The Mundanity of Excellence

The title of this post isn’t mine – and anyone reading that took UCI professor David Meyer’s course in Sociological Theory (anyone?  ANYONE?) will recognize it from one of the articles we were forced to read as brand-new grad students.

[Quick aside: did you all know I had another life before fitness?  That I was four years into a Ph.D.?  That I made a crucial life-changing decision to become a fitness entrepreneur instead of becoming an academic indentured servant?  Well, it all happened.  And we can talk more about it in a later post.]

The Mundanity of Excellence (heretofore shortened as MOE so I don’t go crazy typing the title over and over) is technically an article about Olympic swimmers (weird, I know).   And if you want to read it, hey, go for it.  But it impacted my life in a way that I never realized, and with a permanence that few other words have – so I wanted to talk about the concept here.

MOE means basically this: more than talent, skill, aptitude, desire, motivation, or any other word we typically associate with the climb to excellence, what matters most is consistency.  Boring, normal, everyday, routine consistency.  And when consistency is practiced – well, consistently – over a long period of time, with the narrowest focus and with the utmost determination, excellence will be the result.

Simple enough, right?

I hear every day from clients that they “could never do what I do,” or that they “aren’t that good” at something, or that “they’re not cut out” to reach a certain goal, whether it be losing weight, running a race, cleaning up their diet, or any host of things that keep people from being their best.  I tell them each and every time that what matters is that they are taking the steps to attempt their goals, and taking those steps consistently – one foot in front of the other – each day.

Think of it this way.  A young athlete with all the natural talent and opportunity in the world could give it up to drugs, gangs, or other temptations and never reach their potential – while a similarly skilled person with far less natural ability but far more focus, over time, can excel above and beyond what “talent” has given them.  Talent is inherent.  Excellence is earned.

This leads me to the focal point of the entire MOE article, which is this (taken directly from the text, Chambliss):

“In the pursuit of excellence, maintaining mundanity is the key psychological challenge.”

In other words, until something becomes mundane to us, until it becomes completely ordinary, intrinsic, effortless, and unremarkable, we’re not ready for excellence.  Until exercise becomes a normal part of living rather than an “event” or a “stressor” or a “problem,” we will not excel in that realm.  Until making clean, healthy food choices is our everyday, not a “diet plan” or a “30 days to thin” or an anomaly, we have not reached excellence.  Excellence is earned when the healthy choice becomes the default choice.

This concept never really hit home with me until I ran my first marathon.  Training for a distance running race is nothing if not boring; you get out of bed each day, check how many miles you have to run, and pound ’em out on the pavement.  For days.  And weeks.  And in fact months, if you’re doing it right.  Every day feels kind of the same, and every day feels kind of like a checkmark on a never-ending to-do list.

But the weird thing is this – by just doing the everyday, mundane action of running the mileage, you are getting better at it.  You are self-disciplining into excellence.  Without doing something that might outwardly seem remarkable or noteworthy to the “outside world,” you are slowly developing excellence in your habits, mindset, and performance – and that’s a valuable thing.

Mundanity keeps me sane because it reminds me that even when I feel like I’m doing the same thing, day in and day out, I am being consistent.  I am working toward excellence.  And as long as I keep pushing ahead, I will get there.

What is your daily “mundane” that moves you toward excellence?  

Spring/Summer 2015 Activewear in Review

We all love NYFW (New York Fashion Week), right? (well, if you don’t, it’s probably about time to click on through this post).  I sure as heck do.  But what I love most in recent years is seeing the way that the activewear trend – whether you want to call it sportif, yoga-to-brunch, or the slew of other adjectives describing the way gym clothes are increasingly becoming mainstream – is absolutely here to stay.

I don’t fancy myself any sort of fashion expert, but I am buying gym clothes almost every week, and I am definitely clued in to what is “hot” among the leading fitness-fashion retailers (think lululemon, Athleta, Lucy, Old Navy, Target C9, Nike, Adidas/Stella McCartney, live love dream, and Under Armour, to name just a few of my faves).  The Athleta show at NYFW was probably the most amazing thing to happen all week, and lots of bloggers are following new fit fashion labels even if they’re not strutting down the runways.

That said, I have strong opinions on some of the Spring 2015 trends in terms of how they apply to fit fashion.

