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.

Habit Tracking & A New Challenge

This morning an old coworker/friend posted a facebook status about habits and particularly tracking them. Here's a screenshot of it:JasonHThere a lot of gems in this status. Jason mentions how tracking is the key toward maintaining progress and will help with decision making. He also mentions tracking includes tracking both the good and bad habits. This is super important because people tend to forget that progress is not only doing more good stuff but also (and sometimes firstly) doing less bad stuff.I mention this as I'm about to start another 28 Day Online Fitness challenge a week from today. The type of habit tracking that Jason is talking about is the backbone of the challenge. There are two things members of the challenge must do everyday: they must post a picture of everything they eat and they must post a daily gratitude post. The challenge basically works to instill these two habits on a daily basis.Sure there are personal nutrition plans and workouts and lots of info given throughout the challenge. That being said though, the people who get the best results from the challenge are the ones who adhere to posting their food pics and getting their gratitude posts up everyday. It's almost too simple for some people. Often at the beginning of the challenge I have to get people to concentrate on doing just those two things before they start trying to do too much.Since I brought up results. Let's talk about some of the results that people have gotten from the challenge. The most obvious one is weight loss. I've seen people lose 5-12lbs during the challenge. The great thing about this weight loss is that I can say that everyone who has lost weight has kept that weight off months later. I attribute this to learning how to track and maintain good habits.Some other results challenge members have seen are clothes fitting better, strength and energy increases, improved time management and increased confidence among other things. I might be more proud of these results than the weight loss (good news for me is that they usually come together). Particularly when people start talking about getting stronger and once again doing things they used to do regularly. Or when people mention they finally bought a new piece of clothing that they hadn't been comfortable buying before. These things really get me in the feels.This next round of the challenge begins on the 22nd and goes through May 19th. This will give you the chance to head into Memorial Day and summer having developed life changing habits and feeling like your best self. Intrigued? Fill out the quick form below and I'll get back to you ASAP.[contact-form][contact-field label="Name" type="name" required="1" /][contact-field label="Email" type="email" required="1" /][contact-field label="What do you want to get out of the challenge?" type="textarea" required="1" /][/contact-form]

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.

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.

Your Metabolism Isn't Slowing Down

YOU'RE METABOLISM ISN'T SLOWING DOWN! Sorry for yelling but I've had a at least two different people (who don't know each other) ask how to combat their "slowing metabolism".

Ok now to be completely honest, as your metabolism does slow down a little, little, tiny, itty bitty, teeny weeny bit as you age. I know you've been told the opposite. Believe me.

So why have you gained weight over the years then?

One of  the women I was having this conversation with mentioned she's steadily been gaining weight. Now for context, she'd like to lose some weight but she is nowhere near overweight and she's 58 years old. She explained that she's gained like 10lbs since her 20's. She also explained that in her 20's she used to go on like 50 mile bike rides and run 5k's and half marathons on the regular.

At 58 while she exercises regularly she's never done those things since I've known her, which is going on about 6 years. I pointed that out to her.

The majority of the reason you've been gaining weight is simply because you're not doing nearly as much as you used to. You're working more and working out less. You most likely have more responsibilities (at work and at home) that push exercising to the back burning.

To go along with this, when you were younger you were probably more active in general (outside of working out) also. You walked more maybe because gas money was harder to come and you lived in the city. Nowadays you're buying premium in the burbs. It might not be to those extremes but you get the point.

The last thing I'll say about this is you're also gaining weight because you're losing muscle. Like I said you used to do more stuff. Now because you're not doing as much stuff, muscle you used to need is being turned to fat. Hopefully by now you've heard that muscle burns more calories than fat at rest. In other words, because you have less muscle you're burning fewer calories while you're sitting around not doing anything. Which again is most of the time.

What to do about it then?

This is preventable and reversible. It's actually quite simple too (not that easy though). The first thing is you've got to be more active. This includes working out more but you also need to be doing more non-exercise activity; things like walking more and taking the stairs. You can't go long stretches where you're sitting around doing nothing. At the very least every couple of hours you need to get up and move around.

Also when you do exercise, you must be lifting weights. Heavy weights. You have to keep the muscle you have and/or build more muscle. As explained above this will keep you burning more calories while you're at rest. Get on a good strength program.

There are certainly other reasons why you could be gaining weight as you age. These are probably the ones though. The main point is that it's not your metabolism slowing down.

You Can't Go It Alone

Last week a client told me she was going to have a "soup and salad" week. Meaning she was going to eat soup and salad for her lunches and dinners. She had already made a pot of soup to get her started. I trained her husband right after. I asked him about "soup and salad" week and he had no idea what I was talking about. Not a good sign. That was on Monday.

