Stephen is a highly accomplished personal trainer who has worked with several professional athletes, including NFL players and Olympians.
In our conversation, you’ll find tips and strategies to help you stayed committed to achieving your fitness goals no matter where you are in your program.
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What we discuss in this episode:
- Tips and strategies to meet your fitness goals
- Finding the true source of your goal
- How to prepare daily
- How to set accurate, achievable goals
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg and Mike Chamberlin
- Change Anything, Kerry Patterson
- The Secret Language of Birthdays, Gary Goldschneider and Joost Elffers
- The Forte, visionday.com
Jesse Cannone: Hello, welcome. Jesse Cannone here from losethebackpain.com with another monthly audio interview. Today I’m joined by Steven Holt of stephenholtfitness.com, fellow fitness trainer who I have known for many years now.
Today, Stephen and I are going to be talking about how to get your fitness back on track. Obviously, there’re many different scenarios or situations where that might be the case for you whether it’s trying to get back into exercise after overcoming a pain or injury, as many of our listeners are probably dealing with, or you’re getting older and you want to maintain and prevent the loss of your strength, your flexibility and your mobility. Stephen, thank you first, for joining me. I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me today.
Stephen Holt: Jesse, it’s a pleasure. In fact, I just realized that you and I have not spoken before. That’s amazing. We have lots of friends in common, including Mike Romatowski. One of the first videos I ever bought was his medicine ball video. You remember what the motto was, of course?
Jesse Cannone: No, actually, in fact, I don’t. I remember filming that video but I don’t remember the motto actually.
Stephen Holt: You done several of the exercises including one I that still use today.
Jesse Cannone: That’s so funny. You know what, in fact, I had forgotten that I did that project with him.
Stephen Holt: It was long ago.
Jesse Cannone: Yeah, but that’s so funny. That’s great. I’m going to have to try to dig that up and watch some of that. I was just speaking with somebody the other day about another video that I had done early on, around that same time, for human kinetics. It was a plyometric video and I was talking to somebody about injuries because I actually hurt myself while filming that exercise program for them but I don’t think we’ve ever connected. But I’ve known of you as you and I were discussing before we started the recording. We both were in the same area in Maryland for a long time doing the same business, so that’s interesting. So, as I said earlier, I’d like to talk with you today, get some of your insights and your tips on, again, getting a fitness program back on track.
Stephen Holt: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Jesse Cannone: Before we do that, if you could give our listeners a little bit of your background. What you’ve been doing and how long you’ve been doing it and maybe even what got you into the fitness business.
Stephen Holt: Well I started back in the fitness business back in 1979. I was playing football at Duke, actually that’s kind of a stretch, I was a member of the football program, we like to say at Duke. Problem was is that I wasn’t that good a football player but I worked my butt off in the weight room and I learned as much as I possibly could. Teammates started coming to me for advice so I ended up training 14 different NFL athletes.
Jesse Cannone: Oh, that’s interesting. I didn’t know that about your background.
Stephen Holt: Yeah, well, that was a long, long time ago. Since then, I’ve trained a bunch of Olympic athletes. I’ve trained pro baseball players. I’ve trained pro tennis players. Of course, I work with mostly average people. Most of my clients right now are about 45 and above and it’s been that way for years and years now. I’ve been a full-time trainer for about 15 years and, again, I’ve been in and out of the industry since 1979.
Jesse Cannone: That’s great. That’s a long time and a lot of knowledge and wisdom gained through, I imagine, both study and experience.
Stephen Holt: I had all the possible certifications you can get. I have all the big ones. I was named ACE Personal Trainer… I’m sorry, starting to use the lingo. ACE is the American Council on Exercise. They named me Personal Trainer of the Year in 2003 and before that I was named All Experts’ Expert of The Year. So I’ve learned a lot, mostly on my own. I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering. The thing I do that I think is unique is that I use my engineering background to help people with their exercises because everything comes down to forces and torques.
Jesse Cannone: One of the things that I’ve seen quite a bit now that you mentioned that is individuals who tend to have some of the most effective and unique approaches to health and wellness and exercise tend to be people like yourself who have a background in another field of study that they then apply to the health and fitness space. That is interesting.
Stephen Holt: Right, you can’t get enough science. I say it all the time and I have to say it to my kids. We were just talking about kids a second ago. When we do math homework, I keep reminding them you never ever know when this is going to come in handy. Every single day something comes up and I say to my clients, “It’s simple trigonometry, you should have paid attention in high school.” It imparts in everything, especially in the gym.
