Thursday, December 11, 2014

Healthy Holiday Desserts & Treats ...

Tomorrow we have a FUN Holiday workout – Unstuff the Stocking!
While in Texas I got several emails asking for some pleasing dessert options that are better choices for the upcoming holiday gatherings.
Here are a few you can pick from:
I'd love to know what you think of these options!
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 |

Friday, December 5, 2014

Reflect & Plan for 2015 ...

Thank you for the great feedback on last week's article from Harvard Magazine - although it was long, I had a feeling it would resonate with many of you as one of the most complete articles on the benefits of daily exercise.

So, over the past few days I've been reflecting on 2014, and doing some thinking and a little preparing and planning for 2015.

Great questions to help in this process include:

  • "What worked well this past year?" "What are some of the highlights in my work and personal life in 2014?"  "What do I want to do more of in 2015?"
  • "What didn't work out so well this year?"  "What are the lessons I've learned in 2014?" And "what do I need to stop doing, or do less of in 2015?"  

Yesterday and today I'm meeting with my accountability group to report in on the good things that happened in 2014, along with the lessons I've learned, and to present a plan for the coming year. 

These two days for me is an opportunity to take a step away from the day to day, and step into a supportive environment with open and honest feedback.  Stephen Covey talks about "sharpening the saw" ... if all we do is cut wood all day long, our blade becomes dull.  Thus, we need to step back from cutting (work, producing, even parenting) to sharpen the saw so that when we get back to cutting we're much more effective.

I think it's essential that we all step out of our lives, even for just a day, to reflect, recount, appreciate and design the next phase (month, quarter, year, decade).  Doing so refreshes the mind, but also gives direction to our lives. 

Is there a day this month that you can step away from work and family, review 2014, and plan for 2015?  Plug that day into your calendar, and use the questions above as a simple (yet very effective) guideline in the planning process.

I'll send you one more "planning" email tomorrow to further stimulate your thinking around 2015. 

I'd love to hear the impact this process has for you!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Week Workouts ...

Next week, ABC at your regular location will have the week off.  Then we're back in camp on December 1st for the final 3 weeks of camp.

Some of you will be traveling, OR hosting family for Thanksgiving.

I've heard similar stories from campers ... you just didn't know what to do with that time "off" from Boot Camp, being away from home.  Your days started slower ... you felt sluggish.  And a family member or two started getting on your nerves.  Just a tiny bit.

So, what do you do when you're in an unfamiliar place, with no gyms around, no 5:30am wake up call, and the family you're staying with doesn't really understand your need/desire for a couple of workouts during your visit?

Well, if you like to run or walk, it's relatively easy to go out for a long run or brisk walk during your stay.  The unfamiliar surroundings may be a bit strange, but do your best to find some roads that are free from traffic (and where you won't get lost). I love the feature on my Garmin that will tell me how to get back to my starting place, if I'm not familiar with a particular place.  Or use this app for finding awesome running/walking/hiking/biking paths - localeikki

If you're not into running, always remember the exercises that can be performed anywhere:  Pushups, Mt. Climbers, Burpees, Tabata Squats, Rapid Rows, Lunges, Jump Squats, almost all core/ab exercises, and sprints.  Those movements right there will give you a SERIOUS full body workout in 30 minutes or less!

Get out your ABC Travel Fit Deck and pick and choose your workout for the day. Here's the video on how it works: and here's where you can download your Fit Deck.

When traveling, or busy in general, it's important that we reframe what a workout is.  If you're in boot camp, we define it as an hour. 

But why does a workout always HAVE to be an hour?

The truth is, it doesn't.  And it SHOULDN'T be an hour if 35 minutes of the workout isn't productive.  Make it 25 minutes of productive workout time, and save those 35 minutes for something else important/meaningful. 

The point is, often when we're in a pinch (traveling, early work meetings, tired because the kids were up all night, etc) we THINK that we need to get an hour workout in for it to "qualify" as a workout. 

The workout could be 10 minutes of intense SOMETHING.  And guess what?  You've elevated your metabolism.  You've reduced stress.  You've improved your mood.  Your energy.  You're mentally more awake.  And emotionally you're more balanced.

All the benefits are there.  Don't let perfect get in the way of possible when obstacles abound. 

