Monthly Archives: July 2012

4 Productive Ways to Stay Put and Still Move

When it comes to moving physically, it can take a while to rack up the 10,000 required steps per day. While I am constantly on the move, I find times to stay put. Here is a small list of ways to stay put while still moving, which you may not even realize is still happening.

  • Meditation. As we calm ourselves and our minds and they begin to clear, we begin to stay still and move in a way deeper than we realize. Daily meditation in addition to exercise are actually some of the proven ways to relieve stress and build brain power. Combining the two daily can add up to tremendous benefits for our health and body. Meditation is easy and reaps all of these great benefits; it is also one of the few times it is okay to remain still.
  • Reading. Daily reading has not only been linked to overall health but also increasing brainpower, similar to meditation. Since they’re both active mental processes–unlike staring blankly at a TV screen–they help improve intelligence and mental health. Reading inspires us, teaches us, and helps us explore new and different worlds, which is why it is one of the best ways to remain moving by staying still.
  • Writing. Most good readers are also good writers and vice versa. Although writing is not as essential and beneficial to all as reading is, it also is a good way to remain moving while staying still.
  • Sleeping. Interestingly enough, sleeping is even a more active mental process than staring at a TV screen. While it may not appear as beneficial or “productive” at first, sleeping is actually the key ingredient that helps foster the others. Sleeping helps recover the mind and the body, restores us to a vital position, and helps us to relax and relieve stress, which is why it is a good way to move while remaining still.

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Planting a Seed: A Metaphor for Tiny Actions

Earlier this week, Jess and I were at a store and found a few trees on sale. Needless to say we were excited, so we decided to pick them up and plant them. Although they are not truly a “seed,” they gave me a great idea for a post. Below are three things that happen when you plant a seed in someone’s life. Whether it be through a spiritual practice, a nice greeting card, a handshake, an opportunity, a job offer, a monetary donation, or a small gift, all small tokens plant a seed in someone’s life. Below you will see how metaphorical the life of a tree is with the actions in your life towards others; after all, it is natural.

1. Seeds cause growth. Although almost every seed must first germinate, which is a difficult process that can sometimes take a long, cold winter, the seedling will always come out of it alive if it pushes hard enough. Once this lesson has been learned and germination has occurred, the seed that you’ve planted will begin to root and take place in the ground. Growing taller and taller, it takes an even stronger hold on the ground. This is exactly how our actions are when we plant a seed in someone’s life. At first it may not seem like much, and it may even go through some intense cold winters; however, it will begin to flower and take root in the spring time.

2. From one acorn, many large oaks grow. From the one seed that you planted in someone’s life, many other lives will be touched; this is the essential reason why you must live your life and plant your seeds. Once the tree has reached a certain maturity level, it will bring new offspring to the world, who will germinate, take root, and seed others. Your seed that is now a sapling and then a mature tree will continue this its entire life. Thousands upon thousands of others can be reached because of your tiny act.

3. In death there is more life. Although a sad truth, it is important to realize that even in death there is abundant life. Whenever your seed has come to the end of its road, whether to be cut for lumber, struck by lightning, or collapsing of old age, it will begin a new purpose. The tree may decay over hundreds of more years, but it will serve the ground around it well, as shelter for animals and food for termites; it becomes one huge part in the circle of life. When your seed has made its final journey in someone’s life, whether it be a career change or actual death, then it will be able to do the same.

Plant your seeds. Not only should we be planting more real seeds, but also seeds in the lives of others. Hopefully our metaphor helped you understand why planting is important.

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Why You Should Commute to Work by Bike

Today I took a drastic change from my normal routine. After a very interesting and life changing weekend, I decided it was time to make a few changes or at least try them out. I know that we often preach on baby steps, which I consider to be the best way of going about things; however, sometimes in life, a drastic leap is needed. After a small purchase of biking gear from my paycheck, I decided to try out this new “fab.” Below is a list of what I learned, what I loved, and what I will do next.

1. Biking isn’t difficult. For those of us already in moderate shape–and possibly some recent beginners–biking to work is a viable option. I was confident going into the bike, which was probably good, but I knew that I would have to push myself, which I did. The trip was approximately about 3-3.5 miles one way, which only took 15 minutes. I also even biked on back country roads, over hills, through town, and to the YMCA where I work part time.

