With Christmas and other holidays gearing up, you may be traveling or attending several holiday parties. One thing I want you to know, it’s ok if you decide you’re going to take a little break from your normal eating habits and enjoy yourself a little. However, here are my tips for not completely derailing the train:
- Aim for better, not perfect. It’s ok to have Christmas dinner and eat richer foods. Maybe just don’t have a roll AND mashed potatoes. Pick one.
- Still eat slowly and mindfully. Just because some delicious food is in front of you doesn’t mean you can forget the basics and start inhaling food like there’s no tomorrow. Eat slowly, until ~80% full. Also, don’t keep eating just because you haven’t tried everything on the table yet.
- Still plan ahead. If you’re out getting your last minute shopping done, don’t let yourself get to a point where you’re starving and the first thing in sight is Cinnabon in the mall food court. Keep a bar or two in your purse or pocket. A couple of my favorites are Lara Bars and Kind Bars.
- Still get in some exercise. If you’re traveling, you may not have access to your normal workout equipment, but even a brisk walk outside or 10 minutes on a hotel treadmill doing intervals will keep you feeling better and battle some of the food and drink you’ve been consuming.
First of all, I can’t believe how much time flies as I’ve entered my 30s. It really does not feel like it’s been 5 years. Second, I am so thankful that my clients all liked me enough to keep paying me. When I first walked away from a full schedule of clients at a commercial gym, things were a little skimpy financially. I knew I had enough business to pay my bills, but I had to depend heavily on my wife (fiancée at the time) in order to eat. Fast forward 5 years, I’d say we are doing much better!
So what happened along the way? When working at a gym, I was one of the more successful trainers there, and thought to myself, “I know pretty much all that I need to know about what I’m doing.” I was dead wrong. Walking away from that job was one of the best things to happen to me (maybe besides Kelly and Taj, mostly Taj).
It forced me to branch out and learn more about training and business. It has been a yuge growth experience, and it continues to this day. Here are some of the things I have learned along the way that I feel have made me more effective as a trainer/coach.
- Advanced shoulder and hip screening.This has taught me when working with a new client (or even one I’ve been working with for years), about how to adjust exercises for shoulder pain, hip pain, knee pain, and low back pain. Not very many people come to me without some kind of ailment, and having a deeper understanding of proper movement and spinal alignment have helped tremendously. It has helped me develop a better and ever changing system of regressions and progressions for exercises. I’ve taken clients that were told by their doctor that they shouldn’t squat, taught them how THEY should squat, and seen tremendous improvement in strength without pain.
- Focusing on changing behaviors, not just giving general nutrition advice. People often feel overwhelmed with how much weight they have to lose, or that their diet altogether is terrible. They don’t know where or how to start. Focusing on changing one or two behaviors at a time is simple. You can measure progress by adherence to those habits and not just the scale. I’ve found that it is far more beneficial to focus on doing the little things well, rather than trying to do more advanced nutrition strategies like intermittent fasting figuring out timing of your nutrients around your workout.
- Using social media. I hate Facebook. It sucks away my time, time I could use to be more present with my wife, walk the dog, get my workout in, or better yet, shredding mountain bike trails (when it’s not monsoon season). However, I can’t ignore how powerful it can be. People get their news, see what their friends did over the weekend, and it’s a great way to advertise. I have gotten business by using Facebook. I also like to use it as an avenue to help educate and inform my clients and really anybody else that wants to listen to me. I hope that besides learning how to safely and effectively workout towards their goals, that my clients will learn things from me to become self-sufficient in their time away from our sessions.
So here’s to many years to come, and the projects I will be working on in the near future!
This post is going to be less organized and more of a ramble, but nevertheless I hope it inspires you.
I’ve found myself to be a much more pleasant person to be around (my wife can vouch) when I get to ride my bike in the woods. I come back home with an ear-to-ear smile and nothing else in the world can bother me. My mountain biking “addiction” has been great for reducing my stress, even as a person who workouts regularly, exercising in nature is just different. Here’s a study to back that up: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3710158/.
I am not advocating to all my clients that they should go buy a bike and start doing what I do, but I do think you should make time to spend in nature. Here are examples of activities you can do in the St. Louis area to help reduce stress:
Besides one being outdoors and the other indoors, another difference between my mountain bike workouts and my regular resistance training workouts is that I put my phone away. If I tried to get my phone out while riding my bike, I would for sure crash. Now that I hear my thoughts on this as I type, I should probably put my phone away except for music while I do my resistance training. I have had texts, emails or calls interrupt my workout, and effectively end it. Everyone is so connected all day, every day. We have phones, tablets, and computers, people can reach you pretty much whenever they need to. You should take a break from it. Those of you familiar with the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” should know that exercise is part of the 7th habit. Don’t let your phone be the reason your workout sucks and you don’t effectively “sharpen the saw” to be your best.
