Olympic Fever

Sochi 2014

Sochi 2014

images-1I love the Olympics!  It doesn’t matter the nation, sport or season, every two years I get obsessed.  If you’re calling me to go out, don’t bother; if you want to spend time with me, park it on the couch and no talking except during commercial breaks!  When the two weeks are up, the torch extinguished and regular snoozefest programming returns, I literally slump.  Several of my friends also go through the Post-Olympic depression knowing that many cool sports, that we’ve become addicted to, like Bi-athalon and Snowboard-Cross, we just won’t see for another four years.  The separation is difficult.

But the great thing I find about each and every Olympics is how much harder I begin to train in my own workouts.  That’s not to say that I get delusions of grandeur and start pumping iron five days a week, three hours a day.  It’s simply watching graceful individuals with purpose, dedication and discipline inspire me to emulate those qualities within myself and it starts coming out in my workouts first.  It’s not that I consciously even intend to work harder and better; but I get to the end of my planned workout and I have given it my all and it has left me in a better place than when I started.Unknown

It’s true that the Olympics like church is often beset by scandal, corruption and politics.  But the true Olympic spirit burns so brightly that it casts all those petty incidents into the shadows and the world is drawn together in a celebration of camaraderie and the best we have to offer each other.  It doesn’t matter that I can’t pronounce the name of the athlete who just went off pace by a fraction of a second and is brought to tears, my heart breaks just the same.  I yell encouraging “coach-like words” from my perch on my cushions as I see two athletes battling it out, both exemplary and both flawless – it doesn’t matter that they don’t speak my language or that they can’t hear me through the screen.  The elation I feel as I do a victory lap around my living room having just watched someone achieve absolute perfection and a world record leaves me feeling like I’ve just won the gold.  It doesn’t matter if they’re from my home or not.Unknown-1

This great spectacle of empathy allows us to celebrate the triumphs and lows of the individual, but it draws us together in one world of experience.  And that is magical!  And while I will be sad when the closing ceremonies turn the lights out on the athletes partying on the stadium floor, I will have been enriched by witnessing others strive to be their absolute best, not just to themselves, but to their fellow competitors, to the dogs of Sochi and to the human race!Unknown-2

Fitness Apps

Brain vs. App

Brain vs. App

A mechanic friend of mine is fond of saying, “The computer is not the brain.  The computer is a tool for the mechanic’s brain.”  Sure there are a lot of really cool new fitness apps and new-fangled techno gear all claiming to give you the best workout.  But how good can it be when that same workout has also been given to literally thousands of other people?

Each person has their own strengths and weaknesses and their own quirky habits and patterns, some good, some bad. A fitness app should not be a replacement for a coach, trainer or therapist. It is a tool to help you get to be your best self.  And there are some really groovy tools (check out UP24 by Jawbone.) https://jawbone.com/up

Think of it this way: think of how much information is stored in your computer.  It’s unlikely

App = Tool

App = Tool

that you will ever use all the information available to you.  To that end, an app can help support your efforts to change behaviors but it is a tool not a brain.  The trainer, coach or therapist is the brain! They thrive on dorking out on sport sciences. They absorb all these areas of expertise and then tailor select information to a program that is perfect and effective for you!  They will then likely suggest apps that help you stay on track with the areas you want to change.

I’m not saying everyone should run out and spend money that you don’t have on an Olympic level coach, but as anyone who’s tried to navigate the software service of a utility company, finding a human with the answers is what you really want!

Sochi 2014

Sochi 2014

Think about pro level athletes: they use high tech tools every day but you don’t see any of them showing up to Sochi armed with only an app on their phone.  An app cannot identify a structural imbalance or a flaw in technique or a faulty movement pattern.  An app cannot see your face when you start to struggle and give you the encouragement to keep going.  An app cannot help you stretch or massage a closed joint capsule or strained muscle.  An app can remind you to eat better, can track your sleeping habits and can show you data documenting your improvements.

