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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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 🙂

 

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Stay healthy my friends,

5 Ways to Survive Holiday Parties

Tis the season, right?

I know I have discussed the idea of the “holidays RUINING your progress” is sort of an over exaggeration, but if you are someone who has multiple social outings and multiple opportunities to consume an epic amount of calories, it can add up.

One meal won’t wreck your progress. Not even one weekend will. But repeating the same gluttony every weekend for multiple weekends in a row, well, that COULD set you back a few.

So here are some strategies you could implement on the day of your next social indulgence.

1. Eat Light the Day Of

You have to be honest with yourself. When you go to these events, do you eat like you normally do? Or do you go to town? And honestly, at social gatherings, it doesn’t take much to consume a ton of calories.

Have a look at this example: 

Doesn’t take much to add up to almost 2000 calories.

So let’s be real if you know you are going to enjoy the party this way, eat light earlier in the day. You will likely get more than your fair share of carbs and fat, so load up on protein and veggies earlier on.

2. Don’t Pig Out on All Junk

You know how to eat healthily. Don’t say you don’t. Do you need 9 cookies? 20 bacon wrapped wieners? Real talk for a second – don’t eat like a child. What does you stuffing your face have to do with enjoying the party? Will you feel better the next day? Or like a bloated tick, ready to pop?Will you be happy with the result? So what’s the point of eating so grossly that you physically feel sick?

3. Be Mindful and Intuitive the Next Day

Are you waking up full from the party? Well you don’t NEED to eat breakfast at 8AM. You don’t NEED to eat your usual Sunday morning bacon grease platter with pancakes. Listen to your body. If you aren’t hungry, and you know you went full out effort on the crock pot meatballs last night, you will be okay if you skip or postpone breakfast – I promise.

4. Be Active The Day of and the Day After

This doesn’t mean you need to go repent for your sins at the gym and sweat out the demons. But move more. Go for a walk. Get your last minute holiday shopping done. Go to the gym and get your normally scheduled, routine workout in (you have one right?) Just don’t sit around feeling bad for yourself. It’s one meal/event that night – the whole rest of the day is not wasted.

Get 10k steps in and hit some weights for a solid bicep and shoulder pump – this is proven to make you feel more confident at the party #science.

5. Get Out of Your Own Way

See what all 4 of the previous tips have in common? It’s all on you. You decide what you eat. you decide what to do to prevent overeating. You decide what to do the day of as far as activity goes. You are in control of these situations 1,000,000% of the time. You have the ability to eat light before, to be honest with yourself, and make decisions in the moment. Maybe it’s not what you are used to, and in that case – it’s time to change your mindset. 

Sure, maybe this seemed a bit harsh – but hear me out. 

Even if you have 10 holiday parties between now and New Years. That is 10 meals that EVEN IF you eat epic amounts of food, drinks, etc…it will not out weigh what you do the rest of your life. In one year, assuming you east 3 meals per day, this is 1095 meals in a year.

If 10 of those are insane calorie binges on the fattiest, greasiest, cheesiest, booziest foods…that is 0.9% of your meals. Not even 1%! 

This brings me back to the point I referenced at the start of the post – it matters so so so so so so so much more what you do regularly than what you do over the course of a few parties. It’s not like you got to your current state of health – good or bad – because of 10 meals, and it never will be. 

Make smart choices at the parties, plan ahead, plan for after, and play the long game. All will be golden!

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Stay healthy my friends,

10 Effortless Calorie Cuts You Can Make Now to Make A Big Impact

Losing fat can be hard, and unfortunately, we often make it harder than it needs to be.

We read about the latest diet trend and flip our whole lifestyle upside down. So and so says I need to drink green slime and eat twigs to lose 10 pounds in 7 days? I WILL DO IT!

Sure, this may work for some – but let’s be honest, it doesn’t work for many.

Going from a standard American diet to the latest green smoothie, gluten free, dairy free trend is like trying to go from 0 to 100 in your grandmas  79′ Oldsmobile. It’s going to be a struggle, and that much change at once is hard to stick with.

To lose body fat, you need to be eating fewer calories than you burn – and here are 10 simple swaps you can make to save you calories over the course of the day. If you currently eat these foods, you don’t need to stop, just make these small adjustments and you will be golden.

