Realistic, Effective, and Sustainable Real Life Strategies

Fitness in the context of real human life is just like the rest of life.

We’re all just doing the best we can in challenging, complicated circumstances.

We are all living messy, imperfect lives. We are all human.

If we can just keep moving forward, no matter what happens, no pause buttons, no do-overs, we win the game.

Here are a few strategies for getting out of the pause-button mentality and into a more realistic, effective, sustainable way of thinking.

1. Try the dial method.

Think of your fitness like a dial that goes from 1 – 10.

If you were to dial it up to “10”…

What would your workouts look like?

What would your nutrition look like?

What other actions/habits would you practice in that scenario?

If you were to dial it down to “1”…

What would your workouts look like?

What would your nutrition look like?

What other actions/habits would you practice in that scenario?

Giving thought to your life right now, where is your dial set?

Would you like to make any adjustments?

Could you move the dial up a channel, or even half a channel?

If so, what would that look like?

On the other hand…

Should you move the dial down a channel so you can stick with health and fitness even during a difficult time?

2. Aim for a little bit better.

An all-or-nothing approach usually doesn’t get us “all”. It usually gets us “nothing”.

You know what actually works?

Small improvements done consistently over time work — we have proof in the nearly 100,000 clients that have been helped through Precision Nutrition Coaching method.

You might be trying to make a meal out of hospital cafeteria food, or gas station food, or airplane food. You might be spending hours awake with a newborn in the middle of the night, or stuck in yet another full-day meeting.

These aren’t ideal scenarios, but they’re not necessarily hopeless either.

Look around. Get creative. See if you can find some small — maybe minuscule — improvements.

3. Anticipate, strategize and plan.

Since we already know that stuff is going to go wrong, the best thing we can do is anticipate and make plans for how to deal when they do.

A simple way to do this is by answering two questions:

What’s likely to get in the way of what I hope to accomplish?

What is something I can do today to help me keep going when I face those obstacles?

For some people, that might be a Sunday ritual where they prep food for the week so they won’t be scrambling for healthy meals on busy weeknights. For others, it might mean having a healthy meal-delivery service on speed dial.

Don’t be surprised and dismayed when things go haywire. They will at some point. Just arm yourself with the best tools and strategies so you can stay in the game when you’re thrown a curveball.

TR

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Composite image of new years resolutions on january calendar

Why Your New Years Resolutions Are Holding You Back

The New Year is right around the corner and you are eager to start 2018 strong. Throughout the month of December with every workout you miss, piece of pie you eat and every glass of wine you drink, you keep telling yourself that on January 1st I’ll recommit to my nutrition and workout regimen. The ole reliable New Year’s Resolution, that for most just gets them through the holidays guilt free, with promise to themselves that they will get it together on January 1st with their New Year’s Resolutions.

This may seem normal, I mean everyone does this right? Yes, most people do, but most people who take this approach usually end up right where they started by end of February , so maybe this isn’t the recipe for success. Maybe after all the years of failed New Year’s Resolutions you finally have come to grips that it’s these very New Year’s Resolutions are what have been holding you back all these years. There is a fact that can’t be denied, that most people have forgotten and giving up on their New Year’s resolutions by the end of January. Each year is filled with one excuse after the other, I’m too busy, it’s too hard, it’s not working, I’m too tired, I don’t know what to do, I’m hungry all the time, eating healthy is boring and the list goes on and on.

The main issue with New Year’s resolutions is that many people use it as an excuse not to get started right now, they rely solely on the motivation of the New Year to get started on eating better and working out more consistently. They rely merely on the motivation and excitement of the New Year.

The reality however is that the reason many people fail to reach their health and fitness goals is simply because they rely too much on motivation, and this is one of the biggest reasons why your New Year’s Resolutions are holding you back.

Motivation Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

Motivation is great at getting you started, but fails miserably at keeping you going, this is why most people have given up on their New Year’s Resolutions by the end of January. Many of these people hit the gym 5 days a week while completely overhauling their diets and their lifestyle. This works for about 3 weeks and then reality starts setting in, you start to lose that motivation that you had at the beginning of the new year, and getting up 5 days a week starts to get harder and harder, your tired of being sore all the time and the workouts are just too hard, all the sudden those 5 days start to turn into 3 days, 1 day and then no days.

