April 23, 2017
#Justthetip Top 10 life (Including fitness, nutrition, mental health) Articles for 4/23
1) Leading off this week with something a little different. Love him (I do) or hate him (so sorry), Coach Bill Belichick may go down as the best coach in football and one of the greatest leaders ever. This interview shows how he created this mindset and maybe another side of the hoodie that you didn’t know.
2) Can one of the most common, yet debilitating, mental conditions today be cured with your diet? Precision Nutrition gives you some insight.
3) Tony Gentilcore’s wish for female fitness is to stop thinking “less”
4) Make the morning your’s and have a better day because of it.
5) I can’t think of anyone that hasn’t, at some point, had to deal with lower back pain. The good doctor helps us strengthen the lower back to reduce pain.
6) This just in!! Kettlebells kick ass!!!
7) Everyone falls into the trap of occasionally overeating, like a lot overeating. Find out why this happens and gain some valuable tips on how to control these urges.
8) Who doesn’t like strong legs and tight glutes??? Master the lunge and its variations to get the wheels you are looking for with Nick Tumminelo
9) Back injuries are the most common physical problem I see on a daily basis. Here is a great article on how to deal with your specific issue.
10) Interested in learning more about high fat diets and if they really work? Check out this excellent, detailed read. Graphs are included, you’ve been warned.
April 9, 2017
I’ve had a busy, but wonderful, week with family visiting but wanted to make sure there was some great reading for everyone. This week’s topics include everything from bodyweight workouts and low carb diets, to deeper conversations about children’s health and depression. So before you settle in for Masters Sunday (if that’s your thing) or just a Sunday with the family, dig into some good knowledge.
- Can you help yourself out of a dark depression with your food choices? Precision Nutrition discusses this question.
- Many women still have apprehension and fears about strength training, Meg Julian via Tony Gentilcore talks about overcoming some of these hurdles.
- I’ll be honest, I cringe when people tell me they want to tone an area or body part, so I was thrilled when I read this article from Dr John Rusin about what toned really means and how to get the effect you are looking for.
- Short on equipment? Tanner Baze has you covered with a solid bodyweight workout.
- Had to double up on Dr John Rusin this week, as the good doctor shares why low carb diets aren’t sustainable over the long term.
- Ben Johnson wants you to listen to your body. And be like R.Kelly ….but not like that.
- Dani Shugart doesn’t want you to listen to her, myself or any coach. Listen to yourself and your own body. Be your own boss.
- From the CBC News, those Canadians have an idea I’d love to see implemented in U.S. School systems.
- Travel a bunch? Worried about maintaining fat loss? Bryan Krahn has you covered on the road.
- Chris Tutela shares a concept I wish many more high school coaches would adopt. Let’s build our athletes with the basics before going into “sports-specific” movements.
April 2, 2017
- Ever see that roller thing in the corner of the gym? Tony Gentilcore will show us what to do with it and how it helps
- Interesting findings by the FDA, if you choose to use supplements use great caution in where you purchase them.
- Short on time? Precision Nutrition has a workout for you.
- Ben Johnson wants the judging of others to stop. Now.
- The kneeling push-up is NOT a good regression of the push-up and Dr John Rusin tells us why.
- Dr Spencer Nadalsky debunks a theory that some foods are actually addictive, and what might be the culprits
- Franziska spritzler shares 7 common weight loss ideas that don’t work and some that are downright dangerous.
- Joy Victoria, GGS, Shows us the differences in Hypertrophy and Strength training and how it differs for men and women.
- Marc Halpern, Breaking muscle, gives us some concepts to get in order before you start your weight loss journey.
- Kyle Barichello shows us how a flawed mindset can hold you back from achieving what you want.
March 26, 2017
After a three week hiatus (YIKES!) due to general insanity, I thankfully return and give you my top 10 reads for the week of 3/26!!
Nutrition, Training, Travelling…..it is all covered here. So sit back, refill your coffee mug and get nerdy with me!
