Tuesday, October 16, 2018

It's really hard ...

It’s really hard to eat clean foods when everyone else is eating processed food.

It’s really hard getting your kids to eat their vegetables and do their homework especially when you parent 4! :-)

It’s really hard to exercise when you’re under deadlines and stress all the time.

It’s really hard looking for a new job when you already work full-time.

It’s really hard changing long entrenched habits when the old ones are so prevailing. 

It’s really hard ignoring the voices in your head that tell you to take it easy or even quit.

It’s really hard trying to keep working out when the scale isn’t giving you positive feedback.

It’s really hard to moderate alcohol when you need a stress reliever.

I’ve found that there are two types of people.

Those who complain that life is really hard.

And those who do what’s really hard.

Which one are you?

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Clear the clutter ...

If you could peek inside my mind, it would probably look like one of those houses on the TV show Hoarders.

Clutter.jpg

Well, it's probably not THAT cluttered, but there are days it feels like this.  LOL!

Can you relate? 

For many of us, there's at least some level of brain clutter.

Stuff just sitting around, creating a mental fire hazard and hiding a family of squirrels.

Today, let's take one piece of mental junk out of our hoarder house.

I'll go first. But before that ...

Shut your eyes and visualize your mental hoarder attic.

Oy, the cobwebs! The ancient yearbooks! The stacks of moldy board games and creepy one-eyed dolls!

Start by creating a vivid, rich picture of your mental attic.

What's in there? What does it smell like? Can you feel the gritty dust under your feet?

Spend a bit of time building this image until you can experience it clearly.

Now, look around.

You're looking for something. It's a box labeled Things That Might Be Holding Me Back.

Maybe there are several boxes. (Luckily you labeled them when you stored them up here.)

These boxes are full of things that could be preventing you from moving forward on your health & fitness journey.

  • Perhaps in that box is a memory — an old photo — of someone in fifth grade calling you "fat".  For me it was a girl that I had a crush on in 5th grade, standing in line behind me saying that I had a "big butt" … that stayed with me for decades. 
  • Perhaps there is a memory of falling down in gym class, or being picked last for a game.
  • Perhaps there's a photo of you in great shape, something you never thought you could achieve again.
  • Perhaps that box holds one of your negative "inner team" members you thought you cut from the roster.
  • Perhaps it's an outfit you wore when you were younger, and you're convinced you'll never fit into it again.
  • Perhaps it's an old diary or notebook in which you wrote all your excuses for not doing things.

Whatever it is, dig in the box.

Now, pull out one thing that you know is holding you back.
Grab that thing and take it downstairs, out into the bright sunlight. Look at it as you stand outside in the sun.

Notice how the sunlight robs this thing of its power.

This thing seemed so powerful in the attic, but so trivial now.

Walk to a trash can, shed it into a dozen pieces, and throw that thing out.
It's gone. You don't need to save or hold on to it any more. Sayonara!

Pause to enjoy the relief and freedom.
Open your eyes. Now you're free of one little piece of mental junk that held you back.

Feels good, doesn't it?

If you want to make darn sure that piece of garbage is gone, write down what it is on a piece of paper. Then, either throw away the paper or — if you want to get really symbolic — burn it!

(By the way, some people tell me they're afraid of writing things down in case someone finds their journal. If that's you, go to a library or coffee shop, write down whatever you want to write down, then toss it away before you go home. You're like a secret agent!)

What's up next

With one piece of mental clutter gone, later this week I'll invite you to write a breakup letter.  :)

Don't worry, it has nothing to do with dumping your significant other! Stay tuned.

What to do today

  1. Create a vivid image of your "mental clutter".
    Imagine your mental attic. What's in there? Use all your senses and spend time visualizing this image until you can experience it clearly.
  2. Dig through your box.
    Imagine looking for something that you think is holding you back, and throw it away.
  3. What ONE piece of mental clutter did you throw out today?

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins
NSCA-CPT, ACE

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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. | 4700 Smith Road Suite C, Cincinnati, OH 45212 | 513-407-4665, x-105 | www.CincinnatiFitness.com

 

Clear the clutter ...

