Archive for motivation

What 10 Years in the Fitness Industry Has Taught Me

This August is a big month for me, personally. It marks 1 year since I made a decision that turned my life around (for the better) in ways that I could have never expected, but it also marks 10 years since the day I walked into my first training session, another life-changing event (although I didn’t know it at the time). I realize that I’m writing this a few months early, but coming off of another great Fitness Summit in Kansas City with the best, smartest, and most realistic people in the fitness industry has me feeling the urge to do it now. I’m inspired, I’m reflecting, and I have a lot to say. And since I stopped living by “the rules”(<—whole other post right here) last August, I’ll say it now, because I want to.

A little background

I grew up as a total tom-boy. I remember my grandpa and I kicking a soccer ball around in my basement when I was just 4 years old. In our neighborhood, almost every house had kids and we would all meet outside, pick something to play, and play until it was dark out. This was every day after school that I can remember. It ranged from baseball to kickball, street hockey, basketball, butts up (who remembers that?!), etc. We made rollerblade ramps, created obstacle courses, and I don’t remember ever NOT being active. In organized sports, I played flag football (I was the quarterback) and baseball (1st base) with the boys. I stopped football in 7th grade when all the guys started playing tackle football, but kept playing baseball year-round on club teams until high school. I tried playing softball for 1 year on my high school’s team when I was a sophomore and was moved up to varsity, but it just wasn’t the same as baseball. I didn’t like it and decided to go a totally different direction the next year. My junior year of high school I was on the track team. I did high jump and long jump because I hated running (LOL). I made it to State for high jump and totally flopped there, but it was a really fun season. To this day, I still love jumping!

My freshman year of college was the first year that I wasn’t active. My roommate and I would try to go to the rec center to “work out”, but from what I remember, we would do a few sets of leg extensions and about 20 minutes on the elliptical. Then we would smash a bunch of sushi and Coldstone ice cream or order Domino’s pizza WITH brownie bites and devour the whole thing. We had “earned it” haha. I also vividly remember going on a diet of sour gummy worms and goldfish and losing a bunch of weight because I was barely eating. Who needs protein?

By the beginning of my sophomore year (August 2007), I just felt lazy and not like myself. I had been so used to being active my entire life that it just felt weird to be so sedentary. I decided to seek out a gym and found Lifts, owned by Bret Contreras. It was a small studio and only about 5 minutes from where I worked at the time. From what I remember, I wanted a personal trainer, but was also a broke college student. This gym was a personal training studio and only a few hundred dollars a month, so I think that’s what drew me to it initially. In hindsight, I’m SO lucky that I ended up here. In fact, my entire life would be different if I hadn’t.

Bret taught me how to lift weights right off the bat. With my athletic background, I caught on pretty quickly and became obsessed with it. I would spend hours at Lifts. I’d get there right after work, I’d workout, and I’d hang out there afterwards. I was also known for taking naps on the Reverse Hyper after I finished my workouts while Bret and the other trainers did their own workouts. It became my home away from home and to this day, the gym IS my home. (To this day, I can’t thank Bret enough for showing me the world of lifting weights).

There have been a lot of ups and downs in the last 10 years. It’s hard to remember every zig and zag, but I have learned so much and it’s shaped me into the person that I am today. Social media wasn’t as rampant then as it is today. We had Facebook, but it wasn’t wildly popular yet. I think we were still on Myspace back then too, if I remember correctly. There was no Instagram, no Twitter. Bodybuilding.com, T-Nation, and other fitness sites were where I got a lot of my information about what the fitness pros were up to and what the latest research said. Between my obsessive search for information and surrounding myself with the people that seemed to know what they were doing, I was able to gain a lot of good knowledge (and plenty of bad, too). It was a really different time (I realize I sound like an old woman, but it really was drastically different than it is today).

Today, I am a private personal trainer in the Santa Monica and Burbank area. I train clients in a private gym, at their homes, and at a movie production company. I also work on the business side of fitness with a company that helps gym owners run PROFITABLE gyms. It’s hard to do, but our company knows all the magic tricks ;-)!! All jokes aside, I love helping gym owners learn how to turn their passion into something they can do full time. I like being on all three sides of the industry: an athlete, a trainer, and a business consultant.

Through all of that, I have seen a lot. I still have much to learn and my favorite thing about fitness is that there is ALWAYS more to learn.

Here are the Top 10 things I’ve Learned in the Last 10 Years about Fitness

I Know Nothing

1. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I know nothing. Let me clarify. When I got into lifting weights initially, I literally did know nothing. But about 2 years in, I thought I knew it all. I spent ALL of my time either IN the gym OR perusing fitness articles. I spent every afternoon and night researching nutrition, fitness, different workout protocols, looking up what the bodybuilders were doing, seeing what other trainers did. I read everything I could get my hands on and didn’t have the knowledge to decipher the bullshit. I believed a lot of things that in hindsight, I realize was bro-science. I thought I was learning, and I guess I WAS learning, but not necessarily the right things. I did learn a lot of GREAT things as well, but I also thought I had it all figured out. Bret will never let me live down the day I came into Lifts after I had started working out at another gym and telling him that he was a good trainer to get me started, but my new trainer knew things that were more technical. (*bows head in shame* haha). In reality, I had gotten really into bodybuilding and was preparing for a Bikini show (2009, the first year it became a division) and a trainer at my new gym was teaching me all the “bodybuilding tricks”. I thought they were the end-all-be-all and would make ALL the difference I the world. Now I know better. I know that I know a LOT, but I also know that I have so much to learn. Enough that I’ll never stop. I’ll always be researching, listening, reading, attending seminars, etc. The difference now is that I DO have a good understanding of how this all works. I have not only learned from the RIGHT people, but I’ve experimented extensively on myself and my clients. I’ve surrounded myself and sought advice from the REAL professionals in this industry and I now know how to decipher bullshit. I know a lot, but I also know nothing. I like it that way. It keeps me hungry for more.

 

Follow the rules, then you can break them.

