You know when you hit 30 (or 25, perhaps), and you start reading self-help books to address an identified problem or figure out what your life’s purpose is?
Unhappy in love? Relationship on the rocks? Feeling unfulfilled at work? Kids driving you crazy? Stress and anxiety ruining your life? Depression dragging you down? Unable to pay the bills? Feel empty inside? There’s a self-help book for that, I’m sure. And most of it is probably fairly good advice, especially if it’s penned by a PhD, medical doctor, scientist, therapist or psychologist with decades of experience behind their words of wisdom.
But does reading, intellectually understanding and even applying some of what you’ve learned ACTUALLY help you? Not the ego you, but the REAL you? The you that all those self-help books promise to help reveal?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as I’m currently eyeballs-deep into several self-help books. It’s all fascinating stuff, and while some of the wisdom and advice has definitely helped me to understand myself and others better and to see certain situations with more clarity, I’m curious as to how it’s actually affecting my true self. Although intellectually I understand the advice and have been working on applying some of what I learn into my everyday life… is it really me? It’s like when I give a new client a strength training program or nutrition plan: Intellectually they know what to do and can even take steps to incorporate it into their lives… but is it their default state? Is it something that truly resonates with who they are, their desires, their values, their beliefs? Is that why changing habits — especially ones related to fitness and health — so hard to do? (more…)
I want to lose weight/run faster/get stronger, and generally I know what I need to do to achieve that goal (eat less, move more, lift weight, run fast), but I just don’t know how to make it happen with everything going on in my life.
Does that statement ring true for you at all?
If so, welcome to step three or four of Prosci’s ADKAR process for managing change!
In my other life (the one outside of fitness and health blogging and personal training), I’m an internal communications and change manager professional for a large organization, and was thinking the other day how a model we use for managing change within the organization — called ADKAR — could totally be applied to fitness and health. (more…)
How was your week? I’m almost recovered from the marathon and Thanksgiving food binge on Sunday. I had about two days of soreness and hobbling after the race before I felt normal again, though I’m clearly not quite recovered yet as I went for an easy 15-minute run yesterday and bailed on the sidewalk. Probably not the best idea to go for my post-marathon recovery run in the morning in the dark on uneven pavement. Other than a scraped elbow and torn glove I’m fine, and happy that I didn’t also tear my Lululemon running jacket.
I’m actually surprised I feel as good as I do after last weekend, which gives me hope for my upcoming marathon training plan. I’m going to go back to focusing on strength training for about a month until I start to ramp it up again for the Phoenix Marathon in February. (more…)
“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” – Anonymous
“If you are not willing to risk the usual you will have to settle for the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn
“Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.” – Chris Grosser
“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak
There. Now that you’ve read those, are you ready to get up, put down your phone/close your laptop and create a risky opportunity that makes you feel uncomfortable in order to achieve greatness? Are you going to put on your workout gear and head to the gym right this very moment, even though you’re currently cozy in your bed/sitting at your desk at the office? No?
I’ve often wondered if reading motivational quotes layered over images of mountains, oceans and trees actually inspire people to get up and DO the things the quote is trying to motivate you to do. Although many of us seek out and resonate with words of wisdom, especially when we’re going through tough times or are working on something that requires mental strength and willpower, do they actually cause a person to take action? (more…)
Despite my bad news on Wednesday, I had a solid week of workouts, client training and program developing, freelance writing and actual work-work. Thank you all for your comments on yesterday’s post — though I’m disappointed I won’t be getting to experience Boston this year, I know I’ll get there eventually. I was kind of hoping to take a break from structured marathon training for awhile, but in order to attempt another BQ between now and September I’m going to aim for a March-May race. There’s the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1, a race I’ve done and really enjoyed, though I hear the full marathon route is rather hilly. I could also travel to a destination race, like the Phoenix Marathon in February, and combine it into some kind of a vacation. But I think I’d rather stay closer to home in a climate similar to what I’ll be training in.
Next weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving AND the Goodlife Victoria Marathon, of which I’m running the half. I haven’t trained much other than a few 15 km runs on the weekend since I’ve maintained a good level of fitness since the Finlayson Arm 28K. I almost considered signing up for the full just to see how fast I could run… but logic won. Ange is coming to stay with me for the weekend which will be super awesome as well.
