Happy Friday friends! Recently, I’ve found myself using the same coaching que with several clients and it falls into a category of one of the first things I try to teach people about resistance training.
This is something I call “The Stop.” It’s the point in resistance training where your brain overrides your muscles and stops you from completing any more reps.
As a rule this is actually a great function for us to have! Our brain prevents us from injuring ourselves and otherwise preserving our way of life by using this reflex.
The drawback is our brain will typically kick this reflex into motion JUST before we hit the optimal zone for muscle growth and development.
Damn you brain! … Yet again, you are counterproductive to working out and are working against us!
If you recall from one of my old posts “insert here” we discussed in some detail how the brain functions off of optimal energy storage and usage, as well as doing what it can to prolong our lives.
Now, before we continue, I need to address this:
There may be some out there going “But wait Ferret; if our brain is supposed to stop us from hurting ourselves, and this is a natural reflex that occurs prior to this “zone” isn’t this dangerous advice??”
Here’s my answer: There is a popular mantra in the gym that states “no pain, no gain.”
If approached by the uneducated, this can cause some serious damage to your body as everyone’s pain threshold falls into different categories and visibly forcing your body into rep ranges where your form goes to complete shite will often result in injury.
However, as with most “Bro-science” and myths there is a strong theme of truth buried underneath the surface.
The ideal rep range for stressing muscle tissue and thus providing a stimulus for growth and development is incredibly uncomfortable, especially to a novice, and is associated with a degree of pain.
So the safest way to attain this is as follows.
When you start to feel like you want to quit (notice I did not say need to!) assess the situation. How is your form? If your form is still good, you’re close, but not close enough! Keep pushing forward, turn off that “stop” mechanism and instead focus on your form. Yes, it should be burning. Yes it should be uncomfortable. YES it will hurt!
When your form starts to fail, and you start “kipping” to complete repetitions. Congratulations. You have achieved the optimal zone, and you are in a safe place to stop.
This is the zone right before muscle failure and it will take you a while to master falling into it.
But keep with it. Don’t give up. Don’t surrender to the brain! Deprogram “The Stop.”
The brains intentions are all well and good, but he’s working against you under stress.
Deprogram “The Stop” and reprogram your focus. Focus on your muscles and their form and function. Tell the brain to stop being a back seat driver, and move forward on your progress.
Happy Friday friends! Today we have a topic of great interest to me. It’s something I’ve wrestled with most of my life to pin down and have a good answer for, or at least some good questions.
In life, we find ourselves faced with cross roads, and forks in the road time and time again. We know we can only take one even if we kid ourselves into thinking some day we will be back to take the other. Each fork, each diversion, each path leads us further and further to who we are to ultimately become, yet … who hasn’t stopped for a moment and pondered “What if I had gone the other way?”
Recently, a friend of mine is being faced with a big life decision for herself. One path offers familiar comfort and adventuring opportunity in the last few remaining years of great freedom (College days) with good company old and new. The other, a new experience, secluded from the familiar, but set in an exciting scenario that promises great experiences and potential towards the future.
Each with its own merits, rewards, and opportunity; each greatly different and diverges in opposite directions.
She reached out to me, and asked, “If you were here, which would you choose?”
How does one instruct another life decision or even offer advice? Personally, myself, I’m just stumbling through the dark and finding neat stuff along the way. How could I offer any insight to how to approach major life decisions and ultimately choosing paths?
A simple flip of the coin?
No, it’s never that simple. Is it?
I’d like to now share with you one of my favorite poems by a great man named Robert Frost:
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Frost knew all too well this very struggle.
There will never be a correct answer for any one individual. As well, there will never be any way to know for certain where the other path would have lead, for we cannot ever travel it.
We must be confident that all of our decisions are correct and the best we could have made, no matter how we come to them. Let the historians’ debate morality.
Understand that each is unique and offers its own adventure, rewards, trials and tribulations.
Well that’s all fine and dandy, at least now I feel good about tough life decisions.
BUT I still don’t know what to choose!
For this, I have finally developed an answer that I am confident in.
When faced with a fork in the road and you’ve weighed and balanced them; looked down each as far as you can see; pondered, pondered, and pondered somewhere just which one to take and are stuck.
