6 minutes | Mar 23, 2023
195: The Host Body Matters!
A few times in my life, actually more than a few, I have gotten myself into a bit of a jam. There is always work to be done and at times, I feel that I keep working with very little consideration to how I am feeling or handling the stress of whatever life throws at you. Then, if not put into check, I will find myself getting sick, feeling run down, or experience other health issues that makes you slow down and bring the chaos to a halt. When you feel like crap, you realize that the only thing that matters right now is your health and feeling better. You forget all the nonsense and just focus on yourself. During this time of feeling a little off, I was reminded of something I heard back at the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. During an interview, Peter Hotez, an infectious disease specialist, reiterated over and over again the importance of having a healthy body that will eventually play host to a disease. The health of the host body prior to being exposed to any potential health issue plays a big role in how that body handles said issue. If you take care of yourself today, you can have a better tomorrow.
7 minutes | Mar 13, 2023
194: Can We Fix Childhood Obesity?
In the 1970's, roughly 5% of children were obese. Today, that number is over 22% and there are no signs of it slowing down. Along with having an unhealthy weight, kids younger and younger are starting to experience problems like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis and depression. In addition to those chronic ailments, obesity in childhood tends to carry over into adolescence and then into adulthood. Here is what the numbers say: 55% of obese children go on to be obese in adolescence and around 80% of obese adolescents will be obese in early adulthood. 70% of these individuals will be obese over the age 30. A sedentary lifestyle plays a huge role in body composition and if we want to reverse some of these trends, increasing physical activity for children would be a great place to start. In Slovenia, they conducted a study where they got 48% of their primary schools and over 34,000 students to participate. The purpose of this research was to see the effect of adding an additional 2-3 days of physical activity on the body composition of the students involved in the study. As one might assume, more physical activity led to huge improvements in reducing BMI scores. The greatest improvements were in those children with the highest BMI scores and the results began to really become apparent at the three year mark. What this tells me is that consistent physical activity, done over years, can help fight the childhood obesity rise we have been seeing in recent decades. In pure volume alone, the schools have the power to impact the most children and as the study indicates, can make a huge difference in the lives of those kids they work with. If we want to make change, a good place to start is getting physical activity back into the schools!
7 minutes | Mar 4, 2023
193: Six Healthy Habits for all Children!
Healthy kids become healthy adults. In order for us to mitigate some of the negative factors associated with modern living, there are six things that we can start doing today to ensure our children will have a better tomorrow! Replace texting with talking. Practice social skills in childhood will decrease the likelihood of social anxiety in adulthood. Replace indoor light with sunlight. Vitamin D, fresh air, and some sightseeing in nature work wonders for the mind and body! Replace screen time with people time. This is similar to number one but this is about experiences. Just get out there and experience different things with different people. Replace late nights with sleep. To do this, stop scheduling things that occur well past their bedtime and put rules into place that has kids off the screens and winding down. Replace sitting with moving. Remember what movement does for anxiety and depression? Get your kids off their backsides and engaging in some sort of physical practice. Replace supplements with real food. The quick and easy grab and go items are convenient but not always ideal for our kids long term health.
9 minutes | Mar 3, 2023
EP192: Can We Eliminate Anxiety?
The Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) estimates that over 40 million adults suffer from anxiety disorders. For these people, stress and anxiety are a normal part of daily life but it doesn't have to be that way. According to studies cited by ADAA, regular exercise works as well as medication for some people to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and the effects can be long lasting. One vigorous exercise session can help alleviate symptoms for hours, and a regular schedule may significantly reduce the likelihood of those symptoms returning. The great thing is that it doesn't have to be anything special or overly organized. Simply adding a 10-20 minute walk has shown similar improvements when compared to those partaking in a 45 minute session. Those that exercise are less likely to feel anxious, stressed, or depressed. For one more way to release stress and anxiety, check out the video for a technique that you can do right now in this moment!
9 minutes | Feb 25, 2023
191: Advice for those Coming off an Injury!
Last week I woke up at 11:40 pm and couldn't really move. My legs were slightly numb and the back muscles in my lower back were tight. I tried to sit up and failed. I rolled off the bed and hoped it was all a dream and went back to sleep with the idea that I would wake up feeling better. This was wishful thinking! So, after this surprise, I decided to take some time off and then press the reset button. For the first 2-3 days, I did nothing but rest. I wanted to let the inflammation process take its course and on the third day, I started to add in some gentle stretching and did a 20 minute walk. On the fourth day, the training began! Coming back from the time off, there were three components I wanted to focus on: Strength, Mobility and Work Capacity. For the strength exercises, I wanted to hit a push and pull for the upper body and then a squat and hip hinge for the lower body. For the mobility, I wanted to help my back heal so I found four exercises that would help promote that. For the work capacity, I wanted to perform a few exercises that were back friendly, core strengthening, and challenging.
