Reaching your goals: Riding an elephant

Why did you do that?

Have you ever acted against your better judgment? Ummmm, of course you have. We all have. Sometimes you do things that you later regret. And this keeps you from achieving that lean, sexy body that you want.

  • You hit snooze rather than waking up early to exercise before work.
  • You blow off your healthy eating plan to indulge in a hamburger and fries.
  • You start an exercise program only to drop out two weeks into it.

These regrettable actions prevent you from achieving your goals and keep you stuck.

Most of us are all too familiar with this frustrating paradox. It’s almost as if there are two sides inside of you, raging war on each other. Your sensible side versus your emotional side. What you want versus what you do.

A psychologist named Jonathan Haidt came up with a mental model that explains exactly why you do things that you wish you hadn’t – and how to take control to finally do the actions necessary to get what you really want.

“The image I came up with for myself, as I marveled at my weakness [of willpower], was that I was a rider on the back of an elephant. I’m holding the reins in my hands, and by pulling one way or the other I can tell the elephant to turn, to stop, or to go. I can direct things, but only when the elephant doesn’t have desires of his own. When the elephant really wants to do something, I’m no match for him,” explained Haidt in his book, The Happiness Hypothesis.

Human decision making is like a tiny rider on a massive elephant.  The rider may think he’s in charge, but the elephant’s will always wins. The Elephant, The Rider, and The Path are a great framework for understanding yourself and what drives you. All human change depends on it.

Here’s Haidt’s mental model for creating lasting change in greater detail…

The Rider: is your rational and analytical side. The Rider is a visionary that has the ability to think long-term, to plan, and that is willing to make short-term sacrifices for long-term payoffs. The Rider loves to contemplate and analyze, has limited reserves of strength, suffers from paralysis by analysis, and relentlessly focuses on problems rather than solutions. Most crucially, the Rider is so small compared to the six-ton Elephant that anytime they disagree about which direction to go, the Rider will lose.

The Elephant: is made up of your emotions and instincts. The Elephant prefers the comfort and security of a well-trodden path, even if a new path leads to a better outcome – this is why it’s so difficult to change your habits. The Elephant has enormous strengths: love and compassion and sympathy and loyalty. The Elephant is the one who gets things done.

The Path: is your surrounding environment, the context in which the Rider and the Elephant operate. A rocky Path makes change hard, if not impossible, even when the Rider and the Elephant work together.

There are three steps to lasting change:

  • Direct the Rider
  • Motivate the Elephant
  • Shape the Path

1) Direct the Rider:

Change begins with a plan, and it’s the Rider who comes up with plans. Direct your Rider to analyze what’s right, on what works. When you’ve lost weight and made progress towards your fitness goals in the past what worked for you? Focus on these bright spots rather than on potential problems related to your desired change. Once you’ve come up with a plan, move on. It’s important to move quickly and to avoid getting bogged down with paralysis by analysis.

2) Motivate the Elephant:

In order for the plans of your Rider to succeed, your Elephant must feel emotionally invested in the outcome. Find an emotional connection that you feel deep down in relation to the goal. Don’t just think about why you want to achieve your goal – feel why you need to achieve your goal.

3) Shape the Path:

Make change easy. Reduce obstacles in your life, so that the new desired behavior is frictionless. Move the barriers between you and the actions that you want to take. Lay out your workout clothes the night before. Spend time in the morning to prep all of your healthy daily meals. Get a trainer to hold you accountable to showing up to your workouts.

The key to effective change is getting the Elephant and the Rider moving together on a smooth path to success. Do this and you’ll stop doing things that you later regret.

If getting into the best shape of your life is a current goal that you wish you could achieve then call or email me today. I’m here to help you direct your Rider, motivate your Elephant and shape your Path…and I won’t rest until your goal has become a reality!


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As a trainer I had to look in the mirror!

