Goal Setting- 5 Tips

Want to achieve all those goals you are (hopefully) writing down for 2015?  Then you better make sure they are following some research based tips…

1.  Goals are specific and measurable!  If on your list you have “I want to lose weight” then you better make it read something closer to, “I will lose 5 lbs of body fat by March.”  Be bold and courageous enough to DEFINE success for yourself!

2.  Goals are challenging but attainable!  While you can lose water weight overnight, body fat takes time.  There is a line between pushing yourself and setting yourself up for failure.

3.  Identify goals as long term and short term!  Some of those loftier goals will need dates into the summer or fall!

4.  Identify which of your goals are outcome goals and which are behavior goals!  This one, to me, is as important as #1 on the list.  “I will eat vegetables 5 times/week” is an AWESOME goal!  This is a behavioral goal and what I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE about behavior goals is that we are in COMPLETE control of them.  Outcome goals like “I will lose 5 lbs of body fat by March” is an outcome goal and it is a result of a series of consistently executed behavioral goals, but we are not in complete control of our outcomes.  Some people w/ low thyroid function will not get the same results as those with normally functioning thyroids.  Men can burn fat more efficiently than women based on their hormonal composition.  Yes…FAT LOSS is neither a fair, linear, or predictable process!!!!  Get over it!!!!   Focus on your behaviors and results will follow!

5.  Tell someone about it.  This is probably the scariest because if we don’t accomplish our goal, we can keep that shame to ourselves and no one will know we failed.  However, research tells us that we NEED a peer group to get us through those tough moments, to hold us accountable, and to cheer us on.  You don’t have to tell the Facebook world about it, but you should not keep your goal a complete secret either!!

Now, sit down sometime this week and review your 2015 New Years Resolution List.  Make sure your goals have what research tells us make the best goals!!


Week 7- GREED #7DeadlySins

In terms of GREED, fitness icons can oftentimes be as bad as the most notorious of televangelists.  BOTH industries have been guilty of selling the impossible to the most desperate and vulnerable of souls.  Dr. Oz is Jimmy Swaggart, albeit without the prayers and tears but he’s got pill boxes and endorsements to match.  He might not cure you of cancer with a paid phone call but he sure will take an entire 60 minutes to prove to you that raspberry keytones are THE MISSING PIECE to your fat loss puzzle.  Coincidentally raspberry ketyones were the missing piece to his bank account.

I’m not knocking supplements, exercise videos, or television/youtube personalities.  I use supplements daily as you well know.  I have exercise videos to get me through a day I’m in a rut.  I also have my favorite fitness personalities I love to follow on social media.  They are PART OF my healthy lifestyle but I am extremely aware that none of those elements make a dent in my goals unless ME, MYSELF, AND I are focused in attaining and then MAINTAINING a goal.

You are your own magic pill.

Nothing but you will stop you from choosing a protein shake over a bag of chips as a snack.

Nothing but you will get you out of bed to exercise when sleeping in would feel easier.

Nothing but you will make you add fruits and vegetables to your grocery cart when a box full of crackers looks more enticing.

Nothing but you will get you to your gym or studio of choice after a long day of work when calling it a day would be simpler.

EVERY result hinges on YOU before anything else.  You don’t need a fat wallet to achieve your goals!!

Next week, we will talk about how to set attainable and maintainable goals for 2015.  For now, you have to think through the mental barriers that keep you from making permanent change.  Confront them.  PRIORITIZE your health.

For example:  
* “I’m over scheduled and have no time!”- Are you one of those people who thinks if I’m busy then I’m being productive.   Busy does not equate to BEING EFFECTIVE.  Let go of certain things in your life.  You don’t have to volunteer for every PTA or church event to be a valuable member of it’s community.  You don’t have to “do the most” in order to get the most out of life!!
* “Eating healthy is too time consuming!” –  Neuroscience tells us that any new routine you are trying to pull off is MENTALLY very taxing at first.  We have to think through each and every step so you are RIGHT, at first, eating differently is very tiring and overwhelming.  This is people FAIL at major overhauls at an overwhelming rate of 95%!!!  Based on this statistic is why we encourage people to start with ONE CHANGE AT A TIME.  It is much less “sexy” than the major diet overhauls out there and slower to drive results but research backs up it’s success rate!

WHAT ARE YOUR MENTAL BLOCKS?  Grab a sheet of paper.  List them.  Get to know them.  Next week, we will help get you through them!

