Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY FIT

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

Current times can’t quarantine the hustle of one Long Island-native who continues to embolden thousands of Peloton enthusiasts up the leaderboard.

Senior instructor Alex Toussaint is known for motivating riders with his no-excuses brand born from years of training at a military school. The child of a sailor and nephew of an airman, he exudes the discipline needed to formulate a workout that can help someone PR while entertaining them with a Biggie-versus-Tupac track battle. He tailors each class to be its own individual vibe, whether it’s a HIIT ride, intervals & arms, or pays homage to a specific decade — and crafting that experience requires precision when sculpting message, music and song placement.


“Depending on what class it is, the prep can take anywhere from an hour to the entire day, honestly. … I always start with the playlist and that may require me to sit down and be like, how many hills do I want to have in this playlist? How many flat roads; how many recoveries? And that will determine the style and the music that I go for. Once I lock the playlist in, then I have to figure out the transitions and how everything flows because I’m very, very critical of, you can have a 10-song playlist but if song 2 and song 8 are in the wrong placement, the playlist can sound terrible.”

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

Photo courtesy of Military Families Magazine.

Toussaint’s meticulous nature was instilled in him at military school in Missouri. His parents enrolled him for grades 6 to 11 in response to behavioral issues he experienced as a kid. He said his dad thought the discipline and structure would be helpful, and in fact, he has leaned on the principles ever since.

After graduation he pursued audio and video production — skills that also proved useful as he climbed the ranks of the fitness industry.

“I was that kid that graduated high school and went to college just to buy time and to please my parents, knowing that wasn’t really the general direction I wanted to go. But then again, I had no direction — I had no idea of what I wanted to do. While I was up in school, my car was stolen and I kind of went through this weird, dark depression stage that eventually had me come back to East Hampton,” he said.

He was introduced to the bike when he started working as a maintenance worker at an indoor cycling studio. Toussaint says he approached the owner about an opportunity to audition.

“I would listen to the instructors teaching through the door and literally get inspiration based off their playlist and based off what they were saying. At the time, I was never even on a cycling bike. So, I walked into work and asked the owner, who is now my life mentor, I asked him, ‘hey, can I be an instructor?'” Toussaint said.

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

Photo courtesy of Military Families Magazine.

The combination of training from military school and years in the marching band made him proficient at formulating a script for classes, attributes he said would tie all of his capabilities into one useful package.

“I literally went from one week mopping floors to the next week teaching a class,” he added.

That was in 2013 and he has since taught around the U.S. and opened a studio in Dubai before landing at Peloton. And now he finds himself among an elite group of instructors pushing onlookers through the current COVID-19 pandemic. As people were forced into isolation, Peloton became a gathering place for novice and advanced riders to bond over a common need for connection. The company also offers yoga, meditation, and boot camp, among other classes.

“Honestly, it’s that discipline over distraction mindset. It’s that military mindset which has honestly pushed me through this. It’s essentially the people who are on the frontlines — medical workers, police officers, things like that who are on the frontline right now — I kind of view what we’re doing as a service to the people. Because everybody’s at home, I feel like I’m obligated as an instructor and as a person in a position that can provide light to others, that I must,” he said.

Though Peloton is structured as an in-home program, instructors logistically perform workouts from studios in New York and the United Kingdom. That is until the coronavirus impacted operations and its team had to get creative on how to deliver its live programming. Toussaint and his fellow instructors are now offering classes live from their own homes, or through a pivot he would describe as adapting and overcoming.

“Throughout these tough days there’s absolutely light at the end of the tunnel. We’re going to get through this together. We just have to stick together as a family, as a unit, and I think that right now, more than ever, you just have to really have hope. The support from one another will be a strong enough foundation to make sure we get through this. We will come out stronger on the opposite side,” Toussaint said.

Ready to lock and load? Follow Alex Toussaint on Instagram for messages of motivation and check out Peloton’s range of classes including the 90-day free trial for new users who sign up by April 30.

This article originally appeared on Military Families Magazine. Follow @MilFamiliesMag on Twitter.

MIGHTY FIT

The one weightlifting exercise everyone might be overdoing

If you’re even remotely into the world of exercise and fitness, chances are you’ve noticed more people, particularly women, catching on to the various benefits of weight training over the past few years.

However, according to Dan Roberts, a personal trainer to models and movie stars, while there are countless benefits of weightlifting, there’s far too much emphasis on it within the world of fitness — particularly for women.

Business Insider caught up with Roberts at the Be:Fit London fitness festival, where Roberts gave a talk on mental health in the industry.


Originally a sports coach, Roberts has been a strength and conditioning trainer in New York, Australia, and London, working with elite and pro athletes and sports teams.

His accomplishments involve training India’s national tennis team, Britain’s junior ski team, and “a lot of pro wrestlers and pro fighters,” he told Business Insider.

About 10 years ago, he moved to Rio and became the in-house trainer for a big modeling agency, working with Victoria’s Secret models, before moving to Thailand to become a pro fighter for a year.

Eventually, his experiences led him to London, where he set up the Dan Roberts Group, which operates a number of companies offering personal training, online workouts, nutrition, branded fitness products, and fitness retreats, with a “small growing team” in New York.

