Morning routine changes to optimize your day

One of the best books in this realm focusing on daily routines is Miracle Morning by Hal Eldrod. I follow a similar routine and encourage my clients to as well in order to ensure that when your mental energy is fresh (in the morning), you set the tone for the day.  

The Miracle Morning starts with your power hour. In order to have an hour in the morning, you will have to...collective gasp for most...GET UP EARLIER. Also, it is suggested that you get up at the same time every day no matter if you are working that day or not.  The power hour is where you set the tone for the day. It must be distraction free. The three tasks during this power hour are: move your body, meditate or affirmation and task plan. Notice, scrolling through emails, social media or spending an hour watching the news is not included in this power hour. 

#1: Move your body: Take your dog for a walk, do yoga, workout. Just get up and moving. Sitting hunched over a phone or computer first thing in the morning will not stimulate your energy. We of course recommend the Fire Team Whiskey fitness protocols. 30 minutes, no equipment or commute to a gym required. You can do your workout at home in your underwear if you want (no judgement!). 

#2:  Meditate/affirmation: Whatever you want to call it, prayer, meditation, affirmations or just positive thinking. Do that. Even if it's just for 5 minutes. This helps you "clear out" maybe some lingering negativity left over from yesterday or start processing and releasing any anxiety and stress you have about tasks that day. We recommend the app Headspace if you need guidance on how to meditate. 


#3: Plan your day: Write down the 5 essential tasks you must accomplish. Be specific. Don't just "check emails". Write down, check 20 emails in 30 minutes from x to x time. We all have hundreds of items on our to-do lists, this helps us prioritize just 5 essentials for that day and not feel so overwhelmed by a super long list of to-dos. It also allows us to end the day with many of those items "checked" off as accomplished and you don't have a list of 150 other things you couldn't get to staring you in the face, completely obliterating your sense of accomplishment that day. Make sure your essential tasks are focused on your current priorities. We all suffer from shiny object syndrome. The thing that is the loudest and most flashy is the thing we will focus our attention on, but step back and ask yourself, "Is this really a priority, or is it just the most appealing one I want to work on because its shiny?". Tim Ferris says to identify the one task you are dreading the most and make that #1 on your list. Get that done first because most likely, the most dreaded task is usually the most important one.  We suggest the Panda Planner for this task. It forces you to focus on 5 priorities for the day so it breaks it down into bite sized, not overwhelming pieces. 

One more thing about planning your day. Your time reflects your priorities. If you say working out each day is a priority, but you don't schedule and plan for it, then it's not really a priority. It's easy to "say" things are a priority, but never actually prioritizing time in our day to do those things is a reflection of how we really feel about them. 

The last tip is to set a hard work cut off and bedtime. Set an alarm to remind you to shut down your phone and do something to start relaxing you into your evening routine. People pushing their bedtimes back because it's "extra time" in their day is the worst thing someone could do. You need sleep. Sleep deprivation is directly correlated with very significant medical, mental health issues and even weight gain. Make your bedtime a non-negotiable. Use a blue light filter that is timed with the sunset. This will help your circadian rhythm naturally encourage you to get to bed. Better yet, use a meditation to help you drift off to sleep or a white noise maker that will help lull you to la la land. Better sleep equals a better tomorrow! 




Copyright 2018. Fire Team Whiskey®. All Rights Reserved.

3 Things That People Do Every Day That Sabatoge Their Health and Fitness

My biggest struggle when working with helping people improve their fitness and health is their staunch, white-knuckle grip on severe calorie cutting. Every person thinks that in order to lose weight, they must severely cut their calories. This has been debunked by research and they have to stop doing this! Here is the science in a nutshell that explains why this technique of severe calorie cutting is more damaging to your health and weight goals than helpful.

When we severely calorie cut our bodies react in a way to best preserve energy. This means, the metabolism slows down, less fat is burned and energy is diverted away from non-essential areas. Your baseline "minimum calories to operate" is set to the "new norm". It takes the body up to 2-4 weeks to make this adjustment, that is why you will initially see some weight loss up front, but it will peter out. Then, you are faced with the inevitable question. Should I cut calories again? Most do. Then the same process starts again. This time more systems are shut down, the metabolic rates slows even more, etc. What will happen is that eventually, the person cutting their calories will be so miserable, sick and lethargic (and not to mention hungry all the time) that they will eventually adjust their calories back up. Then guess what? Your "new normal" calorie baseline is still set to that low level. So guess what happens to all those calories coming back in above that new normal. You guessed it, stored as fat. Your body adjusted to operating at that low-calorie level. So anything above that is considered the energy that can be used later and stored as fat. You just shot yourself in the foot. 

