Exercising in the Cold and Attitude

Great times come from some adversity. I’m not sure who coined that term, but darn tough times create individuals that can withstand some of the hardest storms thrown at them. Well, it is without a doubt that getting through a winter with some bone chilling cold workouts is a cause and effect to anyone involved with athletic endeavors here in the upper midwest. We don’t have Mountains but we have cold spells that can challenge some of the most ardent winter warriors out there.

Winter is mild here without much of a sprinkling of snow (< 3″) at any snow fall, and usually disappearing within 3~4 days. This is where that chill comes in. See, with snow we can be assured of some sort of buffer from the chill that comes along in January and usually stays until maybe mid March. It is comical you see. Here we want a bed of snow to help damper the effects of the bone chill of the cold that comes along around this time of the year. I believe it does help keep the dew point a bit low keeping that chill going through you like an ice pick.

Well, we’re patiently waiting for the day when we get that damper of snow fall to see us through the early morning workouts since it is freaking icy cold as soon as you step out of the house and you’re cold as hell right from the start. Getting out of the car I get a chill going down the back of my neck as if I had a little snow drift going inside my jacket even though there is no snow around. Funny how perception is in the mind of the individual. I for one begin a breathing tempo no matter what exercise I’m about to perform from just walking with my ruck on or performing an exercise to breath only through my nose. Deep inhale, pacing / tempo of 3 in with 3~4 out. Nothing via the mouth.

I have to slow down a little more than usual to catch my breath if I go faster than my breathing pattern allows, and it mitigates discomfort than just mouth brings. I have to admit and be transparent on this method. It clears my mind, makes breathing feel good, watery eyes are not always an effect of nasal breathing. However snot rockets are NOT unheard of. Make sure you perform the ‘farmer john’ really well. No half assed attempts on that issue since you don’t want to wear snot on your clothing/beard/mustache. Or even worse blowing it out while a runner/rucker is going by as you do it. Funny as hell, but dangerous also since it’s your health that will be affected if you don’t miss that said individual.

Since temperatures have been dropping we’re having to move with a bit more intent. Getting warm, and keeping warm are two things that meet in the middle. Difference is effort and effect. You can walk and get warm, and to some extent while warming up for exercise / workout you can be specific on movements to mimic what you’re about to perform on said workout to get your muscles and connective tissue to move better without the possibility of injury. Rucking is so unique a movement when just putting on the ruck weighted to specific weight for the workout is more than enough to warmup said body within a certain period of time and movement that it feels more comfortable and you’re breathing a little more labored than just plain ol’ warm ups do. Trust it will do the same for you.

Living in a cold climate is something that many have learned to adapt to, and to some extent thrive in. As I grew up watching people dress differently in changing climates there was always a fringe few that really did not follow the norm. I found them to be interesting how when the temps dropped to 30 F /1C they’re still wearing freaking shorts!!! Ok, do they know something I don’t? Like what rocket fuel is in their bloods that precludes them from wearing normal clothing like me (2~3 layers) to get warm. I mean, come on. I’d love to be able to do that. Then, I stumbled upon none other than the Iceman himself Wim Hoff, over a year ago and I have learned that you can become more than what you perceive you are limited to being.

This should come as not surprise to anyone that there is health to be had if you fix yourself, not just by resting, and eating right. Not only exercising alone will help and according to Mr. James Nestor who’s done some serious research and paid his dues/cut his nails on said subject matter on this subject. What subject is that? Breathing. Yes, breathing will get you squared away. Don’t take my word for it. I’ll not be paid for not expect to be paid for expressing my desire for you to try it. Firstly read his book. Breath – The New Science of a Lost Art. Secondly, practice it. You will be leaps ahead of your peers in health, and stamina. Don’t take my word for it. Just try it.

These past couple of weeks at RuFF we’re getting a little more comfortable doing things in the cold, and frigid temps are not going away any time soon. So, layering and moving will continue to be our focus. Getting and staying warm through breathing, and moving is key. Then coffee (for me) is essential post workout. Enjoy.

New Years Day Workout not too cold really (~30F)

Colder (~20F) RED Friday WOD

Stay warm, but get cold to start. It’s important and beneficial for you to exercise in the cold. I will change your outlook on winter dramatically. Trust to process, do the work, and reap the benefits.

See you next time,

Mi A Gi

Take this cold weather…

Waking up every morning to a dark, cloudy (mostly), and cold day is what makes working out a little challenging yet very fulfilling. Why you ask? Why take it outside when you can rightly stay indoors and follow along to a live feed/zoom fitness class in the comfort of your own home?

Well, it is very simple. The people you surround with is the defining element in the chemistry of getting uncomfortable with like minded individuals to see these workouts through. It has become a truth to all of them involved that fitness is not a part time, or even less than a portion of their lives, but a staple to keep not just stress away but illness.

Leading by example to sweat, laugh, swear (a lot) these individuals I’ll call out right here. For the sake of not going in order of tenure with us there is :

Breath right strip Eleni, gear lugging Mike, Humble Matt, in the wings Courtney, Tall drink Al, the ever leading and not catchable Selene. My SgtMaj (USMC Ret) Weber that never has a stop nor idle in him, the Ironman (it’s too dark) Brian, the newly found youth Ron, the endurance go getter Liz, our EmpanadUs crew of Kevin, and Leslie (bro and sis) that are stellar athletes, it’s too cold Jae, our spark-plug athlete Jessi (i miss CA weather).

