Keeping Yourself Healthy When You’re Hustling on the Side

How to stay healthy while doing a side hustle.

Guest post from Ed Carter of ablefutures.org.

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.

Image via Pexels

Foundation For Successful Barbell Squatting

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.

Technique

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.

Muscle Development

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.

Photo by Li Sun from Pexels

How Fitness Is Only One Part of Overall Self-Care

Working out is only part of the equation of taking care of yourself.

Guest post by Ed Carter of Ablefutures.org .

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 much longer, 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 the stress 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’s good 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.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Nose Breathing Exercises For Better Workouts and Recovery

(Short read) Yogic breathing exercises to help you get better results

What if I told you there’s something you can use to give you energy before a workout and calm you down after? This tool doesn’t cost a dime. It also won’t put a bunch of caffeine and strange chemicals in your body. This may sound crazy but the tool I’m talking about is your nose. I’ve previously talked about the importance of nose breathing for stress management. I’ve recently starting using some Yogic nose breathing exercises to help me prepare for my workouts and recover after. The exercises are so simple, I’ll share them below.

Pre-Workout

Save your money and ditch the pre-workout supplements. You’re your own source of energy. All you need to do is breathe in and out of your right nose. Doing this puts you in a more alert state of mind. In yogic traditions, the right nostril is related to the masculine energy, the type of energy that makes you want to take action. This is the place you need to be when getting ready to crush some weights or do any intense workout. I do 3 rounds of 6 breaths before my lifting sessions and I always feel energized as a result. This is very useful if you didn’t sleep well the night before.

Post-Workout

For post workout recovery you’ll do the breathing exercise through your left nose. In yogic traditions, the left nostril is related to feminine energy. This is the type of energy you should tap into post-workout to help you cool down. I speak from experience when I say this works. Just like with the right nostril, I usually do 3 rounds of 6 breaths but you can do more or less as you see necessary.

Nervous System Health

Everything you do is possible because of the nervous system. If you want to be more efficient in any activity you do, you’ll need to strengthen your nervous system. This next breathing exercise does that by getting the two hemispheres of your brain working together. It’s called alternative nostril breathing.

The way to do this breathing exercise is to breathe in through one nose and out the other and vice versa. Do three rounds of six and you’ll feel your head feel a lot more clear. In terms of timing, I like to do this at night or after a yoga session.

There you have it. You can tap into different levels of energy as you see necessary just by using your nose. These are useful for fitness purposes but can be used in other areas of your life. If you’ve been on your fitness journey long enough, you’ll know that fitness is an analogy to life.

Right and Left Nostril Breathing- http://total-yoga.org/right-vs-left-nostril-breathing/

Alternative Nostril Breathing Benefits- https://chopra.com/articles/nadi-shodhana-how-to-practice-alternate-nostril-breathing

Photo by Kelvin Valerio from Pexels

Why You Should Train Your Posterior Chain

(Short read) The importance of building your posterior chain

The posterior chain (back side) is arguably the most important part of your body is often the most neglected. If you’re not training your posterior chain then you’re missing out on some serious gains. Last week, I tried good mornings for the first time in my life and it was a wake up call for me. I only did 85 pounds using a barbell but after that first set my hamstrings were on fire!

Benefits of Building Your Posterior Chain

Athletic Performance: If you want to be a successful athlete, you’ll need strong posterior chain muscles. To jump or sprint, your glutes and hamstrings are doing a lot of work. To throw a ball or a punch with power, your hips and glutes will be highly engaged.

Weight Room Performance: Your glutes and hamstrings play an integral part in various weight room exercises. The most obvious one is the deadlift. If you don’t feel your glutes and hamstrings while deadlifting a decent amount of weight then something is wrong. In my experience, when my glutes and hamstrings were strong, deadlifts felt easier. The posterior chain is also important for the squat, especially the low bar back squat.

Injury Prevention: Strong glutes and hamstrings will reduce your risk of injury in a number of ways. One way is that the stronger your glutes are, the less work your lower back has to do when lifting an object/weight. Your hamstrings are one of the biggest stabilizer muscles for your ACL. A lot of times people who suffer torn ACLs, have a weakness or deficiency in their hamstrings.

Look Better: Who doesn’t like a nice pair of glutes? If you want to maximize your aesthetic gains, you need to train your posterior chain especially the glutes. In addition to looking nice, I find having strong glutes helps me stay upright and maintain good posture. A strong posture is also visually appealing.

Best Posterior Chain Exercises

Below are the best Posterior chain building exercises that I’ve used. If you want strong glutes and hamstrings, do these exercises.

  • Sprints/Hill Sprints
  • Barbell Hip Thrust
  • Kettlebell Swing
  • Bulgarian Split Squat
  • Extreme Isometric Lunge
  • GoodMorning

In the comments below, tell me your favorite posterior chain exercises!

My Favorite sprint workouts- Sprints, Sprints, and more Sprints

More about the benefits of kettlebell swings- Get an Awesome Body With Kettlebell Swings

Why you should start doing the Bulgarian split squat-Squat Replacement

Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU from Pexels

How To Gain Confidence in any Lift

How to gain confidence in any gym exercise.

One of the biggest keys to performing well in the weight room is confidence. When you’re confident you’re less likely to be affected by limiting beliefs.When it comes to gaining confidence when performing a lift, the best solution is to do that lift more frequently. If you don’t want to do the lift multiple times per week, you can try a high set, low rep workout. This is the closest thing to training frequently.

