Exercise

Getting fit isn't rocket science. But it isn't "easy" either.

Diet coke junk food obesityI was reading a good post today that inspired me to say a few words on the subject of fitness and weight loss. I am continually amazed at all of the misconceptions, misinformation, and old-fashioned BS advice that keeps floating around regarding how to lose weight, get fit, and be healthy. There is no magic pill or drink, there is no magical exercise, there is no way to lose weight and be fit while continuing to eat crappy food. Sorry, if you’ve been told that and you believe it, you’ve been lied to (again) and you’re fooling yourself.

On the flip side, if you are already eating healthy, but you refuse to get serious about exercise, you won’t really be fit and healthy either. You may look “skinny”, but you won’t be strong or healthy. And I promise you that your body will eventually pay the price.

Like I said, it isn’t rocket science. If you sat down and had a really deep session of thinking about how our bodies work, why they work the way they do, and were completely honest with yourself; you would come to the same conclusion. To be an optimal physical organism (i.e., fit and healthy), you have to fuel your body with the real food it was built to run on and you need to use that body the way it was meant to be used.

I sometimes use the sports car analogy. If you take the most amazing sports car and put crappy fuel in it, it will run poorly and eventually break down. If you put great fuel in the sports car but you leave it parked in the garage and never drive it, it will eventually break down as well.

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Practical Paleo & Primal – How to Sustainably Eat Better to Look & Feel Better

Fresh Paleo-friendly FoodIf you follow my blog, you know that I competed in a Paleo Challenge back in January 2011 with the rest of my CrossFit box. I was pretty darn strict with myself: No sugars of any sort (even honey), no grains at all, and no dairy products of any sort. I was very happy with the results. I lost body fat, gained muscle, have more energy, enjoy clear skin, have no more stomach troubles, and just generally feel great when I eat Paleo. It is pretty amazing. My body definitely became leaner and my muscle definition increased considerably. I even got my six pack back! And my strength kept up pretty well, so I continued to see gains in my weightlifting and improvements in my CrossFit WODs. But, the biggest benefit is how I feel. I always knew that I had issues with dairy and had reduced it considerably in my diet. But now I know that I also have issues with wheat. When I finished the challenge, I had some celebration meals that weekend that included grains and dairy. Ouch. I felt lousy for 2-3 days after that. So, I’m staying Paleo and for the best reason of all: I simply feel great when I eat Paleo and avoid grains, dairy, and sugars. It’s pretty easy to avoid those foods now and I don’t feel like I’m denying myself anything. Because it doesn’t matter how good something tastes, if you feel lousy afterwards.

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Deadlift Tips

woman doing deadliftI love the Deadlift, but many fear it and think they will hurt their back. With a tight focus on good form, proper technique through the entire lift (both up and down), and a consistent approach; you really have nothing to fear and a lot to gain. The Deadlift and the Squat are two of the best lifts for activating muscle growth throughout your entire body. Well worth learning how to do them well.

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Tough Mudder NorCal – Tips for Training and Running It

Tough Mudder NorCal 2011 mapIt has been a couple of months since I finished the Tough Mudder NorCal 2011 event in Squaw Valley, CA near Lake Tahoe. I’ve had some time to think about that day, the obstacles that I faced, and the overall experience. All in all, it went very well. I had a great time and, to be honest, it wasn’t that hard for me. That’s a good thing. That means that my training worked and preparation paid off. That doesn’t mean that it was easy. By no means was it easy! It was definitely a test of your strength, endurance, teamwork, and your willpower to continue despite fatigue, hunger, pain, and extreme discomfort. For example, I don’t think there is any way to really be ready to enjoy the icy cold water of the Chernobyl Jacuzzi and the Underwater Tunnels obstacles, unless you’re a member of the Polar Bear Club and get off on that type of thing. I hate being cold, so I was careful about the gear I chose to wear that day (Read more about my Head-to-Toe Gear here).

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Are You a Parent or Do You Plan to Be?

Have you ever struggled with your weight, health, or fitness at any point in your life? If you are a parent (or plan to be one) or a teacher or anyone who has a chance to positively influence a child’s life, what are you doing right now to put them on a lifelong path of…

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Don't Talk to Me. I'm Lifting.

Tshirt Don't talk to meI don’t know about you, but I don’t want anyone talking to me when I’m lifting heavy. I don’t want anyone standing in front of me when I’m lifting heavy. Yet, there is always that one guy who can’t stop getting in your way. He always feels the need to talk to you right in the middle of a big lift.

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Numbers Don't Lie – Focus on Performance. Not the Mirror or the Scale

I can’t tell you how many times I hear or read; “I want his/her body!” or “How do I get that body?”. The focus is entirely on their physical appearance and they just want to hear how to achieve that “look“. Well, I have a shocking revelation for you. You don’t get that body by focusing on how you look or how much you weigh. That body is the byproduct of focusing on something else entirely: Your Performance. Take a look at the people below and tell me what they all have in common.

CrossFit Woman on the Rings Male Gymnast Rings
Olympic Female Swimmer Olympic Male Swimmers
Crossfit Female Weightlifter Crossfit Male Masters Division
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Head-to-Toe Gear for NorCal Tough Mudder Event

Tough Mudder logoWell, I have been testing and re-testing a lot of gear that I want to use to run in the NorCal Tough Mudder. I’ve been quite happy with my Under Armour ColdGear top and leggings (compression fit). I’ve tested it running in cold weather and even jumped into a cold river to see how warm it would keep me after I had been fully submerged. It works! I didn’t feel very cold and I warmed up quickly as I started running again. Do I look a bit silly wearing leggings? Yep. Do I care? Nope. I have seen guys wearing much crazier stuff at the Tough Mudder (think loincloths and thongs), so I don’t think my appearance is going to matter much and I want to be warm in that icy water.

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Anger, Arousal, Testosterone & Weightlifting

20110812-043014.jpg
Wow, I just read a great article on this topic, but it was so NSFW that I may not reshare it. The basic premise is sound and I’ve read other supporting research on the topic. Basically, there are a number of things that elevate testosterone production, help you lift heavier, feel less pain, and grow more muscle (for both men AND women). The simple act of squeezing the barbell really, really hard; angry music; cursing; sexual imagery; violent imagery; etc. all seem to have an effect.

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It's Never Too Late to Start Exercising

Old man and young boy racingIt is never too late to start working out and taking care of yourself. The American Senior Fitness Association published some interesting findings from research conducted by a cardiologist named Paul Bhella of the JPS Health Network. The key takeaway was that older adults who exercised regularly were able to maintain their “youthful” hearts and even grow stronger hearts if they exercised even more. As with what I’ve shared in past posts, consistency and intensity of exercise make a huge difference.

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