Fitness for Busy Folk

Category Archive: Goal Setting

Your Step-By-Step Plan to Embrace Pain

HOPE

HOPE

Life is not about surviving, it’s about thriving. The large majority of people are too afraid to step out into the world in the fear of getting hurt, mocked, or disappointed. This is no way to live.

What does this have to do with fitness? EVERYTHING! The reason why so many people walk around unhealthy is because they have allowed their fear to create a life of comfort. Exercise is all about pain. If you can’t embrace pain, then you won’t be successful in the gym.

You might workout. You might go to cardio classes. You might be dieting. But how much of that is within your comfort zone? How much of that is true, actual PAIN? You’ve heard the quote: Pain is weakness leaving the body. So if you’re not going through the pain, then what you’re doing is staying weak.

Many believe that if you feel pain, then it means that you’re weak. The truth is that if you avoid pain, you’re weak. You are so fearful that the slightest bit of something uncomfortable is going to make you turn the opposite way. The prize could be on the other side of the door, but you won’t open the door, simply because of the fact that it’s too painful to experience the unknown.

At the gym I see people taking it easy. They’re just sitting there, pretending, believing, and thinking that they’re working hard. But what they’re really doing is taking it easy. If you haven’t at least attempted to lift more, push harder, and train at a higher intensity level than the week before, then you’re just wasting your time. You might as well go home and eat cheetos.

Look, there are things that are completely out of our hands, I get that. Sometimes you can do everything right, and still come short of your goal. I get that. And that disappointment is hard to deal with. But you have to remember your ultimate goal: a better future, better body, healthier attitude and an improved lifestyle.

Here is what I have to say to those people that are “stuck.” If you’ve been slaving away at your workouts for quite some time now, and are still not experiencing the results that you desire, then perhaps the problem isn’t the workout. Perhaps the real problem is in your attitude. You’re taking it too easy on yourself. You’ve become comfortable with being comfortable.

You need to try something new. And if you make a mistake, you’ll learn from it and get stronger. If you become disappointed, you’ll re-adjust and try again.

And if you’ve tried to follow all the rules of dieting, and worked out hard but still fell short of your goal, then I want you to change the way you think about that situation. Instead of getting down on yourself, think about it this way: the mistakes you made, the time you lose, and the money you spend – all of that is tuition for what you didn’t know. Most of us are willing to spend time and money to go to a university to learn something that may or may not help us in life, but we don’t see life as the ultimate university?

So the moment starts now to not be afraid of pain. Here is your step by step plan to making this happen:

#1 – Acknowledge the fact that you need to push yourself harder.

#2 – Write down your current workout.

#3 – Take 50% of your workouts, and replace them with something you don’t like doing. For example, if you love bodyweight circuits, but hate treadmill sprints, and you train 4 days per week, then do 2 bodyweight circuits per week, and 2 treadmill sprints.

#4 – Take the remaining 50% and set a goal you’ve never attempted before. So, lets say you normally do 3 rounds of 10 pushups, 5 pullups, and 20 squats. Take this workout and try to do 6 rounds of 15 pushups, 10 pullups, and 30 squats. Don’t give up until the workout is complete Go above and beyond, just one time to see if you can do it.

 

Keep working hard,

 

  • Parth


P.S. Have you been feeling lately that you haven’t been pushing yourself hard enough? What’s your attack plan to fix this?

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The #1 Lie You Tell Yourself

Stop Lying to Yourself

Happy New Year everyone!

If you have been reflecting on the past year, and find yourself unhappy with the results you achieved in 2014, then there is one thing that is absolutely true: you don’t need another training routine.

Another book. Another workout. Another diet plan. Another piece of equipment. Another….another….Because let’s be honest, it is not gonna work for you. What you need to do is work on your thinking. There is most likely something mentally holding you back from achieving your goals.

 

Stop Lying to Yourself

Trainer Mike Whitfield would eat a bag of chips on his way home from work all the while thinking about what he wanted to eat for dinner. He would then warm up a frozen pizza, eat the entire pie, and finish the night off with a bowl of ice cream.

Mike kept lying to himself, saying that he needed to eat that bag of chips to relieve stress from work, and that he was too fat to exercise. His weight escalated up to 300 pounds before it hurt him enough to do something about it.

How many times have you told yourself that you need to do this, or need to do that, knowing that the habit was unhealthy? What kind of lies are you telling yourself that are holding you back from achieving your fitness goals?