The diet, well you just have time to make all those meals, and in honestly you miss eating carbs and your tired of being hungry and tired all the time. All the sudden the excuses start to slowly creep their way back into your life, I’m too busy, it’s too hard, I don’ like the food I have to eat, I’ll get back on track tomorrow etc. Problem is that tomorrow never comes.

Even though your intentions are good, it’s this strategy of relying solely motivation that is holding you back. The reality is that you will get busy, you will soon find out that it is hard and there will be days that you just don’t feel like working and eating healthy. Motivation ebbs and flows and it’s the only way to stay consistent with your goals is to have strategies in place for those times when your motivation is ebbing, it’s your strategies that will see you through until your motivation is flowing again. It’s normal to not too be excited to workout, or to eat healthy and to want to skip workouts and eat whatever you want. But the difference between those that do it anyway and those that don’t isn’t that their more motivated, it’s they have a strategy to ensure that it gets done.

Don’t want to get up and workout? Make an appointment with your coach each week like it’s appointment. It’s human nature not to want to let others down. This strategy of having someone waiting for you, holding you accountable, can just be that push you need to stay consistent with your workouts. You can also find a friend to workout with, holding each other accountable is another powerful strategy in overcoming a lack of motivation.

Don’t feel like eating healthy. Only have food in your house that supports your health and fitness goals. This again works for you as humans we are innately lazy, and we can make this laziness work for us if we make it more difficult to eat food that doesn’t support our health and fitness goals. If chips, burritos, ice cream and or wine isn’t readily accessible, it will be more difficult to talk yourself into going out of your way to eat foods that won’t support your goals.

Preparation

I you don’t feel like preparing food, you can simply by prepared food in advance, one of my favorites is rotisserie chicken form whole foods. It’s easy, when you get home you can just throw it the oven and warm it up or simple chop it up and make heathy and delicious salad. You can also invest in a food delivery service such as Territory who deliver fresh precooked food to your door, throw in the microwave and you’re eating in three minutes.

These are just a few examples of strategies that we use with our clients hear at Fit-2-The-Core. There is nothing wrong with New Years Resolutions motivation, but make sure that you don’t make the mistake of thinking that you will always be motivated, start to implement strategies that will help you to stay consistent with your workout and nutrition, especially when your motivation is hard to find.

 

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success

How Manage Your Expectations

Does this sound familiar? Your following a pretty strict meal plan in hopes of losing some body fat. You could only white-knuckle your way through the meal plan for so long before you started sneaking in extras, usually in the form of nuts and nut butter. You toss back a heaping spoonful of almond butter and was immediately hit with a huge wave of guilt.

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You tell yourself, “Great, this day is ruined!”, and then proceeded to do what the majority of people do when they fall off their meal plan: swan dive into the pantry for more snacks, blowing the rest of the day to smithereens.

Over the years and even more recently in our Drop 2 Jean Size program, I’ve had many conversations with people just like this who were frustrated by this seemingly lack of control and overwhelming feeling of guilt. Heck I can attest that I have been there myself many times in my own life.

They viewed their success with nutrition and training as either “good” or “bad”, leading them to either feel like a total rock star or a total failure. All it took was a small handful of chocolate or some extra nut butter to make them believe the day was a monumental waste, which then resulted in a landslide of poor food choices for the remainder of that day.

Without exception, they were expecting perfection from themselves, which was a huge mistake.

Whether you are working towards improving your nutrition skills, losing body fat, or getting stronger, how do you set realistic expectations?

Two of the most common questions that we get as a Coach here at Fit-2-The-Core are:

·       “How much weight should I expect to lose in ‘x’ amount of time?”

·       “How much stronger should I expect to get in ‘x’ amount of time?”

These are fair but tricky questions: we don’t have the answers, because they depend on so many factors.

By learning to better manage your expectations, you can help avoid becoming too emotionally attached to a specific result, and cope better if things don’t pan out exactly the way you envision them.

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The One Thing You Can Control
Life is guaranteed to surprise you: it will surprise you in positive ways, and it will surprise you in negative ways. You can have your workout schedule in place, only to see the gym suddenly close for the week due to a burst pipe. You can plan all of your healthy meals for the week, and be surprised by your family paying you an unexpected visit and bringing over pizza for dinner.

When we set expectations, it’s easy to be let down because things don’t systematically happen as we predicted. No matter what happens, however, you can find peace in knowing that you are doing your very best with whichever situation comes your way. This means taking responsibility for your actions when things aren’t going according to plan. If you can’t go to the gym, can you take a walk instead? If you are served pizza, can you enjoy one slice and then eat later when there are different food options available?

