YOU Are a Walking Experiment

The health/fitness/wellness industry is plagued with programs, powders and pills that promise you amazing results. This industry might as well have a license to print money. People are so desperate for the “thing” that will take away their problem, that will give them the physical body they want, that they will try almost anything and pay almost anything.

I had a student in a fitness course years ago who declared to the whole class that he was 100% certain that there was no quick fix anywhere on the planet. He said that if Oprah hasn’t found the fix for health/wellness/fitness then it doesn’t exist. With the resources at her disposal and her past struggles you bet if there was a quick fix out there she would have found it by now.

So please, let go of the hope that there is the PERFECT program, powder, pill out there for you – it doesn’t exist.

But here’s what does exist, a whole bunch of programs, powders and pills that may or may not work for you. YOU are a walking experiment. The mindset that you want to have is one of curiosity. So try that new program at the gym, see what works for you and what doesn’t. Try that new way of eating and see what works for you and what doesn’t. By trying different things you can keep all the pieces that worked and get rid of all the pieces that didn’t. In essence you create your own program through the bits and pieces of all the other things that you’ve tried.

Each one of us is so incredibly unique that I think it’s offensive for someone to suggest that they have the solution for everyone. What they may have, is one piece that could help you.

So instead of looking for a single thing that is going to give you the health and wellness that you want, think of yourself as a walking experiment. Keep what works and trash the rest.

3 Reasons Why We Eat

I’ve been reading the book “Eating Behaviours and Obesity” by Dr. Shahram Heshmat over the past few weeks and I have to say, he has a great way of putting complex information into an easy to understand format.

One of the things that he writes about are the 2 reasons why we eat. While these weren’t a surprise to me in concept, the way that he titled and described them really made sense to me. I have added  third to the list that I personally experience.

picture of book cover

The Reasons

  1. physiological hunger (you physically feel hungry) – our body needs food to survive
  2. hedonic hunger – we eat because it makes us feel good
  3. boredom – this one is my addition.

How I Respond to those Reasons

Lately I have been playing around with these 3 reasons. Each time I want to eat something I ask myself which of the 3 reasons is the reason why I am reaching for food in that moment and I have a certain action I do for each one.

  1. physiological hunger – great! Continue on!
  2. hedonic hunger – hmmm….will those cookies really make you feel better? Wait at least 10 minutes before giving into this one (usually by the end of the 10 minutes I don’t want the cookies anymore)
  3. boredom – get your ass of the couch and do something!

What are your tips and tricks for eating for the right reasons? I would love to hear them!

I Want to Look Better Naked

If this is what is important to you, own it. Don’t beat yourself up for being vain or selfish. There is nothing wrong with taking pride in your physical appearance. The one caution I will give you though is to make sure that the reason why you want to look better is because you actually want it, not because you think you should. We get bombarded by messages all the time about how we “should” look. If you want to change your physical appearance, do it for you, not for someone else.

You Have to do More than your Normal

Here’s the deal with changing your physical appearance, you need to make your body do more than what it’s used to. So if you’re used to walking for 30 minutes three times per week and you want your body to change more, then you need to make it do more.

The ideal is to get your body ready to do higher intensity physical activity. Exercising at higher intensities will burn more calories during the workout as well as boost your metabolism for a few hours once the workout is over.

Be Ready

You can’t start with high intensity, you need to work your way up to it. If you jump in before your body is ready you put yourself at risk for injury, overtraining and burn-out. General guideline is to do a basic fitness program for at least 6-8 weeks before starting something that is of a higher intensity (bootcamp classes, high intensity interval training – HIIT, Crossfit etc.).

Don’t Over Do It

When you are ready for high intensity workouts you only want to do those 2-3 times per week. And then add in 1-2 days of other activity that’s at a lower intensity. If you do too many workouts at a high intensity it can result in injuries, illness, decreased results, trouble sleeping, agitation etc.

What Goes in Your Mouth Also Counts

If you aren’t eating well then what you put in your mouth could be undoing all the hard work that you are accomplishing through your workouts. There are so many differing opinions on what you should eat. I say start with the basics:

  • Eats lots of veggies and some fruit each day
  • Stay away from processed foods as much as you can
  • Stay away from the whites – white bread, white pasta, white rice etc.
  • Drink lots of water – limit juice or any other sweetened drinks

Once you have mastered the basics then you can start to take a look at a more involved way of eating.

FREE Resources to help get you started

For more information about high interval training programs download my free call (33 minutes) and report, “The Secret of Fat Burning Programs”.

