Peeking out and getting warmer

Well the season is changing once more to the tune of above 20F on a daily basis making things thaw, muddier and warmer. Well, if you’re like me where anything above 20F is warm then you’ll have plenty to be happy about that is except for the ice building up wherever there was snow.

Snow melt is cool, when it’s white. In the city it’s basically as dark and dirty, and festooned with garbage and road dirt. Who knows what else is in there, but enough to state that it is going away. I can safely say that wearing a windbreaker over a 1st layer of wool to workout in 25F weather is not unheard of since you’re shivering until you begin to move then you want that shell off also.

How in the world can people function wearing so much on their bodies while working out outside and feeling ok with 3+ layers on them is beyond my comfort zone, but hey they’re getting it done just the same. I heat up fairly fast once I start moving without really sweating under 15min of work. I have to really put out a lot of Jules to make me sweat plenty and at times the work at hand has me perspiring so much so that I can resemble a steam pipe at times. Funny sight to see steam rising off my body like i was doused with water and then unzip my shell and it’s like the steam pipe sprung a little leak.

With snot shots (farmer john’s) coming on a little more frequent when expending a lot of effort I find myself making sure the wind is always in my favor and not against me when I do them. I’ve seen may runners have a bad day when performing a snot shot (farmer john = holding down one nostril while blowing out snot from the opposite side and repeating the process on the other one) when it blows onto their forearm while performing such act is hilarious. I can state that I have not had that happen ever! Ha! Right, it’s happened to the most experienced of us all and it’s embarrassing but funny as hell also.

Enough about the snot shots. Let’s get to the sunnier days for training. Our training days had become a – ‘get out of the car, run to meeting area, get orientation, start workout, finish workout, take pics, and get the hell back into cars to warmup and head home’ affairs. There were days when it was so cold just waiting to start that jumping up and down became a constant warm up start of our warmup itself. Ever felt so cold that air would not want to come out of your mouth because it liked being warm inside you? Yeah, that happened on multiple occasions. Yet, here we are happy to state that we have made it to March!

March in the Midwest means different things to us than the rest of the country. Why? Well, we can expect at least more below freezing days regardless of what calendar day it is. We can expect more snow, and dreary days to come. It is what it is in the Midwest. Our winters can last longer than the calendar spring states. To which we just put on our ‘don’t give a F!’ Face, and attitude to continue doing what we do best. Live, Love, and Laugh at the changing climate that the season(s) throw at us to make us formidable individuals to face adversity with less angst.

Keeping things on an even keel makes things manageable and your stress levels low. Although we were pretty fed up with the snow here since we had no where to put it. All of the shoveling done within one week I had a stack of snow I shoveled to 1m/3Ft height and no place to turn safely out of my driveway on occasion. Helping others dig out really didn’t phase me due to my fitness, but man you’re going to really consider wearing the right clothes just to shovel since once again it must be stated that Cotton is NOT good for chores involving outdoors activities that require movement aside from just walking to the car.

Hydration on days like those mentioned above really is a must. Have you ever heard of anyone sweating while swimming? You’re not going to, but you do sweat and you need to hydrate. Electrolytes are a key, and you do need to make sure you get a balanced intake. Where can you get such items? You can Google electrolyte drinks, and you should choose a drink that should not have a LOT of SUGAR! Do yourself a favor and do your research since there is an unlimited amount of information on said drinks in the market. Be self sufficient and proficient on said subject matter since your health is at the forefront of your intake of electrolytes and the benefits you can have due to your intake.

I’ll leave you with this – make the time to get out in the sun. It’s coming out earlier and staying out longer. Walk, run, fast or slow. Get out and get your Vitamin D! Increase your potency. Be a healthier version of your previous self. Workout outdoors, enjoy nature even if it’s in an urban parkway. Find time to commune with Nature without distractions.

Be a better you, and when you can share that experience do so to enrich others with the benefits of a healthier lifestyle. It’s free to choose and be healthy. Lifestyles take time. One step, one min, hour, day, month, year at a time.

See you out there,

Gio

Icy, wintry, cold WOD with the RuFF crew in the early morning.

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