no longer a mystery that sugar is bad for us and the reason so many people continue to over indulge in it is largely due to its addictive properties.  People just want to "feel a little better."

The first few days without sugar and alcohol were fine

Around day 5-8 I would get random headaches. 

Day 8 - 12 were the cravings... I really just wanted a bite or a sip and I would often here "THE voice" trying to rationalize it in my head:

"Just one bite won't kill you,"  "You have done this before, you know you can do it again... you have nothing to prove."

After day 12 it was pretty smooth sailing and by the time I took my first sip of alcohol I had gone almost a full 6 weeks without booze and, as of this writing, still have not had a sugary treat (although I am in Las Vegas and might treat myself here).

Some of the things that helped me be successful were:

  • cleaning out my kitchen and removing any temptations (here's a video I did on nutrition success)
  • I told everyone I talked to about my goal, this gave me massive accountability 
  • I adjusted my schedule to protect myself during the "vulnerable" times (times where I had most cravings/temptation)
  • I made sure to readjust my focus, daily, on why I was doing this
  • I had a clear goal

Over the 30 days these are some of the benefits I noticed from abstaining from sugar and alcohol:

  • More Energy
  • Thinking much clearer
  • More focused
  • Less distracted
  • Stronger in workouts
  • After Day 12, better overall mode
  • Food tasted better
  • Surplus in monthly budget from not spending money on drinks with friends
    • Note: think about the average markup for alcohol in any bar/restaurant
  • Reduced body fat
  • Muscles looked harder and more vascular 
  • More motivated to pursue other hobbies/activities
  • Improved creativity with cooking
When the time finally came where I was ready to have my first sip of alcohol again... I wasn't really even looking forward to it.  I had it, I enjoyed it, and I did so because I still want to continue to enjoy the occasional beers with friends.  I love the good times and silliness that comes with it.

With that being said, I believe life is all about balance, and one thing I have taken away from this most recent 30 day challenge is balance is something that can be re-calibrated at different times in your life. Going forward, I am excited to establish my new balance, and enjoying the experience along the way.

What about you?  Have you ever done a personal challenge for yourself?  What did you learn while doing it?

Carpe Diem,


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Fathers Day

Whether your Dad is/was the world's greatest Dad or was never in the running for Father of the year, your Dad is still your Dad and what he represents to you and your life going forward is up to you.

My Dad did not do everything right, he made a lot of mistakes, he wasn't good with money, he often thought of himself first, he didn't always want to play basketball or catch with me, and he loved me.

The most profound conversation, and the most open heart to heart one I ever had with my Dad came in 2007 after my girlfriend had broken up with me.

I was so devastated, so sad, so lost, and in so much pain that I was willing to drop all my silly walls I had put up to try and get help from anywhere I could, even my parents.

During one conversation with my Dad, my Dad told me, "Jess, you are the best person I know."

I will always remember that and I often keep it close to my heart when  making decisions in regards to how I want to live my life and what I want to contribute to the lives of others and world at large.

Whether your Dad is/was the world's greatest Dad or he was never in the running for Father of the Year, he likely taught you an important lesson or two about life.

What is one life lesson your Dad taught you?

How do you apply it to your life today?

Carpe Diem,



I recorded this video a couple months ago about my Dad, maybe you can relate with it.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

To Take a Step Forward You May Have tor Comfort Zone

Hi Everyone!

Recently one of the team members in the Zero Limits Mastermind shared a great article on words of wisdom passed on from Business leaders to college graduates at commencement.  (You can read the entire article here)

As I read through, I noticed there seemed to be a common theme that these titans of their respected industries were trying to impart on the next generation: Take risks and pursue your passions.

The concept is not a new one - heck I would guess in a slow week I hear the above phrase no less than 10 times.

Yet for some reason while reading this article, I started thinking of my own journey and where I am at professionally at this moment.

I love helping people - it has been what I have wanted to do since I was a little kid, (aside from being a professional basketball player) and I want to be able to grow my ability to help people.

For that to happen, for me to move forward towards doing more of what I want, I have to be willing to put myself out there in a way I have not done before. Some might call this "taking a risk."

