Change

*This article is going to be a little out of the norm, but for this week I wanted to share a recent situation and how it shaped the creation of EM Fitness.

Change is an interesting concept. In the words of King Whitney Jr.

Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful, it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful, it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.

During my senior year of college, I went through a lot of changes. I had found my next step, moving from Wisconsin to Colorado, and two amazing coworkers (and future Fam) were going to make the journey with me. I was excited for the opportunities and adventures the future held.

However, despite the positive changes, there was one overwhelming negative. When I was in my house I often felt invisible. I would go weeks without talking to anyone while at home. At first, I attempted to fix whatever it was that had changed, but there came a point when I was simply sick of trying. Thus, I turned to fitness. I watched hours of YouTube vloggers, read as many articles as I could, and interacted with Facebook groups regarding online training, blogging, etc. It is what first led me to the idea of this blog and beginnings an online coaching business.

One blogger and online trainer was Mike Vacanti. If you haven’t heard of him, check out his content here. His attitude is inspiring. His grind is unreal. I remember thinking how I want to be able to have his drive, to be able to grind as hard as he does 24/7. Now, as I sit here at 11pm writing this post, I can only hope a little has rubbed off on me.

One of his videos I liked best was when he talked about how we portray characteristics of the five people you’re closest to. These people do not have to be physically present people in your life, but the five people who you follow and keep up with the most. It can be authors of content that you read online, old friends who you connect with through texting or phone calls, and, of course, those who you are physically around. This idea is originally from a quote by Jim Rohn.

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

I thought about that again recently as I scrolled through Facebook and past a post that brought back a lot of those feelings of invisibility from last semester of senior year.

Reading the post and seeing the pictures, I was upset. At the beginning of summer, I was so happy to have left behind many of those feelings and finally not feel like a stranger in my own house, that to have it brought back in an instant was crushing. It threw me off. I was thinking about it constantly throughout that day, even though I knew it should have no impact on me.

Then I thought about Mike’s commentary. People who choose to treat me as if I don’t exist do not dictate my life.  I have the choice every day when I wake up how I’m going to spend my time and who I’m going to be around.

So, thank you. Thank you for igniting that fire again in me. Thank you for allowing me to see that that second semester was one of the best things that ever happened. I met amazing people, grew closer to people I wouldn’t have otherwise, and learned so much about myself.

To those of you reading this, I hope that you take away one lesson: Do not let others define your life. You are not invisible. You have the ability to change and inspire people with the life you have been given.  Now go out and do it.

You’re not a “resolutioner”, are you?

I was filling my water bottle at the gym the other day when a gentleman posed the question. No introduction, nothing else what said. Replying with a polite, “No, I’m a personal trainer here.” He went on, “Oh, so you know what I mean. All those new people taking up the equipment. Since I’ve never seen you, I had to ask.” I half-heartedly laughed and moved on to my workout.

This short interaction got me thinking. What if I was a “resolutioner” as he assumed I was? How would I feel? Coming to the gym to keep my New Year’s resolution and here is someone, clearly judgmental and unaccepting. I don’t think I would want to continue to come back; I wouldn’t feel accepted in this new environment.

After this realization, I was annoyed. Who was he to assume that everyone he hasn’t met is a “resolutioner”? What if I was just new to the gym? What if I was coming back from an injury? Furthermore, why does being a “resolutioner” have such a negative stereotype?

Yes, it’s a fact that many people who set resolutions tend to let life get in the way after about a month and a half or so. How do you change that? How do you become the exception to the stereotype?

 

Set smaller goals. When you set your resolution as “I’m going to lose 50 lbs”, it becomes a long term goal and therefore more difficult to focus on and compete the steps to get there. However, when you get “I’m going to lose 1lb per week” it becomes much more doable. Just 1 lb. Of course, it’s hard work, but would you rather start at number 1 or 50 when you’re counting down to 0? Take your resolution and break it down.

