02:27 – The bride’s diet phenomenon
06:28 – What’s really driving you?
09:50 – The way people take in info
12:56 – Leveraging pain from a coaching perspective
15:51 – Do public goal declarations always work?
20:46 – Achieving long-term change
25:19 – Cue, routine, reward
27:08 – An example of negative habit formation
31:23 – A framework for habit change
34:38 – The power of community
38:26 – Exercise’s effect on other areas of life
42:07 – If you’re looking for a coach…
46:00 – Summary and takeaways
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James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to our incredible series. You know really, it’s quite exciting and revolutionary. Certainly for a lot of people listening to this, it’s a first exposure or second exposure to this whole idea of DNA. This Optimum Strategy to Health and Fitness Series with my good friend Jonny Deacon has been mindblowing for me. Welcome back Jonny.
Jonny: Hi James. We’re nearly at the end of the marathon.
James: It’s amazing! It’s like a massive workout. It’s been certainly a long series. If you just arrived at this episode, you need to go back and listen to episode one, which is where we just covered DNA and Jonny introduced why we might be interested in it, what it is, we did DNA 101, how you can get out of that one-size-fits-all scenario and go to a more personalized training program. And we even covered my own fitness report, which was eye-opening.
Then we moved to the podcast two, where we talked about the foods that I should and shouldn’t eat, and how my body processes everything, from caffeine through to vitamins and toxins. That was really interesting. We also covered the psychology, how we actually approach our training.
Then we’re here right now in podcast number three of this series. In this one, we’re going to be talking about the three pillars. Why discovery, leveraging pain, and the power of habit. So I’m going to hand over to you Jonny to take us home.
Jonny: Thanks James. I’d really like to kick this off by asking the question, what makes people give up and go from the impossible to possible? I believe it’s centered around people really moving from shoulds into musts. Now for me, musts are about creating things which allow us to be pulled towards our desired results. In this case, with our health and fitness, these are actually getting up and running with three critical elements in and around these musts.
Discovering your purpose
Now the first one of these is quite punchy. It’s actually looking at discovering your purpose, your why for actually transforming. Most people will associate their whys with life events. Now in the health and fitness realm, this is kind of popularized, and the most common ones are January’s New Year’s resolutions, summer holiday beach bodies, wedding days. I mean, the one I love to use as the example here is the bride’s diet. So almost all brides’ diets are generally all successful. The reason for that is because their why, their purpose is huge.
“Don’t be fooled by life events.”
But one of the things I remind people is that, don’t be fooled by these almost life events, which include the bride’s diet, because often, they will demonstrate short-term responses to long term desires. Now the reason I say that is this research at Flinders University in Adelaide in Australia where they found women who dieted before their wedding put on significantly more weight within six months of being hitched. In a study of nearly 350 brides, it revealed that six months after their weddings, participants had gained on average 2.1 kilos. So every single participant gained weight after the event.
James: Now hang on a minute, isn’t this a lot like a bodybuilder after a contest, after they’ve starved themselves, and cut their body, and started getting less moisture in their body, and all this sort of stuff. Isn’t it deadline-driven?
James: Isn’t it to be expected that a hard deadline, that’s going to have an overflow?
Jonny: Yeah. It’s such a good point, and I know it well, because after competing and using actually my information from my DNA results to build out my programs for my bodybuilding shows, you’re right, there is a big, big prize almost. There’s a big, big outcome to be able to achieve. The problem is, in my experience with myself, even, and clients is the aftermath, the post coming out of that.
It’s not to say that brides wanting to achieve their best when they want to look fantastic on their wedding day, that’s not what I’m saying here in terms of good or bad. What I’m saying is, most of my clients, when they come to see me, they want a long-term result with their health and fitness. They want it to last long time.
James: Well I think a bride or a bodybuilder, they don’t need the long-term result. They need a result by a certain time. So I think that might be an exception, right? It makes sense. They’re going to invest a huge amount on photography. It’s the most important day in their life. They’ve been dreaming of it, especially the bride, they’ve been dreaming of it since they were a kid, this princess fairy wedding. It’s a huge psychological driver.
But most people after they’re married, they get on with life. Unless you’re a professional bodybuilder, I imagine your body is going to be yoyoing up and down as long as you compete. For normal people like me, who’s just going about life, then I would say one of the filters from what I’m hearing you saying is not to be deadline-driven, or sprint-driven, or fad-driven, or seasonally driven, but to be perpetually driven to have a sustainable program.
Jonny: I only base this on what the market comes back to me in terms of feedback. And when I’m doing qualitative analysis with my clients, some of the biggest driver for them are long-term health and fitness. They want to be around in later life to be able to have experiences with such as grandchildren and be able to be doing things into the elderly life where they’re capable and physically capable of doing things and feel optimized.
