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Know Your Competition

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Know Your Competition

We live in one of the most awkwardly polarizing times in our history.

We live in a time where the number of people eligible for military service is consistently dropping, eventhough our population is growing. The majority of 17 to 25 year olds would not physically qualifie for the military. Not simply for being obese, but for being unable to complete the the fitness test.

Not only that.

But the average varsity high school athlete would also not be able to complete a military fitness test.

And yet.

At the very same exact moment in history.

We live in a time where the most people ever are reaching the peak levels of human capabilities.

The point is, we have developed a culture that is simultaneously the weakest AND the strongest of all time.

What?

The gap between weak, unhealthy, and out of shape people, and the extremely strong, fast, and resilient people, is growing wider and wider.

It makes looking to athletes for health or fitness inspiration more and more unrealistic, and less relatable.

The asperation of your average 25 year old to look or move like his or her favorite athelete is becoming just as realistic as the 7 year old who thinks they can fly like superman with a towel around their neck.

So I am issuing a challenge to all Everyday Superheroes. Everyone the is trying to better themself, or wanting to improve how much enjoyment they get out of life.

Maybe instead of looking to Olympic athletes or instafamous "fitness" "personalities" in their prime as your asperations, look to the person on your left. Look to the person on your right. Would you out live them if the zombie horde crashed into the room? 

Remember you don't have to out run the bear, you have to out run the slowest person in your group. That's who your competition is. That's who you should compare yourself to. 

So, think you can outlive the person on your left and the person on your right? Prove it! Know you can. Test your skills and keep them sharp and up to date. 

Think not? Fix it! Your competition is doing absolutely nothing right now. If you put in any ounce of work, you win.  

I challenge you to be able to walk in most rooms and feel like you could outlive the majority of people in it, should zombies attack. 

It has never been easier to defeat the lowest common denominator, and the lowest common denominator has never been so prevalent. 

Don't let it be you. 

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Don't forget to USE your carbohydrates

Don't forget to USE your carbohydrates

Quick science lesson:

Glycogen is the primary fuel used for bursts of muscular endurance. Carbohydrates are broken down into glycogen through digestion. Some foods high in carbohydrates break down super fast. Some foods high in carbohydrates break down not as fast. Most foods higher in carbohydrates tend to be mixed with other carbohydrates in an attempt to make them even tastier! This leaves you vulnerable to forgetting to stop eating once you've gotten your fill.

Quick metaphorical question:

What happens to a car when you put too much fuel in the tank?

You know......I'm not actually sure. Let me check google....

According to google, putting too much fuel in your car's tank can "either overwhelm your evaporation system and break something or cause a hazardous leak by the excess pressure in the system. Gas needs extra space to expand in the tank. Extra unneeded gas can damage your car’s vapor collection system, designed to reduce harmful emissions."

That sounds an awful like a bloated, gassy, slow moving, humanoid with a tummy ache.

Hey everybody, guess what happens when you overload on carbohydrates? (Hint: switch out the car parts for body parts in the paragraph above).

When your muscles are fully loaded with glycogen, and you give it MORE carbohydrates to break down into glycogen, you get sick. You feel sluggish. You may sweat a little for no reason. 

How do you fix it? Simple. USE YOUR STORED GLYCOGEN! Turn your potential energy into kinetic energy! If you use your stored glycogen then your tank will be empty and you will need to fill it with MORE carbohydrates AND you will feel much better, if not awesome. Sounds like a win in to me!

If you are looking for ways to use up some stored glycogen, check out Part 2 of our Ebook series "How to Train for the Life You're Currently Living." Or you could inquire about our different programs!

 

 

 

  

Finding Your Accountabilibuddies

Finding Your Accountabilibuddies

Have you ever tried to do push ups, or planks, or squats, in the comfort of your own home? If you've been following our blog, or any other form of our content, you absolutely should have by now. They're free, they're simple, and they're essential to any form of movement outside of exercise and the gym. We often prescribe homework in our clients programming that contain language like "hold a plank during commercials while watching tv....NO FAST FORWARDING OR TIVO MAGIC." Or "Attempt a pull up or two every time you walk through a door frame in your home." Or "Practice your squat by not using your hands to get up and down from the couch." We use this style of language in our programming to focus on habit training, and to help eliminate the illusion of excuses. 

