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A powerful motivational tool

Have you ever needed a reason to do or give up something but just could not find the motivation to follow through or stick with it?

Well, I may just have an answer for you!

Did you know that around this time every year many Christians around the world from different denominations celebrate Lent?

You may or may not have heard of the holiday. There is quite a lot to know about the Lenten season that leads up to what we all know as Easter Sunday, but I am only going to talk about the concept of Lent where the meaning according to the United Methodist Church is to be “encouraged to find our own method of confronting our sinfulness, remembering our mortality, and giving thanks for the gift of salvation we receive through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ”.

Although many people head to church, many also honour the beginning of Lent by choosing to either give up something or give themselves to a cause, (for example volunteering), for the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness. The idea of Lent is to give up something we really like, such as alcohol, chocolate, junk food, and swearing the list is endless.

This got me thinking about how you can use the concept of Lent as a powerful motivating tool to improve your Personal Development. I practice Lent as I am Christian and I like what Lent stands for “encouraged to find our own method of confronting our sinfulness, remembering our mortality, and giving thanks for the gift of salvation we receive through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ,”. But you don’t need to be Christian to use the concept of Lent.

To use the concept as a tool, all you need to do is think about all of the stuff you currently do that is contradictory to your personal growth, such as eating bad food, drinking alcohol, smoking, swearing, make sure you include unproductive thoughts and actions such as thinking negative thoughts, procrastinating, overworking, etc. Now channel all of these into a list of things you are prepared to give up for life.

If you are Christian and you practice Lent, then this can be a rehearsal to give up or change something that is derailing your success. But like I said before you do not need to be Christian, you can practice any religion or none, the exercise is to try this for forty days and see if you can change any of those unwanted habits.

Over the many years, I have added more and more challenging things to my list, and the difference it makes to my way of life is phenomenal.

Breaking a habit takes about 28 days, so if you have a reason, such a Lent then giving up has more meaning, and you are more likely to be successful. What you give up or change should come from your subconscious mind, your know the little voice telling you to “stop eating that”, “start doing that”, “stop thinking that way”, “stop talking like that”, “Volunteer more”, “Help more people “, the chatter is endless.

Remember it is not just food and drink that should be added to your list; it can be anything you feel is not working for you in your life. Everyone is different, so you do not compare yourself to others.

Now what I am proposing here is not just doing Lent or the concept for forty days but to extending that for life. Make sure you commit yourself by telling everyone you know as it makes it easier if people are there to support you, see my blog on smart goals.

Good luck and I wish you all the success in your Personal Development Journey.

Be your Best Physically, Emotionally and Mentally

Marc Matthews-Indovino


Say No to New Years Resolutions

And YES to SMART Goals…..

As we enter 2020 and a brand-new decade, many of us will set New Year’s resolutions which are according to the oxford dictionary is ‘a firm decision to do or not to do something’. According to, three of the top five most popular New Year’s resolutions have to do with diet and exercise. We all make them my clients, my friends, and my family year after year. Resolutions such as “I want to lose weight”, “I want to eat less”, “I will exercise more”, etc. Sound like your resolutions?

It is astounding the percentage of people who make these resolutions that have failed before February 1st and then are waiting twelve months only to make the exact same resolutions.

Are you one of these people?

Somehow year after year, you set new year’s resolutions, but as soon as you get one setback you have given up and settled back into your old habits.

Why does this happen?

There are many reasons why we continue failing at the resolutions we set every new year. Here are some reasons why you may be failing your New Years resolutions:

First thing to do is change the word resolutions to goals. Remember you do not just want to decided to do something you also want to take action on that decision.