If you could peek inside my mind, it would probably look like one of those houses on the TV show Hoarders.
Clutter.jpg
Well, it's probably not THAT cluttered, but there are days it feels like this.  LOL!
Can you relate? 
For many of us, there's at least some level of brain clutter.
Stuff just sitting around, creating a mental fire hazard and hiding a family of squirrels.
Today, let's take one piece of mental junk out of our hoarder house.
I'll go first. But before that ...
Shut your eyes and visualize your mental hoarder attic.
Oy, the cobwebs! The ancient yearbooks! The stacks of moldy board games and creepy one-eyed dolls!
Start by creating a vivid, rich picture of your mental attic.
What's in there? What does it smell like? Can you feel the gritty dust under your feet?
Spend a bit of time building this image until you can experience it clearly.
Now, look around.
You're looking for something. It's a box labeled Things That Might Be Holding Me Back.
Maybe there are several boxes. (Luckily you labeled them when you stored them up here.)
These boxes are full of things that could be preventing you from moving forward on your health & fitness journey.
  • Perhaps in that box is a memory — an old photo — of someone in fifth grade calling you "fat".  For me it was a girl that I had a crush on in 5th grade, standing in line behind me saying that I had a "big butt" … that stayed with me for decades. 
  • Perhaps there is a memory of falling down in gym class, or being picked last for a game.
  • Perhaps there's a photo of you in great shape, something you never thought you could achieve again.
  • Perhaps that box holds one of your negative "inner team" members you thought you cut from the roster.
  • Perhaps it's an outfit you wore when you were younger, and you're convinced you'll never fit into it again.
  • Perhaps it's an old diary or notebook in which you wrote all your excuses for not doing things.
Whatever it is, dig in the box.
Now, pull out one thing that you know is holding you back.
Grab that thing and take it downstairs, out into the bright sunlight. Look at it as you stand outside in the sun.
Notice how the sunlight robs this thing of its power.
This thing seemed so powerful in the attic, but so trivial now.
Walk to a trash can, shed it into a dozen pieces, and throw that thing out.
It's gone. You don't need to save or hold on to it any more. Sayonara!
Pause to enjoy the relief and freedom.
Open your eyes. Now you're free of one little piece of mental junk that held you back.
Feels good, doesn't it?
If you want to make darn sure that piece of garbage is gone, write down what it is on a piece of paper. Then, either throw away the paper or — if you want to get really symbolic — burn it!
(By the way, some people tell me they're afraid of writing things down in case someone finds their journal. If that's you, go to a library or coffee shop, write down whatever you want to write down, then toss it away before you go home. You're like a secret agent!)
What's up next
With one piece of mental clutter gone, later this week I'll invite you to write a breakup letter.  :)
Don't worry, it has nothing to do with dumping your significant other! Stay tuned.
What to do today
  1. Create a vivid image of your "mental clutter".
    Imagine your mental attic. What's in there? Use all your senses and spend time visualizing this image until you can experience it clearly.
  2. Dig through your box.
    Imagine looking for something that you think is holding you back, and throw it away.
  3. What ONE piece of mental clutter did you throw out today?
Your friend in fitness,
Brian Calkins NSCA-CPT, ACE
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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. | 4700 Smith Road Suite C, Cincinnati, OH 45212 | 513-407-4665, x-105 | www.CincinnatiFitness.com

Monday, September 10, 2018

Crazy Cool Idea!

I’ve been mulling over this really cool idea …   

I’ve designed a fun, SUPER EFFECTIVE and time efficient training program to get in great shape by Christmas. 

I’m looking for TWO awesome guys who want to get SUPER SERIOUS about their training program to get in their BEST SHAPE by this Christmas as well.  I’m talking so serious that we’ll train together, side-by-side.

Someone who wants to spend 2-3 days per week working out with me – rep for rep, set for set, we’re going to do it TOGETHER.

This is for guys, only.  I work with women all day and love it … but it’s been about 10 years since I’ve worked with dudes, and I really miss it.   

Here’s how the sessions will look: 
  • Tuesday & Thursday we’ll blend fast twitch & slow twitch strength training with some cardiovascular training  
  • Saturday morning will do a high-energy full body circuit to shape muscle and burn fat   
  • We’ll spend some time doing Mobility & Activation work 
  • Each week we’ll work the entire body, twice.
All told, we’re going to spend about 60 - 65 incredible minutes together each workout. 

PLUS, since nutrition plays such a critical role in getting in great shape, my two “training partners” will also follow my Clean & Lean eating program where we’ll be in touch 7 days a week through my nutrition/fitness app.   Each week we’ll have an accountability check-in, and we’ll work through any challenges you’re facing.  Spouses can jump on board the eating program, too, sometimes that helps with family cohesion. 

