Like most of the country, it’s cold and snowy today. Hard to believe that it’s still officially autumn as winter won’t arrive for another few days. Even though I grew up in the midwest and have lived in Maine for a number of years, I still get a little grumpy when the cold weather arrives. I will say, though, that one advantage to living in Maine in the wintertime are the stunningly brilliant blue skies and abundant sunshine. The problem is that by the time those golden rays hit us, they’ve lost their power to warm us up — not to mention the fact that the sun sets around 4pm this time of year. Beyond frosty fingers, less sunlight means we have to work a little harder to get a very essential vitamin that is a dynamo at warding off disease. Let’s find some ways to supplement our sunshine with dominating vitamin D.
Like many people who are into fitness and exercising, you were likely to have started due to either improving your body image or athletics, OR a combination of both. My personal story was a combination of both. I started lifting weights at 13 years of age and mainly cut my teeth on the widely popular Joe Weider weight lifting books mixed with a healthy dose of calisthenics. Calisthenics has been a constant in my life ever since being introduced to them back in grade school. YES — Back when you had Physical Education everyday in school. The President’s Fitness Test was a competition among most students in our class. Therefore, my fitness foundation was calisthenics, free weights (some powerlifts / some body building sets), and whatever sport was in the season throughout middle and high school. (football, powerlifting, track, wrestling, baseball)
Once I joined the military, I realized quickly that there was much more to learn about fitness training. Not only are there workouts that can get you strong, create endless muscle stamina, enable you to run, swim, and ruck, BUT (this is for you body builders) you can actually keep most of your muscle. With proper nutrition and creative balance of weights, calisthenics, and cardio, you can not only be cardiovascularly fit, but strong, lean, and still have muscle mass. Just look at most active Special Operators today.
Tone Wings, Thighs and Six Pack
Want to keep those Thanksgiving feelings of gratitude into the December holidays while revving up your fitness resolution early? Try my no-equipment Slimnastics gratitude yoga flow that tones your wings, thighs and 6-pack too. (Get the FULL workout from my Slimnastics book and DVD – you can do it anywhere holiday travel takes you!)
Focus-Taking a moment to breathe deeply will allow you to focus on thankfulness, one breath with one movement, inhaling gratitude, exhaling a smile. Do a few sun salutations for a warm up, then follow this flow 5–8 times per leg, alternating each side. While in warrior III, focus on gratitude for strong legs, in chaturanga, focus on gratitude for arms that work and can hold you up, engage your abs to lift hips into down dog. In down dog, remember that if the world turns upside down, it offers contrast and another view. Down dog is also anti-aging and works your upper back while perfecting your posture. Give thanks for your age, and all you’ve learned. Your good health and all the loving people who have come into your life.
Please forgive this delayed Thanksgiving message. We were in the throws of a floor tiling project in advance of Christmas company and the time slipped away. Although the day has passed, I am reminded by my friend David at Snipers Skate Shop, that we need to celebrate Thanksgiving as a “Mindset…not just one day of the year.” Please take a moment to enjoy and share this message from one of our most inspirational Presidents, Abraham Lincoln:
Learning how to balance tough Special Ops level training with injury prevention is a constant battle and a delicate balance between recovery, logical progressions, nutrition, hydration, and knowing when to put in 100%. Now that last part is a bit tricky because in Spec Ops training you need to give 100% all the time right? Well — not really — you have to know when to turn it on and when to back it down so you do not injure yourself. Here is an email from a 28 yr old trying to get the most of his last few months before the age limit no longer allows him to attend SEAL training:
“Stew, I am 28 and a SEAL candidate working hard everyday to prepare myself for what is to come. I am a former boxer and have found that when I do the sprints in your Navy SEAL Fitness book , I ache for a day and I am borderline pulling a hamstring. How do I do these workouts at my age and not hurt myself?”
