December 22, 2019

Solutions for sustainable change. | by Jameson Skillings

Your weekly source of actionable tips, helpful ideas, and questions to improve your deep health.

Longer days are upon us now that the winter solstice has arrived. At first, the length of the days isn’t noticeable. A few seconds difference each day. Those extra seconds start to add up. Soon it will be an extra minute one day, and two minutes the next.

Building habits that support your goals works in a very similar way. Progress isn’t as noticeable in the beginning when things move very slowly. Over time, as we continue to get 1% better each day, our progress starts to build up.

Here is 1 tip, 1 idea, and 1 question for you to dig into this week.


Increase your workout intensity.

If you’re struggling to make progress in the gym, it’s highly likely because you’re undertraining. While it’s smart to undertrain during times of acute stress and reduced sleep, it’s important to dial up the workout intensity when possible.

At your next workout, use Reps In Reserve (RIR) to guide workout intensity. RIR is how many repetitions you could do of an exercise before you’re unable to do another repetition with good technique.

Do a full-body strength training exercise to 1-5 RIR and pair it with a bodyweight cardio movement until you’ve gotten your heart rate up as high as you can safely. Rest for 30 – 90 seconds and repeat for four rounds.

More info: How to Read a Training Program

Here’s a sample workout:

A1 Goblet Squat 4×5 RIR
A2 Jumping Jack 4xAMRAP@30-90

B1 Front Rack Reverse Lunge 4x5RIR/side
B2 Mountain Climber 4xAMRAP@30-90

C1 DB Floor Press 4×5 RIR
C2 Seal Jack 4xAMRAP@30-90

D1 DB Bent Over Row 4×5 RIR
D2 High Knee Sprint 4xAMRAP@30-90


Prioritize yourself.

“I’m having my family visit for a week and I just wish they would leave. I’m constantly cooking, cleaning, and taking care of them while they’re here. They keep me up late and I always struggle to fit in my workouts because somebody always needs something from me.”
Setting healthy boundaries can be difficult, especially with family. If you find yourself unable to prioritize the things you need to do for your health and wellbeing, it may be time to ask for assistance from your family.

There are two types of tired. One is a need for sleep, the other is a need for peace. Asking for 30-60 minutes to yourself so you can workout, meal prep, meditate, do yoga, or just be alone is a reasonable request. Schedule your much-deserved “you time” into your day. Block it off and treat it as an appointment with your doctor.


Who is getting in the way of your goals?

There could be many responses to this question and it all boils down to who is in control of your life. Maybe you give up power and autonomy, making concessions daily to make others comfortable and happy.

Your partner makes you a snack and invites you to sit down and watch TV for two hours and you don’t want them to feel unappreciated. Or you took a 20-minute phone call from your mom because she needs help with something she never used to need help with and you missed your fitness class.

If similar things are happening in your life, look to make adjustments so that you’re back in control of the things you can control. This could mean going to bed and waking up earlier to fit in a workout. Find a way to put yourself in control more consistently.

All the best,

Jameson Skillings


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