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Do You Have A Bad Back?

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Do You Have A Bad Back?

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-Julian

We spend a lot of time helping members learn how to tell the difference between soreness and pain. Or how to tell the difference between an injury and recovering from a hard workout. One specific version of that is the issue of the lower back. Or the bad back. During workouts, “feeling my back” tends to be one of the first issues or requests for needing a break, needing to sit, or needing to lower the intensity of the workout. Outside of the gym, in the real world, I run into a lot of people that mention a bad back as a limiting factor for physical labor. The physical labor can range from gardening, to moving furniture, to the requirements of their job.

So here is what I want to address:

Do you have a bad back?

 Your low back pain is from either, injury/damage, weakness, or an increase of use. Most of the time (barring some specific injuries) it is fixable without pain pills, or surgery. The big problem with low back pain is that it feels the same regardless of what the cause is. While this may be true in general, it seems to be more so with regards to the low back. For most people, it can be easy to tell the difference between your bicep being sore from your workout and your bicep being in pain from smashing it into something. But the low back does not discriminate with its pain.

So if the pain in your low back feels the same regardless of its root cause, how are you supposed to tell the difference between whether it is injured, weak, or simply been used more than normal?

By paying attention to when the pain started.

In order for your low back to actually be injured, a specific, traumatic, instance must have taken place. Traumatic may seem like strong word, but really it just refers to sudden violence. Which can be something as small as grazing your elbow against a cardboard box. In a specific traumatic instance, you will feel or hear a pop or twinge, or be blatantly aware that you fell down, ran into, or stood up into something. It's pretty easy to tell if the traumatic event took place. Sometimes you won't feel pain right away. Sometimes you will feel the pain the next morning when you wake up. It is your responsibility in that moment to realize you hurt yourself the previous day, and NOT blame it on how you slept. Because,

It's never how you slept that puts a krink in your neck, or makes your back sore. It's what you did the day or two prior, that forced you to sleep in the manner you did.

If you wake up with back pain after a traumatic instance, or feel the pain immediately, you should get it checked out by a doctor, arm yourself with the knowledge of the injury, and do what you can to help it heal properly. If you do not, you will be living with an injured back causing you pain and discomfort the rest of your life.

If you worked out the day before and feel pain in your low back when you wake up, or begin to feel pain during the workout, and do not feel a specific bump, twinge, or pop, you are NOT injured. If the pain comes on gradually during a set, or you notice it between sets, you are NOT injured. You have simply used it more than it is used to. 

This is good! This is the same as your legs being sore or your arms being sore. It means you have convinced your body it needs to grow stronger. If you are working out properly, the soreness should show up later in the workout, or be less severe the next day as you progress.

If your back is in pain from being used more than it is used to, sitting as still as possible is going to make the pain worse. It will cause your muscles to grow extra stiff in response to the soreness, making it harder to stand up or move. Which is what makes it FEEL injured. 

To prevent this you want to take time to move in a manner that is different and less intense than the workout that caused the pain in the first place. 

If you have not experienced a specific traumatic instance and wake up with pain in your low back, feel pain when you bend down, feel pain when you pick things up, or feel pain walking or running, your back is NOT INJURED. It is weak or immobile, either due to lack of use, or imbalances built up from poor use. Ibuprofen and the doctor aren't going to help you if this is the case. Laying as still as possible on the couch isn't going to help it get better because, and here's the kicker,

NOT MOVING IS WHAT CAUSED THE ISSUE IN THE FIRST PLACE! That would be the equivalent of trying to treat a burn with boiling water.

So no, you do not have a bad back. 

If you want your back to get better, you have to strengthen it and move it to improve mobility. Which will probably cause it to get sore in the beginning. Make sure to recover with different and less intense movements to keep the soreness from feeling like an injury.

Start carefully of course but know if you don't, you put yourself at risk of actually injuring your back in a specific traumatic instance.

And that's on you.

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Fear, Passed Failures, and Rebuliding Trust

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Fear, Passed Failures, and Rebuliding Trust

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-Lydia

Fear is one of the most powerful emotions one can have. That is the reason so many political leaders use it to control the masses, why major news channels use it to boost their ratings, why parents use it to get kids to behave. The question is are you using it on yourself and to what end?

Most of us have dreams and goals we will never even attempt to go after because of fear. Fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of letting other people down, even fear of success. This fear doesn't come out of no where though, this fear is taught to us. Watch a young child play at the park, they have very little fear. They run full force towards the jungle gym. It is not until they fall off that they think about the repercussions. But they fall off, they hurt themselves, they cry, and the next day they run towards the jungle gym, but maybe not at full force, maybe they think a little bit about how it hurt, but still they run, and again they fall, and they get hurt, and they cry, and they come back the next day, and this time they walk to the sandbox because now they are afraid of the jungle gym.

When I was in high school I wanted to be an actor. I loved the work, and I knew it was my calling. I got into a prestigious acting school in Manhattan. I soaked up every once of knowledge I could. I loved it and I was positive I was set up for success. After the first year I was not invited back to the school. It was a little hard to take but I pressed on. I got head shots taken and I started sending out emails and going to open calls, but nothing happened. At some point I stopped trying. I still thought about it, still thought there might be a way, but I had stopped taking action.

This is the biggies failure I've had in my life and it still hurts and it makes me scared everyday. It took me a long time to accept being a full part of Everyday Superhero Training, to be passionate about it and take ownership of it. If it was just Julian's company and I was just help, I wouldn't have to face the fear that my passed failures had left me with. But if I had stayed in the limited box my fear had left me in, I would've had no room to grow. I had to face my fears and let go of my passed failure so I could embrace a new passion and a new life goal, and man am I glad I did.

Dealing with fear and mistrust is something we go through with every client. No one comes to us having never tried to get healthy or lose weight before. Everyone comes  with passed failures and fears that this too won't work. We have to rebuild a trust with each of them that was broken by fad diets and bad trainers that hurt them before. It's our job to get them to trust us, trust the process, and trust that they have the ability to change and the out come this time can be different. This is made harder by the fact that we don't have a miracle cure.

