3 action step to grow in your industry

Quality over quantity

I’ve always been taught that if you aren’t actively taking steps to further your education, you are probably going in the other direction. Information has never been so readily available to the masses. This allows others in your industry to have access to education that will help them climb over you in position. Since I love competition, that can’t happen. 

So, it’s important to me to continue to sharpen the sword and learn as much as time allows. 

AND SO SHOULD YOU. 

We all get an opportunity to be the best we can be and now have access to so much content and developmental materials that there isn’t any reason why we can’t keep growing everyday. I encourage everyone to keep pushing themselves to grow and reach their potential. 

So, here are a few things I’m doing to keep my education going in the right direction:

Yes, it can be dry and boring at times. March on!

Reading research – I can’t stress this part enough if you are in a science related field. This is what separates the amateurs from true professionals. There are so many articles published each month with new information on various research topics. This is an opportunity to learn new things and point us in the direction of what questions are being asked in your specific niche. No matter what industry you work in, there will be an opportunity to look at research that could change your mind.

But, we aren’t reading research to be shocked and awed. Research sets out to test a hypothesis, so sometimes the end of the study turns out to show something different from common assumptions.

How to take action on this: Google the words “Google Scholar” and use this feature to start typing in your interests! Some of the articles will be blocked due to the need for a subscription, but you will still get some articles and at minimum you can read a few abstracts to get your wheels turning. 

Next on the list: Reading books. 

I absolutely love reading books. And it wasn’t always that way. No, I’m not one of the people tied to the physical copies of books. I love reading them on the kindle just as much. But, just in the last year I’ve been able to read 12 books by doing two things:

  1. Make sure to reading into your routine. 
  2. Make sure to take notes so you can refer back each time you open the book again. 

These two tips look so minimal when typed out, but can be very helpful in the long run. Most people don’t have time to sit and read a book with peace and quiet for hours. So, instead try to work it into a routine where you block off some specific time for yourself to grow. I prefer to read at night before I go to bed and typically take a few notes so I can remember where I was quicker the next time I pick up the book. I am currently reading a book called “Focus” by Daniel Coleman. I was drawn to the book because of how much harder it is for clients and athletes I work with to focus on the task at hand. In a world filled with attention grabbing things, it seems like focusing on one thing has become a lost art. So, this book discussing the skill of focusing was exactly what I was looking for. 

The last thing (and probably most important) way to further your education is…. TALKING TO REAL PEOPLE!

This one, sadly, is overlooked the most. It seems harder and harder to get someone on a phone call these days, as text messages are king. I get it, it gives people an opportunity to think about what they want to say in advance to craft the perfect response. But, with the dependence on this form of communication I’ve noticed people have a much harder time thinking on the fly. If there isn’t the 5-10 seconds of thought before replying over text, people are uncomfortable. 

I say talking to people is probably most important because it’s the most efficient and effective way to learn. Those who have gone before you will always have trial and error under their belts. Anything you want to try has probably been attempted by someone before. By asking someone that has more experience, you eliminate the need to fail a couple times before you get it right. Sure, failure is a great teacher. But it’s inefficient if it’s unnecessary. 

Money Play: Find people with more experience and more time under their belt in your respective fields and reach out to them. Not all of them will answer and that’s ok. But there are plenty of people out there doing very well that are happy to help the youth in their industry. Find these people and respectfully listen to anything they have to say. You don’t have to agree, but you should respect the work they’ve done. Ask as much as they’ll answer and take notes. THIS CANNOT BE OVERSTATED!

At the end of the day, you should be motivated to be the best in your field. If you aren’t, you probably aren’t reading this anyway. If you are motivated, stay hungry and always try to sharpen the sword. Read as much QUALITY information as possible. Fitness magazines make money through advertisements and tend to be watered down articles. Find good research on a topic you’re interested in and see if you can pick up some good info. Work in some books by good authors that have actual experience in your realm. Finally, talk to actual people that were once in your shoes. Stay persistent and utilize these concepts on your way to success. 

Have some other ways you further your education? Post your methods below to share how you find ways to get better. 

