31 Things I Know…
I’ve received a few emails from concerned readers wondering where the heck I’ve been, which is cool. It’s nice to be wanted 🙂
I try to slow down a bit toward the end of summer because I know how crazy it is in most people’s lives, including my own. I’ve spent the better part of the last month or so working intensely on a couple new projects, which I’m very excited about. I’m in the home stretch for both, and will definitely let you know when they’re ready. Here’s a picture of one of my “to do” lists for these projects…looks fun, right?
Anywho, I thought I’d share a little list with you today. No need for a fancy introduction, just read on.
31 Things I Know (buckle up ’cause it’s a little long)…
1.Your body can be your best friend or worst enemy. If you treat your body the way it wants to be treated, it will treat you well. It’s like the Golden Rule, but for yourself.
Eat right, de-stress, sleep and move intensely and you will be blessed with an abundance of energy, healthy skin, a youthful look and feel…and you’ll look good nekkid.
Treat your body poorly and you’ll be in a world of hurt. Fat gain, achy joints, premature aging, poor posture, no energy, depression, poor hormonal balance, and a wonky digestive system. Sounds fun, right?
2. Intense workouts are awesome, but there’s a limit. Working hard is great. Working hard is necessary. Working hard does a whole lot of magical stuff to your body, but there is a limit.
There’s a ceiling and once you break through the ceiling you’re doing your body a disservice, rather than a benefit. If you’re busy, stressed, lack sleep and don’t eat well, then exercising intensely beyond that ‘magic point,’ will make you sick, shoot your cortisol levels through the roof and make it a lot tougher to lose fat.
3. Cardio still sucks. It’s great if you enjoy jogging, or running, or power walking, but it’s also okay if you don’t. In fact, it’s wonderful if you don’t enjoy it because it opens you up to the truth – cardio, in the traditional sense, is highly overrated for weight loss. Can it help? Sure. Is it the best, and quickest route? Nope.
If you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it. If the thought of “jogging,” either on a treadmill, elliptical, or in the open-air, leaves you as excited as George Clooney at a Tea Party gathering, then don’t do it…and don’t let people tell you it has to be done.
4. I love bacon as much as the next guy, but to make it out to be a super food is naive and dangerous
5. You are a unique creature. Some people can get by with 5 hours of sleep and still have tons of energy, with none of the negatives others go through with so little sleep. Some can skip breakfast and feel great, and they won’t binge on food later. Some people can run 50 miles in a single day (crazy people). Some people are really, really good at “working out.”
You are unique and you need to grasp this uniqueness.
6. But you still need to go through the chore of cutting the crap and adding the good to understand where you are unique. Because I said some people can skip breakfast and be totally fine doesn’t mean you should skip breakfast. Why? Because the likelihood of you eating poorly later on because you skipped breakfast are very high.
Because some people are great at “working out,” and can train intensely 7 days per week does not mean you should attempt this.
Because some people are wonderful runners, and watching them run is great, doesn’t mean you, the person who sits 12 hours per day (the car, at the desk, at the dinner table, on the couch) should jump up and run 6 miles because you’ll probably develop some injuries because your hamstrings, ankles and hips are out of whack.
To discover where you’re unique, and I’m talking with nutrition and exercise, you need to first get the basics down. You can’t discover if you can go without breakfast, or can safely snack in the evening, or get away with having a couple servings of grains per day, without first cutting the junk, adding lots of REAL food, and exercising intelligently.
Then, and only then, can you learn these little discoveries.
Beer makes my joints hurt.
Bread makes me flemmy.
I didn’t know this until my stress levels came under control, I started sleeping better and ate really well. Once that happened I was able to discover these things. Do I like them? Hells to the no. I enjoy drinking a beer every now and again, but I shouldn’t because of the way it makes me feel. I enjoy a good sammich, but the next couple days suck.
I also have to get protein and fat with breakfast or I get super hungry by about 8 (my day starts around 4:30). I also know that a salad for lunch is what makes me feel best for the remainder of the day. Salads. My energy levels stay up, which is a big deal if you get up so damn early, I feel strong and my brain stays awake. Other types of lunch don’t do that, so I eat salad…or at least I should.
See what I’m saying? You are unique. Your body may act differently than mine, but you won’t truly know how until you get the basics down.
