Category Archives for Motivate Me

Don’t Be Fooled, Treadmills Are Miserable

The treadmill ruins the simplicity of running and packages the sport as a commodity.

Read the full article at: www.outsideonline.com

 

You subject yourself to the soul-crushing boredom and repetition of chugging away on the treadmill 3-4 times a week, just like your doctor and your trainer told you to, but you’re not losing any weight – what’s up with that?

 

Guess what?  There’s good scientific evidence that you’ll never lose weight this way – here’s why:

Exercise Makes You Hungry

If you’re like most people, your diet and exercise regimen is a kind of metaphorical treadmill.  You’re simply chasing the calories you consume with exercise and then wolfing down extra calories to satisfy your post-workout hunger. Studies show that most people who chase calories with exercise and exercise with calories in this way end up consuming more than they burn, thus defeating the purpose of the whole enterprise.

Long sessions of slow cardio make you hungry, and hunger leads to overeating and bingeing.  Sounds pretty depressing, right?  What can you do to get off this metaphorical treadmill from hell?  First, get off the treadmill and out of the gym.  The commodification, mechanization and marketing of exercise is like packaged food – it’s designed for profit, not to help you lose weight.

New research shows that intensity is much more important than time when it comes to the benefits of exercise.  So find some activity you love – be creative – think tree-climbing, surfing, dancing, anything that involves whole-body multi-planar movements.  Now remove the repetition, guilt, and fear of failure that saps most people’s motivation.  You don’t have to do it every day, and you don’t have to do the same exercise every day.  Just try to get outside and move a few times a week.  As an added bonus, doing it in the morning sunshine will elevate your mood and help you sleep better.

 

Exercise Makes You Lazy

Behavioral Compensation” is the term scientists use to describe the phenomenon of laziness after a workout.  It’s impossible to get past the mathematics of this problem: roughly 80% of the calories you burn every day come from “NEAT” which is an acronym for non-exercise activity thermogenesis.  This 80% includes all the calories you burn when you’re not exercising.  It turns out that after you go to the gym you’re much more likely to take the elevator than bounce up the stairs, and at the end of the day you’ll probably find yourself laying on the sofa rather than taking an evening stroll.  The fact that so many more of your daily calories are burned during rest amplifies this problem – extra calories burned at the gym are easily erased by your post-workout lethargy.

 

You Burn Fewer and Fewer Calories

The scientific news gets even worse.  Metabolic compensation is the term used to describe the well-documented phenomenon of a decrease in your metabolic rate in response to weight loss.  This is the reason that most of the winners on the TV show The Biggest Loser ended up gaining the weight back in a follow-up study.  There is a way to beat this effect and again it involves multi-dimensional whole body holistic movements (anything that’s not mechanized) and intensity.  The more muscle fiber you activate in the time you spend exercising the greater the effect on your resting metabolic rate.

 

Repetition is Anti-Motivational

Boredom and repetition kill your motivation.  This is why the gym is such a toxic environment for fitness – every machine is designed around the concept of mechanized, repetitive, linear movement focused on the fevered enlargement of select body parts.  Psychological studies show that the best way to get and stay motivated is to continually challenge yourself with tasks which are not so easy that they’re boring but just hard enough that you need to focus your efforts and step outside your comfort zone.  Working hard to achieve these tasks will place you in a state of “flow” and give you a sense of mastery and purpose.  You will then be motivated to move on to the next challenge just beyond your comfort zone, which is the opposite of what repetitive treadmill workouts will do to your motivation.

 

 

 

 

 

The Attitude To Exercise That Benefits Mind And Body To Max – PsyBlog

Greatest psychological and neurophysiological benefits seen from exercise with this attitude.

Read the full article at: www.spring.org.uk

Attitude Actually Makes a Difference

These are some astonishing and awesome new findings at the intersection of neuroscience and exercise physiology.

It turns out that your attitude towards exercise is a major determinant of its neurophysiological effect on you, which basically means that it you believe in the positive effects of exercise those effects will be that much more pronounced.  Think about that for a minute – talk about a powerful mind-body connection!  You can actually benefit more from exercise if you believe in its positive effects – wow!

The Mind-Body Connection

In the studies cited in this article, hotel attendants who were encouraged to recognize how much of their job was physical exercise and how that exercise could benefit them actually lost weight compared to others who got no instruction about exercise.

In another study, 76 people worked out for 30 minutes on a stationary bicycle.  Half of them were shown a video about the benefits of cycling and the other half were not.  Just giving them the knowledge and focusing their minds on the benefits of the exercise actually changed the electrical signals in their brains.

This makes your beliefs about exercise a super power- not only can these beliefs be strong motivators but they can actually amplify the effects of exercise.

How Physical Activity Might Quell the Eating Binges After Intense Mental Activity

In all that I’ve read (here’s my favorite article), and written about hunger, I’ve never heard anyone distinguish “brain hunger” from “muscle hunger”.  According to these researchers, that distinction may be real, and what’s even cooler is the idea that you can feed your brain with vigorous physical activity.

Exercise Can Feed Your Brain

This first one is my favorite – you can actually feed your brain with exercise.  We’re not talking metaphorically here.  The study showed that exercise was like pizza for the brain – you heard me right, pizza!

Students were allowed to eat as much of their favorite pizza as they wanted after intense mental activity and when they exercised first they actually ate less.

The mechanism has to do with blood glucose and lactate levels but the bottom line is that there is actually a difference between brain hunger and muscle hunger and you can suppress brain hunger by working out.  If you’re interested in the specifics, here’s how it works:

 

  • The brain nourishes itself on glucose and lactate.
  • The brain has very little in the way of stored nutritional reserves.
  • Intense mental activity quickly consumes the brain’s available food, and signals an impending starvation state, producing a hunger signal despite not having consumed many calories.
  • So you eat.

Intense muscle contraction causes blood levels of both glucose and lactate to rise, allowing the brain to obtain nourishment, and partially quelling the hunger signal resulting from intense mental activity.

I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna try a brief burst of exercise after a bout of deep thinking to see if it reduces my hunger.   

Exercise Also Creates New Neurons

Exercise not only creates new neurons, it makes those neurons nimble – capable of multitasking.  And, by the way: You’ll live longer too.

Neurons with superpowers

I was blown away by an absolutely astonishing finding in this study.  Not only does exercise stimulate the formation of new neurons in the brain, but those neurons have a kind of “superpower” –  they are able to join different neural networks.

In the words of the authors, “…running, unlike learning, had created brain cells that could multitask.”

Enhancing cognitive skills

Even though the formation of the new neurons was stimulated by physical activity, they were able to enhance completely unrelated cognitive skills.

Cognitive improvements can be seen in all age groups.  So kids who walk to school do better than bus-riders on tests, and older people can ward off dementia with exercise.

A Bad Diet Can Also Change Your Brain

Now there is new evidence that your diet can also change parts of your brain, making you crave more unhealthy food.

study from The University of Cambridge revealed cognitive impairment in humans that had been demonstrated previously in rodents an American University study.  The brains of rats who were fed a bad diet underwent changes that impaired their ability to tell when they were full.

2015 study in the Journal of Pediatrics found obese children performed more poorly on memory tasks that test that same brain region  compared with kids who weren’t overweight.

 

 

How To Crush Unhealthy Cravings in 3 Minutes – PsyBlog

This distraction enough to reduce common cravings by 24%.

Read the full article at: www.spring.org.uk

 

Counting calories and chasing them with exercise doesn’t work.  The only successful path to sustainable weight loss is hunger management.  That’s why calorie-free craving crushers are incredibly powerful psychological tools that you can put to use right away and start seeing immediate results.

This article reports that simply playing tetris for 3 minutes can actually reduce cravings by 24% – how awesome is that?

Professor Jackie Andrade, an author of the study, explained:

Episodes of craving normally only last a few minutes, during which time an individual is visualizing what they want and the reward it will bring. Often those feelings result in the person giving in and consuming the very thing they are trying to resist. But by playing Tetris, just in short bursts, you are preventing your brain creating those enticing images and without them the craving fades.

