Find your ‘WHY’ to Lose Weight

If you’ve tried to lose weight before but never succeeded in keeping it off, then you probably haven’t worked out why you want to lose weight.

Of course, you want to look better, wear that dress, be healthier, feel better, and feel more confident. But why do you really want to lose the weight?

Confused?

I’m going to explain why it’s so important to understand why you really want to lose weight.

Why You Need to Find Your ‘WHY’

Your why is more than the reason you say you want to lose weight. Your why is what will keep you going in tough times. Finding your why will mean you will:

  • be able to get out of bed and get to training, even on the days you don’t feel like it;
  • choose to go for a walk instead of lazing on the lounge;
  • make time to prepare your food ahead of time (yes, I mean healthy, delicious food), even in the busy weeks;
  • keep working to create new and better habits, no matter how long it will take;
  • get out of your comfort zone and do things that scare you or are uncomfortable;
  • keep looking for ways to grow and develop;
  • put in the hard work, even when you don’t want to;
  • avoid getting complacent;
  • stop making excuses for why you can’t do things;
  • be able to keep going, when all you want to do is give up.

Your why must be personal. It must be strong. And it must be bigger than you.

How Do You Find Your ‘WHY’?

Finding your why takes time and work, but once you have it, everything becomes easier. You’ll have a new perspective on your health and fitness journey, and you’ll begin to see value in things you never did before. You’ll also gain a kind of peace about losing weight, because you’ll see a purpose in the things you have to do. You’ll understand that there are deeper, more meaningful reasons to lose weight than to just look good.

But how do you find your why?

  1. Start by writing down everything you want to achieve or have, by losing weight. It can be anything - just write it down - make a list.
  2. With everything on your list, ask yourself why you want that particular thing. What will it give you? Why is that important? Write it down.
  3. With every answer you come up with, ask the same thing again. What will that give you? Why is it important?
  4. Keep asking, until you can’t ask the question anymore.

What you’ll be left with are your deep, very personal reasons you’re doing this. And I guarantee, it will be deeper and more meaningful than ‘fitting into that dress for summer’.

Sounds a bit confronting doesn’t it. You bet! Yes it is hard to do, but if it was easy, everyone would be doing it and would have achieved what they wanted to achieve!

Here is an example from Jane. Jane is a time-poor Mum who has primary school aged kids and works 3 days a week. She has listed her top 3 reasons why she wants to embark on a health and fitness journey (aka a transformation):

1. To lose weight.

2. To be a good role model for the kids.

3. To comfortably wear a size 12.

Now let’s break them down.

To Lose Weight

“Why do you want to lose weight?"

"I don’t want to get sick with cancer or diabetes or some other illness.”

“Why?"

"I don’t want to spend time and money in doctor’s rooms or in the hospital, or want to take medication for the rest of my life.”

“Why?"

“I as I get older I want to spend time and money on the things that will give me pleasure.”

“Why?”

“I want to enjoy my retirement and travel or spend time with grandkids.”

“Why?”

“I want to be happy and free to do what I want to do.”

“Why?”

“I don’t want to have to worry about dying early or dying a painful death.”

“Why?”

“I don’t want to live a life of restriction due to bad health or lack of mobility.”

“Why?”

“I don’t want to be a burden on my kids’ lives because I am sick.”

“Why?”

“I want them to live a fulfilling lives without having to look after me."

Wanting to lose weight boils down to not needing to worry about her health and how it might impact her kids.

To Be a Good Role Model for the Kids

"Why do you want to be a good role model for your kids?”

“So I can stop parenting from the sidelines because I’m ashamed of how I look.”

“Why?"

“So I can have a good relationship with them and be involved in their lives more.”

“Why?”

“So I can inspire them.”

“Why?”

“So I can show them they can do and be anything they want.”

“Why?"

“So they won’t be miserable and have to go through what I did.”

“Why?”

“So they can live a good life and do the things they want to do.”

“Why?”

“So that I’ll never have to worry about them getting in with the wrong crowd, not being resilient, nor being able to stand up for themselves.”

“Why?”

“So that they will live happy, fulfilled lives and will value how I helped them."

“Why?”

“So that I will feel loved.”

Wanting to be a role model for her kids boils down to wanting to be loved and free from worrying about them making bad choices.

To Comfortably Wear a Size 12

“Why do you want to wear a size 12?"

“So I can stop buying clothes that cover my body and finally wear the clothes I want to wear.”

“Why?”

"So I can feel confident in my own body.”

“Why?”

“So I can feel proud of myself."

“Why?”

“So I can stop being afraid to be seen looking like I do.”

“Why?”

“So I can stop feeling embarrassed, ashamed and guilty for being overweight.”

“Why?”

“So I can attend social events feeling confident.”

“Why?”

“So people won’t look at me and think I’m overweight.”

“Why?”

“So I won’t be judged and talked about.”

“Why?”

“So I can be accepted and loved.”

“Why?”

“Because I don’t accept and love myself.”

Wanting to wear a size 12 boils down to wanting to love herself and be loved by others.

Now we have something strong and powerful to hold onto. Something that will help her keep working towards her goals, especially when motivation is low.

Find your WHY to Find Your HOW

Losing weight and changing your body shape isn’t always easy. There are countless reasons why you’ll say you can’t do it:

  • I can’t afford it,
  • I don’t have time,
  • I don’t know what to do,
  • Nothing works for me,
  • This is my natural body shape,
  • I have a bad knee/back/ankle,
  • I don’t have time to exercise,
  • I’m not ready,
  • I’m not a morning person,
  • I’m too busy,
  • I’m not that bad for my age,
  • Work takes too much of my time,
  • Etc.

But the reality is if you know your why, you’ll find your how. If you can’t find your how, your why isn’t strong enough.

I’ll say that again…

If you know your why, you’ll find your how. If you can’t find your how, your why isn’t strong enough.

If you’ve been making excuses as to why you’re not doing what you need to do, or you’re quick to give up when things get tough, then you haven’t found your why.

When you find your why, you find a way to make it happen.

If you want to lose weight but haven’t found your why, let’s meet up for a coffee or have a Zoom meeting. Maybe I can help dig through the layers to get to the heart of your why - the why that will help you get started on the path to permanent change.

Also have a think about doing my FREE fat-loss e-Course. It is 6 days of great information delivered straight to your inbox and will point you in the right direction so you can ditch the diets and reclaim your health and vitality.

There’s a Better Way to Track Weight Loss

You need to make a change so you go on a diet, again. You commit wholeheartedly to losing weight, use every ounce of your willpower to stay on track, and for the first few weeks you see the scale drop. 

You’re delighted! You’re now convinced that you’ve finally found the right diet that will give you the results you’ve been looking for, so you continue with it. You follow the plan even though you’re finding it hard to follow all the rules and the restrictions. Hard? yes, but it’s not a problem because the confidence you feel at steadily losing weight more than makes up for the inconvenience and deprivation you feel.

After a few weeks, your weight loss slows down. So you cut back your food a little more, and increase your exercise, believing that this extra calorie deficit is what will get you over this little bump in the road.

But then your weight loss slows down even more until you’re no longer seeing a change in the scales. Some weeks, your weight even goes up!

Instead of feeling confident, you’re devastated. You’re worried that you’re going backwards, so you tell yourself that you need to be even more strict on yourself. You start weighing yourself daily or even several times a day just to ‘check’ that you’re on-track. You also try to cram even more exercise into your week. Some weeks it works and you see a small drop in the scales, but some weeks it doesn’t and you put on what you lost the week before, plus a little bit more!

When you look back on to see how you’ve tracked your weight loss, you’re horrified to see that you’ve actually been losing and putting on the same 3 Kg for the past couple of months. ‘Stuff this’ you say and so you stop following that particular diet and search again for a new one, one that’s easy to follow and will get those kilos off for good. There’s got to be a program that will work, right?

The Problem with the Scales

The scenario above is all too familiar for chronic dieters who go from one plan to another, constantly searching for the program that will work for them.