1) Looking at both sides of the calorie counting coin with Charles Staley
2) Do your training sessions leave you closer to death than stronger? Meghan Callaway tells us how that might be crippling our results.
3) Brad Borland simplifies nutrition for beginners who might be overthinking the subject.
4) Are your weekends ruining the hard work you’ve put in all week? Dr Spencer Nadolsky says maybe.
5) The unicorn ninja master Mark Fisher, keeps us on our game even when we are on the road.
6) Please, dear lord, read this article by Andy Van Grisven and realize that there are much better options than burpees for fat loss, like much.
7) This interesting video from Joe Arko shows us how our phones can affect our bodies
8) Meal prep infographic, Precision Nutrition has us covered.
9) Precision Nutrition gives us a great article on healthy movement and how it changes our bodies and minds. Movement as a term, might not be what you think.
10) Nia Shanks sets the record straight on common mistakes women are making when strength training.
March 10, 2017
Everyone, at some point in their lives, can benefit greatly from working with a professional coach. You may be stuck in a rut in your career, need a different set of eyes in the gym, or be at a turning point in your life and need some guidance. It doesn’t matter the situation, a great coach can help. Recently, people have expressed some surprise when I told them I had hired a coach, even though this wasn’t the first time, which kind of took me back.
“Why WOULDN’T I use a coach? I have some of the same roadblocks and issues as everyone else!”
Curious, I started looking at the real reasons someone would hire a coach and there are 3 fundamental keys that an experienced, professional coach can bring to the table.
The first is the most obvious and the one that is mentioned the most.
Accountability– The knowledge that someone has scheduled a time to meet with you, or is going to call you asking if you got a task completed, or just send a text seeing how you are doing, can move mountains for most people. This alone can be worth the cost of any coaching. While I won’t deny the importance of this point, I think it is clear to everyone so let’s move on, shall we.
The second is what I will label Freedom-
Let’s face it, you are busy and have a ton of shit to worry about, the kids,work, did the dog piss on the rug? So here is a tip, find a coach you trust and who aligns with your goals and thinking and let them to do their job. Personally, it is my job to worry about the health and wellness of others all day, so it is refreshing for me to put that responsibility of my fitness into someone else’s hands. I don’t have to worry about my workouts or my nutrition, just stick to the plan and trust the process.
Now not everyone thinks like this or functions like this but this is a very liberating act in itself.
The third reason, we’ll just call it Leaving the comfort zone, really resonates with me.
A coach will make you do the shit you don’t want to do, but probably need the most and will see the most benefit from. The biggest feedback from people when they hear I have a coach is, “Why do you need a coach? You can do all this stuff, you can design programs, you’ve been doing this over a decade, how are they going to help? Excellent question, and the answer is simple.
When I design programs for myself, it’s filled with stuff I like to do, not the stuff I probably need the most. The coach will have the bigger picture in mind, and not only help you see it, but help you get there in the shortest amount of time. Shorten the learning curve.The biggest ROI.
So what do you think? What would be a reason YOU would hire a coach or mentor? What would you look to gain from working with a coach? Is it physical? Career related?
A quick shout to my coaches, On the business side Eric Bach and Daniel Freedman. If you are starting or have started an online fitness business, these are the guys to take you to the next level. And they are patient, super patient…but I may have used all of it up.
On the Strength/lifting heavy shit/looking good naked side, Joey Percia, who is currently helping this old dude get rid of his dad bod, and get my head right. It’s a process, trust the process.
March 5, 2017
***Top 10 fitness articles for the week of 3/5***
1) Pat Flynn shares why we should stop hating on kettlebells.
2) TC Luoma, in his unique way, gives us 8 reasons for why our kids need to be lifting weights.
3) Infographics from Precision Nutrition,the topic this week, what to eat post injury.
4) Jogging is better than nothing right? Well Charles Staley lets us know that even that notion might be giving jogging too much credit.
