A Couple Books I’ve Been Reading…

As some may know, I enjoy reading, but not typical stories or anything like that. I prefer reading books on strength & conditioning, nutrition, self-improvement books or biographies on successful people, and trying to apply as much of what I read to my own personal life. Here are a few books I’ve been reading the last month or so…

Today Matters by John Maxwell

I found this book to be great and would recommend it to anyone looking for some tidbits on how to improve all aspects of their personal life. Maxwell has developed 12 core principles to live by when making decisions and managing their lives. While reading the book I guarantee you’ll find yourself reflecting back on certain decisions and how they shaped your life. A must read for someone looking for some insight on how to improve every aspect of their personal lives. If you’re someone like me who loves inspirational quotes then the book is a must read for that reason alone – it is chalked full of outstanding inspirational quotes.

How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book was highly recommended by numerous people so I grabbed it and gave it a read. At first I was a little skeptical because of the title. My first thought was this book was for people that were losers, people that don’t have any friends or for people that are looking to become a con artist, but this couldn’t have been any further from the truth. The book focuses on teaching you how to interact with people, little things like making sure to always ‘thank’ people and how far simply smiling can go. FYI, the book was written in the 1930’s leading to some terminology that can be a little outdated. However, the overall content in the book is far from outdated. Anyone in the sales profession in particular could really see a nice spike in their sales numbers with the subtle ways Carnegie suggests interacting with other people.

Advances in Functional Training by Mike Boyle

I read and try to get my hands on as much as I can that Mike Boyle puts his name on because of the success he has had as a strength coach with both his college and professional athletes at Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning as well as at Boston University with the men’s hockey team and with what the future holds for him as the new strength coach for the Boston Red Sox…Mike’s track record of success speaks for itself and his knowledge in human performance is virtually unmatched. I read Mike’s first book years ago but hadn’t got around to reading his follow up book until now. A lot of the information/exercises/philosophies in the book aren’t exactly new to me as the programming at UNH is very comparable to the recommendations in the book. What the book did do was hammer home the reasons as to why we do what we do. I also found out that after spending more and more time in the strength & conditioning field some of the information in the book really started to “click” the second time around. For anyone trying to get into the strength and conditioning field or enhance their overall knowledge in the field, Advances in Functional Training is a must read – probably more than once.

Things to Read to Get You Over the Hump 3/21

Here’s a few good reads from the last week to keep you busy while trying to get through another productive day at work:

Improving Productivity by Kevin Carr 

Lets face it, we all wish we were more consistent when it comes to getting things done. We all have our days where we get a ton done followed by days (weeks) where it seems that we don’t get much done at all. Kevin’s post puts a new spin on being productive so give it a read.

Do It Anyway by Matt Siniscalchi

I’m not sure where Matt saw this, but its good stuff. It may take all of 30 seconds to read but is something we all need to be reminded of everyday.

The Myth of In-Season “Maintenance” Training by Ben Bruno

In season training can spark a ton of debate. Strength coaches are so afraid of overtraining that some may not actually give enough stimulus to their athletes while some on the other end of the spectrum and go overboard and throw too much at their athletes in season. Ben has a great take on the situation, a take that for the most part I by.

Strength Training Programs: Are Pull Ups THAT Essential? by Eric Cressey

When Cressey speaks, I listen. Eric is so smart that a lot of what he writes may be way over your head (and mine in some cases) so it might be a little tough to read. Either way, Eric makes you think as he does have many valid points.

Want Health? Listen to This by Martin Rooney

Really interesting post by Martin Rooney. The more that I read from Martin the more I really am starting to love his writing. Take a look at this piece, you’ll love it.

Defeating the Evil Chair

First off, if you don’t know what MobilityWOD is or who Kelly Starrett is you need to do some homework. The dude is brilliant and the site is chalked full of useful information that anyone will find helpful. The more videos I watch on his site and the more I read on his site the more I learn about correcting mobility issues in athletes and the general population – and the more I realize I still have so much to learn.