I wish we could tell people to take a table spoon of some super food and everything would be perfect but that's not what we're selling. All we have is some physical tools, habit building, slow growth, and change of mindset. We are here to teach you how to move, how to build health into your everyday life, how to change your relationship with food. It's a slow process but it's real change. The thing is we need you to not just trust us and the program, we need you to trust yourself. We need you to lay aside all of the fear of passed failures, the shame of embarrassing snake oil cures you may have bought into, and most of all the fear of the what happens if this time it works and you really do change. If you put in the work something will happen. I trust that.

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Strengthen Your Ability To Enjoy Life

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Strengthen Your Ability To Enjoy Life

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- Julian

If you watch our videos, read our blog, attempt our challenges, attend our class, or ever have a session with me, there are a few things you may notice us say, do, and ask of you, over and over and over again. Things like, moving everyday, training for the life you already live, consistency being the key to results, and balance being the key to consistency.

These things are stressed because our focus is not JUST about losing fat or building muscle, but on building the habits that allow you to maintain those results, and in doing so grow your ability to enjoy life. While enjoying life may seem highly vague, there are mechanisms that can help quantify your ability to do so.....at least physically. There are many factors that contribute to your ability to enjoy life that are going to be deeply personal, mental, emotional, or spiritual, and I'm not going to pretend I can quantify them for you.

But there is evidence that suggests some physical measurements can be correlated to your ability to enjoy life. And none of those measurements are your weight, your waist size, your thigh gap, the definition of your abs, or your ability to take a gym selfie.

One such piece of evidence is a study that I frequently reference and was initially pointed towards by Dr. Andy Galpin, a professor in the Center for Sport Performance at CSU Fullerton. The study found a correlation between quality of life and three physical traits:

Leg strength – The ability to stand, walk, and move for needed periods of time without pain, or falling.

VO2 Max – The maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense or maximal exercise.

Lean Tissue – The amount of muscle on your body (and the ligaments, and tendons, and bones, and organs that connect them).

What does it mean though? This means it is not being overweight or being thin that dictates whether someone is healthy or not.

I am going to say that again.

Being overweight isn't what makes someone unhealthy.

Being thin isn't what makes someone healthy.

Regardless of your shape, if you can move comfortably within the needs of your life, not get winded from doing so, and have the structure to support your size, enjoying your life becomes a lot easier. That's what makes you healthy.

I am not going to pretend that looking good in your birthday suit doesn't play a factor. The desire to look good is what fuels most people to hit the gym, and feeling like you don't look good, or even worse, don't look good yet, is what destroys peoples confidence and self worth.

But here's the thing:

No one is ever satisfied with how their body looks. You can ask the top bodybuilders, athletes, actors, and models, anyone that we hold up as an example of what to strive for, and they will all claim to be unhappy with many parts of their body.

It is during the pursuit of bettering ourselves that we look best in the mirror. It is our ability to enjoy life that makes us healthy. If you want to feel your best, look your best, and believe in yourself, you should focus on bettering your ability to enjoy life.

This is what we coach, teach, and program for. This is how we train. This is what makes us the health industry rather than the fitness industry.

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The Necessary Evil That is Other People

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The Necessary Evil That is Other People

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-Lydia

I am by no means a people person. Like most villains I am a classic introvert. I tend to put people into two categories, family and members of my community who I would go to the ends of the earth for, and everybody else...who should be destroyed. Here is the thing with people though, whether they are an ally or nemesis, when you decide to make a positive change in your life they can react unexpectedly. And to both positive and negative ends.

On the positive side they can be your best support system and you can't achieve goals with out one. Having people to cheer you on, celebrate your accomplishments, and most importantly encourage or sympathize with you when you fail are kind of necessary. Even people who you aren't close to can be a help. Sharing your goals also makes them more real and can create a sense of accountability. So yeah I think we can all agree that people are great and we all need each other and kumbaya and shit. If you have people like this in your life right now take care of them. Thank them for being there, make sure you give them the same support back. If you don't feel like you have people like that in your life at the moment don't stress it too much. Make sure you take the time to be your own cheerleader and treat yourself well. Look for opportunity to be a support team to somebody else, give them a pat on the back and some encouragement. These things will open you up to having more like minded people in your life.

Now I do want to talk about the toxic way people can effect you when making life changes. I have memories of being a kid and going crabbing with my dad and brother. When you catch crabs you throw them live into an empty bucket, without a lid, and keep crabbing, or at least that's how we did it. We never needed a lid or cages for them. You see in an effort to escape the bucket the crabs will continue to pull each other down. I'm telling you this odd story because people can often react much like crabs in a bucket. When you make the announcement that you have goals to lose weight, or drink less, or start a big project, some people will react with contempt and resentment. What they hear is not that their friend is trying to have a better life but instead that they are being abandon by their drinking buddy or that you now think your better then them.

So how do you handle toxic friends? It's hard but you have to remember that your making positive changes for you not for them. They are acting out because of they're own feelings of inadequacies not because of anything you said or did. Move forward and continue to do your best, if they are a good friend they will come around and maybe even be inspired by the changes you made. If they can't come around and don't know how to be happy for you then they may not be a person you need to see a lot of.

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Why You Need to Cook at Home

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Why You Need to Cook at Home

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There are a lot of diets out there in the world and let me tell you right now...spoiler alert...most of them don't work and aren't sustainable. So what does work? Eating healthy and having a good relationship with food, I know, vague right? Now we have talked a little bit in the past about having a good emotional relationship with food so today I thought we'd talk about eating healthy. A lot of things go into eating healthy or “eating clean.” Portion size, macro counts, type and quality of ingredients. My biggest tip for getting started is to cook at least one meal a day at home from scratch.

The most logical reason I recommend cooking for yourself is that you have more control over the ingredients. Even if you are at the best restaurant, even if there is calorie information listed on the menu, even if you use your Fitpal to track everything, you can't really be certain of what your getting. When you cook at home you know what ingredients are going in, what type of oil is being used, and how much salt was added. Also you will be less likely to over eat if you have made everything yourself. If you had to slice and deep fry our own potato chips or churn your own ice cream I bet there would either be less around and/or you'd make it last longer.

