Trying to Get Abs? Stop Wasting Time on Crunches

Want to get a stronger core? Want a toned midsection? Or maybe a shredded 6-pack for summer? Then keep reading.

One of the most popular questions we get from our clients is “how do I train abs?” or “I want to do more abs in my workouts.”

So, why don’t we do 30 minutes of abs with every workout?

Because it’s a waste of time.

Here’s the thing, you’re not going to see any of your abs until you get to a low body fat percentage. As a general rule of thumb, a “toned” midsection isn’t going to appear for women until they’re around 20% bodyfat and for men around 15% bodyfat. 

So if your bodyfat is over that level (you can get it tested at local gyms in your area. Click here to find a local InBody Scan) or you have some excess skin from weight loss or kids, then it’s going to be really tough to actually see your abs.

Notice how I haven’t mentioned ab training yet?

You can do as many sit ups and crunches as you want, if you haven’t gotten to low body fat levels yet, you won’t see your abs.

And doing more core work won’t speed up burning body fat from your midsection, that’s called spot reducing and it’s a myth. Abs are made in the kitchen AKA your diet is important. 

Okay, so what about getting stronger abs? How much ab training do I really need?

If you use free weights, like we do with most of our workouts at Protect & Provide, then every single exercise actually works your abs. Doing something like a push up is actually a moving plank, doing a goblet squat also works your abs similar to a plank.

 What happens when you do both those exercises together? Now you’re working your core without 1) wasting time doing it separate and 2) your working more muscles than a regular plank so you’re going to build more muscle and burn fat faster! 

Now, let’s break down core training so you can understand it a little bit better. Without getting too much into the science, you can break down core training into 3 types:

  • Anti-Flexion
  • Anti- Rotation
  • Anti- Lateral Flexion 

Anti-flexion movements are things like planks, deadbugs, and ab wheels. But also push ups, goblet carries, goblet squats and lunges. 

Anti-rotation movements are things like band belly presses/Pallof presses and birddogs. But also single arm floor or bench press, landmine press, single arm rows, and single leg RDLs. 

And the last one, anti-lateral flexion, includes side planks, but also farmer carries, suitcase carries, suitcase deadlifts, single arm overhead presses. 

If you’re a Protect & Provide client and you recognize a lot of those exercises in your program, that’s not by mistake. 

Before I get the hate email, there can be benefits to adding some (key word is some) traditional core work in your program.

So, if you enjoy doing sit ups, leg raises, and other core work, 5-10 minutes once or twice a week will be fine, but you don’t need more than that. Your abs are muscles just like in your legs or arms, and need time to recover.

To wrap this up, no amount of extra core workouts will get you abs any faster. You need a solid diet and workout routine to get a toned or ripped midsection. Free weights are the way to go if you want to get a stronger core with 1-2 other core-specific exercises mixed in. 

If you want to get your midsection stronger or get leaner for summer, click here to grab the free 30 Days to Mountain Ready program or set up a free 1o-minute phone call to get you started.

3 Reasons Your Last Diet Didn’t Work

Studies show that 9/10 people will fail on their diet. While weight loss does happen on the diet, everyone knows that you end up losing 10lbs but you gain back 11lbs.

We don’t like using diets for most people at Protect & Provide, why?

  1. Diets don’t change your habits

If you want to lose weight, and keep it off for good, doing a 30-day diet and going back to your old ways of eating won’t work. 

What got you into a place where you need to lose weight is poor food choices and bad habits. If you don’t fix those things, you won’t see lasting changes to your waistline. 

A diet is a set of rules, but they’re temporary and you have the “light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” syndrom for the entire 30-days. At the end of the diet, you hit all your favorite restaurants and go back to eating how you did before the diet.

And the weight creeps on. 

  1. Diets are not sustainable 

Most diets are very low-calorie and designed to be done for 2-12 weeks, depending on the diet. Generally, you feel tired, hungry, and overall just pretty miserable during the diet, but you’re able to push through.

At least, for a while.

At some point, your willpower will give out, and that’s when you “fall-off-the-wagon.” Except most people fall off and roll down the embankment and stay there until someone finds them. 

This is what we call yo-yo dieting. 

You don’t have unlimited willpower. Think of will power as a the battery on your phone. The more you use your phone, the faster the battery dies. Willpower is the same thing, the more you use it, the less you’ll have at the end of the day.

Brownies in the breakroom, stressful interactions at work, kid gets sick, all these things drain your willpower so you can’t resist the pantry at 8pm every night.