You see the old adage, "nothing changes if nothing changes," is so true. Change is constant in our world yet so often there is so much fear around change.

Earlier this year I took a massive step forward professionally by announcing I would be hosting my first live event called Unlock Your Greatness.  This was a huge step out of my comfort zone as it took me from an area I was totally comfortable in, working one on one with folks, and put me in a new realm of event planning, coordinating, and teaching to audiences of many.

I'll be honest, I was scared.  My biggest fear was "What if no one signs up... what if it is just me in the room and all I could hear is crickets chirping in the background (Do crickets even chirp?)."

I hemed, I hawed, I dilly dallied, I weighed the pros and cons, I tried to make every excuse under the sun of why now is not the right time; and it all almost worked except for I kept coming back to the one thing that was my trump card for all the excuses: my passion.

I kept asking myself if my life will ever be fulfilled at the level I want it to be if I spent my whole life not sharing my gifts on the level I know I am capable of.  The answer kept coming up no; and you know what?  That no was way way wayyyyyy more terrifying than the fear of the crickets that might be chirping.

I kept worrying that to move forward I had to risk giving up my comfort zone.  Then I stopped myself and reminded myself that the real risk was if I stayed put... how much of my passion, my purpose, my joy and happiness in life would I be giving up?  OUCH!

It is true, to move forward you may have to leave your current comfort zone behind.  What I might argue is the whole concept of "risk taking."

I believe the greatest risk in life is risk-less living.  I believe that far more pain awaits us if we never try than even if we do and fall flat on our faces.

We are meant to grow, to change, to evolve, and to move forward.  Ahead lies the fruits of our labor, the joy, the happiness, and the love we seek.

Where we are might be ok, but will it ever be great?

Hmmmm... Something to think about.

What are your thoughts?  I look forward to reading your comments.

Carpe Diem,



My fear about Unlock Your Greatness was quickly put at bay.  To date there are people from 8 countries and 15 different States coming.

There are still spots left and I would love for you to be a part of what will be a very special event.

After all, how often in life can you say, "I was there at the beginning?" :)

Click the ticket below to grab your spot.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Conversations with John Aspra The Epicurean Cowboy


Today marks the beginning of a new journey that I want to invite you on.

The new journey...

I won't say too much here, at this time, as most is said in the video.

The video is 15 minutes and I really hope you watch the entire thing - it is important.

As you watch, allow yourself to reflect on your life and the life you have ahead. 

I will be greatly appreciative of your feedback and your help in bringing attention to this journey.

My intention is two fold, part 1 is stated in the video, and part 2 is to inspire those who this touches to live with purpose and passion.

Carpe Diem,


Click here to watch the video in Youtube

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Your Attitude Defines Your Reality

Hellllllo there!

I swear that whenever you need to be reminded of an important life lesson, life provides you with just that.

Before I explain, I just have one quick update to share with you.

Registration is open for Unlock Your Greatness!!! :) :) (Insert Happy Dance)

Unlock Your Greatness is my first live event that I will be hosting over two days this October in my hometown of Santa Barbara, California.

You have all seen my pictures from Santa Barbara so you know it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  In addition to the SB beauty, I will be hosting an experience that I promise will be unlike anything you have ever attended before.  To learn all about Unlock Your Greatness and to register click here.  If you have questions about it, you can email me here.

Looking forward to seeing you in Santa Barbara Friday October 9th and Saturday October 10th.

Ok, life lessons....

April 15th is tax day here in the USA. I, waiting till the last minute to do my taxes off, like a responsible citizen (sarcasm), had just sent off my hard earned money to Uncle Sam and was on my way to the gym to "decompress" from the tax paying process.

As I was walking out the front door, I said aloud, "Phew, thank goodness I do not have to spend money on anything any time soon."

I got in my car, went to turn it on, and it would not start... I tried again, no luck, and the third time... it was not the charm.

I called AAA (emergency roadside service here in the USA).

When the tow truck driver arrived he tested my battery and said it was toast.  I asked him if it would make it till the next day (I was taking my car in to get it serviced) he said if I turned the car off it probably would not start back up.

