Athlete's are fast, powerful, and mobile. They move with grace and beauty. Not everyone is a good athlete but you can train like one to become quicker and more fluid.
Power and speed are the foundations of a good athlete. To be fast you must move fast. A mix of sprints, jumps, and throws are ideal for converting strength into power.
Here is a workout you can do outside with a little space to move.
Jumping Rope x 100 Reps
Front Plank x 30-60 Seconds
Jumping Jacks x 20
Right Side Plank x 30-60 Seconds
Seal Jacks x 20
Left Side Plank x 30-60 Seconds
High Knees x 20 Yards
Butt Kicks x 20 Yards
Jumping (Focusing on jumping as far or as high as possible each rep)
Power Skips 3 x 3/Leg
Squat Jumps 3 x 5
Broad Jumps 3 x 3
Throwing (Medicine Balls are preferable, but use any durable object if you want)
Chest Throws x 10
Overhead Backwards x 10
Slams x 10
Sprinting (Use a hill if you're able)
5 x 30-40 Yards
Start doing a workout similar to this 2 times a week and you will soon be feeling more athletic!
I had an older gentlemen who came to meet with me yesterday. Considering his age and a few health problems he had gone through, he was moving quite well. During our discussion he said he had a theory of "if you don't use it, you lose it".
He then begin telling me what movements he tries to keep in his exercise plan such as walking everyday, pressing weight over his head, as well as several others. The most amazing part of his story was that he retrained the muscles in his forehead to regain the ability to lift his left eyebrow after many radiation treatments to defeat skin cancer on his face took that away. He said after the treatment everyday he would use his fingers to pull up the eyebrow and visualize his muscles working correctly. After a lot of practice it began to work.
So what movements are most important to you? Off the top of my had these are the movements that jump out at me.
Ability to get up from the floor (Get-Ups, Burpees)
Push/Pull light objects (Basic strength straining for arms)
These would be the bare minimum patterns for basic survival and activities of daily living as we age in my opinion. A workout based around this could look like:
10 Minutes of Brisk Walking
3 x 10 Goblet Squats
3 x 10 Push-Up (or Chest Press)
3 x 10 Seated Row
10 Minutes Brisk Walking
The above would be a function or movement based workout around the movement patterns we would look to maintain as we age to keep strong and mobile.
Many of us my have other past times or goals. If you wish to play sports as you age you need to prepare your body for that. If you have a goal of dancing at your grand daughters wedding or playing pick-up basketball against your kid in the back yard then stay fit now and for the years to come to enable yourself to do so.
These are very common questions when people are starting a fitness program. With regards to cardiovascular exercise my recommendations look like this.
Find an activity that is pain free and enjoyable. If you prefer to walk then walk. If you prefer to bike then bike. Choose any piece you have at the gym if you can do it safely.
Next we start with 10-20 minutes of work. You can go off of a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) or a heart rate. For the RPE I suggest starting at a 7/10 effort. If you prefer a heart rate then go with a range between a minimum of (160 - Age) and a maximum of (180 - Age).
From there we examine how many times a week is practical in our lives. Someone might have aspirations of 5 days a week, but few actually make it to the gym that many. Commit to a realistic number. I encourage folks to start with 2-3 days each week.
From there we build. Once an individual is consistently performing 30-40 minutes of steady state cardio at the above RPE or heart rates multiple times a week we can look to add more sessions or adjust the intensity. If we look to adjust intensity I prefer to add intervals. Intervals are periods of time at a very high RPE followed by periods of very low RPE.
If we take a 30 minute session as an example we might do 10 minutes of RPE 7 to warm-up. We follow this by performing 10 minutes of intervals where we go 10 seconds HARD and 50 seconds EASY. Then we wrap the session up by cooling down for 10 minutes at an RPE of 7 or less.
Another alternative if we are adding sessions is to perform 1-2 interval workouts in addition to our regular bouts of cardio we've been doing. If you normally come in Mon-Wed-Fri you could add an interval workout on Tuesday or Saturday.
