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”

Accountability – Support when you need it

Accountability defined is: subject to report or explain, answerable.

I like to start with the definition on some words to really connect with how I see this working in my life and in my business. Sometimes I find I use them a lot, but do I really understand them?

The reason I’m bringing this up is because a while ago I wrote a post about Why it’s SO EASY to fall OFF the fitness wagon  My goal as an online fitness coach is to help people stay ON the wagon. To do so, I keep them accountable to their goals and help them build habits.

In that post I discussed a few steps to help build habits. #3 was Accountability, so today I’m expanding on that point. 🙂

Building a habit means that you start to do something on a more regular basis. Typically you ARE NOT doing something and you’d like to do more of it. Exercise and healthy eating are pretty common examples here.

To get going you make a commitment and state “I’m going to start exercising more” or “I’m going to start eating healthy”. You focus on what you want to do more of.

If you’re smart, or you’ve listened to anyone giving out tips for setting goals, you’ll know that it’s a good idea TELL SOMEONE ELSE. You tell another person your goals to make it more real. To make you accountable.

Now that the other person knows, you are now answerable to them. You will now report in on your progress as you go.

A classic example of this is a “gym buddy”.

What’s great about accountability is that most people are pretty good at following through with something when another person knows about it. However, we aren’t so good when we are the only ones that know about it. We tend to let ourselves off the hook.

So, accountability is a great tool to help you build the habits.

Some days you’ll do the thing for you, others you’ll need that accountability to pull through. You’ll have someone to support you when you need it.

However, no matter what the reason for doing it (you or them), YOU are still the one that does it. You step up, you do the work, you push your goals forward.

You build the habit.

My question now is: what habits are you trying to build and do you have someone that can keep you accountable?

If you’d like, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter and let me know how I can help. I love keeping people accountable.

Also, I’ve recently started a Twitter Challenge using the hashtag #APLIfestyle. I’ve made it a public challenge to do something healthy and active every day. Personally I think the public social media realm can be a great source of accountability and is why I’m using it for my challenge.

Please let me know you’re thoughts on accountability and if you have any success stories you can share about it.

– Chad

Head Fitness Coach and Founder

Progression – walk before you run

I touched on the idea of progression last week but I think it’s a valuable topic to expand on.

Once you build the belief that you can succeed with small wins, that’s when you want to start increasing the challenge.

Progression is a gradual development over a period of time.

Last weeks reference was to how many times I see people jumping into a routine or diet with both feet and not really knowing where they want to go. They are so excited about the result they are trying to achieve that they try and do everything all at once so they can get the results ASAP!

Yes, I’ve done this myself, but don’t lie, you know you’ve done this too! You’ve been this “person” I speak of 😉

It’s okay though. It’s natural, kinda…

We now live in a world of immediate gratification. If I’m hungry I go to the fridge, store or restaurant and I’m eating within minutes. If I want to watch a movie I find it on Netflix or rent it on iTunes and within minutes I’m watching it. If I’m having a conversation with someone and we can’t remember which actor was in a movie a quick google or imdb search gives us the answer in seconds.

So it’s natural to think that if I want a strong, healthy, toned body, why can’t I have it in minutes as well?

Heck, even the majority of marketing in the fitness industry tells us we can have the six pack abs in just minutes a day.

As I mentioned in my last post, this method of jumping into it usually sets us up for failure. We take on too much too soon and we can’t keep up.

However, with progression, we’d have a more systematic approach to how we build our exercise and nutrition habits.

We always encourage our clients to start small and start with success.

This could literally be focusing only on one simple habit daily, like eating breakfast, to just doing three 20-minute workouts a week.

If you haven’t been working out at all, why try and start with 5+ days a week?

Once you start to have success with those basics, THEN you can start to increase the challenge. Start to focus on lunch and dinner if it’s nutrition related or add time or days to your workout plan. Once you have the habit built, it’s a lot easier to progress to a more advanced level of your program.

In fitness progression, I suggest that people progress through these phases in fitness: joint strength, core strength, general strength, power development, intensity, athletic movements.

