Fxck the Scale

When people begin their weight loss journey or their new approach to a healthier lifestyle they usually begin by weighing themselves. That isn’t a bad thing, I often weigh my Rebells as part of their assessments, as well as body fat percentage and measurements. This is just to get an idea as to where they are starting at before they start training with me. After our first initial weigh in we don’t talk about the number on the scale, we focus more on how we are feeling and what’s changing in our lives.

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The reason I say fuck the scale is because of how little it tells you. The scale shows you a number, it doesn’t take into consideration your fat free mass aka your muscle, bones, organs, etc. it just shows a number. We get so heavily consumed by what this measurement is showing us that we forget what we’ve accomplished. Let’s say you weigh 200lbs and you start training, three weeks later you are now 197lbs, you’ve made progress and you are still not happy, why? The scale didn’t take into consideration the hard work you put in, it didn’t measure the early mornings, the self-discipline you taught yourself, how more energetic you are, and it sure as hell doesn’t measure the strength you’ve gained. All of these great accomplishments are taken away by taking a step on the scale and seeing a number that you were anticipating, but didn’t see. Some benefits that the scale isn’t able to measure is how you can fit into those old pair of jeans again, shirts begin to fit loosely, you gain more confidence in your appearance, and so much more!

There are a number of reasons why we should lose weight and maintain a healthy body composition, but the public is sadly misinformed about weight loss, and believes that it only happens with high intensity workouts and tons of cardio. Weight loss is achievable with strength training, which is often a misunderstood form of training to lose weight. Another popular myth about weight loss is that you need to do fasted cardio to target fat loss. Those concepts hold some truth, but I would like to explain a few things about weight loss. Weight loss happens with strength training, wait what? Weights get a bad rep because people believe that it will make them bulky and huge, and that is a big LIE. It takes years of serious strength training and a big emphasis on your nutrition to get “Big & Bulky”.

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Free weights are a far more efficient way of making weight loss happen. You strengthen the bones, joints, muscles and much more when you begin to use weight-bearing exercises, this also allows for you to build muscle, and the more muscle you have the more calories you burn because your body will be using more energy to move. Incorporating strength training will also help you with increasing your metabolism, your muscles become denser and require more energy to fuel them. As you increase your caloric intake to fuel these sweet new gains, your metabolism will be working harder as well, which means your body will be burning calories faster.

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Using cardio for fat loss is achievable, but to get quicker results you should start moving some weights around. When people think of cardio and fat loss, they believe that fasted cardio is the best way to go. The reason fasted cardio isn’t a good idea is because your body needs fuel to function and move. When the body is depleted of fuel it goes straight to the muscles for that energy. The body takes away from what it thinks it doesn’t need, as much as we wish we could tell our body to use our fat as fuel, it uses the muscles. The body will take away from the muscles because it requires more energy (calories) to have, so it’ll store fat because it’s easy to store and it holds energy. Do your best to avoid fasted cardio to maintain your muscle mass.

Where should our focus be when we want to lose weight, and start our journey to a healthier life? We should focus on what our goals will be, but the most important thing to do is change our mindset in a different direction, rather than being an “ideal weight” or “ideal size”, let’s focus on being the best person we can be for ourselves. YOU ARE MORE THAN A NUMBER!!! No matter what that number says on the scale, it doesn’t determine who you are as a person, again fuck the scale! Your mentality should be on your health, both physical and mental aspects of health. This will allow for you to have a clear mind of what exercise can do for you, it’s not about beating your body up because you want to look this way, it should be about loving yourself enough to make your life better.

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Focus on the journey, look at the small strides of where you started to where you will be in a month, six months, a year, etc. An example of thriving on small strides could be walking up a flight of stairs that used to be taxing and embarrassing because of your lack of breath, but now you have the energy and strength to conquer them with pride! Another example is having more energy to play with your kids, you no longer have to watch from a distance, you get to actually join them! Weight loss will happen when you start strength training, don’t let this amazing journey of self-care and love be consumed by what the scale said, you are more than that. Training should make you feel strong, beautiful, confident, proud, empowered, and so many other great things! When you let go of the idea of this ideal weight, you see what training can really do for you.

Being strong is something everyone should feel; this is possible with a health mindset of knowing that the scale is not determining who you are. You should notice how day to day tasks are getting easier, carrying groceries is not as hard, you can put a shirt on pain free, tying your shoes without having to prop your foot up for support, these are the key winners here! Training is caring enough about yourself to take care of your health, not being a certain size. I am not against weight loss, I am all for it, but only if it is done safely and with more intent on improving the quality of your life.

