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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

too many reps can keep
you out of the game.

If you don't know it, BSI has assembled an impressive group of capable athletic specimens. Warriors. Mentally tough MFr.s for the Tough Mudder April 15!! We recently had a collective meeting on Mudder logistics. I was a few minutes behind but what I saw as I approached the group was an overwhelming sense of being in the presence of  physical prowess all under one roof.: Edie, Brad, Zera, Jason, Chris, Brian, Don, Greg, Nobel, and of course Me.

Yet as I listened to each one one of them discuss lodging, training, gear to wear, obstacle strategies and stuff, I could not help being concerned about how we are training not just at the THE MECCA but when the group is training outside of BSI. So this is a perfect time to discuss the dreaded 'overreaching syndrome'.

Overreaching, [monotone training, over training] is common when training for competition. The drive to be sure that all weak areas are covered and that you preserve the strong ones.  It is a science and easy to do. Unfortunately, the psychological component of not wanting to lose or get injured, looms heavy. This can lead into unnecessary volume increases, unperiodized training cycles and inappropriate techniques that have no performance 'carry-over.  When getting ready for a competition there are stages or cycles that define a training program. There are 4 cycles. However for the practicality of this topic I will briefly describe three: 1) Microcycle, 2) Mesocycle and 3)Macrocycle.

Microcycle (short cycle) is where the dynamic changes occur in a weekly period. This is most noticeable when someone starts a training program and becomes more challenging as one improves their strength and conditioning. This challenge comes in the form of increased time, frequency, intensity and volume(resistance). This is the most basic fundemental of any program.

Next, Mesocycle (medium cycle) involves 3-6 microcycles. This is when the training begins to broaden in scope and intensity and parameters become more refined on how to best prepare for competition. Think improving your 40yd times by focusing on the first 10 yds, perfecting the 'catch' in the 'clean and jerk', increasing vertical jump, improving overall power in a short amount of time; the list is endless. Basically, this is the time to 'detrain' bad habits and make room for new ones! We like to call this 'de-constructing' the athlete.

Lastly, the Macrocycle (long cycle) consists of 3 mesoccyles that involves the total preparation for competition. This is where the training is most demanding. Recovery from intersessions become more critical and should be monitored closely. Injuries are most likely to occur here therefore it is strongly encouraged you find alternative training methods to reduce joint stresses. Swimming, yoga or some other limited joint stress training is a great idea during this cycle.   Eating the proper amount of calories, good calories, is paramount and managing increasing training volume helps prevent training plateaus.

I mentioned injuries happening in the previous cycle. This occurs:
  •  when there is an abrupt increase in volume 
  • use of an unfamiliar training technique. 
  • Normal stresses become excessive. 
  • Scheduled training days are difficult because the discomfort reduces scope of learning more advanced techniques. 

Rest and recovery are key in the last mesocycle  leading up to the 'big party'. In fact, in events like the Mudder it is easy to overdue the strength portion especially if you already possess plenty of strength for the task at hand.  The key in this situation, though,  is mobility, slow twitch muscle potentiation, anaerobic as well as aerobic conditioning and the all important mental stamina. So :

  •  maximize your recovery as you get closer to competition. 
  •  address any minor soft tissue injuries,
  •  reduce training volume
  •  maintain functional stability
  •  be sure you acclimate to your competitive environment by duplicating it in your training. Doing   this will enhance the competitive experience and improve mental acuity which improves performance efficiency. ...In short, you will get in the 'zone' quicker! GO GET'EM!!!

"Rule #1 Create an environment for optimal healing
Rule #2 Above all else, do no harm.
Rule #3 be as aggressive as you can without breaking rule #2"
Gary Gray

Saturday, March 17, 2012

honor yourself for kick'n ass EVERYDAY!

In my long an illustrious career I have had the honor of training some of the top athletes at all levels. I have also had the good fortune to be in the right places at the right time because my SKILLS put me in those positions. Now I say that to say this: it is absolutely acceptable to say, to yourself,"Damn I'm good at this!"

Often times in life and not just getting ready for competition or training, we forget to honor ourselves by recognizing how much we do during the day especially if we do it well. In the case of training, our clients often ask 'how am I doing?'. And you know I here this more from adults than the young athletes! That tells me that no matter how old we become, validation on our progress keeps us at it. Results count. We call this in human performance, self efficacy. This can either be a positive or negative simulation. Allow me to explain.

