Health Hacks 4-19-17

Here are 5 health hacks, 1 per pillar. Try them out to see some real results on your weight, energy, strength, relationships, attitude and happiness.

Mind

I used to start each morning as though my bed were on fire. My alarm would go off and within seconds my heart rate was at ‘race pace’ and my head filled with anxious thoughts of how I was already behind…at 5:46 am. Now I set my alarm for 10 minutes before I need to be out of bed. For those few, precious, vital moments, I go through a morning routine that I am certain has boosted my total productivity, not to mention extended my life expectancy by about 10 years. Seehttp://bit.ly/2nvyJJ4 for my full morning routine, one aspect being that I visualize what a positive day looks like. I picture myself being calm, I envision myself being a really good father, I visualize myself being productive at work, I see myself very clearly getting in a great workout. This all takes a minute or two, but you would be amazed at the power of pre-visualizing things you want to become a reality. Give yourself the gift of a few extra minutes each morning to set a great tone for the day.

Nutrition

I’m sure you were told as a little kid to not ‘spoil your appetite’ by eating shortly before dinner. The reality is, if you want to lose weight, you should absolutely spoil your appetite. What I mean by this specifically is that we tend to overeat – and make inferior food choices – when we are very hungry. How many times have you been unable to eat for a long period of time, you become ‘starving’ then wolf down whatever you can find, be it pizza, fast food or some other not so good for you sustenance – in large quantities. Instead of letting long periods of time pass between meals – especially before dinner – snack on something an hour or 2 prior. When you think you are ‘saving’ 200 calories by not snacking at 3 pm, you end up instead consuming many times more calories (e.g. scarfing down bread before dinner) than you would have had you eaten prior to your main meal. I rarely go more than 3 hours without eating during the day. If I have lunch around noon, I will always eat mid-afternoon, even if that is something as simple/small as a healthy protein bar (contact me for some of the better ones, many are just glorified candy bars). I can honestly say that I am almost never hungry (at least in the appetite sense). But I also very rarely eat past the point of being full, since I always go into a meal not starving. By eating something when you are hungry, you are far last apt to over eat later. This is especially true/important later in the day.

Weight Training

Drop sets are one of the best ways to build muscle quickly, yet I rarely see people doing them, even when I work out in a gym full of 20 somethings in a nearby town (let alone my main gym where the average age is closer to my own). Here is how they are done. Once you are well warmed up for any given muscle group, let’s call it a quarter to half way through your workout, set the weight so you can do about 10 reps. Do your reps, and immediately drop the weight so that you can do about 10 more reps. Do this 3 or 4 times such that you end up doing 30 – 40 reps continuously, the only rest being the time it takes you to change the weight. This is a fantastic way to really hit muscles hard in a very short amount of time. I do drop sets all the time, especially towards the end of a workout. It is not about lifting heavy, it is about getting in lots of volume quickly as a way of taxing the muscles. So if you are doing lat pull downs, start with 120 lbs (or whatever you can do for 10), then drop to 100, then 80, and finish with 60 for example. Keep your technique really clean, focusing on contracting the muscles during the down (pull) and up (negative) sections.

Cardio

I used to put in countless hours on the road until I finally discovered the amazing benefits of interval training. Find a hill and sprint up it. As usual, warm up well, a 10 minute easy run will do. Then do sets of sprints up the hill. It can be as short as 20 or 30 yards. Walk down to your starting point, turn around, and do it again. It won’t’ take many reps to give you more benefits than an hour on the gym bicycle or elliptical. Start off by doing this every 3rd or 4th cardio workout. Start with a few hill repeats, then add 1 or two every couple weeks. You will see your fat start melting away (if you are eating right and minimizing alcohol intake). This workout sounds brutal but it takes very little time, is fun (do it with a partner for extra motivation), helps with muscle building, and is far ‘easier’ than doing a long, slow 10 miler.

See Video For Running Interval Workout Example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32SwllmDwFk

Spiritual

I’ve got 2 kids and even though I love them to death, at times they can drive me nuts. But I want to be a good father, so I had to figure out ways to stay calm and parent effectively when they start at each other (which seems to be all the time ). In life, simple often rules the day. When you find yourself getting worked up – you are frustrated at work, your kids are driving you crazy, some guy at the gym is sitting on a machine for minutes on end, just breath. Take 3 or 4 slow, deep, conscious breaths. It is not about getting oxygen to the brain, it is about slowing things down and gaining awareness in the moment. Most of our bad decisions/actions in life are done when we temporarily lose awareness of our actions, our consciousness. When, in a few moments or sometimes even hours or days later we regain that awareness, we know with clarity that our actions were wrong. But in the moment we are like a shark in a feeding frenzy, our eyes proverbially rolling back into our head. The simple act of taking a breath – the most basic and fundamental thing we can do as a human (and something very simple to remember/implement) - increases the chances that the actions we are about to take are ones consistent with our true principles, convictions and intentions.

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