Sunday, December 30, 2012

A New You

It's a new year already: 2013! Time is flying right by us. Before we know it, it will be 2020, and then 2040. Time has a way of accelerating as we grow older. When we are kids, Time takes its sweet time. When we become adults, Time no longer bides its time, it blazes a trail of glory. At least it should - the glory part I mean. 

This may not surprise you, but we are only here, on this earth, for a short while in the grand scheme of time. Here today and gone tomorrow. Because our time on earth is so short, we really should make the most of it. We should leave our mark on this world and go out in a blaze of glory. Instead of waiting for a new year to start and plan our resolutions, we should be resolute and live the way we want to live now - today. Why do we wait for a new year to improve our lives? Why do we wait for a new year to only say that we resolve to make changes and improve our lives. Many of us only make the resolutions, we don't even actually engage in them. In other words, many of us only wait for a new year to roll around so we can entertain the thoughts of making positive changes so we can imagine who we want to become in our dreams.

We need to stop this insanity. We need to bring the person we want to become out of our dreams and into our reality. The only way to do this is to stop waiting for tomorrow, or  the new year, before we make a change. We need to start being the person we want to be today, right now. There is no tomorrow. If you keep waiting for tomorrow, life will race right past you. You will wonder where all the time went and how it is that you ended up like you have. 

What would happen if you took advantage of each day? Of each moment? You could build the life of your dreams. Only it wouldn't be the life of your dreams, it would be the life of your reality. 

Let's look at this from a health standpoint: You were made to move. If you engage in movement each day, you will nourish your brain and your body. You will ward off the effects of time, aging, and decay. You will retain your youth, strength, and vitality. Simply moving deliberately, on purpose, each day can keep you out of a rest home or a dementia care facility. Movement retains your youth, both your physical youth and mental youth. (though I don't know that you can separate the two)

"Really? What kind of movement?" 

I'm glad you asked! Any kind of movement helps, but moving and exploring your world like a child would, like a youth would, can really increase your vitality. Getting down on the floor and rolling around and tumbling can really improve your health. Crawling, marching, skipping and hiking can improve the health of your brain while at the same time improve your strength. When is the last time you skipped across a field of grass? When is the last time you went hiking through the woods or a hill-side? How wonderful would you feel, how invigorated would you become, if you went hiking for an hour or two only to try to find different kinds of flowers, or birds, or even rocks? Combining curiosity and fascination with movement is a great way to add youth to your body and brain.  

The point is, embracing the day, taking advantage of now, does not have to be that hard. It is the simple things in life that bring the biggest rewards. Deliberately moving, engaging in activity, each day can help you enjoy this life and become the person of your dreams. It can even help you stay forever young. 

Don't freak out, but time is flying by. You have today - you have right now. Tomorrow, the new year, may never materialize. You were meant to live a life of strength and vitality. Do it! Start today. Don't resolve to do it next year.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas

Not too long ago, I used to get offended when I would see the words "Merry Xmas." I was offended because the people who would write that were taking "Christ" out of "Christmas", or so I thought. But, and this is not the only time, I was wrong. At least I have changed the way I see the words "Merry Xmas." 

The changed happened somewhere along the way as I was typing out Becoming Bulletproof. In my fascination with the letter X, I looked up its history. The X is the symbol for Christ. Check it out here on Wikipedia: Anyway, no one was taking Christ out of Christmas by using the word Xmas. If anything, they were keeping Christ in Christmas. 

As I said, my fascination with the letter X is what helped spark the desire to look up the history of the word Xmas. It is funny how a little self research can get rid of misconceptions and false "facts." Anyway, this all happened when I was writing about Becoming Bulletproof. The X is simply fascinating. I've written about it here before as well. Check out my post
This is fascinating stuff!

But, back to Christmas and the X! I was a fool to think that changing the spelling of Christmas was taking Christ out of Christmas. You could use any symbol you want to and replace the word Christ in Christmas and you could never take Christ out of Christmas. It is impossible. There is no Christmas without Christ. Christ is. And that, is a complete sentence. There would be no joyous time of year, no Santa Claus, no light filled trees, no songs about snow and chestnuts, no season of giving, no season of shopping, no sugar plums dancing, and NO HOPE for the world or us, if it were not for the X, the Christ. Non of this would be if it were not for the gift of Jesus. 

My only point to all of this is that you can't take Christ out of Christmas. Believe in Him as the Savior of the world or not, He is the reason there is so much joy in the world around this time of year. Regardless of how you spell it, Christ is Christmas - even if you say Happy Holidays! ;)

Nope, you can't take Christ out of Christmas. The X = Christ. Now, hold on to your seats, it gets wild from here! You can't take Christ out of you either. Your body is made up of a series of Xs: from your dna to your muscular sling systems. Your entire body is one big ole X. The secret to a healthy body is a strong X. The stronger your X, the more resilient you are. Let your mind run wild with this thought. Ponder it. Is it a coincidence that you are a series of small Xs that make bigger Xs that ultimately come together to make one big X? I don't think so. You are an X! Merry Xmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lifestyles of the Slow and Steady

Is your health routine, if you have a health routine, a lifestyle or a fad? If you don't know the answer to this question, you really need to think about it. You will have your body for as long as you live. That should not be any news to you. However, the health of your body, the quality of your life, is largely up to you.

If you live to be 99 years old, you have a large say in how those years will turn out - as far as your health goes. Even if you only live to be 62 years old, it is up to you how much "life" you pack into those 62 years. Your health, your lively hood, is largely in your hands when it comes to the quality of your days. If you want to live out your years being able to move, being able to be independent, being able to play tag with your grandkids you really need to consider having a lifestyle of health. 

Having a lifestyle of health, or a healthy lifestyle, is when your healthy actions (exercise choices, activities, food choices) easily fit into the day to day routine of your life. A lifestyle of health is maintainable - this is key! Whatever you are doing now to promote your health, ask yourself if it is maintainable. Or, is it a fad? 

