Think Yourself Fit

Going off last weeks post about loving yourself first., I wanted to bring up the power of the mind.

The mind is truly the strongest “muscle” we have when it comes to what we do with our body. Our mind can convince us to do crazy things, and it can convince us to avoid things that we KNOW we should be doing.

This is why I preach about “mindset” so much with my clients!

Until you finally “get it”, it sounds like a bunch of feel good, Jedi mind trick stuff. But once someone understands that they must be in the right mindset, I can see it. It is like a switch that has been flipped, and true progress begins.

Your subconscious is one of your worst friends if you have struggled to lose weight for while. You have likely stored a lot of negative thoughts about yourself. What is stored in your subconscious will often rear its head into your conscious thoughts and actions.

If you are constantly thinking things OR saying things like “I will always be fat” “I am fat” “I am weak” “I am _____” I will always be ____” “This is hard”…etc – you will continue to reflect these thoughts in your every day because you have engrained those associations into your subconscious self.

When you continue to think this way, it makes it easier for you to accept that this is how it is, this is the hand that you were dealt and there is nothing you can do about it.

Well, I’m screaming BULL$#!T

This is where your thoughts and actions need to change. Stop thinking of yourself as one way, and start viewing yourself as the person you want to become – before you even become that person. I know this sounds like imposter syndrome, but it’s not.

You need to start viewing and thinking about yourself in a positive light. Maybe you aren’t strong at the gym…but you know what? You are pushing yourself day in and day out there, so start thinking about yourself as a powerlifter, or a bodybuilder, or whatever you aspire to maybe be. This, in turn, will start reflecting in other parts of your life.

People who get stronger/more cut at the gym eat healthier…maybe I will start eating healthier…and so on and so on, the snowball rolls.

Maybe you have fat to lose. Instead of thinking “ugh this is hard” and playing the victim card (which makes it easier to accept your current situation), buck up, and tell yourself “I got myself here, and I am getting myself out”… notice, I didn’t put the word “trying” in there.

Then you must continue to visualize, act, and progress like the person you wish to become…day in and day out. Only positive, and motivating thoughts.

There is enough depressing crap in the world right now anyway, so stop bumming yourself out more and playing this “woe is me” card. Start thinking positive, start building your future…now!

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

Stay healthy my friends,

Love Yourself First

“You cannot pour from an empty cup”

In other word’s, you can’t help others who need you if you aren’t taking care of yourself.

On this Valentine’s Day, I want you to focus on you. It’s not selfish. It’s mandatory. I am not suggesting that you forget about your loved ones, your spouse, your kids, etc… I am just reminding you to not forget about YOU!

Now here is the not so popular/politically correct version…you can love yourself, but still, want to change.

In today’s society, we hear about loving yourself and being accepting of what and who you are right now. But it ends there. Don’t get me wrong, I agree 1000% with that.

However, wanting to change – especially for the sake of health – is also something that you can do, and frankly, it is the best form of self-love that you can show for yourself.

Being unhealthy is disrespectful to you, and your body – and it is disrespectful to those who care about you.

Maybe you have loved ones, friends, or family, who continue down a path of self-destruction, through their habits, their lifestyle, and their overall choices. They continue to ignore the signs of their body screaming at them for help, they continue to ignore the fact that they are slowing down…

So why would you do this to yourself? Do you have people who depend on you? Do you have people who love you, people who care about you? I know you do.

One of the truly most SELFISH things you can do is accept your current unhealthy state and do nothing. That is NOT self-love. That is accepting SELF DESTRUCTION and SELF ABUSE, and if you don’t care enough about yourself, I bet there are others who do.

Maybe you don’t see yourself as unhealthy right now. Maybe you have time on your side. But look at those who are 20,30,40 years older…some of these situations don’t happen overnight, and the cost of them isn’t felt immediately.

However, we cannot deny the facts. Facts that point out the health risks of certain lifestyles, mortality and morbidity rates.

SO what to do? Choose to change. Choose to TRULY love yourself.

You didn’t get to where you are overnight, so don’t try to fix it overnight. Create a sustainable plan, that is slow and steady and focus on one thing at a time.

But you must commit to it. No wishy-washy “trying”.  You need to commit to change and take action now.

Chase progress, not perfection. Make one little improvement every single day, and you will be amazed at what you can do in a year.

As long as you stay committed, and stay in line with your mission, goals, and end result…you will get there, and you will feel a heck of a lot better about loving yourself AND seeing how much more you can show your love for others.

Happy Valentines Day xoxo

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

Stay healthy my friends,

The Missing Link For Progress

Fat loss stalled.

