Author Archives: allan

December 25, 2017

Solving stress with Kraig Brockschmidt

Kraig Brockschmidt is the author of a new book entitled Solving Stress. In his book, Kraig explains that while stress is a consistent, persistent experience for most people. techniques and exercises can be used to help solve stress, not just manage it.

Kraig explains that stress occurs whenever there is a separation between what one expects and what occurs in reality. All people experience this. With any potential stressor, one will react. However, it is the nature of the reaction that one can control. The idea is to move the reaction away from anger and tension and toward relaxation and calmness in that critical moment.

Many of the popular stress management techniques offer immediate, but not long-term relief. These tips can be grouped into three categories within the Great Stress Exchange: Venting, Discipline, and Escape. These strategies buy time to avoid immediate and negative reactions to stressors.

A four-step process included in Kraig’s book involves the following prompts: stop, breathe, reflect, and choose. One should pause for 10 or 20 seconds and take a breath to put himself in-tune with the environment. Reflecting presents different options and choices, instead of feeling like a victim. Then an appropriate response can be chosen.

Kraig’s book includes a set of daily exercises to help people achieve a reaction of calmness. These exercises take about 20 minutes and include arm and shoulder rotations and neck rolls to help release stress and tension in the body. Meditation is also incorporated. By following these exercises, the brain is trained to know what relaxation feels like so that it can be triggered when a stressful situation arises. Over time, one’s stress threshold will rise and the intensity of a stressor that will push one over the edge will be very high.

To learn more about Solving Stress or to connect with Kraig Brockschmidt, visit To facilitate his how practice, Allan is developing a checklist of exercises from Kraig's book.  To receive a  copy of this checklist of daily exercises, join the 40+ Fitness Podcast Facebook Group and post a photo of yourself with Solving Stress in hand.

Another episode you may enjoy

The 7 principles of stress with Ori Hofmekler

December 11, 2017

Eating healthy on the road

It is that time of year when we get on the road to spend the holidays with family and friends.  Travel is a time of disruption and that makes remaining on a diet that much harder.  On this episode, I'm going to share some strategies to help you stay on track.

Driving vs flying

How you're getting to your destination can have a big effect on how you go about things. Are you driving or flying. When driving, you're going to have more flexibility on food choices. That can be a good thing if you take the time to plan ahead. You don't want to get into a situation where you're dependent on foods you find on the road. Convenience stores and fast food restaurants dominate the exits along the way and can be a huge temptation.

Take time to plan the route and pack food for the journey. I'll go into the what and how later, but for now, consider how long the drive will be and what meals you're going to want to have.

If you don't want to bring all the food you'll need, you should do some research. Are there healthy restaurants along your way? Know where they are so you can stop there rather than ending up at a fast food place. This will take some time, but it is a great way to make the journey a more enjoyable part of the trip.

When flying, you obviously won't be able to carry as much food. But the upside is that the trip will be much shorter. More and more airports are beginning to offer more healthy restaurants. A little time researching ahead of time will help you make the most of your choices during a layover.

Flexibility of location

Are you going to stay with family or in a hotel?

If you're staying with family, a quick stop at a grocery store might work well. Have a list of staples for your diet and pick them up on your way there. Offer to cook some of the meals so you know what is in the food you're eating.

Staying in a hotel? Do some research into the room amenities to see whether they have a refrigerator and/or kitchenette. This will let you cook many of your meals right there in your room saving you some money and helping you stay on track.

The food

I am a bit obsessed with my food packing. I have several lunchbox sized coolers that I can use to carry food with me. I can pop in a cooler pack and it will keep for hours. I'll also put in some of the food that frozen like bone broth and that will keep things cold for even longer.

Rather than go through all of it, I am going to share a video I did showing how I pack for a day (of work or travel).

December 4, 2017

11 Best home exercise equipment

When deciding what is the best home exercise equipment, you will need to consider three things (and I'd recommend doing them in order):

  1. What is your fitness goal? The equipment you own should complement your health and fitness goals. Otherwise, you're never going to use it.
  2. How much space do you have? Most of the equipment I recommend on this episode won't take up too much space (except maybe the rack). If space is really an issue, I would tell you to join a gym. Let them manage the space and all of them are going to have most of the equipment we'll discuss today.
  3. What is your budget? I'm a big fan of used equipment. So many people buy some equipment, all with good intentions, only to let it collect dust. They decide to get rid of it. You can often get good equipment for pennies on the dollar. They just want this reminder of what could have been out of their house. You win!

11 best home exercise equipment *

1) Resistance bands
Resistance bands are first on my list because they are so versatile.  You can take these with you when you travel and get a full body workout with just bodyweight and a set of resistance bands.

2) Jump rope
You probably didn't expect a jump rope to be on my list.  But for very little money, a jump rope is a great piece of equipment to have.  You can use the jump rope as a warm up, do some jump rope as a part of a circuit training workout, or even use it for a High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) session.

3) Mat
Yes, when working out, you're going to have to get on the ground from time to time.  Just do it, it is good for your mobility, balance, and core strength.

4) Dumbbell Set
Now is where you'll likely have to start spending some money. New dumbbells usually go for about $1 per pound. Look for used equipment at a store like Play It Again or look on Craigslist or local Facebook buy and sell groups.

A dumbbell set is also going to take up some space.  Some folks enjoy the adjustable types that don't take up much space, but I find them clunky and uncomfortable.

