A Healthy Guide to Eating Out

We tell you to eat healthy at home, and now we're about to tell you to do the same when you're out spending the fruits of your labour - like watching the finger-nail-filing escapades of your favourite basketball team.

With the Raptors losing last night, this probably all sounds like misery. But the following cheat sheet is full of simple little adjustments that you can make and still have fun.

If this still sounds tragic to you, don't worry, it's written by a cantankerous old sod.

A Miserable Bugger's Healthy Guide to Eating Out

1) Vodka soda is the Chainsmokers of the healthy alcoholic drink. Boring. Predictable. Flavourless.

Make your liquor a tequila or whiskey. For a minimal amount of extra calories you’ll get 1,000 times the taste, while remaining healthier than beer, cider, or white wine.

2) Take a look at the menu online and select your food choice before you go. That way you will not be influenced by other people’s choices in the moment. You may, indeed, prompt everyone else to contemplate their adolescent behaviour when they realize a proper adult is now present.

3) Just like your Ashley Madison dates, ask for all sauces to quietly remain on the side.

4) Dance near the flames of hell and eternal chastity, by suggesting to your partner that you pick a starter and a main to share. At restaurants we tend to overeat, and at Toronto prices, that $25 main ain’t going to waste. Devouring shared dishes will leave you satisfied and you’ll consume fewer calories.

5) Make all your side choices be salad or fruit. Unless you go to Weslodge, where you must violently swim in their mac ‘n’ cheese.

6) Impress absolutely no-one, by drinking one glass of water for every alcoholic drink.

7) Words matter. Look for “steamed,” “grilled,” and “boiled.” Avoid “loaded,” “creamy,” “rich,” “uncomfortable,” “crabs.”

K & V

The Best Way to Measure Progress

To measure the progress of health and fitness goals, it’s normal to use less-than-stellar methods. Often, it’s the scale or mirror.

We call these lag measures. They track the thing that you’re trying to improve.

The problem is that it comes too late to change your behaviour. The performance that drove this measurement is already in the past.

Lead measures are new behaviours that will drive success on the lag measures. (1)

“Lead measures turn your attention to improving behaviours you directly control in the near future that will then have a positive impact on your long-term goals.”(1)

If you wish to lose 10lbs, a relevant lead measure could be the number of meals you track, or the number of workouts you do.

When you use lag measures to evaluate body change, it's usually not a positive experience. And even if you get to your goal, it’s not as satisfying as you think it would be. That's because you’ve treated the process as a shallow means to an end. This will keep you miserable.

What you need to focus on (and what makes humans happy) is the journey to get there. Not looking back at it, but being in the moment with it, using lead measures that are fun and progressive.

A recent tweet from James Clear states “…if you optimize for the outcome, you win one time. If you optimize for a process that leads to great outcomes, you can win again and again.”

Lag measures is where you dream and feel miserable. Lead measures is where you’ll find enjoyment and a fulfilling life.
 
Kevin & Victoria

1 -- Excerpts from “Deep Work” by Cal Newport

P.S. The Transformation Challenge that begins this week and a lot of focus is on behaviour change and using lead measures to track your progress.

Save 33% with the early bird price (ends on Tuesday). Click the button below for more details.

The Power of a Growth Mindset

Many of our members will tell us about the event that made them realize it was time to start exercising. A game of tag with their kid, some not-so-great news from their doctor, a holiday marred by pain. We’ve heard it all.

For Alastair Wilkinson, it was three days of physical agony after 2.5 hours of home renovation work. That was about a year ago. And that’s when he joined Bomb.

But that was the easy part. Like many new people who walk through our doors, Alastair was pretty green. His first few classes were a harsh reminder that he was starting from scratch in terms of strength, endurance and form. For a lot of people, this would be about the time they give up. But rather than being discouraged, something inside him sparked and he was excited to learn. He recognized if he kept coming in, listening and applying himself, that he would get stronger. And he has! Not only is he crushing it in class, he’s also started taking kettlebell (a class that might have killed him a year ago) and he’s lost 25 lbs too!

What I realized as I was chatting with Alastair is that he has a growth mindset. He understands that he’s not limited to the skills and talents that he developed easily and naturally. That with continued effort and practice, he can learn new things and improve his abilities in any area.

A growth mindset is the difference between facing a challenge and saying “I can’t do that” and “I can’t do that now, but I can learn”. It can be applied in any circumstance and it’s something that all highly successful people have in common.

So, how exactly do you achieve a growth mindset? The internet is full of lists...Ten Steps to a Growth Mindset, 25 Ways to Create a Growth Mindset etc, etc. I’m not an expert, but from my perspective it boils down to prioritizing the process not the outcome. Focusing your energy on the work, turning failures into learnings, persevering and trying new tactics.

In the age of instant gratification and results-based rewards, it can be pretty hard to apply yourself to something difficult and big goals often seem too hard to reach. But the process is always within your grasp. The first step can happen in an instant and with a growth mindset the experience becomes the reward.

Sally 

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Keep Your Head Up, Kid

Coaching kids is a huge part of BOMB and this week we were reminded of this little nugget from the book Thanks for the Feedback.

"Speaking of little boys [or girls], when yours gets off the bus crying because a kid called him stupid, don't tell him he's not. That's just asking him to choose between your story and the mean kid's story.

Help him find his own story in which to stand. Help him think through the actual evidence. What might be going on with the other kid and what is actually true. If he can see for himself that he's not stupid, then he'll see that someone else's saying so, doesn't make it so."

Building a growth mindset like this and developing confidence and self-efficacy is a huge focus of our kids programs.

If you're interested, registration has opened for our Fall after school program at Danforth & Beach schools.

