Your Health is your Wealth

With the COVID Delta variant completely taking over in the US, the people at the top seem to be ignoring one of the biggest variables in having a good or a poor outcome with this disease. 

That variable is our overall physical condition.  As a client of ours said recently, “My health is MY wealth!”

Why aren’t we being encouraged to pursue the improvement of our physical condition? ⁣ It’s been almost entirely ignored by all of the “experts” out there.  

Here are the facts on the rise of COVID cases and our risk factors associated with it: ⁣

  • The CDC reports obesity increases risk of hospitalization from covid-19 by OVER 700%⁣
  • Poor cardiovascular fitness is an increased risk factor⁣
  • A study from the University of Virginia found exercise reduces a person’s risk of even contracting covid-19⁣
  • Exercise is known to impact and improve the immune system⁣ in positive ways
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome is a top cause of death from covid-19. Research has shown that there is an exercise-induced antioxidant that can protect against this⁣
  • There’s now an abundance of evidence that Vitamin D reduces covid-19 infection, severity, ICU admission and mortality⁣
  • Collectively, studies show vitamin D is a far more effective basal covid-19 treatment than any additive pharmaceutical available to date⁣

Maybe this is our fault.  The fault of the fitness professional.  

There’s an overwhelming attitude that we are just about looks or aesthetics.  Fitness has become a synonym to these things.  That we are just about “pecs, guns, butt and leg day⁣.”  

But the fitness profession is about so much more than this.  

It’s about strength, muscular endurance, aerobic capacity, mobility, mental health and much, much more.  ⁣

There’s an ABUNDANCE of scientific evidence showing the benefits of exercise on⁣ the following:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke recovery
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sarcopenia 

And the mental health benefits of regular exercise?  There is more research in this area now more than ever.  

I’m a cancer survivor who went through over 2 years of chemotherapy and treatment to go into “remission.”  If it wasn’t for fitness, I probably wouldn’t be here.⁣

Yes we can help athletes perform better and people to look better⁣.  

But I truly believe that we do so much more⁣.  We change lives.  We have the ability to reverse health conditions that otherwise destroy the body.   Nearly 40% of American adults aged 20 and over are obese. 71.6% of adults aged 20 and over are overweight, including those that are obese.  These numbers are really unacceptable.  We can do more.  

Exercise is medicine!⁣  But the problem is, it is not the doctor’s job to “prescribe” exercise.  We get it, this is not their “job.”  

This is our “job” – this is our “why.”  

We all have the ability to choose a better health outcome.  Once we realize that it starts with YOU, that is when change can occur.  

I will leave you with this powerful quote from F.M. Alexander:

“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and it’s their habits that decide their futures.”  

We all have the power to choose what to do next.  As fitness professionals, we will choose to continue to be the place where our clients improve their health outcomes 1% better than yesterday.  

Ready to decide to make fitness and health a part of your daily habits?  Check out our VIP Experience below to learn how to make your next month your best month of the entire year! 

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Fitness to Finance

From Fitness to Finance

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.  Think “out of site, out of mind.”  Removing the temptation is a powerful thing, since you can’t just count on willpower alone!  

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 (Or pick a number greater than 1!)

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?  Check out our 30 Day VIP Experience below!  

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Stop Counting Calories – Part 1

Why you should stop counting calories – Part 1 

This is a 2-part series on why we should stop counting calories.  In part one, we will talk more about the history of the calorie and where it came from, and in part two we will discuss why counting calories as the primary means to guide you towards your health goals is misleading you.  

“That [fill in the blank] has too many calories in it!  I can’t eat it, because it must be bad for me.”  

How often have you thought this, or worse yet, said it out loud?  

Our society has been on a kick lately around counting calories for fat loss.  Yes, it is the “socially acceptable” exchange tool that we use to tell us how much energy is in the food we eat, but to learn why we should all stop counting calories we need to learn how the heck (and why) we came up with a calorie as a unit of measure in the first place.  

