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Monday, August 25, 2014

More on THE GUT

Hippocrates said over 2,000 years ago: “All diseases begin in the gut.” I hear a lot about the gut on a weekly basis but that’s because I’m a nerd and I love this stuff. I don’t think it has reached mainstream yet so hopefully a few more people will learn something by reading this. I also posted on inflammation a while ago so feel free to review there.

Our gut contains over 100 trillion microorganisms that promote proper gastrointestinal function, protect us from infection, regulate metabolism, and make up our immune system. Disregulation of these microorganisms has been linked to numerous diseases including cardiovascular, depression, autoimmune conditions, bowel diseases like Crohn’s, and diabetes. Unfortunately, factors in our current lifestyles make it so prevalent:

  • Antibiotics, NSAID’s, and birth control
  • Highly refined carbohydrate and processed diets
  • Dietary toxins
  • Chronic Stress
  • Chronic Infections

I don’t think many people understand the impact antibiotics have on the gut and health in general. I recently heard someone say antibiotics are just about the worst thing you could possibly do to your gut. Antibiotic use causes a PROFOUND and rapid loss of gut bacteria and the diversity that cannot be recovered without intervention. Yet I see people taking antibiotics all the time for conditions that aren’t even bacterial in nature, or are chronically taking antibiotics instead of getting to the root cause of their health issues. We’ve probably all taken them at some point in our lives, but as we learn more about the underlying causes of a lot of disease conditions, we need to question whether it’s necessary to take them or not. I haven’t taken a course of antibiotics probably since some time in high school, but college wasn’t exactly my healthiest 4 years so hopefully I’ve made some progress in the past few years to re-build my gut.

Birth control is one I recently learned about. The boosted levels of estrogen put the women taking it at increased risk of developing yeast overgrowth (candida).

If we think about the gut, it’s technically OUTSIDE the body, and is a sort of barrier to our external environment, be it the air we breathe or the food we eat. When this barrier becomes permeable, large proteins can pass through the walls into our body, causing the immune system to attack them. This is precisely the mechanism by which experts believe the gut plays a role in autoimmune conditions. So how do we prevent this permeability (also called Leaky gut)?

1. Don’t eat toxins. If you can afford it, get a full allergy panel and you will see what foods and substances you react to. If you can’t afford it though, a general rule of thumb is to avoid any potentially harmful foods or substances for a time being (try 30 days):
a.       Antibiotics, NSAIDs (Aspirin/Ibuprofen), steroids, antacids.
b.      Wheat and gluten or FODMAP containing foods.
c.       Grains – especially processed
d.      Sugars
e.      Industrial seed oils (Corn, cottonseed, safflower, soybean)
f.        Processed soy (soy milk, tofu, soy protein, soy flour)
Then after 30 days reintroduce one group at a time and see how your body reacts. This only really applies to the gluten and grains. The other items in the list above should be eliminated forever. If you want to read more about these foods go here.

2.  Include some fermentable fibers in your diet – resistant starch is all the rage right now. Here is a good resource for more info on that.
3. Eat fermented foods: Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi...etc
4.  Get tested for an intestinal pathogen and get treated for it if you have one. This is done via a stool analysis.
5. Don’t rinse your farm-fresh veggies! This may sounds gross but that little bit of grime on your farmer’s market veggies contains excellent natural soil-based probiotics.
6. Take some L-Glutamine – It helps strengthen the gut lining. I take it in powder form with water a couple times/day.
7. For the moms - breast feed your babies! Only about 44% of Americans breast feed for the 6 months recommended and this helps restore natural balance to the gut flora in infants. Just a note: infants’ gut flora are significantly impacted (poorly) by C-section due to the antibiotics mothers are given.