Just simply, flip a coin. Before the coin lands, you’ll already know which one you want it to be and if you still don’t, well chance has decided for you and you may as well leap.
Happy Friday friends! Boy has it been a while. Now that the dust has settled and the big move complete, expect our regular schedule to resume as well as new and big things close on the horizon.
But I digress; let’s get to the article at hand!
If you’re up here in the North East then like me, you’ve been slammed with snow. It’s as if all of a sudden winter woke up, and realized it was late for work, speeding down the freeway, spilling its coffee and crashing into the guard rail because it was texting, throwing its contents ALL over us.
So, needless to say, snow removal has been the activity most of us are undertaking in lieu of other physical exertions.
Anyone who is anyone and has spent a day shoveling snow can tell you a few things.
Proper Snow Shoveling Technique:
Was this article helpful? Let me know what you thought and I just might put it into a video for visual aides.
Happy Friday friends! A while back, one of our community members wrote in and asked what the best way was to tackle love handles. So, in traditional Fit Ferret fashion, I will be addressing this question in this week’s post and discuss with you how to firm up, tone, and shape the core musculature of the body.
Before we begin I want to put a few things out there.
We’ve recently been discussing how angles and planes play a great deal in muscle development and strengthening. Fortunately, the core muscles function just the same as any other muscle group and require this same attention to detail to strengthen and tone properly.
Through a series of static exercises (exercises in which tension is held in the muscles throughout its duration) and dynamic exercises (exercises in which the muscles are contracted to maximum tension and relaxed in a repetitive fashion) as well as moving these muscles in a way that gravity pulls on them through the various planes we can begin to increase our core power and stability while simultaneously beginning the sculpting and toning process.
Let’s take a quick look at the “anatomy” of the core muscles.
As you can see, there is A LOT more going on down there than your “Abdominal” muscles and each of them plays an important role in balancing and powering up your core.
So where to start?
Since “planking” has become a fairly mainstream notion and a question I’m asked a lot is “How long can you plank?” This static exercise focused on the Rectus Abdominis sounds good to me.
I love that question because I answer it quite frankly “one minute.” Following that answer I often get a puzzled look as I can only imagine in their head they are wondering how someone who is fit could “only” hold a plank for one minute. I then follow that up with, but I can hold a plank that is 10x harder than a traditional plank also, for one minute. If their curiosity is piqued I then proceed to show them a plank held utilizing two medicine balls, one under the feet and one under the hands.
So then I ask, “Would you rather be able to hold a plank for 10 minutes, or do one of those for 1?”
My philosophy on the plank has always been: “If you can hold it for a minute, find a variation that’s more challenging.” Not only does it save you time and produce the same and in most cases better results, but it is difficult for an exercise to get boring if it is constantly changing and becoming more difficult with your ability level.
Your first static exercise in your quest for stronger, more toned abdominals is the traditional plank. You want to be able to plank from a level surface, a surface where your upper body is elevated, and a surface where your feet are elevated. This will ensure that every angle is accounted for and the strength is evenly built along the length of the abdominals. When you can execute this move 3 times held to 1 minute. It’s time to start challenging the stabilization of the exercise by using unstable surfaces such as medicine balls, or the BOSU, or even suspension cables like the TRX; or try removing one or two limbs (arm and leg, not arm and arm) from the equation to make your muscles work that much harder. (Planking tip: Feeling pressure in your lower back? Tuck your hips underneath you forcing you to flex your glute muscles. Then tighten your abdominals and imagine that you are sucking them up into your chest cavity. This will remove stress from your lower back, put you into a good form position, and focus all of the stress on your abdominal muscles.)
The next static exercise to master is the side plank. Very similar to its cousin the plank, the side plank is a static exercise focused on the oblique muscles that run along your side. Just like the plank, master it with your upper torso elevated, your feet elevated, and when it becomes too easy, start disrupting the stability of the exercise.
Moving along, let’s take a peek at some dynamic exercises that will aid us in our quest.
The simplest and easiest dynamic abdominal exercise that comes to most people’s mind is the crunch and or sit-up. However, before we dive too deep into that, recently there has been a lot of controversy in the fitness field involving the crunch and whether or not it may actually be hurtful to your spine. That being noted, things like this pop up constantly in the fitness field and there has not been enough research or documentation yet for me to change my ideas on it.
