I’m In a Bad Mood….

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I’m in a bad mood…I haven’t posted an article or workout or even a recipe in three days and I’m feeling like I’m letting you down as well as being lazy. That I only average about five hours of sleep a night, train clients approximately forty hours a week, work out about eight to ten hours a week, spend about two to three hours a day researching material or making videos to populate the blog and the rest of my time trying to maintain a single parent household are all inconsequential, I still feel like I’m letting you down.

So, with that in mind, I’m writing tonight’s article. Some might call it a motivational article, while others might find it to be an accusatory observation. Regardless, I guess it’s my turn to rant, after all, it’s my blog, right?

Recently, I had a client (who subsequently is no longer with me) who after a month of training, showed up one morning and indignantly confronted me with, ” It’s been a month and I haven’t lost a single pound! What are you going to do about it!?”

Now normally, I’m a pretty laid back kind of guy. But every now and then, someone will use just the RIGHT combinations of words to activate the reptilian part of my brain which has an uncanny way of bypassing the “polite” filter and go straight into Jack Nicholson “The truth? You want the TRUTH? You can’t HANDLE the truth!” mode.

I began by pointing out that maybe canceling five out of the twelve sessions that we were supposed to have completed might have something to do with it. I also threw in that of the remaining seven sessions, that they were late for five of them. Twice, they had to leave early, and then just for giggles I added how they made a regular habit of breaking their fast on… Wait for it… McDonald’s hash browns and some funky orange drink that they have there! The response to this was, “You don’t understand, I have a lot of things to do! I work, I have to go to the grocery store, I have to pick up my child from school… blah, blah, blah…”  They lost me at, “You don’t understand…” because actually, I do!  I have to do all that sh*t too, plus MAKE time to work out!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying I’m any better than anyone else, far from it… BUT, I realize that the responsibility to adhere to a healthy lifestyle rests on me.  No one else can make that decision for me.  I can get assistance, information, guidance, whatever… but if I don’t CHOOSE to follow along, I’m out of luck.
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I know some of you are thinking that I’m making this up, and I wish I was, but its the honest truth with no embellishments. The really sad part of this is that this client had been given all the resources and attention that I afford everyone that decides to train with me. That means that I take time to explain what they can expect from me and what I expect from them. It means that I’ve asked them to document a food diary so that we can figure out how best to manipulate their diet in a way that they can still enjoy food, while making choices that will help them achieve their health goals.

It means that I’m there, waiting for them at the specified time and prepared to give them a safe and productive workout and not just be a “counter”. It means that I’m going to continually try to challenge them so that they are always progressing towards whatever goals they have employed me to help them attain.

The way that I look at it, this is a partnership between a trainer and a client who both are working towards the same end. So, you can only imagine my frustration and disbelief when you rewind to, “what are YOU going to do about it!?”

Here’s the deal. Even if I was the most Uber trainer on the planet, it makes no difference unless you’re willing to accept your share of the responsibility for your health and well being. You can’t expect to cut corners, cheat on your diet, disregard instructions and show up when you feel like it.

What I ended up telling this client was this. “If this was a job, and I was your employer, I’d fire you. If you we’re late more often than not, called in sick or busy thirty percent of the time, I’d fire you. If you didn’t perform your job as it was outlined at the beginning of your employment, I’d fire you. If after calling all this to your attention at your “performance review”, you failed to make any adjustments, I’d fire you.

I guess you can probably figure out how this played itself out…

Ok, that’s out of my system now. Sorry, I didn’t mean to complain. I know how blessed I am that I can make living doing something I love AND go to work in a tee shirt and shorts. At the same time though, your health is ultimately YOUR responsibility. I think it’s fantastic that some of you would want to utilize a personal trainer to make your journey more effective and structured, but in the end, they are only facilitators. You are in charge of your time, your mouth, and your commitment. Like Spider-Man’s Uncle told him, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” And we all know how THAT turned out, right?

Stay Fit Forever
Tony

 

Fit Forever Editorial – Where Do You Want To Sit?

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Hey everybody,

I was sitting in church this morning listening to what turned out to be one of the more awesome messages from Jeff Harris, the Senior Pastor at Grace Point Church.  While I try to keep my religious and political beliefs out of my posts, I do want to thank God for leading me to Grace Point and the wonderful community that it is.

