Personal Training Blog


How do I stay motivated when it's 100 degrees outside?

posted Oct 5, 2017, 9:26 PM by Rebecca Smith

Staying Motivated to Exercise When it’s 100 Degrees Outside!

 

 

With the Aussie summer heat on its way, it’s easy to decide to stay in the cool air-conditioning instead of working out. We have all had the thought pass our minds ‘oh, I’ll just wait till it’s a little cooler’. Not this year!

Here are some of my favourite tips to beat the heat, stay cool and smash your workout:

 

1.      Exercise early

 

Take advantage of the cooler mornings! Get up early, do a workout and feel great for the rest of the day.

 

2.      Time to lose the hoodies

 

Avoid wearing dark colours which attract the sun making you hotter. Light, loose fitting gym gear will be a lot more comfortable during the summer heat. If you are outside, don’t forget a hat and sunscreen.

 

3.      Stay Hydrated

 

Water, water, water!! An essential part of any workout, water helps regulates your body temperature. If you're not hydrated, you will not be able to complete your workout with your best performance and might start to experience muscle cramps and dizziness.

 

4.      Listen to your body

 

Don’t push yourself if you’re going to end up hating your workout. Reduce the intensity if your body is telling you to. Maybe complete your 60min run along the beach where you can cool down, or just go swimming! Swimming laps is a great workout, your body will love you for it.

 

5.      Stay Indoors

 

If it’s just too hot outside, not a problem at all! We will see you at your personal training session at Difference Personal Training. We’ve got the indoor coolness all sorted and ready for you to go.

 

 

Summer is the best time for you to be the best version of yourself! So keep exercising, dress appropriately, stay hydrated, and kick your goals with no excuses.

What are the benefits of doing High Intensity Interval Training (HITT)?

posted Sep 28, 2017, 9:14 PM by Rebecca Smith

People often ask us what is the best exercise to do when at the gym. There are several different responses and it depends

on what your goals are, however below are the benefits of doing High Intensity Interval Training (HITT)

1. Burn more calories, burn more fat. HIIT increases the amount of calories you burn during your exercise session and afterward because it increases the length of time it takes your body to recover from each exercise session.

HIIT causes metabolic adaptations that enable you to use more fat as fuel under a variety of conditions. This will improve your athletic endurance as well as your fat-burning potential.

2. Keep the muscle. Anyone who has been on a diet knows that it’s hard to not lose muscle mass along with fat. And even worse, steady state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss through the production of cortisol. A study published in the Journal of Obesity showed that both weight training and HIIT workouts allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles, while ensuring most of the weight loss comes from fat stores. Keep the muscle, burn the fat. Perfect!

3. Get lean, stay youthful. Not only does HIIT beat conventional cardio as the most effective and efficient form of exercise, it also provides health benefits you simply cannot get from regular aerobics, such as a tremendous boost in human growth hormone (HGH). This is great news since HGH is not only responsible for increased caloric burn, but also slows down the aging process, making you younger both inside and out. It’s almost like a metabolic fountain of youth. Forget the Botox, it’s time for your HIIT workout.

4. Metabolism booster. Several of the genes affected by an acute bout of exercise happen to be the very same genes involved in fat metabolism. Another study in the Journal of Cell Metabolism showed that when you exercise, your body almost immediately experiences genetic activation that increases the production of fat-busting (lipolytic) enzymes. Everyone wants to be a more efficient calorie burner, even at rest, so after you’ve completed a HIIT workout, you’ve not only burned a ton of calories, but also sped up your metabolism! Win-win!

5. No time, no problem. Your life is really packed. It is always a challenge to find time to squeeze in a workout. Well,”no time to exercise” is no longer an excuse, now that HIIT can be tailored for the average adult. These quick, efficient sessions leave you with more time to enjoy life while feeling more fit! You can use FitStar anywhere, just download the app, and boom, you can try some amazing HIIT moves. It’s right there in your pocket!

The HIIT approach to cardio exercise is definitely physically demanding, but it can be modified to different levels of fitness. That said, if you have any cardiovascular problems or other health concerns that limit your ability to exercise at very intense levels, or if you are relatively new to aerobic exercise or not already in good shape, HIIT may not be for you—at least for now. If you have any doubts or concerns about whether it might be safe for you, check in with your medical professional before trying HIIT.

HIIT’s just one of many ways you can get fit and healthy. If you are unsure of what training to do, contact us and we can get a personal trainer to write you a customised program.

Difference Personal Trainer Narellan

Exercise in a Moon Boot, what can I do?

posted Aug 16, 2017, 10:34 PM by Rebecca Smith

Injuring the lower limbs such as an the ankle or the foot can have a negative impact on self-confidence and an easy excuse to stop attending the gym, by saying you’re in a moon boot and that you cannot exercise until it is fully healed. This is not the case, there are many possibilities of training while in a moon boot and it should not hinder you in your journey in the gym. 

Although being in a moon boot or having a lower limb injury can affect what you are able to do, it also opens many different doors as to what you can do. There should be no weight bearing exercise for the lower limbs (i.e. squats, lunges, deadlifts) nor should there be any walking or running on a treadmill, cross trainer or bike, as this may exacerbate the pain in the lower limbs while they are trying to recover from the injury. 

