Motivations of Expectations

Let's talk about expectations.

We all have them and they can be very motivating.The motivations of expectations are where the problems lie, especially when it comes to health and fitness. You would think that something that motivates someone would be a good thing. Normally it is. The problem is motivation built on false expectation ends up becoming demotivating.

Bare with me here.

When it comes to fitness and losing weight we often hear things like "drink this tea or wear this wrap and lose up 20lbs in a month." There is absolutely nothing true about that statement. Again, to be clear, there are no teas or wraps that will make you lose weight. This sets is a false expectation.


If you didn't know any better (which you now do) that would sound like a awesome deal. Who wouldn't want to lose 20 pounds? In a month no less. See super motivating.

Until you don't lose the weight. Then you're like what happened. You drank all the tea. You drank it exactly when they told you to drink it. You only lost 8 pounds. That's no where near 20. Now you're thinking why'd you even bother? Not so motivated anymore right?

Here's the thing though: 8 pounds is a great and very sustainable amount of weight to lose in a month. It should be celebrated. It would've been celebrated if the expectation wasn't 20 pounds. The false expectation turned success into failure. That sucks.

(By the way, the made-up person above didn't lose weight because of tea. They lost weight because they ate less and exercised/moved more. For God's sake, teas don't make you lose weight.)

Whenever you're ready... here are 3 ways I can help you reach your health & fitness goals

1. Join My 28 Day Online Fitness ChallengeNext challenge begins June 3rd. You'll get daily accountability, nutrition plans and even a FREE cookbook. These challenges run once a month. If you want in just reply to this email and say challenge.

2. Work with me One-on-OneIf you're in Brooklyn or Manhattan you can schedule a complimentary training session in which we'll outline your goals and lay out the plan to help you reach those goals.

3. Grab a free copy of my e-book, Fitness 101: Get Started Lifting now.Use the book to learn all the equipment you'll find in the gym, how to use that equipment and all the exercises that you'll ever need to know. Let me know if you want it and I'll get you a copy.

My Boys Weekend

I spent the weekend with my boys. All by my lonesome, no mommy in sight. Alli left Thursday morning and didn't get back until last night after both of the boys went to bed. In that time, I had to get them both to daycare on Thursday and Friday and then keep them fed and entertained all weekend. Luckily, some friends invited us to meet them at the Botanical Garden on Saturday and we had a birthday party that I had forgot about on Sunday. So the entertainment portion of the weekend was pretty much taken care of.

Every adult I came across was like, "wait, your by yourself...with both of them...all weekend?" People were treating me as if I was one of the Avengers. I was surprised at the level of praise I was getting (don't get me wrong, I deserve and will accept all praise hoisted upon me). I mean they are my children.

Now this isn't going to be a post about parenting double standards even though I did get the feeling that if Alli & I switched roles this weekend she wouldn't have gotten the same treatment. It's a post about the parenting stress and stress in general.

Parenting really boils down to, like I said above, keeping them fed, entertained and well rested (which will play a part in their entertainment). It doesn't seem like it should be hard. We spent the majority of weekend either home or in places where they could run freely. Easy enough right? Well that becomes, I haven't seen Graham in 15 seconds where is he? Or what's in Charles' no don't put that in your mouth. Then feeding: with one it was "oh my god, I wish you would just focus on eating" and with the other it was "oh my god, you've eaten so much you can't still be hungry".

I found myself living for nap time. Not for the peace and quiet it afforded but so that I could take a nap myself. Even that was ruined that too as one would invariably not sleep long enough or sleep too long. Yes even sleeping too much is stress inducing: is everything ok, is he sick....

The point is life is full of stressors. Everyone always talks about the stress of that big project at work. You should talk about those. You should also realize and recognize that your everyday life couple be, and probably is, stressing you out.

My 4yr Old, a 1000-Piece Puzzle & Your Workout

I started a 1000-piece puzzle on Friday. Like a literal puzzle. It's a panorama of Citi Field during a Mets game. I've had this puzzle for years in it's wrapper sitting on a shelf. For some reason I thought it was time for me and 4 year old Graham to tackle this thing.

"Hey Graham, you wanna do a puzzle?" That's how I proposed it to him and he was all about it. Now I'm pretty sure he thought that I meant one of his like 10-piece board puzzles. I tried to explain to him that this puzzle would take days if not weeks to complete.

(Sidenote: if you want to test your intelligence/reasoning, try explaining the passage of time to a toddler...)

Graham said he understood so we set off to put this puzzle together. Graham hung in for all of maybe 15 minutes. For some reason searching for the corner and edge pieces wasn't as intriguing as playing with Magnatiles. Go figure.

People treat new fitness programs like 4 year olds treat 1000-piece puzzles. They think "this sounds like fun". Then it's "oh, I have to do all this boring stuff before I can do the cool stuff?". Next step: "wow, we're still doing the boring stuff." Final step, "this is boring, that looks like fun, let's go do that." Repeat the process.

