Put first things first

When I worked at Extreme Fitness, the company was a world leader in personal training sales.

Part of their sales process was to make you feel physically inadequate, so you’d realize you need a personal trainer.

Here’s an example:

The *consultant* as he or she was called, would ask you to squat while standing on a Bosu ball.  If you were shaky, they’d explain that this meant your stabilizers are weak.  You’re therefore (a) vulnerable to injury and (b) unlikely to progress much in your workouts without first addressing this problem.

Alas…this particular game is RIGGED.  The house always wins.  Everybody shakes.  That’s because it’s got little to do with your stabilizers.  Bosu ball squats are a skill.  Unless you’ve practiced them, you’re not going to be very good at them.

You probably can’t do the trapeze either.

That doesn’t mean you need the $3,000 Cirque Du Soleil package.

I can’t do a back flip.

I’ve lived with this handicap my entire life, and strangely, I don’t feel as though it’s held me back.  It hasn’t cost me any jobs due to discrimination.  I can legally marry.  And somehow, I even managed for many years as an elite strength athlete despite this glaring flaw – go figure.

Where am I going with this?

Your inability to squat on a Bosu probably hasn’t hurt you either.  It’s almost 98% irrelevant to your fitness goals.

Yet it’s human nature to fall for such gimmicks.

That’s IF…we’re not firmly rooted in PRINCIPLES.

Habit #3 of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is *put first things first*.  Bob Proctor says, “The main thing…is to keep the main thing, the main thing.”  In other words, if you want to lose fifty pounds it’s not about, e.g., what are the best kinds of yoghurt to eat.

Instead you should recognize that this change – if it’s going to last – has to begin with massive shifts in both your internal environment (thoughts, beliefs, emotions), and your external environment (which includes everything in your house or workplace, and in between).  These are shifts that need to be harmonized into enduring habits.

It’s about changing your lifestyle.

It’s setting priorities.

It’s committing to working on YOU, the person behind the body armor.

And this has more to do with THINKING and PLANNING than people generally realize.

I know, I know…you don’t want to think.  You’re too busy for that.  You just want someone to tell you what to do.  Or maybe you want me stop at what kind of yoghurt is best to eat.  But getting ever clearer on your intentions is the process of permanent change.

It’s the anatomy of transformation.

Make time for it, and your life will never be the same.

For more help with this, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel:

=>Click here to visit The Conz’ YouTube Channel.

I’ll be posting easily digestible 120-second clips thrice each week.

My latest includes a few examples for how to put to new patterns on auto-pilot.

Check it out.

And note to my industry: personal training is POWERFUL.  Own it.  If you’re purposeful about it, you won’t need gimmicks to convince your buyers.

Happy Back-Flipping,

Conor Kelly

The defeat of Mega Man

In 1995, a future World’s Strongest Man winner, Sweden’s Magnus Samuelsson, made his debut in the contest.

The event was arm-wrestling, and the athletes were going head to head.

Magnus’ opponent was the largest man in the lineup, the six foot ten Australian, Nathan Jones.

They called him Mega Man.

(If you remember the opening scene of Troy, he played Boagrius, the giant who steps out to challenge Brad Pitt’s Achilles.)

Mega Man was a bit like the character he played in the movie.  He was mean.  Often angry.  And had clear intentions to steamroll anyone in his way.  At six foot five with a thin build, the Swede was considerably smaller.  But Magnus was no slouch.  He was a former arm-wrestling champion.

They clasp hands.  The referee signals start.  You can see the look of determination on Mega Man’s face as he throws his might into flattening Magnus’ hand against the table.  But Magnus is stronger than expected – and a much more experienced arm-wrestler.  He holds steady as Mega Man grunts and puffs.

Soon, Magnus has him in what arm-wrestlers call the *arm-break position*.

When the moment is right, he pounces.

Shifting his weight, he allows the full force of his well-practiced arm to plow through his adversary.

In a final, all-out effort to resist, Mega Man uses his own strength to induce a spiral fracture in his arm, snapping his oversized humerus like a twig.  The bone is dust.  He reels backward, aghast, and screams in shock as his arm hangs at an impossible angle.