#7Deadly Sins Fitness Challenge

 1.  Benchmark-

This is our last week of our #7DeadlySins Workout Challenge.  See you Monday!!!!


If we can agree on anything, it’s that life rarely works out exactly how we planned or envisioned.  The most perfectly written plan is no match for the twists and turns that life presents.  If you don’t have a survival kit in your car or purse, then you leave yourself very susceptible to the bad food choices like ordering fried foods at a restaurant or a fast food run.

Keep any or all of these in your car, purse, or desk:

1.  Low sugar trail mix- You will likely have to make this yourself as almost all trail mixes are glorified candy bars.  It’s important you pick dried fruit that isn’t overloaded with additional sugars.  You want the natural sugar from the fruit, just not the extra.  Fresh Market has a lot to choose from.

2.  Quest bars-  If you don’t know how to read labels then these 25grams of carbs could scare you.  Almost all of these carbs is dietary fiber which “doesn’t count” as the starchy carb we ask you to limit.

3.  FRUIT is fast food!-

4.  Certain veggies travel well too!-  Yes you will look very weird at the doctors office if you bite into a bell pepper like it’s an apple, but certain veggies don’t immediately point you out as the health freak- cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, baby bell peppers, baby carrots, celery.

5.  Jerky-  READ THE INGREDIENT LIST!  Many jerkies are full of sugar in their recipes.  However, there are really great choices out in Target, Fresh Market, Publix etc.

3.  Activity-  We have added an extra day of Vain each week to focus on strength.  We hope to see you there.  Also, in January of 2015 our Yoga class will be very, very different.  Look for details this week!  For those who love a strength challenge what Karen and I are cooking up is not being done anywhere in HSV!

Week 6- PRIDE #7DeadlySins

Pride has a dual existence where it can be read as both a negative and a positive trait.  On the one hand, there is the pride associated with those with an inflated sense of self.   A person who loves to love themselves and doesn’t believe they have any evolving to do.  They have already reached the best they can be so why change anything.  I can’t imagine a more obnoxious person than this!

Then, there is the pride that any fitness professional who loves what they do, seeks to to build or maintain in their clients.  It’s a sense of accomplishment that comes from the knowledge that our bodies and minds are capable of anything we train them to do.  It’s a discovery that our boundaries will change and move according to our thoughts and actions.  Pride is a powerful emotion and it is a major driving force in creating life long health and wellness.

Here are three highlights from this week:

Facebook message:

and here is a text:


and then this happened on Friday!- FIRST BOX JUMP ever and then she just kept knocking them out like she’d been doing them her whole life.


For me and for Sweat there is NO GREATER COMPLIMENT than hearing about and seeing this healthy sense of pride be built through our work together!  Every time I hear someone tell me, “I feel so strong now” or “I can’t believe I can do that now” or even “I never thought I’d enjoy working out,” I know that with the physical changes that we help accomplish we are also changing the way someone views themselves.  Current research in psychology and neurology tells us that there lies “the magic pill” that everyone is trying to bottle up and sell.  (Read the books Switch by Chip and Dan Heath and especially  The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg to learn more.)  These “small” but significant performance based changes can be the positive reward that the brain needs to make things like working out an automated behavior.  I don’t want to get too #nerdy on you here but simply stated this means that the things that make bad habits excruciatingly hard to break are also the same neurological mechanisms  that create permanent lifestyle changes!!!  I get so excited about hearing and seeing pride because it’s the physical manifestation of these major things at work!!


#7Deadly Sins Fitness Challenge

 1.  Benchmark-

The Thanksgiving detox is now over.  You WILL KILL IT this week during your benchmark test.  After all, it’s a matter of pride, right!!??!!

