The great philosopher,Socrates once said ” No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable of”.
This quote applies to women as well. If you’re looking at this page that means you’re passionate about health and fitness. You’re someone who’s passionate about seeing the amazing things your body is capable of. I made this blog because I believe humans are made to move. I feel so alive when I’m moving moving my body and working a sweat.
I’m passionate about health and fitness. Working out is one my favorite ways of self-expression. Throughout my fitness journey, I’ve tried different methods of training throughout my fitness journey. My favorite training methods are strength and sports specific training. I believe training like an athlete is the easiest way to have a functional and attractive body.
In addition to strength and athletic training, I’ve also tried bodyweight training, yoga, and bodybuilding. Fitness has been a big part of my life and has given me the strength to handle different challenges. It has also helped me increase confidence in my abilities. I hope my experiences and the things I’ve learned along my fitness journey can help you see the amazing things your body is capable of.
Maintaining your health isn’t something that happens by accident. Instead, you have to make sound choices day-in and day-out, which may be easier said than done. Luckily, by embracing some simple strategies, you can improve your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing with relative ease. If you want to achieve better health, here are some straightforward methods that you can start using today.
Making Sleep a Priority
Getting enough sleep is essential for health and wellbeing. As you rest, critical body processes take place that help you recover from the demands of the day. Without enough sleep, those processes may not occur correctly.
Generally, the CDC says adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep each night, though some may need up to 9 hours to feel rested and recharged. Make sure you allocate enough time to get the rest you need, and that you are getting quality sleep. If you aren’t sure, you might want to try a sleep tracking gadget to verify whether you’re sleeping deeply or not.
Additionally, if you wake up during the night frequently or are experiencing any signs of sleep disorders, seek out care from a medical professional. They can determine the cause of your sleep disturbances and create a treatment plan that will help you get the rest you need.
Stress wreaks havoc on the body and mind. Along with normal pressures, many people are still negatively impacted by the pandemic. Overall, the APA notes 78 percent of adults feel COVID-19 is a major source of stress in their lives.
When stress rises, it can take a toll, ultimately impacting your behavior in negative ways. Chronic stress can lead to or exacerbate anxiety and depression, along with other mental health conditions. Plus, it can harm the body, potentially increasing a person’s risk for heart attack, stroke, and hypertension.
Finding ways to reduce stress is essential. Options like meditation, yoga and deep breathing are fairly simple to integrate into daily life. Making time for activities you enjoy and socializing may also have a positive impact. Pick up some stylish and comfortable clothes that leave you feeling great like leggings, pajamas, or a breathable dress.
If you have a fireplace in your home, building a fire can be a stress reliever. If you haven’t used your fireplace in a while, be sure to have it inspected by a professional. You’ll want to have your chimney swept as well. Search “chimney cleaners in my area” to find highly rated local chimney sweepers. Having your chimney swept typically costs around $225.
Getting Enough Exercise
Exercise is critical for many aspects of health and wellbeing. For example, exercise can improve the cardiovascular system, help people maintain a healthy weight, and reduce stress.
Generally speaking, adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, or an equivalent combination of the two each week. Ideally, muscle-strengthening activities need to happen at least two days per week.
Receiving the Right Care
While caring for your health personally is a must, it’s also crucial to get the right medical care when you need it. Physicians and other healthcare providers are a critical part of the wellness equation, ensuring any health conditions are diagnosed and properly treated. Many medical facilities across the country are now offering telemedical care, so you can find support even if you can’t come in person for an appointment.
(Short read) Why you shouldn’t wait to start your fitness journey.
“ The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now “ – Chinese proverb
If you plan on starting your fitness journey, start now. Don’t weight till the new year to do it. Don’t wait till tomorrow either. Do it today. The more you put off the less likely you’ll do it. When you say I’ll start something tomorrow, you’re programming tomorrow into your brain. When tomorrow comes, your brain still has the word tomorrow in mind.
That means if something unexpected happens or if something is taking up your time, the default part of your brain will kick in and push you to start your journey tomorrow again. If you can do something today, just do it. You can do something as simple as pushups to get in the mode. Start now!
