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All or Nothing Will Leave You With Nothing

Today I want to talk to you about a couple more consistency pitfalls: perfectionism and it’s little sibling all-or-nothing thinking.

How easy is it to fall into a “pause button” way of thinking all because of perfectionism? 
You know the one I’m talking about. It often sounds something like this: “Oh, I’m not really doing this very well (or perfect) right now. I’ll just come back to it when life isn’t so crazy and I can do it better.” Then you never really seem to come back to it.., This idea that you’re either all in, or all out is killing you!

If your aim is lifestyle change, then you HAVE TO accept that life will have its ups and downs and do what you can in the midst of that.

For example, you may not be able to get 30 minutes of exercise in five times a week at times, but to let it slip away completely? 
You can probably tweak that to a day or two, or make it smaller for a bit by just doing 10-15 minutes.

That’s way better than nothing!

So try this next time you want to take a pause: Let go of some expectations and just do what you can! Oftentimes it’s the slow, steady progress that works the best.

Interested in Learning More About Our Coaching?

We’ve got two great options for you. You can either jump right in with a free, 30-60 minute consultation, or try us out for two weeksat no cost (or obligation) to you. Either option is a great way to dive in, learn more, and see if our coaching is a good fit for you.

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Enemies of Consistency: Overwhelm – How to Start Off on the Right Foot

One of the biggest culprits of causing overwhelm is simply starting from the wrong place, and assuming you are better at things than you are (which is a very common human condition by the way – it’s not just you). This leads to taking on more than you’re actually capable of changing in a long-term way.

Most diets and quick fixes focus on higher level strategies, while ignoring the underlying fundamentals that help create sustainable change (I’m thinking of things like carb or calorie cycling, or even individualizing macros).

When I’m working with clients I try to cut through the noise and simplify it right away. I do this by exploring their existing skills and habits with them, and putting their goals in the context of those skills.

It’s sort of like triage. I’m essentially checking their skills and goals against three different “levels” of complexity.

As I’m working through this process I follow a pretty basic rule: don’t level someone up until the fundamentals are consistent.

Big Hint #1: almost everyone, even serious amateur athletes, are a level 1 (myself included).

Here are some (not all) level 1 criteria I work through with clients. Feel free to use it for yourself. Do you struggle with:

– Food choices like eating too many processed foods, drinking too much alcohol or sugar-sweetened drinks, or not eating enough nutritious whole foods?
– Eating behaviors like eating too quickly while distracted, recognizing your hunger cues, or using food to manage your feelings?
– Exercise and activity, such as getting in enough regular exercise, or the flip-side, overtraining?
– Recovery, such as getting enough sleep, and incorporating recovery activities like yoga and massage?
– Life skills like basic food prep skills, shopping and reading labels, or avoiding impulse choices due to being “too busy” or “too rushed”?
– Mindset and psychology issues such as all-or-nothing thinking, a fixed mindset, or busyness and stress?
– Environment issues such as an environment that requires too much “willpower” and mental strength to stay on track, or an unsupportive social network (family, friends, coworkers, etc.)?

Those are all level 1 problems (and that’s just some of them). If you’re checking all the boxes here and are at least 75-80% consistent, then you may be ready to jump up a level, but even that may be temporary.

The complexity, extra work, and physical demands of higher levels often make it a shorter-term strategy geared around a specific event or competition.

In really general terms, I break it down like this:

Level 1: General health, wellness, and performance. The fundamentals that really drive health and wellbeing.
Level 2: High level recreational and amateur athletes who want to improve body composition and athletic performance beyond what level 1 approaches can do.
Level 3: Elite/professional athletes and physique competitors who really need to alter body composition in specific, and seasonal ways.

Like I said, 95% of people are level 1 and will be fine just staying there.

Big hint #2 – if you have at some point felt overwhelmed by the changes you’re trying to make, you’re probably trying to do too much, too soon. You’re reaching past where you’re at, and need to get back to the basics.

It’s not flashy. Starting small and moving slowly can even feel a bit boring at times, but…

The fundamentals drive the results and give you a place to fall back to when life gets crazy.

Admittedly “fundamentals” have never been a super sexy thing which is why they don’t get talked about much. No one likes practicing simple, practical skills. But I’ll tell you what, even NBA all-stars started out doing simple drills. They didn’t get there overnight…it took them years!

So here’s the deal (and the challenge). Take a solid 30-60 minutes and critically evaluate where you’re at. Level this up by bringing in a trusted friend or spouse who truly knows you well. What level are you at? What areas do you struggle with most?

