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Posts by Rainmaker Fitness

Burnout signals and signs

Are you a hard charger that can bust through any wall with the sheer force of your will, work ethic, and determination? While I admire your tenacity, I worry about your endurance. Everyone has a breaking point, and there are costs to every broken down wall.

In most law firms, work-influenced misery is a badge of honor that many wear a little too proudly. Staying late into the wee hours of the morning shows that you care–about the client, the firm, and your career. However, when it comes right down to it, no one is going to care 20 years from now about that brilliant clause you inserted into matter #41219 back in 2015. At all. 

It is up to YOU to monitor your personal signals related to burnout. Those with personality traits as perfectionism and skepticism tend to be more vulnerable since they tend not to reach out for help. If you are constantly tired, feel like you are slipping in your skills, and becoming disengaged, they are early signs of burnout. The best way to deal with burnout is to reach out for help from mental health professionals or even a teammate(s). Sadly, victims of burnout tend to look inward and isolate themselves. 

Vacations, yoga classes, resilience training and other short term treatments might help soften the edges, but it doesn’t fix the cause of the problem. This is a multi-stage issue to address. It starts with you identifying the problem exists. Then you must reach out. In the end, the organization must address a culture that causes burnout, anticipate that it will happen, and make changes on how the work is done to  minimize it. 

Step one for organizations should be to demand collaboration and reward team based activities. Step two should be to assume the work environment causes burnout by the nature of the pressures and stop running people on a meter. Step three should be to reduce the incentives for individuals to drive themselves into the ground such as reduced comp/credit for hours over a cap. These are CHOICES for an organization, not challenges.

Does burnout affect you today? You probably know the answer in your gut, but check out this article to help you with it.

Irish dining

A few years ago, I spent an incredible week touring the entire South of Ireland. It involved a great deal of time in the car, a few too many pints, and eating out all three meals a day for seven glorious days.

Do I feel guilty? No. It was a vacation. Do I feel fat? Surprisingly, not really.

I don’t think the day of my return would be the day I would want to try out for the Olympic team, but I don’t feel like I just finished Thanksgiving dinner like I usually do after most business trips. Why is that?

Here are a few things I noticed and what I learned:

  • Irish menus are very literal. When you order “Roast Beef with Vegetables and Potatoes”, you get roast beef, some vegetables, and potatoes. No breading, butter, and layers of mysterious stuff.

    Lesson–keep food simple. Basic ingredients that look very similar to they way they came off the farm, out of the ground, or off the tree.

  • Portions are designed for human sized people. I would not describe pub food as a California Health Plate (corned beef, cheese, fries, etc.), but they came in portion sizes that were not obscene. In the U.S., restaurants seem to measure value by the pound. The Irish serve you a meal instead of issuing a challenge.

    Lesson—you do not have to eat three meals worth of food just because the restaurant puts it in front of you. You are paying to no longer be hungry. It costs you the same whether you eat it all or not.

  • Breakfast is an everyday meal. It’s easy to see why they call them Bed and Breakfasts. Breakfast is formal, large, and very good. It also keeps you from snacking on junk for the next 6 hours when you start the day with eggs, salmon, and other basic items. I ate too much, but I ate less later.

    Lesson—eating a good breakfast that is devoid of processed foods is like putting money in the bank. You can make withdrawals on it later, and it keeps you from eating junk to combat sugar/caffeine crashes over the next few hours.

One other thing I noticed: walking is a form of transportation, not punishment. You can take a nice vacation, eat heartily, and maintain your weight if you walk a few miles every day. There are several times when people would tell us, “Oh, it’s only a one mile walk.”

When is the last time you heard that?

Make age your asset, not a liability

Drew Brees is outstanding. He is at top of his game (minus the busted up thumb early in the 2019 season). He is not young.

It has been ten long years since quarterback Drew Brees led the Saints to their only championship while earning himself a Most Valuable Player honor in the process. This means that Brees is also ten years older, which for some professional athletes is an entire career in itself. But, most athletes do not train like Brees.

His “unshakeable confidence” comes from the fact that he is well prepared, focuses on fundamentals, and works on every detail of his technique. This means he is in the top physical condition of his career AND has over 15 years of experience in the most elite arenas of competition. For most athletes and performers, they are preparing to retire just when they can visualize the game best because their body (and mental fire) begins to fail them. Being the best requires a constant rededication to perfecting your craft and your ability to perform based on TODAY’S reality, not the glory days of yesteryear.