That being said, the other day I was going back over some of Kelly’s work and found something from the early days that I thought would be useful for a lot of people. Since I think it’s safe to say that most everyone, I may go as far as saying everyone, needs some type of mobility work, his site should be a must read/watch. In today’s world where we sit behind a desk all day while working and then come home and relax in a chair while watching television we run into various mobility issues, especially in the hips.

Basically we sit WAY more than we think we do and are bodies aren’t seeing any benefits from it developing tight hips/short hip capsules. The ‘chair of death’ as Kelly likes to call it. You need to start to correct some of these mobility issues from sitting so much – enter Kelly. Watch, implement, and fix those mobility issues that I can almost guarantee you have. It’s something we can do while sitting so there really aren’t any excuses.

Life on a Cruise Ship

Being on a cruise for the last week has been a great on so many accounts. I can’t complain about getting away from the everyday grind and not having anything to worry about as well as being able to get up whenever I wanted to. It also didn’t hurt that I was on a cruise through the Caribbean that made stops in the Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. Life can’t get much better than that!

Another great thing about being on a cruise is the food. Anyone that has been on a cruise, whether it is in the Caribbean or somewhere else, will gush over the amounts of food and the quality of food that you will find on a cruise. Unfortunately after a week on the ship I’ve come to realize that the amount and quality of food is both a good thing and a bad thing.

Because I am a fun-loving person I am going to start off with the good – food is everywhere and free. I’m not sure I have ever met someone who doesn’t love food, I know I sure do. No matter what you have a hankering for you can go find it somewhere on the ship. There are numerous buffets, a couple of coffee shops, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, a steakhouse, a sushi joint, Johnny Rockets to take care of that fast food fix, and a pizza place, just to name a few. Being in the Caribbean while having all that at your disposal for free…how can you go wrong?

But you can go wrong and it doesn’t take very long. As I sat on the ship and had a jolly good time indulging in some foods that I typically don’t eat on a daily basis (I could eat ice cream and only ice cream every day for the rest of my life and have no issues with it) while simultaneously watching other vacationers indulge, I realized our idea of indulging was a little bit different. If I didn’t know any better I would have thought some of these people hadn’t had a meal in months and didn’t expect to have another one in the upcoming months.

As sad as it is, I would say that maybe 85% or so, and that may low, were stuffing their faces at all hours of the day. They were hitting up the coffee shop in the morning for a coffee and a couple pastries before showering and then making their way to one of the restaurants for breakfast. They’d then make a stop at the buffet for lunch, making at least two or three trips back and forth before calling it quits on the meal. Dinner would come around and people would have a nice, hearty dinner at one of the restaurants and make sure to wash it down with a piece of cake or some other dessert they would see floating around on the dessert cart. Finally, as the night was upon us most would make their way back to one of the coffee shops (a little caffeine before hitting the bars and gambling the night away won’t hurt anyone) for some more pastries and coffee or over to Ben & Jerry’s for some ice cream. And don’t forget about all the finger food or slices of pizza people are eating throughout the day while walking around the ship.

Repeat this process 7 days in a row. Kinda gross, yet the majority of people didn’t seem to have much of an issue with it.

A little bloated after a day of food on a cruise

What you see most of these people doing on a cruise ship isn’t just indulging, its gluttony. I realize that a lot of the foods people are eating aren’t at their disposal whenever they want it in their everyday lives – there is something to be said for convenience.

I also realize that the food is all free which makes grabbing those pastries with your coffee before breakfast or that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream after a long day of eating a little easier. But there is no reason to eat like its Thanksgiving every single day for an entire week.

While on vacation have a great time and indulge in foods that you don’t typically eat. I personally made a trip to Ben & Jerry’s almost every day (I told you I love ice cream). What I didn’t do was stuff my face every chance I had, I instead decided to pick and choose my spots. There is nothing wrong with grabbing a slice of pizza, just don’t grab a slice of pizza six times a day.

I made sure to stop by daily

Moral of the story is this: moderation is the key – you can have anything you want but you just can’t have everything you want.