  1. Diets don’t teach you how to eat in the real world

If you turn into Patrick Star and live under a rock, some of these diets will work. But most of us live in the real world, and there are social obligations where food choices won’t be the best: birthday parties, nights out with friends, weddings, company holiday parties, etc. 

If the only thing you can eat on your diet is chicken and broccoli, and neither of those are at the event, then you have two choices. 1) bring a bag of chicken and broccoli and get weird looks from everyone or 2) have the knowledge to know how much you should eat of the lobster mac and cheese and feel satisfied. 

Unfortunately, diets don’t teach you that so most people end up blowing their diet and getting discouraged. 

All diets result in fat loss, in fact, studies show that when calories and protein are equated for, all diets work about the same. But lifestyle changes and finding a “diet” that works for you will be the only thing that takes the weight off and keeps it off for good. 

Next time you see an ad for the next fad keto, low-carb, zone, or any other diet, ask yourself if the diet is going to be how you’d like to live forever. If it’s not, don’t do it. 

Want to stop yo-yo dieting and get a plan that actually works? Contact us either by clicking here or emailing me at: Chris@Protect-and-Provide.com.

Want to get a 100% free meal plan and workout program, get the 30 Days to Mountain Ready Program here!

Venison: Is It Healthy?

Chicken, beef, pork, salmon.

We know the nutrition facts of those foods. 

As a hunter, we pride ourselves with putting food on our tables that we worked for. However, when it comes to losing weight, building muscle, or improving performance, you need to know what is in your food. Diet calculators have all the info for farm raised animals, but not wild game. Which means we kinda guess if we use the calculators. 

Most people compare venison to beef or lamb, but it’s too lean to be compared to those foods, and it’s not really like chicken. 

So, what’s in venison? Is it really healthy for us? 

Short answer, yes! It’s a high-quality meat with many health benefits. 

Now, here is the hard part about venison. Below will be generalizations, because these animals are wild and their diets vary depending on time of year and their location in our country, their nutrition is going to vary. The same thing goes for any animal (or plant) food, but farmed animals can have their diets regulated more, meaning we have a better idea of what is in that piece of steak versus that elk backstrap. 

High-Protein Low-Fat

Venison is notorious for being super lean and if you overcook it, it gets dry and gamey. Because venison is naturally lean, it’s low in calories with only 128 calories per 3 ounce serving and 25 grams of protein. It only has about 2 grams of fat, which is why you need to be careful cooking it. 

Compared to boneless skinless chicken breasts, they have 142 calories per 3 ounce serving, 26 grams protein, and 3 grams of fat. So venison is very close to chicken. 

If you look at beef, a ribeye steak has 222 calories in a 3 ounce steak, 22 grams of protein, and 14 grams of fat. Now let’s be real, who actually eats 3 ounces of a ribeye? 

It would appear that venison is about the same as chicken in this first part, but let’s move on to the other areas.

Healthy Fats

Many of you may know by now, that eating pasture-raised grass-finished beef is healthier than it’s grain-finished counterpart. The reason for this is that when the animals eat their natural diet, the fat in them, that you end up eating, is actually healthy for you. 

True wild game is as pasture-raised as it gets. While they might sneak some corn and soybeans into their diet, the majority of their diet is still wild plants. 

What does this mean when you throw your backstrap on the grill? 

  1. Higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. 
  2. Slightly higher fat soluble vitamins A, D, K
  3. Higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
  4. Animals live fairly stress-free

It’s well documented that most Americans get too many omega-6 fatty acids in their diet. This can lead to a whole bunch of health problems, but the main one is systemic inflammation. We should have a omega-3 to omega-6 ratio around 1:2-1:3, but many Americans have a ration of 1:20. Swapping high omega-6 fats, like conventional chicken or pork fat, for something higher in omega-3s, like venison or wild caught salmon, may improve your overall health. 

Fat soluble vitamins are low in a lot of Americans, especially vitamin D. Eating venison isn’t going to get you to 100% of your RDA, but it may help when done with a healthy diet. 

The research is still going back-and-forth on the benefits of CLA. It seems to have some anti-cancer benefits, helps you burn fat, and raises your metabolic rate. There isn’t enough evidence to say that it for sure does all these things, so I wouldn’t recommend supplementing with it, but getting it from food is fine. Egg yolks and dairy from pasture-raised cows are also good sources. 

