Category

Behavior Change

The MOST Important Factor in Getting Long Term Change

By | Behavior Change, Mindset

Welcome to your second Mindset installment of our Transform You 2020 series.

On Monday, I talked about how you can’t rely on willpower if you want to make a change. (Click here if you missed it…)

I talked about a highly effective hack to overcome our limited willpower, by changing your environment, which can force a change in your habits.

But what if you don’t want to rely on environmental changes long term? How do you become the sort of person who can drive by McDonalds and never pull in, or who won’t eat the package of Oreos sitting in the cabinet?

The answer is to go deeper and really look at your beliefs and identity.

Our sense of identity (conscious and unconscious) drives our choices and our actions every day. Our actions are a reflection of our current beliefs about ourselves.

James Clear describes this brilliantly in Atomic Habits, where he talks about three layers of behavior change: outcomes, process, identity.

Image credit: James Clear, jamesclear.com

Outcomes are the goals that we want to be able to achieve, like running a 5k.

Processes are the habits that will get us to our goals, such as running or walking 1 mile every day.

Identity is made up of our deepest beliefs about ourselves, our world view, our values, our judgments about ourselves and others. It is our identity that drives many of our daily choices and actions.

We usually try to change by figuring out what outcome/goal we want (ie, lower blood pressure, improve health, run a half-marathon, lose 20 pounds) and then identifying the processes/habits that will get us there (ie, eating more veggies, exercising every day).

But James argues that the deepest, most sustainable way to change is to actually change our sense of identity, our beliefs about who we are, which will then drive a shift in habits and help us achieve the outcomes that we want to achieve.

When we focus on who we want to become and the type of person we want to be, every action we take becomes a vote for the type of person we wish to become.

The converse is also true. When we don’t consciously decide the type of person we want to become, our actions tend to reflect unconsciously held beliefs about ourselves. Maybe our unconscious belief that we’ll never be a morning person keeps us from staying consistent with early morning workouts, for example.

So how do you change your identity?

First, be aware of the stories that you tell about yourself. Do you see yourself as someone who will always struggle with __x,y,z___? Do you believe that you aren’t worthy of putting yourself first? Do you see yourself as not athletic? Or not capable??

Identify the narratives that may be hiding in your subconscious.

Would you say these things to your best friend if he/she were looking for advice? If not, they aren’t things that you should say to yourself.

Replace those narratives with a positive focus. Decide on the type of person that you want to be–who do you want to become? What is most important to you to focus on first?

Do you want to be the kind of person that takes care of their health and their body? Do you want to be the type of person who never misses a workout? Do you want to be someone who is always there for their family? Always on time? Organized? Obviously, this is not limited to health and fitness.

Once you have an identity that you want to focus on, think about how you can prove that identity to yourself with one small action every day. What is one small win that is doable but that can reinforce that identity?

For example, if you want to be someone who takes care of their health, perhaps a small win could be eating one veggie-based meal or snack each day.

Or, you could buy a pedometer and aim to increase your step total by 50 or 100 steps per day.

If you want to be someone who is tidy and organized, perhaps you start by making your bed each day.

Over time, these small, identity based habits will both help you achieve the results you are looking for, while also more permanently shifting your beliefs about who you are. And that is how you can truly achieve lasting change.

Stay tuned because on Friday, I’ll share two habit hacks that can really help you get these small wins that will reinforce your new identity.

For now, carve out some time to think about an area of your life where you want to become a different type of person. What is that new identity? And what is one *small* thing you can do to start proving that to yourself each day?

What is the BEST Diet/Meal Plan Out There???

By | Behavior Change, Health, Nutrition, Uncategorized

Now more than ever you’ve probably been bombarded with confusing ads, social media posts, and blogs encouraging you to follow THIS diet to lose weight, get healthy, increase your energy, improve your sex drive, decrease your risk of cancer… and on and on. 

You name it and someone has developed a diet or a supplement that will solve all of your problems.

And so confusion reigns. What is best? Keto? Paleo? Intermittent fasting? Carb cycling? Plant-based? Vegan? Whole 30?

The truth?? 

All of it, and none of it. There is no one diet or meal plan that is THE best for everyone out there.

There is no single diet that is guaranteed to work for you. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that healthy eating is actually much simpler than any of the diets listed above would make you think.

I’ll talk more about our philosophy later this week. For now, I want to focus on just one thing.

The reality is that the best approach to healthy eating is the one that you can stick with long term. Most of us know HOW to improve our nutrition–knowledge is often not the issue. Instead, it’s a matter of sticking to it that is the problem.

Some of the things that can get in the way include:

  • An all-or-nothing approach–one “slip” leads to guilt and throwing the whole idea of healthy eating out the window.
  • Trying to change everything at once–going from living on coffee, soda, sweets and processed food to trying to stick with Whole 30 will almost always fail.
  • Too much restriction–”off limits” foods often end up causing major cravings and guilt if/when you do finally indulge
  • Ideas that some foods are “bad” and others are “good”, which again can cause guilt or feelings of failure if you don’t let go of all “bad” foods

Rather than going down that path, I’d encourage you to step back and think about your current eating habits WITHOUT JUDGEMENT!