Jesse Cannone: In thinking about the topic of our conversation today, someone who’s trying to
get back on track with their fitness, what do you feel are the biggest obstacles? I think, often, it’s helpful to be aware of what the common obstacles are, ideally in advance, but even if not in advance, knowing what those big obstacles are and how best to deal with them to kind of keep yourself moving forward. Are there any major, or what you feel are the most common obstacles people face?
Stephen Holt: Yeah, there are two books that I recommend that people read. One is The Power of Habit.
Jesse Cannone:Yep, great book.
Stephen Holt: And the other one is Change Anything by Kerry Patterson.
Jesse Cannone: I haven’t read that one. Change Anything, okay.
Stephen Holt: They cover pretty much the same topic. The main thing that you have to do is figure out, number one, what you want and number two, what’s keeping you from getting what you want. In The Power of Habit they mention that there is something called a habit loop. It starts with a cue and that’s followed by your routine with the habit itself and there’s always a reward. Everything you do in life is based upon a reward, whether you know it consciously or not.
Jesse Cannone: That’s interesting. I think that’s a key point because a lot of times people don’t realize that. They are not aware of that and therefore they aren’t in tune with what might be driving their behavior.
Stephen Holt: Exactly.
Jesse Cannone: They may be engaging in behavior that is going against what they say they want but they don’t realize why that behavior is occurring and, to your point, it’s occurring because there is some other reward that they’re getting for that other behavior. So even though that behavior may be negative, there is some reason why they’re doing it.
Stephen Holt: Exactly and your goal should be to identify, first of all, identify the cue but you also need to identify what the reward is. There’s always some reason. In Change Anything, that refers to this as being blind and outnumbered or blind to the cues and blind to the reward.
Jesse Cannone: That’s true.
Stephen Holt: It’s crucial that you sit down and identify what the reward is.
Jesse Cannone: In this book, Change Anything, that you’re mentioning, do they talk you through or show you how to go about that? I can imagine that many people, even myself in listening to what you’re saying, my first question is, “well, how do you do that?” Is that something they show you how to do? Is it a book that they can find at the bookstores and Amazon and places like that?
Stephen Holt: Yes, it’s everywhere. Change Anything by Kerry Patterson. They lead you through exactly what you need to do. They lead you through it in the book and they also do it through their software on site. On their site.
Jesse Cannone: Oh. That’s neat because I was talking with a friend yesterday, who’s a kind of counselor or therapist, and we were talking about analyzing and breaking down issues that people are trying to deal with in their life and how some people have a difficult time identifying all the different the components and then separating them. I think there’s a difference between men and women to begin with, slightly, on this. I can really compartmentalize and separate issues apart into their pieces, and some people seem to have a harder time with that, she was saying in her therapy practice. It sounds like this book would be a good tool and, my thought was, the book is useful, but it’s even easier if you have somebody, or in this case software, something like a worksheet or process that takes you through it and helps you detangle this web, if you will. So you’re saying one of the biggest obstacles you feel is people not understanding the why in terms of their behavior and the rewards that drive all behavior?
Stephen Holt: Yeah, in coaching we call it the five whys. People start with the goal. Typically, they come in and say something like, I want to be toned and then my job is to say why, why is that important to you? That’s one of them. Then they’ll say something like, it makes me feel better. Why is that important to you? It makes me happy. Why is that important to you? Because I’ve been disappointed lately. Why is that important? And you go on and on and on. Eventually, you’ll get to the answer you’re looking for. Everybody … You just have to dig a little bit deeper because, frankly, it’s hard to do by yourself. It helps to have a coach or someone leading you through that.
Jesse Cannone: Very true. Very true. In fact, that’s exactly what my friend, the therapist I was speaking to yesterday, said is that even people who are very analytical can still get stuck trying to dissect these issues themselves. It’s always much easier with somebody else, so that’s a great point. To your five whys, I love that. It’s very similar to what I teach my students and my customers and clients. In terms of understanding their health issues. So, for instance, when they are going to a doctor, I said the same thing. I say I want you ask at least seven times why and/or how. Typically, when you go to a doctor and you get a diagnosis for a particular health condition, most patients will just leave with that.
Stephen Holt: They sit and listen.
