A transformation is more than weight loss

A successful transformation program is only partly about Weight Loss

In the health and fitness industry, the area of TRANSFORMATIONS can refer to many outcomes. Mostly though, people will associate a ‘transformation’ program as exclusively a ‘weight loss’ program. 

It’s a commonly held notion also that losing weight alone will result in satisfaction and a ‘happy’ outcome!

But, does just losing weight really equal happiness, satisfaction, complete wellness or a sense of purpose? 

How about strength, fitness and physical confidence – will losing weight alone make you feel stronger, fitter and more competent? 

Are these even factors that are considered part of the outcome of most weight loss programs? 

Being totally honest, almost anyone can lose weight by not exercising and starving themselves or at best, following a well balanced, healthier eating lifestyle. I’m not discounting weight loss by any kind of process, as it can still be challenging and rewarding. If you really want to go under the knife – that is your choice!

However, and here is my professional point of view; losing weight to look leaner is only ONE part of a greater package of what a transformation program can be.

Losing unwanted body fat, feeling great, moving better, feeling strong and more capable and resilient against all that life can throw at you – I believe these are the ingredients of a real transformation. But, just losing weight from calorie restriction is not going to result in that. You can’t diet yourself strong.

In a recent study, people were assessed following popular intermittent fasting protocols. I do like intermittent fasting, but I also like to exercise. These people fasted only. No exercise. While both lost fat weight, both lost muscle tissue. What’s the problem? Muscle is the engine that continues to burn calories. If we lose muscle, we lose the capacity to continue to burn calories, therefor requiring us to consume fewer calories – or food. Who wants that? Food is great. 

A successful transformation program will include healthy, sustainable eating habits – and real food – along with a well designed exercise program that addresses aerobic fitness and strength, safely. 

Balanced nutrition, exercise and planning = successful transformation

Being fitter, stronger, happier in our skin is being in a position of celebrating our lives, our lifestyles and looking forward to tomorrow – who really wouldn’t want that? 

Summing it up:

Performance is not something often considered when looking for or engaging in a transformation program, but maybe if you consider the points I raised above, maybe you do want to move better, stronger and feel better in your own skin. 

If you’re nodding your head and thinking ‘Yes, I want to be fitter, stronger and happier with my physique’, let’s talk.

Head over to www.amazing12brisbane.com.au read some more and then get in contact.

Jamie

Below are examples of people just like you and me who dedicated 12 Amazing weeks to transforming their lifestyle, physique, strength and fitness.

Beyond the six-pack, Nicci progressed from doing machine pull downs to performing pull ups with a 32kg kettlebell hanging off her waist along with a very strong personal best deadlift of 140kg!
This kind of strength improvement is not uncommon for Amazing 12 graduates.


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New At FitStrong

Introducing the Amazing 12 Brisbane

Quick back-story:

I’ve been a health and fitness professional since 1997.

In that time I’ve ventured from regular run-of-the-mill gym activities like group exercise, circuit training and centre management. I new that wasn’t what I was looking for or destined for.

Moving to Australia opened doors to explore other areas, especially areas operated in by the most successful trainers. Not financially, but in terms of results, health and physical gains.

Kettlebells and the teachings of Pavel Tsatsouline provided underpinning principles of strength. OrIginal Strength taught how movement can be restored. MovNat inspired us to contextualise our training to reflect on life’s needs.

Whilst I know I can help people feel great with movement and strength, one missing link always bugged me though.

Feeling good feels good, and moving better is a part of that. But I have to recognise that many people want to feel better about how they perform as well as how they ‘feel in their own skin and clothes’, and this includes what they see in the mirror. Some people will tell me they don’t see who they really are.

Enter the Mentor from Centaur

For years I’ve admired my fellow Irishman Paul McIlroy who runs an old-school gym called Centaur – the centre for all things strength and conditioning, creating super strong individuals – and his transformation program, The Amazing 12.

Two months ago I met with his program director via zoom and got the ball rolling to become a certified Amazing 12 coach. After a deep study block of 3 weeks (80 hours) I am now certified to operate and coach the Amazing 12 here in Brisbane. The first for our city and state and only the 3rd to become certified in Australia!