There's also a $239 weekly summer camp deal that ends on May 31st, 2019. Summer camp is available at all three locations.

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How to Avoid Burnout

Last week, we took a much needed break to Puerto Rico to escape the long Canadian winter. We didn't go to just drink margaritas by the pool or get a sunburn on the beach; it was an important opportunity to renew!

Coincidentally, we also received a fantastic email from our coach, Mark Fisher, owner of North America's most successful gym. He discussed self-renewal - why it's not just about vacations, and why it's so important for it to be regularly scheduled.

We couldn't have written it any better, so he let us share it with you...

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"While anyone can benefit from taking renewal seriously, parents and leaders in particular face something called “power stress.” This is a particular type of stress experienced by those who feel responsibility for others. It can expedite burnout for those who don’t take the time to “refill their cup.”

Furthermore, renewal can’t effectively be “saved up” for the weekend. By thinking critically about which of the four renewal activities light you up, you can start to be disciplined about making sure you have time for it in your weekly calendar.

Remember, renewal is different than physical rest. They both matter.

According to Dr. Richard Boyatzis, you need to consider four key areas:

  • Hope - a feeling of forward-looking optimism towards the future

  • Compassion - connecting with other people

  • Mindfulness - being aware and in the present moment; meditation, walking in nature, prayer, etc.

  • Play - having fun and being joyful; humor

Each of us will get more or less “juice” from each of the four activities, so considering your personal preferences is important.

Additionally, some activities do crossover from “physical self-care” to “emotional self-care.” Low-intensity exercise (mindfulness, play) and meditation (mindfulness) are both great examples.

In addition to the list above, gratitude is another important renewal strategy. Creating small habits and rituals around daily gratitude is a powerful tool for keeping your “mind right.” This is important because modern brains have inherited something called “Negativity Bias.” The theory is that our ancestors were successful at surviving precisely because they were good at thinking about, identifying, and solving/ working around threats.

Although there’s debate about how strongly “negative” thoughts overpower “positive” thoughts, most social scientists put the number somewhere between three times to seven times.

Since the nature of your life often requires identifying, thinking about, and solving problems, creating daily gratitude habits can be a powerful source of renewal.

Regardless of which activities you choose, it’s important to emphasize the ones that truly fill your cup, and then have the discipline to regularly execute these activities.

If you find renewal by connecting with hope, it’s going to be very hard emotionally to justify taking time to daydream and spend time “visioning” on a regular basis. Nonetheless, this is exactly what you must do if you truly want to be a master of your time.

Like your core self-care habits, such as training and making good nutrition choices, renewal activities are the equivalent of putting your own oxygen mask on first if the cabin loses pressure while on an airplane.

If you don’t take care of yourself first, you’ll find you’re unable to effectively take care of anyone else as you spiral into burnout."

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Three Training Principles That Will Explode Your Results

There are many positive, healthy reasons why you should put more muscle onto your frame. It's metabolically active, so you'll burn more fat at rest (and throughout your day), and there's less chance of you injuring yourself.

This week we want to geek out a little bit and discuss the three main methods of muscle development. It's really important because if you are not doing one of these three things then you may not be training efficiently as you could.

In simple terms, the three main training methods are...

Mechanical Tension - your muscles generate the largest force possible through full range of motion. Usually, the rep range is shorter with heavy weights.

Metabolic Stress - keeping your muscles under constant tension, often with zero rest between reps. Usually, the rep range is higher and the weights do not have to be heavy (or used at all).

Muscle Damage - usually involves high tension when your muscles are lengthened while contracting. Think of a slow descent on a pull-up or a stiff-legged deadlift.

Okay nerdy-mac-nerd-nerd, you might say, what does that mean for a normal person who just wants to survive a Bootcamp and get on with more fun things like looking at baby wombats.

Here are some things to try out...

Mechanical Tension - Stop doing as many reps as possible and think about using more weight and time under tension. When a weight gets too heavy we all are guilty of stopping short - like not going deep enough on a bench press or goblet squat. Think about using full range of motion throughout and drop down a weight if you feel you can't quite get there.

The Get Strong class has the best format to try this out.

Metabolic Stress - Think about not going full lock-out on an exercise. When you're at the bottom (or lock-out) of a squat you are actually in serenity for a split second, where the weight doesn't feel as challenging. Think about just stopping short of that moment and then avoid lock-out at the top (another serenity position), essentially keeping your muscles under stress throughout.

Try this with a Jump Squat at your next Cardio or Bootcamp class.

Muscle Damage - This category gets a little bit tricky because it needs to be programmed well. Your muscles will get sore as hell so you need to know what you're doing. Hiring a trainer and doing some one-on-one sessions or in a small group is recommended.

But if you feel competent, on top of negative pull-ups and stiff-legged deadlifts, you can try multiple pauses throughout the essentric (the lengthening of a muscle) component of a rep. You can grab a buddy to do forced reps - where after set failure they help you through the concentric (shortening of a muscle) part of the exercise but not the slow essentric part.

Kevin & Victoria

You Don't Know What You Don't Know

Did you know that the cigarette brand Lucky Strike tried to sell their product based on weight loss?

"Who cares about my throat cancer honey, look, I can fit through the gap in this fence."

The thing is, they sold a shit-tonne... until they didn't.

Because you don't know what you don't know.

If someone seems authoritative, is confident in their pitch and has "proof" that other people did it, you will listen.

We hope that the person is right. We hope it's as easy as they say. But we really know it's not.

What we aren't immediately aware of is the behaviour costs that's associated with anything we do.

When you sign up for a gym membership are you really aware that you have to make time to get to the gym and back. Get that sitter in place.

