How to Be a Productivity Rockstar

Intelligent people want to be living a life that is moving forward, growing towards something greater than that which already is. It could be a part of human nature, part of how we were raised or part of our specific genetic code, but intelligent people are on the move, forward and upward. Progress is the unit of measurement, the currency of driven people, and we like to fill our banks with lot of it! Below are ten things that will speed-up your progress; not just your body transformation or your athletic pursuits, but in all areas of your life.

Realize that effort alone doesn’t work.

Many business owners perform all the roles of their company and their businesses stay small because of this. The 20 hour days don’t yield the same results as a well thought out 10 hour day that enrolls other people in doing some of the work. Effort will only work up until a certain point.

Know your motivation.

Be moving towards something very important or leave something behind that needs to be left behind. Or both! There needs to be a compelling reason for WHY you are trying to progress. Progressing for its own sake is good; progressing for a higher purpose is GREAT. Focus on this purpose and enjoy the boost in efficiency. Most people do not know their motivation for doing things and this is a huge limiting factor with their progress. Have a compelling MUST have reason and notice what happens in your life to help you get it.


We learn from experiences, not from sitting around. Be open and wise to the fact that you don’t know everything. Progressing forward is about acquiring new knowledge and converting it into wisdom, and this will only happen when stuff goes in.

This applies to both the things to do and the things to NOT do – there is a reason why someone lost their job which is usually not the inverse reason why someone keeps their job. Learn from both and maximize your progress.

Choose proof over theory.

Some things look great on paper but don’t pan out as predicted while other things seem doomed from the beginning but turnout to be not just the best way to accomplish a task but the ONLY way to accomplish it. When you are looking for progress, go with what works. When you are looking to innovate, go with theory.

Take a few small actions each day.

Success is made-up of 1000′s of small things. Progress is about attrition against the odds. While it is unlikely that the small thing you do today will lead you to the victory you are looking for, not doing the small things is usually the reason for a lack of progress. If it takes a few minutes and you have a few minutes, just do it. It will get it out of the way and make action your method of operating.

Set many small and achievable tasks.

10′s or 100′s of these tasks will make-up a goal.

Setting up goals as being the combination of many small things makes achieving them more likely as they won’t overwhelm or discourage you. This way you will always be making progress, every day and with almost every action.

Find someone to be accountable to who you WILL be accountable to.

Sadly, many people get into the habit of not being accountable to themselves as there is a temporal processing issue with it – how do you be accountable to the you of the past? The finest way to overcome this is to enroll someone else to help you stay on track.

Engage someone who will be dogmatic about your objectives and who will press you hard when you present excuse as reason.

Track your results to make sure you are staying on track.

Consider enrolling someone else as the tracker of your progress – ideally your accountability person. When you do not achieve your results, you need to uncover the cause of your breakdown and eliminate the offending behavior. The objective opinion of an outsider can be the difference between slow or light speed progress.

They only have a vested interest in your results, not your emotional reasons for not acting in a goal achieving way.

Focus on behaviors, not outcomes.

Being progressive is about acting in a progressive way, not about achieving a progressive thing. If you do the right things for long enough, the outcome is inevitability.

Become part of a success orientated group.

Successful people need to be surrounded by other successful people and there can be a magnificent synergy between group members. It is usually true that many minds are better than one when it comes to seeing solutions so engage others and enroll them in your journey. This will boost your accountability and it can dramatically increase the intellectual resources that work on an issue, problem or task. You never know what or who other people know, so connect with others and share unconditionally; both your quest and your wisdom.

Progress will only occur when someone commits to the actions and behaviors needed to acquire it; you may not need to use all of these to accomplish every goal but if you have previously been unsuccessful these things should help you get back on track to an outstanding life.

Why Joining the Gym Often Isn’t Enough

I remember when I joined the gym for the first time.

At that time in my life I was in school to become a software engineer, so most of my day consisted of sitting at a computer creating and editing code.

And I was good at it.

I had a knack for logic and systems.

But as you can imagine after sitting at a desk for upwards of 16 hours a day, I wasn’t in the greatest shape. My back hurt, my weight was climbing, and I barely had the energy to get through my studies.

I felt exhausted all the time.