That being said, Jeff illustrated a point by using a metaphor that was SO good, I am going to borrow it for the purposes of our own health.  It deals with OWNERSHIP and CHOICE.

There are basically three chairs that people sit in when it comes to their personal health and fitness.  I’m not just talking about the aesthetics of it either.  I mean the whole ball of wax as it encompasses our lives and those lives around us.

Let’s look at the First Chair:

nicearmchair

The fancy, comfortable, first chair is where most of us would prefer sitting.  This is the chair where everything is going right.  We are highly aware of our physical, mental, and emotional health and well being and we are doing all the right things to keep them all operating at their peak levels.  That means we are doing the following things:

Exercising regularly and consistently.

Eating healthy foods in the proper amounts and avoiding foods or habits that can hurt us.

Taking time out for healthy, fun activities so that we can enjoy ourselves and the people around us as well.  Basically, balancing our work/play time.

Communicating openly and honestly with others, in constructive ways so that we don’t expend valuable time and energy stressing out about what the important people in our lives are thinking or feeling and doing them the same service.

Getting adequate rest and recuperation so that we can keep this cycle going.

Now in all honesty, I really don’t know many people who are sitting in that chair, present company included.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for it though!  Sure, we’re all going to stumble, but how often and how badly we do is completely up to us.

OK, now let’s look at the Middle Chair.

regularchair

This is probably the most occupied chair in the house.  This chair is the one that you sit in when you:

Exercise sporadically or without any real intent.  It’s easy to skip workouts or find excuses to do something else that feels “better” when it comes along.

Knowing the difference between healthy and bad food choices and more often than not settling on a “quicker” or “more convenient” choice rather than the one that would do you the most good. Partying a little too often and a little too hard, or even “medicinally” using alcohol or prescription drugs to reduce stress and anxiety without a doctors knowledge.

Spending too much time either working, internet surfing, texting, or game thrashing on your iPad rather than seeking out activities that challenge you physically, mentally and that allow you to interact with your family and friends.

Keeping the things that are concerning to you about your boyfriend/girlfriend, wife/husband, son/daughter, father/mother, friend/coworker… you fill in the blank…buzzing around inside your head, rather than finding the courage to bring it out and talk about it.

Knowing when it’s time to put down the book, remote, keyboard, phone, camera so that you can crawl into bed and get the rest you need to stay productive and healthy (this one is me, BIG TIME…)

The sad part about sitting in this chair is that it’s not one that is blessed with ignorance.  The people that slap their fanny down in this chair are making very real CHOICES about their actions because they are usually blessed with either the availability of the knowledge or how to find out if they don’t!

Then there’s the Little Old Chair.

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This is a smaller but growing population of people who don’t have a clue about being healthy.  They’ve never been active. Nutrition is a foreign language.  “Why cook when you can get it out of a machine or in a bag, right?” or, “Exercise? Why should I exercise, I feel fine!”

Unfortunately, as this population gets older and even more sedentary, the load they place on themselves, their families, and the healthcare system is mind boggling.  By the time it might get pointed out to them, in most cases irreversible damage has already been done.

There.  I got my feelings out and that’s one step towards meeting my goals to creating a healthier, happier me.  What chair do you see yourself sitting in, and are you happy with where you’re at?  Personally, I’d like to be sitting in a circle of the biggest, softest, and most comfortable chairs surrounded by all of you…

…and in MY circle we’d be watching a Quentin Tarantino movie….. !!

Stay Fit Forever!

Tony

 

 

 

Shut up and Squat!!

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“SHUT UP AND SQUAT!!”

As a trainer, you have no idea how many times I have wanted to say that to somebody.

It seems like there are so many excuses people use to justify why they shouldn’t squat. “It hurts my back!” or, “It hurts my knees!”, or the ever famous, “My doctor told me that squatting is dangerous!”.

Really??! Has your doctor ever seen one of these?

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The other thing I get a lot, especially from women is, “I don’t want my butt to get too big!” Tell me, do their butts look too big to you? Didn’t think so…

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The truth is, the squat is an essential functional exercise that everybody needs to learn how to execute correctly.  I don’t mean that you need to get out there and use a ton of weight, or put yourself in a dangerous position, but squatting, when done correctly forces you to learn how to use your hip extensors, your gluteals, your quadriceps and your core all at the same time!  What a great movement! One that you will use throughout your day, every day, for the rest of your life.