Fads come and go. Health fads are no different. Except that when a health fad goes, it can leave you broken and even subtract from your quality of life. Health fads are not usually maintainable; either by choice, or by necessity of cessation. What I mean is that some fitness endeavors, like those seen on the 60 minute infomercials, are not capable of being maintained. They offer flashy results and extreme promises, but they cannot possibly be maintained for a way of life. One particularly popular fitness infomercial that is named for its extreme methods and results is a great example of what I mean. People who attempt this particular DVD follow-along are lucky if they can survive 15 days, much less 30 days. Think about this: If you can barely move or breathe after your "warm-up", do you think you have found a maintainable lifestyle activity? Probably not. You may have found a great way to insure that you hate all things that have to do with fitness, though.

Anyway, when it comes to your health, you need to think about the big picture, or the whole story. Healthy lifestyle choices should fit into your lifestyle, they should be maintainable, and they should add to the quality of your life. If they become your life - if they consume all your thoughts and energy, if they leave you broken at every turn, if they cause you to red-line your body every single time you train, or if they cause you to loathe the food or activities you are engaging in, then what you have is probably a fad (I hesitate to label it a "health" fad, as they rarely lead to health). 

Think "big picture" when it comes to your health. You determine the quality of your life by your actions and thoughts. If your thoughts and actions do not yield positive results, or if they cannot be easily maintained throughout your years, you may want to make some adjustments. If you are always eating food you hate, or if you are always dreading your "movement" / exercise sessions, you probably don't have the true big picture in mind. Set yourself up for success, for a lifestyle. 

Remember, it is the turtle that beat the hare. He maintained a steady pace. The hare just burned himself out here and there and lost site of the goal = winning. 

Your life, the quality of your life, is in your hands. Don't look for quick fixes, gimmicks, or short cuts that will leave you frustrated, broken or depressed. Look for journeys, adventures and lifestyles that will lead you to health, satisfaction, and enjoyment. Be the turtle! You can win! 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Bulletproof Squat

It is probably no surprise to anyone that I think we can learn from how children build strength and then apply what they do to our own training. Children seem to know how to build amazing strength on their own simply by learning how to move and exploring their surroundings. 

No one teaches a child how to crawl. They learn how to do it through the spirit of exploration. No one teaches a child how to walk - sure they encourage the child to walk, but a child just figures it out through determination and adventure. The same is true for squatting. No adult needs to teach a child how to squat, though every adult could probably learn how to squat from watching a child. 

You may be thinking, "but these are just movements, this is not strength training." It absolutely is strength training though. A child builds a tremendous foundation of strength while they are growing and developing. They even engage in real strength training once they establish a foundation for strength. Have you ever seen a child try to pick up a heavy ball? They test their strength and build new strength by attempting to lift things up off of the floor. Why do they do this? For the joy of exploration. 

Kids are instinctual strength training geniuses. If a child tries to pick up a watermelon, they squat down, wrap their arms around it (think atlas stone) and try to stand. If they can't move it, they may try again. If they still have no luck, they simply move on. They don't keep trying over and over until they hurt themselves. If they can pick it up, however, they take it for a stroll. They walk around with their heavy object - for a little while at least. Kids simply know how to build amazing strength. And we dont.

We should really consider approaching our strength training through the eyes of a child. Let's look at the squat for example. What if we trained the squat the way a child does: from the ground up. Think back to the watermelon example I used above. What kind of squat does this resemble? The Zercher deadlift/squat. It is the way a child would train the squat. 

The Zercher squat is the perfect bulletproof squat. With the Zercher, it is hard to squat more weight than you can hold. It has a built in "safety" factor to it, thus lessening your chance of injury. Also, the Zercher reflexively engages your core. It zips you up without you having to mentally tighten your muscles. They just tighten up on their own. When you attempt a Zercher squat, your body becomes one solid muscle.  This makes you really strong and "real world" strong.

If you really want to get strong, you could employ the Zercher the way a child does, you could lift your bar from the floor, take a walk with your weight for a certain distance and then repeat again. This will make your body strong enough to stop bullets, it is that tough. 

Anyway, walk with the bar or not, in my opinion, the Zercher is the best way to squat - IF you simply want to be strong, healthy, and resilient. Those things are things that I want. If you want to be a powerlifter, then Zerchers may not be the best squat to train with. HOWEVER, they can certainly lay a solid foundation to perform back squats from. 

Speaking of powerlifting, If you are not a powerlifter, do you really need to do back squats? Just a question, if you like back squats, great. Have at them. You'll never see a child do back squats though. I know, I am taking an idea to the extreme, but think about it anyway. And, while you think about that, also imagine how you will never see a child perform an overhead squat. ;) 

Anyway, I really do think children do a lot of things very well and very right.  Kids know how to train the squat. And, kids know how to become bulletproof. If becoming bulletproof resinates with you, Zerchers can be a great tool to use in that quest. They are kid tested and mother approved.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Forgotten Muscle(s)

Many of us know that if we want strong muscles, we have to exercise them. After all, the body certainly does work on the "use it or lose it" principle. So, we deliberately use our muscles to make them strong, keep them strong, and make them available should we ever need them. Through discipline and engaging, we strengthen our bodies' muscles. 

I said the body works off of the use it or lose it principle. Almost everything about you works off of this principle. Another way to look at the use it or lose it principle could be to see it as the "train it and gain it" principle. 

Anything, or any quality, we want to possess, or be "strong" at, we need to train that quality. I mean to say that we need to exercise the qualities we want to possess. If we want healthy teeth, we need to brush, floss, and rinse regularly. If we want to have integrity, we need to practice telling the truth and doing what we say - daily. If we want to have less scowl and frown lines, we should smile more often. You can pick anything, or quality, you want to possess, and you can certainly obtain it through deliberate "practice" - through engaging in that quality. 

This is a simple concept, but I think it eludes a lot of us. We often want things, or ideas, that we could easily have if we would only engage and practice building or working towards our desired goal. For many of us the difference between success and failure is that we are simply not using our engagement muscles.

Your engagement muscles are the muscles, or acts, that you need to practice on a regular basis in order to obtain whatever it is you are seeking. If you never train your engagement muscles, you are setting yourself up for failure when you really need to call upon them for your desired result. 

