Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Setting New Year's Resolutions that You Will Actually Keep

The New Year is upon us! Did you set any New Year’s resolutions? How about last year, did you set, and keep your New Year’s resolutions? We see it every year, the “resolutioners” in the gym, and at the health food stores excited about reaching their goals, “This is the year!” they say.  Then a month or two later they are gone.

Why is it so hard to reach our goals? Are we not motivated, or talented enough? Would we be able to reach our goals if we just worked a little harder, maybe if we just wanted it a little more?  Maybe we are not the problem, maybe it’s our goals.

We are going to talk about setting SMART goals, goals that we can actually reach.  Here are some basic steps. 

1:  “S” is for Specific.

Who? What? Where? When? Why?

We often set goals that are very vague. “I want to lose some weight”

Our goals need to be more specific, we should be able to answer the “W” questions, “Who, what, when, where, why” Instead of saying “I’d like to lose some weight” our goal can be  “I’m going to sign up for weight training classes at the local gym, and go three times a week to help build muscle and lose fat”   

This goal helps us reach the ultimate goal of “losing some weight” but is specific enough that we have an action plan.


2. “M” is for measurable

How will I measure progress? How many? How much?

Another problem with vague goals is that we have no bar set to know if we have met the goal. In our example above “lose some weight” there is no way to know if we have met or fell short of the goal, and therefore will never reach it. In the goal of going to weight training classes three time a week it is very easy to measure if we went three times in a week.

Setting shorter term deadlines can be very helpful in keeping goals. Going to the gym three times per week is much easier to track than going to the gym 156 times in the year, even though they balance out to the same amount of gym sessions. 

Remember, for a goal to be measured you will need numbers, days per week, pounds lost, dollars saved, etc.


3. “A” is for attainable

Can this really happen? Is it attainable with enough effort? What steps are involved?

Our goals should be realistic, setting a goal that is impossible to reach, or out of our control is setting us up for failure.  Goals such as winning the lottery, or growing six inches, are goals that are (for the most part) out of our control and unattainable.

When we set goals for ourselves we also need to be aware of our current status. If you’ve never exercised before it’s unlikely that you will be able to run an Iron man race by the end of the current month, it is however possible to train up to such a goal.

Set a goal that is realistic, and that you are willing to put in the effort to reach.

4. “R” is for relevant

How and why is this goal important to you? Does the goal reflect your values?

What is it that you really want in life, and does this goal help you get there?  If you want to be able to play with your grandkids, or walk up the stairs without being out a breath, then a fitness goal is in line with your ultimate goal.

 When we set goals that don’t line up with our values, or we don’t have any emotional investment in, there is very little chance that we will have the motivation to reach them.

5. “T” is for timely

 Can I set fixed deadlines? What are the deadlines?

We need to have a specific deadline for our goals. The original goal of going to the gym three times a week gives us the deadline of the end of the week. Having a short term deadline can help keep us from veering too far off course. For example if I miss one entire week, I now have the new week to re-set and get back on track, as opposed to missing a few months before I realize how far off track I am.

Setting a deadline is crucial for any goal; it helps keep us on track, and motivates us to push through when the going gets tough.


Specific:   Who? What? Where? When? Why?

Measurable:   How will I measure progress? How many? How much?

Attainable:   Can this really happen? Attainable with enough effort? What steps are involved?

Relevant:   How and why is this goal important to you? Does goal reflect your values?

Timely:   Can I set fixed deadlines? What are the deadlines?



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tis the Season of Giving Update

Thank you for everybody who has donated already, and to those who are planning on donating. I have more information about the family and their needs, for those of you who are planning on donating gifts! We will be accepting new and gently used toys and clothes for the family, and any money donations will be given 100% to the family!

Family Needs (General):
  1.  Lamps, they have no lighting in their living room
  2. Grocery store gift cards (Smith's Wal-Mart, etc..)
  3. Size 2 Diapers for baby girl
  4. Bedding For Toddler Beds
  • Shirt Size XL
  • Loves board games
  • Shirt Size XL
  • Loves Board Games
3 Year Old Boy
  • Size 3T
  • Loves Action Figures, Legos, Plains, Trains, all things boy
  • Could use warm clothes for winter
2 Year Old Boy
  • Size 3T
  • Loves Action Figures, Legos, Plains, Trains, all things boy
  • Could use warm clothes for winter
Baby Girl
  • Size 6-9 months
  • Needs warm clothes for winter
  • Binkies (Soothie Brand)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tis the Season of Giving

Thank you so much for all of your nominations. We recognize that there are many families in need, and wish we could do more to help all of them. While our Secret Santa will only go to one family we will be making a donation to ALL families nominated! 
Now we need your help to make Christmas extra special for a family in need.

