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Graceful fitness isn’t about never training hard

Graceful fitness isn’t about never training hard

You can, and probably should, push your limits.

But because I harp on so much about reasonable workouts and a balanced approach to health and fitness, some of you might think that I am against intense workouts.

If that’s the case, it’s on me for not being clear enough. Something that my wife would likely agree on.

Here’s a snippet of a recent text message conversation I had with a client who’s dealing with long-Covid. I’ll share her comment and my reply here slightly edited as it’s a nice overview (for once!) of the whole graceful fitness idea I go on about.

Client’s comment, shared with permission:

“If I remember your story correctly, I think you’ve learned this for yourself as well. Train smarter, not harder. (But you have to admit – it was kinda fun to push the limit and just exhaust oneself every now and then?)”

My reply:

“In the past it [the way I trained] was as hard as possible for as long as possible for as often as possible. Now it’s mostly shorter workouts <45min, mostly medium intensity. Some days I get into the workout and everything just feels off. I stop and go for a walk instead. Occasionally, when I feel really good, I’ll push it.”

”You don’t have to settle for only doing medium workouts for the rest of your life. Just know when to push it and when to hold back.”

There you have it. Hope that clears it up a bit.

-J

If it’s in front of us…

If it’s in front of us…

…we tend to do it.

So much of our success with health and fitness comes down to our environment and surroundings.

Whatever you have in your fridge and cupboard, that’s what you’re going to eat. Buy accordingly.

If you want to reduce the amount of ice cream and cookies you eat, only buy a single portion at a time. Instead of hauling a carton load through the door each time you do the shopping.

Keen to drink less? Hide the wine glasses and only buy enough wine to last an evening. And never keep beer in the fridge for “just in case”.

If the goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables, stack them up. Put the fruits where you can see them. To act as a reminder and a cue for you to eat them.

As for training, leave your weights where you can see them. Drill a permanent chin up bar to a door frame. Never buy a piece of equipment with a feature that “easily folds and rolls into storage under your bed”. You will never use it. And it makes vacuuming heaps annoying.

Want to spend less time doom scrolling and more on reading meaningful books? Put your phone in a draw where it’s not constantly yelling “pick me up!”

You get the idea.

What do you need to put out of sight? And what needs to be more prominent?

 

Fitness savings account

Fitness savings account

Most of us focus on the relatively immediate benefits of training:

To get stronger, to have more energy, to manage stress, to improve mood and mental health. And, to feel good about the person we see in the mirror.

And all of that is cool. They’re all worth the focus.

If you’re over 35, you’re likely thinking about the benefits that being active has on aging. Avoiding chronic diseases and getting older gracefully motivates you to move. Instead of stumbling through the years, eyes closed, fingers crossed, and hoping for the best.

What we often neglect to appreciate, because we suck at planning for something that might not happen (or like to think that it won’t happen), are the benefits that training has on the life’s “oh shit” moments.

It could be a fall, an accident, a surgery or an illness. Yep, “oh shit”.

Training and being active is literally like building our fitness savings account. And whether we want to acknowledge this, there’s a chance that one day we need to withdraw from our fitness savings.

The longer your training history is, the better off you will be if “oh shit” happens. You’re more likely to recover faster. Or to even make a full recovery. Especially when compared to those who are in the same situation as you, but untrained, overweight and inactive.

So, give yourself a wink, a nudge-nudge, or a high five each time you add strength and fitness to your savings account.

And if you haven’t started accumulating your savings yet, the next best time is today.

We can still reclaim (some of) it

We can still reclaim (some of) it

It’s incredible to watch how little (zero) encouragement most young kids need to move. To watch what they can do or what they’re trying and failing to do. And how little they need to get excited about it all.

I’ve got a two spare double mattresses in my home office. In the past I would’ve donated them to a charity. But now, I am holding on to them. With teeth. Because our kids use them to bounce off the walls.

Tackling them, climbing them (when one’s upright), bouncing around, running circles, rolling, jumping off them, wrestling, somersaults… And it’s not like I am asking them to do it. They’re demanding to enter the padded room.

Usually accompanied by music. Music that, for a standard adult, is the equivalent of a rusty spoon stirring the brain through the ear canal (“Put on Paw Patrol song!”). On repeat.

This circus can go on for an hour. With tight three second hydration pit stops in the middle. It’s incredible to watch. The energy of it all.

But the best part of it is that there’s no end goal to any of this. The point is to just move in any way humanly possible.

Then, at some age, this interest in movement grinds to a halt. Some of it is just biology. We get older. Some of it is environmental. Most of us swap movement for sitting. I think school has a lot to do with this. “Sit still!” “Don’t move!” But I’ll save that rant for another post.

Yet, it’s not too late for us adults to redeem ourselves. We can learn a thing or two from how kids approach movement.

When’s the last time you physically tried something that you haven’t done before, or recently?

For no other reason than to just do it.

Now, I am not saying you need to put on Friends’ theme song on repeat and bounce in your garden or balcony for an hour. (Although, why not?)