What I like to focus on if a client of mine has a lower limb injury, is their core and upper body, this can be done using free weights or machine weights depending on the clients confidence in the gym, it is safer to stick with machine weights during this time of recovery. Machine weights such as chest press, shoulder press, lat pull down, seated row are all very good machines that are non-weight bearing for the lower limbs, but still give the client a workout where they have to exert energy. You can superset this with core work as to give the upper body a rest in between sets. Core work can include Russian twists, ankle touches, leg raises, crunches, bicycles… the options are endless when it comes to core work.

By staying active and in the gym, when the lower limb injury does recover, the transition that would usually occur where the motivation and routine has been thrown out the window and it will be hard to rediscover this, but by staying active and keeping in routine, you can start to incorporate lower limb exercises into your exercise program and build your strength and confidence to where it began before the injury. You will need to start light when you do start weight bearing exercise as to not reinjure the limb, and to build strength into the left or right (or both) lower limb before you can start lifting heavy again.

So being in a moon boot will not restrict you fully in the gym, you still will be able to keep up physical activity and keep the routine for when your limb does recover. By focusing on the upper body and core aspect of training it will help with the mental side of things during the injury, where mentally clients may struggle during an injury, keeping active and healthy will definitely help with self confidence.


Hayden

PT Narellan

Difference Personal Training Narellan

Should I avoid fruits as they contain too much sugar (too much carbs)

posted Jul 17, 2017, 6:41 PM by Rebecca Smith

Often I hear individuals say they try to avoid fruits (such as bananas) because they contain too much sugar (or too many carbs), but should the sugar in fruit really be the blame for our obesity epidemic?

Yes fruits contain sugar. The main sugar found in fruit (which you have probably heard of) is fructose. However, fruit is not made up entirely of fructose – it contains water, fibre and other beneficial vitamins and minerals that make it an optimal choice to include in a balanced and healthy eating regime.

Additionally, due to the presence of dietary fibre, fructose derived naturally from whole fruit has a different metabolic effect on the body when compared with fructose that is “added“ to foods. In fact, most fructose consumed in the diet is not from fruit, it is actually derived from sucrose, commonly known as ‘sugar’.

Sucrose is a double sugar comprising one glucose and one fructose molecule. Discretionary foods such as sweet biscuits, cakes, chocolate, lollies, fruit drinks, sport drinks and soft drinks contain large amounts of fructose, commonly referred to as “added sugar”. These are the foods that we need to monitor and there is a general agreement among health professionals that we should be consuming less of these discretionary foods as they are easy to overindulge in, generally provide no nutritional value, or essential nutrients.

Furthermore, weight loss is typically achieved by strategies that consistently result in a lower energy intake relative to the energy used so reducing energy-dense, processed and high sugar foods (such as those mentioned above) may assist with decreasing the high rates of obesity and other metabolic disorders affecting our nation.

The World Health Organization has recently dropped its sugar intake recommendations from 10 percent of your

daily calorie intake to 5 percent. For an adult of a normal body mass index (BMI), that works out to about 6 teaspoons (or 25 grams) of free or added sugar per day.

Please note these sugars are different from intrinsic sugars found in whole fresh fruits and vegetables. Many of us don’t realise much of the sugar we actually consume or how much sugar there is “hidden” in processed foods. To put this into perspective, we compared the total CHO and sugar content of 3 items (see below)

1 can of coca cola (375mL): • Total carbohydrates: 39.8 g • Sugar: 39.8g • Equivalent to 10 teaspoons of added sugar/fructose • Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Sugar, Colour (150d), Food Acid (338), Flavour, Caffeine.

50g chocolate bar: • Total carbohydrates: 29.6g • Sugar: 28.7 g • Equivalent to 7 teaspoons of added sugar/fructose • Ingredients: Full Cream Milk, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Mass, Milk Solids, Emulsifiers (Soy Lecithin, 476), Flavours. Milk Chocolate Contains Cocoa Solids 24%, Milk Solids Minimum 24%.

1 small banana: • Total carbohydrates: 16.8 g • Sugar 14.4.g (with 2.3g of that being dietary fibre) • Equivalent to 3 teaspoons of natural fructose

So what does this mean?

When looking at the can of coca cola and the 50g chocolate bar you can see that total sugar is much higher than that of the banana. Additionally, in both of these products, sugar is listed second highest on the ingredient list (ingredients are listed in descending order by weight) and as a rule of thumb, if the product has sugar in the top 3 ingredients it is too high. This is also an indication that the almost all of the total carbohydrates is derived from sugar that has been added to the product.

So in summary, what nutritional benefits would you get from this? Not many. The banana has 12.1g of sugar when deducting the fibre content. However, the bananas’ sugar comes with a quality nutrition package containing important nutrients such as vitamin C, B-6, potassium. In conclusion, the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that we eat a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups. There is no discussion on avoiding sugar altogether, so cutting out foods such as fruit, dairy products and many wholegrain that do contain some sugar, along with other major nutrients, is unnecessary and unhealthy.

If you avoid bananas because of their sugar content, think again. You don’t need me to tell you that a banana is a healthier alternative to a can of coke or a bar of chocolate.

Dietitian, Kimberly


How to stay motivated during the colder months

posted Apr 11, 2017, 10:55 PM by Rebecca Smith   [ updated Apr 11, 2017, 10:59 PM ]

You’ve worked all year to get in shape.  It could have been a New Year’s resolution that got you started.  When winter hits, the weather gets cold and gloomy.  Learn to ignore the gloom and doom and stay on track to better health.

