No matter what you choose to do in life, you must follow a system that allows you to access new opportunities. The way that you go about chasing your goals should be strategic. I say that because I know people who have succeeded in something strictly in a serendipitous way. They fell into it and had no idea they were about to become successful. While it’s great and works sometimes, ultimately, the results are not really what they were searching for in the first place. Setting goals in life require you identify the actual goal first. Then you start the steps to reach it.

Create the goal, then take a long look at it.

You really can accomplish anything you set your mind to do if that’s what you want. There’s always a price to pay for everything and you have to be willing to pay the price. You must have a solid understanding of what it takes to get there before you begin. If you want to be an attorney, you have to decide if you are willing to give up the time to classes and study for several years to reach the goal, only to work hard to start a practice or get a well paid job. If you want to lose 20 pounds and several clothing sizes, you have to make sure you’re willing to pay the price of the energy and commitment it takes to working out and the effort it takes to change your eating habits. Of course, if you don’t, there’s also a price to pay down the road.

Don’t give up on your goals.

When you accept the challenge you are in for the long haul. For a fitness goal, it isn’t for one day or one week. It should be for a lifetime. Of course, for many people reaching the goal will end the journey. When you commit for a lifetime, it becomes a lifestyle change. To make this less daunting, commit to the goal and reevaluate once you reach it.

You’ll succeed when you do the first two.

Even though success is important, the journey to it is just as important. The ability to commit to a goal is as or even more important than the outcome of success, because success will occur when you make a firm decision and commit. Of course, the successful completion of the goal makes it all worthwhile and drives you tackle even more difficult tasks.

  • When you don’t make a firm decision about achieving a goal, your just making a wish.
  • Commitment to a goal means you won’t let anything stop you from carrying out the steps to reach the goal.
  • Sometimes, no matter how committed you are, something stands in the way of your success. It doesn’t take away from your plan or commitment, it just means you have to evaluate the steps to reach it and make adjustments.
  • When making a decision, if you say, “I’d like to do X” rather than “I will do X,” you haven’t made the decision you need to succeed.

Suck It Up So You Don't Have To Suck It In

Suck It Up So You Don’t Have To Suck It In

I’m an avid people watcher. I enjoy watching how people interact and try to figure out how close they are and how genuine they are. I always have to laugh at men with paunches who immediately pull in their stomach when approached by an attractive woman. In one case, I swear the guy was going to pass out trying to keep that tummy sucked in for more than the minute or two conversation. That’s where getting fit is at its best. Had the man been fit, there would be no need to work that hard, because he already would have put in the work to flatten his abdomen. You have to suck it up so you don’t have to suck it in at other times.

It’s not forever.

Seriously, I’m not making light of how difficult getting fit can be. The workout will wear you out, particularly in the first few weeks, but it’s hard just for 45 minutes to an hour and not constantly. Work to get past the difficulty and know it will get easier each time you do it. Focus on five minutes at a time. That means you work toward your maximum for five minutes. Give yourself a bit of a rest and go at it again. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to go ten minutes, then far longer.

Work hard and then go back to step one to see how you did.

I love to show people how far they’ve come. Since the workout becomes increasingly more difficult, sometimes it’s hard to feel like you’ve made any progress. Here’s where tracking becomes important. At the end of the first workout—or any workout for that matter—identify what the hardest task in the exercise was. Be specific. If it had to do with weights, list the weight amount of weight and number of reps. If was an endurance exercise, note the exercise and length of time. In two to three weeks go back to that step and do it again. You’ll be amazed at how you progressed.

Is the weather too hot or too cold to leave the house?

If you’ve ever missed your appointment for a workout because the weather was rainy and cold you’re sabotaging your success and being a bit of whimp. Not working out because of the weather, you’re too tired, you’ve had a stressful day or you want to see the end of a TV program won’t get you to your goal. The children’s Christmas Special, “Santa Clause Is Coming to Town,” has the perfect song to represent making a change. It’s called “Put One Foot in Front of the Other.” While it might sound silly, when I’m faced with a difficult task, it runs through my head and I get started.