7. Be a good tipper. I enjoy tipping servers and bartenders well. Some people say they tip well for good service and bad for bad service and I get that, but think about it. If the server is having a bad day because of some jerk at another table, or someone hit her car, do you want to continue the cycle or make her day? I’d rather tip an extra $2 and make that person’s day.
This may sound selfish, but it makes me feel good knowing I made someone else feel better. Karma.
Although if a server is a total jerk, then they gets no extra pennies from me. Jerkiness is jerkiness, but there’s a difference between a good person having a bad day, and someone being a bad person.
Side Note: I do not tip people at the counter with the damn tip jar. If all you did for me was turn around and fill a cup, or reach your hand into a glass container and remove a cookie, you are not getting a tip and the fact that you’re begging for it with the jar and the cute little label means you’re sure as hell not getting one.
8. “Intensity” is a relative term. What’s intense for me may not be intense for you, and vice versa. This shouldn’t need to be said, but for many in my business, and many people watching the workouts, it does. Some trainers are idiots and think EVERYONE should be jumping or doing some fancy-pants exercise, even though they can’t do a push-up or bodyweight squat with proper form.
9. Moving your body intensely is one of the best stress reducers, but it’s dangerous to always use stress or anger as fuel to a workout. I’ve lost track of the number of clients who have said they almost cancelled, but are glad they didn’t because they felt so great after the workout.
I’d like to think it was because of my witty charm and smily face, but it’s just the happy endorphins from the workout.
10. Walking for weight loss is overrated, but underrated as a means of “good health.”
Maybe “good health” is the wrong word, but it’s tough to beat the peace of a leisurely walk on a nice day. Not power walking, or anything at a hefty pace, but simply walking and letting the fact that you’re alive and breathing give you a pep in your step and feel awesome. In a perfect world I would go for a 30 minute walk every morning, but that doesn’t happen very often.
You want to know the quickest way to ruin that feeling? Attempting to turn it into a weight loss exercise. It should be nothing more than an activity…just walk!
11. Know what avenues of life you struggle with and then determine if it’s worth being better, or not worrying about that perceived fault. This isn’t about exercise, but it is about health. I put this one in because of an issue I had last weekend with a few of my websites. I’m in the middle of transferring my sites into one hosting account that’s pretty hefty, and I thought I could handle all the “back end” stuff, but I couldn’t.
I had no business spending 12 hours over the weekend, getting stressed to the max, doing something I could’ve paid an expert $100 to do in 90 minutes. It was stupid and made me want to drink booze and eat donuts, but instead we bought new bedding.
Now I know to never do that stuff again, and I’m not even going to attempt anything of that nature again because it’s not a strength, never will be a strength and I have no desire in learning that type of computer language, a language that to me looks like a combination of English, Chinese and Swahili with a little Sanskrit thrown in for good measure.
You should know your weaknesses and strengths and then decide if your weaknesses should be strengthened or delegated, if possible. That may be tough to admit in the beginning, but you will be happier in the end.
12. Failure is not an end point, but rather a bump in the road. You can use it to propel you forward, or to wallow in your own pity.
13. Eat more vegetables. Hell you can even juice ‘em…but you need more than you’re currently consuming – and no, V8 does not count.
14. Eat more fruit cause it won’t make you fat. This makes me crazy every time I see it. There are so many things in our modern life that make you fat, and fruit is way down the list. You can send me articles talking about how fructose is broken down differently than other sugars in the body, and all that other goodness, and I understand that, but come on…
…you really expect me to believe that eating 2 apples and a serving of grapes on a regular basis is going to make you fat? You crazy.
15. Take every nutrition related study covered in mass media with a grain of salt. If it’s being reported in the mass media (newspaper, evening news, major websites) it’s probably because it has some shock value. “Eggs worse than smoking!” “Professor loses 100 pounds with Twinkie Diet!” and all that goodness.
But beyond the shock value are the studies that seem legit, but you should always ask yourself, “Who paid for the study?” If it’s a study about the benefits of dairy, milk, calcium, yogurt, or anything else having to do with a cow it’s pretty safe to say the Dairy Council funded that study directly or indirectly, which should make you question the validity of the study. I’m not saying it’s a crap study, but you should wonder about some of the variables used…
16. The longer I’m on the internet, the more I realize the stupidity and ‘assholiness’ of certain people. It’s amazing how tough people become sitting behind a keyboard and the words they use. I remember someone called me a ‘cunt’ and ‘skinny asshole’ on a youtube video. Seriously? Oh well. You can’t let it get to you, but people need to realize the stupidity of their comments before posting. I’m not shouting for censorship or calling “bully,” but take a moment to think through what you just wrote before hitting “post.”
