Habit Stacking

Habit Stacking

We are creatures of habit, this is true.  What else is true is the fact that we also create multiple “habit stacking” cycles during our days without even realizing it.  You decide what to do next in your day based on what you had just finished doing.  Here are a couple examples:

  • Going to the bathroom leads you to wash your hands
  • Washing your face at night leads you to brush your teeth, which leads you to flossing (hopefully!)

These are important habits that we all do every day.  It is also important to note that no behavior above happens in isolation.  Each action becomes a cue that triggers the next behavior.  This is the “secret sauce” behind habit stacking.  Using this connectedness of each behavior, it allows you to take advantage of what you already do and “stack” a new behavior on top of your current ones to help make them stick!  

The BEST way to do this is to identify a current habit you already do every day and then stack your new behavior on top.  This is what B.J. Fogg, author of “Tiny Habits” calls the “Tiny Habits recipe” which is essentially habit stacking.  

Habit stacking is a very special form of implementation intention (what we went over in part one of this blog, FOUND HERE!).  Instead of pairing your new habit with a time and location, you pair it with a current habit you already do every day.  

The habit stacking formula is: 

After [current habit] I will [new habit]

Here are a few examples:

  • Meditation – After I set my coffee to brew in the morning, I will meditate for one minute.
  • Exercise – After I take off my work shoes, I will immediately change into my workout clothes. 
  • Gratitude – After I sit down to dinner, I will share with my family one thing that I am grateful for that happened today in my life.

The real key here is to make sure you are attaching your new habit/behavior onto something you are already doing each day.  Once you get good at stacking one new behavior onto a current behavior, you can start to string together many small habits.  This may lead to a morning routine that looks like this: 

  1. After I set my coffee to brew in the morning, I will meditate for one minute. Then…
  2. After I meditate for one minute, I will write my to-do list for the day. Then…
  3. After I write my to-do list for the day, I will immediately begin my first and most important project for the day. 

See how stacking habits on top of what you already do (setting your coffee to brew) can actually turn into a positive new routines?!  

The best way to use this strategy is to select the right cue to kick things off in the right direction.  What is great about habit stacking is that it already has the time and location of the habit built in!  But when and where you choose to add a new behavior can make a big difference.  Let’s say, for the example above, that you add that you want to add meditation to your morning routine – but your kids are up then and your mornings can be chaotic – this would not be the best time to add this new habit.  

Don’t set yourself up for failure by asking yourself to add a new behavior when you are already occupied with something else during that time.  

Final Thoughts

The best way to figure out how to add a new behavior onto a current habit is to take note of all the things you do automatically and without fail.  Brainstorm all of these things and make a list.  Then from there, you can figure out the best place to layer in your new behavior.  

For example, if you know you brush your teeth twice a day without fail and you also want to journal in the morning and at night, you could habit stack that “after I brush my teeth, I will write one thing I am grateful for in my journal.”  

Like the saying goes, this may look “simple, but not easy.”  I challenge you to give this a shot by adding only ONE habit stack to your day.  What ONE behavior do you want to do on a daily basis that you may not be doing right now?  See how that goes for a couple of weeks – you might be surprised how  much the new habit “sticks!”  We can’t wait to hear how it goes!  

Ready to learn more about how we use the habit stacking with our members at Epic Fitness, and how to make this a part of your life?  You can apply NOW for one of 5 SPACES we have left for our New Year New You Challenge starting on Monday, January 25th!  Check it out below:

Learn More About The New Year New You Challenge!

Make Your Resolutions Stick!

By: Ben S. Fogel

“This year will be different” is what we told ourselves back in January 2020. 

“I will stick with my resolution through the entire year!”

“I will workout more.”

“I will eat healthier.” 

Do these statements sound familiar?  They may, and that is ok.  I am here to tell you that sticking with a New Year’s resolution (or even a new month’s resolution, or a new weeks goal) doesn’t need to be so hard.  What if I told you if you just implemented 2 simple steps, you would be more ahead for this new year than you have in any year in the past!  Would you keep reading?!  Well, I am here to tell you that it is that easy – but you HAVE to follow through with these 2 steps first.  Deal?  Ok, here we go! 