Then maybe identify just ONE thing that you could try to focus on this week. 

Think about starting small and gradually tweaking that one thing, leveling up your game over time.

So perhaps you never eat vegetables. Maybe your goal could be to add one serving of vegetables to one of your meals each day. That would be moving up one level.

Over time, perhaps you discover that you enjoy vegetables prepared certain ways and you add them to a second meal, thus moving up another level.

You can level up over time, gradually tweaking that one habit in a way that works for you, until all of the sudden you realize you are now a regular vegetable eater (and thus probably eat less sugar and/or processed food as a result, without even trying).

Sticking with this example, if you are already eating a lot of vegetables, this can still work for you. Maybe you level up by trying to eat a certain quantity with every meal and snack, as I and 40 clients did in December. We ate 200-300 grams of vegetables before every meal, striving to consume many different types, etc throughout the day. 

Just about everyone who did this lost weight and had more energy, mostly from eating fewer processed sugars and carbs. (We had no room for them eating that many vegetables each day, lol!)

Anyway, the point is that wherever you are, you can always level up. 

Think about one way that you can level up your nutrition this week!

If You Have Never Opened an Email of Mine, Read This…

By | 21 Day Challenge, Behavior Change, Challenge

This might be the most powerful and impactful 2 minute video that I have created.

I filmed it almost exactly 5 years ago for a 21 Day Challenge at the Transformation Center. This concept rocked my world back then. It has continued to be profound for me and has transformed my ability to achieve high levels of confidence, enabling me to tackle some of the biggest challenges of my life over the past few years.

We all want to feel confident, but how do we actually achieve confidence? This framework, revealed to me 5 years ago by my coach, Dan Sullivan, has made such a difference in my own life that I knew I had to share it with you!

Many people believe that in order to have high levels of confidence that they will succeed at something, they need high levels of competency–that they need to have demonstrated the skills that are required to succeed.

For example, I’ve had many conversations over the past week with people interested in the next session of our Killer Kurves program, which starts on Monday. People think that in order to be successful in the program they need to know what exercises are best, what foods are bad, how to prepare healthy foods, meal plans, etc. In some cases, they even think they need to lose some of the weight or get in shape before they start.

While these things might help you build confidence in the long run, there are two other things that are actually much more important (and much more straightforward!), and that will help you build your confidence more quickly.

->-> Click here to discover what these two components are <-<-

This is the simplest and most powerful framework I have ever seen for creating change, getting results and building confidence. Once you have decided on the first two pieces of the framework, everything else will fall into place.

->-> Click here to watch this 2-minute video <-<

After watching the video, I have two questions for you…

Are you committed?

Are you ready to show courage?

You really don’t need to have all the answers, you just have to be willing to start.

If you are ready to start your transformation, reply to this email to let me know.

We have programs that will meet you where you are, whether you are over 50 and looking for small group training with people your own age, or whether you have 40+ pounds to lose and want a supportive environment and an incredible community of people on the same journey, or whether you just want to ramp up your strength and fitness in one of our many Sweat Fit classes.

Let’s make this month an amazing, confidence-filled month for all of us!

Keep moving,

Dustin Maher

PS If you have 40+ pounds to lose and may be interested in our Killer Kurves program, don’t delay! It starts on Monday. Check it out here, then click the “Let’s Talk” button and fill out the form and I’ll be in touch ASAP to see if we are a good fit for you!

https://madisonbootcamps.com/killer-kurves/

My Best Advice On How To Make A Transformation

By | Behavior Change, Health, Killer Kurves, Lifestyle, Mindset, Nutrition, Strength, Transformation Center, Transformations

We have a new Killer Kurves session starting this week and I just shared with them my best advice on how to make the most of the next 12 weeks.

I wanted to share it with you too because I think the messages are applicable to whatever journey you are on. So here it is:

I have been thinking a lot about the 12 week journey you are about to embark on and I am so excited for you and what is going to happen, even though you probably have no idea.

In Steve Job’s famous interview he says (paraphrase), “It is impossible to connect the dots when at the present time, it is only when looking back can you see the path taken.”

K2 will be a dot that will send you in a path towards more of everything you want in life.

People join because they want to lose weight, but they stay because of the strength, confidence, and friendships they form.

That is why 85-90% of those who complete our first 12 week session continue on as an alumni.

My advice to you as a trainer for 15 years and 7 years into the Killer Kurves program is as follows…

-Believe and trust in the process. There is no challenge or barrier that someone else in our program hasn’t overcome before.

-You are not weird, messed up or more broken than anyone else. As humans we all have major challenges, short-comings, and flaws. We are all different but the same.

-Show up. Make attending your sessions as high of a priority as a doctors appointment. Make it a non-negotiable to the best of your ability.

-Open up. You might feel guilt or shame for things that have happened in your past. Again, we all have stuff in our lives. The more you can open up and share, the quicker the transformation.

