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You know those fitsperation pctures?
The ones filled with ripped sweaty peeps and something supposedly motivating written over the top.
Something like "If you're tired of starting again, stop quitting"
Yeah, those things.
I hate them.
I hate the message they present. That unless you've tortured yourself in the gym you're somehow a sub-human, lazy waste of oxygen.
People aren't lazy, they don't quit trying to get into shape because they're lazy.
I bet there are things that you've quit. I know I've been a quitter. Most of the time, the decision to quit comes through a lack of clear purpose. People change only when the pain of changing is greater than the pain of staying the same.
If we don't have a big, clear picture of the awesomeness we're chasing.
Or something terrifying that will happen if we don't change. We tend to stay in our happy little comfort zone.
That's homeostasis my friend and that's sciencey, which means it must be true.
For example, if you knew there was a million pounds waiting for you if you got ripped and shredded, there is no way anyone would be able to force a chip or an extra glass of wine through your face hole.
Or if death was a certainty if you didn't go and run at 5am everyday, you would never hit the snooze button.
We're not lazy, we just need a reason why we should act.
We need a "why".
If you're current goal is "to lose some weight" then chances are you're not gonna get too far. But you probably know this already. What we need to layer into the goal is some emotion.
Why the sweet f%ck is this important to you? How will it change your life for the better?
Earlier today I put a video of me on Facebook doing some fitnessy type talking. The big aim is to tell the world I exist. At the moment I'm pretty damn good at what I do, but not so hot at telling people that.
A few months ago I would have ran away from posting on Facebook. Looking daft on camera was too much for me.
But then I looked at why it was important.
Yeah there's the possibility of making more money at some unspecified time in the future. But that isn't inspiring enough for me....I would have still hidden.
When I dug deep I realised it was important for my daughter. How can I tell her in all seriousness that she can do whatever the hell she wants to in life when I'm too chicken to chase my own dreams?
Not disappointing that little bundle of craziness was far more important than avoiding looking a wee bit daft in front of people I don't know or my friends.
So how do you figure out what's important to you? Your true "why"?
You gotta dig deep, peel the layers of your psychological onion.
One way is the "5 Whys" exercise.
Take your goal and ask yourself "why is this important"?
When you have an answer, ask again "why is this important"?
Do this a total of 5 times.
If weight loss is your goal you may want to lose a stone.
So I fit better into my clothes?
So I look good and feel better about myself.
So the other half fancies me and I'm less grumpy.
Cos I reckon she's been knocking of the gardener and I want to save my marriage and have muscles to smash him in the face.
Well....something like that anyway.
I joke a bit, but this stuff is powerful if you take the time to try and figure yourself out.
If you're interested in this check out the TED talk below.
So you want to lose weight, ditch some aches, move better and generally make life more awesomer (I've decided that's a real word) and you're busy and pushed for time.
^^^Spooky huh? It's like I know you.
Here are some quick and dirty tips to ramp up your results without losing time.
1. First of all optimise your environment.
I don't mean cut your CO2 emissions and hug a tree. I mean make your ability to make healthier choices as easy as possible.
The biggest thing you can do is have your kitchen in order.
Their is an undisputable fact. If there is a foodstuff in your house that isn't good for your health you will sooner or later eat it.
Sure, you've got it in for "when you have guests" but lets face it, that packet of biscuits is more likely to get demolished on a Wednesday night watching Netflix. If it's not in the house, there's no temptation.
If you're serious about transforming how you look and feel, then get it out of the house.
Think you're wasting food?
Answer this, if a food stuff has no health or nutritional value and detracts from long term health, is it a waste or a benefit to not eat it?
Still feel guilty?
Then donate it to a food bank or homeless shelter.
2. On the flip side, you need to refill or make sure there are food choices in the kitchen that support your goals.
Meat, veggies and grains that can be easily cooked when needed.
Nuts and fruits for snacking on.
For a Brucie Bonus have a good recipe book and try one new thing a week. There is zero need for healthy foods to be bland foods....Androulla and I made a pile of scotch eggs the other day and they were awesome.
Would have made great snacks for a few days if I could have kept my hands of them.
3. Foam roller in the front room.
Just about everyone I train wants to move a little easier and better, myself included.
I try and stay on track with a foam roller by the side of the couch. It's short and stays out of sight. But means that if I need a quick roll out it's easy to grab.
Being by the couch means I notice it when I'm at a loose end. Instead of just lounging on the couch and messing myself up further I can have a two minute loosen up - then crash on the couch and mess myself up.
To be honest, it doesn't always work. I've sat on the couch with a sore knee before knowing a roll would greatly help. As I sat there I stared at the roller and thought "I really should use that" and continued to watch the gogglebox instead...no ones perfect.
4. Take some fish oil.
It takes 10 seconds to do and as a huge range of benefits from helping to lose fat, prevent chronic disease such as diabetes and cardiovacular disease, prevents pain and inflammation in joints.
It's a no brainer.
Just buy a quality product...rarely available on the high street. Ideally you want the fish oil sourced from smaller fish (lower down the food chain and therefore less chance of metals and pollutants) and been well produced.
My go to guys for a good product at a reasonable price are Aliment Nutrition.
One word of warning, fish oil should be avoided if you're on any kind of blood thinner medication (Warfarin etc), check with a pharmacist if you're on any medications to check there is no interference and you're good to go.
5. Have your gym kit easy to find.
It's great feeling motivated at the end of the day or week, promising that tomorrow is going to be when it all starts for you. Avoid letting any voices talk you out of it when the time comes by making your life as easy as possible.
Have a separate draw, hanger or pile for your gym clothes. So if you forget to put them out the night before you can find them easily in the morning, especially if you're trying not to wake partners and/or kids.
