Fitness Blog

Fitness Blog

    When I wanted to get better at painting and drawing, I felt like I was stuck.  That is until I watched J. Cole’s documentary. He talked about getting better at making music by going back to his original creative space in Fayetteville.  His music improved when he improved his daily routine. Changing his day-to-day habits had fine-tuned his craft. This sent me on a hunt for unconventional ways of growth and improvement. 


    To begin my journey of improvement I stopped drinking, had less aimless conversations, read more, and continued to workout every other day. The first change I noticed was not better artwork, but better workouts and memory, which is something I completely expected. I wanted to fine tune my routine even more, so I began lining up everything I touched, pencils, silverware, the remote, pillows, etc. My level of overall organization across the board just increased to a higher level. I made sure I kept my car clean, paid my bills early, worked over-time etc. Though I still did not see better artwork, I was imagining more ideas, allowing for more thoughtful and detailed artwork.

    I began adding massages, yoga, and morning stretches to my repertoire. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. I finally felt like I had trained my eyes to see the images I wanted to create before I created them. Discipline at a high degree will always show great results. 


    Early on in my journey I began to read different studies.  One study found a correlation between firefighters, pushups, and heart health.  For 10 years a group of researchers tracked a group of young firefighters and the correlation between their ability to do pushups and their heartbeats per minute.  The study showed that firefighters who were able to do 40 pushups versus only 10, had exponentially better heart health and life expectancy. Upon reading this study I started to do 50-60 pushups a day for a few weeks. The first thing I noticed was improved posture, breathing while working, and better digestion. From the researchers findings and my personal experience I found that a small life change can make a big difference in someone’s life expectancy.


    Oftentimes, we can find ourselves struggling to be present and fail prioritizing our time. I have found that getting lost in a physical activity forces you to move and think in ways that our often sedentary jobs/lives don’t allow us to.  I believe that this temporary distraction over time programs our minds to constantly seek goals to complete, it challenges us.  Though just as easy as it is for us to challenge ourselves, we also need to focus on balancing our stresses in life.  For me I find both challenges and relaxation through fishing, biking, golf, and poker.  These activities challenge and relax my mind in different ways.  I also found that focusing on breathing bigger, deeper, and taking slower breaths allows me to feel the blood and oxygen flow relaxing and relieve stress.  As someone who suffers from anxiety, these activities and changes in mindset have minimized my anxiety significantly.  It is important to be present, be grateful, and find the time for us to participate in activities that challenge, relax, and open our minds. 


    An interesting group to study is the Sumo wrestlers.  They eat 1-2 times per day consuming massive quantities of food before sleeping. Surprisingly enough, a Sumo wrestler only trains for 2-3 hours a day.  It is important to think about the quantity, and time of day when humans consume food.  As we are creatures of habit, we blindly do what is comfortable for ourselves.  Selfcare and growth is uncomfortable, but necessary. When we consume food it is important to remember what we are consuming.  The quantity, quality, and when we consume food are different from the past.  Archeologists have done many bone studies of gladiators only to find that they consumed large amounts of greens and vegetables.  Our bodies are not well equipped or properly designed to eat meat. Human teeth are flatter, made for grinding, grazing, better suited for vegetation.  Ironically, the meat we consume only eats grass and vegetation.  Eating less red meat is another thing people hate to admit. I am not against meat eating nor veganism. I think that whatever suits your lifestyle best, is the path you shall choose. The truth is that high red meat diets are extremely bad for people over a period. Our bodies enjoy it, we do not need it, it can be healthy, but it will cause major health problems that vegetables and fish won’t. Our stomachs take a while to digest large quantities. 

     It's hard getting up at 6am every day, doing intense physical activity, taking ice baths, sitting in silence, fasting, reading, etc. because discipline is mental stability. We must take care of ourselves in order to be successful and healthy. A wealthy bedridden man will always want to trade lives with an impoverished healthy gentleman. Most of the time, the answers to everything we seek, can be found right in front of us. Self-care and growth is uncomfortable but necessary. 

    Sleep is one of the most important and vital elements of survival. It is a period of solace, healing, and growth.  It’s not like in the middle of recess that you realized you grew two inches taller. Ducklings are full grown in about 7 weeks, tigers sleep about 70% of their life, and bears hibernate for the winter. It makes perfect sense; you can’t really build a plane while it’s in the air. We have an emphasis in our capitalistic society that working the hardest gets you the most. Practice does not make perfect, perfect practice, makes perfect. The Dao always spoke of balance. Efficiency, and rest will get more longevity than the person who never takes their foot off the gas. Get your rest. 

    Humans have always found ways to make working easier in all aspects of life.  During the Hunter Gatherer period, humans were required to find fresh water, supply firewood, catch fish, fend off predators, and create homes.  We still value all of these important characteristics of life today.  However, the technological and cultural advances of the world have changed our lives in ways we could not imagine. For example grocery stores and refrigerators change everything. Our level of dependency as humans is crippling our minds and taking us farther away from our instinctual self sustaining biological order.


