Showing posts from 2019

Just keep telling yourself that...

This week one of my training walks included an ascent of Mount Kaukau as part of the session for the day.  It wasn't a huge walk, especially compared to what we're going to be faced with on our Oxfam Trainwalk, but it was what I had planned to do for the day.  As far as how the walk went, I was very pleased with how I got through it.  The main reason I was happy was that some new things I incorporated into my mindset on this walk worked well for me. 

The first little tactic was when the going got tough as I was climbing up the Johnsonville side of Mount Kaukau I simply started smiling.  Now, I'm sure this may have looked weird to anyone who saw it happen, but I don't really care about that, I just wanted to see what impact it might have on me mentally.  And I can report that it made things easier.  I struggled less with wanting to rest and definitely found it easier to keep moving up towards the summit.

It makes sense really, studies have shown that smiling increases dop…

So I'm going on this little walk...

Over the past few months, I have started on a different training programme than I usually follow.  It has included a lot of walking. And I do mean a lot.  What is the reason behind this shift in focus?  Well, it is to help a good cause and challenge myself at the same time.

Three of my college friends and I have decided that we will be doing the Oxfam Trailwalk in March 2020.  We have decided to call ourselves the NOBS - aka the Newlands Old Boys Society.

For those of you who don't know anything about the Trailwalk, it is a 50km or 100km walk based in the Bay of Plenty with the purpose of raising funds for Oxfam to continue their valuable work.  We have decided that we will aim to complete the 100km walk.  This is a fairly big ask, especially as the 100km walk has to be completed over a maximum time of 36 hours.  

I have never been an endurance athlete of any kind.  As a teenager, I was a fairly good sprinter, and I could stretch out to keeping a pretty reasonable 800-metre pace, but…

December is too late...

Something I see a lot on social media is people stating that they're going to get fit or lose some weight for summer.  This is a perfectly reasonable goal.  Except I often hear it in late November or early December.

That might work out fine if you're living in the United States, but here in New Zealand, that time frame is cutting it pretty fine, especially if you want to lose a significant amount of weight/fat.  These things take time.

It's generally considered a sustainable goal to reduce your weight by 500 grams per week.  This means that if you want to lose 5kg for summer, then it will take you about10 weeks.  Using this formula, if you start in November you won't have enough time.

You also need to take into account that this is a best-case scenario.  You won't hit your nutrition plan and training program perfectly each week.  Some weeks will be better than others.  So this timeline is likely to be stretched out even more.  Especially when you take into account the…

Feeling too lazy to train? That's exactly when you should...

The last few months have been hectic for me.  We've bought our first home which has been stressful (albeit very satisfying).  This meant moving house which added to that stress.  I also picked up a bunch of new clients at the same time as well as renovating and setting up the gym at the new house.  Don't get me wrong, these are all good things.  It has just meant that has been a very busy few months for me.

But with that busy period has also come a drop in my motivation to get my own training sessions done.  Finding the motivation to work out after working a 12-14 hour day where I am on my feet for most of it, encouraging other people to get fit sometimes leaves me lacking the enthusiasm required to motivate myself.  But one thing has propelled me off the couch and into the gym.  The thought that if I only trained when I felt good then I would never achieve the results that I'm after.

Training when you're feeling motivated, fresh, physically awesome, strong, that's t…

Stop being results focused!

These days there's an overwhelming pressure to be results focussed.  It can relate to your job, to the sports team you follow, to your schoolwork or university study.  Whatever the situation, it seems that results are all that matters sometimes.  Well, I'm going to say something that may shock you, but when it comes to fitness, don't focus on your results.

That's right, I said it.  Don't focus on the results.
Instead, focus on the process.  
If you focus on the outcome measures, you can easily get discouraged if the results you are expecting don't come as soon as you want them to.  However, if you focus on what you can control - the process, then you can identify the progress you are making, no matter how small.  

Think about it, if your goal is to reduce your body fat and you work really hard for a couple of weeks, but you jump on the scales and there is no change how would you feel?
What about if you adjusted your measure of success.  How about if you aimed to jus…

Nothing works like consistency...

There are thousands of different training and nutrition programmes available in the fitness marketplace.  Dozens of gyms in each city around the world.  Hundreds of different personal and group fitness trainers in your city or town alone I would think.  So many people are understandably unsure when it comes to choosing one program, gym, nutrition or workout plan.

I have trained a lot of clients over the years, and there is always one thing that has worked time and again.  It isn't sexy, it isn't fancy, it isn't complex.  

It is consistency.  

The clients who make the most gains in their health and fitness are the ones who turn up day after day, week after week, year after year.  

