Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Foolproof Tips To Avoid Sabotage...Mistakes To Avoid To Increase Your Fitness Gains

Whether you are a seasoned fitness enthusiast or a rookie chances are you have made mistakes and sabotaged your fitness progress at times. Mistakes definitely hold you back. Not knowing what those mistakes are can keep you frustrated and put you out of the game (many people quit because of this). There are things we know, things we don't know, and thing we don't even know we don't know (this is where we can help)...some of that ends now.

I am willing to bet that most of these mistakes are the fault of traditional gyms, over-hyped exercise communities (mainly blogs and forums), and even some popular fitness programs (think DVD's and many of the fads out there). Many of these are saturated with well-intended advice (still may have some benefit) that is often rooted more in bro-science than real-world up-to-date research.

Eliminate the following mistakes from your fitness training program to maximize your gains and stay in tip-top shape:

Mistake #1: You have a routine.

Girl pushup w arrow

The exciting and rapid gains you enjoy at the beginning of a training program will eventually taper/diminish if you keep doing the same workouts all the time. Your body can adapt to exercise stress pretty quickly and many of your gains can taper off after 4-6 weeks. Your job (and the goal of any good fitness plan) is to make sure that muscle growth (adaptation) never stops. Keep in mind an integrated approach is most often times the best approach for overall fitness.

Fixing it: Trust in tweaking.


If you are a rookie, mix things up every 4-8 weeks. If you're a savvy veteran, you will need to do so even sooner. Changes can be minor to stimulate new growth such as changing your pace or your grip, adjusting your foot positioning, or cutting rest periods (increases intensity and density) between sequences. It is also a smart idea to integrate totally new workouts or even programs into your plan.


Mistake #2: You forget to train your backside
(posterior chain).

In pursuit of ROCK HARD muscle, many people focus only on those muscles they can see in the mirror; pecs, shoulders, arms, and abs (anterior chain). HUGE PROBLEM! Without balance on all sides of your body you are prone to a hunched posture, hip problems, muscle imbalances, certainly an increased risk of injury, as well as ongoing pain.

Most people are already anterior dominant. This means they more frequently use the muscles on the front of their bodies (think pushing moves in many cases). Such one-dimensional training often worsens existing postural problems and can create performance issues.

Fixing it: Train away from the mirror.

Avoid a mirror to gauge your progress. Focus on the muscles you cannot see. To balance your upper body, perform two pulling exercises (pullup, row) for every pushing exercise (shoulder press or pushup). To balance your lower body, perform two sets of hamstring-dominant exercises (deadlift or leg curl) for every set of a quad-dominant exercise (squat or lunge). Once you work your imbalances out you can switch back to a 1-1 ratio.  

Mistake #3: You fail to find your sweet spot.


You can train too hard or not hard enough. Less is often more when it comes to building lean muscle (the presence of muscle is the absence of fat). You need some real experience to know how to safely push your limits. Very few people learn to optimize their sweet spot (training stimulus). Do you think you are being effective and efficient?

Yes, you need to challenge your muscles to make them grow stronger (big doesn't always correlate to strong), but you never want to push them to the point where you inhibit their ability to repair themselves. When it comes to muscle, repair equals growth.

On the other hand, if you don't push your muscles hard enough, you fail to trigger growth at all. See the quagmire? Your goal is to find that sweet spot, to hit the intensity where you maximize results without compromising recovery. You should seek a fitness pro for help here if you want to save yourself time and much frustration. You can start by always listening to your body.
 

Fixing it: Track your work.


With weights, cut it 2-3 reps short of in your last set of an exercise (if you are doing a set number of reps...again this is where a fitness pro can help). Those reps provide very little additional growth stimulus, and might actually slow muscle growth by extending the time needed for recovery. That said, you shouldn't have more than two reps left in you, as that's a sign you need to push harder

If you're doing metabolic training (intervals, complexes, supersets, or circuits), use a heart rate monitor to fine-tune effort and rest. One way to determine your theoretical max HR is by taking 220-age. You gauge your work and rest at a percentage of that number.

During work periods, build up your intensity to 75 to 90 percent of your max. During rest periods, let it fall to 65 percent of your max HR before beginning your next round...

Mistake #4: You don't dial in your nutrition (we avoid the word diet).

You cannot out-train a poor nutrition plan. Your eating habits need to be in line with your fitness goals to be able to see real progress. Eat to support your active lifestyle. Most people miss their sweet spot here too. They eat too much food or not enough and many also fail to really understand how to adjust their macronutrients (carbs, fat, protein).

Many active people eat too many simple carbs and fall short on fat and protein. A simple switch here can work wonders...

Fixing it: Compromises in the kitchen.


Simple upgrades you can start doing now...
  • Limit sugar (from natural sources) to 10% of your caloric intake. On a 2000 calorie diet that is 50 grams of sugar.
  • Eat at least two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables a day.
  • Make sure every meal contains a balance of protein, fat, and fiber (think color, balance and variety).
  • Increasing your protein intake is particularly important.*
Neglecting these suggestions may yield poor blood sugar control, higher insulin levels, increased fat storage, and decreased fat burning... 