First of all, let’s talk jackets.  I am so sick of sweatshirt hoodies I could just scream – and apparently designers have heard my cries, because all over the runways this year were cool-looking, parka-and-windbreaker inspired pieces (like this one from Rag & Bone) that, when thrown over a pair of textured black running tights and paired with some sweet neon kicks, could really elevate your typical “Starbucks after Spin” look.  The fact that they’re coming out in all shapes and sizes – crops, prints, hooded, asymmetrical seaming – makes the trend even more fun.

How about my girl Dianne Von Furstenberg?  I have loved her stuff since the early days of the office-to-cocktails wrap dress, but what I love about her S/S 2015 is the color-overlaid black and white oversized gingham print.  There is nothing I love more than a “traditional” print all over activewear (one of my favorite lulu prints of all time was their black and white floral, which I basically bought out and wear every single week) – it looks so fresh, modern and unexpected.  Here’s hoping we get us some high-quality spandex gingham looks soon!

This next one might be a little controversial, mainly because it is difficult – nay, damn near impossible – for the fitness clothing industry to get right.  Get what right?  Get white right.  The dearth of white fitness apparel is a practical problem – white is often see-through, which in skintight clothing, just isn’t attractive.  Add to that the fact that gyms are dirty, sweaty places, where even non-white pieces are subject to skids and drips, and I “get it” that white doesn’t seem the most practical activewear hue.  That said, I love it – it looks clean, it matches everything you have (like the million pairs of black capris you have clogging up the gym-clothes drawer), it’s eye-catching amid a sea of black and neon, and it makes even the seemingly-outdated all white gym shoes look cool again. Victoria Beckham and DKNY were doing it all right in their S/S 2015 shows, where mixing textures – sheer, wool, stretchy, loose – made the white even more interesting (and yes, gym-ready).

And finally, one of the best runway-to-real life trends I keep coming back to – particularly in my gym clothing – is menswear.  Crossfit has really started bringing this back to the mainstream fit fashion world through its nearly-cultish emphasis on high socks, Converse, and muscle tees.  But what I like in the S/S shows this year is a true embracing of menswear styling with very feminine cuts.  Matching printed suits (like this awesome giant pastel gingham combo from Oscar de la Renta) could be awesome if interpreted as tank and capri sets, and bomber jackets (which are blissfully pushing through to 2015) in satin and lace are the epitome of sporty-cool to me.

I think there’s definitely room for fitness, fashion, and practicality to meet and I love to see fashion labels pushing the envelope by making sneakers and sweats as much as I love to see fitness brands like lululemon deliberately expanding into streetwear (although we all wear those pants all over town already anyway, right girls?).

Do you keep up with runway fashion?  Which trends would you like to see translated into fitness clothing?

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Strength

I just got home from an inspiring afternoon with two amazing powermoms and friends.  The purpose of our meeting?  Going over our Strengths Finder 2.0 results and discussing some action steps we can take to capitalize on our newly identified strengths.  My friend and business partner Marilyn is an amazing leader (in SF2 terms, a Maximizer) and put together a full training for us to deeply consider and analyze our test results and open a dialogue about this type of strengths testing.

SF2 is a quiz – yes, one you can easily take online for the low low price of $14 – that helps you identify thematic areas of strength in your personality, work ethic, and interpersonal life.  The book is based on the “strengths psychology” of the late Dr. Donald O. Clifton, which can be summarized as this: exploit your strengths; ignore your weaknesses.

At first this seems startling, since most of us (and especially us women) are constantly being told to work on our weaknesses and “tone down” our strengths (particularly if our strengths are traditionally considered masculine, such as Competition or Self-Assurance).  

Strengths psychology, on the other hand, asks us to consider what we are best at – what are our dominant talents – and develop plans to use our strengths to better our daily lives, align our strengths with our passions, and make changes to our lives to allow our strengths to shine and our weaknesses to…well, not matter so much.

While I encourage you to purchase the book and take the quiz yourself (and no, this is not a “sponsored” post – I’m not that famous of a blogger yet, haha), I want to share my five thematic strengths in hopes that it will inspire you to start a dialogue with me about yours – and how they figure into your work, personal, and aspirational life.

So who is ThisFitBlonde?  Apparently I am a/an:

Achiever.  Has a great deal of stamina and likes to work hard.  Gets satisfaction from being busy and productive.

Activator.  Can make things happen and turn thoughts into action; often impatient when decisions aren’t being made.

Learner.  Wants to continuously learn new things, enjoying process over outcome.

Relator.  Enjoys close relationships with others.  Likes to work hard with friends to achieve common goals.

Positivity.  Has an enthusiasm that is contagious.  Is upbeat and can get others excited about what they are doing.

