We are meant to be explorers, navigators, problem solvers, and physical movement is a necessary component of a healthy, vibrant life. If you want to feel the force of life flowing through you, if you want to feel strength and vitality permeating your cells and nerve endings, then get out there! Pictures and life on the screen are only a snapshot of a world you could see, touch, hear, and feel.



This post was intended to be a not-so-lengthy anecdote about my first go-round with surfing. Suffice to say, it’s a little bit longer than I intended. The story weighs in around 4,500 words. So grab some coffee or tea – or beer, if you’re one of my friends ūüėČ

I would also like to say thank you to photographer John Cocozza for letting me use some of his awesome work to add a visual element to the story. If you click on any of his photos they will automatically link back to the page on his website containing that photo. Thanks, John, I really appreciate it.

Great Wave of Kanagawa - Hokusai
Great Wave of Kanagawa – Hokusai

I hope you will take the time (30 minutes or so) to read and enjoy this piece, and that it inspires you to lean into your fears, maybe doing something you have always wanted to do, yet couldn’t seem to find the nerve.

Click here to read.



bodybuilding-146225_640It’s no joke. The morning and evening news run a story on it every couple of weeks.¬†Time Magazine, Newsweek, The New York Times,¬†along with countless other magazines, journals and websites,¬†have all written an article or two on it. Every “health article” seems to say it one way or another: Americans need to exercise more!¬†

I want to put this frankly: physical activity is different from exercise. Physical activity can be anything Рwalking, riding, lifting, sex Рand yes, we could use more of it versus our increasingly sedentary lifestyle. But, an exercise is done with the specific intention of making you better, more adept to handle a situation; a fire drill, for instance, is an exercise. And, although it is physical activity, if we use fire drill as the exercise for the hasty generalization I mentioned above, we get: Americans need to fire drill more!

However, having more fire drills doesn’t exactly decrease the prevalence of type II diabetes, reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia, and help children and adults with ADHD – but, hey, anything’s better than cramming kids into desks all day, and taking physical education out of the curriculum, all the while wondering why kids can’t focus for more than ten seconds at a time.

This article is meant to argue that the majority of American’s, and humans in general, should practice strength training specifically, in addition to living a more active lifestyle. Here are some simple reasons to develop a simple practice.

1. You will exist in a stronger, healthier body:

Wait, did you just say you don’t want to be strong? Well, why the hell not? You don’t want to “bulk up,” whatever the hell that means? Being strong doesn’t necessarily mean being big. Sure, often times, the bigger you are, the stronger you are. However, strength is a skillful adaptation. When done right, strength training produces neurological changes that make you stronger,¬†not bigger.

Strength, first and foremost, is about making your nervous system more efficient. Pavel Tsatsouline is a Sports Scientist and chairman of a company called¬†StrongFirst. If you ask him a question about how to get stronger, and he is in a good mood, he will probably give you the answer through an old Russian joke. After you scratch your head, trying to understand the joke, you can go read any one of his books on strength training. The answer is “Tension = Force.” The more tension you create, the greater the force you can produce, the stronger you are; and this is done through training the nervous system.¬†It has nothing to do with making your muscles bigger.¬†In fact, they will become more defined, and – one of my favorite buzz words – toned. Why? Simply put, you can squeeze them harder at any given time, therefore, residual tension, aka “tone,” stays with your muscles. Hypertrophy, or muscle building, is something totally different (Power to the People!, Pavel Tsatsouline).

Now, in addition to making you muscles contract harder, and work more efficiently through neurological adaptation, strength training also improves posture by stretching muscle and tendons, along with reorganizing bone articulations. Using proper bio-mechanical technique through strength training is the basis for Dr. Kelly Starrett’s work. Dr. Starrett is a physical therapist and Cross-fit coach, who teaches a movement-based mobility system. He argues, and illustrates through his books and website, that pain can virtually be eradicated from your body using proper strength and mobility training.¬†However, this is only true if you have good bio-mechanical technique. Don’t fret about the word, once you get the hang of basic bio-mechanics, movement makes total sense. (You can think of it as coordination).

