We Lose Motivation Too

“Cause sometimes you just feel tired, feel weak
And when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up
But you gotta search within you
And gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you
And get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face, and collapse”
Eminem “Till I Collapse”

That song was always the last thing I listened to before my races when I used to compete in track.  It always seemed to provide that little boost in motivation, that little kick in the butt before I hit the starting line.  But motivation is a funny thing.  It can start out like an intense fire blazing, and then all of the sudden it’s gone.  It’s one of those finite resources that we try to rely on too much.  In the case of my race, it worked as my events were no more than 55 seconds, 60 if I was really slow that day.  Motivation for a goal that is more long term is trickier.

When we start doing something, when we are striving for a particular goal, our enthusiasm and optimism are really high.  But eventually there are hardships, bumps in the road, and one day, you just wake up completely unmotivated.  Has this happened to you?  I know it’s happened to me.

Sometimes its related to not seeing the results you want, or the fruits of your labor.  Other times it just fizzles out for no rhyme or reason.  You would think that as a trainer, I’d be motivated for my workouts all the time.  But I am human, and motivation does fizzle out when it comes to doing my own workouts.

The question on your mind right now is “How do I get motivated again?”

What you need to realize is motivation is a finite resource, one that will always run out eventually. So it’s futile to rely on that all the time. What you need to practice is persistence and find that inner drive to do the things you want to do and achieve what you want to achieve.

Fitspiration

Social media is filled with so much fitspiration that it can make you sick.  They make you think everyone but you is constantly motivated to workout and eat right.  That’s just not the case.  When you start to lose that motivation to exercise, each meme can make you feel like a lazy shit.  There was a solid month where I barely worked out at all.  I did the minimum amount of work possible.  That could have meant just laying on the ground with a foam roller, doing some mobility work, or just taking what my body gave me that day.  Some days it was 100% nothing.

What I didn’t worry about was how much I wasn’t doing, or how lazy I was being, or how out of shape I’d get.  I just let the moment be, realizing that this lack of motivation happens from time to time, and sometimes your body and mind need a rest.

Take what your body gives you and roll with it.  Go ham when you feel awesome and 100%.  Back off when you feel like crap.


So You’re Saying You Want to Squat

The squat is one of our fundamental movement patterns that we incorporate into not only our workouts, but every day life as well.  However, there is this preconceived notion that performing squats are bad for the knees, especially if it happens to go beyond 90 degrees or past parallel.  Then faces melt and minds get blown.

How many times do you squat in a given day?  In and out of chairs, on and off the toilet, maybe sitting to pick something off the floor.  And not once was the thought: “oh I shouldn’t do this, it’s gonna hurt my knees.”  Countless times I’ve heard the following phrase: “I can’t squat because of my knees.”  And then I die a little inside because I just don’t believe that to be true.  It’s just a matter of finding the positioning and the right variation that will make you successful.

There are numerous factors that can go into squatting, from tense muscles, to structural issues, to just not having the necessary motor plan to actually do it.  Some people have no idea how to actually do the movement, so learning the how could be the very first step. In that case the videos and exercises that follow will provide tremendous benefit.

Squat

Regress to Progress

Mastering these regressions in order to progress can develop the movement pattern so that we can move onto different loading strategies in the future.  If your squat looks like one of those wacky inflatable guys outside car dealerships, or a new born giraffe walking for the first time, then you’re going to see benefits to these.

*Fair warning, the videos ahead provide a lot of man legging action*

**Disclaimer: There is NO perfect form.  From narrow to wide stance, to feet turned out or straight.  We are all built differently, so find what works for you.**

Quadruped Rocking

A good looking squat requires a good deal of mobility at the ankle, so by setting ourselves up in a quadruped position we already place the ankle in an optimal position at the ankle.  The rock-back allows us to see if there are any major breakdowns in the movement, from the ankles, on up through the core.