The things you can do to stay fit and healthy during the holidays.
The holidays can be a very busy time for people. With the holiday shopping and events, it can be difficult to keep your normal workout regimen. This shouldn’t be an excuse to slack off. If you’ve been working your ass off all year, you don’t want to have most of it go to waste in a month. There are simple things you can do to at least maintain your fitness during holidays if you’re unable to stick to your regular schedule.
If you have a lot going on during the holidays, your best bet to stay active is doing short workouts. One way to approach it is minimalist workouts. This means limiting the number of exercises you do in a workout. You can do as little as two exercises per workout. This will save you time and you won’t have to hop around using a bunch of equipment . My go to minimalist workout at the gym would be squats and deadlifts. Choosing this pair allows you to stay in one place throughout your workout
Sprints are another way to get in a short workout. This might be the easiest approach since it doesn’t require any equipment. All you need is an open field, a healthy body, and a fire in your belly. It’s one of the top exercises I recommend for busy people.
Don’t Drink Your Calories
This one takes discipline. With the different holiday events and meetings going on, you’ll often be tempted with lots of food. As someone who likes to pig out from time to time, I try to minimize the damage by not drinking my calories. Sticking to water will limit your overall caloric intake and help you get full faster, which will reduce how much you eat.
Stress management is crucial when trying to stay fit. The holidays can be a stressful time for a number of reasons. Too much stress can have a negative effect on your fitness and overall health. One way to keep stress in check is something I’ve already mentioned. Doing short workouts will significantly reduce the accumulation of workout related stress. This can come in handy if you have a lot going on this season. You can even replace one of your intense workouts for a yoga session.
Aside from shortened workouts, you can also do things like watching comedy, doing an artistic activity, or various breathing exercises. Keeping your stress in check will help you tremendously with maintaining the progress you’ve made.
If you have a busy holiday season there are still things you can do to stay fit and healthy. What are some ways you’re maintaining your fitness?
(Short read) Why Technique is crucial for high performance in any movement.
Technique is everything. If you want to maximize the power output of any movement, you’ll need to have excellent technique. This applies to anything from a punch to a deadlift. Technique equaling power also applies to things like dancing, and skateboarding. In those cases power is quality of movement.
Mastering technique is one of the fundamental principles of martial arts. This can be applied to any form of fitness. As I mentioned in an old post, the most effective way to master technique is through quality repetition. Olympic weightlifters understand this which is why they train their movements so frequently, sometimes multiple times a day. There’s no way they could generate the type of force they do if they didn’t spend so much time working on technique.
Another example is sprinters. One of the reasons sprinters are able to move so fast is because they spent time working on their running technique. You can be strong, fast, and genetically blessed but if you have lousy running technique you will limit your potential.
In addition to unleashing power, great technique will reduce your risk of injury. This explains why most injuries happen when a person is fatigued. If you’ve ever seen a fatigued athlete perform, you’ll see that their technique isn’t as good as when they were fresh.
If you want to maximize the power output of your movements and reduce your risk of injury make the effort to hone your technique.
Keeping Yourself Healthy When You’re Hustling on the Side
Unfortunately, many of us simply can’t get by on a single income. But, there is good news, and that is that it’s pretty easy to start a side hustle given our almost unrestricted access to the internet. Further, as individuals and businesses alike become more acclimated to outsourcing talent-specific tasks, such as graphic design and accounting, freelancing is no longer taboo. The biggest caveat here is that we often sacrifice our health for our wealth.
Don’t Put Yourself On The Backburner
Read that headline again: don’t put yourself on the back burner. No matter how much money you need, you’ll be most effective at earning it if you simply take care of yourself. This starts with prioritizing self-improvement and self-care. A few tips include:
Read often. Reading is one of the best ways to keep your mind sharp. And, even more importantly, the right book can even inspire you to do more and be more.
Get help when you need it. As a budding entrepreneur, you may find that you also have to outsource some heavy lifting in areas where you don’t have expertise. One area to consider here is when forming your LLC. Registering your business means understanding state regulations, and using a formation service such as ZenBusiness can help you establish your business legally in your state.
