When it’s good to binge

Here’s a success tip from the off the beaten path…

You know how most of us binge on TV shows or movie series?

(Thank you Netflix.)

Well, I also binge on authors.

That’s right.

When I find someone who’s either (a) doing something I’d want to be doing, or (b) onto something I think is unique and valuable, I’ll crawl under barbed-wire to get my hands on every nanobyte of content they’ve ever published.

I want to know EVERYTHING he or she knows.

So I read all their books.

Often two of three times.

I plug in and download their experiences, research, and anecdotes into my greedy little memory cells.

Here’s what it’s done for me: it’s made me both deep and broad in my knowledge.

This helps me make informed decisions about my life.

(Sometimes.)

And clients are often surprised by the range of topics I know about.

Trust me that’s a good thing.

It instantly raises your value in their eyes.

That’s why, regardless of what you do for work, I suggest you give Conor’s hearty wisdom binge a go.  I’ve never read about this concept anywhere, nor heard it mentioned in the context of personal development or success, but this little battle tactic has won me a few victories in my day.

With the above in mind, I’d invite you to binge on ME for the next 30 days.

That’s why I created my 30 Day Transformation email series.

It’s one tip a day of the best my brain has to offer.  Read each one in the comfort and privacy of your inbox.  Also, I’m including a very rare bonus chapter I wrote on the #1 Key To Transformation.

Last call for Conor-hol here:

http://www.conorkellypersonaltrainer.com

Happy Bingeing,

Conor Kelly

25 no b.s. body transformation tips

I’ll make this real simple for you…

Print this list, put it on your fridge, make these tips a part of your life and you’ll already be 80% closer to your body goals this year.

Alright?

Giddyup.

1. Avoid doing too much, too soon.

2. Each week, eat a bit better than last week.

3  Set a personal best of some kind in every workout.

4. Make your goals about things you can control vs. things you can’t (e.g. ‘do five workouts this week’ vs. ‘lose ten pounds this month’).

5. Treat yourself like someone you’re responsible for helping.

(Stole that one from Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules For Life.)

6. You can’t out-train a bad diet.

7. Drink 1L of water before breakfast and at least 1 more liter throughout the day.

8. Supplement with EFA’s daily.

9. Stop all complaining.

10. Embrace repetition.  Success is a few key things done well over and over again.

11. Consume 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up.  Just maybe not immediately after the 1L of water I told you to drink in #7.  I won’t be responsible for what happens if you do.

12. Do something nice for someone today.

13. Use the 5×5 rule: no carbs after 5PM/5 nights per week.

14. Learn to relax.

15. Play the long game.  It most likely took you years to gain the fat so be patient.  Consistency + time = results.

16. Cut back on coffee and alcohol.

17. Sleep at least 7 hours a night.

18. Prioritize strength training.

19. Walk more.  Spend more time outside.

20. Pay attention to what you’re doing with your body.  Stand tall.  Shoulders back.  Consciously try to relax any areas of tension.  Come back to your breath.  Breathe deeply.

21. Meditate.

22. Pick foods with only one ingredient.

23. Don’t overdo your cardio.  It’ll tank your metabolism.

24. Avoid sugar.

25. If you only focus on results, you’ll never see change.  If you focus on change, you’ll always see results.

BONUS TIP: Accept screw-ups lightly.  Being able to laugh when things don’t go to plan is a highly under-rated success characteristic.  Simply correct and continue.

For more, get my 30 Day Transformation email series.  One very timely tip per day to keep your transformation engines a hummin’.

Get your good feelz here:

Click here to subscribe to The Conz’ 30 Day Transformation Series.

Happy Transforming,

Conor Kelly

A little known Harvey Specter success secret

I’ve recently taken to watching old episodes of Suits.

Why?

Two words: Harvey Specter.

If you haven’t seen the show, it’s set in the high stakes world of corporate law with its big dollar deals, cut-throat maneuvers, and boardroom-sized egos.

Harvey Specter is the hot-shot “closer” with a reputation for winning.

He may be fictional, but a fine study of success traits doth Mr. Specter make.