  • Don’t let a small setback get you down. If you can’t accomplish the entire challenge of the exercise, do as much as you can and try again the next day and the next until you can.
  • The workout should be hard to do. If it’s not, you need to talk to your trainer to make it more challenging.
  • Tell yourself every time you’re struggling that you’re getting better and better. It helps.
  • Learn to enjoy the feeling of waking up muscles that have been asleep for years.

Results Happen Over Time Not Overnight

Results Happen Over Time Not Overnight

Whether you’re painting a room, growing a garden or honing your body to perfection, it’s easy to want to rush the final outcome, but it all takes time. That’s especially true when you want to sculpt your body toward the perfect you. You have to remember, results happen over time not overnight. However, there are other ways to mark improvement and change than just the final product. These will keep you motivated until you do lose the 30 pounds, replace fat with muscle or achieve whatever your final goal is.

Congratulate yourself on smaller gains.

It may take a while for your body to respond to your efforts enough for you to easily see the results, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get an “atta’ boy” along the way. Track your workouts, including notes on how you felt during the workout. You need to start with a benchmark measurement of a specific routine or movement. Were you out of breath after the first minute? Did you have the strength to lift a certain amount of weight? Test areas of flexibility and record the results. After working out two weeks, repeat your tests and record the results. You should see some big improvements.

Get an A for effort.

Unlike a participation ribbon, giving yourself credit for extra continual effort is actually important. If you work out to the max regularly, you deserve to get credit for the effort. You have to be honest with this one or it won’t be a valuable tool. At the end of every workout, record the minutes you worked out—not including resting minutes—and how hard you pushed. Give yourself a three if it was extra hard, two for about average and one for simply going through the movements. Multiply the minutes by the number for your daily score. Get extra points for exercise or activities outside the gym. A fast paced 20 minute walk would give you 20 times your effort score. Try to increase your score every week.

Take a picture it lasts longer.

In this world of 1,000 daily selfies, there are actually good reasons to take a photo, besides just posting them on social media. Get a close fitting and more revealing workout outfit—specifically to measure your progress. Make it cheap because you may only use it for this purpose. Find a location in your home that has a piece of furniture or other item in it to get a prospective of your size. Find a location for the person taking the picture to stand that you can relocate easily to insure the distance is the same. Once a week or every two weeks, put on the outfit and stand on your mark with the photographing friend on theirs and have a picture taken. Use your phone and keep a log with the date and time of each picture. You could have your own version of the incredible shrinking man or woman as you lose weight.

  • Relate your improvement to every day tasks. Did you have to rest a while before tackling a second flight of stairs and now you can do two without a problem? Give your self a gold star.
  • Make the results suspenseful. Don’t weigh yourself, but use your “fat” jeans to tell you how you’re doing. Find a pair that you can’t zip up unless you lay on the floor and work toward being able to easily zip them while standing up.
  • Focus on healthy eating by learning one or two new recipes a week. Track the new recipes—but remember a side of chips or fries isn’t allowed. The whole meal plan must be healthy.
  • Be patient and follow the plan your personal trainer gives you. Know that it will work if you work it hard and do what it takes. Don’t worry about the results, just worry about the workout.

What Gets You Up In The Morning?

What Gets You Up In The Morning?

What gets you up and makes you look forward to a new day? If you’re dragging through the day, with one day like the next and nothing that gets you excited, it’s time to make a change. If you’re already a member and reading this blog, you probably know how much more enjoyable kickboxing is, over traditional types of workouts. It’s my love and I hope I bring the same excitement to others. I do see people looking forward to their time in the gym, which you don’t normally see at other types of workouts.

Do something that sparks excitement in your life.

Of course, I’m going to use kickboxing and exercising as an example, it’s my life’s work. When you workout, you burn off the hormones created by stress that can leave you feeling numb and depressed. As you work harder, your body tells your brain to create other hormones, ones that make you feel good. Eliminating stress hormones and boosting the “happy” hormones can lift your spirits. It can make all the difference in your outlook in life, giving you that spark of excitement that makes you look forward to each new day.

Get energized with exercise.