Strength Training for Runners

Let’s clear this up right now, strength training and running go together, it’s not one over the other. Many runners avoid weight training because of the fear of being bulky or decreasing their run time. What they need to know is that strength training can improve your run time and increase your work capacity. As much as you work your aerobic capacity your anaerobic capacity should be complementing your aerobic training.

 

Why- Strength training can increase your muscles work capacity, which can improve your running technique. You’re less likely to fatigue when your muscles are stronger, they are able to maintain proper mechanics for longer periods of time. Maintaining stronger muscles will decrease the likability of fatigue during a race, also you will be able to increase the type 2 fibers that are the fast twitch muscles. Being able to focus on the big five areas of running will make strength training less daunting. The big five are knee, hamstring, glute, trunk, and back dominate exercises. These are the major muscle groups utilized when running.

 

Glutes- Glutes are your key muscle group when you look at the mechanics when running. The glute medius will be the main focus, this muscle is the rotator cuff of the lower body. It’s the first muscle to contract quickly when you move, it stabilizes your body when you are on one leg. Running is a unilateral activity, meaning, there is a single leg that is in motion, this is why it’s crucial to strengthen and stabilize the glute medius in unilateral exercises.

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Hamstrings- These bad boys are what strengthen your lower back. They are also the reason your knees flex, which is a repetitive motion used when running. When you look at the mechanics of running, your heel should be reaching your glutes during the back swing motion, this allows for greater power output when running. The stronger you are through the hamstings, the greater force output you will be able to produce when you are running. Having strong hamstrings will complement your glutes, having these two areas strengthened will prevent low back pain and allow for your running to become less strenuous on the posterior chain.

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Quadriceps- Runners usually have over developed quadriceps, but this doesn’t mean it’s not worth training. The quadriceps are responsible for two major movements in running, the first movement is knee extension and the second action is assisting in hip flexion. These actions are important because they cause the leg to swing forward when running. The insertion of the quadriceps is located on the tibial tuberosity, the boney projection below the knee, this is essential because having stronger quadriceps will assist in maintaining the knee in it’s position. One of the muscles in the quadriceps is known as the vastus medialis, which helps with stabilizing the patella and the knee joint during your gait when running.

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Trunk-The trunk is a fancy word of saying the abdominals, the trunks main role is to maintain your posture, it keeps you upright. When we look at running we want to maintain a tall position, making sure that we are as tall as we can get, will allow for us to get a greater range of motion through the hips. We will not be able to maintain that tall position when we run if our trunk is weak, being able to focus on strengthening the abdominals will allow for greater stability. When you strengthen the abdominals you are able to reduce the wobbly feeling you have when you run, if you are wobbling form side to side when you run you will have an energy leak, which will slow you down.

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Back-  The back is the last key player when running strong, the back piggybacks off the same role of the trunk which is keeping your body upright. Having a stronger back will help with retracting the shoulder blades back, which prevents the shoulders from rolling forward. Good posture is what carries over to proper mechanics when running, if you find it difficult to maintain your posture then you will need to improve your back strength. The way you are carrying your arms are affected by how strong your back is, a strong back is what can prevent energy leaks through the upper body. A strong spine that is complemented by both mid and lower backs help to stabilize the spine and the pelvis.

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Apply- Now that you have a better understanding of why strength training is important to running let’s talk about implementing it in your program. I have included a three-day program that revolves around the areas that are important when improving your running with strength training. Allowing yourself to strengthen these important areas will allow for you to begin making big strides in your sport of running. Focus on the importance of strength training to not only to reduce your race time, but to also reduce your potential risk of injury.

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How to Successfully Accomplish Your 2017 Fitness Goals

New Years is right around the corner and everyone is ready for a fresh start. Everyone that begins this new journey has great intentions in improving their lives, unfortunately many people do not succeed because they take on too much at once. Overloading yourself with too much can lead to more stress and unsuccessful goals, though we want to own the new year and get summer ready, we lose track of our goals or end up balancing one too many plates in each hand. I will provide you with five tips that I have used for the past few years that has helped me and many other people become successful in their goals.

