Rest and Relaxation

Posts on leisure activities and recovery.

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I just had lunch at one of my favorite local restaurants, Miguel’s, which is a killer Mexican place here in Bangor. In addition to the usual Mexican restaurant stuff they serve a Paleo menu (love the cauli-rice), a great steak, and locally grown, organic greens. That and they actually grow their own peppers and tomatoes for salsa on the roof!

Combine that with great staff and you’ve got a pretty awesome place. If you’re one of the lucky few to attend Elliot Hulse’s Northeast seminar, here in Bangor, then you might get a chance to try it… *hint hint*

Anyway, so I’m at a booth on the bar side, enjoying my steak (and yes, a beer) with my notebook and smart phone out trying to get some work done (think of it as a “mini-working-vacation”) and there’s this guy at the bar chatting up a stranger.

And he’s got problems.
Read more on Make It Happen Monday – The Magical Fix…

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Today is Memorial Day here in the United States. Every year we observe this holiday to remember and thank our military service members, particularly the fallen, who have allowed us to have the greatest country in the world. It’s through their service and sacrifice that we enjoy the freedoms that most of us take for granted, let alone the ones that we recognize.

Memorial Day has also come to encompass remembering all of our loved ones who’ve passed, regardless of military service. In my mind, this is also important. I’m not one to live in the past anymore, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve turned my back on those who’re no longer with me. I love and miss all of you.
Read more on Make It Happen Monday – How I’m Celebrating Memorial Day…

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This weekend I had the good fortune to get together with some buddies and have a brewing party for this coming year’s Oktoberfest beer. I don’t know if you’ve ever actually brewed beer before but it’s a fair little undertaking, especially for the home brewer trying to do about 30 gallons at a time. Given that we also tend towards “seat of our pants” operations, it goes without saying that the whole beer brewing adventure was a string of minor emergencies from start to finish. And, like all good disaster situations, there were some things to be learned if you kept your eyes open.

One of the first steps in the process is grinding about 50 pounds of grain so that it can be used in the as the base. With an old school hand grinder, this turned out to be a much more substantial undertaking than we’d envisioned. There were some sad faces as realization started to set in that it was looking like it could be a very long morning of delay and sore elbows for everyone until my client Lee channeled his inner Marine: Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome
Read more on Make It Happen Monday – Improvise, Adapt, Overcome…

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We’re experiencing a mini-heat wave here in Maine this weekend into today. My handy Weather.com app says that in Bangor it’s 56 degrees, bright, and sunny, which for the early middle of March up in this neck of the woods is pretty sweet. Given that it’s t-shirt and bikini weather (for Maine) we’ve got the doors open to the gym, the music is cranked, people are running sprints, and sleds are being pulled. It’s awesome.

The energy of the gym has been great, but it’s definitely on another level today. After a long winter people are taking the day to get outside, do some things they haven’t done in a while, and just get the Vitamin D factories going. There’s something special about being outdoors on a great day to train that just makes it better.
Read more on Make It Happen Monday – Change Your Scenery…

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Everyone hits the gym with different goals and priorities, but when you boil things down to the most basic, why-are-you-here level the truth is thatmost dudes are in the gym because they want to build muscle and lose fat. Sure, you may have certain number goals, health ideals, or even use the iron as your stress relief, but the bottom line is that probably you want to be lean and jacked as a result of all of that hard work.

Given that I have the luxury of the bird’s eye view on a large sample population’s attempts at achieving the aforementioned “Lean and Jacked” state, I have a few insights into some common screw-ups in the quest for Jacked-hood.

In no particular order, here’s three basic things that you can do to be bigger and leaner, faster.
Read more on Three Tips to Build Muscle and Lose Fat…

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First of all, I’d like to wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving if you’re from the ‘States. If you’re not, then you’re missing out and I recommend that you celebrate it anyway. Here’s the down-low: In America we get together on the last Thursday in November to celebrate family, friends, and the other things we’re thankful for. This is punctuated by a harvest feast involving turkey, vegetables, and pie. We also layer on an outstanding helping of football on because we’re Americans and nothing says “thankful” like watching one one of the world’s greatest sports. Like I said, you’re missing out and I’d jump on the bandwagon if I were you.

