Certified Strong is up and running for 2017! Coach Shawn McKay will be leasing space in Slammers gym in Port Alberni BC. Accepting new clients now!
- 1 on 1 training
- group training
- nutritional guidance
There are 168 hours in a week, 24 per day. We sleep for 8, 16 left. We deal with food for 4, 12 left. We work for 8, 4 left. We commute for 1.5, 2.5 left. These are obviously rough estimates, but are likely pretty close for the majority us. 2.5 hours of free time per work day, and I doubt it even feels like we have that much!
What are you going to do with your 2.5 hours? Everything you do for the survival of you and your loved ones is mandatory. It doesn’t define you because you have to do it, you don’t choose to do it. You get to choose what you do with your free time. How you choose to spend your free time, in my opinion defines you.
Those blocks of 2.5 hours are a gift. Time is more precious than anything else – the richest people who have come and gone, could not buy more time, time is priceless. When given the gift of time what will you do? Who will you become?
We’ve all heard “all you have is your health.” It is true, without it, by definition, you are sick, dying, or dead. No matter what else defines you, health will be present in one form or another. Without health you are out of time, but there is hope!
With time you can buy health, and therefore, more time! Let me explain. Good health inherently earns you more time, and more quality time. So, if you invest your time into increasing your health you will earn more time. Stop trying to buy health and time with money. It doesn’t work, or people would never die until they ran out of money. Invest time into health and health will earn you more time!!
As many of you know, the key to fat loss it to burn more calories than you eat. Depending on how much fat you have to lose, you’re aim should be to lose 1 – 2lbs of fat per week. The more overweight an individual is the easier it will be to lose fat; therefore, very overweight people may lose more than 2lbs of fat per week and people who don’t have much fat to lose may lose less than 1lb of fat per week. No matter where you fit along this spectrum the key is consistency!!
There are 168 hours in a week (7 x 24). If you exercise for 1 hour every day that is still only 7 hours of activity relative to the other 161 hours of the week. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could continue to burn large amounts of calories for those 161 hours? Here’s how!
Your daily caloric intake is everything you eat and drink other than water.
Your daily caloric output comes from a combination of things:
- Resting metabolism: the energy it takes for your body to maintain itself at rest.
- Daily activities: everything you do in a day outside of structured exercise; including work, chores, hobbies and interests.
- Exercise: your structured fitness for the day.
To boost your resting metabolism, add muscle to your body. Muscle is a very metabolic tissue and will burn calories at rest just to maintain itself.
To increase your daily activities, do just that! Find things that you enjoy and that get your heart pumping at least a little more than at rest. Anytime spent doing anything more than resting will help you burn more calories. So get out there and have some active fun!
Eat more often! The process of digestion requires energy, so if you eat the same amount of total daily calories in 6 small meals rather than 3 large ones you will spend more time that day digesting and thereby burning calories. Don’t forget to stay hydrated!
To make the most of your exercise time you want what you do in the gym to carry over to burning calories outside the gym. If you work out with high intensity you will need to recover. The process of recovery burns calories all day long for up to 72 hours, so definitely until your next workout! Therefore, once you’ve decided to dedicate some time to a work out make it count, work hard!
Some of the best examples of high intensity training are:
- Interval training
- Resistance training with weights that are greater than 50% of your 1 rep max.
- Working with a proper volume illustrated by Prelipin’s Table.
- Plyometric training
- Circuit training that incorporates significant volume. Volume = load x reps.
What changes have you made recently? Humans are typically creatures of habit. We typically fear change. I think we fear change because we are surviving under the current circumstances, and any change to our situation or environment might result in us no longer surviving, or experiencing some variety of negative emotions. I say embrace change! Change is good! Change makes us learn and grow stronger!
Life and everything in it responds to stimuli, including the situation of no stimuli. There is no such thing as a maintenance phase, or remaining just how you are. Every living thing on the planet is always changing; adapting and evolving in response to their environment. If you’re environment is soft and easy and unchallenging then you will become weak and unable. If you’re environment is challenging and hard then you will become strong and able.