I know this is confusing, but let's look at an example:

Pretend like you want to avoid eating pasta. Pretend like you have decided pasta is sabotaging your diet. So, in order to not fall victim to the traps of pasta, you start engaging in activities that promote this desired strength, this desired will power to avoid pasta. You could avoid the pasta aisle all together in the grocery store so that you are not tempted to buy it. If you do cook it, you could decide to measure out a single serving of pasta and only cook that so that you can monitor your portion. You could even replace your spaghetti with spaghetti squash if you like. The point is, you could engage in activities that foster and strengthen your new desire. Eventually, pasta may not even be a temptation for you any longer. 

Now pretend like you did engage, and you strengthened your anti-pasta decision and now you find yourself in a family gathering with lots of pasta choices to dine on. If your anti-pasta engagement muscle has been thoroughly exercised, you may find that you have all the strength and will power in the world to only place a few noodles on your plate or avoid it all together. However, this could spell certain pasta disaster that could lead to all sorts of guilt and condemnation for the person who never really engaged in activities to strengthen their anti-pasta choosing/eating muscles. 

Does this make any sense? 

We have to train our engagement muscles. We need to exercise the qualities we want to possess. How can we be strong when we need to be in any area if we never engage in the discipline it takes to be strong in that area?  We can't. 

You want to be a great dad? Engage in time with your kids. You want to be an awesome wife? Practice being awesome to your husband. You want to have arches in your feet? Practice walking around barefooted. You want to be like Honest Abe? Practice telling the truth. Want to be good at avoiding sweets? Practice avoiding them, practice saying "no." It doesn't matter what it is you want, you can have it if you practice deliberate engagement towards that goal. 

If you want success in any area, you have to train your engagement muscles.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Weight of Numbers

It is that time of year when people become very weight conscious. That means people can get pretty stressed out and overwhelmed by the thoughts and efforts to lose weight. Losing weight does not have to be a mentally heavy situation. ;)
It can be a task that is approached stress free, one day at a time. It's all about playing with numbers. 

So, let's play with some numbers to show you what I am talking about:

It takes 3500 calories to make a pound. So, if a person could cut 3500 calories out of their diet in a week, they could lose one pound per week. Cutting 3500 calories a week is simply cutting back on 500 calories a day! A person could lose 52 pounds a year by cutting back 500 calories a day from their normal caloric intake. If, they had 52 pounds to lose.

Let's make this easier though. If a person cut back on 1750 calories a week, or 250 calories a day, they could lose 26 pounds in a year! 26 pounds in one year by almost doing nothing - simply reducing their intake by 250 calories a day! Who wouldn't want to easily lose 26 pounds per year? IF, they have 26 pounds to lose.

Let's make this even easier. Let's say a person cuts their caloric intake by 100 calories per day. Only 100 calories, thats on 8 ounce glass of orange juice less per day. If a person were to do this every day for a year, they would create a caloric deficit of 36,500 calories in a year. That is a loss of 10 pounds in a year. I know that is only 10 pounds, but it was 10 pounds by basically doing nothing - no effort expended to lose 10 pounds. If this were continued for 3 years, 30 pounds could be lost. In theory...

What is the point? Weight loss is a game of numbers. And, it can be a game that can be easily won if patience, persistency, and consistency are applied. I know we live in a "i want it now" society, but if weight loss is approached in the way I've layed it out above, a person could easily create a lifestyle of good choices and habits rather than a month of torture and frustration. This is all about success versus self sabotage.

To be honest though, my idea supposes a few things must be known and working:

1. a person would have to have weight to lose
2. a person would have to know how much calories they take in per day so they could know how to effectively take in less calories
3. the person's body would have to be operating well, that is to say, no medical/hormonal issues that would be inhibitng a proper running metabolism

The whole point is that weight loss doesn't have to be hard, or overwhelming. It can be lost a little at a time every week. If a person only loses .25 pounds per week, they still lose 13 pounds in year. Do you see this? Even if your scale registers 0 (.25 pounds may not register), you could still lose 13 pounds in a year. Weight loss is a game of consistent patience and application. It is a game of numbers. It doesn't have to be hard, it just has to be consistent - a lifestyle.

I know my idea is too ideal and over simple. But I am only trying to provide a paradigm shift in your thinking. Weight loss truly can be a game of numbers AND it doesn't have to be an impossible game. You can win. It may be a lot easier than you think. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankfulness Muscle

It is Thanksgiving once again. The time of year when we all reflect on how thankful we are for the gifts, joys, and blessings in our lives. Many of us have so much to be thankful for: we have family, we have friends, we have health, we have love. Often times though, in our hectic lives, we take each of these things for granted and we never even meditate on them at all. The truth is, if we stop to think about it, even the very act of breathing, alone, is worth all the thankfulness we can possibly muster. 

If you have breath that means you are alive and that means you should be thankful. I know I write a great deal about being made to move and regaining the strength we were born with, but even if we never lay hold to that realization, though we strive for it, we still have hope. And hope is something to be thankful for. Even our thoughts of becoming more than we are should give us reason to be thankful because we are alive - we want to become greater, we want to swim upstream instead of float downstream. We know that the process of growth is worth the struggle. 

Having said all of this, here are some not-too-often-thought-of things we should be thankful for: 

Desire, imagination, goals, courage, determination, knowledge, passion, tenacity, perseverance, hope, faith, patience, love, sun light, rainbows, flowers, sun sets, blue skies, green grass, clear lungs, laughter, sweet sleep, the smell of coffee, ....

Like I said, these may be not-too-often-thought-of. The truth is, this list doesn't even scratch the surface. I bet we could have an infinite list if we tried. And, an infinite list of things to be thankful for, is also something to be thankful for. 

All I am trying to say is that each of us have more than enough to be thankful for and each of us should spend more than just a certain time of year to be thankful. Every single day is a blessing and no matter what is going on in our lives, every day should be a day of Thanksgiving.

Here is a list of things I am particularly thankful for:

My wife
My kids
My friends
Becoming Bulletproof
The people I've met because of BB
My health
Spider-man crawling!
Hair dryers - LONG STORY, but I know you are a little curious.
People that actually read this blog - really, very thankful...