2. There are many “rules” when it comes to lifting weights and making progress towards your goals. They are there because they are based on what science tells us and this is what has been shown to optimize progress and keep you safe. Everyone should learn them. Everyone should practice them. THEN you can decide which ones you continue with and which ones you don’t. For example, these days I “do it all wrong”. I’ll lift weights fasted, I won’t drink a protein shake after a workout, I don’t wear squat shoes, I don’t wear a belt, etc. Is this ideal? NO. And I am in NO WAY saying that “you should do this”. I would never recommend this to someone. What I AM saying is that this is what works for me. When you’ve been training long enough and have followed the “rules”, you can start to break them. You learn what things work for you and what things don’t. For me, I like to train in the mornings and I don’t like eating that early, so I don’t. I find it annoying to bring protein shakes with me to the gym and by the time I get home, I’d rather just eat something instead. Sometimes, I don’t go home after the gym and I just grab a coffee and eat a few hours later. I don’t wear squat shoes because I don’t feel like carrying an extra pair of shoes with me to the gym. I don’t wear a lifting belt because I only want to be as strong as I am without one. I don’t want to rely on gear. Many will argue that, and that’s totally fine with me. I’ve stayed healthy and relatively injury-free for the last 10 years (minor injuries or nuances happen and are expected). I’ve been able to gain strength, stamina, and improve my form. This is what works for ME, even though it might not be perfect. The point is: learn the rules of lifting, practice them, find what you like and what allows you to continue making progress and staying healthy, do that. But don’t skip any of those steps.

Do the things you like, mixed in with the things you don’t like (but should do).

3. I had a conversation at The Fitness Summit about this exact topic. Some coaches and trainers are very one-track minded. They might believe powerlifting is the way, so all of their clients’ programming is based around powerlifting. They may believe bodybuilding is the best way to train, and so all of the programming is bodybuilding style. This is fine if the client likes that way of training, but I’ve found that most people like some type of combination. And that’s actually BETTER than only training one way. For me, I like to lift heavy with low reps, but I also like to do higher reps and “feel the burn”. In addition, the athlete in me still likes to run and jump, and so plyometrics and conditioning drills are something I really enjoy. I realize that I piss off my own coach for being this way, but I also know that training MUST be enjoyable in order for it to be something you stick with. I have gone through stages where my training leaned more towards one way than the other. I spent many years “chasing a sweat” and not making any real strength progress because of it. I haven’t always trained the right way and I’ve probably done more things wrong than right, but it’s also allowed me to figure out what I love, what I like, what I dislike, and what I downright hate or don’t feel. On my main training days, I prefer to start with 1-3 of my main lifts (squats, deadlifts, bench press, chin ups, hip thrusts) and then I’ll mix in some bodybuilding movements (more isolation-type movements), and glute-focused movements. I like to do 1-2 days per week where my focus is on conditioning and plyometrics. This might include things like: box jumps, squat jumps, step ups jumps, medicine ball slams or throws, sprints, sled pushes or pulls, etc. I also really enjoy going on long walks. If I take out any of these things, I don’t feel fulfilled. I also have to manage my physical activity so that I don’t overdo it, but incorporating these things into my training is what makes ME happy. I encourage you to find the pieces of training that you like and make sure to incorporate them. If you’re training for a specific event, you’ll obviously want to prioritize based on that. It may mean you don’t do EVERYTHING leading up to that event, but overall you should be able to do all the things you enjoy doing to make your program the best one for YOU.

Never stop learning.

4. Find the people in the industry that you feel aligned with (3-5 people you trust MOST) and listen to their advice. (make sure they base their teachings on the actual research and science, not made-up bullshit meant to instill fear in people). Attend seminars, watch webinars, watch their videos, follow them on social media, read their articles, and if you have the chance, talk to them in person or online. Keep up on the latest research as best as you can.

Experiment!!!!!

5. I can’t say this enough. People always think I’m “so creative” in the gym and not because I come up with ridiculous exercises that have the potential for more harm than good. What it refers to is my ability to figure out a way to make a movement work, even if I don’t have the ideal equipment. This comes from years of experimenting in the gym. I try everything I can. I try new exercises I see, I take an exercise and try performing it in different ways (different foot placement, hand placement, grip, angles, etc) to see what I feel best and what happens when I change any of those variables. I try different rep ranges, drop sets, adding bands to weighted exercises, and more. I’ve literally spent almost 10 years using myself as a guinea pig and I will never stop. I do this with my clients as well. Just because I feel something one way, doesn’t mean they will. Any of my clients will tell you, I ask a lot of questions. “Where did you feel that most? How does that feel? Which variation did you like better?”. We are all build a little bit differently and have varying mobility, so exercises can feel drastically different for different people and you may find that something you don’t like or don’t feel, feels fantastic for someone else. Try things, test things out, and I guarantee you’ll be a better lifter for it.

Everyone’s an Expert

6. People will always try to tell you a better way. Especially as a female lifter, you will come across people who try to tell you you’re doing it wrong or that there’s a better way. This is where sticking to the people you trust and also trusting yourself comes into play. At this point, I know what works for me pretty well and can easily ignore this unsolicited advice. But when I wasn’t as sure, it made me question what I was doing and at times, even CHANGE what I was doing (and usually not for the better). Is my foot placement wrong? Should I be looking up or down? THIS is when you use your trusted resources to figure it out. I have 3-4 go-to people in my life that I trust very much. I have gone to them throughout the years to ask questions like this when I’m unsure if someone’s advice should be taken or thrown out the window. In addition, if something feels right to you and isn’t hurting you, it may very well just be the way that works for YOU. Never be afraid to ask the people in your trusted circle, just make sure they know what they’re talking about. Some red flags when you receive unsolicited advice: “my friend does this lift with 23408324 lbs and this is how HE does it” <–we are all built differently. you are not this person’s friend and you don’t have their body. this is a ridiculous supporting argument, “I’ve been a coach for 100 years and all of my athletes do it THIS way” <–we are all built differently. if all of their athletes are doing something the SAME WAY, it’s probably because the coach only knows how to teach it one way. Over time, you’ll feel more comfortable knowing what you should/shouldn’t listen to but I highly suggest ignoring most of it and asking the right people when you’re not sure.

Things are going to change…a lot.