As a result of strength and mobility training, your body becomes stronger on the outside; therefore, it becomes stronger on the inside as well. Ultimately, a good strength training practice, with emphasis on bio-mechanical technique, will make you better able to do physical activity [i.e fire drills ūüėČ ] and have less aches and pains. Additionally, with a good practice you will find that your body craves certain types of foods, and, because you can do more with less as you get stronger, you will need less food to get through your day. Which brings us to our next reason:

2. You will have greater endurance and stamina.

As I just said, with a good strength and mobility program you learn to do more physical work with less effort. Therefore, day to day physical activities – playing with your kids, cleaning the house, walking the dog, taking out the trash, sitting up straight at work – require less effort, and you have more energy in your tank at all times. The same is true with more intense physical activity. If you are a runner, you will have the ability to run faster or farther, or both, depending on your goals and desires. If you dance, you will be a stronger dancer, better able to endure the stress of given movements. Once again, you will be able to do more with less effort, therefore, you will notice an increase in stamina.

3. You will have more mental clarity, and a greater ability to focus.

We are meant to exist in our bodies. The body evolved the brain to navigate itself through its environment. It is only when we are fully present, aware out our surroundings externally, feeling out and through our body from within, that we are in a centered, homeostatic balance.

You are putting your body under great stress when you strength train. This is why it is so important to ease into strength training with a coach, or an experienced and intelligent friend. But, through learning to endure this stress physically, you learn to remain present in your body; your pain is right here, you can’t run away from it. The body and mind are two sides of one coin. If you want more mental clarity, learn to stand strong and remain present, even in times of difficulty. Strength training teaches you that you can’t run away from the weight you bear on your shoulders, much like sitting in meditation teaches you that you can’t run away from yourself.

To conclude, everyone should have a strength training practice, just like everyone should have other movement practices, musical practices, visual practices, logical or mathematical practices. We are amazing, capable humans. By making us stronger physically and mentally, and by teaching us to do endure the stresses of life by remaining present rather than running away, strength training will give us the physical foundation to do the amazing feats we, as humans, are capable of.

If you have questions or comments about getting started, please leave them below. I will be releasing another post soon that is about how to get started with strength and mobility training.

Suggested readings:

Visit StrongFirst.com

Aches and Pains.

A simplified guide to eating.

Resources (also provided in the links throughout the article):




Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance, by Kelly Starret 1st Edition (2013). [link will take you to 2nd edition]

Power to the People!:Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American, by Pavel Tsatsouline.



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You can hear the sound cranking from the garage most mornings. A couple in their fifties walking their dogs witnesses a crazy man listening to loud noise, swinging an iron ball around, and hoisting it over his head triumphantly, calling it physical practice (sometimes called “working out”). Why can’t people be normal, the couple agrees.

But there is something about the noise, something very raw and energetic. That noise is the Willy Wonka of Rock and Roll, Jack White.

Jack is one of my favorite artists. I don’t know if he likes the title, but, I once read a Rolling Stone article about him, and the author of the article had referred to him that way, the Willy Wonka of Rock and Roll,¬†and I must say, the title is rather fitting. Jack’s view of art and music has little to do with polished technicality, Conversely, it seems as though he is tapping into something on a moment to moment basis. Although I enjoy polished, technically sound work often times, there is something to be said about an organic, raw performance.

I recorded this video the other day, hoping to capture some of that raw energy on camera, the way Jack would.

Still, no one can do it quite like Jack and Meg.


Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

You and your environment are one and the same.

Sure, we can define certain aspects of ourselves and our environment. For instance, we define this is my body and that is yours, just like we define property lines, and this allows us respect and privacy. This is a good definition to have; it is an important distinction to make for life to run smoothly. Depending on your profession, interests and hobbies, you may define many different aspects of life.

But life is really one energy, mixing and twisting and turning, changing from hot to cold, from intense and chaotic to smooth and serene. Therefore, everything about you – your mood and emotions, body shape and fitness level, your health, etc. – depends on your environment.

Have you looked at your environment lately? Is your environment helping you or hurting you?

His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, suggests that we spend some time alone every day.


Because while alone, we are better able to create our own environment. When we are alone we can find strength in our posture and breath. Our thoughts become deeper, and more meaningful, as our mind settles and becomes less turbulent. And we can remember. We can remember who we are, and why we decided to put ourselves here in the first place.

Read Also: Ask Better Questions, Get Better Answers; Come What May; Empty Head; Study Yourself