While he says he trains “the biggest A-listers you can think of,” whether it’s an athlete, a model, or an actor preparing for a role, the company keeps things low-profile. “The reason I get clients like that is because I don’t tweet about it, [it’s not] on my Instagram.”

Through his company, Roberts tries to inspire better body image, as he believes there’s too much focus on looks in the industry.

“The main thing is exercise can be really good for mental health, but if you do it mindlessly trying to look hot, that’s not good for mental health,” he said. “Your approach towards exercise, the relationship you have with your body and food, and the relationship you have with exercise are all really important, so we try and help people with that.”

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

The obsession with squats

Roberts believes the one exercise the fitness world it too obsessed with is the squat.

“We tend to live quite quad-dominant lives, which means we sit down all day, and we sit up, we tend to lean forward, because when we sit down our hip flexors tighten, and our glutes switch out. Certain things tighten and these end up working more.”

He added: “If these are working more and your hamstrings are weak and your glutes aren’t working, to me it doesn’t make sense to do exercises which do exactly the same.

He said that holding a heavy weight and “going up and down a bunch of times” is “not very functional.”

“To me we don’t need to be that strong and it’s emphasising the muscles which, for most of us who sit down in the Western world, have overdeveloped.”

He also added that he works with a lot of women who want a firm bum and toned legs, but not big thighs — and the weighted squat is the opposite of what they’re after.

Instead, he recommends his clients do posterior chain exercises, like a deadlift.

“You bend over and stand up — that is far better than a squat,” he said.

“I very rarely give a squat just because I want people to have balanced bodies. When you have a balanced body and less muscular imbalances, you have less injuries.”

Strength is just one part

As a strength coach, Roberts believes that if you’re only doing a short half-hour workout, “weight training is more bang for your buck, because you strengthen the bones, you increase metabolism, and also when you’ve got a stronger body it’s more bulletproof to injuries.”

However, while he pushes the benefits of weight training, he said that fitness obsessives do not focus enough on “multi-directional movements — playing, basically.”

“We’re way stronger than we need to be,” he said. “If you go to the gym now people are deadlifting 200 pounds — [but] the only time you ever need to do that is in a gym. We don’t need to be that strong. We need to have a balance of flexibility, endurance, coordination, strength — strength is just one part. There’s too much emphasis on strength.”

He added that there’s a myth within the industry that because women don’t have as much testosterone as men, they can’t bulk up.

“A lot of what personal trainers are taught is you must have the right hormones to build up and weights will never get you bulky,” he said. “It’s not true — weights can get you bulky.”

Treat your body like a unit

Planning leg day, chest day, or back day at the gym is a very “1950s, 1960s bodybuilding view,” according to Roberts.

“If you’re a bodybuilder with those goals, it is an effective way. You don’t have to do total body if you want to isolate.”

However, he said: “Most of us aren’t bodybuilders, so that approach doesn’t really make sense. For 99% of us, it makes sense to work the body as a unit, because we’re designed as a unit. That’s why sports is really good.

“Say you’re serving in tennis or playing netball, you’re using your upper body and lower body together, working two or three planes of motion, twisting and bending, [which is] way better than just (lifting up and down).

“Generally, I disagree what that targeted approach. But there are always exceptions. If I’ve got to tone someone for a film, and they have to have a big chest, I’m not going to pay tennis with them, I am going to do a bench press. Like all of these things, for the majority of people I disagree, but there’s always exceptions.”

Work with your environment — and body

Roberts’ own fitness routine changes all the time.

“I’ve got a competitive sporting background,” he told Business Insider. “I was a county level tennis player, I played lacrosse for England, I’ve done ultra-marathons, I’ve had fights professionally, so it depends what’s going on in my life. At the moment, I’m doing quite a lot of cardio stuff.”

He added that he recently worked with a client abroad, so they spent time kayaking and swimming every day.

“I’m not training for a particular event right now, so I usually let the situational environment dictate. If I’m in a gym I’ll do more weights, if I’m outside I’ll do more running, if I’m on a beach I’ll do more swimming.

“I’ve done so much training over the years that I like just playing.”

He added that along with your environment, your own personal needs should also dictate the type of workout you’re doing.

“If you want to look after your bones, swimming is terrible for you, but weights is great for you. If you want to improve flexibility, don’t do boxing, do yoga. It depends on what you want.”

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

MIGHTY FIT

5 motivational videos will make you run out and join a gym

You need to be motivated to get and stay in shape. Whether that inspiration is rooted in making money, being attractive, or simply maintaining good health, everyone needs a reason to continue to push themselves to their physical limits.

Unfortunately, more than half of those who start a workout routine will give up on it in just a matter of weeks. We’ve seen it hundreds of times: On January 1st, the gym is packed. On January 14th, that surge of newcomers has completely tapered off. This is especially troubling because, according to Army veteran and fitness expert Jennifer Campbell, “veterans have a 70 percent higher chance of developing obesity than the general public.”

So, to help our fellow brothers- and sisters-in-arms find the motivation they need to build, complete, and maintain a routine, we put together a collection of videos that will get you hyped on your journey of returning to military shape.


