Personal Training Blog

5 Fitness Apps to Keep You Motivated

posted Apr 10, 2018, 12:03 AM by Rebecca Smith

30% exercise and 70% diet, a statistic we often hear. The app yummly makes a nutritious and holistic diet easy to adhere to. The app includes loads of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts, whilst taking into account recipes for individuals who are lactose intolerant, vegetarian or follow a paleo diet. It even gives option for the cuisine you are craving, Yum, Italian!

To go hand in hand with your new Yummly app, track that you are consuming the correct amount of nutrients including your carbohydrate, fat and sugar intake, based on your height, weight and weight loss goals.

As the name suggests, a running app!! Track your run via a GPS tracker, which records your daily activity, distance ran, time taken, and calories burned! A great app to see your progression through your fitness journey and set personal goals with yourself. Bring a pal on this journey, interact and engage with their progress! A great way to help each other stay motivated.

Set goals you want to achieve. This app keeps you motivated by sending daily reminders and goal tracking. Almost like one of the Difference Personal Trainers inside your phone all week!! A fun way to keep you accountable and be the best version of you. What is your goal this week? Make sure you come to the gym 3-4 times? Drink 2L of water every day? Let us know what you goal is.

HIIT has been scientifically proven to be awesome for your health! It improves aerobic capacity, cardiorespiratory fitness, glucose tolerance, exercise endurance and burns more calories than steady state cardio! Set fast paces routines by adjusting working intervals, rest periods and amount of sets completed to suit your person fitness levels.

Let us know what your favourite app was!

The Quick Fix to Weight Loss

posted Apr 10, 2018, 12:00 AM by Rebecca Smith

Now that i have your attention, there is no quick fix! Surprise! The key to exercise in general, whether it be attributed to weight loss, % of body fat or building muscle, you need to be consistent and it will take many months and years of hard work to feel like you have achieved the goal. Once you reach this point it is important to re-evaluate the goal and keep pushing yourself to be the best version of you that you can be. While this journey may be daunting, it can really teach you some life lessons such as patience, determination and drive, there will be bad weeks, there will be good weeks where you feel untouchable, this is all apart of the journey.

The ‘Quick Fix’ that you see advertised on many different platforms such as television and mainly social media, gives individuals a false sense of security. No matter the goal, training can be broken up into many different parts, such as the actual training program or whether it be nutritional coaching, can be more specific such as sleep patterns, it has to take into account your life as a whole and every individual is different.

For all of us, even the practising personal trainers etc, it is imperative we have a plan on how we train and how we train our clients. If there is no plan, we are just setting up ourselves for failure and we are hoping for that quick fix that is shoved in our faces. A plan on how to keep a client motivated for the long haul, for the bad weeks, how to keep a client on track in regards to macros and counting calories, otherwise we are just guessing right?

So in short, the quick fix that is advertised so readily for all individuals, is not quite what we expect it to be, yet we need to be ready for the long haul and put in the hard work month on month, once you commit to this, you will feel accomplished once the results start to show.


Difference Personal Trainer Narellan

What makes a Successful Training Program

posted Feb 6, 2018, 4:33 PM by Rebecca Smith

When starting out with a new training program, many clients have the best intentions for success and will jump into training with little to no knowledge regarding training and training principles. There are many tips that when put in place will help a new or an exisiting client with adherence to training and therefore, reaching their goal whatever that may be.


A tip i will always give my new clients is to set a measurable goal, whether it is training one day a week or losing 1 kg per week, whatever the goal, this needs to be measurable, something that can be achievable and be repeated week on week. By setting a measurable goal it helps keep motivation levels at a high level and will assist in the long term success of your training journey. In adding to that, everyone loves when a goal has been reached and it helps with self-confidence and that feel good feeling will help keep the client on track.


Another major tip when training is in regards to exercise choices you make and how you progress them and also how long a program can last for, for your body to still achieve results. When starting in the gym it is obviously not the best idea to jump straight in the deep end and start lifting heavy weights without correct technique and programming. When starting a new program it is important to have a fitness professional be present to watch and help coach you through the prescribed exercise. By having this professional with you it will help iron out any creases in regards to technique, what is achievable and also, any questions that may arise.