Expect setbacks. No journey, especially a fitness one, is going to be a straight line. It’s not going to be easy. Especially if you’re new to exercising, there’s going to be a period of learning how hard you can push your body and how much you need to recover. At this point, if you haven’t been recovering fully, you may be feeling more tired and lethargic. Be sure you’re getting enough sleep and drinking enough water in between your workouts.

Don’t start at 200%. If you’re only going about 75% with your fitness routine, don’t hit the ground in the new year and expect to kick it up to 200%. Start with a smaller jump. If your 75% is 3, 45 min workouts a week, kick it up to 3 times for an hour. Then 4 times: 3 for an hour and 1 for 30 minutes. There’s no rule that says you absolutely must workout 6 days a week. If you started at 200%, maybe take it back to 100% or 125%.

Mix it up! If you’re bored of your routine, change it! Just like there’s no rule that you have to workout 6 days a week, there’s no rule that says your 3 days per week have to be Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If your schedule allows, change it up. Check out that spinning class on a Tuesday or the Bootcamp on Saturday morning. Who knows who you’ll meet in class?

 

Resolutions don’t have to start on January 1 of the new year. Set your resolution today. Has life gotten in the way for you? Are to progressing with your “New Year’s Resolution” and need a new goal to keep the motivation going? Start today. Start on March 5, 2017.

My hope is that every single person that makes a resolution or sets a goal keeps it, regardless of what it may be for you. If it’s fitness related, keep taking up that equipment. Change what being a “resolutioner” is and meet every goal you have set for the new year. You aren’t a “resolutioner”. You’re a person who made the choice to begin living a healthier lifestyle.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

14680501_10208638373371434_3202717458687287394_n

A member of a Facebook group posted this and, although the group is related to hiking 14ers (mountains over 14,000 feet in elevation at the summit), I got to thinking about how this graphic relates to fitness and making it your lifestyle. Some of you may have already gone through some of the steps of this process. Others may still be at the very first or second.

“I once was blind and now I see.”

People are introduced to fitness at a variety of ages. Regardless of whether you’re in high school or middle-aged, new information is often taken as the gold standard; regardless of where it is coming from. That is why popular media sites are so dangerous. Promoting fad diets and nutrition advice, those who do not have enough knowledge will live by these guidelines.

“Hm-m-m, there’s more to this than I thought.”

Maybe it was advice from a friend that framed a known thought in a new way. Maybe it was an article that talked about how one glass of wine equals an hour at the gym when you drink it between 3pm and 5pm. Whatever the cause may be, there’s always something that makes you to stop and think: could these Elite Daily and Buzzfeed articles not be portraying the full picture?

“Oh man, I’m never going to understand it.”

You start to do some more research. Maybe you stumble upon coaches with online blogs, people with education and certifications. You begin to read their articles and guest posts from authors they trust and know. Slowly but surely, you begin to find that the amount of information is vast and ever growing. No longer do you rely on Buzzfeed, but, instead, see them as a source to get topics to research and find reliable articles about these topics.

“OK, it’s starting to make sense now.”

This continues, maybe over a month, six months, a year, three years. I argue this is the longest of the stages and never really ends. There are constantly new topics and new research being done. When you begin to understand a topic fully, there will be a new topic or new research in that same topic to turn everything you thought to be true on its head. Your knowledge base continues to grow, but your confidence in that knowledge being the end-all-be-all does not.

“Trust me, it’s complicated”

Finally, as you research and make fitness your lifestyle, your friends and family will undoubtedly begin to ask you questions. How much protein should I eat? How much water should I drink in a day? Yes, both of these questions have a textbook answer. You should eat 0.8 g protein per kg of bodyweight. You should drink 8, 8oz. glasses of water per day. However, after researching, you find that protein depends on your fitness goals, height and weight, health status and other medical history, as well as the quality and source of the protein. And water depends on how hard you sweat for that day, the altitude you live at, your age, gender, height and weight, just to name a few factors. Fitness and nutrition, as well as all related topics, are complicated.

Where are you in your journey? Are you just starting or edging toward realizing that everything is complicated and needs more research? Leave a comment and let me know!