Needless to say a new battery was needed.

To be perfectly honest, my first thought was something like "Fuck... I just spent all the Fu^king money on my F**king taxes and now I need to get a new fu@king battery."

After the above thoughts ran through my head, I thought to myself, "hmmmm I don't really like how those thoughts are making me feel."

Then I took a deep breath and tried again...

"Damn, I was really looking forward to not spending any money for awhile, and while this is not ideal to be investing in a battery right now, it is an investment and it will allow me to drive, for many days to come, free from fear of breaking down and being stranded.  And isn't that freedom worth this investment, now? Absolutely!"

I liked this second attempt at assessing the situation much much more.  I felt better thinking it and this prospective was much more empowering than my initial F-Bomb tirade that made me feel mad and victimized.

As the AAA serviceman installed my battery we got to chatting.  When he finished his work, he thanked me and told me that I was the most pleasant customer he had had in a long time.  He said that he really appreciated my kindness because usually people are not in the best mood's when he shows up and they often point the finger of blame at him for their car problems.

Hmmmmmm... I thought.  Isn't this interesting???

His thanks made me smile and it reminded me of an important life lesson:

No one decides our thoughts but us.  The decision of what goes on between our two ears is ours and ours alone.

If I would have stuck to my first initial F-Bomb tirade assessment of the situation I would have likely spent the rest of the day and beyond being upset at my poor luck.  I definitely would not have had a grateful tow truck driver thanking me for my kindness.  In fact, I may have had the opposite experience - a tow truck driver who left another job feeling not so great because he had yet another customer who blamed him for their problems

But, since I exercised self control, took a deep breath, and chose my thoughts carefully, choosing ones that would leave me feeling happy and empowered, I was able to:

  • Laugh at the irony of the situation (not wanting to spend more money and immediately being prompted to spend more money).
  • Be reminded of a life lesson that I could share with all of you
  • Walk away from the experience feeling good with no negative emotional energy or thoughts lingering.
  • And I was able to brighten another fellow humans day who showed his gratitude by thanking me which in turned brightened my day.
Always remember my friends, the thoughts you think create the reality you live in.  If you do not like the reality you are presently in, trying changing your thought process.

It may just be one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

Carpe Diem,


Sunday, May 3, 2015

A very Candid Interview with Jesse Brisendine part 2

Hello Everyone!

Last week we did part 1 of a special interview series with my good friend Macie.  (Click here to see part 1)

Macie randomly picked several questions, chosen by you, to ask me.  Today you get to see part 2 of that interview!!

Quick update:

The event website for Unlock Your Greatness will be up by the end of this week!  This is where you will be able to find out everything you need to know about UYG.  When it's going to be, what it will be about, when tickets will go sale, and how you can reserve your seat!  I am SUPER excited about this and even more excited to have the opportunity to meet so many of you in person. :)

Ok, I know you are ready for the interview with Macie and I so here it is.  Also be sure to check out the project she is doing and if you feel compelled to participate I have included a link to her website below.  :)

Be sure to leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of the interview.  I always love reading your feedback.

Enjoy the Interview,

Carpe Diem,


P.S. part 3 will be coming soon :)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Very Candid Interview with Jesse Brisendine

Hi All,

You asked for it, here it is... a very candid interview with my good friend Macie Berlin.

If you read any of January's blogs, you will remember Macie as she wrote a very popular guest blog about me.  Click here to check it out.

Before we get to the interview, I wanted to share one quick update.

I should have a website up for the Unlock Your Greatness event by the first week of May.  This site will have a ton of info about the October event: what to expect, how to sign up, etc... I will keep you posted.

Can I just say how excited I am for my first Live Event!  I really appreciate all the love, support, and enthusiasm from all of you.  I am extra excited to welcome many of you to Santa Barbara in October. :)

The Macie Interview.

A few weeks ago I asked you all what questions you would like to see Macie ask me.  She picked three of them, and well, I won't spoil the interview, you are going to want to watch for yourself.

What did you think of the interview?  Would you like to see more interviews like this?  Leave Macie and I a comment below.  We would love your feedback.

Carpe Diem,