Turning your prayers into action shows you have a backup plan and you’re not willing to settle. Just in case you don’t hit the lottery, look the same as last year or your voice was only meant for the shower, you’re finding ways to make a few bucks extra, pushing yourself to wake up each morning to hit the gym and finding the songs that complement your voice.
One of the most over-performed and underutilized movement tweaks is speed. Speed, when understood is a powerful way of enhancing your fitness level and movement skill. As with most things, there are typically extremes:
Everything is done fast
Many people believe there is more benefit to moving quickly, so all exercises are performed at a high-speed. Few things to keep in mind:
1. Speed is a progression, not a starting point — Respect your individuality!
2. Never sacrifice quantity for quality — More is not better, working at your threshold is best!
3. Explore the speed spectrum: slow-moderate-fast — Variety of movement builds capacity!
Speed’s not even a consideration
At the same time, there’s another crowd that piles the weight onto every exercise and forgets speed is a great progression. Few things to keep in mind:
1. Faster speeds increase muscular contraction – Add power, agility, mobility and stability to your strength!
2. Faster speeds require better balance and motor skills – Balance is enhanced with movement, not stillness!
3. Faster speeds tax your cardiorespiratory system – Use speed for cardio during your workout and ditch the treadmill!
As you can see, there is more to speed than just going faster. Integrate these profiles into your next workout:
1. Speed ladder: 1st round – SLOW, 2nd round – MODERATE, 3rd round – FAST or vice versa
2. Speed spectrum: Explore all speeds within one round, for example, 15 reps, change speed every 5
3. Change it up: Take exercises you normally perform quick and try them slow and vice versa
Remember, speed also enhances your cardio, balance, power, agility, coordination, focus and functional capacity.
As always, be safe and listen to your body. Peace!
The Upside of Downtime
When you’re always on the go, when you’re batteries are running low, when you’re feeling the pressure at work, when you’re heart is awkwardly racing at the gym, when you’re unable to give your family and friends the attention they need and deserve, it may be a sign your on the downside of uptime. This is when the demands of your life are exceeding your available resources. Demands > Resources!
When you’re in the midst of this vicious cycle, it can be difficult to see a way out. Although, you realize you’re running at a pace that’s not sustainable and it’s only a matter of time before you crash and burn. Good news is, the solution is already at hand…you are the solution.
Make a conscious decision through the holidays to have one solid hour of downtime each weekday and one full day on the weekend. During this time, your phone and computer are OFF and you are unavailable to the world and completely available to yourself and loved ones. Take 5 minutes to breathe deeply and enjoy each breath and be thankful for something on every one. Then shut down and get a great nights rest. This is when you’ll start to realize the upside of downtime. When the resources you’re putting back into your body exceed the demands on your life. Resources > Demands!
Remind yourself that you are worth it and you are the solution to your life’s trials.
I couldn’t begin to tell you the number of people who take their health and well being for granted. Crazy hours at work, eating on the run, limited sleep, little movement outside of our conditioning sessions…the list goes on an on.
They have lots of demands being placed on them and give everything their time and attention besides themselves. Even more concerning, I don’t know if they realize they’re in a vicious cycle and will eventually breakdown. This is the person who will get sick and blame it on someone in the office. There is so little awareness of their environment, they couldn’t take a cue from their body if it slapped em’ across the face.
Hey, if this is you, I totally get it, to an extent. Just realize you are in the center of everything. If you are the power source to your life, you need to give yourself what you need so you can sustain living at this pace. When you starting making decisions around what’s good for yourself, you’ll find everything else starts to thrive.
Most people start fitness programs wanting to look better. The desire to look better comes from your mind. The reality is your body may not be in an optimal position to do the work you want it to do day one. Giving your body what it needs helps your mind feel body, your body work better and over time, your realize feeling better is a prerequisite to sustainably looking better.
You’re working like a dog, stressed beyond belief, barely getting sleep, eating on the run, living on coffee, stuck in a mode of urgency, no light at the end of the tunnel and all of a sudden, you’re sick.
So you start the recovery process of getting more sleep, consuming vitamin C and oodles of tea, breaking out your dehumidifier, shutting off your phone, etc. All in an effort to help your body heal itself.
If this routine nurses us back to health, why do we stop it after we’re feeling better? Especially given we’re headed right back to the lifestyle that got us here in the first place. There’s a real disconnect here.
Our Western culture has us so focused on symptoms and not systems. When we’re in survival mode, every system in the human body is inhibited and we know it but we’re not motivated to take care of it until our body forces us to stop. We’ve literally been conditioned to avoid the signals…usually because we’re doing it for the sake of something seemingly more important than our health.
Whatever it takes to get you better is what it takes to keep you there. Connecting those dots gives you the awareness to make a change. It’s not easy, but it is a choice. Live well.
We have over 600 muscles in the body to control every movement possible. When we turn the wrong way, we are not prepared or conditioned for the turn, reach, or bend we performed? Even though the movement may have been simple, the demand clearly exceeded the resources within our body. Sad, but true.
