The “hustle” and getting out of your comfort zone are mottos everywhere.
Don’t get me wrong I’m all about the hustle and doing shit that feels uncomfortable. However, when was the last time you actually did either of those things?
Recently I just finished a 5 part dance lesson series. It included learning the waltz, salsa, and tango with the one and only Matt Z (the boyfriend). For the most part I enjoy dancing, looking a fool, shaking a little rump, and throwing a good shopping cart move into any situation.
However, dancing a choreographed number where the wrong step could royally screw up “the line of dance” (fancy dance terms, check me out) and send us butt bumping into the elderly couple next to us is not quite up my alley. Plus, to make matters worse, being seen in public in a full embrace with Matt for 90 minutes in front of 25 strangers – let alone anyone – definitely makes me want to shrivel into oblivion.
The first session was definitely weird and uncomfortable. As the weeks progressed things became a little easier and I may even have forgotten about the full embrace part. But then as everything started to get better, there was the tango.
This dance made me feel like an awkward new born giraffe with two left feet. Frustration and sweat started to set in, while Matt’s neck got redder and redder with each dirty look and exasperated sigh I shot at him. However, with each passing class things start to get better. And by the last class we had conquered it. Victory never felt so sweet.
I’m totally the type of person who only likes to do the things I’m good at and avoid things I’m not, hence why I rarely bowl. I know that about myself and I would dare to say I’m not a rarity – that most people prefer not to put themselves in a situation where they could look foolish or uncomfortable. But in knowing this fact, I actively try and seek out things that catch me off balance.
I get it. Believe me. But if you never challenge yourself with anything, life may never be anything but cardboard – bland, lackluster, with nothing noteworthy.
So maybe it’s dancing, taking a cooking class, going after your dream, or starting an exercise routine. But JUST DO IT as Nike would say.
Yes, it’s going to be hard. Yes, you’re going to feel like your getting better at it only to one day be knocked down and feel as if you’re never going to master it. But that’s where the beauty lies! Keep plugging away and expanding your tolerance for feeling uncomfortable because there will be that day when everything just clicks and it actually feels right and natural. That is the day you have conquered the thing that you may have rather died than do. That’s when crowning moments are made. That’s why you feel absolutely on top of the world.
Everyone deserves to have that feeling. But without the “hustle,” it would never exist.
So what is it that you are avoiding like the plague? Because here it comes: I challenge you to stop being a pansy and holding yourself back. I challenge you to just do it.
There is a saying:
Time is the most precious resource we have, so spend it enriching your life.
So I guess that means next up for me I’m going to bowl my heart out till it no longer feels alien. And maybe I’ll even be able to hold my own against our own resident bowling god, Drew.
Train hard, get weird, and hustle,
Posted on April 22, 2015 by admin
The Truth About Nutrition
If you are like most people the thought of nutrition automatically creates stress in your life. You immediately start thinking about everything you have heard on TV, read in a magazine or learned from a trusted friend. You most likely gear up for a complete overhaul on your life only to discover that 3 weeks later you have jumped ship!
“Why does this keep happening? If only I had the right program for me, all of my frustrations would dissipate.”
Look we get it. Training and nutrition isn’t always the easiest thing to follow. At some point life gets in the way and our goals are put on hold. What if there was a simple strategy that could eventually end this constant yo-yo of a lifestyle and produced the results you truly desired?
The first step is doing just that. You have to be truthful with exactly how what you are trying to achieve.You have to be truthful with what you can actually do and you have to be truthful with exactly what you are willing to sacrifice in order to obtain those results.
You can achieve whatever you want in life. You just have to be able to commit to change. Some people are not which is why they never reach their goals. Some make it more stressful than it needs to be and ultimately fall victim to increased pressure to perform. Pressure created by themselves. If you are interested in eliminating this pressure in your life I encourage you to watch the video below and discover just how easy a lifestyle transformation can be.
It has come to that time of year again. Summer! My soul is giddy with excitement but there are some that, though giddy, have that little twinge of “oh fu*k”.
Why? … speedo season.
