Friday, November 18, 2016

Movember, the Asian Squat, Wim Hoff, & random stuff...

     Been a while!  I think what is happening is that I'm becoming one of those lazy humans who only wants to do anything social media related, from my smart phone.  So that means most of my 'blogging' or posting is being done on my instagram.  Also I only seem to post organically, in-the-moment, and instagram is a better platform for that, since my phone is right there always connected, and my laptop is not.  Also instagram keeps my posts shorter & to the point, so follow me there for more consistent, organic posts @maxwettstein on insta.

     November is 'Prostate Health' awareness month and I have already posted about this numerous times, if you want to check that out.  Yes eventually every man's prostate begins to enlarge, if you live long enough, and it is natural and not the end of the world.  The finger-probe is a more reliable BPH test than the blood/PSA test.  And masturbating or ejaculating daily is healthy for the prostate gland.

Squat more, Sit less.
My version of the 'Asian Squat?'  Yes I know I look like I'm taking a dump in the woods!
     In the above photo, I'm disappointed because I'm 3 weeks into my 'Movember' mustache and you can't even see it!  But more importantly I'm doing a resting, natural deep squat I've always done, which is now becoming popular (again) in fitness circles.  I've even seen it claimed a cultural position - the 'Asian squat', because some of those cultures hang out like this...
In some cultures a proper deep squat is a way of life.  Chairs are bad for your posture, lazy American!
...because in these cultures there aren't chairs available everywhere.  (Also see my post on Sitting is Lethal.)  As a young man, I used to be play Catcher in baseball and got really good at this squat.  As a surfer, I squat like this to loosen up my lower-back while checking the surf.  What's old is new again, and even Men's Health mag recently called this Asian Squat as the one move/exercise you need to be doing each day to maintain full-range of motion - of course MH didn't call it that and claimed it as their own novel idea.  Like I said, what's old is new again.  So next time you're just sitting around, maybe opt out of the chair and for this squat instead.  You will be doing wonders for your lower back, hips and glutes.  Contrary to what one might think, deep (natural) squats are NOT bad for your knees or pateller tendon, even during weight-lifting exercise.  The proper way is heels flat on the ground and butt as low as you can get it.  You may find that over time your achilles tendon has shortened a bit, from so much sitting and this is one natural way to lengthen it back out.  Those of you who have always done Olympic-style lifting, (pulling a barbell from the floor), should have no problem with your achilles tendons, as this traditional type of lifting involves this type of deep squatting.  So this is the heart of this blog post, but read on for more updates...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Some recent photoshoot/modeling work, Summer 2016

     Sorry, I've been way behind on blogging!  So many ideas, but then I never feel like I have a free adequate block of time to properly write anymore.  I need to just sit down randomly and start typing and let it flow instead of striving to create some sort of writing masterpiece.  Upcoming posts planned on cold exposure benefits and training immersed in "hard, righteous, NATURE" that I learned primarily from studying Wim Hof, the IceMan.  Also more pilot occupational health hazard items and redeye life.  Training in "hard nature" - I have always done it, mostly with surfing, mountain biking and snow skiing - but its true - it can take you out of your confined, safe, benign, bland, gym climate and expose you to unexpected rawness, ruggedness, beauty and even some extremes - triggering primal instincts, survival hormones and amplifying sensory intake.  Nature will hold you accountable like no Trainer will.  Cold exposure is like a cardio workout in and of itself, flexing all your blood vessels and endothelial lining.  More to come and more on the power of the mind.  But for now, some recent modeling work - because the camera can also be "righteous" and hold one accountable:)  Thank you!
QOR Kit June '16 Catalog cover, photo Jed Smith

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Exit 2015, Enter 2016: What's new?..Zoolander 2, and revisiting 'Why I still model - Isn't it time to retire?!'

Its been a while!  This blog post is more of a personal, ‘house-keeping’ one, so you’ve been warned!

2015 wrapped up with San Diego’s Four EL men’s magazine going on indefinite hiatus, (where I was the fitness contributor), as well as Greens Plus+ Energy bars, without warning, cutting their marketing staff, and as a result, all of us ‘ambassadors’ losing our sponsorship.  So no more Greens Plus for myself after 15 years using their products.  I can’t be expected to go back to buying it at this point.  I’m still working an ambassadorship with Core Energy Fitness resistance bands and suspension straps (my backyard & traveling fitness arsenal), and BioFreeze has been contacting me recently for sponsorship, but I have failed to get back to them in time most likely, which is lame of me, cause their products are ones I was already using, as well as my wife for her massage practice.

I’m still modeling professionally, booking paid jobs about twice monthly.  (If it’s not paid, it’s not professional.)  Bookings have slowed down a lot, by choice.  For one thing, working my main career as a Captain for JetBlue, with two kids & a working spouse, leaves very little time left over for modeling, writing & Personal Training.  Also, at age 46, I have realized the ideal ‘fitness-model’ in the traditional sense, is a young-man’s game, so I have switched to mostly apparel clients, which means catalogs instead of magazines & infomercials.  Less exposure & infomercial fame, but the irony is, apparel pays about 4 times as much, and the shoots are much less intense.  In fact the idea with apparel most times is to look as natural as possible, not even noticing the photographer, (unless it is BORING studio!), and there are some instances where you don’t even know when the photographer has gotten ‘the shot’.  He just suddenly out of nowhere says, “Got this, what’s next?”  Some of the performance/sports-apparel shoots are still quite demanding physically to be sure, but even then, the intensity level is nowhere near that of a standard fitness industry booking, and, typically I’m wearing physique-covering clothing much of the time, so the enormous challenge of pre-shoot dieting and dialing (tanning, shaving, carbo-loading), is all but eliminated.

