Best Posts of 2014

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Happy New Year everyone!  I hope y'all had a great holiday season, and are enjoying a day of lounging around in your pajamas.  Because after all, isn't that what New Years Day is all about?

Anyway, 2014 was a great year for me and this blog for a few reasons: 

1. Lindsay and I got married!!!!

2. I learned much more this year than any other year....not just about planning a wedding, but about Strength and Conditioning as well ;)

3. Judging by my site's analytics, I have a handful of more readers than my immediate family (as always, you're the best Mom!!)

So, before I spend the rest of the day nerding out on College Football (Roll Tide!!!!11!1!1!), I wanted to post my favorite articles from this past year.  Maybe you've missed one or two, and even if you haven't, it gives me a week off from writing anything new (I figured I might as well announce the elephant in the room..)

Anyway, on with the show!

 Dat. Salad. Doe.

Dat. Salad. Doe.

Changing The "Dieting" Mindset

Food and overall diet are the biggest stumbling blocks for most people out there.  And, it's one of the reasons that this post struck a chord with others. 

To be blunt, any eating approach can work (Paleo, Vegan, Low Fat, etc.) but you need to be 90% compliant with your eating plan.  Sadly, that's often the disconnect as we tend to overemphasize the healthy foods ("I had broccoli two days ago!"), and underemphasize the unhealthy stuff ("It's not like I eat Krispy Kremes every day......oh wait.")

Secondly, as I'm recovering from my first and only cold of 2014, I truly believe there's a link between diet and illness that many of us don't appreciate.  There tends to be this notion that having 4 colds and a flu during the year are "normal"....but nothing could be further from the truth.

Building the Case for (Heavy) Deadlifts and You

You're probably asking yourself, "Really?  A post about deadlifting?"

Really.  A post about deadlifting.

Deadlifting is often given a bad rap due to A) improper form, B) general lack of knowledge, C) people performing deadlift variations that are too advanced for them, and D) all of the above.  That's pretty unfortunate, because a proper deadlift is one of the best exercises you can do for your body.

Plus, if you're new to my site, you'll quickly realize that this video nicely sums up how much I like deadlifting:



Much like deadlifting, "core" exercises tend to be misunderstood.  Why?  Because the function of our core isn't to do endless sit ups, it's actually to stiffen and tighten your core as hard as possible. Spine expert, Dr. Stuart McGill, has argued endlessly that the more range of motion you have in your lower back, the higher your chance of back pain.  Alternatively, those that can "brace" their core and reduce that range of motion are much better off.

At the same time, I've had several people tell me how they can hold a plank for 2 minutes....only to struggle with a proper dead bug.  I don't have the heart to tell them that their minute long planks are useless if they're trying to build Channing Tatum-esque abzz.

Your Body is Not the Exception

One of my favorite interactions with people (and when I say favorite, I really mean moments that I hate) is when I ask them about a preexisting injury, only to hear that they've done absolutely nothing to make it feel better.  It's almost as if these people are resigned to having more aches and pains than they used to, and have accepted that they'll never feel 100% again.  If only we treated our bodies as if they belonged to someone else....

Finding the "Big 3" for You

One of the hardest questions to answer is one I get quite frequently: "What is strong?"

Is a 500 lb deadlift strong?  I'd like to think so.....;)

How about 10 solid pushups?  I'd say yes to that as well.  

How about being able to load up a car with luggage and not have to ask for help?  That's probably correct as well.

There's not one definition of strength, and sometimes we (myself included) can get too focused on a particular exercise.  Don't worry about trying to squat or bench press a certain amount, or even trying to perform 100 kettlebell snatches in 5 minutes.  Instead, find three exercises that you can perform with mastery and grace.