At only 17 I thought to myself “Is this it?”.

That was the moment I decided to join the gym for the first time.

It was a local Goodlife, right here in Milton. I remember I was so motivated at the time that I went every single day for a week trying every machine they had!

But after only a week I knew that something wasn’t right.

My background in systems and logic told me that wondering around like a lost puppy wasn’t a great long term strategy. I needed a plan to follow, I needed to know that what I was doing was correct, and I needed accountability to ensure I kept at it.

And that’s when I hired my first personal trainer.

Now I’m not saying that everyone needs to go hire a personal trainer, in fact choosing when to hire a personal trainer is a topic that I will cover another day.

My point is this—even at 17 I knew that having a gym membership wasn’t enough. It was like having big box of equipment with no instructions (and if you have ever bought anything from IKEA without instructions you can appreciate the frustration that comes with that).

It’s why electricians, plumbers, and other tradespeople go to school—because the tools alone won’t get the job done.

Having a plan shifts what you COULD use into you what you SHOULD use—a critical part of getting fit.

Even better is having a plan that is easy to follow.

That’s why we included exercise videos, trainer support, and other things in our training software. We wanted it to be easy for people to get access to a plan that supports their goals and helps them get fit.

Now’s it’s just a matter of getting the message out there—that getting fit doesn’t need to be a struggle anymore.

It’s simply a matter of having the right plan.

Oh and 14 years later, it’s a rare thing to see me in the gym without my own plan 😉


The Right Stage for You – Four Stages of Learning and Competence

This is a revised article from back in 2012 when I first started ARM and preaching behavioral change as the key to weight loss.

As time has progressed the research has repeatedly shown that this this method of weight loss is the only sustainable one. Almost any dietary approach will work but the problem is—for how long?

Most often what slips us up is not the diet itself but our adherence to it.

While having the effective plans, systems, and methods for doing this is important; it is even more important to know where to start with each new client.

Clients that come to us have a variety of different backgrounds and are at different levels of readiness:


Otherwise referred to as unconscious incompetence this stage is often represented by a lack of knowledge.

You aren’t doing the right habits because you don’t know what they are and are unaware that what you are doing is counter-productive towards your overall goals.

There is a large portion of the population that fits under this category. With the media telling us one bad piece of advice after another it is no wonder there is so much confusion when it comes to eating and exercising.

Our goal at this stage is to help you recognize unproductive habits and educate you on effective ones.


Referred to as conscious incompetence this is the most difficult stage for most people and where the greatest value of a trainer/coach comes in.

At this stage you are aware of what habits are helping or hurting you but struggle to put the right one’s into action.

Most people at this stage tend to blame their genetics for their lack of results but the truth is they simply have not practiced the appropriate actions long enough for them to become habit.

Our goal at this stage is to create successful training and/or nutrition habits.

This stage is all about making mistakes and learning from them, often a very difficult process for some but also an essential part of the learning processes.

Without the accountability of a coach the transition from this stage to the next is where most people struggle, they start with good intentions but quickly lose focus and revert back to doing the same actions that they began with (with a new found frustration).


Also referred to as conscious competence at this stage you have learned what is needed and for the most part are practicing it, the only downside is that it requires constant concentration and effort devoted to maintaining it.

Accountability is also a must in this stage as this new habit may take months or even years before it forms.  Most of our clients reach this stage very early and it is up to us to ensure the habit stays long enough to become permanent.

Our goal at this stage is to now keep you accountable and ensure that this new habit is practiced long enough to transition to the next stage.


Also referred to as unconscious competence at this stage you have practiced your new habits long enough that they no longer take much effort to sustain and can be performed with ease.

This is our ultimate goal when it comes to eating and exercising—and where transformation is truly present. It not long becomes something you “do” but rather a part of who you are.

The stress of “sticking to a diet” is now gone and food can be enjoyed without guilt.

Don’t get me know, there will still be times when your food choices may not match with your goals. However, your transition back to eating foods that are good for you will be as seamless as writing with your good hand after a day of writing with your bad one.

At this stage our goal is simple; ensure you have the tools you need to keep going.

You no longer need us to succeed but gain value from the services provided (such as exercise routines, cooking recipes, etc.).

