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The New Years Resolution Post: Four Tips To Smashing Your Fitness Goals This Year

So, you know it’s a cliche. And you know you made the same resolution last year and for whatever reason you didn’t keep it.

But again, in for 2014, you want to make your health and fitness a top priority. Congratulations, that’s a brilliant a very rewarding goal. After all, without our health, what do we have?

Ask yourself, why is it going to be different this year? Why will this year be the one you actually make a permanent lifestyle change?

I don’t believe it’s “wanting it badly enough”, I think that’s BS. If you earnestly tried very hard to lose weight and get fit, and someone smugly responds that you obviously don’t want it badly enough, you have my permission to tell them to go fuck themselves. That’s right. Flipping them the bird is optional, but I recommend doing that too.

I think when we express a deep desire to be healthier, to lose weight, to be better, we certainly do want it badly enough. But often, we’re just not well-equipped with the knowledge, with a strategy and with the “how” to make it happen. So I’m going to share with you a few simple ways you can make sure your 2014 resolution to be fitter and healthier is one that is going to stick with you the entire year and beyond.

  1. Set a nutritional goal that won’t leave you feeling punished, deprived and starved.
    If you eat fries, pasta and ice cream every day and declare that January 1st, you’ll eat nothing but salad, grilled fish and broccoli, I can almost guarantee that by January 31st, you’ll be back to eating those same burgers and ice cream and whatever else – and probably with a vengeance!
    What to do instead: Choose a more moderate approach. That might mean eating “normally” every day, but committing to having a salad for lunch or dinner. Initially, you might want to simply commit to cutting out soft drinks and hot chips every day. Have ice cream only once or twice per week, in a reasonable portion. You’d be astounded at what a huge impact these simple changes can have on your health and waistline. As time goes by and this becomes routine for you, you can step up your game and make further changes to improve your daily eating habits.
    perfect is bullshit
  2. Set a reasonable and very doable exercise goal. 
    Deciding that, as of January 1st, from doing no exercise per day, you’re going to be in the gym 2 hours a day and do a thousand crunches and a  zillion squats, because you read that’s what your favourite movie star did to get ready for her recent action flick (or your favourite fitspo girl on IG does this, or your friend, or whoever), is naive and unrealistic. We both know this is a pie in the sky strategy and isn’t going to work long term, if at all.
    What to do instead: Choose a  reasonable activity goal. For a beginner, that might mean 20 – 30 minutes a day of activity. That’s more than enough for someone who was previously sedentary. After a month or two of consistency, you can step up your efforts. Exercise is extremely important for good health, but too much can be counter-productive and unsustainable. Anything too time consuming and elaborate is probably going to last a month or two maximum. Adopt an approach you can turn into a lifestyle, doing things that make you feel energised and that you enjoy with a reasonable time commitment. As you get fitter, you can and should up the intensity.
  3. Find a support network.
    A support network might be a friend that has similar goals to you that you can begin your journey with, it can be starting a blog or online journal in a weight loss community filled with likeminded individuals, or it might be hiring a trainer than you stay accountable to and helps you design a good strategy. There are lots of ways to find support these days, you might try one option, or you might want to try them all to give yourself every advantage to success. Try everything and keep the stuff that works and you find helpful. Certainly in the first month or two, having a friend in the gym can help with the intimidation some people feel when they start going to the gym. If you don’t have someone, pay a trainer. It’s worth it if it gets you in there and has you doing the right things.
  4. If you fall off the wagon, get right back on!
    Don’t stop. We all have our ups and downs, but the difference between people that get fit and make it a lifestyle and those that don’t is quitting. Don’t be a quitter. There will be days that you ate too much or you missed a workout, but who cares? Pick yourself up and try again. This isn’t a pass or fail, one shot exam. Fitness is a way of life. It’s a journey. It’s always a work in progress no matter what level you’re at. In case you missed it, perfection is bullshit. Some days you’ll have more energy than others, some days you won’t be motivated to work out, some days you are just dying to have that piece of cake and whether you have it or not, ultimately doesn’t matter as long as you keep going in the right direction.

Remember, the successful strategy is not the “perfect” strategy, rather it’s the one you can  stick to long term and incorporate into your lifestyle. Stop trying for perfect. Perfect is bullshit.

My goals for this year are to achieve a 300lbs deadlift. I’d like to be more kind, gracious and patient in all matters. To stop dropping F-bombs… gah! So uncouth and unladylike! And drink less expensive cocktails… they’re a wallet and a fat loss killer and they have got to GO!!! I’d also like to get serious about yoga this year and incorporate that into my routine. And meditate.

