Tag Archives: best exercise program

Accountability Cropped

Show Compassion to Get Others to Commit

When the people on my team start feeling the benefits of regular exercise and clean eating, a common question I get asked is: “How can I get my spouse/kids/family to join me?”

When I work with managers teaching coaching and leadership skills one of the most common questions I hear is: “How do you motivate that negative person who doesn’t want to meet you half-way?”

I think the answer to both questions is similar even though the circumstances are slightly different.

In both instances we want the people in our lives to understand our perspective, to succeed and to ultimately, be happy.

I don’t claim to be an expert on this topic, but I can share what I’ve learned from my own experience while seeking the advice of many other experts.

  1. We can’t force our passion on anyone else. When it comes to making changes in behavior whether it’s with health and wellness or achieving career goals, it has to come from within. We can’t push others to take actions we’ve taken no matter how passionate we are about them. All we can do is continue to model desired behaviors, walk the talk and let them know we will be there to provide support and motivation when they’re ready to take the first step.
  2. Come from a place of sincere compassion and caring. In the workshops I lead we ask participants to think of a person in their life who’s had a positive influence on them. People often think of relatives, current or former bosses or athletic coaches. We give them a minute to brainstorm as many qualities or characteristics that made that person a great coach or mentor for them. The words that rise to the top are: caring, honest, integrity, listener. When you lead with your heart instead of your head you’re on the right path toward building trust.
  3. Seek to understand first before offering insights. Zig Ziglar once said: “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.” Trouble is we spend more time trying to get people to see and do things our way, rather than helping them achieve what they want out of life. The next time you’re tempted to get your spouse to join you during your workout or you want to teach a team member to approach a work task in the same way you would, stop and attempt to understand things from their point of view. Simple questions like: How can I help or what do you need or want to achieve? May get some new insight into how you can add value to them.


The bottom line: Be interested in others, tell them why you believe in them and value them for who they are. With time, you might be surprised by the results you’ll get.

How to Get Out of Your Own Way

Often I come across another blog that TRULY resonates with me. This is from Dr.  Haley Perlus,  Exercise and Sports Psychologist. She works with athletes and fitness enthusiasts to help them uncover the underlying demons that get in the way of their commitment to their plan. As a Coach for Beachbody for the last eight years I’ve worked with thousands of people, helping them establish a healthy and fit lifestyle. The most powerful demons are the excuses people use that make skipping exercise or eating unhealthy acceptable.  Take a look at what Dr. Perlus has found to be the most common excuses. Do any of these resonate with you? Wow,  they sure did with me, especially #3.  Let’s address these excuses head on so that, starting now, they never get in your way of achieving your best health and fitness again. Then,  either hit “reply” or send me a private message on Facebook if you are truly ready to put the excuses at bay.

1. The genetics excuse.

Your fate does not end with your genetic code. You’re not destined to have your mom’s butt or your father’s love handles and the science of epigenetics is demonstrating this more each day. For example, a group of Swedish researchers found that six months of regular exercise changed the muscle and fat tissue composition in thousands of genes, leading to overall changes in how the body processes and stores glucose and fatty acids. 1
The truth is you have tremendous control over your body, performance, and overall health. Every day you either work to keep the genes you have or improve them in an effort to achieve your goals. The choice is yours–what will you do today?

2. The “I can’t” excuse.

We all have self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that undermine our performance. I once heard them called gremlins and the name has stuck with me. Gremlins are the little invisible creatures that come out during meal and fitness time. They will do whatever it takes to convince you that giving in to sugar or giving up on that final set of push-ups is your only option. Here is a list of gremlins that you may be living with:

  • Perfectionism
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Self-consciousness
  • Stubbornness
  • Anxiety
  • Competitiveness
  • Distractions
  • Stress

A great start is to identify your personal gremlins, give them a name, and create a visual picture of them in your mind. Distinguishing yourself from your gremlins serve two important functions:

  1. It creates objectivity and distance, making it easier to see things more clearly and deal with your problems (i.e. bad habits), while still taking responsibility for them.
  2. It helps you to maintain your self-confidence. Gremlins are the parts of yourself you like the least. By visualizing them as a separate thing, you can still think of yourself as a mentally strong person who can overpower your gremlins and achieve your goals.