Plank to the bank: 14 days to success

When trying to make big changes in your life, it’s important to realize that you get there by making lots of small seemingly insignificant changes instead of major ones. Those who expect the one big thing to wake them up and get them motivated may end up waiting around for years. That’s why I want you to start something small today.

Take losing weight or changing your diet for example. How many years/months/days did you spend doing things that led you to being in the position you’re in? There isn’t a million dollar lotto ticket way to fix that overnight. The body responds to consistent signals telling it repeatedly before it makes adjustments to the system.

So are you in? Let’s get there by hitting something small. Smaller goals being met will help you roll the little snowball into a big rolling boulder by the time you reach the finish line. Whether it’s a fitness or nutrition program that is your vessel, you will be best served starting out with something small that you can guarantee will be done everyday.

That’s why I think you should plank everyday.

No, a plank isn’t the revolutionary world changing answer you might expect. Something like walking everyday is a good option too. So, why the plank?

It’s simple and easy. And starting out, convenience is everything. Did you know that if the gym you have a membership at isn’t on the way to or from work you are less likely to use it consistently? We are creatures of habit, and just like everything else if your gym doesn’t fit into your routine you won’t make it a priority.

For those of you that have questions about how to do a plank or it’s benefits, you can find that in detail here.

Sure, we want exercises that give us the most bang for our buck, but what good are those exercises if you never do them? If you’re struggling to find 30 minutes to workout, what good is a program that asks you to go to the gym to back squat? I want you to succeed the next time you set out to reach a goal, so I’m being honest. It needs to be easy, it needs to be convenient, and it needs to be something you can progress at quickly. We can worry about improving your fitness, losing 20 pounds, or getting 6 pack abs later after we build a better routine.

So, here’s the gameplan. 

  1. Hold a plank position for as long as you can without breaking good form. 
  2. Record your time. 
  3. Then, plank everyday for 14 days straight trying to hold it one second longer than the day previous. 

At the end of 14 days, you now have a good habit in place and should be holding that plank for a lot longer than you were. Is that going to change your life? Definitely not. But, it will be one thing you can build on for the next thing. It’s one thing that CAN lead to more.

So cash in on your goals by planking for the next 2 weeks and comment below with your experiences.

Side note:

For those of you still confused that thought the title meant you will earn money by planking, sorry to disappoint.  

Thanksgiving on a diet: It can be done

I love this time of year.

Family getting together, good food on the table, and the weather changing. What a time.

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But while all this family time brings joy and happiness, it can also bring lots of calories.

I’d be a hypocrite to tell you to lay off of the pumpkin pie or avoid all carbs. That’s not real and that is also not #livingyourbestlife or whatever people are saying now. I want to offer up a couple suggestions on ways to drop out some calories so you can afford to crush your grandma’s apple pie.

And so…here we go. 

1. Cauliflower everything– Cauliflower is the hot new thing. I mean, cauliflower isn’t necessarily but making everything out of it is. People are slicing and dicing cauliflower up 100 different ways and it turns out it’s pretty delicious. Personally, I’ve had cauliflower fried rice, cauliflower pizza crust, and cauliflower curry chicken. All of these ideas turned out pretty great and it doesn’t take a lot of work. Imagine how much of  your diet can be salvaged by replacing the carb heavy dishes with a vegetable?

2. Talk it up– Thanksgiving is a time where family can get together and share               stories or just catch up. Our culture (me included) are pretty locked into our gadgets. Social media is a place that grabs your attention and keeps it for hours and hours. Instead of eating mindlessly while scrolling through your feeds, ask some questions and see if you can learn new things about your family. The point of this is not only to build relationships (very important for mental health), but also to slow yourself down from eating too fast and allowing your stomach to slide into your brain’s DM’s to tell it we need to slow down because we are getting full.

Basic math: (Eating fast) + (Not Talking) = Top jean button undone/Need room feels.

