Posts tagged getting in shape

“My Back And Shoulders Hurt” Circuit

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Seems like I hear more and more from clients and friends that they have stiff shoulders and backs. This is the time of year when that type of things becomes more common.

Car trips for fall break and holidays, the stress of year end work, holiday stress, etc... When you sit in a car or at a computer for too long, you will experience pain, it doesn't matter if you have perfect posture.

The absolute best way to avoid this is to get up frequently throughout the day. Every 15 minutes if possible, but at least once every hour. Get up, walk around, and stretch.

Something else you can do that is very helpful is this quick circuit:

Upper back and shoulder stiffness
Upper back and shoulder stiffness

Thanks again YouTube for picking a super, awkward thumbnail of me. It takes 10 minutes or less to get through, but it will make you feel so much better. Give it a try some time!

1. 10 Band pull aparts (knuckles up)

2. 10 Band pull aparts (palms up)

3. 10 Dislocators (back to front is one rep)

4. 10 Rolls on upper back

5. 10 Rolls on each shoulder blade

6. Repeat the whole circuit 2 more times as time permits

Fairly simple, but very effective especially when you do it consistently. Hope it helps you!

HIIT me with your best shot

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In my last post, I mentioned the research backing High Intensity Interval Training (the cool kids call it HIIT) as a time saving form of exercise. You will even see benefits from using HIIT if you use them in your walking program. Just by going a little bit faster a few times during your walk.

HIIT mixes intense exercise with low intensity “breaks”. I promised to give you a HIIT workout like the ones we do in our boot camps. And that is what I will do my friend!

For this HIIT workout we will do 30 seconds of all out effort followed by 30 seconds of a low intensity version of the same exercise.

Below are your exercises. Do 4 rounds of each (4 hard, 4 low intensity for each exercise, then move on to the next exercise in the series).

1. Kettlebell or dumbbell swings (low intensity do them without the weight or a lower weight)

2. High knees

3. Squats (for lower intensity you can use a lighter weight, no weight, and/or slow down your pace)

4. Knees (one foot forward, one foot back, drive your knee up as hard and as fast as you can. Change side every round.)

5. Seal jacks (arms and legs start out wide, jump them all together and clap your hands like a seal).

In 20 minutes you will work muscles from head to toe, get your heart rate up, get a good sweat in, and feel great afterwards. Plus you will get all the cardiovascular fitness, insulin resistance, and cellular level benefits I mentioned in my last post.

Give this one a try and let me know what you think!

What if you got 1% better every day?

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Bigger is better. We do not like things to be small. When we make changes, they need to be huge and life changing RIGHT AWAY!

And that is where most of us fail.

-I need to quit smoking, I'm going cold turkey.

-2017 is going to be the year I will workout EVERY day.

-Time to clean up the old diet! Get out of here pizza and pasta, get in here broccoli and beets. Salads and water until I lose 40 pounds and get back into those Jordache jeans from 6th grade.

Those scenarios usually end up like you think they would. Our brains are hardwired to make change difficult.

This is a great quote from Robert Maurer's book One Small Step Can Change Your Life, The Kaizen Way:  

 

“All changes, even positive ones, are scary. Attempts to reach goals through radical or revolutionary means often fail because they heighten fear. But the small steps of kaizen disarm the brain’s fear response, stimulating rational thought and creative play.”

Kaizen is the art of making great and lasting change through small, steady steps. It is about getting 1% better every day by doing things that seem so tiny they should be irrelevant.

Two examples of this are:

  1. Eating just one less bite of food every meal. Then a month later, you eat two less bites.

  2. Start an exercise program by just standing on a treadmill for one minute a day.

Those seem like such tiny things, but you don't stop there. You continue to slowly make progress, build confidence, and stick to the program.

Where are you stuck? What is it that you can not seem to accomplish? Are you willing to try something new?