Here are some example workouts for YOU when things get a little tight over the next 5 weeks:

Workout A:

  • 3 minute warm up of jumping jacks, body weight squats, jogging in place and dynamic stretching.
  • Tabata Pushups – 8 rounds, 20 seconds each round, 10 seconds of recovery between the rounds.  (Use your timer on your phone)
  • Rest 2 minutes.
  • Tabata Squats – use the same format as above of 8 rounds.  Now, you can make this one harder by (1) going super-fast on the squats or (2) by doing Jump Squats in lieu of a body weight squat for some of the time.  No dumbbells needed.
  • This workout takes 15 minutes and will work EVERY SINGE LARGE MUSCLE GROUP in your body.  You will feel really good after this one!
  • Stretch/Cool down

Workout B:

  • 3 minute warm up
  • Tabata Single Leg Deadlifts – 8 rounds, 20 seconds each round, 10 seconds of recovery between the rounds.  Rounds 1-4 on the right leg, rounds 5-8 on the left leg.  With a focus on quality form, slow and deliberate movements, this will do a killer job on your hamstrings, glutes and low back muscles – no weights needed.  (Use your timer on your phone)
  • Rest 1 minute.
  • Tabata High Plank Rapid Rows – use the same format as above of 8 rounds.  No dumbbells needed.
  • Stretch/Cool down

Workout C:

  • 3 minute warm up
  • Sprint.  Have a set distance, like 30 yards or 100 feet.  Sprint the full distance, and the walk or jog back to the start and repeat 7 – 10 times.  This will rev your metabolism BIG TIME, and takes less than 10 minutes from warm up to cool down.

All of these workouts are less than 15 minutes, yet EXCEPTIONALLY effective.

Additional exercises that you can substitute into the above list include Walking lunges, Wall Sits, Pushups, Leg Cranks, Planks and all the quality core exercises like Bicycle Crunches, Imaginary Ball Exchanges, Side Planks and 6 Inch Killers.  All stuff we have built into your ABC workouts. 

And you'll notice that NONE of these workouts requires equipment.  If you like to workout to music, bring your iPod – but that doesn't take up any weight or room in your luggage when traveling.

The reality is that the human body is the BEST form of equipment you'll ever need.  Everything else is a nice to have, particularly when you're traveling.

All of these workouts and exercises are FUNCTIONAL … meaning, the movements replicate real world movements which allows us to move or perform better in life.

A leg extension in a seated position at the gym, with your back, hips and glutes supported, will NEVER EVER happen in your day to day normal activity. 

So if you find yourself in a place you're not familiar with, or with others that think you're weird because you "need a workout", feel comfortable with your decision and just stick to it!  In the end, you'll feel good physically, mentally, emotionally, and good about having your priorities in line!  Those relatives are MUCH easier to manage after a good workout. 

After all, are WE really the "weird" ones because we want to take care of ourselves? 

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fall Harvest Salad:

  • 4 cups chopped kale (I like the Trader Joes bagged Kale for salads)
  • 4 cups chopped spinach
  • 2 pears or apples, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds 
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts or pecans
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled goat cheese (I prefer the low or fat free option)

Key here is to remember 3 parts vinegar to 1 part oil.  I recommend using a variety of flavors of balsamic vinegar (Berry, Fig, Honey, White Balsamic) to make your own flavored, great tasting dressing.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

What's Non-negotiable for you?

Think about some of the things you make non-negotiable in your life:

  • You don't leave your child with a stranger.
  • You don't show up late to an important meeting (at least without a good reason).
  • You don't rob banks or drive intoxicated or take drugs. 

All pretty obvious, but not everyone lives by those standards.

The cornerstone of a new standard is what you make non-negotiable

For many of you, working out is non-negotiable – no matter what else is happening in your life, you make sure your workouts get done.

As a wrap up to last week's emails, let's take one more quick look at a day of fat loss eating.

A good breakfast might be 2 eggs with whole grain toast.  Add 2 servings of whole fruit or veggies and this becomes a fat loss food and a great breakfast. 

A good snack might be a protein shake.  Blend in spinach or have your shake with whole fruit and you have a fat loss food that will keep your energy high, and your hunger and cravings in check.   Or opt for the Triple Berry Chia Pudding for a delicious snack. 

A good lunch could be a chicken breast sandwich.  Transforming that from good to great, opt for chicken breast on a bed of salad greens (kale, spinach, red leaf) and a colorful mix of veggies, with your favorite combo of oil and vinegar (the Spicy Olive is a great place to get amazing options!)

