Create Your Fittest Future Self Today


Ditch the diet Culture, Adopt a healthier Lifestyle and BECOME the Best version of YOU

Create Your Fittest Future Self Today

Ditch the diet Culture, Adopt a healthier Lifestyle and BECOME the Best version of YOU

Finding Your Fit: A Compassionate Trainer’s Guide to Making Fitness a Lifelong Habit

Ten simple, practical ways to get moving, get healthy, and feel great.

Wanting to get on track and actually getting (and then staying) on track are two totally different things. The million-dollar question is: how do we find the inner motivation to go from thinking about a healthier lifestyle to actually adopting one? How do we get off the sofa and out the front door? Finding Your Fit: A Compassionate Trainer’s Guide to Making Fitness a Lifelong Habit provides readers with practical tools that will allow them to connect the dots between wanting to make a health and fitness change and actually making it.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. Not for distribution.

Chapter 2: Make Daily Movement Non-Negotiable

The worse your mood, the more important your workout is probably the Kathleenism that I personally find the most useful. I use it daily; I repeat it to myself like a mantra whenever I’m contemplating skipping my workout. My other mantra is “You are not the type of person who picks watching TV over-exercising. If you want to watch a show, either watch it after your workout or get on your bike and watch it as you cycle.” The main takeaway of both mantras is that movement is non-negotiable.

I define non-negotiables as life events that, for the most part, you just do. You don’t seriously contemplate if you should or shouldn’t do them; they seem natural — a part of your everyday.

Everyone’s non-negotiables differ slightly. Some people decide that saving a set amount of money each month is non-negotiable. Others decide that a daily family dinner is a must. Most people don’t question if they should go to work or pick their children up from school. One is not born understanding these events as non-negotiable, but they become an unquestioned part of our identity and routine.

Moving and eating well are two of my personal non-negotiables, but they have not always been. Even now, after years of learning to love exercise, I still don’t always jump for joy before a workout. I do, however, know that I will ALWAYS feel better after working out — which is largely why I am no longer as tempted to skip as I once was. I used to do maybe 75 percent of my scheduled workouts. Now I do maybe 97 percent. I’m proud of that percentage, but it took work. My follow-through rate increased because I gradually changed the structure of my life and, possibly more important, I shifted my mindset so that daily movement became one of my non-negotiables. It became a non-negotiable partly because I can honestly tell myself that I will be a happier, peppier version of Kathleen when I move — and the more of a funk I am in, the more of a non-negotiable I know my workout is.

My body has a kinesthetic memory of how great I feel post-workout. Years of experience have taught me not only to push through the “will I or won’t I” phase of my internal exercise question, but also to try not to even allow the question to enter my head. This relates to a point I have already made — that maintaining a healthier lifestyle takes perseverance, and that it is not simply enough to work through challenging times, you also have to learn from your mistakes. A Kathleenism you’ll see me repeat many times throughout this book is, when you fall off the fitness horse, don’t give up. Use it as a learning experience and get back on a more informed rider. Setbacks are inevitable. You can either be discouraged by them and let them defeat you, or you can learn from them. The former is not helpful; the latter is. Learn from setbacks: use your experiences as building blocks in your quest to make healthy eating and movement non-negotiable.

To do this, we have to change the way you frame the exercise debate in your head. Notice that I said “we” — I’m invested in your fitness mission too. I want everyone to succeed and feel more energized and empowered. My ultimate goal is to minimize the times you have the internal “will I or won’t I exercise today” debate. To do this, we have to reframe the “exercise question” in your head.

Stop saying, “Will I exercise today?” Instead say, “WHEN will I exercise today?”

Tell yourself, “I AM the type of person who makes working out a priority!”

Substituting when for if may seem like a silly semantic change, but it’s not! Asking yourself, “Will I exercise today?” gives you a loophole, an option to skip moving altogether. People who ask themselves, “Will I exercise?” give themselves the okay to decide that today is not the day to move. Let’s look at the following scenario: You sleep past your alarm and miss your workout, so you think, “Crap, too bad. I have plans after work, so I guess I can’t work out today.” That’s the thought process of someone who asks themselves, “Will I exercise?”

Now, imagine this scenario instead: You sleep past your alarm. You wake up and say to yourself, “That’s too bad, but since not moving is not an option, what is my plan B? When will I exercise?” In the second scenario, the person fits in movement by going for a walk at lunch, taking the stairs throughout the day, and doing core work on the floor in the evening as their kids play. Sure, they didn’t get to do their full workout and, yes, a full workout may have been ideal, but aiming for perfection is not usually useful. The fact that a full workout would have been better is a moot point because it didn’t happen. In scenario two, at least the person didn’t give up. They formed a contingency plan and did something. Not moving was simply not an option. The next step in their fitness journey is to analyze if their original goal of training in the morning is realistic. If training in the morning is an unrealistic goal, they will continue to miss workouts, so they might need to rethink that goal. I discuss goal setting in detail in chapter 4. Get excited!

Thinking, “When will I exercise today?” makes movement non-negotiable.