Then, take a good look at what may be your biggest limiters may be and work towards finding a small, behavioral solution that you can start with and grow as you go.

Example: taking at least 20 minutes to eat slowly, and mindfully at one meal each day (so you can dial into your hunger cues and adjust your total caloric intake).

You can then work that up to two meals or more as you feel more confident and competent.

If you do this, I’d love to hear how you shake out in the comments below!

Interested in Learning More About Our Coaching?

We’ve got two great options for you. You can either jump right in with a free, 30-60 minute consultation, or try us out for two weeks at no cost (or obligation) to you. Either option is a great way to dive in, learn more, and see if our coaching is a good fit for you.

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Enemies of Consistency – Overwhelm

Overwhelm is easily one of the biggest culprits for falling off the wagon and losing consistency.

Thankfully it often boils down to something pretty simple: biting off more than we can chew. 
If you break it down, overwhelm is simply taking on more than our current skills and abilities have the capacity to handle. We just don’t feel capable or competent enough to keep it up, so we get frustrated and give up.

You see, fitness and diet culture love to talk about quick results, which is understandable. It’s way sexier to talk about (and sell) a 14-day fix than a year-long transformation. 
And sure, you can get good, even great results, in that time-frame, but quick results usually come at a terrible, yo-yo shaped, cost.

It’s hard to take on extra-ordinary circumstances to drive change, and then keep it going.

As humans we naturally resist change, even small amounts of it sometimes. To expect a big shift in lifestyle all at once to stick is silly.

So what’s the answer?

First – fight the urge for the quick “transformation”. Anything worth doing will take some time. Not days. Not weeks. Months. Years maybe.

Second – Do a better job of assessing where your skills and abilities are at currently, so you can make informed decisions about the amount of change you can take on to begin with.

This way you can troubleshoot your weak areas and come up with a plan to make consistent, small, and palatable changes over time based off of the skills you already possess.

In the long run, this will feel much easier, uplifting, and sustainable. Overwhelm won’t even be in your vocabulary. Plus, you’ll build momentum that will carry you through the rough patches instead of making you fall off the wagon.

Yes – this way is slower. Yes, it is less sexy. Yes, it is the best way to get results to actually stick.

More on this on my next post. I’ll dive into how you actually go about assessing your skills, and how to make a plan from there.

Interested in Learning More About Our Coaching?

We’ve got two great options for you. You can either jump right in with a free, 30-60 minute consultation, or try us out for two weeksat no cost (or obligation) to you. Either option is a great way to dive in, learn more, and see if our coaching is a good fit for you.


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The Secret to Success is Failure

The Secret to Success is Failure

Are you ready for some backwards advice from me today?

To succeed, fail. To succeed more, fail more.

It almost feels weird to write that. I’m sure it feels a little strange to read.

Typically, I despise those articles that position themselves as the magic formula for success (or this or that) because they are so very often too simplistic and completely miss the point, but if ever I were to credit one defining attribute to success, it would be the ability to fail and fail often.

Despite being a young buck, I have been fortunate enough to work with and learn from many very successful people. If there is one key thing that I have taken away from them it is this: they have all failed more times than most people care to even try.

You see, success is a long and windy road. It is not linear. Despite what TV and newspapers may make you feel, very few people are just immediately successful. And hardly ever is it one steady win after another until you someday reach “ultimate success.”

No. Success is born of victories and failures; of learning from both and getting back out there.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

It’s not fun. It’s not pleasant. And it’s not really what you want to hear of think about but it is a reality.

For example, think of a salesperson. He reaches out to lead after lead, working hard to close deals. To some degree his success is based on his ability to persuade others to buy. To a different degree it is reliant on how many times he is willing to reach out to leads and be turned down. Regardless, the more time he spends putting himself out there, the better he will get at closing and the more chances he will have to successfully make sales. In short, the more a salesperson is willing to fail, the more opportunities he allows himself for success.

So, to succeed more, be willing to experiment and fail more often. Mistakes and failed attempts are only negative if we fail to learn and improve from them. Your mindset is 100% yours to control. You can choose to empower yourself or demean yourself. Your move.

Before I go I just want to leave you with some tangible thoughts on how to apply this right away in your life:

1) Define success for yourself. Success looks different for each of us. To some it may mean advancing their career to a certain level. To others it may simply mean having highly fulfilling relationships. Success is yours to define. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me. And freeing.

2) Once you define success, be relentless and pursue it with objectivity. The key to learning and improving depends on your ability to see your mistakes and change course accordingly. If you don’t have some idea where you went wrong, you will spend a lot more time stabbing at things in the dark. Make your pursuits as objective and measurable as possible and help yourself see as steady of improvement as possible.