Which brings me to my second point. The more you cook for yourself the more you will appreciate your food. As a culture we have devalued our food, opting instead for convenience, but shouldn't what we put in our bodies to fuel our life be something of high value? Yes cooking takes time and energy but if you start valuing the food you use to run your body you will get more out of it. Cooking will help you to gain a new respect for your food.

I love to cook, and I love to make up recipes, for me getting creative in the kitchen can be a great joy. Now I know I said we weren't going to talk about food and emotion this time but the truth is I have a hard time separating the two. Cooking can seem like a chore that you would much rather out source to the drive thru. However it can have great benefits to our mental well being as well as our physical one. In a 2015 article Psychology Today toted cooking as “Meditation with the promise of a good meal afterwards.” They said that cooking can help you be more present in the current moment. If you have over eating problems or a bad relationship with food taking some time to become present in the moment before eating may help. Another article in The Journal of Positive Psychology posed that daily, small, creative projects lead to people being more relaxed and happy. So why not tap into the creative side of cooking? Have fun shopping for fresh ingredients, maybe check out a farmers market. Think about flavors that would go good together, try and recreate a dish you had at your favorite restaurant or from a childhood memory.

Food can also help us connect with other people. In the same article in Psychology Today they said that cooking together is a great way for couples to work on communication and cooperation. Making food with and for each other can be a caring and nurturing act.

So here is my challenge to you! If you are new to cooking and feel like you don't know what you're doing or don't like it, try developing one or two go to dishes and perfecting them. Having a go to date-night or potluck dish to share can be a real confidence booster. Take time to be present and enjoy the process. If you already enjoy cooking try taking it up a notch and see how few prepared or boxed ingredients you can use, make your own jam or sauerkraut, bake bread with a sourdough starter, make pasta by hand.

If you have any questions or want to share your cooking stories please comment below or reach out to us via email of social media.

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Stay Warm This Winter

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Stay Warm This Winter

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-Julian

You may have noticed some things as the calendar switches to December. Your old collarbone injury seems to be acting up. Your knees are popping more when you bend down. Your lower back refuses to budge. Your shoulders have become stuck to your ears. And you're pretty sure you pulled your hamstring getting out of bed this morning.

What gives?

Are you really that out of shape? Did you fall that far off your plan over the weekend? Have you gotten that old?

Nope.

You're just cold.

Do you remember that experiment in science class where you would stick an inflated balloon in the freezer, take it out five minutes later, and find that it had shrunk?

Well now that balloon is your body, and the freezer is your entire world. Your bedroom is cold, your living room is cold, your bathroom tile is even colder, and of course, it's cold outside. Your muscles, tendons, joints, and skin are all being held tighter because of it.

So what you need to do, is warm up. And I don't mean turning up the thermostat, or getting extra blankets. Partly because I'm guessing your are already doing that, but mostly because the typical response to being cold is to move as little as possible. Which means all your extra curling up is reinforcing any mobility issues you already have.

Remember that the biggest focus of exercise is always about maintaining or improving your day to day well being. Part of that is making sure to modify your exercise to fit with your environment. If you're cold in the morning, you feel stiff in your joints, and moving them can be unpleasant. If you overly stress your body with heavy weightlifting, the following morning you feel stiff in your joints, and moving them can be unpleasant.

So what do you think will happen if you overly stress your body with heavy weightlifting while you are cold in the mornings?

Your joints will be even more stiff, and moving them will be even more unpleasant.

Does that sound like it maintained or improved your day to day well being?

I'm not saying you shouldn't be lifting heavy weight when it's cold out, just make sure to take extra precautions. Here are some modifications that will help keep you less stiff, and sore, and maintain or improve your day to day well being while it's cold out.

  • Emphasize your warm up and cool down. The overall duration of your workout does not need to change, but spend more of it getting loose and sweaty, and more of it stretching after your peak intensity. This is crucial if you are planning to lift heavy when it is cold out. (Regardless of how warm or cold it is, you should always be sweating a little by the time your warm up is finished.)
  • Focus on using bodyweight exercises. Most bodyweight exercises are compound movements. Which means they recruit from more than one joint, or range of motion at a time. This will help keep your mobility functional.
  • Workout more frequently but with low impact exercises. For example, going for a brisk walk every day, versus a five or six mile run, once a week. The more you use your joints, the less stiff they will be. The lower the impact, the more frequently you can do a movement or activity.
  • Implement circuit training into your workouts. Switching between two, three, or four exercises in succession allows your muscles to rest, but keeps your heart rate up. Your heart rate being elevated is one of the biggest factors for being warm.

Comment of email me If you have any questions on what to do for warm ups, or cool downs, or any other information on keeping warm this winter. Or stop by the Superhero Field Training class on Sunday for some first hand experience!

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Don't Be Afraid To Eat During The Holidays

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Don't Be Afraid To Eat During The Holidays

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Lydia -

The Holiday season is officially upon us. This is a time of celebration and being with family but it's also a time of stress and often neglect to our health. Today I want to expand on what we talked about with emotional eating and look at what that means during the long stretch of Halloween through Valentines day.

The holidays can be hard for a lot of people. Dealing with family, friends, work, and all the good, but also all the stress that can come with them. A lot of people tend to gain weight over this time but that has nothing to do with traditional holiday food. If you think about it, while traditional holiday fare may be a little richer, maybe a little higher in fats and sugars, they are for the most part homemade, whole foods, and are eaten one or two days out of the year. Even if you attend every holiday party you can find, you would at most be having one or two extra rich “cheat” meals a week.

So why are you gaining that winter weight? Two reasons: One, you fall off whatever program you're on. For some reason or another you can't find time to make it to the gym or take a walk and become totally sedentary. And two, you start stress eating junk food and calling it a holiday treat.

Now while one big rich meal is not going to make you gain weight, grabbing that Christmas tree shaped cookie every time you're in the grocery store for two months will. So how do you know if the holiday food is good for you or you're just stress eating? Here here are a few Superhero rules to check with. 

A) If the food is made by you from scratch (or as scratch as your cooking abilities allow).

B) If the food is made specifically for you by someone that cares about you, or that you care about.