I have great news! Another organization picked up this family for their Christmas fundraiser, so that opens us up to help another family!
 Aren't the holidays the best?!
The new family we will be helping is also in great need. The dad was laid off from his job, and has been searching for work. He was finally able to secure a job, but it does not cover the needs of his little family. They have three kids, ages listed below.
3 yr old boy
2 yr old boy
3 month old girl 
This is a family trying their best just to get by. Any donation will help, and 100% of donations will go to the family! 

We will be accepting unwrapped gifts as well as money donations. To donate money click on the link on the blog, or give it to me in person, to donate gifts you can give them to me personally, or at The Pit Elevated.

Please let me know if you have any questions! 

Thank you in advance for helping this wonderful family in need. 

 If you would like to donate to this family please specify on your donation.

This is a large family Mom, Dad, and SEVEN kids! Both parents are struggling to find employment, and working hard to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. 
Since this is going to be a SECRET Santa style fundraiser I won't give too many details about the family, but here is some info. The kids, in order...

14 yr old girl
13 yr old boy
12 yr old girl 
10 yr old girl
9 yr old girl
1 yr old boy and girl 


50 Ways to Stay on Track this Holiday Season


Here are 50 tips to keep you on track during the holiday season from our friends over at Precision Nutrition
1. Keep your holiday meals to 1 plate of food instead of multiple plates of food....

2. Drink mostly water.

3. Make a small resolution every day, that I am 95% certain I can do.

4. Deeply enjoy your pumpkin pie! Don't feel guilty!! The whole guilt thing crushes people.

5. At your holiday party, try your best to strike up your conversations in the rooms with no food. Out of sight, out of mind. (And try to still find time to eat to 80% fullness )

6. Instead of buying more "stuff" for Christmas, invest in items or activities that will motivate you to continue to live a healthy lifestyle and involve your entire family.

7. Walk away from the buffet! Don't talk next to it, which encourages mindless grazing.

8. Note and name holiday stress.

9. I will strategically move inefficiently. No more trying to carry in 17 grocery bags with one trip. No more balancing 15 ingredients from refrigerator to countertop. I'm going to purposely force myself just to increase my general movement. This can also include things like intentionally parking further away.

10. Remember that people love me for me... not what I make, give, or do.

11. Across the holidays, I am going to pick one exercise I would like to master: wide grip pull-ups! I will do them as a challenge at home, or in the gym, or in a park, weather permitting on goalposts, depending on circumstance.

12. During the holiday I will talk to anyone that will listen to me, about my Precision Nutrition Coaching journey! Yep I will be that annoying guy who wont stop banging on about how great it is - it is for their own good, don't you know?!

13. Do some type of exercise 5 days a week, even if that is just chasing my kids!

14. I dedicate to at least go to and walk through my gym, even if I only intend to stay for 5 minutes.

15. Don't get out of your workout habits - get in a good workout the day of your feast.

16. Sing like no one can hear me, dance like no one can see me, and love like there is no tomorrow.

17. Remember food isn't the way to happiness.

18. Say grace to remind myself how blessed we are with food, farmers, grocery stores, chefs, and nutritionists. We are blessed to have such provision.

19. Give some really good food away this year to someone who needs it. Splurge for someone else in a lavish way.

20. Help my partner prepare the meals to insure the healthy items are a part of it!

21. Remember the clean slate rule. These are no "all or nothing" choices. Every day (or bite) is another opportunity to get back on track.

22. Find a recipe for one healthy dessert to make and bring to a party.

23. I am going to take some time out to reflect on the year that has gone by, the strides I have made, my Precision Nutrition Coaching journey. I will celebrate this success, and think about next year.

24. Across the holiday period, I will stay in touch with my support network. Often times holidays can involve breaking off communication/interaction and this may have led to poor decisions in the past.