Now, I get it — if you’ve never worked out, the idea of daily non-negotiable movement is probably daunting. It can be hard to make yourself move when you’re not in the habit of exercising. I remember how hard it was at the beginning. My mom had to drag me to the gym. The good news is that it does become easier. Once you have established a habit, you’re less likely to ask yourself that “will I or won’t I” question. Plus, when you exercise regularly you develop a kinesthetic memory of how great you feel post-workout, which will help motivate you to exercise.

I’ve been able to make movement non-negotiable because for the past fifteen years or so I’ve learned from my health mistakes and gotten right back on the horse. Through some successes and many errors I’ve learned what works for me. I’ve consciously formed positive habits that create an environment where daily movement and healthy eating can both be non-negotiable. The three key words from the above sentence are learned, consciously, and habits. Apply the information I suggest in chapter 1 to learn how to consciously create healthy habits and how to set yourself up for success. Once you’re set up for success, understanding daily movement as non-negotiable will be that much easier.

How Can You Make Movement and Healthier Eating Non-Negotiable?

First, try to implement the concrete steps I outlined in chapter To review:

  1. Stop aiming for health and training perfection. Perfection is not possible.
  2. Remember the two Cs. Make your workouts convenient so that you do them consistently.
  3. Work toward finding your exercise bliss; find things that you LIKE to do so that training no longer feels like an obligation.
  4. Find your health dream — the emotional reason WHY you want to move.
  5. Flip your negative thoughts; turn “I don’t want to train” into “I am so lucky that I get to train.”
  6. Find your inner athlete; learn to be proud of what your body can do, not just of how it looks.
  7. Mindfulness + Preparation = Success. Become mindful of your particular health pitfalls so that you can prepare solutions in advance.

These steps are described in more detail in chapter 1.

Following them will help you create healthier habits and thus an environment where daily movement can become one of your non-negotiables. Soon you will think of moving like brushing your teeth — something you don’t even contemplate not doing; you just do it! Now, as I stated earlier, I have not always considered moving and eating well non-negotiables. I have spent fifteen years making them my non-negotiables. Even now it sometimes takes more than these seven tips to keep me on track. Whenever I feel like I am slipping backward in my health journey, or I am frustrated with my progress, I remember these next four tips. They help me continue to make movement and healthy eating non-negotiable, even when I just want to sit on the sofa and eat chocolate.
Never give up on making moving and eating well non-negotiable!

Your Fittest Future Self: Making Choices Today for a Happier, Healthier, Fitter Future You

Redefine “fit” to create your fittest future you.

With all of the diet and exercise regimens available, it is almost impossible to navigate the health world without feeling overwhelmed or paralyzed by indecision. Instead of trying to find the perfect program to follow, Kathleen Trotter shows you how to create one, with your own unique health history, goals, and life realities in mind.

No one diet, exercise, or mindfulness strategy works for everyone. The key to long-term health success is the ability to sift through all of the diet and workout information available and put together a “health mix” that works for you.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. Not for distribution.

Chapter 1: Redefining “Fit”

Who exactly is your fitter future self? What will he or she look like?

You have decided you want to create a fitter future self — great! Recognizing a desire for change is the key first step in creating a fitter, healthier future self. The next step is to figure out who exactly your fitter future self will be.

If you are thinking, I want to look and be fit. Fit is fit. What is Kathleen talking about? Don’t worry. That is a common response. Fit is a word often thrown around as if there is one monolithic version of fit — as if fit will look the same on everyone. Fit not only looks different on everyone but will also look different on the same person as they age or as their life realities change. Take my dad: he used to play hockey and only hockey. Now that he is seventy, he plays fewer games per week so he can have time to strength train, garden, bike, and do some Pilates with me. He views these new additions as activities that will keep him mobile enough to play hockey for life. In my twenties I completed a full Ironman, eight half Ironmans, and ten marathons. I thrived on endurance events. Now I gravitate toward shorter runs and Pilates. Why the change? Possibly because I no longer feel the need to prove myself, and possibly because I am concentrating more on my work. Either way, my vision of who I want Kathleen to be— the way I want to spend my time and what I value — has changed. Maybe next year I will do CrossFit. Who knows? The immense possibilities life offers are among the incredible privileges of being alive.

The problem with the current widespread, immutable, one-size-fits-all interpretation of fitness and fit is that it is, at best, unrealistic and, at worst, highly unmotivating.

You might be wondering why this chapter isn’t called Rethinking Health. I purposely use fit rather than a broader term such as health for two interconnected reasons. First — and most important — the title of the book is Your Fittest Future Self. To create that fittest future you, you have to first understand how fit will look on you: What is your understanding of fit? How will you embody your understanding of the word? Who is this future you? Second, the title of my first book is Finding Your Fit. Why is this pertinent? For me, fit is a loaded word. Your fit is not just your jean size or how many push-ups you can do. Your fit is the interconnection between the activities that work best for your body, your relationship to your body, your inner sense of worth, your history, your goals, and how your understanding of health and wellness plays out — how it fits — on your body.

