The Power of Habits

Oxford defines a habit as “a thing that you do often and almost without thinking, especially something that is hard to stop doing.”
That second part is important.
You go to work to work every day because you have to, but you have that cup of coffee every morning, because you NEED to.

This is what makes something a habit.
Understanding how habits work gives us clues on how to break bad habits and develop good ones instead. And because habits are hard to give up, those good habits which once required disciplined effort, become routine.

This is all because habits run on a feedback loop. It begins with a trigger, which leads to the habit, and it finishes with a reward. The reward reinforces the behaviour and is the reason why habits are so hard to break.

For instance it’s 6am and you feel tired (the trigger), so you have a coffee (the habit), and the caffeine gives you a hit of energy (the reward).

Understanding this feedback loop allows you to hack it and break bad habits.
Here are some tips for breaking bad habits:

• Don’t go cold turkey
– take small steps. Breaking habits takes time, don’t deplete your motivation all at once by giving up every bad habit and starving your brain of its rewards. Focus on one habit at a time and reward yourself for not indulging in that habit.

• Target the triggers
– the habit follows the trigger, if you reduce or eliminate the trigger, the habit will follow.
• Replace the habit – if you like to eat chocolate whilst you watch TV, don’t just stop eating. Replace the chocolate with something else (ideally something healthier).

Now that you’ve got a plan to break your bad habits, it’s time to learn how you can use the feedback cycle to develop good habits.

• Reward yourself
– Sometimes the benefits of a good habit aren’t felt for months, so the feedback loop stalls. Rewarding yourself for good habits will keep the loop running until the benefits of the finally kick in.

• Use the process principle
– the process principle is derived from the ultimate fitness clichés, “Just Do It”, “Starting is the hardest part”. The process principle starts with an action, not a trigger or a plan. Act first, and reward yourself to kickstart the feedback loop.

• Surround yourself with supportive people
– if you were trying to give up smoking you wouldn’t hang around with people who smoke. The same goes for good habits too, if you want to exercise more, spend time with people who exercise more. Be vocal as well, if you tell people you are trying to lose weight, not only will supportive people encourage you, but they will hold you accountable.
So you’ve read this article and now you know all about habits, but what now?

Use the Process Principle! Act now and reward yourself, replace one bad habit from your routine with a good habit. Knowing the tips from this article isn’t enough. You need to actively implement them until the conscious effort becomes easy.

The process principle not only works for forming habits, but it is an effective technique to boost productivity and creativity as well.
If you found this article interesting and want to learn more on the topic of habits and ways to hack your own brain, I highly recommend the following books, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, and Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

Why have a Personal Trainer?

If you are new to the world of fitness, the abundance of information can be overwhelming. With all the variations of exercise and the new trending diets, it can seem almost impossible to find a fitness plan that seems right. However there is a whole career field dedicated to being your guide and teacher for all this information, a Personal Trainer. We tend to think of a personal trainer as someone who simply tells us what to do at the gym, and that is partly true, but they also serve to be much more for their client.

What exactly does a Personal Trainer do?

• Teach
– First and foremost a personal trainer is there to teach you about fitness on all fronts and answer any question you have during your entire process. A Personal trainer has spent time to learn the dynamics of each exercise and meal plans. In addition, a personal trainer will help design a fitness plan directed toward the specific goal you have in mind. For example, if you wanted to prepare to run for a marathon they will help prepare a meal plan, set a realistic timeline for you, and guide you through each exercise that will specifically build stamina.

• Hold You Accountable/Won’t Waste Time
– We’ve all been there, the 6am alarm going off and us pressing the snooze 45 times! As appealing as it is in the moment, skipping days can set you back and hinder your progress. This is another area in which a personal trainer is ideal, holding you accountable! The idea of skipping your morning workout seems much less appealing when you have someone waiting at the gym for you! They will inspire you to get up, get moving! As well, when you get there a personal trainer will get you to work, with little time wasted walking on the treadmill or wandering around! Allowing you to get the best out of your fitness time!

