Training at age 36
Updated: Mar 11
An annual summary of what age 36 looked and felt like.
Over the past 7 years I have spent time reflecting on the prior years training (in this case age 36), life and the components surrounding all of it, such as food, sleep, lifestyle, hacks etc. This year I’ve decided to share, albeit informally, my thoughts with the cyberspace world. Remember what works for me may or may not work for you, but who knows maybe you will have an Aha! moment or get a burst of inspiration that will catapult you to the next level.
Before we get down to business, I want emphasize the importance of awareness. I spend a considerable amount of time observing and through observing I make changes based on the results. For example: (random, not mine) I ate too late and had a hard time falling asleep; My digestion is normal when I cut dairy out; I lose motivation when training sessions are more than 45 minutes; I have more mental clarity when I am fasting; I enjoy working out prior to 12:00 PM; I feel alive when my day is full of family time, cooking and gardening. While these are random examples, if you are not continually “checking in” with yourself, conditions such as anxiety, depression, loneliness frustration etc take over. I feel organized when I understand what is clicking and anxious when things are not. A lack of awareness limits understanding why something bad or good has happened which leads to feelings of hopelessness. Awareness takes practice but with it you are able to be honest with yourself and actions moving forward. I always ask myself, HOW DO I REALLY FEEL? And for those that know me, I am the farthest from PC (politically correct). While reading keep in the back of your head, how does this relate to your background and goals. I would suggest not automatically thinking because it works for me it will work for you but if you are aware of your current situation and goals you may be able to fill some voids.
Me: Now 37 years old, husband, step dad of an amazing 6-year-old, and entrepreneur. 6’ 0, 160-166 lbs
My why: I want to live as long as possible. Along the way I want to build systems and communities that inspire people to move and live courageously. I don’t have to look far to see how f*cked up the world is but on the same token how lucky I am to have as many luxuries as I do- a warm house, unlimited food, water that is abundant and on demand (for now), transportation, safety etc. Times are good in many ways and times are depressing in many ways. Three main areas I am focused on improving are health, financial literacy and education. Currently the majority of my business ventures and energy are allocated to health. In the back of my mind, I am always asking myself how do I help One billion people improve on the dumb, sick, broke mentality? The health, financial and education systems are broken, how can I serve to improve them?….not complain. Onward!
Food: A complex but simple topic. Our bodies respond differently to what we put in them. The number of macro nutrients (carbs, protein, fats) consumed, activity levels, food intolerance's etc. BUT one thing we can all agree on is putting poison in our bodies benefits no one…… ever. I concur with the Andy Cieply (Co-Movement trainer) food rule: Avoid vegetable oils, sugar, artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Simple. But is it? Not really….. vegetables oils (canola, safflower, sunflower, soy bean oil) are in numerous foods. Sugar is in virtually everything. I consider starches and fruit as part of the sugar category and, therefore, I eat almost no fruit other than berries and limit my starch (potatoes, rice, quinoa, buckwheat) intake to pre/post workout or if I am gaining weight (rarely). I do not consume breads, pastas, white flour, whole wheat flour. They make me feel like shit, my digestion goes to hell, and there is 0 nutrients in these foods. Artificial sweeteners and preservatives ( Aspartame, Sucralose, Acesulfame K, Saccharin, Sodium Benzoate, BHA And BHT, Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Sulfite just to name a few) are hidden in so many foods. Be careful, there is more nutrition in Slime your kid plays with than these foods. So what in the world does Josh eat? I generally stick to a LOW FODMAP approach. A diet low in Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. In other words low in short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are poorly absorbed by the body. I fast approximately 15 hours a day meaning I eat in a 9 hour window, 3 square meals at 10:00, 2:00 and 6:00. I have found fasting to be amazing for many different reasons, the main one being it creates simplicity in my already busy days. Waking most days at 6:30 AM leaves me 3 ½ hours before I have to worry about