Confident and Competent: My Goal for Clients

Starting a new in-person personal training job, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my philosophy on personal training and working with clients. I figured, since you’re all still getting to know me a little bit that I would discuss in this week’s article.

When a person hires a personal trainer it is most often as a result of the lack the knowledge as to what they are doing and how to reach their fitness goals. It is no secret that personal training is expensive. The average cost for 1 session, depending on location and trainer experience is between $60-70. Yes, usually packages of sessions are sold and the cost for the client is significantly decreased. However, often this expense is often not sustainable long-term.

When a client agrees to work with me, we have a meeting to discuss their goals and then I add in my knowledge as to how best to reach them. I also give them a goal of my own: I want them to be confident enough to be able to come in to the gym and use the equipment that they would like and take themselves through a workout, both safely and effectively. Now this doesn’t mean teaching them the ins and outs of program design, but if they chose, I would like for them to be able to go through a strength training session or increase their mileage to prepare for a race they are doing.

This is conflicting as a personal trainer because for me to continually earn a steady income, I have to keep a consistent client base. The way to do this is not releasing clients; the idea is that they would stay on and work with me long term. So with that, I pose this scenario:

I go through 4 introductory sessions with the client and they are confident, and good to go on their own. They don’t have the funds for personal training to continue, but I set them up with a 6-week program that they are able to do on their own. They continue to follow and complete that program. Along the way, they chat with their friends about it and tell people about what they are doing. Their friend is then interested, and may set up a consultation and look to do a similar thing. I’ve just both generated a second lead into personal training and helped my original client out. By the time the 6 weeks are up, they’re ready and come back, potentially pay for a few more sessions so that I can take them through more advanced workouts.

Now, I know that’s an ideal situation and it may not happen this exact way. But I believe:

If you, as a trainer, are able to give someone the confidence to come into the gym on their own and safely execute a workout, that’s more of an accomplishment than any amount of muscle gained or weight lost.

What is “Fitness as a Lifestyle”?

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-8-48-27-pm

Compared to the time that was spent on colors and fonts, choosing a tagline was surprisingly easy for me. Making fitness a lifestyle is not a change that initially consumes your life. It is a series of small changes.

Are you struggling to make it to the gym after a busy day at work? Change your routine and get up in the morning.

Are you finding it hard to reach for healthy snacks vs. the chips that are in the bag on top of the fridge? At the beginning of the week, prepare and cut veggies to keep in the fridge.

Do you always find yourself saying that you’ll start your workout on Monday? Start you workout program on that Tuesday or Thursday or Saturday.

But don’t try to get up early, replace all your “unhealthy” snacks with veggies, and start your workout on the day that you have back to back to back meetings or a project due at midnight all on the same day.

“Fitness as a Lifestyle” does not mean spending all day in the gym, eating 100% clean, and never pausing to truly live your life. It does mean:

  • Being conscious of what you eat throughout the day
  • Finding exercise you truly enjoy and making it a habit
  • Balancing healthy eating and working out, but still having a donut occasionally

So join me in your own fitness journey. Throughout, our paths may run parallel or cross, but they will forever be our own as you live with fitness as a lifestyle.

 

What does the future hold?

As I sit down to write this, I’m not sure where to start. This is the first post of many. For weeks, I’ve been playing with logos and re-configuring layouts. Trying to make every little aspect perfect. Now, I’ve been trying to come up with the perfect topic to start. But I don’t need a “perfect topic”. I just need a topic.

Why am I starting this blog?

I’ve been thinking lately and one thought has stood out to me more than others:

There are bigger and better things ahead.

Now, I’m not sure why this one thought, but I want to expand on it. The average lifespan today is between 84 and 86 years old, depending on gender. I’m 23; this leaves roughly 62 years left to live. (Even though I intend on living longer than that!) Regardless, that’s nearly three times what I have already lived for more experiences, memories, and living.

I’ve always loved sharing knowledge and mentoring others. My hope is that I can do this for you. I want to create content that you will utilize and that will help you on your journey.

Leave the painful memories and failures behind.

Take risks and find what works for you.

Make fitness your lifestyle.

It will be worth it.