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September 29, 2010

Fear of Exercise? Excuses? Let’s Talk…

So here’s another great gem from Chris Freytag.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard people come up with excuses and reasons for not working out.  See if any of these sound like you…

How your body is, is your physical being, it’s your diet, and it’s your emotional state that intertwine together to create a healthy lifestyle.  I can suggest exercises all day, but until you break through your barriers, lose your excuses and rid yourself of your fears about exercise, you won’t be able to put the puzzle completely together.

You see, when someone says, “Get more exercise”, most people hear, go kill yourself and sweat to death!  That’s where the mental block comes in. People fear exercise. Fear is an emotion that often stops us dead in our tracks. And yet, in our current uncontrollable economy, one thing we can control is our commitment to our health. Therefore, in our quest to gain mental strength and create long-lasting habits, we need to conquer fear and face it head-on.

Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.

So, what are you afraid of? Let’s discuss the most common fears of exercise and dismiss their scary side. Once you break through some of your mental barriers, you may be surprised that your routine will fall into place.


Fear of sweating: Being afraid to sweat may seem funny to those of us who drip in it on a daily basis, but this is a very common fear I hear from readers. The bottom line is that everyone sweats, and it is a perfectly natural process! Sweating is your body’s natural way of cooling its core temperature. I understand that even with this knowledge, you may still be uncomfortable with sweating. I encourage you then to invest in some workout clothes made of performance fabrics. These fabrics wick away moisture and help you feel comfortable. Cotton should not be your first choice, though, as it will stay soaked in sweat, cause chafing, and leave you feeling cold and clammy.

Fear of pain: I don’t know anyone who likes pain, but the key to overcoming this fear is to start out slowly. If you are a beginner to any activity, raising your heart rate and pushing your muscles too hard too fast can indeed be painful and scary. So start slowly and work your way up, depending on your comfort level. Differentiate between muscle pain and muscle fatigue. Fatigue feels like, “Wow, I’m working hard. I can barely do another repetition”. Pain feels like, “Ouch, that doesn’t feel right.”

Fear of injury: This is also a common fear, and it’s one that I have experienced from time to time. My kids love to snowboard, and for a long time I was fearful to try it because I didn’t want to get hurt. If you are afraid of injury, again, the key is to not overdo it and get some good instruction either with the right trainer or an instructional DVD. Making sure you have good form and technique will help prevent injuries and raise your comfort level.

Fear of working out in public: I receive lots of e-mails about this one. Many people are cautious about letting go of their inhibitions and working out in front of others. If this is a big one for you, check out some of the smaller, more intimate clubs, or hire a trainer to come to your home to help you acclimate to exercise and gain confidence. And try to keep a sense of humor about yourself, no one achieves perfection in fitness. Look, I’ve fallen off a step while teaching a class, and I am supposed to be the expert! Remember, most people on the workout floor are fairly self-absorbed while at the gym; they are more than likely not paying any attention to you. They are listening to their iPods or watching TV. So rid yourself of that imaginary audience in your head and get out there!

Fear of failure: I always tell my clients, If you don’t try, you don’t know if you’ll succeed.  Many of my clients have big, important jobs, and they take on their jobs with great confidence. So the idea of possible failure in order to make progress in an exercise routine, which is then by followed by embarrassment, holds them back. I’ve always tried to live my life based on the idea there is no such thing as failure, but that everything is a learning experience. I urge you to do the same. Whether you get a positive result from something or a negative result, it is a result, and you need to look at it as a chance to move forward. You may determine that you don’t like spinning classes, and that will propel you forward into trying something else. What you may call a failure, you could instead choose to call an opportunity to try something new! I love this quote from Woody Allen: If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.  Be innovative, be curious and be active!

Cross-Training Tip: Use a heart monitor to keep track of your heart rate. Running long distances is a great way to burn fat and lose weight, but intensity and heart rate are still part of the equation. A heart rate monitor will keep you motivated by giving you feedback, such as the number of calories you burned and your average heart rate. It’s eye-opening sometimes to see that on interval day you burned the same amount of calories in half the time as you did during your distance run.

Chris Says:
On endurance days, you should try to keep your heart rate in the aerobic zone, where you are working at what I call a comfortably hard pace. Just because you are running or walking, though, weight loss isn’t guaranteed. You have to work hard. Keep yourself honest with data and feedback. My heart rate monitor is my motivator!

Food Tip: Fill up with more fiber. Fiber can help control blood sugar levels, keeping you from those sugar highs and lows. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make you feel full longer, keeping you from overeating the sugary carbs.