Initially, you get seemingly quick-results, because the scales reflect weight loss. Then, when the weight loss slows, and plateaus (as it will because diets don’t work), the diet industry tells you that there’s something wrong with you. That it’s your fault you’re not continuing to lose weight because you’re not strict enough or not good enough.

But what the industry doesn’t tell you, is that scales are one of the most inaccurate ways of tracking your weight loss.

Why the Scales Are Not Accurate and Why Weight Fluctuates

The truth is that your weight fluctuates regularly. It fluctuates over the course of a day, and throughout the week. What causes those fluctuations? Let’s have a look.

Glycogen Stores

When we eat carbohydrates, our body turns them into a form of sugar called glycogen. Glycogen is the main energy source for our body, which we can draw upon when we need it. And every gram of glycogen is accompanied by 3-4 grams of water.

When you go on a diet, one of the first things you’ll probably do is to cut carbs. By cutting carbs, you reduce your glycogen stores, and reduce the amount of water you have in your body, which will show up on the scales as weight loss. Hooray! But you can’t restrict food forever, and eventually you’ll start eating carbs again. Of course, the increased glycogen in your system means you’ll increase your body’s water content — which will show up as a gain on the scales. And then you panic, and cut carbs again because you believe that eating them causes you to become overweight.

Salt

A similar thing occurs with salt. When you eat salty foods, your body holds on to excess water in order to keep your electrolytes in balance. In addition, salty foods cause you to drink more water than usual, with associated increases in fluid levels equating to a ‘gain’ on the scales. This explains why you may weigh more the morning after eating out — because many take-away or restaurant meals (e.g. burgers and chips) are high in salt.

What You Ate

What you eat can cause big swings in your body weight as well. When you eat food, it isn’t digested straight away. This is particularly the case for protein and veggies — the two food groups that help you burn fat. That means that if you’re focusing on eating these types of foods, instead of weight-loss shakes, meal replacements or even fasting, the contents of your stomach will naturally weigh more. Is this a weight gain you should be worried about? Hell no!

Stress

Most people are unaware of the impact stress can have on their weight. When you’re stressed, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol has a number of effects on your weight, one of them being water-retention, which will cause you to weigh more on the scales.

Ironically, dieting by restricting food and increasing your exercise increases stress levels further, and increases the chances of you binge eating or emotional eating, which as we know, only sabotages your weight loss.

What contributes to stress (and increased cortisol)? Lack of sleep, work, lifestyle, and injuries.

What Happens if You Focus on the Scales

It’s clear that focusing on the scales gives you an inaccurate picture of your real weight loss progress. Yet many people use that as their only tracking tool, and this can cause a host of other problems, such as:

  • You’ll end up focusing purely on diet and exercise as a way to lose weight.
  • You won’t address the habits that have led you to gain weight in the first place.
  • You won’t learn how to develop a lifestyle that will enable you to lose weight and keep it off.
  • You’re more likely to ignore your body’s warning signs of burnout or injury.
  • You’ll focus on what you look like, and ignore how your body feels (your health) and functions (energy levels).
  • You’ll miss the importance of nutrition to create a body that will burn fat and build muscle.
  • You’ll compromise your metabolism in favour of a smaller number on the scale.
  • You’ll measure your success only by a scale weight, instead of the habits that you’re changing.
  • You won’t understand the importance of body composition (more muscle, less fat) for losing weight and maintaining it.
  • You’ll let a scale number dictate your self-worth and confidence.
  • You’ll end up ignoring the 97% of the things that actually make a difference in your weight.
  • You’ll be more likely to trade food for exercise, so you continue to minimise food choices, in order to lose weight.
  • You’ll create an enormous amount of psychological and emotional damage by measuring yourself on the scales.

You’ll end up attaching your self-worth to the scales. And when they don’t go down, your self-worth and self-confidence takes a dive. Every time you step on those scales and don’t see the weight loss that you expect, your confidence takes a hit. And the less confident you are, the more likely you are to fall for the next quick-fix, fad diet that comes along — which only perpetuates this whole vicious cycle!

Tracking Your Weight Loss Progress

I know plenty of trainers and doctors who use scales to gauge your weight loss success. I personally do not use them and I coach my clients not to use them either.

Instead, you should be focusing on the things that will make a bigger difference long-term. Sure, we’d all love to lose weight quickly and keep it off. But it doesn’t work that way.

You can either:

  • Lose weight quickly and gain it all back, and continue to yo-yo diet forever because you don’t change the fundamental reasons why you are overweight,

OR

  • Lose weight gradually, gradually changing your habits, your health, and your mindset as you go, knowing that the weight you lose, you’ll keep off forever.

If you want to take the quick-fix approach and go around in circles as you have always done,  stop reading now, and go back to your diet.

But if you want to lose weight for good, and are sick of feeling bad about yourself because of a number on a scale, read on to discover a new approach to tracking weight loss.

What Leads to Long-Term Weight Loss

Many people mistakenly believe that dieting and increasing their exercise is the best way to lose weight. Makes sense right? Well, sort of. That strategy will produce weight loss, in the short term. Research however has proven time and time again that this approach doesn’t work for long-term weight loss, and isn’t that the whole point? Who wants to be continually going up and down on the weight loss merry-go-round?

Permanent, sustainable weight loss is about changing your habits and mindset, in order for you to develop a lifestyle that will naturally support weight loss.

You see, habits are at the heart of our lifestyle, and habit change is at the heart of successful weight loss. That is why the ability to identify the habits that have been holding you back and slowly changing them to better ones is at the heart of what I do at Eternally Fit.

Unless you change the habits that continually sabotage your efforts, you’ll continue to go around in circles. A lot of people think that eating too much or drinking alcohol are the main habits that prevent them from losing weight. Yes, these do contribute to weight gain, but there are other habits that you may be unaware of that have just the same or even more influence over your weight than you would think. If you are stuck in the hellish dieting cycle, see if you recognise some of these common habits:

  • Being a perfectionist.
  • Comparing yourself to others.
  • Not believing in yourself.
  • Having a diet mindset (must exercise like mad and eat stuff all, and when that doesn’t work, try another variation).
  • Worrying about what other people think.
  • Pleasing other people so they’ll like you.
  • Feeling guilty about putting yourself first.
  • Not prioritising sleep and rest.
  • Lack of confidence.

Increasing your awareness of these things is the first step in changing these habits. A lot of people have difficulty identifying the habits that sabotage their progress, which is why working with a coach is vital.

But even if you’re focusing on changing your habits, instead of the number on the scale, your weight loss will not happen at the same rate. It will slow down after a time. But don’t panic; this is absolutely normal.

Why Your Weight Loss Slows Down

The diet industry would like you to believe that you’re only successful in losing weight if the scales tell you that you’ve lost weight, and done so on a regular, consistent basis.

  • It doesn’t care if you’ve compromised your metabolism or health along the way.
  • It doesn’t care if you become obsessed with diet-related behaviours that will take over your life.
  • It doesn’t care if you become afraid of food, and can no longer eat without feeling guilty.
  • It doesn’t care if you end up feeling worthless, hopeless, useless, depressed or riddled with anxiety.

Weight loss success is more than what the scale tells you because the slowing down of weight loss is a normal. It’s a natural part of the journey, even if you’re not dieting. Unfortunately this is when most people give up because there aren’t as many visible results.

When you hit what you consider a plateau (which isn’t a plateau at all), you’ve just reached a normal stage in your weight loss journey. You see, when your initial weight loss slows down, you’ve reached the point where your metabolism is re-setting as your body tries to adjust to a new normal. During this phase, you may not notice any progress with your weight loss. But rest assured a lot is happening behind the scenes, and this is what you need to pay attention to.

Continuing to focus only on the scales will leave you feeling discouraged and eventually you’ll throw in the towel. But if you can turn your attention to the invisible forms of success, and use ways other than the scales to measure changes in your body shape, you’ll be able to stay on-track, and keep making progress.