My final thought: it is winter right now, and when the trails get wet around here, they are closed to bikers (sad face). It takes a long time for them to dry out because of the freeze/thaw effect. When I can’t ride on my favorite trails, I still go out on the Katy Trail (which is gravel and doesn’t matter if it’s wet) and do intervals. Any workout is better than no workout. If you don’t have a full hour to workout, even a 15 or 20 minute workout will go a long way. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Progress is progress and keep working towards your goals.
As many of you know, I went off the deep end with mountain biking this year. What started with a nice bike as an early birthday present from my wife, turned into a really, really nice bike a couple months later, and I’ve been riding trails several times a week since. Thinking back to my first experience mountain biking this year, I came up with a few life lessons. I’ll start with a picture of what I got to take home with me from that ride.
That scar (8 months old now, so it doesn’t look as bad) is what’s left from a pretty good sized hole in my arm; thanks to this rock (pictured below) that also put a hole in the sleeve of my long sleeved t-shirt. It could have been much worse, because my arm saved my face!
As I approached this section of trail, I was uneasy, didn’t think I could do it, and had no confidence. It is very steep, very quick, and has a slight turn at the bottom right before you come back up a very steep climb over rocks on the other side. I went down it anyway. Rookie move. At the bottom, my front wheel got caught and I was thrown over my handlebars and hit this pile of rocks.
Here is what I was reminded of by this experience:
- When you want to do something, commit fully to it. Had I not hesitated and believed I could do it, I would have had a better chance of success. I didn’t think I could do it and look what happened, I failed, miserably. Let’s look at this from an exercise and weight loss perspective. You have to commit to the plan and BELIEVE that you can do it.
- Start small, don’t jump in over your head. I should have started to progress my skills on less intimidating features of the trail. Same with exercise, beginners should progress in a manner that is appropriate for them. They shouldn’t start by doing the workout plan that JJ Watt does in his off-season workouts.
- Get back up and try it a different way. Isn’t the definition of insanity “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”? If at first you don’t succeed, figure out what went wrong, implement a different strategy and try again. Don’t quit because of one bad experience.
- Have a community of support. I got better by riding with other mountain bikers. They encouraged me and helped me tremendously by watching them. With exercise, hire a trainer, workout with a friend or spouse, or join a class, these are all ways that being around others can lead to your success.
If I had given up after my first try, and not asked to ride with other mountain bikers, I would never have been able to do this.
That’s the same spot I fell, now I have conquered it! Now I have an activity that I love, and can enjoy for many years to come.
Are you bored with your current go to meals? Do you lack extensive culinary skills? If you answered “yes” to both questions, you’ll like this recipe. Not only is it healthy and taste good, it’s easy to make.
Here’s how to make it:
1. Trim any fat off of however many chicken breasts you desire to cook. I like to cook several extra so I have meals ready for later.
2. Place the chicken breasts in a slow cooker and cover with a jar of your favorite salsa.
3. Cook on low for 4 hours. I find that any longer will make it too dry.
4. Wait 4 hours.
1. Cut 3 (or however you want to make) avocados into 8 slices.
2. Cut an equal number of tomatoes into wedges of similar size to your avocado slices.
3. Finely chop cilantro on a cutting board and add the avocados, tomatoes, and cilantro into a bowl.
4. Add lime juice to taste and toss until the lime juice and cilantro are mixed well with the avocados and tomatoes.
As you can see, this doesn’t take much skill, time, or ingredients to make. Enjoy!
Ever find yourself short on time and an hour long workout just sounds too overwhelming right now? Try a dumbbell circuit. You’ll build muscle, strength, and endurance while keeping your heart rate up. It’s a great way to raise your metabolism in 15 minutes or less.
2 DB Reverse Lunge
2 DB Single Leg RDL
Bent Over Row
To cut down time, use the same weight for all 4 exercises, using little to no rest between each exercise. Your weakest of the 4 exercises will dictate the weight you use. The number of sets and reps vary depending on your ability and your training goal. This can also be done as conditioning at the end of a longer workout, using lighter weights.
With summer vacations coming soon, don’t let travel derail your progress. Even a 10 minute workout is better than no workout. Your body will thank you. Here is an example of a workout you can do in a hotel room with minimal equipment and get it done fast!
What you’ll need:
TRX Suspension Trainer + door anchor
Sliders (furniture movers)
A wide chair or a bed
How it’s done:
Perform 10 reps of each exercise (each side if there is a right and left), with as little rest as possible between exercises. Rest for 30-60 seconds between rounds and repeat for 3-4 rounds.
TRX Single Leg Squat
TRX Rotational Row
Single Leg Hip Thrust (use a chair or the bed)
Push-Up + (use the bed or a dresser if you can’t do a push-up from the floor)