what I'm putting in my mouth. With my last meal of the day being around 6PM, I have plenty of time left in the day to focus on family and play. The majority of my calories come from fresh vegetables, olive oil, coconut oil, coconut butter, almond butter, eggs, blueberries, wild caught fish, sardines, white meat, red meat, nuts (macadamias are my favorite), sweet potatoes (mainly after a workout), quinoa, rice, goat cheese, raw cow cheese, hemp seeds, dark chocolate (90%), and avocados. Quick blasts of calories if I'm in a hurry come from dark chocolate (700 calories per bar), bulletproof coffee (coffee mixed with butter and coconut oil), coconut manna, and hard boiled eggs. I enjoy cooking and spending time in the kitchen which is very meditative for me so preparing meals is not a concern. If time is an excuse for you which is why you don’t eat better quality foods, if the grocery shopping is done correctly, 15 minutes upon waking can prepare a quality breakfast and lunch. 30 minutes can prepare all meals. If you are really pressed for time I have found you can consume 75% of your calories from non-sit -down meal related food easily. (Avocados, berries, eggs, dark chocolate, almond butter, full fat yogurt, nuts etc) I enjoy participating in some of natures natural cycles of food harvesting. I like 2-3 deer in the freezer each year yielding
25+ lbs of jerky, and lots of burgers and steaks. I purchase 40 whole organic chickens from my good Mennonite friend in the summer, I make weekly bone and meat stock from the remains of the chickens, I harvest a years worth of blueberries at BlueBerry Brooke in Deansboro, and will take any organic canned vegetable from family or friends. As I get older and appreciate life more each year I am finding it harder and harder to kill a deer but at the same time I never want to lose my understanding and appreciation of where my food comes from so therefore the hunts will go on.
Supplements are quite minimal: I take….
-900-1200 MG of a magnesium complex
-50 MG chelated zinc
**This triple combo has made my sleep unbelievable. **
-900 MG turmeric
-Vit D 5000 IU per day
-Fish oil 3-4 Grams (this is high, not recommended for most)
-4000 MG MSM (Sulfur) **If I feel I have some small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) occurring or I have strayed off the clean eating wagon I will do a 10 day cycle of ….
4 drops oregano
4 drops on-guard
4 drops tea tree oil
4 drops lemon
4 drops grapeseed oil
Put all in a cup and take it like a shot 1x/day. Works like a charm to clean up yucky gut bugs.
If I consumed a poor meal, traveled or was in a toxic environment (fithly house, lots of air fresheners, dirty air etc) I will take 1 TSP of coconut charcoal which helps to remove 15,000+ toxins from the system.
I avoid all alcohol as the sugar/yeast in alcohol reeks havoc on my digestion system and alters my hormone levels. There is the saying “whiskey d*ck” for a reason, it wrecks Testosterone levels. High testosterone = zero/limited alcohol, there is no other way around it. For the guys out there that have figured a way around this, (high T Levels, non-dad bod, happy, hungry, horney) kuddos to you. All in all, 99% of my eating is on autopilot and other than food prep little thought goes into it as I’ve been tuned into this process for awhile.
Training: I seem to be quite obsessive in terms of my “style” of training that I focus on. Meaning I do not shift from one program to the next every few months. I spend numerous hours researching and when I commit I REALLY commit. I realized the other day I can clump my lifetime of training (started in 9th grade) into 4 periods.
Period 1 1997-2005: General weight training.
Period 2 2005-2013: Crossfit
Period 3 2013-2019: Ido Portal
Period 4 2019- present: Sport/Adventure Specific (Jiu Jitsu, Hunting, Rock Climbing)
Period 1: This phase of my life I was primarily focused on the barbell and any lift that contributed to bigger muscles. You know the average athletic high school senior wearing cut off shirts and looking at their abs daily, yep that was my group of friends. I call this the douche bag gym days. Lots of time spent grunting under the bench press bar, doing partial squats and smith machine work. I spent no time on mobility, non linear strength, body weight movements, spacial awareness, balance, explosiveness, etc etc…. but The true benefit of spending time in the weight room, and chasing physical endeavors at this time period was it exposed me to FITNESS. Kids now are exposed to vaping, I was exposed to Olympic weightlifting and the barbell. But all in all out of the 4 training periods of my life I was in the worst physical shape when you look at the total spectrum of true athleticism but I was 160lbs, lean and by most standards athletic.
