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Girl, if you wanna look good, why you need to squat that thang up,
You’ll build a solid ‘squat booty’ when you squat that thang up,
Listen to Coach J, you’ve gotta squat that thang up,
Girl, who is you playing with? SQUAT THAT THANG UP!
Happy Friday, Coach J here from Anyman Fitness – and welcome to the latest edition of The N.W.A. Newsletter.
Each Friday’s N.W.A. Newsletter will have 3 parts:
- A Nutritional Tip to help make your diet healthier and easier to stick to.
- A Workout Tip to help make your training sessions more effective and fun.
- An Attitude/Mindset tip to help you strengthen your greatest asset – your mental toughness.
I will also give you my single favorite piece of social media content from AF over the past week and link to it on either Instagram or Twitter.
Without any further ado… let’s get started, shall we?
N.W.A. Nutrition Tip Of The Week:
I recently returned from a family trip to Disney. We visited the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.
We had a blast; it was definitely one of those warm, fuzzy trips where you build memories with those who are closest to you:
It’s always a struggle to eat healthy when you go to places like Disney.
Amusement parks are here to amuse us – and as such, they tend to sell all the processed treats and goodies which are a staple in many American diets.
I struggled to find quality protein sources and food that wasn’t fried.
And of course, since I was traveling with an 11 year old and a 9 year old, it made eating healthy even more difficult.
Like many 11 and 9 year olds, my daughters would rather eat a burger and fries than sit down and eat a solid, healthy meal.
Fortunately for myself, I’ve been doing my best to eat right and train hard for a decade now.
As such, I don’t stress out about trips like this.
It was only 3 days.
Yes, I knew I would likely be short on my protein intake while I was there.
And yes, I also knew my digestive system may have some issues with the super-processed food I was all of a sudden eating.
But I was far from stressed out about it.
It WAS a vacation, after all.
I didn’t lift weights while I was there, either.
I just relaxed, ate whatever I wanted to eat, and enjoyed making memories with my wife and daughters.
I ate multiple footlong cheese coneys, chili cheese fries, multiple ice cream/Dole Whips per day, burgers, steaks, and more French fries than you can imagine.
(Seriously, are fries just the standard side dish of every meal on earth or something? Wait… don’t answer that…)
But for those 5 days, if it looked good, I ate it – I don’t do that often, but short bouts of unrestricted hedonism can help you get it ‘out of your system’ so you can rededicate yourself once you’re back to the real world.
When I go on vacation, I go on vacation.
I work hard when I’m home, both with my business and with my diet/training.
As such, when I go on vacation, I “vacation hard”.
I eat all the treats, enjoy every bite of all the goodies, and don’t think about it at all.
The reason I can do this is because I know as soon as I’m home, I’ll flip the switch, and I’m back into my regular, normal routine.
You don’t gain weight because of “holidays” – Christmas is tomorrow; be sure you eat plenty of treats and goodies! (That’s an order!)
You don’t gain weight because of “vacations” – when it’s time for a vacation, have fun and don’t worry about it.
You gain weight because of your lifestyle.
The holidays aren’t a reflection of your lifestyle.
They’re single, isolated, sporadic days out of the year.
A vacation isn’t a reflection of your lifestyle.
You likely only take 1-2 per year, so enjoy yourself while you’re decompressing.
Be sure you’re enjoying your vacations and holidays – don’t worry at all about those sorts of things.
If you simply do the best you can on your normal days, you absolutely CAN have your cake and eat it, too…
You think Disney will deliver some Dole Whip to me up here in Michigan?
I’m jonesing right now…
N.W.A. Training Tip Of The Week:
Training at a commercial gym, I often see people making a huge mistake when it comes to squatting and/or deadlifting.
One of the worst things you can do for squatting/deadlifting performance is wearing squishy running shoes like these:
When you’re lifting weights, you always need to be aware of your force production.
Lifting weights is all about creating an appropriate, stable, steady force on the weight in order to move in in the direction you want.
When you’re squatting and/or deadlifting, you are pushing/hinging the weight upwards.
As such, the force vector your body is producing is aimed downwards.
With a squat, you push your heels and mid-foot through the floor.
With a deadlift, you do the same, only you ‘hinge’ the weight with your hips and move it with your glutes and posterior chain.
Both exercises require you to produce a force and exert that force directly through your feet.
Because of this, you want to minimize the amount of force absorbed by your shoes.
Squishy running shoes like the ones you see above are designed to absorb force.
With repeated running motions, over time, your joints can ache and become fatigued.
Any serious runner knows how important getting a high quality, cushion-soled shoe is to performance.
But when the entire goal of the exercise is to produce MAXIMUM force on the ground, you don’t want anything in the way.
There are a few options for you if you’re currently squatting and deadlifting in squishy running shoes.
The first option would be to grab a pair of weightlifting shoes.
With weightlifting shoes, the sole is minimized and ‘hard’ – with no give in it at all.
Your ankles and feet will be supported, but the minimal/hard sole will allow you to transfer nearly all of your energy directly to the floor, and help you move the bar upwards.
Another option would be to grab a pair of minimal shoes, such as Chuck Taylors.
This is your best option if you want to have shoes on, but you don’t want to spend $150+ on proper weight lifting shoes.
