Build Your Squat Episode 3

Brilliant Friends,

This episode of Build Your Squat is actually not about the squat. I’m taking you down a side street instead to show you a session of my training.

It’s body weight movements, no gym, where I use greasing the groove (GTG) and relaxation to build strength. GTG is a simple method to make your exercise sessions short, effective, and save you sweat. All you need is some space outdoors or at home where you can be barefoot and move freely.

You know I don’t train with shoes. That’s hard to get away with in a typical gym. There are other benefits that come with training at home or outdoors.

First, there’s no driving to and from the gym. This alone cuts long sitting times in the car, and the stress of traffic. Why cramp myself up in my vehicle right before and right after an amazing training session of my mind and body? To go along with this, I don’t have to worry about finding and paying for a gym if I don’t have the time and money to do so.

Second, I can exercise barefoot! I’ve had flat feet my whole life, made worse by cushy sneakers with insoles. Since I was always running around, jumping, biking, and so forth, my little arches got crushed! I had plantar fasciitis before doc’s even had a name for it. Seriously, as a grade-schooler I had these episodes of intense pain on the bottom of my feet after a hard day of play. So I take my barefoot time seriously.

Walking, running, and training strength and mobility barefoot has helped me, over three years, to rebuild the arches in my feet. Getting rid of restrictive shoes has also helped my toes to splay out more. I used to think it was slick to wear pointy toed dress shoes. Now I think it’s sick. Doing heavy squats and deadlifts barefoot accelerated my foot development.

Third reason I love training outside of a gym – I can go by my own schedule. I don’t mean that a gym would tell me when to train or not train. What I mean is that there is a natural ebb and flow to things that determine when I do end up going to the gym. For example, if I must drive, I won’t choose traffic hours to and from the gym. So that limits my schedule. Also, everyone else that goes to the gym follows a certain schedule. We know that most people go before work, during lunch, or after work. This crowds gyms at specific times of the day. If I go to the gym planning to do squats on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, it’s going to be hectic. And I always squat when I go to a gym.

So unless I want to train at dawn, right before closing, or at 11 a.m., the gym is not going to be ideal. I’m all about hard work, but I also make things as uncomplicated as possible. This make me more effective.

Don’t get me wrong. I love training at gyms. There’s nothing like using heavier weight, squat racks, and barbells. But there are seasons to life, and right now I’m out of gym season. Body weight training and greasing the groove have been wonderful methods this past year in maintaining strength, muscle, and mobility without a gym.

So if this you – no gym, no problem. Get outside, hit the ground with skin, and get training.

Live powerfully!

Steve

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How To End Fridays On Time

You work an office job and want to get out at a reasonable time on Friday. Start right now. Four o’clock is your cut off time.

Today is your chance to end this week strong. End with the beginning in mind. How you finish Friday is how you finish this week. The end of today determines your outlook on Monday morning. Think about that. But more importantly, let’s try it.

During my corporate stint, Friday was the perfect day to start thinking about Monday. As I finished things up each week, how I left the office made a difference. If I had my head held high, proud of the week, excited for the next, then Monday morning was fresh. I would be back the next week feeling positive about things. My energy and mood were better. I was more willing to get started.

If I left on Friday with my tail between my legs, allowing myself to feel like a failure, Monday morning would be slosh. As a matter of fact, the whole weekend would suck too. And since a lot of days ended like this, a lot of days began the same way. No matter how much work I did, and how well I did it, things would come up that I would allow to ruin my day.

So found resources in leaders like Tim Ferriss and Dave Stachoviak. I started to put a ton of energy into making those last hours of the last day a positive time. It did the charm. Leaving on a fresh note brought me in the next week on a fresh note. Toward the end of my short career, I was coming to work pretty pumped each day. But I had to engineer that.

Tasks

Choose a definite end time to wrap things up. If I wanted to be out the door by six, I had to stop taking on new tasks by four. Interviews, meetings, data collection, those things seemed benign and even exciting when thrown at me last minute. But then I would find myself at the end of it, hours past when I wanted to leave, tired, and feeling like I had been abused. That was my fault.

If you report to someone, check with them a few hours before you’re going to leave. Let them know you’re figuring out what needs to be finished for the week, that you’ve taken care of most of it, and you want to know if there’s anything last minute. Perfect. Now your boss has a final chance to throw anything at you. With plenty of time for you to finish and leave on time.

For everything that’s in your control, figure out what you want to finish and what you’re going to pick up next week. You need to determine the end for yourself.

Meetings

Meetings come in all shapes and sizes. Even random drop ins by people took up my time and pushed other things back. So it was important for me to let people know that I could not meet with them after a certain cut off point. I would let my boss know what I was doing and then either:

  • Request that the interrupter find and implement a solution
  • Say I was busy and ask for another appointment
  • Deal with emergencies if I could in a short amount of time
  • Keep my door closed
  • or Ask for an email summary for non emergencies

The key is to stop intruders at the door. Do not invite them in with friendly greetings or hesitations. Keep them at the door and you have a much higher chance of preventing prolonged, unnecessary talks or task assignments. I’m talking about your boss, too. Keep it delicate and polite, but assertive, and even your boss will learn to respect your boundaries.

Emails

At my cutoff point for the day, I completely ignored emails. You will think that’s not possible. Believe me, it is possible. And you won’t get fired. If someone has something so urgent that you will get fired over it, or they will, and they don’t get an immediate response, then they will call you. Or show up at your door. I did this for over a year and ended up with far fewer email crises, better face-to-face interactions, and fewer needless interactions.

Phone Calls

Where I worked, a phone call was usually more urgent than an email. I also engineered that situation to be so. At my cutoff point for the day, I did pick up phone calls. And my immediate greeting was curt:

“Hello?”

“Hi, Steve, it’s so and so. How are you?”

“I’m actually in the middle of something, what can I help you with?”

“Oh, then never mind, it can wait.”

“If you send me an email, I can respond Monday.”

“Oh, I need something today. Can you help me with so and so?”

(Non-urgent or can be delegated) “You know what, I’m pretty tied up right now. Can we ask so and so to help with that?”

More often than not, the person would wait to bring it up again the next week. In short time, I got fewer and fewer last minute requests. Either people stopped because they no longer saw me as the jackpot of last minute work, or they learned themselves to not have last minute work to do on Friday.

Every once in a long while, there really was an emergency. And I did have to stay later than expected to take care of it. But these instances became further and fewer between when I stuck to these principles.

Engineer the workweek you want to have. End Friday with a bang. Start Monday with a bang. And enjoy the weekends between.

Live powerfully,

Steve

P.S., it’s the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. Get out there and enjoy the outdoors this weekend!

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