This theory, known as Elaborated Intrusion, postulates that imagery is central to craving.  Think about the last time you had a craving for a slice of pizza or pecan pie – you probably had an image in your mind of the sensation of that hot spicy melted cheese or those sweet crunchy pecans stimulating your tastebuds – the sweet and salty tastes, the smooth & crunchy mouth-feel.  It turns out that you can trick your brain with simulations of those images or even by blocking them out altogether.

Here are some more calorie-free craving crushers that really work:

Scientists at the University of London are developing a new high-tech brand of cutlery that could seriously curb your salty and sweet cravings.   Taste Buddy uses a low-level electrical current to stimulate the tongue’s taste buds — to fool people into thinking they are trying sweet or salty flavors, basically making vegetables taste like chocolate – or whatever you want them to taste like.

Read more about it at:

www.huffingtonpost.com

www.popsugar.com

www.digitaltrends.com

I love the idea of a spoon that stimulates taste receptors because it addresses the psychology of hunger which is the most commonly ignored weight loss obstacle.

There are other, simpler calorie-free ways to stimulate taste receptors and curb cravings.  My favorite ones are:

  • Textures – the smooth surface of frozen blueberries sprinkled with toasted coconut flakes has an incredible mouth feel that beats an ice cream sundae with sprinkles
  • Bubbles – club soda tingles in your mouth and the bubbly feel lingers all the way down to your belly and suppresses cravings much better than water – try adding a slice of fresh lemon
  • Temperature Contrasts – put an ice-cold frozen raspberry on a spoonful of piping hot whole grain oatmeal – it’s like bread pudding with a gumdrop on top
  • Spices – add cinnamon, nutmeg, or cocoa powder to your coffee
  • Aromas – try a sweetly scented candle
  • Extracts – I put almond or vanilla extract into my coffee grounds before brewing

 

 

Age Is Irrelevant When It Comes to Fitness

Want to continue to crush it well into your 80s? Here’s how.

Read the full article at: www.outsideonline.com

How Old Are You?

I do a new jump-yoga interval training workout every morning at Lake Worth beach.  I am frequently approached with questions – the most common being “how old are you?”.  Even little kids ask me and when I tell them they say “WOW – you’re older than Grandpa”.

The subtext is clear – they simply can’t believe some of the moves I can do at age 54.  I can hardly believe it myself – I’m talking about moves like eagle handstand and lotus scorpion.

What’s Up With That?

The more challenging moves that I can now execute effortlessly are things that I couldn’t imagine my body doing 10, 20, or even 30 years ago.  What’s up with that?

Here’s an astonishing fact: you CAN defeat aging.  The effects of aging on your body are not inexorable – ALL of them can be halted or even reversed if you understand and properly apply a few well-researched concepts of exercise physiology.

The 4 Horsemen Of The Fitness Apocalypse

The simple formula for remaining a badass as you get older: focus on reversing each of these 4 effects of aging, what Joe Friel calls in his book Fast After 50“The 4 horsemen of the fitness apocalypse”.

  • Decreasing Aerobic Capacity
  • Shrinking Muscles
  • Increasing body fat
  • Reduced Mobility

The Fountain Of Youth

According to Friel, up to 70% of these processes are under your control,  Leaving only 30% to father time or the grim reaper.  What that means is that if you can increase your aerobic capacity and muscle mass, while improving mobility and burning fat, you will actually turn back the clock.  The fountain of youth isn’t a myth – it’s real.  It’s called exercise and you don’t have to spend hours at the gym or hire expensive trainers to reap its benefits.

The graphs in this post show that a regular exerciser at age 80 can have the strength, flexibility, and motor control of a non-exerciser at age 20.  Pause to think about that astonishing fact for a minute.  You can be in better shape, by all measures, at age 80 than you were at age 20 – WOW!

It’s clear that a lifelong habit of daily exercise is literally the fountain of youth.  If you are becoming stronger, more flexible, and more fit every day, in what sense are you actually aging?

 

What about reduced mobility?

The easiest way to start improving your mobility right away is to get out of the gym – stop “exercising” like a machine and start moving like a human.

If you are working out at a gym or with a trainer, you are most likely doing a low variety repetition of routine linear, mid-range isolation movements that were designed to bulk-up a specific bundle of muscle fibers while stabilizing the rest of your body.  You sit in a chair and work one muscle while the rest of your body literally shuts down.  The result is specifically strengthened tissues next to weak underdeveloped ones, leading to deformity and unhealthy loads, reducing overall strength, agility and mobility.  That’s right, those gym machines are weakening you and reducing your mobility.

That conventional model of fitness training deconstructs human movement into tiny one-dimensional slices. It reduces the broad range of human movement to a narrow type of ‘exercise’ that can be mechanized and marketed.  So stop exercising like a machine and start moving like a human.

But I don’t have time

Time is at the top of most lists of excuses for not starting an exercise habit.  You can cross it off your list right now because new studies show that you can get all the benefits of 45 minutes of exercise daily with as little as 1 minute of interval training.

According to Friel, Intensity is more important than exercise volume in battling the effects of aging.  This view is supported by  myriad scientific studies showing that you can get all the benefits of an hour of exercise in as little as one minute of intense intervals when combined with active rest phases.

The easiest way to start is to mix brief, intense bursts of fast-twitch plyo moves with active isometric rest intervals.

This combination of multi-contraction (concentric, eccentric, isometric), multi-dimensional (linear, curvilinear, twisting, rotatory), temporally varied (fast-twitch, slow-twitch) movements into each workout will markedly accentuate muscle fiber definition while minimizing exhaustion as you quickly shift from one movement to the next before you feel the burn of the explosive move – so your recovery is built into an active rest phase.  It will also keep your mind active and constantly challenged to adapt to and work with strange new alignments and demands,

There are no ‘leg days’, ‘back days’, ‘arm days’, or recovery days, there are only whole-body days. You’ve got a whole body, right? so why not use it? Instead of mechanistically bulking up the same tiny bundle of mid-range isolated muscle fibers every day, why not stimulate the maximum number of fibers over the entire range of temporal-spatial dimensions available to you?  Why not let everything get more defined, stronger and more agile in balance with everything else?

Why you don’t need to count calories or deprive yourself of delicious food to reduce body fat

Ignore the lies you’ve been told that body fat inexorably increases as you age.  Three simple changes that have nothing to do with calorie-counting, deprivation diets, or exercise, can start reducing your body fat immediately.

  • Prepare meals in advance
  • Portion snacks and store them in small zipper bags
  • Keep healthy snacks at eye-level in transparent containers covered by clear plastic wrap, store cookies and chips in opaque containers or wrapped in foil

Those simple acts of pre-planning have been shown to significantly reduce calorie intake, with no need to count calories or deprive yourself.

The bottom line is this: there is a magic pill, a wonder drug , a fountain of youth – it’s called exercise.  And it’s simpler than ever to get started, all you need is 1 minute.  You can reverse all of the effects of aging on fitness by forming a few simple habits.  Do you want to halt the aging process right now?  And even turn back the clock?  You can do it by putting these simple strategies to work for you today.

 

 

12 Strategies for a Successful Meal Prep Day

One common strategy for saving money on food that shows up in a lot of frugality books and on many frugality websites is the idea of a “meal prep day,” sometimes simply called “meal prep Sunday” because people often use a Sunday to do it.

Read the full article at: lifehacker.com

Still Counting Calories and Chasing Them With Exercise?

This is a great post about the financial and time-management advantages of a meal-prep day.  But the most significant benefit of prepping meals in advance is fitness and weight loss, because it gives you control over the factors that will help you lose weight much more efficiently than counting calories and chasing those calories with exercise:

  1. Hunger Management
  2. Macronutrient ratios that affect metabolism
  3. Mindless Eating

Still Eating Over The Sink?

If you’re like most Americans, you probably do at least some of the following:

  • Wait until you’re hungry to eat, then eat until you feel full
  • Have no idea what a macronutrient is and how they affect your hunger and metabolism
  • Eat at your desk, in your car, at the drive-through, or standing over a sink or in front of an open fridge or over a paper towel without utensils

If you could change those habits tomorrow it would have a huge impact on your ability to lose weight – so huge that you could skip counting calories and going to the gym altogether – seriously!