Invisible Success - What the Scale Does Not Show

Scales only show your body weight at a particular moment in time. You now know that your weight can vary on a daily basis, or even from hour to hour, depending upon what you eat and drink.

What the scales don’t show you are some of the most important things of all; the things that will have the greatest impact on your overall weight and body shape. These are often referred to as invisible success and you need to celebrate it:

  • Sleeping better.
  • Being consistent with your weekly food preparation of fast delicious food.
  • Having more energy.
  • Being able to say ‘no’ when people ask you to do things.
  • Developing a habit around walking.
  • Having better skin, nails and hair.
  • Feeling happier and more confident.
  • Improved gut issues.
  • Improved sex life.
  • Training regularly.
  • Progressing in your training sessions and workouts.
  • No longer relying on food and alcohol to deal with your emotions.
  • Focusing on your own journey instead of what others are doing.
  • Reduction in the amount of medication you take.
  • Thinking more clearly and being more productive.
  • No longer wasting time on social media.
  • Feeling free around food.
  • Focusing on consistency instead of perfection.
  • Being able to recognise when you need to rest.
  • Being able to ‘block the noise’.
  • Finally ditching the diet mindset.
  • Getting rid of toxic people and surrounding yourself with the right people.
  • An improved immune system.
  • No longer living in fear.
  • Not needing to control everything or freaking out when things don’t go to plan.
  • Better stress management techniques.
  • No longer parenting from the sidelines.
  • No longer being afraid of being seen.
  • More balanced hormones.
  • Not being afraid to have your photo taken.
  • Being able to be yourself.
  • Developing your environment to support your weight loss.
  • Employing a boundary strategy, instead of living by rules.
  • Being harder to kill.

Scales also don’t tell you what your body composition is. Body composition is how much muscle and how much fat you have on your body. This is an important consideration for weight loss because the higher your muscle percentage, the more fat your body will burn and the easier it becomes to lose weight.

In addition, because muscle takes up less space than fat, by replacing fat with muscle mass, you will dramatically change the way your body looks, even if the scale weight doesn’t change. If you focus on improving your body composition, and building better habits, your weight loss will take care of itself. You’ve probably seen those sorts of photos on the internet. A little while ago one of my clients was very despondent that she had not lost weight. She was moving better, sleeping better, and her clothes were fitting better, but she had not lost any weight. I showed her the photo below and it drove home the importance to her of forgetting what the scales say.

Visible success

Of course, there are more accurate ways to track your visible progress (body shape changes) that don’t involve the scale:

  • Trying on clothes. Regularly trying on an item of clothing that doesn’t currently fit will show you if your body shape is changing (like my client I just mentioned).
  • Taking photos of yourself. Show as much skin as possible (yes, I know it’s confronting) but photos are a powerful way to track your progress, especially when taken 3 to 6 months apart.You may not see the daily changes in the mirror, but your photos will tell a different story.
  • Taking body measurements (aka girth measurements). These provide you with accurate feedback. If your body measurements (e.g. waist, hip, chest, etc.) are changing, that means your body is changing too.
  • Measuring your body composition. You can also measure the amount of body fat and muscle mass you have by having a body scan. If your muscle mass is increasing and fat mass is decreasing, then you’re definitely making progress and on the right track, regardless of what the scales may tell you.

Celebrate the Building of New Habits

Real, permanent weight loss will only happen if you build new habits. Instead of focusing on the scales and celebrating when they’re down, and falling into a depression when they go up, turn your focus to the lifestyle, habit, and mindset changes that you’re making.

You might think that the above measures of success are unimportant if your ultimate goal is to lose weight, especially if you have lots of weight to lose. However, these are the things that will help you lose the weight, and keep it off forever. This will mean no more dieting, no more worrying about what you look like, no more dreaded shopping for clothes, and no more obsessing over food. Instead, you’ll finally have the freedom and confidence to live the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Many believe that to achieve big things their actions have to involve big things. But the most powerful are the things that most people think don’t matter. For example, going to bed an hour earlier, eating a few more vegetables, or going for a walk may not seem like they’ll make much difference to your weight loss, however if repeated consistently over time, they will have a huge impact.

Make a point to celebrate every one of your smaller ‘non-scale’ wins. Doing so will make it more likely that you’ll repeat that action again, which will lead to greater consistency, improved habits, and better results. You’ll feel proud of yourself, instead of worthless and ashamed, which will also motivate you to keep making progress, even if the scales don’t seem to move.

If you focus on your habits and changing your body composition, the weight loss will take care of itself.

Time to Ditch the Scales

If you’d like to finally be free of the scales and the negative head talk that happens every time you step on them, I can help you. I can help you see the power in the small things, especially when you feel progress is slow, so you’ll never feel like you’re struggling with weight loss again.

I can show you how you can be proud of yourself no matter what the scales say. And I can guarantee that if you trust the process, and let go of the scales as a way to measure success, you’ll achieve success more easily and quickly than you would if you focused on the scales alone.

Are you ready to ditch the diets and the scales that has taken over your life? Do you want to lose weight forever and reclaim your health, vitality, confidence and feel strong and sexy in your own skin?

If you’re ready to change your life, I want to hear from you. I can help you understand the habits you need to work on, provide you with a structured, personalised program, and provide you the accountability in order to produce long-lasting, permanent, and sustainable results. And when I mean sustainable, I mean for the rest of your life.

I’m amazed at the power of food: It’s packed with meaning, information and communication.

Every food decision we make sends a message to our body.

Every food choice is an opportunity to direct, shape, and remake our health, our body composition, our performance, and our well-being.

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Fitness and nutrition professionals often say that to get in shape, you have to treat ‘food as fuel.’ I’ve been guilty of this and after undergoing my own transformation, and now progressing towards more changes, I disagree. Here’s why.

Have you heard this or something similar to this? (I bet you have): “The human body is like a Ferrari. You have to give it the right sort of fuel or else the engine will gunk up and the Ferrari will break down.”

Just the other day I posted up a poll on Facebook asking my Community Group what they thought food was. Out of all the responses, “fuel” appeared 77% of the time.

That’s when it really hit home: For most people, particularly fitness people, “fuel” is the only story they can tell about food.

Food is so much more than ‘fuel’ or ‘energy’ or ‘calories'

For one thing, even if we’re looking at food purely in terms of its physiological effects (energy and calories), we are only telling part of the story.

You’ve probably heard the term ‘macronutrients’. These are the proteins, carbohydrates, and fat in food that contains the ‘energy’ or ‘calories’. But food also includes micronutrients, phytochemicals, zoochemicals, water, and more.

Think of these as the side character actors in a movie: they may not be the “stars” of the show as they don’t really provide “energy” (or fuel) at all, yet they’re absolutely critical for energy, performance, mood, and optimal long-term health. In other words, without them, the show won’t go on.

Unfortunately, the ‘food as fuel’ story almost completely ignores these important characters. So let’s briefly talk about them here.

Micronutrients: Vitamins and minerals

We need vitamins and minerals in our diet. Without them, our bodies break down.

For example, calcium helps:

  • build bones,
  • clot blood,
  • regulate blood pressure,
  • keep our muscles and heart pumping, and
  • maintain cell communication.

Magnesium plays a role in more than 300 enzyme systems and helps with:

  • protein synthesis,
  • muscle and nerve function,
  • blood sugar control,
  • blood pressure regulation,
  • energy production, and
  • transport of other minerals.

Folate (vitamin B9) helps:

  • convert food into energy,
  • the nervous system (including the brain) function,
  • tissues grow
  • red blood cell production.

None of these nutrients provide ‘fuel’

This may be one reason why vitamin and mineral deficiencies are extremely common. When we only think of food as fuel, it’s easy to forget that we’re eating for other reasons too.

When you’re missing key vitamins and minerals, your body doesn’t work properly. You feel rotten. And you get sick. And that’s true no matter how much fuel is in the Ferrari.