OK, now for the million-dollar question….

How much is this going to cost?

Well, first, let me immediately eliminate some of the would be takers on this crazy idea by letting you know that the training sessions will take place between 8am and 2pm Tuesday and Thursday, and 6am on Saturday at my home fitness studio.  I understand that won’t work for many, but that’s the only time I’m available to do this.  My house is at the end of Reed Hartman HWY, near I-275, just north of Blue Ash.    

So, if you’re still reading, here’s the deal:

When I used to offer one-on-one training at HealthStyle it was $125 per hour session.  Three days per week was $375 or about $1500 per month. 

Now, this wouldn’t be a Crazy Cool Idea if it didn’t come with a Crazy Cool Offer, would it?

So, here it is …

You can get all this coaching and the ultimate “train with me” experience for four months, valued at over six thousand dollars for ONLY $1000 (works to be $250/mth).

It’s a pretty sweet deal.  And, sure, for some it’s a good chunk of change.  I totally understand.   

I can tell you, I pay for private coaching myself, and it’s without question, the best INVESTMENT I make each year. 

But, just to ease any hesitation, I’m going to offer a serious no-joke MONEY BACK GUARANTEE.  If at the end of the first 30 days you don’t feel you’re getting the value you expected, or if you find it’s just not the right fit for you,  just let me know and I’ll give you a full refund – definitely no hard feelings, and no explanation needed. 

Look, I’m not playing around here.  I want to be dialed in for the holidays this year.  This program and this experience will be like nothing else.  It’s simply THE VERY BEST way to get in your best shape ever … and we’ll have some serious FUN along the way, too!

So, if you want to really get SUPER SERIOUS about getting into SUPER SHAPE send me an email by clicking here ... we'll talk to see if this might be a fit for you.

Feel free to forward/share with anyone that might be ready for this challenge!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins
NSCA-CPT, ACE

Get the latest health & fitness news …

Adventure Boot Camp for Women | 9078 Union Centre Blvd, Suite 350, West Chester, OH 45069 | 513-407-4665

P.S. – Even training 2 days per week, following this program will get you in GREAT shape.  So, if you can’t get away both work days, pick Tuesday OR Thursday PLUS Saturday morning, and we’ll kick some butt. 
  
P.P.S. - WE START ON SATURDAY at 8am (Sept 22) with an intro to the program!  GET READY TO ROCK!

P.P.P.S – There are a few Saturdays that I’m traveling (9/29, 8/13 for sure, maybe one more), so we’ll extend into January 2019 to get the full 4 months of training in. 

How cool will it be to START 2019 in FANTASTIC SHAPE, when most else everyone will be desperately seeking out a solution to reverse all the holiday indulgence?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

I am a monster.

Let's take a look at Training versus Exercising.  

At a quick glance, we'd probably say they are the same, or similar.

But there is a difference, and as we understand how they differ, the shift may be instrumental for you. 

For example, did you know that hatha yoga was traditionally a method used to prepare the body for long periods of stillness during meditation?

But because of its physical benefits, it's become more commonly known in the West as a form of physical exercise.

If two people were taking the same yoga class, one in preparation for meditation, and one to improve overall health, do you think their efforts, experiences, and outcomes would differ?

Let's look at 3 similar scenarios:

1. If a student were taking a class that specifically pertains to her future career, and another student were taking the same class because she simply needed the credits, would they study the material differently?

2. If an expecting mother read a birthing article to prepare for her delivery, and a non-expecting female read the same article because the magazine was sitting next to her at the salon, would they process the information the same?

3. If a runner were preparing for a marathon, would her friend running with her for daily exercise have the same mindset and determination?  One would likely stop at mile five, while the other would go as far as needed to prepare for the marathon.

In each scenario, the two people would have very different experiences even though they're participating in the same action.  This is because each person has different intentions.

Intentions

Because we can't see intention, we mimic others' actions hoping to achieve the feelings they appear to possess (i.e. happiness, joy, confidence, love).

  • We work tirelessly because that's what financially responsible people seem to do.
  • We workout, eat healthy, travel, get married, have kids because these are activities in which the type of person we want to be participates.
  • We shop at the stores, drive the cars, and live in the places that seem to bring happiness to people like us.

But actions without intention lack meaning and purpose.  This is why people achieve the exact life they go after, and feel very empty once they get there.  Got married.  Had two kids.  Made VP.  Bought the dream house.  Still unfulfilled.

