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.

 

To My CrossFit Friends: Try Adaptive Training for the Long Haul

Adaptive training is sustainable, body-wise, and freer compared to many manifestations of CrossFit. CrossFit has gems to offer, but I believe they were borrowed gems. Those gems were adopted from elsewhere and combined in a “Box,” or a “crucible.” The toughest gems came from elite forces training, that is, combat training. Do or die training. Still, part of military training, even elite military training, is readiness. And readiness involves recovery, and non-injury. If you’re injured, you’re not ready. If you don’t recover properly, injury risk spikes.

For some that may have temporary appeal, especially to younger people. Yet younger people lack experience, and seldom see conflicts of interest in business models that target them. Young people often appear non-conformist…all at the same time in the same way. It is a vulnerable time. And some people are lonely. Lonely as hell. The comradeship they lack they may seek in an intense, physical, shared experience. For that reason, they are less likely to see those conflicts of interest lurking.

Let’s think outside the Box a bit. What is a healthy versus unhealthy gift of individual power to a culture or authority for mind-body training? Some CrossFit groups may dial-in a healthy balance in their approach, especially after recent controversy. On the other hand, there are the other reports:

Getting Fit Even If It Kills You

CrossFit’s Dirty Little Secret

Idea Fit Discussion

Navy Times

How CrossFit Forges Elite Failure

And you can Google the rest of the negatives, of which there are many.

On the other hand, you will also find the positives and Google them too. Any CrossFit member or gym owner will be more than happy to tell you the positives. Yet others will say if you aren’t committed, they don’t want you. And I’d say you should be ready to respond with a laugh at that manipulation game. Just remember, not every useful wonder of chemistry is good to mix at the same time. You can get hurt or die from the ensuing explosion or gaseous poisoning. True it is also of training. Excesses are not consistent with durable endurance or sustainable fitness, and therefore excesses in training are not always consistent with readiness.

Military, sport, art, and work readiness is about fitness and conditioning, but training isn’t about getting injured, it is about proofing against it when the real thing trained for is going on. Studies in stress inoculation make it just as much about mindset, adaptive sleeping, recovery, and rewiring after traumatic experiences. The stresses are measured and periodized by time of exposure and response during training. Check out this summary of researched-supported points in the work of Lt. Col. David Grossman, specifically:

Section three describes the mental attitude necessary to be a warrior. The book goes into greater detail about stress inoculation and its importance to effective, realistic training. There are also some important training principles outlined.

Principle 1: Never “Kill” a Warrior in Training. Learners are expected to complete a scenario even if hit, stabbed or shot. As a trainer, tell them, “You’re not dead until I tell you you’re dead!” Don’t give up, always win.

Principle 2: Try to Never Send a Loser off Your Training Site. Have your participants go through a scenario as many times as necessary in order to have them succeed. Scenarios designed to make the trainee look foolish or fail just prove that the training designers are jerks.

Principle 3: As a Trainer, Never Talk Trash about Your Students. Don’t ridicule or try to tell funny stories about the last trainee who tried to complete your scenario. Your role as a trainer/leader is not only to pass along knowledge but also to inspire. You cannot do this when you are not respected. If criticism is to be given, give it in private. If praise is warranted, do so publicly.

I’m sure this could include: don’t give Rhapdo to your trainees. Don’t injure your troops in training so they are disabled for the real fight.

But are you training for combat? It is as much about mindset, and handling what your body does. Listen:

LTC David Grossman interview.

So to some extent CrossFit, run by those who are trained coaches, can achieve some of these training goals. Yet not everyone is training to be a warrior any more than every tool in a toolbox is a hammer. However, even military training leaves boot camp behind and graduates into a more sophisticated, measured, and periodized experience over time. It mixes individual control with leadership. Most individual civilians who are training for combat don’t have the rest of the training. They are not warriors per-se, but want to be ready for what this society teaches them to fear — which is about everything. Which begs the question: should training be motivated by fear? Or should training be inspired by the commitment to master fear?

For now, let’s discuss.

Breathing

Breathing works from the inside out, radiating gentle forces outward from within the body, expanding the musculature, then easing, expanding, then easing-up; all the while nourishing cells, over and over like the ocean waves. So basic, yet so beneficial.

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The Reset

Let the Reset happen. Your mind lets go of the intractables, puts them back into your heart, where the mysterious storms, the lightening, the oceanic forces of the Source break them up and produce a path forward for you.

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Angela’s Promise

Angela's Promise

That’s what I’m calling this one. Click on the photo to read her latest update. She’s a fellow WordPresser to all here whose ultra running blog Run Nature and reflective blog Mind Margins inspire many. She also happens to have taken the gloves off to fight with cancer at present, and I encourage everyone sharing community here to visit her blog and sound off their support and heartfelt encouragement for ultimate victory and much peace and goodness despite the hardship she is shouldering with a smile every day.