 

Start small

 

When you see a beautiful large home, we look in amazement of the structure, size, and the beauty of it, we don’t think about what it looked like before, we only see the finished product. We neglect the idea of all the work that was put in to build this house and the investment it took for it to look this way. This goes hand in hand with fitness goals, we often want to see the bigger picture before we even have our paint brushes ready. Remember that the house we are admiring was not built in one day, so take the time to start slow and learn that the process is long, but rewarding once it is finish.

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When you begin to start your journey to a healthier lifestyle remember that small wins will lead to bigger victories. If you haven’t exercised in a long time and decide to join a gym and intend to go five to seven days a week for an hour or more, you will end up burning yourself out far too soon. Instead make it a goal to go two days a week, once that begins to become easier then move forward to going three, four, maybe five times a week. Start with only a half hour maybe even 20 minutes, the easier you make it for yourself to get to the gym, the easier it will be for you to stay more committed.

 

It’s challenging to start off small because we are eager and filled with high energy to crush our goals for the new year, but keep in mind that you need to meet yourself where you are at. Taking the time to check your ego at the door and not compete with others will help you own your fitness goals for 2017. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, they all have different goals and backgrounds compared to you. The hare lost the race against the tortoise because he went too fast too soon, be the tortoise and take your time, so you can also be victorious.

 

Set S.M.A.R.T. goals

 

Smart goals are an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. This is how you specifically determine your goals and when you are going to achieve them. Understanding the importance of smart goals will help guide you in understanding what your goals are and more importantly what time frame you have to meet these expectations. Smart goals are what lead to healthy and realistic successful outcomes, knowing how to use them will be crucial in the longevity of staying committed.

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Let’s say you want to lose weight, well how much weight do you want to lose, give a specific number you have in mind that way you know exactly how much you want to lose. Tracking the progress of achieving this goal, is how you know it’s measurable, this will allow for you to track the amount of weight you lose each month. Having a goal that is attainable will make it easier for it to be achievable, it should be something challenging, but something within reach. Saying you want to lose 20 pounds in a week is not a realistic goal, but saying you are going to lose five pounds a month is a realistic goal; make sure you goal is within reason. Lastly, when will you achieve this goal, having a specific date in mind will help you with being timely on your goals.

 

Avoid quick fix schemes

 

I cannot stress this subject enough, there are a lot of people who will try to sell you magic pills, wraps, life changing supplements, and cleanses that’ll leave your body purified from toxins, that aren’t going to help you longer term. A majority of these companies and distributors are in it to make money, they use different marketing schemes to draw you in. Often times these quick fixes are harmful towards the body, and are very expensive, with little to no long-term results. The distributors of these products usually have names such as “wellness coach” or “cleanse coach”, there are credible wellness coaches out there with credible certifications, but the “wellness coaches” that are offering you a 30-day cleanse, usually aren’t.

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These quick fix schemes get your attention by saying “I lost this amount of weight in my first week” or “I made over six figures this year by selling this product”, both of these are red flags for you to avoid. Though both sound very appealing, it usually does come at a cost either your health or your finances. Having the fitness market flooded with all sorts of products and companies make it overwhelming to try and find information on proper nutrition. I highly recommend visiting www.precisionnutrition.com and checking out their blog, they provide information on healthy eating, habit changing, and a lot of great content revolving real nutrition advice.

 

Instead of having these quick fixes consume you, try making it a goal to fix the problem, rather than to put a band aid over it. Begin to slowly introduce small habits into your daily life, one that I always love to use when people ask me about nutrition is to have them start by eating one cup of vegetables a day, they can anything else they want, as long as they have that one cup a day for a week. This introduces something that they are not used to, but it doesn’t take anything away, as time goes on we build off that one habit to form other habits. A book I highly recommend getting is called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, this book covers the way habits work, and how we can fix them.

 

Train Smart

 

When you begin to start going to the gym again, do not overload yourself by going every day, instead try going only two or three times a week. This will help you get started with forming the habit of going to the gym and it being less daunting. You want to make sure that your training sessions only go for about an hour, a little over is okay, anything more than that you begin to over tax the nervous system, become more fatigued (technique isn’t as good), you lose interest in training, and it just becomes too time consuming. We want results that will stay long term, so make sure that you don’t over train by spending too much time at the gym.

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Do not punish yourself with exercise ever! Exercise should be a fun and rewarding, not an act of punishment because of what you ate. Your goal is not to beat yourself until you are a pile of sweat on the floor, instead your goal should be to leave the gym feeling better than when you came in. Muscle soreness is not a good indicator for measuring the success of your training session. When you begin training, don’t make it a goal to push yourself to extreme limits, make it a goal to move better and be stronger.