These are the clients who succeed.  Yes, they have time off when recovering from injuries or illness.  Yes, they go away on holidays.  Yes, they have off days.  But the difference between them and the ones who don't get such great results?  They come back again, and again, and again. Even with han…

Fitness is about more than just a six-pack

All too often health and fitness are shown to us in films, TV, and articles as bulging muscles and toned waistlines.  We are led to believe that the goal of fitness is to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible to the opposite sex.  Sure, this can be a part of it depending on what your goals are, but there is so much more that is important about being physically fit.  Here are some of the reasons why you might want to think about getting a little healthier if you have let your fitness fall in your priority list over the years.

1: To keep up with your kids.

Are you the parent who is always putting off joining in with your kids when they want to play rugby or netball down at the local park/school?  Is there always some pain which prevents you from taking them on walks through the bush or along the beach?  Is just the thought of going rockclimbing making your back hurt a little?  Getting a bit fitter and stronger may help with a few of these little niggles.  It isn't always a miracle …

Why it's important to reset

Over Easter weekend, I went on a little trip away.  Two school mates and I went on a fishing trip to the far north of the North Island.  It was great.  We did a lot of driving, camped a lot, fished a lot, did a lot of catching up, and made fun of each other a lot.  What guys tend to do when they catch up after a long period of not seeing each other much.

More importantly for me though, it was great to just get away from the city.  For the most part, we were in areas where our mobile phone coverage was iffy at best.  It meant that there was no point in having our phones with us so, for the most part, they stayed in the vehicle.  And I enjoyed the change.  I heard someone say recently that we are so connected that we are disconnected these days, and I thought that that made a lot of sense.

Another thing I enjoyed about the weekend was getting out into nature.  I make no secret of the fact that I am a city boy.  Born and raised in the suburbs of Wellington, nature hasn't always been my…

Where's your head at?

No, I'm not referring to the early 2000's Basement Jaxx hit song.  I'm talking about what your mind is telling you, or more accurately, what you are telling yourself.

Our minds are powerful.  The things we have going on in our heads can drive us to achieve great things or drive us to terrible depression or anxiety attacks, and many things in between.

One important fact that most people don't really take notice of is that we are the person we talk to most in this world.  Think about it, every thought, every memory, every consideration we make is essentially a conversation with ourselves.  If we tell ourselves that something is impossible, guess what, we usually believe that it is.

Now I don't want to make this blog post some diatribe of positivity platitudes.  I understand that just believing you can do something isn't the only thing you need to make it happen.  But I believe that we need to pay more attention to how we talk to ourselves.  

Think about the majority …

Have you stopped trying?

That is a confronting question to ask, I know.  But I think it's an important one nonetheless.  As we get older there's a tendency to slow down a little.  We tend to exercise less, or certainly with less purpose.  We enjoy those sweet or fatty foods a little more often than we did previously.  We're less active in general, we sit more, move less, and carry more weight than we used to.

These things are understandable, as we get into our 30s and 40s, and older, we have families, full-time jobs, busy lives.  Fitness often just isn't a priority.  This a common trend for many people, and it's understandable to some extent.  But here's one thing for you to consider if you find yourself in this position.  We all pay for our health in one way or another, it is just where and how we pay for it that is the variable.

Some people pay earlier, up front.  They join a gym, keep walking, watch what they eat (mostly), hire trainers.  They reap the rewards of staying active for lo…

How bloguary was like a fitness journey...

Well, today is the final day of Bloguary and I have managed to successfully blog each and every day in February.  It has been a very rewarding process, I have found some days tough and some days have been easier, but overall I believe it has been worth it.  For the final day, I thought that I would share the ways in which Bloguary has been like a fitness journey.  So here we go...

Some days are easy, some are hard...

Like I mentioned above, some days were easy.  The blog posts not only came to mind quickly but the actual words flowed well once I got writing also.  This is similar to completing your workouts and eating to your plan each week.  Some days you will be on fire and things will happen easily and without stress.  Other days you will turn up at the gym and have to grind out a sub-par workout that was harder than it should have been.  This is OK, just turn up, put in the work, and the results will come.  It isn't always going to be a piece of cake, but you will be happy when …

5 reasons you need a personal trainer...

Some people may not be aware of all the benefits that come with having a personal trainer.  They may also shy away from the rates that personal trainers charge (I'd like to think I am worth my hourly rate to be honest).  So here are 5 great reasons why you should hire a personal trainer.

1: We keep you safe...