Chris Says: Ditch the Frosted Toasty O’s, and go for a high-fiber breakfast cereal with 5 or more grams of fiber per serving. Fiber helps to fills you up with less wasted calories. Breakfast is critical to get your metabolism revved up for the day.


From the SUCCESS store: SUCCESS fitness combo, including Move to Lose DVD by Chris Freytag, Fitness that Fits: A Realistic Way to Reshape Your Body DVD by David Kirsch and Eating for Life hardcover book by Bill Phillips


September 21, 2010

Surviving Football Season and Tailgating


  1. Work out firstA brand new study by a team of Brazilian researchers (Public Library of Science, August 2010) concluded that exercise actually modulates feelings of fullness in the brain, causing us to reduce our intake of food. In other words, when you work out, you actually eat less. Which is good, because you don’t want to spend an hour and a half working out in the morning and then destroy it all with cravings for fried food and alcohol. Now that you’re doing P90X® 6 days a week, you’re a more efficient machine, and you’ll have fewer cravings. So before you hang out in that jersey that hides your six-pack, make sure your six-pack is intact and get a good workout in before the party. Working out will help reduce your cravings and decrease your appetite. (Besides, it’s pretty unlikely you’ll feel like working out after the game.)
  2. Don’t go hungryPopular wisdom says you should never go grocery shopping while hungry. The same rings true for attending any kind of party. The worst thing you can do to your nutrition plan is wait until you’re starving, then descend upon an endless supply of low-quality carbs and not-so-lean meats. It’ll be 45 minutes before you realize you’re no longer hungry, and you’ve just consumed your weight in cheese curls. Eat a clean, high-quality meal before you arrive at the gathering. You’ll eat less garbage and you’ll probably be a lot more pleasant to be around as well.
  3. Veggie it upI know, I know, you don’t want to be that guy, but if you’re going to bring anything to the party, your first choice should be a veggie platter. Not only can you save yourself from tomorrow’s food hangover, you might actually do your body some good. Bite-sized pieces of broccoli, carrots, celery, bell peppers, cauliflower, and snap peas are all inexpensive, low in calories, and full of vitamins. Create a low-fat dip to accompany them, and you might just trump the team’s QB as MVP. Just use any onion or ranch dip recipe, with nonfat yogurt, nonfat sour cream, or nonfat cream cheese as the base.

    Also, try the 5-to-1 veggie trick: for every five bites of veggies you consume, you’re allowed one full-fat snack bite. You’ll end up having to chew so much for that one morsel of evil, it won’t really be worth it.

  4. Feeling fruityAnother great thing to bring tailgating is a fruit platter or fruit salad. Yes, I realize fruit has a lot more sugar in it than veggies do. But fruit is a lot lower in calories than potato salad, it’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and most people like it a lot. What’s more, it’s high in fiber, so you’ll stay fuller longer. Fruit skewers are a big crowd-pleaser, and counting the empty sticks will show you how much you’re actually eating. Aim for watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, strawberries, apples, oranges, peaches, and nectarines.
  5. Pass (on) the sudsThis is the section everyone’s going to want to skip, but reading on will only work to your advantage. We all enjoy an adult beverage now and again. There’s nothing more refreshing than a cold beer when you’re sitting in the hot sun. But, people, they call it a “beer gut” for a reason. The empty calories in beer have accounted for more spare tires than the Michelin® Man. But since most people can’t or won’t abstain, try switching to light beer. Sure, some taste like flavored water, but there are a few low-calorie versions out there that are actually pretty good, especially if you squeeze a little (or a lot) of lime into them. Or try a cocktail made with a low-calorie mixer, or one that mixes a splash of fruit juice with soda water and either an ounce of your favorite liquor or a few ounces of white wine.

    1 cup of light limeade, 1 ounce of tequila, and 1 ounce of orange liqueur blended with ice is roughly 100 calories—and really tasty. Crystal Light® and vodka make for some pretty yummy low-cal drinks, and will still be under a hundred calories. And remember that both white wine and champagne come in at about 100 calories a glass. Remember, a couple of drinks in an afternoon is fine, but if you’re putting so much away that the dude in the body paint starts to look, well . . . sexy, it’s time to cut yourself off.

  6. Get your hand out of the bagWhen you’re running late on game day, the path of least resistance is to run into a 7-Eleven® and grab a few bags of chips and maybe some dip. Everyone loves ’em, right? Well, your waistline doesn’t. You can easily consume a couple of meals’ worth of calories by shoving your hand into a bag a few times. So plan ahead a tiny bit and replace those greasy potato chips, corn chips, and cheese curls with baked tortilla chips and salsa, seasoned air-popped popcorn, multigrain pretzels, and mini–rice cakes. You’ll still get a ton of crunch and flavor, without consuming 13 grams of fat per handful.

