Get A New Identity

The first part of this article stressed the need to do 3 things to change habits and therefore reach your goals.:

  1. When you have your goal, determine what habits will be required to achieve that goal.
  2. Pick 1 (or at most, 2 habits you’ll work on first)
  3. Once you have that first habit in place – you do it regularly and consistently, add another.  Create a habit loop.

You can find that article here

Working on habit changing and goal achieving in the above way works for most.  But does it work for YOU?

If not, it may be because you need to assume a new identity.  This is your 4th step in the process.

Yes, you need to BECOME THE PERSON WHO …… (insert your goal here)……

As an example, I am a person who makes sure I exercise regularly.  It’s just who I am, I don’t have to think about it a lot.

That’s not to say that I don’t skip workouts or miss training sessions.  I do – lots.   But what it means is that I just stay fit because it is who I am.  I make sure that I do enough training to stay fit because its just who Jo Butler is.

I wasn’t always a fit person however.  And this proves that you can change.  IF someone (me in this case) can do it, that proves that it can be done.

If becoming fit was one of you goals.  You need to identify with being someone who keeps fit.

Your goal may be to be lean, stop eating junk, improve your health in certain ways.   Whatever it is, think of someone you know that is doing it.

It’s best if it is someone you actually know.  Not a celebrity or someone you just follow on Instagram.

Actually knowing the person makes it real.  When its someone you only see on social media, it becomes ‘unreal’ and so much harder to identify with.  You’ll find yourself subconsciously thinking they’re not real and that will never do for our purposes.

Once you’ve identified the person who is doing or achieving what you wish to achieve, look at what they do to achieve it.

What habits and actions are they taking?  Ask them!

Most successful people are really happy to help others achieve – whether its something they do for sport, work or for their health and fitness.

Then using the 3 step formula above, record those habits, pick 1 or 2 and get started.

And then there’s a 5th step.

Get support or accountability to reinforce the good you’re doing.   Acknowledging your progress for yourself is awesome, but having someone giving you feedback is even better.

Studies show that people who get ongoing reinforcement about their achievements will continue to achieve more.

Then you’re right back to that habit loop again and can Habit Stack more great things on top.

At FitterFaster there are such a range of different clients that have many different health and fitness goals.  Almost anyone could find at least one person to identify with as someone who is achieving what they want to achieve too.

That’s one of the things I love about it.  The camaraderie, the mateship and the working together towards similar, but sometimes different goals.

To find out more about my training programs, pop your details in below and I’ll simply email you some information.


Why Do We Get Fatter over Christmas?

The silly season or the season to be jolly.

Jolly alright, have you noticed the shape Santa is in?  Do you feel like its rubbing off on you over December and January?

I can’t possibly cover all the reasons why you may gain weight over the holidays, but the main ones are listed below, along with solutions and tips to minimise or completely remove the risk.

1/ THERE IS FOOD EVERYWHERE AT WORK

As if the rest of the year doesn’t include enough birthdays or other celebrations, when it comes to the next couple of months, it gets plain ridiculous.
So it seems at least 16 people have birthdays in November and December and then there are the xmas chocolates you have on the counter, the xmas lollies in the staffroom and the lovely colleagues and clients who insist on xmas baking and bringing it in for everyone to try.
Then you have your staff break ups, your client appreciation parties, drinks after work to celebrate the season and everything in between.  Your Kris Kringle always seems to involve chocolates or baked treats as well.  Not to mention Advent Calendars and other ‘thank you’ gifts from students or clients which always contain 1000 calories per square inch.
While you’re not going to be able to avoid (or even want to avoid) every little thing, making sure you bring healthy snacks and lunches to work – and actually eating them – can really help. Save the splurges for your actual xmas break up or your own birthday.

