"You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day--unless you're too busy, then you should sit for an hour."
"If you want something to get done, give it to a busy person."
"I'm too busy to work out." I hear this a lot--more than any other excuse, in fact. A lot of people would work out, so they say, if they had more time. Let's unpack the statement "I'm too busy to work out." Okay, so there are a certain number of things you have to do to keep your job, keep your family together and happy, and meet your most basic needs. Now, is there anything else that you do? Anything that isn't absolutely necessary to keep your life together? Then what you mean when I say "I'm too busy to exercise" is "There are things I do with my discretionary time that are higher priorities than exercising." You might watch TV, play video games, read the news, talk on the phone, whatever.
Are you okay with that notion, that being healthy is just not as high a priority as those other things? Then be my guest and do those things instead. Otherwise, if you want to make your health a priority, then MAKE YOUR HEALTH A PRIORITY.
"But Jeff, there's more to it than that..." I know, sometimes it seems like there isn't enough time in a block to get your exercise in. In that case, you might need to re-think your idea of how much time it takes to exercise. You don't have to break a sweat, and you can get in some meaningful exercise in ten to twenty minutes. Some of my past newsletters have great ideas for short, energy-boosting workouts in them.
Another thing you can do with ten to twenty minutes? Work IN. In my life I make a distinction between working out--expending energy to get physically stronger--and working in--generating energy to get mentally stronger with activities like meditation and tai chi.
You can also find ways to make longer blocks of time when you can exercise. Every day before I get out of bed, I assess my day and my schedule. Sometimes things can be moved around to create longer blocks of time. Sometimes they can't, but then I fall back on my short workout strategies.
Another thing that I do to increase the number of long blocks of time I have to exercise is to go to bed very early and get up very early. Most people get up just in time to get the kids to school and make it to work on time, and then stay up later. This leaves a lot of time in the day after work, which also happens to be the time of day when you are most drained and least able to act according to your priorities. By shifting my day around, I end up having more time where I am active and alert that I can devote to keeping myself healthy.
You will find that the more you take the opportunities in your day to work out (or work in) the easier it will be to find more of those opportunities. You will get more energy back out of fitness than you will spend getting fit.
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As many of you already know, I'm a Titleist-certified golf fitness specialist. I've posted a number of times about correcting physical limitations in order to improve your ability to swing the club with good technique.
Some time ago, the Wall Street Journal visited the Titleist Performance Institute and shared their observations. I've chosen some quotes from the article that represent the goals and philosophy of Titleist Performance training.
About the effect of physical limitations on the golf swing: "The most intriguing work carried out at TPI involves...research into the negative cascading effect that physical limitations and dysfunctions like a stiff ankle, can have on a player's ability to hit the ball efficiently...The staff can propose workarounds or pinpoint physical therapy regimens that, with time and discipline, can correct the flaws."
About Functional Fitness and how it's changed golf as a sport: "'A lot of the old guard still blame equipment for the increased distance on the Tour, but so much more of it is the quality of the athletes...The stuff we do these days is all full-body, functional movement. Nobody's doing bench presses anymore, that's for sure.'"
On making adjustments for clients, and a little bit going a long way: "'When a guy tells me he's willing to work out for 90 minutes four times a week, I interpret that, from experience, as 15 minutes, three times a week,' Mr. Gill said. "But I can give him a focused 15 minute workout that will still make a big difference in his game."
Here's a link to the article: WSJ: How the Pros Get Their Bodies Ready
I'm a big advocate of full-body, functional fitness, and I maintain that it will give you the greatest benefits whatever your physical goals are. I just happen to have specific training in applying these principles to improving your golf game, but as a trainer with 20 years of experience, I can design a program for almost any goal.
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I uploaded a new video on how to warm up dynamically, check it out:
When it comes to avoiding overeating on Thanksgiving, my best portion control tip is to eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and eat a lot of vegetables. Your side dishes can be made with organic ingredients, and remember that you don't have to overeat just because it's Thanksgiving. You'll enjoy yourself more if you don't.
