Tuesday, November 24, 2015

This should make you smile and get your toes tappin!

Feel free to share this! Recorded July of 2014 live in concert.
Thanks you Vandoren for the great set up with my mouthpiece, reeds and ligature and RsBerkeley for the great horns!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Some Updates... It's about time! New(ish) album and it's the end of the year!

What's up everyone!!

Thanks to everyone who keeps popping their heads in here and see if anything has been updated. I really need to get better at this. I'm quite certain the addiction of facebook and the constant updating of statues is part of the problem. Still, I need to be better! So, once more once?

First things first? Did you hear about the new album? Back in July we released it on Truth Revolution Records and it's been super exciting. But of course, from this past summer straight into the fall has been non-stop. So.... I really haven't been able to promote it on my end the way it should be pushed. Fortunately, all you guys are super supportive so the album has reached places and people it needed to reach. Plus, I was in the preliminary list for a Grammy nomination, so that's exciting! It's been featured on a number of great music websites and of course if you want to get some free downloads...Click here!


Feel free to click on the picture to order the physical album. Any support helps. The easiest way is through CD Baby. Of course, you can always go to my website and I'll personally ship it to you, and unlike the cover photo..I'll do it with a smile...(I was going for dramatic! Did It Work?)

I uploaded a nice little video of a solo sax performance I did a few weeks ago.. Take a listen, Like it, Comment, and Share it. That's what YouTube is for right? Check it out below.

And of course, here is one of my favorite uploads in the past few years!

So that's a quick update for now. Feel free to share to whomever, whenever. I appreciate all the support and I feel I'm hitting a good stride with my career. So stay tuned for the next year or so. I have a big interview tomorrow for a major publication, so once I get the OK to tell all of you guys and gals I will.

Till then, Enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday if you're in the USA and though I hope to write some more before the December holidays that happen world wide, I hope everyone enjoys their time! Happy 2015... It's still enough time to begin to live your dreams.
- Albert

Monday, November 10, 2014

Then and Now - The battle of the Artist, Piracy and Spotify

The last few days of comments and discussion I have had about the music industry has been amazing. Granted it started with the news(if you wanna call it that) of Taylor Swift pulling her music from Spotify and other streaming services. Now, I said before - it was a clever ploy by the record company, not her, to make that happen and even make it news. It's paid off for them.

But it got me thinking.

I should make sure I state that I love CD's. Better yet, a physical record (whether C.D or even vinyl) you can hold, look at, read, and refer to. My love for that will never go away. I was fortunate to be born in the last generation that had such a thing. It was common. Whether it was a CD, cassette tape, record, or even an 8-track. Yes, I had an 8 track and yes I'm only 31. #truestory

My generation and all those before me loved it.

I spent my early years going to the library picking up all the music I could, because at a young age I knew music was my life. As I got older, the little money I had..And I do mean little,  was spent on buying CD's. Remember Nick? My collection of records is evident. The ABC's of Jazz all the way to the Z's. Adderley, Bird, Coltrane and even Zawinul. I lived and still breath this music daily.

There was an art to collecting those records. At a point, I could tell you when it was recorded, the personnel, I could even tell you about the liner notes. That was then, and just like life, the only constant is change.

I realize Piracy is one of the biggest issues independent artist face. I'm not talking about the major labels, I'm talking about the little guys. And for the record, I do agree streaming services like Spotify are horrendous as far as paying musicians what is owed. I'll be the first to tell you there is no difference from a major label making hand over fist monetarily on your art, to something like spotify doing the same. In 2012 Spotify saw an increase of 5 million users for it's "Paid" services while the payment of .0007 hasn't increased.

Do I think all these online free services should step up and pay what it should for the use of our music. Absolutely and without a doubt. Will it? Not in a million years.

As an artist who creates music, records it with the hopes of creating sales and income from it, I can only see these outlets as a promotional tool. Sure, tons of you won't agree but there is a part of me regardless of how I feel about the overall situation that needs to be a realist.

Let me explain.

Spotify is not going anywhere. Youtube is not going anywhere. Rhapsody is not going anywhere. You know what is going somewhere? CD's or any other physical items that can be replaced by a digital format.

I know it's a hard pill to swallow for some, and for others reading this the echoing sound of "no shit Sherlock" resonates. You can't deny facts. Just like the death of physical books has happened at an alarming rate thanks to the digital age, physical music media has plummeted even faster. Believe me when I say even that phone that you are holding so dear in your hands in time, will be a memory. I'm getting a little off topic, but let's look at some numbers.

In 2014 from the span of January - June, according to statista.com the amount of physical album sales for any artist, including soundtracks, and even mixed CD's (think "Now this is what I call music") the top physical album to sale was the Frozen Soundtrack. And you know how many sold in those 6 months....

1,649,000 units sold.

Most of those were from parents for the children who watched the movie. Think about that for a second. Even Beyonces' surprise album, in those same 6 months sold 355,000. That number is worth being 4th on the top 10 list of actual units sold. Why do you think major artist are forced to sign 360 deals?

This will only continue to decline. Let's continue to look at the trends. Ask a 20 year old if he or she listens to CD's and you may get a few that would say yes, but many will give you a look of confusion. Now, ask a 10 year old if he or she knows what a CD is...And that's where we are at.

Companies know this and have transitioned. Let's look at the computer industry. It is becoming increasing difficult to find a laptop with an optical drive (aka C.D or DVD drive)
Want the newest Apple computer? Or the latest Samsung laptop... Getting it with a drive is not even an option.

But with that being the case, I am suppose to believe that streaming services for both music and movies are not here to stay? I don't have the answer to this. Will I continue to make CD's and sale them at live performances. Of course. For as long as I can. Will I push a downloadable format such as iTunes? Even more so.

The way I see it, we live in a world of greed, all while living in a world of consistent abundance. The mind set of "right here, right now". The world where an 8 year old kid can get around the internet better then most adults.Why would that same 8 year old transition to an adult and go backwards in history to listen to the same music when since he can remember....anything he or she wanted is a click away.

Are physical albums dead?

Not quite. But it's on life support. And the people who can fix it, pulled the plug years ago with no intention to work it out. The few sales that people do muster up specifically at live shows remind people of the yesteryear. And yeah it was a great past.. But what is up with this future.

It's up to us to figure out how to use these"services" to our advantages one day at a time.

These thoughts are my own - Albert Rivera

Monday, March 17, 2014

Are you living?

Are you living?

Or better yet, have you started to live? I mean, I realize you’re sitting somewhere in this world, on a computer and you’re reading this. I get that in the definition of the word “living” could be taken as “the pursuit of a lifestyle of the specified type” at least that’s what Webster would suggest. But i’m asking, are you really LIVING. Living in a way where the novel of your life, if ever to be written would be a worldwide best seller with each page of progression being better then the last. That each chapter was so full of love it covers up the undeniable sadness that life tends to strikes us from time to time. Where you, the main character is a person where we can all say “that was a life”

You can’t teach anyone to live.
You can’t force anyone to live.
But when you’re living…You just know it.

So I ask again… Have you started to live.

Life is finite. When you can understand, comprehend or even accept that as an absolute. “Living”  brings on an updated version of it’s very own definition.

I’ve learned that it is your own actions day to day, which makes one live. The past, the present and the future all have a say in how you live, but your mind of the now allows you to live.

Life is precious.

I can’t begin to explain how amazing every single one of you truly are. Be thankful for another day in this world. If you can see the beauty of living, share a smile to the world, a hug to a friend, a helping hand to a stranger. Give because you can, embrace the sunrise, and hope for a sunset.

As poet Mary Oliver once wrote “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” So I ask…
Have you started to live?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Study with me this summer and some of my Grammy Award winning friends! (Litchfield Jazz Camp)

Want to study with some of the best jazz musicians in the world who happen to be some of my best friends? Read below for more info or visit www.litchfieldjazzcamp.com for more info! Feel free to share!

Post by Litchfield Jazz Camp.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A friend gone, but never forgotten.

“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” - Albert Pike

I remember the day I met Will. I was just about to turn 19 years old and being young and just starting off life, I would use the facilities at the New School as often as I could. If you knew me back then, I was either in one of two places. The practice room or on the 3rd floor by the elevators on the computers at 55 west 13th street. I didn’t own my own computer and purchasing one was a far away dream at this point, so there I was.