7. It’s okay to try different approaches. It’s okay to do things that aren’t ideal. It’s okay to screw up and “waste time” in the gym. You learn that way. You’ll go through physical changes, mental changes, taste changes, and you’ll start to find what you do and don’t like along with what works and doesn’t (for you). I started out with strength training, I shifted into bodybuilding for a few years, I stopped doing cardio and started making all of my workouts based around plyometrics and conditioning, and eventually I made my way back to strength training. I regret none of it and I don’t believe any time in the gym is wasted, even if it’s not optimal training. I learned (and continue to learn) from every session in the gym. I’d estimate that I’ve done about 3,000 workouts to date (I’ve averaged 1-2 days off per week for almost 10 years but have had many weeks with no days off and some with up to 3). I truly believe that each one has it’s purpose. Whether it’s a shitty workout that teaches you to get more sleep, or an awesome workout that was supposed to be shitty that proved to you that you can’t train based on how you feel all the time. Which brings me to my next point

Don’t train based on how you feel emotionally.

8. If I only trained when I felt like it, I think I’d probably workout 2-3 days per week. Some weeks it would be higher, some weeks maybe lower. I train regardless of how I feel emotionally. I go and do it and I do the best that I can. You cannot train based on your emotions only. Not if you want to make any kind of significant progress at least. With that said, if you PHYSICALLY feel like shit, that is up to you. Sometimes it’s better to rest, sometimes training makes you feel better. That is something you learn about yourself over the years. I am still learning it, but it becomes easier over time.

 Take rest days and don’t go balls to the wall every day.

9. STILL trying to learn and implement this one. I’ve gotten markedly better at this over the years, but I still have a hard time working out at a level 6-7. Rest and recovery are so important and truly do allow you to make better progress. Still though, it’s hard for some people to NOT push themselves to a 9 or 10 at every work out (hiiiii). It can be hard to take rest days when you love training and want to do it every day. BUT, it will make you a better lifter, a happier person, and overall stronger lifter if you do take rest days and go lighter on some days as well.

Enjoy the chance to move and be strong.

10. I look around and feel sad that so many people are sedentary. Many people my age (I’m 29) get out of breath just taking a brisk walk. They can’t lift their groceries or luggage. When you’re young, you’re just weak and it’s fine. When you get older? That’s a broken hip because your bones are brittle too. That’s health issues related to your weight or weakness. As we age, we aren’t going to become more mobile or stronger by doing nothing. Strength training, walking, being active, staying fit are ESSENTIALS in life. They are looked at as options in this society and I don’t believe that should be the case. It makes me angry that people think a sedentary life is the norm. I believe being active should be as much of your daily routine as brushing your teeth is, because what you do now WILL determine how you get around when you’re older. Do you want to have strong bones, feel good, be able to move around on your own and take care of yourself because you’ve continued to stay strong? Or do you want to have people help you to stand up out of your chair and get injured because you chose to let your body degenerate without even putting up a fight? You get to do this. You have the opportunity to give yourself more. Enjoy that, embrace it, and don’t take it for granted.

 

I could probably write about 500 more things I’ve learned, but these are the first 10 that came to my mind. I encourage you to find what you like and what works for you. You will find physical strength, but you will also find mental strength. I always say physical strength = mental strength. What you do IN THE GYM, will absolutely translate to what you do in everything else. Your relationships, career, friendships, and even the relationship with yourself. My way isn’t your way, but you do have a way. You may have already found it or this may be foreign to you and you’ll need to find a starting point. Don’t be complacent. You weren’t destined to be sedentary and “un-athletic”. We were meant to move. Give yourself the opportunity to grow. Both your muscles AND your mind.

Taking On Too Much + Yesterday’s Workout

Well, it sure has been a while since I’ve posted anything! It happens. I’m hoping to be able to pop in here 1-2x per week going forward. I have a lot to share and in addition to being a resource, I like to have an outlet to write in!

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(heyyyy! still flexin’ my life away)

Taking On Too Much

Something that I’ve been doing lately (besides working out of course ;-)) involves a whole crap-ton of introspection. Looking in to all that encompasses ME and figuring out what pieces are essential, and what pieces are just taking up space. (I sound so yoga-y, but I promise I’m not all meditative-hippie-sage burning….not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m just not even close haha)

While I’m generally a happy person, I’ve found that I also take on things that are there for no other reason then, THEY ARE THERE.

This can be good at times, but can also leave me really overwhelmed. It becomes a vicious cycle that looks a bit like this:

-Take on too many projects

-Not able to fulfill all projects (so someone gets delayed, cancelled, etc)

-I feel guilty because I’m not fulfilling all of everyone else’s needs

-I simultaneously feel that I am not fulfilling MY OWN needs because I’m busy trying to fill everyone else’s.

Does that sound familiar to anyone else? I know I’m not the only one, I’m just not sure it’s talked about much. 

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(yup, still flexing)

I’m beyond blessed to be given so many great opportunities. I’m currently training clients at 2 gyms, teaching classes at 3 gyms, training myself, training my online clients (you can go here for more info about it), and working full-time doing sales/marketing/admin/everything-in-between for my main job. Did I mention I’m also studying for my CSCS? On top of that, I have two different companies that have approached me in the last week to help them with their own email marketing. Once again…GREAT opportunities and I’m not complaining about that…but I am definitely in a predicament of sorts.

It leaves me with VERY little time to rest. The time I do have to rest, I end up trying to spend doing fun things because I don’t want to miss out on doing fun things just because I’m busy.

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(like wakeboarding and hiking!!!! no way i’m missing out on that!)

Do you see how this isn’t at all sustainable in the long-term?

But the question becomes, what do I give up? What is most important to keep?

I think this is something that everyone goes through at some point in their lives (and likely, multiple times), but it’s been very present for me lately and I am determined to truly figure out what I WANT and not just do things because others want me to do them.

I attended the Fitness Summit at the end of April in Kansas City (you can see my full review HERE), and I remember Alan Aragon making a comment about this very thing. He said that at some point, you’re going to have to learn to say no. To turn down opportunities, and to only go after the things that will be the most fulfilling.

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(Alan is the man! you are too Bret! ;-))

It’s a HARD thing to do when you actually like 90% of everything that you do.

Who do I say no to? Who do I turn down?

I’m still not sure what that answer is, but I risk a 2nd burnout if I don’t figure it out soon. (I had a similar burnout 2 years ago).

