November 23, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness 0 Comments

Time to Break up with your Bathroom Scale … TODAY!

You should be proud of me.  I’m pretty proud of myself.  I finally did it.  I finally ended my more than 5 year unhealthy, obsessive, compulsive, abusive relationship … with my BATHROOM SCALE!

I’ll still probably see her a few times a year (quarterly is the current plan) .  She’ll still probably tell me some things I might not want to hear, but maybe some time and distance will make her kinder and more complimentary as well.  Whether good or bad, I’ll still be able to look in the mirror and tell myself the only story about me that matters … the one from MY perspective and no one else’s!

With Turkey Day upon us, Here are 4 reasons I’d recommend you break up with your scale as well … TODAY:

  1.  The scale isn’t an effective measure for fat loss — It’s true, pounds lost typically means that you are losing some fat, but if you aren’t strength training, you are probably losing muscle as well and ultimately your body composition, shape, and overall look with become smaller, but not necessarily more appealing.  All good fat loss programs incorporate strength training and when that happens, muscle is often gained (or at least preserved) while losing fat, making it difficult for bodyweight to decrease.  Sometimes it moves marginally, sometimes not at all, yet body composition may be changing dramatically
  2. Your scale is a LIAR! — If you eat more salt one day vs. the next, more carbohydrates than normal, less carbohydrates than normal, drink sparkling water, don’t drink enough water, drink more water than normal, have too much coffee in a day, eat foods higher in sugar, or even have a later snack than usual, your body weight might shift anywhere from 1-5 pounds in a single night!!  Now, this doesn’t mean that the small bowl of salted popcorn you ate last night caused you to gain 3lbs of fat.  It would require consuming somewhere in the ballpark of 10,000 extra calories to do that!!  It also doesn’t mean that you successfully lost 1-5lbs of fat when you dehydrate yourself and eliminate carbs for the week.  The foods we eat cause our body to hold on to or expel water in different ways.  It’s a much more effective approach to stop focusing on the micro, and look at weight trends on a more macro level.
  3. The Scale often creates more stress for people — Because of #1 & #2, the scale is often a source for incredible stress.  So here’s some simple scientific math for you:  Stress = Cortisol Release = Fat Storage.  So, in fact, looking at the scale and stressing over it often causes people to experience the EXACT OPPOSITE RESULT they are trying to achieve!
  4. Who F*cking Cares what you weigh!?!?! — Unless you are specifically training for a competition with weight classes, are you really a better human being at 180lb vs. 190lb?  Do you look that much different in a bathing suit when you are 120 vs. 125?  Maybe more importantly, if your health markers are in check, does being a few pounds lighter impact your health in any meaningful way?   Chances are the answer to all of those questions is NO.

So, follow some SimpleMan advice:  Break up with your scale.  Wake up, look in the mirror, and start seeing the positive version of your story and progress!

 

May 10, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness, Life, Simplicity 0 Comments

“Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite” – Part 4 of 5

If morning routines are like boot-up sequences, having a solid night time routine must be like avoiding holding down the power button on an old Windows computer.  Remember those days?  If you didn’t shut down the computer by going to the shut-down menu, but just held the power button down?  I’m pretty sure most people believed it might cause a ripple in the space/time continuum and we’d be sucked into an endless loop of repeating history … or you’d just lose all your data.

The latter is more likely what we are protecting by having a solid night routine.

I’ll be honest (I hate that phrase, because shouldn’t we just be honest ALL the time??).  I don’t have a night time routine.  Certainly not one that has intent or purpose.  So here’s what I’m working on making a part of my bedtime behavior:

  1. Limited/no screen time for 15-30 minutes.  Research suggests that limiting screen time not only helps us get to bed faster, but sleep better and deeper once we finally go to sleep.  I’ve recently bought a few paperback books … you know, those things with bindings and page numbers instead of progress percentage bars … and plan to pick away at those in the final minutes before bed.
  2. Daily review: it seems rather frivolous to spend all that time planning in the morning routine and hustling during the day if you aren’t going to look back at the end of the day and do an evaluation of your performance.  I’m confident this will help me stay on track towards my goals and see all of the positive achievements of the day that I might have missed.
  3. Sleep cocktail: I recently re-introduced alcohol to my nightly routine, and while I enjoy having a glass of wine or an Old Fashioned with my wife, I don’t nearly sleep as well as when I have my sleep cocktail.  I got this idea from Tim Ferriss who recommends the cocktail to people with insomnia, and the recipe is simple: Hot water, little bit of honey, and 2 tbsp of Apple Cider vinegar.  It’s warm, it’s soothing (especially for someone who talks for a living), and it makes me sleep like a baby.

Well, that’s it for now.  Off to bed … and that means no more screen time 🙂  Comment or email me with your own nighttime routine suggestions?

 

May 6, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness, Life, Simplicity 0 Comments

“Let’s eat” – Part 3 of 5

Let me start by saying this is not a post about how to eat healthy.  It’s not a promotion for a particular diet plan that will work for everyone.  It’s simply documentation of what I’m doing, how it’s working for ME, and where you can learn more about the plan.  Other diets or nutritional strategies will work for you.  I’ve had success with multiple different methods, myself.  Maybe, just maybe, what I’m doing now will give you some ideas or help you break through that plateau of yours!

Over the years, I’ve tried different diet plans, but have always had very similar criteria:

  1. Sustainable: I don’t like flash/fad diets.  Any diet plan I choose needs to be a long-term solution for health.  I don’t just want something to follow for 6 weeks and then have to switch to something else when it’s “done.”
  2. Build Muscle: I love lifting and making Gainz, so I need to be able to build muscle efficiently on the plan.  Eg. Vegetarian and vegan diets are very healthy and sustainable in the long run, but are incredible inefficient when it comes to building muscle and keeping muscle (a problem as we age), due to their lack of complete proteins and protein in general.
  3. Burn fat: Fat loss is one of my primary goals, but this one is a bit simpler.  As long as caloric intake stays beneath energy output, I haven’t found any one diet to be any more effective than another in this area.
  4. Flexible: I need to be able to follow the diet at home, when traveling, when eating out, when vacationing, etc.  Specialty items that require rare foods get nixed immediately for this reason.

So, here’s what fits the above criteria FOR ME: Anabolic Fasting.  The best way to find out more about anabolic fasting is to Cory Gregory’s (the creator) website, but you can get a basic understanding on your own by watching this podcast interview he did with the Barbell Shrugged Podcast team.

