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     The Official eNewsletter of TODAY! Fitness

vol. 2013 issue 2



My Indoor Climbing Rig

We have a Rock Gym not too far from my house and my daughter and I will shoot over there on a weekend and get in a quick 3 climbs a piece.  Indoor rock gyms are awesome, rain or shine!  Climbing develops your forearms, shoulders, hands, neck, upper back and much more. Your entire body, including cardiovascular and muscular systems, benefits from rock climbing.

Climbing is a dynamic muscle exercise, meaning your muscles are exercised because they are flexed for extremely long periods of time. This requires more blood to be pumped to them than the short repetitions used when lifting weights, which in turn causes your heart to work much harder to keep blood flowing. Your breathing rate increases to maintain oxygen levels in your blood.

If you have a low tolerance to cardiovascular activity, be sure to start slowly and work your way up. For example, you may want to start with five minutes of rock climbing, and add an additional five minutes each week until you are climbing for 30 minutes. Research by the American Medical Association has found that this amount of time is optimal in order to achieve the greatest cardiovascular health benefits.  In addition, rock climbing at a moderate intensity for around one hour will burn around 400 calories.

Although most of you are aware that I am big into the whole "Do-It-Yourself" thing... there's no way that I have the space (or the permission) to build a rock climbing wall on the side of my house!  So here's what I did...


No... it's not a full wall... so I can't get in the full climbing experience with the leg work and all.  However, the rock holds do make for a great chin-up variation!  I also like to start hanging at one end of the board and walk my hands from hold to hold to the other side and back.  It's a great back/bi/hands/forearms burner!


This is a pretty cheap setup too... you can pick up a set of the rock holds off of eBay starting for about $25.   


I mounted the rock holds to a 2 x 12 board and lag bolted the board into a floor joist in the basement.  Placement of the holds are certainly up to you, but I preferred to stagger them to allow for various grip options and route variations.

So if you like climbing... if you're looking for some different chin up options...or if you just like building whacky workout stuff in your home gym... give this contraption a shot.  Very easy to make.  Just make sure that you have someone help you hold the board up when you're mounting it. J


How to see the barrier to reaching your goals


I am shocked to hear that 60% of people donít know whatís holding them back from reaching their goals. So I decided that I will address the topic: The way  you figure out what you should be doing next is that you try stuff.

You make bad choices, you try again. This is really standard advice for recent grads. But then, somewhere around age thirty, people start thinking they are above this advice. Like, this would be too slow and annoying for someone who is older than thirty.

And, in fact, thatís true. Finding out what you should be doing is a slow and annoying process because you have to try stuff. And a lot of times when we get stuck, we think philosophizing will get us out of the rut. But in fact, action gets us out. Thatís right. Even for people like INTPs, who basically create theories in response to anything, even the INTPs have to take action in order to find out if they want to think at a think tank or at a university or a business.

The process of continuing to move forward is one thatís hard to imagine, because if youíre older, you feel stupid and lost and hopeless, so you donít talk about it. There are ten billion blogs written by totally lost twenty-five year olds, but very few written by thirty-five-year-olds. So, here we go. Iím going to show you my process for getting myself out of bad career behavior:  I am happy when I am posting on my blog and I am unhappy when I am not posting. So I should write more.

1. Ask someone for input.  Anyone, really. You have no ideas, you are stuck. And itís easy to see other peoplesí problems. So ask someone what they see in you.
I did a coaching session with Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness. She coaches people on how to reorganize their lives to optimize for happiness. She showed me that the reason Iím not writing is because I donít have a routine. I donít put aside time to work every day. I just hope work time happens. And then, when it does, I only work on whatís already an emergency. (On a good day. On a bad day I am not even doing the emergencies. I am buying new dishes on eBay and sending photos of them to Melissa.)

I knew this. But I didnít really know it because if I really knew it Iíd have solved the problem before she told it to me. So I only knew it peripherally. I was hoping it wasnít true.

2. Ask a specialist for input. Now that you have a sense of whatís wrong, ask someone who specializes in being great in that area.
So then I look at what is keeping me from sticking to a schedule. I decided that itís that I donít have a plan for what I am doing with my writing. So I called up Ramit Sethi, who does not charge me for coaching, but Ramit is a very transactional guy. So before I tell you what he told me, I need to tell you that he has has this course for teaching people how to negotiate salary. And really, everything he does is good because Ramitís gift is heís a promotional genius, and people who have that genius donít waste it on bad product.

So heís my go-to guy when I need someone to tell me what I should be doing to make money. Heís really good at telling me to stop selling stuff that is too cheap. This is a good time to tell you that he charges $10,000 for career coaching. Iím not kidding.

3. Everything is a grain of salt. This is a reference to tears, for sure, since I go from not meeting my goals to hating myself to tears that I am a bad role model for my boys because they can see that I hate myself and I am ruining their childhood. See how fast that is?

But I meant, actually, salt as in take the advice with a grain of salt. After all you can only be you.

