Mindset

When Fitness Is No Longer Fitness - Excerpt from a T-Nation Article

When Fitness Is No Longer Fitness - Excerpt from a T-Nation Article

Just wanted to share this small excerpt from an article on T-Nation, "The Dark Side of Fitness".  Tony Gentilcore is a very-highly-regarded trainer and genuinely funny dude whose posts frequently both crack me up and elevate my knowledge.

His contribution to the article, which talks about how to know when the pursuit of fitness begins to turn negative, really aligns a lot with our feelings on the subject at The BTG...

Great Article on Your Metabolism and Fat Loss

Great Article on Your Metabolism and Fat Loss

Dr. Jade Teta's latest article on T-Nation, "The 5 Laws of Metabolism" offers some great info on how your metabolism really reacts to dieting and exercise.  While I generally shudder a bit when anyone talks about anything to do with the human metabolism and dieting as a "Law", the logic and information throughout the article is really sound.

While Dr. Teta does a good job of putting most of it in plain language, the article can be a bit science-y for those of you who aren't familiar with the principles of metabolism and nutrition, and you might find it a bit overwhelming.

The good news?  You don't have to figure this stuff out on your own - you can work with me (Coach JP), and I can help you navigate your way through your journey to a healthier, happier you!  For more info on how we can work together, click here.

Winter Is Coming... Is There An "Off-Season" For Fitness?

Winter Is Coming... Is There An "Off-Season" For Fitness?

We've all heard of the "off-season" for competitive athletes.  It's that time of year when they're not in competition, and are either backing off on training to recover for their next season, or amping up their training to be in better condition.  Either way, managing the off-season well is often crucial to the performance of an athlete from season to season, and in increasing career longevity.

But what about those of us who don't compete?

What if our "sport" is simply being better at our lives - being stronger, healthier and happier?  Is there an off-season for that?

What to Do When You Get Off Track

What to Do When You Get Off Track

So far on the blog, we've talked about setting goals, finding your motivation, and how preparation and small wins trump the mythical willpower when it comes to long-term success.  Hopefully you've used those lessons to get yourself started on your health and lifestyle journey - but what happens when you get off-track?  Are you one of those people who goes completely off the rails (like I used to be!), or just make a minor course correction and carry on?  Today's article gives you some tools for dealing with those inevitable times when things don't go according to plan.

The Myth of Willpower (How Preparation and Small Wins Add Up)

The Myth of Willpower (How Preparation and Small Wins Add Up)

Willpower

Yes, the "W" word.  That mythical pink fluffy unicorn called Willpower has been held out as the key to success in nearly every realm of life, from weight loss, to business success, to climbing Mount Everest.  I've also heard, time and time again, "I just don't have the willpower to resist eating that..."  or something along those lines to explain why someone hasn't been able to succeed in losing weight and/or maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

WILLPOWER VS. STRONG MOTIVATION

It seems that, much of the time, people equate willpower with strong motivation.  E.G. if your motivation for losing weight is strong enough, you will be able to resist the temptations of poor food choices, etc. because the motivation will give you the will.  Maybe they need to get in shape or risk losing their job, or have been told that their life is in imminent danger from health complications unless they lose weight.  Keep trekking through the forest or climbing that mountain, or give up and die alone in the wilderness.  In these cases, people are absolutely driven by this strong motivation.

From the outside looking in, it seems that these people have enormous willpower because they don't make those bad choices, but when you look just a bit deeper, or even if you ask these people how they "find the willpower" they'll tell you.  It isn't willpower, it's that the alternative (not losing weight) or the consequences of that alternative (E.G. unemployment or death) are negative enough in their mind that it is simply not viable, so they have "no choice" but to make the right choice.  There is no exertion of their will required to stay on track - their deep motivation is sufficient to sustain them because any other choice is unpalatable.

Having a deep, emotionally-resonant motivation is great (that's why we had you go through the 5 Why's Exercise in our article "Find Your Real, Deep Down Why"), and can definitely help keep you on track through minor, or even some not-so-minor, challenges along the way. For most of us, though, for motivation to be strong enough on its own to sustain a fitness/lifestyle journey through serious challenges, it literally has to be life and death.  If the consequences of failure are less than fatal, we can always find a way to accept falling off track.  That is completely normal, and is absolutely OK!

Find Your Real, Deep Down "Why"

Find Your Real, Deep Down "Why"

What's My Motivation?

In our last post, we talked about how important it is to Begin With The End In Mind.  Having a clear, strong picture of where you're going on your nutrition/lifestyle journey can be a powerful motivator in itself, and for some people, that vision is all they need to see it through to the end.  They can see the potential reward of better health, improved sports performance, or just looking better naked, and that carrot is enough to keep them going.

