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Archives for July 2015
How Mindset Creates or Destroys Improvement
Carol Dweck has done some amazing research on how our mindset determines our ability to improve.
Specifically what we would call having a “Growth Mindset” vs a “Fixed Mindset”
Growth Mindset: Human beings can learn and develop themselves and change over time
Fixed Mindset: People are a certain way. That’s just how they are
The short version: Research indicates that people with a growth mindset improve at things that are hard. People with a fixed mindset decline or stay the same.
There’s a lot of silliness in the personal growth world. Everyone has an opinion, and there’s a lot of crap. So I want you to really get that what Carol Dweck is talking about here isn’t that. It isn’t like this is her opinion, and this isn’t the product of marketing.
Carol Dweck, Phd, is a world leading researcher on Motivation and a professor of psychology at Stanford. It’s absolutely amazing to watch the video above and see what’s possible for kids with statistically the worst possible math scores, and how much they could improve.
Of course, in our fat loss journey, we’re the kids. And fat loss is our math.
If you’re reading this — even if you’re currently really lean — you’re one of the people who has to work for it. And that’s awesome. That’s who this is for.
What I want you to get is that it gets easier over time, you can learn more effective techniques over time, and you can have a totally different fitness result than you’ve ever had before.
Two Words That Change Everything
Carol Dweck tells us that the difference between getting better and getting worse is:
• If we relate to a hard part of our fat loss journey or not hitting our goal as a “failure” or “I am a failure” or that “this is something I’m not good at”
• If we relate to a hard part of our fat loss journey or not hitting our goal just means “not yet”
And this is why I’ve moved into coaching everything from a habit-based perspective. On some level, everyone gets that habits are created by doing stuff, and that we can do different stuff and create new habits. That is the essence of a growth mindset!
And it is hard, which is why I’ve started coaching nutrition habits in groups. Working on mastering one habit at a time, in a group, makes creating new habits easier. Anyone who’s ever been on any kind of sports team knows that it’s easier to stay fit and develop skills when you’re on a team where everyone is doing the same thing.
The Past and The Future
Just because you’ve tried things in the past and it hasn’t worked out the way you wanted, doesn’t mean “that’s how it is” or “that’s who you are”.
It just means “not yet”
In fact, usually it just means that the approach you took last time, didn’t work last time. You may need a more reasonable approach to workout and/or nutrition. You may need more structure, accountability, or coaching. You may just need to look at it from a different perspective.
What most personal trainers know, is that the way most people approach their fitness and diet is destined to fail from the start. Not the PERSON, but the approach.
12 week weight loss challenges, cleanses, diets that completely eliminate carbohydrates, fat, or protein, needlessly throttling workouts, totally dumbed down fitness articles, train-wreck fat loss TV shows – most of what people see on about how to lose weight is steering them in the wrong direction.
Think longer term, expect some bumps in the road, and know that you can always change approaches as you learn more. When you hit a wall, that just means “not yet”
Charlize had a couple amazing quotes about her workout to play Imperator Furiosa in Mad Mad: Fury Road:
“I like feeling capable. In my twenties I never worked out because I hated the idea of going to the gym but then you get older and you start losing muscle tone and feeling weak and you go, ‘oh, so wait, that’s what that’s about’. It’s not about having a 23in waist, it’s about feeling strong and capable. I like that I can pick up my almost 50lb kid and throw him in the air.” [The Independent]
“I am not a fan of scrawny little girls pretending to kick butt in movies. I just don’t buy it. I hate those moments in movies where the tiniest little arms are hitting a guy who is four times her size. We are supposed to believe that that happened. So the physical part for me was just for my own truth.” [Inquirer]
A couple things are super rad about Charlize Theron getting in shape to play Furiosa, but the biggest is that she just wanted to look believable as a badass.
What we know: She did a lot of upper body strength training and yoga inversions. Since inversions are getting so popular lately (see: Instagram) I thought it would be fun to collect a few great resources on getting your upside down on:
Getting Started with Yoga Inversions:
This video is a really amazing, quick run through of your very first steps of inversion practice. Pick *one* of of the steps — whichever one you can totally own, and work on that for a month. Then, move to the next one.
Tara Stiles has a great progression for tripod-headstand, handstand, and forearm-stand. I thought these were some of the smartest and simplest progressions I’ve ever seen on YouTube for these inversions.
Just taking a look at the first two is really great:
Tara’s Tripod-Headstand Progression
- Kneeling Tripod
- Pike “Downward Dog” Tripod
- Hips Over Shoulders Pike Tripod
- One Knee Tuck Tripod Headstand
- (Two Knee) Tuck “Cannonball” Tripod Headstand
- Full extension Tripod Headstand
Tara’s Handstand Progression
- Single Leg Downward Dog Rocking Forward and Back
- Standing Split Rocking Forward and Back
- Rock up into split handstand stall
- Split handstand
- Full Two-legs Together Handstand
I made up names that I thought made sense for that progression in the video.
GMB’s Handstand Conditioning
I’m a huge fan of all things GMB for building movement skill and learning fun bodyweight tricks. Their handstand conditioning program is really killer:
That tutorial includes:
- Wrist Warmups, Flexibility, and Strengthening
- Shoulder Flexibility and Strengthening
- Scapular Mobility
- Hollow Body Hold Conditioning
- Handstand Breathing
- Head Position in Handstand
- A Four Phase Handstand Conditioning Program
It’s a complete program for handstands to go with the yoga progressions and flow above.
It can take an extraordinarily long time to get your first handstand, but these programs will get you on the right track.
GMB Breaks down Crow Pose and Crane Pose
The simplest and easiest way to learn Crow I’ve ever seen:
And then if you’re advanced: Crane
Mad Max, Furiosa, and Inversions
Normally talk about kettlebell and bodyweight workouts from a purely fat loss perspective here. With as awesome as Mad Max: Fury Road was, and with Charlize Theron talking so much about doing inversions and arm-balances to get ass kicking arms for the role of Furiosa, I thought it would be fun to put together some resources to get you started.
And, obviously I’m not a yoga or gymnastics teacher, so it made more sense to collect some stuff from other people who put together great stuff. Tara Stiles I don’t know at all, but her inversion progressions above are genius. The GMB guys I’ve met (Andy and Jarlo, haven’t met Ryan yet), and I’ve done a few of their programs. Their stuff is awesome end to end.
So try these out, and let me know what you think! Hopefully inversions and arm balances make you feel all the post-apocalyptic desert action badass you’re looking for!
Josh, with Dan John, authored Fat Loss Happens on Monday, is a writer for Strength Matters Magazine, and speaks all over the United States, teaching trainers how to do habit-based fat loss coaching.