What’s your plan?

Ever heard the term “Planning is the key to success” or “Failing to plan is planning to fail”? I have. Probably a million times too! But do I always do it? Not always. Life’s too busy right?!?

In my experience, the sayings are true and planning can play a big role in your success. One thing I often recommend to my clients is that they plan out their meals in advance. Especially when it comes to whatever meal is the hardest for them to make. Mine is dinner.

Last week, my wife put together this little plan:

We’ve been eating out a lot so it’s time to get back on the horse. A big step for eating better is to make your own meals.

For me, I could eat meat and a vegetable as my meal and I’m good to go. For my wife however, she likes more than two ingredients in a meal and has a desire for things to actually taste good. (weird right) So, along came the plan.

From the plan, we went and did a grocery shop to make sure we had everything we needed. Since then, it’s been as easy as: look at the plan, grab the ingredients, cook them, and eat them. Simple, easy, and actually fun.

We’ve been making dinner together, eating at home and feeling way better. We’ve had to modify our plan a few times, but it was just a matter of switching out the days and re-arranging. In 1 week, our plan has proven extremely successful and it has made dinner a much more enjoyable meal.

Do you plan your meals? If so, how has it changed your life? If not, how would it change your life if you did? 🙂

Please share you your plan on my Facebook page. You can find the one I posted above right 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.

 

Wind Beneath My Wings

Blog # 13 ~The Jane Experiment

I’m not going to die, I’m not going to die…Breath. What’s the worse thing that could happen? I’m fine, not dying, fine ,I’m great, it’s like flying, I’m fine… Ok now I think I’m going to die. Ahhh.

That ahh isn’t a scream, it’s a sigh, of realse, the release of dropping your plank hold.

My goal for last week was to plank hold everyday, for max time; as long as possible. Question is, what is ‘possible?’ I noticed it’s pretty easy to get into the mind set, that “I can’t hold it any longer!” at about 26 seconds. But when I encouraged myself instead of discouraging myself, it was amazing what I could accomplish.

The same goes with coaching. One of the main reasons I’ve never liked working with a Personal Trainer in the past is because I don’t like being yelled at to push, do it, man up! etc. With AnthroPhysique I feel like Chad is upholding me. Reminding me of my goals and what I want, and guiding me as I help myself get there. Not scaring the living daylights out of me!

This past week when Chad and I connected we talked about why on Thursday I had an epic fail in eating healthy, how I can/can’t fit my workouts in, and what a realistic max plank hold might be for me. As I’ve blogged before, fitting in the workouts has been a major reason they aren’t getting done (well there are some fears too…) Chad has now developed some short, intense, timed workouts so I know how to directly fit them into my schedule. I recommend knowing how long a workout will take, makes it so much easier to get done. Facing the fear is what I can now focus on, with all that extra time I spent mindlessly scheduling! Easy as Pie, ohh pie…

Plank results: in seconds. (sharing this is also push myself and comfort zone!)
Friday: 33
Saturday: fail, 0.
Sunday: 50
Monday: 45
Tuesday: 40
Wednesday: 49
Thursday: 52

And today as I was writing this blog I felt determined to make it to a minute, just to test my limits…
Result: 1 minute and 5 seconds! 

I can see results when I measure! Wow!

Positive energy really was the wind beneath my wings! And as corny as that may sound, it feels awesome to not punish, provoke, or instil fear in me, in order to get what I want.

After 13 weeks of working with someone who has my back, and not just fighting with myself, by myself trying to motivate and inspire what I want, I can so see the purpose of working with a trainer. and sharing this process with all of you, whoever may read this is continuing to challenge me, and I love it!

I’m continuing my max plank holding, everyday this week. Care to join me?

Jane
xoxo

Evernote Workout Journal

One of the main things I do with Evernote is logging mine and my clients workouts. The best part of using Evernote for remembering your workout logs is the search capability.

I used to use paper journals to keep track of workouts. I’d even get specially formatted workout journals from online or local book stores. They were great for logging specifics of workouts each day, as well as having ‘benchmarks’ in the back of the book. However, even with good formatting and organization, the problem was always in searching for workouts.

