Turkey Trot Training

Let’s think ahead: Thanksgiving Day!  I know it’s over a month away, but here’s the deal.  If you’re anything like me (and my family), the food simply doesn’t get any better than that 4th Thursday in November.  With all that food comes a little bit of guilt because all that food isn’t being negated by some physical activity.  Well have you ever thought of running a Turkey Trot?  You know, those Thanksgiving Day runs of 5 or 10K.  Those runs that give you the ability to eat guilt-free the rest of Thanksgiving Day!

I think 2012 is the perfect year for you to complete your first 5K (3.1 miles for all you Americans).  I’ve put together a training plan so that you can do it and feel good about it.  It isn’t designed for you to go fast – it’s designed so that you can get to the finish line… and then on to that turkey and stuffing!

This plan is assuming you’ve done NO running up ’til this point.  You can start this on Monday and I’ll get you to the finish line.  The program consists of five weeks of training, three days per week.  You can do that, right?

Each number is obviously miles.  For first-time runners that may seem like a lot.  Let me say this: you will be so surprised at how fast (and well) your body adapts to the stress you put on it.  And as always, you can send me a question via this form and I’ll coach you through it.

What what do you say?  Are you up for your first 5K?!  You’ve got all the tools – your move.


[Podcast] Week 6 – Houston Texans

Here’s week 6 in the NFL – the Packers went to Houston and beat the previously undefeated Texans.  Chris and I recorded this on a rainy night in Middleton, Wisconsin.



[Podcast] State of the Division

Chris had a great idea for this week’s podcast: get an update from all the teams in the NFC North.  The only one he couldn’t find was a Lions rep – go figure!  I hope you enjoy this week 4 wrap up.

Special thanks to Andy Pollasch, Steve Person, and Greg Barton for contributing to this podcast.


[Podcast] Week 5 – Colts

Announcing: Two Guys in a Garage Talking Football,with Chris and Hans. 

(I promise the name will improve)

This summer I started to collaborate with my friend Chris about a podcast talking Wisconsin sports, specifically Packers football.  This has been such a fun project to put together.  We’ve recorded every week but this is the first one that’s finally made it online.  There is literally no post-production, just a raw recording.  In the next few weeks, we’ll add some other features and I’m looking forward to getting those out.

Our goals is simple: sit with a friend and a beer and talk football.  Do it in front of a mic.  Publish it.

We hope you enjoy.  There will be ways to interact with the show in the next couple weeks.

Here’s our weekly podcast for week 5 of the NFL.




Training Openings Fall 2012

Yesterday ended a wonderful three-day Labor Day weekend. I could sure get used to those! It’s the unofficial end of summer which means two things: school and football. Sure, everyone makes a big deal out of New Year’s resolutions during that first week of January but the reality is that so many of us work on a school calendar… either we’re in school or our kids are.

The fall semester for me involves three big components: work, school, and business. I’m still in the business of helping people lead healthy and active lifestyles. Graduate school has continued to remind me how important this work is. Getting involved with the science of exercise, psychology, and physiology has ignited a fresh fire for this industry, and I look forward to sharing that with my readers this semester. But for now, it’s important for me to let you know that I have some training spot open for the fall semester.

I currently have two training sessions open Monday mornings. My biomechanics class will be meeting then and we’re actually still deciding if that will be 8:50-10:30 or 10:00-11:40. Either way – I have time for your health and wellness! So if you or anyone you know needs a personal trainer, head over to Hire Hans and let’s get started on your fitness plan.


Shipping: Wellness Program Launch

In the creative and small business world, there’s a term that’s caught my attention: shipping.


To ship means to launch a new product or service.  It means that a business owner would work hard to create a new arm of the business and get it out into the world – not because it’s perfect or profitable or even particularly noteworthy.  But it’s ready… for now.  There will always be adjustments along the way.  This is a significant part of running a small business or being a creative artist because without shipping, nothing ever happens.  I know that seems obvious, but there’s so many people who think, plan, dream, even create but never launch.  They never ship it to the world and go live.

To be honest, I should have shipped this months ago.  That’s just me being completely honest.  Katie and I have been working on this for months, but we wanted this particular launch to coincide with a trip we were making because the wellness program is actually in Michigan.The details of the wellness program aren’t really important to any readers of mine, so why did I write this post?  Because I hope people reading my blog have a creative or small business side of them that could use this encouragement to ship.  I’m really proud of my hard work and when I made the presentation, followed up with some emails, and sat back I felt a sense of accomplishment that was a long time coming.So really this blog post was just to mark a moment in time for me, a significant launch date for my business.  If you’ve been sitting on a project and have any desire to make it go somewhere, I hope you put a launch date on the calendar.  When you ship, hit me up and we’ll celebrate together. 


