Goal setting 101

GoalSetting101

A recent study stated that 73% of gym joiners in January have a weight loss goal and over a 365 day period only 14% of those will succeed. Let’s talk about how to up the success rate. Without a doubt, setting the right goal is the most important part of your fitness journey. Read any piece about success; what it takes to get there, who did what & how. All will come back to some version of, “Start with the end in mind.” This makes overcoming obstacles along the way easier especially the more desirable the end result is.

Change is difficult. Very difficult. People make the decision to change when their current situation is more uncomfortable than their perception of the change. Since 2001 as a Fitness Professional, when I ask people any variation of, “What are your goals?” or “What are you training for?” The standard reply is…”Lose weight & tone up.” (LW&TU). If this is your goal I have one request; DO NOT join a gym. Let me explain why. Someone with a LW&TU goal wants their life to change, but they haven’t yet decided to change their life. If that last sentence didn’t click, read it again. I’ll wait.

So let’s look at something most can relate to; Consider two people who want financial success. One wants to, “Be rich”. The other wants a successful career in Law. The first commits to buying at least one lottery ticket every week and checking in on the numbers. The latter knows he is not where he wants to be and sets forth on a journey to find the missing links. He will meet new people, see and experience things he never imagined. He may also make missteps along the way but hopefully knows that is not just the cost of taking steps but a lesson in and of itself. The former will become entrenched in a community of shortsightedness and selfishness. Each ticket they buy moves them further into a position of entitled victimization that becomes harder and harder to return from.

It doesn’t mean they can’t be coaxed.

The fact is many will bring me the LW&TU goal over the next few weeks. To which I will reply, “Why?” This usually spirals into a cycle of generic answers vs. quick Why replies… like, “Because my doctor told me I have to lose weight” Or “So I can run a 5K.” Or “Because I want a six pack like (favorite celeb).” or any of the defensive BS that people put up, until I hear a little bit of truth. Something like, “Because I want to feel better!”

JACKPOT!!! Understand that this isn’t the total answer that I’m looking for. But it is the crack in the built up wall that can lead us to the truth. As soon as I hear anything along these lines, The tempo of the conversation changes. Instead of the sharp Why!?! replies, I let their statement sink in. I’ll then ask, “Can you tell me more about that?” “When is the last time you felt really good?” Or one of my favorites, “Paint me the picture of you feeling GREAT.” This is where they tell me about time playing with kids, activities with friends and experiencing LIFE! The life they want back! NOW, we can come back to their current positions and start building daily tasks to get from here to there. Now we build their plan.

This is where it gets really interesting. This is where they come back to me with “next level” goals. I’ve had people bring me, ‘Climb Kilimanjaro’,’Be a competitive Fencer’ or my personal favorite; ‘compete and place in Ballroom Dancing competitions’. This was a woman who had never taken an athletic venture in her life. 5 months after joining the gym she placed 2nd in her category. How many times in those 5 months did she step on a scale? 0. She felt better, she looked better, she had more confidence; so who gives a shit what the scale says. By the way, when she finally did step on a scale, the BMI charts scored her as over weight. But the beautiful part was she no longer cared. She was too busy becoming what she wanted to be. I should also note that her Doctor was amazed at the up turn in all her health markers.

Now, to come back to your goal for this year; close your eyes, picture 10, 20 or 30 years from now. Who do you want to be? Get that crystal clear picture. Then start your plan.

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Is Less Really More?

Glass

I keep hearing, “Less is more” and WANT to agree with this statement but kept feeling like there’s more to it (ironic, I know). Left to just, “Less is more” most would have more questions. I know I did.

So today I was reading an article on “11 Simple Concepts to Become a Better Leader” and saw the epiphany inducing quote by Milton Glasser… “Less isn’t more, just enough is more.” The concept of less being more allows people to continue to believe that starving themselves is making them healthier or that they need to give up a happy life for a healthy one; when any sane healthy person knows that getting more out of life is THE driving force behind health and fitness.