The one thing that you can expect and control is that you are in charge of your own actions and reactions, regardless of outside circumstances.

Not Every Day Will Be a Day to Work Towards Your Goal
It can be really easy to expect perfection in terms of nutrition and working out, but the fact of the matter is that not every day will be the right day to work on your goals. Some days are better for focusing on maintenance, and that’s great!

John Berardi owner of Precision Nutrition uses a great analogy,

When life is dialed up to 10 (you are traveling, your kids are sick, you’re working overtime, your spouse is out of town, your sick etc.) you have to dial down your expectations and goals for that day week or month”.

This expectation can set you up for failure, because not every day can be a fat loss day, or a day where we become stronger, or a day where we improve our eating skills. Know that life will happen, and the most we can do is handle it in the best way we can and come up with a strategy that will fit into the context of your life at any given time.

Put in the Work
This is closely related to what I mentioned above about only being able to control your actions and reactions, but it’s worth mentioning in a different way:

Rather than focusing on expectations, what would happen if you poured all of your energy into simply committing to doing your very best with the hand you are dealt each day? Doing good enough, in relation to what life is throwing at you at any specific moment, adjust your workout, your nutrition and most importantly your mindset.

If you planned a 60 minute workout, 15 minutes will have to do, if you’re stuck in a meeting and all that’s available is pizza, eat one piece and then focus on what you have control over, the next meal etc..

Ultimately, that is all you can control.

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Zoom Out
When our expectations don’t pan out the way we had hoped, it’s easy to lose sight of the good things. Don’t to let an extra heaping spoonful of almond butter detract from the fact that maybe you ate veggies at all of my meals that day, drank plenty of water, got lots of sleep, and exercised. I see this often, the focus is solely on the fall, not that you got back up on your feet and took control over the rest of your day.

When it comes to expectations, there are a lot of variables at play. This means that we can’t always predict an accurate outcome, which can leave us feeling disappointed. It’s important to refrain from letting expectations steal joy from the experience.

The key is to focus on what you are able to do with what’s available, and commit to do your very best, consistently everyday!

 

 

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carroll3

Top 5 Secrets For Feeling Stronger, Sexier and More Confident

Are our Drop 2 Jean size clients – many of whom have lost 2 jean sizes and Feel Stronger, Sexier and more Confident – somehow “better” than normal? Special? Extra-motivated? Blessed with “great genes”? No. They’re average Janes. They’ve simply learned – and practiced – what really works.

Our coaches use simple, time-tested methods to inspire, motivate, monitor, and guide our D2S clients to feeling Sexy, Strong and Confident in their Thermometer Jeans!

Today we’re going to pass some of these Drop 2 Jean Sizes “secrets” on to you. They’re simple. (But not necessarily easy.)

Secret #1 Eat slowly:

Check your watch. Start eating. When you’re done, check your watch again. How long
did it take you? Our guess: not long enough. Your goal is at least 15 to 20 minutes per meal. You need that long in order to taste your food properly, and to let your body tell your brain that you’re full. Put your utensils down between bites. Chew properly. Savour what you’re eating. Enjoy it. Spend time with it. You’ll enjoy food more, and get leaner to boot.

Secret # 2 eat until you’re “80% full”:

What the heck does that mean? It means you eat until you’re just satisfied. Until you’re no longer physically hungry. Instead of “stuffed” or “full”. Don’t get hung up on exactly what “80% full” is, or whether you’re getting to “75%” or “88%”. Shoot for the general idea.

Remember: eat s-l-o-w-l-y. Be patient with “80% full”. It takes practice. But once you
get the hang of learning your physical (rather than your social or psychological) hunger cues, this one will be a breeze.

Secret # 3: Get your 3-4 hours. Make them count.

Sure, you could drill yourself into the ground with long, gut-busting workouts. But why?
As we’ve proven, you can get great results with about 3-4 hours of exercise per week.

The trick? Make those hours count.

Our suggestion:

1. 2-3 days a week, weight train for about 45 minutes. Choose complex exercises with
lots of moving parts that give you bang for your buck, such as:

* pullups/pulldowns, rows
* pushups, presses
* squats, deadlifts, lunges
* hip hinges (i.e. swings)

Think movements rather than body parts. Think quality rather than quantity. Put
some tough stuff together in a circuit and give ‘er.

