Bored From Success

Being in the fitness industry now for 13 years and seeing hundreds, if not thousands, of fitness “trends” and health “hacks” come and go, I am going to make a bold statement and say the greatest threat to your success in health and wellness is not failure, but boredom.

Bored from Success

Boredom from those workouts your coaches keep putting you through – push, pull, hinge, squat, carry and everything else!  You keep asking “Isn’t there something more sexy than this?”

Boredom from that nutritional plan that actually WORKED.  Eating protein, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, healthy sources of fats.  You aren’t sure if it will work long term, so you want to try something else.

Here is my theory – We get bored from these habits because they literally stop delighting us.  The outcome becomes more expected while our habits become ordinary and mundane.  We lose the weight, we get our jeans to fit, and we reach our goals but then we start derailing our progress by seeking novelty.

Novelty may be the biggest hinderance to achieving long-term, sustainable results.  It is also known as “shiny new object” syndrome, and it is literally killing our progress.  Perhaps this is why we get caught up in a never-ending cycle, jumping from one workout to the next, or one diet to the next.

As soon as we experience the slightest dip in motivation, we begin seeking a new strategy, even if the old one was working!  As the old Italian Philosopher, Niccolo Machiavelli noted:

“Men desire novelty to such an extent that those who are doing well wish for a change as much as those who are doing badly.”

 Companies are turning these “novel” ideas into multimillion-dollar ideas.  I never knew that our muscles needed to be “confused” until Beach Body came out with P-90X!  Who would have known that the Paleo diet was going to be all the craze in the 21st century – like eating animal protein, fat and vegetables was some new nutritional strategy – when it was really popularized with our ancestors thousands of years ago!

What is the best solution to the problem we find ourselves facing then?  How do we get rid of all the clutter around us, all of these new “novel” ideas that are being thrown down our throats by the marketing machines of the 21st century?  Honestly, I don’t think I have a solution to this. We are going to be constantly bombarded by crazy ideas that so-called “professionals” throw out there every day, just to try and make a buck.

The best advice I can give you is to form your own wellness principles based on ordinary habits that you can actually do 80-90% of the time.  These principles will act more like your “north star” directing you towards long term, sustainable health and wellness practices – and when practiced daily can lead to some pretty dramatic results over the long term!

To come up with these principles, I would suggest asking yourself the following question as you come up with your own unique principles:

Will I be able to replicate this principle daily in my life and make it a sustainable habit over the long term?

 If the answer to this question is “Yes”, then you are well on your way to building some pretty amazing principles to guide your daily habits.  Strength Coach Dan John likes to call these principles “Pirate Maps.”  A pirate map would look like this:

 “Fly to St. Johns Island.  Drive 2.5 miles south until you see a large coconut tree.  Walk 7 paces east of the tree and start digging.”

Think of a pirate map as all of the daily repeatable habits that you can do to get you closer and closer to your own defined goal or finding your “buried treasure.”  Some ideas of principles that you can add to your own “pirate map” may include:

  • A sleep hygiene strategy – something you can repeat each night to get yourself ready for the next day (like having a “to-do” list!)
  • Carving out time in your day for taking care of your own health and fitness
  • Committing to eating certain food groups (like more vegetables)
  • Having time built into your day for mindfulness

It really depends on where you are at in your journey, but what we suggest are habits that you can also “stack” onto other things you are already doing.  For example, since you are already brushing your teeth at night, why not place your time of being mindful (meditation, writing your gratitude for the day in a journal, etc.) and stack it with that habit that you are already performing.  This will help the new habit “stick” and become a daily part of your routine.

Remember, the hardest thing that will happen once you start to apply many of these new habits is you will get bored.  You will want to try something “new and shiny.”  DON’T DO IT!  Stick with your plan, stick with the pirate map that you have created, and before you know it you will be achieving things in your life that you once never thought possible!

Looking for a roadmap to be able to start a plan, stick with it and start to build on habits one at a time?  Click below to schedule your complimentary strategy session and learn how to start building a health and fitness routine that supports your lifestyle!

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3 Tips to own the holiday “hustle!”

It is already the first week of November, and I bet you can already feel the seasons are changing and winter is about to be in full swing!  With that said, we only have 8 Monday’s left in 2019 and so many holiday celebrations crammed in such a short period of time!