What are your goals for 2014?

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The 7 Habits of People Who Achieve Their Fitness Goals

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1. Set Goals, Make Them Achievable.
Rule number one of achieving your goals is actually sitting down to think about them and setting them! Fit people don’t work out – they train with a purpose. That purpose may be getting into a pair of jeans in a smaller size, it might be improving their deadlift, achieving a faster 5k time, or a goal physique. It can be any goal that gives their physical training structure and purpose.

They don’t just go through the motions or just do “whatever”. The other important part of this is that the goals they set are achievable and they give themselves a realistic timeframe to get there. They are consistent and patient!

You might even consider hiring a trainer or a coach to help you set your goals, workout what you should be doing to get there and how long it should take you. Most goals take at least 3 months of consistency to see major changes, often it takes longer. Also, making this a lifestyle and real excellence in any physical endeavour is something you never stop working on. Set goals, work hard, be patient!

2. Fit People Keep Going.
Everyone falls of the wagon at one time or another, either with their diet or with training. The big difference between fit people and people who just want to be fit is that the fit ones get back on plan and keep going.

Remind yourself that this is a marathon, not a sprint. To be really fit, you have to make it a lifestyle. It’s not a short term program you stick to for a month or two and rebound back to your old ways (and old body) when you’re “done”. You’re never “done”! 🙂

Fit people are also consistent, but realise there is no such thing as perfection. Forget eating perfectly all the time, eat well 90% of the time and you will look and feel great. There is no magic workout, no exercise that changes everything in a week. There is only consistent diet and exercise. Slip ups happen. They aren’t the end of your fitness journey, unless you let them be.

Sorry if that doesn’t sound sexy or not what you want to hear, but that is the truth. The sooner you embrace a long term approach, the sooner you will see your best and fittest self emerge.

3. Do Something Active Every Day
Fit people do something almost every day. They follow their program. They walk a lot. They ride bikes. They try different classes. They hit the gym. They get in there and do what they have to do each day to achieve the goals they set. It’s one day at a time. All the little things you do each and every day add up to a big cumulative result in the long term. Your body craves movement, move it!

4. Work Harder on Your Weak Links, Make Them Your Strengths
Lacking upper body strength? Pull, press and push until your upper body becomes your strength. Are you inflexible and unable to do certain movements effectively (or at all!) because of it? Stretch every day. Schedule a regular yoga class. Limber up, baby! You will improve. You will be better. And stick to improving things you’re bad at tenaciously enough? They inevitably become your strengths. I’ve seen it time and time again in both myself and in my clients. The human body is an incredible organism that will adapt to the stresses you impose upon it, and the results can be downright astounding.

5. Trust The Process, Commit, Don’t Program Hop.
One of the biggest mistakes and inhibitors of progress is self-doubt, not trusting the process and “program hopping”. A program hopper is someone who cannot or will not stick to something long enough to see any significant result. They typically stick to a diet regimen or workout program for 4 weeks or even less and that just isn’t long enough to see a big result. Most people need to be consistent for at least 3 months before real changes and improvements take place.

6. Make All Main Meals Protein Based, Fill Up On Veges.
Active people have higher protein requirements because their bodies need protein to build and repair, especially if you lift weights. Your body craves exercise and movement, but a rigorous training program also puts a lot of wear and tear on your joints, muscles and tendons. If you aren’t eating whole, unprocessed foods and protein based meals to help your body recover, replenish and rejuvenate itself, you’ll end up worn out and eventually injured. Make sure you’re fuelling your workouts well and fuelling for sufficient recovery.

It’s also been shown that for longevity and disease prevention, one of the key components (in addition to regular exercise and solid sleep) is eating at least 2 cups of vegetables per day. Another benefit of vegetables is the fact that no one in he history of human existence has ever gotten fat from eating too much broccoli, so if you’re having trouble feeling full enough, just fill up on fibrous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach and zucchini. You can use garlic, onion and herbs to give them flavour. just don’t douse them in ranch dressing, mayo, butter or oil, that’ll definitely screw up your diet! Steam your veges and flavour them in ways that add no (or negligible) calories.

7. Measure Your Progress
Fit people measure their progress in useful ways. If they have a physique goal, they take progress pictures. If they want to run faster, they time their runs and push for improvements. If they want to get stronger, they keep a log of their lifts. You get the idea. It’s a very important part of making sure you’re on the right track towards achieving your fitness goals.

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How To Look Hot In Your Halloween Costume (on short notice!)