In regards to an actual program and the exercises it is important to understand fundamental basics such as progressive overload and getting deeper into programming, such as undulating periodisation. With progressive overload it is important not to chop and change between exercises because there will be no benefit from changing between exercises from one training day to the next. I recommend staying on a program for around 4-6 weeks as this allows for true results to be seen, throughout this time period you can change variables such as rest breaks, amount of receptions, amount of sets and of course, the weight. By manipulating these variables it allows for adaptation to occur, rather then just a standard 4 sets of 10 repetitions per exercises for all the exercises, by changing the stimulus the body and muscle endure, it will allow for change to occur, for instance weight loss, hypertrophy or strength depending on the client and their goal.


This ties in well with setting a measurable goal, this means being consistent in the training and the amount of days training, hours spent training, the nutrition aspect also. Consistency is important, everyone has good intentions of attending the gym and exercising, until the time where your body is too sore or you’re too tired because you’ve overtrained those 5/6 times in the gym that week. By setting a realistic goal by saying you’ll attend the gym 2/3 times per week for 6 months is better then attending the gym 5.6 times for one month, you need to realise this is a lifestyle change and by changing everything at once can be problematic, you need to ease yourself in and it may take months until you’re ready for that extra day of training.


The nutrition you undertake while starting an exercise program can be the difference between being successful and failing, nutrients are the driving force behind all bodily functions which means we need to meet those requirements in order to be active and achieve results. The tricky thing in regards to nutrition is that you need to be able to sustain this long term, while restricting some foods will work for you, there is no guarantee it will work for another person, a high protein and low carbohydrate diet may work for you it may not. I could go on all day about different types of ‘diets’ out there, but the basic building blocks when talking about nutrition is calories. In order to lose body fat, you must eat in a calorie deficit, basically, consume less calories then you will burn throughout the 24 hour period.


Lastly, if you’re having fun, you are more likely to keep coming back and stick to the above principles which will in the long term provide you with good results whether it be lose of body fat, decreased % of fat etc. While you’re exercising and you’re having fun, you are likely to form a social bond with fellow clients and also trainers, these friendships that you form can also keep you on track and feel a sense of togetherness in the chase of that your ultimate goal and help motivate each other going forward in their lifestyle journey.

Consistency and results - it's all about mindset!

posted Nov 15, 2017, 4:16 PM by Rebecca Smith

Throughout any training program everyone will come across a plateau period, a time when they think, is it worth it, why am I doing it, this is getting hard, maybe I wont go into today, I’m too busy with the kids to train today, the list could go on forever.  

For some people this may be a daily for others it might come once in a while, either way these, it is important to remember that being consistent is the base for results.  Weather your goal is weight loss, body building or just for general fitness and well-being being consistent day in day out, week in week out, is what will ensure you get your goals.   It is actually these times, when you push through the days you “don’t” want to do it, that you will see your best results.

So what strategies can you use to help with consistency

1.   Awareness!

Be aware that in reality getting to your goals is not always going to something you “feel” motivated for.  Accept that you are going to have days when it gets hard, when you don’t feel motivated, when you could think of a million other things to do.  Knowing that this exists, helps you to catch it when it arrives

Focus on the Positive

On those days you have these negative thoughts it is easy to buy in to the “bull” that you are spinning yourself.  The “reasons” why you shouldn’t have to train today, so you need to focus on the positive. Remember all the hard work you have put in already, be proud of the results you have already achieved, remember why you got started on this journey, think of how good you will feel when you finish that workout, when you pushed through a challenging day!  You will feel amazing!  

3.   Tap into the fear of not succeeding

Sometimes the positive is not enough to motivate us, so we need to think about what it would feel like to fail at this goal, not to hit our desired weight, to continue putting on weight or being unfit and unhealthy.  The thought of not being able to run around with out kids, or being in hospital with illness.  Sometimes the best strategy for motivating yourself through the hard times is to tap into your fear of failure.  Fear can be a stronger motivator than pleasure!

Remember turning up of these days and putting in the hard work in the gym you will feel a lot better physically and mentally moving forward, by just turning up to the gym is a win in itself!

By being consistent with your training and your diet and keeping this discipline will help you to see results and will keep you strong in both body and mind. There are many different tools that can be used to keep yourself accountable and on track, some include;

  • Make a conscious decision to remain consistent - Say out loud to yourself, “I am committed to remaining consistent each day in my goal. I am doing this!”
  •  Have a plan, or see a personal trainer who can give you a plan and help to hold you accountable.
  • Remember that feelings and thoughts are temporary and subjective.  You do have the power to change them
  • Do one thing at a time. Be in the present moment.
  • Remember to change “I can’t” to “I can” or even “what if I can”
  • My favourite “don’t think just do!” Sometimes we think too much and talk ourselves OUT of what is best for us.  So don’t think about it, do it.