-Keep an open mind. Don’t tell yourself you aren’t a runner, don’t like vegetables, or can’t do pushups. These thoughts place limiting beliefs that manifest themselves into truths. Stop them now and replace them with empowering, supportive thoughts.

-Embrace others. If you don’t have a supportive environment at home, work, or other places, that makes things hard. So it’s even more important to connect and build relationships within your K2 groups. They can help you overcome a lot of negative influences in your life.

-Enjoy the journey. It’s not a race. A race has a start and a finish. You are on a journey that will continue for the rest of your life. While short-term goals are great, don’t forget the long-term focus.

-Don’t underestimate the power of small changes…. Increasing your water, increasing your vegetables, reducing sugar, getting an extra 30 minutes of sleep. These play HUGE roles in the way you feel.

-Pursue progress, not perfection. The more “perfect” you try to be, the more stress it will cause and the more likely it is that you will give up all together. Make it a goal to be trending towards being fitter, stronger, and healthier each week. Again small changes throughout the day yield huge results long term. You will have bad days, weekends, and even maybe a bad week or two, but get right back on track and don’t feel guilty.

-Always keep improving. This especially goes for alumni. Even if you have reached your ideal/goal weight you shouldn’t just now coast. Set other goals—it might be a strength goal, an event goal, or an endurance goal.

-Have fun. You might like to exercise or maybe you have hated it your entire life. Either way exercise can be fun, and doing it with others makes it even better.

-Finally don’t take yourself too seriously… because nobody is watching and we ALL have these moments. Maybe you will trip over your own feet in warm up, or pass some gas during Russian twists, or roll off the ball during back extensions. Just laugh it off and continue on.

I could say a lot more but this is enough for now.

I am so proud of you for taking this step. In the 7 years of this program I have never heard one person say, “I regret joining K2.” They only regret not starting earlier.

If there is anything I can do to help, don’t hesitate to ask. You may not see me physically during all your workouts, but I keep in close contact with the trainers to make sure we are supporting you the best possible way.

If you find yourself ready to make a change, contact us ASAP.

Visit https://madisonbootcamps.com/killer-kurves/ to learn more.

How to Stop Emotional and Behavioral Sabotage with these 10 Mindset Habits

By | Behavior Change, Food For Thought, Health, Killer Kurves, Lifestyle, Mindset

Thinking of making a TRANSFORMATION for LIFE? You know you want to change and you know it’s going to take real commitment on your part to do it.

Are you in the right MINDSET to get you to your goals and keep you there for life? Here are my TOP 10 MINDSET HABITS to inspire and keep you on the road to success even when life gets difficult. It is often the behavioral and emotional sabotaging we do to ourselves that takes us off course.

Speaking of transformation for life… this week I announced the opening of our next 12 week Killer Kurves weight loss and lifestyle program. If you have 40-200 lbs to lose, this could be the program you are looking for.

Click here to learn more and apply ->-> http://madisonbootcamps.com/killer-kurves/

Habit #1 – I fully forgive myself and others.

In order to be successful at major lifestyle changes, you must forgive yourself & others in order to move forward, focused on your best possible future. Forgiveness is powerful; it will feel like removing a heavy weight from your heart. Without all that pain, shame or fear you have been holding onto, you will be so much lighter, ready to take action, ready to make real lifestyle changes and open up that space for optimism and determination to keep moving forward toward your best life.

Habit into Action

“Adopt a mantra that you say to yourself the moment that a guilty memory or feeling arises. The following phrases are particularly effective: “I’m not that person anymore;” or “My attention belongs in the present;” or “I am not here to suffer anymore.” Choose the appropriate phrase and repeat it, without fail, every time you feel guilty. In this way, you are not only telling yourself the truth, for you aren’t the person anymore who committed a past misdeed, but you are also giving your brain a new, more positive input. This will help to wean it off the old wiring that keeps messaging guilt long after guilt is deserved.” – A suggestion from Deepak Chopra, The Huffington Post

Habit #2 – Exercise is a gift, not a punishment.

If you are serious about a physical transformation, you must change your mind about exercise. Exercise is a gift you must give yourself, in some way, every day. Moving your body can no longer be a punishment for poor eating choices. It is a true gift to your heart, mind, muscles and more that will keep “giving” the rest of your long life. Will it still be hard, physically? Yes, it should be if you are doing it right. Will it be so much easier when you have the right attitude about it? Yes, definitely. You will push yourself, lovingly, into workouts you never knew you could do.

Habit into Action

Make exercise an enjoyable experience. Work out with friends. Don’t know anyone in class? Introduce yourself and strike up a conversation with a friendly face. Do the exercises that challenge you, but bring you energy, not drain you of it. Buy new shoes and a workout outfit. Set your alarm with some soothing or inspiring music to get up early and get your workout in right away, before you can make any excuses to not do it.

Habit #3 – Food is meant to serve my body.