2. The scenery is beautiful. I am sure that riding a bike is a whole better experience than driving a car; however, nothing tops moving by your own two feet. If there had to be a mechanical way to see things without walking or running, though, biking would be it.

3. Obstacles are overcome. Closely related to the last point, you will notice how easily and sometimes not so easily you overcome obstacles. In my case just finishing without stopping the whole time was quite the achievement, not to mention powering over the top of each of those hills.

4. Practically zero emissions. With the exception of the materials the bike is made of and its original transportation and manufacturing costs, bikes emit zero greenhouse gases to the environment. You can even reduce the actual costs to the environment if you buy a used bike, which I have. Riding on no gas or fossil fuels, biking burns only calories, which the environment will more than welcome.

5. It’s fun. Zooming down hills, passing by cornfields and forests, and being powered by only your two feet makes for a thrill of a ride, even if your chest is pounding.

6. It’s an easy way to move. 10,000 steps a day is recommended, but I am not sure how many “pedals” that would be on a bike. Any estimates? :). Regardless, biking to work is one easy way to move, one that is easy on the knees, too. Biking to work helps move us more than sitting still in a car.

7. I will continue to incorporate it. Although I may not be able to every day, I will enjoy incorporating riding my bike to work. It will help the environment, help my health, and help my mind. So next time you have a while before work, consider biking and see how much of an adventure it turns out to be.


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The Two Most Inspiring Things

Inspiration is often one of those feelings in life that is hard to find, but it also seems equally hard to get rid of for a while, too, which I find fascinating. Pondering about inspiration after an incident last night, I decided to write a short blog post about the two most inspiring things to us.

1. People who overcome diversity and people who accomplish amazing things. There is no single more amazing and inspiring feat that a human can do rather than overcome adversity. The first person to always cross my mind is Lance Armstrong. I know that he is currently getting a bit of media attention at the current moment, but if someone just read his book, like I have, then maybe they would understand him. His story, among thousands of others, inspire me daily. Lance is also a person who has accomplished amazing things while overcoming his hardships, which includes his 7 Tour d’France titles, not to mention others. Because of this, in the human realm there is nothing more inspiring than hearing a story of triumph, victory, love, and hard work.

2. Nature. “Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished.”—Lao Tzu. Nature is quite literally a miracle that happens daily. Nature is indescribable yet perfectly perceivable, even to those who cannot see or smell or hear. Nature is also essential in our lives, and we often push her away and destroy her. Nature is inspiring for her beauty, her calmness, her tranquility, her stillness, her hope, and her love of life. 

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Sprinting, the Ultimate Workout: Easy as 1, 2, 3

Note to Readers: Sorry about the time gap, but hey, no excuses right?

Usain Bolt will be setting out to break a world record soon in this year’s Olympic Games, and personally, we are hoping to see him do it, just to prove how amazing humans are. For those who don’t know, Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world, and he has the current world records in the 100, 150, and 200m dashes, among many other notable accomplishments; he is also one of my favorite athletes.

So why are we discussing Usain Bolt? The reason I mentioned Usain Bolt is because there is one thing he for sure has right—speed. Humans are designed to run, and speed is one of our qualities; however, do not overestimate us because humans still lack the agility and speed of most animals. Usain Bolt reaches arguably 30 miles per hour and a cheetah can reach 75, which is a big difference in the wild.

So what does speed have to do with you? Actually, speed has a lot to do with us. Speed development is an important motor skill that aids our running at all speeds, helps to correct and strengthen form, and burns fat and gets us back into shape. Because of this, we refer to sprinting as the ultimate workout: no weight room, only two legs, two arms, and an open area. There are three easy types of sprinting that I will discuss and the benefits of each.

1. Short and Power Sprints. The NFL Combine would refer to this as a 40 yard dash perhaps but short sprints need a seperate category. Most true distance athletes will debate adding true short sprints into their workouts because they see no need, which is understandable, especially for ultra-runners. However, all three categories of sprints that I discuss are essential at one point or another. Since, even for ultra-runners, all three types of muscle fibers aren’t all constantly firing at once. For instance, if we jog slow for hours, we will still incorporate more than slow twitch muscles. Because of this fact, it is essential to be able to recruit any of the three fibers at a given moment.