Phytochemicals

Now let’s meet the phytochemicals.

This is a really big grouping of nutrients (phyto = plant) that definitely affects your health.

These nutrients have been shown to:

  • offer DNA protection against free radicals,
  • protect against cancer,
  • decrease risk of heart disease, and
  • reduce overall mortality.

Of course, like the micronutrients, phytochemicals don’t provide ‘fuel’.

Zoochemicals

Zoochemicals are like the animal cousins of phytochemicals.

Present in animal foods (zōon = animal), these nutrients have profound health effects.

Many zoochemicals are fat-soluble, which means they’re present in animal fats. That’s why avoiding (or limiting) animal fat intake will also limit zoochemical intake.

These nutrients have been shown to:

  • reduces Inflammation
  • reduces risks of blood clotting or platelet aggregation
  • improve Eye Health (Lutein, Zeazanthin, Omega 3)
  • protect against cancer
  • improve brain functions
  • improve the immune system

Like phytonutrients, zoochemicals don’t provide ‘fuel’.

Food is So Much More than Fuel, and You’re So Much More Complex than a Ferrari

You are not a machine. You’re a living organism that’s incredibly complex.

If you’ve spent any time doing counting calories, you’ll know that trying to calculate precise inputs and outputs is frustrating.

Perhaps you ate more calories than you thought you should… but got leaner.

Or you ate fewer calories than you thought you should… and gained weight (or you didn’t lose that last stubborn 5 kilos.)

Or you started eating breakfast instead of skipping it… and dropped a couple of centimetres off your waistline.

According to the simplistic ‘food as fuel’ view, none of this should be possible. Yet it happens all the time.

Because human bodies aren’t combustion engines. They’re complex, dynamic, organic, and infinitely sensitive systems.

More like the complete cast (and director, and producer) of a fantastic movie than they are like a car. Even a fancy car, like a Ferrari.

For example: Research now shows that all food isn’t created equal, and what we eat isn’t necessarily what we absorb.

Dozens — maybe even hundreds — of factors affect how we digest, process, and use the food we eat.

This means that the fuel, or calorie, value of food outside the body isn’t necessarily the same as the value inside the body.

Our bodies have their own priorities. For instance, the body will extract nutrients to keep you alive by any means necessary, often making tough compromises along the way.

This would be sort of  like the Ferrari suddenly driving itself to the petrol station and holding up the cashier until it gets what it needs, or cannibalising its own headlights for fuel.

What’s more, your body isn’t even completely ‘human’.

Much of our digestion and nutrient extraction is done by the trillions of microbial critters living in and on us.

Analysis of our bacterial environments shows that each of us has an individual gut flora ‘microbiome’, like a fingerprint. Changing our microbiome changes our digestion and absorption, and hence our body composition and health.

We’re incredibly complicated, self-organising, agenda-driven, only-sorta-human systems.

The Ferrari should be jealous!

Food is… information

So if the ‘food as fuel’ story is limited, unimaginative, and — ultimately — incorrect, what is food?

Food is — in part — information.

Sort of like a script. It tells the ‘actors' in our bodies how to perform.

When we eat, we’re really delivering messages:

  • do this,
  • don’t do this,
  • release this hormone,
  • don’t release that one,
  • express this protein,
  • don’t express that one.

We’re essentially sending instructions that kick off a chemical chain letter.

It’s really quite amazing. Each molecule of food contributes to a beautiful cascade of events, sending all kinds of signals throughout our bodies.

Make hormones! Trigger immune cells! Switch genes on and off! Tell the work crew to clean up and the builders to get on standby!

Lights! Camera! Action!

It’s like the biggest, busiest movie set you can imagine. And somehow — unlike many film sets — it runs almost perfectly.

Our bodies process millions of calories and (let’s be scientific about this) zillions of chemical compounds a year, with nearly 100% efficiency. (Just for comparison, petrol-powered engines, like our Ferrari, would be happy to hit 30% efficiency.)

Even cooler, our thoughts, feelings, and environment can affect these processes.

If we smell a tasty meal, have a positive or negative thought about food (or anything else), are happy and relaxed or worried and rushing… it affects nutrient processing.

But let’s start by looking at what happens when we actually consume food.

As we eat, our bodies sense incoming nutrients, and send signals to our brain to let it know what is coming in.

Here are just a few examples of the different messages food delivers.

The Carb Message

When we eat carbohydrates — it doesn’t matter which type — our blood sugar goes up. Almost all carbohydrates — from sugars to starches — are broken down to the same thing: glucose.

Glucose carries the 'carbohydrate message’ that tells your gut to release various molecules and send them to your pancreas.

These molecules then tell your pancreas to release the hormone insulin.

Grabbing the chemical note and running with it, insulin prepares the rest of your body for the glucose that’s about to appear. Muscle, brain, and fat cells open their mailboxes and get ready to take in the glucose delivery.

Your pancreas then releases other stuff to tell your brain that there’s incoming food.

The more messages, and the more they keep coming (i.e. the higher these chemicals rise and/or the longer they stay elevated), the more your brain believes that you’ve had enough food. (A bit like when you’re drowning in e-mail and want to yell, “Enough!“)

Here, food is information. It’s communication. It’s a set of instructions that you give your body to accomplish amazing things.

Here’s another example.

The Protein and Fat Messages

Proteins and fats also spin a good yarn.

When they’re broken down, their ‘messages’ tell the gut to release a hormone that tells the pancreas to make certain enzymes that help digest the chicken wings now sitting in your small intestine.

That same hormone tells the gallbladder to release bile (which helps with fat digestion and absorption). It also tells the brain you’ve had enough to eat.

And while it’s popped in on the brain, it stays for a little chat with other neurotransmitter systems in the brain, such as the system which is involved in pain management and mood.

These Cells were Made for Talking

Digestion is just the story’s introduction. When these digested food compounds reach our cells, there is a communication festival.

Cells put protein components to work making hormones, enzymes, structural proteins, and of course, building muscle.

Fat components are used to make hormones and become integrated into our cell membranes. They control inflammation pathways.

Carbohydrate components are used to maintain proper hormone status (such as thyroid, testosterone, and leptin to a degree).

These responses are simply for incoming macronutrients.

Micronutrients, phytochemicals and zoochemicals also carry their own messages and communicate other unique information to the body:

  • Some tell the body to boost our own natural antioxidant defence systems.
  • Others help our antioxidant defence systems do their job.
  • Some tell the body to make enzymes that devour cancer.
  • Others attack cancer directly.
  • Some stick around in our intestines and protect us from damaging compounds.
  • Others bind the damaging compounds and carry them out of the body.

Yackity yak yak yak. You can’t shut these chemical communicators up. (And that’s a good thing.)

Time to Create your Food Story

So, take a few minutes and consider this question: What is food? For you?

Is it fuel? Is it information? Is it personal freedom? Is it shame? Is it self-esteem?

Then consider this question: What would you like food to be?

For me it’s a story that shapes my daily life - how I look, my health, and how I function.

Want Help with your Food Story?

If you’d like some help and support as you develop a new food story in your life, I’d be happy to help. In fact, I’ll soon be taking applications for people to undertake a 12 Week Metabolic Precision Challenge that will take people through the process of making food work for them to help build muscle, burn fat, and help recover after exercise.

I will only be accepting a small number of new clients, and I believe the spots in the program will sell out fast. However, those motivated enough to put themselves on the wait list will get a look in before everyone else.

So click the link below to put your name on the wait list  as applications for spots will be processed first come, first served, and when they’re gone, they’re gone.

Steve Johnson

Put me on the wait list

For a workout program to be effective and bring you the results you’re after, it must be focused, structured, and progressive.

Progressive means that over time, you increase the demand being placed on your body.

Many people believe that the only way to progress a workout is by increasing the amount of weight you lift. And right now, with gyms closed and people isolated in their homes, there is much concern about the best way to keep progressing with workout programs done at home, given that most people don’t have racks of weights readily available.