If we’re looking at the optimum strategy to health and fitness, where we’re looking at longevity and having good quality across our life, then there are absolutely strategies which look at public declarations and deadlines, which we’ll come onto, and that’s very much in the realm of attaching pain, leveraging pain in the sense of actually wanting to get those short bursts within that marathon of actually getting over a certain criteria and certain target-driven finish lines.
“People are focused on the whats and the hows.”
But in relation to this, what I see that’s a common problem is that people are so focused on the whats and the hows rather than actually what their purpose is, about the longevity of the journey. A lot of people will confuse why with the result. So a goal is result, like we said about the bride’s diet or jumping on a bodybuilding stage. But the why is actually what leads to that result.
I actually think about the path that most people follow to obtain health and fitness objective, and often, if you draw a circle, it represents the arrow travelling from the outside in. Most people will start in the outer section of a circle and say, “What should I be doing if that outer line of a big, fat circle is representing the what?” Most questions that get asked within the health and fitness space are, what do I do to get a toned and flatter stomach, how do I get six-pack abs, what exercises will I get to get a rounder bum, how do I get a beach-body ready in 30 days or less? And often, starting with why accepts that no matter what your aim, if it’s the brides, your wedding day or looking at becoming a bodybuilder jumping on stage, you should always work with an understanding of its purpose.
I’ll give you an example of this James, most of the competitors which I competed with, their purpose and why was very much from what I saw on show day a significant standpoint. It was really much about an internal challenge with themselves, and that’s fine. But it’s the aftermath of that. I always knew my purpose and why going into that was to create value. I’d document that process and be able to afterwards give that entire process away free to my community so that they could understand what and get a lean in on what that kind of life was.
So that really helped my why, my purpose to drive that over the line, but it continued. I felt like I had a much easier path coming out of my bodybuilding show where you’re starting to eat more calories, you’re actually starting to drink a lot more water again, your mind is starting to resume to normal, whereas I think people that were very much built on just that event had a much harder time coming back into almost like the real world, as you rightly pointed out.
So I think that that’s the first real consideration for people in relation to really thinking about what is actually driving them. Is it coming up to the first of January 2017, and it’s going to be another attempt at this? Another stab of 30 days, January, I’m going to really go for it this time. Or are you going to take a step back and actually think, what is driving me for this, what are my real purpose, and whys behind it?
James: Yeah, I can totally relate to it. I had someone ask me yesterday, they asked me, “Hey listen, with SilverCircle training, is the real benefit is that I’ve got someone to be accountable to and to drive me?” And I said, “No, absolutely not. If you don’t know why you’re there, and if you don’t want to do it yourself, then you’ve got to go and think about your reason why. You’ve got to understand why this is important to you.” The last thing I want to do as a coach is push someone along. I don’t know about you, when you’re training someone, do you find that if student wants to do well and they have a strong reason that your job is 10 times easier?
How people absorb information
Jonny: Yeah absolutely. I mean there is some science around this in terms of the way that people absorb information, I’m sure that you and your listeners are aware of this from other experts. I’m a huge fan of Simon Sinek in relation to his Start With Why. I know that I shared my why with you early on for when we first started connecting. He popularized this with his golden circle. He talks about the outer part of your brain, the neocortex, really deals well with rationale, and analytical thought, and language, but that really deals with kind of like the what part of the brain.
You go one layer into your brain, the next layer into that, the limbic brain, it’s very primal. It really is the responsibility for driving all human behavior and decision making. It really has no capacity for language. So this is the why part of the brain. So in other words, when you communicate from the outside in, where we talked about that big circle, if that represents our brain on the outside layer, what should I be doing in relation to my health and fitness? All these whats and hows.
People can actually understand huge amounts of data, nutritional facts, training theories, sleep advice, but it just doesn’t drive behavior. So this is fundamentally rooted in biology rather than kind of looking at this psychological element. And being a biological fact and actually starting with why means that if you understand your why and you’re true to it, it means that the bumps down the road are going to be less of a challenge for you because you’re really rooted in ‘what is my purpose for doing this?’ And you’re absolutely right, SilverCircle is a great example of that.
I often believe that people are attracted to those that believe what they believe. I certainly believe what you’re doing within your community, and I think you are too at some extent with what I’m doing with mine. When you find someone that you believe in their why, and what they’re doing, and their purpose, and you match that, I believe that you can really excel your coaching with your clients and vice versa.
James: Well that’s it. And I do believe in what you’re doing, Jonny. I walked past that gym for three years and didn’t feel compelled to join. The reason why, I knew that if I joined, it’d be an uphill battle. I’d be pushing myself into an area, like I don’t want to be, I was focused on surfing, I didn’t feel motivated for it, and I wasn’t going to make it the trainer’s responsibility to push me, because I’m going to be fighting him at every turn, I’ll be resenting lifting the weights, and I’m so strong-minded now that I need to want to do it. If I want to do it, and I’m excited to do it, then I can do it. Even with Ted, I can do it, because I’ll find my own research, and I’ll motivate myself to go down there, and I’ll lift the weights without anyone telling me to do it.
