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TURN UP THE VOLUME. Today is an important (free) video I did for everyone that asks, “What’s one good exercise you recommend for busy people?” It’s a great question and one that I do get often. So if you were to just do one (strength) exercise, I would recommend choosing one from this list. I tried to choose exercises that I do myself. I also tried to choose exercises that had variety and could be done in almost any situation with a variety of equipment or no equipment. One single exercise practiced correctly, intensely enough & often enough can give a tremendous bang for the buck. If your main goal is to lose body fat, focus 99% of your effort on nutrition and 7-9 hours of sleep every single night. For health, most folks don’t need to do a bunch of exercises to strengthen the body. But we all do NEED to do something. Strength is super important for everything that relates to health, fitness and enjoying a long higher quality of life. Strength doesn’t have to mean working out all the time or building big muscles, if that’s not your cup of tea. Strength exercises come in many varieties. Most people just do nothing their entire adult lives which catches up to most people later when they are too weak to do basic everyday tasks. Do know that a “strength” exercise is the same thing as a “resistance” exercise or even a “weight-bearing” exercise. Don’t ever be confused. Keep things simple. Remember, your form (how you do the exercise) is very important. Doing it regularly is also very important. Write me with ANY questions you may have… so here’s the list: 1) The Swing 2) Deadlift+Carry 3) Squat to Row 4) Goblet Squat 5) Turkish Getup 6) Crawling 7) L-sit. With all that said, the single best “general” exercise in the world is WALKING. Seriously. People often think I’m joking but I’m not. Personally, I prefer and highly recommend walking uphill whenever possible. Walking daily is essential. #blueskystrongbox
“What exercise would you recommend if I only have time to do ONE exercise?” (Video below from my Instagram page)March 22, 2018
When it comes to Health and/or Fitness, many of us seek the quick fix. These are called short-term solutions. Typically, these are best reserved for emergencies. These days, this is now the norm. Some call it “hacking”. I’m all for shortcuts but only when appropriate. If there’s one thing i know, you CANNOT shortcut health. If you really want to see for yourself, knock yourself out. I’m just trying to save you the trouble. Also know, i can’t recommend it. Besides it being unhealthy, it can also waste valuable time, time that we will never get back. Why spend a lifetime continually chasing the same things? Instead, i recommend finding focus, balance, and simplicity. Below is a video i did yesterday. I did it in one take. I talk about 10 principles that i think are very important, essential and the fundamentals of most everything. Wanna lose some body fat? Gain some muscle? Be healthier? Live longer? Increase your athletic or job performance? Most everyone wants these things. I recommend taking the high road. Life is short but it’s just long enough to benefit from doing a few things well and with consistency.February 5, 2018
This video is the second phase of my Foundations series. The first phase consisted of 3 videos. They can be found on this YouTube page and my official personal training website, http://www.BLUESKYSTRONGBOX.COM.
In this video, i talk about 10 principles that i feel are essential to health as well as fitness. So, regardless of what your goal(s) are, be that Fat Loss, improving General Health, increasing Lean Muscle or a performance goal for a job or sport, these 10 principles are important.
Look, i know this video is a bit long. It’s longer than i wish but sometimes it is simply just not possible to do a short video. Sorry!
Here is my list:
1. Get enough Rest/Sleep
2. Create a 5-minute Morning Ritual. Do it every day.
3. Walk and move your body as much as you can each day.
4. Exercise regularly. Focus on a balance of the big 3: flexibility, strength, and stamina.
5. Find balance and harmony with everything in your life.
6. Drink enough water each day so that your urine is clear or close.
7. Eat more plants and less of everything else.
8. Eat more variety and balance of all other food.
9. Eat less overall. Try going longer between meals.
10. Keep it simple.
*This is simply a short list of some of my favorite and most referenced books. It is in no way a complete list of essential reading for a fitness professional. However, with the wealth of material out there, it is easy to become discouraged by the mere thought of the time it might take to read & absorb so much material, that may or may not all be worth the time. Here i have tried to make things a little easier for someone starting off in the business and wishing to simultaneously gain knowledge and perspective. This list includes some classics as well as more modern reference material on various subjects. My objective was to create as short a list as possible of some great reference material while also implementing some reading for historic perspective and fun. Enjoy.