But I’m here to show you how you can make the most of your home workout program and how you can continue to progress your workouts, even if you don’t have access to the usual equipment.

In order to illustrate how to progress your workouts, I’ll be using dumbbell bicep curls as an example.

If you performed 2 sets of 8 reps using 5kg dumbbells and rested for 90 seconds in your last workout, here are 8 ways you can progress that exercise.

1. Load

The most obvious way, and the first thing that most people think of is increasing the load. In the example above, this means performing 2 sets of 8 reps using a heavier weight — for example, 6kg dumbbells.

However, it’s very important that you are performing this exercise with the correct form and a full range of motion before progressing with extra weight. Otherwise, you increase your risk of injury.

2. Volume

By increasing the total number of reps using the 5kg dumbbell, you’ll be increasing the volume of your training. For example, you could perform 2 sets of 10 reps (for a total of 20 reps) or 3 sets of 8 reps (for a total of 24 reps). Once again, be sure that you are performing this exercise with correct form and full range of movement before progressing.

Another way to increase your volume is to increase the number of exercise sessions you do in the week. For example, if you currently do 1, you can increase it to 2.

3. Density

You can also progress your workout by increasing the density. This means performing the same amount of work in less time. Using our example of bicep curls, this may mean doing 2 sets of 8 reps, using the 5kg dumbbell, but only taking 60 seconds rest in between sets, instead of the 90 seconds we were taking beforehand.

4. Range of motion

In a bid to increase the weight they lift, many people don’t focus on their range of motion when performing an exercise, and are very quick to add extra weight. But performing your exercise with a full range of motion, and engaging all the relevant muscle groups will lead to better results without the risk of injuring yourself.

In our example, you can increase your range of motion by making sure your arm is fully extended when on the downward movement.

5. Stability

Improving your stability is one area that many people overlook because they’ve been led to believe that more weight is better. However, being more stable will reduce the risk of injury, improve your coordination and will help you activate more muscles efficiently.

You can work on your stability by making your exercise more challenging by introducing a slightly unstable surface. In the example above, this may involve sticking with the same weight, but sitting on a Stability (Swiss) ball to do your exercise.

6. Tempo / Time under tension

The final way to progress your home workout is to slow down your exercise and increase the time your muscles are under tension. This will make your exercise more difficult, even if you perform it at the same weight with the same amount of reps. As you slow down your movement, try to maintain a steady tempo, and not rush through any part of the movement. Slowing down the tempo will help you focus on engaging the right muscle groups, but it may fatigue you, so pay attention to your form. Ensure you do your reps with a full range of movement.

7. Focus

It’s normally the most under-rated aspect of training, but focus is the most important. Focus will help keep you safe from injury, and will help you get better results from your training. Increasing your focus on your reps each session is also a way to keep progressing your workout.

8. Track your sessions

An important part of being able to progress your home workouts is to record what you do and track your results. For every session, write down what exercises you do, what your weights and rep counts were, and note down anything that you need to work on. For example, you might record that you find your left arm weaker than your right.

You should also make notes about how you feel before and after your training, and note down any things that you need to focus on while exercising. This might be switching your core on, or not rushing through your sets. This data will help you to understand when you’re ready to progress your workout, and which type of progression might be best.

The more data you have, the better your workouts will be, and the better your results.

9. Refuel your body

In order to keep progressing with your workouts, it’s important to pay attention to your nutrition.

The best results don’t happen to those who smash their workouts, but to those who consistently recover from their sessions, so they can put in their best effort the next time they workout. Part of that recovery is eating the right food after your workout.

Once again, record what you eat before and after your session, and how that impacts how you feel during your session, and how well you recover from it. This will help you tweak your pre- and post-nutrition in order to know what works best for you.

10. Allow Time to Rest and Recover

Finally, you need to allow enough time to rest and recover, so you’re ready to train again at your next session. Strength training causes tiny tears in muscle tissue. While these aren’t harmful, it’s the healing process that builds muscle. If you don’t give yourself enough time in between workouts, you won’t maximise your results. You also won’t be giving your best at your next session, which means you’ll increase your risk for injury or burnout.

Adequate rest and recovery is just as important to progress your workouts, as the workouts are themselves. Remember, the best results come from consistency, and the better you recover from your sessions, the more consistent you’ll be.

11. Exercise the right way

At Eternally Fit I help my clients reach their goals by devising personalised exercise plans that involve different levels and styles of progression. This enables me to help them get closer to their goals, regardless of limitations such as injuries, inability to get to the gym, or lack of workout equipment. There is always a way to make progress!

Knowing when and how to progress your workout can be tricky, especially if you’re unsure whether you’re performing your exercise correctly. That’s where I can help. Even if you’re training at home, by videoing your sessions and sending them to me, I can provide expert guidance on your technique, and give you things to work on, or advice on how to keep progressing with your exercise. That way, you can be sure that you’re continuing to get closer to your goals.

If you’d like help with your training so you can reach your goals this year, and want to know that the workout you’re following will get you the results you’re after, my online coaching program is NOW OPEN. This program, delivered completely online includes guidance on exercise, nutrition, and habit and mindset change. Find out how it works here and then click the links on that page to see if you qualify.

Why do I need it?

The balance between electrolytes is greatly important for our health. It can affect the amount of water in our system, the acidity of your blood, our muscles ability to contract and the communication between our nerve cells. We are talking the ability to regulate a heartbeat and, to have full command of skeletal muscle. In the world of electrolytes, it is often sodium the one making headlines. Nonetheless, potassium merits equal amounts of attention. As a matter of fact the balance between sodium and potassium, or the unbalance I must say, is more responsible for high blood pressures than is sodium alone, which is what many of us have been told. The body will do it’s best to stay afloat, even if, say, you where to chow down on salty foods all day. It does have tightly controlled regulatory mechanisms in place. Insulin for instance, although not the only hormone to do so, has this regulatory ability. Sadly, if you do not have good insulin sensitivity, which is likely if you’re eating processed foods, then maintaining normal blood pressures and proper fluid balance becomes even more difficult. 

Can it help me train better?

Cells are in a constant exchange of fluids, and nutrients, with their surrounding environment, in what turns out to be a quite delicate trade. The tiniest shift in concentrations of sodium and potassium can allow water and nutrients, such as proteins and carbohydrates, entry in to muscle cells. Thinking of taking advantage of this nifty anabolic response? Read all about the sodium/potassium pump here. Word on the street is that potassium, or a lack thereof, is behind muscle cramps, especially exercise induced muscle cramps. This theory certainly fits the mould. The problem is, science has yet to undercover if, in fact, it is lack of potassium or an electrolyte imbalance overall that actually causes muscle cramps. For the time being don’t become a victim of cramps – have a read of ‘Muscle Cramp – what is it & how to avoid them’.

Where to get it?

Most fruits vegetables are the best sources of potassium. Leafy greens, vine fruit, root vegetables such as sweet potatoes with their skin. 

Am I deficient? 

Hypokalaemia, full blown potassium deficiency, is really quite uncommon. About 85% of all the potassium we consume in our diet is absorbed.

Yet to discard the possibility of marginal deficiencies would be naïve. A standard diet full with processed food is likely to be loaded with salt, increasing our need for potassium. We know for certain that salt sensitivity varies with ethnicity. African Americans, for example, are on the more sensitive side.

Although only a minute amount of potassium is lost through sweat, athletes, especially while exercising in hot weather, should also be mindful.

Pregnant woman might find their high blood pressures augment their potassium needs. Patients with high blood pressures are often prescribed diuretics, which increase their excretion of potassium. 

Should I supplement? 

Even those that are extremely salt sensitive or are at risk of marginal deficiencies can get what they need from food, and they can consume it quite easily. Being sufficient in potassium can be done in two steps. 

