Training Philosophy: iCal iCan

When you workout as much as I do (which is not a ton) and talk about fitness as much as I do (my favorite subject), you realize that people who workout just for the sake of working out are few and far between.  You will never hear me discourage anyone from working out and doing what works for them.  But going to the gym to lift weights?  Getting on a treadmill with no end in mind?  And the step machine?!  Hey, any activity is good and maybe you’re doing it because you just know you should… but I don’t think it’s sustainable.

iCal iCan

I have this training philosophy: iCal iCan.  If I put something meaningful on the calendar, I can accomplish it.  No, four to five workouts on the calendar for three months straight doesn’t count.  I mean you need to put an event on the calendar.  “But Hans, I’m not a runner.”  Fine.  Then put together some kind of event together where you perform, where you complete, where you see if all your training and workouts have paid off.  This may take some creative thinking and planning.  I can help with that.  But I believe having context to your training is essential for anyone to adhere to a routine.

As most of you know, I’ve been a runner for over seven years.  Katie and I have made this a pretty big part of our lives.  I’ve run multiple full and half marathons, and each time it was this date on the calendar that allowed me to stay motivated for months at a time in pursuit of this single goal.  When you take this philosophy a step further, you realize that each workout has a purpose.  Each workout has an objective that fits into the framework of your training plan and contributes to your body adjusting to different workloads so that you can cross that finish line as fast as possible.  If this sounds too hardcore for you, I’m ok with that.  But we all can understand that in anything we do, a goal plus a plan is a recipe for success.  We work hard at work to get that next promotion.  We study in school to finish a class, pass a test, or graduate with a degree.  We do projects around the house with an end in mind – there’s a goal, so there’s a plan.  Health and fitness are no different:  iCal, iCan.



The Man in the Arena

A mini post, because this thought came in my mind as I started work this morning:

Man in the Arena

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt
“Citizenship in a Republic,”
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910




Thanks for taking a look at my resume.



Below you will see what my email was all about.

Wait for it….




April Fool’s !!



I’m confident, but I’m not stupid. I hope this ends your day well. Honestly, I’m not a prankster but I got fooled this morning and had to get creative to spread the love.

On a much more serious note, I’m looking forward to apply for the job that is actually open. I have a few questions, but I won’t tie them in with this little prank. Until then, happy April 1.



Think Spring (or whatever it takes to cheer up)

I love winter.  I love the cold.  I love cross-country skiing with Katie and sledding with my kids.  But God also wired me to greatly appreciate the seasons, and I’m ready for spring.  I’m ready for spring because the last few weeks have been extremely busy and stressful.  My grad school program was front-loaded with work this semester, so that took a lot of time.  And lots of things were still happening around our house:

  • Katie is due with our third child in May.
  • I launched Exercise is Medicine in Madison.
  • I’m preparing for graduation and a job search.
  • My daughter is turning 3 (that blows my mind!).
  • I started swimming at the local high school in preparation for triathlon training.
  • And I’m still running outside, now with more vigor with this wonderful weather!

Things are happening!  It’s spring!

But a couple weeks ago I was signing a different tune.  I won’t get into the details, but the situation was a lot different.  The last few days have given me reason to see the bright future ahead.  Some of this can be attributed to circumstances beyond my control, some of this is a reflection of the work I’ve put in, and the last part is from a simple change in attitude.  As Coach Lecher says, “Life is a series of adjustments.”

Spring time is a great time to transition from the seasonal cold of winter to the warmth of summer.  The same can be said for other areas of life, from school and work to family and friends.  It’s almost like a mini-New Years!  Our lives are too important to be stuck in anything less than doing great work.

Reset.  Take an hour, take 15 minutes – whatever it takes.  Recalibrate your daily workflow.  Reflect on what’s worked, what hasn’t, what needs tweaking.  Because my guess is that we need you to be at your best.  


Building and the Resistance

I’m building a new model for care in the medical field. The original idea wasn’t mine, but I’ve adopted it and made my adjustments. The campaign is called Exercise is Medicine. It’s an initiative of the American College of Sports Medicine. The idea is that people listen to their doctors and will respond if their doctors recommend that they get more physical activity. Just about all of us need more physical activity in our lives and doctors don’t have the time (or usually the expertise) to monitor a person’s fitness. I launched the initiative for Madison in January. I have two doctors that I’m working with and I’m happy with the dialog we’ve started and the program we have in place. The only problem: none of the recommendations have lead to exercise prescription.

