90% of fitness is half mental…

July 16, 2011

In the spirit of Derek Jeter getting hit #3000 earlier this week, I thought I’d title this with a Yogi-ism.

Pick your favorite metaphor, but if your head isn’t into it, like anything in life, you’re going to have a hard time finding succcess.

I’ve just finished up a long week work and family wise and it threw my workout schedule off a bit. I’ve always tried to make sure my workouts don’t interfere with my family life. They’re important, but family comes first. Of course, my fitness is essential to being around for my family and being able to work to support them. It all goes together.

Weeks like this can really put a kink in your workouts, and it can be easy to not hit your goals during your workouts, or just plain miss them altogether. Exercise can to wonders for your mental state. I can’t count the times when I was a bit out of sorts and after a quick workout, I was a new man. It happened this week. The week was winding down, I’m worn out, my schedule  is off, but something about Thursday’s workout felt good. Friday, my work-stress level dropped and it was amazing the energy I had for that nights workout.

Your brain is a very powerful thing it can help you adapt and overcome, or with the wrong mindset, it can hamper your goals. That being said, I’ll mention a few thoughts on a conversation I had with my coach about this week.

I updated him and we were talking about next weeks workouts. I’ve been doing Viking Warrior Conditioning and wearing myself out, in a good way. It is intense, done correctly, and there is no way you can get more sets in every time you train. I actually missed one of my goals earlier in the week, but hit my last one on Friday. I got to thinking. On the day I missed, I got fairly close and on Friday, if I didn’t have 63 sets in mind, there is no way I would have hit it.

Which brings me to planning and Goals. Written plans and goals can help you get through the tough times when you are stressed or wearing down. What you want to do is already lined out and that’s just one less thing to worry about. Just go after what you need to do as best you can. As I said earlier, no way would I have done what I did this week workoutwise without a good plan already laid out.

Sun-Tzu says, “set the conditions of the battle before you begin” Good planning will help you do just that

Here’s to a stress free weekend!

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Suicide by stretching

July 5, 2011

I came across this post on the MobilityWod website yesterday and the title caught my eye.  “Mobility is about position. Stretch with purpose, not to warm up.” Since my coach, Sandy Sommer, always says “Train With Purpose” I thought I’d give it a look.

It was awesome and included a great stretch for the hip flexors and for me, my quads fo sho. He talks more about stretching to get into position, rather that just warming up. Said another way, if you cannot get into a certain position, how do you plan to get there. Here’s a good quote from his post

“Don’t confuse mobility work with warm up.  You may need mobility work to be able to actually get into your                 movement positions, because sometimes squatting light does not actually prepare you enough for squatting heavy (in a good position).”

I took that to mean, that just going through the motions of the work you are going to do, won’t necessarily prepare you for that work. Can you get into the position you need to be in, to do the work you want to do?

My hips and glutes are tight. Getting into, and staying in a deep squat, as in what I’m attempting for my 10 minute squat test, isn’t easy. That can be an easy one to assess, stretch those problem areas and it should help me get there, right? Maybe. What about my knees? Lower back? Also, my left shoulder is a problem area. Do I work that joint? Sure, but what has given me the most relief is using lacrosse balls between my shoulder blades. I found ugly knots I didn’t know I had and BOTH shoulders are benefiting from that work with increased range of motion.

Take this episodes stretch and test.

It’s called the suicide chair, or couch stretch. It’s bad and showed me how tight my quads are.  Click on the link above and give it a try. Then grab a roller and work your quads like Kelly says in the video, slow, slow, and slow all the way from the knee to the hip. I’ve not gone that slow, that long, and yeah, it hurt, but when I redid the suicide chair, it was much better. Then, I dropped into my full squat and it was much easier. My heels didn’t come up off the floor as far as they have been and it was a lot easier to stay down there. Who would have thought a stretch and rolling like that would help a deep squat.