Someone asked me yesterday, do you listen to music when you’re at the gym or whatever? I said I don’t need to. I can just go down there and be responsible for myself. I could stare at a spot on the wall and lose myself into another planet while I’m using a rowing machine and emerge back five minutes later as if nothing happened.
I know the brain is a really, really important part of this. Let’s go to the next point about leveraging pain thresholds because I think it’s probably closely related.
Leveraging pain thresholds
Jonny: Yeah, pain threshold from a goal-driving perspective varies from person to person. We’re not obviously talking about pain from something like the rowing machine, which you mentioned, or bicep curls. What we actually mean when we’re talking about leveraging pain from a coaching perspective within my business and my clients is actually being highly strategic. You mentioned this before at the start of this episode, the most profound example is that there’s public declarations and deadlines.
Really what I found in my experience is that this really forces people to take action. Some of the best actually I find with this, James, I’m not sure if you find this with your clients in your businesses, 90-day increments, I find that anything more than that, then sometimes people can lose focus. I know you’re huge on building out your tracks and understanding what your outcome is, and I do the same with my clients. But really, just focusing on those 90-day increments can help.
Now there is a thing here, which we spoke about from Kolbe in the last episode, that deadlines really do motivate and drive behavior within dominant quick starts. So it’s always worth understanding one’s Kolbe before just blanketly saying yes, that all deadlines work for some people because we know inherently that’s not the truth. For people that resist in quick starter and they’re kind of lows, in threes, twos, and ones, if you’re giving them very, very forceful deadlines to be able to achieve certain markers, then they might struggle with that and it actually might put them off. So there’s very subtle differences that you can make with each individual client to try and really drive and really fully understand them.
One of the other issues here is monetary penalties and actually investment. Should a person skip the gym or not log a food journal? Sometimes, this could be deemed as very extreme, possibly. But social promises of obtaining results to friends and family or having financial penalties can sometimes for certain people can bring unbelievable leverage when beginning a fitness program. I often believe that they act as a bridge before the magics of kind of habits replaces it, which I know is something we’re going to come onto next. It can often be very, very powerful as long as this is managed and accountable to someone else.
Some of the best examples to this are using a coach or a mentor. When it’s structured correctly to the right individual, I’m sure you’ve heard this expression before, it’s like, “adding gasoline to a fire that’s already started.” What is interesting about this, James, within sport at the highest level, coaches, most of them are not as proficient or skilled as their actual athletes that are competing. But at its core, simply being accountable to another person and a coach’s ability to see distinctions when that person’s not actually doing exercises or playing the sport, that can be the difference between success and failure.
James: I’ve got some strong views on this one. Firstly, definitely public declarations do not work for everyone. There’s some strong research, especially Derek Sivers brings this to our attention that they could cause you to fail because you start to release the feeling as if you’ve done it. Same as when people buy a course, and because they’ve spent the money and they’re now attached to the idea that they have this course, they release themselves from the burden of actually going through it. There’s a lot of shrink wrap wear out there.
The other things that I think are interesting, the idea of carrot and stick. I direct listeners to go and watch the Dan Pink TED talk, motivating people with penalties and that type does not get people to move forward. In fact, I’ve found for a lot of high performers, it’s a real turn off. I think it can work well with low performers, very low performers or under average people can often be lifted up to average with a simple incentive system, but the more intelligent someone gets or the more high performance they get, they’re going to be too savvy for that. There’ll be some other intrinsic motivator. It might be that they’ve got something to prove, they want to show up their parents, or they’re competitive with other people in their peer group. The more it can come from within, the better I think.
I really dislike public declarations of goals. I’m more of the camp “show me, don’t tell me.” That’s because I’m more self-motivated than other people.
Jonny: Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. I mean fundamentally, what we’re really looking at here is looking at the person as an individual and really trying to find how can that person emotionally connect with their outcome. What is it that’s critical to them about really getting over the line with this objective? And fundamentally, coaching someone so that they can be standing on their own two feet. You’re with them whilst the stabilizers are on, and you can start to unscrew those, and eventually allow them to go off and then come back to you and make sure that they’re still accountable with you but from a little bit further away. I really do agree with you on those points.
“It’s about removing the restrictors.”
James: As a coach, you can tell I’m really passionate about this one because I’ve spent years coaching people. It’s not in fitness, thankfully, but with business, I see myself more as a key holder. When students come along with their padlocks, and they say, “I want to be free. I want to unlock myself. I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know all the answers.” I think they’re getting the knowledge. I’m like, well here, use this key on that padlock. They try it, and they go, “Wow! I’m unbound now. I’m ready to unleash.” So it’s about removing the restrictors. I’m helping people take logs off the track, but I’m not forcing them to shovel the coal. I like someone who’s ready to motivate their own engine, and who just wants help to navigate and pick the right path.
