Let’s talk about good days and bad days for a minute.
We’ll do it in the context of brushing your teeth relating to commitment to self.
There are some days you brush your teeth three times, floss them before gargling some mouth rinse, exactly as your dentist suggests.
Being realistic – most days don’t end up that way.
What if you decide to brush your teeth at night and floss once? That’s probably a net improvement.
Another day you could decide flushing your mouth out with mouth rinse and spitting it out is all you can muster. Not a great effort – but it’s something.
Another day taking a swig of water, slushing it around then swallowing it is all the respect you can give your teeth This effort is next to nothing – yet it’s still staying true to the commitment because you took conscious action.
Other days, you just give up and decide to eat a giant bag of candy before bed.
Most days aren’t perfect. Most days aren’t the height and peak that we all strive for. But instead of saying f*ck it and not doing anything about it, can you make a commitment to doing something for your health? Can you go walking around the house to reinforce the commitment to yourself, rather than parking that booty on the couch and demolishing a pizza?
FItness is so often all or none. Falling off your diet doesn’t mean you failed.
It becomes so detrimental as it leads to spiraling and diminishing ideas of self worth.
I trust in my people to act on their commitments, no matter the intensity. Had a bad day? Stretch while watching tv. Do a jumping jack. Close your eyes and breathe.
Some people need full on exercise programs, some people need habit interruption. Everything in life is a spectrum and to reinforce all or none thinking and is very harmful for long term health!
Some days, swish that water around your mouth and swallow it. That commitment to you is a big deal.
Thousands of hours and dollars spent learning with some of the best people I’ve met. Friends, bosses, colleagues, clients, family – there is a different need for every individual out there.
I’ve got a running count of different ideas, concepts and plans built for single every person I’ve ever had on roster as clients in my Google Drive folder. There are tables, spreadsheets, measurements and different approaches built upon their individual strengths, weaknesses and specific goals.
But today, we’re not talking specifically about training.
Each person in my life serves a purpose that fulfills a need in my life. A supportive partner. A daughter who fills my heart. A family who serves as an outlet for frustration, laughs and general support. And you. Whoever you are. I am happy you are with me, after all this time.
And from there spawns an idea as to how to move forward, by defining yourself and your fitness.
Where does the idea of fitness fit within your life? Are you the type of person who loves to be active and go to the gym more often than not? Or are you the person who needs supportive direction with an aversion to the idea of lifting a dumbbell?
Exercise is more often than not talked about as the best, most effective way to improve your health. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends all people get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity every week. And I’ll tell you a secret – What that doesn’t recommend is time in the gym.
You don’t have to be a buff gym goer or IG model who cakes protein powder into their tooth paste after breakfast for the gains(honestly if you are, you may have a bit of a problem. I don’t think I’ve even tried that in my most fanatical moments).
I have this overarching idea that there are three levels of people in our world when it comes to exercise.
Level 1 – People who don’t hit the gym, and don’t necessarily care to. The idea of exercise isn’t a part of your daily plan. There are bigger things to worry about and things to tackle outside of worrying about health. You’re someone who needs to inconvenience yourself to force exercise into life. You cook up a storm, you sit on the couch, have an inactive job or have no underlying drive to do anything remotely athletic. AND THAT’S OK. You understand how important physical health is to you, you may just not have the drive to take action outside of your daily activities and hobbies. Or you may not know how to take action? Good news – you ain’t gotta be a gym rat. Gardening can be a great addition to your list of active hobbies. Shopping at the mall. Cleaning house or tackling house work and projects. What’s measured is movement and heart rate – not the number of times you hit the gym.
Level 2 – People who take action to move. I’d say this is probably the widest range of folks. You’re not necessarily a gym rat. But you can be, in order to help support the physical goal. I’d throw professional athletes in this category. They get stronger to support themselves in their sport. They may be gym rats too – but their driving force is to improve their game. I’d also throw in the person who enjoys hiking and makes it a part of their monthly plan. Or enjoys walking in the morning in order to clear their mind. You experience health benefit from being consistent. Your driving force or event is not gym specific but can be enhanced through properly progressed strength and conditioning. You seek means to keep yourself accountable to activity because it has a place in your life.