Keep in mind a focused fitness studio or fitness pro can help you pinpoint your mistakes and improve your fitness experiences... 


*In a study by the U.S. Military Nutrition Division, people who ate twice the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein-1.6 grams instead of .8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight- preserved more muscle as they lost weight than those who stuck to the RDA. If you weigh 150 pounds, your daily protein quota is 109 grams.

Action Cures Fear...The Hurt Is Worth It

We all deal with fear in our lives. As I have stated before, with change comes challenge, and ever so often fear comes with it. The real challenge though is how we direct this "fear" into something positive; something to get hungry about, something to hope about, better yet, something to work towards (with true effort).

We talked before about building belief with effort. The quick message today is about curing fear with action (they are similar). Action cures fear through exposure therapy (confronting your fears over and over again). You earn your newfound confidence through the constant reinforcement of positive, life-changing actions. Remember the goal setting process? Read more on goal setting.

The work will ALWAYS teach you just how to do it. We say ready, fire, aim. In other words, start somewhere and start today tackling your fears. Channel those fears through work and true effort. The other side awaits you.

Remember this always...

There is no short cut to being fit. Fitness can neither be achieved by wishful thinking nor outright purchase (Joseph Pilates).

When you put the true effort in...

your beliefs change,

your fear dissipates,

your confidence grows;

and so does your hope for a better tomorrow.

The hurt is worth it. Trust me.

Are you hungry for change?

You have to get hungry.

We ALL have to take the jump.

Take the jump.

Long Thoughts...Short Workouts

It will hurt. 
It takes time. 
It requires dedication. 
Willpower is a must. 
Fall down and get up. 
It requires sacrifice beyond measure.  
You will need to push your body to the max.
There will be temptations.
Make healthy decisions.
Stay the course.
Be coachable.
I promise you when you reach your goals...the hurt is worth it...

Build Belief With Effort...

Effort is something that often gets overlooked. Many people slip into the false truth of instant gratification (largely socially driven) and expect certain outcomes without TRUE effort. Nobody is immune to this, but it takes a mental reset to understand the power of EFFORT.

The kind of effort I am talking about here is the kind you bleed...

Effort builds belief in the very activities you spend your time in. Effort dictates longevity and long-term success. Put the time in with a true "why" and you will without a doubt become a stronger (and better) person.

Sure you can half-ass it in anything you do, but you CANNOT FAKE FIT. Half ass results come from half-ass efforts EVERY DAMN TIME.

The only variable here is your decision to commit to the process. 

Wherever you are COMMIT TO FIT.

No drama.

No excuses.

No victims.

Just EFFORT.

Earn it.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Grit Before Gold...

Fitness as an industry is a very physical force and I spend much of my time in the physical...it is the nature of a fitness pro (we use the word fitness pro now).

I like to write often as well...it helps balance you out plus it is healthy to get your thoughts down in writing and out there for people to see. It helps define who you are and what you represent. Words have meaning yah?

I like to think, act, and write about having good balance; the goal of a well-lived life. Too many times I see people borrowing from the future to chase the past (I have been guilty of this). I see it in how some people eat (exp. abusing caffeine) but also how they train (exp. without a focus).

You gotta balance it all out...the physical, the mental, the social, the occupational, the spiritual, the emotional, the environmental (take care of your backyard).

You win by mastering all of these areas in your life and then paying it forward.

How can you win when you are not right within?

Here are 3 things to think about as we move into the fall season:

It is never hocus pocus...


It is all about the focus. Goals are actions that lead to results (weight loss is a result/outcome by the way). Results come from commitment to an action; the greater the focus, the commitment, the greater the result/outcome.

Net gain positive...

It is important to consider looking at daily actions from a net gain positive perspective. Sure you will have some ups and downs, but such is the journey of life. It may be best to scale your actions and efforts as progress rather than an end of the tunnel experience; treat life as a journey never a destination. Thrive with an attitude of gratitude and chalk up your daily positive actions as wins (this fuels you through your growth).

Lean physical...

Fitness is a great catalyst if you want to make rapid change in your life. Any fitness pro can help you handle the physical. This will spark a fire in you to go after that optimal balance that we all seek in our lives. Therefore, fitness really is an important part of our life, a destiny driving activity I would say.

Remember this...

Avoid borrowing from the future too much and leave the past where it belongs...

It is always gonna be work before play...

Actions before outcomes...

Grit before gold...

Success And Failure Are In Your Mind...Understand Fear To Make Success Happen

The obstacles holding you back are in your mind. Great people share the attribute of learning how to fail. Success is learning how to fail; learning how to rise to the top in spite of potential obstacles. The average person seems to think successful people get to the top because of "luck." Luck is when preparation collides with opportunity (you probably heard that before I hope LOL). Successful people use failure as a stepping stone (motivator) to a bigger achievement. In other words, they embrace failure rather than letting fear stifle them.