Why, if someone in her 30's is unmarried and without kids, do her relatives (sometimes her BFF's) ask her when she's going to "settle down".  Who said we have to get married in our 20's, and start a family?  We all know someone that would have had a more fulfilling life without kids.

If we don't connect what we want, what we're doing, to something deeply meaningful, we're going through the motions of life, without purpose.

Training

Think about it for a moment.  When you train, you prepare more than just your body.  You anticipate the obstacles you'll face, the mindset you'll need, and the feeling of accomplishment you'll achieve if you perform well.  And therefore you prepare with intensity and focus, connecting your mind, body, and spirit to the activity.

Look at all of your daily activities and ask yourself "for what am I training, and why?".

Break down your daily activities, and give them purpose.

Here are some examples:

Work: What am I training for?  A work promotion.  Why? Because I want to prove to myself that I can be disciplined and that I can do anything I set my mind to.  Or, because I want to demonstrate my leadership skills, and make a difference in my organization. (The answer will be different for everyone.)

Clean/Healthy Eating: What am I training for?  Test results that indicate no medication is needed.  Why? Because I want to be an energetic, strong and healthy parent/grandparent.

Working Out: What am I training for?  The whitewater rafting trip I will reward myself with when I can do 100 push-ups/bike 20 miles/walk up the steps without feeling winded.  Why? Because it's an experience I want to have, it's the next level for me, it's something I haven't been able to do yet.  Or, because I don't want to be limited in any activity I desire or choose to do.

When you view your actions as training for a specific reason, you give your actions a purpose and your entire life becomes more meaningful.

If you're training to look radiant and happy on Christmas Eve, and to feel wonderful - free from the anxiety and stress that comes with the holiday hustle, getting your workouts in is simply what you do.

If on the other hand, you join The Little Black Dress Project because "everyone else is doing it" or you're hoping that some sort of magic kicks in, there is a missing connection to something of value for you.

Remind yourself why you are training.  Continue asking yourself "why?" until the answer is something you can connect with.

>Because I want be healthy.

>Why?

>Because I want to live a long life and be my best self. 

>Why?

>Because I want to grow old with someone I love and create a family and a legacy.

Once your answer is something that resonates with you, dedicate your actions to that future.  Whether it's your children, the partner you have or have yet to meet, or the Ted Talk you will give one day, think of that future as you "train," and your sense of connection will deepen even further.

I used to be amazed when people would tell me how disciplined I am with training and nutrition.  I'm not.  At all.

I could eat more food, and the really, really bad stuff, than anyone you know (except maybe Andrew Whitworth).  And I could easily sit around and get zero activity for months.  I love being lazy. That actually was me at one time.

When I go through the why exercise, I come up with a lot of meaningful reasons to eat clean and train consistently.  But the one thing that gets me out of bed or off the couch is simple.

If I don't do it, I'm a monster. 

I'm not the same person.

Seriously.  I'm no fun to be around.

And because of that, it's the reason I workout regardless of circumstances.

When I go on vacation, I workout.   When we stay with relatives at the holidays, I workout.  You'll see me training outside, in the rain and in the snow when it's 5 degrees, and in some town I've never been before.  All with intention.

I'm not disciplined and I'm not special.  I'm reminded every day of what I could be when I don't train.  I am a monster.

Of course, when I do workout I feel fantastic.  I'm a better parent.  I look better, I feel stronger, I defy aging (at least to a degree).  I'm balanced, fun to be around, more engaging. Etc., etc.  There is an upside, too.  :)

Keeping asking yourself, 'why am I doing this?'  And, why is that important to me?  Challenge yourself to dig deeper until you hit your driving force, your reason(s), your inspiration.  Life will happen either way.  The work will happen either way, but only with intention will it be meaningful and inspiring. 

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins
NSCA-CPT, ACE

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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. | 4700 Smith Road Suite C, Cincinnati, OH 45212 | 513-407-4665, x-105 | www.CincinnatiFitness.com

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Redefine your year of success!

The No. 1 factor holding people back from achieving what they are truly capable of is not a lack of knowledge, intellect, or information. It's not some new strategy or idea. It's not hard work, natural talent, or luck.

Execution is the single greatest differentiator.  Simply put, successful people execute better than those that don't achieve their goals.  It's the number one barrier standing between you and the life you are capable of living.   

