Watch my video and learn four similarities between getting in shape . . . and growing a beard.
What’s with this tire flipping that you see in Strongman competitions and the CrossFit Games? Done properly, it’s a great movement for developing overall body strength. It blends deadlifts with squats and chest press. The instability of the tire adds a whole other dimension to the task and requires balance as well as strength in both large and small body parts.
Check out this short video with my big brother, Ken, Psychologist and Personal Trainer in Southern California, as he demonstrates tire flipping on his driveway. Notice his solid technique. Perfect control combined with powerful movements. Very impressive.
Boy, my clients keep getting younger and younger. Just for fun, I thought I’d share a pic from 2008 of my oldest son and me. Now Kyle, 12 going on 20 years old, wears a men’s size 8 shoe. Half a size to go and he’s caught me. Ugh!
Now back to our regularly scheduled program.
Feeling tired? Then exercise.
Stressed from work? Exercise.
Muscles stiff? Exercise.
Feeling bored? Exercise.
Bad night’s sleep? Exercise.
Want to get in shape? Exercise.
Yes, the answer is exercise. Sure there are times when you want to crash on the couch and veg or just go to bed early. I totally get it. I’ve been there myself. If you are tired, though, you should ask yourself if your fatigue is physical or mental or emotional or a combination of the three. If it is physical fatigue, is it because you are in construction and worked on a roof all day or were installing hard wood floors or laying concrete? Or is it physical due to inactivity from siting all day in an uncomfortable chair, practically motionless, dehydrated with your muscles shortening from lack of movement. If it’s the latter, that’s when you should get to the gym, go for a swim or spend time doing yard work. Now let me clarify, if you have sustained a serious injury or are wiped out with pneumonia, then see your doctor, rest and have some of mom’s chicken soup.
Think for a moment when you’re feeling your best. Do you feel your best when you’re working on a project with your boss emailing you every hour? Or is it going for a walk, stretching your muscles, getting blood flowing, feeling warm and enjoying the fresh air? If you haven’t figured it out by now, your body isn’t meant to be in a sitting or standing position for too long. It’s meant to move. And in a variety of ways. Not just sitting there behind the wheel of your car or staring at a screen and assuming what I like to call the T-Rex position. You know? Head forward, neck bent, upper back rounded and fingertips resting on your keyboard or hands close together cradling your phone.
Of course, there’s different kinds of exercise: from walking to running to hiking to cross country skiing to cycling to surfing to paddle boarding to stretching to all types of sports to lifting weights to . . .you get the idea. How do you feel when you’re done exercising? Energized? Ready to take on the world? Totally spent? I have had countless workouts where I have exercised to the point of exhaustion, barely able to walk . . . but feel like I have better mental clarity and that I have cleansed my body and soul of anything negative.
People have talked about Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan ad nauseam. And I’m not the last. To me the slogan is about moving forward, getting your head in the game, overcoming fear, looking at the big picture, achieving your goals. When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, I believe it’s about doing something. Just exercise. Unless of course you are training for a very specific sport or have specific lifting goals. Otherwise, all you’re really trying to do is strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, reduce body fat, improve your coordination and enhance blood flow. And that can be accomplished by any number of activities and/or workout programs which include light weights or heavy weights, high intensity training or low intensity training, workout machines or stretch cords, free weights or your own body weight, low repetition or high repetition, short duration or long duration. At the end of the day, it all depends what you like to do and will do consistently.
So, as luck would have it, the other day my back was screaming at me. Quick reminder, I’ve been in a couple car accidents and have had some serious sports related injuries. Boo-hoo. Okay, for whatever reason, my back started tightening up on me first thing in the morning. Very uncomfortable. When I was done with my personal training sessions at 7pm, I downed a cup of coffee and headed out the door to the gym. As always I started with some light cardio and calisthenics. My back was talking to me but shouting a bit less. I moved on to some core and resistance exercises. By the time I was done, in under an hour, I was feeling much better. My big concern was how I’d feel the next day. The answer? Well it is the next day and I feel waaaaaay better. Was it a particular exercise that I did? I don’t think so. It was more about moving around and doing something for myself. It’s called exercise. So when you’re feeling a little crappy, don’t grab a cold beverage, don’t marinate on FaceBook and don’t sit on the couch. EXERCISE! Your body will thank you for it.
How should you celebrate your birthday? With pushups of course. This year I made it a little more difficult by taking a narrow foot stance, staying on the tips of my toes and getting full extension in my arms with each press. Oh yeah, and being one year older made it more challenging too. Enjoy!
Are you having a tough time staying focused on your health and fitness goals? Not feeling properly motivated? Need a kick in the butt? Then watch my short video and learn a strategy to get in shape while helping others at the same time.
