Leg day needs to be everyone’s favorite day

You heard me. It’s time to break down the barriers and have everyone who lifts or is thinking about lifting appreciate the wonders of leg day. Here are 4 reasons why everyone needs to train legs at LEAST once a week.

1.Legs are the Foundation of Strength

Your legs are like the trunk of a tree. It’s the foundation, the base, and the reason why certain trees are huge, grow tall and people go to admire, and it’s also the reason why certain trees are skinny, easily sway in the wind and uproot. Don’t be a tree with a skinny trunk. Your body works from the ground up – everything your body does begins with the contact your feet make with the ground, and energy is translated from the ground up through your body. Having a solid and strong base makes your overall strength improve and makes you a more balanced person. Everything you do starts with your legs, and that’s the mentality you need in the gym as well.

2. Muscular Imbalances Create Injury

Neglecting your legs will only lead to injury and muscular imbalances. If you don’t work out your legs, you’ll be as unstable as a house of cards. It also creates a lot of imbalance throughout your entire body which can lead to injury in your hips and knees, as well as diminish your growth and strength potential for the rest of your body. Squatting and training legs will improve your deadlift numbers, and even your bench. Ignoring any muscle is bad for your body, and since the legs are your biggest muscle group, this is a huge mistake and can have long term repercussions.

3. Improve Overall Strength

Partially explained above, training your legs helps grow your entire body and make you stronger everywhere else. Almost every exercise involves making contact with your feet and the ground. This means your legs are used, to some extent, in every single exercise in the gym. On top of this, squatting and compound exercises for the legs use other muscle groups as well including your back, shoulders, and core. So you’re missing out on extra training for the muscles you love by skipping leg day.

4. Athleticism

It’s not hard to convince and athlete to train legs, because almost every athlete understands the importance of leg strength. But even if you aren’t an athlete, you should train like one. Gaining power and strength in the legs helps daily life – it makes moving furniture easier, walking up the stairs becomes no problem, and almost any other daily activity is benefited from training your legs. Gaining explosiveness and power in your legs makes you athletic and more functional, and a functional and useful body is always an attractive body, an attractive body is not always a functional and useful one.


Just because we can’t see our legs as often as the rest of our body does not mean it should be ignored at all. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Those upper body muscles that we all love to train are often times the less useful and functional ones. Great, your biceps help elbow flexion (hint, elbow flexion is one of the least functional uses of the body. Sarcasm intended) and look sexy, but training them twice a week instead of using that second day to train legs needs to stop.  You’re not doing yourself any favors.

Here’s a little program to follow and to be performed once a week. It’s great if you currently don’t train legs, or if you want to take some of these moves and drop them in your normal routine.

These moves are to be performed in this order, with rest intervals of about 1 to 2 minutes in between each set. (Each of the exercises below are linked to YouTube videos to demonstrate and instruct on each of the moves.)

1. Squat – 5×5

2. Dumbbell Step Ups – 3×8 (that’s 8 for each leg)

3. Leg Press – 3×8

4. Single Leg Split Squat – 3×8 (8 each leg)

5. Neutral Calf Raises – 3×15

Just drink water, dammit.

Here’s an extremely quick and easy way to improve your health and, if you are trying, to help kick-start those weight-loss goals. And it all comes down to three words:

DRINK WATER, DAMMIT!

Water is so unbelievably important to the body and it can’t be understated. There’s a reason why they say you can’t live without water for more than 3 days. Because it’s THAT important.

Now when I say this I mean pure, plain water. I don’t mean drink flavored waters or Vitamin Water or juices. Just water – nothing else. Try to make water 90% of your liquid intake and you will feel better, lose weight, and ultimately live a healthier life. Staying hydrated (you’ll know when you are, because your pee will be clear and copious), is one of the most important things you can do for your body. You’ll rid your body of toxins more effectively, and you won’t be taking in massive amounts of excess calories through sodas and sugary drinks. Even those fruit or juice blends that we think are so good for you, are more harm than health because of there very high sugar content.

Now this is all easier said than done, but there’s a reason why I say 90% of your liquid intake here too. It’s almost impossible to go 100% water. Beer, wine, soda and coffee all get in the way. But limiting your intake of these bad liquids will help keep the weight off and make you feel incredibly healthier. Just recognizing how bad these drinks are in excess will lead to a healthier life. And it’s as easy as choosing water at the restaurant instead of a Coke. Try that for a week or two and see the difference. It’s cheaper (actually, water is free), and better for you.

So again, JUST DRINK WATER. Your body will thank you.

Excuse me, do you know who I am?

There’s something funny about power in the workplace. Our boss’s boss, all the way up to the CEO of a company; they all carry some sort of perceived power. You’ll always get a little flutter when they walk by, or sit up straighter when they walk around your corner of the office.

This is because, naturally, you want to look good in front of the CEO. She’s a powerful person who has a lot of say and can conceivably fire you in an instant. People respect her, people are afraid of her, and she has worked long and hard to get to where she is.

But what is fascinating to me, is that the second that CEO walks out of the office after work, she’s just another person on her commute home. Walking through crowded sidewalks, sitting on the train, going about her normal business.

You may pass some extremely powerful people in your daily life, but you’d never know it.