Thing is if you've ever done a giant puzzle you know that you have to find the edges and corners or else there is no cohesion. You end up trying to fit sections together that have nothing to do with each other.

The same goes for your workout routine and working out in general. There are corners and edges that you have to figure out before you get to the cool stuff. They would be a baseline levels of flexibility/mobility, strength and coordination to name a few. Now I'm not saying this isn't boring or that I enjoy it. I'm saying it's necessary. Necessary for safety and efficiency.

Also, I haven't touched on the other constraints that come into play. For instance I've commandeered our kitchen/dining room/mail/general odds & ends table for this puzzle endeavor. There's only so long Alli is going to allow this go on. Knowing that I need to get this puzzle together as quickly as possible.

Again the same goes with your workouts assuming you want to reach your goal as fast as possible. This makes finding the "edges & corners" all that more important. Also time won't be the only constraint that you have to deal with probably. The more constraints you add in the more you need the structure that the edges and corners provide.

Since Friday, Graham hasn't really sat down to help me with the puzzle. He has taken notice of the progress that has been made though. Hopefully he's realizing the importance of devoting time to the boring necessary stuff.

Unexpected Benefits to Working Out

I haven't had a proper workout since last Tuesday. That's almost a week ago. I did do my third ever Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class on Wednesday but I'm not counting that (not because it wasn't a workout, because it doesn't work for the point I'm eventually going to make). I had planned/wanted to get some other workouts in but life and work had other ideas. ASIDE: Actually had I properly planned out my time, life/work wouldn't have had a chance to mess up my schedule. I tell clients this all the time so I guess I should hold myself to the same standard. Back to your regularly scheduled blog...

Anyway this isn't the first time I've taken a week or more off from the gym. Hell I've taken months at a time off. I've said it here before but the truth is I don't love working out. I'm not one of those trainers/people that HAS to get a lift in. I don't mind the actual working out part; it's the getting to the gym and getting ready and blah blah blah. Once I get going (depending on what I'm doing) I'm good to go. And once I finish a workout, 99% of the time I feel better.

Which leads to the point, working out isn't about getting immediate benefits during the workout, for me anyway. Like I said, I always feel better after the workout. Better means a sense of accomplishment from completing something I had to do but didn't necessarily want to do.

That's not the only thing though. I notice that when I'm in a good workout groove, I'm less irritable, I sleep better and I'm more mindful of my diet. The latter two are direct result of the working out itself. The irritability always comes as a surprise because I don't notice how irritable I am to begin with. It's not like I'm flying off the handle at people on a regular basis. I just notice that things that might normally annoy just kind of roll off my back.

There's other stuff also like the progress I see physically and the mental acuity I gain. The  acuity comes from planning workouts (unlike last week). At this point I've done 36 workouts in 2019. If I keep up that pace I'll get in 144 workouts this year. I only know this because I've recording all of my workouts. This is something I haven't always done but I notice when I do it's easier to schedule and actually complete my workouts. Something about seeing progress and tracking workouts motivates you to keep doing it. Weird right? (#sarcasmvoice)

Anyway, if you're like me and working out isn't your favorite thing to do there's probably some benefits you could be getting that you're not considering. The actual benefits may not be the same for you as they are for me but I'm certain they are there.

Stop Falling For Complexity Bias


This weekend at music class w/ my boys (every Sunday we go sing Spanish nursery rhymes), a group of parents were talking about a documentary they had seen on Netflix (red flag #1). I think the doc was called Fed Up. I've never seen it (and probably never will). A quick Google search just showed me that Katie Couric and Bill Clinton are involved in some way.

Anyway the parents were saying how this documentary demonized sugar and advocated for some sort of 30 day sugar purge (red flag #2). In researching this "no sugar challenge" these parents realized that high fructose corn syrup in just about everything.

Now none of these people know that I'm a personal trainer or nutrition coach. So I was able to eavesdrop freely. It seemed that while health was a concern most of these people would just like to lose some weight. I know the simplest way to do this would be to eat less and move around some more. I'm sure they know this (at some level) also. This means if they simply restricted what they ate to what can fit on one bread plate vs an entree plate they would lose weight without changing anything that they actually ate.

Instead these people are going to spend time and effort searching out foods without sugar and then extra money to buy these foods. Now by the way I've presented this hopefully you get that the 'no sugar challenge' is unnecessarily complicated.

Thing is if I would've started this blog by asking, "what would be more effective for weight loss: using smaller plates or a 'no sugar challenge'?" The 'no sugar challenge' would win hands down.

This is known as 'complexity bias'. A client introduced me to this term. She was referencing a blog she just started reading called Farnam Street. The blog post explains that people tend to choose complexity over simplicity.