  • To do short hill sprints, begin slowly with baby steps. If your fitness level is not capable of even running a couple miles yet, then short sprints may still be out of the picture and you will have to work your fitness up to that level. By taking baby steps, you will probably do no more than 2-4 repetitions the first time.
  • Incorporate them once a week or twice a week at first. Do this until you incorporate other methods of sprints, too.
  • Begin with a flat surface, possibly a track, although grass works just as well, too.
  • Start with a medium distance depending on your fitness level. This could probably be anywhere from 30-80 meters. Eventually you will probably move these up to 100-150s on flat ground
  • Begin sprinting. Push hard through the sprint.
  • WALK back to the start. This is an important rule in sprinting, which is to make sure you have adequate recovery between repetitions. You can take more than a walk back rest but never less. 

2. Long sprints. The term long sprints may be a bit vague, but I will clear it up. When I began running track, a long sprint was a 200. By the time my high school career was over, it was a 400. Now, near the halfway point of my college career, it is the 800. Because of this, different distances can be used, and all require different purposes that eventually help us out. The most important part of the long sprints section is that it usually deals with some form of lactic acid training and a lot of race pace training to get the feel for things. Even without races, long sprints are, without a doubt, extremely important.

  • Once more, begin slow. Add them once or twice a week, not on the same days as other sprints because they work a different muscle type.
  • Use a flat surface, such as a track.
  • Begin with low reps, which are in the 2-4 range.
  • Begin with a smaller distance. Most beginners will not be able to do Yasso 800’s in their first workout, unfortunately. Start with a 200-300 distance and run it at a moderate speed. Gradually pick up a half a second to a second over the next few weeks. Add no more than 10-15% to the distance each week, also.
  • Make sure to remember that, although these are sprints, they will be much slower than a short sprint, especially if your lactic acid system has not fully developed.
  • Walk back recovery will be at least half the distance. In most cases, some experienced runners may not have to walk the entire distance back on these, especially if it is over a 400 and less than an 800, but keep to a general rule that at least walking back half the distance is good in the beginning. Later on, one can begin to mix and match these and run workouts, such as “dirty thirties” and many more that will involve this same distance but less rest, but more on that later. . .

3. Hill sprints, the ultimate beast. By far, hill sprints are my favorite type of workout. By adding variation, you can work your anaerobic, aerobic, and even glycotic systems with them.

  • Approach hill sprints with extreme caution, and be sure that you are capable of a high fitness level with other types of sprints already, especially if you are sprinting steep hills.
  • Begin gradually. You may only do one or two reps of these, especially if on a steep hill, if you are just starting out.
  • Learn to lift your legs higher and use only a slight forward lean. This helps correct our running form and gives us power in all of our other runs. It also is kind of like a “weight lifting session in disguise” as I have heard it named.
  • Do these once or twice a week at most. Alternate the days with the other types of sprints.
  • Mix up the distance and incline. Unless you live in the heart of a flatland, chances are there are hills near where you live, and they probably are all different distances and elevations. If this is the case, utilize them all. Some days you may do 20 reps of a 20 meter hills, while other days you may do 2 reps of a 400 meter hill.  It is important to work all the systems when sprinting hills. Besides, that’s how it would have been in the wild anyway!

I hope you find sprinting as enjoyable and healthy of a workout as us. Sprinting, if added properly, can enhance your running and your life, among other things. Utilize this training method and a few others that we will post soon to help you develop a better way to move physically.

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7 Habits to Move Away From

While this site focuses a lot on moving forward, sometimes I like to take a step backward, or at least look backward, and begin to move in a different way or view things that we try to move away from. Here’s a short list of big things to start to move away from.

1. Negativity. Negative thoughts and actions impact our lives and the live of those around us. Moving away from negativity will help us grow in our positive life. It is with our positive life that we find fulfillment. Moving away from negativity also involves moving away from negative people, those which may hold you back; although, sometimes this is not always the case, as they can move towards a positive life, too. As you take baby steps to move away from negativity, you will see your life released in a new, much happier light.

2. Self-doubt. We are what we believe, after all. Doubting ourselves and our true goals and aspirations and aptitudes does nothing but bring negativity into our lives that will flood us with unhappiness. Moving away from self-doubt will boost our self-esteem to a level where we will begin to believe in ourselves; our lives will begin to take a purpose.