Benjamin Franklin never said “please pass me those low calorie cookies so I can finish up with these bifocals!”  He never talked about calories, well, because they, like the bifocals were not even invented yet!  

The calorie didn’t even come into existence until the 1800’s, and apparently humans fared pretty well without it.  The calorie wasn’t even originally invented as a measurement tool for food.  Wait, what?!  Yep, that’s right.

Where the heck did the word “Calorie” come from anyway?! 

The calorie was originally used as a measurement tool in physics and engineering and had nothing at all to do with nutritional science.  Here’s the funny part: Nobody truly knows who came up with this unit of measurement, not even the historians of nutrition.  

Despite the confusion over who invented the unit, the calorie as a nutritional unit came to the U.S. by way of an American Chemist  named Wilbur Atwater in 1887. Shortly afterward, the science of nutrition began to take hold in the U.S.

US Popularized the calorie (1918)

A popular early nutrition text published in 1918 by Dr. Lulu Hunt Peters outlined the first methods of counting Calories. In her bestseller, “Diet and Health, with the Key to the Calories”, Peters outlined 100-Calorie portions of many foods and preached counting calories as a way to regulate weight.  This book was a huge hit back then, mainly to women, selling over 2 million copies and it triggered a massive change in societies beliefs about food.  It presented the concept of calorie reduction as the best form of weight loss/watching weight to American women, who were wanting to conform to the new-found body image “thin is in”.  

In her book, Dr. Peters wanted people to start thinking of food merely as calories, and nothing else.  For example, she wrote, “Hereafter you are going to eat calories of food.  Instead of saying one slice of bread, or a piece of pie, you will say 100 calories of bread, (or) 350 calories of pie.”  This shifted food to merely numbers and nothing else, and what a damaging shift it was.  

Even back then, there was no distinction made between the actual quality of the food – it was merely only all about the calories inside the food.  In her system outlined in her book, a person of the same height as her could eat whatever they wanted, as long as they ate a strict diet of 1,200 calories per day.  But how accurate is calorie counting, anyway?  We have to dig in a little deeper to truly understand how this measuring energy works in the first place.

Is a Calorie really a Calorie??

Ok.  Pretend you are alive in the early 1900’s.  This brand new way to measure what you eat is all the talk, so now you better start “watching what you eat!”  

The commonly accepted unit for measuring the energy in food is the calorie.  So how accurate is it, anyways?

Scientifically speaking, a calorie is a unit of energy, just like a foot is a unit of distance.  One calorie is the amount of energy you need to heat up 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius.  So to measure the amount of calories in food, manufacturers needed to use what is called a bomb calorimeter.  This device is used by placing the food source in a sealed container filled with water.  Then you burn the food with electrical energy until the food completely incenerates, and then they measure the water temperature to see how many degrees it was raised.  Based on how many degrees the water was raised, you can tell how many calories were supplied to do it.  

Now, if you are not too familiar with your body and how it works, it definitely does not incinerate food once it enters your body (as much as it feels this way when I am Hangry, apparently it does not burn up inside me!).  The way your body “burns” food is completely different from how the “bomb.com” calorimeter does it!  One of the other major issues with the calorimeter is that it measures ALL the calories inside each product, but most foods contain indigestible food components (like fiber) that are not burned in the human digestive tract.  But that’s not the only issue…There’s more…

The 1990 Nutritional Labeling and Education Act and the Atwater System

This bill passed in 1990 through congress because of the requirements the government wanted to have on food companies to label all of the nutrients and calories on foods.  So instead of using the bomb calorimeter, since this became a much too tedious way to measure calories for food manufacturers, they switched to a much easier method – The Atwater System – to measure calories.  This is the method that we are all super familiar with, and what I learned back in nutritional science courses back in college as the “end all, be all” for measuring calories in food.  It was the Atwater System that allowed us to do some simple math, and wallah, your calorie count appeared!  