Unapologetic in his ambition, Harvey is an incurable action-taker.  He expects to win, but doesn’t get wound up when things (temporarily) don’t go his way.  He’s got a rock solid belief in his own abilities, and regularly bets LARGE on himself.

In one episode, he makes senior partner in the firm.

There’s a board meeting to announce his promotion.

In front of the board, Jessica, the firm’s boss, pranks Harvey by making him think the equity buy-in for senior partners (a cool half a mil) is payable right away.

Harvey goes white and says: “I have to pay the whole amount now??”

Turns out he’s just playing along.

Always the smooth operator, he later hands Jessica a cheque.

She goes: “You’ve had the money since you knew about the promotion?”

“I’ve had it since I first set my eye on becoming partner,” he replies with a smirk.

You go, Harv.

That’s called being all in, my friend.

As soon as you know you want something, act NOW as though it will happen and plan accordingly.

When’s the last time you bet on yourself like that?

The fitness equivalent might be committing to four to six months of a personal training program by paying in full on the first day.

Many clients have justified their investment to me in these terms.  Most find it hard to back out once all their chips are the table.

Now here’s the not-so-dirty little secret…

You don’t need Harvey’s confidence in order to do this.

In fact, I guarantee if you’ll ignore your doubts, and simply let yourself be willing to make that bet, your confidence will climb about ten notches, right then and there.

Author Jerry Sternin once said: “it’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than it is to think your way into a new way of acting.”

(That’s worth re-reading.)

So borrow a page from the great Harvey Specter’s script.

Take massive action.

Bet on yourself.

Keep moving forward.

Just don’t be surprised when this works.

If you liked this, you’re gonna love my 30 Day Transformation email series.

It’s one tip a day (featuring some of my most popular emails from the last six years) to help you be the best possible version of yourself.  It also includes a rare digital copy of my book chapter on The #1 Key To Transformation.

And it’s yours with my compliments.

You can subscribe here:

http://www.conorkellypersonaltrainer.com

I’m excited.

It’s gym time, then taking Olivia to the hairdresser.

Happy Betting,

Conor Kelly

 

Why 2018 will be even better than you think

All this machinery
Making modern music
Can still be open-hearted
Not so coldly charted
It’s really just a question
Of your honesty, yeah your honesty

-Rush, The Spirit of Radio

In high school I played lead guitar for a rock band.

We covered The Eagles Hotel California in the school talent show, and sauntered to class like we were rock stars.

But the drummer of the band, Anthony, and myself, were both much more obsessed with Rush.  Anthony wanted to be Neil Peart, and I wanted to be Alex Lifeson.

A great Canadian (and Torontonian) success story, Rush has always been the quintessential rock band for rock nerds.

The level of musicianship and virtuosity the trio applied to their songwriting and concerts was, and arguably still is, unparalleled in the world of rock.

Now if you haven’t tried to cover a Rush tune, it’s the musical equivalent of reproducing a painting by Monet.

Or at least it seemed that way to a couple of high school kids.

The band’s attention to detail is so extreme, and their timing so impeccable, that it’s near impossible. Especially on their more intricate tracks.

One summer, Anthony and I spent hours rehearsing The Spirit of Radio.  We drilled the intro repeatedly, but somehow we were never quite tight enough. We missed cues, and bumbled our way through the piece’s various time changes.

We eventually got close, but it still didn’t sound like Rush.

Both of us knew it.

Then, one hazy afternoon, as we were about to call it a practice, we decided to give it one more try.  And we nailed the song!  From start to finish, and with surgical precision. It was poetry in motion. We sat frozen for a few seconds as our brains struggled to catch up with what’d just happened.

There was no one around.

Not a soul heard us that day.

But we were grinning ear to ear, and high-fiving like we’d won a Grammy or something.

I lost touch with Anthony after high school, but if I saw him today, I’d bet anything we’d point at each other and say, “Remember the Spirit of Radio?”

Every so often, life gives us moments like these.

Flashes of pure inspiration.