Anyway, if you haven't thought of all the things you have to be thankful for, maybe you should. It can be a great exercise in building your thankfulness muscles. It is way too easy to let the cares of the world weigh us down and rob us of all we have to be thankful for. I will wager that if you practice thinking on the things you have to be thankful for every day, you will indeed build up your thankfulness muscle and you will get even closer to truly becoming bulletproof.

Have a great Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Have you ever seen a group of lions stalk and take down a water buffalo? It is gruesome. Have you ever seen a group of water buffalos ban together and take out the lions? It is awe inspiring. Here is your analogy: the lions are life, you can stick together with the other water buffalos and draw support and encouragement to overcome life's obstacles. Or, you can be a lone water buffalo and take your chances on getting taken down by the hungry lions.

The point is that life was not meant to be trekked alone. Think about it: if you were meant to be a lone wolf, a lone water buffalo, or a solitary soldier, you wouldn't have any need for vocal cords. By design, you were made for communication. Therefore, you were meant to be in community, around people. 

Last night I watched a group of women support each other and encourage each other. These women got together because they have one goal in common: they want to lose weight. The room was filled with love for one-another. It was amazing. They celebrated each others' victories, and encouraged those that were having more challenges than successes. These women are going to succeed at their goal. They are all rooting for each other and counting on each other. That is powerful. That is community. 

Having a core group of people in your life that you trust, respect, and value is invaluable. They can lend an ear when you need to vent, confess, or celebrate. They can lend a hand when you need guidance, wisdom, and experience. And, they can lend a shoulder when you just feel like you need to hang your head and cry. There is nothing like a good group of friends, or brothers, or sisters, whom you can really rely on. 

Having a group of people in your life who love you and support you is like having an overflowing bank account. You are never broke, or broken, when you are surrounded by love and the support of those around you. Friends who share your life add joy to your life. And, they can make training for a health goal more enjoyable too. Especially if they are actually training with you. As a trainer, I have seen more people laugh and smile when they are training with a friend than I have when they are training alone. I know my jokes are funny, but I cannot create the same experience and "fun" as training with a friend can.

Do you have a community, a group of friends? When it comes to your health, your goals, your life - do you have a group of people who encourage you and root for you? If you don't, you need one. No matter who you are, or how independent you think you are, you need a group. Having friends who travel with you on your journey is a wonderful thing, especially if you have a challenging journey ahead. 

You have vocal cords, right? You might as well use them. Don't get taken out by the lions. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Ratio - The quantitative relation between two amounts showing the number of times one value contains or is contained within the other. (from google)

23:1 - this is the average ratio of how many hours are in a day verses how many hours are spent exercising - For those that exercise.

24:0 - this is the ratio of hours spent in a day verses the hours spent exercising - For those that don't exercise. 

Shocking ratios, I know. They really aren't that much different. One hour of exercise a day for some people, on a good day, and no hours of exercise for other people on a normal day. 

In reality, a true ratio for an "exerciser" may look like this: 165:3.
This is the ratio of hours in a week verses hours spent exercising. This ratio is a little more eye opening. Out of 168 hours in a week (24 hours x 7 days in a week), the "average" exerciser may get in 3 hours of quality movement. This too is assuming that the movement is quality. 

What is the point to my math? People are broken. Not because they are injured and can't move, but because they don't move. If a person does "exercise" 3 to 4 days a week, they are probably putting in an hour per day of exercise. But lets be honest, out of that hour, they may actually be moving 30 to 40 minutes - conservative estimate. Anyway, there are gambling their health and future off of 3 hours a week, or 156 hours a year, spent doing exercise. 

That is a big gamble. But, I will say that is a far better gamble than the person who spends 0 hours a week exercising. This person is really going to dream about the good ole days of grade school when they are in their 60s. 

The "exerciser" is better off than the "non-exerciser" for sure. But neither person is setting themselves up for a great future. We (people) need to change the way we think. We need to put a priority on movement and quality of life instead of a priority on life's distractions. We need to wake up. Life is meant to be enjoyed on two feet, not watched on two cheeks. 

Instead of watching tv at night on our couches, we should be out playing hide-n-seek with the neighbors. You think I am joking, but how great would you feel if you actually did this a few times a week? You'd feel fan-freaking-tastic! That is how you would feel. You know that was your favorite game growing up. 

Anyway, We need to more because we were made to move. We need to feed our bodies with more movement and less food. We simply need to start living and stop existing. 

There is a lot at stake. Our futures, our quality of life is on the line. We can be here and take up space - watch life go by, or we can thrive with vitality. 
We were meant to thrive. 23:1 - we can do better. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Storms Blow

Hurricane Sandy has just punched the north eastern coast of the US. New York was hit pretty hard. New York is resilient though, always has been. Storms happen. They come and they go. Some make a whole lot of noise, some cause a whole lot of damage. We cannot avoid all of the storms that life throws at us. But, we can weather them.

We too, can be like New York. We can be resilient. More to the point, we are supposed to be resilient. Storms should not side track us. They should not keep us from reaching our potential, our goals, or our mission. We need to be able to weather storms - To survive their worst, to recover and move on.

How do we survive storms? We need an anchor. We need to rely on more than our own physical strength. Sometimes we need to rely on more than our own mental strength. We need to have faith. 

Faith is an anchor. It keeps you tethered to life. But, and I speak of my own faith here, faith also keeps you tethered to God. Whether or not you believe in God, without faith, you cannot prosper in this life. Faith can mean the difference between overcoming a storm or being destroyed by one. 

Faith keeps your hopes and your dreams alive. Faith is your anchor in a storm and it is your compass when there are no storms. Faith gives life to hope. Without faith, hope dies. When hope dies, so do you. Sure, you may still breathe and take up space, but you are merely the walking dead. Here, but lost. 

What in the blue blazes does any of this have to do with health? Absolutely everything. Do you want to lose weight? Do you believe you can? If you "fall off the wagon", can you overcome it? Can you dust yourself off, grit your teeth and get back on? Can you "see" yourself lean and mean? Trim and tone? 

Do you have a health goal? Do you want to be able to play frisbee with your grandkids when you have some? If you have "bad joints" now can you still imagine yourself playing frisbee with your grandkids? If you have "health problems" can you overcome them with your faith, or will you yield to what the doctor says? Or to what your neighbor says? 