Unfortunately, I don’t have all of the answers just yet. And you may not either if this is something you relate to, but I think it’s still important to talk about it. To bring up the issue and connect with others who are in similar situations.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you want to chat! (email: fitlizzio@gmail.com)

Workouts

Ah, the very thing that started this blog in 2008!!! Yep, it’s been 8 years that I’ve had this dang thing. It’s had plenty of time where nothing was being posted, but it is still a very important blog to me and has YEARS worth of content. Old posts actually embarrass me, but I figure that it highlights a certain time in my life so WHATEVS, I won’t delete them.

In training news, I’ve been continuing to train as a powerlifter with the addition of some other exercises that I incorporate because I like them such as box jumps, various bodybuilding movements, and extra glute work (duh).

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Yesterday’s workout was:

Hip Thrusts

275×13, 305×10, 135 + knee band x 5-5-5-5 (5 reps + 5 second hold x 4)

Back Squats

165 x alt. 1, 2 reps for 10 sets

Deadlifts

175 x alt 2, 3 reps for 10 sets

KB Swings

70 x alt 10, 12 reps for 10 sets

This KICKED MY ASS. Not every day is this crazy, but this is just how it went down yesterday. Today I took it easier and did chin ups, deficit reverse lunges, and single leg leg press. Once upon a time (like up until 6 months ago), I used to try to go balls to the wall EVERY DAY. I’ve since gotten better at balancing the super hard days with less intense onces. Only took me like 8 years haha. (“FINALLY!!!” said every coach I’ve ever had).

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Speaking of that……this August marks 10 YEARS since I started working out. To some, that may seem like nothing, but it is a big milestone for me. I’ve been through SO MUCH in those 10 years and I fully plan to put out a picture-filled post that highlights the ups and downs and everything in between in the last 10 years.

That’s all I’ve got for today. I’ll be popping in again soon.

Keep up the training!

-Lizzy

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3 Things You Must Do to Reach Your Fitness Goals

I sat down here to write, knowing I felt like writing, and found myself with nothing to write about. Cool story, right?

But I also know that once I get going, sometimes the words just start flowing.

And as I started writing that, I instantly saw the relationship of that statement as it relates to exercise.

The fact that sometimes you are a little unsure, not in the mood, or flat out dreading a workout. But if you just start, maybe you’ll get into the zone and end up with a kick ass swole session under your belt.

it reminded me of why it is so important to push yourself to do something, even when you’re feeling unmotivated (and boy is this something I needed to remind myself of, but that’s another story for another day).

The #1 question I’m asked (and it’s almost on a daily basis) is how I find the motivation to workout consistently. Friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, random people at the grocery store, even fellow gym-goers are curious as to what I have that they don’t.

The answer is going to surprise you, I think. But first, let me fill you in on a few things about myself (and many other fitness “freaks”) that you may not know.

3 Misconceptions about the “Fitness Freak”

  • Working out consistently does not come from motivation. Yes, you read that right. I haven’t worked out consistently for 9.5 years because I was motivated. I’ve worked out for 9.5 years consistently because I made that choice. Don’t get me wrong, I find a lot of joy and fulfillment from working out. I have always been a bit competitive and have always been an athlete. One of my biggest fears is losing my athletic abilities. It’s the reason I not only lift weights, but find other ways to stay active as well. I also see how well working out translates into how I carry my personal and professional life. I see what getting stronger physically does to my mental wellbeing (it’s life-changing, btw). HOWEVER, if I only worked out when I was motivated, I guarantee that my workouts would be all over the place and extremely INCONSISTENT. Motivation is wavering. Sometimes it’s high, sometimes it’s low, and it usually doesn’t stay for very long. It’s unreliable and while you can take advantage of it while it’s visiting, you shouldn’t let it be your crutch or your reason.

 

  • You don’t have to love everything you do. As I stated above, I do love working out. But that doesn’t mean that I love everything I do to stay fit. There are plenty of exercises that I’d happily trade in permanently, but often times it is the exercises that you wish to do least, that you probably should be doing more. It’s fun to do things we’re good at. It’s not as fun to do things that we struggle with, so it makes sense that we all have exercises we hate. While exercise should generally be enjoyable and you should like what you do, be aware that there will be pieces of what you do that you may not always enjoy.

 

  • Piggy backing on the above statement, sometimes you will start to love the things you previously disliked. I used to despise chin ups and bench press. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t very good at either of them. But I also knew that I wanted to get better at both exercises, so I just did them. Low and behold, I now LOVE both of them A LOT. You don’t have to start out loving something to potentially start loving it. So hang in there, keep practicing the things you’re weak at, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll learn to love them.

3 Things You Must Do to Reach Your Fitness Goals

The 3 previous statements bring me to the answer you were looking for earlier in this post. The question of “what do I (and other fitness “freaks”) have that you don’t?”…

The answer is: NOTHING. 

Mentally, I don’t have any magic tools that you don’t have. As much as we all like to think we are “unique”, we’re also kind of the fucking same guys. Sure, we have unique qualities, but at the end of the day, we’re the same damn breed. (And before you tell me I have more time, I have the same 24 hours that you do. We choose the way we spend them.)

Now that we know we have the same tools to work with, it’s important to look at what will make us successful in our endeavors, whether fitness and health related or not.

  1. The goal has to be stronger than your excuses. If it’s not very important to you to be fit, it will probably be hard for you to choose hitting the gym over crushing an entire season of New Girl on a Tuesday night. Finding the reason WHY you want to be fit is crucial. Maybe it’s because you just want to look better naked (totally valid goal). Maybe you know that your family has a history of obesity-related health issues. The fact that you don’t want to be put onto 4 different medications in your mid-30’s. The bottom line is, if you don’t have a WHY, you will likely not be able to push yourself to make the time and effort to consistently exercise.
  2. Just like your muscles, mental strength must be exercised. Just as the current habits we have were learned, we can retrain ourselves to forge new habits. This doesn’t come easily, and requires us to practice. For example, if you’re used to getting home from work each day and sitting on the couch for the rest of the night, it won’t be easy to just start going to the gym after work instead. You may be able to get by with some motivation for a few days, but once that wears off (and it almost always does, hence my advice to NOT rely on motivation), you’ll want to go right back to sitting on the couch after work. These are the times that you have to exercise your brain. These are the times you have to fight the urge to sit on the couch, and just go to the gym anyways. Over time, your habits will change and it will get easier and easier.
  3. You have to be ok with NOT BEING PERFECT. This one is really difficult, but likely the most important. We love to beat ourselves up when we fuck up. We love to throw in the towel when things don’t go perfectly. We love to sabotage ourselves further when we’ve gotten off track even in the slightest bit. And what we REALLY need to understand is that we will never be perfect. We will fuck up, fail, derail, and make the wrong choice. It is not an if, it is a when. Being OKAY with that fact, is what will actually keep you ON TRACK with your goals. It sounds a bit ass backwards, but it’s actually the truth. It doesn’t give you a pass to skip the gym and eat like crap and then just throw your hands up and say “eh, i’m not perfect”, but it DOES give you permission to pep talk yourself and say “i fucked up, but i am not a fuck up. I got off track, but I will not stay off track. I fell down, but I will get back up”.