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3. Stay on your routine– The last point to hit is the importance of your routine      leading up to and following the holiday. Waking up in a gravy coma sad that you’ve  broken your great diet doesn’t happen if you take care of yourself all the way leading up to the holiday and get right back on your routine after. You don’t have to feel terrible about eating some apple pie if you know how hard you’ve worked and trust you will continue to. It’s just one meal. Make sure that one meal  doesn’t turn into the rest of the month. When the day ends, plan on getting back on point the next day.

The holidays should be about family and giving thanks for what we’re so fortunate to have. Let that be the focus. Throwing in a few of these suggestions can guarantee you will do less damage to your goals than if done otherwise. Don’t feel bad if you have some pie and stuffing. It’s not going to kill you if you’ve put the work in.

Anyone interested in those cauliflower recipes please comment below and I’ll be happy to pass those along!

Stay athletic!

3 ways to burn more fat today

It’s the elephant in the gym. Something that isn’t said out loud as much as it should. “I’m here, sweating my butt off, because I just want to look good.”

Fitness blogs (including mine) are filled with posts about nutrition, fitness, and overall health. But what about just coming right out and saying that most of us are on the treadmill for 30 minutes because we want to look great in the mirror and be showered with compliments at work? No shame in that game.

There are so many people going into gyms across the world day in day out running on a hamster wheel or lifting up things and putting them back down for time. While some have noble reasons behind their efforts, a majority just want to fit into a dress or look great at the beach, etc. So, I wanted to share 3 excellent ways to start losing more body fat now, not 5 weeks from now when the kale salad smoothie diet you’re doing is too hard to stick with and you lose motivation to be fit and healthy. Let’s just shoot for losing some body fat and looking good in the mirror. Chances are, the fitness and overall health end up there too.

  1. Stop the slow, long cardio and SPRINT!

This is #1 for a reason. There are so many people on the cardio machines compared to the free weight sections in gyms. This drives me nuts. You would have to spend so much time doing a slow elliptical ride or a slow incline treadmill walk in order to get the benefit of being there. Instead, the next time you head in the direction of the cardio hop on the treadmill and crank it up to a manageable speed that will allow you to run 10 30-second sprints. Your body will not like it, and that is a sign you’re probably headed in the right direction. Sprinting not only will help you lose body fat in less time, it can also add a power/strength aspect to your lower body. Now, instead of spending 30-45 minutes watching the news while you walk you can be onto the next task in life in 5-6 minutes. Talk about efficiency.

2. Superset exercises

I’ve said this before in posts, but I will continue to push this ideology to anyone that has come far enough to read this. If shedding body fat is a priority, ditch the heavy stuff where you’re resting for 3 minutes between sets for a 3-4 exercise circuit with little to no rest between sets. You’re body will thank you. What you lose in strength you will gain in awesomeness in the mirror.

Ex. Instead of back squatting 80% of your max and resting three minutes between sets, do a kettlebell goblet squat followed by a two-kettlebell deadlift followed by a skater jump. This will serve to elevate your heart rate and allow you bundle three great exercises in at one time. The body fat will come off before you know it.

3. Kick the sodas and beer

This one stinks for a lot of people. A nice corona with lime while you watch football is an image that is hard for most to pass up. However, it adds up. As a coach, I’ve found the most time efficient and effective way to get a client to lose body fat right away is to get them off of sodas/beer. You could probably even throw junk food in there, but really the beer/soda are the priority.

Personally, I think soda and beer companies do an excellent job at marketing and that’s what makes this step so hard. They have endless commercials trying to tie an experience to their product that makes the consumer want to live that moment. Look at how refreshing a coke looks when you watch it during a commercial. Bud light commercials make the beer an easy choice to go hand in hand with sporting events and friends hanging out. So, they try to target an experience that would help you associate things in your life to their products. It’s deeper than just saying “I’m not drinking beer anymore”.

You have to realize the cues that lie deep within your brain to trigger the craving for it. However, once you are able to kick these two things it’s like a magic trick how quickly you can drop a percent of body fat.