So I think as a coach, a good coach is going to be an ideas person who can clearly see what the student sometimes can’t see. They can fill in the area of the Johari window, which is what the coach can see but the student can’t. I think they’ll especially focus on mindset, whatever it is; whether it’s fitness or business, I think that mindset is a big percentage of the deal. The fact that someone seeks out a coach is a great starting point. But if they’re seeking them out because they want someone to kick their butt, then they need to go and find a mirror and do some work on themselves first before they make it the coach’s problem or they’re trying to make the coach accountable for their lack of performance, and I don’t cop that at all.
Jonny: Yes, I would agree with that. It comes back to some of the experiences I’ve had with even people once they’ve done the genetics test and they’ve had a huge amount of information, and they still don’t take action.
James: It comes down to one word – responsibility.
Jonny: Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. I’m really pleased we’ve got a platform to be able to express that because you’re absolutely right. People do need to take responsibility for this.
James: Even if I got a coach and I didn’t get the results I wanted, it’d be my fault for not choosing the right coach. I’ll still take responsibility for my outcome. But that is rare in this era of entitlement, and everything comes easy, and everyone’s a winner, and all that crap.
Jonny: Totally. And I know that Dan Sullivan is big on actually taking responsibility for one’s own happiness. That’s not anyone else’s responsibility and actually moving forward with their lives. It’s a really, really good point. I think that we can only get the strategies, finely tune them bespoke as possible to people, but actually they need to take the first step without a doubt.
James: What we’ve been talking about here is creating a lifetime outlook. Like in business, I’m always looking for a sustainable routine, a sustainable model. That’s what most people, they come unstuck because they’re looking at spikey things, or risky things, or single-source dependent, or sprint type things. It was never going to last. When it blows up, you think, how did you even think that that would last, because it’s not sustainable. So I like the word sustainable. In terms of an eating and an exercise program, if it’s sustainable, then that’s the sort of thing that you would recommend as well.
Jonny: Totally. And we’re going to come onto how I feel there are some strategies and some bonuses that we can give to your listeners around that, which moves, one of which, is moving people away from this ideology of structured, fixed dieting to get these quick-term results, i.e. the bride’s diet or the bodybuilding diet for these 12-week periods.
In actual fact, we just want to be way more strategic with that. We want to look at way much more sustained long period of time of actually optimizing, giving yourself that time to do that. If you do need longer to be able to achieve these goals, then that’s absolutely fine. But the way that we can help you with this is considering this next factor, so to speak, is understanding, which I know you know a lot about, is understanding and implementing the science of habits in relation to your health and fitness.
James: If you are a bride, or you are a bodybuilder going to a competition, or what have you, then that’s cool. Just understand that there’ll be some work to do afterwards unless you want to be a statistic.
Jonny: That’s a really good point. That’s a very elegant way to be able to say that. I mean it’s absolutely what we’re looking at here is not a negative towards those because I’ve actually done one of those.
James: I can also relate to this from a business perspective. Like a lot of listeners of this show have a job or are in the transition of switching from a full-time job to their own gig. Or they’ve got their own gig, but they’re still in that phase where they’re burning the midnight oil. I’ve done it. I bet you do it. But that’s when you’re working really hard, really long hours, you hear words like grinding and hustling.
My point is as quickly as you can, move to the sustainable lifestyle design like I have now, and just to give perspective, I’ve been at this for a decade with the online stuff and couple of decades before the online stuff. So everything I’ve learned, experience has got me to this point now. It doesn’t happen in the first week or the first month.
This is the great thing about this particular series, I’m in beginner’s mind with this. I’m curious, I’m applying all my principles and philosophies that I’ve used outside of this health and fitness thing to recalibrate and get up to speed, which is what you’ve been so helpful with, Jonny. But I’m going to make sure that I’m going to put in a sustainable program. And I’m not just talking that, I’ve been doing that for the last few weeks and probably for the last year since I’ve been getting help from my friends and supporters who I’ve mentioned liberally in this series, specifically Angelo, Tamas, and the Chaperons – Anita and Andre. Very helpful people guiding me. But I’m a work in progress, and people around me notice the change.
That’s my hope, that someone listening to this will have this episode as an inspiration, but not just to spark a one-time change. Think about how this could apply for the rest of your existence. So having nice first steps that are easy, that you access good information and so forth.
So take us through the various paths that we would have to go through to get this long-lasting lifestyle change.