Let me lay out the basics for you:

  1. The name comes from a combination of the “Anabolic Diet” and “Intermittent Fasting
  2. In short, the Anabolic Diet was a High Fat, Moderate Protein, Low Carb diet (virtually Ketonic), but with weekend carbohydrate loads (weekends were Low fat, Moderate protein, High Carb) to prepare dieters for their next week of training and rev up their metabolism.
  3. Intermittent Fasting can mean a number of things, but the most common approach to intermittent fasting is a 16/8 schedule, meaning you fast for 16 hours (7-8 of this happens during sleep) and eat in an 8-hour window.
  4. Cory Gregory* combined the 2, with a few twists, and you have Anabolic Fasting
    • 16/8 fasting & eating windows (Burn Fat)
    • High fat, moderate protein, low/no carb during the week, except for veggies (Burn Fat & Build Muscle)
    • Blunted carb spike every night – usually some fruit, with nuts or peanut butter to keep the insulin spike from the fruit low.  Helps tremendously in being energized for training and getting through the fasted portion without hunger the next day. (Sustainable & Build Muscle)
    • Weekend carb spikes/cheats.  The number of these depends on whether you are on the program for fat loss, maintenance, or muscle building (Fat Loss & Muscle Building)
    • No macro tracking! and the 2 meals eaten just need to have HUGE portions of veggies (if you think of portions in terms of a dinner plate, think HALF the plate), a meat source (fatty is ok/preferred), and a fat source like nuts or avocado.  (Sustainable & Flexible)

I can truly eat like this anywhere.  For most people, the 2 meals a day means that they actually only have to worry about having 1 meal away from home.  For me, someone who travels a ton, this just means that I need to find lunch and dinner joints that serve meat and vegetables.  How hard is that?  If they don’t have avocado or some good fatty dressing for a salad, I eat some nuts.  The Simple Man always likes a simple plan!

Check it out for yourself, or respond in the comments with some diet/nutrition tips that have helped you reach your goals.  Doesn’t matter what they are, but it’s quite possible that someone else has the same goal and your comment will be just what they need to achieve!

 

*I don’t intend this to be a marketing piece for his website, but I can say that the $9 a month I pay to be a member is the best $9 I spend on health and fitness every month – diet advice and planning, custom diet changes, training plans, 1on1 coaching, training and motivational videos, etc.

 

 

May 3, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness, Life 0 Comments

“Training for Life” Part 2 of 5

I’ve written extensively about my workout routines in the past on the blog, shared many of my PR videos on Facebook and Instagram, but plan to take a slightly different approach with Part 2 of this 5-part series on routines.  Instead of detailing my lifting schedule and telling you about my sets and reps, or how much cardio I do, I’ve broken down what I do each week into a template that, even if you don’t have the same specific training goals as me (hitting certain powerlifting numbers, reducing bodyfat percentage, etc.), you’ll be able to read this post and create a training plan of your own that will help you reach a goal I’d say most/all of us are aiming for: being better at LIFE!  For those of you still interested, here’s my template for “Training for Life.”

  1. Strength – This one might be a stretch for some people, but I believe it’s important enough to make it the #1 part of my Training for Life template.  I couldn’t agree more with Mark Bell’s Instagram post on this topic: “No one ever regretted getting stronger.”  The stronger you are, the less likely you are to get hurt doing something during your day.  Lifting groceries?  Strong people are better at it.  Picking up your kids and carrying them around?  Strong people are better at it.  Moving furniture or doing house projects?  You get the point.  Don’t fool yourself, no matter how many times you can dumbbell press 25lbs, you won’t get better at lifting 50 or 100lbs.  Lifting heavy weight requires training your muscles to better recruit muscle fibers and the only way to do that is by lifting heavy weight.
  • Solution: Follow the 3×3 or 5×5 rule – 3-5 times a week, lift something HEAVY 3-5 times for 3-5 sets.  
  • Side note: Now ladies (and some of you men), this doesn’t mean use the purple Richard Simmons dumbbells instead of the Pink Susanne Summers dumbbells for your jazzercise class!!  I mean F***ing HEAVY!  Like so heavy that once you’ve lifted it the 5th time, you couldn’t lift it again.  Red-in-the-face, breathing hard, straining HEAVY.  

  1. Hypertrophy– I know this is a Bro-Science lifting buzzword, but it’s incredibly important if you are interested in being better at life.  As we age, it becomes harder and harder to maintain muscle mass.  Again, I know many of you (especially women) are thinking to yourselves, “I don’t care about muscle MASS” … but you should!  Check out this study from 2008 showing the relationship between muscle mass and mobility in the elderly population.  The take-away?  More lean muscle mass leads to less mobility issues/severity as we age.
  • Solution: 3-5 times a week lift moderately heavy weights in sets of 8-12.  Again, avoid those colored dumbbells.  You should feel like you can’t lift another rep after 8-12 reps.  This is a proven rep range to increase muscle mass.  I do this right after my strength work.
  • Side note: For you YOUNG people, this range will help you get BIG!  For the rest of us, including you WOMEN who “don’t want to look like a bodybuilder,” don’t worry.  YOU WON’T!!Women produce about 1/10th the amount of testosterone that a normal man produces, so getting BIG would be a bigger chore than you imagine (think training multiple times a day and eating 2-3x the amount of calories you are currently eating).  I rest assured most of you won’t be doing that.  Listen to world famous bodybuilder and trainer Dorian Yates talk about this topic here (fast forward to 1:16:00 – 1:19:00) 

  1. Conditioning– Don’t confuse conditioning with “Toning.”  Toning is BULLSH**! There. Is. No. Such. Thing. See the Dorian Yates link above if you want to argue this point.  You can make muscles stronger by training them to better recruit more muscle fibers (see Strength section) or you can make muscles larger (see hypertrophy section).  There isn’t a third option.  When people say they want to “Tone,” what they are really saying is that they want the layer of fat that covers their muscles to decrease and their muscle to increase so that you can see muscle definition through the skin.  Conditioning, then, serves 2 purposes: lose fat and create good cardiovascular health.
  • Solution: 3 or more times a week, do some cardiovascular (heart) conditioning.  If you are a fan of traditional steady state cardio, by all means, follow your Dr’s advice and trudge away on the treadmill or elliptical for 40 minutes at a pace that elevates your heart rate.  There is nothing wrong with this type of cardio, but loads of science is beginning to suggest that there MIGHT be a more efficient way to get the fat burning and cardiovascular benefits we need for longevity.  It’s called HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training.  Here’s an article that explains it’s benefits AND gives some sample workouts.

  1. Mobility:  This one is simple, yet it’s the one I’m least fond of practicing.  We can have loads of muscle, limited fat, and be strong, and able to keep our heart rate elevated for extended periods, but if we can’t move (full-range of motion in the basic movement patterns), it’s all for naught.  I’m not a huge fan of mobility-for-mobility’s sake, though.  I prefer to approach mobility by making sure I can achieve appropriate and safe positions for heavy lifting.
  • Solution: Pushing away from your chest, Pushing vertically (above shoulders), Pulling towards your chest, Pulling vertically (from overhead to shoulders), Squatting (ass to grass), and lifting from the floor (deadlift) are the 6 primary movement patterns.  Mobility work should help people perform these movements appropriately and safely.  If you can’t squat ass-to-grass, work on hip and ankle mobility.  If you can’t bend down to pick something up without arching your back, work on your hip mobility and core/back stability.  If you can’t press something and hold it above straight above your head, work on shoulder mobility.  Etc. Etc. Check out Kelly Starrett’s Mobility WOD youtube channelfor some great tips. 