Do you know who Jack Lalanne is? Let me give you a few hints. In 1936 he opened one of the nation’s first fitness gyms in Oakland, California. He hosted The Jack Lalanne Show between 1953 and 1985. I recall watching some of these as a kid. He invented the Juice Tiger. I clearly remember the infomercial and his stretch jumpsuits. He invented the Smith Machine. Practically every gym has some version of it. He set a push-up record. Over 1,000 push-ups in 23 minutes! Amazing!
Jack Lalanne was promoting health and fitness through his own television show, as a motivational speaker and prolific author years before Jillian Michaels, Gunnar Peterson, Susan Powter, Tony Little, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jane Fonda, Richard Simmons, Steve Reeves and countless others. If you’re not familiar with some of these people, read up on them. For his time, Jack was seen as a bit of an oddity and was known for his incredible feats of strength and endurance. On numerous occasions, he swam in open waters while handcuffed and/or towing boats. Some people saw these as gimmicks. But he was the real deal. Not only did he talk the talk, but he walked the walk.
Energetic, passionate, charismatic and unbelievably fit, Jack influenced generations of people with his commonsense approach to wellness. He preached daily exercise, having a positive attitude and a low sugar diet. Does this sound familiar?
If you have never watched one of his shows before, check out this candid video where he talks directly to his TV viewing audience about unhappy people and their emotional and mental well-being. Enjoy!
The other day, I set my video camera on a tripod, hit record and just let it go. My goal? To give honest, non-sugar-coated answers to some of the most common health and fitness questions. Watch my 15-minute video.
Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017! If you are you ready to make your fitness resolutions a reality then watch my video below. You’ll learn how to target your goals, stay on track and have fun along the way.
Twenty-one months ago, I received an email from a prospective client named Nate. He said that he had two fitness goals related to the practice of his martial art, Northern Style Kung Fu. First was to improve flexibility so he could perform front splits (right and left) and possibly side splits. The second was to increase strength to aid in the combat sport of Lei Tai. He described Lei Tai as “the Chinese full contact version of MMA (mixed martial arts).” He felt that his endurance was good but just didn’t have enough upper body strength. Drum roll please . . . Mission accomplished.
I can’t say enough about training with Nate. He is patient, open-minded and hard-working. In addition, he welcomes constructive criticism, arrives early and never misses an appointment. What a winning attitude! Nate continues to make great strides in his fitness and I look forward to his weekly workouts. And without further ado, here’s his testimonial.
Eric is exactly what I needed to take my workouts to the next level. He’s not afraid to roll up his sleeves and customize training to increase my strength and flexibility for the martial arts I practice. I have had some lower back problems in the past, and Eric makes sure to put safety first in every session. Furthermore, he’s taken my non-existent bachelor cooking skills and turned me into someone who cooks dinner on a regular basis. Eric doesn’t quit when you leave your training session; he helps you make adjustments and live a healthy lifestyle. I have fun and look forward to seeing Eric each week. -Nate G, Madison WI
Over the last couple years, there have been many articles written about spending less time in front of our tablets, phones, TVs and computers and giving more attention to green spaces and parks so we can explore the great outdoors, commune with nature, absorb the sun’s rays, etc. There are many physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health benefits attributed to getting outside. For a wonderfully written article on this subject, read This is Your Brain on Nature from National Geographic’s January 2016 issue. I literally crave the outdoors and will get moody if I don’t get outside (just ask Heather), bask in the sun’s rays (even if it’s cloudy) and do stuff. The only thing that will keep me indoors are mosquitoes.
Recently, we visited Heather’s home town of Traverse City, Michigan, and we have a tradition of climbing Sleeping Bear Dunes. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore covers a 35-mile stretch of eastern Lake Michigan and rises 450 feet above the lake. It truly is something to behold. After driving into the park, having a picnic and stopping at a few scenic overlooks, we arrived at the parking lot of the main Dune Climb. Excitedly, we got out of the car and immediately started to take off our shoes and socks. I have always enjoyed hearing and seeing peoples’ reactions when they look up at the mountain of sand. As we started up the dune, I heard one woman giggle, “I didn’t sign up for this.” Then she took a step forward and started the climb. I saw another couple, who didn’t look like they would be able to climb the dune, steadily make their way to the top of the first rise. They took their time, held hands and took it one step at a time. Very cool.
My boys make it like a workout. I’m not sure where they get that from. Must be a boy thing. They jog their way up and then run, leap, tumble and bound their way down. Repeating over and over again. As always, the experience was invigorating. We were in the moment. Sand between our toes, wind in our hair, sun on our faces.
What always amazes me about climbing the dunes or any other outdoor adventure that is not formalized (you’re NOT thinking about reps, time, number of steps, calories burned, etc) is that you can always do more. You are tapping into something. Fun? Relaxation? Energy reserves? I don’t know what you call it, but we sure earned our ice cream from The Dairy Lodge later that afternoon.