Goals

Odds are that you, like most everyone else on earth, hate the whole New Years resolution game.

I don’t blame you.  Most people say they are going to do the same old thing year after year.  Some people have success.  Most fail miserably.  I don’t intend to be mean, but the truth hurts.

Why do people dislike goal setting?  For most it is because they have repeatedly failed to meet their goals and as such have a negative connotation of the process.  I bet whether you like it or not, deep down you are thinking about your past failures already.

Let’s change that.

No matter how hard this process is for you, I guarantee I have worked with people that needed FAR MORE support in accepting this process than you do.  I’m talking EXTREME cases.  One client took over a year before this person could say the word goal without spiraling into a state of anxiety and anger.

I can say with great confidence that you are not starting from as difficult a state of mind.  You can do this with just a little bit of homework and support.

Why should you listen to me?  Good question.  In addition to my degree, I spent 5 years working with people with severe and persistent mental illness.  Not only did I get excellent training from the company I worked for, but also from Dartmouth PHD’s on a weekly basis. Oh yeah, my team also traveled to different conferences and seminars related to the topic and held monthly meetings with other professionals to hone our skills.

In addition I was responsible for training my staff on how to most effectively help people set and reach their goals as well as offering ongoing support throughout the process of doing this with well over 200 of their clients.  Did I make it sound believable at least?!?!

Let’s just say there is more to goal setting than meets the eye.  I’m just going to drill it down to the basics for you here though.

I actually don’t even like the term of goal setting.  Anyone can set a goal, then what?  For most people it is simple: make big, wholesale changes and work really hard for a couple of weeks, maybe a month.  Then…burnout and go back to the comfortable way you used to do things.

Don’t be ashamed, you know you’ve done it.  Likely many times.

So we’ve established that goal setting is useless if you don’t know what to do from there and that it isn’t the best way to describe the process.  So what do we call it?

GOAL ACHIEVEMENT

This implies that merely setting a goal is not enough.  The desired result is to actually make consistent progress and eventually make that proverbial check mark indicating SUCCESS!!!

It has been written about bagilions of times, so you can get your basics on SMART goal setting without me repeating it:

Basic Overview of SMART Goal Setting

In Depth Overview of SMART Goal Setting

Ok, now you have a basic understanding of what SMART goal setting is.  How do you know if the goal you have in mind is SMART for you (see what I did there?)?  Easy, consult with your coaches.

If you click on the picture to the right, you’ll see that Christina has yet to add her goal to the 2012 list.  Why is this?

As much as her endless positive energy helps her in her quest toward fitness, it also can have some counterproductive effects; she has what we call exercise ADD.

She was thinking about too many different goals and as such would have much more difficulty achieving any of them.  She is going to think about what she really wants to accomplish and then discuss it with me before she makes it official.

Why am I telling you this?  Because she is using her coaches to help her set SMART goals and you should too.  Feel free to run your idea past one of us before you make it official!

Another benefit of writing your goal(s) on the big list is that it makes it known to your peers that you plan to accomplish this.  This in turn makes you ACCOUNTABLE and you will automatically have a built in support system to help you work toward achieving your goals.

Having a bad day and contemplating doing something that is counterproductive?  Look at that list and see if someone has a similar goal. Go up to that person and ask what obstacles they have faced and what they have done to overcome them.  You are not the only one dealing with these challenges and odds are that there are similarities in what challenges most people are facing.

I could go on, and on, and on…but I think this is a good start.  What steps would I like for you to take?  Easy:

