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


A Customised Plan For Perfect Results

A customised training and nutrition program is the holy grail to get results.

This statement is similar to many I read on the internet lately.  And it’s true, sort of.

For most people that are starting out or are fairly new (less than a couple of years) into their training and/or nutrition program, a fully customised program is really not needed.

Yep, you heard correctly.  And this especially applies to fat loss and improved general fitness and body shaping or toning as you may refer to it.

What is most important are what I refer to as THE BIG ROCKS.

The big rocks are:

  • Follow your training program regularly and consistently
  • Eat a healthy diet that is in line with your goals – whether that’s fat loss, improved performance, better health or muscle gain
  • Prioritise your sleep and recovery while keeping stress levels to a minimum
And that’s it.  Yep, there’s your customised program right there.  That’s as customised as you need to get

The things that have the least impact are the things I refer to as THE SMALL ROCKS and the list for these could be endless, but include:

  • Special supplements
  • Counting calories or grams of protein, carbs and/or fats
  • Special meal timing
  • A complicated, periodised, rotating training program

There is absolutely no need for any of the above until you have the BIG ROCKS in place and you’ve been consistently following them for at least 6-12 months or even longer.

“But I’m not making progress” is something I hear all the time especially from those that contact me initially for information.

And I can pretty much tell you that is because you’re not being consistent.

Yes, you may be training regularly, but are you still bingeing or partying on weekends?

Yes, you may be carefully measuring your food (not necessary for most by the way) but when was the last time you trained 4-5 times per week for more than one-two weeks in a row?

Yes, you may be hitting the pavement or gym consistently, but how’s your sleep quality?

Yes, you may have given up alcohol and rarely eat treats, but are you recovering properly?  Are your hormones out of whack?

A real fat loss plateau occurs when you are choosing the right foods in pretty much the correct quantities consistently over time – like for 6 weeks or even months, not just days.

When was the last time you went an entire fortnight without eating or drinking anything that you weren’t supposed to while you supposedly followed your program perfectly?

A real training plateau occurs when despite following your training program without skipping workouts for 6 weeks or even months, you find you’re not getting stronger, faster or are feeling and looking fitter

When was the last time you went 6 weeks without skipping a training session?

When did you last string together 6-12 weeks of consistent 3 plus times per week training?

Somewhere along the line you’re getting stuck.

Whether it’s due to your schedule mucking up your training consistency

Your lack of planning and preparation means making last minute meal choices

Maybe you don’t enjoy your training so you just don’t do it often enough

Maybe your meal plan is too complicated and its hard to follow while in the throws of a hectic schedule

Maybe you’ve committed to too much and you just can’t maintain it so then you give up

Maybe you just haven’t figured out the real reason you want to change, so any temptation that comes along (such as a night out with friends) finds you derailing in a bigger way than you planned

CONSISTENCY IS THE ABSOLUTE NUMBER ONE INDICATOR OF SUCCESS BAR NONE.

Without consistency you will not achieve great results.  Sure, if you have lots of weight to lose, just changing a few things here and there may produce some results, but for consistent results, you need to be consistent.

At FitterFaster, we use realistic training and nutrition programs that produce results with minimal time outlay.

Without having to commit to massive amounts of training time (although you do have to train regularly) you can attend our training sessions and use home workouts to fill the gaps meaning less time out from your family, less travel time to the gym and better results in less time.

My nutrition programs use real food. Yep, no expensive supplements, no special shakes, pills or bars.  You still get to eat with your family and meal prep is kept to a minimum meaning less time in the kitchen and less last minute poor food decisions.   Treats are factored in so you can still enjoy those pleasures but in a way that still keeps you on track for results.

Complete your details below to find out more about our trial package, JumpStart To A New You.

Results are guaranteed in less than 4 weeks with no long term commitments or crazy workout schedules and expensive food replacements.

 

 


Willpower. Needed or Not?

Wow, poor old Mr Willpower has a bad reputation

He’s renowned for not hanging around long, if at all and most people  claim not to know him very well at all

In fact, his cousin, Mr Habit gets all the fame and fortune these days.

