At Home Hacks – Getting your Butt off the couch

Hey! Sup?

A couple people I work with have asked about being motivated/excited/disciplined enough to workout at home. Man, it’s not that hard! I guess I’m one of the weirdos though. I have my good days and bad days. It’s true.

But with the weather warming up, and the opening of the CHOPSHOP I figured I’d share some of my personal tips on working out at home.

  1. Make the workouts fun. You’re not going to be competing in the Olympics anytime soon. That shit got delayed until 2021. Ask yourself, what do you want to do that day? It’s much easier to workout if you can take a step back and throw in a few exercises that are fun to do. I always look forward to jumping, agility and power movements with a barbell. So lean on the stuff that you actually look forward to!
  2. Set aside a specific time to move every day. Instead of saying “I’ll do it later”, specify a specific time! For my schedule, I always take the first two hour break in my day to get a workout in, depending on what I’d like to accomplish on a given day.
  3. Reward yourself after your workout. A common method for brain hacking doctors who are way smarter than me say giving yourself a reward is good to keep consistent. For me, it’s having some tea or a cup of coffee at Starbucks (now at home) while finishing up client programs for the day. Makes it way more exciting for me to reward myself with something, even as menial as a cup of jo.
  4. Use the space you have available. You don’t need to take four days to clean every corner of the house to make a ton of room. If you can sit and stand up, you’ve got the space to hit a home workout.
  5. Be flexible with equipment. A ton of folks worry that they can’t exercise because the don’t have equipment. I had a client who had absolutely nothing to use for exercise equipment. BUT he did have a couple of half gallons of vodka laying around. What do you know, a couple of half gallons of booze can give you a helluva a workout?! Followed by a helluva good time post workout. Win-win!
  6. Challenge a friend. Shoot a quick text to a family member, friend, enemy or post something on a group. Way easier to do something when others are involved! And they’ll appreciate it, knowing you’re busting your butt while in quartantine!

 

What are your favorite at-home hacks for exercise? Cool movements you always look forward to?

Covid-19 and Owning a Small Business

With the very real threat of Covid-19, I find myself dancing on a fine line of anxiety and stress of the unknown.

If you don’t know what I am, what I do, I’ll do my best to explain.  I have built a small business as a fitness professional working with people at their location of choice. I do my best to support my family. I drive somewhere between 20k to 30 miles per year, from client to client busting my tail doing what I love. I’ve put four years of work, sweat and effort into helping individuals improve their environments. And when they struggle, I ensure they have a voice that helps them. Something positive, welcoming, judgement free and more than anything – a respectful perspective on whatever obstacles they want to zap from their solar system.

My business is a legitimate business (when the hell did that happen?). To me, that means that I am able to focus solely on my business without the security of a standard ‘job’. A couple of weeks ago, in the midst of my best year, I started receiving messages from people notifying me that self-quarantining (COVID-19) was their appropriate measure. And I can not do anything but respect them. It’s hard to continue moving when the world is telling you to stop.

I find myself on the other side today. Today I sit here thinking about how I can change. My brain wants normal. It wants everything to just snap back into place. It tells me to wait it out and that ‘my people’ are loyal.

Truth is, all that does is make me worry. And that’s the opposite of what I want.  I’ve busted my ass everyday to provide and it seems like overnight every hour and breath just sort of…stopped. But the truth is, who knows when all this craziness will end? Is my business viable in THIS world? 

With that said, the weight of the world has told me I need to pivot. Pivoting doesn’t mean more than diversifying streams of income to make sure I can keep supporting my family. It means starting something new to keep my world evolving.

Today, the world tells me to figure something else out for tomorrow. Where that takes me, I don’t know. But what I do know is that all this anxiety and stress of unknown outcomes is giving me a ton of motivation to shift from my ‘normal’. Which I KNOW will be good in the long run. But today, it’s stress.

And that’s my word therapy for the day.

I woke up this morning, stressing about the position of my business. So I decided to load up my mission statement and core values. I began today with my intentions. And today, they hit a little harder than it normally does.

  • Core Values
    1. Bring your best every single day
    2. Improvement through empowerment
    3. Knowledge drives discipline
    4. Discipline drives progress
    5. None of us is as smart as all of us
    6. Have a good-ass time and bring a positive voice

I know I’m not the only one who needs to let it out. So please, let your voice be heard. Say it out loud and let it be heard if you’re worried, freaked out, scared. Whatever it is you are feeling, let it be known because that’s going to affect the change you need.

Is Carbonated Water Bad for You?

Hey! I was chatting with a client the other day and he had a question that made me say ‘Hmm’. He asked the question in the title of the post.

As with every other answer I ever give, I want to be confident in saying Yay or Nay. On this one I more concerned with what was actually in the drink he was talking about.

