Approach to Fitness + Philosophy of Movement

THE TRAINING SESSION:

“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is give to him to till.” — R.W. Emerson

Mindset, motivation, and intention are incredibly important parts of your training session. During our live workouts, I’m keyed in on your body language, energy, concentration, and overall focus. Some days we make breakthroughs, other days we set you on a course to have success throughout the rest of your day, or week. Remember, you are training for life, not to be an Olympian! Your workouts should build you up, not beat you down on a consistent basis.

Key into the fact that if one person can do this so can you. Potential is a possibility. Desire drives action. The philosophy of movement is one of engagement. Pure and simple. Envision yourself as a child, rolling around, then crawling, then pulling yourself upright, then walking, climbing stairs, and eventually running, tumbling, swinging, climbing, etc. Movement is bliss. It’s freedom and entertainment. At this stage of life, the world is your playground. The less organized it is, the more fun it is. Spontaneity dissolves time. Remember being pulled from an experience to come home for dinner, or do your homework? Devastating! … Our approach to fitness will seek to re-establish this relationship. Re-connecting mind, body, and soul.

“Respect… take care of yourself. Your health is your most important possession. By taking care of yourself, respect your body because it’s the only one you are ever going to have. Exercise every day for the rest of your life. Stick to good health habits; the bad ones will go away.”

— Jess Bell

  • Purpose / Session Vision: Warming Up…
    • Greasing the groove.
    • Lubing the chain.
    • Shaking things out.

Connect with the feedback you are being given. Start the conversation with yourself or your trainer/coach. Remain loyal to your health and fitness goals. It’s always darkest just before the dawn…

Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice.” — Woodrow Wilson

  • Assess / Plan the Physical: Pre Workout…
    • Energy
    • Motivation
    • Will
    • Goal focus
    • Mindset, outlook, intention

Life is cumulative. Believe in yourself, taking care to guard your structural foundation. Recognize impact of XYZ factors… sleep, nutrition, enjoyment, attitude, outlook…

  • Recognize: Intention (at that moment) / Choose Direction
    • Success or Paced Endurance?
      • Aerobic / Endurance + Lots of Rhythmic Breathing
        • Run / Accumulate Volume: time, distance, reps, etc.
        • Steady-state / Flow
        • Endure / Self-Manage
    • Breakdown or system fatigue?
      • Breakdown to Breakthrough?
        • Anaerobic / HIIT + Large O2 debt + Big / Fast Movements
        • Stress Factor / Being Present Every Moment
        • Intensity

Analyze the situation and circle back to this idea of breathing. It’s a great way to figure out the level of effort you are expending. Ask yourself: can I breathe through this movement? How long can I sustain this? … Lacking an ability to breathe results in an increased HR in all positions (isometric) and/or movements (triple extension and overhead). Breath work is a system connection. Favors the process over the product. Trains the mind to be present.

You are in control, always: In-session thoughts

“I think the way I want to think. I live the way I want to live.” — Sidney Poitier

  • Reminders: both of these are controlled by the breate, and work in tandem.
    • “Relax Your Face” – don’t show the stress you are feeling.
      • It’s really not that hard…
    • “Soften Your Belly” – easy breathing to endure prolonged aerobic activity.
      • Rhythmic breathing / Process oriented
  • Vision: This is the destination. Today’s work is a step toward tomorrow’s reward. Through your eyes alone does your ship yet sail:

“he who floats with the current, who does not guide himself according to higher principles, who has no idea, no real standards—such a person is a mere article of the world’s furniture—a thing moved, instead of a living being—an echo, not a voice.”

H.F. Amiel

  • Phases of Vision / Steps: Detailed analysis follows…
    • Today: your choices add up. Accountability begins now. Be present.
      • Process engagement.
      • Discipline or buy-in is high.
      • In this new beginning a lot is required of you.
      • Demand in mental energy.
      • Attitude training. How much can you muster?
      • Do something. Always.
        • What are you enjoying?
        • What are you avoiding?
      • First 30-days, very linear results.
  • 90-Days: Lifestyle or Priority/Value Change
    • Part of the process.
    • A shift in your “mindset” to living occurs.
    • Developing a new value system.
    • Switch from thoughts from “I can’t”  to “How can I”
    • Non-linear results. Highs and lows are experienced.
    • Accumulation and completion of workouts / positive choices.
      • Q: What builds you up?
      • Q: What beats you down?
    • Recognition of strengths and weakness.
    • Knowledge of effect of choice.
    • Q: How are you eating?
    • Q: Preferred training stimulus?
  • 1 Year and Beyond: balanced lifestyle
    • Life viewed through a broad lens. Vision for who you will be, what you can do, how you move, breathe, look, and feel.
    • What brings you happiness?
    • What will you be able to do? Improved capability. Broadened scope of choice. Remember, with fitness, comes confidence.
    • How is your health? What will have improved. How does this make you feel?
    • Completion. Change. Lead to improved cognition. Mental clarity.
    • Put a fine/sharp edge on your existence.

