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Non-Scale Victories

Crush-Fitness-Non-Scale-Victories

The dreaded bathroom scale.  You step onto it, hope for the best and look down. In an instant your mood can suddenly either sky rocket or take a turn for the worst. If the number is lower than expected - you’re ecstatic. If it’s higher than you thought – you’re left feeling defeated. It’s crazy that we rely so much on a number that is truly unpredictable and inconsistent.

The thing about the scale is it doesn’t tell us about the quality of the weight. We tend to think that the weight we gain/lose on a daily basis is fat, however we don’t realize that this weight could be coming from not only fat but it would be muscle and most commonly water.

There are many other ways to tell us how we are progressing that are a lot more reliable than the scale. Keep in mind, progress is not just about a number but also about improving as a person and your overall health. Your strength, endurance, how you feel and a number of other aspects that cannot be measured by a scale are far more important then what the scale says. So here are some ways to keep track of your progress that doesn’t rely on the scale.

  1. Take Measurements. The scale lies. The scale can be up but your measurements can be down. It’s confusing. We often hear people say that ‘Muscle weighs more than fat’ which is not true. A pound is a pound weather it’s a pound of ice-cream, feathers or fat. However, muscle is denser then fat which means you can weigh more (by the scales standard) yet actually be losing inches. Seeing progress in your measurements is a better way to keep track of progress. Record the measurements of your hips, waist, biceps, thighs and chest every month. Tip: If you decide to take your measurements in the morning then continue to take them at the same time of day every month to be as accurate as possible.
  2. Get your selfie on. Progress pictures are my favorite way to track physical progress. We see ourselves every single day and while we don’t often notice changes to our body, when we compare photos side by side – it’s amazing to see that are bodies are actually transforming. Each time you take them I recommend taking the pictures at the same time of day, with natural lighting and doing a front/back and profile view of your body.
  3. Track your workouts. Not all progress has to do with weight. Our endurance and strength are both two areas where you can improve and progress on. Record your workouts in your phone or journal to help keep track and for reference. Muscles are created through progressive overload so weather it’s increasing your reps or weight – it’s good to track so you have a reference point. This goes for not only strength goals but endurance as well. Track your time and distance and use that as motivation to improve.
  4. What are your clothes saying? Your clothes and how they fit your body are great tools to see if your body is changing. As you progress, your overall body composition will change. As a result of muscle taking up less space than fat, it’s easy for the scale to not budge but yet your clothes will start fitting looser/tighter depending on your goals. Using your clothes as a reference point is an easy way to see if you’re on the right track.
  5. Overall Health. We often get so caught up in numbers that we forget what fitness is really about. It’s not just about a number but more about our overall health and how we feel. Ask yourself these questions: Do you feel strong? Do you have more energy? Do you find daily tasks easier? Are you improving in the gym? Focus your goals around your health and everything else will fall into place.
  6. Journal your behaviours. Focusing on your actions and writing them down is a really easy way to keep your goals in sight. Keeping track of the healthy things you are doing, how often you are going to the gym, water intake, taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a good way to see if your actions align with your goals. It’s easy to beat ourselves up for not seeing progress right away so having a journal to refer back to can be reassuring.

 

Hope on a tight rope

hope by Ben Williamson, owner of Crush FitLook at this guy! Star of the basketball team, captain of the soccer team, leader of the group project and the kid who always took everything to an extreme. I was already half way down when the other kids were still daring each-other to jump. The entire season's on the line with seconds left on the clock? Thats great coach...give me the damn ball and fire up the mini-van because I like pizza right after a big win.

 

I was something like 21 years old and I was literally clueless. My parents said stay in college, my friends said drink with us, and my heart said absolutely nothing. I grew up with all kinds of steam blown straight up my ass. Everybody told me I was going places. I believed it. What the hell happened? It was a pretty surreal feeling being 21 and clueless, worthless, and quite frankly scared shitless.

I'll never forget the day. 45 minutes into some mid-level accounting class and my professor was giving a lecture about inventory. That was it. I couldn't handle it anymore. I stood up from the front row, put my laptop in my bag, took a quick look around, walked out, and never came back. Looking back, the worst (and most pathetic) part is that my BIGGEST concern about leaving school was what other people would think. Sure I heard about it through the grapevine. Big potential Ben was a failure. I absolutely was, but please hold.

Making decisions in un-charted or pressuring territory has been without a doubt the most challenging thing for me throughout my career and life. Little did I know that the hardest decision I made, was by far the most important. The importance wasn't necessarily the choice to leave school. The importance was taking that first major step for myself, which eventually led to many more confident decisions straight into darkness. The kid from paragraph one was going to make a comeback, but It would not come easy. What I've learned from making way too many major life decisions is that consequence can be a really rough and painful word, but you cannot be afraid to fail. 

