Why did you do that?

Have you ever acted against your better judgment? Ummmm, of course you have. We all have. Sometimes you do things that you later regret. And this keeps you from achieving those fitness results you’ve been striving for.

  • You hit snooze rather than waking up early to exercise before work.
  • You blow off your healthy eating plan to indulge in a hamburger and fries.
  • You start an exercise program only to drop out two weeks into it.

These regrettable actions prevent you from achieving your goals and keep you stuck.

Most of us are all too familiar with this frustrating paradox. It’s almost as if there are two sides inside of you, raging war on each other. Your sensible side versus your emotional side. What you want versus what you do.

A psychologist named Jonathan Haidt came up with a mental model that explains exactly why you do things that you wish you hadn’t – and how to take control to finally do the actions necessary to get what you really want.

“The image I came up with for myself, as I marveled at my weakness [of willpower], was that I was a rider on the back of an elephant. I’m holding the reins in my hands, and by pulling one way or the other I can tell the elephant to turn, to stop, or to go. I can direct things, but only when the elephant doesn’t have desires of his own. When the elephant really wants to do something, I’m no match for him,” explained Haidt in his book, The Happiness Hypothesis.

Human decision making is like a tiny rider on a massive elephant. The rider may think he’s in charge, but the elephant’s will always wins. The Elephant, The Rider, and The Path are a great framework for understanding yourself and what drives you. All human change depends on it.

Here’s Haidt’s mental model for creating lasting change in greater detail…

The Rider: is your rational and analytical side. The Rider is a visionary that has the ability to think long-term, to plan, and that is willing to make short-term sacrifices for long-term payoffs. The Rider loves to contemplate and analyze, has limited reserves of strength, suffers from paralysis by analysis, and relentlessly focuses on problems rather than solutions. Most crucially, the Rider is so small compared to the six-ton Elephant that anytime they disagree about which direction to go, the Rider will lose.

The Elephant: is made up of your emotions and instincts. The Elephant prefers the comfort and security of a well-trodden path, even if a new path leads to a better outcome – this is why it’s so difficult to change your habits. The Elephant has enormous strengths: love and compassion and sympathy and loyalty. The Elephant is the one who gets things done.

The Path: is your surrounding environment, the context in which the Rider and the Elephant operate. A rocky Path makes change hard, if not impossible, even when the Rider and the Elephant work together.

There are three steps to lasting change:

  • Direct the Rider
  • Motivate the Elephant
  • Shape the Path

1) Direct the Rider:

Change begins with a plan, and it’s the Rider who comes up with plans. Direct your Rider to analyze what’s right, on what works. When you’ve lost weight and made progress towards your fitness goals in the past what worked for you? Focus on these bright spots rather than on potential problems related to your desired change. Once you’ve come up with a plan, move on. It’s important to move quickly and to avoid getting bogged down with paralysis by analysis.

2) Motivate the Elephant:

In order for the plans of your Rider to succeed, your Elephant must feel emotionally invested in the outcome. Find an emotional connection that you feel deep down in relation to the goal. Don’t just think about why you want to achieve your goal – feel why you need to achieve your goal.

3) Shape the Path:

Make change easy. Reduce obstacles in your life, so that the new desired behavior is frictionless. Move the barriers between you and the actions that you want to take. Lay out your workout clothes the night before. Spend time in the morning to prep all of your healthy daily meals. Get a trainer to hold you accountable to showing up to your workouts.

The key to effective change is getting the Elephant and the Rider moving together on a smooth path to success. Do this and you’ll stop doing things that you later regret.

Keep on keep’n on!

Fasting or Small Meals for quicker results?

What’s the best eating strategy for fat loss? This is the question on the mind of those who are ready and motivated to transform their physique. A quick online search produces two popular eat-for-fat-loss strategies: Intermittent Fasting versus Six Small Meals.

Which strategy works best? And which should you follow? Let’s find out…

Intermittent Fasting: this eating strategy cycles between periods of eating and periods of fasting. The content of your meals during eating periods is not a factor. Some cycle between eating and fasting each day, creating a small window for eating and fasting for at least 16 hours, while others cycle eating and fasting across several days, taking as much as 48 hours at a time to fast.