How do you keep your sanity during it all?  With family commitments, work parties, and overly busy schedules to get ready for it all we want to help you simplify these next 8 weeks so you can keep your sanity and stay happy (and healthy) over the holidays!

Here are 3 quick tips to own the “holiday hustle!”

1.)  Schedule “Me” time!

 Yes, you heard that right! What would benefit you the most during the busiest time of year is to schedule “Me” time.

The best way to do this is to pull out your calendar (I prefer one I can write on, the old fashioned way!) and mark on your calendar every commitment you already know about – every party, event, meeting, etc. that are non-negotiable and that you can’t miss. Once you have those all scheduled, now schedule your “Me” time!  Now is not the time to skip workouts or just say “I am too busy and I am going to take the week off.”

Instead, schedule this very important time just like you would a doctor’s or dentist appointment.  Place it in your calendar and make sure you hold yourself accountable to it by either letting people know that are close to you (like your family) that you have appointments with yourself on these days and times.  Or even better, stay accountable to your coaches here at Epic Fitness by scheduling your coaching appointments and sticking to your plan.

2.)  Prioritize your day with the ONE thing that is non-negotiable to get done each day.

After diving into a ton of time-management books and the like, the biggest aha I got was after reading “The One Thing” by Gary Keller was this:

Time is the most valuable non-renewable resource that we all have the exact same amount of.  It is the way in which we use it that becomes the issue. 

What Keller recommends (and what I find super fascinating) is actually making a “to-do” list with just ONE thing on the list.  Yep, you heard me right – ONE THING!  This leads to what they call in the book the “focusing question”, which is:

 “What’s the ONE Thing I can do such by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

This reflects back another important concept known as the Pareto Principle.  20% of your effort will produce 80% of your results.  So, instead of having a never ending to-do list that will leave you even more stressed at the end of the day when you don’t even have half of the items complete, find that ONE thing and focus intently on getting it done each day.

Whether it is a project at work, some cleaning you have been putting off at home, or anything in-between, the power of the ONE thing is real!

3.)  Say “No” more than you say “Yes”

As I just wrote that, I know this may be wildly unpopular.  I have been a “yes” man most all of my life, until I realized that respectfully saying “no” gave me freedom that I never thought I had the ability to have.

You will be asked by many people if you can do many, many things over the holidays.  This is where you should be hyper aware of the amount of commitments you are making and how it actually affects your life and your stress levels, especially during the holidays.

We have all been there – you just double booked yourself for that holiday party – and you need to go to both events!  Isn’t that one of the worst feelings?  Showing up for a half hour only to leave almost as quickly as you came.  Gracefully saying “No” can be hard, especially if you have said yes in the past to similar things.  But it also helps you avoid this awkward feeling.

One of the best ways to get your sanity back during the holidays is to not be afraid to say “no.”  Don’t even think that you have to give a reason why, it is ok to just say “thank you so much for the invite, but I will be unable to make it.”

One of the worst ways to respond is to say, “I will try to make it.”  The word “try” presupposes the likelihood of failure by about 110%!  Honestly, say it in any sentence and put yourself in the shoes of the receiver.  “I will TRY to make it to your party.”  Or, “I will try to pick you up from the airport.”  How would that make you feel if you were stuck at the airport and that is the line your friend pulled on you!  As Yoda famously said (make sure you recite this with the accent!):

“Do or do not.  There is no try.”

 I know this habit will be a tough one, but once you start to say “no” to little things, you will see the amount of freedom and time it brings back into your life!

Most importantly, enjoy this holiday season with your friends, family and the people that mean the most to you and that lift you up!

Ready to own the holiday hustle and schedule more time for YOU?!  Click below to schedule your complimentary strategy session and learn how to put yourself first not only during the holiday’s but for the log run!

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Fitness to Finance – 4 concepts you can’t ignore

There are 4 simple concepts we are going to talk about today that will help not only your fitness, but also your finance.  Maybe you have heard of some of these concepts, maybe you haven’t.  In any case, when you put these 4 strategies into action some amazing things can happen not only to your fitness and health, but also to your fiscal finance and wealth!

I wrote this after listening to best selling author of “Profit First” Mike Michalowicz speak at a seminar and his turning point in his career was when he learned these 4 concepts!