The Resistance

Have you ever felt the Resistance?

If you have ever tried to do something creative, or something that would benefit other people, or something that would make your a healthier or better person, you have felt Resistance. Resistance, according to Steven Pressfield, is what tells us that we’re not good enough, that we are going to fail, that we’ll blow it, that we don’t actually want these good things anyway.

The Resistance for me right now is that next hurdle. How do I make some simple adjustments and get some clients to sign up for our program? How much information should I be sharing with the doctors? I put a lot of work into setting up the program, establishing the relationships with the doctors and making the ask for them to participate. It was exciting to launch the program but now I’ve entered the Resistance. The excitement is gone. Momentum has been lost. I’m questioning if this will work and even if so, what’s my next move?

Building a business, establishing relationships, determining your next move all take time. It’s a disciplined practice to plan and execute and I often find it therapeutic to just write it out like this blog post and share it.

Have you had any experience with the Resistance? What kinds of processes do you go through when you’re building something for the first time?



Five Things I Learned Taking My Kids All Weekend

This weekend Katie got to go up to Minnesota to see Ann Voskamp speak at the Set Apart Conference.  I was excited for her to get this opportunity to see one of her favorite authors and I was also excited to have a weekend alone with my kids.  I documented a lot of it on Facebook and Instagram, but I collected a bunch of other thoughts and here’s what I learned.

Katie is good

Let’s just get that out of the way.  My respect was renewed this weekend when I had full responsibility for when they wake, when they eat, how they play, how they go down.  When you see all the little things add up caring for kids 24/7, it’s impossible not to say “kudos” to you.  She’s the primary care-taker five days a week, and big chunks of the weekend while I’m in grad school.  She’s awesome.

Plan, plan, plan

Taking care of Sorin and Norah is nothing new for me.  I was ready for these three days; I’ve done this before.  But if my plan for the weekend was to wing it, I would’ve been in trouble.  I need a plan.  For meals I had a plan, the kitchen was stocked, and it all went perfectly.  I even made a quiche!  For playing outside I had some ideas but it was rainy and we couldn’t get outdoors.  That was a bummer.  We still got to do some learning things and some arts and crafts because Katie and I have been trying to add some educational structure to their days.  Our trip to Kids at the Rotunda was very successful part of the game plan.  The teacher in me was very happy to have a schedule and it seemed to keep the kids going with a perfect amount of free play.

Arts and Crafts led to a message we sent to Katie

Arts and Crafts led to a message we sent to Katie


Sorin dancing at the David Landeau show.










Katie and I parent differently

I don’t play certain games the way she does.  My quiche didn’t come out the same way Katie’s does (but it really was good!).  And there’s things from a behavior standpoint that I don’t allow where they can get away with it with Katie.  I heard, “But Mommy doesn’t….” more than a few times.  It wasn’t a big deal, but it was an eye opener that we certainly do things differently and so we need to continue to communicate and collaborate so we can work well together raising our kids and run our family.   I really enjoyed the perspective of being the primary care-taker for the weekend so I could see how she has worked with the kids and how I can contribute to the development of their behavior, manners, and growth as learners.

Sorin the Leader, Norah the Lover

Sorin runs the show.  This isn’t a surprise to anyone who knows our family.  He’s the ring-leader.  It’s kind of fun to watch but it also showed me that I need to continue to help him understand great manners and even leadership with his sister and other friends.  But he’s got his activities and games that he loves and he’s the driving force.  Boy, just writing this and thinking back on the weekend gets me excited to think about my little son.  It’s fun to watch him grow and experiment with things.

And Norah, the lover.  Full disclosure: she’s got me wrapped around her finger.  I don’t think she knows it yet, so that’s good.  But she’s just a lover.  She follows her big brother around and plays the supporting actress in his play as well as any two-and-a-half year old princess can.  She runs after him.  She brings her toys to play with him.  She pushes her truck and grocery cart right next to her big brother.  It’s a wonderful, blessed thing to watch.  But don’t think she’s completely innocent or passive.  She has these moments of defiance and leadership of her own.  It’s all good, it really is!  And when I think of my little Norah, I think of a little girl that just wants to soak up everything and everyone around her.


Norah kept hugging her brother.

