Wait Until You’ve Done Something to Post It Publicly For Better Motivation

There are myriad psychology models and theories on what motivates us to do the things we do: how we respond to incentives, achievement theories, and so on.

I look at motivation as excitement. So how can you remain motivated in a simple way that works every single day? Here are 10 ways.

Source: 10 Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself Every Day

A related tip, from a great book on science writing (Ideas Into Words by Elise Hancock) is to not talk about the great new thing you learned, or the great interview you just had, until you write it down. You’ll be excited the first time you tell the story, and you want that excitement on the page instead of wasted on telling your friend over coffee. You can still tell them, just wait until after you write it down.

My New Years resolutions?

  • Less injuries.  I had two – broke ribs, and ~6 months later something to my leg that stopped me from running for a month.  I’d taken that for granted until now.
  • Less triathlons.  In 2015, I did 9 of them (only missed one, or it’d have been 10).  It’s not a matter of cost – I did early bird registration for all of them – but training.  Racing with no training meant diminished returns as the season went on.  5 races maximum this year.

Four Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Healthier Person

If you’re completely satisfied with your health, don’t read this article. This is not for you. Give yourself a pat on the back, and save yourself the scrolling. For the rest of you, approach what I’m about to say with an open mind, and maybe you can come out of this a fitter person.

Source: Four Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Healthier Person

This article really is about getting the conversation with yourself started.  It doesn’t talk about long term, re-evaluating periodically.  A plateau is a more obvious sign about re-evaluating – not too late, but can be.

I’ve made some changes in diet in the last six months or so.  Weight loss is part of the training agenda, while noticing that I should probably eat more protein.  But the changes also appeared in my INR tests – my levels having consistently been in the 3.5 range.  A bit of a concern – higher chance of bruising/internal bleeding.  My doctor started taking notice, test in two weeks rather than monthly.  So made another change, which I’m hoping suits all goals – natural food source, a bit more vitamin K intake to level off the INR, and cheaper than what my second breakfast was (besides healthier).

Fitness Is a Journey, and It Doesn’t Have to Suck

With every successful weight loss story, it’s hard to avoid getting hyper-focused on someone’s visual changes, or the number of pounds they lost. Unfortunately, focusing all your energy only on the end goal makes the process with health and fitness feel crappy—which makes you less likely to stay with it and find success.

Source: Fitness Is a Journey, and It Doesn’t Have to Suck

Getting fit is very hard, but people conflate the fact that it is simple (conceptually) with being easy. Eat better, move more! So easy! No, that’s simple. Executing this on a daily consistent and ultimately permanent basis is hard as hell to do if you’ve spent most of your life developing myriad bad habits.

It takes 2+ years to ensure long term weight loss.  It’s worth the effort – It’s been roughly quantified that being obese shortens your life by 8 years.

For Better Fitness Success, Stop Using the Word “Mistake”

The problem with the word mistake is that it’s negatively ingrained into society. People too often define themselves by their mistakes, the presumed result of their own character flaws. Recall the last time you uttered the words “I made a mistake.” You probably subconsciously judged your own character as soon as those words came out of your mouth.

All humans make mistakes. And while they’re completely natural, the word implies a dead end of sorts, rather than a learning opportunity that will make you better at life.

Source: For Better Fitness Success, Stop Using the Word “Mistake”

On a similar vein, there are benefits to failing

One aspect I encountered is dealing people can make can be trying.  Some have different goals, or things come easier/etc – so they aren’t very supportive or even thoughtful.  May your experience be better, or at least know to take it with a grain of salt because it’s a known issue that we don’t like to see others improve.

The Unique Difficulties that Women Face with Weight Loss

If you’re a woman who has tried to lose weight, you may have noticed something: it’s hard. Much harder than simply cutting your calories and watching the weight fall off.  There are complexities beyond simple math; emotional, physical and social barriers that simply aren’t addressed by a male-dominated fitness industry.

Source: The Unique Difficulties that Women Face with Weight Loss

From my experience, it’s self compassion, self-criticism, patience and tenacity.  It might take months to see results.  And keep in mind that body fat is not a complete indication of health – there are lots now who have high blood pressure/etc but low body fat.

