Sharpening Your Ax

There is something that most people miss when talking about success or living the life of their dreams. They think that if they work hard, and do all the “right” things that a big reward will roll their way and then they can stop doing whatever it was that reaped that grand reward and begin enjoying their lives. They miss the point: the work is the point.Not in some I’m-only-here-to-slave-my-life-away-and-to-live-as-a-drudge-for-the-benefit-of-others kinda way, but more of a work-is-why-we’re-here kinda way. The reward, the good life we all seek, is so we can continue doing work that matters.Work that matters. That’s intentionally … Read More »

Manning Up

Last week I posted an article to our private Facebook group for Agoge Fitness members. It carried the click-baity title: “Men Are Getting Weaker – Because We Are Not Raising Men” and went on to bemoan our current cultural inclination away from all things traditionally masculine (except beards; beards are cool), especially physical strength. I posted it to the group because I wanted to get a feel for our group’s cultural feeling toward things masculine as I have much to say on this subject. But first, a little background. I was born a middle class, white boy in suburban Alabama … Read More »

Embrace the Suck

This is one of those hyperbolic statements the fitness industry loves to “inspire” you with.Suck it up buttercup! This will only make you better!It’s not so much the sentiment that’s the problem. Frankly, sometimes we do have to embrace discomfort in order to improve. Growth is uncomfortable. Achievement requires effort​ and effort ain’t easy.The problem is how we apply this sentiment. We mistake embracing the suck of the effort to achieve our goals with embracing the suck period. A good life is balanced. We gear up, we do battle with our challenges, we do our best, and then we celebrate … Read More »

Death by Food Pyramid

In the late 1970’s, the USDA tasked a group of nutritionists with composing the nation’s newest guide on what to eat. Previously the emphasis had been on getting “enough.” The old guide, The Four Food Groups, was all about balanced nutrition. It basically said, “Make sure you’re getting enough of each of these categories of food.” But by the seventies, we had transitioned from a nutritional state of need to one of over abundance. Food was cheap and plentiful and this was showing up in our waist lines and our health as a nation.The USDA’s new crack team was headed up by … Read More »

Do The Thing…

Do the thing, and you shall have the power. – Ralph Waldo EmersonYou may have seen this quote posted on the white board over my desk. It hovers over me as I do the desk work that comes with running the gym and it reminds me that everything I want is within my grasp.But first, I have to do the thing.What thing?Any thing. Whatever it is I want. But to get it, I must first do it. This may seem daunting at first. Much of what we want we don’t actually believe we can achieve. We just wait, hoping like … Read More »

The Hierarchy of Health, part 4

Welcome to the fourth and final installment of my Hierarchy of Health series. The hierarchy as I’ve laid it out is as follows:1. Sleep2. Hydration3. Nutrition4. ExerciseYour can access any of the previous installments by clicking on the links above. I know many of you who have followed this series must have at one point thought, “Dave, what’s the deal? Why would you put the one element you’re most involved with last?”It’s true, exercise is my bag. I’ve made my career out of promoting its practice and trying to get as many people as I can involved with it. I … Read More »

The Hierarchy of Health, part 3

Today’s post is the third installment in a series I’ve humbly entitled The Hierarchy of Health. This hierarchy is, in my opinion, as follows:1. Sleep2. Hydration3. Nutrition4. ExerciseYou can click on the hyperlinks above to get to posts 1 and 2 in this series. It should be stated, that this hierarchy is based almost exclusively on my own personal experience of having a body these past 44 years, my experience working with this body, both as a fitness professional and as a human being, and a thorough reading of Google searches to back up my opinions and give them at least … Read More »

The Hierarchy of Health, part 2

Last week I introduced my Hierarchy of Health. This lists, in order of importance, what I consider to be the four elements of good physical health. They are:1. Sleep2. Hydration3. Nutrition4. ExerciseAnd yes, I’m well aware that this order is the reverse of what most people consider.​ If you missed last week’s post you can read it HERE. I received a lot of good feedback on that post and some interesting questions, which brought to mind an essential caveat – Your personal mileage may vary. For you see, each one of us is a unique variation on a common theme. … Read More »

The Hierarchy of Health, part 1

So, you didn’t exactly ask, but that’s never stopped me from sharing my opinion before.Here is the hierarchy of good physical health. These four things, in order of importance, will keep you on the road to good living.1. Sleep2. Hydration3. Nutrition4. ExerciseWhat’s that? Not the order you expected? I’m not surprised. We live in a culture that’s all about the doing. Work harder? Work smarter? It doesn’t really matter as long as you’re working. So when we approach our health and fitness we approach it from the reverse order. Over the next few weeks I’ll take some time to address each level … Read More »

The Strangest Secret

The third of Agoge Fitness Systems’ Core Values is “Never stop learning.” I try and embody that principle everyday. Given the nature of my work and the length of my days, I’m not the reader I once was. Samantha can tell you that once my head hits the pillow I’m not long for this world. I’m usually asleep in a matter of minutes. When I do try and read, especially at the end of a day, I rarely get two or more pages in before the print starts to swim and I get drowsy. My solution has been audio books. … Read More »

Eat More Fat

Eat fat to lose weight. For any of us who were of a cognizant age during the 90’s this is a very difficult concept to swallow. We grew up listening to Susan Powter screaming at us to “Stop the Insanity” and Dr. Dean Ornish telling us to “Eat More, Weigh Less.” The key to 90’s dietary logic was that fat made you fat and that to lose weight you could eat all the carbs and protein you wanted – just cut out the fat. Only, we kept getting fatter.Sure, I lost weight during the 90’s on a low fat diet. … Read More »

Failing to Plan

Failing to plan is planning to fail, or so they say.I am as guilty of this as anyone, especially when it comes to my diet and nutrition. These days I’m usually up at 4:30 am and in the gym by 6:00. Given my commute and the sloth-like pace with which I attend my mornings, I rarely have time for more than the obligatory grooming and making coffee before I’m out the door and heading to work. My first cup (travel mug @ 16 ounces) contains a healthy dose of either coconut milk (the canned stuff, unsweetened but with lots of … Read More »