Outcome: Lifestyle change. “Things” become automatic. You will decrease the number of decisions to be made. Life simplified.

  • Questions that no longer needed to be asked:
    • Do I have the time?
    • Do I have the motivation?
    • Do I have the energy?
    • Can I really do it?

“I sought advice and cooperation from all those around me—but not permission.”

— Muhammad Ali

When you own it. You become it. Appearance is a consequence of fitness. Everything comes from repetition. Your exercise is a skill, developed from repetition. Therefore, fitness is a process of accumulating skilled repetition. Once you have ownership of a movement (specific exercise or modality of locomotion) each repetition solicits the intended response. Obtain skill via consistent repetition.

Skill + Repetition = Fitness

  • Note:
    • All workouts are not the same.
      • The stimulus can be general or specific.
      • The action random or programmed.
    • If you can communicate to me what you want to see happen with your fitness or physique, I will train you with this as the focus. 100% focus on your outcome. You will learn why movements are done. You will learn to connect mind to body to movement. In repetition you will seek the feeling. Your time will always be maximized. Workout completion will result in exhaustion. Setting you up for success the rest of your day.
    • Working out is not simple or basic. There are no basic movements. A movement variation is not the destination. The process is one of skill development to increase efficiency en route to product.
    • Realistic approach to fitness means we must be looking for the minimum effective dose (MED). Your daily dose. Reducing workout volume, time, distance, or repetitions, does not require an increase in intensity. Quality. Connection. Focus.
  • Analogy: The Box of Matches…
    • In fitness, racing, or any endeavor where you can effectively choose your level of effort, there are only so many times when you can dig deep. Equate this to striking a match. It flares and burns for a short moment and then it is gone. Thus, distribution of effort should be wisely thought out and intelligently undertaken.
    • If all of your workouts are of the intense variety you will soon plateau. Striking a match that will not ignite. This leads to lost motivation, decreased desire and even a feeling of hopelessness. You’ve deviated from a process mindset.
    • Those matches in your matchbox should be the special spark you rarely use. There when you need them. Prescriptive in nature.
    • With age you have less matches to light.
    • Be cautious with intensity.

“If you have a goal in life that takes a lot of energy, that requires a lot of work, that incurs a great deal of interest and that is a challenge to you, you will always look forward to waking up to see what the new day brings.” — Susan Polis Schultz

  • As a Beginner:
    • Focus on the learning. Understand the why and how. Doing and completion. Numbers and weights do not matter. Your fitness foundation is built upon knowledge.
    • There are no endings, but only beginnings. Move well, beginning at dawn.
    • Engage with a beginners mind. Zero expectations. Ask questions. Use caution.
    • Always use common sense. Do no harm.
    • Speed and intensity are killers. Know your limits.
    • “Constant practice alone is the secret to success.” BKS Iynegar
    • The beginner must become comfortable being uncomfortable. The “new” normal.
    • “Comfort will set us adrift on the current of illusion.”
    • “Work out your own salvation with diligence.”

“Send the harmony of a great desire vibrating through every fiber of your being. Find a task that will call forth your faith, your courage, your perseverance, and your spirit of sacrifice. Keep your hands and your soul clean, and your conquering current will flow freely.”

— Thomas Dreier

  • Parameters of Performance: recognize that at the highest levels genetics come into play, but for the lifestyle athlete this need not be thought of as having a significant effect.
    • Endurance – repeatability
      • A product of enjoyment
    • Strength – control / mastery
      • A product of skill and confidence
    • Power – speed / force
      • A product of genetics and demand (sport / activity)
    • Coordination – awareness / efficiency
      • A product of skill, confidence, and repetition
  • You will learn to understand the mind, discipline, and the concept of force of will.
    • Force of Will: requires one to continually remain in the moment.
      • Extends beyond artificial limits.
      • Employed moment to moment to sustain the training exercise.
      • Becomes a technical proficiency.
      • Makes the act automatic.
        • The act becomes a mind-focus instead of a body-focus.
          • Mind defines conceptual purpose.

“The long span of the bridge of your life is supported by countless cables called habits, attitudes, and desires. What you do in life depends upon what you are and what you want. What you get from life depends upon how much you want it—how much you are will to work and plan and cooperate and use your resources. The long span of the bridge of your life is supported by countless cables that you are spinning now, and that is why today is such an important day. Make the cables strong!” — LG. Elliott

For more information on fitness and lifestyle coaching, please contact me here. I look forward to connecting with you!

