The Secret to Creating Health for Yourself

The Problem: Going Too Fast

I want to talk about how to create health for yourself. I'll start by sharing some epiphanies I've had about the excellent results we've been having here at the TFW gym in  Portland, Oregon.

While people here are getting stronger, building muscle, and burning fat, I'm noticing a subtle trend. With so many fitness fads, motivational videos, rise and grind podcasts, we're getting ahead of ourselves. We get really excited, we try really hard, we want to get really great results. We think we can create health by sheer force of enthusiasm. Sometimes people come to the Dojo with really interesting and specific ideas such as, "I want to get the fastest results. Should I do intermittent fasting, or should I do carb cycling or zero carb diets?"

The Solution: Simplify to Create Health

With thousands of tools available to you, it's actually difficult to cut the clutter and sustainably create health for yourself. Most of what you need to know/do/try is really simple. Honestly, I think the best way to go is slow. Slow is smooth (injury free, good form) and smooth is fast (making steady and sustainable progress).

With that in mind, I want to help provide some clarity. Over the next 2 weeks - I'm going to share my 10 biggest, most important ideas on creating health for yourself. They're not scientific, they're very simple. I'm not going to talk about doing 5 sets of 3 at 89.5%. Or carb cycling. Or  intermittent fasting. YET. Instead, I'm going to give you simple, sustainable ways that you can burn fat, build muscle, and feel (and look) great!

Friends, I know that you already know what you should be doing. You know you should be tracking your food, and eating broccoli and protein. You know you should be working out in the morning or in the afternoons.

I KNOW you know that. So I'm going to provide some mental frames of reference to help you with the mindset piece of staying on track. I'm going to share my important ideas and focus points around training and fitness, because I want you to feel empowered to create the health that you want.

If you have any questions about anything that I'm saying, just put them in the comments below, or shoot me an email. I'll answer each and every one of your questions. I'm really looking forward to serving you guys.

We live in the renaissance of the Strength Training age.

20 years ago we were riding out the sport specific or FUNCTIONAL era, where every movement had to be somehow related to what you do (but better!) and be corrective or therapeutic in nature. U.S. fitness professionals were having everyone we know squat on Bosu Balls with one leg while they touched their finger tip to their nose because if you got good at stabilizing (so the theory went) in that unstable environment, then you got good at stabilizing all day long.

Boy, it's like everyone was smoking peyote. If you questioned the gospel of the Physio, you were shamed as ignorant or worse- A HERETIC who was out to hurt people! Why would you hurt Mr. Jones, he just wants to play with his adopted kids and husband. He doesn't need to use nasty barbells you CAD! (yes, language was foul).

Lo! Behold! We were way fucking wrong.

Those benefits of functional training lasted for about 6 weeks. Long enough for the body to figure out how to stand on a bosu (or not) and then the changes stopped. Turns out, flexing your TVA (a small band of muscle around your viscera) in a 4 point bird dog position taught you how to activate your TVA in a bird dog position. Which probably didn't help when you went to pick up your kid, and threw your back out when you weren't using your core. Thanks, "Coach"!

It seems to be, that the thing that actually made your life better was being stronger than you needed to be. If you want to lift your 50 pound child without a problem? Squat 150 pounds. Or, squat 50lbs X 25 times. Being strong makes you durable... and useful!

Strength can preserve and increase your flexibility.

Weightlifting is one of the safest activities to participate in when compared to other organized physical activities (see weightlifters and their injury rates). Awakening your potential range of motion is part of the tempering process, and strengthening that new-found range of motion increases the amount of flexibility that your body will safely access. Increasing hip mobility, and strength does wonders for your mobility. Keeping your quality of life high!

Muscle mass is best (not only, but clearly the best) for increased and preserved through strength training. The benefits of muscle mass are somewhat self evident. You can see muscles, and they are beautiful (as far as subjective terms like beauty go). Muscles are a source of energy, being the focal point for mitochondria (they literally house the energy for your locomotion), cognitive efforts, your wit and your charm. Muscular people have the benefit of stronger immune systems, greater joint stability, bone density (when following a training program consistently), more energy, and a generally higher quality of life due to all of the activities that they can potentially participate in. Keg toss, anybody?

But wait, there's more! Are you an athlete? What if you are an endurance athlete? What if you run marathons and you slow down the minute you LOOK at a barbell? Wow! What if I told you that your speed, power, endurance, balance were ALL related directly to and derived from your strength? Not your muscle, but your STRENGTH? You see, when you train your strength, you actually train your central nervous system. Your meticlorions (motor neurons) drive your strength, and when you train them, they synchronize (activate together) and speed up (activate at a quicker rate). This affects EVERY STEP YOU TAKE. EVERY ONE! You runners and cyclists then produce more force with every step/pedal stroke. It's that simple!

SO YOU ARE TELLING ME that I can get faster, jump higher, run further just by doing some lifting once in awhile? Yep, I am! Actually, I didn't say it (until today). This is OLD NEWS.

Have you considered getting stronger? Photo by John Fritz

Have you considered getting stronger? Photo by John Fritz


OK Josh, you are probably saying into your iPhone. I want to be durable, fast, functional, and flexible. How do I get started? Where do I sign up?

All you gotta do is start. Start training. Start progressively loading your body.

Strength is like any other skill in that it is "use it or lose it."

Start using it.


Yours in Strength,