Your nutrition will affect every aspect of your life and will improve your chances at any type of transformation. To be successful for life, you must change your mind about food. When you decide to view food as an energy source to serve your body, your choices will reflect your physical needs: slow-burning carbs for extended energy, muscle-building proteins for increased strength, healthy fats to keep you satisfied, vitamin and mineral rich foods to support a strong immune system and healthy body functions. You will no longer choose artificial and convenient foods. You will no longer reach for food to soothe a feeling other than hunger.

Habit in Action

When you eat, ask yourself the following questions. “How will this food serve my body?” “How will it give me energy?” “Will it make me stronger?” “Will it make my body function improve?” and “Am I actually hungry or am I bored or trying to avoid some feelings?” If you aren’t sure of the answer, Google it. There is so much nutritional information at our finger-tips, it is much easier to make better choices.

Habit #4 – I will no longer compare myself to others.

Any transformation will come with doubts. Maybe you’ve lived a certain way for more than 30 years. The best way to quiet those doubts is to stay focused on moving forward. You must keep your eyes on your own paper, stay in your lane and decide how YOU will measure YOUR success. You can no longer use others as a ruler to judge by.

Everyone is doing their best, all the time, including you. Your best can only be appreciated when you judge it against your best, yesterday. Our bodies, our lives, our relationships are all different and can’t be compared or judged as successful or not, since we don’t know all the facts about everyone else’s situations. You do know the facts of your own and you can take full responsibility for the actions and the feelings you have about their outcomes.

Habit in Action

If you wear a wristwatch or bracelet (if you don’t, put a rubber band on your wrist or ask for a Fit Moms For Life bracelet), any time you find yourself comparing, feeling inferior, feeling superior or being judgmental of yourself or others, switch the band to the other wrist. You might be surprised how often you switch.

Habit #5 – Stop compiling problems

Successful people have problems too. They just have a great skill of tackling problems or obstacles one at a time. It is easy to get overwhelmed and not address easily solved problems, because we’ve added them up with all the rest into something that seems insurmountable. Successful people look at problems separately, objectively, and they consider them challenges, not problems. Each hurdle can then be added to your “proud” list once you have solved it.

Habit into Action

Ask a trusted friend or partner to listen to a single obstacle or problem that has been on your mind. Don’t have someone to talk to? Ask a friend in your workout group or your trainer. You don’t have to ask for their opinion on what you should do, but you will find that as you are explaining the problem out loud, alone (meaning without all the other problems you have swimming around in your head) and without emotions, you will have made that problem seem to be less of a problem, more of a challenge and certainly manageable all on your own. It will be a lightbulb moment – try it.

Habit #6– Speak and think only in truths.

On the transformation journey you must decide you will no longer generalize and you will speak and think only in truths. How often do you hear yourself say, “I always fail” or “I never get it right”? Are those statements REALLY true? No, you don’t always fail. You have successful moments all the time, every day. You can no longer generalize about yourself or others. If you are only speaking in truths, it might sound more like … “I didn’t lose all the weight I wanted to, but I did lose inches off my waist and made several new friends.”

Habit into Action

Be mindful and totally aware of generalizations when you speak and think today. Focus on it all day. Any time you think or speak a generalization, quickly write it down in your phone or on a notepad. At the end of the day, take those generalizations to a friend or family member and ask them if they are true about you or your situation. If you don’t have anyone to chat with, ask yourself and be totally honest. Are those generalizations fully TRUTHS? I bet not. It will really improve your attitude and enthusiasm.

Habit #7 – Busy is not better.

Successful people have learned that busy is NOT better. Our culture tells us to judge our lives by the quantity of things we can accomplish in one day. To what end? We are a sick, stressed out, malnourished, overweight population that continues to get sicker. Reject that thinking and judge your life by the quality of your time. Create space around your activities to make memories and relish in the small pleasures.

Habit into Action

Sit down and write down your three most time-demanding activities and decide what needs to go or can be decreased. Do you need to cut down on your hours at the office or in the car carting kids around? Would the kids be okay if they only played one sport and one instrument? Could you reduce your social commitments for FREE time, just for you and your family to enjoy the fun of daily life? Boundaries can and need to be set in a positive way to protect this precious time. Your life needs to be manageable and you need to create space for self-care now—there is no time like the present to take action.

Habit #8 – Expect more of myself and others.

Visualize yourself transformed. You know what you want and in order to get there, you must raise the bar for yourself and others. When you make commitments to yourself and others, you hold them, even if it’s not “comfortable”. Kick “comfortable” to the door and continue to challenge yourself in all kinds of ways. Be brave. Take responsibility for how you treat yourself, others, and how others treat you. Set an achievable short-term goal today. As you do, you will inspire others and you will begin to expect more from them too. Make this a monthly habit.

Habit into Action

Work some accountability into your transformation. If you want to get more serious about nutrition, try food journaling or pre-packaging your week of meals/snacks. Sign up for an achievable exercise challenge or be vulnerable to enough to say you’re sorry or ask for an apology from someone concerning an incident you might be feeling bad about. Sign up for a seminar or class that will help you learn more about your specific goals.

Habit #9– Reduce screen time.

Find a way to reduce your screen time. It’s NOT just our kids who are addicted. Studies show that our sedentary lifestyle is as dangerous as smoking.