One of the lies that Lolly Daskal addresses in her article The 9 Most Damaging Lies We Tell Ourselves Daily, is “I don’t have a choice.” Just as Mike Whitfield kept telling himself that he had no choice, no other way to relieve his stress from work, we constantly tell ourselves that we have no choice, and there is no other way.

We create stories in our minds. These stories we tell ourselves shape how we perceive ourselves, and the world around us.

The bad news is that often times the realities we create for ourselves are not based on what is actually true. The good news is that since our mind has so much control over our perceptions, we can change our realities and create a new story for ourselves!

Approach to 2015

Turn Your Fear into a Challenge

Humans respond to challenges. During the early years of our existence, we had to compete to survive. Every day was a challenge. We are no longer in survival mode, but our competitive nature is still a part of us. This is why when we’re in a competitive environment, we’re able to achieve more than we ever thought possible.

We often create these stories around things we fear. For example, Mike Whitfield could have easily dealt with his stress by working out. Instead, the story he told himself was that he couldn’t do it, and there was no choice for him. But you do have a choice. You can choose to make the decision to change.

One technique I’m using for my goals in 2015 is to turn my fears into challenges. By structuring your goals into both small and large challenges, you’re going to light a fire inside of yourself.

Both world-class athletes and movie stars take advantage of this competitive nature to achieve incredible levels of fitness. When there is a competition date set, you have no choice but to train hard.

See, if you’re going to make the excuse of having “no choice”, then you need to put yourself in a situation where you actually HAVE no choice but the healthy option. Because if you signed up for a triathlon, sitting there eating chips and ice cream will not get you anywhere.

 

Your Approach to 2015

So this coming year, instead of telling yourself “I have no choice” say to yourself, “I challenge myself to go to the gym twice a week” or “I challenge myself to do 20 pushups per day for the next week.”

Here are a few more ideas you can use to turn your fears into challenges, and create an environment where you have no choice BUT the healthy option:

#1 – Enter a Competition

It can be a fitness competition, a racing event, a strongman-style or obstacle course event. Do something that will get you in front of people, creating a situation where there is no turning back. You have to compete or you won’t get back your entry fee, and you will also embarrass yourself in front of all those strangers.

#2 – Friendly Competition

Compete with a close friend or group of friends. This can be lifting competitions, races or even weight-loss challenges. One reason why it was much easier for me to stay in shape before I began to work in a 9-5 office environment, was because I was training with my buddies in my backyard. We pushed ourselves and built a sense of camaraderie.

#3 – Do What you Believe is Impossible

To set up my goals for 2015, I asked a few people close to me what they believed that I thought was impossible for me to do. You see, at times we ourselves do not realize that we are making excuses or taking the easy way out. Our friends can help us see what is our true potential. Their responses helped me narrow down 4 important challenges I will be taking up for 2015.

#4 – Make a Bet

For one of my 2015 goals, I have a bet going on with a friend of mine. When money, or some sort of prize, is involved it helps you clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s much easier to visualize yourself achieving that goal, rather than you spinning your wheels and over time becoming depressed due to a lack of results.

You won’t have a great 2015 if you don’t fix your thinking. I’ll leave you here with another one of my favorite stories: Roger Bannister was the first person to run the 4-minute mile. Before Roger Bannister, the belief was that human beings were physically incapable of running a 4-minute mile. Mr. Bannister broke through that limiting belief, and within a year, 23 other people matched or beat that time. And since then, over 20,000 people have run a 4-minute mile.

Take 2015 on with an attitude of victory. Eradicate limiting beliefs, stop lying to yourself, and turn those fears into challenges!

Have a great 2015!

  • Parth
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Three Questions to Ask Yourself before Embarking on an Exercise Plan

fitness-tips-workout-plan-2

 

Due to the immense amount of conflicting information on the web, choosing an exercise plan can be extremely challenging. If you find yourself suffering from information overload ask yourself the following three questions to get yourself back on track:

  1. What is your primary goal?
  2. What activity do you know how to perform?
  3. What do you need to learn to achieve your goal?

So lets have our hypothetical trainee, Bob, answer these questions:

  1. What is your primary goal? – Lose 20 pounds
  2. What activity do you know how to perform? – Jogging
  3. What do you need to learn to achieve your goal? – Nutrition & Resistance Training

Just by answering these simple questions, Bob has already identified his goal, and now knows how to filter through the wealth of information out there.