• Personalise Training For Your Lifestyle/Force You Into Good Habits
– An issue a lot of people run into with fitness is the idea of an unrealistic goal. Many people jump into working out assuming they will lose weight and get the body they want within a few weeks, and when they don’t get the look they want they give up! However fitness is much more complex than that! Depending on what your goals are, it can take months or even years to reach them. They require patience. A personal trainer can help you set realistic timeline that matches your desired goals and tell you what to expect. In addition, a personal trainer can arrange that timeline in a manner that goes hand in hand with your lifestyle and fitness levels. For example if you work a hectic job, a personal trainer can arrange a schedule in which you workout fewer times a week but with workouts that will push you enough to fulfill the goals for that week!

• Push You Past Your Plateau
– A personal trainer is designed to push you past the point of plateau. If you’ve hit a point where your workouts aren’t enough, a personal trainer will push you to the next step. Always aiming to keep you moving forward.

• Shoulder To Lean On/Therapist
– An unassuming perk of a personal trainer is that over time they can become a sort of unofficial therapist. A personal trainer is there to talk to you about your life, not just tell you what to do with working out. They care about whether you’ve been stressed out or haven’t been eating enough, because their main concern is to get you healthy.

A personal trainer can dramatically increase your fitness experience and outcomes and can set you down the right path for success! Here at ROAR Fitness 247 we always aim to build better people and encourage all our members to use their free consultation with one of our talented personal trainers today!

Why Swimming Might Be Your Family’s New Favourite Sport!

Here in Australia, we are all very familiar with swimming! Not only do we live in a country that is completely surrounded by water, our summers are just too bloody hot and the only escape we have is diving into a refreshing pool!

That being said, there is much more to swimming than simply cooling off in the 40 degree sun. Swimming has plenty of physical and mental benefits that make it not only fun, but one of the most beneficial forms of exercise and skills for people of all ages. So what exactly are the benefits of swimming?

• Low Impact Workout
– Swimming offers a heart pounding and fulfilling workout for people who struggle with joint pain, stiffness, or are overcoming injuries. There isn’t as much pressure put on your body and the skeletal system, as opposed to a sport like running, because your body is submerged in water making it much lighter and preventing your limbs aren’t banging against a hard surface continually. Therefore, it offers a lower impact sport that delivers the same quality of workout.
In fact, swimming is highly recommended for people suffering from arthritis or who are overweight!

• Heart Healthy
– Swimming also benefits the most vital muscle in all of the body, the heart! Swimming is an aerobic exercise that helps strengthen your heart by assisting it to become larger and stronger, making it more effective with pumping which in turn leads to better blood flow throughout the body.

• Muscle Definition & Flexibility
– Swimming also helps strengthen the entire body, as each part of the body is being used equally when swimming laps. Arms, legs, back, chest, are all in motion when performing the fundamental swimming techniques of free stroke, breaststroke, backstroke, etc. so you are getting an all over workout.
As well, the motion of swimming includes pulling your way through water, by using your legs, arms, ankles, etc. Therefore, while you are working out, you also are stretching your body, which in turn promotes flexibility.

• Burns Calories
– Swimming is renowned for being one of the best workouts for good reason, as not only does it promote all over body toning, flexibility, heart health, etc. it also BURNS calories like none other. In fact, swimming can be just as effective in fat burning than running on a treadmill! Depending on the intensity, 10 minutes swimming can burn equally or even MORE calories than running, as each swimming position delivers as a full bodied cardio workout.

• Good for mental health
– Swimming can help lowers stress, as it’s therapeutic nature of stretching your body while being submerged in cooled water and the deep breathing in between different positions helps promote its very own ‘swimmers high’.

• Prolong Life
– When it comes to living your absolute best, and longest life, swimming is your answer! Researchers at the University of South Carolina looked at 40,547 men, aged 20 to 90, for over 32 years. The results showed that those who swam had a 50 percent lower death rate than runners, walkers, or men who didn’t exercise. Swimming isn’t just for the grown ups. Learning to swim largely benefits the little ones, and in some cases even MORE than the adults! Learning to swim is a vital skill for children to learn early in life.

• Emotional Health
– Similar to the adults, swimming helps alleviate stress, depression and anxiety, as the relaxing nature of being in the cooling water coupled with the breathing techniques helps relax kids while simultaneously burning off their excess energy.

