As a coach and fitness professional, Jon Benson’s unique skill set has been called “the ultimate blend of Anthony Robbins and Bill Phillips.” He is living proof of his methods, as a mere seven years ago he was clinically obese and near death. Having lived through obesity, and having beat it, allows Jon to relate to so many others and what they are going through.
Today, Jon is an internationally recognized transformation life coach, specializing in mental strategies for the excellence lifestyle, fat-burning nutrition and superior physical fitness. He is also the creator and co-author of Fit Over 40.
CRAIG BALLANTYNE: Jon, for a lot of people at any age, the biggest problem is getting over the inertia of starting. Any tips? And do they differ for someone like yourself that had been in fitness before compared to someone getting fit for the first time?
JON BENSON: Craig, I would start by encouraging anyone interested in changing their body, no matter what their age may be, to change their mind first.
What I mean by that is simply this: we excel at what we ‘become’. We dabble at what we ‘participate in’.
Most people want to “participate” in fitness. Perhaps join a health club, get a trainer, go on a diet, and so-on. Yet everyone on the planet would answer YES to this question: “Do you want to be fit for the rest of your life?”
Think about it: Can you be ‘anything positive’ for the rest of your life when you dabble at what you seek? No. So, to get over the inertia of starting a fitness program, I encourage what I call “Core Linking“.
Core Linking is covered in my book, “Fit Over 40”. This is where you attach your deepest Core Values to a specific fitness and nutritional goal. Then you “Personalize” these objectives into a what I call a “State of Becoming.” You ‘become’ your goal. Rather than “achieving” a goal, which for most is followed by an immediate cessation of the lifestyle patterns they used to become successful, I say ‘become’ your goal.
Become “a body-shaper.” Label yourself as a “bodybuilder”, “body-shaper”, “physical culturist”, “athlete”, whatever! Create a label that FORCES your goal to be LARGER THAN YOU.
This engages the subconscious mind to a remarkable degree. It challenges you in ways that prevent things like “boredom” or excuses like, “I don’t feel like it” from getting in your way.
All of this begins with the power of The Core, which I cover in my book. Oh, by the way — it doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie or a seasoned bodybuilder, Core Leveraging works to achieve and become whatever you desire.
CRAIG BALLANTYNE: Thanks Jon. I know that you’ve prepared a special message for my readers at Fit Over 40. I recommend to our readers that you visit that page today. So Jon, how do you help people stick with the plan? We all know motivation wanes quickly as results slow down. Any tips?
JON BENSON: Believe it or not, I really don’t believe in motivation. “I believe in inspired, consistent action.” Motivation is short-term. I can motivate just about anyone with a good speech or perhaps an emotionally-charged piece of music. But is this long-term? Hardly. The truly successful, at anything in life, are self-governed and intrinsically motivated. Actually, they are “inspired” — and that’s the ticket beyond the motivational trap.
Don’t get me wrong — we all need motivation from time to time. But I like to think of it as sugar. It’s quick fuel that burns out just as quickly. Inspired action, which comes when you develop your Core, sticks around for the long haul. Inspired action makes a guy like Lance Armstrong take on the Tour de France after going through the worst cancer imaginable. Inspired action drives a boxer to continue a fight with a broken jaw. And, inspired action will PULL YOU toward a goal.
The opposite is a feeling of “I have to.” This is a “push”. We want to be PULLED. It starts with inspired action, not motivation.
CRAIG BALLANTYNE: And finally, what nutrition and training changes have you noticed at different stages in your life and in the experiences of the success stories in your book? Do the nutrition principles change at all? What about training and recovery?
JON BENSON: As you age, your body tends to process carbohydrate more reluctantly. There are exceptions of course, but for the most part people with any issues with bodyfat to begin with should curtail their intake of carbs. This may not mean a “low-carb” diet, but they certainly work if you enjoy protein foods as I do. Cranking up the protein, the water, and various forms of cardio can allow just about anyone at any age to get the fat off and build muscle.
I’m building plenty of muscle at 43 — more so than I did at 33. The body fat comes off a bit slower, but not much…that is when I consume a higher protein, controlled carb, moderate fat diet with intense and brief weight training sessions. I am currently experimenting with daily cardio sessions which vary in intensity. Some are longer at 65% MHR, others are 30 minutes at 85%. So far, so good.
Bottom line: If you eat and think properly, as I discuss in Fit Over 40 (the mind is a huge part of all of this), your body can respond like it did when you were 20. Finally, I recommend everyone have a full hormone panel done to make sure any poor eating habits over the years have not lowered thyroid levels, testosterone, or growth hormone.
If your levels are low, ask your doctor about natural alternatives. There are many to choose from before you jump into “HRT”, or hormone replacement therapy. Hormones are more vital to fat loss and muscle gain than calories and cardio. Without your hormone health, you can forget about building muscle and burning bodyfat. Since hormone levels tend to decline with age, this is not something to be ignored. I cover how I manage my hormones in Fit Over 40. I found a combination of HRT with supplementation and food worked wonders.
However, I had pituitary damage at 27, which adversely affected my hormone levels early in life. Most people will not need HRT to elevate their hormone levels. Again, this is best covered with your doctor — and no one should ever self-medicate. As you mentioned, I have a special course available to your readers, that can be found here:
CRAIG BALLANTYNE: Thanks Jon, that is greatly appreciated. Any final comments for today’s interview? I’m sure we’ll be talking more in the future.
JON BENSON: My system of Caloric Rotation allows for muscle building and the burning of bodyfat to happen at the same time. In order to get the body you want, you want to gain lean muscle. That gives you the curves you seek, plus keeps your bones nice and strong. You ‘also’ want to burn off excess bodyfat. Otherwise you’ll never see the muscle you are building. Once you do that, you’re “toned”.
In short, you become a fat-burning machine. You can read more about how I do this in my book, Fit Over 40, if you don’t have it already. So “mentally let yourself do this.” Mentally give yourself “permission.” That sounds strange, but it’s actually part of my System. The mind must be engaged or the body will not follow.
CRAIG BALLANTYNE: Thanks Jon. No matter what your age, Jon’s mindset changing tips will help you burn fat and gain muscle – and more importantly, build the best body of your life.