4 minutes | Feb 24, 2023
190: Lessons from the Spartans
Every few years I either read or listen to the book Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield. This book is about the Battle of Thermopylae in which 300 Spartan soldiers were sent to defend the area known as the Hot Gates. The movie 300 was inspired by this tale. Each time I read/listen to this book, something new and thought provoking stands out. This time around, it was a conversation between a young soldier and his mentor Dienekes... Dienekes told his protege that the mind is like a house with many rooms. There are rooms one must NOT go into. Some of those rooms include anger, fear, jealousy, envy, revenge, etc. Any of these passions will lead "the mind toward that "possession" which undoes men in war." Think to moments in your life where you have felt emotions so strong that your mind does not think rationally. Think of those times when you were furious, envious, jealous, and angry: Were you thinking clearly or thinking in a reactionary way? According to Dienekes, it is “that yielding to fear or anger which robs an army of order and reduces it to a rabble." In our own lives, operating that way with our mind possessed by those emotions robs us of thinking clearly and living. So what are you to do when these situations arise? Prepare yourself for anything in a stoic like manner. Respond to situations rather than react and remember, “Habit will be your champion. When you train the mind to think one way and one way only, when you refuse to allow it to think in another, that will produce great strength in battle.” Our battleground will not be as daunting as what Dienekes and the 300 Spartans faced at Thermopylae, but the lessons still relate!
6 minutes | Feb 23, 2023
189: 2 + 2 = 5
In the book 1984, protagonist Winston Smith finds himself in a bit of a situation. In discussion with a friend, they debate whether or not 2 + 2 = 4 or does it equal 5 like they have been told. For some, the idea of 2 + 2 = 5 is all they know and they follow along with that line of thought but Smith knows better. So, he has a choice to make: speak out or follow along. If he doesn't say anything, then the misinformation wins. If he decides to speak out, he may be ostracized, penalized, or worse. This type of scenario plays out in two areas that I am closely connected to. In athletics, multi-sport participation is shown to decrease likelihood of injury, reduce the risk of burnout and promote long term development well beyond high school. In fact, most college coaches in the country want their kids to play multiple sports. This is 2 + 2 = 4. Unfortunately, the information being shared by youth, club or high school coaches contradicts what is known to be best and parents feel pressured to follow that guidance (2 + 2 = 5). For kids especially, excess screen time is bad. It leads to obesity, sleep disruptions, behavioral issues, delays in social skills, and attention problems. As parents, we know this and do what we can to limit it (2 + 2 = 4). Contrary to this, some local schools think otherwise and choose to use iPads for everything causing kids to be on screens 8+ hours a day (2 + 2 = 5). There are some things in the world I do not understand and this is one of them!
5 minutes | Feb 22, 2023
188: I Need Mahomes Doctor!
On Wednesday night I woke up around 11:40 and could not move. My back was incredibly stiff and my legs felt a little tingly. I tried to sit up and failed. I was stuck in bed for a moment and after taking some time to ask myself, "what the heck is going on here?" I finally rolled off the bed and luckily was able to land on my feet. I had my fingers crossed that this was a dream of some sort and that if I went back to bed, I would wake up feeling like a champ. As it turns out, this was not the case! Crazy thing is, a few days prior, I had a conversation with a dad foreshadowing what I would be experiencing. He mentioned that his son is healing well from a nasty leg injury but that the ankle on the injured leg is incredibly stiff even though he did not have an injury to that joint. We then discussed the idea of muscle guarding which is your body’s protective response when an injury occurs as it causes the muscles around the injured area to tighten up as a means of protecting the injured site. A few days after that conversation, muscle guarding entered my world as the muscles in my lower back, hamstring, quadriceps, and calves got incredibly stiff post-back injury. Getting back to 100% will take some time but here is my plan of action... 1. Let the bodies inflammation process take its course. 2. Continue to take this turmeric extract supplement for pain relief. 3. Slowly add in gentle movement. 4. Most importantly, use this as a sign to slow down and try to reduce both physical and mental stress!
3 minutes | Feb 7, 2023
187: Never Forget Your ABC's!
