Wednesday 2 January 2019

What Will it Take to Stop You

We've all heard the lines before, "Making lemonade out of lemons", "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change", "When life throws you curveballs, hit them out of the park." These are beautiful and cute and sweet for a motivational Instagram or Facebook quote; but what about when life just really and truly sucks for you? What are you supposed to do about it?

It's not easy to just turn around your way of thinking. It's so much easier to host your own little pity party, grab a pint of Ben & Jerry's, and wallow in your sorrows about how rough/tough/miserable life is. Trust me. On more than one occasion, I've wanted to throw in the towel, and just start fresh with whatever endeavour failed; but I've never done that. I've never seen something that didn't work out as a "failure." It was yet another experience that taught me about life.

As Albert Einstein said (and a million others have echoed), "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." This applies to relationships, businesses, sports, ideas - anything, really.

In previous blogs, I've spoken about changing your mindset, and how things are only as bad as you perceive them to be; I hope this enhances what I've said before, and makes it come to life a little more.

Wednesday 5 September 2018

'And what do YOU do?'

My name is Jaime, and I'm Canadian. I’m in the process of getting my Greencard. As a function of the immigration process, I haven’t been allowed to work since March. I haven’t been allowed to go ‘home’ to Toronto since then either. I'm kind of an in-between legal alien. At 31 years old, I'm finding it exceptionally difficult not to have a vocation; not to have something to be proud of, professionally speaking. Not to have a 9-to-5 to call my own when someone asks, “And what do you do?” It’s hard to say, “Well, I used to be the Editor-in-Chief of Canada’s biggest bodybuilding magazine… but now I'm a happy housewife.”

Recently, however, I had a paradigm shift. Or rather, my wife shifted my paradigm. Since we moved to Florida, I’ve taken on the responsibility of coaching and programming at Crossfit ABF – our home Crossfit box in Clearwater; 5 days a week I coach, and I plan out the week’s worth of workouts for all the members. On top of that, the gym recently moved locations, which meant building a new gym from scratch … In only 3 weeks. I helped the owner tirelessly for days as we got the place ready. 

In my country, I have a Bachelor degree with Honors
in Kinesiology. But "This is America."
I was also doing all the domestic things around the house: Cooking, laundry, cleaning, fixing, buying. Whatever needed to be done in our little apartment I did. I made our food for the week, packed her lunches the night before, and made sure there was dinner on the table when she got home from work. And lastly, I was our social events coordinator; any plans that had to be made, any time we wanted to go out, or see what our friends were doing, I set up the date night. I arranged our calendar, and planned weekend trips, staycations, day trips, and nights out. 

When I told Katie that I felt like I lost my purpose when I lost my job, she said, "Are you forgetting that you took on the job of coaching for free? And that you're building an entire gym from scratch? And the fact that we have more friends now than ever?! Baby girl, I don't know how you do all of it in a day." And boom! Just like that, I realized my value wasn't in what I did for work, or even what I did during the day, but rather, it was in the effort I put into my days. It was in the love that I poured into my friends and the members of the gym. I am, in fact, 'busier' than when I worked as a journalist, but I'm not getting paid. And that's okay!

Moral of the story, although it took me about 5 months to come to terms with my 'forced unemployment', I honestly couldn't be happier. It’s reminded me, and really reinforced the fact, that my worth isn’t in what I do, it’s in who I am.

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Why You're Not Losing Weight

I have so many clients coming to me asking for a program that will "fit" with their lifestyle. I also have people telling me that they're not going to renew with me because my plan didn't fit their lifestyle. It was either too complicated, too mathematical, or not realistic for them.

Let me explain something:

Fat loss is not a lifestyle. Being in a calorie deficit is NOT a way of life. It's a short term solution to a problem; you're unhappy with your weight, or your fat:muscle ratio, or how you look, or how your pants fit, and you want to do something about it.