Let’s start with a quick study to highlight step #1: 

Back in 2001, researchers from Great Britain worked with 248 people to build better exercise habits over the course of 2 weeks.  The subjects were divided into 3 groups:

  • The first group was the control group. They were asked to simply track how often they exercised
  • The second group was the “motivation” group. They were asked not only to track their workouts but also to read some material on the benefits of exercise.  The researchers also took the time to explain to them the benefits of how exercise could reduce the risk of Coronary Heart Disease and improve heart health. 
  • The third group received the same presentation as the second group, which ensured they had equal levels of motivation. However, they were also told to formulate a plan for when and where they would exercise over the following week.  More specifically, each member of the third group completed the following sentence: “I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [DAY] at [TIME] in [PLACE].” 

Here were the results:

In the first and second groups, 35-38% of people exercised at least once per week.  (surprisingly, the motivational presentations given to the second group seemed to have no meaningful impact on their behavior.). But 91% of the third group exercised at least once per week – more than DOUBLE the normal rate. 

It was the sentence with the statement that they filled out that made the difference. 

This statement is what the researchers called an “implementation intention.”  This is defined as a plan you make beforehand about when and where you will act.  More specifically, it is how you intend to implement a specific habit. 

Why does this work? 

Well, there are many cues that can trigger a particular habit – like your phone buzzing in your pocket, your alarm going off in the morning – but the two most common cues that will help you implement a habit and help make it stick are time and location. 

There have actually been hundreds of studies of how the implementation intention works and how effective it is to help people stick with new habits and goals, whether it is writing down the exact time you will work out or recording the time you will go to your dentist appointment.

The evidence is clear – people who make a specific plan for when and where they will perform a new habit are more likely to follow through.  Many people make the wrong choice when they work on, say a new years resolution.  We end up telling ourselves “I will eat healthier” or “I will start to workout more” but this just leaves the habit up to chance, and when our motivation is high enough, then we will follow through. 

There IS a better way. 

You think you lack motivation, but what you truly lack is clarity.  It is not always obvious on when and where you should take action.  That is where the implementation intention comes into play. 

Follow your pre-determined plan by filling out this implementation intention statement for whatever habit/resolution/goal you would like to accomplish:

I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]

It is that simple.  The harder part – actually DOING IT! 

Here are some examples: 

Exercise – I will exercise at 6 am at my local gym.

Eating healthy – I will eat one serving of vegetables at lunchtime at my office.

Meditation – I will meditate for 2 minutes at 6am in my kitchen.

BONUS!!  The best time to start a new habit like this is usually the first day of a new week, month or year.  Congratulations, 2021 is right around the corner and you can start with ONE implementation intention statement to start your new year off right. 

Final Thoughts

The big goal here is to make the time and location of your new habit so obvious that with enough repetition, you get an urge to do the right thing at the right time!  As writer Jason Zweig said, “Obviously you’re never going to just workout without conscious thought.  But like a dog salivating at a bell, maybe you start to get antsy around the time of day you normally work out.” 

There are so many ways to use implementation intentions in your life, and just starting with one area of your life and one statement can be a great start!  In the second part of this 2-part series we will talk about on of my favorite approaches to using the implementation intentions – HABIT STACKING!!  Stay tuned…

Ready to learn more about how we use the implementation intention at Epic Fitness, and how to make this a part of your weekly habit?  You can apply NOW for a few spaces we have left for our New Year New You Challenge starting on Monday, January 25th!  Check it out below:

Learn More About The New Year New You Challenge!

Stronger Together – Part 2

We are so excited to be sharing Ally’s amazing story.  Ally has been a part of our Epic community for almost 6 years now, and she lives our #1 value of getting 1% better every day!  Check out what really has made the difference for her during her journey.  (Click Play Below!)