    If you want to add a dip, try this low-fat/high-protein guacamole recipe: Take a 16-ounce container of plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 peeled, pitted, and coarsely chopped large avocado, 4 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro, 2 teaspoons of minced jalapeño, and 1 small minced clove of garlic. Throw them into a food processor and blend until smooth. Chill before serving.

  7. Main course, to stay on courseMost experienced tailgaters include a barbeque in the festivities. You can smell charcoal and propane for miles around any stadium on any given Sunday. And with the right food choices, a barbeque is a healthy way to prepare good sources of lean protein. Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to throw hot dogs on the grill. Look, if you wanted easy, you would have called for liposuction and never started INSANITY in the first place. So forget the path of least resistance (and all those hot dog nitrates) and try a main course that’ll keep you on course.

    Replace a beef or pork hot dog with a turkey or tofu dog, a 20-percent fat beef burger with a 99-percent lean beef one (or a chicken, turkey, or veggie burger), or a fatty pork sausage with the low-fat chicken variety. Place any of these on a multigrain roll, or stuff them in a pita pocket. Try a low-fat grilled chicken breast instead of those messy, fatty ribs. Skewer up some veggies for a tasty low-calorie main dish. Little pizzas made with prebaked crusts, tomato sauce, low-fat cheese, and veggies grill up brilliantly on a barbeque. You can make ground-turkey-and-three-bean chili in advance in a Crock-Pot® and warm it up on the grill. Just a little forethought and some lean meat choices can make a huge difference.

  8. Just dessertsMost of the time, dessert at a tailgate party comes in the form of beer, with an occasional Oreo® thrown in. No one puts a lot of thought into making desserts for one of these events, and they put even less thought into how many cookies or brownies they’re shoving in their mouth. Instead of satisfying your sweet tooth with enough calories to fuel a defensive lineman, try replacing those high-calorie desserts with one of these ideas.

    Grill pineapple slices or spears for 1 minute on each side, baste with dark rum, grill for 1 more minute, and serve warm with mint sprigs. Make low-fat banana bread by replacing the butter or oil in the traditional recipe with applesauce. Buy a premade angel food cake, slice, and serve with fresh strawberries and either light Cool Whip® or one-third whipped cream with two-thirds drained plain nonfat yogurt folded in. In advance, bake apples stuffed with dried fruit and honey in a pan of apple juice, then heat up later on the barbeque. Make a low-fat batch of oatmeal cookies with whole-wheat flour and vegetable oil. There are lots of sweet options out there that can also be sweet to the size of your gut.

Football season is long, especially if you’re a Carolina Panthers fan. In those 17 weeks, you could do a considerable amount of damage . . . or you could have the body of your dreams. Since the NFL rules the airwaves for roughly 5 weeks longer than it takes to do P90X, it’s well worth it to put a little effort into your tailgating choices. And although your friends might give you a hard time, consider how their faces will look at the end of week 15, when you have a rock-hard six-pack, and they have more of a keg. Yeah, it’s worth it.

September 21, 2010

It’s not about weightloss, it’s about lifestyle change!

Here’s an amazing article I found that hits home the point I try to get across to people all the time.  It’s not about losing weight, it’s about changing your lifestyle.  Enjoy the read…

A newly published UCLA study suggests our media and cultural obsession with achieving a certain weight does little to convince couch potatoes of any size to abandon their favorite sofa cushions and get active. In fact, those messages may actually undermine motivation to adopt exercise and other healthy lifestyle habits.Published in the June edition of the peer-reviewed journal Obesity, the cross-cultural study finds that women are more likely to categorize themselves as overweight than men, both overall and within each ethnic group. In addition, African Americans are least likely and whites most likely to consider themselves overweight. The study finds that even among many adults of average or normal weight — men in particular — a self-perceived weight problem correlates with sedentary behavior.

White women of average weight are the only ethnic-gender group studied in which the proportion of sedentary individuals is not higher among those who consider themselves overweight, versus average weight, the study shows. White women are also the only ethnic-gender group in which average-weight individuals comprise the majority.

The researchers noted that in addition to cultural expectations, greater access to fitness programs, “walkable” neighborhoods, quality child and elder care, and flexible work hours all help make the choice to be active easier for white women overall than their Latina and African American counterparts.

“These data suggest that our society’s emphasis on weight loss rather than lifestyle change may inadvertently discourage even non-obese people from adopting or maintaining the physical activity necessary for long-term good health,” said Dr. Antronette Yancey, lead author of the study and associate professor of health services at the UCLA School of Public Health.