Jonny: Yeah. It’s a really good point you’ve made there. I’d just like to add that when you start viewing this as an investment in yourself, it changes the game because when you make an investment, you’re really looking at appreciation over time. You’re appreciating yourself first and foremost. But appreciation is, you know within the business world, that compounds over a series of months and years. If you start putting in this groundwork now and you look for that long-term sustained version then like your businesses, as they grow, you wake up one day and realize, looking back over your shoulder, how far you’ve come with this.
Understanding and implementing habit science
And the next phase of this really looks to understanding and implementing the science of habits in relation to your health and fitness. Just with some statistics here, 40 percent of what we do is linked to habits. I know that number might change depending on the study and the research, but I think it’s safe to say that habits are an important part of people’s lives.
“40 percent of what we do is linked to habits.”
They emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save energy. One of the ways that it does this, it creates something called a habit loop. Within this habit loop, the first thing is there’s this cue. It’s a trigger that tells your brain to go into a habit or use where there’s a routine followed and then finally by a reward. So there’s an emotional connection.
So when we look at this cue, routine and reward, oh it’s fine. This loop becomes more and more automatic. This is something really powerful and leveraged that we can tap into properly from a health and fitness perspective. The cue and the reward become intertwined and there’s a real anticipation and craving around certain foods, around potentially getting your bag ready and going to the gym, even going out for a surf. There will be elements of cues within that before that routine and that reward start to emerge.
Now unless you deliberately fight habits from the negative point of view, then you’re going to start to really struggle because being in an automatic mode, sometimes it’s very difficult to pick up where these cues are starting and happening in relation to bad habits. And once someone creates a new pattern, studies demonstrate that going for a jog or ignoring the donuts becomes automatic as new habits start to establish.
So a great example of this is in terms of negative habits that can be in people’s lives and how they establish is you know, like parents, I’m not a parent, but parents potentially driving past McDonald’s with their children, and they decide to stop once when the kids are starving, and they’re driving home, and it’s been a long day. Sometimes, you want to stop in and be able to get some inexpensive food. It’s very quick, and easy, and convenient. Because these meals are processed, and it’s only once, it can’t be that bad. But the problem is, studies indicate that families usually don’t intend to eat fast food on a regular basis.
Same with takeaways, if that starts to happen every so often throughout the month, and what happens is that once a month pattern slowly becomes once a week, and then twice a week. And as these cues and rewards create habits, it’s not long before the kids are consuming those unhealthy amounts of hamburgers and fries on a regular basis. And there’s a number of cues and rewards that most customers within fast food joints, just using this as an example, that they don’t actually know that they’re being influenced by.
So every McDonald’s looks the same, the employees say the same things, everything’s consistent through the food. And it starts to trigger these cues in terms of these eating routines. And they’re smart, because the fries are designed to disintegrate the moment they touch your tongue so that you get that hit of grease and salt as fast as possible. They’re really pushing on your pleasure senses to be able to light up areas of your brain to lock in that pattern and create that loop. I only use that as a very extreme example because that’s at the end of some of the battles that we’re having within the health and fitness space. But I’m almost certain that there’s representations of this within the business world as well, James.
James: Asolutely. Everything that we’ve talked about so far in this entire series has a business equivalent. That’s what makes it so much fun.
Jonny: And one of the solutions to this in terms of creating new habits, which I suspect most people would want to do in relation to their health and fitness, is starting to really think about how to create new habits, a cue and a routine and a reward in place, which will cultivate and drive a new quality routine.
Now a cue and a reward on their own in terms of changing them aren’t enough to create habit that will last. It’s only when the brain starts to expect the reward that the craving for endorphins or a sense of accomplishment starts to become automatic and they’ll be laced up as much as when you go for things like jogs, or go past the gym, and cues in addition to triggering that routine can vary from person to person.
One of the kind of standard examples within this space, to give listeners a deeper understanding of this, is if you consider toothpaste. When Claude Hopkins was going about making it popular to brush your teeth, he wasn’t actually selling the brushing of one’s teeth. He was actually selling the sensation. And once people started to crave that cool tingling, and once they equated it to cleanliness, it’s as the same as when tests were done with people pulling out their washing and the first thing they do is going to smell it rather than kind of feeling and holding up to the light to see if it was clean.
People were using their senses there. That was another cue for them to tell them that this was working and this is the right thing to do. While everyone brushes their teeth, fewer than 10 percent of Americans actually applies sun cream every day. I’m not sure what the statistics are in Australia, but there’s no real craving for sunscreen on a daily habit in relation to that. What drives habits is about figuring out what sparks that cue.
Now for exercise, this is actually really easy, but momentum can be established pretty quickly with this with the correct strategies and structure. So natural endorphins create cravings. And I guess that’s similar to surfing. A cue will be touching the board perhaps, or having a coffee and seeing the ocean when you wake up, and mine’s actually in relation to exercise. After I finished all of my morning gratitude from 5 a.m., and done my emails, and got my days set up, my bag is packed by the door, and I’m cued and ready to go, and that becomes automatic.