And I agree.  You cannot rely on Willpower to be consistent with your body composition goals over the long haul.  Developing new habits is key to long term success.

However, willpower definitely plays a huge part, especially in the beginning.

When you first decide you’re going to make changes, whether that’s starting a totally new fitness regime or or overhauling something you’re already doing, you will need to rely on your willpower till your new habits start to develop.

But, there are steps you can take to help that willpower have more ‘power’ and to ensure that habits do start to take hold before Mr Willpower leaves the room.  Which happens to everyone no matter how ‘motivated’ other people may seem to you

MAKE A PLAN

This involves more than just a casual thought about what you might do.  Actually get out your calendar or diary and schedule your new workouts into the next couple of weeks.   Treat those workouts like any other appointment.  Make sure you’ve allowed ample time for travel, showering, picking up the kids or whatever else you’ll need to allow for to actually get that workout in.

An extra tip from me is to get your workout in early in the day.

First thing is the best even if you’re not a morning person.

And there is no excuse if you’re a single parent or your partner is not home to look after the kids. There are plenty of things you can do right in your own home without leaving anyone unattended. This is another excuse I hear all the time.

JUST TAKE ACTION

What the heck does that mean?  It means, just get up or just get changed and just start.

  •  If you’ve set your alarm, DO NOT HIT SNOOZE.  Just get up, put the clothes straight on that you got out ready the night before and head out the door.
  • If you’re training after school drop off, be in your clothes ready.  Do not go home first (unless that’s where you’re working out).
  • If you are going to workout after work or school, take the change of clothes with you and head straight to your workout venue.  Going home highly increases the chances of you finding a reason to not attend your scheduled training session.
  • Organise to meet a friend or even pick them up on the way.  Its ever so easy to make up excuses to yourself, but if you have to tell a friend as well, it lessens the likelihood of that excuse sounding so important.   Even better, if you’re attending a fitness facility like FitterFaster, make sure you’ve booked your session in.  Then you’ll have to tell me why you can’t make it as well.
If you can just use your willpower and determination for the first week or two, it really does get easier.

But only if you’re consistent and are self disciplined.

I know you can do this.  You can make changes and see the real you emerge.

The reality is that no one is motivated all the time.  Successful people know the secret is in creating habit and taking action.

You too can become one of those successful people that makes it look easy.

In as little as 2 weeks of effort, YOU can start to create habits that will allow you to get the body of your dreams.

Starting on April 16th, I’m running the 14 Day Fat Furnace program that includes all the step you need to be successful.  You only have to take action for 2 weeks to start seeing results.  And it gets easier and easier after that.

Check out all the details about Fat Furnace here


7 Steps To Great Results

Now that the weather is cooling down, it is a great time to get started on your fitness plan or to give your current plan an overhaul – think get more consistent and stop being average. Think of how it will feel if you have dropped a few pants sizes when everyone else is getting bigger over Winter.

Mostly, the things we do every day are done by habit.  Meaning, you just do them without thinking about it.  You clean your teeth, get dressed in the same way, visit the same cafe for lunch, pick at the same treats in the evening.  Basically we don’t think too much about anything we do – it’s all habit.

Often these habit are NOT supporting our health and fitness.  These are what we call ‘bad’ habits.  Let’s see how we can change these.

There are a few keys to changing bad habits … I highly recommend that you create a plan based on these keys, before you start to implement your habit change, so that you are well prepared and well positioned for success. I have used the example of binge eating on junk food, but the same keys apply to changing any habit such as quitting smoking or missing workouts.

1. For each habit, identify your triggers. What situations trigger your binge eating (boredom, watching TV, sitting down after tea, having coffee, drinking alcohol, stressful meetings, going out with friends, driving, etc.)? Identify all of them, for each habit.  Write them down on a piece of paper.  I’d make 3 columns, once for the bad habit, one for it’s triggers and the 3rd for step 2.