By following these steps it keeps the individual accountable regarding their fitness journey it will help keep them on track when they have the negative thoughts and the bad days, reminding them not to give up and to stick at their task and long term goal of health and fitness.

How do I stay motivated when it's 100 degrees outside?

posted Oct 5, 2017, 9:26 PM by Rebecca Smith

Staying Motivated to Exercise When it’s 100 Degrees Outside!



With the Aussie summer heat on its way, it’s easy to decide to stay in the cool air-conditioning instead of working out. We have all had the thought pass our minds ‘oh, I’ll just wait till it’s a little cooler’. Not this year!

Here are some of my favourite tips to beat the heat, stay cool and smash your workout:


1.      Exercise early


Take advantage of the cooler mornings! Get up early, do a workout and feel great for the rest of the day.


2.      Time to lose the hoodies


Avoid wearing dark colours which attract the sun making you hotter. Light, loose fitting gym gear will be a lot more comfortable during the summer heat. If you are outside, don’t forget a hat and sunscreen.


3.      Stay Hydrated


Water, water, water!! An essential part of any workout, water helps regulates your body temperature. If you're not hydrated, you will not be able to complete your workout with your best performance and might start to experience muscle cramps and dizziness.


4.      Listen to your body


Don’t push yourself if you’re going to end up hating your workout. Reduce the intensity if your body is telling you to. Maybe complete your 60min run along the beach where you can cool down, or just go swimming! Swimming laps is a great workout, your body will love you for it.


5.      Stay Indoors


If it’s just too hot outside, not a problem at all! We will see you at your personal training session at Difference Personal Training. We’ve got the indoor coolness all sorted and ready for you to go.



Summer is the best time for you to be the best version of yourself! So keep exercising, dress appropriately, stay hydrated, and kick your goals with no excuses.

What are the benefits of doing High Intensity Interval Training (HITT)?

posted Sep 28, 2017, 9:14 PM by Rebecca Smith

People often ask us what is the best exercise to do when at the gym. There are several different responses and it depends

on what your goals are, however below are the benefits of doing High Intensity Interval Training (HITT)

1. Burn more calories, burn more fat. HIIT increases the amount of calories you burn during your exercise session and afterward because it increases the length of time it takes your body to recover from each exercise session.

HIIT causes metabolic adaptations that enable you to use more fat as fuel under a variety of conditions. This will improve your athletic endurance as well as your fat-burning potential.

2. Keep the muscle. Anyone who has been on a diet knows that it’s hard to not lose muscle mass along with fat. And even worse, steady state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss through the production of cortisol. A study published in the Journal of Obesity showed that both weight training and HIIT workouts allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles, while ensuring most of the weight loss comes from fat stores. Keep the muscle, burn the fat. Perfect!

3. Get lean, stay youthful. Not only does HIIT beat conventional cardio as the most effective and efficient form of exercise, it also provides health benefits you simply cannot get from regular aerobics, such as a tremendous boost in human growth hormone (HGH). This is great news since HGH is not only responsible for increased caloric burn, but also slows down the aging process, making you younger both inside and out. It’s almost like a metabolic fountain of youth. Forget the Botox, it’s time for your HIIT workout.

4. Metabolism booster. Several of the genes affected by an acute bout of exercise happen to be the very same genes involved in fat metabolism. Another study in the Journal of Cell Metabolism showed that when you exercise, your body almost immediately experiences genetic activation that increases the production of fat-busting (lipolytic) enzymes. Everyone wants to be a more efficient calorie burner, even at rest, so after you’ve completed a HIIT workout, you’ve not only burned a ton of calories, but also sped up your metabolism! Win-win!

5. No time, no problem. Your life is really packed. It is always a challenge to find time to squeeze in a workout. Well,”no time to exercise” is no longer an excuse, now that HIIT can be tailored for the average adult. These quick, efficient sessions leave you with more time to enjoy life while feeling more fit! You can use FitStar anywhere, just download the app, and boom, you can try some amazing HIIT moves. It’s right there in your pocket!