 

Journal

 

Keep a journal for your fitness goals and your nutrition goals. This is a big player for tracking your progress as you reach your goals for 2017. Journaling will help to keep you motivated and also to look back at how far you have come from when you first started. Having two separate journals will help you with tracking exactly what you are eating every day and your other journal for tracking your progress with your training.

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Writing down what weights you used and the number of sets and reps will help with keeping track of how you are improving at the gym. If you are just aimlessly just going from exercise to exercise without tracking your improvements, it’s hard for you to determine if there is progress that is being made. You can track the great days you had at the gym, like when you finally did your first push up, you can also write about why you weren’t so successful in the gym today maybe it was stress from work, either way you can track the good and the bad. Having something physically written on what you’ve accomplished is a very rewarding feeling and something you can take pride in.

 

Hopefully this has helped you get a better picture in mind for when it comes time to start that new year. Review these tips when you begin to contemplate what you hope to accomplish in 2017. Remember that it takes time to make big changes, so start small and finish big. I wish you nothing but the best for the new year and your goals!

Four Simple Steps Towards Your First Kettlebell Swing

 

Kettlebell swings are one of the most popular exercises you can do with a kettlebell. The kettlebell swing is the foundation of almost every kettlebell exercise. The thing with the swing, is that if you’re not working with a coach you’re probably not doing it right. In this article I will be providing the step by step approach I use to getting down your first kettlebell swing.

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 1. HIP HINGE- Begin with the feet shoulder length apart and imagine as if you have a string attached to the top of your head that’s pulling you up, this way you can be as tall as you can get. Have a slight bend in the knees, think very minimal bend but enough so it isn’t locked out. Imagine as if you are a can crusher, the can is placed at your belt line, you then push your hips back and crush the can with the hips and lower abdominals. Lastly keep your back as straight as you can by pulling your shoulder back, finish the hip hinge by standing up tall by locking the knees out and squeezing the glutes.

 

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Clean Up Your Hinge- It is very easy to squat the hinge (where you use more knee bend than hip bend) make sure that every time you perform a hip hinge you feel a good pull on the back of your legs. Using a dowel will help you with maintaining a straight back you will make sure that you keep the three points of contact (head, middle back between the shoulders, and lower back) in mind while hinging. The reason we want to avoid squatting the hip hinge is because we are not using the knees in a swing, we are using the hips to produce force. Maintaining proper alignment by keeping a straight back through the swing will help with avoiding injury.

 

2. Deadlift- The deadlift is the exact same set up as the hip hinge, but you are now loading up the hinge. Place the kettlebell between your feet so the handle is in line with your toes. Hip hinge down and grab onto the hand, when you grab the handle make sure that you try to break the handle in half that way the back of your arms are tight against the ribs. Pinch your shoulders back, sit back on the heel and stand up tall. Make sure you finish by squeezing the glutes very tight by trying to crack a walnut or break some pencils.

 

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Clean Up Your Deadlift- If you find yourself sitting far too back onto your heels where your toes are coming off the ground try this, punch your feet into the ground and imagine as if you are going to be pulling grass with your toes. Make sure that as your pulling the bell from the ground that you are keeping the elbows as straight as you can. Finish strong, make sure that you are embracing the abdominals and the glutes at the top of your position. Avoid arching your low back at the top of the deadlift, this can lead to low back pain. Explosive Deadlift– Once you’ve owned the deadlifting technique move on to the explosive deadlift. The explosive deadlift is the same as a regular deadlift except you are finishing the deadlift quick and powerful.

 

3. Hike Pass- The hike pass is done at the bottom position of your hinge. Place the bell about a foot or two away from you and tilt the bell towards you, it is crucial that you tilt the bell towards you to help the bell pass. Break the handle in half and sink the shoulder blades into your rear pockets. Imagine as if you are a football player and you are going to hike the kettlebell behind you, make sure that as you hike the bell behind you that you are getting the bell as far back as it can go, finish by placing the bell in the start position where it is tilted towards you.

 

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Clean Up Your Hike Pass- As you hike the bell behind you make sure that the triceps are in contact with the ribs. The hike pass needs to have the hands go high into the thigh, make sure that you are attacking your zipper with each pass. Inhale through the nose as you tilt the bell towards you and hike it back, as the bell comes back exhale through the mouth. Make sure you are maintaining a straight back while you are bringing your chest out in front of you as you hike the bell.

