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.