Going into 2016 my main apparel client is still the relatively new men’s performance brand known as QOR (pronounced “core”- see my earlier blog posts.)  They just hit the 1.5 year mark since their official launch and are gaining traction.  They are mostly for the urban, corporate-yet-very-active man.  Think San Francisco-based CEO or Doctor who commutes to work by bicycle and goes for a jog during lunch.  This QOR-man is also eco-minded and a foodie.  I just shot for their summer catalog on the North Shore of Oahu.  It certainly felt very validating to book a location shoot of that caliber again.  A little backstory - the creators of QOR were also the creators of a women’s brand called Athleta, now owned by GapSince I have been a model for every QOR shoot since their genesis, sometimes I feel like I’m truly a part of their team.

Friday, October 9, 2015

For the Ladies: Breast Cancer Awareness Month - October is PINK!

     I know I mostly have a lot of male followers on my blog, as it tends to center around Men's health & fitness, but fellas, I have to give it up for the ladies during this pink month of October:  It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month!  And where would any of us be without those breasts and the life-giving colostrum and milk they provide us at birth?!  It's hard to miss the pink everywhere this month, and it's not without good reason.  Breast cancer affects almost every family I know at some point.  Maybe it is the abundance of estrogen and estrogen-receptors within breast tissue, or maybe it is the large amount of breast adipose tissue itself, both which are thought to feed some cancers.  I don't know for sure, but I do know that breasts in their natural God-given state, are beautiful, whether in a bikini, a jersey, or whether completely bare, feeding your newborn baby.  I've witnessed all forms.  Long live the boobie! - Did I just say that?

     Below I have attached an informative, just-the-facts-you-need-to-know, bullet highlighted graphic that was personally sent to me by BHG 360, AKA, Bankers Health Care Group.  It's a brilliant PSA. Please read it, copy and share it with the breasts you love, per BHG 360's wishes.  The only agenda is to truly raise breast cancer awareness, succinctly and simply.  Lastly I will share with you something very personal, that my wife is a cancer survivor (not breast).  That is all!  From Bankers Health Care Group:

     "It’s that pink time of the year again! October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the volume of stories and statistics about the disease that appear in the media this month. The news is filled with participants walking, running and sharing testimony to raise awareness and funds for both breast cancer research and patient care.

     At the same time, practitioners of all specialties can take advantage of this increased awareness to educate patients about disease mechanisms and warning signs. This infographic below provides important facts, dispels a few myths and reminds your patients that early detection and better treatments do save lives. PLEASE!..Share it with your patients, clients and colleagues."

Saturday, August 1, 2015

10 Ways to Hack Your Fitness! (Maximize Your Exercise VALUE part 2)

          We used to call ‘em fitness tips but now the latest trend is to call them fitness hacks, and I desire to be a trend follower.  I suppose there is something more to a hack:  If something is going to be a labeled a hack then it had better be some sort of game-changing, time-saving short cut.  So significant in fact that it should almost feel like you’re cheating.  Well, I can’t promise you anything quite that mind-blowing here, but I have compiled a pretty worthy list of my favorite fitness hacks, which will definitely save you time and get you results.  While those who know me, know I am an advocate of making fitness part of a holistic lifestyle, and that I am not into trendy, fad diets or one-size-fits all approaches, there is nothing wrong with optimizing or streamlining your training in order to maximize exercise value.  Training smarter and not just harder, should always be a welcome strategy.  Of course there really are no shortcuts or miracles, but there are some hacks.  Some of them so simple they should be common sense, while others hopefully are new ideas to you.  In no particular order:

1.  Train using full-body, functional movements.  Skip the isolation exercises unless you’re rehabbing an injury or bringing up a weak body part.  Isolation exercises should be left to Bodybuilders, Physique athletes, and Fitness models, who are paid to look perfect and symmetrical.  While you no doubt want to look good, your primary goals should be mobility, health, longevity and perhaps athletic performance.  Full-body, functional exercises that synergistically involve multiple muscle groups accomplish all these goals in the shortest amount of time.  Exercises like burpees, pull-ups, push-ups, squats, lunges, planks and box-jumps.  It’s amazing what a nice physique these movements will produce inherently.

      2.  Train at high intensity most of the time.  High intensity training, maximizes your exercise value, giving you the most bang for your buck, in the least amount of time.  It also triggers a lot of post-exercise, metabolism-boosting, pro-hormone affects, lasting hours afterwards.  You can increase your intensity level by: reducing your rest duration between sets, using circuit-training principles where you alternate antagonistic muscle groups, increase load, increase reps, or any combination of the aforementioned.  If you desire to reach failure levels, then you must follow with a brief resting interval, usually performed using a 1:3 working-to-resting interval ratio, also known as high intensity interval training, (HIIT).

