Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Steady State

Sometimes it feels like we are sprinting through life.  We are excited about our fitness and we have a ton of energy to charge toward our goals.

But we all hit walls – every single one of us.  We abruptly lose our momentum and it seems like we have no energy left for moving forward.

Sprinters are fun to watch, but we know that in a sprint, the race isn’t going to last very long.  Marathoners may not move as quickly, but they are still going, long after the sprinters have run out of breath!

Marathoners find their steady state.  This is where they get the best results and where they achieve the most consistency.  If we can find that as we move toward a work-life balance and reach for our goals, we are far more likely to make it over the long haul.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Reduce Stress in 3 Easy Steps!

Stress could very well be the most problematic disease in our life today.  It keeps from experiencing peace and makes us less effective at everything we do. 

 Since we are all pressed for time, I have only three things I want to say about stress:

1)            Just Stop

Sometimes when we feel we can’t stop, is the time when we need to the most.  Even just taking an hour to go for a walk and clear the head can do the trick.  Have a bath or take a nap.  Once we slow the breathing down, it feels like forty things just fell off the plate and we have more time than we thought.

2)            Drop the Rubber Ball

The CEO of Coca-Cola gave this commencement speech to students and Georgia Tech about 20 years ago.  I come back to it often.

"Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them - work, family, health, friends and spirit - and you're keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls - family, health, friends and spirit - are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life."

3)            Focus on one thing at a time

Whether it’s eating an elephant, juggling family and work, or just trying to get to the end of the day – no one can multi-task very well.  We can only do one thing at a time - some people just prioritize better than others.  

How do we prioritize better?  Pick the most important thing in life and focus on it – then move on from there, one thing at a time.

We all struggle with stress and busyness in our lives.  When things start feeling over whelming, just stop, drop the rubber ball and go back to what’s most important.  It’s as easy as 1 – 2 – 3.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Just along for the ride!

Have you ever watched anyone working in their element and thought to yourself, wow that person is doing exactly what they were built for?

Jen is a police officer.  Her and I have been training together for the last few months.  While she’s lifting weights I get to hear her really cool stories about work the day before.  My jaw drops when I listen to all that happens in our city and think about what she puts herself through and the risks that she takes everyday to help us live in a safe place.

I want to make her stronger so she can wrestle bad guys more effectively.  It motivates me!

She surprised me one day when she invited me on a ride-along. I jumped at the opportunity but as the day came closer, it stirred up fears within me that made me almost back out.  I thought to myself…

“What happens if we pick up a murder and I have to sit in the back with him?”

“What if they didn’t pat him down enough and the guy pulls a gun out when we’re not looking?”

“What if Jen and her partner go into a house and the bad guys run out and steel the cop car with me in it?”

“What if they run a background check on me and find the skeletons in my closet?” 

Just kidding about the last one… sort of.

The scardy-cat in me wanted to back out, but the small voice within me behind all the chaos said if I did that, think about the potential awesome opportunity I would be missing out on…  How many other aspects of life can we apply that to?

Jen welcomed me all suited up in her bulletproof gear.  “Am I going to get one of those???”  I didn’t.  I wondered if I should be more or less scared.

From what I get to see of Jen she is sweet, considerate and radiantly beautiful in and out. She has a personality that makes you feel so welcome and so comfortable. It was cool to see her element, ready to take on the challenges most of us try our best to avoid.

They kept me safe through some high-speed driving – which was awesome! 

Riding with Jen and her partner gave me a glimpse into what they do for every single person in this city – they keep us protected.  I began to feel that they should be genuinely thanked for stepping out on the line for us everyday.

Thank you Jennifer and Tyler for an incredible experience I will never forget.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Fight the Good Fight

Just like Rocky, when you get knocked down, you’ve got to rise up again.  If you lose a fight – be thankful.  You’ve learned a lesson and you get the chance to come back stronger for the next round.

The righteous may fall 7 times, but they rise again!"

I stand behind that message.  Every battle big or small requires us to jump some hurdles.  If you buckle, cave or give up after the first few, how strong is the foundation of your dream?  Are you really committed?

Someone once said, “Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.” 

Many will never see their dream come to pass because they lost the fight to fear. They postponed it to wait for a better time.  But the better time never came.

