Archive for March, 2017

The $150 selfie

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This weekend I was supposed to be taking part in a health fair called "Your Health Is No Joke". I was really excited because it is being held at the Ninja Obstacle Academy. A really cool training facility that trains people to be like the athletes on American Ninja Warrior.

 

But then I found out I was going to be out of town for my son's basketball tournament. Which will be fun too, I love watching him play.

 

But I did not want to let down the great people of Huntsville who had expected to get some Joe in their lives. So I came up with something new.

 

The $150 selfie.

 

My gaudier twin Cardboard Joe will go in my place. He will be available for selfies the whole time. You can be entered to win a $150 gift card by taking a selfie with him and texting it to me.

 

The health fair will be held at the Ninja Obstacle Academy 2316 Memorial Parkway from 2-6pm on Saturday April 1, 2017. Yes they needed a fool on April Fool's Day. There will be exercise demos, great vendors, and a lot of fun.

 

Especially fun with this guy:

Your spark can become your flame

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Sometimes all it takes is one little spark to ignite a flame. It's the same way with getting started on a healthy lifestyle. One action step at a time. Picking out a specific action and making it a habit. Think about what you would like to change the most. -Your weight? -Your endurance? -Your strength? -Your eating habits? -Your energy level? What is one thing you can do this week to ignite that fire and start conquering your struggles? Here are 20 examples of what that one thing could be:

1. Get the junk food out of your house 2. Set an alarm and stand up for 5 minutes every hour 3. Avoid fast food this week 4. Eat one healthy meal today 5. Take a 10-minute walk 6. Use a foam roller for 10 minutes 7. Floss (it adds 6 years to your life) 8. Stretch for 10 minutes 9. No liquid calories today (soft drinks, alcohol, coffees, etc…) 10. Commit to one workout

11. Turn the TV off and go to bed an hour earlier 12. Take 10 minutes of absolute quiet by yourself to de-stress 13. Find someone who will keep you accountable (friend, trainer, group) 14. Go buy some new workout clothes or shoes 15. Write down your goals where you will see them daily 16. Rather than creating excuses for not getting healthy, create a plan 17. Start a sleep routine you will do every night 18. Eat a vegetable you've never tried this week 19. Take a picture of yourself and do your measurements so you can track the amazing results you are about to achieve 20. Cut ties with a negative person (AKA energy vampire) in your life The list could be thousands of things, but I want you to think of one specific thing you will commit to TODAY to take action on. Pick something you know you can do, keep at it until it becomes a habit, and then target your next goal.

Let's get this fire started.

The dangers of that peanut butter life

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Most of these posts I write are lessons I am trying to teach myself and I think others could benefit from. Today’s post is no different.

I have two examples of how hidden calories can become a problem. The first one is one I did to myself, the second was one that I did to my wife.

Both of them involve... peanut butter.

Did that sound really dramatic? I hope so.

I noticed this week that I have a habit that could be dangerous if I was trying to cut down on my caloric intake. Every time I make my son a peanut butter sandwich I give myself a bite of peanut butter for the effort. That can add up considering that 2 tablespoons of peanut butter is 200 calories.

I also make my wife protein shakes on a regular basis. She asked me how much peanut butter I used and I realized it was way more than she does when she makes her own.

Maybe an added 100-150 calories here and there does not sound like a big deal, but it can add up. Especially if you do it consistently over time. An extra 150 calories per day would lead to a 15.6 pound weight gain in a year.

Three things to learn from my mistakes.

First, is to watch out for the BLTs. The Bites, Licks, and Tastes that you put into your body. All the little bites you take when cooking, licking spoons, and other taste tests you do count.

Second, is that it matters who prepares your food. That is why it is crucial to prepare your food as often as you can. Restaurants do not have your waistline in mind when they prepare your food. Their main mission is taste, so calories can pile up pretty quick.

Third, is that small changes can work for you or against you. I mentioned above about how they can work against you. But those same pounds you put on, can be taken off by eliminating 150 calories/day. You could eat 150 calories less, burn 150 off, or a do a combo of the two.

PS- Peanut butter is still delicious, I regret nothing.

Cut The Bull Sit!

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Are you sitting down? I have some news for you. Stand up!

A recent study of older women (average age of 79) published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who are sedentary have shorter life spans and are more likely to have high blood pressure, a history of chronic disease, lower physical performance scores, and are more likely to have experienced a fall in the past 12 months. The researchers found that the most sedentary women were biologically 8 years older than their actual age.

Another study in the same journal studied dementia risk in sedentary people. They studied people who were carriers of dementia markers and those who were not. The subjects with the markers for dementia developed dementia more often, but being sedentary greatly increased the risk of getting dementia for those who did not have the markers.

On a non-scientific note, I was talking to a physical therapist about the types of patients he sees. He said that 90% of what he sees is posture related ailments, the majority of them from sitting.

This is scary stuff! But it also means we can take control of our health by addressing the problem.

The first step is obvious- avoid sitting all day long! If you have a desk job this can be a challenge, but make it a priority to get up and stretch, walk around, etc… at least once an hour but the more often the better.

The second option is to address your desk area. There are stand up desks, adjustable desks that go from standing to sitting, sitting on and exercise ball, practicing good office ergonomics, etc…

The third thing to do is to address your posture. This might mean being more aware of your body position or doing more stretches and foam rolling to problem areas.

The fourth thing to look at is your leisure time activities. If you are sitting all day at work, then coming home and sitting on the couch or in front of a computer the remainder of the day that will catch up to you one day.

