Archive for the ‘Excuses excuses…’ Category

Hi kids!

I’ve been thinking a lot about what Hit to Fit promotes.  Our message is simple: Fitness is a basic need.  You need an adequate amount of physical activity in order to live a good quality of life and you need to sustain your fitness for as long as you live.

Sometimes I lament over the lack of sexiness behind our message.  We don’t promise big transformations, six packs or a better sex life – promises often made by the fitness industry.  Our promise is straightforward: train with us 3X/week and keep your muscles strong, your joints limber and your heart and lungs healthy.  Do it for the rest of your life and you’ll be way more likely to avoid injury, weight gain, and a whack of preventable diseases.  You’ll also gain mobility and the confidence to keep active doing the things you love.  And yeah, you’ll probably look better – though I think you look great already!

I often compare fitness training to brushing your teeth.  Let’s imagine for a minute that your tooth brushing routine emulated your fitness routine.  What would your teeth look like if you brushed only on the days you worked out?  What if you didn’t brush for a month and then jumped in and started brushing 5 times/day for 3 weeks?  What if you started on a tooth brushing routine every January and quit by mid-March?  What if you envied other people’s teeth so much that you hated yours and blamed your teeth for the lack of satisfaction in your life?  What if you only brushed your teeth before a tropical vacation or before a big event?  What if you only brushed if your friend promised to do it with you?  What if you gave up brushing because your teeth weren’t getting whiter or straighter?  What if you stopped brushing because you believed you couldn’t afford toothpaste?  What if you put “I BRUSHED MY TEETH TODAY!” up as your Facebook status?

We must change our collective notion about what fitness is and what it isn’t.  It is necessary to live a good life.  Maybe you’ll develop a six-pack.  Maybe you won’t.  Fitness needn’t be any more of a contest than brushing your teeth.  All those who participate win – and conversely…

Brush your teeth.  Take care of your body — from now until you leave it.

Love, Mom.

I recently read a post called “The Difference Between Being Nice and Being Kind” – please read it if you have the time.  You may or may not agree with her but the article has stuck with me for days.

The article suggests that nice people “try to please so that they can feel good about themselves” and kind people “take responsibility for their own self-care”.

The article addressed nice and kind people’s relationships with others.  As a personal trainer, I mainly focus on people’s relationship to themselves.  I see the same distinction between people who are nice to themselves and people who are kind to themselves.

People who are nice to themselves allow themselves to sleep in even after they’ve made a commitment to train 3X/week at 6am.  People who are nice to themselves sign up for a 8 week session and don’t show up again after the first class because they didn’t like how they felt about themselves (clumsy, awkward, fat…) in that first session.  People who are nice to themselves have 2 glasses of wine after a really shitty day.  Nice people have great intentions.  They come up with a severely restrictive plan to change their whole life and the first day they can’t follow it, they give up entirely and wait for the next wave of motivation (often in the form of self-hatred) to kick in.  Nice people set themselves up for failure and when they feel really badly about themselves they pick themselves up with a piece of cheesecake.

In a nutshell, people who are nice to themselves blow off their commitment to their own health the second they don’t feel like doing it.

I used to be nice to myself and I spent most of my energy feeling shitty and wishing that my life, my body, my energy level would magically be better.  Praise to be Allah, I learned that being nice to myself wasn’t going to get me there.

Being kind did.

Kind people act in their own best interests.  Kind people treat themselves as though they are their own loving parent – the type of parent who wants them to succeed.  A parent who wants them to be happy, responsible, successful and discovering their own potential.

Kind people get up on cold, rainy mornings because they committed to doing that and kind people honor their commitments to themselves.  Kind people have learned that while it’d be “nice” to have cheesecake everyday – an apple will make them feel better, and cheesecake is great on occasion.

Kind people have learned that sometimes you have to do things you don’t “feel like” doing in order to live a life worth living.  Kind people don’t rely on motivation to maintain a balanced life, they rely on commitment.  Kind people don’t beat themselves up after an indulgent weekend.  They enjoy themselves fully and on Monday morning, they get back to their well-balanced and sustainable routine.

Kind people see through the illusion of perfection and don’t fall for the black and white thinking that goes with it.  Kind people know they are going to get old and have decided they will do their best to live their years in a strong and healthy body.   Every day, kind people make choices that will support a healthy present and a happy future.  Habits are hard to break – kind people are gentle, aware and committed to themselves as they break unhealthy habits and create healthy ones.  They forgive their follies and don’t punish themselves by allowing their weaknesses to rule their lives.  Kind people know they won’t always feel like doing it – but at least 80% of the time, they’ll do it anyway.