One thing to note when you start doing dynamic abdominal exercises is that you may initially feel fatigue in your neck and jaw. This is due to the mind muscle connection being weak as well as the muscles themselves being too weak to pull your torso up. When you start to feel that fatigue, it is in your best interest to give that exercise a rest. That being said, while you are engaged in your first rounds of dynamic core exercise try to be very aware of the muscles that are activating to help build that connection. In time, the fatigue you feel in your neck and jaw will subside as the muscles become stronger. DON’T OVER DO IT.
Getting stronger? You’ll want to add in sit-ups from a declined position. As well, you’ll want to do leg lifts to get the tension moving up and down the length of the muscles for that even build.
Next up, we’ll look at two dynamic exercises for the obliques. This first one is a tad bit difficult as if you have never done it before it feels incredibly awkward and you may not be sure if you are working the muscles at all.
From a laying down position on your side, curl your bottom leg underneath you, and extend your top leg. Curl your bottom arm towards your head and rest your head against your hand. Bring your fingertips of your top arm to you ear and now you’re in position. The objective from this position is to now crunch up the top half of your torso, right along the imaginary line dividing you into bottom and top halves, about where your belly button is. You should feel a small group of muscles in your side activating really hard to even generate the slightest bit of movement. The good news is, this exercise doesn’t take a lot of movement to be correct! As long as you feel those muscles in your side contracting and pulling the top half of your torso up, you’re doing it right. Practice makes progress.
Of course, the dynamic work of the oblique wouldn’t be complete without an exercise that also worked the legs. From this same position, you can lift your top leg up, contracting the oblique muscles!
You are now on your way and armed with the knowledge necessary to start strengthening evenly and toning evenly your mid-section, reducing “love handles” and making them “love grips.”
Remember though, these exercises will eventually become too easy and you will stop seeing progress. Use your knowledge of the planes and angles and keep increasing to more and more difficult exercises making certain you hit all of the abdominal muscles in every direction, not just some of them. Happy planking friends!
Happy Friday friends! This week we are going to continue our discussion on muscle growth and development via the most efficient and effective ideologies. So last week we discussed angles and their importance on activating certain muscles and muscle groups. This week, we are going to talk about the planes and how muscles are more than just unilateral tissues.
We exist in several dimensions and as such can manipulate the environment and objects in it in many different planes of motion. With this in mind, and knowing that our muscle groups exert certain forces based on the activity, we can ask ourselves, “Does the tissue exert the same force outward even after elevating or descending the plane of motion a few degrees?”
The best example of this question would be analyzing the Bench Press and the Incline Bench Press side by side.
Each of these motions recruits the Pectorals as the prime mover, but what force is exerted on the tissue and is it uniform for either activity?
The simple answer, is no, it is not. Join me now for a quick experiment!
I want you to extend your left arm forward straight out ahead of you and towards your bodies mid-line so that your pectoral muscle is flexed. Take your free hand, and apply pressure to the tissue with your palm so you can feel the flexed muscle. Now, raise your arm up slowly, keeping the pectoral flexed.
Did you feel the tension in the tissue travel up with your motion towards the top of the pectoral muscle?
Pretty cool, right??
Using this knowledge it would stand to reason that when we manipulate an object through the various planes and continue to use the same muscle tissue, we activate more of a section of the tissue based on this.
So, let’s tie this all together now. If you are trying to develop your Pectoral muscles uniformly and grow the strength in the tissue so that it matches no matter the angle or plane you are moving it through, you MUST work the muscle in the different planes of existence.
This goes for ANY muscle.
Trying to tone your arms faster and get the statuesque even look? Perform movements that work those muscles with your elbows behind you, at your sides, in front of you, and even above your shoulders!
This same train of thought applies to all of the muscles. Use different moves, different angles, and produce work through the various planes. Don’t limit yourself, and don’t limit your results. Happy lifting!
Happy Friday friends! As I have finally gotten back into the swing of my own workout routines, I’ve been experimenting more and more with the methodologies behind growing muscle strength and size as well as creating the sculpted look.