But in all seriousness, we all have those little areas or body parts we want to work on. That no matter where we are or what we are doing while in that bathing suit, in the back of our heads we are still thinking about it.
“I really want to go into the water…but then I have to take this sarong off.”
“Maybe if I take my steps a little wider my legs won’t chafe.”
“Suck it in, suck it in, suck it in!”
But! All is not lost. You can still feel amazing and confident walking on the beach this year.
I’ve put together my top 7 exercises that will hit many of the classic problem areas: perk up that booty, slim the thighs, and lean out that tummy:
#7. Hamstring Curls: Many people have over developed quadriceps (muscle in the front of the legs) and under developed hamstring (back of the legs). The imbalance of strength here is one of the factors that leads to knee injuries and pain. Doing these hamstring curls will help strengthen the back of your legs, keeping your knees happy, but will also tighten and smooth that area back there. Start by doing 8-12 repetitions for 1-3 sets.
#6. Squats: Squats are an incredible exercises for total body, not to mention the legs. Squatting involves every muscle of the thighs and legs as well as the core. Plus, depending on what loads and variation you use, it will also engage the upper body as well. If you are new to squatting begin with your own body weight, focus on controlling the entire motion through 10-15 reps. As you get strong increase the load with added weight, like the goblet squat shown below. Work between 5-15 reps depending on how challenging your weight is for 2-5 sets.
#5. Planks: The abdominal are just like any other muscle, if you over load it with too much weight and/or do a 1,000 reps of crunches a day it too will grow. Most of use aren’t looking to get a thicker midsection, so don’t over do your Mom’s typical “ab” exercises. The core’s main function, contrary to popular thought, is not to “crunch” or fold your chest up to your legs, like a suitcase, but actually to resist movement. That is why planks made the list! They are incredibly challenging not just for the body but also the mind and they will no doubt strengthen your core while flattening your belly.
#4. Dead bugs: Say what?! Yes! Dead bugs are another great exercise for strengthening and toning your midsection. Though they look easy, looks can be deceiving especially when they are done right. Begin with 5 good repetitions on each side, then as you get stronger increase reps or add light dumbbells in your hand.
#3. Glute Bridges / Hip Thrusts: (My favorite) Butts seem all the rage lately, or maybe they never weren’t since Baby Got Back debuted. Any how, for those with a pancake ass like me these are your best friends. Number one key is to use your mind muscle connection and “squeeze” or contract them as much as you can through out the movement. The glutes are unique in that they can handle large volumes (lots of reps and sets), loads (weight / time under tension), and frequency (how often you do it) – all fancy jargon for you can work the glutes in just about every training session and should if you want to see them grow, tone, and tighten.
A great place to start engaging your glutes is with the floor glute bridge. Begin with your feet flat on the floor, drive your heels into the ground and raise your hips to the ceiling. Complete 10-20 reps. When that begins to be easy you can make it more challenging by elevating your feet on a box which is show here:
A simple progression from the floor glute bridge is the hip thrust. Begin with body weight, fully extending the hips, and maximally squeezing the glutes for 15-20 repetitions. When that begins to become less challenging you can switch to single leg or add weight with resistance bands or even a barbell.
#2. Sprint: Sprints are the most metabolic way to strengthen not just the areas we are talking about but all of the body! Everything from your feet to your neck is being engaged and worked. The legs are used to help transfer the forces your glutes and quads are producing to propel you forward at maximum speed. the hamstrings help recovery your leg for the next step, while your core is fully engaged by transferring the forces from your arm action to your lower extremities all while keeping your from flopping over like a limp noodle. PLUS! It is a huge calorie burner. Double whammy!
#1. That exercises called don’t put crap into the hole in your face: The number one exercise for transforming your body is the one that seems to be the hardest: don’t put bad stuff in your mouth. You can’t out train a terrible diet. Been there done that. If you are serious about wanting to mold your body into one you are proud to strut on the beach in a speedo, you are going to have to get your nutrition together. That means vegetables, a form of lean protein (meat, eggs, whey, beans), and a thumb size of fat (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado) at every meal. Avoid carbs that are found in a bag or box (breads, cereals, pastas) and eat those that are closest to the way they were grown (sweet potatoes, farro, spaghetti squash). You know what foods are “good” for you and which probably wont help you fit into the lime green Borat bikini.
