Ready for a Change?

Do you wish you could change something about your life right now? Or, to be rude about it, we could ask it this way: Don’t you wish you could change something about your life right now?

Either way, I’m here to argue that change can happen in an instant.

I know this goes against popular thought. Most people believe that change has to be worked at for months or even years. We expect to try and fail numerous times before we ultimately give up or succeed.

How many people do you know who struggle with their weight? They want to make a healthy change by getting in shape, but the change never seems to take hold.

Is there something in your life that you want to change? Do you have weight to lose? Do you have high blood pressure? Do you have a pair of pants that you wish you could fit into?

What is keeping you from making a positive change in your life?

According to professional speaker and author, Tony Robbins (yep, he of the infamous firewalk), it’s the getting ready to change that takes time. In the end there’s a single instant when the change occurs. Robbins goes on to outline three specific beliefs that you must have in order to instantly create a lasting change.

See if you can track what he means:

Belief #1: Something must change.

Do you sort of want to get into shape, or do you absolutely have to lose the weight? Does dropping a few pounds sound nice, or is living another day in your current body unbearable?

In order to make a lasting change you must be convinced that the time has come.

Belief #2: I must change it.

It is vital that you take full responsibility in making the change. Sure, others may assist you, but in the end you are the one who is going to make it happen. You have to need this change enough to make it your personal mission—no one else will do it for you.

Belief #3: I can change it.

Don’t let past failures get in your way. The truth is that you do amazing things when you put your mind to it. Believe that you are capable of losing weight or making any other positive change in your life.

Why do most people fail to make lasting change? They leave it up to willpower. This works for a while, but you’ll always revert back to what’s comfortable.

The solution?

Change what you’re comfortable with!

You’ve probably heard that humans are motivated by two things: 1) to avoid pain and 2) to gain pleasure. When you want to change a behavior pattern the key is to associate pain with the behavior that you don’t want and pleasure with the behavior that you do want.

You know that you want to lose weight and that to do so you need to quit eating comfort food late at night. You also know that you need to start exercising on a regular basis. Up until this point your brain is trained to associate pleasure with eating comfort food late at night and to associate pain with exercise.

It’s time to retrain your brain to feel good about exercise and to feel bad about eating late at night. Think about all of the negative things about being overweight and connect these unpleasant thoughts to your late night snack.

Now think about all of the wonderful things about being in shape and connect these pleasant thoughts to exercise.

You are capable of making a big change in your life. Start by calling or emailing me for your no obligation fitness consultation.

Remember, change can happen in an instant!

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Get Faster Results – 4 Tactics

Let’s talk about gaining strength, and let’s get right to it. Please pay extra attention to #4 below, yes?

Have you ever been frustrated over a lack of results from your workout routine? If so, you are in good company. Even the most seasoned athletes experience times when their results plateau.

When you continue to put in the same effort day after day with little or no results it is safe to say that you’ve hit your own fitness plateau.

Your body adapts quickly to any repetitive routine. The definition of ‘insanity’ is to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results. This holds true for your workouts. When your results stop then it’s time to do something new.

I have good news—the following 4 tactics are guaranteed to crank your workouts up to the next level and to deliver the fast results you want.

#1: Focus on Negatives

Each time that you do a weight lifting repetition you are utilizing three types of strength. These are:

  1. Positive strength: the motion of lifting the weight.
  2. Static strength: holding weight in a contracted position.
  3. Negative strength: the motion of lowering the weight.

Most people completely miss the benefit of the negative in each repetition by allowing the weight to drop quickly with little control. It is understood that the negative portion of a repetition is just as important as the positive portion, and possibly more important.

Focus on the negative portion of each repetition by lowering the weight very slowly. Concentrate on the negative contraction, and make each repetition count.

If you are advanced, then use a training partner to assist you in moving heavier-than-normal weight into a contracted position, then lower it very slowly.

Another way to utilize negative repetitions on a machine is to lift the weight using two limbs but then lower it with just one. For example, use both legs to lift the weight on a leg extension machine, but then lower it back down slowly using only one leg.

