I think it is time for another blog, which is short for “piece of writing where I say what I have been thinking recently”. I normally try to have factually based and scientifically founded musings so that what I am saying doesn’t end up being an opinionated shout out. This time however I am going to do less of the former and more of the latter.
I have seen enough in my industry to be able to call a spade a spade and these days. We tend to get by treading on eggshells when it comes to calling it as it is, but sometimes we need to hear it just like that. It’s never nice hearing something that makes us take a long look in the mirror. It can be very confronting and we can come out of it feeling that we are ‘less than’. Less than who you could be, less than what you should be. Less than your potential.
I have noticed in recent times with the climatic changes things seem to be getting hard for people in general to keep doing what is necessary and while this blog might easily be considered cathartic for me to be able to just write about the trend I am seeing, the main purpose is to hopefully provide perspective or inspiration to someone who might derive real benefit from my words.
As a personal trainer, and I have said this many times, I have a multifaceted job. It is expected that I have excellent knowledge of the industry I am in. It is also expected that I have a reasonable ability to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Nobody wants to be told what to do by someone who can’t follow their own advice. I don’t have to be a fitness model or powerlifting champ but I have to look after myself and have a degree of physical competency to be as good at my job as I should be. What tends to then separate good trainers from adequate or poor trainers is the ability to develop meaningful relationships with clients (talking purely from a client to trainer point of view, nothing about business skills here, which is a whole other kettle of fish). I don’t have to be a psychologist or run a therapy program but I need to be able to read physical and emotive cues from clients and respond to them and display empathy towards their life.
Exercise and nutrition is hard to get right when you are used to getting it wrong so we have to be able to adapt our style to resonate with the different personalities and needs of the people that come through the door. Even with all of these things going perfectly, trainers still fail to help clients achieve results with varying degrees of frequency. I’m not talking about celebrity trainers who handpick clients and have a waiting list out the door and round the corner but everyday trainers who take on clients as they come. We all will have clients that come to us and leave exactly the same or worse than when they started. That’s reality. I hate it. I feel like a total failure every time this happens and I have to tell a client who’s sitting there waiting for the results of their weigh in and measurement that there is no change or that they have gone backwards. Most of the time they know the answer already, if not the details. I still feel like I’ve let them down.
To me, it feels like a barter arrangement. I will be given money for the purposes of helping a client lose weight or get fit or do a chin up or compete in a fun run or whatever it is. The promise of all trainers is that we will exchange your money for that result that you want. I am still having to remind myself that these are not the terms of the deal agreed upon when taking on clients. The agreement is that together we set goals that we both agree to be achievable in a certain amount of time. I provide you the framework, support and accountability to the degree you choose to employ my services. I give you the map, I walk the path with you and I help when it gets rocky to see the other side but I cannot take a single step along that path for you. That is not my job and it is something no other person is capable of.
There are plenty of ways I can be a bad trainer and fail you and contribute to your lack of success. Personally I do everything I can to avoid that and be the best trainer I can be and my focus when I see my clients is purely on doing what I can to set them up for success. At the end of the day, even if I were a self-absorbed moron, if my clients look good, I look good so there is no incentive for me to not give my best effort. But no matter how much money or time a client may give me, I cannot give them back the result they want. That’s not the deal.
The client has to do the work to get the result. The human body is massively resistant to change though and will not adapt overnight. In fact, when a new client signs on and has their initial burst of motivation and are training the house down, they probably won’t notice a huge amount of difference in the way they feel, other than soreness after workout days as they adjust to exercise. In a lot of cases, the motivation may be waning or even completely gone before things start to happen. This is a difficult time. We are very good at having bursts of passion and enthusiasm to make things happen but not very good at keeping that passion going without much overt fuel to the fire. We can all get to a stage where the motivation tends to dip and we don’t bring the intensity and effort to workouts that we need, or be as conscientious with our food choices as our goals require. This delays results and their burst of motivation even further, to the point that it becomes easy to plateau and start treading water
Whenever a client comes to me (or any trainer for that matter), it is because they have something they want to achieve. Whether it be weight loss, muscle gain, a specific fitness goal or simply improved mobility, the key here is that they have realised they cannot get what they want by themselves.
They have experienced roadblocks trying it by themselves: Time, knowledge, accessibility, fear, motivation, family and the list goes on. By signing up to PT sessions they are acknowledging this and have made a conscious and positive decision to enlist the professional services of a trainer to help manage these blocks. We do this. We make efficient workouts at convenient times, impart knowledge and confidence and support and try to motivate as much as we can.
Despite all best intentions, desires and efforts to achieve the goals set, success can seem a long way off and the passion and drive to get there can fade or even die off before the end of the journey.
We are all busy in our lives and priorities change either because other events shape what we need to do or we simply have demotivated period that creep into our psyche. So when this happens, it’s up to us to jolt ourselves back into gear with the help of those we have sought out to get us where we wanted to be!
It’s not rocket science to work out that if motivation takes a dive, so do results and progress towards the end goal. Many is the case where this seeming lack of progress / results leads to a downward spiral of demotivation. No matter how perfectly crafted the training programs are, if you are not sufficiently motived and give your best efforts results will suffer!
Achieving the goals set in many instances relies not just on the effort and motivation in the gym or at training, but also in the determination to make changes to what we eat. Trainers cannot be in a client’s kitchen (generally) and if the client is already demotivated, their food choices may take a turn for the worse, setting back or reversing progress towards their goal. Once again this engages the downward spiral.
So the key here is that success is a mind game. Your success or lack thereof will boil down to your mindset.
Your trainer will (should) give you the right programs and nutritional advice. They will help you with technique, push you when they think there’s more you can give and do their best to keep you honest with your nutrition.
If you steel yourself mentally and stay the course, you will lap it up and get awesome results. If, on the other hand you aren’t on top of it, or cannot stay on top of it for the journey (with its ups and downs) you will fall into that downward spiral and without taking action against the spiralling, fall short of achieving your goal…and maybe not even get close.
Reading this you could be asking yourself, so where am I at right now? Well you could be in either position and you could be happy or frustrated with where you are at, nevertheless it worth revisiting what motivated you to seek out a trainer or seek to make a change in the first place.
Did you want to improve your health to be a more involved and active parent? Did you get sick of feeling down about your body? Did you really want to run the whole way in a fun run? What lit the fire under you, stoked that passion to go and do something. What gave you the impetus to take action?
Once you have refreshed yourself on what got you in front of your trainer, the next step if you have fallen into the demotivated category is to figure out where and when you lost your mojo. When did the passion and motivation start to dip and your progress start to stagnate? Once you know when this happened, together with your trainer you can figure out why. To be truthful, if you lost it, you’re still losing it probably and this is something you need to arrest – Newton tells you so. An object in motion will stay in motion until acted upon by another force. In other words, if you’re going backwards you’re going to keep going backwards until you take action to stop the spiral.
The next phase once you know what motivated you and the when and why of losing it, is figuring out how to get it back. This might not be a simple answer, however you signed on to go through the journey with the assistance of your trainer so together you can identify when it was good, when it stopped being good and what needs to change to come back to the light side of the force.
This is a different kettle of fish for every individual and there are no universal strategies that are guaranteed to work. However this is something we all need to do from time to time. We need to sit back and take good, honest stock of what we’re doing and figure out whether we are headed in the right direction or not. If you are going well, you’ll find a way; if you’re going backwards you’ll find an excuse.
I can guarantee you great results. If you take care of the mental game and do the work, make the right choices and give yourself the opportunity to have success, you’ll get what you want. If you struggle with the mental game you will struggle to get results. I know this first hand and I have seen it play out time and again.
It gets harder in winter, we Tasmanians tend to hibernate and lose our fighting spirit. It’s a phenomenon but it doesn’t have to be your curse and destiny. It’s probably a good time to sit back and look at everything again. Why did you start training? Have you gotten the results you wanted when you started? Have you made progress? Are you still making progress? If you’re answering no to these last couple of questions you might need to have good long look at what’s going on with your mental game because it may not be as sharp as it needs to be. If you’ve lost your way remember you walked through the door to get something. Let’s find a way to get excited about the journey towards it again.
If you think you might be struggling with your mental game, or with anything, please don’t sit there and stew and continue to tread water. Reach out, have a chat and let’s get you back on the righteous path. I don’t care if you are a client or a stranger; you’re welcome to hit me with whatever is bugging you.
Detoxing for Dummies |Dan Toohey .:. TOP 01.03.2016
Time for another train of thought episode that some (mostly myself) have kindly called a blog entry.
I have an axe to grind today however.
I, like most of the technologically savvy, spend a decent amount of time on Facebook; in fact, Facebook is a very important part of running my business. Facebook is a very important part of a lot of people’s businesses. It is a powerful tool for advertising and it is getting better and better. Mainly in its ability to be very specific about demographics so that each dollar of your advertising budget is going to put your ad up in front of the exact people you want to see it. I blame this for the ever increasing spate of “fitness and health” sponsored ads that show up in my newsfeed. With that in mind, there is one particular sect that annoys me more than most others, and this time it’s not crossfit. It’s been popping up everywhere and I have pretty much had enough. I am going to leave a couple of lines and then spell this out so that it’s very clear what my own (and science’s and medical doctors’) opinion is on the matter:
YOU CAN NOT DETOX YOUR BODY WITH SUPPLEMENTS.
YOU CAN NOT CLEANSE YOUR LIVER WITH SUPPLEMENTS (mostly).
YOU CAN NOT CLEANSE YOUR BODY WITH JUICING, FASTING OR LAXATIVES.
Got it? No herb, chemical, laxative or enema is going to detox your body any more or less than you already do naturally, all the time. A detox is actually meant for serious addiction problems (like hard drugs). It’s a medical procedure to ween the patient of their reliance on the substance and manage the side effects of withdrawal. I’m not just saying this, I have recently seen so much of this stuff appear and people who I know and trust swearing by it that I have been second guessing my own knowledge and decided to look into the matter properly. I will spare you the hours of research I did trying to find one independent scientific or medical professional who thought that detoxing was anything but a marketing scam, but here are a few choice quotes:
"In most cases, the liver, kidney and intestine are so good that they can overcome even the stupidity of the worst dietary insults," Gershon said. "Juicing and cleansing, however, push the system in an extreme way. They are dangerous even if most people survive. But why take a risk for no gain?" http://www.livescience.com/34845-detox-cleansing-facts-fallacies.html
“Nutrition and health is about the big picture. What you do for five or seven days out of the year is pretty inconsequential.