Fast forward to Friday. I was training her again and asked how "soup and salad" week was going. Turns out they had dinner plans with friends on Tuesday (which she had taken into account). Then Thursday night, somewhat at the last minute, her husband invited a bunch of people over for dinner and bought a lot of food that wasn't soup or salad.

She had a great plan. Soup and salad is a great way to limit calories (obviously depending on the soups and salads you eat). She even looked ahead and knew there would be one day where it likely wouldn't work (the Tuesday dinner party). What she didn't account for was the unexpected (Thursday's dinner guests).

How do you account for the unexpected? You can't expect people to follow the plan when they don't know there is a plan in place. So one way is to let everyone who will play a role in your plan know about the plan.

I know you think you can do it alone. You can't. This doesn't just telling your significant other either. It means telling your friends and coworkers too. When you tell your friends they can look for healthier options for weekend brunch or they'll be more understanding when you politely decline. Your coworkers will know not to tell you when Susie from accounting brings in donuts for the office.

While you can make a wide ranging public declaration, it doesn't need to be that. You just need to tell those closest to you and those who could have the biggest affect on your plan.

Also notice that telling others doesn't mean that they have to be on plan with you. It just means that they have to be respectful enough of you to not put you in compromising situations when it comes to your plan. On your end, don't take anything less and don't expect anything more.

You taken a great step by coming up with a plan. Now the next step is making sure that you can follow through with the plan. This step is going to require help from others. You can't go it alone.

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.

4 Things You're Doing Your Trainer Hates

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. I love all of my clients...I just don't love them all equally. Like with all loving relationships, there can be those little things can irk you and make you want to pull your hair out. You don't do that because love and all that good stuff...and you like having hair. Well they always say you should talk about these things and not keep them bottled up. So with that in mind, I'm going to list out the 4 biggest things that my clients do that drive me crazy.

  1. Not giving 100% effort: my job is to figure out, actually help you figure out, what you can do. In order to do that I need you put everything you have into it. If I've asked too much, I'll make the necessary adjustments. No need to worry. This goes for outside the gym also.
  2. No-show's/Late Cancellations: you shouldn't be doing this to anyone. It's just rude. I get it, things come up from time to time that are unavoidable. When the unavoidable becomes commonplace though well then it's annoying. For most of trainers, that's time that could've been used prepping for other clients or, better yet, sleeping. I haven't even mentioned loss of income because if you do it to me, you will be charged. Unfortunately in this business, time is money.
  3. All or nothing attitude: this one is just silly. People always chase perfect. Then when things inevitably aren't perfect they start over completely or worse they quit. Perfect doesn't exist. It's a mythical creature. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you'll appreciate the progress you've made.
  4. Self deprecation: I can't tell you how many times I've had clients list all the great stuff they've had happen while training: stuff like weight loss, getting stronger and learning new skills. Then they'll quickly shoot down it all down by saying the "results probably won't last" or "maybe the scale is broken". After I finish banging my head against the wall, I point out this negative self-talk and prohibit it in the future. You work too damn hard to dismiss quality results as accidents.

These are just a few things that drive me a little crazy. There's a common thread between all of these things. The fact is that all of these things have to do with you, the client, sabotaging your own success. All I'm asking is that you show up consistently, give it your all, recognize and appreciate your progress and successes. Is that too much?

Make a Plan...Stick to the Plan...Even if There's Puke

Here's the story of a man with a plan. This was going to follow through on this plan if it was the last thing he did. This is the story of a man's perseverance. This man is me. And if you give me a couple of minutes I promise it'll relate back to fitness. Here's a backstory before the story. I usually set my alarm for 5am. Even on the weekends. This past weekend I was up early on Saturday as usual. Went through the day blah blah blah. Saturday night I made the decision I was going to sleep in Sunday morning. This was a big deal for me. It's been a while since I slept in. So I decided to stay up late to get some work done. So at midnight I headed to bed with every intention of not waking up before 8am.

A few notes before I go on:

  1. At this point in my life, midnight is late on a Saturday night. Save your pity, I'm sad for myself.
  2. At this point in my life, 8am is sleeping late. Again save your pity.
  3. The way I figure it, I've got 10 years before my kids are old enough for me to get my life back. So there is an upside.

Ok, here's what happened. The baby happened. He woke up around 5am, which is normal. Normally he eats and falls back to sleep. Sunday morning, his pajamas are wet. Turns out that was an omen. After changing his clothes, my wife, Alli, goes to feed him. Then I hear a gag and a "" from her.

He vomited. I'm talking a Mt Vesuvius level eruption. To be completely honest, a small part of me is saying "that's all happening on her side of the bed and has nothing to do with me. Stick to the plan." I didn't do that though, I got up and helped with the clean up efforts. This involved changing the baby (again), Alli changing her clothes and changing the sheets. In the middle of this there was diarrhea.