Most people, however, need to dig a little deeper to find something more internal and emotional to drive them forward when times get tough.  This is kind of like that "emotional breakthrough moment" you see on those weight loss shows on TV, where the contestant breaks down and shouts at/cries with their trainer over something deep inside that has been holding them back.

While we don't necessarily need you to do that (but hey - if you need to, we're here to listen!), we do need you to take things to a more emotional level so that you have something really meaningful to you to help you push through the rough times.

Begin With The End In Mind

Begin With The End In Mind

Begin With The End In Mind

When it comes to body composition change/fat loss, it is important to define where you are starting from, and where you want to go.  Before taking a look at where you are starting from, we'd like to help you “Begin With The End In Mind”, so this article and the next couple we post are designed to help you determine where you want to end up, and why. 

Free Preview of My First Book, As It's Being Written (Part 2)

Free Preview of My First Book, As It's Being Written (Part 2)

Alright, folks - here's the continuation of the story that will make up the Introduction to the book.  I'm hoping to finish off this part of the book over the coming weekend, and will post it here as well.  After that, I'm not sure how much I'll post on the blog, and how much will only be going out to my Advance Reader List.

If you're interested in getting all of the content through the process, click the button in the main post to get on my Advance Reader List.  I promise, all you'll get from the list is access to the book content - no marketing BS.  I just need some eyes on the content, and feedback while the book is being developed!

Free Preview of My First Book, As It's Being Written!

Free Preview of My First Book, As It's Being Written!

So, I've decided to write a book.  It's going to be partly a journal chronicling the training, nutrition and progress of myself and the BTG Spartan Team as we prepare for the 2017 season, partly a training and nutrition guide to preparing for your first Spartan Beast (in particular, a mountainous grinder like Sun Peaks, Montana or Lake Tahoe) or just to become a great all-rounder fitness-wise, and hopefully a little bit of an inspirational and entertaining tale along the way.

Here's the first part of the Introduction (or maybe chapter 1?) that I just finished writing, covering a bit of back-story, including our semi-disastrous 2016 preseason, breaking my ankle one week before our first Spartan Race of 2016, and the beginning of my comeback from that disaster at the end of May to completing four Spartan Races in 49 days from early September to yesterday (October 22), including a Trifecta (Sprint, Super and Beast in the same year) plus a second Beast.  It's 2166 words so far, and I've only gotten to where I got the OK from the doctor to start walking unassisted!

The continuation of the introduction (or maybe chapter 2?), which I'll also publish here on the blog, will complete the journey through to the end of our racing season, and bring things up to the current date.

If you're interested in reading the whole book online, as it is created, sign up to my advance reader list by clicking THIS LINK.  I'll also provide a link at the end of this preview chapter, for once I've hooked you with my riveting content - LOL!  Seriously, though, I'd really appreciate having a few more sets of eyes on this as I create it to help catch any typos and to give me quick feedback on whether it's interesting/useful enough reading or not!

Why Better Than Average Isn't Good Enough For Me (and shouldn't be for you either!)

Why Better Than Average Isn't Good Enough For Me (and shouldn't be for you either!)

Here's a link to a great article titled "Why Better Than Average Isn't Good Enough for Me" on breakingmuscle.com by Pete Hitzeman.  In the article, he talks about how the only useful comparison you have for your performance or progress is against yourself.

The only useful, reliable comparison is the one made objectively against myself. Am I better than I was yesterday? Last week? Last year? Have I gone faster or moved a heavier barbell? Have I solved a problem with a recurring injury or learned a new movement? Have I improved my focus, consistency, determination, or mental balance? As long as these markers are moving forward, I will continue to move the goalpost further afield.

I may never become an elite athlete, but I can reach the pinnacle of my own potential, and that will be good enough.

Comparing yourself to the average person in our society breeds complacency because, let's face it, it's not hard to be better than average these days, with obesity on the rise and largely sedentary lifestyles becoming the norm.  Conversely, comparing yourself to professional athletes, celebrities or fashion/fitness models, whose bodies are their jobs and who have the time and resources to dedicate to training themselves accordingly is not appropriate or useful either.

You be YOU.  Be the best YOU possible.  Need some help getting there?  Get Started with training and nutrition coaching at The BTG.

Auguston Stairs - 2016.05.07

Auguston Stairs  - 2016.05.07

So, week 7 of stair training at the Auguston Stairs, and I've achieved 10 trips in under 1 hour.  Today's planned work took just over 56 minutes to complete 10.

