Tag Archives: reflection

More Reflection from a Fledgeling

My friends of PT/Coaching ilk, some reflective thoughts for you.
Are you fuelling your ego or enriching your soul?
Looking back through some old programming I’ve done over the years for people when I was far more green to the industry I can spot the exact moment things went to shit.
By that I mean that my programming got lazy.
Excuses of –
“They don’t want to change enough.”
“It’s t heir attitude.”
“We must stick with XYZ because… reasons.”
All creeping in to cover up the truth, I got bored because things got hard.
Once things got hard and a choice was presented:
– Talk honestly & openly with the client about moving forwards meaning more time, effort and energy needed to be spent for the greater good of the person in front of me
– Spam out arbitrary programs for profit and an easy life
Some people got the former, many got the latter.
Those privy to the first were good long term clients and got a decent amount of progress, the rest in the latter camp made some progress however it wasn’t what it could have been.
That was over a decade ago.
It was at that time I made the conscious choice to focus on the quality of service, and giving people an experience that would enrich their lives, over just fleshing out my bank balance.
Yes, my profits took a hit. A massive hit, yet it was worth it.
This is why not you’ll find if you ask me for a program I will give it to you for free, because I can and it’s the right thing to do.
If you require coaching however, well that comes at a rather hefty price.
As PT’s it’s easy to fall into the trap of dishing out templates, throwing a google search out there and pilfering a program for someone else and claiming it as your own.
We’ve all done it, because it’s easy.
Making the commitment to producing high quality work is a tall order that requires a lot of your energy invested into it.
This is where the emption of going down the easy path sinks it’s claws into many a young trainer, even some experienced ones too, and the only ones who suffer are the clients that pay their hard earned cash for a result/service/product.
By suer I mean they don’t get the best results/outcome/experience.
This is why PT gets a bad rap.
Most are no better than used cars salesmen.
Fellow PT’s….
You wouldn’t want to invest in a something lacking substance (it’s why you won’t hire a coach, you know most are full of shit because it’s a reflection of your own self you’d rather ignore), yet you’ll sell/give exactly that to your clients.
Harsh as this sounds it comes from experience.
Letting people down isn’t what we want for anyone, yet it happens because of our inability to say these very simple words:
“I’ve reached my limit.”
You see we can only take people as far as we know how, to go further we need to invest more in our education and abilities, at great cost to ourselves I might add (financially & physically).
That being said, this is how we can take everyone to the next level, that is if you wish to work with those beyond the level of beginner and stop claiming your ultimate success in your business is the result of your skills and not randomness and the fact you’re exploiting the ‘beginner gains’ phenomenon.
As such we can’t lament what is done, it’s done.
No point in being sorry, instead we must be better.
Take a look at your programming and how you conduct yourself as a PT/coach, are you the coach you want to be or a mere shadow of it?
Make the choice to be better now and in the long run it’ll all be worth it.

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Does that sound right?

Sometimes we forget to appreciate just how easy we have things.
Taking for granted everything that is in abundance for us.
Even in a first world if life is hard, it’s not that hard when you really look at how some other places have it.
Same goes for fitness.
We rarely appreciate what we have, taking it for granted until eventually it’s gone and we’re left wandering what happened.
Suddenly we’re old and decrepit, a shadow of our former selves.
You only miss what you have when it’s gone.
This you know, you’re fully aware of it, yet I reckon you still take a lot, perhaps too much for granted.
I know I have…. I do.
Chances are you’ve noticed my attitude towards training has changed over the years, well, I suppose that will depend on how long you’ve followed these ramblings.
While on a personal level I love all things highly technical and to the number, it’s not always the best way to move forwards.
Sure enough on paper it’s the most optimal, yet in reality and at that specific point in time it may not be the right path to follow.
Hence the shift towards simpler training principles that leave little to the imagination and provide people a simple choice – do the work or don’t.
Single lift training day.
Hitting 2-3 movements every 3-5 days varying their intensity.
Essentially doing less better than doing more worse.
Limiting the options we have really does force us to change.
Or at least find a way to progress.
Yesterday I was talking to a gourd of enthusiastic students and covering how to set up training days that allowed for high effort sessions and recovery ones.
One came out with a question about how this would apply to training muscle groups.
My answer was this – “It’ doesn’t matter, not really, you’re better off training the body based on movement patterns.”
It then dawned on me.
Looking at her face, l could see the discomfort because a belief or at least what is being taught to her currently got challenged and perhaps even contradicted it, and for many this is quite troubling because it leaves them unsure of ‘what they know’ which can affect their sense of self and confidence, all because we forget that sometimes a person might not know what you know because they’ve not lived the life you have up until this point.
“You cannot have the experience of being middle aged without living to be and living through being middle aged.”
I am guilty of forgetting that not everyone sees things the same way because they don’t know what I know.
Ironically I’ve been ‘them’, once upon a time thinking one way, confidently speaking out to be cut off and told differently without the person doing it explaining why, this is why not and on a personal note I will always try to expelling ‘why’ I answer as I do and the context behind it.
It’s easy to leave people hanging, yet it’s not right, because it doesn’t help them grow, and it shows that you’re still not too sure of your own knowledge/self and won’t give more just incase someone adds in something you might not have been aware of or another angle you didn’t consider.
Funny how we reflect on how we used to be.
No one person has infallible knowledge.
One lesson I learned a long time ago is that rather than being concerned with just being right for the sake of it and making the context/situation fit the need to be right, simply give the best answer you can for the question asked and always be willing to explore things further.
You should investigate this thoroughly.

