The Mighty Push-Up

One Take from the Week #7: The Mighty Push-Up

Last week, I was asked by a parent of one of my Parkour students if I could design a workout program for his son. Happily, I said yes. Creating a foundation of fitness early in life is an asset you can take with you into your senior years. A key component of fitness is strength. Whether it is lifting heavy weights in the gym or carrying your luggage through the airport, you need strength.

The first item I put on his workout list is the mighty push-up. This exercise is an all-around muscle builder that works the chest, back, arms, core, and even the legs. It is an exercise that requires absolutely no equipment. As simple as the movement is, raising and lowering your body from a plank position, it is remarkable how many people struggle to perform it. My student can get 10-20 at one time. He wants to be able to do more. How can he do it? The easy answer is to keep doing it. The more time your muscles spend under tension, the stronger they will get. Yet if you go crazy and push until your arms fall off, you might decide it is not worth the pain. If you get yourself so sore that you cannot do a push-up for several days, you lose time under tension.

I spoke with a co-worker a couple of days ago about his push-up routine. He told me that he averages about 400 push-ups a day. The day before our conversation, he said he did over 800. 800 is amazing! Even more amazing is that he is almost sixty years-old and has only been doing this for a few weeks. How is this possible?

Well, a few weeks ago, he saw a few other co-workers getting together to do some push-ups. At first, he told himself he was too old to be doing this. But then, he had a second thought. What could be the harm? So, he joined in. He started out doing 20-25 push-ups. The group was doing this in their spare moments on a twelve-hour workday. Their spare time happened to come about twice an hour. Roughly every thirty minutes, he got down and started pushing. To do them took less than thirty seconds. What was the payoff? He said he felt more energetic throughout the day. He had less fatigue and of course, he was getting stronger. For him, this was a real game changer since he stopped going to the gym during Co-vid.

Pavel Tsatsouline is a Russian strength coach known for introducing the west to the kettlebell. He says you must grease the groove to build strength. What does this mean? If my student can do a maximum of twenty push-ups at one time, I want him to do ten. I want him to do half of his maximum, and I want him to do it 5-10 times throughout the day, even more if he has the time. I want him to grease the groove. If he does this, he will build the strength to do more. He will be able to do it without getting sore. He won’t put too much stress on his joints and ligaments, and they too will get stronger.

For my student, this is laying the foundation. Doing push-ups every day is only the beginning. But in recommending this to him, I must consider my own behaviors. Currently, I don’t do push-ups every day. In fact, I only work my chest about 2-3 times a week. For some reason, I fell out of the habit. Well, that needs to end and so today I am putting this back into my daily routine. At home, I will do them every time they cross my mind. Same thing at work where I have plenty of space in my office to do them. And since my office mates already think I have some loose wiring in my head, this will only help to confirm their suspicions. Who know? They may even join me.

Want to join in on the fun? Find out how many you can do at one time. Then, do half of that as many times throughout the day as you can. In time your numbers will go up, your strength will improve, and you will start to notice an improvement in your physique.


Feature photo by Gordon Cowie on Unsplash

“It’s Monday”

One Take from the Week #6: It’s Monday

I know. Today is Saturday. But for a moment, let us talk about Monday.

I passed by a coworker last week. I asked him how it was going. He looked at me, grimaced, and shrugged his shoulders. “It’s Monday,” he said. Yep, I thought. It was Monday.

3,640

That is how many Mondays you will see in your life if you live seventy years. Granted, most of these you will not remember. Even the ones that came in the current year have already been forgotten. Monday. It is a day like no other. It is the beginning of the week. But for some reason, it is the one most dreaded.

It is viewed as a curse, but shouldn’t it be a blessing. You get to start a new week. For many, there are no more Mondays in their life.

A misfortune or an opportunity. This is all paradigm. You can view your Monday as something you are forced to endure or as a chance to get the week rolling in a positive way.

If you are dreading Monday, you should ask yourself why. Why is your Monday bad? Identify the reasons and see if there is a way to change them. You are going to see this day thousands of times. Is that a thousand times of dread because that would truly be depressing. Instead, make it thousands of blessings, thousands of opportunities. Life is too short to allow over 14% of it to be a “dreaded” Monday.

de-EMF-ication

One Take from the Week #5: de-EMF-ication


Earlier this week, I discussed my sleep issues and the failures that led up to it. That was on a Monday night. Tuesday night’s sleep was so-so. When Wednesday morning came around, I was determined not to repeat those same issues. I woke up at 3:45 in the morning and knocked out 10,000 meters on my rowing machine before going into work. After work, I ate a quick dinner around 5 p.m. and then spent another hour in the gym coaching my son’s parkour class. I had nothing else to eat that evening and minimal fluid intake. I did a little stretching and read for a few minutes (on my iPad but in super-dark mode). By 9 o’clock, the lights went out. I was primed for a good night’s sleep. At 10:30, I was still awake. Ugh!

