An Argument for Average Fitness

Average Fitness

I recently read an article by Mark Manson called “In Defense of Being Average“. (worth a read!)

The premise of the article is that we tend to idolize and make heroes of people (or characters) who embody perfection. We think up heroes like Batman and Superman, and idolize Greek gods and Spartan warriors. We’re always looking up to those that are the best at what they do.

The same is true in fitness. You can tell by the endless amounts of Instagram posts of “Fitspiration” focused on peach booty’s and 6-pack abs. It’s perfect images of perfect body’s in perfect lighting and perfect poses.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to look at for sure, but what does that do for our expectations of OUR fitness?

Mark said it great in terms of what I want to focus on in this article:

“Today, I want to take a detour from our “make more, buy more, fuck more” culture and argue for the merits of mediocrity, of being blasé boring and average.

Not the merits of pursuing mediocrity, mind you — because we all should try to do the best we possibly can — but rather, the merits of accepting mediocrity when we end up there despite our best efforts.”

Think of it like playing basketball. Of course you’re going to idolize players like Michael Jordan, Cobe Bryant and Labron James. However, if you’re reading this it’s likely that you accept that you’ll never be able to perform at their level. You may be good and even great, but you’re not the best.

Does this discourage you? Not really. You’ve accepted it and you can use it as inspiration to push yourself further.

However, I don’t feel the same is true in fitness. From the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with and countless people I’ve talked to, we tend to get discouraged if we can’t be the best.

Yes we have the motivation. Yes we stare at the 21 year old fitness model and want to look exactly the same. Yes we push for a bit to take ourselves further. However, if we don’t reach those results within a couple of months, we get discouraged and quit.

Truth is, fitness has the same type of bell curve as anything in life.

Average Fitness
image from Mark’s article

In this image we can see someone like Michael Jordan is in the top 1%. Sticking with basketball we can probably argue that all other NBA players would fit in the top 5%. College players and high level Rec players will fall into the top 20% and the majority of us regulars would fit into the middle 60%.

This same is true in pretty much any other area of life you can think of.

So why not look at this the same way for our fitness?

What’s wrong with accepting that we’ll have a “middle 60” level of fitness?

It doens’t mean you can’t and shouldn’t persue more, it just means that we don’t get so discourage when we don’t lose 20lbs in 1 week.

Average Fitness

In terms of health and fitness, the bottom 20% is obese and at a high risk of cardio vascular disease and other health issues. The top 5% are the fitness models you see and double tap on Instagram. The top 20% are athletes of some level constantly training for their sport.

So if you’re an average gym goer that shows up 3-5 days per week on a semi-regular basis, then you’re going to land in the middle 60.

The problem is many people aren’t even that. They get so discouraged that they’re not doing 5 days per week, at high intensity, eating nothing but rabbit food and flaunting their abs any chance they can get that it’s just not worth it.

If I’m not perfect what’s the point?!?!

The point is that the middle 60 (or maybe more specifically the upper 30 of the middle 60) is still a solid level of fitness and health. You’ll look great naked, you’ll feel great inside and you’ll live a longer happier life.

If you can accept this mediocracy then you’ll experience more enjoyment in your pursuit of fitness and even the rest of your life because you’re not stressed about not being the top 5%.

I encourage you to consider the value of having an average fitness and the happiness that comes with it.

Amazing Results in ONLY 15 DAYS!!!

I get quite frustrated from 30 day programs. I get more frustrated from 21 day programs.

Just now I saw on Instagram a 15 day program.

Seriously. WTF!?

What the fuck can you possibly achieve in 15 days?

In the post they’re hyping that it’s a diet plan, recipes, workouts, a group for support and coach all for only $150.

$150 for a 15 days program!?!

Now, $150 for a diet plan, workouts and coaching might not be that bad of a price, but again, what the fuck will you achieve in 15 days?

As always, I wonder then what?

This is the loophole.

Let’s say it’s a super strict cutting regimen. You actually see results because you go after it 100%. Heck, it’s only 2 weeks right. Anyone can go 100% for 2 weeks.

You’re so “successful” you lose 10 pounds!! Amazing results right!?!

But still, then what?

Will you be better off?

Will you be able to keep it off?

Will you have learned anything?

No you won’t. You will have forced yourself to succeed BECAUSE it’s so short term. You have ZERO plans or focus on the long term and how to MAINTAIN the results you just created.

Usually, you’ll be so exhausted by the intensity of the 15 days you’ll happily dance back into your “normal” routine and go right back to day 1.

This shit drives me crazy!