Also Read: 4 reasons why veterans make the best fitness trainers

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“Effort is so important’ — C.T. Fletcher

This U.S. Army veteran is considered by many to be the godfather of the YouTube fitness community. His commanding presence has motivated a countless number of veterans to get back in the gym. He’s out to inspire self-confidence and help you put 100% effort into every workout.

Remember, you are your biggest critic — overcome self-doubt.

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WWE training with John Cena

This wrestler-turned-actor is known for his roles in military films, like The Marine and The Wall. When Cena isn’t killing bad guys on the silver screen, you can usually find him at Hard Nock’s Gym, where he constantly trains his body to reach its full potential.

Cena gains motivation his failures. He continuously strives to beat the obstacles that once defeated him.

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‘Wonder Woman’ — Cassandra Martin

For all of our sisters looking to get into shape, we present to you Cassandra Martin, one of the prime figures in the world of female bodybuilding. Her strong work ethic and constant drive to be better than she was yesterday shows as she battles each rep to the very end.

Martin’s strength and strict workout routines motivate countless aspiring women and men on their journeys to reach their fitness goals.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1H_fL_IFUgw

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The Rock’s ultimate workout motivation

Known for his outstanding charm and sense of humor, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has motivated countless people of all ages to make goals and smash through them. Johnson’s constant workout routines are what enable him to do some insane stunts for his films. His amazing career and top-tier physique remind us that hard work does pay off.

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Marky Mark will inspire you

It’s no secret that Mark Wahlberg is a staunch military supporter — he’s visited troops all over the world in his downtime. Although he’s not a young as he once was, Wahlberg continues to hit the gym and prove that age doesn’t mean sh*t — it’s all about your drive.

MIGHTY SURVIVAL

WATCH: ‘Quarantine’ is the catchiest country song by vets you’ll ever hear

Sure, quarantine might be lonely and lead to mild symptoms of desperation, boredom and straight up crazy, but this song by Black Rifle Coffee Company legends Mat Best and Tim Montana might be the best thing to come out of these dark days yet.


MIGHTY FIT

3 tips for executing a proper deadlift at the gym

For years, men and women have stepped into the gym looking to lift to gain some extra muscle — which is awesome. We, the dedicated, alternate between “arm day” and “chest day” in a never-ending quest to keep our bodies guessing, avoiding that awful “plateau effect.”

Despite its importance, however, many of us dread “leg day.” You should never neglect your lower body strength, but it’s harder to find the motivation to work on something that isn’t glamorous. Thankfully, if you want to bulk the entire body up at the same time, there’s one particular exercise that’ll do the trick: the deadlift.

The deadlift gets a bad rap in the gym world. Many amateur lifters perform exercise using lousy form or simply too much damn weight and end up injuring themselves. The fact is, there are many ways to screw this movement up — and only one way to do it right. Use these tips to get the most out of each massive rep.


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Boom!

Foot positioning

Proper foot positioning depends on the individual and how much power they can generate. However, in general, most people want to stand with their feet about shoulder-width apart, if not just a tiny bit wider. Keeping your feet too close together lowers your center of gravity and knocks you off balance.

We don’t want that.

A solid footing will better ensure you lift properly.

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Hand positioning

After putting on a lifting belt, many people wrap their hands around the bar in opposing positions — one palm facing out and one palm facing in. Others take a simpler route and lift with both palms inward. What’s most important here is to maintain a symmetric angle with both arms. Having one arm flared out more than the other can result in an injury — our bodies weren’t meant to carry more weight on one side than the other.

Most people position their hands just outside of their knees to maintain symmetry. However, different types of deadlifts require different hand placements. For starters, keep your hands in the standard position until you get comfortable.

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

A rounded back will probably result in a sore back.

Pulling up

Your feet are set, your grip is firm, and you’re ready to do the lift. Give the weight an initial tug upward and straighten out your back. As your rise up into the lock-out position, the weighed bar should just about scrape your shins. If the bar is more than an inch or two away from your front leg, it’s not correctly positioned and you’re risking injury. Remember, the closer the better.

MIGHTY FIT

7 best NBA servicemen of all time

The NBA playoffs are heating up, and you know what that means…

Every on-base basketball court in the country now has some dude who: screams for the ball, dives at your knees, and calls a foul whenever anyone gets near him. He wears brand new Jordans, knee-high socks, and probably has some (also new) sweatbands on. He constantly wipes the bottom of his shoes with his hands. His only passes are conveniently missed shots. He calls you “chief.”

These dudes are not that guy.

They served their country—and they balled out at the highest level.


Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

Mike Silliman

Mike Silliman was a beast for West Pointe. He took them to the NIT semifinals in 1954, 1955, and 1956. That was the equivalent of taking a team to the “Final Four” three consecutive times. He then won a gold medal with the USA Olympic basketball team in 1968. He also, perhaps, more importantly, became a captain while serving with the adjutant general corps in Korea.

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

Bernard James

The most intriguing player on our list, Bernard James, didn’t play professional OR collegiate basketball until after serving in the military. In fact, James didn’t even play high school ball.

James dropped out of high school, earned his GED, and then enlisted in the Air Force at 17. He served six years in the Air Force as a security forces specialist, and became a Staff Sergeant. He was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom to Iraq, Qatar, and Afghanistan.