My next pet peeve that people do is what I like to call "social hour" as their workout. I get it. You like your trainer a lot. You like meeting your bestie at the gym. Or you like making phone calls while walking. Problem is, you spend more time working out only one part of your body, your gibber jabbering mouth, that you are not actually getting much of a workout! When I used to work as a trainer in a traditional gym, I would just shake my head watching trainers stand and talk to their clients while the client just literally sat on a piece of equipment and did about 10 reps. Then they would spend the next 10 minutes talking. Then go and sit on another piece of equipment, so 10 reps and talk for another 10 minutes. This drives me batty! Time is the most valuable thing we own. If you are taking the time to "go workout" then...WORK OUT! You can socialize and workout at the same time, it's possible. I have had great conversations with clients while they are huffing and puffing and doing burpees. The point is, if you are not winded enough where it's difficult to talk without taking deep breaths, then you are not actually "working out". We recommend the Fire Team Whiskey fitness protocols which require no commute to a gym, no special equipment and only 30 minutes a day! 

Last one and I will get off my soapbox, is alcohol. That is the #1 question I get when working with clients. "Can I still drink on your Program?" The answer is, yes, but probably not in the way you drink. My Facebook newsfeed is filled with people who in one post show the plethora of umbrella-laden sugary drinks (and usually the subsequent carb filled food to go with it) and about 10 posts later complaining about how much weight they have put on. Talk about ZERO self-awareness. Bottom line is, alcohol is processed in the same exact way in your liver as the worst sugar: fructose. So alcohol has all the downsides in the body as eating or drinking straight sugar. When your blood sugar is high, your body releases insulin. Insulin carries that sugar into the cells as energy if there is an overabundance of sugar (which in most cases when consuming carbs and sugar that is the case), it carries those extra molecules and stores them as fat.  I consider alcohol the same choice as having a cupcake. Sure, its fine every once in a while as a special treat. But having 2-4 glasses of wine a night with dinner is not a treat. You might as well eat an entire cake. Its the same effect on the body. 

Stop sabotaging yourself! Make some gains! 

Copy Right 2018. Fire Team Whiskey, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

HILIT: Want to do high intensity workouts but can't do the impact?

High Intensity Low Impact Training (HILIT) is a style of high-intensity interval training that is focused on getting a person to muscle fatigue and/or target heart rate. HILIT is a just a specific approach to HIIT that reduces the amount of impact involved on the joints during the workout . A traditional high intensity style workout normally includes plyometric moves, which means the feet leave the floor. People who have previous or recent joint injuries, back or joint pain or bone infusions may have trouble doing plyometric exercises without pain, discomfort or even risk of injury. HILIT gives you the benefits of the HIIT, but takes out the impact movements, making them safer for most people.  

HILIT workouts traditionally have you perform an exercise as hard (or fast in the case of cardio moves) as you can for 20-30 seconds, then take a 10-15 second break in between sets. For strength training, this should get you close to muscle failure. With cardio, by the last set, you should be near your target heart rate. 

The benefits of using the HILIT methods is that it gets you close to muscle failure and target heart rate in a shorter amount of time. This is the most time and energy efficient way to workout. Sure, you can reach muscle failure by doing 100 bicep curls with light weights. You can also reach your target heart rate by running for an hour. But as the saying goes "Aint nobody got time for that!" The best benefit to a HILIT style workout is that because it is so efficient, you only need to workout for 20-30 minutes to get the same if not better benefts than a steady state hour long workout (or more). 

Research also shows that HILIT type training has many more benefits than traditional slower to moderate paced exercise. HILIT has been shown to stimulate a significantly higher, total workout calorie burn and EPOC (post workout afterburn) compared to continuous steady pace training. There is also a significantly better increase VO2 max, strengthening cardiovascular output as well as size and number of mitochondria, increasing energy production.

Here is an example of a mixed cardio and body weight strength HILIT Circuit. Remember to work as hard and as fast as you can during the 20 second work period (staying safe with your form). 

High knee march in place 20 seconds, 10-second break for 8 sets. 

Push-ups  20 seconds, 10-second break for 8 sets. 

Lateral shuffle touch  20 seconds, 10-second break for 8 sets. 

Tricep Dips  20 seconds, 10-second break for 8 sets.  

Sumo Squat no jump Burpee (see video clip)  20 seconds, 10-second break for 8 sets. 

Frog Pushups (see video clip) 20 seconds, 10-second break for 8 sets. 

The above is a 24-minute workout. Short, sweet and super efficient. 