2/ YOU DON’T WANT TO OFFEND ANYONE

Seriously, if you are letting other people dictate what you’re eating (still) you’re fighting a losing battle.
Most people DO NOT CARE about your health, fitness or fat loss goals.  It’s a sad truth.  Unless they are actually on a similar journey, they don’t want you to succeed (they’ll say they do) because if you succeed, that makes their situation look worse.

People may not actually consciously think this, but it’s true and I’m positive you could think of someone that tries to sabotage you no end as soon as you say you’re trying to eat well or reach certain goal.  Sometimes partners are even the worst at this.

A simple no thank-you should suffice.  But in case it doesn’t, you can take a piece for ‘later’.  Tell them you’re too full right now as you just ate or you’ll have it after lunch.

You’re not 5 anymore. No one can make you eat something.  And if they get offended because you don’t want it – that really is their problem not yours.

There are many other reasons sticking to your plan can be more challenging at this time of the year.  I will cover more of them in my next article.

3/ THERE ARE SO MANY PARTIES AND FUNCTIONS ON

Along with the usual birthday parties, you also are usually attending at least a couple of work functions, some family functions, some break ups and of course there is Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Eve, New Years Day and so on it goes.

While eating out can be tricky, I like to tell clients to stick to the Magic Two when choosing from any menu.

The MAGIC TWO are:

  1. Protein – this is your meat usually. Could be chicken, fish, seafood, lamb, beef or other game
  2. Veggies or salad – this should make up the bulk of your meal.  Even if there are sauces or dressings, if you’ve chosen a protein and this for your meal, you can’t go wrong.

The second tip for eating out is to make some choices and decisions before you leave home. Will you have a couple of drinks?  Or will you have dessert?

Believe it or not, you can enjoy an evening out without splurging on everything. And if others at your table insist, you know that it is their guilt not yours shining through.

Other eating out tips are:

  • Avoid the rolls, bread, herb/garlic breads etc
  • Don’t choose a pasta or rice dish – remember the magic 2
  • Share a dessert
  • Drink mineral (or plain) water between drinks
  • Eat a Magic Two snack before you leave home
  • Don’t be pressured by others.  See Point 2 above
4/ YOU’RE SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE THAT DON’T WORRY ABOUT THEIR HEALTH AND FITNESS

This can be tricky and I’m sure you’ve experienced this.

They may mock you, tease you or try to make you indulge.  You’re probably not going to be able to avoid these people all the time.  But its best to try to stay away when you can.  Sit at a different table, eat elsewhere at lunchtime or take your break at a different time if you can.  Another trick is to surround yourself with positive people that do care about their health and fitness.  Joining a fitness facility, even if its just for the holiday season, can be a real help.  Meeting regularly with others who have similar goals and who will boost you rather than tempt you can really help.  I know this helps me – a lot!

5/ EVERYONE (ESPECIALLY FAMILY AND FRIENDS) KEEP SAYING “IT’S JUST ONE DAY, LIFE IS SHORT, ENJOY YOURSELF, JUST ONE WON’T HURT” AND SO ON

The thing is, is it really just one day?  Are these occasions really that rare or far apart?

Of course not.   We all know that there is a ‘special occasion’ on every week of the year and many more at this time.  So have a think about your upcoming function schedule and decide in advance when and where you’ll let your hair down and when you’ll make better choices.

It is only yourself you’ll be ‘cheating’ if you let loose at every single occasion.

6/ I HAVE LESS TIME TO WORKOUT, PREPARE MEALS, COOK ETC

This is true. Christmas time can be exhausting.  But when you really think about it, its often lack of sleep that makes you so tired.

So make sure you look ahead. Which functions could you leave from a little early so you get enough sleep. And which are going to carry on during the night?

When will you have time to perhaps make a double batch of tea so that you have left overs for your lunches.

When could you reschedule those workouts or even do shorter ones at home instead.  Keeping in your regular fitness routine will do wonders to keep your food on track and minimise the damage as well.

For a complete guide on surviving the silly season, complete your details below.    I’ll send you the link to download my guide to not just avoiding weight gain over the coming season, but actually losing weight and gaining some fitness also.