In the video, you can see that I keep a neutral spine throughout the rocking.  If something went a little wonky there, we might work on say our core stability.  But this is a safe place to start building your squat up as you avoid some of the hip & knee issues when vertically loaded. The quadruped position also allows you to get an idea of how deep into a squat you’ll actually be able to go.

Once you control the rockback, try elevating the knees and repeat the drill.  All of the sudden you find yourself squatting, without ya know, squatting.

Assisted Squat

After learning our pattern without having to deal with the likes of gravity (freakin Newton), we can move towards a supported squat.  Using a bar or a TRX, we can support some of our bodyweight and make it easier to get into the squat position.  This solves a few issues that we may see in the squat.  By holding onto the bar, there is a reduction in the amount of load the body needs to support, which can be great for those coming off a lower body injury so it can be a great exercise to reintroduce the squat pattern.

Additionally, the assisted squat can manage the control issues many have with the squat, specifically in that decent portion.  Once you’re able to find the stability at the bottom, you can let go and stand up.

Counterbalance Squat

Our last regression actually puts some weight in our hands, however not necessarily equal to a loaded squat, but getting closer.  One common fault that can happen during the squat is the knees lead the movement.  By adding in the plate, we’re provided with a counterbalance. which encourages us to push our hips/butt back.  The plate can also help create a little core tension which will allow us to maintain a more upright position, rather than folding like a beach chair.

 

Squatting doesn’t have to be with a barbell as most typically imagine.  There are exercises that can help you build a stronger, pain free squat pattern.  You just have to practice them.

Try ’em out.


Set Better Goals

While listening to The Fit Cast live from Perform Better in Rhode Island, Steve Ledbetter and Pete Dupuis made a point that had me thinking back to what I just learned through my most recent audio book.  They pointed out that, we, as humans suck at setting goals.  Congruently, this point was also made in “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath.  And it’s not isolated to just fitness or health.  It’s with everything that you might set a goal for.  We all do it.

As I make my way through Switch, one thing that’s been brought up is the concept of SMART goals. This is a popular method to setting goals because its pretty straight forward, its clear and gets to the point.  However, this concept misses the mark when it comes to change.  The focus is too much on outcome rather than the process.  Focus on small improvements.  A goal of “I want to lose weight,” has no process to it.  Counter that with “I want to learn how to develop healthier habits,” gives behaviors to follow through on.

Change is what we’re seeking, right?  We want to change our bodies, our lifestyle, our health.  What SMART goals lack is an emotional response.  To create change, we want to set up a postcard for ourselves, some sort of picture of the near-term future that shows what is possible.  By pointing to a destination that we want, we can apply our strengths to figure out how to get there, instead of over analyzing everything.

People who change have a clear direction, ample motivation and a supportive environment.

So what’s your postcard look like?  If you sent yourself a postcard six months, nine months from now, talking about yourself, what would it look like?

Postcard

The One Diet to Rule Them All

 

Despite what everyone else says, there is one diet that is better than all the rest of them.  This may cause some controversy, but someone has to take a stand.  You ready?  I’ll let you in on the biggest secret in nutrition.

The best diet is…..

The One That Works For You 

Shocked

I know, shocking, isn’t it.  But it is the truth.  If you’re unable to consistently adhere to your diet plan of choice, maybe it’s not the one for you.  Maybe it’s too restrictive.

What Diet Should I Do?

You have your pick of just about anything, and it can get very confusing.  There’s IIFYM, Paleo, Low Fat, Ketogenic, Low Carb, Intermittent Fasting, etc.  The list goes on and on.  If you did a quick Google search, you’d get pages and pages of results.  And I’d be willing to bet anything that by page 3 you’d give up searching.  Some offer the promise of losing “x” amount of pounds, or detoxing toxins (whatever that means), or go on to say “y” nutrient is the devil and you’re forbidden to eat it.

the devil

So what diet should you actually do?  Well….that depends on a myriad of factors, most important among them is whether or not you can confidently stick to your chosen diet.  If you don’t think you can stick with it, then it might be a bad idea for you.

