A Healthy 2012

This article is brought to you by Pete Brown.

Pete is a personal trainer and has competed in natural bodybuilding competitions for the last three years. His vision is to live in a world in which people are healthy and live long happy lives. He is inspired to work in an organization that  truly believed in the healthy fitness programs they delievered with the sole purpose of helping the community.  Through his natural bodybuilding he is able to practice what he teaches.

With 2012 approaching have you set your goals?

Is a fitness goal incorporated into your goals?

Is it a healthy goal?

In the end what is fitness without health?

The reason I ask if the goal is healthy is most people forget that health can be lost in the quest of a fitness goal.

Many people will find a program or a diet off the Internet to follow and in most cases these diets/programs are extreme, written up by athletes for athletes. Other people will take the advice of a personal trainer thinking they re-doing the right thing, the problem here is unfortunately there are many personal trainers out there who will do the same as you. They will jump on the internet find a good-looking program and diet then give it to you.

These programs tend to look good on paper. They look like hard work, have lots of exercises and the diets are calculated precisely to the last calorie. Cutting carbs eating more protein blah blah blah!

Sounds good doesn’t it? In the short-term you may achieve something but it will require a lot of time, effort and sometimes even money. It will take a toll on relationships, careers and in the end your health.

The quest for optimal health and a good-looking body should in fact enhance your life. Not make you feel tired and cranky. Achieving optimum health should be the base and structure for you to go on and achieve in every area of life.

Below I will outline my tips to a healthier 2012;

  1. More is less – 3 – 6 hours are required in the gym a week to provide great results. This will mean per session the maximum time you should spend is 1 hour, ideally you should be in and out in 45 mins
  2. Base your program around your weights – A healthy training program is based on intense weight training. Intense cardio fits into the program on your days with no weight training. Muscle drives your metabolism and is the one determining factor when it comes to losing fat and keeping fat off.
  3. Intensity – you cannot workout with intensity for long periods of time, lift heavy with low reps and low sets. Perform your cardio hard and fast in 20 – 30  minutes. Interval training is the best style of cardio in this instance.
  4. Match your nutrition to your training – most people restrict calories and increase training. Unsustainable! Instead the more you train the more you should eat.
  5. Eat the right foods – Tying in with point 4, no one ever got fat from eating fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, seeds, milk, yogurt, and unprocessed grains. Eat a variety of these foods to ensure the body gets all of it nutrients.
  6. The big one! Forget calories! I could go on about this but I’ll put it shortly.

Your body does not crave calories! It craves nutrients. Ever wonder why you can eat cheese burgers (high calorie/low nutrient) till the cows come home.

Instead eat plenty of unprocessed foods six times a day, this type of food is (low calorie/high nutrient)

With these tips I hope you achieve health and fitness without sabotaging your relationship and career goal for 2012

NOTE – The above information i have gained through my mentor Dr Paul Cribb , he  has developed a program called ‘Metabolic Precision’ available for personal trainers to help their clients achieve great results efficiently. You can find further info at mp-body.com. I am a qualified level 2 Metabolic Precision transformation specialist .

A Millionaire Mind with T Harv Eker

During the National Achievers Congress i was able to spend time with T Harv Eker. Eker is known for promoting his ‘Millionaire Mind’ book where he has been famously quoted that within five minutes he is able to predict your financial history using your financial blue print. A bold claim.

What is a financial blue print though?

T Harv Eker explains that we are all control by an inner blue print. Our attitude, values and beliefs control and restrict our perceptions and behaviours that control our end result.

“If you want to change the fruits, you need to change the roots”

Within my own coaching life i meet far too many people who are unhappy with what they have in life. Not happy with the position their career is in, the rewards aren’t big enough for someone like them or they aren’t as healthy as they might like. Money and health are only results…

“If your life isn’t where you want it to be that is because it is a result of you… So change you”

Our minds are a powerful tool. It controls every part of our body without thought, we can place it under amazing pressure and how we use it will shape our destiny.

Thoughts -> Feelings -> Actions -> Results

If you want to change your results you first must change your thoughts and feeling. The inner conversations we have with ourselves are more powerful than the external conversations we have with our relationships.

Has there ever been a time where you have wanted to exercise, maybe before or after work and when it got to that time you talked yourself out? You even brought your gym bag!

Despite the inner conflict, did you win the battle? Sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t. If you did win did you convince yourself to just do 20 minutes but then found that you completed an entire session?