If there’s one thing I would wish for you in 2018, it’s to be more deliberate in carving out your very own living snapshots, somewhere between breaths, where time has no meaning.

If you start, this minute, by thinking of five experiences you’re grateful for…

…We’ll be on our way.

To more “moments” in 2018,

Conor Kelly


Introducing the personal trainer bot

According to a recent article in The Economist, personal training, like therapy, or hairdressing, is one of the few professions not at risk of being automated out of existence, due to the human touch it requires.

This led me to ponder what aspects of my job I would want automated.

Here’s a brief wish list…

1. Counting reps.  Rep counts are very personal to the person doing the lifting.  Turns out people are possessive about their pain.  Go figure.  At least, this is what I’ve discovered by consistently being wrong with my rep counts.

I’ve got a legit reason for it…

I’m studying your form and making corrections, or offering positive encouragement.

This occupies a generous amount of my computational abilities.

Therefore I might be one or two (or five) reps off.

I’ve tried explaining it’s tension that matters, and your body can’t count reps, etc., etc….but since that doesn’t seem to fly, just let a machine count the reps instead.

2. Form analysis.  I’ve gotta rely on visual cues to tell you whether you’re executing the movements correctly, or if there’s something you should do differently.  Presumably an AI could analyze every line more precisely, and contrast these with what perfect biomechanics look like given your body structure.

Then, electrodes could be attached to working areas, contracting and relaxing the muscles involved in the right sequence, thus enabling you to feel perfect form before you master it.

In the future, I’ll conduct our training sessions sitting behind a computer screen, from where I’ll more or less *supervise*, otherwise known as taking a nap.

3. Sympathy.  I’ve been told sympathy’s not my strong suit.

Whatever.

The trainer bot can easily be programmed to convey a range of pre-recorded platitudes such as “I’m sorry to hear that”, “I understand”, or “that looked like it really hurt, how terrible…I wish there was an easier way.”

Sure this one could use a bit more work, but it’s a step up from my standard response, which is to smile with intense satisfaction whenever you complain of how hard the workout is.

At the end of the day, a machine can’t be programmed to care about your success as much as I do.

So if you’re willing to put up with inaccurate counting, form analysis that’s not exact to the millimeter, and a dark void where you think sympathy should be found, call me at (416) 826-4844 for your complimentary personal training consultation.

Your results may not be automatic, but you’ll be miles ahead of what you can achieve working on your own.

And besides, a little human interaction never hurt anyone.  Wait…

Happy Counting,

Conor Kelly

When it’s better NOT to think

Less than a week before the 2004 Ontario’s Strongest Man competition, a vicious attack of gout hit me.

My big toe swelled to painful proportions.  Tomato red and extremely sensitive, it throbbed, and the pain intensified with the lightest touch.

I could barely walk.

Yet in 5 days I was scheduled to suit up in the province’s premiere test of strength.

I was particularly doubtful about the Truck Pull.

In the Truck Pull, you’re harnessed to a transport tractor-trailer – typically 40,000 pounds or more – and tow this bad boy using only your bodyweight and whatever arm power you can muster by pulling on a rope secured near the finish line.

Proper technique is to lean your body into the harness and get low, where you can leverage your weight and use your legs.  But you’re essentially on your toes the entire time.  With the gout doing its worst to slow me down, I had little hope I’d even be able to do it.

But since there wasn’t any chance of my withdrawing, I wrapped my toes in athletic tape, hobbled out onto the tarmac, and signaled the volunteers to harness me up.  When the ref’s whistle blew, I blocked everything out and just went for it.  I ended up somewhere in the top 12 in a field of 24, and my foot wasn’t even a factor.

In 2005, I tore a rotator cuff muscle five weeks out from OSM.

This time I stared down an opponent called the Viking Press.  It’s an ATV mounted on a cubic steel frame with a pivot on one end, and handles at the other.  The idea is to grab the handles, which are at shoulder height, and press the estimated 275 pounds overhead to arms length, as many times as possible.

In warm up, I couldn’t budge the weight.

But when my name was finally called, I somehow managed 6 reps.

Again, I just didn’t give it a second thought.

