Monday, January 7, 2019

Tips For The NOW Year 2019...

You survived the holidays I hope. It is the most stressful, I mean crazy, I mean wonderful time of the year. 

You know how it goes... 

Toys, I mean landmines are everywhere (good thing you work on your balance yah?). The In-laws that have decided to stay another 10 days because it will be so much fun having another 50 meals (that is 5 meals a day for you counters) together. Feast on!   

Holidays are winding down and new resolutions are building up (50% set them and about 10% achieve them). The new gym bag you got from your wife (it is a message don't kid yourself) is packed with new gear; fancy headphones and those new shoes you have been eyeballing (you are supposed to wear them). 

What about the fridge? Surely it is stocked with plenty of greens for those green smoothies. Do you have the ingredients for a deep cleanse? Chicken and broccoli for 60 days? Remember the apple cider vinegar? 

Despite good intentions, this is an all too familiar scene that I see EVERY DAMN YEAR. 

Crowded gyms in January.

Ghost towns by mid February.  

Did you know some statistics show that 80% of people that have traditional gym memberships on average go less than twice a month? Another study showed that 67% of gym members never go at all! Holy!  

RHF can help change that for you. Never be a bad statistic! 

Why does this happen to so many people?

Well, simply put many people set all-or-nothing resolutions that are unrealistic. You need to find something that sticks with your messy and unpredictable life. You need something that has a lasting effect, a lifestyle change. You know...something sticky.

The term worth considering is real life resolution. 

The idea is this...

Commit to doing the best you can, when you can, with whatever you have day in and day out. 

When it comes to fitness all you need is your body weight!

Also, consider working from a fitness first philosophy and try a do-it-now perspective (aka Spark Speed). 

You will benefit from these simple philosophies and it will make all the difference if you want to thrive through all of 2019. 

I'll save you some time and send you some real world strategies in the next email along with some expected benefits you can receive from putting fitness first. 

Tips For the NOW Year (2019)...

Franklin Covey reported that the #1 resolution in the U.S. in 2012 was to become more physically fit. It was up from #4 in 2002. Without seeing the data for 2018 I will bet that fitness hovers as a top priority for many...

Some crazy stats...50% of us set new year resolutions and only 8% actually achieve them! 

Here are 3 quick tips to help you unload in 2019:
  • Set proper goals. Set the end goal (desired outcome) and the process goals (weekly actions).
  • Find a burn buddy for heightened accountability and enhanced synergy.
  • Gear up. New gear can give you a mental boost (enclothed cognition).

Here are 3 more tips:
  • Move daily. Daily movement keeps your muscles from going to sleep (sedentary build up). Whether it be walking, dynamic stretching, or other light/low impact activities you can benefit from daily movement. A body in motion wants to stay in motion.
  • Lift heavy things 2-4 times a week to build and maintain strength. Heavy is subjective so seek help here. Hustle makes muscle.
  • Burst once in a while. In other words, jack your heart rate up (70% of max heart rate and above). Try metabolic training or metabolic conditioning (METCON) which is a staple method here at RHF. If you want to jog/run then you should learn proper running form and build up from there (never go right to sprinting).

This should be enough to get you started in the NOW YEAR.  

Wanna read more about goal setting?

Check out these 2 RHF Blog Links:

Our Focus...

Rock Hard Fitness specializes in 30 minute metabolic, high intensity, full-body workouts. These workouts (Burn30 Bootcamp) are designed to torch fat, maintain joint integrity, and are transferable to real life. They are fast, fun, and functional. We say burn, ouch, done. We also offer semi-personal training, fitness consultations, body analyses, and team sport training.

Our programming includes training, coaching, and accountability. Rocky Reeves, MS is the owner/operator of Rock Hard Fitness (RHF) in Anchorage, Alaska. Rocky has taught well over 15,000 boot camp classes in the last 13 plus years and his client list is in the thousands. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

7 Ways To Know If Your Fitness Plan Is Working...

The human body is complex.

Bodily changes occur often in subtle ways. Sometimes it is hard to notice especially if you are looking one-dimensionally at your fitness progress.

One thing is for sure though when we do train with focus we feel, function and perform differently, but we often struggle to pinpoint how this occurs.

Before real weight release occurs signs of improvement start showing up insistently.

From my point of view at RHF, being a skilled fitness pro & coach is kind of like being a skilled hunting guide. Being a fitness enthusiast trying to change his/her body can be like an explorer in a new land...

Small signs of progress lead to success.