So I wanted to come up with a concept that would help people make better decisions as they look to get healthier. And I had this idea in my head that makes SO MUCH SENSE… to me. But, as I’ve passed the advise on it’s taken as a clichéd note. So I wanted to define it as clearly as I can, word by word:

Living Lean Helps You Live Lean.

Living – Life. The day to day. Day in and day out of the same thing. This patterned monotony often drives us to “retail therapy”. A quick fix to make us feel like we’ve accomplished something. What we are really doing is just filling a void. A void that is rooted in depravity and truly healed setting a goal that you are committed to. Something that, maybe scares you a bit but also stirs a passion in you.

Lean – Minimalism. You don’t go without, you hack away the unessentials to life. You rid yourself of the deadweight in life that slows you down. You don’t hunger for consumptive possession. You look to create something; an experience of a homemade meal that the whole family is part of, a project that you and your daughter work on that becomes her first car, and the goal you set doesn’t take away from the important parts of your life (career, family, social, etc) but fits within them and possibly connects them even more.

Helps – Teaches. These choices put you in positions where you build experience. Where you learn exactly what you are truly capable of. You learn that when all else fails, you won’t.

You – This one should be the easiest, right? Maybe. You at your core. I heard John Wooden say that, “Your reputation is who you are perceived to be, your character is who you really are.” ‘You’ is your character.

Live – Thrive. This is not “maintaining life”. This is L-I-V-I-N, LIVIN’!!! When you go to work on Monday, the rest of the office can’t wait to ask you, “What did you do this weekend?” ‘cuz you’re the guy who always has the amazing answers.

Lean – Healthy. Mind, body and soul. We’ve all felt one or more of these parts of our life cluttered at one point or another. Lean is not cluttered. Lean is functioning at full capacity and loving every minute of it.

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Skip The Scale: Non-Traditional Ways To Measure Weight Loss

In an interview I did with about.com’s Mountain Biking expert Beth Puliti, we spoke about “non-traditional ways to measure weight loss”. I would have rather seen it titled, “Nontraditional way to measure increased health” but I understand which would get more clicks. Here is my contribution with a link to the full article at the bottom.

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Ride Your Bike & Set Goals
In addition, Brandon Mancine, certified personal trainer, nutritionist and owner of B-Fit Personal Training/Brandon Mancine Fitness in San Antonio, TX, has clients do the following:

1. Regularly take part in an active hobby that you enjoy. As you get in better shape, your physical abilities will increase. This means you can accomplish more. If you weekly take part in an active hobby (let’s say… ballroom dancing), you will be less likely to skip a workout because you are experiencing how it improves your life by allowing you to do more of what you enjoy.

2. Develop an empowering goal. It could be tied to that hobby (compete in a ballroom competition) or to deadlift your bodyweight, run a mile in a certain time. But have something that you will accomplish by a certain date and set a plan to get there.

Full article:  http://mountainbike.about.com/od/fitnesstrainingracing/fl/Skip-The-Scale-Non-Traditional-Ways-To-Measure-Weight-Loss.htm

Likes Become Things. Are You Stuck in a Social Media Victim Cycle?

Lately, I keep hearing people say they are quitting social media because there’s too much negativity on their feed. Hopefully you read that and thought the same thing I did: “You know you control what’s on your feed, right?” Now bear with me as I am not saying that everyone needs facebook, twitter and the like. It’s your world do as you wish, but it serves to at least ask the question; If you quit this medium all together with the aim of creating more positivity in your life, how are you going to make sure you don’t cultivate the same negativity in the rest of your life?

