PJ's Fitness Blog

A blog about a fitter you. Come find out what is on the cutting edge of fitness science and be a part of the ongoing conversation.


Interval Training Infographic

I saw this infographic and really liked it onnaccounta I agree with most of what they say, and that doesn’t happen often onnaccounta most of what’s out there is either misinformation or complete garbage.

So how do you wade through all the inaccurate stuff and find the stuff that really does work? Just subscribe to my blog here and sign up for the X Gym newsletter at xgym.com.  ;-)

 

The Trigger Technique

photoDo you ever find yourself procrastinating? Well, if you’re like most people, you tend to procrastinate the things that feel like chores, duties, or just seem too overwhelming. Starting new habits is also a very common time when procrastination rears its ugly head.

So how do we get around this procrastination problem? I certainly don’t have the answer for all instances, but I do know a simple brain training technique that can help much of the time, if not most of the time and it’s called, “The Trigger Technique.”

The picture here is of my washing machine. As you can see, it’s a front loader and as you probably know, that style can grow mold and mildew in the front seal area, which if not cleaned out with bleach, can make the clothes stink as well as the washing machine. It can also create an unhealthy situation because mold and mildew aren’t exactly good for us.

I really hate the chore of cleaning out my washing machine seal. Why? I don’t really know. Maybe it’s because I have to use bleach to do it right, and I hate bleach because it’s toxic. It could be something else too, because even if I found a non-toxic cleaner that worked well, I’d still hate the chore.

It doesn’t really take much time, because I can get it done in five minutes or less, but it’s still one of the last things I want to do and if I don’t use the trigger technique, I will certainly procrastinate. So when I first start to smell a hint of stink, I’m usually in the middle of something else, and certainly don’t have the time to address it right away, so instead of doing the whole chore right then, I simply do the first part. This involves putting the towel down to protect the floor from the bleach in case I spill or splash some, then getting a glove out to protect my hand from the bleach, and then finding a white rag I don’t mind using with bleach. What you see in this picture is the first half of the chore. This took me about 30 seconds, so it’s really not much of an interruption even if I’m in the middle of something. Then I walk away.

When I walk back by my laundry closet later, I see my own reminder about the chore and low and behold, I’ve given myself a head start! In fact, it looks like I’m half done! Now all I have to do is “finish” the “easy” part and it doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore. Separating it into two chunks made it something that wasn’t necessary to put off or procrastinate.

Brain scientists discovered this when they ran a research study which involved giving coffee shop customers a customer loyalty punch card. To some people they gave a punch card with 10 boxes to check off, so when they reached their 10th box they received a free coffee. To others, they gave the same punchcard, but two of the boxes were already checked off. Those who received the punch cards with two boxes checked off were 80% more likely to use their loyalty card than those who had no boxes checked off. In essence, those who received the punch cards with two boxes already checked off felt like they had a “head start” which encouraged them to finish out the card.

The same concept applies to tasks, jobs and chores that we tend to procrastinate. If we give ourselves a “head start,” it reminds us to do it and makes it somehow manageable, when it wasn’t previously. This works for starting new habits as well. If you want to start exercising, putting out your exercise clothes by the front door the night before will make you more likely to work out that day. You won’t be able to forget about your new commitment and rush off with your normal daily routine and it will feel like you have a “head start” on this new habit.

This works with the “big things” too. Sometimes just getting started with a big task or project is that hardest part. If we think of the project as a whole, it’s too overwhelming and we keep putting off that start. If we just do the first step though, then all of a sudden our brain thinks it’s manageable and we can move forward.

The funny thing is, even though I know how and why this technique works, it still makes it easier for me to do stuff I would normally procrastinate (like this easy washer cleaning chore). The brain is a funny thing, and understanding how it works and how to work with it is absolutely crucial when it comes to getting stuff done and starting new habits!