Will came off the elevator and got on the computer right beside me. I continued to surf the web, was watching a video and of course, I started to laugh out loud. It was then that Will asked what was the video about, I told him and we watched some more together. We continued to chat and as he headed back down stairs to his post(the friendly security guard you had to pass daily) our conversation continued. 4 hours later and the school having to close, so ended our chat.

12+ years later, It seemed our conversation never ended. It would only take pauses so that life could go on living. For the next 3 years of college I found myself hanging out with him and the rest of the security crew often. But that was Will and the crew. They were friends, many i’m sure viewed each other as family. And me? Will always welcomed me with open arms. As he did with everyone he chatted with on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis.

As college continued, the struggles of a bronx born musician didn't get easier just yet. There were days where I had to concentrate on the long term and know that hard work would pay off… But until then it was my friends that helped out. I kept my personal finances generally to myself but Will was no fool. If he noticed I was hungry, he never hesitated to offer some food. If I was in one of those pointless relationships we all seem to go through in the beginning of our adulthood, he was quick to give advice. He would put things in perspective and you always left feeling better not only about you, but about life…

That was Will..

He would give everyone salutations. Whether just a nod of his head or more commonly an embracing hug or firm handshake from this larger then life person. See, Will was over 6 feet tall, a bodybuilder for decades, but was one of the nicest people I had ever met….EVER.

I remember when his son was born, he was so proud. He was always happy to bring him around and introduce him to the world. Every hour long conversation almost always involved his son to an extent. That’s what a proud dad does, that’s what every son wants.

As life continued, and New School became a thing of my past, I would make sure to stay in touch with Will and most of the security crew. It wouldn’t matter if 6 months had past, when we saw each other , the hang was going to happen.  I would sometimes have to plan out my semi random appearances to Will, I always knew in the back of my mind, you couldn’t just say hello and keep it moving, Will was different, he would remember the slightest details of your last conversation and take it from there.

The last 5 years our conversations always started the same. How’s music going, your life, your family and if I was going to the gym. He didn’t ask just to be polite. He asked because he actually wanted to know. In a way he was like the older brother to all of us. As all of your read this, I know you know what I mean. The reason why we are sad is not just because he is no longer in this world, but because no new memories will be created. But as the saying goes, “as long as you keep the memories alive, he will forever be immortal”

I can’t even begin to tell you how much things I learned from him. Whether about relationships, confidence, self worth, he knew it all. Advice that I have passed on to many and will continue to do so. He was one of those friends that you could tell the most craziest stories to, because you knew he would get a kick out of it. He never judged, he was just there, whether you needed some time to forget,  or just advise about..well anything.

I’ll never forget how happy he was for me when some time had passed and I finally got my health in check. I gotta think it was one of those proud moments for him. He spent years giving me advice about eating, working out, nutrition… to see me finally successful after all these years. Most people would have given up giving advice. Not him…

That was Will

The last couple of years I would be so excited to see him. He was always interested on my progress in health and I was just as eager to talk to him about it.  I went to see him a week or so before I ran the NYC Marathon. It was a seemingly relaxed day so he showed me some kung fu clips online. We laughed, we talked and he wished me luck with the race. I said my goodbye and as always felt refreshed as I continued on my night.

I had once asked Will why he never decided to compete in an actual bodybuilding competition. It was obvious he had the look and genetics to make a career out of it. Instead he served in the Military for 8 years, went out to war came back and continued to live a happy life. He could have taken an easier route, but chose not to.

So I asked, why not compete. His response was simple and profound. He told me he would “never want to be part of something that was solely based on “judging” others,” because he would never judge anyone physically or mentally. We are all unique. It’s better that way. I couldn’t agree more…..

That was Will
That Is Will

I write this because it’s the best way of explaining how this human being was. If you knew Will you knew it was always possible to do good. If you knew Will, you knew what a positive aura felt like. If you knew Will, you knew what it was to have a friend no matter how much time passed in between.

Rest in peace my friend. I’ll see you on the other side William Gary
Albert Rivera

Monday, November 18, 2013

With time, even the deepest of wounds shall heal…

I can’t predict the future. Nor would I want to. In life, i’ve learned it’s the random occurrences that really puts things in perspective. Those days when things just go your way, and those day you wish soon to forget. I like not knowing. In a way, it’s like every morning is a fresh start. A clean canvas and only you are the painter. You decided the outcome of the portrait. Not your friends, your family, your relationship, your husband or wife, but you. No matter where you are, no matter how amazing the day was prior or dreadful the week was, when you wake up that  ever so important decision to be happy, is simply up to you.

It’s hard to let go of the past. I understand. It’s those old memories that seems to pop up when least expected, when all you wish for is to simply forget. Those feelings that seem to follow you wherever you go. All you want to do is be happy, but at times your mind has other plans. I get it. The world gets it. Just remember, it gets better.

See, it’s the moment when you finally let go of the past so that you can live for the present which in turns will allow you be happy for the future. But it starts today, and it’s up to you. That is the secret. Maybe I can predict the future, or maybe it’s not the future we are predicting, but simply ensuring your own personal perfect ending.

We all have it in us, it just all starts with a smile.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The day I met 26.2 miles

I woke up early, felt refreshed and slowly opened my eyes. It took a moment to notice the time - 3:15am. It arrived. For most people, this early morning was the ending of their Saturday night. But for me, it was the start of one of the best days of my life. The day had come. I knew it, and 51,000 other people knew it... It was Marathon Sunday in New York City.

I quickly got up, got ready and was out the door within a few minutes. The feeling that I was leaving something important behind lingered around. I think I was just a bit anxious. It’s not everyday you do something you will remember for the rest of your life. I went down my mental check list. I had my bib number, my Garmin watch, and my trusty pair of Nike Free Runs. Yeah, I was ready. 

I’ve made it a habit in life that when I need to be anywhere, I make sure i’m there early. The last thing I needed was a random scenario leaving me away from the starting line. Today was no different, I hailed the first cab I could, and then jumped on the 1 train heading downtown. There was no way I was going to be missing my stop, not today. 

I made it to the Staten Island Ferry terminal with a while to spare. Security was tight. First I had to get through a bomb sniffing dog, then a bag check. The lined moved quickly and I sat down and waited. I looked at my watch, 5:10 am. Plenty of time for the 6:15am ferry. Plenty of time to start taking it all in. 

I met up with Andrew Hadro a few minutes after 6. Why not start this day, the same way we did almost 3 years ago. We were excited, we shared stories, but we both knew today was going to be far from easy.  Most accomplishments are ever easy. That’s why you put in the work. The harder you work, the better the end result. 

We made it to the “Village” as it was called, and after dropping off our bags we wished each other luck. We both had ambitious goals for our first ever marathon. He was going for a sub 3 hour. From the first road race we ever did we knew he was fast. I had a slower goal, 3 hours and 45 minutes. Albeit, both were ambitious, we both were going to try. 

I was finally able to meet with my 3rd running partner and friend Ali Magistrali as I headed into my corral. She raised the most money for the S.L.E LUPUS foundation among all three of us and even though we all were going back and forth in emails and even shared a quick hello at the race expo, it was a few weeks since we had a chance to hang.

We still had about an hour to wait before the official start. The weather seemed to get colder and colder as that very hour progressed. It didn’t matter. Everyone in the corral was ready, we were all focused.

I had a few extra layers of clothes on and my top sweater ended on Ali to keep her warm. That hour flew by with the help of few entertaining conversations with some strangers. Next thing we know we are waiting for the final instructions and away we go.

Since 2011 i’ve lost count of how many races i’ve done. After the first 10 it became business as usual. Have a goal, crush the goal, repeat. But this was different. I wasn’t sure if it was the sea of people running across the Verrazano-Narrows bridge, the helicopters flying above, the 26.2 miles ahead of us or just the fact it is the biggest marathon in the world. Either way, it was happening, and I knew 1 thing for certain. I wasn’t going to stop till I crossed the finish line. 

We may have started in Staten Island, but the first “stop” was Brooklyn. Let me tell you something about it. Each and every mile was filled with the neighborhood. It didn’t matter if we were in South Brooklyn or North Brooklyn, the people came out to support. 

Alison and I stood together for most of the run. She had her name written on her shirt and it was amazing to here how many people shouted her name. Note to self…. Write my name on my shirt!