Last week I came across a headline that read, "about 36 million falls are reported among older adults each year—resulting in more than 32,000 deaths." This headline put a shocked look on my face as it quite scary. As I thought on this, I came to the realization that maybe it is time we check in on our ABC'S: Agility, Balance, Coordination, Speed & Strength. In working with kids, there is a phrase often used to describe one's developmental pathway and that is physical literacy. Just like you learn letters before you embark on reading a novel, you must first learn the fundamentals of movement in an effort to advance towards more advanced training modalities. In time, as we age, these skills and attributes deteriorate which leads to the headline written above. Here are a few ways to fight father time and implement the ABC'S into your training... Agility: Grab an agility ladder and move through some of the more basic footwork drills as part of your warmup. These short quick bursts of change of direction might save you when you trip and stumble over an object. Having the ability to react quickly may prevent you from hitting the ground! Balance: Performance exercises while standing on one leg or pull out the balance beam and get to work! Being able to stand on one leg for 10 seconds is a great starting place. Coordination: Perform an exercise that involves the upper body and lower body working as one. This could be skipping, jumping rope, or learning a complex exercise in the gym. This mind-body connection is important in the fight against mental detioration. Speed: Find a small hill and run up it as fast as you can. You never know when you might have to tap into that speed and run away from trouble! I am not talking about the police here, I am talking about a loose dog at the park! Strength: Pick a few exercises (squat, bench, chinups) and aim to get stronger in each. Building strength in these lifts has a tendency to last. Being stronger now will mean you will be stronger later! Get creative and have some fun with this stuff. If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to ask!
4 minutes | Feb 6, 2023
EP186: Does Your Kid Struggle With Losing?
Over the years I would hear stories or see examples of children who really struggle with adversity, losing, or falling apart anytime things don't go there way. For the record, at times in my life, I was one of those kids! When you witness these moments, it is tough. The kid is so wrought with emotion that it is hard to figure out what the next step should be as a parent, coach or teacher. Once cooler heads prevail, an intervention of some sort should occur. If we deem this behavior to be inappropriate then we must offer up a viable solution or alternative. There are a few things we can do: The first is to redefine what success truly looks like. To me, it is things like showing up on time, working hard, giving great effort, having a good attitude, being a team player, and more. As you can see, none of these have to do with wins and losses. The second thing is to reinforce any positive behavior we witness that supports the behaviors mentioned above. Catch them in the act and let them know you saw what they did and reward it. Lastly, just as you want them to focus on the process rather than the outcome, be prepared for this to take time. Behavior change does not happen over night. Be prepared for ups and downs and to make some mistakes along the way. It is all about the journey and this is no exception!
5 minutes | Feb 3, 2023
EP185: This Week, I Was a Little Nervous!
This week I took on a new role and let me tell you, I was feeling a bit anxious about starting. As I was preparing for the sessions, I realized I can only control so much. I created a plan, I took the equipment necessary to carry out the plan, and then did my best to execute the plan. After each session, I asked myself four questions to help evaluate how things went and areas to improve in the future. These four questions are listed below! Did you accomplish your objective? Were the drills appropriate and organized? Did they have fun and train hard? Did we talk about our values and how they drive performance?
4 minutes | Jan 27, 2023
184: Volunteers are the Backbone of Youth Sports!
The world of youth sports is reliant upon volunteer coaches. The great football coach Chuck Noll once said, “The mercenaries will beat the draftees but the volunteers will crush them both”. Coaching sports and going to war are two different things but the idea behind volunteering remains the same: The volunteers choose to do it! They aren't paid to show up (mercenaries) and they are not forced to do it (draftees). Anyone who volunteers is an asset and in the world of youth sports, more of this is needed. If you run an organization, SUPPORT YOUR COACHES! Don't have cliques, try to educate everyone on the ins and outs of sport, work on effective ways to communicate, and lastly, try to ensure a positive sport experience for all involved! If you are contemplating getting involved in coaching, here are a few qualities that kids say they want in their coach... If you can be respectful, not act a fool, communicate appropriately, have a little knowledge in the sport and listen when they speak, then you have the tools to work with kids in a sport setting!
66 minutes | Jan 20, 2023
EP183: An Interview with Coach Ben Chunko!
In this episode, I sit down with my friend, former coach and current owner of Grit Mat Club Ben Chunko. In this episode, we touch on a variety of topics including coaching wrestling, being a parent, what the word Grit means, creating a culture for his club, and so much more. Over the years, Ben has always been a great example of always learning, always willing to help, and most importantly, always coaching to help kids reach their full potential. He is an asset to the local community and the sport of wrestling and I am grateful that there are guys like him out there. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did!
8 minutes | Jan 17, 2023
EP182: Coach Them All!
Nothing seems to grind my gears more than sport environments that cut kids or discourage them from trying out. In this climate, where physical activity and resiliency is lacking in our kids, to remove something like athletics from their life is doing them a huge disservice. We as coaches have an opportunity to play a huge role in the development of the child and need to take this job seriously. We can be the coach that lights a fire under them to partake in physical activity for the rest of their life or be the person who discourages it. We can be the ones who show them the amazing benefits associated with athletics or do the exact opposite. Lastly, we can be the person who encourages and shows them that you care and by doing so, forever change that kids life for the better!
4 minutes | Jan 15, 2023
EP181: The Best Conditioning Program I've Ever Done!