Halloween is upon us and believe it or not, you still have time to trim down a little to look your best in your costume. You could absolutely lose a few pounds (or kilos) in the next 3 weeks and look that little bit better – in let’s be honest – what is usually a skimpy costume for us women!

Whether you eat and exercise meticulously, or if you’ve been slacking on your diet and nutrition, the solution to looking better is both simple and similar.

1. Add in a small amount of cardio.
This is the perfect time to add in some steady state cardio if you haven’t been doing any. Steady state cardio just means cardio that is done at the same pace or tempo for the entire duration. Your body tends to adapt to this quickly and you have to do more and more to see the same result, but our goal date to look hot is about 3 weeks away, so add 15 – 20 minutes of cardio to whatever you’re already doing. You don’t have time to adapt to this adjustment.

2. Adjust your diet.
Maybe you eat a “perfect” diet day in day out. Maybe you have been more relaxed as of late. But making a small adjustment over the next 20 days will give your results a major boost.

If your carbs are already quite low, then you may want to just lower your calories by 200 per day.

Conversely, if your carb intake is over about 175g per day, then lowering them by 50g in the lead up to Halloween will make a big difference.


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Sticking to this regimen strictly with only one off-plan (i.e: cheat) meal through the week is important. These adjustments only create small deficits which are very easily blown to smithereens by mindless snacking. On the other hand, because they are such minor adjustments, you’re much more likely to stick to them because they aren’t such a huge sacrifice from however you’re accustomed to eating.

3. Drink lots of water!
3 – 4 litres per day is ideal. Water helps flush out toxins and also helps our bodies release their water reserves AND makes our skin look fabulous. Win + win all round.

I have gone as a horror nurse to a recent hospital themed party (pictured at left… I ended up wearing a longer red dress underneath that because I decided it was way too short to leave the house in, the back view was practically naked *blush*) and a belly dancer in years passed. Do you have a costume picked out for this years Halloween already?

Mine is a skeleton costume pictured in the banner below, it’s en route as we speak! Short again, what was I thinking?!! I will probably wear black leggings or at least completely opaque stockings, doh! It’s actually quite challenging to find anything really spunky and fun that isn’t super short. Thems the breaks!

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Goal Setting & Motivation – Making a Vision Board!

Last night, I sat down and created a new vision board.

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I looked back over the one I made at the end of 2011, it was covered in pictures of fitness models, pictures of Rome and Spain and affirmations about being happy, healthy, fit and loving life. Some vague stuff about being a fitness role model. Something else rather vague about finding joy in my work. Blah, blah, blah!

What was awesome is that I pretty much got everything I put on there. I’ve traveled a lot in the last year and a half. I’m happy. I’m fitter than ever. I’m blessed with good health. People in my every day life certainly do look up to me as a fitness role model. I had a job for the last year that in and of itself was quite humdrum, but I worked with a great group of people and we laughed every single day, there was a great energy there. I never dreaded going to work, nor was I ever overworked! It was pretty great.

What was less than awesome is that I realized I didn’t get what I really, really wanted because I didn’t ask for it! I wasn’t specific enough! Doh!!!

So my goal with this new vision board was to be specific. Clear goals that will make me happy and help me create the life I want. Gratitude. Positivity. I put my new vision board up on my dresser and I have to say, it makes me giddy with excitement and deeply content every time I look at it.

Here are my tips in creating your own vision board:

1. Put thought into it. Curate images, words and affirmations that mean a lot to you. The emotion behind it is important. Your vision board should stir positive and heartfelt emotion in you when you look at it.

2. Only use POSITIVE words and images. Don’t write things you don’t want. Don’t write stuff that begins with “I will not…”, “I don’t…”. Frame everything in the present tense and make it positive. Make it an image or statement that expresses the best version of you, your ideal. For example, don’t say “I will lose 10kg”… instead write, I am my ideal bodyweight. Then you might want to find a picture of your ideal body… and maybe even stick your head on top of it! Haha!

3. Make sure you put your finished vision board somewhere you can see it every day. Take time to look over it quietly and imagine, meditate and BELIEVE that all those words and images are true. 

4. Be specific! You’ll be amazed at how what you ask for comes true. Often, we’re too afraid to ask for what we really, really want. We think it can’t come true, or that it’s too much, or that we’re unworthy of that, so we’ll ask for something sort of like it, but lesser instead. I personally struggle with all these things. But be specific. However you believe that affirmations and vision boards and positive thinking actually work, whether you believe that they’re somehow “magical” and make things happen, or you think it helps us set in motion the actions to achieve the things we want (I think it’s mostly the latter and a little of the former personally), the thing is, IT WORKS. So be specific. Believe. And then take action towards your goals.

