I am burned out. I am burned out from work, from training, from working out, from life’s ever continuous stresses. Combined I am beyond burned out. 

I do not have a vacation scheduled till summer. I do not have enough PTO to “take a day”, because of needing to use my free PTO to attend to my sick child when he was admitted to the hospital.
I do not get enough sleep a lot of nights, because I am attending to work emails or trying, TRYING, to find spiritual answers and Martial Arts instruction or learn from my teachers on my own. I spend hours doing stressful things for my job, growing ever more taxing and demanding.

I try to work out daily, either cardio from walking or kettlebells to help balance and PT injuries from years of lifting heavy weights.
Thanks to inadequate sleep, elevated stress, and recovering injuries, I am not losing weight like I want, leading to more estrogen and cortisol in my system.

This is a negative feedback loop, keeping me tired and fatter then I like and should be. I try to dedicate time to being a good and attentive father and husband, yet work and house needs keep me from being as present as I want to be.


SO – how do we fix this?

I am going about it this way:

Taikokyu – Mind Body Breath – Daily. I am stretching and meditating and breathing. Working my body’s musculoskeletal systems and organs. Focusing and clearing the mind of RELAXING .

Kettlebell workout 3 days a week – Complexes of sets and reps for time. Hitting all the major muscle groups, increasing strength, endurance and hyper trophy 25-30 minutes a day.

Ninpo/Aikido – I will train aikido 1.5 hours once a week, and I learn and read and practice basics of ninpo 10-30 minutes daily. Even if it is just kata for ichimonji no kata. I will also mentally drill Gyokko Ryu and Wing Chun/ JKD. I may consider even returning to Krav Maga once a week to keep my skills sharp against real opponents.

Be Present – I try to spend as much time as I can daily with my son while he is awake. Not always not stressful, but being there and experiencing him makes me happier and my heart fuller then I would have thought. I then spend evenings with my wife, even if its just spending time in the same room together, not doing the same activities, we get to unwind and talk.

Daily I try to be a “good” – fill in the blank for you, whatever that means. I think being rounded and trying to enjoy the here and now and continually try to better oneself is the core essence of growth.

This is how I intend to fix burnout. A few beers with friends and a trip to the shore doesn’t hurt either, but those are not as frequent as I need. I need to refocus on my Budo, my why, and also grow, be confident, and stop this constant struggle. Embrace the stresses, alleviate what you can, and proactively work on you. A stronger you is an anti-fragile you.

Using Travel to Reconnect

So as many of you know, and for those who do not, my wife and I love to travel. I lived abroad for almost 10 years in the UK and experienced many countries and cultures growing up. Since meeting my spouse I have tried to share that with her, and she has become addicted to it.

For us, its not just saying we went somewhere and saw something. We do it for the experiences. Bavaria, Germany and Austria are where my soul feels at home sometimes and I long to go back. Ireland and Northern Europe, my ancestral routes. Italy, where a quarter of my heritage originated, Iceland – where I experienced a spiritual awakening and connection with the earth that I must return to.

With everything opening back up due to COVID ending as WW3 begins, my wife and I thought against Europe, but are instead going on another adventure trip, this time to Alaska. MG and his wife will be joining us as we head into the great white north to experience arctic terrain again with unprecedented beauty.

What I find when we travel though, is my wife and I reconnect and enjoy being together again. Our normal issues from day to day life seem to fall away and we have that spark and excitement again. It lets us experience new things together that we can think back on in the future. To identify more and more different things we like to do, and experience all our lives have to offer us.

Now am I saying this is a panacea to all of marriages/relationship woes? No. But if you and your partner can connect and reestablish healthy activities together, experience new things together, work and forge that commitment again, together – you are going to find you are probably happier together as well.

Now I am not saying book a trip to Europe and all will be fine. A lot of people can’t afford that or Alaska, but you can afford camping, maybe staying with friends in other states, or hitting up motels along classic Route 66. Either way, you can find ways to affordably see things you never have before, even in your own country. Do not let life slip you by, the world is too big and beautiful with great peoples and cultures to only stay one place.