5) Dr John Rusin with some quick tips on why you should foam roll AFTER your training.
6) Megan Callaway sounds off on arm-chair coaches and others in this not-so delicate article
7) In a guest post via Tony gentilcore, Negar Fonooni tells us why people who lift, yes even the meatheads, need yoga in their lives.
8) Eating out during a work function or family gathering? Dennis Deheza gives us some strategies to follow.
9) Want to know how to find a great personal trainer, who isn’t full of shit? Anthony J Yeung from esquire.com shares some telltale signs to look for when choosing who to work with. http://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/health/a53500/good-personal-trainer/
10) Need some quick meal prep tips right now? Jenny Sugar has you covered. https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Meal-Prep-Tips-Weight-Loss-42606596
February 26, 2017
This weeks articles focus on changing how we think about exercise and food,debunking some widely popular myths and some great glute training, of course. Enjoy!
- Jen Comas helps us get out of a rut and embracing risk
- Krista Scott-Dixon works to replace exercise in our language with some better options
- Who does love cinnamon, I prefer mind on icing covered buns, don’t judge. Precision Nutrition with all things cinnamon
- Ben Johnson is officially my spirit animal. “Food is a friend, not an enemy. It’s meant to be enjoyed, not feared.”
- Dr Laura Miranda from Girls Gone Strong gives us some killer glute exercises that won’t kill your back.
- Karina Inkster helps crush a term I absolutely can’t stand. Let’s all get rid of this phrase that demonizes the food we eat.
- Luke Briggs, via Dr John Rusin, dispels 5 common training myths for women.
- Bryan Krahn gives us the downlow on false facts regarding fat loss
- Dan trink breaks the truth to us and , even though training doesn’t feel good, gives some options to help with the pain
- Jordan Syatt give us a must watch video on one of the biggest money stealing schemes in the fitness industry, The Cleanse.
February 23, 2017
We all know we need quality sleep, that it is essential and that most of us need more of it. Do we know the sleep essentials? What happens to us when we don’t get enough of it? What happens to our mental and physical states when we are getting adequate amount of sleep, in comparison? Do we know how to get to sleep faster and optimize the precious hours we do get hitting the pillow? Hopefully by the end of this short read we can open your eyes on the importance of closing them (see what I did there)
First let’s establish what “adequate” sleep is. For anyone over the age of 18, 7-9 hours is considered an appropriate sleep range, and the time needed goes up as age goes down because younger children, toddlers and newborns need more sleep to develop body systems properly, although many parents will argue that a newborn doesn’t sleep anywhere near the 12-14hr range associated with this age. Clearly most us fall below this baseline, and the effect of continuously falling short of our necessary hours of sleep can wreak havoc on our minds and bodies. Starting with the immediate effects on the brain, let’s review the impact that lack of sleep has on our daily lives.
Lack of sleep can result in cognitive dysfunction to varying degrees. Consistently being short even 1-2 hours per night can interfere with learning and concentration skills. An interesting thought, considering that during my senior year at the University of North Florida, my classmates and I were averaging a solid 3-4hrs of red bull soaked sleep a night. On a more serious note, this can be a problem as many teens fall considerably short of their requirement which can lead to difficulty with memory and retaining information in school.
Sleep deficiency can also cloud the decision-making process and grind creativity to a halt. This can be a huge issue at the educational level, and in the workplace. While it is true that some can grind and burn the midnight oil to get that big project together just before the deadline, the reality is that if the project had been given proper attention with full rest, the final product might have been better than expected. (see current writing)
The brain controls emotions as well, of course, and these can also be affected greatly by sleep loss. You may become short-tempered and moody, becoming easily agitated over unimportant or unnecessary issues. It could see its way into relationships with family, friends and significant others (who may also be suffering from lack of sleep, as sleeping with another person is one of the most disruptive things we can do to our personal sleep patterns). Long term loss of sleep can also mimic the symptoms, as well as lead to, clinical depression. Anxiety and even feelings of hopelessness and suicide are all possible side effects of severe chronic sleep deprivation. (What a happy article Pat, thanks!)
