Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Degrees of Focus...

UFE MVP Quest pictures courtesy of Chris Linton. A higher level of focus is required to take my physique beyond this previous best.
I have 5 lbs to lose in 5 days... and that requires a significant degree of focus.

132 today... 3 more days and 3 more pounds.

The degree of focus required to make transformations (of any kind) is significant... well beyond what most would expect.

Those that are "doing all the right things" and not making progress are simply to at that degree of focus required.

Sharpen your view.

Remove distractions.

The goal should be the main focus and everything else just swirls around it in the background. The goal is everything. It is on your mind at all time. It is felt constantly. It is ever present within and radiating out.

It is like a bowl of warm soup and a warm blanket and a wave of sound all at the same time. All around and all within - ever present.

You never lose your focus. Not for a moment or it is lost to you and you to it.

Where is your focus and how strong and constant is it?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Your Wake-Up Call

This was originally written for and pulled out of the archives. Hell, I think I even inspired myself to get out of my chair and do some burpees or something.

"Nothing worth gaining was ever gained without effort." (Theodore Roosevelt)

Want to know how to get the most out of yourself with this coaching program? Here's how:

No Lying to Yourself or Others - this is your goal, your life, your health and your body. So by lying, cheating or distorting reality, you only cheat yourself.

It's all about YOU - Yes, you have amazing support systems in place right here on PN and some around you via friends and family etc... but when all is said and done, your ONLY true ally in this Lean Eating Program is YOU. You HAVE to be able to do this alone if everyone else turns on you. Accept that now and you WILL do this and emerge on the other side a completely different person.

NO EXCUSES!!! - As a strength coach, I hear them every day and they make me sick to my stomach. If you want more info on this, go to my Team Blog and read "What Rationalizations Hold You Back?"

Perception is Reality - You need to set your mind up for this. Yes, prepare your cupboards, your fridge, your schedule, your equipment, your spouse, friends and family BUT if you do not FIRST prepare yourself mentally, you will come to a screeching halt before you even get off the runway. Put it in your mind, BELIEVE it and take steps each minute, each hour, each day, consistently, until you complete the goal.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others - This is about YOU becoming YOUR personal best. Envision where you are now, where you want to be and what you REALISTICALLY can and will achieve. If you have 25" thighs and you are 20% body fat, you are likely not going to have 17" thighs at 15% body fat. You need to understand your body type and accept your shape. Build YOUR best body and become the best YOU can be. This is very important to achieve peace with yourself. Otherwise you will never be happy with your body.

JUST DO IT - I know this has been used and abused but it's just so fitting. When you find yourself struggling mentally with something, just stop and take action. Our brains can be our biggest alley or worse enemy. If you find the little red devil is winning, just STOP and DO. When you want to eat a chocolate cake or go out for a night with the boys/girls, or be lazy and watch some reality TV show rather than workout - JUST GET OFF YOUR BUTT and go do something. Either prepare a PN perfect meal or go out and do some interval training. DOING will help when your mind is busy THINKING negatively or throwing excuses or rationalizations at you.

Train 'til you Want to Puke - Good old fashion hard work is a cure-all. Have no motivation to train? Follow Tip #6 followed immediately by Tip #7. That will take care of it. Want to eat a bag of Doritos, go into the garage, basement or attic and find the heaviest thing you can (bag of sand, kitty litter, old air conditioner, concrete block) and either lift it and carry it up and down your stairs or up and down your road/driveway until you want to die. If it is too heavy to carry, push it or pull it OR dump it in the middle of the room or grass and jump over it, run around it... I don't care but I want your neighbours to consider calling the police or mental health ward because they think they have lost your mind.

MOST IMPORTANT - Stop Being Lazy! Everyone is lazy - EVERYONE. Everyone trains at a level between 20 and 80% of what they are capable of. If you are a 20%'er... go for 50%. If you are an 80%'er (the ones that THINK they are crazy, hard training nut bars in the gym and people are afraid of you... there is STILL more in you!), go for 90-100%.

It's human nature to find the road most traveled. As a survival mechanism, we're designed to find the easiest, least taxing way to do everything.
However, when it comes to the reasons why people fail to attain their goals, not working hard enough ranks high on the list. It's not their fault; truly, they think they're working very hard. But it's much like knowledge — you only know what you know. You often come to the realization of your knowledge, or more specifically your lack thereof, by getting out of your little knowledge circle and learning more.

