What Do You Really Mean When You Say “I Want To Lose Weight?”

Most people who tell me that they want to lose weight are not telling the truth.

It’s not that they’re lying to me, it’s that they’ve been fed lies by popular culture about what weight loss will mean for them.

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Progress is Incremental

I had a hard night at MMA sparring tonight. At the end of it I leaned against the wall in the women’s bathroom (yes, there is one of those, awesome) and looked up at the shower-head (wow, we have all the amenities!) and wondered if I could “do this.”

Wondering if one can “do this” is almost always counter-productive, because doing “this” usually means succeeding 200% of the time and being the Best In The Whole World Ever Of All Time. In other words, it represents an all-or-nothing, be-all-and-end-all definition of succeeding.

Luckily the same sparring partners who took me down and smacked me in the face from top half-guard reminded me of the incremental improvements that I had made. It’s hard to view one’s own progress objectively, so this kind of feedback can be valuable.

I was still angry at myself – angry because I was “unimpressed with my performance” and angry about the fact that I had allowed it to unbalance me emotionally. I didn’t feel like staying for the second training session (No Gi jiu jitsu), but I did because I knew that that was what I needed to do. (After all, discipline consists of doing what you need to do, not what you feel like doing.) I’m glad that I did. I exhausted myself with good, controlled rolling, and the success that I achieved ameliorated my frustrations about the sparring session.

Jiu jitsu has allowed me to learn a lot about what it takes to make progress in all areas of life. It’s important to allow yourself to enjoy what you do, and to be willing to make mistakes and get countered hundreds of times while you’re working on perfecting something.

Tonight I tapped someone for the first time with a submission that I’d been taught in 2011. You can imagine how many failed attempts there have been in the three years that have passed since that time.

It was a fitting reminder of the importance of persisting, of relinquishing unrealistic expectations when it comes to progression, and of striving for that 1% improvement every time I train. It’s not an all-or-nothing process, it’s a 1% improvement, one day at a time.

Where Did You Want To Be Two Years Ago?

I was recently prompted to “write the post that was on my mind when I decided to start this blog.”

I went back over my archives and read my first post. It was February 2012. I was enjoying my first year of good health after chronic fatigue syndrome.

I wrote:

Me, 2012, with cake and neck injury
Me, 2012, with cake and neck injury

“Where I’d rather be now is reaching more people through my personal training business, competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, fighting in Muay Thai again both here and in Thailand, and making my debut in Mixed Martial Arts. These are the things that have formed the basis of 2012′s Resolutions, which in turn determine the actions I take each day to make these a reality.” 

Since then, I moved some goal-posts. Transitioning from Muay Thai to MMA was more difficult than imagined, so my goals to have more Muay Thai fights and to go to Thailand have been superseded by my focus on grappling.

I have seen how competitive the personal training industry has become, and how much more clients need than basic exercise programs. I continue to work with fitness clients, while making myself a better exercise specialist and, eventually, a holistic nutritionist through formal study.

One area of my life has gone according to plan, and that’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Losing via ground-and-pound stoppage in an MMA fight against Arlene Blencowe last year turned out to be a blessing. It has driven me to develop my grappling skills.

Last weekend I competed in the South Australian Brazilian Jiu Jitsu State Championships – my first competition as a blue belt.

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How Are Your New Year’s Resolutions Going?

Time to check your progress… Are you moving towards your goals or is it time for a little help?

One of the most important factors in achieving our goals can sometimes simply be accountability. So I want to ask you today, how are you going with achieving your New Year’s Resolutions?

It is perhaps a little unfortunate that we call them “New Year’s” resolutions, because it seems to imply that once the year is not so new any more, they become irrelevant.

Did you write down your goals for this year? Were they things that you really wanted, things that you think about while falling asleep and as soon as you wake up, things that excite you? Or were they things that you thought you “should” do, things that make you roll your eyes and sigh when you are reminded of them? Were your goals achievable? Was there a realistic measure of success? How will you know that you’ve achieved them? Do you know what actions you need to undertake on a regular basis in order to make your goals a reality? Have you been taking those actions?

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Consistency is the Key

A lot of people seem daunted by the idea of making a commitment to their fitness goal, whether their goal be to lose body-fat, improve their health or just generally become a healthier person. They seem to think that they will be required to commit hours of their daily time, hundreds of dollars per week, and that a fitness routine will take over their life.

It certainly can be this way, and if you have found a kind of exercise which you genuinely enjoy, you will probably want it to be this way! But it doesn’t have to be like this.

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Save Your Healthy Eating By Planning Ahead

Your lunch-bag is your new best friend!
Your lunch-bag is your new best friend!

Many of the clients who come to me are interested in exercise as a means to become lean and toned. Without fail, this means that they are required to combine strength training, cardio and healthy eating. In simplest terms, strength training creates the lean muscle mass which is necessary to boost metabolism and create a firm, toned, healthy look, cardio burns calories, and healthy eating makes sure the body receives the nutrients it needs for recovery and energy, while also ensuring that more calories are being burnt than consumed. Voila! For the average, healthy person, fat loss is not a very complicated affair.

What does get a little more complicated is the human part of the equation. As a personal trainer, I may see people for a few hours a week, but what they do in the mean-time – especially in terms of adhering to a healthy diet – is pivotal to their success. What I most often have to do is talk to people about behaviours, rather than facts.

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“Dear Abs, I Miss You and I Want You Back” – A Personal Trainer’s Confession

"No food tastes as good as eating lean fee-" Screw you!!! Nom nom nom...
“No food tastes as good as eating lean fee-” Screw you!!! Nom nom nom…

I usually try to keep the tone of this blog pretty positive and keep my troubles to myself, but I’ve decided to share this one with you because I suspect a lot of people are feeling this way after Christmas and New Years.

Sometimes I find it hard to convince people that personal trainers are people too. We are not a different species who finds it effortless to stay in shape, or who necessarily love eating steamed chicken and vegetables while the rest of you enjoy your coconut-laden curries and jasmine rice.

I’m telling you this so that next time I tell you I know how you feel you may actually believe me.

Last week, I put on 3kg. 3kg in a week! True, I often tell clients that weight is not an accurate measure of your success on its own. Muscle weighs more than fat, and all that. But I can guarantee you I didn’t gain 3kg of muscle last week!  Plus, as a fighter, weight is a measure of success for me, as I need to make weight regularly in order to fight. My next fights is scheduled for March and I have 7kg to lose before then. Awesome.

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