Reflexology: The Missing Ingredient in Your Movement Routine?

I’ve mentioned movement/mobility a few times – here, here, here, over here, one more here, and oh yeah, right here.

I’m a bit of a link-hoarder. I follow topics I’m interested in and save links to review – at some point. A lot of these lists sit idle.

But I recently made time for the mobility/movement links. Below is the categorized list of my recent review.

There are a lot of great ideas in that list. But one caught me by surprise with its simplicity and effectiveness.

Reflexology is an alternative medicine involving the application of pressure to the feet and hands with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques.

I’ve been working my feet and hands the past month or two. I’m amazed at the connections that run throughout the body – from your big toe to the top of your neck!?

Here’s a good overview video, and some suggestions to practice sitting at your desk. Give it a whirl.

Recent movement/mobility link review:

 

 

Inside Edge: A Yoga Secret to Staying Present in the Now

Yoga has become a staple in my fitness/movement regimen. A great mix of strength, flexibility, and quiet.

On a good week, I can hit four classes. When I miss a week, my body feels it.

In addition to keeping my body right, yoga helps keep my mind right.

I’m no expert in yogic traditions, but yoga carries a strong component of spiritual training that has been passed along for eons. Life lessons are often sprinkled into a yoga class.

As your physical body is stretched to the limits, your mind is forced to move to the present.

A great supplement to meditation.

A small comment from the instructor this week stuck with me.

“As you practice your forward fold, shift your weight to the ball of your feet – focus on grounding the inside edge of your foot. When you do this, your mind will be forced to stay present in the Now.”

Balance is crucial in yoga (and life). Your body has a tendency to shift your weight to the outside edge of your feet as you try to maintain balance in difficult positions.

When you focus on shifting your weight to the inside edge of your feet, you get a deeper stretch (in many positions), and you work against your default mode. You force your mind to focus in the moment – presence, awareness, Now.

This presence is the essence of meditation.

Perhaps the essence of spirituality.

A simple shift of your weight. A shift that is applicable at any moment in your day. A physical shift that also triggers the most fundamental mental shift.

The Inside Edge of Life. My new secret to staying in the moment.

This Pooping Unicorn Will Make You Question Reality

Image result for squatty potty unicornThere are a lot of reasons to question the reality we are fed – from parents, peers, schools, government, media, food, medical, blah, blah, blah.

Conspiracy theories abound.

More importantly, conspiracies abound.

Everyone is selling the idea they believe in.

But does anyone actually “know?” I mean reaaaalllllly know.

I don’t.

And I think we’re all guessing. At just about everything.

We talk like we know. We discuss “facts” as if they are factual. We try to fool ourselves into believing we know.

But we don’t…

Universe came from the Big Bang?

Oil comes from dinos that died to give us Netflix?

Oh look, here’s a man-made structure that’s 47,600 years old!

Yeah, but hunter-gathers were still just roaming chasing food 10K years ago, right?

At least we know how our current worldview was created – like money and debt…

  • Then again, tracing Debt back 5,000 years offers a different perspective.

We reaaaalllly don’t know. And that’s awesome.

Life is wide open. One big treasure hunt.

Be open. Be aware. Be ready to learn from anyone at any time.

But don’t believe the “facts” just because they’re fed to you.

Think for yourself.

Here, I’ll get you started.

You know how to poop, right? Sure…we all do. #2 has been our close compadre all our lives.

But maybe we’ve been doing it wrong…at least since the brainwashing potty-trainers got a hold of us.

Don’t believe me? The below pooping unicorn will make you change your life…and question reality.

If we don’t know how to poop, then what do we know?!

Zen and the Art of Mobility: A Minimalist Approach to Stretching and Mobility [Fitness Bonus]

I won’t claim to be an expert on Zen. But I dig the Zen/Buddhist ideas I’ve studied.

I’m a big fan of simplicity and minimalism. Both of which seem to have strong ties to Zen.

Simple and minimal also have a broad application to an efficient, productive everyday life – a core focus of the Dude’s world these days.

Including health and fitness.