I'm glad my client mentioned this to me and that I read the blog post. I'm glad because I was beginning to think I was crazy. I try to get people to do the simplest thing for them all the time. I'm always met with skepticism and doubt that it will work. Doesn't matter what it is but it's always "too simple". Along the same lines, I ask clients what's the one thing they'll do this week to help their health and/or fitness. They will always list off 3 things. Always. Then they'll get mad when I make them pick one.

The blog explains that choosing complex over simple is actually a way to get out of solving the problem. When it's complex it's easy to say you don't understand and eventually give up. That's the biggest takeaway I got. Now when clients begin to overcomplicate things I'm just simply going to ask them if they want to solve the problem or not.

If they do I'll gently encourage them to try the simple solution first. If they don't that's cool too but they'll have to own up to that.

Knowing your priorities will make decision making easier.

When people find out that I'm a personal trainer/strength coach. The reaction is always the same: they either want to talk about the diet/workout they're currently doing or they start explaining how they wish they had time to work out. 99.3% of the time I don't care. I don't say that to be mean, I'm just being honest. I'd just rather talk about a lot of other things. Just like (I assume) a CPA doesn't want to spend their social time discussing my taxes.

See, I don't love working out.

I don't hate it either but there are a lot of other things I would choose to do before choosing to work out. For instance, if you invite me to watch sports in a bar when I'm supposed to be working out then the workout will become 12 ounce curls (meaning I choose beer drinking). See I really love watching sports and I also love drinking beer (and scotch; responsibly of course).

I also don't love being/want to be fat.

This is why I go to the gym: so that when I look in a mirror I'm not grossed out by my appearance. There's some health reasons also but vanity is the main driver.

If I always did the things I love (in this case, drinking beer and watching sports), then I would be come the thing I hate (ie fat). Deep.

What I'm talking about here are priorities. Priorities drive our actions and depending on how you prioritize things your decision making process will change. So you need to know what your priorities are and have them in order if you want to be in control of your decision making process.

For instance this week the NCAA basketball tournament begins on Thursday afternoon. I will be watching and there's a 50/50 chance some friend will say, "meet at the bar for the games". Knowing this is would be stupid of me to think I'm going to work out Thursday at 3pm even if that is my normal workout time. I need to make arrangements where my priorities won't be at odds with each other. This means I'll be waking up really early Thursday morning to hit the gym.

Change is good. Change over time is a must.

As I type this we're in the middle of a snow day. Schools here in NYC were canceled by 6pm last night. This seemed kind of crazy to me. Yes it was already snowing but by no means was it a huge storm. I guess the snow that was being forecasted prompted the city to take preemptive action. Again this is crazy to me. When I was growing up (I've never sounded older), in the same NYC public schools, we only had one snow day from kindergarten through 12th grade. That's not an exaggeration. That's a fact. Talk to anyone my age from New York and they will confirm it. We wear it like a badge of honor and bitterness at the same time. Honor because we suffered through getting to school in plenty of storms. Bitterness because nowadays you get notified that schools are closed the day before (you don't even have to get early to check the news or radio).

Anyway, things have clearly changed. Despite my bitterness, that's a good thing. Things should change as time goes by. We have more knowledge and better ways to communicate that knowledge. We should use that knowledge to make better choices. Instinctively I think we all know this.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "I've been doing this same workout for years..." Now when I hear this I'll ask the person if they've been doing their job the same way for years. Or I'll ask what else they've been doing the same exact way for years. For most people that's enough to get them to at least consider updating their workout routine.

The point here isn't to say that the routine is bad, usually I don't have any idea either way (if we're having this conversation, we've probably just met). The point is to point out that we know more than we used to and that there are probably improvements that can be made.

So what have you been doing the same way for a long time? Same workout program? Preparing your food the same way? Do you know more now about these things than you used to? (Possibly.) Is there more to learn about these things? (Definitely.)

Take a look and there's probably some small tweaks you can make that will lead to big changes.

Could vs Should

You've decided you're going to lose weight. That's awesome. You've taken the first step. Now I need you to slow down and possibly stop. Hear me out.

After taking that first step the tendency or the desire is to take a whole bunch more right after.   I can pretty much guarantee that by doing this you'll end up not taking any more steps. A better approach would be to take your time and carefully consider what you want/need the next step to be.

We all know there many steps that you could take. I'm asking that you figure out the steps that you should take. The difference between "could" and "should" may be the reason why you're not seeing the results you want to see.

Now I know there's someone reading this that's saying, "well what step should I take?". I have no idea what step you should take. This is the part where you have to carefully consider what will work best for you in your life. The Keto diet might've worked for your bestie but that doesn't mean it's going to work you. Again I have no idea. YOU have to figure out what will work best for YOU.

The main thing to consider when you're deciding on your next step is: is this something that I can easily do everyday? This is why you shouldn't be focused on all the things you could do. Trust me you can't do them all everyday.

The one thing you can do the easiest everyday is the thing you should be doing. Figure out what that one thing is. Then do that. Do just that. Everyday.