• Safety
– Perhaps, especially living in Australia, one of the BEST qualities of swimming for the young ones is the safety element. According to KidsHealth.org, drowning is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 5 and 24. Teaching your little one how to swim at a young age can help them learn the vital skills to fend for themselves in the water if an emergency were to occur. In this hot climate it is more common than not to have a swimming pool in the backyard! However, this can be dangerous for young children if they don’t know how to swim. Becoming a strong swimmer drastically reduces the risk of an emergency if your child were to accidentally fall in a pool or even get pulled into deep water by a rip tide at the beach. Swimming is a necessary life long tool that is best taught when your child is young, as it will carry with them their entire lives.

• Develops confidence
– For some children water can be a frightening experience. Many children tend to be fearful of water if they are not introduced to it at a young age. Helping your child learn to become a strong swimmer not only helps them overcome this common fear, but helps them conquer it. Conquering this fear will help empower them and boost their overall confidence and self esteem. Promoting a higher self esteem in young children is essential to self image and confidence as they mature into their teens and adulthood.

• Boosts social skills
– Lastly swimming, for the little ones can be an extremely social sport. Learning a vital skill such as swimming with other kids their age, like every other sport, leads to great social interaction and assists with the development of necessary social skills, such as being a part of a team, or learning to engage with kids from different backgrounds and life circumstances. These positive bond and friendships help shape their minds and view of the world.

Swimming is a perhaps one of the most valued and recommended sports in Australia for great reason. Not only does it offer plenty of physical benefits, but mental ones as well.

5 Minor Diet Changes That Help with Weight Loss

Dieting doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Losing weight is hard, and making large lifestyle changes can make the journey seem impossible. Luckily, the difference between your current weight and a lower one doesn’t require large lifestyle changes. You can make some minor diet changes that you won’t even notice after the first few weeks of practicing them, and you’ll be surprised by your weight loss over time.

Portion Control

Portion control is one of the biggest hurdles for those trying to lose weight. Your change to your portions doesn’t have to be major, however. Take a slightly smaller serving than usual, even just a bite less. You’ll be just as satisfied from your meal after you’ve done this a few times.

Food Colour Variety

Make sure you’re eating a variety of colons in each of your meals. The thought behind this is that most foods that are colourful are vegetables and fruit, so this small check you do at each meal helps you loosely measure your fruit and veggie intake. Vegetables and fruit are generally lower in calories than carbs and protein, and they provide a variety of helpful nutrients you won’t get otherwise.

Fill Up On a Little Protein

Though it can be calorie dense, protein is great for making you feel full. If you start getting hungry in your day, consider having a small protein-filled snack instead of a full meal. Some good examples of protein snacks are almonds or jerky. Protein snacks are delicious and will usually help tide you over until your next meal.

Food, Not Drinks

It’s surprising how many calories are in the drinks you buy. The average can of soda contains around 150 calories. You can lose a lot of weight from cutting out drinks like these, or you can try replacing your sodas or other caloric beverages with snacks such as almonds or popcorn to feel less hungry throughout the day.

Fewer Extras

The recipe for a meal might say that a serving is only 300 calories, but this is before any additional ingredients you add in, such as oils, butter, cheese, and more. Try adding fewer of these fats to your cooking for fewer unknown calories. If nothing else, measure these add ins and calculate just how much you’re including calorically so you can take that into account for the rest of your day’s calories.

Losing weight doesn’t have to be a dramatic lifestyle change. Small changes such as having healthy snacks to avoid binge-eating at meals, drinking fewer calories, or eating just a bite less at dinner will cause a small decline in weight over time. Weight loss doesn’t have to be a rush, it can be a slow journey you take one small step at a time with manageable eating changes and goals.

Kids are fit for the gym too!

In this digital age, it’s tempting to just let your children stay inside and play video games. It’s easy, they’re ‘safe’ and sometimes it’s just what they want to do. However, teaching your children to be inactive can have dire consequences in the long run.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare:
• 1 in 4 Australian children, aged 2-17, were overweight or obese in 2014-2015.
• 80% of children and young people aged 5-17 did not meet physical activity recommendations.
• 64% of children aged 5-8 failed to meet the physical activity recommendations.

The statistics show that it is now more common for a child to be inactive than active. Insufficient exercise sets children up for a range of health and psychological issues in the future. However, encouraging kids to be active at a young age has far more lifelong benefits than most parents are aware of.

