Posts tagged joe martin fitness

The best 5 minutes you can spend

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What if you could do something for 5-10 minutes a day for one week and you would reap the benefits for the next 6 months? And the benefits would include:

-better sleep

-higher quality sleep

-get sick less often

-less physical pain

-increased exercise

-decrease depression

-lower blood pressure

-increased energy

If you could put that in a pill, you could retire and live like a boss the rest of your life. But it is not a pill, does not require physical exertion, and it doesn’t cost you a thing.

It is simply the act of practicing gratitude.

Practicing gratitude has been thought of as a religious or spiritual technique by many people and has many skeptics of its benefits. But there are several scientific studies that back up these claims.

My challenge to you is to test this theory out. We all have 5 minutes in our day to make this happen if we are intentional about it.

Don’t overthink this one. Just spend 5 minutes each day thinking about and writing down things that you are grateful for. Pick a time, either first thing in the morning or before bed, and start. The hardest part is starting.

Then from there, just remember there are no wrong answers. You are doing this for you and you don’t have to show this to anyone. Just. Start.

 

Are you willing to give this a try?

Shark habits will make your brain clutter free

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I was listening to the Art of Manliness Podcast yesterday because I’m always working on my manliness. The interview was with one of my favorite people in the fitness industry, Dan John.

Dan John is a guy I really respect because he talks about true fitness being fit in all areas of your life. Meaning, if you are just a set of six pack abs but the rest of your life is a mess you are doing it wrong.

He practices what he preaches too. He is a world renowned strength coach, record holding athlete, devoted father and grandfather, best selling author, and a well regarded religious studies instructor and lecturer. A true, modern day Renaissance man.

In the podcast, Dan started talking about the concept of shark habits. A shark habit is something you do once and you are done with it, just like a shark eats. Gulp.

Some examples he uses are: when he opens an e-mail he responds to it on the spot; he bought 16 of the same shirts so he doesn’t have to think about what he is going to ear the next day; when he receives a wedding invitation he RSVPs on the spot; when you are booking flights, go ahead and get the rental car and hotel too.

Those are just a few examples that he uses all the time. The main benefit of all this?

It frees up brain space.

Couldn’t we all use a little more of that? I know I can. Clearing the clutter, not keeping you bogged down in the minutiae of life, and allowing you to focus on things that really matter.

What are some shark habits you could do to improve your health? What are things in your day that seem to take up unnecessary time and mental effort? Start there and find out how to conquer them.

I am going to start with the e-mail responses. I get SO many e-mails I can easily get bogged down, so I will start there. If you are unsure of where to start, I would suggest doing another Dan John special.

Create a list of the top 14 foods you eat all the time (the average person eats 14 foods per week). Write them down and make that your grocery list every week. Then use that base of foods to make a weekly menu of foods. When meals are taken care of everything gets easier.

Find your shark habits today and see your life become easier.

3 Steps for dealing with all of this candy

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I know it, you know it, and your kids definitely know it. You are going to slowly eat all of your children’s best Halloween candy when they aren't looking.

This will go on until one day your kid will wake up to a bag of those orange and black candies, a Chick-O-Stick, and some UNICEF change. Happens every year.

So what’s a health conscious, candy-stealing parent to do? If you are me, first you justify that you are doing them a favor by eating their candy because they don’t need all that. Second, you need to develop a plan.

Step 1- Out of sight, out of mind

Put the candy in a place where you and your kids will not be tempted every time they walk into the kitchen. A top pantry shelf is usually a good place to use.

Step 2- Awareness

Despite looking so “fun” and innocent those little candy bars will add up. PopSugar, oddly enough, has a chart where you can look at the calorie, sugar, and fat content of the most popular fun-sized candies. Eat a few of those and next thing you know, you’ve taken in a quick 500 calories. Enjoy the spoils of being a Halloween candy tax-collecting parent, but be aware of what you are taking in.

Step 3- The Aftermath

Not only do you have your child’s candy to contend with, but often times you have leftover candy AND everyone brings their leftover candy to work. I would suggest you either donate your excess candy or donate it. Soup kitchens, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and organizations who support our fighting men and women overseas are a few options to donate to.

The candy at work problem is a little trickier. You can suggest that you donate the candy as an office to one of the above-mentioned organizations. If not, avoid the places where the offending candy is as much as possible. Avoiding temptation is easier than overcoming temptation.

Also, don’t let yourself get too hungry at work with no healthy options or you will find yourself curing your hanger by eating small families of Snickers.

All of it gets back to being aware and having a plan to overcome. We will get through this, stay strong.

PS-when in doubt, just steal all the work candy and donate it. Burn this message after you read it.

3 Tips to avoid overeating

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Will power is weak, while systems are strong. No matter how mentally tough you are, you will eventually break down if you don’t set yourself up for success.

I read an article in the October issue of IDEA Fitness Journal that discussed the topic of overeating. This is a topic near and dear to my food loving heart so I read it with great interest.

Part of the article was a section about setting up your environment to prevent overeating. Dr. Brian Wansink, the director of Cornell Food and Brand Lab, had 3 tips to make your kitchen or office space a healthier environment.

1. Fill up the fruit bowl

This one has a tow fold effect. First, every time you walk by the fruit bowl it is a reminder to eat healthy foods. Much like having a bowl of Hershey’s kisses out will have the opposite effect.

The second reason is when you have readily accessible food like that you are, more likely to eat it. Right now we have grapes in a fruit bowl and a chopped broccoli and hummus in the fridge at my house. Easy, healthy grab and go snacks can be life savers.

