Why To Do Lists Don’t Work


One of the most frequent excuses I hear for not working out is being too busy.  Busyness is actually a form of laziness reflecting a lack of planning and preparation to properly manage your time.  In my own experience, the tool most often used to manage time – the to do list – is actually one of the biggest time wasters.

To do lists are the devil.  For one, they’re never ending.  My mind is constantly racing with new thoughts and ideas.  I love to do lists because they give me an outlet where I can dump my brain.  The problem is that the to do list grows and grows and a lot of stuff just doesn’t get done – usually the important stuff.

In my never-ending quest to conquer my own ADD and actually get stuff done, I’ve had to tweak the to do list concept.  At the beginning of each week I write down what I want to accomplish by the end of the week and by the end of the month.  Doing this really forces me to put things in perspective.  When I step back from my to do list and think about what I want to have done by the end of the month, it really makes me think about the big picture.

Break your monthly goals into weekly goals and focus on the next week of your life.  What’s going to get done by the end of this week?  Specifically outline everything that needs to get done to meet those deliverables, and you have a to do list of tasks that actually count.  Anything you add to that list is superfluous because you know that as long as you accomplish what’s on the original list you’ve accomplished your major goals for the week.

Now you can feel good about yourself and make time to work out.  Yeah, here’s an item to add to your to do list: “take care of my body!”

[ photo: flickr ]

Delicious Pasta salad in under 20 minutes


This is one of my favorite post workout meals.  It’s really easy to make, full of high quality protein and fiber, and tastes awesome.  You can make this in under twenty minutes and take the left overs to work or eat them over a few days.  I like the salad both hot and cold.

Easy Pasta Salad

6 oz Barilla whole grain rotini (about half the box)
7 oz chunk light tuna
2 medium sized tomatos, diced
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Half a big red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespood olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Bring a pot of water to boil.  Once it’s boiling, add a dash of olive oil and salt to the water, then add the rotini.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until desired hardness is reached.

While the water is boiling, chop up the tomatos, garlic, and red onion and put it all in a large mixing bowl.

When the pasta is ready, throw it in the mixing bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and mix it all up.  You’re done.  ENJOY!

The best food to eat before and after a workout

proteinshakeOver the years I’ve come to realize that the most important meals of the day are breakfast, what you eat just before your workout, what you eat right after your workout, and what you eat just before bed.  I’ll cover the breakfast and just before bed meals in another post.

The most important thing to remember about pre-workout nutrition is that you want to eat something that’s going to give you lots of energy for the workout.  After a workout you want something that’s going to quickly replenish your energy and help your muscle’s recover fast.  If you’re trying to lose weight, these are the wrong meals to cut calories from.

If you cut calories from your pre-workout meal you’ll be reducing the energy you have for your workout – you’ll be getting less out of it.  Furthermore you’re putting your body into a catabolic state (a severe caloric deficit), which promotes muscle degeneration.  That’s right, you’re actually making your body weaker, destroying muscle, and as a result, further slowing your metabolism.  All things you want avoid.

A good guideline is to take 0.25g of protein and 0.25g of carbs per pound of your target body weight (the body weight you want to achieve) 30 – 60 minutes before a workout and again right after your workout.  So if you want to weigh 200 lbs, you would eat 50g of protein and 50g of carbohydrates before and after a workout.

Don’t be afraid to consume sugar after a workout.  Right after working out you want food that your body can digest quickly to satisfy your body’s nutritional needs. Sugar causes your blood glucose levels to rise, causing insulin to be released.  After a workout is the only time you actually want to spike your insulin to encourage muscle recovery. That insulin helps drive nutrients into your muscle tissues quicker, which enables your muscles to grow and recover faster.

Personally I like to eat a banana or an apple and a protein shake before a workout.  Other pre-workout meals that I eat are a light sandwich with whole wheat bread and turkey slices or fruit and boiled eggs.

Post workout I drink a protein shake with high sugar content – these are usually called weight gainers.  I do this even when I’m cutting.  Remember – cutting calories after a workout is the last thing you want to do.  My favorite is EAS Mass Factor.  It’s got just under 600 calories per serving with 52g of protein and 84g of carbohydrates.  I’ll usually follow that up with a solid meal an hour later with chicken breast and whole wheat pasta or brown rice.

If you don’t feel comfortable taking consuming a high calorie protein shake after a work out, drink a regular protein shake and eat some fruit.  Just make sure that you consume some sort of simple sugars and, ideally, liquid protein.  The last thing you want is for you workout to cause you to actually lose muscle instead of gaining it.  If you want to get really deep into the subject of pre and post workout meals, check out this forum thread on bodybuilding.com.

What I learn about happiness from my Dog


My dog wakes up every day completely overjoyed to be alive.  He’s not stressing about all the stuff he needs to do or wants to get.

My dog is always full of energy.  All he wants to do is play and make everyone around him happy.  In fact, the only thing that upsets Awesome (yes, I named my dog “Awesome”) is when other people are upset.

My dog will play with anyone.  He has no judgment and doesn’t have an ego.  He wears his heart on his sleeve (um, paw).

Awesome takes care of his body.  He stops eating when he’s full.  He constantly hydrates.  He’s always ready to exercise, even when he’s tired.  And he stretches every time he gets up.

Awesome is always present in the moment – never thinking about the future or the past.  He’s not thinking about anything other than what’s going on right now.  The most important things in his life are the people close to him at any given moment.

No matter how many times I take him outside, he wants to smell and examine everything.  The world never gets old for awesome.  He can turn anything into an excuse to have fun, explore, and share joy.

My dog is happy and he shows me how easy it can be to find happiness.  He’s happy because he finds simple joy in everything around him.  He’s happy because he doesn’t know how to be anything other than just himself – and that’s always Awesome!