How To Kickstart Your Day(And Metabolism)

How To Kickstart Your Day(And Metabolism)

Breakfast. The Cornerstone Of a Healthy Metabolism.

I know, you don’t have time… there’s a million and one things to do before you leave for your busy day. That doesn’t mean you should have to sacrifice your health & well being because of one meal.

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~Sun Tzu

No matter what your goals are, if you don’t fuel up properly you won’t make it to the end.

“I know I should eat healthy, but I don’t have time” or the more famous “I grab a banana/bagel/apple/(insert food) on the way out the door and eat it on my way to the office” type of thinking is the noise before the defeat. Getting a nutrient balanced breakfast(sorry, coffee doesn’t count) is not easy… trust me, I understand, I’m up and out the door before 4:45 every morning!

Like I said before, breakfast is the cornerstone of a healthy metabolism. There’s a rule I like to stick with, 30 Grams of Protein within 30 Minutes of waking. This is a surefire way to get your metabolism going for the day and prevent a number of metabolic disorders, it also keeps your energy topped off for the day, so you don’t have to reach for that 4th cup of coffee at 10am!

So, now that you have a basic understanding of the importance of properly fueling up for your day, here’s a simple way to make sure you get your protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake quick and easy( did someone say minimal effort and time?) during your busy morning routine. Although, making a less busy morning routine would be ideal, let’s start small and we’ll work up to the harder stuff… After all, if it was easy, everyone would do it.

Now, this doesn’t seem difficult on the surface, but the discipline to keep at it every day long enough to create a habit is what will really make all the difference.

Now, on to the simplest breakfast you’ll ever have to (not) cook.

Overnight Oats

There’s some key building blocks to this that shouldn’t be changed. If dairy is a problem for you, it will be difficult to meet the same amount of calories, although most people are okay with the Greek Yogurt, make sure you know your body and what it can handle before you do more damage to your digestive system!

While almond milk or full fat coconut milk are substitutes, they don’t offer the same amount of protein or probiotics found in Greek Yogurt. So if you can, make sure to include it in the ingredient list. Sticking with a high quality brand helps, so no Great Value or knock offs here, after all, your health is worth more than the few extra pennies you save by going with a “store brand”. Also, avoid using soy milk on a regular basis, every once in a while is okay, but you’d be shocked how much soy is in foods you eat daily and like anything else, it can have adverse health effects if too much is consumed. Plus, soy is right up there with corn in terms of being GMO and laden with pesticides…

Foundational Ingredients:

Steel Cut Oatmeal.

Why Steel Cut? According to men’s health: “Steel-cut oats, like those found in McCann’s Irish Oatmeal’s metal tins, are almost fully intact, including the bran. As such, they’re high in fiber, burn off slowly, and will keep you feeling full for hours. “The more whole the grain, the longer it takes for the body to break it down,” explains Kleinert. But few people will spend the 30 minutes to make a pot of hot cereal in the morning. Skip the time suck by cooking a pot, freezing it in individual portions, then simply thawing and heating it.”

Now, letting these sit and soak will take care of the cook time, so the whole spending 30 minutes to cook it thing is kind of out the window, plus, the longer soak will make the oats easier to digest. It’s a good idea to soak/sprout all of your grains before cooking them.

Plain Greek Yogurt

Why plain? Mainly, there’s no added sugar(which we’ll be adding in form of fruit, honey or maple syrup). You really don’t want to be spiking your blood insulin first thing and having that crash later on in the morning anyway… kinda defeats the purpose of doing this whole breakfast thing.

Organic Whole Milk(Or Almond Milk/Full Fat Coconut Milk)

I try and stick with the milk if possible. Make sure you can handle it though, last thing you want is to be huddled up in a corner(or on the toilet) just to get a few extra grams of protein and fat… Almond milk or preferably Full Fat Coconut Milk are other options if dairy is out. I know most people hate the flavor of coconut, however, I’ve found once your a few bites in it really isn’t that bad.(I’m not a coconut fan myself…) The issue with almond milk is kind of twofold 1.) the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) cautions that people absorb the nutrients in milk and milk products better than they do those in plant-based milks(from Livestrong.com and 2.) without getting into too much sciencey stuff, there are ingredients in almond, soy, and rice milks used to thicken them(texture is an issue with some people) that is thought to cause health issues related to digestion(i.e. inflammation of the “gut”). So, if you can stomach it, go with the Organic Whole Milk or just skip the milk and stick with the yogurt, using water instead.

