Winter Training Mode 2020: Do It Anyway

Well, I think we can agree on this if nothing else: 2020 has not been what any of us expected.  And, we all know and feel there are still more “interesting” days ahead.  The question is, are you still taking care of yourself, eating right, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, working out, etc? Whether you’re just getting back to your favorite fitness routine, or you’ve kept it up through all of this weird year, it’s time to transition to Winter Training Mode once again.

Winter Training Mode

city exercise fun girl

For several years, I wondered if it was possible to stay 100%, tip-top, super-duper “in shape” all year around.  Wouldn’t that be great, to be at the pinnacle of your fitness level not just a few days or week, but 365 days a year, every year? Imagine being strong, flexible, and having great endurance all the time.  Who wouldn’t want that?  But after researching and reading about the pros and cons of training at a high level all the time, and after experiencing some of those cons for myself, I concluded that it might not be such a great thing after all.  So, I decided I should try a different way.  In 2011 or 2012, I started experimenting with what I call Winter Training Mode (WTM), and I’ve been doing so ever since.

About five years after I made WTM a regular part of my training practice, I reconnected with one of my former karate instructors.  We hadn’t seen each other since 1995 so we had a great time catching up.  He’d been deeply studying and training in a Chinese martial art (Bagua) for more than a decade at the time of our reunion.  During our fervent and enjoyable conversation, he mentioned a training principle of Bagua that sounded very similar WTM.  I couldn’t help but nod and smile.

Go Deep

photo of old tree

Winter Training Mode is a time to allow your roots to thicken and grow deeper.  This is a time to:

  • Set a short-term goal (or goals) and go after it.
  • Strengthen one area of physical weakness.
  • Reassess and shore up the four pillars of your base.
  • Cross-train in, and explore other exercise and movement methods.  I like to add a new / alternate exercise or set of exercises to my routine.  Kettlebell training, strength-stretching routines, and the Five Tibetan Rites have been very helpful in the past.  I wrote about my experiences with the Rites in a previous post.
  • Take care of your immune system so it can take care of you throughout the winter. This is of utmost importance, especially now. To do this, lower intensity training with sufficient rest, especially during wintertime, is all but essential. The intensity of training must be lower, but the training days and times should remain consistent.
  • Research any ideas or theories you have related to health, fitness, martial arts, etc.
  • Be more mindful and aware of various aspects of your training, your diet, and your lifestyle choices as a whole.

During WTM, I decrease the intensity of my training routines while increasing the depth of my personal martial and fitness research and experimentation.  Because I really enjoy training, I still have to remind myself at the start of WTM that it is okay, and necessary, to not push so hard during this time. 

The Gains

strong sportsman practicing martial arts and yoga on roof

I’ve experienced the following benefits through WTM:

  • My immune system tends to be much better able to deal with winter’s challenges.
  • My enjoyment of training and teaching is renewed and deepens even more.
  • My understanding of the topics I’m exploring grows even as many new questions are sparked by the few answers I uncover.
  • Replenished mental and physical strength.
  • A powerful sense of mission during WTM.
  • A potent sense of renewal and excitement at the end of WTM.

Do It

apple blank business computer

Though spring seems so freakin’ far away, it will be here before you know it.  So, grab a notebook, a pen or a pencil and make your plan. Be sure to keep it simple.

  1. Determine what you would like gain, and write it down. Don’t go crazy–keep the goal challenging but within reach.
  2. Choose one area of physical weakness to focus on.
  3. Pick one or two alternate exercise methods that you’d like to explore.
  4. Examine your base and do what is necessary to give each area the appropriate attention they need.  Remember, you cannot grow without a strong base.
  5. If you enjoy self-directed research, pick a topic, write down any questions you seek to answer as well as any hypotheses you might have.

Consider starting this month. Don’t wait until after Thanksgiving, or Christmas or some other upcoming holiday because if you do, you’ll have lost valuable, irreplaceable time. Then, once you implement, remember to keep track of your goals, stay fluid and adjust as needed, and enjoy the journey.

At the start of 2020, we were ready and determined to conquer the new year in order to elevate our lives, and because that’s just what we do, right? Well, after everything 2020 has thrown at us, utter vengeance just may be the main motivating factor in conquering the remainder of what has been a strange and challenging year. Winter Training mode, if done correctly, just might play a pivitol role in the things that help us position ourselves for a strong and vibrant comeback in 2021.

Be well, and stay strong!


Get Funky! (and Give your Pits and Pores a Break…)

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It’s the Truth

woman in floral headdress sniffing on red flowers

Wanna know the truth? Well, truth is, you don’t smell like a pretty, pretty flower ’cause…ya stink. No, really, you, in your natural state, you stink! Stink. Stank. Stunk.

Face it, we all stink and that’s why we wear daily deodorant, use frufru soaps, and apply expensive colognes and perfumes, etc. We stink, and we don’t want to stink.