C) You are eating it with friends or family, without the aid of a tv.

Then you should enjoy and eat whatever it is without stress or feeling guilty. If it does not fall into one of these categories then maybe you should rethink it. To help give you an idea of healthy and unhealthy emotions towards holiday food, I'm going to run through a few scenarios for you.

Eggnog is one of your favorite things about winter and you can't wait until it comes out.

Unhealthy: You buy a carton of it a week, and drink two or three glasses a night by yourself in front of the TV. 

Healthy: You grab a few friends and talk them into going ice skating or having a snowman building contest (If you get snow over the holiday season). Afterwards, you warm up with an eggnog latte from a coffee shop near by.

Every year you have to go to your spouses office holiday party. You hate everyone they work with and since it is always an open bar, they tend to get extra douchy at this event.

Unhealthy: Stress about going and bicker with your spouse about it, once there you hit the bar a little too hard and are not even sure how much you ate at the buffet. You feel awful but it was the only way you knew how to get through an otherwise awful night.

Healthy: You make a fresh yummy dinner at home for you and your spouse before hand. During dinner you discuses a battle plan of how your going to present a united front and make up signals for when one of you needs out of an awkward situation. You arrive fashionably late, have one drink and make the rounds at the party. While it's not your favorite night you get through it and maybe even have a few funny stories to share.

One of your co-workers keeps bringing holiday themed cookies to work. Every time you pass the break room you have the urge to grab a few.

Unhealthy: You sneak a cookie or three, or four, eat it at your desk and immediately feel guilty and bad about yourself.

Healthy: Over the weekend you call your mom and ask her for your favorite cookie recipe from childhood. Then you spend the weekend baking and enjoying the holiday season.

It's Thanksgiving dinner and once again your aunt has brought her overly surgery jello and marshmallow madness that she insists on calling a salad, even though it's never touched a vegetable, and tastes like hospital food.

Unhealthy: You pass on your aunts dish, actually you pass on most of the food. You even tell those who will listen about how awesome your new diet is, like you've found a new religion, as you pick at your single piece of white turkey meat,

Healthy: You eat the fucking salad! Because you realize there is no amount of calories that adds up to time with family and your aunt put a lot of love and care into that awful awful salad. The least you can do is eat some of the damn thing.

So you may or may not have noticed, but in most of these scenarios the healthy and unhealthy option both included eating some version of the “bad” food. The thing is it's not always the macro count or cleanness of the food, but how we approach it. It can take a lot of self-awareness and discipline but if you began to change how you look at food it will greatly improve you quality of life.

So that's my challenge to you this holiday season. When approaching food (especially holiday themed items) stop and think about if it follows those rules. Was it made by you? Was it made for you? Are you eating with loved ones? Also, don't forget to move. It's so easy to just want to hibernate in this dark and cold time, but moving just a little bit will make you feel so much better, promise. If you have more questions please reach out, we are always here. Comment below or feel free to email or call us and follow us on social media. I hope you have a happy and blessed winter season.

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The Walking Alive, The Sitting Dead

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The Walking Alive, The Sitting Dead

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Julian -

Grimes stepped off the elevator and heard....nothing at first. As he got used to the silence he started to notice the faint sizzle of the hallway lights, and then off in the distance, a faint clicking. Not once or twice, or with any coherent pattern. Just click click click click click click. The clicking was of course coming from his office.

Click click click click click click click.

Grimes did not want to go back to his office.

He rubbed his eyes. They were dry. It seemed like they were always dry, or tired...actually all of him felt tired. All of him felt tired, all of the time, except when he tried to sleep. Then he would find him self staring at the tv from his bed.

Click click click click click click click.

Grimes trudged his way to the office door. Moving seemed foreign to his legs. It was almost as if his legs new something the rest of him didn't. Like maybe he really shouldn't go back to the office.

Click click click click click click click click click.

His stomach started doing back flips in time with the clicking. As he drew closer to the office, he could hear wheezing coming from behind the door.

Click click " wheeze" click click click "groan" click

There was a loud pop and squeak as he pulled the door open.

Click, cli-,

Half a dozen people collectively groaned and stopped typing.

Grimes froze. These weren't people. Their skin was translucent and gray. Their hair thin and flimsy. Their faces sunk in around the eyes, showing dark shadows and deep leathery wrinkles. No, these weren't people.

These were zombies.

The group groaned again and turned back to their typing.

“Phew.” Grimes thought, “That could have been a lot worse.”

When we picture zombies, we tend to think of undead creatures roaming in hordes and devouring brains. There is supposed to be some sort of viral out break that can be passed through blood and saliva....or bites. And they tend to have rotting flesh and gaping wounds that don't heal. While the idea is terrifying, and not entirely impossible (a cousin strain of mad cow disease or rabies could do the trick). The reality is, that form of zombie and its apocalypse are a plot point used for a good scream and virtual shotgun blasts.

So you might not need to learn how to wield a shovel as a melee weapon, but you should know, there is an actual zombie apocalypse. It isn't coming like some far off winter we keep waiting for. It's already here, it's well passed patient zero, and chances are, you have been infected.

We are going to call it the zombie zone out.

The zombie zone out is created by a mix of immobility, repetitive task, and low motivation. In small doses the zombie zone out can be enjoyable, if not helpful for reducing stress. I for one am a huge fan of binging on sit-com reruns on my way to bed. Since I've seen the episode many times over, I don't really pay attention to it. But it's enough of a stimulus to keep me from thinking about things that went wrong today or that long to do list up in my office.

The zombie zone out can also be useful for fast forwarding through small boring parts of your day. Like the commute to and from work. You've made the same drive, same turns, same lane merges, and same traffic light stops so many times, that you no longer pay attention to them. Which leads to a slight feeling of not knowing how you made it home already.