Chea Seeds

Yup, you got it right, just like the commercial we all remember – Chia Pets! These little seeds are loaded with fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids in addition to them being a great digestive aid. A big bang for your buck here.

Honey/Maple Syrup

I personally like to stick with the maple syrup here. It seems that a bit more honey is required to get the taste right, and that means more simple sugars. Now, honey has several health benefits and shouldn’t be avoided at all costs, but you should play around with the ratios here and maybe even do a hybrid. I typically get honey in other times throughout the day, like my favorite post workout desert – peanut butter & honey toast. Either way, your better off than throwing a lump of sugar in the mix!

The Portions

  1. ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt.
  2. ½ cup (heaping) rolled oats.
  3. ⅔ cup unsweetened milk of choice.
  4. 1 tablespoon chia seeds or ground flax meal.
  5. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.
  6. Pinch of salt.
  7. 0-2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup.
  8. Slivered Almonds(optional)
My Own PB&J Concoction 🙂

These are just the basic ingredients, and you can go crazy from here, anything from a PB&J to chocolate Peanut Butter Banana, or whatever other concoction you choose to cook up.

Personally, I like doing the above ingredient list with some raisins and a 1/2 serving of Muscle Gain protein powder and my girlfriend prefers to mix it up and put no protein in hers, but it takes no extra time to mix em all up at once.

Once you have the ingredients combined in a mason jar, mix them up with a spoon or by shaking then put the whole thing in the fridge to enjoy in the morning. I find that if you want a nice toasty warm breakfast microwaving for 1 minute, stirring, then about 30 or so seconds gets it to a nice “just right” temperature, but you’ll have to experiment with your microwave’s cook times.

Remember, this is something you want to do within a 30 minute window of waking up, it’s an easy way to get breakfast nailed down and takes barely any time to either cook or consume in the morning. We typically like to do at least 3 or 4 days worth of these little guys to keep us on track, otherwise someone forgets breakfast(it’s not me…).

A little hint that will help you make this a habit is to do this consistently for at least a month, after that, 90 days, once you’ve done something for 3 months basically it is a habit and will be extremely hard to break. So, come hell or high water stick with it and make it happen and watch the difference it will make in your energy level, strength(if you’re into that sorta thing), and body composition(if it’s a goal of yours).

Some More Recipes 🙂

  • ½ c old-fashioned oats
  • ¾ c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. chia seed
  • 1 tbsp. all-natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp. peanut butter powder
  • ½ banana, diced
  • ¼ c non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ scoop protein powder**
  • 2 packets of Truvia (or sweetener of choice) Dash of cinnamon Honey
    Source: www.bornfitness.com

(Sample Recipes from Wholefully.com 8 classic overnight oats recipes below)

Chocolate Peanut Butter

  • ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup (heaping) rolled oats
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened milk of choice
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds or ground flaxmeal
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 0-2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

Banana Chocolate Chip

  • ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup (heaping) rolled oats
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened milk of choice
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds or ground flax meal
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 0-2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • ½ ripe banana, chopped or mashed
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips

Tropical Fruit

  • ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup (heaping) rolled oats
  • ⅔ cup full-fat coconut milk (in the can)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds or ground flax meal
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 0-2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh or canned pineapple
  • ⅓ cup chopped ripe mango
  • ½ ripe banana, chopped or mashed
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened flaked coconut
Your Fitness Tracker’s Dirty Little Secret.

Your Fitness Tracker’s Dirty Little Secret.

In the last few years these fitness trackers have been all the rage.

