Check out the new MattRagland.com


Hi everyone, I hope you’re doing well! If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted in a week, it’s because I’ve been workin’ like crazy to get my new self-hosted site up. I’m very pleased to tell you that MattRagland.com is now live, so please head on over and check it out! If you’re visiting from the Buffer blog, thank you for clicking through, if you don’t mind 1 more, your commitment would be the stuff of legend!

Thank you so much for reading all my ramblings and creatives for the past 4.5 months, your comments, thumbs-ups, and shares have all been really encouraging as I’ve jumped in to this. I’m really proud of the new site, and hope you’ll enjoy it too. The self-hosted option is so much better for content, sharing, and visual appeal.

As you can see, I’ve re-branded the site with the title “Life, Prioritized”. The focus is to explore and talk about how we make choices and decisions in our lives, and structure our time around the things we truly love and passionate about. All of my old content has been exported, so everything is there. Future posts are going to include interviews discussing how people have made the tough decisions to prioritize their families, new work, health, and more. I’ll still be delivering similar content to what I’ve been writing, but the focus will center around how people have made the choice of saying “this is important”.

From here, this is what you can do:

  1. Click through to the new site
  2. Update your email or rss feed by clicking the buttons on the right sidebar
  3. Check out my Resources page to read about the tools and services I used to build the new site.
  4. Explore the new site! Much of the content is the same, but I could really use your help in working out the bugs and broken links that occurred because of the export.
  5. If you have any questions or want to give me some feedback, please email me.

Thanks again for continuing to be a part of this community, I’m really looking forward to growing together!

- Matt

Michael Hyatt’s New Book Platform, and Why You Should Buy It Today


Happy Friday Everyone! 

Normally, I wouldn’t be pumping up a book like this, dedicating an entire post to it, but I’m just blown away by the quality of the offer and want to share it with you! I talk a lot about how we make choices, set priorities, and doing the work that matters to you, and here is a resource which can help you in the mission!

Michael Hyatt, author, speaker, podcaster, and blogger, has released his new book this week, titled Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World (affiliate link). I just bought the book myself, and am very excited to dive in. The premise is all of us need a Platform to be noticed, regardless of our calling. This is especially true for creative people, who regardless of their talent, need to have a way to get the word out on their art!

You can read more at my new site, MattRagland.com

Or, go directly to Michael Hyatt’s site and read about why he wrote Platform, and get the lowdown on 7 Free Resources worth $375.98!

New Post on MattRagland.com


I just posted a new article on my new site, I encourage you to go check it out.

7 Lessons from My Adventure in Self-Hosted Blogging

If you haven’t switched over to my new site, you can easily update your subscription on the new site. The button looks like this…

click the image to
subscribe via rss

Have a great day!

My 10 ‘Men’tors – #9, Darrell Sutherland


Darrell Sutherland is the head football coach at Bartram Trail High School, and the only coach BT has ever had. When I played for him for 2 years (2000-2001), I realize I learned a lot, and the way he led and coached impacted the way I would coach 7 years later.

Football is by nature a violent game played by large men. High school football not as much, but when you play in a hotbed like Florida, they’re plenty big and fast enough. The pressure to win is big, and can really wear on a person. Many choose to do whatever it takes to win, and pass that pressure on to their players.

What Coach Sutherland did, and has done for hundreds of young men since, is provide an emotionally safe environment for young men to continue to go out and play a game, and the coaching expertise to teach them to play it well.

This applies to almost anything we can do in life. Many of our jobs, relationships, even hobbies are under pressure, and people rely on the managers to get the job done. Do you transmit that pressure, or allow it to be transformed through your beliefs and coaching? In addition, we need to provide the support and instruction that helps others do their jobs well.

Here are 5 other lessons I learned from Coach Sutherland

You Need to Care about the Ones You Lead – Beyond our role as players, Coach cared about us as students and people. He checked up on our grades, helped us find tutors, and has been an active leader in the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes group since he arrived. He cared about the the whole person, not just what you could do on the field.

You Can be Passionate without the Vulgarity – If you’ve watched a college football game lately, you may have noticed there is a good amount of cursing coming from the coaches. Now, that’s just a way they get fired up, show their passion, and it works to motivate some players. I’m not going to get in to the morals of bad language, but I can respect a coach that can get his point across, and show his excitement without dropping f-bombs.