The Amazing 12 offers unprecedented body transformations in a surprisingly short period of time (12 weeks) every time, no matter your age, condition, or genetics. There are no special dietary purchases, required – just simple wholesome nutrition. This is not a bootcamp, or a train ‘till you drop program – it’s just perfectly individualised programming with a simple template. It can be called simple now, but it’s taken 15 years of fine tuning and the programming genius of Paul. This is not solely a weight loss program, it’s a physical strength, fitness and mindset transformation program.

The lives of 10000+ people have been impacted by their participation in the Amazing 12.

Free Red Arrow Transparent Png, Download Free Red Arrow Transparent Png png  images, Free ClipArts on Clipart Library

Just check out the transformation gallery from other certified Amazing Trainers around the globe.

In case you don’t want to click that link, here are just four examples of two ladies and two gents.

I am proud to announce that The Amazing 12 Brisbane will be a new offering from FitStrong in only a matter of weeks, both as a small group program and a one-to-one service.

I totally understand that this commitment might not be for everyone, but you the reader, keep in mind anyone you know who might fit the bill – please forward this for their consideration.

For more information, please head over to the dedicated Amazing 12 Brisbane page.

Jamie

Please, please copy the link below and share on social media or with anyone you know who wants and needs an Amazing 12 weeks in the Brisbane area.

www.amazing12brisbane.com.au

Do you really want to lose weight?

Or do you:

  • Want to feel good?
  • Want to feel stronger? 
  • Want more confidence?
  • Want to lose some unneeded body fat?
  • Want to be happier looking at yourself in the mirror?
  • Want to be capable of more physical tasks?
  • Want to choose better eating habits? 
  • Want to set a healthy example to your family, your children, your friends? 
  • Or do you just want to lose weight?

Just a short post for now, but I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to tell me what you want below.

Jamie

Just Turn Up and Add to the Bank of Health

If there’s one message for achieving success that I’ve heard, been told, read or observed, it’s this; show up. I was reminded of the very same by coach Dan John during a weekend workshop last month. ‘Just turn up!’ Many of his successes over his athletic and professional career occurred by chance… that is after turning up to an event, competition or taking the opportunity to write an article for a popular fitness magazine.

It can be said that success does leave clues, and it’s pretty clear that being in the right place at the right time is sure to lead to many an adventure, misadventure, offers and opportunities. But if you ignore them until ‘next time’ or for ‘another time’, you’ll have missed the gun and lose time, the one thing you can’t get back.

Everything we do now on a routine basis is because at some stage it became a habit. Either as a necessity or as something we started. It was a habit in the making. It might not be a habit any more, but during the process of forming it, it was becoming a habit. Now it is just part of life. But, to create it, something had to start, we had to turn up in sorts.

Opportunities are created by us not others – we just have to turn up, be there, say yes. 

Now, what the heck does this all mean in the context of my area, health and fitness? My first job in fitness back in 1997 happened when I turned up for an appointment at a physio and asked if he knew of any jobs going in the gym upstairs. And yes, sure enough, there was… ka-ching! ‘Winner winner chicken dinner’ as they say’. In the mid 90s I had a wonderful time living my dream of the day, racing my bike in Europe on a shoe-string budget. How? I turned up at events often, got noticed by people and got offered an opportunity.

  • A former client with a life changing back problem hated turning up to the gym every Wednesday morning but he did. He’s now a former member because his life turned around again because he did turn up regardless of his emotions. Now Dave runs almost every day, has climbed Everest (I jest not) and he’s a new man, a much lighter, happier and healthier man to boot.
  • Robyn turns up to the gym three times a week even though she’d prefer to be sitting at home, feet up with a cup of tea to recover from her totally crazy, busy family life. She decides to turn up, work through her mobility and strength routine and goes home again a little bit better than 45 minutes previous.
  • Jim decides to make his life healthier by working on eating more vegetables. He turns up to the grocery store instead of the bakery to buy his least detested vegetables haha. His goal is to buy vegetables he enjoys, to add to at least one meal a day to begin with at the most. Little changes made often will grow over time.

That is the goal of this piece; to demonstrate through a few examples how making little changes often can make them a habit, then a normal part of life, all the while adding to the wealth of health, adding to the bank.

