Health & Vitality

A Daily Guide to Great Health by Tyson Pop

There is no secret to building great health.

That can be easily forgotten in a world with so many programs selling us 'the secret to getting ripped in one workout'. It's understandable that programs are sold that way -  who wouldn't want Brad Pitt's abs in 4 days rather than having to train for two years? - But there's a problem with it. 

It's not true. 

Building great health is like building anything great. We need to commit to taking the appropriate steps towards improvement each day. But with all the options on what we could do, where do we actually start?

Below are a few simple options. 

Take some time to do each of these things every day, and over time your mental and physical health will become significantly better. 

 

  1. Meditate You don't need to be a victim of your thoughts. Take 10-20 minutes a day to switch yourself off from all the distraction, and focus on your breath. A great place to start is with the Smiling Mind app.
     
  2. Breathe Focused breathing exercises are linked to some amazing health benefits - higher energy levels, better recovery time, improved sleep and concentration just to name a few. I recommend Wim Hoff's method
     
  3. Journal Writing each morning will clarify our plans for the day. Writing in the evening is a great way to reflect on the day gone by. If you'd like a little more instruction, The Artists Way: Morning Pages is a great option.  
     
  4. Wake Early Rather than staying in bed for a few more minutes. Jump up and start the day fresh with the sun. It feels good to be up early. 
     
  5. Eat Naturally Food really is the best medicine. In a culture that celebrates the incredible benefits of modern medicine it can be easy for us to forget that the food we eat plays a great impact on our health. If you need some help check out Whole 30. 
     
  6. Exercise It doesn't have to be a struggle every time. Just move. Mark Sisson has a simple routine you can follow. 
     
  7. Affirmations An affirmation is more than just positive talk. It's training your brain to see the world in a new way. Watch this to see how. 
     
  8. Learn People have learnt how to deal with the situation you're currently dealing with. Take some time to learn the lessons from those who have gone before us.
     
  9. Build relationships One of the most interesting things about of the oldest and healthiest people in the world (shown in The Blue Zones Solution) is the deep relationships they have. Don't go at it alone. Find yourself a group - sporting teams, faith groups, reading clubs are all great options. 
     
  10. Simplify Get rid of the excess in your life. In a culture that worships the accumulation of stuff most of us have forgotten the life changing benefit of living with less. Start with a minimalism game. 

Our Race to Nowhere by Tyson Pop

Stop for a moment.

No, really. 

Stop. 

I want to ask you something.

Why are we always in such a rush?

Constantly jumping from task to task and never quite feeling as though we've completed all we need to. Constantly feeling as though we could have earned more, accumulated more, achieved more, worked more, trained more, prayed more. 

It's an exhausting way to live. 

One that I don't think we were created for. 

In the modern world of technology and deadlines and promotions and upgrades, we've become blind to the joy that is available to us right now.

Nature has been trying so patiently to show us, but we've been too busy to notice. She's never in a rush yet she completes everything on time. She never stresses about the future as she knows that the future is made up of the same stuff as the present. 

She understands that all she needs is the moment. 

There's peace found in that. 

Let's stop rushing in the hope that we'll get to the important moments faster. 

Tomorrow's moments are made of the same as today's. 

We just need to slow down for a while to notice it. 

Scheduling Downtime by Tyson Pop

Our culture is obsessed with productivity.

Because of this obsession, many of us find it difficult to believe that scheduling downtime could possibly add value to our lives. We're convinced that more is better, and to rest is not responsible. 

With that said, I believe that for many of us, busyness has become a form of laziness that has stopped us focusing on the things we truly value; things like family, health, passion and contribution. We've forgotten that from time to time, we need to rest so that we can see more clearly what our next move should be.  

When I say rest, I don't just mean not checking your emails on the weekend. Instead, I mean setting aside at least two weeks on your calendar where you get away from the usual commitments of your day to day life. A break where the phone is turned off, the emails are not checked and you don't need to look at your calendar as you know there is nothing that needs to be done. 

When was the last time you took a break like that?

A break like this can be confronting. 

It's confronting because we're so used to always having something to do with our time, that when all of those things temporarily disappear, we don't know what to do. 