Our relationship at this point becomes more of a friendship.


I get his question lot and wish there was a simple answer, but there is not.

The rate of your progression through these stages is determined by a wide range of variables that you may not have control over but more importantly you must be willing to put in consistent effort with the right actions in order for your success to occur at all.

Consider why you are reading this, chances are you have an area of your life that you would like to enhance but don’t know how to do it.

Adopting the appropriate actions for your current stage of learning is the first step.

Good things may come to those who wait but great things come to those who act.


PS. Want to find out what stage you are at? Complete a Client Application to find out (simply don’t it submit unless you want us to follow up with you ;)).

Designing Your Life (Part 3)

In today’s post I will be completing the last part in my 3 part series “Designing Your Life” and dive a little deeper into how ARM uses design thinking as a business practice and how you can apply this way of thinking to your own life.

At ARM, we experience challenges, difficulties, and unforeseen obstacles—just about every day, in fact—and so do our clients.

However, except in the cases of extreme emergencies, we don’t really try to solve problems.

Rather, every time something surprising, unworkable, and/or ineffective comes up, we ask ourselves: How can we make this great? What opportunities does this situation give us to see what’s working, what’s not, and how to make it better?

What systems, assumptions, and perceived realities will we need to dissolve in order to break through to our intentions and objections.

This approach manifests itself most practically in our branding, design work, and the materials that we produce in order to market and promote ourselves.

With each and every project—from minor ones like business cards to major ones like our publications—colors are tweaked, typefaces are adjusted, layouts are prototyped, photography is retouched, and language is finessed in ways that impact all subsequent work. In addition, once per quarter, we review our design inventory and retroactively apply these innovations to past works.

How can you apply this to your life?

First, it is important to see your problems, challenges, and obstacles as opportunities to continually refine your system for accomplishing your big goals in life.

This system will never be complete and therefore requires these occurrences in order to improve and expand.

Next, take a moment every once in a while (in our case every quarter) to review EVERYTHING regarding these goals.

This could include how you are eating, what type of workouts you are following, what time you are going to bed each night, and any other aspects that occur on a regular basis.

This review gives you a chance to see what is working, what is not, and how can you make it better.

Here’s another advantage of design thinking: Newness, also known as innovation, is often but not always required. Other times, design thinkers are free to pull from the past.

Did you like this series? Let me know and I will write more just like this!

Committed to your success,


Designing Your Life (Part 2)

It was a pleasant surprise to get so many private responses to my last post, it tells me that this is a topic worth writing about 🙂

So back to design thinking…

Differing from the scientific method, the process of design thinking begins by formulating a desired/imagined outcome rather than addressing any one particular perceived problem.

Multiple pathways are developed, prototyped, and evaluated simultaneously, often resulting in surprising (and delightful) hybrid results.

Along the way, problems are constantly refined and re-identified, without any commitments to necessarily doing anything about them.

The focus is always upon: “What’s possible?”

The constant interrogation of (and challenge to) circumstances that seem objective and permanent is sometimes difficult (or even infuriating) for linear thinkers. However, our current era isn’t linear; it’s dynamic; success in this context requires a properly attuned methodology.

For the most part, today’s fitness industry is locked inside the scientific method’s problem-obsessed way of producing results (“Lose weight” means “you’re fat”. “Feel better” means “you’re overwhelmed and exhausted”. “Get in shape” means “you’re out of shape”. You get the idea)

With so much emphasis placed upon fixing and changing what’s not wanted, there’s relatively little attention paid to what actually is wanted.

On this course, problems feed upon the energy they’re given, while distinctive, visionary, long-term innovations, and adaptations are left to languish from lack of attention.

So what’s a better solution?

A better solution is to instead focus on the many pathways that may lead to your desired goal.

For example, losing weight may consist of exercising, changing your diet, becoming more physically active, learning a new sport, taking supplements, becoming a part of a social, and more.

These pathways are almost limitless in number and attention should be placed upon evaluating and experimenting with each one.

I will expand upon this in part 3 (coming next week).

Committed to your success,


Designing Your Life (Part 1)

In today’s post I wanted to share how one of the processes that we use behind the scenes at ARM can drastically change YOUR life.