So there you have it! These 7 moves will help get you feeling lean and rocking that swim suit. All of them will be utilized in our upcoming Strong & Sport 8 Week Transformation, to learn more and take the first steps to becoming and feeling the way you deserve click here.
Barbells & Broccoli,
Posted on April 8, 2015 by admin
11 Fitness Secrets To Get Lean, Strong & Sporty For The Summer
If you are like most people during the winter, your goals have been put away as well as your clothes for the summer. The problem is when the weather breaks we are ready to break out the summer clothes only to find out that they might not fit as well as they used to.
Now we scramble looking for something that we can do to quickly lose a few pounds and tone up so that we can fit in that bathing suit or tank top in a couple of weeks.
This is where we can become prey for all of the quick fixes and detox companies looking to make a quick profit off our failure to reach our goals during the cold winter months.
Before you know it, summer is here and we haven’t put anything into action. Or worse we have fallen victim to the too good to be true before after pictures from unhealthy cleanses flooding our Instagram and Facebook newsfeed.
Don’t be sold into scarfing down 12-15 vitamins a day while living off of protein shakes with an occasional vegetable!
These plans are unrealistic and most of all completely restrictive.
If you can’t do what you are currently doing for the rest of your life then your current plan is not a good one.
These strategies will require you to do the work and be consistent. You are going to have to hold yourself accountable but like all struggle, it will be worth it in the end. If you are willing to do what it takes and finally get it off and keep it off, start using these strategies today to finally end all of your pre-summer frustrations.
1.) Start With A Current Reality Assessment – The current reality assessment is the foundation and support to what you will actually accomplish. You have to be realistic with what you can actually do and figuring out where you actually are is the first step to success.
How Many Days Are You Currently Working Out?
Are You Currently Eating A Well Balanced Diet & Limiting Processed Foods and Sugary Drinks?
Are You A Drinker or A Smoker?
Do You Enjoy Working Out?
Are The People Around You Supportive of Your Goals?
Figure out where you stand and you will know exactly which habits are holding you back. Start with the biggest one or one that you know you can change and make it stick.
2.) Set 1 or 2 Realistic Goals – We often base our vision off what we see in a magazine or on TV. Majority of the superstars we see have done 8-12 week training programs leading up to a photoshoot. They have the best photographers in the business using Photoshop to make them look even hotter. Then they fall off just like you and I.
Set your goals on the reality at hand. Is there a bathing suit you would like to wear that is 1 or 2 sizes too small? Make it a goal to fit into that piece of clothing. I always say have two goals. Make one performance based like a certain amount of push up or being able to run a mile without stopping. This gives you something else to shoot for without making you obsess over is the number on the scale moving.
3.) Figure Out A Maintainable Training Schedule – We sometimes want to come out the gate 100 mph when we start a new program. I am all for going all into something but once again make sure you base it off your initial assessment.
If you currently are not training at all, it is unrealistic to think you can do 5 days a week for 8 to 12 weeks. You can always add days to your training. In fact you will see later in this blog it is actually in the plan. Start with 2-3 days per week and move up to 3-5 once your body adjust to the new physical activity.
4.) Build Your Ideal Nutrition Plan – This is the most important factor when losing body fat. Studies done by precision nutrition showed that a control group lost 1.5 more pounds exercising 4 days a week than a group that did no exercise at all.
They did not change either group’s nutrition. This means exercise alone will literally do nothing for you. Exercise combined with good nutrition on the other hand has shown staggering results. Here are a few solid tips to build your ideal nutrition plan.
