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BY DYLAN PORRAS

“Successful people are simply those with successful habits.” -Brian Tracy

If you are reading this I am very confident that we can both agree on the importance of habits and how it shapes our life. Good & bad habits are hard to break so why not start trying to create good habits that will drastically improve our mindset, health, and fitness??? Let’s dive right into this and hopefully make this short enough that most of you read through all of it!

1- MAKE YOUR BED

If you have not seen Navy Seal Admiral McRaven’s commencement speech I highly recommend you do. He starts by saying: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed” He explains in his speech that completing the first task of the day will encourage you to complete another task and another and will help you acknowledge that the little things in life matter. “If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right” Admiral McRaven isn’t the only person that believes this. Some studies clearly show that consistently making your bed will affect your mood and productivity throughout the day! Making your bed isn’t going to fix your depression, anxiety or other problems but it is a great way to start the day off on the right foot and get ready to attack your day.

“If you win the morning you win the day” -Tim Ferris

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sK3wJAxGfs&t=4s
US Navy Admiral William McRaven 👆

2- DRINK A GLASS OF WATER TO START THE DAY

Other than the fact that it’s super refreshing to have a glass of water first thing in the morning, there are a lot of benefits to it as well. (I prefer cold water but the temperature doesn’t matter). The glass or two of water in the morning on an empty stomach will help wake you up, help regulate your digestive tract, and of course help with re-hydration.


Your body will always prefer a glass of water than a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. It’s a small simple task to start the day that takes no time so why not add this in right away?? You win the morning you win the day, right??

3- SLEEP CONSISTENTLY

Now when I say the term sleep consistency, I don’t mean being consistent with how many hours of sleep you get. (Ideally, we should be getting about 8 hours a night. If we don’t we should start there.) I can go on forever about the importance of getting enough sleep and how it will affect your mood, recovery, and hormone regulation but that’s not the point of this habit. Sleep consistency is.

What I mean by sleep consistency is having your bedtime and wake time the same each night.

Harvard has done some interesting studies on this. Sleeping from 10 PM to 6 AM consistently appears to have a more positive affect on your sleep and hormones than just sleeping 8 hours per night but having the start and end times vary from day to day. Studies show that having consistency with your sleep times helps you get more deep sleep & REM sleep, which will help with our mood, hormone regulation, weight loss, bone density and so much more. Not only this but having set times will also help you fall asleep faster!

Why? Sleeping at the same hours allows our body to get in to a rhythm and/or take full advantage of it’s natural circadian rhythm. This results in a consistent production of melatonin, the body’s natural sleep aid, which improves the ease with which we are able to fall asleep once in bed.

“Sleep is the best meditation” -Dalai Lama

4- READ

Reading is one of the most entertaining things you can do besides watching How I Met Your Mother for the 10th time! Bonus…You can make it so much better by reading educational books and working out your brain!

We often train our bodies more than our minds and we should all aim for a better balance.

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge.” ― George R.R. Martin

The benefits of consistent reading go from an expanded vocabulary to better memory overall. I see parents constantly telling their teenagers and kids to read more but as we get older we shy away from it and waste time all throughout our day.

Adding 15-20 minutes of reading a day maybe before sleep is a great way to work on 2 out of the 7 habits on this blog. I use reading for learning and entertainment! I’m constantly varying from Stephen King’s books for entertainment to leadership books to improve overall. The amount I have learned from books ever since I got back into reading 2+ years ago is mind-blowing! It has been used as a stress relief forever! Why not add that into our daily routine??

5- MEDITATION/YOGA

Every habit added in this blog is here to help us improve our fitness, mindset, and health. This daily habit is a “Twofer”! Meditation is very much a part of Yoga! Do Yoga…and get meditation as an included bonus! Both will add mental relaxation and improve cognitive abilities.

The “normal” person lives a very hectic fast-paced life. Adding anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour of the day of calm relaxing stretching and breathing will help clear your mind. Remember we need to work on our minds just as much as our bodies.

“If you can learn how to use your mind, anything is possible.” -Wim Hof

Seeing that most of you that are reading this are athletes lets talk about the benefits of being more flexible. Improved mobility will lead to better positioning during lifts which will lead to more strength. More strength will also lead to faster times on our metcons which will lead to better aerobic and anaerobic capacity.

During my time as a coach at Blue Titan, I have seen an insane amount of athletes who’s main limiting factor is mobility. Adding in 15-20 minutes per day of stretching can lead to drastic changes to our fitness. Now, this is not only applicable to athletes. Don’t you think the more flexible and relaxed you are at 80 the easier you’ll be able to get around and play with your grandchildren???