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They’re popping up just about everywhere, from your local friendly Walmart & Walgreens to Amazon and everywhere in between, and are made by everyone from Apple(a computer company…) to the big names like FitBit & Jawbone and all the little cheapy guys trying to imitate their big brothers in the industry.

But why then, with so many people owning these little gadgets, are there still so many people not achieving their fitness goals?

Let’s start with a fun story…

A client of mine was telling me last year or so she had a friend in California who owned a FitBit and was obsessed with getting her step goal for the day… even if she cheated.

What her friend did was quite ingenious, while stuck in the godawful traffic I’m told plagues Cali, she would shake her hand back and forth to get her step count for the day!

Genius, right?

Well, no.

Here’s the dirty little secret about that ol fancy piece of jewelry around your wrist.

We, as human beings, LOVE to feel like we’ve accomplished something. Even silly little things that, in the grand scheme of things don’t make a significant impact on the end result. Honestly, who brags about getting their step count in for the day…

We like this so much in fact, we’d be willing to cheat ourselves out of results to get the perceived amount of “activity” for the day.

This can breed some bad habits.cigarettes-723126

For example – If you’re cheating on your steps, you’re probably going to be less likely to track those couple handfuls of candy you had at the office today, after all, there was only 14 pieces (each time), so they don’t really count, right?

Or maybe…

You actually did your steps for the day, so you decide to skip the gym and go out to celebrate with a healthy(ish) dinner and an adult beverage…(okay, maybe 2 or 3, it’s been a hard week at work… so far – wooo! made it to Wednesday!!)

You can see how this spirals out of control.dizzy-148161

I’m not saying to throw out your fitness tracker. What I’m warning against is the inappropriate use of a tool that can help you get better results, but can also destroy them just as easily.

In fact, most fitness trackers will say you’re average  strength training routine only burns about 100 cal or so, I don’t think that’s totally accurate, especially if you’ve been to one of my classes…(I can assure you, you burn much more than that)

Take the info with a grain of salt.

The information is only as good as what you use it for, and sifting through and finding the right data is key.

I could honestly go on for quite a while on the do’s and don’t(s) of what info you should look for, but where’s the fun in that, this would easily turn into a 4,000 word post, and it still wouldn’t help you get the best results. Remember, everyone is unique, so it’s impossible to discuss every variable…

Here’s what I’ll give you(to wet your appetite)

Start with what you want to achieve.

Determine what “data” will best help you get to that goal – and throw out the rest.

journal-1577764Be ReligiousTrack everything consistently and monitor the changes(results) you see on a somewhat regular basis. I’d say no more than once a week, and even that is pushing it…(scale weight one week, measurements the next, body fat % the following week, you know, that ol chestnut)

Pick 3-5 “variables” to track(the input) more than that is too much and will cause more harm than it will help. **HINT: Food Journaling is THE THING that will help most out of anything(Nutrition is King), after that would be sleep(shoot for 8 hours a day), then workouts, then daily habits(what you do at work and whatnot)

I’m sure I can think of more things to track, but honestly even the last one is kind of pushing what you really NEED to have, but hey, do what works for you. Just keep in mind, the more focused your efforts on the things that will make the biggest change the results will come faster, and stay longer.

As far as tracking output, like I said above, don’t jump on the scale every day, or even 2 or 3 times a week. The best thing you can do, honestly, is notice how you’re clothes fit compared to how they used to. And a $1 tailor’s tape measure is going to be your absolute best bet for tracking what’s actually going on(I don’t know the name exactly, it’s one of those flexible cloth-like things they use for measuring tuxes and such, you know the one)

If you’re stuck and don’t know what to do, feel free to drop me a line (justin @ post35.net) and I’ll be happy to help you out as I do have some experience with these things.

Stay Strong My Friends

~Justin

Simple, Minimalist-Style, Fat Loss

Simple, Minimalist-Style, Fat Loss

This will be probably the shortest post I’ve ever written.Michelle Garcia Before After

Here’s the real “tricks” to loosing fat and keeping it off.