It wasn’t until he played on his intramural Air Force team (and had a surprise 5-inch growth spurt—seriously) that he realized he had a knack on the hardwood. He then played in community college before transferring to FSU, where he was eventually drafted by the Dallas Mavericks where he would spend most of his 3 year NBA career.

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

Tim James

Tim James is a Miami hero. He played at Northwestern High School in Miami, then “the U” (The University of Miami), and was later drafted by the Miami Heat in the first round of the 1999 NBA draft. He played for 3 years in the league, and then joined the military after 9/11.

After enlistment, he served in Iraq and, according to an article by Dan Le Batard, even decided not to tell any of his fellow soldiers about his time in the NBA. Like Shakespeare said, “discretion is the greater part of valor.”

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

Bill Bradley

To say Bill Bradley was a renaissance man is an understatement. Bill Bradley’s achievements included: attending Princeton, attending Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, winning an Olympic gold medal in basketball, playing for the New York Knicks, winning two NBA championships, serving in the United States Air Force Reserve, becoming an NBA Hall of Famer, becoming a senator, and running for president… I pray he doesn’t DM my girl.

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

George Yardley

Don’t let the milkman look fool you– George Yardley is an NBA Hall of Famer and two-time All-American. After being drafted (to the NBA, that is) in 1950, he served in the Korean War for two years. When he got back, he played for the Fort Wayne Pistons and became the first player to score 2,000 points in a season.

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

Elgin Baylor

Rightfully credited as one of the greatest NBA players of all-time, Elgin Baylor turned around a struggling Minnesota Lakers franchise (and set the pace for what would become one of the winningest franchises in all of sports) by leading them to the NBA finals his rookie season. During his fourth year in the purple and gold, he served as a U.S. Army Reservist, living at Fort Lewis. His duties as an army reservist prevented him from practicing or participating in weekday games—and he still posted up 38 points per game.

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

David Robinson

David “The Admiral” Robinson never achieved the rank of Admiral—but he was a Lieutenant for the Navy. His time in the Navy almost never happened as he was almost not accepted on account of “being too tall” (the Navy limit at the time, 6’8″, was two inches shorter than Robinson). In spite of this, he was accepted and balled out at the Naval Academy where he won the coveted Naismith and Wooden awards. He was a 10 time all star, 2 time NBA champion, a member of the legendary 1992 Olympic gold medal “Dream Team,” and had perhaps the most defined shoulder muscles of the 1990’s.

MIGHTY SURVIVAL

Want to help the USPS and vets? Buy a ‘Healing PTSD’ stamp

The United States Postal Services has been in the news lately as they, just like the rest of us, are feeling the impact of the economy. Now, there’s a way to support everyone’s buddy the USPS and a cause more than worthy of your support: PTSD.


Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

In late March, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Gerry Connolly, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, issued the following statement after House Democrats introduced a stimulus package with emergency funds to save the Postal Service from imminent bankruptcy as a result of the coronavirus crisis:

“The Postal Service is in need of urgent help as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis. Based on a number of briefings and warnings this week about a critical fall-off in mail across the country, it has become clear that the Postal Service will not survive the summer without immediate help from Congress and the White House. Every community in America relies on the Postal Service to deliver vital goods and services, including life-saving medications. The Postal Service needs America’s help, and we must answer this call.”

According to the Postal Service, it is facing a potentially drastic direct effect in the near term on mail volumes and could be forced to cease operations as early as June.

A halt in Postal Service operations could have grave consequences across the country. For example, the Postal Service delivered more than a billion shipments of prescription drugs last year, and that number is expected to grow rapidly as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

These negative effects could be even more dire in rural areas, where millions of Americans are sheltering in place and rely on the Postal Service to deliver essential staples.

In addition, more than 25% of votes cast in recent elections are distributed through the mail and are critical to America’s democracy.

The resources included in the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act, would:

  • provide a billion emergency appropriation;
  • eliminate the Postal Service’s current debt; and
  • require the Postal Service to prioritize medical deliveries and allow it flexibility to meet crisis conditions.
Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

Flickr/TAL

So, how can you help? Buy stamps. And, for 10 cents more than a regular stamp, you can buy a “Healing PTSD” stamp. The additional cost is diverted to fundraising efforts for veterans with PTSD. The photo depicted is by Mark Laiata and is an illustration of a green plant sprouting from the ground, covered in fallen leaves. The image is intended to symbolize the PTSD healing process, growth and hope.

“The Postal Service is honored to issue this semi-postal stamp as a powerful symbol of the healing process, growth and hope for tens of millions of Americans who experience PTSD,” David C. Williams, vice chairman on the service’s board of governors, said in a press release issued when the stamp was introduced in December. “Today, with the issuance of this stamp, the nation renews its commitment to raise funds to help treat soldiers, veterans, first responders, health care providers and other individuals dealing with this condition.”

MIGHTY MILSPOUSE

Coronavirus stimulus checks: Everything military families need to know

As the United States continues to battle the spread of the coronavirus, the federal government has passed legislation that will send stimulus checks to most tax paying Americans, including military families.

These stimulus checks are a part of a massive $2 trillion effort to not only assist Americans who are financially struggling amidst this time of layoffs, furloughs, and social isolation, but also to inject funding directly into businesses around America that are continuing to employ people throughout this chaotic time.


