Posts tagged exercise motivation

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.

Don’t look ahead to the pain

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In my last message I talked a little about how this week is when people really start to drop off in their resolutions. How things started off so good and ended so bad.

You tried really hard for a few days and just could not get a year's worth of results in 10 days. You do good for the first few days. Workout went good, that broccoli and chicken breast at lunch wasn't that bad, and you didn't have one sip of alcohol or soda, etc...

Fast forward to now and life has set in. The hectic schedule is back, stress is back in full force, and everything has gone out the window. Workouts make you sore and cranky, you wish broccoli and chicken had a face so you could punch it, you are mixing alcohol with soda now, etc...

The main thing that happens though, is that the big picture has overwhelmed you. I can't continue to workout 4 days a week and eat right for the rest of my life, so why even try?

The book Lone Survivor offers some good advice that can help you get some perspective. The book is about a Navy SEAL who is the only one from his team to survive a mission gone bad in Afghanistan. There is a part where it talks about the insane amount of mental and physical training you have to go through to become a Navy SEAL.  

During part of the training a man named Joe Maguire, who is a highly respected SEAL legend came into to give the prospective SEALs advice on how to make it through this enormous task ahead of them.

Here is part of his speech:

"Whenever you're hurting bad, just hang in there. Finish the day."

 

 And another part:

"Don't let your thoughts run away with you, don't start planning to bail out because you're worried about the future and how much you can take. Don't look ahead to the pain."

 

That's great advice for whatever your goals are.

Trying to lose weight? Don't think about the 50 you have to get rid of, it's the first pound you worry about first.

Want to run a 5K for the first time? Don't think about the 3.1 miles you have to cover, just worry about the next step your foot is taking.

Signed up for a 4 week boot camp and you can't imagine getting through the whole thing? Get through the next repetition of the exercise you are doing right now.

Doing a 6 week nutrition challenge and you are struggling on day one? Stay in the moment and do one thing at a time.

Break that huge goal down into what you are doing that second and take care of it in the moment. You can't do anything about the future until you get there anyway. It will just intimidate you when you think of how much pain (mental and physical) you will have to go through to get there.

Don't give in, finish the day.

It’s that time of year…

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Did you know that now is when you see the most dramatic drop off in gym attendance every year? For whatever reason the third full week in February is when most resolutions are over.

If you have given up on the goals you have set for yourself, it’s not too late! There is plenty of 2017 to go, you just need to recalibrate.

Your first step is to find out what went wrong. Did you choose a goal that just sounded good, but not one you were committed to? Did you set too many goals? Did you have the right goal, but it turns out you hate working out?

It could be several different reasons why things did not work out. No pun intended.

Your second step is to figure out a new game plan. Don’t think about having to commit to the rest of the year. Set a goal for the next 4 weeks. As legendary SEAL Joe Maguire says, “Don’t look forward to the pain.” More on that in Friday’s e-mail.

Your third step is to figure out the most enjoyable way you could reach your goals. What types of exercise do you actually enjoy? Roller skating, yoga, swimming, hiking, lifting weights, shaking weights? Pick something you look forward to.

The fourth step is to do the same thing with food the next four weeks. Find some healthy foods that you like. They are out there I promise, you may have to do some experimenting. Or if you prefer you can start with the food first, then try the exercise in the fourth step.

Living a healthy lifestyle does not have to make you miserable. On the contrary it should make you feel energized and excited! You just have to find what works for you, even if it isn’t the typical “go to the gym, eat foods you hate but are super healthy, and look great but hate your life” tract that people get stuck on.

 

Lady Gaga’s belly

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This is what people are going nuts over? Crazy talk.

Chances are you saw Lady Gaga’s halftime show at the Super Bowl. It was the second most viewed half time show ever with 117.5 million viewers. Katy Perry’s performance has the most views of all time (120.7 million) if you are curious.

It was an amazing performance! Although I did get a little embarrassed when I looked down and I had the same outfit on that Gaga did. Faux pas for sure.

Through all that I kept hearing a similar comment from social media and other “news” outlets. “Yeah it was a nice performance, but what’s up with her jelly roll?”

I thought I was crazy because I hadn’t noticed. I was too busy being blown away with her cardiovascular fitness! She did not breathe hard one bit or even stammer despite being all over the place and jumping off of high places.

First off, this didn’t hurt Lady Gaga one bit. She sold 150,000 albums and singles on Super Bowl Sunday. Can’t imagine what that number is now.

But onto a bigger point. You never know what that person you are criticizing has been through.

That lady you admire in the gym that seems to have the perfect body, the guy who likes to flex in front of the mirror, or Lady Gaga. Exercise is a coping mechanism for a lot of other problems people face. Lady Gaga has been vocal about her struggles with eating disorders and body image issues.

I’m no Lady Gaga fan, despite all these Gaga facts I’m throwing out here. I am a fan of people who are bold and focus on their strengths, despite what others think.

Focus on getting stronger, not skinnier. Focus on getting healthier rather than getting into that old pair of pants from college. Focus on changing your lifestyle, rather than getting ready for that event you have coming up.

When you change your focus something weird will happen. You will still fit into smaller clothes and you will still look better but hurtful comments will not derail you as easily.

You do you, baby you were born this way.

PS- I realize this has cost me my man card, but I don’t care. I’m too busy trying to get my cardio to Gaga level.

Challenge #5- Don’t be a victim

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Your challenge this week is to do one thing to eliminate one major source of stress in your life.

 

What's the thing in your life that causes you the most negative thoughts in your life? When you read stress, what immediately popped into your head? That's what you need to attack.

 

Whatever it is, just do ONE thing this week that starts to work on the stress source. You will feel so much better just by doing one thing!

 

I am a true believer in the AAA principle.

Action Alleviates Anxiety

No matter how big the situation is, pick out something to do. In debt and can't see your way out? Start a budget. Does it immediately solve your problem? No, but it's a start.

 

Are you so out of weight and have so much weight to lose you feel paralyzed? Start keeping a food journal, do 10 minutes of exercise, or eat one healthy meal. You didn't put all of that weight on overnight and it's not going to come off overnight. Start the process now.

 

Do you find yourself stressed out by the political climate in America right now? Do something positive in your community. Does it fix the entire country? No, but it sure beats worrying and feeling helpless all the time.

When all you are doing is worrying about a problem it becomes a much bigger problem. You become more negative and the stress continues to build. When you start to do something about the issue, you can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Take action and you become an active participant in getting the stress resolved, rather than just being a victim. These may seem like small, worthless steps but they will help I promise.

Do one thing this week to help with your biggest source of stress.

The JMF Super Bowl 51 Workout

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Super Bowl Sunday is this weekend and I can't wait! I grew up a Falcons fan, I have a lot of respect for what the Patriots have been able to do, and I am pumped about the real stars of the show on Sunday. The food and the commercials.

I know what you're thinking:

"Joe, I enjoy watching the Super Bowl like a normal person, but is there any way I could look like a crazy person while still watching the game?"

I've got your back my friend. My crack staff of graphic designers spent hours putting together this workout graphic for you. It goes along the lines of the drinking games that other people like to put out this time of year.

Print off the list, follow this slightly misaligned list of exercises, and have a great night!

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