2.  Nutrition- BREAKFAST! 

BREAK YOUR FAST…Last week we talked about two different ways to get a 12 hour evening fast into your schedule.  The purpose of that was not only to give your digestive system a break but also to allow enough time for our bodies to dive into our stored fats for fuel.
So how should you break your fast?  What should your BREAK-FAST look like?
Protein + starchy carb + high fiber + good fat
Looks a whole lot like dinner, right?  Sounds like a ton of food?  What if I’m not hungry in the morning?  How do you fix all that with a crazy morning schedule?
1.  Yes, it looks like dinner b/c this is the time of day our brains and bodies are demanding the most amount of physical and mental work.  FEED IT!
2.  Yes, you will be hungry because you just fasted for 12 hours!  For those who tell me, but I’m not hungry when I wake up in the morning, well that’s fine.  Many times that’s because you ate at 9pm so why would you be hungry at 6:30 in the morning?  If you ate late, travel w/ your breakfast, but EAT IT as soon as that hunger does hit you (very likely it will be close to or slightly after that 12 hr fasting mark anyways!!)
3.  You might not get it right at first, but eventually you will find your favorites!  You absolutely MUST work w/ what you like and what you can do to make this work.  Once again, read the book The Power of Habit if you want to understand why trying to insert new habits feels so taxing on the brain.
What works for me, might not work for you, but it’s always nice to see what others do.  Here’s what I do…usually.
I don’t love to drink my breakfast but I do understand that there are certain mornings that out of necessity I have to use a shake.  I NEVER EVER go hungry!!
1.  1- 2 scoops of:  Protozyme Vanilla Protein Powder (as a post workout) or Vega Sport Protein Powder (as a meal replacement)
2.  unsweetened coconut milk
3.  ice (takes longer to drink when it’s super cold.  BRAIN FREEZE!)
4.  kale (tons and tons of it!  FIBER keeps you full)
5.  1/4- 1/2 cup frozen berries (high fiber, low sugar fruit that takes the edge off the kale)
6.  cinnamon (truly helps keep my insulin in check so my hunger stays down
7.  vanilla (cause it’s yummy)
8.  apple pectin (THICKENS my smoothie which has a good bit of liquid in it)
9.  1 TB coconut oil (cause it’s yummy and fat is important for fat loss too)
If I have time at home then:
1.  olive oil
2.  1 whole egg
3.  3/4 cup egg whites
4.  ridiculous amounts of kale, broccoli, or spinach
5.  1/2 cup cooked steel cut or old fashioned oats (depends on how much time I have in the morning)
6.  hot sauce or salsa (cause I love it and it takes longer to eat spicy food!)
7.  sometimes I add 1/4 or 1/2 apple if I’m particularly hungry that morning.
Protein, starch, fiber, fat…in either scenario.  Experiment this week!  I want to see your breakfast combos this week!!!
3.  Activity- Strength Workouts!
As previously stated…it’s all about the benchmark test this week!

Week 5- LUST #7DeadlySins

By definition you can lust over anything and in terms of fitness the lust for perfection can become physically and mentally unhealthy.

I have never been secretive about my struggle with anorexia several years ago because it’s not something with which I am ashamed to have endured and have left behind.

Looking back, it’s amazing and scary that for several months I secretively but proudly ate between 700-900 calories a day, all the while strength training and running half marathons.  I went from a size 6/7 to being able to take off 00 pants without unzipping them.  To my sick brain, that was a measure of success.  When I lost my period, success.  When I skipped meals but didn’t feel hungry, success.  When I skipped meals, felt hungry, but didn’t eat, even better.  Anything and everything that resulted in a smaller and skinnier frame, I was willing to do, regardless of the consequences to my health.

Luckily, I was snapped out of it, gained weight, got muscular, and a few years later had my daughter.  Despite being less obsessive about food and exercise, I still wanted to “achieve” some of the physical benchmarks I once valued- 10-12% body fat and, of course, a 6 pack.  I didn’t see these goals as a problem until one evening when my 8 month old daughter was playing in the tub w/ her toys.  I, on the other hand, had taken my usual position in front of the mirror to scrutinize my belly.  I pinched it’s fat.  I looked at it front ways, side ways, stood back from the mirror, stood close, ALWAYS with a disgusted look on my face.  I was loathing my post partum body when, all of a sudden, I caught my daughters reflection in the mirror.  She had stopped playing w/ her toys and her eyes were fixated on what I was doing.  She was studying my behavior.  She was learning from me.  She was learning to hate her body from me and I was horrified!!  I knew that if I didn’t walk the walk, it wouldn’t matter how many times I told my daughter she was beautiful.  She would never believe it because I didn’t believe it of myself.

From that day forward, I have taken my mindset journey as seriously as my physical one.  Of course, like every person, I have my “good days” and “bad days” but since I no longer bully myself into leanness or white knuckle my way through hunger, I know that I have the power to make even the worst of days good ones.  I still train hard, push myself, take progress pictures, cook healthy meals, but my fascination with food, mileage, clothing size, body weight, food measurements, macros, and calories is gone.  I can walk past a mirror and not feel the need to pinch anything.  I don’t count calories, fats, proteins, or even carbs because I now understand that there are no magic numbers.  Instead I know I’ve built a solid meal for myself because I don’t binge, I don’t get “hangry”, and my energy level is steady throughout the day.