When I took the test and received my results, I immediately thought “Yes!  This is so me!”  The hard part, of course, is thinking about your natural aptitudes and how they relate to career goals – which is something I’m still figuring out.  

Being a trainer allows me to be a Relator on a daily basis; I infuse my work with a great deal of Positivity as well.  I live and die by my to-do lists and am constantly taking steps to Achieve my next goal (even if it’s as simple as getting laundry and grocery shopping done in the same day) and being an Activator through my decisiveness and can-do attitude.  And while I fancy myself a lifelong Learner, doing the Strengths Finder 2.0 made me realize how much I am not quenching my thirst for new knowledge, and this is probably one of the main reasons I started this blog – to learn a new skill, synthesize information, and commit myself to writing each day.

Have you ever taken an aptitude/personality test like this before?  What did it reveal to you about yourself?

Fast & Furious

I have a client whose partner is into intermittent fasting – and now she is, too.  She described their method as fairly simple – on the fasting days, they eat a max 500 calories (!), and on the non-fasting days, they basically eat whatever they want.  The cycle is 1-2 fasting days per “regular” day, and the payoff is supposed to be 2-2.5 pounds lost per week.

That said, I listen to a podcast by a trainer I trust and she is a proponent of the eight-hour diet, which is the concept that you confine all of your daily eating into an eight-hour period – for example, 11am-7pm – and then fast the rest of the day/night (approximately 16 hours, some waking, some asleep).  Apparently this, too, is intermittent fasting.

But wait!  There are a boatload of other ways to fastthe warrior diet (one large meal per day ONLY), 24 and 36-hour cyclical fasting, and even carb-cycling – technically a “fast” from carbohydrate intake on certain days of the week.  All of these fasts have one thing in common: they all rely on a restructuring of your mealtimes to maximize fast loss and minimize hunger.  But do they work?

Well, readers, I truly don’t know – the client I mentioned who fasts has noticed some progress in weight loss, but alongside some undesirable “side effects” like fatigue on fasting days, uncontrollable binges on eating days, and frustration over not being able to eat at certain events because they don’t fall properly on her eating days.  

That said, fellow trainer and model of physical perfection Melissa McAllister swears by the eight-hour diet and credits her rock-hard abs solely to her method of meal timing – she still eats carbs and sugars (albeit in moderate quantities) and is able to maintain a low-teens body fat percentage – no small feat at age 40 with two teenage kids!

So what simple steps should you take away from the complicated concept of intermittent fasting?  

Well, first of all, I recommend to all my clients that they stop eating by 7pm to make sure that they sleep soundly and aren’t stockpiling calories that aren’t burned during rest.  I also think that reducing carbohydrate intake in general is a great way to kick-start weight loss, and if alternating days of carbs is the only way to keep you honest, well, then give it a try.  And finally, per my post about reverse pyramid eating, there is definitely some credence to the idea of starting your day with a big meal and tapering off toward the end of the day – which can be seen as a kind of gradual one-day fasting.

I’m thinking of giving the eight-hour thing a try this week (although with my wakeup call – usually around 5am – I may need to adjust this to nine hours) – and I will make sure to report back in full how I feel!

Have you ever tried intermittent fasting of any kind?  Are you a three-square-meals person or do you like to graze?

Weekend Roundup

Happy Saturday!  Time for the weekend roundup, where I let you guys in on a little bit of what I’ve been jiving on lately.

It is my life dream to have my “gym ponytail” look anything like this.

Want to impress your friends with an appetizer that’s as easy to make as hummus but WAY fancier?  It’s time to make muhammara.

Still debating how to place the rose petals for my wedding aisle; this design is definitely a top contender.

A weekend roundup post of another blogger’s weekend roundup.  Whoa, meta.

Am I too old to wear a Barbie-insignia leotard?  Nah.

If you aren’t eating avocados for dessert, you are truly missing out on one of life’s great (healthy) pleasures.

I plan on having kids one day.  I will never, ever bestow upon them this horrible and idiotic fate.

What have you been checking out online lately?  Any great reads or tips?

The Top Ten Naps You Aren’t Taking

I just woke up from a 30-minute nap.  I feel fantastic.

But when I casually mention to friends and acquaintances that I’m a (self-proclaimed) champion napper, I often get this response: “I would nap, but whenever I wake up I feel groggier than before I napped.”

My response?

Maybe you’re doing it wrong.