But I want you to stink. Go ahead, exude your natural prevailing pungency. Open wide your arms and allow your musty musk to be made known! Do it. Do. It. But uh, please…do it by yourself.

What the Actual Heck?

No, I’m not some weirdo who adores your odoriferousness. What I mean to say is a lot less creepy and actually pretty simple. I think it’s a good thing, maybe even a healthy* thing to go without deodorant and skin creams / lotions or perfumes at least one day a week. This is especially important if your deodorants and skin care products contain any of the following, potentially troublesome chemicals:

  • Aluminum (or sodium bicarbonate that isn’t explicitly aluminum-free)
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Synthetic Fragrance
  • Parabens (Ex: methylparaben, sodium butylparaben, etc)
  • Petrochemicals (Ex: paraffin wax, benzene, PEG, mineral oil, petrolatum, etc)
  • Phthalates (Ex: di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), etc)
  • Sulfates (Ex: sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, etc)

If you decide to do this, to abstain and get funky, and you live with other humans, you’ll probably want to let them know what’s going on first, especially if it’s summertime… Yes. Also, you might want to consider trying some healthier deodorants and skincare products. Here are a few great examples:

For more healthier product options, check out our Shampoo & Conditioner, Deodorant, and Body Lotion pages.

Get Funky Day

Give it a try and have yourself a Funky Day. Your pits, your pores, your skin and your organs will smile and thank you. Those around you on the other hand, may frown and shun you… But that okay, just tell them to get funky too!

Stay strong and funk on my friends. 


Rising Through and Above this Present Crisis


I hope you and your families are doing well and staying safe.  Though we started the year with a sense of optimism, ready to conquer 2020, our collective focus has shifted. None of us could have imagined an actual, life-changing pandemic to occur this year, or even in our lifetime, but here we are.  Let’s do everything we can to strengthen ourselves, support each other, and use this uncommon, unwanted situation as a positively transformative moment.  As such, I’d like to share a few suggestion that may be helpful:


  • Continue to train, or begin some type of physical fitness regime.   Need ideas?  Try one or more of these:  YJJ, ZZ, 5TR
  • Shoot for high consistency instead of high intensity meaning, do a set amount of training each day at a low or moderate level of intensity.  We want to strengthen our immune system and not weaken it through over-training.  
  • Go to sleep at a regular time and wake up at a regular time.  Make sure you receive enough restful sleep.  Get up and get dressed and get busy doing something good / healthful / educational / enjoyable / purposeful.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat as healthily as possible and consider reducing sugar intake.
  • Breathe.

Mental / Emotional:

  • Feel what you feel.  Allow yourself to experience the fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, sadness, etc.  Don’t beat yourself up for what you feel, but also don’t let those emotions linger and drag you down.  Instead, recognize, acknowledge and go through them, and then figure out how to use them as motivational fuel.  
  • Consider limiting social media and try not to overload on the news.  Get the info you need once or twice a day and get on with your daily goals and tasks.
  • Read books!  We all have a pile (or three…) of “someday” books…  Now is that someday, the time to soak up that knowledge is at hand.
  • Read or watch or write or share something funny and lighthearted each day.
  • Check on your people on a regular basis.
  • Find a way to help someone else.
  • Remind yourself as often as needed: “All things work together for good…”


  • Pray and listen.
  • Meditate and listen.
  • Sit in silence or just stare out the window and listen.
  • If none of the above is you, this is a great time to give it a try.  It’s free, you have nothing to lose, and you just might be pleasantly surprised by what you gain.


I hope something from this list is helpful.  May we all, individually and together, rise in this time of national and global need.  

Let me know how you are doing.  Stay strong and press on my friends. 


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25+ Ways to Beat the Winter Doldrums


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Now that Christmas has passed and we’re in the new year, what do we have to look forward to? Winter, that’s what. When winter is nice, its nice, but when its harsh…batten down the hatches, gird the mind, and prepare for battle!

And harsh is exactly what last winter was for most of the country with the dull, gray skies, the extreme cold (aka Polar Vortexes), the unrelenting snow, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, sleet, and that frozen stuff called graupel. In the month of February, pretty much no school district in our metropolitan area made it a full week without having to cancel classes due to weather.

And then there were the ubiquitous, mega black holes potholes; all across the metropolitan area, city and suburbs alike, streets look like they’d been blasted by meteorite storms. For many drivers last year, including yours truly, those craterous potholes proved to be downright tire-killers. Yes, that was definitely a winter for the record books.  Let’s…not do that again…

Uh, Is It Over Yet?

