Adaptive Training Medicine Ball: Pillar of Resilient Strength

credit TheAwesomer.com

Two posts ago, you may have watched Rocky Marciano kicking a medicine ball back to a trainer who threw it at his feet, doing a modified, repetitive rocking crunch at a fast clip for some functional impact, timing, muscle, and perhaps plyometric work. The cardiovascular benefits no doubt would track tempo, duration, and force.

Let’s take a soft medicine ball into a new context. We begin with a weight right for us. We take the medicine ball to a wall or pillar, where we will hold it against the pillar or wall with our upper back, head, neck, chest, well, really, any part of our body we want, with the objective of not letting it fall to the ground.

Go for time. How long can we keep it moving without it dropping? As it rolls up, sideways, down, diagonally, in curves, and countless configurations, our bodies must adapt to keep it there.

This is one way to stay interested in your strength training life.

spirit

spirit: a breakthrough word inspired by a post at Triathlon Obsession encouraging selection of a word to focus on for the New Year...

spirit: a breakthrough word inspired by a post at Triathlon Obsession encouraging selection of a word to focus on for the New Year…

spirit

The depthless, fathomless, soaringly timeless, state of being arising when a person digs deep enough to leave body and mind behind and achieve what those two weaker vessels could not on their own.

An example, the night raid at Riva Ridge by the 10th Mountain Division in 1945, and digging deeper the next day against stiff resistance to take Mt. Belvedere:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14594652

This is relative to mental and physical conditioning, for the person with lesser conditioning, if their body then mind gives way earlier than those more advanced in body and mind training, the spirit kicks in sooner. And for the advanced athlete, warrior, whatever…later, perhaps.

Will we ever come to the point where we run, perform, act, compete, work, and achieve from this state of being from the beginning of the effort, mind and body moved efficiently from this zone in our being? That would be a breakthrough. What endurance, strength, and other qualities would be possible then? Where are the limits? I guess we really don’t know yet, and that is an exciting frontier that those of us in a boundary set world can escape to every day.

Meaning of: “Let Go”

oh say can you see?

The mind and body become attached to many things, some of which are not good to be attached to.

The spirit, however, has the power to withdraw energy and desire from these attachments, and order the body and mind to be still.

The spirit can withdraw power and consent from the grasping mind and body. You thereby, “let go.”

The spirit also has the impelling power to strike out with decision. It can brace our minds and bodies to follow a wise path.

The spirit has the innate power to await the whole truth, to suspend judgment, to gather information, and to withdraw energy from fearful reactions to anyone, everyone, and everything.

The spirit has the power to be clear and precise.

500

Complete your muscle movements as fluidly and naturally as water moves.

Complete your muscle movements as fluidly and naturally as water moves.

Five-hundred-fifty muscle movements by day’s end. The exercises varied, 1/5 were weighted, while most were body-weight. This is a average number for this kind of training day, on the low side. Still, all major muscle groups engaged the Earth. A building block, a place holder, a training day, and then, nutrition.

Made dinner for the pack. I’ve been moving to more rice-based breads. Grabbed two Amy’s organic rice-crust pizzas; chopped organic triple-washed baby spinach and sprinkled on; added chopped Portabella mushrooms; added also micro-greens with daikon radish and pepper cress.

Instead of pizza bread sticks, took the remaining fresh Portabella mushrooms, sliced them, drizzled olive oil on them, and sprinkled some mozzarella on them, and put them in the residual heat of the convection oven after the pizzas were done and staying warm.

Leafing backward in the book of the day, nutrition page…

Breakfast had been fresh blueberries, raspberries, banana, and spelt bread with honey. Tried some pumpkin seeds on the side. Lunch had been sunflower seed butter sandwich. If I’d had alfalfa sprouts on hand, I’d have added ’em on.

Night Hike in a Maelstrom

The Night Hike in Maelstrom

City lights, warmth in the body, and temperate breezes threw off the shackles from sedentary vigils in antiseptic rooms over the break.