Pros: Humans have been fasting for thousands of years. Our bodies are well equipped to handle periods of fasting. Research shows that fasting produces benefits for disease prevention, metabolic health, weight loss and even life extension. Some find it less work to fast rather than to plan for several small meals. During eating periods you get to eat whatever you want.

Cons: Abstaining from nourishment for long periods of time can be challenging, especially when food is all around you. Socially it can be awkward to skip meals while your friends and family break bread together. Some find themselves overeating during eating cycles, and some find the ongoing absence of food to aggravate food obsession and to produce an unbalanced focus on food.

Six Small Meals: this eating strategy, of breaking the traditional 3 square meals into 6 smaller meals that are spaced 2-3 hours apart, has been used by body builders and fitness competitors for years. The content and size of each meal is an important factor of this eating plan. Meals early in the day contain lean protein, fiber-filled veggies and a small portion of complex carbs, while meals later in the day are smaller and do not contain any complex carbs. All meals are low in fat.

Pros: You never feel hungry. By fueling up every 2-3 hours you never get the feeling of deprivation that comes with fasting. Energy levels are steady and high due to the constant supply of wholesome calories. Fat loss results are steady, and, when done with an exercise plan, muscle is maintained.

Cons: You have to plan ahead. Every. Single. Day. Get used to carrying around a small cooler filled with containers of chicken, broccoli, brown rice and sweet potatoes. Each meal is small, so restraint is required. Unless you are including the occasional cheat meal, or cheat day, there is no room in this diet for empty calories or comfort foods.

Conclusion

The facts are out there to prove that both of these eat-for-fat-loss strategies work. There are photos of real, actual people who have subscribed to each of these methods and have gone from flabby to lean. Both methods irrefutably work.

But why? How can two methods that utilize opposing strategies both produce fat loss results? And which one is better? Let’s dive deeper into what makes these eating strategies work…

1. Meal Timing: When you eat is a factor with both of these eating plans. This means that subscribers to both plans are required to wait until the appointed time to eat. So mindless snacking, or grabbing a muffin just because it’s there, is out of the question. This reduces overall calories, which is key to weight loss, and explains why both plans produce results.

2. Meal Content: The Six-Small-Meals plan focuses on the content of each of your small meals in great detail. Your meals contain lean proteins, fiber-filled veggies, and limited complex carbs. This detailed control of calorie content is largely why this plan is a sure bet for fat loss, not just weight loss.

Intermittent Fasting does not consider the content of your meals during eating periods.

3. Meal Size: The Six-Small-Meals plan also focuses on the exact size of your meals, which makes sense since you are eating six times each day, and excess calories would quickly add up. Typically this is done by weight, so as you pack your meals for the day you’ll be using a food scale to ensure that you have exactly the right amount of lean protein and complex carbs. Veggies are often measured rather than weighed.

Intermittent Fasting does not consider the size of your meals during eating periods.

So What’s the BEST Eating Strategy for FAST Results? As we’ve discussed, both of the eating strategies above are capable of producing results. This is due to the fact that both plans result in a lowered caloric intake.

When it’s all said and done, weight loss comes from caloric balance.

Remember the junk food diet where the professor lost weight eating restricted calories of only vending machine food? As long as you are taking in fewer calories that you are burning, you will end up losing weight.

While both of the strategies above end up curbing your calories, only the Six-Small-Meals plan encourages wholesome calories that are ideal for burning fat and building muscle, which is why this is the plan most used by body builders and fitness competitors.

When it comes down to you choosing your own eating strategy it’s important to determine what will work best with your lifestyle. If carrying a cooler with you and making time to stop every 3 hours to eat a meal is simply not something you can see yourself doing, then Intermittent Fasting may produce better results for you. The key is to figure out a plan for restricting calories that you would realistically be motivated to stick with. And the more wholesome the content of those restricted calories, the better and quicker your results will come!

Want more guidance as you take your body from flab to fab? Give us a call or shoot an email and let’s get you on track to shed some major fat before summer!

A Case for the Burpee

Oh, the dreaded burpee. We love to complain about this uniquely punishing movement, and try to avoid doing them as much as possible. But have you ever stopped to wonder where the burpee came from and why this torturous exercise is a favorite of fitness professionals across the globe?