It will take patience, but if you are willing to persist the Kaizen method may be just the thing you need to finally succeed.

Tough Love From Back Spasms

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The other day I was all excited about my workout. I couldn’t wait to take a trip to Muscleville, population me.

I’m just a few sets in to my very first exercise and it happens. Stinking back spasms.

Not sure if you have ever had back spasms before but they are not much fun. The bad part is that is was completely my own fault that I got them.

If you were making a formula to give yourself back spasms, I came up with a pretty good one. First you get about 4 hours of sleep the night before, then, you drink lots of coffee to make up for that, do NOT rehydrate with water, eat not so great foods, sit a lot working on a project, rush through your warm-up, and then go too heavy too fast doing squats.

That will pretty much do it if you are looking to experience some sympathy back spasms with me. And I knew not to do all of these things, but I still did them. Do you ever get yourself in those situations where you know better, but do it any way?

The first lesson here is to always prepare for your workouts. If you are tired, dehydrated, your nutrition has been terrible, you’ve been sitting all day, and you halfway go through your warm-up chances are good you could injure yourself.

The second lesson was what I did after I got the back spasms. I obviously was finished with my heavy squats and deadlifts for the day, but that did not mean my workout was finished. I found some things I could do (wall sits, bodyweight squats, rear foot elevated squats) and not be completely miserable. Then the next day, I found upper body exercises I could still do.

When you have an injury, you can choose to give up or adapt. I always choose to adapt and you should too. It’s not time to throw in the towel because you are uncomfortable or it’s too hard. What CAN you do? Put the focus there.

Maybe it is time to clean up your nutrition, decrease your stress levels, or improve your sleep quality. If your lower body, upper body, or core is injured find what you can still work on and do that! Studies show doing something works 100% better than feeling sorry for yourself.

If you need help on finding what exercises you can still do, some lifestyle changes you can make, or anything else feel free to reach out to me. Don’t give in, awesomeness is still attainable at all levels of life.

10 Tips For Creating Meals In Under 10 Minutes

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1. Start the Sunday Night Ritual: Integrate an hour on Sundays to plan and prepare meals. Get your family involved in a fun way to help you prepare the meals for the week. Give everyone (kids and husbands) an appropriate job. For example: Husband BBQ’s chicken breast and kids can wash the vegetables and fruit, and separate into baggies. Put on music, funny aprons, etc.

2. Boil a dozen eggs at a time and refrigerate. Hard-boiled eggs will last at least five days in the fridge, and are a great, compact snack.

3. Cook eight chicken breasts at a time. Grill, BBQ, bake or broil with your favorite seasonings. Great for slicing over salad, or even having half of one as a snack. Keep 3–4 in the fridge, and individually freeze the rest. Take out a frozen breast the night before.

4. Chop up vegetables and store in individual containers. Chop up whatever vegetables you like to eat raw. A good tip for making them last is to wrap them in a coffee filter. The filter will absorb any excess water, so they will last longer.

5. Wash entire heads of lettuce and chop for salads. Store lettuce in an appropriate container. If it is already chopped up, it is very easy to make a salad in the morning.

6. Make a vegetable soup. Make your favorite soup recipes and make enough soup for a week. Store 2–3 servings in the fridge. Put the rest in individual containers and store in the freezer.

7.  Cook a huge amount of vegetable stir-fry. Throw a bunch of vegetables into a wok and stir-fry with unlimited condiments of your choice. Store in the fridge in individual containers, so they are ready to grab. Add a chicken breast to it. This way, dinner is almost ready without having to cook when you get home from work.

8. Pick 1–3 recipes and cook ahead of time. Using the recipes provided, cook and freeze. Take out the meal in the morning, so it will be defrosted by dinnertime. Add a side of stir-fry or salad.

9. Portion out nuts/seeds. Buy your favorite nuts/seeds in bulk and store in containers in the fridge. Portion out your weekly serving amounts into snack bags. This makes it really handy to grab and go.