I wanted to provide a few options:
 

Read – What are the books you’ve been too busy to read? What can you learn from those who have gone before you? Reading is a great place to hear a fresh perspective, find inspiration and challenge you to dream again. It doesn't matter whether it's a physical book or an audio book, as long as you get the content. Here are 20 great books to get you started. 

Journal – Are you happy with where you’re currently at? What could be improved? What would you like to improve, change or begin? Journaling is a great tool as it allows us to attempt to capture our scattered thoughts on paper. 

Walk – It’s amazing the impact a walk has on our capacity to see things with fresh eyes. While you walk take note of the things you would otherwise ignore. Listen to the birds, take note of the smells, the scenery.

Sleep – One of the most underrated methods of recovery. Rather than using coffee to help you keep going, give your body the chance to recover and go to sleep.

Meditate – Whether you’re experienced in this field or not, having some time away from your regular schedule to could be the perfect place to invest into learning or developing this area of your life. It’s a perfect to learn how busy our minds often become, but also the perfect tool to help you realise that your thoughts don't need to drive your life. Here's a simple guide to get you started. 

Switch off – Give yourself a few days away from your phone and laptop. Instead, enjoy the free time you now have. It’s always amazing to note how much spare time we have when we put our phones away.

Under commit – Don’t plan too much. Rather, give yourself the opportunity to experience a schedule-free day. If you have to schedule anything, do so lightly. Don’t force yourself to need to be somewhere if there’s really nowhere you need to be.

5 Tips for Busy People by Tyson Pop

Have you noticed how busy everyone is?

We love busy because our culture believes it's the best form of productivity. As a result, we're usually applauded for it. The busier we are, the better. 

But what are we busy about?

I think that for many of us, our busyness has become a form of laziness that has stopped us focusing on the things we value most. Things like health and family and friends and passions. 

Do we really need to be so busy?

How many of us do the things we do, because it's what everyone else is doing?

Could you do with some down time?

If so, here are five ideas to help reduce the hectic pace of your schedule. 
 

  1. Work less Do you really need to work as much as you do, or do you need to stop spending so much money on things you don't really need? When we eliminate some of the 'convenient items' (latest iPhones, computers, cars) to make way for the essentials, we have a lot of money left over, and don't need to work so much. Mr. Money Mustache has some great tips on this subject. 
     
  2. Be clear What are you busy about? When we're unclear about what we're trying to accomplish, we get blown by the wind of the urgent tasks and feel as though we're constantly catching up. There's power in clarity. 
     
  3. Say no It's with the best intentions we agree to take on more than we can handle. When we have clarity on what is most essential in our lives, saying no to the excess becomes a lot easier. 
     
  4. One thing at a time Multi-tasking is not an efficient way to get more done. In fact, it's the perfect way to do more with less efficiency. Ask yourself what the three most important tasks are for the day, and work on one of them at a time. 
     
  5. Be ok with unfinished Our work will never be complete. The sooner we accept that there will always be more to do, the sooner we'll find it easier to be okay with the unfinished, and not feel compelled to constantly 'catch up'. 

Some Ideas For Reducing Stress by Tyson Pop

Stress.

We usually feel it most during the times we’re being stretched. During the moments we want something to work out a certain way, but we’re not convinced it will. It’s usually born in the space where we realise we’re not as in control as we’d like to be.

I’m still learning to improve my response to stress, but I’ve discovered some pretty helpful tools to help reduce it. 

1.     Simplify your life Ok, so this statement is super vague. Let me elaborate here.

2.     Stop overcommitting With the best intentions we often take on more than we can handle. Clarify your priorities and be cautious not to commit to areas outside of these.

3.     Create Space Our emotions are impacted by the environment we’re in. Removing the clutter from our lives has an impact on us intrinsically. It’s a breath of fresh air. Maybe it’s time to minimise? Listen to this.

4.     Leave earlier It always takes longer than we think to get to where we’re going. Leave earlier than you need to and enjoy the slower pace to work.

5.     Work out Many of us work jobs that offer no opportunity to burn off built-up tension. If you’re feeling wound up, work out. Read this

6.     Appreciation Take some time to appreciate how far you’ve come. Stop winding yourself up comparing where you are to others. Their journey is not your journey.

7.     Leave work at work Create space between your office and your home. Make a commitment to stop bringing work home. Enjoy the separation.

8.     Get into nature Nature has the incredible capacity to continually remind us that things are going to be ok. Take a walk and listen.