They are worth getting up and leading such a crew as this to make their lives, and those they interact with from immediate family, to co-workers to show that there is an alternative to just a regular life of just getting by but making a difference. A major difference in their health, and those they Love and care for.

Become a light in darkness so that others may follow and make a change for the better. There is nothing more rewarding than making people healthy, and happy.

The video links below shows a group of individuals tackling tough R.E.D. Friday workout. Getting into the fun of things while huffing, puffing, encouraging each other during the process.

Video link one – Thanksgiving WOD

Video link two – 12 Days of Christmas RuFF style

Get up, go out regardless of the weather and get it done! Be in the moment for you will get warm and the benefits outweigh the temps. Trust the process, for you will see very good returns.

Be safe, be strong, be smart and be willing!

See you out there!

Merry Christmas!

Mi A Gi

Cool Morning Mash-up

Okay so it’s dark with sparse clouds and a sliver of a moon out as we make our way towards our workout location. I’m stoked because it’s above freezing this morning so I don’t have to scrape the icy film from my windshield and that is good by me.

Arriving early is important for a couple of reasons one being not having to rush getting myself and my equipment to be used in their proper place so I have no issues as to the weights I’ll be using. As in weights for today it’s a kb and my ruck.

What’s different this morning is that only one exercise requires the use of our ruck for burpees step ups and the kb for snatches. That’s pretty cool with everyone when they read the workout. They knew going in since Monday of what this morning will bring. A lot of work.

Most all of exercises were to be performed on grass since its forgiving when you face plant while doing the dive bombers (google it). I enjoy it along side the yoga/Hindu push ups. A challenge to be had for developing upper body strength, core stability, joint mobility and endurance. Yes, muscle endurance is needed.

3-2-1, Go!

RED Friday WOD

It was good to work with like minded individuals. Many found out that the workout was deceiving since the reps were a tad small for a regular RED Friday, but the sets were high. Balance.

The #Ruffcrew took it in stride working within their capacity to complete the workout and joking, laughing and encouraging each other through it all. Some finished faster than others while others put their heads down due to a heavier weight selection on their part for a better challenge to be had.

Skills are needed to improve technical proficiency to strengthen connective tissue, and get stronger in the process. Once you are proficient then the weights go up and you get faster. Not the other way around so be patient is what I tell the team.

All of them have made great strides this year. Since March I’ve pushed some buttons and gotten them to become mentally stronger and physically stronger. I love watching them grow.

Go out and enjoy your time, life and physical self. Challenge your norm. Challenge yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. You never know what your limits are. Or will be.

‘Til next time.

Mi A Gi

The #RuFF Crew

Changing Seasons & Time

Working on getting myself adjusted to time change is not as bad as I thought it’d be this year, and it has not really been bad at all the previous years. What has made this year a little different though is that most to all of the time has been spent close to home unlike other years where I travelled a little more often, and camped a tad more than this year for sure.

The seasons were obviously thoroughly enjoyed via my porch, park, trail, and unlucky / lucky me no beach. I’m not one to be in a crowded beach any time of the year so I don’t apologize for it either. Big crowds of people just laying down absorbing a beautiful sun on a cloudless sky isn’t too attractive for me. On a day like that I’d be out working out, hiking, or just enjoying outdoors doing something other than that. I know it’s an abnormal thing to state out loud to some, but hey not everyone does the same thing every time nor like the same things.

Hiking, camping, working out outdoors is better for me mentally and emotionally. Thus I’d like to enjoy my time communing with Mother Nature in here grandest while absorbing all I could in a day in the woods/mountains helping me make sense of the atmosphere the world finds itself in. We do have outlets that have taken to Virtually running a marathon, an Ironman, or trail race to make do until a certain pesky Virus is taken care of. Some have been able to “race” virtually on the Honor system to garner trophies, t-shirts, swag and an award to post on ‘social’ media and get their proper congrats they’d otherwise get in person at the end of such an event.

The time commitment to train for said events on a regular year is monumental due to life events if you have kids, are married, and have a job or two. Training takes a life of its own. Biking a few times a week, swim (Good Luck) if you can find a pool that’s opened and even admits a single swimmer in to start. All of the pools by me have been closed since last year in the Fall. Now, Running has taken a front seat for more of the population due to the ease of participation on time of day/week and duration/distance anyone can choose to participate in.

It’s a social/anti-social event. For the introverts running alone is AWESOME!!! For extroverts – I thought about the types of conversations they have with themselves since they’re running alone, and how many people they truly miss being around. It is a very difficult time for many. I do figure that the Introvert is like ‘so, you’re alone and having a hard time’ Hit me up, and I’ll give you some guidance or an ear/shoulder for you. They truly are empathetic to your (extrovert) self.

Now, with all of that being said take time as the season is changing once more to the fall, then winter to manage the cabin fever that comes with it. Eat well, hydrate often, exercise more and get a good sweat going. Consult with a nutritionist, find a Personal Trainer to guide you in this journey, and by all means reach out to a Mental Health professional if you truly feel you’re at wits end!

No one can do this alone, and it takes a team to make you successful.

Reach out to help or get assistance. No one on the wonderful planet is ALONE in this.

Stay healthy, and here are a few pics for you!

RED Friday Partner WOD

Chilling at Tenaya Lake, YNP 2016