Inspiration for those “tough days”

Standard

I’m back, a little tardy after the weekend, but we will get this show rocking anyhow.

I wanted to share something that I’ve found great value in, particularly with staying the course in anything difficult I am currently taking on in life…anything to do with change really.

This note that I’ve copied and pasted below is written by a mentor who has been a champion for change in the youth fitness industry. I’ve heard him lecture and spoken with him a couple times “off the stage”. One thing that has always inspired me is the passion in his voice when he speaks…there are no empty words. And this passion comes through in these “notes” I will be sharing weekly, because we all have tough days sticking to whatever changes we are trying to make: fat loss or muscle gain, getting into the gym consistently, changing nutritional habits, etc. Maybe it will help you stay focused on your goals too.

(I have also added Brian’s twitter feed if you are into twitter and would like to follow him).

Enjoy!

 

“Opportunities are cultivated by your perspective…so are dead ends. Only successful people realize that there is a choice”

Opportunities to do great things abound; every day of your life.

Each second in your 24-hour cycle presents the possibility for you to ascend. They are embedded in the decisions you make in a given moment, the inner dialogue you converse with and entertain, but most certainly the outlook you opt to carry.

Your belief system will become your self-fulfilling prophecy.

What you prospectively see is what you will become; what you hold true about your reality is what your experiences will be.

The unsuccessful among us will forever reach for victimization and blame.  Casting their lures into the waters of unfair and apathy; and in doing so, reap precisely what it is they choose to see – forever finding the dead end.

Fortune does not favor the flawless or privileged.  It serves those willing to find it.

Your opportunity to cultivate a path that leads to fulfillment, success, joy and world-changing purpose will come into view the very second you decide to use your time for the intention of creating tremendous positivity and pursuing the nobility of adding value to the world.

Your clock is ticking with merciless disregard for the hopes and dreams you carry within… But if you opt to own each second and use it for the potential it holds, you will get to leave life without regret.

Be Adacious; Change the World.

BG

PS – Brian’s twitter feed: http://twitter.com/#!/TheBrianGrasso

Connecting increased strength with fat loss

Standard

Sometimes the idea of strength training for fat loss is not immediately visible. I receive questions or comments about it with many people who are interested in training, especially to achieve a new fat loss oriented goal. They wonder how the strength training will help/not build muscle or where all the cardio is. Here’s the short answer about strength training:

With strength training we are doing work in the physics sense. Work = force x distance. Work is energy in calories, distance usually stays the same for any given movement or exercise. We change weight though – increase it (getting stronger) – and increase the energy (calorie) value at the left of the equation.

This is the premise, that a heavier weight requires more energy to be moved a certain distance than a lighter weight. It is not strength for strength’s sake, but to keep burning more calories AND keep the body adapting.

Among the secondary benefits that come after are:

  • Maintaining muscle mass while losing fat (muscle cells burn energy all day long)
  • Preventing or slowing the development of osteoporosis and other aging processes
  • Trains balance and coordination

It is sort of like a recipe. Strength training is one of the ingredients because of the overall benefit to both one’s fat loss goal and to overall health. I hope the connection betwen the two is visible now, but if not please drop me a comment or an email (Click the “Contact” link).

Did you have an excellent week getting closer to your goals? Let me know! In the meantime, enjoy your weekend!

Tipping Point: Tracking your Progress

Standard

Here’s the quick tip for the day: Don’t let yourself off the hook.

You have a goal to lose x number of pounds or train x times per week, etc. Hopefully you’re tracking the numbers to see if you’re making progress or if you need to get yourself back on track.

With the latter scenario, sometimes just tracking progress can be a chore. You don’t want to see that you didn’t lose any weight right?; you already know it based on how you’ve eaten last weekend.

My coaching? Do it anyway.

It probably won’t be comfortable seeing the numbers or reviewing that food or training journal, but it keeps you focused on your goal or will get you re-focused on it.

That will be much more effective than the easier, more comfortable choice.

It is also a powerful action because you’re risking looking bad. That’s powerful because you’re not hiding from the truth!

Here’s to you staying committed to your goal. Stay strong!

Walking: exercise or not?

Standard

Have you found those 10 minutes somewhere in your day?

Moving on, I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend, especially up here in Toronto where we are having some extra days of summer weather! Anyways today we are talking about walking, and the big question: does it count as exercise or not?

Short answer: It depends.

It depends because one’s fitness level matters.

Remember that to change your fitness or your body, you need to challenge it. Get out of your fitness comfort zone, if you will. So for those that have not exercised in a long time, a decent paced walk may be strenuous enough to cause the body to adapt. However, this is largely isolated to a beginner level because your body gets used to the stress fairly quickly since it is not very intense.

The other side of the coin becomes: does this mean walking is useless for everyone else?

Not at all!!