Your faith, the very thing that makes "things that are not seen" real, is the one thing you have that can help you become an "overcomer." You have faith. Everyone does. Not everyone uses their faith. But, everyone has it. Faith, your faith, is your "overcomer" tool.

You were meant to be an "overcomer." You have been given faith. Your brain and your body will only get you so far. Storms come. Faith weathers them.  It allows you to tap into a strength that is beyond yourself. It helps you stand when others would fall. Don't get tossed around by the storms. Anchor yourself with your faith. Be an overcomer. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Seasons Change

There is a time for everything: seasons come and go, cycles go round and round, tides roll in and out. Everything has a season. The health and fitness world is experiencing the beginning of a new season. Or, the end of an old season. Either way, a change is here.

The "natural movement" is now. There has been a shift. I don't know when it exactly started (maybe within the last few years), but the fitness industry is about to drastically change. The season of big box gyms, gimmicks and general "body building" is about to end, and the season of natural movement is "on the move". Get it? 

It is an awakening. People are growing tired of the fitness lies: the false promises of the treadmill, the leg extension, the pec dec, the eliptical, fill in the blank... People are becoming aware that man-made exercise equipment can never improve upon the best exercise creation ever designed: the human body. People are learning that the best "gym," or fitness center, is their own backyard, or the local park. The secret is out: the world is a playground. 

All a person needs to get healthy, to get fit, is their own body and an imagination. Do you have access to a grass field? How many different ways can you travel across it? How many times can you carry something, or drag something back and forth across that field? Do you have access to good climbing trees? Or a couple of hills? Maybe you just have an open floor space. How many ways can you roll, crawl, spin, flip, and twist your way around? How long can you do these things? Have you ever tried to see how many different ways you can get up off the floor? This simple skill can not only improve your health, it could improve the quality of your life better than any peice of "cardio" equipment ever could. 

Health is not about "mirror looking muscles". It is about quality of life. Getting out and learning how to move your own body in your own natural surroundings will always serve you better than spending time in a smith machine, or even in a squat rack. (dont hate me because I'm telling the truth, just deal with it.)

Your body is the best exercise equipment ever created. Your imagination is the best playbook ever written. All you have to do is put these two together and you can join in on the new health revolution. Watch and see. Five to ten years from now, health clubs - as you know them - will be drastically different, if they are even still around. Soon, magazines like Men's Health will be writing articles about guys who do amazing things like run sprints in their 90s. They will have to write about real world feats because no one will care whether or not bent over rows are better than cable rows for back musculature development. Soon, aesthetically beautiful, but useless, muscles and the often false articles about how they are achieved will cease to matter.  

Yes, things are changing. People want to be bulletproof, functional, primal, and natural. If you haven't seen the tide change yet, you will. Things are going back to the way they were thousands of years ago when man was healthy and capable of doing anything. People are catching on: movement = moving the body the way it was designed, is the best thing you can do to become strong and healthy. Using your body the way it is designed is the best way to obtain beautiful strength that won't let you down and it is the best way to obtain true health. 

Every winter fades so spring can begin. The fitness industry is about to get a new breath of life. Health is not complicated. It is simple. It is time for simple.

Move on!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Are you aware?

Do you practice self awareness? What I mean is, when you train are you aware of how your body is moving, how it feels - good or bad, how it your mood is? Self awareness while training is extremely important and often overlooked. It can mean the difference between aging well, with health and vitality, or simply aging, with pain and limitation. 

Often times when we train, we have small goals in mind. We may have a certain weight we want to move, or a certain number of reps or time we want to reach. Sometimes we focus so much on these small training goals that we forget about the "big picture" goal, like say health and longevity, and we even risk sabotaging this big picture goal. Most of us train for a reason, a big reason, yet we often set this reason aside when we actually engage in our training sessions. We simply get lost in the moment of the session because we are focusing on the wrong things.

We need to shift our thinking and our awareness. What would happen if you focused on how your body was feeling when you trained instead of how many reps you wanted to hit on your third set of olympic snatches? If you were aware that your shoulders were not feeling as "good" as they normally do would you be able to shut down your sets or weight and save your shoulders for another day? Or would you just "push through" your reps because today you were supposed to hit 10 snatches on your third set? 

I'll say it first, I have "pushed through." I'm willing to bet you have, too. I know you know someone who has as well. For some reason, most of us are willing to sacrifice some of our vitality and longevity for temporary satisfaction in achieving some weird, non-important, insignificant goal. Why? Cause we're not too smart. ;)

If you love yourself, you need to become aware of how your body is moving. You need to not only be aware, but you need to act on your awareness. If you are not moving the way you know you should, adjust your training session goals for the time being and live to train healthily another day. 

If you are completely oblivious to how your body is moving and you have no clue if you move well, feel "off", or are having a bad day, you really need to start focusing on your body more and focus less on your exercise reps, schemes, and selections. Start "playing" with your lifts and learning from them instead of just performing them. If you focus on what you are doing instead of how many times you are doing it, you can learn a great deal of information about your body and your movements. 

I do believe we should all be able to live long, healthy lives. We should all be able to be bulletproof. Part of becoming bulletproof involves using wisdom when we train. If we ignore our what our bodies are telling us too often, we can set ourselves up for some "issues". We don't need "issues." We need to be able to engage and enjoy life. After all, that should be the goal of our training - to allow us to engage and enjoy life at any age. Training, itself, is not the goal.

Listen to your body. Learn from it and take care of it. If you do, it will certainly take care of you. Remember, no one cares how many times you can power clean 180 pounds in 5 minutes. But someone (yourself included) does care whether or not you can climb stairs at night, or go for walks in the evening.

Have a great weekend!


Monday, October 15, 2012


Do you have a mentor? Is there someone in your life who has the character, qualities, and skills that you desire to possess? Someone you look up to who has agreed to coach you, teach you, and share with you? I have been blessed to know John Brookfield. He is my mentor, and my friend. 

If it were not for John, I don't know that Becoming Bulletproof would have ever been written. At least not by me. John is the embodiment of what it means to be bulletproof. At 53 years of age, there is nothing this man cannot do. Just last weekend I saw John and his friend, Kirk Nobles, pull a 40,000 pound truck one mile. They set a world record while they shattered the previous record, also set by John. Again, there is nothing he cannot do. 