You can dig a bit further on the Zen philosophy and the relation to minimalism in this blog post:

Rather than a focus on esoteric ideas, let’s use this post to explore a minimal, simple, quick and easy approach to mobility and stretching.

And start to consider an efficient, minimal approach to fitness as a whole.

I’ve mentioned the idea of “mobility” a few times:

  1. Take Care of Yourself
  2. Best Exercises to Keep a Dude Healthy
  3. Dude’s Flow: Off the Reservation
  4. You Should Stand More
  5. Everyday Mobility: Every Dude Needs to Move

From my experience, mobility has always been a drawn out approach – from a short and long-term perspective.

I stretch and foam-roll for 40+ minutes almost every day. And I’m still working through deep-seeded damage to muscle groups.

It’s not a quick fix…but neither was the damage.

Progress is being made, but there is a strong time commitment as well.

As I explained in Dude’s Flow: Off the Reservation, my approach to fitness has changed drastically over the last few years, and it is continually evolving.

Efficiency and minimalism are at the core of my fitness approach.

It’s great to see the fitness and health world moving in this efficient/minimal direction as well – forget the gym, use everyday objects and activities, stop over-training, use science to focus on minimal exercises with best impact, get back to nature and use your body.

I could share a long list of resources that are moving in this direction, but rather than an overload, let’s look at a couple recent gems I’ve enjoyed (check my posts listed above for additional links)…

And the motivation for this post – Dan John.

Dan is an impressive dude with a long list of credentials and experiences.

Jumping from one link to another I landed on a post Dan wrote about his go-to mobility exercises:

2 exercises. That’s it!

A big difference from my daily 40 minutes+.

I see value in my slow, deep approach to mobility and stretching. But dang, only two exercises?! I dig. Always room for efficiency.

I’m now working with both approaches. Some days long. Some days short. Dan’s exercises, every day.

Dan sums up his approach to minimal mobility well:

Listen, I KNOW you can do more…I know it! But, will it be better?

Checkout Dan’s great explanation – Two minimal mobility movements:

  1. The Windmill Stick
  2. The Stoney Stretch.

Bonus

Dan shares a great minimalist fitness practice (Pavel says don’t call it a workout) in the same post:

Day One

  • Warm up with Turkish Get Up, Goblet Squat, and Swing
  • Bench Press
  • Snatch

Day Two

  • Warm up with Turkish Get Up, Goblet Squat, and Swing
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift

Everyday Mobility: Every Dude Needs to Move

Mobility: The Dude Abides

As you may recall, I plan to live to 137.

To make that journey worthwhile, I’d like to make movement a prerequisite.

In order to maintain, said,  movement, we need to move. Everyday.

I’ve mentioned the idea of “mobility” a few times:

  1. Take Care of Yourself
  2. Best Exercises to Keep a Dude Healthy
  3. Dude’s Flow: Off the Reservation
  4. You Should Stand More

Mobility has become a part of the Dude’s everyday. Not even in my vocab a few short years ago, but now it’s daily go-to. We gots to move.

But here’s the catch, Mobility is not a quick fix. It’s a marathon. We’ve done years of damage to our bodies. It takes time and consistent focus to get back on track.

I squeeze my mobility into the early AM routine, before the young’ins start to get too crazy. A little meditation, some movement…recipe for a great morning.

Here’s a quick rundown on some sweet mobility ideas I’ve been digging lately:

  • Becoming a Supple Leopard
    • Great mobility “bible” written by the rad mobility guru Kelly Starrett.
    • Best advice I’ve seen about this book is don’t try to do it all at once. Choose a muscle group and focus on slow, consistent improvement.
    • Read the first few chapters. It will change the way you move everyday, in every way. Do you squat right? Probably not.
  • Mobility WOD broken down by muscle groups
    • Awesome library of Kelly’s mobility YouTube videos categorized by muscle group. Seriously good resource. Hat tip Bryce Lewis putting it together.
  • 5 Things You Should Do Everyday
    • Bret Contreras is a rad dude. Worth following for fitness and mobility ideas.
    • Squatting everyday is one of the best things I’ve started to do…and one of the most difficult. Seriously, as simple as lowering you butt into a squat and holding it for 30+ seconds will rock your world. I’m a believer this will help me hit 137.
  • Sarvangasana(shoulder stand)
    • Loving this classic inverted yoga pose. 10 reasons you should too.
  • Circling Hands
    • Sticking to the classics, here’s a perfect start for Tai Chi beginners.
    • Tai Chi Circling Hands offers most of the potential health and healing applications available in tai chi–without the complex choreography.
  • Boomerang pose rocks.
  • Thoracic Bridge – rockin’ fo sho. Hitting some hard to reach spots. Especially for you desk sitters.
  • Hips don’t lie
    • His and shoulders are key. Hinges that allow you to move. Open ’em up!
    • Great ideas to gain strength and mobility in your hips
  • Test your mobility skills
    • Some good tests to see how mobile you are and to track your progress.

Get to moving.

Dude Approved: An Amazingly Simple DIY Standing Desk

Standing is muy bueno.

I’ve professed my love for the art of standing: You Should Stand More.

I’ll let you peruse that gem for the details.

I used this beauty at my previous job for a make-shift standing desk…ugly, but it worked:

When I started working from home over a year ago, somehow I fell back into the sitting trap.

I had a desk. And a chair. No sweet boxes laying around…..so I sat. For waaaaay too long.

I looked for a DIY standing desk online from time to time, but never found one that tickled my fancy.

Then I came across A New Twist on the DIY Standing Desk on Man Made. Very sweet. Very easy.

How to: An Amazingly Simple DIY Standing Desk

  1. Buy extra-large shelf brackets and pre-cut wood. Lowes? Home Depot?
  2. Measure height of desk – elbow height, i.e. 44″ for a 5’11” person.
  3. Find stud to attach shelf brackets. Bonus Tip: Best Stud Finder
  4. Attach shelf brackets with wood screws.
  5. Make sure they are level.
  6. Attached wood to shelf brackets.

Bam! Super rad, amazingly simple DIY standing desk.

So awesome we have two at the Dude Casa…

Super sweet DIY standing desk

 

 

Can Ten Tips from a Shaolin Monk Keep the Dude Young Forever?!

I’ve told Mrs. Dude I intend to live to 137.

Not sure why 137. Or how to make that possible.

But it seems like a good idea to set big goals with life expectancy.

I’m psyched to find this sweet list of 10 tips to stay young forever from a Shaolin Monk:

  1. Don’t think too much.
  2. Don’t talk too much.
  3. Work 40 minutes, and stop for 10 minutes.
  4. Control happiness.
  5. Don’t worry or get angry.
  6.  Don’t eat too much.
  7. Take your time.
  8. Do Qigong to find balance, build patience, and develop yin.
  9. Exercise to build yang.
  10. Shaolin Gung Fu to blanance yin and yang.
I need to work on my yin. See you at 137. 

 

Pass the Fluffernutter

I was raised on Fluffernutters. Always seemed as common as a PB & J.

However, as I pointed out in my Y’all vs. You Guys post, it seems colloquialisms extend to food products.

When I moved out of the Northeast – specifically Massachusetts – I realized the rest of the world is currently living in a state Fluff shortage.

Dark times, indeed.

Sure, there are random sightings of Fluff outside of MA, but for the most part, the Fluffernutter is strictly a Masshole tradition.

  • Fluffernutter = marshmallow Fluff and peanut-butter on bread. Toasted is always great because it melts the marshmallow and peanut-butter just a little. The perfect combo.

Don’t be fooled by “marshmallow spread.” Respect the Fluff.

Here’s a great story about the “What the Fluff Fest” from Boston.com, and a pretty sweet video highlighting the craziness that is the Fluff Fest.

Fluff sold 8 million – with an M! – pounds of sweetness last year.

I will admit the “festival” looks a bit lame. Although, Fluff did lead to an engagement, and you can’t deny the awesomeness that is Fluff.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuuZK205MC8[/youtube]

Hat tip to my Padre for spreading the love.  (You like what I did there? Spread? That’s good stuff.)