10. Eat the same lunches and snacks on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and then switch on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Planning to eat the same things on alternate days cuts down on the need to plan, grocery shop and prepare ahead of time. This way, you always know what you are having and can use the leftovers for lunches.

You don’t need the Thighmaster any more! Try these 4 instead

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Do you remember the Thighmaster? Man that thing was genius! Great way to work those stubborn inner thigh muscles.

It was genius until you use it wrong and your Thighmaster goes flying across the room on the first squeeze. Allegedly. That would never happen to a trained pro like myself in his garage right as his neighbor was rolling the trash out.

The inner thigh muscles are also known as the adductors. You can remember that because they pull your leg back towards your body, like you are ADDing it back to your body. You just got 75% of what I remember from my college degree right there.

The adductor muscles are not only important because toned inner thighs look good, but they can also help you prevent injuries and increase your performance in physical activities.

So if you want to look better, prevent nagging injuries, and/or you would like to squeeze the life out of someone Bond Girl style I got your back.

Here are 4 exercises you can do at home to strengthen and tone your inner thighs:

1. Band Adduction

Connect a band to a stable object and then attach it to your right ankle. Stand up tall with tension on the band before you start. Move your foot to the left like you are sweeping just above the floor. Control the movement as it goes back to your right. Repeat on your other leg; hold on for balance as needed.

2. Skaters

A great exercise for cardio, as well as working several lower body muscles. Start with knees bent, hips pushed back and upper body leaning forward with a flat back. Push off of your left foot and jump to your right, then do the same pushing off of your right foot. For low impact, you can step instead of jump.

3. Wall Squat Squeeze

You will need a wall and a ball for this one. Place a ball (exercise ball, medicine ball, basketball) between your knees, back against the wall, and slide down until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. While holding the squat, shoulder blades in contact with the wall, squeeze your knees as hard as you can against the ball.

4. Chair Adduction

Lie on your left side; place the inside of your right foot on top of a chair or coffee table. Raise your left leg up and touch the bottom of the chair or table, pause at the top for a count, and then slowly lower your leg down. Repeat on the other side.

 

Building Bock Three- 7 Steps For The Best Rest

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Raise your hand if you get enough sleep? Not too many hands there, I know mine wasn't up. But I am constantly working on ways I can improve my sleep/rest, which will lead to better recovery,  which will lead me to getting better results with those first two building blocks we have talked about.

 

Here are just a few things that studies have shown that lack of proper sleep can cause:

-snack more after dinner

-eat more junk carbs

-fat cells age, making you more likely to gain weight and get diabetes

-a decrease in alertness and increase reaction time, making you more likely to be in a traffic accident

-increased levels of stress, anger, sadness, and depression

 

So here are 7 tips to help improve sleep quantity as well as quality.

1. The single most important thing you will need is a good bed

In my opinion a great bed and mattress are well worth the amount of money they cost. Think about how much time you spend in that bed over the next 10-20 years. A very worthwhile investment, so get a good one that works for you.

2. Create a good sleep environment

Keep the noise level down as low as possible, as dark as possible, and keep your room cool (to my wife this means 87 degrees, for me it is 48 degrees). The research shows around 68 degrees is an optimal temp. Sometimes my wife reads these e-mails, fingers crossed today.

3. Get a routine

You know the basketball players that dribble twice, kiss their cross medallion, wipe the sweat off their forehead, do 4 clap jacks, and then shoot a free throw? No? Okay, just know that you need a routine to help you wind down and relax before you go to sleep. This can be reading, listening to soft music, taking a bath, praying, some light stretching. Just find a calming activity you do every night that will be your body's signal to shut it down for the night.

