Nourishment.

Most of my writing comes from self-observations. My thoughts and actions, and their effects seem to drive these musings. You could call them “reflections on actions, taken.”

This morning, the idea of nourishment came to mind. I had not eaten for 12 hours and was still not hungry. Without a workout waiting in the wings (rest day), I had no need to put calories in. I had some coffee and within minutes felt the effects of the caffeine. Later, after attending to a training session I had a small amount of 85% dark chocolate and some peanut butter. Again, I could feel the effects almost immediately. Consume too much creates a drowning sensation. System is flooded. This got me thinking about overconsumption, weight gain, lethargy, and thoughtless action. Simply put, lack of discipline and self-control.

Nourishment is giving the body what it lacks or needs. Water and energy. Stimulation and response. Preparing a large, complete meal, and eating it, should come with relaxation and settling. This is dinner. This takes time, which we don’t have during the day. Our energy is needed elsewhere. Our minds are elsewhere. Understanding what leads to decisions on food is critical to avoid large caloric consumption or eating as entertainment (fast food, soda, etc.). If you stop at fast food on the way to work or at lunch that dump of calories spikes your blood sugar and is processed and stored as fat.

What’s the optimal minimal? Experiment. Be conscious consumers. Start your day with intention and awareness. It’s not hard. Personal accountability is the only requirement. Our actions need to align with our goals. One decision at a time.

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Pursuing Peak Performance

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Points of failure in all instances define the limits of systemic function. Right Practice must seek to extend those limits through the pursuit of failure… Outside the formal practice, physical training involves the pursuit of success. Within the formal practice, physical training involves the pursuit of failure.

Michael Livingston, “Mental Discipline

When we train, we must seek to fatigue the working muscle or energy system. Doing the plank, or forward-leaning-rest, focus intently on the position you are trying to hold, tight hips, legs, locked out arms, as well as tension throughout. If a break down occurs, stop. There is no honor in spastic extended effort. In your next attempt at extending your time in plank position use your previous best as your bench mark. The same goes for pushups, pullups, squats, or other bodyweight exercises. Crush the muscle group you are training, keeping body tension throughout. True failure is controlled. It still “looks” smooth and easy. Following this protocol helps with injury prevention and overtraining.

In my running/endurance training I love :30/:30 intervals. 30 seconds of very hard effort, followed by 30 seconds of easy recovery. We must hit these hard, and then back off completely to get ready for the next. The body is adapting and with adequate rest between these intense sessions our fitness builds and expands. New realities, new limits, personal bests, course records, all become possibilities with focused training and recovery.

Respect your efforts and engage in positive recovery practices, daily. The younger crowd seems to frown on stretching, until they become injured. Start your daily stretching practice sooner rather than later. With heightened levels of exertion comes increased strain on the major movers, i.e. hamstrings, groin, and quads in running. Seek to lengthen these muscles on a daily basis via a few simple exercises:

  • Instep-Stretch
  • Pigeon
  • Downward Facing Dog
  • Wide Founder (foundation training)
  • Wide Founder into Windmill (foundation training)
  • Narrow Stance Decompression Breathing (foundation training)

Work + Rest/Recovery = Training

 

 

Mindset: Growth Choices

A wise friend of mine once told me that you can’t prioritize everything in life all at once.

This statement came after I asked him why he had been away from the gym the past three months. To me, it was shocking how a person could minimize their fitness after making remarkable gains over the past six months.

He began to explain to me the immense importance of another area of life, business, had become and the undivided attention it needed. He also explained how we have three crucial elements to our lives that will need constant juggling and prioritizing, health, business/career, and family. We can’t expect 100% improvement or focus in any one of these areas at a given time. A balance, would be nice, but a conscious negotiation will ultimately prevail in how that 100% will be divided up.

Realize that to grow in any one area of your life you’ll need to prioritize it. Understand what this effect will have on the other areas, and plan ahead. Be strategic in timing, setting short-term goals and benchmarks, as well as keeping the long-term outlook in focus.

Home Training

The other day I went to a gym to workout. It was a very good gym with lots of cool equipment and tools for fitness. Lots of open space, and people doing mostly functional workouts. In essence, it was motivating. When I went in I didn’t have a plan of anything I specifically wanted to do. Burpee pull-ups, some kettle bell exercises, dips, planks, etc. ended up being on the menu. I worked through the session and finished in about 45:00. A good session by all means.

Usually, I work out at home. I have a room in my house that I call the “Icebox,” because it’s a cold, uninsulated seasonal porch. I do wish it had heat, but this is Minnesota. Get used to the cold or add it as another excuse to why you aren’t fit or doing your daily workouts. I choose to make it work.

These home strength sessions are simple and efficient. I have a pull-up bar, two sets of rings (low and medium), three kettle bells, a bench, and a set of DB’s, 25’s and 35’s. In addition I have my bike hooked up to my fluid trainer (so I can ride indoors), a airdyne bike, and a concept 2 rowing machine. Now, this is much less than any gym will have. Also, much less than I would have if I had more space. But, this is also more than I would need to train, workout, or suffer, and in the process, get a lot stronger. My sessions in the icebox are anywhere from 10 minutes to 60 minutes (if I’m doing intervals in addition to strength). I really have nowhere to hide, wander around, or waste time. Thus, every minute I’m in there I’m training or thinking about the next set, rep, etc. I’m also getting strong at a lot of functional, full-body exercises. By having less options (lighter KB’s or DB’s) I’m forced to learn how to move the heavier weight. My form improves. By working out alone I focus on quality reps all of the time, rather than most of the time in a big gym environment. No distractions. No showing off. Nobody interrupting my workouts.

I’ll leave you with this. If you are interested in creating a functional home gym, meaning, no bulky equipment (weight machines, etc.), please contact me.

If you’d like to learn how to workout and make impressive gains with minimal stuff/options, please contact me.

Having this option, in your home or office, is a huge advantage over the typical gym-goer, that may be wasting up to 6-8 hours a week by training in a gym, instead of working out at home.

If time is an issue. The home gym is the answer.