Every Fire Team Whiskey® Fitness Caliber Program has a no impact version. So if you have any need to do the no impact version of the Fire Team Whiskey HIIT Workouts, we got you covered with the HILIT version! 

Happy Sweating! 

Copyright 2018. Fire Team Whiskey, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 


3 Ways to Bear Stress Better: Lessons Learned From Rucking

_It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it._ Lou Holtz.png

Stress management has been on my mind so much in the last year, as I have created this business from scratch. It's easy to get overwhelmed on a daily basis and I can certainly attest I have felt the crushing weight of the burdens I carry. That weight has almost broken me and deterred me from this path. As I work with our Participants, this is also a major theme for most. SGT Joe Snuffy, feeling overwhelmed by the fact that he has 80 pounds to lose and he just can't fathom how he is going to accomplish this huge feat. SPC Sally Joe feeling like there is just no way she will ever be able to fit a workout in her day when she is a single mother of 2, working 2 part-time jobs, a full load of college courses, and has drill this weekend. We all bear these huge loads of stress on a daily basis. Each of our burdens comprised of different things, but most of us bending with that burden, feeling the crushing weight every single day. 

If you have been in the military and had to do long distance rusks with 50 pounds or more on your back, you have learned some "tricks" to be able to bear this load better and reduce suffering. I am going to use some of these tricks to give you some tips to deal with the proverbial burdens of stress we bear day to day. 

#1:  ADJUST YOUR RUCK. BALANCE AND HIGH CARRY. The first thing we learn when rucking is that it is IMPERATIVE to balance your ruck load right. Put the heaviest item in the bottom center and stack the weight in a high balance. You want as much weight in the center as possible and for the load to be balanced. We also want to carry the weight set on our hips, not our shoulders. This allows our center of gravity to be lower and to not have to carry the weight pushing us down on our shoulders but balanced in the center of our body (our hips). What the heck does this mean for our stress burden? We have to PRIORITIZE. This is a huge mistake we all make with dealing with stress. We just spread out our efforts to do as much as we can all at once. The greatest, most accomplished leaders in history were very good at this. They carried HUGE burdens, leading countries, huge Army's and great nation, but they all did one thing: they focused their efforts on a few things they were very good at doing, and delegated or discarded the rest. This is hard to do. We all want to accomplish a ton. Take a full course load. work 2 jobs. Go to those social events. You need to pick 5 things that you can distribute 100% of your focus on and the rest will need to be put on the back burner, handed to someone else or discarded altogether. You will find very quickly that focusing 20% of your energy on 5 tasks rather 1% of your energy on 100 tasks is much more efficient and satisfying. Plus, bonus, you get tasks achieved quicker, and you can move on to the next one. I start my morning every day and choose just 5 things on my to-do list and focus only on accomplishing those 5 things that day. That way, at the end of the day I will be more likely to feel satisfied that I actually got something done! rather than looking back at 30 projects that I worked on partially, but never really completed any of them. 

#2:  YOU PROBABLY DON'T NEED THAT. One of the fastest lessons you learn in the military when rucking is that "I probably don't need that". Each item has to be evaluated for your true NEED and WILLINGNESS TO CARRY. In life, sometimes we get caught up in responsibilities that we are not really passionate about, we feel obligated to do, or we just damn well hate to do. I had this conversation recently with my sister. Two of her kids were on two separate softball teams. She was running herself ragged running them back and forth each to two different locations, practice schedules, and game schedules.  Then they got picked for all starts and would be TRAVELING to different cities for games! I had to intervene. She needed to seriously take inventory of her ruck and really evaluate "Do you really need that?".  Sometimes we get caught up in the "doing" and never evaluate if the "doing" is that valuable. After evaluating the stress this was causing her, and the fact that her girls were not going to be professional softball players, and why the heck would they need to be traveling all over the state playing softball games, they declined the all start season. It was such a burden lift! Sure, you will probably disappoint, even piss off some people you have to say "no" too, but you can only carry so much, and you need to really evaluate everything in your life and ask yourself "do I really need this?".