During the warmer weather, it is easy to get physical activity.  We work in the garden, go for walks in the evening, bike ride with the family, and spend lots of time outdoors.  When someone wants to go, we jump up and go.  There seems to be more energy in our steps.

The main motivation is looking good in great clothes.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  We all want to look our best for as long as we can.  The by-product of looking good is that we can achieve great health benefits.  Unfortunately, when winter rolls around, all we desire is to curl up on the couch in big sweaters and slippers.  It’s not cute but it’s comfortable.

But, that big sweater gives us a false sense of security.  We can’t see how much damage we could potentially be doing by eating and maintaining a sedentary lifestyle.  It is okay to want to slack off a bit on the exercise but totally dropping things is a no-no.

Here are a few tips to help you stay motivated during the winter months.  To start, set a regular time to work out and stick to it.  You may not feel like meeting a friend at the gym for a class but you can pop in a DVD or VHS tape and sweat at home.  Instead of cranking up the car and braving the cold, you stayed comfortable and worked out anyway.

Maybe the busyness of the holidays has you skipping workout sessions.  Exercise is cumulative.  Every little bit adds up.  Fifteen minutes in the morning plus another fifteen minutes in the afternoon equals thirty minutes of physical activity that day.

Physical activity doesn’t have to be an hour of jumping up and down to a routine.  It could be reading a magazine while walking on the treadmill.  Dancing around the room, as you vacuum and clean, counts as exercise, also.

Talk to a friend or workout buddy even if you can’t get to the gym with them each day.  Use the telephone to keep each other motivated.  When the weather leads you to slouch on the couch, phone a friend and get a pep talk until you jump up on your feet and get going. 

Listen—you’ve worked mighty hard all year.  Why throw it all away during the season of frivolity and food?  It won’t be easy to stay motivated, but friends can help.  Stick to the routine as much as possible and you won’t feel the after effects of a long indulgent holiday season – you’ll be one step ahead when January rolls round too.

Difference Personal Training Narellan


Why the “pause-button mentality” is ruining your health and fitness.

posted Mar 15, 2017, 11:04 PM by Rebecca Smith   [ updated Mar 15, 2017, 11:06 PM ]

Getting a fresh start’ isn’t the magic bullet you thought it’d be.

“I’ll resume healthy eating after my vacation… once the baby is born… after Dad gets out of the hospital… January 1… Monday.” This kind of “pause-button mentality” seems reasonable, after all what is the harm in taking a break?

The harm is that the thought is to the thought pattern, most of us believe “If I miss some workouts, eat the wrong things, skip the homework… I fail.” “Aren’t I more likely to succeed if I take a break, just until I have the time to do it right?” it is the all or nothing approach, if I am not doing it RIGHT and I am failing then I should “push the pause button” until I am ready to do it correctly.

This completely natural and well-meaning impulse is one of the fastest, surest, most reliable ways to sabotage yourself. Starting fresh after you lose your way is a really comforting thought.

That’s probably why New Year’s resolutions are so popular, especially following the indulgence-fueled holiday season.


Give me that cheesecake. I’ll pick my diet back up on Monday!

In fact, we’ve learned that the idea of a do-over is so alluring you don’t even need a mess-up for the pause-button mentality to take over.

Every January, we welcome a new group of clients. Every July, we take in the second, and final, group of the year.

In July, six months in, just knowing that there are new clients starting the program fresh in January makes some July clients “itch” for a new beginning, even though they’re already making progress, changing their bodies.

If only you’d let me start over, I’d really nail it this time! 


But here’s the problem: The pause-button mentality only builds the skill of pausing.


Whether it’s tomorrow, Monday, next week, or even next year, hitting that imaginary pause button gives you some sense of relief.

It allows you a little respite from what can be really a tough slog

(And the middle is always a tough slog, it doesn’t matter what kind of project you’re working on.)


This perceived relief is compounded by the illusion that if we “start fresh” later we can find the magical “right time” to begin.

Listen, I get it.

It can feel absurd to try to improve your eating and exercise habits while you’re in the midst of chronic stress / looking for a job / starting a new job / going on vacation / caring for aging parents / raising small children.

That’s probably why there are so many 21-day this and 90-day that. What adult has more than 90 days to go after their fitness goals with an all-out effort?

But what do these intense fitness sprints teach you?

The skill of getting fit within a very short (and completely non-representative) period of your life.

What don’t they teach you?

The skill of getting fit (or staying fit) in the midst of a normal, complicated, “how it really is” sort of life.

This is why the yo-yo diet thing has become such a phenomenon.
It’s not about willpower. It’s about skills.

In most fitness scenarios, you learn how to get fit under weird, tightly-controlled, white-knuckle life situations.

You build that one, solitary, non-transferrable skill — to slam the gas pedal down, drive the needle into the red, and squeal down the road for a little while, burning the rubber off your tires until you (quickly) run out of gas and crash.

What you don’t build is the ability to get fit under real-life conditions.

That’s why it doesn’t stick. Not because you suck.

But because the natural and predictable consequence of having a limited skill set is short-term progress followed immediately by long-term frustration.

What will be different next time?

