The secret to lifelong fitness and a medicine ball core circuit

Hey there,

If your goal is to create a lifelong fitness habit, my best advice is to keep it simple.

For example…

Bodyweight-based workouts are much more effective than most people think to build strength, conditioning, and overall fitness. They’re also generally easier on your body long-term and put you at less risk for possible injuries.

Some equipment can be a nice addition for variety, but you really don’t need much. A few simple pieces of workout equipment like resistance bands, a jump rope, and a pull-up bar are all you need for effective full-body workouts. Other things like kettlebells, medicine balls, and parallel bars can be nice to have around but aren’t necessary if you don’t have access to them.

Get creative! Use what’s around you. You can literally fill a backpack with some heavy books and use that for an added challenge.

Also, remember that every little bit of movement counts. If you’re really busy, try adding in mini workouts throughout the day — things like doing a few sets of bodyweight squats and push-ups in between work sessions, taking breaks to stretch and foam roll, or doing a few reps on your doorway pull-up bar each time you walk by.

And remember: the best form of exercise is the one you’ll do.

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How to rest better and a calisthenics park workout

Hey there,

How much do you prioritize rest and recovery?

If you’re like me, not enough. As a driven, goal-oriented person, I like to work. I feel most alive when I’m working, training, and striving toward my goals.

But too little rest can wreak havoc on our bodies and our brains.

When it comes to our bodies, too little rest can result in overtraining syndrome, the side effects of which are not pretty. Fatigue, sickness, injury, lack of motivation, and loss of performance are all almost guaranteed from too many workouts.

Our brains work the same way. There’s a reason we have aha moments — those flashes of creative genius where everything suddenly makes so much sense — in the shower or on a run. We need time to let new connections simmer. Just like our muscles make the real gains after we’re done with our workout, our brains work the same way.

So how do you incorporate more rest into your life? Check out my recent article for Medium on why rest is so important — and how to rest better.

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Non-exercise-related strategies for managing anxiety and an apartment-friendly circuit workout

Hey there,

I “discovered” fitness after college. I’m grateful that I did because I’m not sure I’d be here to write this today if I hadn’t.

I was a depressed and chronically anxious kid, and fitness gave me an outlet to deal with my rocky emotions. Working out gave me something to put my energy into when I was upset. It also gave me the motivation to get up in the morning when I was so depressed I would have stayed in bed all day if it weren’t for my planned workout.

Although I’m less controlled by my emotions than I used to be (hooray for growth!), working out continues to be the main way I deal with my emotions and anxiety.

Stressed? Work out. Upset? Work out. Depressed/anxious/overwhelmed with life? Work out.

But, as every athlete and weekend warrior eventually learns, you can’t solve all of your problems through exercise.

Over the years, I’ve had to find other ways to manage when I can’t out-exercise my problems. I wrote about these science-backed strategies here in an article for Medium. Try them out and let me know if they help you, too.

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Strategies to deal with uncertainty and a 5-exercise bodyweight workout

Hi there,

I don’t have to tell any of you that this has been a hard couple of years. Between two years of Covid, and, most recently, the war in Ukraine, I’ve been doing my best to keep my head above water — but sometimes the stress and hopelessness of it all gets to me.

These are the strategies that help me the most when I’m feeling anxious, depressed, or hopeless:

  • Consistent exercise (big surprise…!)
  • Fresh air and sunshine
  • Nutritious food
  • Sleep 7-8 hours a night
  • Learn things that inspire me
  • Connect with people I care about

When I focus on really dialing these in, I do pretty well most days. If I miss any of them, I start to struggle.

This is also a great article on what to do when you’re feeling the hopelessness of war.

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How to get out of a funk and a doorway pull-up bar workout

Hey there, I woke up in a bad mood every day last week. That’s not normal for me — I love mornings and usually can’t wait to start my day. But every few months, like clockwork, I become a little less enthusiastic about getting out of bed in the morning. Even as a highly motivated, …

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Learning to trust the process and a sweaty conditioning workout

Hey there,

When I first started boxing, I wanted to get good, fast. I assumed that since I was already strong and athletic, I could speed up the learning process — but I was wrong.