Here are the calculations:

1 gram of protein = 4 calories

1 gram of carbohydrates  = 4 calories

1 gram of fat = 9 calories

There you go, apparently that is all that matters!  So, for example if you have one of those yummy bottled “Naked” fruit drinks (great marketing, by the way!) and it has 10 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbohydrates, and 6 grams of fat.  Here is our calorie totals – 

Protein- 10 grams x4 = 40 calories

Carbohydrates – 40 grams x4 = 160 calories

Fat – 6 grams x9 = 54 calories

Total Calories for your Naked drink = 254 calories, and that is what goes on the nutritional label.  The calorie and nutritional label on ALL your foods is based on that and that alone.  Now, if only your body was a machine and it took in all of these calories, utilized and “burned” them all, and you continued to eat a perfect balance of “calories in and calories out” and stayed at that ideal weight.  But that is not what happens in the human body, and that is something we will be discussing WHY next.  

Now that we have gone over the history of the calorie, in part 2 of this blog we will go over why using this gross estimate is one of the most misguided and inaccurate measurements you can use.  There is so much more to the story of the calorie and how your body utilizes food for fuel.  Keep an eye out for part two very soon!

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References:



How to tackle change

What’s the first thing that happens when we go to start a new routine or habit?  We want to make all the changes overnight!  We want to start that new fitness and exercise routine, start the new diet, get on that new sleep routine – all at once!  Our advice – Shrink the change.  We often bite off more than we can chew when getting started.  You’ll increase your chances of success when you merely focus on less.  How do you know what to focus on first though?  

We love to use this analogy.  Think to yourself:

 What is the ONE thing that if you change would make everything else that you want to change easier or even unnecessary?  

What if you started with drinking just ONE extra glass of water each day?  That would not only help with your hydration, but also your recovery, your sleep, and most likely your satiety.  So often, when we feel hungry, we are actually dehydrated and don’t even realize it until it is too late.  

As another example, say you want to start a new fitness routine.  Would you jump right into 6 days a week training, or would you be ok starting by scheduling 2-3 days a week that you know you could commit to and have live in your calendar as an appointment with yourself (and your coach, ideally!)   

Looking back into the past can give you a lot of insight on how you may have dealt with making bigger changes in your life.  Can you remember as far back to January 1st, 2021? This may have been the day you were going to make that massive shift in your life and start doing (fill in the blank!). 

How is that going for you now? 

In reality, only 7% of people actually stick with their resolutions over the year. The other 93% of us may have bit off more than we could chew. 

By focusing on smaller, more bite size changes over a longer period of time, you will actually see better results! 

Ask yourself, what is the ONE thing I can do successfully over the next 7 days that will get me closer to my goals? 

Can I drink ONE extra glass of water and track it?

Can I cut and slice my vegetables for the week?

Can I schedule my workouts 3 days this week?

Don’t do it all at once, just commit to ONE thing, and see how it goes.

We hope this little bite size tip helps you tackle change by shrinking it down just a little bit.  Want to learn more about how we incorporate these daily habits into a total routine for your mind and body?!  Check out our upcoming 30 day VIP Experience below, where you can get a kickstart to your fitness and your health.

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6 Techniques for a Growth Mindset

6 Techniques for a Growth Mindset

By: Ben S. Fogel

There has been so much talk lately about the “growth mindset.”  A lot of this has been due to a landmark book on the subject “Mindset” by Carol Dweck.  The author does an amazing job describing the growth mindset, the fixed mindset, and how you can re-train your brain out of one mindset and into another.  But before we start talking all about the “growth mindset” I feel it is important to define both the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.  

In the fixed mindset, you believe that your traits are “fixed.”  Therefore, no matter how hard you work at something or how much effort you give, your traits (intelligence, athleticism, fill in the blank) will not change.  

The growth mindset is believing that you can grow your abilities – that’s really the best way to put it, and the way Carol Dweck, Author of “Mindset” defines the growth mindset.  You can grow your abilities and change, adapt and get better.  Your intelligence is not fixed, and neither is your ability to learn and improve in any part of your life. 