1 – Bread – are you a sandwich person? There is nothing inherently bad about sandwiches, they really get a bad rep. Look at your bread. How many calories per slice? How many grams of carbs and fiber per slice? I really like to keep it in the 15 carbs per slice and 2+ grams of fiber per slice range. 50 calories.

2 – Milk – if you can handle milk, lucky you. Switching from 2% to skim, or even from whole to 2% can shave off some calories over the course of a day. 40 calories.

3- Soda – yes, in a perfect world we would all drink water. But even by switching from regular to diet, you can REALLY cut off some calories especially if you are a big soda drinker. And no, you don’t need to worry about the artificial sweeteners unless you are drinking over 23 cans per day…then we should talk. 150+ calories.

4 – Cheese – do you REALLY taste the cheese on your sandwich or burger? If not, cut it out. That alone can save you 80-120 calories.

5 – Breading – breaded chicken or fish may taste great, but between the breading and the grease that is trapped in the breading, there can be a whole lot of calories that can be cut. Go with baked, grilled or broiled and you will still get all the protein and none of the grease. 200 calories.

6 – Mixers – just like the soda, switching from regular soda or tonic water in cocktails to water or club soda (different than tonic) will cut out unnecessary calories from your drinks. Or just relive your glory days and rip some shots (kidding, sort of) 150+ calories

7 – Lean meats – switching from 80/20 beef to 93/7 or leaner is a big calorie saver. And be aware of ground turkey. Just because it is turkey, it can still be 80/20 – so leaner red meats are still fewer calories. One of my favorites is using 99% lean ground chicken for tacos – because once all the seasonings and other stuff is added, you can’t tell the difference. 200 calories.

8 – Eggs – if you are big egg eater, try switching out even one egg per day for some whites. You can still get all the protein but cut calories from the yolk (fat). Yolks are not as bad as once thought, but even cutting back from 3 to 2 eggs will shave off 80 cals.

9 – Carb swap – if 1/3 or 1/2 of your plate is usually carbs (rice, pasta, potato) – try dropping it to 1/4th of your plate and fill the void with more veggies. This will make sure that you are still getting enough volume in your meal, without as many calories. 150 calories

10 – Coffee dessert drinks – switching a latte for a cafe Americano will save you 200 calories. If you still need creamer at home, I suggest Walden Farm’s creamers. They are zero cals and still taste awesome. 200+ calories

There you have it! 1340 calories of savings – without much of a change!

10 swaps you can make right now, without completely revamping your diet.

***NEED MORE IDEAS? – Check out 50 MORE “Hacks”***

Would you like more help on controlling your food choices, learning to love food again, and getting life long results along the way? IF so —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,

3 Reasons You Aren’t Losing Fat

1)You’re eating too much

2)You’re eating too much

3)You’re eating too much

…really.

In all seriousness, this is the cause of weight gain. Too many calories in over time, with the body not able to expend them, leads to fat gain. Notice that I say “losing fat” vs. “losing weight”.

Weight loss is dumb. Weight loss is frustrating, confusing, and random. Unfortunately, so many people only focus on weight loss, instead of really focussing on fat loss.

If you lose weight, here’s what could be lost:

  • Water
  • Muscle
  • Poop
  • Urine
  • A limb

If you lose body fat, here is what could be lost:

  • Bodyfat

The goal should never be to lose water weight, lose muscle, or most definitely not a limb. So how can you determine if you are losing fat?

Many options, but my favorites include:

  • Belly button measurement – if it goes down or up, this MAY be from water retention, but over the long term, it is a good basic measurement of body fatness.
  • Skinfold measurements – make sure you get them down by someone who actually knows what they are doing. Still plenty of room for error.
  • DEXA Scan – the gold standard of body fat analysis, but it will cost you $75-$100.
  • The clothes test – do your clothes fit better? Down a size?
  • The naked mirror test – how do you look to yourself?

Back to the topic of this post, you need to focus on the “why”, not the what.

Just stepping on the scale or measuring your waist makes you aware of body fat, but it doesn’t change anything. This is the desired result, not the desired process.