2. Make the kitchen less “loungeable”

Totally stealing his word on this one. The longer you hang out in the kitchen, the more likely you are to start eating. Even if you are not hungry. Take iPads, TVs, comfortable chairs, etc… out of the kitchen.

3. Be grateful

This was a really interesting one to me. Dr. Wansink recommends saying one thing you are grateful for before you eat. He says it will improve your eating choices. That one is a new one to me, but I am a big believer in gratitude so I am going to give it a shot.

These are some great tips to help you avoid the trap of mindless overeating. Do you have any other tips to share that work for you? If so, I would love to hear them!

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!

Getting in shape in one minute

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In my last post I talked about using the Kaizen method to form good habits. I used some examples that were shockingly small.

But research has shown there is a way to pack 45 minutes of exercise into 1 minute. It sounds like a product that you would see on late night TV with 8 Minute Abs and something that makes Ramen Noodles cook EVEN faster.

Researchers compared a group of young men who were to perform moderate cardiovascular exercise versus a group of young men who would perform High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). The wanted to see if there were changes in aerobic fitness, how well they could control blood sugar, and muscle function at the cell level.

The first group did a 2-minute warm-up, rode 45 minutes on a stationary bike, and then did a 3-minute cool down. The other group warmed up for 2 minutes, went as hard as they could for 20 seconds, went 2 minutes very slowly, and then repeated that sequence for a total of 3 sets in 10 minutes. Both groups exercised 3 days per week.

Both groups ended up with:

-20% increase in cardiovascular endurance

-improved insulin resistance

-great increases in cells that produce energy and oxygen in the muscles

Would you rather exercise for 27 hours or 6 hours (with only 36 minutes being hard) to get the same benefit? That’s a pretty easy choice for me.

 

But, there is always a but, HIIT is not easy! It is also not the only way I recommend you exercise. There are some days you are just not in the mood for intense exercise. Going for a long run, hike, swim, bike ride, etc… at a leisurely pace is still great for your body as well as your mind.

In my next post I will put up a HIIT workout similar to what we do in our boot camp classes.

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.

How I caused a ruckus on the dance floor (story time)

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One of the gifts I got my wife for her 40th birthday was a ticket to the Moon Over Three Caves Dance. We’ve been trying to go for years and I am so glad we went because it was awesome!

They had one of our favorite bands, Juice, playing. They actually played at our wedding, so my wife was really excited to see them.

On special occasions, I will take my unique talents to the dance floor. I give the gift of dance to all who are around me because I am a giver. I am familiar with most of the popular line dances, but they all tend to kind of run together for me until I find my way.

 

Juice played The Wobble at one point and I found myself in a familiar position of knowing just enough to be dangerous. I knew all of The Wobble steps, but I may or may have not had the correct order.

The dance floor was in a state of confusion. There were several people who were thrown off by the slightly different rendition of The Wobble. Some were thrown off by the fact they had no idea what was happening. And others might have been thrown off by the glare on my head.

Somebody needed to do something! They needed guidance. They needed a hero.

They needed a ginger.

So I went all in. I did things big, I did things on the 4 count. I did all the steps you’re supposed to do. I have no idea if it was in the right order, but I did it with gusto.

A funny thing happened. People started following my lead and doing the same flawed moves. It was like that dance scene in Can’t Buy Me Love if you’ve ever seen that.

There are a few lessons to take away from this.

1. You have control over two things in life: attitude and effort.

This is something we preach to our 11 and 12-year old football players all the time. You don’t have control over how fast or big you are, but you do have control over how hard you work and your positivity.

The same thing applies to your exercise program. You can’t control genetics, your schedule, and hundreds of other things. You do have control of how much effort you put into it and whether or not you are going to stick with it. Go hard.

2. Psychology trumps physiology.

One of the top guys in the fitness world, Alwyn Cosgrove says this. That just means there is a lot you can overcome going all in with the help of others. You don’t have to have the perfect exercise program to get results. Don’t overthink what exercises to do, how many times, how many days, etc… A group atmosphere has been proven to help you increase your intensity, overcome fatigue, and get you better results.

3. Be careful who you follow, they probably have no idea what they are doing.

Especially when it comes to dancing.

Make Your Bed

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Retired Admiral William H. McRaven did a commencement speech at his alma mater the University of Texas. The speech ended up going viral, so chances are good that if you didn’t see it you probably heard about it.

The speech was called Change The World By Making Your Bed. What does making your bed have to do with changing the world? I hate making my bed, I’m just going to sleep in it in a few hours!

There are several reasons for making your bed, the first being that it gives you a sense of accomplishment. Gives you a little pride to start your day and that sets the tone for the rest of the day. Inspiring you to do another task, then another task.

Making your bed shows you that the little things matter. You can never do the big things, if you can’t first do the little things. Then if nothing else when you come home and you have had a terrible day you have a nicely made bed waiting for you at home. And that gives you hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

I just finished reading Admiral McRaven’s book “Make Your Bed: Little things that can change your life...and maybe the world.” Great, short read if you are looking for a book. And it motivated me to “make my bed”. I just have one problem.

There is still someone sleeping in my bed when I get up at 4am.

So I’ve started waking up and immediately doing 5 minutes as hard as I can go on a VersaClimber. Wakes me up, I get in a little cardio training, and no matter how busy the rest of my day gets I have at least done 5 minutes of exercise that day.

What can you do to “make your bed” each morning? What can set the tone for the day and get you off on the right foot? Find what works best for you! Find that thing that no matter how bad your day goes, you will always have that one positive thing to look at as proof that this day was not a waste.

PS- Today is the last day to get a copy of the 21 Day Detox Plan. You can reserve your copy here --->undefined

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