Addition vs Subtraction

When learning new habits, focusing on adding new things, instead of avoidance, is much more effective. By focusing on addition, and being consistent, eventually some of the old habits you’d like to kick will take a backseat. You’ll be focused on your new habit that will snowball into other new habits that are good and eventually, push that old bad habit out.

Let’s say you want to start eating healthier. You proclaiming you’re no longer going to eat chips, drink wine, buy cheese or snack after dinner. The first couple days are tough, and you fight through. Then, on Thursday night, your friend offers you a glass of wine and you take it. It then becomes easier, since in your mind you’ve failed, to eat chips and snack on pop tarts and have donuts for breakfast. Since the streak is over, it’s all over, you’ve cracked the seal.

If we take the same scenario, but instead focus on addition, we can see a much different outcome. Let’s say you want to eat healthier. First, you decide that means more vegetables. You’re going to have a serving at every meal. First few days are difficult. But you get through it and accumulate small victories along the way. Fast forward to Friday night, a friend offers you a beer, you accept, with pleasure. You ate all 15 servings of your vegetables this week! The best part of this, even if you miss a serving of veggies, you have another meal, another opportunity to accomplish you task. So what if you missed, you get a lots of chances every day to hit it.

By adding new habits, we create smalls wins every time we check the box. It feels better than getting victory through deprivation. Then, when you want to back off and enjoy yourself, you feel good about what you’ve accomplish, so you’ve earned that beer. Opposed to feeling guilty for having a glass of wine because it was your habit to stay away from that stuff.

Subtraction can work to develop habits, but it’s challenging and not nearly as positive as adding something in. Remember, when we add something in, it has the potential to snowball and lead to other good habits and maybe, just maybe pushing some of those old bad habits out of the way.

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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September Consistency Challenge

Last year in July, we held a consistency challenge. Everyone wrote their goal on the board, something they would do everyday for the month. It was a successful challenge and a lot of people got something out of it. To develop new habits we have be consistent. A challenge like this forces you to prioritize your tasks to keep up with consistency.

How it will work:

We’re going to have 4 categories to choose from. Each one will have a couple of options of selections and we’re open to suggestions from you. We want to see measurable tasks that can be completed each day. The categories are

Mobility, sleep hygiene, nutrition and mindfulness.

Mobility will consist of doing a certain stretch for a set period of time, everyday.

Sleep hygiene involves looking at your bed time and the hour or two leading into it.

Nutrition will be about consistently making good food choices or adding something into your diet, i.e. a serving of veggies at breakfast everyday.

Mindfulness is about being deliberate. You can use an app to meditate, go for a phone free walk, or read pages of a book.

These are rough ideas to get the juices flowing for you. Keep an eye out on our Instagram page for more details and we’ll have a sign up in the gym later this week. Believe it or not, September is almost here! Let’s get back on track heading into the Fall.

Justin Miner

@porstmouthcoach

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Self Talk

The way we talk and think to ourselves can impact on our mood, perspective and what we’ll get out of things. Negative self talk can sabotage an effort to go to the gym or a healthy meal choice.

Marcus Aurelius’ quotes always seem to find me at the right time. When I’m overstretched, stressed out and trying to jam too many things all at once. I came across this quote the other day:

“Don’t be overheard complaining… Even to yourself.”

Self talk is important. In the gym, it can be the difference between a good set or a sloppy one. It can be the difference between a good workout and a bad one. It can shift our perspective and our attitude. Be careful of how you're talking to yourself, it may sabotage you more than you think.

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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Fresh Start

Monday allows us all to hit the reset button. Regardless of what you did over the weekend, on Monday, you get a new chance to start the week strong, come up with a plan, work on new habits and do it all with a clean slate.

Today, and this week, I want you to plan out your week with one consistency habit in mind. For example, my sleep has been a little all over the place. This week, I’m going to prioritize bed time and a routine around bed. You may want to schedule your 3 gym workouts, eat more vegetables or maybe even spend a few minutes throughout the day stretching. Whatever it is, you need a plan of action in order for it to work, otherwise, you’re just hoping that things will be different.

So what it it? What are you going to improve this week? What’s your one habit that you’ll be consistent with? If you find yourself able to dial in on one thing, I bet other, positive habits will follow as well. Let’s have a good week!

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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Another Question

Another Friday and I’m stealing the question from James Clear’s email again. Here it is:

“What are the most likely sources of pain in my life over the next year? How can I prepare or prevent them?"

Have a great weekend!

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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What is Conditioning?