Dude’s Flow: Off the Reservation

The Dude’s Flow – i.e. where I put my energy and attention on a regular basis – is always adjusting, always evolving.

The mass of information available to us on a daily basis can be a bit mind-numbing. However, with the right focus – or flow – the plethora of info at our fingertips can be liberating.

Information has the potential to create knowledge. And knowledge leads to power.

Although, on the flip side, the more wisdom you acquire, the more you realize how little you actually know. Life sure is a slippery slope.

Somewhere in the middle of life’s slippery slopes is a point of balance. A point where we can flow. Finding this balance is the challenge.

As I consume our daily cornucopia of information, I am constantly categorizing and filing information into areas of my life where my flow can be drawn into a tighter focus.

My flow is constantly flowing. Shifting focus. Moving in new directions. Experimenting.

And sometimes this flow sends me off the reservation into areas that may seem extreme and buck the commonly held beliefs, knowledge, and/or dogma.

In my view, going rogue is a good thing (BTW, www.RogueFitness.com is a great site for fitness equipment ;)). Moving off the reservation generally leads to the potential for big rewards. Group-think often does a great job of holding us back.

Don’t worry about what anyone else has to say or thinks of your decisions. The only person that can take care of you, is you.

Self reliance.

“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.” – Thoreau

I’m doing my best to use the information superhighway that dangles at our fingertips to build a strong foundation of self reliance.

As my self reliance foundation grows, it develops a feedback loop that perpetuates my belief that a hefty dose of self reliance would do wonders for our collective conscious as well.

Do “authorities” really have all the answers? Probably Definitely not. Find the answers yourself.

This post could meander in a wide variety of directions…just like the Dude’s Flow. It will definitely create jump-off points for future posts. But for now, I’m going to try to keep the focus relatively tight.

I’m going to open the Dude’s skull and take a gander at where the Dude’s health is flowing these days.

A bunch of links, a few comments here and there, perhaps a tangent or two, and most definitely a trip off the reservation for anyone clinging to the status quo for their health knowledge.

More to come as the flow flows, but for now, let’s dive in….

…after a couple quotes and one of the Dude’s fav jams to get us primed…

“All of our life is nothing but a mass of habits.” – William James

“What you give your love , you give your life.” – Mumford Sons

Be careful with the habits you choose. You’re the only one that can take care of you…

And don’t be afraid to change…

Blind Melon: Change

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdXXgppVU4c[/youtube]

Dude’s Timeline: A quick timeline to offer a bit of perspective on where the Dude is coming from…

  • High school and college: Ate anything in sight and worked out consistently for athletics.
    • Graduated high school at 165 lbs.
  • College+: Working out for athletics morphed into working out for size. I realized the crucial ingredient of diet – mainly protein = muscles.
    • By 25, I tipped the scales at 235. It was eye opening to see how much I could control my body with a conscious focus on eating and lifting heavy weights. But I wasn’t healthy.
  • 25+: I reduced my processed food intake, drastically limited my salt intake (Does salt really effect high blood pressure as much as “they” say? Probably not.), and overall focused on fresh, whole foods – including whole grains.
    • Dropped down to about 195 pounds.
  • 34 – today: I’ve jumped on the primal/paleo bandwagon big time.
    • I’m maintaining at about 185 pounds with a very streamlined workout regimine, the cleanest diet I’ve ever eaten, and some “wacky” dietary practices – including intermittant fasting and butter in my coffee!

Dude’s Workout

  • I’ve already shared a down and dirty of my workout. It’s evolved and morphed a bit over the past few months, but that post is still very relevant. I won’t reinvent the workout post here. But there will be more to discuss down the road.
  • Although, I will highlight a point I made in that post. Diet is 80% (maybe more) of your overall health and physical fitness. You should pay close attention to what you put in your body and make conscious/educated decisions.

