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’.
Hey friends, I wanted to dive into your blood pressure question. Because mostly, I’m a nerd So, here…we…go…
Why is blood pressure important?
It can turn your life expectancy from 76 years old, to 55 years old, with a small difference in blood pressure. A 35 year old with a blood pressure of 120/80 will live on average 76 years. A 35 year old with a blood pressure of 151/91 will live on average 55 years. If you want more data, let me know. But that’s an important piece.
What is blood pressure?
120/80 mmhg This is usually how blood pressure is described. The first number above is called your systolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure is the pressure of your blood vessel walls when your heart contracts and blood pumps through them. The second number above is the diastolic. Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure of your blood against your vessel walls when your heart is relaxed. In reference to a garden hose, your blood vessels work similarly. When you turn your water on, the hose fills up and there is pressure against the hose casing. We call this systolic blood pressure. When you turn off the hose, there is still water in the hose but there is no pressure pumping through. Similarly, when your blood isn’t actively being pumped, your diastolic blood pressure is noted by the pressure of your blood against the vessel walls at rest. I hope that makes sense. High blood pressure is another beast. Imagine plugging your garden hose up to a fire hydrant. With the extra pressure of water pumping through, it’s causing a bunch of strain on your hose. And eventually, it could burst. Same thing can happen in your body. If there’s too much strain in your eye, you go blind. If there’s too much strain in your heart, it’s a heart attack. If there’s too much strain close to your brain, you could develop dementia or ALS. A lot of potential outcomes that don’t sound too appealing from my side.
What do I want my blood pressure to be?
Healthy range:Less than 120/80 Prehypertension:120-129 / 80 High Blood pressure Stage 1:130-139 / 80-89 High blood pressure stage 2:>140 / 90+ What impacts blood pressure?
Sex, age, ethinc background, nutrition, dietary norms. A lifestyle and genetics are super important.
Million dollar Question: How do I lower my blood pressure?
1. Get lean and stay lean. With excess bodyfat comes more need to supply blood to fatty tissue. Even so, with excess bodyfat, your body will increase inflammatory markers that actually cause your vessel walls to remain stiff. 2. Get moving and stay moving. I’ve read some studies showing that exercise and moderate intensity activity up to five hours per week can drastically change your blood pressure. WIth that said, a bout of exercise can decrease your blood pressure by 5 mmhg, which reduces all cause mortality by 7%. 3. Reduce booze consumption and stop smoking. A single glass of red wine can help (women moreso than men). But in general, keeping it away will do your body good. 4. Improve nutrition. Diets built around plant based and whole, unprocessed meals are particularly effective. Some recommended actions to take from a nutrition standpoint:
– 1-2 Low fat dairy items/day
– Eat plenty of lean protein to curb insulin
– Eat 3 servings of intact whole grains daily
– Get enough vitamin D (get outside or supplement)
– Balance fat intake – Omega 3s are king!
– Cut sugar – makes you fat when you eat too much. Eating lots of added sugars may also activate the sympathetic nervous system, decrease urinary sodium excretion, increase sodium absorption in the GI tract, and decrease blood vessel nitric oxide. Not good.
– Cut sodium intake. Don’t worry too much about salt. It mostly comes from processed garbage when we eat out. In most cases, we actually need a certain amount to be healthy. So when you eat at home, sprinkle a little on, and don’t feel bad about it. But when you eat that processed good stuff, you know it’s coming at a cost.
They’ll say 90% of people shouldn’t run. They tell you it’s high impact and bad for you.
Or that you can see greater benefit from lifting weights and functionally training your big toe, as long as you track your macros and use PR glue.
I set a goal recently to run a 50k in November, only to be questioned by a local fitness guru, claiming that running that distance won’t make me better at what I do.
What the hell does that do? Telling someone that you’re not going to improve your life by accomplishing a goal? Buzz off brosario dawson.
Makes me realize there’s far more resolve in my heart than there is to be accepted in the community. Running has taught me how to live between my ears. And it’s given me an outlet for my own anxieties while recognizing and confronting my faults, of which there are plenty.
The first mile has taught me how tough I can be. The grit and the pain in getting started. The middle teaches me how to take it easy. Push where I need to and slow down when it hurts. To pace myself in a happy way. To take each step with as much care as the next. And leave the previous one behind.
The final mile has taught me what matters. Why I run. What I run for. Who I run for. And the amount of effort it takes to finish what I start.
