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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Awaken The Athlete Hydration & Supplements

All the work no matter how much, never hit its best until I started to really hydrate.  Ive never been a water person and had to really work on it.  I wanted the results bad enough and was elluded by that next level in my fitness, so it was part of the game I finally got together around 2008.
It took me years, taking in maybe 2 liters per day on a good day.  When I upped that to a gallon I was amazed.  Once I got 2 gallons in per day I was in the best health and shape of my life.  Everything came faster, stronger and easier.  Efforts showed more results than previously.
Aside that, the health benefit of actually feeling better with health issues that are normally such a pain, in my face, sometimes taking me from normality for weeks…..all better.  I was actually able to decrease some of the Asthma med dosages, it was amazing!  IBS and headaches almost became nonexistent.

Everyone always asks, 'don't you pee a lot?'.  No, I did a bit more at first but my body levelled it all out.  I don't have a 'small girly bladder' lol.  Some people do get that but it does level out to some degree.  Of course the extreme of what I was taking was in reference to my goals, the training intensity and frequency, the higher protein diet, higher amount of supplements and making sure to keep a balance in that extreme with everything by increasing the water too.  You eat for it, drink for it, do what you need.  I would take a gallon per day ideally, if not competing, just on the norm…..ideally. ;P

If you take in sodas, booze and foods that need more water, then it should be increased on those days.

Try to average 2 liters per day, it’s a good goal and safe unless otherwise suggested by the doctor.

Supplements is a huge category but I want to stick with the theme of going general and covering ones I think are safe.  Supplements are not written in stone, you don't HAVE to use them but for those lacking on something, well that’s what it's for no?  Supplement?

Here are a few 'go to' supplements that I really like to use or suggest.

Vitamins / Minerals is a basic, I really feel most of us do not get all we need in our diets unless you are a saint!  I add these and some particular ones that I know I need for my health or for regular exercisers.

Vitamin C which helps aid in repair or everything, it helps recovery and does help keep away colds if used preventative.
Sometimes I add extra vitamin E and a B complex to help with the effects of higher training seasons, when I go harder, the body demands more and I  notice my immunity and fitness build benefits.
Magnesium, helps relax muscles in turn if you get neck issues and headaches or aches, this will alleviate it and help with DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness.  Water and a lot of the list help with DOMS.
Calcium and potassium, also when I start to diet down or amp up my training hours and intensity. Magnesium, calcium and potassium reduce cramping situations, as a bonus for those who tend to cramp and do not have issues drinking water.  Water is also a help for cramping, it’s a help for all really.
Glutamine, this is a wonder!  It helps muscles repair from training but has also helped people I work with outside of exercise, for health issues that cause muscle pains.
I like creatine, some get upset stomach or bloat, for me its always done what its supposed to, fill muscles holding more water in them, boost in umph for muscle and cardio endurance as well as a bit more push in strength tolerance.  Recovery and lactic acid flushing is another thing I notice with this supplement, but this one can affect everyone a bit different so its up to you.  I do well with monohydrate, there are many types, I tried a few like serum and citrate but I did not notice as much as the monohydrate which is very basic.
I love chromium, kelp and dandelion to help leaning and I get along well with these, not everyone has the same reactions.  My clients who have tried these for their needs had no issues, positive results but were guided to proper dosage in relation to them.
I like to add spirulina to my shakes (plus other things like chlorella and chlorophyll) which is safe unless you have seafood allergies of any kind.  This has pages on its benefits.
Of course I use protein powder, less now than when I began years ago, my diet rotates mainly on food with supplements used as just that, supplement.  I don't live on this stuff instead of food.
Just make sure to do a ton of research before trying anything.

I know there a ton of ones I dabble in and out of, many common ones you probably wonder why are not on the list.  They are not bad, just that these are your bare bones, others start to get personalized.  No right or wrong……. Just what fits your needs at the time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Awaken The Athlete What and How to Eat?

If you can look at food in a few ways you can really have fun with the benefits and pleasures it can bring.  Food can be a treat, the taste, texture and fun of cooking (for those who enjoy that part) is all superficial benefits of enjoyment and awesome aspects of food.  The social and career aspects of food can all be very exciting.  We need to refocus the 'enemy' attitude toward fitness, nutrition AND our body, to something more positive which will give you better chances at success.

