Monday, February 22, 2010

Limiting factors of life

Reading, do you do it?

2 1/2 year through college and a few things hit you. Here's 3 of them that I believe apply to life and training.
1) Going it alone

People don't like to do things alone. While it may not be great, it does help to be ready to do activities by yourself. Whether training alone in the gym or out somewhere, self-confidence and ability is key. Do it yourself and do it well.

But, that doesn't mean partners need to be completely off limits. They can be motivating and helpful for the stuff you may not know. Just don't become completely dependent on other people.

2) Learning & reading

If you're reading this, good start. It helps to pick up a book, read an article, browse websites, or anything to increase your knowledge. There is so much information, how could you not? Especially if it gets you closer to your goals.

Will knowing more really be bad? I'd expect it to help you progress in one form or another.

3) Fear

The big bad one and the most important. People are often scared about little details which are made worse than they truly are. Trying something new, going out of your comfort zone, new exercises, different food, unfamiliar places, you name it.

If there was no fear, imagine how great your potential really would be, the things you can accomplish.

And honestly, what's the worse that could happen? You do it wrong? Who will judge you? Someone you don't know? Is it really so bad to mess up sometimes?

We learn by mistakes and we get better because of them.
The difference between the ordinary and the great are little, but make a world of difference.

Which one will you live each day as?

Ordinary and being content with average?

Will that make you happy?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bee's knees (not really)

First, the bee...

Fuzzy guy.

...then the knees...

Not sure why a
photo like this exists.

If I planned this correctly, that was silly enough to get you through the rest of this post.

Although bees aren't part of it, knees are, so let's look, shall we?

Actually, look was the wrong word. Rather, let's test.
Test 1: While standing barefoot, look ahead or close your eyes. Next, stomp the bottom of your forefoot into the ground. Pay attention to where the shock is felt most on your leg.

Repeat, but this time strike your heel and focus on where vibrations are being felt.
Now if it worked for you the same as it did for me, in the former scenario the bulk of the impact was concentrated in and around the calf muscle. With the the latter variation, most feeling is around the hamstring.

There's a problem with the latter case. The shock from the initial strike being sent to your upper leg also made a stop to your knee, and it's taking quite a bit of stress from the upward traveling shock.

Test 2 is much simpler. Just jump. (I hopped off a step)

First land on your forefeet, then switch it up and try landing directly on your heels.

Did landing on your heels feel uncomfortable? Unnatural and possibly painful?

Not good. It's like trying to reach and grab an object with the part of your palm near the wrist instead of the finger tips first. Feels awkward and weird.

Where does this all lead?

Answer: running mechanics.

If you're a runner - sprinter or long distance - and repeatedly striking your heel into the ground stride-after-stride, damage is occurring and a future injury won't be far behind from it. Even if no injury occurs, aches and pains in your joints and muscles will still be bothersome.

The most common problem causing heel strike style is use of running sneakers with too much support.

Try progressing through shoes with less support.

For your body, the switch can make a world of difference.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Win some, lose some

I don't eat too many white grains nowadays.
Mostly cause they make me sleepy like
it's nobody's business.

I get made fun of, knocked on, looked at, or commented for a lot of the things I do or have, like...
  • Eating unprocessed foods too often
  • Eating Fiber One
  • Avoiding white grains
  • Foam rolling
  • Owning a copy of New Rules of Lifting for Women
  • Lifting weights
  • Stretching
  • Dynamic warm-ups
  • Doing front squats, overhead squats, and a whole bunch of other exercises
  • Blogging
  • A load of other stuff that doesn't come to mind
Oh well!

On the bright side I can deadlift twice my bodyweight, sprint pretty fast, have an understanding of what I'm doing when I exercise, have a body that's not aching or tired, and I'm pretty content with it all.

You win some, and you lose some. That's what people probably think.

Truth be told, there's no losing on my end.

Stepping out of the box puts you in an uncomfortable position and away from everyone else.

But also keep in mind, everyone in the box isn't happy with their results.

Be stuck with where you're at or do something about it.

The choice is yours.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Don't take it for granted

This bad boy.
Or girl?...thing?

The human body of course.

I believe most people are under the assumption the human body is weaker than it really is.


The body is quick to adapt, is stronger than we know, and more efficient than any machine.
Such as,
  • The human heart beats 1.9 billion times by the age of 50 (average 72 beats per minute x 60 mins. x 24 hours x 365 days x 50). My high school physics teacher told our class how enduring the human heart is and there isn't a machine to date that can replace it's efficiency.
  • Get a spoon and put peanut butter on it. Now, try washing it clean with your hands and water. Not easy huh? Now use your tongue. Tasty? Yes I know, but also not too shabby to clean with. And no soap needed! Your tongue is more abrasive than a sponge. Cool? Very.
  • Shoes, yuck. Nowadays, shoes have way too much support than what is necessary. Go back a couple hundred years and see what they were wearing. Probably the bare essential, only something that offers protection for the bottom of the foot and that's all. I bet they didn't have shin splits, sprained ankles, or bad knees. Honestly, you don't wear bulky gloves on your hands all day, so why restrain your feet which have just as important fine motor movement functions? Absurd I say!
  • Movement. What of it? It's functions in an X-fashion, meaning when your leg foot takes a step forward while you're walking or running, your right hand will swing forward. Go sprint and try not allowing that to happen. It's tough and awkward. Even in the most basic movement - crawling - this fashion of movement is present. (I crawled on the floor to make sure)
Only a few examples, but I think they're great ways to think about the body.

It's not some flimsy squishy bag of bones. Rather, it's a vehicle of amazing potential.

But, it comes down to how you want to treat it and use it.

Will you use it for it's most simplest purposes?

Or, will you use it to achieve great and wonderful things?

The choice is yours.

It always is and it always will be.

Alright, it's not that good.
But who knows, keep at it!
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