Who I am, what I do & EXACTLY how I'll help you improve your motivation and create positive habits so that you can reach your goals... You'll want to read that!
Who I am, what I do & EXACTLY how I'll help you improve your motivation and create positive habits so that you can reach your goals... You'll want to read that!
Hey, I'm Derek!
I'm a fitness & lifestyle coach from Kitchener, Ontario with a passion for everything health, fitness and nutrition.
My specialty is helping busy parents, entrepreneurs and young professionals get started on their way towards their fitness goals!
When I work with you, there are two main things I focus on helping you achieve:
Teaching you how to reach your goals is literally my dream job! I couldn't ask for a better way to spend my days!
If you're completely new to fitness, if you've tried and failed or if you're just looking to have someone show you how to make fitness fun, functional and sustainable (instead of hating it and giving up after a month or two) I'll show you how to get there!
To get started learning EVERYTHING you need to know to be confident, energetic and injury-free in the gym and in day-to-day life, click the 'Get Started!' button below!
It's an exercise I make EVERY single one of my clients do!
(Oh and by the way, I won't even require your email address before showing it to you... So click away, no strings attached!)
I am determined to understand you and your behaviours better than anyone else out there.
It is my passion.
I want to give you the keys to unlock your behaviour and find the ROOT CAUSE of your difficulties so you can correct them and reach your goals with ease. The truth is, when you take away the obstacles that stand in your way, reaching your goals truly does become easy.
Think of it like this. Let's say you're on a journey up a mountain road... On the road are rocks, bumps and other obstacles. To the left of the road is a sheer cliff with no guard rail. To make matters worse, you're driving a car with flat tires.
Is it any wonder that it's a difficult journey?
In order to reach your goals you need to go step-by-step and eliminate or overcome each of your obstacles that are making it difficult to reach your goal.
There are tools that will help you get there and things you can do to make the journey easier on yourself. The reason most people quit is because after an initial period of motivation, the excitement wears off and the effort required to continue working towards their goals exceeds the amount of energy and motivation they have remaining.
In order to avoid this desire to quit, there are two main things that I want you to always be working on:
Success can happen by increasing available motivation, by decreasing the motivation required or by doing both simultaneously!
Like I mentioned above, I have a free goal setting exercise on the "Get Started" page that will help you set highly motivating goals. If you haven't done it yet, I strongly recommend you complete that exercise before moving on.
Once that's done, come back here and let me tell you a bit more about motivation so that you can UNLOCK the amazing willpower and energy that comes with high motivation levels. I'll also give you my top 4 tips for reducing the motivation required and making achieving your fitness 'feel' easier! All 100% free... All right here on this page!
Now get reading!
When you can activate your motivation resources on demand, you'll notice something incredible. Your depleted willpower will be renewed, temptations will seem trivial and the energy you have available to push towards your goals will be massively improved! All without doing anything other than increasing your motivational drive!
To illustrate this, think about that first two weeks of any new challenge. When the motivation is fresh and you've got a clear vision of your goal and a plan you believe will work, nothing can deter you! Likewise, if the life of a loved one depended on you doing a specific fitness task... say going to the gym 3 times a week or reducing sugar in your diet, my guess is that you'd probably be able to do it!
It's not an issue with the practice being too difficult, it's more about you not wanting it bad enough in that moment of temptation.
My goal with you is to help you develop the ability to bring that motivation level back ANYTIME it's needed. Obviously it won't ever be as high as life-or-death motivation as in the example above, but we should be able to make a massive improvement from it's current level!
So what does it take to increase motivation? How do we avoid being helpless against the natural ebbs and flows of motivation that leave us flip-flopping between all-in excitement about our goals one week and complete exhaustion and hopelessness the next?
I believe there are 4 keys to getting and staying motivated with fitness goals and persevering in the face of set-backs.
I've laid them out below.
1. HAVE A VISION (MAINTAIN HOPE)
Think about your fitness goal. Can you picture yourself getting there? Can you see, almost like a movie, yourself completing each step on the journey to get there? If not, this is something you need to work on. Visualization is a key strategy of most top performing athletes for good reason. Visualization works. With vision you can't help but believe you will reach your goals. You can actually SEE in your minds-eye how it will happen!
If you want to have any hope of achieving your goals, do whatever it takes to keep that vision alive. That may mean that you hire a coach, purchase a proven program or follow the guidance of a friend. Whatever it is, the key is that you believe it will work. That belief will allow you to visualize the end result and give you the drive to get from where you are to where you want to be.
2. IDENTIFY INTRINSIC MOTIVATORS (SATISFY DESIRE FOR IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION)
We as humans are suckers for immediate gratification - those things that give us pleasure right away. What's worse, that desire is even greater when we are stressed, emotional or tired! In order to stick to your goals, it's CRITICAL that you identify and focus on the IMMEDIATE benefits of fitness. You must fall in love with the way you feel when you stick to your healthy habits.
