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Taking an Outward Mindset to the fitness industry

What is an “Outward Mindset” and what is its role in the fitness industry?

This is one of Smart Strengths secret ingredients that makes us better and different than any other fitness experience you have had.

I was introduced to a book by a friend and it talks about implementing an “Outward Mindset” towards others to help change lives…  Sounds like a lot of books on the market.  But after reading, I have made a conscious effort to live with an outward mindset, and the results have been tremendous.  An Outward Mindset means putting others before self.  It means seeing others as people, not objects.  It means listening… really listening.

Here are some of my takeaways and action items I continually work to put in place with my clients:

-To have an Outward Mindset is to have empathy….  I too am human, I have a family, I have setbacks, I have a busy schedule and sometimes crazy life happens… I understand.  Fitness is hard, and sometimes it’s the last thing you want to do, but realize that anything is better than nothing, and there is always a compromise we can find if we communicate well.

-An Outward Mindset is to always ask, “How can I help?”… and mean it.  Training with Smart Strength is not for everyone.  Its tough, its demanding, it takes commitment.  But if you put your trust in me, I will always go whatever lengths I can to make sure I am helping you achieve your goals.

-An Outward Mindset is a real way to make lasting changes.  In the book it talks about having to address mindset before trying to change behavior.  Real change lies in mindset change FIRST.  If you do not believe in something, it will never take hold and it will not work in the long run.  I totally agree with this and have seen this change of mindset in all my clients at one time or another.

-An Outward Mindset involves making everyone aware of what you wish to accomplish, and everyone needs to buy into the big picture.  Buying into a collective result is the best way to ensure change.  This means talking to all the people in your life and letting them know what you want to do and how you are going to do it.  In fitness this can be difficult and embarrassing at times.  But remember the point before, if you are changing your mindset and genuinely believe in the process, others will listen and feed off your commitment.

-The last action item that an Outward Mindset addresses is simple and true.  Changing mindset takes time.  It is difficult, it is a process, but as long as you are better at the end of every day, you cannot lose.  Better, not perfect.

Work Smarter, not Harder.

Your Trainer,

Alex

Dealing with setbacks

Everyone experiences it.  Its how we deal with it that matters.  I am talking about setbacks in life.  They come in all shapes and sizes.  They come in every conceivable area of life.  Work, love, finances and fitness to name a few.

A wise friend of mine once told me that the path to success is never a straight linear rise.  It is a million micro adjustments, but if you do it right, it will trend upward.  The continuous learning and adjusting will give you that upward trend.

In the world of fitness, this is no different.  I have had many clients over the years that have had setbacks during their journey.  Sometimes it’s a hectic schedule, sometimes its an injury, and sometimes it’s a major life change that puts their fitness on temporary pause.  But the key is to not let the setback last.  At Smart Strength, I want to give you the tools to help overcome these lapses, and still have the ability to bounce back into the fitness routine when the “dust” of a setback finally settles.

That means that everyone goes through setbacks, even the most successful, driven people in this world go through setbacks… daily.  Like I said, it’s what you do after the setback that matters.

These words are even more true right now, as we have all had to deal with some level of a setback.  Remember it happens to all of us…. But its what we do after the setback that counts.

I am no different…. I have felt the burden of setbacks, but I chose to bounce back!  If you would like to join me on the journey to bouncing back, please reach out to me.

Work Smarter, not harder.

Your Trainer,

Alex

Visioning… a life changing tool

What is visioning?

There are countless definitions and ways visioning has been used in this world, but to me it is better kept simple.

It is putting your mind in the future, and then looking around your world; feeling, tasting, touching, hearing, smelling and any other senses you can think of incorporating.  It puts us in a future state, allowing us to create the environment we desire to achieve.  When we put those feelings down on paper and describe what our world looks like in that future, we have now created a vision.

It is a place where the goals we have set for ourselves have finally materialized.  And we can get a sense of what it will feel like to accomplish our dreams.

People often use visioning for business or material wealth.  Promotions, new houses, cars, and success.  But do not limit the power of visioning to just those things.  At Smart Strength, we use visioning as one of our tools to help our clients reach the health and fitness levels they desire.

 

How does visioning work?