It’s amazing how your inner world will ultimately affect your outer world. Regardless if your goal is financial, spiritual, career, relationship or health related… If you want to bridge the gap between your present state and desired state you need to be able to influence your blue print (attitude, values and beliefs).

Anthony Robbins mentions in his book ‘Awaken The Giant Within‘ that when it snows many people complain and stay inside to avoid the cold but some people grab their snowboard and hit the slops. It is all about perception and perception will directly control your outer world.

What Went Wrong?

Scene

Inside the carriage of a long distant train. The train is moderately filled with sparatic spots availabile, however; currently occupied by baggage. I enter the train and notice a spare two seats next to a mother and a young lady. They are International travelers (and i soon find out to be American). They have baggage cluttered over four seats as well as mine. I ask them politely to move one of their bags so i could sit there. The young American makes a giagantic scene like she had indeed discovered i had slept with her mother.

At the next station an old man walks up to the ladies.

Start Scene

Old Man – you will have to move those bags. My wife and i would like to sit there.

While the old man returns to collect his wife, the young lady begins to complain. She complains there is “no where to out her stuff” but what she was really saying was “there is no where that i want to put my stuff”.

The old man returns and she is still complaining. The old couple would be in their 70-80’s and should not be expected to ride a 2hr train standing up. As they slowly re-approach the Americans…

American (who is currently throwing her bags everywhere to make a scene) – i don’t know where i am going to out this.

The group where at log heads. I loook at the old couple and say

Anthony – take my seat, she is only going to continue whinging
Old Man – where will you sit?
Anthony – i’ll find somewhere

Scene End

So, what did you see? Who was right and who was wrong? How could have this been handled better?

As i watched on i can safely say that both parties were wrong.

A ticket on the train entitles you to one seat. I appreciate you may be carrying baggage and it does require room, you should not ever deny somebody the right to a seat because your inanimate object is taking its spot. At the same time while the old man is indeed old and should be respected because his body is not equal to that of a young person, he should have never started the conversation with a demand. A demand like this is always going to be met with an objection.

In a previous entry i spoke about 1st and 2nd position.

1st position is when you see things from your eyes only and 2nd position is when you see things from somebody elses side.

It is pretty obvious that both parties where stuck in first position. If i could ask them individually what was the most important thing at the time the old man would have said “a seat for my wife” and the young lady would have said “somewhere to store my baggage”. While both where indeed important, society is build on helping one another.

How could this have been handled better?

Despite by own confrontation with the Americans, i blame the old man for starting this confrontation. In your opinion which would give you a greater chance to move your bags;

1.) you will have to move those bags. My wife and i would like to sit there.
2.) my wife and i would like to sit there, would you mind moving your bags?

Option 2 is always going to provide a better chance for success.

Over time i have understood that getting into a confrontation with someone is just two people not moving from 1st position. Sometimes we get caught up in being right so much that we only focus on the problem instead of the solution.

Ironically enough i moved my posessions and when i stepped down into the bottom carriage (our trains are two leveled) i found two vacant seats. What would have the experience had been like if the American had said “as you can see i have a lot of bags. Do you mind if i quickly look in this carriage for two available seats before i have to move those bags?

Just A Combo

A few months ago my Bulldogs Army and I went on a road trip north of Sydney to a country town of Tamworth. It is about a 5-6hr drive and in the close knit environment of a bus there was always going to be stories.

None stand out so strongly to me then when we took lunch in Cessnock at a highway diner. Burgers, chips, hot dogs and anything you could deep fry could be found on their menu. I identified the tropical burger as my deep fried meal of choice.

Along side of the menu was a series of combition meals which included chips and a drink. After a long trip on the road this sounded awesome so i ordered it… only to be told no.

No?

No?

How could this be? Every takeaway joint known to man has a combo option. They advertised a combination meal. I attempted to comprehend why I was denied a combo meal while dealing with the shock of being told no in a restaurant.

I was then told that there was no combination for the tropical burger and only selected burgers where found in this menu. I see. So i ordered the tropical burger on it’s own.

This happened during a time where the Global Financial Crisis was still keeping retailers nervous and every customer was important to survival.here was an opportunity to generate an additional $3+ from each customer but their inflexibility denied them that opportunity.

What shocked me the most was not the denial of my tropical burger combination but rather no alternate solution offered by the stsff member. No mention of adding a small chips and small drink (which is clearly what i wanted). Just a straight no.

Think about your business or organisation and the procedures you have in place to maxamise customer spend.