Only people who have a lot of weight to lose can get away with doing some cardio, some weight training, and 'eating clean' (instead of tracking macros). People who don't have a lot of fat to lose, or who want to take their fitness to the next level, cannot just 'eat clean.' Fat loss is a numbers game; you NEED to burn more calories than you consume. With that said, how will you know how much you're burning (or eating for that matter), if you don't count?

You won't see results if you don't put the work in hard and fast at the beginning. That slow, 'lifestyle' plan is great once you've actually accomplished the fat loss part, and you just want to maintain what you've done. In order to accomplish that though, you NEED to do the annoying, tedious short term work - Like counting your calories, eating out of tupperware, and making sure you don't skip your cardio sessions.

So when you tell your trainer that you want to lose fat, and they give you a program, don't look at it and say, "There's no way I can maintain this ...", I hope they say, "That's the point." 

Maintenance = Lifestyle. Fat loss = Short term. 

Wednesday 28 February 2018

Why Bother Challenging yourself?

I have never hosted a guest blog, but this one touched me and spoke to me on a number of different levels, so I had to share it. I used to be a deeply religious and observant person, but now I just consider myself more spiritual. Though there's a religious connotation in this blog, the message applies to all of us. Please read through, and like/comment/share. I know I'm going to take this to heart, and apply it to my own life. I hope you all see the value in it too, and do the same. 
"In a famous story from the bible, Joseph (son of Jacob) fled from the house of Potifar, where he worked as a slave, when Potifar’s wife tried to seduce him.

As it came to pass, the bible ended up rewarding subsequent generations of Jews. So the question is, why was the particular aspect of Joseph “fleeing” so special, and deserving of such a great reward? Joseph withstood temptation as a teenage boy in a foreign country. This itself was truly heroic. What was so significant about the fact that he fled?

A famous Rabbi explained that through this, we are taught a fundamental and critical rule about religious life: we are to run away from challenges. We should not be looking for “tests,” to put ourselves in situations that arouse temptation or make religious observance difficult. A recovering addict does not keep a container of drugs on his kitchen table to prove to himself that he is capable of abstaining. Similarly, we are taught in another ancient text that if a man has two paths he could follow to reach his destination, and deliberately chooses the more difficult one with temptation, he is considered as having done "evil" even if closes his eyes. Voluntarily choosing situations of challenges is wrong – even if one successfully hurdles the challenge. Joseph's greatness was not just in resisting temptation, but in running away from temptation. He refused to stay there for even an extra moment, lest the "evil inclination" figure out a way to overcome him.

The rationale behind this rule is simple. Namely, we’ve got our hands full as it is. We already have plenty to deal with. Any conscientious person knows that the tests that God/The Universe sends us are enough for us. We should not be in the business of subjecting ourselves to further tests.

But there is a deeper reason for this principle, as well. Anytime we are subjected to a test, we can rest assured that we have the wherewithal to succeed. This is a basic rule that we should all know: We are not sent any challenge that we cannot overcome. If the situation is brought upon us, we can and must assume, unquestioningly, that we are capable of passing the test. However, we have no such guarantee regarding tests that we bring upon ourselves. There is no justification for voluntarily placing oneself in spiritually, physically, or emotionally challenging situations. Indeed, we often pray that we should not be subjected to tests. Certainly, then, we should not be
subjecting ourselves to tests." Rabbi Eli Mansour
So, there's that. Thought provoking, right? Stay away from the hard stuff, and you'll be better off for it. Take the path of least resistance, and you'll be rewarded. Interesting perspective.

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Another Post About Discipline

“... Nothing happens by accident. If it happened, you can bet it was planned that way.”

People don’t run sub-5min miles, or squat 300lbs, or get down to 6% body fat by accident. They get there by discipline, desire, and dedication to their craft. If you want something, you have to be willing to work for it. I'm not saying you have to go all-in at the expensive of your relationships, health, and sanity, but to achieve excellence, there has to be an element of sacrifice.