What are the benefits?
• Heart strength:Workouts that increase your child’s heart rate leads to increased cardiovascular fitness. This strengthens the heart and lung muscles for healthy development, while simultaneously reducing the chance of heart disease and cancer in the future.
• Strong bones:Working out increases the bone density among children, which encourages the healthy growth of bones, muscles, and ligaments. Strong bones and ligaments not only help children reach their height potential, but also helps to develop a good posture and reduce risk of bone breakage later on in life.
• Improved coordination and balance: Teaching children new skills to workout, whether that be a sport, weight training, or an aerobics class, helps them to develop better coordination and balance. This will be a huge benefit when they start cooking, riding a bike or playing more competitive sports in the future.
• Greater ability to relax: The exertion of energy helps children to experience a calming effect on their entire body, which can help them to avoid chronic muscular tension (head/back aches), and improve their sleep quality!
• Mental health benefits: Exercise is a fighting tool in combating invasive mental health issues such as low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. It teaches children how to be self-confident and resilient at a young age. In addition, exercise helps improve concentration and memory, which gives them a step up in their studies and brain development. It also helps reduce stress and raises their serotonin levels, helping them to lead happy and healthy lives.
• Improved social skills/ personal skills: Another added benefit of social exercise (such as workout classes or team workouts), is that it teaches children the social and personal skills that are essential to leading a fulfilling life. The benefits of learning cooperation and teamwork goes far beyond the gym or field, as these skills carry with them into their schooling, friendship and their family lives.

How to motivate the kids AND fit it within your schedule!
Here at Roar, all members’ children get access to two free fitness classes each week across both clubs.
In addition, RFX CrossFit offers CrossFit-based training for children as young as 5 years on a term by term basis, and encourages pre-teens and teenagers to join CrossFit with no lock in contract membership!

Roar’s mission is to get your kids moving without jeopardising your own workout time, so this year hit two birds with one stone and take your kids along with you on your workout journey and experience the benefits that working out and Roar has to offer!

Benefits of RFX CrossFit

When it comes to fitness, it is essential to make sure you find the perfect program, sport or workout style that best suits you! As we make our way through several programs or classes, the road to finding your perfect routine can be daunting. However, if you find yourself struggling to find the motivation to workout alone, but still searching for a powerful weight training workout then perhaps it’s time to give RFX CrossFit a try!
So what are the benefits of RFX CrossFit?

More Personalised Attention
If you are someone who loves working out with others, but is still searching for intensity then RFX is your answer! Each of our RFX classes consists of a series of intense CrossFit based training exercises, that utilises cardio and weights, while also being surrounded by others performing the same task. You’ll get the personalised attention of working with a professional, but broken up between multiple people who are in the same boat. As well, the class sizes are just big enough for each member to have one on one time with a coach so they can get the best out of you each session. You’ll leave each class feeling like you learned something new and got an intense workout all while immersed in a supportive community of like minded people.

Working out alongside others, whether it in be a circuit-style setup or even weights, can be more motivating than compared to working out alone. Having someone there with you, performing the workouts under the instruction of a coach, forces you to not only push yourself to keep up but offers a supportive energy so you can easily jump back in when you feel yourself slipping.

Each RFX class session is guided by industry professionals who are knowledgeable about all different kinds of exercises you perhaps would never have learned on your own. When we go to the gym alone, we tend to follow the same routines and are limited with how much variety we can incorporate. Whereas a qualified coach will set up different exercises, ones you may have never heard of, that will also help target your goals and prevent the entire group from a plateau.
As well, you get to experience the variety of exercises with others who are learning as well, so you all can support one another throughout the entire process.

Fun and Results
When working together as a group you have the luxury of seeing your fitness progress in relation to others in your group, and together you can celebrate success while also working out new methods to accomplish even more!

Working together as a team and having that camaraderie can be a much more encouraging, then if you were left on your own. So if you are someone who enjoys a group environment and a powerful workout then RFX CrossFit is your solution! Sign up today!

Amp Up Your Metabolism!

Metabolism is the system that converts what you eat and drink into energy. At any time, this can speed up and slow down.
You gain weight when you eat more calories than you burn so it is crucial for successful weight management to keep active and where possible, signal to your body that the food you’ve consumed was plentiful and that you are ready to speed up your metabolism and burn fat.

Here are some tips to amp up your metabolism!