* Is it flexible enough to adapt to your unique customers?
* Can you offer a little more for a little less?
* Are customers offered an opporuntity to spend more?

Smart retailers entice their customere to spend more then they initially commited through offerings of smaller value near the end of the transaction (chocolates near the cash register in your local supermarket, McDonalds upsize after selecting your burger or a clothing store recommending a belt to go with your new pair of jeans) or by simply asking the customer for relatable products (phone case for your new phone or extended warranty for your new sunglasses).

Instead of stating a problem, offer a solution!

6 Tips On Meeting New People

Last week I joined a ‘Business Mentoring’ program by one of the large banks in Australia. All my work colleagues who said they were also going to attend… failed to attend. This meant I was either going to sit by myself for three hours or I needed to meet new people.

I looked around the room and everyone was older then me and as you would expect – ran a business.

I decided to meet some new people but there was a problem. Everyone else in the course looked like a wall flower with their backs to the wall and they did everything in their powers to pro-occupy themselves. They would stare at the walls and pretend to be interested in the pattens, people would be completely focused on their mobile phones or they would simply sit there in an awkward silence looking down on the ground.
Be Open
It sounds like an easy concept but many fail at the basics. Why would someone converse with you when you don’t like you want to. Create positive body language. Don’t cross your arms and put your hands in your pockets.

Avoid Comforts
Your mobile phone allows you to keep in contact with your friends so it is easy to whip out your mobile phone and send someone a Facebook/Twitter/Text message.

Eye Contact
Making eye contact is always the first way we start a relationship so it is important to be looking at the people you want to be conversing with. When you connect with someone with your eyes you should then…

Smile
It takes more muscles to frown then it does to smile. I don’t need to tell you all the benefits to smiling more but what I do need to tell you is that a simple smile is warming and your success rate for striking up a conversation is a lot higher then if you stare at them blankly.

Listen
We have two ears and one mouth so in theory we should listen more then we talk. If you want to be successful in communicating you need to be able to listen to people. Everybodies favourite person in the world is themselves so ask a question then step back and listen to them. Finally…

Forget The Judgement
Who cares what this stranger is going to think about your story. Many of us are uncomfortable with new people because we fear what they are going to think about us. Yes you have different interests but you will eventually find common ground.

Inspiration To Positive Change – Mark Peterson

Hi. My names Mark. I’m 27 years old, and I work at Coles, live with my parents, and generally lead a rather boring life. Except, over the past few years I’ve managed to find happiness, and a true appreciation for life. How? You ask?

By doing the simple things, and adopting a positive attitude towards everything I do.

I wasn’t always like this. Im a short, 5 foot 7 guy with glasses, no girlfriend, who suffers from anxiety disorder, and a chronic fear of failure. I may never beat it. But above all else, I have determination. And determination will always overcome failure. Always. Whether its work, travel, or anything you want, as long as you work your guts out to get it, you will achieve it

The last few years ive juggled anxiety, weight issues, depression, work issues, most of all at the same time, and at no stage was it easy. The summer of 2005 saw me lose my apartment in Maroubra, my independence, my job, and a forced relocation home. I went from having a trainee-ship lined up (which id achieved in 11 months at my previous job) to absolutely nothing. I could have wallowed in my own self pity like which would have been so easy to do.

I went home. I started a new job. I started from the bottom. I worked every weekend I could. Learnt everything that I possibly could, worked hard, and it took a bit longer, but after 2 years working my way up, I was picked out of 7000 people for one of 70 positions to be a leader in my company. By not giving up and working hard, id earned another shot. Eager and ready and willing, I threw 5 million percent into it.

I failed.

Suffice to say this destroyed me. After all, how could this happen? How could someone so driven and so intent on making it fall flat on his face? The answer was simple. Sometimes in life, you can do everything in your power, but for some reason it just doesn’t work. You can get upset about it all you want. Or you can take some time, refocus, and try again. Right now, i’m in the middle of trying again. Am I sad? No. Because refocusing has its benefits. It allows you to see your mistakes, and learn from them. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Usain Bolt didn’t begin running marathons in 9.79 seconds. But relentless persistence got them there, and ultimately will get me there too. But this break lead me to my other passions in life. The one thing I’ve learned over the last few years is you cant achieve anything without balance, and its something I practice everyday