Once you have given your gremlins a name and clear image, observe how much easier it is to trim back the fat (pun intended) on your problems and come up with a plan to take them down!

3. The rationale excuse.

Have you ever woken up in the morning to train, but decided that you deserved to sleep in instead? You convinced yourself you’d train later and, when that never happened, you told yourself that the day would count as your day off. After a few days off in a row, you realized the whole week was ruined. So, you did what you wanted for the rest of the week, and told yourself you’d start again on Monday. I call this the rationale excuse because you tell yourself “rational lies” that make it easy to give in to instant gratification. Although these rational lies bring you short-term satisfaction, they alwohhh ays leave you disappointed because, once again, you failed to follow through on your plan.

Realize that every time you skip training or eat something unhealthy, it’s not that you deserved it, but rather you chose it. When you begin changing your self-talk about the decisions you make, you’ll stop telling yourself rational lies and gain control of your day.

No matter what excuse resonates with you most, when it comes to staying on track of proper nutrition and fitness, there is no such thing as a good excuse. The next time you catch yourself thinking about your poor genetic make-up, fighting with your gremlins, or rationalizing why it’s okay to stray from your goals, review this article (bookmark it on your computer so you can quickly access it) and remember that these are poor excuses. Then, you’ll be able to get out of your own way and start realizing your personal best mind, body, and health!


Rönn T et al. (2013). A Six Months Exercise Intervention Influences the Genome-wide DNA Methylation Pattern in Human Adipose Tissue. PLOS Genetics. Accessed on 1/12/15 from: http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pgen.1003572

About Dr. Haley Perlus

With a Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology, M.S. in Sport Pedagogy, and numerous fitness and coaching certifications, Dr. Perlus is an expert at empowering athletes of all types and health enthusiasts achieve peak results. An adjunct professor at the University of Colorado, international speaker, former Alpine ski racer, appointed Industry Leader for IHRSA.org, and author including soon-to-be-released The One Minute Dietand Guidebook to Gold, Dr. Perlus helps people reach their highest standard of performance. For a free chapter of one of her books visit www.DrHaleyPerlus.com

What Does it Take to Strike a Fire in Your Belly?

What does it take to make strides towards better health? How does one get better at hockey_siresisting temptation? How can one push him or herself to go for three more reps or run another mile? How does one find the strength, determination and drive to work harder and make better choices?

Maybe you should ask some Olympians. I’m not referring to those who competed in the games in Sochi in February, I’m referring to those competing in Sochi now. Did you turn off the TV at the end of February after the closing ceremonies? Well, if you did, you are missing out on seeing true athleticism. The athletes in Sochi now get up early every day to train hard, fuel their bodies with the right fuel and they do it despite their physical limitations. Imagine doing a slalom race with limited sight? How about snowboarding on two prosthetic limbs?

It’s been a long, tough day at work, healthy food takes too long to prepare. If I just stop running now and walk for a while, at least I’ve done something, right? It’s challenging to make lifestyle changes, give up food that we love and make a point to work out daily. No, I get it. You don’t really need to give up pizza, sugar, beer and burgers. After all, we all need to live a little, right? It’s someone’s birthday in the office, it’s raining outside, the hotel gym is pretty lame, I had to eat what she prepared, there is nothing healthy on the restaurant menu. Ah, we love to make them…excuses.

Isaac Asimov said: “It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when face boldly.” The Para-Olympians in Sochi now lost limbs to Meningitis, rocket propelled grenades and drunk drivers or they may have been dealt an unfortunate hand at birth and were born without what most of us take for granted. At one point in their life they were probably told: “You won’t ever be able to….you’ll have to forget about….or what you did before you can’t do now.”  Not only did they not let those words stop them, they used those words to light a fire in their belly to go after their dream with even more focus and determination.

So, since I’m thinking you maybe didn’t catch most of the games, here is a quick recap:

Yesterday, the American Men’s Sled Hockey Team beat the Russian team 1 -0. (You thought balancing on two blades was tough, try maneuvering, stick handling and checking while sitting on about a 4 inch-wide ski.)

Evan Strong led a U.S. sweep of the podium in the debut of men’s para snowboard cross. (Evan lost a limb when a drunk driver hit him while he was riding his motorcycle.)

Amy Purdy added a U.S. bronze in the first women’s snowboard cross event. (Amy is a double beneath-the-knee amputee.)