The first 10 miles was a breeze. It was there when we finished going up 4th avenue towards Atlantic were I saw a blind lady who was running with a guide. You want inspiration? Try running 26.2 miles, now do it blind. I’m not one to get overly emotional but that struck a happy chord with me. I had my own journey just like the other 51,000 runners. I was able to lose 100 pounds and get my life back. But I had all my senses to do so. This lady, along with many others were on a journey that makes them see more then most humans can imagine with their working eyes. Inspiring is the word one can use. Or maybe determined is better. You pick.. 

As we left Brooklyn, I looked at Ali and told her I was feeling great and told her that it was the easiest half marathon i’ve ever done. Let’s ignore the fact it was about a 1:53 time, off pace for my 3:45 marathon but it didn’t matter. I felt good, We all felt good. Queens came and it started to drizzle just a bit. Nothing of significance, or to slow us down. 

14 miles in and I noticed a few people on the side. Some were in pain, some simply were stretching. We kept on. The live bands were always an added bonus. I was set with a 4+ hour play list on my iPhone but at this point I hadn't even pressed play. 

The first bit of struggle came in mile 15 as we all were making it up the Queensboro bridge. It’s not that it’s so steep, it’s that it’s a consistent incline. 15 miles in, regardless of your level of fitness this will slow you down a bit. If not with your time, but with the amount of effort it takes to maintain your time. 

As I noticed the end of the bridge approaching, I could hear this constant rumble. I didn’t think much of it but simply wondered what it was. For a moment I thought it was a train passing us. The only problem is, there are no trains on this Bridge.

Are those sounds coming from the people?

The wall of sound became louder and louder. Words can’t explain the amount of people, the cheering and the smiles. It wasn’t a train. It was just NYC. That’s the sound of the heart of this city pumping. It’s our family, our friends, it’s simply our story. 

I shouted to the crowd “Let me hear you” as if they weren’t loud enough. There response? The cheers were deafening. It’s NYC, we do everything here 100x stronger, don't expect any less.

By mile 18 and 19, I could see people’s faces starting to struggle. I noticed a few walking, and some taking there time at the water stations. The sun was out but it was still cold. As a runner you didn’t notice. You were drenched in sweat. If there was a point that people would drop out, this was it. I was more then prepared for this day. I gave a few words of encouragement as I moved forwarded, but as far as me stopping, It didn’t even cross my mind.

I looked at the watch. 3 hours and counting. I couldn’t help wonder if Andrew had made his goal. He went into this day confident and ready. Between he and I, we put over 3000 miles in the course of the last 12 months. I didn't have much time to wonder. It was time to focus, we were entering the Bronx and as far as I was concerned, it was go time.

I grew up in the bronx, picked up my first musical instrument in the bronx (I would eventually become a professional musician) and lived and breathed the Bronx. This was my home, these were my people. For that very moment it wasn’t about a race, it was about living, it was about the stories that got me to this very point. It was about the struggles, the heartaches, the laughs and the smiles. It was about excepting it all and being happy with the result. My legs were getting tired, but my heart and mind were energized back to 100%.

We crossed over to Manhattan once again. Ali seemed to get her second wind and started to push ahead. She was the first person to talk to me about running. Though I was overweight, out of shape and headed to an early retirement in a grave, she would always ask if I wanted to join her for a few miles. Running a mile at that point in my life was a joke. The idea of running a 5k? Out of reach... running a half marathon? That just was absurd. 

They say if you plant a seed in someones mind and continue to nurture it, it has no option but to grow. Maybe Ali knew that, maybe she just wanted another friend to run with. Either way I was happy my love for running was developed. It was only fitting that one of the people that pushed me to run in the first place was slowly pushing ahead. I may have convinced her to run this marathon, but she convinced me to run and I'm pretty sure it saved my life.

I saw my sister and 2 nephews at around mile 22. That gave me a needed push. I wanted my nephews to remember their mother for the sweet lady she was. Lupus is one horrible illness and between Andrew, Ali and I, we were able to raise over $2000 for the foundation. My only hope is that some family in the future will not have to deal with losing a loved one. Not that way..not so young. We miss you Bonnie, we won't forget you. 

When you run for a deeper purpose, pain is irrelevant. 

Miles 24 and 25 were some of the toughest miles in my life. I had ran 25 miles before, but there’s a difference when you do it casually at a slower pace.
This was the real thing. I put my heart in these miles.. 24 and 25 were hard. I knew I didn’t need to stop, but I didn’t want to slow down to much. That’s where the challenge is. It’s a slow and steady uphill. If you are going to run a marathon it might as well be the NYC marathon and it might as well end going uphill. 

Mile 26 came and I was home free. As the finish line approached I started to reminisce about the last 3 years. The struggle to find my inner strength to change inside and out, the support of the friends, and the strangers I met along the way. This journey, though still only in the beginning is a beautiful one. Not because it’s my story, but because those who changed with me. It’s beautiful because whatever that was left over from my old me, left me for good on November 3rd, 2013. Whatever self doubt or excuses I once had, no longer applied. 


Andrew Hadro finished his first marathon in 3 hours and 57 seconds. It got him in the top 2% of all finishers, Ali Magistrali finished at 3 hours and 55 minutes and I followed her at 3 hours and 58 mins. Perfect end to a great day.

3 years ago I stepped in the gym, was reborn and given a second chance at life, but on November 3rd, 2013 I realized how to live.

They say if you want to get in shape learn how to run, but if you want to change your life run a marathon.

I understand that wholeheartedly. 
I am proud. I am a marathoner. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Jealous Guy (John Lennon) - As performed by Ken Ross at Litchfield Jazz Camp w/Albert Rivera

Hey everyone! Happy to write a quick new post and share it with all of you! Well as you can see it's a video of a performance I was a part of in the middle of August during the Litchfield Jazz Camp. It features Vocalist Ken Ross who many of you may know that I am a huge fan of and hope he makes it BIG!
So do me a favor and share this video with your friends and it's a song written by John Lennon,  so we can't go wrong with it!

Recently I performed with ELEW at a private event for the awesome Jenny Oz Leroy
Things are getting busy, another performance this month with Cory Cox on the 18th and let's not forget the NYC Marathon I am happily running November 3rd! Yeah that's happening..

As always - Peace and love and I appreciate the continued readers of this blog, all my fans and friends. It is noticed and appreciated!
Albert Rivera <----Personal FB page!

Friday, May 24, 2013

I'm featured in the Huffington Post!

Good news everyone! Today I was featured in the Huffington Post on health and lifestyle changes that are success stories. I'm so thrilled that my story can be shared to many other people.

My hope?

That someone will read it and get inspired to change their life! IT doesn't matter if it's about your weight. Maybe it's a career change, a change in your mind.

Whatever it is, today is the day to do it. A mind strong enough to beleive in itself is strong enough to change the world.

Here is a snippet of the article. Click the link to read it (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/24/i-lost-weight-albert-rivera_n_3188599.html) and feel free to share this post, or the huffington post article to all parts of the online world. Near and far!

"....... I've had a fortunate career as a jazz musician, a good family, good friends yet I was so close to losing it all if I didn't get my health in order. I think the main problem was poor eating habits, like always going for the "bad" choice and never being happy with a decent-sized meal, but instead going for the second or even third serving. I think having an upbringing in a traditional Spanish household played a role. As long as I could remember, our meals were full of white rice, pasta, lots of meat and desserts. At the time, it never even crossed my mind that it was probably a little too much.
As a kid, I was always active: running around, playing sports, just generally being busy. But as I got older, home-cooked meals turned into fast food binges, with a limited amount of activity (other than performing at shows) and little or no time to consider my options. Pizza and Chinese food, my two favorite types of food at the time, were a normal occurrence.

Breaking Point: I could no longer deal with the shortness of breath, the pains throughout my body, the restless nights fighting sleep apnea, worrying about my blood pressure, wondering if I would make my 30th birthday. It was the thought of having a heart attack before I was 30 or getting diabetes that made me want to change. It was the moment of needing to catch my breath because I went up a flight of stairs or went on a nice walk. I decided it was up to me to change, I didn't want to be just another statistic." Click here to read entire article

Albert Rivera

www.facebook.com/journey2transform <--motivational page
www.facebook.com//albertriverajazz     <---personal page

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I'm running the 2013 NYC Marathon!

Yup, as crazy as that would have sounded to me only a couple of years ago last week I applied for my guarantee entry since in 2012, I did 9 road races and volunteered. $227 later, and a big ass smile - I know this will be an amazing experience.

