Ruck Challenge

Ruck picAMAZING JOB by everyone that participated in last month’s Row Challenge!

This month is about as easy as it gets.

Get a pack and load it up. Textbooks are a great ballast. Take said pack and walk or hike a set number of miles that you choose, while focusing on maintaining proper posture at all times.  That simple…well, sorta.

Everyone will be a bit different, but I can give you some ballpark ideas.  If you want more specifics touch base with me and we can drill it down further.

For most people it will be a good idea to start with 10-15 pounds and as you get comfortable you can add 5-10 pounds per week.  Don’t get too overzealous and go too heavy too fast.  This is intended to make you feel good, not to smoosh you into submission week 1, so take it easy and add as you get used to it.  Right now my baby-in-a-backpack setup weighs between 40-45 pounds depending and I can wear it for 2-3 hours at a wack…but that has taken quite some time to work up to.Isaac, MAx and I sunset hike

You may want to titrate into it mileage wise as well.  Start with less distance to get used to wearing the pack, as it can be very taxing to the upper back and shoulders if you are not accustomed to wearing one.

Track your mileage daily.  In the past I used Map My Run as it is free and easy, and I am using a Fitbit now.  You can do so any way you want as long as it will accurately track your mileage.

Post a picture of some type of awesomeness you came across along your walk or some type of insight that you thought about during your walk (see below), as well as your total miles for the week on Facebook and check in at Fun Intelligent Training.

Reasoning:

Just like last month, the goal of doing these is to get in good HABITS!!!!

Get out in the cold.  You live in NH, there is absolutely no excuse to stay inside and hibernate for 6 months. I understand that sometimes it gets cold here.  Dress appropriately and GO OUTSIDE!  If you are really looking to dial in your cold weather attire, I spent entirely too much time last winter explaining the system that I have come up with that keeps me nice and warm and toasty while being active in the great out of doors.  You can see that here.

Here are some things to think about:

This will be phenomenal for your posture.

Take your pup(s) out!

This is great training for Hiking.

Socialization: round up as many people as you can and drag them along.  Peer pressure goes both ways, you can pressure people to improve their lives, not just drink and do drugs!

Listen to a podcast/audio book.  I can’t tell you how many hundreds of hours of knowledge I have crammed into my tiny little brain just by listening to stuff while I walk.

Contemplation time:  There is no better time or place to think.  Period.

Breathing exercises: Example-Breathe 5 Seconds in, hold 5 seconds, 5 Seconds out.

Work on being present and look for little things to appreciate.

Planning, contemplating, daydreaming.

This is a great excuse to explore different places.

Once again, here is a breakdown of some examples of mileage.

 

ScreenHunter_209 Feb. 01 12.00ScreenHunter_209 Feb. 01 12.27The cool thing with these challenges is that you can keep on going with previous challenges as well.  For example, you can plan to keep on a’swinging a couple of days per week and maybe pop in some rowing a couple of additional days. This will help to keep you in the habits that you worked so hard to develop.

As an example, the loop leaving the gym, taking a left and going through the butterfly sanctuary through the other end of Chenell, take a right onto Regional drive, a right onto Industrial drive, right back onto Chenell and then back to the gym is 1.99 miles.  A lap around the building gets you to a solid 2 miles.

One of our normal walks at home is just a standard out and back.  We know that when we hit a specific mailbox it is one mile from the house and then we can turn and head home.  I’ve got another route that is up a big hill that gives me a 4 mile round trip, and as of late I’ve been going out and exploring a giant piece of vacant land near the house and just bushwacking down old logging trails.  I don’t necessarily care where you go, just find a route and make it happen!

Here is some info on the “simple” changes I have made to lose 30+ pounds and subsequently keep it off. Walking with a pack has been a HUGE part of the process for me.

Ok, that was a ton of info…so who’s in?

Row Challenge

7398People killed the Swing Challenge and we are rolling right into February with a new one for you by popular demand! This month will be a row challenge and is super simple: row as far as you can over the course of the month!

As always, anything done during class counts, but much of the time will need to be planned on your own time.

You are welcome to come in before and after classes or even during a class that we are not using the rowers.

Below are some examples of what you would need to row daily and weekly in order to hit a specific monthly goal.  These numbers don’t need to be set in stone, but will give you a basic idea as to what you may want to shoot for.

