Love Yourself First

“You cannot pour from an empty cup”

In other word’s, you can’t help others who need you if you aren’t taking care of yourself.

On this Valentine’s Day, I want you to focus on you. It’s not selfish. It’s mandatory. I am not suggesting that you forget about your loved ones, your spouse, your kids, etc… I am just reminding you to not forget about YOU!

Now here is the not so popular/politically correct version…you can love yourself, but still, want to change.

In today’s society, we hear about loving yourself and being accepting of what and who you are right now. But it ends there. Don’t get me wrong, I agree 1000% with that.

However, wanting to change – especially for the sake of health – is also something that you can do, and frankly, it is the best form of self-love that you can show for yourself.

Being unhealthy is disrespectful to you, and your body – and it is disrespectful to those who care about you.

Maybe you have loved ones, friends, or family, who continue down a path of self-destruction, through their habits, their lifestyle, and their overall choices. They continue to ignore the signs of their body screaming at them for help, they continue to ignore the fact that they are slowing down…

So why would you do this to yourself? Do you have people who depend on you? Do you have people who love you, people who care about you? I know you do.

One of the truly most SELFISH things you can do is accept your current unhealthy state and do nothing. That is NOT self-love. That is accepting SELF DESTRUCTION and SELF ABUSE, and if you don’t care enough about yourself, I bet there are others who do.

Maybe you don’t see yourself as unhealthy right now. Maybe you have time on your side. But look at those who are 20,30,40 years older…some of these situations don’t happen overnight, and the cost of them isn’t felt immediately.

However, we cannot deny the facts. Facts that point out the health risks of certain lifestyles, mortality and morbidity rates.

SO what to do? Choose to change. Choose to TRULY love yourself.

You didn’t get to where you are overnight, so don’t try to fix it overnight. Create a sustainable plan, that is slow and steady and focus on one thing at a time.

But you must commit to it. No wishy-washy “trying”.  You need to commit to change and take action now.

Chase progress, not perfection. Make one little improvement every single day, and you will be amazed at what you can do in a year.

As long as you stay committed, and stay in line with your mission, goals, and end result…you will get there, and you will feel a heck of a lot better about loving yourself AND seeing how much more you can show your love for others.

Happy Valentines Day xoxo

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Stay healthy my friends,

The Missing Link For Progress

Fat loss stalled.

Muscle gain stalled.

Looking softer, or guys…having issues staying “soft”?

Time to diet harder, workout harder, or take more pills…right?

Not so fast.

What about your sleep?

Sleep is a foundational component of overall healthy life. Studies have shown that with as little as only 4 days of sleep deprivation, young, healthy males started to show biomarkers of type 2 diabetes! More here: https://sciencelife.uchospitals.edu/2015/02/19/new-study-helps-explain-links-between-sleep-loss-and-diabetes/

When we sleep is when our body recharges, our brain recharges, and our muscles rebuild. Growth hormone levels peak and lipolysis (fat burning) peaks during sleeping hours.

So when we don’t get enough sleep, we cut these very important processes short and set ourselves up for trouble from a metabolic perspective for days after.

How much do we really need?

Nothing new here – 7 to 8 hours. However, more isn’t always better. Some studies have shown that getting more than 9 hours can increase SOME risks…but really, who needs to worry about getting 9 hours of sleep…

Also – the quality of sleep matters. Are you in bed for 8 hours, but tossing and turning? Or are you dreaming about happy stuff and drooling on your pillow?

How to get more:

First – minimize stimulants close to bed – this being caffeine  – and anything else that gets you amped up.  Try to not have any stimulants after 12 PM.

Also – minimizing alcohol close to bed. Even though it is a depressant, it doesn’t allow us to get quality, restful sleep.

Second, have a wind-down routine.

Get off your phone at least an hour before your planned bedtime. Sounds crazy I know, but you can read before bed…from this paper thing called a book. Keep your phone out of the bedroom completely.