Burpees: A Short History

Royal H. Burpee was a physiologist in New York City in 1939. He invented the first version of the burpee as a part of a fitness test. The original movement was milder than the burpee we know and love hate today.

Mr. Burpee never intended for his fitness evaluation tool to become the form of exercise that it has become today. The burpee was intended to be performed 4 times in a row, and he would measure the participant’s heart rate before and after in order to assess their heart’s efficiency at pumping blood, thus determining their overall fitness rate.

Burpees: An Evolution

Over time the burpee was modified from its original, fitness evaluation form to the more vigorous modern movement. Here’s how the burpee evolved:

Original Burpee: Squat down and place both hands on the floor in front of you. Jump feet back into plank position. Jump feet forward. Return to standing. Perform only 4 times in a row, measuring heart rate before and after.

Modern Burpee: Bend over or squat down and place both hands on the floor in front of you, just outside of your feet. Jump both feet back into plank position. Drop to a pushup — your chest should touch the floor. Push or snake up to return to plank position. Jump feet back in toward hands. Explosively jump up into the air, reaching arms straight overhead. Perform as many times in a row as instructed by your trainer!

Burpees: The Most Effective Exercise Ever?!?

When you perform a modern burpee you are essentially doing a vigorous six-count bodyweight movement that requires you to move between six unique positions as quickly as possible.

Everything burns as you go through a series of burpees: your lungs, your legs, your arms, and most of all…calories. Burpees cultivate agility, strength, coordination and stamina while burning fat.

So the next time that you are told to do 20, 30, or 100 burpees: smile to yourself, think of Royal H. Burpee and be happy that you are doing an exercise that gets you enviable results in the shortest possible time.

No Regrets

As I sit here and reflect on the last 39 years, I can’t help but feel blessed by all the amazing friends, family, and clients that have come into my life.

  • I live in the greatest country in the world. Merica!
  • I have a great home with an INCREDIBLE wife and two healthy, wonderful kids.
  • We have a super cool community of neighbors who make us feel welcome.
  • I have a supportive network of friends and family surrounding me.
  • I have been able to turn my passion for fitness into a successful business where I get to work with only the AWESOMEST of people…🙂

Every single moment and event, both good and bad, over the last 14,235 days has brought me to this exact place in time. OF COURSE there have been some tough times…SUPER tough. But I am very happy about where I’m at and I have absolutely no regrets about anything.

So to all of you who took the time to wish me a “Happy Birthday”…

THANK YOU!

(to those of you curious as to what I think about while reflecting over a celebratory glass of birthday whisky, read on…)

I’ve been seeing this same question pop up over and over on social media lately:

“Which would you prefer to do?
Start life over at 10 years-old knowing all that you know now?
-Or-
Be 45 years-old with $60 million in the bank?”

CHECK LIST
Have I accomplished everything I though I wanted to do?
Nope.
Am I making as much money as I said I wanted to be making at this point in my life?
Nope.
Am I disappointed in my last two statements?
Nope.
Do I have any regrets about my life?
Nope.
(Do I wish I would have chased fewer parked cars in my earlier days…? Maybe.)

Starting over at 10 years-old, first off, sounds HORRIBLE! I can’t imagine going through half of what I’ve gone through again. In fact, knowing what I know now, I don’t know that I would survive it. Not knowing what was over that next hill is what kept me motivated and going. Enduring those seemingly unbearable times also helped forge me into the person that I am today and prepared me for the life that I currently have and love. No amount of knowledge or education on earth will completely prepare you for what life has to throw at you. That’s like thinking you can get into phenomenal physical shape by just reading and learning about it.

If it doesn’t challenge you, IT WILL NOT CHANGE YOU. The struggle is what makes you stronger. At some point you are going to have to struggle and suffer to evolve and progress. It’s science!
Plus, who knows how many current friends and family would have never become a part of my life had I followed a different path. If Marty McFly in “Back to the Future” or Bill & Ted from their Excellent Adventure have taught me anything, it’s that messing with time can have unexpected and often severe consequences.

