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June 2019

December 2018

Finishing the Equation

I spend a lot of time talking about and researching sleep. Most people have no idea how important sleep is and how far reaching its affects are. From what I understand, and I've done a lot of research, sleep impacts every aspect of your life in either a positive or negative way. Like most things in life it's quality that's important as opposed to quantity.

Most of the advice I see about improving sleep has to do with improving your sleep environment (temperature, light, etc.) and discipline (going to bed and rising at the same time every day, avoiding caffeine, etc.). Very little has been mentioned about how to maximize the time AFTER sleep... and those minutes and hours are almost as important.


Investment or Expense?

20180916_204341It's almost here! January will see an influx of people joining gyms to "get in shape"... and they will fail miserably! Seriously. many if not all people who join a gym, will make a valiant effort to hit the treadmill and the weights. They will get sore, tired and invariably not see any results...and will stop showing up and quit even trying to make any effort to improve their quality of life. Why? Because they are either doing too much of something that isn't going to benefit them or not doing enough of something that is.

You are almost guaranteed to fail if you try to do it on your own. But - if you surround yourself with people who are on the same path as you, who will make you accountable, and who you enjoy interacting with - magical things will happen! Suddenly going to the gym isn't a chore it's something that you look forward to all day. Hard workouts? They're a lot easier when you are surrounded by friends...

Think about this: if you don't take care of your body now you're not going to be able to take care of it later. If you make the investment in time, effort and sweat now you will be able to benefit of the "compound interest" of more energy, great strength and mobility, and excellent biological markers in the future (i.e., blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.).

"Most people want to pay as little as possible for their gym memberships. Yet people will pay hundreds of dollars a month on their cell phone or cable bill. The rate of chronic disease and obesity is growing. Our health care costs are growing. Why is the value of health placed so low in our culture? What if we changed the perspective and viewed paying a gym membership (and using it) as an investment in our future. I believe the long-term benefits of this is priceless. Investing in your health now saves you down the line in real dollar terms of health care cost savings, as well as in experiencing greater quality of life, for a longer time. When you look at it this way, the cost we pay for a gym membership is a bargain." -- Brigitte Osborn, Red Wolf CrossFit

The Hip Bump and Floor Press

Ever wonder how weight lifters did horizontal presses when there weren't any benches around? Well they had two options:

Pull the bar over your head and then "bump" it off of your chest onto locked arms

Pull the bar over the legs to the hips and then "bump" it off your hips onto locked arms

Both are a little unconventional, but viable options, to the traditional Bench Press. I've done both variations but inevitably return to the Hip Bump and Floor Press. Mostly because it is easier on my jacked up elbows and shoulders and incorporates an explosive hip thrust that parallels the training I have with kettlebells. I don't go too heavy on with this one, mostly because I don't Bench very often, but I do find it to be a fun variation that can help you work through any sticking points in the horizontal presses.

Movement Equals Medicine

I think one of the most powerful lessons that I have learned in over five decades of training (in both the martial arts and weight lifting) is that Movement is Medicine... and a powerful one!

The simple act of going to the gym and getting in a workout, regardless of how hard or long it is, always makes me feel and move better. I know that there are biological and hormonal reasons for this, but I think it goes even deeper than that. The primal act of using your body, sweating and straining, helps to clear out the cobwebs and reset you back to "normal". This is especially true after a frustrating day at the office... I NEED to get into the gym and work off a little (or a lot) of excess stress and energy that I've built up over the course of the day. There is also the fact that I really need to regain my posture and structural alignment from the damages of sitting all day.

BTW - I've never felt worse after working out. Tired -  yes! Worse - NEVER!

Kettlebelling since 2001!

It's quickly closing on 2019 and it's time to look back and reflect.

It's hard to imagine but I've been consistently training with kettlebells since 2001. I dabbled with them prior to that; playing with them with my Sambo team mates. But as far as day-to-day strength and conditioning work, kettlebells have been the lynch-pin of my training. I know it sounds odd, but I've been able to make and maintain decent and functional strength and conditioning by using (for most workouts) one kettlebell.

How can that be possible? Well, solid technique (which is paramount) and good programming are the foundation. Add in some occasional near max-load work with the barbell and a strong presence of body weight exercises (pull ups, push ups, burpees, etc.) and you've got pretty much all you need.

But what is the real "secret sauce"? Consistency. Day after day. Week after week. Year after year. And here's the thing: all good intentions aside, you are not going to be able to maintain marathon lifting and cardio sessions indefinitely. Short term - yes. Long term - not going to happen. I've been maintaining my strength and conditioning with three to four 18 to 24 minute workouts a week. That's it... and it's not just me. I've have lots of clients who are able to lose weight and get strong without devoting hours and hours to working out.

So... my thoughts for this year and moving into next year? Move smarter not harder and consistency always trumps intensity. You are in this for the long haul, so make the commitment to yourself and to your future.