“Let’s Make Exercise FUN Again!” 😃(#30)

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to stick to something that you don’t enjoy doing? Throughout my professional career I’ve encountered many people who actually want to exercise, but simply don’t find it enjoyable. What’s interesting, however, is that I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t enjoy the benefits of regular exercise (eg. better sleep, less stress, mental focus). So today I’ll go over a few ways you can enjoy regular exercise and enjoy the benefits as well!

If I’m to be honest, I’ve gone through seasons in my life where I didn’t enjoy working out. I enjoyed benefits of working out, just not the process. Then one day it finally dawned on me:

 

 

people only stick to things they enjoy doing

 

 

From that moment on I made the decision to only focus on exercises that I enjoy doing.

 

For instance, with cardio I prefer running instead of doing “burpee” exercises because I hate doing burpees. In the same way, whenever I run it’s always outside because running on a treadmill is too boring for me. The key is that whether I do 100 burpees, run outside, or run on a treadmill – I’m still enjoying the benefits of cardio.

 

 

The beauty of exercise is that it’s broad. It’s so easy to forget that exercise is not just limited to the gym, weights, and 2-hour workouts. I actually had a friend once tell me: “Emmanuel I simply don’t workout anymore because I find it boring. I love racquetball though, I could play it for hours”. Little did my friend know that playing racquetball IS his workout! Perhaps he didn’t realize this all along because he finds racquetball so effortlessly enjoyable.

 

In the same way I issue you this exactly challenge. I challenge you to find at least one activity that you enjoy doing so much that it doesn’t seem like exercise.

 

Because at the end of the day, exercise is nothing more than “moving while having fun”!

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Going through seasons where you don’t feel like working out is normal
  • Exercise isn’t limited to just the gym
  • Find something that you enjoy doing that doesn’t seem like exercise

 

 

 

 

 

 

Riding Momentum To Your Goals! (#29)

Often times when we want to get started on a huge task (let say, losing weight) it’s very easy to get hung up on how long things will take. The term “paralysis by analysis” is a phenomena that occurs when one over-analyzes a situation to the point of not taking any action (eg. “what happens if I don’t lose any weight after 3 months?”). The reality is, you wont know what results you’ll have 3 months from now until you take today’s first step.

 

Therefore, the focus of today’s Monday Boost is to spur you into action by simply taking that first step!

 

“The Reason We Don’t Get Started”

 

One component that keeps us from getting started is the psychological mechanism known as the “fight or flight” response. In short: Fear and anxiety causes us not to take a first step due to protecting one’s self. As a result, we never give ourselves the opportunity to grow and try something new (Note: This is also the environment in which the skill of procrastination, another fear-based mechanism, takes place).

 

“So How Can I Get Out of this Fear-Based Over-Analyzing and Procrastination Emmanuel?!”

 

Have you ever jogged down a slanted road, or slowly rode a bike downhill? The force that begins to “carry you” moments later is called MOMENTUM! This is exactly what I want for your fitness journey!

 

 

The key is: All momentum starts with one small step in the right direction.

 

 

And another step.

 

 

And then another.

 

 

Before you know it, all these small daily steps (momentum) you’ve built over time begins carrying you to you goal! See how simple that is?

 

Take another look at the image for this post. I started with a light jog downhill and by the time this photo was snapped I was almost nearing full stride!

 

Now it’s YOUR turn:

 

Let go of any missed opportunities in the past by recognizing that procrastination is something that most people struggle with (myself included). Make a decision today to take small, tiny steps towards your goal each day and let’s ride that wave of momentum together!

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Over-analyzing leads to inactivity
  • All it takes is one step small step to get momentum started
  • Momentum is a collection of small steps over time

Monday Boost Quote: “Natural Medicine!” (#28)

Having been raised in a medical family, I’m well aware of how poor and unbalanced diets can lead to various diseases and cancers. And although adding a couple of fruits and veggies to our daily diets isn’t guaranteed to be the “end all, be all” to a disease – it’s certainly a great place to start. As we begin looking at natural food sources as “natural medicine”, we start realizing that our bodies are made to function a certain way.