Go live life, reconnect with your honey, and enjoy what time you have!

Heck one day … maybe you even take the kids!

AFD 1 *

How to be a better father in 3 easy steps

Hope cliche is that title? In actuality its many many tiny steps every day, but we can sum them up into 3 broad ranging categories.

1. Be there and be aware –
When you are with your children, be there. Not just physically being there, but mentally engaged as well. Interact with them, ask questions, ask how they are doing, engage with them. Play with them. This will build good memories for the both of you, as well as allow you to have a more personal relationship. Think about what it is they are doing and saying, this will help you feel more connected and not regret later on in life.

2. Put down the phone
This seems pretty straightforward after our last point, but giving a phone or device to your kids to entertain them if not helping them develop. You have regressed socially thanks to your device, it is doing the same to them as well as creating a potential addiction. Studies are showing the degenerative effects these technologies have on our kids development as well as exacerbating things like ADD and ADHD. You have probably noticed it yourself, not being able to stay on track with a thought, or engaged in an activity without mindlessly looking at your phone. Put It Down.

3. Talk to them and think about them
Let you kids know you love them, you are thinking about them and are proud/sad/happy, whatever. This allows your child to know it’s ok to have emotions and that its safe to share them with you. You by communicating are leading by example. Now this isn’t a psychological cure all, but it will help. Plus, who doesn’t like hearing their parents tell them they love them, are proud of them, miss them, and are going through the same emotions we all go through, but don’t always vocalize. — This works great with your partner too, who would have guessed?!

Well gents, that’s all for now. Meditate on this and be proactive in executing the above. It will help make you happier and help your kids develop.


Live in the NOW – you won’t regret it!

We here all to often to not worry about the future or to wallow in the past. For many of us it seems unlikely we can focus on the “now”, this present time and what we are doing.

We all know that we should live in the now, experience our kids growing, bonding and spending time with our spouses, yet we waste the now thinking about the future and or the past. We don’t enjoy the now as we should, instead attributing excitement and joy to some point in the future, a future that may never come.

I know it is easy to say “live in the now”, but doing it is quite different within our society. I am guilty of it as anyone else. I will be sitting there thinking about my work day ahead or what will need to happen to go to somewhere in the future instead of observing and engaging with my son, watching him as he develops language and eats his breakfast. Making funny faces and learning as he plays with his toys or even when I wish he could just talk instead of use the 30 or so works he has now and how adorable it is

I think back to when he was an infant and how I was impatient for when he was awake more or doing more things. Now I miss the time spent feeding him his bottle or figuring out how to use his hands and how to roll over. I miss those times because I was thinking about the future, and I am missing the now and feeling bad, because I am focusing too much on the past. I remember a line from Kung-Fu panda from the old Turtle master Oogway that sums this up.
“ Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called a present.”

Enjoy the now because it is all you have and will give you memories in the future when you watch your family in different ways.
Be ever present in the present, get off your phone and enjoy your real life, in the now, because this is all you get.

AFD 1*

Minimalism in all things for a Happy Life

When you read that title, I am sure its a natural response to think “ yea, ok, you have no idea how complex X is”…
And you are probably 100% correct. What I am suggesting though is taking all aspects of your life, and see what you can do to the most minimum aspect to remove the added stress and /or work.

For example – work – you have to do your job and only you know what you have to do, but are their areas where to optimize your day you remove tasks that aren’t needed? A meeting that’s very general with no agenda? Ask for an agenda otherwise put yourself as optional for the meeting – if someone can’t express why they need a meeting then it doesn’t need your time. It should probably be an email and not a time suck meeting.
Let’s use a home life example: working out to stay fit and strong. You know I have told before about Minimum Effective Dose to stimulate outcomes such as strength, size and fat loss. You could use a whole commercial gym OR you could use a simple barbell OR even more efficient? Kettlebells/ T-bars. For most men a 50 lb kettlebell or sandbag with a hand that you can do swings with, will make you strong, lean and throw size on you. You can work full body, cardio, and strength all at once in a tool that occupies very little space.