One of the things that gets in the way of effectively executing and achieving our best is the annual planning process.  Nice for me to share that with you now, after encouraging you to set 2-3 major goals earlier in the week, huh?

As strange as this might sound, annual goals and plans are often a barrier to high performance and achievement. This doesn't mean annual goals and plans don't have a positive impact. They do. There is no question you will do better with annual goals and plans than without any goals or plans. However, this annual process inherently limits performance.

The trap is referred to as "annualized thinking." At the heart of annualized thinking is an unspoken belief that there is plenty of time in the year to make things happen. In January, December looks a long way off. We mistakenly believe that there is plenty of time in the year, and we act accordingly. We lack a sense of urgency, not realizing that every week is important, every day is important, every moment is important. Ultimately, effective execution happens daily and weekly — not annually. 

If my goal is to lose 30 pounds by December 31, 2016, it's very tempting to start "next Monday" … and of course, more often than not, "next Monday" never comes. 

Let's redefine a year: A year is no longer 12 months; it is now 12 weeks. There are no longer four periods in a year; that's old thinking. Each 12-week period stands on its own — it is your year.

Now you have a new end-game date to assess your success (or lack thereof). It narrows your focus to the week and more to the point, the day, which is where execution occurs. The 12-week year brings that reality front and center. When you set your goals in the context of a 12-week year, you no longer have the luxury of putting off the critical activities, thinking to yourself that there is plenty of time left in the year. Once 12 weeks becomes your year, then each week matters more; each day matters more; each moment matters more.

The result is profound. Here are three steps to help you achieve more in the next 12 weeks than most will in 12 months:

Set a 12-Week Goal: 

Annual goals are helpful, but they lack immediacy and urgency. Twelve-week goals create focus and urgency.

Get focused on what you want to make happen over the next 12 weeks. The goal should be an outcome: "I will lose 10 pounds of body fat by March 31, 2016" or "I will replace 6 pounds of body fat with 6 pounds of lean muscle (my weight will not change, however my body fat % will drop significantly, as will the size of my body) at the end of 12 weeks."  Your goal should represent significant progress towards your longer-term vision that you worked on earlier in the week (see Monday and Wednesday's emails).  Again, limit your goals to a maximum of three and make certain each goal is specific and measurable.

Build a 12-Week Plan: 

Twelve-week planning is so much more effective than traditional planning because it is more predictable and focused. The key here is less is more. A 12-week plan embraces the notion of being great at a few things versus mediocre at many.

For each goal, you will need to identify tactics. Tactics are the daily and weekly actions that drive the accomplishment of the goal. If the goal is the "where," then the tactics are the "how." Here again, less is more. Keep it focused on the critical few. Identify the four or five actions that you need to take daily and weekly to accomplish your goal, those are your tactics.

  • Workout five days per week, combining strength and cardiovascular exercise
  • Eat 1250 calories per day comprised mostly of lean protein, fruits, veggies, and some grains
  • Get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night and sleep in one day per week
  • Stretch and foam roll after every workout and schedule one professional massage once per month

Apply the Weekly Routine: 

Having a goal and a plan is helpful, but it's not enough. The key to your success is executing your plan. To ensure you execute at a high level, adopt the Weekly Routine. If you do the following three things on a weekly basis you can't help but get better.

The Weekly Routine:

Plan your week — Take a few minutes at the beginning of each week to plan your week. Use your plan to identify the tactics that are due this particular week. The plan is not a glorified to-do list; rather, it reflects the critical activities that needs to take place this week in order to achieve your 12-week goals.

Score your week — At the end of each week you will want to score your execution. In the end you have greater control over your actions than you do your outcomes. The most effective lead indicator you have is a measure of your execution. You are scoring your execution, not your results. Calculate a weekly execution score by dividing the number of tactics completed by the number of tactics due.  Each workout for the week equals one tactic (five total).  Each day you eat 1250 calories represents one tactic, or seven for the week.  Same with each day you get seven hours of sleep (seven total).  In our example above, stretching and foam rolling after every workout would be another five due tactics at the end of the week.  In total, using this example, you'd have a total of 24 tactics due each week.  If you hit all 24 for the week, you got a perfect sore!  Well done!  If you're serious about hitting your goals, you need to hit 21 out of 24 tactics each week consistently 12 weeks. 

Meet with a peer group – Did you know that you are seven times more likely to be successful if you meet regularly with a group of your peers? Find two to three other people who are committed and willing to meet for 15 to 20 minutes each week. In your meeting, report on how you're doing against your goals and how well you're executing. Encourage and challenge one another.

