Anyone can attend a group class, buy a DVD, or join a Crossfit box to find guidance in exercise. Any personal trainer you hire, could put you through a session that makes you sweat, and sometimes if they are really talented, laugh and have fun! All of the above can be fun, sweaty, challenging exercise that will do some good. I am afraid though, that it may only be sub-optimal.
With time, I have made some observations about exercise. A missing approach to many peoples program is the lack of proper movement and exercising with a purpose. It seems simple enough, but it is harder then you would imagine. It takes education, discipline, and willpower.
The majority of people have the discipline and willpower to exercise, but lack the fundamentals of movement and become bored. All of the hard work and sweat going into getting fit from working out, may be doing more harm than good. Everyone has different goals, but all goals are universal in that a purposeful approach is needed. Now I am going to show a diagram comparing sub-optimal vs. optimal training. This will save you from TL;DR http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/TL;DR
Monday- back, run (1 hour) Monday- whole body (40 minutes)
Tuesday- Chest (1 hour) Tuesday- mindful movement, rest
Wednesday- Legs (1 hour) Wednesday- whole body (40 minutes)
Thursday- arms, run (1 hour) Thursday- Mindful movement, rest
Friday- chest, back, arms (1 hours) Friday- whole body (40 minutes)
It is probably best to go into a workout with a purpose of aggressively executing what you are trying to accomplish and take more rest afterwards. When you beat yourself up (exercise) your body is forced to adapt (get fit).
If you are not optimally beating yourself up, you sacrifice one of two things. The first, the body is not responding to the stimulus that is it being given or second, if it is, it never has time to adapt optimally.
The suboptimal routine is not only bad for a responsibility free bachelor like myself, but pretty much devastating for the working parent who is on a time crunch. At this point, wheels are spinning and it will get frustrating.
If my fitness journey started over and I had to develop my goals it might go like this. Learn to move well, develop endurance, increase strength, and develop a good base of fitness. Then afterwards, I would develop power and explosiveness.
I would make Monday light intensity, Wednesday high, and Friday medium. Whenever I decided to train, I would make sure it is variable.This way I would be able to go into Wednesday with a pop in my step, if not I would know to rest or do something lighter.
Find somebody who will teach you to move well. Make everything you do mindful and purposeful, including rest, which doesn’t include sitting on a couch and not moving (though sometimes that needs to happen too).
So in conclusion, the optimal routine will ensure you are not compounding problems like daily schedules, getting hurt, or not seeing results. Most likely, if exercise has never “clicked” for you, you’ve been caught in sub-optimal traps. Find what active things you like to do, and do them with a purpose.
I recently listened to a webinar about improving sports performance by performing the clean and jerk exercise. The presentation was facilitated by Bob Takano, CSCS, USAW, and was very informative. The clean and jerk is an Olympic style lift that when done properly, elicits many adaptations, including power development. Power and strength are sometimes used and thought of interchangeably. Simply put, think of strength as the total amount of force applied to a weight. Contrasty, power is the ability to quickly move weight at a certain velocity. This includes many sport activities such as linear sprinting, explosive lateral movements, throwing, and kicking. This in mind, power is a very important aspect, not only in sports performance but overall conditioning.
I would advise seeking out a professional with a thorough understanding of how to implement drills to improve power in the safest manner. There are many variables to successfully developing explosiveness that include periodization, sets, rest, loads spectrums, exercise sequence, tempo, and all of which have their own variables, that are not universal. Most importantly, explosive exercises require very precise execution of technique. A professional may help you develop proper muscle balance and improve conditioning prior to performing advanced lifting styles.
Now, if you have had experience in the world of explosive lifts and conditioning, what exercises could you work on to improve technique of the clean and jerk? You should learn all of the phases of the clean and jerk, and be very proficient in the following exercises. Once you have become good at these techniques, it would be important to execute a clean and jerk with someone with experience to give you technique feedback.
Here is the list of Bob Takano's exercises and drills for improving technique for the Phases of the Clean and Jerk.