Scott Kratochvil 12/28/2016

I have been in the fitness industry for almost 15 years and have had 1000’s of clients over the years. Clients all have different goals, situations, life styles and/or health issues. After a cpl years in the industry I made a decision and change to the how/what/when/why of teaching diet. When I first started I didn’t care if my clients were becoming healthy….all I cared about was that they lost weight. Well what’s the problem with that?? I had to look in the mirror and make a decision. I had been over weight the majority of life from as far as I could remember until I was in my mid 20’s. All those years of trying diet, after diet, after diet, after diet, after diet and always going back to gaining weight was tough on my body and even more so on my mind and self-image. The decision I made was to teach my clients not a diet but the science behind their bodies. I would show them a new life style. I would show them a path to reach their goals and get off the up/ down roller coaster if they wanted to learn and change.

I can get 8 out of 10 people to lose 1-5+ lbs in one week… even you reading this. Follow this diet.M1) 2 hard boiled eggs / M2) Apple / M3) 4oz chicken ½ cup broccoli / M4) 4oz tuna with celery / M5) 4oz tilapia/ M6)scoop of proteinEat those 6 meals every day for the next 7 days and drink only water or black coffee. You will lose 1-5lbs.Or try thisM1) Your “magical $150 a month” protein shake / M2) Your “magical $150 a month” protein shake / M3) 6oz Chicken / 1 cup broccoliYes you will lose 1-5+ pounds off the scale in 7 days or less!! But where did this get you??? What did this do to you?

It got your scale to move…yes… but what actually happened? Scale went down body fat goes up, which means lean body mass lost. And??? That means you are in worse shape than when you started….you lost muscle and gained fat!!! This is how a lot of places/companies get you to keep spending your money on their products / services. Go to Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, pay some online new diet plan or any other place that gives you a point system and you will basically be getting the first diet. Follow the diet plan in this months “Fit Magazine”.Order premade foods shipped to your door and again you will be getting the first diet. Pay $100s of dollars a month for some companies “magical protein shake” and $100s more on their supplement line and you basically get diet number 2.

All over the place you see marketing like this:

10lbsweek1  10lbsweek

Or other ways of marketing with before and after pictures with 20 lbs lost in 4 weeks. I ask 20 lbs of what did you lose? I see tons of this and many of the after pics look like the same person with very little body composition change. Working with 1000s of clients over the years I know from experience if you are losing 20+ lbs in 4-6 weeks you aren’t losing just fat but just as much muscle if not more. You aren’t getting healthier but weaker and worse shape.

Where do you get with these??? Absolutely nowhere! Why do you think you see the same celebrities year after year after year endorsing the same products? They keep gaining the weight back. Yes you might see some quick results….this is how they hook you. Let’s really look at this. You lose 4 lbs the first week, you lose 2 lbs the second week, you lose 4 lbs the third week…..You have lost 10 lbs in 3 weeks!! Awesome. When I have seen people do this the average is 4 lbs of fat lost and 6 pounds of muscle lost in those 3 weeks. So what begins to happen is you are losing precious muscle and calorie burning strength/ endurance. Plus with eating these ways you are killing your hormones, especially hormones that burn FAT. So your results will start to slow down greatly from here on out until they grind to a complete stand still. Now the next week you don’t see results or worse you start gaining the weight back and you get really frustrated. Then a bad week at work comes along and you go completely off the plan and gain 3-6 lbs back….this is all fat and no muscle. So after 4-5 weeks you have lost 6-8 lbs of muscle and now gained 6-8lbs of fat. Your weight is right back where you started but your body fat has gone up by 6-8lbs. In other words you are now in worse shape than when you started. (On top of that vicious cycle….can you actually imagine living / eating like either of those diets for the rest of your life?) So you give up! A couple months later you decide to start again and you go back to the exact same plan……why??? Because you saw the scale change the first couple weeks so you think that was the correct way of doing things and you keep repeating this cycle over and over again and each time keep losing muscle and gaining fat. How do I know this?? I did this for years to myself until I learned the science of eating. I did this with my clients to get them instant results. I looked in the mirror because I couldn’t do this to clients anymore, as I knew the horrible process it was inside and out, physically and mentally. Clients would come to me to help them become healthy and lose weight, I wasn’t doing that my first cpl years in the industry. So I would get clients instant results they would be on cloud nine… then the inevitable would happen and they would gain the weight back. They would be defeated. Many would have a hard time trying again because they felt ashamed. We have new clients every month that start with us that have failed over and over again and are at the end of their ropes. They feel ashamed, defeated and a failure….. none of them have ever failed but their diets failed them. All of them have just never been taught how to truly change….. a change for life. 