How often do you hear of people taking on big, new goals or challenges, only to either never start them or to blow up in overload due to the enormity of the task? They took on more than a reasonable amount of change than they could cope with. That isn’t a reflection of their poor resolve, it’s just being human. We thrive best on small and often.

Dr BJ Fogg lectures at Stanford University in human behaviour and specialises in habit formation. His very successful program Tiny Habits which I have taken a few times, works on the principle of taking the smallest amount of the target habit and doing it with / after / when you perform an anchor activity. An anchor is something you do as part of a normal day, like going to the loo, brushing teeth, pass by the front door, wash dishes etc. By building the familiar pattern of doing something new with something simple and frequently occurring, the new habit has the best chance of itself becoming a normal, everyday activity.

I use this principle daily for my own newish habits. Some I don’t call habits any more as they just happen, they just are because I turned up. I’m not doing the best job at expressing what I’m trying to tell you here. It will take me practice I guess to explain how the simple acts of turning up and making small changes can have very large, longterm benefits. But that’s where I am and hey, this is only a blog, it doesn’t have to be perfect. I just sat down in front of my laptop and started typing instead of having a coffee with an episode of the Simpsons haha

My Grandfather told and taught me many things when he was alive but one thing he encouraged me to embrace was offers. “Never turn down an offer, always say yes”, he told me. He was right.

Never turn down an opportunity.

Yours in health,

Jamie

We Need Strength and Wellness

We live in a day of visual fixation. Instagram and other social media has made stars out of bodies, not people. Adoration keeps these money making machines in the news feed while actual heath and fitness professionals scratch their heads in bewilderment.

In the pre bodybuilding era of the 1930s to 1950s, people exercised to perform feats of strength, for their own entertainment and that of others. Spectators gleamed at their performance not just their physiques. These people lived healthy, balanced lives with real, physical jobs and families. Physical culture was a lifestyle not just a ways to claw at attention from those looking onwards.

You might not see much difference between then and now. Just people showing off their bodies. However, one element is missing today. Wellness.

Here’s something I dug up from the Guardian: link

‘According to a 2008 Journal of Health Psychology study, women reported an increased negative mood, depression and anxiety after only 30 minutes of viewing fitness magazines that promote an “athletic ideal”. Social media means you don’t have to buy a magazine to see these images; they’re in your newsfeed. The BMJ has identified exercise addiction as a growing problem, affecting up to 10% of the exercising population’.

What I’m writing here is not a bang on the modern fitness industry, or social media but it is my observation and that of my peers that something dire has happened in the last number of years. More and more people are turning to these (often unqualified) online, social media darlings for inspiration and exercise motivation. With the label of Personal Trainer I am (was) part of that group. To most people the identity or title of Personal Trainer does for the large part sum up an image of a muscly, loud motivator by means of administering ‘hurt’. But that’s not what I do. Yes, I know there are plenty of trainers who practice healthy exercise promotion, but we are few and far between.

I recently rejoined the instagram world after a 6 month break after finding myself feeling down and miserable, as I compared myself to the war zone of fitness information being broadcast. If it wasn’t another fitpro trying to sell me his or her 6 week program to making 7 figure $$$$ as a gym owner, it was the brigade of muscly dudes and dudettes making me feel physical inferior.

Coming back after my break I’ve blocked those feeds and prefer to share my healthier approach to becoming fitter, stronger and healthier.

And with that, I have rebranded FitStrong Personal Training to FitStrong Strength & Wellness.

FITSTRONG STRENGTH & WELLNESS Banner 2019

This has been a process of plentiful thought but after 22+ as a trainer I want to stick to my guns and promote the healthiest methods and practices to becoming fitter and stronger – just like the banner says!

Of course I’ll still be carrying out personal training, small group training, seniors classes and online training and such, but I will be actively promoting the other vital components that actually allow us to become fitter and stronger. I’ve written about them before but in short… here’s an infographic:

Fitness Map

Over the coming months I intend to write about each of these 5 areas (yellow boxes) in more detail to ‘map’ their position in an optimal lifestyle program of sorts. This will become the overarching drive of business going into the future and I am really excited to start into this new strategy.

My goal as a trainer is to help people. It really is that simple. What I identify as important is that we live well, with strength, agility and resilience, both physically and mentally.