The last part is both animal welfare and a way to increase nutrition for you. Long term stress in animals is bad, and can negatively affect the meat. Animals that are stress-free may be healthier than their stressed counterparts. An example you can see is eating a buck at the start of the rut versus eating one at the end of the rut. Generally, the one at the end isn’t going to taste as good.  In terms of welfare, deer live happy lives until a hunter harvest them quickly. Animals in food lots (generally) live their entire lives stressed before going to the slaughter house. 

Venison is High in Vitamins and Minerals

Venison is rich in vitamins and minerals, which means it has a high nutrient density.

Nutrient density might be a new term for you, basically it means a food is low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals. 

So how does it compare to chicken or beef?

3 oz Serving SizeVenisonBeefChicken
Thiamine16%3%4%
Riboflavin26%6%6%
Niacin46%30%59%
B632%21%26%
B1226%24%5%
Pantothenic Acid7%3%8%
Calcium1%3%1%
Iron19%9%5%
Magnesium6%6%6%
Potassium10%9%6%
Zinc21%27%6%
Copper10%3%2%
Manganese1%0%1%
Selenium16%36%34%
Data from Nutritiondata.self.com. Data is for cooked meat

As you can see from the table, venison is comparable or higher than chicken and beef in most categories, with selenium being the only nutrient that is low compared to beef or chicken.

Venison is significantly higher in thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), iron, and copper than beef or chicken.

Remember, the numbers above are for a 3 ounce serving and venison is lower in calories than both beef or chicken, meaning you could eat more to get the same number of calories and get more vitamins and minerals!

Weight Loss

Venison is low in calories and high in protein making it the perfect food while dieting.

High protein foods, like venison, help you retain lean muscle while dieting and help you feel full longer.

In addition to that, the high protein content will help you recover from your workouts!

Immune Health

At the time of this writing, we’re still dealing with a global pandemic (not going to say the C word). But even without that going on, keeping your immune system healthy is important for everyone.

Zinc is an important nutrient in maintaining a healthy immune system. When dieting, many people avoid eating beef because of the higher calories, but beef is also a good source of zinc.

Chicken, on the other hand, is low in zinc and is what most people substitute beef with, meaning they just lost a major source of zinc in their diets.

Venison is the perfect substitution for both chicken and beef since a 3 ounce portion has 21% of the RDA of zinc.

Iron to Fight Anemia

One of the main reasons I started hunting was that my wife is prone to anemia, but also developed a weird sensitivity to beef. She also has some stomach issues with taking iron supplements, and we couldn’t afford to buy bison all the time.

Venison has almost double the iron of beef (19% vs 9% in a 3 ounce portion) making it a perfect food to get your iron levels up.

I’ve also found that women also tend to avoid red meat because they’re worried about the calorie content. With venison having just over half the calories of beef (127 vs 222), it is a win-win for everyone.

Human Health Concerns

Venison is generally considered safe to eat.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a disease that affects our deer populations here in the United States and is similar to ‘Mad Cow Disease’. While there is no evidence of the disease crossing to humans, you should avoid eating certain parts like the brain, spinal cord, etc, especially in high CWD areas.

Hunters should get their deer tested if they’re in a CWD area.

Another concern is that men eating too much venison may get dangerously high iron levels. Someone, like myself, who eats 8-10 ounces of meat at lunch and dinner can get too much iron if you eat venison everyday at both meals. A few days a week is okay, but try to limit venison, and other red meat, to one meal per day.

Is venison healthy?

I would 100% say YES!

Venison is an amazing health food that, if you hunt or have hunters in your family, you should incorporate as part of your diet. If you’re worried about gamey flavor, the best solution is to marinate the meat in vinegar, citrus juice, or buttermilk to remove that gamey flavor.

Not sure how to incorporate venison into your diet or meal plan? email me at: chris@provide-and-protect.com or click the button below to sign up for coaching.

Best Home Defense Gun… For Your Wife

I’m just going to start this post out with saying, this is going to rustle some feathers.

While most articles are going to be around hunting, food, and fitness on this site, part of the name of Protect & Provide is protect,  so we’re going to occasionally cover self-defense like in this article. 

So, before I get started, this article is for the best gun for your significant other who, while they might like guns, they don’t shoot all that often. 

Yes, I know there are some badass ladies that can handle a 44 magnum or mag dump AR10s no problem, this isn’t the article about them. 

Who is this article for? 