Practice how you play

Brees does not just watch a few films or hits the gym a few days a week for maintenance. He is constantly practicing and challenging himself by using dynamic simulations. Even though he has thrown almost 7,000 game-day passes in the last 12 years, his preparation routine includes working with his teammates in realistic scenarios of what could happen in a game. Many performers begin to think after so many real life applications that their need to practice goes away. It is the opposite if you want to keep improving when the competition is constantly trying to beat you.

Details matter

Despite the fact that Brees is heading to a certain Hall of Fame induction as one of the greatest QBs of all time, he works with a trainer constantly. One of the big areas his trainer watches is the placement of his feet, not his hands. Specifically, he is watching to make sure his back foot stays planted during his throws since that is where all of his throwing power comes from. A failure of form would not only lead to decreased effectiveness, but it also could lead to injury due to making his aging, right shoulder do more of the work than it should.

Stoke the competitive fire

By constantly changing his training, goals, and routine, he stays mentally and physically fresh. Focus comes from having to be mentally alert and avoiding the autonomous phase that cause many performers to believe they can do their job in their sleep. Brees has the luxury of having very defined measurements for winning: games, records, and trophies. However, with a little thought, we can all quantify how we can judge our performance. There is always someone or something chasing us.

Practical application

For those of us (a.k.a., all of us) not going to the Super Bowl this year, how do you apply these principles to your profession? Here are some simple ideas to try immediately:

  1. PRACTICE THE WAY YOU PLAY. Identify the top 3-4 scenarios you are most likely to face in your day to day duties and build simulations for them. Don’t start with your entire playbook or permutation of what could happen. Start with the most likely, most probable, and most important. Rehearse them with your teammates. And, then do it again.
  2. Simulation performance will identify which fundamentals need some work. Use a coach or other observers to offer feedback by reflecting on the performance and going back to skills training to work on the details. Do you pause during price negotiations? Are you too defensive when talking about competitors? These are all skills that can be learned with deliberate practice.
  3. Make commitments, compete with your teammates, and keep score. Set up managed competitions where the goal is for everyone to improve. There will always be superstars, but even your best performers need the entire team to get better. Constantly change the game and metrics for success to keep people on their toes.

Training includes what you choose NOT to do

We all have the exact same number of hours in the day. How we choose to spend those hours is the difference between good, pretty damn good, and holy s*** that person is good.

I always enjoy reading about the mindset and discipline of athletes. Even at the highest levels of competition, there are limits to what the human body and mind can handle. It needs rest, recovery, and recharging to be able to perform. That means finding the BEST way of training and continuously improving. Some ideas:


  1. Rely on a coach. No one is self determined enough and honest enough with themselves to work on their weaknesses and challenge themselves all the time.
  2. Become a student of your craft. There is a best way. FInd it and master it. Then be on the lookout for the next innovation, and do it again.
  3. Find teammates and competitions where you will be challenged. If you are constantly dominating or being dominated, you are at the wrong tier for now.


  1. Engage in mindless activity based on time spent. Lifting soup cans for 30 minutes will not make you super strong. If improvement is your goal, there are better ways to spend 30 minutes.
  2. Avoid competition and simulation. It is the only way to translate skills into performance.
  3. Become wed to your routine or program. When you can do it in your sleep, you are sleepwalking. That is no way to compete.

“Business athletes” should apply the same principles. The people around you with better results have had the same training, education, and experience as you. Perhaps it is what they choose NOT to do that is the difference.


Reflect on your previous week. What is it that you need to STOP doing? What is it that you think you should START doing? Lastly, what should you CONTINUE doing that’s helping you?

Workout of the Week (WOW) #12

Here is this week’s workout. Perform every other day in conjunction with, or in place of, your current workout routine.

Warm up (40 seconds each with no rest):

Circuit (3 rounds)

Core (2 rounds)

Cool down: overall body stretching and deep breathing for 1 minute.

Workout of the Week (WOW) #11

Here is this week’s workout. Use this on alternating days 2-4 times per week in conjunction with or instead of your regular exercise routine. As always, you need to set the clock for 15 minutes and let it run. We are doing Darryl’s Mean Staircase format.

