25 Years Ago Today (Moving to Madison)

25 years ago today:

I moved to Madison as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin. My mom drove me, helped me set up my dorm room, and then said goodbye… which of course was a very big deal for both of us, for slightly different reasons… all good! Anyone who knows my mom can imagine the tears (all of them good). And for me it was the start of a new chapter: Badger life.

Do you remember the exact day you moved to college? I didn’t…

Earlier this week I told my mom that this fall is 25 years since I moved to Madison for college. I asked her if she knew what day that was (she writes a lot of stuff like that down). This one she didn’t know, but messaged me hours later: “I have an idea!”

Mom’s Calendar, August 1996

She still has her calendar from August 1996 – who does that?! Apparently her and her friends… she told the story to a friend who admitted she keeps her old calendars also! Amazing!

Mom, thanks for taking me to college, all the help in getting me set up and moved in, all the mail that first year (homemade cookies in Pringle’s containers!), and becoming a great Badger Mom.

One Day Camp at Governor Dodge State Park

I knew I wanted to camp one more time this year… hopefully in a little cooler weather. Katie had to prep for her annual meeting (virtual this year – lots of work!) so this past weekend I took the kids to Governor Dodge State Park for a night of camping.

On this trip I wanted to teach the kids a card game and it worked! I introduced them to Hearts. Saturday night I taught Sorin and Norah while Christian watched. At the end of the night, Christian asked if we could play the next morning because he wanted to play. And he got it! (Earlier this week we played as a family and he actually won our first game!)

What I’ve learned is that camping takes a pretty good financial investment (I love the gear, especially the good stuff). Camping also takes an investment in time and patience (yes they’re getting good but dad is the pack mule and workhorse). But the benefits of getting outside, waking up in a tent, making the campsite work is worth every dollar and ounce of sweat you put in – great memories for the family.

12 Days of Fitness

Many people will look at the calendar today and say “Friday the 13th!” But I see the beginning of the 12 Days of Fitness! Since many of us are leading up to Christmas, those of us in the health and fitness world put together workouts that lead up to December 25th. And to get in 12 days, that means we start today on the 13th!

Here’s how this works. Start with Day 1 and do the exercise. Tomorrow you’ll do Day 2 and (as the song says) also do Day 1. Each day you’ll do the exercise plus all of the exercises from previous days. By Christmas Day you’ll have a nice 30 minute workout put together and hopefully a streak of 12 days of workouts.

Sing it with me: “On the first day of Fitness my trainer gave to me…”

1st day: 1-minute jumping jacks
2nd day: 2 minutes of side shuffle and skips
3rd day: 3 plank walk-ups on each side
4th day: 4 reverse lunges on each side
5th day: 5 sets of squats
6th day: 6 side lunges
7th day: 7 push-ups
8th day: 8 hip hinges
9th day: 9 burpees
10th day: 10×10 jump ropes
11th day: mountain climbers
12th day: 12 reps of the Faithful Four (push-ups, sit-ups, squats, reverse lunges)

Now the exercise build on themselves but as you get to the middle days, don’t forget to get a good warm-up in. Have fun with this! This will just be an add-on to your normal workout or it may be a jump start to your workout routine for 2020.

Let me know if you have any questions and as always, Happy Training!

NaNoWriMo Chapter 11: Push

Today we move north, from lower body to upper body exercises. When I say you need to push something, you’re probably thinking of a push-up or a chest press. Good, those are right! But let’s expand our options a little.

I’m reading a good book called Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe that makes the case that the shoulder press (with a barbell) is often superior to the bench press for strength training. That discussion is beyond the scope of this post, but the point I want to make is that there are many great ways to push. Think of your everyday activities. What are the things you do at work, around the house, in the yard, for friends and neighbors that requires pushing?

Some examples for you to experiment:

  • bench press (flat, incline, decline, barbell, dumbbell)
  • TRX chest press
  • Triceps push downs
  • kettlebell shoulder press
  • Landmine shoulder press
  • TRX atomic push-ups

As we establish the categories of movements, pushing exercises are essential. Often it’s helpful to do them in conjunction with their opposites… pulling! That’s what we’ll cover tomorrow.

Happy training!

NaNoWriMo Chapter 10: Hip Hinge

Disclaimer: this exercise is safe for most individuals but at the same time has one of the biggest potentials for injury so please do not attempt this if you have a known back injury, history of injury, or even apprehension. Contact me and I’ll discuss your next step.

Imagine someone standing immediately to your side and taking an imaginary rod and putting it through one hip so it comes out the opposite side. The hip hinge is executed by “hinging” around that rod as you bend forward and then stand upright.


NaNoWriMo Chapter 9: Lunge

Walking is an activity of daily living and in the gym, one of the best ways to train that movement for the long term and the immediate strength is lunges. Today I’m introducing reverse lunges. Stand tall in front of a mirror and take a shallow step backwards – that’s our start for 6-8 reps. Now we’ll work towards full range of motion. First I’ll say you never touch that back knee on the ground, but inches short is our goal. Work up to that depth, meaning you may start with a half-lunge. When you do this movement you’ll notice balance becoming an issue. This is great work for your knees, ankles, and hips to stabilize. Between your balance and your depth of the reverse lunge, there’s a lot of progressions to work on here. I put you in front of a mirror so you can always ensure a tall spine: keep eye contact with yourself in the mirror.

Your first set should be a warm-up: tell your body what you want it to do. Then do three sets of 6-10 of each side.

NaNoWriMo Chapter 8: Squats

The most fundamental exercise that prepares us for life is the squat. It’s requires our biggest muscles so it’s not only efficient but strategic. We stand and sit all day. The squat also requires a straight torso so it trains a healthy spine. Every training plan should incorporate the squat as the first strength movement. Now which version of the squat should we introduce?

I’m going to call this the dumbbell squat. Holding One light dumbbells in Each hand, look straight forward with your shoulders back and your chest out, keep your heels flat on the ground and lower your backside as low as you can to 90 degrees at the knees and stand back up. The DBs shouldn’t track forward or backwards, you should always be able to keep eye contact with yourself in the mirror, and your heels need to stay flat. If you’re tight in the hamstrings you may not be able to get to 90 degrees and thighs parallel to the ground – work up to this.

Perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions of these DB squats on three non-consecutive days each week. There are many other variations of squats for another chapter. For today, happy squatting!

NaNoWritMo Chapter 7: Specificity Principle

Sometimes clients suggest a proficiency in one sport or exercise should correlate to another, and I have to tell them about the specificity principle. An example: I will be competing in triathlon next summer and my weakest leg is the swim. This off-season I’ll be getting in the pool to work on my technique, endurance, and confidence. And the only way to get better at swimming is… swimming! Sure, if I run and bike and lift weights the swim will go better. My cardiovascular and muscular systems will be stronger, but don’t forget about the principle of specificity: only swimming will make swimming better.

With exercise training, the Specificity Principle says a particular muscle or movement is only improved by working that same muscle or movement. So you may be asking what ‘specifics’ should we be working?

That’s what the next six chapters will be about: specifics. See you tomorrow.