5- COLD SHOWERS

A lot of people preach about cold temperature exposure. Wim Hof is one of them who I know a lot of you are familiar with. When Wim Hof talks about cold showers he mentions how you are strengthening your will power.

Cold showers have been used in the past to treat patients with depression. They help with circulation, improving the immune system and help release endorphins (Happiness hormones) which is why you feel all hyped up after a cold shower. The last fun fact on cold showers is that you tend to burn more calories with them as well!

Just like fitness you don’t have to go from 0 to 100. Start with the last 2 minutes of your shower at a lower temperature where you get uncomfortable and slowly make it colder and colder. Every day try making it colder and lasting longer! Deep breathing will help you get through it.

7- EATING A VARIETY OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

The reason I’m saying “a variety of fruits and vegetables” is because the best way to not being deficient in any time of vitamins or minerals is eating a variety of foods including fruits and vegetables. Thinking about eating as many colors as possible is a good way to start.

Studies have shown that around 90% of the US population is deficient in at least 1 vitamin or mineral. That means that if you’re reading this, the odds are your deficient somewhere.

Now, it’s admittedly tough to say where you’re deficient without doing some blood work but you are likely to take a leap forward simply by eating a variety of fruits & vegetables every day!

Many fruit and veggies are high in antioxidants and dietary fiber. Consistently adding in both will benefit your gastrointestinal tract, strengthen your immune system, help with hormone regulation and of course, lead to weight loss.

CONCLUSION

These are the 7 habits I have recently added to my life. Try to make an effort to add these or any other healthy habits that suit your life!

“Success is the sum of small efforts—repeated day-in and day-out.” —Robert Collier

If you need help implementing new and healthy habits, don’t worry! Blue Titan has you covered with nutrition & accountability coaching.

Visit ​https://www.afewsimpledisciplines.com/startnow


By Dylan Porras

Have you ever asked yourself why you aren’t getting the results you want?

Have you ever felt like you’ve been putting in a ton of work but it’s not showing?

In this 3-Part Article, I will cover some of the common reasons I see, anecdotally, for a lack of results (or fewer results than desired) as a fitness, nutrition and accountability coach at Blue Titan in Rockaway NJ.

Let’s dive in. 

REASON #1: SLEEP

There are enough books to fill an entire library on this topic and plenty of resources online so I’ll do my best to hit the major points as to why lack of sleep disrupts your progress (and more than most people expect!) and why it is the first areas of focus with my private clients.

The primary reason poor sleep seems to be related to poor performance and/or weight loss is its negative effect on hormones.

When we don’t get enough sleep leptin, ghrelin and HGH are affected most. Leptin and Ghrelin are the hormones that produce feelings of satiety or hunger.  This can lead to overeating, stress eating and an overall poor ability to burn and utilize fat while you are sleeping (did you know you burn calories in your sleep?!?!). 

HGH (Human Growth Hormone) is also known as the “Fountain of Youth” for its ability to improve health, weight loss, muscle growth and the fat burning potential of the body.  HGH is produced when we are in a deep sleep. Not getting enough sleep (or getting poor sleep!) and the resultant decreased production of HGH, inhibits these processes.  

In one sleep study comparing two groups, one with 8 hours of sleep and the other with 6 hours of sleep per night, the group with more sleep lost more weight AND performed better in fitness testing. After 14 days of this sleep pattern, the group sleeping only 6 hours per night performed WORST than the a group that spent 2 full days with NO sleep!

Interestingly, however, when asked how they felt, those who slept only 6 hours said they “felt fine”!

You may feel ok – but that does not mean you ARE ok.  So, stick to at least 7 hours of sleep each night to get the most fat burning, performance enhancing benefits possible.

Another study done by the University of Chicago discovered that the average person overestimates how much they sleep by nearly a full hour! 

As a private coach for over a dozen clients, this was revelatory and further justified our requirement of sleep monitoring devices like a FitBit to verify sleep numbers with our private clients.

The bottom line is this; Whether you are looking to lose weight, stay healthy, compete professionally or simply get shredded, you simply must prioritize sleep. While it is easier said than done, it is not something you can skip and get away with.  A lack of quality or quantity will adversely affect your desire to improve your fitness and health. 

Some tips to help improve your sleep are:

1. Avoid Electronic Screens the hour before you go to bed.

2. Use Blue Light Blocking Glasses (Blue Light, the kind from computer monitors, inhibits the body’s ability to produce melatonin, the sleep signaling hormone)

3. Sleep in a Dark Room  

4. Have a nighttime routine (set the mood)

5. Avoid caffeine after 2 pm. 

6. Go to bed at the same time every night (even consider setting an alarm to begin the process at the same time each night!)

