Monday, January 22, 2018

5 Things That Surprised Me About Owning a VARIDESK

Once again, I’ve partnered with VARIDESK to bring you this blog post. If you don’t have a stand-up desk in your life, read on to see why I am so obsessed!

It’s been nearly 4 months since my VARIDESK came into my life, and, if you couldn’t tell already, I’m totally and utterly in love. It’s completely changed the way I work – for the better, of course! I’ve started to notice positive little changes in my everyday that I wanted to share with you – everything from making healthier choices to being more eneregized throughout the day. I’m telling ya, if you haven’t tried a standing desk yet, you absolutely need to give it a try! Here are 5 things that surprised me about owning a VARIDESK.

I’m much more active throughout the day – Standing while working means I’m SO MUCH MORE active during the day. I feel like I’m always moving around, especially on conference calls. 😉 I’ve totally turned into one of those people, who does toe raises while talking on the phone, but it’s really not that strange. I also feel like I’m not completely exhausted by the end of the day like I use to be when I sat for hours at time. Of course, feeling this way means I’m a happier wife and mom when my family gets home! 🙂

My concentration and focus lasts well into the afternoon – Oh, man, that afternoon slump is killer, right? I’m much more of a morning person, so I was typically really productive, but then I’d often hit the wall come 3:00 PM. But now I rarely experience it. I mean, it’s tough to lose focus when you’re standing!

I prefer working from home now I’m much more productive at my VARIDESK, so I try to work from home as much as possible now. I actually used to avoid working from home because I got so distracted, but my stand-up desk has had just the opposite effect.

It’s drastically reduced my mindless snacking – One of the reasons I didn’t enjoy working from home is because I found myself in the kitchen every couple of hours looking for a snack. I just could not focus, so I turned to food to cope. Now that I’m much more focused and productive, I stay in my office and don’t mindless snack the afternoon away.

VARIDESK was easy to add to my life – I actually debated getting a stand-up desk for months before VARIDESK even contacted me. I thought they were so cool, but I didn’t want to go through the trouble of assembling one. Last year was so nuts, it was just another “thing” to add to my To Do list. Well, if you missed my first post, you can see just how easy it is to put together a VARIDESK. It took no time at all and totally worth the effort.

So, there you have it. I love my VARIDESK and tell everyone about it and how it’s changed my life. I know that sounds a little cheesy, but it’s totally true. Standing while working is a way of life now! And owning a VARIDESK supports (and even encourages) my desire to live a healthy lifestyle even when it comes to my work life.

Question of the Day

Do you typically stand or sit while you work? How often do you move around during the day?

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Dear Mark: Exercise Rapid Fire, Hunting, Pull-ups, Type 1 Diabetes

Dear_Mark_Inline_PhotoFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering four questions from readers. The first question is actually 5 questions, so it’s closer to 8 questions overall. Good deal. First, I answer 5 questions about exercise, jumping jacks, aerobic base building, and weighted hiking. Next, what’s my take on hunting? After that, I discuss a few different ways to approach pull-ups. And finally, what is my quick and dirty advice for those with type 1 diabetes trying to go Primal?

Let’s go:

Chad asked:

Very interesting read, lot to chew over with this one. As far as what I would like to see in future posts or books: what alternative exercises could you do for aerobic base-building efforts per Primal Endurance guidelines?

Is running in place better than jumping jacks? Does the elliptical have a place? How often is too often for hiking with a weight vest? And how much lower can you go under your 180-age before you need to worry about *not* getting an adequate training effect.

These could all be dedicated posts, as you mention. But I’ll do some quick rapid fire responses.