 Lets' start with negative simulation. Face it. Most of us except, the friends I hang around with, are cynics. Most cynics are the ones who say 'this ain't gonna work' then when it does they say nothing or come up with a way to discredit your accopolishment. You know the type that wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight! If you hang around them long enough you can become one of 'them'; Because you have nothing else but cynics in your life so you know no difference. This is very dangerous and can lead to average performance that leads to subsequent 'its better than nothing' mentality. Like Jay Z said 'second place is the FIRST loser!' Living off the the sweat of someone else's hustle is what you become: a cynic!

Positive simulation is my fave. Its so easy to teach when you have the right tools. There is actually what we call in mental performance a HIGH POSITIVE CELL, HPC and a LOW POSITIVE CELL, LPC. HPC, 90%-100%; is when everything is going right.  Unshakeable confidence. Nailing important contracts.  Hitting every green light. Good nights sleep. Training is 'dead on'.. Think Shaun White, the Face Book dude, the 3 time All-American... in 3 different sports! Good sense of humour. You get the idea. People like being around you because you make THEM feel good!  In general, you got it going on and when you don't you properly regulate your emotion and assess the situation rationally, by NOT going on a drinking binge!   LPC, is when you are at about 80%-90% you may feel not quite right. The run, swim, bike or training was "aw right" but you got through it injury free. Too many meetings and lack of focus. Amature mistakes at work and even social events. You are off your game and know it. Ironically, this is a sign of a pro when you know you're messing up! You know that it is one of those days but you cope knowing it will pass because you will get it properly handled. You may read your favorite book, meditate or listen to Miles and pull yourself together. You know how to do this. Interestingly enough, only YOU know you are having an off day. Everybody else around you wish they were as poised as you. I equate this to the duck analogy: on top of the water its smooth looking, but the feet are moving like crazy!

You deserve to say 'I'm doing good here but I know I can improve.' Be careful of being too self conscience but be conscience of self. Mental performance is key to any endeavor. I have seen many of talented athletes go down because of a LPC going into a HNC, High Negative cell! You can guess how this can turn out! You should have an 'escape route' when you are feeling LPC. I have great mentors. They not only tell me how I messed up but they don't leave me there. They encourage, remind me of the accompolishments and how far I have come. Music and spiritual readings are my favorite anecdotes. You have to find your own.

So when you find yourself being too hard on yourself ask "when is the last time I said something nice about MYSELF?" This is no new age stuff. Try it. Its OK to honor yourself when you know you kick'n ass because damn' you are that good!

'Poor is the man whose pleasures depend on the permission of another'

Friday, March 9, 2012

 NOT my 'Top 5 whatever' list. 
'Grown up' approach to health and fitness without reps and sets!

COMMIT. COMMIT NOW!: Look. We all think we can start and stop when we feel like it because there is zero accountability! So our commitment is tenuous at best. A true formula for failure. We break promises to others but it is absolutely a heinous act when you break a promise to yourself....Jeez!! And you can see where that has gotten you.
DON'T BUY EQUIPMENT! Ah yes the classic psychology of 'if I buy it I will do IT' No you won't! At least not for long. It's the biggest 'head fake' you can do to yourself. So this is what you do:  Use somebody else's treadmill! Gyms all over the country love offering deals this time of year because they hedge that you won't last long.  Join up and stay for 3 months (see #1!). And not only will you set a new precedent for not letting yourself down but you'll look good too!