The 3 areas that I see most people underestimating their intakes on are:

You Drink Too Many Calories

Alcohol, soda, milk, juice, creamers, all add up to your total caloric intake. Some are obviously better options than others. If you can stick to zero-calorie drinks as much as possible – water being ideal – this will make the process so much easier.

https://www.bodysculptorsaustralia.com/diet-sabotage---dont-drinking-your-calories.html

https://www.bodysculptorsaustralia.com/diet-sabotage—dont-drinking-your-calories.html

Alcohol especially is a double whammy on the fat loss goal. When you drink, your body diverts energy to break down the alcohol – because it is toxic. Where does it divert this energy from? Your fatty acid oxidation and muscle protein synthesis pathways. When alcohol enters your body, your fat burning system slows down, AND your muscle building/repair system also slows down.

5 beers might “only” be 600 calories – but the caloric toll it takes on the body is likely closer to 1000+ because of the slowing of your other metabolic processes.

Not saying you can never drink – but I recommend a self-audit on your intake, and if you are over 3-4 drinks per week, this might be an area to address.

You Snack Too Much

A nibble here, a bite there…it all counts.

If you try to stick to 3 square meals a day with nothing in between, could you do it? This strategy has worked for many of my clients based on the pure fact that they are chronic snackers.

At the moment little bites of things don’t seem like much. But look at how it can add up – and even with “good” foods.

 

500 calories, mostly from carb and fat. This might be an okay meal (little skimpy on protein if you ask me), but these are things that most people might have here or there during a day, and even if they track their food, they forget about. These aren’t massive portions either.

Awareness is key, and sometimes cutting back on areas that you know you struggle with is what it takes.

You Are Too Impatient

Lastly – the big one. Your body is always going through changes. As stated earlier, water weight can fluctuate like crazy, and this can drive people nuts. This is why it is very important to focus on the long game, watch your progress from week to week, month to month – instead of day to day.

Observe this 2-month stretch. Between the lines is 10 pounds.

You can see the day to day ups and downs. But the overall trend is money. It’s easy to get discouraged after a few days of hard work and nothing to be seen on the scale. This is where most people say screw it and give up. You have to get past this point. This is also why DAILY weighing can be so powerful and helpful.

Can you imagine if the weight was only measured on a weekly basis? That is where all the highest peaks are! (This person always weighed the most on Mondays…as is typical 🙂 This would be tremendously frustrating and psychologically disastrous to most people.

With daily weighing, you can see the trend over the long haul, and with the right mindset approach – this can make a huge difference.

Before you toss out your scale and down a dozen doughnuts in anger, remember – you are likely eating too much over THE LONGER period of time, not day to day – and this is okay, but if you want to make change, you gotta take some action, and it starts with taking a good honest look at yourself.

 

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Stay healthy my friends,

Never Strength Trained Before? No Problem.

Strength training is growing in popularity among average Joe’s and Jane’s, which is friggin awesome! I write about its importance all the time, and how it is literally the fountain of youth (when done correctly).

One of my client’s grandsons just signed up for a gym membership because he enjoyed training this summer. How cool is that? However, I want to make sure that even he has a credible resource that he can go to for training because there is a ton of fluff out there!

If you have absolutely no experience, are afraid, need a refresher or have zero clue where to start and what to do – this is for you.  I will try and lay it out in the post, step by step, as clear as possible. If you have any questions feel free to post or email me – mike@mgfitlife.com.

1) Focus on all the fundamental movements – push, pull, squat and hip hinge.

What the heck are these?

PUSH – think push up, or pushing AWAY from your body, like a chest press. Can’t do a push up? Try hands elevated pushups. Any pressing machine or dumbbells will work as well.

PULL – pulling weight towards you. Start with a form of horizontal pull like a dumbbell row, a body weight row, or cable row.

SQUAT – pretty much exactly how it sounds. The squat is more of a knee dominant exercise and it tends to work the quads, or front of the legs more than the hamstrings, or backs of the legs.

Start with just body weight, then add weight once you can sit down to the point where your thighs are parallel with the floor.

HINGE – this is also a lower body exercise but focuses on hinging from the hips – and works more of the backs of the legs – hamstrings and glutes (butt).

Start with a slight bend in the knees, but then push your hips back keeping your spine straight. Go to the point of feeling a stretch in the backs of your thighs then return to the top.

If using weights, keep them close to your legs, and shoulders back and tight.

If you know you have lower back issues, do not feel ready for this movement, or don’t think your form is on point, you can also use the floor glute bridge as an option.

 

So these are the 4 basic movement patterns that will cover most muscles of the body, now what do we do with them?

Start with ONE workout, because one is infinitely more than zero.