#2: Do a Drop Set

Drop sets have long been used to fight off exercise plateaus. This technique is great for adding muscle strength, endurance and for increasing the cardiovascular benefit of your workout – resulting in more fat burn.

Here, in a nutshell, is how to do a drop set: When you perform an exercise to exhaustion, don’t stop there. Drop the weight by 80% and do another set.

You could take it a step further by dropping the weight twice, making it a double drop. Or drop the weight three times for a descending drop set.

Use this technique only once or twice per workout, on the final set of the exercise.

#3: Modify the Exercise

There are certain exercises that are considered ‘staples’ in the gym. The squat. The lunge. The chest press. The shoulder press. The bicep curl. You get the idea…

While you shouldn’t throw these exercises out the window, find creative ways to modify the familiar motion in order to challenge your muscles. Try these exercise modifications:

  • Squat on a Bosu ball or balance board.
  • Place a weighted bar across your shoulders and do walking lunges.
  • Use an exercise ball for chest presses instead of the bench.
  • Do a full squat between each repetition of shoulder presses.
  • Do a shoulder press between each repetition of bicep curls.

#4: Use Active Rest to turn each workout into High Intensity Interval Training

Every minute of your workout is an opportunity to increase intensity and to burn more fat. Don’t waste precious minutes with long rest periods between exercises.

While it is important to catch your breath if you feel winded, most of the time you would benefit more from an active rest than a passive one. Perform one of the following activities for 30 seconds between exercises and turn your regular workout into High Intensity Interval Training.

  • High Knees with Alternating Punches: Alternately bring each knee high to your chest in a quick jumping movement while alternating forward punches at shoulder level.
  • Burpees: Start in a sanding position and bend at the waist. Once your hands hit the floor, push your entire body back, extending your legs until they’re straight and you’re in the push-up position. Go down for a push-up, and when you push yourself up, jump slightly to bring your feet back near your hands. Finally, jump in the air with your arms fully extended over your head.
  • Side-to-Side Jumps on Bench: Stand on one side of an exercise bench. Place the foot closest up onto the bench, jump up and switch feet, then land on the opposite side of the bench.
  • Mountain Climbers: Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart on the ground in a push-up position. Bring one knee to your chest and then back to the starting position, alternate each leg quickly.
  • Side-to-Side Ab Twists: With feet close together, jump and twist your legs left to right – holding your abs tight. Keep a bend in your knees and swing your upper arms with each twist.
  • Jump Lunges with Pop Squat: Start in a lunge position, lunge down then quickly jump up, switching your leg position in midair, land in an opposite leg lunge. Once you’ve done both legs, jump straight into a squat.
  • Medicine Ball Squat Jumps: With feet wider than shoulder-width apart hold a medicine ball at chest level. Squat down until your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Explosively jump up, raising the medicine ball straight over your head.

If you’d like a sure-fire way to break through your fitness plateau and to melt away unwanted fat, then contact me for a fitness consultation.

Call or email today – I look forward to hearing from you.

My custom-made fitness programs remove all of the guesswork for you. I know what works, and I make it my mission to see you reach your goals.

Call or email today and we’ll get you started on the program that’s best for you!

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Get Disturbed: Your Better Body Plan

Here’s an interesting thing. Have you ever seen a really impressive “before” and “after” photo on a weight loss product? I get a lot of email with these critters and, like you, I get kinda tired of them. But there’s something kinda quirky you might look for. This might sound kind of abstract, but please see if you can track along.

Look into the eyes of any person in their “before” picture and you’ll see that they are deeply disturbed. The body they have is no longer in sync with the body they are able to accept.

They changed the body that they accept, and became disturbed.

Now look into their eyes in the “after” picture – see the sweet satisfaction? They now live in the body that they decided they could accept. What an amazing feeling that is.

Why are you still living life in your “before” body?

Sure, you have obstacles that get in your way – your schedule, your job, your kids, the weather, your knee injury from college…but ultimately you have the body that you accept.

I’m going to repeat that so it will really sink in.