2. 1-2 days a week, do sprint intervals (or do the equivalent, such as intervals on a
rower) for about 15 minutes.

3. Do about 10 minutes of warmup and mobility work every day.

4. Fill in the rest of the time with “active recovery”: gentle, moderate movement such
as walking, swimming, yoga, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and just plain
old “stay moving”.

Secret #4 Sleep:

Sleep changes your hormone balance and your recovery ability. This changes how your body responds to nutrients, exercise, and stress. The more sleep you get, the leaner you are. The less sleep you get, the fatter, weaker, and sicker you’re eventually likely to be.

At least 1-2 hours before bed, turn off the TV, computer, and cell phone. Darken the room. And get ready to sleep yourself lean.

Secret #5 Forget “willpower” and “motivation”:

Change your environment and your systems. And get social support.
Willpower is a very limited and unreliable bank account. Never count on it. Ever.
Instead, built an environment, a system, and a support network that helps you get to
your goals.

* If food is in your house, you’ll eat it. So, don’t have that food in your house.

* If your gym is horribly inconvenient, you won’t go. So, make it convenient, or buy
some weights for home. And meet a friend to work out.

* If you wait till you feel full of energy to work out, you’ll never do it. So, schedule it like
an appointment.

* If you’re surrounded by people who don’t support your goals, you’ll have a tougher
uphill journey than a spawning salmon. So, take a class, join a group, say hi to other fit folks in your gym, and build a strong social support network of fit and healthy people.

If you’re looking for some great coaching and a 24/7 support group who cheer you on
for 8 weeks, may we recommend our upcoming Drop 2 Jean Size Challenge.

Today, what is ONE, very, very small action you can do to move towards the change
you want? What could you do in the next three minutes? Today?

Do that one small thing. High-five yourself.

Check in each day and make sure you’re doing it. Then, next week, do another very
small thing. Only one. High-five yourself again.

Repeat until ripped and awesome. It’s just that simple!

In just 8 short weeks, you can feel your best again! You can feel….

Strong, Confident and Sexy!

We know how you may feel right now…

You are lost, and can’t find an easy enough solution to get back where you once were with your health. You are desperately looking for a proven kick-start solution that will shrink your thighs and buttocks, tone your arms and abs, and give you some amazing results in only eight weeks – GUARANTEED!

Join our 8-week Drop 2 Sizes Challenge that is changing lives TODAY!
The Drop 2 Sizes Challenge begins this Saturday, September 23rd and we’re only taking on a limited number of challengers so DON’T WAIT!

All you need to do now is… Click on this link, Yes I Want To Drop 2 Jean Sizes! , to reserve your spot for our kick-start seminar and workout on Saturday, September 23rd at 11:00am. Invite your friends to join you!

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eating out

15 Healthy Fat Loss Tips for Eating Out!

Eating out can be the one thing that destroys your fat loss efforts. Now I’m not going to tell you not to eat out, heck I eat out once in awhile, I Love the experience and the food.

I’m sure there are times you might go out for social events, travel, family dinners, special occasions and even work-related lunches or dinners etc.

So knowing that you eat out once in a while or maybe more than once in a while I’ve come up with 15 tips to help you eat out without expanding your waistline and sabotage your efforts in feeling and looking Strong, Sexy and Confident.

1. Take One Bite At A Time

Inhaling your food in a few bites, or gulps, results in a larger amount of food entering the stomach at once.  This is not only bad for digestion and absorption but it can leave you feeling bloated and with unpleasant gas problems (so I’ve heard).  Eating slower will ensure you don’t over eat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you’re full.  If you eat fast or gulp fast then you eat beyond the point of fullness and this leads to unhealthy weight gain. If you want to lose fat and get lean, enjoy your food and eat slower.

2. Broiled or Baked?

Do your best to order you food broiled, steamed or baked. Broiling and baking remove fat as the cooking takes place, opposed to frying and deep-frying add extra fat calories.

3. “Take It Away!”

That’s what you say when they bring by the basket of “free” bread.  Have your waiter take it away and don’t even bother letting it sit there to tempt you. If it’s not starring at you then you won’t eat it. Nothing in life is “free.”  Your belly will “pay” for it later!