For some of us, it might be just as simple as learning to touch toes or sitting in a deep squat. Others might want to try backflips into the pool. Most of us can re-start somewhere in the middle.

When it comes to movement, young kids can teach us a lot. Regardless of our age.

What do you need to move forward?

What do you need to move forward?

If you feel like your fitness isn’t where you want it to be. If you feel stuck.

If you crave for something better. If you can see a stronger, fitter future for yourself.

There’s a good chance you don’t need more training knowledge. You know enough.

You don’t need to find a new training program. That’s not what’s missing.

It’s likely that you’ve already gained enough nutrition information. And you definitely don’t have to wait for the next diet trend.

But you probably knew all of that already.

What you need right now is action. You need structure.

You need to set a specific, measurable and time-based goal.

You need to break it into actionable steps. And you need the accountability to stick to it.

As long as your life circumstances allow it. Now might not be a good time.

After a while, the lack of results is rarely about the lack of knowledge. And even when we know this, it’s sometimes good to get a reminder.

It gets us to pause. We can reflect on the situation we’re in and find our place on the map.

Before deciding on what to do.

Moving past motivation

Moving past motivation

We give motivation (or more like, the lack of it) way too much control and credit for our (in)actions. Blaming the lack of motivation is a fruitless pursuit. So is waiting for the motivation to strike before taking action.

After a certain point, seeking for the holy grail of motivation becomes a waste of time. Like excessive planning without doing the actual work, the focus on the ups and downs of motivation keeps us from making progress. And there will always be ups and downs.

Take teeth brushing as an example. All of us have done it since we were little kids. It’s ingrained into our identity.

You don’t skip brushing your teeth because you’re not motivated. You don’t stop it for a month because you don’t feel like it.

Except on rare occasions (hot date!) you don’t have a burning drive to squeeze toothpaste on to that brush. You don’t stop caring for your teeth because it’s not (always) fun.

You don’t need an exciting monthly toothpaste subscription with ever changing flavours to spice up your evening routine in front of the mirror.

Almost anything that happens in your life makes zero difference to your teeth brushing habits.

You keep taking care of your mouth hygiene because it’s good for you. Because you’re the kind of person who looks after their teeth. Brushing (and hopefully flossing) your teeth are part of who you are and what you do.

What if you’d approach movement and exercise with the same Stoic mentality as you do brushing your teeth?

Become a physically active, ideally daily, because you’re the kind of person who does it. Because it’s good for you. Regardless of how motivated you feel.

That used to be you. Now might be a good time to reclaim it.

You already know how.

I finally cracked the code

I finally cracked the code

1.4.2022 Letter from Joonas’ desk.

I’ve finally discovered how to deliver anyone older than 40 years of age outstanding results.

And I’ve packaged it into a new coaching program. It’s the end product of a decade of searching, studying and extracting the truth.

Unlike my previous attempts that I’ve labelled simple but not easy, this one’s both. Simple AND easy.

I am embarrassed to say the answer’s been right in front of me for all these years. Yet, I haven’t been able to see it. My tunnel vision and narrow minded thinking have been clouding the deepest dips of my soul. And as a side effect, my eyes haven’t acknowledged the circulating universe.

I feel sorry for any of my past clients. I’m sorry I didn’t see this earlier. But it’s not too late.

This program is nothing like you’ve seen before.

A complete game changer. Simple and easy results to get to your strongest, healthiest self. While having the body you’ll be proud to show off. In fact, you’ll never want to wear clothes again.

You can see results quicker than you ever thought possible. And I promise you will keep them for life.

In the past, this would’ve sounded too good to be true. Arrogant even.

So what’s new?

A new training program? No. The principles of smart strength training still hold true.

A new revolutionary approach to eating? No. Reasonable eating habits are still the way to go.

The results are in. And they’re incredible.

I’ve seen 65-year-old men look like Ryan Reynolds, move like Bruce Lee, and have the strength of Ving Rhames. With the golf swing of Arnold Palmer and lungs of Clarence Clemons.

As for women? A recent transformation turned a 55-year-old into the spectacular combination of all the Charlie’s Angels, circa 1976. With the water polo skills of Ashleigh Johnson.

All in just 12 weeks. While eating whatever they wanted.

Are you ready for the secret?

They were all forgotten in the thick, unforgiving forest for centuries. Gaining energy and expanding. Until now.

Healing crystals from Mongolia. Each crystal fell off an asteroid that landed on earth during the early years of the Arghun Dynasty.

For maximum effect, each crystal is individually wrapped in foil and sprinkled with dried yak hair. Before carried on to a flat mountaintop, placed in a semi-circle at the end of a rainbow, and set on fire with a lightning. Waiting for the perfect rainbow and lighting combination can take decades.

But I felt like that wasn’t good enough.