Monday, July 6, 2015

Mental Fitness: Meditation & Mindfulness - Why you have time to practice it daily and don’t even realize it!

               Let me start by admitting that I suck at meditating.  In fact so do most of my colleagues and peers.  Ask a working father if he has time to meditate and most will simply laugh:  “Yeah right, you mean sit around and do nothing for 30 minutes? - not a chance!”  And even those of us who are willing to try often find that we are so busy, suffering from attention-deficit or obsessive-compulsion, that we find it nearly impossible to not let our ‘to-do’ list creep into our mind, that is supposed to be void of thoughts, or at least witness to our thoughts.  Or, we are so chronically sleep-deprived, we simply fall asleep 5 minutes into it.  Did I mention that even finding a quiet space to meditate in is often impossible?  But ironically, those of us who seemingly can’t find a spare second to meditate in our hectic lives are usually the ones who could benefit from it most.  Because it is proven that meditating even just 10 minutes a day can reduce anxiety, sharpen focus, help control impulsiveness, plus a myriad of physical health improvements.  This is even measurable through brain imaging & MRI scans, and simple brain wave monitoring.  Trust me, if there wasn’t tangible proof I wouldn’t be getting involved with it.  I’m not into glib gurus.  I’m into results.

               As you may know, I am a big advocate of holistic health.  Yet, like most Trainers and fitness enthusiasts I spend 90% of my effort and learning on the physical component of fitness.  Improving lean-body mass and optimizing body composition.  Building muscle, burning fat, sculpting abdominals and strengthening the core, and improving mobility and athletic performance.  These are my go-to areas where I thrive, and honestly it is what most of my clients are concerned about.  But holistic health inherently implies the whole-body, mind and spirit, so mental fitness is at least a third pillar upholding ideal health.  Ask any warrior, professional athlete, Yogi, or Special Operations soldier and they will all agree that mental fitness is more like 80% of the success formula.  They will tell you with complete certainty that training and preparing the physical body for ‘battle’ is the easy part.  Preparing the mind for challenge, risk and adversity is where the real effort is required.  And as far as Nature-versus-Nurture is concerned, it is our minds that can be nurtured, or altered and improved the most through training, as there are less genetic limitations.  The mind is where our greatest potential exists, virtually untapped by most of us.  Many of us are born with an impressive level of baseline motivation, resiliency, competitive-edge and focus capacity.  But no matter where you think you’re at with you mental game, the act of meditation will take you to the next level.  A level you didn’t even know existed.
The 'Amygdala' is the also known as the mind's 'fear-center'.  Meditating regularly can help quiet the Amydala from hi-jacking the more thoughtful Pre-Frontal Cortex.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Father's Day Fitness for us Domesticated Dads!

Being a father now-a-days is more fulfilling and rewarding, yet busier than ever.  I am not trying to sound like a masculinist, but there is sort of a double standard set upon on us present-day fathers, not only by our nurturing wives and baby-Mommas, but by society in general.  At least here in San Diego’s progressive society.  Think about what is expected of you as a husband and father, and what is put on your plate daily.  Most of us are working full time, and the minute we clock out, we immediately are taking over duties as primary parent, if not volunteering at their schools, or assisting as coaches, helping with homework, not to mention grinding through at least half the load of household chores.  ‘Stay-at-home-Mom’ – what’s that?  Many of us have a (equally busy) wife who also works at least part time, just to be able to afford to live in beautiful San Diego and provide our families the lifestyle it offers.  What’s more, no San Diego mom I know of is willing to be content just tending to the home and kids.  Mothers these days have yoga classes, extensive social groups, hobbies, and a serious list of personal goals!  We Dads pick up the domestic slack by donning every hat in the household often with zero appreciation in return because it is what is expected of us.  It’s considered our duty and even a privilege.

     Don’t misunderstand me.  There are few things as rewarding in life as spending quality time with our children, and most of us desire to be more involved and hands-on, if given a choice.  But all this means time for Dad is pushed to the bottom of the honey-do list and is often considered low priority by spouses and bosses alike.  Just finding time to go for a run, or go to the gym can not only be near impossible, but can be wrongfully perceived as selfish, or putting ourselves before our family.  Any opportunity for continued personal growth and self-mastery? – Well sorry, but that is a luxury that we left behind the moment we had to put together the crib for baby #1.  Or so it might seem.
The truth is, while you might have to pause for a decade or so at becoming an expert at mastering you, nothing makes us grow and mature more than fatherhood.  Perhaps there is no greater opportunity to love another human being, more than fatherhood.  If you are blessed with children, know that the collective experience of raising a family leaves us wiser and more evolved during life’s journey.  Leading a family and household is as great a challenge as any corporate C.E.O. will face, and what used to be the sole home-making domain of the mother is now equally shared with us fathers.  Like it or not, we have become fully domesticated.  But back to finding time to still workout…
Max with daughters Bryce Ava and Summer, Honolua Bay, Maui, October 2013.