4. What about when you have to get up in the middle of the night?

The number one thing is to avoid frustration. If you have been trying for more than 15 minutes and nothing is happening, get out of bed and do some sort of light activity (eat a light snack, drink a glass of milk, read something boring) with the lights dimmed. If your mind starts working a hundred miles per hour on things you need to do, keep a notepad next to your bed and write down the things on your mind. All of these are designed to take your mind off things and not be so frustrated at yourself for being awake.

5. Stay away from pills!

They are the absolute last resort. There are times when you need them, but research has shown that using a good sleep routine is more effective than pills.

6. Some things that can mess with your sleepy time:

* Too much food, especially fatty, rich food. These take a lot of work for your stomach to digest and may keep you up. Spicy or acidic foods in the evening can cause stomach trouble and heartburn.

* Too much liquid. Drinking lots of fluid may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night.

* Alcohol. Many people think that a nightcap before bed will help them sleep. While it may make you fall asleep faster, alcohol reduces your sleep quality, waking you up later in the night. To avoid this effect, stay away from alcohol in the hours before bed.

* Caffeine. You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it! Consider eliminating caffeine after lunch or cutting back your overall intake.

* Smoking. Smoking causes sleep troubles in numerous ways. Nicotine is a stimulant, which disrupts sleep. Additionally, smokers actually experience nicotine withdrawal as the night progresses, making it hard to sleep.

*Electronics. Turn the electronics off at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before bed time and keep them away from you as you sleep. Our gadgets can suppress melatonin, keep your brain alert (and you awake), and all the beeps, buzzes, and chirps can wake you up in the middle of the night.

7. And of course, the best thing you can do is exercise!

Our bodies are not designed to sit around all day with zero physical activity. I have a saying about kids that applies to adults too. When in doubt, wear 'em out. Moving more and sitting less will help improve your sleep quality.

 

Some of these may seem obvious, but the idea is to do ALL the steps to optimize your sleep. Not just the ones that come easy to you. Good luck and get some rest tonight!

Building Block 1- Lessons from a Ginger Hulk

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My wife and I took the train down to New Orleans for a wedding a few years ago. The train is a pretty awesome way to travel if you aren't in a hurry by the way.

 

We get there pretty late, by my standards any way. It was about 10pm, so it was pretty dark out. The place we were staying at was one of those deals where you pay on-line, the person sends you a code, and then you get the key to your place out of a lock box when you get there.

 

I put the code in this stinking thing about 10 times and nothing! I was a little tired and admittedly a lot hangry, so my mind was not right. It is always good when you have to preface things like that, isn't it?

I gave the code one more try and then I kind of blacked out. When I come back to reality I am holding a lock box that was bolted into a concrete wall just seconds before.

 

In the middle of my Hulk Lock Box Smash I start wandering around and I see another lock box a little bit down from where I was standing. You can probably guess that the code worked perfectly on that one. That made for a slightly awkward moment for me and the other lock box owner...

How scary would a ginger Hulk be by the way?

 

Do you ever feel like you are just beating your head against the wall with your exercise plan? You keep trying the "code" that works for your friends, people on the Internet, and every celebrity. I will let you in on a little secret.

 

Not everything works for everybody.

 

Sounds pretty obvious, but that truth evades many people. Just because someone you know lost 50 pounds and kept it off doing Crossfit, Zumba, Body Pump, boot camp, etc.. does not mean it will work the same for you.

 

There are several facts that go into, but when you are choosing what workout to do consider a few things:

 

Consistency- Can I see myself doing this on a regular basis for at least 1 month? Consistency is a huge factor that can make or break your success rate.

 

Lifestyle- Will this fit into my work/family/home life? If it conflicts with more than one area of your life, it is going to be tough to establish a routine.

 

Enjoyment- Are you going to be miserable the ENTIRE time you are doing this plan? If so, don't do it! There are hundreds of ways to get in shape without having to hate your life the rest of your time on Earth.

 

Intensity- Can you safely work out harder without injuring yourself? Does your workout include progressions and regressions (ways to make it harder or easier) so you can continually get results at your level?