All in all there was about an hour of changing clothes, sheets and doing laundry. Then Alli is like you go back to sleep, I'lll stay up with him. Within 5 minutes she was back in the bedroom changing her and the baby's clothes. He had puked again.

He continued to puke throughout the day. This story's not about him though, it's about me. Around 6:30am, I laid down again. It took me a little while but I fell back to sleep and didn't get up until 8:30.

The point of this story is I had a plan. Things didn't go exactly as planned. But as soon as it was possible, I got right back on the plan. This is for sure very tongue & cheek and I'm definitely making light of my son's illness. The point still stands though.

You have to have a plan. Things aren't going to go according to that plan. You have to realize that going in. Things aren't going to go according to that plan. Got that? Good. As soon as possible get back to the plan. If you want to reach the goal, you have to get back to the plan.

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.

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.

Success in 2019 begins today.

It what may have seemed like a blink of the eye, 2018 is pretty much over. Thanksgiving is long gone at this point and Chanukah started last night. So now begins the time when you should be reflecting on how the year went for you. What went well and what didn't. Is there anything that you can improve upon? Is there anything need or can do without? Ok, now that we got that out of the way. What's the plan for 2019?

I'm all for reflecting on the past and all but here's the thing: there's not much you can do about it at this point. So do some reflection and learn as much as you can from the past year but don't linger too long. Use the time that you've spent worrying about that thing from 6 months ago (that no one else remembers) to start coming up with a plan for how you're going to spend the next 6 months.

I feel like what usually happens is New Year's day arrives and people start making resolutions with no clue about how they are going to make them into reality. Other than using grit and resolve. Spoiler alert: that doesn't work. (Which is why half the people reading this are thinking about or even trying to remember what their 2018 resolutions were.)

So instead let's try to make 2019 different. The way to do that is by coming up with an action plan now. Don't wait until January. If you do, you'll lose half of the month just trying to figure out what you want to do and the logistics of how you could possibly do it.

I'd also say if you want to be successful at 2019 resolutions, think beyond 2019. What do you want your life to be like in 2020 or 2025 even? Thinking about and having long term goals (l year plus) gives you something to work toward and a way to measure progress.

The measuring of progress is key. When you only have short term goals, it becomes a "did I" or "didn't I" situation. Either you accomplished the goal or you didn't. If you didn't you that can be stressful psychologically which can affect how you handle the next goal.

Having long term goals allows you to ask if you got closer to accomplishing them. Even if you miss a short term goal you can get closer to long term ones. This relieves some of the stress and allows you to keep momentum. Having a long term goal also allows you to change direction. Meaning you can scrap a short term goal for something else that will get you to your long term goal faster.

All of this is to say that, if you want to be successful with resolutions in 2019 then that process has to start now and you have to consider well beyond 2019. Like I said appreciate all that went well in 2018 and learn from whatever didn't go so well. Just don't let time spent doing that slow down your success in 2019.

#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.

You can only sprint so far...

If I told you to run as fast as you can, I can guarantee that after 1 minute you will be running slower than you were after 10 seconds (assuming you're giving max effort through out). That's just how sprinting works: the longer you go, the slower you will get. This is why Usain Bolt's fastest 400m time isn't just 4x his 100m time, it's slower than that. This example extends beyond physically sprinting and goes into all areas. I once had a client say "go all out or go home" during a session. I told her I didn't like the saying because most people end up going home. Most people can't handle the all out mentality...for an extended period time anyway.

The times we're living in suggests that the only way to do anything is to "go balls to the wall" and give 100% commitment and effort. I agree with the 100% commitment and effort parts. I take issue with the "balls to the wall" part.

You can only go "balls to the wall" for a week, two max. After that you're going to crash and burn. So I'd rather see you give 100% commitment and effort to less stuff. Instead of trying to change everything all at once, just pick a couple. Actually I'd say pick just one. Commit to doing one thing to the best of your ability. Keep doing it until you master it. Mastery means it takes minimal thought to accomplish. Mastery may take 2 days or 2 months or longer. Do it for as long as it takes. Then commit to something else and master that.

I know that this process will work for everyone. 100%. That being said, most people will opt for the "all out" strategy. The one we know doesn't work. Why?

The main reason is because mastering one thing at a time just isn't that sexy or exciting. It's actually kind of boring. Working out 2hrs a day everyday and doing the carnivore diet (that's a real thing) sounds way more hardcore than "eat 2 more servings of vegetables each day". Remember more is not better; better is better.

Another reason people choose "all out" is (I think) they know it will end and it will end relatively quickly. To go the 100% commitment route requires patience. Patience is one of the things that is in the shortest supply nowadays. You have to be willing to accept progress at whatever rate it comes. Most of us see progress and we want to speed it up. We should stop doing that.


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.