People too often fall off the fitness horse because they let preconceived ideas of what a fit person “is” inform their image of health success. A stereotypically fit person drinks protein shakes, has washboard abs, and trains daily. The problem is, why even start working out when the image of what you are trying to become seems so unachievable? This unattainable version of fit becomes yet another way we self-sabotage, indulge in false either-or choices, and let ourselves off the hook. In short, we don’t change or evolve, and we spiral further down the rabbit hole of “I always fail whenever I try. I am doomed to be unhealthy. Why even try?”

What’s Your Fit?

Before you read the remainder of the book to learn strategies that will help you form your fittest future self, it’s important to figure out what fit means to you. What will fit look like on you? Here are some questions to think about.

  • How old are you?
  • What are your genetics?
  • What are your financial realities?
  • What are your past injuries?
  • How much time do you realistically have to commit to movement?
  • What is your exercise personality?
  • Do you need to work out at home?
  • Do you thrive on competition?
  • Do you like group exercise classes?
  • Are you so busy you have to fit motion into your daily life?

What is healthy?

What does fit and healthy mean to you? Too often, two options — two extremes — exist. Either a person is dedicated, absolutely on their program, and trying to look like a movie star or in the zone of self-acceptance. Typically, neither extreme is productive. Looking like a movie star is — for most people — not an attainable, realistic, or healthy goal. Creating a movie star aesthetic demands intense dedication layered onto all-star genetics — a laser focus on diet and exercise that most of us are not willing to have. That degree of dedication often ends up bordering on unhealthy compulsion.

On the other end of the extreme lies the idea that being healthy is about absolute self-acceptance devoid of a need for growth. While I absolutely advocate self-love and compassion, being healthy does not mean adopting the attitude that you love yourself enough to accept your- (unhealthy)-self just the way you are. Too often the “I love myself enough” attitude is used to justify self-indulgent, unhealthy behaviours by couching them in the legitimate psychological end goal of self-love. The thing is, when you actually love yourself, you want to make healthy choices, not excuse unhealthy behaviours and thoughts.

Wanting to look like a movie star and staying stuck out of a pretense of self-acceptance are two of the most prevalent philosophies of health and together are an example of a false choice. When I suggest figuring out what health looks like for you, I don’t mean simply finding the balance between those two points. Balance implies that to be healthy you have to find a perfect middle ground. What I want you to decide is what works for you. To most, my version of health normal — my ideal balance — would feel extreme. That is okay. It works for me.

Instead of looking for the middle of two socially constructed polar opposites — or even caring about any socially constructed concepts of health — find the version of health that works for you, one that includes a WORKOUTmix, NUTRITIONmix, and MINDSETmix that are both individualized and open-ended. Health has no end date.

Creating an individualized MIND-SETmix is not an “if you have time” aspect of adopting a healthy lifestyle. The right mindset is critical; your mindset overlays every health choice you make. Your mindset — your inner dialogue — allows you to dispute your negative brain propaganda and form appropriate responses. Once you have a strong mindset, the ability to act will follow.

I’m always on a quest for lifelong fitness, but being very human, I frequently “fall off the horse”, and sometimes have quite a bit of trouble getting back up on it! As I age, it’s harder to find help that takes into account the real-life challenges that make it difficult to maintain fitness over the decades.

I’ve read MANY fitness books over the years, and this is the first one in a long time that really made me sit up and take notice. Kathleen’s conversational writing style, personal experience, knowledge, humour, and intelligence really grabbed me, in a way that really made me take stock of how I can best help myself.

It isn’t just the typical training programme, but a holistic view of how to make lasting changes in your commitment to living healthfully, with very practical advice on how to overcome our natural tendency (most of us, anyway) to make choices and build habits that aren’t very healthy.

I especially enjoy her enthusiasm and obvious love for what she does, and it’s clear her goal isn’t physical perfection or a bodybuilder’s physique, but long-lasting and healthy changes.

I keep going back to this book, re-reading, and always finding more in it that is helpful. It helps me really examine how I think, and make choices. Highly recommended.

Jennifer Cliché

FINDING YOUR FIT, 5.0 out of 5 stars Verified Amazon Purchase

Superb Find!

Found this one while browsing in the store and read it from front to back over the weekend. The author writes in a way that makes you feel as if she is personally rooting for you. She does a great job of breaking down the problems one can have with forming the habit of daily movement and healthy nutrition and provides some excellent suggestions for making the transition an easier one. Loved the photos, too!


FINDING YOUR FIT, 5.0 out of 5 stars Verified Indigo Purchase

We are constantly bombarded with (and disappointed by) one-size-fits-all “get fit quick” programs. In Your Fittest Future Self, Kathleen Trotter offers nutrition, workout, and (most important) mindset tools and strategies to help you craft a plan and a lifestyle that works for you as an individual … and she makes it feel eminently doable and like she’s on your side. The book is filled with practical advice, personal stories, and sample workouts that can be tailored to your lifestyle and fitness personality. She really encourages awareness of your current habits and offers strategies to help you identify how you might be unknowingly sabotaging yourself … it’s amazing how many good habits I was overestimating and how many not-so-great ones I underestimated! Thanks, Kathleen!


YOUR FUTURE FITTEST SELF, 5.0 out of 5 stars Verified Amazon Purchase