Habit into Action

Instead of watching a family flick on Friday night, head out and take the dog for a walk. In the winter, you could shovel the neighbor’s drive or bundle up and go ice-skating or sledding. In the nicer weather, enjoy a fire pit in your back yard or explore a new park. Get out a board game or take a drive to a neighboring downtown to check it out.

Do NOT take your phone, iPAD, computer or TV into your bedroom. Facebook ISN’T THAT interesting and is not worthy of risking your health. Up late surfing for deals? No more – shop during the day and GO TO BED!

Habit #10 – If I need help, I can ask for it.

This transformation is a big deal to you. Those who love you most will understand and be there for you. All you have to do is ask for help if you need it. These are real lifestyle changes that are difficult to start and even more difficult to maintain. Reach out to family or friends who have been successful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Ask them to support you in your efforts. If you don’t have anyone in your circle to ask, you will have to find a mentor, or coach, a stranger in class for help. People are more willing to help you than you think. Just have the courage to ask.

Habit in Action

Ask your partner to join you in your new pursuits. Ask your partner and kids to support your choices, join in the fun of making new healthy habits and be okay with getting rid of the old. Ask a friend to watch the kids while you take an hour to exercise/cook/or learn a new skill. Ask a trainer how to modify an exercise you don’t feel comfortable doing yet. Ask a teacher for extra help or a respected mentor to grab lunch and give you their best advice.

These types of habits are what we focus on and discuss in all our programs at the Transformation Center. So if you are already part of our community, continue to dive deep into these areas. If you aren’t yet, what are you waiting for?

This Doesn’t Make Sense

By | Behavior Change, Health, Lifestyle

I have been having some great conversations with clients over the past few days, and many have come back after some inconsistency.

For example, one awesome woman in our Fit over 50 program has been taking care of her aging mom every evening and hasn’t been coming very consistently, like she had for the past year or two.  She was here today and said she was reminded of just how much she liked it and good you feel when you are done with the workout.

She also said how hard it is to come back once you haven’t been in the groove, and how easy it is to come when you are in the groove.

I thought about that and it is so true in my own life.  Let me share a real life personal example.

I am known to share most everything publicly, and I feed off that and use it as motivation and accountability.  Well, last October I did something I don’t normally do and kept a secret, my own personal project.

I hired a running coach with the goal to become a far better runner than I currently was.  So my coach and I devised a plan to run 50-60 miles a week, something that seemed outrageous to me at first, even compared to training for Ironman the past 3 years.  I spent the first 5 weeks building from 42 miles up to 50 and then I have stayed around the 50-60 mile mark ever since.

I have had zero sickness and only a couple days of some achilles soreness.

In case you are wondering, that is around 8 miles M/T/W/Th/F and then 12 on Saturday and 0-6 on Sunday.

Only about 4 people knew about this until a week ago, when I shared it in a newsletter.

I have been getting asked if it has been hard to run basically 8 miles every day.

My answer has even surprised me… no

It’s not because I am some superstar or have any special powers.

It is because I have spent the past 4 months doing it every single day.  I have only missed a few days in the past 120 days.

In other words, the more frequently I run, the easier it becomes to just do it.  I don’t get sore, I don’t get especially tired (unless it is interval day), and I don’t really have to give myself a pep talk.  It’s just like brushing my teeth or taking a shower. It has become who I am, and I will always find the time to do things that align with who I am.

It was much harder to run 3x/week around 5-7 miles each time, like I have for the past few years, because it wasn’t as consistent.

Now there is something that, for me, is going to require a lot of motivation and pep talk to accomplish…

Swimming.

It’s been 5 months since I got into a pool or a lake and I am about to start back up swimming in a few weeks.

What is my point to all this?

I am starting to believe that the thesis of one of the most popular fitness books of all time, Younger Next Year, is correct for every single one of us.  The authors say that you should exercise every day like it is your job, the most important job you have. They were referring to a person 50 and older, but I think it can and does apply to all of us.

Not only will this keep you healthier, it will make it easier to keep as a routine.

Yes, it is a bit paradoxical, but the more frequently you exercise (or do anything for that matter), the easier it becomes.  

Said another way…

The less frequently you exercise, the harder it will be to be consistent.

Without making this any more lengthy, I am not saying you should work out 5-7 days a week at maximum intensity.  That is a recipe for overuse injury.

Find ways to sweat most days of the week and just see how much better you feel.

Do you agree or disagree?

Keep moving,

Dustin

PS Now this concept could be taken too far and if you are working out many hours each day, it can lead to burnout and overtraining, which then makes it harder to want to train.  I am talking about consistency, but varied intensity and duration levels.

PPS Does the concept of exercising or moving most days of the week overwhelm you?  The good news is that you don’t have to start with that. Just start with a couple days a week and build up to it.  Reply to this email if you want help doing that.

Are you Desperate, Embarrassed, Fed Up, Frustrated, Overwhelmed, or Feel Like You Want to Give Up Trying?