And I’m looking forward to JUST running, a bit more going forward.
I’m using this one to build volume for the ultimate goal of a 50k in November.
The fitness world is fraught with inconsistencies.
Butter used to be bad. But now it’s good.
Eggs are terrible for your cholesterol. But actually it’s not!
Squats kill your knees, don’t do them. But actually, do them because you have to every time you poop!
It’s a world full of noise.
It makes living a healthy life difficult. Your intentions are good, only to learn that your focus has been ‘wrong’.
I’ve got a quick fix for you. And it’s far more simple in thought than in practice.
To every person I’ve ever worked with, and to every person I have had the pleasure of capturing with these words…
Try something difficult.
Let’s unpack that.
The word try. Trying something isn’t just dipping your toe in the water. It’s committing to something for the short term. Let’s say three months. The commitment-phobe in me wants to remind you – it’s not a long term commitment. And it’s OK to quit. Make your commitment enough to dive into a particular skill, game or activity. It’s a short term trial run to see if you enjoy it! Find a group that runs regularly. Find an adult sports league in a social setting. Find a dance instructor to learn the cha-cha from. Try. Because if you can commit to trying, and you learn that you enjoy whatever that thing is, you’ll stick with it.
The word something. If you’ve ever wanted to LOOK a certain way. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to do a kickflip on a skateboard. If you’ve ever wanted to see how far you can run. The key is that you make it something active. The whole reason you’re here is because you’ve enjoyed my message. And I’ve seen so many long term success stories. The ones who change their lives are the ones who find something relatively active – and actually end up enjoying it! It doesn’t have to be weight lifting. It doesn’t have to be yoga. Try something you’ve always wanted to do. Because taking an action toward something new will invigorate you, or it won’t. But by trying something, you aren’t giving up. And that’s a HUGE victory. Become a serial Try-er. When you find the thing you enjoy, you won’t be thinking about fitness. You’ll realize you’re thinking about improving a skill.
The world difficult. For some, it’s tying your own shoes. For others, it’s going for a walk. It’s subjective. Difficult for you may be mustering up the courage to tie up the ole shoes and take a walk around the block. For others, it could be hiking up a mountain at 13000 feet. And difficult doesn’t have to mean physical pain. It can be emotional pain. You could be hanging out in your house, resting up after an injury, fully resigned to the fact that you’ll never ‘feel’ young again. And personally, that’s the most difficult pain to endure. So strap up the kicks and skip your ass out the door. It may be the hardest damn steps you take today. But you will feel proud. And you damn well should.
In my case, I tried running – with the sole intent of going out and enjoying it. I’ve always hated the idea of running because I couldn’t get out of my own head when hitting the pavement. I have a theory that I hated running because it was always a ‘punishment’ in sports. So I resolved to try and reverse that thinking. And today, after a year of giving it a shot, I’m in the middle of training for a 30k Trail Race. So far, it’s been a hell of a challenge. I’m damn proud of myself for being willing to stick to it despite feeling like such a crappy runner in the beginning.
Try something difficult. You’ll realize the commitment bleeds over into other aspects of your life. You’ll look in the mirror and enjoy the face looking back. You’ll be proud, confident, excited and motivated – by your own success.
And that’s all I’ve ever wanted for my people – to realize how fucking amazing you are.
Try something difficult. Your body and mind will love you for it.
Things I’m excited about:
Taking Lily to a baseball game on Friday
Getting people with like minds together to try something new
Getting my ass handed to me in racquetball
Finishing the book What You Do is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
Being a fitness professional can be hard. It’s balancing everything about a person’s life. It’s trying to help an individual balance exercise, diet, mental state, obstacles, and EVERYTHING in their life that can detract them from a successful relationship with themselves. With that said, there are some serious struggles I see with the industry and where WE can improve how we interact with our people, by sending a more clear message. And here is where I get a little too sappy. But that’s what I am. So here we go.
My views on change are NOT absolute and they are perfectly fluid from person to person.
My guide to being a successful advocate for change:
Guide, don’t dictate. Too many fitness professionals try to ‘drive’ their clients. Rather than laying out a roadmap, together, and allowing the client to drive. You are doing your clients a disservice by not allowing them autonomy. A person wakes up and makes thousands of decisions a day. Adulting is exhausting. A successful fitness professional includes the client in the process. Guiding someone in fitness is a lot like being the passenger on a road trip. You’re navigating. The person to your left is driving. You can’t take the wheel. It’s the fitness professional’s job to let the client know where a detour occurs, or that one path could potentially take us in a different direction. And the driver may discover a new path. Or decide on a new endpoint. Be there for them, let them know they aren’t alone. And help them along in their decision making process. Your job is to understand obstacles. And help the driver navigate.