Take Away:

  • Ditch the long cardio, switch to time efficient/effective sprints (10 x 30 sec sprints)
  • Superset multiple exercises in a row/Shorten rest between sets
  • Kick the beer and soda out of your lifestyle and see the benefit

In an effort to keep my posts shorter going forward, we will close it here. I hope these three tips serve you well in the near future. You can try one or do them all at the same time. Either way, I guarantee if you do these tips they will contribute to you heading in the right direction.

 

Showing up is half the battle

It’s especially relevant being a Monday to bring up one of the most important mantras when trying to make a major improvement.

“Just show up”

Sounds a little like the Nike slogan, doesn’t it? While it’s similar in nature, just showing up is such a powerful thing to say over and over in your head until you realize that you’ve been doing exactly that. We live in a culture that prioritizes things we don’t really want long-term, but feel good in the short. It’s easy on a Monday to create reasons why you can’t go to the gym. It’s easy to procrastinate on something that doesn’t get you any closer to your goals. But, you have goals. We are the average of all decisions we make on a daily basis. Do you make more good choices than bad? By how much? 50% good/50% bad? 80% good/20% bad?

I’ve been asked over the years, “If I’m tired, isn’t it better to rest and then go to the gym when I have more energy?” The short answer is no. There are going to be more days where you’re exhausted than days you are fully energized. If we wait around for the perfect day, you may end up waiting too long and never start.

Showing up each and every day is so powerful even if the workout isn’t great. Something in the gym is going to be better than nothing. Just for the sake of keeping the routine, show up and do a 15 minute bike ride or elliptical. Now, you can go home and do anything else knowing you stuck with your routine and will feel much better about staying on track. Keeping the routine also allows you to have something to rely on each and every day. Your workday might be crazy, things at home can be unpredictable, but your gym routine is always there and you know exactly what you’re going to get.

So shake off the Monday’s and don’t fall into the trap of letting your mind get you off of where you want to go. One step forward at a constant pace is a lot better than 2 steps forward, 1 back, 1 forward, 2 back, 3 forward….you get it.

Comment below your biggest issue with going to the gym.

Saturday’s are for you too

Saturday morning is one of my favorite times.

 
I love it.
 
Especially in the fall when the temperature drops and football is on all day. Even though we all love plopping on the couch and doing nothing, Saturday’s are a great opportunity to build better habits and routines.
 
Mondays are catch up days at work, the middle of the week are the “get me to Friday” type of days, and Friday is the “sprint out of the door” day. It’s so easy to get robotic and feel like groundhog’s day when you work the same job over and over. Your routine may have been the same two years and you may not have even reflected on that. Add children, responsibility, and physical activity into the mix and you will wake up a few years later without knowing what happened. That’s why this is so important. Set aside time for yourself to be in the present.
 
I’ve recently been reading James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” and have enjoyed it thus far. It’s the type of book that has me nodding along in agreement with the points he makes. Without spoiling, you want to make sure you feed the habits that are productive for your life and starve the ones that have a negative impact. If you run through the week with your head down and don’t have any time to reflect, you may end up on autopilot unaware of the damage until it’s too late
 
TRY THIS
Try spending 10 minutes each Saturday either mentally reflecting on things that you need to do to be successful for the upcoming week or by writing your goals for the week down on paper and checking them before you go to bed each night.
 
If you go to bed and see you didn’t meet your expectations for the day, ask yourself why? Not only is the why important to know, but it’s important in finding out how to avoid it for the next day.
 
If you have a goal to be more social at work, look back and think if you’re habits and routine are making that a reality. If you haven’t lost any weight in 2 weeks but you’ve been eating like crap the past week because of stress or the lack of time, circle it and make sure it’s your priority in the upcoming week.
 
I’m not perfect at it, but it’s helped me a lot and I know that 10 minutes can go a long way when you’re feeling a lot of stress. 
 

Try it out and leave your comments below on how it goes!

Cut through the BS, get what you want

I want to keep this short and sweet.

Let’s be honest, the attention spans are so short these days a longer post would be losing altitude the moment it got off the runway.

We all have goals. Whether it’s success at a job, success in the mirror, or a goal for something inner like happiness we all strive to gain something. That’s the reason we don’t through the covers back over our head and hit the snooze button (although some probably do). The point is that the effort you put into your appearance, your job, and those around you is for a reason. To get a result.