Consider using a trainer, coach or therapist AND an app!  You don’t have to train with someone three times a week; it could be once a week for eight weeks or once a month for a checkup/update.  Maybe you could train with your best friend for a half hour a week?  But know there are a lot of options, more so when you use your apps + your humans as a team.  Get good at using your tools to lift you to VICTORY.

Link

images“DID YOU KNOW?

Abdominals make-up only HALF of your core muscles. The core refers to the deep muscles of your torso, the entire cylinder, not just the front! The muscles of your core are: pelvic floor, erector spinae, multifidus, longissimus thoracis, diaphragm, transverse abdominus, internal/external obliques and rectus abdominus. You could have strong abs and a weak core, if you only focus on sit-ups.”

Hey Victory Fitness Fans, to read the rest of this article I published at http://www.Exercise.Answers.Com: click on the link below and get your abs working for you!

 

Chronicles of Rehab – “Fun Police -the Sequel”

Unknown“For my entire life, I have been a “pusher.” Someone who puts my head down, shoulder into things and doubles my efforts when obstacles arise.  But I reached the point where I physically broke from this way of life.  And now I am discovering as Deepak Chopra says, “The Law of Least Effort.”  If I am more still, gentle and calm with myself I can discover better my true strengths and my own inner voice.  That does not mean that I am not strong.  As an athlete, I look forward to my body being able to be agile and powerful again.  But I don’t have to make up for anything I feel insecure about in this present moment.”

That was a paragraph I wrote while beginning my physical therapy to learn to walk again following a complete tear of my hamstring muscle off the bone.  I’m closing in on the first anniversary of my surgery and with the exception of some minor, stubborn, remnant bruising in my lower calf I am 100% recovered.  And like many, now that I am healthy again, I am tempted to fall right back in to my old habits of driving my body beyond reasonable limits.

View from the sofa

View from the sofa

After having the best New Year’s Eve of my life, I came down January 3rd with the flu, that turned into bronchitis.  So two weeks later, as the penned up squirrels in my brain are starting to gnaw and bite at the confines of bed rest I hear myself say to someone, “Sure I can teach four combo Spin/TRX classes Monday.”  I hang up the phone and then proceed to cough for a full 5 minutes.  The wise grey squirrel who is the voice of my inner buddha gets the others voices to settle down.  And I think, “Did I go through that whole process last winter, only to ignore the lessons I learned?  Do I want to repeat this grade?”  As much as I want to go outside and play, my denial disappears and my over-eager confidence has a reality check.  Wheezing as I walk up the stairs, I envision trying to motivate twenty people over blaring music, the hum of exercise equipment without a microphone.  Honestly, how inspiring is it to be on a bike while your coach is hacking up a lung?  So in the best interest of the paying customers and in acknowledgement of what is truly best for myself, I pass on teaching the classes.

In the past I would have felt disappointed in myself that I didn’t just suck it up and muscle 8648876146_3df3e20120_nthrough.  I would have put pressure on myself and felt guilty about not being able to lead the exercising troops, like I had missed out on my duty and on having fun.  But the lessons of last year stuck; I feel no reluctance to care properly for myself.  Instead, I feel joy that I passed this test with flying colors.

So what this has re-taught me is to find my “victory” today.  If you’ve just worked a 60 hour work week and stayed up late with a sick child, and every minute of your day has been scheduled, why are you taking a kickboxing class?!  Take 1 minute out of each day and really check in with yourself and see HOW AM I?  And make better choices for yourself off of that answer.  Be your own Fun Police and feel blessed in every minute of your day, even in the face of challenge!cropped-vflogo-wing.jpg

“Perfect Practice Makes Perfect”

“Perfect Practice Makes Perfect.” That’s what my coach used to say to me.  And it’s true when working out in the gym.  Yes, we all feel tired; it’s been a long day, the daylight is short, we’re burned out after the holidays.  And easily we can think, getting to the gym and sleepwalking through the workout is better than not working at all, right?

animal-friends-good-score

Well, I would like to suggest an alternative. Be deliberate in your movements.  Yes, it’s easy to imagine not moving from your couch and it is vitally important to get the foot in the door to workout.  But a conscious twenty minute workout is far more effective than being a Scooby-Doo-like zombie sliding from machine to machine.