Most people have heard of the law of attraction.   Some people believe in the power of positive energy.  Visioning lies somewhere between the two.  When we truly take the time to write out a detailed vision, and we commit to that vision, something magical happens.  Your vision will start to manifest.

Our minds control our whole world.  It is the gate keeper to what and how we perceive everything that happens around us as well as our personal actions.  When we commit to our vision, over time we start to only focus on things that will help us fulfill our vision.  We start to consciously and unconsciously attract only things that will make our vision possible.  This is the mechanism for which visioning works.

An additional benefit to visioning is that when we do start to have our vision come true, our dreams realized, we feel as if we have already been there, and it is much more comfortable.  By putting success in your minds eye before, when it does happen, it is very comforting and calming to the mind.

Athletes often practice this, dreaming about what it would be like to win their respective championship.  So when the pressure is on in the final minutes, the mind remains calm, knowing it has already been there, it knows what to expect.

 

Visioning and Fitness?

Why would a fitness brand talk about such intangible things like visioning?  How many reps does a vision really help me complete?  How does a vision help shrink my waistline?

Good questions- all I can simply say is DO NOT underestimate the power of this tool.

What a proper vision will do, when committed to, will provide the overarching theme to why you are investing in fitness in the first place.

It will keep you committed during all those tough workouts, the early morning training sessions, and the late night and weekend workouts that are soooo hard to drag yourself to!

What you vision, if done correctly, will manifest…. If you really aspire to change your fitness, your body, your lifestyle, you need to vision what it will look like in the future….  This is one of the best motivational and preparation tools we have possible!

The mind controls the body, put your mind in the best possible position to win so the body can follow.

DO NOT underestimate the power of these tools… if your curious to learn more, please feel free to reach out to me…

If your simply curious about visioning overall and want to learn more I highly recommend watching this video.

Always remember, work Smarter, not harder.

 

Your Trainer,

Alex

Attitude is Everything

Here we are, early July, and still nowhere to get your indoor (air conditioned) fitness fix.

We are all hurting in this industry, whether it be financially, physically or mentally.  I know it is easy to succumb to the doom and gloom, but I urge you, with all your Smart Strength to resist that urge.

Change your mindset to gratitude.  We are in the prime of summer, with almost endless hours of daylight and sunshine.  Find your outdoor passion, there are endless ways to incorporate fitness into your favorite outdoor activities.  Even use this extra time to try something new.  It is always rewarding to jump out of the comfort zone.

There is always light at the end of the tunnel.  This too shall pass.  Use this time for positive, and you will be thankful to yourself for making lemonade out of lemons.

Attitude is everything.

Work Smarter, not harder,

Your trainer.

Alex

Why runners should resistance train

Runners are athletes.  As such, they should ideally train like athletes.   That means in addition to following your running plan, eating right and getting adequate rest, you should think about implementing some resistance training into your routine.

People often say:

The sport of running, is to simply run right?!  So why would I want to lift weights?  I don’t run the course with weights.  I don’t want to be big and bulky, it will destroy my mile pace, not to mention cause me extra fatigue lugging around all that muscle mass?!  Runners are supposed to be lean, mean, striding machines!  Not body builders!

I have heard all of these and more… still does not change my mind.  Here is why:

 

Injury prevention- Nothing strengthens connective tissue and bone mineral density like resistance training.  The extra challenge that adding a load to an exercise stresses the body to adapt.  This means increased rate of bone development and thicker, stronger connective tissue.  The body needs stimuli to adapt, and that is exactly what resistance training offers.  Running and the constant pounding on bones and joints can wear down the body.  Adding some resistance training will help combat those detrimental effects on joints and lower body ligaments.

Improved body posture and eliminating body discrepancies- Runners are universally known for having poor posture and lots of muscle imbalances (think tight IT bands, psoas muscle, shin splints to name a few).  The reason why is because they do one activity, in the same direction, all the time.  This causes our bodies to morph into a posture that best suits our activity (running) but doesn’t suit our need to be balanced.

