Five Tips to Help You Meet Your Goals

Five Tips to Help You Meet Your Goals

1. Keep the goal the goal.

Better still, re-frame the goal. Break it down into something that is manageable and attainable. Do you want to lose 30 lbs in 2017 OR 1 lb this week? Don't set yourself up for failure by pursuing the lofty goal but rather look for the small wins in achieving the manageable, smarter goal. Losing 1 lb a week is absolutely doable. Small successes will build confidence. Confidence will build consistency. Consistency will yield lasting results.

2. Keep your behaviours and your goals aligned.

You've identified your weekly goal so now what behaviour do you need to change to get there? Remember, big goals require big behaviour changes. Big behaviour changes require big effort. Break it down. Make one small, sustainable behaviour change that is consistent with your goals. Write it down. Put it on your fridge. Do it.

3. Be realistic.

Avoid platitudes such as "new year, new you". You are you. Trying to become a healthier, stronger, fitter version of you is hard. Be honest with yourself; work within your own strengths and limitations. Identify what you are capable of doing each day to make your way down your unique path to change. No single approach works for everyone. Adopt a realistic approach to change that works for YOU.

4. Be flexible and forgiving.

January is a miserable month for many. Based on a date on the calendar - January 1 - we heap, a week or a couple of weeks into January we start struggling and a sense of overwhelming defeat may set in. January is just one month of the year. Changing behaviours is a journey and as on all journeys there is likely to be some turbulence along the way. When turbulence comes it's ok to take your foot off the gas and apply the brakes, if only for a short while. When you're ready, get back on the road. Be flexible. Forgive yourself. Carry on.

5. Be measured in your measuring!

Progress isn't all about numbers. Numbers probably won't make you happier but they can make you feel frustrated and deflated. Changes in exercise and nutrition can have a variety of outcomes - not all of them easy to measure. Improvements in your general health, strength, energy levels, self confidence and pride are all more important than any number!

A Day in the Life of a Personal Trainer at Inspira (well, mostly of Chas!)

It looks easy…we open the door, we train people, we close the door and we go home…ahhh, if only that were true.  What really goes on in a day in the life...?!

Most weekdays, the studio is open long before the clock strikes 6 am – Yonge Street is quiet, it is dark and often it is cold!  Truly the clients who come in at this hour deserve the utmost respect.  Mornings at Inspira are typically busy from about 6 am to 11 am - 7 days a week - a lot of people obviously prefer to work out early and get that out of the way – a good strategy as by 5pm life can get in the way of a workout.

Our days typically start with a 6:15 am class – and a later class around 9:30.  We have pretty great attendance – which is a testament to our clients’ commitment and consistency.  Perhaps surprisingly, those early mornings are filled with a lot of diverse banter and laughter – someone could get rich by documenting many of our conversations. Working out can be a chore so the added touch of humour really helps speed the time along.  We love teaching – it’s a bonus for us if you love attending!  It would be wrong to leave the subject of classes without touching on the topic of music.  It is a hot button for sure – feel free to weigh in – everyone else does…    

As the morning rolls on, we try to get some small jobs done – like restocking water, folding towels (some better than others!), cleaning the studio – all basic but necessary just the same.  Peppered throughout the day are several visits to our fine local caffeine establishments.  Surely we are not the only training studio surviving on caffeine as the day rolls on.

Any downtime in my morning is spent checking through email, responding to phone calls, updating Facebook and other general admin style stuff. This is not my specialty! 

During my "break period" in the middle of the day I spend time researching and reading articles or books.  I get through a health and fitness book every two weeks.  I also moderate various Facebook groups (one for trainers, one for students taking a course I graduated from last year and one based on lean eating principles)...again, a lot of small jobs that people don't see but that eat up at least an hour of my day.  I love being part of these groups – they’re a great way to stay connected and I learn a lot. 

During the late afternoon I usually train from about 4 to 7 pm.  The day is still not over.  It is back home for another round of emails and general catching up on stuff missed during the day.  My day is finally winding down around 8 pm. I try to read another chapter of whatever book I am currently into before finally getting some sleep!!

Like everyone else, I need to find time to workout.  Sometimes it can be hard to schedule it into my day but I try to do that about three times a week during the break in the middle of my day…nothing crazy, just 20 to 30 minutes but I try to make them count. 

Each week I like to spend about 15 minutes with my trainers.  This gives me a chance to discuss business stuff and allows me to keep up to speed on what’s going on with our clients.

No two days are ever the same but it is always satisfying to have helped someone improve their health, even to the smallest extent.  It is a privilege.

Could I have a better workday? 

What do I hope to accomplish with my nutrition plan?

What does good nutrition mean to you?