Right now, you have the body that you accept. Really. And, as I quote often, my friend Chris Hogan says, “Right now you are doing everything you need to do to get the results you are already getting.” Does that hurt?

Transform from “Before” to “After”

But here’s the good news. You may not realize it, but you already posses everything you need to transform your body, and it all starts with taking responsibility for the body that you have today.

You are in your current shape because, until this moment, you’ve been OK with it.

Oh I know you aren’t thrilled with it, and you even talk about losing weight and getting fit—but you haven’t changed what you’ll accept.

Here’s how to transform your body in 3 steps:

Step One: Feel Disturbed

It has been said that emotion creates motion. This is essential when it comes to personal transformation. Just like those folks in the “before” pictures, to transform your body you must first decide that you can’t live another day in the body you currently have.

Get your emotions stirred up. Make a list of all the reasons that you’re ready to lose weight and get fit. Get disturbed!

Step Two: Decide What You Want

Without clarity you’ll never get where you want to go. Now that you’re disturbed with the body you have, decide what the body you can accept looks like.

Think in concrete and specific terms. Just like the captions under ‘before” and “after” pictures—“Shannon lost 50 lbs,” “Matt lost 8 inches from his waist,” “Catherine went from a size 20 to a size 4.”

Get a clear picture in your mind of what you’ll look like in your “after” picture and decide what the caption will read.

Step Three: Take Action

The time spent between your inspiration (now) and taking action determines whether you will succeed or fail. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck between inspiration and action—there is always something that you can do immediately.

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Why you Gained Weight in Your Workout

Some fun, that Memorial Day workout, yes? I hope it kept the potato salad in perspective. In spite of my best intentions, we wound up not having the stuff so we had to find virtue in other places. Great Memorial Day, great time to honor the troops, those who fell and those still with us.

Let’s look again at the reasons for working out. You do a workout because you know that exercise burns calories and helps you to shed extra pounds.

Knowing this, you may think that losing weight should be easy with enough exercise. However the truth is that if you aren’t accustomed to exercising and are out of shape, beginning an exercise program may actually lead to an initial increase in your weight – but only for a time.

This fact, however, shouldn’t stop you from exercising, as you’ll eventually turn the weight corner and start losing.

What is it about exercise that may cause some people to gain instead of lose weight?

Muscle: One of the main reasons exercising can lead to initial weight gain is that it promotes the growth of muscle.

If you are not used to working out and haven’t used certain muscles regularly, after exercising your muscles will be sore and will increase in size. While you may burn off fat, muscle is denser than fat. Therefore, the weight you gain is in your muscles.

Don’t sweat it! Since muscles take up less space than fat, your extra weight doesn’t necessarily translate to larger size. In fact, once you start working out, you’ll become thinner, even if you maintain your previous weight. Instead of using a scale to determine if you are slimming down, have your body fat tested regularly or measure your body at certain areas.

(If you see that you’re losing inches, then you know you’re on the right track. This is why you should invest in a cloth tape measure when you start working out – so you can measure your waist, arms and leg circumferences.)

Cardiovascular activities like walking, running, or swimming will encourage the growth of lean, toned muscles. Other activities such as weight lifting promote the growth of larger, stronger muscles.

But there is good news in this. If you stick with the exercise program, your muscles will soon stabilize in size and after a time, become toned. After your muscles are strong and able to handle more strenuous workouts, you will be able to burn calories faster.

While it may be frustrating and disappointing to see the scale go up after starting an exercise routine, it shouldn’t stop you from exercising. You may just be building muscle faster than losing body fat. This can be especially true if you’re genetically prone to building muscle fast. The key is to incorporate bouts of cardio exercise in addition to strength training. That way you will burn plenty of calories during your routine and be more able to shed pounds.

Eating Habits: When you work out and burn calories, your body will feel the need to replace those burned calories.

This may make you feel hungrier than usual, which can cause you to eat more than normal—sometimes without knowing it. A good idea is to keep a food journal to track of the actual number of calories you are consuming.

You may also end up eating more calories and justifying their consumption since you’re exercising. After a good workout, you may see an ice cream sundae as a reward for the calories you burned. Just be careful. If you’re interested in losing pounds, you can’t simply break even with your caloric intake and the amount of calories you burn.