That you have to prepare for muscle soreness and the initial tiredness spell for the first few weeks.

If you go on a caloric deficit, are you prepared for the headaches, the withdrawals, the cravings. The time it takes to prepare food. Cuts to your fun-spending so you can buy quality food.

Last year, during the Spartan Race, most of us didn't realize what we were in for. That to do it well, you have to train hills, hills and more hills on top of really weird strength training exercises.

You don't know what you don't know... until you do.

So it doesn't matter if you're just getting back to exercise or if you can do 10-20 push-ups, 5 pull-ups and know you should be doing a Spartan Race.

The fact is you now know what you didn't know.

So the real question is, what you gonna do about it?

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The Sliding Teacup

We're about 8% of the way through 2019 already. How's those New Year, New You (ugh, are we still using this term?!) coming along?

We find that 4-6 week period, where you are deep into an attempted transformation, is where things begin to wobble.

The tea cup slides towards the edge of the table.

The ship steers mightily close to the iceberg.

A highly-elected official enters "Ashley Madison" on Google and hovers their finger above the “Enter” button.

Suddenly, you realize you've picked the wrong target to aim for.

A quick fix is to start thinking about performance goals rather than superficial ones.

Superficial goals, such as losing weight or inches, are usually emotional and can consume us. Performance goals are a bit cooler and can take this pressure away.

Consider training for a 5km race, or one of those muddy obstacle courses.

Consider trying to deadlift 1.5-2x your bodyweight with barbell club or semi-private training.

Try to do 50 push-ups, or modified push-ups, every day for a month.

See what happens.

Because the magic, little droogies, is in the side effects.

Those emotional goals like fat loss, more energy for your kids, your partner jumping on your loins again... usually show up as you head towards those performance goal achievements.

And mentally, it's a relief. No worrying about scales or how tight your jeans feel.

So what performance goals can light you up and keep driving you forward into 2019?

Book a complimentary, no-waterboarding-until-you-sign-up-for-a-membership strategy session and tell us all about them!

Kevin & Victoria

P.S. Our clubs are looking ahead to their performance race season. The running club, East Side Snails, are looking at 5km, 10km and above races. Newbies and non-members are always welcome and it's just $50 per year!

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Pass Me The Kool Aid Jim, I Think I've Joined a Cult

When you ask a super fit person how they got in shape, they usually give you a very passive tl;dr “Oh I just cut down on some carbs and started working out 4 days per week and wouldn’t you know it, four weeks later… voila!”

Your response is to tighten the grip on your glass until it breaks and then consider doing violent things with the shards. You’ve tried your best at everything and know it’s not this easy.

At first glance, Louise P has a similar, laid-back outlook. She joined BOMB a year ago, losing 11lbs within her first month.

She comes to BOMB 4 days per week and has ran through the gamut of group fitness – from the regular classes, to The Beast, to The Spartan Race Team to Kettlebells – and has one eye on Barbell Club.

However, there are two important things Louise did that maybe you’ve not considered about your own transformation plans.

1 – She Got Curious

Louise said that she hated the thought of group fitness before joining. In fact, her plan was just to get moving for a bit and then stop – she wasn’t even going to follow the meal plan we gave her.

But then she got curious.

She tried a bunch of different classes at Beach then Danforth. She wondered if she could build up to ten push-ups. She wondered why she couldn’t even pull herself up onto the monkey bars while her kid could traverse it with ease.

When she got moving she said, “The motivation came from realizing I could do stuff and I got really curious about that. If you just get started, you’ll find a place for it.”

You may think that you have to build up motivation to go to the gym, or look for a new job. But true motivation is built by…

Doing Something + Liking It + Feeling Competent = Curiosity and Motivation 

2 – She Changed Her Environment

With a 4-and-6 year old, Louise found it hard to keep up. While sitting at home she would always send her kid upstairs to fetch things for her, even if the remote control fell off the couch. She had also tried the Goodlife environment and that didn’t work out either.

By joining BOMB she quickly found out that she was surrounded by a different bunch of people.

“I’m a trained actress and so I know physical space and awareness. Even so, the coaches were super generous with corrections and you felt like they were focused on you – paying attention and constantly checking in with everyone.

More experienced members would also help me out with exercises and form suggestions. They weren’t judging me.”

By her own admission, Louise still calls herself a lazy person. But by changing her environment and being around a new tribe that were also trying to stay fit, she drew on the energy that environment change gave her.

She laughs, “I feel like I’ve drank the kool aid and joined a cult – in a good way!”

Louise is now down 25lbs in a year. She can do 18 full push-ups – 8 more than the 10 she imagined and she can crush the monkey bars at her kid’s school.

Her husband got curious too. He bought a rowing machine and is now down 75lbs himself.

“I don’t want to go back to where I was and that’s what gets me up at 5:40am to come to class. Not coming is not an option. 

I look for opportunities to move instead of avoiding them. Needing to get something from upstairs is an opportunity to run up the stairs. Dropping something on the floor is an opportunity to do a squat.

That's what drives me.”

Kevin

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How To Realistically Satisfy Your Cravings

The habit books would like to think you're a robot when dealing with cravings.

If you have a hankering for a Dangerous Dan's (R.I.P.) Colon Clogger hamburger followed by getting so drunk you end up doing doughnuts in a Walmart car park while drinking from a Pringles can, then the books will say no, no, no just do ten push-ups instead and celebrate with a nice fruit salad made from the saliva of baby unicorns.

We all know it's not that easy, and cravings is a helluva large topic to get into. So, here are a couple of more realistic, next-step tips you can make to take you from a 1 to a 2 in response to cravings.

