Serial Trainer

{August 31, 2008}   Energy is the Capacity to Cause Change

BIOLOGY 101: Potential Energy is stored Energy.

I sat in Biology class and it hit me. It was like that light bulb went off in my head. This isn’t something new that they’re teaching. This is something that is basic science. With all the lawsuits going on. With all the false advertising going on. People need to learn to educate themselves.

I’m never surprised at some of the things I read. When people will eat fast food, ignorantly, for 10 years and then claim they didn’t know it could make them fat. We aren’t programmed to eat in excess. Did you know that?

Our bodies have a mechanism that shuts off when we’ve consumed just enough. As a society whose grown accustomed to over-indulgence, we have now adapted to be gluttonous.  Take a minute to think about that. We’ve adapted.

This is a serious thing. This is evolution that we’re talking about. The frightening reality of our future. We will become bigger, less healthy, desensitized and die.

How does the cycle end? It’s not just about exercise anymore. It’s about reprogramming the brain so that when we eat, we eat to build and sustain our bodies. We want the premium fuel to run our “machines”. If you start thinking of food as maintenance, like when we change the oil on our cars, you’ll get a better idea of what food is really for.

If you had a $100k car, you wouldn’t put the cheap gas in it. At least, I hope not. You’d make sure you followed the manufacturer’s book on maintainance and fuel, oil, etc. Why? Because if you spend that kind of money on a car, you want to make sure it lasts! Am I right?

If you think of yourself in this light, you’ll start to reprogram your mind and get out of the typical zombie walk that we do as humans these days.  I know, I get deep with this. But it’s a passionate journey I’m on. I want you to open your eyes. Call me the “NEO” of the personal training world.

We fight every day against media. Against government (yeah, I know. I’ll have FBI on me now!). We fight million dollar industries. What is the truth?  The truth is you have to listen to your body. Become more attuned to it. Are you hungry? Does your body need the food you’re about to stick in your mouth? Why are you eating it, then?

Occassionally giving your car a double wax rub down is OK. It’s a treat, right? So, fine. Eat a double ding-dong chocolate surprise. It’s good for your mental sanity to indulge once in awhile. Just don’t do it so often or to such an extreme that you make yourself ill.

Start with a plan and stick with it. Remember my posts about establishing good habits? This is what is going to help you.

Get a calendar and put in all the things you do on a daily basis for 4 weeks. That means if you shower everyday at the same time, put it in for that time slot, grey it out. If you eat dinner at the same time every night, put it in for that time slot, grey it out.

Now I want you to look at the time you have left. Slot an hour of relaxation a day. That could be right before bed, that can be right after you wake up. I don’t care when it is, you need this time. Schedule it in and keep the appointment. If you find after a week you haven’t kept it, start charging yourself. No, I’m serious. Put a jar on the side of your bed or on the kitchen counter. Watch the money pile up and remember that you paid yourself to be as stressed out as you are. At the very least, at the end of the week you might be able to buy yourself an hour by going out to a movie or something.

During that time of relaxation, try being in a quiet, secluded space. If you want soft music, you can have it, but be sure that the music you choose is something that will soothe you, not make you want to go hunting for small animals. If you don’t listen to that kind of music, turn it off.

What I want you to do is remember how to breathe. This sounds incredibly silly but I assure you, most of don’t remember what it’s like to just..breathe. If it’s possible, lay down. Buy a yoga mat because I want you to lie flat. No mattress, no couch. It has to be a flat surface so that you can feel your body and what is going on.

You may feel your back ache, your shoulder hurt. But push that all aside to breathe quietly for five minutes. Focus on the breath going in, filling your lungs and then the exhale.

We are so occupied by everyone else in the world; our jobs, our children, our families, our friends, co-workers, enemies, that guy at the drive-thru that botched your order, that professor at school that you want to smack with your oversized text book…

It’s time to focus on yourself. I want you to feel what hurts and come back inside your body. Once again, I know it sounds insane but how many times have you been so focused on your day to day activities that you look down and find a bruise and you have no idea how it got there. Or your back aches and you don’t know why. Or your knee is swollen and hurts. Ankles are swelling and sore. Feet are throbbing. Head is dull and pounding.

Should I go on? In order to know how to fix yourself, you have to know what’s wrong. If your back hurts lying flat, that’s a major red flag. If your body hurts when it’s in proper alignment then that means you’ve got imbalances.

The good news is: Most of us do!
The better news is: Most times it can be fixed.

Alright so we have a calendar, we have it filled in with daily activities, we have it filled in with 1 hour of relaxation. Now I want you to fill in your workouts. The beauty of this is that if you only have 20 min’s, that’s OK. Take it. It’s better than nothing and 20 min’s is good enough to do some pilates or strengthening exercises to help you make it through work or school if nothing else.

The next step to this “recovery” is to buy one of those little notepads that you can carry in your purse or backpocket. Write down everything you put in your mouth. Gum, candy, food, drink..that’s it though, let’s not get any higher ratings than “G” for this activity, OK? If you don’t have a good sense of guaging measurements, make notes like “I ate a piece of chicken the size of my palm”. You can go back later and get an estimate. At the end of the week, calculate how many calories you ate.

Here comes the reprogramming. Set a goal for yourself. Are you trying to lose weight? Gain weight? Maintain? Once that’s established, you know where to go from there. Do you know that it’s easier to lose weight than to gain it? It’s a fact. You have to put more work into eating as much as you do than to not eat as much and maintain or lose.

For losing weight, you must deficit yourself from your normal caloric intake by 500 calories. To gain weight, reverse that. It’s not rocket science. All you need is basic math skills.

At the end of the week, you should be fully acclamated to those many calories and whatever exercise you’ve added and be ready for step two.

Step two: Replace one constant thing in your menu with something healthier. If you have a coke with lunch everyday, replace it with unsweetened iced tea or water. If you eat fast food every day at lunch, either replace it with taking your lunch to school/work or opting for something healthier like a salad. Once that week is over, you can go to step three.

Add 10-30 min’s of exercise to your day. This can mean taking the stairs, walking further in the parking lot by choosing a parking space further away, walking after dinner, etc. 10 mins will not kill you. I can almost promise. If you can do more than 10, you should do it and stop cheating yourself. Stop being an under-achiever.

The goals of all of this are:

  • gain confidence — you did this! it wasn’t hard. you didn’t die. you might even feel better already.
  • you’re healthier — you’ve made positive changes and now you’re even active. if you feel better you probably look better, too!
  • you’ve turned a negative into a positive — by week three others may see that you’ve made some changes, you can make it through the work day a little better, did you lose any weight? ( or gain? depending on goals)
  • you feel better about yourself — don’t deny it, you do.

If anyone tries this and are brave enough to post their spreadsheets/calendars, let me know! I’d love to link you!




Jay says:

Being attuned to our bodies is a lost art. Too many people have lost touch with themselves and try to replace that with one of the gazillion+one products pushed on us by the weight loss industry. The thing that is missing is knowing ourselves, our bodies, and how it works. Great post 🙂

losingmyass says:

A full hour of “relaxation”? ::laughs:: Can I start with five minutes and work my way up? If I stop moving and lie down anywhere, I’m going to be asleep within ten minutes!

On the plus side, you’d be proud of me. I’ve set up my schedule so that after sitting and writing (or, you know, surfing the ‘net, researching, whatever) for 45 minutes, I get up and either spend 10-15 minutes on the bike or just spend the time stretching. So not only am I writing again, but I’m also “sneaking” in exercise!


serialtrainer says:

I’m -very- proud of you!!!

sandrar says:

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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