A good dinner may be homemade white bean chicken chili.  Add a salad starter and you have an ideal fat loss food that will help keep your total daily calories in line.  Other really great tasting dinner options include the Asian Lettuce Wraps, or in lieu of traditional spaghetti (very high in carbs and sugar), instead prepare Zucchini Spaghetti (way better tasting than it might sound :)). 

You might notice a pattern here … adding whole fruit and/or fresh veggies to "healthy food" transforms them into fat loss eating.   It's a key, critical distinction most people miss.  "I eat healthy, but I can't lose weight."

What if between now and the end of the year you made eating fruits and veggies as a part of every meal non-negotiable?  How might that elevate or reinforce your new standard?

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

This week in camp ...

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow for week 4 of the Holiday Fitness Challenge!

This is our last outdoor week and the weather looks pretty good for tomorrow.  Remember your layers on days that might be cooler

For week 4, think about what you'd like to make non-negotiable: something around your workout – adding 15 minutes on the track before camp begins, adding an extra workout day, working at your personal best, minimizing distractions, or something around eating high water, high fiber and protein at each meal. 

Here's to a GREAT week!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Winterize Your Workout ...

A fun "customized" finish to our 3rd week in camp with the "Take One" workout. 

We have one more week working outdoors in 2014 before heading back inside for the winter. 

Bridgetown and Blue Ash locations will remain indoors at St. Jude and Sycamore high school.  Anderson moves to McNick High School while Oakley moves to Purcell Marian High School.

The next session starts on November 17, without the traditional 1-week break between camp sessions.  The reason we're moving right into the next session without a week off is to allow everyone to have the week of Thanksgiving off (Nov 24 - 30) with the holiday and travel many of you are taking. 

Then we're back in camp on December 1st for 3 weeks leading right up to Christmas! 

So with one week remaining outside, and the potential for cool temps, there are 3 keys to staying warm throughout your workout:

  1. Wear a base layer of clothing that helps you stay dry, allowing perspiration to leave your skin
  2. Wear several layers – you can shed them as needed as your core body temperature increases
  3. Protect and cover your head, neck, ears, feet and hands – our extremities tend to get the least amount of circulation and heat. 

Here's an article to help you "Winterize Your Workout" …

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Focus on progression ...

We got some really good questions from yesterday's "What's for Lunch?" email.

The most important thing to keep in mind is in order for a Fat Loss Food to really qualify for fat loss, ideally the meal has sufficient protein (~20g), is high in water, and high in fiber.  And you want to run it through the Label Rule to check it out.  Some foods/meals do score 10 or lower on the Label Rule, but are missing one or more of the following: sufficient protein, water or fiber content.  So both rules really need to be met for the most ideal Fat Loss food or meal.  

For example:

  • Avocado meets the label rule, is a great source of fiber, but is too low in protein & water.  It's a good component of a FULL meal, for example in a salad or in the Avocado Salsa Turkey Burger.
  • Eggs meet the label rule, are a great source of protein, but is void of fiber and water.  Incomplete by itself, but built around veggies in a salad or omelet will become a Fat Loss Food. 

Perhaps equally important is to make the best choice for where you are in this moment, and don't let perfect get in the way of possibleFocus on progression, not perfection.

For example: let's say someone's diet up until 2 weeks ago was pretty much fast food, processed frozen microwave meals, or foods in boxes with cartoon characters.  A huge step in the right direction (progression) would be to begin preparing food at home, rather than buying prepared nutritionally void food.

As someone gets more comfortable with that step, then refine, and go for the next step – maybe 20g of protein at each meal, or maybe having a fiber & water rich fruit or veggie every time she eats.  And progress from there. 

I'm not saying let yourself off the hook, rather do the best you can with where you are today.  Focus on progression, not perfection. Not every meal will be perfect or ideal, but making progress makes a significant impact over time. 

Here's a list of foods that are high in water and high in fiber, as well as a list of great sources of protein:

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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

What's for Lunch?

The past couple of days we've been building an ideal Fat Loss eating day.  We covered breakfast, and the mid-morning snack

For lunch we simply want to continue to eat food that keeps you full and provides sufficient energy for another 3 hours, and doesn't trigger a major craving at your next meal.  

I love the protein veggie rice (you can make a big batch in advance, and portion it out for several meals during the week), or a big salad topped with your choice of protein (salmon, chicken, chopped or shredded turkey breast).

