Thursday, August 21, 2008

What's All This Talk...

Everyone has an opinion but no one cares to listen. I doubt I'm the only person who has ever been asked a question, and upon giving the reply, get this hazy look of confusion or the gear-grinding look of a statement that's about to be started with the word, 'but.'

Listening has become a long lost art that few can master and even fewer understand the importance of. So what seems to be the issue? Perhaps we've become so accustomed to hearing ourselves talk that we have no room for what others have to say. If that's the case why do people still ask questions? As with everything, there needs to be some give and take. If you've ignored the words of others for no other reason than liking to hear yourself speak, then why should we jump to answer your question, certainly not because it's 'our time' to talk.

Listening should be thought of as a virtue as well as a learning experience. I may not acquire textbook knowledge from listening to someone speak in a casual conversation but I've learned a little about their thoughts and ideas, I've become better acquainted with the things that drive them, the person they are, the things they wish to achieve, and what they believe in. I can't do that if I'm talking all the time.

In my profession if I haven't listened to you than I won't be able to help you achieve your goals, you might achieve the goals I have for you, but I'm sure the ones that are more important are the goals youv'e set for yourself. And if I listen to what you have to say perhaps the height of your goals will become even higher because we'll work togehter to set them and then achieve them.

Thoughts occur naturally, sometimes more often in some of us, but if we aren't encouraged to share them and in turn have someone listen to them, how do we manage to turn our thoughts into conversations if only person is always doing the talking?

Have you started to listen yet?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

All You Need

Although I am co-owner of a gym in Philadelphia, and I want people to come to my gym to workout, it mystifies me that so many folks think you need a gym to workout. The reality is you can get many places and achieve many goals just by having one of these...

Combine kettlebell training with bodyweight training and you have plenty of workouts at your fingertips. You can train outside, in your garage, at the park, at the beach, on your lunch break, on vacation, or practically anywhere for that matter.

The kettlebell provides a portable training system, that's easy to store, and in the larger scheme of things costs practically nothing after the initial investment. So if you can't make it everyday to the gym, there's always time to do a quick twenty minute workout that involves you and your kettlebell.

Here's one just for fun...

20 Swings
20 Push Ups
10 Front Squats

5 Rounds

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Who are you holding yourself accountable to?

Yeah, those are actually full range of motion pull ups, not sure which set I'm on, but it was a tough workout regardless.

Time to teach yourself a lesson in accountability. We all have health and fitness goals, right?! So what's holding you back? Sure, some of us are right on top of it, putting forth our best effort, and conquering every last thing we said we'd do. Then there are the rest of us, who work really hard on all aspects (working out, nutrition, recovery) for a few weeks and then we start to slip. Then there is another group that works out consistantly with a lot of effort, but we haven't got out nutrition dialed in or we eat too much (yes, eating too much of good food is also bad.) The last group is those of us who actually eat really well and control our portions but haven't worked out in years (this is fake fitness.) I'm skipping the group that eat's like crap and doesn't workout.

For those of us who aren't leading the picture perfect view of what health and fitness should look like, what are you going to do about it? (Assuming you want to do something about it, that is.) If I have a goal for you, that you could care less about, chances are you aren't going to reach that goal. So...

What do you want to achieve?

What do you want to prove?

Start breaking it down, what are your short term goals, what are your long term goals? Develop an initial plan and stick to it, re evaluate the plan every few weeks and see if you're staying on track, if not adjust where necessary. Enlist the help of a friend who will be there to keep you on track if you start to slip, someone who's willing to give you positive reinforcement, to help you reach your goals.

Use this person to help you, set up some guidelines and rules that you both have to stick to, to get the job done. It's always a little easier if you have to answer to someone else.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Stacking Fitness on Dysfunction"

That sounds like the worst idea possible, however after this past weekend, it seems as though many of us, myself included, are doing it on a regular basis. We either know we are doing it, or haven't got a clue.

I know that I personally am working around some injuries. In fact I gut through it almost daily, grimace with some pain, and complete my workout. I rationalize it as not having the time to take off and get healthy again. Tournaments are coming up in two months, among some other competitive events in the months to follow, so how can I possibly take time off to heal and still be ready? In my mind I can't, but duh, I can do other things, and take a week or two to address the issues I'm having and come back stronger and more powerful than before.

All of these revelations came about after the CK-FMS this weekend and some small talk about Z Health. After discussing my extreme disappointment with my low scores on the FMS due to pain, I was posed with the following thought...

'You're already strong and well conditioned, imagine what you could do if you took the time to fix yourself.'

I imagined that thought for just a split second, and holy shit! Talk about eye opening. The fact that one of my most nagging injuries is already less bothersome, is truly the best thing that came out of this past weekend. I'm not planning too far in advance, just incase I have to take a detour, but as of right now, I am ready to see what's on the other side of the brick wall.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Kick It Up A Notch

For those of you who watch the Food Network, you're familiar with Emril's phrase, 'Kick it up a notch!' It's a good phrase, and although I'm not applying it to food today, it works for a variety of other things as well, most specifically training.

We've all it that plateau in training at some point or another. In fact, if you're like me I'm sure you've tried to avoid it, but regardless it still happens. I've had four seperate and entirely unrelated conversations in the past week about plateaus, sticking points, and simply just wanting to take it to the next level. I hear you! So let's do it.

Strength comes in numbers and switching it up with a little extra guidance or support might be what we all need. Even if it's something as small as taking one food item out of your diet, adding one extra workout a week, or even switching the days of your workouts. The worst thing any athlete/fitness guru wants to have happen is a stalemate in training. We get comfortable in our daily patterns, we allow our bodies to accomodate to whatever training stimulus previously worked for us. Constantly review your nutrition and training programs, see if there is a flaw somewhere, and look at the entire picture.

Feel free to share some ideas, or ask questions. Those four conversations I had this past week, share some thoughts here and use each other for motivation. It never hurts to have a lending hand.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Your Training Environment

I've never really had that feeling of needing to force myself to workout. Sure, I might skip a day or two, or perhaps I'll take it easy on some days, but I don't feel like I'm dragging myself to the gym for a workout and dreading every minute of it. And no, it's not because I'm already in the gym. The fact of the matter is, I usually like to train outside of the gym. There are days when that just isn't possible, but whenever I can I head outside, to the park, to the track, or even to the backyard. I love to be outside.

That's why I was so excited to workout on the beach this weekend. I couldn't wait, I even got up early on a Saturday to go. (I won't talk about the crazy storm that pushed my workout back 8 hours) Found a spot on the beach that was perfect, a few soft sand spots, a few hard sand spots, a little incline, and close to the water (my favorite part.)

I think it's really important to head outside, or at least change the scenery of where you workout. If your job keeps you in doors all day long, the best thing you can do for yourself is to go outside! Working out in fresh air, natural sunlight, and away from what you typically look at and do. It's so beneficial to your overall health.

Step aside and see where you go.