This lets you start small and builds a strong foundation to reduce the risk of injury.

At the end of the day, all successful learning comes through a progression over time.

“Walk before you run”. Literally.

Next time your working on your fitness or nutrition routine, consider if you’re in the right stage of progression. Are you bitting off more than you can chew or are you starting small and creating success?

Do you set yourself up for success or failure? Share your experiences in the comments.

Motivation – Where do you get it?

Motivation is defined simply as: the reason to act.

Seems pretty basic right? If I have motivation, I have a reason to act. If I’m lacking motivation, I don’t have a reason to act and therefore I don’t.

So how does that play out in real life and the world of fitness?

I’ve been spending more time on Twitter lately and it’s been a very interesting experience. I like doing searches to see what kind of things people are saying about fitness, health, nutrition and motivation.

If you do a search for “need motivation” for example, you’ll see people posting every 10 minutes or less on average. Now, this isn’t fitness only, but it still relates.

If you start doing searches about needing a personal trainer, it seems one of the top reasons anyone wants a personal trainer is because they’re lacking their own motivation and need someone to motivate them.

Some examples:

Motivation 1 Motivation 2 Motivation 3 Motivation 4 Motivation 5

What these are essentially saying is: I don’t have my own reason to act so I want you to give me one.

I see a major problem with this kind of thinking: The motivation is NOT IN YOUR HANDS. In this scenario, the motivation would be in the personal trainers hands. THEY would hold the stick, not you.

If they’re the ones holding the stick and pushing your forward, how are you ever going to build your own motivation? For the rare person, they do build their own motivation, but for most they don’t.

Now this doesn’t mean personal training is bad, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m trying to express is that if you feel you need motivation, getting someone else to push you isn’t going to work in the long run.

What you need instead is to develop your own motivation.

Yes, it’s that simple!

… In theory.

Ever heard someone say: “that’s easier said than done”? Ya, it fits here too.

Building your own motivation can be hard and can take a while. Some days it will be high, others it will be low. Some weeks will be awesome, some will suck. It’s the nature of learning anything, there’s ups and downs.

So the big question should be: How do I build my own motivation?

I know for sure that there isn’t some magical equation that will work for everyone (sorry), but I think there is a guideline we can follow.

Here are 5 steps to building your own motivation:

  1. Vision – create a strong vision of your goal and where you want to end up. Make a vision board, change your screen saver or post pictures around the house. Having a clear vision of your goal will help inspire you on low motivation days.
  2. Belief – build the belief that you can. Start slow and start small. Small wins over a few weeks does wonders for self confidence and believing you can succeed.
  3. Consistency – following through on your goal is huge. Now this is normally where people feel they need the motivation to do this step, but this step can be how you build motivation. Even on the days you don’t want to, follow through with your plan. (this is where it’s very important to start small)
  4. Reminders – review your vision and goals daily. You’ll need constant reminders to stay focused and not lose sight of what you’re trying to build.
  5. Expect setbacks – failures, road blocks, set backs and struggle are all part of growth. It’s literally impossible to have growth without them. So stop pretending you’ll be perfect and be okay with the fact that you will have setbacks on your journey.

The final thing I’ll say about building motivation is that it’s often best to reach out to others for support. Even the best of us can use a hand here and there.

Support in my mind is someone who will keep you accountable to your own goals. Someone who can support you to build your own motivation, not be the motivation for you.

I hope this gives some insight into motivation, how we perceive it and where I personally think it should come from. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below.

Chad

Is blogging like fitness?

Okay, so waaayyyyy back in October, exactly 3 months ago, I wrote my last blog post.

It was a post about Why it’s SO EASY to fall OFF the fitness wagon. I went on about how most fitness programs focus only on what you should be doing and not how to build habits first.

The great thing about what happened next was that I, Chad Williams, fell off the blog wagon. Big time. For 3 months!

“But it was christmas, and new years, and holidays right?!?!”

Excuses.

Why I think my failure is a great thing is because it actually highlights the value of that post. The value of building habits.