Keep in mind, you're not limited to the recipes, or my suggestions.  Build any meal you like that follows the Label Rule using the Recipe Analyzer

Here's an important distinction – we're looking at the entire meal, not the individual components of a meal, when it comes to applying the Label Rule. 

For example, eggs by themselves are high in fat, a great source of protein, but have no water content or fiber.   By themselves, eggs wouldn't qualify for a "Fat Loss Food" (we're missing the high water and fiber content, although protein is good).  So we need to build on the protein content of the eggs, maybe by adding some spinach, mushrooms, peppers and onions for it to become a fat loss food (example: the Power Breakfast Scramble).  Or we could eat hard boiled eggs with some fresh fruit as a snack, and then the meal would qualify. 

Eggs are high in fat, as are avocados, nuts and seeds, etc.  All of these are considered healthy options, but to qualify as Fat Loss Foods, they need to be considered in the context of a complete meal. So the label rule works in conjunction with the other fat loss rule of "high protein, high water content and high fiber". 

Do your best NOT to get hung up on fat content. Again, with a focus on the Label Rule and eating "high protein, high water content, and high fiber" and within your calorie ranges, fat intake will balance out.  If your daily calorie intake is 1300 for fat loss, AND your meals meet the label rule, AND contain sufficient protein (~20g per meal), high water and high fiber, you won't eat too much fat. 

Does that make sense?

If this is confusing, the safe route is to eat the Fat Loss Food recipes.  But we don't like to limit you to our recommendations, so using the Label Rule/Recipe Analyzer and the Fat Loss Guidelines, you can create foods that meet your individual preferences. 

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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

Mid-morning snack ...

Starting your morning with gratitude and peace, then having a great breakfast that supports your energy and goals is a tremendous start to your day.  Most people don't get to experience that ... it's a standard too few have set for themselves.   

So what's next?

If you're eating within your calorie ranges, and your first meal was a fat loss food, then you'll likely be hungry again  2½ - 3½ later. 

Next is simply keeping your energy strong, while minimizing hunger and cravings. 

I like to have fresh veggies and Fage hummus next.  Or, often I'll have the chocolate peanut butter delight with fresh fruit.  Both of these options keep me full for another 2½ - 3 hours, and again, without consuming a ton of calories.  At this point I've made it to lunchtime and all of my food has supported my health, fitness, and fat loss goals. 

Each day we get to choose how we're going to do that day.  It's the little things that we do consistently that establishes the new standard, none of which is overwhelming or monumental. 

Tomorrow we'll take a look at some lunch options to keep you energized and moving strong throughout the afternoon!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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

Breakfast: Set the tone for your day ...

Last week I told you about my childhood best friend Steve and his obsession for kicking a crushed up Coke can for two miles. 

Kicking the can is a metaphor for doing ordinary things consistently day after day. 

There's no way Steve could have kicked a can for 2 miles with one huge boot, just as there's no way we reach our health/fitness destination with one killer workout, one week of workouts, or even after a month of working out. 

Ordinary things consistently done produce extraordinary results.

We talked yesterday about how you start your day, mentally, emotionally.  Just as important is how you start your day nutritionally.

For years now the first thing I eat every day is a chocolate protein shake blended with spinach.  It sets the tone for my day.  High fiber, high water, sufficient protein.   It keeps me full for 3 hours, all for less than 200 calories.  And it eliminates secondary consequences in terms of me craving something else at the next meal. 

Contrast that with Fruit Loops, or an Energy Bar, both loaded with sugar, void of water, insufficient protein, and too little quality fiber … and the day is off to a rough start.  This is true for just about any meal that is higher than a 10 on the Label Rule

Starting the day with Fat Loss Foods sets the tone, and makes it a ton easier to build on that momentum.  Starting it off with the traditional breakfast, and it's hard to recover and get back on track. 

Starting tomorrow morning, what could you add to your daily routine, that when you do it consistently over time, makes a HUGE impact?

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Your morning attitude ...

Loved the way you all got after it with your Monday workout: Cardio Relays = a FANTASTIC endorphin-filled start to the week!

An important question for you: "What is your attitude when you wake up in the morning?"

This is important insight because the attitude you choose sets the tone for how you will feel later in the day, when people, circumstances and our own insecurities try to steal away our inner peace. 