Today I’d like to share the inspiring story of one of my clients, Ximena, who I’ve been providing online coaching services to since January of this year. She’s gone from nights at home on the couch seven days a week to strength training, yoga and running most days of the week, plus preparing healthy meals for her and her family. And this past weekend, she ran her first ever race – the Terry Fox 5 km in Vancouver. Her enthusiasm, determination and positive attitude is so inspiring, so I asked her to share her story on my blog. Here’s Ximena’s story, in her own words:
Ximena at the Terry Fox 5K run in Vancouver this past weekend
I’m a 36-year-old mother of two girls. In late 2014, I was introduced to a wonderful lady who shared with me that she used to be as “big” as me (not in those exact words, but close) and that she had slowly started running to the point where she now runs marathons. I thought to myself, “If she can do it, maybe I can, too!” Looking at her current Barbie-doll waist was for sure a motivator. I had reached a stage in my life where I was thinking to myself, “Why bother trying to lose weight and get fit? Once your figure is gone it’s impossible to get it back…” Well, I can tell you now that is NOT TRUE!
This wonderful lady introduced me to Bri and the unbelievable journey began early this year. Slow and easy (but not painlessly… 10 squats can really burn if you are in the shape I was in). The initial goal was never to run a race, but rather to enjoy being off of the coach and as healthy as possible (the weight loss was just the icing on the cake!).
I started by walking for 20 minutes three times a week, and doing yoga and strength training at home two to three times a week. A funny thing happens when you start strength training: with each passing week you notice that your body feels better and stronger, you start to notice and feel muscles that weren’t “there” before, and people start complimenting you on how good you look. (more…)
Are you unhappy with your body? Do you wish you were faster, stronger, bigger or leaner? Do you long to be one of those neon-clad runners who pound the pavement at the crack of dawn and actually enjoy themselves while doing it? Do you wish you didn’t love ice cream, cheese, chocolate and salt-and-vinegar chips so much?
I’ve got good news for you.
Evan Thompson, a philosophy of mind professor at the University of British Columbia who recently published a neuroscience paper on the concept of what we perceive to be our ‘self’, has discovered that “the brain and body is constantly in flux. There’s nothing that corresponds to the sense that there’s an unchanging self.” Now, this doesn’t mean that one day you’ll spontaneously grow bigger bicep muscles and develop cravings for kale and wheatgrass smoothies – but it does verify what Buddhists have believed for ages; that our self is ever-changing and that we are not our thoughts.
“Buddhists argue that nothing is constant, everything changes through time, you have a constantly changing stream of consciousness,” Thompson explains in this article. He found evidence that “self-processing in the brain is not instantiated in a particular region or network, but rather extends to a broad range of fluctuating neural processes that do not appear to be self-specific.”
So what does this have to do with health and fitness? (more…)
Mine started off fairly disappointing when I learned that it’s going to be even harder to get into Boston this year, thanks to 3,000 faster people registering before the five-minute-and-under qualifiers could 🙁 I knew I’d be cutting it close, since last year the time cut off was 1:02 (and I finished within 1:03 this year). Although I haven’t completely given up hope yet, I have a feeling this won’t be my year. I’m sad I will miss out on running it in 2016, but I’m still proud of myself for qualifying. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be, and I’ll need to run even faster next year to get in for 2017. I’m thinking I’ll need to run AT LEAST a 3:29 to guarantee myself a Boston bib. Sigh.
On the upside, all that money I was saving for a Boston trip can now go towards some other trip, perhaps a tropical vacation?? I got a few items in the mail this week from my cousin in New Zealand to entice me to come and explore NZ’s amazing trails. Maybe?? (more…)
Why do we sometimes feel the need to get lost to find ourselves?
Where did we go?
Are our comfortable, 9-to-5 lives with practically the whole wide world available at our finger tips so bad?
We bask in the glow of our tech products instead of the warm light of the sunrise. We go to a big room full of sweaty humans and various sizes of black iron and rubber objects and machines with levers and pulleys for a few hours each week in order to maintain our physiques instead of chopping wood, tilling the ground and playing outside. We go to warehouses stocked full of delicious and nutritious food from around the world located just minutes from our homes — most of the time we don’t even have to walk to get there. We’re not under constant threat of predators, we don’t go to bed hungry wondering where our next meal is going to come from, and we can generally fair okay in the elements.
Though a fitness partner can help, this tool works well, too.
Trying to break bad habits and implement new, healthy ones is no simple task. Not only does it take an excruciatingly long time for a new behaviour to become a habit, but it may also feel like a constant uphill battle to get where you want to be.
For example, you may want to lose weight and get fit, but in order to do so, you will need to make a variety of changes — both small and large — to reach your goal. Doing one small thing, such as cutting out pop or skipping dessert twice a week, is definitely a good start; but you know that if you want to achieve the “get fit” part of your goal, you will need to add in more exercise at some point as well. Sometimes when you take a step back and think about all the things you need to do to reach your goal, you feel overwhelmed and hopeless, which can lead to roadblocks and speed bumps along your path to health and wellness.
Luckily, you don’t have to focus on all those goals and tasks at once to stay motivated. Forget “keeping your eyes on the prize” — simply keep your eye on one or two small things each day to stayed focused and motivated. (more…)