I always kid with John, and tell him that he is not human. While he truly is blessed, John's success and abilities can also be attributed to the fact that he has experiential wisdom. John has put the time into training to learn from his training. He does not read research, he does not learn from forums, and he doesn't read training magazines. John simply trains. He doesn't set limits on hisself. He says, "I wonder if I can...", and then he does. He is a man without limits. 

The years I have spent learning from John have been priceless. Really, I have received an education from John that money could not afford. I have watched how this man treats other people - with love and respect. I have watched him perform physically impossible feats (to the normal man) on a daily basis. I have heard him tell me a thousand times that, "I know I can do more." I have listened to him tell me about how he trains the way he does - why he can stay on the same task for hours and never stop, rest, quit, or yield. I have also watched how John walks with God and gives Him all the credit for everything that he does. The qualities this man has are worth noting. They are the qualities that I want, and the ones that most men only dream to have. 

I am blessed to have John as my mentor. I have received, and am still receiving, a world class education from perhaps the world's best expert in mental and physical performance. I am certainly a better, wiser man today than I was before I met John. Truly, most of who I am, what i've done, and who I will be comes from God's grace. But it was John's influence in my life that really opened the door for me to even be aware of God's grace. 

Anyway, the point is, Do you have a mentor? Is there someone in your life you are learning from? Is there someone out there that possesses the knowledge, skills, integrity, character that you want to have? We all need someone we can learn from, glean from, and lean on. We all need "John Brookfields" in our lives. If you want to be the greatest personal trainer ever, seek out the guy who holds that spot now and ask him if you can learn from him. If you want to be the best stay at home mom on the planet, seek out the ones are doing it now. Whatever you want to be great at, find the person who is doing it and reach out to them. See if you can build and cultivate a relationship with them. 

The best way to travel down the road is to follow the guy who is paving the way.  

If you are wondering, this has everything to do with your health, both physically and mentally. If you want to possess a bulletproof body, learn from those who are living it. Learn from those who have no physical limits, rarely have injuries, and rarely see obstacles. If the person you are modeling is always jacked up, he might be the wrong model. 

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


If you have spent anytime training, exercising, weightlifting, or P90xing, you were, or are, probably trying to build a better body. Either you want a strong, healthy body, or you want one that looks strong and healthy. 

When I first started training, I was 13 years old. I trained for two reasons: my football coach said I needed to hit the weight room if I wanted to play football, and my best friend told me that girls liked guys who had big chest. To be honest, I don't know which I cared more about: football or girls. Either way, that was all the motivation I needed to start training and that is what sparked my "history" of health and fitness. 

I think most people get started training for similar reasons, if not the same reason: we all want to look good and feel good about the way we look. No matter how mature we get, this is still a desire deep within most of us. Is it selfish? Maybe, but I don't think it is wrong. We should want to look the best we can. It is called vanity by some and responsibility by others. 

In the last few years, through "careful" observations of my own body and the bodies of my children, I think I have found the best training method for building the best "looking" AND functioning body: the simple method of play. I know some of you are really surprised right now. ;)

It is true though. I gave up "traditional training" (bodybuilding style) about 9 years ago when I found the kettlebell. I gave up weightlifting and traditional kettlebelling about 1 to 2 years ago when I started learning how to play. Now, my training is almost completely random except for the fact that I am intentional about doing something (playing) every day of the week. I crawl, carry, sprint, climb, roll and whatever else strikes me. I play. 

The results? I feel great. Better than I ever have (i'm older each day - 37 years old now, so being better today than I was when I was in "great shape" at 24 years old is good with me!). I am "stronger" now than I have ever been. I put stronger in quotes because the strength I have now allows me to do anything I want to do. I am not just performing well in the weight room, I am performing well in the world. Also, I don't ever feel trashed after a workout. I feel like I've had a great moving session. Best of all, I feel comfortable in my own skin - aesthetically speaking. Play has yielded the best results for my body over any other training program I have ever participated in. 

I have noticed the same thing for my children. I have an 8 and 9 year old and they are ripped, perfectly chiseled little bodies. They are always active, playing, wrestling, skateboarding, bike riding, sword fighting, and insert crazy child activity. They even turn our living room into their own parkour gymnastics arena. They are strong, fit and they move very well. Why? Because they play - a lot. 

Could this work for you? I don't know.  

What would happen if you were committed enough to play everyday for 30 to 60 minutes, AND you were brave enough to throw away all of the training rules that you know? I'll bet most of you would find that you could build the body you've always wanted to have: strong looking, strong functioning, athletic, energetic, HEALTHY, fit, fill in what you want here...

Of couse, if you are training for a specific performance endeavor, like maybe the olympics, you should probably stick with your current regimin and just play when you are able. But if you are just training for health, resilience, and aesthetics, you might find play can unlock a whole new world for you. 

If you really like structure, learning to play will be extremely hard to do. But what would happen if you just give it a shot for a month - One month out of your entire life? What would happen if you let go of the rules, you became consistent, creative, and intentional, and you just played for one month? 

You might be pleasantly surprised. You might build the best body you've always wanted. At the very least, I bet you will discover something really cool that you like to do. 

Play. This works for me. It may not work for you. But, it may.?!

If you give it a shot, please let me know.

Play hard!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Can you Run?

Or, do you run? That is probably a better question. If you don't run, you may want to entertain the idea, providing that you are physically able to run. If you are not physically able to run because of movement issues, or pain, you don't have to settle for that - your body was made to run!

Running is awesome! And I'm not talking about jogging. I'm talking about running - as if a bear was chasing after you. Or, better yet, running as if you were chasing after a bear! We were simply made to run, to float across the ground like a gazelle. If you don't believe me, just look at those wonderful calves on the back of your legs. Most people just view calves as shock absorbers, but calves are also like spring-loaded pistons that have the purpose of launching us across the ground. 

We were built for speed. Even if you don't think so! We are all sprinters, or at least we should be. Sprinting (aka, running) is a cross-lateral movement much like crawling. It is just a lot more violent: powerful and fast. 