I remember having lunch with a colleague who swore up and down that his low-carb diet plus daily running was the secret to staying in shape.

I had to follow up with a painful question: “Well, why aren’t you actually in shape?”

After a long pause: “Uhh, I’ve had a hard time sticking with it.

We just had our second child. The holidays just ended. I just switched jobs.” He trailed off…

“But, once everything settles down, I’ll get with the program and get in shape again! I guess I’m just on a little break.”

This story illustrates the point perfectly.

Here’s someone who’s built his fitness on a house of cards. He knows only one thing: How to get in shape by following a very challenging program when the conditions are perfect.

And whenever life isn’t perfect, which is most of the time, he hits the pause button. He waits for a better time. (All the while losing the health and fitness he previously worked so hard for.)

That’s why, when our clients ask to press pause, we usually ask them:
“What will be different when you come back?”

Nine times out of 10, the honest answer is nothing. Nothing will be different.

Life is just…happening. And it’ll happen again in January, or after the baby is born, or after Mom gets better, or at any other arbitrary point you pick.

And what then?
Let’s accept that life has no pause button.

The key lesson here is that, like it or not, the game of life keeps going.

There is no timeout.

There’s never going to be a moment when things are magically easier.

You can’t escape work, personal, and family demands. Nor can you escape the need for health and fitness in your life.

Here’s a thought experiment:

What if you tried to hit pause in other areas of your life?

Imagine you’re up for a big promotion at work. For the next two weeks, all you want to do is focus on mastering an upcoming presentation, and winning over your boss.

Trouble is, you’ve got two young children at home who tend to grasp, koala-like, onto your legs and demand your full attention.

Honey, you say to your spouse, I’m just gonna press pause on being a parent for now. I’ll be staying at a hotel. Don’t contact me.

I don’t know about you, but that would NOT go over well in my family.

You can’t really press pause — and you definitely can’t hit reset — on being a parent. (You’ve thought about it, though. I know you have.)

Just like you can’t stop showing up for work and expect not to get fired. Or “take a break” from being married and not wind up divorced.

Generally, when it comes to life, we know we’re not always going to be on our A Game. Sometimes we’re superstars. Most of the time we just do our best.

We muddle through. We keep going.

So why do we expect it to be any different with fitness?

In my case, above, I hired a coach and we came up with a simple workout program that met these criteria:

· No more than 3x a week.

· No more than 10 minutes per session.

· Has to be done upon waking up, right next to the bed.

· Requires no equipment.

I did that for about 6 months. Was it the Best Workout Ever? No! Did I end up, after 6 months, fitter than ever? Heck no!

But was it better than hitting the pause button and doing nothing? You bet!

See, perfectionism is not the point.

“Completing” a program, any other, is not the point.

Being the “best” for a tiny window of time is not the point.

The point is to keep going. Sometimes awkwardly, sometimes incompetently, sometimes downright half-assed. But to keep going nonetheless.

As I often teach our new clients:

The “all or nothing” mentality rarely gets us “all”. It usually gets us “nothing”.

That’s when I propose a new mantra:

“Always something”.
Instead of pressing pause, adjust the dial.

Nowadays I like to think of my fitness and nutrition efforts as a dial.

There are times when I want to dial my efforts up, and times when I want to dial them down. But I never want to turn the dial off completely.

Here’s how this plays out in the context of my life.

Sometimes, say when I’m training for a track competition or concentrating on a particular goal, my fitness dial might be tuned to 9 or 10 out of 10.

Channel 10 means I work out every day. Every meal is planned and carefully considered. I think a lot about fitness. And not much about anything else.

Work, family, hobbies…they’re all in maintenance mode (with the permission of the people this affects, of course).

However, as I write this, my life involves the following:

· Settling into a new home.

· Conducting major home renovations.

· Raising 4 children, including a new baby.

· Running a growing business with nearly 100 team members.

So these days, the dial rarely goes past 3 or 4. I work out, maybe, three days a week. And most of my meals are just “good enough”.

(For the record, I’m totally cool with that. There is no guilt about having my dial set a little lower. What’s most important is that the dial is still set to “on”.)

The important lesson: There’s a big difference between tuning your dial to 3, 2, or even a 1, and turning the whole thing off.

And when you realize how doable — and effective — channels 3 and 2 and 1 can be, you see that there’s never a good reason to hit “pause”.

I get it. It’s easy to discount the lower channels. Especially when you’ve done more in the past. But remember your new mantra…
“Always something.”

A client of ours, Susan, was dealing with a family crisis during the program: Her dad became ill and eventually passed away.

Susan could have given up when her dad was sick. Asked for a pause. And no one would have blamed her.

Instead, she challenged herself to embrace imperfection and do something every day:

Each day, I asked myself: If I can’t do what was asked of me, what can I do? What can I manage (physically, emotionally, mentally) now?

Then I went and did it.

Meanwhile, I also tried to add spontaneous activity into my days. I paced the hospital halls, parked at a distance and walked to the hospital door. I went for evening walks.

Anything to stay active.

I remember Susan telling me about the random sets of squats she did in the corner of her Dad’s hospital room while he was resting.

Susan’s takeaway:

Perfection never happens in real life.

We’re always going to be doing the best we can with what we have.

And that’s okay.

We can still make progress toward our goals and still improve our health and our fitness – whatever’s going on in our lives.