Status Quo:

  • I’m not going to spend much time dissecting the misguided health information the status quo has perpetuated through the years, in this particular post. However, I do want to point out a very interesting statistic/article I recently came across. Are you aware that medical care is the 3rd leading cause of death in the US! Wow. 
  • Should we add to this stat the fact that The Man – big med, big pharma, big govt – is also the source of questionable dietary and health guidelines? I wonder how many deaths result from poor guidance? 
  • Question authority; build self reliance. 

Paleo/Primal

  •  At the bottom of the post is a great infographic that covers the Peleo lifestyle very well.
  • Think in terms of lifestyle, not diet.  Flow = lifestyle, not quick fixes.
  • Paleo, or Primal, is gaining in popularity these days, and as a result, there is a lot of good info/opinions online. However, my advise is start with Mark’s Daily Apple and build from there. No need to get overwhelmed, Mark Sisson has the direction you need to get rolling.
  • A few highlights
    • Stay away from grains – yes, including whole grains. No bueno.
    • Check out this Dr./Author – Wheat Belly.
    • Figure out how to get grass-fed meats, dairy, etc. Grass-fed makes a significant difference. The industrial food production system is muy no bueno.
    • Go barefoot.
    • Get dirty.
    • Soak up the sun.
    • Play.

Bulletproof

  •  Paleo is most definitely divergent from the mainstream, but now we’re headed way off the reservation – The Bulletproof Executive.
  • Dave Asprey is Silicon Valley executive who has turned his diligent business perspective on his health. He considers himself a “bio-hacker.” He researches and experiments with himself to find the most efficient and effective methods to obtain optimal health and well-being. He has some pretty rad ideas – diet, supplements, sleep, mindfulness.
  • In the end, Dave’s research has led him to a diet/lifestyle very similar to Paleo, however, Dave kicks it up a notch in a few ways.
  • For one, the Bulletproof lifestyle focuses on reducing toxins – mycotoxins…mold. Apparently there is a huge amount of mold – i.e. mycotoxins – in the food we eat.
  • Bulletproof also focuses very heavily on consuming good fats. Paleo does as well, but Dave takes this to a new level…and the results are very impressive.
  • Let’s get crazy with some Bulletproof coffee – remember, the right fat is VERY beneficial.
    • High quality coffee (single origin, wet processed) + grass-fed butter + MCT oil + vanilla = an amazing breakfast.
    • No carbs + high fat = ketosis.
    • High energy and a fat burning machine.
  • FYI – I’ve grown to love great coffee, but I’m more of a green tea kinda dude (stay tuned for a green tea post). I’ve tested butter and MCT oil in green tea, and it’s pretty darn good.

Intermittent Fasting

  • If you told me a year ago that I would be substituting my breakfast for coffee with butter and not eating until 1 or 2 PM on many days, I would not have believed it. Yet, here I am doing just that on most days of the week.
  • Along with Paleo, intermittent fasting has grown in popularity recently, so there is a large amount of info out there. Here’s what Mark’s Daily Apple has to say about IF.
  • Bulletproof coffee takes IF to a new level because you’re not really fasting, but you are creating a perfect environment for ketosis – i.e. burn fat for energy.

Carb Back-Loading

  • Continuing waaay off the reservation…carb back-loading. How about saving your carbs for night?
  • Here’s a Master’s Degree physicist turned health/fitness guru that has developed an amazingly successful protocol for consuming carbs backasswards from the beliefs perpetuated by the people in the “know.”
  • 7 reasons you need junk carbs at night

Mobility

  • Before we meander back to the reservation, let’s wander back to the physical rather than the dietary for a final piece of the Dude’s healthy flow. Mobility.
  • The idea of “mobility” wasn’t even on my radar until the passed year or so, and now it’s a daily activity.
  • Our bodies are in rough shape. We may not know it because we mask the pain and/or grow accustom to it, but physical activity wears you down and creates all sorts of hidden damage.
  • The awareness and exercises I get from MobilityWOD are amazing.
  • You need to stretch and you absolutely need to “smash” your muscles, connective tissues, etc. with massage on a regular basis.
  • This is a very rewarding process because your body feels great when your bits and pieces are working well. However, it’s far from easy…and it hurts. In fact, things may get worse before they get better.
  • Mobility as a metaphor for life? You’ll be amazed by how much is connected. A mangled muscle in your lower back will lead you “up and down stream” from issues in your legs to issues through your neck. It’s amazing.