• Eat Healthy Fats
dark chocolate – avocados – olive oil – coconut oil – natural peanut button – nuts – walnuts – flax seed – fish – salmon – olives – soybeans

• Drink 2-3 Litres of Water a Day
After drinking 2 litres of water, metabolism speeds up 30% within 10 minutes and reaches a maximum boost after 30-40 minutes.
It is proven that drinking cold water, especially icy cold water will help you to burn up to 400 extra kilojoules per day for every 2L of water you drink, which the equivalent of an extra snack every single day.

• Eat small meals every 3-4 hours
Eating every 3-4 hours can help you develop a great relationship with food and keep you burning fat for hours. Whilst eating more frequently has no direct impact on your metabolism it will help in keeping you feeling ‘full’; resulting in eating less ‘unnecessary’ foods.

• Sleep for 8 hours
Sleep helps the body perform at its best all day long. Sleep deprivation signals your metabolism to slow down, use less energy and causes many to binge later in the day.

• Eat more to lose weight
Avoid restrictive diets! Extreme calories restrictions wrecks lasting weight loss efforts as your body compensates by slowing down your metabolism and conserves calories for survival.

5 Ways to Improve Your Gut Health

It’s easy to forget about your gut, but did you know that your gut health affects much more than just your digestive system? The gut is one of the most important elements to proper bodily functioning! The gut is where the food is broken down and transferred to other parts of the body. It is also filled with living bacteria that keep you alive, but when things turn for the worst, can also be your worst enemies!
Gut health is easy to neglect, and for that reason it is super important to give your gut some love, so it can give it back to you! Outlined below are some steps that you can take to help keep your gut healthy and happy.

Do you remember being reprimanded by your mum about chewing slowly? Well she had a point! Slowly chewing your food and mashing it up makes it much easier for your body to digest it and absorb all of the proper nutrients. Your saliva contains enzymes which break down the food in your mouth that make it more bioavailable for the rest of our digestive system!
An additional benefit of chewing slowly is that it can aid in fat loss! Chewing slowly allows your body extra time to signal your brain that you are getting full. It takes 20 minutes from when you are completely full for your body to send a signal to your brain that gives the “fullness” sensation.

The golden rule that most of us neglect on a daily basis! Water is the foundation of life, yet most of us forget to get our 8 cups in. Staying hydrated is essential for proper gut health!
Drinking enough water ensures that your stool isn’t difficult to pass. When you are dehydrated, passing stool can be an uncomfortable experience and one that puts stress on your bowels. Too much stress on your bowls can cause a rupture in the bowel walls, which is not only extremely painful, but also can release bacteria into the bloodstream, affecting a wide range of bodily functions.

Your gut is filled with millions of good bacteria, designed to break down the food you’re eating. However, among the good there are some bacteria is not good for your body and can actually cause you to crave unhealthy foods.
A poor diet, can cause an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria, leading the bad to take over the good! This is where digestive issues arise, in some cases it can also lead to allergies and even mental instability such as depression. With this in mind, it’s crucial to get the right kind of bacteria in charge.
Taking a probiotic supplement (such as Yakult) or foods with naturally high probiotics (such as natural yogurt, kimchi, kefir or fermented foods) can help you restore that balance in your gut. It’s important to take these supplements daily, as research suggests it needs to be a daily intake in order for the effects to be fully realised.
Although we all have different definitions of what constitutes “inflammatory foods”, it is safe to say that most refined carbs, like candy or fast food, are bad for gut health.
These foods can inflame the digestive tract, and destroy the villi (small, finger-like projections on the walls of the intestines that absorb nutrients from food) in the intestines. This can have serious consequences on your gut health and health in general, as it reduces the level of nutrition that is able to be absorbed from the food you eat.
A good rule of thumb is to go for unrefined whole foods, with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Intermittent fasting has recently risen up as one of the fastest growing diet trends in the recent years, however unlike many other diet fads, this fab has proven to be beneficial to your holistic health, including the gut!
Taking a break from eating food for blocks of time, gives your digestive tract the opportunity to rest and clear out. This can also allow your gut flora to focus on things unrelated to digestion, i.e. populating themselves.
So, don’t you forget about the gut! It is one of the most vital bodily systems that keep you alive and healthy on a daily basis! Make sure to follow these steps and care of it, so it can take care of you!