9.     Take a day off Choose a day that works for you and take the day off.

10.  Breathe Take a deep breath. Repeat it a few times. It washes away the tension.

11.  Choose company well Stop spending time with people who drain you. Who builds you up? Who do you leave feeling more inspired by? Catch up with them.

12.  Stop your hypotheticals It’s usually how we imagine events working out that causes our stress. Most of the time, we’re fine right now. Stop your hypotheticals, you don’t know how it will turn out.

13.  Turn your phone off Our schedule feels like it has a whole lot more space when we put limits on how much we use our phone. Allow 30 minutes on your phone and then turn it off. For more tips on creating space in your day, listen to this. 

14.  Sleep A fresh mind that allows us to feel capable of dealing with the problems we face. Everything looks better in the morning. Have a sleep.

15.  Get a massage You know it helps. Go on. Treat yourself.

16.  Listen to music What song makes you feel relaxed? Play it. Put it on repeat if you need.

17.  Write it down Don’t let everything you need to get done build up in your head. Write it down in a place you check regularly, and cross it off as you get it done.

18.  Choose focus carefully It’s not what we look at, it’s what we see. Is there another way to interpret your problem? Are you making these thinking errors?

19.  Stop procrastinating Continually delaying the inevitable take a toll on us. Schedule it, get it done. Move on.

20.  Take a holiday Schedule a time each year away from work. Take an annual retreat. Get away from the requirements of your daily life.

One Month Retreat by Tyson Pop

In August this year, I’m taking a break.

A retreat.   

For three-weeks, I’ll trade my regular daily activities for the quiet trail of the El Camino de Santiago, where I will slow right down. No writing. No podcast interviews. No email. No social media.

Just walking, reflecting and resting. 

I think I'll find it challenging.  

You see, I love my work and most days I l can't wait to get into it. I get excited about seeing progress in the projects I'm working on. But, like so many people, I can find my value in how much I accomplish and can easily fool myself into thinking that just because I’m ‘working’ I’m being productive.

But the truth is, being busy doesn’t equal being productive and my value isn't found in my work. 

Neither is yours. 

We need some down time.

Some time to recover, reassess and refocus.

That’s what I hope this retreat offers.

What about you?

Could you benefit from some time away from your daily routine?

Walking to a Fresh Perspective by Tyson Pop

I just got home from a long walk.

I hadn’t planned to go walking today, but mentally I needed it.

I’d spent so many hours writing and editing this morning that my eyes could no longer focus on the screen and my mind could no longer focus on my work. Unsuccessfully, I’d tried to force myself through the frustration towards the lull I was experiencing, but after failing to do so I realised I needed a break. With a little hesitation about leaving my jobs unfinished, I closed my computer and decided to trade the artificial light of our studio apartment, for the rare yet real sunlight breaking through the clouds of London’s winter sky.  

As I stepped outside, the cold, fresh air hit my face and my mind responded immediately by lifting a layer of fog that had settled on it until then. I made my way towards Hampstead Heath, a park close to my house and one of the many parks that allow Londoners to connect with nature within a city of nine million.

As I moved closer to the Hampstead the noise of traffic faded and transitioned to silence, only broken by the joyful chirps of birds in the trees above me, and a few dogs barking in the distance. Once I got there, I walked directly up the long grass hill that led me to the highest point in the park, where I sat on a bench overlooking the city.

As I was looking at the city where my mental fog had built up this morning, I couldn't help but feel a fresh perspective both physically and symbolically. It felt as though I was looking down at where my frustration was, but felt separated from it by the distance I'd walked. From this perspective, I no longer felt connected to the frustration that just an hour prior had gripped my mind. I felt a weight lift from my shoulders and a fresh sense of calm flood over my mind and body. The tension I didn't realise I had left my body, and I relaxed. 

I only got home from my walk fifteen minutes ago. The issues that were causing the frustration this morning still exist, but my mind feels more equipped to deal with them.

A walk through nature helped me recalibrate. 

I wonder if some of the problems we’re facing don’t require more work, more effort or more stress, but a fresh perspective.  

Maybe the problem is not the problem. 

If you're struggling to solve the issue you're facing, try closing your computer, leaving the office and taking a walk. 

You might just find a fresh perspective. 

I did.

Information Detox by Tyson Pop

There is more information at our fingertips than any other time in history.