Get enough sleep. You need sleep just as much as you need experience on the job. According to Corporate Wellness Magazine, sleep deprivation can affect productivity. When you’re trying to start a side hustle, this means that you will make less money comparatively than if you sleep at least seven hours every night.
Exercise And Nutrition Are Essential
Eating well and getting enough physical activity are important forms of self-care that deserve a special mention. While reading, getting help, and sleeping are also paramount to success, the way you fuel and flex your body matters the most.
Make a point to eat right each day. Depending on your size and activity level, this might mean you need anywhere from about 1,500 to 2,200 calories. You also want to get enough exercise, which, again, is dependent on you.
Steer Clear of Stress
When you’re already stressed out about money, the last thing you want is to take on a side job that exacerbates your anxiety. After all, stress is terrible for your well-being. For this reason, choosing your part-time gig is something that requires lots of consideration. If you’re looking for something low stress, consider photography, massage, or marketing. Each of these may require additional training or education, but they might be worthwhile if you don’t want to wind up causing more harm to your mental health than you are adding money to your bank account.
Avoiding stress goes far beyond which type of side hustle you choose. If your home is cluttered, disorganized, and messy, it could lead to negative thoughts which will lead to tension. By removing clutter and deep cleaning your home (and keeping it clean), you’ll improve your focus.
A final piece of advice: Whether you choose to embark on a new side hustle or stick with what you know, start slowly. You don’t want to overwork yourself to the point where you are unable to effectively complete projects at your 40-hour-per-week job or your side hustle.
When money, or lack thereof, is causing you stress, and you’ve already taken measures to reduce your monthly expenses, you may have to take on a side job. But, don’t neglect yourself in the process. While you have to work to take care of your family and pay the bills, you also have an obligation to yourself to stay healthy, happy, and whole throughout the process.
How to prepare yourself if you’ve never done barbell squats.
The back squat is one of the most intimidating exercises in the gym.You put yourself in a vulnerable position where weight is on your back and you’re also fighting against gravity. It’s not like the deadlift where you can simply drop the weight if it’s too heavy or the bench press where you can find ways to maneuver through.
If you’ve never squatted with weights you might be nervous. Luckily, there are ways to get yourself mentally and physically ready to squat with weight on your back.
Before you add load to a movement make sure you can do that movement with your bodyweight. One of the prerequisites to back or front squats should be bodyweight squats. Bodyweight squats will help you develop proper movement pattern. When you skip this step, you put yourself at risk of having some compensations when you start using a barbell. These compensations usually come from muscle imbalances or previous injuries. Once you get comfortable with your bodyweight, I recommend doing some Goblet Squats with a kettlebell or dumbbell. Goblet squats will teach you how to brace when squatting as well as improve your squat depth.
Imagine a knight going into battle without his armor. That’s what it’s like doing barbell squats without developing the necessary muscles. Your armor is your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and other muscles that you use for squatting. I talk about the best squat accessory exercises in a recent post. The only one that I wouldn’t recommend for new squatters is the Goodmorning because it involves putting a barbell on your back just like the squat.
Build Power Base
It’s one thing to have the muscles need to squat and it’s another thing to be able to use them powerfully. One thing that really helped have a smooth start with my barbell squatting was having a solid power base. Having power helps you move the weight faster and easier so you won’t have to grind and struggle as much. That’s why I love doing speed work. Before I ever stepped under a barbell my speed work came in the way of plyometric jumps and sprints. These exercises will develop your fast twitch muscles, which are the ones primarily responsible for moving heavy weight.
Squatting with weight on your back can be intimidating but if you prepare your body for it you’ll be setting yourself up for success. By focusing on technique, muscle development, and power development you’ll be setting the stage for successful barbell squatting.
Fitness and exercise are an integral part of our health, but they aren’t the only ways we should look after ourselves. We need to find balance and ensure that we address every aspect of healthy self-care. From My Fitness Reflections, here are some ways you can incorporate looking after yourself in your daily routine.