Last weekend I tried something. I wanted to see how far I could take my body in a run. It started with a 4 mile run for the NYRR "Run as One" I felt so good and had already planned to run home. I got to the bronx and still felt great. When it was all said and done, I did my first ever 20 Mile run.

I guess I'm ready for the marathon, though I do have 6 more months of getting more miles in. I'm shooting for a 3:30 marathon. It's my goal, and I never give up on a goal. Nor should you. Whether it's a physical goal or mental.

I guess the point of this post is to remind everyone out there that in the beginning of  2011 I couldn't run a single mile with out  feeling like I was going to pass out... I got my life back, running along with weight training gave me my life back.
Oh how beautiful it is....This so called life and all it has to offer. #stay-focused

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

You and I...We're not so different

When I woke up this morning, it was like any other day. I found myself away from home for work. I'm use to that, I woke up early to get started on what's to come. I'm use to that. As usual I looked out the windows at the sky, trees, the wind blowing. A consistent reminder that I'm alive...that I have so much to do in my ever so short life. I've gotten use to that. What was different today was a picture I noticed as I logged into my Facebook. A red box with a red pink equal sign in the middle.

I rarely watch the news and stay away from the newspapers...I quickly did a search and learned what it meant. In a matter of a day or 2, it became the social media sign in support of marriages for all. Whether Gay, Lesbian, TG. It was up for vote in California. How could I not stand in solidarity with the rest of the country...with the rest of the world. I support choice for anyone. In my short existence in this world I learned that 3 things are absolute. You can't decide when your first breath is taken, generally if all goes well, you don't decide when your last breath is, and finally...You almost never decide who you truly fall in love with.

If those 3 things are absolute, why is the world and this country so far behind. It makes me wonder..Why is it that some people think that a human is any different from any other human.

It boggles my mind.

Life would be so simple and happy if people would let other people live a good life. The question of whether you should have the right to marry anyone in this world should not be questioned based on the physical characteristics. It was only 50 years ago that it was illegal for interracial marriage. 

Ignorance... At times I want to blame them. The people that think this way; but then again I can't. We as a country, as a world are fed into the divide and conquer mentality. It's what makes the world tick. Not for us normal folks who wake up, work hard, take care of our families, try to be a positive force to anyone...I'm talking about the ones that self-proclaim to be the leaders of the world.

In my world...everyone is equal.

In the end I have a choice in the matter, to let these closed minded people decide whether being happy should be a right, or just supporting everyone I know close and far in being happy regardless of what the concepts may or may not say.

I should be so lucky to fall so deeply in love that no law in the world can keep me from happiness..
And that's what got me thinking...
You and I...We're not so different

A.Rivera - Facebook.com/Journey2transform

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Want to run a 5k? What’s stopping you...

I often get asked what’s the best way to run or even walk a 5k. I guess before I answer that, I need to go back a few years and speak of things that I know about. In this case? My own life. It wasn’t to long ago where the idea of running a 5k was so absurd to me. Matter of fact, the idea of running or even jogging a single mile had no difference in my mind then running a marathon. How would I know the difference. If you never took the time to try something, the concept of actually doing something will stay a simple myth.

Just like most people in the world, I would casually watch the Olympics and see the runners compete to be the best in the world. I even would find myself watching the NYC Marathon from the comfort of my apartment as I woke up on a Sunday morning in November. I always noticed people running through out the streets of NYC, and it was especially a trip to see people running down the south side of the west side highway right by the water as I whisked by them in a car.

I always thought the 2 same ideas every time. That it "seemed fun", which was quickly followed by "that would never be me." I never viewed the sport in a dark light. It just never seemed possible for me. There was no drive, no ambition, no reason to run for more then a min at a time. I knew I wasn’t alone in this mindset, so what changed? As I spent years of my adulthood wondering if I would ever get in shape or simply be healthy, people kept running by me. It was like the world was telling me to stop and look around because the answer was right in front of my eyes. Everyone was running, they were smiling, some had a focus, others kept conversations with friends. Maybe in a way, life was telling me to make a decision quick, because just like those runners, my version of running involved time. And I knew time was running out.

But what made those runners run, and people like me, well...barely walk. I asked some friends that ran what makes them run constantly. I got answers that at the time I thought was odd. “it makes me feel free” one replied, “because it’s fun” replied another. “I want to stay in shape” was a constant answer by many. But one had more of a deep impact then all others. I was once told “I run because it’s my way of fighting off the potential cancer that a lot of my family have already faced, they say if you run.. it can help prevent”

It made me think....

Not to long after, things started to make sense. It’s the very reason I decided to join a gym, work through the struggles of the pain, go day in and day out, and eliminated all the excuses. It’s the exact very reason I became a runner too. It’s even the same reason I’m a professional musician. It comes down to 1 word. “Purpose”

See, it doesn’t matter how you run, whether you have a perfect running stride, the best gym clothes, the newest sneakers or even if running for you means to walk. Because if you have a “purpose” then giving up becomes such an odd idea, that eventually, it will become non-existent. Why do I run? My main reason has always stood the same, but all my side notes have changed. I run because I want to live. I want to have the best life possible, to live a long life in which I am not limited by physical in-capabilities that I, myself have control over. I run because I’ve realized others can’t. Once I started running and continued even after the pains in my knees that made me question why I ran in the first place subsided, another purposed became apparent...

 If I, a 254 pound, 5’7” man can learn how to run and get in shape, why not inspire others to do the same. I spent the beginning part of my adulthood enjoy most parts of my life. Now as I creep into my 30th year in this world, I enjoy all parts. Running does make you feel free. That was such an odd response when I originally asked that question. But after two years of running, it makes complete sense.

Running is a way of connecting with yourself. Just you and your thoughts or if you are lucky, a clear mind. These runs I take outside, I  now view as a journey. From point A to point B. It’s not about getting a certain amount of miles in, or how fast I can get there. It’s about enjoying what’s around you. I've lived in NY my whole life, and it wasn’t until I started running that I can honestly say I now know NY.  Running, just like weight training has made me have a friendly competition with myself.
I prove to myself that limits are irrelevant. You know how I ran my first mile? Very slow, until that treadmill said I made it.

So how do you run a 5k? The same way you would run a half marathon. Just do it. Find your purpose for the run. Maybe it’s health, but maybe it’s something deeper. I find when you are running for a cause, it makes you not quit. You can simply make a cause your purpose. Maybe it’s for a friend who survived cancer or maybe the cause is for a friend who wasn’t so lucky. Maybe it’s for your friends uncles' neighbor who knows a guy who’s going through or went through some rough times. I never said you had to actually know the person to show them support.

Start slow.

A 5k race can be walked in under an hour. Put things in perspective. 1 mile may seem a lot at first, but have you ever walked 20 street blocks? It’s about the same distance. To simplify it even more, i’m sure anyone reading this can do 1 city block in about a minute. Say you decided you wanted to speed walk. Well now you are talking about 14-15 minutes per mile. Ever been in a semi rush to get somewhere? Well that's speed walking. Once again, you can surely speed walk for a merely 45 minutes. Want to jog it? It’s the same concept, just a little quicker.

I remember in the first few months of running, after I was able to do about 2-3 mile runs, no matter what I did I couldn’t do more. Here I go again asking around. This time the answer were all the same. Set a distance above a mark that you ever did, and go for it. And when you get tired and think you can’t run no more, walk it. Let your mind know that if your goal is 3 miles, that you can do 3 whether it means running the whole way, running most of the way, or walking it.

Set small goals. Try to casually jog 1 mile first. It may take a few attempts, just know that your body will adapt quickly. If you were able to jog a half a mile and walk the rest, then the next time you attempt, make sure you don’t stop until 6/10 of a mile and walk the rest. Your body is an amazingly developed work of art. If you give it lemons, it gives you lemonade.

The very fact that you read this post should tell your own mind that you are serious about the goal. A goal, mixed with a purpose and determination leaves little room for failure. In fact, those 3, will guarantee success.

UltraMarathon runner Dean Karnazes said it best. It can be applied to running a 5k, starting a business or simply living a happier life. He said, “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”

Albert - Facebook.com/journey2transform

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A new video is up! And while you're at it.. "Like" my new Facebook Page

Dear faithful readers!
I know, I know... I have to be better with keeping up with my blog. But the way I see it, with all the great things going on in my life it gives me tons of writing material. In this case..It's a video just to make things a little different.
It's been so crazy the response I've gotten about the transformation of my body and health. A lot of the same questions, which I am happy to answer. So many things are in the works both musically and health wise (stay tuned) that when you guys and gals hear, I hope it puts a smile on your face.