At the end of the day, consistency wins the race. It’s funny, because we like to think that the extremes are what get us from point A to point B. It couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s the small steps that actually move us forward. It’s the acceptance that not everything will be perfect. It’s the fact that some days we won’t have time for our hour long weight lifting workout and instead, we’ll have 15 minutes in our living room to move. It’s the days you end up at a pizza joint with friends and decide to just eat 1 slice of pizza instead of eating 7 slices and writing off the day as an entire failure. THAT is how we reach our goals. THAT is how we get the things we’ve always wanted. We accept what is, and we do the best we can with it. 

Questions

1. Tell me, what is your goal and what stands in your way the most?

2. Do you push yourself to workout/eat well even when you don’t want to? Or do you give in to what you want to do at that moment?

Snowed In Workout

Good morning peeps! In case you’re curious about the title of this post, I am currently NOT snowed in. In fact, it’s been about 75 and sunny here the last few days, but I’ll stop there before someone throws a tomato at me. 😀 (but before you do, there’s a workout at the end of this post that you can do anywhere with ZERO equipment..woot!)

BUT FIRST…let me talk about me haha.

Random Tidbits

-I started training at a powerlifting gym near LAX (Game Time Strength) and it is awe.some. It’s nice to be in an environment like that (I love the old school garage gym feel) and the people there are super cool.

Here’s a video of me doing Bench Press with 105×10 with 3 boards. I’m working my way up and hope to hit a 135lb bench press in the near future!

-In other news, we have our very last Rockstar Fitness™ Boot Camp at Six:02 this Sunday! It’s been such a fun month with these people and I love seeing new faces every week! After this weekend, we’ll be back at IRON Santa Monica every Saturday at 10am.

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-I recently started looking into Masters programs. I guess I’ve been out of school long enough to not remember how much it sucks haha. I’ve been finding that I want to learn more about psychology and more specifically, the dynamics of organizations in regards to psychology. I still have a lot to do before this actually starts (the GRE is 1st on my list, followed by actually applying to schools!), but I’m excited to do this. It wasn’t something I EVER planned on doing, but yet, here I am. Life is funny like that, huh?

-I’m headed to MAUI next week!!! WOOHOO! My awesome boss is taking our team on the trip of a lifetime, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve never been to any part of Hawaii, so this will be a whole new experience (if you have any advice on things to do, send them my way)!

-This is also random, but it is on my mind constantly and I can’t stress it enough. For anyone that believes lifting weights and getting exercise is just about the body…oh, how wrong you are. I would actually argue that the affects it has on your life OUTSIDE of the gym is far greater than in the gym. You cannot cheat, you cannot have someone do it for you, you cannot become better without putting in the work, and the list goes on. It builds patience, dedication, character, humbleness, and accountability. It builds the mind, really. Sure, it builds your muscles too, but I’d say that’s just a side effect compared to the impact it has on your life in general.

Snowed In Workout

While I may not be in the snow, I know so many of you are! I actually did this workout yesterday morning while my dog ran around the park, so I thought I’d share since I didn’t need any equipment aside from a tabata timer (I just used an app on my phone…there are plenty to choose from, any of them will be fine).

snowedin

January Full Body Workout + Focus

Hey frannnnds. What up?

I just got back to LA from a super quick trip to AZ for my nephew’s 1st birthday. Both of my nephews are growing up so quickly. It’s pretty insane. Every time I see them (which is about every other month), they’ve grown and have progressed so much! It’s so much fun!

We drove to Phoenix on Friday and got in somewhat late. Because of this, my body felt tight and cramped up. 6 hours in a car will do that to ya! So I woke up early on Saturday and hit the gym for a full body workout to help make me feel human again. It totally worked and also made me pretty sore! Here’s the workout:

full body workout

(Take a screenshot and bring it to the gym with you if you decide to try it. As always, check with a doc before starting any new exercise program and always listen to your body. It knows what’s up!)

Focus for the Week

I’ve started putting a focus into each week to organize myself a bit further. My planner is my ride-or-die, but I also found that it’s nice to make 1 or 2 big goals for the week that I can focus on that don’t have to do with work or “things I need to get done”. This focus doesn’t have to be on tasks, it can just be thoughts or actions that you want to follow for that week. This week’s focus: what matter’s most. Let me explain.

I find myself thinking about things that don’t matter FARRRR too often. Things I either can’t control or that literally don’t affect my life whatsoever. I think we all do this to some extent, and social media is definitely a trigger. You see someone’s photo on Instagram of that person doing something cool and you may get feelings of jealousy or start to look at your own life and pick out things you don’t like. I do it and then I catch myself and realize: nope, this doesn’t matter at all. So I’m focusing on what matters MOST. My family, my friends, my job, my goals, and of course, Oscar. 🙂 If I start thinking about things outside of this, my plan is to remove those thoughts immediately. It’s not worth my time and it certainly doesn’t matter.

Hope your Monday is off to a fantastic start! Catch ya later.

 

Fitness Motivation: How Should You Train?

Hey friends! I know I’ve been pretty absent, but I’m still here! Let’s waken this blog up with some fitness motivation!

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If there is one thing I’ve learned over the 8+ years I’ve been in the fitness world (and let’s just hope it’s more than one! ;-)), it’s what keeps someone in the game.

