Why Online Personal Training Is Simply The Best

When it comes to physical appearance goals, whether it’s to lose weight, gain weight, grow muscle, lean out, etc, we all know that there are two main facets that we have to monitor to reach our target; food and exercise. In the “olden days,” (i.e. the days before we were all walking around with tiny computers attached to our hands) people turned to books and dietitians for advice about food and visited personal trainers for exercise guidance. But here we are in 2018, where everything, even meditation, can be done online.

So why are we still looking to the “olden day” tools to help us get to our goals?

This is where online coaching/personal training comes in. Continue reading “Why Online Personal Training Is Simply The Best”

The Time Will Pass Anyway

I’ve had this as my email signature for years:

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

~ Earl Nightingale

I was thinking about this quote yesterday because it was my 1 year anniversary of moving to Guadalajara Mexico. I moved here to start yet another fitness business and in 11 months since opening it’s going fantastically well!

It’s a group fitness, instructor lead, exercise program and we’ve grown to well over 200 members in our first 11 months. We’re already in talks with people wanting to invest in 2nd and 3rd locations.

However, this isn’t a story of an overnight success and a business growing incredibly fast in it’s first year. It’s actually a story 10+ years in the making.

I started as a personal trainer 11 years ago in a small gym in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada. A year later I opened CrossFit Edmonton and ran that for 4 years before moving back to Vancouver, Canada. I then started working with clients online and a year later AnthroPhysique was born. I even started a meal prep business in Vancouver called Fresh in your Fridge before moving to Mexico and starting this business, FitMix25.

The fun thing is that all of those businesses still exist today – I’ve moved on from some of them but I still feel like a proud father seeing them growing in the world.

The key though is that through my 11 years of business building I’ve failed, succeeded and learned a lot! However, since day 1 my dream has been to help more and more people live healthier lives. The physical form in which I’ve pursued that dream has changed over the years, but the dream itself is still the same.

I’ve been going after the same goal for 11 years!

Even though this example is around the growth of my businesses, the principle is fundamental to the pursuit of any goal.

The reality is time passes. There’s nothing we can do about that. The only thing we can control is what we do with our time.

If you have a goal, but do nothing to pursue it, I can guarantee your result: you WON’T reach it.

However, even though there will be setbacks, struggle, challenges, hard times and frustration, pursuing your goal is always worth it. It may take a long time to get there but so what?

The time will pass anyway.

~ Chad

Why I Stopped Being A Personal Trainer

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Why I stopped 1-on-1 personal training.

I’ve been thinking about what I’m doing in Mexico with Fitmix25 and what I’m doing with AnthroPhysique. I’ve dedicated my life to these two systems because I deeply believe in their benefits for someone’s health and fitness.

I’ve been thinking about why my belief so strong and what truly is the benefit of these systems?

It comes down to something that happened to me 9 years ago in early 2007. Continue reading “Why I Stopped Being A Personal Trainer”

Do you have vague goals or measurable goals?

Running a marathon is a measurable goal.

When I ask people for their goals, I oftentimes get vague responses. Most commonly, people tell me that they want to lose weight or build muscle.

Let’s start with the “losing weight” response and let’s first change the terminology.

What we’re really talking about here is losing body fat, right? You can lose weight by simply dehydrating yourself, but I realize that what people mean by “lose weight” is actually that they want to “lose fat.” – if your goal is to simply lose fat, how do know when you’ve attained that goal? Continue reading “Do you have vague goals or measurable goals?”

What’s the BEST thing you can do for your health?

What's the BEST thing you can do for your health?

A while back I saw the below video on a friends Facebook page. It’s a very cool little video that talks about the single best thing you can do for your health. The great news is that it’s simple and accessible by anyone!

Even though I think it’s a great video, and has some great stats, I wonder how many people will watch it and say “D’uh!”.

Is it really new information to you that exercise is a good thing to be doing?

I don’t think it is. I actually believe that MOST people would easily tell you that exercise is the best thing you could do for your health.

So to me, the question isn’t what’s best for ones health, the questions is: if everyone knows it, why don’t we do it?