1) Swap out the ingredients of your meals with healthier versions

Take a tuna mayonnaise sandwich on brown bread. Replace the regular tuna with low sodium tuna, replace the mayo with light mayo (saving 65 calories per serving but increasing sodium) and replace the bread with a sprouted grain version (similar total calories but zero sugar and 6x less fat).

This reduces the sandwich by 85 calories and a massive 29.5g of fat while still keeping the taste and satisfying the craving. Over a week, and at each meal, that's a huge saving.

2) Purchase mini-versions and just have a taste

Usually your brain needs just a taste to satisfy the craving. Consider buying stubbies of beer, mini soda cans and chocolate bars, and get kids size versions of takeout food - like McD's fries or Ed's Real Scoop.

One problem is that it's just half the size so it means I can have two, right!? Be wary of that.

These two tips won't cure your cravings in one go and as we said, it's a huge topic full of finding triggers and mantras.

But just taking action on one of these steps is far better than trying to jump from 1 to 10 where you'll most likely end up back at square one - drunken donuts in a Walmart car park.

Kevin & Victoria

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The Perfect Accountability Partner

If there’s one thing we know for a fact, it’s that working out is much more enjoyable with a buddy (or 12).  I can’t be sure, but it may have something to do with the whole “misery loves company” principle.

Valerie and Krista are a shining example of the magic of finding the perfect accountability partner. This mother-daughter duo have been keeping each other motivated since last April and they have no plans to quit. 

Krista has been an on again, off again exerciser for most of her life. She was even a committed Bomb member for a while, but inevitably, life would cut in and exercise would fall to the bottom of the priority list.

Valerie played competitive tennis as a teenager and has kept active by walking every day, but didn’t think that group fitness was going to be the right fit for her. With a big push from Krista, she decided to give it a go. 

Seven months later, despite obstacles like late-night conference calls with colleagues around the world, a new, more demanding job, a kid who’s allergic to sleep and the constant parade of viruses that infect their family, Krista and Valerie have been committed to their early morning classes. And it shows! They are both stronger and more capable in class and in life. Krista even said that burpees don’t make her feel like she’s dying anymore! 

The commitment really stems from their love for each other.

When one considers skipping a class, she quickly realizes that she doesn’t want to let the other down. It’s one thing to text your neighbour and tell her you’re taking the day off. But when its your mom or daughter on the other end of the phone, it becomes much harder to come up with a worthy excuse. 

Now, I realize not everyone has a close relative they can join the gym with. The perfect accountability partner doesn’t need to share your DNA, but it does help to find someone in your life who you care a lot about. Someone who you want to see succeed and would hate to disappoint.

Because often times it’s easier to do things for others than for ourselves. And who knows, maybe along the way you’ll realize that all that do-gooding for someone else did some good for you too.

Sally

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Three Important Books We Read in 2018

In 2018 we really upped our reading/audible game and got nerdy learning about true behaviour change. “The Secret” and Tony Robbins take a seat please.

After subtracting the books that you might find drier than a hog's bath mat, we were left with three of the more important, digestible books that we read this year…

1) Atomic Habits by James Clear

This book distills complex topics into simple behaviors that can be readily applied to daily life and work. It’s packed with practical strategies that will teach you how to master tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

Why It’s Important
Sooo many reasons but here’s one strategy that you can take action on right now…

The Two-Minute Rule - “When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.”

The more you ritualize the beginning of a process, the more likely it becomes that you can slip into the state of deep focus that is required to do great things.

So, if you’re trying to get fit, the first step is to just get your workout clothes on and if that leads to the gym, then fine. If you’re trying to write then just go and write one sentence and stop.

This sounds nuts but Victoria has run 63 days in a row (she wrote about it here) and credits it to the first few weeks where her only goal was to get dressed. 

2) Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt

As the subtitle suggests, this book argues that good intentions and bad ideas are setting up a generation for failure. It mostly focuses on freedom of speech at college campuses where we are treating students like customers as opposed to students.

Why It’s Important
While we believe we are looking out for the well-being of our kids and society, some actions – like over-protecting our children or being offended at everything - are actually contributing to an increase in mental health issues and a decrease in seeing each other as humans.

We really liked that the authors went into detail to show that answers to these issues are more nuanced than just good vs evil, left vs right.

Just because someone supports immigration control doesn’t make them a racist, and someone who wants tighter gun laws doesn’t necessarily want to take away all your guns.

It also makes a great case that the more adversity you are exposed to the stronger you’ll become, like this quote from Van Jones…

“I don’t want you to be safe ideologically. I don’t want you to be safe emotionally. I want you to be strong. That’s different. I’m not going to pave the jungle for you. Put on some boots, and learn how to deal with adversity. I’m not going to take all the weights out of the gym; that’s the whole point of the gym. This is the gym.”
 
3) Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen

We give and receive feedback all the time but we never really think about how to get good at it. It’s often spontaneous, off-the-cuff and well, you didn’t f*cking ask for it in the first place.

This book offers a powerful framework to help you take on life’s blizzard of offhand comments and unsolicited criticism with curiosity and grace.

Two things that you can implement right now…

  • Simply ask for more of it. When’s the last time you asked “Hey partner, how am I doing over here as a husband/wife/parent.” The more feedback you ask for the better you’ll get at taking it. We’ve had 200+ members leave feedback for us since we started asking for more, and every single one had a suggestion to improve. That toughens you up.

  • When giving feedback try and focus on the behaviour so that the receiver doesn’t feel that their identity is being attacked. Instead of saying “You’re never around any more.” – something that might trigger them to feel like a bad partner or parent - try “I feel we’re never spending enough time together, can we discuss how we fix that?”