As some of you may have already figured out, I get a little non-traditional during the holiday season opting for seafood over stuffing, chocolate over cherry pie and tofu over turkey most Thanksgiving meals. Maybe it’s the non-conformist, rebellious side of me that strikes out against the routine of familiar fare. My guess is that we all feel that way on occasion, although there is something to be said for the comforts of tradition especially when we are far from home and loved ones. This year, while I’m still not tempted to prepare a turkey, I have decided to be bold and daring in other endeavors, namely punching up my Thanksgiving spread with pomegranates. Don’t let its quirky exterior fool you, inside this exotic fruit is packed with non-traditional nutrients that are sure to make your body thankful for years to come.
Walking through Whole Foods, what would you expect a Cross-Fit Champion would load up on?
Eggs? Wheaties? Raw Meat?
How about…Peanut Butter and Chocolate Milk?
Yep…turns out getting ripped and winning championships involves little nuts and big udders.
In the past few months, I’ve had the honor to work closely with remarkable Veterans and civilian leaders who fully committed to creating a permanent Veterans Family Center here in Maine. It was the vision of Staff Sergeant, Travis Mills, one of only five surviving quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, to have a permanent, handicap accessible camp for Veterans and their families to relax, rehabilitate and rejuvenate among fellow Veterans. This week, Travis retired from his military service and will be moving his family to begin a new life away from the familiarity of 19 months in rehabilitation at Walter Reed, his unit, squadron and fellow veterans. Like many veterans and their families, change can bring exciting opportunities but it can also trigger stress and anxiety especially for those dealing with PTSD.
Red Cape Not Included…
I was fortunate enough to be invited to the movie premier of Man of Steel before the rest of the world. I was shocked to see how ripped Henry Cavill (Superman) got. And probably just like you I though, Man…how’d he do that?
After some research I discovered his secret for packing on massive muscle in such a short time. Let me share with you my findings.
What are the Best Supplement Ingredients for a Healthy Brain?
There are many brain vitamins and supplements which can significantly enhance focus and improve well-being. Research is discovering that just like every other part of your body, nutritional support is important for keeping your brain “young-like” no matter how many candles are on your cake. Face it, it doesn’t matter how big your biceps are, or how fast you can recover from a 10 mile run, if you can’t find your way home after a workout because of brain fog.
In that past, losing your memory was just an “accepted” part of growing older. Today, science in the lab and in the kitchen is bringing us places in the brain where we haven’t been able to go before.
Want to work your Wings and Thighs before Thanksgiving? I’ll even add in a six pack for the football games!
Here’s how — take your favorite old-school, go-to moves like the squat and the plank, and give them a fitness makeover mu adding multitasking muscle moves that work your whole body at the same time!
Improve the Move by Watching these free video demos.
Here is an email from a young man who seeks some advice about adding weights to his training plan. He is not only pre-training for the next track / cross country season, but also is preparing for Navy SEAL training after he graduates high school.
Stew, I was curious if I start to add some weights to my off-season program would it affect my running negatively? In other words, would it make me slower? I am also wanting to add Navy SEAL workouts into my training so I will be adding in swims, swims with fins, and various PT workouts. I read in a previous Navy SEAL article you mentioned about learning to be a good team player prior to joining the service — well I am doing that but I want to be the best team player I can be and in this case it means running faster. Any advice?
Team sports in high school go a long way in developing needed skills you will use everyday in the military. Simply being on a team with a competitive spirit is a great foundation to build upon once you join and you will especially need these skills in the Spec Ops community.
