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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Why everyone, I mean everyone, should lift weights

It’s quite obvious that a big part of this blog is dedicated to lifting weights, so here’s a post for those out there who think they don’t need to lift weights or who don’t want to lift weights. I ask you to please read this and hopefully I can change your opinion on weight lifting for the better.

Here are some of the benefits of lifting weights for both men and women who are skinny, overweight, in shape, out of shape, of all sizes.

1. Relieves Stress

If anything, lifting weights is a great stress reliever. Lifting heavy things off the ground for 45 minutes every other day loosens a lot of the tension that builds up throughout the week. Seriously, there is a reason why this is first on my list. Getting stronger is extremely important, but the mere therapeutic aspect of lifting weights is ultimately one of the best benefits it has to offer. There’s something to be said about throwing iron around and exerting all of your energy you have for that last rep. It allows you to get in touch with the primitive self in a way that nothing else can.

2. Makes You Tough

Running is great and can release endorphins to give you that runner’s high, but pretty much intentionally putting yourself in a painful position really makes you tough. Plus, endorphin releases occur while lifting as well. It’s very important for lifters, and those wanting to get into lifting weights, to understand that what you are doing is going to hurt. And if you’re doing it right, it’s going to hurt a lot. Now I don’t mean like you’re going to get all of these joint aches and pains and it’s going to feel like you are going to physically break all of your bones. The pain comes from tearing apart your muscle fibers and shocking your nervous system into reacting and lifting the weight. If you exercise in any capacity and it isn’t difficult or doesn’t hurt, you really aren’t doing it right. Lifting is no exception. But don’t let this scare you off, because soreness only means that you are growing stronger and doing it WELL. Once you have excepted that fact of imminent pain and soreness, you become tough and it doesn’t scare you, and it actually becomes a motivator. It’ll also increase your pain tolerance to soreness from other activities as well.

 3. Gets You Strong

This is fairly obvious for everyone, but some people tend to shy away from lifting because of a common fallacy I will point out. Lifting weights gets you strong. Your whole body will become stronger through lifting. Having a useful and strong body allows you to enjoy everything life has to offer, and if anything, makes moving furniture and doing manual labor around the house an yard a little less challenging. A lot of people, women, specifically (sorry gals), think that if they lift heavy weights they are going to get bulky looking and that’s not what they’re going for. This is extremely far from the truth. Lifting will get you very toned and sculpt your body and get you strong. Now if you diet and eat tons of protein, fat, and carbs in enormous excess, yes, you will get bulky. But a balanced diet and lots of exercise will naturally make anyone  more toned, defined, and strong. So don’t worry or think you’ll look bulky. You won’t, I promise you. I’ve been lifting for 3 years and don’t look like that so I can guarantee 3 months in the gym won’t for you.

4. Improves Overall Health

Lifting weights can improve your overall health in many ways. In fact, some of the benefits may seem counter-intuitive but they are all true. Lifting weights builds muscle and fights fat. It also has a lot of heart benefits and helps to regulate blood sugar. Something lifting weights also does is reduce depression and sharpens the mind. Lastly, in actually decreases your risk of back injuries and other types of joint and structural injuries that can occur. It can even solve current back and knee problems by using correcting lifting to fight muscular imbalances that can help to create these pains and stiffnesses. Without going into a ton of detail or explaining countless scientific research reports on all of the benefits, just take my word. It’s really good for you.

5. Makes You Look Good

Now this is something I really wanted to keep off my list but I guess deserves a mention. While looking good should really be your last priority when it comes to diet and exercise, it is a side effect of lifting weights that is definitely sought after and enjoyed. Lifting weights will make you look better. However be aware, a good looking body is not necessarily a strong one, however a strong and usefully body is in almost every case, a good looking one. Balancing heavy lifting with athletic training and cardio will give you the body you want while also giving you holistic and healthy strength that will boost your vitality and keep you young.


So if you’re new to lifting and/or have been convinced, where should you start? Well look no further because you can check out my Beginner’s Guide to Lifting, HERE.

I offer some starter routines for those looking to strengthen the whole body and get a great base strength.