There are a plethora of options. Whatever you do start small, add slowly, and remain consistent.
"I surround myself with good people who make me feel great and give me positive energy." -Ali Krieger
The people we surround ourselves with will either drag us down or build us up. In order to express our greatest talents, reach the peaks of happiness, and be our true selves we must protect who we let into our lives.
There should be no place for those that bring you down, hold you back, or do not inspire you to become better with each passing day. Negative influences will drain your energy, lower your standards, and waste your time.
If you have constant interactions with someone who does not enhance your life, but rather diminishes it, rid yourself of them. Stop spending time, energy, and money on them.
Those that bring you confidence and energy are the ones you should keep close. They are the ones that will empower you, inspire you, and support you. They are the important ones. Do not take them for granted or they may disappear.
Your time is your most valuable asset. Do not wash it down the drain by underestimating who and what you deserve in life.
"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together." -Vincent Van Gogh
This is a powerful quote full of truth.
Too often we miss the effort and hours that go into an achievement and only notice the end result. An overnight success took years of work to get there. We just so happen to notice it once it's presented on the biggest stage.
We discredit those who've created a masterpiece by saying they were lucky or talented.
We discredit ourselves by saying we don't have the ability to accomplish something so great.
Within each of us is the ability to reach any goal we possess.
What is missing is the vision, plan, and work ethic.
The vision is the great thing you want.
The plan is all the small steps to get there.
The work ethic is bringing it all together.
Keep stacking one building block on top of the other until the dream is a reality.
As spring brings forth warmer temperatures and more sunshine it would benefit many of us to start getting outside more. Sunlight has been demonized in years past, but it is essential to our health.
Getting adequate amounts of sunlight helps regulate our circadian rhythm, mood, and production of vitamin D which plays a part in preventing disease and strengthening our bones.
Smart exposure to the sun can greatly increase your vitality. I would recommend taking a 10-15 minute walk as the sun rises and getting outside around midday when the sun reaches it's peak for another 10-20 minutes.
To boost the effects do not wear sun block during these short windows and try to expose as much of your skin as you are comfortable.
On an aside note, here is a quick back workout for anyone looking to build a thicker back.
Low Cable Row w/EZ Handle:
We all know how important exercise is for our health and fitness. Study after study tells how working out will help us live a longer, healthier, and better life.
There's a secret combo though that will reap the most benefits for us. The combination is simple, but varies for each person.
It ultimately boils down to these two factors:
If you do not enjoy the style of workouts you participate in, you will not be consistent.
Even if you enjoy something, if you are in pain, that enjoyment will be sapped away quickly.
Find what feels good, both mentally and physically, and you will be setting yourself up for success. If you find yourself unmotivated then you need to keep trying different approaches until you find something you connect with.
This could be a certain type of class, the right workout buddy, or creating a home gym. It could be lifting weights, running, or doing yoga. We are each individuals. We each have unique bodies and personalities.
There is no one size fits all approach. Similar to diets, anything can work if you stick to it. Make it fun and don't force yourself to do something that causes pain. Once you find the answer then you are on your way to a healthier, longer, and better life.
Maintaining muscle mass is a critical aspect of healthy aging. With each passing decade of our lives we unfortunately begin to lose it faster and faster.
To prevent this you must do strength training. You have to challenge your musculature so that your body preserves what you've built.
This is a survival mechanism that no matter how old one is they can take advantage of. Whether you are 40 or 80 you can maintain or even build muscle if you train, eat, and rest correctly.
Maintenance can be done with 1-2 full body sessions a week. A calisthenics based workout may look like 3 sets of 10 for:
Using weights or machines you may use the following exercises:
Goblet Box Squats
Now both of the above workouts are very simple and minimalist. It would serve the purpose of preserving basic muscle mass across your frame. In a beginner or inexperienced person it may add some additional mass. It is by no means a bodybuilding workout though.