A big thank you to some of our rock star women at The BTG for joining me today, since the boys bailed out!  Christine, Megan and Tanya all worked hard on their first time at the stairs, with Christine and Megan completing 6 trips, and Tanya completing 4.  Beware, ladies - your legs are going to be SORE for a couple of days!  My wife, Raina, meanwhile, herded all the kids (5 girls!) around the trail and back through Auguston to meet us at the end of our work.  A real team effort for an early Saturday morning!

Spartan Trifecta Training - Auguston Stairs (Video and Tips)

Spartan Trifecta Training - Auguston Stairs (Video and Tips)

I decided to shoot some video of the stairs yesterday - one trip down and back up, in real time, so you all can see what they're like.  You can see the video on our YouTube channel here.

The stairs are very physically demanding, don't get me wrong, but they are also a bit of a mind game, and the mind game may be even more important than the physical training.  Your brain may tell you to quit (a lot!), especially once you start doing more sets.  For me, the first four trips or so are mostly physical demands, the next few are more mental, and the last couple are really both.

I almost always want to quit around number 6 it seems, but I haven't yet!  This past weekend was the hardest to push through that, because I was doing the stairs solo.  I could easily also have stopped after 8, because my family was at the top of the stairs waiting for me, but I was committed to doing 9 trips, and I wasn't going to fail myself by quitting early.

Being able to push through that mental barrier of "this is really hard, I don't know if I can finish" and discovering that you will rise to the challenge if you keep pushing is a really important lesson, not just for Spartan training, but for life!

Spartan Race Trifecta Training Plan

Spartan Race Trifecta Training Plan

With only 13 weeks until the Spartan Vancouver Sprint, it's time to really buckle down and amp-up our training!  We're also 28 weeks out from the big finale - the Spartan Sun Peaks Beast!

Click this link if you want to see the overall, 28-week plan all laid out.

I'm going to be posting the actual workouts as we progress through them, so if you want to follow along (whether you're going to race with us or not), feel free!

Any questions or comments, please Contact Coach JP via our website!

Update - My Fitness Journey (Coach JP)

Update - My Fitness Journey (Coach JP)

Quick update, since I haven't done one in a few weeks!

In short - I haven't weighed myself, but I fit in my "angry pants" that started this whole thing off last fall.  They're snug, but I didn't have to squeeze myself into them. :)

I'm planning to amp up my training efforts over the next short while, as I have some pretty aggressive targets I need to hit now that I have some other events booked (Spartan Races and my MovNat Level 2 Certification).

The Gout, The (Sand)Bag and The Sweaty - My Fitness Journey (Coach JP)

The Gout, The (Sand)Bag and The Sweaty - My Fitness Journey (Coach JP)

A pretty good week overall.  Made small progress, and figured out some strategies for helping deal with office-related stress at my day job.  Fought the 60 lb. sandbag again in BAM!, made a sweaty mess of myself there and walking to work in long pants, and had to deal with a gout attack today (Sunday), but still...good overall!

Still Going! My Fitness Journey - Coach JP

Still Going!  My Fitness Journey - Coach JP

It's been a while since I last posted here about my fitness journey - just over a month, in fact.  Along the way, I've dealt with some injuries (wrist, ankle, plantar fascia) and illness (a cold/flu that I only now feel like I'm making my way out of).  The holidays also came and went, along with a major project at my day job that occupied a lot of odd hours.

Short version, from nearly hitting the milestone of having lost 10 pounds since starting my journey, my weight went back up nearly to where I started, at 212 pounds as of a week ago.  Not totally unexpected considering some forced inactivity and a general lack of discipline with regards to my eating over the holidays.

I'm in the same boat as many this time of year, thinking about how much progress I want to make in the coming months, but I'm not making any "New Year's Resolutions".  I have a plan, and I'm sticking to it!  More detailed post to follow this coming weekend...

My Fitness Journey (Week 6) - Coach JP

My Fitness Journey (Week 6) - Coach JP

This past week went pretty well overall!  Missed two planned exercise sessions, but got in two more on Saturday.  Not quite on-plan nutrition-wise, but did make progress.  Approaching a significant milestone, weight-wise...but still can't fit my "angry pants" properly.  :)  Progress, not perfection!  BIG drop in scale weight this week, and approaching a significant milestone, weight-wise...but still can't fit my "angry pants" properly.  :)  Progress, not perfection!

My Fitness Journey (Week 5) - Coach JP

My Fitness Journey (Week 5) - Coach JP

Can't seem to shake this cold/flu completely, but at least it's not constantly dragging me down like it was the previous couple of weeks!  I took a step back on the nutrition side of things so that I could have a bit of success there, and also re-focused on training this week.  Basically stayed the same on the scale, but feeling FAR better