We all love marking things off our list. None of it’s going to matter though. We’re called to focus on people over productivity.
Sitting is the new smoking. Although none of us are likely ripping heaters at the office from 9-5, the majority of us are sitting the majority of that time and then some if you have a solid commute. Here’s 7 exercises to undo the damage of sitting.
With small kids, I do a lot of what this guy calls the “Grok Squat” to get on their level. I call always called in “Bear in the Woods,” but I can definitely feel it stretching my entire lower body and back. It’s phenoms.
In my line of work, knowing a lot of people is super beneficial. I’m sure it probably doesn’t hurt in your business either. You know what sucks…trying to meet new people. I always feel super awkward. Once you get past the weather, what do you talk about? I was talking with a really charismatic guy one time, and he hit me with “Oh man, nice to meet you. What’s your story? Tell me what makes you, you. How did you end up right here, right now?” I was blown away. It started unlike any conversation I’d ever had. The encounter was over a year ago, and it’s stuck with me ever since. I want to be that guy. Check out this ultimate guide to small talk and then read up on how to make the conversation and connection stick for business purposes. Skim them both and hit the highlights.
We try and take a walk every night after dinner. We’re a few blocks off of our town’s little main street area so there’s sidewalks just about everywhere. We get both kids in the stroller. Leash up the dog and off we go. It takes about 30-45 minutes to make it around our little route, but I treasure it. Katie and I both really miss it in the winter when the time changes and it gets dark so early. The exercise is great but being together without any real distractions is awesome. I encourage you to do the same with your family. Walk around your subdivision. Go to a park. Ride bikes. Do something active together. It’s a lot of fun and there’s some kind of bond that forms when you sweat a little together. I don’t know how, but I think it’s science.
Marriage. Another one of God’s Holy institutions that the world often misses on. Even more so in today’s world. I know I’ve talked about my understanding of God’s love changing with the birth of my children, but as Christians, we’re referred to as the bride of Christ. Being Katie’s brother, Clint’s, best man this weekend gave me a front row seat to that symbolism.
Mine and Katie’s first date was in 2008, so we’ve been together going on 10 years now. I met Clint shortly after we started dating, and he was 18 at the time. He was a freshman at Young Harris College here in Georgia. I’ve literally known him his entire adult life (most of mine), and I’ve seen him grow into a really great dude. He’s technically my brother-in-law, but he’s a brother to me. The McNeal family, Clint included, took me in as their own from the first time I met them. I never experienced any awkwardness or anxiety being around them, which I know is not commonplace. There’s a genuine love and care between us all, and I couldn’t have asked to marry into a better family.
Clint and I have a lot in common, but in many ways, we couldn’t be more different. I have a blood brother, and the same can be said for us. That’s what makes family great, though. I like to think that our differences actually make each of us better men. We often confide in each other as brothers do, and I’ll never forget him telling me about his now wife, Alexandra, for the first time. He’s a good looking kid, and we were discussing potential girlfriends for him at the time. Prior to this conversation, he had always had pretty steady, long-term girlfriends. There were 3-4 girls that got brought up, and Alexandra was one of them. His tone of voice changed, his face lit up, and he had a hard time describing her. Kind of tripped over his words a little bit and couldn’t quite put his finger on what made him feel so differently about her. The other girls were similar to girls he had dated in the past, but Alexandra was different in so many really great ways. Problem was…she had a long-term boyfriend. Clint didn’t seem to mind. He was going to wait it out. I thought he was kind of crazy, and I figured he’d end up dating one of the other girls on the radar. I was wrong. Clint stayed single for what ended up being a couple of years. So much so that the family kind of gave up on him ever getting married. The joke ended up being that Briggs, my 2 year old son, might actually get to be a groomsman by the time Clint got married. Kind of speeding it up a little, it all worked out and I had the honor of standing there with Clint, and his dad, Darrell, who was the officiant at the wedding, which is cool on a totally different level, waiting to welcome Alexandra into the family. The whole time leading up to the wedding I never caught the first glimpse of nerves from Clint. No second guesses. No anxiety, and the dude’s eyes never left Alexandra as she was coming down the aisle. I can’t blame him. She’s stunning, but they never cut away to the crowd. Stone cold focused. To steal a line from Alabama football and the Philadelphia 76ers, he absolutely trusted the process, trusted God’s plan, and here they were about to commit the rest of their lives to one another.
Bringing Clint and Alexandra’s story back to being the bride of Christ, that laser focus is how God feels about us. God knows what he wants. He wants our love. He wants to take care of us, ease our worries, protect, and provide for us. As sinners, we’re nowhere near as beautiful as Alexandra was yesterday. We’re broken and ugly, but Christ views us individually as His one and only. His focus never shifts, never fades. He already made a huge sacrifice to allow the relationship to happen, and like Clint, he’s willing to wait for us no matter what.
I was very young when I was saved, but I can still remember that lost feeling. I can still remember feeling God knocking on the proverbial door to my heart to come in. Hopefully Clint wasn’t being a major creeper and knocking on Alexandra’s door at random times, but he continued to build the relationship. He stayed relevant. He knew in his heart that God meant for him and Alexandra (Aunt Zan) to be together. They’re perfect for each other. Like I knew with Katie, Clint knew from early on that she was the one. It takes some of us a little longer to figure out that Christ is the relationship we’re missing in our lives. It even takes some of us a long time to make it down the aisle and fully commit to the relationship even when we know it’s what we really want, but He’ll wait for us. Give up the fight, you know you’re meant to be together. Life is so much better once you say, “I do.”
So, you’re at the gym…now what in the world do you do?