The problems with the zombie zone out come from tying together back to back to back moments of it in the same day. You wake up on Monday morning and zombie zone out on the drive to work. Once there you are extremely bored of typing the same things and having the same arguments with your coworkers and dealing with the same petty annoyances that really shouldn't matter. So you zombie zone out through the work day. Then you are glad to be free, and really just need to get home and relax, so you zombie zone out on the drive home from work. Once you are home, you feel lethargic. The day sapped you of any energy and making it all the way to the couch seems like wishful thinking. Through some miraculous power of will, you manage to crawl to the couch, flip on the tv, and zombie zone out.... until you fall asleep in a puddle of drool, and wake up an hour later. Only to go to bed and be wide awake.

That string of zombie zone outs becomes increasingly difficult to break as more and more link together. By the 2nd straight day, sometimes known as Tuesday, you add waiting for the weekend to the zombie zone out horde. When you make it to the weekend, you start off by sleeping in because you have to make up for the horrible sleep you had all week. You have options for things to do over the weekend, but really that past week just threw you for a loop so relaxing at home and doing as little as possible sounds like the best bet.

If this process grows unchecked for too long, you will become an actual zombie. Because you aren't living anymore. Your heart may still be beating, and you may still be breathing, but your body isn't moving, your brain isn't working, and your conscious thought is non existent. You have zero desire to do anything, let alone workout or eat properly, and you are too bored to be depressed.

Don't panic.

All is not lost. I have a weapon you can battle the zombie zone outs with. It will create separation in your home to work zombie cycle, increase your awareness thought out the day, power creative thinking, and stimulate your body.

It's called walking.

It's free, it requires no equipment, and it's the base for all other movements you ask of your body. It doesn't have to be a long hike, or done at a furious pace. But it does need to be done everyday. Especially if it's your only shot at real movement during the day. 30-45 minutes can be enough to battle the zombie zone outs. If you can't seem to find 30-45 straight minutes of time, you can break it up through out the day. 10 minutes before going to work. 15 minutes on your lunch. 10 minutes after work before getting in the car. 10 minutes before heading to the couch once you get home.

It's never too late to start walking more. Try it now and start feeling results in energy, motivation, and sleep, in a matter of days. If you enjoy the walking or are already walking and would like a little more intensity in your zombie battle, stop by the gym and lets see how you are with that shovel....or perhaps a sledge hammer.

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Emotional Eating

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Emotional Eating

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By Lydia

There is no fitness term or cliche that outrages me more then “emotional eating.” We've all heard it, “I wish I could lose weight but I'm such an emotional eater.” So why does this term bother me so much? I believe that we are suppose to be emotional eaters. If you look through our history every country, culture, and religion uses food in one way or another to honer and enhance our emotions as well as our connection with each other. From myths of ambrosia to the body of Christ, cake on birthdays, champagne at weddings, chicken soup for the sick, and casserole for those in mourning. Food and emotions go hand in hand.

The first time I really understood this was when I was a freshman in high school and my grandmother passed away. I wasn't close to her either geographically or emotionally. As we were staying at her house preparing for the funeral, members from her church, the library where she worked, and different community groups stopped by with food. When her best friends who she had known since college came by, she had a box of cookies and a bag of potato chip “salt for your tears and sweats for your memories.” She said. After she left my mom chuckled and said “Mom always said Martha couldn't cook.” We shared food and stories of my grandma, it was nurturing and connected us to each other during a tough time.

So now does that mean when you have a bad day and eat a whole box of oreo's its perfectly natural and healthy? Yeah not quite.

There is such a thing as stress eating. Now, and this is important, stress is not an emotion. A rubber band can not be happy or angry or sad, but a rubber band can be put under stress. When we are physically or mentally stressed, over worked, or pushed to our limits it becomes hard to be fully present. When we are stressed out we often turn to cheap easy food and often aren't even aware of eating it.

So if it's just an issue of semantics, stress eating or emotional eating, why does it bother me so much? Well since the term emotional eating has grown in popularity it seems that food now falls into two camps, bad or healthy. So much guilt is now involved in eating anything that's classified as “bad” that we lose the emotion it should include. If we stop putting so much stress and guilt on food and started to enjoy it and most importantly used it as a way to connect with each other we would be much healthier. So hear is my challenge to you, sometime in the next week make an effort to share food with someone. It could be cooking a big family dinner or eating ice cream while listening to someone who's going through a break up. Share food, be present, and connect with your emotions.

If you'd like to share your experience with emotional eating we can keep the conversation going. Comment below with your ideas, questions, or comments. Also you can reach out to us privately by email or on any of our social media outlets. We'll be talking more about food, habits, and healthy lifestyle and mindsets so please subscribe to the blog as well as our YouTube channel.

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The 80's We're Wrong: Fat Isn't Fattening

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The 80's We're Wrong: Fat Isn't Fattening

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- Julian

Somewhere during the ever changing "what is healthy" debate, the 80's chose fat as their main enemy. Fat free this, less fat that, that's fattening, don't eat that. Turns out the 80's were wrong.

They were wrong about a lot of things, and by now most of the mistakes from then have been corrected. We no longer wear sideways pony tails, or parachute pants, unless it's as a parody, but somehow we still believe fat is fattening.

The problem I run into with people is the misusing of the word fat. Fat can be used to describe both fat on our bodies, and fat as a nutrient, even though they are different things. It sounds the same, and in many cases looks the same but it is not. Which I don't think is really fair. We don't do this with other food and body parts; We don't refer to our muscles as protein. I think the distinction of fat being used for both terms can cause some confusion.

So whats the difference?

Fat as a nutrient is a source of energy for the body, just like carbohydrates, and proteins.

Fat on our bodies is stored failed energy from not moving in general.

All food is potential energy. Different types of nutrients fuel different types of movement and processes, but in the most simple terms, food is potential energy. You moving, in anyway shape or form, converts the food into active energy. If there is potential energy left over when the moving stops, it gets stored, regardless of if that potential energy came from fat.

In other words, eating too much in general is what leads to fat and weight gain. There is no such thing as a fattening food. This is the biggest point I want to share with you. It is not the food you eat that is fattening, it is HOW you eat that is fattening.

As foods go, fat is dense in calories (1 gram of fat is 9 calories, as opposed to 4 calories for carbohydrates and proteins.) and highly filling, which may lead you to believe it is easy to over consume. However! Because fat is so dense, it satisfies your appetite faster, and takes longer to digest, which means you end up eating less but feeling full longer than with carbohydrates or proteins. This means that not only is fat not fattening, but it can be very helpful in your weight loss journey.