Period 2: Crossfit was introduced to me by the Jiu Jitsu community in 2005 when I was training at Tai Kai in Liverpool. In conversation a workout called Fran was brought up and I was intrigued so the next day I looked it up, appeared easy and gave it a shot. 13 min and 50 seconds later I was in a pile on the floor gasping for air. I figured I smoked the workout with one of the fastest times but after looking at the leader board on Crossfit.com I realized the leader was under 5 minutes. Needless to say I was addicted and this consumed 100% of my training focus, including training for the Games in 2008, and regionals/open until a series of injuries and backwards progress in 2012/13 led me back to the drawing board regarding the next big steps I wanted my training to look like.
Period 3: Enter Ido Portal. I found Ido through a program I followed with great success called Gymnastic bodies. Ido was on all the forums and after watching some youtube videos I realized it was worth reaching out to him as his approach to “movement” and health was light years ahead of the industry and impressive to say the least. I studied with Ido for 3 years as an online student, attended 3 seminars and studied in person with him in Boulder CO. He transformed how I view movement, health, business and in many cases life. He rebuilt my broken crossfit body and gave me hundreds of new physical abilities. I remember submitting my assessment video to him and how embarrassed I was. I figured 8 years of crossfit training would make his program feel easy, boy I have never been so wrong. I summed it up in one word after finishing his first Phase of training…..weak. Moving into Period 4 of my training, Ido’s programming, and method still play a pivotal part in my weekly training and goals but is not the primary focus, it’s a supporting mechanism to help my achieve a few new endeavors that have sparked new passion in me….
Period 4: Jiu Jitsu and Rock Climbing. Training came full circle in January 2019 when I started training 3-4 days a week of Jiu Jitsu again. My prior experience in 2005 left a mark on me that I never forgot…how unbelievably strong and fit grapplers are. If crossfit had not consumed 100% of my training time I have no doubt I would have pursued that instead. So enter 2019, I knew it was time to return to the sport I once loved. At this point in my training I have spent 23 years in some capacity training, I was not one of those that “took off” 3-5 years. The difference in period 4 was my values have dramatically shifted with family and business being priority so even though I own a fitness company and gym I did not want to spend 5-7 days a week in the gym training. Andy Cieply told me a few years back something I have never forgot. Whats the point of building a Lamborghini body in the gym if you never drive it out of the garage. That clicked…..big time. I wanted to spend more time USING my physical abilities in areas more specific than the gym. So here is what my current (slight modifications always occur) schedule looks like….Jiu Jitsu training primarily done at lunch time, 90 minute sessions consisting of 30 minutes of live rolling. I average 3 sessions a week with a total of 12-15, 5 min live rounds. Depending on how I feel I may supplement some shoulder rotator work or knee stability work on these days.
My strength training is unbelievably simple, a method I learned from Rob Wolf. I do 1-3 strength sessions a week. I do not like spending 90+ minutes in the gym strength training anymore. I enjoy simple potent routines that will keep me feeling refreshed and strong. My current split is Day 1 Horizontal push/pull + Hinge + Mobility Day 2 Vertical push/pull + squat + mobility Day 3 Grip + Neck strength I will chose a weight that is 70% of my 1 RM and perform 2-3 reps of it resting 10-20 sec between sets for 10-15 sets for a total of 24-30 reps, then I will move onto another exercise. Example: A. Deadlift 2 reps at 225lb rest 10 sec x 15 sets B. Ring RTO push ups 3 reps rest 10 sec x 12 C. Tuck lever 8 sec hold rest 15 sec x 10 D. Straddle ups 10 x 3 rest 1 min
Total workout time = 20-30 minutes including warm up
Rock climbing: If I'm lucky I get in 1 session a week, this is more a hobby than a serious pursuit due to the lack of outdoor climbing in the local area and no quality climbing gym. Its no doubt an amazing sport that I enjoy due to being outside, it takes me way outside my comfort zone being 100 feet off the ground being held up by a 9.5 MM rope and requires precision focus, a true state of being present.
