7 Reasons You Should Spend More Time Outside

Spending time outside is crucial for your health and well-being.  Here are 5 ways it may help…

  1. It may increase your concentration skills.
  2. It may improve creativity. 
  3. It increases your Vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is good for reducing inflammation, improving immune function, etc.
  4. It may improve how you age.
  5. It can make you”tougher.”  *Getting out of your comfort zone and going outside when it is very cold or very hot can help you become mentally and physically tougher.
  6. It decreases your stress and makes you happier.
  7. You get to explore and spend time in awe of how amazing nature is.

5 Reasons You Should Be Strong


Before I list out the 5 reasons of why you should be strong, I have two disclaimers…

First Disclaimer: “Being strong” is relative.  I can deadlift over 400lbs.  That may sound like a lot to some people and like a warm-up to other people.  It doesn’t matter.  Being strong is relative, the key is the path to getting stronger not the destination.

Second Disclaimer: It doesn’t matter how you choose to get stronger.  You can use bodyweight, kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, sandbags, machines, etc.  What matters is the effort you make along the way.

  1. Strength gives you confidence. 
  2. Strength is practical to real life.
  3. Strength will help improve your body composition.
  4. Strength helps you stay injury free.
  5. The discipline it takes to get stronger carries over to other parts of life. (The most important aspect of all.)

Make it a goal to get stronger.  It will not only benefit you physically, but mentally and spiritually as well.

Starting Strength: A Simple Method to Getting Stronger

Starting Strength is a tried and true barbell strength program created by strength coach extraordinaire, Mark Rippetoe.  On Starting Strength you will focus on five movements, the big three (squat, bench press, and deadlift) as well as the overhead press and power clean. You will train 3 times per week; initially following a linear progression, meaning you will add 5 to 10lbs to the barbell each workout.  You will continue doing this until you reach a plateau, at which point you will switch to an intermediate program provided by Coach Rippetoe.

Personally, I have been following the program with great success in preparation for my first powerlifting meet in two years.  And, there are three main reasons I think anyone who wants to get stronger should follow it…

  1. It’s simple to follow.  You don’t need much equipment or time.  And, you only focus on five movements which definitely simplifies your time in the gym.
  2. You work your whole body every workout.  This is not only great for gaining strength, but also for gaining muscle as well.
  3. You ignore the fluff and focus on the essentials.   This means you will get results if you follow the program as laid out.

If one of your goals for 2017 was to get stronger than I highly recommend you give Starting Strength a try.  It’s time to stop jumping from program to program.  2017 is the year to take action on a program that is proven to work.


Daily Exercise Routine

One of the most common excuses I hear for not exercising is “I don’t have enough time.”  This is why I’m going to share with you a simple 10 minute exercise routine you can do either morning or evening right from the comfort of your home. The only piece of equipment you need is something to hang from.  And, while 1o minutes is not enough time to get you “ripped,” it is enough time to get you feeling better.  Are you ready to get started?

The dead hang will increase hand and forearm strength, make your shoulders more resilient, decompress the spine, and even help you become better at pull-ups.

According to Jonathan Mead, the deep squat will make your knees, ankles, and hips more resilient as well as increase circulation in your lower body.  Deep squats are also well-known to strengthen your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

According to Tim Anderson, founder of Original Strength, “Crawling is a developmental movement pattern that ties everything about you together…Through crawling, neural connections and pathways are established in the brain that allow the brain to become more efficient at communication between the left and right hemispheres. The better the brain can communicate and process information, the better the body moves. Crawling also unites your sensory systems. It integrates your vestibular system (your balance system), your proprioceptive system (your sense of self in space, or your self-awareness system), and your visual system (your visual system). It can even improve your hand eye coordination…Perhaps the greatest benefit to crawling is that it builds a foundation of reflexive strength…Your reflexive strength, also known as your reflexive stability, is your body’s ability to anticipate movement before it happens and/or reflexively react to movement as it happens.”

The side shuffle will increase leg strength, power, and conditioning as well as improve coordination and power.  This movement is a great complement to running.

  • Broad Jump (aka Standing Long Jump): Perform 5 reps

The broad jump will increase leg strength and power as well as improve coordination and balance.

*Complete as many rounds as you can in 10 minutes.

-Slade Jones

Just Show Up

This is a guest post by Jen Ellefson.  Jen is one of the coolest people I know and this post just further proves my point.

I’m not a big fan of fitness New Year’s resolutions. While I encourage everyone to exercise and eat right, New Year’s resolutions presents a false quick-fix mentality that I believe is one of the systemic problems with our culture’s health problems. Let me clue you in…there are no quick fixes or easy solutions to fitness, losing weight, or changing your habits. It’s a lifestyle. It’s consistency. It’s hard…very hard. As the great strength coach, Dan John, so simply and eloquently asks, “What happens on day 31 of a 30 day diet?” Yep. Exactly. Do people continue on their New Year’s resolution journey? Or do they pat themselves on the back for completing 30 days and then slip back into old patterns? In my opinion, it’s likely the latter. Why? Because it’s hard.