Now if that’s the third time you’ve tried to bring that up, just implement the Newfie Fish Wake-Up Call…

Step One – Slap ‘em with it.
 
Kevin & Victoria

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A Weight Loss Tip From Stephen King's It

Do you remember the made-for-TV version of IT? It's a story about six kids who battle a shape-shifting clown and then “IT” returns to terrorize them as adults.

If you watched the movie between the ages of 13-20 it probably holds a special place in your heart.

Watching it now, however, it has not dated well. The acting is pretty awful and that ridiculous spider at the end! What were they thinking!?

But it’s still great and brings back memories of watching it under the covers on VHS or a shitty late-night cable channel.

That’s what nostalgia does to us – splatters us with the inability to separate the quality of something versus how it made us feel.

The film is based on the book by Stephen King – and by book we mean doorstop – 1,100+ pages long.

Anyway, there’s a chapter that explains how one of the kids - plump and constantly bullied - decided to get skinny. Enter Asshole Gym Teacher…

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“I got a football team to coach, and basketball, and track, and somewhere in between I’ve got swimming team. So I’ll just say it once. You’re fat up here.”

And he tapped my forehead right where his damned whistle had bonked me.

“That’s where everybody’s fat. You put what’s between your ears on a diet and you’re going to lose weight. But guys like you never do.”


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Now the coach is a huge dick, but he’s on to something about putting your brain on a diet.

When we have an urge to passionately change something – like diet or exercise – we tend to overthink it.

And when we do start the transformation, we over-analysis every little detail before we’ve even given ourselves the chance to begin.

We get too smart for our boots.

Add in every vibration, ping and a kid tugging on a pant leg, all vying for your attention, it’s no wonder our brains explode as we struggle to meditate for two minutes.

And it’s no wonder our brains itch to check our phones as we watch our kid’s soccer game.

Maybe the solution is to put our brain on a diet. Especially for things that are necessary but that you’re not super into.

Bringing it back to health and fitness – that’s what we try to do. To keep it simple as possible and done-for-you as much as we can.

Instead of going to the gym and wondering what you’re going to do, you can show up to an already organized program. You try your best while you are there, then on to the next thing.

Instead of wondering what’s for dinner tonight, you have a recipe to follow. If you batch everything, it will all be ready to go.

Prepare it. Eat it. Forget about it.

So take some time to think about things that need to get done but is not in your 5% - the things you have (or like) to do.

Then work out how you can outsource the rest.

Kevin & Victoria

P.S. Our done-for-you 30 day program – The Weight Loss Challenge begins on Monday, January 14th 2019.

Following that is a brand-new part two version – where we let you geek out a bit and try to improve your own self-sufficiency.

But just remember that we all float down here at BOMB.

And if you join us, maybe you’ll float too…

Check it out here

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Feeling Better Than Ever Before

Shane has come SO far since he first joined Bomb! Having him in every morning class down at the Beach is really awesome -- he humbly motivates others, and is always a welcoming smile and energy for new members to feed off.

Not only has he gained so much strength from when he first started, he has also noticed a great positive difference in his life outside of Bomb: 

"I have been with Bomb since it opened in the Beach - a regular on weekdays. I love the daily variety of exercises and programs offered.  Living with a thyroid condition, workouts were never an easy task for me.

Prior to doing regular exercise and having a balanced diet as part of my lifestyle, it took me years to regulate my thyroid hormones.  Nowadays, I enjoy my newfound energy and excellent health from this exercise routine; and losing weight is just an added bonus.

I have lost 30 lbs since my first day at Bomb and feel better now than I've ever felt before."

Keep it up, Shane! You are a great inspiration to the Bomb family.

Robyn

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Being Fit Isn't Just For Other People

Kathy joined Bomb about two years ago. At the time, she had been suffering from back pain for about five years and had just received a diagnosis of early osteoarthritis.

Her discomfort was very persistent and the reality that it was worsening and beginning to prevent her from doing much more than getting through a day of work and parenting was frightening. It had her wondering about her future.

Would she ever be able to take dance classes again? Would she be able to carry her grandchildren? How long before she’d lose her independence?

With these kinds of terrible thoughts in her head, Kathy decided to take action. She instinctively knew that she needed to strengthen her muscles so they could carry the load that her joints were failing under. And so, she hesitantly joined Bomb.

Kathy and I knew each other before she joined and I remember the first time I saw her at the gym. She told me that she had never been interested in fitness and didn’t think she’d like it much, but she kept coming anyway.

And in a classic case of fake it till you make it, Kathy started to find herself (gasp!) enjoying her workouts.  And even better, her back pain started to melt away!

I think it was about a year after she joined that I realized how strong Kathy had become.  It was another few months before I realized I should share that feeling with her and her reaction was a combination of pride and surprise.  I don’t think she really recognized how far she’d come.

She said she hadn’t even really realized that she had achieved muscle definition until someone else pointed it out to her.  When we chatted for this interview, she told me that she never thought she was someone who could be a strong person and that it took her a good long while to realize that she had become one.

Before joining Bomb, she would see other fit women and immediately brush aside any idea that she could be fit too. It’s something we really connected on because for most of my life, I felt the same way.

And, not to make this about me, but the feeling you get when you stop relying on others to lift heavy things is pretty incredible.  And it’s not really about what you can lift in the gym.  It’s about self-sufficiency.

It’s carrying all your groceries in at once.  It’s shoveling the snow yourself instead of relying on your partner.  It’s volunteering to help your neighbour move their couch.  And it’s about moving through your day with the confidence that you can handle whatever physical task is going to come your way.