3. Procrastination. More about this one later. . . Just kidding. Procrastination is one of the worst habits that modern society has brought with it because it seems  to be so much easier to sit around and not really get anything accomplished. As we’ve noticed, though, almost every successful person that has ever been seems to lack this habit, which is good. We are trying to improve our own with baby steps and so should you.

4. Waste. Wasteful products, wasteful relationships, wasteful thoughts, there are all kinds of waste. We need to begin to move away particularly from the waste we release to the environment: greenhouse gases, landfills, and so on. We are on the move making baby steps towards many goals that could potentially help us in this category. As far as other types of waste go, they seem to burden our lives, build up, and eventually overwhelm us. By removing them piece by piece, we become stress free and free of negativity.

5. Discrimination. Because we live in a society of classes, whether we want to admit it or not, this habit is nearly a given, unfortunately. In my previous semester of college, I took an entire class based around this subject, and much of what I saw really surprised me because  most of it I had never thought.of before. Discrimination is one thing that has come along with the “advancement” of civilization; and is mostly there because of the way our societies work: someone at the top and someone at the bottom. I could go on and on about discrimination, but I will keep my words short and say that it is a habit to move away from.

6. Fear. Without a doubt, next to negativity and self doubt, fear is probably what is holding us back most. The fear of failure is most common. Whatever fear persists in your life that may even limit you in the slightest must be faced. A fear faced head on will be a habit soon overpowered and eliminated.

7. Sedentary. We are all humans and we need to move. That’s 10,000 steps a day for most people. This habit is one that is hurting society more in recent years. Because we live so technologically advanced, most things do not require much of an effort to do or require little movement. In essence, we are on our way to becoming vegetables. With the lack of movement we become overweight, have heart disease, develop cancerous tumors, and much more that can most of the time be partially prevented by movement. So why not move away from being sedentary and just move?

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Dropping the T

What’s holding you back right now?

If you’re like most people, the biggest obstacle in your way is, well, yourself. Negative thoughts flood us all at one time or another; however, we’ve found that by “dropping the T” from our can’ts and don’ts make a big difference. We came up with this term one day while we were discussing certain things that we were and weren’t capable of doing.Here’s a few reasons to drop your T.

1. Gives us forward movement. Releasing a negative thought and promoting a positive thought will help move us forward quicker than dreading things. Once a seed of positive thinking starts to grow, it will quickly take root and hold itself up. If we let in positive moods, positive things will begin to propel us forward.

2. Changes your thoughts to change our actions. Once a positive seed has started to grow and we move forward, our actions start to change as our thoughts change. One action sparks another, and before you know it, you have started to not only think entirely positively, but also act more positively. Once our actions are speaking louder than our words, we are truly moving forward, moving others, and moving the world.

3. Fulfillment follows. Our actions and thoughts change who we are and soon we become a different person. By dropping our T, we have found fulfillment in our lives, a fulfillment only reached by changing our thoughts and actions to positive ones.

So what exactly is holding you back?

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3 Reasons to Get Up (Or Sometimes Sit Down) and Just Do It

“Just do it.”–Nike

Sometimes we find ourselves fumbling about and procrastinating to avoid doing certain things, whether it be laundry, our workout, or whatever. In the end, we usually finally finish it and are relieved; sometimes we aren’t because we took so long to finish it, we did it at a bad time, or it ended up taking time away from something else. The easiest way to fix this problem is to just get moving and fix it now while you (really do) have time.

1. Procrastination is, well, a waste of time. When we procrastinate, we are not only pushing something off until we “find the time,” we are also limiting ourselves on time for other opportunities. If you push back running, something else may come up later to where you can’t run, or you may end up making up an excuse why you cannot run today. Either way, procrastination is bad.

2. No such thing as perfect timing. Well, this is almost true anyways. . . But for 99.99% of stuff you do in life, there will not be a right time to do it, only a right-here-and-now time. You must take this moment as you can, despite being tired, washed up, or angry, and use it to get stuff done because it may be all you have.

3. It will be finished, and you’ll be happier. If you sit down or get up and do what you need to now, you will feel more refreshed about it later because, chances are, you will have more revitalization and free time at a later time when you find out that you need it most. With such burdens lifted from your shoulders, you will be able to take on tasks that really matter, which saves you time and helps you live your life the way you want.


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5 Reasons You Need Less TV

The most common reaction we get when we tell people we don’t watch TV is something along the lines of this: “What!? How?!” To me, it’s simple, and here’s a few reasons why you need less TV, none at all.