ScreenHunter_27 Jan. 31 18.55

Once again, these challenges are designed to get you in the habit of getting up and sticking to a goal that you set for yourself.  The consistency is what truly makes a difference in maintaining physical fitness across the lifespan, and these little challenges are ways to build habit practice into your life…and that type of practice done consistently over time make magic happen!

Once again, upon completion of your day please use #FITrowchallenge on Facebook and/or Instagram to update your progress so that everyone involved can stay up to speed on your journey!

I have concocted a spreadsheet that will help you to track and tally your distance.  I can’t figure out how to attach it here, but I’ll send it out in an email.  If you would like a copy, please shoot me a message and I’ll get it out to you: Eric@FunIntelligentTraining.com

For those of you that participated in last month’s challenge, please forward me your swing totals!

 

Swing Challenge

New Year’s resolution time!  I’ve written before how I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions in much more detail, but suffice it to say my primary issue is the fact that most people choose too many and too challenging goals.  Often they end up petering out very quickly after starting as they haven’t developed the commitment to CONSISTENTLY perform what needs to be done in order to make these changes stick.

YouTube Preview Image

This challenge will do many things for you, but first and foremost it is designed to help you develop the habit of CONSISTENTLY doing what you say you are going to do.  This new skill of practicing CONSISTENTLY doing something will then translate to many other aspects of your life.

Let me preface this by saying that this challenge is not for everyone.  You need to have a solid grasp on how to properly perform the kettlebell swing and if you do not have this dialed in, you are at risk of injuring yourself which is the opposite of what we are trying to accomplish.

I actually want people to confer with me before beginning this program so as to ensure that:

  1. Your technique is on point
  2. The volume we select is appropriate for your current fitness level
  3. You understand what modifications may need to be made to your other activities so as to avoid overreaching/overtraining.

Read more

Milestone Monday

188I hit a bit of a benchmark yesterday morning. We’ve had this fancy scale for a couple of years now and I had originally put 188 as my “goal” weight, and for a long time I was trending in the opposite direction.

I saw that number pop up this morning and although an arbitrary number, it made me smile. In addition to hitting that, it also equals 25 pounds lost since April or May when I started to get my ass back in gear.

How’d I do it? Simple!

Not easy, but simple.

Obviously I know what I’m doing and know the steps that need to be taken in order to make these things happen. The challenge being, I was in some really bad habits from Vanessa’s pregnancy and the first couple months after Isaac was born and changing said habits was going to be a tricky situation.

Instead of forcing myself to do things, I decided to organize my life in a manner that was going to be conducive to making the changes I was looking for.

Eric 4-22-16 to 8-6-16 front

4/22/16 weighing 206, 8/6/16 weighing 188. Nothing crazy, just lots of consistency.

2016-08-07 21.39.19

One of the single biggest keys to my progress is ALWAYS having food available to me.

First and foremost I knew I needed help getting my eating habits back in order after months of “lazy” eating so I reached out to Jim Eaton to help me develop a nutrition plan that I could stick to.  Evolve Your Eating evolved (haha) out of that conversation and has been helping tons of people do the same! FIT members get a super duper discount, and you can learn more about that here.

2016-08-07 20.51.12

Prep, prep, prep!

This has been absolutely life changing for me, as I went from eating junk on the run to being “program complaint” 98% of the time for over 3 months at the time of this writing.

This is a very simple program that is designed to make sure it helps you succeed, not to make you feel like a failure!  The hardest part of this is making the time to plan, shop and prep food.  These things are absolutely mandatory and are the key to my success.  I’ve got it down now so a one hour prep session twice per week pretty much gets me where I need to be.

Click here if you’d like to learn more about Evolve Your Eating. New sessions start the first of every month.

It would take me forever to write up all of the benefits that this has had for me, so you’ll have to let some pictures do the talking here.

 

Eric 4-22-16 to 8-6-16 angle

I feel so much better both physically and mentally than I did a few short months ago.

I got myself some training partners. Knowing that Lucas Hardy and Brian were waiting for me to show up made sure that I did so.  Some people have mentioned that it is weird that I own a gym and am training elsewhere.  This is a good opportunity for me to explain my thought process here.