  1. Write down a list of all the things you want to accomplish this year
  2. Narrow it down to the 2 or 3 health/fitness related ones on your list
  3. Talk them over with one of your coaches to see what makes the most sense for you
  4. Write it on the list
  5. Do whatever it takes to ACHIEVE your new goals!
Let me know what questions you have or areas you would like for me to expand upon in the comments below.  As always, please share this with anyone you know that may benefit from the information.
Thanks again for putting your trust in FIT.  Now lets go out and make 2017 the best year ever!
Here are a couple of other options to help you stay the course:
Eating FIT University: Start the new year off right by learning how to fuel your body to work and feel it’s best in a sustainable way. No more quick fixes that will have you back to your old habits within a week, Eating FIT University will teach you how to eat in a manner that you can be comfortable with for the long run.
As part of our awesome holiday deals, EFU is only $33 for the month of January!
FIT Swing Challenge: This will not only get you into MUCH better shape over the course of a month, it will also help you develop razor sharp habits that will translate to other aspects of your life!
Holiday Gift Cards: Working out with friends is one of the most effective ways to be accountable and stay consistent.  We have made it WICKED EASY to get your friends in to train with you so everyone can enjoy the benefits of being FIT and healthy!

Who Are We Exercising For?

Before we get started, let me tell you that I only used the word “exercise” in the title instead of “train” to draw you in. If you think of your physical activity as “exercise” and not “training” I would highly suggest you change that! Okay now on to the good stuff.

“I want you to kick my ass.”

The familiar blue light of Facebook messenger pops up on the bottom of my screen. “Who could this be?” I think when I hear the new message bell ring. I open the tab and see a name I did not expect: Carly Rose. I had only met Carly once, about a year prior. A friend of a friend who was looking for a gym. After showing her around and chatting with her about training, she decided that she couldn’t make it work with her current work schedule (plus we were a good chunk of commuting away for her).

A special we were running for a month of discounted training had caught her eye. “I want to come in for the month and I want you to kick my ass.” Something I’ve heard quite a few people say. Most people envision the process of “getting in shape” as one of discomfort and punishment. I questioned her about her goals, motivations, etc.. and again heard some pretty common responses: “I want to lose weight,” “I want a flatter stomach,” She started training the next week…

What Do You Really Want?

My good friend Ben Dearman (owner of the fantastic gym KDR Fitness in the Lebanon, NH area) once told me “Everyone just wants to have more sex.” Ben’s girlfriend Jamie (who is also an owner of KDR and a great coach) rolled her eyes as he waxed about no matter what anyone says they’re training for, they just want to have more (or better) sex. It’s a theory I’m not entirely sure I agree with, but there is no doubt that most people want to “look better naked.” Truthfully I see nothing wrong with wanting to “look better.” The question is, who’s standards are you holding yourself to? Are you trying to fit into your own mold or someone else’s?

I’ve had women ask me how to make their legs smaller. And I mean women who are already lean enough to have visible abs. I would like to point something out: The only way to make your already lean leg smaller is to stop using the muscles in your leg, something any trainer that actually gave a damn about your health would never suggest. I’ve stood there as women have pointed to tiny little sections of their inner thigh and describe at length how they desperately need to fix it. Truth: That breaks my heart.

Times Change

So what ever happened to Carly? Well she celebrated her 1 year anniversary just last month. She also told me recently that she weighs more than she ever has in her entire life, and she’s also happier with how she looks than ever before. Did she get her ass kicked? Well, she decided to try her hand at Olympic Weightlifting, and that’s a pretty hard sport, but it’s never hard for the sake of being hard. Some weeks she probably feels like I’m trying to kill her. At other times her workouts are quick and easy. And those women who wanted smaller legs? Well, they would probably be offended by Carly’s quads (check her in the far left of the photo)

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Last week Carly told me that her friends keep telling her to “not get too big.” As she put it, “Their biggest concern is that I don’t fit into the body standards that they think are ok.”

But Carly doesn’t care, she’s worked hard to reach her goals as a Weightlifter, and she loves her body for what it can do, not simply for how it looks. And funny enough, when you have a purpose built body, that starts to become your ideal. It’s a transition I’ve seen in quite a few women. As much as hearing women constantly criticize themselves for not fitting societies idea of “perfection,” nothing makes me happier when a woman says to me “my new goal is to squat 200lbs,” or “I want bigger biceps.”