Food looked at as chemicals, nutrients and science can also be of great benefit.  The clarity of a more well rounded understanding can catapult you into a confidence with your health and fitness that eliminates frustration, that feeling of being out of control, lost when it comes to this important part of your daily life.
You have no choice but to deal with eating, it’s a necessity.  The best option is to have fun with this, enjoy that part of your daily life and use it to your advantage all day everyday.  You will hear opposing info, changing data and new study findings all the time when it comes to diet and food but its safest to take it all in with a grain of salt.

Nutrients are pertinent as needed, specific to each individual.  Being in touch with the posts I wrote up until this point will help you understand what I am talking about at a deeper level.  You want to read nutrition info and keep up to date with the science but not to overwhelm yourself and turn you off.  Some things will apply and some are just good to know that could come into play later on.  You are an empty encyclopedia filling in the pages as you live, with some subjects covering a few volumes!  Some of the ideas you learn will become second nature to you and some may already be, the rest is more learning and expanding.

Learning about food benefits, their personal nutrient factors, new science about them, and experimenting new foods, recipes, ethnic takes on foods are the best ways to get your own beat on point.  Many times its not all about flavor profile, there is a lot of science tied to flavor, color, what grows where and who uses what types of foods focused to their part of the world.

Mind and Emotion
I always believe in seeking solutions through fitness and nutrition.  But sometimes I forget, put up with things and don't look at my intake or food solutions because I get used to putting it off as Im moving about into the things that hold 'priority' in my day.  Exactly what I tell people not to do!  For example, I am prone to frequent aura migraines and know how to prevent that but until one comes on and debilitates me I ignore the signs before hand when I can just take in extra magnesium to prevent it.  So then it comes on, Advil to the rescue, and I am grateful for that but had I been on balance I could have skipped it all.  We go through the day with aches, kinda notice them but just ignore it until its too loud to ignore.  Some of us do not even realize you can maybe fix or prevent that with your diet.  Time goes on, you suffer or get worse.  What I want to do is see if we can get you aware earlier on and reassure you that you can do something trying changes in diet first.

Catching it is the key.  Do the best you can, over time I noticed I get better at it and so will you. Now I look at some of the basics as soon as I am aware, usually the culprit for me is 'not enough water'. So Simple yet so impactful.

That alone makes such a difference to all my body functions.  Mental and emotional, motivation, positivity are also hugely affected by what we eat and regular exercise... but getting on the eating right and exercise track if you are in the low place can be hard to catch on to.  If you can jump that gap the rest of it flows, the chemicals do their thing.
As I had referred to in the Edge Effect book, food really can affect your mood, your drive.  Sounds logical and most of us know this but we don't really take it as seriously as we should.  I was amazed at the immediate difference in my emotional state when I increased my gaba intake in mild easy ways. and this was during a time I was exposed to a load of external stresses classified as 'extreme'.
My bodies response to the gaba was likened to what people describe when they are given drugs to balance them and it works for them.  Sometimes we are there so long we don't realize that is not a normal state and that there is better, so you live complacent.  For me, a few extra walks, walnuts and spinach was one of the many easy solutions to increase my gaba balance.  I did get some gaba tablets when I was not eating right, and there were even more easy ideas I could have applied.

There are multiple choices for your multiple personal health needs.  There are many great foods that heal some, yet can kill others.  My body loves nuts, yours may be allergic and it will die exposed to nuts.  Can I drill enough how individual everything is???  No, and I do it to keep you all on the lower end of frustrating yourself.

I am not going to write a book here with lists of foods, their benefits and each situation where it may apply but what I will do is tell you what to look for and how to apply it to you.  Some direction toward what you may want to look at when making choices and tools that work for you.  Of all the listed below, I have highlighted the ones you may want to learn about that are simpler and safer, fitting a variety of personalities.  No bad or good, just what I found are the most generally effective.  I added links so that you can click the diet to direct you to basic details but do not hesitate to search beyond those pages further into each subject that interests you.