If you’re falling for this stuff and frustrated with not getting any results. You should be.

That stuff doesn’t work, it never works, and it never will. Stop falling for it.

I hope this post sheds some light on the process of these things and helps you see why. If you want long term results, get a long term mindset.

At least something beyond 15 days. Or 21. Or 30. Or even 90.

Please.

I Don’t Wanna – Lacking Motivation

“I’m tired.”

“I’ve had a long day.”

“It’s late and I need to rest.”

“What’s one missed day…”

Ever had these thoughts?

Ever been lacking motivation?

These are the thoughts we have on the days we don’t wanna.

We have a goal. We’ve been working hard for it. But today is harder than most.

Then the justifications come.

“Today I feel like I deserve a break.”

“Today I think rest is what’s best.”

“Today I just don’t have the motivation.”

I saw we, because it happens to me too. Many of my clients have thought I’m immune to these days somehow, but it’s just not true.

These days exist for most of us so don’t use it as another excuse and think you’re special.

The difference between success and failure for reaching our goals is the decision we make on these days. The difference between success and failure is how we end these days.

Did you give in, buy the excuse and take the rest day you “earned”?

Or did you buck up, dig deep and make it happen anyway?

We all have days we don’t wanna, but it shouldn’t affect the actions you take.

If you truly want to reach your goals, you know how this ends 😉

~ Chad

Intensity at What Cost?

Intensity

Do you like the intensity of HIIT workouts?

I’ve written articles on Intensity before, but this one is to address intensity for intensity’s sake.

Intensity is where the results are so it’s definitely a good thing. You can’t reach goals without pushing your limits.

Intensity

 

However, I’m seeing so many gyms and routines focused on intensity lately and often it’s just for intensity sake. Everything is made harder just so it’s harder.

#JustAddBurpees

It’s intensity for intensity’s sake and this is how we run into problems. Problems like injuries.

If you’ve gotten an injury from your workout, you’re doing it wrong. You’ve pushed well beyond your capacity and your body couldn’t handle it.

When the only goal is finishing your workout in a pool of your own sweat on the floor, this isn’t a good thing. If the idea is to “crush anybody that tries this” then the workout doesn’t have any other goal. It’s not specific to any person.

Smart intensity knows your limits and pushes on that. It makes it hard for YOU.

Stop focusing on intensity for intensity’s sake. This usually means pushing well past our limits and this type of training often ends with injury.

If you’re going to push, you need to know why you’re pushing and how far to push. You need to know how that pushing will benefit you, not harm you.

~ Chad

Find Your Thing

Find Your Thing

We all have a thing.

A thing is something that we fall in love with or find great pleasure in that helps us reach our goal.

It’s what gets us fully committed to pursuing our goal.

In fitness, it’s basically what helps you take the steps needed to reach your goals.

Your thing might be:
– running
– spinning
– aquarobics
– kickboxing
– zumba
– home DVDs
– bootcamps
– group fitness classes
– having a gym buddy
– personal trainer
– accountability coach
weekly progress photos
– publicly announce your goals

To name a few. There’s a ton of options out there to get you hooked!

If it’s joining a class you can’t wait to go to or making a commitment, all in, to a coach because you know you can’t do it on your own. In the end it doesn’t matter as long as it’s what gets you to reach your goal.

The point here is that there are nearly limitless options so get out there and try them!

My belief here is that:

“everything works for somebody, but nothing works for everybody”

You gotta find what works for you.

What’s your thing?

Find Your Thing

If you don’t know, make a list of what you’ve done. Then make a list of what you haven’t yet tried. It’s likely that’s your thing on the list of “haven’t done yet”.

~ Chad

This Shit Ain’t Pretty

This Shit Ain't Pretty

Building the body of your dreams (the one you follow on Instagram) isn’t easy, it’s not pretty and it doesn’t happen overnight.

I’m so sick and tired of all the crap out there that says otherwise that I wanted to step up and be a voice in the opposite direction.

The truth is, it’s not easy, it’s fucking hard, it takes a long fucking time, and you likely won’t get it on your first fucking try.

This Shit Ain't Pretty

 

Yes, of course, there are a few people that got those AMAZING results you see on the infomercial.

Yes, someone you know lost 40 lbs in 40 days.

However, that’s not normal.

What’s normal is that you’re following a 22 year old fitness model on Instagram.
What’s normal is they’ve had that body nearly their entire life.
What’s normal is that MOST people haven’t looked like their entire life, don’t have the same metabolism and won’t see the same results as them in the same time frame.