So, how did Kathy do it?  The recipe isn’t too complicated.  She adopted a simple philosophy of “sign up & show up”.  Signing up is the easy part, especially because in Bomb, she found the right fit for her. Showing up is a little harder, but when she’s feeling tired, she reminds herself that she’ll only regret NOT going.

And it turns out, that when she shows up, she’s intent on learning and improving. By that, I mean she’s never worried about what others in the class are up to.  She focuses on her form.  She pays attention to corrections, asking questions if she’s not sure she gets something.  And she works to the best of her ability, every class. And the results are undeniable.

Kathy is officially a powerhouse who’s always up for another fitness challenge.  Most recently, she started taking Kevin’s Beast class and is loving how it feels to lift a barbell.

What I love most about Kathy’s story is seeing her progress from thinking she couldn’t be fit to wondering what else she is capable of.  Being fit is not just for other people.  It’s for anyone willing to sign up and show up with an open mind and good intentions.

Sally

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How Small Actions Can Build into an Automatic Routine

James Clear recently published a great book called Atomic Habits. He writes about how small actions that you take every day can build into automatic routines that really shape who you are.

I got sucked into his ideas while listening to him on Jay Ferruggia's podcast (#264, if you're interested).

For the last 32 days, I have been putting James Clear's Atomic Habits book to the test...  

I was hopping on a plane to Montreal to take an army course that was taking me away from reality in exchange for my green uniform and 2 weeks of leadership training with 100 of my peers.  I was warned that the days would be long and that my nights would consist of homework and mandatory "networking".

So the goal that I set for myself was that I would run every day.  Maybe for a minute, maybe for an hour, and I could skip one day per week.  Running isn't brand new to me.  But over the last few years, it's turned into a more occasional, social activity.  

I got a LOT out of this book, but the two points I want to touch on with you are the ones that still sit with me a month after getting through this book and putting in an honest effort to create a new habit AND regularly evaluate it against James' ideas.
 
You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems
 
In my case, the system that I put in place was that every day when I got back from the school, I would immediately change from my uniform into my running gear.  I didn't stop at the bathroom, I didn't stick around to make dinner plans with my colleagues, I put my shoes on.  School started at 7am.  SEVEN!  My brain was melted by noon, and when we got out of class at 5, the idea of going to dinner and bed was super appealing.  My goal was simple.  Get off the campus.  Every night. If that meant putting on my gear and walking the 300m from my dorm to the gate and back, I would consider that a win. 
 
By the time I came back to Toronto just 2 weeks later, I had found enough value in my newly developed habit, that it made all sorts of sense to keep it up. The time has stayed the same, just the location is different.  I do plan to cut back the running days at some point, but continue to reserve a chunk of my afternoon for exercise.
 
How can I create an environment where doing the right thing is easy? 

You'd think that adopting a new fitness habit when working in a gym everyday would be easy, but being removed from my normal routine actually made it MUCH easier to adhere to.  I used every trick that I know of to make sure that I was setting myself up for success.

  • I didn't feel the need to broadcast my goal when all of my colleagues, but living in a dorm (with shared washrooms), it was obvious that pretty quickly that I had a routine.  Within days, my colleagues (who probably think that I am this disciplined all the time!) wished me well on my workout, or asked how it went when I saw them in the meal hall or the pub later on.  

  • It's so easy to let other commitments get in the way.  Because I knew that I would have several commitments after dinner throughout the initial weeks, I found a time frame where I was guaranteed to be available.  Sometimes we finished at 4, sometimes we finished at 6, but that time immediately after school was a time where there was no way in hell that anyone was going to be functional enough to want to start our homework.

  • I found things to look forward to on my run.  Beautiful scenery, great music or an audio book, a chance to chat on the phone without my voice echoing down the hall.  I really set it up so that missing a run would be missing an opportunity.

This habit has definitely evolved from just "put on your shoes" to a gateway for a couple of more specific goals with measurable outcomes, but the takeaways from this book also really helped to shape where I'd like to take it next. (basically, all of chapter 19).

So what about you? What simple systems can you create to make your life healthier? And then how can you change your environment so those systems are easy to implement and repeat?

Let me hear about them!

Victoria

P.S. As a disclaimer, I have a decent amount of experience with running and exercise in general.  A daily running habit without a solid base is probably not an awesome idea!

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Power Generation

I was having a conversation with a coach last week regarding common humps and hurdles that people in the gym can’t seem to get over.

One that we both agreed on was the lack of power generation, and it’s one that if you fix will explode your results as quick as the click of your fingers.

Lack of power generation (or force creation) can be summed up using a common example:

Scenario: Bench Press. You can burst out 15 repetitions using a pair of 20lbs dumbbells, but the moment you try to use a pair of 25lb-ers you’re lucky if you can do 2-3 reps.

Has this ever happened to you?

There can be other forces causing you to fail at this progression, for example, poor mobility or you are simply at the edge of the maximum weight you can lift, but more commonly it is the lack of power creation.

So how do you fix this sticking point and create force? Simply by making sure you are firing on all cylinders.

Imagine a 4-cylinder car that can only turn on 2 or 3 of them. It would not be as powerful as a machine as it could be.

It will not elicit the results as expected.

Exercise patterns usually have way more than four and if you can turn on all cylinders, you will develop into a serious bad-ass.

Ladies and gents, parked cars will implode as you walk by them.

Flowers will shrivel in the yards that you pass.

People will bow at your feet and offer to wash them.

Well, we can all dream anyway.