This Day, This Moment, The Right Thing Will be Done

when you spend a lot of unexpected time at a rehab place visiting for the holidays, you find beauty where you can

when you spend a lot of unexpected time at a rehab place visiting for the holidays, you find beauty where you can

Cycles surround us. Yet sometimes chaos forces us into fast waters, whipping us about like a leaf in a flash flood…

As when a close family member is hit by a car in a parking lot while walking into the grocery store. In a moment of chaos, of disordered mental and physical operations, a driver strikes down the man who raised you. And that man makes it, but his many decades mean he faces a big recovery challenge from that broken hip. And as his adult son or daughter, all of your plans change. Your duties call, honor calls, love grounds you. You turn to the task of caregiving, arranging, and spending some mind-body numbing hours on hard surfaces attending, watching, listening, and learning what is needed to prepare, transfer, and make in-home care a reality so this VIP of yours can get some sleep, recover faster, and be among loved ones. Here the stress adaptivity of your training is tested.

So it is with all of us. Our training lives morph into something completely different during this time. They move from a training life to a doing-life, as the physical things we do in caregiving become the top priority. This is not likely what we trained for in previous days, however, with a well-rounded training approach in more orderly times, the fringe benefits feed these unexpected efforts we face.

We work in sustaining intervals of what-exercise-we-can-get to sustain our ongoing effort: as when a simple swiss ball can help us redistribute life-giving blood, energy, electric signals, and physical force through out muscles, connections, and body in a small fitness room on the road to retrain ourselves from the sitting, leaning, and waiting of institutional buildings and unnatural light.

These can be the times that training comes to the front and stands by us when the chips are down. There is going to be a price for taking on duty. There usually is. That is the way the world works. Yet by decisively embracing it we may seize the purpose of our training lives on a different level of motivation and performance, where one real event and experience is not a training drill, but itself an opportunity to set new precedents and become open to new dimensions in our future goals.

FDFRLDFRU

Fortitude, Determination, Face-it, Remember-what-you-train-for, Let-go-and-Let’s-Go, Dauntless, Focus, Rise-Again, Up-a-beat…are but a few things to chant to ourselves when we are about to quit something too important to quit, and wisdom does not dictate quitting for a greater need.

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When you generate heat, resistance to your good purposes melts away.

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You are gaining on your goals, purposes, and dreams.

Observing Cloud for Training Wisdom

1. Clouds change shape but keep moving, albeit sometimes very slowly. We can too. It is one of the qualities of adaptive training among crazy-busy pressures that would stress us into inactivity.

2. Clouds transport water, a resource to the lives of others. Training our bodies and minds builds physical courage that can support other acts of generous, giving courage.

3. An otherwise bright white cloud can have very dark, very water-dense little clouds nearby (see the banner). Suppose you are in one of those small, dark, water dense clouds. You’re likely to see all grey, all gloom, and feel all wet. Yes, until a beautiful, white sunlit cloud expands and engulfs you and you find that many of your problems were perceived right there within your own tiny individual cloud. You also realized how much water you have to give among others.

4. Clouds get out in the other elements, indeed, bring them together within themselves, contribute to them. So do we when we train, exercise, work, compete, and apply our physical training to something worthwhile.

5. Clouds make their own view by starting out light, rising, gathering, then supplying. A thunderstorm or snow storm is quite an exciting gathering, maybe even a competition, with lightening clashes, the refreshing ozone, and every gathered cloud a part in that great event. Gatherings of clouds bring out the best in each.

6. Clouds have training partners that truly inspire them with their energy, warmth, and mastery at conducting the weather as if it were a symphony orchestra: Mr. Sun and his band the Stars.

7. What shape will your training take today?

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Tensing and Releasing

Go for the flow.

Go for the flow.

Many know the relaxation technique of tensing the body’s muscles, head to toe, and releasing them, in a wavelike sequence.

It is a great relaxation technique, yet it is also a superb warming-mobility approach as well. As you well may know, static stretching of muscles without warming up, is now out.

Tensing muscles even more in their tighter states of unreadiness (i.e. when you feel tension binding your body, movement, and coordination), will bring the warming blood flow increase to the targeted muscle or muscle group. Relaxing then, the muscles loosen. Progressively, tensing again, and releasing tension again, brings yet more looseness and pliability to the muscles.