QUIT STARVING!: The biggest fallacy in weight loss is "Dude. Just start eating nuts and 5 hour energy, you'll be ripped!' Oh Really? This is the stupidest advice. The opposite is true. Eat more.. healthier foods! A large part of weight loss is eating. Unfortunately, there is so much erroneous information out there, it is easy to get confused. Hire a registered dietitian, RD for short. NOT A PERSONAL TRAINER WITH A SPORT NUTRITION CERTIFICATE! A RD(I happen to know a pretty sharp one by the name of Kyle RD. Look her up! has a background that far surpasses a week long course! RD'S spend countless clinical hours working with all sorts of populations. Some of those populations have sophisticated and complicated health histories. Don't rely on limited education here. You would not go to a dentist that took a 3 day dentistry course. This is your health we're talking about! Invest in a team of health professionals. 
I'M TELL'N!! Trust me. You will 'mess up' but relax. Its built in. You have been conditioned to eat when you 'think' your are hungry. Those olfactory cells will fail us every time. Olfactory [smell] is closely related to memory. And those memories of eating fried chicken, mac and cheese, apple pie and stuff. Whew!!....Anyway what I'm getting at is give in to those cravings. Yes. But be grown up about it! If you know you can eat 6 pieces of pizza, try 3 with a small salad. Salad will help decrease the cravings and you may not even make it to the third slice!
YOUR FRIENDS WILL LET YOU DOWN: Ok. Friends mean well. But if they are used to seeing you do something and not see it through, well....Keep your goals and intentions to yourself unless you are with others that are on the same path. This is what a real training partner is for: support when you having 'one of those days' cuz you gonna have'em!
YOU GOT ISSUES!: My wife is great at this stuff. She is a RD. She calls those moments when people eat and are not hungry: 'Triggers' We all got'em. And you KNOW  what yours is! Don't lie! Weight gain is a behavior issue. If you don't believe me watch any reality show with people struggling with weight problems. Happiness is an inside job
AEROBICS IS DEAD!!: Straight to the point on this one. You have to gain muscle to keep fat off as well as managing eating. Aerobics alone will NOT WORK! Anaerobic training: circuit training, sprints, progressive weight training, medicine ball work, kettle bell etc. is the KEY! Women are notorious at staying away from weights because they think it will make them bulky. Biggest impediment to keeping weight off for men and women is not adding a progressive resistance training program to your fitness regiment.
DON'T BUY IT IF YOU LIKE IT!: I love Amish Farm licorice. The red flavor of course. The finest tasting licorice in the whole universe. I have been know to eat a whole bag of these twisted sticks of I don't buy them. I also have been know to devour Hagen das Swiss almond in one fell swoop. A spectacle to see. So I don't buy it. You see what I'm getting at? To tell yourself you can 'regulate' your weakness is the same mentality that got you tipping the scales at 20# overweight IN THE FIRST PLACE......Focus, man focus! 
IT WILL NOT BE FUN: I hate when they show commercials of these real chiseled bodies in fitness/supplement commercials all smiling and shit as if its a piece of cake. It's not! Body change takes work. Don't believe the hype of fast weight loss. Biggest Loser is the biggest distraction for the public because the circumstances are NOT real life. These people are sequestered for 3 months with trainers, RD's, and sociologists. So when you here they lost 80lbs in 2 months that is
under very unique and 'customized' and I emphasize customized, conditions. Conditions that most of our economics or our bosses("what da...?!") won't allow! In reality, you can begin to see that type of weight loss within 6 months, all things being equal of course. Refer to the above and rest of this blog!
THERE'S A REASON ITS CALLED COMMENCEMENT: Three days before high school graduation, my Psychology teacher, Mr. McRae, made a most profound statement to the entire class: "Commencement means to start or begin." Then he paused for effect then finished with "your lives will never be the same after graduation as you 'begin' a new life".  So as you renew your 'vow' to get better, look better and feel better remember its JUST  the beginning!...

Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired
-Jules Renard

Saturday, March 3, 2012

From the staff
Training by Heart Rate!

For those of you who  have seen me train or trained with me, know that I wear my heart rate monitor religiously. 'Why ?' you ask.  Basically it allows me to monitor my current training intensity. There are five different heart rate zones. They vary from easy warm up to what feels like "I'm going to die". These zones vary between 50% to 100% by increments of 10%, according to your maximum heart rate. I feel that it is important to train in the different zones for several reasons:

  • It prevents injury.
  • it keeps training interesting.
  •  Each zone is used to target a certain training effort for a certain amount of time. The body and heart can only train at a sub-maximum level for a limited time e.g. world class athletes.

I know that I will be preaching to the choir for those of you who already use heart rate monitors, but for those of you who don't, you might want to consider training with one for the following reasons:
  1. Everyone's heart, beats at different levels during the same training effort.  
  2. The old formula of 220 minus your age is NOT accurate. Nor are those tables and graphs you see on various cardiac machines, but if you use this formula account for +/-  5 beats.
  3. The maximum heart rate doesn't change because you age. It changes because of your fitness level. You will have the same maximum heart rate in your 20's as you do in your 50's. The more conditioned you are, the more challenging it is to reach your sub-maximum heart rate.
  4. With improved fitness, you will be able to sustain training in the higher intensity zone for a longer period. Additionally, you will notice that your heart rate will drop quicker, thus allowing you to recover quicker. 
As a certified trainer in Heart Zones I can identify your sub-maximum heart rate. If you are interested in identifying your sub-maximum heart rate, contact me to set up an hour long appointment. After you have completed a 20 minute treadmill test, you will receive information with all of the heart rate zones, caloric output and much more.