With that being said, failure is never a goal. Although you need failure, never welcome it or seek it. Successful people still hate to fail. Learn to lessen the impact rather than dread the consequences. It is a maturing process brought on by what is known as exposure therapy; exposing yourself to your fears until you dissipate them. You become better by directly tackling your fears.

You need an approach that allows you to power through any BS that gets in your way. Navigate through failure (without fear) and directly into goals.

More on fear...

Fear is a physiological reaction that slows perceived risky behavior. Whether it is joining boot camp, changing your diet, or giving yourself a mental overhaul your brain reacts the same. Fear is also a learned behavior which means mild fear-inducing situations can trigger past moments of more fearful situations. When a challenge (or problem) arises our brain can easily prevent us from taking risks, halting opportunities to put ourselves in successful situations. We essentially sabotage our success do to the mismanagement of fear. This is a survival instinct none-the-less. You are half hard wired to think you have something to lose if you take a chance. If you fail you assume the worst.

Fear holds us back because we value the worst possible outcome over potential gains. In other words, avoiding failure weighs heavier than tasting success. Switching this fear response requires you to process information differently so fearful situations can be viewed as opportunities rather than risks. By perceiving decisions as chances for success, the right side of your brain is activated in ways that mimic euphoria. So instead of running from opportunity, you move towards it.

The worst possible outcome? You fail and no one notices. Sounds pretty good huh? These days nobody has the time to check up on you. Sorry to burst your bubble. People think less about you than you think they do.  Nobody wants to dwell on your mishaps, the failure of your own expectations. Heck, no one wants to dwell on failures period. Use this concept to empower you!

Ask yourself these questions:

Can you live with yourself knowing that you have failed?

If not, is it better to live with failure after attempting to taste success?

Or, is it better not trying at all and living with less than you want?

Is the juice worth the squeeze?

List all the upsides and drawbacks to decisions you make. If those decisions lead to a balanced life I'll bet the pros outweigh the cons.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Produce More With Less...

Simplify your path to success. Release the stuff that is holding you back. It is a new era of less is more in all areas of life...

It may be time to cut and run. Start clearing some clutter. Eliminate the influx of stuff in your life. We are happier people when we have less baggage (any type), less junk, less clutter, less flab hanging off our bodies, and yes even less workouts (well shorter ones). Less seems to fulfill us more. The stuff we carry often just becomes a burden rather than a true pleasure. It is said what you own can own you. Never let it.  

Want proof? 

Look at your belly. Does it display the residual of all the holiday parties still from last holiday season (that was months ago), even after you jumped out of the gate (again) this last year? 

How does that make you feel? Are you sluggish? Are you the hare? We all carry the itch to make positive change in our lives. Scratch the itch. Relieve yourself.

What about that closet full of clothes you won't wear, some pieces you probably shouldn't? What about your daily life? Do you have sloppy work habits that suck your time away? Do you have relationships that appear to be stagnant? What about burdens you take on that seem sensible and well intentioned at the time? You know those ones that eat up your psyche. 

You feel me yah? You know...stuff.

Redefining yourself can often be a daunting process. We all wanna help people deep down. It is often hard to help the needy if you are one of them (one of the wisest sayings I have ever heard). You must master the mental game to redefine yourself and move toward a more balanced life.  

The challenge to gain the mental edge can be as elusive as executing many of those resolutions you set last January. Remember those? The fitness industry is challenged heavily with providing more mental support and coaching in an effort to complement your commitment to training and nutrition 

(I try to avoid the word diet, it emphasizes fad or trend or a temporary interest).  

Great advice must be coupled with real support to help people make life-long transitions. You can rewrite your life, I assure you. Find the right support.

If you truly want to take your game to the next level fix the flaws in the flow of your values...

Another piece of good advice...
 
If you do this LOL, skip driving your $60,000 car to the drive thru to get a $1 crapburger only to set you up for a $250,000 (maybe more) heart attack later in life. You feel me?

Never give up on your body. Be disciplined. Never cheat the system looking for a quick fix (we call this borrowing from the future).

Yes there can be quick results from quick starts and proper focus with the right support :)

Finish something this year.

Clean the slate in your head, around your office, around your home, and even in your workouts. You will lift a huge load off of your head and your heart. Get out of your own way. Start or reset today.  

Fitness is your foundation to a balanced life.

Remember, less is more even with those grueling sweat sessions...

Thursday, November 3, 2016

You Are The Warrior, Never The Worrier...



Many of us are up in arms about the American Dream as we know it (or the American frustration). I challenge you to fear nothing, especially now. Fear has an amazing effect on our decision making. Fear can paralyze us.

Speak from courage. Courage is the ability to overcome fear. One should never avoid fear but face it head on. I challenge you to push through the tough times with health and wellness being your top priority. You will never be able to truly help the needy if you are one of them. 

Your conviction and optimism direct your decision making and you strike fear down. Having a warrior work ethic, you battle daily through seemingly difficult issues that upon hindsight are laughable. You are ethical and treat others will respect. You have fun and enjoy the process. You are accountable to yourself and to others. You define what it means to live well and with a purpose.

You are the warrior, never the worrier…