No matter what, every time you exercise you MUST do squats, especially if you’re a beginner. If more advanced, squatting should at least be a part of your warmup, if not a main lift. In fact, no matter who you are, squat as low as you can at least once every-single-day. Using weights is not necessarily required for health purposes. In some parts of the world, low-squatting is required daily due to primitive toilets. But you know what? Because of this, many of them can still squat all-the-way down like they did as a toddler…all because they’ve maintained it regularly with their “vintage” bathroom duties, not because they do squatting exercises. It’s part of their world. Make it part of yours! Yes, there are lots of different ways to squat, lots of different kinds of squats. Just pick one. The Goblet Squat is my personal favorite and what I recommend for most people interested in building healthy strength, flexibility and losing body-fat (please be very careful if you plan to use a barbell or heavy weights.) MAIN POINTS: Feet and Back must remain flat the entire time. Feet can point straight ahead or a little out to the sides. Just make sure that the knees point in the same direction as the feet while moving up and down. Think about actively pulling yourself down rather than just dropping down with gravity and the weight of your body. Push your knees out while going down and while coming back up (this helps use your hips and legs more effectively while also burning some extra calories and helping prevent common injuries). If you’re new to squatting, make sure to do some warming up beforehand. Start off with 1-2 sets of 10 repetitions. Work up to 3 sets of 15. Then try using some weight if you feel you’re ready. Go as low as you can without any pain or your back rounding. Use mirrors or video yourself. Feet MUST remain flat at all times. Remember, do some squats every time you exercise. No exceptions! (Also, breathing is important. Try to actively breathe (inhale going down, exhale at the top). Start slow, build strong. Ask for help needed. I’m always here if you ever have a question or concern. #bssbbooks #blueskystrongbox
I appreciate simple things. I also appreciate that simple and easy are not the same thing. They say you can tell a lot about someone by the shoes they wear and how they walk. I can do the same watching someone crawl. A very simple thing to try (but may prove to be more difficult for some) is to walk/crawl down to the ground and come back up to standing using mostly your upper body and whatever flexibility you currently have. Try to do several in a row if you want. (After years working as a fitness professional, I can honestly say that, as easy as this may be for regular exercisers, it’s often quite difficult for those that are sedentary.) Did it make you breathe heavy? Was it challenging to move the weight of your body around? Did you feel tight in a few areas? Perfect. This would be a great place for you to start exploring movement with your body. Yes, it also burns calories too. Just make sure nothing hurts when you do it. It is ok if it doesn’t look perfect. The point is to begin getting more comfortable being uncomfortable. I recommend practicing this daily. You don’t need to get all sweaty while doing it. Not yet anyway. For now, don’t even worry about counting any reps if you don’t want to. I would rather you put all of your energy toward simply moving better. You’ll know you’ve made progress when it feels easier to do AND begins to look more and more graceful over time. You can always upgrade to BEAST MODE later on if or when things drastically improve. But for now, master the fundamentals. They are never to be overlooked. #bssbbooks #blueskystrongbox
The KETTLEBELL SWING rules, especially when learned correctly and practiced safely over time till form is refined and perfected. This does require time and effort. And with all this said, it’s not always a safe or great fit for everyone. Many of these clips were actually shot the very first time each person tried them. Form isn’t always perfect in the beginning so the weight should be light enough to allow safe practice till things progress. Pound for pound, this is my favorite exercise and what I believe to be one of the most beneficial exercises in existence. Attention to detail is a must. This cannot be stressed enough. #blueskystrongbox
New Weekly Health & Fitness Tips! “No pain, no gain” has always had limitations. You don’t have to be in constant pain to make progress. This week i talk briefly about soreness due to exercise. Some soreness is normal, unavoidable and typical ok. Some is not. Normal soreness should be infrequent and bi-lateral. In other words, if one arm or leg is sore, the other side should be equally sore. This kind of soreness is mostly due to microscopic tears in the muscles, which sounds bad but is actual very normal, due to them having to work against incoming resistance. But there are other kinds of soreness, which affects areas in a way that is not productive and may even be harmful. They may even seem similar to the good kind but are more intense and shouldn’t be frequent, or chronic. Don’t seek out soreness. Instead, gradually disrupt your homeostasis. Too much damage done too often is to be avoided. “Stimulate, don’t annihilate”. Progress can be made without killing yourself in the gym. So my questions is always this, When is it really ok to be really sore on a regular basis? The answer is, it’s not ok. Say what you want, do what you will but trust me, being sore on a regular basis, to the point of altering the way you were meant to move, is almost always gonna be wrong, especially if done intentially.February 6, 2017
New Health & Fitness Tipz! This week I talk about avoiding injuries when trying to do things we may not yet be ready for. Sounds obvious I know, but trust me it’s not. We all have things we are good at as well as things we need to work on. Unfortunately, especially in group settings, it’s very popular now to throw body awareness and form out the window in the name of competition or a challenge. This is one sure way to get hurt. We must be smarter than that. As a bonus, near the end I demonstrate some “finesse” progressions/alternatives to burpees.February 17, 2016
Time Warner News’ (Austin) “Active Now” spot showed me a little love last week. Here, I do my best to demonstrate the main first move of the Turkish Getup using a shoe. It’s like a sit-up but much much more.
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.
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.