  • Access the call here
  • Access the report here

For a FREE copy of my best selling e-book, Enough Gimmicks: Get Fit Wherever You Are, click here. This is a straight forward book that will get you started with a home exercise program where all you need is one piece of $10 equipment.

Do You Want to be Healthier, or Just Look Better Naked?

Let’s be honest, what are you more concerned with, your health, or your physical appearance? No judgement, just a simple question that is absolutely essential to knowing the answer to before you start a physical activity program.

Here’s the deal, what we do to improve our health is a WHOLE lot different than what we do so we look good naked.

I want to improve my health

If this is you then the answer is pretty straight forward. Almost too straightforward, but trust me, it works. If you want to improve your health you need to walk a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. Now I’m talking steps per day, walking up and down the stairs in your house, walking from your car to your office, taking the dog for a walk, playing with your kids at the park. Simply walking. Just 10,000 steps each day and you will improve your health. This translates to roughly 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week.

So what does 150 minutes of moderate physical activity actually look like in a person’s life? Well, it breaks down to 21.5 minutes each day. I like to make things as simple as I possibly can. The average one hour TV show has 15-20 minutes of commercials. If you were to just stand up and be active during the commercials of one show that you are watching you would get 15-20 minutes of physical activity. It doesn’t get any easier or simpler than that! Need some ideas on what kind of activity to do during commercials? Click here to download a FREE copy of my best selling book, Enough Gimmicks: Get Fit Wherever You Are. It has a whole body program that you can do with one simple piece of equipment that will cost you about $10.

Sound too good to be true? It’s true.

Look Better Naked?

Now what about target heart rate training? What about all this media around high intensity training? If your focus is improving your health, you do not need to worry about those things. If you focus is on looking better, now that’s a different conversation…Which I will cover in my next post…If you want an idea of what I’m going to talk about, when you get my FREE book (click here) you will also get a free report on fat burning programs.

 

Is the Fitness Industry Part of the Obesity Problem?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the reasons why it’s so difficult for so many people to make the changes they need to in order to get in better shape.

In the fitness courses that I teach I ask my students to list marketing messages that the general public is exposed to from the fitness industry. Here’s some examples:

  • Fitness has to be hard to work
  • If you aren’t completely exhausted you aren’t working hard enough
  • Getting in shape takes lots of time and is expensive
  • The whole point of getting in shape is to get skinny

Do you relate to any of these statements? Take a moment to really think about each one. If any of these statements feel true to you, no wonder you struggle to make the changes you need to get in better shape. Hard work, exhaustion, lots of money, you’re not successful until you’re skinny. Yeah, sign me up for some of that.

The more I think about how fitness is marketed, the more I start to wonder if what we’re doing in the fitness industry is actually part of the problem. Would you feel different about getting in shape if you were exposed to more messages about moving your body in the name of health, in the name of feeling better, in the name of it’s just good for you? Hmm, I wonder.

And it’s not entirely the fitness industry’s fault. Part of the problem is human nature. People want results and they want them fast. This is what drives the creation of fitness programs and products that cost money, and require you to work out at an intensity that you can only sustain for 30 or 60 days (if you’re lucky). Now, if the fitness industry promoted the 12 month, get healthy for life type of program, no one would buy it.

So what do we do?

If we keep marketing fitness the way we’ve been doing it people will continue to believe that it has to be hard, that you have to be skinny to be successful and that you’re not good enough the way you are. 

[Tweet “If we market fitness in the long-term reality that it is, no one will buy it.”]

I would love to hear your thoughts on how we can change how we promote fitness in a way that would encourage and inspire more people to get in shape.

Brenda

 

Get Your Shit Together Or Get Out Of My Industry

I love to teach people. I am a born teacher. And in any course that a person takes with me, they will be guaranteed to experience at least two or three “soap box” moments. You see, there are certain topics that I get really passionate about, really heated about. So you will notice that this post is a bit more “pithy” than usual.

This particular soap box moment is about professionalism. And if you are not in the industry I use as the example here, simply insert any industry of choice I would bet that the story holds true.

Part of the work I do is teaching and training people who want to become fitness professionals. Now I don’t know how fitness professionals are viewed where you are, but in most places I have been they are not viewed the way I would hope that they would be.

Let’s see why…

Step into your garden variety fitness centre or gym and watch the front desk staff, personal trainers and group fitness instructors for a moment. What do you see? In most cases it is a front desk person who is too busy reading the latest issue of Muscle Magazine to bother even making eye contact with you. It is a personal trainer who for $60 an hour will watch you work out while they eat their boiled chicken and steamed broccoli while they check Facebook on their phone. And it is a group fitness instructor who sees their class as a way to work out while they get paid.