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A Habit for Every Mood

Habits are funny things.
Much like anything we have one for every mood or situation.
Some make us feel good, others motivate us and a few do nothing better than punish and stall of progress.
Over they years I’ve become more adept at finding out a persons reason why they have these little patterns.
Personally knowing has always been a priority.
It’s just my inherent personality trait, some call it being nosey and others say far worse, yet knowing has always been that insatiable lust of mine.
To not have considered every option, sacrilege.
It probably came form being an only child and spending countless hours alone quietly playing with the same few toys and each time comping up with a new story.
Of course without knowing more there was only so many situations I could pull from thin air because truly original ideas are few and far between.
Habits, much like knowledge, don’t just come thin air for the most part. You’ll find we either pick them up from watching others or then being suggested to us.
After all a habit was once a choice you consciously made.
Might not be what people want to hear however it’s the truth in the largest majority of situations.
In regards to your habits do you know which ones you have for which mood?
Take 5min to make a list.
What is your immediate reaction in the following:
– Happy
– Sad
– Angry
– Confused
– Tired
– Focused
The list can be longer and for any mood/emotion you can think of and I bet you will have a habit for each, be that to get you in to or out of the desired emotional state.
Once you know what habits are anchored to what emotions you can begin to understand why this is and start that lengthy and often painful process of letting go the ones which are detrimental and creating new more productive ones.
While this is simple it won’t be easy.
Growth never is though.

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Nom Nom Nom

Is there a food that you just can’t live without?
Many have at least one.
Some have a fridge full, that must be consumed under various circumstances or when certain conditions are met.
To some this may be called addiction, others it’s meal prep.
Depending on how you view things.
Consistency of the foods we eat isn’t actually that hard to achieve, if you think about it logically you’ll find people stick with select foods day in day out.
The difference is often the quality of food.
Taking this in to consideration you can swap one food habit with another, if only it was that easy.
Which realistically it is, however if you’re not willing to let go of a food or something that is perhaps not the most optimal choice for your health, you may want to question why.
Plenty of people understand what they should do.
Especially in regards to nutrition, yet they don’t.
Emotion, that is the reason, or at least what it boils down to in the end.
Becoming married to a certain food, or even stye of eating can be quite detrimental.
If you have the ability to have something just because you want it, and yet can as easily go without then I’d say you’ve found that place where you’ve got all your plates spinning well.
When someone says “I have to have….” alarm bells ring.
Less for medical reasons no one needs to have anything. Want to have, perhaps.
Self control, will power, what ever you call restraint, it’s being mindful and aware of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and more importantly being okay with it.
By okay with it I mean this in regards to accepting any or all potential consequences that come with said choice.
It is common we will tend to leave ourselves ‘outs’.
Reasons for our choices that make us feel less bad about the choice we made food wise, yet if you end up feeling that way do you ever stop to ask why?
Hopefully you’ve noticed the common theme.
Asking why, being able to understand, learn and grow from each choice and layer you peel back in regards to delving in to your depths.
A little bit about how I eat.
I just eat based on what I feel I need, the mythical ‘listening to my body’ kind of thing.
There are no set times to eat.
No set meal frequency or specific meals/macros to be hit.
I’ve done my time playing with those factors to see what impact they had, which can be described as minimal.
Some days I will not eat until the evening, not because of some protocol telling me to, merely because life gets in the way and food waits until later.
No I didn’t get hangry because I’m not 6months old and still clasping my mothers tit for sustenance.
While food can indeed affect your mood, you have to understand that you will be aware of this impending shift and if you choose to be ‘hangry’ then it’s a choice you’ve made willingly.
Yep, that’s why people get pissy and then say “I haven’t eaten.” as if it exonerates them.
Umm, no, you know you’re hungry and you’re using that as your excuse to be a prize bell-end, congrats you’ve unlocked an achievement.
Now I’m sure some will be running to PubMed to find all the studies on low blood sugar, fluctuating concentration levels and a whole host of other information to justify them being a little bit of a dick when they get hungry.
Please feel free to do this, just understand it still doesn’t change the fact that if you know you’re hungry and choose to be a dick, you’re choosing to be a dick, end of.
You will often find the only people capable of such things are those privileged enough to do so.
People that don’t have a choice just get on with it.
How do your nutritional habits affect you?
Take some time to sit and reflect on this.