Palms of Protein, Fists of Veggies

The way to do this is by planning and preparing healthy meals in advance.  Every meal should include at least 2 palm-sized portions of protein and 2 fist-sized portions of veggies.  This is simple to eyeball when you’re preparing meals in bulk.  Reducing the ratio of sugar and refined carbs in your diet and replacing those calories with protein and healthy fats will control your hunger, make you less prone to mindless snacking and overeating, and actually change the way your body stores and burns fat, to your advantage.

Nobody Saves Fries For Later

One of the most neglected yet significant components of successful weight loss is our psychological response to hunger signals.  Think about it – how often do you wait until you are famished to start eating?  How often do you start shoveling food into your mouth, continuing until you can’t take another bite?

Advance meal-prep has built-in safeguards against all of this harmful behavior.  You are forced to make decisions about portion size and content in advance, and even if a portion leaves you feeling too full to finish it, storing leftovers for another meal is a natural part of the process, unlike the double-cheeseburger and super-size fries you just have to finish (have you ever put away half your fries for later? I didn’t think so).

Also, advance meal prep makes it easy to eat just until you are no longer hungry (instead of full), and put the rest of the food away until later.  This habit will inevitably lead to better planned portion control in the future.

Donut or Breakfast Burrito?

The author of this Lifehacker post gets a little crazy – I wouldn’t recommend trying to prepare 252 meals on your first shot.  he does, however, offer some excellent practical advice and I would add this crucial element: start small.  Try preparing your next meal in advance, then your next day’s meals, etc. until you work up to a week.  Why not start today?  I am certain that having a delicious breakfast burrito waiting for you when you wake up will work wonders in helping you resist that donut box in the break room at work tomorrow.  What are you waiting for?

 

 

 

How to Have a Perfect Day

30 ways to becoming a better person every day

Read the full article at: www.outsideonline.com

 

This is perhaps the most awesome post I’ve ever seen on motivation and productivity because it breaks down the perfect day into simple steps that anyone can follow.  It touches upon several points of crucial research that you should take note of because they are so easy to implement yet they have the potential to change your life dramatically.

  1. Sunshine – Get some sunshine in the early morning.  It has been shown to boost serotonin levels which will improve your mood.  if you’re struggling to get moving or motivated to exercise in the morning, sunlight may be your best solution.
  2. Visualization – There are actually studies showing that the act of visualizing sinking freethrows can make basketball players sink more free throws.  Elite athletes use this technique all the time but it can work for everybody.  Devise a physically challenging, but achievable move to perform every day and visualize yourself nailing it.  Then do it.
  3. Sleep – Take advantage of this calorie-free energy source.  The quickest, easiest way to improve your sleep is to turn off all your devices, including your TV, at least an hour before bedtime.  The blue light these devices emit inhibits production of the sleep hormone melatonin.  Try reading a book, meditating, talking, or making love.
  4. Manage your Hunger – The reason you eat the wrong things or too much of them is that you allow the food that happens to be in front of you, the time of day, or what other people are eating to make eating decisions for you.  Plan your snacks and meals in advance and try to eat them before you are hungry.  If you do get hungry try eating just enough to take the edge of the hunger.  In other words, instead of eating until you’re full eat until you’re no longer hungry.

Try implementing these simple changes today and you will notice a dramatic impact on your motivation, productivity, and your life almost immediately.

A Beginner’s Guide on How to Eat Healthy and Stick to It

Healthy eating. It’s something everyone knows they should do, but few of us do as consistently as we would like. Here’s how to change that.

Read the full article at: jamesclear.com

Stop Counting Calories and Chasing Them With Exercise

You don’t have to count calories or chase them with boring repetitive exercise to lose weight.  The latest scientific findings on eating habits offer amazingly simple strategies you can implement today with very little effort.

This is a great review by James Clear on the science of healthy eating.  He summarizes data from Brian Wansink’s excellent book, Mindless Eating, and the bestseller Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss.

Eat 20% Less With No Effort

The most practical advice you can take away from these excellent science-based reviews is that you can easily set up environmental cues to reduce your caloric intake by 20% or more without ever feeling deprived.

“Can’t” vs. “Won’t”

The most interesting psychological finding is that when you tell yourself you “can’t” eat something, you crave it more.  The studies suggest swapping that limitation for a sense of control – say “I won’t eat that”.  This simple semantic shift from “can’t” to “won’t” gives you an identity-based goal, putting you in the position of choosing what you eat and establishing your self image as the type of person who chooses an apple over a donut.

Cheating

The reason cheating works so well has nothing to do with shocking your metabolism – its effects are purely psychological and they are incredibly powerful:

  • Cheating gives you permission to commit

The single biggest obstacle to eating healthy is the fear of long-term commitment: the idea that I might never order another pizza or eat another brownie sundae is absolutely terrifying.  If I start out with a commitment that allows for intermittent cheating I’ll immediately jump right over the biggest hurdle of any new habit: getting started.

  • Cheating makes you more mindful of your guilty pleasures.

When you establish a habit of eating healthy most of the time and planning the what and when and how of your cheat meal, you exponentially increase your enjoyment of it.  You not only enjoy it multiple times in your mind with anticipation, you also savor every bite and every tiny detail of the experience as you indulge.

  • Planned cheating neutralizes guilt and powerfully reinforces your sense of control.

As Clear points out, if you cheat with the intention of immediately returning to your baseline of healthy eating, you not only eliminate guilt over your indulgence but you also remind your brain that you are completely in control of your cravings and you are the one who decides when you want to enjoy that pizza or brownie sundae.  This can feel incredibly empowering.

What These Studies Miss

I’m amazed that with all the excellent scientific work done on mindless eating, Brian Wansink can write an entire book and James Clear can write an exhaustive review and they can still miss the most obvious obstacles to mindful eating that we all experience every day:

  • Eating over the sink
  • Eating with the refrigerator or cupboard open
  • Eating standing up
  • Eating food on a paper towel, or from a bag

Have you convinced  your brain that calories consumed in this way don’t really count?  For most of my life I did.

I’ve found that the simplest acts of all: putting food on a plate, closing the refrigerator door, and sitting down, establishes an astonishing level of mindfulness with no thought or effort required.

 

To Change Your Life, Learn How to Trust Your Future Self

How to change for the better, for good.

Read the full article at: nymag.com

The secret to a lifetime of fitness isn’t some superpower like motivation, persistence, or willpower.

The secret to a lifetime of fitness is establishing trust in your future self.

Huh?

A Simple Strategy

OK, let’s break that down, because… listen up … this is important.  Scientific research has identified a simple strategy you can start using today to stick to a fitness routine for good.

Why is it so easy the night before to decide to set your alarm and put your running shoes by the bed and resolve to get up and go for a run first thing in the morning?  But when that alarm goes off it seems like the sweet embrace of the pillow has an almost insurmountable veto power over all your plans?

This doesn’t seem to be rational behavior.  After all, you know all the heath benefits of regular exercise – it’s practically a wonder drug and if it were a pill you’d certainly take it every morning.

Delay Discounting and Preference Reversal

The psychological mechanisms at work are knows as “delay discounting” – rewards now are more highly valued than rewards in the distant future, and “preference reversal” – when a reward is right in front of your face, like your warm pillow, it gains a lot more power than the distant, more abstract goal of fitness.

We’re Not Lizards

Luckily, humans have a mechanism for overcoming these obstacles – that no other animals have – it’s called “bundling”.

Lizards, for example, don’t plan for the future.  Humans do.   And the way we do this is through a simulation engine located in the prefrontal cortex of our brains (that lizards don’t have) which allows us to step into the shoes of our future selves.

Bundling

What we do when we bundle is we package together all of the benefits that our future fit self will experience over the course of a lifetime – suddenly that “bundle” becomes more powerful than hitting snooze and sinking back into that deliciously warm pillow.