That progress doesn’t happen if you “press pause” and wait for a better time.

It doesn’t happen if you say “I’ll squat again once the Dad situation resolves itself”. Or if you ask for a re-do next week, next month, next year.

“Fitness in the context of real human life”.

In my opinion, pressing pause is buying into an imaginary ideal: a “perfect” time when everything will fall into place;  beautiful, linear trajectory from total suckiness to apex awesomeness:

Unfortunately, there is no perfect time.

We may have magical moments, of course. Short periods of time when things seem to “click” and come together.

But then the dog poops on the rug. Or the kid throws up on the couch. Or both… and then one or the other tracks it all through the house.

You keep pressing pause, and your progress looks like this.

Or, worse yet, you end up flatlining, stuck on a never-ending (maybe eternal) pause.
What to do next.

Fitness in the context of real human life is just like the rest of life.

We’re all just doing the best we can in challenging, complicated circumstances. We are all living messy, imperfect lives. We are all human.

If we can just keep moving forward, no matter what happens, no pause buttons, no do-overs, we win the game.

Here are a few strategies for getting out of the pause-button mentality and into a more realistic, effective, sustainable way of thinking.
1. Try the dial method.

Think of your fitness like a dial that goes from 1 – 10.

If you were to dial it up to “10”…

· What would your workouts look like?

· What would your nutrition look like?

· What other actions/habits would you practice in that scenario?

If you were to dial it down to “1”…

· What would your workouts look like?

· What would your nutrition look like?

· What other actions/habits would you practice in that scenario?

Giving thought to your life right now, where is your dial set?

Would you like to make any adjustments?

Could you move the dial up a channel, or even half a channel?

If so, what would that look like?

On the other hand…

Should you move the dial down a channel so you can stick with health and fitness even during a difficult time?


2. Aim for a little bit better.

An all-or-nothing approach usually doesn’t get us “all”. It usually gets us “nothing”.

You know what actually works?

Small improvements done consistently over time work — we have proof in the clients we’ve helped.

You might be trying to make a meal out of hospital cafeteria food, or gas station food, or airplane food. You might be spending hours awake with a newborn in the middle of the night, or stuck in yet another full-day meeting.

These aren’t ideal scenarios, but they’re not necessarily hopeless either.

Look around. Get creative. See if you can find some small — maybe minuscule — improvements.
3. Anticipate, strategize and plan.

Since we already know that stuff is going to go wrong, the best thing we can do is anticipate and make plans for how to deal when they do.

A simple way to do this is by answering two questions:

1. What’s likely to get in the way of what I hope to accomplish?

2. What is something I can do today to help me keep going when I face those obstacles?

For some people, that might be a Sunday ritual where they prep food for the week so they won’t be scrambling for healthy meals on busy weeknights. For others, it might mean having a healthy meal-delivery service on speed dial.

Don’t be surprised and dismayed when things go haywire. They will at some point. Just arm yourself with the best tools and strategies so you can stay in the game when you’re thrown a curveball.

Submitted by Tim Riley Personal Trainer Narellan

Written By By John Berardi, Ph.D.

How to Hold Yourself Accountable

posted Feb 14, 2017, 10:40 PM by Rebecca Smith

For those of you who don’t know me, I am extremely passionate about my work and my study and they are my top priority. My work and study allows me to work with great people helping them become stronger, fitter and healthier. I help people become disciplined with their diet and exercise and encourage them to always make healthy choices. The problem is that I do not have the same discipline that my clients have, and I don’t always make the healthiest choices. I’ve attributed this to my lack of accountability, my clients are accountable to me, but I am accountable to no one. But, that will change; my new year’s resolution is to hold myself accountable to ME.

If, like me, you struggle to stay on track while you’re on holiday or over the Christmas period, try these steps to motivate yourself and hold yourself accountable, just as I will be doing.

1. Create a Personal Mission Statement

What is it that you want to achieve? Why are you spending hours every week exercising and preparing meals? What is it that you value most?

It is so easy to forget the reason that you started your journey but writing your own mission statement that you can easily reference will make your journey more successful.

My personal mission statement, at the moment, is this: “To consistently build my strength and protect my health through working hard and making healthy choices.”

Your personal mission statement doesn’t have to be profound or poetic – it just needs to convey your core values and define why you do what you do each day.

2. Set Micro-Goals

There are countless benefits to writing down goals of all sizes. Annual, five-, and ten-year goals can help you expand on your mission statement because you know you are working towards a tangible result. But long term goals are useless unless you have a strategy to achieve them. Manage yourself by setting micro-goals.

What is a micro-goal? I like to think of it as a single action that, when accomplished, serves as a building block to a much larger goal.

For example, the resolution to make a larger-than minimum monthly payment on a credit card balance is a micro goal. Each month you successfully increase your payment, you are closer to your big goal of getting out of debt.
At work a micro-goal might involve setting up an important client meeting. Getting all the elements for a meeting in place is one step towards a larger goal of winning or increasing a particular business relationship.

A micro goal is not, however, anything that goes on your to-do list. Responding to a customer inquiry or cleaning out your cubicle is not a micro-goal, unless of course you have bigger goals to specifically involving that customer or to get more organized.