Kind people don’t let themselves off the hook.  They let themselves succeed.

Be kind to yourselves people.

In health, Sandy

When it comes to fitness there really are no shortcuts.  Believe me, if there were – I’d have found them.  You may already know that I’m not the type to jump out of bed to hit the road/trail/gym/yoga studio/etc..  I really don’t care much for “exercise” but I have needs and desires (playing frisbee with friends, snowboarding, wanting to see my great grand kids, sleeping well, feeling vibrant and creative, keeping up with my family and rocking the summer dress) that require that I be strong and fit.  So, I’ve made it my life’s work to seek out the most efficient ways to train so I, and those of my ilk, can live happy, healthy and strong lives with… ok, I’ll say it – minimal amount of exercise.  Here’s what I’ve learned:

Hard and focused training for a half an hour three times/week can establish a very solid base of fitness.

Notice I said, ‘can’ and not ‘will’.  You have to use that time extremely well to milk it for all it’s worth.  To get the most out of your half hour you need to train the gamut:  strength, power, speed, agility, quickness, coordination, flexibility, balance, control, posture, and cardio.  And so, Hit to Fit was born, taking the above into account and answering the question – what is the most sustainable, time-efficient, practical and interesting training method which will maximize health benefits and athletic skills?

Most of you reading this are well aware of how the program is structured so I won’t get into that – but here’s a few tips of how you can approach your training with us to reap the greatest rewards.

Show up ready to work hard.

Consistency is the key.  Come 2-3 times/week.  Every week.  Though you may have reached your short term fitness goals, you’ll lose your gains damn fast if you stop training.

Focus on executing each and every movement with the greatest amount of speed, power and skill possible without compromising your postural alignment.  CONTROL BEFORE POWER.   POWER BEFORE SPEED.

Quality over quantity when it comes to movement.  I think I just said that, but it’s worth repeating.

Quality over quantity when it comes to movement.  I think I just said that, but it’s worth repeating.

It’s only a half hour – put everything you’ve got into it.  If you can talk through your workout – you aren’t working hard enough to get all the benefits.  To get maximum results you need to focus on your movements, your breath, and your alignment.  Your best effort requires 100% of your attention.

Read this post: One Approach to Hit to Fit Training

Listen to and communicate with your coaches.

Take the initiative to become educated.  If there’s an exercise that you don’t get – stay after and talk with your coach about it.  Google it.

30 minutes 3X/week.  We do the planning for you.  No scheduled class times.  It’s affordable.  All you need to do is show up and work hard.  NO EXCUSES BABY!

In health,

Sandy

Like many people, there was a time in my life when I was periodically compelled to walk away from all the comforts and certainties of my life.  I’d throw it all up in the air and start over.  After I found a comfortable landing, I’d settle in for a little while and then toss it all up again and wait for the dust settle.  I didn’t really have a purpose – I just got bored of the way things were.

I managed to continue on this way during the course of getting married and having kids until about 6 years ago when we moved and settled into Victoria.  But that desire to start over is still there.

There are really obvious ways in which people start over.  Moving, getting married/divorced, a new career, having kids, losing loved ones, winning the lottery, going bankrupt are all situations in which people start over.  But there are other ways we can start over – but be warned, there will be no cake – as these beginnings are private and internal.  Unlike tossing it all up in the air, these shifts are purpose driven.

We can start over by thanking our spouse for the day to day things they do which truly enrich our lives.  We can start over by becoming aware of how we are thinking and behaving in any given moment.  We can start over by deciding to be gentle with everyone we meet.  We can start over by tracking a particular negative thought and loosen the hold it has on our lives.  We can start over by recognizing that our thoughts are not reality.  We can start over by saying ‘ yeah, the general state of affairs seem unmanageable – but fuck it, I’m going to enjoy the ride anyway’.

We can start over by seeing today as Day One.   Day One is when the past doesn’t inform you.  Day One is when you see things fresh and new.  Day One is a clean slate.

Welcome to Day One.

In health, Sandy

My mind, like most peoples, often meanders and does it’s thing while I’m busy doing something else.  A thousand thoughts can occur in a second most of which I’m not completely aware of.  The other day while I was training I noticed one particular thought as though I’d had it for the first time even though I’m quite sure that I’ve been thinking a variation of it for years.  It was:

“Not bad for 40 something”.

