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There are a lot of factors that go into having success in the gym. So many that it can really be overwhelming. Just look at one example, program design. What type of program you choose to employ in your training regimen will play a factor in your success. Is it Zumba? Or Pilates? Crossfit? Just running maybe? How about 5 sets of 5? Or maybe the Weindler method? Okay, obviously what you choose will depend on your goal, but you get the point. Program choice alone has A LOT of choices!
So, with all of the factors that can make or break you, it would be great to know the 1 thing you need to focus on to have long term success, right? This way, all of the other factors don’t bog you down into paralysis by analysis. I will warn you, though. This is something your trainer doesn’t want you to know. This factor alone may open your eyes and have you sprinting towards success. At the same time, it’s right in front of your face. We just choose to ignore it because it much be too simple. But often, it’s the simple things that will get us the furthest.
Okay, I guess you’re ready to know. What is the 1 factor that will lead to long term, indefinite success in your health and fitness goals?!
Yup, showing up.
Ask someone who just got started working out what the hardest thing is about going to the gym. They’ll tell you showing up 90% of the time. Anybody who has worked out for a period of time takes this for granted. Your mind is so set on having killer workouts each time you go to the gym. The one time that you have an “off” workout, you deem yourself a failure. But here’s the thing, there are no “off” workouts. There’s just training.
Or maybe you just got started. Every day, you go into the gym, play on some machines then get on the treadmill for half an hour. After about 6 weeks you decide you’re wasting your time because you keep doing the same thing, over and over. After all, you have to have muscle confusion to lose weight, right? NOPE! If only our muscles could get confused, then maybe that would work.
If you showed up to the gym, you’re already more successful than 90% of the people in America. Yup, 90%. That means 10% of American’s go to the gym regularly. Don’t you feel better being part of the 10% who show up, rather than the 90% who don’t try at all?!
Give yourself a break and be proud that you showed today!
Many people struggle with motivation to improve their health and wellness. You know you need to start working out, eating cleaner, drinking less soft drinks, but you just don’t have it in you. This is the majority of the people in the United States. So it would seem that “motivation” is an internal issue. Either you have it or you don’t. After all, if we can’t motivate ourselves to get in shape, then who can? Possibly there is an underlying issue. Maybe there is a big, huge, smelly pink elephant in the room that no one is paying attention to, but is the source to all of our “motivation” issues. And maybe it begins with you putting your phone down.
The fitness industry is full of hardcore, no-nonsense go-getters that want to jam health down your throat until it comes out the other side (sounds painful, right?!). And, although it may not seem so, their intentions are pure (for the most part). That personal trainer who takes a picture of his six pack is simply trying to convince you that “I’m in shape and you can be, too”. The supplement ad of the girl who is shredded wheat (not the cereal…wait for it…) is simply trying to show you “this is how you’ll look if you take our supplement”. For the most part, these are all pure intentions. The trainer is hoping to sell you on his looks and the supplement company is hoping to sell you the models looks…plain and simple. But our psychological intuition runs much deeper than that.
The issue is not that a trainer is trying to sell you services or a company is trying to sell you products or that a girl on Instagram is just trying to show everybody how good her legs look that day. The issue is, as beginners in health and wellness, those who are trying to get started believe that is how they need to look to “succeed”. Walk with me and I’ll explain……
“Success” in health and wellness is all relative. For the personal trainer, success is having a six pack. For the girl on Instagram in yoga pants, success is having a nice butt and tone legs. But these are very vein goals of success and are in no way related to “success” for the average person. However, that’s not what our minds tell us. What the picture on Instagram tells our mind is that you have to be “PERFECT”.
I am not saying that people who work hard for their bodies should be ashamed of them and hide away. On the contrary, being proud of your body is one of the most important aspects of mental health. What the average person has a hard time understanding or seeing in these pictures is all of the fake. There is very minimal authenticity in the fitness industry. 99% of the images you see on social media, in ads or in magazines are of people on their PERFECT day, at the PERFECT time, in PERFECT lighting, wearing PERFECT attire. THIS, my friends, is what leads most to believe that we must be PERFECT in order to succeed in health and wellness. And the pursuit of perfection, or simply the thought of it, is what can lead to failure, denial or not trying at all.
Luckily, there are things that you can do to help keep your mind at ease when you’re getting started or your pursuit stalls out:
1) It’s All Relative – Where you are on the health and wellness continuum is different than where the six-pack trainer is. It’s also different than where you were in high school. So don’t think that you have to start where the trainer is or that you have to be in high school shape by next month. All that matters is where YOU are NOW and where YOU want to go.