Let me just conclude by saying that often times if you heal your gut, symptoms of other problems also go away. This is most commonly seen with conditions like: Acne, rashes, asthma and other respiratory conditions, fatigue, allergies, and headaches. These nuisances are all SYMPTOMS of a problem - they are NOT the problem. For example: People are often prescribed Accutane to treat acne. We don't have acne because of a lack of Accutane. We don't have allergies because of a lack of Claritin. We don't have headaches because of a lack of aspirin. So all these medications do is hide the symptoms, and chronically taking medication is not only damaging but it's expensive. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Coming to terms with the REST day

Perfect rest day activities: walking and selfies

I have to admit (but you probably already know this) I am not a very good writer and never was. My mom and brother have those genes, and I have the mathematical and technical skills of my father. I have a type A personality so I overanalyze every single thing, and when I can finally get ahold of my thoughts they look like a jumbled mess on paper. However, if I kept my thoughts to myself because I was too embarrassed by my poor organization and grammar, I’d be helping no one. I don't remember where to put commas or hyphens or semicolons so I just add them in where I want them. Blogging is more like conversation than writing so I figure it's ok. This is a topic I've been wanting to write about for a while, and it's not perfectly organized but it's real. I will probably think of 10,000 more things I want to say once I've published it but I can add more later. My fitness journey and philosophy over the past 6 years since graduating college has run the gamut. I have cycled through extreme eating and exercise in search of skinny, strong, fit, or whatever my motivation was at that specific point in time. Unfortunately what I’ve come to realize is that the body, especially at my age, is a moving target and I may never catch up with it or find that perfect balance, but that’s not going to stop me from trying to do the best I can do on a daily basis while still enjoying my life. I have learned a lot over the past 6 years and sometimes I think we are learning too much for our own good, falling victim to the analysis paralysis.
Consider all of the factors in our environment that play a role in health:
Environmental toxins
This list doesn't even scratch the surface. Even one night of bad sleep or one bad meal can throw everything off balance. But are we ever going to be able to control every factor in our lives such that we never drift away from a perfect balance of health?  Life is a series of peaks and valleys, some higher or deeper than others. Hopefully the slope is positive so we know we are moving up, but the valleys are what drive us forward, allow us to explore the unknown, and push us towards something better. In some cases, I've found it brings us back to reality to stray from the straight line. Did I really think a life of eating boiled chicken and baked tilapia and broccoli with zero seasoning was sustainable or enjoyable? And what did I really gain from those things? A bit of OCD at best. And how many countless hours did I spend in the gym when I could have been spending that time with friends or family? Looking back I wish I could have shaken myself and asked: "What is all this for?!"
You see, exercise for me was an addiction like any other addiction. I noticed that even my physiology changed to adapt. If I didn’t exercise for a day I would be irritable, have headaches, and be sluggish in general. I didn’t want to take days off because I felt like I would get either get fat, lose muscle, or somehow get behind on my training goals (but I didn't really have any). None of those outcomes are true. As I’ve said before, I developed the more is better mindset with no real goal for what I was doing. I didn’t really have a plan other than I knew I had to have a leg day, shoulders, back and bis, chest and tris, and do as much cardio as I could. At that point to me rest day was for the birds. I skipped family functions, work functions, hanging out with friends, and going to church all so I could keep up with my workout schedule. I taught as many classes as I could just to fit in more time working out. Like any drug, I developed a tolerance so I needed more and more for the same effect. My normal workouts weren't providing the same stimulus so I added intensity and time but seemed to have hit a plateau. So I decided to try something new and scary. 