That is why the scale is an enemy for lots of people. They give it power so if the scale drops they think that means success. If it goes up they think that means failure. When we track numbers with clients we track fat loss and body fat %. When we post about clients results we always say fat lost or body fat % lost. These numbers are the key to getting healthier, better, stronger and a leaner version of yourself.

fatloss2 fatloss4

These diets cause weight loss yes but they also cause many side effects that you don’t want because you are losing muscle. When you do this it also causes a situation termed “skinny fat”. Which like the picture above you might be 130 lbs but body fat % is way different, the way you look is way different and your health is way different. Losing your muscle mass also will shut down hormones, causes medical conditions or make current ones worse.

When I looked in the mirror I decided even if I didn’t get a client instant results it was more important to teach them the science of how to lose weight and keep if off for life. Do all clients succeed? No but I know I gave them tools to do so. Even if they haven’t reached their goals in weight loss everyone has left stronger and healthier. Maybe they now can do a 5k, a pull up, squat 2X their body weight, do a perfect push up, left being able to do more than they ever thought possible. As much as I care about each and every client I can’t be with them 24hrs a day and I can’t force them to change…they have to take those steps. I have clients that have been with me over 10 years because they are stronger, healthier and are always learning something new with their fitness/ health. There is always something more to learn in your health / fitness and always new goals. Getting healthy, fit and strong is a life style change…not a 1-3 month diet… it’s not a 30min workout 1-2X a week….It’s a lifestyle change.

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Part 2

Dedication and Consistency


Dedication and Consistency

:Scott Kratochvil

I have written about “Motivation and Dedication” and the difference. (click the link to read that article)

Now that you are working on the dedication part it is time to plan and work on the consistency part, as they go hand and hand. If you want success you need to simple daily disciplines. You need to plan this and dedicate yourself to follow through on these things.

When I meet with clients we talk and set up goals to achieve but as in the article link above, goals are dreams until you have a plan and take action. After we set up goals we go through an action plan. This is where the dedication and consistency comes into play. There is no magic diet, no magic workout program, no magic pill or magic potion. There is just math, science and education. It doesn’t matter your goal people have achieved it and more. They did it with math, science and education added with dedication and consistency.

If you have a plan in place that will get you the results you desire and you don’t take action your goals will just stay a dream. You can read this article “Your personal program” here to start getting an understanding of what you need to do.

After a client and I discussed goals we go into the math, science and education part as in the article above to put together their plan. Once we have the specific needs to achieve to accomplish their goal we lay out the consistency part. We set up monthly, weekly and daily goals of consistency to achieve the goal at hand. If your goal is to have ripped abs, I’m sorry to tell you 6 minute abs 3 times a week isn’t going to get you there. Running a marathon isn’t going to be accomplish by walking 20 minutes at lunch every day. Deadlift 500+ lbs isn’t going to happen by doing 5 lbs curls a bunch of times. Rehabbing an injury isn’t going to happen by sitting on the couch. Improving mobility isn’t going to happen by sitting at your desk at work all day. All of this seems very obvious doesn’t it? This is the exact approach to many clients that first walk into our facility, it is not their fault but it is the human condition, we want everything now!