I encourage you to take the 9 minutes to watch the video and then answer MY question:

What’s the #1 thing that PREVENTS YOU from doing the BEST THING for can do for your health?

Knowing what exercise to do isn’t enough, here’s why:

what exercise is best

I’d bet good money that you’ve done at least one internet search for a workout program or nutrition plan to help you reach your goals.

Am I right?

You may have even found THIS article through such a search.

The good news is that this interwebs thing happens to hold a TON of information. A simple search should yield hundreds, if not thousands of websites with daily workouts, hundreds of recipes, nutrition plans, and other sites blogging about what you should be eating and/or not eating.

There are 2 major problems that come from this: Continue reading “Knowing what exercise to do isn’t enough, here’s why:”

Personal Training – Why it doesn’t last

personal training

In the last decade I’ve worked with clients in bootcamps, sport specific training camps, personal training, CrossFit, small and large group classes and remote coaching. With this experience, I now look at personal training in a new light, and better understand why it doesn’t last.

To me, personal training is a dependancy relationship between the client and trainer. Most people hire a trainer because they feel like they can’t work out on their own otherwise.  They need a trainer to push them or they won’t do anything.

Sound familiar?  Continue reading “Personal Training – Why it doesn’t last”

Think barefoot running is just a fad? Results are starting to prove otherwise.

barefoot running

Have you heard of the barefoot running movement?

Perhaps you’ve seen those silly “toe shoes” and laughed at the people wearing them.

They aren’t the most fashionable thing, I’ll admit, but if you wear them fashion is the least of your concerns.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a fan of being barefoot and have quite a few pairs of “barefoot” or “minimalist” shoes. In fact, I’m hardly a fan of socks and if you ask my wife she’ll tell you how many I leave in random places around the house. I’ve never really liked socks and I’ve been using minimalist shoes for about 8 years, ever since I learned about the Vibram Five Fingers.

For me, the reason I value being barefoot so much is because that’s how our body is naturally designed. My usual comment to people asking about it is: “no one is born with shoes on”.

AnthroPhysique is all about creating the body you were born to have. You were born barefoot and hundreds of thousands of years of evolution has created a pretty amazing structure we call a foot. Barefoot running isn’t just a trend, it’s what we’ve done for thousands and thousands of years.

My argument agains shoes is: how can something that was designed a few decades ago compete with thousands of years of evolutionary necessity?

I’m bringing this up now because I recently read an article that peaked my interest: Two year long case study demonstrating an increase in arch height from running in minimalist shoes.

What stood out the most for me were the pictures below. The changes in this person’s feet are incredible and noticeable by anyone, even with an untrained eye. The results are anecdotal and happened over the course of 2 years. From the study:

“To see the true effects of what happens to our foot by removing the external support from a traditional motion control running shoe, it takes time. Years actually. I would like to share an example of a runner who had abandoned her rigid orthotics and motion control ASICS running shoes and began wearing minimalist shoes.”

barefoot running

The client went from having “flat feet, a valgus position of the calcaneus (the heel bone angles inward when observing from behind), and a valgus knee deformity (knock knees). Her symptoms consisted of knee pain as well as frequent lower back pain. She was wearing custom rigid orthotics which were implemented to realign her arch and heel bone.”

They took approximately 3 months to transition the client into barefoot shoes and barefoot running. It then took 2 years training in them to get these results. As the author mentioned, it takes time!

The results, as you can see, are incredible and don’t need much explaining. Overall, the muscles of the foot got stronger which lead to: increasing the heel arch, realigning the foot and realigning the heel bone. This leads to a stronger foundation for the body and likely meant a reduction in their knee and lower back pain.

If these results and images are enough to make you consider the idea of barefoot running, here are a few things to consider:
If fashion is your primary concern, this isn’t for you
TRANSITION into the new shoes over the course of weeks or months otherwise you can expect cramps and injury
Results take time, don’t expect to notice a difference immediately
Bottom line, I don’t believe we’re designed to be wearing shoes. Although there are benefits of protection from the elements, there aren’t many benefits for the structure of your foot. Just ask an engineer about “arch support” and they’ll probably laugh at you.