The framework for change
So the framework for this normally relates to a four-step process, because cues can normally fit into five categories – location, time, emotional state, other people, and then immediately preceding action. So something where something changes in your day but it happens on a routine basis. The problem is that people aren’t normally aware to these cues but they’re already kind of in the cycle of doing the routine in relation to getting some form of reward.
So the framework for this is firstly identifying the routine, experimenting with rewards, and isolating the cue, and then having a strategy to actually go about changing these habits. Interestingly enough, one of the things that I use as an example with my clients, this sounds counterintuitive, but after a client who’s new with me within the first 30 days of training together, I’ll actually allow them to have a piece of their favorite chocolate or a handful of their favorite sweets, because similar to Pavlov dogs, I’m actually trying to get them associated with mimicking a reward that is already established for them, but we’re actually now changing out the routine that they do, which might normally be sitting in front of the TV with a sugary tooth after a meal, or watching Netflix and actually replacing that routine with going to the gym, and then actually using the same reward, that same endorphin release, by associating with chocolate or sweet.
Although that sounds quite counterintuitive, we’re actually trying to make the new routine a much better one, higher quality, and actually one that’s pulling people towards their health and fitness objectives.
James: Totally makes sense. You can do it with music as well. You can set anchors. I love all this Ericksonian hypnosis stuff. I’ve read a lot of books about habit, and activators, and behaviors and consequences. That was actually the origin of the naming of ThinkActGet.
Jonny: Is that right? Wow.
James: Yeah. How you think determines the way you act, which results in what you get. Even putting on your sneakers, having special shoes just for the gym. You’re excited about putting those particular shoes on. They transport you. Surfers, they have magic boards. They ride a board that they think goes well and they save it for a big event and then they ride that one when they want to perform well. For me, just hanging a board on the wall and looking at it is quite a compelling thing. It’s a good anchor. Like I want to take it off the wall and ride it.
Jonny: Yeah, for sure. I mean from this health and fitness perspective, what we’re really looking to do is try and trick the brain into really giving into that intrinsic reward eventually. So they’re getting that piece of chocolate initially, but what we find is after people are up and running with a routine, they finish the session, actually the last thing that they want is the sweets and chocolate because that really doesn’t associate with a new identity that’s starting to form.
Someone that gets up at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. now to go to the gym, do they really not have the willpower to be able to not have that piece of chocolate or sweet after the training session?
Community and habit change
One of the golden rules I find within habit change, and I know you’ll be a real grandfather with this is a community.
One of the things I like to use an example with this is Alcoholics Anonymous, AA. The 12 apostles steps that they forged in terms of relation to actually taking out certain routines but people getting the same reward. And often, one of the biggest things for Alcoholics Anonymous is when people are starting out with this, they start to figure out what is it that actually people are doing in relation to drinking, because most people that have been researched in this area actually, it’s not actually the drink that’s driving them. It’s actually the reward of being able to release, have an emotional release, be able to have relaxation, companionship, an offer of escape, and be able to be around people, which is similarly replicated when people go for cocktails after work or go for pints after work. They’re in that environment. And that’s what predominantly people are actually craving as the reward. It’s just that the routine at the moment isn’t the one that’s being effective in relation to their health and fitness.
One of the biggest, single disadvantages that I see from almost like a one-to-one personal training experience is that sense of long-term community, because I think one of the things that communities do within this power habit loops is they really forge and build and establish belief. I know that from coming into your community that you know, when you start to see case studies and SFB Live, you’re looking at individuals that have sat out in the audience and then they’re up on stage and actually speaking. These triggers within these habit loops can have deep psychological effects on people and actually start to drive this routine in another direction because they’re seeing confidence with other people, they’re seeing community, and there is that belief that they can actually do that.
And this has been proven time and time again with the community aspect across all hosts of communities, not just within the health and fitness space. A really good example with this is CrossFit in terms of the community that they built in creating quality habit loops and accountability but also as we said before, things like your community, and Alcoholics Anonymous, there’s some really good examples of how important this is in terms of habit changes.
James: Well it’s really important in my field because being an entrepreneur and often not going into an office can be a lonely spot. I’m sitting here right now at Manly overlooking the ocean, there’s no one else here. It’s just me and you. And you’re in another country. I mean the technology available is phenomenal.
But for that reason, I’ve set up hybrid situations. For my coaching programs, both SilverCircle and SuperFastBusiness, they’re a hybrid of group and personal. As amazing as it sounds, I’ve now got one-to-one coaching inside our group of SuperFastBusiness membership. People, they can’t believe that I’ve done that. They can’t understand how I’m able to do it. But it’s a great feature. They still have the community there to draw on and get the extra rolodex working for them and people to buy from, people to sell to, people to celebrate companionship with at events. And then in SilverCircle, exact same thing. It’s a group, but it’s got individual tracks where people can have private one-to-one discussions.
