Recommended Readings List for Personal Growth – Quick Start

Following is a list of great books I would recommend to anyone wishing to kick start their personal development learning. These books have proven to be invaluable for many of the most successful Personal Trainers, Managers and Franchise Owners within the Vision Personal Training network. For a more extensive list, please click here.

Title Author
Unleash the Power Within Anthony Robbins
The Art of Exceptional Living Jim Rohn
Developing the Leader within You John Maxwell
The Coaching Manual Julie Starr
Now Discover your Strengths Marcus Buckingham
The Confidence Gap Russ Harris
Start with Why Simon Sinek
Who Moved My Cheese Spencer Johnson
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Steven Covey
The E-Myth Michael Gerber
Blue Ocean Strategy W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne


Staying motivated over summer

Summers here and it sure is a bright time for fun, relaxing, holidays and spending time with loved ones – which means it’s very easy for your health and fitness priorities to take a turn in the back seat. Though, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Preparation and staying motivated over summer will ensure you keep in shape and can enjoy this relaxing period so you enter the new year feeling rejuvenated. Here’s how:

Create a summer eating plan

Plan a new diet that revolves around summer’s offerings. This is the time when certain varieties of luscious fruits like nectarines and peaches are available. Since the weather is a lot warmer, you’re less likely to want to eat hot meals. So introduced a lot of leafy salads and fruit as replacements when you feel like eating fatty snacks or don’t feel like eating at all – because skipping meals is just as bad as over-indulging in calorie-soaked junk food.

Use outdoor activities as exercise

Many necessary outdoor chores happen to be big calorie burners without you ever knowing. Gardening, such as doing the weeds, raking and mowing the lawn really work your muscles and burn fat. So since the days are longer during summer and you may not have time to visit the gym, consider gardening or other outdoor activities like playing Frisbee with the young ones a workout.

Record your progress

During summer, one of the many things people fall back on is their new year’s resolution. You’re not going to be one of these people. Set realistic goals that you know you can achieve over time and maintain the results. The best thing to seeing this come to light is making the start to record your goals and progress so you have something to look forward to. You will stay motivated and feel satisfied when you see small results each week. A little goes a long way and people with goals succeed because they know what direction they’re heading.

Take advantage of sunlight

The daylight hours are longer, so consider taking a morning or evening walk, jog, or bike ride with family to exercise and socialise at the same times. There are also fun summer activities you can take up such as swimming to stay cool, a day trip to the beach, skating, hiking or tennis that can be great outdoor alternatives to working out indoors.

Fitness-themed Christmas gift ideas

You can tell Christmas is literally around the corner when everyone is flurrying at the local shopping centre to buy up all their gifts in time. Instead of being run-of-the-mill and grabbing chocolate or T-shirts for your loved ones, why don’t you them with fitness-themed presents? There’s plenty of them out there and health enthusiasts will appreciate it!

New trainer shoes – Buying a pair of shoes is a great present, given that you get the person’s size right. Everyone loves to have the latest fashion, so the person you’re buying for will look good and can sport a new pair of comfortable trainers that are both stylish and functional. They’ll want to wear them more and therefore increase their daily exercise.

A football – A humble football is ideal for young boys or teens who love a good game. They will have fun passing it around at Christmas lunch and it will encourage them to get off the couch, stop playing Xbox and actually get moving.

A swimsuit – Swimsuits are perfect presents for girls, since the swim suit fashion is forever changing each summer. New styles and colours are in, while the old are out. So Christmas is a great time to buy a young girl or teen a swimwear update.

Pedometer – If you know a person is an avid walker, why not buy them a small device to monitor their calories and number of steps taken during a training session?

Healthy Cook Book – More people than just your mother like to cook in the kitchen. So instead of promoting fatty desert books and cakes, buy a healthier cook book instead. It might be low-carbs, low-fat or cooking raw. Their heart will thank you for it and they’ll enjoy the challenge.


MP3 Player – A simple iPod can make a workout out or weight session so much more enjoyable and less strenuous. Music relaxes the mind and can inspire fitness fanatics to run harder and workout longer.


Gym membership – The reality is some people just cannot afford to sign up for the gym or fear it. So why not give them a positive push with a gym membership? It doesn’t have to be an annual pass; many gyms offer 10 visit cards or three month passes which can be cheap and effective.

Sunglasses – A cool pair of high-performance sunglasses can really enhance a workout. Many provide UV protection, are polarised, lightweight, anti-fog and anti-slip, protecting any fitness enthusiast during an outdoor workout such as cycling or running.

Fitness book – In our fast-paced world, many Australians need to kill time while commuting to work. And a fitness book can inspire them with new tips to improve their health.