Now, please understand, I am not painting all fitness professionals with this brush. There are really amazing front desk staff, personal trainers and group fitness instructors out there. The challenge is, like most of us, the general public who come to us fitness professionals for help, remember (and share) the bad experiences more freely than the good.

So, think about how you show up in your workplace. How to you interact with your customers, what level of service do you provide? Now imagine that you had that same experience in your doctors office. Imagine walking in and the receptionist just sat there reading a magazine and never looked up. Imagine having your doctor eat their lunch and check Facebook on their phone while you are trying to explain the reason for your visit. You would be outraged, you would be appalled.

So why aren’t we appalled when this happens in a gym? Why do we accept sub-standard customer service? It’s time that the general public, and fitness professionals alike, demand more from our industry. The amazing fitness professionals dedicate their heart and soul to mastering what they do, to continually learning how to help their clients even better. And they are getting a bad name from all those other fitness people who really just want an easy paycheque and a free gym membership.

True fitness professionals are educated, dedicated and do what they do because they love helping others. If the staff at the gym that you go to, or work at, don’t fit that bill, I suggest you take your business elsewhere.

[Tweet “Enough with the crappy service and the lack of professionalism”]

It’s time for these people to get their shit together or get out of my industry.

You Can’t Course Correct If You’re Standing Still

This is a quote that I have heard some version of a few times in the past 6 months and it has really stuck with me. Let’s think about it in more concrete way…If you park your car and turn off the engine, and then turn the steering wheel, what happens? Nothing. Now if you start the car, press the gas and start moving, then turn the wheel, now you can change the direction you are going.

So, in your life, if you aren’t moving, you can’t alter the course you are on. Where this seems to show up the most,is when we are feeling overwhelmed. I know for me, when I am feeling overwhelmed I almost feel paralysed There are so many things that I need to do and I can’t seem to get started on any of them. You need to get out of the overwhelm so that you can take action, get moving and take control of the direction of your life. So how do you get out of overwhem? Here is one way…

Stay Focussed on the Task at Hand

It’s actually impossible to feel overwhelmed if you’re living in the present moment. So if you’re truly present to what’s going on in your life right now, it is physically impossible to feel overwhelmed. So when you feel overwhelmed, that’s your first indication that you’re not truly being present in the moment because overwhelm comes from thinking about all the things in the future that you need to do.

The future might be 5 minutes away or it might be 15 years away. And I’m not saying that we should never look ahead. Of course, we need to be looking ahead. We need to have an idea of the direction we want our life to go and how we’re gonna get there, and in those moments when you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s not because you’re charting out your life plan. It’s because your brain is being bombarded and bogged down by all these different things that you know that you have to do that you haven’t done yet.

So, pick something, anything, that you need to get done. And while you are doing that task stay focussed only on that task.

Here is an example. You may find yourself reading this blog for a moment or two, but then your brain drifts to thinking about what you’re gonna make for dinner, and that thought leads to your brain creating a virtual shopping list which reminds you that, “Oh, shoot, I have to get gas before I go to the grocery store,” which reminds me that, “Oh, I gotta take the care in for an oil change,” which then reminds you that you’re car’s getting kind of old, maybe you should think about trading it in. “Do we wanna get something bigger, something smaller? I don’t know if I wanna trade it in, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

So you’ve gone from reading this post to what am I gonna make for dinner to we need to buy an SUV. Does that sound familiar? No wonder you’re feeling overwhelmed. Your brain has so many different things that it’s trying to process all at the same time. So to deal with that, think about only what you’re reading in this post, if we’re using this as our example. If you start to think of something else, grab a piece of paper, quickly write it down and bring your attention back here. So, as the thoughts come in, as you’re reading what I’m sharing with you, if something else pops into your head that’s completely unrelated, write it down, your brain knows that it’s safe, you can come back and then pay attention to the call once again.

Just Do Something

Here’s the thing, you just need to do something. Anything will get you moving. It could be a really small task like putting dirty clothes in the laundry, or it could be a bigger task like filing your taxes. It doesn’t matter, you just have to get into action. And when you’re in action, if you start to feel overwhelmed, remind yourself to only think about the task at hand and when the task is done you can think about all that other stuff.

Once you get something done you start to build momentum and then it is easier to get more things done. Just start moving.