The Three Parts of Change

If you've been reading these blog posts for a while you may know that I have 2 sons. A 10 month old and a 3.5 year old (he would get very mad if I didn't add in that half a year). At some point I've probably mentioned that getting the older one to eat is one of my biggest daily frustrations. It's not that he doesn't eat, it just takes FOR-EV-ERRRRR (#Squintsvoice). He likes to talk and have stories told/read to him and play with whatever is in reach. Left to his own devices, a meal could easily last over an hour. My wife and I have tried just about everything to get him to eat faster. We've told him if he eats he'll have more time to play. We have a countdown clock where as time goes down it's shown as a red area that gets smaller and smaller. We've begged and pleaded. All of these techniques may work for a minute and a half. Then he's right back to doing everything but eating.

All our techniques focused on what Dan & Chip Heath would call the rider from their book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. The rider is described as the rational part of the brain. As I type this it strikes me that expecting a 3yr old to act rationally probably was never a good plan to begin with.

In the book the Heath brothers explain that there are two other ways you can affect change: the elephant and the path. The elephant refers to the less rational, more emotional part of the brain. As the name suggests it's much bigger than the rider. The path refers to all of the outside factors that are in play.

When it comes to Graham's (my 3yr old) "elephant" we try to coax along the path by having food choices for him. Having choices allows him to have a say in the process which helps.......most of the time. We also try to have at least one thing we know he'll eat, usually a fruit, to get the process going.

Then there's the "path". Things go best when we can all sit down and eat at the same time. Unfortunately, this doesn't work out most days for us timing wise; he just eats too early. One thing we're testing out right now is we've turned his table so he can see us and still be eating. Before he would be turning around to talk to us if we were in the kitchen or wherever. This leads to falling off his chair and food all over the place. By turning his little table 90º he's been able to see us and still eat. So far it's at least led to a little less clean up.

All of this is to say that when we're trying to change something (exercise or eating habits, sleep patterns, anything) our first strategy is often to attack the rider; to try to think of ways to change. However change is usually highly irrational (the elephant is always going to be bigger than the rider). So you're going to need to figure out the emotional reasons why change is beneficial. And even before bothering with the rider and elephant you'd better make sure there is a clear path.

The 6 Steps to Change

Making a change is difficult. Most of us know that. Most of us think we just decide to change and then go about making that change. Most of us don't really know there are steps that lead to a change. This is true for every change that we make and if you look back at changes you've made I'm sure you can see these steps. If you know what to look for. To help you realize this, here's a story about something that happened in my household over the weekend.

  • Step 1: Inspiring Event- For us this event happened Saturday afternoon. I was at the gym and Alli has taken the kids to a class at the YMCA. When they got home, they were greeted to the sound of our carbon monoxide/smoke detector going off. This wasn't a low battery situation, it was legit alarming like something is wrong. Thankfully there was no smoke but that didn't rule out carbon monoxide (CO).
  • Step 2: Immediate Resolution- After checking on a couple of things and opening some windows and the alarm still not stopping, Alli called 911. The fire department arrived very quickly. Shoutout to the FDNY. Fully geared up firemen came into the apartment and checked on things, including using a CO meter.
  • Step 3: Realization of an issue- Turns out we just had an old alarm that needed to replaced. Had it not been for this we probably we would've never checked. (Yes I know I should be checking these things periodically...yada yada yada.)
  • Step 4: Plan to resolve issue- All of the above happened in a span of about 15 minutes. Alli had called me & told me what was going on. Before I could get home (a 10 minute walk) she was calling me to tell me the outcome and tell me to stop at a hardware store to pick up a new alarm.
  • Step 5: Enact plan to resolve issue- Now I've made it home with a brand new alarm. The emergency is over but I've still got to put up the new alarm. I thought I could just put where the old one was. Turns out I can't even reach that spot and the new alarm won't fit there even if I could. Now I'm going to need tools and a drill. I get out everything I need. Then I sit there for at least an hour doing absolutely nothing.
  • Step 6: Actually enact plan- I didn't do absolutely nothing: I ate lunch & watched Duke pull out a college basketball game. Once I actually got around to putting up the alarm, it took about 15 minutes and that was that.

Now this was me having to change a CO/smoke detector. These steps are involved in every change we make. Take losing weight: maybe you go through a break-up or your favorite piece of clothing doesn't fit anymore (step 1); you get new clothes or have a one night stand (umm, to each their own...) (step 2); turns out you can't afford to keep buying new clothes & sleeping with random people is not that fulfilling (step 3); you decide to join the gym (step 4); you go to the gym with no real idea of what you're doing (step 5); you make a real plan for the gym, maybe hire a trainer (step 6).

The first three steps can/do happen relatively quickly. These are the reactionary steps. You don't have to do anything to get started taking them; things happen to you, you respond accordingly. The next three steps are where things can get tough. These steps require you to be proactive. This can be/is hard. Especially if the momentum from the first three steps has worn off.