3. Use Lists Wisely

Lists – from simple to-do lists to complex project plans – can be a helpful tool for prioritizing and planning your day. If lists are too big or poorly organized, however, they can overwhelm you and defeat their purpose. Manage yourself by using lists effectively: keep a small to-do list of 5 or fewer items. If it’s not important enough to be on the top 5, leave it off. As you complete activities, you can add more.

One way to help achieve smaller, more manageable lists is to break one big list into several. I often find my to-do lists contain a dozen or more activities than can be grouped. If you’re a blogger for example, and you have 5 great article ideas, writing each one might be on your to-do list. I would recommend putting one item on your to-do list – write 5 new articles. Prioritize it accordingly, and when you sit down to write, break out the list of topics and don’t move to another project on your primary to-do list until all the others are complete.

4. Make Yourself Accountable

Managers hold employees accountable. After all, managers want to make sure employees are earning their salary. If you are a sales rep, managers want to know how many calls you make and how much business you close. If you are a lawyer or a consultant, managers want to know how many hours you bill. Manage yourself by making yourself accountable for how you spend your time.

Some of the most successful people I know review their to-do lists each night and every Friday. They study what they accomplished—and what they did not. Even outside of work, you can do the same. Schedule a time each week to reflect. How were your eating habits this week? Did you exercise this month? What about your spending? Did you stick to your budget or did you splurge? What can you do better next week?

5. Reward Yourself

Great managers know that rewarding employees for a job well done is far more effective than doling out penalties for failure. Rewards range from simple praise to promotions to cash bonuses, but they all achieve the same goal: Rewards make us work harder to get something we want.

If you have a mile-long to-do list, want to start exercising, or want to tuck away more savings, manage yourself by creating a reward for each goal. If you get through your to-do list, leave work early and do something you enjoy. If you get to the gym every day, indulge in a food you enjoy but ordinarily avoid. And if you have a savings goal, tell yourself that when you reach it, you will take a month off of saving and buy yourself something you have always wanted.

6. Do One Task at a Time

How many job postings include the line “must be able to multi-task”? In today’s wired world, it is impossible not to multi-task most of the time. If I were hiring an employee, I would be infinitely more interested in his or her ability to focus and to see tasks through to completion. You can manage yourself by striving to do one thing at a time, and not stop until it is completed.

Working on one thing at a time is easier said than done, but the harder you concentrate on completing one task, the faster you will get it done – even if you are interrupted.

Get in the habit or checking email only two or three times a day and decide to either respond immediately or delete the message. Close your door, mute your phone, or work from home when you need to get through significant projects.

In your personal life, don’t try to give up coffee, smoking, and sugar all at the same time. If you’re tackling debt – or trying to save more – pick the most important debt to pay off, or saving goal to reach, and put everything towards that goal.

You will find that you reach your goals faster, and you will be less stressed.

7. Emphasize Your Strengths, Improve Your Weaknesses

Nobody is born to do everything. We all have natural talents and abilities in some areas, and we all struggle in others. For example, some of us are born writers, but have a difficult time with conversation. Others can work a room or present to hundreds like a pro, but can’t write a coherent email message. Good managers want to help their employees shine, and also develop. To manage yourself, take every opportunity to show off your strengths, and actively seek out ways to improve in improving in weaker areas.

8. Value Your Time

Do you know how much an hour of your time is worth? No matter how much you earn per hour, chances are, each hour is worth far less. After all, you spend time each day getting ready for work, commuting to and from work, and even thinking about work when you aren’t actually working.

When you divide your salary by all that time spend on things related to work, you hourly rate is probably a lot less than you think.

Now, think about your free time – however much of it you may have. What is it worth to you? Could you put a price tag on an hour at the beach with nothing to worry about?

If you’re like most people, the time you have yourself will almost always be more valuable than time at work. Manage yourself by learning to maximize your productivity during the hours you are actually working, and by maximizing your personal time by ignoring your cell phone, Blackberry, and laptop, and focusing on the things you enjoy.

9. Seek Feedback

Good managers don’t only rely on personal observations of their employees. Good managers will seek other opinions of employees – opinions from coworkers, friends, and customers. Such feedback will provide valuable insight into the employee’s competencies and weaknesses, and will help the manager give the employee tools to grow and succeed.

As your own manager, how you see yourself may be radically different from how others see you. Don’t be afraid to ask others how you’re doing. Ask coworkers or friends to provide an honest evaluation of how they think you perform your job, and survey customers to learn what you’re doing right – and where you can improve.

10. Review Yourself

Going back to holding yourself accountable, every manager provides formal feedback to employees at regular intervals in the form of a performance review. Whether quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, make a habit of managing yourself by taking an hour to perform a self-review.
Ask yourself: what have I accomplished in the least year? Have I met my goals? Have I met my micro-goals? Have I built upon strengths and improved my weaknesses? Have I grown as a person? Even this simple, infrequent habit can transform your productivity, attitude, and success.

Personal Trainer Narellan

Jess

The Skinny on Fat-Free, Low-Fat and Healthy Fat

posted Feb 14, 2017, 10:21 PM by Rebecca Smith

With so many supermarket labels reading ‘fat-free’, ‘low-fat, ‘skim’, ‘reduced fat’ it can be difficult to know what you should be buying and whether fat is friend or foe. Word of advice – don’t be fooled by fat-free product claims. The skinny on fat is that we need to eat moderate amounts of healthy fats every day

In the 1980s and 1990s, consumers observed a big change in the products lining their supermarket shelves. From every corner of every shelf, food labels claiming to be ‘fat-free’ or ‘low-fat’ sang out. People started to believe that by ditching fat, they too would become ‘low-fat’ and lean.