 

Be willing to try multiple things before you can find the plan that can give you long term results and that you will actually look forward to doing. There is a plan out there for everyone, it is your job to keep searching until you find it.

 

We do a pretty darn good job at Huntsville Adventure Boot Camp of helping people achieve these factors. If you would like to come see what we do, I am offering a free week to the first 5 people who e-mail me and ask for the free week. My e-mail is HuntsvilleBootCamp@gmail.com.

Our Tighten and Toning Camp starts on Monday and you can start with us, all it takes is an e-mail.

It’s just too much!!!

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I was a chaperone for a church youth trip this past weekend. We took the kids to a conference called Motion that was held at the BJCC in Birmingham. It was amazing, overwhelming, and I don’t think I slept more than 6 hours total the whole time we were there. Sleeping on the ground is rougher than I remember. Hashtag feeling old.

Something one of the speakers said really stuck with me He said that knowledge is doubling every 5 years (some sources say every 18 months). So every 5 years the amount of knowledge the world knows DOUBLES. I think that is so crazy!

Like many things that is a two-edge sword. On one hand that means everything you need to know about health, fitness, nutrition, exercise or anything you want to learn is out there for you.  On the other hand, there is a lot of garbage out there.

In your every day life think about how often you are bombarded with TV commercials, plugs on Facebook, radio ads, and Spam e-mails for weight loss advice, products, and services. I Googled weight loss yesterday and it came back with 270 million results.

How do you know what is legit? There are a few things that have always worked and will continue to work forever. The basics are not sexy or exciting but they are effective.

Are there great supplements out there? Absolutely.

Are there weight loss systems that help people? Yes!

Are there diets that work? Every day people are successful with any number of different ways of eating. But ask yourself these questions first before you try something crazy: -Could I work out harder and be more active (especially outside of your workout) overall?

-Could I eat more foods that I prepare and eat out less?

-Do I take in a lot of empty calories? (junk and processed foods, soft drinks, alcohol)

-Does my body need more sleep at night?

-Is my stress level too high?

That is a very oversimplified list, but if you answered yes to the majority of those I would start there. Exercise, proper nutrition, recovery, and stress management are building blocks of your health. If one of them is off, it negatively impacts the rest of them.

Where do you need to start? Pick one building block and start there. Over the next few e-mails I will break down each of the building blocks.

Let’s get back to the basics, so we don’t have to sift through all the confusion that is out there.

The importance of Your Future Self

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Daniel H. Pink recounts an experiment that tested people’s ability to invest in their future in his book “To Sell Is Human”. Yep, I’m using that book again, it’s a good book. They tested the subjects by having one group look at an image of themselves now and then talk to a digital representation of the researchers.

The researchers asked the subjects if they received an unexpected present of $1000 how would they spread it around. The options they could pick from were:

-Use it to buy something nice for someone else

-Invest it in a retirement fund

-Plan a fun and extravagant vacation

-Put it in a checking account

Everything was the same for the other group, except they were shown an image of themselves at 70 years old for one minute before they were asked the question. You can probably guess that the group that was shown an image of their future selves saved more. They put more than double into retirement than the other group did.

A similar thing happens with health and fitness. It is tough for younger people to picture themselves ever having to change what they eat or their activity level. Remember when you could eat donuts, mac and cheese, and pizza every day and still look the same?

Young people are not the only ones. Very few of us take the long-term approach to health and wellness. Not sure about you, but I plan on being around for awhile and I want to be strong and healthy that whole time.

Every day I get the opportunity to make deposits in my account through what I eat, how much I move, how much I sleep, etc… I can also make withdrawals with those same choices.

Take some time and think how you want to look, feel, and move at 50. 60. 70. 80 and beyond. Let that guide your daily choices. Not what you want next week or next month.

Keep making those deposits, minimize the withdrawals, and let’s plan on being those old people that work circles around these other whippersnappers.

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