What I’m Loving, Doing, Using, & Reading

Poem

“Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

TED Talk

10 Minute Meditation

I’ve started to meditate and instead of starting bigger with 20 minutes, I’ve done a more manageable time – 10 minutes. Engraining the habit is the most important thing and I can add time later.

I have a weightlifting meet in 5 weeks and look forward to competing again. My focus will be on training for that while continuing writing. I hope the winter time is a season you enjoy. Take care.

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What I’m Loving, Doing, Using & Reading

“Getting your brain wired into little goals and achieving them, that helps you achieve bigger things you shouldn’t be able to do. It’s not just practicing the specific thing. It’s always making things more difficult than they should be, and never falling short, so that you have extra reserve, that tank, so you know you can always go further than your goal. For me that’s what discipline is. It’s repetition and practice.”

David Blaine

Most Popular Blog Post 

Act As If

What I’m currently reading

Willpower: Rediscovering The Greatest Human Strength

This book is a gem. Highly recommended for both personal development and coaching/leadership development.

What book I’m currently digesting

The Little Book of Talent

As a coach, mentor, teacher, and someone who strives for kaizen (continuous improvement) I enjoyed this book. It’s a quick read and has actionable steps to take. It’s not about reading lots and lots of books for me, it’s about being able to use the books in my quest.

Current rituals

Noticing my mornings slipping in terms of time management, I’ve become more consistent with meditation. I’ve started with a guided meditation for 10 minutes and it has been a blessing.

For my current rituals that I do every day:

-write daily on blog

-meditate for 10 minutes

-100 reverse hypers, 100 back raises, 100 face pulls, 100 pull aparts

For my current rituals that I do weekly:

-read 1 book per week (currently ahead of schedule with 6 in 5 and a half weeks)

Fascination with willpower, habits, and self-control

The past few books I’ve read by Richard Wiseman (59 Seconds, The As If Principle) and the book I am on currently (Willpower) have sparked a fascination. Being driven by personal development these topics are giving me new insights, thoughts, and actionable steps to become a better me. A better me leads to better coaching – leading to better athletes. Reading is the gift that keeps on giving.

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What I’m Loving, Doing, Using, & Reading

21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell

Click HERE for a notes version.

The attitude of the leader affects the atmosphere of the office. If you desire to add value by serving others, you will become a better leader. And your people will achieve more, develop more loyalty, and have a better time getting things done than you ever thought possible. That’s the power of the Law of Addition.

Lean Priming

Reading Mladen Jovanovic’s My “productivity” system (in an attempt) I came across the PDF on lean priming. It is a system used by Toyota and has helped them generate profits when others are losing.

A long read and I’m not through quiet yet but a lot of gold in there.

The essence of Kaizen is simple and straightforward: Kaizen means improvement. Moreover, Kaizen means ongoing improvement involving everyone, including both managers and workers. The kaizen philosophy assumes that our way of life—be it our working life, our social life, or our home life—deserves to be constantly improved. 

The As If Principle by Richard Wiseman

Still working through the book but I am enjoying it so far. Finished Wiseman’s book 59 Seconds last week and I’m liking this a little bit more.

Having been in and out of depression in the past, this had meaning in my life.

When bad things happen to depressed people, they tend to come up with explanations in which they take the blame, causing them to expect to fail again in the future and casting a dark cloud over every aspect of their lives. In contrast, those who are not depressed are far more likely to avoid personal shortcomings, expect the future to be bright and prevent the failure from influencing other areas of life.

Pablo by Buffer

Pablo helps you create images with quotes inside to make it beautiful for social media sharing. It’s FREE too! I like the ease of use. Takes 5 seconds to learn. Here’s are two examples. The one on the left is an automatically generated image/quote while the one on the right is my picture/quote.

pablo (3) pablo (1)

Quote

“Honestly, seriously, you don’t know what to do about food? Here is an idea: Eat like an adult. Stop eating fast food, stop eating kid’s cereal, knock it off with all the sweets and comfort foods whenever your favorite show is not on when you want it on, ease up on the snacking and—don’t act like you don’t know this—eat vegetables and fruits more. Really, how difficult is this? Stop with the whining. Stop with the excuses. Act like an adult and stop eating like a television commercial. Grow up.”