The payments heading directly to American families in the coming weeks are projected to reach nine out of 10 households in the country, which means military families can count on receiving these payments despite the military itself not suffering the same sorts of layoffs and reduced employment found elsewhere in the nation. This money can be used to help offset lost spouse income, the cost of buying essential cleaning materials, and the cost of being stuck in your homes on base or elsewhere.

Service members that are suffering financial hardship as a result of being caught between duty stations while executing orders at the time of the Pentagon’s stop-movement order are eligible for other financial assistance provided through the Defense Department. Those payment have nothing to do with the coronavirus stimulus checks the Treasury Department will soon be sending.

So who, exactly, is eligible for a stimulus payment and how much can they expect to receive? We break it all down below.

How much will I receive in my coronavirus stimulus check?

Stimulus payments are based on the recipient’s adjusted gross income, so the Treasury Department can prioritize payments to Americans that are most in need. It’s important to note that basic entitlements like BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) and BAS (Basic Allowance for Subsistence) are not included in your family’s adjusted gross income. Only taxable income (basic pay) is taken into account for tax purposes.

You can find up to date info on the IRS webpage here.

Coronavirus stimulus payments include:

  • A maximum id=”listicle-2645620124″,200 per adult
  • Up to ,400 for couples who make up to ,000
  • An additional 0 per each child that is 16 or younger
Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

However, at a certain income level, the payments begin to reduce until a certain point, in which they stop completely.

  • Those who make over ,000 per year individually will see payments reduced by for each 0 in their Adjusted Gross Income over the ,000 cap.
  • Individuals who make over ,000 per year will not receive a payment
  • Couples filing jointly who make more than 8,00 per year will not receive a payment
  • Those who file as “head of household” will not receive a payment if their income is about 2,500 per year
  • Dependent adults are not eligible for a payment, including college aged children and adults with disabilities

How does the government know how much money I make or how many kids I have?

The Treasury Department will be using 2018 tax returns to assess income level and dependents, as well as the direct deposit information for those who have it in order to deposit the stimulus checks.

What if my income was above ,000 in 2018, but has since dropped?

These payments are really just an advanced tax credit, so even if you don’t receive a payment because your 2018 taxes showed you as ineligible, you can still receive it as part of your tax return when you file your 2020 taxes.

Do I have to sign up or fill out forms to receive my stimulus payment?

As long as the IRS already has your bank account information from your 2019 or 2018 tax returns, all you have to do is sit and wait for the check to hit your account. However, if you have not yet filed your 2018 taxes, the IRS encourages you to do so as soon as you can, otherwise your payment may be delayed.

The IRS said that they will be building a portal to change direct deposit information in the coming weeks.

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

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What if my family and I are stationed overseas?

As long as you meet the income requirements and have a social security number, you will still receive the payment regardless of where you are stationed.

Will I have to pay taxes on the stimulus payment?

No, these payments are technically considered a tax credit.

What if I don’t have direct deposit established for my taxes?

Your payment will come to you the same way a tax refund would, so if you don’t have a direct deposit account established with the IRS, the check will be mailed to you at the address listed on your tax return.

This article originally appeared on Sandboxx. Follow Sandboxx on Facebook.

MIGHTY FIT

This is the science behind how muscle is built

Pectoralis major (chest), gastrocnemius (calf), and the rectus abdominis (abs) are just a few of the popular areas that both men and women work to strengthen and tone. But how do we get them to grow without overdoing it and hurting ourselves in the gym?

The Answer? Science.


There are approximately 600 muscles found in the human body. This dense, complex fibrous tissue makes up between one-third and one-half of our total body weight. Even if your goal isn’t to win a bodybuilding competition, working out determines whether your body will grow or wither.

 

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic
A short list of the muscles in the human body.

(Baldaivirtuves.info)

So, how can science help us grow muscle? Well, you need to learn how a muscle works before you can push it to its limit.

Let’s say you want to lift a small amount of weight that your body can efficiently manage. First, your brain sends a signal to the motor neurons in your arm. Once the neurons receive the message, they fire up, contracting and relaxing your muscles. The muscles pull on the bones in your arm to create the movement needed to lift the weight.

It’s pretty simple, right?

Now, if the load we need to carry is on the heavier side, that signal from your brain gets magnified, enabling you to generate the required force.

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic
Inside of a human muscle fiber.

In lifting this heavy object, you’ve exposed your muscle to stress and, as a result, you’ve completed a controlled tear in the muscle fibers. Nice work! In response to the damage, your body releases inflammatory cells called “cytokines.” These cells activate your immune system, repairing the controlled injury and making the muscle fibers stronger.

And we like that.

Since our bodies are great at adapting, continuing with the same routine, day-in and day-out, will cause your body to plateau — meaning you won’t build any additional muscle. By introducing different types of resistance to your body, you can avoid this plateau. Instead, your body will enter into a state called “hypertrophy.”

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic
Weight lifting is great, but adding in another type of exercise will keep your body guessing.

(Photo by Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Christian J. Robertson)

 

Now, lifting the heavy weights isn’t the only critical aspect to getting your body ready for beach season. Your tissue won’t be able to repair damaged muscle fibers without the help of proper nutrition, rest, and, of course, the right amount of hormones. Science has proven that gender and age affect the healing process, which is why young men with high testosterone levels find it easiest to bulk up.