 

DAILY FIT CHALLENGE!: Start today by picking just ONE fruit or veggie that you enjoy and add it to what you normally eat each day (See! Who says you can’t enjoy a cookie AND an apple 🙂 )!

 

Personally I enjoy my fruits and veggies through the form of a smoothie as shown above, but regardless, the key takeaway for today’s Monday Boost is balance and moderation! So let’s take our natural medicine NOW so we can avoid prescription medicine later!

Related Video: How to Eat More Veggies

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Natural foods are another form of medicine
  • Practice balance and moderation by adding one piece of fruit or veggie to your regular meals

“DON’T BE THIS GUY!” (Daily Fit Boost Rant) (#27)

In today’s “microwave generation” of shortcuts and instant gratification we see these effects play out in our everyday lives, not just in one area, but in all areas, and perhaps the most troubling part is that the disorganized person who practices their disorganization privately is sure to also display these same traits in a public form as well, even at the expense of implementing safety hazards for others, however, such a “culturally accepted environment” also goes to show a lack of leadership in the ability of others to set a good precedent in taking the initiative to help keep public areas clean, regardless of others abandoning their individual duties to clean up after themselves, that being said, I’d like to challenge everyone to appreciate the value of equipment, recognize the impact that photos like these have on your personal safety, and to consider the message that it speaks to others when you pick up after yourself, I encourage you, at the expense of writing the “World’s Longest run-on sentence”, to: “NOT BE THAT GUY” 👆🏾

(Okay, I feel better now. Rant complete. 😊)

 

Key Takeaway:

  • Practice picking up your weights after yourself to provide a safe workout environment 👍🏾

Better Late Than Never (#26)

“One year from now you’re gonna wish you started a year ago.” -anonymous


This quote is something that I keep in the back of my mind whenever I feel like “the ship has already sailed”. The reason it’s difficult to begin a task after taking time off is often because we start considering where we could or should be. The alternative to this, of course, is to focus on where we’re currently at.

 

In workout consistency, I discussed how it took me a long time to finally begin playing the guitar consistently. Initially, I had every intention of playing my guitar every day and getting really good at it. However, the “busyness of life” took over and before I knew it five years had passed without me knowing how to play much of anything at all! At that point I could have thrown in the towel, chalked it up as “wasn’t meant to be”, and just sold my guitar. But instead I recognized that in five more years from now I’ll have yet another opportunity to gain back that same five years of experience.

 

The key takeaway here is to… [*wait for it*]GET STARTED NOW!

 

What are some improvement areas in your health and fitness that are “better late than never”? A 5k run? A meal prep plan? A lean body? Perhaps taking the first step means starting a new gym membership.

 

One of the things that keeps us feeling youthful and vigorous is keeping an optimistic outlook towards the future. In life, when we tell ourselves that it’s “better late than never” we give ourselves another opportunity to make things right. We know that we prioritize the things most important to us, so why not take advantage of time management strategies like Mini-Habits to get started? 🙂

 

Those of you who truly want this will have no problem getting started TODAY!

Trust me, your future-self will thank you 😉

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Focus on where you’re currently at (today), rather than where you “should or would” be
  • Starting “late” rather than never
  • We will always be able to make time for things that are important to us
  • A year from now you’ll be grateful you started a year ago

Exercise: A Key to Personal Development (#25)

After graduating college in 2011, I landed a job in a different city where I had no friends or relatives. I quickly found myself bored with tons of free time on my hands. It wasn’t long before I decided that starting a gym membership was a great opportunity to be around other people.

Yep, you read that right – my initial motivation for starting a gym membership was to get out of the house and meet people. However, it’s the personal development I’ve gained through exercise that keeps me going, seven years later.

 

For example, I’ve always been an organized person but it wasn’t until I got involved with habit-based exercise that I developed traits such as discipline. As a result I started gaining more and more self-confidence as my body began to change. Results led to more confidence, and that confidence ultimately led to more self-discipline!