  1. Eat More Vegetables. (**Game Changer**) If you eat veggies already, add a serving of leafy greens to each meal(you’re welcome)
  2. Cut Out Simple Carbs. If you are like most people and feel you have to eat carbs, cut out the starchy and simple carbs, stick with whole grain breads, brown rice pasta, and so on. Get your carbs from the leafy greens and fruit, don’t drink them.
  3. Strength Train 3-5 Days/Week. No, not your mom’s Jazzercise or Zumba strength training, not even those silly H.I.I.T. classes, lift heavy things, carry them around, and keep lifting heavier or find new variations on the movements.
  4. Eat Real Food. Dan John said it quite simply – Eat Like An Adult. Stop eating like a TV commercial, cut out fast food, stop snacking when you’re not really hungry(You’re probably just thirsty…)
  5. Drink 1/2 Your Bodyweight(in oz) Of Water EVERY DAY. Skip the gallon jug deal, it’s too much for most of us. Cut out the sugary drinks and drink tea(without sweetener) instead. Herbal tea is delicious if you find the right flavor for you

Lastly, just be reasonable. Don’t try and kill yourself doing this all at once. Pick an area of your biggest failing and work on that first, then go on to the next. For most of us cutting out Soda and Fast Food will dramatically improve the way you look.

You don’t have to be a nutritional genius to figure this out, we all know what to do, it’s constantly shoved in our faces every day, so take a hint from Nike and Just Do It.

Now, I’m not a nutritionist or anything, so take this for what it’s worth from me, but I’ve seen how most of the people who have achieved amazing results “do their thang” and it’s all about subtraction, not addition, and structure. Make a plan, follow the plan, get results.(If you need an example, see Fat Loss Happens on Monday – Dan John & Josh Hillis, and refer to the underpants gnomes “game plan” for making money, there usually isn’t a “step 2” in the 3 step process, which is why it feels like something’s missing all the time…)

So, there you have it. Under 400 words, and worth more than 1,000.

Stay Strong My Friends!

~Justin

Stop Guessing and Start Planning

Stop Guessing and Start Planning

A Lack of Planning is Planning To Fail.

Food. The Downfall of an fitness program.

I’ve been there, and maybe you have too… So, what’s the biggest pitfall? Lack of planning of course!

What? You don’t have time to make that meal? Maybe McDonald’s is looking pretty tempting right now, and it sure smells good… might as well get some drive through, right? WRONG!

Bad choices are bad choices, not to say you can’t indulge here and there, but why would you put yourself in that percarious position to begin with? I mean after all, you are after a goal here… right?

I can’t say too much because in the last few months, a quick stop at the store to just grab some “snack food” or going to Qdoba because I’m running behind has been one of my many shortcomings when it comes to prudent planning…

So I went on a journey, to find some resources that would help me make the most out of what I shove down my pie hole(but not pie… that’s not so good, although satisfying)

Here’s a few resources I’ve found to be helpful:

http://moneysavingmom.com/downloads/meal-menu-planners

http://www.tipjunkie.com/post/meal-planner/

https://healthyeater.com/flexible-dieting-calculator

If you’re still stuck… it’s not a problem, Dawn happens to be an expert(literally) at this sort of thing, and offers a free consult to all newcomers. Unlike myself, who just dabbles in this area, Dawn has extensive schooling and experience when it comes to the ins and outs of specific meal planning as well as assisting you with what is sustainable for you.

There is always a way for those who seek out the path. And this should provide you with enough to choose from that if it doesn’t work on your own, you at least have a guide!

Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.

~Justin

P.S. Want more info? Fill in the form below to get a direct line to Dawn and she can get you started on your path to the better life! And don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for more goodies in the future!!

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Stop Doing Cardio(It’s killing your progress!)

Get Off That Bike, Stop Running On The Treadmill – Stop doing Cardio!Cycle_Class_at_a_Gym X

Okay, well at least in the traditional sense…

First it would probably be good to understand what “Cardio” is exactly… it’s not so straight forward as everyone would have you believe.