As you can see its just about reduction of the complex. If you can find these areas of opportunity in y our life – work, personal, and family, you will have extra time, less stress and be able to appreciate how much LIFE/TIME you wasted on non-necessary things.

I have been applying this and find I am less stressed, which means more pleasant to my wife and son, which means better relationships and fulfillment as a husband and father. When you are happier it is contagious to others.

We want to be healthy, manly, and intelligent fathers and husbands. Toxic masculinity is not a thing, a lack of masculinity is leading to weaker men, a polluted society, and children without good role models.
This is what the greatest generation had and we need to reclaim that.
This will practice will help. It’s why your grandparents and great grandparents don’t see the need for our many new inventions/toys/etc.

Stay Frosty and kill it.

AFD 1*

De-clutter your device, sharpen your mind & be happy

Social Media can be a great thing. It allows us to communicate with friends and like minded people, collect news stories, follow awesome Blogs like this one, and also follow other products and people. What it also does is steals time away from you, manipulates you and how to feel and perceive the world and what is going on in it. It creates anxiety and reduces your ability to focus by constantly giving you something new to watch or think about without much actual thought.

If you find yourself getting more and more distracted or unable to focus like you used to, regardless of age, this is why. Social Media and all the apps we have on our phones are training our brain to not focus, to be anxious, and to not shut down for good sleep. The conflict that can be created by the constant slew of emotion stimulation activities and stories are killing your mental health, your physical health, and stealing the most precious commodity you have – TIME. You are literally spending and wasting HOURS of your life each day seeing what someone else is doing or saying instead of living in your own life in the now. So, to stop worrying, reclaim your life, sleep and happiness we need to make changes. I am sure I love watching and spending time with my son, more then I do then care about what some talking head on Facebook or Insta or Tiktok has to say. I am making memories for me and him.

So – how do we fix this problem? A few simple ways actually.
1. Declutter your apps on your phone. Keep those ones you need most – browser, messages, email and phone – on your main page and maybe a weather or work app. Nest all the other apps together on page 3 or 4 or in folders where it becomes a challenge to get to the social media apps.
2. If you are so brave – delete the social media apps and only go on them on a web browser. This will reduce your accessing them as they are now also not as easy to get to.
3. Make your phone black and white. The colors and blue light our devices emit are like crack for our brains and keeps you wanting to look back for more. If you make the screen black and white, you will be less tempted to use the device and you will get better sleep due to the reduction of blue light.
4. Make a conscious effort to keep the phone in your pocket/bag/desk etc whenever you are with your family and friends. Human interaction will trump messaging and shit via electronic device and create good memories and habits for you and your kids. And as a parent, I know I don’t want my kid wasting his life not having real meaningful talks, relationships and interactions like we all did before social media, cell phones, or the internet.

I know – sounds easy – its not at first. Be honest with yourself and do the hard things to make your mind more focused, less cluttered and frantic and improve your happiness. I know it sounds crazy, but quitting social media, or at least reducing your use of it has been proven to improve your well being.
Here is a great article explaining this more fully and with other advice with the scientific backing I spoke of.

Thanks for reading.
AFD 1*

How to have a happy(er) life.

With that lofty title I present to you 4 things to make you happier
1. Workout
2. Eat good food (not crap from a box or pre-made)
3. Try to meditate/clear your mind/ brain dump
4. Get some intimacy from your partner.

There you go. Simple right?

Now of course that isn’t as simple as it sounds – but why? I am going to suggest a rather Spartan approach you can take and try for a week to see how it makes you feel.

1. Start a workout program – anything is better then nothing, do it 3 times a week. A kettlebell will give you more then enough exercises for you to get the blood going and the muscles pumping.

2. Try to eat better food – meats, eggs fruits veggies. Avoid dairy if you can and “white” carbs – any carb that is or could be made white.