The rise of the Internet, iPhone and 24-hour news reports has provided us with instant access to the worlds latest updates.

That’s incredible.

To be fair though, at times it can also be a little exhausting.

Don't you think?

The fact that there’s only so much our minds can effectively absorb can make the constant access to an abundance of exciting information in our pockets a little overwhelming. It’s amazing that we have access to all of this information, but what do we do with all that we take in?

Can we really effectively absorb it all?

Of course not. 

Let me take you on a short, relevant detour.

A few weeks ago I was watching a little old lady water her garden. She was standing there and holding a hose on one section of the garden which had clearly had enough. As a result it had started to flood. She seemed oblivious to the fact that it didn’t need any more. Whatever she was trying to achieve, more water was not the answer. It needed time to absorb what was already there. It was the healthiest option.

Maybe the same is true for our minds?

Maybe in our attempt to keep learning and be kept up to date we haven’t realised that our mind is asking for some space to rest. Maybe we don’t need to read the latest book, watch the latest news report or listen to the latest podcast right now?

Maybe we need to switch it all off for a week and let your minds rest.

It might be the healthiest option.

Do You Need A Rest Day? by Tyson Pop

Every Sunday, I take the day off. 

Complete rest. 

No writing.

No podcast. 

No email.

No planning.

No exercise.

No commitments. 

It's the one day each week where I give myself permission to let the land lie fallow. It's the day that even though my work is incomplete, I view it as complete. It's a reminder that the world still runs without me, that I'm not a machine and that my value is not found in productivity. It's a space where I allow myself to recover, refocus and prepare myself mentally and physically for the week to come. 

For many of us, the idea of taking a day off seems unproductive. Our fast pace society has become so obsessed with the idea of doing more that we have forgotten the benefits of doing less. 

But the truth is it takes energy to put your best work into what you do. We need the balance. We need the inhale, and exhale. The work is good, but we need the rest. 

The rest allows the chaos of our busy week to settle. It allows minds to become clearer, focused and motivated. 

Maybe, like me the most effective use of your Sunday is not to view it as an opportunity to get more done. Maybe, rather than work, the rest will allow you to be more effective throughout your week. 

Like all things new, it will difficult at the beginning, but when you get used to it, you'll see the benefits.

You'll thank me on Monday.

Go on, try it. 

You deserve a break. 

Screen Free Sunday by Tyson Pop

Have you noticed how much of our lives is hijacked by screens?

Phones. Laptops. Television. iPads. 

Social media, news updates, emails, games, music and podcasts, not to mention phone calls and text messaging. Boredom is no longer tolerated, or required now we have access to a world of information at or fingertips. From the moment we wake to the moment we sleep we have a world of information and entertainment available to us. 

Though the immediate access to so much information can be a great benefit to our lives, if you’re anything like me, your reliance on these tools have probably become more of an addiction than a convenience. You’ll notice it’s become an addiction when you feel a sense of anxiety when you leave it at home, the battery life causes you stress or you can’t go more than twenty minutes without checking it. 

I didn't like how dependant I was on the screens in my life so I decided to give myself the opportunity to go without screens for a day. To switch it off. Let me switch off. Recover.

I called it my ‘Screen Free Sunday’.

Just 24 hours. Tough initially. I started to notice how often I craved a screen when I had a moment of free time.  But I noticed the decision gave me the opportunity to more fully connect with the people I was with and places I was at, without having assessed whether I needed to post a photo of the meal I was eating or the people I was with. I was more into the experience I was having, rather than considering how to portray the experience I was having. 

It gave my mind a little more room to rest. 

To discover what was found in the quiet moments of the day. 

It got me thinking; maybe I don't need to think about how my screens can entertain me more, but how can I experience the beautiful in what I often label now boredom.

What about you?

Could you benefit from a day without screens?

Why You Should Take A Cold Shower Every Morning. by Tyson Pop

As soon as I wake up each morning, I walk to the shower, turn it to cold and stand underneath for one-minute.

It’s a long one-minute

Sometimes when the weather's been hot, I half look forward to it.

But when it’s cold, I hate it.

It's so painful. 

I’ve tried so many different approaches to make it more enjoyable,

Slowly putting my hands in the water, then gradually moving my body under.

Letting the water hit my legs first, then my arms and then going under. 