In theory, eating ‘low fat’ absolutely makes sense. Fat contains double the amount of calories per gram (nine calories per gram) as carbohydrates and protein (each four calories per gram). Low-fat eating became a dieter’s dream and consumers chowed down on anything low-fat; including low-fat ice-cream, confectionary, bread and pasta. Somehow the message ‘you-are-what-you-eat’ became completely warped and sadly fat was often replaced with sugar, a ‘fat-free’ flavour booster. As low-fat options boomed, so did obesity rates.

Low-Fat Food Doesn’t Mean Low Fat Physique

Clearly, low-fat foods and diets do not deliver low fat physiques. Whether it comes from protein, carbohydrate or fat itself, if we eat more fuel (energy or calories) than our body requires, it gets stored as fat – no matter what.

The problem with low-fat foods is that they are not very filling, so we can eat a lot more. Fat is satiating – it fills us up and makes food taste good. Fat also triggers production of the hormone Leptin, which turns on that “full” feeling and switches off hunger.

There is something about fat that also makes us mindful of our portions and slows us down – we know that extra fat will make a beeline to our butt or belly if we overindulge.

Swapping Low-Fat for Good Fats

The fat-free message of the 80’s and early 90’s was too simplistic; consumers overindulged and ignored healthy fats that are essential for our hearts, hormones, skin, hair and healthy cholesterol levels.

According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, the recommended allowance for unsaturated spreads and oils per day is two serves for women and four for men (two for men over 70).

A serving is equal to:
  • 10g polyunsaturated spread 
  • 10g monounsaturated spread 
  • 7g polyunsaturated oil, for example olive or canola oil 
  • 10g tree nuts or peanuts or nut pastes/butters 
There is no doubt that eating too much fat makes weight reduction hard (although not impossible), but the best approach is to concentrate on reducing harmful fats while including healthy fats in moderation. With too little fat in the diet we risk poor vitamin absorption (especially vitamins A, E, D and K), our moods can hit swings and roundabouts, and the way our body balances out LDL and HDL cholesterol can become problematic.

Healthy Fat for a Healthy Heart

Consuming healthy fat is also surprisingly good for our hearts. Whole foods like avocado, oily fish, olive oil, nuts, seeds and olives are extremely beneficial.

The Mediterranean Diet is an excellent example of this and with countless studies identifying reduced mortality rates in these populations, health professionals cannot help but sit up and take notice.

Choosing the right kinds of fats is critically important; you don’t need to be Einstein to figure out that a chocolate bar isn’t going to be cardiac protective like salmon.

9 Healthy Fats for Every Day

  1. Limit your use of margarine and butter as a spread – try using a small amount of avocado, nut butter, olive oil, low-fat ricotta or even hummus. 
  2. Use a little olive, canola or nut oil in cooking and salad dressings. 
  3. Keep a spray can of extra virgin olive or canola oil handy so you can use a light spray, rather than an overly generous drizzle. 
  4. When it comes to dairy products, by all means choose low-fat options. This will significantly reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet; the bad fat that stubbornly sticks to arteries and organs. Plus, you will still have a protein and calcium rich source of dairy. 
  5. Limit your intake of salami, sausages and other processed fatty meats and opt for lean cuts of meat; remove visible fat and skin from all meat and poultry. 
  6. Order stir-fried, grilled, BBQ or baked foods when in restaurants rather than deep or shallow fried. 
  7. Prepare and cook more of your own meals. That way you’re in control of the type and amount of fat you eat. 
  8. Limit the amount of processed and packaged foods that come into your home and take note of the ingredient list, not just the calorie content and fat grams. 
  9. Go for foods rich in polyunsaturated fats (e.g. oily fish) and monounsaturated fats (e.g. avocado and nuts) and limit your intake of saturated fat (e.g. full fat dairy and meat fat). 

How Much Sugar Are You Really Drinking?

posted Nov 21, 2016, 2:03 PM by Rebecca Smith

We are continually bombarded by expert opinion about hydration status and keeping cool, particularly over summer. As a nation we spend millions of dollars gulping back super sized juices, iced teas, soft drinks and vanilla chillas. Although we are drinking, we are losing track of what we are drinking… excess calories and surprising amounts of sugar!

You don’t need to be Einstein to know that a can of cola has a lot of sugar in it. Sadly there are certain drinks that are loaded with sugar but appear to be ‘healthy’ for us. Let’s take a look at some of the worst culprits.

Sports Drinks

A sports drink is not necessary unless you are training continuously for 90 mins or more. They are designed to replenish your electrolytes, including glucose. In a typical 600ml bottle of sports drink you are looking at 34g of sugar!

Fruit Juices

Juice bars are popping up all over the place. There’s certainly some beneficial vitamins in the fruit used in a juice, but a single juice can have up to 8 serves of fruit in it. 4 times the daily recommendation. A 500ml of orange juice has 40g of sugar in it. TIP: Use your fruit juice like a shot of cordial and top it up with still or sparkling water.