I have no explanation other than NOT thinking about pain allowed my mind to pick up the slack where my body stalled.  And I’ve experienced this phenomenon many more times throughout my lifting career…a PR deadlift with a sore back, a top 3 finish in log press with a torn pec, a record number of high rep squats while suffering from a virus that hijacked my lungs, the list goes on…

We all know that people are capable of seemingly impossible feats under conditions of extreme stress.

And it’s a power that’s innate within each of us.

Why we don’t invoke it more often?

Let it serve us?

We face challenges every day that are either going to get the better of us, or push us closer to our goals.  We live happier, more fulfilled lives based on all the little (or large) victories we accrue.  All it takes to summon mind power to your aid is a decision to get out of your own way.  You can focus on what’s stopping you, and the reasons you might not be successful – or throw away your excuses and move ahead forcefully.

It’s do… or die.

(Which, in a sense, is true.  You either get the improvement you want, or you don’t.  And you have to live with either result.  The stakes ARE high.  You’re just not always looking at it that way.)

Thinking is useful.  But not when ACTION is called for.  In these moments, too much thinking creates paralysis.  It destroys initiative.  When the time comes, put thinking aside.

Dive in.

It won’t always work out.

But more often than not, you’ll discover the strength was in you all along.

Happy Diving,

Conor Kelly

P.S. Know what else you shouldn’t think about?  Requesting your complimentary personal training consultation.  Do it now by calling (416) 826-4844.  Find out how my 16-week program gets you strong, lean, and healthy.

The epidemic of over-stretching

Back in my days as a nightclub bouncer, I went on a date with one of the club’s female security guards.

She was petite, very pretty, and several years younger.

Apart from realizing we had different interests, the conversation went smoothly, and we had a fun time.

The highlight of the date – which I’ll never forget – is when she pulled a knife on me.

No, not literally.

But once we’d established a bit of a comfort level, she removed a rather large switchblade from her pocket, explaining how she’d carried this concealed weapon on our date in case I’d “try something.”

Heh.

Girl’s got hutzpah.

I like a woman who knows not to let a man get out of line.

(In fact, I’m married to one.  Not the knife-brandisher.  That ended at the implied threat of mutilation.)

In fairness, she don’t know The Conz like you do.

In the part of town she’s from (let’s call it the wrong side of the tracks), you learned to protect yourself.  And when you’re used to men whose idea of small talk is many less-than-creative variations on how they’d like to *tap that* – those instincts get placed on overdrive.

It’s natural to want a little insurance.

That’s kinda how I view my stretching program.

Like routine maintenance for your car, good mobility ensures you get a lot more mileage out your body.

Here’s why: if you’ve got some faulty biomechanics, you’re fighting against yourself every time you work out, play sports…or move.  Not only does fluidity make everything you do seem easier, but it’s a great knife-in-yer-pocket against injuries.

However, flexibility is widely misunderstood and incorrectly prescribed.

In fact, the way I sees it…most people are over-stretching.

Traditional stretching says you relax into position where the muscle being stretched is the longest – then try to go further.  In some cases, you may have someone else assist you to elongate the muscle even more, while you remain passive.  Not only is this likely to cause injury, but it does little to improve your USABLE range of motion (beyond making you temporarily feel loose).

If you want the strength, mobility and injury-proofing stretching can deliver, you need to focus on expanding the range of motion (ROM) in which your muscles can still contract.  The broader your usable ROM, the more invincible you are.

That means you’ve got to actively resist the stretch!

And the more you’re able to resist, the bigger the gains in flexibility.

I know it sounds weird, but it’s a game-changer.

It saved my lifting career.

Before you “knife-up”, keep in mind it’s a dangerous weapon – especially to one who knows not yet how to wield its power…

It takes specialized coaching to unlock the mysteries of an effective stretching program.

That’s why, next Thursday onlyJuly 21st – I’ve opened up a few spots for 30-minute stretching sessions.

Call me at (416) 826-4844 if you’d like to partake.

I usually reveal these techniques only as part of my larger ticket 16-week programs.