The Issue is Trust

There is one problem with bundling, and this is the reason why 90-plus percent of people don’t stick to a fitness routine.  The problem is that most of us don’t trust our future selves.  When we say “I’m too lazy” or “I’ll get bored” or “I’m not athletic” we’re not talking about the exercise, we’re talking about ourselves.  We’re expressing the belief that we just won’t stick with it .  Where does that belief come from?  The observation that we have failed to stick to a fitness routine in the past.

It turns out that we can’t talk, or even think ourselves out of those self-beliefs.

A Simple Rule

But, there is a way out – we have to establish trust in our future self by establishing a simple rule and sticking to it, no matter what.  Don’t worry about the behavior itself, just focus on establishing trust by sticking to it, without fail. Once you observe this type of behavior, you will start trusting your future self and replace the downward spiral of self-doubt with an upward spiral of self-trust.

One Pushup

Take a ridiculously simple rule, like doing one pushup every morning when you first wake up.  It may seem silly at first but try it.  The point is not to build a habit but to establish a pattern of evidence of consistency that your own brain can observe.  Now you will start establishing what’s called an identity-based goal – becoming the type of person who does some physical activity every morning.

Establishing Credibility With Yourself

As you establish credibility with yourself, you can start expanding your rules – ten pushups, fifteen, twenty.  Soon it becomes part of who you are and it gains momentum, your investment in the activity grows which raises the cost of quitting, and the momentum actually makes it hard to stop.  Pretty soon you will wonder how you ever got out of bed in the morning without banging out some exercise.

Effortlessly on Your Way

You don’t need a superpower like motivation, persistence, or willpower.  Just start gradually establishing trust in your self with concrete observable actions, and you will be effortlessly on your way to a lifetime of fitness.

 

 

Bruce Lee on Willpower, Emotion, Imagination, and Confidence

“You will never get any more out of life than you expect.”

Read the full article at: www.brainpickings.org

 

Bruce Lee’s Notebooks For Inspiration

When I look for fitness inspiration, I read one of these excerpts from Bruce Lee’s notebooks.  He kept these tiny 2×3 inch spiral notebooks in which he recorded his philosophy right alongside his training notes, demonstrating that his physical training discipline was inseparable from his psychological discipline.

If you find your willpower flagging one day, try watching his video of the water metaphor.

Water

Water is formless.  It becomes whatever contains it.

I’ve heard the story that Lee could kick a single lightbulb out of a chandelier without rattling it, and I’ve seen a video of him holding this impossible-looking position for 2 minutes (which is hard to hold for even 2 seconds).  If you want a step-by-step tutorial on how to learn the Bruce Lee pickup click here.

Live Like The Water

Live like the water.  Water doesn’t strive.  Water flows around obstacles.  How would it feel to live life like that – simply, smoothly, effortlessly flowing around obstacles?

Mediocrity is a Virus. Here’s How to Banish it from Your Life.

When you justify and allow even little things into your life which your intuition warns you against, you permit a virus to enter your life. It spreads to other areas. When you introduce a change to…

Read the full article at: medium.com

If you want to start 2017 right, read this post.  Advice this good is difficult if not impossible to find online – maybe because it’s a tough pill to swallow, or maybe just because everyone is looking for a quick fix, a magic pill or powder or book or video that will transform their life.

 

There are 3 brilliant quotes that are worth more than any motivational advice I’ve ever heard:

  • “Your life speaks for itself”
  • “Willpower is for people who haven’t made up their minds”
  • “Everything you have in your life is what you want.  If you wanted something different, you’d have something different.  Own it.”

 

Mediocrity creeps in, right?  It doesn’t announce itself – it just gradually creeps, if you let it.

 

Are you living within the limitations other people have placed on your abilities and performance?  If you continue doing the same exercises as everyone else at the gym you’re going to look like the average person at the gym – will that make you happy?

 

Stop doing the same old repetitive one-dimensional linear moves that everyone else is doing and start learning moves that are varied, constantly changing and challenging your muscles to adapt to novel alignments, twists, angles, loads and demands.

 

Make 2017 the year you start looking and feeling like a boss when you work out.

 

 

 

3 Scientific reasons why pushing your limits will make you happy

Do you dread exercise?  Judging by the sheer number of Americans who sign up for a gym membership on New Years Day and abandon it by Valentines Day, you’re far from alone.

I used to hate exercise – I was constantly coming up with creative new ways to distract myself from the soul-crushing boredom of those infernal machines.  All that repetitive motion, the sweaty gym, all that laundry.  It was the last thing I wanted to do in the morning.

Now I love exercise – I can’t wait to get out of bed, eat my whole grain oats with berries and coconut, and get outside and start moving.

The transformation was simple – I figured out that the conventional fitness programs I had been taught were placing the limitations of others on my body and I was passively accepting them.  One day I took a good look around and realized that if I continued doing what everyone else was doing, if I continued living by the limitations they set for me, then I would get the same results as they did.

Think about it.  Is the average member of your gym lean, toned, defined, agile, and strong?  Do they move the way you want to move, look the way you want to look?  I’m guessing the answer is no.  The question is – If they spend all that time working out at the gym, why not?

Hate exercise because it's repetitive, boring, saps your motivation and it doesn't give you the results you want?

Hate exercise because it’s repetitive, boring, saps your motivation and it doesn’t give you the results you want?

If you are working out at a gym or with a trainer, you are most likely doing a low variety repetition of routine linear, mid-range movements that were designed to bulk-up a specific bundle of muscle fibers while stabilizing the rest of your body.  You sit in a chair and work one muscle while the rest of your body literally shuts down.  By bulking up specific muscle fibers in a small range of motion you are literally deforming and weakening your body for movement – what it was designed to do.  The result is specifically strengthened tissues next to weak underdeveloped ones, leading to deformity and unhealthy loads, reducing overall strength, agility and mobility.

That conventional model of fitness training deconstructs human movement into tiny one-dimensional slices. It reduces the broad range of human movement to a narrow type of ‘exercise’ that can be mechanized and marketed.  So stop exercising like a machine and start moving like a human.

You don’t have to accept the limitations other people place on your movement.  You were given a whole body so why not use it every day?  THE game-changer is new, holistic movement patterns that constantly challenge your body and mind with ever-changing alignments, loads, variations, and adaptations.  This type of challenge is, after all, how our bodies evolved into the incredibly finely-tuned wonders of movement that they are.

Most people shy away from curvilinear, multi-dimensional, movement challenges in the liminal zone at the edge of their capabilities. Don’t be one of those people!  The reason is usually fear, of failure or injury.

If you learn how to properly and safely push into that zone every day, the constant adaptation and micro-variation required will keep your mind and body in a continuous state of being challenged. This will not only motivate you but it will also keep you young. Imagine the confidence of being able to do a little bit more every tomorrow than you could do yesterday. When you reach that point, chronological age becomes inconsequential.

Flow

A study in the journal Neuroscience demonstrates that intense exercise promotes the production of neurotransmitters that prevent depression.  What’s even more astonishing is thata recent Harvard study reveals that stray thoughts and wandering minds are directly related to unhappiness. The study discovered that those with constantly wandering minds were less likely to be happy than those able to focus on the tasks at hand.

Exercise has been shown to increase levels of happy neurotransmitters, both in the short and long term

Exercise has been shown to increase levels of happy neurotransmitters, both in the short and long term

This study seems to confirm what Buddhists, sages, and saints have long taught–that an unruly mind creates unhappiness and dysfunction, and that the keys to happiness lie in mastering the mind, and not in changing external factors in our lives.

The most startling part of the discovery is that unhappiness doesn’t just come from the mind wandering to unpleasant things. The study shows that people with minds that wander to neutral or even pleasant thoughts are still less happy than if the mind did not wander at all.

During the study, people were asked to focus on a given activity. It was found that even if the activity was some boring chore, they were happier if their minds were fully there, focused in the moment. The conclusion is that when the mind wanders repeatedly (and for many of us it wanders all day, every day), it drastically reduces our overall happiness and well-being.

Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, one of the world’s leading researchers in positive psychology, refers to this state of mind as “flow.”

Csíkszentmihályi describes flow as being totally absorbed or immersed in the activity in which you’re engaged. It doesn’t matter what the particular task is–what matters is that you are fully present when you’re doing it.

Csíkszentmihályi, often called the grandfather of positive psychology, found that our happiest moments are when we are in the state of flow. In this state, we are highly alert. We are totally focused with one-pointed attention. This focus–this mindfulness of being in the moment–is when true happiness spontaneously arises.

When you are mindful of your activity, you’re not preoccupied with regrets or worries; you’re not planning or wanting for anything. You’re not lending power to thinking processes and so they do not dominate your awareness.

Flow allows you to truly and deeply live your life as it unfolds in the here and now. Perhaps this is why the latest research continues to confirm that mindfulness increases happiness–to be mindful is to truly experience life and make the most out of every moment.

If you’re constantly looking for ways to distract yourself – TV, social media, podcasts, audiobooks, music – while you’re working out, then your mind is not present in the moment and focused on the task at hand.  The way to achieve this state of flow is simple – nothing focuses the mind quicker than pushing into that thin zone at the limits of your ability.

The magic happens right at the powerful motivational "sweet-spot" at the limits of our abilities.

The magic happens right at the powerful motivational “sweet-spot” at the limits of our abilities.

A challenging workout requires a continuous mix of technical, physical and cerebral difficulty.  Powering through endless reps of linear isolation moves is mindless and useless – it may bulk up specific muscles but it will never give you the definition, agility, and strength you want – and it’s guaranteed to bore you and kill your motivation.

Gym and machine workouts deconstruct human movement into tiny slivers of the 4-dimensional time-space continuum – only the tiniest linear slices that can be mechanized and marketed and endlessly repeated.  Stop working out like a machine and force yourself to laser-focus on new moves that challenge your mind and muscles every day and you will achieve a state of flow in your workouts that will actually alter the neurotransmitters in your brain and make you happier.  You will also be amazed at the definition, strength, and agility you can achieve.

Motivation

A challenging workout requires a continuous mix of technical, physical and cerebral difficulty.  Powering through endless reps of linear isolation moves is mindless and useless – it may bulk up specific muscles but it will never give you the definition, agility, and strength you want – and it’s guaranteed to bore you and kill your motivation.

Human beings love challenges, but only if they are within the optimal zone of difficulty. Tasks that are significantly below your current abilities are boring. Tasks that are significantly beyond your current abilities are discouraging. But tasks that are right on the border of success and failure are incredibly motivating to our human brains. We want nothing more than to master a skill just beyond our current horizon.

Psychological studies show that the most powerful motivational "sweet-spot" occurs right at the limits of our abilities. In other words, challenging yourself with moves that are sometimes attainable but sometimes just outside your limits is the best way to stay motivated.

Psychological studies show that the most powerful motivational “sweet-spot” occurs right at the limits of our abilities. In other words, challenging yourself with moves that are sometimes attainable but sometimes just outside your limits is the best way to stay motivated.

We can call this phenomenon The Goldilocks Rule. The Goldilocks Rule states that humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.

Having one challenge that is just outside your comfort zone in your daily workout is one of the keys to maintaining long-term motivation. If you find yourself feeling unmotivated, it is often because your mind has drifted into an area of boredom or been forced into an area of great difficulty. You need to find a way to pull your tasks back to the border of your abilities where you feel challenged, but capable.

The key is finding that thin zone at the limits of your abilities.

Psychological studies show that the most powerful motivational “sweet-spot” occurs right at the limits of our abilities.  In other words, challenging yourself with moves that are sometimes attainable but sometimes just outside your limits is the best way to stay motivated.

According to James Clear, “Human beings love challenges, but only if they are within the optimal zone of difficulty. Tasks that are significantly below your current abilities are boring. Tasks that are significantly beyond your current abilities are discouraging. But tasks that are right on the border of success and failure are incredibly motivating to our human brains. We want nothing more than to master a skill just beyond our current horizon.”

In his book Living With a SEAL, Jesse Itzler tells the story of how Navy SEAL David Goggins shocked him out of a fitness rut by challenging him to do 100 pull-ups, which he did, a few at a time.  Goggins’ “40% Rule” states that when your mind is telling you you’re done, you’re really only 40 percent done. And he had a motto: If it doesn’t suck we don’t do it.

Results

Face it – you don’t love the results you see in the mirror.  Maybe you don’t even like them, and maybe you’re not seeing results at all.  It’s no wonder, repetition is a results-killer for several reasons.

The first reason is time.  You’re wasting a massive amount of time and energy on repetitions that aren’t contributing to your results.  Think about it.  If you do 15 reps and you only feel the burn on the last 3 then you’re wasting 80% of your effort.  If you rest for a minute between sets then that number goes up to about 95% – of your workout wasted.

Neuroscience and metabolism also play a role in the diminishing effects of repetitive exercise.  A well-documented phenomenon known as metabolic adaptation essentially slows down your metabolism as you lose weight, so the same amount of exercise burn fewer calories.

To make matters even worse, a study from Columbia University found that your muscles start using genes that make them more efficient, so they burn 20 to 30 percent fewer calories for the same exercise.

So the loss of intensity due to boredom and exhaustion is compounded by the fact that you need to continuously refresh your workout to push the intensity of muscle stimulation to higher levels to achieve results.  Think about how many people you see running every day who are so unmotivated that they’re literally just falling forward, shuffling their feet in front of them just in time to catch their body weight.  That kind of low intensity effort is a certain results-killer.

There are several different types of exhaustion and the ones that you are targeting with repetition are muscle and joint fatigue.  Muscle fatigue results from repeated micro-trauma on a particular group of muscle fibers, depletion of glycogen, and the buildup of lactic acid in the muscle tissue.  Joint fatigue is simply the repetitive pounding of one-dimensional linear motion.

The truth is that if you allocated your energy more efficiently, to multi-dimensional movement combining different muscle fibers and contraction types, you would have abundant energy reserves available to sustain intensity for much longer intervals.

This is probably in part a psychological trick that rewards you for exhausting a particular joint and muscle group quickly, giving you the false impression that you’re achieving results, when really you’re just beating up your joints and reaching a state of muscle fatigue as quickly as possible with repetitive linear motion.

 

5 reasons you don’t stick to an exercise routine

5 Reasons you don’t stick to an exercise routine

Exercise every day – most people say they want to do it but they don’t actually do it.   You own the most sophisticated machine ever built – the human body – do you fail to give it the routine maintenance it needs for optimal performance?  Here are some of the most common reasons why:

  • Time  — How do you spend your time?  Here’s an awesome post by Tim Urban that will really get you thinking about how you spend your time every day.  According to the American Time Use Survey the average American adult watches 2.8 hours of television – per day!  So most people probably have the time to exercise.  Also, you may be subconsciously invoking this excuse when you see someone who has the body you want and think to yourself “they probably spend three hours a day at the gym”.  Both the fitness industry and the medical profession have you convinced that you have to commit a huge chunk of time every day in order to make any difference at all.  That’s not true.  In fact, tiny changes in your daily routine can have a huge cumulative effect on your fitness level.
  • Boredom — Does working out feel like a second job?  Schlepping to the gym every day and pumping the elliptical is ridiculously dull.  You probably spend more energy devising strategies and playlists to distract yourself than you do exercising.  You only have one life – about 30,000 days long – how do you spend it?   Why spend a part of each one of those days going to a place you can’t stand to do something you hate?  That’s perfectly logical.  The obvious answer to this conundrum is either to learn to love exercise or figure out a more efficient way to achieve your goals so you don’t waste a huge chunk of your life doing something you hate.
  • Overwhelm — Between the millions of workout videos, blogs and podcasts, the books and magazines, the different styles of gym, how can you possibly decide?  The simple answer to this is that if you did no exercise at all yesterday, then anything you do today, even 5 minutes, will be an improvement.  Make that tiny improvement right now.
  • Disappointing Results — You’re doing the cardio and strength training your doctor and trainer recommend, but you’re unhappy with the results you see in the mirror.  That’s because cardio is designed mainly to train your heart muscle and increase cardiopulmonary reserve (great if you’re training to be an olympic swimmer), and strength training is mainly focussed on bulking up peripheral muscles (great if you want to compete in a bodybuilding show).  So be honest with yourself about the results you want – it’s not really a number on a scale or to be “healthier”.  Is it really just about not dying, or do you really want to enjoy living?  Do you secretly desire to see a hot body in the mirror?  Fear of admitting what you really want is holding you back.  You can have the body you love, but first you have to say it out loud – “I want a hot body”.  There are lots of ways to get there but the most efficient way to get that lean, toned, defined look from all angles is to use your brain & scientific knowledge to change your metabolism.
  • Fear — Have you been told your whole life that your “body type” is chunky or husky or zoftig or rotund or full-figured or big-boned or mesomorphic or doughy or stocky?….  This false belief that your body type is your destiny can leave you terrified that no matter what you do you can’t change it.  News flash – there is only one body type – HUMAN!.  Your body type is human and you absolutely CAN change its shape.  All you need is a simple step-by-step system and the willingness to start today.