Level 3 – These are the folks who are motivated by the gym. On the grind more often than not to improve their physique. Or improve their gym-related numbers. They show up more because their chosen life experience revolves around improving their health with consistent gym attendance. I’d throw competitive bodybuilders, powerlifters and crossfitters into this category. It doesn’t mean you have to compete – but you show up because your numbers mean something to you. How much you deadlift. How fast you can perform Fran. These folks work constantly to improve their numbers, showing up to compete with themself or others.
In different stages of my life, I’ve found myself in a different category at different times. Because you don’t want to do anything super difficult physically doesn’t mean that you can’t be successful. It just means that you can be real with yourself and go for a walk with your coffee instead of sitting around living life through your phone. Don’t care to hit the gym? Cool beans, go do some gardening! Take the stairs. Park half a mile from your destination. Breathe under a tree in a park. Whatever fills your cup.
My personal journey has explored the depths of sacrifice in the gym, the escapism of trail running, and the wonderful health benefits of team sports and a shared experience. In the last ten years, I’ve been in each different level, finding ways to support my own needs.
Some people need support to increase their overall output.
Some people need to understand how movement improvement can help support their active endeavors.
Some people are truly motivated by the gym experience and lets that drive their action.
One thing holds true as much as anything – If you don’t understand your needs, how likely is it that you’ll understand how improve your health?
I’m trying to think of ways to serve different levels of clients and hope to answer some of those questions moving forward. Where does fitness lie in your life? What things do you look for in a fitness community? What is your level and where do you
Hello world, There’s always fun in fitness. People get so caught up in lifting weights in various ways and stress the idea that if you don’t do X you’ll shatter your coccyx. There’s fun in the struggle. It doesn’t have to be this perfect setup with a 6 step warmup, a % rep max prescribed load every workout or a sweat dripping, death defying experience under they weight of a barbell you just learned to throw over head.
Sometimes, warmup with games. Play some tag. Shoot some hoops. My brothers and neighbors used to play a game called ‘diving catches’ in my front yard with the brothers. The games were spawned from a drive for mild competition, fun and a challenging idea. Throw me a crappy pass, sort of far away from my body. Move in space to make a fun-looking grab that would likely be featured in Sportcenter’s top ten.
That’s the stuff we miss in fitness. It’s not all about hard work and dedication and sniffing sodium packets. It can be fun. It should be something to look forward to. And the idea that our world needs to be perfectly measurable, perfected in slow motion capture is really not what developing athletes should be about.
And if having that measured value, a daily approach of tracking every macro, an insistence on becoming obsessed with everything you put in your body is important to you, Good on ya. But that won’t get most people excited for the next level. Sometimes you just gotta go out and have some fun in the front yard.
(A client of mine had a great time planting some stuff in their yard yesterday. And it made me think how fun it was destroying our lawn as a kid)
Wind in the hair. Wearing short shorts. And fun ass headbands in the outdoors amongst others who enjoy making me feel like the idiot I am.
There’s not much better than running outdoors and getting catcalled by all the boys whom want to attend my milkshake in the yard.
(I think I went over my own head there)
At the same time, running can be a pain in the ass on a treadmill. Literally staring at numbers as they go up way slower IRL than in your head. I look up and I’ve only been pushing for 25 seconds…why does this suck so much, some days?
Well, it’s different. Very different.
When running outdoors you have the ability to dial up pace, or dial it back at a whim. no buttons, no guessing. When you’re on a treadmill, life is made difficult by locking in an intensity and time without the knowledge of your body’s natural needs. You could think that running at a 10 minute pace will cool you down – only to find out it’s too damn difficult.
On the roads, your stride length and cadence are pretty flexible.
On a treadmill, you get stuck between the railings and it changes the tempo of your run.
