Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bring Your Best Everyday

I'm not sure who said it first, but I heard it said several times at a conference I was attending a few months ago, while listening to Thomas Plummer speak. Again, it was one of those lines that struck me, something I should remember, and something I should do, so I wrote it down.

Now, I'm not a huge fan of posting little notes on every mirror in my house, but this one I do have sitting on my desk, it's right between the phone and the computer, with the sole purpose to be read each day, at least once, but preferably more.

You see it's all about how you approach things. When you wake up in the morning, if your first thought is negative, you haven't started your day off well and you haven't even gotten out of bed. However, if you start your day off on a positive note, you will start to see positive changes through out your day. Sure, annoying and bothersome things are bound to happen each day, there really is no way to avoid them, but how you handle them can effect the outcome of those little annoyances that appear each day.

If you don't put your best foot forward everyday you have no one but yourself to blame when you have a sub-par day. It's just like skipping breakfast, if you do, you'll be hungry on your commute to work and you're likely to stop for an egg and cheese breakfast sandwich when you should have taken a few extra minutes at home to make some oatmeal and egg whites (or anything that's better than a fast food breakfast sandwich.) Then because you ate a bad breakfast the likelihood of eating a bad lunch is greater because you already screwed up today's nutrition. It's a domino effect. Approach each day with the maximal amount of positive energy, to make the most out of each day.

Bring Your Best Everyday.

Friday, December 21, 2007

'Never Let Down'

When I first read the phrase, it actually made me think hard about the last three words I just read. I immediatley related it to training, determination, and dedication. Later a friend let me know that it's actually the name of a song, and though it's meaning could still be similar, the lyrics allow you to think about those three words, 'never let down' in different ways and apply it to different aspects of your life beyond training.

"Never Let Down"

Never wanna break your heart.
Never wanna make you cry.
Never wanna give up and die.
Even if you can't stand up.
Even if you lose your life.
I'm a friend by your side.
You're never gonna be alone.
You can never let down.
Never let down.
You can never let down.
Never let down.
Never wanna make mistakes.
Never wanna do no wrong.
Never have a place to belong.
And I'm never gonna leave you out.
If you ever lose your way.
Not alone or betrayed.
I'm always gonna be around.
You can never let down.
Never let down.
You're doing alright.
You're doing ok.
Just follow your heart.
And don't run away.
You can never let down.
You're doing alright.
You're doing ok.
Just follow your heart.
And don't run away.
You can never let down.
You're doing alright.
You're doing ok.
Just follow your heart.
And don't run away.
Never wanna break your heart.

Although I now think of other things when I hear these words I still come back to my training. Everyone has a focal point, everyone has at least one thing that drives them, makes them care, makes them get out of bed in the morning, makes them live life. Right now, mine is training, it's one of the few things, although sometimes frustrating, that allows me to zone out. I have a goal and I have steps to conquer each goal, it's methodic yet at times totally random, but it's the main thing that drives me.

Even on bad training days... All these apply. Determination and dedication...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

To Inspire or Be Inspired

Most of my friends say I'm fortunate because I work for myself. Some say they admire my dedication to something that has been created from almost nothing. Sure there are bad days, ones where'd I'd love to pull out my hair, lock the door and not let anyone in, or even stay asleep in my warm bed dreaming my dreams.

If I did that, what sense of accomplishment would I have that day? Probably none. So rather each day when I walk in the door, although I know I'm going to work my butt off, I wonder if I'm going to inspire someone, but I also wonder which face is going to be the one who inspires me.

For me, it's almost the same debate of, what came first, the chicken or the egg? When I demo push ups, I hear a cheer from the sideline, but when I see their's I smile for their success. When I grab a pull up or two between rest periods I catch their glance, but when I see their's my eyes light up in their completed effort.

When the daughters come in and ask to be lifted to the bar to do their pull ups, I gladly raise them just to see the satisfaction of accomplishment on their face. When I replace the heavy kettlebell for snatches and she doesn't realize it but gets the lift anyway, I smile at her success and laugh with her when I tell her the true weight. When she's just added together the weight of both dumbbells that she pressed overhead, and says that's half my bodyweight, I reflect on the feelings of confidence she just recognized. When her email calls me her shero, and that same day she gets a PR in pull ups, the roles reverse themselves because she has worked so hard. When she tells me that her workouts have made the last four months worth everything, I appreciate her dedication.

It's at these moments and so many others, that I am inspired. To inspire or be inspired...well I'd never be able to choose, they play off of each other. What comes first, the chicken or the egg?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Supportive and Encouranging Training Environments

Bella, one of my supportive and encouraging training partners, she's always there.

Training in an unsupportive environment could be the death of any training program. The training environment consists of the actual location, your coaches, your training partners, and anything going on in your head. Self doubt and negative thoughts are bad news especially if you're going after a goal on any particular day.

Visualizing what you plan on doing helps get you motivated and sets you up for success. Even if you don't physically achieve the exact goal for the day, knowing that you can do it in your mind is just as important as the physical training.

"I can't" are words that should never be said, thought, written or focused on when training. Try visualizing the steps in your head the next time you go to train or the next time you test yourself. You'll be amazed.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Training The Girls To Be Strong

Training the girls to be strong...because they can be.

No more little 8kg and 12kg kettlebells! Although they're a great place start, they're also great to look back on, a reminder of your starting point.

In my own training I rarely see anything less than the 20kg, and try to make sure I stick with the 24kg. Sharon and Dawn are headed in the same direction. Sharon very rarely uses anything less than the 16kg, she's only 5'2" and Dawn rarely uses anything less than the 20kg. Here Sharon is snatching the 20kg kettlebell and Dawn is snatching the 24kg kettlebell. Both have goals of snatching the 24kg and the 32kg respectively.

They'll do it too!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Getting Through The Rough Training Times

When you're're sick. Your training tends to suck, your work effort sucks, your nutrition sucks, and all you really want to do is sleep.

How do you get through the slump and stay on track?

Part of me thinks that you actually get sick because you ignored all the other signs that your body was trying to give you to take it easy and back off a little bit. The other part of me thinks that you just get sick regardless of what you do or don't do. Let's ignore the latter for the moment.

Can illness really be a sign of overtraining?

Here's what one researcher has to say,

"If sufficient rest is not included in a training program then regeneration cannot occur and performance plateaus. If this imbalance between excess training and inadequate rest persists then performance will decline. Overtraining can best be defined as the state where the athlete has been repeatedly stressed by training to the point where rest is no longer adequate to allow for recovery. The "overtraining syndrome" is the name given to the collection of emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms due to overtraining that has persisted for weeks to months. Athletes and coaches also know it as "burnout" or "staleness." This is different from the day to day variation in performance and post exercise tiredness that is common in conditioned athletes. Overtraining is marked by cumulative exhaustion that persists even after recovery periods.
The most common symptom is fatigue. This may limit workouts and may be present at rest. The athlete may also become moody, easily irritated, have altered sleep patterns, become depressed, or lose the competitive desire and enthusiasm for the sport. Some will report decreased appetite and weight loss. Physical symptoms include persistent muscular soreness, increased frequency of viral illnesses, and increased incidence of injuries." -Mark Jacobs, MD

It is practically an impossible task to convince any athlete especially competitive athletes to take time off, to rest, and to even recover properly. But when the outcome of not doing so results in days to weeks of bad training, sub-par performance, and constant illness, I think we should all agree that rest and recovery is important.

Now, do as I say and not as I do. However this time, I'm off for some much needed rest in hope of full recovery for next week to get back on schedule with my training and the rest of my life.