Sometimes, you’re simply too tired to care. That’s another way exercising and eating healthy helps. It won’t take long before you notice that tasks that took you an hour previously, now take far less time. You won’t feel as exhausted at the end of the day and have the energy to look forward to other activities. Even if exercising and kickboxing aren’t your thing, they can help provide you with the extra boost so you can find that special something.

Feel good about yourself as you tone up and shed pounds.

Feeling self-conscious can stop you from trying many new things, one of which may be that special something that makes you look forward to each day. Kickboxing is extremely good for building lean muscle mass and helping you to lose weight quickly. That can improve your self-image. It also gives you a sense of purpose as you learn each new move and a sense of accomplishment when you complete those perfectly, whether in the ring or not.

– There’s a great deal of comradery in kickboxing classes. Sometimes, that’s all you need to make the day a little brighter.

– You’ll build self-confidence and walk taller. Walking taller not only comes from the improved self-confidence, it also come from improved posture. Either way, you’ll build personal respect and learn how to defend yourself.

– I’ll help you learn how to eat healthier. It won’t be dieting. Healthier eating is a way of life, so the pounds you shed won’t return.

– If you fall in love with kickboxing, like I did, you’ll find there’s always something more to learn and always ways to improve. It can be the “get-you-up-and-out-of-bed” solution you’ve hoped to find.

Simple Diet Mistakes

Simple Diet Mistakes

If you’re having problems losing weight, you may be making some simple diet mistakes. There are so many fallacies and misinformation in the world of healthy eating, you can’t help but believe one or two. Losing weight isn’t easy, but some people make it far more difficult by skipping meals to save calories or starving themselves to lose weight. Of course, those skipped meals build the appetite to ravenous proportions and then too many calories are consumed. Starvation diets can actually slow the metabolism, making weight loss harder.

Rigid restrictions or a whole day of cheating can slow your progress.

It goes both ways, sticking to a restrictive diet, no matter how healthy or letting yourself have an unrestricted cheat day, can be equally devastating to your weight loss efforts. A cheat doesn’t mean you start cheating and eating everything in sight from the moment you wake up until the time you go to bed. Instead, it means having one serving of your favorite foods that you can’t normally eat. There are benefits to having a cheat meal. Check out the blog on the benefits of a cheat meal.

Even if food is a healthy choice, you can’t always eat unlimited amounts.

Some foods, like nut butters, are good for you. However, they’re higher in calories. There are limitations on the amount you should eat. Seriously, some of those are delicious, but if you spread a half jar of cashew butter on several apples throughout the day and eat it for snacks, you’re going to gain weight. Fruit is also good for you, but if you replace all veggies and only eat fruit, you’ve made another mistake. Fruit is high in sugar and gives you a big boost. It also causes a huge crash. Too much fruit makes your blood sugar fluctuate dramatically. Eat it with protein and fat….like cashew butter….just not in excess.

Limiting the kind of vegetables you eat and cooking them wrong.

Of course, you know that eating veggies is good for you, but not if it’s just potatoes…in the form of potato chips. You need a wide selection of colors and types of vegetables AND the way they’re prepared is extremely important. If you must cook them, steam, broil or grill them. You can also use them in soups, since the nutrients are left in the water for the soup.

– Skipping breakfast is a huge mistake. It can jump start your metabolism for the day. One study showed that when you eat is just as important as what you eat.

– Weighing yourself too often is not only a big mistake, it can also be quite discouraging. In order to see how much you really lost, you need to weigh just once a week or once every two weeks.

– Doing the same workout routine. If you don’t change your workout frequently, you’ll plateau. The body becomes too efficient at doing specific moves and burns fewer calories.

– Failure to plan ahead. At first, particularly when you’re first learning to eat healthy. It takes planning. Planning meals, grocery shopping and snacks can keep you on the right path.

Learn From Your Mistakes

Learn From Your Mistakes

When Thomas Edison was asked about the 10,000 failures he had before he created the incandescent bulb, he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” You can equate mistakes with that quote and learn from your mistakes. When you make a mistake, don’t despair. Pick yourself up and start over, making adjustments. It’s easy to learn when you make a mistake when you kickbox. Your opponent takes advantage of it and you end up paying for that error. Practice, learning to make countermoves all require you to do something and remember that move that didn’t work, so next time you know what not to do.