 
4. Swing- Finally the swing, we are now going to piece together steps one through three for your first kettlebell swing. Place the bell a foot or two away from you and get into your hike pass position. Hike the bell behind you and perform your explosive deadlift to propel the bell in front of you. The hands are meat hooks and the arms are ropes, the arms do not bring the bell up, it is the force generated from the hips that raise the bell up to the chest. Allow the bell to float down and hinge for you, park the bell and repeat the motion as singles until you are ready for continuous swings.

 

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Clean Up Your Swing- One area that many people have issues with is the timing of the hip hinge with the swing, as the bell is coming back down, WAIT for the bell to hinge you back, this is again attacking the zipper and keeping the hands from going below the knee. If you feel that you are using your upper body to swing, a quick fix for that is using a heavier bell, it is very difficult to muscle up a heavier bell up. If you are squatting your swing, revisit your deadlift and own that skill before you are swinging the bell again. BREATHING is very important when it comes to your swing, make sure that you are sniffing the air at the bottom of the swing and exhaling through the mouth at the top of the swing.

 

Putting It Together for Training- Now that we have all the right steps to perform a swing it’s time to put a plan together for it. Take a week owning each skill, apply three to four sets of 10 to 12 repetitions for each exercise. Do not move on to the next progression until you have fully mastered the prior technique. Learning to swing does take time, but the benefits are well worth it.

Kettlebells: The Swiss Army Knife of Fitness.

Kettlebells are one of the most universal tools that build strength, endurance, mobility, power, rehab injuries, and anything else you can possibly think of. Not only are these tools universal for training, but they are easy to use anywhere. These cast iron bells have made a huge impact in the fitness industry. Being able to utilize a single tool with so many different purposes has given it the name Swiss Army Knife of Fitness.

 

Strength- Kettlebells have been known for the “What the Hell Effect” which is phrase used after using kettlebells for some time and seeing the carry over to other exercises. The strength that can be built with using kettlebells can carry over to barbell lifts, bodyweight exercises, strongman lifts, and sandbag exercises. For example, I have taken away all barbell exercises for 10 months now and have just focused on kettlebells and natural movement, to retest some strength I went and did 315lbs for 10 repetitions on a back squat (https://www.instagram.com/p/BLhWRf7FHbl/?taken-by=restoredstrength ). Kettlebells may not seem sexy like a barbell with 10 plates, but they build the same amount of strength.

 

Endurance- Swings, that’s all you need to know about endurance training with kettlebells, well there are other awesome exercises, but mainly the swing is the trick here. Being able to produce high volume swings with minimum rest is the bread and butter of endurance training with kettlebells. A popular method used when training endurance work with kettlebells is the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) method, this allows for high intensity work with a short amount of recovery. Kettlebells have proven themselves worthy overtime as to how swinging the cast iron can improve your endurance by cutting seconds to minutes off run times.

 

Mobility- “If you are tight you are weak” is a statement made by Pavel Tsatsouline, this statement holds true to the idea that restricted ranges of motion prevent optimal use of strength. Kettlebells have this unique way of helping us fight this ugly disease of immobility and tight muscles. One of my favorite exercises is the halo that assists with thoracic mobility, but then also using the side bent sit position with a kettlebell to open up the hips. Mobility work and kettlebells go hand in hand by providing the user with a tool of strength with new found ranges of motion.

 

Power- The ability to exert maximum muscular contraction instantly in an explosive burst of movements is defined as power. Using exercises like the swing or the snatch, kettlebells have the ability to build a large amount of power. The amount of tension, speed, and force needed to complete a swing or a snatch is very high, thus carrying over into the production of power. Kettlebell exercises have been known to carry over in aiding athletes to improve their performance in their sports by increasing their power output.

 

Rehab- Seriously what can’t these things do? If you were to look up “Kettlebells and back pain” you be flooded with information on google, this is because kettlebells when used correctly can fix lower back pain. The kettlebell arm bar has been shown to improve strength and stability in the rotator cuff which is a commonly injured muscle, using this exercise can be used as injury prevention. Lastly kettlebells have been proven to fix glute amnesia which is the inability to activate your glutes, which can lead to lower back pain.