1. Dan John – “Intervention”
2. Pavel Tsatsouline – “Power to the People”.
3. Michael Boyle – “Advances in Functional Training”
3. Paul Chek – “How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy”
4. Mark Verstegen – “Core Performance”
5. Pavel Tsatsouline – “Naked Warrior”
6. Mark Rippetoe – “Starting Strength”
7. Pavel Tsatsouline – “Enter the Kettlebell”
8. Clair Davies – “Trigger Point Therapy Workbook”
9. Gray Cook – “Athletic Body in Balance”
10. Ross Enamait – “Infinite Intensity”
11. Robert Dos Remedios – “Men’s Health Power Training: Build Bigger, Stronger Muscles with through Performance-based Conditioning”
12. Bill Starr – “The Strongest Shall Survive”
13. Shirley Sahrmann – “Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Sndromes”
14. Mark Rippetoe – “Practical Programming”
15. Dr. Mehmet Oz – “You: The Owner’s Manual”
16. Arthur Saxon – “The Development of Physical Power”
17. Stuart McGill – “Low Back Disorders”
18. Arnold Schwarzenegger – “The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding”
19. Martin Rooney – “Training for Warriors”
20. Martin Rooney – “Warrior Cardio”
21. National Academy of Sports Medicine – “Optimum Performance Training for the Health and Fitness Professional” 2004 Second edition
22. Steven Low – “Overcoming Gravity”
23. Joseph H. Pilates – A Pilates’ Primer: The Millennium Edition
24. Alan Calvert – “Super-Strength”
25. Steve Vickery and Marilyn Moffat – “The American Physical Therapy Association Book of Body Maintenance and Repair”
26. Bruce Lee and John Little – “The Art of Expressing the Human Body”
27. Ross Enamait – “Never Gymless : An Excuse-free System for Total Fitness”
28. Dan John – “Never Let Go: A Philosophy of Lifting, Living and Learning”
29. Rachel Cosgrove – “The Female Body Breakthrough: The Revolutionary Strength-Training Plan for Losing Fat and Getting the Body You Want”
30. Andrew Weil – “Natural Health, Natural Medicine: The Complete Guide to Wellness and Self-Care for Optimum Health”
31. Kelly Starrett and Glen Cordoza – “Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance” by Kelly Starrett and Glen Cordoza
1. The Civil War
2. A Man Named Pearl
3. Bones Brigade
4. Man on Wire
5. Waiting for Sugarman
6. 30 for 30: Broke
7. Jim Brown
8. Lewis & Clark
9. The Buena Vista Social Club
10. Bloods & Crips: Made in America
11. Mike Tyson
12. Hoop Dreams
13. Grizzly Man
14. Salvador Dali
15. Pee Wee Herman artist
15. Tupac Resurection
16. Rickie Williams
17. Pete Seeger
18. Touching the Void
19. Pumping Iron
1. Tent. Some people think they need some fancy, expensive tent. Some people think they want a HUGE tent. Then they get one and realize they wasted all that money on a tent that is a pain in the ass to put together. Just buy a simple cheap “dome” tent that sleeps 4-5 people (which really means it sleeps 2 people comfortably, maybe 3 if everyone is small). They range from about $30-$75. You’ll thank me later, i promise. I like most anything from Coleman, which you can get just about anywhere (Walmart, Target, Any Sporting Goods store). I’d say the most important thing about a good tent(or sleeping bag) is it’s zippers. Like i said earlier, unless you’re going to be doing “ultra light” hiking/camping for multiple days in multiple “hardcore” primitive locations, stay away from the expensive tents from REI or Whole Earth, etc. They aren’t necessary whatsoever and are a serious pain in the ass to put together if you don’t use them frequently enough, especially if it happens to be dark while setting it up. Camping is about spending time in the outdoors not in your tent.
2. Cheap Tarp. I like to buy a cheap blue tarp from Walmart (or wherever) for $5-$10 and put it UNDER the actual tent before setting it up. This gives it another stronger barrier underneath for protection against wear & tears, mud, etc. It doesn’t need to be any bigger than about the size of the bottom of your tent. It doesn’t have to fit perfect.
3. Duffle Bag. If i’ve learned one thing over the years, it’s that most people can never actually put a tent back in the bag it comes in, at least not without problems. My simple solution is to buy a mid-sized CHEAP duffle bag to put your tent, it’s poles & stakes, and your tarp in. A good size is about the size of baseball bat bag or as tall as about half your height.