  1. Lower your salt intake
  2. Eat fruits and vegetables:
    • One papaya – 781 mg
    • One medium mango – 323 mg
    • One small banana – 422 mg
    • One sliced tomato 400 mg
    • One medium baked potato with the skin – 986 mg
    • One medium avocado – 344 mg 

Is there risk for toxicity?

Over the counter brands and multivitamins contain very little potassium, 100 mg approximately since the risk of toxicity is very high. Having toxic levels of potassium can cause a condition called Hyperkalaemia which, as you can imagine, can cause anything from fatigue to cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal beating of the heart) and ultimately cardiac arrest. You do not loose significant amounts of potassium in your sweat. Supplementing heavily with the mineral with the intent of preventing muscle cramps is NOT a good idea. 

Daily Allowance: 4.6 g/day 

Source: Dr Paul Cribb – Metabolic Precision

Why do I need it? 

If there is one mineral that takes all the credit for bone and tooth health, it is calcium. That is because more than 99% of the body’s calcium is stored away in bone and teeth. This mineral ensures the strength of the network of collagen fibres making up bones and teeth. The remaining 1% is found in plasma. Calcium is not the only element responsible for bone and tooth health but it sure is a key player.

Bone health aside, there are over 100 tasks calcium is involved in. From delivering a heartbeat to making nerve cell communication possible calcium is ubiquitous within the human body. Important for us fitness enthusiasts is the fact that calcium is essential for skeletal muscle contraction and for improving body composition. You can read all about how making calcium a staple in your diet can aid your weight loss and muscle building efforts in Calcium – your secret weapon to speed fat loss.

Where to get it? 

Dairy products will give you anywhere from 200mg to 400mg of calcium per serving. You can also get a great deal from the bones of fish such as salmon and sardines. If you have a taste for it, eating the articulation and bones of other animals can be a great way to get calcium (and collagen) into your diet as well. 

Vegetable sources of calcium include leafy greens such as kale, spinach and bok choy as well as broccoli and turnip. Since these do not represent a substantial source of calcium, vegetarians may have to opt for foods fortified with calcium such as tofu. 

Read some fantastic tips on how to meet (and assess) your calcium needs in FDN Calcium Fights Fat – are you getting enough? 

Am I deficient? 

The body tightly regulates how, and where, it allocates calcium. If calcium in blood is not sufficient to support enzymatic activity it will take out of the biggest calcium “bank” we have – our bones and teeth. Make sure you don’t let this happen by consuming foods rich in calcium. 

If you are relying heavily on vegetable sources of calcium here is something to consider. Less than 5% of the calcium in spinach is available to us because it is exists bound to oxalates. On the other side of the spectrum, we have broccoli, from which we can absorb about 50% of the calcium contained in the plant.

Should I Supplement? 

According to the office of Dietary supplements of the US National Institutes for Health the data on the weight reducing properties of calcium and dairy products is mixed. Supplementation does not seem to have the same effects on body composition as the ones seen from consuming whole foods. Other components in dairy, and calcium rich foods, might work synergistically with calcium to produce these effects. As a matter of fact foods high in protein enhance the absorption of calcium.

There are other factors, most of them we have yet to discover, that contribute to calcium absorption. Vitamin D, A and K2 as well as a healthy gut lining are all things to keep in mind. 

All in all, in the case of calcium, food sources seem to deliver the greatest benefits. Although we will always absorb calcium best from food sources, some of us might still fall short or have special circumstances that merit supplementation. If this is your case make sure you know how to choose the correct calcium supplement. Dr. Paul Cribb shows you how to do this, here.

RDA(recommended daily allowance): 800-1200mg day 

Source: Dr Paul Cribb – Metabolic Precision

Why Do I Need It? 

We have approximately 25g of magnesium in our bodies, or at least we should. The great majority of the mineral, around 60% of it, is concentrated in bone and teeth. The rest is mostly found in muscle (only a small fraction is found in plasma). Magnesium’s plays many roles some of which we are just starting to understand. It is a mineral needed to jumpstart the production of energy. The potent liver antioxidant, glutathione cannot be made without sufficient magnesium. 

We are just beginning to understand magnesium’s role in the prevention of type II diabetes. Magnesium deficiency has been shown in individuals with poor glucose tolerance. Up to 38% of diabetic patients test low on plasma magnesium levels. Type II diabetics given a 2.5g of a magnesium solution improved their insulin sensitivity significantly.

Magnesium and calcium work synergistically to allow a healthy heartbeat and an efficient skeletal muscle contraction. Magnesium is an important mineral for bone health. It helps direct calcium towards bone and teeth, away from soft tissues. It is also needed to make the active form of vitamin D. 

Magnesium has the rare, and much valued, characteristic of calming the nervous system by stimulating the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system. Magnesium is being studied for its potential pharmacological properties. So far it has shown to improve sleep, establish a better inflammatory response, lower blood pressure. It is certain to be a key player in preventing heart disease and hypertension in a very new future.

Where to Get It? 

Depending on the mineral quality of the soil they were grown on, we can list green leafy vegetables, nuts and seed and unrefined grains as high sources of magnesium. Magnesium is the third most abundant mineral in the ocean. This allows Kelp to have a whopping 760mg in an 100g serving. Grains such as millet have somewhere in the vicinity of 162g of magnesium in an equal serving. Almonds and cashews weigh in at around 260- ‐270mg. Yet another way to incorporate magnesium, as well as many trace minerals is to consume unrefined sea salt. 

Am I Deficient? 

Given the abundance of ways magnesium can be stripped away from our diet, it is surprising we get much of it all. Magnesium is among many minerals depleted from modern day soils. Food processing will deplete any magnesium naturally occurring in plant or seeds. Removing the bran to produce flour, roasting nuts and seeds in their oils to enhance their flavour are all practices that deplete these foods of magnesium. 

The phosphates in carbonated drinks, supplemental iron and calcium can reduce the absorption and increase the need for dietary magnesium. Magnesium losses from sweat are significant as well. Exercising heavily in hot weather or any other condition that will increase sweat rate (menopause for example) can lead to anxiety, sleep disorders and body aches, all of which can be attributed to low magnesium levels. 

Should I Supplement? 

Oral magnesium supplementation of up to 400mg a day has been deemed safe and effective to prevent deficiencies.

Which Supplement to Choose? 

There are several kinds of oral magnesium supplements. Magnesium malate and magnesium citrate as well those available, as organic salt chelates are all well absorbed forms. The powdered versions allow each individual to select a dosage that is right for them. Magnesium can be absorbed quite well through the skin, although it is flushed away in urine just as effectively. Bathing in magnesium sulphate, what are called epsom salts, is a common practice used to alleviate muscle pains, but it also happens to be a great magnesium delivery method and potent form of detoxification. Transdermal magnesium creams are also quite popular, safe and effective. 

Is There Risk for Toxicity? 

Even if supplementation is rendered safe it is always best to consult with your physician. People with diseased kidneys, pathologically low heart rate or unhealthy bowels should avoid supplementing with magnesium. For everyone else, the most extreme and worrisome side effects of supplementation are constant trips to the bathroom (loose stools). 

RDA: 400mg 

Source: Dr Paul Cribb – Metabolic Precision

Why the “Pause-Button Mentality” is Ruining your Health and Fitness

“I’ll resume healthy eating after my holiday/once the baby is born/after Mum gets out of the hospital/in the New Year/on Monday.” While this kind of pause-button mentality seems reasonable, it could be ruining your health and fitness. Here’s why, and what to do about it.

What’s the harm in letting your nutrition and fitness plans take a break when you’re:

  • leaving for vacation;
  • completely swamped at work;
  • pregnant, or just after delivery;
  • injured; or
  • caring for an ailing family member?

The thought process usually boils down to:

If I miss some workouts, eat the wrong things, skip the homework from my trainer… I fail.

Aren’t I more likely to succeed if I take a break, just until I have the time to do it right?

This is what I call the ‘pause-button mentality’.

Now, don’t get me wrong.

I think it’s normal, even commendable, to want to do your best, to consider taking time to regroup and then resume (or start over) when life feels easier.