Relentless Attitude + Objectivity = Steady Improvement

3) Reframe it. Thoughts shape action. Just a simple reshaping of a thought can do a world of good for you. For example, instead of calling things mistakes or failures, call them lessons. Lessons empower and embolden you rather than break you down. Go for the win.

So there you have it folks, my attempt at a “secrets to success” rant. If you want to taste sweet success, fail first and fail often.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Shawn

P.S. If you are curious as to how this all looks in relation to a building a healthy lifestyle or improving your sports performance, drop me a line.

Interested in Learning More About Our Coaching?

We’ve got two great options for you. You can either jump right in with a free, 30-60 minute consultation, or try us out for two weeks at no cost (or obligation) to you. Either option is a great way to dive in, learn more, and see if our coaching is a good fit for you.

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Addition by Subtraction – My Year of Saying No

NO. Such a simple word, really. Just two letters long, yet it has been such a difficult word to master.

N. O.

Why is that so hard to say sometimes?

Some days I look at my two year old niece and am just astonished by how quickly she learned the word no. It’s incredible, really. She’s good at it – uses it without hesitation.

NO. 

It’s simplicity is beautiful. She’s not trying to please anyone. She’s just stating how she feels and what she wants in that moment. Is it lacking a little tact? Yes, but that’s to be expected of a 2 year old.

No is a powerful word, capable of shaping the very direction of your life, yet saying no can be such a chore. It comes loaded with a certain amount of fear that no two letter word should possess – fears of offending or disappointing others, of missing an opportunity, or of being improperly judged as being selfish or self-centered.

Continue reading “Addition by Subtraction – My Year of Saying No”

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Run in Crappy Weather – An Ode to Mental Toughness

It’s 5 am. Your obnoxious alarm is going off. It’s 15°F out and snowing. What person in their right mind wants to get out of bed to go exercise in that mess?

I mean, honestly, it’s so cozy and warm in bed. This HAS to be a poor life choice.

But you do it. You peel yourself out of bed, layer up and get it done.

Why?

Continue reading “Run in Crappy Weather – An Ode to Mental Toughness”

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There Is No Try: Believe in Yourself

Do or do not. There is no try. It’s cliché, and yes, Yoda said it, but if you remember anything I ever tell you, remember that. Better yet, don’t just remember it. Believe it.

In my time as a coach, I have picked up on many behavioral patterns. The most interesting are those that make or break people as they pursue their goals. The pattern I want to discuss today is belief.

Beliefs Are Powerful

Beliefs are extremely powerful and hold the potential to shape outcomes. For example, I believe humans are incredibly capable beings. I believe we all have potential to learn and adapt to just about anything if we put our minds to it. These beliefs shape how I act and how I treat my clients. When you treat people as remarkably capable, they tend to become that, sometimes despite themselves.

In this game called life, our outcomes are largely shaped by what goes on between our ears. The most successful among us are those who have mastered their minds. What we choose to believe is such a vital part of that mastery, but it often starts on an almost imperceptible level. Let me get more specific.

Self-Talk Is Poppycock

We constantly talk to ourselves, often without realizing it. There are a hundred different names for it: self-talk, hidden scripts, inner monologue, etc. Whatever you call it, it happens, and it shapes what you believe, how you act, and what you accomplish.

“I believe we all have potential to learn and adapt to just about anything if we put our minds to it.”

All too often I overhear phrases that start with “I can’t do this…” or “I’m no good at that.” To be fair, sometimes it is 100 percent true. But most of the time it is total poppycock.

Continue reading “There Is No Try: Believe in Yourself”

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Supertip #1: How to Nail Your Daily Hydration

Proper, consistent hydration is crucial to successful weight loss and performing at your best. Today’s video covers a quick tip to help you make sure you nail it on the daily. For those of you who would rather read, here is the run down:

1) Grab your go-to water bottle. Anything works. Carry it with you as often as possible. This helps remove any hurdles, both mental and physical that may be holding you back.

2) Measure. If you don’t already know how much it holds, measure it using a pyrex container or anything else that is graduated in ounces.

3) Do some math. Take your daily intake goal (lets say it’s 80 ounces) and divide your the volume of your container into that amount (let’s assume 20 ounces for a result of 4).

4) Grab some rubber bands (4 in this example) and stick them at the bottom of the bottle. Whenever you finish a bottle, move a band up to indicate your progress. These rubber bands will serve both as a visual and physical reminder of your progress throughout the day.

