Brick By Brick

First work week of the new year. New year, new week, new goals, new energy, new failures, new results. Feet hit the floor today and I felt absolutely grateful. Woke up at 5am this morning and crushed a Peloton ride to start the work day (shoutout the homie Alex Toussaint). I am constantly trying to pitch the concept of making Mondays great again #MMGA. You can’t hate Mondays, they are 1/7 of your life. Pretty crazy when you think about it.

The ole saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. This may be true BUT they were laying bricks every hour. That’s how I plan on building my 2021. Brick by brick. Get up and lay your bricks down today. Lay your foundation today so you can establish your floor plan for the week. Everyone likes the idea of building Rome, but how many are willing to lay the bricks every single day? If it was easy everyone would do it. Be fucking great and have an awesome week.

Thanksgiving Week

Happy Monday, Bulls! It is Thanksgiving week. Monday equals, new week, new intentions, new goals, new results. It is a time to reflect on what didn’t work last week, and learn from that. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results is the true definition of “insanity”, the legendary Albert Einstein once said. CHANGE IT UP, if you had a shitty last week. If you don’t learn the lesson, you are doomed to repeat the mistake.

Some themes to focus on this week:

Act with intention – Be conscious of the way you are showing up. Make consistent action to make the things you want happen. Make decisions and take actions that are consistent with your goals and values.

Be gentle on yourself – Make a mistake? Short term memory. Get the next one. If you beat yourself up over your day to day mistakes, you are going to make yourself sick. Let it go! Life is too short to sit on these things for too long.

Be Present – Freedom of past success, freedom from past failures. Not letting the past define who you are in this present moment, not letting the fear of the future (anxiety) steer you off your present path. Do not let a shitty moment in time affect you’re whole day/week. It is just a moment in time, treat it as so. Obviously easier said than done, but practice this mindset and help rewire the brain. A little goes a long way. Be where you are. Be present.

And last but not least, BE THANKFUL – Fitting for Thanksgiving week. We often times shine light on things that we don’t have in life, and don’t give enough attention to the things we do have. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough. Especially during this global dark time of COVID-19, we must appreciate all that we have because we have seen how fast it can be taken away from us. Think about the luxury of indoor dining, visiting grandparents, family visitation restriction. Find little victories and silver linings.

Be thankful for what you have and you will end up having more. I will leave you with a quote from Charles Dickens, “Reflect upon your present blessings- of which every man has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Perfect little quote embracing our above themes of both gratitude and present.

Have an awesome Monday and make it a great week!

Internal Mirror

2020 has been quite the year. Being in universal quarantine has given not just myself, but the whole world a time to really look at yourself in the mirror and self reflect on the last _ years of your life. You find out what has worked. You find out what hasn’t worked. You find out what tools you are going to use moving forward to come out of this pandemic stronger and a better version of yourself.

What is something you’ve learned about yourself over the last month?

Don’t just read that above question out loud. Really think and sit on that for a bit. Challenge yourself.

2020 has truly taught us the value of “time”. Kobe Bryant’s sudden death that shocked the world has heighted this value that we sometimes don’t always take the TIME (no pun intended) to stop and think about the concept. I have made it a point to know the true value of time. Life is too short to linger on problems and lose your courage over.

This Coronavirus is fucking horrible, BUT you have to find the small silver linings in tough situations like this virus has handcuffed us in. This virus has taught us the meaning of our priorities in life and what is truly important as we go through our day to days. Health, family and friends are just three of the many things in our life to be grateful for and not a day should go by where these are looked over or taken for granted(above paragraph for reference). We as a society have come to appreciate this more during the global lockdown. Crazy what can be taken away from you at any point in time. Even your own freedom to eat a damn burger inside!

So to answer the originally question, What is something you’ve learned about yourself over the last month?

I have learned to love myself more. I have learned to prioritize my health both physically and mentally. Using tools that were always there in my arsenal, but never seemed to utilize. I learned to put on my running shoes, chuck the airpods in (no free ads) and go for a run after work to decompress and compartmentalize my work days. This assures me that if I have a bad day at the office, I don’t bring it home with me and let it affect my 5:30pm on. I have learned to drink less with a conscious focus on moderation. The toxic social cycle of drinking two days a week and then going out heavy every weekend takes a massive toll on you mentally.