EXHIBIT A – here is what my ‘normal’ cadence looks like. This was from a 5k run in Salt Lake City…
Not perfect – but you can see it normalize after the five minute mark when my primary objective wasn’t to avoid people.
EXHIBIT B – Here is what the cadence looked like on a treadmill run this morning…
Here you can see my average cadence running for 10 minutes was ~163. I got demoralized and turned my run into an uphill walk. Which was more fun, at least!
All in all, not a huge difference, but it really felt different and that’s why I’m making this post. My average cadence outdoors was ~175. While the treadmill cadence was ~163. I’d love to get the cadence up a litttttttle higher. But I now realize the treadmill isn’t a great place to increase that number!
This world is wrought with chaos, new ideas, old ways of thinking and superfluous noise.
The constant barrage of stress from news that breaks, ignorance and a deteriorating mother earth leads each and every one of us to wonder, what’s going to crumble next? Let’s take a step back and take a breath.
Head down, focus up.
Improve your Environment, Improve your Life
My mission is to improve your environment. It’s always been a goal to accept value from each and every one of you. Learning makes us all a little more humane. A little more relatable. And to break our world down into a more real, tangible place where we can successfully define and improve the lives of those around us.
What is your environment?
It’s broad, overarching and mostly, a damn beautiful thing if you can take a step back and admire it’s breadth.
There is your physical self. Phsyical self includes things like diet, exercise and sleep. It’s doing things that you enjoy doing. It’s your blood pressure and your risk factors. It’s your injuries and your strengths.
There is your physical space. Things like how your home is organized, what’s in your car, what’s in your kitchen. It’s the temperature of your house. It’s the crap that accumulates in the corner of your closet you haven’t cleaned in six months. It’s the physical locations you spend your time. Your gym, your work, your bed.
There is your emotional self. It’s your mental being, your self talk, it’s your confidence and your values. It’s the feeling of aligning your actions with your personal values and looking at yourself from your own perspective. It’s feeling proud of who you are. It’s also feeling regretful of who you are not. And everything in-between the ears.
There is your social circle. It’s the support you have from the people you see most frequently. It’s also the lessons you have learned from those no longer with us. It’s your family, friends, religious connections and the people you surround yourself with.
Finally, there is your spirit. With that I would include things like religious views, worldly beliefs and what you connect to that is bigger than yourself.
My time as a fitness dude has taught me a lot about the phsyical self. And a lot of things about improving physical, mental, social and emotional spaces.
But most of all, the impact I’d like to have on your world is in improving YOUR environment. And with some time, with some effort, I’m here to help.
I can’t say thank you enough for being a part of MY life.
One of the most important things to recognize and realize, is that in older age we will inevitably see a decline in muscle mass, strength and power. Once you hit 70, there is a 2% decline in muscle mass per year in active adults from age 70-79. At the same time, the functional ability of the muscle decreases 3x, relative to the size of the muscle itself. Which means that the quality of muscle tissue deteriorates relative to its size.
With that said, everything that I’ve read has told me the obvious – the more you use it, the longer you slow the decline and deterioration. And to go along with that, power exercises are as important as anything.
To understand that, you need to slow down and understand muscle fiber types real quick. Your body has a few of different types of muscle fibers – Type 1 and type 2a and type 2b.
-Type 1 muscle is very useful for longer exercise bouts, like running, biking and swimming over longer duration (2 minutes to 1+hour).
-Type 2a muscle fibers are responsible for higher power, higher strength exercises but also with a more extended component of time. Think the duration of a 10 shot rally in racquetball or tennis. (activities that take 20 seconds – 2 minutes)
-Type 2b muscle fibers are responsible for higher power output activities at maximal exertion. Think jumping as high as you can, or running a 100m sprint (0-20ish seconds).
As you get older, you’ll hear that it’s inevitable that your body begins to ‘lose’ muscle. When in reality, the muscle loss is more of a reconfiguring of muscle type. It looks like its more of a transition of fiber type – your body turns your existing Type 2a and 2b muscle fibers into Type 1. And your Type 1 fibers can transition into tendon with long period of non-use.