A good example to illustrate is that of leaning over to touch our toes, and stopping at the point of felt-tightness, hanging there a few moments. Feet are flat on the ground. From the ground, from feet through the lower back, including all hip girdle muscles, we tense all of our muscles that we can and hold that tension a few seconds. Then we release. We should then feel our fingertips and entire upper body descend more easily from the waist toward the ground, feeling a bit looser. Repeat the process and see how low you can go.

Remember to breathe, either exhaling or inhaling during tension and the opposite during release, and keep that going. Shake out your body when done.

If you feel dizzy doing this, touch or grab a fixture for balance and slowly recover the upright position. An alternative is to touch the ground, and if loose enough to sit down, sit down and rest until the dizziness is over. If the dizziness is major, you feel you are going to faint or blackout, or if you repeatedly get dizzy doing this, stop exercise and schedule a physical with your doctor and tell your doctor about your experience.

Otherwise, think of the many formerly static stretches you used to do by warming up more generally, and add this specific and gradual tensing, releasing, extending, and repeating process to build flexibility, pliability, utility, and strength in the many, many supporting and dynamic muscles of the body.

Thanksgiving

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There is giving thanks and there is thankfulness as a path to giving.

Thanks follows receiving, and receiving teaches giving.

Giving and receiving, receiving and giving, creates a life flow of relationship to others.

Flow of life washes away impossibility thinking, connecting possibilities to and among our moving selves.

That is a snapshot of the training life, a life flow discipline helping us anchor our energy for giving and receiving, recovering and thanking, loving and working for others’ well being.

When a wall daunts us, adapting, we find a way. Believe there is a way and go, and a way will emerge in the wilderness.

Holiday breaks bring windfalls of time to establish new disciplines to develop and nurture in smaller increments in busier working times. Use the windfalls, and feast on new disciplines for your wellness and new capabilities.

 

Excerpt: “Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness”

from Chapter 10: Navigation Principle

“You are training in relative motion to two hands moving on a clock face; to the spin of the Earth circling the sun; to galaxies plunging through space. You are training relative to other people, animals, energies, matter, weather elements, and events.”

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chataqua park in dandelion season

Adaptive Strategies: Boost Your Immune System & Solving the Paradox of Success

The change of seasons puts the micro-bugs into overdrive. Are our immune systems ready?

For those who have undertaken the training life, this is an important, if confusing question.

It has to do with the Paradox of Success. When we feel fit and well, we become susceptible to undermining the behaviors we lived to get there: exercising, eating right, sleeping well, and feeding relationships (filling buckets).

Success invites a temporary sense of immortality mania. In this state, we tend to over-extend ourselves at the expense of sleep, rest, exercise, downtime, relationships, and soon, wellness. Then we get sick.

If we can early-detect our sense of mania after successes, this is our first sign of coming under a spell of over-extension. So it is with our successes.

Here are some WebMD pages on positive immune system boosting routines — followed by some counter-intuitive surveys of findings about immune boosting — as linked-to below:

Immune System Busters & Boosters

Super Foods for Optimal Health

How to Keep Your Immune System Healthy

Guide to Ginseng as Immunity Booster

Can Exercise Reduce Your Risk of Catching a Cold?

Ten Surprising Health Benefits of Sex

Exercise After Chemo Helps Patients Ward Off Future Cancer

Yet when you consider that inflammation and upper-respiratory mucous generation (mostly against nasal passage infecting viruses) are immune system responses, some survey reviews of a few years ago suggest that bolstering the immune system will only increase inflammatory, super-charged immune systems. Is that bad, or good? More research is needed, but consider the following perspectives:

How Not To Fight Colds

Why everything you thought about colds is wrong! Scientists have finally separated fact from fiction about those sniffles

Our Immune Systems Were Built for More Challenges Than They Get

Given the above contra-pieces, here is a summary of useful takeaways:

1. Let go of unnecessary stressors and poor stress response habits, then burn-off, let loose, and heal from inevitable stress with the following;

2. Bolstering human relationships;

3. Consistent exercise;

4. Healthy, nutritional, natural eating and drinking with little or no refined, processed sugars, MSG, etc.;

5. Put our children’s well being first. (for parents, and for those without children, someone else’s needs).

There is more to this topic than a blog post can touch. Researching and reading up on the latest using article alerts from trusted sources, and weighing, comparing, and testing them is sane way to continue navigating.