Dan John

What I’m Loving, Doing, Using & Reading

Brandon Carter Motivational Videos

Motivational videos are the start to my days. I wake up at 4am, drink water, read, start the coffee and then it’s time for motivational videos. While I’m getting inspired for the day, motivational videos fire me up. This is my time to get important tasks done for the day. Brandon Carter goes DEEP without reserve. He speaks with power. He is no holds barred and swears. It’s real and it gets me excited to kick the day’s ass.

Handstand Push Ups

For the past week, I practiced with an athlete (he was the sensei) 2x a week on walking into a handstand against a wall. My fears of falling limited my success. I wasn’t able to walk into the handstand myself and as a result needed help from him to push my legs up. Yesterday was the 4th “training” session. After getting better at by just doing it, I still kept missing. He started to give round about ways to achieve it with alternative techniques. I stopped him mid-sentence and told him “or I could just do it.”

Conquering fears is not about creating 17 bridges AROUND the obstacle. It’s about running through it without fear of the result. The next rep i CONQUERED my fear and walked into the handstand flawlessly. Then I kept practicing. I held one for a minute and other times knocked out 5 push-ups.

I always say “Do the thing you’re afraid to do” but haven’t been following that myself. Yesterday I did. The next challenge is to do handstand walks!

59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute

Richard Wiseman “expressed considerable skepticism about the self-help industry and Sophie politely interrupted me and essentially posed the question: are there any scientifically supported techniques that could help improve people’s lives in less than a minute?”

Here is a short list to what is backed by research rather than “self-help guru’s” snake oil techniques.

-Develop the gratitude attitude to improve happiness, optimism, and physical health

-Be a giver for a fast boost in happiness

-Praise effort over ability to promote overcoming challenges rather than fearful of failure

-Buy a potted plan for the office for a 15% increase in creative ideas

Self-help books are mental masturbation. It feels good. This book gives practical solutions that work fast.

Tier System

As I become more organized, the tier system for team sports is becoming more and more appealing. Joe Kenn, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Carolina Panthers developed the tier system as a total athletic development model. His expertise is renowned in the strength and conditioning industry, with good reason.

Having recently purchased The Coach’s Strength Training Playbook and reading half of it, it is showing me deficiencies in my own design of programs. I’ve dabbled in learning about the system but haven’t invested my energy fully. I’m beginning to do that now and It has led me to re-evaluate how I go about the process. It’s also giving me thoughts on how to maximize efficiency in the weight room as far as exercises go. Instead of having 3 posterior chain exercises, I’m leaning towards higher volume with 1 exercise. Anyways, it’s Joe Kenn’s book is one I highly recommend to help young strength coaches navigate through program design.

Quote:

Just because a thing can be noticed, or compared, or fretted over doesn’t mean it’s important, or even relevant.

Better, I think, to decide what’s important, what needs to change, what’s worth accomplishing. And then ignore all comparisons that don’t relate. The most important comparison, in fact, is comparing your work to what you’re capable of.

Sure, compare. But compare the things that matter to the journey you’re on. The rest is noise.”

Seth Godin

What I’m Loving, Doing, Using & Reading is inspired by Tim Ferriss’ 5 Bullet Friday. Check it out here.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

What I’m Loving, Doing, Using & Reading

Unilateral (1 arm) Continuous Carries

From Athlete’s Acceleration on Modern Core Training

Dr. McGill describes, “consider exercises such as the squat. Interestingly, when we measure world-class strongmen carrying weight or National Football League players running planting the foot and cutting—- neither of these are exclusively trained by the squat. This is because these exercises do not train the quadratus lumborum and abdominal obliques, which are so necessary for these tasks.

In contrast, spending less time under a bar squatting and redirecting some of this activity with asymmetric carries such as the farmers’ walk (or bottoms- up kettlebell carry—see Figure 12) builds the athleticism needed for higher performance in these activities in a much more ‘‘spine friendly’’ way.”

While I’m not advocating eliminating squats, unilateral carries are a great addition to trunk training. Adding in continuous carries lengthens the set to create more time under tension (TUT). Give it a shot. For more information check on Dan John, Tony Gentilcore, and/or YouTube.

Amazon Music – Prime Stations

As a strength & conditioning coach, music is on all day. Pandora is the typical go to for streaming music. I’ve enjoyed the change of pace with Amazon Prime Stations. Check it out!

Quote

When you’re not pursuing your goal you are literally committing spiritual suicide.

When the messenger misery visits you – what are you going to do? what’s going to keep you in the game?

Unless you attempt something outside your comfort zone you will never grow.

