What’s Holding You Back?

To start anything from a dietary change, a new job, buying a puppy or a taking on an exercise routine take a couple of things.

First off, a motivator to start that ‘something’. From the motivator spins off the why, the reason to take on that ‘something’.

Secondly, a plan of action steps follows suit.

After those two factors there are lots of wee things, fluff that messes up our heads, or let’s call them excuses or perceived stumbling blocks.

Today though, I’m not going to talk too much planning or motivation, those are topics I’ll leave for someone much smarter than me to talk about.

I am going to talk about starting a strength and exercise plan and the stuff that holds you back and options to get over it.

image from 'thedailybrick.co.uk'

image from ‘thedailybrick.co.uk’

Unless Wonder Woman is holding you back, then you’ve really not got many reasons outside of health issues, that are genuinely going to stop you from making a start.

A list of excuses might look something like this: (feel free to pick one)

  • No time
  • Don’t know what to do
  • Don’t want to join a gym
  • Kids take my energy and time
  • I’m busy at work, busy busy busy
  • I joined a gym but never go
  • I don’t like X exercise (replace X with any disliked exercise)
  • I don’t like getting warm and sweaty – sigh!
  • I don’t want to hurt myself
  • I’m tired
  • I’ve no stuff to use

The list could go on and in fact, I’d love to hear your excuses too. Reply in the comment box below – go on, have a moan.

I think that in a lot of cases, there is this perception that to exercise, you must do all this ‘stuff’ for a block of time that for many reasons, seems unreasonable.

Now, if you’re an athlete (and by athlete I mean someone who’s job is to exercise for sport and not a gym attendee who trains a few times a week) your motivator is to perform at your best to win, support your team and chase your dreams. This is fine. I’ve been there, got lots of T-shirts and made huge sacrifices to chase it.

In the case of career exercising, a lot of those excuses listed above apply to other life stuff outside of exercising but, if your career is an office based occupation, services, health care, looking after family etc, then yes, time and energy is your currency.

There are exercise police that dictate that you must exercise for 1 hour a day 3-4 days a week. If your goal is to exercise reasonably frequently for health and general strength and fitness, maybe some weight loss, then the rules are flexible. You do what you can when you can.

An ideal exercise plan should include a few components to tick the boxes.

For strength we should include the short list now made popular by coach Dan John. This comprises of the 6 pillars that include the Squat, Hip Hinge, Push, Pull, Abdominal Bracing and a loaded Carry.

For general health longevity we can include the simplest of activities, like walking. Sure, if our bodies allow for it, we can get all sexy and do some intervals and high explosive exercises, but to be honest, when exercising at this point is already pushing the likelihood buttons, let’s not risk injuries or further obstacles.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 1.28.43 PM

Let’s look at that list of 6 pillars again. Just six exercises. Only 6 exercises. I might say just 6 but you may be thinking (as a beginner looking for excuses not to exercise) “Wow, I’ve to do six things!”

In an ideal world where time wasn’t a major trading currency, completing these six, for multiple sets in a training session wouldn’t be a problem but that’s not us in this.

So, let’s just do ONE. 

Yep, there is nothing wrong with doing just one thing per day in an exercise routine. If you were to spend 10 mins a day doing just one thing to improve your life and health, after a week you’ll have acquired 70 mins of dedicated and focussed exercise. Not bad hey?

Now this isn’t just pure fancy, it’s a strategy that I have given to clients over the years that works wonders for starting out, sustaining, time-limited periods or for putting in little blocks of practice time for new skills. You see, exercising is a skill. When you practice a movement, your skill levels increases and the body will adapt.

My current situation is my prime motivator to share this with you today. I am spending a month visiting family over seas for a wedding, catching up, showing my daughter the wonders of my homeland and eating all the foods I grew up with.

I still want to exercise but time, space, weather and equipment is my currency.

What I am planning per day is a rotation of mobility (keeping loose and pain free) and strength training. One day I complete a 10 min routine of mobility moves and the other day I focus on one strength movement for up to 10 minutes.

Today I squat. 

Squat wordcloud

ONE thing is my focus today, a squat movement. I’ve not got any kettlebells, bars or anything else, so I shall take a variation of a squat and I’ll play with that over a short period of time. So, to cover one of those excuses, “I don’t like X exercise”, there are a multitude of variations for each of those 6 pillars we should include every week. The little word cloud above shows a selection of leg exercises that I can use and in fact, today the Lego squat, a new favourite of mine is on the menu.

Here’s a demo from the archives: This one includes a combination

Tomorrow we’ve a wedding, so my plan is to complete a mobility routine early in the day, 10 minutes again. The following day I’ll probably do a short routine to include again, one movement, like a rowing (pulling) motion of pushing.

Whilst it could be easy to just go, “ah sure, I’m on holidays, I can rest”, I know I’ll feel better for keeping up a minimal plan so when time becomes more available in the future, I’ll have a good foundation from which to build up.

My Goal for my exercising is to increase health and strength longevity. I’m not looking to set world records, I want to add life to my years without falling apart too young. My goal therefor, is to keep the goal the goal. If all I have to do is move well and often, than 10 mins a day sure ticks a box.

