Tag Archives: workout

There is power in ‘Before’

 

Happy New Year!!!  We have officially said goodbye to 2015 and across the globe people are welcoming in 2016 with hope, encouragement and good cheer.  As most of us turn the calendar forward we also take time to set new plans/resolutions/goals for the New Year.  I (as well as hundreds of others) have written before about how to be sure your resolutions are goals rather than dreams and you can read all about that here.

So if you are one of the millions who have set a new goal for 2016, I want to encourage you to do one simple thing that will help you achieve whatever your new goal is.

Take a before picture!!!

And I am not just talking about those of you with weight loss or body image goals.  Yes, if you have those goals, take that mirror selfie or have a friend get shots of you from all those oh so pleasing angles.

Regardless of the scope of your resolution – take a before picture!!!

But what about those other resolutions?

Better organization – take shots of your office/bedroom/house/inbox as they are today.

Eating healthier – take shots of your normal meals, the pantry, the refrigerator.

Better finances – create your balance sheet.  What are your assets?  What about liabilities?  Create it.  Save it.  Screen shot it.

Improved parenting – find whatever represents how you feel you are not living up and take a picture of that.

I think you get the picture (yep, I went there).  Take a pic of whatever will remind you of where you are today – before your efforts kick in.  So now the question you should be asking, why?  Why document this disaster?

There is power in the concept of before!!!

A before photo indicates there is an ‘after’.  It provides hope and encouragement that your current situation is not permanent and can be changed.

Taking a before photo starts the actual process of change.  You are already taking a small action towards change.  It moves you from dreaming to doing.

No one makes a significant change without stumbling once or twice.  Being able to look back and see how far you have come from that ‘before’ can restore your faith in your ability to change.  Use it as motivation to never go back.

It tells the story of you!!  I have never met someone who has completed a transformation that has not wanted to share it with others to encourage them.  Imagine the additional power your story will have when you have made your transition and literally show others how far you have come.

I have never met anyone who has regretted taking before photos but I have met dozens who regret not taking them (including me).  I wish I had a photo of what I looked like on the karate mat before I lost the 30lbs.  I can vividly see it in my own mind but have nothing to show you all where my journey started from.

So as you set those goals for 2016 be sure to document where you are starting from.  Be sure that you capture the power of ‘before’.

Happy New Year and l am looking forward to making 2016 the best year yet!!

Do you exercise, work out or do you train?

Let me start off by saying there is no “right” answer to the question above but how you answer tells a lot about your attitude towards fitness.  It is actually a question that I have really struggled with recently.

“Why do I work out the way I do?” And more pertinently “How do I really want to train?”

Maybe it will help if I define the three options for you.

Exercise:

The person who says “I am going to go exercise” typically does not have a real plan in place.  They may be the one who hits the hotel gym and decides based on availability as to whether they are going to run or hit the elliptical that night.  Now mind you, they are still ahead of 28.3% of Americans, who according to the Physical Activity Counsel have done NO EXERCISE AT ALL over the last 12 months…..and they even included walking the mall as a form of exercise!!  The reality is this group is also the least likely to see any type of real and persistent results from their efforts.  It is also the easiest mindset with which to skip altogether and find yourself among the 28%.

Work Out:

These are the people who typically have at least a semblance of a plan.  They know the muscle group they are going to target or the cardio exercise for the day.  They are usually intentional in their workout and they may even have specific goals for the work out (for example, today my goal was 40 minutes on the treadmill at 7 mph).  They make their time for their work out a priority.

Training:

These people have a specific goal in mind.  For some it is a race (think marathon running), for others it is a competition (fighters and bodybuilders), others still it is an amount of weight to drop.  For me it has been various rank advancement in karate or the occasional grappling tournament.  There is a different intensity to the workouts but more importantly, there is a different intentionality.  You are there in the gym, or on the mat, or on the road with a specific goal and purpose all of which leads up to a larger result.