I love to dream big. One of my passions in life has been travelling and exploring the world, which brings with it its own challenges. Ive never shared with anyone the various meltdowns I’ve had in far off cities, a product of my own belief in challenging myself to the fullest, intermixed in with the divisive polar opposite when it rears its ugly head. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  I believe in the idea that “Today sucked. Tomorrow is a new day.” And with this, life goes on. Ive been to 18 different countries in the past two years, no mean feat for a kid that works at Coles, and I do this by myself, with full realization of my limited capabilities. Each trip gets harder. The first trip I went on was a 25 hour flight to Europe, when id never been on a plane before.  A month later I came back with a new concept, “embracing the awesome” which I still practice to this day. Fiji followed (a failure in its own right, but a journey nonetheless), then New Zealand, where I jumped off a bridge and made one of the best friends Ive ever made in my life (you know who you are) and then an amazing trip to a Football World Cup in South Africa, which ill treasure forever.  The next trip I undertake is even bigger. In 64 days I go around the world for 10 weeks. By myself. 30 different cities, and all me. And I do this for no other reason but the challenge and the opportunity itself. Few people believe in themselves enough to say, “To Hell with it, I’m doing this.” I do, and that, is the most powerful gift of all.

The last thing I’ve done happened more recently, and it was possibly the most physically hardest of all, but equally as rewarding. I gave up alcohol. I started running. And from that skinny fat kid with glasses who weighed 86 kilos in December of 2010, I’m now down to a healthy 73.6 kilos. Ive put down 68 runs since January (its now May 2nd 2011)  dress better, look better, and genuinely regard myself as a superstar. I talk about myself as “A better version of Usain Bolt” because he stops after 100m and I keep going. I talk about my “58 goal season” with my new soccer team. And generally love everything about me. Because realistically, you only get one shot at life. So its much better to love the life you live, than to wallow in self pity. I may never be as fast as Usain Bolt, but if I run until my legs fall off, that’s good enough for me. I’m not a superhero, but I am an amazing human being. Everyone has the power to be awesome, you just have to embrace it. And for those of you who have read this far, here are an abridged version of some motivation techniques I use

Motivation Techniques to achieve goals

Running in the morning or After Work – for me these are the two best times of the day to run, because they are the two times of the day you want to just sit down and rest. Your going to go sit down or go on with your day after it anyway, so whats another ½ an hour run around the block? Gut it out, and youll feel really glad that you did it

Hill Climbs – yeah, they may seem like hell, but if you can add a hill in between your runs somehow, getting over them is an amazing feeling… and with every uphill, theres always a downhill… youll feel like Usain Bolt screaming down the other side at a zillion miles an hour

Social Media – I use facebook a lot (much to the annoyance of probably most of the people around me) but I find that posting about a run or an achievement, a hill ive conquered makes me feel good. I also put a mark against a calendar to indicate the number of runs ive done. If you start with one, then ten, etc etc it really helps you focus and get motivated on achieving your goal

Sports Teams/Friends – while running is a singular event, ive found the most fun I tend to have are with the various football teams that I play with, because we are all working towards one goal. Not only is the social aspect of it awesome, but it’s a different type of workout so it variates what you do. Sports teams usually play once a week too so that’s one “free” run you don’t even have to think about

Books – When im not running, im reading about someone whos run a marathon, or im reading about someone or something who can give me ideas and advice on what im doing… the answers are all out there, we just have to find them. So many people have done inspiring things and just make me want to be a better person, so the more I read the more motivated I feel. Book I suggest reading include;

  • Its not about the bike by Lance Armstrong – an amazing story about the journey from the fight against cancer to the tour de france podium
  • Broken Open by Craig Hamilton – a local sports journalist and his battle with bipolar disorder and the fight to overcome it
  • 50 marathons in 50 days by Dean Karnazes – one mans journey across America raising money for charities
  • Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert – for those who love reading about travel and self discovery
  • After Bali – Jason Mccartney – an incredible journey about not giving up

Being Bitten

If you work with customers there are a few constants no matter where you work. The one i want to focus on is rejection.

Whether you work in sales and customers reject your product directly or simply choosing similar product from a different provider… You are always going to have some customers not choose your product.

What seperates the professionals from the amatures is how you deal with rejection.

Currently our Bulldogs supporters group has been organising a bus to drive our fans to a game in Canberra (3hrs south of Sydney). Our members fit the bill for the trip so cost is an important factor in the decision so we shopped around a few bus companies for a quote.

One of the premium bus services’ quote was $200 more expensive then the company we chose, however; what happened next surprised me.