Enter CrossFit - but when I started I was doing both CrossFit and my other workouts because I didn't think a 15 minute WOD was enough but I soon realized that something had to give. I went into CrossFit having built a solid foundation of strength, but I realized that if I wanted to make improvements I would have to cut all the other crap out. Luckily, I realized I needed to slow down before my body forced me to. I started drinking the CrossFit juice and eating the CrossFit way and found some interesting podcasts on all that stuff. They were all saying the exact same thing though, and it was all completely the opposite of what I was used to hearing. "Eat more fat - tons of it! And cut out carbs and exercise less. Do some walking" I heard over and over again, "Sleep more!"
Like any other addiction, I had to wean myself off extreme eating and exercising to break the addiction both physically and mentally. I had to remind myself that the body needs recovery and builds during recovery and if I wanted to perform better I needed to rest. Most people go to the gym to make some sort of improvement right? Just think about this when you go in: is what I am about to do going to help me improve?  if you're not resting you may be digging yourself into a very deep hole without realizing it. Our bodies can do a lot for a long time, but eventually they are going to tell us enough is enough, and it may be in a mean way. I am still trying to completely adopt this new mindset and it takes people beating it into my head every day. I ask Matt weekly if rowing 5k counts as rest. We all know his answer is a resounding no! 
As I continued learning about better health and performance, doing research, and reading books, I kept reading and hearing more and more about the "minimum effective dose of training." In other words, what is the LEAST amount of training one can get away with and still make progress and reach desired goals? Turns out it’s VERY LITTLE. I won’t pretend like I have found the answer for myself yet, but I have spent countless hours reading articles and listening to experts who claim less is more and I have no reason not to believe them. For the ladies out there one of my favorite resources is EVA T. Check her out, she’s got a great message. Most of these people aren't promoting any supplement or product, they just want to provide free information to help as many people as they can. 
Everyone has to make money somehow, so there is going to be a price for any type of training, advice, book…etc. but the difference is they are providing you with the tools to manage your own health, and their goal is to help you by giving you what you need to succeed. Any coach who doesn’t promote rest and recovery is probably not someone you want to be working with; they are out to get your money and don’t really care about your health, which is a shame because if you get injured they are out of business anyway. I have yet to see a gym put a limit on how many times a person can go in a given week. You might think that's crazy but to me it makes sense. There is no need to train 7 days per week and for most people even 6 days is pushing it. And no, you're not badass for never taking a rest day; you're stupid. When you consider people aren’t eating the right foods or sleeping a minimum of 7 hours, the last thing they need to be doing is a 20 minute CrossFit metcon. The truth is, it’s a flat out waste of time because the body is going to make ZERO positive adaptations without sleep, proper diet, or recovery. I know I need to practice what I preach and I am working on it. I have cut down my training time a lot, which I needed to do anyway because I simply can't get everything done in a day if I'm spending any more than 1-1.5 hours at the gym.
I can just see how the conversation might have gone for me two years ago if someone told me I was only allowed to workout 4 times/week and the other days I had to walk or something. I would have walked right out the door, or I would have gotten two different gym memberships as I see people doing. An amazing thing has started to happen where I actually look forward to my rest day. Right now I’m on a schedule where rest days are Sundays unless I have an event Saturday in which case it's Friday. Thursday is usually recovery where I do rowing or push the prowler and gymnastics. I have started to look forward to rest day because I know that I have extra time that day to do all the things that really matter. I go to church, spend time with family and friends, cook, go for walks, clean and do chores, and currently spend it doing homework (ugh) because I am finally getting my MBA. I relax and I don’t feel bad about it because I know how hard I’ve worked all week and this is the day for rest and repair. 

I consider the rest day PART of my training plan. I squat, push, pull, sprint, and rest (and a lot of other things but those are the main components of my training plan). 
To summarize:
  1. You're not a badass if you never take a rest day; you're an idiot.
  2. The body builds during rest. Whether your goal is fat loss, performance, or general health, you need to rest. If you think you’re too good for it (as I once did) you’re dead wrong and you will suffer the consequences eventually. For fat loss all you really need to do is walk and lift weights. For performance you need to do more obviously but figure out what that minimum effective dose is. More hours or days at the gym or more volume isn't going to make you better or stronger necessarily. You need to have a plan and work off that plan consistently, and for those CrossFitters out there who travel around doing "pick-up WODs" just because they look "fun" or "challenging," this message is especially for you.
  3. Prioritize sleep. If you're not sleeping a minimum of 7 hours you have no business being in the gym. Gains, if any, will be minimal and  you're probably doing more harm than good.
  4. What you put into your body is more important than any amount of training you could do. Eat real food.
  5. Put first things first. Spend that extra time taking a walk with your loved ones - you will never get that time back. The world isn't going to come to an end if you don't get your 100 burpees, wallballs, and box jumps in today (what are you doing them for anyway??).
My journey is far from over, in fact it’s really just beginning, and I don’t claim to have everything figured out, but where I’ve made mistakes I want to prevent others from making the same ones. Where I’ve succeeded I want to help others do the same. Two-a-days are out; resting is in...enjoy it!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Get strong update