At the same time, this completely natural and well-meaning impulse is one of the fastest, surest, most reliable ways to sabotage your plans for improved body shape, energy levels, and health.

Here’s why (and what to do instead).

Starting fresh after you lose your way is a really comforting thought.

That’s probably why New Year’s resolutions are so popular, especially following the indulgence-fuelled holiday season. In fact, the idea of a do-over is so alluring you don’t even need to mess-up for the pause-button mentality to take over.

But here’s the problem: The pause-button mentality only builds the skill of pausing.

Whether it’s tomorrow, Monday, next week, or even next year, hitting that imaginary pause button gives you some sense of relief and allows you a little respite from what can be a really tough slog (and the middle is always a tough slog, it doesn’t matter what kind of project you’re working on.)

This perceived relief is compounded by the illusion that if we “start fresh” later we can find the magical “right time” to begin.

Listen, I get it.

It can feel absurd to try to improve your eating and exercise habits while you’re in the midst of chronic stress/looking for a job/starting a new job/going on holiday/caring for ageing parents/raising small children.

That’s probably why there are so many 21/60/90-day challenges/kick-starts out there. What adult has more than 90 days to go after their fitness goals with an all-out effort?

But what do these intense fitness sprints teach you?

They teach you the skill of getting fit within a very short (and completely non-representative) period of your life.

What don’t they teach you is the skill of improving how you look, function and feel (and staying that way) in the midst of a normal, complicated, “how it really is” sort of life.

This is why these short term challenges and yo-yo diets have become such a phenomenon.

It’s not about willpower. It’s about skills.

In most fitness scenarios, you learn how to get fit under weird, tightly-controlled, white-knuckle life situations.

You build that one, solitary, non-transferrable skill — to slam the pedal to the metal, drive the needle into the red, squeal down the road, burning the rubber off your tyres until you (quickly) run out of steam and crash.

What you don’t build is the ability to get fit and healthy under real-life conditions.

That’s why it doesn’t stick and you inevitably go back to where you were before you started. You did you develop the skills and habits. It’s not because you suck and lack motivation, it’s because the natural and predictable consequence of having a limited skill set is short-term progress, followed immediately by long-term frustrations.

What will be different next time?

I was having coffee with a friend who swore that their low-carb diet plus daily running and moderate gym session was the secret to staying fit and healthy.

I had to follow up with a painful question: “Well, why are you?”

After a long pause: “Uhh, I’ve had a hard time sticking with it. The holidays just ended. I just switched jobs,” (blah, blah, blah).

“But, once everything settles down, I’ll get with the program and get in shape again! I guess I’m just on a little break.”

This story illustrates the point perfectly.

Here’s someone who’s built their fitness on a house of cards. They know only one thing: How to get in shape by following a very challenging program when the conditions are perfect.

And whenever life isn’t perfect, which is most of the time, they hits the pause button. They wait for a better time and while they wait, they are losing the health and fitness they previously worked so hard for.

Life is… happening. And it’ll happen again in January, or after the baby is born, or after Mum gets better, or at any other arbitrary point you pick.

And then what?

Let’s accept that life has no pause button.

The key lesson here is that, like it or not, the game of life keeps going.

There is no timeout. There’s never going to be a moment when things are magically easier. You can’t escape your work, personal, and family demands. Nor can you escape the need for health and fitness in your life.

Here’s a thought experiment:

What if you tried to hit pause in other areas of your life?

Imagine you’re up for a big promotion at work. For the next two weeks, all you want to do is focus on mastering an upcoming presentation, and winning over your boss.

Trouble is, you’ve got two young children at home who tend to grasp, koala-like, onto your legs and demand your full attention.

You say to your spouse, “I’m just gonna press pause on being a parent for now. I’ll be staying at a hotel while I prepare for this presentation. Don’t contact me.”

Not going to happen, right?

You can’t really press pause — and you definitely can’t hit reset (You’ve thought about it, though – right?)

Just like you can’t stop showing up for work and expect not to get fired.

Generally, when it comes to life, we know we’re not always going to be on our A-Game: sometimes we’re superstars, but most of the time we just do our best. We muddle through. We keep going.

So why do we expect it to be any different with your health and fitness?

Perfectionism is not the point.

Completing a fitness challenge is not the point.

Being the “best” for a tiny window of time is not the point.

The point is to keep going. Sometimes awkwardly, sometimes incompetently, sometimes downright half-arsed. But to keep going nonetheless.

The “all or nothing” mentality rarely gets us “all”; it usually gets us “nothing”.

Wouldn’t it be better for an “Always something” mentality?

Perfection never happens in real life. We’re always going to be doing the best we can with what we have. And that’s okay.

We can still make progress toward our goals and still improve how we look, function and feel – whatever’s going on in our lives.

That progress doesn’t happen if you “press pause” and wait for a better time.

In my opinion, pressing pause is buying into an imaginary ideal: a “perfect” time when everything will fall into place; a beautiful, linear trajectory from total suckiness to an apex of awesomeness.

pastedGraphic.png

Asking for a restart because you don’t want to mess that line up is deluding yourself that somehow, next time will be easier. Next time will be perfect. No interruptions, no distractions… no… life.

Unfortunately, there is no perfect time.

We may have magical moments, of course. Short periods of time when things seem to “click” and come together. But then the dog craps on the rug, or one of the kids throws up on the lounge, or the kids throws up on the lounge because the dog craps on the rug and then one or the other tracks it all through the house!

If you keep pressing pause, your progress looks like this.

pastedGraphic_1.png

Or, worse yet, you end up flatlining, stuck on a never-ending (maybe eternal) pause.

What to do next.

Health and fitness in the context of real human life is just like the rest of life.

We’re all just doing the best we can in challenging, complicated circumstances. We are all living messy, imperfect lives. We are all human.

If we can just keep moving forward, no matter what happens, no pause buttons, no do-overs, we win the game.

Here are a two strategies for getting out of the pause-button mentality and into a more realistic, effective, sustainable way of thinking.

1. Aim for a little bit better

An all-or-nothing approach usually doesn’t get us “all”. It usually gets us “nothing”.

You know what actually works? Small improvements done consistently over time work.

You might be spending hours awake with a newborn in the middle of the night, or stuck in yet another full-day meeting.

These aren’t ideal scenarios, but they’re not necessarily hopeless either.

Look around. Get creative. See if you can find some small — maybe minuscule — improvements.

2. Anticipate, strategise and plan

Since we already know that stuff is going to go wrong, the best thing we can do is anticipate and make plans for how to deal with when it happens.

A simple way to do this is by answering two questions:

  1. What’s likely to get in the way of what I hope to accomplish?
  2. What is something I can do today to help me keep going when I face those obstacles?

For some people, that might be a Sunday ritual where they prep food for the week so they won’t be scrambling for healthy meals on busy weeknights. For others, it might mean having a healthy meal-delivery service on speed dial.

Don’t be surprised and dismayed when things go pear-shaped. Just arm yourself with the best tools and strategies so you can stay in the game when someone turns on that bloody fan and shit starts to fly!

So, you recently had your “snap point”. That moment where you decide enough is enough, you’re not going to stay the way you are any longer.

Inspired and motivated, you take the plunge – join your local gym, and even start working with a PT!

You turn up to your first session fresh, excited and maybe a little nervous.

By the end of the session you have left the gym sore, sorry and maybe a little lighter in the stomach after having lost your lunch!

That was the hardest thing you have ever done physically in your life, and the next day you wake up so sore that you are more angry and distressed than anything else.

All of a sudden, the excitement of your intended lifestyle change has been replaced by pain and a reluctance to return.

Let’s be clear about this – the world certainly isn’t suffering from a shortage of PT’s.

It’s honestly not that hard for anyone in to obtain the qualifications necessary; within a month you too could be working in a gym or out of your home, making money out of people’s pain and suffering.

Let us also be clear about something else – not all Personal Trainers are created equally.