You’re not doing anything challenging if you don’t make at least one mistake.

While I have some extremely good students who learn very quickly and absorb all the comments and techniques, even they make mistakes occasionally, especially when they’re learning something new. If you remain static, you’ll never make a mistake, but you’ll never grow and evolve either.

Consider the mistakes of the past when it comes to weight control.

Losing weight is hard, but you can do it. When you learn the healthier way of eating, always compare it to the diet that put the weight on in the first place. Were you grabbing fast food and eating on the run? Did you skip meals and then gorge on high calorie foods? There are a number of habits that people develop and foods they become accustomed to eating that made weight gain inevitable.

Never say never.

You may not have been able to lose weight, stick with an exercise program or get back into shape before, but that doesn’t mean you can never do it. You just haven’t found the right motivation, program help or guidance. Too often people believe that their past dictates their future. Rather than learning from mistakes of the past, they give up completely. YOU CAN SO WHATEVER YOU SET YOUR MIND TO DO.

– One of the nicest things about our program is that everyone is supportive and believes that in order to learn, you have to make a few mistakes.

– Once you learn to grow from the mistakes you make, rather than use them to block growth, that transfers to other areas of your life to help you be more successful.

– While everyone has some limitations, those shouldn’t stop you from trying…AND SUCCEEDING! We’ll believe in you until you can believe in yourself.

– While dwelling in the past won’t help you, noting the mistakes you made and learning how to avoid them will. Don’t let a lot of time pass before you analyze those slip ups and learn how to overcome them. You’ll forget many details and spend too much time in regret.

What's Your Favorite Healthy Meal?

What’s Your Favorite Healthy Meal?

I’m hoping to get some input from all of you. I’d love it if you’d share your favorite healthy meal. Not everyone has the same taste, so even if I share my favorite meals, you might not like the taste. I have a client that will only eat avocado if it’s in guacamole. Her spouse, on the other hand, loves avocado and eats a half of one every morning with hot sauce. Avocados are extremely healthy, but if you don’t like them, you simply don’t like them. I’m going to share a few elements of what a healthy meal should include and some recipes. Please share some of yours in the comment section.

Nutritious vegetables of all colors are important.

At an early age, I heard that to eat healthy, you had to have a rainbow of colors on your plate. Of course, when I was young, the first thing that popped into my mind was a bag of Skittles. That’s not what it means. Choosing from a platter of vegetables of different colors provides a wider range of vitamins and phytonutrients, such as flavonoids. At one time, the importance of flavonoids were unknown, but now, they’re found to provide healthy benefits for the body. There are studies on anthocyanins and their role in curing colon cancer. Anthocyanins make plants red to purple. Anthoxanthins make plants white to yellow and do many things, including reducing the potential for stroke. I can even make this simple recipe called Rainbow pizza using pita bread, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese an topped with a rainbow of color; cherry tomatoes, sweetcorn or yellow peppers, orange peppers, broccoli, red onion and beet root. You can vary the type of flatbread and veggies to to your taste.

You need healthy protein in your diet.

Getting all the protein you need is important. The body uses it to build and repair tissues, make hormones and enzymes, skin, cartilage, bones and blood. It also burns extra calories in digestion, so it’s good for weight loss. Proteins contain amino acids. There are eight essential ones the body can’t create on its own. methionine, isoleucine, leucine, threonine, lysine, phenylalanine, tryptophan and valine. Lean meat, chia seeds, Ezekial bread, soy products and eggs are a few good sources. My favorite is a portion size of grilled chicken breast.

Go for some healthy fat, too.