I’m not saying to put yourself in dire circumstances. I’m simply illustrating the fact that humans need change. On the broad scale, static sitting, and all the negative health consequences it causes, is officially an epidemic. Globally, obesity is an epidemic. If obesity and static, prolonged sitting were deadly viruses or bacteria they would rival the plague! The plague was estimated to kill 30-60% of Europe’s population in the 14th century. In 2011 WHO reports that cardiovascular disease alone was responsible for 3 in 10 worldwide deaths. Also, “non-communicable diseases were responsible for two-thirds of all deaths globally in 2011, up from 60% in 2000. The four main NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and chronic lung diseases.” (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/index2.html) These 4 main killers are exacerbated by static sitting and obesity, and minimized by a good diet and exercise.
So yes, if plague proportions of people are dying due to current work situations and laziness then we need change! If someone was dangling you off a cliff by the ankle, or holding a gun to your head what would you be willing to do to live? In that scenario you have no control – not up to you. In our real world, daily scenario you do have the control to do something about it and live! It isn’t even that hard or absurd of a thing you have to do. Eat right and exercise and do these things always and forever – not in phases or bursts. Feel good, get what you want out of life and live longer and happier as a result. Why aren’t you doing this yet!?
Yes, change is unfamiliar and scary, but it is necessary. Right away to embrace change is to become comfortable with the unfamiliar and face your fears. You will also grow as a person, more self-aware and stronger from whatever specific change you go through. Everyone who is great at anything, or successful took their lumps, failed a number of times but keep growing and learning and changing and adapting until they got it right. Then they kept changing and adapting to keep what they worked so hard for. In short, positively motivated, purposeful change is success no matter how you look at it. I challenge everyone to make one significant change to their life this week! Let me know about it and how it goes!
What is motivation? I personally have a very broad definition of motivation. I believe that nobody does anything unless they are motivated to do it. I think it comes in many shapes and forms. It can be internal or external, positive or negative. It sure as hell doesn’t always feel like excitement or joyful glee to go grab life by the lemons and make lemonade. I believe it is a very important thing to have, but that there are many other virtues that you must also possess in order to be successful. But for now let’s focus on motivation.
If you look around at celebrities, well the good ones at least, you’ll notice they throw around the word “inspiration.” That is because many of these famous people who are using their powers for good understand motivation. In order to create positive change in a person or a group of people, the person or group has to want to change. That is the key here. No one can force anyone to do anything! They can try their hardest, but ultimately you have the final choice in what action you take.
In order for people to positively change they must be motivated to change. To motivate someone who is not motivated you must inspire them. Inspiration will look different for everyone. To inspire someone is to truly move them, to appeal to at least one of their emotions strongly enough that they want to get up and do something about it. This type of motivation is external. It is caused by the person who evoked the emotional response, and because it is external and emotional it is very fleeting, but it is a start.
Once this initial burst of external motivation is there, very few people possess enough other qualities and characteristics to internalize their motivation and realize their goals by themselves. What I’d like to do is help people turn their fleeting, emotional, external motivation into rock solid, long lasting, internal motivation.
I realize that some people are already masters at this and some are completely new to it, and like most bell curves everyone else falls just above or just below average at this. If we look at it like a journey them some people are at the finish line, and some people are looking for the trial head and most people are somewhere along the trail. For those that are masters – congratulations. For the rest of us we need to learn and practice the behaviours both mental and physical that will lead us to develop and harness intrinsic motivation.
If you refer to my article on self-awareness, I describe awareness as the catalyst for all human growth. As your awareness increases then you can begin to problem solve, and consciously influence how you respond to different motivators and what does and does not work for you. So, use all tools available to you to build your awareness of motivation and motivators. Use all tools available to you to build your self-awareness and apply what you learn to all aspects of your life. In this case, if you’re currently focusing on motivation, then apply everything you learn about yourself to what you know and can learn about motivation. Be aware of times you feel high levels of motivation, be aware of what led you to feel that way, what is going well for you at that point in your day, week, month, life. Who are you interacting with? Be aware when your motivation starts to wander or fade. Be aware of what might be influencing it in this manner. Be aware of which of those things are within your power to control or influence, and which aren’t. Be aware of the type of person you become if you do all the things you need to do to reach your goals.