Dreaming of progress or even actually getting results is a great motivator when it's available, but in order to succeed long term, you MUST remain motivated even when you don't see those results in the short-term. It's simply inevitable that there will be times when you won't see the results you'd like, so it is critical that you prepare properly for that! If you can keep your focus on how you feel, you'll be much more likely to succeed!
3. FIND FOCUS (FREE YOURSELF FROM DISTRACTION)
In our world of "You-can-do-everything-itis" we are CONSTANTLY over-committing, over-dreaming and over-wanting. As humans we are fundamentally biased towards unrealistic optimism towards our future behaviour. This leads us to think we can do more than we actually can and we end up spreading ourselves too thin and getting distracted from our priority goals.
Motivation requires focus. I'll repeat that. MOTIVATION REQUIRES FOCUS. If you have too many goals you WILL end up with a split focus and weak motivation. One of the biggest differentiators between people who succeed at something and people who don't is the ability to stick with something for a prolonged period of time without getting distracted. Do the goal setting exercise on the Get Started page, identify your #1 goal and eliminate anything else that will get in your way!
4. STAY HUNGRY (CONTENT, BUT NOT FINISHED)
This may sound counter-intuitive, but if you want to stick with your fitness goals over years and decades, you can never be "done". You must find the delicate balance between being happy with where you are and driving forward for more. I have yet to meet someone in excellent shape (or anyone who excels at anything for that matter) who is not constantly pursuing something greater, no matter what their current level is. Some people do it from a place of dissatisfaction, but most who sustain it do it from a place of content hunger. The latter position is where we want to be. It's the ability to enjoy what you have but to love the process so much that you are constantly pushing for more.
Stay hungry and always be working towards something greater and you'll avoid the loss of motivation that comes with not having a clearly defined goal.
If you can tackle these 4 factors you will be on your way to lifelong high levels of motivation. Sure, things will happen that knock your motivation down, but it's always possible to come back to that high level of motivation if you can target these KEY areas.
Now that you've got an understanding of how to INCREASE motivation, it's time to move to the other side of the equation!
Along with increasing available motivation, it's also extremely helpful if we can reduce the amount of motivation required to stick to healthy habits. This is done by creating an environment in which you are biased towards success.
We want to shift the balance of the equation to make us 'default to success' rather than defaulting to failure. The strategies below will help you do that.
Think about something you do automatically every day without trying. Maybe it's the last time you brushed your teeth. How much willpower did it take? What about wearing your seatbelt or taking a shower? How hard did you have to try to make those happen? Those are all habits that you have to put some effort into, yet for most of us they are automatic. They don't require any willpower because they are incorporated into our lives in some way.
If you are so excited to eat healthy and feel good and can reach the point where you don't even WANT junk food and we can't imagine not working out, it becomes effortless to eat healthy and stay active. No willpower required. It's as easy as turning down an offer to eat cardboard or being asked if you'd like to do a workout to earn a million dollars.
The issue comes when excessive willpower is used to adhere to a restrictive diet, or when the diet is overly restrictive on caloric intake (which causes a physical craving response.) Then you see the late night or weekend binges.
The perspective we should be striving for is one where we are so excited about nourishing our body with healthy food and exercise that it becomes almost unbelievable that anyone else doesn't see the world the same way.
1. IDENTITY TRANSFORMATION (REBIRTH)
Take a moment and think about who you are as a person. What defines you? More than likely there are a few identity categories that you place yourself in. Are you a Father, Mother, Son or Daughter? What about your occupation? Do you identify as an Engineer, Nurse or Factory worker?
More than likely these identity statements shape how you interact with the world around you and how you see yourself. The same concept applies for your 'health identity'.
If you identify yourself as a fat person you'll do the things that you believe a fat person does. If you believe you are a lazy person you will act lazy. If you believe you don't like exercise or eating healthy you will look for things to hate about exercise and eating healthy.
If you are serious about your fitness goals becoming a lifelong thing, you need to begin to reshape your identity. You need to begin to view yourself as "the type of person" who values (and as a result acts on) the things that line up with your health and fitness goals. When you do this you will have much less resistance trying to introduce healthy habits to your life. Instead of fighting yourself and grinding through with sheer willpower, those healthy habits just become "what you do" because that's the type of person you are. The change in identity won't happen overnight, it will likely take a few months or years, but once you're there it becomes massively helpful.
2. ENVIRONMENT (SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS)
Your surroundings and those around you can make things much easier or much harder. Imagine for a moment that you are back in high school. You're in your classroom sitting at your desk with 30 other students. The teacher announces that you will be having a test the next day and you know that in order to succeed you will need to study for at least 4 hours.
That afternoon when you arrive home to begin studying you find out that your parents will be away for the evening and your older brother is having bunch of friends over. Not only that, there just happens to be that special someone that you've had a secret crush on for the last 6 months sitting right there in your living room. To make matters worse, they invite you to join them in their game with your crush being your partner. When you initially say no and try to get back to studying they continue to remind you that you can always study tomorrow morning.
Good luck studying!