Let me give you a few examples as they pertain to a majority of the population.(High rep channel surfing doesn’t count, in case you were wondering)

Slow Burn Cardio (Pure Aerobics)

These are your long runs, cycling classes, Jazzercise, Zumba, what have you. BE WARNED, even though some of these programs claim they have a strength building aspect, it’s just a marketing gimmick, they don’t create enough stress on your muscles to create any type of “strength”(hypertrophy) response that is require for any type of true strength.

These are more endurance based workouts, which is good if your goal is just pure endurance, and burning as few calories as possible for the time/work invested. But for most it doesn’t “get the job done” as they like to say, although I have no idea who they  are. Typically the cardiovascular(aerobic) system is the main target, hence “cardio”, and don’t give you much otherwise besides if it’s for your own enjoyment.

Strength Training(Weightlifting)

usarmy_tireflip_benmurphy_parentathleteThat’s right, you can get cardio out of just lifting heavy objects. My favorite example is bodybuilders, you wouldn’t catch these guys dead on a treadmill or stationary bike, or running for that matter. So how do they look so “ripped” all the time, even when they’re not at 2% bodyfat.

The simple answer is High Reps/High Sets. See, anything you do over 6 reps is technically “cardio” because of the different energy systems in your body work differently at different levels of intensity. Anything 6 reps or under is considered, for the most part, pure strength training(see Greasing The Groove) because your body uses just the stored up energy in your muscle tissue. Once you exceed 6 reps you’re essentially doing cardio. Once the energy in your muscles are depleted, guess what, you have to borrows it from somewhere else – the aerobic system. This is the most efficient way for your body to create useable energy fast.

Metabolic Training

This is my preferred style of cardio, which is something I typically only do 2 days a week. Any more than that and you start doing more harm than good(too much of a good thing… like chocolate cake)

How does this differ from the other 2?

lanceswingingkettlebell_web

Think of it like this, a very wise lady by the name of Jen Sinkler was once asked what she did to stay in shape to which she answered “I lift weights”, they proceeded to ask her what she did for cardio, and she answered “I lift weights faster.” Put simply, that’s what metabolic training is. It taxes different energy systems and muscle groups in the body in very intense short ,usually 15-30 minute, sessions. (Think of it in terms along the lines of Run, Throw, Carry or Grind, Ballistic, Loaded Carry)

This method is how I typically run my group/private trainings. It usually goes something like Warm-up = Mobility/Light Strength Work, Movement Prep.(if required), First Round = Metabolic Complex, Second Round = Strength Work/Cool Down.

This is my preferred method introduced to me by one Pat Flynn(great guy!) who is a genius at doing just enough to get the job done(doing more with less). In fact, most people that come work out with me on my Metabolic Training Days have commented they get more work done in 20 minutes with me than in an entire week of going to the gym. Makes me wonder why they still go to the gym…

So to clarify, to get the most benefits out of a program keep out as much (garbage) as possible, train strength often, mobility every day, brisk walk daily(fasted), and high intensity less often. Your body will thank you when you hit 35 by not falling apart and allowing you to train this way until your 90.

Seriously check out some of the programs from Pat and Jen if you are not able to come in and train with me directly, the have spent years putting together things that have been fine tuned and perfected to get you to move as well as humanly possible!

Have a Strong Day!

~Justin

Looking for more?? I’ve got just the thing – drop me a message in the form below and let me know what I can do to help get you going(or keep you going) on your journey to be fitter, happier, and more productive!

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5 Reasons To Hydrate This Winter

Winter is just around the corner.

I know, nobody wants to think about this yet but Wisconsin is a cruel mistress when it comes to the winter months, so it’s good to be prepared. Piles upon piles of snow, 20 layers of clothes, and of course the sub-zero temperatures that make hibernation seem like a great idea.

But here’s the deal, all too often we forget that we need good ol H2O to keep us from dehydrating. One of the least thought of aspects of the long cruel winter that is undoubtedly upon us.