This article is about someone who doesn’t shoot all that often, so you probably don’t want to drop a ton of money on the gun and get tons of accessories. But it’s sole purpose is for home defense, so you don’t want to go cheap and have the gun malfunction if the need for it arises.

Also, since we’re talking about home defense, when assessing each gun, we’re looking at performance inside of 10 yards which is fairly standard for most homes. While I’m sure someone will send me an email saying that their open floor plan is 20 yards, this isn’t the norm for most houses.

For the sake of setting a limit, we’re going to put a $1000 limit on the guns. This will keep someone from commenting about their 300 blackout SBR with a IR scope and suppressor that they have for when things go bump in the night (okay, they’ll still comment, but it’s not applicable to the article now)

Yes, I’m sure it’s effective for you, but for a new person who is looking at their first home defense gun, or someone who shoots just a few times a year, dropping 2,5, or even 10k on a gun setup isn’t realistic. 

To get things started, we’re going to look at 4 different types of guns, and assess them on a 4 different areas:

  • Ease of use- How easy is it to use the gun in a home defense situation. Recoil, noise, training requirements, maneuverability around the house are all factors
  • Lethality- Simple, how deadly is the gun
  • Ease of Concealment and Access- how easy is the gun to hide when not in use and access when you need it. 
  • Over Penetration- does the round stop in the target or does it keep going after you hit the target? 

We’re going to score each on one a scale of 1-5, with 1 being not good at all and 5 being perfect. 

9mm Handgun 

Had to start here. Most of you reading this probably own one already, or you’re thinking about one, and for good reason. They’re easy to hide from others, most hold plenty of rounds, you can easily put lights and lasers on most, and are affordable for entry level guns. 

The downside of handguns is that you need to practice with them consistently to be accurate. 

That means spending time at the range and dry firing on a consistent basis to be able to accurately place shots down range. Being good enough might not be good enough in the middle of the night if you have to move quickly with adrenaline pumping. 

So what about lethality? A handgun round is never going to be as lethal as buckshot or a rifle round, but hollow points do get the job done. It’s not the deadliest round on this list, but it is deadly. 

What about over penetration? Here is where the 9mm starts to shine. A hollow point won’t go through all of your walls like a 5.56 NATO green tip round will, so you don’t have to worry about stray rounds or what’s behind the target as much as you would with a rifle round (note that I said “as much” not don’t worry at all).

In fact, the 9mm hollow point will probably only go through 1 or 2 layers of drywall. Limited overpenetration is a win here. 

Ease of concealment and access? You don’t want kids or other adults finding your guns when they’re not supposed to. The smaller size of handguns makes them easier to hide than a shotgun or AR15.

There are also many options for hidden-in-plain-sight or small safes/lockboxes that makes access very easy if the need arises. 

  • Ease of use- 3/5
  • Lethality- 3/5
  • Ease of Concealment and Access- 5/5
  • Over Penetration- 5/5

Total Score: 16/20

12 Gauge Shotgun

Alright, so I probably just ticked off the handgun crowd, so moving on to getting more angry emails as we cover the classic home defense gun, the shotgun. 

Specifically, the 12 gauge shotgun because that is the most common home defense shotgun size. The 20 gauge and 410 can work just fine, but we’re not going to talk about them here. That’s an article for another day.

For ammo, we’re talking about the classic home defense shotgun set up, 00 buckshot. 

I could write (and might at a later date) about all the different home defense ammo setups you could do (birdshot first, 0000 buckshot, etc). 

The beauty of shotguns are how versatile they are, but it also makes them a pain to write about when comparing to other guns, so I’m sticking with the classic 12 gauge with 00 buckshot. 

Is buckshot lethal for home defense? Since it was named buckshot for use on hunting large game and, in the case of India, defending against tigers, so I’d say it’s pretty lethal. 

But what about ease of use? Shotguns are known for their recoil, so for a novice shooter, this could be a problem. 

Another issue is after the recoil and the loud bang that’s going to occur, you’re going to need to remember to reload unless you fork out the money to get a semi-auto shotgun. Since the budget is $1000, chances are it’s going to be pump action. 

All those factors are going to be an issue for someone under stress who doesn’t shoot consistently. 

Last ease of use issue, if you buy a pistol grip shotgun without a stock, it’s easier to store but it hurts the wrist shooting 00 buckshot out of it. Again, someone who shoots all the time can handle it just fine, someone who doesn’t might get one shot off, but might have issues if a second or third shot needs to be fired. 