Crawling and Sprinting are the wonderful bookends to our locomotive spectrum (on land). They are both cross-lateral movements that nourish and develop both the brain and body. Crawling ties the body together and prepares your body to generate and transfer force. Sprinting also ties the body together but prepares the body to transfer high forces. In other words, sprinting prepares you for "life" at speed. 

Life is not always steady and calm. Sometimes we have to move quickly. Sometimes we have to jump unexpectedly. Sometimes we have to fight. Sometimes we have to sprint from bears or other not-so-friendly things. Sprinting prepares us for all of these chaotic, violent things that life offers. Running fast prepares us to overcome!

As I said earlier, if you can't run because of physical issues, you don't have to settle for that. You can regain the body you were meant to have. You really can -  especially if you believe you can. Your body is resilient and the body you have today is capable of dramatic change. You can become a sprinter because you are a sprinter. 

These are just a few benefits of sprinting: 

builds strong, powerful, forceful muscles
strengthens connective tissues
nourishes the brain, therefore it improves the body's movements
increases the metabolism
turns ordinary citizens into supermen (or superwomen)

If you want to look strong and be strong, sprint. Period. It is that simple.

Again, make sure you are moving well and have a solid foundation if you are new to sprinting. And, know that you don't have to sprint full speed. Half speed is a great place to start. (half speed is not a jog, it is a sprint! We don't jog!) Also, you can sprint uphill. It is easier to ease into sprints uphill.

To sum up, sprinting rocks. If you don't sprint, you are missing out. Not sprinting is like not using a wonderful gift you have been given. Sprinting can change your life. Being able to sprint, could even save your life.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Indian Club Chain Marching

In case you missed it, but would like to read it, here is the article that I wrote for It's about a different way to train. Hope you enjoy!

The first "full day" Becoming Bulletproof Workshop is this Saturday in Boston!!!!!! Whooooo! This is exciting!

Have a great week! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Mighty Pinky Toe

Ah, the mighty pinky toe. You may be thinking already that I'm crazy; any Seinfield fan knows that the big toe is the captain of the toes. This may be true, but you cannot deny the importance of the mighty pinky toe. 

The pinky toe is a major player in the role of movement. In fact, a life without a cooperating pinky toe is a life of challenge. Don't believe me? Just break your pinky toe one time and you will quickly agree that the pinky toe is extremely valuable. If you are still in doubt, break your other one!

I did this. A few years ago, I broke my left pinky toe. That was back before I was so in tune with how my body moves and works. However, at the time, it hurt like a @#$%@# for days, even weeks. Last year, I broke my right pinky toe. It too hurt like a @#$%@#! This time, however, I learned all to well the value of a pinky toe. 

With my broke pinky toe, it was almost impossible for me to stand on one foot (the foot with the broke toe). You might be thinking "duh!", but think about it: if that little toe had hardly any value, I should still be able to stand on my foot with balance. But, I couldn't. I couldn't even perform symmetrical looking cross-crawls. I even had to "re-learn" the single leg deadlift on that leg. I certainly couldn't sprint while my pinky toe was injured. It took months before the pain subsided enough for me to sprint again. Having a broken pinky toe, took away many of the things I enjoyed to do as well as took for granted. The pinky toe, for me, is a mighty toe!

What is the point? Everything matters. The pinky toe is no less a toe, or appendage, than any other part of your body. It is extremely valuable. Every part of you works together to create the whole you - even the parts that you think don't do too much about. 

The body is so completely and well integrated that you cannot isolate one part from another. The notion of isolated joint mobility, or isolating muscle groups, is off the mark. You can't isolate the body apart from itself. Or, at least you shouldn't try. If you are successful, you are in a sense practicing dis-integration.  I don't think it is wise to practice dis-integration as the body is integrated - like it should be. 

The pinky toe is not an isolated toe, or island, all to itself. It contributes to all your proprioception, your balance, your movements. The pinky toe is just a highlighter to how the body is so amazingly designed. Every single cell in your body is connected to the whole of you. 

We are integrated; through and through. When we train, we should train with this integration in mind. We should train movements and patterns and not seek to isolate parts of our bodies from others. 

For example, crawling is a wonderful pattern that encourages wonderful changes throughout the whole body. It is a wonderful way to engage in "gentle strength training" as it builds reflexive strength = foundational strength, AND it even improves the health and STRUCTURE of the brain. 

It is crazy. A movement as simple as crawling can improve everything about you: how you move, how you feel, how you digest your food, even how you think! ONE reason this is so is because crawling practices and reinforces whole-body integration. It does not isolate joints, and yet it helps improve joint mobility. It does not isolate the "core" and yet it produces a bulletproof core. 

Crawling is much like the pinky toe. At first glance, it is easy to dismiss as something that is "cute" or not necessary. But that is simply not the case. As with the example of both crawling and the pinky toe, little things are not little things. Do not dismiss the simple or seemingly useless. 

EVERYTHING matters, and in more than you are often aware: The way you move effects the way you feel and think. The way you feel and think effects how you view yourself and how you interact with the world around you. Mind warp alert: Your pinky toe can effect how you move ----> your pinky toe can effect how you interact with the world! See why I say it is a mighty toe?

Anyway, we are completely integrated and we shouldn't seek to isolate ourselves in parts. As an aside, we shouldn't seek to isolate ourselves at all - even from the world. Wait for it....

The body is just a representation of how integrated the whole world is. What I mean is, even if you only see yourself as a pinky toe in a world full of chiseled abs, you are no less valuable than any of the rest of us. You matter. You effect the world around you. You effect the whole world. We all matter. Therefor, YOU are mighty, just like the pinky toe. ;) 

Randomly round-about post, I know! If you hung in there, you are awesome!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Do You Hear the Noise?

Have you ever had a dream or a goal that you told someone about only to receive less than desirable feedback? Have you ever set your sites on a target that you knew you could hit only to have those around you ridicule you or tell you that you would never make it? Of course you have. We all have.

