Friday, September 24, 2010

Origin & Purpose

Take a moment to spot a few items around you. In my room I see hangers, a shoe box, a fully made bed, dresser, and other stuff I have yet to clean up.

Pick one of the things you've selected. I'm going to guess you know what it does and what purpose it serves. The hangers allow me to put clothes in my closest and keep them wrinkle-free. Now, think about this. Do you know the history of the hanger? If not that, at least why it was created?

I don't expect anyone to have that knowledge. But we take things for granted. For example, look at a door. There's the door itself, the doorknob, and possibly a lock. However, what about the hinges the door rests on? The door wouldn't move if they didn't exist. How many people even consider them?

My goal isn't to try and get you to Wikipedia everything. Rather, it's to make you think about your own training. A few questions to ask are,
  • Why is this incorporated into my training program?
  • What purpose does it serve?
  • Is it conducive to my goals?
  • Am I optimizing my efforts?
  • Is there a more efficient way to go about this?
  • Has doing this helped me or is everything still the same?
  • Is it time to progress and choose a harder variation?
  • Is is best to choose a regression/easier variation to better help myself?
There are a lot of questions you can ask. The objective is to refine your own tasks and really keep what is helpful to you. Figure out why it's worth your effort to even bother with it.

Lately, I've noticed a sort of dichotomy in some sports. The warm-ups are either completely unrelated to the actual sport or it isn't maximizing on preparing the body for movement.

Make sure there's a consistency in your own life. Warm-ups, recovery, training sessions, diet, lifestyle habits/behaviors, you name it.

If it's not helping, why bother?

Have a good weekend everyone.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Mind Expounded

We all have those days.

Tuesday's quote was short, but stresses an important point. Let's examine the last line of it,
"Do not allow negative thoughts to enter your mind for they are the weeds that strangle confidence."
Where do negative thoughts originate from? Either poor performance/results or, unfortunately, other people.

I think one of the greatest challenges presented to many of us who find a comfort in a healthy lifestyle is at the juncture where we butt heads with everyone. Friends, family, or someone else: people quickly shun away from fitness. If not that, they sure seem to be a qualified expert for someone who reads and/or does little.

It finally hit me this week. Often I've been told you need to be friendly to clients or you won't make it in the industry. From professors, to working with random students, young kids, you name it, I've always had a pleasant demeanor where we've at least got along.

But, that quickly disappears if we bring up anything related to training or diet. I'm not quite sure what the exact reasoning is, but it does happen.

I recall in a recent FitCast episode, Kevin spoke about how Dave Tate explained he would go to a restaurant with friends. They all order their entrees then when it was Dave's turn, he asked the server for grilled chicken. His friends would change the conversation and get on his case.

That's a perfect example of what many of us deal with.

And you know what? The most popular post to date is the one where everyone said they experience the same situations.

So I'll say it again.

Have a little faith in yourself. You're not alone.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Mind

"The mind is like a fertile garden - it will grow anything you wish to plant - beautiful flowers or weeds.

And so it is with successful, healthy thoughts or negative ones that will, like weeds, strangle and crowd the others.

Do not allow negative thoughts to enter your mind for they are the weeds that strangle confidence."
- Bruce Lee

Have a little faith in yourself.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Supplements, Part 1: Which?

As the women say,
"om nom nom nom."

While I'm still working on another post that's going to take much more editing than anticipated, let's talk supplements.

I've touched upon the subject before, but never discussed any specific supplements. Today I'll give my recommendations, why I chose them, and the reason I exclude others.

Gasp! Big shock, huh?

I used it when I initially started lifting then stopped - for whatever reason - last year and have now started using it again.

It's convenient. Plain and simple. When I wasn't using it, I would cook up a meal right after a training session to get my fill of carbs and protein. Sipping a shake is much easier and allows me to go about doing other tasks, such as working on my laptop.

There are times when I'm in a rush, tired, or don't want to cook for a 3rd time in a day. Last night for example, I tossed whey isolate & greens powder into my shaker and chowed down on a piece of string cheese & walnuts. After a long day, I wasn't in the mood to clean dishes again nor was I hungry for a full meal.

At around 20g a scoop, I'll take it.

Greens Powder

My first hearing of it was a few years ago when I read Metabolism Advantage.

Again, I take it for the sake of convenience. It should be obvious that vegetables do the body good. I aim for a minimum of 5 servings of real veggies a day, but net around 7-9 since a teaspoon of Greens+ is 2 servings.

It tastes disgusting alone in water, but mixed with protein powder or in a shake it's flavorless.

Fish Oil

This one's been cropping up all over the place in recent years. I mentioned omega-3 fatty acids once.

I don't eat fish. Even for those who do consume it, I don't know how many of them eat enough of it in a week to get the healthy amount of EPA & DHA fatty acids.

Liquid or capsules: your choice.


Not the most necessary, but it helps.

Between the fruits & vegetables I eat, I
should be getting all the nutrients I need. But let's face it, a perfect diet is nonexistent. I ensure I'm getting the micronutrients I need by taking a multivitamin throughout the day.

However, it's not to the point where I'm going over the top and my urine is a bright neon highlighter yellow. I tend to go lower in dosage for a smaller boost.
While this post could be much more extensive, I'm not here to talk about the science of it all, but instead provide an overview of what I do take and serve as an introduction to part 2.

You'll also come across individuals who swear they don't need supplements. That's quite alright. No one says you have to incorporate them into your diet. Then there are those who take an array of supplements and drop a huge amount of cash on them. Let them be if they choose to do that.

But like in most topics, you should avoid the extreme ends and choose something more reasonable down the middle.

Likewise, this is a small amount of the supplements available in the vast selection found in stores or on websites. Certain supplements have little research to back up their efficacy and serve no purpose besides the illusion of providing you results (placebo anyone?). Others can be helpful, but are not necessary for the everyday individual. They should be reserved for those who can really benefit from their use, such as high level athletes or if one is debilitated with a condition.

Part 2 will be a bit more in-depth and cover a variety of topics such as different types of protein, when to use supplements, how to use them, and alternative choices.

Trust me, it won't be yo' granny's type of supplements post.

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