First thing in the morning, you are by yourself going through the first couple actions of the day--getting out of bed, turning off your alarm clock, brushing your teeth, etc. In these moments, it is important to choose an attitude of gratitude and peace because if you can't choose that when you are by yourself, when can you? Once you start about your day, other people's needs can affect us, various scenarios unfold and things happen that are out of our control--each of which challenges our ability to maintain our inner peace.

Every day, there will be situations that challenge us. But if you don't already, begin making your morning attitude a choice. Play a game with yourself to see how long you can maintain your inner peace and grateful attitude as your day progresses. Stay mindful of how other people and circumstances are affecting you. If you catch yourself drifting off course, change back as soon as you can. 

Think of your morning attitude as the bricks you are laying for each day's path. And keep that path going in the direction YOU want it to go, regardless of any obstacles or challenges that might get in the way.

Here's to a Great Week 2!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Introducing WLAG's ...

I was recently introduced to WLAG's from Todd Durkin, a great method to help plan out your week.

WLAG's stands for:

  • "Wins" of the past week.
  • "Losses" of the past week.
  • "Aha" moments from the past week.
  • "Goals" of the upcoming week.

All-in-all, it probably takes about 20-30 minutes to complete.

Wins and losses from the past week allow us to pause and reflect for a few minutes on what was accomplished or didn't get accomplish. It puts us in a more reflective and present state of mind versus always just thinking "what's next?"  What did you accomplished, and what got missed?

"Ahas" simply give us an opportunity to go a little deeper and think about any moments from the previous week that made you stop in your tracks or made an important impression on you.  

For example, my "ahas" from this past week are:

  • "So proud of Kayla. I loved watching her prepare for her class presentation next week, how she lights up when she sees her friends, and her dedication to dance and gymnastics."   
  • "Loved getting back to camp, talking with campers and hearing their focus on nutrition, planning out fat loss foods, the questions I've gotten on various distinctions with eating the right foods, etc."

And finally, write out your GOALS for the upcoming week. "Goals" are simply what you WILL accomplish in the next 7 days. While I typically put down 15-20 things on my "To Do" list for the week, I narrow it to a BIG 2 - 5 for the week. These are the 2-5 things that MUST get done this week, regardless of what else comes along.

Planning your week is vitally important and will set you up for successful days and a successful week. And I believe that a successful week starts BEFORE the week actually starts.

Take a few minutes out of your Sunday and do some "WLAG's." And if you would like to share them with someone in camp, your instructor, or your family, it makes it even that much more powerful.

Have an inspired Sunday!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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

Friday, October 24, 2014

Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Doing ...

We seem to have need for finding the "right" answers.

We have all heard the adage, "Anything worth doing is worth doing well."  This is an incredibly debilitating piece of advice.  

We think about a new idea or possibility, goal or endeavor, but then realize we can't execute on this new initiative "well" because we have never done it before, so we look for another idea. The original idea might be a good one, but since we have never done it before, we resist the idea because it isn't comfortable. Instead of making progress, we look for an easier answer.  Instead of growing, we stay stuck in our comfort zone.

I think progress is made by adopting a new mantra: Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly... at the beginning. Not forever, only when you begin.  It's how you learned to ride a bike, swim and drink out of a cup... you did it poorly at the beginning. 

Here it is on a bumper sticker:  Everything you want lies outside your comfort zone.  

To help you, think about the questions below:

  • Where are you letting perfect get in the way of possible?
  • What are the skills you need to learn that right now are outside of your comfort zone?
  • What do you need to try that will be done poorly (at the beginning) but which is critical for your success?

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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

Kicking the can ...

We love the enthusiasm in Adventure Boot Camp … people showing up early to run around the track, talking about and planning out their fat loss foods, and putting in the extra effort during the workouts.

Looking back over some of the fitness challenges at ABC, it was a turning point in health and fitness for some.  They pinpoint a challenge as being the push they needed to get moving in the right direction, and ultimately the stimulus to set a new standard. 

As we alluded to yesterday, a huge victory over these 8 weeks would be to get to 2015 without the "baggage" the holidays bring.  Losing body fat would then be another major win.  And then on top of those victories, continuing into the new year with some new lifestyle skills and patterns might be the ultimate victory. 

Consider this about human nature: all other things being equal, we would rather have what we want sooner rather than later, easier rather than harder, and more rather than less.

In other words, we tend to be impatient, lazy and greedy. That's not a judgment on any of us individually, rather a general tendency that's built into human nature.  We tend to want what we want NOW, not next year, or in 10 years from now.