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It’s been said that the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. So if you find a constant chain of doom and gloom flooding your screen when you log on, why not try changing your feed? Why not set yourself up to be in a better mood? Scrub your friends list of the naysayers and Debbie Downers. Go through your ‘page like’ selections and purge the pages that don’t give you an instant “warm ‘n’ fuzzy” when you see them. Now you have created some space. Next, attract some good by liking some pages that promote education, growth and health (mental and physical). Look for community pages that share local events and take part. What I’m saying is use social media for what I believe is its intended purpose: To make your life better. In that name, there is a next step that is very important. Batch your time for e-mail, posting, sharing and scrolling. There is a big world out there and if you want as awesome an experience as possible, I suggest using social media platforms as resources. Set times during the day when you can log on. Other than that, be out and engage with the world!

I have had the good fortune to travel and live several different places and through it all I have met some amazing people. These sites have allowed me to keep in touch with them in a way that was not possible for previous generations. I also love what social media has done for information sharing but again, I am cognizant of what fills my feed. I do make an effort to read something opposed to my views once a month. I feel it’s a good practice for staying informed about what is out there without being over run.

If you’re considering wiping the slate clean of all platforms, I applaud the intent but ask you to consider changing the way you use them. Look to other avenues to actively bring more good into your world. (Check out Jonthan De La Garza’s Positive Pin) If you want your world to change, you have to be the one to change.

-B

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Fire All Your Clients

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Now Hiring: Partners
Throughout my fifteen years as a fitness professional, colleagues have complimented my work by commenting on the work ethic and results of my trainees. My trainees have complimented my work by keeping my book full and giving me the results that my colleagues notice. So how do I get the results? How do I keep a full book of high achieving, focused, and dedicated trainees?

I pre-qualify who I work with.

Let me be clear… I don’t care if it’s a Benz in the lot, I care if it was on time for our appointment (or fifteen minutes early); I don’t look for a Rolex, I listen for determination and a hunger to grow when goals are spoken; I’m seeking partners.

I’m not interested in taking any more clients… ever. Clients are consumers. They want to pay for my time, put their faith in me, and hope that I’ll change their life or, (it hurts to say this) some just look to talk about my services as a status symbol. I, like many other trainers, have been credited with changing many lives. Let’s be clear: neither I, nor any other trainer, is in the business or capable of changing anyone else’s life. I provide options and direction. I offer education and motivation. Clients set their goal and if they take what I offer, they will reach that goal. Many make progress, but when they leave their comfort zone, they quit. They choose to remain a client, consuming my time like a commodity, but never investing to change their self. I’ve had many trainees meet their goal and still remain a client. Once the goal is met, even before, I advise that we set the next goal to continue progress and continue their investment and truly make it a lifestyle. They meet the goal and want to ‘maintain.’ Maintenance is boring, so they wander, lose focus, and come back into me months or years later wanting to push the reset button on the goal we set way back when. They never invested in changing themselves. They PAID for my time and knowledge to meet a goal, but they didn’t INVEST in change.

Partners invest. They bring a goal, conviction to achieve that goal, and an understanding that the next goal will be waiting when we get there. Partners want to learn. They want to use me as a resource, but know that I’m not their guru. I’ll give them my professional opinion, provide them additional resources that I approve, and consult them on any outside opinions they bring to me. Additionally, I like to recommend that some of my trainees get a good PT certification. Some trainers worry that this will devalue their service – I offer them an exit to the profession. Like I said, I’m no one’s savior, but I’m not taking hostages here, either. I want my partners to have a better understanding of the knowledge behind the effort. My partners won’t always be training with me, but I will always be a resource for them. In turn they will be a resource for me – teaching me, enriching my professional and personal life, and filling my book with referrals.
That’s how I fill my book with driven, goal oriented, knowledgeable success stories. I seek driven, goal oriented people, cultivate knowledge, and we partner up on the story.

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-B

Willing to be the Weakest. A Guest Post.

The fitness industry is rife with “know it all” blogs that consistently bash and slander other programs. Constantly posting, “Top 5 Exercises to Avoid!” or “The Reason I Don’t Do (XXX) Program”. It is my opinion that this is one of the biggest challenges the industry faces. Anyone who has internet access and a phone can portray themselves as an expert and there are unfortunately hordes of people willing to jump on a bandwagon to hate anything.