A Man Who Stays – I don’t know if Coach Sutherland has been offered other jobs, frankly, I’d be shocked if no one has tried to pluck him from BT. The guy has taken a small school in the sticks of Jacksonville to the playoffs 11 out of 12 years on the job, coached several D1 athletes, and headed one of the most successful offensive attacks in the state many of those years. Yet he has stayed. Stayed despite some personal attacks, other jobs, and probably more pay. He has stayed because his family is happy in their home, and because his job is important. Coach Sutherland has not fallen in to the routine of chasing the next job, the bigger role, and more money. And we all benefit from that commitment.

Stands for What He Believes – As I said before, Coach is a strong christian and active leader in the school’s FCA. He came under fire a few years ago for his beliefs, for praying with players, and whether or not that was his “role”. It was quite a process, but throughout it all, Coach Sutherland stayed firm in his beliefs. Another important aspect is that he also believed that he did not have the right to attack others in response. It would have been easy to do that, but he turned the other cheek, and kept living and coaching as he has been called.

Integrity – This trait really integrates all of the others. Coach Sutherland has taken all of his beliefs, experience, successes, failures, and passions, forming them in to the whole man he has become. I’m sure it’s been a wild ride at BT, he came to us from Virginia, and made his home in Northeast Florida. He is a pillar of the community and someone people could rely on to take care of their sons, teaching them about more than just football, but life.

Thanks again Coach, it takes a while for your ex-players to integrate all we’ve learned, but I know there are many like me who feel the same.

So Coach Sutherland, please keep coaching, leading, and teaching. We need it!

10 ‘Men’tors is a series of posts I’m writing to recognize the men who have impacted me through their involvement in my life. Read the others here

Be Heard!  Who has been a mentor in your life? What kind of impact have they made in your development? Please share in the comments, but mostly make sure they know how much their mentoring means to you!

How You Can Exercise All Day and Still Get Stuff Done


Exercise via US National Archives

Like many people, I struggle to find the time to exercise during the day. I’ve been able to make it a priority, but often at the expense of other worthwhile pursuits and hobbies. All of these things are good, and I want to make time for all of them.

During the work day, I usually sit in my office, at my desk, typing away. I may trade my computer for paper & pen, but I’m still sitting most of the day, and there’s growing evidence sitting isn’t the best thing for you. I want to move, but I can’t just leave the office to go exercise.

Sound familiar?

I want to share with you something that I’ve been doing for several weeks, and it has changed my exercise habits. The key word is Habit, because exercise has become just that.

The dictionary describes a habit as:

“a settled or regular tendency or practice, esp. one that is hard to give up”

Instead of carving out a single 30-45 minute block, I take little swipes at it throughout the day. This habit keeps me involved, focused, energized, and you can do these exercises anywhere with no equipment.

I call it the All Day Workout.

The basis of the All Day Workout is that you pick 4-6 movements that you do at intervals throughout the day. The movements are quick, short, and in a small time frame, so you can do them anywhere, and also not get too sweaty or smelly in a work environment.

All you need to remember is: 15 seconds every 15 minutes.

That’s it.

On your watch, set the timer to beep every 15 minutes. When it beeps, take a 15 second break to move however you want. Here are some examples of body-weight exercises you can use, and none of them require equipment (watch videos here).

  • Pushups
  • Squats
  • Burpees
  • Lunges

Remember, you’re only moving for 15 seconds! This helps you feel refreshed and gets the blood flowing, without working up a sweat or smell that’s going to follow you in to the next meeting.

Moving like this has helped me immeasurably throughout the day. I feel less stressed, more active, energetic, and less hungry. Movement also breaks up a project and helps clear my mind for upcoming tasks. I love it.

To see the cumulative benefits of the All Day Workout, in terms of total output, here’s what I did on Friday.

Total Hours Exercised – 6 (at 4 intervals/hour = 24 intervals = 6 minutes total exercise)

  • Pushups: 90 (15 reps x 6 intervals)
  • Squats: 72 (12 reps x 6 intervals)
  • Lunges: 36 per leg (6 reps x 6 intervals)
  • Burpees: 30 (5 reps x 6 intervals)

Not bad for 6 minutes eh? Remember that these are my numbers. Yours will be different. The beauty is this program meets you where you are physically. Do it for yourself.