The same is true for our perception of hard work. Your definition of hard work is based on how hard you've worked to date. Until someone takes you out of your comfort zone and expands what you consider hard work, only then do you realize that you were previously quite lazy. It's all relative.

So the solution is to strive to find people who will kick your ass and redefine hard work. Once you find yourself plateauing, bored, and wondering if you're working hard enough, go find a quality, hardcore training professional to bring you to the next level.

For now, take the hard training questionnaire:

1. When was the last time you cried for Mommy while training?
2. When was the last time you had to crawl on the floor or lay in the fetal position after a set or workout?
3. When was the last time you had an anxiety attack while en route to train?
4. When was the last time you thought you may vomit during or after a training session?
5. When was the last time you couldn't or didn't want to speak or look at anyone while training?
6. When was the last time you couldn't physically form words to speak while training?
7. When was the last time you were actually afraid of the person training you or questioned their mental sanity?
8. When was the last time you had a "fight or flight" response while training?
9. When was the last time you said "I'm the laziest person on the planet" after a training session?
10. When was the last time you told someone how hard you worked in the gym? (Hint: If you find yourself having to talk about it, you didn't really work that hard. Those that work hard, truly hard, don't talk about it. It's like style — if you have to talk about your style, you don't have it.)

If you were readily able to recall instances to the above questions, then you fall into the "Hard Training" category. If you couldn't conjure up any immediate images to those questions, then you fall into the "Lazy Ass" category.

The reason you're not attaining your goals isn't your hormones, blood type, genetics, or crappy program. It's that you have forgotten that you're human and humans are inherently lazy. Now, go do some real work!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tips for Cardio Haters

Question from a Lean Eating Participant (, where I am a Lean Eating Coach.

I HATE cardio!!

Anyone else?


I...have a(IRL) trainer, and he's making me do 30min 'challenging,' cardio after my training sessions...I HATE IT, LOL!! if the stupid cardio doesn't do it, then what gives?! I've probably done every program imaginable..

I know nutrition is key, but I've always felt it was the exercise that is holding me back..kind of the opposite of most.. The funny thing is that I just got my PT cert in NOV, and I really really want to start work this I'll be 30 This is my year, damn it!! I just don't want to fail...

Thanks for letting me get that out!

__________________________________________________ _______

LOVE what you HATE!
I hate cardio too... but often the thought of it is more repulsive than doing it.

Here's how I get my cardio in... which is not often, because I have found ways around my lack of love for cardio. But here are my tactics.

1) Love what you hate... when I do take on something I do not like (like broccoli, cardio, early morning or late night workouts...) I take them with avengance. I am determined to NOT let my hate of something beat me and I beat it. Like bodybuilding.... hated it so I did it and I am CRUSHING IT ... and now loving it. Broccoli... yuck! So I found recipes and ways to prepare it so I love it and now I can do it steamed, plain and say "yum, this tastes sweet now".

2) Train SO hard that you feel compelled to do PW cardio. Last night my training was so intense all I wanted to do was drag my ass to the treadmill and walk on it. I needed to. And it felt good and necessary. I am aiming for that from here on in during my contest prep... If I am not mindlessly dragging my ass to do cardio after I train, I did not do my training justice.

3) Do HIIT... I do not consider HIIT "carido" in my mind. It is hard core training. It is meant to be HIGH INTENSITY bursts followed by low low intensity recovery. Just like my weight training! So I hate it less.

I hope my pathetic means of getting around my own hate of cardio, help you on your journey.

Any others have tidbits to share, because we BOTH would benefit here .

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wow... Mad Dog Dies in Rehab

The brother I was referring to in yesterday's post as broken and suffering from severe BS, died in rehab in California.

The movie shows him at the end moving there to pursue his dream (his delusion) of being a WWE personality. His father predicted his demise in the movie. I feel for his wife and family.

Did steroids do this or were steroids simply one of the many symptoms of his illness?


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Arnold Inspires Authenticity...

An occasional dose of Arnold does wonders for my motivation and drive.

Last night we watched the documentary "Bigger, Stronger, Faster" with some friends and even thought it was not meant to be motivational or inspiring, I found inspiration once again in the snippets of Arnold in there. He managed still to come out clean. He always does. He is such a great representation of my overall philosophy "aspire. act. achieve." it is not that simple and yet it is. Arnold has had many lucky breaks along the way and aligned with the right people at the right time, but he has this "can do" attitude that is so strong.

What I felt from Arnold, that I did not necessarily get from others highlighted in this movie, was a sense of authenticity.