5) Establish a time each day to check in on progress. I usually do this around midday and try to be half way to my goal. If I’m not, I take action right away to get back on track. Don’t wait to take action.

Need help figuring out how much you should be drinking on a daily basis?

Rules of thumb are okay, but to really dial it in to your body type, activity level and environment, reach out to us and we can assist you in setting the right goals for your hydration.

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Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie

The Thanks Giving Habit

Pause.

As the holiday season kicks off with Thanksgiving tomorrow, many of our lives are about to get a whole lot crazier as we juggle all sorts of obligations and traveling. 2015 will be here before we know it! In the midst of the coming whirlwind of activity, I encourage you to try out the habit of pausing throughout the day. It will change you if you let it.

Tomorrow, when you wake up, pause for a few moments. Push away any negative thoughts, worries or checklists for just a minute or two and really ask yourself what you’re thankful for. What makes your life awesome? Write it down.

Later, as you are about to tackle your big Thanksgiving meal(s), pause. Tune in to how your body feels. Slow down and thoroughly enjoy what you are eating. Pay attention to how full you are feeling. I bet you you’ll eat less if you really take time to savor all the incredible dishes in front of you.

As you get ready to drift off to sleep, pause one more time. Reflect on the day and all the good that it held. Cherish these memories. They are precious.

Why pause? When life gets hectic, it provides just enough time to bring yourself back into the moment and reframe what is in front of you. It can be so easy to get caught up in a to-do list, what lies in the future or on a string of worries. When you’re on autopilot like this your entire perspective can shift without much conscious thought.

In fact, I found myself in just this situation this morning when my body decided it was time to be awake well before my alarm. Before I knew it my brain took off like a rocket on a multitude of thoughts about the day and the future. I caught myself in a very negative frame of mind before I put my boots on the ground. No good!

Thankfully, in situations like this you can fight back and improve the quality of your thoughts and, in turn your quality of living. All you need to get started is to pause and be grateful. Reframe yourself in the moment and get back to the day in a much more positive light. It can be hard to make the shift at times, but stick it out. There is so much good in this life if you take the time to look for it.

So friends, with that, I want to start off the holiday season here by saying that I am so very thankful for who you are, imperfections and all. You make the world a better place by being here and giving your best to this one precious life you have. I have learned and grown so much from getting to know you. Thank you!

If you care to read more about adopting the habit of gratitude, I encourage you to check out these two excellent articles from Leo Babauta at Zenhabits.

The Thinking Habit That Changed My Life

Why Living a Life of Gratitude Can Make You Happy

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breakdance

Bust a Move or Busted Movement: Why You Should Treat Movement as a Skill

Hey! Coach Shawn here. I’ve been meaning to have a serious talk with you. Lately you’ve been missing a lot of practices (I mean A LOT). That’s no good. I mean how do you expect to perform well without practicing? Seriously? I mean, yes, you’re talented and all, but you’re going to make a lot of mistakes if you keep this up…You’ve got a lot of work to catch up on.

What on earth am I talking about?

Practicing and developing good movement patterns, of course. It’s important stuff! Moving well is a skill, that when incorporated into your daily routine can make you feel better, increase athletic performance and help you to avoid a whole truck load of injuries. Unfortunately thinking about and bettering how you move often falls pretty low on the priority list, if it’s even there to begin with.

Lost in the Shuffle

For the vast majority of us, our day begins simply. The alarm goes off. Maybe you hit snooze. Maybe you don’t. Eventually you roll those good ol’ legs of yours to the edge of the bed, plant your feet on the ground and get on with waking up and getting ready for the day. From here, the routine varies from person to person but generally includes things like general hygiene, getting dressed, eating breakfast, taking care of the kids. Maybe you squeeze in a workout before heading out the door, maybe not. After than most of us are off to work, where, unfortunately, a good majority spend eight or more hours sitting down.

What I’m getting at is this: it’s easy to get caught up in the shuffle of life and all its lovely details. What gets lost in this hustle and bustle, though, is a legitimate awareness of the fact that our body is highly adaptable and will adjust to the movements and postures we adopt most.

Think about it. In all honesty how much do you really stop to consider your posture, how your muscles feel, and how you are moving throughout the day?

For many, the results of less daily movement and sitting so much are frightening: lack of ankle mobility (both dorsiflexion and plantar-flexion), weak hips, poor hip flexion and extension, knee problems, back problems, shoulder problems – you name it. A lot of problems can be tracked back to how we have allowed our muscles to adapt, oftentimes beginning all the way back to about first grade when we started sitting a whole lot more.

Continue reading “Bust a Move or Busted Movement: Why You Should Treat Movement as a Skill”

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