And then there’s guys like Mike Gillette. Below is the most recent post from his page. I can’t think of a situation where a person shouldn’t read this.

Willing to be the Weakest

By Mike Gillette

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At two key points in my life I made an important decision. Both times it was the same decision. That decision was to be the weakest person at the gym.

The first time was in 1981. I had just turned 19 and had been living a life characterized by fear, negativity and weakness. In order to reverse course, I knew I would need to do, think and believe the opposite of what I had previously done, thought and believed. So I did.

Intuitively I must have understood that I would never be able to start thinking strong or acting strong unless I actually felt strong. And at 19, I “knew” that in order to get strong, you had to join a gym. So I joined. It was a confusing place, particularly for someone who didn’t know anything about training. There were gleaming chrome Universal and Nautilus machines and an assortment of dumbbells and barbells. It seemed like a lot of stuff to have to figure out.

But the bigger challenge was just walking into that place. A place where I didn’t feel as though I belonged. At that point in time I was as far away from being a physical person as anyone could be. Skinny, weak and I had only recently stopped poisoning my body with drugs and alcohol. I was the weakest person at the gym and I knew it. I assumed everybody else knew it too. It was a circumstance I very much wanted to change. So I did.

Within three year’s time, I went from being the weakest person in the gym to an Army paratrooper who achieved perfect scores on every one of his physical training tests, to aformer Army paratrooper with a broken back. Because of a climbing accident, I had actually managed to become physically weaker than I had been  when I began my strength journey in 1981.

But the one thing in my favor was that in those intervening years I had learned how to “think” strong and “act” strong. So I did. Sometimes.

After almost a year of getting comfortable with things like walking and standing, I started to think about what it might take to “feel” strong again. And just like before, I knew that I needed to join a gym. Between 1986 and 1988 I actually joined five or six different gyms. They were all short-term memberships. Because each time I would start working out, it would take only about a week or two for my back injuries to become so unbearable that I would have to stop. I would then spend several depressing months sitting around feeling weaker than before. But eventually I would gather myself up and join another gym. And the process would repeat itself.

It was in January of 1989 that I made the decision to be the weakest person in the gym for what would be the last time. I had gone almost a year without even trying to train. The endless disappointments had taken a toll and I didn’t want to go through that again. But, there I was, joining another gym. And just like the very first time, eight years earlier, I was skinny and weak. I was actually worse than weak, I felt fragile.

Happily, this story turns out well. But only because I’ve been willing to be the weakest person in the gym. Being weak in a gym full of strong people sucks. But it only sucks for a while. Because eventually you get strong too. And once you’re strong, you can share that strength with someone else. Maybe you’ll share your strength with the weakest person in the gym. I hope so.

Defining Moments

How did you read that title? Was it, ‘a moment that defines you’ or ‘taking the opportunity to define the moment’? I prefer the latter but I feel most would hear/feel the former. This question came into my head during a workout earlier this week.

I was set for 5 sets of 400×2 on deadlifts. I’ve been spending too much time in bad positions (driving, sitting at a desk and the like) and wasn’t feeling good in my warm ups so I asked a guy I know to watch my pull and give me pointers.

Me: “I’m not sure I’m keeping a good position. Can you watch and give me your feedback?”

His response: “There’s only 315 on the bar.” (Even thought I try to keep it in check, my ego kicked in here and I felt the need to defend my workout. It happens)

Me: “Yeah. I’m scheduled for 5 doubles of 400 today”

Him: “You can’t lift 400?”

About 2 weeks before I read a post from Brett Contreras. If you don’t follow him, you should. He spoke about how he was set to pull 500 lbs for the first time. He was very excited, did all his prep work the week before, slept, stretched and ate as he was supposed to, but on the day he was set to hit his deadlift PR, he hit a “different PR” as he referred to it. He walked away from the bar after his warm up because something felt off on his back. Choosing health over ego, knowing that 500 lbs will be there next week and there is no competition in training. I loved this and even replied with, “I hope I can show the same restraint when the time comes.”