Phytochemical dominant diet, plant based diets (flexitarian, ornish, Asian, anti inflammatory, macrobiotic), colors of food or chakra based diet, gluten free, wheat free, raw, vegetarian variations.

Diet types - food combining diet and alkaline diet, separation or Hay diet (colon health specific), Intermittent Fasting (less meals per day), frequent eating,  body type diet (mesomorph, ectomorph, endomorph), Hyper and Hypo caloric diets which are basically low cal (900-1200cals per day) or higher cal (2500+ per day) diets.

Proteins - high protein diets, paleo, Atkins.  Theres a ton of info you can search online for these.

Carb focused diets of simple or complex and best choices for you.

Fats - fat based dieting like atkins or efa focused.   High in nuts, fish, butter, pure fats close to nature but in higher amounts of 30% or more of the diet, to train the body to depend on fats for energy and also for health issues.

Salt, salt load and deplete - I say don't mess with this, try for a natural balance unless you are on restrictive.  We need sodium, its a mineral, we need a balance of minerals on the norm.

Fad diets - lemon or master cleanse diet, cabbage diet, banana diet, liquid diets, Mediterranean diet, French girl diet, grapefruit diet, diabetic diet, plus of course the system type diets such as weight watchers, jenny craig, nutrisystem and the list goes on.  You can search all of these online.  The French Girl and Mediterranean diets are prob the least risk of the bunch.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Awaken The Athlete Nutrition

Nutrition is Everything

With the training plan on the go we can look more closely at nutrition which is the most important piece. Food is the key component to your health and fitness results. This is usually the thing to look at when you feel you are stagnant or not getting the results you think you are putting in the training for.

Frequency of meals, calories in and out, amounts of each meal, macro components of your intake in reference to your goals can be so confusing. As I mentioned before, you will find all types of conflicting information and its not your job to figure out what is valid or not, just to find ideas to try out that feel right for you. If its not then you change it up again but you have to start somewhere and try in order to know. That is your job, to find what works for YOU.

I know for my situation I have to look at this carefully due to added factors that affected my body beyond the weight loss. Its common after an extreme health/life stress to have left over side effects. When you get undernourished for awhile the effects extend to thinner hair and hair loss including the eye lashes, dehydration causing the skin to look more wrinkled and older, nail and bone health to deteriorate, and the brain to barely function. The lack of water intake on my part also caused the present health issues to escalate. My whole digestive function is not working properly and I am hoping I do not have permanent damage but I guess I will find out in a few months if things improve. I hope the health changes bring me back and have faith that fitness and nutrition will be my key, not doctors and medications. Had enough of that for many lifetimes.

I will talk about hydration more deeply this week but I am sure water is something you will need to look at too. Most people do.
If you take in less than a liter per day, you need to start looking at increasing your water intake from whatever it is you drink now.

Not everyone needs supplementation but there are options for those who do, who cannot eat enough to get what they may be short on. Your lifestyle and fitness intensity will also have an impact on this personal formula. Another topic for this week.

I would also like to write about Food Prep since that one is huge. I will touch on the various types of diets such as vegan or paleo.

How goes the training so far? ;)))   My body is responding like a thirsty traveler in the desert....its sucking it up and showing fast results.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Awaken The Athlete The Tweak

After yesterday's stats you may have noticed a few standout things. Most people will have stand out 'things' that coincide with all the conclusions you made so far or add to it to round out the plan of attack.

I made notes by my measurements, knowing well all my previous ones in the past years. If you don't have anything to compare to then good thing you got some now! The pictures can tell you a whole lot! If you can stop focusing on the fact that its you, the imperfections you normally pick on or the 'fat' or whatever issue, you may see some alignment issues that are or could be potential aches, injuries…… pay attention to this. When you train make sure you pay attention to those areas as you move, your form, watch the mirror. These spots usually don't move right when you train but you don't notice because it feels normal. Or it's an area that has been aching or nagging but you ignore it or work through it hoping it leaves, or thinking that this is just how it is for you. That maybe the case but do not just gloss over this stuff, keep it in awareness and always give it proper attention regardless.