"Don't Yuck my Yum"

I did a bad thing. I didn't mean to do it but nevertheless it was a bad thing. I yucked somebody's yum. Now unless you have a three year old you probably don't know what it means to "yuck someone's yum." So let me explain. To "yuck a yum" means you're expressing your dislike for something that someone else likes.

My son was taught "don't yuck someone else's yum." It's a preschool/daycare lesson taught to toddlers to show them that people can/do like different things and that's ok. It's taught during meal times inevitably when one kid says something another kid is eating is gross. See, yuck & yum.

And as with most preschool lessons, this lesson extends well beyond its intended purpose.

Ok, who's yum did I yuck? (Aside: I'm having a lot of fun typing yuck & yum over and over. I might belong in preschool.)

Here's the story: My wife and I were sitting on the couch watching TV when she looked at her phone and expressed glee. A friend had sent her a post workout picture in a sports bra. I was like "what's the big deal"? Turns out it was a bucket list item for this friend to workout in a sports bra.

Here's the yuck: I stupidly stuck to my guns wondering what the big deal was. This is someone I know that works out regularly and is thin and attractive. I see less thin and less attractive women working out in sports bras all the time. (And to be clear, that's ok.)

Here's the yum: my wife explained that this had to do with confidence. Particularly her friend having the confidence to take a step she'd been avoiding for a long time. This shouldn't have needed to be explained to me but as I said I might belong in preschool.

I yucked her yum. That was bad. This was particularly bad considering that a really, really big part of my job is helping people find their confidence and realize they can and should do all sorts of things. I should've immediately realized what was at play here and been just as delighted as my wife. I blew it. Preschool.

I'm telling you this because there are probably a lot of new people in your gym right now. A lot of these people are stepping out of their comfort zones and trying stuff they've been scared/uncomfortable to try for a long time. Keep that in mind. Realize what may seem insignificant to you could be huge for them. Don't yuck their yum.

What I learned from doing 10,000 swings

So I completed the 10,000 swing challenge. It's was 500 swings/workout for 20 workouts across five weeks. I learned some stuff over those five weeks. Here's a little bit about it and how you can use it to help out with your 2019 resolutions.

  • Perspective Matters: 20 workouts is not that many. 5 weeks isn't that long. However when you start thinking about 4 workouts/week and 500 swings/workout it starts looking a little onerous.
    • So when things start to feel overwhelming try changing your perspective. Seeing things from another angle can give you the jolt of motivation you need to keep going.
  • Your Plan Matters: you're not going to follow it perfectly but you have to have one. A well thought out plan allows you to make adjustments (to the plan) easier. As you think about your plan you automatically think about what can go wrong. So planning primes you for when the plan doesn't go as planned. Weird right?
    • So spend extra time in the planning phase. This extra time will save you time when things don't go as planned.
  • Consistency Matters: consistency matters so much it's pretty much the main predictor of success (when it comes to health & fitness anyway). You must show up everyday. Tired? Still gotta show up. Bored? Show up anyway. There is no other way to say this: if you want to be successful you have to do the work (whatever it is) everyday.
    • So the key here is to just get started. Take your workout clothes to work, get an accountability partner, hire a coach/ whatever it takes to remove any obstacles that will keep you from starting.

With that I want to say happy New Year. I'm looking forward to helping to make 2019 the funnest, fittest and healthiest year ever for as many people as possible. So reach out and let me know what your biggest goal of 2019 is and I'll let you know how I can help and/or support you in reaching that goal.

I'm working on Christmas Eve...

It's 8:15am on Christmas Eve. I'm sitting in Starbucks typing this. This is not where I want to be. By now I'm sure my kids are awake and running around the apartment. I'd like to be home keeping the baby away from the tree and attempting to get the oldest to stop running back & forth through the apartment for maybe 5 minutes. Actually on 2nd thought, Starbucks is a lot more peaceful. Just kidding...kind of. So why am I here in Starbucks? I'm here because I'm committed to running/building my business. This means there are days/holidays where I have to sneak out of the house for a few hours to get some work done.

I'm only trying to pat myself on the back a little here. The main reason I'm telling you this is to show what it means to be committed something. There will be times where you'll have to do some things that you don't necessarily want to do. This is important to realize, especially as you're probably thinking about New Year's resolutions.

With that in mind here's a list of questions you can ask yourself to ensure that you have success with your resolutions. These questions will help you map out when the uncomfortable times are going to show up. This will allow you to prepare for them to make them as comfortable as possible.