It was written about building FITNESS habits, but for me, I already have habits in that area. Where I don’t have habits is in blogging.

Whenever I went to blog last year, I wanted it to be the BEST BLOG POST EVER!!! I thought that I could go from a person who rarely writes anything to a Nobel prize winning blogger over night.

They give Nobel prizes to bloggers right?

Anyway, it’s like my clients who want to go from zero workouts per week to 5 times per week! It’s not going to happen. I basically set myself up to fail.

So how do I change? How do I get better? How do I build a habit?

 

Enter the Challenge!!!

I like building habits. I like learning how to do something I’m not good at. It’s why I help coach others to do the same thing in fitness.

The challenge I’m putting out there is for myself. The challenge is that I’m going to commit to at least 1 blog post every single Wednesday for this entire year.

1 blog post per week minimum. That’s it.

Should be easy right…

My guess is that it won’t be. My guess is that it’ll be hard at times, but that’s the point. You don’t grow if it’s not hard.

The key is that I’m starting small. 1 per week minimum.

Also, I’m getting in touch with reality around my writing skills. I’m not a world class writer and it’s not reasonable to think I will write the BEST BLOG POST EVER every time I touch the keyboard.

Some of my posts will (of course) be great, but others won’t be my best work. However, that’s not the point.

The key will be being consistent. In 6 months from now I’ll be a better blogger because of it.

It will for sure beat 6 more months of doing nothing! (can you relate?)

 

The extended challenge!!!

Because I’m a coach, I cannot help myself to challenge others. That said, I’m extending you to join me in this challenge.

Pick an area in your life you want to improve. Comment below to let me know what that is and what you can commit to weekly with me.

Each week we can check in together and build some new habits this year!

See you next Wednesday!

Why it’s SO EASY to fall OFF the fitness wagon.

Do you have fitness habits?

As in, do you exercise on a regular basis, consistently throughout the year?

No? Don’t worry, most people don’t.

Are you the type of person that has tried many programs, had many gym memberships, read every diet book there is and still isn’t’ getting the results you want?

When September, January or some special vacation roles around, you get motivated, inspired and back on track. But then something happens. Usually in the 3-6 week range…

You lose motivation.

You stop enjoying what you’re doing.

You stop. Period.

Yes, it’s happened. You’ve fallen off the fitness wagon. Again.

So what’s the difference between you and that one friend you have? You know, the runner. The one that’s ALWAYS out there doing something?

Why do they seem to always continue on and you don’t?

What I’ve found in my industry is that it’s all about products that tell you what to do and why you should do it.

6 Pack Abs! 

Lose 10lbs in 10 Days!

Burn up to 60% of you body fat! 

It’s all about results, which is great, but do they actually work? How many people actually get the results they’re claiming?

Likely, these are the programs you’ve already tried…

These programs are only good at producing results IF you’re the right type of person, IF you follow them perfectly and IF you actually finish them. However, most people don’t finish them.

Why?

They don’t have the habits.

The dictionary defines habit as a regular tendency or practice.

Is your fitness a regular tendency or practice?

It’s tough because the problem with all the fitness programs out there is that they don’t teach habits. You have to ALREADY have them to succeed.

True, SOME people do develop a habit and on a rare occasion go from couch potato to lean mean fighting machine. But that’s rare.

So how do you actually build habits you ask? Good question!

Here’s 4 key areas to start with:

1. Progression
2. Motivation
3. Accountability
4. Consistency

These are the tip of the iceberg and each point goes very deep.

Stay tuned for my next emails where I’ll dig into each area and provide you with the tools you need to build strong fitness habits.

— Chad

Weekly Activity Challenge – Testing Week

Happy Monday!

The key focus to the weekly activity challenge is that each week you get a new activity to focus on to build your health and fitness. At Anthrophysique, we’re big on measurement and like to make sure all of our clients are getting results.