4. Sleeping Bags. These come in various shapes, sizes, materials & prices. For moderate climates & regular old general use camping (such as Texas), i think a basic sleeping bag is fine. Again, they can be found at Walmart, Target, Sporting Good Stores. A basic sleeping bag may be as cheap as $30. Unless you get really cold at night or are camping in very cold weather, you shouldn’t need a bag that is rated below 30 degrees. You will just sweat most of the time anyway. Most of the year in Texas, it’s too hot to actually sleep in a sleeping bag anyway so most just sleep on top of the bag rather than in it. A down-feather bag is nice but unnecessary if not camping in very cold climates or needed to reduce the weight you are carrying while hiking long or difficult trails. I’d just go with a plain, cheap synthetic bag, preferably with a nylon outer shell. They come in 2 basic styles, mummy or square. “Mummy” bags are nice in the cooler weather but don’t leave much room to wiggle around. For most general purposes, a regular square bag will work fine. Don’t buy a sleeping bag at REI or Whole Earth unless you are going to be doing “ultra-light” camping/hiking. Most of their bags are between $100-$400.
5. Sleeping Pad or Mattress. I don’t mind so much sleeping on the ground but most people hate it. Over time i’ve learned to enjoy a little “space” between me and the ground. Now, mind you that when the ground is truly cold, you MUST have a layer/barrier between you and the ground to avoid hypothermia. A sleeping bag is not enough. This is essentially what the old school cheap lightweight military-style sleeping pads are used for, which are nothing more than a thin layer of foam, called closed-cell pads. The downside is that they provide very little comfort. The next option is to buy a fancy expensive open-cell “air” pad, which are around $100-200 at REI or Whole Earth. The best option for casual, comfortable camping is a cheap $10-20 blow-up mattress from Academy or Walmart. A Full size mattress can fit in most small dome tents but they won’t leave much room for much else. You could go smaller. But for two people, i’d recommend the Full. After all a tent is for sleeping not spending all your time in it. Most of the time is spent outside.
6. Pillow, Extra Sheets or Blankets. Pillows are nice so bring one or two. Personally, i never like to bring really “nice” stuff camping. This includes clothes, pillows, etc. I’d bring a pillow you don’t mind getting dirty or damaged. When it’s really cold at night, it’s nice to also have extra blankets. Fleece and Wool are the best and warmest for this. Extra bed sheets are nice in the summer when it’s too hot to actually sleep in the sleeping bad. Just lie on top of your sleeping bag (zipped or unzipped & spread out wider) and use a thin sheet to sleep with.
7. Lanterns/Flashlights/Headlamps. In the dark you can never have enough light. I recommend each person having at least 2 flashlights each (also make sure the batteries are fresh). Keep one on you at all times. They need not be big, just bright. Instead of 2 flashlights, i personally prefer one to be a head-lamp. Head-lamps are NOT necessary but they make things easier and more enjoyable. However, they can get very pricey. There is no need to buy an expensive one. A basic one Walmart would work fine. If you do want to spend a few extra bucks, go to REI. Next is a Lantern. Lanterns are nice to have for your “bigger, brighter” night-time light, especially if you unable to have a campfire. They are also nice to hang inside your tent. But lanterns are typically bulky and aren’t absolutely necessary to have. But just so you know, you can also hang many flashlights from the top of your tent using a cheap carabiner and you can use headlamps as your main source of light. Just keep in mind that when you move your head the light shines all over the place. This might disturb your friends or fellow neighboring campers. Lanterns run on either gas or batteries. I think both are fine. With that said, always bring extra gas cans or batteries.
8. Clothing. Much of what you want to wear while camping is of personal preference. The main idea is to be comfortable and ready for all types of weather. I would also recommend wearing clothing that you don’t mind damaging or getting dirty. Sometimes sh*t happens. With all that said, when it is cold or “may” be cold, it’s very important to bring plenty of warm clothes. If you get cold easily then you should bring even more warm clothes and blankets. For cold weather/cold nights nothing is better than thick WOOL socks, a beanie and maybe some gloves. Army Surplus stores are great for stuff like this. Long underwear are nice as well. Fleece is another essential material because it is warm but also very lightweight. My favorite is the military fleece called polypropylene. Just remember that when it’s cold, dress warm and in layers.
Knife/Multi-tool/Hatchet or Wood Saw
Knife/Multi-tool/Hatchet or Wood SawEar Plugs/Eye Mask