The HIIT approach to cardio exercise is definitely physically demanding, but it can be modified to different levels of fitness. That said, if you have any cardiovascular problems or other health concerns that limit your ability to exercise at very intense levels, or if you are relatively new to aerobic exercise or not already in good shape, HIIT may not be for you—at least for now. If you have any doubts or concerns about whether it might be safe for you, check in with your medical professional before trying HIIT.

HIIT’s just one of many ways you can get fit and healthy. If you are unsure of what training to do, contact us and we can get a personal trainer to write you a customised program.

Difference Personal Trainer Narellan

Exercise in a Moon Boot, what can I do?

posted Aug 16, 2017, 10:34 PM by Rebecca Smith

Injuring the lower limbs such as an the ankle or the foot can have a negative impact on self-confidence and an easy excuse to stop attending the gym, by saying you’re in a moon boot and that you cannot exercise until it is fully healed. This is not the case, there are many possibilities of training while in a moon boot and it should not hinder you in your journey in the gym. 

Although being in a moon boot or having a lower limb injury can affect what you are able to do, it also opens many different doors as to what you can do. There should be no weight bearing exercise for the lower limbs (i.e. squats, lunges, deadlifts) nor should there be any walking or running on a treadmill, cross trainer or bike, as this may exacerbate the pain in the lower limbs while they are trying to recover from the injury. 

What I like to focus on if a client of mine has a lower limb injury, is their core and upper body, this can be done using free weights or machine weights depending on the clients confidence in the gym, it is safer to stick with machine weights during this time of recovery. Machine weights such as chest press, shoulder press, lat pull down, seated row are all very good machines that are non-weight bearing for the lower limbs, but still give the client a workout where they have to exert energy. You can superset this with core work as to give the upper body a rest in between sets. Core work can include Russian twists, ankle touches, leg raises, crunches, bicycles… the options are endless when it comes to core work.

By staying active and in the gym, when the lower limb injury does recover, the transition that would usually occur where the motivation and routine has been thrown out the window and it will be hard to rediscover this, but by staying active and keeping in routine, you can start to incorporate lower limb exercises into your exercise program and build your strength and confidence to where it began before the injury. You will need to start light when you do start weight bearing exercise as to not reinjure the limb, and to build strength into the left or right (or both) lower limb before you can start lifting heavy again.

So being in a moon boot will not restrict you fully in the gym, you still will be able to keep up physical activity and keep the routine for when your limb does recover. By focusing on the upper body and core aspect of training it will help with the mental side of things during the injury, where mentally clients may struggle during an injury, keeping active and healthy will definitely help with self confidence.


PT Narellan

Difference Personal Training Narellan

Should I avoid fruits as they contain too much sugar (too much carbs)

posted Jul 17, 2017, 6:41 PM by Rebecca Smith

Often I hear individuals say they try to avoid fruits (such as bananas) because they contain too much sugar (or too many carbs), but should the sugar in fruit really be the blame for our obesity epidemic?

Yes fruits contain sugar. The main sugar found in fruit (which you have probably heard of) is fructose. However, fruit is not made up entirely of fructose – it contains water, fibre and other beneficial vitamins and minerals that make it an optimal choice to include in a balanced and healthy eating regime.

Additionally, due to the presence of dietary fibre, fructose derived naturally from whole fruit has a different metabolic effect on the body when compared with fructose that is “added“ to foods. In fact, most fructose consumed in the diet is not from fruit, it is actually derived from sucrose, commonly known as ‘sugar’.

Sucrose is a double sugar comprising one glucose and one fructose molecule. Discretionary foods such as sweet biscuits, cakes, chocolate, lollies, fruit drinks, sport drinks and soft drinks contain large amounts of fructose, commonly referred to as “added sugar”. These are the foods that we need to monitor and there is a general agreement among health professionals that we should be consuming less of these discretionary foods as they are easy to overindulge in, generally provide no nutritional value, or essential nutrients.

Furthermore, weight loss is typically achieved by strategies that consistently result in a lower energy intake relative to the energy used so reducing energy-dense, processed and high sugar foods (such as those mentioned above) may assist with decreasing the high rates of obesity and other metabolic disorders affecting our nation.

The World Health Organization has recently dropped its sugar intake recommendations from 10 percent of your

daily calorie intake to 5 percent. For an adult of a normal body mass index (BMI), that works out to about 6 teaspoons (or 25 grams) of free or added sugar per day.

