Are You Resting Enough?

Did you know that your gains happen outside of the gym, when you are resting? That’s right.

Exercise is just the initial push, a necessary stimulus that forces the body to go through physiological adaptations (getting stronger, building muscle, becoming leaner). For those adaptations to occur, the body requires time to clean up the mess created by your workout session (think of all the by-products left behind) and to repair broken down tissue that was (purposefully) damaged during exercise.

So what happens if we don’t give time for the body to recover?

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Lessons from a Fitness Challenge

The fitness industry loves Challenges. And at this time of the year, they seem to be everywhere: “40-day build challenge” or “12 weeks to a bikini body.“

I’ve never been very fond of challenges because they tend to reinforce behavioural patterns and beliefs that are not beneficial.

For instance, most challenges are short-lived contributing to the erroneous belief that losing weight (or building muscle) is a fast process. To deliver results in such short period of time, most programs rely on endorsing extreme behaviours that are not realistic (or safe) for the average person. Those behaviours generate an enormous amount of deprivation which could potentially lead to unhealthy compensatory behaviours (binging, purging or over exercising). Besides, most programs don’t expand on how to maintain the results, so once the challenge is over you are on your own.

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How to Stay Committed to Your Goals

You know how people start very excited about a goal just to lose motivation within a few weeks?

This is because it is normal to experience an emotional roller coaster as we pursue a goal. One day, we are super excited and passionate. The other, we may feel overwhelmed and discouraged.

The biggest challenge is to go through the downs without falling off the bandwagon. But how do we do that?

In this video, I share my top tip for staying connected and committed to your goals even during hard times.

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How to Avoid the Emotional Roller Coaster

The journey towards any goal is seldom a straight line. More often than not you will face challenges. It’s a normal part of the process.

But the problem is that these challenges may have a direct effect on your mind, creating a turmoil of emotions. Emotions that if not taken care of, tend to escalate to humongous proportions preventing you to reach your goals and dreams.

Let’s take a closer look at the emotional roller coaster that is a fitness journey.

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Three steps to achieve anything this year

Another year is over. There is something about new beginnings that fill our hearts with hope. Hope that this time everything will work out. That things will be different.

But the truth is that it will only be different, if you are willing to do something different this time.

No, this is not another post about setting New Year’s Resolutions. We know very well that they don’t work. It’s also not about setting SMART goals. And while I do like setting goals, I also know that they are easier said than done.

People don’t fail because they can’t set goals. They fail because they can’t follow through.

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Why Willpower Is Not Enough To Create Real Change

Do you know anyone who went through a full transformation? I mean, someone who has drastically changed his/hers habits? A complete overhaul.

What do you think happened to this person? Do you think that he/she has an enormous amount willpower, determination and self-control?

Well, I assure you that it was more than that.

You see, willpower is a conscious decision that requires a lot of energy and effort, making it a limited resource that can only be accessed when you are at the top of your game. This means that when you are felling tired, stressed, sad, angry or even bored, you will not be able to use your willpower. (can you remember a time in which you were resolute to wake up early to go to the gym, for instance, but in the morning when the alarm went off, you simply convinced yourself to stay in be?)

The truth is that all change happens on the subconscious level because that’s where our habits, patterns and addictions are stored. Willpower, on the other hand, is part of the conscious domain and the conscious mind is only responsible for 5% of our mental capacity. The other 95% is run by the subconscious mind.

To explain this concept I like using the following metaphor.

Imagine that your conscious mind is a tiny little person. This person is supposed to ride on top of a huge elephant. The elephant is your subconscious mind.

Now, the rider is smart and has the ability to guide the elephant through the path he wants. However, because of the difference in size, the rider doesn’t have the power to control this elephant. If the elephant for some reason gets scared, distracted or impulsive, it take off in the opposite direction, and the rider will not have the strength to prevent it from running away.

This means that to make permanent changes, you will need to learn what motivates your elephant, so your rider can easily guide it through the path you want.

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Fire the “fat” mentality

Let’s talk about body image. How do you feel about your body?

If you are dissatisfied with your appearance, you are not alone. Take a look at the following statistics from Eating Disorders Victoria.

  • In Australians aged 11-24, approximately 28% of males and 35% of females are dissatisfied with their appearance (NEDC, 2010a).
  • The Mission Australia National Youth Survey has revealed that body image has been listed in the top 3 concerns for young Australians from 2009-2015.
  • The Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, found that only 22% of women within a normal healthy weight range reported being happy with their weight. Almost three quarters (74%) desired to weigh less, including 68% of healthy weight and 25% underweight women (Kenardy et al., 2001).
  • Poor body image is associated with an increased probability of engaging in dangerous dietary practices and weight control methods, excessive exercise, substance abuse and unnecessary surgery to alter appearance (NEDC, 2010a).
  • Beyond Stereotypes, the 2005 study commissioned by Dove surveyed 3,300 girls and women between the ages of 15 and 64 in 10 countries. They found that 67% of all women 15 to 64 withdraw from life-engaging activities due to feeling badly about their looks (Etcoff et al., 2006).

Weight loss is the most common fitness goal. In any given time, there are lots of people obsessing about their weight, size or shape. It is the single biggest reason why people start exercise programs.

It is also a very lucrative business. The weight-loss industry makes millions off people’s insecurity. According to Ibis World:

  • Australians are expected to spend $309.9 million on industry weight loss counselling services and related low-calorie foods and dietary supplements in 2018-19.

And because it is so profitable, it doesn’t really want to provide a definite solution. So it keeps feeding people’s insecurities so they can have a customer for life.

Weight-loss industry tells you to worry about your weight, obsess about your food, follow the newest trend, exercise to burn calories and look for a short cut (the easiest and fastest way to lose weight).

And if you have been caught up on this mentality, look at where it has taken you. You are probably feeling defeated, broken, frustrated, confused, and believing that there is something wrong with you.

So it’s time free yourself from this type of thinking, fire that old persona and adopt a new avatar.

The avatar of a healthy and fit person who is committed to feeling great inside and out. For that you will have to become a different person. And to become a different person you will have to think differently. Because if you think differently you will behave differently and if you behave differently then you will have different results.

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Are Starchy Carbs Bad for Me?

First of all, keep in mind that carbohydrates are not bad foods. They do have an important function for the body which is supplying energy to the brain and muscles, especially during exercise. However not all carbs are the same. There are different categories which are:

  • Simple carbs – table sugar, honey, lollies, candies, cakes , pastries
  • Starchy carbs – grains (rice, barley, wheat, rye), beans, potatoes, corn, peas
  • Fibre-rich carbs – veggies and fruits

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Got Questions?

If you have just started a new exercise routine, it is normal to have a million questions. I have answered a few of the most common questions I often get. If you have any other question, please post it on the comments below and I will get it answered for you. Read More

Creating Healthy Habits

The topic of the day is How to build the habits that will bring you closer to your long-term goal.

Why is this important? Because results come from small actions performed consistently over a long period of time. If you transform those little actions into habits, it becomes much easier to incorporate those changes into your life. That’s how the real makeover happens.

What exactly is a habit? Well, a habit is a recurrent pattern of behaviour acquired by frequent repetition. In other words, it is a way of programming an action into your brain. That means that it becomes automatic. You don’t have to think about it. You just do it. And saves you a lot of energy that can go into more important activities.

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