If you are reading this take a moment to like my new Facebook page that I hope will become a big thing! www.facebook.com/journey2transform A bunch of people are working on making a website, t-shirts, giveaways and overall good vibes. So did you "Like" it already??

Well, with out further ado. Enjoy the video! - Albert

Monday, December 31, 2012

Why challenging myself for 90 days, Changed my mind for life

Our lives, without a doubt go through different chapters. One would hope as each chapter progresses we learn from it. As many of you know I was 27 when I decided that I would write my own story and in the greater sense, take my life back. I was worried about living, about my health, and wondering if I was a ticking time bomb about to go off in a form of a heart attack. Now as I look back in my 29+ years in this world, that day I walked into the gym to change for good, is up there with some of the biggest accomplishments in my life.

A year went by and I got through the hard times of wanting to quit. All those self doubts that spoke to me daily, after a year, was a subtle whisper that popped it’s head in at the most random times. I learned to deal with it. People often ask me how, and where did the will power come from. The answer is simple, I just want to live.

I was wandering on Facebook early October and came across Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s page. For those who don’t know or don’t follow him, he tends to be very active in his social media life. The status was a simple one “This is my reward for 150 consecutive days of eating clean.. One. Legendary. Day. Work hard and earn your rewards” It got me thinking, if someone in such great shape like Dwayne would dedicate 5 months to his body and bring it to the next level, why not I attempt to do the same thing but on my own personal level.

I admit my lifestyle has change dramatically since March of 2011, and with that my food changed. I won’t say it’s a diet because that would be setting yourself up for an “end” date. But if it’s a lifestyle change, that has the potential to stick around for good. The general concept was to take away the junk foods, heavily increase my protein intake, limit the useless carbs and continue to work out daily and see where I can take my mind and body. As with anything, their were gaps before I started this challenge. I still had small cravings for sugar, ate certain foods that I couldn’t tell you if it was mostly natural or if it did more harm then good. I had gaps that I needed to fix. It was more for the inside of my body then the appearance on the outside. The Rock sparked the idea, I simply ran with it.

I decided November 1st would be a good day to start. I went on Facebook to tell the world what I would attempt. I wasn’t sure exactly what Dwayne Johnson did for 150 days but I came to this conclusion for myself. I would go 90 days on as close to a complete natural diet as possible. Meaning, I would eliminate these highly processed foods that contained preservatives, I would check the labels, I would study what was what, I would not voluntarily have any sugary snacks (at the start of the challenge I was “treating” myself to frozen yogurt a few times a week) and I would not have any white flour, or anything that’s “enriched”

Simple enough. I already had very good eating habits, so in my mind this challenge would be a walk in the park. Not so fast...

You wouldn’t believe how many different types of food contain highly toxic, extremely addictive preservatives. According to various research and articles written on the subject 90% of food consumed in American is filled with the bad stuff. http://www.gracelinks.org/385/additives Even simple things that I took for granted like ketchup has preservatives like High Fructose Corn Syrup. What I found more astonishing was what the labels on many of these products stated. I would find myself reading the front of a label seeing “all natural” but, if you simply turned it over to the ingredients it would tell a different story.

A SIDE NOTE: It was around this time when a friend from across the world (thanks Lala) told me I should watch a video about food. I listened and downloaded it. I have to tell you guys something, I was floored.  I suggest anybody that wants to jump start their life to a better you should go ahead and buy/download or get a copy by any means necessary. The videos title is Hungry For Change. The official site is http://www.hungryforchange.tv/ It pretty much sums up what I learned in the last 90 days. The food we typically eat does more harm then good, and you need to make a daily conscience effort in what goes into your body. You treat it well with the right fuel and it rewards you with focus, strength, health and for many a new body.

I decided I would write down everything I ate for the 90 days for this very post. As I look at it now it becomes apparent things I love to eat, things that fuel me daily, and things that I can’t imagine not eating.

I would say the top of my list were the ISatori "Eat Smart" Protein bars. I decided that even though it is not 100% natural (but very close to it) I would continue to have this as my go to protein. The people at the company are amazing as well, and that added to my choice to go with them. You can’t get a better taste and texture for a bar then this. It’s worth it, and the benifits I have gtten and continue to get from these bars are worth it. http://www.isatoritech.com/Product1.aspx?SID=8&Product_ID=167 for more info.

Another huge source of protein and an amazing snack is Natural Greek Yogurt. I’ve tried a bunch and what wins in the overall race is FAGE(pronounced Fa-yeh) I go with the 0% or 2% type so that the amount of calories are limited but the taste stays the same. Throw in some chia seeds and hemp seeds for added health value and it keeps you from getting hungry again all while giving your body vitamins it probably lacks. Other Small snacks like almonds or trail mix are always a safe bet.

I personally do not eat red meat, pork or shellfish. So chicken is my go to when it comes to actual real food. I am a man of repetition, so having grilled chicken with simple natural seasoning and various veggies will never get old to me. It’s important to find what works for you, what foods you will never get tired of and that will give you the nutrients you need. Remember most of us live in a world of plenty, so make sure the "plenty" is healthy.

A lot can happen to your body in 7 days if you start eating right. So why not start now. Like this very instant. Stop being the person wishing and wondering about the “what if”. Your body is waiting for that moment when you give it hope. It’s just like buying a really expensive car, would you simply take it out the lot and drive it around crashing into trees or will you be careful and take care of it. Why should your body be any different.

It took about 3 or 4 week of eating as natural as I can, drinking veggie juices and smoothies and not having any added sugar for my body to crave that way of eating. In the middle of the day I would have an urge for a green juice. My body would crave cucumbers, celery, kale and carrots. I thought my body was decently healthy before, but now I see the difference in my skin and the way my inside feels. I’m not talking muscle definition (though that has continued to grow as well), but I’m talking about how you feel from the inside out. I can now taste when foods have extra sugar added for taste, I can also feel it soon after I begin digesting it. After 90 days it takes little or no effort to eat natural, to subconsciously go for what is good for my health. After 90 days, everything I ingest has meaning. I have become so strong willed I have no worry about going out with my buddies and enjoy the night knowing that I have no intention of drinking pointless calories while making my liver and other vital organs work extra hard for no reason. After 90 days, things have become so clear. I learned that as far as the options of food in this country are concerned we are given false information with billions of dollars of marketing pushing people to become unhealthy. I can tell you why, but that’s for another post.

Concentrate on what you put in your body as a daily challenge. I'm not saying don't ever have cheat days, those are destined to happen. Just have the knowledge of what is going in your body. I found myself in Chicago a few weeks ago and went out for deep dish pizza. By the end of the meal I felt somewhat high, a bit dizzy and overall like crap. Was it worth it? Well, it was pretty damn good, but the after effects were rough. Running later that night, was as if I was running with rocks in my shoes. But I work hard so that every so often I can enjoy those meals, even if it is short lived and quickly reminds me why I love to work out and eat healthy.

So now, my 90 days are done. And you know what I really realized? As everyone has asked me "are you gonna have a cheat day and have whatever you want to eat and drink" or "what happens now" it hit me like a ton of bricks. After 90 days, I no longer want to have those foods with preservatives, I do not crave drinking, I don't crave sugar. What happened in 90 days, is that my body was given a fresh start. An educated start, as if I went to the next grade in school. So why should I get left back? We live in a world were chapters are made daily sometimes by others but many times by yourself. My next chapter includes the NYC marathon, pushing my body to it's limits and then pushing it some more. It involves being an inspiration to others. It involves to continue to educate myself on the world, on my life, my body and soul. Will I eventually have that cup of frozen yogurt from 16 Handles in the city? Most likely. But will it taste the way I remember it? I'll bet that it won't. It's forward movement, and it up to you to move your foot ahead of your other foot and repeat. There is no going back to my life before this 90 day challenge. It would go completely against what I've been working for, both in my life and my career. We all can have excuses, work through it. I know you can because I did.
Stay focused friends.

"Success isn't always about "greatness" It's about consistency. Consistent hard work gains success. Greatness will come"  Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks for the inspiration.