The process is called “design thinking”

Here’s a quick note on it that was included in our 2015 magazine The ARM Report.

“As a process, design thinking results in practical responses to real-world problems that leave not just immediate complaints but also surrounding situations and foundation structures better—more durable, flexible, efficient, and responsive—than they were before. Uniquely, this is often done by refusing to fix, change, solve, or even acknowledge problems themselves as isolated phenomena. Emphasis, instead, is placed upon re-designing and/or re-engineering systems and environments from which problems emerge—so they shrink, evaporate, or wither way on their own.”

How does this apply to you?

Well the way that most people tackle goals in their lives is that they look for things that they don’t like and try to fix them.

…this is kind of like riding your bike, staring at a tree in front of you, and hoping you won’t hit it.

What’s going to happen?

You are going to ride right into it!

Well the same thing happens to people who are trying to lose weight, they focus on the wrong thing (not having extra weight) and just like that tree they are lined up perfectly for it to remain a big problem.

You see, our brains are interesting. They can’t NOT think of something. They are visual in nature and can only think in terms of absolutes (this is why if I told you NOT to think about a pink elephant you instantly thought of one).

So what’s a better solution?

The best solution is to determine what is missing from that area of your life.

What would make a profound difference?

What would make that extra weight IMPOSSIBLE to have. It might be a consistent exercise routine, it might be a good nutrition plan, it might be a shift in your mindset from someone who is “lazy” to someone who is “determined”.

Find that and focus on bringing that to life.

Interested in knowing how? Let me know and I will write a bit more on the topic later this week.

Committed to your success,


Why we created ARM Systems Mobile…

Six years ago when I founded ARM I was a complete rookie when it came to business.

Sure I had a lot more experience than most when it came to fitness, but building a business was a whole different ball game! All I knew was that I had a passion for improving the industry and I was going to find a way to “make it better”.

You see I never really had a “default advantage” as I like to call it. I was never a top performer because of my natural ability (in fact I am terrible at first with most things I start) and fitness was no different.

So instead of relying on “brute strength”, I had to do things differently, I had to do things smarter.

You see, ARM Systems is not a specific fitness program nor is it a type of training. It is a way of eating, training, and living that has been refined over the last decade.

And while a lot of it isn’t “new” the application of the material has drastically evolved over the last 6 years.

While in the beginning it was limited to just a handful of people who I could personally train it has now evolved into a global platform.

Not only does this mean that where people live is no longer a limitation but it also means I can help serve people at a fraction of the cost.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing that will deliver better results than our ARM Academy (in fact we guarantee it!) but the reality is that not everyone can afford it or is ready to invest the amount required to go through it.

That is why we created ARM Systems Mobile.

It brings some of the best systems that we have spent years to perfect to a larger audience. It brings people the right knowledge, the best plans, and the accountability required to reach their goals.

Things like ensuring clients are progressing each workout—often the reason most people don’t see results.

Things like making sure clients know the proper technique and avoid injuries that could leave them out of the gym for weeks if not months on end.

Things like the ability to contact our trainers at a click of a button, and for the trainer to be able to review your plan BEFORE offering advice (offering advice without knowing what you are currently doing in detail rarely works).

All of these things matter and make a massive difference.

ARM Systems Mobile isn’t just another “Fitness App”, it is the beginning of a new era of fitness—one where people are consistently reaching their goals.

To a remarkable future together,


PS. You can sign up for ARM Systems Mobile here.

PPS. If you are not yet set up on our app yet let me know what is holding you back? The first 30 days are free and includes working with myself or one of our coaches personally. After that we can make a plan that works for almost any budget.

Real vs False Emergencies

There are very few true emergencies in life. What most try to pass-off as an emergency is simply something that wasn’t planned for, but which should have been predicted had the outcome been more important or had priorities been kept in mind.

Don’t get me wrong, emergencies do exist, and they are identified by an instantaneous and complete shift of priorities. They are very rare and most people will have a couple of actual emergencies in their life time. In the realm of personal training, the cancellation call to the trainer is very low on the list of things to do when a real emergency kicks in. Survival or immediate services to those in need are hallmarks of a real emergency. For this reason, great personal trainers will never bill a client for an emergency because they cannot be avoided.