The key to making the high set, low rep approach work is by choosing a weight you’re comfortable doing. I’ve had good experience with this approach when using it for speed squats. You can use a normal tempo when doing this. The concept is simple. The more you do something, the more confident you are in doing it. The more confident you are in doing it, the more competent you’ll be. This is why many have gotten good results using Pavel Tsatsouline’s grease the groove technique.

I wanted to work these principles in a recent squat workout I had. I have decent competency with the squat but I wanted to take it to another level. Below is a simple squat workout I did which follows the high rep, low set training approach. The reps were at a regular tempo.

Squat Workout

  • Back Squat: 20 sets of 2 at 225 pounds. 1 minute of rest in between sets.

I chose 225 pounds because that’s a weight I can do easily. In context, my squat max is currently 385 pounds, beltless. You can adjust the weight to fit your strength levels.

  • Suitcase Carry: 4 sets of 30 second carries. 2 sets for each arm. Rest 1 minute in between each carry

I added the suitcase carry because it’s a great exercise to build core strength. It also teaches you how to brace your abs, which is crucial when squatting.

  • Extreme Supported Squat: In order to do this find something to hold onto. Once you do, you’ll sit yourself in a bodyweight squat slightly below parallel. Set a timer for 5 minutes and hold yourself up as much as possible. During the 5 minutes you will slowly lower yourself in the squat. You can drop once time runs out.

I learned about this through Sports Chiropractor Dr. Tommy John. The benefit of this is that it builds strength endurance, which will lower your risk of injuries. I notice that my knees feel great every time I finish the slow eccentric squats.

*Warning: The extreme supported squats feel miserable while doing them.

Closing Thoughts

The workout above is something I did for my squats but you can apply the same principle to any lift. Beyond lifting, you can apply it to any movement or life skill you want to gain confidence in.

Video link to Extreme Supported Squat demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67hA3uLnYIM

Photo by Leon Ardho from Pexels

Fitness Quote of The Week- Patience

The importance of patience in your fitness journey.

“ All great achievements require time” – Maya Angelou

This quote applies to fitness results and anything meaningful that you want to achieve. We live in the age of instant gratification. If we don’t achieve fast results we give up. Having this approach to your goals will lead to mediocre results. If it’s something is so easy to get, then what’s the point?

Everyone you see that’s doing incredible things in fitness took time to get to that point. The people you see with incredible physiques took months or years of hard training and discipline diets to get where they are. Some of the people who that you see lifting large weights struggled to get to that point. Some of them dealt with all kinds of adversity to get there.

If it’s so easy to get then where is the excitement ? Where’s the satisfaction that you get knowing you put in the work to get it ? That you truly earned it. Sometimes you’ll have the fortune to get to your goals quickly. Other times, it’ll take time and dedication. It took me years to get where I’m at in my fitness journey. It’ll also take me years to achieve some of my current goals.

Remember that every step of the journey is an experience itself. In each step you have the opportunity to learn and grow. The things you learn in your journey will be what you use to accomplish the goals you’re currently pursuing.

Fitness Quote of the week- Quality over Quantity

(Short post) quote on choosing quality over quantity

“ Don’t count the days, make the days count “- Muhammad Ali.

This quote can be applied to your workouts. Focus on the quality of your workouts rather than the quantity. You’ll get further with a few a high quality workouts each week than several sloppy workouts.

When you focus on quality over quantity, you’re present to your workout. When you’re in your workout, you have the opportunity to learn something new. You’ll also enjoy it more because you’re feeling the whole experience.

By focusing on the quality of your workouts, you’re less likely to get injured. You’ll respect your workout recovery so you have quality workouts.

Having this approach will also bring a shift in mindset that will help you in the long run. When you’re focused on the current workout, you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll achieve your fitness goals. You won’t be thinking about what could go wrong in the future. By not focusing on those thoughts, you’ll be more resilient and confident in what you can do. Our minds are our biggest obstacle if we let it.

Fitness Quote of The Week- Consistency

(Short read) the importance of consistency

“ I train to be the best in the world on my worst day “- Ronda Rousey

This quote from a former UFC champion is about consistency. You may not be training to be a world class athlete but you’re probably training to reach a fitness goal. If it’s a worthwhile goal, it’ll be one that challenges you.

On your mission to achieve the goal, you’ll have some days that you don’t feel like training. You’ll feel tired, stressed, or something else. Unless you’re sick or severely exhausted, you should do something. Something as little as mobility work or extra stretching will help in the long run. One of my personal workout principles is to always show up.

When you show up, you may not be going 100 miles per hour but you’ll be doing something. Even if you lower the intensity of an exercise significantly, you’ll still be working on those same movement patterns. This can make you more efficient the next time you do the exercise.

If you’re trying to lose fat and you normally run 2 miles a day, running half a mile will help you more than sitting on the couch and doing nothing. Personally, I prefer sprints over jogging.

Just show up. That small amount of progress gets you closer to your goal than the day before. The added benefit of always showing up is it always gives you an opportunity to learn.

Quote of The Week- Importance of Challenges

The importance of challenging yourself in fitness.

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”- Fred Devito

This is straight to the point. If you want to achieve any meaningful fitness transformations, you’ll have to challenge yourself. You’ll have to do workouts that scare you a little and make you uncomfortable.

Many fitness gurus will try to sell you on a miracle diet or workout to get quick results. This isn’t reality. Anyone you see with a great body or lifting big weights had to put in the work to get there.

Doing heavy compound lifts is challenging. Saying no to delicious junk food is challenging. Sprinting up hills is challenging. These are the types of things that will transform your body.

Fitness is as much mental, as it is physical. Your body won’t be the only thing that transforms when you challenge yourself physically. Your mind will too and you’ll develop that fitness mindset.

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