 

Putting Your Swiss Army Knife to Use- Now that you have a better understanding as to how many different ways you can use your kettlebell, it’s time to put it to use. Each category can be used to your advantage when training. It’s simply up to you as to where you want to put each category and how it will fit into your goals. I have provided a sample program of implementing each category into a sample day-one program. This is just an example as to how you can use kettlebells. The first colored box is to have the exercises paired together, and repeating with each paired set. Hopefully this can help you to start using more kettlebell exercises in your training!

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Day One 

 

 

The Biggest Mistake People Make with Weight Loss

 

With the rates of obesity and type two diabetes at an all-time high, many people begin to look for ways to lose weight. Weight loss is always an area that most people tend to focus on when they begin training. Though this is such a broad topic to discuss because of all the components that make up weight loss like exercise, nutrition, habits, etc. Many people make this one simple, yet crucial mistake when they begin their journey on a healthier life.

 

What mistake is it that everyone makes when they start? Comparison. Often times people compare themselves amongst others. This is a large mistake that people make when they begin training or better eating habits. They go on social media and see all these “Fitness Guru’s” doing insane exercises and having strict diets. This seems very appealing to those who are new, yet they aren’t ready for these types of exercises or nutritional habits yet.

 

Comparison is such an ugly thing, you often hear phrases such as “I saw on Instagram (Insert IG fitness person) doing 48-inch box jumps followed by 100 crunches finished with 45 minutes of high intensity cardio, so I’m going to do that today also”. If you are new to training or haven’t trained in years, this is going to be very challenging to do. Trying to imitate what you see on social media is very difficult, because most times you just aren’t ready for such activities.

 

When we see fitness based accounts on social media it’s usually very fit people who are barely wearing any clothes (I’m guilty of the last part). We see these people doing crazy exercises or looking at what they are eating and we try to imitate what they are doing. We try to compare ourselves to them, not taking into consideration that they have put hours and years developing these skills and habits. So with human nature we try to imitate what we see and most times become unsuccessful.

 

We must remember that when we are beginning a new journey that we are NEW to it, we have not been doing it for as long as these other people have. We cannot compare ourselves to someone who has been running marathons their whole life, and get upset with running a 13-minute mile. We have to meet ourselves where we are, meaning if we haven’t gone on a run in five years, we cannot expect ourselves to finish a mile in under 10 minutes. Comparison is the unnecessary weight that holds us back from accomplishing our goals.

 

I am guilty of making this mistake also. We are human, it’s easy for us to want to be like someone who is where we want to be. We all have different genetics and different backgrounds. I made this mistake myself and saw my flaws in it, I am happy to accept who I am and where I am. I know that there is a lot of work that must be done to reach the goals I would like to accomplish and the way I can reach those goals is by making the appropriate steps.

 

 

Step One- Stop comparing yourself to people you see on social media. They have been doing this a lot longer than you have. This doesn’t mean you will never achieve what they do, this means you’re not ready yet. Take the time in learning easier exercises and simple eating habits, you must learn to crawl before you walk.

 

Step Two- Be proud of who you are and the fact that you are willing to make a change to better your health. People really miss this part, you’re doing something for YOU, be proud of going out of your comfort zone and wanting to live a healthier life. It’s a very challenging time learning to get into a fitness routine and new eating habits. Take your time and reward yourself with accomplishing small goals.

 

Step Three- Whether your goal is to weigh a certain amount or have a certain physic, love yourself. You are capable of accomplishing anything you want with a positive attitude and hard work. Don’t talk yourself out of going to the gym because you think people will judge you, be brave and experience new environments. EVERYBODY started the same way you did, scared and shy, no one was born in a gym knowing exactly what to do to get to their goals.

 

Hopefully this can aid you in the right direction of health and fitness. Remember you are unique in your own way. Look up to people and avoid trying to compare yourself to others, be proud of who you are and what you are doing. Love yourself and be patient, this is a long journey with no end point, just small stops.

The Curse of Knowledge

 

Beware of the curse of knowledge that haunts new and experienced coaches. Though this isn’t as severe as the Avada Kedavra curse in Harry Potter, it can have some negative consequences. How is being smart a bad thing? How can knowing a lot about something you’re very passionate about hurt business? Allow me to explain this to you from a firsthand experience with the dark lord himself (I’m not done referencing Harry Potter, so hang in there).

 

As new coaches we are so excited to share with the world how smart we are and how hard we have worked to learn these skills. We learn fun super science terms, muscles, exercises, corrections, the list goes on and on. Once we get our first client or group, we get into a routine of wanting to “WOW” these people with our new learned skills. Though this is a proud moment for us as coaches to have earned whatever education it is that we are teaching, we must pump the brakes before we start to lose people.