A few months ago I summarized a plan I was going to follow to get my strength numbers up a bit. I wanted to use the classic Wendler 5/3/1 program for strength and also work on my Olympic lifts and just maintain my conditioning. Here's how it went:


A few gains, but overall I'm disappointed. After 12 weeks of Wendler I decided to test my 1RMs because I was starting to fail on some of my reps. I added no weight to my overhead press, 5 lbs. to my squat, and 10 lbs. to my deadlift. So that puts me at 255# squat, 105# press, 320# deadlift. I stopped benching because it hurt my shoulder and I spent almost the whole time rehabbing my shoulder from the bench. I stopped snatching for a few weeks to allow it to heal and it's still not back to normal but I am back up to around 115-120# for my snatch on a consistent basis.

So here's my thoughts:

1. I probably didn't give myself enough time to make gains. They say 6 months is a good amount of time to try a program and then decide whether or not it's working for you. Honestly, I knew Wendler wasn't working too well for me because I don't think for me personally it's enough volume. I think I need high volume squatting in order to really bring my numbers up, and once per week at sub maximal effort was just not working for me.
2. If I really want to get strong I have to cut out all the conditioning. I can't focus on two goals. I either need to give up some of my conditioning or not get as strong. I was still doing conditioning pretty much every day and WODs + heavy lifting doesn't yield too much gain for someone who's already pretty strong.
3. I am already pretty strong so I need to be patient and realize that putting even 5# on a lift at this point is a good gain. I am hungry for more though and it's really hard for me to swallow the fact that it's going to take a lot of time and volume.
4. I like the consistency of focusing on the different lifts. Before I don't know if I was always pressing and deadlifting each week. I was squatting every week but not consistent with the other lifts so I did like the fact that it made me focus on them.
5. Maybe I did too much accessory work? I usually did my 3 main Wendler sets and then 5 sets of 10 at about 50-60%. I also did a lot of other assistance work that looked much like bodybuilding. But then I piled WODs on top of it and the program probably isn't meant to be combined like that.
6. I probably don't rest/recover enough. My problem is that I don't know my own strength. So what seems normal to me would be an almost impossible program for others to keep up with. I don't feel like I need to rest that often, and I do follow what my HRV says. It's usually green so that indicates I'm either not training hard enough or I just recover well, and I doubt it's the former. I have been consistent with one day off and doing a lot of walking but it may not be enough.

So what now?

I decided to go back to following the competitors training because I was seeing gains on that program. It's a hard program though and it really taxes the body so I have to take my rest and recovery seriously. I will be keeping my assistance exercises and trying to incorporate a little traditional bodybuilding just to keep my joints healthy. Here are some of the assistance exercises I use most often:

  • Lower body: Good mornings, RDL's, glute-ham developers
  • Shoulders: Band pull-aparts, lateral, front, and rear dumbbell raises, banded rotator cuff work, bottom's up kettlebell walks
  • Arms: Biceps curls, dips, pull-ups
  • Back: Bent rows or dumbbell rows
  • Chest: Incline Bench with barbell or dumbbells (easier on the shoulders than flat bench)
  • Strongman: Farmer's Walks, prowler pushes, sled drags, tire flips
So looking at this week's program you can see how much squatting I did:
Monday: 5 x 7 (5 sets of 7) Front Squat across: 145#
Wednesday: 7 x 5 Front Squat: 155#
Friday: 10 x 3 Front Squat: 175#
Tuesday there was a WOD with 3 sets of 10 front squats at 115#. Not too bad but coupled with chest to bar pull ups and burpees they were hard. Not to mention we ran the Spartan Race on Sunday which included some pretty gnarly hill climbs. So tomorrow (Sunday) is a rest day and I need it! More to come!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Breakfast on the go!