Clean Sequence (6 phases):
I. Front Squat VI. Clean High Pull
II. Upright Row VII. Center of posture
III. Clean On Toes VIII. Power Clean
IV. Halting Clean Deadlift IX. Hang Power Clean + Front Squat
V. Clean Extension X. Classic Clean
I.Behind the Neck Press IV. Behind the Neck Jerk Balance
II. Behind the Neck Push Press V. Jerk Balance
III. Behind the Neck Power Jerk VI. Jerk From Rack
This complied list should help anyone who is currently practicing the art of Olympic style lifting. All credit is due to Bob Takano and the NSCA. If you wish to talk about any style of exercise, please feel free to contact me!
This theme seems to help me in all aspects of my life, but I will tell you how this series would be beneficial to someone looking for the perfect diet. Why is there just so much information about the approach to diet? Even more crazy, is the fact that someone can get great results from one diet and another have bad, bad, bad, results! You always have tons of conflicting information from Dr.'s selling their methods, pyramids demanding respect, con artists pitching their pills and hippie friends shoving the "New Age" in your face. For instance, my friend Omar, who is practicing the "Paleo Diet" (lean meats, plants, berries, seeds, nuts and mushrooms) is someone we all look to follow in the world of health and fitness. On the other hand, my friend "J-Nasty", who's equally impressive diet consists of 70% carbs, mainly from bread, pasta, and cereals. How about my friend Otzi the ice man, who was found frozen solid in the Italian Alps? He died in combat with a stomach full of wheat bran, during the Copper Age! Or one of my favorite bands, who are all vegans (zero animal products) and "straight edge" (not even caffeine). They out perform any other rock/punk counterparts in intensity, while on an insane traveling schedule. (http://youtu.be/ZSO3UCcrE60). The same goes for the healthy Maasai people who's diet consists of mostly things from cow milk, and the healthy Inuit people who lack any type of carb, and survive mostly off of whale fat and protein (winter diet, 70% fat). Everyone in the above list, in my eyes meet the criteria for being considered healthy.
Instead of taking advice for face value, weather it be from an industry (fitness), who's essential business plan is to put themselves out of business, :p or from someone who actually cares about your health. I think people should take more responsibility to experiment themselves. Maybe you will find things like seasonal eating, eating for blood type, raw, fermented, or eating what your lineage ate will work for you? I think it is not a coincidence though, that the ones listed above have found good quality food sources and live very active lifestyles!
You know, bicep curls and crunches are something that you would do last in a workout, and something you would probably never perform while working with me. Not only do I see people performing these at the beginning of their workouts, but they do an insane amount of both! You know, bicep curls are dumb.. just dumb! (I am sorry but this is my blog). They don't burn many calories, they don't increase hormones, and they don't make your arms bigger or "long and lean". At the most, maybe they make them just a tad stronger. Most of the time they aren't performed right anyway. They promote overuse injuries of the wrist and elbow. You don't even use your biceps in that fashion in real life, day to day movements. ELBOWS GLUED TO THE SIDE, UP + DOWN MOTION, LOOK! I AM A ROBOT, GRR!! If you must do them because of a chronic addiction, or for some other weird reason, go ahead, but save it for last, don't do very many, and consider asking me for new, FUN! exercises : ). If you choose to do bicep curls, consider doing them during a reverse lunge and never sitting down or one arm at a time. (or the worst, sitting down doing one arm at a time)
I thought I would do a more personal blog about why at this point in time not only do I eat cacao but why I have made it a staple food in my diet. I am curious to know how many still don't know what cacao is, would it help more if I used the term cocoa or chocolate? Not only has the name of this food change since the time of great chocolate-tiers that included the Aztecs and Mayans but its great properties have been overshadowed by our own fault. In my opinion cacao has been diminished by modern ways of cheap processing and uses. I will tell you what great properties chocolate has, the role cacao plays in your health, longevity, and how to pick good quality cacao.
I personally think the majority of "problems" we face is living in a civilized modern society with an excess amount of resources available. Being resourceful and adapting to survive through intelligence has always been our strongest attribute as humans, this is how we adapted to become the most dominant life form on the planet. It probably started when we were tired of being eaten by sabertooth, we found ways to adapt, this continued solving problems like transportation, now machines fly the masses through the air to other parts of our planet.