I think naps are a near-necessary part of life, somewhat in the same category as bungee shoelaces, Otter boxes, and pre-peeled hard boiled eggs.  If you get a regular 7-8 hours of sleep per night without fail and have a fairly sedentary day job, well, good for you – you might not need a nap.  

But if you are like me – burning the candle at both ends and working a job that requires you to be on your feet and moving from dawn to dusk – then you darn well could use some additional help.  And I have some suggestions.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to napping, just like there’s no single solution for exercise or weight loss.  You have to try different things until something works – which is why I present to you my greatest hits list on napping:

10) The Psuedo-Sleep.  This is for those times when you just did NOT get enough sleep last night (I’m talking 4-5 hours) and you are dead exhausted.  This also works best for when you actually have time to nap – perhaps a weekend? – and can lay it down for a couple of hours.  I don’t recommend letting it go past 3 hours, but my general rule is this: take 7 hours and subtract the amount of sleep you actually got last night.  That’s how long you should pseudo-sleep.

9) The Power Hour.  Got an hour for lunch?  You may have time for an eat n’ sleep duo – use a half hour to eat a healthy, light meal, then take the other half hour to snooze it up.  Avoid trying to do this after a heavy meal – despite feeling more sluggish – because you may get more than you bargained for in terms of the sleep quality.

8) The Doze.  Ok, so this isn’t technically a nap – those of us who do yoga might call this the “extended savasana.”  The basic idea behind The Doze is to lie down on your back somewhere flat, quiet, and calm (this can be a yoga mat in your office!) and focus on closing your eyes, relaxing the muscles of your body from head to toe, and inhaling and exhaling your breath deeply and slowly for just 10 minutes (set a timer).  Simply focusing on something non-stressful for 10 minutes can feel like a spa day in the middle of chaos – try it!

7) The Double Doze.  Should you have the glorious “ideal nap duration” of 20 minutes, start with The Doze above, but let yourself drift off into sleep after about 5-10 deep breaths.  Ahhhh, that’s better.

6) The Sandwich.  Sometimes I have odd breaks in my schedule – a half hour before a client; a half hour after.  This is when I’ll split my nap time into two – take a quickie before I head to work, then take another little one afterward.  Ideally each nap only lasts 20 minutes, but the resultant rest feels like you’ve gotten a full hour – plus you’ve actually done something productive in between!

5) The Midnight Special.  Perfected in college, this nap is also known as the “pregame” – when 8pm rolls around and you’re expected to go out for the night, but instead you feel like throwing on your jammies and calling it a night – pound down a Midnight Special – typically a 5-hour Energy shot followed by a 20-30 minute doze.  Is it healthy for regular use?  Of course not.  But if you’ve got a special occasion to buck up for and you’re just not in the mood, this can change your game.

4) The Car Nap.  Yeah, you heard what I said.  So you work a day job and can’t steal home to the glory of your own bed?  Hop down to your vehicle!  I actually keep a pillow in my trunk for car naps because they are a vital part of a long-commuting day – find yourself a shady spot in the far reaches of a parking garage or lot and hunker down in your own backseat.  Pro tip: make sure to crack a window to avoid waking up in a pool of your own sweat.

3) The Postrun.  I often get a massive wave of fatigue after finishing a long run, bike ride, or hot yoga session – and I know it’s only because of the immediate exertion and not an all-day thing.  That said, it can be hard to power through that initial feeling of tiredness – so I hop in the shower, get clean, and fall into bed for a 20-25 minute respite while my wet hair dries (and sometimes with a pore-cleaning face mask on as well!).  Talk about beauty rest!

2) The Snuggler.  This one gets a high ranking on my list because it does a body good – in more ways than one.  Sometimes (i.e. all the time) I wake up earlier than my partner, so I do my regular morning tasks (take clients, go running, bathe, etc.) and come home when he is still sleeping.  When this happens, I’ll hop into bed and spoon it up for a short while – usually 10-20 minutes – just to sync up my breathing with his and get some high-quality cuddle time.  Even though I may not actually fall asleep, this often works to make me feel calm and relaxed in the same way an actual nap would do.

1) The Coffee Nap.  IMO, the king of naps – this is the one where you have a cup (or…two) of coffee (non-drinkers try some green tea!), then immediately hit the sack for 20-30 minutes.  As you rest, the caffeine kicks in, and when your alarm goes off – BOOM!  You shoot out of bed like a firecracker on the Fourth.  Don’t believe me?  Maybe you don’t brew your coffee strong enough. 😉  

Are you a napper or a night-only sleeper?  What’s your preferred napping style – even if it isn’t listed here?