Fitness Is a Skill, Not a Talent: Here’s How to Develop It

In the last decade, as a fitness coach and the co-founder of Fitocracy, I’ve been exposed to the stories and data of millions of people and countless successful transformations, including my own.

Despite these success stories, most people fail at fitness and obesity rates are increasing. Yet, if people understood the secret to fitness, success would eventually be inevitable.

…If you find your own transformation difficult to achieve, then you’re about to find out why and learn how to improve your fitness “skill.”

Source: Fitness Is a Skill

For me, I’d enjoyed cycling.  I showed up for a beginners ride in 2012.  I improved, but was never remotely fast.  In effort to get a little balance, I got back into yoga.  I lost weight, but eventually plateaued.  Then an incident that took me off the bike for weeks destroyed my fitness, and I really struggled to keep up with my old group.

Around the start of 2014, a co-worker talked about triathlon training.  Like most, I thought it was nuts until I looked it up to find that the Sprint (shortest course) run distance was 5 KM.  I never learnt swimming, but I was certain it couldn’t be worse than my distance running.  I was right…  But at 6 minutes per KM, it meant the worst of it would be over in ~30 minutes.  I came to find that lots were there for confronting water/swimming fear.  It’s been months, and some still are.  Some are fine with the pool, but weeds/open water makes them nervous.  Which is fine – these people can pass me on the run.  I don’t have to be the fastest swimmer either – because I can pass most on the bike.  But I would totally wear a cycling jersey with the following on the back “You’ll pass me on the run”.

I’m back cycling with my old group again.  I’ve been told by those who met me cycling in 2013 see a substantial improvement.  I know now that my issue is cardio.  I have the strength, and some nutrition knowledge from 2012 – but it’s moot if I can’t breathe.  Which means my cadence (rotation of the pedals) is below the “spinning” region (80-100 RPM).  I run at least three times a week with the belief that it maintains my cardio.  I don’t mind running, but over 10 KM?  I want a bike… 😉

I found a local run group that does track days.  I know from previous experience that track days on Thursday burnt me out for the weekend, and thankfully – these people meet on Tuesdays.  Another benefit is the group is likely larger so there’s more people at my level.  The group does hills on Thursdays, but I’m taking it a day at a time.  And this is off season…  Looking to the future, I’d like to see some improvement in my run times.  I don’t see the need to do Olympic distance triathlon until that happens, though it’s only the run that’s the limiting factor.

I’ve plateaued with my weight again.  That’s due partly to the cooking/eating better – I wasn’t as mindful of portioning.  It’s another work-in-progress.  But I am suffering less cramps & strains, and my INR levels have come up.  I was steady at mid 2’s, now in the 3’s even with eating avocado daily.  I’ll be checking my cholesterol and such at the end of the week, hoping to see the benefit of ~3 months on a better diet.

That’s where I’m coming from.  For 2015, I’m looking at doing more of the same – training, Sprint distance triathlon, cyclocross, off-season training with an eye towards improvement.  But I also plan to ride a century (100 miles, vs a metric century – 100 KM) once a month starting in April.  There’s a local Gran Fondo that’s longer than most that’s on my bucket list.

If you’re looking for something different, I recommend finding a group – running or triathlon.  Lots of people, and primarily women.  Best of luck finding out what works for you.  But if you’re on medication, consider a temp tattoo in case something bad happens.

Fitness Tracker: The Data You Can (and Can’t) Trust

Everyone is on the fitness tracking bandwagon. The Apple Watch will track your heartbeat, steps, and activity. The Fitbit and Fuelband have been doing similar things for years. But they aren’t perfect.  At best, the data is good encouragement, but at worst, it’s unreliable and misleading. Here’s why all that data doesn’t equal better health, and what you actually can use.

Source: The Data You Can (and Can’t) Trust From Your Fitness Tracker

I rather liked this article, particularly:

…quantifying yourself isn’t the same as improving yourself…

You also have to learn to build better habits that feed back on themselves to help you make long-term lifestyle changes. You also need to learn that self-compassion is critical to your long-term success. Learning to forgive yourself after getting sick and seeing your tracker’s numbers plummet will be more valuable to you in the long run than watching them soar to new heights or earning a shiny badge for your profile. Finally, none of this addresses the role that a healthy diet that you can actually stick to and a proper understanding of nutrition play in the whole affair.