While I have been quiet on the blog, I have been full of ideas on social media, and some smart people have reminded me that not everyone’s on Facebook or Insta. So here’s my kickoff to 2015. It’s a little compilation of the breakthroughs I had and shared late last year. Hopefully you will find some wisdom and sage advice within, I am trying to draw my own inspiration from these moments of clarity. Enjoy!
I. Ride Bikes
Finally, the year of the bike is upon me! Throughout 2014 I have decreased my mileage on the VW and increased my commuting by bicycle. This feels great, and obviously I have contributed to falling oil prices (sorry Putin!) My legs have gotten stronger and I have dialed in my gear ratio to reflect this strength. I don’t need to lock my bike up, if it gets stolen, it will promptly be returned by a frustrated thief believing it’s unrideable. Only a handful of jacksonvillains can peddle a 47×13 fixed gear, and they wouldn’t steal
I hung my old 17t cog from my rearview mirror in my car as a constant reminder that I should be RIDING MY BIKE!
I hope to see you out there on two wheels, burning body fat in place of fossil fuels. Cheers.
II. Plank Heals
I have preached the powers of plank for a good while now, but I was surprised this past fall when plank was all I had, and it healed me, mind and body. I was banged up real badly from soccer (what’s new?!) but I could still plank, and plank I did. 5 minute planks every day, and I felt stronger. The biggest benefits were mental. Injuries always challenge my confidence and wellbeing, but planking helped me calm my mind and connect with my body.
I love the feedback I get from my clients and friends as they incorporate planking into their fitness routines, office lives and holiday get togethers. I now have multiple generations of planking heirs, are you among them? Have you challenged your friends and loved ones to out-plank you yet?
I have crossed the 7 minute mark, will I hold a 10 minute plank in 2015? Will you?
III. Create Warmth Where You Are, or Go Somewhere Warmer
99% of this great country gets cold, and Jacksonville is part of that statistic. Starting an outdoor Personal Training business in February, I thought a lot about the cold, my tolerance for standing around in it, and my clients’ abilities to get fit when the temperature dips. November and December of 2014 taught me something about the cold, about myself and others that I didn’t see coming.
The more time you spend out in the cold, the more you grow to like it. You dress for it, invest a little more time in your warm-up, keep your body moving, and you become a better acclimated person as a result. This is far from an earth-shattering revelation, but I didn’t know exactly how much being in a climate-controlled office all day every day actually fueled my distaste for cold weather.
So here’s my two pronged attack for dealing with this winter and those to come. First, embrace the weather, dress for it, get out and enjoy it, and generate heat through movement. Second, take trips to warmer waters from time to time to break up the chill. Who knows, maybe a week of 80 degree water and blistering Puerto Rican sun can increase anyone’s appreciation of 50 degree water, ice cream headaches from subsequent duck dives, and fog. Maybe not, either way, there’s no sense in complaining about the weather.
IV. Workout with Friends
It doesn’t get much better than a great workout in the park with great people. FitLab – The Beaches Fitness Collaborative has made that clear. I knew I would have more fun working out with some of the funnest people I know than working out alone, but I didn’t know how much I would look forward each week to this unscripted Sunday workout.
If you haven’t been to FitLab yet, it’s time to come. If you aren’t in the neighborhood, seek out the park workout near you, or start one. You can do it!
V. You Have Everything You Need
You don’t need a gym membership, weights, or gadgets to get fit, strong, flexible and balanced. It took me a long time to build the confidence in calisthenics to leave my barbell behind once and for all, and here I am, trying to convince you in a few sentences. I have lifted a ton of weight, now I lift myself and I am getting stronger than ever. Occasionally the opportunity to lift someone twice my weight presents itself, and it’s only getting easier. Push your strength limits while lifting your own bodyweight day in and day out, and tell me what you think! I performed some exercise tests, took some measurements, and went weight-free in November. Two months into this strict routine and I am thrilled with what I see and feel. Try it!
As for the gym membership, ditch it. You can exercise anywhere when you are your own resistance. Once you realize that you don’t need the machines or the gym and you have everything you need, you are free to be your best and get there in your own way. I’m here to help.
VI. Balance, Strength and Flexibility
I always thought strength and flexibility were competing priorities, mutually exclusive, and difficult to pursue at once. I was wrong. Practicing yoga (with excellent teachers) has done as much for my calisthenics practice as my persistent strength efforts. My legs are stronger and more flexible than ever and there’s no looking back. I stretch daily, following a workout or athletic endeavor. This works better for me than stretching beforehand. I try to practice yoga under the supervision of a pro twice a week when I can, so I get expert feedback and encouragement to grow. I feel like I have been able to overcome some old injuries, prevent new ones, and recover quickly when I get hurt on the soccer field. Stretching has been one of my biggest breakthroughs of 2014. Strength and flexibility make a great pair. Each of us can have both, and all the benefits that come from interlacing the two!
Stay tuned, 2015 is going to be a transformational year, and I am going to do a better job sharing it with you.