As I mentioned in the very first challenge, we’ll be testing our benchmarks workouts every 10 weeks. Believe it or not, it’s been 10 weeks!

benchmark workouts

The focus this week is to go through each one of the benchmark workouts to re-assess your fitness. FInd your old score and compare that to what you achieve this week. If you didn’t do the benchmark workouts last time, this will be your first chance to get a baseline. In 10 weeks you’ll be able to test it again!

Here are links to all the benchmarks:

Benchmark #1
Benchmark #2
Benchmark #3
Benchmark #4
Benchmark #5

Throughout the week, test each one of the benchmark workouts. Please post your results in the comments and let us know if you’ve improved or not!

Step-by-Step Guide to Picking the Right Trainer or Coach

Step-by-Step Guide to Finding the Right Coach

There comes a time in most people’s fitness journey when they realize a benefit of hiring a professional for help. We go to a mechanic for our car, or a builder for our house, why not get a coach for our fitness?

If you’ve been to a gym, there’s probably at least a half-dozen trainers to chose from. Not to mention the option of an online coach!  🙂

Each option is going to have different levels of education, experience and specialty. How do you know which one is right for YOU? Follow the simple steps below to help ensure you find the right trainer/coach for the job.

*Disclaimer: I believe there is a difference between a “trainer” and a “coach”. I use the terms interchangeably in this post but I will outline the difference in next weeks blog.

 

Step 1: Determine your goals

No matter what, a trainer or coach is there to help you achieve YOUR goals. Determine what you want to do and achieve. Is it weight loss, weight gain, general fitness, body building, or sport performance? Knowing what you want to get from a trainer is the first key to finding the right one.

 

Step 2: Determine your starting point

Now that you know where you’re going, where are you starting from? Are you a beginner or an advanced athlete?  Do you need to learn how to use the machine or how to maximize your workouts? These will make a difference in who can best help you.

 

Step 3: Education.

What is the education your prospective trainer/coach? You want to match the goals and starting point you determined in the first 2 steps with the education of the coach. If you’re wanting to learn how to use the machines in the gym, or a few more core exercises, any trainer with a certificate will do. If you’re looking to rehab an injury or do sport specific training, you’ll want someone with a kinesiology degree.

 

Step 4: Experience

As with anything, the experience of trainers and coaches will vary greatly. Everyone needs to start somewhere, and starting is how we will gain our experience. The questions for you are: how simple are your goals and how much are you willing to experiment. If your goals are simple (like learning new movements) a newly certified trainer can be useful. However, if you’re looking to takle a goal you’ve been struggling to achieve on your own, you’re going to want a coach with years of experience working with many clients. They’ll know how to navigate your struggles and help you through them.

 

Step 5: Measurement and Assessment

You now know where you are and where you want to go. The final key to the puzzle is finding someone that will provide regular assessment and measurement of your progress. If you’re not constantly testing your body and performance, how do you know if you’re going where you want to go? A good coach will constantly assess you and calibrate your training as needed.

Finding the right coach is important to your success and enjoyment of reaching your goals. Follow these steps, interview a few coaches to see where they fit and then give it a go!

If you’ve enjoyed this content, please share!

What’s your story? Have you worked with a trainer or coach before? What has been your experience? Please post in the comments below.

 

What You’ve Never Been Told About Technique

Technique - AnthroPhysique Online Fitness Coaching

Technique, are you confident that you’re doing your movements correctly?

Is doing movements with correct technique paramount to avoiding injury?

The biggest argument I usually hear for technique is it’s importance towards safety and avoiding injury. Your Physio will ask you to keep your scapula in a certain position and your Personal Trainer will prevent you from letting your knees go past your toes so you don’t get hurt. Does it actually work?

Technique - AnthroPhysique Online Fitness Coaching
Good Technique? Safe?

Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit, says in this video that the fear of doing things incorrectly is overblown to it’s reality. Technique is important, very important, but it’s not a guaranteed prevention of injury. Nor is it guaranteed that if you DON’T have perfect technique you WILL get injured.

Here’s my thoughts:

Our bodies are very versatile. We adapt to different climates, diets, and even physical demands. Our body can withstand a lot of abuse or damage and still continue on. This doesn’t mean that we disregard all safety, it just doesn’t always have to be the primary concern. Life happens.