The next morning, I read an article from the American Sleep Association, Deep Sleep: How to Get More of It. Did you know that the brain operates at less than 1hz while in deep sleep? I didn’t, and at the time of reading it didn’t pay much attention to it. Until…

I listened to a Living 4D podcast with Paul Chek and Nick Pineault (Episode #29: Overcoming EMF Pollution). It was by chance that I chose that episode. What I learned may have changed my life. Here are the highlights from the episode:

  • Water is extremely sensitive to frequency. Our bodies consist of about 60% water with the brain and heart being composed of about 73%.
  • The earth’s natural frequency is 7.83 Hz.
  • 4G cell frequency operates 700-2500 MHz, 1 MHz is a thousand Hz.
  • WI-FI operates at 2.4 or 5 GHz. 1 GHz is a million Hz.
  • 5G cell frequency ranges from 28-39 GHz.
  • Paul Chek has chronic neck pain. This pain was reduced when he turned the wireless off in his house before bed.
  • Another example was given of a client who woke up 3-4 times a night to urinate. When he turned off the WI-FI, he was able to sleep through the night. Remember we are composed of about 70% water.
  • But everybody says that WI-FI and 5G is safe. At least, that is what the research has shown. But according to Nick Pineault, a detailed look at the research shows that it was primarily funded by the big tech companies that had the most to gain from a “safe” test result.

My current sleep issues are:

  • Chronic neck and back pain from a misspent childhood that keeps me awake and uncomfortable.
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom to urinate.
  • Mental restlessness causing an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.

My wife’s issues are:

  • Back pain.
  • Restless Leg.
  • Frequently wakes up.

When I got home that afternoon, I told my wife we are going to try an experiment. I told her we were going to put all our devices on airplane mode and cutoff the WI-FI before bed. Thankfully, she agreed to go along with it. By 8:30 that evening, everything was dark.

The Results:

  • I woke up once around 11 p.m. when I heard a noise outside. It didn’t take long to go back to sleep.
  • When my alarm went off at 3:45 a.m., I felt refreshed. No back or neck pain. No grogginess. No desire to hit the snooze button.
  • Later, I asked my wife how she slept. She said it was good. The only time she woke up was not long after I woke up. She had a hard time going back to sleep. Keep in mind, this was after seven hours of sleep. Other than that, she had no problems.
  • In addition, I noticed a difference in our dogs, especially our eleven-year-old Yorkie. She usually is restless at night and likes to wonder up and down the hall. The clicking of her nails on the floor is usually enough to wake me up. I didn’t notice her get up once. As far as I can tell, she slept through the night. As humans, we tend to ignore outside vibrations and frequencies. I wonder how cell and WI-FI signals affect our pets.

Conclusion

One successful night does not prove to be the best sample size. Were the results skewed based on my optimism? That is hard to tell, but optimism does have an impact. Is this a placebo effect? How will this experiment perform on a stressful night with a full moon? I am not sure, but I can’t wait to find out. Until next time, sweet dreams!


Feature photo by Praveen kumar Mathivanan on Unsplash

One Take from the Week #4: Harder-than-I-Thought New Habit

Art of Manliness #462: How to Tell Better Stories

A few weeks ago, I listened to the above podcast episode interviewing Matthew Dicks, the author of Storyworthy. He is a professional storyteller and gives his advice on how we can learn to tell better stories. This seemed right up my alley of interests, and I was eager to learn what I could.

It all starts with homework. Okay, homework. I can do that. It sounds simple enough. So, what exactly do I need to do? Every night before I go to bed, I need to spend five minutes recapping the most interesting part of my day. This information will go into an Excel file. There is no need for a lot of details, just a few bullet points. Then, on a weekly basis, I can go back pick one and come up with a worthy story. This is the first step and the inspiration behind my new weekend series of posts, “One Take from the Week.”

A new habit that takes five minutes. This is so simple that anybody can do it! Except me. The first week, I completed it a couple of nights, skipped a night, did another night, and skipped a few more. That didn’t go so well. Why? Well, at the end of the night, I am ready to shut down. After a day of working out, reading, writing, coaching, and going to the job that pays the bills, the last thing I want is to do the homework. And it is not about wanting to do the homework, so much as it is about forgetting.

What went wrong? I never set the alarm. Now I have a ton of alarms on my phone for just about everything that needs a reminder. Some of these alarms go off, and I immediately dismiss it. Yes, I know I need to take the dog for walk, coach in an hour, and even get out of the car and start walking to work when it is time to clock-in. Often, another alarm gets lost in the multitude and gets silenced.

But I set the new alarm anyway. Why? Because I must do better. I believe this habit is important, and I really want it in my life.

The successful person makes a habit of doing what the failing person doesn’t like to do.

Thomas Edison

Now, what I am not saying is that this will make me successful and you, for not doing this homework, will be a failure. But if this something I want to do and cannot get it done, then I have failed (in this instance). Nathanael Emmons said, “Habit is either the best of servants or the worst of masters.” This is a new habit that will serve me well in the future. If, I can develop the discipline to see it through. Five minutes is all it takes to turn off the alarm, stop what I am doing, and think and record something that was impactful during my day. Just five minutes. We need our habit to serve us. We need them to help us optimize our lives. Is there a new habit you are wanting to begin or have recently started? I would love to hear about it and any tricks you used to make it stick.