Even turning down the lights, turning off the TV, etc. will help the brain wind down.

As far as food goes, people respond differently, so that’s something you need to observe. I personally sleep better if I have some carbs about an hour before sleeping. Some people sleep best on no food.

Lastly, room temp. Try to keep the room around 65 degrees for best sleep.

It’s not the easiest thing to do – but getting more sleep might be one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Prioritize it, work at it, and you will notice some awesome changes.

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Stay healthy my friends,

HELP! I Can’t Get to the Gym but I Need to Workout!

What do you do if you can’t get to the gym…because of weather, car issues, or something else – but you know you need to do something, you need to be active, or you need to blow off some steam.

Look no further than body weight exercises. The only equipment you need is you – so no excuses there!

Now, the first thing to ask yourself is, “how do I feel today?”

Have you been crushing it all week, and feeling pretty sore, tired, and beat up? Then you probably need a recovery workout.

Or are you feeling good, and ready to challenge yourself? Then you could do a simple bodyweight circuit – which will not only work your muscles from a strength standpoint but also get your heart rate up for some cardiovascular health.

Recovery Workout

The point of this workout is to mobilize, get the heart rate a little elevated, but most importantly spark some recovery so you can be ready to go for your next training session.

Complete 4-6 Rounds of the following, with 30-60 seconds rest between rounds:

  • 6 x  Hinge to Squat to Reach
  • 6 x Quadruped Rock Back
  • 12 x Forward/Backward Skips
  • 6 x Plank Knee Crosses
  • 6 x SLOW Dead Bugs

Active Workout

The point of this workout is to hit the full body with a little more challenge. Complete 4-6 rounds of the following, with 30-60 seconds rest between rounds:

  • Bridge to Reach x 8
  • Side Shuffle x 5 times down and back ~10 feet
  • Inchworm (add pushup at the bottom for more challenge) x 6
  • Squat to Front/Back Lunge Combo x 6 times per side
  • Side Plank Leg Raise x 8 per side
  • Wide Outs x 10

So there you have it, no excuses, no reason to not do SOMETHING!

 

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Stay healthy my friends,

Your Reaction is 100% Your Fault

Jan 22, 2019…..4AM

“Michael! Get up, I think we have water leaking in the basement!”, was the first thing I heard abruptly and totally unexpectedly. I sprinted downstairs, and as soon as I got to the landing at the bottom of the stairs, my heart sunk. Well, my feet also sunk because the carpet was sopping wet.

I turned the corner into the unfinished side of the basement only to see 2 inches of water consuming everything in the room. After screaming out a few obscenities, I ran to the main shut off valve and turned the water off. The bleeding stopped.

Long story short, a faulty PVC valve was to blame for this wake-up call. Full flood in our storage area, and partial flooding into the finished part of the basement.

At this point, the damage was done. So now what? Our water is off and we have a 13-month-old. I have to make some calls, emails and cancel some clients. Priorities. First thing – 5:35 AM drive to HyVee to get some gallon jugs of water. Grocery stores are interesting at this time of day, I highly recommend you check one out sometime.

After getting everything squared away with insurance,  and between getting the cleanup crew over, and the plumber to repair the pipe, it was a very sporadic and unplanned day. Which I hate.

But what can you do? How can you handle it? What can you do to keep pushing forward? 

In between talking with the cleanup crew, and the plumber, I worked on programming for clients, online posts, did some continuing education work and planned out the rest of my team training for the week.

I’m not making this point to show off, or say “look at how productive I am…” but just to use it as a real-world example.

There was no way I had control over that crappy valve bursting. But I had total control over how I let that affect my day and my mood.

Did I handle the situation perfectly? No. I had a minor freakout within the first 5 minutes (that’s understandable right?)…but after that I told myself, what’s done is done, time to solve this.

The same thing goes with life, and how you respond to stress, anger, sadness, happiness, tiredness, etc. I often talk with people about not using food to comfort them.