  • Why?- why is this resolution important to you? Answer that. Now why is that answer important? Repeat this process 3 more times. This should get you to down to your most base motivation. This is what you'll come back to when things get tough.
  • What?- what do you have to do to be successful? Physically what do you have to do? Mentally what do you have to do (this might be more important)?
  • Who?- who do you need to help you be successful? Do you need to hire a coach or someone else?
  • Who?- who do you need to clear this with? Not that you need permission but you have to realize when you change your life it will affect the people who are closest to you. So you need to speak to with your significant other and family members and close friends to get their support.
  • Where?- can you do this at home? Do you have to go somewhere? If so how are you going to get there?
  • When?- when are you going to do it? Is it always going to be the same time or will it have to change weekly or daily? If it does have to change, have you scheduled in all the changes?

As you can see most of these questions lead to other questions. The thing is the more of these questions you can answer ahead of time the higher the likelihood of success. Answering these questions is like having GPS for a road trip. Good GPS will help avoid traffic slow downs and roadblocks. So take time to ask and answer these questions.

Ok I have to get back home with the kiddos and continue in the Christmas fun. Have a very merry Christmas and enjoy the time with friends and family.

How much do your thoughts cost you?

I've always thought that the time between Thanksgiving and New Year's (aka the holiday season) would be a terrible time to try to lose some weight. We all know the reasons why I should've been right: lots of parties, big family meals and catching up with old friends. I thought the best use of this time would be to maintain your health and fitness. So, to be completely honest, I was a little reluctant to do my 28 day challenge these past four weeks. For all of the reasons that I listed above. To add to the reasons, all but one who participated in this round of the challenge traveled for at least 3 days. The other person had major eye surgery two weeks before the challenge began and couldn't workout until the last week of the challenge.

I'm obviously telling you this because I was prepared for my clients to not get great results this time around. I was hoping that everyone would at least maintain their starting weight.

Boy was I wrong.


These are just a couple of the progress reports that came in Saturday morning. Full disclosure this is Kerry's 2nd round of the challenge and Larry's 3rd. That being said they're both averaging 5 pounds lost each round.

That's really good. Really good.

Now I'm not telling you this to pat myself on the back. Well not only to pat myself in the back (truth be told, the clients are ones doing the work and making the changes, I just provide guidance). I just want to point out that what I was thinking was clearly not the reality.

Our thoughts can be our best friends or or worst enemies. To add to it, you usually can't tell if your thoughts are friends or enemies until after the fact, if at all. I say if at all because a lot of times or thoughts lead us to inactivity. Think how many times you've thought something wouldn't work so you just didn't even attempt it.

Well what if it would've worked? You would never know. In economics this is known as 'opportunity cost'. (I have old high school teachers who can't believe I just typed that sentence.) It basically means you'll never know what you could've gained if you would've decided to try.

Notice I said "gained if you would've decided to try". You don't have to succeed to reap benefits. There's plenty to be learned in the attempts alone. Also if you speak with high achievers from just about any area/arena most of them will tell you they learn more from the failures and defeats.

The point here is when you think you can't do something or things won't work, remember lessons are learned when you at least try. Stop thinking about the outcome. Stop thinking about whether you can or you can't. Stop thinking.

#MotivationMonday is dumb

This morning I posted this picture to my instagram.NO MOTIVATION MONDAY If you spend any time on any social media platform on any Monday then you'll #motivationmonday posts. They are usually quotes or pictures of people/animals doing extraordinary things. Their goal is to give you the extra push you need to get out there and get shit done. They are dumb.

Well the quotes and pictures aren't dumb. The idea of #motivationmonday is dumb.

Looking to social media for motivation to do something in the moment is useless. It's already clear you don't want to do it (or else you wouldn't be on social media) and even if you do muster up the will to do it, it will be lackluster.

I'm purposely saying "it" because it doesn't matter what the "it" is.

I'm not saying that motivation isn't a thing. Motivation is definitely a thing. I'm saying that if you need inspirational quotes or a cheerleader to hype you up then you're not suffering from nothing other than a lack of motivation.

#Motivationmonday might serve a purpose when you're trying to decide if you can/should make a change in your life. Once the decision has been made, you no longer need motivation, what you need is a plan. A good one.

A good plan will eliminate the need for any other motivation. It'll do so by telling you exactly what you need to do, how you need to do it and when you need to do it by. If you have all of those questions answered you won't have the opportunity/need to be actively searching for motivation.

So if you find yourself searching the hashtag "motivation monday" so you can do the damn thing, I say just forget the damn thing. For today anyway. Instead use today to come up with a plan so that you don't end up in the same place tomorrow.

Consistent Actions are the Key to Success

This morning I was talking with a client. Along with training with me in person, he's a member in my 28 Day Online Challenge. We were talking about his results from the last challenge. They weren't as good as they could have been so I mentioned that he had taken a few liberties during the challenge. I know this because a major part of the challenge is to report everything that you eat. So I knew he when he was off the plan simply because those would be the times he wouldn't report what he ate (to be fair, sometimes he would just forget). Anyway, we continued to talk I mentioned how he didn't report anything over the weekend. I don't remember exactly but his answer was along the lines of "we didn't eat as we normally do". To which I replied "yes but you still ate."