John Wooden, long time UCLA basketball coach was known to have very much a growth mindset.  He actually came up with the idea of the “holy grail” of the growth mindset being the culmination of these 2 things: 

Full preparation and full effort  

As John Wooden once famously said:

”You have to apply yourself each day to becoming a little better.  By applying yourself to the task of being a little better each and every day over a period of time, you will become a lot better.”  

With this idea in mind of getting just “a little bit better” each and every day, if you take this into action and get 1% better each day on anything in your life, by the end of the year you will become 37 times better!  There are 6 techniques to cultivating a growth mindset I want to share below that I truly feel will help you get 1% better every day! 

1. Stop Failing and Start Learning – You didn’t “fail”, you merely figured out a path that did not work this time around.  Instead of looking at failure as a dead end, look at it as a clue that will lead you to a different path on how to do something.  

As an inventor, Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”  When you start to look at failure as another step into the right direction, you will start to make some positive progress.  

2. You don’t need others’ approval, you need their criticism – Don’t put praise ahead of the ability for you to learn from criticism.  One of the best ways to do this is to actually ask for feedback.  This is a skill we never learned in school, but that is so valuable in the workplace, or in your relationship.  An example I will give as a business owner is after a meeting, I will often ask my employees, “what could I have done better in this meeting?”  If you are not asking for feedback, it is really hard to cultivate an environment of learning and growth.  

3. Track your progress with a journal – Vividly describing your goals on paper is one of the best ways to really know if you are making any progress at all.  A Harvard Business Study found that the 3% of graduates from their MBA who had their goals written down, ended up earning ten times as much as the other 97% put together, just ten years after graduation.  

In fact, you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down on a regular basis. It has to do with how our brains work. When you write things down, you’re activating both parts of your brain, the imaginative right hemisphere, and the logic-based left hemisphere.  When is the last time you wrote your goals down?  If the evidence says you are almost 50% more likely to achieve your goals by merely writing them down, I would start there!  

4. Focus Inwardly and not on your image – The last thing you need is other peoples validation to achieve your goals.  Don’t wait for others to validate your success, just start taking one step at a time on all the things you can control.  Albert Einstein himself insisted that, “he had not been born with any special gift.” All children are “gifted” for nothing in particular; they are gifted for “everything.” Children who believe that talent and intelligence are made, not born, get better results in every part of life, and this starts at a young age realizing that your traits are not “fixed.”  

5. Learn from the mistakes of others
– There is an old saying that “success leaves clues” – it is also true that mistakes leave clues as well!  These mistakes are what kept the successful to continue to learn and grow.  Learning from the mistakes that other people make before you will fast track your success by not making the same mistakes.  Oftentimes though, we sometimes only look at the success of people, and not the mistakes or failures.  Remember, mistakes leave clues, too!  

6. Practice Gratitude – I know this may be one of the most cliche terms over the past few years, but practicing gratitude daily can give you some of the most rewarding, positive energy for a very small investment of your time and energy.  By merely writing down one thing you are grateful for each day, you are delivering a positive thought into your mind and starting your day with positivity, not negativity.  Negativity leads to the fixed mindset, while positivity leads to the growth mindset.  Here is a little something I started to write every day:

Today can be better than yesterday.  I have the power to make it so.  From positivity and attitude grows perseverance.  Perseverance by definition makes me unstoppable!

Start with just one of these 6 techniques that will help you cultivate a growth mindset.  Want to join us for the next 3 weeks to cultivate a growth mindset in all the things you can control with your health, wellness and happiness?  Check out our next round of our Epic 21 Day Experience here:

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TIME – How to make the most of it

By: Ben S. Fogel

Time is our most valuable non-renewable resource.  Why does it feel like time melts away most days? 

Most people fail with time management because they don’t know or frankly realize how much time they waste.  

A typical smartphone user checks his or her phone 2,617 times every day, according to a study by the research firm D Scout.  

Yes, you heard that right!  That eats up 90 minutes per day wasted on your phone, or 23 days per year.  