One of the best things a client ever said to me when he signed on the dotted line to start a membership with us was “I realize now that my health is my wealth!”  Wow!  Now that is a powerful one liner, so powerful it bears repeating:

“I realize now that my health is my wealth”

What he realized was that no amount of money would give him a healthy body or give him the ability to perform at the level that he wanted to perform at.  He knew he would need to work on his physical fitness and improve his health, and that in turn would turn into his newfound “wealth.”

We are going to talk about not only physical wealth but also fiscal wealth and how closely tied together they are in these 4 concepts.  Here is what you can start to incorporate into your life right away that will not only make an impact on your health, but also on your wealth both physically and financially.

Concept #1 – Small Plates

About 200 years ago, our dinner plates were actually the size of a dessert plate (does anybody even have these anymore?!).  In all seriousness, our plate size has over DOUBLED in the last couple of centuries.   Back then, we were taught to “clean off our plate” and that mantra has continued as we grew up and now as we raise our children.

Want the solution?  Use a smaller plate. Using a smaller plate is the best way to subscribe to “forced portion control.”  Actually, only have smaller plates in the house.  Then, this really weird thing will start to happen – you will actually start to eat LESS!  This will help us force portion control in the right direction and give us the ability to eat less without even thinking about it, as it is an almost automatic habit you don’t need to put much more thought on once you replace your plates with smaller ones.

In finance, you can do the same thing by controlling the “serving” of cash you have available to use.  By separating the money into “smaller plates” or separate savings or investment accounts, and “carving” out that money before it even hits your primary cash or checking account, you have in essence “paid yourself first”.

Then you will end up with less in your “serving” dish of cash, and that is ok as you will learn how to deal with this very quickly, just like you did with the small plates.  This is also known as “Parkinson’s Law.”  The concept of Parkinson’s law leverages this behavior of being able to “make due with what you got.”  If there is less in your account, you will be forced to spend less and not make those silly purchases!

This is a lot like a tube of toothpaste.  We all have been there before – where we either have a full tube of toothpaste or an almost empty tube of toothpaste.  We will use that toothpaste differently depending on what end of the spectrum we are at!  I love a full tube of toothpaste because I can just lather up that toothbrush with a huge amount and care less (a lot like over-spending when you get a raise/bonus/etc).  I also love working with a smaller tube of toothpaste – it forces me to use muscles that I never knew I had to squeeze out that very last little bit of toothpaste!  Think of your primary account just like this tube of toothpaste – if you are almost out and can’t pay your bills then you can’t afford those things you have been buying!

Concept #2 – Eat your “Vegetables” first!

How do most of us eat dinner?  Maybe if we are out to eat, we may start with an appetizer then move on to the main course, then dessert.  What about at home?  I would always start with the “meat and potatoes!”  In all seriousness, the process is pretty much the same for all of us.  We will almost always start with the most savory, tastiest part of our meal first – then go on to eat the most of that!

What if we didn’t change us, but merely changed the process of how and what we ate first?

What if we ate the vegetables first off of our plate, then we proceeded to the rest of our meal?  This forces us in a good way to eat the most nutritious part of our meal first, and that way we may even be fuller a little sooner once we get to our main part of our meal, maybe even full enough to not even eat dessert!

In finance, the vegetables are the “profit” that we pay ourselves first with, and place in a retirement or savings account.  The saying “pay yourself first” is very true, and taking your profit first is just like eating your vegetables first!

Concept #3 – Remove the temptation!

This may be one of the most undervalued concepts of all.  I have a confession to make – I LOVE chocolate chip cookies!  I know, you may have never believed it with me being a fitness professional and all!  But in all seriousness, I love freshly baked gooey chocolate chip cookies.  I would actually eat them every day if I had them around.

But here’s the secret – I remove the temptation!  I don’t have fresh baked cookies inside my house every day (ok, maybe just on the weekends!)  Here is something that I learned after a very long time:

You can’t use willpower to avoid temptation

If you remove the pure accessibility of whatever item/s it is that you are tempted to eat (mine just happens to be chocolate chip cookies!) you will be 100% less likely to dive into whatever it is that tempts you.