Don't believe me? Try switching out your oatmeal and berries, for full fat yogurt and nuts, and see how long it takes for you to feel hungry again. Make sure to keep the calories the same.

Now this is going to be an overly simplistic description of how your body uses energy, and I will have separate posts to go into detail about carbohydrates and proteins, but here is a breakdown of how the different nutrients work:

As a fuel source fats are most responsible for powering steady, slower moving actions, and homeostasis. Carbohydrates are a fuel source most responsible for powering higher energy, heart rate rising movements. Proteins are most responsible for the initial burst of maximum energy and recovery from movements.

If you honestly look at your life, how much does your body need fuel for your heart rate rising? How often does your body need to repair itself from the workload you give it? How often do you sit, stand, type, wiggle, breathe, sleep, and sometimes walk?

Now I would of course prefer that you be able to say you are doing all three types of movements on the regular basis, but chances are that's not the case. Based on an honest analysis of your life, which of those three energy spending options do you use? Now which of the three macro nutrients are you cutting out the most? Food should taste good, and make you feel good, but first and foremost it should fuel your lifestyle. Base what nutrients you should be eating on how you currently live your life, not how someone says you should be living your life.

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How to Read a Food Label

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How to Read a Food Label

By Lydia

These days the supermarket can be a tough thing to navigate when you're trying to figure out what food is healthy and what is not. Just because the package has a pretty field on the front or a totally jacked guy endorsing it doesn't say anything about the product inside. The adverting agencies and the food industry work hard to make you buy as much of their product as possible. If that means making you think it's healthier then it is or “tricking” you into believing it's doing something it's not that's fine by them. Now you could say this makes them a big, bad, evil corporation, but in truth it's just a business that's doing their job, which is to make money. It's your job to be an educated consumer and its my job to give you the tools to make the right choices. Today I want to go over some common things you may see on food packaging and talk about what they really mean.

First if you see phrases like; all natural, healthy, fit, sports, nature, fresh, handmade, or artisan, they don't mean shit. There is no board or governing body that looks into products claiming to be “healthy” or “natural” and those terms are very much up for interpretation, so what you think would be an unnatural ingredient, they may see as totally natural. A study by The Journal of Marketing Research found that people tend to eat more when a product has words like fitness on the label, and end up moving less. Subconsciously when we eat foods labeled “healthy” or “fit” we feel like we've made an effort to be improve ourselves but the truth is that specific food may not be the right choice and there's no saying if we are any closer to our health goals. You may feel all warm and fuzzy drinking a sugary carbonated beverage because it says natural and has a pretty flower on the side, but your gut can't see that and will have the same reaction as if you were drinking the cheapest off brand soda.

The next thing I want to talk about is gluten free foods. Now this can be a hot button topic so stay with me please. First if you have celiac disease it is very important to avoid gluten. Keep in mind that about 1% of americans have celiacs, if you think you have celiac please please see a docter, don't just assume and self medicate. If you feel better when you don't eat a lot of bread or wheat based products then you probably have a wheat intolerance or leaky gut syndrome, which is not actually related to gluten. Wheat is in a lot of stuff we eat and many people become over saturated and intolerant to it. Now unlike celiacs disease leaky gut or wheat intolerance is completely reversible and you can easily treat it and go back to eating wheat again, in moderation of course. If you think eating bread that's labeled gluten free will be healthier then regular bread and/or help you lose weight then you have fallen pray to a marketing campaign. A bread or pasta product that is labeled gluten free is no more healthy then regular bread, in some cases it is more processed. Gluten is simply a protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye. If you just feel better not eating bread I would suggest focusing on a going grain free not gluten free, this includes things like rice, oats, wheat starch, corn meal, and buckweat, which are all gluten free but are not going to help heal a leaky gut or wheat over saturation.

Ok we made it through gluten and you didn't get mad at me and stomp off, lets get deeper and talk about organics. I love organic food and try and eat organic as much as possible but I also know that organic does not mean healthy. Just because a product is organic that does not mean it's macro nutrients are any better then a non organic product. An organic box of crackers may be just as processed and full of unnecessary calories then a regular box of crackers. Organic does however mean less pesticides and it has been shown to improve the micro nutrients. If your focus is to lose ten pound eating an organic apple vs a non organic apple, or a organic soda vs a non organic soda, it's not going to make a difference. However if you are looking to lower the amount of chemicals in you life, and eat a higher quality of food, organic is probably a good choice for you. When you get into meat, eggs, and dairy you want to look for grass fed or pasture raised for the same reason. Even more then organic, which may just mean a slightly better food pellet, animals that get to eat fresh grass and can walk around in the sun produce a product that has much better micro nutrients.

Alright so I haven't pissed you off yet and your still reading yay!! Lets talk about carbs. Now I don't have a camp on carbs, I don't believe carbs are evil and going to kill you and I don't think a low carb diet is a stupid trend. I think the amount of carbs you eat should depend on you goals, how they make you feel, your lifestyle, and how much you enjoy bread. All that being said once you've decided how many carbs you want in a day it shouldn't be a complicated puzzle to track them, enter net carbs. Net carbs is a fancy term the food industry puts on the front of some products (completely unregulated by the FDA) when they have subtracted the fiber from the total carbohydrates. Now there is some logic to this, fiber is digested differently then a sugar based carb and is a good thing to have in your diet. However it's still a part of the total calories you are consuming, fiber carbs aren't magic invisible calories that don't count. Whether you want to track net carbs or total carbs is your choice but I suggest making an informed decision and going with the FDA regulated numbers on the nutrition label and not the glitzy promises on the front of the package.

Lets step away from the edge for a moment and talk about an easy one, serving size and the nutritional label. The nutritional label on the back of a package is FDA regulated, so the food industry can get away with a lot less. This is where you want to look for true information. Now one way that a company may try and bend the truth is with the serving size it is giving. A serving size does not mean that's the amount you should eat or that's what most people eat, it's just the amount they used to get their numbers. The food industry might know that most people eat half the box of mac and cheese but they also know if they tell you that would be 900 calories you will probably move on and find something else for dinner. So they tell you its only 300 calories and hope you won't see that they also say there are six servings in a box.