  • The date the resolution you make would typically start on the worst time of year, January 1st. Instead of making your resolutions to start January 1st, think about the best possible time that you can begin your goal that you can stick to for at least 21 days. According to Dr Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon in the 1950s, published his findings that it takes 21 days to form a habit. If you have anything going on between January 1st and January 21st that would hinder your New year’s resolution, then change your start date.
  • You lack direction, knowledge, motivation, and determination to achieve the resolution.
  • Your resolution is unachievable. Many people overestimate just how hard it can be to achieve a goal like, losing weight or changing your eating habits. If you have made the same resolution year after year, then it is time to stop and think about why you are not achieving the goal. Perhaps what you need is some professional help.
  • Your decision to lose some weight, join a gym, eat better etc., is just that a decision. You must turn your decision into a smart goal. A smart goal is a great way to ensure you have a proper plan in place if you want any chance at being successful able to stick to and achieve your resolution.

Smart goal:

Something can you stick to. You need to ensure that you can stick to your goal for at least one year or until you achieve it.

Measurable– How do you know you are achieving this goal? A good way to measure a weight loss goal, for example is the size of your clothing, scales, and measurements.

Achievable– How are you going to achieve this goal? What support system do you have around you to achieve the goal? Have you set your expectations too high? Where will you go and who will you see to help achieve the goal?

Realistic– Is your goal a realistic goal, or is it just impossible to achieve? Setting a goal to lose 50 kgs in one week is just not realistic. 500 grams per week is more realistic.

Time, does your goal have a deadline when you achieve this by? A goal without a timeline is just a dream.

To ensure you are successful, your smart goal must be Specific.

Your goal must be written down and be very specific. For example- If your goal is to lose weight, your goal would be written something like this-

I want to lose 10 kgs of body fat from my tummy, hips and thighs. I will lose this weight by working out at the gym for 5 days per week with a mix of fitness and weight training. I will eliminate all junk food from my diet and only eat natural healthy foods. To help with my exercise and nutrition I will enlist the help of professionals and I will share my goal with my close family and friends. I will measure my goal by my pants size every week. My plan is to lose 500 grams per week and I will take 20 weeks to achieve my goal. Today is the 19th of January 2020, I will have lost 10kgs of body fat from my tummy, hips and thighs by the 7th of June 2020.

When I was in my twenties, I used to make New year’s resolutions every New Year’s Eve, and like many other people, I failed and returned to my old habits somewhere between February and Easter. When I turned thirty, I made a New Year’s resolution not to make any more resolutions, but to instead make smart goals whenever I felt the need. I decided that I didn’t need a New Year to set goals, and neither do you.

Personal development is about setting and achieving goals to become better. Therefore you need to say no to resolutions and yes to smart goals. Set these goals whenever you feel the need to achieve something. Do not be governed by a New Year and always remember you must make a plan because…….

Be your best Emotionally, Physically and Mentally.

Marc Matthews-Indovino


A training routine that yields fantastic results

For over thirty years, I have been exercising in the gym, incorporating both weight training and fitness training. My consistent main goal is to put on lean muscle while reducing any unwanted fat. Although I have been successful at times, I know that many people have struggled to yield any results and the older we get, the harder it can become to either start or to find the motivation to keep exercising week after week. I have tried every program, every fad exercise routine, every class, and I have achieved some remarkable results. On the flip side, I have also experienced a lack of motivation, weight gain, weight loss, illness and injuries.

I have been training for so long now I often forget that as each decade passes my training requires me to adjust my training to accommodate my ageing body. When you are in your twenties you can train like a beast, lift as heavy as you can and exercise for hours. However, this is not the case when you are over forty. You can still train like a beast that’s not a problem, and you can even lift substantially, no worries, but it is not wise to push yourself beyond your limits like you could in your twenties by training for hours. Besides, why would you want to? I mean, who over forty has the time?

The secret behind achieving your ultimate dream body is nutrition. Our Abs are indeed made in the kitchen. However, food alone will not yield a muscular tight body. In combination, healthy eating and laborious exercise will work the best to achieve your health and fitness goals.

If you are like me and often get on a roll at the gym by training consistently. You start seeing some results then all of a sudden you get sick or injured. Suddenly you are out of action for a week or two, and you start seeing those impressive results fade away, then I have an exercise routine that might be just what you need.