You must learn ...
  • How to recognize them (if you can track it you can improve it)
  • How to track them for yourself (if you seek change)
  • How to celebrate them with your support team (you have one right?)
Here are 7 ways to know if your fitness plan is working, most of which are better indicators than your body weight:

1. You truly feel satisfied after workouts in both muscle and brain.  

 Having a sense of accomplishment is a huge mental boost especially if you can get through a grueling sweat session. Nothing of value comes without effort and effort and performance drive success. Hustle makes muscle. Making muscle feels good.

What progress looks like:

You show up to your scheduled sweat sessions. It is a breeze to schedule your workouts each week.

2. You have more energy.   

A great high intensity (HIT) workout can boost your energy for quite some time after your workout. What you give your workout gives you back at an increase if done properly (includes proper nutrition and rest).

What progress looks like:
No snooze button. You can even wake up before your alarm goes off. Your eyes are actually open and you feel happy. Five shots of espresso not needed or desired either.  

A good fitness plan gives you lasting energy; constant, steady, all-day energy rather than a brief buzz and a crash. If you get it right, you will start experiencing this over time. Maybe even before the scale needle starts to move.

3. You sleep sound and recover quick. 

Many people struggle with sound sleep. When you add the fitness element you have to add struggling with proper rest and recovery. Sometimes, people fail to see how tired and sleep-deprived they actually are (4-6 hours of fitful flailing each night is their normal and it has been for a while now).

What progress looks like:

Winding down an hour before bedtime is no problem. You follow your sleep ritual and conk out easy. In short, your body is no longer in an always-on-battle-stations-go state of chemical panic and metabolic noise.

Remember, if you want to change your body and improve your health, sleeping consistently well is a must!

4. Your clothes fit different.

You know those pants that you have been trying to get back into? Now is the time to pull them down from the top of the bedroom door and try them on. Remember, the pair that almost never fits unless you are massively dehydrated, wrapped fully in plastic, and holding your breath all at the same time? They most likely fit better than the suck-it-in-and-suffer approach you may have been using for the last several weeks (hopefully not years).

Heck, maybe you can pull out something else. How about that shirt or sweater that normally drapes over you like a shower curtain? See how that fits!

You may find that some of those clothes you wish to forget because with all that new muscle mass you can start to actually show off a little. Look good feel good yah? Psychologists call this enclothed cognition.

What progress looks like:

When we build lean mass, we can get heavier in some areas, but smaller overall. Muscle and bone are denser than body fat. So, it is not uncommon at all for you to put on some weight initially when you jump on a program that actually promotes muscle gain, increased bone density and fat loss all at the same time. RHF offers such programs.

Muscle and bone are significantly heavier than fat by volume (estimated at 20 and 30 percent respectively).  

What this also means is that your fitness plan (and nutrition) can help you look and function better without leading to much initial weight loss (proper goal setting is key here too).

Side note:

Bone is even denser than muscle and is composed of complex combinations of heavy minerals like calcium and phosphorus, that provide strength, flexibility, and skeletal/movement support. We put a lot of stress on bones. Bones also contain a significant amount of protein (mostly collagen-type).

On the other hand, fat tissue, is loosely composed of adipocytes, cells that contain light, fluffy lipid molecules (mainly triglycerides). Unlike bone and muscle mass, fat tissue provides seemingly unlimited storage all over the body, so it can continue to grow when we over-eat (among other factors).

Males may see:
  • Broader shoulders
  • Fuller chest
  • Muscular and functional glutes (hockey ass)
  • Waist shrinkage
Females may see:
  • Your scale weight goes up, but your clothing size goes down
  • Waist shrinkage
  • Definition in your arms and legs (if you are training legs LOL)
  • You ace your bone density scan

5. Your mood is stable and positive.
Is your secret nickname Bad Luck Billy or Sour Sally? Does it physically hurt you to smile? You may not be yourself when you skip your sweat sessions! You are depriving your body of endorphins, denying your muscles of much needed release from sedentary build up, as well as bypassing a strong sense of accomplishment! Remember, hustle makes muscle and muscle makes for a happy mood.

What progress looks like:
Improving our mental and emotional outlook with exercise can show up in many surprising ways. In part, these changes come from the experience and sense of accomplishment from changing habits, more specifically replacing bad habits with good habits (which usually takes about 2 months). When we try something and succeed, we get a little jolt of inspiration (internal motivation) that encourages us to keep going.