There isn’t going to be much spread at 10 yards, so even if you use a cylinder choke, you still have to aim a little bit to get the rounds on the target. 

The opposite of the pistol grip is if you have a hunting shotgun you use for home defense. A long 28 inch barrel is great for shooting birds out the sky, not trying to maneuver around corners. 


Over Penetration? This is a problem, there is going to be over penetration at distances within 10 yards with 00 buckshot. You’re going to blow through some walls.

If you live on your own out in the middle of nowhere, it might not be an issue. If you live in the suburbs or a townhouse, or your kid’s bedroom is across the hall from your bedroom, you’ll need to reconsider.

Hiding it and accessing it? Harder than the handgun, but not impossible, especially the shorter tactical shotguns. Unless you really outfit a tactical shotgun with accessories, if you are keeping it in a closet, there isn’t much to snag on stuff when you really need it, making it pretty easy to grab in a few seconds.

Ease of Use: 3/5 

Lethality: 5/5

Ease of Concealment and Access: 4/5

Over Penetration: 1/5

Overall Score: 13

AR15

This is America’s gun, and for good reason, they’re easy to use and modify to your needs. For close quarters, like home defense, you can throw on a red dot, holographic, or 1x prism sight with a light and/or laser and have an awesome set up for target acquisition at night. 

I’d argue that, with the right types of bullets, this is the best home defense gun for someone with experience. 

But is it right for someone who doesn’t shoot much?

Well, they’re pretty easy to use, especially with a red dot sighted in. While there is more recoil than a handgun, it’s nothing that someone can’t get used to after one or two trips to the range. 

However, since getting a tax stamp will probably put us over the $1000 mark, we’re limited to barrels between 16-20 inches. 


For some of you, this won’t be an issue. For others, the longer length might make it hard to move around corners of your house. It takes a ding here for ease of use. But the fact that you won’t have to worry about changing mags with 30 rounds in it boosts ease of use back up. 

While some may argue that the 5.56 (or 223 Remington) might not be that lethal, law enforcement and militaries around the world would disagree regardless of a NATO green tip or the 223 round you shoot coyotes with. 

Ease of concealment and access? It’s not the easiest thing if you come home and don’t have anything to hide it with other than a safe. If you’re just leaving it in a closet and you throw a bunch of accessories on it, you might run into an issue of snagging on stuff as you rush to get it.

There are tons of concealment furniture and shelves or safety mechanisms you can buy to help you, but again, you’ll need to factor that stuff into your cost. 

Over penetration? Well it’s similar to the buckshot. It’s not good here. Again, you live alone in the middle of nowhere, no problem. You have neighbors close by? Those NATO green tips might be going through their walls, and that’s going to fall on you. 

Now, there are 223 rounds designed to break and dump all their energy when they hit flesh, dry wall, or wood, so for most of you, look into something like Hornady TAP FPD Personal Defense. 

Ease of use: 4/5

Lethality: 5/5

Ease of Concealment and Access: 4/5

Over Penetration: This is a toss up depending on ammo between a 1 and a 5, so we’re meeting in the middle at 3/5

Overall Score: 16/20

9mm Pistol Caliber Carbine


What happens when you take a handgun and set it up like an AR15? You get the PCCs.

Because they’re a handgun, you get the small size of a SBR but don’t need the tax stamp and they’re generally cheaper. Meaning they’re super easy to move around the house. 

Since they use pistol rounds, there is limited recoil and noise. As a bonus, some of them come with muzzle brakes or compensators built in, further reducing recoil. You can also have magazines with 30+ rounds just like an AR. Throw a red dot on one of these, and it’s almost point and shoot. 

But, because they use pistol rounds, there is a little ding to how lethal these are over a AR15 or shotgun. 

They’re harder to hide over the handgun, but easier to hide over a shotgun or AR15. 

For over penetration, it’s the same as the handgun, hollow points won’t be going through walls which is a huge plus when you have a novice shooter behind one of these. 

Ease of Use: 5/5

Lethality: 3/5

Ease of Concealment and Access: 4/5

Over Penetration: 5/5

Overall score: 17

Bonus: Suppressed Subsonic 300 Black Out Short Barrel Rifle. 

Okay, this one is more for fun and doesn’t really fit the list because the cost is going to be WAY above the $1000 mark.

All the benefits of the PCC and the AR15 all in one. You get the small size for moving quickly around corners in the house with more power in the 300 BLK rounds.