Have you tried barefoot running? Post thoughts and comments below.

Fitness Tip: Get Real!

If you have kids you may have realized this a few weeks ago, but if you don’t, you may be like me and just realized this week:

HOLY CRAP IS SEPTEMBER!

September is a busy time of year for fitness because a lot of people start to “get back on track” after a summer of vacationing and indulgences. Have no fear though, we’re here to help!

My fitness tip this week is: Get Real!!

What I mean by this is to be realistic with your time. People tend to get excited when getting back into a routine and want to workout for 5+ hours a week. If you’ve taken the summer off, this is highly unrealistic.

Take a minute to look at your schedule, find the pockets of time you can actually commit to and work on making that happen. I’ll bet that even that will be a challenge.

Good luck!

Vibram FiveFingers Lawsuit – where is the fault?

Vibram FiveFingers

Have you heard about Vibram FiveFingers?

They are those funky toes shoes that you may have seen people wearing on the street or at the gym. Unfortunately, they now have a lawsuit out against them.

Vibram FiveFingers
Me and my Vibram FiveFingers circa 2009

The funny part for me is that I had planned to have a post about barefoot running and the “barefoot movement” on this blog yesterday. I wrote it a week ago because it was in my plan of blog posts I wanted to do. Funny enough, as soon as I finished the draft, I found an article about a Lawsuit against the Vibram FiveFinger shoes.

There are now plenty of articles online highlighting the lawsuit settlement and even bashing the shoe makers for “crimes against fashion and humanity”. Check out these articles from FittishNBC News, and Vox.

The good news, in my opinion, is that you can also find some articles taking the other side of the argument. A writer at The Atlantic doesn’t want a refund, and apparently a survey says 70 percent of FiveFingers owners will keep toe shoes despite lawsuit.

I’ll add my opinions and non-scientific evidence about barefoot lifestyles next week. For now I’d like your opinion.

What do you think?

Where do you think the is the fault and who is to blame?

How Many Habits Have You Built in 21 Days?

Have you ever heard the phrase “It takes 21 days to form a new habit”?

I’m sure you have. I’ve likely heard it hundreds of times.

Have you ever actually tried it though? How many habits have you formed by doing something for 21 days?

I’ve tried many things for at least 21 days. Heck, I’ve even practiced handstands every single day for 130 days! After that though I stopped. It wasn’t a habit. I didn’t continue doing it here and there or even at all. So what happened?

I recently read an article by James Clear called How Long Does it Actually Take to Form a New Habit? Like most of his articles, I really enjoyed it.

The phrase itself came from Dr. Maxwell Maltz. His actual quote came from his experiences around forming new behaviours and was specifically written as: “These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.”

Not quite “It takes 21 days to form a new habit”.

Like many quotes it’s been shorted and paraphrased down to a simpler form and, unfortunately in this case, steers people in an unrealistic direction. It sounds nice, but it’s rarely successful.

So how long does it really take?

Jame’s article goes on to talk about a study by Phillippa Lally at University College London. The study revealed that it actually takes 66 days on average to build a new habit.

The average is 66 days but the variance was between 18 to 254 days. This is a far cry from 21 days!

In the world of fitness this hasn’t exactly been a hard conclusion to make through observing people’s patterns.

How many thousands if not millions of people flock to the gyms every new years? Of those, how many do you think build a strong habit after just one 1 month?

I don’t have any accurate facts on this but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was less than 10%.

Most of those memberships drop off after 3 months, still proving that a habit can take a really long time to be built.

What can we learn from this?

For me, it’s that there isn’t a quick fix. You may get quick results, but if you want them to last you’re going to have to dig in for the long run. If you truly want to change your life and build a new lifestyle, you’re going to have to focus on long-term.

As James concludes in his article “embracing longer timelines can help us realize that habits are a process and not an event”.

I’ll leave you yet again with my favourite quote:

“Never give up on a dream just because of the length of time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” ~ H. Jackson Brown

Have you struggled with the “21 days” concept? Share your experiences of habit building in the comments below.