So far, I’m having trouble finding anything credible that says adding air to water is bad. Plain carbonated water doesn’t seem to have a negative impact on your health.  Where it gets a little fizzy is when they start to add crap to it  from electolytes like sodium and folate to ‘natural flavors’/sweeteners, artificial sweeteners and the dreaded sugar. In seeing a few sources, it seemed like there was no harm in anything that was plainly labeled ‘carbonated water’.
Conversely, La croix is a popular drink these days, which is touted for it’s natural flavors and carbonated water (what the hell is a ‘natural flavor’ in the context of an ingredient, anyways?). La croix has recently been studied and found to increase a hormone called ghrelin in rats and non human populations. Ghrelin is one of the hormones in charge of hunger. So you could become more hungry with La Croix. But it also holds more in the ingredients than just carbonated water.
Where there is plenty of research, is in the world of calorie free soda/pop. Calorie free pop has phosphorous which has been linked to decreases in bone density. And certain sweeteners have been linked to brain tumors. 
So I’ve gotta throw that stuff into the ‘crap’ category.
As far as plain carbonated water goes, the jury is still out but nothing so far points to any worse than regular water.
Ok, there’s my take. Hope this helps! Have a great day!

Lessons from March Madness

If you’re reading this you probably know who I am. If not, here’s a quick wrap up – I am completely, utterly obsessed with college basketball and March Madness.

We are coming off the craziest weekend of March Madness that I can remember.  Tons of upsets, a rough loss for my Spartans but a ridiculous amount of fun. After ascending from my cave of college basketball – I came out of it taking a lesson from the University of Virginia’s basketball coach, Tony Bennett.

For anyone struggling with the idea of failure, I present to you the most humbling post-game interview I’ve seen. In context – the University of Virginia came into the tournament as the highest ranked team in the country. They faced off against the lowest ranked team in the tournament (UMBC). After taking a humiliating loss by 20 and becoming the first 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed, UVA’s coach came up to the podium to face the media.

Thinking about the stage and the long term implications, Bennett knows that this loss will mean something for years to come. To me, the acknowledgement of the risk being taken in showing up for the game really struck home. Demonstration of the fear of failure is a primary reason individuals get detracted from their goal. And to me, I see it everyday. You may gain weight one week. Or get demotivated because of stress and sleep. Or you just end up screwing up your diet. It’s not a big deal. Becoming comfortable taking risks in trying – as well as failing – needs to become something we all experience. Shoot for the friggin stars. Attack what you want to achieve. And when you fail, brush it off and accept it. The only way you truly fail is if you give up. And that’s not even an option.

I just became a fan of UVA and know they’ll bounce back next year!

Have a great day!

Mike Goose

All Bout Gout

Gout. 
Just saying that word makes me smile. I’m not sure why and I couldn’t care less. But it’s one of those words that just rolls off your tongue. 
Which is sort of the opposite of what gout is. Gout is when urate accumulates in your joints, forming little crystals, leading to tons of inflammations and soreness in the joint. Increase levels of uric acid in the bloodstream lead to gout, leaving in their wake a crappy, intense pain.
I had someone come to me saying he kept getting flare ups anytime he tried to get healthy.  Unfortunately, the most common person to come down with gout are males at the ages of 30-50. So for most folks with gout who get back into exercise, it’s going to be hard to turn off the brain and take it slow. You shouldn’t just jump back into the old routine if you’ve been sedentary for the last 15 years. So check that ego at the door, talk to a professional and get some guidance! That’s what we’re here for!
With that said…
Healthy ways to curb GOUT
Do more of the following:
  • Eating foods high in anthonyacins can help reduce bout of inflammation. Foods highest in anthonyacins: tart cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries.
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Increase water intake
  • Get protein from dairy and vegetarian sources
  • Get a food sensitivity test done and monitor which food sources cause inflammation

 

Limit the following:

  • Limit alcohol as much as possible (is it really worth it?)
  • Limit intake of meat, seafood and sugar
  • Sitting and being sedentary. Work to increase your work capacity in things that are fun but not too strenuous.

Breaking out of a Workout Rut

What are some general reasons people fall into a workout rut?

 
There are so many ways you can fall into a rut with your workouts! 
 
One of the most important pieces of the ‘health puzzle’ is integrating a realistic plan at an appropriate intensity. Especially at this time of year, individuals are motivated as hell on day one, kicking ass every day for two weeks. All the sudden they take a day off. And the next day thy’re still in recovery because this will only be the second day they missed in two weeks. From there, it snowballs and the year goes by, with them wishing they had kept up. 
 
Another important piece of the health puzzle is making the exercise relevant to what the individual needs. Is the person at a healthy weight and just looking to tighten up? Is the person bored with their current routine and want to learn new ways to stress their body effectively? When I am diving into workouts for individuals, I center them around two important pieces: Results and fun. When you work to see your body change and see it, you will continue working hard. And when you have fun exercising, the exercise becomes more like play, something we miss out on far too much as adults! 