Speaking in terms of the fitness world, there is just too much distraction. So much noise in a subject that is so simple. You show up, put in the work, and get a result. Yet there are millions of supplements, new exercises, and fads clouding your vision. Make a karate chop with me and metaphorically cut through all that crap. If you want to gain something, go out and get that for yourself. Nothing ever beats focused, calculated hard work. Put the phone down when you train, stop talking to your friend at every exercise in your program, and zero in on what you are doing. I’ve spent time recently in a commercial gym and it’s just too prevalent. We all want to enjoy the process of getting to where we want to be, but that doesn’t mean we should allow ourselves to be distracted so easily. 

This brings me to three tips this week for the next time you go to the gym:

  • Write your workout down- This can be in your iPhone notes or on a piece of paper. Writing your plan down on a piece of paper has value because it keeps you from starting on a lower body workout and somehow blacking out waking up in a spin class. Stay on point, stay focused on what you came to do.

 

  • Concentrate on great technique- Too much emphasis has been placed on the type of exercise and not enough on the way the movement is performed. Fitness blogs are flooding your search engines with “new squat that tones better than the old one” type of fluff. A squatting movement is just that. How you hold the kettlebell or where you place the bar may make it more comfortable, but a squat is beneficial so work on squatting extremely efficient before you try some new brazilian youtube squat workout. Mastery is still important.

 

  • Save your conversations for later- If you signed up at the gym just to improve your social life, I suppose we are not talking about the same thing. But, if you signed on the dotted line so that you could make improvements to yourself physically, stop wasting 15 minutes at the curl rack catching up with your buddy. The gym is where a lot of nonverbal stuff can happen that has a positive impact on your life. I encourage you to keep tunnel vision and keep your eye on the prize, unless the prize is the girl/guy across the gym. Don’t do that, it’s creepy.

If you can follow these three tips, it’ll dramatically improve the return you see from the investment you are making in yourself.

Anyone looking for an online training resource, check out @athleticagain on instagram.

Strength Builder V1

Spring Break Beach Body has come and went.

Again our focus shifts. We want to continue to push the pedal and keep our focus on the end goal in December. Each new phase has it’s purpose, but training can’t stay the same forever.

Full disclosure, the beach body program was just a high volume, medium to low intensity workout phase. Those types of workouts are especially good at helping you gain size and build a good foundation for what the next phase. On the one hand, you can gain some size and feel like you are getting bigger. But size doesn’t always mean strength. Although, it does create a foundation that allows us to add weight to the bar and THAT is what will build strength.

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So this next phase is what will really make an impact on your athleticism. Where the beach body program would build the size of the engine, a good strength program is what increases the horsepower of the car. A good strength program will allow you to go from being a Honda Civic to having the physiological capabilities of a Mustang. So think of this next phase as the point where you start to add horsepower to your frame. The major framework of this program will be based around three lifts:

  1. The Back Squat
  2. The Bench Press
  3. The Deadlift

We will go into more detail about each exercise and why they are so important. For now, get familiar with each of these and comment below with any questions you have about technique and drills to improve.

It’s time to build some strength!

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Beach Body program is underway

We are 12 workouts into the Beach Body-ready program. This program is focused on building muscle groups you need to look great at the beach.

But, just as with anything else…. the devil is in the details.

What we need to discuss is more than just sets and reps or what types of exercises go where. Any program you get does nothing without the right execution.

Truthfully, this program could be described as high volumes and compound movements with a few isolation movements. But, even with lots of volume you may not gain much muscle if:

  • A) You don’t recover well
  • B) You don’t take your nutrition serious
  • C) You don’t stretch and do your cardio work

This is important to mention now because I want you to take responsibility over the extra work. You’re going to need to learn how to actively work at your recovery. You are going to need to pay attention to what you eat and also find a way to log your food. Lastly, with the amount of work done in the gym you need to learn how to stretch consistently and work in extra cardio to help lose body fat.