After the warm up, you do three exercises in an ascending rep circuit. You start by doing one push up, one prisoner squat and then one jumping jack. Easy, right? Hold on…you immediately then do two push ups, two prisoner squats and two jumping jacks. Then you immediately do three of each…and so on.

You do this for a continuous NINE MINUTES. Your goal is to see how many complete sets you can get through when the nine minutes is up. You may rest anytime you like, but complete each exercise at the proper number of reps before moving to the next one.

Warm up (30 seconds each with no rest, 3 minutes total):

Immediately drop to the floor and start the circuit with pushups!

Perform these exercises back to back as fast as possible until the timer ends. Start with one of each, then 2, then 3, then 4, and so on. Can you get up to 15 of each in the time allotted?

Core (1 round)

Cool down: overall body stretching and deep breathing for 1 minute.

The McFatty: McD's salad has more calories than Big Mac

Look, I know we don’t go to places like McDonald’s when we want to have a light meal. However, I think this would be a surprise to most people. If you look at the nutritional information in McDonald’s own web site, you will see that all those ingredients add up quick. Don’t forget: when you are looking at calories for a salad, restaurants rarely include the calories for the DRESSING you put on it. That’s additional.

Also, if you would like to be really horrified, scroll down to take a look at what their beverages pack in the fatty wallop department.

You can eat whatever you want, as long as you are willing to pay for it in decreased calories later or increased exercise. Prepare yourselves for a shock after taking a look at some of these items. It’s a whole lot of time on a treadmill or going hungry to make up for it. Make choices wisely.

Source: McDonald’s salad has more calories than Big Mac

Workout of the Week (WOW) #10

Man standing over group of people doing pushups, side view

Your primary competitor: your past performance. That is what you are trying to beat.


Here is this week’s workout. Perform every other day in conjunction with, or in place of, your current workout routine. Set the clock for 15 minutes and let it run.

After the warm up, you will do as many rounds as possible of the 5 listed exercises for the prescribed amount of repetitions. You may rest after each round is complete for as long you want. Your goal is to see how many complete rounds you can do in 10 minutes, so rest only when you truly need it.

Your goal for next time is to BEAT that number of rounds!

Warm up (30 seconds each with no rest, 4 minutes total):

Perform these exercises back to back as fast as possible for 10 minutes.

Cool down: overall body stretching and deep breathing for 1 minute.

Workout of the Week (WOW) #9


Here is this week’s workout. Perform every other day in conjunction with, or in place of, your current workout routine. Set the clock for 15 minutes and let it run.

After the warm up, you will do eleven (11) rounds of three exercises. You have to start the next round every time the next minute starts. So, your rest time is how much of the minute is left after completing all of them. No matter how long it takes you, you start again when the next minute starts. The faster you go, the more rest time you get.

Warm up (30 seconds each with no rest, 3 minutes total):

Perform these exercises back to back as fast as possible every-minute-on-the-minute (EMOM)

  • Five (5) frog jumps (up and back is one rep)
  • Five (5) sprawls
  • Five (5) T-push ups (both sides is one rep)
  • Rest until the next minute starts and repeat for a total of 11 rounds

Cool down: overall body stretching and deep breathing for 1 minute.

Blizzard = Total Body Workout


I live in Virginia, and it is very rare when we get over two feet of snow. This makes kids happy to get a day off from school and some parents happy that they “can’t” get into the office (wink wink, sure you can’t…).

For homeowners, you have another issue: all that infernal white stuff piling up outside. It’s heavy. There is a whole lot of it. It isn’t going to shovel itself. So, you can hire someone to get rid of it for you. You can use some loud machine to blow it into your neighbor’s yard. Or, you can take advantage of one of the greatest total body workouts you could possibly do.


A typical snow shoveling workout has many of the same movements you do in the gym: squatting, hinging at the waist, trunk rotation, arm flexion (curling) and extension, and so on. Don’t some of you pay money to attend sessions like this at the gym? So, don’t miss the chance to challenge yourself by hiring someone else or a machine to do the work. Make it a challenge, performance test and a learning experience!

As mentioned in the video, there are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Do not exercise yourself into exhaustion, injury or a heart attack. Please.
  2. Note where you are sore the next day. Those are your problem areas.
  3. Realize that this is an example of how being fit, flexible and strong has real life implications.

In case you are wondering, snow weighs between 10-30 lbs per cubic foot. How many shovelfuls did you move and how much work does that equal? Do the math. It’s a pretty damn good workout.


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