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Living with your mistakes.

“The road is long & the life short.”
You may hear many people talk about how you learn from every mistake, and so on.
I can tell you from experience that you don’t.
That is certainly not the case here on this side of the screen your reading 😂
It’s like the grey matter between the ears recognises what has just transpired was a colossal mistake and vows never to make it again.
Then it immediately hits the ‘reset’ memory button.
Shortly followed by this thought:
‘That seems like a good idea, yet why do I have this strange forbidding feeling in my stomach…. Meh, it’s probably just something I ate.’
*Cue fool errand and obvious impending mistake.
There is a reason we make the same mistake repeatedly.
It’s because of familiarity.
Yep, being the clever species we are, and one that tends to like sequential things, symmetry and especially patterns (ones we recognise from past experience), we’re likely to make the same mistake countless times.
It’s easy to get drawn in by what we know, even subconsciously.
We see, feel, connect with something that seems like we already know and that’s all we need.
This happens throughout life.
As such fitness is no exception to this, just look at the diet industry, that monstrosity has been spamming out the same new fads for decades and people still get drawn in.
Here is the cycle:
Fad promise of glory > naive & desperate person > they go all in > results achieved > reversion to their old familiarities > sadness > fad promise of glory > repeat.
You think we’d learn, right?
So given that which we know, what are we to do?
The answer is less sexy than you might imagine.
Keep a diary.
Weren’t expecting that were you.
Writing things down is a great way of keeping track of not just things in fitness, nutrition, business and goals, it’s also quite handy for life.
Sitting down after an event and putting pen to paper, or fingers to keys in this day and age, captures your emotions and perception of the events in that moment.
This can be great for self reflection.
If you ever sit back and reread your old experiences or vagrant thoughts you’d be surprised what you can learn.
Try writing as little as 200-300 words a day.
You’ll be amazed how easy it is and how much you can learn from such a simple task.
Don’t get caught up on trying to write war and peace.
Just write, this is for you and you alone, it doesn’t need to make sense, it just need to be.
If you wish to share a page or two, start a blog.
You will be amazed how many people resonate with the feelings you have, positions you’re in and just how ‘not alone’ we really are.