Men Aren’t Exempt

I don’t have the opportunity to work with as many men as I do women, but men are not exempt from letting themselves be defined by someone else’s standards. Although most men never feel big enough, anorexia and other similar disorders are a serious problem in the male population.  That’s a big reason my interest in aesthetic based “sports” like bodybuilding waned after my early twentys. I was tired of dieting down all the time, and feeling like crap all the time. 

That was when I started to build more action based goals, and although I’ve been much leaner in my life, my blood pressure is the best it’s ever been, I’m the strongest I’ve ever been, and I’m more flexible than I was when I was a kid.

Learn to love yourself

Is your life going to be better if you have six pack abs? Are you going to be happier when your quad is 16″ instead of 18″? No. The only thing that’s going to make your life better is your attitude. If you choose to be miserable, you’ll be miserable. If you choose to be positive and happy, that’s exactly what you’ll be.

Now you don’t have to change all of your goals to wanting to have the physique of a competitive Weightlifter, but most of your goals should be performance based. Maybe you want to run a 10k, or complete an obstacle race or maybe you just want to be able to ride a bicycle without pain. Whatever your goals are, make sure they are your goals, and you are living to your standards, not someone elses. And above all else, love yourself and your body now. I promise it will be much kinder to you that way.

To see another amazing transformation of one of our members click here

 

What do you think about this?  Leave us a comment below and if you think this message will resonate with any of your friends, feel free to share it with them.

7 Reasons Why You Suck at Pull-ups

ACotterPullup

Most clients seeking a coach typically have weight loss as their primary goal, but you might be surprised to know probably the second most common goal is being able to do a single pull-up. This is for both men and women, and as many women typically do not have the same amount of upper body strength as men, they often find this goal a difficult one to achieve.

Being able to do a pull-up is an important thing. It demonstrates that you have balance in your fitness, and is an integral part of a natural human ability which is to be able to climb. In other words, I consider it a standard. Something everyone must strive to be able to do. There are several things I have noticed throughout my career as a coach, that lead to people not being very good at pull-ups.

Read more

Tony’s Rant

I just came across this note that Tony wrote earlier this month and thought it was well worth sharing. Please take a couple of minutes to read this.

When you own or run a fitness business, or even if you’re just a trainer that works part time for a gym the goal is almost always the same…Giving your clients a clear path to success. Aside from magic pills and infomercials that promise results with “just 5 minutes a day,” people don’t get involved in this business for the money, they do it because they are passionate about it. That’s not to say that you can’t make money in the fitness business, it’s just not the easiest thing to do (and that’s not what this is about, so we’ll save it for another day.)

Unfortunately creating a clear path for clients isn’t so easy. This isn’t a follow the yellow brick road scenario. Being a coach is more like trying to bushwhack a path through a thick jungle with just a Swiss army knife. And a lot of times our clients come preloaded with information that is incomplete, misconstrued, or just plain bull. This isn’t their fault. They are subjected to information from the news, internet blogs, magazines, the government (Pizza is a vegetable!) and so on. Interestingly we as coaches and trainers are subject to a similar sea of information, although we may forgo a Men’s Health article for a peer reviewed study, or a seminar from another well respected coach. At the end of the day though, we still have an overwhelming amount of information to process and try to make use of.

If you ask the Weightlifting coach, he will tell you if you want to be a successful athlete that you MUST snatch and clean & jerk. The Girya athlete will tell you that kettlebell training is the key to building a healthy and strong body. The powerlifting coach would tell you that the squat, bench press and deadlift are essential to your training regardless of your goals. The bodybuilder would tell you it’s about the sets and the reps and the carbs. The gymnast would say that body weight training and plyometrics are the best.

The truth is…they are all correct. The saying “there is more than one way to skin a cat,” comes to mind. The point is it is essential to base our training around our goals, and all too often I see coaches training clients based on what they think the clients goal should be and not what it actually is. I’ve been guilty of it. At one point or another every coach has been guilty of it. This is what makes group training a blessing and a curse. On one hand it offers people an affordable option to work with a professional, but it makes specificity of training difficult. We do our best at Fun Intelligent Training to offer a variety of programs to suit different needs, but there are limitations.