Brenda

1 Step to a Happier Life

My last post was about losing 30 pounds by clearing up the clutter. Of course I was referring to mental/emotional pounds. So many of us struggle, struggle all the time with everything it seems. We struggle with eating healthy, we struggle with being active, we struggle with being a stressed out, frustrated, overall unhappy person. And what is becoming more and more clear to me is that so much of this struggle is due to things that seem completely unrelated. Key phrase there, they seem unrelated.

What are all the outstanding things you have on your to-do list that you keep putting off? Take a moment, write them down. No, really, write them down, now.

I mean it, write them down.

Now.

So you have your list. It might feel a bit overwhelming. Here’s the thing, it will only get worse if you do nothing about it. I hate to break it to you, but there aren’t magic fairies flying around just waiting to do these things for you. No magic fairy that is going to take my car to get an oil change or mop my kitchen floors. And when you have all these things looming, hanging over your head, everything in life feels harder. It’s harder to cook a healthy meal, it’s harder to go outside and play with your kids in the backyard, it’s harder to take a deep breath and be patient with your partner.

You only have so much mental and emotional energy, just like you only have so much physical energy. When you are tapped out mentally/emotionally your capacity for taking care of things is less. So, the to-do list gets longer and things spiral downwards.

The fix is easy. Choose one thing are your list and get ‘er done. That’s it. Get your ass in gear and take control of your life.

If you are a Personal Trainer working with a client who is struggling, ask them to make a list and as part of their training homework have them start knocking things off. Because here’s the deal,  if your client is bogged down by their looming list of things to-do, there is no way they can give 100% to their training or their healthy lifestyle. They won’t reach the goals they have set with you, which is frustrating for both of you.

 

Lose 30lbs – PURGE

I recently came across a quote about letting go:

“By letting go, you will empower yourself. You are letting go of the weights that are pulling you down from seeing new possibilities.” – Vanessa Vandy

And at the time the quote caught my attention, I found it interesting and then I moved on to something else (I am sure that this will become a post in itself at some point).

Over the next week I felt the urge to purge. I purged my closet of all the clothes that my post-baby body is not yet ready for, my kitchen of all the gizmos, gadgets and random pots and pans, storage containers with no lids, lids with no storage containers, my carport of all the “we will use it someday” things. I purged the material aspects of my life.

And a funny thing happened. I feel so much lighter, more hopeful, more optimistic. Don’t get me wrong, I am typically an easy-going, the future is bright kind of person. And like everyone else I sometimes get bogged down in life. Since the purge I wake up feeling excited about life again, energized to do the things I love. Mentally, I feel like I lost 30 pounds.

Now, if your mind immediately goes to that place of freaking out because these are things you paid money for, things that maybe, one day, at some point in the future you just might use, here is a trick. Put all the things you think you don’t need into a box and date it. In 6 months, whatever you have not used in that box, give away. If you didn’t need it in the last 6 months you don’t need to keep it. It is weighing you down.

So, for those of you working with clients who are struggling, maybe suggest a material clean-out of their life. As the quote says, “by letting go, you will empower yourself. You are letting go of the weights that are pulling you down from seeing new possibilities.”

What would your clients be able to do if they mentally felt 30 pounds lighter? What would you be able to do?

I Don’t Drink Water

I don’t like drinking water. Which all my fitness students, friends and family find to be quite ironic. How can a fitness professional, who teaches people to become fitness professionals, not drink water? I will go a couple of days without drinking water. Now I am still getting fluids through the foods I eat, milk I drink etc. but am lacking on the pure water intake.

This has been a struggle of mine for more than a decade. I have tried all the tricks…adding flavor to the water, having a water bottle with me all the time, telling myself that by the end of the day this jug of water has to be gone etc. None of it has worked.

And then something miraculous happened. I bought a Starbucks cold beverage cup. I now drink 3-4 of those of water everyday. No joke.

At first I thought it was because it was kinda fun to use a straw. The cup worked because it made drinking water more fun. But that didn’t seem like it was the thing. How could a straw fix a decade old problem? And then it dawned on me. Drinking from this sealed cup, that has a straw, is easier than a bottle – there is no lid to take off and put on. Nothing to open. Just sip and you’re done.

We have heard for years that the healthy choice needs to be the easy choice for people to adopt it.

So, in whatever you and/or your clients are struggling with, take a minute to think about how you could make it just a tiny bit easier. It may already seem easy and there may be a way to make it easier still. I didn’t think that drinking from a bottle was hard, but drinking from a straw is just plain easier.

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