Food will never fix your problem unless your problem is hunger.

Sure, I could have sulked around all day, day drank bourbon and cried my feelings away into a pillow…but how would that help anything? That wouldn’t get my basement dry. It wouldn’t move my business forward. It wouldn’t bring back our wedding guestbook that was now soaked…It’s only stuff anyways.

It is an important reminder to tell yourself over and over – “food won’t fix this problem, only I can fix it, or at least I can control my response and what comes next.”

What if it’s too late? 

Maybe you already reached for the bag of chips and went to pound town. Ok. Did you realize what you were doing? Then stop.

Maybe you did but couldn’t stop. Once you calm down you need to refocus. So you ate a whole bag of _____. That doesn’t mean your day is ruined and you might as well eat everything else in the pantry. It’s like getting a flat tire and slashing the other 3…doesn’t make much sense.

Gather yourself in. Reassess what is going on, and why it is happening. Remind yourself that you are always in control of your reaction, and actions. 

Nobody else controls your emotions, your reactions, and your actions – take ownership of them, and continue to push forward, it is your only good option.

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Stay healthy my friends,

Let’s Get Physical at the Office…

Get your mind out of the gutter.

Chronic sitting is a plague to our country, and most Americans are falling victim. We sit in the morning, sit in our car, sit at the desk, sit at lunch, sit on the way home, sit at home, and repeat.

Aside from the chronic issues that come from sitting too much – see fixes HERE – we just aren’t moving enough throughout the day. On average, Americans get just over 5000 steps per day, which is almost 4000 less than pretty much every other developed country. Couple less movement with an overabundance of food, and you have a problem.

So how can we be more active at work without being the guy or gal doing jumping jacks in her cubicle? (not really a bad idea) – here are three ideas – but first, the mindset is always key.

Stop Thinking You Know What Others Might Think…

I’ve heard people say things like, “well that sounds silly” or “my coworkers might think I am weird…”. I guarantee you that no one is really thinking that you are weird because you want to take better care of your health. If anything, they are jealous that you are taking time and putting in the effort to be healthier, and that might come out in the form of jokes or judgement – but who cares?

You will need to get over that mental block of feeling embarrassed for not doing what most others are doing…in anything health related because truth is – most others are not doing so well anyway.

Alright, here are three options you can implement NOW.

1. Longer Routes

Take the scenic route to your desk, office, etc. We all have heard to use the stairs. But what about parking a little further out, using the stairs, and meeting new people along the way. We need to be more social anyways, make it a point to meet someone new every day – and you cannot go to your desk until you do, so get to work a little early.

2. Walking Meetings

Your brain works better with movement and blood flow. Next time you have a one on one meeting, or discussion, ask if they would like to walk and talk. It might not always be an option, but you may actually find it more enjoyable and may come up with better ideas.

If you have a lot of phone conversations, you can implement this as well with phone calls. Every time you take a call, get up and move around the office (if you can). Even just standing can make a difference.

3. Activity Breaks

I teach a workplace fitness class twice per week. Shout out to those ladies because they are awesome! They make exercise a priority during their workdays. But it also allows them to blow off some steam, take a mental break, and get their workout in without having to go to the gym before or after work, which means more family time for many of them.

Maybe you don’t have this option. If you are serious or in a position to make it happen, I would bring this idea up with HR, and reach out to a local trainer/gym and see what you can work out. If not, there are still many things you can do without actual exercise.

  • Set an hourly alarm to get up and walk to the furthest drinking fountain.
  • Don’t use email if you don’t have to – get up and talk to people.
  • Do 10 bodyweight squats to your chair – who cares what others think!
  • Take a lunchtime walk. If you are competitive, track how far you go, and try to beat your time next week.
  • Use waiting time to move – waiting for the copier? Pace. Waiting for the microwave? Walk for 2 minutes.

Get creative with it! But more importantly – just move more!

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Stay healthy my friends,