Now we’ve gone over some of the mental issues that can arise due to lack of sleep, let’s talk about how your body reacts to it.
A consistent lack of sleep creates an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol. To keep the science part simple, higher levels of cortisol can increase fat stores. Combine that with a decrease in leptin production, a hormone that tells your brain that your stomach is full, and you have a recipe for storing fat and over eating. This can sabotage even the best training efforts and diet, and is a huge reason sleep deprivation is a major risk factor in obesity. Your immune system is also compromised. Think about it, when you do get sick what does your body want most? Shut down, sleep, fight off infection, recover. If you can’t/don’t sleep, the illness lingers and you feel like dog poop for a week.
So, we know what happens to our mind and body when we don’t give it enough sleep, so what in the world can we do to improve the sleep that we do get? Glad you asked.
First we will start by getting your bedroom ready for sleep. Let me preface this by saying, if it is possible, the bedroom should be used for two things, sleep and sex. Sorry, that’s it. If, due to living situations, the bedroom must double as your office or dining area, so be it but I would try to change that as quickly as possible.
Bedroom set up in no specific order:
1) Get it cold, 65-68 degrees is fantastic. Use fans if you can’t regulate your own air conditioning. This tells the body that it’s time to sleep.
2) Get an old-school alarm clock, like without a digital, light emitting face, and keep your cellphone out of the bedroom. I know, crazy talk. In fact, no electronic devices besides the clock at all. No TV, no tablet, just no. Trust me on this one, falling asleep to CSI re-runs isn’t the way to optimal sleep.
***Bonus tip, when you wake up you won’t be able to instantly jump on social media and ruin the day before it starts!
3) Get that room black hole dark. Buy blackout drapes, cover the windows with blankets, whatever. Just get it as dark as possible as any light that sneaks in will tell your brain that it’s time to wake up.
4) This one is tough for some, but Fido can’t sleep in your bed. I know…that face though…. but no. Every time our fur children get up and move around, which is a lot over the course of the night because they have been sleeping all damn day while you’re working to buy kibble, they can take you out of your deep sleep. I’ll bet that they wouldn’t mind their own comfortable bed anyway. Little spoiled fur child.
5) Invest in high quality bedding. You spend a lot of time in bed, make it as plush and comfortable as possible.
6) Lastly, your mom was on to something when she was yelling at you to clean up your room. As we opened with, the bedroom should be for two things and those two things only. A messy, cluttered room doesn’t help with either of them. Clean it up, junior.
Now that we have your sleeping area set up perfectly, let’s focus on you, specifically.
1) Try to get off your technology at least 1-2hrs before going to bed. Electronics emit light that keeps our brains in “awake” mode, never giving it a chance to wind down. If you must use a computer at night, I suggest an app such as f.lux, which will dim the computer screen to warmer, softer colors so the transition to sleep is easier.
2) Make late meals lighter. Digestion is one of the more energy consuming activities in the body, so if we eat a huge meal closer to our bedtime, the body will be working to digest food instead of being in resting mode. In addition, taper drinking down as frequent bathroom trips will disrupt sleep patterns.
3) Avoid caffeine and alcohol. This should be obvious, but I must make sure it is clear. Even if you’re an old coffee head like myself, cut caffeine way down in the afternoon and try not to have any in the evening. You may think coffee isn’t affecting you anymore or that alcohol will help you sleep, but I can assure you that neither is enhancing the quality of your rest.
4) Exercise earlier in the day. When you train, you release those wonderful, feel good endorphins that make you feel indestructible. Unfortunately exercise also releases the previously discussed cortisol, so try to finish up your workout at least 2-3hrs before your normal bedtime.