  1. General Movement & RecoveryThis is the first time that I’ve thrown this category into my training template, but I’m beginning to believe that it may be more crucial than any of the aforementioned items.  Without constant movement (walking, playing, standing, etc.) our bodies breakdown, our metabolism slows, and we become less mobile.  Without adequate recovery activities like meditation, walking, and other distressing activities, our bodies respond by stunting growth and releasing hormones that cause us to hold on to fat (survival mechanism), among other things.  In other words, without leisurely movement and recovery activities, all of our attempts to gain muscle and lose fat, get thwarted.
  • Solution: Every day, try to prioritize movement.  Stand more.  Walk more.  Take the stairs.  Your metabolism will respond to increases in non-stressful movement positively (see Dr. Jade Teta’s research on this subject at metaboliceffect.com).  Every day, especially after a stressful training stimulus, perform some form of recovery activity.  I choose meditation in the mornings, but will often sit in the sauna or hot tub after a workout.  My wife loves massages for this.  Whatever your poison, if you work hard, you need to recover hard.  Doing so blunts Cortisol production, telling the body that it’s not in survival mode (hold on to fat), but growth mode!

I know that’s a lot to process, so here it is in Simple Man form:

  1. Lift some HEAVY sh** 3-4 times a week
  2. After lifting heavy, lift moderately heavy weights in higher reps for the remainder of the workout
  3. Do some conditioning like 20-30 minute HIIT or 30-40 mins of cardio a few times a week.
  4. If you struggle to perform any lifts with full-range of motion, work on mobility that will help
  5. Recover as hard or harder than you workout.  Eg. Meditate daily (reduce cortisol) and take a leisurely walk.

Sound like a plan?

#getafterit

 

 

March 10, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness, Life, Simplicity 0 Comments

Don’t “go with your gut”, just GO!

I’m sure at some point in all of our lives someone has answered one of our questions (usually relating to whether or not we should take action) with the cliche phrase “Go with your gut.”  Here’s why that’s terrible advice:

  1. Watch the Simon Sinek video about the “Golden Circle” – The part of our brain responsible for “feelings” and the part responsible for processing “rational information” are 2 separate parts.
  2. The mind controls the body – Great minds have said this different ways.  “We become what we think about” ~ Earl Nightingale.  “You have power over your mind, not outside events” ~Marcus Aurelius.  In other words, I can make my body achieve and experience different things based on what I think about.
  3. But the body also controls the mind – Despite the former point, I can also change my thoughts by changing my body.  Try playing happy music and thinking sad thoughts, pay attention to your thoughts when you put on a smile/frown.  In addition, although we can’t completely control what thoughts pop into our heads, we can cue certain thoughts by changing the state of our body or our environment.

Why this is important: 

  1. Sometimes we wake up and don’t feel like sticking to our plan.  Our mind begins to think negatively and our bodies don’t  feel up to the task.  It’s our job to execute the plan anyway!  Change those feelings, start doing, and find out what you are really capable of!
  2. Sometimes our bodies tell us to give up.  By changing our thinking, we can push our bodies to do more that we ever thought capable!

 

**This post was inspired by my Skwaat workout today.  I woke up feeling tired and my body didn’t feel strong (mind/thoughts).  If you had asked me in the morning if it was a PR day, I would have laughed and said no, but I refused to let my mind control my body.   I contemplated skipping the gym altogether.  But, I abide by the rule NEVER SKIP LEG DAY, so I went to the gym anyway (body/action).  I started putting weight on the bar, kept putting weight on the bar (body/action), until I finally hit a REP PR – 280lb for 10 reps!  Body over Mind.

January 13, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Business, Health & Fitness, Life, Simplicity 2 Comments

A look ahead

As I mentioned in a previous post, I make New Year’s resolutions of sorts, but they are typically pretty vague, quickly forgotten, and rarely (dare I say NEVER) written down.  I guess that makes them less like resolutions and more like current thoughts.  This year, though, I’m trying something new and since many of you may have likely done something similar to me or started a new resolution and given up already, I challenge you to do this with me!  Instead of just looking forward and thinking about what you want for 2017, let’s make some goals … TOGETHER.  We are going to write them down, look at them every day, change or modify them as needed, and maybe even add to them as the year progresses.  Regardless, we are going to set our sites on something and #getafterit.

Here are some #simplemantools to help you get started if you’ve never done this before (like me!):

  1. Categorize your broader, long-term goals – Because I’ve never written them down, most of the goals I’ve set (if you can call it that) over the years have been pretty narrow.  Whatever I happen to be thinking about in that moment is what becomes a goal.  Some years it’s a business goal, other years it’s more personal, and years like last year it was something as specific as a goal in the gym.  Narrow goals aren’t bad, but our lives as a whole aren’t vary narrow.  It makes more sense, then, to set a variety of goals in different areas.  For an incredible example of this, check out this Business & Biceps podcast with fitness expert Cory Gregory.  Cory keeps things really simple with 3 categories: Home, Gym, Work, so we are going to start there.
  2. Be “broadly specific” – In other words, don’t just say things like “I want to be a better dad” or “do more special things for my wife.”  Here’s how mine break down:
    • Home:
      1. Cook AT LEAST one meal every 2 weeks for my wife.
      2. AT LEAST one time per month, coordinate a date night where I set up everything (dinner, movie, sitter, etc.)
      3. Once a week, play a board game with each child (read a book to Evelyn – 1 yr)
      4. Once a week, take each child outside and do something of THEIR choosing.
      5. Connect with 1 close friend or family member VIA PHONE or IN PERSON each week.
    • GYM:
      1. Abs by May 1 – this means my diet needs to be on point 6 days a week (1 cheat day/meal).  Bye, bye bulking season.
      2. 2nd half of the year, focus on strength gains – If PRs for bench, deadlift, squat have decreased, shoot for reclaiming current PRs.  If strength stays steady, 500lb deadlift, 405 squat, 315 bench.
      3. Lunge & cardio 3x per week.  Lift 3x per week.  Add 4th day of lifting after cut is over.
    • Work:
      1. Secure a development project.
      2. Write for TSMS every day (1-2 posts per week).
      3. Do projects for 1 new client.
      4. Look for 1 new business opportunity that brings value to people’s lives.
  3. Plan and review daily.
    • Looking at them in the morning will provide focus and a litmus test for your decisions throughout the day.  When faced with choices, ask yourself: “Will this decision help or hinder me from reaching one of my goals?”  Then ACT!!
    • By reviewing them at night, you get an opportunity to see whether you stayed on course, or veered.  Don’t get frustrated if you miss something or even forget about it for weeks or months.  Recognize it, re-focus, and get back to work!