When I’m at FIT I work.  That’s the habit I have gotten into over the past couple years of 16+ hour days. When Lucas reincarnated Bodyworks Gym, it was a perfect opportunity for me to use that as a catalyst in making my own changes.  You see, his father Jeff Hardy put me on my first workout program in 1995 and I was using the exact same equipment that is currently at Bodyworks.  That coupled with the fact that I have been training martial arts of some type at Bodyworks on and off for 30 years, combined for a situation that favored me showing up and getting things done.

I haven’t been training “hard” per se, just showing up and getting some good quality reps in a couple days/week.

2016-08-07 08.55.42Another thing that may seem simple is that I started walking more. Specifically up hills with Isaac on my back (32 42 pound pack weight this morning). I can’t emphasize enough how much value this adds both physically and mentally.

Find a friend and go for a walk.  Get a dog and go for a walk. Borrow a friend’s dog and go for a walk. Get the picture?

It may seem simple, but there is a tremendous amount of value in a daily walk.  Once again, as you get more accustomed I strongly recommend you start adding some weight to a pack and focus on walking with perfect upright posture.  As you get used to that, begin heading up hills!

Bottom line: Get out and move.

I have been vicious in protecting my sleep. I have 3 days/week with less sleep as I have to be up at 5 and I’ve been trying to get a bit more on the other days.  I don’t often go out and if I do, I don’t stay out long.  Sleep does many things including regulating hormones.  Hormones play a huge role in how you function, feel and look.  Pretty important stuff if you ask me! (This is coming from a guy that rocked 4-5 hours/night for many years getting this place going.)

isaac backpack

My walking and working buddy ready to go!

I do lots of manual labor. This is an interesting one.  For years I didn’t like it and thought it was a waste of my time.  My opinion has TOTALLY changed.

I’m adding value to our home and building an environment we can enjoy as a family.   I’m able to get things done while being active, and now I just put Isaac in his little pack and he’s learning the value of work before he can even walk!

I bang out sets of push-ups and swings as often as I can. 30 seconds here and there adds up over time.  This is known as the frequency method or as some call it “greasing the groove”.

You don’t need to kill yourself with brutal workouts, just make sure to continually do quality reps throughout your day and they will add up!

It doesn’t need to be fancy, just do it!!!!

Here are examples of ways to get in extra swings, additional push-ups and up your walking game respectively.

I’ve been getting back into Jiu-Jitsu.  This has been a passion of mine for many years, but life has a way of not allowing me to train consistently.  Injuries, work and scheduling conflicts have made my training incredibly sporadic over the years, but I’ve been getting 1-2 sessions/week with John Sanders for the past couple of months and it has BJJrekindled my love for the art.

I actually signed up for a competition at the end of the month, and that has been a huge factor in ensuring that I stay the course in all of the other areas listed above.

I’ve put a lot of blood and sweat into this process and if all goes well, I will have lost 32 pounds since beginning at 213 and (hopefully!) weighing in at 181 on the 27th. ***Edit, I weighed in at 179.5!!!***

So I ask of you 2 things this beautiful morning:

1. Please take any of the “simple” strategies I mentioned above and implement them for yourself.  Info on the Evolve Your Eating program can be found here.

2. If you would like to read about some of the lessons that I have learned while undertaking these changes, you can do so here!

 

March Push up Challenge

I love the fact that so many people have been participating in the challenges and this month’s challenge is the “easiest” yet!

As I have been and continue to mention, the primary goal in issuing these challenges is to help people in get good HABITS!

Isaac SmilingA prime example of this is the fact that we had a bit of a surprise and little Isaac snuck up on a a couple of weeks early.

My normal routine of activities was totally shot as was most of the time I would have committed to last month’s Ruck Challenge, but I was able to take some of the habits from the other challenges (as well as some of my experimentation for this one) and keep somewhat active in the hospital and at home with swings and push ups.

 

This month’s challenge is predicated upon you being honest with yourself.  The goal is to improve your ability to perform PERFECT PUSH UPS, and if you cheat in any way you are doing yourself a disservice.  I strongly recommend that you take video of you performing your push ups, especially on your max days.

One of the primary issues people have is not hitting depth, meaning the the upper arms do not get totally parallel to the floor.  A good way to ensure that you are reaching depth is to take a tennis ball and place it under yourself.  Touching your sternum to the ball on EVERY REP will ensure that you are hitting the required depth.

I can’t emphasize this enough, and just like squatting, if you practice in a limited range you will only make it harder for yourself to make any future improvements.  Take the time now to reduce your reps if need be in order to ensure that you are doing them properly.