Some examples of a real emergency would be a heart attack or stroke of a parent, injury in a car crash, delay due to actual highway / public transit congestion or closure, a gas leak, a bomb scare, a fuel spill, a tornado or other acute extreme weather events.

Some examples of fake emergencies would be a children’s school event, a sports game or concert, impending work or school deadline, a hot date, a spontaneous trip or vacation.

The difference is in one’s ability to anticipate the event or the amount of lead time or warning the client had about the event in question as well as the actual need to shift priorities. Work and school deadlines tend to be well communicated and well established ahead of time. The same is true for children’s school, sports and concert events. The date and times of these things are usually announced months ahead of time and are rarely spur of the moment things given the number of people involved with them.

What are we getting at here?

Very simple, our most successful clients have never missed a session due to an emergency. They have had to rescheduled sessions later in the week or do an extra session in the previous weeks, but if their program requires training 3 times per week, they always average 3 training sessions per week.

The most successful clients know their priorities and stick to them no matter what happens. They have the same opportunities to take spontaneous trips, dates and other events but they know exactly why they are training and do not sacrifice their future goals for immediate gratification. They don’t regard things they have a choice to do or not do as emergencies so they their priorities cannot shift.

The least successful trainees or those who do not achieve their goals have a different view of emergencies. For those who are less committed to their goals, their future selves or achieving their potential, an opportunity to have fun now supersedes actual hard work and success. Worse than this is the tendency for these people to not know what the next few weeks of their life looks like – they don’t have schedules or day planners outlining the upcoming events like school activities, sports events for children, etc…. These people have little desire to create a new and better future because they just make plans and let life happen each day, labeling things emergencies so they can get out of their training session; effectively losing another day of their life just because they didn’t care enough to not lose it.

This is why we bill for missed and cancelled sessions – because there is rarely an excuse for missing or cancelling a session. It isn’t personal but creating a new life requires hard work and if someone doesn’t care enough about their future to know what that future looks like – the upcoming events for their weeks – we need to use the loss of money for a missed session as leverage for them to do what is important in the long run vs. doing something that is easy right now.


You Are Building Adults—Modeling Success Behaviors To Create Successful Children

We talk to a lot of parents because we’re curious about the experience of being one. They tell us their hopes and fears, their concerns about the future and the things that bring them optimism. Over the years, their stories have helped us developed an appreciation of what it means to be a parent. One of the striking facts that seems to jump out is related to the observational learning and the normalization that children do when they seeing their parents doing ANYTHING. This is something that we see in coaching our clients’ everyday – most of them are doing what their parents did when they were growing up.

Now with that said parents sometimes unintentionally pass along habits that don’t serve to optimize their child’s development and actually make it harder to correct later in life – some of these habits are:

Teaching ineffective exercise habits. Active parents tend to have active children. When a parent teaches a child that there is joy in moving, we rarely need to work with them in any way other than to help them achieve peak performance. With a well-established baseline, young people tend to continue to move. They may decide to go as far as they can in a sport or simply become a recreational participant, but the activity habit is set and most enjoy the lifelong benefits associated with maintaining an active life. We do however work with a lot of individuals who didn’t have the exercise habit modeled when they were younger and there is a host of issue associated with this lack of movement. It is fair to say that teaching an adult how to love moving is one of the bigger challenges primarily because they have already learned how to love NOT moving.

Teaching children poor eating habits. A serving size is a different thing for every family but it tends to be the same size for everyone in the same family. Lean parents tend to raise children who are closer to their ideal body weight and composition than obese parents, who tend to raise children who are heavier. Families who sit down and eat meals together tend to continue to sit down and eat meals together. Parents who help children view food as the source of nutrition, building material and the occasional treat establish a repeatable and reasonable relationship with food. Those who teach their children that food a reward and that every meal should consist of foods that are enjoyable and easy tend to raise children who are lazy when it comes to their attitudes towards food preparation.