Focus on Nutrition
What we eat plays a significant role in healthy living. Nutritious meals not only keep our metabolism up, but they also supply the fuel necessary to thrive. However, many of us take shortcuts when our time is limited or when we’re too tired to cook. That’s why it’s important to think ahead and plan your meals weekly to prevent a Wednesday pizza delivery or fast-food hamburger binge. Plot out a meal plan, gather all of your ingredients, and then spend a day prepping for the upcoming week so you have everything at hand and ready to go.
Meditate or Practice Mindfulness
We can feel our blood pressure rising when we experience prolonged stress, yet the effects can last muchlonger, even after our pulse settles. You might feel tired constantly, and not only from lack of sleep but from the stress itself. Your memory and your body can be affected, and you may see your weight begin to climb. All in all, stress is not a sustainable condition to endure, which is why it’s something we need to overcome. Two excellent tools for doing so are meditation and mindfulness, and while they are functionally different, they have the same goal: letting go of stress. Mindfulness is learning to be aware of your thoughts, choosing how to respond and retraining your brain to think positively, while meditation is the act of clearing out the mind to center oneself and be at peace. If one doesn’t work, then try the other.
Invest in a Wearable Gadget
Thanks to smart technology, you can stay on top of your health and fitness goals by wearing a fitness band or smartwatch. A fitness band isn’t just for exercise; it gathers all kinds of health-related data like how much sleep you get and what your heart rate is. Meanwhile, a smartwatch has the same features but also lets you send text messages and view notifications. Think about the features you’ll likely use on a regular basis, then choose a wearable device and a sturdy band that fit those needs. And of course, your phone can be a great fitness companion, too, so if you don’t want to invest in an additional device, you can always use an armband to comfortably incorporate your phone into your workouts.
Declutter to De-stress
A huge source of stress can occur in your home: clutter. Although it’s easier to accumulate unwanted items than it is to get rid of them, a cluttered space can only do harm to your health—you lose focus when there are too many distractions, it’s more difficult to find what you’re looking for, and you spend more time and energy trying to keep up with chores. Your home should be a sanctuary, and that can be achieved by keeping it tidy and organized. Need help with the tidying part? Search online for a local reputable cleaning service that charges a rate within your budget.
Find a Hobby
Another approach to combat thestress of everyday life and support well-being is by developing or engaging in a hobby. They give us something to do that isn’t work-related, provide us with occasions to look forward to, and give us an opportunity to meet other people with similar interests. Don’t think that because you tried one and didn’t enjoy it that there isn’t a hobby for you. From kayaking to geocaching and wine tasting or cheese making, you can find an activity that appeals to you and fits your lifestyle — it might just take some trial and error.
Get More Sleep
There’s no avoiding the consequences of sleepless nights, but the causes are varied. It could be due to certain foods, stress, or not maintaining a schedule — whatever the reason, self-care involves getting plenty of rest. To do so, start by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, including weekends. Unwind before bed without an alcoholic beverage, a heavy meal, or technology that can stimulate the brain. Lastly, to really improve your slumber, keep your room cool and use an eye mask or noise machine to help stay asleep longer.
Spend Time with Loved Ones
It’s not only fun to see friends and family regularly, but it’sgood for you, too. When you have a strong support network, you may laugh more, live longer, get sick less, and have a positive outlook on life. It doesn’t need to be daily, but try to set aside some time each weekend to catch up with someone who brings you joy, whether that’s a parent or your best friend from college.
Self-care is a choice we make each day. Yes, hours are frequently limited, but that doesn’t mean making time for ourselves shouldn’t be a priority. Sit down and plan if you need to, but figure out how to take care of yourself the way you deserve.
If you’ve been following this page for a while you’ll know that my favorite lift is the barbell back squat. It’s more than a leg exercise. Your whole body has to be engaged in order to stay stable throughout the movement.
It’s probably the most empowering lift known to man. What’s more empowering than to overcome gravity and a force that’s trying to keep you down? I’ve tried different training approaches to help my squat and have enjoyed the results. Just like any lift, the squat has accessory exercises that can boost your performance tremendously. I’ll share my top three squat accessory exercises that have helped me boost my squat. Since there are different forms of squat, I’ll be specific by mentioning that this applies to the high bar back squat.