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Squats & Thy Self

I love the squat.
Truly it is one of my favourite lifts because it tests not only your physical strength, it also gives your mental fortitude a fair run for its money.
My ultimate goal was to squat 3xBW, 210kg (at the time), and I did it.
Would you like to know how it felt?
Honestly it was pretty good, yet once it was done there was nothing but void after all was said an done.
This goal took 5 years for me to hit.
5 years, for what?
My own sense of self, of knowing I did it and the one bitter truth of it all I learned was this; it didn’t matter, not really.
While I will always know I did it, no one else really cares and there are plenty of people out there who are doing this on a regular basis, for reps and sets, and all I can do is smile at this fact because I still did it.
It’s funny how we justify our actions, goals, behaviours, habits, in fact our life to ourselves so that we can live with it.
Guys, guess what…
It’s okay because what ever you do, so long as it means something to you, it was totally worth it, honestly.
I know that my disposition is not one everyone likes, yet even being the colossal ass-hat that I am, I will always give credit where it’s due when I can see that what someone achieved truly meant something to them.
Simple, it’s because it was important to them.
You can see it in their eyes.
You can see it in their soul.
To them this was ‘that thing’, the itch they needed to scratch the part that gave them that which they’d sought for so long, and in it all their self worth was achieved, they now know who they are, what they’re about and for that these people gain my respect.
While I will always be polite to people and supportive of their goals, I don’t respect them all because respect is earned.
Once you do what it is you need to do, you let go of all the other shit that just doesn’t matter and make all of your choices moving forwards with a clear mind, and accept everything that comes from those choices.
No excuses, not justification, no bullshit, just acceptance.
Is there any higher prize than knowing ones self?
I don’t know, maybe there is, maybe there isn’t, either way, who really cares 😊
These days I still love a good squat, however I now know it’s not everything, and like most things it’s just a tool, a part of the journey and that in the end everything you need is already something you have, you just might not be a aware of that yet.
It’s oaky though, once you’re ready for it, whatever ‘it’ is will make itself known to you and once it does, you’ll feel much better, I promise.
Anyway, that’s enough thought for today, now go squat 💪

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Badge of Honour

Do you collect fitness badges of honour?

Many people do, they come in the form of being the one to work the hardest in class, staying in the gym the longest, running further than the person next to you on the treadmill and many other arbitrary things that do nothing to help you progress.

Picture this, you may have done it.

You go in to the gym, walk to a treadmill, across the gym you see someone else stepping on one directly opposite at the same time and in that moment your mind is made up, challenge accepted.

Both of you proceed to start running.

You look at their cadence trying to gauge if they’re going faster than you, if they are you will set yours just above theirs and come hell or high water you will not be getting of the treadmill first, even if it kills you.

The focus has taken over, you’re in the zone.

Perhaps you beat them easily and thus feel quite accomplished with yourself, maybe they crank up the speed and leave you in the dust, or by some miracle you both stop at the same time, who knows what will happen, so long as you can claim your badge, it doesn’t matter.

We touched on the mentality of ‘more is not better, it’s just more’ yesterday, it is something I truly wish for you to let go of because for the majority (which is where you fall if you’re reading this), it’s not worth it.

Each one of us wants to make god progress, more so we want to feel accomplished in something, to collect a trophy, even if only in our own mind.

Being the complex creatures we are it is common for us to seek a reward as recompense for all that we suffer.

We may even share the treadmill story with some friends or family members in the hope of awe and adulation from them, which we may get at the start, however it’s of a false variety because they don’t really care, after all, would you if the roles were reversed?

There is too much put on other people to fulfil our emotional needs, yes that is what badges of honour are when you delve in to them.

Why do I say this?

Simple, you will have someone you want to tell about your achievement, you want their praise, their approval, their emotional scraps and gentle nod that you’re worthy.

I get it, we all want that, however before obtaining that from other people can mean anything of substance we must first be able to self praise, to recognise that more often than not the only person who really cares is us.

Well, maybe your mum too, she’d always be proud, as such I suggest you go buy her flowers right this instant.

So back to the badges of honour, why do you collect them?

Is it for yourself or for someone else, sit and think about your answer because reflection is a key element in growth.

Now relate the badges (old, current and yet to collect) and how they will help you work towards your goal, do you have faith in achieving your goal and enough drive and self efficacy to get it or are you waiting for permission?

I know you will achieve your goal when you really want it, you’ve got everything it takes to do so, multiple badges or not, you will do it eventually.

Give the above some thought, go, reflect and have a productive day.


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Not so Unique

“Everyone is different, what works for you might not work for me.”

I’m getting so sick of hearing that, honestly, it’s maddening because it is being used as an excuse for people to flounder about in regards to their training & nutrition.

While life is indeed not so black and white as we might like it, the large majority of things that work will work for the large majority of people, that’s fact and those who bring up the above sentence are among those who will potentially live a life forever being unfulfilled in regards to ‘becoming the best version of me’ as many chime, another piece of modern bullshit to protect peoples poor life choices and habits.

If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself that this seems to be the words of a tired and bitter trainer, you’d be right.

Once you’ve spent a great many years trying to help people and they still insist that they’re the unique exception you just don’t have time for it because like many before them they want to be given the right to fail and that it’s okay to do so. Which of course it is.