One Take from the Week #3: Power Nap

“Let’s begin by taking a smallish nap or two…” -Winnie-the-Pooh.

The beginning of Chapter 9: The Binaural Power Nap in the book Own the Day by Aubrey Marcus (cover photo).

As far as I can remember, my mom was a big nap taker. In the afternoon, at the drop of a hat, she could start dozing wherever she was sitting.* It turns out the apple does not fall far from the tree. For the last ten or so years, this is what I have done every day at lunch right after I ate. Sometimes, I skipped eating altogether and went straight for the nap. For optimal success, I would put in some headphones, turn on either movie scores or a meditation, and get down to some z’s.

This week, I read Aubrey Marcus’s take on the power nap. I got excited when I turned the page and saw the chapter title: The Binaural Power Nap. I do not even remember seeing the word Binaural, only Power Nap. Unfortunately, I was reading as I was eating lunch. I was in a dilemma as to what I should do. I slept. Later that evening, when I had some time, I went back to the book, which in this case, was going back to my studies on optimizing my life.

If you are navigating daily decisions, slipping into beta frequency is the most useful. If you need to surf a big wave or write your novel, alpha frequency is helpful. And if you are trying to rest, theta frequency is most powerful…In plain English, targeting theta and delta waves can help you take your naps to the next level.

-excerpt from Own the Day

I have never been a fan of these binaural soundtracks. Every time I have tried to listen to one those “guaranteed deep sleep with X amount of Hz,” my mind started to run, and I found myself more awake than anything. Wanting to keep an open mind, I decided to try it again on my next lunch break.

The next day, I found a meditation from the Insight Timer app. I ate lunch, put in my headphones, and then hit play on Lucid Dreaming Meditation Music: Powerful Theta Binaural Beats. I had my reservations. Would the music keep me awake? Nope. Before I knew it, I was gone. When the alarm went off on my Fitbit (a nice vibrating alarm that can’t be heard), I woke  up refreshed. Wow! I took out the headphones, signed into my computer, and charged through the rest of the day full of energy.

Last week, I tried it twice, both with outstanding results. I look forward to seeing how long this will be effective. Will it stop working once I get used to it? Can I make this a permanent part of my daily routine? I look forward to finding out. At least I now know I am not alone in this whole nap taking business.


*As stated, this is as far as I can remember. That has been over 40 years ago, and I might be incorrect in my memories. I figured this disclaimer was a safe route because my Mother does read this blog.

One Take from the Week #2

A great conversation may be one of the great blessings in life. It is a moment when two souls can connect, each leaving better off than they were before. It is a symbiotic union of give and take that refreshes and nourishes each participant.

Lately, I have been fortunate to have these types of conversations with several co-workers. Unlike the mundane and often polarizing subjects of sports and politics, these conversations cover a wide array of topics from literature and podcasts to fitness and nutrition. These individuals are passionate about life, and like me, are seeking ways in which they can optimize their lives and the lives of those around them. Jim Rohn said we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. If this statement is true, then these individuals are certainly raising my average.

The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.

Epictetus

People who uplift you. And in the same way, you, having the opportunity to lift others up. This is where new ideas come to the forefront. Each holding the other accountable, ensuring the continual progress of the other. This is how your part of the world becomes a better place.

Who is raising your average? Who is uplifting you? They are out there. If you look for them, you will them.


Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

One Take from the Week #1

Monday morning. I sat down at my desk. The night before was miserable after a lot of tossing and turning and much broken sleep. Opening my email, I saw a group of messages about equipment failures. Monday. Tired. Problems with the equipment. What a way to start the day!

One of the emails came from someone who seems to be always reporting on the issues. Why are the tools always breaking on his shift? This time, he took the time to create a PowerPoint presentation on one possible way we can prevent future issues. It seemed a little irrelevant, also a little over-the-top. I wondered about his motivation. And then I thought…

Why care about his motives? For all I knew, he was doing what he believed was right. His approach was different than mine. Was that really an issue? Was my aggravation with him or was it something else? The more I thought about it, the more I realized the problems are not from him but from me.

  • A poor night of sleep
  • A disrupted morning routine
  • Not setting my intention at the beginning of the day (one super important component to my morning routine)

The equipment malfunction and the email did not come at a good time. And of course, there never is a good time for them, but I was not prepared to deal with it when it did come. And unfortunately, that is on me.

How can I prevent another morning like this? I need to take a moment and think about the root cause for the bad sleep. What did I do the day before? In this case, I stayed up a little later than usual. This was a conscious decision that resulted in negative consequences. Add one more drink to that evening, and I had a recipe for a sub-optimal next day.

Man is not affected by events, but the view he takes on them.

Epictetus

The easy course of action was to blame the messenger. But the messenger was only doing his job in the best way he saw fit. I allowed it to affect me in a negative way, because I was not in the right place to view it objectively. Reflecting on this one moment made me wonder how much weight I give to events based on a misplaced perception. I need to get better at controlling the things in my control and not give too much of my energy on the things outside of it.


Feature photo by CDC on Unsplash