Winterfunk 2014

Do you get the winter blues? I've been dealing with it for a few years and recently some friends have confided in me that they are feeling it too. I used to take a few different medications year round to deal with depression. Now I don't feel like medications are the best way for me to live so I try to find other avenues.
(If you suffer from depression you should talk to a professional qualified to help you with it instead of taking advice from random fitness pages online. These things may help you in addition to that, but get help from someone local and credentialed if you haven't already!) Summer has been easier but winter can still be tough here in beautiful Cascadia. Here are some things that seem to help me:

1) Supplemental vitamin D. In November I start taking 5000 IU a day of vitamin D. You need a lot in the Pacific Northwest because we don't get much sun in the winter. Vitamin D is good for all sorts of things including improved bone density. I take it in the morning with all my other vitamins and my fish oil. Taking with fat helps absorption.

2) It seemed silly at first but I love my HappyLight. I can certainly tell when I haven't used it on gloomy days. It's a full spectrum light. I don't think the brand is important as long as it's full spectrum. I'm sitting in front of it as I type this post.

3) Exercise definitely helps! (Surprised?) Lifting heavy weight has an even greater effect on winter blues than running or other steady state cardio but it may be the way I'm wired. Feeling better physically and looking leaner also seems to help my year round outlook.

4) Getting outside.  Getting dressed and braving the elements to do something outside seems to help! Sometimes it's tough to set foot out of the door. Once I get that far and actually get moving (whether I'm walking, running or hiking) everything gets easier and by the time I finish my walk/run/hike I feel good and winter isn't nearly as daunting for the rest of the day. This may be partially due to the effect of the endorphins from exercise.

Do you have any tips to help with winterfunk? Leave them in the comments below!

Rachel leg pressing 507lbs (230kgs)!

Here's a short video of Rachel leg pressing 507lbs. This was her 5th set of 5 reps at this weight!!!

You could win a no-cost 20 minute online or phone consultation!

I'm currently running a drawing on my facebook page for a no-cost 20 minute telephone or online consultation! Ask about running, strength training, weight loss, general fitness, nutrition, injury prevention and maintenance!

All you have to do is like my Facebook page and share the Facebook post with your friends! The winner will be announced on February 19th! Here's the contest post that you should like and share to enter:

Check out my Craigslist ad!

I put this Craigslist ad up but I wanted to share it here too.

These pictures are all me. This is my before and after. (Facebook wouldn't let me post my ad there because they said my results were "unexpected or unlikely"!)  Thanks Facebook!
I'd like to let you all know my results are very likely and if you put out some effort and willpower you can have results even BETTER than mine. 

QR code!

I love fancy custom QR codes. This one takes you to Don't hate!

A Practical Application of Strength - It feels better than it looks!

I had an experience today that I wanted to share. I'm in Eugene, Oregon and for the last few days we've had crazy amounts of snow followed up by an ice storm. As a result we've had a lot of downed trees because of the weight of the ice.

Today a tree limb came down, landing on my car. Luckily it didn't smash anything but the branch was sitting against the car and I had to remove it before I could move the car or I would probably break something. I don't have a chainsaw and didn't have a lot of options. I also wanted to get the branch off of the car asap because things were still falling.

I'm still not sure how the window didn't break
Sooo close!

Poor trapped car
The limb was enormous!

I don't know how much this thing actually weighed but it was heavy. I was able to lift this branch up and hold it while my girlfriend rocked the car out of the icy spot it was in and moved it. All told it was probably only a few minutes but it was a few minutes of me picking up that huge branch by front-squatting it and then basically jerking it up over head a few times while trying not to let it smash back down into the car.

I was winded by the time I was done and I'm a little sore now but I'm really happy. This is really the first time I've ever required a practical emergency application of this kind of strength since I started lifting and I was completely capable of taking care of it. If this same thing happened a few years ago I would have been completely helpless until someone came and carted this thing away and I'd be walking to the store for emergency provisions.

I love the feeling of being capable. I started lifting so I would be healthy and better prepared for adversity. Every second I've spent in the gym paid off today.

The Better, Stronger, Faster "Stop Smoking Now! Plan"

Simplest plan to quit ever. No scary drugs, minimal expense, healthier you!
This is the method I used to stop smoking and it's a plan that has worked for some of my athletes. I no longer even have cravings and have been tobacco and nicotine free for 4 years! I offer it to readers of my blog as a freebie to help you start on the path to fitness!

1) Every time you want a cigarette do something to get your heart rate up.  Go for a run, do 30 jumping jacks, do 50 squats, etc. (Not only will you quit you'll look sexier instead of gaining weight! Doing something for your fitness when quitting will help reinforce this healthy lifestyle change.)

2) Drink lots of water. Try not to drink flavored pop and flavored waters. This covers up the taste of cigarettes. If your mouth stays clean and your drinking enough water cigarettes will taste NASTY.

3) Get some Listerine strips or some Altoids mints. These things taste goddawful but they make your breath nice and fresh. Popping one in my mouth sucked so bad it created a negative association with smoking if I did it everytime I craved a smoke. It also make you nicer to kiss than smoking. Alternatively you can wear a rubber band on your wrist and snap it to give yourself a tiny jolt of pain.

4) REFUSE TO BUY THEM. if you're any thing like me you hate bumming them from friends and if you don't ever buy them again you can't smoke. You'll have lots more money to spend on healthy things, like a custom training plan with your favorite personal trainer. (me!) It's also great to reward yourself with prizes. Spend the money you save from your first carton on some exercise gear or an outfit!

5) Quitting smoking is a mental thing but it also changes the chemistry of your brain. After a few weeks the worst of the cravings will go. After a month you have broken many of the mental habits. The final piece is paying attention to the triggers that make you want to smoke and acknowledging them. Once you know the triggers it's easier to move past them! Some of my triggers were consuming alcohol, getting into and out of the car and taking breaks at work. Once you learn new healthy habits nothing will be able to stop you!

6) Find a friend to rely on. Ideally it's easier to quit if you have someone to talk to about it who has gone through this before. I encourage new clients to text me whenever necessary while they are recovering from their addictions.

Have other suggestions or ways that have helped you quit? Share your method in the comments below!