What’s normal is:

Most people fail many many times before reaching their fitness goals. 

And if they do it’s not a simple straight line. It’s an ugly, grinding mess that has you feeling like you want to give up over and over again.

So please, please, please, stop believing the bullshit. Stop believing the hype and stop believing you’re the exception.

Likelihood is you’re not the exception, you’re the norm.

It is what it is so accept that reality now and get prepared to put in the work it actually takes. Be prepared for the bumpy road because it sure ain’t pretty.

~ Chad 

 

Building a 100 Year Body

We are living longer than we ever have before.

Thanks to modern medicine and scientific advancement, reaching 80, 90 and even 100+ is quite common.

One of my biggest fears is that we will live to 100 but our body only makes it to 70. We spend the last 30 years of our lives with minimal function and barely moving. Our life outlasts our body.

This make me think of one of my favourite quotes:

“We don’t stop moving because we get old, we get old because we stop moving”.

What this means for me is that in my fitness and health endeavours, I don’t only want a body that looks good now, I want one that lasts and functions for my whole life. I don’t want to just live to 100+, I want to BE ACTIVE until 100+.

Similar to a recent article I wrote, we need to focus on how our body functions and having a strong foundation in order to do this.

So many fitness programs today are focused on 2 things:
1 – an appearance/aesthetic result and
2 – getting that result as fast as possible

This speed and focus on external image often leads to sacrificing internal systems along the way.

We may look good at the beach, but this cumulative damage to systems on the inside ads up and leaves us limited in function, replacing joints, in a wheelchair or needing to inject hormones in our later years just to survive.

I don’t know about you, but that’s not something I want.

What I want is a 100 year body.

What I want it’s to look good AND FUNCTION GOOD until my last day!

~ Chad

What is Your Mind Telling You?

Mind

What is your mind telling you?

We all have an internal self talk. What’s important is whether that self talk is negative or positive.

Internal self talk is probably the biggest obstacle for most people when pursuing their goals. Any goal that is, not necessarily just health and fitness.

Often, our struggle is because our own mind is getting in our way. If we have a lot of negative self talk, that keeps us where we are and it’s hard to move forward.

Things like:  Continue reading “What is Your Mind Telling You?”

I won’t sacrifice your health for faster “gains”

Gain

Yes you are pursuing your fitness goal with maximal intensity, but is it at the sacrifice of other areas of your health?

I’m seeing this more and more lately so I wanted to address it.

Here’s my perspective:

I’m a Kinesiologist.

For the purposes of this article, all that means is that I study the movement and function of the body and how it works.

As a fitness coach, what this means is that when I create an exercise program for someone, I’m not only looking at their end goal and what they are trying to achieve, I’m also looking at their body and how well it functions.

What I see so much of today in the fitness industry is a singular focus intensity. Everyone wants HIIT workouts that “make me sweat”.

The good news from a coaching perspective is that making a workout hard is easy. I see endless amounts of videos on Facebook and Instagram of people creating insane workouts and super challenging variations of exercises. My personal simplification of it is: #JustAddBurpees

And it does make sense because intensity is how we get results.

It’s easy to make someone sweat and it’s easy to make someone work hard and push their intensity.

However, this often comes at a sacrifice to other areas of health or function in the body.

I see this in high intensity workout programs that don’t address body proper body mechanics and this creates added strain on joints and connective tissue.

I’m tired of seeing olympic lifts for added intensity meanwhile the knees and back are bending in ways that anyone watching knows is not right.

Bottom line, I’m not willing to make intensity the highest priority at the sacrifice of another area of health or physical function just for faster gains.

In my coaching I take the time to build a solid foundation with each client based on their individual needs. I take time to make sure they move and function well and I make sure they don’t develop other health issues just to lose a few quick pounds.

Unfortunately this process takes a lot longer than what we tend to see put in front of us online, but I don’t care.

I won’t sacrifice long term health for a short term result.

My goals is to help you create a body that not only looks good, but will function great for the rest of your life!

~ Chad

Hacking Motivation – how to stay motivated towards your fitness goals

Ever feel like you’re struggling for motivation to get to the gym?

Or you started strong for a few weeks but now you’ve lost your motivation?

Motivation is having a reason to act in a certain way.

The motivation we start our fitness journey could be:

  • wedding in a few months
  • vacation coming up soon
  • doctor recommended
  • frustrated with how you look/feel
  • inspired by another person and want similar results

Regardless of why you start, the key factor is that there is always a reason to get you going in the first place. The problem however is that the motivation you started with isn’t what keeps you going in the long run.