Iced Teas


Commercially bought iced teas are certainly tasty, but in a 500ml bottle you’ll be swallowing 41g of sugar. Why not try making a fruit based herbal tea and popping it in the fridge to chill? Add some ice cubes and a straw and it will feel a little special, too!

Fancy Coffees

Chilled coffees with crushed ice and lashings of cream on top – they look like the belong in a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory scene! Save ‘iced coffees’ as a rare indulgence. A small 300ml chocolate milk alone has 34g of sugar, so once you add in the ice cream or whipped cream, the calories really do multiply.

Cafe Smoothies

A green smoothie can look really nutritious, but be careful as some juice bars load them up with fruit or even sorbets. Creamy banana and mango versions often have full fat or high sugar yoghurt added to them, as well as lashings of honey. So be mindful that if it tastes super sweet or super creamy, that it’s not just a blend of plant food

Debra
Personal Trainer Camden
Difference Personal Training



Getting stronger can get you leaner – the benefits of resistance training for fat loss

posted Nov 8, 2016, 8:09 PM by Rebecca Smith   [ updated Nov 8, 2016, 8:10 PM ]

When most start out their weight loss journey, what usually occurs is the beginning of harsh dieting on very restricted calories and an abundance of cardio-based training with resistance exercise being given little attention. Resistance exercise is essentially lifting weights through a variety of modes such as machines, free weights (i.e. dumbbells and barbells) and other equipment such as tyres and sleds. However, resistance exercise may provide the different training stimulus that you’ve needed! The benefits of adding resistance training into your program occur through two mechanisms, which will be discussed below.

Part 1: Resistance training increases muscle mass

When done properly, resistance exercise increases skeletal muscle mass and has been shown in many scientific research articles to occur with many different types of programs. The increase in muscle mass occurs with the growth of each fibre type broadly known as fast-twitch and slow-twitch fibres. Slow twitch fibres will grow with lighter loads with large fast twitch fibres growing with higher loads. In most cases, the resistance exercise induced increase in muscle mass is accompanied with an increase in muscular strength. This is due to the long-known fact that a bigger muscle, is a stronger muscle. A prime example of this is to look at an individual who is of much larger size to another, the larger individual is usually stronger and can move larger loads in a variety of situations. So resistance training not only increases muscle mass, but the increase in muscle mass also will lead to an increase in strength which is not only a positive outcome physically, but mentally as well.

Part 2: Increased muscle mass affects resting metabolic rate

An increase in muscle mass caused by resistance training leads to an increase in resting metabolic rate (RMR). The RMR is the amount of calories that an individual will burn at rest and will be the largest component of energy expenditure in a relatively inactive person. RMR is related to the amount of muscle mass an individual has but is also influenced by age, gender, current body composition and genetic factors. Muscle is a very metabolically active tissue with many chemical reactions occurring including breakdown and synthesis reactions all of which contribute to the amount of calories used especially during exercise. Now, before we mentioned that muscle mass is related to an individual’s metabolic rate and what this means is that the more muscle mass someone has, the more calories they burn at rest. Let’s use an example of two 100kg men, one has 60kg of muscle mass and one has 80kg of muscle mass. The individual with 80kg of muscle mass will burn more calories at rest than the individual with 60kg of muscle mass. This also means that same individual will need more calories per day to maintain their body mass. But here’s the kicker, the individual with more muscle mass can therefore eat more calories than the individual with less muscle mass in order to lose the same amount of weight. Along with this, because the individual with more muscle mass has a greater increase in metabolic rate, they will burn more fat at rest as fat is best used at low intensities due to its breakdown mechanism (known as beta-oxidation), rest being the lowest physiologically active intensity. So muscle mass is good for long-term fat loss!

How to perform and program resistance training to increase muscle mass

So we know resistance training is good for increasing muscle mass and muscle mass is good for inducing fat loss at rest, so how do we actually do it to achieve this goal? There are many ways to perform resistance training to stimulate muscular growth. If you are untrained, simply using weights with a moderate volume and intensity will trigger an increase in muscle growth very quickly, however individuals who are more trained will find it more difficult to put on muscle mass. In this case, a few recommendations do apply:

  1.  Accumulate 15-30 sets per muscle group per week.
  2. Train at an average of 60-75% 1RM on each movement (approximately 8-15RM).
  3. Repetitions per set should be at 6-10, with any lower stimulating muscular endurance pathways while any heavier will stimulate muscular strength pathways.
  4. Your main work should be based around compound movements which utilise large muscle groups as well as multiple joints.
  5. Focus on controlling the movement, with approximately a 4 second tempo on the down phase and a 2 second tempo on the up or ‘working’ phase. A large time-under-tension is a very well-known method of inducing muscular hypertrophy.
  6. Sets performed should be performed to fatigue, but not to the point of failure. Always ensure that the exercise is performed with the strictest technique and fatigue is therefore the point at which you cannot maintain appropriate technique.
  7. Vary your exercise selection on the targeted muscle to avoid monotony and boredom.

Remember, lifting is for everyone! Males and females respond to training differently with men primarily increasing muscle size and with females showing a more toned and sculpted look with resistance training. This is because females lack the testosterone concentrations required for the increase in muscle mass.

Keep smashing those goals!

Tim

PhD Candidate in Advanced Resistance Training at Sydney University
Difference Personal Trainer
Registered Exercise Professional, Powerlifting coach, Strength and Conditioning coach

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