Home Training

The other day I went to a gym to workout. It was a very good gym with lots of cool equipment and tools for fitness. Lots of open space, and people doing mostly functional workouts. In essence, it was motivating. When I went in I didn’t have a plan of anything I specifically wanted to do. Burpee pull-ups, some kettle bell exercises, dips, planks, etc. ended up being on the menu. I worked through the session and finished in about 45:00. A good session by all means.

Usually, I work out at home. I have a room in my house that I call the “Icebox,” because it’s a cold, uninsulated seasonal porch. I do wish it had heat, but this is Minnesota. Get used to the cold or add it as another excuse to why you aren’t fit or doing your daily workouts. I choose to make it work.

These home strength sessions are simple and efficient. I have a pull-up bar, two sets of rings (low and medium), three kettle bells, a bench, and a set of DB’s, 25’s and 35’s. In addition I have my bike hooked up to my fluid trainer (so I can ride indoors), a airdyne bike, and a concept 2 rowing machine. Now, this is much less than any gym will have. Also, much less than I would have if I had more space. But, this is also more than I would need to train, workout, or suffer, and in the process, get a lot stronger. My sessions in the icebox are anywhere from 10 minutes to 60 minutes (if I’m doing intervals in addition to strength). I really have nowhere to hide, wander around, or waste time. Thus, every minute I’m in there I’m training or thinking about the next set, rep, etc. I’m also getting strong at a lot of functional, full-body exercises. By having less options (lighter KB’s or DB’s) I’m forced to learn how to move the heavier weight. My form improves. By working out alone I focus on quality reps all of the time, rather than most of the time in a big gym environment. No distractions. No showing off. Nobody interrupting my workouts.

I’ll leave you with this. If you are interested in creating a functional home gym, meaning, no bulky equipment (weight machines, etc.), please contact me.

If you’d like to learn how to workout and make impressive gains with minimal stuff/options, please contact me.

Having this option, in your home or office, is a huge advantage over the typical gym-goer, that may be wasting up to 6-8 hours a week by training in a gym, instead of working out at home.

If time is an issue. The home gym is the answer.

Coach or Trainer? What’s the difference?

 

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As I transition out of being  a personal trainer, exclusively, I’m presented with the question of, “who needs a trainer, who needs a coach, and what is the difference?”

To answer this question I look back and reflect on the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with at my last fitness studio. Most, came to me with the need of accountability, motivation, and a physical place and presence to meet a few times each week. They desired change, but could not facilitate it on their own. My responsibility was to cultivate that environment, providing solutions, and hopefully in the journey, foster a strong passion for health and fitness. Here, I am a trainer first, coach second.

So, if you fit the bill of someone I just described in the previous paragraph, you are not alone. A gym, studio, trainer, and consistent weekly appointments will be necessary for you. To be successful, this is where you have to start.

If you’ve already shown that commitment, have been working towards clear goals, have experience in training and competing in a sport or lifestyle activity, or understand programming and functional training exercises, a coach will be the best fit for you.

On the other hand we have the roll of “coach”. When I think of a coach I think of someone with a high level of knowledge and experience both as a doer and a motivator of others. They are also a mentor, trainer, psychologist and leader. This person customizes workouts and prescribes specific programs for the client’s goals, wants, and needs, whether that is sport specific (marathon, triathlon, ultramarathon, team sport, etc.) or lifestyle based (general health, corrective exercise, wellness, activities of daily living (ADL)).

As a coach (mentor and trainer), my roll is to give you the “right goods”. The correct formula for you to achieve your goal, and the proper guidance to ensure you progress consistently and rapidly. You do the work, you own the responsibility of your health, learning about your body, confronting weaknesses, and completing what you start. You get yourself moving and prioritize your health. We work together to break barriers, mental hurdles, psychological hangups, physical imbalances.

When you hire myself, or another fitness professional, what you are paying for is that individuals knowledge. If you want the lowest price, you’ll find someone with a lower quality product. Watered down information. If you want cutting edge, top of the industry knowledge, you’ll have to pay for it. This is worth much more than the $50-$70 per hour you pay to have someone observe your workout.

Before you jump, either way, think about your health. Think about your wants and desires. Think about your image and your needs. Really think about what it takes to mold and create that desired “you”. It is not 3 hours per week, or 4 hours per week. It’s a lifestyle, period. It’s how you think, how your express yourself, who you choose to socialize with or call as friends. It’s how stingy you are with your time and energy. How open you are to honest assessments, and how willing you are to take action in the here and now.

My goal is to get you on the right path immediately. From our first interaction/meeting we begin breaking down barriers and forming our plan of action.

Relentless, Forward, Progress…