What I learnt from Craig Harper

I want to let you into a little secret, I love to learn from special people I admire and respect – Craig Harper is top of my list! Craig’s talk last weekend “A High Performance Life” was a ripper. Here’s a rundown on Craig’s impressive Bio; Pretty much the first personal trainer in Australia, he started PT back in 1987 when only Madonna had a trainer. Opening his first PT studio in 1990 he went on to open another three around Melbourne. In 1999 I was privileged to do my university practicum hours at Harper’s Personal Training in Hampton. And that my friend’s is where my dream for what is now Reach Your Peak began. Craig then went on to become an exercise scientist, a university lecturer, a TV presenter, radio host (he hosts The Science of Sport on SEN Sunday mornings), an author of 5 books, the director of Health & Wellness at DayHab (an addiction treatment facility), works with many elite athletes and sporting teams, plus he presents over one hundred corporate motivational talks a year. He is the most energetic and entertaining speaker, drops the F bomb plenty, speaks of sphincters & weeing, is an amazing story teller and leaves you wanting more. If it’s a polished and polite speaker you want, then Craig is not your man. But if you want the message given to you straight with a side serve of “stop f*cking around” then Craig is definitely your man!

Here’s some of my favourite take-home messages from the talk:
1. Changing your body is not about your body.
Losing weight and getting fit is all about your relationship you have with food, your relationship you have with exercise and your relationship you have with your body. What has happened the last 20 times you’ve tried to lose weight? What is your relationship with exercise, food & your body? Assess and determine which relationship needs work.
2. Find your Why.
One I use a lot in coaching. You’ve set a goal. But why do you want to achieve that goal? This is the most important part. This helps you make an emotional connection with the goal. Your emotional mind is so much stronger, so building up that emotional connection will increase your chances of success. For example an overweight middle aged man’s goal may be to lose 20kg. His why may be because he wants to be attractive, to wear size 36 pants, to wear fashionable clothes, to feel comfortable going on dating websites, to find a girlfriend, to not die young of a heart attack like his father. Can you see how much more powerful the why is?
3. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
One of my favourites. We naturally want everything to be quick, easy and painless. But anything worth having involves discomfort – whether you’re saving for a holiday, training for a marathon, applying for a new dream job or losing weight.
4. Don’t rely on motivation.
This is something I talk about a lot with my clients. Motivation is a temporary emotion. It has peaks and troughs and sometimes it loves you and sometimes it leaves you high and dry. So don’t rely on it. You need to learn how to stay productive, effective and proactive in the absence of motivation. Ie. You need to be committed!
5. Let go of your uncontrollables.
Stop wasting emotional energy on things you can’t control. Control your controllables and let go of your uncontrollables.
6. You determine your reality.
If I picked out four people during Craig’s talk would they all be having the same experience? Well yes, they are all in the same room listening to the same words. But no, they are all having a very unique experience. And that experience is determined by their own personal interpretation (the story they are telling themselves). For example, person 1 could be thinking “wow this is awesome, so motivated”, person 2 could be thinking “who does this guy think he is? What a wanker”, person 3 is thinking “He just said F$%#, I don’t like that” and person 4 might be thinking “I wonder if he’s single?”. So one person totally motivated, one very unimpressed and possibly challenged, one offended and one totally in love!! Consciously or not, every day you create your own reality. What is your reality? Why is it your reality? And is it serving or sabotaging you?
7. What’s your default setting?
Approximately 5% of our mind is conscious, leaving the other 95% to be subconscious. That 95% is our default setting, it’s who we are, our normal. Our subconscious behaviours are very efficient and require little to no thought or effort, like brushing your teeth. To apply this to behaviour change, we need our “new” behaviours to become part of our subconscious mind, so they become easy. What “sometimes” behaviours do you have that you need to become “all the time” behaviours?
8. Transformation lives in the application.
You can attend all the workshops, read all the books, listen to all the experts and even set goals and make plans – but if you don’t actually apply it, nothing will change.

That’s a small snap shot of Craig’s 3 hour talk, but plenty to get you started if you have some changes you would like to make. Be a person of action. Get clear about what you want, set goals, get uncomfortable, be committed and enjoy the journey to change.

Danielle x

Follow Craig on facebook or on Instagram he’s called whiteboardlessons.

Craig is also running a personal development weekend at Camp Manyung Mt Eliza 19-21st August.

Danielle Grant

Accredited Exercise Physiologist & Wellness Coach