Les Brown

Kettlebell “Smashing”

Article

21 Tips for Up-and-Coming Fitness Professionals

Eric Cressey is what I consider an “online mentor.” He puts out content weekly and is a source of knowledge in strength & conditioning. In an unrelated article, (not able to find the url for it or who wrote it) this quote is spot on for coaching.

There are three key things that coaches can do to build competence. First, ask yourself if you’re providing them with the right amount of challenge. If it’s too easy, they won’t feel progress. And if it’s too hard, they may lose focus. The idea is to build a program that allows for daily wins. Second, provide positive feedback instead of negative feedback. For example, instead of saying “you didn’t get enough hip extension on that rep,” say “on the next rep, I want you to focus on driving the ground away.” The idea is to build them up and add to their competence. Last, cue the process, not the person. It’s easy to say “good job” or give a high-five, but what builds confidence is reinforcing the accomplishment. For example, say things like “great job snapping the kettlebell” or “outstanding job getting under the bar.” The more they believe in themselves, the more they’ll get from the training process.

There you have it. Another edition of what I’m loving, doing, using, & reading. Hope you liked it and enjoy your weekend!

What I’m Loving, Doing, Using, & Reading

Body Tempering by Donnie Thompson

I haven’t yet played around with a steel roller but I have been using a 70lb kettlebell. Not the same thing but it has done wonders for my tissues. Heavy lifting will break your body down and body tempering will help diffuse the tissues. Go to Thompson’s website to learn more.

The New Injury Rehabilitation Paradigm:
RICE Is Not NICE, Do METH Instead!

Instead of doing the RICE method: Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation do the METH method: Movement-Elevation-Traction-Heat

No rest and no compression, use movement with traction instead. According to Dr. Tim McKnight (2010), rest will lead to atrophy and weakness and may disrupt balance and proper body positioning. Furthermore, compression can shut down blood flow to the area; whereas, traction will release the pressure and movement will encourage blood that is rich with healing factors, such as oxygen and white and red blood cells, to flow to the area. In addition, movement with traction reduces pain, enhances lymphatic removal of inflammation, improves flexibility, and restores normal joint alignment.

Absolutely no ice, use heat instead. Again, the key is blood flow. If you want something to heal, it requires blood! Don’t slow the process down with ice. You may, however, use varying degrees of elevation throughout the process. I learned this procedure from Dick Hartzell, co-author of the bookDon’t Ice that Ankle Sprain. Keep in mind that this applies to low-grade sprains only. (The Elite Trainer)

Icing Muscles Information | Feat. Kelly Starrett | MobilityWOD

This video goes into more depth on the why’s behind not icing. Great stuff here as always from K-Star. An oldie but a goodie.

Batching

Since reading Coach Ron McKeefrey’s book CEO Strength Coach I have begun batching my work. By luck I have done this in the past but it is a conscious decision to batch now. Since implementing this, I have noticed my productivity rise and anxiety decrease in relation to getting things done. My athletes haven’t responded well to workout cards in the past. So I will write down the workout on a card (copying it from my excel spreadsheets) and give them to the leaders of the group. In-season teams come in on their own time so they can pick the card up and go. Off-season teams are led by me so I take the card to refer to it. Some things need to be printed but this is a good way of saving paper and ingraining the day’s training for all teams because I have already written it down.

Podcast

The Barbell Life – Episode 66 with Dan John

Dan John is a gift to listen to and there are many gems in this podcast. Must listen.

Quote

“IF, LIKE THOSE WITH THE GROWTH MINDSET, YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN DEVELOP YOURSELF, THEN YOU’RE OPEN TO ACCURATE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR CURRENT ABILITIES, EVEN IT IT’S UNFLATTERING. WHAT’S MORE, IF YOU’RE ORIENTED TOWARD LEARNING, AS THEY ARE, YOU NEED ACCURATE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR CURRENT ABILITIES IN ORDER TO LEARN EFFECTIVELY”

Carol S. Dweck

That’s it. Another installment of what I’ve been learning and doing this week. Did you like this? Would you like to receive these in weekly emails? Comment below and have a great weekend!

Mastery of Fear

Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai p. 113

It is said that every time, the late Oki Hyobu’s group gathered and after all their affairs were finished he would say,

 “Young men should discipline themselves rigorously in intention and courage. This will be accomplished if only courage is fixed in one’s heart. If one’s sword is broken, he will strike with his hands. If his hand are cut off, he will press the enemy down with his shoulders. If his shoulders are cut away, he will bite through ten or fifteen enemy necks with his teeth. Courage is such a thing.”
 