Wetting my hair and then my neck and then my entire body.

They're all horrible. 

You have to get straight in.

I've been doing it for a year now. 

Whenever these cold showers come up in conversation, people will inevitably ask,

Why the heck do you do this?

It’s a fair question!

So, let me tell you about how I benefit personally from these showers. 

5 BENEFITS OF COLD SHOWERS

  1. State Change: It doesn’t matter how I feel when I get out of bed. Maybe I’m tired, anxious, stressed or nervous about something coming up that day. As soon as I hit that water, my attention is on that moment. Nothing snaps you out of a particular state like ice water. This shower is also a symbolic message to my subconscious mind that I don’t ever need to be stuck in one state I have the capacity to change my focus in an instant. The cold reminds me of this each morning.
     
  2. Mental Strength: Everything in me fights the idea of standing under cold water. I’m still half asleep and quite comfortable with how things were before the water came into my day. There’s something within me that thrives on the idea of overcoming my feelings and demanding something out of myself. This action reminds me that I don’t live according to feelings alone.
     
  3. Overcoming: Within 2 minutes of waking up, I’ve already overcome an obstacle. Regardless of what comes up that day, I know I’ve overcome one difficulty, I can do it again. 
     
  4. Alertness: I never feel more awake than when I’m under the cold water. When I do turn off the water and step out of the shower, I’m completely alert and ready to roll. 
     
  5. Strengthens Immunity: Based on a study by Thrombosis Research Institute conducted in 1993, those who took cold showers each day saw that the virus fighting white blood cells had increased over those who took hot showers. Based on the increase in metabolic rate from our body's attempt to warm itself, we activate the immune system and release more white blood cells as a response. I consider the shower an investment into my health. 

My Weekly Exercise Schedule by Tyson Pop

Since the age of thirteen, I’ve loved to exercise. 

I feel better when I do it.

It was through a new passion for running that I had started to appreciate the benefits of exercising regularly. 

At the age of twelve I had started running competitively and quickly learnt that if I wanted to run faster, I would have to train hard and do so consistently.

Because my training led to better results, it was hard for me not to love it. 

I started to view my training like an art form and was committed to discovering and implementing the best methods I could to create the best results I could.

I did that for twelve years. 

Throughout those years I was interested in various other forms of exercise and the benefits that flowed from them, but because my priority was running, I didn't think too seriously about trying them. 

However, in 2013 when I decided to leave the competitive running scene, I realised I had an abundance of new forms of exercise that I could make a part of my daily life. 

I also promised my wife that when I stopped running, I would bulk up a little. 

So the pressure was on. 

I was excited to get into it. 

Im always interested in hearing about what training others enjoy, and my training program changes fairly regularly as a result of my curiosity. 

I am on a mission to create great health in my life, and want to learn what I respond best to. 

Right now, I absolutely love the training I am doing, and feel amazing as a result. 

I wanted to share a few areas of training that I am loving right now, and also show you what an average week of training currently looks like for me. 

MY CURRENT FORMS OF EXERCISE

YOGA: Yoga has become an almost daily practice for me over the last twelve months. It began as an attempt for me to relieve the tension that had developed in my lower back. I soon realised that the benefits went far beyond just physical. My back is better, my strength has improved and it has provided me with a space to switch off from everything else happening in my life and focus on my mind and body and the relationship between the two. 

WALKING: Unless you're over 70, I don't think walking gets the credit it deserves. When I used to run, the idea of going out for a walk had absolutely no appeal to me. As I have started to challenge my own definition of what 'exercise is', I've found real pleasure in going for a walk. It doesn't put the stress on your body that running does, but still offers a great chance to get out in nature and clear your head and invest in your health. 

RUNNING: I still love it. After so many years of trying to master it has been nice to do it for enjoyment more than anything else. I used to run around 160km a week, now I'm happy to do 30-40km. It's pure enjoyment now, not a compulsion. 

GYM: Each weekday I do a twenty minute gym session you can see here. I like the feeling of being in shape. It's not about getting huge, but feeling great. After I finished my running, I went from 68kg to 80kg in just over 12 months. I think the 80kg mark looks better on me than the skinny version. Right now I'm at 75kg. We're travelling through Europe as I write this, so our meals are a little random. Once the travel stops I will take my weight back up to 80kg. 