 

A prime example of the curse of knowledge is over coaching. I’m as guilty as Harry when he used magic outside of school, for being one to have over coached a client. Over coaching a client can be something we may not be aware of, but might be doing. A fine example of over coaching a client is giving them too much to think about when learning a new exercise. So remember how I said being super smart can be bad thing, here is how.

 

We know and understand how an exercise should look like and be instructed. We sometimes get so caught up in how to get a perfect squat or hinge, we end up giving the client far too many cues and end up confusing them. This not only frustrates you as a coach, but frustrates the client and ends up making them feel insecure about learning. So rather than trying to use every single cue you have so they can have a “perfect” squat, fix one thing at a time. This can range from set to set or even week to week or having them do a different variation of the exercise.

Clients do not have the body awareness that we do, they did not spend hours and hours learning what we know. Give them credit, encourage their progress to learning, and make it fun. Don’t be a Dolores Umbridge when you are coaching a client and expect them to have perfect technique and not make it fun. Instead be more like professor McGonagall, someone who expects hard work, but knows that they do not need to master the craft from the very start.

 

The curse of knowledge continues when you are not diverse with your coaching. New clients may find it challenging or difficult to move in new patterns that they aren’t use to, but there is a difference between not knowing how to do an exercise and being completely lost. When a client has no understanding of what you are asking them to do, then you are over coaching or not using the right cues. Not everyone is going to pick up on the same cue you use for each exercise. As coach you are a teacher of movement, as a teacher you need to understand that there are many ways people learn.

 

Teaching the squat may vary from telling someone how to squat, to showing them how to squat, or actually getting them into a position (if given permission) of a squat. This is your auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners. Be able to adapt your cueing from each of these learning types, this does take time when learning your craft. I advise taking your time watching other coaches coach, this will help with picking up on different ways they teach exercises you use.

 

Watching or learning from other coaches is completely underrated as a new coach or a coach with experience. Continuing to learn is what makes someone successful in any field. Once you get into a mindset of “Oh now I have this certification or this college degree, I am done with learning for good” you have just set yourself up for failure. One thing that I have taken away from every professional I have met is that they all continue to learn. Learn how to coach diversely and be like the bag that Hermione used the Extension Charm on (it’s a bag full of a bunch of stuff, like SO MUCH STUFF) to coach.

 

The curse of knowledge shows up when you try to use terminology used amongst other fitness professionals with your clients. For example, if I approach Ron on his squat and tell him “Ron that was a great squat, but during the eccentric phase of the lift you had some valgus knee going on and also some lumbar flexion, on your next set I want you to focus on externally rotating as you are coming up while maintaining an erect spine”. Terms like this should be used amongst those who know these terms, you know, like other fitness professionals, not clients. Instead say something more of the line of “Ron, that was a good squat, but I want to make it a little bit better. On your next set let’s think about turning your knees out as you are coming up and keeping the chest up to the ceiling.”

 

Talking with large terminology can be a surefire way of losing a client’s interest. Showing them that you know each muscle group and what muscle is causing what action with every exercise will be redundant. As a coach it is good to know these things, and occasionally sharing this information when it is necessary or when they ask you. Most times clients don’t even care, they just want to feel better or look better. Once you start using terms they do not know, they will be disengaged and feel inferior because they don’t know what you are saying. Avoid using terms that your clients won’t know, but from time to time sneak it in as a conversation starter for something.

 

Some clients may actually find the terminology interesting and would like to know exactly what muscle is doing what and why they are doing an exercise, in that case share with them your knowledge. 90% of the time when you work with clients, it won’t be about using cool terms you know or your understanding of the body, it’ll be about how their day has been, how their family is doing, what they are having for supper, etc. Your clients will always come first, do not talk down to them with your knowledge of your practice, instead learn about their life and their interests and talk about that. They are the reason we are here, share with them when necessary and educate properly.

 

In summary, it is great to be smart, but it can come at a cost if we do not know how to properly use this knowledge we have. Don’t over coach a client, not everyone is going to learn the same way, and client’s do not care how many cool words you know. Do not demand perfection, always continue to learn, and always listen rather than “WOW” a client with your cool terms. As you continue to coach and learn more with time, remember that too much information may come with a cost.