Check out Ted-Ed‘s animated video below to get an entertaining and educational look at how humans get buffed out using science as their weapon.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Lionsgate Live is bringing the movies to you, starting tonight with Dirty Dancing

No big Friday night plans? Look no further than your own family room, but be sure to sit on the couch because “Nobody puts Baby in the corner!” That’s right, Lionsgate Live! A Night at the Movies is having a special viewing this evening of Dirty Dancing with an excellent line up for the next few weeks.


Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

Lionsgate

What is Lionsgate Live! you ask? The four week program, which launched last week with The Hunger Games, allows viewers to enjoy a classic Lionsgate film every Friday evening through May 8th for free on Fandango Movieclips and Lionsgate’s YouTube page. May 1 will feature La La Land and May 8 will feature John Wick (age restriction required).

Tonight’s livestream will feature special appearances by Dirty Dancing‘s own Jennifer Grey and choreographer Kenny Ortega, along with an exclusive look at some of the film’s prized memorabilia as well as time-jumping behind-the-scenes footage!

Each livestream will directly benefit the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, dedicated to helping people who work in the motion picture industry and currently providing financial assistance to theater employees furloughed by the COVID-19 crisis.

So come dance the night away tonight at 6:00pm PT / 9:00pm ET for some Dirty Dancing – all in honor of good cause. Instead of previews, enjoy Fandango’s Movieclips, offering a special playlist featuring some of the best scenes from the film – enjoy!

MIGHTY FIT

Why it’s so hard to keep the weight off, part 2 – now that you know

If you’ve dieted before and lost weight, how did it go? What were your thoughts when the three months were up, or the 6-week challenge was finished? If you were like most people, you probably had some thoughts like these:

That was good but I’m glad it’s over.

I got what I wanted (lost weight), so now I can bring back some of the things I used to eat.

All those urges sucked, I’m not doing that again.

I learned some good stuff, but that diet didn’t really fit my lifestyle.


The hidden idea behind these thoughts is that the diet was temporary. The thing is, when you start a diet, you want to end with the result being a new weight, and you want to KEEP your new weight, right? Why doesn’t this happen?

Losing weight AND keeping the weight off requires that you learn to manage your mind.

If you’re overweight, then it’s because you’re overeating. It’s as simple as that… but it’s also not so simple.

Food doesn’t get eaten just because it’s there, sitting in front of you – whether it’s chicken and broccoli or two Pop-Tarts. Just like you don’t go to the gym just because it exists – it’s just a building with heavy stuff in it. So why do you eat the food you put in your mouth, and why do you lift the weights when you’re at the gym?

The reason you do anything in life is because of how you think it’s going to make you feel when you get it or when you do it.

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

(media.giphy.com)

Our feelings are the most powerful experiences in our body because they compel us to act. Feelings are what drive our actions. They are the fuel to our actions. Think about it… we don’t do anything unless we feel like it.

We eat the salad because we think we’ll feel lighter, healthier, and happier. We go to the gym because we think we’ll feel strong, skinny, and sexy. We show up early for watch because we think we’ll feel liked and benevolent by our peers. We complain about our job or our supervisors because we think we’ll feel justified and correct.

Think about it… why do you follow orders so well?
“We follow orders because it was “drilled” into us…. On your first day of basic training (when you’re sweating, confused and scared), and the drill instructor was yelling and spitting in your face telling you to follow his or her orders or else your shipmate on your first deployment could die… the feeling of horrendous guilt, fear, and shame inundated you. You may not remember this day or how it went down exactly but you’ll never forget the feeling. You immediately envision that terrible possibility of you being ignorant and not following orders and someone you know dying or getting maimed because of your inaction. The guilt and fear of that thought is so compelling, that your brain learns immediately that following orders is non-negotiable. Your brain shifts that thought into your subconscious so that it doesn’t even have to think twice about following orders. That’s why following orders sometimes feels necessary for your survival. That’s how powerful our thoughts and emotions are.”

All feelings come from our thoughts. We have a thought that begins in our brain. Our thoughts are triggered by what we see, hear, smell, feel, and taste around us. Each thought travels down our body, and we experience it in our body as a feeling, as an emotion. It’s known that we have tens of thousands of thoughts a day, which is why it’s so hard at the beginning to develop the skill of managing your mind by finding the thoughts that are creating certain emotions for you.

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

We have a thought in our brain, and the neural connections that are made cascade their way down our body signaling a feeling that corresponds best. You’ve seen this happen in your own life. When you think about how sharp and proud you’ll feel by wearing a clean, ironed uniform and the great first impression you’ll make at the pinning ceremony in front of your new Commanding Officer, what do you do in that moment? You’ll most likely wash and iron your uniform and lay everything out so that you don’t forget a single uniform item, including your underwear.

Your brain, which is the most powerful tool on the planet, was designed to operate this way and understanding how it works will help you begin to manage your thoughts so that you can start losing weight without having the weight come back on.

The more you think about the result you desire, the more your brain will learn to pay attention to it because it feels better than anything else.

Remember, we only do things because of how we think we’ll feel when we do them or when we get them.