Aerobic: This mainly comes from the 75 minutes of live rolling per week at bjj. 2-4 times a month I will supplement my aerobic training with some long slow distance swimming. I enjoy swimming as its non impact, has a high technical proficiency, and I have access to an amazing facility at Hamilton College. I don’t generally run but I plan on competing in my first ever sprint triathlon at Hamilton College, The Hamtrek, this spring. So that’s it, 3 days BJJ, 1-3 days strength train/mobility, 1 ish day aerobic or climb I am continually doing some form of movement such as squatting or hanging throughout most days to supplement the above. . I like 1 full rest day of nothing tossed in there per week in which I eat a lot, nap and try to be lazy which is a challenge for me.
Lifestyle:Life keeps ticking by faster and faster each year which forces me to continually analyze where I am spending my time, energy, money and thoughts. I want to be with people I truly enjoy being around, and I want to spend my time according to our families highest values. None of us want to look back at age 80 and say gosh I wish I had chose a path I loved versus the generic one I settled for. Or gosh I wish I didn’t spend 50 years of my life with people that never pushed me to be a better person or to continually challenge myself. Time is the most valuable non renewable asset on this planet, I am focused on choosing it wisely. Co-Movement moved into its new facility March 2018 and has almost doubled its client base since then. We are now in an 1800 sq foot space which feels huge compared to the 900 sq ft space we were in. As you can tell I like micro spaces, simple spaces, ones where we can focus on unbelievable quality NOT volume and sales goals. A focus on quality has led us to where we are today.
We finished our new 1800 sq ft facility attached to Co-Movement for the Head Over Heels kids fitness and after school program August 1st 2019. Erin Glazier owns and runs this amazing business which is home to 85+ kids. She is giving rural kids an opportunity to belong to something special, be fit and happy.
Fit Kids Fit Future is now being implemented across Upstate Cerebral Palsy programs helping hundreds of kids improve their health and fitness levels.
Co-Movement is working with staff and students at Hamilton College two times per week implementing our training methods and building a network of movers there with free classes for faculty, staff and students.
Our family finished out summer of 2019 with a road trip that consisted of the following: Fly to Denver, spent 2 days in Boulder, drive 10 hours to Grand Tetons and stayed just over the boundary in Victor ID spending 6 days exploring Jackson WY and Yellowstone, drove to Bear Lake UT where we saw our first moose and then directly to Park City where we spent 4 days and “tied the knot” at Alpine Lake overlooking Park City with a small group of family members. The day was amazing, intimate and highly recommended for those looking to get married, keep it small and zero stress 😊 During our stay in Utah which we loved we explored a large majority of the state traveling from Park City, Ogden, Huntsville, Morgan, Heber City, Midway, and Moab. We left Moab driving 7 hours back to Denver to Fly home. The West is a magical place we love going to as frequently as possible. Jackson Hole and the Tetons topped the list for all of us.
I am focused on sitting in the sun for 30 minutes a day, even cold days, giving the sunshine the ability to touch my skin. There is numerous health benefits to this that can not be duplicated with supplementation. It has improved my mood, and makes me feel more vibrant after sitting in the sun. During the dark and cold 6 month Central NY winter our family finds the time to make 2-3 trips to Florida and one to Costa Rica to fill up our vitamin D reserves. When Florida or Costa Rica are not in the cards, 60 minutes of sitting in our sauna at HQ has been therapeutic to say the least. This is so so important to overall health and well being. STD’s something everyone loves. Seasonal Transitional Disorder. A name I coined that describes individuals who suffer from a change in seasons. Not joking, this is definitely a real disorder (because I said so lol) Transitioning Summer into Fall seems to be hard on a lot of people. Thankfully Fall is my favorite season so I look forward to hunting, climbing and fly-fishing. BUT if you find yourself stuck with STD then the number one thing I can recommend is find hobbies that excite you for the transition. If you don’t have any, find some. Also be ok with sleeping more or understanding why you are groggy in the AM when its darker outside, its normal don’t stress. My sleep is one thing I do not negotiate on, with the exception of a sick kid or some out of the ordinary exception (delayed flight, etc) I sleep 9:30-6:30 plus or minus 30 minutes. 9 Hours is my sweet spot. 7-8 I feel slightly tired and over 9 I feel groggy from too much sleep. .Remember this is what works for me. My physical activity levels would be considered on the high spectrum so my body needs a lot of time to rest, heal and repair. I wake up naturally without an alarm clock and do not have any electronics in the bedroom. EMF waves dramatically effect my sleep and so I am fairly vigilant in removing them. Waking up with no alarm clock, being happy, hungry, horny and a solid grip is a true test of recovery and hormone balance. If those boxes are not checked for me, its back to the drawing board….more sleep? More food? Better food? Less stress? Rest day? Better organized? Etc… This year I discovered in think best in chunks of 3’s. This has done a remarkable job at slowing my brain down and having me focus on the task at hand versus running the hamster on the wheel with no brake at 24-7. A few example’s of mine at age 36 Business: Head Over Heels Athletics launch, Staff growth at Co-Movement, Brand Awareness Family: Outdoor adventures, Take time for parents and sister, Be 100% present with Virginia and Asher Training: BJJ, 30 min gym sessions, Get outside when possible BJJ: Consistency over intensity, Defense-position-attack, Stay healthy Finance: Real estate,Business, Long term play There are more 3’s but you get the point. Basically if it doesn’t fit into the 3’s buckets I wont be spending much time or effort on it.