7. If you must drink alcohol, go to bed 1 hour per drink AFTER your last drink (For example, if you have 2 glasses of wine, go to bed 2 hours after your last glass).

7. Consider sleep enhancers like Prestige Labs Sleep Multiplier or “Sleepy Time Tea” but AVOID melatonin or prescription aids whenever possible  

“Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together” -Thomas Decker 

Interested in Private Coaching?
Visit: https://www.aFewSimpleDisciplines.com

Why You Aren’t Getting Fitter: Part 2
By Dylan Porras

Have you ever asked yourself why you aren’t getting the results you want?

Have you ever felt like you’ve been putting in a ton of work but it’s not showing?

In Part 1 of this article, we revealed the #1 Reason (in my humble opinion of course), Sleep. 

In this article, we look at reason #2…  Nutrition!

Let’s dive in. 

REASON #2: Nutrition

You Can’t Out-Train a Poor Diet!

So what is a poor diet?

According to Crossfit’s founder Greg Glassman, proper nutrition is defined as:  “Eat ​meat​ and ​vegetables​, ​nuts​ and ​seeds​, ​some fruit​, ​little starch​, and no sugar. ​Keep intake to ​levels​ that will support exercise but not body fat.”

It’s simple but not easy. Let’s break it down a little bit.

Try to stick to foods without a label with as few steps to get from the farm to your refrigerator.  Unless you pick it by hand and consume it while standing over the garden, nearly all food is processed, so be careful of attributing “buzz” words to whether food is healthy or not like organic, processed or natural (do you think baby carrots are picked in that shape?!? Lol).  Foods with minimal processing and few added ingredients tend to be those most packed with vitamins and nutrients – the building blocks of a healthy system.

“Keep intake to levels that support exercise but not body fat.”  Essentially, if we are eating more calories than are body uses up to perform its required functions, whatever they may be, the body will need to store these calories (and they won’t be stored as sexy muscle). 

Discovering the correct formula for calories requires daily monitoring for a period of time until you, quite literally, discover the approximate amount you can recreate will relative accuracy and consistency. The last word, consistency, is key to success.  If eating an apple a day produced fitness, you could not eat a snickers bar 6 days a week and 7 apples on Sunday.  We recommend hiring a coach to help you with this and you can learn more at https://www.aFewSimpleDisciplines.com

Avoiding Sugar and Starch is perhaps the most important part of Coach Glassman’s definition for proper nutrition.  According to a paper called “The Deadly Triad”, that Glassman’s uses as the foundation for his nutrition guidance, hypertriglyceridemia (high blood sugar) leads to disease. So while we all desire a sexy body on the outside, it’s also important we have a sexy body on the inside, and that means avoiding Cardiac Heart Disease, Type II Diabetes and other preventable diseases.  Since sugar and starch raise blood sugar levels, we should avoid consuming these with any high degree of regularity.

Now you may ask yourself, how do I know if I’m eating the right foods or the right amounts? 

As coaches, we know you cannot answer this without objectively recording and analyzing data.  This means recording your nutrition intake and your activity levels, recording the resultant output (physical appearance changes, body weight and composition changes, energy and mood changes) and making objective changes to your nutrition and activity levels in order to get you closer to your results. You might even consider a blood test to measure hormone and nutrient levels. 

Nutrition is perhaps the most complicated component to healthy living.  These general guidelines should help get you started and point you in the general direction but each person is different and it is our recommendation that you use a coach to help you hone in on what works best for you. 

“A healthy outside begins from the inside.” – Robert Urich 

By: Cheryl Katz

When this school year began, I looked at my son and thought “How the hell did that happen?”.

Everyone tells you high school zooms by, but you really have to experience it for yourself. At least once per day, I would see him and think “three years and he’s gone”, and then have to accept the reality of how quickly those three years would go by, especially with his budding social life, sports commitments, and massive amounts of homework.

Oh, if only there were a way to slow things down and have the opportunity to create more memories together….. 

Well…..be careful what you wish for. Sometimes, you put the question out there and the universe provides an answer, although it may not be the answer you were expecting or could even conceive of.

For all the medical professionals, police officers, and many others who have been shouldering the burden of this pandemic, life has most likely become more harried and more chaotic over the past couple of weeks. The rest of us can show our gratitude by providing whatever supplies and support we can muster, and re-prioritizing the type of work we tend to value in our society.

But for many of us who haven’t been on the front lines of this thing, and who have been fortunate enough to stay well and financially stable, we find ourselves with a sudden abundance of the most precious commodity known to mankind. Time.