If you need more in depth instruction on some of these things or you would like someone to come speak at your office and address these topics, I highly recommend Dr. Nancy Harden from Flexibility For Life. I call her the Muscle Whisperer, she does pretty amazing work.

Are you making deposits or withdrawals?

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It is very easy to get caught up in the day to day grind of your life. Going to work, errands, social commitments, TV, etc... all take up time, energy, and focus. This leaves you with very little left in the tank to do something very important.

 

It is absolutely crucial to think about your future.

 

Will your future self thank you in 20 years for what you are doing now? That steady diet of fast food will probably get a now, while putting all that money into a 401k would get a yes.

 

Thinking long term also helps you avoid getting caught up in short term fad diets and fad workouts. Are you really going to NEVER have a piece of bread again? Is that crazy workout where you keep hurting yourself going to be part of your routine in 20 years?

This hits home for me because I keep getting hurt doing jiujitsu. Some little stuff like broken toes, up to bigger stuff like tearing a ligament in my knee a month ago. Well someone tore it for me, but I was there when it happened 🙂

 

My choice now is to quit or change the way I train at jiujitsu. The way I have been doing it is very physical, never wanting to tap out, and win at all costs mentality. Don’t think 60 year old me will be able to do that. I am choosing to train smarter, not harder.

 

The same thing applies to the way I treat my body overall. Performing more mobility/stretching, getting more sleep, cutting down on caffeine. These are all things I am doing now that will pay off in later years.

 

A big goal for me is to be that spry old man that can run circles around the whippersnappers in the neighborhood. I want to be strong, fit, and pain free for as long as I possible can.

 

Look at the choices you are making as bank transactions. Are you making more deposits or withdrawals in your long term health account?

Self Delusion is good for you

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I was listening to author A.J. Jacobs talk about his creative process when he is writing. He is a really interesting guy and goes all in with his book projects. One of his books is his saga of trying to follow every rule in the Bible for a year and another one where he read all 33 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

 

You would think a guy like that would have no trouble with writer’s block, but it happens to him quite frequently. He has a simple, but effective technique he uses to combat writer’s block.

 

He just sits down and starts writing.

 

The writing could be complete nonsense, but the physical act of writing gets the creative juices flowing. The old fake it until you make it technique.

 

He based his actions on this quote by Habitat For Humanity Founder Millard Fuller:

 

“It is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking, than it is to think yourself into a new way of acting.”

 

That is a great point! Your mind will eventually catch up to your actions, but you have to start first.

 

Science has proven that if you are upset, but if you can force your face into a smile it will trick your brain into becoming happier. Or if you are feeling insecure in a situation, ask yourself “What would a confident person do?” Then do whatever you come up with!

 

This all sounds crazy, but I have seen it come true over and over with exercise. It’s been proven both with myself and with my boot campers. I tell my clients, to just show up and the magic will happen. If you make it to the workout, you will make it happen.

 

Try asking yourself questions that are framed by your goals. Questions like “What would someone who loves to exercise do here?” or “What meals would a really fit person prepare today?”

 

It's only crazy if it doesn't work.

Why you need to struggle

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I was reading an article about why Japanese children do so well in math compared to other countries. The reason was not what I thought it would be.

 

The kids do so well in math because their teachers allow them to struggle the longest with problems.

 

That sounds kind of counter productive at first, but it makes sense. It is hard to watch kids struggle! Have you ever watched a small child “help” with dinner, tie shoes, dress themselves, or learn how to walk? Your first instinct is to help them out and do it for them. You don’t want them to suffer through the process.

 

But the struggle is vital to make change and progress. Otherwise they will never learn to do things on their own.

 

We need to struggle to move forward. And that is especially true in exercise.

 

You have to continually struggle to get better, the workouts should not be a breeze every time, and some days you may even wonder why you try. Those feelings are natural and happen to everybody.

 

The one thing you must avoid is comparison to others. No one knows what all you have going on and vice versa you knowing about them. We all struggle in different ways and handle the struggles in our own personal manner.

 

Next time you are struggling, embrace it and don't give in. The struggle is helping you reach your goals, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.

A Gift From My Dad

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This past weekend was awesome! Sunshine and 50-60s temperatures in February are ok by me.

 

My son and I were planning to go for a hike when I got a text from dad asking if he could come along too. Hiking was his passion years ago, but he had not been able to hike in awhile. Of course we picked him up and the three generations headed out to Monte Sano.

 

Due to multiple surgeries, injuries, and health problems my dad hasn’t been able to walk for very long at all. His plan was to read a book and enjoy a nice day in the woods while we hiked.

 

But when we got there his plan changed a little. He decided to hike for a few minutes and then come back. Then he wanted to go a little further. Next thing you know he had completed a 3 hour hike!

 

It was amazing and my son and I were both extremely proud of him. My dad just kept plugging on, resting when he needed to, and hanging in there. It was truly a gift to be out there with him and my son on a perfect day on the trails.

 

Your heart and passion can take you further than your body tells you it can.

 

There is absolutely no way he could have walked 3 miles on a treadmill. That would have been cruel and unusual punishment. But get him out in the woods, spending time with family, and telling stories he hung in there like a champ.

 

When you find some form of movement you truly enjoy you will push yourself further, you will be much more consistent, and those will lead you to much better results. And you also get to have fun! Win, win. Have you found your form of movement yet? If so, keep doing it! If you quit, get back to it.

 

If you have not found a form of exercise you enjoy, keep searching. I promise you it is out there. Every human was made to move, we just aren’t all wired the same. Once you find it let me know what is, I might like to try it too.

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