Oh, and its totally free 🎁


Tight Hip Flexors and What To Do About it

Did you know that your psoas (pronounced so-az) is one of the longest and strongest muscles in your body?  It enables us to sit or stand.  To be able to walk, reach, bend or twist.

In this post, I”m not going to bog you down with all the biomechanics of the human body, but one thing you need to know when it comes to your psoas, is that like other muscles in your body, there are other muscles that work with it to allow you to move in all different ways and muscles that must relax when the psoas contracts if everything is going to work well.

I often have people contact me that are complaining of tight hip flexors, lower back pain or that have what is referred to as hyper-lordotic posture – that is a really ‘arched’ lower back with belly and butt both ‘sticking’ out as in the image above.

This can even give the illusion of a ‘fat’ stomach on individuals that are quite lean and can definitely cause pain in the hips, lower back and in the front of the upper thigh (feeling light tight quads especially).   Some of the issues that contribute to this posture can also end up causing knee and shoulder pain as well because our whole body functions as one unit – not as a series of individual parts.

You can see in the image, that the psoas originates in at the bottom of your thoracic spine and your entire lumbar spine (lower back) and inserts at the top of your femur (thigh bone).

If your psoas is tight or conversely, is too weak, this can cause lower back pain.  I’m going to concentrate in this article on a tight psoas muscle, with a combo of stretches and releases and some strengthening (or activation) as well.  One important thing to remember is that you will also need to make sure you are activating your glute (butt) muscles as well if you want to improve your hip flexor pain or tightness.  I’ll also discuss this below

There are also lots of other muscles that can be causing the pain described above, but everyone can benefit from doing the following rehab and prehab exercises.

Firstly you’ll need one of the balls at right and a foam roller The ball must be small and quite firm – not at all squishy.  

You’re going to find 3 spots in your abdomen.  The first is about 2-3cm outside your belly button, the second is a few cm above that and the third is 2-3 cm below that first point.  Actually you’ll find 6 spots, because you’ll find the same spots on the other side of your belly button.

Once you’ve found those 6 spots, you’ll lay face-down on your ball and roll those spots out.  The key is to relax into it. Deep breaths – especially out.  You can hold in sorer spots, roll gently back and forth over them and try to get as deep as you can.    Experience massage therapists can also do this for you, but if you’re on your own, the ball is your best plan of attack as you won’t be able to palpate deep enough with your own hands.

With the foam roller, you’ll again lay face-down on the roller and roll out the whole front of your hip and top of quadricep (thigh). Right around the area you commonly refer to as your hip flexors.

I’d recommend doing both of these massage/releases several times per day if you have pain and continue daily for as long as you can – as a preventative option.

 

 

 

 

It can be really hard to stretch your hip area simply because your anatomy doesn’t allow you too much movement in the directions required.  And whether static stretching actually helps that much is controversial.  But to stretch the area, the best option is as above.   

If you’re on your own, lay on a bench that is high enough that your foot can hang down without touching the ground.  Pull your other leg in tight and let your leg hang while relaxing and breathing out slowly.

Slowly raise your stretched leg between stretches and hold up for 10-20 seconds before relaxing into the stretch again.

If you have a partner, which is best, have them apply downward pressure to your hanging leg while you try to lift it. Hold for about 10 seconds then relax and stretch again.  Keep pulling your other leg into your chest at the same time.  Repeat for 5-10 reps on each leg.  Alternating between holding the effort and relaxing into the stretch.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, its also important to strengthen your glutes.  I’ll discuss that in my next article, but exercises like Romanian Deadlifts, KB swings, single leg RDL’s, hip thrusters and hip bridges should be undertaken.

If you’d like help with any of this, please contact me at jo@fitterfaster.net.au 


How To Habit Stack To Transform Your Fitness and Your Body

I have many, many articles and posts about how to get lean, get healthy, get fit and so on.