For me, I do some sort of training every day. It’s part of my routine. It keeps me sane. It makes me feel alive. It pushes me outside of my comfort level. It challenges me. It keeps me honest. It humbles me. It makes me proud. But it’s not easy. Not in the least.

Do I kill it every day at the gym? Absolutely not. Every now and then, I go into the gym and absolutely own it. I destroy the sets. I feel unstoppable. I feel like I am a super hero. But that is every now and then. It is not the norm. In fact I can recount in the last year or so about three times where I felt like that. One day we had rope climbing and I felt like I could fly up and down the rope. It was effortless. Another day this past summer, I felt amazing during a horrid 23 minute challenge and came in at a pretty fast time. And the most recent time was the beginning of October at the Tactical Strength Challenge where I was totally trained and prepared and had that “in-the-zone” feeling that I haven’t had in years. I mention these three memories not to brag but to say that those days of “killing it” at the gym are so not the norm. Nor should they be.

Most days at the gym, I just show up. Again…I’ll refer to world-renowned strength coach, Dan John. He calls this “SUDS” (show up and do something). Yes, I work hard. That goes without saying. It’s in my DNA. But am I giving 100% effort? No. I don’t have that in me every day. No one does.

A lot of my training partners are 20-somethings. Sometimes they are teenagers and I could feasibly be their mother at this point. Ouch. Note to self…never ask a young woman how old she is unless you’re ready to accept the fact that you are indeed, literally, twice her age. That was a rude realization. I digress. What I notice is that I can more than hang. In fact, in many cases, I am at the front. One of my training partners told me that I’m the carrot…the one to chase. While I find that totally flattering and motivating, I’ve come to realize that there’s a reason why I can hang (and will continue to hang). It’s consistency. I show up and do something. I generally don’t have excuses. I make training a priority in my life (and my family’s life). It’s that important to me. To us.

I recently read an article that talked about “training maturity.” I really like that term. The premise of training maturity is that you act your age as far as rep scheme/sets/volume/etc. As you age, you have to modify and adapt according to your needs and your body. I am still working on that. The other main point of training maturity is that it is cumulative. So, for example, I’ve been legitimately training in some shape or form since about the 8th grade. I have a huge foundation of work capacity, muscle, and muscle memory. Here’s an example…over the summer, I was training with a high school basketball player. We were doing some challenge and I was killing it. She was struggling. Was I stronger than her? Maybe. Maybe not. Was I fitter than her? Maybe. Maybe not. The difference between us, I believe, was that I have 20 years of training under my belt as compared to her, with just a few years of training. My work capacity has developed (and still is developing). My skills are developed (and still developing). My foundation of strength is solid (and also still developing). That’s training maturity for you. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with age. It has to do with the consistent length of time (in years) that you’ve been training. So, if you start training for the first time at age 40, you’re going to be very immature as far as training goes. It makes total sense. When my training partner is nearing 40, and if she trains consistently between now and then, she’ll have great training maturity as well.

So, do I write all of this to make you feel bad or to be braggy? NO. I write this to say that consistency is key. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting your journey at age 16 or age 65. Or, if you have training maturity and are continuing on your journey. Make your New Year’s resolution consistency. Make training – whatever it is you like to do – a habit. Build it into your schedule. Don’t make lame excuses like “I’m tired” or “I’m too busy”…everyone is tired and too busy. If it’s a priority for you, you’ll make the time. Show up and do something.*

*And note that the food that you intake is part of the consistency…that’s a post for another day though.

Why You Need a Morning Routine

Starting your day off right will go a long way in making sure you have a successful rest of your day.

All it takes is  a little bit of thought and some discipline.  If you follow these five steps you can go from surviving in the morning to thriving in the morning.

Step 1: Wake Up

When your alarm goes off, get up.  Don’t hit snooze or lie around.

Step 2:  Drink Water

Have a glass of water on your nightstand and drink it when you wake up.

Step 3 (Optional, but highly recommended): Take a Cold Shower

This will energize you and wake you up.

Step 4: Get Ready

Get dressed and do whatever you need to do to get ready for your day.

Step 5: Have a Healthy Breakfast

This could consist of a smoothie, eggs and fruit, or just coffee (my personal preference).

Mornings are powerful.  They can put us on the path to transforming our lives if we take advantage of them.

Use them wisely.

P.S. It doesn’t matter if you wake up at 4am or 10am, what matters is what you choose to do after you wake up.

Holiday Cheat Sheet: How to Survive the Holidays


  1. Keep calories low in the morning. The simplest way to do this is to fast until your big meal of the day.
  2. During your big meal of the day, eat slowly and talk with those around you.
  3. Walk as much as possible. Going for a walk with family and friends after the big meal of the day is a great idea.
  4. Maintain a consistent workout schedule.
  5. Most importantly, don’t stress! The holidays are a time to enjoy yourself.