Monday, 26 April 2010

Top 5 excuses heard in the gym

#2 I don't have the time.

When we were children, time seemed to go so much slower. Days felt like weeks and we packed so much in. Now as adults, we wish we could have 10 more minutes in which to do the things we run out of time to do. However, time is rarely the problem, it is a question of priorities.

I was once told by an old client that he didn't have the time to spend in the gym to look like I do. Having heard this many times before, I kept quiet and let him carry on with his sob story. It is so important that we verify the facts before we talk ourselves out of doing things. He had already decided in his head that I spend hours in the gym and since he gets home at 10pm has no time.

Here is what he was really saying.

"Working out looks like hard work. I don't think I could do what you do. I also heard from some guy that he spends hours in the gym to stay in shape. I have made some choices in life which I have unknowingly sacrificed a considerable amount of time. I can't work out at lunch because my boss will think I am work shy. Any spare time I have at the end of the day, I choose to spend either watching TV with my wife or winding down from my day. I want to get in shape but I don't see where I can fit it in to my life right now."

Here is something I can work with. Let the professional work out what is possible. Don't make the decision for them. It's like approaching your bank manager for a loan and saying, "I have no money, and I don't think you should lend me any money so I will not waste your time any longer and leave". These people give the impression that life is totally out of their hands. After a conversation with someone like this, you will not want to get out of bed in the morning.

If ever you encounter someone like this, tell them they could save a lot time in the day by not moaning about how little time they have. It all comes down to priorities. You don't hear a type 1 diabetes sufferer say, " I just don't have the time to take my injections." They make the time or they suffer serious consequences. Quit whinging, take responsibility and get someone to help you make a plan. Otherwise quit whinging, accept the choices you have made and give your friend's ears a rest (and mine).

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Top 5 excuses heard in the gym

I hate gym changing rooms. Not because of the smell, or the person who stands next to you while you are naked because they are too scared to tell you that you are in front of their locker. It is because they are a breeding ground for gym myths and pity parties. Someone overhears a member telling another member about a cabbage soup diet and before you know it, it comes back to me as a sworn way to lose weight. It can also be a place where lazy and demotivated people congregate to feel sorry for themselves about how they can't get fit or in shape. Here are the top 5 excuses I hear from people and the truth about what they are saying.

#1 I have tried everything and nothing works.

These people haven't tried everything and cling to the hope that they have done everything they can. They tend to be those who have a regimented gym routine which they have been doing for 20 years. They will spend hours training in their 'fat burning zone'. They will read a newspaper on the exercise bike and will not have changed shape since you have known them. They sometimes tell me what they will and won't do at the start of a class. They try a new diet every week and love giving health and fitness advice. My reply to their excuse is, "have you tried selling your TV and joining an athletics club? What about nailing your cupboards shut? " These are extreme measures but evidence that these people haven't tried everything.

What they are really saying is, "I have tried lots of ways to lose weight but have realised that the problem is me. I hope that in telling you this, you will feel sorry for me so I can feel sorry for myself at having this burden inflicted on me."

If you have the misfortune of meeting someone like this at your gym, smile, walk away, ask for the manager, cancel your membership and never go back. If you let this person infiltrate your life, it will be the end of everything you have worked hard for.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Healthy is too expensive!

I constantly hear the excuse that healthy eating is expensive. I won't deny that some healthy options would work out more expensive, but if it makes you feel good and your body can get the proper nutrition it needs to function properly, it is a small price to pay.

People often compare apples with oranges when discussing healthy foods. They compare a supermarket chicken (2 for £5) with a free range organic butcher's chicken (£15 for 1). It is like comparing an Olympic athlete with a couch potato claiming there is no difference in their physiology. All chicken may look the same but it isn't. I guarantee, even if there were negligible health benefits from eating good quality meat, the taste difference should be enough to convince you to change.

There is an obvious price difference which would deter many people but this simply highlights what you consider to be important. It isn't wrong to want to save money. However, in most cases, the saving is negligible as the cost to your health outweighs the extra spending on healthy options. Also, any actual saving will most likely be absorbed and spent on other things which may have a negative effect on your health.