Muscle gain stalled.

Looking softer, or guys…having issues staying “soft”?

Time to diet harder, workout harder, or take more pills…right?

Not so fast.

What about your sleep?

Sleep is a foundational component of overall healthy life. Studies have shown that with as little as only 4 days of sleep deprivation, young, healthy males started to show biomarkers of type 2 diabetes! More here: https://sciencelife.uchospitals.edu/2015/02/19/new-study-helps-explain-links-between-sleep-loss-and-diabetes/

When we sleep is when our body recharges, our brain recharges, and our muscles rebuild. Growth hormone levels peak and lipolysis (fat burning) peaks during sleeping hours.

So when we don’t get enough sleep, we cut these very important processes short and set ourselves up for trouble from a metabolic perspective for days after.

How much do we really need?

Nothing new here – 7 to 8 hours. However, more isn’t always better. Some studies have shown that getting more than 9 hours can increase SOME risks…but really, who needs to worry about getting 9 hours of sleep…

Also – the quality of sleep matters. Are you in bed for 8 hours, but tossing and turning? Or are you dreaming about happy stuff and drooling on your pillow?

How to get more:

First – minimize stimulants close to bed – this being caffeine  – and anything else that gets you amped up.  Try to not have any stimulants after 12 PM.

Also – minimizing alcohol close to bed. Even though it is a depressant, it doesn’t allow us to get quality, restful sleep.

Second, have a wind-down routine.

Get off your phone at least an hour before your planned bedtime. Sounds crazy I know, but you can read before bed…from this paper thing called a book. Keep your phone out of the bedroom completely.

Even turning down the lights, turning off the TV, etc. will help the brain wind down.

As far as food goes, people respond differently, so that’s something you need to observe. I personally sleep better if I have some carbs about an hour before sleeping. Some people sleep best on no food.

Lastly, room temp. Try to keep the room around 65 degrees for best sleep.

It’s not the easiest thing to do – but getting more sleep might be one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Prioritize it, work at it, and you will notice some awesome changes.

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

Stay healthy my friends,

HELP! I Can’t Get to the Gym but I Need to Workout!

What do you do if you can’t get to the gym…because of weather, car issues, or something else – but you know you need to do something, you need to be active, or you need to blow off some steam.

Look no further than body weight exercises. The only equipment you need is you – so no excuses there!

Now, the first thing to ask yourself is, “how do I feel today?”

Have you been crushing it all week, and feeling pretty sore, tired, and beat up? Then you probably need a recovery workout.

Or are you feeling good, and ready to challenge yourself? Then you could do a simple bodyweight circuit – which will not only work your muscles from a strength standpoint but also get your heart rate up for some cardiovascular health.

Recovery Workout

The point of this workout is to mobilize, get the heart rate a little elevated, but most importantly spark some recovery so you can be ready to go for your next training session.

Complete 4-6 Rounds of the following, with 30-60 seconds rest between rounds:

  • 6 x  Hinge to Squat to Reach
  • 6 x Quadruped Rock Back
  • 12 x Forward/Backward Skips
  • 6 x Plank Knee Crosses
  • 6 x SLOW Dead Bugs

Active Workout

The point of this workout is to hit the full body with a little more challenge. Complete 4-6 rounds of the following, with 30-60 seconds rest between rounds:

  • Bridge to Reach x 8
  • Side Shuffle x 5 times down and back ~10 feet
  • Inchworm (add pushup at the bottom for more challenge) x 6
  • Squat to Front/Back Lunge Combo x 6 times per side
  • Side Plank Leg Raise x 8 per side
  • Wide Outs x 10

So there you have it, no excuses, no reason to not do SOMETHING!

 

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

Stay healthy my friends,

Your Reaction is 100% Your Fault

Jan 22, 2019…..4AM

“Michael! Get up, I think we have water leaking in the basement!”, was the first thing I heard abruptly and totally unexpectedly. I sprinted downstairs, and as soon as I got to the landing at the bottom of the stairs, my heart sunk. Well, my feet also sunk because the carpet was sopping wet.

I turned the corner into the unfinished side of the basement only to see 2 inches of water consuming everything in the room. After screaming out a few obscenities, I ran to the main shut off valve and turned the water off. The bleeding stopped.

Long story short, a faulty PVC valve was to blame for this wake-up call. Full flood in our storage area, and partial flooding into the finished part of the basement.

At this point, the damage was done. So now what? Our water is off and we have a 13-month-old. I have to make some calls, emails and cancel some clients. Priorities. First thing – 5:35 AM drive to HyVee to get some gallon jugs of water. Grocery stores are interesting at this time of day, I highly recommend you check one out sometime.