A thousand people will give you a thousand answers.  No one knows what "good" means anymore.  There is so much opinion out there I am surprised no one has set up a TV channel just for that purpose. It's a minefield and anyone really that does not take professional advice is going to struggle with body composition change.  Everyone has some advice for you; Oprah, Dr Oz, the newspaper, your spouse, your work collegues, a sprawling internet spewing forth copious opinions, magazines.....

It's funny how many people tell you what to eat now, "top 10 weight loss foods", it's enough to make you give up and you haven't even started.

What do I want to accomplish with my plan?  Ask yourself this when you start and ask yourself again frequently. How are you going to remain true to your goals? Is your behaviour matching your goals (my favourite discussion point  so don't get me going on that one).  Who is helping you check in on yourself?

My plan should be about 3 things:

1. I should aim to improve body composition and hopefully feel good whilst doing so.

2. Improve your health and function. We shouldn't be looking to slow down metabolism, reduce muscle mass, increase nutrient deficiencies or decrease energy levels for the sake of something else.

3. Improve your performance, think long term. 

Focus on one area, let's say weight loss at the expense of something else causes problems.

A good example maybe low calorie diets for weight loss (or maybe other reasons) can lead to loss in bone mass (yes 20 year old female athletes can suffer right here), can lead to a loss in muscle mass, can reduce performance and impair mobility in later years. You may drop weight but health and performance suffer.

Similarly low carbohydrate diets may help you reduce blood sugar, however drive them too low and you drive muscle and liver carbohydrate energy low too.  For endurance sports low muscle glycogen will kill energy levels.

So we need to keep a balance in our outcomes, improved body composition, health and performance. Good nutrition is outcome based, theory and a 1000 articles on the net are all fine, but show me the results. 

Results - so sexy!

 

The Silent Thief

From your mid 30s onwards, both men and women lose bone thickness and strength. Approaching menopause women lose bone at a greater rate than men, infact they lose bone at 2-5 % per annum. The condition know as osteporosis can strike at any age and is called the "silent thief " because bone loss is occuring without any symptoms.  It has no single cause but affects women at a far greater rate than men.  It has been said that it's a "paediatric disease that manifests in adult life".  Peak bone mass for women occurs at age 16, not laying down as much bone whilst young can have severe long term consequences.  However, how many parents know or understand the issues of inactivity in youth?

The reduced quality of life for those affected is enormous.  Mobility becomes reduced, independence becomes reduced and disfigurement can occur.  It's amazing to know that at least 80% of fractures in the over 60's are related to osteoporosis.

One of the ways to identify the condition is through a Bone Mass Density test (BMD). This test should be taken by all men and women over 65, postmenopausal women over 50, people with high risk factors (family history of hip fractures, smokers, high alcohol consumers, low body weight, high risk medication use, people with Rheumatoid Arthritis, hyperthyroidism and malabsorption syndrome to name but a few).

So what does Osteoporosis Canada (www.osteoporosis.ca) recommend?

Drugs can be prescribed that slows down the rate of loss (the Bishosphonates family for example), improved nutrition: for example, calcium is essential to maintain life and this can come from the food we eat.  As an example, at age 50 we need 1200mg a day of calcium (think milk, cheese, yogurt, vegetables, salmon, sardines, lentils, beans, or even some form of supplementation).  Additionally, to absorb calcium the body needs Vitamin D,  this can come form exposure to the sun,  diet or supplementation.

Now the kicker, physical activity is essential in risk reduction and treatment of osteoporosis, placing increased force or load on the bones helps them to remodel and become stronger. Physical activity is also helpful to improve balance and thus reduce fall potential.  It is suggested that individuals work on strength, posture, core stability, balance and weight bearing activities. As a general guide the following recommendation seems consistent with research;

To increase bone mass density and reduce fracture risk, loading 2-3 x per week, 2-3 sets, 8-10 reps of weight bearing activity, with emphasis on spinal extension, stair walking, brisk walking and find some time for Tai Chi.

Its time to get in the gym folks....get some specific advice from a  trained osteoporisis  specialist,  why not set up a consultation now with a recommended expert.

Sabotage : We have become awesome at this...

Sabotage : We have become awesome at this...

All along the path to change we doubt ourselves , we criticise ourselves for past mistakes, this is not helpful. In turn this leads to a perpetuation of the behaviour we may be seeking to change. We dwell on past failures and this affects current or future behaviour. We often pre conclude " I failed at this before therefore I will fail again"...

Behaviours and Stress Eating

Behaviours and Stress Eating

If we look at client lifestyles, which I consider to be a major component of weight management, we can identify behaviours that may help assist in advising clients on changes in their eating. Certain behaviours can be defined as eating disorders and others identified as maladaptive...

