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"Prioritizing" health means sacrifices [BLOG+VIDEO]

"Prioritizing" health means sacrifices [BLOG+VIDEO]

"Prioritizing" health means sacrifices

You hear people all the time talking about finally making health, diet or fitness a priority.

We're usually well intentioned we say these things, but the reality is that we're often just make these things a priority verbally and not actually making changes in our life that will make the difference.

Think about it like this- truly "prioritizing" health could mean taking on a different job that pays less, something few people would actually go through with. If you have multiple children under 18, in a sense, you could never actually prioritize your own health and fitness.

The point is not to give up or use your job or kids as an excuse, but to adjust our expectations and come up with realistic ways of maintaining fitness without making it the most important thing in our life.

Managing expectations and understanding what it actually takes to get to the level you're daydreaming about can help us come up with fitness or lifestyle changes that truly reflect our priorities.

You have to be honest with yourself

Being realistic about commitment levels also helps with adherence; instead of coming up with overly ambitious programs or diets doomed to fail after a few days, weeks, or months, we have a better shot at making moderate changes that will stick for the long term.

We are all forced to make tough decisions about what we can and cannot squeeze into this life, and optimal health and fitness may not always be attainable in the face of other obligations. I do not think it is a "limiting belief" or being "negative" to suggest that out of the following, the vast majority of us will not tick every box:

  • Raising a family (and doing a decent job of it)
  • Having a healthy, lifelong relationship
  • Having a rewarding, high paying career and retiring at 65
  • Traveling the world
  • Being in excellent shape/ having a good diet
  • Having friends and a vibrant social life
  • Maintaining or attaining mental health, peace of mind etc

Are there people doing all these things? Of course and we rightly strive for most of them, but again, the reality is that for most of us, especially who are middle class or lower, trying to accomplish all these things is probably not happening. How many people do you know that have hit every one of those? 

If you can accomplish 5 or 6, in my opinion, you've done pretty well for yourself.

So when it comes to wanting 10% bodyfat at 40 when you work 60 hours a week, have 3 kids and a marriage on the rocks, we have to be realistic. We cannot make changes like this without sacrifice. Are you willing to take on a lower paying job so you can really commit to fitness? Are you willing to sacrifice a kitchen renovation or a new truck to get in shape? Can you even do these things?

I'm in great shape at 37- but what you don't see is that I took almost an entire year off working to get my life together and payed out of pocket to do so. "Must be nice!" I can hear you saying, but it actually took a huge sacrifice to make happen. I'll be dealing with the financial fallout for years.

But that is true prioritization. It was worth it to me- it might not be for you. Would you flip your 2016 F150 for Car2Go or live in a smaller house to really get a handle on health and fitness? These are extreme measures and not even an option for some. I'm not suggesting people have to quit their jobs to get in shape, but when your expectations are too high about what we can realistically squeeze into a week, failure is likely.

In fitness and diet, adherence is everything

The plans, programs and diets that succeed are the ones that can be maintained long term- and we must take a sober evaluation of what we prioritize in life. People over selling their products will make you believe that you not being in shape is simply a matter of you not executing properly, when in reality many of us simply cannot muster the time or resources to tick every box of life without making sacrifices in another area.

Any work I do with fitness and lifestyle coaching is about priorities; the first stage is always evaluating values and what's really important to you. Only then can we come up with plan that truly honors what you want out of life in a realistic way. Trying to have a 6 pack while raising a family, working full time, seeing friends, traveling regularly and having time for the spouse might not be an option despite what we want to believe. If fitness was a priority, you'd already have it.

Let's shoot for a 4 pack for now.

Get in gear with High Potential!

For no nonsense, results driven fitness and lifestyle coaching in Vancouver or online, get in touch with High Potential today!

Check out www.gethighpotential.com and book a free consultation. 

 

How to have "cheat" meals every day [BLOG+VIDEO]

How to have "cheat" meals every day [BLOG+VIDEO]

How to have "cheat" meals every day

I do not prescribe to the theory that in order to attain excellent health and fitness, we must spend our lives eating brown rice, chicken and broccoli with brief chances to really enjoy food.

It pains me to see people struggling taking on overly ambitious diets that strip away what seems like 90% of the foods most of us grew up enjoying- and when reality sets in, swing too hard back in the other direction and end up worse off than before.

As we get older, we of course cannot just eat what we want and expect things to work out. But with some small sacrifices, tweaks and relatively high energy output, we can get away with far more than we realize!

Let's get real

I guess The Rock's massive sushi cheat trays look cool, but I'd rather some sushi every day. Or something like it; and for most people I find it's unrealistic and unnecessary to be so restrictive. A lot of people have tough lives, with not a lot to look forward to on the average weekday and I believe diets that attempt to utilize cheat meals are usually counter productive and rarely stick.