In the first year of stepping out on my own, there have been many mental barriers I had to face that I didn’t even know I had.  But the truth is that a dream was placed uniquely within me… a desire to affect everyone that I come in contact with.  When I started to unlock my dream, I pushed farther than I knew I could.

It's the same if your goal is to lose weight, or get healthier - ask anyone who has done it the healthy way. They will say how it has positively impacted the people around them. Family. Work. You name it. 

And the greatest part in overcoming obstacles is you get to see what you’re made of!

So when you get knocked down, just remember you have a heart. And a fighting spirit that’s stronger than you might even know.  Fuel it and fight! 

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Strength in Numbers

The path to getting healthier can feel like a long one at times.  But like all big trips, it helps when you have good some company along for the ride.

No one is going to be more committed to your fitness journey than you, and maybe your personal trainer.  But after the session, or even after a long day at work, when we arrive home tired and wanting to unwind, that's when temptation can hit us the hardest.

And that's where the real work begins.

Here are some tips to create a support network for your training:

1) You don't need to tell the world, but tell a friend.

Have an accountability partner.  Someone who can understand the struggles you are facing and will work with you on your journey.  Maybe they can offer some support or can help you through some of the challenges you are facing.

2) Be selective with your team.

Not everyone will be happy for you when you start to take better care of yourself.  Some people will feel worse about themselves when they see your health and fitness reaching new levels.  They may unknowingly try to hold you back. 

3) Train with a group.

A group fitness class or boot camp can create a community atmosphere where members push each other to hit and surpass their goals.  That and a spirit of friendly competition always helps to boost the motivation! 

4) Celebrate the success of other people.

Congratulate others on their accomplishments.  The more you are able to encourage the success of others, the more confident you will feel about yourself and about reaching your own goals.

If you want to grow your dreams, you've got to grow your team!  Building a support network and being actively engaged in the support of others will make the process  of moving forward in your fitness far more effective and enjoyable!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Nutrition Myth Busters

There are a lot of options and opinions out there of what we should and shouldn't be eating.  However, food and nutrition research published by IDEA is shedding light on 4 grey areas.  

Here is a summary:

1) Raw Food is not always better than Cooked Food

Sometimes, it takes a little cooking to unlock the nutrients in a food.  Raw spinach, for example, is great - but if they are slightly cooked, phytonutrients are activated which make some of the health benefits more bioavailable.

2) A little processing is sometimes OK

Don't get me wrong; adding excessive sugars, fats and sodium is a problem.  Sometimes we need a little convenience in our lives to make a healthy diet more realistic. We need to be careful with processed foods, but if we learn how to read nutrition labels properly, we can make good choices and not have to spend the whole day preparing our meals.

3) Natural means NOTHING

It is a marketing term.  Natural foods don't have labels.  And anything in a package labelled "natural" may not be the most healthy choice.  Read the labels carefully :)

4) Reducing Sugar is great - Eliminating?  Not so much

Most of us really need to REDUCE our sugar intake - but let's not eliminate it altogether.  There are as many as 257 names for sugar.  They are not all created equal and some are meant to be in our foods.  So take it all in context :)

There is a lot of information out there but as a rule, balance is key.  If you like red meat - enjoy! - but just watch your portions and how often you eat it.  Taking a little time to research is an essential part of a total fitness plan!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Look in the Mirror

A client shared some of their struggles with weight and self-image with me earlier in the month.  I encouraged them to write about it.  This was posted with the permission of that client, who wants to remain anonymous, but would like to share their struggle in hopes that others can relate to what they are going through:   
I’m very proud of you!


Look in the Mirror

Looking in the mirror, I didn’t recognize what I saw.  I don’t know how long it’s been going on for, but I guess I have always had an image in my mind about what I looked like to other people.  I thought I was in a good place with my fitness and my eating habits.

Until I was getting ready for a dinner and none of my good clothes fit. 

It used to make me laugh, thinking how useless it was to look at yourself in the mirror and feel bad about how you look.  I’ve more or less, had a good relationship with myself and a relatively positive self-image for most of my adult life.  But I think that I’ve turned a blind eye to things that have been creeping into my life that shouldn’t have ever been there.

My relationship with food has become the mirror.  It's become a mirror of my relationship with myself.

Now, I suppose I have a choice to make.  I can give up and sink further.  OR I can dig my feet in and start process of reclaiming lost ground.  

I refuse to give up.