The first time someone ever asked me that was yesterday. I’m often frustrated when people don’t understand there’s a lot of heart rate intensive work at Gain, after all, the name is strength AND conditioning. So while doing an intro session the other day, I said to the woman, we’re going to do some conditioning work to finish up.

I explained it as upgraded cardio. What I mean is that when doing conditioning work, which to be clear, is technically cardio, the main difference for us is that conditioning requires positional awareness - it’s more skilled. When we think of cardio, we often imagine someone at Planet Fitness cruising on a elliptical for 45 minutes. There isn’t much skill involved in that.

When doing a sled march, bodyweight squat, medicine ball slam combination though, you need to be aware of your positions, technique, breathing amongst other things. We’re moving the body through more ranges of motion, controlling movements under fatigue all while managing your bracing and breathing.

So what’s conditioning? It’s cardio, but more skilled. Meaning we’re working at spending time with elevated heart rates, but we’re also making you be aware of positions, motor control and technique.

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach



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Hydration

Not being properly hydrated can really mess with our bodily functions. Even the slightest bit of dehydration can hinder performance. Before you you go chug a water bottle, keep reading. According to a recent Time Magazine article, “clear urine is a sign of over hydration…guzzling lots of water is not the best way to stay hydrated.”

If we drink a lot of water, and are peeing frequently, we may not be absorbing the water, but instead just running it through our system. Adding some minerals to your water, like sea salt, can aid in absorption.

The researchers from the article recommend a slow and steady approach. Instead of pounding multiple bottles throughout the day, be aware of your timing. Drink water before and during meals. Consuming it with fats, minerals and amino acids that are found in food can help us absorb it. They also recommend a slow and steady approach. If you’re going to drink water all day, a sip here and there should be plenty between meals.

The final quote from the article, “Water if good for you, but you can drown in it too.”

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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Commit to Failure

We let fear of failing get in the way of even starting. Maybe it’s perfectionism, not wanting to be humiliated or not letting anyone down. Whatever the reason, we all hate failure. It’s uncomfortable. About 6 months ago, I travelled across the country to attend a seminar about leadership and development. The seminar really was about what’s getting in your way and how to get around it.

On the final day, we had to write a letter to ourselves. Yesterday, I got this letter in the mail, 6 months later.

From the letter:

“I will commit to failure. I will realize that I need to put the reps in to improve. I cannot quit when it sucks or it gets hard. I want to get better at writing and sharing stories and ideas. Don’t let being a beginner stop me in my tracks. Commit to doing the work. Don’t be afraid to really go for it!”

That letter is the reason this blog started. It terrified me every single day when I clicked the publish button. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the consistency and feared no one would read it. Committing to failing, and realizing if I failed, it didn’t have to be the end, is what’s allowed me to publish over 100 of these posts.

What are you scared of? What commitments do you shy away from? What’s stopping you from reaching your goal? Maybe it’s time you commit to failing as well.

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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Wait Just a Minute

You know when you finish your workout and you’re sweaty and out of breath? That’s the worst time to get in your car and drive off. Everything gets stiff, your body gets cold and you mold yourself into the position of the car seat without giving your body a few minutes to reset before heading off for the day.

I’m all about efficient workouts. I don’t think that you should live in the gym. We want to get people in and get them on their way. Taking 5 minutes to cool down after a workout can be a game changer for your physiology. It gives your body a chance to downshift into baseline mode, instead of going from one thing to the next and riding the stimulus high.

What can you do to cool down? Foam roll, stretch, mobility work, easy walk or chat with fellow Gainers for a few minutes are all acceptable answers. It doesn’t need to be anything too formal, just let yourself stop sweating before jumping in your car!

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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Capable vs Comfortable

Today, I have a question for you to ponder. I stole this from where I steal most of my ideas, James Clear’s email newsletter. It’s fantastic stuff and as someone who tries his best to never give away an email for promotions, this one is worth it.

“How long will you put off what are you capable of doing just to continue what you are comfortable doing?”

Have a great Friday and an awesome weekend!


Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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Balance Dominant

You know how you have a hand your prefer to write with? Brush your teeth with, scrabble eggs with amongst many other things? You’ve spent a lifetime choosing that hand for most tasks over your other side. The same thing has happened with your legs. Your whole life, you’ve preferred to stand on one leg more than the other, taken first steps with it, tested the waters on uncertain ground, caught yourself when you tripped and used it to plant into the ground to jump or kick.