If you compare Hornady 9mm Critical Defense rounds to their 190 grain Subsonic 300 BLK rounds, the 300 BLK has about 133 more ft-lbs over the 9mm (465 ft-lbs vs 332 ft-lbs) at muzzle. 

Subsonic rounds have very little recoil and produce little noise, add the suppressor and it’s going to be super quiet to shoot inside without ear protection. Even supersonic ammo is pretty quiet through a suppressor but then you might have to deal with over penetration and some recoil. 

If you want to drop more money, this would probably be the best set up. 

To wrap things up, the winner is the PCC, but just barely. With more rounds than a handgun, but less recoil and over penetration than a AR15, it’s a good balance between the two. Of course, there is no one best answer in the gun world, and you’ll have to figure out what’s best for your house, situation, and local gun laws. 

What do you think? Let us know your opinion of the list.

Turkey season is coming up here in PA, or maybe you want to start getting ready for your elk hunt this fall. Get ready by doing the the 30 Days to Mountain Ready Program by entering your email below. Best thing, it’s free!

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Weight Loss Hack: The 100% Rule

Having trouble sticking to a habit? 

You’re not alone, most people have trouble sticking to a new habit no matter if it’s diet, exercise, education, or anything else you can think of. Habit’s take mental energy and they’re usually something you don’t really want to do. 

So, let’s fix that problem and make habits easier to handle. 

You’re going to follow the 100% rule. This means you’re going to do whatever you set as a goal 100% of the time. There are no exceptions. 

Long day at work? You’re doing it

Weekend? You’re doing it

Vacation? Guess what, you’re doing it

The easiest example for this is nutrition. I often tell clients to follow a 80/20 rule or 90/10 rule. What that means is that you follow your diet 80-90% of the time, and then relax a little bit 10-20% of the time. 

The problem for some people is that the 10% slowly turns into 12%, then 14%, and it just slowly increases until you are basically back to where you started, but you just have a salad at lunch now. 

Now, I kinda hate saying this because I’m a big proponent of saying “it depends,” but sometimes you need to make things black-and-white to keep you on the path moving forward. 

The 100% rule doesn’t allow for deviations.

Some of you can make a big change and it does not really affect you, but most people should start with something small.

A good example would be to eat 100 grams of protein everyday. You 100% have to make that every single day. Another good example would be to eat vegetables at every meal (yes, that includes breakfast). 

If you need to bump it up a notch, a great rule starting out would be “I don’t eat bread” 

Can you make bread work in a diet? YES! But sometimes cutting out bread and bread products (pasta, cake, tortillas, sweets using flour, etc) helps cut out those foods that are easy to overeat. 

Other examples of the 100% rule include: carnivore diet (no plants), paleo (no grains), Cutting out alcohol, etc. These diets work for some people because they make black-and-white rules.

Examples with exercise? Make it something so easy that even on your busiest day you can do it

  • 10 minute walk everyday
  • 5-10 minutes of yoga/ foam rolling everyday
  • 10 push ups upon waking or before bed
  • Wake up and run 1 mile everyday
  • 10 minute workout everyday

Or change it to a skill you want to improve

  • Dry fire for 10 minutes everyday
  • Practice reloads for 10 minutes everyday
  • Shoot 25 arrows everyday
  • Write everyday
  • Or, in my case right now, publish content on Instagram everyday

Now, before someone says that the 100% rule will create a bad mentality around food, this method should be temporary for someone who is struggling and/or new to nutrition and exercise.

It might take someone 3, 6, or 12 months using this method to get a handle on things, but after that, then the 80/20 or 90/10 rule can be used. So don’t feel like “I don’t eat bread” will last forever, that’s until you can get to a point of “I only eat a normal portion of bread as my starch of a meal.”

So, pick something simple and do it seven days a week until it becomes a habit for 3, 6, or 12+ months.

Need help getting started?

Click this link to start getting world-class coaching or sign up for our email below

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Myth: I Don’t Have Time to Workout

Number one excuse for not working out is lack of time.

But that’s a lie.

Don’t believe me? A study done showed that the average American has roughly 4.5 hours of free time everyday.

That’s WAY more time that I thought I had everyday! How is it possible?

Screen time

That’s right, time being spent in front of a screen takes up the majority of our free time. Before you say “I don’t watch TV” this also includes computers, tablets, and phones. 

Don’t believe me? 

The study excluded essential activities from “free time” which wasn’t taken into account in other studies. So grocery shopping, showering, child care, commuting, and getting ready for work were not counted as “free time.”