Jesse Cannone: That’s right. They’ll accept that diagnosis without a full understanding of what that really means. Whether or not, in fact, they even have it. I encourage people to ask, I usually say seven times, a combination of questions. Why questions, how questions, and so that kind of looks like “you’ve got arthritis,” and you say, “okay, how do you know for sure that I have arthritis?” Or, “are you 100% sure? Could it be something else?” And then, exactly, you’ve got to continue to dig and get underneath each layer to really get to the root. In the case of health conditions, the root causes, and in the case of motivations and goals like you’re describing, to get to the root of what truly is driving them to want to accomplish that particular thing.
Stephen Holt: I agree 100%. That’s such a great example. I hear, virtually every day, people coming to me with a diagnosis from the doctor and then they ask me what the diagnosis meant. They just sat there in the chair and said, “okay doctor” and didn’t pay attention to the diagnosis and what the diagnosis actually meant.
Jesse Cannone: Yeah and what’s interesting, I think, is a lot of times the doctor doesn’t give enough detail. They are typically speaking above the patient. Not always, but for the most part they are kind of speaking above them. They’re in a rush and they give them a very limited explanation or description and then the patient doesn’t think to question anything. Most patients are not in the habit of asking questions. So, then they leave and then after the fact they are in the car, usually it happens by the time they buckle the seat belts in the car. How do I know this? Because, this was me 10 or 15 years ago. You buckle the seat belt and you’re like, oh, I should’ve asked this.
Stephen Holt: Hey.
Jesse Cannone: And then you’re driving down the road and you’re like, oh, I should’ve also asked about that. I think it’s, like you said, very important. It’s critical, in fact, in both these situations we’re talking about to get to the root, the very base level of what, in this case in terms of goal setting, what’s driving you. Why do you really feel you want to achieve X? Alright, so that’s a big one. Any other significant obstacles that you think prevent people from being more successful with accomplishing their fitness goals?
Stephen Holt: Well you’ve got to write down the cue. What gets you started on the bad habit. The common one here is that people get hungry at 2 or 3 o’clock in the afternoon and then they grab the first thing that they see.
Jesse Cannone: I remember in the early part of my career as a fitness trainer, I spent a lot of time trying to educate people about that and one of the things I recall spending a lot of time talking to people about is just being prepared. I think it’s important to be prepared in all areas of your life, but in particular, when it comes to health and eating. Obviously, what you eat and what you drink has a very big impact on your health.
It was always amazing to me how much time people could spend on certain activities, but they wouldn’t be willing to spend five minutes to prepare themselves for their day in terms of their meal planning. By meal planning, I don’t mean writing out a fancy menu or anything like that. I just mean thinking about, in advance, what am I going to be eating for lunch? What are my snacks gonna be? What’s my plan for my dinner meal, my evening meal? And having a basic plan and thinking oh, you know what, I’m going to be leaving my office and heading to a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, at around 2 or 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I know I’m going to be hungry. I need to have a healthy snack in the car with me before I go to work this morning.
It’s such a small amount of time and energy and effort in order to do what I just described yet people will say they’re just too busy but they will then have hours to spend watching television or doing all sorts of other things that, according to them, are less important than this goal. I think part of it stems from, tell me what you think, but I think part of it stems from people’s conceptions about what’s required. I think, again, what I just described is pretty easy. I think a lot of people, when you tell them that they need to plan ahead and be prepared and all I think they think maybe that it’s more work than it truly is.
Stephen Holt: Yeah, people start to freak out when you say things like that. They think about the typical gym rat walking around with his cooler full of food.
Jesse Cannone: Right.
Stephen Holt: Normal people don’t have to do that. I just tell people to have something around. Something in the cars. Something in the desk. It could be a simple as a bag of almonds.
Jesse Cannone: If I could add to that, what I do personally, I try to have multiple choices in multiple places. I have multiple snacks in my car, in the center console. I usually have a bag of nuts, one or more protein or healthy snack bars and then in my desk, let me see what I’ve got here. I’ve got a tuna can, which is this great tuna that comes in a can with vegetables, from France. I forget, St. Dalfour, I believe, or something like that. So, I’ve got a can of tuna and vegetables in my desk, got trail mix, I’ve got some bars. My office, there is a refrigerator so I always keep some fruit. I’ve got a banana on my desk. So, I always … It’s funny, the preparedness thing that I mentioned earlier, I used it in terms of health and fitness all those years ago but I didn’t really apply it to the rest of the areas of my life until years later. Years later I kind of learned more about politics, government, and personal responsibility in the economy and all that.