See to be successful at the challenge the key is consistently recording what you eat (and doing the workouts...). The act of recording your meals itself won't make you lose weight but if you consistently do it means you're probably doing other healthy things that will help you lose weight.

The consistency is the key. Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast every day or walk 10,000 steps in a day tend to weigh less. Neither one of these alone is the reason the people who do them weigh less. The people who do them usually incorporate other healthy habits into their lives or (perhaps more importantly) avoid bad habits.

For instance, 10,000 steps is about 5 miles on average. If you walk that far in a day that means you have less time to be sitting and being inactive. If you eat breakfast every day, you'll be able to skip the donuts in the break room.

Consistency doesn't just work with the 3 examples that I've given either. You can insert any action and you'll see results. It has to be an action though. The more specific the better. Taking a picture of everything you eat, eating breakfast everyday and walking 10,000 steps are good examples because they tell you exactly what to do and when to do it.

I have another round of my 28 Day Challenge beginning on 11/19. For more info you can click here you can comment here or email me at

Shockingly Simple Math of Weight Management

Did you know there are 8 Mondays left in 2018 (including today)? That means at a conservative estimate you could still lose 8-10lbs in 2018. In order to do so, there is some math required though. Don't worry, the math is only slightly more complex than the math I used to figure out how many more Mondays there are in 2018. The math comes in the form of a little addition and subtraction. It goes like this:

Calories In > Calories Out → surplus = weight gain

Calories In = Calories Out = weight maintenance

Calories In < Calories Out → deficit= weight loss

Ladies and gents that is the shockingly simple math of weight management. In words it says if you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. If you want to gain weight do the opposite. That's it. It has nothing to do with food quality or anything else that isn't calories.

If you want to change your weight you must follow this formula. So if you want to lose weight (if you want to gain weight, just do the opposite), are three ways you can do that: eat less, workout/exercise more or do both eat less & workout more.

  • Eat less: this is going to be the most important variable. It's the most important because it is the one you have the most control over. Actually you have all of the (physical) control when it comes to this. Make a meal plan and stick as close to it as possible.

    I know I said food quality doesn't matter but I lied...kind of. Food quality matters in that eating high quality, nutrient dense foods (think fruits, veggies, lean proteins & good fats) will allow you to fill fuller after eating less total calories.

  • Workout/Exercise more: ever heard the phrase you can't out train a bad diet? You're not a gym geek so probably not. I swear though it's a phrase that get thrown around. The reason being because it's almost impossible to know how many calories you're burning during a workout without being in a laboratory setting. Yeah I know you have an Apple watch and a phone app that tell you how many calories you burned during Zumba. They're probably, most likely, wrong.

    The point here is for you to be more active. That means get more total workouts and also more intense workouts in gym. It also means be more active in your regular life outside the gym. Going to the gym for an hour a day and spending the rest of your awake time on your butt probably isn't going to help your cause.

  • Do Both: this is one of those instances where burning the candle on both ends is a good thing. And doing both (depending on the type of workouts you do) may take you from just losing weight to actually burning fat also. (I'm willing to say the majority of people who say they want to lose weight, are actually looking to burn fat.) What's the difference? I'll answer that with a question of my own: would you rather see the number on the scale go down or would rather your clothes fit/feel better? If you chose the clothes option, you want to burn fat.

    You have to be careful when choose to eat less and workout more though. If you're working out more & more intensely and you're drastically less you could be sabotaging yourself. You're going to be hungry and eventually something will have to give. So you have to be careful that you're not going too far out of balance.

If you're someone who's a numbers person here's another (simple) formula you can use to figure out how many calories you should be eating:

Bodyweight (lbs) x 14 = maintenance calories

Bodyweight (lbs) x 10-12 = weight/fat loss calories

Bodyweight (lbs) x 16-18 = weight/muscle gain calories

So there it is. The shockingly simple math of weight management.

The Best (& boringest?) Advice I Can Give

Yesterday a friend hit me up on Facebook. She has two kids under 5 years old and hasn't worked out regularly since before the first one. She says she does Zumba about once a week. She wanted to know what she should do to start getting back into shape. In my head I was like, well she needs to start lifting immediately. Also she's certainly going to have to get to Zumba or some other high intensity type class at least 3x/week. And then she would need to add in 1-2 days of low intensity cardio. You know for recovery and stuff. And obviously she's going to need to become a keto-vegan.

This would be an excellent plan for her provided she either quits her job or gives up her children. (They're cute and all but....GAINS!!! Know what I'm saying.) This is the price to pay to get back into shape.

Hopefully it's clear I'm being facetious.

This is not the advice that I gave her. The advice I gave her was to try to make her way to Zumba 2-3x/week. I told her if she could consistently do that for a month or two then she could start thinking about adding in some lifting weights. That's it.