After getting everything squared away with insurance,  and between getting the cleanup crew over, and the plumber to repair the pipe, it was a very sporadic and unplanned day. Which I hate.

But what can you do? How can you handle it? What can you do to keep pushing forward? 

In between talking with the cleanup crew, and the plumber, I worked on programming for clients, online posts, did some continuing education work and planned out the rest of my team training for the week.

I’m not making this point to show off, or say “look at how productive I am…” but just to use it as a real-world example.

There was no way I had control over that crappy valve bursting. But I had total control over how I let that affect my day and my mood.

Did I handle the situation perfectly? No. I had a minor freakout within the first 5 minutes (that’s understandable right?)…but after that I told myself, what’s done is done, time to solve this.

The same thing goes with life, and how you respond to stress, anger, sadness, happiness, tiredness, etc. I often talk with people about not using food to comfort them.

Food will never fix your problem unless your problem is hunger.

Sure, I could have sulked around all day, day drank bourbon and cried my feelings away into a pillow…but how would that help anything? That wouldn’t get my basement dry. It wouldn’t move my business forward. It wouldn’t bring back our wedding guestbook that was now soaked…It’s only stuff anyways.

It is an important reminder to tell yourself over and over – “food won’t fix this problem, only I can fix it, or at least I can control my response and what comes next.”

What if it’s too late? 

Maybe you already reached for the bag of chips and went to pound town. Ok. Did you realize what you were doing? Then stop.

Maybe you did but couldn’t stop. Once you calm down you need to refocus. So you ate a whole bag of _____. That doesn’t mean your day is ruined and you might as well eat everything else in the pantry. It’s like getting a flat tire and slashing the other 3…doesn’t make much sense.

Gather yourself in. Reassess what is going on, and why it is happening. Remind yourself that you are always in control of your reaction, and actions. 

Nobody else controls your emotions, your reactions, and your actions – take ownership of them, and continue to push forward, it is your only good option.

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

Stay healthy my friends,

Let’s Get Physical at the Office…

Get your mind out of the gutter.

Chronic sitting is a plague to our country, and most Americans are falling victim. We sit in the morning, sit in our car, sit at the desk, sit at lunch, sit on the way home, sit at home, and repeat.

Aside from the chronic issues that come from sitting too much – see fixes HERE – we just aren’t moving enough throughout the day. On average, Americans get just over 5000 steps per day, which is almost 4000 less than pretty much every other developed country. Couple less movement with an overabundance of food, and you have a problem.

So how can we be more active at work without being the guy or gal doing jumping jacks in her cubicle? (not really a bad idea) – here are three ideas – but first, the mindset is always key.

Stop Thinking You Know What Others Might Think…

I’ve heard people say things like, “well that sounds silly” or “my coworkers might think I am weird…”. I guarantee you that no one is really thinking that you are weird because you want to take better care of your health. If anything, they are jealous that you are taking time and putting in the effort to be healthier, and that might come out in the form of jokes or judgement – but who cares?

You will need to get over that mental block of feeling embarrassed for not doing what most others are doing…in anything health related because truth is – most others are not doing so well anyway.

Alright, here are three options you can implement NOW.

1. Longer Routes

Take the scenic route to your desk, office, etc. We all have heard to use the stairs. But what about parking a little further out, using the stairs, and meeting new people along the way. We need to be more social anyways, make it a point to meet someone new every day – and you cannot go to your desk until you do, so get to work a little early.

2. Walking Meetings

Your brain works better with movement and blood flow. Next time you have a one on one meeting, or discussion, ask if they would like to walk and talk. It might not always be an option, but you may actually find it more enjoyable and may come up with better ideas.

If you have a lot of phone conversations, you can implement this as well with phone calls. Every time you take a call, get up and move around the office (if you can). Even just standing can make a difference.

3. Activity Breaks

I teach a workplace fitness class twice per week. Shout out to those ladies because they are awesome! They make exercise a priority during their workdays. But it also allows them to blow off some steam, take a mental break, and get their workout in without having to go to the gym before or after work, which means more family time for many of them.

Maybe you don’t have this option. If you are serious or in a position to make it happen, I would bring this idea up with HR, and reach out to a local trainer/gym and see what you can work out. If not, there are still many things you can do without actual exercise.

  • Set an hourly alarm to get up and walk to the furthest drinking fountain.
  • Don’t use email if you don’t have to – get up and talk to people.
  • Do 10 bodyweight squats to your chair – who cares what others think!
  • Take a lunchtime walk. If you are competitive, track how far you go, and try to beat your time next week.
  • Use waiting time to move – waiting for the copier? Pace. Waiting for the microwave? Walk for 2 minutes.