There are some things that are cheaper, but they do require a bit of effort. Buying from the greengrocer IS cheaper than buying the same (or sometimes inferior) goods from a supermarket. It takes a bit of organising and there isn't the convenience of going to the supermarket. Convenient doesn't mean good so if your priority is your health, check out a greengrocer. The selection in the picture above costs less than £8. Admittedly, I choose the more expensive options such as spray free tomatoes. You don't have to. However, with your purchase, you will also help to support local business and the natural farming industry.

Did I forget to mention better health? Well add that to the list. Fruits and vegetables are sensitive to heat and light. The more time taken from the soil to your plate, the less nutrients they have. You will get some goodness, but mostly will be fibre. Knowing all this, why would you buy more expensive, less nutritious, less flavoursome food?

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Don't eat fruit and vegetables!

This is the latest article on the back of a study which needs some attention, otherwise you might think you have been mislead over the years. I'm going to throw some figures at you so hold on!

The article was based on a study of 500,000 people that showed eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables (which is 400g) a day didn't have much effect on reducing cancer risk. However, if you read between the lines, you start to see holes in the article. It went on to say that the results showed that eating 200g more of fruits and vegetables had very little effect. This equates to 2 bananas. So correct me if I am wrong, we are comparing the difference between those who ate 5 portions and those who ate 3 ( subtract 2 bananas from the 5 portions)? It then ended by saying this contradicted a study back in 1997 which said that there was convincing evidence which states the opposite of the recent findings. I checked out the study and it uses the word 'sufficient' when quantifying the amount of fruit and vegetables needed to protect against cancer. 2 more bananas is hardly a 'sufficient' amount.

Firstly, those who are in my enlightened circle (that means you) should know by now that 5 a day is too low for the busy lives we lead and the different forms of stress our body can encounter. I would like to see a study done on people eating 10 a day rather than 5 or 3... Secondly, we don't know what kind of people this study was used on. The average person is undernourished and over-stressed. In my opinion, this isn't a good starting point for any study. Thirdly, the article claims that the study in 1997 claimed that eating large amounts of fruits and vegetables provided the protection against cancers. 2 bananas is hardly a large amount. I can't find the amount of fruits and vegetables which the original study used. The writer seems to be guesstimating the amounts.

The final most important point is that the latest study in the group eating 200g more of fruits and vegetables, saw a reduction in cancers of 3%. Considering this equates to 204384000 people, wouldn't you want to be one of them?

Friday, 2 April 2010

Why we fail to reach our goals.

My good friend and colleague Gregg Marsh has beaten me to the punch. His latest blog talks about why people fail with weight management goals. The article talks about breakfast being the most important meal of the day, especially what we eat for breakfast. Our morning food choices set up a host of chemical reactions to support weight management for the day. The evidence is pretty compelling. In my opinion however there is a bigger issue for which I and other trainers can be guilty of missing. People come to see me with a fitness or weight goal in mind and in most cases they are completely out of touch with reality about what it will take to achieve that goal. Admittedly, I have sometimes been hoodwinked by a client's persuasive answer when asked about their commitment to the cause.

The better trainers out there instill into their clients what they expect and the consequences of not following the plan set out. Some do this through price; others have penalties for falling off the wagon; and others have a fitness challenge. One trainer booked his female clients onto a raunchy photo shoot! Is there one, tried and tested method that always works? No. But the link between all these methods is getting the client to be fully committed to their goal.

So what's Coach Chris' method? I get clients to create their red carpet moment. This could be a fitness challenge, a new dress, or a holiday. Whatever it is, it is something to keep them focused and committed, particularly on the days they can't be bothered. All the latest fitness fads, nutrition tips or gym memberships in the world are useless if you don't bring commitment to the table. So go on ... dream up your red carpet moment and see if you can't bring it to your workouts this week.

Stay tuned for my top 5 tips in creating long lasting commitment.