Drink A Gallon of Water Per Day
Eat 1 Palm of Protein & Veggies at every meal
Add Coconut Oil and Olive Oil To Veggies
Eat Lean Proteins Like Fish, Chicken, Turkey & Lean Beef
Shoot for 4-6 Meals Per Day and Avoid Snacks (Eat Complete Every Time)
Drop The Dairy – plain Greek yogurt & cheeses are okay but dairy is high in sugar and promote inflammation
Plan In Cheat Meals That You Earn By Doing Everything Else Correctly
Swap Out Ingredients To Try & Make Traditional Dishes More Healthy(i.e. Spaghetti for Spaghetti Squash)
Limit Starchy Carbs Like Quinoa, Rice and Potatoes To Before or After Workouts (they are strictly to fuel or recover from workouts)
5.) Do High Intensity Conditioning To Burn Fat – Intervalhas become much more mainstream. There are many different forms of interval training, but keep it simple. Grouping bodyweight exercises, kettle bells and TRX’s into circuits are the most efficient. You want to do high volume of reps with limited rest in between exercises. You can even add sprints into the circuits to get really awesome results.
Below is an example of an easy conditioning circuit. Do Each Exercise for about 30 seconds resting for 20-40 seconds between depending on your ability level. Repeat the circuit for 3-5 sets.
1. Kettle Bell Swing
2. Mountain Climbers
3. TRX Rows
4. KB Squat Press
The best part is, conditioning workouts usually take 15-30 minutes to finish. If you are strapped for time, you can easily get these done and move on with the rest of your day.
6.) Incorporate A Total Body Strength Training Program – Total Body workouts are the key to keeping the weight off as well as giving the body the toned and defined look. Strength training for women is now more popular and we have moved away from the myth that weights make women bulky. Women who train with weights not only look leaner and toned, they also have a higher sense of confidence in their abilities.
Do at least 2 Total Body Strength workouts per week using exercises like Squats, Lunges, Presses, Rows and some kind of Deadlift or Hip Hinge Exercise. Use the 5 to 10 rep scheme to build lean muscle.
7.) Increase or Add Extra Physical Activity – Our world has changed over the last few decades. With everything being so convenient and easy to access, our need to move on a regular basis has dramatically decreased. One simple and easy step to add to extra calories being burned throughout the day is to increase extra activity. Getting more steps per day can be fun and challenging when using tools like step counters and Fit Bits.
8.) Plan In Variations To Your Training Program – Eventually the body always adapts. The key to continuing results is planning variations in your training program. If you are working out 3 days a week you can increase your volume to 4 or 5 days for a week or two. If you are doing only 2 conditioning workouts, you can switch it up and try 3 or 4 one week.
This will force the body to try and adjust to the new demand ultimately allowing you to burn more calories and body fat. This can be short and sweet. Do not just increase the intensity or volume and keep it at a high level because eventually the body will break down. The body needs rest and pushing the gas the entire time will result in a blown engine.
9.) Switch Up Your Food Choices – Humans are habitual. I have coached my fair share of picky eaters also. The biggest mistake most people make is picky their meal plan and then only eating chicken and broccoli every single day! Yes this makes it easy to shop and prepare food but eventually the results you saw will dwindle and the body will once again adjust.
Switch up you proteins and veggies and provide yourself with plenty of variety in your diet. Rotate between fish and poultry. You can even rotate the type of fish you eat. Rainbow trout, Salmon, Cod, Tuna and Tilapia are some of my favorites. You can even broil up some flounder and call it a day. Have fun with your foods and keep it changing on a regular basis to prevent burn out.
10.) Introduce Mini Carb Cycle & Refeeds – Carb Cycling is nothing new to fit pros. They have been using this system for a long time and it really works well for figure competitors and athletes to lean up or perform at higher levels. I has also helped the average person avoid fat loss plateaus by utilizing different energy sources to fuel exercise.
Here is the easiest way to make this work for you. Eat starchy carbs like list above only around workout times. 2 hours before and up to 2 hours after. Every 3-5 weeks you can decrease the amount of carbs for a week and follow up with a carb refeed on the weekend. I.e. if you are eating 120g per day, drop down to below 50g per day for a week. Follow up with a carb refeed on Saturday where you eat 120g to 160g of carbs that day.
Doing this causes your body to become muscle glycogen depleted and then more insulin sensitive after the refeed. Easy way to think of this is, your body will store the carbs as energy for exercise and not store it as fat in the body.