Needless to say, that was the end of his campaign.

And it was the beginning of Magnus’ legend.

(I should point out that everyone was horrified by the terrible injury – Magnus most of all.  It was also the last time arm-wrestling was contested in World’s Strongest Man.)

Why do I share this story?

Think of it as a cautionary tale.

A common mistake – one with fitpocalyptic consequences – is trying to do too much, too soon.

I see it all the time.  January rolls around and weary holiday over-eaters attempt a one-eighty by cutting out their favorite foods, and pounding the treadmill with gusto, four or five days a week.  By February, 90% are injured, burned out, or discouraged because life ain’t fun no mo’, and they’ve managed to lose a grand total of three pounds.

Just look around your gym Feb 1, and behold the wasteland that once was a thriving fitocracy.

Most people are allowing themselves to get caught in a deadly arm-break pose.

They’re leveraging their own enthusiasm to destroy their efforts.

So don’t be the giant…

Be the giant-killer.

Acknowledge that results take time, conserve your energy, and your path to victory will soon become clear.

For help with how to do this in stages, call (416) 826-4844 for your personal training consultation.

Until then, stretch yourself…but not too thin.

Heed my words, young Skywalker, lest you suffer the same fate as Mega Man.

Happy Patience,

Conor Kelly

Why no news is good news

If there was one piece of advice I could give you that would immediately make you lighter, it’s this…

Go on a news diet.

Stop watching, reading, or listening to the news.

I was reminded of this recently with the fallout of the US presidential election.  If the campaign itself wasn’t enough of giant turd with flies buzzing all around, the so-called backlash to the result also has many of us reaching for a handkerchief or shirt collar to cover our noses.  It’s impossible to suck in all this venom, the way a lot of peeps do – I mean, they take it quiiite personally – and still feel ok, happy, and secure.

Yet you need to feel happy and secure to function at your best.

Remember two things:

1.  No thought lives in your head rent-free. There’s a cost to entertaining all the negative BS…and it’s usually to your general well-being and success.

2.  Fear sells.  There are biological reasons for this.  The primitive structures of our brains evolved in a chaotic world of predators, scarce resources, and many more of Mother Nature’s cruelest survival tests.  Ergo, much of the *downstairs* brain’s role in mediating emotions has to do with perceiving threats – real or otherwise.

We live with these echoes today.

Some are useful, like knowing not to touch a hot stove.

Others aren’t, but still sometimes hand the sentry the illegitimate power to captain the ship.

That’s why so much of what you read, see, or hear is fear-based.

So here it is…

Go cold turkey on the newsfeed crack for a while.  You won’t miss anything important, believe me.

Watch a comedy.

Read a book.

I can’t make you do it.

(As Weird Al Yankovic once said, “you can lead a horse to water…but you can’t keep your eyes open when you’re sneezing.”  Such wisdom…)

Few things will do more for your state of mind.

Anyway, that’s my bit for today.

Call (416) 826-4844 to request your personal training consultation, and let’s chat about POSITIVE solutions to any body problems you might have.

Happy News Avoiding,

Conor Kelly

Don’t make me go back to the OLD me

“I’ve done some things in my life…things I’m not proud of.  A long time ago, I promised someone I love that I’d never go back to being that person.  But for you, I’m gonna make an exception.”  – Denzel Washington as Robert McCall, The Equalizer

Once upon a weekend, I worked security for an all-ages event at The Kool Haus.

Essentially a warehouse converted to a concert venue, the main room held elaborate scaffolding with wires and fixtures that powered the light show, scant furniture (shrink-wrapped in plastic, against spills and other projectiles), and a long bar that served only water and soft drinks.

Several DJ’s took the stage to entertain a crowd of 16-year-old’s.

Apart from the usual thoughts of “was I ever like them?”…not much was happening.

That’s until I noticed one kid in full mount on top of another, flailing away at him with punches.  The bottom one lay prone on a couch with his arms raised in defense, trying to prevent his face from getting jack-hammered.