The divide between your run-of-the-mill Certificate III and IV in Fitness and a true Body Transformation Specialist is huge.

So how does your average gym goer, or even a person looking to make an inspired transformation know what to look for when engaging the services of a PT?

For the most part they can be an expensive investment; however, if you know what you are looking for then the investment will pay dividends you never dreamed possible.

Here are 7 ways to know you’ve got a great PT!

1. Experience

It doesn’t hurt to see and know your PT’s accomplishments.

Do they look like a PT? Have they walked the walk and gone through their own transformation? What about client results?

If your PT hasn’t changed themselves or anyone else, that’s usually a warning sign.

2. The Guarantee

How confident are they that together you will achieve your goals? 

Can they look you in the eye and tell you that if you follow their direction, the money, sweat and effort will pay off?

Money and most of all time is precious. You can’t afford to spend either on guesswork.

It takes a trainer with real confidence in themselves and their service to tell you honestly that working with them will get you the outcome you want.

Generally a guarantee will follow previous results, so look there first.

3. They’re not afraid to say no

A PT who tells you they can help anyone/everyone isn’t being honest with you.

I know I can’t help anyone and everyone. The best trainers out there know who they can and who can’t help.

I’ll use myself as an example: One of the things I know how to do it to take inactive and understrength individuals and get them ready to to join the Australian Defence Force or the NSW or Federal Police.

Does that sound like I could help you prepare to run a marathon? Absolutely not! I haven’t done it, and I have no interest in doing it.

If someone came to me wanting to be trained for a marathon, I’d refer them on to someone who specialise in that sort of thing.

The best PTs out there aren’t afraid to say no.

4. They sell you more than just workouts 

Look, I’ll be honest here – anyone can give you a workout – your next door neighbour could probably put you through one.

A true Transformation Specialist gives you more bang for your buck than a mere workout.

Extras should include things such as a legitimate nutritional component that involves education, support and accountability.

Training is only 3% of your week when structured correctly – is your Trainer ensuring you’re ready for the other 97%?

You should also be learning from the experience – why you’re doing what you’re doing, why you’re eating what you eat. Are you exercising correctly based on your goals?

5. Each workout is structured and recorded

If you rock up for a session ready to go and your PT decides on the spot that you might today use the leg press, a shoulder press machine, maybe some bicep curls etc., then you have to ask why.

A top-tier Specialist should know what you are doing well before you arrive, and most of all, should be able to tell you why you are doing it.

If your PT hasn’t prepared a full program for you, chances are they are guessing their way through it and are hoping for the best.

This is not what you are paying for!

Logging the results of each exercise of each workout is essential for anyone looking to make serious gains. How do you know what you are doing this week if you can’t remember what you did last week?

Your PT should have all this written down so you can pick up exactly where you left off.

There is a strong chance you aren’t the only person they have trained this week.

How can they remember off the top of their head what 10/20/30 people have trained through the week?

6. You get what you pay for

A PT who knows they can deliver isn’t afraid to charge at a decent rate.

If you attempt to haggle with a trainer and they lower their price, this tells you how much confidence they have in both themselves and their product…not much.

On the flip side, a high-end trainer is not afraid to turn business away if a potential client is stuck on price; people who are prepared to pay good money for guaranteed results stand a much better chance of getting them as they are financially accountable for their investment.

You really DO get what you pay for! The very best PTs out there will give you an outcome for your investment.

People don’t buy 6 inch drill bits, they buy 6 inch holes. (Think about it 😉)

 7. You have rapport and trust

Arguably the most important part. You are going to be spending multiple hours per week with this person over the course of three, six, nine or more months.

It helps that you have a good rapport, and above all else, trust that the person you are working with will help you get where you want to go.

There is no doubt that engaging the services of a high-end trainer will reap rewards you did not think were possible, and truly change your life. The biggest mistake (apart from choosing the wrong trainer), is thinking you can do it alone. I consider myself quite a skilled and experienced trainer, but I too I use a trainer as it helps me keep on track and offers me challenges I probably would not have worked through if I was doing it all by myself.

Hopefully these tips will help you sort out the extraordinary from the ordinary and help you move forward with your health and fitness goals.

Don’t settle for less. You’re worth it. :)

Stay Strong – Stay Healthy – Stay Happy.

What is Metafit?

Metafit was created by a former Royal Marine Commando and combines short periods of intense bodyweight exercises with the latest HIIT training techniques to set the metabolism on fire!

Why is Metafit So Effective?

Below are some physiological adaptations your body undergoes when you do Metafit so that you can understand why Metafit is an important training protocol at Eternally Fit.

Improved Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin sensitivity, or how well your cells respond to insulin, has a big impact on how well you tolerate carbohydrates, and whether those carbohydrates will affect your ability to mobilise fatty acids. Reduced insulin sensitivity means you need more and more insulin to do the same job. And since insulin is a storage hormone, when it’s high, it’s more difficult to lose fat.

Produces the After-Burn Effect

Excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), is the increased oxygen your body uses after an intense workout to erase its oxygen debt. It uses this oxygen to return the body to homeostasis.

That means it uses additional calories to perform tasks such as muscle repair and replenishment of fuel stores. EPOC is also known as the after-burn effect, which is the process of burning extra calories long after your workout is over.

Improved Vo2 Max

VO2 max is your body’s maximum capacity to transport and use oxygen during exercise. It is a great measure of physical fitness. Generally speaking, the higher your VO2 max, the better your fitness level. A higher VO2 max also means that you can exercise at greater intensities for longer periods of time.

The good news is that doing Metafit will result in significant improvements in VO2 max. This improvement can be achieved whether you are a beginner exerciser or an advanced athlete.

Creation of New Mitochondria

Mitochondria are little cell powerhouses that produce energy. In simple terms, they take the fat and carbohydrates you either eat or store and convert them to usable energy. The more mitochondria you have, the more efficiently your body utilises the calories you consume.

The number of mitochondria you have can be increased by creating a demand for more energy production. In fact, HIIT is a potent stimulus for the creation of new mitochondria.

Boosts Favourable Hormones

Metafit does more than just burn calories. It primes your body for fat loss by creating a favourable metabolic environment.

Internally, your body undergoes many hormonal changes in response to intense training. Specifically, Metafit boosts growth hormone and testosterone levels after just 10 minutes, and the amount secreted is correlated to your exercise intensity.

Growth hormone and testosterone are a potent combination for both fat loss and muscle growth. Engaging in Metafit will provide you with this amazing benefit.

Burns More Total Fat Compared to Endurance Training

Did you know you can burn more fat doing Metafit than your typical steady state endurance training, even when burning a fraction of the calories? It’s true!

A study comparing a 15 week HIIT program to a 20 week endurance-training (ET) program showed that despite its lower energy cost, the HIIT program induced a more pronounced reduction in subcutaneous fat compared with the ET program. When the scientists adjusted the numbers so the calorie burn was equal, the decrease in the sum of six subcutaneous skin-fold measurements induced by the HIIT program was ninefold greater than by the ET program.

Builds Muscle While Losing Fat

Many people say you can’t build muscle and burn fat at the same time. While it can be difficult to put on a large amount of muscle mass while in a calorie deficit, you can certainly accomplish both goals concurrently.

In fact, a 12 week HIIT program has been shown to increase lean body mass, while at the same time reducing total body fat, abdominal and trunk fat, and visceral fat.

The additional muscle will pay dividends by increasing your resting metabolic rate so that you’re burning extra calories at all times of the day. Build muscle and lose fat, all while exercising for less time. Seems too good to be true, but it is!

Increased Capacity for Fat Oxidation

During exercise our bodies undergo all kinds of chemical reactions and stress adaptations. Our bodies literally change from the inside out.

Just seven sessions of HIIT over 2 weeks induced marked increases in whole body and skeletal muscle capacity for fatty acid oxidation during exercise in moderately active women. HIIT causes changes to your body that increases its ability to burn fat.