If your goal is to increase your muscle mass then you need more volume and more exercises. Hypertrophy (increasing the size of a muscle) seems to respond best to performing more work. This means if 5 sets of squats stimulates growth in your legs then 10 will produce more (assuming your are eating/recovering properly).
Everyone is different and the more inexperienced you are the less you need to get better, but in general a bodybuilding program will be well served to start around 8 hard sets per muscle group in a workout (or spread throughout a week) and over the course of a few months progress to 15-20 sets per workout or week.
Many individuals have had great success building muscle following body part splits. This means you split your workouts up by body part. A traditional split would look like this:
Friday: Arms (Bicep/Triceps)
Lets look at 2 chest workouts that are focused on hypertrophy. Workout 1 would be done at the beginning of a program. Workout 2 would be done 12-16 weeks later as you slowly add volume.
Chest Workout 1 (8 Sets)
DB Bench Press: 3 x 8-12
BB Incline Press: 4 x 6-8
Chest Workout 2 (16 Sets)
DB Bench: 4 x 8-12
BB Incline Press: 5 x 5
Chest Press: 3 x 12-15
Pec Fly: 4 x 12-15
The one takeaway for you is this: Muscle, no matter your age, is important. Always focus on preserving or building it as you journey through life.
One's behaviors are responsible for one's outcomes.
Positive behaviors lead to positive results. Negative behaviors lead to negative results.
It's a simple fact that our habits will create the majority of the success and failure we experience in life. When you consistently do good things, good things happen. When you are irresponsible or reckless bad things happen.
Those who find the greatest amounts of success in their endeavors are the ones who plan intelligently, work efficiently, and have an array of habits that lead them to their success.
High levels of income don't equate to wealth or early retirement if you spend every penny you earn.
Good looks don't lead to great relationships if you don't communicate or care for your partner.
Naturally high levels of athleticism don't always result in good health and fitness if you eat too much or become sedentary.
Foundational habits create the groundwork for health, wealth, and happiness.
Overtime small habits lead to huge success.
Saving a little bit of your income over the course of your career can lead to millions when you retire.
Taking a brisk walk every day could prevent heart disease, cancer, or Alzheimers.
Choosing to eat quality food over junk may help you stave of the overweight and obesity problems prevalent in our society today.
Telling your significant other you love them daily may help your marriage last 40 years instead of 4.
Small steps go a long way. Create habits today that will lead to achievement tomorrow.
Days can be stressful. Work, chores, and unplanned interruptions can all lead to pent up frustration, anger, or stress. These emotions can boil over into our evenings that are meant to relax, rest, and unwind. To battle this try an evening routine that prioritizes destressing and relaxation. Here is a quick and easy routine that will help flip your emotions from negative to positive while building your self-esteem and clearing your mind.
Step 1: Victory Log
Write down 1-3 victories you had. This could be solving any problem you faced, reaching any goal you set, or finding time to spend with friends, family, or participating in a hobby that you enjoy. Don't be humble. Brag about yourself.
Step 2: Gratitude Journaling
Write down 3-5 things you are thankful for. It could be an energizing coffee, a joke that made you laugh, or a memory from years past. Don't overthink this. Often the simplest things in life can bring us the most joy.
Step 3: Deep Breathing
Spend a minimum of one minute taking deep breaths. I would recommend 5-10 minutes if you are willing. Inhale slowly for 4-5 seconds, pause, and exhale for 4-5 seconds.
This little routine can be accomplished in as little as 5 minutes. Feel free to extend it to 10+ if you enjoy the journaling aspects along with extended breath work.
I'd also like to share a fun workout I performed recently. This would be a great training session for folks looking to increase their conditioning/work capacity or have a workout that makes you feel "athletic".
Repeat 5-10 Rounds of:
1. KB Swings x10
2. Farmer Walks x 50-100m
3. Explosive Jumps (like Box Jumps or Squat Jumps) x 2-5 Reps
4. Run 200-400m (~70-80% Effort)
This was a fun and exhilarating session. Try it out if you are able to.
We are Amber and Jordan Kirbey. We are excited to share our experiences and ideas with you!