Someone should create a piece of software that reads your comment back to you before you’re allowed to post – either on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter…wherever. That way you can decipher whether you’re an idiot or have something legitimate to add to the conversation.
17. Stress kills. Stress effects so many organ and hormonal systems it’s ridiculous. One of the most benign factors of stress is that it makes weight loss nearly impossible, and it makes fat storage along your stomach seem fine and dandy.
It makes you look old, and that’s because you are aging faster. You get wrinkles, bags under your eyes and have a perpetual scowl that makes people want to stay away.
You lose your energy, and are constantly craving simple carbohydrates. When you wake up in the morning you’re more exhausted than when you fell asleep, which makes you crave caffeine and even more simple carbohydrates, which then leads to the roller coaster of energy and insulin/blood sugar levels, which will most likely lead to insulin resistance.
That’s the tip of the iceberg with stress.
Acknowledge your stress, then deal with it.
18. Anger kills. Anger can also cause shenanigans with your insides, but it also turns you into an ass. Seriously. Stop being pissed at everything and everyone. If you don’t agree with something, let it go. Don’t judge people that are different than you unless you want someone to call you a jerk, or worse, to your face.
Chill out. The world needs more love. Plus you’ll be amazed how “lucky” you get once you flip your attitude and start loving more and hating less. People want to do nice things to people who smile and look happy. For serious.
The easiest way to be happier is to smile. Just smile. It’s very easy and you will actually feel better if you do it. Smile dammit!
19. Your stomach is more than your abs. The abs get all the glory, but in this day and age when we sit far too much, the stomach, or core, should be thought of as much more than the rippled six pack.
A weak core will lead to poor posture, which will lead to less energy because your body has to work harder to keep your bag of bones upright. If your core is weak, you won’t breathe as fluid, which will also make your energy levels tank and your muscles won’t work as well when you do decide to workout.
If you want an awesome stomach flattening trick, and simple exercise, click here (it’s awesome).
20. Take probiotics. Taking probiotics can be one of the easiest ways to stay healthy. Your gut has all these little hair like thingies that are responsible for getting nutrients out of the gut and into your blood stream where they can be used – this is the basics of digestion. Unfortunately things like stress, antibiotics, a poor diet (too much alcohol and grains) can kill off these little buggers.
Eating yogurt, and other fermented foods like Kefir or sauerkraut (gross) boost your levels of healthy bacteria, but I also recommend using a quality supplement. I take one every day and do actually notice if I skip for a week or two.
One word of caution if you’ve never supplemented, start small and build up. If you throw back twice the recommended amount you may experience some…distress in the bathroom.
21. Eat more fat, while also minimizing carbohydrates from grains because it’s the fountain of youth. Healthy fats do wonderful things for your body. They benefit your sexy time hormones, and help your muscles work the way they should. They make your hair, skin and nails healthier and stronger and flat out make you look and feel awesome.
Increasing your intake of foods like avocado, nuts and fish are great, but don’t forget quality meats as well.
Too many grains can make you age faster. ‘Nuff said.
22. The only thing you may now call carbohydrates are fruits and vegetables. Stop calling breads, pasta, or any other type of grain a “carbohydrate.” Yes, they are still classified as such, but no longer in your brain. This way you don’t have to worry about low carb/high carb, or any of that nonsense.
That way when someone asks what carbs you eat you can say, “fruits and veggies you flippin’ idiot.”
23. Push-ups are better for your abs/core than crunches will ever be – they’re better than planks too! No splaining needed. Truer words have never come from my fingers to your brain.
24. Squats are not bad for your knees…what you call a squat may be bad for your knees. When a client tells me, “I don’t do squats because they’re bad for my knees.” I immediately ask them to show me a squat, which leads me to say, “that’s not a squat.”
A squat starts from the hips. You should stick your butt OUT, not try to curtsy from your knees only.