So what have we learned today? When we go to the supermarket we are going to look right passed the glitz and glam on the front of the package. We are going to turn it over and look at the truth by reading the black and white fact of the ingredient list and the nutritional label and we are going to make good, well informed choices for ourselves.

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How to Give 100% All the Time

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How to Give 100% All the Time

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- Julian

I workout 7 days a week.

Literally everyday.

Sometimes twice a day.

This may sound intense, but I assure you it is not. Chances are when I say workout, you are picturing going HARD for hours with weights, and treadmills, and fucking burpees, and lots of sweat, and pain, and grunting, and aggressive music.

And I agree, those days are intense. But that idea of a workout takes up all of one day a week. Sometimes two or three, but realistically only once a week do I look like a hardcore Nike commercial. The rest of the days switch between stretching, walking, one or two exercises, and generally only take more than 45 minutes if I'm on Facebook too much.

In actuality when I say "workout" I mean stimulate my body. And how I stimulate my body varies. Sometimes it's fun, sometimes it's educational, sometimes it's mellow and relaxing, sometimes it's short and brisk, sometimes it's boring because I'm not in the mood, sometimes I spend more time resting then exercising, sometimes I spend more time exercising then resting, sometimes I don't rest, sometimes I hate it, and sometimes I love it.

But I always try.

I make an effort to the best of my abilities given the confines and variables of the day.

Now don't worry, I'm not here to tell you to workout seven days a week. I'm here to tell you how to give 100%, 100% of the time.

Which sounds exhausting. No way you can actually give 100% all the time.

That's where you are wrong.

What you can't do is give 110%, or 150%. Because despite what your favorite inspirational athlete may say, it is literally impossible to give more than 100%.

The mistake is in believing that giving 100% is the same thing as going HARD.

Giving 100% is a level of effort, not a level of execution or energy. Sometimes you won't have the energy to go hard. Sometimes you will be tired. Sometimes you will be sick. Sometimes you will be pressed for time.

But you can still try.

Giving 100% takes consistently making an effort, even if that effort is a stiff, broken down, slog.

Let me give you a scenario:

Yesterday you were pumped up! It was the first day of your new plan and you rocked it! The world better watch out, new and improved you coming through! 

Today is a different story though. You woke up sore in your EVERYTHING.

You've been starving all day and can't seem to eat enough.

You have workout number two today and you're pretty sure you will die.

Or maybe you already did and this is hell?

You decide to skip today so you can rest up and go HARD next time. You want to be able to put in 100% for sure!

Does this sound familiar?

And you are right. You should put in 100%. But in that scenario you went from giving all your effort to giving no effort. One day at 100%, one day at 0%. That's a grand total of 50% over a two day period. How long do you think it would take you to feel pumped up again? Two days? Three days? A week? A week before you even TRY to put in effort again?

Congratulations over a week you managed to give less than 15%.

What if instead of not trying until you feel motivated and pumped up, you walked for 5 to 45 minutes and stretched while sore and broken down.

The following day you may be feeling better but work kicked your butt, so a full workout may kill you. You could spend 10 minutes on pushups and mountain climbers before recovering with some tv.

The day after that you may wake up feeling energized. You're no longer sore from the first HARD workout, and the walking and pushups broke up your days so your mind is clearer. The influx of energy lets you go for a light run of 5 minutes before work.

After four days you made it to the gym once. But every single day you've attempted to stimulate your body. Every single day you tried your best, even if your best wasn't exactly photogenic. That's what giving 100% is.

But there is more.

That was simply giving 100% to working out. What about the rest of your life?

You should be putting in 100% towards everything you do, every waking or sleeping moment. If you're at work, you should be giving 100% to your project. If it's time to eat, you should be giving 100% towards enjoying and consuming your food. If it's time to go to bed, you should be giving 100% towards passing out.

Remember that does not mean you have to push your body hard, all the every second. Because you will disintegrate.

If you're goal is to lose a bunch of weight, your body and your spirit will break if all you eat is rice cakes and lettuce, and run five miles everyday. Reaching that goal will take some resistance work to stimulate muscle, stretching to avoid chronic pain from your running, and enough food to keep your body pumped and your palate satisfied.

If your goal is to sprint faster and lift heavier, your body will break if you lift heavy and sprint every day. Reaching your goal will also take stretching, corrective work for imbalances, fueling with food that energizes you, and sleeping enough.

The food you eat will have to taste good. The sleep you get will have to be deep. Your production at work will influence how you feel or decisions you make throughout the day.

Remember, objects in motion tend to stay in motion.

Food tastes better when you body needs it for fuel. Rest feels better when it has been earned. Sleep hits sooner and deeper when your mind and body have been active. Giving 100% can become cyclic in nature, and doing so simply requires this: you have to consistently try. You must provide effort for the sake of effort, regardless of execution or result.

You know those athletes claiming to give 110%? They still fuck up MOST OF THE TIME.

Michael Jordan failed to make more than half of the shots he took over his carrier.

At one point Brett Farve held the carrier record for BOTH touchdowns AND interceptions.

Babe Ruth FAILED to get a hit 65% - 70% of the time.

You may not always execute properly, and most of the time you will not feel motivated, but the consistency of effort is what will bring you success and make the journey enjoyable. The choice is yours, good luck.

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New Goals and Where to Find Them!

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New Goals and Where to Find Them!

By Lydia I have always been bad at tracking my progress in the gym. When I'm not training for a specific event or sport I'm never really sure why I'm there. I have weighed between 145lb and 152lb since I was about 20 years old, and for almost as long I have had a goal weight for myself of 130lb.

Is this an impossible goal?

Not really, it would however require a certain amount of sacrifice and hard work.

Why then have I gone nearly a decade without achieving this goal? I honestly think it's because weight loss was never the real goal. I wanted to be better physically, or more athletic, but didn't truly know what that meant.