I have heard that the Friday after Thanksgiving is the biggest day for appendicitis all year. Appendicitis can be caused by fecal matter backing up into the opening of the appendix, so if you'd rather avoid that, it's best not to overeat.
As a fitness professional and nutritionist, I can say for certain that skipping breakfast in order to eat more (or to "balance" the number of calories you'll eat later in the day) is not a good idea. Your eating habits shouldn't change just because it's a holiday. Healthy living is a lifestyle, not something you do sometimes and not others.
As far a boosting protein intake in the morning, it's not necessarily beneficial. Your body relies on carbohydrates to start your day. Fuel up with something like organic fruit. Even on a holiday, eat a normal lunch. I believe in eating clean, and as raw and natural as possible. I have something like hummus with raw crackers and vegetables.
Starting the big meal with a bowl of soup or salad may be a good idea to control your appetite, but not if it's a creamy soup or a salad loaded with store-bought dressing. The best thing to have would be a large, organic salad with some olive oil and sea salt.
The healthiest way to eat turkey is to eat a healthy turkey. You should source a local, organic turkey if possible.
The healthiest dessert? No dessert at all. Most holiday desserts are ridiculously calorie-dense and full of additives, preservatives, and toxins.
On Thanksgiving, be thankful most of all not for the fact that you can pig out (which, frankly, most people in America can do any time they want.) Be thankful instead that you have a working, healthy body, and express that thankfulness by treating it well--eat healthy, exercise, drink water, and sleep.
When it comes to exercise, consistency is key, and the key to consistency is convenience. Don’t over stress about getting thirty minutes to an hour a day of exercise. Make sure you get five to ten minutes every day. Fit it in wherever you can, just make sure you some exercise every day. If you feel good or if you have time to do more, go for it. Just make sure you anchor that habit with five to ten minutes of some exercise every day.
Your workout should include five fundamental motions: pushing, pulling, rotating, squatting, lunging. No need to break your back, just make sure you get it in every day. It’s good to get exercise in around the edges of your day, too. Do simple things like parking the car farther away from the store to force yourself to walk more, take the stairs instead of the elevator, keep exercise tubing in a convenient place and do back pulls or other simple exercises during downtime. All of it adds up, and all of it helps forestall the aging process.
Here’s something you can do when you’re younger that will pay off greatly when you’re older: practice better posture. Bad posture is a leading cause of back pain and other chronic pain, and we’re all at risk from sitting at computers and looking at our phones. Keep mindful of the way you are sitting. Better yet, do less sitting and more standing straight up, with your shoulders back and eyes eyes forward.
In terms of nutrition, what you eat is more important than how much you eat. You can eat as much as you want, just make sure that what you’re eating is mostly organic fruits and vegetables and other whole foods. You should eat minimally-processed food, without chemical dyes, preservatives, etc.
These guidelines are fairly simple, but if you work on making them habits, you’ll be making a great investment in the health of your future self.
The ideal things to do post-workout would be to use an infrared sauna and get a professional massage. Unfortunately, unless you're a professional athlete, you probably don't have access to these things. What you can do instead is to use a foam roller and thoroughly roll the muscles that you've been working out. Foam rolling helps prevent adhesions and scarring in the muscle fascia, which is a membrane around all your major muscles. When you feel a "knot" or "tightness" in a muscle, it's often from an abnormality in the fascia. Foam rolling and massage can help prevent these abnormalities. It also relaxes your muscles and helps prevent them stay elongated.
In addition to foam rolling, take a nice hot bath or shower. This will increase circulation and help your body flush lactic acid out of the muscles. You should also eat a good, nutritious meal with plenty of plant protein. Plant protein is already in the form of amino acids that your body can use right away, unlike meat protein, which must be broken down first. You may also want to reward yourself with a relaxation ritual such as meditation.
A good post-workout routine will help prevent injury and pain. Less pain will make it easier to make the decision to work out next time. Cooling down also helps enhance the benefits of working out, which include more energy, better insulin response, weight loss, and increased focus.
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