I take it for granted that I was volun-told to take weight training almost every semester of high school by my football/strength coach. (Shout out to Coach Dameron, who is a Chain Mover. Love him and his family. Coach D sends me a devotional almost daily via text. I graduated high school almost 13 years ago, and he still fosters the relationship and uses his influence in my life to help make sure I’m right with the Lord. It’s awesome and greatly appreciated.) I thought taking weight training was just for football at the time, and it primarily was, but it has served me well into adulthood. I’m sure it will for the rest of my life, too. I gained an appreciation for working out as well as an understanding of basic workout principles. Playing football in college at Georgia Southern and Georgia allowed me to train under two more world class strength coaches and learn a little bit from them.
The link below is to a super simple outline that you can fill in the blanks for to design your own workout program, but I wanted to pass along some starter tips for how to think about putting your own workouts together while at the gym. I try to lift at least 3 times a week, and my breakdown usually goes something like this. On Mondays, I like hitting chest and back. Wednesdays, I’ll do legs, and Friday is the gun show…shoulders and arms to get’em looking good to cut the grass on the weekend. I’m usually super short on time and only have like 30 minutes to get a workout in when I can make it to the gym. That’s plenty of time though. Reason being, I super-set everything.
“What’s that mean?” I do 2 exercises back to back for opposing muscle groups. I also try to pair a push exercise with a pull exercise. “Well why do you do that?” Muscle fatigue. I want to be as strong as possible for each exercise, so I don’t want to wear out one muscle and then pile on another exercise for the same muscle. The super-set also helps me to get a little cardio in. I do one set of an exercise and immediately get up and go do my other exercise. I then come back to the first and might give myself 30 seconds or so to change weight or catch my breath. My heart rate stays high, so my body thinks I’m on a 30 minute jog while I’m lifting weights. It also helps you to not be that guy sitting on a machine hogging it for 10 minutes. I can never understand how people sit at one machine for that long and think they’re doing anything for their fitness. A couple months ago this dude did that on a machine I needed to use. I was waiting for him to get done and started doing my other exercises. I did 21 sets…21…in the time it took him to do 3! Frustrating. Don’t be that guy.
The easiest example of exercise pairing is chest and back. I’ll almost always pair bench press with pull-ups. Bench is a push exercise for your chest, and pull-ups are a pull exercise for your back. I also try to knock out the largest muscle groups early in the workout. Muscle fatigue is the reasoning there as well. You get more bang for your buck that way. Leg days, I’ll squat first. It hits nearly every muscle in your lower body, and then I’ll move to more isolated exercises when I’m done like leg extensions and leg curls.
“How many sets do you do?” It depends. For the first couple of exercises in a workout, I’ll go with 5 or so. I use the first couple to warm-up and to build-up in weight. If you’re going heavy, it’s totally cool to take it slowly. As the workout progresses, I’ll go to 3 sets because I’m already warm, and for things like curls and tricep extensions, you’re not really moving that much weight so you can get to your working sets faster.
“Reps?” I really like 8-10 unless you’re going heavy then I like 5 sets of 5. Going below 5 can get dangerous because you typically don’t have a spotter at the gym, and in the real world, we don’t really need to know what our 1 rep maxes are. The 8-10 reps is a good spot for both strength and muscle endurance.
“How do you know when to go up in weight?” If you’re shooting for a set of 10 reps, you want reps 8, 9, and 10 to progressively get harder and for 10 to feel like it’s the last rep you could do. Your muscles will get stronger eventually and get to a point that 8, 9, and 10 feel like most of the other reps. Time to add weight. Typically, I stick to something like 5-10lb increases at a time. You’ll know your limit when you feel it.
I know all of this sounds complicated, and if you’re just getting into lifting, it might scare you away from it. Don’t let that happen. As “Bro” as it sounds, lifting weights has changed my life and it’s really my only “hobby” right now. I’ve met some great people at the gym since you already have something in common, and it’s really the best way to improve your fitness. If you had to pick running or weight training as the best thing for your overall health, weight training is the way to go. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn. Muscle also protects your bones and joints like I mentioned about my back last week. Using good form and full range of motion in the exercises will stretch you as well, which we all need more of. It’s super beneficial.
Don’t know what exercises to do? Just google “Chest and Back workout program”, and I’m sure like a million will pop up. As douchey as Bodybuilding.com can be, it’s got some really helpful info, workouts, and videos to show you how to do different exercises. Chris and Heidi Powell’s Transform app is great as well. I did it for about 3 months. It has the program built in and videos for every exercise right there in the app.
Commit to working out for 8 weeks consistently, and I guarantee you’ll fall in love with it.
It feels like life revolves around money in some way, shape, form, or fashion. My undergraduate degree was in finance, so I’ve always kind of taken an interest to how money works. It’s fascinating how our economy has been built on what basically amounts to a handshake. A dollar is worth a dollar because we all just kind of agree that it is. In college, we focused on big business money moves for the most part. As a small business owner, some of those concepts come into play for me from time to time, but it largely just feels like I’m running two households. Kind of like one of those dudes that’s dumb enough to try and have two families, could you imagine trying to keep all that straight? I read a story this week about a guy that bought a house with the same floor plan and furnished it with nearly identical furniture for his second family to help him try to keep it all straight. Hey buddy, how ‘bout just having one family. Anyway, with it being like two households, the need for personal finance concepts shows up in my life twice as often. Here’s an article with 4 tips from legendary personal finance guys. John Rockefeller and Dave Ramsey are 2 of the 4. The other two you likely wouldn’t recognize by name. The guy for number 4 wrote, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” which is a phenomenal, easy read if you haven’t done so already. The bullet points are going to look so “duh,” but I encourage you to check out the full article for more of what the legends have to say.
Budget Wisely, and Give Every Dollar a Job
Pay Yourself First
Live Below Your Means
Understand the Difference Between an Asset and a Liability