I use mindful goal setting at work, with my relationships and even to help me focus on spirituality, so of course I would use it when approaching fitness. Goals however work best if they are clear, achievable and trackable. Since I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted, my goal became vague and well, kinda useless.

The more I work and play in the fitness world the more I see there are many different and more specific goals out there. I want to touch on just a few today and maybe this can help you think about what your goals are and how you're approaching them.

Health

Everyone wants to be healthier and live longer. Tons of research has shown that moving more and eating better can help fight diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, asthma and much more. But “healthy” is never going to be the same for different people. The question then becomes how to make “be healthy” a tangible goal that motivates me to get up and put the work in.

Recently I was able to get a health screening at the pharmacy of my local grocery store for pretty cheap. They gave me the numbers of my cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. They told me what the numbers meant, what was good or bad, and how my habits were affecting them. Having these basic numbers gives me a base to build a training program from and something tangible to track my progress with.

Performance

Performance has always been my biggest motivator. I am a highly competitive and slightly aggressive individual who happens to also be intrinsically lazy. So if you tell me “we are going for a jog, it'll be good for me, we'll have fun”, most likely I will complain the whole time as I half walk half dawdle behind you, and that's if I get off the couch at all.

Now tell me I have a race to prepare for and I'll be out there running everyday like I'm Usain Bolt. Performance is a passion motivator, it'll make you fall in love with training. The great thing about performance goals is they can be as big or small, or as public or private as you want.

It could be to run in a marathon or just to jog for a mile straight. It could be to pass a fitness test for the fire department or a new personal record on the bench press. It could be to complete an obstacle course race or even win it or to hold a difficult yoga pose for a whole minute.

Energy

This is a hard goal to nail down because it basically boils down to “do I feel good.” Do I have the energy and vitality I need I need day to day to live my best life? A more specific goal may look something like: “not fading everyday at work after lunch”, “be able to get a good night's sleep”, or “be able to keep up with my kids at the park.” Believe it or not sometimes the best way to gain energy is to spend energy, and you can train for it.

Let’s take fading after lunch as an example.

First I may to want to adjust my lunches, maybe too much sugar is making me crash, or swapping in more protein or fat could help sustain me longer. I'd also want to make sure I have time to digest my food properly. And finally, I'd add in a little light movement, maybe walk around the block a couple times or do some stretches before heading back to work. By setting a specific goal I was able to make a concrete plan of attack for something as simple as I “feel better.”

Fat Loss

I started by talking about how I never meet my weight goals but that's not to say weight loss or gain isn't a good goal to have. On the contrary hitting a target weight can be a great goal, but it works better if you're not looking at weight alone. If I finally lost that 10-15lbs but nothing else changed, I would look exactly the same, there would just be less of me.

This is where I want to figure in body fat percentage and overall body physiology. Remember muscle weighs more the fat but it's also more important in the look and health of your body. There is a very big difference between losing weight and losing fat. When I was setting weight loss as a goal I wasn't just thinking about the volume of my body but the tone and the shape of it. When I figured out what that meant I was able to to come up with a much more precise goal that is easier to plan and train for.

So with those things in mind I now have new and improved fitness goals.

My current goal is to be able to do a full pull-up and to drop about 3-5% in body fat percentage. Now dropping body fat percentage may or may not mean losing weight but I want to focus more on gaining muscle tone and definition. Which means there's a good chance my weight doesn't change too much.

I have a training routine in place to help me work the muscles and control I need for a pull-up which allows me to see myself grow and progress, which keeps me inspired to work hard at other parts of my workout as well. Plus I tailor my meal plan around fueling my body for these workouts and helping me tone down. In other words, now I have a realistic, achievable and trackable goal.

 

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Beware the S.O.M.'s (Start On Mondays)

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Beware the S.O.M.'s (Start On Mondays)

 The S.O.M.'s (Start On Monday's) are a sneaky, ninja like syndrome, known for debilitating attacks on productivity, enjoying life, and your stress levels. They effect everyone to some degree or another, so you should know you're not alone, and although they may appear similar to run of the mill procrastination, they are actually a breed of their own. When you procrastinate, the work in quesion eventually gets done. The work may be rushed or sloppy, but it gets completed. The Start On Mondays suck you into a time loop where somehow Monday either never comes, or just passed by. Which means none of the work in question ever gets done. As it gets worse you become aware of the fact that precisely zero work is being accomplished, and yet somehow remain incapable of doing any. If you are worried that you may be battling a case of S.O.M.'s, here are some things to look for:

  • Wanting to feel stronger, better, healthier, and not doing anything about it.
  • Saying things like, when I get more money I will be able to.
  • Saying things like when work calms down I will have time/energy to.
  • Feeling your butt is stuck to the couch.
  • Feeling guilty about the lunch you are eating at work.

In isolation none of these symptoms are serious. You may have a strong, butt shaped divot, in your couch, but that alone is not a reason to worry about the S.O.M.'s. You should be worried when you find yourself not enjoying the butt shaped divot in your couch, and arguing out loud about how your're tired of being tired all the time, but can't do anything about it until Friday night.....because sometimes the S.O.M.'s manifest on other days of the week!

Unfortunately there is no cure for the S.O.M.'s, BUT!!! there are things you can do to help coping with it, such as:

  • Remember! Objects in motion tend to stay in motion! This is also true for energy levels and productivity. It is much harder to get up and be productive on a day off, than it is on a work day. Getting a workout in around your work day, may not feel as intense but the consistency is going to give you better results and healthier stress management.
  • You may not be able to get to the gym until Monday, but today you can: Go for a walk on your lunch break, NOT order fries with that, do floor/mat work while watching your tv, NOT eat after dinner, and NOT eating while watching tv.
  • You may not be able to afford the crossfit membership, but you can: ASK for help!!!! Do a home video workout WITH FRIENDS, Use the jungle gym equipment at the park, enroll in my Task Force program, or TRY working with me before worrying about how you are going to pay.

Never let money keep you from bettering yourself! I am ALWAYS willing to work with someone that truly wants change.

Don't give in to the S.O.M's!!!! You can, in fact, start today! E-mailing me now would be a great first step!! 

Julian

everydaysuperherotraining@gmail.com

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