To me, technique is more about improving the efficiency of a movement or skill, it’s not just a preventer of injury. When learning a new movement or skill, we’re bound to have poor technique at times. As we improve our technique, we improve our efficiency and can get better results.

What we’re NOT told abou technique is that if we spend all our time focused on it, we can actually LIMIT our capacity for improvement. If you try to execute perfect technique all the time, you’ll never be able to perform at your full capacity. As we reach the upper limits of our capacities, technique is likely to decrease slightly. Even top level athletes won’t have perfect technique at their maximum output.

I believe that it is very important to be aware of your technique and how you’re doing things. This will help you get better and more efficient at your movements. However, it will NOT guarantee that you don’t get injured. Pushing yourself to the next level is going to require your technique to break down and fail. The key to safety and injury avoidance is having a progressive training program and a good coach. They’ll know how to keep you safe while pushing you to the next level.

Do you agree with the above? What have you heard about Technique? Please post your thoughts and feedback to comments.

Plank Challenge – vBlog #8

Plank Challenge

This weeks fitness challenge is a front plank challenge. I’m challenging you to see how long you can hold a front plank for every single day. If you missed last week, I offered a walking challenge that’s worth checking out.

As far as the plank goes, it’s a pretty straight forward exercise that you can do anywhere. All you need is you and a floor. So yes, literally anywhere. Here is an extremely exciting video I made of the front plank.

In this video blog post, I offer up a plank challenge to see how long you can hold it every single day. I suggest doing it at least once a day, but aim for 2 or 3 at various times throughout the day for maximal benefit. A good starting point is around 30-60 seconds if you’ve never done a plank before. If you have 1-2 minutes is a nice average. However, advanced athletes can hold for 3, 4 and even 5+ minutes!

The plank itself is an amazing exercise. It provides great benefit to the core helping you develop a strong posture. You’ll feel it in you abs, obliques, erector spinae muscles in your low back, and also in your legs and arms. It truly is a full body exercise.

As always, I encourage you to track your progress. Keep a journal for yourself and I welcome you to share your tracking with me so I can see what you’re up to. Otherwise, please post questions or comments below and good luck on the plank challenge!

vBlog #5 – Holiday Fitness Tip #2

My second holiday fitness tip is to help you fully enjoy the treats this holiday season. I don’t know about you, but at my family dinner, people start worrying or complaining about what they “shouldn’t” be eating.  After 3 butter tarts and their second piece of pie, the jokes start coming out about how long it’s going to take to work that off or the fact that it goes directly to their hips.

The holidays are a hard time stick to any diet or goal. This holiday fitness tip is about making your goal to have your treats when you say you will. Plan ahead for when you’ll have treats, but then stick to it. If it’s not planned, stay away!! Check out my video and let me know your favorite holiday treat in the comments.

Check out my last holiday fitness tip here.

Announcing AnthroPhysique’s Weekly Activity Plan

AnthroPhysique’s specialty service is creating custom workout programs for individuals to follow on their own. I like to focus on helping people develop a lifestyle of activity that doesn’t always have to be a “workout” you’d do at the gym, but can include running, hiking, swimming or cycling. The key is to stay active on a consistent basis. Today I’m very excited to announce a new service I am offering.

Not everyone needs or wants a custom program and not everyone is interested in a personal coach. Many just want a little guidance of what to do. Some people do a similar workout all the time, so it’s nice to change it up and put a little spice into the routine. For this reason, AnthroPhysique is announcing the official launch of our Weekly Activity Plan.

The Weekly Activity Plan is exactly that. It’s a schedule of activities and workouts that will be release each week. The activities will range from gym workouts, to home workouts, to playful activities outdoors. The focus will be directed towards the average 30 – 50 year old professional person that is already consistent with some form of activity. Weekly plans will consist of 3 – 5 workouts depending on their intensity and focus and can be done on any day.