In finance, let’s go back to these “profit” accounts where you pay yourself first.  In order to remove the temptation, we recommend setting up these accounts in a very “inconvenient” place – like a completely separate bank.  This is where it is so hard to transfer any money back, and it removes that temptation to do so.  It is also “out of sight, out of mind.”  This can be a game-changer since you don’t see the account balance daily, and this account will continue to grow and grow without you making the mistake of putting your hand in that damn cookie jar and taking anything out!  I heard a story once of a businessman doing this for about 20 years, and he never checked the balance of this savings account.  After 20 years, he accumulated over 1 million dollars!  Wow, now that is avoiding a lot of temptation!

Concept #4 – Eat 5 meals a day

This concept of eating smaller, but more frequent meals during the day does several things.  The most important of which is it regulates your appetite throughout the day, so you don’t have those huge peaks and valleys.  You all know what I am talking about.  It is 3pm and you haven’t had lunch yet.  You are so hungry that you could eat anything in front of you, and what is usually in front of you is a fast food stop!

What if you were able to plan out your main 3 meals of the day, along with a small morning and mid-afternoon snack that was easy enough to take with you (non-perishable) that kept you in sync during the day?  Do you feel like you would be in more control?  The answer is yes.  When we start to split our large meals that we normally only have once or twice a day into smaller more manageable meals (think small plates here) we keep the peaks and valleys at bay.

In finance, there will be peaks and valleys in your income.  By making your savings automatic, and also automating the day these funds get transferred out of your account – like 2 times per month instead of one – you will start to be able to self-regulate your finances much, much easier.  For example, if you wanted to start saving $100/month and that just sounded like such a large amount, what if you were able to break that up into two $50 transfers that occurred on the 10th and 25th of the month?  Would that feel a little less hard and not break the bank?  This concept of splitting up your savings to twice a month can be a game-changer.

Give these 4 concepts a try in your fitness and finance to become more physically and financially free!

Ready to learn more about these 4 concepts and have a coach by your side to help keep you accountable towards your goals?  Schedule your FREE strategy session today to learn more about how we can help.

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Can Broccoli and Deadlifts Save Your Life?

Have you ever been so excited about a new exercise or diet program only to find it too confusing or hard to follow?  You may have started off with some great intentions, only to learn the hard fact of what we have come to know as “decision aversion.”  When we are given too many choices or options with a nutrition plan or a workout program, it becomes too hard to choose what to do or where to start.

Ultimately when we are faced with too many options, we usually choose nothing at all. 

With nutrition, if you have to count every calorie of food you eat, weigh and measure every ounce of protein, how likely are you to stick with this plan?  We actually know how long because we have tested it – about 10 days!  Ten days is all you will get when you are forcing your brain to do all of this unnecessary work to figure out your “Macros” and count your calories.

What is the alternative then?  We actually like to keep it relatively simple.  A very well-known strength coach, Dan John, once told me, “If you got all of your clients to eat protein, veggies and drink water 90% of the time, you would be the most successful fat loss expert in the world!”  If we look at this advice as “simple, but not easy” then we are off to a good start.  As we look at nutrition for our clients much more simply, there is more clarity as well.  This is where broccoli comes in.

Why broccoli?  You may ask.  Broccoli has been called by many nutritional experts one of the world’s healthiest foods!  It has a great source of Vitamins C and K which can help healing, collagen formation and protect you from free radicals. Broccoli has also been cited for anti-inflammatory and detoxification properties as well as a great food in the battle against cancer.

Therefore, when you eat broccoli, you know you are doing something absolutely great for your body.  Think of the last time you ate broccoli.  Did you have the urge to eat more than what was on your plate because it had “addictive” qualities like potato chips or french fries?  Absolutely not!  What is great about this vegetable, and just about every vegetable in that case, is that you will become fuller faster and you won’t overeat – which is really the #1 cause of obesity in the world!

Eat more broccoli and you will become in charge of how much you eat which will lead to fat loss – we love that idea! 

Now let’s talk a little more about exercise and how to simplify this part of your life, and where deadlifts come in.  There are more exotic training methods out there than ever before (thank you Instagram and the Internet!).  What we are really looking for is not more choices on how to perform a fancy squat or sexy “core” exercise – what we really need to do here is simplify.