By | Behavior Change, Health, Lifestyle, Mindset, Nutrition, Uncategorized

We would probably describe the above emotions as “negative” emotions and in one way I would agree.

These feelings suck and are what we don’t want to feel.

But…

I think these emotions can also be the best thing to ever happen to a person.

Why?

It is through this pain that we can decide right then and there that we are done living in the state we are living in and are ready to make a change.

Not just “try” but actually commit and “do.”

Now in the fitness world, many unfortunately prey on the desperation of people and offer late night infomercials, pills or creams that are guaranteed to melt fat away, or some prepackaged meals that sound like they will solve all their problems. But these “solutions” are pretty much BS or solve only 5% of the problem.

That is why I am excited when someone comes to me “desperate” because I know they have what it takes–they are ready–to create a life-changing transformation.

A transformation their friends, family, and coworkers can’t stop talking about.

I know what we offer at the Transformation Center is the real deal. It is 100% of the puzzle, not just 5%, as long as someone is ready to make the change.

If you have been following my journey over the past 13 years, you will find that I have hardly changed my strategies and beliefs in terms of how I help people get in shape.

In other words, I haven’t fallen for all the trends, gimmicks and fads.

As my friend Jamie Eason says, “the secret is there are no real secrets.”

It has and always will come down to the following formula for just about everyone.

  1. Mindset: Believe that you need to take care of yourself, if you are going to be able to be there for others. Believe that success is more than possible, no matter how many times you have failed before. Believe that you are worth the effort.
  2. Nutrition: Eat real food. The % of macros or even the number of calories to a certain degree is less important than just eating real food most of the time.
  3. Fitness: Exercise most days of the week with 2-3 days of strength training, a couple sessions of interval cardio and the rest steady state cardio. Move more throughout the day, every day. Doesn’t have to be intense all the time, but aim for less sitting and more moving.
  4. Community: Surround yourself with people who are fitter than you, who have already established the habits you wish to adopt. If you don’t have this, it makes it much more challenging to have lasting change.

There you have it. The not so secret secrets.

Executing this is, of course, the more challenging part and is what we strive to do at the Transformation Center and in our online program, Fit Moms for Life.

So remember, desperation isn’t bad, it can be the flammable ingredient to igniting your success.

Maybe you aren’t desperate yet but don’t want to get to that point before you take action. Desperation isn’t a requirement.

If this message has spoken to you, the next step I would like you to do is to schedule a free 20 min session with me where we dive deep into your goals and challenges and create a plan.

I gained 7 lbs…

By | Behavior Change, Lifestyle, Mindset

I shared this with one of my Fit over 50 small groups a week ago and they said they really appreciated me sharing so I thought I would share it with you.

Ironman for me was Sept 9th and since then I haven’t been exercising very consistently.

I have only done 5-6 runs of 4-6 miles, about 120 miles of biking, and a couple sessions of lifting and core.  Nothing much.

Part of it was planned to give my body some recovery from 8 months of averaging 15 hours a week of exercise (peaking the last three months closer to 20 hours a week), and part of it was that I went into full work mode, putting in big hours at the Transformation Center.

But those weeks turned to a month, and I was struggling to find myself again and figure out a consistent workout routine.

I gained about 7 lbs, lost some additional muscle. I felt flabby and just blah.

Each day that I didn’t work out became more frustrating, the guilt built up and it was even harder to start the following day.

I filled my days with non-productive things to fill the space that working out took up and it was a vicious cycle.

Can you relate?

I am happy to report I broke this cycle a week ago and logged 42 miles of running last week with 44 miles planned this week.

So what changed?

Here are a few thoughts, and things I did. I hope you can apply the principles into your own life.

-I said enough was enough. I was tired of feeling tired and stressed. I knew from past experience, exercise was one of the best things I could do for myself and for my family.

-I recommitted to my WHY.  I still want to work towards qualifying for the Ironman World Championships and in order to do that I need to improve my run massively.  This in itself is highly motivating for me.

-I hired a running-specific coach for the next 5 months to help guide me.

-I created a plan.  I am going to focus on my running this winter 5-6 days per week (along with strength and core) to work on my weakness, and I asked my coach for a specific run training plan.

-I made it as easy and convenient as possible.  My coach wants me to run on soft surfaces as much as possible to decrease the chance of injury.  Many of the go-to places aren’t close to my house, so I have been searching for the best running places that are close to where I live.

-I found running partners.  I am still in the process of figuring out the best fit, but I ran with 6 different people last week to figure out who and what times will work best for my life.

-I got  the right gear.  I will be spending quite a bit of time running this winter.  The last couple winters I got all the cold gear I will need, but I want to listen to church sermons when I run to strengthen that part of my life, so I needed headphones and a way to hold my phone.  I posted on FB asking for recommendations, and within 1 hour I had purchased what I needed to make my runs more enjoyable.

-I discussed the plan with Tessa to make sure she understands my why and will support me in it, by watching my son Bo when necessary.

-I listen to a running related podcast, video, book, or article each day to keep my mind fueled for this goal.

