[The Path Mag] How to Meditate and Lift Weights at the Same Time

Another featured article on The Path Mag by yours truly! This is a part of their cognitive issue, and my article focuses on how lifting can have extremely meditative powers, if you follow some simple steps!

Check it out here or by clicking on the screen shot below!

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How does your day start?

Do you ever commute to work and once you get there realize that you have been putting on a mean, frowning face your whole way there?

Do you ever commute to work and once you get there realize that you haven’t said a single word to anyone yet even after you walk to your desk and sit down to start your day?

There’s a lot of power in the phrase “start of your day”. Many people think that the start of your day begins when you start work in the morning, or when you get to the subway, or when you eat breakfast. But the start of your day begins the second you open your eyes in the morning.

And it’s how we act from that exact moment that can dictate your mood and behavior throughout the whole rest of the day.

I was commuting to work with a good friend of mine this morning and found myself laughing and smiling almost the whole way there. When I looked around, hardly anyone was doing the same, and I immediately pointed out that I was getting upset thinking about the people who don’t get to laugh in the morning. Now they may once they get into work, or they may not. But smiling and laughing from the moment your day starts – when you open your eyes – helps put me in a great mood even before 9am hits.

You may not have someone to commute with in the morning, and you may really enjoy a peaceful and personal start to your day and that is totally fine. But if you answered yes to either or both of the questions above, you may be craving that morning conversation and laughter that you’re not getting. 

So what do you do if you don’t commute with someone?
Call or text someone else who is on a similar schedule as you! Or, my personal favorite, start a conversation with a stranger. You never know who you might meet, the joy a new face can bring, and the quick and meaningful conversation that can bring happiness to someone else’s day because of it. Don’t you want to be the person someone refers to when they say: “Wow! That person was really nice!”

So make the start of your day meaningful from the second you open your eyes. Smile and laugh as early in the morning as you possibly can. It just may make you a healthier, stronger, and happier person because of it. 


Morning Routine for Greater Energy

Nothing gives you more energy in the morning like a great night’s sleep.

But if you didn’t get one, and even if you did but still want a little boost, here’s a great morning routine that I follow almost every day before I even have a coffee, that allows me to wake up quicker, feel more energized, and carry positivity with me throughout the day.

1. Take a cool shower

The first thing I do every morning is take a shower. I feel groggy all day if I don’t shower when I get out of bed. So that’s the first step.

But what gives you an energy boost is either taking a completely cold shower, or, do what I do, and take a warm shower but riiiight before you’re about to get out, slowly turn the knob cooler and cooler so your body has a little time to adjust, and then see how far you can go!

This not only jolts your body to wake up, but it helps you get out of the shower faster because you won’t be in warm and steamy water that you want to stand in all day.

2. Listen to music

I’ve already written about the power of music, but applied to your morning routine, listening to music, preferably some happy, upbeat tunes, really helps energize your body and mind and can set the tone for the day. Singing along, maybe dancing around a little while you get changed, are all things that can help wake you up and bring some joy and fun to your morning routine.

Nothing like a good endorphin release from a good song first thing in the AM.

3. Drink a glass of room temperature water

The next thing I do to give me added energy is to drink a full glass of room temperature water. Every night as a part of my nightly routine, I set out a glass of water so it’s ready for the morning.

Doing this boosts your metabolism and kick starts your body into action. It also gives you the much needed water your body is craving after not drinking anything in 8 hours. Hydrating first thing in the morning gets you an easy glass of water out of the way, and gets that digestive system moving for better daily internal health.

If there is the one takeaway you get from this post, make it this one. I swear by this and recommend everyone to try this step every day for a week and see how you feel!

4. Stretch

The next thing that I do (and admittedly don’t always get to) is a very short energetic stretch routine that allows my body to loosen up and give me a little boost before preparing to sit down for most of the rest of the day. Remember when doing these stretches – breathe deeply! Repeat this sequence for as many times as you please.

  • Yawn stretch – just like the way it sounds. Stand up tall, bring both arms over your head and then slowly lower them as wide as you can, giving a great stretch across your chest and through your back.
  • Forward fold – As you bring your arms down from the yawn, slightly bend your knees and continue bringing your arms down to reach toward your toes. Stay there for a little while slowly swaying back and forth, getting comfortable feeling your hamstrings elongate and your lower back stretch and tension in your lumbar spine release.
  • Downward dog – From the previous position, bend your knees generously to bring your palms to the ground. Step your feet back so you’re in a plank position with your arms in line with your shoulders. Then press and lift your hips up to form an upside-down “V”. Try reaching your heels as far down to touch the ground as you can.
  • Cat/Cow – Next, lower your hips and get onto your hands and knees with your back forming a flat table. Then, slowly press into the ground lowering your head and sending your back up high to create a “scared cat” looking pose. Then, send your back down, bring your chest toward the ground and lift your head out high so that your spine creates a “U” shape while continuing to press into the ground. Do this a few times.
  • Downward dog – Same as above!
  • Cobra – Finally, lay down completely with your arms close to your chest and your palms flat on the ground, then press up slightly so that your chest is elevated but your hips are still on the ground. Lift your head up high and breathe.