First – warm up. This can be as simple as a 5-10 minute brisk walk followed by 20 forward and 20 backward arm circles to warm up your shoulders.

Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions (reps) of the first exercise before moving to the next. Give yourself about 1 minute rest in between sets.

What weight should I use??? Use a weight that allows you to get all 8-10 reps, but it somewhat challenging by the final rep. If you know you have some natural strength, you may have to start with some ramp up sets. This means you wouldnt jump to a max effort set on set one, but rather build up to it. Say your working weight is 100 pounds.

You might start with 1×10 @ 50 (ramp 1), then 1×10 @75 (ramp 2), then 3×10 @ 100

You still shouldn’t go to failure on your working sets, and you shouldn’t force sloppy reps.

I often use the cue – leave a few reps in the tank. Meaning, if you absolutely HAD to do 12 or 13 reps you could.

How does this look?

Example:

  • 10 push ups or dumbbell presses – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 push ups or dumbbell presses – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 push ups or dumbbell presses – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 rows – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 rows – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 rows – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 squats – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 squats – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 squats – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 hinges – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 hinges – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 hinges – rest for 1 minute

That’s it!

See how you feel 2 days later, and if you feel up to it, repeat the same exact workout once or twice in the week,

Then what?

The most simple way to progress is to add reps until you get to about 20. Then go back to 10 reps and add weight. This will cover you for a decent amount of weeks and if you are truly new to lifting weights you will be good to go.

Example:

  • Week 1 – 10 chest presses with 10 pounds
  • Week 2 – 12 chest presses with 10 pounds
  • Week 3 – 15 chest presses with 10 pounds
  • Week 4 – 18 chest presses with 10 pounds
  • Week 5 – 20 chest presses with 10 pounds
  • Week 6 – 10 chest presses with 12 pounds
  • Week 7 – 12 chest presses with 12 pounds
  • And so on and so on…

That is literally the most basic form of weight training you can do, and if you are totally new to it this will be a great place to start!

Don’t try to get ahead of yourself and add weight every workout. It takes time for muscles to grow, and slow and steady is always the way to go!

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Stay healthy my friends,

Reach Your Goals Faster By Adding THIS to Your Plan

“I’m going to get healthy”

“I’m going to save more money for ____”

“I’m going to spend more time with my family”

All reasonable goals that people might say. However, what is the one common trend among them? They are all about “I”. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do things for yourself, and go at it like a lone wolf, the power that other people can have to help accelerate your progress can be tremendous.

Three Ways to Use Others to Accelerate Your Progress

Use sounds so harsh, but know that this is not in a bad way like manipulating or taking advantage of, but rather using the power of others to progress quicker, stick to plans, and boost results.

1 – Make a Promise

Studies have shown that when you make a promise to someone, you are more likely to do it. If you make a promise to a group of people, you are even more likely to do it. If you make a promise to a large audience – like your social media circle, a crowd of people, etc. you are even MORE likely to follow through (tell that to the politicians though… 🙂

It is our human nature to not want to let other people down, and not disappoint social expectations.

When it comes to these promises, make sure that they are centered around your process goals (actions to reach the goal), and not your result goals (actual goal).

If your goal is to lose 10 pounds by Jan 1, write out the things that you need to do to reach this goal, then choose 1 or 2 to focus on, and make that promise to someone, or a bunch of people. Write it out, make a contract, etc. The more “intense” you make it the better.

2 – Band Together with a Tribe

We want to fit in. We want to be accepted. Again – it’s human nature – actually it’s nature. Even animals show interesting traits of wanting to fit in when they are in groups.

You are much more likely to achieve your goals if you spend time with like minded people. Saving money for a house? Maybe you shouldn’t be trying to keep up with your friends who want to party every weekend and don’t have the same goal as you. I’m not saying you need to abandon your friends, but pick and choose when you hang out with them based on the influence that it might have on your ultimate goal.

Joining a group that has the same interest or goal as you makes it easier to continue to do those things because it’s seen as the norm when you are with that group. It’s what these people do, so I should to it to! Peer pressure isn’t always a negative.

Even more powerful is joining a group with the same goal as you that also has a current shared interest/commonality.

Mom’s Reading Book Club – Goal: To Read More, Commonality: Mom’s

Ladies Lifting Group – Goal: Lift weights and get jacked, Commonality: Ladies Only

Young Entrepreneurs Networking Group – Goal: Increase Network, Commonality: Young Entrepreneurs

You get the idea. Find a tribe or group, and hang with them more – and the challenging actions from outside of the group will magically become the social norm for you.