Halftime 2012

The year is half over.  How are you doing with that?  I was reminded of this half way point twice this week.  Our church is going through a series for the entire year.  It’s called Eat This Book and the goal is to read the Bible daily, hopefully enough to get through the entire Bible by December 31.  Today our senior pastor issued a charge to recommit the the challenge.  The Bible is the living word of God, and we should daily be reading and learning from His words.  If we’ve fallen away from the year-long plan, the best day to start back up is today.

One blog which has really impressed me this year is 300 words a day following Jesus.  Jon Swanson is a brilliantly simple writer who has challenged me to the core on a handful of occasions this year.  His latest post included a list questions that I’d rather now plagiarize – so go check out this post and come right back: Six Month Questions.

Jon said it pretty well, but here’s my take on it: the year is half over.  It’s halftime, and every good coach has halftime adjustments to make.

  • What has gone well this year?
  • What needs to improve?
  • Is there something that needs to get cut out of your week that will leave time for more important pursuits?
  • Are you more fit today that January 1st?
  • Would a morning workout make your day go better?
  • Are you getting enough rest?
  • Are you disciplined in the important aspects of your life?

Reflecting on life is extremely important if you desire to be successful, happy, and productive.  I am starting off this week by looking back on some goals I set for the year and making some adjustments in life so that the second half of 2012 is an improvement from the first half.  Always improving should always be the goal.


The Feelings of Our Workouts

Exercise.  Forget the “how, when, and where” we exercise.  “Why” do you exercise?

Sometimes the better question is why do you not exercise?  For most of us it’s a time issue.  Our lives are running at full speed and various things get in the way.  But that’s not the case for everyone.  And it’s not the case at all times.  We all have periods or seasons where we get back into our workouts.  But then they fade.  I speak from personal experience, too, on this one.  I’m a professional at promoting healthy living including exercise and a great diet.  And I fall away from my routine just like everyone else.

But then what drives our workouts?  What is the primary motivation when we have those great seasons of dedicated workouts and disciplined routines?

Monday Gina Kolata wrote about this in her NYTimes column, “Sold on the Feeling, if Not the Benefits to Health.”  This is an interesting article because it’s something I’ve battled with numerous clients.  As a science and research guy, I know all the academic reasons to exercise.  As a full and half marathon runner, I know the wonderful feelings of sticking to a workout routine and experiencing the benefits of that training.  But sometimes education and knowledge aren’t what get us out on the track.  The problem, which the article so wonderfully states, is that the “feelings” of the benefits of exercise take so long to develop.  And to be honest, they’re still pretty vague.  Do you feel your muscles getting stronger?  Do you feel your blood pressure getting to healthy levels?  Do you feel your heart getting more efficient?

But when you are committed to the routine for an extended period of time, it’s a different story.  Going a couple days without a good workout and you get a little grouchy.  Your muscles get anxious.  Your mind says, “I just need to get out for a run!”

I think it’s interesting that exercise psychologists are starting to look at the feelings we get from exercise rather than the health benefits.  Humans have many different levels to their behavior and attitudes, especially towards health.  If we can understand more of the benefits from exercise, we can tailor our exercise prescription and coaching accordingly.

Have you ever had positive feelings towards exercise?  When did you have them and what would it take to get those back?



Mr. Brooks’ Retirement

Last Friday Mr. Brooks showed up to teach music for the last time.  Three days earlier he had directed his final concert at Merton Intermediate School.  For many reading this blog, Mr. Brooks is the reason we sing. The following is a collection of my memories and life lessons from one of the greatest teachers I ever had.

My first interaction with Mr. Brooks was around 1988 when the high school performed the musical “Oklahoma.”  Mr. Brooks directed the singing and Mr. Kuehl directed the band/orchestra.  I remember being in about 4th grade thinking, “these teachers make music fun!”  And I was right.  As I grew older, I continued to attend the high school musicals and I loved hearing the Swing Choir perform the National Anthem.  Mr. Brooks was known as a teacher who had a great relationship with his students, he got everyone involved, his music program was top notch, and everyone had a lot of fun.