  • What is it that makes you keep coming back for more consistently?
  • What makes you quit or take long breaks from fitness?
  • What SHOULD you be doing to ensure you’ll keep on keeping’ on?

I believe there are two distinct questions that you must be able to answer YES to in order to determine if you are training the right way…

  1. Does this training support your goal?
  2. Do you enjoy it?

Let’s dig a bit deeper into each of them.

Does this training support your goal?

I believe all goals are equal. No goal is better than another and to each his own. I find SO often in the gym that people shun you for not wanting what they want. They walk around with that air around them, they look down on you, and most of all, they actually think they are BETTER than you. I find it extremely frustrating, but I’m confident enough to not care. Unfortunately, there are people in the gym that are already feeling subconscious enough and don’t need the added pressure/shaming. Just because you love bodybuilding, does not mean that the man training for a powerlifting meet is inadequate. Just because your goal is to go to the Crossfit Games, doesn’t mean that the girl that just wants a better butt’s goal is any less important. The gym is a big giant YOU VS. YOU. It isn’t about anyone else and your goal is the only one that should matter.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, there IS a time when one type of training is better than another, and that time is when you’re looking at how you’re getting to your goals. If your goal is to get stronger and do a powerlifting meet, a bodybuilding program is not going to be sufficient. If your goal is to run a marathon, only lifting weights probably won’t help you get there. I like to think of training as a pyramid. Like an actual 3D pyramid that you learned about in geometry. The top of the pyramid is your goal, whatever that might be. The 4 sides are your 4 main avenues of achieving that goal. For example, let’s say your goal is to do a bodybuilding competition. One side of your pyramid would be your bodybuilding training program, another side would be your diet/cardio, another side would be your posing, and the 4th side would be some type of muscle health action like yoga, foam rolling, or sports massages. 

Do you enjoy it?

This might be the biggest factor in it all, depending on the person. While you will never enjoy EVERY training session or exercise, while there will be pain (the good kind), while there will be days where you’d rather just sit on the couch, overall you must enjoy what you’re doing (and I guess this applies to more than just working out…). Take me for example. If you told me I had to do pilates every day for my exercise, it is highly probably that I would end up missing it more often than going. I’ve tried several different training protocols over the years and at different times, I’ve enjoyed different ways of training. Currently, my favorite way to work out is to start with a heavy lift, then move into some medium weight/rep range supersets or plyometrics, and finish off with higher rep accessory work. Is EVERY training session built this way? No. But the majority of them are. I like them and they support my goal of getting stronger, being functional and agile, and giving me the aesthetic results I want. I also do things I DON’T like, but that I NEED to do to support my goals such as flexibility work (need to keep my muscles healthy) and dieting (I want to look a certain way), but liking the majority of what I do is KEY to long-lasting commitment.

 

You’ll never enjoy every piece of the puzzle. If you do, more power to you, but it isn’t likely.  But do make it a priority to enjoy at least one piece. Maybe that piece is feeling like you could deadlift a car (or if you’re super duper strong, actually deadlifting a car) or maybe it’s hiking in beautiful scenery. WHATEVER it is that you love, you must incorporate it. If not, you’re more likely to fizzle out. If you really hate something, it’s hard to stick to it. If you at least like parts of something, it becomes easier.

Wherever you are in your fitness journey, make your own personal goals a priority and work on finding a way to achieve those goals. We are only given one body and you don’t get a do-over.

Find something you love, find something that will help you to get where you want to be, and then just #riseandgrind.

On Output and How it Relates to Stress in Your Life

Hi friends,

I’d like to talk a little bit about output. It has been a hot topic in my life lately,

and it dawned on me that it may be something others experience as well.

When talking about health and fitness (as I do quite often here), I often talk about workouts, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, etc.

Of course, those are very important.

But mental health is also important. And workouts + what you’re eating are only a small piece of how you feel each day.

The Culprit

We all have “stuff”. I actually had a great conversation with my coach, Erik, about this today. He said “Life-stressors are a constant from adulthood to grave. You either control stress or stress controls you.”

He’s absolutely right.

And for the last year or so, I’ve let stress control me.

Work stress,

family stress,

relationship stress,

personal stress,

it’s all stress. And I’ve let it control me.

It’s been the reason (read: excuse) for all of my personal and professional goals that have gone awry.

That isn’t because the stress did it. It’s because I LET the stress do it. And possibly that I allowed TOO MUCH stress into my life, without getting rid of some of it along the way.

From the exterior, I have a really awesome life. And from the interior, maybe I should be able to recognize that more.

Here’s what it looks like from the outside:

  • I wear workout clothes all day every day (yep, even to work)
  • I have a cute, hilarious puppy
  • I’m in a solid relationship
  • I have an apartment in LA just a few miles from the beach
  • I work from home most of the time, and when I do “go to work” it’s usually on my own clock
  • I work out every day
  • I eat well
  • I make good money
  • I have a wonderful family that I get to see fairly often

Seems like a pretty badass life right?

But nobody sees what goes on in my head.

Here’s what it looks like from my point of view:

  • I work 1 full time job, and 4 part time jobs (yup, 4)
  • I’m constantly pulled in 5 different directions (see above)
  • On top of that, I have a relationship and dog to spend time with (which I LOVE, but fitting it in can be tricky at times)
  • I have my own personal goals in regards to workouts and my physical appearance
  • I have professional goals in terms of this blog and other business ventures
  • When I fail or don’t live up to what I set for any of the above, I feel pressure and guilt
  • Pressure, pressure, guilt, pressure, guilt.

And where does that leave me? Well to sum it up, I feel like a boiled chicken breast. Bland, soft, empty of all flavor.

I only have so much output, and I continue tapping out the supply day in and day out. I can’t get through the line of people waiting outside my door, so to speak. So eventually, I shut the door. And the week ends.

By the weekend, I just want to relax. I just want to shut everything off. I still see the line (aka the constant problem solving and “work” that goes on in my head), but I’ve got permission to ignore it, because it is the weekend.

By Sunday? I start to meltdown. Because Sunday means Monday is tomorrow.

And that means the 23849023 responsibilities I have are going to be waiting in line again. They won’t go away, they just wait in line until I get to them. The longer they wait, the louder and more rambunctious they get. Some of this loudness is caused by me, and the self-pressure I put on myself. Some of it is actually from those around me asking when, when, when. Do this, do this, do this.

