Building a Home Gym

I was going to write a post on how to build a home gym, but I realized that Jocko Willink basically put together a nearly identical list to purchase.

Here are the places where I’ve moved from his recommendations:

  1. Instead of the Concept 2 rower I went with an AirDyne AD6. These are in the same family: the crucial thing is the whole-body movement with fan-driven resistance.
  2. I don’t have medicine balls in my current gym: I have in the past. Right now I’m focused on the “Loaded Carry” family that Dan John talks about so I have farmer’s bars and a Rep-Fitness sled (prowler-like) in the backyard.

The basics are the basics for a reason – and if you want to build effective workouts, stick with the basics.


Why I Make My Bed

More on Keystone Habits

In my discussion of the Tesla Technique, I talked about the importance of your environment in shaping your behavior. Right now I’m re-reading a business book called Switch: how to change when change is hard and that’s figuring strongly in my thinking. The authors, Dan and Chip Heath, describe three components of human behavioral change: the Elephant, the Rider, and the Path. The Elephant is your emotional side: powerful but not very good at planning ahead. The Rider is your cognitive side: weaker than the Elephant, better at planning, but with a tendency to overthink things. The Path is the environment. If you clear the Path it’s easier for the Rider to guide the Elephant to his destination. So which are you? Are you the Rider or the Elephant? Or are you, in some weird way, the Path?

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Dogs, Exercise, and You

Having dogs is tremendously beneficial to well-being. Having pets has been shown to reduce depression, increase happiness, and improve your stress response in a variety of different situations.  They increase oxytocin, lower blood pressure, and improve your blood lipid profile. Beyond all of these notable benefits, I want to focus on one thing here: owning dogs gives you the opportunity to exercise outside every day.

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The Five Second Rule

Here’s something I re-discovered recently: the Five Second Rule.

Picture this: it’s 2001. A younger Daniel is dialed into his university’s modem bank, looking for information on how to talk to women. One message stands out: you have about three seconds to either approach a woman or you’ll talk yourself out of it.  I then use that trick to reach out to women I’m interested in and start relationships with some of them. I fall in love, get heartbroken, fall in love again, and forget all about this three-second window.

Flash forward 16 years.

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Meal Planning

If you’re trying to improve your diet, one of the best ways to do it is to plan your meals ahead of time, then buy that stuff, prepare what you can in advance, then you have foods ready to go.  This strategy is an example of what I call scaffolding. Trying to ‘freestyle’ your meals after a full day of work, looking after kids, and everything else is tough. If you don’t have food ready and in your house, you are going to get hungry, there’s not going to be anything healthy in the house, and you’re going to end up with a pizza guy at your door or sitting in the McDonald’s drive-thru waiting for some McNuggets.

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Socializing vs. Social Media

Being Social =/= Social Media

Spending time with close friends has been shown to help with dementia, blood pressure, your general health, and even your willpower. It shortens the grieving period after losses, makes you happier, and boosts your immune system. There’s a famous saying that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and that’s great, but you have to spend time with people.

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