3 Steps to Success

You probably heard this one before. All you need to do to lose weight is exercise more and eat less. But if it is that simple, why so many people fail miserably?

While the energy equation makes total sense on paper, it is an oversimplification of the process. The truth is that as human beings, we are complex organisms. And each one of us has unique characteristics. That’s why a one-size-fits-all approach cannot possibly work for everyone.

Now, while you will have to discover what works for  you, there is a common denominator in the equation: CONSISTENCY. Doesn’t matter what you do, if you don’t stick to it long enough, chances are you won’t see results.

What’s the secret? Motivation? Willpower?

Motivation is the excitement you feel when you begin a new project. It can definitely help you get started. However, it tends to fade away as time passes and you need to constantly remind yourself why you chose to go through this path.

Ah willpower! Willpower is great but it is a limited resource. When you force yourself to do something you don’t want to, you are using your willpower. The problem is that it won’t last forever.

So how can you make it work?

First of all, you need a plan of action. A plan of action is a step by step guide, a fool-proof system that is easy to follow. When you are writing your plan, break down your big goal into small manageable steps. Focus on behaviours (things you can do on regular basis) that when performed over a period of time will lead you to your ultimate goal. If you don’t know how to do this, look for professional help. An experienced trainer or coach can guide through this process.

The second step is accountability. The goal here is to make sure you are taking the small steps you devised on your plan. You can use your trainer or coach to make yourself accountable. Or find a friend with a similar goal and keep track of each others progress. Another idea is to use your social media as a diary  and post your plan and daily progress. If you prefer something more discreet, create an accountability sheet and stick to your fridge door or bathroom mirror. Fill it out everyday to keep track of your progress.

Need a sample? Download it here.

The final step is support. Surround yourself with people who understand what you are going through. This way you can talk about your frustrations, celebrate your successes, and find solutions to problems.

Keep in mind that results come from performing simple things over a period of time. If you trust the process and work on staying on track, you will see that the work you put in will pay off.

Do You Have a Scale Addiction?

Ah, the scale. As a woman seeking to lose weight, it can be your best friend or your worst enemy.

Sadly, though, a lot of women get addicted to that number on the scale. They see it not just as measure of their weight but as a measure of their success, their value, and their worth.

When that number doesn’t say what they want, they know without a doubt they’re going to have a bad day.

Here are a few signs that you have a scale addiction:

  • You weigh yourself multiple times a day. This activity is a big waste of time and gives you no indication of your true weight, since it fluctuates multiple times per day based on what you eat and drink and when you go to the bathroom.
  • You let the number you see upset you greatly. Stop getting so upset! The number doesn’t really tell you much since weight looks different on different people.

Remember, the scale can’t really tell you much at all. It is just one measure of your success, and other indicators, like skin fold (body fat percentage), girth measurements, progress pictures, are much more reliable.

The trick, though, is not to be obsessed with any kind of number or measurement, but, instead, just to focus on being as strong and healthy as possible. In the end, that’s all that matters.

Client Before and After – Anne

Who said it’s hard to lose weight and build muscle after 40s? Meet Anne, 49 yo, mother of three. In only 3 months, Anne lost 3kg, dropped her body fat from 22.5% to 20.7% and reduced 2cm on her waistline. But not without work. She trains 5 times per week and maintain a healthy diet.

Here’s what she has to say:

Professional exercise programming with challenging and fun workouts coupled with a well thought out nutritional plan all created and supervised by Carla have definitely given me these awesome results. Never have I felt so body confident, strong and full of energy. Carla’s encouragement and support has been life changing for me and I highly recommend her services to anyone looking to get real results from their training.”

Life Rewards Action

It’s that time of the year again. New Years always inspire big promises. “This year I will lose weight”; ” This year I’ll be fit”. Unfortunately, only a few people will act on their goals and succeed. Where do you want to be in 2017? Among the ones who abandon their goals because life got too busy or among the ones who stick to their dreams and make them happen? Be aware that the choice is yours. You are the only one who can decide to change.

The good news is that you don’t need to have a perfect plan. All you need is a first step. Think of a small habit you could easily adopt in your life. The easier the better. You will be more likely to stick to it if you can see yourself doing it. It may be something like drinking 2 liters of water per day or going for a walk two times per week after dinner. Resist the urge of trying to do too much. If so, you will soon feel overwhelmed and give up.

In the end, it all comes to repeating that behaviour over and over until it becomes automatic. The secret of building a habit is taking the choice of the equation. You shouldn’t ask yourself if you are in the mood for it. You just do it. Like brushing your teeth. You don’t wake up and say “Do I feel like brushing my teeth this morning?”, you just do it.

Once you’ve mastered that small step, take the next one. And then, a next one. You get the idea.

Now, if you feel you need help devising an initial plan ask for professional help. Find a trainer or coach who can design your initial plan. make sure that you feel comfortable with it before agreeing with it. Otherwise, 2017 will be just like any other year before – full of promises but poor on achievements.

Client Success Story

before-after_vivian“As many others, Vivian came to me for help with weight loss. She wanted to get in shape for her wedding which was only a couple of months away. I told her that it was an ambitious goal but it could be achieved if she put enough effort into it. Together we set a realistic plan of action which included exercising most days of the week plus a major dietary adjustment. In order to keep her accountable, we had weekly check ups during which we’d not only taken measurements but also talked about her progress and struggles. Vivian took all my advice to heart and had the most amazing results: she lost 10 kg in two months, just in time for her big day.”


Challenge Workout: Chest and Triceps Supersets

Are you bored with your regular workouts and looking for a challenge? Then give this one a try.