Stephen Holt: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Jesse Cannone: And what I realized was it was essential to be thoughtful. Just like, what am I going to have for a snack today to be thoughtful in all areas of your life that same way.
Stephen Holt: Yeah.
Jesse Cannone: So, if something were to happen financially, do I have a backup plan? I think being prepared is a very important thing and most people are not in many areas, if not in any areas, of their life. This is a simple way to incorporate that, as you and I, it sounds like, agree. An essential thing that you need to do if you want to make achieving your goals a reality because it’s very difficult, for instance, to lose weight if you are either skipping meals and snacks and/or worse, having the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Stephen Holt: Right, exactly.
Jesse Cannone: So, that’s great.
Stephen Holt: So you keep moving in the right direction. Hey Jesse, that was so smooth and clever I even wrote that down. Multiple choices, multiple places.
Jesse Cannone: Yeah, you know, I’ve never phrased it that way before and it actually struck me as it came to mind, I was like, ooh, this is a good way to think about it and I’ve done it with lots of things. Money. I have money in my wallet. I have money in my briefcase. Money in my glove compartment. Don’t follow me in my car. Nah, I’m just kidding. Because you always hear of people that are like, ah, shoot, I don’t have any cash. Like, well why not? You’re not prepared. You should always have some cash. Yes, you may always use your credit card, that’s fine, but still you should always have some money. Just like you should always have some food. You should always have some water. I always have water in my car. I always have a jug of water in the back. Five-gallon jug of water. I get stranded on the side of the road on a hot sunny day, I’ve got water.
Stephen Holt: Yep, that’s happened to me. I keep water in my car for the same reason because it happened.
Jesse Cannone: Yeah. Oh, really? It happened, actually. Yeah, see, so you know from actual experience that stuff like that happens and if you’re prepared it’s usually not that big a deal and if you’re not prepared it could be a huge thing and in some case it’s actually life or death. I guess to kind of bring us back before we kind of shift gears, any other obstacles that you see trip people up?
Stephen Holt: Actually, in a couple hours I have a meeting with one of my clients who has this great idea. A couple times he came in, looked in his trunk and realized he had nothing to work out in. Nothing to wear for his work out.
Jesse Cannone: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Stephen Holt: He started leaving a bag full of everything. A whole gym bag in his trunk at all times and that’s a great idea for anyone. Take a full gym bag and leave it where you will see it if you’re having trouble getting started with the exercise program. You’ll never have that as an excuse.
Jesse Cannone: Yeah, that’s great, in fact I do that and didn’t realize I do that. I do it because I go to martial arts two nights a week after work and I need to have it in the car that morning so I always have it … the night after class I re-get the bag ready for two days later and I throw it in the car so it’s ready. I think that’s a great tip.
Stephen Holt: When I was a runner, I used to leave my running shoes right at the front door.
Jesse Cannone: You know what, somebody else recently just told me a very similar strategy that they were using to make sure they got their exercise in. I forget the exact specifics but it was something just like that. It was like they left their free weights in the middle of living floor or, same thing, their sneakers right in the hallway so it was like every time they were going down the hall they were tripping over their sneakers and it was always a constant reminder to don’t skip this. I was going to say another technique that I’ve used that I still currently use and I’ve taught people is actually physically scheduling an appointment into your calendar.
Stephen Holt: Your calendar, yes.
Jesse Cannone: So for some people, if exercise is an every day at the same time routine, that’s easier to maintain but for other people who can’t, maybe you physically can’t commit to that, schedule-wise, I know I can’t do that so what I do is I exercise multiple times per week and on different days it’s at different times so I actually physically have to make a calendar appointment for the particular exercise session and I schedule reminders in that calendar event to email me several hours before. Send me a text message an hour before. To make sure that I don’t let anything get in the way. I don’t say, “oh, I got to stay late at work and I’m skipping exercise.”
Stephen Holt: Right.
Jesse Cannone: I think that’s always useful and obviously, as you and I know as personal trainers, having a trainer is one of the best ways to make sure you get it done because you’ve got the appointment, you’ve made the commitment to the trainer and then there’s the financial potential for loss. So, if you skip that workout session it’s going to cost you whatever that fee is for that trainer.