The U.S. won four medals in Alpine skiing super combined events on Friday Mark Bathum (silver, visually impaired), Heath Calhoun (silver, sitting), Danelle Umstead (bronze, visually impaired) and Stephanie Jallen (bronze, standing).

Okay, so really, what is your excuse? Are you ready to get off the couch and do something active? It’s really not as difficult as you think. It doesn’t require expensive equipment or a gym membership. It doesn’t require buying new fancy athletic gear. You can get in perfectly great shape, in the privacy of your own home, in about a 4 foot square space in front of your TV. And, there is still time before you have to sport those swim trunks or bathing suit. With spring just about finally here, let me design an indoor/outdoor program that will have you competing like a true athlete in no time. Message me if you want help selecting a program and coaching you through it.

Top Things to Avoid to Get Healthy and Fit

Top 6 Things to
Give Up to Earn a Healthy Mind, Body, and Spirit

Last week Tony Horton and I lead a webinar on the Top 10 Things that Help You Get and Stay Healthy and Fit. Here is the link
to the recording if you missed it: http://www.instantpresenter.com/WebConference/RecordingDefault.aspx?c_psrid=E957DE848347

After that webinar, I thought about the common mistakes I
see and thought I’d tell you about those things I think you should AVOID
doing.  I’ve chosen six—two to help you feed your Mind, two to help you fuel a healthy Body, and two to enrich your Spirit.

To enrich a healthy SPIRIT:

  1. Give up your need to always be right. Ever been in a conversation and know that you have the factual information to support your perspective? Ever find it
    difficult to resist the temptation, (even in the kindest of ways) to tell the
    other person you are right and they are wrong? There are many of us who can’t
    stand the idea of being wrong—wanting to always be right—even at the risk of
    ending a great relationship or causing stress and pain for us and others. It’s
    just not worth it. The next time you find yourself in this situation ask
    yourself this: Is it better to be right or just make it right?
  2. Give up complaining. Yes I know, sometimes we just have a bad day and we want to express it out loud to someone else and we all have good friends who are willing to listen. But give up your need to complain about the things, people, situations and events that can make you unhappy. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Positive thinking…give it a try, it works.

To fuel a healthy BODY:

  1. Give up your excuses. Face your reality and admit that you are limiting yourself
    because of the excuses you are using. Instead of growing and working on improving our health we get stuck lying to ourselves using all kind of excuses (no time, I’m past my prime, good food is too expensive, I just can’t give up certain foods, blah, blah, blah). 99.9% of the time these excuses aren’t real.
  2. Give up the idea of being fit to impress others or to live to meet someone else’s expectations.  If your goal to get healthy is to impress someone else or to do it to gain the love and respect of another, you will never meet your goal. The moment you stop trying to be something that you’re not, the moment you accept and embrace the real you and you work “to do your best and forget the rest.” Way to many people I know are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what their parents, friends and even their enemies think what is best for them. You know if your health is out of whack, you know when you’ve cheated on your diet, you know when you haven’t exercised enough. Live your life, own it, and make good use of it and don’t let others’ opinions distract you from your path.

To feed a healthy MIND:

  1. Give up your resistance to change. As Tony Horton says, you’ve got to clear out all the “I can’ts” and replace them with “I currently struggle with…” and keep
    giving new things a try—no matter what your starting point or age when it comes
    to improving your body. Change is good. Having an open mind and being willing
    to change helps make improvements in your life and in the lives of others
    around you.
  2. Give up your self-defeating self-talk. We stand in front of the mirror and
    critique. Rather than graciously accepting a compliment we retort with a self-deprecating comment. Why are we so incredibly hard on ourselves? So many people hurt themselves because of their negative and repetitive self-defeating mindset. You are better than you think, don’t believe everything that creeps into your mind. “The mind is an incredible instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.”—Eckhart Tolle.

My Workout Plan for the coming week:

Sunday: Rest Day

Today: Insanity Cardio Power and Resistance—done!