2. For every single trigger, identify a positive habit you’re going to do instead. When you are bored, instead of eating (or whatever your habit is), what will you do? What about when you get stressed? When you go out with friends? Some positive habits could include: exercise, meditation, deep breathing, organizing, decluttering, going for a walk, talking to someone in your family, and more.

3. For at least one month, focus entirely on being as consistent with your triggers as possible. That means, every single time those triggers come up, do the positive habit you identified instead of the negative one. The more consistent you are, the better the habit will form. If you sometimes do the new habit when the trigger occurs, and sometimes don’t, the new habit won’t form very well. Try to do it every single time. If for some reason you fail, extend the one-month period and try to be very consistent from that point onward.  Try to work on just one habit at a time.  Put ‘post it’ or other reminders in spots where the bad habit usually occurs; on the fridge, in the pantry, on your dashboard (for those that cave in to drive-thrus) etc

4. Avoid some situations where you normally drink and eat, at least for a while, to make it a bit easier on yourself. If you normally drink when you go out with friends, consider not going out for a little while. If you normally go outside your office with co-workers to eat or smoke, avoid going out with them. This applies to any bad habit — whether it be eating junk food or doing drugs, there are some situations you can avoid that are especially difficult for someone trying to change a bad habit. Realise, though, that when you go back to those situations, you will still get the old urges, and when that happens you should be prepared.  In the short term avoiding the trigger situations can help. 

5. Realize that your urges will be strong, but they will go away after a few minutes if you distract yourself with your new habit.  They come in waves, but just ride out the wave. Find strategies for getting through the urges — deep breathing, self massage, eating frozen grapes, walking around, exercising, calling a friend who will support you.

6. Ask for help. Get your family and friends and co-workers to support you. Join a Fitness Program like  FitterFaster.  Get a workout/health buddy. When you have really strong urges or a really difficult time, call on your support network for help. Don’t eat junk food, for example, without emailing your support crew or me. Don’t eat it until you call your buddy first.

7. Staying positive is key! You will have negative thoughts — the important thing is to realize when you’re having them, and push them out of your head. Squash them like a bug! Then replace them with a positive thought. “I can do this! If Jo can do it, so can I!” 🙂

Bonus tip: If you fail (and many of you will, at least once), don’t give up. It can take many many attempts before you get control. Figure out what went wrong, and plan strategies to overcome that obstacle the next time. Keep your positive attitude and keep trying. You’ll get it eventually.  This is key-do not give up because of one slip up.

And don’t let old habits sneak back once you reach your goals.  If you binge or fall off the wagon, just get up and keep on going. Let it pass and move on.  Every day you will be tempted, but it does get easier.  The key is to move on and remember what it is you are trying to achieve

To find out about training at FitterFaster complete your details below and I will send you an email with details.  You can check it out and if you’re


I’m Getting Bigger Legs Lifting Weights. What’s going on?

Training with resistance, whether that be your own body weight or tools such as dumbbells, barbells or kettle bells, builds more muscle if you do it correctly.  There’s no denying that, but it definitely doesn’t happen ‘by accident’.

Most people who attend FitterFaster do not want to get bigger (with the exception of some men who have lost their excess body fat and are now looking to increase muscle mass).  However, I often hear “my legs are getting bigger” from people who start to lift weights.

The usual assumption is an increase in muscle mass, which could be the case, but for most women, that will probably not go beyond the initial cm or 2 when you first begin training from a sedentary lifestyle.

What is probably happening is one (or all) of the following:
  • muscle mass has increased slightly, but fat has not gone down yet
  • fat mass has increased
  • you’re training in a way that is actually causing your muscles to grow bigger

You cannot gain fat if the amount of calories you’re eating does not support that. So that’s your first place to look if it’s fat your gaining (At FitterFaster we don’t count calories but you still need to know that the amount of calories you are consuming is important)

Increases in muscle mass could be that initial increase in muscle prior to the fat coming off or could just be that you’re training in a way that is actually increasing muscle mass – this is less common in women (as I mentioned, you don’t ‘accidentally’ increase muscle mass) but it can happen and I know from experience that it does sometimes.

