Each year at work we have a city wide walking challenge. Last year my team came away with the victory. We look to defend our title successfully this year. The challenge runs from April 4th-May 4th this year. Both running and walking miles count towards your teams total. Then the totals will be averaged. Winners not only get bragging rights, but they receive a trophy, clothes, and gift cards.
My personal objective is to accumulate 10 miles a day. My plan of action is to walk each of our four dogs individually for 20-30 minutes a day, take frequent walking breaks at work when possible, have my clients walk or jog between sets of strength exercises, and incorporate walking and loaded carries into my own training program.
So far I have met my goal each day. The Week 1 standings came out and my team is performing well thus far. Technically we are sitting in 3rd, but I am confident we will rise to the occasion.
Amber isn't the biggest fan of exercise. For the first few years we were together she would accompany me to the gym occasionally and workout. It wasn't her favorite thing to do, and she didn't push herself very hard. She did it more to spend time with me than anything else.
That began to change when she discovered Yoga. She started to fall in love with the art. She routinely tried to take both private and group classes multiple times a week. She even spent a month becoming a certified instructor in Colorado. I was extremely proud of her for accomplishing this. I was very grateful as well. Being in the fitness industry, I know how important exercise is for our health, and she had finely found a form of it that spoke to her. It motivated her to stay active, take time for her fitness, and motivate her to become physically stronger and more flexible.
But her fitness journey didn't stop with Yoga. Amber knew that working out on her own wasn't the route for her like it is me. She thrives in group classes. She began challenging herself by taking a variety of classes at a local studio. She tried Buti Yoga, dance aerobics, barre, and a couple others as well. She enjoyed herself so much, she committed to a yearly membership. She now routinely goes 2-4 times a week. It's great to witness the change she's gone through in her health and fitness journey over the last two years.
What forms of exercise do you enjoy? Finding the answer to that question is vitally important. Exercise is a life long habit that we must develop. Without it our lives will suffer. If you dislike or, even worse, despise exercise then you must keep searching until you find a form that you enjoy. It doesn't have to be by yourself. It doesn't have to be grueling. It doesn't have to be something new and trendy. It just has to be enjoyable.
Whatever it is, I hope that you find it!
As spring approaches there is nothing I enjoy more than getting outside to workout. The fresh air, sunshine, and beautiful scenery makes for a wonderful gym. Nothing beats a good walk through nature, but if we are looking for an intense workout while outside I implore you to find a hill. A steep, 20-30 yard hill is more than enough to challenge every muscle from head to toe. Below is a full-body workout that will better your strength, stamina, and have your metabolism revved up for hours afterwards.
1. Jog Up Hill; Walk Down x 4 Reps
2. Skip Up Hill; Walk Down x 4 Reps
3. Lunge Up Hill; Walk Down x 2 Reps
4. Broad Jumps Up Hill; Walk Down x 2 Reps
5. Bear Crawl Up Hill; Walk Down x 2 Reps
6. Burpee Up Hill; Walk Down x 2 Reps
(Jump up hill as you stand up from the push-up)
7. 10 Squats + Sprint Up Hill; Walk Down x 3 Reps
Go home and rest!
Today's weather is gorgeous here in Southwest Missouri. The sunshine is plentiful, the birds are singing, and the fresh air is flowing with a cool breeze. It's beautiful. A simple walk can be a powerful experience. The walk Amber and I just embarked on, along with our two shelties, Stella and Cash, was pure joy.
If I had to pick one form of exercise for people to do, it would be walking. In my mind it is the single most powerful and accessible form of exercise that almost everyone can easily do. It's cheap, can be done anywhere, and can be done in a variety of ways; alone, with friends, listening to music, while reading, etc.
Beyond these, there have been so many studies that report the amazingly powerful effects and benefits associated with walking on a regular basis:
We all need habits and rituals that set us up for success in our life. Our habits are our building blocks. They are the foundation for our daily behaviors. They keep us disciplined, focused, productive, and moving our lives in the right direction.
Just as good habits build us up, poor habits bring us down. They result in procrastination, poor health, and lack of success. Because of this, we must eliminate these poor habits that hold us back while reinforcing our positive habits.
If you struggle with smoking, drinking, or eating poorly, rid your house of these immediately. Don't wait another day or give yourself an excuse to keep hurting yourself.
If you don't wear your seat belt, drink enough water, or live an active life, start today. Go drink a glass of water. Go walk or do 10 jumping jacks. Next time you're in your car put on your seat belt.
Today is the best day to change your life. There's no good excuse for waiting.
Change your habits today in order to flourish tomorrow.
I love to sweat. There is something primal inside of me that feels great when I'm dripping in it. There's a sense of power, strength, and accomplishment that flows through my veins. There's no better trigger of sweating than heat. And there is no greater place to find heat than in a sauna.
Yesterday, with the help of my father-in-law, I was able to put together our sauna. I'm in love already. To me, saunas are beautiful shrines for our health. Longevity, detox, performance enhancement, healing, resilience... The sauna is an effective tool that can be used for all of this and more.
There is a lot of amazing evidence on all the benefits of utilizing a sauna in your life, and the number one location for that information is Rhonda Patrick's Sauna Report. You can also watch a video she's done...