2) Live by the 80/20 rule (or 90/10 if you’re just getting started) – Perfection is impossible, plain and simple. When we are in pursuit of perfection and “fail”, we tell ourselves and we can’t do it and give up. Instead live by 80/20. If you can nail your training and nutrition 80% of the time, the other 20% can be your choice. For those who are just starting out, this should be closer to 90/10. Habits need to be ingrained in the beginning until it becomes second nature.
3) Be PATIENT!!! – We live in an instant gratification world. Therefore, we expect instant results when it comes to losing weight and toning up. Sadly, it didn’t take you 6 weeks to get out of shape, so it won’t take you 6 weeks to get in shape. It will be HARD. There will be STRUGGLE. You will have DOUBTS. And if you’re PATIENT, you will PERSEVERE. Remember, the goal is the goal, so keep the goal the goal!
Thanks for hanging in there. Fighting the urge to pursue perfection is something that takes time. Take everything one day at a time, building 1% a day. All of those 1 percents will add up quick!
Jicama ( pronounced hee-cama) is also known as a Mexican Yam Bean and originated in the Mexican Peninsula. It’s texture is similar to a turnip but with a hint of sweetness like an apple. They are low in calories yet high in important nutrients. The fiber in a jicama is inulin which has zero calories and is not metabolized in the body.
The nutrition facts in one cup are:
Carbs 11g, Fiber 6g and Sugar 2g.
Great cooked in stir-fries or soup. Think of the jicama though the next time you want to have something crunchy like chips or crackers to accompany your favorite salsa or guacamole. You will save yourself from the added calories and unhealthy fats typically found in these types of snacks. The peel is thick, tough and inedible so it must be peeled. When shopping, look for firm, round tubers and store them in a cool, dark place. If stored too long, the starch will convert into sugar, so eat’m up!
Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables. It comes in several colors- white, orange, green and purple. It is low in calories, versatile and very nutritious. Today, we will show you how to make cauliflower steaks to have at your next dinner.
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper.
2. Turn the head onto it’s side and with a sharp knife cut off the stem. Remove any remaining leaves.
3. Sitting the head, as in the first picture, on the cutting board, slice the cauliflower across into 1 inch steaks. Don’t worry about any loose pieces that fall off. They won’t go to waste!
4. Place the steaks and any loose pieces on the cookie sheet. Brush each steak with a mixture of fresh lemon juice and 2 cloves of minced fresh garlic. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Finish with a sprinkling of sea salt and black pepper.
5. Roast in the oven 40 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve. Enjoy!
Beef Bone Broth Recipe
With all of the different avenues we have today to achieve our health and wellness goals, it would seem that health issues around the world would be decreasing. After all, we have 7 day cleanses, detox products out the wazoo, P90X, Insanity, Zumba, juicing rituals, the shake weight (one of my favorites), the grapefruit diet (another favorite), the Special K diet, body wrapping, surf board classes, spinning, pole dancing (the fitness class, not the career), the Atkins diet…seriously, the list is ENDLESS!! So it would seem that, with abundant options comes abundant success. Today we are going to look at why this is the exact OPPOSITE and a couple of ways to build success into your health and wellness path.
Understanding why having so many options leads to overall failure is step one in the process of true health. There are a few of main reasons, and we’re going to tackle those right now:
- Paralysis by Analysis
Having too many choices is mostly an issue of our American society. You would think that having more choices would lead to better quality decisions. The issue is that, because of all the choices we have, we analyze every option down to the last calorie or exercise. Typically, in the end, we end up not making a decision. And when we do make one, we aren’t happy with it, because we know there are so many other options we could have made.
2. Built for the Short Run
Most, not all, but MOST of the products you see on TV, Facebook, Instagram or in magazines are built for the short run. Short term success is a gold mine for companies with quick product turnover. Why put in the work with proper nutrition and exercise when you can wrap yourself in saran wrap? Products built for short term results will not give you a lifetime of health and wellness.
3. Commitment Issues
Men are always ragged on for having commitment issues or cold feet in the relationship world. However, when it comes to fitness and nutrition, ALL of us have commitment issues. When the Atkins diet doesn’t drop the 30lbs you want to drop in 2 weeks, you jump to the “Fat Incinerator 4000” pills. It didn’t take 2 weeks to get out of shape, so it’s not going to take 2 weeks to get in shape!
If I haven’t completely depressed you about your chances of reaching your goals yet, I want to show you how to reverse these issues. Sometimes we overlook the simple things and jump straight to the complex. We start eating Gluten free because it’s healthy for us but still drink 5 Sodas a day. Most of the time, we need to overcome the obvious before tackling the ambiguous:
- Limit Your Choices
Instead of worrying about making the perfect choice from 100 choices, make a choice between 3 choices. Don’t search for every option available or change your mind every time you see a new diet in a magazine. Half the battle is making ONE CHOICE and STICKING with that choice!