So in honor of that, I’m thankful for the blessings I’ve received in my life. I’ve been given opportunity, great friends and family, good health, an outstanding sense of humor, and a desire to help others… in my own special way. Honestly, that makes me rich beyond belief already.

In the spirit of what all trainers do on Thanksgiving, I’m going to clue you in to one of my best Turkey Day Survival Tips.
Read more on Build Muscle, Get Lean, WHILE Crushing Thanksgiving…

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I think that every day has the opportunity to be a great day… until something screws it up. Life happens, but more often than not what screws up a formerly great day is us.

Taking the “you factor” out and having a great day is facilitated if you start it off right, which is a whole lot easier if you’ve got a solid morning ritual down. Whatever gets your morning motor running, be it breakfast, meditation, stretching, coffee or something else, establishing a morning ritual will get your head right and put your day in the direction you need.

*****Note that staggering to the bathroom is not quite what I mean by “morning ritual”, although by all means, do what you need to do.*****

Those who just roll out of bed and either rush off to a job or just laze around will tend to have a hard time getting established throughout the day.
Read more on Cooking for Men: The No BS Breakfast…

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A subject I preach about over and over is setting and accomplishing goals. In my mind, if a man doesn’t know what he’s trying to accomplish then he has almost no chance of truly accomplishing much of anything noteworthy. If you can’t do something noteworthy, then are you really living your life to its full potential?

It’s not just about setting concrete goals, though. If you don’t have the balls and staying power to overcome obstacles and crush the work required then there’s little chance of achieving the goal you’ve set, no matter how specific it is. Write that down, my friends, the secret of a great man’s life can be summed up in a couple of words: “Balls” and “Accomplishment”.

In light of that, one of the best ways to keep on task for a goal is to a) write it down, and b) grow a set of balls get it out to the world. Tell your friends, tell your spouse, tell the guy that hates you at work (that asshole will definitely keep up with your progress hoping to see you fail), or… tell the internet.

So to put my money where my Internet mouth is and also so you can see some of the craziness that I get up to in life, I’ve got a few of my personal goals to share today. I actually keep a running list of goals broken down into three categories: Short-term (three months or less, anything much under three months I consider to be more of a task than a goal), Mid-range (one year or less), and Long-term (several years or lifetime). Rather than post the entire list, especially since some are pretty personal, I’ll just drop some highlights.

Here’s my goals and my “why’s”.
Read more on A Look At My Goals – The Plan for Continued Awesomeness…

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All right, it’s time to finish up this series on how to clean up muscle tightness and dysfunction issues using Self-myofascial Release (SMR).

*****For an idea of what SMR is check out the first post in the series here. To learn a couple of quick lower body techniques that will have your back and knees feeling better go for the second article here.*****

As I went over in those two posts, SMR is pretty awesome for working on the big muscle groups of the lower body and fixing a lot of issues. What most people don’t know is that you can do it on the upper body as well and really get into some tight spots that can result in shoulder, elbow, or neck pain, headaches, and general a lack of growth and mobility.
Read more on If It Hurts Just Put Your Balls On It! Part III…

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In my last post I went over the basics of what self-myofascial release (SMR) was and how it is basically the second coming of sliced bread, or the ill nana when it comes to helping you get more flexible and cure some little aches, pains, and dysfunctions. If you’re lost, check out the intro post here.

When it comes to SMR most people are familiar with working on their lower body, often the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and even the dreaded IT bands. This isn’t very comfortable but it’s totally awesome for recovery. Since that stuff is widely available, I’m not going to focus on those areas. Today I’m going to cover how to work on a couple of spots that don’t see as much love from the typical gym rat but may be the spots that are holding you back.
Read more on If It Hurts Just Put Your Balls On It! – Part II…