Cooking was counted as part of free time. 

It’s pretty easy to see how fast time flies when in front of a screen. I’m as guilty as anyone for mindlessly scrolling through Instagram for “5 minutes” when in reality it turns into 20, 30, or even 40 minutes. Or “just one more episode” is another easy to quickly burn through 2-3 of those hours.

Let’s not even get started on video games. 

So, if you don’t believe you have time for exercise, take a look at how much time you spend watching TV, on your computer, and on your phone. Nowadays, you can get a report that tells you how much time you spend on each device or even your app. You can go into an app, like Instagram, and set a reminder to tell you how much time you’ve spent on it. I have mine set for an hour per day. 

Excess screen time has been shown to have really negative effects on mental health, while exercise has been shown to improve mental and physical health and wellbeing. 

So here is your action plan. 

Set limits on all of your social media apps and get reminders for screen time on your electronics. An hour a day for social media is a good start, especially if you have to use if for work. Then set weekly reminders and try to lower it a little bit each week. 

Limit TV to an hour per day. You don’t need to watch more than that. 

An hour of social media, and hour of TV, and that leaves 2.5 hours to exercise and cook healthy meals. That is more than enough time for both of those activities because even on a rushed day, you can get a good workout in 20 minutes and cook a decent meal for a family in 30 minutes. 

If you don’t have time to drive to the gym and have limited time to cook, sign up with me to get some in-home workouts you can do in 20 minutes and buy Rachel Ray’s 365: No Repeats which has 365 30-minute meals.

Did the mountain kick your butt last year?
Couldn’t steady your shot in time and that buck got away?

Click here to sign up for coaching to get in shape for the 2021-2022 season

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7 Best Exercises for Bowhunters

Here on the east coast, we’re about to enter spring. 

For some, that means gearing up for turkey season. For others, that means getting food plots ready and getting plans ready for the upcoming fall. 

There are so many things that can go into planning your hunt that it’s easy to forget about actually getting in shape for it. 

While a lot of east coast hunting is from tree stands or blinds, it’s still important to get in shape for the hunt. There can be many reasons that you need to go to the gym for archery. 

  • You’re trying to maintain your draw weight
  • You’re trying to be more stable while holding your bow
  • You’re like my wife and trying to increase your draw weight

Shooting a 70, 80, or even 90lbs bow isn’t a requirement for taking game, but it does give you more power, distance, and a flatter shot.

So, other than shooting your bow, what can you do to get better?

Here are the 7 best exercises to get better at archery

  1. Single Arm Dumbbell Rows

This exercise is the one that most resembles an arrow draw. It primarily strengthens the lats, traps, and rhomboids along with the muscles of the upper arm.  If you want to get a heavier pull or be able to shoot more arrows without fatigue, this is your number one exercise.

The exercise is performed by leaning over a bench or other stable surface, keeping your body parallel to the ground, and pulling a dumbbell or kettlebell up towards your ribs. 

This exercise should be done for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps and 60-120 seconds rest in between sets. 

To make this exercise harder, do an isometric hold at the top of the lift for 3-5 seconds. So, pull the weight up towards the ribs and hold it there for 3-5 seconds before lowering it. 

  1. Plank

The plank teaches you to maintain tension throughout your body without moving, much like when holding your draw. The forearm plank or push up position plank are both good ways to start. You should build up to being able to hold the plank for 120 seconds (2 minutes). 

If the plank is too easy, there are tons of different variations like shoulder tap planks and BOSU ball planks.

Biggest mistake I see when people do planks is not creating tension in their abs and glutes, which leads to hyperextension of the low back, this can lead to lower back pain or, worse, injury. To fix this issue, get into the plank position and squeeze your glutes, that usually also causes the abs to engage and fix the posture issue.

If it’s still an issue, or you’re looking for a challenge, squeeze a ball, yoga block, or foam roller between your legs as you do your plank. 

Do 2-3 sets of as long as you can safely do them until you build up to 120 seconds. I usually start my clients with 20-30 seconds. 

  1. Push Ups

In addition to strengthening your upper body, push ups are essentially a moving plank, meaning you have to keep your hold body tense while also moving at the same time. 

Push ups primarily strengthen the pecs, triceps, and shoulders. But your abs are also getting a workout every time you do push ups. 

To set up properly, get into a push up position with your fingers pointing forward. 

As you start to bend your arms, keep your elbows either tight to your body or slightly out at a 45 degree angle. Elbows should never come parallel to your shoulders, that can lead to injury. 

