Simplify Your Health and Wellness

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How many of us overthink our wellness, fitness exercises and health maintenance plans?

“Guilty as charged!”

Wake-up Call

I’m writing this blog post from the deck at a special friend of mine’s cabin on Washington Island overlooking Lake Michigan while on vacation with my loving wife and our two active young children; my son is 7 years old and daughter is 5 years old.  It’s been an awesome vacation for all of us.  No phone reception but plenty of wildlife, fresh cool air and the time to run, explore, exercise and play in the cold lake waters.

What does this have to do with sports medicine?” you’re saying to yourself.  Plenty….it has everything to do with enhancing our health and wellness in the simplest of ways.

Value of High-Tech?

I’m here in the woods with no fancy gym, no high-tech workout equipment, no warm ocean waters for long-distance swims, no tough-guy workout buddies or 90+ degree heat/high humidity weather to sweat my butt off in.

Instead, I’m in the beautiful wilderness with long days to have fun with my family while mixing in my daily workouts.  Brag time: my wife Samantha is a 2x Ironman triathlete so I’m certainly not the only parent in our home focussing on fun and fitness with our children!

Keeping it Simple

So much of our professional lives are busy and complicated yet we can’t do a damn thing about it.  With that being said, why do we choose to make our wellness/health/fitness plans equally as complicated?

It’s times like this vacation that wake me up to the reality that I need to lighten-up on my over-thinking and tighten-up my intensity on getting stronger, better conditioned and more limber.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci 

What I Learned at Summer Camp

I don’t need fancy equipment to kick my own ass to get a legitimate workout.  I simply used what I had access to while adding in a combo of creativity, grit and a playful attitude.

  • Logs to cut, lift and carry.
  • 52 degree lake water to swim and recover.
  • Rolling country roads to run and bike.
  • Trees for TRX, pull-ups and stretches
  • Children for resisted carries, pushups and shoulder presses.
  • Fields for burpees, crawls, planks, lunges, star jumps, crunches, agility drills and sprints.
  • Picnic tables for box jumps, dips and low crawls.
  • And my favorite training partner was here waiting for me: Mr. Gravity

Tips to Simplify our Healthy

Eat Better – More plants, veggies, water, fruits and lean meats.

Simplify – Add simple wellness exercises to your routine that force you to work hard for long periods of time while opening up your joints and muscles like crawling, rock climbing and  swimming.

Play Games – Smart phone off, smile on and sweat glands on…..playing fun sports like a teenager.

Do More – Change at least 50% of your present exercise routine, stop counting reps and shorten rest phases while focusing on generating lots of muscle fatigue, not joint pain.

Stop Feeling Sorry for Ourselves – Hundreds of millions of people with handicaps and injuries can only dream of having the physical abilities that we presently have.  Therefore, we all need to stop feeling sorry for ourselves so we can maximize the healthy blessings we currently have.  Amen.

Recovery Harder – If it hurts, ice it.  If it’s tight, stretch it. If it’s stiff, move it.

Set Hefty Goals Then Quickly Share Them – Dream bigger than big to set a physical goal(s) that will change your life. Before your find the how’s or the “what if’s” creep in, quickly post your goal on FaceBook and email your family and friends with the details so they will hold you to that goal.  Sure you’ll have sweaty palms typing the words but that person looking back at you in the full-length mirror will thank you for the rest of your life.

It’s time to get busy….

Gratitude, Change & a Trusted Vision

Ryan Jags 2011aApril 25, 1988 was the day my childhood NFL dream came true.

Ronnie Barnes, the Head Athletic Trainer for the New York Giants and one of my mentors, asked me if I wanted to join his staff as a full-time assistant athletic trainer.  I was 25 years old and a month away from graduating from the University of Connecticut with a degree in Physical Therapy, my second degree in 7 years.

Nine years earlier, as a sophomore in high school, I had set my mind and heart on “being an athletic trainer in the NFL!” after “Miss G”, a caring guidance councilor at Mohawk Trail High School, showed me info on the profession of athletic training.  I still remember racing home that rainy spring day to share my powerful vision with my family.

End of a Dream

Friday, February 7, 2014 was my last day with the Jacksonville Jaguars.  It was the end of a 26 year career that encompassed 533 NFL games including 2 Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl victory.  It was a decision I made three weeks early to rebalance my life, allowing me to spend more time with my family.  With a loving and amazingly supportive wife and two children under the age of 6, I’m ready to prioritize my family for the first time the way they deserve after a long season where I work 7 days per week for 5 1/2 straight months.

Making the Call

I’m no fool.  I know I had only 1 of 32 jobs in the world’s #1 most profitable sports league.  It goes beyond that when it comes down to those that you love.

What does it take to make such a big decision?

  • Gratitude – I’ve lived a childhood dream for over half my life with so many memories, experienced amazing opportunities, met so many wonderful people and developed outstanding skills for the next professional chapter in my life.  I have so much gratitude and appreciation for my family, my assistants, my doctors, my athletes, my medical consultants and mentors who have helped me throughout the years.  As I always say: “I’m simply the result of so many wonderful people who were willing to help me along the way!”
  • Desire for Change – I’m ready for a change, as is my family.  I trust my skills and my abilities to make this change something special.
  • Trusted Vision of Purpose – We all need PURPOSE if we want to be a leader in our life.  I have a very strong sense of purpose in my life and I trust that vision wholeheartedly.  My Personal Mission Statement is: To Enhance the Health of Others.

My purpose in this next chapter is to take what my staff and I have created in a professional football athletic training room setting working with world-class athletes and share it with millions of non-professionals interested in decreasing their pain, increasing their physical function and maximizing their active lifestyle.  Now that’s something to get excited about, huh?!

Giving Thanks

I have so many people to thank and I’m not sure where to start so I won’t.  The tens of thousands of extra special people who I’ve come into contact with over the last 26 years in the NFL are all somehow on that list.

I’ve had a wonderful career and I don’t take that for granted.  I’m thrilled for what I will created in Phase 2 of my profession.  We only live once so I plan on making my life grand.  As for the professional life, it will be exciting and well aligned with my Mission Statement.  In regards to my athletic life, I’ll be working my ass off to be extremely healthy in aspect of my life with lots of crazy/challenging races to keep my body and mind razor-sharp.  For the personal life part, it will be filled with lots of love and laughter….just the way I like it!

Jaguars Trainer to Tackle Corporate Wellness [JaxDailyRecord]

Mike Ryan - Corporate Wellness

I was really excited to be featured in the Jacksonville Daily Record this week. The article was run as part of the lead up to my presentation on Corporate Wellness for the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. It’s nice to be recognized and I appreciate Karen Brune Mathis, the Managing Editor at the Daily Record, for taking some time to write about what we’re doing here at Mike Ryan Fitness.

Read the JaxDailyRecord article