Bob has also successfully selected a starting point for your exercise plan! Since he already knows how to jog, this is a good place to begin his exercise plan. Once he starts jogging, Bob will most likely see at least some results, which will motivate him to learn more about weight loss.

While he commits himself to his jogging plan, Bob can pick up a book, read a blog post, or reach out to an expert regarding how to eat properly for weight loss. He can also begin to slowly implement a resistance training routine starting off with simple exercises he can learn such as pushups and squats.

Ask yourself these three simple questions, and tweet your answers to @Shahtraining!

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How an Entire Year Can Go By With No Results

By Tom Venuto, author of Burn The Fat, Feed the Muscle
www.BurnTheFat.com

If you’ve been doing the same nutrition, same calories, same cardio, same weight training and the same intensity for the entire past year with no changes, then you shouldn’t be suprised if you’ve continued to get the SAME results (very little).
If you do more of the same, you usually get more of the same.
Caloric intake, for example is not something you calculate once and then never pay attention to again. Calories have to be calculated and customized for each individual in the beginning and then adjusted continuously in “real time” during the course of a fat loss program, based on actual results.

Just because you start at 1800, for example, doesn’t mean your caloric intake should stay there. Calories may need to be increased or decreased depending on whether your goals, your body weight and your activity levels change and based on your weekly progress (or lack of).

Which brings me to another point. I am a huge fan of using progress charts. There is a saying in business management and sports coaching:

“What gets measured gets done.”

When you start “keeping score” and tracking performance right down to the numbers, it’s almost miraculous how this awareness of how you’re doing translates into improved results.

When you track your body composition results every week, if a week or two goes by with no results, then you don’t continue with more of what got you no results, you change some variable in your program immediately!

An old Turkish proverb that says,

“No matter how far you’ve traveled down the wrong road, always turn back!”

Of course, you don’t have to throw out your entire program, you can simply “tweak” ONE or maybe two variables within the same program.

Also, when you measure, track and analyze muscle versus fat (body composition), instead of just scale weight, you might even discover you’ve gained some lean body mass and this offsets the drop on the scale (which means it’s possible you made more progress than you thought).

Now, back to the calories. To break a plateau, you can take a reduction in calories, or an increase in activity, either of which will create a deficit if you are currently in energy balance, or increase your existing caloric deficit.

At the end of the day, fat loss boils down to calories in versus calories out, so if you plateau, you may need a simple calorie reduction, provided you don’t restrict too low for too long (which tends to trigger your body’s “starvation response.”)

As for your cardio program, 3 days a week of cardio works for many people, but usually, I would consider three weekly cardio sesssions a maintenenance workout or at best a starting point for beginners, NOT a “maximum fat loss” program.

Example: this week, you could increase your cardio from 3 sessions to 4 sessions (or 4-5). If you combine the decrease in food intake with an increase in calories burned through activity, that will almost certainly get you burning fat again.

If it does, then stay with that cardio plan. If not, the next week go up to 5 days a week. Repeat this simple “feedback loop” process as many times and for as long as necessary.

Also remember that more (often) is not always better. You can also increase the intensity and get more calories burned in same amount of time. This feedback loop process can be used to make decisions about your training intensity, duration and type, as well as frequency.

Whichever strategy you choose to break the plateau, remember Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity:

“Insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

Although this seems like common sense to some people, what happens is really quite common because it does appear that you’re doing everything you’re “supposed to be doing” with perfectly good intentions.

You may have all the key elements there: You’re exercising (weights and cardio). You’re watching your nutrition, and you’ve been disciplined and consistent in following it.

The trouble with many popular programs – even good ones – is that they are too dogmatic. Their entire program may revolve around “X” number of calories, “X” days per week of cardio and “X” days a week of weights….

And you’re not allowed to “tamper” with that “holy grail” formula.

I can understand the rationale for a simple diet and exercise prescription for a beginner in order to not confuse them with too many choices, but what if it doesnt work after a month, three months, six months, A WHOLE YEAR? What if there are no options, what then?

In NLP, there’s a principle, (borrowed from cybernetics), called The Law of Requisite Variety, which says,

“The person with the most flexibility is the person with the most power and the greatest chance for success.”


You need to know what to do when you’re not getting results… you need options and choices for breaking plateaus, and that’s important because plateaus happen to everyone – including me.