Successful movement requires a balance of mobility and stability at each joint, also termed range of motion and control. When a joint lacks balance (mobility + stability), the surrounding joints are forced to move through motions they were not designed to and over time, the soft tissues become increasingly stressed.
The repetitive stresses encountered from faulty movement mechanics start to manifest in a variety of ways: discomfort, stiffness, instability, numbness, etc. These are all signals something is wrong but we lack the understanding required to improve our situation. This is often chalked up to just getting older.
The longer these movement inefficiencies exist, our functional capacity shrinks ever smaller. It shrinks so small that a simple turn, reach or bend places a demands on us that we cannot accommodate and injury occurs. It had nothing to do with turning wrong and everything to do with your inability to control the movement. Not your fault, just is…we all have a breaking point.
As you can see, faulty movement patterns can exist for a very long time before we become symptomatic or experience an injury. Take your movement health into your own hands by foam rolling, stretching and strengthening the areas around your foot and ankle, hips and thoracic spine. Exploring a variety of movement develops a functional capacity to avoid future setbacks. Leading an active lifestyle is a good idea too Otherwise, find a Fellow of Applied Functional Science in your area who can help you customize a routine based on your individual needs.
What I do has been called personal training, massage and life coaching but the way I deliver it, you couldn’t call it any one of those things. I deliver what the person in front of me needs and that changes with every person and even from session to session. This is the difference between offering a service and delivering an experience.
The experience always takes into account 3-dimensions of everything…in other words, thinking linearly is not an option.
We are a body, driven by a mind and lead by a spirit. Will training your body change your body or will conditioning your mind to uplift your spirit allow you to sustainably transform your body?
There are lots of joints in the body but 3 regions are most important: feet, hips and spine. Which areas are lacking ideal motion and how does that affect the entire chain reaction?
We all want to enhance performance and prevent injury and recover from workouts optimally. Cool thing is all three come from balanced, accessible movement within the body. Are you paying attention to the right areas?
Conditioning is thought of as physical and movement-based. In fact, it’s affected by nourishment, rest / recovery and even your relationships. By conditioning one, you condition all. Where do you need conditioning?
Most training occurs in one plane of movement but we move in three dimensions: forward to back, side to side and rotation. Does your training take advantage of your full capacity?
The list could go on but this is the difference between delivering a service based on protocols and an experience driven by a thought process. Knowing your clients current status, preferred status and the GAP in between will help you understand how to bring their experience to life.
Some people claim to put on 10 pounds just thinking about the holidays. Lets be honest, we don’t gain weight thinking about food. That’s a convenient belief that justifies the behavior of overeating. Not to mention this removes all accountability as if there is no other choice.
Make one of two decisions today: Relinquish control over food and let it control you or remain under control and be mindful of your intake. It’s only food, it’s not going to grow legs and jump into your mouth…although you may wish it did.
First things first, life is all about balance, we’re meant to enjoy food, people and life. Keep these top 5 top of mind at your next holiday party:
- Enjoy the 80/20 rule – When you make decisions that align with your values 80% of the time, there is a 20% buffer zone to indulge.
- Be present with each and every bite – Enjoy every bite you take, chew it twice as much as you’re used to and savor it. Don’t scarf it down by closet eating.
- Physical vs. Emotional hunger – When you’re hungry, eat, but commit to stopping when it becomes emotional. The food tasting so good doesn’t justify overdoing it either.
- The good ole small plate – Take an appetizer sized plate and try a little bit of everything. The second plate is not an option given you’ve already made that decision before you got to the party.
- Be your own solution – At the end of the day, it’s all on you. If you feel guilty about it, stop doing it. Your mindset cannot change until your actions support
Life is more enjoyable when you’re prepared for its demands. Whether writing a 10 page paper, cooking for friends or creating a beach body, planning and preparation decreases stress which enhances focus, creativity and will power.
Although, oftentimes, we can get by without much planning or preparation. We can write a mediocre paper, cook a bland dinner or fade in to the swarm of beach body’s where everyone’s sucking in.
When there is no serious consequence for procrastination, we continue operating in this mode. However, when it comes to the human body, you can’t cram or pull an all-nighter. You can’t fake a 5K or being lean and toned or healthy. The facts are the facts and it’s why the fitness industry is worth billions. Personal trainers and boot camps are thought of as quick fixes and when you do too much too quick, you get hurt.
One of my favorite quotes from a client, Ginny Platania, is: you can’t force adaptation. What she meant was, you can wait till the last minute to do just about everything but when it comes to something physically demanding (hike, bike, run, etc.), you’re either prepared or you’re not.
Two-a-days, shortcut marathon training and a “more is better” mindset all lead to the same place. This is not a matter of time management, it’s establishing priority and spending your time on things that matter most. Secondly, it’s you realizing “I am enough” and you’re worth your own effort.