The workout:

  1. First superset – Cable chest press for 12 reps (choose a load heavy enough to allow you to perform 12 reps (and 12 only) + alternating ball push ups for as many as possible (go to fatigue, only stop when you can’t perform any more reps). No rest between the two exercises and minimum rest between sets (up to 2 minutes). Perform 5 sets.
  2. Second superset – Bar dips for as many reps as possible (you may use an assisted dip machine or bands if you can’t perform body weight ones) + cable push down for 15 to 20 reps.
  3. Third superset – Overhead triceps extension with dumbbell for 12 reps + TRX hugs (adjust the intensity level by stepping closer to/away from the anchor point) for 20 reps.

Client Success Story – Honey

beforeafterHoney was telling me she had been getting lots of compliments lately. Everywhere she went people would comment on how great she looked. Also, she was impressed with her gains in strength and stamina. Her energy levels were high and she never felt so confident in her life.

That’s so great to hear. As a trainer it is always a pleasure to work with dedicated clients. I always tell people that the results you get are proportional to the efforts you put into your training. However, body transformation should be seen as a lifestyle change. Long term success comes from small consistent changes that can be sustained for a lifetime. Congrats Honey!

New Year, New Promises

resolutionsThere is something magical about the beginning of a new year that fills our hearts with hope. Maybe that’s why millions of people start their year with a list of resolutions that they don’t intend to keep. It is almost as if we are throwing wishes at the Universe, not committing to a goal. We dream big, over promise, and under deliver. By the end of January, we can’t even remember most of the items on the list. However, this year could be different. You just need to follow a few steps:

  1. Ask yourself what you really want to achieve. Fitness examples would be: exercise more, eat better, lose weight, be more active…
  2. Now, discover why this is important to you. Why do you want to improve your eating habits or be more active? What are the feelings behind those actions? This is a crucial step to your success because it will determine your level of commitment and help you keep motivated.
  3. Next, determine how important this goal is to you. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate its importance? If it is a 9 or 10, you are ready to go to the next step, but if it is not, you may want to reflect on why this is not a priority in your life. Maybe, you are not ready for it yet or you are just trying to please someone else. Don’t set yourself up for failure, by committing to something that is not meaningful to you.
  4. Once you know what you want and why, you are ready to create a REALISTIC plan of action. And I mean realistic because, we tend to go overboard on our optimism until we realise that it’s not doable. Also, be specific. For instance, how are you going to be more active? “I will go for a 30-minute walk after dinner, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays”. Notice that this plan is very specific and quite feasible.
  5. Keep track of your progress. This will help you notice small achievements which will get you energized and motivated, especially when times get harder. For example, if your end goal is to lose a considerable amount of weight, it is very likely that it will take a few months to get there. So, take pictures and measurements on a regular basis to see your body transformation and record your training sessions to notice gains in strength and stamina.
  6. Be prepared for lapses. Yes, that’s right. There will be times you won’t feel like going to the gym or your diet will be subpar, but that’s not a reason to give up altogether. Be prepared to forgive small slip-ups and have strategies to get back on track as soon as possible. Keep in mind that consistency is what matters, not perfection.

Now, get pen and paper and start writing down your fitness resolutions for 2015. And if you need any help, don’t hesitate to contact me. I can help you start the year with the right foot.

Carla Torres is an AIF Master Trainer based in Rhodes, NSW. Her mission is to promote exercise, proper nutrition and healthy habits as a way to empower individuals to make decisions leading to better quality of life.

Working with a Personal Trainer

working with ptFor a beginner, the gym environment can be very overwhelming. Lots of complicated equipment, big guys grunting and throwing weights around, and flirtatious girls in spandex is not something that is easy to handle at first. So for new gym goers, having a personal trainer can be the best way to feel welcome and safe in a health club. If you just joined a gym on impulse and have no idea how to start training, consider the following:

The first thing you’ll need is to learn how to use the machines and other fitness equipment which means you may need some assistance. Even though, some machines may seem self-explanatory, you must set them up correctly before using them. You will also need to know which ones to use in order to have a balanced program (otherwise you will end up doing only bicep exercises, for instance). Lastly, you need to know proper lifting technique so you won’t injure yourself in the process. Therefore, you are better off hiring someone who will take care of all those details for you.

Besides, a PT will guide you through the shortest path to success. One of the most common mistakes people make is not setting proper goals – if you don’t know where you want to go, how do you expect to get there? Your trainer will help you set realistic goals that are attainable and design a plan of action, leading to those goals. Working with a trainer is the fastest way to get results, because he/she will select the best exercises for what you want to achieve and will push you out of your comfort zone without compromising your safety.

In addition, a trainer can adjust the program to suit any particular need or limitation you may have at any given time. This means simplifying exercises that are too much for you to handle at first, and progressing them once you get stronger. And this happens on a daily basis!

Having a trainer also helps you save time in the gym. When you arrive, your session is already planned and set up for you. You don’t need to have a plan, you don’t have to adjust the machines or remember the weights you used last time. You don’t even need to put the weights back when you are done. It is max workout in minimum time.

Lastly, a trainer will give you consistent, non-judgmental, and unconditional support, assisting you to overcome obstacles that may appear, holding you accountable for your actions, keeping sessions interesting to promote long-term motivation, and helping you to stay on track. This support can help you create healthier lifestyle habits which you will follow for years to come. For a PT, your success is his/her success, so he/she will be always on your side.

The truth is that hiring a personal trainer is an investment on your health and well-being. Both beginners and more experienced exercisers can benefit from personal training services. You may think that you know enough to work out on your own, but image how much better you could be if you had some professional assistance.

Carla Torres is an AIF Master Trainer based in Rhodes, NSW. Her mission is to promote exercise, proper nutrition and healthy habits as a way to empower individuals to make decisions leading to better quality of life.