When I was a freshman I knew I wanted to be in choir.  As a sophomore I knew I wanted to be in Swing Choir.  For all four years of high school I took choir with Mr. Brooks and learned a lot about music.  But along the way I developed a relationship with a teacher who actually became a friend and taught me more about friendship than I thought was possible.  Like many others students, I grew up without a positive male influence in my life.  Mr. Brooks, whether he knew it or not, filled that void for me.  I distinctly remember my sophomore year when I had 2nd hour study hall and Mr. Brooks let me sign into his room (he had prep that hour) and we would just talk about life.  At Christmas time a group of us would would stay after school for a couple days and decorate his room with lights while playing and singing old Christmas classics.  Other days after school I’d stop by his room to just check in before (sports) practice.  He lead our student senate and by that time I was in Swing Choir so we had a lot of school-related activities together.  Obviously I wasn’t the only student who got along so well with Mr. Brooks.  Numerous other classmates, older and younger, had similar experiences.  I’m sure it came off as a clique to some, but I reflect on this only because it was a fundamental component to my high school experience.  High school is about growing up and learning to be an adult.  A huge part of that is learning to talk to and talk as adults.  Mr. Brooks allowed that relationship to develop.  For those who took time to be interested in him, he took time to be interested in us.

It feels strange reflecting on life as a high school student.  So much has happened since: college, working life, married life with kids.  But high school was a foundational moment in time where I really grew into an adult.  In high school students come to some major crossroads.  Many students start going different directions, which is fine and good, but does that mean unity and community have to suffer?  Not at Pewaukee, because something like 80% of each class was in choir with Mr. Brooks.  Was there another school in the state that could boast of those numbers?  Mr. Brooks made singing cool.  I don’t know how he did it.  I’ve asked him a few times over the years how got the majority of students, the popular kids, the athletes (yes, jocks) to join the choir!  He brings up a few names from Arrowhead and then a few guys from his first years at Pewaukee, and it just grew from there.  In a small town with lots of little groups of students, Mr. Brooks brought all of us together… to sing.

It’s almost like a fraternity.  When you look at the classes and individuals that graduated from his program, it was the community that he created that made you want to be a part of it.  Isn’t that what life should be?  Isn’t that what we search for in different seasons of our lives?  Places to fit in.  Places to feel accepted, be challenged, and experience success.  I found that in Mr. Brooks’ classroom.  I found a teacher who invested in me and I found other students who enjoyed that same community and friendship.  Your mileage and experience may be different.  I’d love to hear about it.  Because here’s what I know about you.  If you’re reading this, you’ve been greatly affected by Mr. Brooks, too.  I think great teachers deserve all the credit in the world for what they do inside and what they do outside the classroom.

When I think of the teachers who prepared me for life, Mr. Brooks comes right to the top.  I remember most of the songs and a few of the dance moves.  But it’s the confidence, self-esteem, and friendship that I he gave me that has most greatly shaped who I am today.  This world needs teachers who are willing to give their best to students and establish a community of learners who will be challenged.  Mr. Brooks did that for 37 years.

I wish I could have been at Merton on Mr. Brooks’ last day of school.  I’m sentimental like that.  I want to stand at the finish line and say, “Well done!  Thank you for all your hard work.”  Knowing that wasn’t possible, I find satisfaction and comfort in the fact that our friendship has lasted since I graduated his class in 1996.  I’ll probably see him in a few weeks.  And I’ll for sure run into him this fall.  And that’s my relationship with Mr. Brooks: admiring his musicals as a 4th grader, graduating from his Swing Choir as a senior, and catching up somewhere between his house and mine without skipping a beat.

Mr. Brooks – Well done!  Thanks for all your hard work.  You were a great teacher.

Mr. Brooks' final concert. Bravo!


Running for Sturge-Weber

A few weeks ago I announced that I was donating my birthday and my participation in Madison half marathon to a great cause.  My friend Jon Jordan has a son with Sturge-Weber syndrome and they have been in support of scientific research for years.  Jon has created an annual golf outing to raise money.  But my golf game is so bad – so I did what I do best: run!  The half marathon is always the weekend of my birthday, so I decided to combine the two in an effort to raise money for the Sturge-Weber Foundation.  

I am happy to report that $140 came in over the two weeks of my running.  I ran Madison half marathon and then went to Iowa for their distance classic, the Dam to Dam.  There was a little birthday celebration for me and a little more money came in, so I couldn’t be happier.

I asked for birthday presents.  I asked for donations for my training efforts.  These two components weren’t all that significant.  And truth be told, when researching these extremely complicated diseases $140 doesn’t go very far.  But it’s $140 that wasn’t in the bank until my friends and family stepped up to support me.  I firmly believe it’s little efforts like these that allow us to grow and mature as humans, to see the importance and value in the world outside our little sphere.  Thank you so much for reading this blog post, and if you donated thanks again for your support.  There’s plenty of bad press out there, there’s plenty of selfish motives in our every day lives.  Let’s continue to find little opportunities to make a difference and lift each other up.



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