Are we so intelligent that we have created a world that is not suitable for us to live in anymore? I think we can see many negative manifestations from living in a modern world, like orthopedic problems from sedentary lifestyle and unnatural sitting positions for hours on end. I am going to reference indigenous people living today because they are the only ones not living in a modern society and are living how people have lived the for the majority of the time on this planet. I believe that the over consumption of food is not easily blamed on lack of discipline, its a subconscious problem, ask any indigenous person if they watch how much they eat, they would laugh at the idea, since most indigenous people live in a environment where food for energy is hard to come by. Consumption of food for energy is deep within our survival gene, if you see food then eat it. In nature when you taste sweet you know that you have found a energy source that provides quick energy, this is why indigenous people will risk everything for honey. What does that mean for us in this modern world when there is a plethora of energy, we just consume, because it is what we have always done to survive and a correlation to why sweet sugar comprises most of a modern diet. I hope we can start to understand, this world we live in has not been around for most of our time as people here, it's tricky because we only know this time, but our time is not normal. So this means that we have to make conscious adaptations to live in a modern society and avoid the negative consequences. We know what has been genetically passed, and thats consume energy at all costs because we don't know when the next time we will eat. So as humans, being the best problem solvers, are we going to adapt to this environment we have created for ourselves? I am optimistic and think that health and lifestyle will be the easiest thing to adapt to, then we can start to solve the more difficult problems. These are just my opinions through observations. If you want help adapting contact Shane>>>>>>
The fitness Industry, an industry that effects an important aspect of a person would be regulated enough to ensure efficacy of the services provided to the customer. This however is not the case, so I post this to assist with how to approach the Industry. It would be an entirely to long of a post if I included books, diets, dvds, equipment, and other media pumped by the mainstream into this billion dollar industry... due to repeat business? I want to focus on what this indusrty provides that has the most acute and chronic effects on someone's health. It is with no doubt that personal training VASTLY improves success of goals and provides a program that helps creating habits that leads to the love of "working out", a solid foundation of proper exercise, and many other desirable effects a good trainer provides.The following are some guidelines you should implement when finding a trainer that is competent. IT IS ALL ABOUT AESTHETICS end of post.
What made me think to post this is from a conversation I had with my cousin Jamie who lives in Texas about the heat they are experiencing this year . I think it is obvious to everyone that WATER is a very important nutrient for the body, so when I make observations of fluid intake, or lack there of especially during physical activity it is very surprising to me. Not only is it surprising but also very concerning especially outside during this time of year. It is well studied that even elite caliber endurance athletes do not replace fluid in sufficient amounts which in turns puts them in a constant state of what is called voluntary dehydration. I really don't want to make this post about athletes, performance, gatorade vs coconut water (my favorite), or how to make your own drink with this part sodium chloride, WATER, potassium, a 1/4 this half that, should I dilute blah blah. If you are interested in that though, shoot me a message and I will be more then happy to suggest things like that. What I want to get across is why it is important to get enough WATER this summer and how a lack of WATER will effect your health. WATER is great for weight control since it suppresses your appetite without adding calories. Another interesting fact about WATER is how it helps with fat metabolism. If you do not drink enough WATER the kidneys do not function properly which means the work load is then shared with the liver and one of the livers function is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy, but since the liver has to help the kidneys then it cannot metabolize fat to full capacity. So that alone should help you to consciously remember to drink enough WATER for your needs. If you are going to be physically active this summer (which I hope you will be) especially in this crazy heat remember the general guideline is to drink at least 1 pint (16oz.) of WATER within 2 hours of activity and remember to drink WATER during and after activity.
If you ever feel like your tongue is getting that really weird dry feeling that means you are around 2% dehydrated which can decrease your performance up to 30-50% which will take a full day to really rehydrate to get you out of that state of under performance, which won't help you win that position, or decrease the risk of other heat related illnesses. If your coach does not let you duck out of practice real fast to get some WATER because your tongue is starting to get dry or any other heat related issues, tell him that "Its o.k. Shane gave me permission."
In conclusion, water is very important in any environment, but during this summer I would like to see a conscious effort of everyone in the sun to create a habit that will keep you safe and healthy! Go outside enjoy the sun, and soak up some vitamin D!!!