Chase Your Dream

16 Jan

martin-luther-king-i-have-a-dream[1]What’s your dream?

Dream BIG.

Aim high.

Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.


Push yourself.

Make it happen.

Improve you.

Strive to be the best version of you.

Believe in you.

Carpe Diem.


Your thoughts?

Before a Big Restaurant Meal…

13 Jan

sushi-[1]I love going out to eat, especially when dining out involves one of my favorite restaurants (usually Italian or sushi).  Unfortunately, for many of us, dining out often results in a high-calorie, overeating extravaganza.

In a past blog post, I’ve offered this strategy:  As soon as your meal is served, divide it in half.  Put half in a carry-out container and set it aside for a future meal, and eat the other half.  It takes some discipline (as any worthwhile endeavor does), but it works.

Here’s another idea:  Before you go out to eat, grab a snack.  Aim for about 200 calories, and make sure the snack contains at least 15 grams of protein.  Examples of pre-restaurant snacks could be a whey protein powder shake or apple with peanut butter or cheese.  This strategy provides nutrition-dense calories that will blunt your appetite and help you eat more reasonably when dining out.

Please also see related article, Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals and Snacks.


Your thoughts?

Keep it Simple

11 Jan

adult%20fitness14cropped1Here’s a simple fitness rule: DO SOMETHING EVERY DAY.

And, although it sounds easy enough, it’s also easy to get off track.

Two important considerations for an effective fitness regimen are proximity and simplicity (research shows that compliance is less likely if your workout is far away and/or complicated).

Rediscover your love of fitness.  The health and wellness benefits of exercise are well documented, and it’s a great stress reliever.

Just do something active for 30 to 45 minutes a day and your health will benefit.  This strategy is also likely to improve your quality of life and longevity.

And you can modify the intensity of your activity to accommodate your fitness level and desired results.


Your thoughts?

Do Anything But Nothing

8 Jan

cancer-exercise-011When it comes to fitness, it’s not necessarily about what you do; it’s about doing something.

Science suggests that you can get healthier, stronger, and fitter by following any plan regularly.

According to Men’s Health, the CDC recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, along with twice-weekly muscle strengthening sessions (not an unrealistic goal, but the CDC reports that 3/4 of men don’t reach it).

Best of all, your choice of activities is virtually limitless.  Weightlifting, basketball, softball, jogging, yoga, hiking, and biking are just a few of the broad array of activities from which you can choose.

Obviously, the key is to have an action plan, and your plan should be aligned with your goals (which should be consistent with your body’s needs).

And, of course, the best exercise is the exercise you actually do.


Your thoughts?

Train for Performance

6 Jan

performance-training-squat1For most young guys, “fitness” is about being as big as possible.  As we mature, we realize that fitness has little to do with the size of our biceps and more to do with how we function and perform.

Performance training involves determining what your body needs on a given day (based on your activities), setting performance goals, and creating – and executing – a plan of action that’s aligned with your goals.

Performance training is movement-based training, not muscle-based.

Performance training is about getting stronger, not bigger.  It’s about becoming more powerful, faster, and improving your endurance, mobility, and joint stability.

Trust me, you’ll get the aesthetics you’re looking for from training for performance.


Your thoughts?

Quit Obsessing Over How You Look

4 Jan

real-women-do-pull-ups1Decades ago, fitness was defined by how you looked.  Today, smart guys and gals know that fitness is more about how you perform.

Not only is single-digit body fat uncommon, extreme leanness and muscularity is an unrealistic goal and – more importantly – unnecessary for athleticism.

According to Men’s Health, a recent NCAA analysis found that the average body fat percentage for running backs at the NFL Combine from 2006 to 2013 was nearly 12 percent.

Pay less attention to the mirror and scale, and focus on performance instead – how you feel and function.  Set a goal for yourself.

Can you do a pullup?  If not, get to work on accomplishing your first one – and then your first five.  If you’ve never run a 5K, sign up for a local event – then set a time goal for your next one.


Your thoughts?

Should Kids Play One Sport Year-Round?

30 Dec

youth_big[1]Do you think it’s a good idea for a young athlete (8-12 years old) to play one sport year-round?  Would you allow your child?

Sport specialization, especially at a young age, is more popular/prevalent today than ever before.  Certainly, there are more opportunities for sport specialization — AAU basketball, JO volleyball, club soccer — than existed in past decades.  But, opportunity aside, I’m not sure it’s always the kids deciding to focus on a single sport at the expense of other sports and activities.  Coaches and parents put a lot of pressure on kids to concentrate on one sport, 24-7-365.