When my good friend Ali called back the premium service company to tell them we wouldn’t be going ahead with their quote he was bombarded. The company was disappointed in our decision because they drive the football players bus as well. They continued by accusing our choice of lying to us about their quoted price.

Wow!

Not only has this company destroyed any chance of us changing our mind through a counter offer but they have damaged further opportunities through a poor experience.

So what can you learn from this companies mistakes?

Keep Your Cool
Rejection is never easy, however; it is difficult to remove negative perceptions held by customers. Take it on thr chin, thank your customer for considering your product/service and ask why they made their choice not to go ahead with you. This will allow you to find out the customers hot spot and negioate a counter offer.

Never Discredit Your Opposition
Even if you know your opposition has traps or hidden charges with their product it is important not to discredit your opposition. Words are powerful. Reinforce the features of your product and position your product with transperancy. If you do this you will be able to create doubt in your competitors without you saying it directly.

Business Is Long Term
The heart of every business decision is a relationship between the customer and the product or brand. Just because they didn’t make a purchase with you today doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. Consider business transactions as a long term relationship with your customer and you will ensure long term success.

Understand Your Customers Needs
The bus company in question kept referring to high quality service and justifying why there was a price gap. The problem was the mentioned featured no additional benefits to us so they remained as just features.

A business does’t go bankrupt over night, it happens one customer at a time…

Make A Lasting Impression

During a discussion in my training session last week one of the new recruits mentioned her experience at one of our sites. Normally I am used to positive feedback, however; this was surprisingly different.

She had mentioned that when we were approached at the kiosk and asked about the offer they had in market she was told to read the brochure and if she had any questions to return. Interesting tactic. To add to that the sales person then walked off to speak to someone else.

This is just one side of the story and I have no doubt in my mind if I was to speak to the sales person in question they would give me a logical answer to why it went down the way it did. Maybe he was in the middle of a presentation and as he was grabbing a brochure he was intercepted.

What I do know is that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

This got me thinking about how we might treat customers and the importance that at even the busiest time in your environment, people are representing what is happening with their own rational. Did the above mentioned sales person have a valid reason why he gave her a brochure and ran off? Probably. Will the customer see his side of the story or will she remember the encounter as a underwhelming or negative one? Probably.

Let me share with you some key points in making an affective first impression;

  • Acknowledge customers within the first 60 seconds. The sooner the better.
  • Smile
  • Greet them
  • Set the expectation with the time it is going to take to serve them and offer and alternative such as a call back, a seat on the couch (if you have one) or to grab a drink and return if they weren’t happy to wait around.
  • Use positive body language
  • Ask questions from the start of the conversation
  • Ensure work place hygiene is spot on
  • Be up to date with the information you are going to provide
  • Focus on your customer and not the surroundings
  • Show genuine interest in your customer
  • Use techniques to show your customer that you are listening
  • Dress to the expectation of your customer in your profession

When you think about your own experiences as a customer you will find that we all prefer to do business with people that we know, like and trust.

Reward Yourself

“Before the reward there must be labor. You plant before you harvest. You sow in tears before you reap joy.” – Ralph Ransom


About four years ago when I was working as a manager I had set myself a career goal to become a sales trainer. It was a perfect combination of teacher and performer in an industry that I accidentally  fell into but loved. This wasn’t just a want this was a must achieve goal for me.

I remember walking past a jeweler one day and spotting this fantastic watch which was stylish and professional.  I tried it on and it was perfect… except it was worth $1,000. I ended up putting the watch on layby/layaway to make me work harder for the watch and when I did finally get the watch I promised not to wear it until I had achieved my goal in being a sales trainer. That goal was achieved just two and a half years ago.

So what about you?

2011 on The Art of Conversations has seen a focus on goals and I hope by now you have set your own goal. Quit smoking, get a promotion, lose weight or gain a new life skill could be one of yours but are you rewarding yourself?  Have you linked a pleasure to your goal?

If you haven’t already done so, take a moment to analyse your goal and find a way to reward yourself. If your goal is to lose weight, go and buy a nice piece of clothing in your desired size. How amazing will it feel to fit in those brand new jeans which were initially too small? Why not take a holiday with all the money you save from not smoking?

Goals are achieved through hard work, discipline and being uncomfortable. In the March review I will explain some of the changes I have made in my diet which have already shown rapid results in a short period.

Have you set yourself a reward if you achieve a goal? I’d love to hear about it.