HIIT Workouts – the pro’s and con’s

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts seem to be a lot more popular lately. Well, maybe it’s not that they’re more popular but the term “HIIT” itself is more popular. For me it’s been popping up a lot more so I figured I might as well write a post about it 🙂

A couple examples of HIIT programs are:

  • P90x
  • T25
  • Bootcamps
  • CrossFit
  • Tabata

In a basic sense, HIIT workouts alternate between periods of high intensity with periods of rest. The length of each period can vary greatly depending on who’s writing your program or hopefully what you’re training for.

HIIT workouts can have a lot of benefits too:

  • Improved anaerobic capacities
  • Improved aerobic capacities
  • Shorter workout times to fit busy schedules
  • Sustained increase in metabolic rate for longer periods after workouts
  • Reducing risk factors of Cardiovascular Disease
  • Improving Insulin sensitivity
  • Generally less boring than sustained state workouts

As you can see, there are many reasons to use a high intensity workout in your routine. In fact, I’m always looking at how I can help my clients increase the intensity in workouts, ONCE they’ve reached an appropriate level of fitness.

My main concern with any workout program is to make sure that it’s appropriate for the desired goals and current fitness level of the individual. All too often I see something like a HIIT workout being given to a client who’s not ready for it. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Just because it CAN have a ton of benefits doesn’t mean it the right thing to do.

I say CAN have a ton of benefits because sometimes I feel it may not be worth it. There are risks that come along with intensity and it’s important to make sure your body is ready for the challenge.

Some of the cons of HIIT workouts are:

  • Increase toxicity in the body
  • Extreme muscle soreness
  • Risk of injury

These risks are generally greater for anyone just starting into a fitness routine. If you’ve been consistent with a routine for a while, then a HIIT workout program might be a great option for you.

It’s the intensity itself is the main risk for beginners.

By pushing your body too fast, too far, too soon you’re setting yourself up for failure. Injury is the biggest concern because usually your joints aren’t strong enough and your technique isn’t solid. As you push intensity, it’s going to challenge anyone’s technique. Poor technique at a high intensity is a recipe for injury.

Also, high intensity produces a lot of metabolic breakdown of muscle and fat tissue in your workout. This can lead to extreme muscle soreness lasting many days and potentially challenge the body’s ability to effectively filter the toxins out of your body leading to major health risks.

I don’t want to stop anyone from using a high intensity routine, I just want to inform people so they know when to use it.

In my opinion, intensity is where the results are. I’m a strong believer in the value of high intensity workouts.

That being said, intensity is relative. If you’re starting from couch potato status, walking or cycling for 30 minutes is an increase in intensity. There’s no need to be doing 400m repeats on day 1.

As always, progression in your workouts is going to be your best bet for long term success.

What HIIT workout programs have you tried and what have been your results?

4 Tips for Setting AND Reaching Your Goals

Have you ever set a health or fitness goal before?

Have you ever set more than 1 goal?

Have you ever set the SAME goal many different times?

Goals are a funny thing. We all know about them, we all set them, but how often to we reach them? Many people set the same (or very similar) goals over and over again.

Even if you do reach the goal, hopefully you’d set a NEW goal to achieve even more.

Goals are a big part of my coaching program. On the most basic level, I work with people to help them achieve their goals. We set the goal, making a plan to reach the goal, measure our progress towards the goal and then adjust the plan as needed.

Do you go through that process with your goals?

Here are 4 tips to help you get better at setting AND REACHING your goals:

#1 – Set clear and specific goals. 

I see so many goals written as “get fit”, “eat better”, “get healthier”, “be more active”, “feel better”, “have more energy”, etc.

The trouble is that these are unclear and not measurable. Setting a clear and specific goal helps you measure your progress and adapt your plan if need be. Something like: “I want to lose 2 inches around my waist in 90 days” is a lot more specific.

#2 – Be realistic. 

Do you know how much weight you can lose or gain in 4 weeks? You may have heard numbers thrown out there of what other people have achieved, but do you know how much YOU can achieve? How about how long it takes to increase you run speed, strengthen your core or add 10 more pounds to a lift?