Now contrast that with arriving home to an empty house free of friends and distractions with just your parents home to provide some accountability to make sure you study the way you need to. How much easier is it to stay focused?
Your fitness journey is much the same. While the analogy isn't perfect, it illustrates the effect that the people around you and the environment you place yourself in can have on your chances of succeeding or doing what you want to do. If you want to be successful, it is critical that you set yourself up with an environment conducive to success. Choose the people who you spend time with carefully and set your surroundings up to make it easy to succeed.
While it may seem harsh to limit or eliminate time with certain people, you have to recognize that their influence may be compromising the things that matter most to you. If your reason for getting in shape is to allow you to be a better mother or father to your child and spending time with a friend is compromising your ability to do that, it's time to let that friend go. It's harsh, but it's reality. Likewise for other things in your life. It will greatly decrease the level of temptation and significantly improve your likelihood of success!
Pay close attention to these influences and don't hesitate to be ruthless in eliminating influences or elements of your atmosphere that force you to compromise on what really matters to you!
3. PERSPECTIVE (FOCUS ON THE RIGHT THINGS)
Where you place your focus has a massive impact on the difficulty of your fitness journey. If you focus on what you're missing out on or on what's uncomfortable and less than desirable, it will take A LOT of motivation to reach your goal. Alternatively, if you focus on the benefits of what you are doing and the things you enjoy, you will actively WANT to keep going. You won't have to grind through and use willpower to stick with it. It will just come out of natural desire!
As a quick thought experiment, I want you to think about slogging up the side of a small mountain in the heat of summer. Your legs are burning, you're hot, tired and irritable and you're only 1/4 of the way there. You've also got a blister in your shoe and it really hurts every time you take a step. Ugh. You're in a bad mood and you don't know why you ever thought it was a good idea to go on this hike.
Luckily, you know the power of perspective and and gratitude and decide to change where you are focusing your thoughts. Instead of dwelling on all of those negatives you start to revel in the beauty of the hills and nature around you. You genuinely can't believe the beauty surrounding you! You think about how grateful you are to be able to use your body in a way that so many people don't have the privilege of doing. You think of how incredible that bottle of water or cold beer at the top of the mountain will taste. Before you know it, you don't even notice those negative complaints that were going through your mind just 10 minutes earlier!
In order to be successful you need to fall in love with what you are doing, at least to some degree. Sure, there are naturally some things that are easier to fall in love with, but if you continue to focus on the things you appreciate and the positive aspects instead of the complaints it will massively reduce the motivation required to complete your task.
Through a simple shift in how you are looking at things, you can flip a miserable uncomfortable experience to something that many people spend hours day dreaming about!
4. CREATE MARGIN (REDUCE STRESS)
Let me ask you a question... When was the last time you were able to sit down, relax and NOT rushing around trying to keep up with everything?
If you're like most people, it's probably been a while. Your schedule is probably packed... and that's a problem. Busyness has a way of stealing happiness and leavings us tired, drained and overall just not loving life. Sure, there are times when being busy is awesome and you're just loving it, but that generally happens when you're busy doing things you have chosen to do rather than things you feel obligated to do.
The ironic thing is, most of the things we feel obligated to do are things we have chosen to do because we want to enjoy them and we're afraid of missing out. We're literally too busy doing things to make our lives more enjoyable that we can't enjoy our life! How ironic is that??
So here's a challenge for you:
Make it your mission this week, to declutter your schedule and SAY NO to things you actually want to do. Do it as an experiment. At worst, you miss out on a few fun things, but at best... You discover a whole new way of living that makes you happier, healthier and well on the way to your goals!
For more on habits and habit strategies, I highly recommend Gretchen Rubin's book 'Better Than Before'. I have it on Audible and it's one of the core books that has shaped the way I coach my clients. If you want to get a quick taste, check out this blog post she wrote which distills her book into 21 sentences.
With every client I work with, we work on developing these skills and creating an environment that fosters continued lifelong motivation.
If you haven't seen Simon Sinek's Ted Talk 'Start with Why', it's an absolute must-watch. In it, he discusses the importance of laying out a clear 'why' for your customers and letting them in on the motivations that drive you. As such, here is where my motivation comes from.
My personal 'Why' with all of my business endeavors is to build it to the point where Rachel and I can each work 30 hours a week, spend a ton of time with our future children where I can be a present, loving father and husband, all while doing something I love and changing the lives of thousands of people through my programs.
That's my why.
What's yours? I'd love to hear about it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
If you want to hear even my story even more in depth, feel free to get in touch at email@example.com.
All of the above as well as everything I know and teach my clients is not something I've come up with alone. There are a long list of people who have influenced my thinking and contributed strategies, tips, tricks and concepts to whom I am eternally grateful. Some I have met and know personally, others I have only read or listened to. I'm sure you will see their influence in my work!
In a semi-particular-but-not-completely-particular order, here are some of the people who have had an incredible impact on me along with some links for where to find them and their work:
(My wife Rachel's site)
(The gym I co-own)