You know how it is – you’re oblivious to a thought until suddenly it becomes so loud that it demands your attention.  Since I’ve become aware of it, I’ve realized how I’ve used that thought to cap my training habits (ie: used it as an excuse) for the last couple of years.  Oops.

Now this thought could inspire a mid-life crisis but I think I’m gonna reframe it into something like this: “Did I train as hard and as well as I could have today?  Did I fuel my body as well as I could today?”

Everyone has self-limiting beliefs – sometimes they masquerade as being self-congratulatory.  I urge you to have a listen for yours.  You can’t change what you aren’t aware of.

In health,

Sandy

We’re lucky.  We have a lot of ideal clients.  Thanks to them I have been able to learn for whom our program really works.  The ones who have been most successful are those who commit to our recommendation of training with us 3 times/week.  Not some weeks.  Not when they feel like it.  Every week.  Three times.  The grand total of gym time is 1.5 hours/week.  Now these people do go one holidays, do get sick, and do take a break.  But then they come back and keep going – and from all accounts have barely lost any traction.

The reward of their investment is strength, agility, flexibility, balance, endurance and probably a whole lot of confidence.

All trainers have heard a thousand excuses for why various fitness programs or pursuits failed.  We do our best to be sympathetic and there have been a few times where people have truly won my sympathy.  But I’m gonna get Dr. Phil on you now.  The reason people fail is because they don’t take responsibility for their own lives.

You may be going through an ugly divorce but you still have to take care of your health.  You can’t fit this into your budget but are you still going to Starbucks 3X week?  You’re super busy?  Who isn’t?   No one will take care of your body for you (unless you really don’t and then nurses will).

I recently said that Hit to Fit isn’t a trend, it’s a ‘meat and potatoes’ workout.  We don’t do it because we love it (though we might).  We do it because it makes us strong.  For me it falls into the category of brushing my teeth or taking my car to the shop (but maybe a little more fun).

So, here’s a profile of our ideal client:

1. Pre-plans their attendance.
2. Shows up (in time to complete the circuit).
3. Works to capacity.
4. Asks questions when they are confused.
5. Comes at least 3 times/week.
6. Eats well – most of the time.
7. Shows commitment and initiative.
8. Makes no excuses.  (Really important!!!)

In health and happiness,

Sandy

So, wow – hey there.  Where did the time go?  It’s been four weeks since my last confession.  I confess that I am not really great about regularly writing this blog…  But today’s topic is fascinating and well worth the wait. 😉

And the topic is self-sabotage (as you may have guessed).

Once upon a time in my early thirties one of my friends asked a question that I have been trying to answer ever since.  It was just after a particularly awesome Ultimate Frisbee game and we were all high on endorphins and feeling like superstars when Martin Wrigglesworth asked, “Why don’t we always do what’s good for us when it makes us feel so great?”

Whether it’s eating well, exercising, becoming more educated, cleaning the house, keeping to budget, gardening or loving the right person most of us struggle with some sort of self-sabotage.  I haven’t been able to find a definition of self-sabotage which pleases me but I think most of us would agree that it points to behaviors that stand in our way of achieving what we want – falling on some continuum between eating that piece of cheesecake to shooting up heroin and robbing a bank.

What’s the opposite of self-sabotage?  Who are those people who don’t self-sabotage?  I would suggest that they are the self-possessed – those rare individuals who really know themselves and can manage all the voices in their heads.

My personal view is that more than anything else, we are seeking unity – maybe with the sacred (however you define that), maybe with someone else, or maybe we just want an integrated self.  I think what gives us the greatest joy is connection – but before we can fully connect with someone else, we must be connected with ourselves.  And that includes all our darkness, all the twisted repressed hateful parts of us, all that we don’t want to face – because therein lies our humanity and it deserves as much acceptance as all of our so-called virtues.

Back to the question of why we self-sabotage.  Maybe because in this perfectionistic world it’s the only way that these unsightly forces can get any recognition at all.  Maybe because our shadow side is trying to get our attention and the only way it knows how is by digging in its heels and fucking up our lives.

So, using fitness as an example: the next time you don’t want to go to the gym but you think you should, instead of beating yourself up for it, how about having a sit down with yourself and get to fully know the voice in your head that tells you don’t want to go.  Have a conversation with it – you might be surprised what it has to say if it gets the chance to be heard.

And finally, here’s something to think about:  in every moment of your life, you are either in command of yourself or you are being commanded.  Wouldn’t it be good to know who’s giving out the orders?

Sandy