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Archive for April, 2011

The Unconventional Gym Bag: 5 Cool Things You Don’t Use

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After more than 16 years in the gym, I’m finally starting to train smart.  Quality over quantity, strength over mass, and health over ego.  Fitness is a lifelong journey, something I fully expect to be doing until the day I’m no longer around these parts.

Cat in gym bagI’ve learned a lot of great things through training, been (mostly) able to keep exercise as a habit over the years, finally created my ideal home gym, and even branched out and tried all sorts of new stuff like running, swimming, kettlebells, and different martial arts.  It’s been a fun ride to-date.

So what prompted the recent change in intensity?  I don’t really know.  But it’s been building for some time and, starting with the birth of my son last year, everything about my training got more… well, focused.  Could it have something to do with the fact that I’m now a role model for a little boy who looks kind of like me?  Maybe.  Probably.  I really don’t know.

One thing that’s clear is that my gym bag these days looks quite different from years prior.  My training itself has gone back to the roots.  I don’t use any sort of machines at this point; I stick to dumbbells, kettlebells, and fixed bars.  Yet I’ve become more interested in using toys like the ones below to help me progress, and I like to have them with me all the time at the gym.  It’s the geek in me.

In order to benefit from any of these items, you need to already have a base of both knowledge and fitness.  Don’t jump right into any fitness program without doing the obvious stuff first like talking to your doctor and ramping your training up over a period of months.

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Written by Mike Torres

April 16th, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Downtime with Nature: What You Need to Reduce Stress, Increase Attention, and "Create Again"

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I’m writing this overlooking the Pacific Ocean with an iced coffee by my side, and a gentle breeze on my face.  I’ve spent the last week in Maui with my family, so please excuse the obligatory photos of paradise!

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While on the island, I’ve been doing everything I can to unwind.  I’ve been devouring scones, French fries, margaritas, Oreos, bacon, Frosted Mini Wheats and other junk I don’t allow myself to even consider eating most of the time.  I’ve stopped tracking my habits.  I’ve exercised just once if you don’t count swimming and chasing my kids; a short run near the beach on our first day here.  I haven’t spent any time checking tasks off of my lists; in fact I had moved them all over to a "Post Vacation" category before we left the mainland so I wouldn’t even stumble upon them accidentally.  I haven’t done much writing, stretching, or flossing, and I’ve had a metric ton of Maui Coffee.  It’s been great!

Yet I’m not too concerned about slacking off, or at least not as much as my Type A personality would suggest.  Though I’m itching to get back into my routine, I’m not worried about what would normally be viewed as a setback.

Planned breaks like these are required to reset my passion meter from time to time.  I try and force myself to "unplug" from my (somewhat) normal intensity to help me remember why I do what I do to begin with.  It’s hard to hit the ‘off’ switch… it’s frankly just as hard as turning it back on again, but I try and view it as sort of like stopping at a gas station before a long road trip; breaks like this fuel me for at least a few months, and after six days of gluttony and objective laziness, I always realize that it’s not the permanent life for me.

But what you do for a few weeks out of the year doesn’t define the year, and it doesn’t define you.  It’s what you do most of the time, not just some of the time, that makes the difference over the long haul.  Have consistency in the fundamentals (modulo a week here and there) and personal growth is inevitable.

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