Celebrate success. Allow people to see how successful their bodies ARE. I could have a client bike 20 miles on a mountain, run up Olympus and swim twelve miles. But their mind tells them they are a failure because they didn’t lose five pounds. Success could be staring you in the face from every direction. But because gravity’s pull is a little greater on a given day, all successes go to nil. The fitness world is already harsh enough when it comes to appearance, with unattainable standards of beauty. I’ll let you in on something. When I had veins in my abs, I still wasn’t lean enough. When I got lean, I wasn’t big enough. I was short sighted. Don’t let your physical successes go to waste. Yell that shit from the rooftops. When you do something you are proud of, tell the world. Don’t apologize for DOING something amazing. Nobody gives a shit about how much you weigh. And you shouldn’t feel bad for a number that tells more about gravity’s pull on you. If anything, the fact that you did some awesome shit with more weight on you, makes the feat even more badass. CELEBRATE.
Connect and understand the WHY. Getting all sciencey is a waste of my time and yours. Nobody gives a shit about your breadth of knowledge and how big of words you can use, effectively or not. When you spout of stuff that someone doesn’t understand, they stop listening. By going over someone’s head, all you do is stroke your own ego. Keep it tight, relate success to a client’s WHY. For example, I had a geri-athlete complain the other day about a straight legged situp. I replied simply, by asking why they think I threw it into our routine. They told me that it was similar to how they get up in the morning when they wake up. I could have talked all day about hip flexor strength, rectus abdominis, flexion in the spine and how controversial it can be in fitness (I’ll save that for another day). But by phrasing it around the client’s need, they answered their own question. And that makes me feel even more proud of my exercise selection! Sometimes, the client wants to complain. But if you can get them to see the carryover into their life, you are doing a hell of a job. You make the movement worth doing. It doesn’t matter what you know. What matters is that the message you send is consistent with why they came to see you in the first place.
I guess that’s kind of all for now. In the next couple of days, I’ll add more stuff to the list in time. But please feel free to share any transformative experiences you have had, whether it’s a success of your own, or someone else’s.
And a random list of things I can’t get enough of:
Including my clients in the decision making process.
Stepping back and allowing my client to drive the process, especially if they have expertise in the subject matter. It means I am learning.
Demonstrating to the people around me realize how fucking amazing they are.
And a highlight in my life was watching her first steps. It didn’t happen overnight. She tried, and tried, and tried. She fell a bunch. Got bruised up here and there. It took her months. Time, effort and consistency.
The persistent need to walk was the only thing that kept her going. The will to keep pushing herself up was always there. It took time. It took setbacks. But it meant too much for her to quit.
She needed to walk. And it was not a question of whether it was going to happen.
Just a matter of when and how.
And no matter who you are, if you want something bad enough, you’ll get back up. You’ll get bruised, you’ll feel shame and guilt and you’ll get frustrated as hell. But you will succeed if your desire is greater than your feelings of failure.
Succeed one time. It gets easier from there.
And with that success, you’ll be able to replicate it. And you’ll learn to appreciate the failures even more.
Take time today and praise your failures. Failure is only as powerful as you make it.
Embrace the challenges.
Embrace your efforts.
And be proud of your consistency.
And chances are, the effort for you to walk was similar to my kid’s.
So I KNOW you can do it.
BE persistent. Be honest about your failures. And you will succeed if you want it as bad as you wanted to learn to walk.
I’m going to pull back the veil a little too much on this one.
I’ve been doing the exercise thing for a long time. I’ve helped hundreds of people lose thousands of pounds. I’ve helped people increase their strength. Hell, I’ve even helped people get six-pack abs. This industry is bombarded with goals centered around physical appearance.
Perpetuated by Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, magazines…being ‘lean, toned and sexy’ is the only way to be.
An equal pressure is placed on dudes to bench more weight, get stronger, leaner, bigger.
The world of fitness is so closely tied to physical attributes that it can be entirely too much.
As a fitness pro, the buzz around weight loss makes me feel some kind of way. ‘HOLY SHIT NEW YEARS IS HERE, NOT THIS AGAIN’. Exhausting.
