2017 in Review 2018 Mind & Body

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As new year’s eve approaches, I tend to get nostalgic and look back over the last year – how fast it seems to have flown by, the successes (and failures), triumphs -and everything in between.Then I raise a glass and throw confetti.

Looking Back 2017

On January 4th my first post was a simple bit of advice ( click here ) I try and follow in, and out, of the gym.

Gym’s, health clubs, and the like are communities, full of like-minded people all with a common goal – that of self improvement. “Birds of a feather” as they say, and I like to be around supportive people, and those who encourage each other. Fitness enthusiasts tend to posses that unique combination of accountability, motivation, and drive. That same week I published the first installment of my eBook series Inventing Fitness The Greeks, a Society, it’s Strength (Amazon.com)

The First Gyms

Inspired in the gym to find out the origins of it, I researched the ancient Greeks, their obsessive fascination with the body and mind, and even more, this civilizations need to constantly improve both. These early gymnasiums, some truly epic in size, later grew to become institutions of higher learning.The great philosopher Plato, a skilled wrestler in his day, opened his Academy in Athens.

“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save and preserves it” Plato

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In 432 BCE a strong body represented a strong mind, and physical fitness not merely something that was trending, but a way of life.

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During the spring I teamed with a property management company to design routines for resident workout rooms in some of their buildings.

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As a seasoned gym dweller, I’ve learned (forced at times) to get creative and make due with what was there. As a trainer, I know that every client and their goals are different, and a huge facility with copious amounts of equipment isn’t always necessary. Nice, perhaps…but not required.

“You are what you eat…”

“…so don’t be cheap, easy, or fake.” 2017 was a year of truly eating cleaner. I made a concerted effort to deconstruct as many recipes as possible, then rebuild them into cleaner versions. Some worked out very well.

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A common misconception is that healthy food is bland, and lacking in flavor. Not true. From Chicken Salad to Chicken Cacciatore, learning what to eliminate and what you can substitute is key. Master the basics, I say.

The importance of paying closer attention to the foods we eat cannot be overstated. Yes, there is a host of baloney out there to confuse us. In a rant-ish style post, I gave my thoughts on IIFIYM. I’m all for a cheat meal, no doubt about that. However, trying to justify eating prepackaged, processed, fake food, simply because the numbers crunched isn’t a recipe for success in my book.

Legitimate, scientific studies show incorporating a cheat meal regularly (that is once a week or so, Jedi) can actually work for you.

Keeping It Real

Not everyone is as gung ho and ardent about working out as some of us. I get it. But never say never. Throughout this past year, I looked for ways to preach the word without, well, preaching.

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My slogan, “Practical Advice for Practical People,” is the core intent of this sight. I’ve always taken a no-nonsense approach to the world around me – and believe it to be the wave of the future. Ride the wave, man, and learn to simplify.

Looking Ahead 2018

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit”  – Aristotle

Way of life.

The second installment of the ebook series moves on to Rome, with it’s“Bread & Circuses.”  Rome grew to be one of the largest empires the world has ever seen. What was the Roman definition of civic duty and physical preperadness as compared to their predecessors? What happened to the gymnasium?

Fitness & Social Science, er, media

Those damn algorithms. Has any else gone and adjusted their settings yet again? To keep things completely real, I believe there are more than enough “Insta-models” out there. Pass go and do not collect $200, the market is saturated, already. We get it – videos demonstrating slow-repped exercises, using standard attachments in awkward ways (being “creative”) all with bleached teeth. And what’s up with the random hairstyling tutorial? I thought it was a fitness page. Btw, how did some accumulate 250k bots, I mean followers?

What to takeaway

Fitness is about confidence, self respect, and feeling good about yourself, just to name a few. That being said, what it absolutely is not is an attention seeking platform to see how many likes a person can accumulate, or comments praising how swole you are. The message is getting lost. Personally speaking, I have a “doctor/patient” relationship with my clients. Their privacy is exactly that, and most people I work with do not want “transformation pics” spread online, nor do they need comments.

What we could do with seeing more of are new ways of showing people that fitness is fun. (yes, it is) and that enjoyment does correlate with results. So, if you are following someone via social media, think about what are you get out of it? Are you getting inspiration and motivation? Is it encouraging? Attainable? There’s a new acronym – I.M.E.A.

