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!!!

THE PLAN:

MONDAY

  • 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.

TUESDAY

  • 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.

WEDNESDAY

  • 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.

THURSDAY

  • 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.

FRIDAY

  • 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.

SATURDAY/SUNDAY

  • 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.

I DO THESE THINGS SO I CAN KEEP DOING THESE THINGS.

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.
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I’ll let you know in a couple of months how this plan is working. Until then… #strongheartstrongback

Five Favorites Friday (11/16/18)

Five of my favorites from this week…

  • I have LOVED the “Cossack Squat”! It has opened up my hips and pushed my ankles to a good place! I’ve done it for a few reps every day this week. Check out this simple tutorial. 

 

  • Speaking of ankles… this tip from Charles Poliquin (HT to Tim Ferris and “Tools of The Titans”) has been incredibly helpful! 
  • This week I spent some time on Examine.com exploring the benefits of various supplements and foods (e.g. lemons, ginger, etc.). I made some adjustments to our food based on the information I discovered there. The information and valuable research that is available on this site will blow your mind! 

 

  • This week Sherri (aka “Mrs. Peterson”) and I learned a new communication exercise from a couple of our friends (Thanks Dallas and Courtney). It’s called FANOS (an acronym). It only takes a few minutes every day, and it is a great tool that will enhance communication with and awareness of your spouse! Check out a short summary here.

 

  • The sentence that keeps running around in my head… “If we’re gonna walk we walk as lions, if we’re gonna stand we stand as giants” (from “Lions” by Skillet). I’m thinking this will end up as some kind of an image tattooed on my body… a constant reminder of the power of God flowing in and through me. 

So there’s five of my favorite things from this week. If you found something helpful… I’d love to hear from you! Have a GREAT weekend! 

How I disappoint myself

I am most disappointed in myself when I give in to myself.

  • When I hit snooze…
  • When I say the first thing that comes to mind…
  • When I procrastinate…
  • When I skip the gym…
  • When I skip a date with one of my girls…

Whenever I give into my weak desires… I disappoint myself.

As a matter of fact, I can disappoint myself more bitterly than anyone else can disappoint me!

The opposite is also true.

When I do the hard, but right thing… I am deeply gratified and pleased. 

One of my favorite sayings these days is:

Easy choices… hard life. Hard choices… easy life.

Do the thing you know you ought to do… not the thing you want to do… you won’t regret it!

***This post was inspired by the fact that I got out of bed and followed my morning ritual this morning… and I feel GREAT! While on the other hand, I did not do that yesterday… and felt off all day!

Stop worrying about your clothes

nothing-to-wearRight now I’m really busy.

This weekend I will officiate at a wedding, preach a sermon, and then carry out my pastoral duties at a funeral… the funeral of a friend.

This busy weekend comes right in the middle of a teaching series I am doing at church called, “Making Space.”

As I am preparing to teach this weekend, I am reflecting on some words spoken by Jesus. These words are incredibly appropriate for every busy person… especially people who are driven and slightly distracted!

I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:25-34 NLT)

This is certainly not a call to forgo planning, hard work, or physical well-being. What it is is a call to STOP making secondary things the primary pursuit of your life.

I’ve realized this: when you pursue the primary things, you get the secondary things thrown in. BUT when you pursue the secondary things first you may never get the primary things.

Looking back over my life, I see that I have often allowed busyness to distract me from the primary things (God, relationships, physical well-being, emotional vitality, etc.)… and the result is rarely good.

The times in my life of which I am most proud are the times when I have kept the primary things in focus and enjoyed, subsequently, the secondary things.

So as I work through this busy season in my life, I encourage you to join me in processing what takes up space in your mind:

  • Is it clothes or close friends?
  • Is it paper or people?
  • Is it your job or your God?
  • Is it primary or secondary?

Give it some thought… and then take some time to make necessary adjustments. You’ll not regret it!

Making space in a packed life

Making Space1“When good things begin to happen, other good things begin to fall through the cracks.”

That is exactly what happened to the leaders of the church when it was in its early days. It’s something that happens to leaders today too. Things start going well, and then things start falling apart, and it’s often the important things that go first: spiritual vitality, relationships, physical well-being, emotional strength, mental growth, etc.

Look at this story found in the book of Acts (6:1-7) (I’m going to insert comments in bold throughout this story):

…as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food.

Believers were “rapidly multiplying.” That’s a good thing.

Meeting basic needs, like distributing food to the poor, is a good thing, but it was falling through the cracks because the leaders were too busy… they had no space in their lives.

When good things start falling through the cracks “rumblings of discontent” will soon follow. Sometimes those rumblings come from inside your home. Sometimes they come from inside your body. Sometimes they come from the organization you lead. 

How long it takes for them to come and from where they come are different for each person. What is always true though is that when good things get ignored the rumblings will come.

So what do we do? Look at what the Apostles did:

So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.”

They made a decision to let go of some things. They did not STOP them from happening, but gave them over to others to execute.

Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith). These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them.

Look at what happened when the leaders let go of those extra responsibilities and focused on their sweet spot…

So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.

Things went gangbusters when the leaders made space in their lives to function in and lead out of their sweetspot!

Now here’s the thing, if you’re in any kind of leadership position, you are going to be responsible for LOTS of people and details… and if you insist on handling everything you will soon run out of space in your life and the rumblings will begin.