Some people think that hitting a fat loss plateau means there’s something wrong with them. But plateaus are natural and normal. In fact, you could look at it this way:

Hitting a plateau means your body is healthy and your body is functioning normally, because normal function of the body is to adapt effectively to stress, to protect you and to maintain homeostasis.

Exercise is a stress. Dieting is a stress. It’s natural for your body to adapt to them. When you adapt, you must place a new “positive stress” on the body if you want continued improvement.

If you want to learn more details about how to change your program to break plateaus and make continuous progress as fast as safely possible, then I recommend you take a look at .

BFFM has flexibility, feedback and performance tracking built right into it. Chapter 4 in BFFM teaches the “BFFM feedback loop method”, and shows you how to chart progress and adjust your diet and workouts on a weekly basis, to keep you making progress or get you back on track if your progress stalls out.

There is no reason to allow even a few weeks, let alone an entire year to go by without results. But you can’t expect to get different results if you continue doing more of what’s not working.

Keep after it! Be persistent… but also be flexible!

Your friend and coach,

Tom Venuto, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
www.BurnTheFat.com


About the Author:

Tom Venuto is a fat loss expert, lifetime natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder, independent nutrition researcher, freelance writer, and author of the #1 best selling diet e-book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle: Fat-Burning Secrets of The World’s Best Bodybuilders & Fitness Models (e-book) which teaches you how to get lean without drugs or supplements using secrets of the world’s best bodybuilders and fitness models. Learn how to get rid of stubborn fat and increase your metabolism by visiting: www.burnthefat.com
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5 Excuses That Won’t Fly in 2010

By Tom Venuto, author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle.
www.BurnTheFat.com

It’s 2010. Your old excuses for not getting in shape won’t work. As Dr. Evil (Austin Powers) said, ZIP IT! I don’t want to hear them anymore! Read em’, then haul your excuseless butt to the gym!

1. I have no time.

According to a story in a recent issue of Men’s Health magazine, Barack Obama works out for 45 minutes a day, 6 days a week. Obama doesn’t just play basketball either. Our new president stays fit to lead with cardio and weight lifting. He also says he wishes he could train 90 minutes a day. Have you ever seen what the daily schedule of a U.S. president looks like? If the busiest man in the world can train every day for 45 minutes a day, then what’s your excuse? ZIP IT! You ain’t got one!

2. It’s too expensive.

Getting in shape certainly is expensive… if you keep wasting hundreds of dollars, month after month on worthless “miracle” weight loss pills, internal cleansing gimmicks and “magic” potions that all claim to make you slim. Deceptive advertising and slick marketing for bogus diet aids is more rampant than ever. 2010 was the year of thewu-long tea scam, the acai berry scam, and, of course, the ubiquitous “cleansing” and “detox” gimmicks . Unless you put on your critical thinking cap and learn to investigate before you invest, then you’ll get scammed by 2010’s flavor of the year as well. Your quest for those elusive “6-pack” abs will not only continue to be expensive, you’ll go broke. Walking, jogging, calisthenics and body weight exercises are FREE. If you want to know what’s really expensive, tally up the cost of legitimate expenses like natural food, gym memberships, fitness education, dumbbells and so on, and compare that to your doctor’s bill when you’re sick.

3. No one will support me.

Experts on social influence say your income will be approximately equal to the average of your 5 closest friends. Not only do I think that’s pretty darn accurate, I also believe that your health is your greatest wealth, and your physical condition will be about equal to the average of your 5 closest friends. It’s a real challenge to stay positive, focused and active when you’re surrounded by critical people and negative influences. However, in 2010, lack of support is no longer a valid excuse. Online social networking is exploding (check out Twitter and Facebook ) and more IN PERSON friendships and associations are being made from an internet connection than ever before. Training buddies can be found online. Connect with them. Mentors and coaches are easily found online. Hire them. Support forums have been around for years. Use them. No support from your current friends? Stop whining, start reaching out and go make new ones. In 2010, support partners and new friends are just a click away.