This is me, on the left, 4 months ago, when I’d end up binging in my pantry 2-3 times a week.  This is me about a week ago after 4 months of focusing my eating around eliminating my “need” to binge.  Since binges can be indicative of not fueling properly I very much wanted to get this habit out of my routine.   I haven’t a clue how many calories I was eating before nor how many calories I eat now.  Don’t ask me how much protein I eat either.  I’m not certain.  What I do know is that my binges are gone so results followed.  They aren’t dramatic nor show stopping but they are visible.  More importantly, I got results without deprivation or self loathing.  My aim was not perfection, to lose a specific number of pounds, nor get into a different size pants.  My aim was to curve a behavior by adding on to my meals or replacing one item with another.  (Go back to week 1, 2, and 3 to begin to play with how you should begin to change your plate!)

This week, find some time to sit down and ponder those 2015 New Year’s Resolutions.  What behavior(s) cause you to plateau or gain?  How can the #7DeadlySins Challenges play a role in creating results?


#7Deadly Sins Fitness Challenge

 1.  Benchmark-

When I was anorexic, benchmarking happened almost daily and if I didn’t match my PR or beat it, I would punish myself with less food or more exercise.  As you see your numbers during the benchmark challenge you have to be mindful of what they actually mean.  Your body isn’t always at it’s best and it takes time to build solid strength.  Give yourself some grace considering the holiday week has been intense.

2.  Nutrition- Bedtime fast!

A common question when trying to lean out is, “when should I have my last meal?” or  “What time is too late to eat?”
That question is extremely complicated to answer because of the amount of things that need to be taken into consideration.  However, to keep things simple:  Play around with one of these two techniques:
1.  Spend equal amounts of time fasted as fueled.  In other words, if I eat dinner at 8pm, I won’t eat (am not hungry to eat) breakfast until around 8am the next morning.  I generally workout early so I use BCAA powder to make sure I have a good workout.
2.  Stop eating about 3 hours before bedtime.  Simply put, somewhere around the 9hr evening fasted mark you begin to dip into your stored fat.  In other words, if you eat dinner at 6pm, somewhere around 3 am is when some awesome, effortless, magic is happening.
* Because of my schedule, technique 1 is what works best for me, usually!  However, look at the big picture…with either habit you are looking around a 12 hour evening fasted lifestyle.  Don’t be afraid to flip flop between either technique to see what works best for you or to use BOTH techniques.  You might find that on weekdays you work best with #2 and on weekends you prefer #1.  Experiment!!!  Either way, you are spending equal parts fueled to fasted.
3.  Activity- Strength Workouts!
You spent these past two weeks with some very metabolic workouts.  Now it’s time to settle down a bit and add more strength to your regimen.


Revival- End the year strong!

There are only 8 weeks left before we leave 2014 and enter into a brand new year.  Without a doubt, THIS is the season many fall off the fitness wagon and end up making December the “fattest month of the year.”  Weight gain sky rockets during the holidays and while we understand why this happens, we won’t let this happen without a fight!

We want to REVIVE your 2014 New Year Resolutions and make sure you greet 2015 feeling great about who you are and what you have already accomplished!

Mark your calendars because the 7 Deadly Sins of Fitness Challenge begins on Monday and will take you through almost until the end of the year!  You will get a new food challenge each week to TACKLE and STACK so that in 7 weeks you are eating as if bikini season was right around the corner.  We know there will be a few, worthy occasions where you will not and should not adhere to the challenges but your goal is to get right back on track the next day after those cheats are over.

In addition, you will be given a simple, no equipment workout to do at home or at Sweat.  We expect you to do this workout once a week and to keep track of your total reps.  Each week your goal is to beat your previous rep count.  Don’t cheat yourself by breaking form either!  Push to fail and rest for success.

Check your inboxes this weekend and Facebook for more details and updates.

Get your friends together, commit, and share.  Let’s do this!

Nov. 3- Sloth

Nov. 10- Envy

Nov. 17- Wrath

Nov. 24- Gluttony

Dec. 1- Lust

Dec. 8- Pride

Dec. 15- Greed