I hear a lot from people that it's really hard for them to eat healthy breakfasts when the mornings are so busy getting ready, getting kids ready, making lunches, and trying to get to work on time. Trust me, I understand. Some mornings I can take time and enjoy breakfast and coffee and some mornings I have about 30 minutes post-gym to shower, get ready, eat, pack lunch, and get in the car. This week I knew I'd have a few of those mornings so I decided to prepare some egg cups: a great grab-and-go breakfast item. Here's the recipe:

Egg and Bacon Cups
1 lb bacon
10 eggs
1 red bell pepper, chopped
Blue cheese (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Grease all 12 cups of a muffin tin with coconut oil or butter. Line each cup with a strip of bacon.
3. Whisk together eggs, red bell pepper, and salt and pepper in a bowl.
4. Pour egg mixture into each cup, being careful not to overfill (the eggs will puff up).
5. Sprinkle cheese on top of each.

 6. Place in the oven for 25 minutes until eggs are set. 

Just a note: Even though you're lining the tin with bacon they need to be greased. I think butter will be best as a few of mine stuck with the coconut oil. 

And here's the recipe that I never posted for the Sweet Potato, Bacon, Beef Casserole. This is a recipe where you need some prep time so make it on a weekend. You could also cut this into squares for a quick breakfast.

Beef, Bacon, and Sweet Potato Casserole

1/2 pound bacon
Sweet Potato Mash:
3 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Cauliflower Mash
1 head cauliflower (1.5#), cut into florets
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Ground Beef Mixture:
1 pound ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
8 ounces button mushrooms, diced
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 375 F and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Lay the bacon out on the sheet in one layer.
3. Bake 15 minutes (17-20 minutes for crispy bacon).
4. Let cool, chop, and then set aside.

Sweet Potato Mash

1. Heat oven to 400 F and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Clean and skin the potatoes and chop into small pieces. Coat in the rendered bacon fat and toss with salt and pepper.
3. Bake at 400 F for 35-40 minutes, or until they're soft and easily cut by a knife.
4. Let them cool completely.
5. Pour the potatoes into a food processor.
6. Add the coconut milk, sage, salt and pepper.
7. Blend until smooth then set aside.

Cauliflower Mash

1. Bake the florets in bacon fat or coconut oil with salt and pepper at 400 for 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through.
2. Place them in a food processor and add the coconut milk, salt, and pepper.
3. Blend until smooth then set aside.

Ground Beef

1. In a large pan, cook the ground beef until slightly browned.
2. Add the garlic, onion, mushrooms, salt, and pepper, and stir.
3. Once the meat is cooked through, remove from heat.


1. Turn oven to 350 F.
2. Spread the meat in an even layer across the bottom of a 9x9 pan.
3. Evenly spread the cauliflower mash over the meat.
4. Lastly, spread the sweet potato mash over the cauliflower.
5. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
6. Turn on broiler and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
7. Sprinkle the chopped bacon on top and then let it cool and thicken for at least 10 minutes.


Monday, June 16, 2014

More easy but delicious recipes!

The crock pot is a wonderful tool for busy people and it's especially wonderful when you can throw three ingredients in the pot, turn it on, work all day, and have delicious ribs falling off the bone by the time you get home. The only thing I would recommend is to double the recipe because one rack just isn't enough, especially if you want leftovers.

Slow Cooked BBQ Ribs
1 rack baby back ribs
1 c. bbq sauce
1 medium onion, sliced
1. Cut ribs to fit in layers in slow cooker.
2. Top with bbq sauce and sliced onions.
3. Cook on high for 7 hours.

Grilled Brussels Sprouts Kabobs
1 lb. Brussels sprouts
2 tbs. olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Cut the hard ends off the Brussels sprouts. Place into a glass bowl and microwave for 3-4 minutes to soften. Cool.
2. In the bowl toss the Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
3. Slide the Brussels sprouts onto the skewers through the thick end and out the top.
4. Grill, covered on high for 3 minutes/side.