MY CURRENT WEEKLY TRAINING PROGRAM

 

Sun: Walk, Jog or Rest

Mon: Yoga, Gym & Sprints

Tue: Yoga & Gym

Wed: Yoga & Gym

Thu: Walk or Jog, Yoga & Gym

Fri: Yoga & Gym

Sat: Walk or Jog

A Simple Guide To Meditation by Tyson Pop

Growing up, I always had a busy mind. 

I was constantly looking to the future or reliving the past and never really focussed on what was happening right now. I could never calm that inner chatter that raced around in my mind. I always felt as though I should be doing something else regardless of what I was doing in that moment. 

I'm not sure if it was habit, hereditary or just a part of being human, but when I got caught up in my thoughts, I couldn't relax. 

I was in a constant state of discontent, and I didn't know how to change it. 

As I got older I started speaking to more people about what I was experiencing and also started noticing that people around me were also quite stressed, anxious or worked up about something. 

I started thinking that there had to be a better way to live. 

I had started to meet a few people who had told me that they also used to be overwhelmed by their busy mind and had been helped quite a lot through practicing meditation. 

I decided to give it a go. 

It was one of the best moves I've ever made. 

It has taught me that the nature of my mind is like the surface of an ocean. Regardless of how rough it is, if you go down below the surface, there is a calmness. 

A peace. 

A quiet. 

A humming whisper that everything

Will. 

Be.  

Ok. 

As we journey below the surface of our mind, we begin to realise that we already have the peace that we crave within us. 

So often we search for peace through accumulating more, upgrading, working more, training harder, planning harder, earning more, chasing fame. 

The list goes on forever. 

What about you?

How are you going?

Is your mind always racing?

Maybe, like me, you could benefit from getting below the surface of it?

It can be a little daunting knowing where to start on something like this, so I thought I would share the steps I take to meditate. 

MY MEDITATION

  1. Find a time For me, this is first thing in the morning. I get up, get a drink a glass of water and then sit down to meditate. 
     
  2. Find a space I sit in the same place when I'm at home. Right now, I sit on my lounge room floor with my back against the couch. Find a space you're comfortable in. 
     
  3. Set timer Start small. Two years ago I began with 10 minutes in the morning. Now I do 20 minutes in the morning and the evening. Don't try and be a hero, just aim to do a small amount consistently. 
     
  4. Sit down You don't have to sit like the Indian guru that comes to your mind when you hear the word meditate. Sit on a chair or floor. Whatever is comfortable. 
     
  5. Take a deep breath Taking a deep breath has an awesome capacity to help us calm down. I do this to get myself started. 
     
  6. Relax your body Consciously focus on relaxing each part of your body, starting at the top of your head, moving down through your fore head, jaw, neck, chest, stomach, legs, feet and toes. Spend a few seconds at each place and allow yourelf to relax the space as you pass over it. 
     
  7. Be still There is nothing else that needs to be done in this moment. Enjoy being right where you are. 
     
  8. Focus on your breath Bring your attention to your breath. Count your in breath, then your out breath. Breathe in (count 1) breathe out (count 2) and do this up to ten. Start again once you get to ten. 
     
  9. Come back to breath Your mind will wander. Sometimes it will race. When you realise your focus has wandered from your breath, don't stress. Come back to your breath and start again. 
     
  10. Move fingers, toes & open eyes When your timer goes off, wiggle your fingers and your toes. Open your eyes and enjoy the calm you feel. 
     

BENEFITS OF MEDITATION

I found Headspace to be the most clear when it comes to explaining the benefits of meditation. If you'd like to read about it, click here


ONE LAST TIP

Be patient. Like anything, improvement will happen over time. Initially you will find it difficult to focus on your breath as your thoughts will be so loud. That's fine. Keep coming back to your breath, and keep practicing your meditation.  

You Don't Need A Gym Membership by Tyson Pop

I recently cancelled my gym membership. 

Until March this year, I had been going to the gym five days a week for nearly three years. Not because I loved it, but because I was trying to stay fit.

And fit people use a gym.

Right?

Each week $15 would come out of my account, which was good value and didn't bother me anyway as I considered a gym an investment into my health.

In mid March this year, a trainer asked me if I would like to do some one on one sessions with him. It would be $50 for 30 minutes and we would do four sessions. He said he would teach me the 'ins and outs' of the exercises and make sure I was doing it all with the correct technique.