That was always, when I was still doing personal fitness training sessions, that was always great and in fact, what I instituted with some clients who would actually agree to it, the smart ones would agree to it, that I would actually charge them double their session price if they canceled the session without good reason. If they had a car accident or their child was sick, that’s different, but if they just canceled and they let something get in the way I would charge them double their session fee. It was a really big incentive to not miss a lot of sessions. If you miss a lot of sessions it’s costing you double what if would normally cost you to do the workout. Then there’s also the cost of not achieving the result.
Stephen Holt: Right. Exactly. At least once a week someone will say to me, if I didn’t have this appointment, I never would have come in.
Jesse Cannone: Ah, right.
Stephen Holt: Even if you don’t have a trainer, it’s so easy to write it down into your schedule. When you look at the scope of things all the junk that’s in your schedule, all the silly things that you think you have to do. Like watch a certain TV show at a certain time. You can certainly write down I need to exercise at this time in your schedule.
Jesse Cannone: Yeah, actually in fact, that just reminded me … I think it was Ryan Lee, another trainer that you and I both know, years ago came out with a one-page sheet that was like schedule for the day but incorporated, not just time blocks for your appointment times but it also incorporated a little section for exercise. Basically, you were going to, in advance, at least the day before if not multiple days in advance, you were going to write down all of your appointments. You were going to write down what you were going to do for exercise, when you were going to do it, how long you were going to do it. So you were going to be very specific about your exercise plan. It incorporated what calls are you going to make including both personal calls, what family members or friends were you going to reach out to and get in touch with. I thought it was a great way of breaking down all the things that are important in most people’s lives and putting it all into one day and making sure that all areas got attention.
As I know, I am very guilty of … I love work, I love my work and I tend to overwork at the expense of other areas in my life. I feel my children are very important. I feel my wife is very important to me. I feel my health is very important and my hobbies and my interests are very important yet, when you look at my schedule there’s usually very little of those things on there. Usually, it’s all work related so I thought that was a great way to think about or even physically actually managing your schedule, managing your day to ensure that all the things that you say are important actually found their way into your day.
Stephen Holt: Yeah, you got to prove it with your actions.
Jesse Cannone: Yes. Very true.
Stephen Holt: That’s exactly what’s important.
Jesse Cannone: Okay, so, we’ve talked a lot about obstacles. Before we jump into some strategies, any other major obstacles that we maybe haven’t touched on?
Stephen Holt: Well you have to commit to … Change Anything, they call it a vital behavior. You commit to it and you make sure that it has to be a little bit challenging but mainly you’re 100% sure that you will actually do it. Some people set goals that are just ridiculously too high and they are setting themselves up for failure. Set something that you can do.
Jesse Cannone: I remember, both in my fitness early on as well as in my business early on, I’m very visionary and kind of big picture oriented and I would set these outrageous goals that, of course, sounded great when it would come to the end of the year I usually would be so far off and was working with a mentor and he was saying big outrageous goals are great if you have a detailed plan that you have poked all the holes in and it’s solid. If you were to actually implement this plan and execute the plan and not skip a lot of steps that the goal would happen. That was a big thing for me. It’s not just about the goal. It’s also about having a solid plan-
Stephen Holt: Make the plan, yep, and then follow it.
Jesse Cannone: Yeah, that if executed, like you said, follow it, will ensure the goal is almost guaranteed. I think that’s where a lot of people go wrong. They set the goal but typically maybe they don’t know how to set an accurate goal. I don’t want to say realistic because I don’t want people to think too small, like oh, it’s not realistic that I can lose 10 pounds in three months. Well, actually it is. You may not be used to that but that is possible. I don’t mean realistic in terms of small. I mean realistic as in terms of it’s possible and, of course, the amount of energy and focus you put into the goal will, in large part, determine the amount of the output. How big of a change you can make happen. You know what actually would be interesting, let me ask you this, in your experience what can the average person … again, let’s say we’re talking 50-year-old or older, what are some examples of what you think is realistic a good stretch goal for people in terms of whether losing weight in a certain period of time or anything like that?
Stephen Holt: If you follow the nutrition the way you should you can easily, well easily? You can lose a pound a week consistently. If you prioritize what you eat. That’s the issue for most people.
Jesse Cannone: So, people on average can lose a pound a week if they’re incorporating improvements and structure and a plan to both aspects, the exercise and the eating.