5) Overall try to create a bedtime routine. Take a hot shower or bath (the rise and subsequent fall in temperature will help enhance drowsiness), read for a few minutes (paperback please) and try to go to bed at the same time every night, and yes even on the weekends you party animal you.
Try implementing one or two of these tips at a time and monitor your sleep quality. Over time, as you see and feel your sleep improving, add a few more. I realize that sometimes getting “more” sleep just is not an option, but by utilizing some of these tips, you can make the precious few hours you do get as effective as possible in giving the body the rest and recovery it needs.
February 19, 2017
Time to get your inner fitness nerd on and get reading!!! This weeks articles cover everything from coffee and chia seeds to glutes and deadlifts, with some real thoughts on self-love and mental health. Dig in and read up!
1) Krista Scott-dixon with the best read of the week, without a doubt
2) Tony gentilcore with my favorite squat and some variations on it…..goblet squat away!
3) Benjamin Mathews Johnson is quickly earning a weekly spot in my list. This dude is crazy smart, and says the things we need to hear. This article on mental health is revealing and absolutely spot on.
4) Heard of Chia Seeds? Don’t really know what the f*ck they are or why they are awesome? Precision Nutrition to the rescue.
5) I have recently been reintroduced to these, simply because I didn’t have a trap bar available for the longest time, and I thought “Bah! I barbell deadlift, that is plenty”….Needless to say my lower half had some different things to say about that. Do these, as taught by Greg Nuckols.
6) If there is an article out there on coffee, I will find it. In this read Mitch Calvert gives us the reasoning why coffee might pose health risks to some of us. Not me. I hope. But some of us.
7) Amber leonard with a great article for all my endurance training friends, and it’s a great follow-up to my running article last week. Get strong, run betterer.
8) Nick Smoot tells us how to simplify fat loss, and why we need to stop being so smart!
9) A question I get often, what do I eat before/during/after exercise. Enter Precision Nutrition with the answer and sick infographics.
10) Want your glutes tighter? Hit this lil workout by Bret Contreras. Have fun going to the bathroom tomorrow.
February 13, 2017
Soon across the country running season will be upon us, or in here in the case of Florida, it is already here. The Nikes/NBs/Asics will be dusted off and people will go flying out the door. However, whether you are trying to complete your first mile without resting, hitting a PR in your weekend 5K or finishing your first marathon, there are some basic fundamentals of running mechanics that you should monitor to minimize the risk of injury and maximize performance. Once you identify one or two factors to work on in your own running,(don’t worry I’ll help you figure out where you are most inefficient) try to work on improving these specific patterns 1-2 days per week (yes, you will get some drills to do). Picking 1-2 that are vital to you is important because if we try to work on every single aspect at once, you will run the risk of overwhelming yourself and taking away from some of your natural tendencies, which isn’t necessarily what we want to do. It didn’t work for one of the greatest runners of all time, so I’m guessing it wouldn’t work for us normal folk.
The Rodgers Experiment was conducted by Peter Cavanaugh in the late 1970s on Bill Rodgers, the best marathon runner on the planet at that time. Cavanaugh measured Bill’s running economy, or how efficiently he was using oxygen during running, and proceeded to correct Roger’s form in an effort to make the best even better. If you have never seen the grainy video of old Boston Marathons, Bill had a unique characteristic to his running style, a clear across the body arm swing, which was considered a textbook flaw. Cavanaugh fixed this flaw in the great runners form and retested his running economy, expecting the numbers to be off the charts, but a funny thing happened. Rogers efficiency actually went down, a clear signal that fighting his natural tendency was hurting his running.
The point of telling you this story is that, while we can work to correct certain aspects of your natural running stride, changing how you inherently move isn’t the objective here. We just want to optimize what you already do. So let’s get to the good stuff.
Keep the eyes forward, trying not to get distracted and turning the head frequently. If you are running on trails or non-paved surfaces keep your gaze at about 10-12ft ahead, to be sure of your footing. Fight the urge to “lead with your head”. A tall head position is perfect.