I have noticed a decrease in jet lag by wearing ear plugs during flights. An average flight has about 85 decibels of noise while a normal walk in the woods has approximately 30. The difference in noise is quite stressful on the system, so for $3.00 in ear plugs it was a simple fix. Apparel: One of the lowest values of mine is clothing. For years I have been frustrated with how clothes fit my body. BUT This past year I found Prana through the rock-climbing community and haven’t looked back. Pants, shorts, shirts, anything you need, it fits me perfectly and feels like you are walking around naked. I through out my Carhart’s, jeans, and 90% of my clothes that felt like aluminum foil on my body. I have spent considerable less time reading this past year because I get information overload easily and then find myself not taking action on what I read, instead procrastinating by reading another book.
Books I have read over the past year that were worth the time have been : Grinding it Out by Ray Kroc, Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, Find Wonder in the Ordinary by Bernie Freytag, Antifragile by Nassim talib, Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance, The Last Child In The Woods by Richard louv, Running With Sherman by Christopher Mcdougall Favorite Podcast: Joe Rogan and Elon Musk
Favorite Blog Post: Mr Money Mustache, The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement
I spent 30 hours driving from Deansboro NY to Aspen Colorado with good friend and former Co-movement client Matt Potter in the pursuit of harvesting an elk with a bow. One thing I can say is there is NOTHING exciting between Deansboro and Denver Colorado and if I can help it, will never do that drive again LOL. But it was a trip of a lifetime, we camped 7 days in the back country in some of the worlds finest country at 10,000 feet. The hardest part of this trip was FOOD preparation. We needed between 3500-4000 cals a day and it all had to be non perishable and fit in a small tote. I refused to live off the normal Meal Replacements that are filled with preservatives and junk food. The savor was finding Heather's Choice Meals, a start up company founded in Alaska that uses only real food ingredients at a very affordable price. My favorite was the buckwheat breakfast. Even though we did not harvest an elk, we did come close. We hiked over 25 miles at altitude with 50lb packs and caught some beautiful trout in the Frying Pan River. I will definitely be doing a trip like that again but most likely flying out and back 😊
Co-Movement hosted its first Costa Rica retreat with 17 clients in March 2019. It was epic, surreal and life changing. We have 18 pre sign ups for this years retreat March 21st 2020. If you want to dramatically alter how you see your life, need a huge recharge or just want to escape winter, I would recommend this 5 star trip to anyone. You can get more information or sign up here.
While I am an anti-consumeristic kind of guy, I have complied a list of books, equipment, supplements, apparel etc that has provided value in my life. Its all neatly compiled here
Overall 36 has been pretty damn good. I am blessed in so many ways. For those along on this ride with me, thank you. Cheers to 37!
Affiliate Note: Some of these companies happen to offer commissions for online referrals. Other ones don’t. This doesn’t affect my choice, but where available, I made point of using the right type of link so that this blog will get a credit if you end up purchasing a product. It’s a nice and fully optional way to help out this blog if you choose to do so while securing some new and useful products!