This will be part one of a two part series in which we explore some of the basic fundamentals of optimum muscle enhancement through resistance training.
Today, we are going to discuss angles!
Believe it or not, the angle at which you perform a lift, or the angle at which you hold your resistance plays a huge role in not only which muscles are worked, but what part of the muscle is worked.
If sculpting, building muscle or strength for particular muscles is what you are aiming to do, then this information is vital for your everyday life.
By hitting certain angles you can isolate muscles to the work allowing them to reap the benefits, as well, when changing the angle you can hit the various heads of muscle tissue creating strength that is functional through the entirety of the muscle, not just in your tried and true method.
Some examples of this in practice:
When performing the Bench Press, when our hands are directly over our shoulders or closer to our midline, more of the effort work is placed on the triceps muscle as opposed to the pectorals. Continuing from there, if we move our hands further apart, the effort work shifts more into our pectoral muscles and less in our triceps
Your elbows angle to your body during many exercises also plays an important role in this. When performing a pushup, if our elbows are up at 90* to our torso, most of the effort work will be transferred to the front of our shoulders in the deltoid. A 45* angle to the torso will put most of the effort work into our pectorals and a 0* angle will focus most of the effort into the triceps.
Curious to experiment with these angles? Give it a try! Pay very close attention to your body, perform the moves slowly and feel the muscle and sinew contract in the various locations. The slower you go, the easier it will be to determine which muscles are working the hardest.
Some more examples? Let’s take a look at the legs. If we were to take a supine position (laying down on your back) and perform hip raises, the angle of our knees would directly determine how much effort would be performed by the glute muscles and the hamstrings. If we were to move our feet FURTHER from out buttocks, the effort is more concentrated in the hamstrings. If our feet are closer to our buttocks, the effort is transferred more into the glute muscles.
We can also change the angle by raising our shoulders onto a surface. This will also drive more of the force into the glute muscles.
These are just a small number of examples. The truth to take from this is that angles play an important role all over the body with resistance training.
If you are ever uncertain, slow it down, take a moment, and listen to your body and how it is responding to the work you are making it do.
The next important part of this is about the planes of motion and how we as human beings can manipulate the space around us, but we’ll talk more about that next week!
Till then, I urge you to experiment for yourself. If you are trying to develop one muscle, try various angles and listen to how your body responds.
Happy Friday friends! Today I want to talk to you about perhaps the most important thing to life as we know it. All living creatures need it for survival and are mostly made of it! I am of course talking about WATER!
I’m sure you’ve heard this at least once before, “You should be drinking more water.”
As well, I’m also sure you’ve probably said to yourself “I should drink more water.”
But, other than “Cause it’s good for you!” Do we actually know why?
Let’s take a look at just what water is doing inside your body, especially for your fitness and health.
Our body has many locations at which the bones articulate called joints. These joints are protected by tissues and synovial fluids. The word fluid is our big indicator there. Like all fluids in the body they are mostly comprised of water, and the cells that make up those tissues are also mostly water and rely on it to function properly!
If we were to reduce our bodies overall water content, our joints would suffer from lack of lubrication and cellular function in the tissues would become strained! This can lead to injuries and aggravate tissues that already have problems to begin with. So, not only is water good for you, but it keeps you moving loosey goosey.
We just addressed how cells rely on water in talking about the joints. In the exact same fashion, your muscle tissues require adequate amounts of water to perform properly and at their maximum capacity. Without water, they will get stressed out and won’t be able to stretch and contract as needed.
We know nutrition is important, we know our body needs to get its nutrition to function. But, we eat food, how could water be important to that? Our blood is our life juice and is mostly water too. It transfers oxygen and nutrition to our cells while taking waste away. Our body turns the nutrition we intake into water soluble particles that our blood can then carry and transfer to our cells.
Alright, so water definitely isn’t a miracle liquid that makes you shed pounds, yet one thing that is common amongst healthy and fit people is the consumption of massive amounts of water. Beyond the biological benefits if you drink water instead of a high calorie beverage, you’re removing excess sugars that you probably don’t need. As well, foods that are rich in water contain fewer calories simply because their content is mostly water.