So, how do we stay motivated? How do we find new motivation when what we started with is lost? How do we get back on track?

By hacking motivation.

How do we hack motivation?

Success.

Success is how you stay motivated.

Let me explain.

In all the reasons why we start, there is some goal we are trying to achieve. There is some end point that we are moving towards.

This goal is the initial source of our motivation. However, it can also become the reason we get discouraged.

  • we aren’t seeing results
  • it’s taking longer than we thought
  • it’s harder than we thought

We lose motivation because we aren’t seeing the success we want to see.

Hacking motivation is creating success where it seems we have none.

We don’t feel or see success because of the perspective we have. In most cases, we are purely looking at the end goal or some big picture change.

In relation to our end goal, it may look like nothing has changed or we’re failing.

What we’re not seeing are the small changes and little successes we’ve reached. Our perspective is on what we’re NOT achieving vs what we ARE achieving.

An example:

I want to lose 20 lbs. 3 months after starting I’ve only lost 3. This perspective is frustrating and incredibly demotivating!

By only looking at pounds lost, I lose motivation.

However, if I look at smaller wins or other factors, I might see success.

My success might look like:

  • I’m more active and exercising regularly than I was before
  • I’m eating healthier most of the time
  • I’m actually feeling better and have more energy in the day
  • I’m sleeping better
  • My digestive issues have decreased
  • I’m feeling stronger in my body
  • I’m 3 lbs less than where I started!

By changing our perspective and finding the small wins, we can see the success we are having. By seeing the successes we feel more positive about what we are doing and stay motivated.

If you’re ever feeling demotivated on your health journey, change your perspective.

Find what you are achieving instead of only focus on what you haven’t achieved and you’ll be better able to continue pushing for your goal.

Find the success.

~ Chad

Sound too good to be true? Comment below and we can chat!

 

Why I Don’t Do Static Stretching

Static Stretching

Static stretching has long been abandoned as a pre workout warmup but should we also abandon it post workout? There is a lot of evidence that supports the idea that we should!

Now when I say static stretching I am referring to exercises such as bending over and touching your toes where you aren’t moving or exploring range of motion. We often go through these stretches with no real purpose and no real minfulness for the task at hand. Static stretching will increase your flexibility sometimes but it is not the most efficient in increasing your range of motion or teaching your body efficiency in the running motion.

Mobility exercises like the ones I have talked about in previous posts, often involve exploring the running range of motion such as the couch pose pictured below.

Static Stretching

There are also dynamic stretches that explore your sport specific range of motion – think of a dynamic warm up! You have leg swings, hip flexor pulses, fire hydrants and many other variations that work on activating the muscle as well as increasing mobility. I’m a big fan of working in the running specific range of motion and doing everything you can to improve your overall efficiency.

Then there’s yoga as well which takes all of these elements and incorporates core strength and breathing – I love yoga because it forces you to think about what you’re doing while you breathe and while you move. It’s not about sitting in a stretch and lengthening that muscle it’s about building strength in motion and building range of flexibility in all three planes of motion.

Is static stretching going to hurt you? Not necessarily but there is some evidence that excess stretching can lengthen the muscles too quickly. The point of this post is that there are a lot better ways to get more bang for your buck when talking about injury prevention and increasing your range of motion.

I will continue this idea in later posts but for now if you have any questions you can always reach out to me on Twitter, Instagram or drop by my Anthrophysique page.

Happy Running,

– Justin

1 is greater than 0

1 is greater than 0

I’ve used this statement for years with my clients and I’ve been seeing it pop up a lot more lately.

The idea is simple:

1 is greater than 0 means something is better than nothing. No matter how small that something is.

When it comes to goals, my clients often get stuck on the size of it. They get overwhelmed with the distance they still have to go.

What happens is we feel we need to achieve a certain amount in order for it to be worth it or considered a success. We feel it’s all or nothing.

In other words, we set the bar really high.

  • We forget that something is better than nothing.
  • We forget that one workout is better than no workouts.
  • We forget that a 5 minute walk is better than staying on the couch.
  • We forget that 1 good food choice is better than no good food choices.

We also believe that 1 isn’t enough. That the one small thing will never get us to our goals.

To a certain degree this is actually true. The 1 thing won’t get us to our goal. But, that’s not the point.

It’s not about reaching the goal. It’s about the direction we are going in.

Doing nothing keeps us on the current path. The current course. The course that is NOT leading to your goal.

Doing the 1 thing is taking the 1st step that starts you in a new direction.