How Thin People Think

How Thin People Think

As part of the Precision Nutrition course there are some great book recommendations, my new favourite is The Beck Diet Solution (Beck, J) which basically looks at the inclusion of cognitive therapy techniques to help you learn to think differently enabling changes in eating behaviour...

I Have Flown Countless Times But That Doesn't Mean I can Fly a Plane

I Have Flown Countless Times But That Doesn't Mean I can Fly a Plane

I have flown countless times but that doesn’t mean I can fly a plane....yes, that's the funniest thing I heard today! And it's so true. Actually, we were talking about health and fitness at the time. In particular, we were talking about gyms. It's no surprise that so many members pay the hefty gym fees but don’t use the gym...

Mindful or Mindless.... How much thought do you put into your Nutrition?

Mindful or Mindless.... How much thought do you put into your Nutrition?

I came across the concept of Mindful v. Mindless about three years ago. The concept was related to exercise. I'm afraid to admit a lot of the exercise I was prescribing at that time was verging towards mindless. In fact, even I was exercising like that to some extent. When I sat and thought about this, my mind turned to nutrition...

I Have Slipped Off My Path - How Do I Get Back On Board?

I Have Slipped Off My Path - How Do I Get Back On Board?

Ok, no names mentioned but here is a story of someone who found themselves slipping off the path. It happens to us all; something or a combination of things come along and before you know it you find yourself weighing more than you expected and maybe even heavier than you have ever been...

What Does The Indicator Light On My Dashboard Tell Me?

What Does The Indicator Light On My Dashboard Tell Me?

Indicator lights on the dashboard of your car telling you something is wrong are just annoying, right? But they are there for a reason (apart from squeezing money from you for some expensive service)! They blink away in front of you...

Liquid Calories Add Up Fast

Liquid Calories Add Up Fast

When people are filling in food journals I always remind them to add all liquids ....not just water but juices ( we recently discussed that  fruit juices could do without being in the fridge) , pop ( same as fruit juices) , alcohol, tea, coffee, yes calories are lurking every where especially fat and sugary ones...

Lean My Kitchen Up

Lean My Kitchen Up

If you buy it you will eat it. Eventually. If it's in your house you will eat it. Eventually. If it's in your desk draw you will eat it. Sooner or Later. If it's on your desk you will definitely eat it sooner. If some one gives you a food gift you will probably eat it. So if you can't resist temptation but can you minimize your intake of less than lean foods...

A Client's Journey Part 2: "Getting Going"

A Client's Journey Part 2: "Getting Going"

This is going to be a monthly feature probably. We are still following one particular client, this journey started many moons ago and still brings something new to the table each time we visit it. Imagine how you could be inspired by reading the words of someone who actually went on a real weight loss journey, after all the words are the words of a real life person like you or me...

The Journey So Far 2013.. (Half way through the year already!)

The Journey So Far 2013.. (Half way through the year already!)

So how is it going? Yes it's almost half way through the year already! How is it going with your health and fitness goals? I thought I should review mine and do it publicly so to speak, kinda makes me more accountable. This is a summary of the year to date and the issues along the way.

How to Facilitate Change in Diet and Exercise Patterns

How to Facilitate Change in Diet and Exercise Patterns

For most people, modification rather than elimination is all that is needed when it comes to changing ones diet or physical activity levels. Unlike stopping smoking, for example, there is no "quit day" when it comes to behavioural change linked to exercise and nutrition. There may of course be targets...

Balance Issues and Progression Ideas

Balance Issues and Progression Ideas

On a daily basis, I see people doing 1 legged squats on things like a Bosu ball. Even worse, doing the same exercise with weights! I always wonder why are they doing this. I am constantly referring to a phrase called "Goal of the Exercise" (GOTE). If I am ever questioned by a client as to why we are "doing this" and I don’t know the answer...

Effective Habits of Lean Eaters

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I have been following the Precision Nutrition (PN) Lean Eating programme for sometime, recently this has proved more successful to me than before, in the last 5 months I have lost 7 lbs and maintained and dropped 3.5 % Body Fat, my hydration level has climbed 3 %, not bad but could do better...

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Do I Live Each Day Close To My Values?

After an amazing weekend at the Precision Nutrition (PN) course with like minded people from all across North America, I have many topics that I could  focus on. The weekend oooooozed information! I have pages of notes, tons of ideas and masses of perspectives that I am going to disseminate and write about.

Top 5 Health Excuses and some Simple Solutions

Top 5 Health Excuses and some Simple Solutions

I always like a quote, especially one that I can turn into a blog. Recently I saw this one that I liked. "If it's important, you will find a way. If it's not, you will find every excuse not to." Here are 5 excuses I often hear from people and some simply solutions to address them...