Fats are important in any diet, whether you’re trying to lose weight or not. It helps fuel the body and gives you a full feeling, absorb nutrients–think fat soluble vitamins, build cells and aid in brain, heart and nerve function. The key is getting healthy fat and having a good balance of omega3 fatty acid to omega6. You’re supposed to have twice as much omega6 daily as you do Omega3, but unfortunately, today’s average American diet contains over 15 times as much. Instead of being healthy, it becomes a health risk. Some fats, such as transfats are completely unhealthy. Homemade guacamole, either chunky or mashed, is one of my favorites. It’s great as a celery and veggie dip.

– Make sure you have a daily supply of fiber in your diet. A bowl of oatmeal with blueberries or other fruit and some nuts is my favorite way to get it.

– Don’t forget the water. It doesn’t look flashy, but can curb your appetite and help your body. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Try to get eight 8-oz glasses.

– Get some veggies at breakfast with an omelet or cook an egg in a pepper ring. YUM!

– Nuts, berries and melon cubes can be yummy snacks that will fill you up not out. I cube melons and have them ready when I want a snack. Pistachios and almonds, not peanuts,

are the way to go.

Does Workout Gear Need To Be Expensive

Does Workout Gear Need To Be Expensive

If you’re considering buying workout gear, you’ve probably noticed it came with a high price tag. Is it necessary to pay that high price or could you use a less expensive

alternative. A good bra, for example, is super important for women, but does it have to be specifically a sports bra? This is a personal issue and definitely one I let women decide for themselves. There are two ways a sports bra is superior to a regular bra. First, it should be made from sweat wicking material like Coolmax. That will keep you drier. Secondly, a good sports bra is washable and will endure more washes than a regular bra, according to what I’m told. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It just needs to fit, wick sweat and be durable.

Check for fabric that keeps you cooler and dryer.

You’ll work up a sweat in the gym, so you want materials created to soak up that sweat and keep it away from the skin. Just like a sports bra, you want your workout clothes to be made of wicking material. Spend more money on the clothing that gets the toughest workout while you workout, like leggins or stretchy shorts, shoes…and the sports bra.

Use almost any kind of T-shirt or tank top if you workout in a gym.

While it would be nice to have the latest in fashion and technology, if your budget doesn’t warrant it, don’t dismay. A cotton Tee or one made of other breathable fabric will do nicely. In fact, many people use T-shirts and tanktops they already have in their closet. If you’re exercising outdoors and want fabric that’s waterproof and wind resistance, expect to pay more.

Shoes are ultimately important.

Good fitting, comfortable shoes are important even if you’re not working out, so imagine how important they are when you’re increasing the beating your feet take. You don’t have to pay a fortune or go with the latest fad in footwear, but should have a good pair of shoes for the gym. Training footwear with a good fit will keep your feet happier.

– If you’re kickboxing, you’ll want clothing that leaves you feeling covered and comfortable no matter what your moves.

– You don’t have to have the latest in fashion, particularly if you’re here to lose weight, making them ill fitting. Get comfortable clothing for now and save making the expensive purchase as a reward for losing pounds and inches.

– Don’t forget your headband. Keeping hair off your face during a workout is easy with an inexpensive headband. They’re good to mop the sweat off your brow too.

– Never let clothing costs stop you from working out. Whatever you wear, as long as you’re comfortable, is fine….Just workout. We’re here to get you fit and nobody should let fashion dictate that.

Document Your Success

Document Your Success

Even though you’ll notice changes quickly when you follow my program, that doesn’t mean you’ll get the whole breadth of the changes. While you may feel excited at each major accomplishment, such as losing a clothing size or shedding extra pounds, unless you document your success, you won’t get the full impact of just how far you’ve traveled and how much

you’ve achieved. Keeping a documented account of the accomplishment can also show you how hard you’ve worked and how difficult it could be to start all over again if you get of the path of a healthy lifestyle.

Take before pictures and pictures along the way.

Some people, particularly those with a big weight problem, have spent the last few years, or whenever their weight problem started, dodging the camera. It’s a constant reminder and they don’t want any permanent evidence. However, taking a picture or pictures is precisely what should be done. In fact, plan to take a picture in a revealing outfit, such as tights or swimwear at least once every two months. Use the same pose each time and keep the camera at the same distance. It’s a good idea to have a object like a dresser close by to show perspective.