 


The confidence and discipline I gained from working out started translating into other areas of my life as well.


 

What about you? Perhaps you’ve been working out consistently for a while now and have also experienced similar personal development as well. As a personal trainer, I can attest to witnessing the following growth characteristics in many of my clients, regardless of age or gender:

 

  • self-confidence
  • optimistic outlook of the future
  • charisma
  • charm
  • less self-awareness
  • increased self-respect
  • discipline and organization
  • autonomy

 

As you advance in your exercise journey you’ll begin noticing different personal development traits such as these. Ultimately, my desire for you is to develop these traits through consistent exercise so that they develop into other areas of your life. This is where exercise meets daily life! 

 

Today, choose to make a long-term investment in yourself through regular exercise.

 

Your future self will thank you 🙂

Key Takeaways:

  • Personal development from regular exercise keep you going
  • Fundamental characteristics from routine exercise translate into other areas of your life
  • Invest in yourself through regular exercise

“Different Equipment, Different Goals”: Free weights (#24)

Free weights: “Strength and Size”

 

Today at your local gym you’ll likely find more of the experienced lifters using free weights. This is not by mistake. Maintaining proper lifting form while moving a free weight requires a concentrated effort. This is why I look at stationary machines and cables machines as more of a “safety” pre-requisite. Nevertheless, lifting free weights comes with its own set of benefits as well.

 

One of the first things you’ll notice while lifting these type of weights is that you’ll start to experience soreness, more frequently, and in more areas. This increased soreness is actually a good thing as your body learns to grow and adapt to higher stress demands. Furthermore, this soreness indicates that you’re activating ALL your muscles and not just the primary ones.

 

For instance, there are several “assisting muscles” that are actually inhibited when performing arm curls on a stationary machine, whereas with free weight arm curls you’re activating your core, glute muscles (stabilizers), and even secondary muscles like your chest.

 

If you are fairly new to using free weights it’s always a good idea to start off light and then gradually increase in weight. As a matter of fact, it’s always a good idea to start off “light” regardless of experience because doing so will help you develop proper technique. As you continue along your fitness journey don’t forget that person growth is a process! Encourage yourself each week by keeping track of your progress with each machines, cables and free weight exercise. Good luck!

 

Try starting with these! Here are six common free weight exercises that you’ll be able to do in just anywhere:

 

  • DB bicep curls

 

  • Triceps extensions (bent over)

 

  • Dumbbell back rows

 

  • DB shoulder press

 

  • Dumbbell chest bench press

 

  • DB squats

 

 

 

Key Takeaways:

Free weights…

  • are the most advanced of the three types of weight lifting
  • promote stabilization and core activation
  • should be increased gradually to avoid injury

“Different Equipment, Different Goals”: Cables (#23)

Cables Machines: “Stabilization and Control”

 

Although I utilize all three types of exercise equipment, cable machines are hands down my favorite! If you’re new to working out I recommend cables as a great way to mix up your routine. I look at cables machines as the intermediate bridge between novice stationary machines and advanced free weights. Cable machines are different in that they offer a unique combination of strength, stability and control.

 

Most cable machines come with detachable hooks to work out the same muscle group at multiple angles. Generally speaking, cables are mostly used for upper body and core exercises, but with some creativity you can even utilize cable machines for your legs as well. These machines differ from other weights in that the focus is solely on muscular endurance, that is, cables are ideal for anyone whose goal is to remain physically active.

 

When utilizing cable weights, the emphasis is usually on “high repetitions-low weight”. This allows the user to gain quality contractions without placing as much strain on the joints and ligaments. This is particularly significant for those who are either rehabbing an injury or getting older in age. When used correctly, cables can be a great way to stay lean and fit without having to worry about injuries down the line.