Your turn!  Make your own goals with these #simplemantools and #getafterit

January 6, 2017, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness, Life, Simplicity 0 Comments

Same story, different lesson

 

As many of you know, I’ve developed a passion (some might call it an obsession) over the past few years for working out.  To be more specific, lifting weights.  For the most part, going to the gym isn’t torture for me.  It isn’t a chore.  Call me a glutton for punishment, but I genuinely enjoy the pain.  Well, not so much the pain, but what comes from pain.

But just like every other gym-rat or wannabe gym goer, there are days when I just don’t want to leave the house (hence why I built myself a garage gym – eliminate all possible excuses).  That is, until a new excuse popped up this morning.  It’s colder than a mother f**ker outside!

My garage isn’t insulated, there are no space-heaters in sight, and (I know the picture says 27 degrees, but that was about 3 hours after my workout) when the temp is in the low 20s outside, holding that barbel sends shooting pain through the fingers.  Not fun.  Painful.

Sometimes working out isn’t about how many reps, or sets, or even how much weight you move.  Some days you won’t set PRs.  But if every time you step into the gym or start a new project or try a new activity, and you push through that pain/discomfort/nervousness/anxiety/insecurity, you progress.

Every day, make progress #simplemantools #getafterit

September 26, 2016, Posted by Josh Wight in Business, Health & Fitness, Life 0 Comments

Strengths & Weaknesses

I’ve long been a believer that people need to put themselves in positions where they have opportunities to use their strengths.  Effective leaders do this as well. They strategically place team members in positions that suit their strengths.  Too often, however, this results in people neglecting their weaknesses. And neglected weaknesses become liabilities.

My fitness strength?  Pulling motions. Pull-ups, deadlift, rows. ALL DAY!  Pressing, especially Squatting … not so much. It must have been some sort of tortuous trick thought up by the gods to give me legs like tree trunks and an ass like a donkey, without the ability to squat.  I struggle tremendously to generate power out of the bottom position and my butt raises before my chest. So today I worked on weaknesses. Pause back squats to generate better power out of the bottom and paused front squats to work on vertical chest position.

It’ll likely never make you good at your weakness, but improving the weak points will ensure they don’t become liabilities AND they will make your strengths even stronger!

 

August 26, 2016, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness, Life 0 Comments

The best you can be

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As a parent of young kids I’m constantly hearing the message from other parents: “don’t stress competition too much at a young age, just teach your kids to be the best they can be.  Winning isn’t everything.”

A few months ago I started cycling in Crossfit workouts into my normal routine and it’s taught me 2 critical lessons about what it means to be the best I can be and how to define “winning.”

Lesson #1. The best I can be is BETTER when I’m competing with someone else. Go try it for yourself. Set a 20 minute timer, pick a circuit of exercises, then complete as many circuits as possible in the allotted time.

Rest a week and then repeat, only this time challenge a friend to do it as well.  Simply knowing that someone else will be doing the workout, you’ll best your time by a good amount. Do the workout with someone next to you?  DESTROY your previous time.  You’ll see them 1 rep ahead or running just that much faster, (or slower than you and you’ll try to stay ahead), and you will push yourself beyond thresholds that would normally stop you.  The best you can be will almost always be better when you are in the company of competition.

Lesson #2: Even in the company of others, winning should be defined as a PR, not a victory over others.  The dictionary defines winning as “victory over other competitors or the enemy.” In that sense, those other parents got it right.  We shouldn’t teach our kids that this is of greatest importance … yet.  Eventually, life becomes about how well we do compared to others, but the best way to prepare for that time is to figure out, early in life, how to push ourselves to be the best we can be.    What we should stress is “personal victory.”  Constantly pushing for our own PRs (Personal Records).

So let’s stop trying to prevent our kids from being competitive. Teach them to compete. To give it all they’ve got. To give it more than they’ve got in an attempt to win. Just remind them in the end how a “win” should be defined: their personal best.

July 17, 2016, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness 0 Comments

Squat, Deadlift, Press, Pull. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

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This post originally ran on July 17, 2016 and it ran as simply a title and a picture.  My goal was to post a workout plan structure that was simple and straight to the point.  No complicated descriptions of exercises, no weight recommendations, just a framework that someone could use to start programming their own workouts.  I figured it was time, however, to revisit this post and add some clarification as to how someone might use this framework to program their own workout routines, while taking out the frustrating guesswork that often leads to indecision and excuses to skip workouts (i.e. “I don’t know what to do, so I just won’t workout”).

Let’s start with the framework.  In the title, I listed the four critical types of movements that should really be a part of EVERY person’s exercise routine.  They represent the 4 basic patterns of human movement.

  1. We have to squat regularly and often times we are lifting something up when we do it (a child, a box, or another heavy object)
  2. Sometimes we aren’t squatting to lift things up, but bending down and pulling them up instead (deadlift).
  3. Life sometimes requires us to press/push things (moving furniture around, lawn mowers, self defense, lifting objects overhead, etc.)
  4. Pulling, especially pulling our own bodyweight vertically, is thought to be a basic movement required for survival (picture climbing a tall object in order to get away from something chasing you).

With basic movement patterns established, let’s continue with order of the exercises (aka programming).  The first thing you need to determine is how many days a week you plan to lift weights.  The most common routines for beginners are 2, 3, or 4 days of lifting with the remainder of the days being either rest or cardio days.  Here is what a 5 day week would look like for each of those, with weekends functioning as optional days to do anything you wish – extra cardio, extra rest, or work on a weak body part:

2 day program

Squat + Press, rest/cardio, rest/cardio, Deadlift + Pull, rest/cardio.  

3 day program

Squat, rest/cardio, Press & Pull, rest/cardio, Deadlift

4 day program

Squat, Pull, rest/cardio, Press, Deadlift.

 

As you can see, there are quite a few options for scheduling, but the key points to keep in mind if you decide to change the basic structure is that ideally you need at least 72 hours of rest between Squats and Deadlifts if you want to be fresh for both (they are very taxing compound movements that use some similar muscles), and you want at least 48 hours between Pulling days and Deadlift days (since both of them work the back muscles significantly).

So, pick a program and then move to the next paragraph.

Remember, we are talking “basic” structure here, and the next step is typically where people get overwhelmed, so I am going to provide a well-rounded structure that should be good for most people looking to get both strong and fit.

For each day, choose 1 main compound lift, 1 lift that will help you get better at your compound lift, and 1 lift for each major body part worked that day.  Then use the following set/rep scheme:

Main lift – 5 sets of 5 reps (5×5)

Supplementary lift – 4 x 8

Isolation lift #1 – 3 x 12-15

Isolation lift #2 (optional) – 3 x 12-15

Core work – 4 sets

 

Here’s why this works.  The main lift is always a compound lift that maximizes the use of multiple muscles with a set/rep scheme that is designed to get you strong (high weight/low reps).  The remainder of the lifts then move to a higher rep scheme that will help with muscular endurance in addition to strength.