Country Road Take Me Home, OR Five.Oh.2 after Week of Adaptive Immune System Training

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Ran the fine country and ranch roads of Northern Colorado in the cool, sunshiney air and logged 5.02 miles.

The run felt humble in phases, especially during intervals in which I stepped up my pace, however, finishing I felt immediately better and recovered quickly. I think this bug is about gone.

You know how it is when you think it’s gone, you’re trying to tell someone something, and the mere intake of air to speak draws a cough, and you feel like your 400 years old because of it. Still, it didn’t make me feel like staying home today and eating gobs of hot salsa with chips and drinking 400 gallons of water.

Yesterday, though, it did make me feel like eating medium hot Thai fried rice, a veggie spring roll, and a pot of hot green tea. Later, invited out yet again, dinner involved Miso soup and a small flask of hot sake. These are comforting substances at the end of a virus.

Also comforting was letting garlic flakes sit on the back of my tongue, and sort of marinate and waft through the upper respiratory tract with the believed knowledge that garlic is a natural antibiotic. Anecdotally I felt less inflammation around the cough zone in my throat after trying that.

I think we both know you’ve heard enough. I’m just glad you stop by from time to time. It’s a privilege for this writer.

Water

There are times you may not consciously realize that you need or want to renew your relationship to water in your training life.

Yet water and its properties are forces of nature that are part of your physical, mental, and if you will, spiritual being.

My Denver Half Marathon Half Rainbow

follow the path of movement

Take time to recover

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IMG_9549 download

Lake in a snowstorm

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If you’ve read the book “Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness”…

..and you believe it will help others bridge gaps to a self-led, dauntless, consistent training life within their busy-tiring schedules…

Then please feel free to rate and review the book at one of the following venues!

Amazon

iTunes (iBookstore app download)

Barnes & Noble

Lulu.com

 

The Contact Points of Functional Strength

Traditional weight lifting and even what are deemed functional training exercises do not do justice to hand strength as do manual labor or labor with tools. But not everyone has enough work projects with tools to make a difference for their hand strength.

Yet nearly everyone faces the following daily or weekly:

(1) Packaged goods, wrapped foods, and sealed containers;

(2) Fresh produce needing washing, peeling, processing;

(3) Goods that come shipped in boxes;

(4) And the old Charles Atlas standby, frequent yellow paged directories dumped on the doorstep from competing publishers.

With each of the above, most of us resort to tools, kitchen tools, or office tools to cut, unzip, peel, pry, snap, peel open, or otherwise process an item we must unpack or prepare. Because we have internet, many just throw the printed directories into recycling.

Yet here is food for thought: where safe and possible, can you devise a method to use your thoroughly washed, cleaned, and healthy hands to accomplish these tasks?

Think of all of the varied pulling, prying, separating, tearing, breaking, and other force- intensive functions you face with tools every week, and try to face them with your bare hands instead.

Use your mind and dexterity to unpack or process these products in a safe, controlled way that doesn’t send the contents flying all over the room or get you hurt. This often requires more thought, force, and functional strength to do under control. And this is why we normally resort to quick-draw tools without thinking.

Therein lies an adaptive training opportunity with our bare hands. Now add to that the use of hand tools in construction and yard projects, and this can amount to significant strength training for your points of contact with the material world: your hands.

Here’s to training mindfully and safely!

WARNINGS: Beware of some hard plastic encasements on hard goods in which the plastic becomes sharp on edges when pulled apart or cut away. DO NOT DO THIS ON ITEMS THAT COULD SHATTER, BREAK INTO SHARP PIECES, OR OTHERWISE CUT OR EMIT DANGEROUS CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE. USE common sense to avoid uncommon injury.

Active Patience: Look for the Light in Moments of Temporary Dislocation

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click to view closely

 

 

Vancouver Boating, Bicycles & Rainy Walks / Colorado Eldorado Canyon Run & Rain Aftermath

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To catch up on my periodic journaling of training experiences:

Vancouver, BC. Be it known that I skipped the hotel fitness center in Vancouver BC, and opted for family whale watching, walks in the rain, and bicycling in the sunshine.

