Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Crouching Brain, Hidden Restrictions

Groovy lobes.

Lame title? It sounds more interesting than "preconceived notions."

One of the biggest limiting factors I noticed people have is the notions they cling to. While it's not totally wrong, there's a big loss on not seeing what you're missing out on.

Enter the aforementioned preconceived notions.

If you assume or rigidly adhere to a certain thought - such as long distance running is superior for fat loss - then you're not making the best of your time. So stepping out of the comfort zone is necessary once in a while to see if you're missing out on anything.

I'm all about efficiency in training so I do what I can to make sure I get the most done while I exercise. The simplest asset at everyone's disposal is that huge squishy brain we all have.

Mindfulness and being attentive are trump cards in the quality of an exercise session. Gauging you're movements and smoothing out the kinks is what it's all about. Time melts away and you're pretty much in the zone.

Likewise, exercise is only as difficult as you perceive it to be. If you think it's going to be gruelingly long, drawn out, horrible, and just a way to torture yourself, well guess what? It's going to suck, a lot.

Now, how do we make use of something that is making life crappy?

As simple as it sounds, think the opposite. Get a good feel for how your session really will be and map it out entirely in your mind. Be realistic and then envision going a little past what you're capable of. (check out "Mental Boost for Better lifts here)

The brain sends commands to your body and it's the conductor of everything.

It's your job to control it.

Friday, March 26, 2010

How ya feeling?

Or the lack of feeling?

A thousand apologies to my readers (assuming I have any). I know I haven't updated in the last 2 weeks, but well, I've been a bum. It happens. Additionally, most recent posts have been on the less than useful side so I'll change that.

That's beginning with this post and hopefully more next week. I've recently noticed I assume everybody knows certain simple concepts and notions, but in reality they don't. You'll see what I'm talking about in the weeks to come.

I had a big "duh" moment 2 weekends ago. I completely forgot not everyone connects what they eat with how they feel.

Ack! I wanted to slam my head through a wall for missing something so obvious. This is true from children to adults. Food is taken for granted and we don't see it as the fuel for our bodies.

Remember the saying "you are what you eat?" All the dumb jokes aside - like you're nuts if you eat nuts - it's true.

Anyone familiar with Super Size Me? Excess of processed foods left Morgan Spurlock feeling horrible. While none of us consume McDonald's for 3 meals a day - I hope not - it still shows how food can affect mood.

Analogy? Sure thing.

Say you have a car that needs to get going as efficiently as possible. Would you fill it with the cheapest low-grade fuel there is? Or would you want it up and running like the fine machine it is using quality gasoline?

If it's not fueled properly (your body) then it won't run well. If it's operating poorly, who would be happy with that? People get frustrated by a slow computer, so imagine how your body is making you feel.

Quality foods contribute to better health. Vegetables, lean meats, nuts, seeds, fruits, you know what I'm talking about, the good stuff.

Eat good, eat happy.

Someone's sad for a banana.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

An Origin Story!

What? No one else into comics books?

How much cooler is that title than "how I got into weight training?" Plus, I wanted to use that image of Will Magnus and his Metal Men.

If you haven't noticed, the top-right corner of this blog now has new pages. The "why the blog" section states why I write, but it still doesn't really tell much about my endeavors into exercise and fitness. Mostly because I don't want to bore everyone and it's not much benefit for everyone else to read up on.

But, I figure why not do this now and get it out of the way (unlike my pile of schoolwork). So away we go.

I didn't plays sports as a kid. I spent my time watching cartoons and playing video games - and I still do to an extent. Sports didn't appeal to me cause I thought the other kids were aggressive as can get.

No thank you. My parents told me be a good boy.

The first time I touched a dumbbell was in 5th grade. I only did so because I got mad when 2 friends asked me to flex a bicep and laughed. For whatever reason, my sister had a 5 lb. dumbbell at home. Later that day I, idiotically, grabbed it and did 2 or 3 sets of 50 curls. I had no idea what I was doing, but my arms were on fire for 3 days.

Fast forward to high school. I spent mornings doing push-ups and crunches, but that ended fast.

My freshman year I got accustomed to the weight room during gym class, although I wasn't in there on a regular basis nor did I have a clue about what I should be doing. The machines I used didn't translate into any noticeable results of size or strength.

Junior year, my friends and I had gym together and we spent most days in the weight room. It caught my interest fast. I really didn't get into weight training until my friend asked me to join shot put on the track & field team. It seemed like a good idea since I needed extracurricular activities for my college applications. So why not? I joined.

Holy crap. Everyone was bigger than me. Either more muscular or fatter, but all stronger. Our best player tossed the shot (which weighed 12 lbs.) around 40 ft.

Want to know my first throw in a meet? Like 12 ft.

Luckily, joining the team allowed me regular access to the weight room since we spent 2-3 days in there per week. But it wasn't enough. I pressed my parents to allow me to get a pair of 25 lb. dumbbells.

I like to think of them as my, figurative, baby shoes cause oh man, they were what really helped me develop my upper body strength. I used them for so much. Rows, presses, extensions, curls, you name it.

By the end of the season, my shot putting distance was 25 ft., but the truth is, I didn't really develop any real strength. End of the season, I couldn't bench press 135 lbs., but at the end of the school year I could easily press that weight up.

From there, I just read everything and kept trying to get better. I stuck with lifting up to this day. The best part is the only person I have to compete against is myself. I only need to be stronger than I was before.

I've push pressed myself in the chin (twice), power cleaned myself in the crotch (also twice), hit my junk on the floor after trying to plank for too long, and many other things.

But hey, I got not regrets! Who knows what the future has in store.

Although one thing's for sure, I had no idea I'd be writing posts - among other things - 4 years later.

And the adventure continues.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Do you really have it?

This past Saturday night, my family and I were on our way to dinner. I mentioned I was busy the next day volunteering with a friend. Specifically, we were going to spend the day being buddies with an autistic child.

My sister asked me, "Do you have the patience for that?"

I pondered, "Hm, possibly, I'll find out tomorrow."

Now for those who don't know, children with autism vary in symptoms. Our child did not communicate nor listen well, in addition to being impulsive at times.

My friend and I figured we would encounter a few difficulties, but nothing extremely troubling.

Sparing the details of the 5 hours we spent with him, let me just say that:
  • You don't know patience if you haven't had to prevent a kid from jumping off a dive board into the deep end of a pool and you don't know how to swim.
  • If you have to sprint for a kid who's running towards a street at an oncoming car.
  • If you try getting him to eat anything.
  • If you keep him from running away to who knows where (indoors or outside).
  • Finding ways to make him happy while keeping yourself calm.
Now, I'm not saying a person has to go through these exact situations, but those who have gone through very stressful experiences know what I'm talking about.

It's tough.

4pm rolled around and his family picked him up and off they went.

With that done, my friend and I hugged then got the hell out of there.

We survived. It was a long day.

Do I have patience?

No, I don't.

Want to know who does?

His family. They spend everyday together.

And you know what?

They love him.

That's patience.
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