Please note these sugars are different from intrinsic sugars found in whole fresh fruits and vegetables. Many of us don’t realise much of the sugar we actually consume or how much sugar there is “hidden” in processed foods. To put this into perspective, we compared the total CHO and sugar content of 3 items (see below)

1 can of coca cola (375mL): • Total carbohydrates: 39.8 g • Sugar: 39.8g • Equivalent to 10 teaspoons of added sugar/fructose • Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Sugar, Colour (150d), Food Acid (338), Flavour, Caffeine.

50g chocolate bar: • Total carbohydrates: 29.6g • Sugar: 28.7 g • Equivalent to 7 teaspoons of added sugar/fructose • Ingredients: Full Cream Milk, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Mass, Milk Solids, Emulsifiers (Soy Lecithin, 476), Flavours. Milk Chocolate Contains Cocoa Solids 24%, Milk Solids Minimum 24%.

1 small banana: • Total carbohydrates: 16.8 g • Sugar 14.4.g (with 2.3g of that being dietary fibre) • Equivalent to 3 teaspoons of natural fructose

So what does this mean?

When looking at the can of coca cola and the 50g chocolate bar you can see that total sugar is much higher than that of the banana. Additionally, in both of these products, sugar is listed second highest on the ingredient list (ingredients are listed in descending order by weight) and as a rule of thumb, if the product has sugar in the top 3 ingredients it is too high. This is also an indication that the almost all of the total carbohydrates is derived from sugar that has been added to the product.

So in summary, what nutritional benefits would you get from this? Not many. The banana has 12.1g of sugar when deducting the fibre content. However, the bananas’ sugar comes with a quality nutrition package containing important nutrients such as vitamin C, B-6, potassium. In conclusion, the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that we eat a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups. There is no discussion on avoiding sugar altogether, so cutting out foods such as fruit, dairy products and many wholegrain that do contain some sugar, along with other major nutrients, is unnecessary and unhealthy.

If you avoid bananas because of their sugar content, think again. You don’t need me to tell you that a banana is a healthier alternative to a can of coke or a bar of chocolate.

Dietitian, Kimberly

How to stay motivated during the colder months

posted Apr 11, 2017, 10:55 PM by Rebecca Smith   [ updated Apr 11, 2017, 10:59 PM ]

You’ve worked all year to get in shape.  It could have been a New Year’s resolution that got you started.  When winter hits, the weather gets cold and gloomy.  Learn to ignore the gloom and doom and stay on track to better health.

During the warmer weather, it is easy to get physical activity.  We work in the garden, go for walks in the evening, bike ride with the family, and spend lots of time outdoors.  When someone wants to go, we jump up and go.  There seems to be more energy in our steps.

The main motivation is looking good in great clothes.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  We all want to look our best for as long as we can.  The by-product of looking good is that we can achieve great health benefits.  Unfortunately, when winter rolls around, all we desire is to curl up on the couch in big sweaters and slippers.  It’s not cute but it’s comfortable.

But, that big sweater gives us a false sense of security.  We can’t see how much damage we could potentially be doing by eating and maintaining a sedentary lifestyle.  It is okay to want to slack off a bit on the exercise but totally dropping things is a no-no.

Here are a few tips to help you stay motivated during the winter months.  To start, set a regular time to work out and stick to it.  You may not feel like meeting a friend at the gym for a class but you can pop in a DVD or VHS tape and sweat at home.  Instead of cranking up the car and braving the cold, you stayed comfortable and worked out anyway.

Maybe the busyness of the holidays has you skipping workout sessions.  Exercise is cumulative.  Every little bit adds up.  Fifteen minutes in the morning plus another fifteen minutes in the afternoon equals thirty minutes of physical activity that day.

Physical activity doesn’t have to be an hour of jumping up and down to a routine.  It could be reading a magazine while walking on the treadmill.  Dancing around the room, as you vacuum and clean, counts as exercise, also.

Talk to a friend or workout buddy even if you can’t get to the gym with them each day.  Use the telephone to keep each other motivated.  When the weather leads you to slouch on the couch, phone a friend and get a pep talk until you jump up on your feet and get going. 

Listen—you’ve worked mighty hard all year.  Why throw it all away during the season of frivolity and food?  It won’t be easy to stay motivated, but friends can help.  Stick to the routine as much as possible and you won’t feel the after effects of a long indulgent holiday season – you’ll be one step ahead when January rolls round too.