Tim Grover, trainer extraordinaire to superstars like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Dwayne Wade, said, "(Successful people) know what has to be done, and get it done. They expect to succeed, and when they do, they never celebrate it long, because there's always more to do. Every accomplishment is just a stepping-stone to the next target."
If you're perseverant, dedicated, and unrelenting, then you don't stop when you've reached a milestone; you don't quit because what you've done is "good enough", and you certainly don't give up when it gets hard. Your work ethic should be such that even when you've achieved what you want, you keep going - because there's always something else on the horizon. There's always something more, something better out there for you. 

Now I'm not telling you not to be happy with what you want/are/have, but I'm telling you not to be satisfied.

I'm telling you that to get to where you want to go, you should be relentless when it comes to pursuing your passion and your goals. When something goes wrong or off-plan, don't look around for someone to blame, or find an excuse for why it happened; just fix it. Move on. Do your work quietly, in the dark, and without bringing too much attention to yourself. Leave the fan fare and the stage lights to everyone else. You just stay in your lane, with your head down and nose to the grindstone, and don't look up until you reach your destination.

Shut out people who tell you that you can't, or you won't, or you shouldn't. Some of us have a dark place that we go when it's time to work. How else will you have the drive to immediately create new goals once you've achieved your present ones? We should constantly strive to be better versions of ourselves, in everything we do; from the gym, to our relationships, to our careers. The only way to do that is by taking your goals seriously. And I'm telling you this, because you're worth it.

"If you're good, it means you don't stop until you're great.If you're great, it means you fight until you're unstoppable." Tim Grover

Wednesday 31 January 2018

So I wrote an ebook...

"The hardest part about having an eating disorder is learning how NOT to have one.
My story began when I was 11 and started my first diet. The apex was at 15-17 when I got hospitalized 3 times, and it ends when... Well, when I know, you'll know."
"Will I ever be able to REALLY see what's in the mirror? Perhaps not - at least not from the neck down. The mirror and I may have our differences, but the smile I carry from the neck up tells me that's OK.
And that's what qualifies me to write a book about motivation and inspiration; because I've been where you are, and I'm still on my journey. So let's do this together!"
Chapters include: 
Why Though, Finding Your Why, Commit to Something, Screw the Scale, Don't Dabble, 

Holla at me if you're interested!

Paypal me with your email address, and I'll send you a PDF with the book! If you don't have paypal, DM me on Instagram for another option.

Monday 29 January 2018

Stop Getting in Your Own way

"Self handicapping is a cognitive strategy by which people avoid effort in the hopes of keeping potential failure from hurting self-esteem." According to psychologists, people find possible reasons for failing before they even try, in order to make failure (if it happens) easier to explain. You tell yourself on Tuesday that you're not going to do well on your check-in with your trainer this week because you have a party on Saturday and you know you're going to cheat. Or, you'll tell yourself that you probably won't get that raise because your bosses like some other guy in your department more. In both these cases, you've 'padded' your self-esteem with an excuse, which means that you won't feel as bad if you don't get it.

What the f***?! Why don't think you deserve that raise as much as the next guy? Why does one day of wings have to derail an entire week of progress? Says whom?

Me, looking for my goals, longingly
Another strategy people use is something called "task discounting", where we belittle the task in the first place so that failure won't hurt as much. "Fat loss isn't that important," we say to ourselves, "It's all about how you feel, anyway."  Except fat loss IS important to you, and you DO want to feel comfortable in your own skin. When you discount the task, you don't stand up for yourself, and you don't try as hard when it comes to being adherent to your goals. According to one behavioural economist, "The fear of failure can lead to failure in the same way that the fear of judgement can be self-fulfilling."

Why do these constructs even exist? And is it the fear of failure that really gets to us, or fear of success?

What I mean is, are you scared that you're not actually going to lose the weight (or gain muscle, or run a marathon, or whatever your goal is), or are you scared that once you do lose the weight, it won't be as amazing and magical as you expected, and it won't fill that void in your soul? This blog isn't about the WHY behind your goals though, it's about how you need to just cut the shit, and stop getting in your own way.

If you're a self-handicapper, STOP. You DO deserve everything you want, and you can get it by working hard.

If you're a task discounter, STOP. Your goals are important, and hold meaning/value. So there's no reason to diminish them.