Using the bench press example from above, most people just use their arms to move the weight and maybe even squeeze the chest, but here’s how you turn on all the cylinders to get the most out of the exercise and lift more than you think you can:

  • Lock your shoulders back and squeeze your upper back muscles together

  • Before you lift, squeeze your glutes and abs, squeeze the dumbbells tight

  • Through your nose, inhale to the pit of your stomach, this will also set your spine in place

  • Plant your feet, spread your toes, and push into the ground as you lift the weight

  • In fact, think of pushing your whole body away from the dumbbells and into the bench

  • Exhale strongly

But most importantly, make sure you explode with the weights or movement.

You should pretty much never, ever perform the concentric movement slowly. And you just thought you had to lift with your arms and do an Arnold Schwarzenegger “clunk” with the weights.

Another quick example you can do right now is a push-up. Rather than only using your arms to push your body up:

  • Spread your fingers into the ground

  • Peel your shoulders back and down

  • Tuck your elbows. Imagine you’re holding a piece of paper in-between your armpits

  • Squeeze your abs, clench your butt

  • As you lower down, inhale to the pit of your stomach, this will also set your spine in place

  • Keep your shoulders peeled back as you lower, don’t “neck pinch”

  • Breath out strongly, extend your arms as you push up using your whole body

You’ll notice that both exercises have common traits. In fact, most exercises do. It also gives you the power to complete one more repetition than you think whether you are a beginner or advanced, whether you can currently do 5 or 15 reps.

Once you master firing on all these identical cylinders you’ll see immediate progressions whether it’s a squat, bicep curl, lunge, burpee or a Muay Thai punch or kick.

And of course, people will offer to wash your feet.

Kevin

PS – The next time you do a push-up using the above cues you might find you actually do FEWER repetitions than normal. Now before you demand your money back (for this free blog), all I can say is congratulations, you’ve finally done a push-up… CORRECTLY!

3 Unconventional Ways to Find More Time to Exercise

We recently asked our members - “What is the one thing that gets in the way of you exercising regularly and making healthier eating choices?”

The overwhelming response was Lack Of Time.

So we thought we’d give you some tips that we use to make time to exercise. Now you may shake your head at some of these, but bear with us.

At the last Olympics, around 100 new world or Olympic records were broken. Athletes are getting better but the general population is getting fatter so what most people are doing right now isn’t working.

So therefore we ask that you take the Apple approach and “Think Different”.

See where it takes you.

Do Less

The thousands of adverts you’re exposed to each day encourage you to “buy more shit” to keep up with the Jones’s, otherwise you’re a loser.

Or that every day should be filled with adventure from dawn until dusk and that your life should be abundant all the time.  In reality, there are just some days you’ve got to cut off communication and binge watch House of Cards or Stranger Things on Netflix.

We’re taught to put our kids first too. And since you have to pay the bills and put food on the table, you can put “working” up there as well.

But we’ve got it all wrong.

Your kids don’t need to go to hockey on Monday, piano on Tuesday, soccer on Thursday and karate on Friday all at 7 years old to become well developed.

They also don’t have to go to Timmy’s 5th birthday one week and your third cousin’s baby shower the next. 

There are a few members who bring their kids to the gym who hang out at the front and watch their parent work out. That’s just as powerful a learning tool as taking them to soccer.

Kids develop through their environment at a rapid pace, so you can take them to sports and you can take them to your annoying cousin’s baby shower, but if you’re blowing out your ass just climbing up the stairs, quick to snap out (in your head as well as verbally) or would rather be anywhere else than in the moment with them, then that will affect your kids way more than anything else.

You can’t put your kids and work before your health - it has to run alongside it.

You have to set an example. By cutting out all the stuff that’s not important to you, so you can exercise more and eat healthier, you can become that example.

Take A Nap

Take a work day from hell, add 2 kids and a husband to it, add my own self-interests and you’re telling me that by taking a nap I’ll have more time to exercise? WTF!

If we were to tell the truth, it’s not really a lack of time you have to exercise, it’s a lack of mental energy. You see there are only so many BIG things you can give your concentration to in a set period of time, that’s why you feel unmotivated to exercise after an 8 hour shift; your mental energy hits zero.

Having a 15-30 minute power nap resets your alertness, relaxes you, makes you more productive and prevents burnout.

How do you find time to nap?

It lurks in the cracks of your day. At your afternoon break. When the baby is asleep. On your journey home. Hide in a closet after dinner!?

Kevin takes one almost every day. Yes, he drools on the pillow, much to the disgust of Victoria. But there’s no way he could work out up to 5 days per week without it.

Invest in Done-For-You Services

This is an extension to number one. You’ve cleared out the unimportant stuff but still need to tackle everyday tasks like feeding yourself, cleaning and maintaining your house and wardrobe, and caring for the kids.

Consider hiring a housekeeper that can also do a bit of food preparation for you.

Have a meal box delivered to your house using companies like Mama Earth or Meal Angels. Get your groceries delivered to the house.

Use a babysitter for more than just covering your kids while you go out and get messed up drunk.

“Mom after one beer…”

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Get them to take your kids to their sports or pick them up from after school club so you can stay and get your training in or prepare meals for the week.

Use a gym that looks after your kid while you get your workout in.

Obviously this costs money, but think of the benefits this will bring you. More time to exercise and de-stress, more time to take on passion projects.  More time to manoeuvre your way to that dream job. More quality time spent with your family.

So yeah, some unconventional methods that 99% of the population probably don’t even consider. But as we head to a population where 50% are overweight and out-of-shape, why would you do the same things as everyone else?

Athletes put themselves first, and they live an unconventional life where they strip away the non-essentials.

They become selfish.

It’s a paradox, but if you become that little bit more selfish, and take care of your essential needs, then you’ll be able to provide greater attention and help to other people.