FAIL.

My brother was a cancer survivor about to graduate from one the best culinary schools in the world. My dad got his degree at night school while working two jobs and starting a business. My mom was educated, and held an amazing career not only raising us kids, but later after my parent's divorce, going back to work a very respectable job at a large corporation. Naturally I had started several businesses during college, and they all failed.

During this time, I learned everything that I was supposed to learn in that accounting class that I walked out of. I learned how important it is to plan for the worst financially, manage quickly rotating inventory, and support rapid growth with limited (no) resources blah blah blah.

I learned that when it's you vs you, time is much less relevant than management of your ability to get shit done. I learned that trust is earned, and that the world doesn't slow down when you struggle. I learned that favors aren't free, and that your time is worth much more than money. I learned what it's like to be told NO after weeks of preparing without sleep, and what it's like to (literally) never hear the word YES. I learned that nothing ever goes as planned, and that everybody on the outside will always know what's best for you and your business. I learned what it's like to give your entire life to something, and watch it fail time after time again.

I learned what 3AM alone in a warehouse feels like. I learned what 3AM at an office I couldn't afford feels like, what 3AM alone in my car feels like, and what 3AM... you get the idea. I learned what it's like to suck up a lot of pride, wear a big fake smile, and forget about your 503 credit score. I learned what real self-doubt feels like. I learned what kinds of words your landlord uses when you're 3 months behind, and how to deal with angry vendors 120 days later. I learned what asking your dad for gas money at age 22 feels like. I learned what it's like to have lunch with your big brother, tell him all about your 'growing' business, and watch your card get declined when you offer to split the $21 tab. I learned that you're never too good to shovel some snow. I learned that depression kicks in quickly when none of the pieces are fitting together, and everything seems to be falling apart. I learned A LOT. This isn't half of it. However, the most important thing is... I learned.

LEARN.

I learned how to deal with my problems head on. I learned that resourcefulness was far more important than knowing it all. I learned that I was more capable than even my big dreams had led me to believe. I learned who my true friends were. I learned that I was still one ruthless kid when I put my mind to something, and that other people were starting to learn it too. I learned that every situation (good or bad) is temporary, and that being an underdog isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I learned about my passions, what truly mattered in my life, and what I was willing to do when there was nothing left in the tank. I learned that I'm really brave, and that once I believed in myself, anything was possible. I learned how to handle failure and rejection, slap a positive spin on it, and laugh all the way to the bank. I learned that cliches had to come from somewhere, and that my scars were my biggest strong-suit. I learned that everybody is different, and that patience is an acquired skill. I learned teamwork, how destructive a big ego is, and that helping people must always come first. I learned that learning was the most and only important part of failing. I learned that 29 no's and 1 yes is still one big yes. I learned that every day is an opportunity, and failing was a large part of success.  I learned my purpose, I grew up, and I put my failure driven pedal to the floor and went for it all.

Throughout all this failure and learning, I came full circle to the kid who wanted the ball in his hands with seconds left on the clock. I was taking risks, going for broke, and I wasn't failing anymore. Things were clicking, the pieces were fitting together, and I was back. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

Hope on a tight rope.

There is no shame in ripping off the water wings and jumping in head first. You will learn how to swim before you drown, but you have to be willing to accept a little water in your lungs. What's failure? What can possibly be worse than eating dinner every night talking about how much you dread 60% of your life?

In 2016 we all look for the magic pill. After 20 excuses and reasons why life is so hard on us, we turn to some book on the shelf in hopes of it lighting a fire under our asses. We navigate to buzz feed and read '8 reasons I'm a winner' or '20 ways to succeed at work' and it pisses me off because the answers to YOUR story aren't in somebody else's god damn handbook.

I can't tell you who you are or what you're capable of. I can't force you to find your passions or start a business doing something you love. I don't have 10 quick tips to success. NOBODY DOES. Nobody can truly teach you what simply getting up and trying can. If you think your dreams are going to fall straight on your lap, or that you're going to get them by reading a book written by some asshole on a yacht, you're going to die with a lot of questions.

The answers are inside. We can only find them by trying, failing, winning, bending, and breaking. What's far more important than technicalities and specifics about your business and industry, are the character traits and lessons you develop when you reach extremes. Discovering who you are and what you want in this short life is 90% of the battle. Do you see yourself finding any answers by staying on the path you're currently on? Walk the rope with me. The choice is yours, but remember what we are. We're simply dying, and your 10 year old self is looking straight at you right now with a lot of questions.

Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear.

Tick tock.

Getting Back On Track

 

 

So, you took one day off. And then another. And now it’s been a week, and your gym shoes are sitting in neglect by your door and your Crush workout guide hasn’t been opened since last Friday.