It’s not hard to have enough information about what to do.  In fact, you probably have plenty of information right now.

But, the hard part is actually putting it into place.

Anyone can write down great SMART goals, promise to start Monday, tell someone about it and then wait for the magic.

What?!?!  There’s no magic?

Sadly no 😬

It is easy to think that some people are just good at this and others, perhaps you, are not.

The problem is, that creating new habits can be very, very hard.  And I get that.  Making lasting changes to what you probably do every day is not easy for most people.

What usually happens when someone decides to lose some excess body fat or improve their health is that they decide to do the following (or similar);

  • exercise every day
  • get to bed earlier
  • get up earlier
  • pack your lunch
  • stop drinking crap
  • cook at home more
  • give up alcohol (yes the other drinking crap)
  • track your steps
  • get some sunlight
  • don’t snack
  • stop eating junk food
  • start eating 10 cups of vegetables per day
  • count calories
  • do some more exercise
  • sign up for some expensive program, supplements or meal replacements
  • decide you need to be hungry
  • etc

Depending on where you are exactly, some of the above may come easy to you, at least at first.

But for most, the list above is just totally overwhelming and even with best intentions and a buddy to do it with you, more often than not, it lasts 1-5 days at most and you give up again.

Changing your behaviours is not easy because lets face it.  Most of what you do every day is on auto pilot.

You aren’t even making conscious decisions about what you’re doing most of the time.  That’s why they’re called HABITS.  Because you just do them by habit.

If I haven’t said this at least 1000 times – the key to long term change is to change those habits.

You need to change what you’re doing on a regular basis, because what you’re currently doing is NOT WORKING FOR YOU

As humans, we love to stay still. We are programmed to keep doing what we are doing – its safety mechanism at its best.

 

If you try to change all of this at once, there is a very, very, very high chance of failure.  Even if you do manage to hang in there for a short time, most people who completely overhaul at once do not sustain it.  They simply fall back into their behaviours either one at a time or even all at once.  (commonly known as falling off the wagon)

What then is the solution?

Using the example above, you need to pick just one or two of those things to work on at once.  I’d suggest exercise because it has many other benefits as well.  And once you start to see changes from doing just that, it will motivate you to make more changes.

So no matter what, you’d commit to doing something active every day.

Why every day?  Because doing something at least daily is key to making it a new habit.  If you try to just do it 3 times per week, it won’t be ingrained as a habit.

 

You don’t need to do a mad crazy workout every day.  No, you’d decide on your frequency of workouts – say 3-5 times per week and on the other days you’ll walk, or play your sport, or do something really active with your kids.

Just commit to being active every single day.

Using another example such as pack your lunch.

This is not going to become a habit if you just decide to do it 2-3 days per week.  To really become a new behaviour (or habit) you need to do it daily.

Once you have that habit in place – which can take 1-4 weeks or more of DAILY practice, then you add another related habit.

It might be getting to bed earlier, drinking more water or not drinking your calories.

With just one thing to focus on, it  will be so much easier to make this a new thing you do.

To help make each habit a success, I like to practice what I call PUTTING SUCCESS IN MY WAY

This means that I think about what is going to perhaps prevent me from keeping my promise to myself to complete this habit every day.

I actually list them in my diary when I set new habit goals.

Example; something comes up with the kids, alarm doesn’t go off, appointments change, coaches cancel, bad weather (if its something I was doing outside) and so on.

Then next to each one, I write down how I can ensure this doesn’t happen, or what I’m going to do if it does.

Example: have a home workout ready that I can do anywhere, set 2 alarms or get someone else to wake me, home workouts, immediately book another session to replace the one I missed, go walking/running instead while I wait for kids ………

It’s a 3-5 step process:

  1. Set your main goal or goals and write down what steps or habits you need to put into place to make them happen. (that’s like the list above)
  2. Pick just 1 or 2 of those habits to work on.  Just them.  All you do is focus on them.  PUT SUCCESS IN YOUR WAY with just these 1-2 habits.
  3. Once that new habit is in place, add another.   This is called Habit Stacking

You will most likely find that if you follow this plan, you will achieve success.  It may not be really rapid, although you will be surprised how quickly you can achieve results when you keep moving forward like this instead of going 2 steps forward and 1 step backward all the time.