So at first I told myself that I should be charging that much. But then I realized that I would not get to talk to as many people. And I love talking to everyone I coach. They are always super-smart and interesting and fun. I think my coaching business is self-selecting: you have to be a a go-getter and an innovative thinker about how you manage yourself if you decided to hire me to give you advice. And, I think I would be really bored in my homeschooling life if I didnít get to coach people each day.

So Ramit is making a gazillion dollars and he is good at coaching me. I talked to him and I realized that I am focusing on too many things. And I should just sell one or two things and focus on my writing, because I love my writing. Itís because of Ramit that I donít tell you to buy my books all the time. Because thereís no money in books.

Ramit teaches me how to pitch myself relentlessly.

And then I donít do it. But he helps me know what I can do to make money and then I get past the barriers to doing what I want to do.

4. After investigation of details, revisit the initial problem. You know what? Iím sick of telling myself I want to write more and then I donít write. The truth is that I write every day. Who knows what Iíll write, but I do write every day. Itís not what I thought it would look like. I thought I would sit down at a desk like a normal writer, and write five pages each day.

Instead, I write when I can write. And I publish when I can publish. And itís working out. And I know Iíll tell you that Iíll die if I donít write. And thatís true. And I write. And I am done talking about the barrier to this goal. Because I donít want to be one of the 60% of people who donít know whatís holding them back from their goals.

5. Admit there are no barriers.
I do not actually believe we have barriers to reaching our goals. We have difficult paths that we are taking, that we believe will lead to our goal. Or we have stupid goals. If you have the wrong goal, your sixth sense will tell you not to start heading toward the goalófor whatever reason. But really, if youíre not going toward your goal itís a bad goal.

So, you could reframe your goal, like I just did, so you feel like a winner. Or you can dump your goal and get another. And maybe youíll head toward that one. Or maybe you wonít. And sooner or later, the goal will be to get a goal that gets you really moving.







Sandbag Exercise of the Month!

Bentover Row


Bentover Row is a classic exercise that is great for developing a strong upper and lower back.  While the barbell and dumbbell versions, as well as the new sandbags, have handles... I prefer the good old fashion sandbags so that I can grab a handful of cloth and really strengthen my hands and forearms at the same time.  Form is important on these, so try to keep a nice flat back with your head up!


Target:  back and arms (rhomboids, erector spinae, biceps brachii)

Description:  Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with the sandbag at your toes.  Squat down with your head up and your butt back while you grasp the cloth at the top of the sandbag.  Maintain a locked postion with your back where it is (and a slight bend in your knees).  Pull the bag to your chest, with your elbows close to your body, and return to starting position.  Focus on an explosive upward pull, followed by a slower return back down.

Eating to Increase Your Metabolism

Great article that I received from Fitness Black Book (one of my email subcriptions)!  Most people know that you are supposed to eat smaller meals, more frequently throughout the day... but this article really frames some of the details pretty well...

Eating to Increase Your Metabolism  
Fitness Black Book

We have all known someone with the ability to eat large amounts of calories, not even workout, and still look lean and defined year round. By chance, these people have a revved up metabolism. What often happens to these people is they are lean when they are young, then at some point their metabolism slows down and they put on weight. In fact, this was more often than not the case a couple generations ago.

My dad was born in 1940 and grew up in the 40′s and 50′s. He stayed lean while eating a boat-load of food in in his teens and 20′s. I used to think current childhood obesity rates are because of the activity levels of young people back then compared to now, but have since changed my mind. My dadís sister (my aunt) ate until she was stuffed 3 times per day, was inactive, and stayed lean into her late 20′s as well.

You Really Canít Blame Carbs Either.  Back in the 50′s when my dad was in his teens, dinners typically had a large amount of carbs. Meat was always served with a large portion of carbs. I think my grandma served potatoes with almost every meal back then. They ate large volumes of carbs and stayed lean.

Leptin Resistance

You have probably know about insulin resistanceÖand my guess is that you have read about increasing leptin levels while dieting using cheat meals. This is something different altogether. Those with leptin resistance typically have plenty of leptin in their body, but it doesnít work properly to regulate body fat. What sucks is that cheat meals wonít do anything to help with leptin resistance.

A simple way to look at leptin is that it is your hunger hormone. When you eat a large amount of food, or have a extra body fat, your body releases leptin as a signal to eat less. This is one way the body regulates body fat. If you are resistant to this hormone, your hunger continues despite adequate calories or excess body fat.

There was a recent study that states that circulating leptin levels predict the development of metabolic syndrome in middle-aged men.  This study suggests leptin resistance and insulin resistance usually work as as team (in a bad way). Leptin resistance makes you hungry, you eat more, insulin resistance causes you to store more body fat, etc. This study also showed that those with leptin resistance were more likely to have abdominal obesity and high blood pressure.

One of the keys to a strong metabolism and the ability to stay lean without counting caloriesÖis increasing your sensitivity to leptin.

Note: You have to be willing to eat more and you may even add a little body fat when repairing your metabolism. Once your metabolism is recovered, your body will respond to good strategic fat loss routines.

