The greatest minds in the human races’ history have always asked one question, Why? Einstein, Edison, Newton all posed the question of why and no matter how many times they failed they constantly pushed forward. The Power of Why.
Think about a child who is inquisitive, what do they ask repeatedly? Why? Why is the ocean blue? Why do I have to go to sleep at 8? Why do I have to go to school? Why why why? Their nature is to constantly pose the question of why so they can consistently
The why gives reason behind decisions and clarity behind things that are not yet understood. Reason and clarity are very big when discussing fitness goals: Why is getting in shape important to you? Why will having bigger arms or a smaller waist positively impact your self esteem? Why?
As you embark into a fitness regime it is important to remember why you are starting. From the mere example of you reading this means, on some level, you are interested in fitness. Either you; are wanting to start, wanting to continue what you started or are looking for fresh ideas to keep you going. Either way, we all go through a pre-contemplation phase when it comes to working out. Some decide to put both feet in and go after it others keep one foot in and the other out and then there are those that never start. The decision is a personal one but once we cross into the stage of doing something about our current situation, it is important to remember why we are doing it.
So here is what we are going to do…
I am going to generalize everyone and pose the following questions:
1. What outcomes are you wanting/expecting from exercise program?
2. Which of those outcomes is the most important to you?
3. Why is that so important to you?
The answers to any of those questions can and will vary considerably. Everyone starts or continues and fitness program for different reasons. The importance to find the why behind the what.
Is the answer to number one; more energy, less body fat or to be healthier? We can easily put those answers into three categories; how you feel, how you look and how your insides are functioning. Either way these are important to you.
Now we must pick one as our sole goal to focus on. This should be the driving force on your fitness journey, the thing you cannot live without. Once we have answered that we are on our way.
Lastly, we must instill the Power of the Why. Why is that goal important to you and why is it the most important to you? The answer will define your fitness experience and adherence. Is it because you’ve always wanted abs or because you felt better when you were 20 lbs lighter? At the end of the day we all do this for an emotional reason and to boost how we feel about us. Nothing more, nothing less. Fitness changes us for the better by supplying confidence and increased self esteem we may not have gotten from anywhere else. This is the Power of the Why!
Never forget your why and the reason you do this. On the days when you don’t feel well or you’re stressed from work. Remember your why. It is powerful beyond all comprehension.
PS: Write your most important goal down and the reason it’s so important on your mirror or car dash. When times get rough and you feel like quitting look at it and remember why you are here. Positive thoughts and energy creates positive outcomes.
Holidays present a nutritional nightmare for everyone, including yours truly. Cakes, egg nog, cookies, alcohol, etc. are served at every dinner party, work gathering and family get-together. You can’t ignore it, it’s the holidays and regardless of religious beliefs high sugar foods will be there. So to combat your holiday cravings, I compiled a list of strategies to help you throughout this holiday season. Here are my top 12 strategies to surviving the holidays and keeping your body in tact.
1. Know what types of foods will be where you are going and what you are going to choose to eat.
2. Don’t go to the table saying “you are going to eat healthy,” Don’t draw attention to it. The host will be mad if you are not sampling the food.
3. Don’t say yes to every basket or cookie someone puts in front of you. Say no to Egg Nog!
5. If you are not cooking offer to bring a healthy alternative with you. Eat something healthy to fill you up sooner.
6. Have a healthy snack before the meal, that way you are not as hungry when you eat for real
7. Control stress. Stress makes everything worse.
8. Focus on weight maintenance vs. weight loss during the holidays. If you are currently overweight and want to lose weight, this is not the time to do it. Maintenance of your present weight is a big enough challenge during the holiday season. Don’t set yourself up for failure by making unrealistic goals for yourself.
9. Plan on NOT dieting after the New Year. Anticipation of food restriction sets you up for binge-type eating over the holidays (“after all, if I’m never going let myself eat this again after Jan. 1st, I might as well eat as much as possible now!”) Besides, restrictive diets don’t work in the long run. They increase your loss of lean body mass vs. fat, slow down your metabolism, increase anxiety, depression, food preoccupation, and binge eating, and make weight re-gain more likely.
10. Be physically active every day. Often, students’ busy holiday schedules (or lack of structured schedules) bump them off their exercise routines. Physical activity, especially aerobic activities (like brisk walking, jogging, bicycling, roller blading, and swimming) can help relieve stress, regulate appetite, and burn up extra calories from holiday eating.
11. Choose your beverages wisely. Alcohol is high in calories. Liquors, sweet wines and sweet mixed drinks contain 150-450 calories per glass. By contrast, water and diet sodas are calorie-free. If you choose to drink, select light wines and beers, and use non-alcoholic mixers such as water and diet soda. Limit your intake to 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks per occasion. And, watch out for calories in soda, fruit punch, and egg nog as well.