Like running, I have used the art of yoga to not only help me physically, but mentally AND spiritually. The work I put in on the mat gets reflected off the mat. I am not only benefiting myself, but everyone I interact with after! A true win win for everyone involved in my life. I find myself running around a lot (especially mentally), so yoga gives me an excellent carved out space in my day to slow my mind down and focus on being present in the flow practice. Also don’t hate the fact that I can feel myself becoming more flexible by the day! Yoga has so many benefits and I can’t recommend “Yoga with Adriene” enough (Check out her YouTube page). I have seen an increase in muscle strength and tone, better respiration and energy, and even a better sense of improved athletic performance. It pairs very well with my running practice.

Some people hate this year and the number sequence of “2020” gives them PTSD already, but I have enjoyed this time of self reflection. I strongly believe that I have become and will come out of this time a much better version of myself than I came in with.

2020 isn’t over yet, go finish it out strong and build daily healthy habits!

Cold Shower Gang #CSG

This simple life hack is a no brainer. If you are reading this, you own a shower. It will cost you absolutely nothing in US dollars and the only extra step you have to take is just don’t turn the temperature handle all the way left. The cold shower gang is an elite group of individuals. I joined the #CSG in May and have not looked back. A close friend of mine (shoutout NB) and the legendary, Wim “Ice Man” Hoff recruited me to take on this new habit. I have seen a ton of good benefits from this simple daily adjustment. Here are the top 4 benefits from cold showers I have seen:

Increase in willpower – When you wake up in the morning, your body is craving a hot shower and you automatically want to turn the handle all the way. This is beyond normal. Take this mindset away and replace it with something you don’t necessarily want to do ( a 50 degree shower at 6am) to increase your willpower. This then translates to other things in life you may not have control over. Drinking, drugs, gambling, food moderation (snack city) , attention craving and even sex. When that first cold blast of liquid hits your skin, your body and mind get a bit of a shock. When I hear the word, “shock” I automatically think bad. But this is a good kind! This shock increases your oxygen intake and increases your heart rate (speeds up metabolism). The exposure to these cold temperatures causes stem cells to form brown fat instead of white fat… FUN FACT! Brown fat causes our bodies to burn extra calories to keep warm.. So if we can produce brown instead of white fat, that could help burn off excess body fat you may or may not have put on during quarantine. Not all fats are bad… Covid- 15 > The Freshman 15.

Increase Blood Circulation – An increase in your circulation is one of the top reasons why experts recommend cold showers. Poor cardiovascular circulation compromises blood flow, thus stressing out the heart. This then leads to a number of health problems.. fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, muscle cramps etc.. When you improve your circulation, you are improving your heart health. The fresh increase in blood flow is enhancing your mental health performance, boosting your immune system (which is HUGE right now for a global pandemic) and helps develop more strength and energy to live the best way you want. We talk about being able to control what YOU can control. Taking care of your body and your health through daily habits is one thing you can do during this global health pandemic.

Reduces Muscle Inflammation – This has been my personal favorite benefit and something that I have really been noticing. After my running workouts, I ALWAYS take a cold shower and this helps reduce muscle soreness in the present and the following day to come. Cold water immersion has been scientifically proven to fight against the infamous DOM ( delayed muscle soreness). The cold showers lower the damaged tissue’s temperatures and constrict the blood vessels in these sore/sensitive areas. This is proven to help reduce any swelling and inflammation. Don’t just take this from a new blogger, but take it from the hundreds of professional athletes you see soaking in an ice bath after a strenuous workout. This is a simple, free, easy and natural way of speeding up the recovery process. This. Shit. Works.

Level Up in Happiness – Feeling down or stressed out? TAKE A COLD SHOWER. It is very difficult to be worried about something while you are taking on extreme temperatures on either side of the spectrum. Going from one extreme temperature to another is the best way to stay present.

A 2007 research study found that cold showers can help treat depression symptoms, and if used on a routine basis alongside lifestyle adjustments (cut beer out and boost your T levels), can complement the effects of prescription medications in lifting moods.

Pretty cool, right? The cold water triggers a flood of mood-boosting neurotransmitters which make you feel happy. It is a pure and natural rush of dopamine! Next time you feel yourself down and a bit of a depressed mental funk, get naked and take a cold shower. Report back.

Bottom line is this stuff works. Science has proven it and I also have tested it first hand. Give it a shot. Start with even just 45 seconds cold if you want to dabble with this concept. Cold showers will activate your natural healing powers to put you in a better psychological and mental state. You will start to feel yourself get healthier and happier. Definitely worth the building this into your lifestyle. Enjoy and GET COLD!