Stuck at Current Weight On a Low Calorie Diet?
Being unable to lose weight while eating 1,200-1,800 calories per day is a rough spot to be in. Where do you go from there, especially if you are already exercising? This is a common problem for people who go into a diet and exercise program when they are leptin resistant, insulin resistant, and have a chronically slow metabolism.

Life Isnít as Colorful With a Slow Metabolism
Hereís are some of the potential issues.

  • Lower testosterone levels / lower sex drive.

  • Slowed digestion causing problems like gas and bloating.

  • More likely to store body fat when eating in excess.

  • Lower body temperature.

  • Lower energy levels.

  • Moodiness and or depression.

Prepping the Body to be Able to Lose Fat Easily
My advice to anyone who gets stuck losing those final 10-15 pounds of fat before summer is to spend the next two months repairing your metabolism. With a raging metabolism it is possible to create a strong calorie deficit while eating many more calories than you have in the past. Wouldnít it be cool to drop body fat eating 2,500 calories per day instead of 1,500?

Measuring Your Metabolism With a $10 Tool
The way to test your metabolism is to measure your body temperature first thing upon waking in the morning. It supposedly is most accurate with an armpit thermometer.  Take a couple readings in each armpit... The highest reading will be your basal temperature.  The ideal range is between 97.8 and 98.2 degrees when measuring temperature first thing upon waking.

The 2 Month Gameplan to Boost Your Metabolism

Eat 3 Meals Per Day: Iím a big fan of intermittent fasting, but I recommend taking a break for 2-3 months. When you reintroduce it, it will work like gangbusters. Eat 3 meals per day. Eat as soon as you wake up, eat at lunch time, and eat at dinner time. If you are someone who is accustomed to eating small breakfasts and lunches, you should make those meals larger than normal.

Eat Plenty of Carbs With Every Meal: Eat yams, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, rice, corn, etc. This isnít the time to follow a paleo diet. When your metabolism is boosted and your morning temperature is consistently in the ideal range, you can cut back on carbs at that point.

Eat Until You Are Full and Avoid Hunger: Let your body know that there will always be a constant supply of food, so it will eventually store less and less of this food as fat. Your body will burn at a faster rate (increased metabolism) to meet the increased calories coming in.

Limit Caffeine and Alcohol: Try to reduce coffee and alcohol intake for these 2 months. This will speed up the time it takes to get your metabolism burning more calories per day.

Lift Weights With Minimal Cardio: You want to minimize cortisol if your metabolism is below optimum levels. Ditch the cardio until your metabolism is back to a normal level.

ďWonít I Get Fat By Increasing Calories?Ē
You most likely will gain a bit of fat at first when increasing your intake of calories. You are taking a step back to make it easier to lose weight when you do finally reduce the calories a bit. Iím not a fan of bodybuilder style ďbulking and cuttingĒ. I do like how their bulking period resets their metabolism, but believe the same positive benefits can happen without adding tons of excess fat.

Chronic Low Calorie Diets Can Age People
The problem with staying lean by consuming 1,000-1,500 calories per day is that you simply lack nutrients to keep your body working properly
. Problems occur like dry skin, thinning hair,  lack of sex drive, brain fog, cold hands and feet, etc. Wouldnít it be better to be able to maintain your ideal body weight at 2,500 calories instead of 1,500? With a healthy metabolism this is possible.

Eat Like Your Grandparents Did for the Next 2 Months

  • Protein, Carbs, and Fat with every meal.

  • 3 meals per day.

  • Limit omega 6 fat sources like vegetable oils and peanut butter.

  • Cook with coconut oil, butter, or olive oil.

  • Limit sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

The main two foods to avoid during these two months are vegetable oils and high fructose corn syrup. You also want to limit foods containing these ingredients.  The problem with both of these foods is that they contribute to inflammation which contributes to leptin resistance, insulin resistance, etc. Olive oil, butter, or coconut oil are your best choices for cooking.  (I'm trying to ween myself off of chips and fries, since they are cooked in vegetable oil.)

For Those Who Want a More Detailed Explanation, Matt Stone is the go-to-guy when it comes to increasing your metabolism through diet. His 170 page $19.95 ebook, 180 Degree Metabolism, explains all of this in much greater detail than I can in a blog post. That being said, the game plan I outlined above will work well.

ref.  Fitness Black Book, Jan 2013

It's Go Time!

Scary story:  There's only 3 or 4 months left until bathing suit season!  Even less if you're heading out for vacation somewhere warm before that!  How's that resolution working out for ya?  Eating better?  Working out regularly?  You haven't quit until you stop trying!  If you've fallen off, then now's the time to reset and jump back into it!

Use your powers for good, rather than evil!  And you have the power... but with great power comes great responsibility ; )  It is YOUR responsibility to make the time for your workouts.  It is YOUR responsibility to make good decisions with your diet choices.  Sure, it's easier said than done, but you really need to stop thinking for the short term (impulse) and start thinking more for the long term (and your goals).  Make a plan and be laser focused to achieve your goals!

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Exceed Your Potential!

Pete Mazzeo, CPT

"Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it."
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

youtube of the month --> Gymnastics Inspired Workout
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