Over time you’ll develop a strong sense of all the thoughts, actions, and people that help you stay motivated. You’ll be able to surround yourself with positivity and minimize the other noise that may be out of your control, but you can control how you respond to it and how it affects you. It is through this type of self-mastery that all things can be achieved. It doesn’t end with motivation, there are many other characteristics that you will discover you will need to develop in order to achieve true intrinsic motivation and ultimately see goals through to their realization. So, go out and get inspired, then pay very close attention to what happens next! There is no failure, just learning.
Self-awareness is the catalyst that accelerates all human growth. It is only when you are aware of things that you can consciously influence them. For example, it is talked about in stress management. First step is to identify your stress reactions. How do you do this? – By becoming aware of them. If you never knew that you got angry when hungry (or hangry) then you’d never know how to make yourself feel better when “randomly” angry. Therefore it starts with awareness; first being aware that you are acting differently, in this case angrily. Then you must identify what is making you feel this way. Once you’ve identified what is causing your stress then you can consciously come up with solutions to solve and prevent this particular stressor.
If you are being affected by a different type of stressor that you can’t control then you repeat the above process, but instead of trying to control what you can’t (the stressors), you focus on ways to de-stress. This process again, comes down to being aware of what activities, habits, people etc. allow you to vent your stress and feel better. I don’t want to digress too much about stress specifically. I just think it is a good example of the importance of self-awareness. Literally no matter how you want to deal with stress it begins with self-awareness.
This awareness is equally important in all aspects of your life. So, how do you build self-awareness? Some would say it just comes over time, and largely they are correct. As you experience life you become more and more aware all the time, aware of what you like to eat, how you like to train, what type of work you enjoy, how much sleep you need, what type of people you move towards etc. I believe there are ways to increase the rate at which you gain self-awareness.
In this world there are 3 circles of knowledge:
- Things that you know that you know: ex// I know that 2×2=4 and I am aware (I know) that I know that.
- Things that you know that you don’t know: ex// I don’t know exactly how many people live in my apartment building, and I’m aware (I know) that I don’t know that.
- Things that you don’t know that you don’t know: ex// A caveman gets defrosted today and sees a car – he has no idea (not aware) that there is an engine inside it making it move – not even aware of the idea of an engine.
These circles of knowledge apply to everything, including us. So, what about yourself do you not know that you don’t know? How do you discover these things? How does the caveman find out there is an engine in the car and what an engine is?
Two solutions I’ve thought of to increase one’s self-awareness are:
- Other people: others can let you know that you get hangry, you’re acting stressed, you have negative thought and speech patterns with regards to yourself or others, you over-exaggerate regularly, etc… It is often easier to see things in others than in our selves, so I believe people who are close to you can be a great help in building self-awareness.
- Patterns: recognizing trends and patterns, after enough occurrences, becomes statistically significant. Significant enough that only a few conclusions can be drawn from the pattern you have observed and only one of those is most likely to be true. For example, every time you consume lactose you’re running to a bathroom 45min later = you’re likely lactose intolerant. Nothing else would tell you this except for a medical test. If it happened only a few random times you wouldn’t pick up on it, but when it happens consistently enough it becomes valid and you are now aware that you are very likely lactose intolerant. Now you are in a position to consciously influence this situation.
These are the two main ways I can think of to help build self-awareness more quickly. At first they might be challenging. You may respond poorly to your loved ones telling you about your trends – be aware of how you react to them trying to help you and problem solve the dynamic until it is healthy and working for you. You may also have trouble identifying patterns in yourself, but like everything else in life it gets easier and you get better at it the more you do it. The result is more self-awareness, more self-mastery, and you will get more of what you want out of life and spend more time feeling how you want to feel.
If you have any other tips or advice on building awareness, or the benefits of high self-awareness, or a success story please comment below. Any questions or requests for more information are also very welcome!
There are tons of instructional videos on youtube, some are good, some are bad. As a beginner in the gym how can you tell if what you are watching is good or bad? Let me help you! Check www.certifiedstrong.ca periodically and I’ll have some new links pointing you to videos that I feel are good instructional videos.
For the first one: “so you think you can squat” by EliteFTS is one of a series. “So you think you can…” videos are broken into 5 parts. They also have “so you think you can deadlift” and “so you think you can bench” These are the best instructional videos for these lifts in my opinion.
Here is “so you think you can squat”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ME8gEN54Ao
Here is “so you think you can bench”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHx1gYTA-Rw
Here is “so you think you can deadlift”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xS2wLZSdeDg