Whew, that’s enough for now. I think about the Dude’s health/lifestyle flow everyday, and even my head hurts trying to wrap itself around what seem like crazy ideas. But crazy is all about perspective.  Crazy comes from many moons of poor guidance.

Self reliance is our ticket to the truth, regardless of what may seem crazy to some…most. Don’t be afraid to travel off the reservation…there’s some great scenery out here.

Bonus: Here are a couple great examples of practical use of some of the above ideas by Dr.’s…

  1. Dr. Terry Wahls defeats her MS with diet…not drugs!?

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc[/youtube]

  2.  Dr. Mary Newport helps defeat her husband’s Alzheimer’s with coconut oil and a ketogenic diet?!
Paleo Infrographic

Paleo Infrographic

Dude Tips for Fighting Cold & Flu Season – “Nature is smarter than people think.”

“Get up…’cause Mickey loves you.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RC6sMFbL288&feature=related[/youtube]

Classic Rocky.  Indeed, “nature is smarter than people think.” Much smarter.

Here we are, in the heart of cold and flu season. The Man (aka big pharma and the medical establishment) is endlessly beating us down with reminders to poke ourselves with needles. Why? Because they’re smarter than nature?

How have we survived for thousands, nay millions, of years without their needles?

Because nature is smarter than people think. Thank you Mickey.

As you may guess, the Dude is not a fan of the flu shot. Here, give yourself the flu so you won’t get the flu. Uh, OK?

How about I let nature take its course and see where it goes?

I’m sure there are times where vaccines make sense, and I’m not afraid to eat my words, but let’s not be in a rush to get there. Let’s not be so eager to find the next epidemic so big pharma can poke us.

Just chill. And take some precautions.

Here are some good tips from around the intertubes to fight off cold and flu season. But first, a couple reminders that The Man is not your friend…and the flu/cold season is not as dangerous as they’d like you to believe.

Thanks for sharing the love Lew…

Think for yourself. Don’t let The Man (aka – big media, big government, big business, big pharma, big medical establishment, yada, yada, yada) do your thinking.

Now, with that reminder out of the way, some Dude tips from the webosphere to perform a little Rocky Balboa on cold and flu season’s arse…

[T]he idea is to boost our immune system as much as possible and sooth our symptoms. My solution involves two very common ingredients, Zinc and Lime.

As soon as you start to feel something nasty coming on, follow this protocol:

100mg of Zinc first thing in the morning (I usually take Zinc Gluconate but you can try Chelated Zinc or other forms to see which you tolerate best)

4 Eight Ounce glasses of fresh water with one whole lime squeezed into it

50mg of Zinc right before bed.

I find that this keeps me at 90% or better and I continue this protocol until I feel better. Zinc is a super immune booster as is Lime. Even though lime is a citric acid it has an alkalizing effect in our body and is very cleansing to our systems.

  • 5 steps to staying healthy during cold & flu season from Chris KresserChris is a pretty smart dude. There are some good tips here, but my favorite point – “75% of our immune system is found in the gut.”

    I’m realizing more and more that the gut plays a huge role in our daily lives, and major role in many diseases that plague our society. I’m still learning about the gut, but I have a feeling the Dude will have more to say about the gut down the road.

    By the way, Chris has a killer 6 part series about acupuncture…well worth the read.    

  • The Ultimate Natural Cold Prevention Guidefrom LifeExtension: This post is focused on natural supplements you can take to boost your immune system. But the main point is this:Prevention is your best defense against the common cold. Instead of taking a multitude of over-the-counter drugs or supplements when your symptoms kick in, please take measures beforehand!”

  • 10 immune-boosting steps for flu season from Wellness Times: 10 holistic strategies for strengthening your immune system. And, again, the key is prevention by taking action before any sickness kicks into high gear. By the way, the gut is a tip here too. 
Stay healthy Dude Nation.