I can’t help the extremes

I was having a great meeting with a company the other day and a question came up about how I help certain individuals. They recognized that there was a limitation to online coaching and that it doesn’t provide enough motivation that some people need. Some people need a trainer with them while they work out to really push them to work hard. This is very true, but it leads to what I call a dependancy relationship.

Beyond the relationship that personal training creates with most of it’s clients, there are certain people in this world that I just can’t help. They are the extremes, and they’ll be in any industry. The key is to recognize them, and not waste your efforts on thinking you can help them. Also, the good news is that they usually know for themselves if they are an extreme case. This can actually be a great quality to have, because then you know who you are and who you’re not.

On one end of the fitness spectrum is the fully dedicated. This is the person that gets up at 5 or 6am every day and does something active. They’ll go to a gym, yoga, personal training, crossfit, the pool or a run. It doesn’t really matter what they do, but they’re gonna do something. Even if their workout partner or trainer doesn’t show up, they’ll just do some push ups on a park bench or go for a run. Rain or shine, nothing stops this extremem case!

The other end of the spectrum is the fully content. This is the person that is totally cool with their body, their health, their activity level and the fact that they aren’t interested in doing much about it. They love life, eat what they wan’t, and just don’t like any type of exercise. It just doesn’t make a difference to them one way or another. They may try a class here or there or even hire a trainer, but in the long run, it’s just not something they’re interested in.

The reality is, these people are what they are and they will continue to be that way no matter what. As mentioned above, they may hire a trainer here and there, and in those cases I can help them short-term, but I’m not going to put efforts into chasing them down and showing them ‘the way’. When it comes to the extremes, I just can’t help.

Do you know where you are an extreme? What areas of your life are you 100% rain or shine and what areas are you just not interested?

How do you log results?

Measurement and logging is sometimes a tricky thing with my clients. The first question is always “What do I measure?”. This is followed by others: How do I measure it, How often do I measure, and How do I actually log it?

This last question is what I want to look at today. How do you log your measurements and/or what tools do you use? Some people like spreadsheets and make charts, others have piles and piles of tiny scraps of paper, and some create journals. You can get journals from book stores, creating your own or order custom ones like Sports Journals.

Being an online company, I like to stay digital and paperless as often as possible. I utilize Evernote to share programs with my clients and they can log their results right in the shared note. It keeps everything in one place and can be easily referenced through the search feature.

However, I’m always looking for new tools and options. I wanted to send it out to the world and see what types of tools you use to log your activity and workouts. Are you paper or paperless? Is it computer based on mobile based? What is the main reason you use what you do? I’d love to hear your feedback so please share in the comments.

Nutritional Inflammation

I read a great article the other day written by a heart surgeon about chronic inflammation in our bodies. Dr. Lundell states that chronic inflammation comes from “the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.”

It appears that the low fat diet we’ve been pushed all these years is actually harming us rather than helping us.

What I like most in the article is his descriptive terms for visualizing the damage created by inflammatory foods. He writes “Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding and you kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury.” This is what these foods do inside our body.

I always try and inform my clients that it’s not only the ‘fattening’ effect of food that matters, but that many of the foods we eat are physically damaging to the lining of our digestive track. This leads to inflammation in our body and eventually autoimmune diseases if we continue to consume these damaging foods. However, sometimes we need to hear it from our doctor before we do anything, so here is what Dr. Lundell suggests:

“What you can do is choose whole foods your grandmother served and not those your mom turned to as grocery store aisles filled with manufactured foods. By eliminating inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food, you will reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from consuming the typical American diet.”

What’s your experience with nutritional inflammation? Post thoughts in comments.

 

Fitbit trial update

In my original post about my Fitbit trial I had intended to have an update well before this time. As I often say to my clients, sometimes “life just happens” and a couple weeks turns into a couple months. It seems easy at times to get off track and distracted by other things but real success comes from getting back on track as soon as you can. Here I am!

The good news about 3 months of data is that I have a bigger picture view of my use of the Fitbit. In the first few weeks I started off strong and had the Fitbit with me everywhere I went. It came to work, play and sleep and logged everything along the way. I synced it to the web interface and enjoyed checking the results. I even linked my account with some friends and got to see their progress compared to mine. It peaked a desire to compete with them and made it pretty fun. Other motivation came from the emails announcing my achievements!

However, I did experience a downturn in that motivation. I forgot it in my jeans a couple times, missed some sleep logs and had a couple freak outs thinking I had washed it. Thankfully I didn’t, but missing some of the data allowed me to lose a little interest. That might just be my behaviour, but a couple friends reported similar findings. The initial excitement also wore down for them a little but they still continued to use the Fitbit fairly regularily.

The main downside for me was in relation to my goals. I personally wanted to gain 10 pounds and it seemed like the Fitbit had a challenge figuring that out. When I would update my weight every other day or so, it couldn’t compute how far I was from my goal. It just kept updating my starting weight and leaving 100% to my goal. I’m not sure if that actually de-motivated me or if it was just annoying for me.

The positive towards my goal was that I didn’t want to take too many steps per day. I am a very active person and 10,000+ steps per day is very easy for me to achieve. It’s also what keeps my metabolism high and difficult for me to gain weight. By knowing how far I was going each day, I used that information to be more efficient in my work and actually decrease steps per day. I didn’t just start sitting on the couch all day, I just re-assessed how I move all day. The weight I want to gain is lean muscle mass, not just body weight. If that were the case I could just sit around all day and eat more junk. Sorry, not going to happen!

My overall view is that I actually quite like this little device. It’s size makes it easily portable because you forget it’s with you. (It also creates scares of washing machine deaths though). It logs a good amount of data for activity and the online program also allows you to track food and calories. It can also log your sleep activity which is definitely my favorite feature. For the average person, I think it can be a great tool to keep you aware of your activity and remind you to be ative when you’re not.

I’d love to hear what you’ve experience if you have a Fitbit or similar device. Please post feedback in comments.