That built-in tendency is fertile ground for marketing the quick, easy and magical results from the Bowflex, the Shake Weight, by drinking that shake or taking that pill. 

Anyone can lose weight, and many do.  The key is keeping that weight off.

If you look at anyone at the top of their game.... the ones winning gold medals, or those with abundant health and fitness year in and year out, ... you will find a common denominator: They did not achieve this success overnight.

Instead they "Kicked the Can."

Remember as a kid coming upon a rock, or bottle or can as you made your way to a friend's house?  It was in your path and perhaps you gave it a kick over the asphalt for a yard or two.  And then maybe you kicked it again?  

My best friend Steve loved to kick things as we walked a couple of miles to our favorite pizza place (Pizza Jake's in Fairfield … the pizza was pretty good, but they also had arcade machines!)  Much to my displeasure, Steve kept kicking a crumpled up Coke can for our entire two mile walk!  

What is the likelihood that my friend could have seen this can at the beginning of our walk, got a running start and kicked this can as hard as he could and it travel two miles with one mighty kick? Zero.

You already understand and have employed the analogy of kicking the can.  Pick anything you are currently good at and ask this question: Did I achieve mastery at this as a result of something huge I did last Tuesday or was it a result of consistent effort over a period of time?

Think about the outcomes you want for the 8 Week Challenge in terms of Kicking the Can on a daily basis.  What do you need to do day in and day out, consistently? 

Here it is on a bumper sticker: Ordinary things consistently done produce extraordinary results.

To help you, think about these questions:

  • Where are you avoiding paying the price of hard work or learning and practicing new skills? 
  • Where are you searching for shortcuts where none exist? 
  • What are the ordinary things that need to be done on a consistent basis which will produce your desired outcomes?                                                                                                  ·                                                                                                

Recommit EVERY DAY. 

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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

"And the winner of the 2014 Holiday Fitness Challenge is ..."

Yesterday we talked about the difference between body fat loss and weight loss and how you can win free boot camp.

We're pleased to reward your hard work and the results you create over these 8 weeks.

But at the same time, even if you won a lifetime of Adventure Boot Camp, it is meaningless in comparison to the real prizes you'll "win". 

While nearly everyone you know (not in ABC) will be mindlessly overdoing food, drinks and stress during the "season", you're doing the opposite. 

  • What kind of an emotional win will you experience when you avoid the 3-7 pound holiday weight gain?
  • How much better will you feel on Christmas or New Year's knowing that you didn't give in to the seasonal excess? 
  • What sort of new pattern or new standard might be taking root over these 8 weeks, and where could that take your health and fitness?  What if that new standard got you off the emotional weight gain/loss rollercoaster forever?
  • How might your confidence/esteem soar as a result of your efforts between now and the start of 2015?

$1800 is the most someone could win in cash equivalent prizes at the end of the Holiday Fitness Challenge.  Most people I know have wasted well more than $1800 on junk food this year alone.   It's less than $35 a week … just add up the vending machine, Starbucks, fast food, and stuff from the convenience store, and most of us are over that amount.

The point is, it's impossible to put a value on sound health and great fitness.  We're excited to give you a well-deserved bonus, but the real reward extends well beyond something we can measure.

Keep this in mind over the next 2 months. 

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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

Weight Loss Versus Fat Loss

We had a few questions on Saturday at 8WC evaluations on how to qualify for the prizes.

First, anyone can win. 

To qualify for free boot camp sessions, a minimum of 6 pounds of BODY FAT lost is required.   This will put you in the running for 3 primary prizes in YOUR ABC location: 1, 2 or 5 FREE ABC camp sessions.

And everyone that loses 12 pounds of body fat by December 19th gets a FREE camp session.

The key distinction is body fat versus weight loss.  This will be determined based on how your body composition changes over the next 8 weeks. 

You want to lose body fat.  You don't want to lose muscle tissue, or water. 

The weight on your scale at home will fluctuate up or down 3-5% daily, based on hydration levels and digestive contents.  Your body fat won't fluctuation up and down daily, but will stay the same (maintenance), slowly move upward, or slowly move downward based on your nutrition.  