From there, we can deduce a few things around exercise:
-Exercise focus with older adults is usually to emphasize power and strength activities in our training program to stave off power loss as long as we can. This will slow the deterioration of strength and muscle quality as we age.
-We need to keep a good amount of full range of motion exercises in our program to keep functional ability high. Muscles need to be used through their fullest of ranges in order to maintain fiber type and flexibility.
-Longer duration, low impact activities like walking and swimming are great to keep your healthspan long relative to your lifespan.
Coming up: Nutrition for old farts
I’ll be in touch in the next couple of days to update you on nutrition for muscle maintenance for older adults. As a teaser, here is a quick action you can take with a related article to hold you off until then!
-Increase protein intake to consume 1-1.2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight per day to support protein synthesis in muscle.
Arthritis is one of those things that literally means there is swelling and tenderness in our joints. It is often accompanied with pain and stiffness.
To put it simply, you wake up one day and you just sort of start feeling old.
And it happens to everyone. It’s inevitable. But you know what is the absolute best thing you can do for that pain? Other than popping pills to mask any semblance of personality??
People with arthritis will always tell you the pain and swelling is worse in the morning (Or when it’s about to rain, but that’s a different story). It’s worst when you’ve been sitting around for hours. Wasting away at a desk. After a long drive. After waking up in the early morning.
Your body literally needs movement to help shuttle away the inflammation that has pooled in your body overnight. And although it may be hard to get those rusty joints moving, it is the absolute best thing for you.
That said, with arthritis let’s start with caution. You don’t want to begin by running (unless you know it doesn’t bug you). Too many people in our world run to get in shape, only to find it ends up setting us back far more than any progress we can make in a single run. You want to listen to your body – if you begin exercising and something keeps getting worse a few minutes after you start – STOP! There is not a lot to gain from ‘pushing through the pain’ that our favorite TV commercials spout on about. When you put your hand on a hot stove, you wouldn’t ‘push through’ as your skin melts off your skeleton. So don’t take an oath to make life suck more by pushing through. I’m talking long term.
So, let’s say you come to me with arthritis and want to figure out what to do to improve that arthritic pain, let me break it down.
Exercise for Arthritis – With anything, you gotta be cognizant. Start slow and easy with what I’ll call general movement.
General movement exercises are low impact. And that’s a generic term for easy on the joints, in case you’re not a nerd.
I always want to stress – there are progressions and regressions to each and every exercise. So because your Doctor tells you that you can never run/walk/bike again, take that with a grain of salt. You CAN. And that just gives you more incentive to prove that ‘medical professional’ wrong. You just have to be responsible in building back up.
Low impact exercise creates less pounding on your joints. Don’t begin with explosive movements right off the bat, nothing that generates high forces quickly (ie, running, jumping, throwing, bouncing, hopping, skipping, etc).
Start with lower impact stuff. Things that move your joints relatively freely without tons of banging and clanging. Take a walk, go for a swim or a leisurely hike through the woods. If you’re in the gym setting, opt for yoga flow, or a class based around mobility as a lot of the group classes can be surprisingly high impact (looking at you, Zumba). Opt for walking over running. Using the stairs is actually a heck of a good low impact exercise. And in this world, I personally would prefer a hike or walk…because outside. And outside stuff makes me happy.
Low impact exercise increases your heart rate. Good to increase muscle temperature, fluidity of movement and improve recovery.
Bonus points for something that takes your body’s joints through their functional range of motion, while also increasing range of motion. In nerd speak, I call them CARs, that is, Controlled Articular Rotations. And the idea behind them is literally mobilizing your body’s major joints to increase the temperature and taking the rusty joints through a range that your body can handle.
Next, I want to stress the importance of strength training.
Strength training important for so many things – but to me, the most important is that it helps maintain the integrity of a joint. Here is where I drop some nerdy stuff here about tensegrity and tension related around the axis of our joints.