At the same time, eating too few calories can be counterproductive and slow your weight loss. Without enough calories, your body may slow its metabolism. So eat plenty to keep your body well fueled, but choose healthy calories that will help your body recover after a workout and grow stronger.

Hydration: Depending on the time of day you weigh yourself, the scale may read differently. Your weight can fluctuate as much as five pounds depending on the amount of water or food you have recently consumed or the amount of water you have shed in sweat. It is therefore important to weigh yourself at the same time each day.

OK, then! From all of the above, you can see lots of reasons to keep up with your workouts and, of course, no reasons not to workout! Stick with it!

Give it Time!

Whatever the cause of your weight influx after exercising, don’t give up! Not only is exercise the key to slimming down, but it is also vital for overall health and well-being. Give your body time to respond to a new routine. It can take several weeks for your body to “recalibrate” itself to increased activity and changes in eating habits. But once it does, you’ll begin seeing the results that you seek!

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Workout to Train Your Willpower

Got something new and challenging for your Memorial Day weekend – and to get you toned for the summer. (Look for a separate Memorial Day email later this weekend.)

This is, I think, the most significant Newsletter in terms of workouts that I’ve ever provided. Not, mind you, because of the physical exercise, but because of the way this critter trains your soul – your mind, will, and emotions.

What follows is one of a whole series of protocols that I use with clients in my studio – and in my own training, I’m not sure if I can get all this across in a Newsletter format, but I’m up for it – I hope you are!

I do hope you carry through with this – but it means work!

Let’s get to it –

So, are you ready for the weekend? Memorial Day BBQ? Lots of (I hope) dips and chips? Potato salad? Ice cream? Can you resist it?

Resisting that second helping of something (usually carbos, yeah? I mean, who wants another serving of eggplant?) is either an act of your will, your mind, or your emotions – or it can come from habit. Happily, you can train all of these.

Today’s workout, combining lots of starts and stops, invokes this kind of training. The format requires frequent, albeit short, rest periods, which obviously means it requires frequent re-start of the work – which means you have to find it somewhere in your soul to fire it up again!

The protocol involved is a simple but mightily effective way to train your mind, will, and emotions to stay under their own mutual control.

Today’s Workout

Disclaimer – you should consult a physician before starting any exercise program. This workout is for information purposes only. All problematic results arising out of anyone’s using this information including but not limited to any injuries or damages are the responsibility of the user. No warranty is given, no results guaranteed.

Here’s what to do.

1. First, download and print out the “20/10 X 8” workout template from my website. It’s a hidden page in a section reserved for clients, but email me know if you have trouble downloading it and I’ll send you a pdf.

2. Next, use the formula provided to compute your Heart Rate Max, your 60% HR Max, and your 80% HR Max. (The reasons for this are found below.)

3. Then write these in the “EXERCISES” section:

1. Squat Jumps
2. Jumping Jacks
3. Mountain Climbers
4. Walking Lunges
5. Total Body Extensions

(Hark! If you are not familiar with any of these you can find them on the net, or substitute one of your own. The main thing you are looking for is any large-muscle multi-joint movement.) (That is, none of those sissy curls with the pink one-pound dumbbells, please.)

4. The timing protocol is what makes this work. You will do each exercise for 20 seconds, take a 10 second rest, then do it again for 20 seconds for a total of 8 sets. Keep a count of how many repetitions you do in each 20 second period.

(You can use any timing device, but I suggest you download the free GymBoss app.) Set it up for eight intervals of 20 seconds and 10 seconds.)

At the end of each 20 seconds of work, write the number of repetitions you scored. Sooner than you want it to, the next 20 seconds of work will start.

5. At the end of the eight 20/10 intervals (four minutes total) you get a one minute recovery period. During that time take your heart rate for 15 seconds and write it in the “15 sec HR” column.

For this protocol, you want your HR to be within the 60 to 80% range. If you’re over that, slow down. If you’re under, hit the next set harder!