Pesto Chicken Salad
1 lb. chicken breasts
1 bunch basil
¼ c. olive oil
1 bulb garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ c. toasted pine nuts
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375. Cut the bottom end off the garlic bulb to expose each clove. Wrap in foil and place in the oven for 20 minutes to roast. Remove and let cool.
2. Place chicken on a baking sheet with salt and pepper and bake for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.
3. While chicken is baking, make the pesto by combining all pesto ingredients in a food processor.  You will need to squeeze the garlic out of each clove into the food processor.
4. Once chicken is done and cooled, cut into small chunks and toss in the pesto sauce. Sprinkle with a few more toasted pine nuts if desired. I eat this cold like chicken salad.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Recipe time: Skewer Mania!

I am way behind on my recipe posting, so you get a bonus today! Here are three of the really tasty meals I’ve created in the past week. As you can see I’m really into skewers because they are easy and I love grilling in the summer time. Just make sure if you use wooden skewers that you soak them for a while in water to prevent them from burning. I usually forget and end up with charred wood but last week I soaked them for 5 hours and they didn’t burn at all. This weekend I will be experimenting with....

GRILLED BRUSSELS SPROUTS! I will let you know they they turn out (or don't turn out). 

Here's a couple quick meat grilling tips:
  • Use high heat with meats so it sears on the outside. 
  • If the meat is sticking it most likely isn't ready to be flipped yet.
  • Meat doesn't need a ton of time! A few mins on each side for steak and 5-6 per side for chicken is about right. 

Hawaiian Chicken Skewers 
1 lb. chicken breast, cut into chunks
½ lb. bacon, cut into small pieces
2 c. fresh pineapple chunks
½. c. bbq sauce.

1. Preheat grill to high heat.
2. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl, ensuring to coat with bbq sauce.
3. Put onto skewers however you like. I like to do one piece of chicken then bacon then pineapple.
4. Place onto grill and cook covered for 5-6 minutes.
5. Flip and grill another 3 minutes.
6. Coat with a bit more bbq sauce if desired.

Thai Steak Skewers
1-2 lb. flank steak, cut into slices against the grain
½ c. coconut milk
1 tbs. curry powder
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbs. coconut aminos (soy sauce sub)
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbs. sriracha
1 tbs. almond butter

1. Whisk together all marinade ingredients. Pour over steak slices and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, preheat grill to high.
3. Skewer the steak pieces in a ribbon fashion and try to fit 2-3 pieces on each skewer.
4. Grill 4 minutes covered.
5. Flip and grill another 3 minutes, uncovered so meat doesn't over cook. 

Asian Cabbage Slaw
This uses pretty much the same dressing as the steak.
1 head red cabbage, shredded
1 head green cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, shredded

Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 c. coconut milk
¼ c. coconut aminos
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbs. rice vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbs. almond butter
1. Shred the cabbages and carrots in the food processor with a shredder attachment. Alternatively you could just slice the heads of cabbage thinly and buy a pack of pre-shredded carrots.
2. Mix all dressing ingredients with a whisk and pour over the slaw, tossing to coat.
3. Refrigerate for a few hours and enjoy with the steak skewers.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Tenders

I took this recipe from Fed and Fit and it was delicious!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Being the Lone Nut

