This pandemic has changed every area of our lives — including fitness and our workouts. So, what can we expect in 2021 when it comes to fitness trends? I recently got a chance to talk to NPR’s All Things Considered about how to better make your fitness resolutions happen in this crazy COVID time, and it’s really made me reflect on just how much has changed in the fitness world since a year ago. I’ve been lucky enough to have been sweating in my garage gym for a full year now (talk about serendipitous timing there), but this time has…

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Y’all. We made it through 2020! And we have a great way to celebrate: our 2021 Workout Challenge. Like we’ve done in years past (see here and here), we’ve put together a 2021-themed workout using only bodyweight that you can do at home. This year’s workout has a bit of a challenge aspect to it as well: Set a timer for 21 minutes (because, 2021, of course) and see how many rounds you can get through! As always, modify as needed (wall push-ups or push-ups on knees or toes, marching in place or side-stepping for high-impact moves, etc.) and listen…

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In what has become an annual tradition here at FBG, we give to you our favorite tracks from the past year: the best workout songs of 2020! These are the 25 tracks that powered us through our workouts — no matter where they were and how socially distanced and/or masked up they were. You might recognize many of them from our previously published workout playlists, but along with a few new songs, we are declaring these the best of the best when it came to workout music in 2020. So, let’s listen, get amped up, and get to sweating, shall…

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The following post is sponsored by TIME Slippers. All opinions are our own. For our sponsored post policy, click here. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that self-care matters. Kindness to others and yourself matters. Time matters. And comfort really, really matters. Especially during all those Zoom calls and evenings staying safe at home. So it’s no wonder that athleisure is a fashion trend that went from pretty popular to what we’re wearing all day, everyday. Joggers … sweatshirts … and slippers. Yes, those are SLIPPERS. TIME Slippers look like fabulous sneakers that you slip on (they also have…

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Lately, I’ve been in the groove of my workouts. About every other day I make it a point to do something that breaks a sweat — whether it’s going for an easy jog, an interval run, or banging out pull-ups in my garage gym. My home workouts are definitely a habit now — and one that I need (both mentally and physically). But, recently, even though I’m getting out there, I’m not exactly as excited as I once was. I’ve been getting kind of stuck in a rut — just going through the motions. I’ve created a ton of workouts…

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jogging is dangerousDr. DeVany’s title quote has haunted me for years; I typically ponder the significance of this deadpan assertion during my morning jog. “Come on, this can’t be dangerous, can it?” I assert that my morning jog helps me enjoy nature, clear my mind for the impending busy day in front of a screen or microphone, and seemingly contributes to both my fitness base and my health.

But only if I go slow!  

That is the revelation I have come to appreciate over decades of devoted endurance training. Walking is perhaps most health and longevity promoting activity of them all, the ultimate human experience of life and planet that our genes require daily for healthy functioning. This is especially true as you age. A UCLA study of the elderly revealed that walking more than 4,000 steps a day makes for a thicker hippocampus, faster information processing, and improved executive function.,the%20Journal%20of%20Alzheimer’s%20Disease“>1 Sedentary folks were found to have thinner brains, lower overall cognitive function and increased disease risk. From a base of frequent daily walking (and other forms of low level movement like yoga), if you are fit enough to jog at a heart rate below “180 minus age” in beats per minute, there is pretty strong evidence that you are boosting health. If your “jogging” routinely drifts above that important MAF cutoff (surely the context for DeVany’s warning), you are likely actualizing the quote and endangering your health.

This article details how I destroyed my health during a six-month binge of high volume aerobic exercise (playing Speedgolf, where you run around five miles while playing 18 holes as fast as possible) after a long layoff from real training. I overestimated my aerobic maximum heart rate by 12 beats (and exceeded that beeper limit on the golf course frequently as well!) and experienced that familiar steady spiral into declining energy and burnout. First, I delivered a free testosterone reading that was clinically low—as in, a candidate for hormone replacement. Next, on the heels of a two strenuous workouts in 100-degree temperatures over four days, I found myself in the hospital with extreme dehydration, a ruptured appendix and emergency surgery. Months of complications and follow up surgeries ensued. Doctors might assert that an appendix will blow out randomly, but I’m certain that my problems were driven by the six-month chronic cardio binge.

With five months of enforced rest and trading my slightly too difficult cardio for easy jogging and walking (after surgeries), I doubled my testosterone levels—going from clinically low to exceeding the 95th percentile for my age. In the aftermath of the ordeal, which coincided with me hitting the big Hawaii 5-0, I turned my attention to fitness goals better suited for longevity: building power, speed, explosiveness, flexibility, balance, and mobility. I increased my devotion to sprinting and strength training, and integrated the wonderful drills and skills highlighted in the basic running drills and advanced running drills videos and morning flexibility/mobility exercises video. I’ve gone from an aging ex-triathlete still capable of jogging or pedaling (increasingly slowly with each passing year) to high jumping at a world class level for my 55-59 age group. Granted, attrition in this event is a driving factor in my positioning in the rankings, but in many respects I am a fitter, stronger, faster human than the narrowly adapted endurance athlete I was decades ago.