There are obviously many different variations of teaching a proper squat, and everyone has different limitations, but one of the easiest ways to take the tension off the knee joint and place it on the muscle is to focus on sticking your butt out first as you lower yourself, while keeping your heels on the floor, then DRIVING your heels into the ground as you stand up and squeeze your butt as you’ve never squeezed before.
Exaggeration helps in the beginning. You have my permission to actually goose yourself to get your brain to focus on flexing your butt as you stand up.
Not everyone will be able to keep their heels on the ground in the beginning due to muscle imbalances and flexibility issues, and yes squats will hurt the knees of some folks, but most just do them incorrectly.
25. Don’t let your way of eating or exercising define you as an individual. I actually like the Paleo way of eating and enjoy some Crossfit workouts – and I’m not going to pick on either – but don’t let either “way” define you as a person. Diets and workouts should not be dogma.
I do not want the way I eat or exercise to become “me.” I will never walk up to someone I’ve just met, shake their hand and say, “Hi, I’m Ed. I’m Paleo.” but if you do nothing but post pictures of bacon on Facebook, have long conversations about your WOD or wax poetic on the virtues of tofu, then you are a very boring person and need to get out more.
26. Burpees suck, but you should do them regularly because they’re also awesome.
27. Cleaning up your eating, and learning to stick to a training program is NOT an all-or-nothing experience. You will stumble, you will fail, but that doesn’t mean you’re a failure or that you should stop on your journey.
Start with 1 or 2 action steps and work them to the bone. If you’re horrible with eating breakfast, then make that your one goal for the next 3 weeks. Eating breakfast every day of the week – a good one – is your one focus. If you make it your focus, it will become second nature, or a habit, and you will then move on to something else.
The thing that leads to failure in the overwhelming majority of people that want to lose weight is that they try to fix EVERYTHING at once. You can’t do that.
Same thing goes for exercise. Don’t try to go from zero to 100 in a week. Take your time, start with small chunks of time and get bigger as the days go by.
The worst thing you can do is try to go all crazy with your diet and workout because you will stumble, and when you stumble, you will say, “screw it” and then you’ll feel bad, and that will start the yo-yo cycle. You are not a toy.
If you need to, hire a trainer…we actually know a thing or two and at the very least can hold you accountable for the small period of time we’re together. I always tell people the only thing I control is what you do here, the remaining 23 or 23 ½ hours of the day is yours to either screw up or get better.
28. Decrease your focus. This goes right along with the previous tip. Don’t try to remove all processed foods, eat a salad every day for lunch, eat 4 servings of vegetables, 4 servings of fruit, train for an hour a day, sleep 8 hours a night, have perfect snacks and remove all your stress at once because that’s just silly.
Don’t get me wrong – that’s all noble and great and you may even succeed for a week or two, but for most it’s too much to focus on at once and you’re better served working your way up to that over a 4 or 6 week period.
Those are all simple things to incorporate, but if you’re like most people you don’t eat breakfast, you eat zero vegetables, the only fruit you get is from juice and sleep fewer than 7 hours…and only exercise 2 days per week at most and it’s half-assed. Do you see what I’m saying?
29. You can’t force your kids to be left handed…no matter how hard you try. I’m a lefty in a righty world. I know the world is not designed for us lefties, but we only make up 10% of the population and I really wanted one of my kids to be left handed.
When Maren was a baby I tried handing her everything in the left hand, but she would always switch over to the right. Sigh.
Tried the same thing with Nolan, to the same outcome. Damn kids.
Maybe I should do what teachers did in the “old days,” except instead of swatting their left hand with a ruler to force them to be right handed, I’ll swat their right hand with a ruler to force them to be left handed. I’m kidding…don’t go calling CPS.
You right handed people are biased.
30. Even though we’ve had so much information presented on the danger of a diet full of grains people still don’t want to give them up, or even reduce their intake.
31. Tell the people you love that you love them on a regular basis. I’m ending on a soft note, but it’s true. You want a better relationship with your spouse or kids? Tell them you love them, and mean it, on a daily basis. Don’t be flippant and shout it as you leave the house, but tell them. That little phrase, along with being a loving person, are magical and the world needs more of that type of attitude.
Okay that was pretty long. I hope you enjoyed it and can take some of it and apply it to your own life.
If you have any other life tricks to share, let me know.