What has worked really well for us, is setting our clients up for success by giving them options throughout the year based not only on the time of year it is, but also on their goal.  We know we can’t work on fat loss 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year – it is just not sustainable.  Can we work on fat loss for 6 – 8 weeks at a time though?  Absolutely!  This is where a lot of our challenges come into play, and we have 3 – 4 of them a year to really push clients closer towards their goals.  But that is only about half of the year.  What do you do the other half of the year?  You keep moving forward and continue to “punch the clock” to sustain those results you achieved during the challenges.  We write our programs based off of an annual plan with all of the challenges in the gym and any roadblocks you may encounter along the way.

Ok, back to deadlifts.  Why deadlifts?  Deadlifts are really what we have found to be the “biggest bang for your buck” exercise in the gym.  Since you pick up and set down things pretty much every day in your life, why not get better at this very functional exercise. It is a total body lift, requires strength from the upper and lower body and you will notice as you do deadlifts more often, you will be able to lift more!

If you are a woman the next thing you may be asking yourself is, “Won’t lifting weights – especially doing deadlifts make me bulk up?”  The very short answer is no.  This article isn’t meant to dive into this topic too much.  The truth is at Epic Fitness every woman that does strength training adds lean muscle to their body, and in turn lowers body fat.  Then this funny thing happens – their waistline shrinks!

This is no miracle, it is just the power of strength training and adding total body, multi-joint movements into your routine, just like deadlifts.  I would even argue that eating broccoli daily (or really any green, fibrous vegetable) along with deadlifting once a week and strength training three times a week could actually change your life in a way that could help you live even longer!

Here is my plea to everyone out there – let us work on making the world of nutrition and strength training less confusing and such a polarizing topic.  Let’s continue to make it simple (not easy) and start a routine to stay consistent for many, many years to come!

Are you ready to start a routine and looking for a guide to help you get started with a very reasonable, tested and trusted process?  We would love to be in your corner.  Click below to schedule your FREE strategy session with us to learn how we can help you reach your goals.

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Upgrade Your Planks!

Coach Robert does an excellent job showing us how to progress our planks. Here are just a few variations that we use at the gym!

 

1. “Hardstyle” Front Plank – The “secret” here is to first start from the heels and drive the heels together.  This small movement ensures the feet are together and that you are beginning to “pressurize” the entire body, from your toes to your nose!  Then drive the knees together (this will help turn your leg muscles “on”) then drive your elbows through the mat and down towards your ribcage, engaging all of your upper body muscles!

Once you get into the “Hardstyle” position, don’t attempt to hold this for more than 10-15 seconds maximum.  The goal of this position is to turn on as many muscles as possible and to get a maximal co-contraction of the ab muscles!  This is not where you try to hold a plank for up to a minute or longer, then this drill no longer becomes useful.  You can, however perform 3-5 holds for 10-15 seconds at a time and reap amazing benefits here.

Really focus on maintaining a neutral spine – the best way to describe a neutral spine is when you are standing, you want to have that same curve in your back as when you are in a plank – not too much curve (hyper-extending) and not a big loss of curve (flexing).

2. Front Plank with arm reach – As a progression, the goal here is not to rotate, while maintaining a neutral spine while taking an arm off the ground. The feet can be about shoulder width apart.

You can progress how long you will hold the arm off the ground – we like to start with 2-3 seconds at a time, and 5-6 repetitions per arm.

3. Front Plank with leg reach – The goal here is to barely lift the leg, while driving the heel to the wall behind you, not the toe.

All of the same progressions apply as the arm reach!

4. Front Plank with arm and leg reach – This progression is one we don’t use too often at the gym, as it is a big progression from just lifting one arm or one leg. Now the goal is to reach with the opposing arm and leg while pretending to keep a glass of water on your back!  Do not attempt this progression until you have become perfect with the arm reach and leg reach exercises.

Give these plank progressions a try, and you will never get tired of doing planks!

How to perfect your Push-up and Row!

Today  we have coach Elena helping us with our technique and form with the TRX Row and the TRX Push-up. These are two great upper body movements we use at the gym everyday, and we wanted to share with you the best way to perform them!

1. TRX Row – Common fault – Not maintaining a “plank” position during your row, or what we like to call the “floppy fish!”