Stephen Holt: Yeah, actually the easiest thing you can do is just write down what you’re eating. You don’t have to keep track of calories or anything fancy. You don’t have to worry, well at the moment, at the beginning at least, you don’t have to worry about carbs or protein or fats. Just write down what you’re eating to get some feel for what’s actually going into your mouth. Most people eat completely mindlessly.
Jesse Cannone: You’re right. Once you journal it you realize that oh, I’m actually eating more than I realized. Maybe not even necessarily more in total of volume but you realize, oh wow I actually have more carbs than I realized. Because a lot of people, we tend to fool ourselves. I think all humans are guilty of this and some more than others. I know I’m more guilty of it than most people because I’m the persuasive salesman so I sell myself just like I sell everybody else on ideas and realities. It is interesting that when you do journal anything, whether how you spend your time or what you’re eating every day, usually what you see is not what you thought.
Stephen Holt: I agree 100%. I remember doing a time journal once and I just couldn’t do it again, it drove me crazy.
Jesse Cannone: Right.
Stephen Holt: Every half hour I would write down what I did in the previous half hour and I realized I was wasting a lot of time on the internet when I thought I wasn’t.
Jesse Cannone: So, lots of tips that you’ve already shared, or we’ve both shared, as we’ve been going through the conversation but what I don’t want to do is run out of time. We’re getting close to the time where we’ve got to wrap up and I’ve got a few more questions for you but any other significant strategies or tips or suggestions that you can give our listeners that you think would have the biggest impact on their ability to either get back on track with an exercise program that had been on hold or just to, kind of, improve the results from their current efforts.
Stephen Holt: The main thing you want to do is start right now, and I mean right now. I had thoughts of running a marathon, this was years ago, I had thoughts about running a marathon in the back of my mind and I kept putting them off, putting them off, and I saw the first Nike commercial when they first said “Just Do It,” frankly I was out on the road within 10 minutes.
Jesse Cannone: Ah, that’s wonderful.
Stephen Holt: That’s clever. They have a point there. Just do it. I got my butt out on the road.
Jesse Cannone: What people tend to do is say well, I can’t do it right this minute. Then they go to alright, since I can’t do it right now, I’ll do it some other time and they don’t make a specific plan to then do it. My suggestion would be if you can’t do it right at this moment then right at this moment figure out when you are going to do it and don’t push it far out into the future. Make it as soon as you’re able to. So, whether it’s later this day or it’s the next day. Making that plan, making that commitment. In fact, this is something I should probably do a whole conversation on in the future is commitments because I think there’s a lot to commitments that I never realized until my mentor, Rob Berkley, did a session with me and my team on commitments and the commitment cycle. The same applies to commitments to yourself as do commitments that you make to others. I think commitments are very important so, yeah, I think we’ll have to do another call in the future and discuss that.
Stephen Holt: The thing is getting people to do things right now. I will not stand for wishy washiness. People say oh, I’m thinking about maybe doing something. If someone says, you know what, I need to call so and so, I pull out my phone and say call.
Jesse Cannone: Right.
Stephen Holt: Right now. Do it right now. There’s no reason not to do it now. Do it now.
Jesse Cannone: That’s great. I like that. That’s action. The best plan in the world without executing the steps is useless.
Stephen Holt: Right and take the first baby step. Do something.
Jesse Cannone: To add to what you just said, I think that’s very important. That baby step, once you’ve taken it, celebrate it. It’s a success even if there’s no physical result. So, let’s say it’s getting out and going for a walk. You go walking for 15 to 20 minutes and you don’t necessarily lose any weight from that, it’s still a success. You did one, you kept your commitment and two, you’ve done something that is going to improve your health. Celebrate those successes and let those snowball so it’s like, ah, I should feel good about that. I think what a lot of people do is they don’t celebrate that. They even view it as, I didn’t lose any weight this week, I went walking three times.
Stephen Holt: Exactly.
Jesse Cannone: So you have to celebrate the things that are successes. The fact that you exercise three times this week those are all successes. The fact that you didn’t lose weight doesn’t detract those as successes. They still were successes but there’s a reason why you didn’t lose weight, and you need to uncover and ask those questions. Like you said, why, why, why, why didn’t I? What did I not do or what was not quite right in my plan? What’s maybe not quite right in my body? Is there a hormonal issue that I need to work on with the help of a doctor? Ideally, a natural doctor. So, I think that’s a key point that hopefully people will take to heart that every little thing that you do that’s positive is a successful step or successful act or action.