Rather than worry about 'detoxing,' people would be better off thinking about eating nutritious, health-promoting foods on a daily basis. Think leafy greens, beans, whole fruit, nuts, and seeds. The idea that six months of unhealthy eating can somehow be remedied by drinking nothing but green juice for 72 hours is erroneous.”
“Any product or service with the words “detox” or “cleanse” in the name is only truly effective at cleansing your wallet of cash. Alternative medicine’s ideas of detoxification and cleansing have no basis in reality. There’s no published evidence to suggest that detox treatments, kits or rituals have any effect on our body’s ability to eliminate waste products effectively. They do have the ability to harm however – not only direct effects, like coffee enemas and purgatives, but the broader distraction away from the reality of how the body actually works and what we need to do to keep it healthy. “Detox” focuses attention on irrelevant issues, and gives consumers the impression that they can undo lifestyle decisions with quick fixes. Improved health isn’t found in a box of herbs, a bottle of homeopathy, or a bag of coffee pushed into your rectum. The lifestyle implications of a poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, lack of sleep, and alcohol or drug use cannot simply be flushed or purged away. Our kidneys and liver don’t need a detox treatment. If anyone suggests a detox or cleanse to you, you’d do well to ignore the suggestion, and question any other health advice they may offer.”
“If your goal is weight loss, a detox diet might help you drop a few pounds, but you’ll likely just gain it back. In the end, you haven’t accomplished anything, and it’s certainly not a healthy approach.
If your goal is to detox your system, don’t waste your time or money. Your body is an expert at getting rid of toxins no matter what you eat. Toxins don’t build up in your liver, kidneys, or any other part of your body, and you’re not going to get rid of them with the latest detox wonder. Especially avoid diets that promise to detox your liver with supplements or “cleanse” whatever the diet determines needs washing out.
The only type of detox diet that is worthwhile is one that limits processed, high-fat, and sugary foods, and replaces them with more fruits and vegetables. That clean-eating approach is your best bet to getting your body in tip-top shape.”
As you can see from this very limited sample, no one with an ounce of credibility is actually recommending anything to do with a detox or a cleanse. It is beyond frustrating that the industry I work in and have great passion for has so far degenerated into the mess of marketing, buzz words and Instagram models you are presented with every time you open a magazine, turn on the TV or go online. Profiteering through marketing is nothing new and nearly everyone has a story or two or three about something they bought that they felt really good about at the time but later realised was actually pretty useless and certainly not worth the money it cost. I get that successful marketing is going to be your best friend if you are a business in such a competitive and developing industry, but at what point do we need to get some regulation of what is legitimate advice and product and what is utter tripe?
Without some universal standards placed on the fitness industry (this includes exercise and nutrition), those of us who stick to the only method that is proven to deliver sustainable success are being drowned out and will continue to lose ground to products depicted in the emotionally charged marketing campaigns.
The appeal of these products is certainly strong. I have been approached and (initially) seduced by each of the big three: Herbalife, Isagenix and Amway (who now also have a dog in the fight for your supplement dollar). These traditional MLM schemes seem like a fantastic idea and are promoted with a stream of success stories. Who wouldn’t want to make a little extra on the side while getting in the best shape of their lives?
However to my eye a deeper look at the products reveals the driver for those involved to be more financially driven than to deliver true health benefits – as has been the constant threads in the noted articles above the health benefits of these products are sketchy at best, and somewhat irrelevant and falsely advertised at worst.
They are certainly providing very little real benefit for the (high) cost of the product. Notwithstanding this, I can see ‘benefit’ from the purchase of these products. A community of likeminded individuals, fostering and encouraging achievement can be a strong enabler. Being surrounded by people who respect and understand you (albeit as long as you keep paying and toeing the line) would be a powerful contributor to your success.
If you fully immerse yourself in these products taking on the challenge to promote them and the benefits they purport to provide (and accept that most of your earnings from mining your friends and connections will go to those above you) you can really find a niche where you feel respected and accepted. This could be a fantastic motivator for some.
Looking at things objectively, the advertised results of these products likely comes from a member’s ability to use their new investment as motivation to clean up other areas of their life. In fact, you can do a decent amount of research and find the product itself has only a peripheral impact on the outcome (and as oft proven, absolutely no detox or cleansing affect). Correlation and causation are two different concepts and this seems to be wilfully ignored by those who would push the product on to you.
As I stated, if being in a strong minded and achievement focused community is something that will help you on your journey, more power to you but you should do some sums on what you’re actually getting, and what else you might be able to put that money towards to get the same or better results elsewhere, free from the pressure to sell to your friends, family and acquaintances.
These products, the drip-feed MLM products, the rapid fire detoxes or cleanse diets will never have any shortage of willing participants, and this is the part that frustrates me so intensely. We yearn for a solution to our health and fitness problems that just doesn’t require a lot of effort. If we do pony up and decide to put in effort however, we look for that magic supplement that’s going to explode our results because, dammit, if we try hard at something we better become super shredded after a month or so.
Generally speaking though, we have less time and more money and we are sitting ducks for products like this to be paraded in front of us. At some point we will all crack and try something, just to see if it works. It’s also easy to see why we fall into assuming that if it is advertised then it must have been regulated to some extent and therefore held to standards that guarantee the product is not misleading and has the potential to deliver on its promise. Unfortunately this is not necessarily the case.
Detoxes, cleanses and everything that goes with them are not the silver bullet for the time poor. They are designed to prey on those who seek a quicker result with less involvement in the hard yards. It’s such an easy sell.
It’s true, the fitness industry is both a service industry and an added value business. And in many cases the odd supplemental income is very handy and as I said can seem very seductive. I could have taken this path too, however, my heartfelt desire to see real sustainable success stories from my clients makes the allure of the potential income contradictory – and with the findings of my research not very moralistic. So these products will not be part of my offer.
You may choose to explore these yourself, my advice to you would be use your head before getting involved with or buying something. Speak to someone credentialed to give you the simple truths - a nutritionist or a dietician, your personal trainer. Get the word from the horse’s mouth and put a name and a face to the person who is helping you to get results. Do your research on who you see, because there’s just as many shoddy operators in the flesh as there are online but generally speaking if you see someone face to face, they are going to become invested in your success as much as you are and work hard to make sure you get results. Those are the people you should give your money to. Let the opportunists prey on each other. Instagram models live on Instagram and Facebook advertisements. You live in the real world so go see someone who also lives there; you will have much more in common.
I have been out of the blogging game for a fair while, but thought it was well and truly time to get something down, and there have been a few situations recently which have inspired me to put fingers to keyboard and jot something down.
I run a service based business and as a result personal interaction with clients and potential clients is just about the most important part of my job. People are much more likely to train with someone they have a connection with. I could have all the knowledge in the world and revolutionary programs but unless I can communicate them to you in a way you are cool with, Iâ€™m never going to have very many clients. So, the name of the game for me is to be approachable and genuine in my role as a trainer. I have to believe what I say and also have a real interest in what you, as a potential or current client, have to say to me. The second part is probably a lot more important than the first. If I canâ€™t understand or empathise with your situation, I have no chance of helping you succeed at anything and I may as well be speaking another language to you. Hopefully my current clients will back me up and agree that generally Iâ€™m pretty good at understanding other peopleâ€™s situations, perspectives and opinions. This may sound like Iâ€™m pumping my own tyres here but, and this is the point I am shortly going to arrive at, I really donâ€™t think I am. Having the outlook I just described, being able to relate to and understand other people is genuinely not a difficult thing (for someone not impeded by disorders such as autism or depression). It is about respect. If I can show respect for you as a human being, I can easily understand your perspective. I donâ€™t have to agree with you always, but I can value your place on this earth and everything will flow from there. People say that respect is earned, which I agree with. However I think that you donâ€™t start at zero. I think at a minimum, every person I meet, until they prove otherwise, deserves the respect you would wish others had for those you care about (one of those you care about is you!). If I meet a potential client, I should afford them the respect of my family and friends (this doesnâ€™t mean lending them money or helping them move, but treating them seriously and kindly). Through her actions she can then dictate whether or not I gain or lose respect for her and I can adjust my actions towards her accordingly. This is my philosophy and at the risk of sounding like an old codger, I think there are less and less people who follow it these days.
I am not sure when it happened, maybe itâ€™s always been the case and I am only recently becoming more exposed, but I firmly believe that a very large portion of our population coast through life agreeing that respect is earned, but beginning everyone elseâ€™s respect meter at zero. You cannot have any amount of respect for a person and treat them the way a lot of humans treat their own kind, or animals for that matter. You can turn on the news or watch your Facebook feed and have a constant stream of examples of the disgusting behaviour of the modern human. However I am not talking about these viral or extreme examples as I believe they are just that, extreme examples that do not apply to the majority. I am honing in on the basic respect and good manners that are rapidly disappearing from our society. I can name any number of causes: The removal of most of our need for social interaction as weâ€™ve become digitally connected, the abundance of everything meaning that nothing needs to be valued, the changing social norms when it comes to dating â€“ the explosion of â€œpick up artistsâ€ and negging culture as an example, the bidding war for your dollar has stripped you of respect for those trying to earn itâ€¦ I could go on for hours. The picture is clear though, respect for others is quite antiquated when it comes to survival and progression these days.
When your social skills are less developed than your social media skills, it can become quite bothersome to afford someone respect, especially when all they want is your money and there are twenty more like them just around the corner. This works both ways; many businesses and business people show a complete lack of respect and at times disdain for the people who put food on their plate.