So if I HAD to pick one, I suppose I would take the “turn 45 and have $60 million in the bank” option. But I still have 6 full years to make that a reality, soooo…😉

(enter over analyzing, futurist, movie theme loving, perfectionist Kyle)
But will $60 million even be that much money in 2023…? Will money even be “worth” anything during that time? If the banks aren’t open on Sundays, I seriously doubt they will be open during a zombie apocalypse. I mean, skynet becomes “self-aware” in 2018 and we are supposed to be fighting for the entire human race against Arnold and other cybernetic terminators through 2029…

All in all, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m right where I am for a reason and a purpose…
…and that suits me just fine:)

I have, however, thought long and hard about a goal for myself. And I am committing to that goal by sharing it with all you fine people in my life.

I, KYLE GILLIAN, COMMIT TO GETTING INTO THE BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE OVER THE NEXT 365 DAYS.

That will put me at the best shape of my life by my 40th Birthday. I will record and share my entire journey over the next 365 days by starting a “FITT 365” Facebook group. Please feel free to follow and/or join the group. This group will serve as my fitness journal for my own personal research. I will not “add” any of you to the group, but I would love for you to “join” if you would like to follow and offer your opinions, thoughts, encouragement…or if you simply want to watch me suffer a bit:). Either way, all are welcome. My hope is to gain knowledge through personally tested fitness programming and provide motivation for people to get and stay fit through their 40s and beyond.
I don’t yet know everything I am going to be going through, but I do know that I am a very ambitious, educated, and experienced fitness professional who is very proficient at analyzing and problem solving.

Day #1: Here we go! #KeepOnKeepnOn #CommittobeFITT #FITT365#FITTFaction #FITTDontQuit #GLudus #MaximumEffort

You can join the facebook group at:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/147333782451529/

Get everything you want in 2017

Here’s to a Happy New Year and to getting everything that you want out of 2017!

Today you have a clean slate with a brand new year spread out in front of you, filled with endless possibilities.

How will you harness your potential to create the very best you? I recommend using the teachings of Dr. Maxwell Maltz in his legendary book ‘The New Psycho-Cybernetics’.

Dr. Maltz created the original science of self improvement and success, so who better to turn to when you’re ready to take your life to another level. His teachings have stood the test of time.

Take the following and get all that you want out of 2017:

1. Use Your Imagination

If you thought that imaginations were only valued in preschool, think again. One of the key points in ‘The New Psycho-Cybernetics’ is the technique of using your imagination to reprogram and manage your self image.

You may have been exposed to self improvement strategies that tell you to ‘act as if’ or to ‘fake it till you make it.’ Those typically don’t work because your self image is still the same.

According to Dr. Maltz, your self image is the key to changing your actions and habits. If you want to lose 50 pounds, you first have to think of yourself as someone 50 pounds lighter.

Spend time in your imagination. See yourself 50 pounds lighter. Experience a day in your life at this slimmed down size. Imagine everything down to the smallest detail.

According to Dr. Maltz, this imagination time will begin to change your self image to that of a person 50 pounds lighter, and your actions and habits will fall into place.

2. Reject Negative Thoughts

Negative thoughts will undoubtedly arise as you use your imagination to see your ideal self. “I’m not really going to lose 50 pounds.” “I’ve tried losing weight before and it never works. I’m always going to be overweight.” “This imagination stuff is bogus. It won’t work for me.”

Dr. Maltz says that the instant you receive a negative thought simply dismiss it. Don’t spend any time on it at all.

The quicker that you dismiss negative thoughts, the less impact they will have on your self image. Also you’ll find that fewer and fewer negative thoughts arise once you get into the habit of dismissal.

3. Be Nostalgic For The Future

It’s so easy to be nostalgic for the past, especially when you only remember the good stuff. But what good does it do for you to wish for things that are long gone?

Dr. Maltz recommends developing nostalgia for the future.

In your imagination you’ve already lost the 50 pounds, so start pining for the future! Your self image will lock onto that picture and your nostalgic feelings will fuel the fire.

4. I’m The Kind Of Person That…

What kind of person are you?

  • I’m the kind of person that loves sweets.
  • I’m the kind of person that hates exercise.
  • I’m the kind of person that can’t lose weight.

OR

  • I’m the kind of person that eats fresh and healthy food.
  • I’m the kind of person that keeps fit.
  • I’m the kind of person that maintains an ideal body weight.

Your self image will fulfill any label that you put on yourself. The power is all in your hands.

What kind of a person do you want to be in 2017?