And then I wonder why I’m burned out.

Can you relate?

Starting the Solution

My doctor made a very good point to me as well. She said “you can’t steal energy”. I asked her what she meant, and she said “if you drink a coffee, take a supplement, or drink an energy drink, you’re only stealing that energy from later in the day. You’re not gaining energy”. She is right. And since I tend to think about things a lot, I related this to my daily life.

To my output.

I only have 24 hours in a day.

I should sleep for at least 8 of those

Workout for 1 of them

Be with family for at least 2 of them

This leaves me with 13 hours.

13 hours to:

  • get work done from 4 part time jobs and 1 full time job.
  • Drive to and from some of these part time jobs
  • Eat
  • Smell the damn roses
  • Feed Oscar, take him outside, take him to the park so he can run.
  • work on my personal and professional goals
  • do something for FUN

I’m essentially trying to “steal output” and I can see clearly now why it’s not working.

I can’t add 2 hours (or 6 or 8 for that matter) into my day. I will only be stealing them from another part of the day.

And so I must make choices.

Where is my output best used?

What type of output do I most enjoy?

How much of it should be spent on each of these activities?

And so I start to create my Venn diagram:

-what makes me happy

-what am I good at

-what makes me $$$

good-to-great

And over the next few weeks, I will start to fill in this Venn diagram.

Because life is too short to be exhausted and mentally stressed.

And while stress will only rule it if you let it, sometimes change is necessary to stop it in it’s tracks.

This is where I’m stepping in.

Question of the Day

  1. When life gets tough, what do you do? How do you handle your stress?
  2. Have you ever felt that your output level was higher than your body/brain could handle?

 

Why Is It So Hard to Change?

Why is it so hard to change?

IMG_8563This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

Mainly because after 2 years of “wanting” something, I finally dug in and started DOING it.

As many of you know, I competed in the NPC Bikini division in 2009. I did 2 competitions and then hopped on a roller coaster of disordered eating and a poor relationship with food shortly after.

It took me over 2 years to pull myself out of that hole and learn to love myself again. I literally defined myself by my weight at that point and just felt like such a failure.

When I finally decided that I needed to love myself and move on, it became easier. I was able to make a change for the better, and although it certainly didn’t happen overnight, I pulled myself out of disordered eating and started having a normal relationship with food again.

That was change #1. Even though I had wanted it for 2 years, it wasn’t until I was READY, that I was able to make that change.

Now I sit here today and I’m once again curious about what it was that allowed me to make this change (Operation: Get Lean).

For the last 2 years, having felt that my relationship with food was good and feeling like I had regained control of myself, I decided I wanted to get lean again. I had the best of intentions, but for some reason, could not make it happen. I wasn’t gaining weight or doing anything detrimental, but just simply not allowing myself to eat in a deficit that was needed for fat loss.

So for 2 years, my body stayed relatively the same.

Finally, 6 weeks ago, I was able to turn that corner and start changing. So I’ve spent a lot of time looking into myself and wondering what it was about THIS TIME that was different.

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

I was truly ready. While I felt I was ready before, I wasn’t. I wanted to be lean, but I wanted to eat whatever I wanted more.

My life is really hectic lately, and while you may think that would make this harder, it’s made it easier. This is the one thing I feel in control of. It is the one thing that I can do and nobody can stop me.

I needed to fail. This was a big one. In order to really dig in, I needed to fail. I needed to trip up so many damn times that I finally had enough. I needed to recognize that if I continued half-assing it, I would continue getting the same results.

I needed someone tough in my corner. I needed someone who would not take anything less than 100%. Because the people that told me I could get away with 80-90%? I took it to heart and didn’t try as hard. But when you have a coach that literally calls you out when you give anything less than your best? When it is someone you trust and respect? Well you better bet you’re going to push yourself as hard as I can. It’s human nature to want to impress those who you look up to.

What this has really shown me is that anything is possible. It truly reminded me that you can fall 2304823 times and STILL get back up and move forward.

I think that is where a lot of people give up. They’ve tried so many times that they’re embarrassed to even admit that they’re trying again. I was in that position too! Hell, I’m a freaking personal trainer that writes a health and fitness blog. And I couldn’t achieve my own fat loss goals? Talk about feeling embarrassed. My life revolves around this stuff and I couldn’t make it work for myself. I GET YOU.

But I wasn’t ready. I WANTED to be ready, but I wasn’t. And if there is anything you can take away from my experience, it’s that you should never stop trying. I know you hear that ALL THE TIME. But it’s true. Because I did fail A LOT. What I didn’t do, was stop trying. I didn’t even believe in myself when I started this 6 weeks ago. The first 2 weeks I literally felt like at any moment, I would sabotage myself. But I put my willpower into play and just kept going. And now? I feel like me again. I believe in myself again. I KNOW what I’m capable of. I’m still not done yet, and there is still plenty of work to do. There will be much harder times, and I know and expect that. I also know that I can get through it all. I’ve gained that confidence through this process. Nobody can stop me.

If any of this resonates with you, know you’re not alone. And in fact, you’re probably in the majority. If you’re sitting there feeling like a failure. Like you’ve given up and don’t want to try anymore, just keep trying. You may not be ready yet, but eventually you WILL be ready. As long as you don’t give up. Fight the urge to quit. Unless your goals and ideals have changed (in which case, you change your course), you must keep going.

If you’re ever in need of support, I have a great group of people in a private Facebook group and we’re constantly sharing our achievements and struggles. If you’d like to be a part of that group, just send me an e-mail at fitlizzio@gmail.com

Here’s to YOU. YOU can do this, your goals are within reach, just don’t give up.

Operation: GET LEAN Update #2

Happy Friday peeps!

IMG_9885

#workmode

I wanted to pop in and give you an update on Operation: GET LEAN!

In my last update, I was feeling really good and like I had finally gotten in the right head-space for this.

I’m happy to say that I feel even more dialed in today than I did then!