So with out further ado, here is my last 90 days including my general workouts and even the days a messed up..
*Pancakes are protein based and are made from MetRX - metrx.com

Day 1-back
Isatori Bar
Quest bar
Protein Smoothie banana blueberry plum
Trail mix/peanuts
Turkey burger w/salad
Yogurt /quest bar

Day 2 legs/cardio
Isatori bar
Quest bar (pb flavor)
Bag of peanuts/ banana
Isatori/asparagus/avocado/green beans (small salad from salad bar)
Quest bar /trail mix

Day 3 -chest
Protein Pancakes
Blueberry yogurt
Salad bar - asparagus, bok choy, boiled chicken, random veggies (carrots, snow peas)
Isatori bar/banana

Day 4 - arms
Smoothie with syntax 6(protein)
Peanuts/trail mix
Isatori bar/trail mix
Greek Yogurt /blueberries/raspberries

Day 5 - traps/abs
Isatori bar
Protein pancakes (with snytax-6)
Smoothie with syntax 6
Isatori bar
Small mix of veggies with some poultry mix (grilled chicken and turnkey)
Quest bar (cinnamon) Small mix of veggies with some poultry mix (grilled chicken and turnkey)

Day 6 - triceps - HIIT
satori bar
2 small pieces of bake chicken/ veggie protein smoothie w/parsley, cilantro,banana and blueberries and 1 squeezed orange
Quest bar
Mix grilled chicken Salad/olive oil salt pepper

Day 7 -back (free weights)
Veggie protein smoothie
Almonds---Mixed salad with chicken
yogurt /blueberries & trail mix

Day 8 -cardio
Pancakes and chia seeds
Veggie protein smoothie with kale/parsley/cilantro/carrot/banana/blueberries
Quest bar

Day 9 lunges/barbell squats/cardio - HIIT
Protein Pancakes
Veggie smoothie
Isatori/mixed nuts
Mixed salad/chicken asparagus avocado etc
Greek yogurt

Day 10 - Chest
Veggie smoothie
Mixed small veggie salad.
Mix of chicken/broccoli rabe/asparagus/veggie

Day 11 - day off
Isatori bar
Shitake mushroom burger w/hemp seed bread and side salad
Isatori (cinnamon)
Quest bar

Day 12 HIIT cardio
Veggie smoothie
Mixed nuts /veggie juice
Mixed salad
Quest bar
Salad buffet (mainly broccoli rabe)

Day 14 - Deadlifts /back
Veggie smoothie/2 small left over pancakes
Salad oil&vin with broccoli rabe

Day 14 - chest
Isatori bar
Quinoa with carrots kale and tofu /guac on side
Quest bar

Day 15 -triceps /cardio
Isatori bar
Salmon w/broccoli and mixed veggies
Veggie juice
Quest bar/banana

Day 16- squats/legs
Veggie juice
6 eggs
Chicken stew/salad
Quest bar/banana

Day 17 -cardio
6 eggs whites / avocado
Isatori bar
Quest bar
Mixed green salad w/chicken
Quest bar
Isatori bar

Day 18 - cardio
4 eggs with some boneless chicken
Isatori bar
Greek Yogurt
Isatori cinnamon
Isatori Chocolate

Day 19 -day off
Chicken avocado Salad
Quest bar
Trail mix / juicer mix
Cobb salad

Day 20 -cardio (10.5 miles)
Quest bar
Veggie juice and and a little chicken
Salmon with veggies and asparagus

Day 21  chest/cardio
Isatori /juicing
Egg whites /string beans/avocado

Day 22 -cardio 6.2 miles
Quest bar

Day 23 -
Eggs whites/string beans/avocado
Mixed salad w/salmon and quinoa
Naked juice

Day 24 - cardio 6.5 miles
Quest bar
Eggs with veggies

Day 25 - day off
Salmon with veggies
Isatori /juice

Day 26 - off

Day 27 - urbanathlon 9.5 miles
Isatori bar/banana
Garden salad
Turkey/cod fish mix (buffet)

Day 28 - recovering
Isatori bar
Chicken salad/mixed nuts
2 turkey patties w/avocado

Day 29 - hurricane (stuck inside)
Chicken breast w/almonds
Chicken with salad avocado

Day 30 -5 mile run
Isatori bar
Quinoa/asparagus/chicken/mixed salad

Day 31 - chest-2.25 cardio
Pancakes w/egg whites
Chicken breast.
Yogurt with hemp and chia
Mixed nuts

Day 32 month 2!! 7 mile run
Isatori bar

Day 33 -back
Boneless chicken

Day 34 -off
Mixed salad w/chicken and beets/carrots/etc
Mixed nuts

Day 35 - legs/3.25 run
2 veggie burgers with mustard and some chicken
Chicken /juice
2 veggie burgers with mustard and some avocado

Day 36 -Deadlifts / 6.5 mile run
Eggs omelet w/onions tomatoes avocado
Juice /isatori
Mixed buffet with grilled chicken/broccoli rabe/carrots

Day 37 - chest/biceps
2 veggie burgers with onions/ketchup

Day 38 -travel
Chicken/lentil soup.

Day 39 - travel
Lentil soup
Chicken salad/edamame
Chicken wrap/veggies

Day 40 - triceps
Pancakes / banana
2 veggie burgers
Baked salmon w/guacamole & quinoa

Day 41 - rehearsal/travel :(
Pancakes/3 eggs
Chicken salad/edamame salad
Isatori bar
Bok Choy/squash/kale/chickpeas

Day 42 - 18.2 mile run!!
Eggs/tomatoes/mushrooms/cucumbers with a banana
Eggs/tomatoes/mushrooms/cucumbers with a banana

Day 43
Protein smoothie w/blueberries
Chicken salad/edamame/yogurt

Day 44 - 5 miles
Isatori /yogurt
Curry chicken
Chicken salad

Day 45 -
Chicken sandwich w/wheat roll
Isatori /peanuts
Turkey /quinoa/salad/chicken

Day 46 - 3.6 mile run/elliptical
2 eggs/banana
Half wheat bagel
Flat bread chicken sandwich
Mixed salad/yogurt

Day 47
Chicken salad
Mixed veggies/cheese

Day 48
2 chicken legs
Sushi /edamame /seaweed salad

Day 49 -13.1 mile run
Chicken masala/jasmine rice
Mixed nuts

Day 50 -Deadlifts/biceps
Protein shake

Day 51
Chicken salad

Day 52 - 7 mile run
4 eggs

Day 53
Thanksgiving dinner
Cake :(
Soley turkey 2nd serving

Day 54 7.6 mile run
Raisins/chocolate :(
Turkey dinner w/some brown rice
Small serving of turkey. Lol

Day 55
Turkey /sweet mashed potatoes
Small serving of chicken
Quinoa/squash burger an salad with chocolate martini. (Worth it!!)

Day 56 - squats
Protein shake
Chicken with Spinach
Sushi brown rice (tuna & salmon)
6 eggs

Day 57 chest/bi
Turkey /sweet potatoes
Pastèl and nuts

Day 58 deadlifts/legs
Quinoa w/egg whites

Day 59 - dips/biceps/traps
Mixed salad with Tuna
I satori
Tuna salad & kind bar.