I think you’re absolutely right. People you hang around with is who you become like. So you have to decide where you want to put your attention. Again, taking responsibility for what do you want, what are you prepared to do to get there, but your peer group will be a good indicator as to where you might end up.
Jonny: For sure. One of the things I would say on this is the extension of this is that there are some fundamental keystone habits within these loops. Keystone represents the arch doorway that is made out of stone, and at the very top, there’s a keystone that actually holds the whole bridge of the arch together. Now if you remove that, you’ll start to see the other areas of your life start to transcend into other areas of your life.
Exercise is such a powerful one for that. Since the dawn of time, people being able to get fit and healthy, there will be absolutely other areas that this will bleed into their lives. This is one thing I really like to focus on with clients because if I can really get them energized and established with this habit and in relation to these keystone habit of getting good quality habits and routines in relation to going to the gym and being structured and actually having a sense of, ‘Yes, I can do this. This is actually building momentum.’ It really does start to bleed into other areas of life. And that’s not based on my opinion. That’s based on experience of the last five years of dealing with client in relation to their performance not just in their own businesses but those that are even employed in terms of working their way up through the working structures but transcending into all aspects of their life.
One of the things that really draws my attention to this, which I know that you know a lot about is the relationship between habits and willpower. Willpower really for me is one of the single, most important keys to habits for any individual. Like a muscle, I believe that it needs to be trained and you have a lot more of it certain times of the day. Just out of my experience, working with clients, getting them up into routines for the first thing they’re doing in the morning of going and doing some form of exercise can have huge knock on keystone of habit effects in relation to the rest of their day and how they structure that.
It does take time, and if you’re in the long game, some of the benefits to this can be absolutely fantastic. The value of exercise and physical benefits within the entrepreneurial space can be incredible. I know we spoke before at the very start of this series about some of your community members asking, what would be the point in me doing this?
Remember, it’s not solely focused on just what can DNA do for you. The bigger picture here is that it’s an investment in your time and money to be able to better your quality of life and actually have an impact on your businesses or your working environment. I know we picked up on some points before where exercise can elevate your mood. In terms of implications within your performance of your businesses, if you’re trying to build good quality relationships into personal connections, foster collaborations both online and offline, I would suspect that having improved concentration, being able to have prolonged mental stamina, enhanced creativity, and lower levels of stress, these are all things that are going to be able to help people move away from factors of feeling irritable, or overwhelmed.
I really do feel that once you start to implement that keystone habit of exercise and building a better year from health and fitness perspective, it can only add value to your business and where you’re wanting to go with that area of your life too.
James: Nice. So where does that leave us in terms of this series, and where we’re at, and how are we going to end this?
Jonny: So we’re pretty much there now. In terms of finishing up, there are some one or two points that I would suggest that your listeners actually think about if they want to take the next steps with this and some solutions.
We’ve talked briefly about using the example of Ted, the personal trainer, which we’ve used at your gym. One of the things I would say is if you’re looking at picking up a coach or a trainer, statistically, what we found from our research is that 60 percent of people will begin an exercise program at some point in their life. 80 percent will quit within three months, and 80 percent of gym memberships actually never get used. But actually 85 percent of those have a personal trainer, a coach, actually maintain their program even if the trainer is rubbish.
So it’s safe to say that having that accountability factor can yield better results with a coach. There are some signs that listeners would need to be wary of. Some are very obvious, and some not so much. If you’re looking to pick up a coach, first and foremost, do they have the appearance that you’d want to aspire to? I know that this is something that you have some experience. With Ted, in terms of the way that his appearance, well that’s not to say that a coach, there isn’t validity there, that they don’t have excellent knowledge. But most clients that I deal with, initially when they’re first starting with, they want to have some trust and be able to see someone actually walks their talk and can actually have the ability to do this. Have they got the actual blueprint that they’ve done it themselves.
Really, that’s the first point of core with this if you’re looking to pick up a coach. There are some other factors. You need to make sure that that individual is properly qualified. You need to be able to check those credentials. We’ve spoken briefly about the representation within the health and fitness space for personal trainers that the bodies that they’re accountable to are not very strict. So you need to make sure that when you’re asking them, they really do know their stuff and that they are actually the right person to help you.
Make sure that they get to know you well enough. Make sure they identify with you the factors that we’ve spoken about so far within this series. And they actually understand your baseline measurements, they’re really keen on understanding your objectives, looking at what your lifestyle habits are currently to start being able to build out the strategy alongside things like your DNA and your Kolbe.