 

Try starting with these! Here are six of the most common cable exercises that you do in just about any gym :

 

  • Bicep cable curls

 

  • Triceps cable pull-downs

  • Chest fly cables

 

  • Back rows cables

 

  • Shoulder press

 

  • Cable squats

 

Key Takeaways:

Cables…

  • offer a unique combination of strength, stability and control
  • emphasizes higher repetitions and lower weights
  • ideal for older population and rehab patients

[Next: “Different Equipment, Different Goals”: Free Weights (Strength and Size)]

“Different Equipment, Different Goals”: Weight Lift Machines (#22)

Weight lift Machines: “Recommended for the Beginner”

 

Ah, the lovely weight lift machines.

 

Back when I did personal training at the gym I would always start new clients off with weight lift machines for a few good reasons. For one, weight lift machines are the easiest to use due to their controlled design. Not only does this helps minimize injury, but it also eliminates the likelihood of improper lifting form.

 

Another thing I appreciate about weight lift machines is that they usually carry visuals on the targeted body muscle group, as well as instructions on how to properly operate them. I’ve had clients in the past who’ve shared how they felt self-conscious about looking “silly” in front of people because they didn’t know what to do. The good thing about using these machines when starting off is that everything is set up for you to look like a gym pro right away!

 

Try starting with these! Here are five of the most common weight machines that you’ll find at just about any gym:

 

  • Bicep curl machine

 

  • Chest fly machine

  • Triceps press machine

  • Back row machine

  • Leg press machine

 

Key Takeaways:

Machines…

  • are ideal for beginners
  • easily lets you know which muscle group you’re activating
  • enables the gym novice to look good right away when first starting out

[Next: “Different Equipment, Different Goals”: Cables (Stabilization and Control)]

Mini Habits! (#21)

You and I are creatures of habits. It’s amazing how many decisions are made in our daily lives without thinking. Some studies even show that subconscious habit makes up 40% of our daily actions! Therefore, in order to keep that ‘40%’ full of healthy actions we’ll discuss how to change unhealthy habits with “mini habits”.

One misconception about habits is that they take a lot of effort to build, but I disagree. Nature shows us that a small snowball rolling downhill will eventually get bigger and stronger with enough momentum. The snowball doesn’t require much “effort” once it gets going. In the same way, we’ll use effortless mini habits to build daily momentum towards our goals.

 

There’s a saying that goes “success is built upon success”. Fortunately this quote never mentions how big the success has to be! Think of a mini-habit as a daily task towards your goal that’s SO simple that it’s hard not to do it every day. For instance:

 

  • If your goal is to improve your gym consistency, start a mini habit of driving past your local gym on the way home each day (nothing more!)
  • If you want to build a strong core, start a mini habit of simply laying in sit-up position on the ground for a few seconds (yep! that’s it!)
  • If you want to drink more water each day, start a mini habit of simply filling up a water bottle (I didn’t even say you had to drink it!)


“Great! But isn’t this a little TOO simple…what’s the catch?”


Mini habits are designed to get you comfortable with taking the first step towards your new goal (a healthier habit).

 

Therefore, these too-easy-not-to-do mini-habits simply serve as your “daily bare minimum” accomplishment for the day. However, I assure you it won’t be long before you naturally feel compelled to do more simply because you “might as well”. You’ll figure:

 

  • “I’m already driving by the gym each day (mini habit accomplished), I might as well go inside on the treadmill for a couple minutes”
  • “I’m already down here in sit-up position (mini habit accomplished), I might as well do a couple”
  • “I’ve already filled my water bottle (mini habit accomplished), I might as well drink some”

 


Remember: the “mini habit accomplished” is your main goal, anything else is an extra bonus.


 

Furthermore, I would seriously recommend making your momentum visible by utilizing a journal or checklist calendar. Keeping track of your progress this way is a great way to see your “success building upon itself”. Seeing your daily momentum gives yourself a satisfying sense of accomplishment every day. The longer your daily “success streak” gets, the more you’ll want to keep it alive.

 

And boom – you’ve just created discipline without even realizing it.

Let’s get that snowball rollin B-)

 

Key Takeaway:

  • New habits are best acquired through daily momentum
  • Daily momentum is best sustained through simple, mini habits
  • A mini-habit (baby step) is something that’s too-easy-not-to-do
  • Keep track of your daily progress in a journal or calendar checklist