Cleaning Up Your Act
Water while it is our life blood, is also our very own liquid plumber. Our waste is mostly water and is the primary vehicle used by the body to get rid of anything toxic or a waste from our system. Drinking lots of water gives our digestive process the water it needs to digest, our kidneys the stuff it needs to keep the cleaning factory operational, the bowels won’t try and hold in excess water (leading to constipation!)
Whether we sweat it out, cry it out, or evacuate it out, water will keep our body nice and clean.
So the next time someone tells you to drink more water, or the next time you tell yourself, now you’ll have an earworm as to just why you should be!
Happy Friday friends! Recently the gym I train through has changed locations and given their equipment a serious upgrade. Between all of the new toys and the new atmosphere I have been absolutely as giddy as a school boy on Christmas. Two particular pieces of equipment the gym has added is an Ergometer (Rowing Machine) and a Heavy Bag.
This leads me to what I want to discuss with you today, one of my all-time favorite full body routines that combines the lightning pace and heart thumping action of cardiovascular exercise with hard hitting plyometric and functional strength, along with some stability and balance.
The Savvy Pirate
Alright everyone, let me introduce you to my routine I call The Savvy Pirate.
The Ergometer (Rowing Machine)
The first portion of this routine involves using an Ergometer (or Rowing Machine.)
Using an interval style training mode, begin at an easy pace to warm up the muscles and get some blood pumping through your body.
After 2 minutes, crank up your intensity (without sacrificing the rowing form: Core tight, back straight, drive through the legs and finish the motion with a mighty row) starting with 30 seconds and gradually building up to an entire minute, followed by reeling back your intensity.
Follow this format for 5 minutes, increasing your time spent up to 20 minutes.
The Heavy Bag
Next up, it’s time to throw some punches and kicks. Unfortunately, you may not have access to a heavy bag. Fortunately, everything can be done via shadow boxing. But, let’s work under the assumption for this article that you do in fact have access to a heavy bag (I would advise having some kind of covering for your hands with wrist support; be it knuckle wraps, boxing gloves, or striking gloves.)
This exercise will be done in rounds.
Start off with 4 rounds, 2 rounds of punches and 2 rounds of kicks.
Each round will last for 1 minute.
During your punching round, it will be divided into two 30 second rounds. Keep one foot forward, this will be your jabbing side as the amount of power you can generate is diminished by the off-centered stance. Your side with the foot back, will be your power side, or “Cross.”
Start simple, 2 jabs and 1 cross. Concentrate on alternating between head level blows, and torso level blows. Once you feel confident enough with your strikes, you can transition your punching rounds into free style, alternating as you please between punches.
Your kicking rounds will also be broken into two separate sections of 30 seconds, left and right side.
Again, stand off-center; your kicking leg will be your back leg. Turn into your kick, torqueing your body. Bring your knee up high and turn your hips over so you can strike the bag with the lower part of your shin. Point your toes and avoid contact with the ankle, top of the foot, and toes.
Once 4 rounds come easier to you, start adding in 1 extra round of punches and kicks.
No bag? No problem! Follow the same routine but shadow box it out.
Stability and Balance
The next part of this routine will work your balance and stability. If you are a beginner to balance, follow a simple regimen of side leg lifts and reverse leg lifts, maintaining a straight position and keeping your core tight perform up to 20 repetitions going both ways.
If your skill level allows you, instead, perform squats on the flat side of a BOSU ball and practice balancing on one foot on the BOSU. Work up to these by first learning to balance on the BOSU.
Advancing beyond that, while balancing 1 foot on the BOSU, perform side leg lifts and reverse leg lifts.
So there you have it, one of my very own killer routines. I had the fortunate opportunity to resurrect this one and used it myself. It delivers the full body blasting that I remember so fondly.
Why the Savvy Pirate you might wonder?
Well, every sailor worth their salt can row a boat, knows how to fight, and can balance on sea legs like they were born with them. Oh, also, it never hurts to be savvy.
Welcome friends and happy Friday! Today, I want to discuss the topic of healthy eating. Lately I’ve been hearing this; “Healthy eating is great, but it’s just too expensive.”
It’s not the first time, nor will it be the last time.
My only response when I hear this is … “Where did you get that information from?”
I can tell you for a fact, that eating fresh fruits and vegetables as well as whole cut meats can be very affordable. In my case, switching over to a healthier diet cut my average grocery bill into a third.