  1. Literally any activity that keeps you under or at a heart rate of 180 minus age is building your aerobic base. The question is finding one that you enjoy doing, but not so much that you get carried away and turn it into an intense session. The real fun lies in doing nothing but “easy” movement and watching your aerobic threshold rise.
  2. Jumping jacks are better than running in place. They’re enough to augment bone mass in both kids and adults. Jumping jacks really get short changed.
  3. The elliptical has a place. I like it for high intensity intervals, rather than long, slow aerobic work. If your joints can’t handle the hard impacts of running or sprinting, ellipticals are a decent option.
  4. Depends on the amount of weight in the vest, the grade of the climb, your experience hiking with weight. In my experience, the hardest part about rucking/hiking with weight has always been the downhill portion. That’s where the leg cramping sets in, especially if you’ve been going for miles or days. If you’re going with a nice 20-35 pounds, I’d say you could go as often as you would without a vest. That’s like carrying a toddler around—which many unfit people already do—only the weight is more evenly distributed and thus easier to bear.
  5. It’s a long tail. There’s probably some area under the curve that would suggest time X heart rate equals workload. The point would be that you still get some amount of significant training from a four-hour hike at a heart rate significantly below your MAF. However, the training would not serve you necessarily as much if you were training for, say, an elite level marathon.

Brad Kearns has a great analogy he uses to talk about the effectiveness of low-low intensity movement. Imagine a cruise ship with 12 engines. Going 25 knots in the open sea, all 12 engines are going full blast. To putter around the harbor, it might only use 2 of those engines at half-speed—but those 2 engines are still being used, still being “trained.”

Patrick wondered:

At age 30 I just took my hunter safety course and am excited to begin my own hunting practice. I think a deep primal exploration of our hunting roots would help bridge the gap for many who haven’t considered our ancestral connection to hunting and the outdoors. Basically, it’s a meaty topic that I’d deerly like to hear Mark and the gang’s opinion on.

Check out this older post. I’ll try to get something more fresh up in the coming weeks or months.

Kerri requested:

I would love to see an article about alternate ways to do pull/ups

You’ve got pull-ups—palms facing forward. A little more lat-centric.

You’ve got chin-ups—palms facing behind you. A little more bicep-centric.

You’ve got neutral grip pull-ups—palms facing each other. Easier on the shoulders, good for people with poor shoulder flexibility.

You’ve got fingertip pull-ups—a training staple of climbers.

One of my favorite ways to do pull-ups (any kind) is with ladders. Start with 2 pull-ups. Wait 30 seconds. Do 3. Wait 30 seconds. Do 4. Wait 30 seconds. Start the ladder over again. Make sure each rep feels crisp; you don’t want to grind out the steps of the ladder. I’ve seen people who can maybe do 5-6 pull-ups in a row do three rounds of this ladder without much problem. This allows you to accumulate great volume, really grease the groove of the movement, get stronger, increase max reps, and reduce the risk of overtraining or straining. If 2-3-4 ladders are too easy, you can step it up to 3-4-5. Too hard? 1-2-3.

Suzanne said:

I would love more HIIT/primal tips for type 1 diabetics. Thanks Mark

Everything Primal applies, just more so.

Ditch gluten. And I mean all of it. Gluten-free diets have been shown to reduce T1D-related antibodies and lower gut inflammation in those with type 1 diabetes. If you’re young enough, you might even be able to halt and reverse the degeneration of your pancreatic beta cells and get off insulin altogether with a gluten-free diet, if this case report is anything to go on.

Vitamin D, strength training, micronutrient intake, and all the other pro-bone stuff become more critical, as people with type 1 diabetes already have an increased risk of low bone density.

Sleep is everything; impaired insulin sensitivity is a common T1D response to deranged circadian rhythms and inadequate sleep.

As for HIIT, less is more. Interval training has the tendency to raise blood sugar in people with type 1 diabetes. In one study, moderate cycling lowered blood glucose, while adding a quick 10-second all out sprint increased it. They even proposed using these 10-second sprints as alternative modifiers of blood glucose. Interesting stuff.

The bulk of your training should be strength training, lots of walking, and a ton of easy movement. Keep the intense sprints/HIIT for special occasions.