So it’s a rare chance to pick up some valuable tips, reduce pain, and move better…without any long-term commitment.

Either way, let this charming tale be a warning to you.

Neglect your mobility at your own peril.

Or at least opt for some pepper-spray.

Happy Knife-Wielding,

Conor Kelly

5 Anti-tips for your best summer body

I used to write a lot of lists.

‘6 tips for x…’

‘4 ways to do y…’

It was the format for several of my most popular emails.

Problem is I’m easily bored.  Lists are overdone.

Anyway, the notion of anti-tips jolted my cerebral cortex into bringing forth what follows.

Here’s how it doth work:  do the exact opposite of what I recommend here, and you’ll b-line it straight for a lean summer body with a coke and a smile.  Minus the coke.

I think you get the idea.

Let’s begin…

1. Eat as much of it as you want as long as it’s healthy.  Healthy food is high in nutrients when compared with fast-food, for example.  Ever noticed how you can railroad empty calories at a mighty clip? That’s because they don’t contain any real nutrition, so you’re body barely registers any satiety.

Non-processed, organic, high-fiber foods are so nutrient-dense that your body thrives on much lower intake levels.  This mirrors the sparse nourishment we received when we first evolved the ability to derive energy from plants and animal flesh.

But if some is good, more is better…right?

Besides, the plump lady behind the lunch counter says I can eat as much quinoa salad as I want because it’s healthy – so it MUST be true.

2. Try a RE-tox diet.  You want to enjoy the fine weather and the fresh air.  The last thing you need is a bunch of washroom breaks slowing you down.  Keep your water consumption to a minimum, and avoid anything high in fiber.  Also, you might like the binding properties of copious amounts of cheese.

Keep that colon on lockdown until the fall.

3. Use a pro-inflammatory approach.  One thing you’d really hate is if your joint pain lessened to the point of inspiring you to be more active.  Really cuts into your investment of sunbathing time.  Just remember the four food groups: pizza, ice cream, beer, and cigarettes.  In fact, eat as much sugar as possible – raw, off a spoon, if need be.

The average Canadian eats 68 kilos of sugar per year.

Ask yourself, are you getting behind?

4. Avoid heavy weights.  God forbid you should build any muscle that might turn your metabolism into a blast-furnace for burning calories.  Then you’d lose your excuse for all that healthy food in #1.  Plus everyone knows that heaps of long, slow walking is how you lose weight.

5. Sleep less, and ‘freak out’ more.  Stress is good for you.  Ever heard of ‘fight or flight’?  Burns fat.  Burns muscle too, and runs your organs on overdrive, but heck, nobody’s perfect.  To really accentuate the effect, fly into a rage at every opportunity (I mean really lose your s**t), and load your system with as much caffeine as possible.

Sleep only when desperate.

Healthy sleeping patterns of seven or more hours per night render #’s 1, 3, and 4 less effective.

Now if your brain hurts from twisting my hints to figure out what I really mean, you’re either taking #5 literally, or you’ll benefit from the un-reversed truths in my 16-Week Transformation Program. 

Call (416) 826-4844 to request your complimentary personal training consultation, and discover the path to your best body – in all seasons.

Happy Freaking Out,

Conor Kelly

Try not to know what you don’t know

Before my daughter was born, we had her name narrowed down to either Gabriella or Nicole.

We’d shared the options with family, many of whom were willing to have their vote counted.

(We didn’t add friends to the mix, for fear of hearing something like “Nicole?  Oh, let me tell you about this total be-otch I know.  Her name is Nicole.”)

Anyway, young Gabriella was talked about in various scenarios pre-delivery, until she was fully baked and ready to be brought forth onto this planet.

When she did finally make her grand entrance, neither of the front-runners among the names we’d considered seemed apt.

She just didn’t look like a Gabriella.

A few weeks prior, I’d been served my espresso by a Starbucks barista like a sitcom character.   Her off-beat sense of humor made me laugh – and this was pre caffeine…

“What’s your name?”  I asked.

“Olivia.”  She replied.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, but now as I looked down at my newborn, it hit me…

“What do you think of Olivia?” I suggested.