Here's a few tips to try and incorporate your favorite foods into your everyday diet:

  • Instead of sacrificing entire days, "sacrifice" at least 2 meals in the sense that you make zero attempt to come up with something that tastes good. At least 2 that are completely dedicated to perfect nutrition and dietary efficiency. 
  • You're going to need to keep your activity levels high. Ideally, try and burn at least 500 extra calories, 4-6 times per week. The more the better. This is not just about making room for food- I've been studying this extensively and I've come to the conclusion that exercise is good for you!
  • You need to say goodbye to the absolute worst offenders- candy, soda and chips being the godfathers of absolute shit. Ice cream is going to be a stretch. Aside from making you swim for 2 hours every morning, I can't help you with this stuff. Sacrifices, yo.
  • For me, the most important one- make your own food! I cannot stress this enough. Whether it's burgers, pizza, baked goods, whatever, you have to learn how to make this stuff on your own. Weight loss is not always simply about calories, and consuming "single ingredient" foods as opposed to highly processed stuff is invariably linked to better health outcomes. I can eat almost a dozen homemade cookies and wake up the next day feeling fine, but the same amount from a box or Subway and I feel like I was out drinking the night before.

Bon appetit

For most of us food is one of the great joys of life. Sometimes, we go too far, but it also doesn't mean we should completely cut this natural pleasure out from our lives. But we do have to work for it a bit, especially as we get older.

If we're willing to cut out the most outrageous junk food, keep moving and make some effort in the kitchen, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to have at least one meal a day you truly enjoy without worrying about carbs, calories or how it would look on Instagram. 

Get in gear with High Potential!

For no nonsense, results driven fitness and lifestyle coaching in Vancouver or online, get in touch with High Potential today!

Check out www.gethighpotential.com and book a free consultation. 

The most important days are the bad ones [BLOG+VIDEO]

The most important days are the bad ones [BLOG+VIDEO]

The most important days are the bad ones

Whether it's fitness or life in general, our success and progress is not linked to how we behave when everything is roses. 

Good days or good times are what we live for and what keeps us sane through the ups and downs of life. But character is not built on good days- showing up at the gym when you feel great burns calories just the same, but it's not how you cultivate the discipline and fortitude that the perpetually fit have acquired.

Life is the same. It's easy to be a loving, generous person when you're feeling great and want for nothing or when things are easy. But we are defined by our actions towards people, situations and individual days when everything is going wrong or we're forced to deal with "negativity".

Try and look at bad days, bad situations or people as opportunities and you'll find they aren't as "bad" as you think!

The opportunity for growth

It is natural and normal for humans to avoid pain and we largely structure our lives to maximize good times and minimize the bad. But we often fail to recognize the opportunity for growth that these challenges represent. It's important to try and start associating these painful times with future success or peace.

You might have committed to a new workout program that starts today, but you're still getting over a cold, you didn't have the greatest sleep, had a bad day at work and you're a little nervous about starting something new. All you're thinking about is what a dreadful 45 minutes it's going to be, but it's a great opportunity.

Pushing through that "bad day" is going to make all the other workouts look easy after that. It will build your confidence. When you realize that 10 minutes into the class you forgot about how tired and cranky you were, your baseline for what's enough to skip a workout will be higher. None of this would be possible if you felt fantastic and were doing something familiar and comfortable.

It's the same with a bad situation in a job or relationship; we're often all too quick to cut and run at the first signs of negativity or trouble. These things are just a part of life and we have to learn coping mechanisms for dealing with all sorts of garbage life is going to throw at us. You're unlikely to form a long term relationship or make it to the top of a company by practicing avoidance instead of embracing the opportunity to learn. 

Think of all the vapid trust fund babies you see in the news for acting like complete morons; you simply do not develop character, judgement or a sense of gratitude by walking through the raindrops of life. Bad days or even years are where the opportunity for growth lies.

The beauty of adjusting your attitude towards challenging times is that not only will you be more likely to learn something, but you'll be less anxious and fearful about what might be coming down the road.

"Bonus points" for bad days

I like thinking of it as if you get bonus points for the positive actions you take on a bad day. Every pushup when you're feeling like shit is worth two down the road. It's the same with your actions- giving someone a dollar when you're broke means a hell of a lot more than when you're flush. Being a friend to someone who's not doing well and being "negative" is what counts, not just when they're a "positive" influence in your life (don't get me started on the almost sociopathic popularity of ditching your friends at the first sign of negativity).

Bad days are only bad days if you fail to capitalize on opportunity, especially in the gym. It's not going to be your best performance, but it's the shift in attitude and habit that will set you up for major success down the road.

Get in gear with High Potential!

For no nonsense, results driven fitness and lifestyle coaching in Vancouver or online, get in touch with High Potential today!

Check out www.gethighpotential.com and book a free consultation.