STATS:

Starting Weight: 152 lbs

Weight Today: 145.4 lbs

I’ve lost:

  • 1 inch in my waist
  • 0 inches in my bootay (that will be the last to go for sure..)
  • .75 inches in each leg
  • 2 inches in my chest (REALLY?! ugh haha)
  • 1.5 inches on my hips
  • 0.5 inches on each arm

Are these crazy numbers? No. But 5.75 inches in 6 weeks is fine by me. I’m not trying to win a race, I’m just trying to lean out and be healthy. Progress is progress and as long as I’m moving in the right direction, that’s all that matters to me.

What I’m Doing:

I’m lifting 4 days per week, with 1 ab circuit each week.

No cardio. (except for 1 baseball game I play every Sunday and the occasional rollerblading by the beach, which only happens about once every 2-3 weeks)

I think that’s one of the biggest things that makes people’s jaw drop.

“What?? No cardio?? How is that possible?!”

“I have to do cardio everyday!!! How are you doing that?!”

The truth is, quitting daily cardio was the best thing I ever did for ME. It doesn’t mean cardio is BAD by any means. In fact, a little bit of cardio is good for you. And if daily cardio makes you feel good, clears your head, or of course, is part of your training for a race, then by all means DO IT. But daily cardio for the purposes of fat loss is just unnecessary, in my opinion.

I lift heavy (for me) weights, and I go hard in the gym. I’m a sweaty, out of breath MESS after EVERY one of my workouts. I don’t half-ass them. I’m also diligent with eating well and staying within the parameters that will help me achieve fat loss.

The formula is SIMPLE

Executing it is CHALLENGING.

BUT, if you have your eyes set on a goal and are WILLING to put the work in,

Results Happen…

Photos are 8 weeks apart, but I didn't start dieting until 6 weeks ago.

Photos are 8 weeks apart, but I didn’t start dieting until 6 weeks ago.

Question of the Day

  1. How are you doing with your goals?
  2. What do you find to be the hardest part about fat loss?

How I’ve Been Staying on Track

IMG_8563

Hey people!

Are you pumped for the weekend? If not, it’s time to GET pumped!

Can you tell I have a lot of energy today? Weeeeee.

Anyways, I’ve recently started dieting again. (I hate that word. It seems to make people think you’re starving yourself or being unhealthy. What I mean by dieting is that I’m making a concerted effort to lean out. My goal is to drop some body fat while keeping as much muscle as possible.) If you’ve been a reader for a while, you’ll know I’ve tried and failed at this many times in the past few years, but I don’t give up and I’m back at it again. (more on that below)

The difference this time is my mindset. I’ve taken away all of the excuses, I’ve found my real reason…my “why”, and I’m focused. I’m doing everything I can to stay in this mindset too. It’s really the key to being successful. Being “dialed in”.

On another note, I thought I’d give you a glimpse into some of the things I’ve been eating lately. I’ve been trying some new things and getting creative, so I thought you might like to see it. I’m also eating a whole lot more fat now than ever before, which is kind of fun! This is definitely not all that I’m eating, but just some of the tastier meals.

Here are some of the foods on my menu lately:

-Eggs, egg whites, and cheese WITH coconut oil (don’t knock it til ya try it!)

-Chicken and potatoes with BUTTER (heavenly butter)

-Shrimp & avocado with lemon juice squeezed on top! (I cheat and buy 100% pure lemon juice)

-Protein pancakes with Almond Butter

-Greek Yogurt with fruit

My post-workout carbs are anything from sour gummy worms to low-fat ice cream. Sometimes I’m boring and just have fruit and kombucha, but those are 2 of my favorite things, so I’m perfectly happy with them!

How I’ve Been Staying on Track

Staying on track is hard, and it doesn’t come from being compliant (well, it does but hear me out)….it comes from getting in the right mindset first. Being compliant is EASY when your head is in the right place. When you truly WANT to achieve your goals more than you want anything else. In fact, if you don’t want them badly enough, you’re likely to not ever accomplish them. It’s why many of us (myself included) start and stop so many things. Sometimes our goals change, and that’s perfectly okay. Sometimes the goals we choose aren’t REALLY what we want….and we realize that as we start to get into them. But sometimes, we just aren’t set up to succeed. We haven’t prepared ourselves to take on what is necessary to achieve our goals. Sometimes it takes a few set backs to find out what it is that you need to succeed.

So here are some of the things I’ve been doing differently this time around….

-I’m telling everyone around me that I’m dieting. Accountability!

-I’m prepping and planning my food so it’s always ready for me (and I don’t grab the fastest thing I can find)

-I’m drinking lots of water and adding pure lemon juice to it (it gives it a sour kick and I drink more)

-I’m sticking to my rest days even though it’s really hard! I actually have 3 rest days per week right now. It’s totally weird. I’m used to having 1-2. 3 is a lot for me!

-I’m watching videos and reading other blogs to stay motivated

-I’m chatting with friends to help keep me motivated and on track and using the Fit Lizzio Fitness Private FB group (we have a really awesome group there….email me: fitlizzio@gmail.com if you want to join us!!)

-I’m not allowing excuses to happen. I have a goal in mind and I know how to get there. I’m not getting in my own way anymore, which I’ve been guilty of in the past.

-But the biggest difference? My mind is in the right place for this. I truly WANT it.

The bottom line is that I’m setting myself up for success. I’m PRE-ensuring that I have my bases covered. I’m NOT being lazy and forgetting/neglecting to prep and plan my food. I’m noticing what outside forces try to derail me and finding ways to combat them. I’m keeping my head IN THE GAME. I’m staying on my path. I know it sounds so simple (and in reality it actually is), but as I said earlier, mindset is everything. If your mind is “in it”, all you have to do is execute. Simple as that.

I also want to point out that failing is not a reason to stop trying. I’ve failed A MILLION times. In many endeavors in life, but especially in sticking to my goals. It can be embarrassing and the more you fail, the harder it is to believe in yourself. People around you also start to doubt you. But what I’m realizing is that failure is normal. It is part of us. We were meant to fail. In fact, I believe it is CRUCIAL to our successes. You MUST fail. Sometimes once or twice…and sometimes 30 times! You know what else we were meant to do? Pick ourselves up and SUCCEED. We were meant to persevere. In fact, our failures build our strengths, so long as you don’t let them ground you.

So that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m picking myself up. And I’m going to crush my goals like never before.

Who’s with me?

 

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