Here’s what the program might look like for a 3 day routine:

Squat (main), Front Squat (supplementary), Hamstring Curl (isolation), Sit-up tabata circuit (core)

Overhead press (push main lift), dumbbell press (Push supplementary) & bent over row (Pull supplementary), Lateral shoulder raises & bicep curls (isolation superset), Leg raises (core)  **note: I have not included a Main Pull exercise here, as Deadlift day should provide enough pulling volume for most beginners.

Deadlift (main), Pull-ups (supplementary), shrug (isolation), Sit up tabata circuit (core)

 

The choice of lifts is yours, but the formula is simple.  One quick note: I’ve intentionally left the volume low for my examples, but it’s pretty easy to increase volume if you need more.  Add a 2nd supplementary lift or additional isolation lifts and voila!  Added volume!  For instance, on Deadlift day you could consider adding 4 sets of Power Cleans (supplementary), and then an additional back exercise or grip exercise like 3 sets of Farmer Carries (isolation).  Now you’ve got 19 sets + core work.

The last point to note about this structure is that, as with all workout routines, your body will adapt over time and stop responding to the same stimulus.  This is the second point where most people panic and lose focus or motivation.  Don’t fret.  Following this structure provides an easy solution: simply vary the exercise choice.  Schedule stays the same, structure doesn’t change, just insert different exercises that utilize the same muscles.  Keep your body guessing and the gains will keep coming!

The Simple Man Says … Plug, Play, Make Gainz!

 

For additional exercise recommendations, check out Bodybuilding.com’s exercise reference guide.  It’s a helpful tool that organizes exercises by muscles worked!

 

 

 

 

July 15, 2016, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness 0 Comments

All you need …

7:15:16 workout

Is a FEW of the RIGHT tools.  Commercial gyms are filled with fancy machines that are supposed to work all kinds of different muscles in isolation.  We let ourselves be impressed with, sometimes in awe of, the sheer number of machines we see when we walk into a facility.  The more machines, the brighter the colors, the better the gym must be, right?  Better gym means better workout, right?

Today, with a barbell, a pull-up bar,  and some chain (for weighted pull-ups), I had one of the best back workouts I’ve had in ages.  Keep things simple.  You don’t need all that fancy equipment.  You just need the WILL to be great.  Now get after it!

June 29, 2016, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness, Life 0 Comments

Sleep vs Workout

image

There are more times than I’d like to admit where I face a battle of choosing sleep OR choosing an early morning workout.  Ideally, I’d plan my day to get BOTH, but especially when traveling … and working late days … In a foreign timezone I’m not so fortunate.

My problem is that I don’t have a system for deciding which one to choose, so I tend to decide based on “feel.”  That leads most night-before decisions to lean toward working out, only to be overturned by the early morning decision to snooze.

If that’s ever happened to you, check out THIS article from Greatist.  It provides you with a practical process for deciding between extra zzz’s and extra calories burned.

June 5, 2016, Posted by Josh Wight in Business, Health & Fitness, Life 0 Comments

Importance of sleep

Turns out, it’s not just about how hard or how long or how much we work.  What really allows us to progress as humans is recovery … or more importantly, sleep.

You’ve all heard the phrase “I’ll sleep when I die.”  It’s an admirable phrase, meant to infer how much work the person saying it has to do.  Work is important.  Having work with meaning allows us to thrive and in many respects keeps us alive.

What’s missing, however, from work-focused phrases like this one is the concept that when we must work, we might be (dare I say, will be) more productive, stronger, think clearer, or be more creative if we are well rested.

So get some rest … It is Sunday after all.

March 24, 2016, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness 0 Comments

Lessons from “the inside”

I don’t plan on visiting or staying inside a prison in the near future (or ever for that matter) or getting into a close quarters street fight any time soon, but my latest obsession involves both:  “Jailhouse Strong” & “Jailhouse Strong: Interval Training” by Josh Bryant.  Over the past few years, I’ve purchased both the original “Jailhouse Strong” book as well as the supplement “Jailhouse Strong: Interval Training”, and both have become staples in my training regimen.  In fact, instead of searching through endless articles and celebrity workout routines, I’ve narrowed my entire training program to these 2 books.  Why? You might ask.  Here are 4 reasons you should make them the core of your training too:

  1. Simple, but effective programming – The books contain programming that requires no equipment at all (bodyweight training and cardio) and others sections that would help you take advantage of the best gym equipment out there.  They key, though, is the simplicity.  The programming is easy to follow, avoids new ‘fad’ tools, and focuses on the tried-and-true methods that have been proven to work in various environments from jails, to bodybuilding circuits, strongman contests, etc.
  2. Options – Can you only commit to working out 2 days a week?  Or are you a 5 day a week lifter?  Do you lack cardio equipment?  No problem.  The book details programs tailored to virtually anyone’s schedule and to those with access to both expensive gyms or only a jumprope and a pull-up bar.  No excuses.
  3. HIIT disguised as fighting prep (think Tai Bo, but cooler) – Tired of treadmills or exercise bikes? (if you aren’t, the books contain programs for these too).  Both books detail cardio and circuit training programs disguised as fight training.  Into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?  There’s a cardio program for that.  A wrestler?  Yep, that too.  Trying to be prepared in case you were ever in a street altercation? Uh huh.  Improve your self defense skills and get in shape in the process.
  4. “The Look” – Jailhouse Strong training is designed to help you build “the look” of someone that shouldn’t be messed with.  Hopefully to avoid the need for #3.  You want defined arms?  Or a big chest?  Maybe just tall traps or a wide neck?  Jailhouse strong provides specialization programs for those too.

So, keep it simple: Avoid the fads and stick with what works, eliminate excuses, melt fat, be more prepared,   and look better doing it.  Pick up copies of Josh’s books!

 

March 3, 2016, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness, Life 0 Comments

If you meditate

Practice daily.

Focus on bringing yourself back to the present moment.

Don’t let the practice of experiencing the present get in the way of ACTUALLY experiencing life’s moments.

Do it during times when you’re not likely to miss life’s gifts you will never forget.

Keep in mind, life is not fulfilled by practicing how to be in the present, but by being there.   

Remember that being present is harder than it seems, but more rewarding than expected.