From our perspective (Sorry, not sorry) 

As fitness professionals and personal trainers, we hear just about every excuse in the book. So please, in the new year, no more excuses. The “I’m so busy, I can’t workout” line is *bleep/expletive.* Instead, don’t just make the time, but commit to it as well. Own it, and make it yours.

“Beware the bareness of a busy life”Socrates

Food in 2018

I spent years going in and out of the Food & Beverage Industry, I’ve seen every fad, crock, and trend happen before it really happened. Cleaning your plate, or time spent in the kitchen has never been made easier, than in my new eBook of meal prep recipes. I plan to share it, and a great deal more on eating for success. Sound crazy? 80% of success is Diet & Nutrition. Should we eat carbohydrates? – of course we should. Are all fats the same? – most definitely not. Streamline the process, learn which of the latest claims are bogus, and what tried and true methods work.

Momentum

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It’s a fast paced world out there. In 2018 plan to keep pace without missing a beat. Make time for fitness. Make the time to “save and preserve.”

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Follow @jwilltrain on Twitter for quotes meant to inspire, food pics, as well as complete randomness. 

 

6AM – 8PM Monday – Saturday

By Appointment

 

Staying on Track During the Holidays

Holidays

Priorities

Every year at this time, I see folks go through the same rigamarole. Setting out in front of them – like a heaping plate of thanksgiving day carb load – roadblocks and justifications as to why they can’t stay on track with their fitness goals. “How am I suppossed to workout, I haven’t even done any shopping, I’m so busy.”

Not that long ago a certain tech company launched the sale of yet another version of it’s mobile device. Listening to one of my favorite morning radio shows (I still listen to the radio) a reporter on assignment at a store location, asked a customer how long he’d been waiting in line.

The man responded “15 hours.”

Holidays

Hard Reset

The truth, is that life in the 21st century is busy and the holidays are no different than any other time of the year. Our schedules are always full. Yes, feeling obliged to attend the ugly christmas sweater party and drink cheap wine can suck.

And there is no doubt at all that gathering the whole family together with all that entails, has it’s challenges. Not to mention department stores full of petulant, screaming children and their parents elbowing their way in front of you just to grab sale items is, well….

yeah, no.

All the more reason to go push the iron plates, right?

Naughty or Nice

Holidays

As we finish out the season and head into a brand new year of busyness please, keep this in mind:

Tip One Do not feel obliged to eat. Rather, to over eat. Eating grandma’s famous casserole is one thing. Going back for seconds and thirds is another. Company party? Set the example – politely let you’re coworkers know that you are starting your new year resolutions early, – skip the dessert buffet. Who knows, maybe the boss is watching and will take note of you’re initiative. (Wink wink)

Tip Two Schedule workouts for first thing in the morning. Reason being, with last minute party plans, “overbooking”, and getting stuck in the rush of everyone else overbooking and making last minute party plans, you won’t blow off gym time.

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Plus, early morning workouts help keep us looking energized, and not as though we stayed until last call. Lights on, ouch. 

Tip Three Stop making excuses. It was Ben Franklin who said, “He that is good at making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Okay, so we’re slightly busier than normal. So, when I here people say next year they can’t train because tax season started, or because the 1st quarter earnings report is due, or……..

You get my drift. Life is busy. Stop for a bit and find the time to invest in yourself.

Tip Four Drink water.

Holidays

Sounds like a no-brainer, right. We know why it is important to stay hydrated.

There are 168 hours in a week. If you chooes to wait 15 hours in line for a anything, that’s on you. Just make 3 hours each week dedicated to becoming a stronger version of yourself – only with a better phone.

6AM – 8PM Monday – Saturday

By Appointment

Email: jwilliamstrains@gmail.com

 

Grocery Shopping

From the new eBook: All Four Burners Ways to Make Meal Prep and Life in The Kitchen Easier.

“The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and leaving with only a loaf are a billion to one” – Erma Bombeck

As a writer and humorist Mrs B was known for her keen observations on daily life. Through her syndicated newspaper column she let people into the life of a housewife. Making time for Julia Child like fun is a challenge for many. As is grocery shopping.