Even if you’re not tired you’re mind might be racing to the grocery list, the preparation of a post-workout meal and that work call you have to return before the day is out.  Or maybe, you’re having a completely out of body experience and are mentally sitting in the audience of The X Factor, while glazing at the tv screen in front of your treadmill.  All of these scenarios involve “mindless” working out and that is not only far less effective, it’s actually dangerous.  If you’re doing a lunge and you’re mind is on autopilot your knee is likely to drunkenly swagger and you’re foot will go it’s own route from the rest of you and the next thing you know you’re sitting in your orthopedist’s office hearing the words “scope, repair, miniscus tear.”

When I teach my clients how to do a fencer’s lunge I like to use this example.  “Ok, you’re one of the three musketeers and you’re about to challenge someone to a duel. If you sloppily and lethargically lunge at your opponent, you’re gonna just knick them and that’s probably gonna just piss them off and then they’re gonna kick your ass.  If you start something you better mean it.  If you perform a lunge every line in your body should be clean and activated.”

My point: if you’re working out, make it count.  Move with deliberate control and the unison of your mind and body. It’s ok if you workout is short, but make it a perfect practice.

New Year’s Resolutions

Unknown-1 After the flurry of Christmas, Kwanza and “Festivus for the Restofus” related activities drifts down and as you sit in front of your fire and breathe properly for the first time in weeks, you will naturally turn introspective as 2013 draws to a close. I know, I know, it’s not even Christmas yet and I’m already talking about the New Year but I have an excellent reason for doing so.

Instead of putting all your faith on one big push on the first day of the year, you should realize that most life changes and behavior modifications require six weeks to change an old habit and another six weeks until the new habit becomes permanent.  To translate that means if you have a physical, body-related goal in mind for 2014 you should be thinking now about the steps that will help you get there.  Most people jumpstart the first week of January and have already given up before 30 days have finished.  When I worked for a large corporate facility, the dawn of January first would see all the trainers forced to wear cheesy t-shirts with a slogan of “You Can Do It!” We would joke that we should get another set made for the three week mark that said, “There’s Always Next Year, Bitches!”Unknown-2

Chuck the non-motivating, stereotypical slogans and clarify for yourself a couple of things:

1) What are your goals: short-term is where you would like to be in six months and long-term is where you want to be in a year.  Recognize that lasting changes don’t occur in two weeks, even if you’re consuming protein shakes and taking a Spin class everyday.

2) Identify where your true challenges or obstacles may be.  Let me give you an example: a friend of mine and fellow trainer had a baby and in addition to working was going back to school.  She gained a few pounds eating cookies and wanted to get back to a body place that she was more comfortable.  Time was the first challenge.  So she dedicated a specific 30 minute window every weekday that she could commit to at least doing some cardio.  Here’s where the challenges can get a bit more subtle.  She realized that when she went to the locker room to change her shirt, friendly women would start conversations with her and she would use up 10 or 15 minutes of her window.  Disappointed with herself, she would just bag the workout.  The victory was that she came up with a solution.  She now wears her workout shirt under her uniform.  The second she goes on break, she pulls off the top layer and heads for the treadmill.  In several weeks, she was back to her lean self.  Real change is possible! But it may require more than a thought to fulfill.cropped-vflogo-shdw-final.jpg

A personal trainer can help you set goals, identify obstacles and create ways to aid you over the hurdles.  Even using a trainer once a week for the first six weeks of the year can keep you on track until the habit sets in.  Victory Fitness offers you flexible ways to help you achieve your resolutions!  So ask yourself now before 2013 comes to its end, “What is your Victory Today?”