Wrong Body Type? – Think Again

Don't allow yourself to be bamboozled by fake science - your body type is not your destiny.  You can change it.

Don’t allow yourself to be bamboozled by fake science – your body type is not your destiny. You can change it.

“Body type” is a myth based on a now completely debunked scientific theory that emerged after World War II as part of the Eugenics movement of the 20th century (Eugenics was the theory used to justify Nazi atrocities in the name of breeding a “master race”).  The concept of body type masqueraded as science under the term “somatotyping” and was championed by W.H. Sheldon, a psychology professor at Columbia whose theory held that measurements of a person’s body could be used to accurately predict their intelligence, personality, moral worth and probable future achievement.  The most disturbing fact about this embarrassment to science in general and to the Ivy League in particular (Ivy League and sister schools, until 1968, took nude photos of entering freshmen, calling them “posture photos”) is that much of its mythology persists today.  You can still find the stereotypes in pop culture of the fat, jolly endomorph, the tense, high-strung, skinny ectomorph or the buff, narcissistic mesomorph.

One of the most damaging aspects of the persistence of this pseudoscientific myth is that it still has people convinced that their body type is their destiny and there is nothing they can do to change it.  This attitude can be seen on websites for weight loss or workouts that encourage consumers to take a test to figure out which body type they have.  But what if you want to change your body type?  Is it possible?  The answer is yes – you simply have to decide what you want to change, obtain a little bit of knowledge, devise a strategy, and implement a system.

Of course it is true that all bodies are different, and anyone can come up with a set of measurements, but classifying them into dogmatic, either/or “types” with scientific-sounding names (or fruit names like banana, pear, apple etc.) is a canard.  It creates the false impression that there is a natural, bright, clear dividing line between body types that cannot be crossed – there isn’t.  Spot fat reduction is not possible without surgery (sorry – you can’t lose belly fat by doing sit-ups, or butt fat by doing squats), but the good news is that total body fat reduction is actually not as hard as you think.  Furthermore, the exact same habits you build into your daily routine to burn fat can be used to reshape muscles.  Sculpting lean, toned muscle and reducing the bulk of the fat layer over the muscles can dramatically change the shape of your body.  You can even change your posture and the curve of your spine, to further your goal towards having a body shape that you love.

The human body, each and every one, is, by orders of magnitude, the most miraculous machine ever created.  There are far too many people walking around who are willing to accept living their entire life not loving, not even liking, the one-and-only unique version of this miracle machine they’ve been bestowed with, simply because of the remnants of a defunct, pseudo-scientific, nonsensical theory that claims physique equals destiny.  Your body type is not your destiny.  You can change it.  Don’t be bamboozled by fake science and false reasoning to convince yourself that you’ll fail to achieve your fitness goals before you even start.

The psychology of fitness phobia

Martin Seligman is famous for shocking dogs.   As a psychology graduate student at Penn in the 1960s, he ran a well-known experiment in which dogs were administered electrical shocks under 2 scenarios: either they could learn how to avoid the shocks or the shocks kept coming at random no matter what the dogs did.  The ones who were given the opportunity to avoid the shocks easily learned how.  The other poor creatures quit
trying.  They even quit protesting and just cowered and whimpered quietly, resigned to their fate.  This response, dubbed “learned helplessness”, became an animal model for human depression.  Seligman further observed that dogs who were first taught that they could avoid the shocks, were more resistant to becoming helpless.  Their brains had rewired themselves.  Their own beliefs had, in effect, become a vaccine against depression.  Think about the power of that concept for a moment – beliefs can rewire the brain to resist depression.

Dogs who were first taught that they could avoid the shocks kept trying - they had learned optimism

Dogs who were first taught that they could avoid the shocks kept trying – they had learned optimism

 

Changing your beliefs can rewire your brain.

In 1978 Seligman, by then a famous psychologist, designed an experiment to see if humans could be similarly vaccinated against depression.  The answer, in short, was yes.  The mechanism  of the response had to do with what Seligman called their explanatory style.  Training people to respond to negative events with a certain type of thinking habit (called narrow, external, and transient) fortified their defenses against depression.  He called this new response, “learned optimism “, and it ushered in a new field of psychiatry – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

If you think that your metabolism, motivation, willpower, and body type are all out of your control, you are likely to give up on fitness altogether

If you think that your metabolism, motivation, willpower, and body type are all out of your control, you are likely to give up on fitness altogether

If you’re reading this, you’re fitness-phobic.  You’ve probably been told and you’ve somehow come to believe that your body type is your destiny, you can’t change your metabolism, or you just don’t have the discipline or the willpower to stick to a fitness program.  Even worse, you may have come to believe that you just don’t deserve to be one of the fit people, the kind of person who loves the body they see in the mirror.  These are what Seligman would call broad, internal, and permanent explanatory styles – the exact thinking patterns that lead to learned helplessness.  The assumption that deep down there’s something wrong with you – it’s internal; it dooms everything you ever try – it’s broad; it will never change – it’s permanent.

So when you blame your failure to persist or reach your goals on yourself, you’re suffering from a form of learned helplessness.  This is why you face such overwhelming fear of failure, a fear that can make you decide to fail before you even start, or can erode you motivation once you do start, until you resign yourself to failure and quit.

The good news is that it’s been scientifically proven that these thought patterns can be reversed, and changing them can make you immune to the negativity for good.  There is nothing wrong with you.  Your body type is not your destiny.  You can change your metabolism.  You don’t need some super-special willpower or uber-discipline.  All you need is knowledge, a plan, and a system.

Most importantly, you are worthy of waking up every day for the rest of your life and loving the body you see in the mirror.

How to Stay a Badass for Life – GMB Fitness

Here are 3 strategies to help you overcome the challenges of getting older, so you can be a badass for life.

Read the full article at: gmb.io

If there were a pill that made you younger every day, would you take it?

I do a new jump-yoga interval training workout every morning at Lake Worth beach.  The most common question people ask me is – how old are you?

The subtext is clear – they simply can’t believe some of the moves I can do at age 53.  I can hardly believe it – I’m talking about moves like eagle handstand and lotus scorpion.

The more challenging moves that I can now execute with ease and style are things that I couldn’t imagine my body doing 10, 20, or even 30 years ago.  What’s up with that?

The graphs in this article show that a regular exerciser at age 80 can have the strength, flexibility, and motor control of a non-exerciser at age 20.

It’s clear that a lifelong habit of daily exercise is literally the fountain of youth.  If you are becoming stronger, more flexible, and more fit every day, in what sense are you actually aging?

You can even take this powerful principle one step further.

If you are working out at a gym or with a trainer, you are most likely doing a low variety repetition of routine linear, mid-range movements that were designed to bulk-up a specific bundle of muscle fibers while stabilizing the rest of your body.  You sit in a chair and work one muscle while the rest of your body literally shuts down.  The result is specifically strengthened tissues next to weak underdeveloped ones, leading to deformity and unhealthy loads, reducing overall strength, agility and mobility.