The reason I log workouts is so I can compare my results. If I was going to do a workout with squats for example, I’d want know what my results were from the last time I did them. This was always a major pain in paper journals. It meant flipping through hundreds of pages or even multiple journals, if I had them near by. This was particularly so if I wanted a results from a few previous workouts.

Using Evernote has simplified this entire process. First, it is very easy to log my workouts. Second, all my workouts now stay in ONE journal that I can access from anywhere. Third, searching for the last time I did a certain workout or exercise couldn’t be easier.

Here is how I set up a Workout Journal in Evernote.

Step 1: Create a new synchronized notebook called “Workout Journal”

Step 2: Create a new note for each workout.

Step 3: Naming the note.

This is a key component, especially for when searching through workouts at a later date. I use 2 elements in my naming scheme. #1 – Details of the main component of the workout. This could be something like “Circuit”, “5K run” or “Back Squat x3”. #2 – The date. My notes are ordered by date created, but I like to have the Month and Day in the title for quick reference when comparing two workouts and the time I took between them.

Step 4: Logging consistent details and results.

Over the years I’ve come up with a very consistent way of writing out my workouts and how I log results. This too can become key when searching and comparing workouts later. For example: writing “situps” in one workout and “sit ups” in another will not allow me to compare those two workouts in a search. Create consistency with your naming scheme.

Step 5: Search and compare; this is where the magic happens! Once you have logged a bunch of workouts, being able to search through them and compare your results lets you track your progress over time. Below are some screen shot examples of comparing running workouts with a search of “Run” and “800m Run” more specifically.

“Run”
 

“800m Run”

These types of searches will also work if I want to find a workout I did back in “January” or compare specific strength workouts like “Back Squat x5”

If you want to track progress, you need to compare. Searching specific words and filtering your results is the key. This is why I love Evernote!

Do you have a workout journal already? Are you using Evernote? Send us your shared notebook link, pictures or feedback in the comments section.

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 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!

2nd Evernote Fitness Challenge

On Monday, Evernote announced our 2nd Fitness Challenge. These challenges are a 30 day effort to focus on a Fitness and or Nutritional Challenge. It is meant to be fairly basic so that the majority of people can participate. The basic details are:

For this challenge, you’ll have the option of choosing one or both of the challenges below:

Get outside for at least 15 minutes per day. You have to spend these 15+ minutes doing something active — smoke breaks and sun bathing at the beach don’t count. You have lots of options: walk, jog, ride your bike, play a pickup game with friends at the park.
Eat only vegetables for carbs. To get that leaner body, you’ll want to reduce your carb calories. For the next 30 days, you’ll cut out processed grains and fruits. Got questions? Find Chad on the Facebook event page, our Lifestyle forum, and on Twitter.

Check out the Evernote Blog for even more fun details and join us in this challenge! Also, join us at the end of the 30 days for our Twitter party. Let everyone know you’ll be participating by tweeting:

I’m participating in the @anthrophysique + @evernotelife Fitness Challenge and Twitter party on Tues, July 24th. Join us! #evernotelife

Working with Physio

I’ve been training people for many years now and I’ve dealt with a lot of injury rehabilitation. Working in partnership with Physiotherapists is common when it comes to injuries and the two together can be very beneficial. I currently have a client in this boat trying to fix an old injury. She is doing her training with me but also seeing a physiotherapist a couple of days a month.

If you’ve ever been in this situation, it’s important to make sure your trainer and physio communicate so they can work together. In a very general sense, trainers will work on the bigger muscles and larger movement patterns while physio’s will work on the smaller muscles and movements. Yes, it’s all in the same body, but if you don’t get the two working together, they can actually cause more harm than good.

Constantly working larger movement patterns without concern for the finner ones can lead to further problems and compensation. Instead of fixing the issue, you end up just working around it or building over it. It’s the short cut way to dealing with injuries and never works out in the end. Communication between the physiotherapist and trainer is the key to a successful recovery.

Working together allows everyone to be on the same page and have the sessions compliment rather than oppose each other. It also allows you to fix the problem and build up new strength at the same time. Bottom line, if you’re in a rehabilitation phase, make sure your trainer is working with your Physio to optimize your success.

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.

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.