4. Avoid Eating Out Late!

Go out for dinner early so you’re not ordering a double chocolate ice cream brownie dessert at 10pm at night. You are probably familiar with the theory of eating processed carbohydrates and fats causes weight gain and I’m a firm believer in this message.  Some experts argue that total calories are the main factor in weight gain and a small amount of carbs in the evening time will have minimal harm, and I agree.  However, restaurant dinners usually contain more than a “small handful of carbs” so not only will the excess calories get stored as fat but you’ll spike your insulin causing fat storage while you sleep.

5. Pass The Salt

Although you need a bit of salt for chemical reactions in your body and nerve impulses, you’ll get more in your diet than necessary without even trying.  For example, 2 slices of bread supply more than your daily requirement for salt.  Too much salt has been connected to heart and kidney diseases.  Bottom line, don’t add salt to your food.

6. Steam Your Vegetables

The most nutritious form of vegetables is raw so eat your veggies like this whenever possible. Cooking destroys much of the nutritional content. If you’re in a restaurant, ask them to steam your vegetables instead of boiling. Boiling will suck out 50 to 75 percent of the nutrient value. Considering vegetables are not cheap, this is a horrible way to throw your money down the toilet.

7. Ask for Fruit Or Oatmeal Instead Of The Bread

I love eating out for breakfast, it’s my favorite meal of the day. You need complex carbohydrates to shrink your waistline, breads are never your best bet. Even whole-grained breads are more refined than potato or oatmeal. Always ask for oatmeal instead of all the bread that comes with your breakfast meal. You can often get a side of tomatoes or fruit instead of the starch for cleaner calories and a lot more fiber.

8. Skip the Appetizer

It’s almost sickening to see how much food the North American culture consumes when we eat out.  Do you really need an appetizer?  Do you have appetizers when you eat at your home? You do realize appetizers are complete money grab, right? And another meal in itself!  Enjoy a nice entree by not getting filled up and charged extra for food your body does not need.

9. “Undress” Your Food

For example, instead of ordering a grilled chicken sandwich loaded with fat-packed mayonnaise, ask them to hold the mayo and request some mustard instead, which will control your caloric intake.   If you’re ordering any kind of meal with sauce, have the server bring the sauce on the side.  If you’re really want to feel Strong, Sexy and Confident, just say “No sauce.”

10. Never Order Sodas

Always order water and lemon (and lime) or a unsweetened iced tea.  I often just ask for a jug of water for the table so I don’t have to wait around for the server to return. After a few “free” refills on soda, you can consume easily over 500 calories, which is a meal in itself!

11. Don’t Let the Menu Bully You Around

Never be afraid to custom order your meal.  Most restaurants nowadays will honor some simple requests like “no sauces”, “extra veggies”, “steamed instead of boiled” and no added oils.

12. Save The Alcohol for Special Occasions

Not only is alcohol overpriced in restaurants but it also costs your waist line 7 calories for every gram. And alcohol stops your body from burning fat for up to 3 hours. If your goal is to lose that belly fat and feel and look Strong, Sexy and Confident then be prepared to cut back on your alcohol and if you “must” get an alcoholic beverage than go with a glass of red or white wine to get a bit of nutrition. Limit your intake to just one drink. Another problem with drinking more than one beer or glass of wine at a restaurant is that it impairs your judgment – making you likely to order more deep-fried foods, extra bread and some dessert. Not to mention, tomorrow’s workout is going to suffer.

13. Sugar Substitutes

When you’re finishing your dinner with a coffee, cappuccino or espresso, go for sugar free i.e. Even though sugar substitutes like Stevia are among one of the most tested food compounds in the world and for the most part are considered safe. One packet of sugar contains about 15 calories while artificial sweeteners contain no calories. I advise you to use the famous saying, “Everything in moderation.”  The ideal standard to shoot for would be to avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners completely.

14. Table Rules

After a night out for a dinner you can drive home knowing that either 1 of 3 things happened based on how you feel: Leave the table satisfied and you will feel Strong, Sexy and Confident. Leave the table full and you feel bloated, lethargic rushing to get home to get out of that outfit that no longer has you feeling Strong, Sexy and Confident!

15. Buy Yourself an Awesome Cookbook!

Eating out is great but there is nothing like cooking a gourmet dinner in your own home at a fraction of the cost. An awesome cookbook will provide creative freedom over what you eat. Without options, you’ll always cater to the “same-old-same-old” which can get boring and bland and lead to more cravings and poorer food choices.

There you have it, use these 15 Tips to ensure that you are always feeling and looking Strong, Sexy and Confident in any outfit of your choosing J

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