Any goal is going to be accomplished by doing small things daily. This is when our clients really succeed!!! Have a plan in place, follow it daily and work towards that goal daily. We do have a lot of clients that just want to get their butt kicked and not think about their workout and that is completely awesome! If you do have a goal you want to achieve we need to sit down and put it all together. Then the dedication and consistency on your part comes into play. We are here to walk with you on this journey and help keep you accountable and on track but ultimately it comes down to what you are doing when you are not with us that determines your results.

Contact us to sit down and set up this plan so you can get to crushing your goals!

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t” – Jerry Rice

A really good teacher is never a giver of “truth,” but rather a guide, a pioneer to the truth that the student must discover for himself. A good teacher, therefore, studies each student individually and encourages the student to explore himself, both internally and externally, until, ultimately, the student is integrated with his being. A good teacher is a catalyst” – Bruce Lee


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Motivation: Houston We Have a Problem


Motivation Problem?

:Scott Kratochvil

We have a lot of clients that struggle from time to time with their goals. SHOCKER ALERT: We all do!!

One thing I always hear them talk about is “motivation” or lack of, is a better way of putting it. Every client that walks through our doors the first time and every time after that has motivation. They are motivated to fitness, to health, to getting better, to getting stronger and most importantly to themselves.

If you have a goal you want to achieve, you need more than motivation. Now this part can sting a little bit for some to hear and before you stop reading really think about what I am about to say.

You aren’t lacking motivation you are lacking dedication.

A famous quote says it best “A goal is a dream without a plan.”

Motivation is the dream. Dedication is making a plan and following it through.

If your goal is to lose 10lbs, run a 5k, squat 400lbs, do a pull up, be able to sit on the floor and stand back up without help or change your health you are motivated to achieve that goal. To accomplish that goal you need to be dedicated to that goal. You need a plan of action to follow so you can achieve that. If you want to run a 5k and haven’t ran farther than a mile since high school, how are you going to be able to do one? You need to plan how to increase your endurance, stamina and distance to accomplish that. You don’t just sit on the couch and look outside and then all of sudden have the ability to run a 5k. If you want to lose 10 lbs you don’t keep going about your normal eating habits and exercise routine. You put together a plan of action that involves eating what your body needs in the right portions and exercise to accomplish that goal.

So for many it is not the lack of motivation. It is the lack of planning. It is the lack of execution on the plan that will get you the result and goal you want.

Now not everyone has a major goal and we have a lot of clients that just want to get a great workout, learn more skills and become all around healthier. And that is just awesome!!! But if you have a goal you need to plan for that goal and follow through with the plan to get the results you are looking for.

The other part to this equation is education. Most clients come to us because they have a goal in mind and have tried on their own to achieve that goal with no avail. That is what we are here for!! If you are struggling with a goal as big as a mountain or as small as a pebble but need help, contact us and we can help get your plan of action in place and crush Your Goal!



Pitfall: Win the game!



Pitfall the video game

:Scott Kratochvil


Who has played the game Pitfall? Super Mario Brothers? QBert? Pac-Man? I’m guessing most of you have. If not youtube them and get some awesome high quality 8-bit greatness!!

Why am I writing about these video games?

Fitness is like these games lots of times. Huh?

When we are working with clients we set goals. (Yeah so! Everyone sets goals!) After we set goals we set a plan of attack. If you set a goal without a plan it is just a dream. Imagine that it’s December and you live in Minnesota. (Sorry for the nightmare for some of you) You and several friend decide to do a road trip to Key West and you have to pick up 1 friend in Chicago and 1 in New York City and then head to Key West and you have never been to any of the places. Would you do this trip without a map? Without directions? Without GPS? Without a cell phone?

HECK NO!! You would never reach your destination. You would never reach your goal.

That is why when we set goals with clients we set our plans as well.