Unfortunately, sometimes when the words “healthy diet” appear they are associated with the word organic, or GMO free, or several other labels that drive up an items marked price.
So what is my definition of a “healthy diet?”
For me, a healthy diet and clean eating go hand in hand and are synonymous to each other.
Let’s take a look at fruits and veggies.
Did you know that certain fruits and vegetables have a season that they grow in? What that means is certain fruits and vegetables are in high supply during certain seasons of the year.
When a fruit or vegetable is in high supply, the price typically responds by going down.
When buying fruits and vegetables, purchase fruits and vegetables that are in season or on sale, it will guarantee you the best price.
Here you can find a link that lists vegetables and their respective seasons
Here you can find a link that has a really nifty chart showing the growing seasons for many fruits
Next up, let’s look at meats!
When walking through the meat section, pay close attention to how the prices scale. Meat with the bone still in will be less expensive per pound (This is to account for the weight of the bone and less work that goes into the pre-packaging by not removing the bone.) These can be a great money saver.
As far as brands, organic, free range, etc. if you don’t have moral objections to how your meat was raised or views on the label that should be slapped on it, you’ll generally find the stores own brand to be the most cost effective.
Another thing to consider, chicken will generally be the cheapest meat you’ll find and if you’re planning on preparing the meat that day, look for managers specials in which the meat will spoil sooner than the required shelf life and will be marked down.
Still not enough savings for you? Couponing can be an awesome (yet time consuming) way to also save a few bucks while shopping healthy.
Not convinced? Plan out your next trip (accounting for the meals of the week) and bring an old grocery receipt with you. You might be pleasantly surprised when you compare the two!
Apologies for the lateness of this weeks post. Unfortunately, one of my furry little friends finally lost her battle with cancer the evening of 10/02/14. A lot of pent up anxiety and grief took hold of me for a little bit hindering my productivity. But now it is time to honor her memory and get back to doing what those little carpet sharks inspired me to do in the first place. It is time, to be the fittest of ferrets once again. This weeks article was written and inspired by the final days of Izzy’s struggle, taking an inside look at “Why The Ferret?” I hope you enjoy! – Ferret
Welcome friends! Once again it is Friday (Sunday, actually) and time for another story with The Fit Ferret. Today is a particularly special Friday though. The Fit Ferret (Blog) has officially been up for a year, and this post marks post #52 (for those of you unaware, there are 52 weeks in a year!)
One year ago today, I set out to do something I had never done before. On top of creating an educational and engaging platform for my knowledge, I also accomplished a feat that I have struggled with my entire life.
It may come as no surprise to the people who know me, I am a huge procrastinator. This has followed me through my entire life and in every facet of it. Not only have I discovered I work incredibly well under pressure, I used to lead the life style of BSing my way through just about anything that didn’t directly interest me or benefit me in some immediately extrinsic way. That being said, when I set myself to something, I always attacked it with tenacity and delivered nothing but my best (what a terrible combination.)
When I began this blog, as much as it was a way for me to connect with all of you and provide you with information in a fun way, it was a serious test to myself. It was a challenge that I have failed many times previously with many projects I start.
Like many of you out there, I start all of my projects with the best of intentions. But before I finish, before I really get the snowball rolling, I would always lose interest.
I cannot take all of the credit for seeing this project through for an entire year. That credit is directly given to each and every one of you.
To the ones who took time to tell me how a post helped them.
To the ones who stopped me and started a sentence with “So I read your post the other day…”
To the people who encouraged me, mostly by doing nothing more than expressing interest in what I was doing in the first place.
For the past year I have used this platform to connect with you and today I want to use this platform to thank each and every one of you who have stuck by and taken the time to not only read what I had to say, but encourage me to keep doing it with your kind words.
From here … the sky is the limit and I am continuing to seek out the best professionals I know to help expand the knowledge I can deliver to you (Spoiler: We may have a nutritionist blogger soon!)
Now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way, I want to take the rest of this space to get a little philosophical with you and answer a question I get a lot.
Why a Ferret?
From as far back as I can remember, I have always been fascinated with these creatures. I met one only ONCE and became absolutely infatuated with it. As I grew up and started my journey “coming of age” I was always told I could not have one. I was told I could not have one for many reasons.