The Farmer walk is one of the best exercises you can do to improve your squat performance. It engages many muscles in your body including your obliques. The obliques are one of the most underrated muscles when it comes to squatting. Strong obliques will protect your lower back. In terms of core muscles, the farmer walk also teaches you have to brace. Bracing is one of the biggest keys to moving heavy weight. The farmer walk will also strengthen your nervous system due to the stress it imposes on your spine. That stress will cause your body to adapt so you’ll be better equipped to handle the farmer walk the next time you do it.
The bulgarian split squat is probably the best leg accessory movement to the squat. It hits every muscle in the leg, including the smaller muscles. From my experience, the stronger my bulgarian split squat the stronger my back squat. I also notice that I feel my legs more with bulgarian split squats than with back squats. This might be because the legs are the only part of your body working in the split squat. With back squats, your core muscles are highly involved. If you want to maximize your leg strength, do Bulgarian split squats.
The Good Morning is one of the best squat accessory exercises in my opinion. I started doing them a few months ago and have noticed that it’s a lot easier to hit depth and get out of the whole in my squats. As someone who’s been squatting for a while, my squat has never felt more natural than it does now. I believe adding the good morning to my routine has been a major factor with that.
If you’re serious about boosting your squat, you need to have some or all of these movements in your routine. The best way to improve your squat is to squat but adding the right accessories will speed up the process. What are your favorite squat accessory exercises?
How To Maximize the health of your Central Nervous System so you can move towards your fitness goals in a faster and safer way.
If you want to tap into new levels of physical performance, you’ll need to pay attention to your nervous system. The nervous system is often the most overlooked aspect of fitness. We all have various goals but rarely do we pay attention to the health of our nervous system. To maximize your performance in any fitness activity, your nervous system will have to be functioning well. In terms of physical performance, every elite athlete has a highly efficient nervous system. In general, your nervous system is responsible for things like your digestion, quality of sleep, and ability to process information as a few examples.
If you want a strong and healthy nervous system, your spinal health will have to be a priority. Your body functions based on the information your brain sends to your spinal column. If you’re spine is out of whack, you won’t be able to function or perform at your best in any activity. One of the biggest culprits of spinal deterioration is sitting. When you sit, you’re decompressing the spine.
The solution to this is doing spinal hygeine exercises. I recently learned about them through listening to a podcast by Chiropractor Dr. Tommy John. I’ve been using these exercises for months now and have reaped the benefits. Two things I notice from doing these exercises is that my spine feels a lot better and I can think more clearly as a result. I usually do each of the spinal hygiene movements repeatedly for 3-5 minutes. You can spread them out how you want or do each of them consecutively as part of a spinal hygiene workout. Below are some of the spinal hygiene exercises I do. I also shared a video at the bottom of the page of a spinal hygiene routine.
Head Nods- move your head up and down as far as possible.
Head Shakes- Turn your head side to side the way you’d do when shaking your head. Turn your head far enough that you’re looking over your shoulder.
Cross-Crawl movements can help your nervous system tremendously. This is due to the fact that they cause both of your brain hemispheres to work together simultaneously. My favorite cross-crawl movement is the leopard crawl. However, there’s many other movements to choose from. Below are the top 3 cross-crawl movements for nervous system health.
Cross-Crawl Superman: Anything that fits in multiple categories is a must do!
Hands and Feet
If you want to maximize your nervous system health, you’ll have to address hand and foot health. There are so many nerves in your hands and feet that any disfunction in those areas of your body will have an impact on the rest of your body. Why do you think people often lift weights barefoot or use flat shoes? Or why squeezing a bar tightly boosts your lifting performance?
Dead Hang Stretch for time
Standing Straight Leg Raise- 5 minutes each leg
High Stress Exercises
The hardest way to optimize the health of your nervous system is through high stress exercises. High stress exercises force your nervous system to upgrade in order to be able to do them again. The key to doing high stress exercises is to give your nervous system time to recover from them. The other keys to a healthy nervous system will help speed up that recovery. Below are the top high stress exercises to boost your nervous system health.
Heavy Farmer Walks
Heavy compound lifts
Extreme Isometric Lunges- 5 minutes on each leg
Breathing exercises are your nervous system’s best friend. Too much stress can inhibit your nervous system’s capabilities. One way to balance out the stress you face in training and in life is through breathing exercises. Breathing exercises will activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the rest and digest function of your body.
