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.
One versatile training aid I like is the balance disc. For me, it provides fluid, varied and continuous opportunities for warming, limbering and strengthening the lower legs, core balance muscles and stabilizing connectors.
Here are some general training options for the balance disc and similar training items. And here are some balance training journal articles you may wish to add to your library. A balance disc is not the only product for balance, of course, but one I focus on here because I’ve used balance discs to advantage.
PHOTO EXAMPLE: The FitBALL balance disc
READ AND UNDERSTAND INSTRUCTIONS FOR USAGE OF ANY PIECE OF EQUIPMENT. STAY WITHIN THEM AND DON’T USE THE EQUIPMENT OUTSIDE OF ITS RECOMMENDED USE. IF YOU HAVE DIZZINESS OR BALANCE ISSUES, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR AND / OR TRAINER FAMILIAR WITH YOUR CONDITION AND CAPABILITIES ABOUT THE ADVISABILITY OF USING ANY PRODUCT THAT CHALLENGES BALANCE AND STABILITY MUSCLES AND STRUCTURES. EXERCISE CAUTION AND COMMON SENSE. HAVE A SAFE BACKUP METHOD, SPOTTER OR PHYSICAL SAFETY AID TO RECOVER FROM LOSS OF BALANCE.
See Also: ALL MANUFACTURER’S and / or SELLER’S disclaimers, instructions, recommendations and warnings for inflation, use and maintenance.
Some ideas and Guidelines:
The way I work on the balance disc depends on my sense of feel in the moment but generally begins with a need to loosen, warm up and strengthen the muscles, stabilizers and connective tissues surrounding my knees, ankles and my feet. It can come before and after other training. It can be a focused form of training all in itself, not just a warm up or after training stretch.
I start by standing on the disc for intervals of time. I use it on one foot, both feet, and or one knee or both knees. Some will use it in chairs to improve circulation and core muscles while sitting. I try to increase the amount of time I stay on the disc, whether still and in control, or wobbling, adjusting, shaking or losing my stance and stepping off. I go for symmetry in time training both sides.
This functional training device may not be for everyone, but I have personally found it helps to gradually work and loosen lower body muscles and connectors that can become tight, inflexible and glued-up throughout the lower body.