 

February 26, 2016, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness, Life 0 Comments

Abs of Flab & Tons of Buns

Is it enough just to improve and be able to perform at a a higher level or is it necessary to have a low body fat levels and washboard abs?
I’ll admit it.  Let’s call this the first step to my fitness-mindset recovery.  I’m obsessed with body image.  There.  I said it.  And it’s nobody’s fault but my own.  I’m a believer in “extreme ownership” as former Navy Seal and Leadership expert Jocko Willink calls it.  It’s not the fitness industry’s fault, or tv, or magazines.  It’s no one’s fault but my own that I want to look and be healthy and I perceive washboard abs and low body fat percentage as a sign that someone has reached an admirable level of physical fitness and health.  I didn’t need a picture or a movie to tell me this.  When I shed fat, I perform physically strenuous tasks more effectively.  When my muscles grow, I get stronger.  Simple athletic arithmetic.
So, do I really need to be worried about my physical appearance at all?  Shouldn’t it be enough (mentally and emotionally) to show progress and simply perform physical activities at a higher level than before?  The simple truth is: there’s no requirement in life for looking good while you do something, only that you successfully (and efficiently) accomplish the task. If someone were to look at my lifting and running logs, they’d see progress.  Lots of it!  I’ve made SUBSTANTIAL gains on lifts like deadlift, squat, overhead press, and pull-ups over the past year.   I’m running more regularly, at faster paces, and longer distances on a regular basis.  I can perform more high intensity bursts of exercise and for longer durations than maybe ever before in my life.  I’m eating more healthy, whole foods (while virtually eliminating processed foods) than ever before.  Yet, I still don’t have washboard abs AND I still have a fairly high body fat percentage.
My wife wonders who I’m trying to impress?
I used to tell myself the person I was trying to impress was ME.  LIAR!!!  I’m pretty impressed by the logs and the progress.  The DATA speaks for itself … to me.  But those family weekends on the boat … those vacations to Hawaii … those times when you’ve worked so hard that your shirt is dripping with sweat and you just want to take it off (but there are people around).  Other people aren’t impressed with the paper data in those moments.  They are impressed by the raw body data.
My raw body data still says I have a long way to go.  The good news: It doesn’t matter what other people think of your data.  They are only looking at a snapshot, a moment, of all your hard work.  So stop worrying about washboard abs and tight buns.  Consider where you started and how far you’ve come and embrace where you are RIGHT NOW.  Fitness and health is a movie, not a picture.  Pull one screenshot out of even the best film and it won’t tell you much about the story, but watch it from start to finish and you find all kinds moments along the way that bring you joy.

February 12, 2016, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness 0 Comments

Simple Man Lunch & Dinner

Whew.  What a start to the year!  Life is good, but life is busy, and life is crazy.  Work, workouts, date nights, kiddo basketball practice & games, swim lessons, gymnastics, dr. Visits, etc. etc.  Sometimes 5 pm rolls around and I realize all I’ve eaten all day is a few protein shakes, maybe a protein bar, and an assortment of pinches from the kid’s fruit snacks, goldfish crackers, and the crust of a peanut butter sandwich.  Not exactly ideal if you are trying to get fit, add some muscle, and lose some fat.  In fact, it’s more like a recipe for getting skinny-fat, and nobody wants that (rhyme that last line like a dr. Seuss book).  So, The Simple Man is always on the lookout for healthy recipes that don’t require a lot of prep, don’t require a ton of time to cook, and will help you hit your macros, keeping you on track towards your goals.  You’ve already learned about The Simple Man Breakfast, so here are just a few lunch and dinner ideas:

 

1-Pan Dinner

This one is easier to see than to describe, so I’ll post a link direct link to the page where I found the recipe (Tasty.com’s Facebook page), but this is now my go-to dinner when my wife (who is an amazing cook BTW) isn’t home or I want to give her a break from the kitchen.  For a mental picture (or an actual one below), imagine chicken, broccoli (or your choice of veggie), and potatoes (I prefer sweet), covered in spices and olive oil and placed in the oven on 1 pan for 45 minutes. Or here’s an actual picture:  Minimal prep, minimal cooking time, maximum deliciousness!maxresdefault

 

Tuna w/o mayo options

Tuna by itself is gross. Dry and nasty! largeTuna with mayo is delicious, but typically only after you have added AT LEAST a serving or more of mayo (high calories and high fat).  A healthy alternative is to ditch the mayo and simply add a tablespoon of olive oil (still fat, but healthy fat).  The oil is good for you and is surprisingly effective at making that dry-as-hell tuna moist.  If you need a little bit of flavor thrown in, try adding a little bit of mustard (any kind will do) or a nice scoop of sweet relish. The Simple Man’s favorite is all of the above. If I’m looking for a lower cal alternative, I skip the oil altogether and just use mustard and relish.

 

Vanilla Berry Progurt

This one happens to be my favorite Simple Man lunch snack.  Everyone (who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past few years) knows that Greek yogurt is a fantastic alternative to the typical sugary yogurts that we’ve been eating the past few decades (too much sugar and too little protein). However, let’s be honest, Greek yogurt by itself tastes like the sole of a shoe.  And if you search the store shelves for flavored Greek yogurt, you end up buying something that is overly sugared (artificially) and no better off than where you started.548a2a5a54930_-_rbk-yogurt-doughnuts-1-0411-xl  However, a little bit of protein powder fixes everything! :). Now, Vanilla flavored yogurt is a pretty popular flavor to find on store shelves, so why not make your own Vanilla Progurt? The “pro” comes from the incredible amount of protein in the recipe I’m about to describe, but rest assured, this won’t taste like a chalky protein shake.

Recipe:

  • Put a cup of Greek yogurt in a bowl (30g of protein in Fage fat free Greek yogurt).
  • Pour a small amount (1/2 cup) of either milk or coconut milk into the bowl.  This will add a little bit of fat (why I like to use a good fat like coconut milk), but also make it easier to mix in the protein and give the yogurt a good consistency when it’s finished.
  • Next, add a scoop of vanilla protein.  I’m sure other flavors would work, but vanilla is simple and easy to find.  Stir well.
  • Last, and this step is optional, add some frozen or fresh berries on top.

What you end up with is a “pro”gurt with approximately 55g of Protein, about 20 carbs (natural milk sugars from the yogurt and fresh berries), and 5g of fat (from the coconut milk.  Pretty damn good macro ratios and pretty damn delicious! If you need to reduce carbs, leave the berries off. The Simple Man calls this version “Bro”gurt.

 

The Simple Man says … Follow these recipes and you’ll have no (nutritional) excuses for not hitting your weight loss and muscle gain goals.

 

October 7, 2015, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness 0 Comments

Simple Protein Breakfast

If you are like me, you know breakfast is important, buuuuuuut you aren’t exactly going to win any chef of the month awards and maybe you are getting tired of just drinking your chalky protein shake for breakfast. Here’s your solution.  It will take you about 30 minutes to make, but you will have breakfast for 3 or 4 days (depending on your appetite or your macro needs).