Alternative Nostril breathing
Wim Hof Breathing
Your beliefs will dictate your actions and your outcome. If your beliefs are not in line with your goals, you’re going to have a difficult time. The key to getting your beliefs to align with your goals is to work with your subconscious mind through repetitive positive thought. This can be done in a number of ways.
Anytime you perform a complex movement, you’re developing new neuropathways in your brain. This means you’re using your brain in a way it’s never been used before and further develops it. When I talk about complex movements, I’m talking about the circus tricks you see people perform in the gym to get social media likes. I’m talking about movements that require high levels of coordination and brain usage. Below are some examples.
Using opposite limb, something as simple as brushing your teeth with your opposite hand.
Cross-Crawl movements as previously mentioned
Any movement you’ve never tried before
Building a powerful nervous system will not only help you set new weight lifting records and excel at your sport, it’ll also make you better at every area of your life. It’ll also improve your overall health tremendously, since every function of your body is a result of the nervous system.
The main exercises I’d choose for specific fitness goals.
Throughout my fitness journey, my goals have shifted. As I focused on different goals, I was introduced to some amazing exercises. Each of these exercises were tailor made for the specific goals. I even learned the benefits of some exercises by accident. Below are the top exercises I’d choose for specific fitness goals.
If you want to maximize the strength you gain, then you need to deadlift. If you’re physically able and aren’t dealing with any health restrictions, I highly reccomend adding deadlifts to your program.The two reasons it’s so great for strength development are it engages so many muscles and it’s an exercise you can really load.
In my experience, the exercise that has helped me the most at gaining size or hypertrophy is the farmer walk. One of the biggest keys to gaining size is maximizing time under tension with maximal load. When you’re carrying a decent amount of weight for a certain distance, you’ll definitely put your body in a place to gain size. The great thing about the farmer walk is that your size gains will occur throughout your body. The Farmer walk engages so many muscles in your body like your traps, lats, obliques, and legs.
Fat Loss and Athleticism
Any exercise that can maximize fat loss and overall atleticism must be very valuable. If you’ve been following this page, you’d probably guess that the exercise I’m talking about is sprints. Sprints are great for athleticism because they help you develop speed through the activation on your fast-twitch muscles.
In terms of fat loss, I chose sprints over kettlebell swings because the amount of work you can output with the kettlebell swing can be limited by grip strength. There’s a higher injury risk with sprints but you can do different variations like sprinting up a hill.
Sprinting is tremendous for fat loss because it activates so many muscles while you’re moving at a high velocity. Your body will adapt in a way to make you more efficient at the movement you’re doing.. In regards to sprints, it’ll get rid of excess fat so you can move faster. The added benefit is that it’ll try to keep muscle because the muscle is what applies the necessary force to move fast. Another reason sprints are great for fat loss is due to the increase in heart rate that it causes. This heart rate increase leads to a higher metabolic rate during and after the workout. It’ll take your body a lot of energy/calories to get back to it’s resting heart rate.
Nervous system efficiency
This is an interesting one because when you ask most people about their fitness goals, strengthening their nervous system is rarely if ever the answer you’ll get back. It’s a shame because the nervous system is the key to every activity you do, whether it’s fitness related or not. One of the biggest parts of my current fitness routine is nervous system training. By doing this, I’ve noticed my workout performances keep improving despite the fact that I’m not focusing too hard on any particular exercise.
The exercise that I’ve felt has helped me the most with my nervous system efficiency is the Leopard Crawl. The leopard crawl is a simple looking move but it’s effects on the brain and body are phenomenal. The reason it’s so great for nervous system health is because of the contralateral nature of the movement. Any time you do a contralateral movement, you’re using both the left and right brain hemispheres simultaneously.
This category could get an asterisk because I’ve recently started doing more cross crawl supermans. I definitely feel mentally rejuvenated when I do them but it’s too soon to say if I’d put them ahead of leopard crawls.
These are the top exercises I’d choose for their respective goals. If you’d replace anyone of these with something else, please share in the comment section!