I, as a service provider in a saturated market, am a prime candidate for being treated with very little respect by those who are prone to it anyway. The field I am in will naturally attract these sorts of people, I believe. The amount of last second â€œemergenciesâ€ that come up are extraordinary. I feel that I must be living in Summer Bay or on Ramsey Street if I am to believe all the things I hear as to why people cannot do x or y on a given day. I have it stated in my sign up agreement that either party must endeavour, where possible, to give 12 hours of notice when cancelling or rescheduling an appointment. This is common courtesy and 90% of the time, you will know whether you can make an appointment or not within this time frame. I understand there are emergencies and that the more people you interact with, the higher the chance that something will genuinely come up for a number of them. I feel confident that the current clients I have on my books have similar values to me. Itâ€™s rare that I will receive late notice without a genuine reason. I think it is little coincidence that these are the people who have stuck around and the people I described above, those showing absolutely zero respect to another person, have drifted off into the ether. This is precisely my point.
I firmly believe, and continue to get examples to support this, that you cannot have respect for yourself if you do not respect others. You can have ego, hubris, arrogance and self-belief â€“ but unless you can display common decency and genuine respect to your fellow man, you cannot respect the person that you are. I believe on some level, most people are aware of this. Some people simply express this lack of respect for themselves outwardly by their actions towards others. I also firmly believe that your exercise journey is a near perfect reflection of the level of respect you have for yourself. I always tell clients that having a trainer or a friend to train with is the best, because you have the accountability to show up. Once again, the people that have stuck with me are those for whom that statement is true. Many others will find that no matter who they are training with, it will not work. Something will come up; there will always be a reason to not train, to not eat better. What it has taken me a long time to realise, and I still struggle with it, is that this is not about the trainer or the friend. This is an internal struggle that people are fighting, knowingly or not, to find value within themselves. I know many people who, once committed to something, would not dream of backing out without the most compelling reason; they value themselves too much to be the sort of person who would do that. I have known many others for whom the opposite is true; they have so little respect for themselves that it means nothing to them to let down their friends, family or business associates.
To get to the end of this long thought, it therefore becomes obvious that there are people, becoming more and more prevalent in the days of saturation, social media and increased social isolation, who simply have zero respect for themselves and this sad fact will manifest itself time and again in the way they act towards others. It is so important, as someone who does place value in themselves and therefore affords others the same respect, to learn (I am still trying and probably will be for a long time yet) that when someone is rude to you, shows you no respect or handles your time, feelings and effort carelessly that these actions are not about you. They may be directed at you but the truth of the matter is that it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the bad place the other person is in. Once that sinks in, it becomes easier to forgive, easier to offer a hand and to not judge too harshly. Of course at some point, a person must step up to the plate and realise the effect of their actions. It is foolish to continue to offer chances to someone who has no interest in helping themselves. At some point, which you can decide, it becomes time to remove the bad eggs from your daily life. Do not continue to be held back by someone else, their struggle is their own and you now understand how little it really has to do with you â€“ cut the cord. As has evolved for my business, not through any conscious effort mind you, try to maintain only those in your life who add something to it. There are those out there who will build each other up, and those who are so empty they can only tear down what is around them to level the playing field. Who do you want to spend your time with?
Finally, as I mentioned earlier, this is absolutely magnified when it comes to fitness and exercising. The nature of exercise means that it puts who you are under the microscope and magnifies it for everyone to see. This is why it can be so intimidating but also why it is so rewarding. You will find out who you are. You might not like what you find out but you will find out, even if you do not acknowledge it. It takes a very brave person to look at their results and admit they have been slack and undisciplined. It is a weak person who will blame their circumstances. Exercising will find out who you are, unequivocally. I said earlier that you need to surround yourself with people who add things to your life, not those who take away. The number one person who will either add to your life or take away from it is, unsurprisingly, you. Not everyone is capable of giving an honest answer about the type of person they are, but whether you can or you canâ€™t, the answer is right there.
I have seen the changes in people who were able to be honest with themselves, I see many of them every week. Respect is a two way street, you cannot have it for others without first having it for yourself.
Your journey is your destination |Dan Toohey .:. TOP 29.03.2015
This post has been inspired by a few things I have heard going around in the last couple of weeks and I felt compelled to put it into writing and (after a little while of keeping it private) share it with the public.
We have been measuring and getting (mixed) results all week, but one thing that has consistently come up that I've been talking about with clients is you need to find what works for you. That seems to be really important. For example, as far as fruit goes, you really cannot top a banana (maybe blueberries), but I can't eat bananas because I get sick. But there are plenty of solutions (one,for me, is to cook all the fruit I can't eat because then I don't get sick, I have no idea what the cause is, but obviously something that gets cooked out, like how alcohol gets cooked out of wine) if you try to find them. It's all about finding the key for you.
If you are not getting the results you want and are really at a loss to why, I think itâ€™s a good exercise to do to sit down and lay out some home truths on a piece of paper. Dissect your life into areas, anything that could possibly affect your results (breakfast, lunch, tea, sleep pattern, bed time, exercise, stress, work, snacks, medication, health - physical and mental) and then sit down and cross off things that you know you're doing a good job with. But, before you cross it off the list, be sure you know you're doing it right. Don't cross off exercise if you know most of the time you coast at 60% or just enough to get a sweat up and look like you tried. Don't cross off diet if you consistently eat from packets without knowing what's in them. Don't cross off sleep if you don't know how well you are really sleeping once you get to sleep.
See what is left on your list and try and take care of one thing at a time. Speak to your trainer, your doctor...a nutritionist. Find the key to getting, or improving, your results. Everyone has a key, you just have to find it and sometimes a fresh (expert) set of eyes can help you discern the forest from the trees.
One of the most important things though is that you have to enjoy what you're doing. If you hate the food you eat and the exercise you do, it's not going to work long term, I don't believe. If you are in a rut like that, it might be time to shift your focus for awhile. Forget the scales and the results and just do things that are good for you for no other reward than feeling good doing them. If you focus on the end, you tend to miss the journey and get stressed out.
I've said this to a couple clients, but it is kind of like love. I know this is true in my experience. I went through a period a number of years back where I hated being single, hated it! I was doing anything I could to find someone and get into a relationship. I was working out, I was trying new things, I was being charming and funny and all the other things that are supposed to make you attractive and no one was picking up my option. The reason, I came to understand much later, was because I reeked of desperation. People could sense a mile off that I craved a relationship, I had nothing else going on. It wasn't very attractive. I got tired of the rejection and decided that I would just work out to become in better shape and I'd change careers and try and do something I was really interested in. It was both a subtle and momentous change and let's just say up to and including the period where I went around the world (this was the ultimate "time to focus on me" splash) I became a lot more popular.
The reason I told that story is because at the start, all I cared about was the results of what I was doing. I only wanted to be at the gym to get buff to meet girls and it didn't happen. When I started going to the gym for the sake of looking after my body, focusing on the satisfaction that I got from working hard, being passionate about figuring out the most effective workouts and getting good results from them....I started meeting girls without effort. Suddenly at my room mates parties, instead of trying to strike up conversation with every female with a pulse and sharing the same awkward 2-3 minutes of conversation throughout the evening, I hung back and made conversation with the guy who wanted to know what Zap I went to...and this was his friend Penelope, and Penelope wanted me to meet her bestie Zoe who is totally single right now.
So, if you're getting good results, that's awesome, well done, you deserve it. If you're not happy with where you are or the progress you're making, you need to arm yourself with information as to why. Not a generic "eat better" or "maybe you're stressed" but sit down and really hone into what is holding you back. You might need the help of an expert (trainer, doctor, nutritionist, sleep therapist etc) to help you figure this out. Once you know, stop focusing on the end (there is no end) and try to get to a place where you can enjoy what you do. If you cannot achieve that, the results you have a burning focus on will likely get further from your grasp rather than closer. Put your head down and your bum up and focus on what is in front of you, drawing satisfaction from the things you can control and if you do that long enough, when you come up to take a breath, you might just find those results have fallen right in your lap without you even noticing.
You canâ€™t use this one any more...|Dan Toohey .:. TOP 22.02.2015
Hey! Hopefully the title was enough of a hook to get you reading my latest blog entry. In the past I have written about the societal benefits of improved activity and nutrition in a whole population. Iâ€™ve also written, and you also know about, the benefits you personally gain from becoming regularly physically active. Iâ€™m here today to smash a whole bunch of logic and statistics and research and science at you to finally put to bed a massively common reason people cite for being unable to commit to a consistent exercise program: Money.
Now, just you wait a second Dan, just get off your high horse a minute, we canâ€™t all be mega rich celebrity PTâ€™s like you, so sometimes, yes, money is hard to come by. Well, one of the previous statements is true. I will accept that SOMETIMES, money is hard to come by. For the audience at whom this blog is directed, the reality is, you are not short on money, you have got priorities that need adjusting. Good news! Iâ€™m here to help paint a picture that might convince you to adjust your priorities permanently so that you will never feel the need to (incorrectly) use money as a reason to stop an exercise program. So Iâ€™m sorry, if you read this blog, your most convenient excuse has now been removed from your arsenal, youâ€™re going to have to be honest with your trainer and yourself as to why youâ€™re really stopping (or not starting).
Letâ€™s go on a little journey through some studies that have been concluded over the past decade or so. Some of these studies have been running for a very long time too. Donâ€™t worry, Iâ€™ll get to my big point in due time, I just want to let you chew on these facts first:
Here is a link to a study which studied the dollar savings of groups when they participated in intervention (diet, exercise and information) programs versus being left as they are. Iâ€™ll chuck in some of the results below. Read the whole article for the full picture but itâ€™s pretty heavy going.
Primary health care based exercise advise in combination with exercise groups
Based on changes in total cholesterol and diastolic blood pressure by use of a stochastic Markov model, a reduction in potential coronary heart disease events was predicted. Costs per life-year-gained were 180,000 SKr (year 2000)
To explain, the group which was given the intervention made a saving of 180,000 Swedish Krona (AUD $27387.73 today, this study was done in 2000) per quality life year gainedâ€¦.which means they SAVED A BOAT LOAD OF MONEY IN ADDITION TO LIVING LONGER!
Preventing disability and managing chronic illness in frail older adults.
The intervention led to significantly higher levels of physical activity and significant reduction in the use of psychoactive medications. The total number of inpatient hospital days during the study year was significantly less in the intervention group compared with controls (p=0.04). Savings in health care during the follow-up year were 4 times program costs.