Rather than following the tribe of social media stars I am going to start my own tribe and in the words of coach Dan John, the Goal is the keep the Goal the Goal.

the GOAL is to keep the GOAL the GOAL (1)

 

Got any feedback or questions? Please contact me below or if local to the greater Brisbane area, call me on 0450487237 or hey, get me on Facebook or Instagram .

Yours in Fitness, Strength & Wellness,

Jamie

Exercise is not a punishment for enjoying food and drink

Monday is always a great day to ….

You can fill in the blank word or words but how often does this happen? A big weekend followed by a big Monday plan that goes – well, I’m sure you know how that story turns out.

Here are a few thoughts floating around my head after some chit-chats with different people over the last week.

  • Exercise is for developing better movement, getting stronger and fitter, having fun and feeling great afterwards.
  • Exercise will help you live longer with more physical independence and wellbeing.
  • Don’t confuse exercising with weight loss.
  • More is not more in most cases.
  • Make exercise fun but safe.
  • How much food you eat is the only factor that will help you lose body fat or build muscle.
  • Better sleep and stress management will make it easier to manage your eating.
  • In any combination, variation or cultural persuasion, eat vegetables, proteins, natural fats and enough carbohydrates with a sprinkling of flavoursome herbs and spices as preferred.
  • Experiment to see what works best for you.
  • Make eating fun but in limitation.
  • Be a reasonable adult.
  • If you miss a training session or have a big splurge on a Saturday – don’t compensate by ‘smashing out’ a gym session or ‘hard dieting’. Just pick up where you left on and continue life.

Got any thoughts to add to this? Let me know.

Need to book in for more details chat about this? Get me below.

Jamie

How to Bulletproof Your Future

Part 1

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In the gym it’s pretty obvious how we spend our time. People turn up, we warm up, we do some strength work and movement skill work, have a chit-chat then say our ‘see you next times’.

The why and the what else is all-too-often not discussed in much detail apart from some passing suggestions about getting in some aerobic work and keeping up some stretching at home etc.

This year, my goal is to help people bulletproof their futures. 

I’d love to be offering a proverbial radioactive spider to help turn you into a superhero version of yourself, and actually, compared to to an alternative, I might be doing just that!

This year I will naturally be spending time espousing the benefits of strength and mobility training, because that what 90% of my gym time with people is spent doing. BUT, I am going to be spending more time promoting the other stuff, the things we probably do not spend enough time promoting.

My role is that of a health and fitness promoter, not just a personal trainer. Fitness is what most of trainers spend lots of time on but health… meh, we could be doing heaps better at that.

Our bodies maintain a healthy balanced system when it’s treated as intended. It’s a bit like a bike chain. Left unused it will rust, stiffen and eventually fail when used. Our bodies have a blueprint, a design and a purpose. There are a number of things we are meant to do daily and frequently to sustain the balance.

Let’s look at these briefly. I will be spending time over the coming weeks looking more deeply into these according to what research has found and I’ll cover to how to action improvements.

  • Sleep 7 to 9 hours a day.
  • Eat a balanced diet of plants, proteins, fats and water too.
  • Stay strong in all the movements our mechanics perform in.
  • Walk daily and get out of breath from time to time.
  • Move well and often without restriction, pain or discomfort.

What happens when we drift away from our intend? We specialise. This is a subject that puts the cat right amongst the pigeons.

Whilst admiring a specialist and their very particular set of skills, they have most likely sacrificed many other essential elements of what makes up complete health. 

A few general examples:

  • The cyclist who does not work on their strength training
  • The powerlifter who neglects their body fat levels and aerobic health
  • The overly busy father who works 55 hours a week yet neglects his family
  • The very busy mum who focuses entirely on her children and family and neglects their own fitness and nutrition
  • The Gymnast who focuses wholeheartedly on their sport and sacrifices their joint health

While you can admire all these people for their dedication and successes, isn’t it a shame they sacrifice to do so. It’s not a moral shame either. It’s a shame that the essential physical components that make us fully operational humans are missing. Being mobile, strong, aerobically capable; being able to fully recover from each day with good nutrition and adequate sleep is what amounts to enable our bodies to thrive. Being good at one thing is fine, but the pay-off is a health trade-off. 