If you actually decide to take a session like you did, James, that’s a really good thing to do. One of the things that you would want to check is that they’re actually focused on you the whole time you’re in the gym. They’re not looking around other people. They’re not on their smartphones, which is one of the huge things I used to see when clients were getting trained by their trainers. Looking at themselves in the mirror.
When you’re in the gym, and you’re on your own, and you’re looking at possible trainers, have a look and see what they’re doing with other clients. Are they doing the same exercises for every single client that comes in? You normally see some overlay between personal trainers who come in and they’ll just be doing on repeat. Eight sessions, back to back, and they’ll just be doing the same exercises with the same people, and there’s no creativity or bespokeness there.
It really allows you to be able to start to give some cues because some people coming into this environment really are none the wiser. And that’s absolutely fine because it’s brand new, but really want to give them some foundation to be able to really have some idea of what to look for.
James: Yeah nice. I’ve had the occasional one where the person who I’m having do some work with, chiropractor ones, and they start to turn into a reverse session, where I come in, and then I end up training them for an hour on business while they’re doing whatever they do to me. They can get tiring after a while, because sometimes you just want a time off as a coach.
Jonny: Absolutely. Yes, without a doubt. It’s important to be able to do that with your clients and be able to give them the respect for that. I think as we draw this series to a close, we look at some solutions for clients. There are some other things that I get asked a lot in terms of relation to actually “dieting.”
One of the biggest factors with people is in around looking at their nutrition. And hopefully by now, we realize that there’s some very deep quality piece of information we can find out about individuals in relation to doing a DNA test.
“Think about a flexible approach to nutrition.”
One of the things I would really stress upon listeners is whatever you decide, really do think about the options of going towards a flexible approach rather than a structured approach. Statistics indicate that 81 percent of people quit a structured “diet” after 14 days just because it’s so restrictive. So think things like goals, like birthdays, and dates, and weddings. Eating out can even be an issue.
So I would really think closely about the next phase of what you’re trying to get in to do with your strategies. Really think about flexible approach to your nutrition. And what that means is starting to get educated on really useful tools, like one that comes to mind here is My Fitness Pal. I use that with clients daily. My partner and I use that on a daily basis to be able to structure all of our food, and it’s incredibly powerful when you throw into the mixture DNA results across those columns of protein, carbs, and fats, and start to educate yourself on how to take those food groups, work out your macro numbers, and actually start logging that and getting that data about yourself that you could start to make informed choices about. It will really move you at this dark ages of a template structured approach and allow you to have that flexibility for days when you want to be able to go out with friends and add one or two meals that are conventionally not on the plan. It’s absolutely balance.
So what we’re trying to do here is really leverage your genes, really leverage your psychology and actually move you into around where you can start to be educated on this and take control of it.
So the solutions to these to really wrap this up, I would first and foremost, I would absolutely obtain a genetics test after the work that we’ve done with you on the show. I would hope that’s come across to listeners. We really looked and deep dived across the nutrition side, which looks at your response to carbohydrates, and fats. We’ve also covered areas of detoxification and Omega 3 requirements all the way through to alcohol, and caffeine and salt sensitivities. Finally uncovering that we have some issues there. We’ve seen that predisposition for you in relation to gluten. These are all things that I would really struggle to think that anyone would have a tough time finding out without doing and obtaining a genetics test.
And we also learned that in terms of the fitness side, there’s some really key markers in relation to this with very profound resource that back up how working to your genetics, you’re going to be looking at getting close to three times the results from a fitness perspective across those power-endurance profiles let alone integrating via to match responses, recovery and injury risks. And getting a quality test is important. I would highly recommend that you take the time to be able to choose the right one with that.
If your listeners have already leveraged Kolbe that’s a fantastic thing. For those people that haven’t, again I would strongly recommend taking that 36 question assessment and being able to put yourself in a position where a coach that understands that can help you integrate that into your fitness strategies. And really think about what qualities are you looking within a trainer. We looked at those kind of signs that you’ll know that a trainer isn’t the right one. And try and find something where you can bring that all together into a very highly strategic plan.
In summary James, thank you for the platform to be able to deliver this message because I think that people absolutely deserve it to be able to progress with their health and fitness strategies.
James: Yeah. Well thank you for coming on the show. There we go. We’ve delivered three episodes of varying lengths. The first one was the introduction to DNA. We started in the fitness report. And then we went into the diet report with episode two and psychology. And episode three, we’ve been really talking about habits and what to look for when you’re getting a tailored solution.
Jonny, your website, we really have to mention that. So where can we go and find out about you?
Jonny: Yeah. You can find out more about what we’re doing with clients at mydnacoach.com. We also have a podcast, which is by the same name via iTunes, which is My DNA Coach.
James: Perfect. Well thank you so much Jonny. I appreciate all the information you supported me with. I look forward to continuing with it in a sustainable way, and we’ll see where we go.
Jonny: Thanks James. I’m really looking forward to the next steps with it.
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