Not teaching children how to not win. Learning how to handle defeat or not being the best appropriately will go a long way in giving a child an advantage when it comes to life. Human beings do most of their learning by making mistakes – trial and error is how each of us learned how to walk, talk, move, etc…. However, at some point we are taught to feel shame for being wrong and this causes us to close-up and avoid the experiences that will produce useful lessons. There is a trend towards eliminating failing grades in schools to ensure that no child endures the lesson of accountability and responsibility until they graduate high school. The impact of missing these lessons can be devastating given that failing in school opens a person up to improved coaching / teaching while failing in the work force eliminates their employment. There is an equally damaging trend toward sports tournaments becoming festivals in which everyone participates and is regarded as a winner. The stigmatization of everyone being the same is likely more damaging to motivation than the consequences of not being the best.

Passing along a tendency to give-up before success or goals are achieved – phrased another way, allowing a child to rely too much on talent or innate qualities to garner attention or positive reinforcement vs. reinforcing their effort. Trying is a skill that will last a lifetime. Looks will fade, other people will come along who naturally better at something, talent burn itself out over time as one ages. If a child never learns the value of putting in enormous effort in order to increase the likelihood of success, they will tend to give-up very quickly before achieving anything in terms of transformation, success or problem solving. Those individuals who are taught to work hard regardless of the outcome will be at a distinct advantage when it comes to achieving ANYTHING.

Now each of these things can be taught to a young person through direct intervention and teaching or they can be taught passively through modeling. Teaching is not the same as doing, so when you try to teach a child these skills, you do not reap the benefits associated with BEING those skills. Modeling tenacity will guide a child towards persistence alone with generating greater success for a parent. The same applies to being an active parent who takes a direct role in food choices; not only will their children learn how to eat more effectively and develop a love of movement, but the adult will enjoy an improved quality of life a boost in vitality that can only come from participating in healthy choices.


ARM 300: What To Expect (And Why It’s Essential)

Hello once again! It’s been a while since my last blog entry, we have been busy implementing all of the recent changes at ARM and having some wild success with our clients in the process!

Today I will be sharing the details of ARM 300, the third course in our ARM ACADEMY curriculum. If you don’t know about our new curriculum please click HERE for a recap.


ARM 300: FOUNDATIONS & FUNDAMENTALS follows ARM 200: EXPERIMENTS & DISCOVERIES. It’s a month-long course, during which our team of experts will help you correct, improve, and bring balance to your levels of mechanical, adaptational, and constitutional fitness.

The way we do this is by identifying where your body is out of balance (discovered in your ARM 200 series) and correcting the weak links with a synergistic and effective program. What do I mean by this? Well let me give you an example, if you have a nagging shoulder injury it is typically a result of tight anterior muscles of the shoulder and weak posterior muscles of the shoulder. During your ARM 300 series we will be focusing on losing the tight muscles of the anterior shoulder through the use of constitutional exercises and strengthening the muscles of the posterior shoulder through the use of mechanical exercises. We will also be including adaptional exercises as well to ensure your body’s cardiorespiratory system is in top shape as well!
Your coaching appointments will be scheduled 3 times per week for most people with weekly tutorials dedicated to other areas like stress, sleep, nutritional, and lifestyle. During this phase most clients will benefit from a detox protocol when it comes to nutrition to ensure their body’s are able to absorb essential nutrients, eliminate harmful toxins, and improve it’s overall effectiveness.


Often neglected ARM 300 gives you the essential components for long-term success. Preventing future injuries, correcting muscular imbalances, and building a strong baseline are just a few examples of where this series shines.


To participate in ARM 300, you need to complete ARM 200 first.
If you want to train with friends, relatives, colleagues, whatever, let us know. Partner rates are extremely attractive–sometimes reducing tuition by up to 50%.
Speaking of tuition, three different types of scholarships are available. If you’re interested in applying for one, please let me know. I’d be more than happy to provide all the details.

You may also want to ask about our financing options. At most facilities offering personal training, financing comes at a cost, sometimes up to 50% more. We’re different. We want as many people as possible to start and complete our curriculum. So our financing plan–which involves set monthly payments over the course of your time with us–comes with a 15-20% discount built right in.

Finally, when you complete ARM 300, you’ll have the option of graduating to the quarter-long ARM 400, but we’ll talk about that course later. For now, though, thanks for taking the time to sneak preview ARM 300.