Here are some of the things RHF'ers have discovered after consistently improving their fitness (and nutrition habits):
"I feel...
  • "like I have greater confidence."
  • "that positive change is possible."
  • "More mindful about my choices."
  • "I have more applicable knowledge."
  • "I am clearer about my goals and know how to get there."
  • "like I walk with good posture."
  • "mentally on it, clear-headed and less cloudy."
  • "happier and positive."
  • "open to learning more"
  • "motivated and inspired"
6. You have greater strength and endurance.
When you first start your fitness overhaul, workouts might feel a bit off. 
You may feel weak, slow, and uncoordinated. You may be embarrassed to pick up light dumbbells. Surely you are sore...seemingly forever.

Then it occurs recover quicker. You are full of energy and clear headed. You stare down the heavier dumbbells like a snake on its prey.

What progress looks like:
  • Improved range of motion. A month ago, you failed at full squats - you could only do half squats. You can now grab your laundry with ease, get off the toilet quickly, and squat down to pick up a baby with no hesitation! Next month, you might take on some kid at basketball or field a ball at softball practice like Derek Jeter.
  • Muscle soreness is short-lived. We touched on this above, but not in detail. You recover quicker from the micro-damage (tiny tears) of intense workouts and new moves. The rebuilding and repair process is a good thing- it is how we get stronger and fitter. In the early stages it hurts from inflammation, stiffness and swelling from a fluid rush to heal damaged muscles. As progression occurs inflammation decreases and the repair process accelerates with the help of nutrition uptake
  • Total workout output improves. Simply put you can do more, more often. Maybe you can bike longer, swim farther, lift heavier weights longer. A proper fitness plan has improved both your energy and recovery.
  • Overall recovery is better. In conjunction with the proper nutrition plan you are pressure testing your body to get stronger and faster. Your cells are maximizing oxygen uptake, dumping metabolic waste, and communicating well.

7. Fitness feels more like a lifestyle than a fad.
"Fads" are a chore. They are another boring and complicated thing to add to the "to do" list that you cannot wait to get rid of (by the way you should actually schedule your priorities...get them off your "to do" list).  

Anything that seems temporary implies we can quit at some point right? When you quit guess what? You start back over again at ground zero! All those gains are gone and the compound effect evaporates. You are back to skipping workouts, eating too many processed foods which can lead to never-ending hunger, fitness frustration, and probably weight gain.  

I have said this so many times: "the best way to get into shape is to never get out."  

What progress looks like:
Progress here happens when you are just living in a nice, natural daily rhythm with no pressure (internal). You feel in the flow. Training and eating well stops being "a thing" and just starts being your daily life...a lifestyle
  • You naturally gravitate toward daily workouts. Scheduling daily workouts is a breeze and non-negotiable. 
  • You always have a plan. Whether it be prepping meals in advance, looking for challenges, or developing strategies for staying on track you have a plan, but are ready to bend when necessary all while continuing forward. No "all or nothing" and no absolutes.
  • You never "mess up" anymore. You still cheat with purpose, but you not only earn your cheat meals and time off from training, you require it. Cheating is not considered bad or guilt-inducing, but rather part of the process and the by-product of hard work and proper planning. Cheat then get back on the horse. No big deal.
This is a natural and normal consequence of training and eating in a sensible and sane way that supports your lifestyle. These are signs of progress, regardless of what the scale shows.

What to do next...some tips from RHF

Stop being a slave to the scale! Success is so much more than that! Chase the work!

Here are some ways to change:
  • Add, never subtract. If you are in a "diet mentality," each day feels like a new battle to avoid the "bad foods." Flip that thought. Never avoid junk food, prepackaged meals, or dessert. Focus on just adding so much healthy stuff like water, lean protein, fresh fruit and vegetables. If you eat more healthy food there will be less room and desire left over for junky, low-grade food. Always look for what you gain rather than what you lose. Focus on objectives such as: muscle, strength, confidence, energy, and sanity. Ask yourself: "what brings me to my objectives?"

  • Measure and celebrate your progress. Look for signs of progress everywhere. Every victory counts, no matter how small. Track all of them. How do your clothes fit? Did you measure your body? Have you done a body fat test? Celebrate them!

  • Small things matter. Make mini-goals (weekly) or nano-goals (daily), but make them action-oriented. Do whatever you need to do to stay on track and keep your spirits up. Each time you hit those goals, reward yourself in a healthy way.

Summary: 7 Ways To Know If Your Fitness Plan Is Working
  • You are satisfied after a workout.
  • You have more energy.
  • You sleep sound.
  • You clothes fit different.
  • You have a better mood.
  • Your strength and conditioning is improved.
  • Fitness is now a lifestyle not a chore (or fad).

If you like the material we have sent you we only ask that you forward it to your friends! Everyone can benefit from education. Many more will benefit even greater if they put education into action!