If however you are find this process isn’t enough, there are a further 2 steps you can follow.  I’ve written a separate article for these additional 2 steps because this article is getting rather long.

You can find the rest of the article here

 

 


Do You Know Enough To Get Results?

A super short post today;

I’m guessing you know at least a bit about healthy eating.  Sure, you may be confused at times – after all it seems in this industry, we contradict ourselves all the time.

Drink coffee – coffee is bad

Exercise hard – gentle exercise is better

Fat is bad – eat more fat

No wonder you’re confused.

My aim is not just to educate you be cutting thought the crap and keeping it simple, but to help you to put all of this into action.

THE COST OF INACTION

You’ve visited my blog for a reason.

Maybe you want to feel better, have more energy?

Maybe you want to get rid of some excess body fat?

Maybe you want to be fitter – just for your everyday, busy life. Or for some special goal you have in mind such as a fun run or obstacle course?

Maybe you have gut issues and are sick of feeling like crap?

The reason you landed here is because what you’re doing is not working!

Whatever your reasons, you’re not totally happy with what you’ve got going on.  You have. a vision for something better.

To get the most out of any health and fitness advice or program (not just mine) you have to take action.  You have to put into place what you learn.

How many programs have your followed?  Maybe purchased or joined?

How many of them have you taken action on?

I mentioned above that this would be a super short post. And it is.  I’m going to redirect you to some previous posts that already give you tips, tricks and strategies about what to do to improve your results.

What you need to do is read them and take action.

7 Steps To Great Results

Stuck for Results? 3 things you can do about it

3 Things you have to do today to get results

There you go.  You’re busy and so am I.  So saving time on repeating myself today, Click the links above and more importantly,………

MAKE SOME CHANGES

IF YOU’D LIKE TO SEE EXACTLY WHAT WE DO AT FITTERFASTER, COMPLETE YOUR DETAILS BELOW AND THEN CHECK YOUR INBOX FOR FURTHER INFORMATION


Are You Making These Workout Mistakes?

They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  We’ve all most likely heard this before and even agree. Yet, so many of us keep doing the same thing even though it isn’t working for us.

One area we are very likely to do this is when exercising.  Here are the 4 mistakes I see most people making over and over.

USING MAINLY MACHINES WHEN TRAINING

Do you mostly use those big weight based or resistance machines that you find in big commercial gyms?

While they are great for certain populations – mainly those with mobility issues that need the guidance and safety factors that machines can (but not always) provide.

The problem is pretty much what makes them good for some people, but probably not you.  Because they limit the range of motion and the balance and control part of the exercise, you get less out of doing the exercise itself.

One of the main benefits of using resistance is the way your body has to control, adapt, balance and manoeuvre the resistance, whether that resistance is a dumbbell, kettlebell, barbell or your own bodyweight.  When you use machines, a lot of that is taken away resulting in less muscle being used and therefore, lower returns for the time you’re spending exercising.

You can usually lift more weight when using machines, which is indicative of how machines make it easier.  And when its easier, it is not providing the same benefits.

DOING TOO MUCH ‘CARDIO’

If I had a dollar for every time a client has told me they’re going to add running into their plan to help lose weight, I’d be rich.  Well not quite, but honestly, it seems to be the go-to for someone who is not getting the results they are hoping for.

9.8 times out of 10, lack of cardio is NOT the issue.  In fact, adding in too much ‘cardio’ type training such as running, cycling, swimming, jogging etc, will backfire causing a decrease in recovery and not allowing you to train with enough intensity at your other sessions.