Perspective is Essential

My favorite moment of the weekend was Saturday morning at the Overture Center and Kids at the Rotunda.  My mom was with us and the venue was standing-room-only, so I was in the back while she and the kids were in the regular seats.  I was looking at my kids and thinking about how I got them here, how I took them to one of their favorite events in Madison, how I was in charge of their entertainment, their safety, and their love.  I certainly hadn’t gone above and beyond, but I took a small amount of pride in our morning, and I realized the significance of the moment.  So I did what any good dad would do: I tweeted.

Screen Shot 2013-03-10 at 9.02.03 PMI’m guessing (and I hoping!) most dads aspire to be Dad-of-the-Year.  But the best thing we can do for our family is wake up every day and strive to be Dad-of-the-Day each and every day.  It takes proper perspective to successfully navigate life, especially parenting.  I’m no expert.  But the most important thing I can be do for my kids is be present and intentional with my kids right now, today, and then tomorrow.


Tipping Point

What will be the tipping point for this country to value and pursue their health? You can’t refute (a) the health status of our country (33% overweight, another 33% obese) or (b) the science of how we get healthier. It literally blows me away that our country, the most powerful one in the world, is this unhealthy! It’s embarrassing and it needs to change. I think one of the most powerful arguments for why we need people in this country to exercise and be healthy was written by my friend Spence. Basically, he says you need to be healthy because your friends and your family need you. And they need you to be focused and working like a champ.

Continue Reading →


Winter Training

My brother works as a financial advisor and is often talking to me about investments, planning ahead for retirement, and the kids’ college funds. He knows that in your 40’s and 50’s it’s too late to start saving for retirement.  The time to do the work is now.  Putting money away, making solid investment decisions, and being disciplined now means you can enjoy the benefits of that hard work in the end Continue Reading →


Monday Morning Routines

Imagine getting to the end of the year and saying that “Every Monday this year I ______.” That’s a pretty big accomplishment! You can fill in the blank with whatever you want. It can be a big thing, a small thing, an easy thing or something really challenging. The point is to establish routine and be successful.

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Will you fail? Maybe.

Will you get back up and keep going? Hopefully.

This challenge was introduced from my friend Jon. I chose to do one big thing for myself and one small thing for someone else. I know, when I say that out loud it sounds very selfish. Anyway….

My big thing is an organizational exercise. Every Sunday I put together a game plan for the upcoming week. My schedule is so busy with grad school, work, starting a business, oh and leading a family! If I don’t plan ahead, things don’t get done. Heck, even when I do plan things fall apart. But so far I’m 8-for-8! It feels so good to start the week with a plan and a visual layout of what’s going to happen in the next five days.

My little thing is that I’m going to add one person to my prayer list. I already pray for my family, but I feel the need to extend this prayer exercise. So far I’ve prayed for Steve, John, Peter, and others.


I think it’s a pretty powerful exercise to have things like these that we do every day, every week, even every month. Routines lead to habits which establish discipline. What simple routine do you need to start to make your work weeks go better?


Essential Getaway

This weekend Katie and I escaped to the Northwoods for a getaway.  We were able to leave the kids with my mom and dad while we headed three hours north to Fort Wilderness.  It was the Valentine’s banquet on Friday which was amazing food and Fort-style entertainment.  Then Saturday was filled with two cross-country ski runs, a hike through camp and out on the frozen lake, a couple trips to the coffee shop, and great conversations with Katie plus other friends and family.

It was so refreshing to get away.  It showed me how essential is it to get away from the normal life here in Madison, even away from the daily grind of taking care of two kids.  For Katie and I to get away and breathe deeply, relax and refresh ourselves was essential for our marriage.  We haven’t done that enough; we’re trying to do it more.  A healthy and disciplined lifestyle includes knowing when to get away.  As a Christian, I look to the example Jesus to lead my life.  Jesus regularly got away from his disciples, his teaching, even his family so that he could be alone.  Sometimes the disciples didn’t get it, they see the importance.  But there’s value in getting away.

It doesn’t take a 3-hour trip to get away, either.  It can be one our alone at your favorite coffee shop.  It can be a walk to and through the local park, the Arboretum, or any of our beautiful State Parks.  I suppose it could even be driving the back country roads alone.  Life gets busy.  Marriage is hard.  Time alone and time with your spouse will do wonders for your health.  Your family needs you.  So take care of you.

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