This is pretty self-explanatory, the savings made by having this program run outweighed the cost of the program by FOUR TIMES!
On average, patients in the intervention group returned to work more frequently, which resulted in decreased costs due to loss of production. The mean total cost of a 5-year myocardial infarction follow-up was 73,500 SKr (1988) lower in the rehabilitated group. Savings in health care were 1.6 times costs, and together with productivity, savings were 17.4 times costs.
Alright, last one from this study, again pretty simple to see, this study shows that after 5 years, the group with the intervention was costing AUD $11183.32 less, the savings were 1.6 times the cost of the program and finally, if you add in the increased productivity from the group who were in the program, the savings were 17.4 TIMES THE COST OF THE PROGRAM!
Ok, letâ€™s move on and look at a few other nice facts. Hereâ€™s a couple of bombshells from my good friends (we text) the U.S Department of Health and Human Services:
Motorola's wellness program, which stet the company $3.93 for every $1 invested.
Northeast Utilities WellAware Program, which in its first 24 months reduced lifestyle and behavioral claims by $1,400,000.
Caterpillar's Healthy Balance program, which is projected to result in long term savings of $700 million by 2015.
Johnson & Johnson's Health and Wellness Program, which has produced average annual health care savings of $224.66 per employee.
You donâ€™t need to be real good at maths to figure out that these preventative programs (which include the three things you should be gaining from your trainer: education, physical activity and improved nutrition) are not only NOT COSTING COMPANIES ANYTHING, they are SAVING COMPANIES MORE MONEY THAN MOST OF US WILL EVER SEE IN OUR LIVES!
Letâ€™s get a little closer to home shall we. Iâ€™ll show you a couple of studies show you how lack of intervention is affecting your sky rocket (hip pocket, or wallet, for those not down with the slang).
Here is one from the University of Queensland which specifically targets women it the study:
Data from 2010 showed the median annual health care cost for inactive participants was $741 per year, versus just $689 per year for active participants.
Comparisons of participant data between 2001 and 2010 also showed the median cost of health care for inactive participants was $94 higher than that of highly active participants.
Dr Peeters said that while up to 15 per cent of Australian women aged between 45 and 65 were inactive, the data showed that their direct health costs could be reduced by increasing physical activity.
â€œIf these women increased their activity levels, their reduced direct health care costs would translate to a saving of nearly $40 million a year in the countryâ€™s health care costs,â€ she said.
On the surface, $94 a year doesnâ€™t seem like that much, but letâ€™s dig a little deeper shall we:
The CDC researchers analyzed the relationship between physical activity and medical expenditures from the 1987 National Medical Expenditures Survey (NMES), the most comprehensive healthcare information source available. They found that Americans 15 years and older who engaged in regular physical activityâ€“at least 30 minutes of moderate or strenuous physical activity three or more times a weekâ€“had average annual direct medical costs of $1,019 versus costs of $1,349 for those who were inactive.
So, in 1987, it was $330 cheaper per year to do regular exercise. According to the internet (http://www.davemanuel.com/inflation-calculator.php) that would be $687.50 today. That seems like a pretty significant saving!
We shall press on to my last little bit of information for you to digest, this one comes courtesy of the State of Obesity website:
The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) and TFAH found that an investment of $10 per person in proven community-based programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition and prevent smoking and other tobacco use could save the country more than $16 billion annually within five years. That's a return of $5.60 for every $1 invested.
Here it is. I will grant you that a lot of these studies (fine, all but one) are from the US, but these are scientific studies and their facts are worth paying attention to. This investment of $10 per person (in my mind, this investment is made by that person) will return $5.60. Just think about that and combine it with all the other studiesâ€¦or donâ€™t, Iâ€™m about to do that for you with my own brand of napkin math.
So, here we are, at the end of a bunch of cherry picked quote from a bunch of cherry picked studies. I guess thatâ€™s the cynics way of looking at it. My way of looking at it is that if I give you enough well credentialed evidence that says the same thing, then itâ€™s got a pretty good chance of being true. So, as I said, Iâ€™m going to combine all this information (which takes a bloody long time to read if you read every line of these studies) into a couple of nifty little sound bites.
The last two studies are what I want to make use of here. Firstly, letâ€™s just assume that the CDC was right and the inflation calculation was correct. If you become physically active you will (as an average person) save nearly $700 a yearâ€¦well, letâ€™s stretch the numbers a bit more and bring it onto home soil. US $687.50 is actually AUD $876.69, right now.
So if you break that down into a weekly investment in some form of program, you will find that you get $16.87
Next, letâ€™s look at the fact that a 2008 study said within five years, a $10 investment per person would net a return of $5.60 for every $1 spent. This is actually a return of AUD $7.14.
Ok, time to put the cart before the horse here for a second. We are going to assume you participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate or strenuous physical activity three or more times a week and save yourself $16.87 a week.
If you invest that $16.87 in proven community based programs (such as a session with your local PT Dan), you should be, theoretically, be getting a return of $120.45 per week. I can totally buy that as well. You wonâ€™t see a cheque in your letterbox each week, but the benefits and savings you get from improving your lifestyle and adding quality years to your life would definitely be in that ball park.
To recap, the way I have crowbarred these studies together and cobbled my own maths into this shows you that your investment in a (my, please) community driven health program is actually giving you a return on that of over $120 per week. Oh yeah, and the money you are investing is the money you saved by being active in the first place.
So, here are both sides of the tale. You can be inactive and spend $0 and get $0 back. You wonâ€™t lose out financially, except in exponentially increased health costs as cultivate an increasingly unsustainable lifestyle. So that ends up costing more. The flip side is that you be active can invest about $17 a week into it and get a $120 return on that investment each and every week, and of course, that $17 is comprised of the savings from being active in the first place, so you are still only spending $0. I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s a particularly hard choice, but thatâ€™s just me.
You want this blog in one(3) line(s)?
Be inactive: Investment $0, Cost $0 + spiralling health care.
Time for what I imagine will be the last blog of 2014, thanks to everyone who has read my thoughts so far and I hope you keep reading into the New Year.
Anyone who knows me at all knows that I both play and am passionate about American Football, or Gridiron. In the NFL, the big leagues in America, my team is called the Washington Redskins (for the moment, but thatâ€™s a whole other can of wormsâ€¦). In Gridiron, the most challenging and demanding position both in terms of physical precision and mental aptitude is Quarterback. This guy makes his team run. He tells everyone else where to be, takes responsibility for the ball and makes sure it gets put in the right spot. If he fails at this the results can be catastrophic, normally for him. See below:
So, these guys have a certain amount of pressure on them in a game sense, and couple that with a multimillion dollar contract and the expectations of those who paid you and the millions of fans of your team desiring you to make wins happen, itâ€™s not an easy path to success. One such guy, Robert Griffin III, was charged with being the QB of my team, so naturally Iâ€™ve taken a fair bit of interest in his career path. He came into the league and had one of the most dominant seasons in recorded history. He has since had injuries and other issues plague him and not reached such great heights, but in the midst of his success, one of the quotes he often referred to was to â€œKnow your why.â€ I donâ€™t think he pioneered this quote, but he seemed to be getting the most out of it, and the fans seemed to like his work:
To get back to more relevant pastures, I think all of us need to take some time to really figure out if we â€œKnow our why.â€ Itâ€™s perfectly natural to answer no to this question. Iâ€™ve had to answer no to it a few times, and quite recently too. I know from experience, at a certain point in your training, itâ€™s easy to lose sight of what youâ€™re working towards and simply go through the motions which is a 100% guaranteed path to a plateau. I want everyone to examine their â€œwhyâ€ deeper than that though. â€œWeight lossâ€ is not a â€œwhyâ€, itâ€™s a consequence of correct training and nutrition, so is â€œtoningâ€, so is â€œbeing fitterâ€, so is â€œbeing strongerâ€, so is â€œrunning 10kmâ€ and even â€œcompeting in a fun runâ€ is not a â€œwhyâ€.
We need to be able to sit down and identify why you want something. Weight loss, as an example, is a result, not a why. Why do you want to lose weight? What is going to happen when you do? What position will you be in, how will you feel, what will be different when you lose weight? You, deep down, have made the answers to these questions already. Whether you can access them on a whim is a different kettle of fish. Iâ€™ll run you through the different levels, using myself as an example.
I train at the gym regularly. I want to get results: Strength, agility, speed, flexibility, power and any other training benefit I can. I want to have aesthetically pleasing muscles. I want a six pack.
Why do I want this? Well, I want to be stronger and faster so I can do better when I play gridiron. I want to look better so people find me impressive to look at (please have no shame in admitting that this is a primary motivator for almost everyoneâ€¦even you).
Why do I want to be better at gridiron? I am competitive and I hate losing, I hate the idea that someone else can have the same chances as me and I donâ€™t beat them. Why do I want people to be impressed when they look at me? If they are impressed by me they will think Iâ€™m cool and I will feel good about myself.
Why donâ€™t I want to be overlooked? Because it fuels my insecurity and makes it harder to be comfortable in my own skin. Why donâ€™t I have enough security in my own skin? I compare myself to others too much. I let their accomplishments outweigh my own and overthink everything and find it impossible to give myself credit for my own achievements.
So why do I train?
I train to gain a comfort level with who I am, to focus on what I can achieve and be proud of what I have done and am still doing. Being able to strive towards my own goals is building me to the point where I am completely comfortable with who I am and do not perceive my own value through someone elseâ€™s eyes.
Thatâ€™s my why. I opened up a fair bit there and took you down the path that I took to figure out, at the heart of it all, why I do what I do. You can see how â€œgetting strongerâ€ is a consequence of a much deeper desire to clear some pretty big mental hurdles. I am suggesting that if you have a really good think and examine why you are training, youâ€™ll have a why that stems from just as deep a level.
Have you ever wondered why you feel happier when youâ€™re exercising and getting results? Does the 2kg weight loss you achieved, or adding 15kg to your squat, really make such a huge physical difference in your day to day life? Iâ€™d suggest not, but the progress towards your â€œwhyâ€ makes a massive difference. I canâ€™t tell you what it is, only you can really put it into words, but that almost subconscious desire for something more is what you need to keep forefront in your mind to maintain the fire and stick at your training.