A normal work day is 8 hours. I only listed 6 hours exercised because as we all know, things happen during the day. You can’t drop and do pushups during your meeting, and you want to have a peaceful lunch. If your timer passes 15 minutes and you can’t move, it’s ok. Pick it up next time, or the time after that. Cumulative effort will pay off! Plus, the hope is for less stress and better health, so don’t add to your stress by thinking about a missed interval. There will be more opportunities.

Obviously, this doesn’t have to simply happen during your work day. Consider waking up, setting your timer, and moving all day! Imagine the effect! I will talk about that more another time, as well as simple equipment exercises that will take your All Day Workout to the next level.

What do you think? Do you believe this could be something attainable for you at home or the office? Since I have just recently begun this myself, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Day Hike in Gorges State Park


On Thursday, I went on a day hike with my friends Shawn, Sarah, and Abby the dog. It was my first trip to Gorges, the newest state park in the North Carolina system. It was beautiful! Simply a wonderful day spent with friends in one of the prettiest areas of the country. The highlight of the trip was 150 ft Rainbow Falls, and the great swimming holes that surround the area. If you are near Gorges this summer, make it a part of your day!

I made a short video of the day, hope you enjoy.

Update: Thanks to Mountain Xpress for sharing my video on their site! See it here.

New Balance 2012 Minimalist Shoe Reviews


When you look at the major shoe companies, I will say that New Balance seems to be most aggressively pursuing minimalist footwear. With the exception of Five Fingers, the Minimus Trail 10 series is the funkiest looking shoe on the market, showing NB is not afraid of going against the grain. Today I’m giving you a look at 3 different shoes that NB is released this spring, I’ve put them through the ringer and you get to reap the rewards. Thanks to New Balance for being willing to connect with bloggers and new media types like myself, it shows a lot of forward thinking towards where reviews and information are headed.

On to the shoes!

Getting’ Low with Minimus Zero Drop 

This week the Minimus Zero was named Outside’s Gear of the Year, and will undoubtable continue to pile up awards. This shoe is legit. The bar has been set high with the introduction of the Minimus Zero-Drop line, a naturally progression from the previous 4mm heel-toe drop released in 2011. What’s cool about this shoe is the heavy customer feedback that NB relied on in designing and testing the shoe, setting up Q&A sessions between people who posted on their social media sites, and their stable of elite runners.

The shoe I was able to test out was the road version of the Minimus Zero. I put about 40 miles on them during training, on sidewalks, asphalt, track, and grass. My longest run in them was 5 miles, and I felt no foot fatigue or soreness after. I primarily run on the trail, so to be able to spend a lot of miles on the road feeling a shoe out was a bit of a novelty. I have to say, I really enjoyed it.

The “Zero drop” claim simply means that the heel and forefoot have no difference in height. Many road shoes average a drop of 10-12 mm, giving the runner who heel strikes a natural roll towards propelling back off the toes. This is the first zero drop line that NB has produced, but don’t think that you are completely in contact with the ground either. The shoe still has a slight 1mm cushion, and rises .5 mm to the arch (actually assisting the runner in staying on their mid foot through propulsion) before descending back to a 1mm cushion.

Pros – Breathable, comfortable, snug, but also a roomy enough toe box. Extremely light, they are flexible and moved with my feet well. I did have to stay disciplined in my foot strike and frequency, since a zero drop and pavement will make a runner pay for poor form! I actually really enjoyed running on turf and rubberized track workouts in them.

Cons – The main design con for me was the shoes were narrower than others, and I the balls of my feet seemed to cover more than just the insole. The mesh is very breathable but I wonder how it will hold up over time.

Other Notes – I had to be very disciplined in my foot strike and frequency. I think this is a more advanced shoe, especially being a road model. I think most minimalist runners tend to the trail, with its natural cushioning and varying terrain. The repetitive nature of a road run can expose a runner’s flaws much quicker, and I’m afraid the nature of these shoes may accelerate that. It’s not really a con, just a reality of the shoe. Like I said, for more advanced users who are dialed in to their stride.

Overall – I’m like the shoes and they have made my road runs more enjoyable, and are good for focusing on my form. I’ll continue to run in them and see how my body adjusts.

