Here’s five things that really stood out to me last month:

1. I escaped the snow headed to Costa Rica for a couple weeks. This place always reminds me how much life there is on earth—from the jungles to the oceans, everything thrives down there. It was a trip to Costa Rica back in 2014 that gave me a clear objective for my work, training, and personal life. The goal was simple: Grow Strength Side so I can travel more and come back to this beautiful country.

Coming back almost 10 years later, I had to give thanks to this place for giving me a clear mission. That can be the hardest thing to find in life… passion, direction... meaning. As I sat there on the beach watching the waves lightly roll in, I realized that my values and mission have changed but the inspiration from a beautiful place stays within me.

2. What a nice segue into how to find a passionate mission. How to set a goal that seems meaningful. I’m not talking about a specific or measurable goal (SMART Protocol), I’m talking about why to even set a goal in the first place? This is the challenging part. This is the stuff that can keep me up at night wondering what do I actually want to pursue? Do I actually care about this thing that I’m doing? 

For me, what I’ve found most useful when figuring out what I want in life is to first write down my values and principles I hold for myself—a personal philosophy to steer my ship. The majority of the time when I find myself becoming bored, tired, or even stressed out by a goal, it’s because that goal does not align very well with my values. The closer I can match up my actions to my principles the more passion I feel and the easier it is to keep going even when motivation levels drop. 

Practical Example: This shows up for me a lot in training. I generally value movement and play higher than achieving a skill or feat of strength. So in the past I’ve let certain handstand goals go because I realized I’d much rather be engaged in a dynamic practice like ground movement, dance, or parkour. You may find the opposite, maybe strength is a high value for you and you need to pass on the weekly runs in order to achieve some strength goals. But maybe the most important part is being open to your values changing over the months/years/decades.

3. A couple weeks ago, we put out our review on Minimalist Shoes. If you want to know which shoes we like best and why, please check it out. But there’s a caveat I wanted to add; minimalist shoes are not necessary. If you can’t afford them or live in a country where they aren’t accessible, you’re fine. Just spend more time barefoot. Do your workouts barefoot. Go for walks barefoot. You may even be better off going barefoot because even the best “barefoot” shoes don’t give you one thing: texture. The only way you can feel and sense different surfaces and stimuli is to be barefoot, optimally barefoot on different surfaces. As much as I like and support minimalist shoes, it does trigger a sense of consumerism in us all thinking we need these products to be healthy. But the truth is we don’t, we have all the tools within us.

4. I’m back to back flips. The truth is my ankle did not feel good enough to do these for a while so I went over a year without doing a flip. But man it feels good to do them again. I think flips are really cool; I’ve always been intrigued by them but I think the value in a backflip goes beyond just a cool party trick. The reality is that most people who have some experience training and a tiny bit of athleticism in their body have the capability to do a back flip. 

So why isn’t everyone at the park throwing them? Fear. It’s so scary to jump up and invert your torso, not knowing where the ground is for a few moments, not knowing if you may fall and smash your head. But it’s actually a quite simple movement once you learn it. And the better you learn it, the less you fear doing it.

I’m well aware it’s not for everyone. But if you can jump on a box up to your hips and have some decent core strength, you can probably do one (I just saw a 60 year old dude do one this weekend). DON’T go out to your backyard and try one out. That’s a recipe for disaster. But look up if your town has a local gymnastics or parkour gym. Every time I’ve “re-learned” my backflip I’ve needed to get it in a gym first. They have foam pits, soft mats, spring floors, and coaches to help you work through some much needed progressions. The reason why I share it here is because of the feeling… there’s a unique feeling I get from a flip that makes me feel a little super-human. Maybe that feeling is waiting there for you too…just learn it safely.

5. Our first sponsorship: LMNT. I told myself a few years ago when we started getting approached by companies for sponsorships, I would hold off until I linked up with a product I actually used and got tons of value from. I truthfully used LMNT Electrolytes for a full year before we reached out to collaborate. I work out and sweat more than the average person. I drink coffee, sometimes I intermittent fast, and these are all good reasons to replenish your electrolytes. Drinking a ton of water is great, but absorbing your water… that’s even better. And that’s what LMNT helps you do. I’ve tried a bunch of other products. Most have additives I don’t want. Some skimp on the quantity of minerals. And some just don’t taste good. LMNT checks all those boxes for me. As spring approaches and the weather starts to warm… I suggest trying them out. Use our link here and LMNT will give you a free sample pack with any purchase so you can see what flavor you vibe with best.

A few other things I’m loving:

  • Song: This cover of Tom’s Diner is insane. I think I’m a little late to the party here as this video has 99 million views but if you’ve never heard it, it’s amazing.
  • Book: The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho. You’ve probably heard of it. It really inspired me back in my mid-20’s and, re-reading it 10 years later, I felt a similar motivation to courageously walk my path. This is a great book if you’re not super into reading as it’s pretty short and easy to read.
  • Product: I recently bought an espresso machine and I’ve been enjoying learning the art of espresso. I think I’m starting to pour some decent shots after about a month of struggling. Steaming milk is another story!

Also, have you seen our Strength Side Membership is only $9.99? Access to over 100 follow-along routines for flexibility, strength, and movement. We’ll be raising the price in a few weeks but we wanted to give our Strength Side community a chance to lock in this crazy low rate during the first few months of the year.

​​​​​​​You can even start with a 3-day free trial right here.

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