4. I can’t lose weight because of my genetics.

The marvels of modern medical and biological research are astonishing. Our top scientists have mapped the human genome! In the past few years, numerous genes linked to obesity have been discovered. However, the obesity epidemic we’re facing today has only developed over the past 50 years and genetic mutations that lead to serious obesity are extremely rare. Genetic predisposition only means that you have a tendency. It’s when the genetics meet lifestyle and environment that the genes express themselves. If you have a family history of heart disease, is it smart to smoke, eat junk, be a stressed-out, type-A maniac and a couch potato? Well of course not, and it’s the same with obesity. If you have a tendency predisposing you towards obesity, you’d better be the person doing the MOST exercise, not the least. You’d better be the person paying the MOST attention to your nutrition. You’d better be the person with the healthiest lifestyle. But unfortunately, it’s usually the opposite. Most people throw up their arms in frustration saying, “what’s the use, I was dealt a bad hand.” Sorry. That won’t fly in 2010. The latest research says genetics are a factor, but a tendency is not a destiny!

5. I don’t know how.

The lamest excuse of them all in 2010 is “I don’t know how.” NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO DO ANYTHING UNTIL AFTER THEY HAVE ACTUALLY DONE IT! Ponder that for a while. You don’t need to know how at first. To get started, you only need to know WHAT… what is the goal? Setting well-formed goals is the master skill of success. Not wishy-washy resolutions that have no resolve behind them, but real goals. In writing. With emotional ooompf! As you continue to affirm, visualize and focus on your goal with clarity, belief, and expectation, your new goal or intention will be received by your subconscious. Once a goal is accepted into your subconscious mind, your brain, being a goal-seeking mechanism, will turn on your attention filters to seek out all the information you will ever need to reach your goal. It will also turn on an infallible navigation system to guide you to your goal like a torpedo to its target. As your brain guides your attention, your direction and your behavior, you will discover that today, in 2010, there is more good information, coaching and instruction available than ever before. And when you’ve activated that “success radar” in your brain by setting goals effectively, it’s not as hard to find honest, accurate and helpful HOW-TO advice as you might think. In fact, you found this webpage, so you’re doing pretty good right now, aren’t you?

No more excuses. In 2010, remember my Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle Creed: You can either make excuses or get results, but you can’t do both!

Your friend and coach,

Tom Venuto
Fat Loss Coach
www.BurnTheFat.com

About the Author:

Tom Venuto is a fat loss expert, lifetime natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder, independent nutrition researcher, freelance writer, and author of the #1 best selling diet e-book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle: Fat-Burning Secrets of The World’s Best Bodybuilders & Fitness Models (e-book) which teaches you how to get lean without drugs or supplements using secrets of the world’s best bodybuilders and fitness models. Learn how to get rid of stubborn fat and increase your metabolism by visiting: www.burnthefat.com

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Tom Venuto’s Holiday Fitness Challenge to You

The following is a Guest Post By Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS and author of Burn The Fat, Feed the Muscle.

Every year as Thanksgiving gets closer, you’ve probably seen the depressing reports: “Most people gain between 5 and 10 pounds of body fat in the six weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.” I’m not sure if this worries you or not, but a lot of people are terrified about getting fatter in the next two months. They anticipate the workouts falling by the wayside and the holiday food calling out to them irresistibly, defeating even the strongest willpower. There’s good news and bad news about this.

Good news: According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average amount gained is much more modest – just over a pound.

Bad news: A study by the National Institutes of Health found that this seasonal weight gain – even just a pound – is the kind of weight gain that most people don’t lose when the holidays are over; it simply adds to the “weight creep” that “sneaks up” on you as you get older.

People often wonder how it’s possible to wake up one morning at age 40 or 45 and “suddenly” they’re 30 pounds fatter – or more – than they were in college. Mystery solved.

Of course, some people really do pack it on over the holidays, but whether its a pound or ten pounds, did you ever ask yourself why does holiday weight gain happen at all?

In previous years, I’ve asked my readers and here are some common answers I was given:

Holiday Excuse Survey Says…

“I’m too busy over the holidays to work out as often as usual.”

“I’m more stressed over the holidays, and the food is there, so I eat more.”

“I have at least three parties to attend and then there’s Christmas and New Year’s, so it’s impossible to stay on a diet”

“No one can tell me not to enjoy myself over the holidays so I’m just going to eat whatever I want.”

These answers all have a few things in common:

“Either/Or” Thinking and “Reverse Goal Setting” Exposed


First, they assume that you can EITHER get in better shape OR enjoy yourself, but not both. Stated in reverse: You can either deprive yourself of holiday enjoyments or gain weight, but it has to be one or the other. The truth is, “either/or thinking” is neurotic thinking and a great killer of fitness programs.