Don't stop here though.
Look at any aspect that has been holding you back, what can you do to make the obstacle that little easier to negotiate?
Book time for your workouts?
Make a little extra food in the evening to cover you for lunch the next day?
Change a route home to avoid walking past the shop you always buy snacks from?
Find the little things that will help you get the big wins.
I've started reading my favourite book again.
It's dog eared, got coffee stains from 10 years ago and writing that is absolute genius.
I'd seriously give your right hand to be able to write like that.
If you haven't read Catch-22 go to a book shop and buy it on your way home tonight.
It takes logic and wrings every last drop of nonsense out of it.
Even if you've never read it you'll probably know what a Catch-22 situation is.
When you can't do right for doing wrong, or more crudely, whatever you choose to do
The story is based around a US Bomber squadron in Europe in World War 2, filled with crew who
just want to stay alive and are going nuts in the process.
The actual Catch-22 is explained in the book to a character called Orr.
“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind.
Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions.
Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to."
Read that again if you need to.
Or does it....?
Exactly a year ago I started an advanced nutrition coaching course with the uber smart peeps at Precision Nutrition. I was mega excited.
I bounced out of bed on the first day to get my hands on the first lesson.
I was like a kid on Christmas morning...I couldn't wait to get my geek on. I wanted to be baffled by endocrinology and be in with the cool kids by telling everyone how stressed I was.
Instead I found an easy parachute in. Assessments I could do. Case studies that made perfect sense.
So, I considered quitting.
I was spending a lot of money and not feeling overwhelmed.
Surely to be effective it needs to be too hard to do and impossible to stick to.....that's the stuff that works.
This is the fitness Catch-22.
We feel the only thing worth attempting is the impossible.
If other people were making this mistake we'd spot it a mile off, but when it comes to ourselves we often have a blind spot a mile wide.
Like the workout program I bought last year.
It said it wasn't for 95% of people as it was too tough. Of the professional strength coaches who had trialed the program only a couple finished the whole three months.
Do not try this, it said, if you have any other challenges or stresses currently in your life. This will break you and make you miserable before you get stronger. You must be able to fully focus on your training and recovery.
At the time I was living at my in-laws, spending late nights renovating a new house, deep into my coaching course, busy with clients and father of a small baby.
So I bought the program.
I lasted 10 days. I had successfully transformed into a moody, injured bastard. Yay me.
We're completely illogical beasties at times.
Being fit, healthy and strong shouldn't be a miserable slog (Catch-22 to be healthy and happy you have to be tired and miserable). It's suprisingly simple when you have a good plan to follow and some people to back you up.
You make one small positive step, you repeat again the next day, keep trying to repeat until it feels normal.
Then take your next step.
Not sure if you're doing too much at once? Then try this experiment.
Imagine your plan is being done by your best pal. They come to you with this plan and ask what you think.
What would you tell them?
We're often so much better at helping others rather than ourselves.
You don't need a 100 new exercises.
To never drink alcohol or eat sugar again.
To run everyday.
Or break yourself in the gym every morning at 5am.
You just need one small action you can do today, something you could repeat again tomorrow and the next day until it feels normal.
Then choose your next step.
Repeat and dominate.
You may not end up "ripped in 6 weeks" like the snake oil salesmen promise. But 8-12 months from now you'll be freaking awesome.
That times gonna pass one way or the other. Might as well spend it taking small steps to where you want to be rather than beating yourself up for never sticking with something.
If you're stuck on what your next step should be then get in touch.
The image of the fitness industry kinda sucks.
It's partially the fault of big money businesses getting involved in the current trendiness of exercise but for the most part it's the fault of the people who work in fitness. The gyms and the trainers - I include myself in that, I've definitely been part of the problem in the past.
Everything is so focused on looking a certain way.
We advertise 6 packs, firm butts, pecs and sex appeal that oozes from every pore.
Adverts show new technology trainers, t-shirts, ab trainers, classes and all filled by sexy young things, all ripped and shredded and perky.
What's wrong with this is that it completely misses the point of what health and fitness is truly about.
It's not about showing of.
It's not about the outfit you where.
Or what gym you're a member of.
It's about making a solid base to your life so you can go and do all the other things you enjoy.
So you can perform to your best potential not just in the gym, but in your work, with your pals, in your relationships hell, even in the bedroom boom chicka wah wah.
This weekend I received the crappy news that a friend had suffered stroke in addition to this other friends and family are dealing with cancer, my dad and father in law are type 2 diabetic.
Add to this the people I meet or hear of through my work on a weekly basis who are close to a diabetes diagnoses, living with bad backs, bad knees, depression and all kinds of reproductive problems.
Shit does, can and will get real.
With a number of health issues there is a genetic component. Some people unfortunately have a greater predisposition for nasty things to happen.
But everyone has the ability to enhance their quality of life and that is exactly what training and nutrition is truly about, they're life enhancers.
Getting a six pack is great, get your firm sexy swag on is all cool. It's not vacuous to want these things.
But it's also ok to not be fussed about these things.
It's cool to be more focused on having energy to play with your kids, to wake up and actually want to face the day and enjoy it.
It's also ok to future proof yourself.
Like it or not you're gonna get old - that is if you're lucky enough to stick around.
I'm gonna put a proper downer on things now, but being middle aged and a elder person is going to take up more of your years than being a teenager or twenty something.
Good nutrition and exercise are essential if you want to get the most out of your time on this mortal coil.
It will help you dodge the big C.
Keep ya'll sexy.
Avoid heart disease.
Help injuries heal.
And prevent aches and pains.
It isn't just about abs.
It's about your life.