So as holistic personal trainers we recognize how important those two facets are to making sustainable changes, and how beneficial it is to know you can in fact exercise anywhere, anytime. 

However.

As fully formed adult nerds who built, live, and preach, a lifestyle on the tent pole principle of pursuing enjoyment, excitement, and wonder, we can also tell you how much it blows. It blows hard. On the scale of priority setting and procrastination, doing push ups in the comfort of your own home is the fitness equivalent of doing the laundry. You will feel good after doing it, but getting yourself to do it feels like pulling your teeth. In slow motion. While strapped to your couch.

90% of the success with "DIY" fitness programming we write for people stems from having us there. We are there to check in and remind them to do it. We are there to cheer them on when it gets done. We are there to point out and rejoice in the progress that would otherwise go unnoticed. We provide a sense of proof for accomplishments. We are there to point out each and every time they do something they said they couldn't.  We turn can't into won't, and won't into can, and can into will.

Rest assured, at no point does doing push ups on your home carpet become more enjoyable, or easier to make happen. The power of having proof for your effort, and a positive reinforcement for even trying, makes the teeth pulling tolerable. This is the power of the accountabilibuddy.

Just think, if the power of the accountabilibuddy is strong enough to get you to do and see progress from the most painstaking part of self improvement and habit training, imagine what it can do with things you actually enjoy doing!

What the heck is an accountabilibuddy?

It is a person, group of people, place, or environment, that holds you accountable and encourages your pursuit of self improvement. For a lot of people that feel stuck on a hamster wheel, or start and stop diets or programs frequently, not having an accountabilibuddy is most likely why. 

Sometimes it doesn't matter if you can ride your bike with no hands. It only matters if someone SEES you riding you bike with no hands. Especially if that someone is a person you respect or desire attention from. That's not to say you should be trying to improve your self for someone else. Because, don't. DON'T DO THAT. Your health and wellbeing should never be codependent on someone else, or worse, someone else's attention.

But. 

We are inherently social creatures. Even the most hermit based, prefer my dog to my neighbor type of person, enjoys having their effort noticed. Your accountabilibuddy is a sweet spot of social and variable pressures. Someone waaayyyy better than you or waaayyyy worse than you at something is not relatable, and will either fail to bring out your best, or make your climb seem insurmountable. A place filled with too similar of a struggle is a breeding ground for self loathing and victimising. 

Your accountabilibuddy will never be: 

- A person or place that claims you embarrass them, or makes you feel embarrassed.

- An environment that is angry when you try something new or different. 

-  Someone that lets you get away with giving up before you've tried.

- A group that tells you NOT to do something because A) You don't know how it will turn out. Or B) You have to get your shit in order first.

Your accountabilibuddy is going to support you in YOUR decisions, hold you accountable for what you say you want, be unapologetic with excuses, and pick you up when you fall. Because you will fall. Everyone does. You'll forget, or your motivation will waine, or you'll burn out for weeks at a time. 

Your accountabilibuddy is a force of positivity. Your defence against the unkown. Your super team in the battle of trying to give a fuck. So when preparing for a quest, always, ALWAYS, grab your accountabilibuddy!

What Super Power Do You Covet?

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What Super Power Do You Covet?

When you prepare for your crime fighting mission, what power do you expect to most rely on? The sheer amount of cardio you have to do will happen regardless. We discussed this in a previous post. But once you swoop into action, would you prefer to save the day as quickly as possible, pick something up and move it to safety, or deduce how the crime took place, so you can stop it from happening again.

Basically, would you prefer to have super speed, super strength, or super deduction?

All three skills, speed, strength, and deduction, are needed in some capacity for any hero. The super power describes which of the three you prefer to rely on, enjoy using the most, or use by default without thinking. 

For example:

You come to a stone wall. How do you get to the other side? Do you smash a whole and walkthrough? Do you run up and jump it?  Do you look for a door? 

Your instinctive answer is your super power. The primary gift you should look to hone and keep sharp in case of use. The other two skills are viable options you should always mix in, just in case. It would suck to rely solely on finding a door, only to determine there isn't one.  

Your super power is the anchor to your training. It's what you should resort to when you fall of the wagon, when you're feeling unmotivated, and what you measure and test your progress against.  

