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Archive for December, 2010

Building the Perfect Home Gym (Without Going Too Far)

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to workout alone.  While my first “official” workouts didn’t start until my 18th birthday – not coincidentally about 6 weeks after arriving at Cornell as a freshman – I spent a lot of time in my teens messing around with weights in the basement of my childhood home.  We had a beat-up old bench with rusty plates and a few bars to go along with it… and it was heaven.  Some of my best workouts to-date were in that (usually flooded) basement, and they didn’t require a Power Rack, a treadmill, or Freemotion cables.

Here I am, many years later, still longing for the same.  They say some things never change.  Over the last few months (and the next few really) I’m piecing together the home gym setup I’ve been thinking about for almost two decades.  Below is my list.

First, a word about the investment required.  Depending on your bank account and your tolerance for spending, the list below may seem extravagant… or perfectly reasonable when compared to a pricey gym membership.  No matter how you slice it, different people have different priorities and not everyone wants to spend money to improve their overall health, mood, or strength.  You can tell where I fall on that spectrum.

The great thing about having the ability to workout at home is that you have no excuses.  Not a one.  You can get a great workout finished in less than 20 minutes and you don’t have to wait for your turn to use any equipment.  You can listen to whatever you want, you can wear whatever you want, and you can be in the shower 10 seconds after your last rep.  The convenience simply can’t be beaten.

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Written by Mike Torres

December 20th, 2010 at 11:37 am

Give up on Work/Life “Balance” Now

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Ed. note: The real title of this post should be “Give up on Work/Life Balance Now Provided You Actually Care About Succeeding With Your Work and Having Fun In Your Life” but that felt too long and silly.

balanceYou hear it everyday.  People want more balance in their lives.  They’re tired of having to work long, hard hours without recognition or reward.  They end each and every day exhausted beyond belief and dream of spending their days diving the Great Barrier Reef.  They want more ‘balance’ (which usually equates to more television – sorry, can’t help the snark!) yet when you push them on what ‘balance’ means to them, they really mean “I want to work less”.  They probably don’t talk about wanting to work more while sitting on a beach in Tahiti counting the waves.

In today’s world, the work/life balance of the 1950s desk jockey is a pipedream.  Sorry, it doesn’t exist anymore no matter how hard you wish for it.  Pulling in your driveway every night at 5pm after a day of slow work for a supper prepared for you isn’t going to happen for most people.  The business world is more competitive than ever, we’re connected to the office via “direct neural interface”, and change is happening on a daily or hourly basis.  The pace has quickened to a dizzying point and we’re expected to keep up or get off the train.  And getting off the train means greater sacrifices than most people are willing to make.

How many emails do you receive away from the office?  How many tweets, texts, news items, calls, or meetings are you dealing with outside of normal work hours?  You know, during that time that you should be ‘living’ and not working.  Probably lots – and it’s just going to get worse, my friend.  Of course we won’t count the life stuff you do while at work, right? ;)  People tend to conveniently forget that!

Regardless of what we do or who we work for, we should just stop talking about balance entirely.  Ultimately contentment isn’t about balance.  It’s about feeling important again.  And it’s ultimately about having control and perspective over everything in your life and work.

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Written by Mike Torres

December 13th, 2010 at 5:24 pm