 

Eat Like An Egyptian

A couple of posts ago I covered the 80/10/10 theory – the idea that what you eat determines 80% of your body composition.  Even longer ago I wrote a little ditty about “clean eating” and what exactly a healthy diet should look like.  I also gave you a few words about using pyramid training for exercising with weights.  This post takes a little bit from all three – squishes ’em all together – and I present to you:

The reverse pyramid theory!

Ok, so I swear this blog isn’t going to turn into a series of hackneyed one-off “theories” of health and wellness (although I can’t guarantee there won’t be more down the line) – but this is one I really stand by when it comes to advising clients on nutrition.

The basic idea is summarized in an old adage I heard a while back – “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”  I know lots of people that skip breakfast, get hungry and eat junk food-y snacks all day, and then come home starving and pound down a giant dinner.  Sound at all familiar?

How about this one – not skipping breakfast entirely, but having something full of empty carbs like a donut or bagel, then pigging out on lunch after those carbs quickly fade into ravenousness, not feeling hungry enough to eat a “full” dinner at a normal time, and then rushing to the fridge way later than you should and taking down some late-night eats.  Close to home?

Even if you’re a healthy eater, the way our social lives work, there are few opportunities to have a big breakfast but lots to have a big happy hour/dinner/nighttime meal – and I suggest changing that up entirely.  I once read a study where the test subjects ate chocolate cake for breakfast (versus the control who had a small, low-carb breakfast) and were able to lose 15 more pounds over time than the controls.  

Chocolate cake, people! 

See, your metabolism – particularly the sugar-burning metabolism – is in full gear in the morning, so you’re able to more effectively burn off carbohydrates that are eaten earlier in the day (plus you have more time).  When you overindulge late at night, the calories and carbs just sit there – you’re basically done being active for the day – and are absorbed into fat stores.

Furthermore, when you eat the most when your metabolism is moving its fastest, then taper down throughout the day, you are setting up a pattern of eating that maximizes your body’s natural functions – meaning you aren’t fighting your body with your diet, you’re emphasizing its best processes – and in turn, losing weight naturally.

Waking up hungry is the natural state of your body – you should be truly “breaking” a “fast” at breakfast, not just putting more food on top of the food you ate at 11pm.  Allow your body time to digest after (a small) dinner, reduce or eliminate carbs in your last meal of the day, and then wake up raring to go – and fuel your body – with a big breakfast (and yes, I mean big – I myself usually have a green juice, banana with peanut butter, and egg whites with spinach on a whole wheat pita).

I challenge each of you guys to try the reverse pyramid for a week – wake up earlier if you have to make adjustments to how you eat breakfast, have a perfectly sensible lunch (think big salad and soup, or a sandwich and fruit), and keep dinner down to protein and vegetables.  I bet you’ll find a big change in energy, sleep quality, and yes – weight!

What’s your favorite meal of the day?  Does your current diet look like a pyramid, square, or reverse pyramid?

 

Things I Do To Make Running More Enjoyable

Secret’s out: I love running.  Morbid as it sounds, if I found out I was going to die tomorrow, I would still carve out an hour of my precious last twenty-four to get a run in.  It is truly something I enjoy and plan to do my whole life long, including on such important events as my bachelorette party (Ragnar Relay Napa Valley, anyone?), my wedding day (get ready, girls!) and throughout my (future) pregnancy.

That said, I am often asked from either non-runners or exercisers who hate running how I do it – how I muster up the desire and passion to run day in and day out, year after year.  I admit there are days that it’s hard and days that it’s blissful, and that they don’t always happen in even proportion.  I’ve cried out on the road before, and I’ve had days where I feel like I could run forever.  But there are certain things in my running life that are constant, and I want to share those things with you guys.

First of all, consider training for an event.  Whether or not you actually do the event (I have friends that “train” for half marathons without ever registering for an event, just to see if they can train up to the distance) is irrelevant; what is important here is that you find a training plan, stick to the training plan, and test yourself to try a new challenge.  Telling yourself “I’m just gonna go out and run this week” is so much less effective than saying “I’m going to run three times this week, for three to five miles apiece, at a certain pace, in order to complete a half marathon 12 weeks from now.” 