10 minutes a day of focussed exercise equals 60 hours a year of focussed exercise!

Not bad hey?

If you want to make a start to adding life to your years and maybe are not too sure how and where to start, get in touch. Whether you are near or far, I can surely help you.

Yours in health,


Number 1 Key to Success

Now there’s an attention grabbing title!

However, I do have just that, one key thing to do in order to start the success process…

Number-1Whether you seek success in life, fitness, weight loss – in fact, anything you want to achieve, I would argue that the most important action is to “JUST SHOW UP.”

Many clients often ask something similar to, “How long does it take to…lose 5kg / knock 5 mins off my 5km run / eat better.” The answer is invariably always the same – start doing something.

I’m personally a terrible procrastinator. I’ll want to start a program but spend too much time pondering the details when all I’m doing is wasting time in starting the program. Another great example I’m sure my wife would agree with is finishing the new raised veggie patches. I want to do it but, I’m all, “yeah but, I’ve to go get the wood, level the ground, buy more stuff for drainage ….bla bla bla, I’ll do it tomorrow!”


We all want something that’ll requires us to start doing something and it’s even easier to not do it. But, once we do actually start, we’re on the path to success.

Getting to the point. If you have something in your head, a goal, an outcome that you want to achieve, something you want to change, start to initiate that change with just one thing. The Just Show Up line can refer to actually making it to the gym or it could refer to writing out your dinner meal plans for the next day or two, heck, it could even be the simple act of writing your goal down on a note pad and leaving it next to your bed, computer, TV remote, whatever. Just start with something that points you in the direction you want to go.

Probably half my clients at FitStrong did procrastinate at some stage and left their health to play second fiddle to other things like work, partying, bringing up the family, or just procrastinated. At some stage something happened, usually unpleasant that made them decide to take action. Take pain, aches and a general feeling of being week, that’s a good motivator to change something. Their one thing was to look up a personal trainer on Google and I am very thankful that they got in touch with me.

So if you’ve been stuck in procrastination land for a while, contemplating change, I’d rather you acted now, grab your proverbial goals by the horns and just turn up for yourself.

If you’re ready to commit to change, maybe not sure what to do next, let me know below, let’s catch up over email and talk about how to get you started.

What you Do is what You Get

Short post today and it’s all about YOU my friend. That’s right, I am not going to blab on about my training, kettlebells, food or my cool little gym. Today is all about you and your results.

Let’s face it bluntly, when we get started into a training plan regardless of it being a health, strength, muscle size or fat loss matter, we tend to only focus on the outcome aka getting the results. You go to a trainer because you have this goal in your mind. Now, whilst the outcome of any advice or training plan is focussed on achieving the goal, you gotta consider the behaviours that will allow you to achieve them, yes?

Examples to ponder, who knows, one of these might be you!

1. You want to drop a few kg and want to train insane 3-4 times a week for 45 mins to an hour and not bother to really work on nutrition… cause that’ll work, right?

Outcomes: maybe a little weight loss but sustaining high effort training, HIIT or otherwise isn’t likely for more than a few weeks. You’ll get pretty stressed out too with the knowledge that every time you hit the gym you’ve to hit yourself hard and you may well be feeling a deflated and far from energetic if the nutrition aspect doesn’t get sorted (behaviour change). Maybe now is not the time to hit the gym hard. Maybe it is an opportunity to explore nutrition options?

2. You want to get stronger, increase your deadlift, squat and bench press yet you struggle to make time to get to the gym frequently.

Outcomes: my friend, this might not be the time to set your target on getting stronger. You may be lucky to maintain general strength with a session every 4 days or so but, unless you can commit to a few sessions a week (the behaviour change). 

priority3. You go to a trainer because you feel like an old man…. No, not all cranky and wrinkly (better check the mirror just in case though!). You feel tight, restricted and unable to move without groaning. You work behind a desk from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday before hitting the gym where you sit on a bike, a rowing machine then move onto a repertoire of weights machines, oh, and they’re all sitting based. You’re just not getting any better and still feel trapped inside your own body!

Outcomes: the topic of why sitting is not helping anyone is a lengthy subject that I posted about last year (click that link if you like). Suffice to say, “STOP sitting so much everyone!” An idea to help any training plan is to look out for any limitations, obstacles and saboteurs (yes, even analysing your training is a great periodic behaviour). In this case, not many people are going to improve their mobility sitting on everything whilst moving in linear directions. If this is you, get off the machines, introduce yourself to the floor and try out some body weight movements. This may be some gentle yoga, pilates or other movement systems such as the Original Strength system (behaviour change).

Anyway, I’m going off here with a longer than intended post. In summary, what actions you do alone wont necessarily affect change. Your behaviours influence the outcomes the greatest. That ol saying by Henry Ford springs to mind,

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

This does of course relate to goal setting to aid your training programs and directions or progressions.
In a follow up post I’ll introduce a simple method to plan your training for your goals.
Until then, live life and prosper.
Little homage to the late Leonard Nimoy

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 12.59.40 pm