2019 is the year I’ll be wearing more of my health promotion hat and not just my PT hat. So much of my last 10 years have been spent on learning and developing better knowledge and application of training programs, exercises, progressions, regressions and systems but one thing has become quite apparent – it just doesn’t matter if we are not getting the basics of health in place.

If you’re following a training program, not getting stronger, not losing fat, not feeling fitter, most likely it’s not the training that’s to blame, it’s the poor attention given to these other components. 

Before contemplating becoming an expert or a specialist, weigh up being a really good generalist. Being able to undertake a wide array of components of being human is so much more wealthy than being awesome at one or a restricted number of things. 

Until next time, do weigh yourself up. What are you doing more of or what are you doing proportionately less? Consider that list above:

  • Sleep 7 to 9 hours a day.
  • Eat a balanced diet of plants, proteins, fats and water too.
  • Stay strong in all the movements our mechanics perform in.
  • Walk daily and get out of breath from time to time.
  • Move well and often without restriction, pain or discomfort.

 

Part 2 – Sleep 

 

Diet Motivation?

So many people want to use exercise as their main tool to lose body fat. But in all honesty, exercise is a weak tool for this job. Yes it has it’s place but the priority is nutritional.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, that you might have to start paying attention to what you eat. But what if you could see the future? What if you could glance at your life once you achieve your goal?

One useful tool to help motivate you to start making changes is a ‘Visualisation’ exercise where you do just what the last sentence talks about.

Here’s some homework:

Write a note to yourself, from the perspective of when you’ve achieved your weight loss goal. Imagine how your life will be.

Don’t get too off-point, be specific. Here are a few questions you could answer.

  • How does your life differ?
  • Why has it been important to you that you’ve achieved your goal?
  • How are your relationships with friends, your partner, your family and colleagues?
  • How do you feel now as a person?

Once you’ve written your note, read it back to yourself. How does it make you feel? Do you have some ideas coming into your head about where to start and maybe which areas you’d like to start with? Have your values changed perhaps?

Any revelations – please do share below.

 

 

Featured image from Lego.

Carry On to Get Real World STRONG

Training must always have a purpose. It’s that simple.

You turn up and you conduct movements with an overarching purpose. That may be to elicit a calorie burn, to add muscle or to get stronger, faster or to develop a skill. Whatever the purpose or purposes, you should ideally choose purposeful movements. Think I’ve made that clear… next point.

The word functional gets a fair amount of use and misuse in the training world. Maybe it’s me, but when I consider function, I immediately visualise movements that relate to our daily lives and occupations. Movements like lifting things up and putting them back down again, pushing, pulling, pressing and of course bracing ourselves to handle those activities.

Just for a moment, reflect on your day-to-day physical activities outside of the gym and then consider how they fit into the above range.

Go on… I’ll wait for you.

These movements above are what I think of when talking about functional training. One more activity that we can’t ignore is carrying ‘stuff’.

How often do you carry armfuls of shopping, maybe gardening activities, carrying those 25s to the bench to press them and a myriad of other carrying? You might find these chores challenging too, exposing your weaknesses. The carry has a much great purpose than just incidental transportation of things, it transforms your weakness to a strength.

The action of successfully carrying heavy implements has a multitude of physical benefits that’ll be sure to toughen you up and give you some real-world ‘strong’.

So what do carries do?

If carries had a sales pitch:

Putting carries into your life will tighten up your posture as good as granny making you walk around with books on your head. Your upper back will get strong like ox whilst your shoulders will boast some impressive wolverine shadows (the hair is a different story though!). Expect your grip to take on a vice like quality… everyone likes a firm handshake. Talking of firm, your backside will develop mighty fine hardware to go along with a torso only the Gods of Mount Olympus could forge. “Holly abs of Zeus”!

How to do carries?

The rules of the carry are simple. Pick up your weight and carry it for a set time or distance. Vague I know, but committing to the carry is vital. Yeah, it might suck a little as every muscle on your frame gives you feedback that time is up. Rule two then is this… don’t let go, don’t give up. Rule three, maintain your postural integrity. We don’t want to see any hunch-backing, bending over sideways or other ugly positions. Stay tight, stay upright, stick with it.