I see many goals set that are only attainable in extreme cases and don’t really apply to the average person. To be realistic with your goals you need to know what YOU can do. If you don’t know what you can do, that’s okay, that’s why we have the next step or you can consult with a professional 😉

#3 – Make a plan

Now that you have the goal. You need to make a plan. Again, I see a lot of failures at this stage because I set a clear goal but don’t make a clear plan to get there.

“I want to lose/gain weight so I’ll go to the gym.”

Yes, the gym is where the progress CAN happen, but if you don’t know what you’re doing while you’re there, how will you reach your goal. The goal is your destination, the plan is your map.

#4 – Measure and adjust. 

We set clear goals, we try and be realistic, but now it’s time to measure. The idea of a goal is that we HOPE to achieve it. Really, we’re taking a GUESS at what we can do and then we’re testing it. Whether or not we actually CAN is yet to be determined.

Many people fail to reach their goals in a speedy fashion and then feel defeated and quit. However, NOT reaching your goal actually gives you more information than reaching it. You now know what NOT to do, so it’s time to adjust.

If you don’t reach your goal, make a change to your plan and keep pushing on.

One of my favourite quotes in this area is actually in the signature of all of my emails:

“Never give up on a dream just because of the length of time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
~ H. Jackson Brown

Setting goals isn’t about hitting them 100% of the time. It’s about setting a marker you hope to achieve and then doing everything in your power to get yourself there.

Have you been successful with your goals? What are your tips for success?

Consistency

Consistency in my opinion is one of the most important steps for developing a healthy lifestyle. It’s also one of the most overlooked.

It’s been an underlying theme in some of my latest posts and it’s definitely the main focus for all of my clients starting out.

If you think about it, where in your life are you the most successful? Is it those same areas that you are also the most consistent?

If we want to achieve a goal, it takes a certain level of pushing to get ourselves there. We may have setbacks and obstacles, but if we keep getting back up and pushing forward eventually we’ll get there.

This is consistency. It’s regularly performing what’s needed to reach our goals. It’s doing the work even when we don’t want to. It’s steady, it’s on-going and it lasts.

Unfortunately, this is NOT what I normally see in fitness. In fitness it looks a little more like this:

January: “THIS is the year!!”
February: “Why don’t I have results yet? This sucks!”
March: “I don’t have time for this anymore. Besides, I wasn’t getting any results”

May: “I need to get back into my routine. Need that beach body for summer!”
June: “It’s getting nice out, I’m going to start running”
July: “I don’t need my gym membership for the summer, I’ll be so busy outside.”

September: “Time to get back in the routine, I GAINED weight over the summer!”
October: “Why don’t I have results yet? This sucks”
November: “I don’t have time for this anymore. I’ll start again after the holidays”

UP and down… UP and down… UP and down…

I think there are many reasons for this, which I’ve explained in other posts, but here I want to look at how to build consistency.

The key to building consistency is starting small and starting simple. In college I had a teacher that said “K.I.S.S” – Keep It Simple Stupid.

When we have the UP moments, we’re excited and full of motivation. We dive in and go hard. It lasts for a bit, but eventually fades.

To prevent this, start simple. Start with something you know you can succeed at. Something within your reach.

Even if you feel like you can do more, stick with the simplicity.

If you hit the right level, you’ll get success after success. Week after week you’ll reach your goals and achieve what you set out to do.

You’ll be consistent!

When you reach this point, you’ll notice a new thought come into your head. You’ll notice a thought like: “wow, that was way easier than it used to be” This is the point where you’re ready for more.

Now you can increase your complexity and make it a little harder. However, keep this increase simple too and be careful not to go too overboard. If you do it right, you’ll remain consistent and you’ll reach the “ready for more” stage even quicker this time.

In the long run, this method will still get you the results you want. It may take a little longer at first but in the long term your results will last. You’ll have built a habit and a new lifestyle. You’ll be consistent.

What has been your experience with consistency in your workout routine?