Over time our bodies adapt to repetitive aerobic exercise, using oxygen and energy more efficiently, thereby hindering fat loss. Endurance cardio has also been linked to an increase in the body’s production of the “stress” hormone cortisol. Which if over time remains raised,  can cause serotonin, thyroid function, growth hormone, testosterone and oestrogen levels to be  disrupted.

Cardio or aerobic exercise can be added, but it needs to work in with what else you’re doing including other workouts, sleep quality and quantity, stress from other factors such as work, relationships, financial, workout recovery etc.

Simply adding more and more cardio will NOT work for most people

DOING TOO MANY ISOLATION EXERCISES

Does your gym program include lots of bicep curls, tricep exercises, leg extensions or curls and lateral raises?  Thought so!   Rest assured, the girl in the picture did NOT get that body by doing those curls!

In order to boost your metabolism, you need to spend the majority of your time doing exercises that use more muscle such as squats, lunges, rows, presses and burpees.

The fitter you are, the more easily you’ll lose excess body fat and keep it off.  Isolation exercises may shape the muscles in those areas, but will do nothin to burn fat or increase fitness.

NOT GETTING FIT ENOUGH

The goal of a successful fitness program should be to increase fitness.  

While your overall goals might be to lose body fat, tone your body or be able to run or cycle faster or lasts longer in your sport of choice, by increasing your overall fitness, all of these are achieved more easily.

A fitter body can do more (but not too much) effective exercise to produce fat loss and toning results.

A fitter body has more energy every single day. Whether that’s to keep up with your kids, be attentive and active at work or to play high level sport without excess fatigue on the weekends.

A fitter body finds it easier to maintain healthy body fat levels with a less restrictive diet.  While healthy eating is still required, you have more leeway than someone who is less fit or not fit at all.

Often, if you’re training on your own most of the time, or you do the same routine or class over and over, your fitness is NOT increasing.

If your workout doesn’t get harder over time, you end up pretty much wasting your time as your body doesn’t need to adapt or get better – meaning NO RESULTS.

HOW TO FIX IT

Firstly, you need to concentrate  mainly on exercises that use more muscle most of the time.  A mix between higher repetition with lighter weights (note I said lighter, not light) or body weight with days or weeks of lower repetition work with heavier weights or more challenging body weight drills.

As an example, a beginner may do push ups on her knees and over time progress to doing them on her toes till eventually she can do them with her feet raised on a bench.  This would be way more effective for muscle toning, fitness improvement and increases in metabolism that laying on a bench and using the pec-dec machine.

Likewise, you’ll get way better results by squatting with some resistance (or perhaps bodyweight for beginners) than sitting on a bench and ‘curling’ the weight or pressing it and using just your quadriceps.   A squat will develop and tone all your leg and butt muscles as well as help with your balance and mobility.

Fitness improvements don’t even compare between a leg curl or press and actual squatting.

To improve overall fitness, you also need to do what I refer to as cardio training – no running required.

Using drills like burpees, mountain climbers, and combo’s of resistance drills (like squats, lunges, presses etc) will raise your heart rate quickly resulting in improved fitness if done regularly.  Its much less time consuming than going for a run or jog and the results will be much better.   Not only will you improve fitness, but you’ll also be improving the shape of you muscles, toning and getting stronger at the same time.

Remember, the fitter you are, the better your results.

IMPROVING CLIENT FITNESS and therefore results is my specialty.

I especially love to work with busy people that may think they don’t have time to get super fit.  They’re busy with maybe more than one job, or they’re studying or raising a family (or all of the above)

I love to share how YOU can actually fit fitness into your life to feel better, look better and BE better

Email me right now to find out how jo@fitterfaster.net.au

Or complete your details below and I will send you some no obligation information about how I can do that.

 

Alternatively, if you’d like to receive my newsletter where I share lots of free workouts that actually work as well as other strategies like how the heck to fit all this into your life, pop your details in below instead.  (or do both for even better results)