11.) Have A Support Group To Hold You Accountable – Most people fail in their quest to a better body mainly because the support system is nonexistent. The family or their friends are not really supportive of their journey and hold them back. When times get tough they feel alone in their struggles. Everybody usually struggles with the same exact thing. Having a support group to talk about your journey allows you to stay motivated when you are seeing the results just yet.
It also provides more accountability. It is easy for us to say I will skip the workout today or I am just too busy and too stressed to eat well this week. This is all negative self-talk and can prevent you from achieving your goals. This is a strong tool to possess. Before starting any journey make sure to have a strong, positive support group to help you reach your fitness goals.
“I have lived a long life and had many troubles; most of which never happened.”
Fear is an emotion everyone experiences. No matter if you are super confident, a millionaire, a beggar on the street, or a famous performer, fear often rears its little head.
Fear once had an important purpose. Researchers say that the emotion cued the caveman that they were getting into unfamiliar territory and to be alert and cautious. It also helped by supplying them with a quick hit of adrenaline so they could run for their lives at the first signs of danger. But now in our world there is rarely ever a risk of losing ones life. We have evolved to a stage that many and most of our fears are created by us.
So much so that psychologists like to use this cheeky acronym to describe what fear really means: Fantasized Experiences Appearing Real
We spend so much time worrying about our fears by fantasizing about negative outcomes if stepping out of our comfort zone. This act of imagining what could happen keeps us within the boundaries that are holding us back, keeping us stuck in a situation we dislike. And some of us are willing to go to extreme lengths their whole lives avoiding the uncomfortable feeling of fear, never taking a risk or seeing what they may truly be capable of. They continue to avoid taking the steps that would help them achieve their dreams because they allow fear to stop them.
Jack Canfield used a great metaphor. He said to think of your fear as a 2-year-old child throwing a temper tantrum because they don’t want to go run errands with you. You have no other choice to leave them home, so you obviously have to take them by the hand and drag them throughout your day anyway. “You wouldn’t let a 2-year-old’s mentality run your life.” Fear is no different.
No matter what venue it is, in the pursuit of getting from where you are currently to where you want to be – whether physically, spiritually, in business, relationships, health, or nutrition – you’re going to have to confront those fears. Just like the 2-year-old you need to acknowledge that the fear does exist but you must continue to go after your goals and dreams by executing the things that need to be done to get there every day.
An exercise Canfield uses to address fear is to make a list of what it is your afraid to do. This isn’t actual things (like sharks) but actions such as:
Ask my boss for a raise
Start a new fitness routine
Then rephrase each of these fears with the statement “I want to ____, and I scare myself by imagining ____.”
“I want to ask my boss for a raise, and I scare myself by imagining they will say no, be angry with me, and treat me differently there after.”
“I want to start a new fitness routine, and I scare myself by imagining that I will feel silly, out of shape, and embarrass myself in front of a group of strangers.”
“I want to eat healthy, and I scare myself by imagining that the food will taste terrible and I will never be able to enjoy social situations again.”
Understand that generally you are the one creating this fear of something that actually hasn’t even happened or may never happen.
Once you figure out that the fears may not be legitimate (though they feel so) I dare you to then lean into it and take a leap of faith. Just take a chance and actually do the thing you have been ruminating over in your head for days, weeks, or years. Yeah it could be scary or terrifying but grab that 2-year-olds hand and do it anyway. If you don’t act, your run the risk that, whatever the opportunity that is laid in front of you, will pass you by before you know it.
The only way you can find out if you can actually do something is… TO ACTUALLY DO THAT THING! And once you do, the mystery of that “thing” fades. You find out that those people in the gym are actually human too and have their own fears and weaknesses that they have to overcome. You see that eating healthy can be delicious and filling, and the people around you wish to eat better too and are inspired by your own steps you have taken.
Use these suggestions to help conquer your own fears! In doing so, you can be an infectious, positive light that inspires others around you to take those same steps to make their goals and dreams a reality. TAKE ACTION and watch the world open up!