A year ago, I didn't know what Instagram was.
And then I discovered what Instagram's creators describe as:
“…a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures. Snap a photo with your mobile phone, then choose a filter to transform the image into a memory to keep around forever.”
So for the past several months, I have indeed been using shots of my life to share fitness, nutrition and human performance tips via photos (and 15 second videos) on Instagram. You're about to discover the top 10 Instagram photos of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Instagram page, along with a takeaway tip from each. Enjoy, and big thanks to Jessica from TeamRenon for all her help with my Instagram-age.
1. New Tire Toyz
Why not start with a video? In my podcast with strength coach Zach Even-Esh “Underground Strength Training Secrets: How To Get Strong And Stay Strong Using Training Secrets Of The Athletic Elite.”, we talked about research that proves Strongman style training, during which you flip tires, carry kegs, hoist rocks, drag sleds and do other macho deeds, has been shown to be just as effective for maintaining strength as traditional weight lifting, and may even be better at boosting testosterone and growth hormone. Finding free tires to flip and drag is as easy as visiting your local tire store and asking if they have any old tires that you can haul away.
2. The Tempting Sourdough Loaf
I generally avoid wheat, but if there's one type of bread that I'll eat, it's a traditional fermented sourdough loaf made from a local organic Palouse red wheat. Want to try your hand at making your own? A pretty close approximation to the recipe we use can be found in the article “Could This Baker Solve the Gluten Mystery?“, and we also discuss why sourdough is better in the podcast “How To Make Bread Healthy“.
3. The Box Breathing Boys
Box breathing is not only a big part of my own morning routine, but is also something I do with my 7 year old twin boys. Before each of our father-son weight training sessions on Tuesday and Thursday, and while driving to tennis on Wednesday and Saturday, we do 5 minutes of box breathing as a 4 count in, 4 count hold, 4 count out, 4 count hold, using the “Pranayama app” to guide us.
4. A Big Ass Salad
Sometimes you just need a Big Ass Salad, and I have one for lunch every day of the week, just about 365 days a year. What’s in this one, you may ask?
-Homemade Sourdough Croutons
BOOM. Big Ass Salad.
5. Football Field WOD
I often post a WOD (Workout Of The Day) to Instagram, and when I discovered that a brand new football field had been built across the street from Grandma's house in Ft. Lauderdale, I brought the boys over for a blistering hot afternoon body weight WOD:
Step 1: Find football or soccer field.
Step 2: Complete the follow AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) for 45-60 minutes.
-1 lap around field at tempo pace
-10 inverted pulls on uprights
-100yd sprint across field at max pace
-30 leg levers -15 burpees
-Bear crawl back
Then simply sit back and wait for the rhabdo to set in.
6. River Deadlifting
As I mentioned earlier, my kids lift. To reduce any potential for growth plate compression, they don't lift heavy weights, but simply lift lighter weights with a focus on excellent form. In this shot taken from my son River's deadlifting set, the workout was like many of the weight lifting sessions I oversee for them: simple and straightforward.
-5 minutes box breathing
-Mobility: 20 deep squats and 20 walking lunges
Usually, I'll include a “finisher”, such as racing and down the stairs 3 times, doing 20 burpees, or a partner carry.
7. Beet Juice & Protein Concoction
Ever been looking for some kind of pre or post-workout concoction and realize the cupboards are just about stripped bare of coconut milk, nut butter, raw almonds, yogurt, or just about anything else you mix together for a healthy smoothie? In this case, using about a half can of Beet Performer (a sponsor for my triathlon team) and a giant scoop of Thorne Vegan Chocolate Protein, I discovered a new recipe for a beet-chocolate pre-workout recipe that actually tasted surprisingly good.
8. A Bacon Bloody Mary
After the Southern California Spartan Race, my wife and I visited Blackbird Tavern in Temecula and dined on roasted Brussels sprouts, cauliflower-three way, pork rinds, and this amazing Bloody Mary spiked with a bit of extra protein. I believe it goes something like this:
1. Add Worcestershire, soy (or coconut aminos if you'd like), black pepper, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and horseradish to bottom of cocktail shaker.
2. Fill shaker with ice and add vodka, fresh tomato juice, and juice of one lemon wedge.
3. Shake well.
4. Taste for seasoning and heat, and adjust as necessary.
5. Serve with giant wedge of bacon.
Of course, eat breakfast afterwards.
9. Shiver Yoga
Long before “snowga” took the world by storm, I was wandering out on my back patio in the early Spring, Fall and Winter with a pair of socks or sandals, shorts or boxers, and showing as much skin as possible to get a doubly whammy effect of yoga practice and cold thermogenesis. I still do it 2-3 times per week, usually fasted in the morning with a bit of caffeine in my system to maximize the fat oxidizing effect. This also works quite well when combined with Iceman Wim Hof's inner fire breathing techniques.
10. The Dip
Dancing does the heart good.
So does love.
Why not combine the two? I'm serious. If you're not dancing regularly with your loved one, you should be – even if it's in the comfort of your own home wearing a silly cowboy hat.
What do you think? Do you use Instagram or have favorite Instagram accounts you follow for health, nutrition or fitness advice? Feel free to share your links, comments and questions below!
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Also published on Medium.