So why bring this up at all?

Because I find myself in a time of transition.  For the last 7 years I have had something to train for and right now, I don’t.  A random set of circumstances has really thrown my training off the rails.

  • Schedule changes at the dojo preventing me from getting in regularly.
  • Work obligations getting in the way of my lunch BJJ sessions.
  • Nothing on the calendar to run towards (although I am going to run a Disney Race at some point)
  • Traveling an average of 4 days a week

All of these have conspired to put me in a spot where I am not training for anything specific right now.  There have actually been moments over the last few months that I have found myself walking into the gym with absolutely no plan…..and it terrifies me.  The good news is I am still walking in the gym or pressing play every day though.

The reality is that people who have something to train for are more intentional about their exercise regime and far less likely to miss a workout.

No- I don’t have a study to back that claim up other than the anecdotal evidence and my own experiences but the bigger question is how do embrace that fact and apply it?

I want you to think back to High School Physics class and to Newton’s first law of motion.  Do you remember?

A body at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by an external force. 

Intentionality is that external force to our stagnation.  The Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG for all of you Good to Great fans) is what moves people from exercising to training.  You have to have something you are working towards, or running from, that is so motivating that you not only exercise but you do so with intention.

I am on the hunt for mine now and I will be sure to share it when I identify it.  I am one of those weirdos that are not motivated by a number on a scale but by the things I am able to achieve.  That doesn’t mean that the chasing a number is wrong, it is just not what does it for me.

So what is it that will take you from exercising to training?  What is your BHAG?  Can’t wait to hear from you.

The upside down life of a RoadWarrior

Everything is always changing.  When it comes to life (and particularly your health), there really is no such thing as homeostasis.  So after this long holiday weekend, I decided it was time to review my rules for traveling fit and in the process realized the application of one of them was not producing the results I was hoping for.  You can read all about all of my guardrails here but for this post, I am going to focus on just one:

“Rule #3:  Don’t eat anything fried – For the most part I avoid anything fried while on the road (there is a wonderful place in Fort Lauderdale that has lobster corn-dogs that I make an exception for though…unbelievably good and you can check them out at http://www.coconutsfortlauderdale.com).  What this also means is I do not do ‘cheat meals’ on the road as my cheat meal usually involves something fried.  Those are saved for being at home with the family where we can enjoy it together.”

When you spend 60-80% of your time on the road, you find that some of your world gets completely turned around.  Most people see travel as a reason to let go, have fun and not pay quite as much attention to what they are putting in their body or how much they are exerting themselves.  I have found over the recent months that this relationship has flipped itself on me.  I am hyper aware on the road but not giving it the same attention at home.

Dessert every night? – No problem, it is a treat that I am home.  Besides, I made it so how bad could it be?

Cooking with rich ingredients? – No problem, I am not home to do this every day.

2500 Calorie Breakfast? – No problem, it’s a treat.  Besides, when I am not here the boys are eating cereal if we are lucky.

Portion Control? – Are you kidding me, we never eat the leftovers so it needs to be eaten now.

Snacking late at night? – I never do this on the road so this should not be an issue, right?

I realized this weekend that the mentality that most people have on the road when it comes to calories I have adopted at home.  The idea that the small splurge will not hurt the long term plan is actually a valid one.  The problem for any RoadWarrior is that you need to be disciplined both on the road AND at home.   Couple all of these excuses with a strong desire to serve my family and my love of cooking and basically every weekend has become a ‘Cheat Meal’.  Heck, just this weekend I made both Chocolate French Toast for Breakfast and Inside Out Apple Pie for dessert on the same day (pictured below but man were they good).

image  image

My idea of a splurge is turning into a habit of rich meals when home and deprivation on the road.

Not good for anyone.

So as we are half way through this year, I am reassessing how my road habits can become better home habits.  What are you evaluating?  Where are you strong and where do you need help?

Just a bit of musing for a Monday.

Looking forward to seeing you on the road.