This, unfortunately, results in having one leg that you feel rock solid stable on, and leaves us with a slightly less controlled, wobbly side. For me, my left leg is as stable as a tree trunk, my right side, not so much. In fact, I always make sure to demonstrate one leg SLDL’s on my left leg because my balance is so poor on my right!

Now, this is a simplified explanation of this. There are a lot of other things happening. One side probably has more range of motion than the other and doesn’t get as tight or as sore. Other factors can contribute to this, but a great way to make some real world change is awareness - try to stand on the less preferred side more!

I’m not sure your SLDL’s will ever even out, I’m sorry there isn’t a magical balance drill that will solve that. Through your awareness though, you can start to let that other side get some reps in and stand on it and try to use it just as much. When you get frustrated, remember how difficult it would be to write, brush your teeth and throw a ball with your non-dominant hand.


Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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Specific to General

We can have, or own, general skills that aid in learning more specific tasks. A simple example, learning how to read is a general skill that will allow you to learn something much more specific. A specific skill, like being discipline and committed to something, can be learned to be used generally as well. For the most part, it’s more beneficial to have general skills, like grit, discipline, patience, communication skills and movement abilities. It’s much more difficult to take it the other way.

Here’s an example. Let’s pretend I’m a world-class cyclist. In order to get that good at a specific thing, riding a bike really far over consecutive days, I need to spend a lot of time on a bike. I need to get really good at specific skills, pedaling stoke, power output, hill climbs, pacing, I need to get comfortable on my bike, learn how to ride in a peloton and become aerodynamic.

I would need to have all those very cycling specific skills to get good. The good news, and here’s the tie in to the gym, is that learning those ultra specific skills and tasks can be applied to other parts of my life, if I’m able to realize what the general skills are. I don’t need to know how to become aerodynamic to shift my focus from cycling to chess, but I can take the hours of practice, commitment and determination being on the bike taught me to help my chess game.

A gym example for you. If I learn how to deadlift a barbell, a specific skill since, barbells don’t come up in life much other than when in a gym. But that barbell can teach me how to lift a couch, pick up a child and give me the strength to go on a hike, run down the street, give me an understand of what is a safe or sketchy position for my spine.

The end game here is to realize that the way you move the gym can help you outside of the gym, but also, realized you’ve built the commitment, discipline and habit muscles by going to the gym as well. You’ve got a blueprint to get better at anything you want.

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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Step Ups

Step ups don’t get a lot of love in the strength training world. They’re not that complex and they are overshadowed by cooler things people do on boxes like jump on them. It’s too bad, step ups can teach us a lot about how we move, how to create tension and where our movement faults may come from.

Once you have your foot planted on the box, we want to never let it cave inwards, towards your big toe. A good cue to think about here is knee towards your pinky toe. It’s almost overcorrecting it so it in falls in a bit, you’re still in a good position.

That knee may also want to push too far forward, lifting your heel off the box. Don’t let that happen either! Imagine your foot as a tripod, big toe, pinky toe and heel. They should all be firmly planted when doing a step up. The thing that clears these faults up for most people is allowing their torso to drop forward. A slight lean, when starting the rep, will aid in keeping your lower body organized.

These tips will help you whether you’re doing step ups for conditioning, with some load for strength work or if you find yourself outside the gym stepping up on things.

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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Basics

After an amazing weekend of partying, staying up late, catching up with friends and family, today is our reset day. A day that we can get back to basics to get back to our regularly scheduled programming of eating healthy, keeping hydrated and getting the proper amount of sleep. Here’s what I’m going to do today to get back to baseline.

Exercise before I have my first meal. So controversial, I know. The true is, some people like eating before training and feel good doing it, I do not. I prefer to train on an empty stomach and time my first meal within an hour of finishing that.

Prioritize veggies. I’ll be sure to have veggies at all meals today to make sure I’m getting enough but mostly to start of momentum of making them a priority.

Caffeine. I’ll limit myself today to 2-3 cups this morning and won’t have any the rest of the day (uncommon) to make sure I get to bed early, but also to ensure restful sleep. Which brings me to my last category. I’ll take a good nap in this afternoon and then tonight, to get to 8 or 9 hours tonight.

Maybe these work for you, maybe yours are different. It’s good to have a few key habits to lock into when you want to get back to baseline after a wedding, vacation or just feeling off for a bit. Use these or come up with you own.

See you all in the gym tomorrow!

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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Thank You!

As most of you know, Hannah and I are getting married on Saturday. The Gain community came out big last night with a surprise party at Beer Night.

Thank you all for the support and love. It means a lot to me and was a great display of the community we’ve built and are all a part of.