Second, these are all excuses or rationalizations. “I’m too busy” for example, is always an excuse, because I have never known someone who was too busy to make time for his her highest life priorities. We all have the same amount of time – 24 hours a day – the real problem is, most people don’t make exercise and healthy eating a priority. And remember, words mean little. Actions reveal a person’s true priorities.

Third, none of these are the real reasons most people gain weight over the holidays to begin with. The real reason is because an intention was never set for the opposite: To get in better shape over the holidays.

Most people set a “goal” to get in worse shape over the holidays. It’s not consciously set, of course, as few people would intentionally set out to get fatter. They simply do it by default. In their minds, they accept that it must be just about impossible to stay in shape with everything going on over the holiday season, so why bother?

Rationing Lies For Holiday Failure


Once the decision has been made, then the rationalizing continues:

“Why should I deprive myself?”
“Family is more important”
“Worrying about diet and exercise during the holidays is neurotic”
“I don’t care if I gain a few pounds, I’m going to enjoy myself anyway”
“It’s only these two or three weeks that I let myself go wild”
“I’ll start the first week in January and lose the weight then.”

As a result of this “negative goal-setting,” they expect to work out less, eat more and gain a few pounds, and they don’t seem to even consider alternatives.

But what would happen if you…

SET A GOAL TO GET IN BETTER shape over the holidays?

What would happen if you decided that it was not an all or nothing proposition and that you could enjoy the holidays and all it has to offer and get in better shape at the same time?

And what if you decided that your health and your body were the highest priorities in your life, because you realized that can’t enjoy anything else in life, including family or holidays, if you don’t have your health?

Here’s what would happen: You’d get in better shape!

I’m not all that different from you just because I’m a bodybuilder and fitness professional. I have many of the same problems, concerns and struggles as you do. Although today I always get in better shape between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, that’s a result of a conscious choice, a close examination of my old belief systems and a lot of action. For me, it all started about eight years ago.

For most of my adult life, I wasn’t much of a traveler and I didn’t enjoy flying or staying in hotels. For one thing, I had so many business commitments in the East Coast health club business, that I seldom left town for long, as I had to “tend to the stores.” But I also had a belief that if I traveled, my workouts and nutrition would suffer. After all, “it would be hard to stick with my usual bodybuilding diet, and I wouldn’t have access to my usual gyms”, I told myself. For these reasons, I never did much travel..

Then I was forced to take some trips for business reasons. Predictably enough, my nutrition and workouts suffered while I was spending time in airplanes and in hotels. With my experience having confirmed my beliefs, I re-affirmed to myself, “See, travelling is nothing but a pain. You just can’t stay on a diet and training program when you’re out of town.”

After several more trips, I noticed that something very negative happened: I surrendered. I had resigned myself to “not bother” while I was on the road. I let my expectations create my reality.

But I didn’t let it go on for long. As soon as I became aware of what was happening, I decided that I wouldn’t tolerate it, so I challenged myself and my previous limiting beliefs. I asked myself, “Why the heck not? Why let myself backslide? Why even settle for maintaining? Why not challenge myself to improve while I’m traveling?” The answer was: There was no good reason, there were only excuses.

From that day forward, I set a challenge for myself…

To come back from every trip or vacation in better shape than when I left.

Of course there were exceptions, as when I went on a vacation for total R & R. But I never let travel get in my way again. I prepared food that I would eat on the planes so airline food was never an excuse… I usually chose hotels that had kitchens, so I could cook my own food. I went food shopping immediately after check-in. I wrote my training schedule and scouted gyms in advance… And I actually found myself training harder than usual.

No matter where I was training – it could even be some “dungeon” of a gym in the middle of nowhere – it didn’t matter because my mind was focused on improving and looking better when I came home than when I left. I had a goal to motivate me!

What do you think happened? It’s not hard to guess: I always came home in better shape than when I left.

Since then, my “travel challenge” has become somewhat of a ritual in my life. When I’m away from my “home-base” it becomes a “fitness road trip.” I search the Internet or yellow pages or ask locals to help me find the most hard-core gym nearby wherever I will be staying (Gold’s Gym works for me!) When I get there, I train every bit as hard as if I had a competition just weeks away. I look forward to it now. In fact, this is what led me to my “holiday fitness challenge” idea.

