Located in Sterling, VA (703) 421-1200

January 2021

Accountability Partners, by Matthew Romans

In order to achieve great things, one must have accountability to perfect the process or system and stay on track. As James Clear says in the book Atomic Habits, "Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress." If you work every day to optimize your system, the results will take care of themselves. One's system should have a means of accountability built into it; this helps to keep you honest and under no illusions about how you are doing. Honest self-assessment is a sign of maturity and perspective; however, it's not always easy to do. Some people criticize themselves too harshly, while others give themselves too much slack. What if there were a way to get honest feedback that isn't overly critical but also acknowledges positive behaviors and accomplishments? Such a thing exists - it's called an accountability partner.

I first learned about the term accountability partner from my friend, colleague, and Total Results client Dave Jones. An accountability partner is someone you can trust who can objectively give feedback, offer suggestions, and is someone you look toward for guidance. Dave and his wife Pam have been two of the most successful realtors in the Washington DC area for many years, yet they still have a network of realtors across the country that they regularly check in with to discuss ideas and get feedback. Dave does this every week, and says it is a big factor in their company's success. People in a wide range of occupations have some form of an accountability partner: authors have proofreaders and editors, elite athletes have coaches, and musicians have producers and songwriting partners. Whether you meet in person, talk on the phone, or communicate via email and/or text, just having someone that you trust to bounce ideas off of and to provide feedback can make a big difference.

A Total Results instructor is your accountability partner for all things exercise, health, and nutrition. We are with you on every exercise of every workout, providing clear and concise instructions, giving immediate feedback, and motivating you to give your best effort every time out. Our workouts are incredibly challenging, but we help clients to understand that the discomfort that they are experiencing during a session is temporary and is simply part of the larger picture.

Just having a session scheduled can be a motivating factor. Many clients over the years have said that they probably would not regularly exercise if it weren't for having an appointment. Intuitively, most people don't want to let another person down, and having an appointment scheduled with an instructor provides additional motivation (and accountability). It can also act as a deterrent; if they know they have an early morning workout scheduled, most people will be less likely to stay up too late the night before. This is also a reason why we schedule weekly weigh-ins for clients that have a goal of achieving fat loss. If you know that you have a weigh-in scheduled in two days, you're less likely to overeat or consume the wrong foods.

While one's success is largely determined by their own actions, having an accountability partner can help you break through plateaus and inspire you to see things in a different light. In my opinion, if there is a spirit of accountability one is more likely to do what is necessary to achieve the end result. This is simply another way to improve the system that you are using. At Total Results, our passion is to educate people about proper exercise and help them to achieve things they did not think they could. We are constantly working to improve our system in order to help you improve yours. Call or email us to schedule a consultation and get started on your journey today.

Posted January 14, 2021 by Tim Rankin

Are You Prepared, by Matthew Romans

A new year has officially arrived, and I sincerely hope that 2021 brings prosperity and stability to all of us. There are reasons for optimism, but I believe there is also some uncertainty ahead. As the time of this writing there is still the matter of the unresolved Presidential election, and regardless of where you stand politically, I think it's safe to say that things are going to be very different in the upcoming year. In my opinion, there are many things to consider and some decisions to be made in order to maximize your health and quality of life. How you prepare yourself will have a significant impact on how effectively you handle the challenges that are on the horizon.

You can expect that there will still be some Covid restrictions in place for much of this year, such as mask requirements in public places, limits on the number of people allowed to attend gatherings and eat in restaurants, and decreased participation at sporting events and concerts. This is a continuation of policies that are already in place. Along those lines, I would not anticipate students in Loudoun County being able to attend school in person for the rest of the school year. One new development is that a Covid vaccine is already being administered to some, and may eventually be a requirement in order to get on an airplane or for the kids to be allowed back in schools. Congress has passed yet another stimulus package, ostensibly to help those who are unemployed, but that money has to come from somewhere. The President-elect is on record as saying that he will increase taxes, and in order to maintain a high standard of living for Americans in the midst of growing unemployment and shutting down of businesses, the Federal Reserve will continue to print money (referred to as Quantitative Easing).

What does this mean for us? The executive orders that have been in place are nothing new, but a Covid vaccine certainly is. The vaccine that is being rolled out has had mixed results in clinical trials, so it may or may not be as effective as we hope. Keep in mind that the effectiveness of the flu vaccine from year to year can vary from 40 to 65 percent. Vaccines can also cause harmful side effects due to other substances being included in the vaccine, such as mercury and formaldehyde. Not everyone who is vaccinated will experience these harmful side effects, but enough people will have adverse reactions that you should really take the time to think about whether the vaccine is right for you. The government's economic policies will affect some more than others; fortunately the D.C. area seems to be less impacted in times of economic downturn than other areas of the country. However, inflation of the currency by the Federal Reserve amounts to a hidden tax on the public, as the greater number of dollars in circulation decreases the purchasing power of the dollar (the value of the dollar has dropped over 90 percent since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913). As a result, the cost of living goes up and the price of goods and services increases. With a new administration likely coming in, you can expect greater oversight in the realm of healthcare and medical insurance, which will empower Big Pharma to raise prices on prescription drugs and cause insurance premiums to skyrocket. I don't mean to be an alarmist, but history gives us a preview of what is to come.

How can you prepare for what is ahead?

-Don't rely on the government to take care of you. If you have ever seen how disorganized the Department of Motor Vehicles is, or looked at the balance sheet of the United States Postal Service, you realize that government services are rarely efficient. I'm not a financial advisor, but a good strategy is to produce more than you consume and save the difference. This will leave you less at the mercy of inflationary monetary policies.

-Stay out of the healthcare system if you can possibly do so. The U.S. healthcare system is very good for emergencies, but fails miserably for those with chronic disease and when it comes to preventative measures.

-Eat as if your life depends on it! Stick with quality, single-ingredient whole foods whenever possible and consume plenty of essential fat. Eat until you are no longer hungry, and regularly practice intermittent fasting for 14-18 hours per day (or more).

-Spend some time outdoors whenever possible (even in colder months) so that your body can be exposed to fresh air and sunshine.

-Supplement with Vitamins D and C, magnesium, and zinc, along with fish oil to optimize your immune system.

-Finally, strength train at Total Results once or twice per week. Regular high intensity exercise will increase strength and bone mineral density, enhance flexibility, maintain insulin sensitivity, improve cardiovascular and metabolic conditioning, and protect against injury. Pay a little now, or pay a lot later.

Don't let the authorities make you fearful; life is meant to be lived, not spent in isolation. There is a reason that prisons send inmates that misbehave to solitary confinement; prolonged periods of isolation are not healthy for the mind or the body. If you are sick or in the high-risk category due to age or health issues, by all means be smart and self-isolate as needed, but remember that this virus has a survival rate of well over 99 percent. As we have written about in previous articles, the unintended consequences of lockdowns (isolation, depression, etc) are just as bad, if not worse, than the effects of the virus. Be proactive in your health and prepare your body and mind to meet the challenges that lay ahead. Let Total Results help you get 2021 off to a successful start.

Posted January 06, 2021 by Tim Rankin