 

Tips and tricks to get out of your rut!

 
1) Remind yourself of your ‘why’. Why are you going to the gym? Why are you taking steps to better yourself? There comes a moment with every new client I train that I can point to as our ‘why moment’. It’s an extremely important, vulnerable moment for someone to discover. But if you can find it and connect to it, there’s no stopping you. For some people, it’s a comment from a friend or spouse, a pair of jeans that used to fit, a vacation where it was way harder to keep up with the kids. Carry a notecard with your ‘why’ everywhere you go. Have it easily accessible and somewhere you HAVE to look everyday. Above the mirror, taped to the dashboard of your car. 
 
If it’s important enough to you, you will find a way. If it’s not important enough, you’ll find an excuse.
 
2) Exercise with a friend! The most successful people in health make the health thing a part of their daily lives. There were two ladies I trained about 5 years ago now, who just happened to be doing small group training with me. Eventually, they got into doing some 5ks together, some half marathons, and some marathons. They became best friends. And five years later, they still are! 
 
3) Find a new gym! If the gym you are hanging at is a bodybuilding gym but you’re a little less inclined to that type of mentality, shop around! The money you spend should be looked at as an investment in your health – if the gym you go to doesn’t support your culture, shop around your area! 
4) Sign up for an event! It can be any event. A 5k. A donut run. A powerlifting meet. The moment you sign up, you will have something to train for rather than just going through the motions. Dive all-in to what you’re training for and I guarantee you, you will learn a ton about yourself!
 
5) Get educated! You are what you do. Read some books on training, running, exercise. It’s actually amazing what the human body is capable of when you get to know what it can do.
 
6) Ask a trainer! It’s easier than ever to meet and find the RIGHT personal trainer. There are apps out there, endless websites and abilities to find the RIGHT trainer for what you are looking for. At the end of the day, a good trainer should be able to help motivate, push and give you an experience you can’t get anywhere else! And oddly enough, we’re not perfect physical specimens and can have our issues with food and exercise too. All the good trainers I know have also gone through periods of burnout! They’ll get so focused on their work and some days/weeks pass on their own health. So don’t be intimidated to ask for help! We’re people too!

Final advice!

 
Honestly, just have fun and play around. Try new things – try running. Lifting weights. Functional training. Ice skating regularly. Enjoying a walk every Sunday. Working out doesn’t have to be a production and the more you can integrate it into your life, the better!
Dork out a bit to find new exercise and ask for help when you need it. 
 
Work to improve one thing at a time. As that happens, add something else.
Happy Christmas, ya filthy muggles.

Improving Your Nutrition: Part 1 – Energy Balance

Energy Balance

Whether you are in the middle of deciding to increase mass or drop bodyweight, the very first and most important step in achieving a healthy nutritional balance is figuring out how much energy your body needs. The most simple form of measurement is keeping track of the amount of food you eat. You consume energy, and through some magical process, your body converts it into energy! Calories are energy. You use energy to eat, sleep, breathe, move and even sit on your butt. As humans, we have to consume energy everyday in order to survive. The trouble comes when we decide to consume more energy than we naturally put out. Simplified, that’s how we gain or lose weight.  You are either taking in too many Calories, too few Calories or you’re doing it just enough to maintain your current stature.

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In order to find out the number of Calories your body needs to sustain its current weight with no bearing on your current activity level, plug in your personal statistics into the following equation, where BMR stands for your Basal Metabolic Rate (the number of estimated Calories your body burns with no bearing on activity):

 

Male:

BMR = 66 + ( 6.2 × weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 × height in inches ) – ( 6.76 × age in years )

YOUR DAILY BMR: _____________

 

Female:

BMR = 655.1 + ( 4.35 × weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 × height in inches ) – ( 4.7 × age in years )

YOUR DAILY BMR: _____________

After figuring out BMR, we have to account for your daily activity levels. In this one, we want you to look at the previous 6 months of physical activity versus the plan ahead. As you get deeper into the program we can adjust for your increased activity levels. Listed below are the modifiers for your above BMR, which you will multiply by your DAILY BMR to get your Total Daily Expenditure (TDE). Choose from the categories below and multiply the modifier from the chart to your BMR.

