Category Archives: behaviour change

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

 

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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What sets you apart?

So I am on this quest to teach Personal Trainers how to incorporate some simple Life Coaching tools into the work that they are already doing with their clients. I have presented my model at a few conferences now and the feedback has been astounding, Personal Trainers love it! I presented at another conference yesterday and as part of my pre-presenting prep routine I try and think of the questions that participants might ask me. And a funny thing happened as I thought of this….a question came up that I have never thought of before and that has never been asked before. And the more I think of it the more it seems that this should be the first questions that Personal Trainers ask.

“Where do I get the time to use these tools with my clients, my sessions are already jam packed.”

Here’s the simple answer…..Not all your clients will be ready for this type of work. The clients who are ready, they will love taking 10-15 mins of a session here and there to use the Life Coaching tools. So, it will require that you redesign a session every so often so that you have those 10-15 mins that you need. And your clients will love it! By working with them in this way they will have an entirely different training experience. We live and work in an experience based economy, it is no longer good enough to simply offer a service. You must offer an experience with your service, this is what will set you apart from other Personal Trainers.

Remember, if you (and your client) believe in something you will make the time that you need for it. If you don’t see how you could possibly make the time to work with your clients in this way then this isn’t a fit for you right now.

If you haven’t had a chance to take this workshop with me yet and you are interested, drop me an email (brenda@brenda-adams.com). I am in the process of developing this training into an online workshop and can send you the details when it is ready. Or, if you are really keen, and I mean really keen, email me right away as I have a few spots open for a free pilot program I am offering “Life Coaching Skills Bootcamp for Personal Trainers”.

 

Are powders and pills replacing whole food?

Lately I have been reading and hearing a lot of information about different supplements/products that fitness professionals are using themselves and selling to their clients to help them reach their goals. The results seem to be impressive. People are losing weight, they say they are feeling better and for some it has also become another source of revenue.

So, here is the first place where I am a bit stuck. Fundamentally, I think that these supplements/products are a band aid solution to people not making their health a priority. They are choosing not to cook healthy food. There are lots of reasons that they will give you, I am too busy, the food we buy in stores today doesn’t have the same nutritional value, etc. And at the end of the day, if you value eating healthy you will make the time and you will find quality foods.

Here is the second place that I am stuck. If the people using these products are not willing to take care of their health through whole food then are the products they are taking better than nothing?If they are becoming healthier should it matter how they get there?

When I think about this whole scenario I wonder if nutritional products/supplements are the next evolution in how we nourish our bodies. Think back a few generations, people grew their own food. Then society changed and people stopped growing their own food, and started buying it from others. Then society changed again and they cooked their own food less, they ate out, bought pre-cooked meals. So, are pills and powders the next evolution? Will they slowly start to replace whole food all together?

As a life coach, when a client is not taking care of something important in their life we often start to dig a bit deeper to see where else they are selling themselves short. Where we struggle in our life is often a symptom of something else that is going on. If a client continually chooses not to make their nutrition a priority, why is that? What else are they shoving off to the side? Until the client figures out what the underlying issue is they will continue to struggle. It may appear that they are conquering things in their life but really they are just trading one struggle for another.

So, if you or your clients are choosing to use pills and powders instead of whole foods I encourage you to sit for a moment and really ask yourself why you have chosen this path instead of real food. No judgement, just curiosity. When we are clear around why we are making decisions we are much more likely to make the right decision and to stick with it.

Walk in your client’s shoes

So over the past month I have embarked on a couple of self-induced week-long challenges. The first was cutting out the sugar in my coffee (which I still do). The second was decreasing TV time to one hour per night and the third was to cut out TV completely (I am back to watching one hour per night).

The biggest impact this had on me was to remind me of how hard it is to change our behaviors.

As Personal Trainers we are paid by people to help them change their behaviors. And I think that it’s easy to forget how hard that actually is for them. They come to us, inactive. We ask them to become more active. They come to us with poor nutrition, we ask them to eat better. They come to us lacking sleep, we ask them to sleep more. Any one of these behaviors, on its own, is a huge undertaking to change. And many trainers expect their clients to start all those changes in their first week of training!

So I challenge you, the Personal Trainer, to change one of your behaviors, for the better, for a week. When we challenge ourselves to change a behavior we experience a bit of what our clients experience. Knowing what our clients might be feeling is a powerful tool to help understand where they are and how to move them forward.

Next time you are working with a client take a step back and really look at what you are asking them to change. Remember that change is hard, don’t expect them to tackle everything at once.