Check out my video below for another perspective and alternate explanation. It was cut and segmented from a longer lecture I gave:

PJ and Bev Caught at the NW Chocolate Festival!

chocolate festival 14Yep, it’s true. I must admit that Beverly and I were indeed at the Northwest Chocolate Festival. In fact, we bought the full sh’bang all-access weekend pass!

How much chocolate did we eat? About 2 small pieces worth. And those were sweetened with coconut nectar.

So why were we there then, if not to binge on chocolate like everyone else? Well, Beverly was there to scope out the chocolate makers at their booths and I was there to take classes and learn stuff. In fact, I was in classes nonstop all day Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM and it was awesome! I learned a ton, met a lot of great chocolatiers and was reinforced with the knowledge I already had about the science of chocolate and its health benefits (when done right).

One of the things that made the biggest impression on me was this fact: Every single hard-core chocolatier (which is the term used for the “bean to bar” chocolate makers) was SKINNY! Yep, this was true 100% of the time for all of the chocolatier presenters and company owners that I met or saw. These people eat A LOT of chocolate, so it doesn’t make sense for them to be skinny, right? I even asked them at one point, during one the presentations, how they could all be such chocolate freaks and all be so skinny. They laughed and replied, “Well, we aren’t chocolate CAKE freaks.”

This was exactly the response I wanted and I obviously knew the answer before I asked the question. I just wanted everyone else to hear it.

It further confirmed what I already knew: That chocolate done the right way is a HEALTH food and makes you SKINNY!

Chocolate done the wrong way however, will make you fat. What’s the wrong way you ask? That would be most popular commercial brand chocolate produced in mass quantities. If it’s a household name that you are already familiar with, it’s a pretty safe bet that it’s fattening. If it’s one of the more obscure bars you might not have heard of, that is made from organic, fair trade ingredients, with 70% cacao or more, it could indeed help make you skinnier.

This was actually a new discovery to me. I already knew that high quality chocolate like this was a health food (even despite the fact that it has some sugar), but what I learned was that this type of chocolate is a weight loss food too! Granted, the weight loss effect is mild, and this chocolate can be overeaten to the point were it becomes a weight gain food (especially if it pushes out your green vegetables because you are so full from chocolate all the time), but even as much as 2 bars a day of this type of chocolate can be good for you and can help you lose weight!

This information was also exciting because my chocolate (click here for the free recipe to make it yourself at home) has an even BIGGER fat burning effect and there really is no upper limit to how much you should eat. In fact, the more you eat, the leaner you get! You truly can eat yourself skinny with my formula!

There is a caution though: If you do choose to binge on my chocolate to get skinny fast, you will push out certain other foods that you need in your diet to get the proper nutrients for optimal health, so make sure you are getting your greens in too. No time for that? Yeah right. I hear that a lot. Yes, salads and greens do take some time to prepare and eat, but c’mon – you have the time. I work 16 hours a day and I still have enough time. However, sometimes I’m not in the mood, so I came up with a strategy to get my greens anyway and guess what – it saves time too! Check out the video below:

Is Your Kitchen Lonely?

Copyright Eliot Cohen - Zeitgeist Photography email: eliot@zeitgeist.com.auWhen is the last time you spent some quality time with your kitchen?

My philosophy is all about getting healthy through food and proper nutrition. This involves eating REAL food instead of processed foods, and eating the kinds of foods we ate 200 years ago – before the processed food revolution hooked us on instant gratification and tore us away from our kitchens. 

Heck, even as recent as 40 years ago, we spent time every day in our kitchens, cooking real food that had one ingredient for each item. These items didn’t need a food label or nutrition facts either, because the ingredient list was just one word – like, “spinach” or, “salmon.”

Then along came the processed food revolution, starting with (more…)

Restoring Your Youthful Metabolism

Remember when you were a kid, how you could stay skinny despite eating whatever you wanted? Well, here’s a video with some practical ways for you can get that kind of metabolism back at any age!

 

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