With that said, I do believe that there is a baseline of health that everyone should achieve, and if they don’t, it will make achieving whatever goal they might have that much harder. For me as a coach, my goal has always been to educate. I want people to understand why I do things the way I do, and that if they ever decide to not work with me anymore, they can take what they’ve learned and apply it to whatever fitness goal they pursue. Of course I don’t want my clients to leave, long term clients are good for both business and our training community here at FIT, not to mention the amazing friendships I’ve had the pleasure of building. However for me it’s about empowering people. It’s about giving people the tools they need to succeed, so one day they can cut their own path through that jungle. But many people start out so far away from that baseline however, it’s a long and uphill battle.

Right now the current thought is that America is fat, unfit, and sick. It seems more and more people are starting to take notice of this and are working towards changing that. This is a good thing. It used to be that everyone wanted the easy way out. That “magic pill” or the “5 minute workout” I mentioned earlier. Now the pendulum has swung the other way. I have clients walking through the doors, who do not understand the meaning of the word “rest.” The harder something is, the better it is. Push so hard it hurts, and if they aren’t so sore the next day that they can’t make it down the stairs, I’m getting complaints. I don’t know if this mentality is any better than that of the couch potato. I know that’s a hard thing to swallow. Truth is you can’t maintain that pace forever. Eventually you will burn out or get injured, and then you’re right back to square one. To quote Charles Staley “Fitness is defined by what you do, not how you feel about it.” I cannot think of a more perfect way to say it. It’s how I added 55lbs to my squat over the summer. My goal was to improve my squat, so I squatted. I set out a plan and I followed it. It didn’t matter how sore I was the next day. It didn’t matter if I felt like I had 1 more rep in me at the end of the session or a hundred more, I knew that if I squatted, I would get stronger, and I did.

In the end, all training is just an emulation of what our lives were supposed to be. The closer you can mimic the way the body was designed to move and work, the better off you’ll be. The same goes for nutrition. A quote of my own is that “Mother nature is not stupid.” Consider the fact that the now defunct food pyramid had its base as BREAD and PASTA. The government put a stamp on a document saying that man made food that didn’t show up until thousands of years of human existence is the most essential part of our diet. Not only is that incredibly arrogant, but it begs the question, how did we prosper before its existence? Who is healthier the average person of today or the average person of 2,000 years ago?

It’s hard for some people to wrap their head around some of these concepts. They are almost so simple they are stupid. We’ve been caught in the quicksand while walking through the jungle. We were told that exercise is supposed to be a punishment. We were taught that nutrition is about deprivation. We were handed a set of goals and told “you are supposed to look like this.” When in reality everything is all about balance. You can train too much. You can train too little. You can eat too much. You can under eat. Bottom line: if you have fun doing it, you’re more likely to continue to do it, so make it fun. Now we’re so cluttered with technologies that are supposed to make our lives better, but they just take away from time we could be spending doing the things we love to do. We have to go out of our way and pay an extra premium to eat REAL food that hasn’t been tainted by technology.

People pay money to sit on gerbil wheels and other machines that are just a synthetic version of human movement.

In the end what is this writing really about? It’s not necessarily about proper training, or how to eat. For me I’m never really satisfied with myself as a coach. I always want to be better for myself and for my clients. This is just a rant about the things I’ve seen, and an acknowledgment of the fact that we’re all tangled up in this crazy jungle, and sometimes it feels like it’s getting worse instead of better. This is just me calling out for us all to make things more simple. To get back to what life is really about which in my mind has always been the pursuit of happiness. I still think laughing is the best core workout one can do. For me I’ve found the training that I love to do. We all go through ups and downs. We have obstacles that are at times difficult to overcome. For me I’m facing one of those obstacles right now, that keeps me from training the way that I’d like to, but it doesn’t matter, because I know it will be there waiting for me when I’m ready. It’s a passion that I hope someday everyone gets to feel. And when you have that passion it makes achieving your goals that much easier. So get out your knife and get ready to cut your own path. Make sure you have fun doing it, and of course…keep it real.