Day 60 - back/triceps
Eggs -half iSatori Bar
Protein shake
Yogurt/tuna salad/peanuts/kind bar
Egg whites/quinoa

Day 61  - 5 mile run
Baked Chicken and beans
Quest bar and protein cookies/nuts
Juice/Greek yogurt

Day 62 -delts/biceps
Protein shake

Day 63- 5mile run
Kind bar/green juice /1 protein cooking
Salmon burger w/no bun

Day 64 -circuit upper body
Protein shake
Cobb salad
Chicken Marsala /bread /veggies

Day 65
Eggs/feta/spinach - wheat bread :(
Salad and tilapia

Day 66 biceps/barbell Deadlifts/abs
4 eggs wheat toast
2 chicken burgers & yogurt with chia/hemp

Day 67 -6.2 mile /abs
Yogurt/trail mix
Asparagus mixed greens
Sushi w/brown rice

Day 68 - chest/traps/abs
6 egg whites &1 whole egg
Cod fish with veggies
Nuts/green juice

Day 69 -  triceps
Mixed nuts
Salmon w/Lima beans
Yogurt /mixed nuts /banana
Green Juice

Day 70 - 4.5
Chicken thighs
Protein shake
Tilapia with beets & rice
Protein shake (casein)

Day 71 -Deadlifts /light abs
Protein shot/cashews
Raw veggies/cheese/fruit
Protein shake (casein)

Day 72 - 6.3 mile run 1 mile elliptical /dips
Turkey mixed black beans/chickpea
Green juice

Day 73 5.2 mile run bi/obliques

Day 74 - 3 miles jog
7 egg whites/green juice
Chicken breast/asparagus
I satori /small cup of green juice

Day 75 - day off
ISatori/green juice
2 eggs
2 corn tortilla with black beans/salmon
Mix of carrots (small cup of gluten free pasta) 4 small biscuits w/cheese (holiday party) no drinking :)

Day 76 9.5 mile Run
7 egg whites
Small serving of chicken
Mix platter of duck and veggies

Day 77
Pastelle(Spanish food)
Cod fish/baked chicken/beans/plantains

Day 78. -chest
Pastelle (Spanish specialty)

Day 79  - 2.5 mile and pull ups
4 pouched eggs
Half baked chicken
Whole wheat chicken sandwich

Day 80 - 3.1 mile run
Yogurt/kind bar
Cobb salad
Greek salad
Deep dish pizza

Day 81
Hummus wrap
Cheese mix with various sides
Salmon bok choy salad

Day 82 - 2.5 mile run/chin ups
Trail mix/banana/ yogurt
Mixed salad w/chicken
4 turkey sliders and spinach salad

Day 83 -travel
Chicken/hummus sandwich on whole wheat
Trail mix w/black bean chips

Day 84
Trail mix
Salad/small serving of pasta w/cheese

Day 85
Chicken Soup and a random egg
Lots of trail mix
Salmon squash and mixed salad(2 servings)
Baked chicken/soup

Day 86
ISatori bar
Christmas dinner (turkey, corn, beans and small portion of rice)
Slice of cake/chocolate raisins
Trail mix
Quest bar

Day 87
White meat chicken with veggies, and various Thai food
ISatori bar

Day 88 - biceps/traps
Egg whites
Various veggie/cheese/hummus/flaxseed chips

Day 89 - chest
Grilles chicken and guacamole
Yogurt /peanuts

Day 90 - dead lifts/upper back
6 egg whites
Yogurt /trail mix

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Food For Thought

At times, you need to listen to what the world is telling you - Albert
Follow me on facebook - www.facebook.com/albertriverajazz

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Curtis Brothers and I wish for World Peace, and it starts with our children

I was fortunate to work with the Curtis Brothers on a new record for the holiday season. It's an incredible album with so much music. The track I am on "Let Them Be Children" is an amazing song in the world of John Coltrane. I decided to create a music video for the song, since I was so pleased on how the track came out. If you like what you hear support the albums and the Curtis Brother's Record Label here at www.TruthRevolutionRecords.com
In listening to the song and know how all of us think, the meaning of the song took place. Just like many of you, I wish the world to be at peace. It's a simple idea, yet so difficult to accomplished. I've personally witnessed the power of music, so consider this our own fight against the destruction of war. I can only hope. And without further ado, Enjoy the video, feel free to comment and remember to share and like till your hearts content.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

How I lost 80lbs and changed my life.

It's been some time since my last post. But I am back, and I have a special video for you guys. It's been amazing how many people have contacted me with their stories of getting healthy and being inspired. I always get tons of emails and at times it's hard to answer it all. So I decided to make a video of my journey for the last 1 and half or so. I hope this inspires others to continue to a life of healthy living! Enjoy! Feel free to share with the world.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Interview with Marina Kamen on HighNRG Fitness Radio

If you have not seen the interview, sit back relax and getting to laugh your ass off. One of the most entertaining interviews I've done in my life. Here is part 1. I swear..I think I need my own reality show with people like this involved. Guaranteed success! Health and music..what a mix!
For more info about Marina and the Radio show go to http://ftns.co/team/marina-kamen/

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Excalibur" - The Unleashed Band - Album coming soon, Stay Tuned!

Here is a live TV show we did in Hamden, CT for CPTV. It was an amazing day and more videos coming soon. It's a sneak peek in to my new Live album coming out this summer! Please enjoy and share!

For more Youtube videos click here Albert Rivera's Youtube Videos

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

With Transformation, comes Smart Supplementation

A quick picture as I received my package from ISatori this morning while at the offices in Litchfield Performing Arts. (if we are friends in facebook then you saw the pic! facebook.com/albertriverajazz     (request me!!)

Crazy how spring is here and the school is starting to fill up. Feel free to contact me if you guys and gals have any questions. Let's change our lives together.

Don't forget to "follow" my new twitter page and future website (soon to be launched) at www.twitter.com/journey2t (Journey2transform) Eventually I want to hear how you plan on changing your life!

Till next time!
"Impossible is just another reason to not give up"

Friday, March 30, 2012

A day into how I eat to increase my metabolism

Hey everyone! So I decided to make a quick video and speak about ways that I eat that help increase your chances of losing body fat. This is just a simple overview of a typical day, and it works for me. You guys/gals can always try it if you seem to need a fresh new to way start a new way of eating. Remember 1 change a day can make all the difference.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The only thing that can hold you back, is yourself.

What's holding you back?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What are you worth?

It's a simple question with a full range of answers. If you never have asked yourself what are you worth, maybe today is the day you do. We all need to understand how important each and everyone of us is to this world. In fact, without you there would be no me. It's a simple idea really, we all live in this world, we all seek to better ourselves, and we want the best in any scenario. The problem is many of us grew up with a sense of being lost. Not all of us were lucky enough to grow up with 2 supportive parents, who were financially stable, who were caring, understanding and seemed to know all the solutions at any given time. In fact, many of us had the view point from the other side of things. Maybe some of us came from a single parent,  or a struggling household, or maybe some of us even came from no stable household at all..and that shaped how we view things to this day.

I'm here to tell you, to let go of that past, and re-evaluate for the future. Not one of you reading this is destined to be a failure, or not be successful. We are all are here to do great things. So what are you worth? I say you are worth more then you know. It just depends on how hard you're willing to work on things.

Do you deserve happiness?
Of course! But happiness will never come to those who do not seek it. It only begins to see the light in you when you decide to be happy.  Many of us concentrate on the negative of it all. The broken relationships, the long days at work, the general loneliness, but we live in a world that is deeper then those simple negative ideas. Think about it, the very fact that you are reading this on a computer screen or a mobile phone speaks wonders on how lucky you are in this world.

Never let a little discouragement take you away from your bigger plan. Sit down and think about what it is that you want to accomplish, have a definite goal, write it down, say it out loud and believe it.  Say it so much to everyone you know, say it in front of a mirror, say it out loud to the world even if no one is around, because the moment you truly believe that you can, is when things will start to change.

You want to start a business? Believe and trust that you are the best, and just go for it. Want to get in shape and restart your life, just do it. Believe that you can. It doesn't matter if it's 10 pounds or 150 pounds...your mind is the only thing in this world that will limit you from success. The very mind that you ultimately control. So what's stopping you. You're worth more then what you even know.

There may be days when you feel low, or opinions that are told to you may have more of an impact then it should, but just let it go. When someone says you can't, know that you simply could. It all starts with understanding what you are worth. It's a simple combination on mind, body and spirit. The combination of those 3 makes you unstoppable. It makes you know and truly believe that you are worth it. Because for the first time in your life, when you ask yourself how much you are worth..you can smile and happily say "I am priceless"

Saturday, March 17, 2012

My Journey, My Transformation - A Look into the the last 12 months

What a week this has been. I had no idea that a simple before and after picture would have such an impact in the online community. It was such an amazing feeling to know you guys could sense the motivation I put in my life in the past year to achieve a new way of life and at the same time I could feel the love from each and every one of you in support. It was unbelievable to see that photo get shared and re-shared and tweeted all around, reaching different parts of the world. I just saw this morning it went around parts of Brazil and London. My sole intention was to inspire the few that may have needed inspiration, but this reaction is way better. Because with this reaction, it reached more people then I myself single handily could have reached. I can't begin to thank you all enough, for it is because of people like you who help push people forward with positiveness, which ends up being why success is never that far.

I'm writing this blog post for many reasons.One of which is that I got so many emails on the "How" of my year journey and the "Why" I tried to email everyone back, so if I missed you, my apologizes. Another reason i'm writing this is because a lot of you wanted to understand my mentality, eating habits and overall goals. I found myself writing to people semi-similar responses. So by this format, it can reach those who want more.