What about Television usage?  The average American watches an average of 33 hours per week watching TV!  According to Neilsen, the average American spends 11 hours per day watching or interacting with media.  If you are wasting a majority of your waking hours on external media, and you are having a hard time “finding time” for other things, like taking time to take care of yourself – it may be time to audit your day.  

Bill Gates is never late to a meeting.  When asked, he said:

“Because time is THE ONE finite resource I can’t buy more of.”

The old proverb “time is money” isn’t really true.  Time is worth so much more than money.  Time is, literally your life.  What you do with your time directly correlates with your quality of life.  

Your tomorrow actually starts the night before.  Instead of staying up late worrying about your never ending “to-do” list, putting together a plan for how you will win the day tomorrow helps you close all the open tabs in your brain.  

Here are 3 tips I have to help you shape your best tomorrow.

1. Write out your “to-do” list the night before

But instead of just writing down all the things, capture them as either “primary” projects or tasks that absolutely need to get done tomorrow, or as “secondary” tasks – these are all your things you can quickly go through and “check off” your list when done, like grabbing the groceries, dry cleaning, or sending that email.  

2. Place your primary and secondary items in your calendar

Remember, the project or task will NOT get done unless it lives in space and time.  Make sure to actually schedule a time for it to get completed during your next day.  This is SO important.  This is often overlooked and you think, “I will just get it done tomorrow at some point” then it gets missed, forgotten or overlooked.  

Make sure to place it in your schedule just like it is an important meeting with a co-worker or client.  

3. Always overestimate the amount of time you think it will get something done.  

As humans, we are horrible at estimating how much time it takes to do things.  What I like to do is overestimate the amount of time a project takes.  Then, if I finish it early, I can give myself a big pat on the back and feel good that I have completed something early!  Also, if you have a project you know that will take more than one sitting (more than 1 hr) make sure you block out that time over the course of the week or month. 

Controlling your time will lead to so much more positive things in your life.  One being having the time to take care of yourself!  Are you ready to take the time for you, and control your health?!  We would love to be in your corner.  We have 3 more spots for our May 21 Day Challenge!  Learn more and sign up below:

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Your Thoughts Shape YOU

Your Thoughts Shape YOU

By: Kourtney Cannell

Our thoughts are important!  How we talk to ourselves and how we think about things impacts how we feel. Have you ever looked in the mirror and said, “I look fat in this shirt.” How did that thought influence your mood?  I’ll bet the rest of the day you might be placing negative thoughts towards yourself based on how you talked to yourself in the mirror.  

We often will remind our members when they make a negative comment to themselves with this question:

“Would you talk to your best friend the way you are talking to yourself right now?” 

The answer is always no.  

Our thoughts play a huge role in how we feel, interact with others, and perceive the world around us.  Our thoughts are literally the seeds that form our actions and behaviors every single day.  If you start your day with negative thoughts, it is often very hard to turn that thought patterning around to positive ones.  

Oftentimes, we might focus our thoughts on what is wrong or negative. Inaccurate thinking patterns lead us to see the worst possible outcomes to a situation. These distorted thoughts cause us to feel bad about ourselves and/or others. We all experience negative thoughts, but sometimes we get stuck in them and don’t see the pattern and how it hurts our emotional health and well-being. 

This is a list of common inaccurate thinking patterns. Can you identify any of these patterns in yourself? 

Common Inaccurate Thinking Patterns:

Inaccurate Thinking Pattern

Description

All Or Nothing

Thinking only in absolutes.  Seeing someone or something as all good or all bad (Binary Thinking) or looking for “always” or “never”

Labeling

Labeling yourself or others in terms such as “lazy”, “fat”, “stupid”.  Stating these labels as facts. 

The Comparison Game

Comparing yourself to others and needing to keep up with others to feel good or better about yourself. 

“Should” Statements

Have pre-conditions on how you or others “should” be.  

My challenge for you is to recognize the pattern you use the most.  Then from there, when you catch yourself in that inaccurate thinking pattern, pause for a moment and reflect on your feelings.  Ask yourself “Does this make me feel worse or better in this moment?”  Then, say something positive to yourself (this is the MOST important part!).  