One of the first things we talk about is Pitfall. Why you ask! Good questions because life is just like the game. There are water hazards, scorpions, alligators, fires everywhere but if you see them coming and know how to avoid them you can survive. “Pitfalls” are the single most reason people don’t accomplish their goal. The pitfall isn’t the reason though, the not planning for the pitfall or being prepared for the pitfall is. If every Friday at work the office has all you can eat doughnuts, you know this is coming. If you have a family gathering, you know this is coming. If you have a social event, you know this is coming. You plan your fitness and diet and around these pitfalls so you don’t fall into them. You plan on them and learn how to avoid these situations throwing off your goal.  Yes there are times that you still won’t make it perfectly through every time but the goal is to get better and better at avoiding the mistakes.

Just like these video games they have a pattern and you can learn to avoid the mistakes. You can learn when to jump, when to duck, when to swing or when to wait. There are youtube videos of people completing the whole game in minutes. They can do this because they have learned the patterns of the game. In doing this they reach the end goal in minutes rather than hours. We can teach you to learn these patterns and help reach your goal in months rather than years.


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7 Things Successful People Do

habits of successful people

Here are seven mistakes successful people have experienced, learned from and won’t repeat.

1. Successful people don’t allow toxic relationships into their life.

The relationships in your life are an indicator of your success. As Jim Rohn said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”1 The negative relationships will drag you down to their level. The positive ones will push you further than you felt like you could go. If you want to make this one of the most successful phases in your life, evaluate the relationships that are in your life. Get honest about who needs to go. Don’t make the mistake of allowing toxic relationships to stunt any progress toward your success goals.

2. Successful people don’t spend years doing work that doesn’t fulfill them.

Most of us will spend at least 40 hours per week in some form of work. It can be a traditional job or a business, but if what you’re doing during those 40 hours doesn’t fulfill you, it will affect every other area of your life. Before you know it, you’ve given years of your life to something that is slowly eating away at your resolve and determination to live a better life. It’s not easy—especially in our current economy—to find work that fulfills you and pays well, but nothing that’s worth it comes easy. Spend time finding or creating work that supports the kind of life you want to live and one that gives you freedom1.

3. Successful people don’t let doubt and fear dictate their choices.

Doubt and fear are a normal part of anyone’s life. But your reactions to these emotions will affect your success journey. Successful people make decisions from a place of value and strength. They know what values are most important to them and make decisions that align with those values. Doubt and fear are not a factor when they are making decisions.

4. Successful people don’t chase other people’s dreams.

It’s natural to want what seems and feels like success. You see someone else do something and you want that for your life. But dreams, goals and freedom have to be personal. You have to figure out what your dreams are and why they are important to you. Successfull people don’t waste time or energy on shiny objects Don’t let the allure of someone else’s dream derail you from discovering yours.

5. Successful people don’t underestimate the power of physical fitness.

What you eat and how active you are has an effect on the energy you have and that will affect how to tackle your goals. Your physical fitness is closely tied to your success journey. Successful people make their fitness and health a priority because they realize it’s one of the keys to living a long and happy life. It goes beyond just maintaining your fitness; harness the power that comes when you are in tune with your body.

6. Successful people don’t do things they know they don’t want to do.

There are a lot of things you could be doing, and even things that seem important but aren’t if you were honest with yourself. Successful people cut those things out of their life and make it a point to create a life of freedom.They spend each moment on the things that lead to and support the kind of life they want to live. Time is precious and life is short. Don’t waste either on the things you don’t want or need to do.

7. Successful people don’t copy someone else who is successful.

It’s natural to want to mimic or even copy success. Those who are successful see the value in modeling success, but they understand copying won’t produce the same results. Just because something worked for someone else doesn’t mean it will work the same way for you. Your goals, dreams and aspirations have to be personal.

Learn from your mistakes. We all make them and will continue making them for the rest of our lives—so view them as life lessons. The key is to not repeat where you stumbled before. Fall and get back up determined to work on your goals harder and smarter.

Check out todays newsletter on getting momentum towards your goals!