5. Smile all the way down the stairs

Here’s something that most people probably don’t do, but it’s such an important tip that can not only give you more energy in the morning, but create a positive mood to carry out the entire day.

Every morning when I walk down the stairs to head out the door, I make sure that I force myself to smile as big as I can and give myself a mental pep talk including things like “Today is going to be a great day and you’re going to kill it”. Oftentimes when we walk down the stairs (or go down the elevator) to leave our apartment building or house, we do the opposite of this. It’s often a time of brief dread and thoughts of “I don’t want to go to work” or other similar lines.

Walking down the stairs also can literally feel like we’re walking down in mood, into another world that’s filled with stress and work, and down from the comfort of home (i.e. your bed). So forcing a smile and positive words as you walk down the stairs flips this completely on its head and sets the pace for the day, energetically and with your mood.

6. Energetic breathing on your commute

The final thing to do to bring in as much energy as you can for your day is to practice energetic breathing. Overtime, our bodies start to breathe shallower instead of deep, full, meaningful breaths that we are meant to take.

So on your commute to work every morning, I challenge you to take very deep breaths expanding your rib cage and all the way into your diaphragm and belly. Sit or stand with good posture and focus on your breath and turn it into a meditation. You can do this while listening to music, reading a book, or looking out of the window of the bus.

This helps your nervous system to remember to take fuller and more energetic breaths and give life to your body through deep breathing. And this doesn’t have to stop after your commute. As you begin to practice more and more (because you will likely get a little light headed after doing this for a few minutes and need to take a break) you will find that you will naturally start to breathe deeply and more energetically.

If you give this routine a try, I promise you that you’ll feel more energized before you’ve even had your coffee. Practicing this every day will help create a routine centered around an energetic and positive start to your day and promote strength, health, and happiness each and every morning.

[The Path] Six Pack Secrets You Need to Know

Check out my guest post (by clicking on the image below) for The Path mag, “Six Pack Secrets You Need to Know” where I share some hard truths about getting that six pack, and what you really should be doing instead!

Click here for the post!

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You can check out my other guest post, “How to Get the Most Out of the Gym” in The Path HERE!

[YouTube] Sticking to the Mission | Week 3

New YouTube video out now! Watch some lifts and listen to some of my thoughts on making short term sacrifices in order to become the strongest, healthiest, and happiest person you can be in the long term.

Being Positive vs. Being Happy

I find myself getting caught in the habit of using “positivity” and “happiness” in the same context, to mean very similar things. But I’ve quickly realized that these two words don’t mean the same thing, and don’t always necessarily go hand in hand.

There’s a big difference between someone who is positive versus someone who is happy. Someone who is positive always expects the best to come. It takes a lot to beat down the positive person with negativity because every situation can be turned into a good one.

However this doesn’t mean that he or she is actually happy. Because positivity is a character and an outlook, while happiness is a state. It’s easy to be positive and still be generally unhappy with circumstances or situations. The positive person just may not voice them openly and actively. Now in my opinion, a positive person will always be generally happier than the negative, but that doesn’t always have to be the case.

Being happy means that you are feeling or showing content. There are many degrees of happiness, just like there are with positivity, but the happy scale has a much larger range and carries value.

You can be happy but be a negative person just as much you can be happy and be an extremely positive person. This is because happiness is circumstantial and situational, being a positive person is something you adopt and is a part of your whole being, happiness is weighed.

I consider myself a happy person, I feel that most aspects of my life I am very happy about. But there are things I am also unhappy about. I am also a very positive person, which has no scale because of the fact that it is an outlook.

You can always be positive, but you can’t always be happy.

But that’s okay.

Because when you’re a positive person, the negatives and unhappiness gets beat down and becomes minuscule compared to your overwhelming positive and happiness for things in your life.

You don’t always have to (and can’t always) be happy, and it’s important to address and recognize your sadness. We feel emotions for very specific reasons. Bottling them up to always put on a facade of happiness will always do you more harm than good. But you can even be positive about your sadness, knowing that things will get better and that happiness surrounds many other aspects of you and your life.

This is the type of mindset and work required to eliminate your sadness.

Through focused goal setting and dedicated action you will be set on the path to becoming the strongest, healthiest, and happiest person you can be.

[YouTube] Having Some Fun | Week 2: Pt. 2

New video out now! Week 2 part 2. Check out some of my cool edits, write a comment and tell me if you like this style more than the voice overs!