DON’T be stronger every day

It’s easy to feel discouraged when your workout performance is sub-par. But those workouts can be incredibly valuable in the long-run.

I remind myself that my purpose is merely to stimulate an improvement–not to set records every day.

I’m investing in exercise for the long-term. And while it’s most fun to make these investments when I feel my best, many of the best investments will be when I’m not.…

Read the rest

Phase 3: Concluding an Exercise

When do you decide to stop a weight lifting exercise? Is it when you can say, “I don’t think I can do any/many more”?

That’s what many people seem to do. And it isn’t very satisfying.

I’ve found a way to conclude that gives me a much more satisfying sense of completion–and at the same time it helps me get more out of the exercise.…

Read the rest

Exercise Phase 2: Progressive Fatigue

Think about what happens after you initiate an exercise…

(Last week I described a way to initiate an exercise here:

Once we start producing any reasonable “exercise level” of effort what *must* happen is: our muscles start to fatigue.

If our implicit or explicit purpose is to move a weight, to move our body, to produce a certain level of force, or whatever, then this fatigue feels frustrating–even defeating.…

Read the rest

3-phase perspective of exercise – Phase 1: Initiation

Here’s a perspective I’ve found helpful to bring to each exercise I perform: anticipate that the exercise has 3 phases: initiation, progressive fatigue, and “full (100%) finish.”

Just focus on the “initiation” phase this week, and see if adding attention to this adds something to your workout.

“Initiation” phase quick description: I bring all of my focus and attention to the muscles I’m intending to work as I start to exert effort.…

Read the rest

Have a non-negotiable baseline

Today, at the start of the year, I’ll share a perspective I’ve found really helpful:

“Have a non-negotiable baseline”

What I mean is that there are all kinds of actions I *might* take in the realm of exercise and physical fitness. And it’s easy to get over-excited and take on more than I can reasonably sustain. But there’s a much smaller list of things that, are “minimum effective dose” actions.…

Read the rest

Disneyland Diet Lesson

While I was at Disneyland yesterday…

First, Seth got worn out and took a cute power nap at one point:

Okay, now back to the story…before I rushed to Disneyland after work to meet up with little Seth and the rest of my family, I only had a small handful of almonds to eat for lunch (busy day!). Then I drove straight to Disneyland and caught as many rides as possible…including ending with three back-to-back rides on the Grizzly River Run in the dark with the girls…getting totally drenched in the cold.

Read the rest

12 days of fitness, Day 12

For the final day in this series, I want to share an insight I’ve learned that has had the most value to me in my over 15 years of training myself, training clients, consulting with people, and studying and seeking out the best information I can find.

This valuable insight is: Doing more exercise can improve your results. But most people are sabotaging their results by trying to do more exercise the wrong way.…

Read the rest

12 days of fitness, Day 11

52 checkmarks to improve your results by 500%

What gets measured gets done.

There’s an old saying that what gets measured gets done. If your fitness actions are being measured, they’re much more likely to get done.

What should you measure?

I track workout consistency. I track every week that I meet my workout goal for the week–for me, it’s one workout per week.…

Read the rest

12 days of fitness, Day 10

To build a strong foundation, start slowly.

Aim for steady progress.

Take a long view.

Think about yourself, two years from now…

Two years will pass before you know it. In two years do you want to look back and vaguely recall that you got in better shape for a few of weeks? Or would you like to see that you made a habit of steady progress and your body has been transformed…and continues to progress?…

Read the rest

12 days of fitness, Day 9

From the mailbag…

Today, I want to answer a question about the “3-Exercise Workout” yesterday.

Here’s the email I received:


“How many of each?
What is a good starting weight?”


[Note: this is asking how many reps/sets of each exercise, and what weight to start lifting on the exercises.]

My reply:

Great questions!

And, interestingly, getting clarity about the first gives most of the answer to the second.…

Read the rest