We are going to analyze and break down what parameters will be most useful for your desired super power.

 

Super Strength

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You are going to pick up anything that isn't strapped down. You are the one your friends call when they are moving. Some asshat parked their car in your spot? Move it. Locked yourself out of the house? Knock down the door. You prefer to wield giant hammers, clubs, axes, or two handed swords, swing them once, and go home.

The first rule of strength training, is that you don't get strong by being strong. You don't improve strength by trying to lift 500lbs that won't budge. You don't improve strength by always and only lifting your max. You can realistically hit your max lift once. It takes so much of your energy to do so however, that you can't do it a second time.  

To improve your strength you want to work in full body compound movements. You want weights heavy enough to tax your whole body, while at the same time being light enough that after you have set them down, you can still pick them up again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And then maybe rest.

 

Super Speed

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Lines are the worst. Walking in a pack downtown makes you want to pull the skin off your face. You can totally run faster than rush hour traffic. The fastest way to get from point A to point B is a straight line, walls and private property be damned. Your jab is your favorite weapon and your wit is quick.

Speed is most effective in short bursts. The longer you spend doing something, the more energy it takes to keep doing it, the more you slow down. So when training for speed really you want to focus on two things. 1) Your top speed being higher. 2) The amount of time you can maintain your top speed, or close to it.

Plyometrics are your best friend.  Sprints, jumps, and other short bursts of power are going get you going faster, sooner. 

 

Super Deduction

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You know who the killer is within the first act of the episode. Crosswords and sudoku are your jam. Getting a question to something you don't know the answer to is both exciting AND an excuse to jump down a rabbit hole of research and thought experiments.  Your quick thinking prevents fights from escalating in the first place. Your understanding of physics and obsessive nature help you excel at things like climbing, darts, and billiards.

Just like strength and speed, your ability to deduce information from observing the world around you is physically trainable. To make it a superpower you have to be able to rely on it when you don't have time to think. When panic sets in and the chips are on the table, being able to tell whether someone is left or right handed doesn't matter unless you can apply the knowledge at full speed.

To train your deduction you want stimulate your mind in between spikes of adrenaline.  Playing memory in between a tabata, or tick tack toe in between heavy lifts can scratch this itch.

Which  of these powers do you feel calling to you? Which of the descriptions best describes how you see or would prefer to interact with the world? Lets discuss! If you want to learn more about how to exercise for character type, make sure to check out "How to Train for the Life You're Currently Living Part 2: Superhero Special Moves," on the products page!

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The Power of Naps, Curiosity, and Playtime

The Power of Naps, Curiosity, and Playtime

Why are we so quick to judge people as immature? Now we're not talking about people who don't pay their rent on time, or forget to pick up their friend from the airport, or crack a cruel or dirty joke at work to a customer. That is being immature. But for some reason we have this idea that to be an adult means you have to be serious one hundred percent of the time. That there is no room for “wasted time.” There are three parts of our childhood specifically, that get squashed out of us by the time we are working full time and maybe have kids of our own. They are naps, curiosity, and play time.

The importance of naps:

As a child nap time was a regularly scheduled part of the day. As a toddler at daycare, at preschool, at kindergarten, there was a time after a snack or lunch, where everyone lied down, the lights got turned out, and for about 30 minutes to a hour everyone slept.

Lets be honest, as kids we fought nap time tooth and nail, and the adults really just wanted some piece and quiet. Kids also had “grumpy naps.” Times during the day where everyone in the room but you could tell you were exhausted and needed to lie down for 20 minutes, because of how much of a whiny bitch you were being.

Nowadays we have research that shows naps to be an essential part of the learning process. We know that as the brain becomes more and more exhausted, a quick nap can help not only restore your energy, but is also a tool for making sense of all the crap that has become jumbled in your brain. We also know that kids have high brain/neural plasticity which is part of what allows them to learn and adapt at an extremely high rate. Making sure a kid naps is a great way to help them take advantage of it.

As an adult, naps are considered lazy. If you have time to lay around at 2pm on a Thursday, you're slacking off and not working hard enough. You know what doesn't change as an adult? Getting extra grump, short, heavy eyed, and easily frustrated around 2pm or 3pm. A bad diet tends to make it worse. You can lessen the effect by paying attention to what or how you eat, but it still happens in some capacity every day.