When you constantly hang out with people who don’t align with your goals, you are much less likely to achieve them. Sure, willpower can work for some time, but eventually you hanging out with the group of friends that wants to crush beers, pig out, and sleep in until 11 AM will pull your further and further from your goal of losing fat.

3 – Use a Friend to Increase Your “Risk”

Give a friend $500 and tell them that for every day you go to the gym with them, they have to give you $5 back. Every time you back out, they get to keep $5.

Seems outrageous, but it’s actually more likely to get you to the gym frequently. This gives you 100 money making opportunities to get to the gym. That is a pretty damn good goal, wouldn’t you say?

Even one step further – tell them that every time you back out, they get to donate your $5 to the political party that you DON’T align with. Classic reward/punishment system here.

Whatever you choose to do, the more you put on the line as far as potential rewards or punishments, you are more likely to have that extra kick in the pants when it comes time to do your action.

The key here is involving someone else. When you make promises and set up reward systems for yourself, you are more likely to make excuses, and justify half assed promises. It can really be anything – someone will pay for dinner, will buy tickets to _____, will take you ____, – anything that gives you that extra kick to push towards your goal.

Even if you are more of a lone wolf, finding one person to align with, make a promise to, or setup a reward system with will increase your odds at winning. Link ALL 3 techniques together, and I think you would be pretty much unstoppable!

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Stay healthy my friends,

Eating While on the Road

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I got so much feedback on this one that I figured I would post it here as well, but this is rare, and might never happen again 🙂

If you travel a lot for work or find yourself in the car a large portion of the day, it can seem like the food choices are stacked against you if you are trying to maintain some sort of healthy diet, or even tougher if you are trying to actually lose some weight.

Truth is, it is “harder” but not impossible – and it is actually rather simple if you follow these simple rules.

Rule #1: Are you actually hungry? 

If you just ate breakfast or lunch, you shouldn’t be hungry. Driving long days in the car can be stressful, boring and tiring. However, using food to cope with these three emotions is never a good idea, especially when you are stuck in a small confined space of a vehicle.

If you find yourself mindlessly stress snacking in the car, the first thing to address is the question of “how did this snack food get in here in the first place?” – you. It all starts with you. If you know you are prone to this, don’t buy that stuff. You are only exposing yourself to an opportunity to mindlessly eat.

It’s like a recovering alcoholic popping in the liquor store to buy a water…not the best idea.

Rule #2 – Protein First

I like the rule of “20 grams or bust” – anything I eat in the car, when I am actually hungry, has to contain 20 grams of protein or more per serving. This will help keep you full, minimize the possibility that it is a junk food, and should hold you over until you reach your destination.

It doesn’t have to be all from one food, or even at one time either, but keeping it to 20 or more grams of protein is key.

Some examples might be:

  • Quest Protein Bar
  • Fairlife (Core Power) High Protein Milkshake
  • Jack Links Tender Bites
  • Hard-boiled eggs

These are all things that you can buy at most well stocked, larger gas stations.

Just like avoiding the snacky, mindless food takes the preparation of not buying them, making sure you are stocked up on quality protein foods also takes preparation.

Rule #3 – If Eating Fast Food…

Let’s be real. You’re going to stop for fast food at some point. While it may not be ideal, it is still possible to do some form of damage control. Applying the protein rule again – this should be your first focus. Luckily, most fast food places have the calories listed on their menus now, so you should be able to figure out what the better choices are.

Stick to these basics and you should be covered:

  • Don’t drink your calories – water, or diet soda ALWAYS
  • Non-breaded chicken is the leanest option
  • Minimize the extra fat – cheese, bacon, mayo, all can be skipped
  • You might be better off getting 2 sandwiches than 1 sandwich and fries…
  • 6″ subs with double meat are always a good choice
  • You don’t need dessert with your fatty lunch…ever.
  • It is already high in calories, so no, you don’t want to supersize it.

While it may not be the most convenient, eating on the road and sticking to your goals is possible. Like accomplishing anything else, it takes a little planning, and little prep, and a little bit of willpower.

In the end, it comes down to keeping your target goal in mind, and reminding yourself what this is all worth, and where you are trying to get to in your health journey.

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Stay healthy my friends,