I have to admit for the first week or so, I just decompressed. I started cooking and baking every day, I watched a lot of movies, finished all the books on my night table, and spent glorious hours with my children doing nothing. I was reintroduced to my old friend “stillness”. It was a bit like coming home or returning to a natural state of homeostasis.

But as we make our way into week three, I find my energies restored and my mind gravitating toward larger questions. I have been reading a lot of sociology and theology, searching the great minds of our time for a deeper understanding of our world. And then two days ago, I woke up in the morning and for some reason, the very first thought that popped into my head was the Krav Maga symbol. Strange right? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how incredibly pertinent it is right now.

For those of you who don’t know, the Krav Maga logo consists of the letters K (Kuf) and M (Mem) written in Hebrew. The two letters are intertwined and surrounded by a circle. But the circle has an opening on the top and on the bottom because the system is always open to improvement. There is a space for old ideas to flow out and new, better ideas to flow in.

Wow. Think about that. Not just for Krav Maga, but for our lives.

I’m betting each of us has cleaned out at least one drawer, closet, or room since our social distancing quarantine began. Perhaps it’s also time for some “out with the old, in with the new” in our minds and in our spirits as well.

To do this in a meaningful way is much harder than tossing out old bills from 2004. It involves work: deep introspection, brutal honesty, and perhaps letting go of some ideas that have given us a false sense of security for some time.

It means looking closely and critically at yourself and the world around you, asking the hard questions, and in today’s day and age, being very discerning and careful about where you seek out the answers.

I see the opportunity to do this as a great gift.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking a lot about how I want my life to be when things return to normal, and I have come to the conclusion that although it’s definitely not what I have now (I miss Blue Titan!!), it’s certainly not what I had before either. 

I have felt for some time that humanity has been spinning out of control, and I have been going right along with it. Perhaps the silver lining of this time is the chance to hit the reset button. This begins on an individual level, but if this pandemic has taught us anything worth knowing, it has taught us that we are all connected.

So I for one will take advantage of this time to envision the kind of community, country, and planet I want to live in–what needs to go out of the circle and what needs to come in—and face myself squarely in the mirror and ask myself just how much I am willing to contribute to bring these changes to fruition.

How you respond to a crisis–the qualities you exemplify as you forge your way through challenges– says a lot about who you are. But I would say that who you become on the other side—and whether you can remain that person well after the storm has passed–says even more.

Kida.


By Dylan Porras

Have you ever asked yourself why you aren’t getting the results you want?

Have you ever felt like you’ve been putting in a ton of work but it’s not showing?

In Part 1 of this article, we revealed the #1 Reason (in my humble opinion of course), Sleep. 

In this article, we look at reason #2…  Nutrition!

Let’s dive in. 

REASON #3: TRAINING!

This is a tough topic to talk about in a post like this because it depends a lot on what kind of results you are looking for. Whether you’re looking just to stay healthy, get shredded, compete, or just do it to lose a few pounds the amount of training will vary but I’ll try to keep it general and broad. 

Here are some questions you should ask yourself?

 1. Am I training enough?

2.  Am I training hard enough?

3.  Am I training too hard? 

Are you training enough?
If you are looking to compete in the sport of CrossFit or just get shredded but you are only training 2-3x per week, the answer is no. On the other hand, if you’re just looking maintain the fitness level you are at (assuming you nutrition and recovery is solid), or perhaps even lose a few pounds, 3x a week is a solid place to start and will likely keep you on track.

So the more apropos question to ask yourself is: Are you training enough for your goal?\

Are you training hard enough?
Intensity may be the single most important factor for ensuring you the most “bang for your buck”.  Walking a mile in 20 minutes or sprinting it in 5 minutes will produce two very different results despite being the exact same distance.  Whether you are training CrossFit, Krav Maga or Zumba, intensity is the single most important factor for getting the results you are after within the fitness component of your training. 

What’s so hard about intensity? 

In the words of Greg Glassman, the Co-founder of Crossfit “It f&@$ing sucks.”.

Yes, it sucks.  That’s why Coach Lloyd calls it the “Pain Cave”; but, if you want results, that is where you need to live.   So ask yourself when you’re training, “Am I training hard enough?”.

Are you overtraining?
Rest is a muscle and we must work it if we are to take full advantage of the time we spend exercising the rest of the actual muscles of our body.  This seems counterintuitive to the novice or even the intermediate athlete.  Navy SEALs don’t rest and they are the baddest MFers on the planet!  Jordan never rested and he was the greatest to ever play. 

Or did they rest?