“It’s perfect.  I love it.”  Raya answered.

And so it was.

Good choice too.  She’s definitely an Olivia.

(Nicole became the middle name.)

It’s a perfect reminder that often we try to call it before we truly understand it.

Many circumstances just don’t fit the category we assign them, and only later do we realize it.

As much as I hate to admit it, I’m not that smart.  I don’t know everything that’s going to happen.  That’s why I try to make it a habit to challenge my assumptions.  I’ve learned that I might not always be right, and, [pause for dramatic effect], I’m often happier to be wrong.

So I try not to let what I don’t know run my life.

You hate your job but you don’t think you’ll be able to support yourself if you quit.  How do you know you won’t find something better?

You have a passion for a different business but you think you’ll make more money in your current business, even though you’re bored with it, so you stay.  But you don’t know that you won’t make ten times the dinero in some other gig.

There’s something you’d rather quit (a food, a medication, a business or personal relationship) but you don’t think you can go without.

I can go on…

The philosopher’s mantra of an unexamined life is not the only life not worth living – so’s a life with without experimentation.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

So don’t pretend to.

Put your assumptions to the test wherever possible.

Make things earn their label.

Otherwise you can end up calling it something other than it is.

And after all…what’s in a name?

Happy Assumption-Challenging,

Conor Kelly

P.S.  Think you can’t follow through on a 16-week program to transform the way you eat and exercise?  Try me.  Reply to this email for your complimentary personal training consultation, and let’s find out.

Why summers are all about the weak end

Statistically speaking, summers are a horrible time to get in shape.

It’s when folks are most motivated to look and feel their best – but few ever do.

For many, the social calendar steadily builds to a crescendo of backyard barbecues, cottage get togethers, and patio cocktail binges.

In one major study, it was found that any weight lost during the week readdresses itself on summer weekends, leading the study’s authors to conclude that they’re just as bad for your fitness goals as major holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Eeek.

So you enjoy life…

I’m not gonna eat your lunch for that.

(Although I’d be assuming the burden of those calories for you.)

What I will do is give you some weapons with which to strike back at the deadly scourge of summer pool parties.

First off, if your plan is based on controlling yourself, you need a new plan – especially if even a splash of *the drink* is involved.  Instead, try to take self-control out of the mix as much as possible.  As per a core principle of my success philosophy, think in terms of making what I call context changes to your environment.

A radical context change would be to simply not agree to any social invitations.  While such anti-social behavior does have its applications for your physique goals (and possibly money-saving goals), it’s not necessarily the most realistic option.

For some examples of less extreme measures that allow for both summer fun AND summer wellbeing, peep the following…

*Don’t show up hungry – eat a meal or snack right before a social event (to the self-control piece: a well fed brain is a stronger one.  Low brain glucose drops willpower like an anchor.)

*Make an accountability pact or ridiculous bet with a friend.  You can (a) promise to keep each other in line, or (b) set guidelines and deter cheating with an embarrassing consequence like, e.g., starting every sentence with “my friend [friend’s name], the greatest living human, has granted me permission to say…”  See?  Parties can be fun without food.

*Keep logging your nutrition, even at nightclubs.  I have an industry friend who logs his vodka-water on his phone while standing at the bar.  He’s a bit of a buzzkill, but he’s lean.

*Book a class, or a training session in the morning to offset the sins of the afternoon. (GIANT CAVEAT: This one won’t do diddly squat unless combined with some form of moderation on the consumption side.  You’ll never run far enough, or fast enough to outpace indulgent eating and drinking…and you’ll probably injure yourself trying.)

You get the drift.

Have some fun with it.

The main thing is to respect the destructive wiles of the weak-end.

And strategize.

Invoke some brain power (not just body power) to beat the class average.

Only then will you emerge from the season unscathed – but for the occasional sun burn.

Happy Summering,

Conor Kelly

P.S.  Another great example of a context change?  My 16-week program.  Call me at (416) 826-4844 for your complimentary personal training consultation to break the summer curse, and discover how to take control of your health, once and for all.