This is how you begin developing the skill of managing your mind.

The answer is, you learn to eat the way that you see yourself eating for the rest of your life that creates the body and the results you want for yourself.

It’s important to know that you can take action from any feeling, positive or negative. You can follow a diet feeling deprived. Or, you can follow a diet feeling fulfilled. But one route guarantees a more enjoyable experience, one that you will want to continue to experience. Ultimately, one way ensures a more enjoyable existence. Therefore, how willing and committed are you to creating the results you want for yourself?

You must decide. Then let your feelings drive or inspire your actions, and over time, you will have your results.


Articles

Common weaknesses you must improve in military fitness performance

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jonathan Wright


You do not have to be a world-class athlete to join the military. Even within the ranks of Special Ops, you will not be required to be a master of any element of fitness — above average maybe, but not world class.

My observations from training many military members over the past two decades has shown me that we all come from different foundations of fitness. We all excel in different events, and suffer weaknesses in others. It takes a mature and ego-free team player to realize that your preparation to be 100 percent ready for your job may be lacking. When you make the decision to go Special Ops, you must be prepared to research your future profession and acknowledge there are elements of fitness you will have to attempt that you may have never been exposed to.

Your best bet is to be competent in as many of the following elements of fitness as possible.

Strength: Being strong and having a foundation of strength is critical to ALL of your other abilities. This does not mean that you have to bench press a truck. It means that having strong muscles, bones, and connective tissues will assist in your ability to make power when you need it. The most basic way to measure strength is to record the amount of weight lifted in one repetition. Don’t skip leg day!

Power: You cannot have power without strength and speed. The faster you move an object or yourself through space is power. Power usually requires a full body movement generated from your feet and legs and transferred across the body to its end point. For instance, a powerful knockout punch starts from the feet as the fighter steps into a punch, shifts the hips, torques the torso, and extends the arm until the moment of impact with her or his fist. That is power. In physics, power is defined as power equals force times velocity or work divided by time. It is a combination of technique, speed, and strength.

Endurance: Cardiovascular endurance is necessary for nearly any activity, including running, rucking, and swimming. Technique helps with the amount of energy you use, but being able to move and move fast is one element that has to be continually practiced. If you do not lift for a week, you will typically come back stronger. If you do not run for a week, it feels like you are starting over when you run again. Whether you like fast interval cardio or long, slow distance cardio — just get it done. You need both depending upon your job. How fast you can run, ruck or swim longer distances will be the typical measure for your endurance ability.

Muscle Stamina: Combine high repetition muscle stamina with endurance and you are building a PT test-taking machine. A two minute calisthenics fitness test is one way to test your muscle stamina, but another marker is putting in a full day of hard physical work. Having the ability to continuously move your body weight and more over longer periods of time is required in the typical selection programs. Strength is handy. You need it. But being able to work all day is a physical skill and mindset that needs to be fostered daily.

Speed: Testing speed with short runs can save your life when having to quickly run for cover. Speed can be enhanced by adding in faster and shorter runs to your running days.

Agility: Accompanied with speed and balance, agility is how quickly you can move from side to side and change direction quickly. Both speed and agility can be practiced with cone drills arranged in less than 10 second drills, where full speed and changes of direction are measured.

Mobility / Flexibility: Do not forget to warmup and stretch for flexibility, but also to move your joints through a full range of motion for mobility. Like many elements of fitness, if you don’t use it, you lose it. So make stretching and moving in a full range of motion part of your day.

Hand / Eye Coordination: Whether it is shooting, driving, flying, throwing, or lifting objects to be placed a certain way, having a background with hand eye coordination is helpful to any tactical athlete. Sports can be a great for building this skill, but obtaining good hand / eye coordination requires practice.

Running / Rucking: Being prepared to run and ruck takes time. Time spent logically progressing your weekly mileage in running and building time under the weight with rucking has to be a foundation of your training if attempting most military and any Special Ops training program. Lack of preparation will mean injury and possibly failing to meet the standard within a few months of training. If you don’t practice several days a week to build your endurance, you will lose it.

Swimming / Water Confidence Skills: Not having a pool to train in or not being comfortable in the water is not only a physical fitness issue, but a huge mental block for many. Technique is critical to your success in the water. Watch videos and practice, practice, practice if you need to get better in the water for your swimming, drown-proofing, and treading tests. Several days a week of technique training is required, along with building your cardiovascular endurance to maintain any speed.

Specializing in too few of these elements above can lead to neglecting others. World class athletes specialize in only a few of the above for their athletic events. For instance, take the competitive Olympic swimmer or power lifter. Both are incredible to watch, but both would fail miserably at each other’s events on an Olympic stage.

The reason I am focusing on comparing world class athletes to those in the military is that far too many regular Joe’s attempt workouts and training programs designed for world class athletes. There is no need to try an Olympic swim or running plan used by your favorite Gold Medalist to help you pass a fitness test of a 500m swim or a 1.5 mile timed run — even if you are trying to be a Special Ops team member. Trying to deadlift 600+ pounds, which is a massive amount but still nowhere near world class, may cause injury or interfere with your ability to run, ruck, or swim with fins for long distances. You need to ask yourself what you have to give up to compete in an Ironman Triathlon, do a body building competition, or power lifting meet. If your answer involves too many other elements of fitness, you may want to reconsider whether this is a necessary step toward a tactical profession.