So I had each crystal blessed by a one-eyed Finnish shaman. One blessing session takes a week and can only happen above the arctic circle. It involves repeatedly chanting the lyrics of Underneath Your Clothes, a hit single from Shakira’s 2001 Laundry Service record. Except that in the chant, ‘clothes’ is replaced by ‘foil’.

This makes the crystals glow in the dark*. They’re a real attention grabber on your bedside table.

What does this program cost?

What would it be worth to you if this could solve all your health and fitness problems, for life? Well, these healing, energy balancing crystals can do it. They did for me.

You are probably thinking tens of thousands of dollars. Hundreds of thousands even. But no, I don’t want you to refinance your mortgage.

I want to help you.

I will sell the total package for $750 (including shipping and GST). And I’ll also throw in a reindeer horn. Which has also been hit by a lightning. Although unintentionally. But still.

Alternatively, you can also pay me in teriyaki tofu sandwiches.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW!

But be quick. Once they’re gone, there won’t be more. Unless I can find another asteroid. Which is a lot of fucking work.

*There is also slight chance that some of these crystals are Soviet nuclear waste. Results may vary. 

The rules of graceful fitness

The rules of graceful fitness

Graceful and reasonable fitness march side by side.

Stay loose.

Breath through the nose.

Complete each repetition with a perfect form.

Finish each set with a repetition that looks as good as the first one.

Recover in a graceful, even elegant position.

Keep breathing through the nose.

Cover all movement patterns.

Know when you’ve done enough.

Leave a little (or a lot) in the tank for the next time.

Walk away feeling better than when you started.

Know when to skip a workout.

Every rule has its exceptions. But when you’re training for health, strength and life’s length, it pays to stay graceful for most of the workouts.

Injuries and burnout happen when you ignore the rule of graceful too often and for too long.

Weight loss course for non-dieters (FREE)

Weight loss course for non-dieters (FREE)

Something different today. I will occasionally share resources from other health professionals. Resources that align with my ‘reasonable fitness’ philosophy and help you live a more active, fulfilling life. So you can do more dope things in life. Without, you know, doing dope. Because it’s not good for you.

I’ll list them on my Stuff You Need to Know About – page. But if it’s really really juicy, I’ll blog about it too.

And today’s free fat loss course (+ emotional eating podcast) from Georgie Fear of Nutrition Loft fits into the juicy category.

_______________________

Weight Loss for Non-Dieters (FREE)

Struggling to lose and maintain fat loss with traditional diets? The weight might go down, but like another uninspiring Marvel movie that you couldn’t care less for, it always comes back.

Traditional calorie counting diets rarely work for foodies. Eating is meant to be enjoyable. Not an exercise in maths class. Besides, there’s only so much steamed broccoli one can eat without wanting to bury their head into a steaming basket.

Strict diets might work for those with the willpower of a pine tree. But a mere-mortal needs solid principles that work with your life.

All the while still allowing you to thrive in the activities you love doing.

This course by Georgie Fear (RD) is the antidote to traditional weight loss diets. Instead of following strict rules, you’ll learn how to make fat loss principles work in your life.

You’ll learn how to lose weight, and how to keep it off using the trinity of sustainable fat loss: nutrition science combined with intuitive eating and body acceptance.

Most coaches, nutritionists, and dieticians would and will charge for access to this kind of resource. The fact that Nutrition Loft’s weight loss course is completely free just… I don’t know. I. can’t. even.

It’d be borderline crime to not recommend the course for most people* struggling with weight loss.

*If you struggle with emotional eating or binge eating, the weight loss lessons on their own won’t help. Instead, Georgie’s Breaking Up With Binge Eating podcast is a better free resource to begin with.

Access the free weight loss course here.

-J

The struggle of changing surface level habits

The struggle of changing surface level habits

It doesn’t work.

We can try to implement all kinds of media sexy, but shallow tactics to improve our habits. Setting alarms, eating slow, always having vegetables in the fridge. These can work if we’re using them to simply remind ourselves to do whatever the habit is that we want to be doing.

There’s nothing wrong with the tactics we try. That’s not the problem. But the tactics on their own rarely, if ever, deliver the results we want.

The problem isn’t that we don’t know what to do to change our behaviour. Nor is it that we don’t know how to do it. We can access all this information with less than seven taps on our phone screen. Give or take a tap depending on the length of our pin code.

No, the problem is our unwillingness to change. The thought of changing who we are and how we behave scares us away from successfully alternating our behaviour.

Maybe the potential change threatens who we are. Even if whatever we’re doing right now isn’t working. So we self-sabotage any potential success we might have. Either knowingly or subconsciously. While blaming it all on tactics.

That’s because the surface level tactics usually stop working once the novelty wears off. We move on to another habit. Something that feels more exciting than whatever we’re currently doing. This cycle keeps repeating and we end up like Truman. Trying to leave, but getting nowhere.

In the end, all the habit changing tactics are useless. Unless you decide to go to the root of the problem first.

It could be about changing parts of your identity. Or about rewiring some knots from the childhood.

Only then can you see success with the surface level tactics and habits.