That's it?

Yep.  Oh you want to why? Got it.

The reason for ditching the plan I came up with in my head isn't because it isn't a good plan (maybe except for the keto-vegan diet, I'm not sure that's actually a thing). I ditched it because it's probably to good for her (right now anyway). This is a case of more isn't better. It would've been too overwhelming and I'm pretty sure she needs her job and loves her children.

Suggesting she just up her Zumba gives her a chance to get used to working out more. This will be good for her physical well-being but also her life well-being. Working out more means giving less time to something else. You need to prepare for this.

What if just two extra Zumba workout sessions is too easy? Well it's easy to add stuff on. It's much harder to take things away. Taking stuff away from people is psychologically difficult for them. You're basically telling them they weren't good enough for all they were given. On the other hand, adding on stuff is a reward. Who doesn't like a reward.

So basically my advice for most people (after I go over the super plan in my head) is to just do a little be more than you were doing before. This is super boring. Whenever I give this advice people are like "that's it?" (like you did above.) People expect it to be more complicated. Here's the thing though, it's not. Most long term success is super boring.

So if you're just getting started again, do a little more than you've been doing. Once you've done that consistently, add a little bit more. Then rinse and repeat.

Mattresses & Your Fitness Go Hand in Hand

You probably don't know this but I listen to a lot of podcasts. I listen on podcasts on just about every topic. There's a podcast about Halloween (the Michael Myers horror movies) that I'm listening to. Before the podcast started I could say I'd seen the first couple of movies (apparently there are like 8, who knew?) but for some reason I've listened to over 5 hours of content about this series of movies. Anyway, this morning I was listening to the How I Built This podcast. This is a podcast where the host interviews the founders of successful companies and talks to them about what made them and their companies successful. This week it was the founder Tempur-Pedic, Bobby Trussell. Yes the mattress company. The company is worth a lot of money and Trussell is the man who brought those comfy foam mattresses to America.

The thing that stood out about this episode is that in most instances Trussell probably wouldn't have made it on to the show. See Trussell failed a lot at a couple of different things. To the point where he was up to a million dollars in debt. The thing that makes Trussell different from most people is that he kept showing up to work.

When Trussell got the deal to distribute Tempur-Pedic in the US, the contract stated that he had to sell 10,000 mattresses in the first year in order to maintain exclusivity. He sold 70. Most of us would have given up after missing the mark by so much. Trussell kept going and as recently as 2013 his annual income was about 75 million dollars (based on a quick Google search).

This is still a blog about health and fitness. So I'm telling you this because Bobby Trussell practiced the one thing that you need to in order to be successful in your health/fitness journey. Consistency.

I'm going to assume it was never Trussell's intent to be a million dollars in debt. However  he kept at it. Because he kept at it he came across memory foam mattresses. Then he believed in those mattresses so much that after missing his sales goal by 9,930 mattresses he kept going back to work.

So the next time you step on the scale and the numbers don't go the way you want, think about Trussell's million dollar debt. You'll never get to where you want to go unless you keep doing the work to get there.

Logic Your Way to Answers

Over the weekend I was introduced to Logic Puzzles. At first I thought it was "logic puzzles" which included things like Ken-Ken and Sudokus. Turns out Logic Puzzles are there own thing. Being the nerd that I am, I looked them up and was immediately hooked. Logic Puzzles are puzzles where you have to figure out groups of things correlate with each other. The thing about the puzzles is that you're given all the information that you need to solve the puzzle. There's no need to make any guesses, the clues given are enough. So you would think these puzzles are easy. They're not.

logic puzzle 2

I haven't progressed past the easy 3x4 puzzles yet and of the puzzles I've solved I've been ranked "very slow".

Anyway I'm telling you about me doing Logic Puzzles because they're a good representation for what it can be like trying to find answers to fitness on the internet. The right answers are definitely on the internet. You just have to use logic to find it.

The difference between the internet and Logic Puzzles is that the internet will definitely give you some wrong info too. That being said you can/have to use the same logic to figure out what's good info and what's not.

The first thing you need to do is consider the source. If it's coming from a magazine or newspaper with a crazy headline, you should probably be a little skeptical. The more sensational the headline the more untrue the info probably is. I don't have empirical data on that outside of the number of links I've clicked on.

Another thing to look for is if there is a specific product mentioned. If the product gets mentioned multiple times you can be sure the article is biased. The article is either trying to sell the product or discredit it.

On the other end of the spectrum, the article you're checking out could come from a scientific journal or university. You can (usually) be sure info from these sources is true and biased. The thing you have to consider with these sources is that the info is presented without context. Or at least without context beyond the measures that were actually studied.

These are just a few ways you can use logic to figure out if the info you're reading can be trusted. So the next time you're searching the internet for health/fitness answers try them out. Then you'll have more time for doing the stuff that really doing Logic Puzzles.