There is a quote often used in Tactical Fitness Training: A world-class athlete needs to be an A+ in his/her activity, which may only focus on 1-2 elements of fitness. A tactical athlete needs to be a B in ALL the elements of fitness to best do his/her job. Make your annual training plan so that you can arrange the elements of fitness into your year accordingly. Learn about periodization and do it logically, with smart progressions so that you do not start off with too much, too soon, too far, or too fast, and end up hurting yourself with challenging programs designed for something not related to the Tactical profession.

MIGHTY FIT

Got goals? Here’s how to support them in the gym.

Lifting weights makes you better at everything else that’s important in your life.

Literally everything, like mindset and self-esteem, but especially any physical pursuit you may be engaged in…


[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/Bj3PorVHCIx/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link expand=1]Michael Gregory on Instagram: “How many times you workout each week can be optimized but, not by selecting a certain number of days that you train. . The main things that…”

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So, ask yourself. What is your goal?

  • Do you want to get stronger?
  • Do you want to get bigger?
  • Do you want to maintain/improve endurance?
  • Do you have a PT test coming up?
  • Do you just want to be healthy?
  • Do you have other active hobbies that you care about?
  • Where do you want to be in 10 years?

Resistance training serves all these goals. Allow me to spit some of that good gouge on just how this is possible and why you should be lifting a few sessions a week no matter who you are.

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

It takes strength to run in boots. Any imbalances you may have become amplified with boots or a pack on, or at extreme distances.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. John C. Lamb/Released)

Long distance runners

Let’s take a marathoner, for example, just to jump to the most extreme end of the spectrum away from the standard lifter. The focus of a marathoner is to run 26.2 miles as fast as possible. All other goals are secondary to that.

In order to be the best marathoner possible, more than running is required. Specifically, having the strength to actually run properly is imperative. Many running injuries come from overuse and fatigue. When a runner is tired, the muscles most prone to injury are those that are the weakest.

The best way to prevent a weak hamstring from destroying a marathoning career is not to let the hamstring get weak in the first place. That’s where resistance training comes in. The gym is the place where a marathoner can specifically target those muscles that give out first and bring them up to snuff.

When practicing your sport of choice, you can’t focus on a weakness–you need to try to hide it or overcompensate in another way.

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

Train legs until the day you die.

(Photo by Sopan Shewale on Unsplash)

The crusty old timer

Tell me if this sounds familiar.

Dad/Grandpa/Mom/Meemaw was doing so well, but then it got hard for him/her to get up and down the stairs. Eventually, he/she fell and ended up in the hospital (my grandmother needed a new steel hip). That’s when things started to spiral. He/she stopped making sense, couldn’t use the bathroom alone anymore, and needed someone around 24/7.

That’s usually around the point when you start wondering if they would be better off “in the great beyond.” Someone always says this: “If I ever get that bad, pull the plug.”

More lower body strength strongly correlates to a higher quality of life later in life. Dr. Austin Baraki gets into the nitty-gritty here.

The most efficient and safest way of increasing lower body strength is properly regulated resistance training. Check out the middle of this article for the quantitative pros of resistance training over other exercise modalities.
Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

Strength is unbiased. Just show up and do the work.

(Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash)

Get bigger, stronger, leaner

If your main priority is strength or size gains, then you should get in the gym obviously. There is no one on planet earth that would argue weight lifting won’t get you stronger or more muscular. Leaner? As spelled out in this article here, resistance training is actually the most efficient method to burn body fat in the long run. Sure a crash diet or some intense HIIT sessions can help in the short term, but their benefits are what we call diminishing returns. Not to mention that they have the potential to spur a negative relationship with food or exercise. Try instead the nomad approach, laid out here, which includes a solid resistance training regimen of a few days a week.

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

If you don’t desire to flying drop kick another human being you have no pulse.

(Photo by Thao Le Hoang on Unsplash)

The man of a million interests

If marathoners, the elderly, and those seeking fat loss can all benefit from lifting weights, you can bet your jalapeño cheese spread that those benefits extend to every other pursuit imaginable. Think of your gym sessions as survivability training for your body so that when you do choose to pursue something new, you have a solid base of capable muscle to back you up.

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic

We train to extend the quality of our lives but also to potentially save the life of someone else.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Gunnery Sgt. Alexis R. Mulero)

The reason we train

The purpose of training is to extend the length of quality years that we live by allowing us to turn up the volume on the things we value.

If you value aesthetics, train accordingly.

If you need to survive in combat, train accordingly.

If you want to play with your kids, train accordingly.

If you have a crush on the yoga instructor, train accordingly. Without being a stalker creep.

If you have your first marathon coming up, train accordingly.

If you are gunning for a promotion and need a perfect score on the PFT, train accordingly.

REMEMBER: Wherever your values may lie strength (and a resistance training plan) is a core component.

Mighty FIT is making strides to give you the fitness content you want. Please take 2 minutes and tell us just what your preferences are for fitness content so that Michael and the other fitness writers can supply what you want.

Peloton instructor leans on military mindset to push riders through pandemic
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