Don't delay! Contact me today to set up an appointment to identify your sub-maximum heart rate.  Mention you read this blog and receive $5 off your appointment!


Friday, March 2, 2012

(first pub. circa 2011)

Often when I'm in my training mood, I get a 'tude'; y'all who know me, know what I mean. I just get tunnel vision. The training is straight up raw and 'off menu' techniques' we don't teach our clients because the advanced maneuvers are high risk. Its' like a 'head shrinking session. I grunt, talk much S#$%t, get REAL creative and its been working pretty well so far.I feel totally purged!
 Sometimes though, in the thrones of this berserkness I will look at my client and say 'it ain't easy look'n like this. So don't hate me because I'm beautiful!' (at my age, 5 decades +old, if you're not confident by now, it's all down hill from here!). Clients will always laugh because either I m not as beautiful as I think I am or I'm just a funny dude!(I am funny though)
Nevertheless, below are things to keep you looking beautiful or should I say looking like a god or goddess!. Nothing worse than training hard but looking 'unhealthy'.  You know, like runners that JUST run but look emaciated. Not a good look. I don't care how many miles you run. You need muscle. Plain and simple. And you need the right foods that will preserve the skin from the rigors of training in and outdoors. Fellas especially: don't think this is a formula for being a metro sexual! This is just good 'internal' hygiene. Period. And Ladies. I have seen a lot of 'dried' up looking runners (and non-runners) with 'jacked up' skin and nails. My mom was always taking care of her nails and she told me 'son, there is nothing more pitiful than a women who does not know how to take care of herself; especially her nails'. Amen mama Jean! So I present to you my guide for a more beautiful you!

- Hair: Vitamin B helps prevent shedding, slow growth and weak hair. Vitamin C deficiencies can lead to dry, splitting hair.
Eat and drink: Fortified whole grain cereals, chickpeas, wild salmon, lean beef, pork tenderloin, chicken breast, white potatoes, oatmeal, bananas, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, eggs, tofu, apricots, sstrawberries, guava, bell peppers, orange juice, snow peas, broccoli, kiwi, cherry tomatoes, raspberries and tangerines.

- Skin: Foods rich in vitamins C and E or the antioxidant mineral selenium help safeguard the skin from sun damage and delay aging by protecting skin elasticity.
Eat: Sunflower seeds, peanut butter, avocado, tomato paste, red bell peppers, olive oil, mangoes, peaches, broccoli, spinach, cantaloupe, tangerines, watermelon, orange juice, tilapia, shrimp, turkey, brown rice, chicken breasts mushrooms and eggs.

- Skin Hydration: Water helps flush away toxins and keeps cells well-hydrated, which means skin will look firmer and clearer. Although liquids are the main source of water, some foods have such high water content that they contribute to overall hydration.
Eat: Apples, blueberries, cherries, grapes, kiwi, lemon, mangoes, watermelon, pineapple, artichokes, beets, celery, cucumbers and yams.

- Skin Renewal: Zinc helps maintain the collagen that keeps skin firm; it's also involved in skin renewal.
Eat: Pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, fortified whole grain cereals, cashews, lentils, Lima beans, fat-free milk, green peas and pork tenderloin.

- Teeth: Polyphenols are antioxidant plant compounds that prevent plaque from adhering to teeth and help reduce chances of developing cavities and gum disease. Calcium strengthens the jaw bone, which helps hold teeth in place and prevents serious gum disease.
Eat and drink: Black and green teas, cheese, milk, yogurt, cranberries and raisins.

- Nails: Zinc keeps nails strong. Protein is necessary for nail growth and strength. Iron keeps nails from distorting into spoon shapes.
Eat: Lean beef, turkey, chicken, veal, fat-free yogurt, milk, peanuts, green peas, clams, oysters, shrimp, egg yolks, tofu, beans and fortified whole grain cereals.

'If you have the choice to be right or kind. Choose Kind'
-Dr. Wayne Dyer