12. Enjoy good friends and family. Although food can be a big part of the season, it doesn’t have to be the focus. Holidays are a time to reunite with good friends and family, to share laughter and cheer, to celebrate and to give thanks. Focus more on these other holiday pleasures, in addition to the tastes of holiday foods. The important thing to remember is balance and moderation. It’s OK to eat too much once in a while. Just relax, enjoy the holidays, and remember what the season is all about.
Maintain perspective: Overeating one day won’t make or break your eating plan. And it certainly won’t make you gain weight! It takes days and days of overeating to gain weight. If you over-indulge at a holiday meal, put it behind you. Return to your usual eating plan the next day without guilt or despair.
Lists are fun, everyone likes lists. On this snowy day, I give you my top 12 best fitness motivation movies of all time, a snippet of my forthcoming book, “The 12 Steps to Fitness Freedom” available in January. These are the types of movies that could motivate anyone to get off their butt and start moving. The most heart pounding, testosterone driven movies of all time. If motivation is your problem, watch one of these classics and two hours later you will be hitting the gym ready to take on the world.
Read the rest of…
The Importance of Why
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Let’s think about the quote above. What is separating all of us from achievement? Is it us? Could it be that we are actually afraid of accomplishing what we set out to do?
Last week, I talked about the Power of the Why The Power of the Why and how to find it. Now lets discuss the importance if that why. As described previously, the why gives reason behind decisions and clarity behind things that are not yet understood. The importance of this is to initiate movement and action. Because in order to achieve any goal, you must have action. Your why will keep you motivated through the hard times, because there will always be hard times. Life is not perfect and neither are you. However, each and every one of us is powerful enough to accomplish anything we set out to do.
I have a lot of experience in training and motivating others, not just in fitness but in life. I have always had a sense that deep down people are not afraid of failure but rather afraid of achieving. When you achieve something people will expect you to do the same every time. This adds responsibility and adds the component of hard work. Now, don’t get me wrong I am not calling out people, talking about how lazy they are. Quite the contrary, I am saying that in our subconscious we have a deep fear that we CAN accomplish any and every thing that we set out to do.
So how do I perform reverse psychology on myself?
Here is the deal the first step to accomplishing anything is you have to believe it is possible. Here is an example; people once thought that running a mile in under 4 minutes was impossible. It wasn’t until 1954 that Roger Bannister broke the 4 minutes barrier, running a mile in 3 minutes and 59 seconds. 42 days later another man ran a mile in 3 minutes and 58 seconds. Fast forward to present day and the world record for the mile has lowered 17 seconds and now running a mile in under 4 minutes is the STANDARD by which all middle distance runners are judged.
Do you see what happened there? Once one person did it, everyone else knew it was possible. You think that you are the only person in the world sitting there at your computer, reading this article with 50, 60, 70, 100 pounds to lose. The reality of it is people are doing it every day and so can you! All you have to do is believe.
The last step (yes I only have 2 steps here, this is not a 12 step process!) you have to have an undying commitment to your goal. Whatever the goal is, it does not matter you have to love it, marry it and live it. It is you and it is a part of you. Do what ever it takes, throw caution to the wind and do it! I believe in you, you must believe in you. Do not be afraid of climbing your personal Mount Everest! GO DO IT!!!!
So to summarize my two steps;
1. You must believe 2. You must commit
“JB you said things will get hard, what do I do?” Great question! The power and importance of the why is going to be your security blanket, your insurance policy and your get out of jail free card. They will drive you to unbelievable heights, if you let them. If you fall off the wagon, remind yourself of why you here in the first place. The constant reminder is a positive way of looking at bleak situations that we will all be put in. As I tell my clients all the time, “Don’t think, just do.”
Most will come to me with the idea of losing weight, body fat, gaining muscle or something that can be tracked. What most will realize is these measurables only account for a small percentage of the journey. It is the things we cannot measure by numbers that matter most. Increased self esteem, more energy, believing in one’s self are all feelings you cannot measure but have a dramatic impact on how you will feel about fitness.
To me, as a trainer, the most impactful reflection from fitness is confidence. Transforming one’s body and loving what you see in the mirror is great but having the confidence inside the gym as well as outside the gym, impacting EVERY intricate detail of life, is what fitness is all about.
As a skinny 140 lbs weakling, I learned the value of confidence through fitness. I was shy and my social skills were lacking but as I started my journey in fitness I realized my confidence began to blossom. My social life was dramatically improved. The way I felt about me and my world couldn’t of been better.
Not only did I transform my body but my life. Fitness is that impactful. Quite frankly, I cannot think of another thing that can have as big of a dramatic impactful on someone’s mind, body and spirt as fitness. It literally impacts everything about you.
The most successful clients I have had have been impactful by increased confidence. As a result, some have had increased function in their occupation, some have increased their relationships with their significant others, some have had increased their confidence to walk away from bad situations and others have had the confidence to walk away from their full time careers and transition into fulfilling their dream of being a personal trainer.