Like many people, I travel over the holidays, so I’m automatically in “travel challenge” mode at thanksgiving, Christmastime and New Year’s. But with the additional temptations and busyness that the holidays bring on top of the usual travel stresses, I saw fit to declare a new challenge: “The Holiday Challenge.” The difference was that for my “holiday challenge,” I pledged to not only to return home in better shape than when I left, but to enjoy the holidays to the fullest at the same time.

can you eat this

People who think I deprive myself to look the way I do would be shocked: I eat like a KING over the holidays including Pumpkin (or apple) Pie at Thanksgiving and OF COURSE my mom’s famous red and green Jell-O Christmas cake. Then on New Year’s I’m usually toasting champagne and having a blast with friends or family….

The difference is, I don’t eat like that very often.

Every other meal stays right on schedule and I work out hard and consistently over the holidays; I don’t let everything fall apart just because ‘tis the season.’

The idea that you can EITHER enjoy the holidays OR stay in shape – but not both – is wrong, it’s damaging and it’s limiting.

Life is not an either or proposition; it’s a matter of balance.

Success does not mean going to extremes. Success can be a simple matter of re-examining your beliefs, rearranging your priorities, setting goals, changing the questions you ask yourself and re-evaluating your expectations.

Your expectations will become your reality. What are you expecting? Are you expecting success? Are you expecting to be in better shape after holiday parties, celebrations, banquets, dinners, and desserts? If not, then why not? What’s preventing you from enjoying all of the above and still getting in better shape? Do you have a limiting belief which dictates that it’s one or the other? Could it be that you never set a goal, intention or expectation to do it? Could it be that you’re rationalizing or making excuses? If so, then I challenge you to change it this year.

As of this writing, there are less than two months until the end of the year. Why not see how much you can improve your physique over the holidays, without depriving yourself of any holiday enjoyments or festivities? Just step up your expectations. Step up your standards. Step up your nutrition. Step up your training. Step up your action. Step up and accept the “Burn The Fat holiday fitness challengeand see what happens!

That’s right… The First Annual Burn The Fat Holiday Fitness challenge contest is open from Wednesday November 18th to Wednesday November 25th.

Over the course of a “50-Day Burn” which spans all three major holidays – Thanksgiving (US), Christmas and New Year’s – you’ll have the motivation, the accountability and structured program to end the year strong, start the new year on the foot and possibly get in the best shape of your life.

Even better, you’ll be able to eat delicious Holiday Food and enjoy yourself to the fullest at the same time because this is a lifestyle program which allows your favorite foods in moderation and balance.

And the best part of all: I’m sending the winners of the contest to Negril Jamaica to show off their new bodies on the beach in 2010!

Taking the Burn The Fat Challenge is simple. You can enter the contest two ways:

(1) Purchase the Burn The Fat e-book from www.BurnTheFat.com or

(2) Join the Burn The Fat Inner Circle fitness support community (“contest central”) by Clicking Here.

You’ll be automatically enrolled with either purchase.

Or, if you want ALL the contest details and the FULL list of prizes, visit the contest page by Clicking Here.

Train hard and expect success!

-Tom Venuto,
Author of Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle
Founder/CEO, Burn The Fat Inner Circle

About the author:

Tom Venuto is a natural bodybuilder, certified personal trainer and freelance fitness writer. Tom is the author of “Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle,” which teaches you how to get lean without drugs or supplements using secrets of the world’s best bodybuilders and fitness models. Learn how to get rid of stubborn fat and increase your metabolism by visiting: www.burnthefat.com
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Ignite Your Metabolism With an Interval Training Workout

There are many ways of losing weight out there – calorie counting, steady state cardio, ketogenic diets – just to name a few. But not one of these methods take into account one of the most important attributes of weight loss – boosting your metabolic rate.

Your resting metabolic rate measures the amount of calories that you burn at rest. So it doesn’t really matter how many

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6 Mistakes From a Bodyweight Training Addict

I’m addicted to bodyweight training. I think about working out 40 times a day and is one of the main reasons why I own a fitness blog. Here are 6 mistakes I’ve made (and still sometimes do) in the past. Please learn from them because they can make the difference between progress and stupidity:

  1. I trained six times a week, and would have trained 7 times a week if I didn’t have to work on the weekends at my fathers store. I over trained like it was my job PLUS I under ate tremendously. I mean, I was actually AFRAID of FOOD!
  2. Doing 500 hindu squats a day. Hindu squats are a great exercise, but just like most things in life, if you abuse
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What’s Your Excuse?