5) Foam roller and lacrosse ball
Yes, you should work on mobility as often as you can and having the right tools at home to do that can do wonders.

6) Adjustable bench
When I'm strength training, I find myself on an adjustable bench nearly half the time (okay, maybe more if you count the time I sit down to catch my breath after a set of heavy deadlifts).  But this one might fall closer to the line of “good to have” rather than “must have.”

7) Barbell and weights
Okay, now we're starting to get serious about building/maintaining muscle and getting stronger. That's a good thing! A good barbell and weight set will last you a lifetime. You can start with the cheap plastic covered concrete and work your way up. But I really think an investment in a decent Olympic sized set (Olympic relates to the size of the hole in the plates).

8) Power Rack
This will be the biggest purchase I'll recommend. I think power racks are among the best exercise equipment investments you can make. It allows you to push more weight with a safety bar to protect you. If you work out alone, and want to start pushing more weight (bench press, squat, overhead press, etc.), you should strongly consider getting a good power rack (mine even has a pull up bar).

Yes, this is a space hog, but I love it. It also gives me more utility from my exercise bands and TRX straps (later one the list).

9) Adjustable kettlebell
Unlike adjustable dumbbells, I do think adjustable kettlebells are worth it. They make owning a set of kettlebells less expensive and use much less space.

10) TRX Straps
The great thing about these straps is how they can make bodyweight exercises so much better. From beginner to advanced, there is almost an unending variety of exercises you can do. They are a bit pricey, so you may want to shop around for generic versions.

11) A tablet (Kindle Fire or iPad)
What? How can this be on a list of best exercise equipment? I have tablets on the list for a few reasons:

    1. If you're working with an online coach like me (, then your workout will be detailed online.
    2. You may want to look up an exercise video to get a feel for the proper form.
    3. You may use the tablet to log your workout sets and reps.
    4. You can use a timer on the tablet to keep up with your rest between sets or to time your interval workout.

Obviously going out and getting all of these at once can be quite an investment.  I recommend easing into it and picking up equipment as you go.  Spreading the investment out will also help you make sure you get the most use out of the equipment.  There's nothing worse than having bought something only to set it in the corner and never use it.

* Note: Each of the product links on this page is to an affiliate offer. I will get a small commission for each purchase you make. It won't cost you more and I've searched to find the best deal I could find.

Another episode you may enjoy

11 Tips for sticking with a workout regimen

November 20, 2017

Making it through the holidays

The holidays can be a very tough time to stick to your new lifestyle choices. We use food to celebrate.  Unfortunately, the types of foods we eat during the holidays are often unhealthy and fattening.  On this episode, I'll share some tips to help you make it through the season.

Pre-fill the tank

When you know you're going to attend a party that will have a barrage of sweets and bad foods, drink some water and eat some good fats, fiber, and a bit of protein.  This will satiate your hunger.  That way when you're at the holiday party, you won't be hungry and you won't eat nearly as much bad food.


It can be uncomfortable to be the only one not partaking in the pie.  Split the portion or just take a mini-portion of the food you want to eat.

Go slow

Don't do mindless eating.  Savor each bite, enjoying the flavor.  This also allows your satiation hormones to do the signaling.

With alcohol, have a glass of water between each drink.  The water will help you stay hydrated and will likely reduce the amount of alcohol you drink.

More movement

While you cannot out exercise a bad diet, during times when you are taking in more calories, you should make an effort to move more.  Take some time to walk around and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season.  See the lights and decorations.  Do some window shopping at the mall.

Focus on friends and family

This season is really all about being thankful and enjoying time with friends and family.  Make this more about them than about the food.  Don't stress about whether you're eating too much or eating the wrong things.  Enjoy the holidays!

Another episode you may enjoy

11 best nutrition tips


November 13, 2017

Self-discipline and failure with William Ferraiolo

William Ferraiolo is a professor and author of the book, Meditations on Self-Discipline and Failure: Stoic Exercise for Mental Fitness. William describes stoicism as a school of Greco-Roman philosophy that advocates the pursuit of living well and virtuously, and notes that one should only concern himself with the attainment of wisdom and virtue. By focusing on one’s own will, he allows himself to be at peace, leading to living a more valuable life.

When many things go wrong, people tend to attribute blame to the external world, saying that it has power to throw to derail one’s progress. However, the view of stoicism is that people can control themselves through their will and determination. Insufficient will power and self-discipline is usually what prevents people from accomplishing their goals.

In discussing failures, William states that failure from the viewpoint of stoicism is not the same as how society typically views failure. Specifically, the only real failure is a failure of self-discipline or will power. These failures are indicative of one’s character. If one does the very best he can and still falls short, he has not failed. However, when one has not done his best and fails, it is due to a lack of self-discipline. In this case, the key to making progress is when one admits his flaws and is honest about his failures. This awareness provides the tools to prevent the reoccurrence of bad habits in the future.

William explains that people should not be afraid of the big goal or challenge and should at least make an effort to move in that direction. Though many challenges appear to be insurmountable, it is not an excuse to not try and improve one’s self. With this, it can be helpful and healthy to acknowledge not only what is yet to achieve, but what progress has already been accomplished. William recommends turning everything into an opportunity for mental exercise and improvement.

To connect with William Ferraiolo or to learn more about Meditations on Self-Discipline and Failure: Stoic Exercise for Mental Fitness, visit to read some of his works or find him on LinkedIn and Facebook.


Another episode you may enjoy

On failure

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