You have to find and hold onto that deep level of motivation. Surface level stuff will come and go and it will not keep you here. When the chips are down, when youâ€™ve got 80,000 people out for your blood, youâ€™ve been pummelled to within an inch of your life, if youâ€™re just in it for the money, youâ€™ll quit. Youâ€™ve got to know your why to get up and make the next play.
Itâ€™s crunch time in 2014. Are you going to take the money and run? Or are you going to make the next play?
Itâ€™s on you now.
Work to live, don't live to work |Dan Toohey .:. TOP 18.11.2014
I think I'm well past due for another blog (because I know there are heaps of people out there impatiently tapping their foot and looking at their watch and wondering when Dan's next blog will be...) and today I'm going to harp on about something that I think is critically important in everyone's quest to find balance and get the body of their dreams, or just a healthy lifestyle. It's also going to sound pretty counter intuitive and a bit weird coming from someone who has chosen a career in the fitness industry.
The title of this blog is something I try to stick by in my daily life. It's pretty succinct and really means that you are not basing your life around your career, you have a work life to support yourself to live the way you want. Work isn't everything; it's just one part of a fulfilling life. I think the same message needs to apply to fitness. I think if you step back and take a look at a couple of factors, firstly, just how accessible nearly everything is these days and secondly the propagation of social media enabling us to have what seems like minute by minute updates on what our peers are doing means that there is a lot of (presumed) pressure to have your hand in absolutely everything.
Jon is doing the fun run on the weekend, Jenny cycles with a group and has a book club Sunday evening and Trixie and Dave work in soup kitchens, save wildlife, reno and flip houses and raise 6 kids who are in a band who's single has just topped the charts and you're invited to their concert this weekend. Also, your boss wants that thing done yesterday and if it's not she's going to need you in on Saturday and your kids have different sports to be at as well as a birthday party and your significant other is off for a day trip with friends, this weekend, so if you wouldn't mind picking up the slack this one time...
I'm sure on some level, most of you can relate to that. The more accessible things are, the more we can do, the more we want to do and to an extent, the more we are expected to do. I haven't even mentioned anything about health and fitness yet. We all lead busy lives and the addition of each friend, partner and child adds to the list of things we have to do. Then you see these utterly demotivating pictures of people who have perfect bodies and eat perfect meals that have 560 different super food ingredients. You see the humblebrag posts like "uh oh, had 2 cheat meals this week, looks like it's an extra hour on the weights for me tonight lol". We need to step back and realise that just like gloss magazines, social media has become a place of unreality.
Yes, fitness and health are extremely important and absolutely should be a part of your life, but unlike what probably 90% of the noise is telling you, it does not have to rule your life. I can't stress enough how much of a burden that lifts from your shoulders. Not everything you do has to come back to how much exercise you do or what you eat or what you look like. Judging by what you see in magazines and on Facebook you would think it does, but I'm here to tell you that exercise should take up a pretty small part of your routine (of course I would recommend you spend all of that small part with me).
I spent a long time researching the best and most efficient ways to get what I wanted out of exercise, which at the time was to look great and get bigger. I've since changed my focus a bit, but the principle is still the same. I discovered that for what I wanted, most of my progress would be consolidated at rest. Yep, most of my "gains" would be made when I was sleeping and not exercising. Of course I had to work bloody hard when I was exercising, but 4 times a week at 45 minutes a session seemed pretty achievable. It seemed light on in fact. But it worked. Sometimes I only did 3 sessions a week. So I was doing between 2-3 hours of exercise a week and getting good results. I also ate pretty well, mostly. If I went out I had whatever I felt like. If I was cooking at home I'd try and do a good job, but when the flat mates say "there's cake in the fridge, feel free to have a slice" you bet that I did.
I spent 2-3 hours a week exercising and did a "pretty good" job with what I ate. My progress wasn't lightning fast, but then again I wasn't trying to be perfect. I found what worked and kept at it. It didn't disrupt my life. It just gave it another dimension. It meant I could still put in extra time at work where needed, go out with friends, play other sports and watch all the hip TV shows that I wanted to. I didn't really have to sacrifice that much to begin getting results.
That is the key. Changing your lifestyle should not be a massive overhaul. It should be an adjustment. Some will need to adjust more than others but it doesn't ever stop you living the life you have created for yourself, or at least keeping all the good parts.
The title of this blog sort of refers to the conundrum of modern life where we work to have lots of money to spend and do the things we want but never get to do them because we're always working. Fitness should never be a problem like that. I've told clients many times, you don't have to spend all day. If you work as hard as you can for 45 minutes every other day, that's all you need to do to get great results. The key isn't time spent, the key is effort spent. So get a Personal Trainer (I'm a Personal Trainer) and make sure you are being efficient with your time. Find out exactly what is going to work for you and then do it. But get it done and get on with your life.
This is particularly relevant in the period that we are coming up to. If you let fitness dominate your life, you will either have a terrible holiday season, or you will fall off the wagon. BUT, you can eat well when you get the chance. You can exercise 2-3 hours a week. Mostly. It's a part of your life. At times, parts of your life take precedence. Like if you work a 9-5. On Mondays through to Fridays between the hours of 9am and 5pm, your work life takes precedence. Around Christmas, your pudding life takes precedence. But you still need to make time for other areas. Moderation is key, do not be consumed by any one area of your life. Because that path leads to anger, and anger leads to hate, and hate leads to the Dark Side. Star Wars is cool. What were we talking about?
Oh yeah. Live your life. Don't let modern pressures get you down. You don't have to live at the office or the gym to be cool and successful. You just have to give it attention. I'd write more but I'm going to finish watching Star Wars now.
Exercising is a skill |Dan Toohey .:. TOP 24.10.2014
in this blog I'd like to spend some time talking about a preconceived, and incorrect, concept when it comes to the gym and exercising in general.
Many people find exercising in the presence of other people very intimidating. I know I get the sads when I rock up to the gym and it's packed. Not just because it means I have to structure my workout around what's available, but (most of which would be in my head) I feel the prying eyes judging me on my exercise selection, execution, weight, reps, rest, drink bottle, choice of clothing and anything else I happen to be doing/wearing/saying at the time. I feel this pressure and I know what I'm doing and I know why I'm doing it. For someone who is new or still learning the intimidation factor is shocking. It feels like every other gym goer is part of the club and you aren't. There are many reasons why it feels so intimidating, but one is because of a misuse of wording and an unrealistic expectation. In my experience a lot of people seem to view exercise as functional movements that we should be inherently able to perform correctly. Everyone should be able to do a bicep curl because it's just swinging your arm, right? Categorically wrong. I think exercising is as much a learned and practiced skill as any sport or art, and it needs to be treated as such.
There are many factors working against this concept though. I've talked before about how I see myself as an educator as much as a trainer. I firmly believe that. However at this stage my circle of influence is a bit too limited to completely change the sweeping views of the casual gym goer. Whilst it is not impossible to teach yourself a skill and become technically correct and excel at it without any professional coaching, it is far from the norm. If you wanted to play soccer, or do karate, would you watch a few YouTube videos and then hit the pitch or walk into a dojo and start sparring? You could, but it might not end as you'd hoped and dreamed. This is no different to walking into the gym for the first time. Yet it seems to be acceptable that people can gain their wisdom from the internet, uneducated friends (who got their wisdom from the internet) and magazines, believe this is enough prep and go and try and get built or lose weight at the gym. This has as much chance of sustained success as a teenage girl keeping her cool if a One Direction member smiles at her. One of the main reasons the gym and exercise is so intimidating is because you DO NOT inherently know how or what to do when you start, but you're expected to.
How many times have you seen or heard, "just do something, anything is better than nothing." Or someone well-meaning individual profess that to put on muscle you just need to "lift weights". This advice is the equivalent of someone telling you that if you want to be good at soccer, you should "just play soccer." I think most people are across that part. Unfortunately for people in my line of work, this kind of works. Truly, doing something after doing nothing will get you some initial results. You'll plateau pretty quickly but you'll get just enough of a sniff that you think you're a boss. Then nothing will happen and you'll get discouraged and give up...perhaps not for the first time. You have given yourself zero chance of success and feel disappointed when you fail. This is the pattern that you will see many casual gym goers fall into. I know that it took me probably until my 3rd "start" at the gym before I really knuckled down and actually put in the effort to learn what to do to be successful, and it took a long time until I began to see results and even longer before I felt confident to go into a gym full of jacked dudes by myself, plug into my tunes and just go about my business. I'm talking years. Like I said, I still don't particularly like it if it's crowded, but I don't let it ruin my workout like I used to.
So, what I am taking a long time to get around to saying is that exercise is not an inherent skill. It is very much a learned skill. It's also a pretty hard skill. I would say to learn to work out your entire body effectively and safely is one of the more difficult things we can attempt to master. I'm very far from perfect and it shouldn't surprise you but I learn heaps from teaching all you guys stuff, probably just as much as you do. Also worth noting is that I've been working at my craft for the better part of a decade. Like any athlete trying to improve at their chosen sport, it takes time and dedication to get good.
Exercise should be treated exactly the same as a sport or hobby. You start out with the basics, you won't be good at it, but with correct training, coaching and progression you will get great rewards. As a personal trainer, I feel like I am a coach to you. I'm not just a trainer telling you to do an exercise, I'm a coach who is there to unlock your best from within yourself. If you rocked up to a soccer match with no coach and all the players just sort of doing their own thing, it'd suck. You wouldn't know where to play, what the gameplan was (hot tip: in this analogy and for most casual gym goers, nobody else has any idea what the gameplan is either, they just know the rules) and your team would most likely lose by a lot. If you expect cohesion and coaching from a soccer club you are considering going, it is nonsensical to expect anything different from a fitness institution who you are considering giving a large chunk of change to.