Me: “Pretty sure I can but want to be safe about it. Do you have the time?”

He watched and gave me a “Looks fine.” wave off.

I’ve known this guy for a while and he has the reputation of being a dick. Mostly because plenty of people have stories of “defining moments” like this. I’ve even had conversations with people where it’s been said, “It’s a shame because he is a great trainer, he’s just a shitty person.”

But we all have moments where we lose focus. I know there are plenty of people out there that are more than justified to call me an a-hole. That is why I regularly practice revisiting my mission and purpose. So when the time comes I can put my ego aside and define the moment and not let it define me.

BTW, I hit 400×2 on all except my 3rd set where my grip gave out on the 2nd rep. I tried to hurry and didn’t set up well. I felt the pang of ego kick in as I wanted to add more to the bar and show what I could do, but I chose to follow the program I had set. All in all it was heavy and easy… the way strength training should be.

-B

5 Dirty Little Fitness Secrets

1.) Be as naked as possible as often as possible in the sun. Getting skin exposure to natural light helps with increased VitaminKBSPool D production (which is tied to a litany of health markers moving in the right direction) improved serotonin levels (helps increase your mood) and a recent study showed being in natural light for just an hour lowered the blood pressure in all 34 participants. So get outside and get some time by the pool, walking in the park or chilling on your back deck.

2.) Masticate more! (Chew your food) Proper digestion starts with fully chewing your food. If food is not properly ground down by the teeth then all following digestive steps will be less effective. This means that less micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals) get in to your system. Without these your body’s metabolism can’t fully function and that can not only stifle fat loss but cause weight gain. Luckily the chewing processes the most enjoyable part because you taste the food so most are happy to adhere to this. If someone is a habitually fast eater, I will have them chew each bite 30 times. This usually builds the habit in a week.

3.) Bend over, to the side, and really every direction. As our daily lives become more and more static in a seated forward hunched position, new medical conditions are appearing. Desk postureText neck” is the latest and is easily avoidable. If you work in a desk job find out what it takes to get a stand up desk. Worst case scenario is you need a doctor’s note. If you have a doctor that won’t write one you seriously need a new doctor. Next, set an alarm every 15 minutes. When it goes off, check your posture. Chances are you’re slouching. To correct it lift the crown of your head tall, reach your hands out to the sides palms up and pull your shoulders back and down away from your ears. While maintaining torso and shoulder position, bring your hands in to the keyboard. Now, every 3-4 alarms go for a 5 minute walk and stretch a bit. This can help, but you should allot time after every workout and in the evening to mobility work.

4.) Sleep around… 7-8 hours. So many people love to brag about how little sleep they need. And while there may be exceptions to the rule, chances are it’s not you. EVERYTHING functions better when you are fully rested. You think clearer and faster, you’ll be happier, hell you’ll even be stronger. Setting yourself up for quality sleep is key. No phones, tablets, computer or TV the last hour (or 2) before bed. The light wave coming off of these screens suppresses melatonin telling. This is your body responding the same way your ancestors did from the morning sunrise. “Time to get up and go to work” is not the message you want to be sending just before hitting the hay.

5.) But seriously… bang. As if you needed more reasons to have sex regularly, here’s a few:550px-Censored_rubber_stamp_svg lowers blood pressure, decreases pain sensitivity, has been shown to lower chances of heart attack and certain types of cancer. On top of all this it helps balance testosterone/estrogen levels in men and women which aides in improving sleep, handling stress and keeping a lower bodyfat percent. Yeah teamwork! You can even count it as a workout!

 

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Women and Weights.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with many amazing people as my time as a Fitness Pro. Both men and women. While every person is their own unique being, there are trends to be noted. Women being resistant to strength training is a common one. This story features two amazing women I had the pleasure of working with that are choosing to do amazing things.Enjoy.

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