Track your weight and food intake.

One method of keeping score is to keep a log of your weight. Don’t weigh yourself every day. Once a week or once every two weeks is enough. Weigh yourself the same time of day and space the weigh ins equal days apart. If you want to weigh in every two weeks, use a specific day and time, such as every other Monday at 8 am. Tracking what you eat will also help. Not only does it prevent you from fooling yourself into believing you hardly ate anything and didn’t lose a pound, it also gives you a good idea where you can make substitutions to lower caloric intake.

Track your measurements.

Rather than tracking weight, which can fool you, tracking your measurements is better. Do it at the same time you weigh yourself. As you build more muscle mass, you’ll look even thinner, even if you never shed a pound. That’s because one cubic inch of muscle mass weighs more than one cubic inch of fat, so the container to hold a pound of muscle mass would be smaller than one containing a pound of fat. You’re the container, so you’ll be narrower when you have more muscle tissue even if you never lost a pound.

– Record your progress when you exercise. Keep a journal and add a commentary, which might say, “OMG, I did 20 jumping jacks and was pooped. Barely made it through the last one.” When you can see your progress it can keep you coming back for more.

– Use your clothing to help track your progress. Buy a piece of clothing that fits you tight or one you can’t zip. When you present clothes become baggy and this item fits, you’ve made progress.

– Track your feelings. At first, you’ll miss some of your favorite foods, but as your journey to good health continues, you’ll notice a change in the entries. In fact, if you eat a favorite food on a cheat day, you might not even like it anymore.

– Enjoy your success. Don’t be shy about sharing before and after pictures. It can be inspirational to others. If you get discouraged, go back through your journals, pictures or even try on old clothing, to keep you motivated.

Why Cheat Days Are Important

Why Cheat Days Are Important

There are reasons cheat days are important, but also reasons that cheating puts you on a slippery slope back into poor eating habits. Some unhealthy high calorie food is addictive. Just like the cigarette smoker who has just one cigarette after months of abstinence, it can put you right back into old eating habits if you allow that to happen. However, planned cheat days or a cheat meal you can’t resist, but still use portion control, has some benefits that even help you lose weight.

Use common sense when you cheat.

While cheating can provide a boost of resolve to continue on a healthy way of eating, using common sense is also important. If you clear out the mashed potatoes and gravy or dessert station at a buffet, you’re setting yourself back days or weeks of diligent healthy eating. Instead of declaring a spontaneous cheat day when you’re starving, plan a day to cheat and cheat in moderation, eating only portion sized servings of your favorite foods.

Planned cheat days can help you lose weight by tricking your body.

When you plan ahead, you can throw a calorie-rich meal into the mix and trick your body into thinking food is plentiful, helping it burn more calories. The body sends a message to the brain to increase leptin levels, which is the anti-starvation hormone that boosts the metabolism. That hormone tells the body that burning fat is okay. As long as you only cheat a little, one moderate meal a week, the extra calories won’t affect your progress and cheating becomes beneficial.

Adjust your meal times the day you cheat.

You don’t want to skip the meal right before your cheat meal. For instance, if you’re eating a cheat meal for dinner, don’t skip lunch, but do move the other meals a little later in the day. Grab a small snack for breakfast. Eat your mid morning snack for lunch and have your lunch a high-protein lunch, such as a small salad with boiled eggs or grilled chicken and a light vinaigrette or lemon juice dressing later in the day when you’d normally eat your mid afternoon snack. You won’t be starved at supper when you eat your cheat meal.

– Workout vigorously before your cheat meal. The extra calories won’t go to fat, but to replace the glycogen stores.

– If the cheating is at a restaurant, check the menu online ahead of time so you know what you want to order. It will help you get precisely what you crave without taking

forever to choose when you’re in the restaurant.

– Eat healthy, not junk at your cheat meal and drink plenty of water before you eat to help. In fact, drinking water before you order can help fill you up and you’ll be more likely to order less. Ice tea with a bit of lemon is also a filling drink.

– Eat slowly and savor every bite. Indulge in your cheat meal with friends and enjoy the conversation.