#3:  TOUGHEN YOUR FEET. The last lesson learned when first beginning to ruck in the military is nothing will help more than just putting miles on those feet and toughen them up. You need to create callouses. This requires putting the time and effort in and actually getting those blisters. Procrastination is the ultimate avoidance of blisters. We all have a million reasons why we can't start something that we know we need to start. It's summer vacation, I can't start working on my diet now, there are too many ice cream opportunities. It's almost the holidays, I don't want to miss out on all that holiday candy, food, etc. I will just wait for a month after New Years to join a gym, it's too crowded in there in January, etc. If you never put a mile on your feet, you will never toughen them up and put some of those miles behind you. START NOW. YES NOW. Sign up for the next .22 Caliber Group. Stop putting it off. You will always have reasons to not begin. There is nothing more important than your health. Nothing. Until you realize that, you will always be standing at the beginning of the trail, pack on the ground, standing there convincing yourself why you can't start. If you are not healthy, you won't exist. Your life will pass you by. You will miss out on the life you could have had. You cannot care for others needs until your own needs are cared for. You put your oxygen mask on first. It's not selfish, its biology. Toughen your feet. So what if you start the Program and fail. Then you try again. And again. You keep rucking and building those callouses until it becomes easier and easier. Then before you know it, you are walking across that finish line. Calloused, and tired, but also feeling strong and proud of how you were able to bear that burden. 

Copyright 2018. Fire Team Whiskey, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 


The top 3 mistakes people make when doing a HIIT exercise:

#1: Crappy form. This is the most frequent mistake I see when people are doing HIIT. Because HIIT is pretty intense and take a big burst of energy and effort, people completely forget about keeping proper form in their focus on doing the hard work. I constantly remind our participants that I would rather them do less reps and do them perfectly to form rather than have crappy form and do more. Bad form can put too much strain on the joints, work the wrong targeted muscle groups, and can make you susceptible to injury. 

#2: Intervals are too long. I have had people tell me that they do HIIT and their intervals are 40 seconds to a minute! This is not HIIT. Actually, unless you are some kind of Olympic athlete, it is impossible to go as hard and as fast as you can for more than about 30 seconds. This is just a law of physiology. During HIIT, your muscle fibers are working anaerobically, which limits the amount of time you can push before you start hitting major muscle fatigue and failure. Keep your HIIT reps to 15-30 seconds. 

#3:  Not working as hard as you can for the work periods. The reason for this I think is that most people are used to "pacing themselves" in order to work out for longer. With HIIT, you need to do the exact opposite. It's hard to wrap your brain around this new way of thinking during your workouts. You want to push it so hard that your workout is shorter. That is how you will gain the benefits of HIIT. The most important thing to remember is that if you work harder during the intervals, the shorter your workout can be! You don't need to be in the gym for an hour. If you are working super hard with minimal breaks, 10-20 minutes max is all you need for your HIIT workout! 


© Fire Team Whiskey, LLC, 2018, All Rights Reserved


FTW Cadre SGT Sanden shows us an amazing strength and cardio workout that is a challenge...a 300 challenge! 300 reps, as fast as you can. Get your timer ready and see if you can repeat next week to beat your time!

FTW 300 Challenge

Summary:   Seven exercises to be completed one after another with designated repetitions and timed from start to finish.  The goal is to complete this routine as fast as possible keeping appropriate form and safety. 

Warm-up: 2-3 minutes of choice

#1. 25 Pullups.  Overhand or underhand. For modification, use assist band or stool/chair. 

#2. 50 Deadlifts.  Barbell or dumbbells with light weights. Start with weight resting in front of Bend knees and stand tall.    

#3. 50 Pushups. Standard military style and modified on knees if needed.

#4. 50 Squat Jumps.  Feet shoulder width apart and squat to jump and repeat.

#5. 50 Flutter Kicks.  Lay on back and use military cadence style for repetitions.

#6. 50 Push Press.  Barbell or Dumbbell with light weights.  Bend knees then press upward extending the arms overhead to straight. 

#7. 25 Pullups. Same as the first set of pull-ups. 

Cool down stretch: 2-3 minutes of choice.

Notes:  Resting is allowed and reps do not have to be continuous to count.  The final number of reps will be 300.  Use a stopwatch or timer from start to finish to track time.  The modified version can do half of the totals listed to complete 150 total reps instead of 300 and then progress up to 300. .


© Fire Team Whiskey, LLC, 2018, All Rights Reserved

How High Intensity Intervals (HIIT) Changed My Life

About 3 years ago I was at my heaviest weight as an adult. The surprise, I was running about 15 miles a week and doing power yoga about 2 days a week. The inspiration for me to re-evaluate what I was doing for fitness was seeing a picture of myself at that weight. I was baffled by why I continued to gain weight despite my general healthy diet and more than average exercise. I started doing some research and kept running into this thing called High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and another similar approach called TABATA. So I began doing those types of workouts for my cardio and completely stopped running. 3 years later, I am fitter and at the lowest body fat than I have ever been in my entire life! I don't miss those hours and hours of running at all! 