One reason people hit a goal and revert is simply because they lack the desire to be anything more than they are, not because they’re happy though, it’s because they are indifferent and that to people of my ilk is a meaningless place to be in.

I’m sure you’ve got that one friend or family member who always talks about moving forwards, then never does, they repeat the same drivel at every encounter, just take a second to think of that person, now take their attitude and imagine having to deal with that everyday because that is largely what the fitness industry has become.

You may be thinking that we need more empathy, and I’d agree, however there is another element needed, responsibility of the self. No one can do what you need to do for you except you, so why won’ you do it? What are you so afraid of?

It is the lack of taking charge that will have people fester in their current life situation because at least they know what to expect in terms of judgement from others and they can prepare themselves for it where as to move to a different place, perhaps a better place, the unknown is too much for them.

As someone who works with a lot of people there is one underlying curiosity that very few ever answer; admitting why they feel the way they do to help one understand them.

Without this key bit of information it’s like trying to put a jigsaw together with a blindfold on, not impossible just very difficult and time consuming.

What reasons keep you in the place you are, do you know them?

Take some time to think about this and write down your answer, you don’t need to share it with anyone because your problems are your own and no one will feel as you do about them, however one way or another to move forwards you’re going to have to face your demons surrounding fitness, lifestyle change and decide a plan of action. That plan of action might be the same as what other people have done in the past, if so just run with it, give it time to work before you start playing the ‘unique individual’ card.



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Three important lessons you can learn from athletes & apply them to your life.

Morning all,
It’s fair to say we admire athletes.
Not simply for the way they can bring people together with their astonishing achievements or world record breaking efforts, it’s also because they’re humans, just like us.
They might be faster, stronger, more dedicated and generally better in every aspect, however they’re still human 😂
As such here are three things you can take away from them and apply to your life for the better.
1 – They do what they need to do regardless of how they feel.
Athletes don’t make excuses, not really, they just get on with the task as hand, unlike you.
Nothing stands in their way of achieving their goal, now before you start saying “I have a job, house etc etc”, did you know that until they make it BIG, so do they.
The difference is that they kept moving forwards, even when life problems cropped up, they still struggled on.
This is a lesson you’d do well to listen to and apply.
2 – They always have a plan.
Now this plan might not be of their of imagination, it might be something of a coaches/mentors design.
The point is this, the have one and as such also have answers for when the plan starts to fall apart or needs adapting.
Average people don’t have a plan, they try and wing it, unsuccessfully I might add.
If you can’t create a plan yourself, don’t stress, ask someone for help, get yourself a mentor/coach, in the long run it will be worth it, trust me.
If you want people to put their faith in you, you must also eb willing to put your faith in others.
3 – There is only the next mission.
Now I could have used the word goal, however goal is meek because everyone has a goal, several in fact, of which many go unachieved.
Athletes have a mission, one that is fuelled by a passion and drive that is above and beyond what many can comprehend.
They just do things because it’s just what they do.
It’s all they know.
Taking a page out of this book and developing your own indomitable spirit is something that would benefit you in a multitude of ways ranging from more conviction in your decisions to an unwavering resolve to stick with something, for better or worse.
If you take these simple lessons and apply even on to your life, you’ll be several steps ahead of a great many people, just have some faith in yourself and do it.
Bonus lesson – They know when enough is enough.
Now it would be great to think that we can overcome any limitation, any barrier, break any & all plateaus, however that is just not true, it’s a fools dream.
This also relates to being at the top too.
Even the worlds best athletes know they have limits that they will not exceed, this is where they have a large support network of coaches, mentors, friends and close family to help them see the perspectives that they might be blind to themselves.
Sometimes a dream might just not be in your grasp, however that doesn’t mean you give up entirely, you just accept that enough is enough and rather than giving up, you refocus and look towards the next mission.
You might be the one to do it all and change the world, even with such an achievement there will be a limit to how long you can stay their, int he end you will need to accept enough is enough and step down.
Just like a world champion that retires so the new blood can come through, they don’t disappear, they just change their place in the play and become the mentor/coach.
Giving up never did anyone any good, however neither did trying to achieve something that was never in their reach to begin with or holding on to a glory longer than they should.
Learn to accept what is, what isn’t and what will never be.
Smile at these things, embrace or let them go.
All glories must fade, enjoy them while you can and let go when you must.

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