Oh, and consider going keto, or at least just low-carb. This should be a no-brainer, and many doctors are embracing it for their patients with type 1 diabetes, but you may have to push the issue with your doctor. Be sure to keep him or her in the loop.

That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for asking, thanks for reading, and thanks for chiming in below with your own input for today’s round of questions.

Take care.

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4-Ingredient Crock-Pot Chicken Ole

This recipe for Crockpot Chicken Ole is a one that we make again and again in our house. It’s delicious and super versatile. You can serve it over rice, pasta, or with your favorite veggies. It’s also really good served inside a soft tortilla. We also love this recipe because it’s only 4 ingredients, which you might already have in your kitchen and you can just throw them in a crock-pot to do the cooking for you. Dinner doesn’t get easier than this! Check out the video below for a quick tutorial.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds chicken breast
  • 1 jar of salsa of choice
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • juice of 1/2 lime

Directions: Combine ingredients in a crockpot. Cook on high for 2-4 hours (or low for 4-6 hours) or until chicken is cooked all the way through. Serve over rice, pasta, and/or your favorite veggies. I like serving the extra sauce over steamed broccoli or potatoes. 🙂

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Primal Challenge Point: Embrace the Pleasure Principle

Big Wheels Keep On Turnin’ {Weekend Recap}

^^ That silly dog got me!

Hope you guys had a good weekend. We had totally awesome 60+ degree weather and sunny skies. It was epic to get outside again!

On Friday I met two of my girlfriends at Chopt for lunch. I had the falafel bowl – it was great!

Friday afternoon was super chill. Emily and her son came over and we sipped wine while about 15 neighborhood kids played in the back alley.

For dinner Friday night we made spaghetti with meat sauce (at Mazen’s request!)

We had a side of the most garlicky garlicky kale imaginable from whole foods! T and I suffered with garlic breath all night.

We watched the movie IT after Mazen went to bed. I thought it was awful. 1/5 rotten tomatoes from me. But the Half Baked Ben & Jerrys was delish!

Saturday morning breakfast was consumed in stages. Blueberry swirl toast with cinnamon butter to start.

Followed by a tiny little jalapeno omelet that Thomas made mid morning.

We all piled in the Highlander to head to the gym. After quick workouts, Thomas took Mazen swimming and I went to the spa for a facial!!!

Alyssa is simply the best, and the Eminence products are my favorite of all time. They are botanical and just smell so good! When I run out of my current stash, I will be buying some of these. The ones with Stone Crop and Monoi all smell incredible. Thomas got me the Monoi body lotion for my birthday!

The Bamboo Firming Liquid is something Alyssa always uses on me during facials, and I just love the smell.  The same with the Coconut Moisturizer!

This time she also used this Rice Milk Cleansing Water, which is supposedly a toner, cleanser and make-up remover all in one. It’s also on my wish list! You guys have to look for these products just to smell them!

After the gym we went to Bodos for lunch. I had the usual – smoked salmon with cucumber and sprouts.

Later in the afternoon the kids played outside and made a water stand. Mazen yelled “free waaaater” at passerbys.

We headed to Giant to support Sylvia’s scout troop by making a few necessary purchases. Had to!

And then on the way to the park Mazen’s friend who we brought with us ended up throwing up all over our car. Poor little guy got sick so fast. It was a LOT, so we spent the rest of the afternoon recovering, cleaning and disinfecting. Our plans for grilled pizzas on the Big Green Egg were derailed, so we defaulted to Whole Foods hot bar for dinner instead.

Knock on wood, but so far everyone seems to have escaped the yuckies. Mazey took his crispie to the shower! #ShowerBeer

On Sunday morning I had toast with bacon and coffee.

And played Legos until Matt came over to pick Mazen up for the day.

I took Gus for a 3.5 mile run, and cleaned up the house for a bit. Then headed to the country with my girls!

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