Difference Personal Training Narellan

Why the “pause-button mentality” is ruining your health and fitness.

posted Mar 15, 2017, 11:04 PM by Rebecca Smith   [ updated Dec 14, 2017, 7:30 PM ]

Getting a fresh start’ isn’t the magic bullet you thought it’d be.

“I’ll resume healthy eating after my vacation… once the baby is born… after Dad gets out of the hospital… January 1… Monday.” This kind of “pause-button mentality” seems reasonable, after all what is the harm in taking a break?

The harm is that the thought is to the thought pattern, most of us believe “If I miss some workouts, eat the wrong things, skip the homework… I fail.” “Aren’t I more likely to succeed if I take a break, just until I have the time to do it right?” it is the all or nothing approach, if I am not doing it RIGHT and I am failing then I should “push the pause button” until I am ready to do it correctly.

This completely natural and well-meaning impulse is one of the fastest, surest, most reliable ways to sabotage yourself. Starting fresh after you lose your way is a really comforting thought.

That’s probably why New Year’s resolutions are so popular, especially following the indulgence-fueled holiday season.

Give me that cheesecake. I’ll pick my diet back up on Monday!

In fact, we’ve learned that the idea of a do-over is so alluring you don’t even need a mess-up for the pause-button mentality to take over.

Every January, we welcome a new group of clients. Every July, we take in the second, and final, group of the year.

In July, six months in, just knowing that there are new clients starting the program fresh in January makes some July clients “itch” for a new beginning, even though they’re already making progress, changing their bodies.

If only you’d let me start over, I’d really nail it this time! 

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

Whether it’s tomorrow, Monday, next week, or even next year, hitting that imaginary pause button gives you some sense of relief.

It allows you a little respite from what can be really a tough slog

(And the middle is always a tough slog, it doesn’t matter what kind of project you’re working on.)

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

Listen, I get it.

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

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

But what do these intense fitness sprints teach you?

The skill of getting fit within a very short (and completely non-representative) period of your life.

What don’t they teach you?

The skill of getting fit (or staying fit) in the midst of a normal, complicated, “how it really is” sort of life.

This is why the yo-yo diet thing has become such a phenomenon.
It’s not about willpower. It’s about skills.

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

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

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

That’s why it doesn’t stick. Not because you suck.

But because the natural and predictable consequence of having a limited skill set is short-term progress followed immediately by long-term frustration.

What will be different next time?

I remember having lunch with a colleague who swore up and down that his low-carb diet plus daily running was the secret to staying in shape.

I had to follow up with a painful question: “Well, why aren’t you actually in shape?”

After a long pause: “Uhh, I’ve had a hard time sticking with it.

We just had our second child. The holidays just ended. I just switched jobs.” He trailed off…

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

This story illustrates the point perfectly.

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

And whenever life isn’t perfect, which is most of the time, he hits the pause button. He waits for a better time. (All the while losing the health and fitness he previously worked so hard for.)

That’s why, when our clients ask to press pause, we usually ask them:
“What will be different when you come back?”

Nine times out of 10, the honest answer is nothing. Nothing will be different.

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

And what then?
Let’s accept that life has no pause button.

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

There is no timeout.

There’s never going to be a moment when things are magically easier.

You can’t escape work, personal, and family demands. Nor can you escape the need for health and fitness in your life.

Here’s a thought experiment:

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

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

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

Honey, you say to your spouse, I’m just gonna press pause on being a parent for now. I’ll be staying at a hotel. Don’t contact me.

I don’t know about you, but that would NOT go over well in my family.

You can’t really press pause — and you definitely can’t hit reset — on being a parent. (You’ve thought about it, though. I know you have.)

Just like you can’t stop showing up for work and expect not to get fired. Or “take a break” from being married and not wind up divorced.

Generally, when it comes to life, we know we’re not always going to be on our A Game. Sometimes we’re superstars. Most of the time we just do our best.

We muddle through. We keep going.

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

In my case, above, I hired a coach and we came up with a simple workout program that met these criteria:

· No more than 3x a week.

· No more than 10 minutes per session.

· Has to be done upon waking up, right next to the bed.

· Requires no equipment.

I did that for about 6 months. Was it the Best Workout Ever? No! Did I end up, after 6 months, fitter than ever? Heck no!

But was it better than hitting the pause button and doing nothing? You bet!

See, perfectionism is not the point.

“Completing” a program, any other, is not the point.

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

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

As I often teach our new clients:

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

That’s when I propose a new mantra:

“Always something”.
Instead of pressing pause, adjust the dial.