After years of trial and error, I have found the perfect exercise routine that is working well for me; add to the equation the correct nutrition and I have achieved a very pleasing body shape, without illness or injury.

The exercise program I have been doing for the past 12 months has given me extra motivation. The program can be completed by anyone, regardless of where you are with your training, from beginner to advanced. The only thing you need to adjust is the heaviness of the weights and the repetitions, and the rest stays the same.

A few things I do before exercising is load up on caffeine. I use a pre-workout, my favourite is called C4, watermelon flavour by Cellour, without going into too much detail on pre-workout drinks my advice is to find what works for you. You may prefer food, a coffee, an energy drink, or nothing at all whatever works for you is ok.

I always bring with me a medium size banana for extra energy during my workout and a large bottle of water for hydration. I have tried using all sorts of other drinks for use during the workout. However, I didn’t see get much energy from these, a banana works just fine for me. Find what works for you by experimenting.

The Preparation:

  • Duration is 30 minutes
  • HIIT- High intensity interval training
  • Program is a split program (two different muscle groups) and a mix of compound (utilising more than one muscle group, e.g. Chin-ups, Bench press, Squats) and isolation (using only one muscle group, e.g. Bicep curls, Tricep pushdowns, Leg extension)
  • Choose two opposing muscle groups. You should have one leading muscle group for example chest and one isolation such as biceps
  • Choose two to three activities for each muscle group. I like to work my Abdominals or do some Cardio as a third exercise, but not always necessary at every workout
  • Set the weight so you can do more than 8 repetitions but less than 15 repetitions, you should be aiming for fatigue around 12- 15
  • Keep the tempo slow and controlled, do not rush the exercise and ensure perfect technique
  • When performing the exercise squeeze your primary muscle at full extension and pause for 1 second
  • Breathing is very important, if you feel your muscles are burning take in a big deep breath and exhale. Breath normally during each repetition and keep your breaths strong

The Warm-up:

Start your workout with an active 5-minute warm-up. Warming up your joints and muscle that you plan on working, including some dynamic stretching. If you need help, ask a personal trainer to help you. Using a piece of cardio equipment will also suffice here.

During your warm-up, plan in your head what exercises you are going to do for your main workout; I find the more the variety, the better the outcome.

The Workout:

Start with a compound exercise, followed quickly by an isolation exercise, followed by another compound exercise for your main muscle group. The only rest between these three exercises is the time it takes to change the weight or set up the next exercise, if applicable. An example might be Clap push-ups – Hammer curls – Incline Bench press.

Squeeze your main muscle at flexion

Once you have completed three exercises, rest for about 1 minute. During the rest, take a bite of a banana and a sip of water. Repeat the group of three exercises, three times.

By this stage, you have completed two exercises for your main muscle group and one exercise for the other muscle group for three sets and anywhere from 8-15 repetitions. This part of the program will take about 10 minutes.

Next, pick another three exercises, then repeat the same as above.

Finally, pick two exercises, one compound for your main muscle group and one isolation for your opposing muscle group, repeat as above.

This workout should take 30 minutes if you feel you are going over you can drop the last two exercises or reduce your rest time.

One final note- Use a spotter when required. After each set increase or decrease the weight depending on how many repetitions you performed on the last set, there is no rule here do what feels right. It is essential that you keep your heart rate elevated during the workout and that you are working your muscles to fatigue.

The choices and combinations of exercises can vary dramatically. Just do what you feel like doing in any combination, using the above guidelines. You should feel exhausted after each workout, if not work harder next time.

You should try to train 2 days on 1 day rest or 2 days on 2 days rest. The amount you train is up to you but do not train everyday, your body and muscles needs time to recover. Good Luck!

If you would like to purchase a sample of thirty groups of exercise please visit my shop.

Be your best physically

Marc Matthews-Indovino

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