I immediately jumped to the rescue.

I pulled the first guy off, tossing him aside, and checked with the other to see if he was ok.  Then I felt a sudden stinging sensation.  The aggressor, whom I’d casually dispatched, came back with a wild punch that landed on my ear!  I pivoted, a bit stunned.  As soon as I realized he’d hit me, I was, shall we say…a tad peeved.

I grabbed him, picked him up, and not-so-gently redirected his azz toward the exit.

To hear my security buddies tell it, I dangled junior in front me, feet off the ground, and shook him like a rag doll – for three hundred feet, until we reached the parking lot.

I don’t quite remember it that way, but this was at the height of my strength career.  And he weighed a buck fifty, if that. With my adrenaline going, I’m sure I could’ve made a relatively small human dance like a marionette on a string.

(Legal note: no teenagers were harmed in the making of this email.)

For the purpose of lifting heavy objects – and dealing with troublesome club patrons – I’ve found it useful to have an alter ego.

Mine’s The Giant Killer…my nickname when I did strongman.

The Giant Killer’s got the right sort of slightly-pissed-off determination to move things along when needed.  Even today, when faced with a difficult task (e.g. a training session I’d rather not do), I find I’m able to summon The Giant Killer to my aid in getting s**t done.

Look, some things are hard.

Ain’t no but’s about it.

Leaning on an alter ego is one way to beat the resistance you feel, by making yourself EQUAL to the job.

(The other is to chunk it down into smaller, more manageable bits.  That’s why my 16-week program works: it provides you a step-by-step process to achieving your fittest body.  Hit *reply* to request your personal training consultation, and find out if it’s for you.)

Think back to a time when you channeled some hutzpah, stood up for yourself, and felt powerful.

Who were you then?

Who’s the HULK to your Bruce Banner?

Give your superhero identity a name.

And next time you’re confronted with a challenge, don’t be afraid to let *the other guy* (or gal) take over.

You’re a nice person.

I get it.

But for this…you’ll make an exception…

Happy Alter-Egoing,

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.

Better than a mosh pit of three-year-old’s

Like all three-year-old’s, my Olivia is committed to her playtime.

During a recent playdate, she and a little friend were jumping on our bed to music.  Olivia was selecting random CD’s and playing them (which she does herself) as a soundtrack to this high-adrenaline form of toddler sport.

It started with an age appropriate collection of kids songs like Wheels On The Bus, and If You’re Happy And You Know It.

Then she decided to explore Daddy’s collection…

The standard fare of Irish music and Bulgarian Pop Folk added a distinctly cultural feel to the festivities.  But when I heard the opening bars to Metallica’s Master of Puppets,  I immediately suggested it might not be the best choice because of how ‘loud’ it is, and because her friend wouldn’t like it (or be frightened by it, which I also figured was a possibility).

She shrugged, “Do you like it Willow?”

“Yeah!”  shouted her playmate.

And the two of them proceeded to bound enthusiastically to the crushing power chords and high-speed percussion of an epic thrash metal jam.

A mosh pit of three year olds had broken out in my bedroom.

So I did what any self-respecting metal-head parent would do…taught them how to salute the gods of rock by pressing their middle and ring fingers to their palms with their thumbs, while making devil horns of their index and pinky fingers.  Somewhere, Ozzy Ozbourne mumbled something to someone about being drunk on a bus – it was unintelligible, but you could tell he was happy.

A lot of fun can be found in unexpected places when you’re a kid.

As adults, we tend to forget that.  But all it takes is being open to it, and even a drab afternoon of renewing your driver’s license can be transmuted into some unexpected, story- worthy experience.

(Like the other evening, when I counseled a stranger on the streetcar who’d just caught his girlfriend cheating.  It’s all good…we trainers are honorary shrinks.)

Often, I find people are either going through the motions – or fully dreading the process of whatever they’ve set about doing – and thereby close themselves off to valuable insights.

Breakthroughs occur in times of openness.

So as you go about your day, do that.

Be open.

The fun will find you.

And so will positive transformation.

Happy Playtime,

Conor Kelly