“All groups may benefit from messages that shift the focus away from a specific target weight and associated calorie counting, and instead promote increased physical activity and healthy eating habits,” Yancey said. “We still need to learn more about the relationship between overweight self-perception and healthy lifestyle change, and the apparent protective role of the cultural valuation of thinness and stigmatization of obesity in the battle of the bulge.” The study used data from the 2002–03 Los Angeles County Health Survey, a random telephone survey conducted by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Of 14,154 eligible adults contacted, 8,167 completed interviews, or 58 percent. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated from self-reported weight and height, and each individual was classified as underweight, normal, overweight or obese. Self-perceived weight status was measured using direct questions asking participants to identify themselves as overweight, underweight or average for their height. Sedentary behavior was measured using standardized questions from an adaptation of the short version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire.

Among specific findings:

– The prevalence of overweight and obesity among adult Angelenos by race/ethnicity and gender was fairly typical of national samples. The combined prevalence of overweight and obesity was highest in African Americans and Latinos, intermediate in whites, and lowest in Asians-Pacific Islanders. The pattern was consistent among both men and women within each group.

– 73.2 percent of overweight/non-obese and 24.1 percent of average-weight women considered themselves overweight, compared with 44.5 percent of overweight/ non-obese and 5.6 percent of average-weight men.

– 41.3 percent of overweight/non-obese African Americans identified themselves as overweight, compared with 60.6 percent of overweight/non-obese whites.

– Overweight self-perception, versus average-weight self-perception, correlated with sedentary behavior among average-weight adults (45.3 percent versus 33.0 percent), overweight adults (43.4 percent versus 33.6 percent), average-weight and overweight men (38.4 percent versus 27.8 percent), overweight whites (41.9 percent versus 29.7 percent), and African Americans and Latinos (41.6 percent versus 33.9 percent).

Contact: Dan Page [email protected] 310-794-2265 University of California – Los Angeles

September 14, 2010

Stay positive, Stay Focused.

I came across this article by Tom Hopkins today and although he’s a sales guru, I found it very interesting and applicable to our everyday lives….especially in your own health and fitness goals.  So enjoy….

Every selling career faces challenges. When you hit a challenging cycle in business, there are two keys to moving forward: staying positive and staying focused.

It is critical to keep your attitude positive.

When you’re down, you’re more likely to find reasons not to do the important things—things that make money. Why? When you’re feeling down, your threshold for handling rejection tends to be low as well. In other words, if you allow your spirits to sink, your sales performance will, too.

Your positive attitude is a precious asset—protect it. Work on getting everyone you can to be proactive about being positive. Ask your family or roommates to look for good news to share. Post positive quotes or sayings around the house. You may not be able to have a major influence on what happens outside your home, but you certainly can set the tone for what happens inside it.

In addition to controlling your attitude, you must stay focused. Over the years, I’ve noticed that successful people—those who lead companies, build estates and fulfill their highest potentials—have the ability to get more productivity out of every hour. How do they do it? Their method is amazingly simple. The whole idea centers on not trying to do too much.

It’s an established fact that the average person cannot successfully handle more than six or seven things in their minds at one time. Yet, we try to do it all the time—at least until we learn the simple method of writing them down. Don’t leave me here because you think I’m just telling you to keep a to-do list. This strategy goes deeper than that. Keeping a short list means that you narrow down what’s truly important to do each day. And writing these things down helps you summarize the details and envision the tasks already done.

The next step of this simple strategy is to rank those six items in the order of their importance. In his program Lead the Field, Earl Nightingale talks about using this strategy. Once a friend commented to Nightingale that he never seemed rushed or anxious, and so he must be a very well-organized person. He replied that anxiety is caused by having too many things on your mind and that he kept only one thing in the forefront of his mind—the task at hand. The power of focus that Nightingale harnessed by using this simple strategy allowed him to achieve a level of greatness few ever do.

Another benefit of using this strategy is that if you create your list at the end of each day, you’ll sleep better. Your subconscious mind will work on preparing you for the tasks of the next day while you sleep. You’ll find yourself waking not only refreshed from a good night’s sleep, but also with great ideas for accomplishing the day’s tasks.

One word of caution: Don’t assume this list will allow you to accomplish 12 hours of work in an eight-hour day. Know your limitations. The goal is to have a smooth-flowing, productive day, not a day crammed with so much activity that you have nothing left to give to your personal life. Be certain to include some sort of activity in each day that benefits your physical health. If you’re going to play at the top of your game, your body needs to be healthy. After all, why work hard to earn an incredible income if your health will be too poor to enjoy it?

For more from Tom Hopkins and his other articles click here.

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