Click here to see the results of 2 hypothetical people:

Camper 1 – lost 12 pounds of weight on the bathroom scale:

  • Overall, this person lost 12 total pounds of something: options include body fat, muscle tissue, water, digestive contents.
  • Of the 12 pounds, only 2.22 pounds came from body fat.  :(
  • 9.8 pounds lost came from muscle tissue, water content, blood volume, etc. :(
  • In spite of the scale dropping down by 12 pounds, this is a not a good scenario.  Weight will come back on quickly, and this person actually has a less firm body under this scenario. :(

Camper 2 – lost 7 pounds of weight on the scale, but 12 pounds of body fat:

  • Overall, the scale only dropped by 7 pounds.
  • But, this person lost 12 pounds of body fat, resulting in a smaller person. :)
  • In addition, this person gained some muscle tissue, a really good thing for future fat loss, and a firm, toned body today. :)

If these were real people, they both stated at the same spot – 150 pounds with 30% body fat.  Camper 2 ended in much better shape, leaner, smaller, and healthier.  Compared to Camper 1, she has lost nearly 10 pounds MORE body fat, even though you would never know looking at the total weight loss between the two. 

Although hypothetical, we see both of these results commonly.  Weight loss versus fat loss – here's a visual.  Unfortunately, the one with 12 pounds lost on the bathroom scale is usually the more excited of the two, even though the 7 pound bathroom scale loss realized significantly better results. 

Make sure you plug your numbers into this tool, so you can track real progress over time:

No one wants to lose 12 pounds when that weight is 2 pounds of fat, 4 pounds of muscle, 4 pounds of water, and the final 2 pounds simply being a change in digestive contents. 

This might be crystal clear to you, or possibly a little confusing.  Let's not get hung up on these numbers, here's what you need to remember:

Following these guidelines, the results will take care of themselves. 

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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

Recommit EVERY DAY.

Setting the goal is easy.  The hard part is the ongoing commitment to work toward it even when things aren't going your way. 

Some thoughts that can help you stay on course through the end of the year:

  • Think about your WHY every day.
  • Set a NEW standard by coming to ABC 5 days per week for the next 8 weeks.
  • Plan your nutrition in advance, every week.
  • Minimize distractions and surround yourself with people that live by high standards.
  • Don't overthink or complicate things.  Keep it simple.

Recipes and resources are here.

Your friend in fitness, Brian 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Eat THIS to Lose Fat ...

When it comes to losing body fat, the key to success is in nutrition. 

It's a stumbling block for many. 

We all have our favorite foods that we love or crave, or that give us some temporary relief from stress. 

And you don't have to give up those foods. 

For those that have a goal to end the Holiday Fitness Challenge with less body fat, we need to eat foods that fill you up, keep your energy high throughout the day, and minimize your hunger/cravings.  We have to eat these foods 90% of the time. 

Over the coming 8 weeks, we want to put THESE types of foods into the body FIRST.  These are the "go-to" foods for fat loss because they do fill you up quickly, which drastically minimizes your overall calorie intake. 

That right there is the key to fat loss.  Keeping your body energized, through eating just enough food so that your body can then burn stored body fat.  Those foods are what we refer to as Fat Loss Foods. 

They aren't some weird bogus herb that only grows rampant in some far region of the world.  They are normal, everyday REAL foods that keep you going strong for all the stuff you do in life.

The simplest way to identify them is they score a 10 or lower using the Food Label Rule.  This rule makes sure you're getting sufficient fiber and protein, while not over-doing the carbs.  We gave you over 50 options of Fat Loss Foods to choose from yesterday, but you're not limited to those.  Use the label rule, and create any meals that you like. 

In a nutshell, Fat Loss foods are high in protein, water and fiber.  Those that eat these foods weight less than those that do not.  Those that eat these foods struggle far less than those that eat the typical American diet. 

I'm not saying that fat loss eating is always easy, but it doesn't have to be complicated either. 

Save or print this email, keep it close by, so you can refer to it regularly over the next 8 weeks. 

Your friend in fitness, Brian

A Goal versus a Standard ...

Consider for a moment – a goal versus a standard. 

I've set a goal to run a half marathon perhaps 10 times over the last 6 years.  The goal usually drives me to increase my focus around running.  Most of the time I've done a reasonably decent job of getting to the half marathon prepared to run at a pace that made me feel like I achieved a successful outcome.   

However, after each half marathon, once the goal was achieved, my running had less purpose, focus and importance.  Usually I'd drift about with little clarity, until I got the itch to run another event in the future.  There was always a sense of a letdown after "achieving" the goal.  Sometimes that feeling led to me setting too many half marathon event goals, to the point where I'd either hit running burnout, or perhaps end up with an overuse injury. 