The fact is a 20 to 60 minute nap still has a big effect on your mood, alertness, concentration, and coordination. It helps reset your brain from the workload you've already dealt with. If you find yourself stuck on a problem, or extra snippy with people in the mid afternoon, a quick nap can do wonders to help. In order for that to happen, you must have given your brain or body a workload to respond to. If you find yourself taking a nap after a morning filled with nothing but sitting, laying, pooping, and eating, you will wake up extra grumpy and disoriented. THAT would be considered lazy.

That quick power nap can also help you from physical workload. Your bodies repair systems go into overdrive and do their best work while you are asleep. If you tend to be active or workout in the morning, a nap can help restore your expended energy. Any skill work you are practicing is improved while you are unconscious, not during the time spent executing the skill.

The power of curiosity

Our minds are naturally inquisitive. There is a strong pull to figure out why something doesn't make sense, or how something worked. Being curious has nothing to do with your ability to absorb or understand information. It is simply the spark that powers you to try. It's how we learn of our own free will.

As children we understand nothing. This gives us a sense of wonder and magic for the world. We are more open to new information and have zero confirmation bias. We know that asking questions plays a strong roll in learning and allowing a child to be inquisitive helps them develop critical thinking skills. We want them to develop the ability to solve problems on their own, and form educated opinions. We want them to take advantage of their higher neural plasticity and take in as much of the world around them as possible.

As adults we build a fallacy around the belief that we know how the world works. The more we believe we understand the less time we are willing to spend asking questions. Those who are inquisitive as adults are lambasted for being ignorant or stupid or immature. As a result, we stop learning. The spark and wonder within the world dims and the desire to make sense of things goes unfulfilled. What doesn't change as an adult, is the world being a crazy wondrous place filled with infinite possibilities to explore. If curiosity is the how we learn, and you stop letting yourself being curious, then you stop learning. You rob yourself of the exhilaration of finding something new.

If you look at the great minds of our generations, it's not just that they magically knew more or memorized more stats and facts better than others. No what made the great minds great, was constantly exploring and searching for answers. Always seeking out new puzzles, finding new mysteries, trying to explain the unexplained, and feeding their curiosity.

The power of play time

 

Play time is the most exciting and exhilarating part of your day as a child. It's 100% enthusiasm, unbridled joy, and free from worry or consequence. There may be rules to follow, or winners or losers, but your imagination gets to run free. Your first real concepts of right and wrong and risk reward come from playing with others. The ability to create is built through allowing your imagination to physically manifest.

Even if you have hobbies as an adult, or activities that you enjoy doing, showing pure enthusiasm for it is considered embarrassing. But for most of us, there isn't even time for enjoying things that have zero to do with your to do list. We remove joy and spontaneity from anything deemed worthy of doing. Everything is serious, your exercise, your fandom (sport, comic book, or sci-fi/fantasy), your pick up basketball game, or your role playing game. These are all outlets for imagination, escapism from the day to day, and fun for fun's sake, and yet how often do you end up filling the time with arguments, or walking away frustrated?

We as nerds tend to be the worst with this. We have built and grown into what we enjoyed as kids, and are fortunate to include and pay attention to our interests. But the joy associated with letting our imagination run free has been replaced by rigid schedules or cutting down of others for not being true fans.

We know how crucial the power of a child's imagination is for developing aptitude during a phase of their life when their neural plasticity is at its highest. We also make ourselves feel guilty if we don't take our hobbies serious enough. How many of us lose a little self esteem because we start writing a novel but don't finish. Or let the weeds over take the garden because we lost interest and want to learn the piano now instead. We look at hobbies cast aside a failures instead of what they truly are, playtime that has run it's course.

The emphasis of naps, curiosity, and play time is made when we are children, and our neural plasticity is highest. We focus on these points because they are considered essential for our development. Our mistake is thinking that at any point we have stopped developing. Sure our neural plasticity is higher as kids, but remember everything can be trained, and everything can be worked on. How much of having a harder time learning a foreign language is because your brain got too full, versus you stopped practicing how to learn new things? How can you expect to be able to enjoy life, when you have no practice in feeling joy?

The world will never run out of ways to inspire you or cause you wonder. You didn't lose your “child like enthusiasm,” you lost the ability to be or feel enthusiastic at all.

 

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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