Image by The Heart of Innovation

“Unfortunately, the average person in modern Western society is fat, mentally weak, unambitious and lives for the weekend like the rest of the sheep.” – Jon Le Tocq from Storm Force Fitness.

Jon Le Tocq, from Storm Force Fitness recently wrote an amazingly motivational post titled “10 rules which will change your life.” One of his rules was, “Believe what no one else does.”

You know what most people don’t believe in? Themselves. People are walking around the world, to their jobs, to their homes, back to their jobs, to the local bar, and even to the local gym, without believing in their own abilities to do better.

For most people, it is easier to believe in another human being, an external statue, a picture, or even a story passed on through the generations, than it is to believe in ourselves.

Self-Esteem is REALLY Hard

It’s tough. I know it’s tough because you look into the mirror every morning and you just see an ordinary man with ordinary capabilities. But we forget that we all belong to the same species where a disable kid, born with no arms or legs, becomes a nationally recognized wrestler. Don’t believe me? Check out this video:

But I don’t have a Disability

Yeah I know, sometimes a physical disability motivates you to prove people wrong. Your disability is what pushes you to the next level. But what if you don’t have a disability. What if you’re just a regular, average joe…perhaps from another country. I know there are a lot of immigrants in this country who just feel inferior to their neighbors. Kinda like this guy:

Ok, But I was born Here, and I Don’t have A Physical Handicap

Are you joking me man? Are you that lucky to be born in the U.S., have all the options open to you, but still are just sitting around waiting for the next day. Or as Jon would say – waiting around the weekends? Sometimes it just takes a special even, a million to one shot to wake you up from your slumber. Hows this story:

What’s your Excuse?

This post isn’t really just about working out. It’s about success in all aspects of life. There’s one thing that Kyle, Arnold, and Sylvestor all have in common: they make no excuses!

Additional Resources:

If you’re finally ready to stop making excuses and get started on a bodyweight-only high intensity training program, then check out Bodyweight Exercise Revolution.</p

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Journey of a Warrior: The Training Diary of Parth Shah February 2009

Image by Michal Novotny

Monday, February 2, 2009

100 Pullups for Time, Did only 94 pullups

Time: 2:30:84.04

Intensity Rating: 5/10

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Max rounds in 20 minutes of:

  • Bodyweight Squat, 20 reps
  • KB Swings, 10 reps
  • KB Windmill, 5 reps

Completed 8 rounds in 20 minutes

Intensity Rating: 6/10

Fridy, February 6, 2009


For time:

  • Dive Bombers, 15 reps
  • KB Snatch, 3 reps
  • Dive Bombers, 12 reps
  • KB Snatch, 6 reps
  • Dive Bombers, 9 reps
  • KB Snatch, 9 reps
  • Dive Bombers, 6 repss
  • KB Snatch, 12 reps
  • Dive Bombers, 3 reps
  • KB Snatch, 15 reps

Time: 11:36

Intensity Rating: 8/10

Monday, February 9, 2008

Max rounds in 9 minutes of:*

  • Chinups, 5 reps
  • Medicine Ball Uneven Pushups, 10 reps
  • KB Swing, 15 reps
  • Pushups, 20 reps
  • Squat Thrust w/o Pushups, 25 reps

Performed one round, + chinups and med ball pushups

2 minute Rest

Max rounds in 7 minutes of:**

  • Chinups, 4 reps
  • KB Swing, 12 reps
  • Squat Thrust w/o Pushups, 20 reps

Intensity Rating – 5/10

Performed 2 rounds

Notes: Intensity rating is personal thing. I guess you can even match it to how high your heart rate was. An exercise can be difficult, but it might not be intense. This is probably why the Caveman guys wear a heartbeat monitor when they workout (maybe an Idea I should pick up).

10 Burpees for a beginner would probably be on a scale of 9/10,, but for someone more advanced it could be a 5/10. It really just depends on personal abilities.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

So this was the workout that came up through my index card experiment :

4 rounds for time of:

  • Sprint 2 blocks
  • Jog back
  • Ankle Grabbers, 20 reps

Time: 13:37.13

Intensity Rating: 7/10

Notes: I haven’t sprinted in a LONG time. (See, Olinek, this is why I need index cards or some system in place. If I woke up and just decided to do what I felt like, then I would never sprint). But the sprints felt really good. I felt like I was good at them. The only problem was my recovery time. The sprints were good, but the jog back was lacking. I need to find a way to work on my recovery time.

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