New weekly Health & Fitness Tipz! This week my video is shorter (less than 3 minutes). I talk briefly about the benefits of starting each day off on the “good foot”, regardless of what time of day we get up or how well we wake up. I do have a concern for caffeine addiction, especially if that caffeine must contain cream &/or sugar. Sorry but that sh*t ain’t good for you. That’s just a dessert drink that is probably doing nothing but making you fatter, unhealthier and less likely to sleep better each day. Many of the “energy” drinks also have similar issues. I’d recommend drinking a full glass of clean water first thing in the morning and then maybe one cup of black coffee or one sugar-free energy drink if you must. Beyond that, i’d highly recommend getting better rest each night. Moving more if you sit down most of your day. Possibly moving less if you exercise and work “hard” every day. Eat healthier foods. Manage stress daily. Write down (in your mind or on paper) a plan for each day. Don’t just be a robot, a slave. Be an arrow aimed at the bullseye of where you want to go and what you want to accomplish. This starts by setting the tone as soon as you wake :)

April 8, 2015

FREE SEMINAR: Saturday, April 4, 9-10am. For anyone that might be interested, i am planning to host a small “Health & Wellness” gathering at our neighborhood city park this coming Saturday morning from 9am-10am. The park is located at the intersection of South First and Emerald Wood. It’s completely free to attend. I have absolutely no intention of selling anyone anything, now or in the future. My primary hope is to simply begin providing a trusted resource for general health & fitness concerns within our Southwood neighborhood. A place where anyone can come to get useful, helpful information and inspiration that i hope will benefit the health and well-being of all. This week, I plan to cover a few important topics dealing with some of the general basics of health maintenance, flexibility, nutrition and exercise. I imagine it to be fairly loosely structured and informal, yet still entirely professional. Unless it is pouring down rain, i will plan to be there. Just to be clear, this is not a group workout class. This is for educational purposes only. If you would like to sit down, bring something comfortable to sit on. Do also understand, with the obvious complexity of many areas of nutrition, fitness and health (such as specific diet recommendations, advanced exercise protocols and specific medical questions/concerns), do not expect every question to be answered. At the very least, I will do my best to point everyone in the best direction. Other resources and information might very well need to be explored. A little more about me: I have been a resident and home-owner in Southwood since 1999. I have worked professionally as a fully certified Personal Trainer/Nutrition Specialist for over 10 years, owning and operating my own company, The Blue Sky Strongbox, 7 of those years. I have worked with kids, elderly, handicapped, college athletes and everyone in between and beyond. For quite a while now, i have been interested in doing more direct local-community volunteer work. Free work. No gimmicks. No trying to sell anyone anything, ever. Why? Because i love my Austin. I love this neighborhood. I’ve been in South Austin for going on 20 years now. I truly do care about the health and well-being of others. I’m hoping this can be a positive way for me to impact our community. WHEN: Saturday, April 4, 2015. TIME: 9am – 10am WHERE: Williamson Creek Central Greenbelt Park. Intersection of South First and Emerald Wood. (http://www.austinparks.org/our-parks.html?parkid=378) COST: free. There will be no selling of anything. WHO: Carlton Cullins

April 2, 2015

New Health & Fitness Tipz! Today i talk about “Squatting”. Most people hear that and think: an exercise. But it’s much more than that. Even if you never plan to “workout” again, you still should be able to squat down without it looking like total dogsh*t. The point is, you need to be able to safely squat down fairly low till the day you die. But this requires some knowledge and will take some practice. Today’s video is not about trying to teach anyone how to squat correctly(that would be a much longer video), but more for ideas on where to begin. Start today. Learn to squat again. If you are not an “exerciser” then try getting down and hanging out in the bottom part of the squat, much like a daily stretch. If you have seen the light and do practice movement on a regular basis, include squats in every workout, either as part of your warmup or as a main dish. The point is to move better and squatting is a fundamental part of that huge equation. Enjoy.

March 25, 2015


We all love simple, short answers to the questions we have. But unfortunately, when it comes to many Fitness/Health/Medical questions, there are rarely simple, short, definitive, one-size-fits-all answers. I wish there were but such is life. The main reason for this is that we are all uniquely different. What works for one of us might not work for all of us. And what seems to work right this moment, might not continue to work so well down the line. Things change, especially our bodies and even more, our lives. The key is to focus on where each of us finds ourselves at any point in time. There are answers to most of our questions but are likely to be found only through patience, perseverance and putting in some serious work. And that work typically makes most of us better than we were before, anyhow.