I’m going keto for this.
Intermittent fast for that.
Paleo because this.
As tiring as the narrative is year to year, stepping on the scale is the one thing that really bugs me. We’re peeling back the layers of of your life. We spend time improving habits. Cleaning out cabinets.
Yet, when a client sees success in so many areas, except for the scale, it ruins everything. When the number on the scale goes up, it ruins their passion and progress. It makes them question why they are doing it. It can be a sickness, an obsession.
Don’t get me wrong. The scale can be a way we measure progress. And for some people, it’s the right thing to do.
It can be a way we direct our program, if it is there to improve your health and you have a great relationship with the objectivity it provides. But it’s not everything. It should only be a small, minute, piece of the pie.
I’ll try to paint a picture of what drives me, as a fitness professional. What gets me excited.
I don’t give a shit about your weight. You lose five pounds, cool. I’ll be excited for a moment. I’ll be thrilled for about as long as it takes you to step on the scale. That 5 seconds, I’ll be thrilled. Or tell you to dial the diet down when you gain a pound.
Maybe I’m not a weight loss guy. And I’m starting to realize, that’s ok.
What excites me, is seeing you break outside of your shell.
You can walk further than you could a month ago. You can tie your shoes without getting out of breath. You chose to take the stairs because you felt like you didn’t get enough movement in today. You fit into a pair of pants better than you used to. You start to wear shit that makes you FEEL sexy. You can lift more than you used to. You are more confident.
It’s the day to day stuff that gets me bouncing of the walls and reignites my fuel in fitness.
Today, I met with my client, Amit. Amit and I started a few months back, working on developing his down dog position (his goal was to perform down dog pain-free). His secondary and tertiary goals were to go snowboarding, followed by being able to perform a headstand with competence. Of note, he had a knee surgery a few years back to correct tibia position that he hasn’t yet felt confident enough in.
We didn’t get on the scale. We didn’t measure bodyfat, strength or any of the other stuff you care to see on a testimonial page.
He clearly, and distinctly had functional goals.
Well, the pain free down dog thing was achieved after a couple of months of movement education. It was honestly a matter of HOW he performed the movement. I’m no expert yogi – but I can tell you when your body isn’t moving with symmetry. And I helped him develop the basics of keeping a packed shoulder while in a ‘passive’ position.
With the down dog stuff cleared up we moved on!
Today, during our session, I was greeted with enthusiasm. We walked into his workout space and he immediately kicked up into a headstand on demand. We had practiced it a few times, worked on developing a strong hollow position. And today…VOILA!
Headstand looking good!!
Not only that, he’s hitting the slopes tonight to take a snowboarding lesson for the first time in years.
His legs are stronger. His confidence is high. And his ABILITY is through the roof.
So, I’m stoked. I’m riding the high of another successful functional goal.
We didn’t measure bodyfat. Or weight. Or circumference.
But he HAS dropped weight. He HAS cleaned up his eating. He knows when to stop. He doesn’t enjoy the feeling of stuffing himself full anymore.
And a piece of me is curious about how much weight he’s lost. But that’s also the piece of me that doesn’t truly give a shit.
This dude is getting stronger.
He is focused on his abilities.
And he is focused on improving the intensity of his movement. His ability is the payoff. Not a number.
So today, I sit here, reveling in his success. And it’s not topical, nor does it fluctuate. He is snowboarding tonight. He is performing headstands. He can hang out in down dog for 10 minutes, pain free.
What I’m getting at, is that what you CAN DO matters. As your abilities increase, your comfort increases. Your habits improve.
Can you do more today than your did yesterday?
What do you WANT to be able to do?
And how do you get there?
Take some time away from the scale. Take some time away from the stress of not feeling strong, or beautiful or weak.
Take a moment to think about what you want to do.
Take a moment and think about what you want your body to do.
Function matters more than that damn number.
Feel free to drop some ideas on how you function better today than you did yesterday. Feel free to brag a bit. This is the shit that keeps me going.
I’ve spent the last ten plus years inundated with fitness. It’s been a passion. A point of service. And I’ve been grateful at the opportunity to not only serve amazing people, but experience a lifestyle unique to me. One that I am proud of. But also, one that I question every single day.