That said, give yourself some wiggle room.  If your training plan calls for a 3, 5, and 7 mile run, but you can only run twice that week – run twice.  Don’t start skipping multiple runs because you can’t follow the plan to the letter, and realize that walking can be a really great tool for runners – if it gets you the mileage on your feet, it’s OK to walk sometimes.  Not every run is going to be life-changing – sometimes you just get out there, push through the miles, and pat yourself on the back.

Once you’re in a training cycle, you might start to get overuse injuries – I’m a plantar fasciitis sufferer, and I have started getting some nagging hip pain in my “old” age.  That said, take the time to address chronic issues before they worsen.  I’ve seen people let plantar fasciitis into a full-on limp.  There are runners younger than me that can barely get through a 5K because their ITBS is so bad.  If you want the pleasure of running, you must do your best to manage the pain – which means stretching, yoga, massage, epsom salts baths, ice baths, and adequate sleep are musts.  Non-negotiable.  Do them.

Once you’ve got the motivation, structure, and stretching stuff down, there’s only one more thing I recommend to would-be runners – and that’s planning your nutrition.  The cold, hard truth is that runners need carbs – but not to excess, and certainly not on non-running days.  I have clients that never thought about what they ate in relation to their running, and found that mid-run fatigue could be easily cured with the simple addition of a banana an hour before the run, or that bowel issues were a thing of the past when combined with eliminating dairy prior to the run.

Think about what you are eating and when – are you a morning runner?  You may not need to eat before a run of 30 minutes or less, but you do need to take down some carbs (30-40g, like a slice of bread with peanut butter and 1/2 banana) for a run of 45-75 minutes.  Are you a midday runner?  Make sure to have a snack 2 hours before the run and then use your protein-packed lunch meal to refuel post-run.  Are you a night runner?  Keep lunch light and have a carb snack 2 hours before the run, then have a protein-and-vegetable dinner within 30 minutes of returning home – and make sure to finish the run 2 hours before bedtime so that you’re not too amped to sleep.

I’m not saying everyone in the world is going to love running, but I contend that running is a natural human movement – and deep inside, all of us can awaken at least some basic tolerance for running if not a full-on passion for it.  

Do you love – or hate – running?  What do you do to make running fun/peaceful/meaningful to you?  

The 80/10/10 Theory

When a client comes to me wanting to lose weight, the first thing I tell him or her is this:

If you are not willing to change your diet, you will not lose weight.

I find that many clients want to play a game where they try to “work off” whatever sins they commit in their diets (carbs, sugar, unhealthy fat, alcohol, etc.) using exercise – and I will be the first to tell you that it’s a losing proposition.  It doesn’t matter what we do together in the gym – if you are pigging out, your body won’t respond effectively to training.

Sure, you can eat a 300-calorie chocolate chip cookie and run on the treadmill for 30 minutes to “negate” the calories consumed (and that’s assuming you’re burning 10 calories per minute running, which also assumes you’re about 140 pounds and running a minimum 10-minute mile).  The problem is that you can only burn calories – you can’t control how your body responds to carbohydrates, sharp blood sugar spikes, fake chemicals and sweeteners, and/or dairy sugars.

The damage that junk food does to your body is more than skin deep – what you choose to eat is not burned equally as fuel, and as the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out.  You can’t out-train a poor diet – so that’s why I advocate the 80/10/10 theory.  

The basic theory is this: 80% of your body composition depends on what you eat, 10% on how you exercise, and 10% on your genetics.  There is only 10% of that which is outside your control; everything else is completely dependent on the food and exercise choices you make – and are fully in control of making.  Additionally it emphasizes the primacy of diet in the body comp equation – you won’t get lean if you are eating unclean.

I (and trainers like me) am here to help you maximize effectiveness in the gym – but I typically only spend one measly hour per week with a given client, but there are 167 other hours in said week that the client has to make their own smart choices.  Herein lies the problem.  Until you are committed to clean eating every hour out of every week, you are not actually “trying” to lose weight – you are simply running circles around the idea of losing weight, and wondering why you never get there.

Consider that you have control over 90% of the way your body looks and feels – and consider also that it takes only small (cumulative) choices to make that 90% as strong, healthy and happy as possible.  Get enough sleep tonight so you aren’t hungry all day tomorrow (did you know that fatigue can cause false hunger?). Prepare a healthy lunch tonight so you aren’t stuck buying unhealthy food at work tomorrow.  Drink 100 ounces of water throughout the day to make sure your appetite is actual hunger and not thirst.  Take time to focus on your eating habits before you kill yourself for hours in the gym – and I promise your waistline will thank you.

What diet changes have YOU made that have impacted your health, weight, or wellness?