Now Available at Lulu.com: Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness

It’s official. Click on the book cover icon at the upper right side of this screen, and you can go there. The E-book will be available in about one week. For now, it is print on demand, with some extra cost of production. I tried to set as reasonable a print price as possible considering all factors. You can also click here:

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

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

Intelligent Shoulder Training

Here are some quick references on addressing shoulder pain, discomfort, or impingement:

Training with Shoulder Pain (from Athletic Trainer, Strength and Performance Coach Keith Scott, see qualifications)

A Guide to Shoulder Pain (from Movement and Strength Coach Ryan Brown, see qualifications)

And a nod of thanks to USA Wildwater for this very useful graphic from U. of Illinois:

Shoulder – Rotator Cuff Pain

Coming Unglued

When the body seems stuck together like undrained spaghetti, there is nothing quite like getting into the pool to loosen up. Maybe you’ve had a particularly grueling run, or intensive boot camp type workout, or cross-fit or any new challenge to your muscles, joints and connective tissues. Water can help.

Alternately moving, breathing and floating (relaxing) in the water is key. Whether you’re swimming or some form of aquatic exercises, consider the small price of admission well worth the benefits to flexibility, circulation, decompression and breathing.

Recreation centers are very useful, just in case you need assistance, say for example you get a cramp, or for any reason. More on that later.

unglue yourself

water required

Day 11 After Half Marathon: Post Run Cold, Training In The Recovery & Feel

run onSaturday, Day 7 after September 22nd’s Half Marathon was my first day running again. I’d been sick after the run with a full on cold. I’d held it off a long while and the run cinched it.

Saturday was also a vacation day away from my usual haunts, and when I stepped out to run, I was asked how far. I didn’t know, it depended on how I felt, I said.

4.5 miles later in 100F territory, running steep hills and enjoying more oxygen at 2,000 feet above sea level instead of 5K plus, I was feeling pretty good with the sweating and circulation. It wasn’t too soon to get back into it. Major symptoms were over with, and all that was left was getting the bad stuff out. The run helped.

Since, other than lugging luggage, I logged one muscle work day yesterday on Day 10. I hit my goal, working at medium intensity, and hit the sack early. No reason to over-do it, and no reason to under-do it. It felt right.

Learning to listen to that inner voice when it listens to all systems and rings true is key in the art of recovery. That goes for all circumstances, sick or well.

And today came an opportunity for a few miles walking with someone I wanted to converse with. A double benefit.

Now I am thinking of the next event, the next goal. More on that soon. Thanks as always for being here.

Post Race Recovery Guidance from 3 Highly Respected Running Coaches & How M7Adapt Prepared Me for my First Half

For those who race or run free, here are some links on post-race, post run recovery:

Coach Jenny at Runner’s World and Coach Jenny at Active.com.

Coach Jeff Galloway.

Coach Hal Higdon.

Each of these running coaches will also have a training schedule that lasts for many weeks before you race, and these are great resources for anyone who wants to run better.

What you are looking for is sustainability in your training life, and consulting experienced coaches and trainers can help you get there.

M7Adapt is a fitness approach that is multi-dimensional and trains more aspects of the body and mind than endurance. However, when you want to race or delve deeper into the sport and art of running, it is wise to seek out experienced coaches and do your homework.

My personal experience before my first half-marathon September 22nd was to train myself by feel, run staggered mileages that increased week to week leading up the marathon, and listen to my body’s feedback during this process for what to do next, and how to do it.

One adaptation I consciously decided on was to run the Half instead of the full marathon. I had been training in M7Adaptive principles then decided about four months out to run a marathon. It was contingent on uninterrupted, increased training runs throughout the period. Well, as happens to so many of us, up came the many items clamoring for my time, to include family needs, travel, work, and more. I needed to adapt my approach to this run, not force myself into it or drop it altogether. So I decided on the Half when training was interrupted to the point that I felt right about the change.

I’m glad I did. I’m suffering no post-run injury, and I was able to sustain a 10 minute pace. Four days out soreness has all but subsided. I got a cold my child had after my race, as my immune system was vulnerable. So that has also been part of my recovery. With M7 Adapt, I had been incorporating distance training of several kinds (run, hike, elliptical, swim) with other modalities of training over time, so this created a basis for me to be able to train for 3 months and bring my average per mile pace down 2 minutes on race day compared with my run-free times 3 months prior. That felt right, and I enjoyed the run so much I am likely to seek out events and races in the future.

Adaptation to this 13.1 mile event from the M7Adapt routine was successful, beneficial and worked well. That is my goal for my clients. That they may use M7Adapt principles and training dimensions to build a comprehensive personal constitution that enables them to do, try and pursue many different sports, arts or work challenges.

Thanks, as always for spending some time here.

Take time to recover

Recharge, reflect, renew…