This strategy is super simple.  It is often called “Grease the Groove” and means to frequently do sub-maximal perfect reps in an effort to make your body more efficient at doing said movement.  This will be the least time intensive challenge we have done, literally only taking a few minutes per day…like 2-6 TOTAL minutes per day depending on how many reps you will be doing.

This is how it works:

Find the most PERFECT PUSH UPS you can do consecutively without breaking form.  If you need to rest it is done in a front rest position (tall plank with a straight line from head to heels/knees depending).  You can do standard push ups to start and once your form is ready to deteriorate, you immediately switch to modified push ups.  Document both of these numbers as this is what your week’s work is calculated with.

3×50% means do 3 sets of half your total push ups.  Spread the sets out throughout the day so as to be well rested when you begin each set…once again, ensure PERFECT FORM on every single rep!

Choose one of the below options.  My example is as follows:

3/1: 41 push ups

3/2: 3 sets of 21 push ups (As you can see I rounded up one rep from my 50%.)

3/3: 4 sets of 21 push ups

3/4: 5 sets of 21 push ups

3/5: 6 sets of 21 push ups

3/6 off (the 1st was a Tuesday so this first week is a bit short)

3/7 I will max again and then recalculate what my reps will be for the following week.  For example if I get 45 push ups I will begin on Monday with 3 sets of 23 push ups (I once again rounded up) and then go to 4 sets of 23 the next day and so on…

The examples are as follows:

ScreenHunter_04 Mar. 02 13.50As always, you can stack past challenges together and I STRONGLY encourage you to do so.  Get a couple days of swings and grab a few days with a couple mile ruck in addition to this.  I guarantee that if you consistently do a bit of each of these things you will see significant progress in reasonably short order!

 

February Ruck Challenge

AMAZING JOB by everyone that participated in last month’s Swing Challenge!  You can read more about that here.

This month is about as easy as it gets.

2016-02-01 11.43.56Get a pack and load it up so that it weighs 15 pounds.     (<<<<What are the odds that the stack of books I grabbed turned out like this?) Take said pack and walk or hike a set number of miles that you choose while focusing on maintaining proper posture at all times.  That simple.

You may want to titrate into it.  Start with less distance to get used to wearing the pack, as it can be very taxing to the upper back and shoulders if you are not accustomed to wearing one.

Track your mileage daily.  I use Map My Run as it is free and easy, but you can do so any way you want. Post a picture of some type of awesomeness you came across along your walk or some type of insight that you thought about during your walk as well as your total miles for the week on Facebook and check in at Fun Intelligent Training.

Reasoning:

Just like last month, the goal of doing these is to get in good HABITS!!!!2016-01-04 16.18.24

Get out in the cold.  You live in NH, there is absolutely no excuse to stay inside and hibernate for 6 months. I understand that sometimes it gets cold here.  Dress appropriately and GO OUTSIDE!  If you are really looking to dial in your cold weather attire, I spent entirely too much time last winter explaining the system that I have come up with that keeps me nice and warm and toasty while being active in the great out of doors.  You can see that here.

This will be phenomenal for your posture.

Take your pup(s) out!

This is great training for Hiking, and maybe some of you will even snag a couple of winter hikes.

Socialization: round up as many people as you can and drag them along.  Peer pressure goes both ways, you can pressure people to improve their lives, not just to do drugs!

Listen to a podcast/audio book.  I can’t tell you how many hundreds of hours of knowledge I have crammed into my tiny little brain just by listening to stuff while I walk.

Contemplation time:  There is no better time or place to think.  Period.

Once again, here is a breakdown of some examples of mileage.

 

ScreenHunter_209 Feb. 01 12.00ScreenHunter_209 Feb. 01 12.27I plan to keep on a’swinging, likely to the tune of 250 swings 3 or so days per week as well as shooting for the 5 day, 2 mile per day option with some bonus work to get to at least 50 miles.

As an example, the loop leaving the gym, taking a left and going through the butterfly sanctuary through the other end of Chenell, take a right onto Regional drive, a right onto Industrial drive, right back onto Chenell and then back to the gym is 1.99 miles.  A lap around the building gets you to a solid 2 miles.

Our normal walk at home is just a standard out and back.  We know that when we hit a specific mailbox it is one mile from the house and then we can turn and head home.  Find a route and make it happen!

Who’s in?