Fitness to me is a piece of life. I’ve always been the type of person who gets wholly obsessed. Whether it’s with a video game, a sport, a skill, fitness, school or whatever else I decide to get involved in, my life begins to revolve around that one thing. Which is pretty cool, but it can also get overwhelming.
In this world, I constantly look forward. Metaphorically and literally. I’m constantly in this battle of where to take my health. Where do I want to go tomorrow? What do I want to try next? Who do I want to work with? What type of body do I want? What activities do I want to dive into? And most of all what can I do today to make a more clear path toward my desired outcome, tomorrow?
On top of that, I have to balance my life around being of service to others…How can I be of service to others? How can I find the right people to work with? And there’s also that voice of insecurity that I do my best to move past…why would this person think I can help them? What can I do for them, when my own life is a mess? Etc, etc, etc.
I constantly live in this world, where I am not allowed to sit back and just feel…satisfied. It’s a debilitating emotional experience where I haven’t been able to sit back, relax and say – my life is pretty fucking rad.
And to me, life is an experience I am addicted to – and that piece sometimes forgets to appreciate and celebrate my own health.
And that’s what brings me here.
Over the New Year, I decided to take an adventure to the Grand Canyon. It was a 9 hour drive, followed by a stay at the local KOA, 45 minutes from the South Rim at the Grand Canyon.
There is a piece of me that still doesn’t believe the Grand Canyon itself was real. The backdrop was too perfect. Far too amazing and unbelievable. And I’ll only believe it was real once I actually set foot next to the Colorado River later this year.
People from all walks of life coming together to experience and celebrate something nature carved out through time and consistency.
It was a surreal backdrop enjoyed from the trailhead and a few miles into the canyon, where I hiked.
It was an introduction to a world I never thought possible. It’s one thing to see the Canyon in a picture, it’s another to experience it.
On the trail, at any given moment, you are feet from death. The anxiety of taking a bad step crippled me at first. But it became more comfortable with time. The comfort and anticipation grew. And with each step, a renewed sense of confidence and appreciation for the world we share – in a year comprised of Zoom meetings, home exercise and anxiety – we have spent this time together, each in our own little worlds.
The experience in the Canyon itself was not comparable to anything I have ever felt. And not just because it was a beautiful sculpture, carved out over thousands and millions and billions of years.
But as the hike into and out of the canyon progressed, I felt grateful.
I can pinpoint the exact moment. I passed a few hikers with a head nod and a hello. Beyond a group of dudes who were hooting and hollering about how dope my Jesus sweatshirt was. And just beyond the point in the canyon where snow began to accumulate.
There was a moment while hiking up the canyon that made me feel like it was all worth it.
The last ten years of my life – Wrapped up in a singular moment, with my heart rate elevated and a friend at my side. The hours spent studying. The hours spent stressing over a client’s progress. The hours spent serving my people. And the hours spent working on my own health.
It was worth it.
Everything I set out to accomplish was worth it. And it was a sense of getting over the idea of focusing on ‘tomorrow’ and what to strive for next. There was a singular moment of gratitude. My heart, my body, my spirit. All of it. In that moment, it all made sense.
And I can’t stress enough how much clarity it gave me.
In this world, we constantly strive for a better body, for better health. We are constantly telling ourselves to dive into something new. Or get ready for the next step. We see perfect bodies on various forms of social media reminding us how imperfect we are.
And sometimes, it’s great to just stop and assess yourself. To thank yourself for the world you live in. For the feelings and sensations you have on a daily basis.
These thoughts and emotions you display are unique to you. And they are an accumulation of your years of experience.
I’m not sure what I am setting out to say in this post, other than to encourage you to seek out moments.
Moments to celebrate your own health. It took me three hours into the Grand Canyon to find mine.
It may take you years to find yours. Or days. Or a couple minutes into a blog post.
I want to encourage you to appreciate your health.
And DO what you can to celebrate it.
Don’t worry about getting leaner, or thinner, or stress over your next step.
But think about what you CAN do. And how you FEEL when you do it. Use fitness to celebrate your health. Your body, your mind, your spirituality. It is yours and nobody else’s. And it is as beautiful or as ugly as you make it out to be.
A New Year and resolutions can so easily get you thinking about improving your health, but it can also negatively impact the way you see yourself. We’re all coming off a hell of a year. And we all went through it together, despite being socially distanced. I want you to know that I appreciate you for following along in this journey and I hope you are able to see the beauty in our world. And I hope you can set out capture a few beautiful moments in yourself.