It comes in all shapes and sizes, feelings and impacts but confidence is by far my favorite direct reflection of the fitness journey. It also has the most impact on people’s lives, all the more reason to start your fitness journey.
I’ve learned the statement at left the hard way. Through years of trying to “take on” the world, I have realized, we all fight a battle with ourselves. To solidify my claim that it was “me against the world” I had the lyrics to a song tattooed on my arm. As I have grown older and wiser, I realize this couldn’t be further from the truth. It is not the world that becomes the enemy but an enemy we know all too well…ourselves.
I believe in a very simple equation; “Thought plus decision equals behavior, change the thought, change the behavior.” This to me makes me a believer that if we just alter our thinking, we can alter our behavior. Thus we can accomplish anything we set out to do. It is not the physical gifts nor the outstanding acumen that separates people from one another, it is the sheer will to conquer one’s self on a quest of a goal or idea.
So many times I have seen clients succumb to their own negative thoughts in their head that they quit and never try again. They listen to that voice in their head that tells them its not possible or that it cant be done. It eats at them until the thoughts impose their will and cause them to stop chasing their dream or ideal. It truly becomes a mental game of chess between you and yourself. Deciding who to listen to will ultimate decide who the winner is. Here are a few tips to conquering self doubt and negative thoughts.
1. Get rid of negative people- Regardless of who you are, you will always have negative people around you. Telling you, you can’t do something, bringing your down to their level. Do not let them. Rid them of your life, if at all possible or limit your contact. Never let someone tell you, you can’t do something.
2. Surround yourself with positive people who make you better- This may only be one person or it may be many but you need at least one. Someone who positively empowers you will only make your life better. This could be a parent, a sibling or a trainer (like JB).
3. Realize your thoughts create your reality- What you think is always true. If you think you are no good, you will be no good. Your actions will emulate your thoughts. Your thoughts become your reality. Flip the thoughts from negative to positive and works the same way.
4. Right a list of positive things about yourself and post it where you can see it- This is a technique that will work wonders and will remind you that for all your faults and all the bad experiences, the good will always outweigh the bad.
5. Stop making excuses- Stop using the past as deterrent for the future. What happened back there happened back there, its over. It doesn’t predict what happens tomorrow.
Me Against the World? Never, its you against you and you get to decide who wins.
Through our 12 Steps we have come to find out how confusing fitness can be. Just the act of working out and changing our nutrition can be enough to scare people away. Compound that with going to find a gym and it can overwhelming. For the majority of my fitness career I have spent time training and working in commercial gyms. I know a thing of 12 about picking the right place. Here are 12 Steps to help you decide on the right place for you to work out.
1. Know what you are looking for Have your goal (s) and your why in mind when shopping for a gym. Do not join a CrossFit gym if your goal isn’t high intensity, advanced workouts. Your goal and why will help you make a decision.
2. Ask friends and family Ask the people closest to you about their experiences with gyms. This can give you a good gage on where to look at and where not too.
3. Look at the Internet and Social Media We live in an era where nothing is a secret and everyone markets like they are going out of business. Check websites of the gyms you are thinking about joining. The bigger gyms will let you join online which can be a plus not having to deal with sales people. Also, look for gyms that promote successes of their members. This shows they care about the people inside their walls.
4. Search reviews I have vast experience with negative reviews in the fitness industry in places I have worked. In fact you will be hard pressed to find any company that does not have more negative reviews than positive. However, look for the positive reviews from current and former members and take some of the negative with a grain of salt.
5. Location, location, location In most cases, not all, we would like a place that is convenient to get too. If its easy to get too we are more likely to go.
6. Find a gym you feel the most comfortable At first, any gym can seem intimidating. However, it’s important you feel welcomed and comfortable in your surroundings. If you are having a hard time deciding possibly get a guest pass and go workout a few times or try a class. This may help in aiding your decision.
7. Know your budget Know what you are willing to spend before you go. The sales team’s job is to sell memberships and some clubs will try to take advantage of someone who has never purchased a membership before. Stick to your budget.
8. Know your commitment The gym industry has changed, allowing month-to-month contracts for easy access to people. However, if you chose to sign a contract know your commitment level. 80% of all gym memberships go unused after three months. Do not let this be you.
9. Ask the membership guys for success stories Ask them for proof behind their product. If they can’t show you one, run away.
10. Look at the trainers and front desk I know this better than most, the trainers and front desk staff are the gyms face. If they do not look happy, chances are you won’t be happy as a member.
11. Cleanliness If the gym isn’t clean and the weights are not racked, chances are it always looks this way.
12. Do not buy a membership because of the pool Unless you plan on being in the pool a lot, do not make a buying decision based upon the pool. It is the most unused thing in any gym.
There are more options now than ever before in regards to gym memberships. Choose wisely, read what you sign, and pick somewhere you’ll be comfortable and enjoy.
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