Fancy ab gadgets exposed

The ab blaster, ab rocker, ab pro and all those other fancy television abdominal gadgets being sold on daytime talk shows and during the wee hours of the morning may be dangerous. They’re a bought by people looking for a quick fix and the result is a bad posture and lower back pain; not to mention a misaligned spine.

So if you have ever been sucked into buying a useless infomercial ab gadget, then you ought to listen up. There are safer, healthier, more effective ways to lose belly fat and develop a six pack. The only ripping off you will experience is a ripped torso; with hard work of course.

In a nutshell, ab gadgets, machines, belts and rockers do virtually nothing to burn fat off the abdominal area which is absolutely essential for abs. You could have the strongest ab muscles underneath a small layer of fat and the sad thing is they will not be seen if you’ve even got an inch of fat on top. Abs truly require a disciplined approached and ab gadgets and expensive pills are pure marketing gimmicks.

In order to achieve washboard abs, or even visible abs, it’s essential to lose the body fat that is covering up your abs. This means a well-balanced diet combined with regular cardiovascular training. And you’re going to get optimum results when you focus on engaging an array of muscles to build lean muscle faster and develop strength.

Focus on your clothing size, not the scales

Australians should use their dropping down in clothes size as a key indicator of weight loss, not the kilograms displayed on their humble bathroom scale. You see, weight scales aren’t accurate and tend to lie about your current weight due to the fact that several factors can influence your weight reading.

It’s essential to consider water retention, muscle gain (which leads to changes in lean body mass), glycogen storage, menstruation and other perfectly normal fluctuations to your body weight. If you better understand these changes and how your body function, you can free yourself from your daily battle when you weigh yourself in. Let’s have a look out how these aforementioned elements alter your scale reading.

Water Retention
Excessive amounts of salt/sodium in diets can cause the body to retain water. If you’re consuming too much sodium or not enough water, your body will hold onto the little water it has which will cause the scale reading to sky rocket. So drink water whenever you’re thirsty.

Women tend to retain large amounts of water prior to menstruation. This weight will go as quickly as it comes. On the plus, women can minimise water weight gain by increasing their water intake, maintaining physical activity and minimising high-sodium foods.

Muscle Gain
It’s no secret here. Muscle weighs three times as much as fat. So if you look slimmer, but weigh more… it’s clearly muscle gain. Hence; using clothing size as an indicator for fat loss.

Food Intake
Each meal we consume throughout the day will affect the numbers on the scale. So if you instantaneously put on a few kilos after eating a large meal with a drink, it’s not fat. It’s in fact the weight of the food you just ate that will be gone in a few hours upon digesting it. For accuracy’s sake, it’s best to weight yourself in the morning before you’ve have anything to eat or drink.

Glycogen Storage
Your body stores energy (carbohydrates) as fat and glycogen. Glycogen is stored in the liver, muscles and fat cells. Essentially it acts as your fuel tank for daily living. And for every gram of glycogen stores, your body will store an extra three to four grams of water with it. So that’s why when you eat a meal with carbs, the body automatically stores water and glycogen as weight. But it’s not fat at all! These fluctuations have nothing to do with weight loss or gain, yet it will affect your weekly weigh-in.

So really, it’s important not to lose your cool at your daily weigh in. If you’re eating a well-balanced diet and exercising vigorously, the best indicator for change is your clothing size because losing weight and losing fat are two different things. Take measurements of yourself regularly and don’t be dismayed if the scale jumps slightly up or down. Day by day, your body is changing and getting closer to the goal you’re trying to achieve. Change is happening, regardless of what the scale says. And it’s more likely that you’re gaining lean muscle if the scale creeps up as quickly as your waist line drops.

Can I eat carbs at night?

Should we listen to Hollywood and refrain from eating carbs at night?

Hollywood has been telling us since forever that a low-carb, or even no-carb diet, is the best diet. Is this really the case? Are we just starving ourselves to lose weight or perhaps there is a better time to eat carbs.

The truth is carbs are good for you and we need to eat them in order to maintain a balanced diet. On the other hand, you will put on weight if you eat carbs or any kind of food the wrong way. The old saying goes: Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dine like a pauper. When it comes to consuming carbs at night, definitely eat less and cut out the starchy kind (pasta, rice, bread) after 6pm.

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Are you really ready to get results?

While there are more fitness facilities, information resources, health professionals and low fat foods available to us than ever before, our society continues to get fatter and unhealthier. Overweight and obesity rates are climbing at epidemic proportions, which if not stopped, will place enormous economic and health burdens on our future generations.

If you are concerned about your own health or your family’s health and want to lead a long-term healthy lifestyle, this book is for you.