Most people would look at a "normal" day for me and think I'm crazy. I wake up at 5 most mornings, strap a polar monitor around my chest and take my HRV reading. Some mornings I also draw some blood and test my fasting glucose. I train at a pretty intense level and lift heavy things and I love doing it before the sun comes up. I also coach a group of great people three mornings of the week before the sun comes up and they think I'm crazy too. I drink warm lemon water to cleanse my liver. I put butter in my coffee and make bacon/almond butter omelets. I take lots of supplements that I am probably wasting my money on, including fish oil in oil form that I eat off a spoon (gross). I listen to podcasts about nutrition, fitness, biochemistry, and leadership on my way to work instead of listening to music or any other crap on the radio. I love public speaking and volunteer to do it at work whenever the opportunity presents itself. I hate sitting (see below). I walk for 30 minutes most days on my lunch break and eat lunch at my desk while working. Everyone thinks I'm crazy because I eat meat and tons of vegetables and no fruit,.  People still try to offer me cake knowing I will pass, then they ask me how I am in such good shape. I eat stinky fermented foods like kimchi because they are good for my gut bacteria, but I also really like them. I believe most health problems could be solved by eating properly, moving responsibly, and getting more sleep and I hate drugs and medications (even though I work for a drug company). If I was offered a promotion at Merck where I could make a $1,000,000/year selling or promoting diabetes drugs I would turn it down because drugs like that don't make people well, they just hide health problems. I think it's BS when people say they don't have enough time to cook food but then they sit on Facebook or in front of the TV for 2 hours of the day. I hate losing but I'm not afraid to admit when I'm wrong. I believe in God and read the Bible and pray multiple times daily. I believe anyone can achieve anything they want if they just go after it (crazy huh?). And I have a blog where I talk about all these things publicly, and lucky you for getting to read about them. 

All of these things come from a place of passion and conviction and I really don't mind if I'm the only one doing them. Here's to the crazy ones!

Now I'm no Einstein or Steve Jobs, but I do have the power to affect small change around me every day, and so does every individual.

A few months ago when my social media feed was flooded with “sitting kills” articles I decided I didn’t want to die a slow death from sitting so I took immediate action. I created a standing desk on a filing cabinet at work (I’d take a picture but we aren't allowed) and decided the only time I would sit at my desk during the day was to eat lunch. I attend a lot of meetings and for a few weeks tried to stand in the back of the room but that got awkward. It also gets awkward when people walk up to me and ask my why I’m standing and I have to tell them they are going to die a slow death from sitting and may as well start smoking again. You should see their faces. I don’t know if I believe it’s as bad as smoking but I do see a lot of people with tons of movement dysfunction just because they sit/drive all day. The worst part is that the 30 minutes of exercise most people do isn't enough to undo the damage. So I stand all day, and when I’m not standing I’m walking or lifting weights or running or doing any of the crazy things I do. When I’m home at night I’m rolling around on the foam roller and lacrosse balls. I sit only to drive and to eat, and often times I sit on the floor to eat.

The other day I walked into work and noticed a co-worker of mine also standing. She said she’s going to try it out and thinks as a group we should all commit to standing for at least an hour a day. That’s when I asked her if she’d ever seen that video about the lone nut. She hadn’t so we watched it together. I am the lone nut and she is the first follower and soon we will start a standing revolution (by the way just today we got a third member). I used to worry about what others would think of me, about fitting in and making friends, but I realized that if we want to influence change we need to be ready to take risks and stand on our own at least for a little while. I don’t mind being the lone nut anymore if I know that what I do will positively impact just one person’s life. It’s always uncomfortable at first and sometimes lonely, but getting comfortable being uncomfortable is an important part of life, especially if you want to do great things. There have been a lot of lone nuts that have done some really great things. Everyone thought they were crazy and then they changed the world.

Some people may think I’m crazy, some people may like certain aspects of me and others hate them, but there will always be people who hate what you do. There’s a new wave of people who sit behind their computer screens all day and judge others but would never post something of their own because they’re scared. People are going to say mean things and try to bring you down, and you just have to ignore it. They are also going to be offended and become defensive. One of my mentors at work always tells me resistance is a good thing because it means people care. I don’t have the least bit of it figured out yet, and sometimes I feel like I’m floundering in 10 million directions, but I know I can’t move upward by standing still. If you've been stuck in one spot for years because you feel "safe" and not because you like where you're at, you're going to have to take a risk. There’s never going to be a perfect time, so just make your move and if you fall get back up and keep moving. 

Here's another awesome video I saw this week:

In case you cared, here’s the Just Stand Movement.