I started to wonder if we'd overcomplicated the fitness process.

He asked me what my goals were in the gym, and I told him I was happy with where I was at. I didn't want to add size, I just wanted to stay in shape and be fit and strong. I wanted to be fit, not massive. 

By the end of our talk about training, he realised he probably didn't have much to offer that I was interested in, and I realised I probably didn't need to be at the gym. 

That was three months ago now. I haven't used the gym since. 

I haven't lost weight, and my strength is great. 

Now, my gym session goes for 20 minutes each weekday. 

And it's free. 

I do variations of the below exercises. 
 

Push-ups: I didn't do this exercise regularly when I was at the gym. So naturally, when I started focussing more on these, it was a real challenge. I've gradually been increasing the amount that I can do. Right now I can fairly comfortably do 4-5 sets of 30 with about a 30 second break between sets. Incredible exercise for the chest, core, and triceps.

Chin-ups: This is probably my favourite exercise. I rotate my grip from day to day which means some days it's more focussed on my biceps, whereas other days I focus more on my back. It also gets your abs firing which I love. Right now I do around 4 sets of 10-15 in a session. 

Squats: Body weight squats are so underrated. They allow you to get a full range of movement. It's good not only for the quads but also for core stability. When I was using weights I was doing 4 sets of 8 squats. Now I am focussed more on doing more reps. Currently I average about 4 sets of 30 squats each session. 

Dips: Great exercise for the triceps. Gradually add weight to make the exercise a little more difficult. Right now I average around 4 sets of 15 dips. 

Walk: A stress free way to enjoy exercise is to get outside and walk. If you have joint pain, walking is more stress free than running. Also doubles as a chance to burn some calories and enjoy being in nature. Take a one hour walk each day and watch how good you feel. 

By the end of this session, I feel as though I worked harder than what I did when I spent an hour and a half at the gym. It's simple, and can be done anywhere. Sometimes I find something heavy around the house and lift that.

Combining this simple program with Yoga, Walking, Running, Meditation and Natural Food, I have never felt better than I do right now.

Let's not over complicate the fitness scene. 

Don't bypass consistency in the search for the 'right program'.

A gym membership doesn't make you fit,

Exercising consistently does. 

Creating Space In Your Day by Tyson Pop

If you're anything like me, creating a little extra time in our day can be difficult. 

With that said, here are 5 steps to help us find that time. 

 

  1. Cancel home Internet We've grown used to having immediate access to the information we're looking for through the beauty of the internet. The truth is, most of what we think we need to look at right now can wait. Rather than getting online every time we have the desire to do so, let's write down what it is that we're wanting to look at, and schedule a time each week to go to a local cafe to use their free wifi to do so. Free wifi is everywhere.

  2. Get rid of your T.V Television serves as a great little escape for so many of us after a hard day at work. However, removing the T.V from our lives can free up such an incredible amount of time, and stop us from having to sit through such a crazy amount of advertising. If completely getting rid of your television seems a little extreme, try putting it in another room. This forces us to think about what we want to watch, and only go into the allocated room at that time. I recommend keeping it out of your bedroom. The bedroom is for two things, neither of which involve watching T.V. 

  3. Switch off notifications Notifications are just another distraction. It so easy find ourselves stopping what we're doing every time someone comments on our Facebook status, likes our Instagram photo or sends us an email. Try setting yourself a certain time each day to check the things you would usually be notified about. 
     
  4. Leave space between tasks The idea of being productive lures us into putting as much as we can into our already busy day. Rather than doing more, clarify your top three priorities for each day and focus on these. Doing less each day gives us the space to take a breath, and also complete our work more efficiently. 

  5. Say yes to less We don't have to do everything we're invited to do. Learn the art of saying 'no' and enjoy the extra space you find in your day as a result. 

Would Your Great Grandmother Eat That? by Tyson Pop

If you're overwhelmed by the abundance of information being offered on the subject of food and how to eat well,

Welcome.

This post is for you.  

I think we've overcomplicated it.  

I operate best with simple, practical advice. 

Maybe you do too?

I have listed ten thoughts that have helped me choose good food more easily.

These steps have worked for centuries. 

You ready?