Here are some ideas to trade steady state cardio sessions for sessions that deliver broader fitness benefits and are more fun, more challenging, and more rewarding.

What to Do Instead of Steady State Cardio

Morning Flexibility, Mobility, Dynamic Stretching, and Core Strengthening

The sequence of exercises that I present in the video take about 12 minutes, and I’m on a good streak of daily execution for nearly four years now. What’s happened with my recent transition away from my consistent morning jog is that I continue to add more and more fun stuff to the daily template. At first, it’s extremely important for habit forming to design an initial routine that’s easy and doable, meaning short in duration. Once you build some momentum, you can add to the complexity and degree of difficulty of your routine. Today, I burn up at least 45 minutes with an exact sequence of exercises that I repeat every day. I regularly add, subtract, and modify the sequence, but it’s important to have a repeatable routine that doesn’t require creative energy. This way, you can relax and get into the zone of simply counting out the desired reps of each drill and move on to the next. You’ll see this same dynamic in a flowing yoga class.

I’m not suggesting that you squeeze a 45-minute routine into your already busy mornings, but starting small with a 12-minute session can be a great way to broaden your fitness experience. For me, the lengthy and quite strenuous morning routine has pushed my morning jog into the “optional” category. As mentioned in the previous post about the paltry requirement for optimizing aerobic fitness (Dr. O’Keefe’s Goldilocks Zone), shifting from daily jogging to a few per week causes no loss in aerobic conditioning. Furthermore, an ambitious routine of flexibility/mobility drills without break from start to finish is aerobic in nature. I obtain all the cardiovascular benefits of jogging in addition to all the additional flexibility, mobility, core strengthening, and balancing benefits.

Walk – Jog – Jump

We’ll discuss the broad-based benefits of jumping in a future post. Mark says, “Nothing cuts you up like sprinting,” due to the profound genetic signaling that occurs from brief, all-out high impact sprinting on flat ground. Any act of jumping falls into the same esteemed category. You are building bone density, improving the resiliency of your muscles and connective tissue, and sending a strong genetic signal to reduce excess body fat.,the%20Journal%20of%20Alzheimer’s%20Disease

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    benefits of barefoot weightliftingBefore the complex tools, before the projectile weapons and the wheels and the civilization, hominids stood upright and walked—and it made all the difference. Bipedalism freed up their hands to carry objects and manipulate the world around them and see for miles and miles across the horizon. They did all this atop bare feet that closely resembled our own; millions-year old hominid footprints from East Africa look almost identical to ones you’d see today at the beach. Not much has changed down there.

    That’s the entire basis for the barefoot running movement. We were born barefoot, we spent the vast majority of our prehistory barefoot and history wearing the scantest of minimalist footwear. It’s only in the last hundred years or so that we began entombing our feet in restrictive leather and rubber carapaces that deform our foot structure and alter our gait and tissue loading. Running in bare feet or in shoes that mimic the barefoot experience can help us move and land the way nature intended, thereby increasing running efficiency and reducing injury risk. The science is sound.

    I’ve spoken at length of the terrible effect all that sitting we do has on our body. By taking gravity out of the equation, chairs weaken glutes, slacken hamstrings, tighten calves, and deactivate our overall lower body. That’s not even mentioning the poor posture, reduced cognitive function, and impaired fat-burning capacity. Shoes are even worse. They’re like chairs for our feet, only we wear them all day.

    That’s why I’ve always advocated breaking free of the shoe monopoly to go barefoot as much as possible.

    Barefoot walking. Barefoot hiking. Barefoot running. Barefoot sprints. Barefoot gardening, trash-taking-outing, dancing, cleaning. All good, all beneficial.

    And now I want you to try barefoot lifting. But first, I’m going to tell you why.

    Are there benefits to barefoot lifting? Absolutely.

    Are there things to watch out for? Yes.

    First, let’s explore the potential benefits of lifting weights barefoot.

    Better Connection to the Ground

    The sole of a shoe is a barrier between you and the ground. A middleman, an interface. This isn’t a deal-breaker. Obviously, people lift in shoes all the time. Most people lift in shoes, so it’s definitely doable and effective enough. But if you’re in bare feet, you are directly connected to the ground, giving you a solid base from which to defy gravity. The soles of your feet have better “cling” than the soles of your shoes.

    This effect becomes more apparent on natural, uneven surfaces to which the bare foot can “mold” itself much better than a shoe. Ultimately, the barefoot lifter is closer to the ground with a more stable base than the shod lifter.

    And the more solid the foundation, the stronger the house. The same is true for a barefooted person lifting heavy things—once you’re acclimated, you’ll be more powerful and grounded than ever before. Preliminary research suggests this to be the case:

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