“In the Blue Corner is the undisputed champion of human kind…STRENGTH! In the Red Corner is one of many obstacles and barriers that hold you back from success…Uncertainty!” This grudge match is played out over and over again and pits 2 or more formidable opponents against each other dueling to gain control of your life. One seeks to connect you with all you need to overcome almost anything while the other seeks to keep you bottled up and confined to staying comfortable and living small. Although on paper the victor seems obvious how this fight turns out always seems to be in question.
Round 1 may go something like this…Uncertainty leads with some mental jabs making you question your ability, self-confidence and resolve. However, The Champion Strength has seen this move many times prior and knows what to expect. Strength needs nothing more than a little belief, encouragement and momentum to give you all the ability needed to easily win the match. Easier said than done as it turns out. Uncertainty has a unique strategy of gaining strength when you are at your weakest. Strength then has to overcome both the current mindset and the boost in reinforcements that Uncertainty has incorporated.
Round 2 brings forth some epic events that ultimately result in Strength coming forth to exert the overpowering influence it has on pretty much any obstacle Uncertainty will throw at you. The mental challenges are overcome by breaking down everything into manageable and simpler steps. Fat loss is accelerated by smart training and utilizing client centered nutrition coaching. Muscle mass is increased by incorporating just the right amount of resistance training appropriate to the level of the trainee. Nothing overwhelming and nothing impossible here just the right amount at right time that keeps the momentum moving forward. With the right coaching combined with a great mindset Strength will reward you with a life filled with great health, happiness and confidence. At the final bell…Strength Wins!!!
The time of year is upon us where the beginning of the Fall and Winter Holiday Season has arrived. Ushering in the coming Winter months we celebrate the vanquishing of ghosts with All Hallows Eve followed by the day of Thanksgiving and culminating in the season of giving and the New Year. Our focus turns toward family, travel and friendship as we join together to honor our traditions and the spirit of celebration. Hard to imagine a better time of year! This also happens to be the time of year that challenges our commitment to staying fit, eating well and staving off the temptations of overindulgence.
The revelry of the season can drastically take us out of normal patterns as our bodies absorb quite a blow with excess food, drink and lack of regular activity. We all understand stuff happens and we tend to allow ourselves the guilty pleasures in exchange for the idea that the New Year will bring on a whole new healthy way of living. One problem… the strategy we use is broken. We are blessed every year with the opportunity to celebrate and enjoy the togetherness and joy of the season and why should we not? The course of humanity flourishes every time we are presented with opportunities for reflection, spirituality and kindness. We are capable of both enjoying the season and keeping our indulgences in check. We just need a better plan.
We continue the cycle every year and soon enough by late Winter and early Spring all the good intentions have been left for not. The solutions are easy in theory yet more challenging to implement as each year passes. To start I would like to suggest on method to make each holiday season easier on you and better for your body. Keep a good schedule of parties, vacations and time commitments on a calendar. The more you have on a written or electronic calendar the less hectic and frenzied your days will be. Right down to the minutes needed to accomplish daily tasks keeping your calendar straight and sticking to it will help manage time and keep other stuff from happening that takes you off your game. Give it a try this year and see how you do. Notice I mentioned nothing about what to eat, when to exercise etc. These are the parts of the puzzle for you to put in place and make the best choices possible. Keeping in mind that better eating, regular activity and plenty of rest are commandments that need to be the focal points of daily living no matter what time of year it is! Now go plan your calendar, stick to it and keep the good stuff happening and reduce the bad stuff from creeping in! Remember Your Training!
When it comes to your body it is so important to determine what it is saying and how to listen.
Recently I overheard a conversation with a group of women training at a gym where I train. They are a group of dedicated fitness enthusiasts that always carve out time to get in a great variety of challenging workouts almost every day. Two of the women actually have started training for figure competitions and help design and run the workouts for the group. They train hard, so much so that I would be a little worried about keeping up with them. Their camaraderie and discipline are something to marvel and seek to replicate.
Today, however, was a rainy Monday and all I heard all over the gym was how much everyone was struggling to get or stay motivated. This was the first day in a long time where it actually started to feel like Fall. The group stayed with it though…talking and trying to motivate each other. Until I heard one of them come back to the group and say that she had had enough for the day and just wasn’t feeling it. She, one of the two figure competitors, was listening carefully to what her body was giving her this day. She normally shows up at 5am for about an hour of cardio on a stair stepper then comes back later for the group training later in the morning and she works hard and with plenty of enthusiasm and drive to get stronger. But she listened.
As much as she wanted to stay and workout she knew her body and mind were not there for her. She understood this and didn’t fight it too long and knowing she had the support of her group and that this was simply a day she needed to lower her training expectations for the day. That is some advanced level understanding not because she trains a lot but because she is able to tune into what her body is telling her.
Your body needs to rejuvenate just as much as it needs the stress from training to stimulate endurance, strength and acclimation. Some people just feel better being active every day and that deserves high praise; however when the training protocol includes periods of hard and focused bouts of training recovery is just as important to the training plan. The body adapts to stress through recovery, sleep and proper nutrition.
Listening to the needs of your body is an art. Having the sensibility to understand your body and what it needs is a skill that needs to be part of your program. Without this invaluable tool in your training tool box you may be left with a lack of enthusiasm and loss of gains made in the gym. If you are going to spend the time, money, and energy getting and staying in shape your best laid plans are to understand what your body needs and knowing when to add on or pull back. Train Smart Train Hard!
Bottom of The Squat
Where does it begin?
This will not be an article on the technicalities of lifting weights, posture or proper biomechanics. I know what you are saying…”oh bummer!” Fear not as I attempt to use the metaphorical approach linking the struggles of daily life and exercise to that of putting yourself into the proper mindset to succeed at all you do.
Having recently had a discussion with a friend about prioritizing habits and needs we ended up sharing stories based on experiences in the gym. We noticed that we could compare the challenges of life to those of lifting weights. What does lifting weights have to do with life and/or the challenges we face every day? A lot as it turns out and I will explain why.
If you are experienced with strength training terminology you can already appreciate the feeling of accomplishing new personal bests. You are also familiar with the term “Pump” and how vascular and swollen your muscles feel after a hard training day. Even if these terms are unfamiliar to you let’s look a little more closely at one exercise in particular to demonstrate what I mean. The squat is primarily a multi-joint lower body exercise that has many parts that may or may not be obvious. Some see “load bar…get under bar…lift bar”. Others see bar placement, hand position, shoulder angle, stance, width, head position and on and on. But what if you looked at the squat as symbol of what we try to overcome everyday…doubt, fear, anxiety, low energy, depression to name a few. Additionally, if you do not load the bar with enough weight you are staying in your comfort zone most likely based on fear or anxiety. If you overload the bar and have not properly trained for it you are destined to be left with feelings of inadequacy. However, if you take the time to focus and really work at this skill via practice, technique and consistency you will always be moving forward.
Our discussion led further to the subject of “Embracing the Grind” and where that is represented in the squat. Again this is up for interpretation based on who is training and what they believe but we both thought that even though there is a lot to prepare for with this exercise that it actually begins when the bar is at the lowest point. This is where all the forces are against you…gravity, stress, and self-doubt. But this is also where you have to be the most determined, focused and committed to pushing through in order to overcome the challenge facing you right now. “Be Present…Not When…Not Tomorrow…Right Now” if you are not present at that point the weights and the bar win.
The universe blesses all of us with unique strengths and challenges. Committing to overcoming any challenge no matter how big or small is a skill that must be trained and honed continually. Remember Your Training!!
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