25. Take an "accountability buddy" to food- or alcohol-oriented gatherings.

26. I will use visualization ahead of any gathering/situation that may involve temptation. This will help me plan ahead, prepare, and stop me from self sabotaging.

27. Expand your healthy culinary arsenal. Book a cooking class for a healthy cuisine that you like to eat but may not be the best at preparing.

28. Instead of making a bunch of holiday treats to give to friends and neighbors, which will fill your house full of stuff that likely won't contribute to your nutrition goals, do good deeds and acts of service instead as your Christmas gifts. Involve your children.

29. Invite friends or neighbors over for a holiday meal and prepare something that is healthy.

30. Have a healthy snack, Supershake or just some water before you even leave the house. Among other things, it'll also help you to focus on the people instead of the food.

31. I try to enjoy my holiday meals, I eat all the foods I always ate but I follow the key habits I've learned in PN Coaching. Eat to 80%, eat slowly and most importantly enjoy it and get back on track the next day. Oh and don't feel guilty.

32. Weather permitting, get outside for some fresh air. Exercise with a family member or friend, even if it is a casual walk around the neighborhood. It may even peak their interest in living a healthier lifestyle.

33. Do 5 minutes deep breathing, mind-body scan or meditation before sitting down to eat, leaving the house, etc...

34. Walk more. Skip the elevator, take the stairs. When you are out holiday shopping, walk to that next store on your list, you don't need to drive your car from one end of the parking lot to the other.

35. Remember those who don't have enough to eat. Intermittently throughout the holidays, buy some healthy food and bring it to your local food bank, soup kitchen, house of worship, etc. where the food will be distributed to those who need it. Keep this in mind when you are eating - not to feel guilty that you may have plenty when others don't, but to feel gratitude for knowing that even though you have plenty, you can eat purposely and mindfully.

36. Commit to 90% consistency. Stay in bounds for 90% of your meals and then relax for the other 10% (that's 3-5 meals per week for most of us).

37. Celebrate Old Years Resolutions! It was circa 1 year ago that I signed up for Precision Nutrition Coaching. This was a New years resolution at the time. It has been a huge success personally.

38. There are bound to be several desserts. Eat something else (non sweet) between tastes of each.

39. Ride your bike, jog or walk to the store. Plan accordingly, so you combine your errands with some exercise.

40. If it's not possible to get to a gym, I will move every day - go for a walk, run, etc. Just move around.

41. Schedule a few strict days into the calendar where you're super consistent with your nutrition.

42. Keep alcohol in check. Sub-optimal choices usually follow if you don't.

43. Learn what deeply motivates you and keep going back to that source. If you forget the "whys" the "hows" become lifeless.

44. In the same light, use various methods to provide and stay connected to your motivations: movies, music, images, quotes, people.

45. Expect setbacks, expect failure, expect disappointments, and formula a way to troubleshoot the problem, instead of responding emotionally. I ask: what is the problem? What is the solution? Who can help me find the solution?

46. Unhealthy comparison vs healthy comparison : I find that I compare myself and my results with other people. It can be very unmotivating. Instead I ask: what about that person can make me improve or inspire me?

47. Find ways to de-stress and renew without eating is huge for me. I put them in my schedule often!

48. Assume positive intent. Many people look forward to this time of year and more than one person at an event will see you not enjoying all of the food that will be on offer and try persuade you eat more. It could be that perhaps to them, gorging themselves on food is one of their measures of enjoyment. So don't judge them, shrug it off and just tell them you are genuinely having a great time without feeling the need to overindulge.

49. Snow shoveling! [enough said]

50. For me to indulge in a dessert, it has to be a 9 or a 10. A small portion, eaten slowly and mindfully, is a perfect balance for me.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tis the Season of Giving

It's my favorite time of year! It's our chance to give back to those in need!
We need to get the ball rolling (since I'm running behind schedule) and chose a family!
If you know a family in need please send me an email with their information, here is what I'll need to know;

*Family Name
*Why you are nominating them
*Contact info for an adult (so I can get permission)
                   We can also do secret Santa style giving, and the family will never know who the gifts/money are from

*Family information, what ages, and how many kids etc...

Please contact me if you know a family in need this Holiday season by either commenting below, or emailing me at awoodfitness@gmail.com

Thank you

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