Are you ready for the kickstart you have been looking for?!  We are looking for 8 more clients that are ready to put their health first in our upcoming “New Year New You” Challenge.  Check out more details below!

Learn More About The New Year New You Challenge!

Cleaning out your kitchen

“If food is in your house or possession, either you, someone you love or someone you marginally tolerate will eventually it eat.” – John Berardi

Take a good look in your fridge and your cupboards.  Does what you see in there align with the goals you may have for how you look, feel and perform?  Sometimes we just have to hit the “reset” button when it comes to the food we have on hand in our homes.  In doing this, you can not only help yourself, but also your family towards having better habits when it comes to nutrition.  
We have come up with a 3-step solution that will help you clean out your kitchen.  First, here are 3 guideline questions for starting – start with separating your foods into green, yellow and red light foods: 
  1. Green light foods: What are we going to KEEP?
  2. Red light foods: What are we going to DISCARD?
  3. Yellow light foods: What are we going to DISCUSS?

What we are going to KEEP:

  • Whole foods!
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Lean protein
  • Whole grains
  • Healthy fats

What we are going to DISCARD:
  • Anything that doesn’t pass the “Eat Like an Adult” rule.  If your kids (or kids you know and love) would open up the cupboard and start chowing it down, then it does NOT pass this rule.  
  • Candy, desserts, pastries… are you seeing a theme here? 
  • Highly processed foods – ingredients you cannot pronounce or ingredient list is too long (ie: boxed mac n cheese, cereals)
  • Alcohol

(If your cupboard looks like this, that is ok.  Just decide if these items will help you get closer to reaching your goals or not)
What are we going to DISCUSS:
  • Foods you can keep around, and you KNOW you won’t eat the entire box/bag in one sitting.
  • Foods that are “healthy” but you know you may overindulge in (nut butters, bars, popcorn, dressings)
  • Ask yourself: “Is this worth it?”
Remember –  You may have resistance or an emotional response to getting rid of some of the red or yellow light food items – and that is OKAY!  Start this process and you will see how mentally strong it helps you become.  

Are you ready to kickstart 2021 off with a bang!  We have the perfect challenge for you to put your health first in our upcoming “New Year New You” Challenge.  Check out more details below!

Learn More About The New Year New You Challenge!

3 Holiday Hustle Tips

It is already December, and I bet you can already feel the stress of the holiday season (and all of 2020!!).

How do you keep your sanity during it all?  We want to help you simplify these next few weeks and going into the new year 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– and you really want to do both things!  Isn’t that one of the worst feelings?  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 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 apply for our upcoming New Year New You Challenge, and how you can get started even earlier than next year with us!  

Learn More About The New Year New You Challenge!

The “5 D’s” for managing cravings

Did you know the average weight gain by American’s between the Thanksgiving holiday and New Years Day is a staggering 15 pounds!?  Yes, you heard that right.  
15 pounds of fat gained is just the “average.”  So, how do you not become the “average” American.  It is really about managing your cravings by having a simplistic way to combat them.
But, where the heck can you start?  We like to call it the “5 D’s” – using the 5 D’s in the order below will help you to make a really good decision if you are actually hungry or bored – sad, angry or happy – or actually hungry.  Check out the 5 D’s below and how you can start using them when you start to have a craving for your favorite holiday dessert.  