If you find that you can’t keep ab tension, see the fixes for the plank above and use those. 

Push ups too hard? Do them on your knees or, even better because it uses your abs more, do them on a side of a bench or set up a barbell on a squat rack fairly low and do them there.

Push ups too easy? Add weight, do stretch push ups, use a TRX or rings, etc. There are hundreds of different push up variations you can do. 

If you’re just starting out and need to do the easier variations, do 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps with 90-120 seconds rest. Everytime you can do all your sets with 10 reps, make it a little harder until you’re on the floor. 

If you’re already pretty good at push ups, do 3-4 sets of 10-20 reps with 60-90 seconds rest. When you can do all your sets with 20 reps, move to a harder variation like a weighted push up.

 

  1. RDL

RDL is short for Romanian Deadlift. If you’re outside of the fitness community, the reason we abbreviate it is because saying “romanian deadlift” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. 

For archers and bowhunters, this exercise helps strengthen the glutes, hamstrings, and erector muscles of the lower back, but also teaches you to maintain tension in your upper back, which is important when needing to take a little longer to shoot. Last season, I had to hold a full draw for about a minute, and to be able to do that and shoot accurately, you need to have the ability to keep tension throughout your body.

To set up for the RDL, you can use one kettlebell, two dumbbells, or a barbell. Hold the weight so it’s in line with your hips. 

Have a slight bend in your knees and keep your shoulders pulled back,  push your hips backwards until you feel a stretch or tension in your hamstrings (the muscles in the back of your legs). Some of you might be flexible and be able to touch the floor, most of you will not be able to touch the floor without hurting your low back.

As you stand up, think about pushing your hips forward and squeezing your glutes. 

To keep this safe on the low back, keep the weight close to you. If you use a barbell, think about “shaving your legs” with the bar as you do the movement. 

Do 3-4 sets of 8-12 with 90-120 seconds rest between sets. 

  1. Goblet Squats

Squats primarily strengthen the muscles of the leg, however, a kettlebell or dumbbell goblet squat forces you to create upper body tension throughout the entire movement, increasing strength in the abs, arms, and upper back. 

To perform a squat, hold a kettlebell or dumbbell at chest height. Bend your knees and sit slightly back on your heels as you go down.

Make sure to have your legs at least parallel to the ground, or go slightly below parallel. 

If you are worried about your knees, doing squats properly will not destroy your knees, it’ll actually make them stronger. But if you’re struggling, do a box squat where you sit back onto a stable box, bench, or other surface. 

For box squats, I find that most people need to start with a height of 14-16 inches off the ground. The goal for most people should be to squat to 12-14” off the ground. Exceptions are if you’re very short or very tall. 

Do 3-4 sets of 8-12 with 90-120 seconds rest between sets. 

  1. Dumbbell Lateral Raises

While the upper back and lats are the primary movers in archery, we can’t forget about the shoulders. 

Dumbbell lateral raises can help build the strength and endurance to hold your draw for extended periods and still shoot accurately. 

To perform, stand with two dumbbells at your sides, and lift them until your arms are parallel to the ground. 

Avoid swinging the weights and shrugging your shoulders as you perform these.

Do 3-4 sets for 8-15 reps with 45-90 seconds of rest. 

  1. Rowing 

We can’t forget cardio. While archery and bowhunting might not seem like an endurance event, shooting 50, 75, 100+ shots in a single day and walking back and forth can fatigue you. You can easily walk a mile or two without realizing it in addition to shooting. 

Rowing (either on an erg or actual rowing) or kayaking carry over the most to archery as you build endurance in the muscles involved with shooting. Another good option is a ski erg, which works similar muscles, but in a different fashion. 

But any cardio works, just look at Cameron Hanes, so running, biking, hiking, or any other form of cardio can help improve your archery game. 

Start slow, maybe 10-15 minutes, or 1 minute on and 2 minutes really slow (like a run-walk). Slowly build up until you reach a desired time or distance depending on where you hunt and what you might encounter. For me living in Pennsylvania, I try to build up to running about 3 miles in hilly terrain. 

To get better at archery and bowhunting, you have to put the reps in with your bow, there is no substitution for that. But to get stronger, maintain your strength, and/or reduce risk of injury then you need to incorporate strength training at least two times per week. 

These exercises are a great start to your first routine or adding to your current routine. If you want a custom program built for you, click here to get coaching. 

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