Walking is still beneficial; whether it is as a means of socialization or a vehicle for introspection, etc etc you cannot go wrong by walking more. Also once we achieve that level of fitness, we can also consider it “bonus” physical activity. A term used in the exercise community is non-exercise physical activity or NEPA.

Please consider this also applies to things like gardening and housework. Both definitely physical activity at times, just not exercise.

That’s it from here. Have a great week, and stay committed to your goals – especially if today turns out to be one of those tough days. Talk soon!

10 minutes a day for you

Standard

10 minutes a day.

I love this concept (from Kelly Starrett of www.mobilitywod.com), which really hits home when you consider the future. For example 2 months. 60 days. Adding up to 600 minutes. 600 minutes of what? Read on!

We stretch, we foam roll (or use a tennis ball), we activate, and the key is in the consistency and repetition. Little changes over time add up. However with one of two or three workouts a week, enough consistency may not be there to truly make any changes permanent. So your tight muscles might be loosened up, but tighten back up a day or two later. If you foam roll and reduce the tenderness resulting from applying pressure on the tissue, it may go and tense up again if the nervous still sees the need for this “faux” stability.

The solution may be fairly simple, but it is still a lifestyle change as you would have to find (make) time to get the foam rolling, stretching, etc in.

Why is the solution simple?

You will only need 10 minutes a day.

To grasp the simplicity further consider how much time you spend watching tv in a day. Most people watch SOMETHING for more than 10 minutes. Yes, an opportunity to multi-task! Multi-taking or not, your body doesn’t really care, but it will feel better each day.

That is of course provided you do the right things.

I will be expanding on the last point to give you a map for this journey. Until then just see where you can get 10 minutes a day. Its an investment in yourself.

Reprint: Agility Ladder training

Standard

Today’s post is a blast from the past. I wrote it n 2008 during my second summer at a sport performance facility. This was written for my old blog which was used to write out and assimilate my thoughts as I was learning at warp speed in the gym.

The great thing is this post still represents my thoughts on the value of agility ladder drills within a training program. The bottom line being that the name “agility ladder” is a misnomer and probably marketing-inspired. I hope you enjoy reading it if you haven’t before. Please feel free to share this with someone if you feel they would benefit from it, or to leave a comment below.

Have a great week everyone!

—————————————–

Do agility ladders really train agility??

Before I answer, let’s look at agility from both a sporting context as well as the one we are training via the ladder.

In a sporting context, agility is seen as the ability to change directions in a quick and efficient manner. The skill of agility comes into play in an unpredictable way in reaction to an unpredictable opponent or object.

In the context of the ladder drills we put athletes through, they perform pre-planned movements with the goal of achieving the desired “foot in-foot out” pattern proficiently. We are not really training change of direction with many of these drills, but testing a coordination pattern of some level of complexity. If we are using it to train change of direction, can we really make it unpredictable?? I ask this because then we’d be probably asking our athletes to react to an unpredictable command or stimulus, but in such a way that they perform the drill “in” the ladder.

Then the question becomes, would this really transfer to agility in sport?? I would argue no for two reasons: 1) with agility ladder drills, we don’t coach change of direction technique, we coach “do this pattern and don’t knock the bars of the ladder” and 2) Because we want the athletes to step in and out of the ladder in a certain pattern, we are imposing a spatial constraint since each box is a certain size square. This will disrupt the natural movement pattern depending on how they go through the ladder (if they have to take a longer step or short step in order to be within a box).

As you can gather, I don’t believe that agility ladders really develop agility in a sporting sense. I think they develop coordination. Not any less important of a skill, just a different skill entirely.

Inchworms in the Warm-up

Standard

This could easily be titled “Exercises re-visited: Episode 1”. Basically I used to include this in my warm-ups with my clients however I wasn’t happy with how they were being performed. I saw value in them, just not enough to outweigh my impressions of the learning curve.

So why have I re-thought it?

What I used to think was it was a drill that “warmed up” anti-rotation stability. What I didn’t like was there was a ton of weight shift during the movement, which makes sense considering it is performed with a narrow stance — the classic pushup position of feet next to eachother. In terms of anti-rotation though, shifting body position isn’t efficient.

I now look at it as two things:

1. It gives me another chance to train anti-extension.

This is still for the core, just the thought process behind the stress I am trying to elicit has changed. Seeing this used as a correction for the trunk stability pushup (as per the Functional Movement Screen) opened my eyes. To drive this, my cue is walk the arms out as far as possible without letting the core position change (sag).

2. Serratus activation.

The serratus gets recruited with each step the hands take forward. Also once we get the hands above shoulder height, some good upward rotation can be facilitated. So while we are getting some extra work for the core, we get some corrective or maintenance work regarding function of the shoulder blades and shoulder complex in general.

I will get a video up as it definitely isn’t a very common exercise in most gyms. It will also better explain how doing the exercise properly leads to these two benefits listed above. So, enjoy the video, let me know if you have any comments or questions below, and if you haven’t used this drill in a while have fun trying it out!

CB