The distribution of the Weekly Activity Plan will be through this Shared Evernote Notebook. For simplicity, you can subscribe to this notebook through its RSS Feed and get the weekly updates in an RSS feed reader like Google Reader or Feedler RSS Pro for iOS.

 

For those of you that take on this challenge, and start to incorporate some or all of these workouts into your lifestyle, I highly encourage you to track your results in Evernote and Share your notebook with me. You can share it privately with me to coach[at]anthrophysique[dot]com, or you can share it publicly with a free account. Either way, I’d love to see how you’re doing with the activities as it will help me improve the program as you grow.

The plan has already started, so check out the notebook and send us your results! If you have questions or suggestions about the workouts, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

 

My Evernote Story

Two weeks ago, Evernote blogged a video of me telling my story of how I use the App. I was excited to see it go live since it had been filmed a few months before. I really enjoy using the program and being an Ambassador for others to get value from it as well. Here is the video:

It’s seen over 3000 views already which is pretty exciting! Let me know what you think in the comments below or if you have any questions about how I use Evernote.

The Value of Water

While about leave my apartment the other day, I went to fill my bottle up with water. Sure enough, the Brita jug was nearly empty. Then came the slew of thoughts:

Do I have time to wait for the filter or do I just go straight for the tap water?

When was the last time I actually changed that filter?

Is it supposed to be changed every 3 months or 6?

Will there be a difference in my water quality after 3 months vs. 6?

How much are the filters anyway?

I bet it’s cheaper than bottled water!

Crap water is expensive!

Why?

Since then I’ve been thinking about the value of water. On one side, it’s the second most valuable thing in the world. As in, only air is more immediately needed than water to survive. Without either, we’d die pretty quickly. But, why don’t we pay for air then… It’s polluted too… Will there be a Brita Air filter? How much with that be? Uh oh, here we go again…

In north america, we pay more for bottled water than we do gas in our cars! Is it really that valuable? I mean, I know we’d literally die without it, but is the quality we’re buying truly worth that much? Is the quality we think we’re buying actually the quality we’re getting? Does that quality really matter?

I know plenty of people that mainly drink filtered water. I know plenty that mainly drink tap water. Believe it or not, there’s plenty of people that don’t even have tap water. Can we measure our health differences between bottled vs. tap? To what degree does the filtered water win out over regular tap water?

Crap. So many questions!

As you can see, I have many questions around this subject and I wanted to put them out there to stimulate some though and discussion. What is your view on the value of water? What do you choose to drink and why do you make that choice? Is it because it’s available and marketed to us or are there health benefits you can measure? Please post your thoughts in the comments and see if you can do it ‘un-googled’.

 

The Challenge: a coach’s view

If you haven’t already seen it, last week Jane posted her first article on this blog. It will be a weekly chronicle of her experience of working with me and persuing her fitness goals. We originally got together to discuss an exchange of her helping me with my social media and me helping her with her fitness goals. During the meeting, I challenged her to an idea, if she was willing, to have her share her experience with the world!

From my standpoint of being an ‘Online Fitness Mentor’ it’s really tough at times to explain how my process works to prospective clients. It’s a pretty new concept to most people and one that many haven’t yet experienced. I figure this experiment will give some people the opportunity to experience online coaching vicariously through Jane.

Full disclosure: Yes, Jane is working for me and helping me with social media and reaching out to the world. I found that I just didn’t have time to be consistent with it, and needed to hire someone for help. However, for this challenge, she has been given full freedom to write whatever she wants in her posts. It will not be edited in any way because I want people to see the entire process through her eyes.

Is it going to be tough for her? Definitely. Is she going to want to quit? Most likely. Will she have good days and bad days? Days with huge progress and days with minor set backs? I can guarantee it. Will she also get support through the whole thing? 100%

My job as her coach is to see when she’s struggling and help her through that. Being online, I will help her find her own strength, and not just pull her along for the ride. I’ll try and expand my view of ‘dragging services’ in a later post.

I’m very excited for this process. I’m confident that jane will be able to express an honesty that not everyone can. I know that I’m looking forward to her post each week and really hope you are too!