1. Slows down your brain activity. As in, less than when we are sleeping. Staring blankly at a TV screen is one of the worst activities that a person can do, especially as far as a mental exercise. When we look into a TV we essentially perform no actions, only watch, don’t think very much, and we also are sitting most of the time, all of which combined are an equation for slowing brain activity. Instead, choosing an activity such as meditation or reading boosts brain activity, while also giving us a (much better) relaxed feeling than that of TV.

2. Prevents sleep. One fact about TV use that most people don’t know until after they’ve been heavily exposed to it is the fact that TV time can take away from sleep time. Too much loud or bright television before bed prevents the release of melatonin and other chemicals and hormones in the brain that it uses for sleep. Although the cliche picture is one of an old dad falling asleep watching TV, you would be surprised how much TV can prevent sleep; I have personally dealt with this when I was a bit younger. So if you want to get more shut eye or better shut eye, shut off the TV.

3. Little gained. For a lot ventured with TV, not much is gained in return. Sure, watching someone blow stuff up or watching a lion chase down a zebra or anything else is quite neat, little can be gained from watching most TV shows. Although documentaries and a few other listings can be an exception, especially for some visual learners, TV offers so much extra fluff that it is indeed too much of a good thing. For the time you offer staring at the screen, it is indeed a loss.

4. Expensive. I always hear people complaining about gas prices, grocery prices, and shipping prices recently, but how many people have actually looked at the price of TV? Since TV has a recurring cost rather than just a one time cost, it adds up to more than you think. A decent sized flat screen TV alone can cost one a couple hundred dollars or more, especially if you opt to get a really nice one.  Add this to the monthly charge of even cable or satellite TV or high definition channels or sports packages and pay per view, and you are already starting to rack up a decent sized bill. No doubt a regular sized family probably spends a thousand dollars on recurring bills revolving around their TV each year.

5. Takes time away. This is by far the worst of all the previous consequences. Sure, you lose a few dollars or brain cells, you can easily gain those back; however, when it comes to time, once it’s gone there’s no retrieving it. Time spent on the TV could be used for movement, training, socializing, a second job, more work, goal planning, reading, writing, and so many other activities that are so much healthier and beneficial. Reducing TV can greatly improve your health this way, in all ways. So the next time you sit down to watch TV think of what you are sacrificing to get some “relaxing” time watching shows.

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No Excuses Philosophy

Of all the memories of high school sports, there is one that I’ve held onto more than others: our football coach’s  no excuse philosophy. While I’d learned many lessons from sports, many of which I will present on this site, I was definitely struck hard with this one. A play would happen, somebody would miss a block and then our coach would get all fired up, screaming at the top of his lungs at you and asking “What was that? What’d you forget to do? What the heck are you doing?” Before you’d have time to respond he would scream “No excuses!” while screaming some silly nickname he made up for you. While this may sound a bit like boot camp, it was not all that rough; in fact, the lessons that football taught me are prevalent to this day. I know realize more than ever why our football coach had a no excuses philosophy; it was teaching us a life lesson. Here’s a few reasons to not make up excuses.

  • Excuse an opportunity. An excuse gives you time to procrastinate, a very bad habit and a difficult one to break. By procrastinating and making an excuse you are missing an opportunity that might present itself. For example, if you want to run a 5k but you make excuses like “I’m too fat.” or “I’m not a runner.” then you will be missing out on an opportunity to better yourself. By making excuses you are excusing a potentially good opportunity.
  • Excuse a chance at success.  This rule fits closely with the first. If all you do is make excuses, you will never find the perfect time, place, or energy to do just about anything; it will kill your desire. Once your desire is killed it becomes hard to rekindle. By making excuses, you are excusing a chance for opportunities to lead you to success.
  • Excuse energy and time. When one begins to make up excuses, we lose time an energy that could be used for good. Since time is our most valuable resource, it becomes difficult to get back, although you can make more time. So when you use an excuse again, make sure you realize how much time and energy you may waste.

Keep these tips in mind when making excuses, especially useless ones, which also includes lies. I know that no one is perfect and I make excuses too; I just try to keep hold of these tips when I’m tempted to make up a bunch of excuses. Hold onto promises, goals, dreams, and your chance at success and happiness by using less excuses.

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