On the whale boat I could have sat the entire journey and monitored the Pacific waters for sea life. But I spent some wonderful time holding my child and working on fixing on distant, relatively fixed points to avoid symptoms of motion sickness as we motored over the waves to where the whales were spotted off the coast.

Going up to the boat’s viewing roof, I found that riding those waves in a rain coat afforded me a nice, standing core exercise trying to stay balanced on the boat, minimizing dependence on the rails.

Movement with Forces training came into play staying out in the rainy, windy sea weather and exposing myself to the wet cold for a time. Cold, wet sea weather is a force.

Another force encountered was the motion of moving in circles on my feet on the top deck relative to the boat’s forward, swell-riding motion. The circling was to scan the ocean’s surface for whales and other sea animals, while keeping balance, orientation, and trying to mitigate motion symptoms. This was a unique experience. I might have slogged through it, jetting along with the experience incidentally, and trying to avoid the elements as sources of discomfort instead of sources of mind-body training.

Instead I decided to consciously engage the ride as a crossing of training dimensions, and I thoroughly enjoyed it while witnessing the stunning beauty of the NW coasts and isles. Along with others I got to share ocean air and space with killer whales, humpbacks, sea lions, porpoises, and varied seabirds. The salt on the air, the relaxing of the boat’s fellow riders, and the graciousness of the husband-wife captain-naturalist team really enhanced our day.

Our walks in the rainy city gave us many chances to negotiate the architectural inclines, hilly city blocks, and wall tops as we used our feet to move through the concrete, glass, and steel mountains. The sea air blowing between them was a bonus. After much cool weather walking about, you can imagine that fish and chips, coffee, and hot chocolate called out to us a time or two. Let me also recommend the practice for parents of safely holding hands with your child in the city, and swinging him over the lines, manhole covers, sidewalk designs, and props found along the city course. I think switching sides and getting both arms in on the child swing is a good practice. Teaching city safety  and enjoyment awareness at the same time is a bonus. During these walks, sudden footraces are known to break out, too. Race you to that monument — to that hydrant — to that vent – to that tree…

Our bicycle outing was just plain fun in the sunshine viewing the mountains we hadn’t been able to see for the clouds for three days straight. And walking some sandy, shelly, mossy, and very clean inner beaches came with the cycling trip through Stanley Park.

We had no time to hit all the most advertised destinations, but we saved a list for another time if it comes available.

To counter the experience of sitting on planes, trains, and automobiles, I used the symmetrical carrying and lifting of luggage, treating it as if I were carrying kettlebells, and keeping the exercises with it closer-in and less conspicuous so as not to embarrass family too much. This included lunging it, squatting to lift it, shrugging it, variable one and two armed rows, curling it, shouldering it, and the like. Same with the carry on back pack. Luggage that I carry is often between 35 and 40 pounds, and serves nicely as a clunky kettle bell by the top handle. I also kick it up with my foot when putting it on wheels and pulling the handle out to pull it. Sitting in airport seats I am able to do wrist curls with my luggage, propping wrists on knees and grasping the top handle.

Trips can afford more than in my laziness I took advantage of.

The Story of an FEIAA Meeting and Book Signing

What a privilege to sit down and talk with Federal Executive Institute alumni and friends last night. These professionals brought up a host of great topics. We talked gluten freedom, how eating, drinking, and sleeping are self-trainable behaviors, and how intelligent attunement can benefit us in every dimension of physical action as well as perception. These civilian and military public servants, technical, and knowledge workers spoke in ways revealing their high accomplishment, and by their intelligence had found the many packaged fitness offerings in the marketplace unfulfilling or unsustainable. We also discussed the texture of real life: traumas, shadows, and challenges in daily life. Being with intelligent people can be a good time, but being with intelligent, feeling people is the best of times, and that is what last night’s gathering was like.