And you think: why bother? I’ve already gone off track this long, all that hard work has amounted to nothing.

Right? Wrong.

The thing is, we’re only human. Sure, we might like the idea of working out 6 days a week, of churning out Soul Cycle classes like it’s no big deal, of leaving the gym drenched in sweat after every workout. But, at the end of the day, that’s unrealistic.

Life gets in the way. Friends have birthday dinners after work. We are in desperate need of that extra hour of sleep in the morning. Our day didn’t go as planned. These things happen, workouts get missed, and life moves on.

But it’s keeping ourselves from letting these “setbacks” prevent our future workouts that’s key. So, here are my tips for getting back on track:

  1. Don’t go in thinking it’s all or nothing: if you adapt the idea that you have to go to the gym 6 days a week or it’s not “worth it”, or that taking a few days off means all your hard work is rendered meaningless, you won’t be progressing forward, mentally or physically. Life is flexible and working out should be to.
  2. Enter each week with a goal in mind: whether that’s walking to work or school instead of driving, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or making it to the gym 3 days in a given week, setting goals can help us jump back on track. Write them out, tap them into your cell phone, lock them into your head. It’s the little things like crossing items off your list that make all the difference in the end.
  3. Start back with your favorite workout: pick out your favorite class, try out Zumba with a friend, workout your favorite muscle group. Sometimes our general nerves and anticipation about getting back into things can deter us from action. But, beginning with something you actually love doing will make things all the more fun.
  4. Put on your favorite gear: never underestimate what putting on your Nike gym shoes and your favorite Crush t-shirt will do for your confidence. It’s amazing what simply changing into workout clothes can do for our motivation.
So try out these tips! Get your mindset in the right position, start with a goal, get your gear on, and head over to the gym. Because sometimes it’s walking through the door, like ripping off a band-aid, that’s the true game changer in the end!

Plan To Win

We have all heard the quote, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.”  If there is one thing that has helped me the most in reaching my goals, it is having a plan. Whether it’s planning your meals the night before so you don’t end up in the fast food lineup at lunch or writing down your goals to keep you accountable – small manageable changes to your daily routine can lead you to big changes. We all build habits, some better than others, and the key in changing those habits is being able to plan, stay accountable and therefore succeed.

  1. Plan/schedule your workouts. Write it down, set a reminder on your phone and commit like you would any other type of appointment. Find a time that works best for you and try not to force it in a time that may cause you to miss it (i.e., during lunch break you won’t always have time, if you’re not a morning person you’re not always going to be motivated to get up every morning to workout).
  2. Meal prep. Set out a day of the week to plan and prepare your meals ahead of time. This is probably one of the most important yet most neglected tools for success. Having your meals ready to go will help stop you from grabbing food on the go or making impulsive decisions when you get hungry. Having snacks at your disposal is also important. Protein bars, fruit, rice cakes, trail mix and veggies are always good to have on hand to keep hunger at bay.
  3. Invest in a good water bottle. Buy a large jug style water bottle that makes it easy to track how much water you are drinking throughout the day. Often times we mistake hunger for being thirsty so it’s important to stay hydrated. Set your water bottle on your counter or by your door every night to remind yourself to bring it with you in the morning. Don’t be afraid to write motivational sayings on your water bottle to help keep you motivated to drink throughout the day.

  4. Track your progress. Buying a journal or using social media to keep a log of your progress are both great ways to keep yourself accountable. Not only is tracking your physical progress important but taking notes on the amount of reps/weight that you are using is also important for improvement. Building muscle is a result of progressive overload over time so tracking is crucial in making sure you are always moving forward.
  5. Shop for success. Set out a time where you sit down and write out a grocery list. Without a plan it’s easy to get side tracked by all of the temptation. Pen and paper may not work for everyone so there are now apps that will allow you to create shopping lists right on your phone.
  6. Keep things exciting. If you’re always going to the gym to do the same routine day in and day out, it will start to feel like a chore. Fitness should not feel like a punishment. Changing up your routine can really recharge your motivation. Go for a jog outdoors, try a new sport, go swimming. You may even find something new that you enjoy.

  7. Know your excuses. You know yourself better than anyone else, you also know your excuses. Being prepared will help you work around them. If you know that a ‘few chips’ turns into eating the entire bag then something has to change. Instead of having a whole bag of chips in your pantry, avoid that by portioning out your chips into snack sized plastic bags. Being able to enjoy the foods you love is important, the key is being smart about it.
If you want to see long term results, you are going to have to make long term changes. A lot of people fail to accomplish their goals, because they lose sight of what they want to achieve. Having a plan is the life raft to reaching your goals because without a plan, your goals are only a wish.