6. In the remaining 45 seconds don’t think about what you just did. Focus on the next exercise. Think about the benefits of increasing your endurance, your cardio-pulmonary fitness, and your strength. Think about how great it feels to wake that Warrior within you!

You are building willpower here, through using your mind to control your emotions. You are building the habit of starting over. You are building the habit of staying in the fight. You are building the habit of finishing strong.

Focus, focus, focus!

When the timer goes off hit the second exercise hard.

Again, write your reps and your ending heart rate at the start of the one-minute recovery period.

7. Repeat this for all five exercises. (The sixth slot is for your own use, once you get stronger in this protocol).

8. At the end of all the exercises, circle your lowest number of reps for each exercise and write it in the space provided. Then put a box around your highest reps and write that down as well.

9. Then take your average 15-second heart rate and multiply that by 4 to get your average HR for the workout.

This gives you three baselines to compare to the next time you do this.

So, what’s going on here?

First off, let’s look at the 60-80% heart rate. The reason for that is – hormones! Here’s why.

Workouts produce stress, yeah? A good stress, but stress nonetheless. When you perceive that stress as a challenge, you release the hormone noradrenaline, commonly called the “fight” hormone. (Righto, one step away from adrenaline!) This sweet little chemical makes your blood vessels constrict to pump your blood with higher pressure, so you can do more movement. By the way, I’m assuming that’s why you can do more reps at the end of the set.

(As an aside, after certain conditions are met, we do this at 80-100% of your HR Max. That produces adrenaline – but that’s a separate story.)

Next, consider this. You are learning to push yourself in small increments. In the 25 minutes of the workout you will have had to start up 40 times – on schedule, no matter how tired you feel. You will have to push yourself in the presence of ever-increasing fatigue. You will have to bring your mind back from whatever distress you are feeling as you write down the number of reps.

If you push yourself, you will find that you are summoning inner strengths you did not know you had.

At the end of the full workout – if you push – you’ll find that your mind, will and emotions are stronger than when you started.

And here’s a funny thing that happens every time I do this protocol myself (which is weekly, with different exercises, of course) or when I do it with clients. Most of the time the number of reps is higher in the seventh or eighth set than it was in the first or second. When you see this on your own sheet it shows you that your mind, will, and emotions are controlling your body – what a glorious outcome!

Congrats! You’ve awoken the Warrior Within!

No recipe this week –
First of all, this newsletter got kinda long. Second of all, who needs a recipe when you’ve got all that stuff prepared for Memorial Day!

God love the those who now serve, those who did serve, and may God especially bless the families of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

May our nation be ever grateful, may their names be hallowed forever, and may their families be comforted.

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Memorial Day

To honor the Fallen Warriors of our country, at our home we’ll be reading the address President Lincoln gave at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery on November 19, 1863 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

May the Fallen always be well remembered,
and may God bless their families.

THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition
that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation,
or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.
We are met on a great battlefield of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate,
we can not consecrate,
we can not hallow this ground.
The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here,
have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,
but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—
that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—
that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—
that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—
and that government of the people,
by the people,
for the people,
shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln.

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Resurrection Sunday

We Christians believe that Jesus died. And He did die. He was as dead as a body could be.

Then He rose again. He did rise! “Resurrection” means He stood again, and from that moment the gates of hell can no longer prevail against us.

The work of Jesus is summed up in one word: Love. And the gift of Jesus is summed up in one word: Life.

For the last few weeks I’ve been captivated by a hymn Charles Wesley (born 300 years ago) wrote.It’s not necessarily an Easter hymn, but then again, all hymns are Easter hymns. I’ve been particularly riveted by the fourth verse where he talks about his chains falling off and his heart becoming free. I hope you enjoy this as much as I have this Easter Season:

AND CAN IT BE THAT I SHOULD GAIN? 
(Charles Wesley, 1707-1788)

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love, how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me?

‘Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the first-born seraph tries
To sound the depths of love Divine!
‘Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Fathers throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace;
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race;
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For O my God, it found out me.

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free;
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!
Alive in Him my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness Divine.
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

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