As a personal and group fitness trainer, I am a bit of a stickler for technique.  In fact, I am huge on it.  Great exercise technique not only makes exercises look good, but it keeps my clients safe as well.  There is nothing that scares me more than seeing people working out in a gym or local park and performing squats with knees caving in or push-ups with huge arches in their backs.  I can just see the injury potential.  To be honest, good technique is hard to judge for yourself, even if you are exercising in front of a mirror.  Having someone who can look at your technique from all angles is very useful, especially if you are not experienced in the gym.  Pay the money, avoi…

How to keep your motivation up as winter approaches

With the recent cold snap that has hit us, I thought that I would write today's blog post about keeping your motivation up over winter.  Winter, just the thought makes some people feel cold.  It also makes people think of things like sitting in front of a heater in a nice warm house, sleeping later in the mornings tightly tucked up in bed, and eating comfort foods to keep us warm.

Unfortunately, while these things may be great to think about, they aren't always the best things for helping us to reach our health and fitness goals.  So how can we avoid the dropoff in our exercise habits that can come with the darker mornings and evenings of winter?  Well, here are a few tips to help you combat this.

Firstly, you could get a workout partner.  To be honest, this is a tip that can serve many purposes no matter what time of year it is.  They help provide motivation, accountability, and energy when you aren't feeling like training on a particular day.  They also force you to get ou…

What are your triggers?

Health and fitness have a lot to do with our state of mind.  I'm sure you all by now are sick of me telling you of the mental health benefits of exercise so I won't go on about that today.  But I will approach the subject from a slightly different angle.

As much as exercise and nutrition can impact our mental health, our thought patterns and emotions can also impact our health choices.  This may come as no surprise to you - the majority of people I would guess know about emotional eating but if we look a little more closely at our emotions then it can help us to work through these thoughts and feelings and not let them derail our healthy fitness and nutrition habits.

First, let's take a look at eating.  It is always useful to see how emotions and stress play a part in our eating habits.  Take me for example, when I am stressed or feeling depressed, I tend to want to eat, and it isn't usually carrots and broccoli that I am craving!  This is useful information.  
This means…

Eating to lose weight...

Weight loss or more correctly fat loss is one of the most common goals that I come across as a personal trainer.  In today's day and age, we are more sedentary than in the past.  There is also an abundance of calorie-filled food and beverages available to us at a moments notice, often without even leaving the couch.  With this, it is no surprise that a large proportion of us are overweight and want to lose a few kilograms.

Most people who are overweight will have tried a diet at one point or another.  Many of them will have lost weight, and I would venture to say that most would have put it back on again.  Many diet programs out there are not sustainable long-term, or just aren't suited to everyone, and as such are hard to keep at for any reasonable period of time.

There are plenty of options too - the Meditteranean diet, intermittent fasting, ketogenic diets (low carb) and many more.  The options are myriad and often contradictory in what they offer.  It is no surprise that peo…

Essential pieces of kit for your home gym...

One of the best side benefits of training people out of my home gym is that I get to use it too, and whenever I want.  A home gym can remove some of the excuses that come up for why people don't get to their regular gym.  It's too busy, it's closed when I need it, it's raining outside (I have really heard this one), it's too long a drive to get there.  All of these excuses can be negated by having a dedicated training space in your own home.

All you need to create a home gym is a little bit of free floor space.  I use our garage, but it could be a spare bedroom, a covered deck, or even your bedroom if you have enough space to move freely in it.  It doesn't matter as long as the space is clear of clutter and large enough to train safely.  So what do you need to buy to set up your gym?  Well, that depends on your goals, but the below products will suit most people and when put together with the right exercises will give most people a great workout. 

Let's start…

What does being fit even mean?

This is an important question to ask yourself before you start a training program, or even part way through one as your thoughts around the subject may have changed.  What 'fit' means to me will undoubtedly be different from what it means to you.  To me, it means being able to keep up with my son, having the energy to pursue active hobbies, and being able to move heavy stuff as well.

But what does it mean to you? 

It might mean being able to run a 5k race for charity.  Or just to be able to do 10 full push-ups without stopping.  It might start out being to lose some weight but then morph into getting really strong once you are happy with your weight.

The reasoning behind the answer to this question is just as important as the actual answer as this will be the driver which will push you to achieve the goal.  While the answer may not be important, it is still vital that you ask the question before beginning any training program.  Not only that, but you need to keep asking the quest…

What health and fitness apps are on my phone?

With the age of the smartphone in full swing, I thought that I'd use today's blog post to share with you the apps that I have on my phone.  Throughout the years these have changed as I have found better and more useful apps.  But the ones I have on my phone at the moment have been there for a while so they're solid, reliable, and useful.  Here they are.

Firstly, we have an interval timer.  This one's pretty self- explanatory - it's a timer I use for my interval training workouts.  Well both mine and my clients, so I guess it's doubly useful for me.  The great thing about this timer is that it's very programmable.  You can change the work and rest times very easily, but it also has a warm-up timer before the workout begins.  You can save the various workouts in an easy to access dropdown menu so you can quickly change between timing protocols which is useful when you have back to back sessions and need to quickly access a different timer setting.  I would def…