That conventional model of fitness training deconstructs human movement into tiny one-dimensional slices. It reduces the broad range of human movement to a narrow type of ‘exercise’ that can be mechanized and marketed.  So stop exercising like a machine and start moving like a human.

You don’t have to accept the limitations other people place on your movement.  You were given a whole body so why not use it every day?  THE game-changer is new, holistic movement patterns that constantly challenge your body and mind with ever-changing alignments, loads, variations, and adaptations.  This type of challenge is, after all, how our bodies evolved into the incredibly finely-tuned wonders of movement that they are.

Most people shy away from curvilinear, multi-dimensional, movement challenges in the liminal zone at the edge of their capabilities. Don’t be one of those people!  The reason is usually fear, of failure or injury.

If you learn how to properly and safely push into that zone every day, the constant adaptation and micro-variation required will keep your mind and body in a continuous state of being challenged. This will not only motivate you but it will also keep you young. Imagine the confidence of being able to do a little bit more every tomorrow than you could do yesterday. When you reach that point, chronological age becomes inconsequential.

 

 

 

 

 

Move Like a Human: Why You Shouldn’t Exercise – Parkour Generations

Movement is more than the sum of its parts. Reduce your patterns to linear, closed chains and guess what – that’s all you’ll ever be able to handle.

Read the full article at: parkourgenerations.com

Stop exercising and start moving.

 

You’re exercising like a machine – and it’s not giving you the results you want.

 

If you’re doing exercises on gym machines taught to you by trainers, you’re accepting the limitations that others are placing on your potential fitness.

 

Repetitive, linear, core-stabilized, mid-range isolation moves will never give you results you want to see in the mirror.  The reason is clear: standard exercise deconstructs natural human movement into what this author calls “linear, closed chains” resulting in athletes with specifically strengthened tissues sitting next to underdeveloped tissues.

 

According to Laird Hamilton, “When you sit down on an exercise machine, with your back against a chair, you tend to shut down the rest of your body.”

 

Think about it – you go to the gym and strap yourself into a chair complete with armrests, leg rests, and handles – are you working out or watching a movie?  Stabilizing your body in this way and then building disproportionate strength in one set of muscle fibers while all the others become progressively weaker in a relative sense is diminishing your ability to move the way your body evolved to move.

 

Exercise is not movement, at least the exercises taught in the modern gym aren’t.  They are small, highly mechanized snapshots of moments – only the tiniest slices of the 4-dimensional time-space continuum in which we move – the slices that can be easily built into machines and marketed to gyms and health clubs.  They limit your understanding of movement and reduce your potential to that very narrow slice.

 

You will never gain agility from a leg-press machine, but try just one of these squats.  You will never see the kind of shoulder definition from a overhead press machine that you can get from this one move.  These are examples of holistic movements that combine different types of muscle contraction (concentric, eccentric, isometric) with multi-dimensional (sweeping curvilinear arcs and twists) movement.  Use the outdoor environment and find movement challenges that are “quirky, technically challenging, and require the body to think”.  Train outdoors on structures that weren’t designed for that purpose and the resulting micro-variations will build the kind of strength, agility, and muscle definition you will never find at the gym.

 

A 23-Minute Morning Ritual That Will Transform Your Whole Day

How cool is science? Now you can set yourself up every morning for an awesome day by doing these simple activities.

Read the full article at: www.inc.com

More scientific data that confirms the magic of exercise.  Just a few minutes of some fun type of movement every day will result in the release of dopamine, the pleasure chemical in your brain.

 

The author also reports another effect of exercise – it trains your brain that your behavior matters.  This phenomenon has been confirmed in other studies, including one from the Psychology blog Psyblog indicating that when people are depressed they tend to habitually engage in activities that cheer them up, like walking outdoors, listening to music, or exercising.

 

The science of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is the most effective form of therapy for anxiety and depression, supports these claims. It is essentially based on the idea that you have 2 levers that you can control to change your own mood: thoughts and actions.

 

The 5 actions suggested by the author have all been studied and they work, so if you don’t have time to do them all every day, try just one a day – you’ll be amazed at the effect on your mood, energy, and productivity.

For an even simpler, quicker, awesome morning ritual, check out this post.

 

Is Repetition Killing Your Motivation?

If you do the same exercises as everyone else, you will get the same results.  Look around - is that what you want?  I'm guessing I know your answer.  I know exactly how you feel.  I felt that way for a long time.

Repetition - Reps - even that little trainer-slang mini-version makes me cringe to this day.  I'll never be able to get the time back I wasted doing repetitive, linear, core-stabilized, mid-range, isolation moves that didn't yield results.  Even worse, I'll never get back all the time I wasted trying to distract myself with TVs, iPods, audiobooks, magazines, and hundreds of other desperate attempts to stave off the soul-crushing boredom.

People often say that motivation doesn't last.  Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it every day.

Zig Ziglar

How Repetition kills Motivation

  1. It's Boring
  2. It's exhausting
  3. Lousy Results
  4. It confines you to your comfort zone so you never push your limits.

Boredom

If you're spending more time on planning and implementing your workout distractions (music, social media, TV etc.) than you are on the workout itself - guess what?  You're bored.  It's bad enough that you're wasting several hours every week, time that you'll never get back, in a state of dismal, soul-crushing boredom.  What's even worse is the effect it has on your workout.

Boredom not only kills your motivation to start and to keep going, it also is a massive drag on intensity

Boredom not only kills your motivation to start and to keep going, it also is a massive drag on intensity

Boredom not only makes it difficult to get started - the hardest part of any workout - but it also is a massive drag on your intensity level.  I do my interval training every day at the beach and as I watch all the runners going by I notice that most of them are either landing their feet in front of them as they fall forward (so essentially stopping their forward motion with each foot strike), or just dropping their feet below their body to catch themselves and stay upright.  It's literally painful to look at their faces and see how bored they are - I can feel it.  And I can feel the time they're wasting ticking away.

Rarely, I will see a runner who is airborne, maintaining a powerful kick, feet flying, propelling themselves forward with every step.  It's rare to see someone like this, who has defeated boredom - it always makes me smile.

Exhaustion

​Repetitive, linear motion forces you into a misallocation of your energy resources, tricking your brain into thinking that you are exhausted well before you actually are.

​Repetitive, linear motion forces you into a misallocation of your energy resources, tricking your brain into thinking that you are exhausted well before you actually are.

​Repetitive, linear motion tricks your brain, so you reach a state of exhaustion quicker

There are several different types of exhaustion and the ones that you are targeting with repetition are muscle and joint fatigue.  Muscle fatigue results from repeated micro-trauma on a particular group of muscle fibers, depletion of glycogen, and the buildup of lactic acid in the muscle tissue.  Joint fatigue is simply the repetitive pounding of one-dimensional linear motion.

There are many different types of exhaustion.  Repetition will accelerate both muscle and joint fatigue and you will feel exhausted long before you reach the limits attainable with a more efficient allocation of energy.

There are many different types of exhaustion. Repetition will accelerate both muscle and joint fatigue and you will feel exhausted long before you reach the limits attainable with a more efficient allocation of energy.

The truth is that if you allocated your energy more efficiently, to multi-dimensional movement combining different muscle fibers and contraction types, you would have energy available to sustain intensity for much longer intervals.

This is probably in part a psychological trick that rewards you for exhausting a particular joint and muscle group quickly, giving you the false impression that you're achieving results, when really you'r just beating up your joints and reaching a state of muscle fatigue as quickly as possible with repetitive linear motion.

Lousy Results

Face it - you don't love the results you see in the mirror.  Maybe you don't even like them, and maybe you're not seeing results at all.  It's no wonder, repetition​ is a results-killer for several reasons.

The first reason is time.  You're wasting a massive amount of time and energy on repetitions that aren't contributing to your results.  Think about it.  If you do 15 reps and you only feel the burn on the last 3 then you're wasting 80% of your effort.  If you rest for a minute between sets then that number goes up to about 95% - of your workout wasted.