It could be as simple as you caught yourself labeling yourself as “fat” in the mirror.  Instead, you look in the mirror and say, “look at my strong body. I can do things now that I couldn’t do before I started working out.”  Try to be specific as possible on that positive attribute you want to highlight.  

One of the hardest things to do is to actually NAME the pattern you are doing.  Once you are able to identify, name and flip the switch to the positive you will feel and see the difference it will make on your day!  

Give it a try, and let us know how it goes! 

Come join us for our next round of the Epic 21 Day Challenge where we can help guide you with positive thoughts and actions and help you gain more confidence in yourself in the next 21 days than you ever have in the past!  You can get all sorts of BONUSES for signing up now!  Check it all out here:

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Stop Setting “Weight” Goals

By: Kourtney Cannell

Have you ever seen a previous picture of yourself  and thought  “I looked great back then! What I would give to look like that again!” or weighed yourself and said “Awe, there was a time when I was “X” weight, what I would do to get there again!” 

I have a question for you. At the time of that picture or when you were at that weight, were you happy with your body? 

Hey Epic Rockstars.  Coach Kourtney here.  I just wanted to get real with you all for a few minutes here about “The goal number.” The goal weight, the goal body fat percentage, the goal pant size.  Most of us have these types of goals.  But where do they come from? 

My experience has been that they come from a place of comparison, a comparison to someone else, to how I used to be, or how I think I should be. 

My thought process would kind of go like this – and thus, the goal number is born:

“Maybe if I lose 20lbs, I’ll like what I see.” 

“She’s a size 4, maybe I’ll look like her if I’m a size 4 too, then I’ll be happy.”

“I won’t have any insecurities about my body if I have “X” body fat %.”

The “I’ll be happy/happier when I reach this number” kind of goal. 

There is nothing wrong with having and pursuing goals. The problem comes when we put our happiness and excitement on hold until we reach that goal.

Here’s my personal experience with these kinds of number goals and the two things that always happen:  

  1. The “weigh-in” doesn’t go well which leads to a  terrible mood, then I start picking apart my body. 

  2. The weigh-in does go well, but not as well as I wanted.  I find something negative about it and I am not as happy as I thought I would be. 

I have thought, and maybe so have you, that as soon as I reach this magic number, it will be like a switch is flipped and I, all of the sudden, exude confidence, have no insecurities, and am thrilled with this “new” body of mine. But does that really happen? My experience has been that it does not.

I am not saying that we should not have goals, but should we really be putting our happiness on hold because we aren’t at that “goal number” yet? 

As some of you know, I have struggled with eating disorders since I was 13. I was anorexic for a time, bulimic for a time, a binger for a time, even now I still struggle with emotional binge eating. With this comes a negative body image and toxic thinking patterns.  

We have this illusion that we will only feel better once we hit that goal. 

I would do whatever I could to get to that number, even if it meant starving myself, or working out until I burned off as many calories as I just ate. 

I would argue to myself, “But Kourtney, the whole reason I exercise is to get to that number.”

I used to think that the only way I could be happy with my body is to hit that goal number, but over the last 2 years I have learned that I can be happy in my body now. Being grateful for what my body can do right now!  

Here is what I have learned that I think can help you along your journey to reach your health and wellness goals:

  1. Do not put your happiness on hold until you reach a goal.  As the saying goes, it is about the journey and not the destination.  This is so true when it comes to health and wellness.  The journey of becoming a better version of yourself, and 1% better every day is what will bring you lasting change to your mind and body. 

  2. Don’t associate your health and wellness goal to a goal “number.”  Instead, focus on what your body will be able to DO as a result of your progress you make over time.  Focusing on outcomes that that occur as a result of your hard work that are not directly tied to a goal number is a healthy place to start.  Being able to get up and down the stairs without feeling out of breath, getting up and down off the ground to play with your kids – these are much more than merely side effects of losing weight.  These are the “why” behind what you are doing.  They are the reason you keep pushing towards improving yourself. 