Last week I was doing some farm work and found myself to be extremely winded. The task I was doing was difficult but I thought my conditioning was a bit better than what was on display. Due to this unfortunate feedback (aka sucking wind while working), I decided to start implementing a change in my cardiovascular training. Enter the 4x4 Interval Program. My favorite types of programs are the ones that practically have the directions in the name. The 4x4 program requires you to perform four-four minute intervals. It is simple in theory, but hard in practice. The benefits of this style of training is pretty remarkable. There are multiple studies that found that following this exact protocol will improve your VO2max which is your bodies ability to utilize oxygen while training. By doing this, not only will you improve sport performance but you will also increase the likelihood of living longer as there is a positive correlation between longevity and VO2max. Sounds like a win win to me! Here is how we do it... begin each session with walking for about 10 minutes in an effort to warmup. Once the 10 minutes is complete, you begin to run the first of your four intervals. The pace for this is pretty fast as you want to be moving anywhere between 80-95% of your maximum heart rate (MHR). To find MHR, take 220 and deduct your age from that number. For a 40 year old, the equation would look like this 220-40 (age) = 180 (MHR). Your pace would be between 80-95% of 180 (MHR) which is 144 bpm and 171 bpm. This is a fast pace, one in which you cannot carry a conversation at. Once the four minutes is up, you then walk or slow jog for three minutes to allow your heart rate to return to about 70% MHR (126 bpm). Repeat this for four total reps and then cooldown. Give yourself about 45 minutes to complete. Keep in mind, it is not about what you choose to do for the interval but rather the intensity at which you work. The heart and lungs don't care if you use a bike, stair-climber or elliptical. All they know is that they are being stressed with physical activity and that is exactly what we are looking for.
4 minutes | Jan 14, 2023
EP180: Skill + Effort = Achievement
Behavioral psychology tells us that the environment can and will shape human behavior, for good or for bad. As coaches, parents and/or teachers, what we focus on and reinforce with the kids that we work with will be the actions that they will choose to follow in the future. If we prioritize and celebrate touchdowns, goals, points or victories, then the child will believe those are the things that matter and strive to light up the stat sheet. But, as Angela Duckworth points out in her book Grit, talent and skill are only a small part of the equation and it is EFFORT that is the key ingredient to reaching a higher level of achievement. We are all familiar with the adage, "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard" and Duckworth's work exemplifies that. In closing, if you see your kid giving great effort, reward and reinforce that. That is the behavior we want them to repeat. It is effort given, day in and day out, that will take you to the next level, whatever that level may be.
4 minutes | Jan 11, 2023
EP179: A Winning Mindset
Do you view your talent, skill and intelligence as something that can be improved upon or do you view it as something that is innate? How you answer that question will make or break you!
56 minutes | Jan 8, 2023
EP178: An Interview with Dr. Becca Eberly!
In this episode, I sit down with my friend, and physical therapist, Becca Eberly! Over the course of 60 minutes, we discuss everything from horses, to being a parent, to overuse injuries, proper footwear, pain and much more! The recurring theme around all of these topics is the importance of taking a holistic approach to everything that you do, especially when it comes to your body and pain. Factors like sleep, hydration, stress, and activity levels can all play a role in that hamstring feeling tight, the back being sore or the shoulder pain you experience while placing something overhead. If we fail to look at the whole picture, we may never get to the root cause of the pain or discomfort that you are feeling. When this occurs, the pain will linger and potentially worsen to the point of it becoming chronic. Chronic pain then leads to depression, anxiety, difficulty sleeping and an overall decrease in quality of life which will then exacerbate the pain. This cycle will continue and it is no wonder that over 50 million American suffer from chronic pain.
5 minutes | Jan 7, 2023
EP177: Parents of Athletes, Stop Doing These Things!
By the age of 13, over 70% of athletes stop participating in a given sport. When asked what the reason is, the most common response is that they just aren’t fun anymore. If we want to reduce the dropout rate and keep kids participating in sport for a lifetime, they need autonomy, intrinsic motivation and of course, joy! In this video, I share six things that all grownups should stop doing if we want the kids we work with to have a positive sport experience!
4 minutes | Dec 21, 2022
EP176: Keep Hope Alive!
In the 1950's, researcher Curt Richter conducted a study. The intent of this study was to find out how long rats would be willing to swim in a jar that they couldn't escape. The first couple of rats placed in the jar didn't fight too long. They swam around on the surface and shortly after, they packed it in and called it a day. They lost their will to fight fairly quick. Then, Richter tweaked the experiment. As he watched some of the rats swim nearly to the point of giving up, he would pick them up and hold them for a period of time, and then place them back in the water. What happened now is that the rats realized their situation wasn't hopeless. They knew that if they kept fighting, eventually someone would pick them up. They kept hope alive and because of that, they kept fighting. A call to action for this year: Keep hope alive, in yourself and in those who you surround yourself with!