As teenagers go, I was a pretty good kid. I stayed active in sports, was the editor of my yearbook, acted in theater productions, stayed on the honor role, and was always home by curfew. But, like all good kids, when you fall, you sometimes fall hard. A day after graduation, I told a little lie in order to attend a dinner and a play in the city. By midnight, we had crashed the car in the median after the driver feel asleep behind the wheel. I ended up in the hospital with a severely broken wrist and hand. Beyond my mother’s wrath, I also suffered terrible flashbacks. For years, I couldn’t get into a car without tremendous anxiety and the sound of a gravel road would completely freak me out. It is remarkable how traumatic experiences affect our physical and emotional state and I can only imagine how difficult it must be for our military and veterans. While I won’t presume any fool-proof solutions for the physical and emotional complexities of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), there are some helpful healthy choices that are easy to incorporate right now that may help alleviate some factors that aggravate PTSD.
Protein: Much More than Cow
Eating enough foods high in protein is critical for building muscle. Protein not only promotes muscle growth, it also ensures muscle recovery and allows you to manage your weight by allowing you to feel fuller, longer. Now, when most people think protein, they think bovine. But…don’t limit yourself to the dairy! There are so many more protein-rich foods to enjoy!
Eating protein rich meals after working out is required for gaining muscle mass. The quality protein you consume after that workout helps to repair the damage. Most people grab a whey protein drink, chocolate milk, and take BCAA supplements. It’s quick, easy and it works. As you read this article, you’ll learn which other foods are high in protein and help build muscle.
What’s so Special about Saw Palmetto?
You may have heard about the benefits of Saw Palmetto, a plant native to the southeast. It’s nothing special to look at yet has a long history of medicinal uses which include preventing urinary disorders in men and boosting libido.
Native Americans are the first know users of this plant by including the nutrient rich berries in their diet. Men should consider using saw palmetto as a preventative measure for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), otherwise known as enlargement of the prostate gland.
Want More from Your Workouts?
What you get out of your body and the level of your health and physical performance is directly related to what you put into your body. You can’t blame your mama or bad genes forever. Sooner or later you’ll realize that you and you alone are responsible for your health. Sure, your gene pool may “load the gun” so to speak, but your lifestyle choices pull the trigger.
You want better performance? Skip the junk food diet and opt for a healthy sports diet …even if you’re not an athlete! Why? Because in order to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs you have to do better than the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) . To get into shape and stay fit, you should analyze your diet plan—no matter what workout plans you are following. Maximize your performance and create an ideal muscular system using these helpful tips.
Between Halloween candy, Thanksgiving stuffing and Christmas cookies, your body will take a brutal calorie beating this holiday season. This is the perfect time to start or change that workout routine.
Your body has an amazing ability to adapt and for most people, working out consists of what I call a “zombie workout”, which involves going to the gym and doing the same exercises over and over. I see people actually yawning while working out. Your body can’t possibly be getting an effective workout while yawning!
Add Some Weight to your Workout Plan
What does it mean to “Get Fit?”
Some people want to get fit so they can participate in an event like a triathlon. For others, they just want to be able to zip up their jeans or eliminate back fat. Still others are slaves to the bathroom scale and hope to see a number that hasn’t been around since high school. Whatever your goals the positive effects of weight training can help you get there.
The diversity of the TRX training device has continued to increase each year since it exploded in the fitness world a few years ago. The TRX just keeps getting better as more creative users post videos and the company, TRX Training, strives to build state of the art programming for trainers, professional athletes, military, special operation personnel and many others throughout the fitness spectrum.
The latest TRX development now fits in the palm of your hand – The New TRX Force Super APP. A twelve-week tactical fitness program used by all branches of the military, a huge video library to get ideas and gauge your form and technique, and an interactive timer to challenge your fitness levels are all combined in the new APP. Looking at other publications and videos, there can be over 200 exercises from this one system! You can see many of these in video format on the TRXtraining.com website as well.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an investor, squirreling away my hard-earned lawn mowing and babysitting money in my passbook savings account at our local bank. At a young age I knew the importance of compounding interest and the benefit of investing in my future. The same rules apply to your health — the more you invest in it at an early age, the better return you’ll get on your investment in the future. Are you well-invested? If not, there are some simple investments you can make right now to ensure you’ll reap those healthy dividends.