Staying strong for long (time). #gottakeeptherhyme

To some, this post might seem like chest-thumping. It is not.

I love to exercise. Today is 593 days in a row that I have done something for my body ranging from yoga and calisthenics to heavy lifting. Some workouts have been so hard I thought I was going to die. Others have been executed right before I climbed into bed. The point is that almost 600 days ago, I made a decision to exercise EVERY DAY.

Since coming into the Army in January, my style of exercise has changed a lot. I’ve never been much of a runner. Matter of fact – I HATE running. Buuuttt… running is the Army’s love language, so I’m running a lot these days! The problem with so much running and calisthenics is that it does not build muscle mass; lifting weights does that… and I’ve not been doing nearly as much of that as I used to do. The result is that I have lost weight and my body is changing. Sherri so kindly told me the other night, “You’re getting skinny.” #ugghh

A few years ago I promised one of my daughters that we would compete in a physique show together (I’ve done three shows… my fourth will be with one, or more, of my daughters). To be competitive in a show, you must have muscle mass! SOOOO… I’m changing how I train. For the last few weeks I’ve been working a new plan. I’m posting it for my memory, and in hopes that it might be helpful to a few of you as well!

Some important notes:

  • I am working out twice a day at least 4 days a week (often 5).
  • I have increased calories significantly so that my body will have the resources to heal itself and grow muscle.
  • I drink a minimum of one gallon of water every day. Most days is more than that.
  • I do yoga every morning (10-15 minutes). I have found the 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene incredibly helpful! I also stretch and/or do mobility most nights before getting into bed (10-15 minutes). Kelly Starrett and Brutal Iron Gym have largely guided my thinking on this.
  • Part of my job description is being physically fit. I am tested on my physical abilities, so if I am not fit I will be disqualified from my job. #ilovethearmy In other words, I am PAID and EXPECTED to be in good shape.
  • Every day I have committed to “lifting weights” for at least twenty minutes (in addition to the morning workouts with my Soldiers.). An easy way to accomplish that is Jim Wendlers strength building program, 5/3/1. I’ve used this plan four times in the past years and it works! The “twenty minute” commitment is how I often talk myself into lifting weights after I get home. I’m usually tired and don’t want to… so I tell myself “twenty minutes” and it works. The beauty of 5/3/1 is that it can be a short workout or a long one depending on how you feel and how much time you have.
  • Working out in my garage gym lets me hang with my kids! I usually have 1-3 of my Princess Warriors moving weights with me! We jam to good music, laugh, lift weights, and get better together!!!



  • AM – 4 mile run and calisthenics with my Soldiers.
  • PM – 5/3/1 Overhead Press in my garage gym and some accessory work… how much depends on how I feel and how much time I have.


  • AM – Arms/calves/core and 20ish minutes on the rowing machine at the gym.
  • PM – 5/3/1 Deadlifts in my garage gym and some accessory work… how much depends on how I feel and how much time I have.


  • AM – Rucking or Combat Focused PT with my Soldiers.
  • PM – I may or may not hit the weights in my garage gym depending on how I feel.


  • AM – Back and core and 20ish minutes on the stairclimber at the gym. (taking a tip from Matt Wenning – he trains back twice as much as chest. Remember, no one ever carried the weight of the world on their chest! #strongheartstrongback)
  • PM – 5/3/1 Bench Press in my garage gym and some accessory work… how much depends on how I feel and how much time I have.


  • AM – Sprints and calisthenics with my Soldiers.
  • PM – 5/3/1 Squats in my garage gym and some accessory work… how much depends on how I feel and how much time I have.


  • These are recovery days. I’ll do yoga, play with the kids, walk with Mrs. Peterson, and MAYBE do some light weight training… depending on how I feel.

Each of these days are preceded by prayer, fueled by heavy metal music, driven by love for life, and guided by wisdom.

Proverbs 20:29 says that “the pride of a young man is his strength, and the pride of an old man is his wisdom.”

For me, wisdom is knowing when to take a BREAK so that I don’t BREAK!

I love working hard and want to do it for a long time… so I keep working hard; I keep listening to my body; I make sure my body is getting the water, calories, and rest it needs; and I make sure my spirit is getting the nourishment it needs through prayer, laughter, study, and community.


At forty-four, these things are working for me. I love my God, my life, my family, and the Soldiers with whom I get to serve.
I’ll let you know in a couple of months how this plan is working. Until then… #strongheartstrongback

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