January Swing Challenge

New Year’s resolution time!  I’ve written before how I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions in much more detail, but suffice it to say my primary issue is the fact that most people choose too many and too challenging goals.  Often they end up petering out very quickly after starting as they haven’t developed the commitment to CONSISTENTLY perform what needs to be done in order to make these changes stick.

This challenge will do many things for you, but first and foremost it is designed to help you develop the habit of CONSISTENTLY doing what you say you are going to do.  This new skill of practicing 2015-12-13 11.12.31CONSISTENTLY doing something will then translate to many other aspects of your life.

Let me preface this by saying that this challenge is not for everyone.  You need to have a solid grasp on how to properly perform the kettlebell swing and if you do not have this dialed in, you are at risk of injuring yourself which is the opposite of what we are trying to accomplish.

I actually want people to confer with me before beginning this program so as to ensure that:

  1. Your technique is on point
  2. The volume we select is appropriate for your current fitness level
  3. You understand what modifications may need to be made to your other activities so as to avoid overreaching/overtraining.

Brian and I have been playing with this protocol for a couple of weeks now and have been really enjoying it.  Would I classify it as easy?  Not necessarily.  It is, however, incredibly simple and even at the top tier will only take an average of 13 minutes of work per day.

The goal of the challenge is to select an amount of swings that you plan to perform during the month of January and then to DO ALL OF THEM (with proper form)!

I have broken it down for 3 days per week and 5 days per week options for all of the following:

10,000 Swings

5,000 Swings

3,000 Swings

1,000 Swings

For example, the 10,000 swings 5 days per week would = 500 swings per weekday.  By setting it up this way, you get a couple days over the weekend to recover.  It also allows for some leeway if you have a rough day and miss your swings you can make up for it over the weekend without having to do 1,000 the next day.

Thinking about doing 500 swings may seem overwhelming, but I have been averaging 2:25 seconds for a set of 100.  If we round to 2:30 and multiply by 5 sets you are looking at about 13 minutes per day.

This is not intended to be done with a heavy bell.  To put it into perspective, I played with a 12kg for my H2H swings and a 16kg for my 2 handed swings for the first few days to get used to it.  As the challenge starts I will transition to a 16 and 20kg respectively.  For many of you a 10-16kg will be absolutely fine. Once again this is meant to get you in the habit of getting up and getting after it every day you say you will, and to ensure you remain (relatively) fresh, a more moderate weight is preferable to smashing yourself, feeling like poo and then missing a day.  Once you start to miss, the odds of failing to complete the challenge becomes much, much greater.

Why are we doing this?  First and foremost is the aforementioned building of consistent habits.  This translates to everything else you want to accomplish and feeling successful is the best way to keep motivated (hence making this challenge very simple, choosing the proper volume and sticking to the concept that this is intended to be done with moderate weight) will ensure you stick with it and complete the challenge!

It may seem silly, but the physical benefits are almost secondary in my reasoning for putting this together.  I have read multiple articles about the amazing transformations people have made utilizing similar protocols including dropping significant body fat, increasing strength, conditioning etc.  The bottom line is that swings are one of the most effective exercises you can do and high rep swings help your body and mind get stronger!

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Confer with one of your coaches as to what program will work best for you.
  2. Take and submit before pictures.
  3. Document every swing you do!!!
  4. Post your daily and cumulative total on Facebook and tag Fun Intelligent Training.  This will help to let other people participating in the challenge know where you stand and help to hold each other accountable to the group. 
  5. Complete the month successfully and enjoy the newfound physical and psychological strength that you gain while starting your New Year off right!

Here are some samples of ways to break up your sets and reps:

Swing ChallengeYou can do it in any manner you’d like, but I’ve just been using sets of 50 and 100.  I will likely start playing with sets of 150 but advise you to start lower and work your way up as you get more acclimated to the higher rep sets.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Keep your abs tight and shoulders back AT ALL TIMES!
  • Squeeze your glutes and quads at the top of the movement.
  • Remember, you are pushing your hips back, NOT bending forward!
  • Focus on efficiency over power.  Exploding into every rep will get old very quickly, think smooth and tight over fast and powerful.

As always, participate at your own risk.  As I mentioned previously, properly performing a KB swing is not something that everyone can do right off the bat and proper coaching is imperative to make sure you are doing them correctly.

Check out the Recap from this challenge here!

Check out February’s challenge here!