2. Built for the Long Run
Like most products and fads are built for the short run, systems are built for the long run. Building systems means placing actionable things into your everyday life to develop success over time. Health is not a sprint. If you treat it as such, it could end up in tragedy and heartache. Figure out what works best for YOU and make it a habit. Once it’s a habit and part of your routine, your system is stronger and driving towards success!
3. Stay Committed
Once you’ve picked a path to go down, stay the path. Remember, the goal is the goal, so keep the goal the goal! It may not be the perfect system for you, but you don’t know that if you bail in 2 weeks. If you decide to try Zumba to help you lose weight, embrace your decision and stick with it for 6 weeks minimum. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t, maybe you have to add something in. Success is not driven by bouncing from one idea to the next. Success is driven by building sustainable habits over the long run.
As you may have noticed, the issues covered above are not only relatable to nutrition and fitness, but also to everyday life. Take the time to evaluate the decisions you make in life and decide if they’re built for the long run, or if you’re constantly putting out fires. Keep your choices limited and stay committed and you may see things move in a different direction over time.
Supplement talk can be a slippery slope depending on who you are talking to. There are literally thousands upon thousands of different supplements in this world. We have hundreds of companies trying to figure out the next “shredder” pill to sell. Needless to say, things can get a bit confusing when trying to decide what works and what doesn’t. Here’s the thing: if something actually works good at putting on muscle or burning fat, it’s probably illegal. What we are left with, then, is trying to figure out what products work “good enough” and have been proven to show consistent, long term results.
Before we get into the list, I want to tell you what you will not see. You will not see any type of fat incinerator, fat blocker, carb blocker or anything of the like. These products can lead to you believe that you can still eat junk and lose body fat. But nothing…yes, NOTHING…can overcome a bad diet. You can’t out train a bad diet, can’t out supplement a bad diet, can’t out run a bad diet…you HAVE to change your nutrition habits to be successful in your health and wellness goals…period!
With that said, IF you have your nutrition on lock, there are vitamins and minerals (or combos) that have a CORRELATION to fat lose. But correlation is not always causation.
Now, let’s get into our list. This is simply a list of supplements that have been proven to help with your overall health and wellness goals. Again, understand, to get the maximum benefit from this list your nutrition must be LOCKED DOWN! Supplements are named as such for a reason!
- Fish Oil
At this point everyone has at least heard of fish oil. This one is probably the most debatable (in this writer’s mind) also. Not because it doesn’t do its job. Because quantities can vary so much from person to person and quality is insanely variable from product to product. Fish oil is not something we take because we have a fish oil deficiency. Deficiency implies that our body requires it, and we don’t require fish oil to function per se. We do, however, require a balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. And considering our world it smothered with Omega 6 fatty acids, fish oil is a simple way to even the playing field. Shoot for 4-6 tablets a day, depending on your weight. And use common sense when it comes to quality. If you’re buying 200 tablet bottles and getting 1 free and only paying $15, good chance there’s plenty of stuff in there that you don’t want.
2. Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)
This is one that, unless you’re in the bodybuilding crowd, you probably have never heard of or considered. BCAA’s are primarily used for muscle damage repair after resistance training. Amino acids are the building blocks of muscles (and of life in general), and ingesting them around your workout will help with repair and growth (if you’re eating correctly). However, BCAAs do much more than build muscles. For instance, studies have shown that BCAAs (Leucine in particular) can improve insulin resistance (can lead to diabetes) and antioxidant stress (can lead to cancer). And if you’re trying to lose weight and cutting back on your carb intake, this can be your diamond-in-the-ruff. BCAAs help to regulate blood glucose levels, which can help rid your body of sugar cravings. Shoot for 5-15g around your training.
3. Creatine Monohydrate
Yup, I said it…creatine. This is one of the most debated (amongst the public) and researched supplements around. Creatine has been referenced in the same sentences as steroids and growth hormone. It is important to understand what creatine IS and IS NOT in order to understand why can benefit you. First, creatine is NOT a steroid or growth hormone or any other anabolic substance…it’s just not. Creatine is more like a vitamin or mineral than a steroid. Not because we need it to survive, like fish oil. But because of how our body utilizes it to enhance certain functions and processes. There have been no adverse effects consistently found, even with the kidneys, when consuming creatine. Creatine is primarily used by athletes and weight lifters to enhance strength and hypertrophy. You also need to be eating right to achieve these things (notice a pattern?!). However, MUCH evidence suggests that creatine improves cognitive function AND it has been shown to increase immune system function. So, this supplement is much more than a muscle builder!
Now it’s up for you to decide if any of these supplements can help with your health and wellness goals. I’m sure you noticed that protein powder was not on this list. This topic will be extensively covered in another post. For now, know that whole foods always trump powders and bars. Thanks for hanging in there!