Using the 5 D’s Successfully:

Delay: Postpone eating for 10-15 minutes when you feel an urge.  Maybe even set an alarm for those 10-15 minutes. You’re not saying “no” – just stopping to think before you eat. You’re not ignoring the thought but dealing with it. While you’re delaying your decision, the next D makes it easier.
Distract: Try a non-food activity to give you something to. Often the wave of desire to eat disappears in a few minutes when you keep your hands busy without food. Organize a room in your house, call a friend, go for a walk, fold the laundry or even drink a glass of water.  The most important part is to remove yourself from the situation and do something else!
Distance: It’s important to keep your eating environment at arm’s length – maintaining a distance. Remove yourself from the kitchen: “out of sight, out of mind” can help. Stay out of the kitchen especially when a craving strikes. Use the kitchen only for food preparation and meal consumption. Avoid it as a place to hang out.
Determine: After waiting 10-15 minutes, determine whether you are physically hungry or just thirsty; these two are often confused.  More often than not, just drinking a glass of water can quench your thirst and help you realize you were more thirsty than hungry to begin with. Also consider whether you might have emotional or boredom hunger, what we call “head hunger.”  If we asked you if you could eat a ½ cup of broccoli, and the answer is yes, then you are actually hungry!  Avoid getting over-hungry, a main consequence of meal skipping. All of these situations can be helped with a structured eating schedule and pre-planned meals and snacks.
Decide: If you’ve made it through the first 4 Ds, it’s time to make a smart choice. Think before you eat and pre-plan what you are really looking for – sweet, creamy, salty, chewy – before you make a choice. If you decide that you are hungry, practice eating slowly!
We understand life is going to happen.  Using the 5 D’s can really help you to slow down and realize that so much of the time we attach our emotions to eating, instead of using the food as fuel to keep us alive and well!

Are you ready to kickstart 2021 off with a bang!  We have the perfect challenge for you if you are ready to put their health first in our upcoming “New Year New You” Challenge.  Check out more details below!

Learn More About The New Year New You Challenge!

Stronger Together – Part 3

We are so excited to share the story of Whitney T.  Whitney is always up for a challenge, and her results over the time she has been at Epic Fitness have been nothing short of amazing!  

 

Are you ready to jump in for the kickstart you have been looking for?!  We are looking for 8 more clients that are ready to put their health first in our upcoming “New Year New You” Challenge.  Check out more details below!

Learn More About The New Year New You Challenge!

The “New” Epic Fitness

 

The “New” Epic Fitness

In the midst of a Global Pandemic, so much has changed and truly upended our lives.  As our team loves to say, “Control the controllable’s.”  The best way to do this it to think of all the things you have the power to control.  Your health, your fitness, your nutrition, your mindset.  We all have the internal power to take control of these things.  

We have seen a big influx recently of members that have joined that have made their health a priority, and we love to see that.  We also have been striving over the past 8 months to be THE PLACE our community can come in and train safely.  We are happy to report that since re-opening our doors on May 1st, we have seen ZERO confirmed cases that have come from the gym.  

 

Check out what we are currently doing to keep our Epic Fitness Family safe in the above video. 

Are you ready to take your health into your own hands?  We are only accepting 8 more people for our 21 Day Challenge!  Click the link below to learn more, sign up and save over 40% for a limited time!  

Learn More about the Epic 21 Day Challenge!  

Stronger Together – Part 1

We are so excited to be sharing the stories of our amazing Rockstar members throughout the next several weeks.  These strong humans help us stay stronger together, and in times like these it is always best to stay “stronger together.”

We are so honored to share the story of Chris Gabrenas this week.  Chris has overcome so much in her life before she joined us, including a bout with cancer.  She shares how she is able to stay strong through a pandemic and keep active during a time when it is so important!

Ready to get the kickstart you have been looking for?  Ready to finish 2020 strong?  There is no better time than the present.  Let our team take care of your health and fitness over the next 21 days.  Check out how you can start with us TODAY and save over 40% for a limited time!

Learn More about the Epic 21 Day Challenge!

Can you out-train a poor diet?

This is often a question that is asked almost all the time – “Can I out-train a poor diet?”  We are going to talk about the science a little bit here, but also  in staying true to our values, we wanted this video to be both fun and educational!  Enjoy, and we hope you learn a lot from it!  

 

Ready to get a kickstart on your health, fitness AND nutrition?  We have a few spots left for our 21 day Epic Challenge!  Check out more information below to save your spot.  

Learn More about the Epic 21 Day Challenge!