One step at a time. Every day you get a little closer. 

Have you ever made a vision board before? And did you get the things you wanted?

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New Years Resolutions Part II, Staying Motivated!

Yesterday, we talked about how important it is to “pick up the ball and keep playing”, even after we lose focus and get sidetracked in some way from our primary goals. Then I gave you guys a few simple strategies to remind yourself of what you really want and who you really want to be.

If you’re reading my blog, you probably want to be “fitter” – this usually means being physically capable, faster, stronger, more endurance, better general health and whether you want to admit it or not, you probably want to look better naked!

So let’s focus on that.

You have to adopt the mindset of a physically fit person.

The strategies out lined in my previous post all serve to help you develop that – visual and verbal cues that keep the person you want to become fresh in your mind.

The mind is your most powerful muscle.

What usually happens when we set out on a diet or fitness regime is that we are all fired up and motivated for the first week or two and then we fizzle out and revert back to our old, self-defeating habits.

It’s beyond the scope of this post to go into “why” in great detail, but very basically, you’re going to default back very quickly to whatever it is that you believe and think about yourself.

Please re-read that paragraph. Let it sink in.

So what we’re doing with our visual and verbal cues, our affirmations and vision boards is changing what you think about yourself.

It isn’t new age, airy fairy fluff – it is science. It is how our minds work.

I am a very positive and happy person, but sometimes I still struggle with being kind to myself and believing nice things about myself; it’s a work in progress for all of us. But it truly is the first step you can take to changing your mindset and changing your behaviour and it’s as crucial to your success as getting in your training and eating correctly.

To help you get started, here are a few gems I have used in the past to set my goals for the day and keep me focused on eating right, training hard and staying positive:

I am fit, healthy, happy and strong.

Each day, I eat the correct foods to fuel my body, I drink all my water and I train hard to build my best body ever!

I love eating healthy food. Eating good food makes me feel great.

You have to start thinking like a fit and healthy person. Fake it til you make it! Act as if! When you think like a fit and healthy person, you will start acting like a fit and healthy person… and it will be your default response. Meaning, you aren’t going to have to consciously think and force yourself to make the right choices at lunch… and then pat yourself on the back for being good on your diet. That’s what an unhealthy person who is on a temprorary diet does. A truly fit and healthy person chooses the right foods to eat because that is just how they eat, and furthermore, they enjoy it.

It’s a process and a huge part of that process is changing your thinking and changing what you believe about yourself. One supports the other. You make a small effort, work on changing your thoughts, your mindset shifts into more positive territory, another small effort re-inforces all the positive changes you are making, you think happy thoughts, more mindset shift… The sum total is a new you.

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New Years Resolutions… Make Them & Stick To Them!

It’s that time again, where the year is young and we have a fresh slate with which we can start anew!

It is exciting! 2013 is here, what are your plans?

Mine include smashing my strength goals, hitting new PR’s, continuous improvement in all things health and fitness, as well as becoming conversational and confident in speaking Italian and maintaining my blogs. They’re all doable, but they are also things that require focus, consistency and for me to make them each a priority week in and week out.

This is what it takes to make things happen. Action. Focus. Doing your best, and doing it all consistently.

Don’t drop the ball! And if you do, pick it back up and keep playing!

The biggest thing is, whether it’s a diet, or an exercise program, or learning a language is that if you fall off the wagon, don’t give up. Just get back on the path. Refocus. Don’t dwell on the mistake you made or how you “weren’t good”, just restart by taking a small step and doing that small action each day that you may have let go of and get back on the path towards your goal.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe

Things That Help:

1. Pictures of your goal. Words of affirmation on your desk or fridge. Remind yourself of what you want and what you’re working to achieve, remind yourself WHY you want to achieve it.

2. Create a Vision Board. This is similar to Step 1, but on a much grander scale. This is lots of fun.

3. Write down your 3 or 4 of your most important goals in a positive format EVERY NIGHT in a little notebook you keep beside your bed. Review what you write down and think about it and visualize it as reality. This will take you maybe 5 minutes each night. Then go to bed. Repeat the review process in the morning and go about your day. This is a really powerful exercise that will get you focused on what you want to achieve.

Tomorrow, I’ll elaborate on these 4 important and helpful strategies to help you go after and achieve your fitness goals, but really, you can apply them towards ANYTHING.

I hope you each get everything you dream of in 2013 and so much more!