Don't accept that you do or should know what to do. Don't accept that it's supposed to be intimidating. Don't accept that "just doing something is better than doing nothing." If you want to get serious results you have to take it seriously. You have to feel comfortable, you have to enjoy it and you have to know the ins and outs of what you're doing if it's going to work and you're going to stick with it. If you don't have a good trainer, get one (on a completely unrelated note, my free spaces for new clients is quickly disappearing). Get yourself a coach who's going to help you excel at your sport. If you aren't working out with a great group of people, find one (our group of people are the best, just saying). They are your team. It's nearly impossible to do it alone, so get good people around you and be serious about what you do. Exercise is difficult skill which can only be learned by correct practice and repetition. It will not just come to you in time. If you don't take anything else from this blog, memorise the two sentences previous to this and adjust your expectations accordingly. Remember, in exercise, in life, you'll get what out what you put in. A couple of YouTube videos and a magazine article won't be giving much back. It's your call.
We are all teachers, we are all students |Dan Toohey .:. TOP 14.10.2014
hope you're all gearing up for the happiness that daylight savings will bring. It will be upon us within the week and I know it just puts me in a better place. I keep saying it's like having a second day in addition to your work day to get things done. You can actually go to the park or for a run on the beach after work and its warm and its light; it's just a good time of year. Not to mention we're coming up to the season where you wouldn't rather be anywhere else in the world than Hobart (you could twist my arm and force me to go snowboarding in the Rockies I suppose). I can't tell you how much I love the Taste festival and all the things that go on there, we are so lucky to live in a place where this can all happen, which sort of crudely segues into what I want to harp on today.
Hey everyone, hope you're all gearing up for the happiness that daylight savings will bring. It will be upon us within the week and I know it just puts me in a better place. I keep saying it's like having a second day in addition to your work day to get things done. You can actually go to the park or for a run on the beach after work and its warm and its light; it's just a good time of year. Not to mention we're coming up to the season where you wouldn't rather be anywhere else in the world than Hobart (you could twist my arm and force me to go snowboarding in the Rockies I suppose). I can't tell you how much I love the Taste festival and all the things that go on there, we are so lucky to live in a place where this can all happen, which sort of crudely segues into what I want to harp on today.
I am a personal trainer. I've also been a pretty active Karate instructor as well. I see myself as much more than that though, I feel like a huge portion of my job is not standing around watching people do the exercise I tell them to, but to impart my knowledge. I see myself as a coach and a teacher. I have no formal qualifications to be a teacher but I feel strongly about taking a holistic approach to fitness and lifestyle and it doesn't work if you don't know about things, or why you do things. Personally, I am very much into knowing why. Why does this work? Why doesn't this work? Why do I have to keep my hands off my thighs when I lunge or wall sit? (Most of you have, with a pained expression, asked me this question). I feel very strongly that we are extremely lucky to be in a place where we can come to group sessions or PT and learn. I feel that you must not take it for granted. I don't mean you're lucky because I'm so amazing, but because this is not an opportunity afforded to most people in the world. I'm not about to go on a bleeding heart crusade and suggest we all sponsor a child (although we could, and that would be pretty cool), but we have to take advantage of it.
I would hazard a guess that there is no bigger (pun not intended but I'll take it) issue in our privileged, mostly Western, lifestyle than....our lifestyle. We've seen a process of increased wealth and academic inflation transform most of the manual labour jobs into office jobs. We've had a population explosion which has meant we now rely on mass produced, overly processed food (most of which we waste anyway). We have been innovative and creative and done amazing things, but we have also created a culture which has a systemic lifestyle issue. People in the weight loss and exercise business to a large extent are treating the symptoms and not the root of the problem. How many times have you heard of someone losing weight and then putting it all back on again? So I feel, very strongly, that we need to get to the heart of the issue. Lifestyle is an ingrained thing. Lifestyle is a collection of habits and routines that you perform on a regular basis. This is what needs re-tuning.
It is really hard to learn a new habit. It gets harder as we get older. It gets harder again when you have to unlearn another habit first. If we are getting to the stage where it's about unlearning and relearning a lot of the basic things we do, we have missed the point. For the record, the more basic the behaviour, the harder it is to change. Ask someone who has bad posture how difficult it is to fix and have it stay fixed. We are most malleable as children. This is where we can really save the day and start changing the groundwork, start attacking the problem and not the symptoms. The first generation of children who are expected to die before their parents are alive today. That alone should tell you we haven't got it right yet, and in fact we're probably going the wrong way. Change at this level isn't going to happen from big corporations or anybody turning an obscene profit from people's struggles with health and weight. The diet industry needs you to be unhealthy to survive. It needs you to raise people to be unhealthy. I tend to not be a mass conspiracy theorist and believe the diet industry hates you and wants you to suffer and be unhealthy. You cannot buy their products if you are dead. But I do believe that it means their focus is not where it should be. So it falls to us, on a community level, to address this problem, not symptom, so that we never have to listen to people tell us that our children will die before we do.
The way we do it is through education. I am passionate, as you may be able to tell, about education. I think the current model is outdated and a massive overhaul is due. We've simply gone past the point where the traditional education model is in the best interests of the next generation. I'm certainly not the first, smartest, or last person to think this. This change will not be driven from the top though, I can guarantee that. The current system is what got the people who are at the top to where they are. So this brings me back to my initial point. I love what I do, and I feel it is my responsibility to pass on my knowledge. We can all help. Traditional education is not getting it done when it comes to our lifestyle crisis. I say crisis because what we have already sowed is collecting interest and as the next generation retires, our entire landscape is going to shift, and not in a good way. I genuinely fear for what this will mean for Australia in 30-40 years (when I'm going to look to ride out into the sunset) if we don't start changing things from a fundamental level.
To do this, we need passionate, creative thinkers and educators (we are all educators) to start...educating. We all need to take advantage of our opportunities and learn as much as we can. We are then absolutely obligated to pass on that knowledge. I think the key is slowly beginning to turn, but not quickly enough. We need to do more, or this will happen more, and not less.
Hopefully I have impressed on you why I think it is so important to not just go to sessions and train, but to try and learn and pass on your knowledge. This is a serious passion for me, I love talking fitness and diet and lifestyle. Love it. I also believe it's critically important. It doesn't matter if you're a King, a Queen or living out of the boot of your car; we all only have one body, and if it isn't working then your life will be miserable. You need to take care of yourself, and that, in a nutshell, is the problem. I shouldn't have to tell you that. This is where we start fixing the problem. Kids need to grow up knowing and living in a healthy and sustainable way. We are all doing a great job being students.
We need to start being teachers now too.
To tell you more about that, I'm going to leave it to a couple of people I have a lot of respect for. I only saw Tim Minchin's speech recently, but I found it quite poignant, and he says exercise is important, so of course this gets a run. The other speech I saw a number of years ago and I believe it's pretty widespread now, but I don't think I've heard anything that resonated with me quite so much. I think it is absolutely amazing, I hope it strikes a chord with you too.
Be the star of your own Action Movie |Dan Toohey .:. TOP 29.09.2014
it's time for another blog. I think I'm going to try and pump out a couple of these a month. I've been going down a fairly common path with my last couple of efforts and I certainly have more to say on those topics, but for now it's time to head down a bit of a different path.
One thing that I believe is overlooked in the fitness industry, but certainly not here at Dan Toohey Personal Training, is the mental side of success when it comes to getting some positive results. I'm talking not just in terms of the umbrella attitude you need to work on to do what you have to (although that is super important) but the attitude that you carry with you every time you lift something heavy and put it down again.
To speak to the more general attitude for success that everyone from the semi-acquaintance on your Facebook wall to your personal trainer or your parents will tell you, success begins upstairs. I think everyone is capable of working on and improving their attitude towards something they want or need. It's not always easy, but it's not exactly a complicated thing. Once you want something enough, you will find reasons to make it happen and stop finding reasons why it can't. I don't think I need to go into greater detail on this, for all my clients who show up, you already have this down. If you want something badly enough, you'll make it happen, if it isn't happening, more than likely there is a mental issue inhibiting your progress if you take out other obvious factors (illness, injury etc.).
What I really want to hone in on today is not the 90% attitude that you see above, but the 10% attitude that separates the, as you'd expect, 90% of us, from the 10% of elite achievers. You have probably heard through your fitness experiences that whatever your goal may be, weight loss, muscle gain - the last 10% is the hardest part. This is absolutely true. It applies to almost everything. The last 10% is where a lot of people hop off the wagon. Near enough is good enough for most people. That's why only a few people go on to realise their full potential. Think of sport at the highest level. AFL clubs don't just pick the best of those who show up. There are thousands and thousands of guys who would sell their soul just for a chance to make it in the big time. There is an attitude that comes with being able to succeed at the elite level. To continue with the AFL analogy, this is what makes the draft such a crapshoot. It's very difficult (although they get better at it each year) to tell what sort of mental make-up the upcoming players have. In terms of skill difference at the elite level you are talking plus or minus 5%, with a few exceptions (Gary Ablett Snr and Jnr for instance). The difference between those that have the talent and become great and those that have the talent and flame out is purely mental. If you're picked in the draft by an AFL club, you have the physical tools to make it; the rest is down to attitude and mental strength and stamina.
What I want is for everyone I train with to start adopting the same habits that these elite achievers have. It doesn't have to be an elite sport with a million dollar contract up for grabs for you to adopt an elite mindset. You might want to lose 10kgs and fit into a bikini again for summer. That's great, work towards it the same way an elite athlete would. As much as we can question some of their off field decisions, these guys and girls know how to succeed at what they do. Emulate it. To get the best results and the most out of yourself and grow, you have to do more than just show up. Think about Usain Bolt. He has all the physical attributes to be a world class sprinter, of course. But for him, the difference between winning and losing is about one tenth of a second. You can't even comprehend how little time that is unless you see it on a stopwatch. His margin for error is so small, he has to do everything right. He obviously has a team and more resources around him than any of us, but a lot of what he does, any of us can do. If you want to get that last 10%, you have to do more than show up; you have to begin doing what 90% of people don't.
I have one mental technique that I want you to try and take to your training; whatever it may be (you can use this for other stuff too). I'll finally get back to the title of this blog now. You need to be the star of your own action movie. Hopefully you've all seen Armageddon, or any other movie that has a slow motion walk in it. If you haven't, I've included a video montage so you can get in the mood.
In your mind you need to be one of these guys. You are the damn coolest person lifting weights in the world, everyone wishes they were you and everyone is relying on you to lift that weight and put it down again and they're gonna be totally jealous of you when you do. It sounds dumb when you read it like this, but it is the beginning of being someone who is able to go that extra 10%.