They smell awful (Ferrets have a slight musk, and like you if they aren’t cared for, start to smell.)
They are overly aggressive (They play like dogs (Tug of war, fetch, hand wrestling) and snuggle like cats. Like any animal, the amount you socialize them and the love you give them is representative of their demeanor.)
They will destroy the house (Ferrets are curious and clever animals, if you aren’t spending time outsmarting them, they will spend their time outsmarting you and can become bored easily.)
The cat is their natural enemy and will try to hunt and kill them (Hah … I’ve watched my ferrets gang up on the cat and she has no idea what to do with them.)
With all these “well thought out” responses as to why I could not be a ferret parent, it was safe to assume the person giving the answers fully knew and understood these creatures.
Being the strong-willed and determined child I was, I refused to accept these facts and researched the small mammals as often as I could, always trying to improve my counter argument and presentation as to why I should be allowed to be a ferret parent.
What I discovered through this process was two-fold. Things we do not understand scare us, and the ferret is a terribly misunderstood creature.
As a child, I was very misunderstood. My super friendly personality (I once tore through the neighborhood in my superman pajamas waking up the neighbors to wish them a “Good Morning,”) curiosity (the word why in the most genuinely way possible exited my mouth more than the air I expelled,) and need to physically experience the world around me (I learned early on how to Houdini my car seat and only learned what hot was after touching a stove,) was called ADHD and medicated (which I refused to take after a while and the powers that be gave up trying.)
Today, these very personality traits that were discouraged define a lot of who I am.
Fast forward many years to my adult life and the day I finally became a proud ferret parent.
As a ferret parent I learned many things and many things about myself and life.
Love is Patient
The two ferrets I adopted first had been abused and neglected, leading to long term health problems. One of them had significant brain damage and was very “slow.” Out of the three ferrets I have parented, she was by far the most challenging, and despite her inability to be litter box trained due to brain damage, she was loved none the less and cleaned up after constantly.
The ferrets’ capacity to love is quite incredible, especially for such a small mammal with such a small brain. When my little Yogi approached his final days, ridden with cancer and unable to not mess himself, his sisters still continued to cuddle with him and would actually bring food from the dish to him.
They would patiently wait, covered in HIS mess, and accepted the excess bath times without complaint.
Nothing is Lost, Just Sometimes … Misplaced
Ferrets can be little thieves and are quite capable of moving and hiding things that weigh a considerable amount more than their own bodyweight. I once caught Yogi dragging a hammer across the floor that I had been using to hang picture frames.
Any time I felt that something was lost, I simply had to check a few hiding places to quickly locate it. This also applied much to life. When we feel stressed, or as if we have lost our good vibes, they typically aren’t very far and we simply need only search in our usual hiding spots to find what we’ve “lost.”
On that note above Size is Hardly Relevant
Watching a small animal move weight significantly heavier than them through clever use of physics? What’s your excuse?
Despite having a natural frame of 5’10 and 160#’s I have never let that stop me from being capable of moving weights heavier and larger than myself. This has been very apparent during the lateral pull down exercise where if I am not careful, I will go up with the bar.
Never Pass Up a Good Nap
Ferrets sleep like a boss. Seriously, 16 hours of their day is spent sleeping, even if it’s broken up into 100 naps. Ferrets truly understand the importance of sleep and enjoy the heck out of it. Take advice from the ferret and stop depriving your body of the sleep it wants.
When You Are Awake, Live in The Moment
Since ferrets sleep so much of their life, it only makes sense that during their time spent awake they must make the most of it, getting their nutrition in and getting their play on. They don’t have time for frivolous things or concerning themselves with the troubles of yesterday or the worries of tomorrow. Ferrets truly live in the moment.
So there you have it in a nutshell. Why the ferret you ask?
Because I identify with those tiny creatures, and through parenting them I have learned so much more about myself and the world around me.
Also … I REALLY REALLY like alliteration, puns, and word play.
So cheers to a year and to another great one ahead!
Dan "The Fit Ferret": An avid enthusiast of life and seeking out adventure wherever it may lie. ACSM certified Personal Trainer and Spartan OCR Competitor.