Intention and Courage 

You need to hold in your heart your intention, your purpose, your mission in life. If you do not have a goal to reach in the short and long term as part of a bigger purpose, you will never achieve greatness. Just like you intend to go to the grocery store you NEED to intend on greatness.

Set your mind on your purpose and go headlong into it with courage. Nothing of value will be achieved without getting uncomfortable. Outside one’s comfort zone lies greatness, mastery, and mastery of fear. Courage is such a thing. The more you overcome fear and come closer to mastery the bigger your courage muscle gets. The bigger your courage muscle the more freedom you have of your own life.

Do the thing and you will have the power. 

This is what Emerson was talking about. Do what makes you scared. Do it over and over. And then pick something else. Because the obstacle to overcome will allow you to become free if you choose to take action.

Courage is such a thing

Setting out on your Hero’s journey will require you to get outside your comfort zone. More than you ever have in your whole life. So why not start now? Start doing things outside your comfort zone daily.

Little and often over the long haul

Little courageous acts daily build up the muscle. Just like physical exercise in training, these courageous acts continue to allow us to grow. The powerful feeling you receive as a rite of passage is amazing. Passing through this life existing rather than living is the greatest mistake. LIVE. Make mistakes, grow, learn, and make a new mistake.

FAIL

Failure is one the best teachers you will ever encounter. I’ve failed so many times I would bore you. But all those failures add up to one moment of achievement and overwhelming emotions take over. It’s truly amazing to work so hard for something and finally achieve it, with only you knowing all the times you failed. On the outside, it looks like that person is successful and gets it right every time. On the inside, the person knows how many failures it took to get to that point.

Perspective

Every time you flex your courage muscle and overcome fear you come one step closer to mastery of fear. Fear will never leave but its hold on you will be less and less as you overcome it. And when you face a difficult challenge—the biggest obstacle you’ve ever encountered, look back on your experience and know you’ve done this countless times.

AND CRUSH IT!

What I’m Loving, Doing, Using, & Reading

Week of September 13th – September 18th

Book:

CEO Strength Coach by Ron McKeefrey

Halfway through Coach McKeefrey’s book I am happy I purchased it. Coach McKeefrey’s content, podcast (Iron Game Talk Chalk), and wisdom has been a wealth of information for me. I have become better through his Strength Coach Basic Training Course and knew that this book would be a must read. Countless coaches have recommended it as well. Get your hands on it!

Habit:

After 6-8 weeks of Max Shank’s push-up and squat 8 minute ritual, I’ve decided to move in a different direction.

After a “hangover” of sorts after National Guard Drill and the PT Test, I realized the ritual I performed in the morning (push ups and squats) needed to be replaced. The progression is to go back to reading right away in the morning. Last spring I read 15 books in 6 weeks. With an hour each morning this ritual of reading will help expand my foundation in different disciplines.

The physical ritual in the weight room is the following:

100 face pulls – 100 pull aparts – 100 back raises – 50 reverse hypers 

Band Face Pull

Band Pull Apart

Back Raise

Reverse Hyper

This training ritual will allow me to grow the strength in my back – remember:

“Don’t ask for a light load, but rather ask for a strong back.”- Unknown

Weight Room Tool:

ROGUE Reverse Hyper

Same video as above showing Mark Bell from Supertraining.tv on behalf of ROGUE Fitness explaining the how to’s and why’s.

YouTube Video:

“George Leeman takes Mark Bell and Silent Mike through his deadlift setup and throws out a bunch of useful tips that you can use in your own deadlift to make it STronger.

Quote:

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek”

Joseph Campbell

One of my favorite parts of the week is this Friday “What I’m Loving, Doing, Using, & Reading” because it’s another extrinsic motivator to move me towards learning and doing more. Being intrinsically motivated, it helps to have some extrinsic motivation to push myself further.

I hope you get something out of these. Leave a comment if you do! Have a great weekend!

What I’m Loving, Doing, Using, & Reading

Week of September 6th – September 13th

Supplement:

Beta Alanine

Via Examine.com – The unbiased authority on supplement and nutrition analysis

“Beta-alanine has been shown to enhance muscular endurance. Many people report being able to perform one or two additional reps in the gym when training in sets of 8-15 repetitions. Beta-alanine supplementation can also improve moderate- to high-intensity cardiovascular exercise performance, like rowing or sprinting.”