When we pick a program to follow, we usually see results pretty quickly, but what happens?  We’re unable to keep up with the strict guidelines certain diets require, and we fall off the wagon.  So the first thing we can do is avoid program hopping.

The Truth

All the programs and books you see or read are garbage…if you can’t sustain them on a daily basis.  There is no one best diet out there.  The truth of the matter is, the best diet out there is the one that works for you, and that you can sustain without losing your mind.

The core of your nutritional philosophy should come down to forming healthier habits, not necessarily following a set of “eat this, not that” rules. Try to follow these recommendation to focus on a few important points rather than go through a whole nutritional overhaul.

  • Eat whole, real foods filled with vitamins & minerals
  • Focus on the quality of your food
  • Be more aware of what you’re eating and how you feel
  • Cut down on processed foods
  • Drink more water**

**this is a biggie.  Drinking more water will help you feel fuller and can curb you from overeating.

There are certainly more habits that you can develop depending on where you are starting from, and we go into more depth as far as that is concerned in our nutritional programs, but if you can master those basics, then you’ll no longer need to jump from diet book to diet book.

In the end, the best diet out there is the one that works for you, that you see sustainable success with, and that you can maintain without feeling deprived or restricted.  Try to avoid going for the short term fix, because if you don’t develop those healthier habits, if you don’t learn anything, if you don’t get in tune with what your body wants, you’ll be bouncing around for a long time.


Are You Ready for Summer?

SummerWe’re about a week away from summer and the focus turns to the beach and getting a killer tan.  But for some its about how you want to look for “beach season.” We all want to be able to rock that bathing suit this summer and look awesome.  What are you doing right now to get there?  What steps are you taking?  Do you have a plan?

Follow some of these tips and you’ll be on your way.

Nutrition

In order to see success in the gym, you need to start at home.  You can’t out train a bad diet.  So what it all boils down to when it comes to altering one’s body composition, in terms of fat loss, is a sound nutrition plan.  Fail to plan, plan to fail kind of thing.  Lack of planning leads to reaching for convenience which leads to poor nutritional choices.  Having a great plan is built on developing healthier habits.

Here are some key things to ask yourself:

 Are you eating healthy fats?                      

Are you eating plenty of vegetables?

Are you eating enough protein?                 

Are you drinking enough water?

Fat is important for hormone production, a healthy immune system, and transport of many vitamins, namely A, D, E, & K.

Protein is filling, improves muscle mass, aids in muscle repair from your training, & stimulates your metabolism.

Vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals as well as a source of carbohydrates and fiber. So fill up on those vegetables.

Lastly, drink plenty of water.  Staying hydrated creates an ideal environment for your body to exercise and lose weight.

Training

When it comes to training, think about developing movement patterns and doing full body movements.  More squatting, lunging, climbing, crawling, pushing, pulling, and rotational exercises.  Use your time wisely in the gym.  The more you move, the more calories you’ll burn, the better your results.

Try to follow a training program that builds up itself and allows you to progress each session.  Having a purpose and a plan to each training session sets you up to perform better each and every time in the gym, making you stronger, fitter, and more awesome.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to regress or take a step back at times if you are unable to do something.  Regress now, so that you can progress later.  Your training doesn’t have to be 110% intensity all the time.  Sometimes it pays to take a step back, regress, do more recovery work like foam rolling and stretching to set yourself up for the long run.  You just might see better results that way.

 

Supplements

There are times where taking a vitamin supplement or an Omega-3 supplement is necessary to fix any deficiencies you may have.  However I would seek out a doctor’s or a nutritionist’s advice on that subject.

Sounds like a lot to keep track of and follow, but it’ll be worth it in the end, and changing little habits now will go a long way towards maintaining a healthier, happier lifestyle.   In the end, isn’t that what we’re all looking for?

Nutrition + Exercise + Recovery = Awesomeness

Remember plan ahead for success later.  Hopefully these tips help set you up for success in the kitchen and in the gym.