Through enough of these "letdowns", ups and downs, trial and error, what I found to be more productive for me is to create a standard around my fitness in general, and running specifically.  So instead of getting super focused for 5-6 months preparing for a half marathon, then wandering somewhat aimlessly until I set another half marathon goal, now I have a standard of how I am as a runner.  Today my standard is that I run 4 days per week, regardless if I am preparing for a half marathon. 

It's a little distinction, but the payoff is significant.  My running now has fewer ups and downs.  I love running half marathons, but gone is the short-term "high" of chasing a goal, only to have a subsequent "is that all there is?" feeling once accomplished.   I'm inspired to run more consistently.  And even though I haven't run a half marathon in 18 months, I've rarely missed one of my running days. Running 4 times per week is my "standard".  It doesn't mean that I'm perfect every week, but at the same time that standard keeps me from veering too far off track.  

The essence of a standard is that it works innately, intrinsically to keep us from violating the standard. 

Goals are really helpful, as we mentioned yesterday, they give us something to strive for.  But then once we reach the destination, or the end of the goal period, often human nature kicks in and we resort back to pre-goal behaviors. 

What if in striving for our goals, we took it a step beyond and established a new standard?

Here's some possible examples:

  • Over the next 4 weeks my goal is to lose 3% body fat, and my (ultimate) standard is I live in a body with 25% body fat. 
  • I'm exercising consistently between now and the end of 2014, because my new standard is that I do some type of workout 4-5 days per week.
  • My current goal is to eat healthy, within my calorie requirements, and my standard is that I feed my body with foods that fill me up, keep my cravings in check, and energize me for all the activities and responsibilities in my life.   

Goals tend to be temporary, whereas holding ourselves to a standard is inherently more enduring.  You already have many high standards in place - what if in the process of reaching for a goal, we also created a new standard? 

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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

Why I MUST weigh 170 pounds ...

I've received several responses to Tuesday's "Start With Why" email asking for help, or an example of how to create a "why" around the 8-week Holiday Fitness Challenge.

So let me share my "why" with you.

My goal: "I MUST weigh 170 pounds by December 31, 2014!"

Why?  What does that mean to me?

So let's start with what it doesn't mean for me. 

It doesn't mean I think I "need" to lose weight or be thinner (I'm at 175, and I fluctuate between 170 and 180, depending on where I am in my training). 

It doesn't mean that I think that I'll look more fit, or because I feel like I'll be healthier, or that I should drop 5 pounds so I can go to the beach and feel good about my appearance.  I actually feel pretty good at 175.  When I hit 180, though, an alarm bell rings in my head!  Time to get focused! 

But what 170 DOES mean for me is that it's my optimal running weight. 

The difference between 180 and 170 pounds for me is the difference of 37 seconds per mile faster over a half marathon, or finishing at 1:40:35 versus 1:49:07.  That probably doesn't mean much to many other people, but to me it means a lot.

It means that I can run faster at age 45 than I could at 41.  A lot faster. 

Why is that important to me?  Well, because somehow my brain is wired that I always want to improve, in some way.  Again, maybe it doesn't make sense to you, but is meaningful to me.  Remember, all that matters is the meaning YOU have around something, not what your best friend, boyfriend, husband or co-workers think. 

Also, running faster at 170 pounds means that I feel more fit the older I get.  I like feeling like I still have some athletic ability left in this body.  

Even though I can't stop aging, being at 170 pounds for me means that I'm optimizing my body for this stage of my life.  Ever run into a high school friend and you barely recognize them?  I don't want to be that guy my high school friends can't recognize.  And I like it when someone says, "Oh my gosh, you look great!"  Seriously, who doesn't? 

Reaching 170 pounds also means that I'm maintaining my personal standard around my health and fitness.  It means that I'm disciplined (and trust me, I'm not a super disciplined guy).  It means that I have a lot of energy for my work, and my 8 year old daughter.  It means that I feel good about my efforts in training and eating.

So there's a snapshot into some of my "whys" for reaching 170 pounds. 

Every time I've ever tried to lose weight without any real meaning behind it, it just doesn't happen for me.  I need reasons.  Compelling reasons to me. 

You might not think going from 175 to 170 is a big deal.  But they say the last 5 pounds is always the hardest, right?

What is meaningful to you around your biggest health and fitness goal?  Start With Why!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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