Get creative with it! But more importantly – just move more!

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

Stay healthy my friends,

Results Will Be Found in the Company That You Keep

“Results Will Be Found in the Company That You Keep” – Peterson Company Fitness

This is the motto from one of my fellow trainer’s and friend, Becky’s gym in Reedsburg, WI. Honestly, the motto is perfect on so many levels.

You are more likely to get results with a support system.

You are more likely to become like those you spend time with.

The truth of it is, you cannot reach your goals – in whatever facet of life we are talking about – without setting yourself up around like-minded, like-motivated, people – in AND out of optimal environments.

Want to exercise more? Hang out with people who like to go to the gym.

Want to become a microbrew connoisseur? Hang out with people who drink microbrews.

Want to become a pothead stoner? Hang around with potheads.

Trying to be the black sheep in a majority environment will and can only last so long. If you are in a group that does not support your views, goals, ambitions, you either succumb to the norm or walk away.

“But Mike, I’m trying to lose weight, and my co-workers/friends are all fit – yet they eat the same lunches that I do, and we hang out on Friday nights – yet they get these results and I don’t”

This is a very narrow-minded view. Just because you eat lunch with them, and go out for drinks weekly, doesn’t mean you see the whole picture. Let’s say you spend 6 hours a week with them, doing the same stuff, eating the same stuff… that’s 3.5% of the week.

I wouldn’t call that truly mimicking their lifestyle.

That is why you have to look deeper. What are their day-to-day habits like? Sleep, Food, Choices, Exercise, Steps, Activity, Mental, Mindset, Stress, and the list goes on and on…

Hang around them more often. Take your gym friendships outside of the gym. Talk about things that relate to health. Build a lifestyle around it. It doesn’t have to consume you to the point where it is all you talk about, but if you start living like someone who takes care of their body and health – well, you will start looking like someone who takes care of their body and health!

However – this doesn’t mean that if your friend looks awesome and doesn’t eat carbs, that you must not eat carbs to look awesome. This doesn’t mean that if your friend squats 300 pounds, you must squat 300 pounds to have that nice booty.

More importantly, it is the HABITS and the PATTERNS that your friend focusses on that are likely the areas that you should focus on as well.

Maybe they track their food or at least are conscious of what they eat (not eating carbs creates a caloric deficit – that’s all)

They squat 300 pounds because they are consistent with workouts, track workouts, and challenge their body in the gym – that is what to focus on!

Keep company with those you want to be like, those you enjoy being around, and those that support you in whatever you want to become.

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

Stay healthy my friends,

Why Relying on Exercise for Weight Loss is a Bad Idea

It’s that time of the year. Gyms are packed with New Year Resolutioners! It is a fantastic sight. People looking to get their health back, lose some pounds, and get healthy. I love it.

However, many of these people have the best of intentions, but maybe the wrong approach. And I don’t blame them. For years and years, people were told “oh just move more”, “run”, and “do cardio”, were all the best ways for fat loss.

Here are the stats:

Traditional cardio – on AVERAGE, a person will burn about 100 calories per mile walked, jogged or run. How easy is it to eat 100 calories? 1 TBSP of peanut butter, a weak 4oz. pour of wine or one measly ounce of cheese…

High-Intensity Cardio – this would be stuff like sprint intervals, HIIT classes, etc. While there is no exact number for calorie burn calculations here, yes it may be slightly higher…but at some point, somethings gotta give. If someone is just getting into fitness, and is overweight, doing high-intensity work right out of the gate is NOT a good idea. Frankly, most “high intensity” boot camps and classes are not a good idea because they rely on providing a feeling, and a sweat factor – to make people think “man, I worked hard today!” – which anyone can do with enough exercises thrown together.

 

Jumping, splitting jumping, hopping, sprinting, burpeeing, on fatigued, unstable, and weak joints is a recipe for no exercises at all after you blow out your knee, tweak your back, or strain your calf.

Strength Training- but Mike, I thought you were 100% meathead and all about strength training?? I am – but not for purposes of fat loss. Truth is, the idea that “EPOC” or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption is super-elevated after strength training and will burn fat for 72 hours afterwards is pretty overblown. Strength training is great to build muscle and keep your strong (which does raise your resting metabolism), but not as a sole means of fat loss.

So how does one lose fat in the New Year?!?!

Watch. What. You. Eat

Simple. Not easy, not sexy, but factual and proven to work 100% of the time.

The average person will underestimate their intakes by anywhere from 50-75%!