**If you have pain in your neck or upper back and shoulders, you might be letting your head fall too far forward. Work on keeping your gaze on the horizon.
Arms should move smoothly and in a relaxed motion. They should be by the sides, but if they slide naturally inside this is fine, especially over longer distances. Only if there is large rotation of the arms that cross the centerline of the body should this be considered a problem, as this will direct your energy from side to side, instead of the desired forward movement. Hands should be relaxed, no clenched fists. Loose and tension free.
**If your hands are crossing the centerline of your body when you are running, do the drill below for 2-3 sets of 30sec during your warmups before running, and during training runs stay aware of the arms staying in the “slot” position.
***Arm Swing Drill-
Sitting on the ground with your legs together and straight, keep your torso tall and back flat. Keeping the arms bent at 45 degrees, swing the arms in alternating fashion, keeping them directly in the “slot” position on the sides, making sure the hands come to face height and go past your hip. Start slow, then pick up speed during the drill, focusing on perfect form.
The core must be strong and stable to maintain a tall position throughout your run. Core exercises such as planks and glute bridging are essential for keeping the torso strong.
For a complete core workout, check out this article from Elsbeth Vaino at Girlsgonestrong.com
Avoid over striding, which means your foot is striking well in front of your body. When you over stride you are essentially stopping yourself each time your foot strikes the ground, causing massive stress to the joints. Keep the feet underneath your body, avoid “reaching”.
** If you feel excessive pain in the ankle, knee and/or hips it is possible that you are over striding, or heel striking (coming up next)
*** Check for over striding by filming yourself (phone is fine) at your warmup pace, distance pace and sprinting pace. Be sure these are three different paces, as over striding tends to occur more often as a runner builds speed. If taken from the side, look for your feet reaching far in front of the body. If taken from head on, look for lots of space between the ground and your front foot. This is a key indicator that you are over striding.
*** If over striding is an issue for you, incorporate marching drills into your pre-running warmup routine.
Yes, they look simple and boring, but do them repeatedly and build speed ONLY when they can be executed perfectly. These will also help to improve foot striking.
Over striding and heel striking tend to go hand in hand (foot in foot?…..) Heel striking can cause significant stress in the joints and lead to lower back pain. The ideal foot strike is mid-foot, keeping the feet under the body and the weight centered, minimizing stress. Be mindful when running as to where your foot is striking the ground, and also check the wear pattern of your training shoes. If the heel is excessively worn down in comparison to the toe, we need to work on shortening your stride and optimizing foot placement.
**If you are experiencing pain in the joints or your lower back, check your form on video and wear patterns on your shoes for heel striking.
*** The same marching drills for stride length can be used to correct heel strike. Focus on hitting the ground with a midfoot strike. As you pick up speed in the drills, and if heel striking is a clear issue, execute the drill with just the toes striking the ground. When you return to normal running midfoot strikes will feel much less awkward.
Did you really think you were going to make it through an article of mine without talking about glutes? Too many runners simply throw their legs in front of their bodies, with no thought of using the powerful glutes to drive the legs. Unlock your power and speed during running by activating the glutes in your warm up and training runs. Having strong and active glutes can also help prevent many running injuries as Plantar Fasciitis and IT Band syndrome can stem from compensations due to weak glutes.
**Bridges, single leg bridges, band walking, and clam shells can all be utilized in your pre run warm up, while squats, deadlifts and lunges should be a staple of your strength training program.
And hills, run them.
If you need to know anything about glute training, you should go here.
https://bretcontreras.com/ he knows a thing or two on the subject.
One last point to make is very simple. Run relaxed. There should not be tension in the neck and shoulders, the hands and arms should flow loosely, and the mind clear. Enjoy the fresh air and being outside. Thrive in the face of a challenge and savor the victory when goals are reached.