You are the most badass mother or father around and you're damn sure gonna show every sucker looking on that you are too. You need to feel like those guys in Armageddon. The fate of the world rests on your ability to do enough reps of that weight. Lucky for the world you're the coolest mofo going around and you'll damn sure do it. Doesn't matter how much you struggle because no one else is anywhere near cool enough to get it done.
I want you to believe that what you are doing every time you do a rep is achieving greatness, because believe me, that's where greatness starts. You need to be great, truly great, at doing what you are right now, before you can be great at anything harder. You need to lift that weight as though you're saving the world and looking cool doing it so that one day when you are called on to actually save the world, you'll be ready....and you'll look cool doing it.
It's not about the magnitude of what you're doing; it's about your attitude towards doing it. I want you to be elite, to be great. You aren't just showing up anymore, you're saving the damn world, so don't give me no jibber jabber, do another rep!
The most dangerous word in the world... |Dan Toohey .:. TOP 17.09.2014
Hopefully that's a good enough hook to get you reading. I'm back with another blog and this time I'm going to talk about the most dangerous word in the world. Before I tell you what I believe is the most dangerous word in the world, why don't you have a guess, see if you come up with the same answer as I did.
...I'll wait while you think...
What did you come up with? If you answered things like terrorism, war, hate, Collingwood, Justin Beiber, fear, extinction, global warming or apocalypse - well, you're barking up the wrong tree, although I can see an argument for Justin Beiber. For my money, the most dangerous word in the world, as it relates to any person or situation, is: TOMORROW.
I attended a talk once where someone put this idea in my head, so I can't claim full credit, but the more I think about it, and I've thought about it for years, the more I can't find any fault in the logic. A lot of you may initially disagree with me that tomorrow is a dangerous word. After all, it's got a lot of positive connotations, "Tomorrow, tomorrow...I love ya, tomorrow". It's full of hope and promise and anticipation and after all, "tomorrow is only a day away". But that is where it becomes a problem. Tomorrow is ALWAYS a day away. Nobody in the history of the universe has ever done something tomorrow. Everybody in the history of the universe has told someone they are going to do something tomorrow. You should probably start to see where I am going with this now. Tomorrow isn't really all that full of promise, it's actually more like fools gold. Tomorrow is an excuse to do nothing today. Tomorrow is the ultimate enabler. How easy is it to put all your goals and hopes and dreams into the soft reassuring embrace of tomorrow and continue in the same pattern, today, as you always have? Tomorrow is a smiling assassin. It will look at you, flash its pearly whites and without offering any resistance at all, you will surrender your drive and determination to get things done to the promise of tomorrow. It will seem like a harmless transaction and leave you feeling good about all the things you're going to get done. Tomorrow is the house though, and the house always wins. It is not a harmless transaction, every time you surrender to tomorrow, you build a stronger barrier to progress and you waste time. Tomorrow is a parasite, it cannot sustain itself on anything tangible, and so it has to feed on your willpower to survive. Of course you wouldn't knowingly let it do this, so it has to seduce you by making you believe in all the wonders and promise that it holds, it has to make you believe that it is real, that tomorrow is only a day away.
Tomorrow is not real. Tomorrow is ALWAYS a day away.
I remember the first gym I signed up to. I was so positive and loved the staff and was having a blast going there and doing the circuit class and I was happy. Then I got injured and after coming back from my injury I put my focus into training up for competition karate- I didn't want to be too sore and overloaded, I was training minimum 5 times a week anyway, I didn't need the gym anymore. So I said to myself, "Self, tomorrow you will go and cancel your membership." It was somewhere in the vicinity of 18 months to 2 years later when I finally went in and cancelled it. Believe me; it is much more awkward to cancel a membership you haven't used in at least a year and a half then to cancel one for legitimate reasons within 2 weeks of last attending the gym. The face I got from the receptionist when she looked up my membership is not something the makes me feel good about myself. But hey, tomorrow is only a day away.
I can't say I've completely beaten back the allure of tomorrow, but I'm getting better. I've found that taking "tomorrow" out of my vocabulary when it comes to planning has helped. I don't do things tomorrow. I do things on a date. If that happens to be the next day, so be it. If I can't do something today, which happens all the time - welcome to the world - I don't put it off until tomorrow. I acknowledge that I haven't managed to do something today and think about when it needs to be done by and when I can fit it in. Wednesday is not ALWAYS a day away. At some point it will be Wednesday and I will have to do what I said I would on Wednesday. It's even better if you can put a date on it. Wednesday the 10th of September. That day will definitely arrive. I'm not saying to put a total embargo on the word tomorrow, but just acknowledge that when it comes to doing something, if you say you will do it tomorrow, there's a good chance that you'll end up paying 18 months for a gym membership you never use.
This has an absolute correlation to changing your lifestyle, changing your diet and sticking with an exercise program. There are so many reasons to put off exercise or eating better until tomorrow. I do it from time to time. Everybody does it. But you will invariably find that the more times you put something off until tomorrow, the easier it becomes. The harder it becomes to actually take action. There's a theory out there which I tend to believe in when it comes to developing your muscles. It basically says that your muscles are never set. They are either growing or they are shrinking. If you are exercising regularly, even if it's less than microscopic, your muscles will be growing (hypertrophy is the technical word for that...it's not just a word for the muscle bound meat heads looking to get swole at the gym). If you are not using your muscles they will begin shrinking (atrophy). I think this is basically true. These are very small and gradual changes, so don't worry if you miss a week's exercise for a legitimate reason, you won't lose your gains- it's an adaptive process that happens over time. I think you can also apply this to your willpower and your brain. The old saying "Your brain is a muscle, use it or lose it", is pretty much spot on. I believe it also applies to willpower and determination. I would guess that most, if not all of you who have gone from not exercising to having sessions with me have noticed a huge change in your ability to push yourself. As you push yourself, your ability to keep pushing yourself grows. The reverse is true as well. Every time you give in to tomorrow or don't push yourself, your resolve erodes a little bit. So, is your willpower growing...or shrinking?
I could go on about this forever, as I've thought about it a lot but I think I've made my point. Let me know if you agree with me that tomorrow is the most dangerous word in the world. Let me know if you don't agree with me also, because I certainly don't claim to have all the answers. But either way - do it today!
What are you actually putting in? |Dan Toohey .:. TOP 01.09.2014
It's been a little while since my last blog and I am now at a point where I am ready to launch into another diatribe about things that have been on my mind recently. I had initially wanted to go in a different direction with this piece, but I canned it because it seemed like I was trying to crowbar a moral into a story about something that irked me, which isn't what I want this space to be.
I want to, hopefully, contribute something meaningful that might make you stop and think for a second. Anything other than that is gravy but at the point where this turns into my own personal soap box for whinging, I should probably find something else to do, or go talk to someone.
But now I finally have all the pieces lined up how I want them to make a point that I think bears some careful thought, as the information I am about to enlighten (or reacquaint you with) is something we are all guilty of at some point. I was initially compelled to write a blog when I reached a tipping point of seeing motivational pictures appearing in my newsfeed (I'm well aware we are guilty of adding to the noise on this one). It began to irk me, and I couldn't exactly figure out why. They were positive messages affirming qualities and values I believed in, so why was this constant stream of bootstrap pulling propaganda getting on my nerves?
It took me awhile, but I figured it out. It's weird that you can be irritated but not know exactly why, isn't it? Anyway, the reason that I came to for being increasingly angry at this trend was because of a disconnect between the sentiment of the message and the reality of the audience (those circulating and reading them). What I mean by that is:
There is a desire for people to have these wonderful lifestyles and do this, that and the other thing, but not many people seem to be making it happen. Basically, nobody is putting their money where their mouth is. Nobody is walking the walk, but everyone is talking a lot. Insert any other unrealised cliche you want.
The bottom line, I think, is that we have become a vicarious nation. I can only speak to our culture as it's the one I live in, but at least in Australia, we seem to talk a good game, understand what is good and what is bad, but don't actually apply this to ourselves. I'm as guilty as anyone. I am always telling you guys that you need to stretch the next day, you need to do this, you need to lift like that. Do I do all that stuff? Sometimes. So why are we so good at knowing what we need, and so bad at actually doing it. Well I've definitely talked about this before, and it is an example of our magnificent brains, complicated and wonderful beyond comprehension, screwing us over.
Everyone is aware that goals are important to set and it's key to success to visualise what you want, what you are striving towards. However, nothing in life is free. What happens in your brain when you visualise success, or make a resolution or set a goal is you get a rush, a smaller version of the rush you get when you actually achieve the thing you set out to. Having basked in the rush of your newly set goal, you feel accomplished and go watch TV and eat a Snickers, because you're not you when you're hungry. Which would be fine, if you had achieved your goal, but you didn't, you just thought about achieving it.
So, now you can be aware of what is probably happening when you see that motivational picture pop up in your newsfeed, or the next time you share that 60 day ab challenge with your friends (if any of you actually do that then we need to sit down and have a chat about things...). When you see or share these things, your brain ticks a box fooling you into believing you have actually done what the motivational picture says to. I guarantee you (apart from being a ridiculous workout) that 80% of people would not complete the 60 day ab challenge.
It happens to everyone, it's unfortunate chemistry, but you can overcome it with better psychology. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, so they tell me. You need to be really honest with yourself. If you haven't done anything to justify it, don't reward yourself with a cheat meal or a day off. Did you work as hard as you could have, or did you just show up and coast on your sense of accomplishment from walking through the door to the end of your workout? If it's the latter and you go home and splurge because "you earned it", Guess what? You probably just set yourself back, rather than making progress. For some people, walking through the door is absolutely something to be celebrated, but as you do that, you need to keep raising the bar. That's how you achieve your goals. That's when you get to bask guilt free in the warm glow of your own awesome. Then rinse and repeat.
So, there you have it, that's what's been pissing me off. I don't like to just throw unfounded things at you either; I like to back it up with science and statistics and expert opinions. So, just to prove that the motivational pictures on your wall are not working, here are the stats:
The prevalence of overweight and obesity among Australians has been steadily increasing for the past 30 years. In 2011-12, around 60% of Australian adults were classified as overweight or obese, and more than 25% of these fell into the obese category (ABS 2012). In 2007, around 25% of children aged 2-16 were overweight or obese, with 6% classified as obese (DoHA 2008).