The theme of authenticity was evident to me through the main character of this movie also - the 3 brothers. The narrator / producer of the movie was one brother. The steroid discussion was played out through his experiences (non steroid user) and his brothers' experiences (the steroid users).

Both of his brothers were admitted steroid users and one seemed to represent the hard core powerlifting scene and the other the WWE / bodybuilding "gym rat" segment of the population. One seemed to be more authentic than the other in that he has pretty much accepted that steroids are a part of his life and likely always will be. Had a very "shrug it off / whatever" attitude about it. The other brother was clearly a mess and living a delusion. He was for sure in BS-land.

Authenticity, to me, one of the most important characteristics. The people I am most drawn to and respect the most, both personally and professionally, are authentic - they seem to know themselves, are open to learning more about themselves. They are real.

On a deeper level, we all want authenticity... from our partners, our family, our friends, consumers and products, our co-workers, our music and movies, our community (here and where you live) and society as a whole.

I think it is important to differentiate between a bullshitter and a liar. We all lie. We know when we lie. We make a decision to lie and are willing to suffer the consequences. A bullshitter lives a false reality and tries to convince themselves they are something they are not. A bullshitter is a broken person because they are not true to themselves. A bullshitter lies to themselves first and foremost and then, as an extension of that, they lie to everyone else.

I have been a liar, a bullshiter, a lying bullshitter and a bullshitting liar. But I feel that I have found authenticity in myself.


Because it makes me healthier, stronger and happier - all the things I strive for in my life... for myself and my husband, children, family, friends and clients.

Whatever your daemons or deepest fears, bullshitting yourself about them doesn't make anything better. And it actually makes it worse in the long run.

So once again, Arnold, thanks for a memorable and though provoking evening.

I look forward to our "big night" soon. I can't speak for Arnold, but I will be keeping it real.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Perception is Reality

I just finished doing the Human Perception Test involving the students passing the basketball. And although I found it interesting, it just confirmed what I have come to realize in working with people towards body transformation goals - Our perception IS reality.

My goal with my clients first and foremost is to change perceptions and change the way the way they see themselves and perceive things.

Here is an example...

Some clients perceive that they are fat even if others see them as "looking good". Some cleints perceive that they are huge, like a football player or a male bodybuilder when others perceive them as looking fit and toned.

It goes beyond that. This is where it gets even trickier for me as their coach or trainer.

Some people perceive that my protocols or recommendations will not work on them or on anyone (for a variety of preconceived beliefs or due to their perception distortions) even if they have worked for others, there is research to validate that it should work or it makes logical sense when explained how it will work.

Once a belief is set, it is hard to shake. So we have preset beliefs and we have perception distortions. This is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome in order to get results.

Excuses and rationalizations are our way around of avoiding confrontation with our preset beliefs and distorted perceptions. They may sound like this:

I come from a family of hippy women, and it is just my genetics
. (This is a preset belieft and if it is strong enough the brain will lead the body... thus, even with the right protocols in place to target lower body fat, the body follows the brain).

I have tried to eat this way before and I got no results (they likely got results, but their brain did not SEE the difference because they expected it not to work.)

I don't build muscle easily (men).

I don't want to look like The Incredible Hulk (women).

So, you need to understand this is YOUR limitation you are setting. I can only get as much results as your brain will allow. As part of my approach, I am to change perceptions and make you confront your preset beliefs, but personality types play a big role here too. If a client is an inflexible personality type, with high skepticims but wants results NOW (high urgency factor), this makes for a difficult case study when combined with many preset beliefs and distorted perceptions.

In the end however, each person's perception IS their reality and my perceptions will differ from theirs. I need to see the client as they see themselves and work within that.

How can YOU change your perception and preset beliefs:

- Examine and discuss them
- Challenge yourself
- Be open to other people's perception of you, your body, your best protocols to accomplish your goal
- Get out of your comfort zone at least long enough to try something new
- You must BELIEVE something will work, in order for it to stand a chance of working
- Listen to yourself talk and rationalize sometimes... you will hear and pick up on your own self imposed limitations

My best example of this in my life has been my recent transition from powerlifting to bodybuidling. Throwing myself into a competitive environment that I did not feel comfortable in and where I held many strong pre-set beliefs and distorted perceptions, has helped me be much more open. I now try to see things in many lights and understand that my perception is just one reality.

In spite of my increased "openness", I still failed this test miserabley. How did you do?