That's it! Three simple steps. Plan your week, score your week, meet with a group of peers. Do them, and you will improve. Here's the catch: The steps are easy to do, and even easier not to do. So make a commitment to engage with them for the next 12 weeks and watch what happens!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

NSCA-CPT, ACE

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Adventure Boot Camp for Women | 9078 Union Centre Blvd, Suite 350, West Chester, OH 45069 | 513-407-4665

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Why America is getting weaker ...

A recent television commercial advertised the wonders of a new type of cat litter. The scenes transition from a woman in a parking lot loading her car after shopping, who throws the cat litter to a man on a bicycle, who then throws it to the person in the next scene and so on. How is this possible? Because the cat litter is a new kind of ultra-lightweight cat litter.

Everything is getting lighter, easier and less difficult. At the same time, humanity is getting heavier, everyday life feels harder and more difficult, with many people feeling exhausted despite having done very little taxing physical work on any given day. We keep lowering the physical bar for ourselves and our physiology is adapting by reducing our capacity as well.

Yet we want to live in capable bodies and feel good while going about our day. In our workouts, we want to see results for our efforts. A prominent "celebrity trainer" insists that women should never lift more than 3 pounds, which is like telling every mother and grandmother to never pick up or hold her children or grandchildren—ever again. How does such unequivocally terrible advice not get you stripped of celebrity-trainer status? Because many people—especially women—are often more terrified of looking manly than they are of living in an unfit, incapable body.

In general, females naturally have less testosterone than men and as a result, their bodies are less responsive to the muscle-building effects of properly executed strength training. It is very difficult for men to build large muscles, and it takes significantly more effort for women to do so.  More on this …

One universal truth of the human body that helps explain many physical phenomena is that our biology is adaptive. Muscle makes your body more capable, and feeling more capable allows you to do more things in everyday life and in your workouts. Bringing a challenge to your physical self makes your body build itself stronger to meet the demand of whatever the next challenge might be. This adaption eventually delivers a feeling of confident movement that is like no other.

But we have to ask for it. And heavier weights are the question.

We have to ask our bodies to build some muscle. With the physical demands of life getting too easy (riding mowers, ultralight cat litter, my Kroger now shops for me and delivers my groceries to my truck, even the TV remote is too much effort, according to Jim Gaffigan etc.), we have two options:

  • Do everyday things the hard way, or
  • Do heavier strength training.

How do you know if it's a "heavy" weight level?  Choose a pair of dumbbells that forces you to do nine reps or less. 

The last point is the critical factor. Lifting a pencil for seven reps isn't going to do any good. When I've had a particularly stubborn client resist increasing resistance, we do the following: I have her perform a set with whatever weight she wants, but the rule is that she cannot stop until she feels like she has to. With most typical weights people choose, they will be in the high teens or even close to 30 reps before this feeling occurs.  I've done this in camp as well – we'll keep doing a dumbbell curl, for example, until EVERYONE gets to muscle failure.  People sometimes think the goal is to be the last one still doing curls … we've gone for over two minutes doing curls, which does no one any good.  Pick a weight where you can't do 10 reps, and now you're lifting heavy. 

The experience of lifting for so many reps drives home the point that the weight can be safely increased without my having to explain away fears of lifting too much. Experiencing how capable you are makes you want to lift more. Sometimes to drive this point home with a client, I will talk to her about something distracting while she is performing an exercise so she loses count and I have her keep going until she feels fatigue. I'm keeping track of the reps and when she is done I tell her how many she did.  "Well done, you just performed 37 reps, which means we're ready to go up in weight!"

Keep in mind that "heavy" is relative to each person's ability, so it doesn't mean that some day we'll all be dragging a jet down the runway with our teeth (sorry hard-core Crossfitters, just not gonna happen!).  Rather, we simply need get comfortable using a little more weight than what we're using now, until we get to the point of failure at nine reps or less (with GOOD form). 

If you're not a believer in heavy lifting yet, here's my deal with you: Try it for the next 4 weeks, and if at the end of the month you don't feel stronger, more capable, and leaner, you can go back to the lighter dumbbells ... Deal?

Your friend in fitness,

HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. | 4700 Smith Road Suite C, Cincinnati, OH 45212 | 513-407-4665, x-105 | www.CincinnatiFitness.com