The Greatest Fitness Book Never Written…

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I was talking with a friend the other day who also works as a trainer and we were talking about the reoccurring cycle we see throughout the year. January brings a renewed interest in fitness and wishes to shed the gains of the previous year. Most clients stay strong through the month before easing back off  when the excuses begin. Typically beginning with the Superbowl, moving into Valentines Day, bring on lines like, “It’s just one day, it won’t hurt,” even though those leftover wings and dips, chocolates and sweets carry on for the next week. Add the cold weather factor this time of the year when it’s easy to hide these slips under a few stylishly planned layers until “Holy crap it’s almost spring break!!!” Clients reengage and promise to commit once again to logging their meals and following through with their solo workouts and cardio during the week. It’s no different than cramming for a test in that this maximized effort is for a short term purpose. Working to fit back into that swimsuit rather than working to stay in it. By this time of the year we’ve seen Spring Break, St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, Cinco de Mayo and other “It’s just one day or one week, I’ll get back at it as soon as (fill in the blank)” pressures come and go and many clients find themselves frustrated to be right back where they were before the new year began. These frustrations lead to misguided beliefs that they don’t have the ability to reach their goals because “it runs in the family”, slow metabolism, low testosterone, thyroid and other self-diagnosed “reasons”. Some even shift the responsibility on to us, the trainers, blaming the style of training because Joe and Jane Blow did something else and they look great. No, Joe and Jane set goals, DESIRED to reach them and did not quit even once they got there.

I wrote back around the first of the year about making resolutions stick. It’s equally frustrating to a trainer to see clients struggle with these things throughout the year and especially year after year as it is for the clients themselves  It would be very easy to say “Quit putting crap in your mouth,” but it’s deeper than that. Most people simply attack goal setting in the wrong way or too ambiguously, setting themselves up to fail. Others wish and want to achieve their goals, but they don’t DESIRE to achieve them. One of the greatest books on setting, attaining and maintaining fitness goals won’t be found in the health, sports and exercise, or even the self-help section. You’ll find it in the business section.

Think_and_grow_rich_original_coverIn 1937, Napoleon Hill wrote the book, and later video, “Think and Grow Rich”, containing the 16 “laws” of achieving success, modeled after individuals such as Andrew Carnegie, Edwin C. Barnes and Marshal Field. Success in a fitness and wellness program are said to be 80-90% nutrition and the rest hard work and rest. But, without starting on a firm foundation, you lack the inner voice reminding you what you are doing this for. That voice that doesn’t let you skip a workout or tells you that this weekends drinking binge and gastro-disaster are ok because you can make up for it next week. To truly succeed, you need more than wishes and wants. It has to be bigger than just reaching a goal. DESIRE is about the climb, reaching the top and remaining the king or queen of the mountain. Only when we get to  and remain at the peak can we look out for that next summit that is just a little bit higher to set our sights on next.

Hill writes that “the method by which DESIRE for riches can be transmuted into its financial equivalent, consists of six definite, practical steps…” These steps translate directly into how we set our goals for fitness and wellness. It begins with fixing in your mind exactly on what it is you are trying to achieve. It is not enough to simply say “I want to get in shape.”

First: Be definite on your goal.

Second: Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the results you DESIRE.

Third: Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the results you DESIRE.

Fourth: Create a definite plan for carrying out your DESIRE and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.

Fifth: Write out a clear concise statement on the results you intend to achieve, name the time limit for them, state what you intend to give in return and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to reach the goal.

Sixth: Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before going to bed, and once when you wake in the morning. As you read this each time, visualize yourself already having achieved your goal. Feel and believe to yourself how you would feel as if you had already achieved your goal. This psychological imprinting is the crucial difference between your wants/wishes and true DESIRE.

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Bonus – BURN YOUR SHIPS and Create a BURNING DESIRE: Hill tells the story that “A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own. He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed them to the enemy’s country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave them the order to burn the ships that had carried them. Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, “You see the boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice, we win or we perish!” They won.

Make your goals public, whether that be with your spouse or family, co-workers, Facebook etc. Share your statement above with them as well as your progress along the way identifying trouble areas and upcoming potential to slip and fall. Establishing partners in accountability holds you to your DESIRE, effectively eliminating sources of retreat before reaching your goal.

– Michael

Major Step in the Obesity Epidemic

The American Medical Association announced today that it will begin recognizing  obesity as a disease. A chronic disease has been defined by the National Institutes of Health as “the basis of the biomedical disease classification” including other diseases such as diabetes, asthma and depression. Until now, obesity has been viewed as a chronic illness, the “personal experience of living with the affliction that often accompanies chronic disease.” Because of this, obesity was not recognized by the health care field as a condition that “fit into a biomedical or administrative classification.”

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Obesity by the Numbers

America, by a huge margin, leads the world in obesity with 92,000,000 Americans with a BMI greater than 30%. Read that again, NINETY-TWO MILLION Americans are currently obese. 66% of Americans over the age of 20 are overweight and 33% are obese according to United States Obesity Statistics as of May 2013.

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What Does the New Designation Mean?

Although the AMA is not the end-all-be-all regarding disease recognition legally,  their statement, “RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association recognize obesity as a disease state with multiple pathophysiological aspects requiring a range of interventions to advance obesity treatment and prevention,”  is huge as it will pave the way for further studies and legislation that may result in more weight management, nutrition, health and wellness treatments being recognized and covered by health care insurance and other programs.

 

There is still much work to be done such as standardizing means of identifying and defining what it means exactly to be obese as the classic BMI system contains some arbitrary classifications that don’t take into other factors such as metabolic conditions etc. I’ll definitely be following this one closely.

– Michael

 

Ancestral Fitness… How Far We’ve Come…

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With so much focus on ancestral diets, it is important to note that the nutrition piece is only part if resyncing ourselves with out genetic coding. Physical activity has no doubt decreased in modern society as we continue to advance technologically.

The dreams of the past of when computers and machines would make our lives much easier and increase the quality of living did not come true for most of us. Now don’t get me wrong, sure we can communicate at lightning fast speeds, automate production and travel more efficiently (even though I’m still waiting for my hover board from Back to the Future.) But, as our technological means have increased, so have the expectations of our production. We are working as many, if not more hours than before except now we are tethered to our devices sitting at desks, on planes, trains or in automobiles. Even the visit to a cubicle down the row has been replaced with a text message or email. Add in the morning and afternoon commutes, it’s no wonder over 35% of Americans are now obese. Read that again, over 35% of Americans are obese, not just overweight.

While it would be true to say that America has gotten lazy and simply let the blame lie there, in many cases we have actually just hoarded too many to-dos and are left with our time management cluttered and we don’t know where or how to fit functional fitness into our routines. We’ve forgotten how to move.

Regardless of ones view on the evolution vs creation debate, our ability to move is not only something we should not take for granted, it is a gift we should celebrate as a species! I mean, can you think of another animal on this planet capable of what we are? Crawling, walking, running, jumping, ducking, dodging, climbing, swimming, diving, pulling, pushing, lifting, throwing, catching etc… And with the correct apparati, you can even throw gliding and flying in there. You get my point, we are truly the Swiss Army Knife of biological organisms.

I’m really excited to spend the next several weeks revisiting a study done by the esteemed Dr. Loren Cordain (pioneer of the paleo movement) and colleagues on how fitness was incorporated in the lives of our ancestors and why it is still possible, and critically necessary, to revive this “movement” in our lives today.