Gooooooaaaaallll!!!!!

Odds are that you, like most everyone else on earth, hate the whole New Years resolution game.

I don’t blame you.  Most people say they are going to do the same old thing year after year.  Some people have success.  Most fail miserably.  I don’t intend to be mean, but the truth hurts.

Why do people dislike goal setting?  For most it is because they have repeatedly failed to meet their goals and as such have a negative connotation of the process.  I bet whether you like it or not, deep down you are thinking about your past failures already.

Let’s change that.

No matter how hard this process is for you, I guarantee I have worked with people that needed FAR MORE support in accepting this process than you do.  I’m talking EXTREME cases.  One client took over a year before this person could say the word goal without spiraling into a state of anxiety and anger.

I can say with great confidence that you are not starting from as difficult a state of mind.  You can do this with just a little bit of homework and support.

Why should you listen to me?  Good question.  In addition to my degree, I spent 5 years working with people with severe and persistent mental illness.  Not only did I get excellent training from the company I worked for, but also from Dartmouth PHD’s on a weekly basis. Oh yeah, my team also traveled to different conferences and seminars related to the topic and held monthly meetings with other professionals to hone our skills.

In addition I was responsible for training my staff on how to most effectively help people set and reach their goals as well as offering ongoing support throughout the process of doing this with well over 200 of their clients.  Did I make it sound believable at least?!?!

Let’s just say there is more to goal setting than meets the eye.  I’m just going to drill it down to the basics for you here though.

I actually don’t even like the term of goal setting.  Anyone can set a goal, then what?  For most people it is simple: make big, wholesale changes and work really hard for a couple of weeks, maybe a month.  Then…burnout and go back to the comfortable way you used to do things.

Don’t be ashamed, you know you’ve done it.  Likely many times.

So we’ve established that goal setting is useless if you don’t know what to do from there and that it isn’t the best way to describe the process.  So what do we call it?

GOAL ACHIEVEMENT

This implies that merely setting a goal is not enough.  The desired result is to actually make consistent progress and eventually make that proverbial check mark indicating SUCCESS!!!

It has been written about bagilions of times, so you can get your basics on SMART goal setting without me repeating it:

Basic Overview of SMART Goal Setting

In Depth Overview of SMART Goal Setting

Ok, now you have a basic understanding of what SMART goal setting is.  How do you know if the goal you have in mind is SMART for you (see what I did there?)?  Easy, consult with your coaches.

If you click on the picture to the right, you’ll see that Christina has yet to add her goal to the 2012 list.  Why is this?

As much as her endless positive energy helps her in her quest toward fitness, it also can have some counterproductive effects; she has what we call exercise ADD.

She was thinking about too many different goals and as such would have much more difficulty achieving any of them.  She is going to think about what she really wants to accomplish and then discuss it with me before she makes it official.

Why am I telling you this?  Because she is using her coaches to help her set SMART goals and you should too.  Feel free to run your idea past one of us before you make it official!

Another benefit of writing your goal(s) on the big list is that it makes it known to your peers that you plan to accomplish this.  This in turn makes you ACCOUNTABLE and you will automatically have a built in support system to help you work toward achieving your goals.

Having a bad day and contemplating doing something that is counterproductive?  Look at that list and see if someone has a similar goal. Go up to that person and ask what obstacles they have faced and what they have done to overcome them.  You are not the only one dealing with these challenges and odds are that there are similarities in what challenges most people are facing.

I could go on, and on, and on…but I think this is a good start.  What steps would I like for you to take?  Easy:

  1. Write down a list of all the things you want to accomplish this year
  2. Narrow it down to the 2 or 3 health/fitness related ones on your list
  3. Talk them over with one of your coaches to see what makes the most sense for you
  4. Write it on the list
  5. Do whatever it takes to ACHIEVE your new goals!
Let me know what questions you have or areas you would like for me to expand upon in the comments below.  As alsays, please share this with anyone you know that may benefit from the information.
Thanks again for putting your trust in FIT.  Now lets go out and make 2012 the best year ever!