I’ll be out of rest of the week, but look forward to getting back in the gym next week!

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

Thanks for the photos Laurie H.

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Gain Featured on Oceanside TV

Check out this short interview I did with Cristin Zaimes, a physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor health at Oceanside Physical Therapy in Stratham. Check it out!

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

Also, as a reminder, don’t forget tonight is Burger and Beer Night, our monthly get together for our members on the last Wednesday of each month. Hope you can make it.

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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Endure

After watching the 50-50-50 Ironman documentary, I was pulled back into Alex Hutchinson’s book, Endure. The book explores physical and mental endurance and how we are able to push through, go faster and dig deeper when we shouldn’t be able to. Like at the end of a race, no matter what, people usually have a little left to push it through the finish line.

If you’ve ever done a race on gone on a hike, you may have experienced your Central Governor. This mechanism in our brains limits how much physical activity we can do to prevent over working our heart muscle. It reduces recruitment of muscle fibers, giving us a sensation of fatigue in our muscles and most likely, slows us down or forces us to take a break. This may play into why we’re able to push a little harder towards the end - we know the finish is near so we can throw out our built in pacing.

For the longest time, we thought that the only limiting factor on endurance was what we could physically take. This view forgets about the mental aspect of endurance though. As it turns out, a mentally fatigued brain can effect how much we can physically endure. The fresher we are mentally, the more able we are to push physically.

Endurance is about much more than just what your heart or muscles can handle. There are a lot of physiological moving pieces that make this whole thing work. Understanding this, will help you find the edge, where you can push it hard but not too hard. When you’re gassed and you want to quit, remember, you still have a little bit more to push.

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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The Edge

Over the weekend, I watched Iron Cowboy a documentary about James Lawrence completing 50 Ironman Triathlons, in 50 states, in just 50 days. Wow. What an impressive feat of endurance. The part of the documentary that stuck with me was Lawrence’s quote, “I’m doing this because I haven’t found my physical and mental limit yet.”

For us normal humans, the gym is a place to test our physical and mental limits. We don’t need to find it every day (leads to burnout/injury) or even that often at all. We do want to explore where our edge is though, the line we cannot cross, cannot push any harder. If we know where that is, it's eye opening as to how much more we’re capable of.

Push your pace on the sled this week, put some extra zest on those medicine ball slams and put your head down and suffer a little bit on the AirBike. Try to find the edge, see where your limits are and what you’re capable of.

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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100

“Disipline is commitment to the process regardless of motivation.”

Logan Gelbrich, Going Right

Today marks 100 consecutive blogs on this site. It’s been a tough challenge. Sometimes, topics and words flow easily, and other times I stare at the computer screen with my face resting in my palms convinced this will be the day that I fail. Some days I’m pleased with the post, other days I hate it. It’s been a challenge of commitment.

Beside the commitment to share more ideas and develop writing abilities, I needed to develop some new habits. I write every morning. It’s not even a thought anymore. As soon as the coffee is done, I open up the laptop and start working on whatever idea is floating in my brain. Carving out this time, and treating it preciously, has helped keep me to it.

So really, 100 blogs is just a blip along the way. I’m going to continue to practice, learn and build new skills and abilities. It isn’t about staying motivated, it’s about being discipline and sticking with something over time. Just like going to the gym. Thanks for reading and following along.

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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When to Shut it Down

Knowing when to take a break, or how to listen to your body, is key to long-term training success. You probably have some clues that, if you’re paying attention, can tell you whether to shut it down, take it easy or push through and get your training in. Identifying these signs is a skill itself, and will take some time to hone.

I usually have a pretty good desire to train, so I look for other clues that let me know I should take an easy day or skip my run all together. The obvious one is how I feel first thing in the morning. Did I pop out of bed with excitement for the day or did I want to stay under the covers for another hour? Another clue is if I’m hungry first thing in the morning. I usually am not, so if by 8am I’m looking for something to eat, I may be pushing it a bit too much.

There is technology called heart rate variability that can help you identify your readiness to train. It measures the time in-between heart beats, the more variation the more recovered you are. When you have a steady time between beats, you may be on the edge of over-training. This can be useful, but if we’re playing the long game, we can sharpen our awareness to how we feel and bypass the technology all together.

Start looking for your clues that you’re running out of steam. If you catch it, you may avoid a gym burnout all together and your body will thank you for the break. Take a long walk, ride a bike, come in to do some stretching and rolling or shut it down all together and log some hours in a beach chair.

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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