  3. Reward yourself for your accomplishments.  Your health and wellness journey should be a lifelong one, and when you start to see progress it can be very motivating.  It can also be a long, sometimes boring road of eating the same (or similar) meals filled with protein, veggies and water.  Reward yourself often – go out to dinner and order the dessert –  give yourself a built-in reward for accomplishing a milestone.  It can be something as simple as buying those new clothes with the changing of the seasons.  Rewarding yourself often for your accomplishments is something that will keep you motivated as well.  

  4. Be grateful for what your body can do RIGHT NOW.  This is one of the most powerful things you can do on a daily basis.  Something as simple as writing down ONE thing you are grateful that your body can do today can change your mindset into the positive.  For example, writing “I am grateful to be able to play with my kids at the park today, and slide up and down the slide” can bring positive affirmations of what your body CAN do!  

Remember, there is so much more to be proud of than just reaching that “number” on the scale.  Once I realized I could create my happiness by being grateful for what my body can do right now, that changed my mindset for the long term progress I like to call “life”.  

Come join us for our next round of the Epic 21 Day Challenge where we can help guide you with creating your “perfect day” and help you gain more confidence in yourself in the next 21 days than you ever have in the past!  You can get all sorts of BONUSES for signing up now!  Check it all out here:

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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!

Mindful Eating

Mindful Eating

By Abbey Bronzati, BS, CPT

You eat every single day, but how often do you actually pay attention to what you are eating while you are eating it? Do you ever eat while watching TV? While reading a book? Do you usually eat while scrolling through Instagram? Can you scarf down a three-course meal in 12-minutes or less? It’s safe to say that we are all guilty of eating mindlessly some of the time.

Before we jump into the details of mindful eating let’s back up to the underlying concept of mindfulness. If you want more background information on mindfulness practices click here. To be mindful is to maintain a present-moment awareness by fully opening to what is happening in your present experience without judging or resisting it. Mindfulness allows us to cultivate a deep awareness and ability to relax more fully in the present moment. We tend to spend most of our headspace living in the future or the past; regretting a previous encounter, thinking about our task list, or what’s for dinner. Our minds can easily start to control our internal environment if we don’t take over the reins.

It is common for people to experience feelings of stress or anxiety surrounding food in one way or another. Culture and society often put pressure on both ends of the spectrum; if you don’t eat “well” enough it’s shameful, and if you don’t eat dessert at the dinner party you’re an obsessive prude. The stress response can also result in overeating, which can easily turn into a negative feedback loop of shame and stress. Taming your relationship with food can feel daunting and near impossible at times because it can seem hard to maintain control of. The act of eating is a basic instinct of survival and is deeply connected to our most primordial selves. Eating mindfully can help to ground our eating habits and reduce the stress response by redeeming, even elevating the more base qualities of our own nature.

Most of us believe that if we eat what we want, when we want it, we would eat dessert for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, the research tells us that when we eat mindfully that is not true. You have an innate desire to eat health-supportive foods that will nourish your body and support your wellbeing long term. Your body is on your team!

Think about what your eating habits were like as an infant. We all come into this world a mindful eater, only eating when hungry and stopping when full. The studies show that individuals who practice mindful eating have an increased preference for healthful foods and decreased preference for less health-supportive foods. Mindful eaters are also less likely to overeat as a response to negative emotions or stress. Taking control of your psychological relationship with food by becoming fully present to it as you eat is an accessible and powerfully healing practice that will change every aspect of your life for the better.

For a deeper dive into mindful eating as well as a short guided practice, grab something to eat and view the supplemental video below.

Mindful Eating

 

Are you ready for support with mindful eating, and also get into a regular exercise routine? You are in luck! We would love to invite you to check out our LIVE Epic “At-Home” Coaching Program below, where you can give it a try for 21 days! 

Learn More about the 30 Day VIP Experience!

 

Sources: “The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook” by Dr. Martha Davis and Dr. Matthew McKay. Photos taken from Pinterest. The brilliantly zen mind of Thomas McConkie, founder at Lower Lights School of Wisdom.