Friday, January 27, 2012

Strength Training is like a Plant

Strength training is similar to watering a plant. It can't be done all at once in a short amount of time or the plant dies from too much water. Water the plant too little and infrequently then it withers away and dies.

A consistent schedule to water the plant is necessary to ensure it grows and matures well.

Adapted from a passage in Mencius

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hook Grip by Tommy Kono

I've described how to hook grip the bar before, but that method might not suit everyone. As such, here's Kat Ricker and Tommy Kono teaching his way to hook grip.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Open Mind

Why should it be only the man who knows how things alternate and whose heart approves its own judgements who has such an authority?

The fool has one just as he has. For there to be 'That's it, that's not' before they are formed in the heart would be to 'go to Yueh today and have arrived yesterday.'

How can a person arrive to a destination before they've departed? The metaphor isn't meant to be understood in the literal sense. The passage's context describes an individual being close-minded and whose opinion is already formed. Read it once or twice more to let the text sink in.

Chuang-Tzu was criticizing the philosophers of his time for their close-mindedness. I believe his critique carries over into the present day. When it comes to certain subjects and beliefs people can be stubborn. This is especially true in health and fitness.

When a person is looking for an answer in regards to diet or exercise, the majority of reactions fall under these 3 categories:
Affirmation: They're looking for someone to agree with them instead of learning more and expanding their knowledge.

Dismissal: It's not congruent with what they think thus making it incorrect.

Ignore: The information isn't understood and therefore not registered in their mind.
It's common for "affirmation" to be paired with either of the other two (not always). A person wants to be assured their way is the "right way" while they dismiss or ignore other information they come across.

Avoid this mistake if you want to make progress and improve. If you don't, why go to the gym or diet today if you've already determined your limits yesterday?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year, Fat You

London celebrating 2012

It's 2012 and everyone wants to lose weight. The holidays are over and the gyms are packed. Incorporate these tips to maximize fat loss.

Strength Training Gives the Best Results

  • It also improves performance in cardio activities such as running.
  • If you don't have access to a barbell you can do bodyweight exercises or purchase a dumbbell/kettlebell.

Be a Role Model

  • Contrary to what you think your goal is not only about your self. Your choices affect friends or family who are also looking to lose weight.
  • Reinforce positive decisions by remembering what you want. In turn others will do the same by your influence and look to you for support.

Use Common Sense

  • You know the basics. A product that advertises it's healthy probably isn't healthy. There aren't vegetable commercials but it's commonly known they're nutritious.
  • The very least exercise should do is work up a light sweat and feel a bit challenging. Otherwise, can you really say you did something?

Add a Fast

  • I grabbed this one from Mike T. Nelson - add a day without eating. You can drink water, plain tea, or black coffee (duh, no milk or sugar!).
  • A day without food won't be the end of the world. If it's really tough, eat but space out the time between meals until you're able to fast the entire day. [Mike's full article]
  • A bonus to fasting is it also frees up time that is spent on cooking and eating. Use your newfound time to do other things during this day.

The Minimum

  • All is not lost for those truly busy individuals who have a jam packed schedule. Exercising 3, 4, or 5 days it isn't always feasible. However something is better than nothing.
  • Workout 1-2 days using 2-3 exercises. For example, some squats and farmer's walks is a quality training session. Be sure to make it count.
  • If I had to choose 4 exercises to prescribe someone for the New Year? Back squat, dumbbell bench press, chin-ups, and conventional deadlift.
This is a great start for anyone who needs more direction. Most importantly, keep in mind everyone starts out the year strong but loses sight of their goal within a month or two.

The true test is to stay committed past February. Make it 12 weeks and nothing will be impossible.
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