Consider, when is the last time you ran backwards, laterally, jumped or sprinted…? If you hear crickets, you are in this category.  Running is great, but if all you do is the same pace, in the same direction for miles at a time, your body will start to crystallize to that specific movement.  Your muscles and posture will start to adapt to only moving that way, and they will tighten into being permanently in that position.  In addition, the muscles not being used will effectively “turn off” and will become increasingly harder to fire when needed.  This shows itself after time.  Runners very often have defined muscles that are used in running (calfs, quads) but have underdeveloped muscles that are not used in running (upper body, posterior chain).  This usually leads to injuries and overall aches and pains in those stressed areas, and poor posture and low definition in the areas not used.

 

Break routine re-introduce muscle confusion- Most runners I have known are very dedicated and regimented.  To the point where it becomes a negative.  They have been doing the same running routine for years.  This is great in the fact that they have developed such a strong fitness habit, but it can also cause us to crystallize to a point where we are not seeing the benefits we should be seeing any longer.  Our bodies have an extraordinarily strong desire to adapt to homeostasis.  If you are doing the same routine, day in and day out, even though your exercising, the body has adapted to it.  This means less energy expenditure and less positive benefits from exercise.  Think about it… if you are running miles at a time, and you feel no soreness and honestly, it is not that challenging anymore, you are crystallized.  Resistance training is the perfect way to bust up that routine, try some different exercises and movements, and finally feel that soreness I know you have been missing.  Plus, it will be mentally rewarding to try something new and fun!

 

In the same vein, I want to make you aware of the SAID principle.  This stand for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands.  This is a bunch of scientific verbiage, but what it simply means is the body will adapt to what you demand of it.  That is why and how you can increase the mileage you run as you progress throughout your running program.  That same principle explains how you add weight to the resistance exercises you do as you progress through a weight training program.  The body is constantly adapting to its environment.  Resistance training and good programming will ensure that your body is adapting to get stronger every day, not crystallizing and becoming stagnant.  This is one of our guiding principles at Smart Strength… Another example of working Smarter, not harder.

 

Safety Survey

Hey there, we want to hear your thoughts on how to make our new fitness center as safe as possible.  Please take a minute to answer our survey linked below.  The information will be used to make Smart Strength the best fitness center possible.  Don’t forget to leave your contact information.  One person will win a free trial membership.  Thank you for your time.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9HNBP8S

 

Work Smarter, not harder.

Exercising in the heat

Since we are still under construction here at Smart Strength, and currently our state has closed fitness centers, many of us are going back to traditional modes to get our fitness fix.  Walks, jogs, swims or even good old gardening are hot on everyone’s agenda this time of year.  The weather has shifted gears and we need to take a few minutes to talk about how to exercise in the heat safely.

A couple of physiological changes need to be addressed when considering exercising in hot environments.

Acclimatization is a simple, yet essential rule to follow when working out in the heat.  We need to expose ourselves to the heat in increments.  Limit your intensity and time in the heat early on.  After a few days of training in the heat, you can start to increase your intensity and time, and monitor how you feel.  After a few weeks you will be fully acclimated, and probably supporting a nice tan too!

Hydration is key to working out in the heat.  It goes without saying that as we get hot, we sweat.  This is one of our physiological mechanisms to help cool us down through the evaporation of sweat from the body.  The same reason you feel chilled after getting out of a pool and letting yourself “air-dry.”  What is not understood by most people is just how much you sweat, and how much water you need to replace the loss.  The best way to combat this is to drink water early and often throughout the day.  Don’t try and gulp it all down right before your workout.  That will just make you feel bloated and wont effectively hydrate you.

Another aspect of hydration that is especially important in hot environments is how it effects our blood and its viscosity.  Think of lava.  There are two images we have all seen, the slow oozing lava, and the fast flowing hot lava.  That is a difference in viscosity.  As we exercise and heat up, our blood does similar things.  It becomes thinner, and more fluid, due to increased heat and flow.  We need water more than ever to help support this.  If we become dehydrated, our blood gets thicker, harder to push throughout our bodies, therefore not delivering as much oxygen to the tissues and waste removal from the tissues, and this effects our performance… and makes us feel ill.

Do not fear the outdoors and sunny weather however.  These topics can all be resolved with proper acclimatization and hydration.  Plus we all know and love the positive aspects of working out in the summertime sun.  We feel nice and limber, and enjoy the long beautiful days.

Cant wait to see you in beautiful downtown Albion.  Next time we will be able to train inside, with the AC running 😊

Work Smarter, not harder!