-I am enjoying the journey.  At first my mindset was that I have 5 months of “off season training” before I get to the fun stuff of training specifically for my triathlon races.  Almost like this was a means to an end or that the next 5 months would be torture but a necessary evil to reach the results I want come next summer. Instead, I am taking each day as it comes as it’s own wonderful experience.  I have been appreciating the little things like the colorful leaves under my feet or the cold biting winds that keep my body from overheating. I am trying to enjoy the journey since running isn’t something that comes naturally or that I love (I am starting to like it more though).

-Lastly, I have developed a strong visual belief in a positive future outcome.  The feeling of getting faster, and placing higher up in the races is very motivating for me and keeps me going.

Each person is motivated by different things, and there is no right or wrong when it comes to this as long as it works for you.

Has anyone told you that you have changed?

By | Behavior Change, Health, Lifestyle, Mindset

Change…

A word that society doesn’t seem to like or support.

A politician can’t change their views on a certain topic.

An expert in their field gets put down for changing their opinion on a specific theory or belief.

A family member gets chastised for no longer wanting to do the same unhealthy behaviors over and over.

A coworker becomes isolated for no longer wanting to join the rest for happy hour.

You can change for the better or worse, but I want to focus on positive changes.

Growing or evolving are words I think of when it comes to positive change.

Why is it that most people around you will do everything they can to prevent you from evolving?

In most cases I believe it is because it shines a light on their own life and reminds them that they are still dealing with the same crap they have been dealing with a decade prior.

Evolving can be a lonely road.

That is one of the biggest reasons why making healthy changes isn’t as hard as keeping those healthy changes up for a lifetime.

We have a dozen different anchors (society, family, certain friends, jobs) that keep pulling us down.

How do we combat this?

We need to distance ourselves and drop some of those anchors in our life.

We also need to put on additional life vests.

What do I mean by that?

We need to fill our life with certain people, books, podcasts, courses, and communities that are all striving to evolve together and support each other in that process.

So if you are feeling lonely in your journey to evolving to a fitter, healthier, and happier person, you must start to cut some of your anchors and find a community or two of people who would like to hand you a life vest and do life together in an ever evolving way.

Let Me Guess…You Are Sooo Busy and Don’t Have Time

By | Behavior Change

Let Me Guess…You Are Sooo Busy and Don’t Have Time

I am on hour 15 here at work (I did take a 45 min swim break in the middle of the day to recharge). I also trained 5 sessions today and spoke with over 15 potential clients who reached out to me, interested in the Transformation Center.

I keep thinking I am going to hear something different, something that is going to shock me, or take me by surprise.

But I don’t…

After thousands of conversations with people about their health and fitness there are basically two types of people: the action takers and the excuse makers…

Listen, we are all different in many ways.

But there is one way where we are the EXACT SAME…

We each have 1,440 minutes each day and can choose how to spend them.

It is amazing how many creative ways people come up with to justify not finding 30-45 of those minutes to exercise and build strength, endurance, and flexibility.

Time is the #1 excuse of course.

If our former presidential couple, the Obamas, found a way to exercise just about every day, can’t we?

Heck, I feel like I am SO BUSY sometimes taking care of 450 plus clients, my friends, family etc, but I am certainly not doing anything crazy like running our country.

Having limited time only shows a person’s true priorities.

If you have been around me much, you’ve probably never heard me say the words “I don’t have time,” because it is one of the most cringe-worthy statements to me.

Instead, I will often say something like, “I am very busy right now doing something that is of higher priority to me, so I will pass for now” or, “Ask me again in a few weeks.”

That way I am being truthful to myself and to the person.

If someone is going through some serious life challenges and chooses not to exercise because they are choosing other things over it and being ok with that, I can’t argue with that.

But…

And I am biased here…

There are VERY few things I believe should take priority over our health and, in particular, our exercise.

It affects every aspect of our lives in a positive way when we do it, and in a negative way when we don’t.

So what my dedicated clients tell me is that they actually have MORE time each day when they make the time to show up at the Transformation Center.

Why?

Because they have more energy, think clearer, and are more focused on the tasks at hand, plus they can generally handle emotions better.

I am not trying to make you feel bad, but I am hoping this at least gets you thinking and asking two important questions.

1. Do I value my health, fitness, energy?

2. Does how I prioritize my time align with my health, fitness, and energy values?

If not, I encourage you to take MASSIVE action. Don’t just take small action, take large action and feel better in a matter of days.

Rant…

By | Behavior Change

Rant…

I had an emotionally tough day. I have been working super hard calling dozens of people each day who have expressed interest in the Transformation Center.

I speak with each person for between 10-15 minutes, get to know them a bit and find out if they might be a good candidate for one of our 4 distinct programs, then have them come in for a free session.

Well, I had three guys in one day not show up for their free sessions. I called each of them up to make sure they were ok.

Now, each of these three guys were 60 plus and not in very good shape. In other words, their current level of health was significantly hindering them from living life to its fullest, but each of these guys gave me excuses as to why they decided not to show up.

