Mission: To help all of my clients lead happy, strong and empowered lives.
Sometimes knowing what to do is easy.
If you’re trying to lose fat, make most of your meals higher in protein and vegetables.
You should workout 3-5 days per week (the more the better) with a mix of cardio (2-3 days per week) and strength (2-3 days per week).
Make your higher intensity days be 1 to every 2 of your more moderate or “easier” days.
For most people, if you’re working out 5 days per week, 1 to 2 of those days should be hard. You should be doing something that pushes you and challenges you to improve. The other days, you’re doing work you should be doing, but is going to simply help you stay healthy and active, but isn’t going to necessarily move you forward.
If you’re trying to play President, you should condemn Neo-Nazis and the KKK.
Like I said, sometimes knowing what to do is easy.
Putting it into practice can be a different story though.
So today, we’re doing to discuss some strategies that can help you put some of those actions into practice more often.
Want to know those who are successful with making changes and sticking to them and those who aren’t?
Those who make changes and stick to them don’t sugar-coat how easy it will be. In fact, they believe that it will be a struggle for them. It won’t be an easy road. They may slip up. Changing their habits will be hard. They know they won’t lose 20 pounds in the next 20 days.
And you know what? They’re fine with that.
They’ve learned to embrace it and because of that, they stick to the changes longer and when the going gets tough, they’re mentally prepared for it.
Contrast this to someone who thinks the road to betterment will be all sunshine and rainbows. They think they’ll lose weight quickly and they’ll only have to change one habit (for some people, this is absolutely true – you probably aren’t one of those people). When the going gets tough for this person, they stop and they quit.
They tell themselves, “Why am I doing this? This sucks.”
They’re not mentally prepared for the road when they’re up against something they don’t enjoy and they’re not comfortable doing.
“Embrace the Suck” is the notion that the road ahead may not be enjoyable, but it will be worth it.
How Does Change Start? Does it start with grandiose plans and then following those plans with perfect execution? Almost never.
Change starts by making a better choice in the moment.
It could be a choice of not getting a dessert you really want.
It could be going out with friends and only drinking club soda with lime and no alcohol.
It could be ordering that dessert and then only having one bite, because that’s all you really wanted.
It could be ordering salmon with vegetables, instead of a loaded burger with fries.
It could be going to the gym that one time you’re really tired.
It can be any choice that gets you closer to your goals.
But here’s the thing…this choice, should not only be a conscious choice, but also a choice where you don’t feel like you’re “missing out.” Instead it should be a choice that is adding to your life. Which brings me to my next point.
You can hate yourself into following rules – at least for a bit. But what ends up happening is you end up hating yourself, the rules, and even if you get the results you were looking for, you’re not happy with those either.
Or, you can love yourself into making changes for a better life. With this, you allow yourself to not be perfect, and know that if you slip up, life goes on. Just pick yourself back up and get back on the ball.
Love can be harder for some though because it’s not how we were all taught and disciplined. Beyond that, we fear that if we aren’t “hard on ourselves” for making a mistake, then you’ll be too lax and won’t make the changes necessary. The truth is, those who are less stringent with their rules are at a better position to make changes and keep them more easily.
I’ve written about this before, but know that changing any habit doesn’t happen at a constant pace – not in the real world, anyway. There are times when you will and should be really pushing yourself to change (like that 1-2 days per week that you’re going harder in the gym).
And just as the micro-cycle of the week has variations of how hard you should be going, so does the larger macro-cycle of change.
There are times of the year that are more conducive to larger changes (after New Years, in the Spring, in September). Other times of the year, you’re making some progress, but you’re not going to be as stringent, (May/June, Oct/Nov) and there are times when you’re barely maintaining (July/August and “the Holidays”). Each has its time and place.
If you’re on a two-week vacation in France. Enjoy it. Let yourself enjoy different foods. If you don’t workout, you won’t fall apart. You’ll be fine. Just pick yourself back up afterwards. Which brings me to my last point.
Establishing healthy eating habits is funny to me because it’s the only place that I really see some absolutely ridiculous behavior.
For example, a person eats a doughnut. This was not on their “plan.”
They then justify the next 3 days of eating bad because of said doughnut.
That’s like if you were driving a car and sped up during a yellow light but before you got to the intersection the light turned red. And then for the next 4 hours you just didn’t obey any other traffic laws whatsoever. “Fuck it! I ran a red light, let me ignore everything else!” For the next 4 hours you just stopped obeying stop signs, traffic lights, merging, and started driving on the wrong side of the road.
What?!? That would make no sense. You and I know this and yet when it comes to eating, it’s fair game.
Nowhere else in a person’s life will people do this, but when it comes to eating, people do this all the time.
Here’s a suggestion: Don’t. Do. That.
Go back to making a better choice, right after that slip up.
And if you want to use the, “That’s just the way I am/the way my brain works,” excuse, that’s fine. Just know it’s BS. It’s only that way because you say it is. Remember, all you have to make is one better choice.
1 – Change isn’t necessarily easy…and that’s ok. Embrace that it won’t be easy and when it gets hard, you’ll be in the right mindset for it.
2 – Change starts with making one better choice. Here and now. Now and later. Just one better choice. And then another one later. Just one.
3 – Hating Yourself into changing is possible, but it usually leads to more misery and self-doubt. Instead, love yourself into creating a better life. You’re more apt to forgive yourself, and make choices out of a place of caring instead of feeling “obligated to change.”
4 – Know there are cycles to change. There will be times when you should put more time and effort into changing and times when you should spend more time enjoying other facets of life.