Protein Muffins

Items needed:

  1. Muffin Tin
  2. Pan (for pre-cooking bacon if you didn’t buy pre-cooked bacon)
  3. Cooking Spray
  4. Eggs
  5. Shredded cheese
  6. Spinach
  7. Bacon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350
  2. Cook bacon in a pan until it is almost done (approx 10 minutes)
  3. Give that muffin tin a good spray with the cooking spray so the muffins are easy to remove
  4. Crack 1 egg into each muffin cup – I like to cook the eggs like this, but you could mix all your eggs in a bowl before if you prefer
  5. Place a piece of bacon in each cup – If the bacon is thick, I sometimes only use 1/2 slices
  6. Place a few leaves of spinach in each cup
  7. Sprinkle shredded cheese on each cup
  8. Place in the oven for 20 minutes

Result (before and after):

IMG_1977

PROTEIN MUFFINS for DAYS!!!

The Simple Man Says … No more excuses for breakfast: Eat simple, Eat well, and Protein up!

April 22, 2015, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness 0 Comments

Tech for the Fitness Nerd: HRV

Years ago, everyone in the fitness world started talking about Heart Rate Training Zones.  Now, virtually every training program you look at, whether it’s a high intensity weight routine, triathalon, or marathon program, includes some sort of reference to heart rate zones.  “Keep your heart rate here if you want to burn fat” they say, or “keep it there if you want to build cardiovascular strength.”  But, if you are the type of person who likes to try the newest, latest, greatest routines and programs, heart rate zones are sooooooo 2014!  If you want to impress your fitness friends and satisfy your inner fitness nerd, it’s time you check out Heart Rate Variability (HRV).  I did, and my workout scheduling has never been the same.

You heard me right, HRV is NOT an intra-workout tool like heart rate zone training, but a tool that allows you to better plan your daily and weekly workouts.  Since this is a Simple Man Says post, I’m going to give you the short and sweet of HRV-based training, but I’ll also link to a number of great resources throughout this post and at the end.

OK, so what is HRV?  According to wikipedia:

Heart rate variability (HRV) is the physiological phenomenon of variation in the timeinterval between heartbeats. It is measured by the variation in the beat-to-beat interval.”IMG_2261

Now, that doesn’t seem like very useful data for training purposes until you understand the SECRET of HRV.  The website www.bemissioncapable.com provides the great description below:

“Heart rate variability (HRV) will let you understand the impact of your training on the health of your system. The more your heart rate varies from beat to beat, the better your system is sitting.  When your heart rate becomes highly regular, it is a sign of stress and a sign you have overstressed yourself.  Measuring HRV will give you an indication when it is OK, debatable, and NOT OK to train.”

Most HRV measurement tools do this by measuring a few different data points in order to give you your training recommendations for the day:  Low Frequency Vagal Tone (LF), High Frequency Vagal Tone (HF), and HRV (converted from a time to a score on a scale of 0-100).  IMG_2262

The LF score is a measure of your Sympathetic Nervous System health (fight or flight), the HF is a measurement of your Parasympathetic Nervous System Health (rest & recovery).  I didn’t understand it at first, but after doing some more digging, things started to make sense.  Why, I wondered, would a regular & predictable heart beat interval be a sign of a stressed system?  Shouldn’t our bodies function with perfect regularity when we are healthy and erratically when we are stressed?  However, understanding how the components of the nervous system impact heart rate variability explained this strange phenomenon for me.  The Simple Man Says … Think of it this way:

If both components of the nervous system, sympathetic and parasympathetic, are functioning at optimal performance, they are essentially performing competing functions, which results in a heart rate that is infinitely variable.  If, however, we stress one branch like the sympathetic branch (fight or flight) with a strenuous workout routine, the parasympathetic branch (rest & recovery) effectively takes over and overpowers the entire system.  The result is a steady, consistent heart rate.

Heart-Rate-Variability

Based on the results from the 3 scores listed above (LF, HF, HRV), most of the HRV apps on the market will let you know, based on the overall health of your heart and nervous system, what kind of exertion rate you should put forth in your training that day!

In other words, The Simple Man Says … No more guessing what your body is capable of that particular day!

If you are like me, you plan your training one of 2 ways:100111-planning-to-over-planning

1)You figure out which days you are going to train at the beginning of the week —  The problem with this option is that that it fails to account for how your body may respond to each day’s workout and can lead to sub-par workouts as the week goes on or even a general lack of intensity the entire week for fear of “wearing yourself out” on tough weeks.

 

napoleon-dynamite-gif-whatever-i-feel-like-i-wanna-do-gosh2)You wake up, gauge how you FEEL, and then plan your workout accordingly — This strategy has obvious flaws, but the most prevalent problem with this approach is that it relies on feelings, not facts.  A great example of this happened to me earlier this week.  I put in some solid work in the weight room (leg day, whoop!) and got in a training run on Wednesday.  I woke up Thursday thinking to myself, “I should probably take a day off,” due to the level of exertion from the day before.  Good thing I strapped on my heart rate monitor and tested my HRV.  Not only was my heart and nervous system functioning at full force, it had actually improved from Wednesday’s results and was more ready to endure a good workout than before my workout on Wednesday!  So much for “listening to your body.”  Turns out, we aren’t as good at interpreting our own data as we might think.  Additionally, how we feel might change as the day goes on and by the time we decided that we feel good enough to get a solid workout in, it might be too late.

I could go on and on about HRV, but instead, I want to get you pointed in the direction of some amazing resources:

Ben Greenfield Podcast: Article or Podcast

Heart Rate Monitor (the one I use): Wahoo Tickr

iPhone app (the one I use): SweetBeatLife

Alternative iPhone apps: NatureBeat (developed by Ben Greenfield with SweetBeat)

If you are already 3 steps ahead of me and have a heart rate monitor strapped to your chest, looking at the SweetBeatLife app, check out this quick pdf that helps to interpret your results.

When it comes to HRV, the Simple Man Says … No more excuses.  You might not ‘feel’ like pushing yourself today, but your body might actually be ready for ANYTHING you throw at it!

 

April 14, 2015, Posted by Josh Wight in Health & Fitness 1 Comment

Top 3 LAME Workout Excuses

Ok.  Let’s take a deep breath and get serious for a moment.  I’m about to tell you something that you are not going to like.  Something that is going to make you uncomffortable.  It might make some of you defensive.  Others of you, maybe angry.  Some of you may even begin to feel ashamed.  If talking about uncomfortable stuff typically elicits one of the above responses (defensive, angry, ashamed), then PLEASE KEEP READING.  Don’t turn away now, because that little bit of discomfort is certain to become comfort by the end of this post (see my post titled When Your Plan Reaches a Fork for more on this concept).

Today’s topic is working out.  Or more specifically, the LAME excuses we make for NOT working out.  Without further ado, let’s check out the Simple Man’s top 3 LAME Workout Excuses, some things to consider, and what The Simple Man Says about each:

Lame Reason #1 – “I’m just too busy to get a good workout in.”

