I don’t know about you but in my opinion nothing beats Sunday mornings in the fall. Sleeping in an extra hour in the cool weather, the smell of bacon fills the house, walking the dog out by the pond, enjoying the minutia of preparing for a productive week ahead, spending time with my wife, and of course making sure my lineup is set for another dominant week of fantasy football. You know, the simple things.
It is also when I get to play catch-up with some of the things I didn’t get to during the week. In today’s case, that thing is getting some blogging content up for all of you, which, for lack of a better term, has been sucking lately. Being the novice (at best) writer that I am, it takes hours to get a 500-1,000 word post up which is becoming more of a chore than I would like it to be.
To bring back the magic and make this fun for me again (and provide more valuable content for you) I plan to share a ‘random thoughts’ type post each and every Sunday (before football starts of course). These posts are more fun for me to write since sometimes it can be hard to focus on one topic for a whole post. I am constantly thinking about how to share my knowledge of how to make people move better, get stronger, lose fat, build muscle, decrease stress, be sexier, and simply: live life to the fullest.
I’m not always sure of my punctuation and grammar but I am sure that these posts will be easier for you all to gain some of the knowledge bombs I drop to make you more awesomer. Without further adieu:
1. Stretch your hip flexors. Like, all the time.
One thing I notice any time I set foot in any commercial gym is that everyone and their mother loves to stretch their hamstrings (improperly I might add) but very few (read: zero) people focus on their hipflexors.
Chances are your hamstrings are fine but I’m willing to bet your hip flexors are locked up tighter than Fort Knox.
The fact is, most people live in flexion (e.g. sitting position and hunched over) for up to 12 hrs a day. Needless to say, after all that sitting your hip flexors are in desperate need of some TLC and neglecting them can result in everything from chronic knee and low-back pain to injury to looking like Quasimodo.
Here is a great hip flexor stretch that nicely targets the rectus femoris, which is one of your quads that crosses both hip and knee joint:
- straight line frome knee to shoulder to ceiling
- gently squeeze your glutes to ‘bring hips to belly button’ to feel stretch
- stomach tight, stay tall
- knee and foot are on railroad tracks
- pretend there are headlights on your hips, want them shining straight ahead
2. Drink kombucha (or other fermented beverages).
I can’t even count how many times I have been asked what that nasty $#I+ that I am drinking is. Despite also being known as ‘fermented mushroom tea’ it is NOT fermented mushrooms. All it is is black tea, sugar and a form of yeast culture (same as any fermented food, beer and wine included).
Yes, it is an acquired taste but no different than getting used to drinking beer or wine (both fermented). No, it will not get you drunk (unless you drink a gallon) but that’s not why I drink it. It’s for the incredible amount of probiotics, b vitamins, and antioxidants.
With things like stress, drinking coffee, alcohol and even tap water, and antiboitics destroying the healthy bacteria in our stomachs it becomes increasingly important to replenish them to healthy levels to stay healthy. Doing so can:
- improve digestion
- improve detoxification
- improve liver, kidney and pancreatic function
- prevent illness (less colds, flus and ‘stomach bugs’)
- reduce inflammation
- provide energy
For those of you who are new to natural probiotics and fermented food I recommend starting slowly with just a few ounces a day as too much can upset your stomach. Lindsay and I brew ours at home but you can pick up kombucha at most health food stores. I recommend the GT brand as it is the only one that provides information on the cultures it contains.
3. Add the 1-Arm Bench Press to Your Routine.
I’m sure you are all familiar with one arm pushups: either they suck or you can’t do them. But what about a one arm bench press? It is amazing how this simple twist on a classic exercise can instantly transform a basic pressing movement into a full-body exercise that brutally challenges your core. And it has a much lower learning curve than that one arm pushup!
As simple as it sounds, this exercise is no joke as you will find out the first time you attempt to press heavy weight in one hand and find yourself tipping over to one side. To prevent this from happening you must summon great amounts of total body tension throughout your legs, core and even the opposite arm!
4. Don’t train so hard.
On weeks when stress from work, life, family and fantasy football are piling up it may be a good opportunity to lighten the load in the gym. Lower the weight you use, the volume of reps, the length of your workout or the number of workouts for a week and take an impromptu deload week. Seriously.
I know this might be when you want to hit it hard and training lighter may seem counterproductive to your progress but adding some serious training stress to an already stressful week may actually slow your progress.
To make use of the time you have you can easily work on other things like spending some extra time with the foam roller, working on your mobility, and practicing technique on exercises you haven’t quite mastered yet (insert TGU here). This way you can be ready to hit it hard when things cool down a bit!
5. Go to bed 30 min earlier.
Although there is no magic number for how many hours of sleep you should be getting each night chances are you probably aren’t getting enough. If you are like most people I’ve met you have goals of getting stronger, decreasing body fat, being more energetic, performing better in the sack, and just looking good nekkid. The problem is that if your sleep is off you will have a difficult time hitting any of these goals.
It might not seem like much but an extra 20-30 min of sleep a night can really add up and be just what you need to dominate life. You just have to ask yourself: “Is watching tonight’s American Idol (I don’t know much about TV, is this still popular?) or losing that last 5lbs of body fat more important?”.