While this winter hasn’t been all that rough, a lot of us are ready to move on to warmer, snow-less days. Yes, winter may come around just once per year, but it always seems to last the whole year through…

If this winter is already driving you to the edge, hang on, spring will come. Until then, try these twenty-five (plus) things that just might help you make it to spring:

  1. Enjoy a variety of organic hot tea.

  2. Drink lots of organic hot chocolate.
  3. Join a gym, try a new workout plan, meet new people.
  4. Try solar light therapy.
  5. Do yoga. Hot yoga.
  6. Listen to / watch summer oriented videos. Here are a few to get you started: Cruel Summer, Summertime, Boys of Summer.
  7. In defiance of winter, eat ice cream. Bonus points: eat ice cream outside. Hardcore bonus points: make and eat snow ice cream as the snow falls. Use a fork and a knife, and laugh manically, the whole time.

  8. Pick a weekend to stay in, then crank up the heat and humidifier and wear bathing suits all weekend long.

  9. Organic chocolate. ’nuff said.
  10. Explore the art of fermentation. Your gut and your taste buds will thank you.
  11. Bake some tasty treats.
  12. Spend a weekend at a local hotel, just for the fun of it. Better yet, book a room at one with an indoor pool, or spa, or indoor water park.
  13. Binge-watch “Tidying up with Marie Condo” and then, downsize your stuff.
  14. Start an indoor greenhouse.
  15. Cultivate an indoor garden or terrarium.
  16. Plan and execute a big ole indoor picnic on your living room floor. Bonus points: sprinkle #20 on the situation.
  17. Use a flame thrower to clear the snow and ice from your driveway and sidewalks. Yeah, I dare ya.
  18. Watch television show or movies that take place in warm locales. Examples: Magnum Pi (the original of course), Miami Vice, and South Pacific.
  19. Host a luau for friends.
  20. Ant farms aren’t just for kids, so get yourself one. Besides, you’ll need some ants for #16.
  21. Camp out in your living room or basement. Pitch a tent or build an expansive blanket fort, and find a safe way to roast marshmallows indoors.
  22. Listen to Pyrate Radio and enjoy tropical rock tunes.
  23. Start a new hobby.
  24. Volunteer at a local school, community center, library, hospital, animal shelter, etc.
  25. Start a side business.
  26. See how many books you can read in one month.
  27. Write your own book.
  28. Purchase or borrow a telescope and explore the glorious winter skies.
  29. Start formulating next year’s Winter Escape Plan. Think Florida, or Hawaii, or some nice arid, warm desert. Seriously, let’s just be like the birds and leave winter behind next year.

There you go. If you have other interesting ways to beat winter, please comment below.

I’d like to thank my good friends / co-conspirators Julie and Sherri for contributing to this list! Be sure to visit Julie’s jewelry site and browse her unique and cool creations: julie.designer

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Come on, SPRING, come on!


Want to Conquer 2020? Answer these 7 Questions ASAP!


If you are satisfied with what you see as you look back on 2019, and if you are pleased with your current trajectory, congrats, this post is not for you.  Seriously…you’re good, you’re already killin’ it, so…move along…

But, if you look back over this past year and shake your head, frown, and cuss more than you smile and laugh, and if you want better, desire the best out of the new year, quiet your mind, open your heart, stoke your imagination and answer these seven simple questions. There’s no need to rush, so take your time and give it some expansive mental exploration, some deep thought, and answer as truly and as wholeheartedly as you can. If you do, your answers just might surprise you, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll gain the  insight and clarity you need to conquer 2020.

Ask Your Heart

1. What do I want? 

For most of us, within the core of our heart and soul, we know what we want, whether fully, or on an unspoken intuitive level, but we are for whatever reason reluctant to fully verbalize it.  If that’s you, feel the fear and write out everything that you want still.  Don’t censor yourself; everything, whether physical stuff, or non-physical things, or experiences, whether inane or poignant, write it all down.

2. Who do I want to be this time next year?

Note, this is not asking what job or title you want to have, or what new role(s) you want to fill next year.  No, by December 2020, what do you want your inner landscape, the true-you to be?  

3. Why?

Yes, why?  As you’ve probably heard before, knowing your why, your reason for choosing  a new path, is vital, and it could mean the difference between pressing on or giving up when the road gets tough.  Name, know, and understand your why.

4. What do I need to give up?

Think in terms of attitudes, actions, and unhelpful / unhealthful patterns.  Just pick the one that will have the greatest impact.

5. What do I need to take on?

Think in terms of attitudes, actions, and helpful / unhealthful patterns that you need to adopt. Again, don’t go crazy and try to take on ten new positive habits;  start with one.

6. In what area(s) of my life do I need to stop holding back?

“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” (2 Corinthians 9:6) When we hold back, the rewards will be few, or none.  So, where do you need to go all-in?

7. What am I willing to sacrifice for my greatest good?

Very few things in life that are truly valuable and meaningful are free. Everything has a price.  What price are you willing to pay for bringing out the good, the better, the best in you?

2020 Vision

When you’ve answered these questions once, answer them again, and keep answering them until you hit bedrock and can go no further.  At this point, if not before, you’ll begin to gain an amazing clarity that will light the path ahead and go a long way toward helping you conquer the new year!


Here’s to a year of thriving!


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