Feeling a little stuck in your training? Life generally feels like its happening around you and to you? You get a sense that you’re not in control of things?
That happens to the best (and worst) of us.
Luckily, by fine-tuning our daily routines and habits we can switch out the bad energy and replace it with purely good vibes.
Here are some of things I’m doing right now to keep my mind and body in check.
1. Hollow Body Rocks (or Holds)
This is a gymnastic position designed to develop a solid midsection that forms the cornerstone of complex gymnastic movements.
It also creates a suit of armour for your core, thighs and shoulders.
Hold for 10 seconds every 30 seconds for a few minutes and build from there.
Make sure your lower back stays close to the floor. If you get lower back pain, cease & desist immediately.
2. Getting Upside Down
Can you do a handstand? It’s harder than it looks if you’re new to it.
Start by kicking up against a wall [let’s not kid ourselves here].
It build wrist and shoulder stability. It causes blood to rush to your head and makes you look like a beetroot (to start with).
Start with 5-10 second holds every minute.
3. Posterior Pelvic Tilt
Ever stood at a counter or in a queue and seen your reflection showing a bit of a paunch?
Or, perhaps, more of a paunch than you should be demonstrating?
Chances are you’re rocking the anterior pelvic tilt (or less eloquently: the duck’s arse).
This leads to lazy glutes and, ultimately, lower back pain, especially if combined with hours at a desk or driving a car.
Counter it by tucking your tail-bone underneath you. You should notice your glutes tighten up a bit.
It’s also much harder to show off that lovely paunch you’ve been cultivating when you’re standing properly.
That’s step 1 complete.
For step 2 we have to replicate the sensation whilst walking.
Harder than it sounds because you feel like you’re walking like a monkey.
Don’t worry: you’re not. You’re just doing your back all kind of favours.
4. Greasing The Groove
In this context we’re talking about doing something minimally, often.
It was coined by kettlebell guru and strength legend, Pavel Ttatsouline, who describes his father wanting to learn to do pull-ups.
He installed a bar in the basement of his house and every time he went down to the basement he did a few pull-ups – just 1 set of however many he could comfortably do at the time, starting with 2 or 3 and building from there.
He never got tired, never got to failure.
But over the course of a day (he was retired so went down to tinker in the basement a lot), he’d be doing 20, then 30, 40 and up to 50 pull-ups.
After a few months of this – see how many you can bang out in a single set. It will be loads more than you think.
You can apply the principle to virtually anything.
Grease the groove, baby.
5. Skip Breakfast
If you’re carrying a few extra kilos and are seriously motivated to lose it, but want to apply the ‘minimum effective dose’ philosophy (i.e. do the least amount possible for the most gains), probably the best thing you can do – based on my own experience – is skip breakfast.
1) You’re effectively getting into intermittent-fasting by putting most of your eating in the 12pm-8pm window.
2) Intermittent fasting is proven to work and is relatively easy to adhere to.
3) There’s a high percentage that your current breakfast isn’t healthy; it’s the meal with the most room for slippage.
4) You’ll be treading a path used by many older “high achievers” [ Tim Ferriss’ guests, especially older guests, have identified non-breakfast as a part of their morning routine.] If it’s good enough for some of them, I’m prepared to give it a go.
You can cheat a little (like I do) and have coffee will a little milk (which technically breaks the fast but still leaves me taut and hungry and, I’m guessing based on a little pub-science, burning fat for energy.
If you’re a die-harder carbicide-r, the first week will be rough. Expect withdrawals.
But it gets easier, your brain may even feel sharper and you’ll be smug if you can make it work.
According to Tim Ferriss, 80% of all the “high achievers” he has on his podcast have some form of daily meditation practise.
10 minutes a day away from the distractions of emails, phone calls, news updates is priceless.
I recommend it to all the Dads I work with. Here is what one of them said:
As for the headspace and calm apps they work a treat. I’ve been so relaxed that I’ve actually fallen asleep a couple of times (I know that’s not really the intention). Since using these I’ve been able to alleviate my stress and anxiety levels back to where they would normally be which is pretty low.
If anyone says they don’t have time for 10 minutes of meditation, they probably need an hour to meditate.
7. 5 or 10 Minute EMOM Workouts
Limited access to space and / or a gym, means you sometimes have to get busy in a space about the size of a coffin.
I’m doing a lot of 5 and 10 minute EMOM workouts at the moment:
20 squats Every Minute On (the) Minute (hence, EMOM) gives you 200 bodyweight squats
10 push-ups EMOM for 10 mins gives you a 100 push-ups.
10 squats / 5 push-ups EMOM….you know the drill.
Use burpees, mountain climbers, jumping squats, hand-release push-ups….whatever blows your hair back (assuming you have hair).
8. ‘If It’s Important Do It Every Day’
I posted a great video on my Facebook page about a 50+ year old CEO (who, admittedly looked like a 35 year old Hollywood actor) who makes his daily workout an integral part of his day.
As in: he schedules it like a work meeting and gives it the same level of importance.
He knows that irrespective of what happens at work, his health is going to be with him for the rest of his days.
Takeaway: never skip a training session for a work meeting.
9. Be More Meh
I accidentally embarked on a daily practise of being less reactive to things that are beyond my control.
It doesn’t always work but the feeling of empowerment when you let something wash over you that you previously would have ‘gone nuclear’ at is seriously addictive.
I subscribe to Audible and pay my $15 each month for a new talking book.
It makes me consume far more knowledge and information than I otherwise would.
It makes walks to the gym, bus journeys to work and drives to anywhere more effective.
Recent smash hits have included (these aren’t affiliate links):
48 Laws Of Power – Robert Greene
Of these, Feynman will be the most important but probably the most challenging.
He is a Noble Prize-winning physicist who worked on the Atomic Bomb and notable prankster who also became an expert in safe-cracking and bongo-drumming.
Seriously, this guy is a one-off; a polymath genius who looked at the world in a completely unique and original way.
11. Don’t Supplement
Don’t waste money on supplements.
If you need them, try to use organic or vegan proteins.
Fish oil and magnesium are about the only things you’ll need unless you have very specific goals.
If you’re a Dad, getting more than three hours sleep per night is probably a more important goal than shredding.
And we’re done.
If you’re struggling for motivation or have hit a plateau with your training or development, give these a shot.
They’re statistically proven to work – albeit on a relatively small sample of 1.
But, seriously, what have you got to lose?
Good luck, comrade.