Send an email to to order a copy or go pick up a copy at your local Vision Personal Training studio.

Boosting your immune system

Eat immune system enhancing foods to fight off infection

It’s that time of the year when cold and flu symptoms are peaking. Look around the office, at the shop or while commuting and you’re bound to see people coughing and splattering away. If this is something you consider undesirable, why not boost your immune system by eating certain foods? It’s your best bet to fighting spreadable sicknesses.

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Are you slowly being killed by trans-fats?

Trans fatty acids are the most harmful fats in the human diet and should be avoided at all costs.

Trans fatty acid (TFAs) is the abbreviated term for unsaturated fat with trans-iomer fatty acids. Basically it is fatty acid coupled with glycerine. And although they are unsaturated, they do not behave like the good fats found in vegetable oils and fish. Rather, they behave similarly to saturated fats in the body and produce similar health effects. Therefore, they are the most harmful type of fat found in the human diet and should be avoided at all costs.

TFAs are contained in both natural and manufactured products. Naturally, you will find them in certain animal products including cheese, butter and meat. Manufactured, or artificial TFAs, occur when liquid vegetable oils are hardened during the industrial processing stages of making margarine, cooking fats and pastry doughs for baking, crackers, biscuits, candies, salad dressings, chips, granola bars, fried foods and more.

What makes TFAs so dangerous is that they increase the amount of bad cholesterol in our blood and can reduce the amount of good cholesterol. Exhibiting harmful levels of bad cholesterol is a key indicator for heart disease and TFAs are also associated with many heart complications. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) has set a recommendation of consuming no more than 1 per cent of our daily kilojoules from TFAs. Postponed

Despite the countless health hazards to humans, it is not mandatory for food manufacturers to declare TFAs on product labels. However, manufacturers can provide statistics voluntarily. They are only required to declare TFAs if a nutritious claim regarding saturated, trans fats, cholesterol, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated or omega-3, omega-6 or omega-9 fatty acids is made.

This is quite concerning, considering the only valid use of TFAs for food companies is higher profitability. When vegetable oils are converted to solid fats by adding hydrogen atoms (hydrogenation), the shelf life of foods is extended. Flavour is also enhanced, which means more calories in your mouth. So really, it’s just not worth consuming TFAs in large amounts if they taste good, yet increase the level of plaque build-up in arteries.

What’s more is there has also been research conducted by Harvard School of Public Health which suggests TFAs may raise the risk of acquiring diabetes. That’s why it is important to make smarter diet decisions and choose heart-healthy fats such as avocadoes, nuts, peanut butter and TFA-free margarines. Don’t forget to check the number of calories per serving on product labels and compare saturated fats and TFA information if available.

Weight Training is mandatory for Weight Loss

If your goal is to lose weight, look more toned and improve your health, then weight lifting should be incorporated into your exercise regime. The funny thing is people, mainly women, fear doing weights because they have an assumption that they are going to bulk up and look bigger than they are. They couldn’t be any more wrong!

Weight training is an essential for cutting down on body fat and keeping it off. By doing weights, your body’s metabolism increases throughout the day, so you’re actually continuing to burn off more calories and unwanted fat. It’s also one of the best exercise methods to strengthen ligaments, joints, muscles, tendons and also increase bone density.

Not only will you have a body with low fat composition, but your heart will work efficiently for many years. You will feel healthier, look better and be in a better mood because weights release endorphins. You will even experience stronger sleeping patterns and develop more confidence.

Sure, many of us spend hours a day in front of our computers, driving to work or doing other activities which promote a sedentary lifestyle. We’re feeling overworked, underpaid and ultimately too tired by the time clock off arrives. The thing is, doing weights will give you more energy and prevent you from feeling like this.

If you refrain from moving around, you’re only increasing the risk of heart defects, sexual problems, getting exerted after a little bit of physical activity like walking and you will also exhibit muscle development that is anything but proportioned.

You don’t have to be a professional athlete, bodybuilder or gym junkie to reap the benefits of a weight workout because the average person can do it. It’s important that you are educated, have great form and technique so you don’t do damage to your body with an injury.

Lifting weights incorrectly can lead to fractures, sprains, strains, tears and other painful injuries that can hinder your exercising endeavours. So if you’re not sure about how to get started or what you should be doing, then seek the advice of a personal trainer or fitness specialist who can demonstrate the correct technique and make any adjustments to your work out.

At the end of the day, the most effective way to lose weight is to combine cardio exercise and a balanced diet with weight training. The three disciplines when implemented will work together to achieve optimal results. And unless you eat a certain diet and take a different weight training approach, than you won’t bulk up! Muscle building is an intense process that’s slow for men and even slower for women.