Playing multiple sports and activities helps kids develop cross-functional skills that can improve overall athletic aptitude and performance.  Conversely, intense training in a single sport before adolescence can lead to injuries, according to a review in the journal Sports Health.  Young athletes who play one sport all year typically experience more stress-related injuries, as a result of repetitive overuse without appropriate rest and recovery time.

Expose your child to other sports and activities, and encourage participation in unstructured activities (pick-up games, for example).  Encourage effort — and not only performance — especially when they are young.

If the decision to play a sport, year-round, is the desire of the child (and not just the coach and/or parent), and if the coach builds in regular breaks to allow for adequate rest and recovery… let him or her give it a try.


Your thoughts?

How Long Should Your Workout Take?

28 Dec

high-intensity-training[1]There are lots of workout routines that boast the ability to deliver results with just a few minutes of exercise per day.  Conversely, there are others that claim you’ll need to spend hours in the weight room to improve strength, muscle endurance, etc.

Here’s the deal: There’s no specific amount of time definitively associated with measurable progress, as it relates to strength and fitness.  Inadequate training time won’t deliver results, and too-long workouts can jeopardize performance, as well.

Don’t focus on the duration of your workout, because it’s not nearly as important as the quality of your workout.  Rather, you should identify your training goals and direct your attention to two aspects of your training:

  • The intensity level of your workout — how much stress it imposes on your body
  • The recovery time your workout requires — how much rest you need/allow between exercises and sets

The intensity level of your workout is determined by factors such as the amount of weight you lift, the speed at which you lift it, and the number of repetitions and sets.

Generally, higher intensity training requires longer recovery times between exercises and sets.

Although there’s no ideal amount of time, many strength and conditioning experts believe that 45-60 minutes should be an adequate amount of time for an effective, efficient, and focused workout.

Please see related articles, The Fallacy of Workout Duration, and How Long Should You Rest Between Exercises and Sets


Your thoughts?

Build Strength with the Farmer’s Walk

26 Dec

Farmer’s Walk

Most of us are fairly traditional when it comes to working out at the gym.  We don’t stray far from exercises like the bench press and squat (nothing wrong with that… they’re beneficial exercises).  And, of course, if you’re a guy you spend way too much time working on your arms.

The farmer’s walk is a weighted carry exercise that’s terrific for building functional strength.  This exercise will not only challenge your core, it will also strengthen it, making you stronger in everything you do.

At our facility, our athletes also perform other variations of weighted carry exercises, including:

  • Suitcase Carry (same as farmer’s walk, carrying weight on one side instead of both)
  • Overhead Carry (hold weight overhead with both arms)
  • Waiter’s Walk (same as Overhead Carry, using one arm instead of both)
  • Weight cradled in arms against chest
  • Weight carried at shoulders with elbows tucked and facing down, and palms facing each other

Here’s How to Do the Farmer’s Walk

Grab a pair of dumbbells (you can also use kettlebells or weight plates), each weighing about a half your body weight (1/3 for females), and let them hang at your sides.  If you have to, you can use lighter weights.  Try to maintain perfect posture — head and chest up, shoulders back, core tight.  Walk 60 feet with perfect form.


Your thoughts?

The Night Before Christmas

23 Dec

the_night_before_christmas_1985_by_clement_c_moore_90ca2cda[1]‘Twas the night before Christmas

When all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with  care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their  beds,

While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

And Mamma in her kerchief and I in my cap

Had just settled down for a long winter‘s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave a luster of midday to objects below.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick;

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came.

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by  name:

“Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!

On Comet! On Cupid! On Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall!

Now, dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane  fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the  sky,

So up to the housetop the coursers they flew

With a sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas,  too.

And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his  foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his  pack.

His eyes how they twinkled! His dimples how  merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a  cherry.

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard on his chin was as white as the  snow.

The stump of his pipe he held tight in his  teeth,

And the smoke, it encircled his head like a  wreath.

He had a broad face and a little round belly

That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of  jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of  myself.

A wink of the eye and a twist of his head

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his  work,

And filled all the stockings, then turned with a  jerk.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a  whistle,

And away they all flew, like a down of a  thistle.

But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of  sight,

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good  night.”

— Clement Clarke Moore, December 1823

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