The concept behind HIIT and TABATA is based on using the most efficient way to gain cardiovascular fitness and also to amp up the metabolism in your body. By working as hard as you can in a short period of time (usually 20-40 seconds), you can force your body to transition to anaerobic work and start having to turn to body fat to continue to fuel the workout. You basically blast through your stored glucose so fast that your body enters a kind of "emergency mode" and starts releasing fat to help restore some of that energy. 

What is even better about doing HIIT style cardio workouts is that you don't have to workout as many days a week and for as long. Save time? Yes, please! The American College of Sports medicine advises that if you are doing vigorous cardio, that you only need to workout out 3 days a week for 20 minutes (versus the recommended 30-minute moderate cardio workout 5 days a week recommendation). 

Why is cardio so important? Because it works the one muscle you can't work with weights, your heart. This muscle is the most important muscle you have! So many people avoid cardio like the plague because especially if you are out of shape, it causes some very uncomfortable sensations. Being very out of breath, sweaty, and even feeling a bit weak and woozy is not fun for most people. 

Getting in good cardiovascular shape has a long list of benefits including but not limited to:

weight loss

stronger and more resilient heart and lungs

increased metabolism

increased bone density

reduced stress

better sleep

improved mood

decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes. 

Remember, you have to work as hard and fast as you can for the work periods. That means as many reps as you can. You are not "pacing yourself". You are going as hard and as fast as possible (while still staying safe and watching your form).  Here is an example of one of my favorite HIIT Cardio Routines. 

HIIT Cardio

Jumping Jacks 20 seconds

10-second rest

Jump Rope 20 seconds

10-second rest

Burpees 20 seconds

10 seconds rest

High Knee Run 20 seconds

10-second rest

Squat Jumps 20 seconds

10-second rest

Ski Jumpers 20 seconds

1-minute rest. End of Round 1. Repeat. 

This is set one. Six exercises for a total of about three minutes. A good HIIT workout is 10-20 minutes depending on your fitness level. Repeat the sets with a minute rest in between each set. If you are just starting your fitness journey, make the rest periods a bit longer. For example instead of 10 seconds make it 20 seconds. Start where you need to then increase the intensity as you get more fit and I guarantee you that consistently doing HIIT cardio workouts will get you fitter, faster! 

And guess what? Every single Fire Team Whiskey Workout is a HIIT workout! Enlist with our Program and get on the path to experiencing the benefits of this life changing fitness approach! 


© Fire Team Whiskey, LLC, 2018, All Rights Reserved

5 Essential Items for a Home Gym (no matter how small!)

At Fire Team Whiskey®, we are huge proponents of "no location needed" fitness. If you rely on a gym or a location, you are more likely to have more excuses not to get in your car to drive to do a workout. If you are home, with everything you need to get a workout in, then there are less excuses. All of the Fire Team Whiskey® workouts require no equipment and can be done in a space the size of a fitness mat. 

#1:  A good fitness mat. Preferably one thick enough to provide both comfort when doing exercises on the floor or on your knees, but also to absorb impact when doing plyometric exercises.  Our favorite are the mats from MANDUKA.

#2:  Small loop resistance bands. These create great resistance to add some strength work to your routine with no impact. Bonus, you can get these pretty much anywhere, even the local $5 store. So they are not only cheap but a very portable way to get strength training into your routine. 

#3 Sliding Disks. These little babies look very innocent, but boy do they pack a punch! They are super versatile for every kind of exercise from cardio, to strength to core. Our favorite exercise with sliding disks? Hold a plank, place a sliding disk under each foot, pull your knees into a tuck position up to your hands, and then slowly return both legs back together to plank. You're welcome! 

#4: Push up bars. These can be controversial, but we find the rotating push up bars are helpful especially for people who are still working on wrist strength. It makes it much more comfortable to do push ups and floor tricep dips. The ones that rotate add an extra bonus of being able to add some different movement and range of motion while lowering and raising in push ups, which you can't get with hands flat on the floor. 

#5: Medicine ball.  You have to add some significant weight in your routine. A medicine ball (preferably a sand filled slam ball) is a diverse strength training piece of equipment. You can do everything with this thing. You can hold at chest level and extend it overhead for an overhead press. You can sit on the floor, lean back while holding the ball at your chest and rotate side to side for Russian twists. You can hold the ball in a bear hug and do squats. There you go, the medicine ball worked your arms, abs and legs with those three exercises. 

Happy Home Workout!

Amazon link to all of the above products mentioned above:


© Fire Team Whiskey, LLC, 2018, All Rights Reserved