Whether it’s sitting down on the toilet, getting up from your favorite easy chair, reaching down to pick up your child or better yet, your grandchild, squats are what you’ll be doing. So you’d better learn to do them right!

My suggestion to you is to try and find a way to incorporate these into your workouts. Over the long run, you will notice more strength and more flexibility.  In general, they will make every day tasks much easier to perform.

So now, shut up and squat!!

Fit Forever,

Tony

Weekend Wrap Up – #1


Wow, it’s hard to believe that the week is already over! Honestly though, I had no idea doing a blog was going to be so time intensive!

It’s been fun putting the posts, articles and videos together and I’m looking forward to giving you even better stuff as time goes by.

Have a great weekend and hopefully you’ll be back on Monday!

Fit Forever,

Tony

Motivation and Focus – What’s the difference and why should you care?

weight-loss-motivation

Mo.ti.va.tion

Noun

1. The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
2. The general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

As a trainer, this is one of the key elements that has to be figured out when I start with a new client. Everybody that walks into a gym usually has a specific “want” or “need” for being there.

I know from experience that the most common form of motivation is self image/vanity. Most people just want to look better and there’s nothing wrong with that as long as it doesn’t become an unhealthy obsession like narcissism or unhealthy diet practices.

Another common motivation is performance enhancement. Functionally, it’s a good thing to want to be fit. Every physical task we complete throughout the day requires some degree of strength, balance, flexibility and coordination. The more abundant these attributes are, the easier and more enjoyable those tasks are.

Stress relief is a big one too. This is one that I personally identify with. In our tech driven society, we’ve gotten so used to having the power of information gathering, shopping, communication and social interaction literally right in the palm of our hands that we sometimes fail to see how it is turning us into prematurely sedentary creatures. We used to have to drive to the store, find a parking space, spend time looking up and down aisles and carry bags. Now we point and click and viola!… Two days later I can open my front door and there’s my new pair of shoes, a blender, and some DVD’s so I can lounge on the couch and watch movies.

Sorry, I digress…

Motivation. This is what drives us to accomplish the goals that we set out for ourselves. Sure, you’re thinking, “I get that. I work out because (fill in your blank…)” Here’s the thing though, motivation without focus has a way of losing it’s “Mojo”. An example of this is when a client tells me, “I want to lose 20lbs so that I will look okay going out onto the beach in my swimsuit.”

OK, the motivation is clear, right?

A week later, we weigh and come to find out that their weight hasn’t changed. Do you think that they still want to lose the weight? You betcha! Probably more so than the week before because they’re running out of time! This is where FOCUS comes into play.

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You see, motivation is great for creating a mental picture of a state
that you want to be in. You can visualize it, covet it, daydream about it,
whatever… But if you don’t FOCUS on it, and more importantly, what you have
to DO to achieve it, chances are that you’re not going to get there.

So, what’s the difference between motivation and focus? Look at it this way,
motivation is like deciding that you want to go on a wonderful vacation to the Bahamas. Focus
is all the details. Figuring out what dates you’ll be going and coming back.
It’s researching the best airfare and then purchasing the tickets. It’s
deciding which hotel you’ll be staying at and making reservations. It’s
figuring out what you’re gonna pack, right down to your toiletries. It’s
rearranging your work schedule to accomodate for the time you’ll be gone.
Basically, it’s the work and planning involved to make your motivation a
reality.

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Saying that you want to lose 20lbs, or be able to do 10 pullups, or run a half marathon is all fine and dandy, but what are you prepared to do to get there?

So, just like you probably wouldn’t go on vacation without packing some clean underwear, you probably shouldn’t embark on your journey to fitness, health and well being without taking the time to figure out how best to utilize your time and resources. I’ve been working out for over 30 years, and as much as I like the way that it makes me look and feel, I certainly don’t want to spend one more minute than I have to in the gym to maintain it.

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So what I’m telling you is to choose your motivation, and then get hell
bent on figuring out how you’re going to get there. Decide if the decisions
that you make in the gym, in the kitchen, in the restaurant, etc… are taking
you closer or farther away from your “destination”.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to pack some clean underwear…

Stay Fit Forever,

Tony