Kevin & Victoria 

The Hierarchy of Fat Loss

"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble" - Ralph Waldo Emerson (writer, philosopher)

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A few month's back we let you peek inside the construction of our training at the gym based around the most effect principles for fat loss. It was taken from an important article (for us anyway) written by one of our mentors, Alwyn Cosgrove, and it bears condensing into one blog post.

If you've always wondered why our classes and training are set up in a certain way, why you do burpees, goblet squats, strider sprints and alternating lunges, it is all based on the following principles. 

1) Nutrition

Yes, it's true, you can lose fat without exercising. In fact, Alwyn's article mentions nutrition as the first two components of fat loss, it is that important. You simply cannot do a bicep curl in one hand, while munching on a burger with the other, and expect amazing results. You can NEVER outwork a poor diet. The ones who tell you that you can are liars, thieves, or blessed with freaky genetics.

Losing weight via healthy eating is great, but you also don't want to become weak, get injured, have excess skin, and lose that endorphin rush that is so important from exercising. So the next step you want to incorporate in the hierarchy of fat loss, is...

2) Metabolic Resistance Training

You'll have likely heard of the effects of this type of training, whereby after creating a "metabolic disturbance," you can burn fat up to 36 hours after your workout. Study after study has been made to conclusively show that this is the best training method for fat loss (refer to the original article for evidence).

So how does it work and what does it look like? The most effective way to create a metabolic disturbance is to try to engage and intensely attack as many muscle groups as possible, using resistance. Bicep curls and side lying leg lifts might get you stronger but single joint work is not as effective for fat loss. Things like weighted lunges, step-ups, pull-ups, goblet squats, deadlifts, trx crunches and rows are far more effective. Surprise, surprise, you may have noticed these exercises in our Bootcamps, Get Strong and TRX classes and is a staple of our personal training.

So unless you have a metabolic health disorder or you're an alien from another planet (the same one who allegedly abducted Renee Zellweger and replaced her with a completely different person) it's nearly impossible that this type of training won't work for you. It's pretty hard to cheat biology!

So how do you make metabolic resistance training effective? Make sure you lift weights that are heavy enough to burn your muscles and drain your central nervous system. Do compound movements as mentioned above. Ensure that you are engaging your core and the correct muscles for each repetition, and that you're leaving each training session blowing out your derrière! If you are quite bulky, losing weight through nutrition first will really help you perform better in training.

Finally, we do realize not everyone likes to lift weights, so the next stage is level is...

3) High Intensity Anaerobic Interval Training

Or as I'm sure you'll have heard its shortened term - HIIT. This is where you perform short but intense bursts of exercise, with little rest in between. If you've been part of Victoria's Strider classes you may have experienced intense sprints, hill climbs etc... like this, and if she's feeling extra horrible that day, she'll put you through a Tabata-style class of burpees, jump squats and more compound movements.

Much like #3, this has to be done with intensity. Walking in and out of a burpee doesn't cut it if you're more than capable of doing it with a jump. Like we said above, if you have trouble performing these types of exercise, losing some weight by correcting your nutrition, and starting off at a less intense pace is the way forward. If mobility or tightness is an issue then dynamically stretch, foam roll and  attend Yoga, Pilates, Stability Ball, Fitness Essentials and the Sunday Tune-Up before progressing.

Here's a brief mention of the last two in the fat loss hierarchy...

4) High Intensity, Steady State Aerobic Training (e.g. running at an intentional fast pace over a long time period) 

5) Low Intensity, Steady State Aerobic Training (e.g. walking)

Conclusion

Ok, so you might be thinking what does this all mean to me? What it says is, if you are a busy parent and only have 1-2 times per week to workout and you want to lose fat, then you shouldn't be running slow for 20 minutes and then doing a mat-based Pilates class. You should be paying attention to your diet, and then smash your muscles hard and fast (i.e. a session each of #2 & #3).

If you have more time on your hands, say 3-4 sessions per week then variance in your training will be the best route. If you do high intensity training three times per week then a fourth session of lower intensity (Yoga, Pilates, Running) will help you recover better while still putting stress on the body and still expending calories.

What this hierarchy also shows is that if you are couch-based and ready to take on a fat loss program, you might want to work your way up from the bottom of the intensity ladder for a few weeks, as your tight, inactive body might not be able to take the stress of a high-intensity class.

Finally, this also clarifies that while there is no magic pill or 30-day, 60lb weight loss transformation, whoever "created us" has said if you work hard for around 3-4 days per week for just 30-45 minutes, and eat healthy 80% of the time you'll lose weight, gain muscle, be strong and live longer.

Kevin

Fitness Instagram Star Breaks Internet By Making a Post About Someone Else

SANTA MONICA, CA - Fitness Instagram superstar Chesty Lane lost 500,000 followers yesterday after making a post be all about someone else.

Fellow fitness influencer, Brock Twolegs, picks up the scandal... "So I was scrolling through my 'gram. It was a usual day of colleagues posting shirtless meal prep videos and photos of themselves contemplating over a sunrise backdrop, by themselves, quoting themselves.

And then Chesty's post pops up with someone else in it! OMG my chin hit the floor. I mean, this person was clearly just a 5, maybe a 6 if Chesty had bothered to use a filter. And then there was some bullshit about blah blah struggles blah blah no time to exercise blah blah. How dare she spend all this time building up super-fans to then go and blow it all by talking about someone else!"

Chesty declined to comment for this story but, as of print, the incendiary post has been deleted and she was back with a new video promoting her 24-hour sexy belly slim down program, a spoken word essay on why sweat is simply your fat crying, and a reminder that cow dung spread on toast is 2018's new superfood.

Her follower count has steadily begun to rise.

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