Shopping

To be fair, the shelves in the stores of today are heavy with selection. 11 flavors of this, 15 of that. It is amazing to me just how many times something can be repackaged. Apparently I’m not the only one who has given this some thought. One online study shows that over a 30 year period from 1978 – 2008, the average number of items in our supermarkets increased from 8900 to over 47,000. Is it any wonder then why shopping has become such a task?

Shopping

Growing up grocery shopping was actually something of an adventure. My mother was the original extreme couponer. Long before a television show about it, I clearly remember a small, tan, plastic filing box. The type just large enough for index cards. Except instead of index cards there were newspaper clippings, coupons, and two-for-ones. I should know, I helped cut them out of the inserts from the Sunday paper every week. I looked forward to getting to the checkout and watching to see how much the total bill came down. You see, she typically shopped for the whole month and we most often had 2 carts to push.

In some cultures it is chic to only buy for the meal at hand. Across the pond in France for example, a trip to the supermarche is quite different than here in the states. French kitchens, unlike their American counterparts, are much smaller and most often do not have the room for wholesale 12 packs of canned goods. Also en france, it is typical to visit one shop for your produce and the quaint bakery for your baguette.

Shopping

The french also adhere to a culinary philosphy of fresh, fresh, and nothing but.

The store with the 10 foot long receipts

Back when I was a kid one-stop-shop was the way to go, and we had a large freezer in the garage to accomodate everything. With all the aforementioned abundance of selection, a little comparison shopping is a down right necessity, and couponing a true art form. I suppose it always has been, although with the advent of the world wide web it’s gotten incredibly sophisticated as stores have doubled down on us walking out with $50 worth of merch for a mere $1.64. Over the years I’ve known some truly talented couponers – some even getting paid by the store. Albeit in rain checks but still, I’ll take a rain check.

Some cashiers even seem to resent all this. Truth be told I really don’t understand why they care what we’re doing, and I have politely requested to speak with management on more than one occasion. I also don’t remember anyone ever giving my mother a hard time with her box of savings. Maybe I just didn’t notice.

Have a good system and by that I mean know what it is you’re shopping for. One truly gifted couponer I knew had three kids. Thats a lot of shampoo, so big ticket items for her were hair products. Pick what is essential week to week. Shaving cream, paper towels, laundry detergent, whatever it may be start looking for coupons for those items.

Becoming familiar with a little lingo also helps. “Stacking” for example, refers to using multiple coupons for the same item. You may have an in-store coupon for paper towels combined with a manufacturer’s printed from online.

If you’d like a cyber-monday free copy go here! ⤵

“It’s choice not chance, that determines your destiny”Jean Nidetch

The Original Dumbbell

From the eBook: Inventing Fitness Pt I The Greeks, A Society, and it’s Strength  available on Amazon.com

Gym life

Multiple centuries before complicated exercise equipment a student here used a variety of innovative methods to begin building his physique.

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In the National Archeological Museum of Athens sit a pair of Halteres. These, the original dumbbells are carved of stone with handles at the top devised to help an athlete’s long jump. This method is clearly seen painted on the Amphora vases along with multiple gymnastai holding their characteristic cane reeds used for smacking the naked back of a student to get his attention.

“He who is only an athlete is too crude, too vulgar, too savage. He who is a scholar only too soft, too effeminate. The ideal citizen, the man of thought, the man of action.”  – PLATO

With their competitive nature and early attention to physical activity, it seems the ancient greeks honed in on the releasing of endorphins. Those chemicals the body produces that stimulate receptors in the brain boosting confidence. The correlation between physical activity and brain stimulation began.

Gymnasiums became places to challenge the mind as well as the body. One could come to Aristotles “strolling school” and hear lectures on any number of topics. With all the running, jumping, and wrestling testosterone surely ran high and clear they became inspired to not only delve xeep into their own minds, but those of their counterparts.

Gym talk

In our 21st century fitness clubs we tend to follow an unwritten rule of avoiding certain topics and conversations and go about our routines keeping to ourselves. 2500 years ago after generations of legends, young men began to focus on logic, morals, and ethics. They came to discuss important topics and what was on their minds.Original

What inspires you?