Tuesday: P90X Plus Upper Plus and Ab Ripper Plus, 5:15 am

Wednesday: Insanity Max Cardio Conditioning, 5:15 am

Thursday: P90X-2 PAP Lower and P90X Ab Ripper, 5:15 am

Friday: Insanity Max Interval Plyo, 5:15 am

Saturday: Two workouts with Tony Horton
at the Fitness Atlantic Event in Wallingford, CT (to register: www.fitnessatlantic.com/tonyhorton.htm)

Sunday: Hot Bikram Yoga, 4:30 pm

Who is Tony Horton? Coaching and Accountability from his sister, Kit

This week’s tip: Your Only Competition is You

As many of you know, I have two teenagers in my house. My son is 14 and my daughter is 13. For any of you who’ve raised teenagers, you know this is a delicate age. Raging hormones aside, this is the age when kids start comparing themselves to one another. Unfortunately, without taking the time to really get to know someone kids tend to place their peers into stereotypical groups. I hear my own children talk about the “try hards,” the “stoners,” the “jocks” the “air heads” and so forth.

As parents we do our best to instill a sense of objectivity and open mindedness. We encourage them to stop using labels, take the time to get to know their peers, and appreciate their own individual gifts and talents. Unfortunately for many kids they let their assumptions take over and make up their own minds at too young of an age not only about others but also about where they’re “supposed” fit in. Danny and I hear our words of wisdom falling on deaf ears as we say things like: “You should just try (fill in the blank) the school radio, the school play, the trumpet, school government because to expose yourself to different experiences and meet other kids who’ll possibly open your mind to a new and different perspective.” Ever feel, as we do that all they’re hearing is is “blah, blah, blah?” You know, kind of like the school teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoon series.

This mentality can and does follow us into adulthood. Ever catch yourself sizing up someone whom you’re familiar in your town while at church, while waiting to pick your kids up from school or while sitting on the sidelines at they’re sporting events saying to yourself “well, she’s always been athletic, that’s why she’s so thin,” or “his parents were both extremely intelligent, that’s why he’s so successful.”

Here’s the really cool part of being an adult:
a) most people don’t know about your past
b) Most people don’t care about your past, and
c) You can start over, try new things and be whomever you want at anytime.
We’ve got to stop comparing ourselves to others and thinking that because we couldn’t do “it” in the past we can’t do “it” now or in the future.

Having a been a Beachbody Coach for three years now, speaking weekly to people who NEVER thought they could do P90X, Insanity, or Chalene Extreme, I’ve witnessed this first hand the exact opposite—people making changes and becoming something they never thought they could become. It really doesn’t matter that you were not athletic or active as a child. You can change at any time and at any age. Your better health start can start today, it can start at this very moment.

Finally, your health is where it is because of you and you should never strive to be someone else or even close to someone else. Strive to be a better YOU! Every moment you make a better food choice you are better. Every day you decide to work out, you are better. Your choices should never be about looking better so your friends will notice. Your choices should always be about what kind of impact they can have on your overall well being and happiness. If you are reading this and you are a parent, listen to your own advice. Our kids will never live up to the images that are portrayed in magazines and on reality TV. We as parents know more than anyone else that it takes great effort and time to teach them about what’s really important in life. Stop trying to be someone else and make strides everyday to be a better you.

PS Do your body a favor on Thanksgiving—pace yourself and DON’T OVER DO IT!

My Weekly Accountability to YOU!
Monday: Rest—DONE!
Monday: TH One-on-One 30/15 routine and 10 Minute Trainer Abs, 5 :15 am—DONE!
Tuesday: Insanity Pure Cardio, 5 :15 am—ugh, hit the doze in the AM and then had to work late, did NOT do!
Wednesday: TH One-on-One Shoulders and Arms and Abs Core Plus, 5:15 am—done!
Thursday: Insanity Max Sports Conditioning, 5:15 am—Done—in the evening after work.
Friday: P90X Plyometrics at 7 am or Power Yoga at 5:30 pm—did both!
Saturday: 8 am Hot Bikram Yoga or P90X Legs and Back—Rest day
Sunday: P90X Plus Intervals—done at 7 this AM

This Week:
Monday: TH One-on-One Upper Body Balance, 5:15 am
Tuesday: Insanity Max Cardio Conditioning, 5:15 am
Wednesday: TH One-on-One Shoulders and Arms and 10-Minute Trainer Abs, 5:15 am
Thursday: HAPPY THANKSGIVING! –Insanity Pure Cardio, 6 am
Friday: TH One-on-One 30/15 routine, 8 am
Saturday: Bikram or Power Yoga Class, 8 am or 10 am
Sunday: Light jog AM or rest