But relax, I don’t want you to start counting calories.  As you know, if you read my blog regularly, counting calories is a fruitless exercise that  you cannot possibly calculate correctly no matter how many apps, calculators and scales you use.

If your legs are getting bigger (and that’s not your goal) you’ll most likely be able to remedy the situation by doing the following consistently:

  • Make sure your training program is not increasing your muscle mass more than you want it to.  Some personal trainers will say this won’t happen, or they even encourage their clients to grow their legs.  That’s fine if that’s what the client wants, but I know that the majority of my clients want lean, toned legs, not big muscley ones!
  • Cut out processed foods and instead, eat lots of fresh, real food that is in its natural state (cooking is fine)
  • Be careful of high calorie, healthy foods like nuts, avocado and starchy vegetables.  Limit your fats to a couple of small serves of healthy fats per day – do not try to go ‘low or no’ fat though
  • Avoid dried fruit and limit fresh fruits to a couple of serves per day
  • Minimise dairy. My suggestion is 1 serve per day (approx 100g) of natural or greek yoghurt
  • Get rid of any drinks that contain calories.  Soft drinks, fruit juice, cordials, sports drinks and waters, alcohol, milk etc should be avoided.  Coffee and tea with a splash of milk are okay as are herbal teas and of course, water.  A minimum of 2 litres per day is best
  • Eat enough!  You do not want to cut back so much that you cause more problems down the road.
  • Eat 3-5 times per day and include protein and vegetables in every meal and snack.
  • Get enough sleep.  If you don’t get enough, you will have a very hard time losing body fat.
  • Reduce stress levels.  You cannot lose body fat effectively (or at all in most cases) if your cortisol levels are chronically high.

This may seem like its too hard to follow.  Gee, isn’t training hard enough??

You’re right, a complete overhaul of your nutrition habits and lifestyle can be  a tough call.

But the power of good habits is the secret to achieving success.

There are 2 things you need to do:

  1. Replace habits that are not supporting your goals with habits that do
  2. Use triggers to add new habits that also support your goals.

If you have habits that you need to stop such as snacking on junk foods, sleeping in when you’re supposed to be training or drinking too much alcohol, the easiest and most effective way to change them is NOT to just try and stop.

The best way is to replace the old habits  with new habits.  Something as simple as replacing one snack for another or organising to meet someone or making an appointment so you don’t hit snooze is the key.  So when your trigger occurs, you now do something different in response.  An example is, choosing a different snack food when you get the munchies.  This is an easy example, but at FitterFaster, I also help you work on the more challenging and complicated ones too.

There are probably new habits you need to introduce as well.  These are best tackled just one or two at a time.  Make sure that they become ‘habits’ before you try to introduce more.  Working on just 1 or 2 things is the key to success.  Otherwise you end up overwhelmed and give up all together. Especially if you’re trying to do this on your own.

You must get to the stage where the new processes really are habits.  That you do them (or don’t do them) as automatically as putting on your seat belt before you drive.

You are your habits, so make sure they’re good ones.

At FitterFaster, changing your habits is part of our process.  Together we can work out which habits need changing first, rather than do a complete overhaul – unless you’re ready for that.

We also talk about how triggers can lead to habits that are helpful or that lead you away from your goals and how to change those.

My Clean and Lean Challenge is about to start. It runs for 6 weeks and you are given full support AND details about how to make those habit changes over that time.

Then, most importantly, I take the final week or so to educate you on how to continue after the challenge is finished.  You may not continue every new thing you’ve learnt, but that’s okay.  We work on maintaining the most important things first so that you can make the real habits and then add more later.

So you get great results during the challenge AND can continue to get more results and/or maintain them once it’s finished.

The Challenge starts on Feb 5th 2018 with registrations closing on Jan 28th.  A bonus 2 weeks training for anyone who registers by Jan 22nd

Find out more about the Clean and Lean Challenge here:  CLEAN AND LEAN CHALLENGE