We are all unique. Work considerations, family responsibilities, enjoyment, and medical issues all play a part in our health and the time we can dedicate towards fitness. Some people dedicate hours to the gym every day. Others can only afford to dedicate an hour a week. The objective is not to compete, compare, or judge ourselves based on others. The objective is to achieve health and happiness in our lives. However we go about doing that has to be determined at an individual level.
I'm not writing this to say it's okay to skip exercise if you're busy because it's not. We each should prioritize our health. Not only for ourselves, but for those we love. By prioritizing our health we not only raise the quality of our lives, but the quality of the lives around us. By focusing on our well-being we are enabling ourselves to be the best version, physically and mentally, that we can be. By being the best version of ourselves, we can bring happiness, love, and productivity into the world around us.
I'm writing this to emphasize how important it is for each of us to identify how we can live a healthy lifestyle. Don't just find the time, create the time to prioritize your health. Wellness should be near the very top of your "To-Do List"; anywhere else you're doing a disservice to yourself.
Time-Restricted Eating, a method studied by Dr. Satchin Panda, was shown to help mice lose weight, gain muscle, and prevent disease without changing ANY part of their diets except for WHEN they ate.
Dr. Panda divided mice into different eating groups of 15-, 12-, and 9-hour eating windows. The mice were on the EXACT same diet. At the end of the study, the mice from the 12 & 9 hour groups were healthier, more muscular, and even lost weight when switched from the 15 hour group.
How it works: The clock starts when you first consume calories (eat or drink something besides water). Aim for consuming ALL your calories before the 12 hour limit. To help your body better utilize and burn fat, you may narrow that window to 9 hours.
Remember, this can have a big impact on your health and weight without changing what you currently eat. Give it a shot!
Our bodies are a piece of art. They are the greatest masterpiece this planet has ever seen. The interplay between the mind, body, and spirit is absolutely fascinating. Each piece of us is intertwined so uniquely that we are doing a disservice to ourselves when we do not work to develop all facets of who we are. We must build our body’s capacity for work and movement. We must develop our mind to think, analyze, and learn. We must control our emotions rather than our emotions control us.
This process is never-ending. Day after day, year after year, we must continue to grow and develop who we are. We must learn and dive deep into our physical and mental being on a frequent basis. This is the only way to know, and master, who you are.
Exercise is great for the development of the physical body. If you push hard enough in your workouts you can absolutely develop mental toughness and learn how far you are capable of pushing yourself, but exercise alone does not always lead to the development of the mind and spirit that we seek.
To better our minds, we must continuously learn and grow our skill sets. Reading is an unbelievable option. Books provide an avenue to learn so much. Books can take our minds into a whole other universe and stretch our imaginations. Literature can teach us methods and lessons of learning new languages, techniques in our careers or hobbies, and how to influence the people in our lives. Reading can relax us and wash away stress. For the mind, reading is extremely beneficial.
Meditation is a great skill to develop as well. Meditation has been shown to literally rewire our brains after being utilized by individuals for several weeks. Those who meditate tend to become happier, increase their ability to focus, and can better control their stress. Along with meditation comes better understanding of your thoughts, better emotional control, and quick routes to relaxation.
Creating, be it through music, art, or a story, is another amazing tool to develop the mind. This form of self-expression gives you a highway to exploring the depths of your nature. You are able to get the thoughts and images racing through your mind out into the external world rather than keeping them bottled inside. This act can be more than just entertainment. It can be a form of therapy, education, and an opportunity to influence others if you choose to show your work to the world.
We are more than just a body. We are more than just a job. We are a complicated, expansive being that has unlimited power to grow and develop into something beautiful.
In Tuesdays Tough It Out post we introduced Dr. Stuart McGill’s “Big 3” exercises for back health; the Birddog, McGill Curl-Up, and Side Planks. I personally have been utilizing them in my exercise regimen and would highly recommend them to EVERYONE. Low back issues are so prevalent in today’s society that everyone would benefit from taking a proactive and preventative approach by incorporating these exercises into their routine BEFORE issues pop up rather then waiting until there is a problem. They are simple to learn, require no equipment, and pay big dividends.
Today’s installment will focus on the other half of what has strengthened my back and allowed me to feel healthy and strong continuously, without flare ups, over the last couple of years. This method is called Foundation Training and was created by Dr. Eric Goodman. The exercises performed are centered around body weight movements that strengthen and elongate the muscles of your core and posterior chain, as well as decompressing the spine, to help alleviate many chronic pain issues. There are several exercises used, some of which I’ll picture below, but the primary movement they are known for, in my opinion, is “The Founder”.
This exercise teaches the hip hinge, a vital movement to becoming strong, fit, and healthy. Simply practicing this skill on a daily basis can help many people alleviate issues they are dealing with while learning better ways to move the body through our daily activities.
Other popular movements in Foundation Training are pictured below.
Dr. Goodman has several pieces of material that can act as great resources, including two books, Foundation Training and True to Form. Beyond these there is Foundation Training Website. The resource I first stumbled upon, and utilize multiple times every week is the below
We are Amber and Jordan Kirbey. We are excited to share our experiences and ideas with you!