Or you could do what I do… take your shoes off and squat/deadlift barefoot!
Hopefully your gym allows this (if they’re a serious gym, this won’t be uncommon, so they shouldn’t mind).
I simply slip my shoes off and squat/deadlift in my socks and I’ve never had an issue with management.
The first time I squatted barefoot, I was shocked by how much easier it was to squat as compared to wearing squishy running shoes.
Not only did the weight seem lighter, I had zero balance issues.
I usually find it challenging to hit depth due to being so tall (6’8″).
Much of this stemmed from the squishy soles of those running shoes not being stable enough.
The difference was startling – my balance is perfect now and I’m much more confident in my barbell back squat.
If you have depth issues, balance issues, or you’re simply trying to become a better squatter and/or deadlifter, ditch the running shoes and go with another option.
You’ll likely hit some new PR’s pretty quickly after implementing this simple tip.
N.W.A. Attitude/Mindset Tip Of The Week:
My favorite Mindset Lesson I give to clients is the idea of needing to “Choose Your Hard”.
The general gist is simple:
Life is hard, and that’s that.
There’s no way around it.
No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try to sanitize ‘life’ for yourself and your kids, life is flat out HARD.
But the good news is you get to “Choose Your Hard”.
Yes, it’s hard to plan healthy meals and be sure your kitchen is always stocked with whole foods.
Yes, it’s hard to refrain from snacking between meals and drink water instead of sugary soda or juice.
Yes, it’s hard to deal with the hunger which is unavoidable when trying to lose fat.
Yes, it’s hard to suck it up and get into the gym consistently day after day, and week after week.
And yes… it’s hard to have to keep doing these things indefinitely if you want to get in shape and stay in shape…
You can choose to avoid all of these hard things if you wish, but if you do, you will be faced with a different kind of hard eventually.
Nowhere was this more obvious to me than on my family trip to Disney World we just took…
‘Slice of life’ places definitely tell you a great deal about the general health and well being of our society.
Everyone goes to Disney, assuming they can afford it (or have a credit card…).
Just like the supermarket and the airport, amusement parks really give you insight into how most of us behave and exercise – the clues are there if you look around your surroundings.
I was shocked by how many scooters I saw being used by people who weren’t elderly.
I’m not talking about someone with an injury, either. There were scooters everywhere, and seldom did you see the person with a cast or even a brace on their legs/feet.
Nearly all of the scooters were being used by people who simply couldn’t walk around for the day.
The act of walking was too much activity for them… it was too hard for them to walk around Disney for an extended period of time.
Now, I won’t lie… Disney is definitely a TON of walking!
We averaged 11 miles of walking per day over our 3 days there.
Remember how I told you I ate every treat in sight while I was there?
One of the reasons I did that is because I KNEW I would be burning so many calories.
I’ve had countless clients go to Disney – I always instruct them to go nuts and eat whatever they want.
And they always come back much lighter than when they left.
Myself included – I came back 4 pounds lighter, even after I ate all the Dole Whip Disney had to offer.
Sure, we were tired by the end of each day.
My feet were pretty sore and swollen the first night before they got used to the extra walking.
But I was so glad I had already ‘Chosen My Hard’ before I got to Orlando.
And I couldn’t help but wonder how many stroller-bound people were upset with themselves and regretted their own, life choices.
Most of their faces said it all.
The looks of the faces from most of those people were not the faces you would expect to see while on a family vacation.
Lots of scowls.
Looks of unhappiness.
There seemed to be a lot of discontent from the scooter crowd.
I sure would hate to get to that stage of life and feel any sort of regret or remorse over neglecting my own health.
That’s not the way I want to live my life.
So, yes, I want you to understand that I KNOW fitness is hard.
I’m not one of those 19 year old fitness dudes who’s always had a 6-pack naturally.
Remember, before I started coaching others, I was a normal, middle school teacher who was over 35% body fat and weighed 300 pounds.
If that guy had gone to Disney, he would have had serious issues with walking as much as we did.
But this new version of myself does hard things every day.
I lift weights 5 times per week, I stick to my calorie and macro recommendations, I walk 2 miles every day, and I try to get 8 hours of sleep each night.
Yes, it’s hard to do all of these things.
There are a lot of times where I question myself and wonder if it’s worth it.
And some days, I won’t lie, it doesn’t seem worth it in the moment.
Until I go to a place like Disney and see the ‘hard’ most people choose.
That’s enough to give me motivation for months on end…
For 2022, I want you to really lean into Choosing Your Hard.
It’s your choice – you can have an Easy Path, and a Hard Life.
Or you can have a Hard Path, and an Easy Life.
Because if you think lifting weights and eating right is ‘too hard’ for you right now… you never know when your choices will catch up with you, and you’ll have to deal with another kind of hard entirely.
One Favorite Social Media Post Of The Week:
If you’re going to wait until you’re “motivated” to get healthy, you’ll be waiting a really long time.
Motivation is a feeling, like puppy love.
It fades as do all emotions.
Do it anyways, and have discipline instead.
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I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Anyman Fitness N.W.A. Newsletter.
I’ll be back next week.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
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I can’t believe ‘Lil Wayne was only 16 when this song came out (NSFW – lyrics).