I am beginning a 20 rep squat program, made famous by the book “Super Squats

Any extra edge will be utilized in my quest to complete the 4 week block dedicated to 20 rep squats. Having just completed a 8 week block of 2x week 5×10 squats (used same weight each week and went up 5kg each week), I set my body up for this 4 week block better than I ever have. Last year I completed 169.5kg (372lbs) for 19 reps – I missed the last rep!

If the plan goes accordingly, I will be at 180kg (396lbs) in the final training session. Here’s to a little help from Beta Alanine!

Max Shank’s Push-up Ritual

For the past 6-7 weeks I have done the morning ritual of push-ups. I made a few adjustments to Shank’s protocol based on what I wanted to work on. This simple ritual right away in the morning before leaving to coach at 540 AM dramatically improved my push ups.

I started out being able to knock out 40-50 push before starting to really struggle. We took a diagnostic PT test for the National Guard and I got 70 push-ups – but it was a struggle. 75 is a 100% in my age group.

After doing the 6-7 weeks of the push-up ritual, I did 60 consecutive push-ups (with plenty in the tank). I got to 75 with 30 seconds to spare. If simply going just for the highest number possible in the push-up event I would have been able to get to 100. That is for a 240lb person. This push-up ritual/routine works if you do!

My protocol was the following: 3 minutes total

10 explosive

10 1-arm  (right side)

10 1-arm (left side)

1-2 short of failure regular – Usually got to 40, got 50 a few times in fatigued state

As many until 3 minutes was up HINDU push-ups

One day I decided to max my push-ups (max to me is 1 short of failure without taking a break) after this and I got 60, which was a PR! If you want to improve push-ups for a PT test or for any other reason – DO THIS!

Book:

59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute by Richard Wiseman

This book has a lot of gems. It deconstructs commonly held beliefs and statements in the self-help world with scientific studies to discredit what doesn’t work and reinforce what does.

Product:

Complete Program Design 

I haven’t dipped in yet but will be starting this week. More to come as I dive into it.

Quote:

I’m willing to bet, that in this country, the worst that can happen as a result of your performance in a sporting competition is that you lose.  And usually you lose in a competition that billions of people across the world will never even know about.  I’ve realized that no matter what level I play at my competition is really only a drop in the bucket of eternity. It doesn’t mean it’s not significant; it just doesn’t carry the significance I like to think it does.

Jamie Gilbert

What I’m Loving, Doing, Using & Reading

Week of August 31st – September 4th

Supplement: 

Turmeric (with black pepper)

For information on the benefits of Turmeric check out Authority Nutrition.

Why do I use it? The biggest reason is to fight inflammation from life’s stressors

Book: 

59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute by Richard Wiseman

“Wiseman outlines the research supporting this new science of rapid change, and describes how these quick and quirky techniques can be incorporated into everyday life.” (Goodreads)

Immediate changes to your life and habits. Not another self-help book. It uses the research and science to dispel myths and give you actionable steps towards change.

TED Talk/Podcast:

Brené Brown TED Talk on Vulnerability

Tim Ferris Podcast with Brené Brown

From Tim Ferris at the 4 hour work week,

Dr. Brené Brown (@BreneBrown) is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Brené’s 2010 TEDx Houston talk, The Power of Vulnerability, has been viewed more than 20 million times and is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world.”

Brené Brown from her book Daring Greatly

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

Shoes:

New Balance Minimus

Eric Cressey over at Cressey Performance first introduced me to these through one of his articles and through watching his videos. They are GREAT training shoes for squatting, deadlifting, and overall movement. I’ve squatted 460lbs using these shoes. #humblebrag

10488399_10204223115079377_9120950888601938790_n

They are also very flat (duh) so you’re not dealing with a lot of arch support. Plus, they are American Made (murica’).

I look for deals on Amazon. Since I wear a size 15 they seem to be on sale a lot. Bought 2 pairs last year for $100 total.

Music:

James Radcliffe (click the link for a sample listen)

Very smooth, easy listening music for relaxation, meditation, and walking. Try a Max Shank inspired 5 minute flow with this music.

Did you like this week’s installment? Comment on what you liked and try one of them out!

This is inspired by Tim Ferriss’ 5 bullet Friday.