Battling the Winter Blues

Your alarm goes off. You press snooze. The next thing you know five more minutes in bed has turned into an hour. With winter quickly approaching, the comfort of your bed starts to sound much more appealing than facing the cold weather. As the days get darker and the nights seem to be colder it’s easier to find yourself wanting to snuggling up with a cup of hot chocolate rather than tackle the cold to get yourself to the gym. Let’s face it, we’re human. As the temperature drops, so does our motivation. The Canadian winters that I face every year always seem to test my willpower. However, I’ve learned a few tips along the way that have helped me keep my head in the game and beat the winter blues.

Set yourself up for success
If you fail to plan, plan to fail. Be proactive and try and make things easier for yourself to succeed. Get your workout clothes ready the night before and place them beside your bed. Open your blinds before sleeping to create some natural light in the morning. When you make things easier for yourself, you’re also making it easier to stay on track.

Change it up
Winter time means less hours of daylight and let’s be honest the last thing on your mind after a long day of school or work is getting to the gym. Instead of dreading your evening workout make time for a morning workout or head to the gym at lunch. A change in routine can easily spike your motivation so why not give it a shot?

Use the weather to your advantage
Winter workouts don’t necessarily mean hours in the gym. Get outdoors. If you live in a place that gets snow like I do, try something seasonal like ice skating, snowboarding or skiing. Even if you don’t get snow, getting outdoors is always refreshing.

Prep meals
Laziness seems to get the best of us in the winter time. Stopping by McDonalds starts to seem a lot more convenient than taking the time to cook yourself a well-balanced meal. Instead of falling into that habit set aside a time where you can prep your meals for the upcoming days. Personally, having ready to go meals in the fridge to pop in the microwave or take with me on the go doesn’t leave much room to make excuses.

Music is your friend
I’m sure we have all experienced the devastation of getting to the gym and realizing you forgot your headphones or music. Music is motivation. I like to change up my playlist every once and a while so it doesn’t get repetitive. Go home, download a bunch of songs that bring you back to summer time. It may not take away the cold but at least you can reminisce about the warmer weather while you sweat it out.

Prepare yourself for your own excuses
You know yourself better than anyone else. You also know your excuses, so prepare yourself for them. If coming home from work to get your gym bag usually turns into watching Netflix then something needs to change. Avoid making a stop home by taking your gym bag to work with you. Problem solved.

Gym Anxiety

 

 

You have your Nikes laced up, your workout clothes on, your earphones looped around your phone, and your Crush guide all ready for the gym. Your water bottle is neatly stored in your gym bag next to your protein powder, and your pre workout is already kicking in, putting an extra jump in your step.

 

But then you realize, there’s one thing that’s not ready for your gym session: you!

 

Gym anxiety. It’s relevant and real, and for many, it can even deter them from their fitness journey. Because like anything in life, the unknown can be intimidating--huge contraptions, endless rows of equipment, the huge guy in the back grunting and doing curls on the squat machine, and the bad ass girl throwing out sprints on the treadmill—it’s enough to send anyone running for the door.

 

And that’s exactly how I felt before I started lifting. But, 2 years into my gym membership, after months of resisting my brothers’ invitations to go workout with them, I’ve come to realize a few things: the contraptions aren’t all that huge, the equipment is user friendly, that guy lacks proper gym etiquette, and that girl is going to give you her extra hair tie when you forget yours in the car.

 

But, the thing is, everyone, regardless of where they are on their path or how much experience they have, feels unsure at the gym at some point! It’s completely normal; we’re all human after all! So, in the meantime, here are a few tips to help you cope with some of that gym anxiety:

  1. Bring a friend! Going in with a familiar face can be so helpful at the start. You can find the locker room together, figure out where all the machines are, take turns between sets. Not to mention, having a workout buddy makes working out all the more fun!
  2. Go in with a plan! Write out what you’re going to do, step-by-step, or pull up your Crush guide on your phone. When you go in knowing what you need to do, you’ll feel more focused as you move between each exercise. And before you know it, you’ll be so wrapped up in what you’re doing, you’ll forget you’re even at the gym!
  3. Remember that everyone is there for themselves! The gym can feel like a fish bowl sometimes, but at the end of the day, every gym goer has their own plans, their own goals, and will be so involved with what they’re doing, that they won’t be paying much attention to what you’re doing!
  4. Put on your favorite gym outfit, play your favorite song, and walk in with some confidence, real or fake—because it’s the little things that put that extra pep in your step!

 

And lastly, remember that sometimes all it takes is walking through those doors the first time; kind of like ripping off a band-aid. Because after that, each day will only get easer. So strap on your shoes, and go CRUSH your workout!