 

  1. If it can't rot, don't eat it. 

  2. If it's advertised, you don't need it. 

  3. Make sure what you're eating, ate well.

  4. If it's in a packet, it's not essential. 

  5. Eat food you know the story behind. 

  6. If it comes from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don't.

  7. Avoid food with more than four ingredients. 

  8. Don't eat what is served through a car window

  9. Meat is a sometimes food.

  10. Break these rules sometimes.

If you would like to hear from a voice of clarity on the subject of diet, but you're unsure where to begin. I highly recommend Michael Pollan as a guide. Start with his video below.:

Five steps to a meaningful morning by Tyson Pop

The alarm goes off. I snooze it.

Again. 

It's been going off for the last half an hour. 

By the time I finally get out of bed, I'm in a hurry. I don't want to be late, so I set myself a frantic pace to make sure I get everything done before I leave for work (A job I don't like, but don't have the time to consider how I could take the steps towards getting a job I love). The list of what I need to get done done races through my mind. 

  • Coffee
  • Shower
  • Dress
  • Organise Breakfast
  • Brush Teeth
  • Pack bag
  • Drive to work
  • Finish breakfast as I drive
  • Run to office
  • Don't let anyone see I'm late
  • Act calm

Way too much going on. No where near enough time. 

An intense start to the day. I'm exhausted before it really even begins.

Have you been there?

Maybe you're like I was for far too long, and this is just your standard morning. 

It's strange way to start the day though.... Don't you think?

Let me explain.

The most basic tool we can use to improve any area of our lives, is to invest our time into it. But with everything on our 'to do' list, and so little time to do it, we often find ourselves avoiding the only thing that can actually get any of our jobs done;

Ourselves.

After going through these mornings, and the stress that accompanied them for far too long, I decided to try something crazy.

I decided I was going to get up at 5.00am each morning. 

I know. 

5.00am. 

As a 'night person' this was a huge decision. 

I loved my nights.

But I felt like I could get more from myself throughout my day by being more intentional with my mornings. For me, part of being more intentional meant getting up earlier and creating the space I so often craved.

I made a commitment to set up a great, personalised morning routine. After looking at what others did, and considering what I felt could help me, I set myself a list of five things to get done each morning. 

Here's what my list looks like:

  1. Exercise: Have you ever felt the great sense of accomplishment that follows working out? It's the most amazing high. The most natural anti-depressant. There's a great sense of accomplishment found in this space of time. I decided to start my day with this awesome sense of fulfilment. What i do each morning varies between a run, yoga or a gym session. Even 15 minutes makes a huge difference. 

  2. Meditation: My mind is racing with thought as I wake up. Not being aware of this impacted what dominated my mind, and the emotion I felt as I attached meaning to the thoughts. Taking some time each morning to meditate, and observe that my thoughts need not rule my day, allowed me a greater sense of peace, which provided clarity of mind before I move on. If you're interested in trying meditation, I recommend you try the Headspace app. It's a gym membership for your mind. The first ten days are free and it will set a great foundation for you as you learn to meditate. 

  3. Clarify 3 Priorities: I hated finishing my day and not knowing if I accomplished as much as I needed to. Taking five minutes each morning to write down my top three priorities for the day allows me to know whether I got what needed to be done, done. 

  4. Healthy Breakfast: Just like a car cannot run on sand, our body cannot run on rubbish. I have made my first meal a nutrient dense, healthy meal. My personal preference is a frozen banana smoothie with hemp seeds, oats, coconut milk, honey and cacao. Once I finish this, I'll make a green juice. You can't beat kale, spinach, apple, lemon, garlic and ginger. Your body will thank you immediately. 

  5. Coffee: Honestly, this is my favourite part of the morning. I make a coffee, sit down outside and enjoy 15 more minutes of quiet time before I start the rest of my day. 

Some mornings it's easy. I spring out of bed ready to launch into my day.

Sometimes though I'm really tired and it's hard to get up. 

But let me tell you something. Since starting this routine there has not been one day that i haven't felt great by the time I've finished my routine. The most beautiful part of a morning routine is that it's not one size fits all. In fact, your list will probably be very specific to you.

Some of the steps I've implemented you might love.  Others you may hate. But it's something I recommend you consider figuring out for yourself. 

So what do you think?. 

What are the five steps you could make, to make your morning more meaningful?