 

Little to no exercise Daily Calories needed = BMR x 1.2
Light exercise (1–3 days per week) Daily Calories needed = BMR x 1.375
Moderate exercise (3–5 days per week) Daily Calories needed = BMR x 1.55
Heavy exercise (6–7 days per week) Daily Calories needed = BMR x 1.725
Very heavy exercise (twice per day, extra heavy workouts) Daily Calories needed = BMR x 1.9

Your Activity Level modifier : ______________

YOUR BMR * Activity Level Modifier = Total Daily Expenditure

_________________* _________________= ___________________

YOUR TOTAL DAILY EXPENDITURE: ___________________

In order to gain weight or lose weight, your body needs to be in a Caloric surplus or deficit. In terms of Calories, one pound of weight gain or weight loss is a difference of 3,500 Calories in either direction each week. More aggressively, you can put on or drop two pounds with a difference or addition of 7,000 Calories per week. To me, it has always made more sense to think of your Caloric intake as a weekly budget instead of a set daily total. With that in mind, we multiply your TDE by 7 to extrapolate a Weekly Caloric expenditure:

TDE * 7 = _________________ (Weekly Caloric expenditure)

If you are looking to gain or lose weight, add or subtract 3,500 (less aggressive, one pounds of weight loss) or 7,000 (more aggressive, two pounds of weight loss) from your weekly Caloric total.

Weekly Caloric expenditure +- 3,500 or 7,000 = Weekly Calorie Goal

_________________ +  – ________________ = _______________

Now, though keeping track of your weekly total, spread the Calories throughout the week. I have found that allowing myself fewer energy on the weekdays, allows me to flex more on the weekend for fun. If you are the kind of person who just likes the consistent number to hit, go for your set number throughout the week. But understand that once you’re done for the day, you’re done.

Mon Tues Weds Thurs Fri Sat Sun

In reality and the long term, counting Calories is an inexact science. It’s not a perfect! Many other factors come into play with the human body – absorption rate of food, hormonal response to food, genetics! On top of that, when it comes to logging your Calories, studies have shown that there can be a difference of ~25% in given foods, even when counting every Calorie perfectly. If after two weeks of hitting your Caloric totals, you haven’t achieved your objective goal (gain or lose weight), adjust your daily caloric goals by 250 Calories in whichever direction you need!

That’s it for today, good luck!

Getting Fit 101: Measurements Worth Tracking

The last couple of weeks I have been riddled with ideas, thoughts and new ways of thinking. I’ve compiled a small group of testers to track a few measureable data points each day, week and month. The intention of the data is to keep track of your health and see how you progress with a consistent effort in purely keeping track.

If you think about it everyday, don’t you think you’ll hold yourself in check a bit more?

Daily Data Points

Weight

Blood Sugar (optional) – normal range is 70-110 in a fasted state or upon waking.

Resting Heart Rate – Shooting to keep heart rate around 60 beats per minute. Between 60-90 is considered normal.

Total Sleep

Heart Rate Variability – Is a little harder to capture, if you have a Samsung you can capture it with your ‘stress’ test in Samsung Health.

Level of alertness/mood upon waking (1-5) – Purely Subjective, how do you feel upon waking?

Wake up time – Maybe there is a correlation between early to rise and consistency?

Subjective food score (1-5)

 

Weekly Metrics

Bodyfat Percentage – 8-22% for males, 18-32% for females

Circumference measurements

 

Monthly Metrics

Broad Jump Distance – Jump as far as you can, measuring at the rearmost heal.

Pushups in 1 minute

Max Deadhang Chinups

400m Run

Cooper Run Test (1.5 mile run)

 

If you’ve got any interest in being a guinea pig and can guarantee you’ll log in each and every day, shoot me an email or leave a comment. Let’s blow this up!

Behavior Drives Results

Wake up.

Brush your teeth.

Take a shower.

Eat Breakfast.

Go to work and make money.

Go home.

Eat dinner.

Go to sleep.

Far too often, I see this kind of routine. It is a pleasure of mine to learn and work with all of the professionally successful people I do. At the same time, we work tirelessly to drive home a common message.

Behavior Drives Results.

We are what we repeatedly do. If your default lunch is a half mocha chocoleano from Starbucks, that’s what you’ll become. And you’ll be tired as hell for the rest of the day because of it. If you find yourself dragging your butt home from work, regretting not going to the gym, you’re going to look like you didn’t go to the gym.

To see Results, you change behavior.

What parts of your life are you proud of? What have you improved upon so much in the past ten years that you can say that nobody else in the world can do what you do? In essence, what is your superpower?

How did you get there? Did you wake up one day with a knack for it? Or did you struggle for it? Chances are, you didn’t crawl out of bed and wake up in the position you are today. It probably took years of work. Blood and sweat and all that other stuff.

How can you connect your behavior to your super power?

How can we harness and build a new super power?

What small, simple task can you do each and every day to get you to your desired outcome?

Winning behaviors: Start small and build momentum to create sustainability

  • Wake up 30 minutes earlier and cook breakfast
  • Put your gym clothes in your car
  • Walk for 10 minutes after dinner
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour every night
  • Pay the poop/pee toll – 10 pushups, 20 squats every time you leave the bathroom
  • Pace your meals with your family
  • No screens during meals
  • Cook together
  • Plan your meals
  • Journal about your health (including mental, physical, spiritual, emotional) for five minutes everyday