Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Friday the 13th!

And what a Great Day for Exercise!

I recently read Escape from the Box by Retired USAF Colonel Edward L. Hubbard, who spent six and a half years as a captured prisoner of war in North Vietnam. While a few grisly POW stories are told, Hubbard tells mostly of how, throughout his life, he has personally accomplished and witnessed amazing human accomplishment through pure mental muscle.

Accomplishments like POWs living on a diet of 300 calories per day of rice and boiled weeds completing 300 push ups. And then 660! Six Hundred and Sixty! Unheard of eh? Yea, pretty hard to believe, even for those of us who believe we are fit and healthy. Even for those of us downing 3000 calories per day working with world class physiology knowledge, and state of the art exercise equipment. Wow!

Tapping and utilizing this grossly underestimated human potential is the underlying theme of the book. "The Box" began as the physical 6'x6' concrete Vietnamese cell Hubbard survived, but lives in all of us as the mental schema boundaries keeping us from reaching our true potential.

How apropos, I thought, to be writing this on Friday, the 13th. Most of what Hubbard says deals with eliminating what I call head trash. If you're superstitious, and believe that today is an unlucky day, don't worry, you will successfully find some bad luck! Or maybe bad luck will find you!

Or maybe you're really, really lucky like me, and woke up in the greatest country in the history of the world this morning, and have a free choice to Exercise Today! Plus, my kids just got back from a 3 month trimester in China on Thursday, and they have a free choice to exercise today! And YOU have a free choice to exercise today!

So, no matter what else happens today, it's going to be an outstanding day because we all have a free choice to look better, feel terrific, and reduce the risk of all sorts of diseases (mental and physical) by exercising regularly.

The most important message from Hubbard, in my opinion, is about continuous improvement. Hubbard includes a handy 1"x1" post it note with his book. On it you're supposed to write everything you've ever done that cannot have been improved upon. Once complete (normally blank), you post it onto your bathroom mirror as constant reminder that everything you do - EVERYTHING - can be improved upon in at least some small way.

Task by task, phone call by phone call, workout by workout, and milestone by milestone you make each and every effort of your day just a little bit better than yesterday's. How simple could that be?

So, starting today, I'm going to get a little bit better every day at my exercise frequency, my newsletter quality, my staff development, our program development, our cardiovascular programming, and our marketing.

Happy Friday the 13th! And God Bless America.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Fitness Friday June 6th

What a Great DayFor Exercise!

In fact, until the big drug companies find a way to reduce stress, reduce blood pressure, increase energy, and help you look and feel like a million bucks, they're all great days for exercise!

I'm frequently asked what time of day is best for exercising: morning or afternoon. And the answer is: "Yes." Oh, if you're a completitive athlete looking for improved performance in your sport of choice, you might want to look at your biorythms and glycemic cycles to tap into that marginal advantage, but the bottom line is that for most of us, the best time to exercise is simply when you can.

It's been a great week of exercise for me personally. I race mountain bikes in the summer, so I'm much heavier on cardio this time of they year, and there's nothing like a specific goal with a deadline (race day!) to keep you on track with training. I schedule quarterly one on one meetings with everyone on staff, and was able to ride Afton with Peter last Friday. Afton is easily my favorite metro mountain bike trail with a terrific mix of technical features and challenging climbs. Plus, I plan to race there Sunday, so it was great to refamiliarize myself with the course.

I rode the road bike to the Downtown Club and back on Saturday. I live in Eagan, so it's a nice 40 mile round trip without any excursions. Fortunately, I made it home just minutes before that hail storm started pounding my house - I felt like I was racing the stormclouds all the way home! I rested Sunday, lifted Monday, and played Hockey in Richfield Tuesday and Thursday (terrific for short, spikey zone 5 hot intervals). I planned on resting Wednesday, but the predicted rain never came, and was able to squeeze in a quick lap @ Lebanon Hills on Wednesday. Derrick and I also hit a few range balls yesterday as part of our quarterly 1:1, but I don't actually count that as exercise.

People sometimes look at us like we're crazy when we tell them that to make progress with their fitness levels, and in particular, to make progress loosing bodyfat requirs 90 minutes of moderate to intense exercise 3 or 4 days per week. I'm personally looking to loose 5# by August (I race faster), and I trained 5 days this week. Volume matters.

Think about what your goals are this week, this month, and this year. Are you getting the volume needed to make progress? In checking the schedule this morning, we are at roughly 48% capacity in all three studios, so we should have room for ya!

In Good Health,


P.S. You may have heard that we have a Spring Referral Contest underway. Detains are on our website, but you get 10 Free Sessions for every referral who signs up for FT training! And, a chance to win a new Trek bike with each referral! Contest ends June 22nd, so the deadline is near!