Details – Weight = 6.4 oz (181 g). Heel-Toe drop = 0mm

Interested in the Zero Trail? Click here to view.

Minimus Trail 10 

I’ve run the most miles in these shoes, about 50. My longest run was 10 miles. Initial impressions are been great, I have been wanting to try this model since they came out.

The Trail 10 have a 4mm drop, which in the market of minimalist shoes is still pretty low. Personally, when I run on the trail I prefer a little drop, the varying nature of the terrain can throw some random obstacles your way, and it helps it have a little more.

I ran all over Asheville area trails in these shoes, and am very impressed. They don’t look the coolest, but if that’s why you’re running then hop right back on the treadmill next to the good looking people.

My biggest run was on a technical trail ascending to Mt Mitchell, which is very technical with a steady incline. There are several stream crossings, along with your usual big rocks, roots, and ruts. The Trail 10 performed well, with great breathability, protection, and grip. When I ran through streams, a few times I consciously immersed the shoe, and 20 minutes later my feet were dry again. No raisin feet at the end of the run!

Here are some more notes…

Pros – The shoes are very breathable, flexible, and comfortable. They have a roomy toe box, are supportive, and comfortable without socks. I was impressed with the pod grips on the outsole, gripping well on wet rocks, dry packed leaves, and muddy trails. On downhill sections, the heel offered just enough cushion to make the impact tolerable. I also liked the forefoot brace, it helps keep your foot steady during the moment of impact.

Cons – The only cons are those inherent in trying minimalist shoes in the first place (support, cushion)! Honestly I don’t even really notice the 4mm drop, it may show more when I give the Trail Zero-Drop a try, but I think these are great. Visually, the shoe looks like nothing else I’ve worn before, and I can’t say how I feel about it yet. I wouldn’t wear this shoe besides running, but of course that’s their function!

Overall – As a shoe, they’re great. I think these are great shoes for people transitioning to minimalist running, the slight heel-toe drop allows people to still heel strike at times, especially late in runs when form is fading.

Details – Weight = 7.5 oz (213 g). Heel-toe drop = 4mm

MT 110 

I’ve run 25 miles in these shoes, and really like the improvements made over last year’s 110, which I put close to 1000 miles on. The new update is well-done, once again with feedback from their trail team. The biggest update was to decrease the heel-toe drop from 8mm to 4mm.

A cool yet utterly meaningless feature of this shoe is that the insole is printed with one of the hometowns of their runners, i.e. my pair had “Tested on the Flatirons of Boulder”, home turf of Anton Krupika.

Pros – What stood out to me was the update to the outsole, which was my biggest beef with the 101s. NB kept the rockstop plate, and added extra beef to the traction lugs on the mid & forefoot. Footing and control on slick and overgrown conditions is much better. Similar to the Minimus 10s, I appreciated a slight drop from heel to toe. I think the uppers of the shoe breathe very well, and the detachment of the mesh and synthetic layers provides a little extra support and protection with sacrificing much weight.

Cons – The ankle collars are stitched differently than last year’s, and after the 1st run they had begun to fray. The rock plate does its job, but compromises flexibility, a similar problem with the 101s. The heel seems to be a little more protected than the 101′s but a soft heel means that small rocks can become embedded. The shoe is not near as flexible as the others, but you have to weigh that against the additional support it offers. Simply user preference. The shoe also does not dump water and moisture as well as the Trail 10.

Overall – I think the changes have been great, I liked the feel during my runs and was able to keep a consistent mid-foot strike. The minimal flexibility is a big con for me, but may not be for others. As with any shoe, try and get to a store and test it them out for yourself.

Details – Weight =  7.75 oz (219 g). Heel-toe drop = 4mm

Time to Run

You can now order any of these shoes online (click the shoe name), visit an authorized New Balance store, or your local running store. Get a feel for the way you run in them, and ask what the return policy is on the shoes. I know last time I bought my 101s at a NB store, they said to wear them for a week, and bring them back if I didn’t like them. Can’t beat that!

As you all begin to run in these shoes, please post your own thoughts and comments, I’d love to hear them and add to the conversation. Also let us know if there’s anything I didn’t cover that you would like to know.

P.S. This post was originally written for the running site BarefootRunner.com, and will be published in the near future. Enjoy this early look!