Because CEO’s and people in powerful positions in companies (aside from massive ones in which a CEO status brings some sort of fame or familiarity like good ol’ Mark Z.) are just people. The second they step out of the office building all power is lost. They’re in charge of hundreds of people from 9-5, and once they set foot in the outdoors, they have all of the same problems as we do, take the same train home, go to the gym, and all feel tired after a long day like we do.

This is an important thing to remember for both people new to the workforce, and for the CEOs out there.

For the newly minted college graduates: remember that your bosses, the VPs, and the CEOs are all just people. Not terrible overlords who sniff and scoff at everything their employees do, just looking for reasons to fire everyone. Strike up a conversation about life, about things that you enjoy, because they too (while it may not seem like it to you or the CEO) have lives and care about things outside of work.

For the CEOs: remember that the power you carry in the office ends precisely there. And when you’re in the office, be as approachable as you would to your employees as you would to the other parents at your kid’s soccer game. And when you’re not in the office, realize that to everyone else on the subway, you’re just one more person heading home after a long day.

It’s easy for us to get into our own heads and worry about what to say, and it’s also easy for us to assume other people know about our lives who actually have no idea about who we are or what we do. It’s great to feel important, but it’s more important to feel connected to yourself and those around you.

No matter who you are or what you do, embodying a sense of community and humility is what will bring people together to act towards a common goal, and to inspire greatness in yourself and those around you.

Let’s work towards greater unity, in the workplace and in the world, because at the end of the day we’re all taking the same train home

 

 

Explosive Athletic Leg and Back Routine

Here’s a workout I do every other week instead of a cardio day. The routine focuses on explosive athletic strength in the legs and back, two very important muscle groups for athletes. It’ll also kill your shoulders, too. So here it is:

Start with a dynamic warm-up with sprints, dynamic stretching, and some body weight squats.

The Workout

1. Deep Explosive Squats: 2 sets of 4 reps (medium weight with medium rest intervals) right into 4 sets of 2 reps (as heavy as you can go with long rest intervals focusing on a deep squat with good form)

2. Hang Cleans: 5 x 5 (medium high weight with medium rest intervals)

3. Box Jumps: (Medium High) 8 jumps back to back for 5 sets (medium to long rest intervals)

4. Single Dumbbell Clean: 4 x 6 (high weight with long rest intervals)

5. Rope Slam Medley: 30 slams each – alternating wave, crossover waves, double rope power slam (short to medium rest intervals)

6. Dumbbell Farmers Carry: 3 – 30 yard walks (heavy weight with medium rest intervals)

The importance of getting angry at the gym

I see this all the time at any gym I am in: people going through the motions and looking like they are bored and not challenging themselves during their workout. If this sounds like you, I ask that you read this post with an open mind and just hear me out. If you tend to work out pretty routinely, but don’t like it, are always tired, or for any other reason and you don’t feel like you are getting results, a simple fix may be to just get angry. This can work for those who are sluggish in the gym, or who just want to see better results. The easy question one may ask is, well, “why?” And, “what do you mean by angry?” Let me tell you: Getting angry at the gym means before your set, before you step on the treadmill, just get mad. Think about something that fires you up. This may be your boss earlier in the day, or anything that you are currently dealing with. Even get angry at the fact that you aren’t lifting as much as you want to or running as fast as you want to. Tap into that anger and/or stress, and take it out in your workout. Anger in the gym is a great motivator and energy booster. It will intensify your workouts and it will also make your workouts more therapeutic. (See my post Why Everyone, I Mean Everyone Should Go To The Gym to learn more about the benefits and reasons to go to the gym and lift). If you spend a lot of time at the gym with a calm mind, more often than not you will just end up going through the motions in your workout and not make the best of your time at the gym. Getting angry and mad makes you want to work. Put your headphones in, blast some music, and get down to business. There’s a reason why you are taking time out of your day to go to the gym and you should not let that go to waste. This anger should not last during your entire workout, however. In between rests or sets you should calm yourself as much as possible, breathe deep, then channel your energy and get mad again when it’s time to work. This may seem weird, and may cause you to grunt and make all kinds of weird faces at the gym, but embrace it. Plenty of people in the gym do it. You may think it’s annoying or embarrassing, but pay attention to who those people are next time you are there. More often than not they are in pretty good shape. The gym is an open environment to get down and dirty. It’s a primitive environment, you are lifting heavy things or running as fast as you can. It’s where everyone goes to improve themselves. So turn the treadmill up a couple notches, add a little more weight, turn up your music, and work hard no matter how it makes you look, sound, or act. Getting angry isn’t always the solution. But it may be the one you need to increase the effectiveness of your workouts and to start or end your day with a nice little therapy session.

Going to War

Great post about Going to War. Not literally. But preparing yourself for the unknown that can become known at any instant. Very powerful and an important lesson for all.

stochasticism

I am almost always at war. This can mean several different things, and while I have never been in an actual war the metaphor is a good one. I know many people write about this so stick with it and hopefully some of this might help you flourish a little more.

The war can take the form of anything. It can be a conversation with someone important, a small battle that could turn the tide of the greater war going on. It can be a test at work or school that you need to pass. It can be an evasive maneuver to avoid something in the road. It can be an illness that comes and goes. Any challenge you come upon is a battle, often with only one winner and one or more losers. It is your job to be the former.

The time to prepare is now. Don’t just run…

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