Why do I need to stay hydrated? It’s not even hot outside??water-bottle

Great Question, Here’s 5 Reasons Why:

  1. Your body actually loses just as much, if not more, water through evaporation as when you sweat. Think of that fun cracked and dry skin you get, why do you think that is?? It takes a ton of water to keep your skin from turning to dust, as the drier air leaches moisture from your skin. :O
  2. Dietary changes, like eating less fruit and hydrating raw veggies lead to less fluid intake. You don’t feel the sense of being parched when you’re cold as when you’re hot, so the urge to have a nice cold glass of water doesn’t seem very appealing or necessary.
  3. You pee more. Gross, right! But it’s the truth, when you don’t perspire as much your body needs some way to get rid of toxins. So even though you don’t sweat you still need the same fluid intake to get all that garbage out!
  4. You lose water when you breathe! Ever notice your breath in the winter months…  This is from the respiratory process, and it happens a LOT more in winter than summer.
  5. Soup doesn’t hydrate you as much as you think. Especially if you are buying canned, the sodium content is already up there and canned soups are even higher. Sodium actually draws water from the cells in your body, so make sure you drink a nice tall glass of water with that soup!

I think you get the jist of it, so drink up, drink up. Water and tea are some of my highest ranking(and favorite) drinks, with hot chocolate and coffee ranking in the not so often category of my winter drinks list. Higher levels of activity such as sledding, skiing, and shoveling snow should always be accompanied with plenty of fluid intake(remember, the water evaporates off your skin without you really noticing).

 

Get More With Less

How to become a Minimalist.DSC3586_just_500px

Do you really need to spend hours in the gym?  I didn’t think so, and you don’t have to.  Now typically what happens with most new gym goers is this 1) All the fancy equipment is sold to them as a benefit  2) Sign up is made easy because of the ridiculously low rate, I’ve seen some for $10/mo.  3) They have over a million locations to “better serve you”.  But what’s the real benefit?  You have to spend way more time on the machines to get even nearly what you can with just $100 worth of iron.  Honestly, $100 well spent at a sporting goods store on a decent set of kettlebells or barbell set would be more beneficial.  The discipline to follow through on your workout is the same no matter how cheap or how centrally located they are.

So why do they set up their gyms this way?  It’s simple, they want people to think more is better.  By cluttering the space with equipment that does everything the hard way, they have given the otherwise open air in the space “value”.  For example, I don’t need an espresso maker in the trunk of my car and I doubt I would use it, even though I love espresso.
Why am I telling you this??  First off, my previous life as a full time martial arts instructor, I learned through observation of the owner, and several very awkward selling tasks, what I didn’t want to do… Be a salesperson.  I just enjoy helping people.  Part of that is to educate as many people as possible what fitness is really about.  I like to keep things simple, I don’t like overly complicated doodads or shiny workout routines with no direct benefits.  I prefer using equipment that gets better results for a fraction of the cost, and in a fraction of the time.  The basis of any good program should be mobility (function before fitness).  There are a few basic motions you need to have to accomplish this; pushing, pulling, hinging, squatting, loaded carry.  That’s it…  Like I said, I like to keep things simple.  Here is an example of a basic strength program using a Kettlebell:

crossfit-strong-dallas-kettlebellsMilitary Press (push)

Pull Up (pulling)

Swing (hinge)

Goblet Squat (squatting)

Turkish Getup (loaded carry)

Do as a ladder 1,2,3,1,2,3 of each movement daily.  Don’t worry, you won’t over-train any of these patterns just because the frequency is high.  The main reason this works is because the volume is low.  Repeat for several months and increase the weight slightly once the weight you started with feels “light”.  Don’t get me wrong, you do still need cardio as well.  You can add the movements in to or before a Kettlebell complex.  Or simply starting up biking, running, swimming(weather permitting!) or a sport you’ve always wanted to or used to do.

So all the equipment in your local health club and hours spent there can be replaced by a few pounds of iron and 10-15 minutes a day.  Find some space and make sure it’s clear of breakable
things!(ex: lamps, mirrors, small children, animals, you get the picture)SONY DSC

Keep it Simple, Stay Strong!

Justin