5 – Pick Yourself Back Up Quickly. Almost in no other place in your life, will you completely disregard the well-being of your life after a slip-up, yet when it comes to eating, drinking and working out, one slip-up can turn into a “Fuck it!” moment that lasts until the following Monday (or Tuesday if it was a holiday weekend). Don’t do that.
Instead, contain the “slip-up” to that one moment and pick yourself right back up. You’ll be fine and you’ll be better off for it.
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Sometimes on this journey of life we really care about the way we look and feel. Yet, how successful you are at making the changes to the way you look and feel are determined by the mindset you take on. How much responsibility you take and then how easily you can accept yourself with where you’re at, who you are and what’s truly important to you matters immensely.
Responsibility and the ability to accept where you’re at are synergistic aspects that, if you can do both, give you the opportunity to both have a body that looks good and is healthy, while enjoying your journey.?
The rest of this post, is about 3 mindsets I see people take on when it comes to their eating and working out (amongst other aspects of life).
The hope is that in knowing where you’re currently at, you can make the leap to a more beneficial place.
You can read
Level of Acceptance/Responsibility
A lot of people will start in a place of “suffering.” They have a pain point where they’re not happy with themselves, their life or an aspect of their life. Not everyone necessarily starts in suffering, but for those that do, the difference is whether or not, you choose to stay in it.
I call this phase suffering only when you are abdicating responsibility for parts, or the totality, of your life to other things. This is the person who is in pain, but refuses to do what’s necessary to get out of pain.
This is the person who will blame circumstances, their past, other people, their job, where they live, and nearly any and every other thing they can in order to continue complaining, yet never taking the necessary steps to change the situation at hand.
If you’re in suffering, the most powerful thing you can do is start something that gives you back the power of personal responsibility.
Take action, sure. But own those actions.
Here’s the thing though, you can’t expect to change overnight or for the results you’re looking for to happen overnight. You have to make changes, and keep at it, without a deadline on your results.
If you can do that, then you’re onto the next phase.
This phase is characterized by the phrase, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”
If someone starts in suffering (not everyone does), then their next move is to the Power phase. This is where the person will become gung ho about change.
These are the “converts” to a specific methodology. If they didn’t feel great before, but started doing CrossFit and feel good, they typically will only recognize CrossFit as their rightful savior.
I’m not saying anything is wrong about being passionate about something you care for. In fact, you should be. But when you think you’re special because you do something and someone else doesn’t, then it might be an issue. Not everyone has the same priorities as you and that’s ok.
This phase can feel intoxicating and many people tend to stay here because of that intoxicating feeling. If you look on Instagram and Facebook and see a lot of inspirational quotes, you’ll typically see a lot of “Power” quotes and mindsets. This isn’t necessarily wrong, but half the time, they do sound judgmental.
So if you find something that works for you, recognize that you found something that works, for you. If a friend asks you what you did, tell them, but maybe qualify it with, “I know this worked for me. I’m not sure how it will work for you.” Try not to spread the gospel as the only thing that is and will ever work.
Funny how religion and fitness/nutrition, tend to have the same issues here.
The biggest issue with power is that your actions are inextricably linked with your self-worth. So, unless you’re taking specific actions (for example, working out hard or “eating clean” or running, etc), all the time, then you might not be as content with your life as you think you are.
If you’re in the power phase and you like your life, stay there. It’s fun and intoxicating. Enjoy it.
If you’re here though and have a gnawing sense that there is more out there while recognizing that you don’t have to be perfect, all the time, then you might be ready for the final phase.
This last phase is a bit tricky to define, but basically, this phase is characterized by those who have moved past the suffering phase, know that they have the power to change circumstances, but also know that they are not going to be perfect. And here’s the thing. They don’t need to be perfect in order to be happy.
They can eat delicious food, not beat themselves up for it, and still workout like they would have done normally.
They can go out to eat with friends, have a drink and order something healthy and not feel weird about it.
In other words, this is the phase where someone is healthy, they have a body they’re content with, work for a better body, but not out of a place of suffering or fear, but out of a place of acceptance. They believe they can do better and since they can, they will. Not because they need to in order to feel better about themselves, but because, you know, “It’s cool.”
This place is radically different than when someone changes because they are suffering (Suffering) or they work harder because they feel like less of a person if they don’t (Power). This is where someone is healthy and wants to do and be better – but if they don’t, it doesn’t affect their self-worth. They are already whole and whatever they choose, is to enhance their life, not make their life.
Where are You Starting From?
So the question is, where are you starting from?
Are you in “Suffering” when it comes to eating, but “Power” when it comes to working out? Or vice versa?
Are you one of the enlightened bunch where you can accept yourself and others?
What do you want from your life, in terms of health and fitness? Do you want the best body, EVER???
Are you seeking self-worth from your workout pursuits?
And more importantly, why?
There is no right or wrong answer, but knowing where you’re at and what is motivating you to change can be highly empowering.
Once you have your starting point, the question becomes, what do you want to do next?
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“John has taken the time to show me proper technique and has pushed me further than I would push myself. He knows what I am capable of and uses that to push me further. I’ve seen amazing results!
Those results include finally hitting my ideal weight.
You know those last 5-10 pounds you “can’t lose,” well I lost them working with John!
I now have a toned back and arms and have much more endurance, although we never did any jogging.
In addition to those results, John has taken the time to offer additional advice on diet and taking supplements while working around my crazy schedule.
Training with John has changed my life for the better, not only in terms of bodily changes, but with increased self confidence and a lot more energy.
I would absolutely recommend John to family and/or friends. The actions they should take include first ensuring that they are serious about wanting to make a change in their life. They need to make the time to be able to train and follow your advice on diet. This is a lifestyle change and not a quick fix.
I feel I look better now, than I did 10 years ago!”