Of course, I should know better. I teach and write about learning new skills all the time. When clients come to me and want to do a pull-up, a handstand, or to get their life from point A to point B, I’m honest with them about the process. The harder the skill or the bigger the dream, the longer it will take. If they try and skip steps and avoid building a solid foundation first, they’ll burn out, get sick or injured, or end up on an endless plateau.

But, as every teacher knows, it’s easy to tell others what to do and much harder to apply your teachings in your own life.

I wrote a personal essay about my boxing journey and the lessons I’ve learned so far about leaning into the journey and trusting the process. You can read it on Medium here.

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The similarities between writing and fitness + a bodyweight circuit workout

Hey there,

I’m an athlete and a writer. More than anything else, those two words make up the core of who I am.

I wasn’t always an athlete. As a late bloomer, I didn’t discover fitness until my early twenties, and it was years after that before it became part of my identity. These days, I divide my training between two main sports: boxing and hand balancing (the circus performer term for people who train handstands).

Unlike fitness, writing has long been a part of who I am. As a kid, you could find me with either my nose in a book or a pen and paper in my hand. I lived mainly in a fantasy world created by my imagination.

While I’ve always loved to write, it’s a skill I also took for granted. I never actively tried to get better at it. That is, until a few years ago, when I became determined to improve as a writer. At first, I was overwhelmed by the road ahead of me. How could I build a consistent writing habit? How could I figure out something worthwhile to say? And how could I get better as a writer?

It didn’t take long before I realized I could apply all the same tactics I’d built as an athlete to my writing. Writing and fitness have a lot in common.

Click here to read my article on how to train your writing (or any creative pursuit) like an athlete.

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Why push-ups mean so much to me, being a late bloomer, and a stair + pull-up bar routine

Hey there,

Push-ups may not mean much to most people. They’re a basic bodyweight exercise, after all; one that doesn’t require much skill or fancy equipment. But to me, push-ups have been everything.

I did my first push-up when I was twenty-one. At the time, I was weak both physically and mentally. I hated  my body and who I was as a person.

Push-ups were the first ‘real’ exercise I ever did. They were my first taste of strength training and the entire reason I started believing in my physical and mental capabilities. They gave me a path forward; a glimpse of the person I could become if I was willing to put in the work.

To this day, I’m grateful I can do push-ups. Personal transformation through exercise is legit.

Have you experienced personal transformation through fitness or exercise? I’d love to hear your story. Please reply directly to this email and I’ll be in touch!

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Lessons from a chronically anxious human and a full-body tire workout

Hey there,

Anxiety is something I’ve dealt with since childhood. The earliest time I can trace it back to is third grade when my family and I moved across town, and I was forced to attend a new school. Since then, it’s been an ongoing battle to appear “normal” in a world full of, what feels like up until recently, much less anxious people.

Over the years, my anxiety has shown up in many ways: through disordered eating and body image issues, in social situations, exercise addiction, extreme claustrophobia, panic and anxiety attacks, and even self-harm. It’s been an underlying part of who I am, ruling my every thought and action, making me wonder what life would be like without it.

Although experiencing occasional anxiety is normal in stressful situations like moving, switching jobs, public speaking, or — yes — during a seemingly never-ending pandemic, anxiety becomes an indicator of an underlying disorder when feelings become excessive, all-consuming, and interfere with daily living.

As someone who has been dealing with near chronic anxiety for decades, I’ve had a lot of practice to figure out what helps and what doesn’t. I’ve outlined the strategies that have helped me most (many of them science-backed) in this article for Medium, which is more personal than I normally write.

It’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all anti-anxiety plan. Some of these strategies, like music festivals, may not work for you at all. Others may help you let go of some of your anxieties and feel like they no longer control you the same as they did before. Try and maintain an open mind and be patient with yourself as you try different methods and find what works best for you.

You can read the full article on Medium here.

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