Stephen Holt: Yeah, back when I used to work in a big health club people would come in. They would have these sedentary backgrounds. I would ask them their goals and they would say oh, I want to work out five times a week. I would say how many times a week were you working out before? They would say zero. Then I’d say what’s the number after zero? One. How about one time a week. Let’s start there. That’s something you can do and something you can keep up.
Jesse Cannone: Right and you know what’s interesting, I think part of how successful people are with health and fitness depends on their personality as well. I’d like to mention this because some people have a personality as such that the once a week thing wouldn’t work for them. They would be more likely to stick with it if it was every day than it was just once a week. Then there’s some people it’s the opposite. To make that big commitment, like you said, is too much for them but you get them to take that baby step of once a week. I think that understanding who you are and how you tend to think is important.
I’ll also add that I found astrology to be very helpful in understanding who you are. In fact, there’s an excellent book I’d recommend, it’s called The Secret Language of Birthdays, secret language of birthdays or birthdates. Wonderful book. What it does is it writes out a profile for every day of the year based on what a person born on that day of the year is likely to be like and it is scary accurate. It is so incredibly accurate that I use it as a tool in my business when interviewing people. So, of course, I don’t ask for the year that they were born but I ask for the birth date and I read these profiles, having already proven that it’s very accurate in reading mine and dozens of friends and family members and so on.
Again, I use it as a hiring tool so I can see how is this person likely to be in this particular job. If the profile says this person is going to be very scattered and I’m trying to put somebody in a role that needs a lot of focus then I’m probably not going to hire somebody like that. Of course, if they can prove to me otherwise, then I would hire them. I’ve yet to see that be the case. Now, of course, I don’t only use that but I find it a helpful tool and so for everybody listening I think it’s great to one, see if it’s accurate for you as I suspect it will be, but two it gives people a lot of insight into who they are.
Another tool, actually, I’d recommend, my mentor, Rob Berkley, does a kind of personality profile called the Forte and you could learn more about it, I’m sure, online by searching Forte or going to Rob’s website, which is visionday.com. This Forte profile tool is incredibly accurate also. It goes more in depth because it’s based on your answers to these questions. It really is very insightful and very informative and I think most people often don’t understand themselves very well. I think once you have a better handle on knowing who you are, how you think, how you tend to behave and how you tend to make decisions is useful when you approach achieving any goal whether fitness or otherwise.
Stephen Holt: Right, I agree. Most people don’t take the time to do that type of thing.
Jesse Cannone: Yes, mm-hmm (affirmative) so great. Alright, well as we wrap up here, very informative. Great conversation. I really enjoyed it, Stephen. Do you have any other resources of your own that you’d like to recommend in terms of, whether your own or any other as we’ve mentioned many different resources today, but in terms of fitness advice?
Stephen Holt: Well, if there are any questions just go to stephenholtfitness.com or send me an email and firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll send you anywhere you need to go.
Jesse Cannone: That’s wonderful. Very, very kind of you to offer to do that. It’s a value that I’m sure people would appreciate, anybody who does take you up on that offer. I think that’s very kind of you. So, well, thank you. Any last closing thoughts?
Stephen Holt: Get started right now.
Jesse Cannone: That’s right. Just do it, right?
Stephen Holt: Yes. Get to work. It just takes one little baby step to get started. I have to leave you with one little geeky note. There’s something called the law of calculus. If you paid attention, not you but, if someone paid attention to calculus in high school. It just basically says that whenever there’s a change, there’s one specific point where the change occurred. For example, if you were once a sedentary person and you want to become an active person, there’s one specific point in time when you make that change. That change can be at any time. The key is to make the decision to be conscious about that change. Just decide for yourself, I’m changing right now. That’s all it takes, all it takes to get started.
Jesse Cannone: Right, making that commitment. It’s a commitment that you keep to yourself. The stuff that you shared at the beginning of our conversation about understanding and uncovering the root to why we behave the way we do is essential because, again, that’s where a lot of the self-sabotage happens so I think that was great information you shared at the beginning of our chat.
Stephen Holt: Thank you.
Jesse Cannone: Well thank you again, Stephen. I appreciate it. Again, if anybody wants to learn more about Stephen check out his website. It’s www.stephenholtfitness.com so, S-T-E-P-H-E-N-H-O-L-T fitness F-I-T-N-E-S-S dot com. Thanks again, Stephen, I appreciate it.
Stephen Holt: Thanks, Jesse. I appreciate it too.
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