For the longest I can remember weight has been an underlining problem I faced. I was never the biggest kid in class, but as all of us know growing up can be tough, being an overweight kid makes things tougher. I always said to myself one day I would change my body for the better. I just never knew it would take me 28 years. Better late then never right?

The day I made up my mind and the journey that followed:
I remember the day I decided to change things up. There was nothing out of the ordinary in the day. I was just tired of the pain and the tiredness my body was showing. My blood pressure was starting to rise, and my joints was always hurting. I use to read about people on a monthly basis that changed their lives like in the Belly Off Club in Men's Health Magazine. If they could do it, why not I?

The first day in the gym was hard. I felt out of place, a bit confused and overwhelmed. I was certain on 3 things, I had to start weight training, I needed to do cardio and I needed to start eating correctly. You often see these commercials that promise you weight lose if you take a pill or a special shake. I'm smart enough to know that's not the way it works. So cardio, weight training and eating was the way to go.

The first mile I ran was like the never ending mile. I jogged most of the way and got through it. I threw in some weights in the mix right after and I was happy about how I felt. The next day was probably just as important as the first...because if this was the way to physical happiness, then excuses were no longer permitted. I was tired and sore, but regardless I made it to the gym. I went almost everyday that month. A 1 mile jog became a 1 mile run. After a month, spending time on the elliptical as well, that mile run became decent 2. I was on my way....

The biggest thing I learned in this year was that even though the gym is important, building healthy eating habits was just as important, if not more. Cutting out all types of enriched white flour, processed foods and lowering my carb intake was huge. It's not as hard as it sounds. There is no reason any of you guys need to eat white bread, or some snacks that are made in a factory with ingredients that you have never heard of. Imagine what impact it is having on your body as it tries to break it down for energy. Most likely your body is simply going to store it and in time, make it into fat. Make the smart choice, I'm not saying limit everything because that is a sure way to fail. Just be smart. You always have a choice. The more natural you go, the better you feel.

I learned a saying this year that guides me daily. I think if there is a such thing as a "Secret" it would be this. In life when ever you are faced with a decision simply ask yourself, how can I make this better. It applies universally but in the case of food choices, it will save your life. So a simple example would be having the choice of white bread, or multi-grain bread. Once you ask yourself that question, you will always go for the better choice. Or maybe you find your self thirsty, you can go for a coke, or go for club soda. Ask yourself the question, and you will find yourself making the correct choice.

A few months passed and I was in the swing of things. I was going to the gym 4 to 5 days a week. My schedule is always hectic as a professional jazz musician, but just as I always had enough time in the day to surf the web, check my facebook or catch some TV, I simply knew I had no excuses to not go to the gym. I ended up seeing an advertisement for the Men's Health Urbanathlon 10 miles of running that included obstacles through out. I never ran a race in my life, and deep inside i'm a competitor so I felt this would be perfect in keeping me focused on my health. Once I paid the registration fee, it almost made me feel even more obligated to work out. I didn't want to do a race that I simply couldn't finish. So training wasn't a choice, it became a lifestyle.

I think it's important to find something that you love fitness wise and really jump in to it. It might be swimming, biking or running. Whatever it is, know that their is a community out there that will support you. Running did it for me. I haven't stopped running since.

Surrounding yourself with like minded people is huge. How can you change your lifestyle if everyone that you hang out with eat a certain way and drink a certain way. You have to make a decision. What's more important. Living a long healthy life, or party hard and end your existence early? I chose life. I'm not saying you get rid of your best friends by any means. But in the beginning it's important to surround yourself with a support system. Being unhealthy and or overweight is no different then having a drinking problem or a drug problem. Having that support is what gets you through the tough times. The key is to develop a confidence in knowing what works for you. Building the confidence that if you go out with your friends falling to peer pressure is not an option. Your friends are your friends, and if they understand your struggle, they will be their to support. If not, find yourselves new friends.
I was fortunate that I had a great friend who decided to do the same races as me, train with me when we had the opportunity and  talk about how to train. Andrew Hadro was my "partner in crime" as the saying goes. We haven't looked back.

Finding the right foods for to fuel you is another important factor. I do not eat red meat or pork, so chicken and fish is a big part of my diet. I also found out that certain veggies made me feel even more amazing then before, asparagus is my go to snack.

Eating through out the day is key to making your body in to a fat burning machine. People often think opposite. The less I eat the less I weigh, granted the bottom line of losing weight is amount of calories in versus amount of calories out (hitting the gym, walking around, daily activities) But If you concentrate on a larger number of smaller meals a day you will never feel hungry, your metabolisms starts to speed up and in turn you start to lose weight. A key in doing this correctly is increasing your amount of protein in your diet. If you are really trying to change your ways, this will push you exactly where you need to be. There are some good protein shakes available that taste great. And if you are on the go, I found a company who's bars literally taste like a crunch bar. It's called Eat-Smart bars by ISatori. This has been my saving grace because since it taste so much like a dessert/snack it kept all my serious cravings away. It's not the dirt taste most bars have. Not quiet sure how they have mastered the art of it, but trust me this is the one to go with.

Setting up small goals:
To many people think about the overall larger goal. "I wanna lose 80 lbs by the summer" This almost always sets you up for a bit of failure. Think smaller goals that are attainable. What everyone needs to know is that if you complete a bunch of  little goals, eventually you will have reached every goal you ever wanted. No one expects to be able to run a full marathon on the the very first try with out running a few smaller races beforehand. You build up to it, and when the opportunity arises you crush it. With no doubt in your mind because you took the time to prepare. It's no different for weight lose. Slow and steady wins the race. I lost 75lbs this year, but the way I lost it was by losing 1 at a time. For every 1 pound lost, the dream of becoming fit became a reality.

On a side note, some of the extra keys to my fat loss was Interval training It is one of the best ways to do so. (just click on the link for a detailed description) and muscle confusion for those who end up being very dedicated will also guarantee results. (Think P90x) My suggestion is taking bits and pieces from things that you like and create your own work out. Consistency is key.

There is not one thing that I can tell you that will make you change. I can simply give you advice on the how. In the end it is up to YOU to decide that you want a change. No one can trick you into running, or eating healthy. In the end, it is you who decides to sweat. You have to think about what is important to you. I decided that I wanted to live a full productive life, both mentally and physically. I have to much that I care for, to many things to do, to many people to help to end my time on this world prematurely. I knew that making this decision saved my life in the long run. It was my decision in that I wanted to live that really sparked the flame. Figure out what that means to you. Maybe you have a newborn child, recently married, or a new career that you love and want to enjoy. What ever the reason is, make it a good one. It was my reason to want to live that got me through the days of not wanting to  continue, or being to tired to go on. I made it count, and now I make everyday count.

Signing up for the New York Road Runners was a great decision I made. In a way it holds me accountable if I don't stay in shape. Races are on going and I compete with myself to get a better time. My goal is running the ING New York Marathon in 2013. A year ago 26.2 miles seemed impossible, but in a year impossible easily changed it's meaning. 

Don't be the person that makes excuses why you shouldn't. Excuses are easy ways to hide. Having kids, a career, a family or all valid points, but I too sustain a very busy schedule through out the year, travel often, always working on various projects and days always seem to be to short. So if I didn't use any of those excuses...what's yours?

Be the change you want to become, say out loud that you are "worth the time and the effort to become the better you". That person inside of you is waiting to come out, at times it is screaming to come out..just take a listen. I was just like you, i'm just a normal guy who put my mind to it. There was no secret game plan, no expensive trainers or coaches. Just me, and my mind knowing that every sore muscle in my body was it's way of thanking me. That every drip of sweat that flowed out of me was my body excited at the potential of what could be and what will be.

Be the inspiration that I hope I am for some of you. Change your life because life is worth it. Let the doubters in your life disappear. Let the of the ones that tell you that it's impossible. Because if there is one thing I truly learned in my journey, it is that "Impossible is just another reason not to quit"

I would like to thank everyone who has been part of my journey-
Andrew Hadro, Isatori, Men's Health, The entire team at LPA, My B Smith Crew, Ali, NYRR, The entire Facebook Family, Planet Fitness for being so affordable and an extra thanks to all of you that have shared this story! Let's continue to be a positive force.