So, depending on where your body has arthritic pain, we would devise a plan to increase strength around the joints that primarily bug your body.
I would make sure to include full body movements, as well as a few isolated movements to truly target the impacted regions of the body. And to hold true to the above statements – we want to start our strength in a controlled environment. Start with low impact strength and balance before plyometrics and high impact movement.
A generic template for strength – perform each exercise for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions. Hit me with some questions if you want to dive deeper for YOU. I’ll also include a typical progression if you follow a consistent schedule:
Squat – Bodyweight squats, progressing to goblet squats
Hinge – Lying Hip bridges, progressing to Romanian deadlifts
Lunge – Stepups, progressing to walking lunges
Push – Pushups, progressing to bench press or overhead presses
Pull – Bent over Ys, Ts, Is, progressing to bent over rows
In summation, with arthritis move more. Aim for 30 minutes daily. Do something you enjoy. It’ll be easier to keep going that way. Get up and take your body through some CARs. Shoulders, hips, knees, scapulae, neck. Mess around with your major joint locations. Let google be your friend. You WILL see benefit from strength improvements.
Arthritis sucks but it can be managed. Be willing to adapt, and unwilling to sit back and wait because there’s too much awesome stuff to do in our world. And if you have any questions or want to spitball some ideas shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How often do we see someone squat like this in public?
It’s not something you typically see in a world run by desk jockeys and business people.
Imagine being in a desk all day, typing away for eight hours at a time in a dog doodoo posture. Tight spines and hip flexors. Immovable midback and shoulders. And hips that open about as well as those ‘Easy open’ soup cans (Hint: Not easy).
There’s a quick fix that I’m so damn happy to share with you.
It all comes down to getting closer to the ground.
This world has placed us in an environment that makes us terrified of getting down to the floor. Of rolling over. Of crawling, climbing and we end up developing legitimate fear of falling.
What happens when we develop a fear of falling? We end up falling.
So let’s work on that.
Let’s get down to the ground. Then back up. We get down and roll. We get down and crawl. We reignite the movement patterns that our bodies progressed through from the fetal stages to adulthood. Picking our heads up. We twist, we turn. We crawl, creep and learn how to stand up again.
It helps us move better. It improves our mobility. It improves our ability to stand up without breaking our hips.
You don’t have to be tight and stiff all day, everyday. Just get up. And get down a few times.
Here are five videos that will take less than five minutes of action to get your feeling better about movement immediately:
Hoping to give you the tools to succeed in staying stronger, longer.
I’m not a coach who’s going to yell at you or shame. And I think that’s because I did that to myself for years. It hurt to hear those thoughts in my head, and tear myself down. It makes me feel like I’m not good enough to feel good about who I am as a person, much less my body.
I’ve always thought the world of my people and know that we’re all capable of whatever we truly desire. In health and in life, we have to be able to see where we excel. And I tend to focus on the positive side of things.
I had a discussion with a couple of folks who were mid-fast recently. We talked about specific values we hold around food. They looked at their perspective on eating. They were in the middle of a fast due to their religion – and I asked if they could remember the last time they ‘cheated’ on a fast. They broke it down into detail. They were in college, broke as hell and couldn’t afford going out to buy the vegan food necessary to complete the fast. It was 5 or 6 years ago and honestly the only time they could recall breaking fast. There was guilt and shame – but also a moment where they questioned their own virtues.
AMAZING recall because it’s an ingrained value they hold. And to me, THAT was amazing.
Your healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be a religion. It doesn’t need to be something that you base every decision in your life around. But I want you to realize how damn amazing you CAN be.
Here’s where I’ll liken my method of coaching to sunshine coming out of every orifice.
I wish you could see it from my lens just for a day.
There is so much to be said about the pictures we paint of ourselves, where we are far more critical of the choices we make than we would EVER be of any of our own friends and/or family.
I’d rather be a person that says ‘What kind of donut???’ (with a genuine smile on my face because donuts are happiness) than someone who says, ‘don’t eat that, you’ll get fat’.