Start with reading labels. Be aware of how many calories is in what. Learn about how higher calorie food choices add up. Be aware of how many calories you drink – from juices, sodas, coffee drinks, booze… Be aware of the mindless eating, and how a few nibbles here and a few bites there can add up.

Follow up with intuitive eating. Are you hungry? Then eat to the point of not feeling hungry, but not to the point of being stuffed and bloated.

Lastly, give it time. Yes, we are coming off of the Holiday season, and 99% of people, even the healthy folks, are bloated up.

Everyone wants quick results, and in the easiest form possible. 99 people out of 100 and even the most deconditioned persons are going to choose “add exercise” over “pay attention to food intake”. Well, I encourage you to be that 1. Be active, don’t get me wrong!

But be active doing things you enjoy, not because you feel the need to burn more calories and punish yourself from the holidays.

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

Stay healthy my friends,

New Year…Same Ol You

Before anyone gets too upset at the extreme pessimism of this title hear me out 🙂

How many of you have tried a New Year resolution related to health/fitness/nutrition? Everyone is probably raising their hands.

How many of them worked? And by worked, I mean more than the 12 weeks that you did it…how many of them stuck, or lasted for a lifetime?

The issue with setting resolutions, or other willpower based goals – is they often don’t work out the way you hope. They can be easy to stick to when motivation is high but are often unrealistic for the long haul, or a lifetime. Willpower is finite. Eventually, something’s gotta give, and when you are in an environment which fosters a certain behavior or lifestyle that doesn’t match up with your goals, well, you can only willpower your way through it for so long.

Environment – this is where the real magic happens. What if you had to go to work in an office that banned sweets, sodas, chips, etc. from ever entering the building? You wouldn’t be able to mindlessly snack on them because they aren’t there. While this may be a bit extreme, this is often what it takes to some extent to set up your environment for success.

Our environment is more than the area, or foods we are around- but also the people.

It is often said that you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with, and I believe it.

Let’s say your goal was to quit drinking. But all your best friends always want to drink, multiple times per week. How long do you think you could make it, hanging around them constantly, without drinking? Some may last longer than others, but likely you would give in.

What if your goal was to save up money for a big trip, or purchase, but all your friends want to live in the moment, and live the high life every weekend, with fancy meals, nights out, lavish parties… good luck saving money.

So what do you do? Stop hanging out with friends, or stop going to your office that has sweets? That probably won’t work out too well either.

This is where you set limits on yourself – upper and lower. 

Rules is another way to put it. 

When a woman is pregnant, people don’t throw drinks at her because we all should know by now that pregnant women don’t and should not drink. If someone is fasting for religious reasons, we don’t say “aww come on man, who cares” – we respect their rule or limit that they set due to their religious beliefs.

So when it comes to sweets, or drinks, or spending money… set limits. Upper limits on the stuff you are trying to break, and lower limits on the stuff you are trying to build. These should be rules, not suggestions.

Upper limits might be: I will only go out for drinks one night per week, I will only spend $100 on eating out per week, I will only eat 2 sweet treats per week. 

These limits do two things: they limit your total intake/usage of what you are trying to break BUT also allow yourself to enjoy them in true moderation. This is where hardcore willpower based goals/resolutions miss the boat – it’s ALL or NOTHING. 

Lower limits might be: I will go to the gym 3 times per week, I will put $50 in a savings account per week, I will eat vegetables once per day. 

These are bare minimums, that if you do more of – GREAT! But as long as you stick to your minimums, you are sitting better than the all or nothing folks who might be hitting the gym 7 days per week now, but let’s check back with them in a month.

As you go, you can adjust your lower limits too. Maybe you have don’t great with $50 per week savings, so bump it to $60. That’s an extra $520 saved a year from now. 

The last point to setting lower limits is: set them low. You want them to be winnable, even on your most stressful/hectic weeks. So if you currently don’t go to the gym at all – your lower limit might be – go to the gym on Mondays. Do that for 4 weeks, then bump to 2 times per week.

I know it’s not sexy, nor will it bring the results as fast as you might want – but I promise you this – if you stick to it over the course of a year, and build on it…you will be so much better off in a year, and over a lifetime.

 

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

Stay healthy my friends,

Merry Christmas! Eat Well!

I will keep this one short and to the point – Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 

Here are 4 of our favorite all in one recipes that you can make to help fill up on high-quality nutritious meals this holiday season 🙂

Just click the links to download the PDF’s – no need to sign up or anything…

BUT if you aren’t signed up for the email insiders list, I highly recommend it – because I will be sending out some big stuff in 2019 to my email insiders ONLY 🙂

 

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

Stay healthy my friends,