Nowadays I like to think of my fitness and nutrition efforts as a dial.

There are times when I want to dial my efforts up, and times when I want to dial them down. But I never want to turn the dial off completely.

Here’s how this plays out in the context of my life.

Sometimes, say when I’m training for a track competition or concentrating on a particular goal, my fitness dial might be tuned to 9 or 10 out of 10.

Channel 10 means I work out every day. Every meal is planned and carefully considered. I think a lot about fitness. And not much about anything else.

Work, family, hobbies…they’re all in maintenance mode (with the permission of the people this affects, of course).

However, as I write this, my life involves the following:

· Settling into a new home.

· Conducting major home renovations.

· Raising 4 children, including a new baby.

· Running a growing business with nearly 100 team members.

So these days, the dial rarely goes past 3 or 4. I work out, maybe, three days a week. And most of my meals are just “good enough”.

(For the record, I’m totally cool with that. There is no guilt about having my dial set a little lower. What’s most important is that the dial is still set to “on”.)

The important lesson: There’s a big difference between tuning your dial to 3, 2, or even a 1, and turning the whole thing off.

And when you realize how doable — and effective — channels 3 and 2 and 1 can be, you see that there’s never a good reason to hit “pause”.

I get it. It’s easy to discount the lower channels. Especially when you’ve done more in the past. But remember your new mantra…
“Always something.”

A client of ours, Susan, was dealing with a family crisis during the program: Her dad became ill and eventually passed away.

Susan could have given up when her dad was sick. Asked for a pause. And no one would have blamed her.

Instead, she challenged herself to embrace imperfection and do something every day:

Each day, I asked myself: If I can’t do what was asked of me, what can I do? What can I manage (physically, emotionally, mentally) now?

Then I went and did it.

Meanwhile, I also tried to add spontaneous activity into my days. I paced the hospital halls, parked at a distance and walked to the hospital door. I went for evening walks.

Anything to stay active.

I remember Susan telling me about the random sets of squats she did in the corner of her Dad’s hospital room while he was resting.

Susan’s takeaway:

Perfection never happens in real life.

We’re always going to be doing the best we can with what we have.

And that’s okay.

We can still make progress toward our goals and still improve our health and our fitness – whatever’s going on in our lives.

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

It doesn’t happen if you say “I’ll squat again once the Dad situation resolves itself”. Or if you ask for a re-do next week, next month, next year.

“Fitness in the context of real human life”.

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

Unfortunately, there is no perfect time.

We may have magical moments, of course. Short periods of time when things seem to “click” and come together.

But then the dog poops on the rug. Or the kid throws up on the couch. Or both… and then one or the other tracks it all through the house.

You keep pressing pause, and your progress looks like this.

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

Fitness in the context of real human life is just like the rest of life.

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

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

Here are a few strategies for getting out of the pause-button mentality and into a more realistic, effective, sustainable way of thinking.
1. Try the dial method.

Think of your fitness like a dial that goes from 1 – 10.

If you were to dial it up to “10”…

· What would your workouts look like?

· What would your nutrition look like?

· What other actions/habits would you practice in that scenario?

If you were to dial it down to “1”…

· What would your workouts look like?

· What would your nutrition look like?

· What other actions/habits would you practice in that scenario?

Giving thought to your life right now, where is your dial set?

Would you like to make any adjustments?

Could you move the dial up a channel, or even half a channel?

If so, what would that look like?

On the other hand…

Should you move the dial down a channel so you can stick with health and fitness even during a difficult time?

2. Aim for a little bit better.

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

You know what actually works?

Small improvements done consistently over time work — we have proof in the clients we’ve helped.

You might be trying to make a meal out of hospital cafeteria food, or gas station food, or airplane food. You might be spending hours awake with a newborn in the middle of the night, or stuck in yet another full-day meeting.

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

Look around. Get creative. See if you can find some small — maybe minuscule — improvements.
3. Anticipate, strategize and plan.

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

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

1. What’s likely to get in the way of what I hope to accomplish?

2. What is something I can do today to help me keep going when I face those obstacles?

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

Don’t be surprised and dismayed when things go haywire. They will at some point. Just arm yourself with the best tools and strategies so you can stay in the game when you’re thrown a curveball.

Submitted by Tim Personal Trainer Narellan

Written By By John Berardi, Ph.D.

1-10 of 45