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Sep 23, 2010

Dismiss the Excuses

"I'm too old." "I'm too young".  "It's too late to get started".  "I don't have time".  I've heard them all.  They are called "excuses". This is what I call a "tough love" post.  It's time to put away the excuses and instead, find solutions.  I've worked with many clients from different backgrounds.  I once trained a 75-year old man about 3 years ago.  Do you know what his words were to me?  He said, "I figured it ain't too late to get healthy".  I also have a client in her sixties I've had for over 3 years that can do burpees, squat thrusts, DB swings, mountain climbers among other "good times" moves like it's a walk in the park. She sure didn't get there overnight.  She went through a journey. She stayed consistent. Now, she's addicted to working out and she loves to run or walk on her days off.

The time excuse is a popular one, too.  It doesn't take 2 hours a day 6 days a week to see a change.  If your diet is clean, you can get results in as little as 2-3 days a week for about 45 minutes.  I've done it. I've seen clients do it.  I've seen other people do it.  2 episodes of a sit-com = 60 minutes.  You can do this.  Use big, compund movements, using supersets or circuits. That means you may have to put away "mirror" exercises like the bicep curls until you get more time.

A big problem with excuses is that we try to completely avoid them instead of facing them head-on with solutions.  What is it that is holding you back?  Is it time?  What is something that takes up the time to put in a workout that you are willing to sacrifice?  Yes, your fitness goals will take sacrfice.

I'll give you an example.  I love football. (I know, who doesn't??)  But my problem is that I love to eat when I watch football.  It's something that I did when I was a big boy.
Too much football food!

Well, to this day, I still enjoy football food. So, what is my strategy?  I've taken out my ability to "munch" too much by actually preparing my meals for the week during the second game. Don't get me wrong.  I still indulge in my beloved chips but not like I used to.  I used to eat 2-3 bags in 1 day.  Now, I treat myself during the Carolina Panthers losing game.  But the second game is all about preparation and busting through what would hold me back on my fitness goals.  I came up with a solution to work through my obstacles.  That is what it takes.

So, what is holding you back?  It's time to dismiss the excuses.

Sep 14, 2010

Confessions of a Trainer

First of all, I'd like to thank my family, friends and clients.  Because without them, I wouldn't be able to blog about this.  You can't blog about experiences if you don't have them.  I've "tested" methods with clients... some know that, some don't :) This list shows things I'm confessing and things I'm actually kinda proud of.  I'll let you decide which ones are which ...

1.  My programs now are better than my programs 3 months ago.  In 3 months, my programs will be better than they are now.  And quite honestly, I think that's the way it should be.

2. I underestimated the power of foam rollers.  I used to roll my eyes at them.  I now think it can be one of the best weapons for not only recovery, but for improving your workouts.  Sometimes, I look at my foam roller at home and I say, "why hello there my red cylinder friend.... make me feel better".

3. I used to underestimate a warm-up.  You know the drill.  Hop on the treadmill and walk for 5 minutes and then work out.  What a difference experience makes.  You want to kick some butt in your next workout?  Try a dynamic warm-up... (think old school jumping jacks, overhead squats, bird dogs, etc., etc.) Once you start your workout, you'll find yourself "in the zone". 

4. I haven't "prescribed" any variation of a crunch in like... FOREVER.  But when I first started years ago, I was obsessed with stability ball crunches.  Oops.  Straight up?  Planks are where it's at baby.  Crunches are extinct in my programs until further notice.

5. The bird dog exercise looks really stupid.  I'm just being honest.  But WOW... it's so worth doing it in your program.  Who cares what they look like.  I recommend them in a heart beat now, especially in your warm-up.

6. Don't worry about doing "cardio" on your off days... Please?  You'll feel you're bound to the treadmill, elliptical, bike, stairmaster, etc., etc.  Simply stay active on your off days.  Take your dog for a walk.  Play with your kids. Play some pick-up basketball.  Play some tennis.  Me?  I enjoy playing an intense game of hide-and-go-seek with my black lab, Charlotte.  Hey, whatever works.  Because if you're doing those things, then you're not on the couch watching reruns of "Friends" and eating junk.

7. I wear t-shirts and shorts to "work".  I've always been so infatuated with that.  I just think it rocks.

8.  I have learned that doing 2 solid sets is better than a mediocre 5 sets.

9. I used to be the naive trainer that said you had to do the low-carb, 6-8 meals a day to see results.  Ladies and gentlemen, that is not the case.  Have people lost weight doing a low-carb diet?  Of course.  But that is because it fit their lifestyle.  Find a sensible diet that works for you, not against you... and something you can stick with.  I have seen people lose weight with the Warrior Diet, going vegan, EatStopEat and my personal favorite... eat whole natural foods 90% of the time among others.  If I told you to eat salmon and cauliflower for the rest of your life and you hate salmon and cauliflower, then that diet won't work for you.  Oops, I rambled.

10.  I'm guilty of "prescribing" cardio early on.  I didn't know any better. I was new.  I haven't "prescribed" cardio now in years. Instead, I just encourage activity.  For fat loss, cardio is out the door and in with intervals, metabolic conditioning and body weight movements.  I compared programs and the programs with intervals kicked the pants off the programs with "cardio".  So, I retired my "cardio" prescriptions.

Your fat loss journey is about learning.  You try something and you put your heart and soul into it.  If it works, you stick with it.  If it doesn't work, you learn from it and  make adjustments.  You'll eventually get better and better at it.  Then you can share your ideas and inspiration with someone else.

To your success,
Mike Whitfield