    As a species, for however long humans have roamed earth, we have quickly found ways of making “work” easier in all aspects of existence. The brain is a muscle, and our technology has become so advanced that our brains are becoming less functional. During our hunter gatherer era, then deemed advanced materials clearly still required more human ability behind its usefulness. Meaning, more people had to travel for freshwater and carry it, fire wood had to be constantly supplied, fish HAD to be caught or you would not eat, predators had to be fought off especially in the night, cleanliness still mattered, and all of the same things we still value today. The only difference is nobody had imagined opening a grocery store when we did not have refrigerators yet. Our level of dependency can either cripple our minds or make us self-sustaining. Having things that we used to literally kill for, being readily available to us always seems delightful, when honestly, it dissolves humanity. Having more time to waste, pollute, CONSUME, and terrorize. In reality if everyone took care of themselves, they would not even have time to even ruin someone else’s life. Jordan Peterson speaks about it in his novels, “clean your room”, which goes to address how folks who have time to criticize and want to tell others how the world should be, usually do not even take care of the space they already occupy. We are only a few hundred years ahead of having to make all of our own meals, travel days at a time, no air-conditioning, no GPS,  and sewing our own clothes. Not having to rely on these things now, means less and less people have the skills to do them. We are generationally making ourselves less intelligent and less capable by not practicing solving basic ordeals like we used to. Paved roads have been reintroduced into history multiple times, just because of lack of a push toward what we now call the interstate system. When we stop moving forward, mentally, physically, and socially, then the only way from that point is backwards. 

    Aside from having thumbs, the fact that humans can carry things over distances to the extent we can, is a major evolutionary development. Some studies suggest that something as simple as practicing carrying things, alone, can better your health. Many people suffer from cysts and aches from having weak joints. Carrying exercises, force you to correct posture, improve grip, build upper body strength, cardio, and balance. So many times, we see old people fall and must rehab weeks to regain strength/balance. Practicing carrying can help with all of that. Combine that discipline with walking on an incline 30 minutes, 3 times a week. Simple mundane tasks that force your body posture to self-correct for the duration. On the contrary, running and walking on concrete, especially with the wrong shoes, is regressive for knees and joints as well. When I run, I run on the beach to get the resistance and cushion of the sand. 

    A very simple exercise everyone should do to relieve back pain, is to hang from a pull-up bar. Gravity and the weight of life can turn you into a hunchback. Even laying your head off the edge of your bed will help undo the posture we use looking at electronics. Your neck flexibility is a pivotal point in how your body functions across time. Professional boxers spend a great amount of time strengthening and moving their head/neck for balance. Think of your body being a spring that never decompresses for years at a time. It is a no brainer as to how beneficial hanging or using inversion tables can help decompress your body. Doing the actual pull-up from a hanging position is a very good tool to measure your overall health and upper body strength of course, but not everyone cares to do that. 

    Can you sit still and be present for an extended period of time? Not worrying about the past or the future, just being present. How long can you do that for? Could you withstand a deprivation tank? Could you even stand hanging out with yourself with no distractions? The anxiety, number of distractions, and irrational fears presented in front of us daily has disconnected everyone. Yoga and meditation are a form of communion. By stretching and holding positions with intense focus on where you are and how you are positioned puts you in tune with everything around you. When I do my stretching, I do it on the beach while the waves crash. Then the birds squawk, and I hear people running, swimming, planes whizzing by, and my eyes may be closed, or I may be holding a position. But I stay focused on where I am in that time and space. That is the power and discipline of yoga especially when achieved in groups. A discipline so helpful for anxiety and fatigue. 

    Hate to say it but, hot showers are comfortable, although mixing in that cold shower will do wonders. Ice baths are essential for pro athletes but cold water seems to be a common theme for healing us in general. Wim Hof is a premiere example of how this science works and his method has 3 elements. Breathing, cold therapy, and commitment. Now that doesn’t mean you need the world records for coldest swim or coldest half marathon like Hof, but a cold bath could do wonders once the mental barriers get broken down. I will take a cold shower, but ice baths are a little out of reach still. I suffer from Raynaud’s Phenomenon so everyone who knows me understands I’m naturally frozen. With that being said, I can sit in the sauna on 195 longer than most. Most ovens' lowest temperature is 185 to put that in perspective, so quite literally being in there too long will cook you. While being in the sauna I do not open my mouth to lose moisture, I listen to music or read, and I try to sit in there for 12-15 mins MAX. Getting out of the sauna after that will make you feel like a new person. Pushing our limits for brief periods of time is how humanity evolved to make it this far. Comfort is the enemy. 

    People have all kinds of methods they prefer for cardio. One exercise I have adopted big time is rowing. I have former injuries to my dominant leg so high impact activities like jumping, running on concrete, and using improper shoes started to become noticeably painful. I bike at least 2 miles to end every single one of my workouts or I will just do a full ride day. Being stationary in that position can make you stiff sometimes so mixing in rowing has been a great compliment to my cardio and flexibility. Rowing 500 meters takes only about 2-3 minutes. So roughly 10 minutes of rowing can get you a mile distance, while working your core, back, and arms. Heart health while preserving your joints and amount of impact on bones is the definition of working efficiently. 

    Being able to sit up in bed to roll over and stand up, tie your shoes, pick up your child, get up the stairs, and even giving a hug require back and core strength. The universal law of inertia, for every action, there is an equal and opposite. That does not mean everyone has to look like a WWE wrestler but having extra cushion around your midsection is bad for many reasons. In college, my nutrition professor always said it is better to be pear shaped than apple shaped.  Not to shame anyone for weight, because I have 2% body fat in my core, and that is dangerous because my organs have no insulation from damage. I’m 2 hard sneezes from exploding a kidney. Having enough in the front to protect your insides, and not too much to strain your back from holding it up. That is being efficient. Being able to do more with less exertion.

    Finding a discipline to get in tune with your inner vibration, sleeping, getting sunlight, different physical activities, and mind building exercises are all the things I like to promote when talking about fitness. I hope that the thoughts and stories throughout this blog can channel a difference and help anyone who wants to do small things and make a big difference in themselves. 

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