At some point in our lives we have all had our hopes bashed, our dreams squelched, our goals ridiculed, or our bubbles burst. Often times, it is those who are closest to us who do the bubble bursting. It usually starts with the phrase, "I hate to burst your bubble, but..." Knowing full well, they really don't hate to burst your bubble, they actually quite enjoy the process. 

As a trainer, and as a person, I see this happen all the time. My clients try to better themselves: get stronger, move better, lose weight, lose body fat, or whatever, and someone will come along and burst their bubble. Why does this happen? It is simple. Most people around you don't want you to succeed. I know you are probably thinking that "Wait, my bubble poppers are usually my loved ones! Why wouldn't they want me to succeed?" If we succeed at our goals, that makes us successful - that makes us outliers, reachers of the un-normal! Our loved ones don't really mean any harm towards us or our goals, but they assume they know us. And, they assume that if they struggle, or fail, to lose weight or run a marathon, then you should too. 

We live in a world of apathy and complacency. That is the norm for most everyone around us. Those of us who want to better ourselves or who want to achieve greatness are looked at with contempt because we are the ones who are swimming up stream. We are the ones who are running the race. 

Have you ever heard people watching a game from the sidelines talk about how if they were in the game, they would have done it better? That is so easy to do - talk about what you would have done. Most people are just spectators who only talk, they only make noise. And that is the point, there is a lot of noise in this world. Noise that is only there to distract you and slow you down, to hinder you and make you just stop and join them on the sidelines. The goal of noise is to make you conform to the apathy around you. 

Don't listen to the noise! 

Run your race. Every step you take brings you closer to your goal, your target. No matter how fast, long, or slow you step, if you keep stepping and don't allow the noise to stop you, you will reach your target. Sure, there are more direct routes than others, but who cares! If you take the long way, the hard way towards reaching your dream, and you reach it, how blessed are you?! How much knowledge and wisdom will you have gained? All that matters is that you pursue your dream with relentless determination.  

If you have a dream, a goal, a target, go get it! If you want to lose 30 pounds, do it! Do not settle for less. Do not yield to the noise around you. Just because your co-worker couldn't keep his weight off, doesn't mean you can't. Just because your sister couldn't run 3 miles without a car, doesn't mean you can't. Also, just because someone says you are doing something wrong, doesn't mean you are!!! Run your race.

Truly, not everyone around you is against you. But you will know those who are and those who aren't by what comes out of their mouths. If they only speak negative towards you with no hope of help or wisdom, they are not for you. If however, they speak love and helpful things to show you how to aim at your target better, then they are for you. You will know those who are for you by what comes out of their mouth because the mouth will speak what is in the heart. This is truth.

Anyway, run your race. Whatever it is. 

Here is the question of the day: 

Do you listen to the noise around you? 

Don't let the voices of those without hope drag you down. Even dead fish can swim down a stream. Salmon fight to swim up stream. Salmon fight to live. Fight. Run your race. Don't let the noise distract you. Don't start floating down stream. If you want to succeed, do not stop until you do. Do not settle for less. 

You are a conqueror. You are an outlier.

Have a great weekend!


Sunday, September 9, 2012


There are many facets to becoming bulletproof. I often write about the physical variable. Today, and maybe on a few more posts, I thought I talk about another facet to becoming bulletproof: nutrition.

It does matter, but perhaps differently than you think. Nutrition, what you physically eat, plays a large role in becoming bulletproof. I clarify "what you physically eat" because I believe there are various forms of supplying yourself with nutrition - I'll explain this later perhaps. Anyway, what you put in your mouth matters. 

It is MY opinion that if we are fearfully and wonderfully made, then we should eat foods that are also fearfully and wonderfully made. What? We should eat natural, God-made, foods: Foods that were created naturally and perfectly. I would like to say this again: perfectly. For some reason, man has decided that we can create better foods than God can, or nature can. This is crazy! 

Why do we think that ingesting chemicals, and other things that we design - that we can't even pronounce, can possibly be good for us? Why do we think we need to enrich wheat flour? Why do we think if we strip the grains from all the things that make them nutritious, they will be better for us? It is almost as if we have gone mad with arrogance. How can we possibly design a food that is better for our natural bodies than the natural food that God creates? 

Even if you don't believe in God, you have to know that nature makes perfect food without our scientific help. I'm not talking about using science, or what we know, to grow food. I am talking about tinkering with our food through science, altering it perhaps by genetic manipulation, or chemical additives, or whatever else we do to alter our foods. 

We all know natural is better. When we make things complicated, when we tinker with things to make them better, we often take away the power and effectiveness that was right there in front of our eyes. We hamper and sabotage our own ability to be bulletproof.

Here are some examples of how we unwittingly outsmart ourselves:

enriched, stripped wheat flour
isolated soy protein powder
grain fed cattle
hormone fed cattle
preservatives in our meats, our canned goods
chemical pesticides
Splenda - because obviously God didn't know what He was doing when he made sugar
hydrogenated oils
perhaps the entire sports supplement industry (take this with a grain of thought, but use thought)
ultra-pasteurization and homogenization
"don't eat eggs!"
"don't eat fat!"
"don't eat meat!"
"don't eat fruits!"
"don't eat carbs!"

Look at those last five, do you realize if all of those were espoused at the same time in our history we would be in real trouble? That whole list wreaks of insanity and arrogance. We are too smart to see that we have all we need! 

As I am starting to say this a lot - Here is the deal: We don't have a man-made chemical deficiency in our body. We don't need chemicals to make things sweet and we don't need chemicals to preserve our food for a 6 year shelf life. We don't need chemically altered fats. 

We were perfectly made to consume perfectly made foods. We cannot fabricate better nutrition than God can. Have you ever noticed that the truest and most effective things in this world are also the simplest? The things right in front of us that we choose to ignore, or dismiss, because of their simplicity? 

If you want to become bulletproof, keep it simple. Go for natural, wholesome foods. Foods that you can spell and pronounce. Foods without a mile long ingredient list. Foods that you can prepare from the farm to your plate. 

Your body will operate so much better on these natural, non-man-made foods! Man's wisdom is often wrong. Just look at that list above. We know so much that we don't even know what we are doing. 

Keep your nutrition simple. I believe you were made to be bulletproof. Don't sabotage yourself with your food.

Hope your having a great weekend!