10.8.13StayingActiveAtWork

Consider: How long, exactly, do you think this “working-out”  thing needs to take?  Sure, if you currently aren’t working out and you’ve got grand visions of spending an hour in the weight room (because secretly, you still pull out your original copy of Arnold’s book The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding and envision people crowded around you at the bench press station at the gym) and then another 30-60 minutes doing boring cardio on the treadmill (because that’s what the doctor told you to do if you want a healthy heart), you are bound to FAIL to START.  Adding that kind of routine (2 hours, not including time to get ready to go and actually get yourself to the gym!) to your already busy day would be like deciding to take up mountain climbing and deciding on Everest for your first climb.

The Simple Man Says … Start smaller.  Getting healthier and working out more, doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing task.  Take the advice of the authors of The Power of 10% and The Compoud Effect and use them to your advantage.  In short, making small changes is easier than big changes and those small decisions ultimately lead to larger, more impactful ones.  Therefore, instead of an hour of weights, start with a pushup/sit-up/pull-up routine that you could perform daily or every other day.  Maybe even something as simple as a pull-up bar in your garage 152-p5v-pullup-system-web-h1or a doorway.  I recently installed a pull-up bar in my garage (went the DIY route) and told myself that I would do a few pull-ups each time I went out into the garage (I go there far more than I imagined throughout the course of a day).  It wasn’t a HUGE commitment, but I started doing this and within a matter of days, I started contriving excuses to go to the garage and do pull-ups.  In other words, I made a complete mindset shift in a few days – from not working out, to thinking about working out throughout my entire day.  That ultimately led (Compound Effect) to more complex workouts, doing far more than just pull-ups.

If you are ready for something more than just a few pull-ups and push-ups, but still don’t have an hour to burn in your day, try this weight lifting routine and treadmill workout (Note: you will likely have to modify the routine if you are new to working out or running, but the format is a great template. Try starting at 5mph and working up in speed each ’round’).  I recently introduced a gentleman in his 60s to this routine and he is able to complete the ENTIRE routine (weights + HIIT portion of the treadmill workout) in about 45 minutes!!  Satisfy your inner-Arnold and your doctor in 45 minutes.  Booya!

This strategy also applies to excuses like: “I’m too fat,” “I’m too old,” and “working out is boring.”  Start small, rely on the compound effect, and when you only have to perform 3 sets in the weight room and are changing the setting on the treadmill every minute, you won’t have time to be bored!

 

Lame Reason #2  – “I can’t get to the gym because of my (cue shameful gasp) KIDS”

Consider:  This excuse might sound a lot like Lame Reason #1, but in reality it is often the follow-up excuse to #1, once someone has pitched a reasonable workout idea like one of the suggestions above.  The conversation typically goes something like this:

Friend: “You really should try to work out a few times a week.”

You: “I know, but I’m just so busy and working out takes so long!”

Friend: <Poses workout routine above>

You: “I mean, that sounds great … if I didn’t have kids.  They just keep me so busy and I don’t have ANY spare time in the day to spend in the gym doing something like that.”bigstock-Stress-Mother-Running-Late-Wit-49227587-1024x830

Sound familiar?  I’ve heard it from the mouths of moms and dads, no bias here, but it’s LAME either way.

 

The Simple Man Says … Workout WITH your kids!!  dad-working-out-with-kid-640x409First, if you are the stay-at-home mom (or dad) variety, check out bootcamps for Mom’s in your area.  In the Beaverton/Portland area, we have a great program called Baby Boot Camp.  Check them out here or go to www.babybootcamp.com to find a program in your area.  If there isn’t one near you, there’s bound to be something like it (Click here if you don’t know where to start).  Also, don’t be fooled into thinking that these bootcamp classes are just a bunch of moms wearing expensive workout clothing, sipping their lattes, and strolling around a walking path.  I made that mistake a year ago and in a matter of 2 months ended up losing 20 pounds AND gaining some serious husband-points for being the only man in attendance.

If Baby Bootcamp doesn’t sound like your deal, then what would you say if I told you that some of the best workouts I’ve had in the last 3 months came at my son’s school playground?!?!  That’s right, take your kids to their favorite playground and work out there!

Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve actually sat and looked at the play structures at any kids park, but if you look close enough, they look a whole lot like some of the gym equipment at your local gym: most middle school parks have a track, monkey bars work great for pull-ups (you can even use the outer, thick bars, for grip-strengthening pull-ups), parallel bars can be used for dips or hanging rows, picnic benches can be used for incline or decline pushups, etc.  Check out the pic below from indyfamilyresource.com for some additional exercise ideas:

  

In addition, here’s a link to the workout I did at my son’s school a few weeks ago: https://www.evernote.com/l/AQj1Oyz3aJ1K_Z8eN4qNJwKs_OzGrh1DJDc

Not only did I get a 45 minute strength and cardio workout in, but I spent the time with my son and he even performed some of the exercise (and some of his own), during our time there.  Added bonus: When you work out, it cements healthier habits and mindsets in your children!

 

Lame Reason #3 – “I’m not a fitness expert and I don’t know what to do when I get there.”

Consider:  Now we are actually getting somewhere close to a legitimate excuse with this one.  Not knowing what exercises to do when you get to the weight room or using only LONG, steady-state cardio on the treadmill or elliptical is a surefire killer of your workout routine, even if you manage to get yourself all the way to the gym (or to the park as I suggested in #2).  But, as the title of this article suggest, this is STILL a LAME Reason because the real excuse is: You don’t have a plan.Gym-fail

The Simple Man Says … Have a plan and mix it up!  Since this post is getting a little too long-winded to categorize as “simple,” let me point you in the direction of some resources to help you plan your routines:

1.  I’ve done both the weight program and treadmill workouts prescribed in #1 above and continue to utilize them in my current routines.  That’s a great place to start and you don’t really have to worry about mixing things up, until it starts to get boring or your progress plateaus.

2. Pick up a copy of Zach Evan-Esh’s book The Encyclopedia of Underground Strength and Conditioning.  It’s a great resource for putting together your own program of body-weight exercises or programs to develop “functional fitness.”  FYI, I used this resource, plus resource #3 to develop my playground workout above.

3.  Subscribe to a Workout of the Day (WOD).  Personally, I like WODs from www.Spartan.com/workout-of-the-day.  Especially if you are going to be trying to get workouts in at parks or at your house, most of these WODs require no equipment and take between 30 and 45 minutes.  Plus, as an added bonus, they will get you ready to compete in your first Spartan Race (post to come about this soon!).  If the Spartan workouts are not your style, just google WOD and you’ll find a slew of links to WOD subscription pages.

 

Well, there you have it!  3 LAME excuses and 3 Simple Man Solutions.  If you saw the length of the post, and like me, just read the Bold sections or skipped straight to the end, this is for you.  The Simple Man Says … Dump those lame excuses where they belong, start small, workout with your kids, and have a plan! 

Now get after it!

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