It’s not really that it’s 1 step, it’s that it’s the FIRST step.

It’s 1 thing in the direction you WANT to go and that is always better than doing nothing.

The added benefit is that 1 thing usually leads to a 2nd thing. And on and on it can go. At least this way there is a chance.

Reaching your goals doesn’t come from the 1 thing. It comes from the accumulation of all the 1 things over a certain amount of time. There literally is no other way.

So, if you’re stuck in a rut, hit a plateau or feel like you’re never going to reach your goal, stop looking at the finish line. Start looking at your current starting point and figure out 1 thing you can do to move in the right direction.

No matter how small of a step it is, take it!

It’s only 1, but it’s better than 0 and it’s the ONLY way to get to 2.

~ Chad

The real reason your program isn’t working

  • Not seeing results quick enough?
  • Hit a plateau?
  • Feel you need to try something else?
  • Feel like what you’re doing just isn’t working?

I get a lot of reasons for people wanting quit because “this isn’t working”.

They’ve hit some sort of plateau, aren’t seeing results quick enough or have just had a week or two “off the wagon” and have struggled a little bit.

They feel they won’t be successful with their current plan and that it’s just not working.

However, from my perspective, slow progress, plateau’s and struggle is totally normal and common.

In fact, I’ve never seen anyone NOT struggle with their goal.

To think you can start off on something new, never struggle and be able to reach your target perfectly the first time is a little crazy if you think about it.

What I usually see is that it’s not the program that’s not working.

The issue I see most commonly is time.

People haven’t put in the time needed to truly see results.

 

We wall want the results NOW!

And why not? We see endless amounts of ripped bodies and ads on Instagram and other social media telling us it can be done quickly and easily.

Really that should be your first warning sign! It’s all total bullshit!

However, you believe it because they have proof! There are clear photos of the success people have had. There are testimonials of how great it has been, how easy it was and how good they feel.

Now I’m not trying to discredit any of these programs because many are probably pretty good. I’m talking more specifically about the time or speed of these results that the plans and programs are suggesting.

In my experience the promotional testimonials you are seeing fall into the “results not typical” category. At best I would guess 1% of people see results that quickly. Especially the type of results that are going to last.

My challenge to you is to actually do some research. Put in some time, put in some work and maybe even reach out to others.

How many people have actually done that “90 day Shred” program? Of those, how many experienced the stated results? Of those, how many kept those results long term after the 90 days?

Of the truly successful ones, ask “How long did it take you to get these results”

I guarantee it won’t be an overnight success story. I guarantee they didn’t nail it on their first try with no struggle.

In the end, my guess is that you’re probably just going to finish this article and say “I know Chad” and go on with your day.

We all REALLY know right?!

However, if your fitness goals are set 3 months at a time I’d argue that you don’t know. If you’ve tried more than 2, 3 or 4 different programs with little success or success that didn’t last, then you don’t really know.

It makes sense in your head, but when you’re motivated to try something new you forget it and think you’ll be different. You think you’ll be part of the 1%.

You think THIS will be the program that finally works!

But please, please, please do the research! Don’t just take my word for it.

This article is just words and theory on a website. Get some proof! At minimum just ask some friends and/or truly look at your own track record.

It’ll be incredibly valuable the next time you hit a plateau or rut on your journey.

When you struggle, it’s not always just the plan or program that’s not working.

More often than not, it’s probably not working because you haven’t put in enough time to get past the struggle.

~ Chad

Work, the variable of success

We are 3 weeks into January and the sad reality is that many people have already “fallen off the wagon” from their new year resolutions.

This might even be you.

You’ve missed a day, two or even a week already because life is busy and pulling you in every direction.

It seems like you’ve failed already.

However, that just isn’t true. It’s only a failure if you let it be.

You may have failed last week or maybe even yesterday but today is a new day. You get a new chance to get up and put in the work.

The difference between success and failure is how hard you work.

If you give up and stop working, of course that’s a failure. If you’re wondering why you’re not seeing results but you’re putting in minimal effort, stop worrying. It’s the effort, you need to work harder.

Even if you’re working your ass off and still not seeing results, you still have to work harder.

I’m sorry if that’s not what you wanted to hear, but it’s the truth.

How hard you’re working is the variable dictating wether or not you will be successful.

If you’re struggling, take a step back, review your goal and ask yourself what it’s worth. Is it worth the effort?

If not, that’s ok, but you need to find something else. If yes, then shut the eff up, quit whining and get to work!

If you need a little guidance to help you fit it all in let me know, I’m here to help!

~ Chad