February 13, 2015

January 23, 2015

Ideas for a better warmup:
THE “Old” WARMUP (5-15min): Most people just hop on a treadmill or stationary bike for anywhere from 5-20 minutes to “warmup”. This works but it’s most likely not as effective as other options. Guys who plan on lifting “heavy” weights often ONLY warmup by doing light warmup-sets of their chosen exercise(s) for the day. Again, this also works but considering the fact that most of us know we need more stretching in our lives, including at least a few simple stretches in the warmup might be more optimal. Often guys are also scared to stretch before they lift because, “rumor has it”, you won’t get as big and strong. While it may be true that doing a marathon stretching session before lifting might be counterproductive for some, including other “types” of stretching has proven to actually increase strength & performance when done correctly. Lastly, some folks do their “cardio” first before lifting “weights”, i would assume in hopes of losing some unwanted body fat. Again, this is probably not the best idea UNLESS you are primarily seeking to increase your endurance for a specific event, competition or occupation. But for everyone else, i don’t recommend it. Ever, really. Normally, too much “cardio” before “lifting weights” interferes with… you guessed it, the weights. (And just to clarify, “weights”, “lifting”, “lifting weights” “strength machines”, “strength training”, “resistance training”, “body weight training”, “calisthenics”, “hard yoga”, “hard pilates”, etc are ALL basically the same thing!) “The primary purpose of resistance training is to get stronger, and for some, also build muscle. Both these things can also indirectly aid with fat loss. But keep in mind, getting stronger and building muscle both require INTENSITY to get the desired results. So don’t empty your fuel tank too early by doing too much in the warmup. If your goal is fat-loss, getting stronger or packing on more muscle, try including a short, intense 10-minute “interval session” after “weights” (aka “a finisher”). I’d also recommend doing your longer “cardio” workouts or group classes on another day, all by themselves, if you have the time available.

THE “New” WARMUP (5-10) So here we go. Here are some new things to try as your “warmup”. First and foremost, correct breathing is essential and often overlooked. This means breathing deeply from your diaphragm, through your nose. Keep this in mind as you warmup and proceed to the rest of your workout. I often tell people to do all movements at a pace that allows you sync your breathing with each repeat of that movement. Start your warmup by massaging some of the major muscles regions (back, legs, hips, calves) with a Foam Roller. (This is what most professional athletes do.)Most gyms have them. Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc all sell them for $30 or less). Then do a few safe Dynamic Stretches (aka “moving stretches”). Google this. Then perform a few easy body-weight warmup movements, focusing on stabilizing your spine and moving your many joints about (especially the hip & arm sockets). To summarize, you could very quickly Foam Roll 2-3 major areas of your body, do 2-3 full body stretches and 2-3 major body-weight movements (easy pushups, easy pulling & easy squatting), and be done in less than 10 minutes. You could even include 1-2 “core” exercises near the end or even devote some of the time to practice a new exercise (with no weight or a light weight) that maybe needs some practice. If you really want to hit everything, perform all the primitive movement patterns every time you warmup. (Check out any of Mark Verstegen’s Books). Research all this stuff! Educate yourself. It’s free. Keep things simple. Many things could work. Just keep this in mind, the purpose of a “warmup” is to get you prepared/ramped-up for the harder work ahead, not beat you done prematurely. The key is always to maximize your time, this should include not wasting any precious time doing useless sh*t during a warmup. You may want extend your warmup longer if you are sore or dealing with an injury, have specific “corrective exercises” you know you need to include, it’s really cold outside or you just woke up. We all know we need to stretch more, etc. Include these type things in your warmup and you can always get a lot done in each session, regardless of time. Density is the key.
– Carlton

p.s. Keep things simple. Always. I know i mentioned a lot of things, and that was just the silly warmup. lol. The reality is that the details of exercise and programming can easily start to bog any mind down. So don’t let it. Start by including just one new thing next time your workout. Build on that over time. The point is to move more, move better. There will probably never be a “perfect” way. And while some will waste time searching tirelessly for that, you should be out there getting work done. Time is of the essence. Ask for help if you need it. Work hard. Play hard. Enjoy.


January 2, 2015

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The first order of business each morning, upon waking, should be to drink a full glass of water. End of story.

December 31, 2014

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