Neuroscience and metabolism also play a role in the diminishing effects of repetitive exercise.  A well-documented phenomenon known as metabolic adaptation essentially slows down your metabolism as you lose weight, so the same amount of exercise burn fewer calories.  

To make matters even worse, a study from Columbia University found that your muscles start using genes that make them more efficient, so they burn 20 to 30 percent fewer calories for the same exercise.

So the loss of intensity due to boredom and exhaustion is compounded by the fact that you need to continuously refresh your workout to push the intensity of muscle stimulation to higher levels to achieve results.​

Pushing Your Limits

The Most important reason that repetition is killing your motivation is that it confines you to a comfort zone in which you will never learn how to push your limits, which is crucial to achieving results.

Repetitive workouts confine you to your comfort zone - where you'll never see the results you want

Repetitive workouts confine you to your comfort zone - where you'll never see the results you want

If you stay within your comfort zone you are always doing exercise that is too easy for you, and studies show that is a powerful anti-motivational force

If you stay within your comfort zone you are always doing exercise that is too easy for you, and studies show that is a powerful anti-motivational force

If it doesn’t suck we don’t do it.

Navy SEAL David Goggins

Any exercise you can do 15 repetitions of is too easy for you.  That type of standard workout will never give you the results you want.  Even worse, it saps your motivation.  Psychological studies show that the most powerful motivational "sweet-spot" occurs right at the limits of our abilities.  In other words, challenging yourself with moves that are sometimes attainable but sometimes just outside your limits is the best way to stay motivated.

In his book Living With a SEAL, Jesse Itzler tells the story of how Navy SEAL ​David Goggins shocked him out of a fitness rut by challenging him to do 100 pull-ups, which he did, a few at a time.  Goggins' "40% Rule" states that when your mind is telling you you’re done, you’re really only 40 percent done. And he had a motto: If it doesn’t suck we don’t do it.

The Science of Sleep: A Brief Guide on How to Sleep Better Every Night

Want to learn how to sleep better? Look no further. This guide walks you through everything you need to know to learn how to sleep better every night.

Read the full article at: jamesclear.com

Sleep and athletic performance

If you could take a pill tonight that would improve your athletic performance tomorrow, would you?

Try going to sleep at least an hour earlier.

Anyone who is serious about fitness and health must read James Clear’s excellent review on the science of sleep.  I was blown away by the results of the sleep study performed on the Stanford basketball team.  For five weeks the team slept 10 hours per night instead of their usual 8 and the measured performance results were dramatic.  Shooting percentages increased by more than 9% and their 80-meter sprints were more than half-a-second faster.  Wow!

Sleep and weight loss

Sleep deprivation may also be the reason you’re not losing weight.  Lack of sleep makes your hunger hormones go all cattywampus – turning off the “I’m full” signal and pumping out more ghrelin and endocannabinoids, which make you eat more.  It also increases insulin resistance and the stress hormone cortisol that makes you store more belly fat.  That extra hour of sleep may actually be better for your waistline than an hour at the gym.

Happy & Smart

Oh yeah, one more thing –  good quality sleep makes you happier and smarter.  And it’s free!

According to an NIH study, we are chronically sleep deprived.  The number of prescriptions for sleep medication increased from 5 million in 1999 to more than 20 million in 2010.

So here’s the quickest, easiest, cheapest way to get leaner, smarter, happier, and fitter – go to sleep earlier.

Awesome-est Morning Ritual Ever

​I love my morning ritual.  I love reading about morning rituals.  Truth be told, though, some days, forget about winning the day or crossing the most important item off my to-do list, it's literally a struggle just to get up and get started.  So how do you start and stick with it?  It's all about neurosynaptic rerouting and long-term potentiation - Huh? - psychology and neuroscience teach us that we can actually rewire our own brains!  How cool is that?  How?  By starting a new micro-habit that gives us immediate feedback in the form of positive reinforcement.

​One of the major reasons people fail at behavior change is that they either bite off too much right at the beginning, setting some ridiculously huge goal, or they lose motivation.  This bite-sized morning ritual is just the thing to get you started and keep you on course.

7 Micro-Rituals

It consists of 7 micro-rituals, one for each day of the week.  Commit to doing one of these as soon as you wake up in the morning for 7 days and notice the effect on your mood, energy, productivity and happiness.  Ask for feedback from others.  Watch yourself get happier.

Win

Lots of morning rituals tell you to start the day with a win.  Some days that can feel like a lot of pressure.  So let's keep it simple.  Just think of a win from yesterday and say it out loud.  It can be anything - overcoming fear or an obstacle, figuring something out, a random act of kindness, making someone laugh.  

This exercise will focus your mind on wins, and start you thinking about what win from today will stand out in your mind tomorrow.  The point is not the actual winning, but rewiring your brain to see your life as a series of wins, with some inevitable failures and setbacks.  When you start seeing each failure or setback as just one more necessary step toward success, your response to them will completely change.

I teach my yoga students "every fall brings you one step closer to the perfect handstand" - they immediately get it.  Suddenly instead of treating falling with fear and avoidance, they actively seek it out and embrace it.

Awesome-ness

"One awesome thing about me is ________".  Fill in the blank.  Out loud.  Really.

It sounds kinda goofy, but try it.  Pick a likable quality or something about yourself you are proud of, stand in front of the mirror and with a big smile on your face and a booming voice, say it out loud.

You will be amazed at how many times during the day you'll catch yourself thinking "yeah, I am very ... patient, generous, caring, etc."  Stating the behavior out loud in the morning builds and reinforces a framework of qualities which form your positive self image.  Conscious and subconscious cues will cause your behavior to emphasize and your thoughts to recognize and reinforce those qualities.  

This exercise will also help you catch that substernal twinge of cognitive dissonance you feel when your behavior is out of sync with your admirable qualities.   Passive aggressive or selfish behavior will begin to screech like nails on a chalkboard, alerting you that you are not behaving like your ideal self and telling you to start looking for that "undo" button sooner rather than later.

Gratitude

Studies show that you can make yourself 25% happier simply by expressing gratitude.  Choose one thing in your life that you're grateful for and say so, loud and clear, to yourself or, even better, someone else.  If it involves someone else make sure you let them know - "I was reflecting on gratitude today and thinking about how lucky I am to have you in my life".   Reflect on how much better your life is right now, today, because of that person, condition, or event.  Imagine how much better your life could be if you enhance that condition (e.g. your health), or put more time and energy into that relationship.  

Let the feeling of gratitude stay with you all day and permeate your entire routine.  Everything will look and feel different, like you're wearing new glasses for the first time.  It's so easy to get into the habit of listening to all the bad news stories and start thinking negative thoughts about the world.  Guess what?  It's just as easy to start picking out all the positive nuggets - you just have to retrain your brain.  Subjects who were asked to come up with a list of 3 new things they were grateful for each day started seeing the world completely differently after just 21 days.  They had rewired their brains to scan the world for and amplify the positive aspects of their lives.  Try it, it works.

Be The One

"Today I'm going to be the friendliest one in the room."

"Today I'm going to be the first one running on the beach as the sun rises"

"Today I'm going to be genuinely and ridiculously kind to someone I don't really like."

Imagine the person you want to be.  Be that person for one day.  Just one day.  See what happens.​

Dance

My girl and I woke up this morning and danced to U.S. Blues by The Grateful Dead.  We made up a bunch of new moves - some pretty cool, some totally dorky.  If you're not sure what to do just mirror a crazy movie scene.  Dance like Austin Powers, Vincent Vega, or Rodney.  
Disco-dance like Tony Manero - Guaranteed smile on your face all day.

Sing

No I'm not talking about humming quietly to yourself in the shower.   Imagine you're holding a microphone, performing before a full stadium.  Stand up tall, chest out, take a deep breath, and belt out a verse of a favorite song.  High notes. Harmony. A capella. Doo-Wop. The whole shebang.  How does that feel?

Wild Card

For the last day of the week, pick your favorite one from the list above and repeat it.  Or just roll a dice.

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