3 things to know going forward:

  1. You are going to be sore

jim carrey

Soreness is a part of the deal. Yes, it can be tough getting through the work day when your quads are crushed. Nobody said that it was going to be easy. Soreness is definitely not a guarantee, however, as we are not training to crush our legs and feel terrible. Anyone who deliberately sets out to trash their body in the gym doesn’t understand the concept of growth and long-term success. You can push yourself in that way for a short time, but it will catch up. Deal with the soreness while it lasts, but as you get more trained you will start to notice that there is less soreness with exercise. We need the muscle damage in order to grow stronger so take it like a champ.

2.   Not everyone is going to like working out like you do

disapproving friends

Once you make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, you will start to notice some of your friends that are not so into fitness. They are still your friends, so don’t act like you’re better than them just because you spend time exercising. In fact, you could possibly be the reason THEY get into exercising again. If you lead by example and not by criticism and chastising you could end up making an impact in your friend’s life. Your friends will want to drink beers and eat pizzas, cheer them on and support them while choosing a healthier option at their favorite restaurant. In the end, friends matter and we can’t shut them out just because they aren’t the fittest people on earth.

3.   We want to plan a trip to the beach

calendar

This whole program is set up for the beach. Imagine yourself walking down the beach in a bathing suit with all the confidence in the world. This confidence is due to the hard work you are going to put in and the time sacrificed for that walk. So, in order to know where you want to go we need to plan. Set a date, plan the trip, buy the swimsuit and invite your friends too. Making a trip will put more pressure on you to not skip out on workouts and motivate you to put in the effort you need.

It’s more than just a beach trip, it’s a goal that we are setting for ourselves to reach.

Action Plan:

  • Set your date, call your friends, make arrangements
  • Follow workouts each day along with some bonus cardio
  • Eat extremely well for this time period and only allow few cheat meals
  • Remember to stretch throughout the process to avoid losses in range of motion
  • Buy yourself a swim suit
  • Purchase a nice fruity umbrella drink at the beach and toast to some seriously hard work and great effort once you get there.

 

 

3 ways to show out on Spring Break

It’s circled on your calendar.

Spring Break 2018, the time for sun and a drink with an umbrella sticking out it. The beaches are packed and it’s a pretty darn good time to put on the bathing suit.

For some, Spring break is bittersweet. As exciting as time off and relaxation can be, it’s hard to enjoy yourself when you can’t jump in the pool and truly soak up the sun. Maybe you’re embarrassed about your body, but this is your chance. It’s just far enough away to give you time to realistically make changes. It’s time to set yourself up for an opportunity to make this Spring Break a great time where people are complimenting your tan when you go back to work.

But, it’s February and people are dropping like flies.

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It’s early in the new year, but very likely that many resolutions have failed and new gym members have returned to their old ways. We’ve discussed this in depth here that this year is not that type of year. This is the one where you constantly set sights on your goals and then kick the door in. Week by week, pounds are lost and clothes are looser until you say, “Wow I did that”. Spring break is the next target. Get ready to kick that metaphorical door in like..

kick in door

Imagine you’re on a beach with some sun, a cold drink, and pride for the work you’ve put in. What would that mean to you? How much effort are you willing to give for that?

I want you to get there. I hope everyone reading this is able to, because you are truly capable. It just takes a willingness to show up and an unwillingness to give into the voice in your head saying you should stop. Nothing extraordinary ever happens until you step out of the comfort zone.

Take Home Message:

  • Continuously check up on the daily workouts posted on instagram @AthleticAgain to push yourself into reaching the next goal.
  • Reach out to friends or family that share your goal to get healthier, look good, and feel great.
  • Find out why your goals fell short and how you could avoid that this month.
  • Take ownership over your own life and get to work on it. Nobody is going to hand it to you.

Thanks for stopping by and if this article helped get you back on track, comment below or share so it can benefit someone else!

 

Kristen's Healthy Living Blog

Exploring ways to live a healthier life

The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog. Tim is an author of 5 #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, investor (FB, Uber, Twitter, 50+ more), and host of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (400M+ downloads)