We talked nuts and bolts: Muscle, Mileage, Mobility, Midsection/Core, Mountains’ Meaning, and more. Everyone in attendance had been athletic in their lives whether they considered themselves so or not, and I made sure to point this out first of all. We must be clear about our identities, that we are among other wonderful truths, mind-body entities capable of athleticism in physical sport, art, and work. Yes, the basic adaptive physical training pathways can expand to intellectual and for some, spiritual athleticism.

On the sheer material side, a la Steve Martin in The Jerk, needing to hold onto some possessions on an anniversary date when I had once felt I’d lost everything, I brought some self-comforting props for my presentation. Rip’s Fire Engine 2 (TM) Plant Strong cereal (my strength), and Toblerone (TM) swiss chocolate (my weakness). They seemed like the props to bring at the time.

Along with a box of books and a gym bag with all I needed, I walked into Breckenridge Craft Colorado, home to craft beers and LoDo Denver venue-name dropping. You may remember our former mayor and now Governor Hickenlooper owned a restaurant in LoDo (Lower Downtown), where rough-hewn, red-brick mellow-looking pubs and brewers fill old warehouse buildings near lofts where nearly everyone walking around down there looks like they do Pilates during breakfast, Yoga during lunch, and feed intravenously through a liquid food bladder while running long distances through dinner.

Well, that may be an exaggeration but I’ll tell you what is not: most people living in downtown lofts are single, young, career starters enjoying urban life to the fullest, and throwing their pliable youthful bodies into one or two training modalities, sometimes not really bothering with long range thinking. They live close to their white collar work. They’re busy on various levels, but many don’t yet know the change that comes with rising in the ranks of responsibility, having a family, and having more and more people they are responsible for (at which time they often move out of the lofts). That doesn’t make them lesser or lazy, they just fill more of their time focusing on self-development than other-development because of their phase in life. Logic says juggling a one bean bag business is easier than juggling and adapting to three or more bean bags’ businesses…

Leading me to the course of our discussions last night: How do those with hairy schedules at work and home, extra-curriculars in the community, and little time to themselves make changes that temper for them a sound, powerful training life with consistency, excellence, and purpose? How do they overcome the crushing, conflicting, Hoi Polloi of Expectation-a-Legal living and not become unhealthy?

That is what Farm Your Training Day was written to begin answering. It contains many specific guidances on HOW, not just statements and restatements of a vague vision. I couldn’t convey all of it in one sitting and standing. What I could convey are some of the broad brush adaptive training principles and dimensions, and suggest that the fullness of these is in the book. This includes illustrations, guidances, sources, stories, and some visualizable details over 276 pages and 17 chapters without pictures.

All I can say is, after reading the book, which is not a Polly-Anna Manifesto by any stretch, and which takes a look at the mundane and dramatic obstacles to a consistent training life that would wear us down and make us unhealthy, I think people find not only bedrock to stand on within themselves, but a process of remolding their bedrock again and again from the interior life. Their training lives spring out of this aquifer of intelligent, planned and unplanned energy and movement within that connects with the world around them. The book maps forward, not ‘out.’ I say forward, because every reader is invited to be the pioneer who adds to this map, innovates, and improves the book by going into other principles and dimensions of adaptive training.

I know something of what there is and wrote a book about it, yet part of that is seeing that I do not know the limits of what is possible.

‘Farm Your Training Day’ Book Signing Event Downtown Denver at Federal Executive Institute Alumni Gathering

Federal Executive Institute Alumni Association

The Federal Executive Institute Alumni Association (FEIAA) consists of graduates of professional education programs of the Federal Executive Institute, serving federal government executives building on their talents, skills, and abilities for public service. It’s area alumni are gathering in Denver for a reunion and refresher tomorrow.

As part of those FEIAA proceedings I’ve been privileged to facilitate a conversation about my book Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness. I will also sign-off on copies of the book for those in attendance who add it to their training libraries. I am looking forward to learning more about the adaptive training needs of these busy professionals.

I have Michael Anderson to thank for the privilege of meeting with his fellow alumni, and hope that everyone in attendance will come away with something permanent on which to build and improve as leaders of their own training lives.

After the event I’d like to post what I learned from a discussion of adaptive training with a group of dedicated professionals whose lives are quite busy. Public service can be an intense challenge, and work-life balance will figure into our conversation. More soon!