The truth is, rest is and will always be part of a Navy SEALs training regiment as well as the greatest sports players on earth.  Why?  Because it’s a non-negotiable requirement for making sure you are getting the most growth out of your training.

*This is not to be confused with BUD/s, the Navy SEAL training program, which tests a man’s mental endurance far more than their physical*

Plainly spoken, sometimes the best thing we can do for our bodies is nothing, especially if the answer to the first two questions, Am I training enough and Am I training hard enough, are yes!

Not sure what the answers are in your own training program?  Grab a call with one of our coaches and get some advice from a professional. 

Looking to take your training to the NEXT level and reveal the best version of yourself?  Check out our 1-on-1 coaching program at: https://www.aFewSimpleDisciplines.com

Because it does!

By Dylan Porras

We all want to avoid getting sick, and it doesn’t take a global pandemic for us to understand the importance of a healthy immune system…  But it doesn’t hurt! 

In this post, I’ll go over the top vitamins (micronutrients) available in a balanced nutrition plan to strengthen your body’s immune system response. Think of it like upgrading your cellular Army’s weapon systems!

VITAMIN D  

Vitamin D works with T Cells, the body’s natural virus killing cells, to fight off infection and disease. Unfortunately, there are only a few food soures, so nearly 50% of Americans are currently deficient! Vitamin D is found in milk, fortified rice, canned tuna and salmon.

Vitamin D can also be accessed when UVB rays from sunlight hit your skin through a reaction with cholesterol.  Be mindful, however, because sunlight exposure comes with its own risks as well. According to a study in the UK, 13 minutes of sunlight at noon 3 times weekly is sufficient to maintain healthy levels among adults.

VITAMIN A & E  

Deficiency in Vitamins A & E is rare as they are found in many of the foods we consume daily; but, they are will worth mentioning as they play an important part of our body’s immune system.  

Vitamins A and E (along with C) help to maintain the structure and function of mucus cells lining the respiratory and digestive tract, acting as a barrier to infection.  Vitamin A also helps with organ function and Vitamin E with the slowing down of the cellular aging process. 

Vitamin A and E are found in colorful fruits and vegetables (especially purple, blue, orange and yellow).  They are fat soluble, so watch it, because too much of these can be a bad thing!

B VITAMINS

B vitamins include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, biotin and pantothenic acid (try saying that 5 times fast!).  Collectively, they perform a variety of cellular functions but what’s important for this article is that a deficiency in B vitamins has been linked to an impaired immune response. 

Diets rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables will help you hit you daily needs.

SELENIUM

Studies have demonstrated that increased blood levels of selenium are associated with enhanced immune response. Selenium can be found in walnuts, tuna, beef and chicken. 

Zinc

Plainly spoken, the body’s immune system REQUIRES Zinc in order to fight infection.  Zinc is not stored in the body, so it is crucial your diet include seafood, meat, seeds or dairy.  It is found primarily in meats so vegans should be extra cautious and consider supplementation.  According to the National Institute of Health, even mildly low levels of zinc can impair your immune system response!

Iron 

Iron is a fundamental element in the normal development of the immune system. It is necessary for the proliferation and maturation of lymphocytes responsible for fighting infection.  Iron is found in meat, fish, chicken, beans, some fruit and vegetables.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids are known to suppress inflammation, which is why they are often used to aid the body’s response to disorders like Crohn’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis. Find these healthy fats in walnuts, chia, flax seeds, and fatty fish.

Tips to avoiding nutrient deficiencies…

  1. Adding nuts & seeds as a snack a few times a week 
  2. Eating a variety of colorful fruits & vegetables at each meal (more vegetables than fruit) 
  3. Taking a tablespoon of elderberry syrup per day (contains vitamins A, C, folate, calcium, and iron)
  4. Eating a variety of proteins (beef, chicken, fish, eggs, etc..) 

Here are some steps we can take to add all these vitamins and minerals to help boost our immune system: 

And of course, taking a Daily Multi-Vitamin like Prestige Labs Vitality!

Conclusion

Currently, about 90% of Americans are deficient in at least 1 nutrient.  At the conclusion of the COVID-19 Quarantine, I highly recommend requesting an annual physical if you have not had one recently and include blood testing with the specific request of checking micronutrient levels (not all blood tests may include this). A quick review of the results will help you discern whether or not you have a deficiency somewhere and how best focus your efforts.

In the meantime, eat a balanced nutrition plan with a varied source of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and protein sources.  Though…I suppose if that was easy we wouldn’t have a population with such high cases of nutrient deficiency…

Want more help?  Schedule a free 1-on-1 nutrition consultation with a coach today! 

Visit: https://www.afewsimpledisciplines.com for more…

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