3. Meditate – use box breathing from a previous post or the calm app with its *free* meditations or google Mokuso Meditation and perform any for at least 5 minutes daily. You will think of other things, that’s ok, just acknowledge that and move on.

4. Talk to your partner, start “dating” them again. Make the effort and increase your intimacy.

Now that’s 4 easy things that take just a little effort that will reap rewards.
Physically performing and feeling better – adding muscle and losing weight will increase your testosterone.
Meditation reduces cortisol which increases/preserves testosterone.
Eating good food will cure most hormonal issues and – you guessed it- helps with testosterone levels.
Sex is Sex and will help you keep your hormone levels in check.

Testosterone is the foundation of men being healthy, looking younger, staying fitter and living longer.
Also – reduce how much you are drinking. It will help as booze converts testosterone into estrogen and you don’t wanna lose your gains, bro.

Keep frosty, structure this stuff in for a few weeks and you will see you feel better, sleep better, and are thinking more clearly with less stress and ALL of this will help you feel better and happier.

-AFD 1*

Mental Health and Postpartum Depression

Having a new baby is hard. Very hard.

It is made even harder when you don’t get critical bonding time with the infant because they are in the ICU. This is impacted even further if you or your spouse has depression, bipolar disorder and doctors aren’t monitoring for the onset of PPD.

My wife struggled to feel a connection with our little guy after he came home. She was and is a great mom, doing anything she needs to for him. But due to depression in the past she was at an elevated risk of it postpartum.

I watched as best I could, and tried to get her to talk to me. Between hormones and postpartum, she did not want to talk, or to get help, or to even leave the house in the instances that we could now that the COVID milarky is settling down.

It wasn’t until friends, family and me asked her to talk to someone professional ( her OB) about what she was feeling would she do it.

And we are all glad she did. 1 week after that and a low dose of an antidepressant and my wife is back to being normal, enjoying our son, going out to places and generally liking life again.

This is a very serious issue that is to quickly overlooked, especially in higher risk people. Please seek out the help you need, or engage others to help you help those who need the help. There is no need for stigma here, just help people.


Date Night and themed dinners during the Pandemic. Keeping the spark alive.

I don’t know about you guys, but I love to go out to dinner and experience different foods and restaurant environments, and booze that I didn’t make. Not to say I don’t have other alcohol but I have way more of the stuff I make.

My wife and I are wanderlust people, and we love to travel the world, experience different cuisines and enjoy our time together after hectic days at work or OB appointments or both. But with the Stay At Home orders, the closures of almost all businesses, and restaurants closing, or on reduced menus, its been a struggle making 3 meals a day and exploring my house and yard.

To make sure we both keep our sanity, give meal times some excitement and enjoy our own company, we have begun to do theme nights. Now many people will do Taco Tuesday’s, but how many people do German night? WE make homemade Schnitzel, Austrian Potato Salad, sauerkraut and, in my case, I drink a fine German Lager. We will play Bavarian Oktoberfest/Oompa music while we do it all just to give the whole thing a real feel. It helps remind us of our last trip to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. For “Taco Tuesday”, which is rare in my home, we will do mariachi music, tacos or wraps or enchiladas and make cocktails and mocktails that remind us of our trip to Mexico.

What the above does not only gives us that “date night” type feel a few days a week, but also gives us the variety that we would have when looking to go out to a restaurant. Going out for dinner isn’t just about getting great food, but also the ambiance and sensual impacts that takes your out of your home and sends you somewhere else, if only briefly.

This activity also serves to keep that spark alive in your relationship with your partner. If you have the kids there, it will also be something they can fondly remember and maybe do with their families one day, hopefully without the need of a pandemic! Its quality time with those closest to you, forming memories.

This week we are doing Italian and “Island” night. It could be a tropical island, or a Greek meal to remind us of our trip to Paros, Greece where we had some great seafood and Mediterranean fare overlooking the salty blue Aegean Sea. Whatever you do, make it special to you!


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