What kind of weights or implements depends on what you have. I like kettlebells because they’re compact and often heavy. Specialised bars can be used as well as dumbbells, barbells, heavy bags, a wheelbarrow full of rocks, rocks by themselves. An adventurous mind will be helpful.

Carrying isn’t just limited to carrying by your side. Here’s a list of options:

  • Farmers walk with two weights by your sides
  • One arm carry by your side 
  • Racked on your shoulder, one or two arms 
  • Overhead carry, one or two arms (depending on shoulder mobility this might or might not work) 
  • Sled pull and carry anything, anyhow, any way
  • Sled pull with a harness, a weighted vest whilst pushing a wheelbarrow – I have never done this one, but wowsers, it sounds pretty cool.

Here are a few videos:

Coach Dan John calls carries the Game Changer. Read what he has to say – just in case you don’t believe me!

An adventurous mind will be helpful but stick to the rules and really do try to include some kind of carries into your training week.

I challenge you to experiment over the next month with carries. You’ll not be disappointed.

Stay strong and mobile,

Jamie

What is it with kettlebells anyway?

I’ll soon be teaching a kettlebell user workshop (June 2017) with a friend and fellow kettlebell lover. We totally see the curiosity in some people who want to learn how to use these odd-looking handle-embellished cannon balls. But, as I promote the workshop I want to prepare myself for the usual eyebrow raisers who question the kettlebell. Let me share with you some of my feelings and those of the superstar coaches involved with kettlebell coaching.

What is it with kettlebells anyway?

People ask me all the time, “Why kettlebells? Is this type of training really any different from a dumbbell, barbell or other gym exercises?” Every time I’m asked that question, I start to feel the passion build and I have to contain myself. Kettlebell training is radically different from any other form of training I’ve personally experienced in my many years of weight training.

Surprisingly often, many people just have ONE kettlebell to start with and you know what, one kettlebell is all you need for a surprisingly good training program. Because of its shape, the kettlebell lends itself for fast, propulsive movements like the swing, clean and the snatch. These torch calories and turn the power muscles of the body into overdrive.

The kettlebell proves a great tool for pressing, squatting, hip hinging movements and rowing. It’s a take anywhere gym.

Without wasting time fluffing around all the other things you could be doing in a gym, a minimalist approach with a kettlebell encourages you to do what needs to be done, without distraction. Swing, squat, press, pull and carry.

Here’s what other have to say.

There is a real need in this industry for “One Kettlebell Workouts”, and I love them. I enjoy driving to a park, meeting with friends, walking a bit with my kettlebell, training, and then enjoying a nice picnic. I keep this tradition alive every weekday morning when people join me to workout at 9:30. – Dan John

Primarily because of its offset handle, a kettlebell, makes your body work harder by recruiting more musculature and increasing ranges of motion.

In the first example, holding a kettlebell over your head is a much different feeling than holding the same sized dumbbell over your head. A dumbbell will pitch side-to-side since the weight is evenly balanced in the hand. A kettlebell will pull your arm backward, because the majority of the weight is below the handle,  and in doing so, will force your shoulder musculature to work harder.

In the second example, increasing ranges of motion, we can take a look at the Swing, an exercise where the weight is passed between and underneath the legs. The offset handle increases the lever arm pushing the hips further back, and stretching their muscles to a greater degree than with a dumbbell. And you can’t even do that with a barbell. – Geoff Neupert

 

The kettlebell swing is a perfect example of the uniqueness of kettlebell training. Why? As Tracy Reifkind, RKC and author of the great book The Swing puts it, it’s a two-for-one exercise. It combines the benefits of resistance training and cardiovascular conditioning in one very powerful exercise. There isn’t an exercise that addresses so many things at once as does the kettlebell swing. – Scott Iardella

In Russia, the kettlebell traditionally has been a training tool for tough people. When I started teaching kettlebells to Americans, I saw the same pattern; my early students were military operators, fighters, and other hard men.

What pleased and surprised me over the years is how this hardcore tool went on to appeal to people from all walks of life. My teaching goals used to be narrow: Make the tough even tougher. Today they are broader: Enable regular folks to join the tough. Finally become the man or woman you used to want to be. – Pavel Tsatsouline

If you would like to learn more about kettlebell training, please get in touch now.