Here’s something we talked about yesterday at Church180:

The things you hold onto will determine how far you go.

If you insist of doing everything and letting go of nothing… you will run out of space, the people around you will become discontent and unfulfilled… and you and your organization will soon flatline.
The alternative is letting some things go either by choosing to STOP doing them or HANDING THEM OFF to other people.
Making the decision to “hand off” is tough… especially if you love and feel the responsibility of your organization, but when you do hand off you will discover that there are incredibly passionate and capable people around you that can do things so well that the organization will be happier, healthier, and more vibrant than when you were trying to do it all yourself!
So are some self-evaluation questions for you (and me):
  • Are good things happening in your life? Business? Church? Organization?
  • Have you taken time to determine if other good things are slipping through the cracks as a result?
  • What do you, the leader, need to focus your energy and time on doing?
  • What do you need to stop doing?
  • What do you need to hand off to a team?
  • Are you willing to let go of some things and trust others to do them?

As you’re processing this, remember that the things you hold onto will determine how far you go!

If you are interested in hearing how I taught this story yesterday you can watch it here.

 

4 things I would say to the younger me in the gym

Today I’m working on a project with the owner of Brutal Iron Gym. He is asking the trainers “What advice would you give the younger you in the gym?”

If I had this chance I would say these four things to me…

Remember the tortoise and the hare.

Consistency wins the day. I see this all the time as a trainer… people come in the gym and hit it hard for a few months, or even a year… then they get distracted, tired, hurt, discouraged, busy, or any other excuse… and quit showing up.

When they first start, everyone is watching them thinking… “He’s off to a great start!” “She’s going to be awesome!” Maybe he even participates in a show. Maybe she puts up big numbers quickly… but then “life happens” and before you know it she’s gone. The next time you see her (or him) you wonder “What happened?”

Then there are those people who just quietly show up and do the work every day. They aren’t necessarily blowing up Instagram with selfies… but they are changing who they are from the inside out.

Give it three years and see who has come further… the 6 month freak (aka “The Hare”) or the dude who just kept showing up (aka “The Tortoise”).

If you don’t remember the story… you have to watch this video!

If I could tell my younger gym self anything I would say “Show up. Do the work. Don’t stop.”

HINT: the best way to do this is to put the gym on the calendar! If you treat it like a meeting you will show up. If you try to “squeeze it in” it will get “squeezed out” of your busy life.

The second thing I would say, to myself…

You look and perform like what you eat.

If you eat Little Debbie’s you will look like and perform like a Little Debbie.

The biggest lesson for me these last six years has been the role of food. You can train like a maniac… but if you’re not eating right you’re not going to see or show the results!

I tell my clients all the time:

Working out gives your muscles a REASON to grow. Eating gives them the RESOURCES to grow.

If I could do it again, I would eat like a farm boy (meat, potatoes, and vegetables), drink a lot less pop (soda… or whatever you call it), and eat more meals throughout the day (5-7).

Keep learning.

Whether it’s nutrition, new exercises, improving technique, or developing mental toughness… I would never stop learning.

Every day now I set aside time to read an article or watch a video on something related to nutrition and/or training. It doesn’t have to take long. I actually do it while I am eating one of my six meals.

If you always do what you’ve always done… you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

If you’re not happy with your results… learn something new! Get a trainer! Read a book! Watch a video! Push your limits! Do something every day to keep learning!

Finally, I would say to my younger gym self…

Keep setting goals… and conquering them.

Some of my personal bests have come as a result of training for and participating in Physique Shows. I’ve done three of them to-date. In preparation for these shows, I typically cut 15-30 pounds and get shredded!

The discipline that it takes to stand on the stage and look like that is unbelievable. It is 16-20 weeks of self-denial, hard work, some tears, and lots of tough days. There’s a reason why there are hundreds of people watching and only a few on the stage… because it’s work that few are willing to do. 

BUT… after you’ve done the work and accomplished the goal, you look back and realize, “I can do really hard things!” It’s so empowering to set and accomplish really hard goals!

I would tell my young gym self to set goals, and conquer them.

Don’t just show up… throw some weight around, and go home! Throw weight around with a purpose! Eat with a purpose! Run with a purpose! Stretch with a purpose!

Your goal can be anything you want it to be… just set one… and crush it!!!

So how about you? If you could go back and tell your young gym self some things… what would they be?

 

Don’t lose what you’ve gained

Last night I was reading the little letter that St. John wrote to a friend of his. He said something really important in this letter:

Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. (2 John verse 8)

You work hard to gain: spiritual vitality, physical strength, intellectual capacity, vibrant relationships, etc.

The crazy thing is that if you stop working… you start losing.

Most things of value are not “once secured always secured.” They must be nurtured and protected.

A huge mistake lots of people make is to work really hard to achieve a goal… and then once they achieve it they stop doing what got them there in the first place!

Some examples:

  • People compete in a bodybuilding show… after the show they gain a ton of weight… and often stop eating and lifting.
  • People go to church because their life is falling apart… it starts to get better… they quit going to church.
  • People pay attention to their marriage because divorce is imminent… it gets better… they decrease their intensity.

If you want to get it… you’ve got to work hard for it.

If you want to keep it… you’ve got to continue to nurture and protect it!

I urge you to look around you. Who/what do you love? Who/what have you worked hard to achieve? Then ask yourself, “If I keep doing what I’m doing will I keep/grow this thing I love so much?”

#dothework