I have studied psychology for over 12 years. I understand the stages of change and all that. But these guys are telling themselves a story in their head that will keep them from fully living life, and may cause them to die earlier than they should and become dependent on others probably 5-10 years sooner then they should.

If I am going to be honest with you, I got quite angry (those who know me know this is super rare).

I am still not sure why I got so angry, like to the point I wanted to throw my phone on the ground after the third conversation.

I think I am angry that they believe the lie that their health is something on which they can continue to procrastinate.

They believe the lie that they are too far gone, that there is no hope for them.

They believe that getting fit and healthy are for “others” but not them.

They believe that 6 months, a year, 5 years from now, they will be in better circumstances to start paying attention to their health.

I told the last guy (maybe not in the best tone), “Listen, I don’t really care if you join the TC, but PLEASE do something, take action, and start today.”

I know I can’t help every person, and that I need to attract those who are at the stage of readiness to make that commitment. But it is SO hard for me to see people making choices that will destroy their life and cause hardship for those they love the most.

I suppose this is how parents feel when they see their kids making unwise choices.

I just don’t know what to say to those people in a loving way to help them get to the stage of change.

Contrast this with a conversation I had with a guy this morning. His wife has been coming to our Killer Kurve’s program for quite some time and is getting incredible results.

He came to a free session this weekend and said he knew he had let his fitness go a bit, but two minutes into the warm up it hit him how far it had slid.

Instead of making excuses (he is a very busy, successful career guy) he said he was ready and took action and signed up. He will look back on this year and be blown away by how his life has changed for the better in pretty much all areas of life.

You see, when you start to have more energy, lose weight, and have more confidence, most everything in life becomes more awesome. Plus all the endorphins you release during and after exercise are better than most OTC drugs you can take.

Thanks for listening to me ramble and be transparent about my thoughts and emotions. I try to live each day in a state of positivity but there are some days that are really tough.

What Motivates You?

By | Behavior Change

What Motivates You?

Mike Fohner, cross country running coach, tells this story about one of his students:

Last year, one of my young cross-country runners was fully content walking up the hills and avoiding physical exertion to the maximum extent possible. I tried all sorts of tactics and motivation techniques…to wits end. Even my “walkers club” (post practice sprints for those that walk during practice) had no effect. One meet, this runner unexpectedly knocked 3 minutes off her best time, to which I gave a look of amazement to her parents. They smiled and said, “Well…she didn’t walk…so I guess we owe her ten bucks!!” So it appears that money is an effective motivator for all ages!

The statistics
Brace yourself. According to Rod K. Dishman, Ph.D., director of the Behavioral Fitness Laboratory at the University of Georgia, nearly 50 percent of people who begin an exercise program drop out within the first 6 months. The question is, “Why?” What is it about sticking with a fitness routine that causes so many people abandon it?

The answer? Motivation. They don’t want health and fitness badly enough. It is a simple fact of human psychology that if we want something badly enough, we’ll do everything we can to get it.

Your challenge is to find out what motivates you to get serious about fitness and stick with it.

Unlocking your motivation
Mike Fohner’s student found that money was the motivation she needed to push her out of her comfort zone and into a commitment that she previously hadn’t been interested in.

Bryan Reece found a different motivation. Told by his doctors that he was minutes away from a heart attack, Bryan decided to fight back. Even though he had not been in a gym in 30 years, he turned his life around and eventually became a finisher in the Arizona Ironman competition. You can read his story in the book, You Are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World’s Toughest Triathlon by Jacques Steinberg.

You do not have to be part of that 50 percent who quit. You can stay committed and finish strong. It is all about finding what motivates you personally.

Here are some possible motivators for you.

1. Do it for your health. Consistent exercise and healthy eating are the two very best things you can do for your health. You will develop a strong, healthy heart, reduce your chances of many cancers, prevent diabetes, keep a sharp mind and resist dementia and avoid many of the common ailments that come with aging. It is possible to age without decay, and the key to this is exercise and eating well.

2. Do it to look better. Appearance isn’t everything, but most of us care how we look. A strong and healthy person just looks good. And it isn’t all physical. Your demeanor will change as you develop the confidence that comes from the discipline of fitness. You will appear more energetic and confident because you will be more energetic and confident!

3. Do it to relieve stress. Really! It isn’t a cliché. Exercising really does cause physical changes in your brain and nervous system that result in feelings of calmness and well-being. In fact, you may get so hooked on the mental benefits of exercise that you will crave it!

4. Do it to be strong. If you have never done focused weight training, then you have no idea of the total transformation that you will feel after just a few weeks. There is nothing like bending over to pick something up that normally results in discomfort, strain and even pain, only to find out that it is a piece of cake! By getting strong now, you reduce your risk of age-related falls and fractures because you have the core strength and balance to keep yourself stable.

It is worth taking the time to discover the powerful motivators in your life. Don’t worry about ‘bribing’ yourself: do what it takes to get yourself moving. Find out what makes sweating worth it. Find out what you want more than that brownie. Your health is at stake; in fact, your very life is at stake. It’s time to transform yourself.