Correction – Keep a straight line from your toes to your nose, while focusing on slowly driving your thumbs towards your armpits. PRO-TIP – Pretend you have a piece of plywood behind your back. Don’t punch your elbows through the plywood, just tap the board. Also, you can pretend you have a pencil between your shoulderblades and you want to “pinch the pencil!”

2. TRX Push-Up – Common fault – The elbows flaring out away from the body causing the shoulders to “shrug” towards the ears.

Correction – Focus on rotating the handles ever so slightly towards your rib cage, allowing the elbows to draw in at about a 45 degree angle from the body. When done correctly, as you lower in the push up, it should feel exactly the same as the pulling position of the row – driving the shoulder blades together and down and back!

Dan Bailey shares how his failure turned into success!

Epic Fitness Member, Dan B. joined our Precision Nutrition Coaching Program 3 months ago, and he wanted to really highlight how his past failures have lead to some amazing successes!
Before he joined the program, he had done pretty much all of our shorter time-based challenges with huge success, but he couldn’t figure out a way to sustain the results.
What he found in the Precision Nutrition Program was a sustainable way to change his habits over the long term, without having to worry about getting on a “diet” at all!
Dan is a perfect example of how just the act of “showing up” every day and not quitting, even if you are struggling in the process, can lead to huge success over the long term.

Dani’s Epic Journey

We are so excited to be sharing the story of Dani R.

Dani started her journey with us almost 1 year ago during our “Drop 2 Sizes” transformation program.  What she got out of the program was so much more than fat loss.  In her own words:

“The past 8 weeks have definitely been a journey! There were many ups and downs but looking back I can see how all of the downs helped guide me and make me stronger to climb back up. I think the biggest thing I learned is that we are all on a journey and the journey never ends.

I have spent a lifetime comparing myself to other people-she’s skinnier, he’s stronger, she’s healthier, he’s faster, she’s more determined, he’s happier. Over the past few weeks I’ve still been comparing myself to others but what I’m starting to realize is we are all different and everyone journey has ups and downs and no one has reached the end if we are still living. This has helped me to realize I’m never going to reach the “end “goal. I’ll achieve goals for sure, but I will always have something else I want to achieve on the horizon. And now I’m starting to get it, that the journey is the thing. It’s about being happy someday, its than being on the journey and working towards something is the ways to be happy.

Do I still have fitness goals? Do I still have inches of fat to lose? Yes! Can I still treat my body with more respect with the foods I consume? YES! But I’m starting to realize I achieve my satisfaction and happiness I hoped for at the “end” not at the end but in every workout, in every meal prep, in every time I say no to the sugary treat I don’t really need, I feel happy at the gym when I ‘m around other people who are also on a journey.

It’s my life, my journey, my choice. I chose to keep moving forward, I choose my choices and I choose health and happiness all throughout my journey.

I choose to celebrate every day of my journey by being active participant and architect of my journey with the choices I make, every day.”

Are you ready to start with a challenge, get a kickstart with your routine be an active participant and architect of your journey?  The “Drop 2 Sizes” Challenge can be a perfect solution for you!

Check out more information and apply below and see how you can make sustainable change for the long term!

Learn More!

MaryLynne’s Epic Journey

We are so excited to share the story of Epic Fitness Rockstar member, MaryLynne! MaryLynne is a true example of why so many people need a “challenge” to get started.
The reasons she did a challenge to start was to:
– Stop feeling sluggish
– Start a new routine, and become re-invigorated
– Have a coach to design a plan, so she didn’t need to think about what to do
The reasons she keeps coming back after almost 4 years is because:
– She continues to see RESULTS!
– She now has energy
– She feels great about herself
– She doesn’t want to stop
– It is fun, and the members, the coaches and the community are amazing – it is like a family!
– She is no longer pre-diabetic!
– She wanted to feel better than how she had been feeling, and now she does!
What MaryLynne realized is once she made working out and healthy habits a daily routine in her life, she made a decision to never quit! Check out below what keeps MaryLynne coming back and also her advice to anyone on how to get started.

Are you ready to start with a challenge, get a kickstart with your routine and see where it takes you?  The “Drop 2 Sizes” Challenge can be a perfect solution for you!

Check out more information below and see how you can make sustainable change for the long term!

Learn More!