A 2009 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicts that there will be continued increases in overweight and obesity levels across all age groups during the next decade in Australia, to around 66% of the population (Sassi et al. 2009)
Between 1985 and 1995 the rate of childhood overweight doubled and obesity tripled in Australia. Unfortunately, overweight and obesity in Australia remains on the rise. Results from the 2007-2008 Australian National Children's Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey indicated that one in four children aged 5-17 years are now overweight or obese
Back to the title of this blog. I think it is a good idea for us all to sit back and be really critical of the effort we put in. Is the true amount of effort you're putting in at a level you're proud of and satisfied with? I have no problem with people answering yes to this question and a lot of you guys as my clients should be answering yes to this question and you're fantastic, keep it up. However, you should not be down on yourself if you answer no to some aspects of your life. You cannot fix something that you are not consciously aware of. Believe me, your subconscious will do it's very best to keep it on the down low as well. If you have some areas you want to improve, you can feel reassured that you've now become aware of them and take steps to begin doing that. As a nation and as individuals we have to face some home truths that we are not perfect, we are not motivated and the statistics bear me out on that one. Reversing that trend starts with you guys. So next time you are about to click like or share on one of these pictures that get thrown around far too often for my liking, stop. Only click like if you are doing what the picture says. If you aren't, don't give your brain the chance to trip you up. This stuff is hard enough as it is and you need every advantage you can get.
I really want you to think about what you are putting in, because at the end of the day, that's exactly what you are going to get back out. It's also exactly what you deserve.
And you all deserve so much, my life is better for having met you, so go get it!
How defined do you want to be? |Dan Toohey .:. TOP 17.08.2014
I've had a lot of inspirational quote pictures popping up on my Facebook this week. I don't know why, there just seems to be a glut of them recently and it got me thinking. You know the ones:
I am not here to pull down these quotes or in any way take away from the message that they are sending, because mostly they have good things to say that are worth reading. I do take exception to the phrase "that's life", or "that's what life is all about" or anything in a similar vein. I think I've even begun to develop a superiority complex about it. I get guilty and feel like damn, these guys have it all figured out and are sprinkling their wisdom on the lesser folk like me so we can all figure it out too, why haven't I figured it out? Why aren't I rich and famous yet?. Then I think that's dumb, they're just throwing their 2 cents out there for everyone to see.
I think we have an over reliance on definition right now, and having definition for everything isn't all it's cracked up to be. Having definition in your muscles is great. Defining your goals is imperative. Defining life isn't.
If you have a look around the globe, the amount of people who are in constant danger and oppression because people have defined what is right and what is wrong and are very black and white about it. Israel is wrong! Palestine is Right! Palestine is wrong! Israel is right! I think any outside party would acknowledge at this point there is enough blood on everyone's hands over there that the best thing would be if someone had one of those Men in Black flashy things so they could forget the generations of evolved distrust and in some cases hatred for each other and start fresh with open minds. This is an extreme example and doesn't have much bearing on how many squats you should do later, but it does serve as a pretty wild case of how becoming so locked in on a certain definition of life can have disastrous results.
The same is true for your lifestyle and fitness. Crossfit forever! Paleo or go home! Cardio is for chicks! This is the only protein powder that works! No carbs after 12pm! You've heard cries from all corners that their way is the only true way to train or get results. Let me tell you what none of these diehard evangelists will: No one knows it all.
There is always something more to learn. There is always a new experience to shape the knowledge we have already. This is true for fitness professionals as well as those at any stage of their own personal journey. I've written before how I don't know it all. I know a lot about how to get you results, but I learn more every single day. A lot of you remark how the sessions are good because they are never stale. Part of that is a personal mission to keep things interesting and another part of that is because I am constantly evolving my craft to deliver the best workouts and advice I can to you all. That's just the way I am. I seek more knowledge. I hate making an uninformed decision and I work better if I know why I am doing something. I often get accused of being gullible because I tend to believe most things people tell me. I think it's more I tend to understand that there's an element of truth to most of the stuff out there. I take some and leave some but I try hard not to write anything off before I give it a chance.
I'm not telling you to poo poo anyone that says they have the answer. By the way I hate that saying but there doesn't seem to be another one that fits where that does. If anyone knows one, please let me know. I just think it's important to understand that no one has the full answer as it relates to you. That is something you have to find for yourself. You won't turn it up one day by Googling the right combination of "lose weight", "tone", "instantly" and "no effort". As the sage writers of the X-Files put it: "The truth is out there." However they spent nine seasons dedicated to finding it and didn't really, they kind of left it open.
So next time someone tells you "that's life", or that they have the answer, draw your own conclusions, don't simply take a risk because some inspirational poster told you to. I strongly feel that some things do not need a definition. Not much that I've come across is purely black and white. Taking someone else's definition, which may be very black and white, and using that to justify taking a risk may backfire terribly. I think most people that tried it, regret their time with Amway. I know my parents do, but they went along with it because someone told them to. Understand why it's a good idea to take some risks and do it if it makes sense for you. Feel confident in the decisions you make because at the end of the day, the number one person you have to answer to is yourself. Do something because you decide it's the right thing to do, not because you were told to.
Hey Everyone, I'm back here to talk about something that I'm very passionate about. How many of you have seen the movie, or know of the concept of "Pay it Forward"? If you don't, it's pretty simple. You do something nice for someone else, then they do something nice for another person and they do something nice for another person etc. What I want you to think about is the ripple effect something like that can have on the wider community. It can be pretty huge.
So much of what we focus on in our fitness journey is what it will mean for us. I want to lose weight, I want to look better, I want to feel better, I want to run a fun run, I want to get a six pack, I want to fit into these clothes again. I am absolutely not here to tell you any of that is bad, in fact, I think you'll find quite the opposite. I want to examine what ripple effect your choices (for whatever reason gets you there) have on the wider community.
You may think that your decision to change your lifestyle and become a healthier, happier version of yourself is a personal decision that mainly affects you. I'm here to tell you that you couldn't be more wrong. It affects so many things around you, in a positive way. Let's start from the immediate and work outwards and see who your transformation affects.
Firstly it affects the people you see everyday. Your family, friends and co-workers. Every one of them will see the change in you and be constantly reminded that it does happen and that it is real life, not just an infomercial. So that's pretty cool.
It affects your local community. When you become healthier, in almost all cases you become more socially active. However, a more pertinent benefit that usually arises is you make better choices with your money. You won't go to the drive thru of KFC/Hungry Jacks/Macca's anywhere near as much, you'll probably be as likely to spend your money on a local cafe that does an amazing savoury muffin, or going to the farmers market to pick up fresh produce. You will find that healthier eating also ends up generally supporting local business as well. You also keep people like Dan Toohey Personal Training running. I want you to be very aware how important this is. It's not an airy comment to make you feel good about your choice. Let's look at some figures.
Over the past two years, youth unemployment in Tasmania has risen by:
59 per cent in West and North West Tasmania (including Burnie and Devonport) , reaching 20.5 per cent in the year to February 2014
43 per cent in Launceston and North East Tasmania, reaching 17.7 per cent in the year to February 2014
35 per cent in Hobart, reaching 15.2 per cent in the year to February 2014
At these rates of increase, the new analysis forecasts youth unemployment by 2016 will hit:
33.2 per cent in West and North West Tasmania
25.5 per cent in Launceston and North East Tasmania
20.5 per cent in Hobart
So, your transformation can actively help to strengthen our local economy and keep young people employed in Tasmania. It may not seem like much if you think about what effect you have as an individual, but if you think about the pay it forward theory, if enough people change their lifestyle (which you are a walking advertisement for, remember) then change will happen at a community level. The market will always reflect what is in demand.
Finally, lets get even broader than that. Lets take it to a National level. It doesn't seem to matter who is in office at any time, whenever a budget comes out, people cry foul at cuts and debt and not enough money for this, that or the other thing. People also feel beholden to those in power, and think they just have to roll with it. You don't. I'm not talking about holding a rally. Lets look at some more figures. Via the Medical Journal of Australia (https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2010/192/5/cost-overweight-and-obesity-australia), we can see that:
The annual total direct cost (health care and non-health care) per person increased from $1472 (95% CI, $1204-$1740) for those of normal weight to $2788 (95% CI, $2542-$3035) for the obese, however defined (by BMI, WC or both). In 2005, the total direct cost for Australians aged over 30 years was $6.5 billion (95% CI, $5.8-$7.3 billion) for overweight and $14.5 billion (95% CI, $13.2-$15.7 billion) for obesity. The total excess annual direct cost due to overweight and obesity (above the cost for normal-weight individuals) was $10.7 billion. Overweight and obese individuals also received $35.6 billion (95% CI, $33.4-$38.0 billion) in government subsidies.
The emphasis there was mine. This is not chump change. Every year, the cost of people in Australia being overweight is $10.7 billion. Now, Australia pays roughly $1 billion a month in interest on it's debt (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-12/joe-hockey-one-billion-a-month-interest-fact-check/5478480) at the moment. So, it looks like if we cut out all the extra money we have to spend on overweight and obese people, we could take care of the interest on our debt, just from that, year in and year out. This would make a huge difference to areas that critically need funding.
So, to recap, I've thrown a lot of facts and figures and thoughts at you. What I don't want you to do is think "I'm part of the problem, look at all the bad stuff happening". That is rubbish. I want each and every one of you who walks through the door (or meets me in a park) to know that you are the embodiment of the solution on a personal, community and even national level. Every time you show up you should think just how worthwhile what you are doing is. You are inspiring those around you (you are, believe me), you are supporting local businesses (Dan Toohey Personal Training is a local business you know) and you are growing OUR economy, not feeding the pockets of "evil corporate fat cats".
If you find yourself lacking motivation or wondering why you bother, if you are plateauing and just not feeling like you want to make the effort, take the focus off yourself and think how much what you are doing is helping everyone else around you. As one of those people, I'd just like to say thanks, and keep it up! Your ripples are needed, and we do appreciate you paying it forward!