The lighter marks on these pics confirm the areas I want to firm or build or shape, the red marks show areas that are not happy right now! These areas I am aware of chronically but have been ignoring and forgot about it until saw these pics. Immediately a few things stood out and I know where it's from and why but it needs additional stuff like special stretching and conditioning components added into my program. My knee will benefit, the imbalances in calve size and legs will improve along with the other areas based on my program and as the program progresses. The shoulder and neck issue will not get better if I ignore it, it will bitch more and hinder daily function, cause discomfort and start to affect sleep but until those things happen I may not notice! I'm on it now.

Take a good look at your before pics structurally and look for imbalances that stand out and think about, research how to improve the situation with exercise, stretching and conditioning. Common things are shoulders like mine show in my pics, hips off, twist in stance through the spine which shows more in back shots, side shots can show poke neck, lazy abs. Search postural assessments and you will quickly pick out what you need. Palms naturally facing back means your chest needs stretching and its tight, postural muscles need work. Try it!

Everything is set, get going now. Nutrition will be focused on next week and as we go we touch on the training, exercises and some cool new trends.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Awaken The Athlete Workout Program

Are you ready?
Do you have some type of plan idea outlined? Are you mentally prepped and know where your benchmark is? Then lets begin our workouts and start looking at nutrition well over the next few weeks! If not, start reading this series from the beginning ;)))

My plan is going to like this:

Frequency: 3-5 days per week weights choosing 3-6 of the listed exercises, choosing one per session of the ones listed beside the muscle group doing 3-6 muscle groups per session.

  • Squats (Barbell, Sumo, Single Leg or Pistol) (I will pick one of these to do each session, having some flexibility and choice) 
  • Glutes (Butt Blast, Hip Extension, Heel Prints, Weighted Hip Lift) 
  • Knee (Various inner and outer thigh choices, picking one of each) 
  • Shoulders (Single Side Delt Raises, Overhead Press, Rear Delt Pulls or Lifts with Cable or DB) 
  • Core (Vsits, Hanging Leg Raises to Head, Pikes on ball or TRX, Crunches) 
  • Upper Body (One arm Pushups, Pullups and probably do both) 
  • Arms (DB Hammer Curls, Lying DB Tri Extension, Tri Dips feet up with weight, Chins)

Cardio: 0-3 times per week spin very mild for 30-45 mins.

Yoga: daily, specific to heart chakra with added yogic chakra breathing and meditation

Sets & Reps: I have a good idea of the weight I will be using which is moderate relative to me. The sets and reps will fall at 2-3 sets of 10-12 for heavier work and for core and lighter work or conditioning, I will be doing 2-3 sets of 15-25

My umbilicus skinfold reading today came to: 17% bodyfat (I know this is super accurate, and I am fine staying at this until pre comp.)

My weight today sits at: 117lbs (I need to gain at least 10 good lbs of muscle and hydration)

Measurements taken on right side in inches:
  • Chest: 36 
  • Arm: 11.5 relaxed, 12 flexed (this will go up)
  • Waist: 27 (this won't move much)
  • Belly Button: 31.5 (this may drop a tad)
  • Hip: 35 (I need to gain at least an inch of muscle and firming here)
  • Thigh: 20 (here I cry...... 4 inches lost at least, that I need to gain back, the left maybe a tad bigger)
  • Calve: 13 (lost an inch here, I don't need to focus on this, it will go up)
Short post today, loaded with raw data. Tomorrow we round out the summary for this week, goals based on this weeks stats and its consistency with the weeks prior.  Does it coincide with the info you put together the weeks previous, blending that info and how to realistically set and achieve your now general, initial goals?

Here is an example of the comparison poses listed in my Body Comp sheet 2 posts ago.  These are my before photos, taken today.  They are raw and real and helpful to see changes over the months when you retake them again.
Front Relaxed
Front Double Bicep
Back Relaxed
Back Double Bicep

Thank you to Cindy Legare for the comfy Legare Wear Shorts.

Awaken The Athlete Assessments

There are a plethora of assessments to choose from, its endless. In reminding you about goals and being realistic, just stick with what fits. We are still keeping this interesting, motivating, personal and focused on consistency. No excuses, no one area will be used for sabotage, only to keep you informed and on track.

Go ahead and search around online, see what's out there. You can assess almost every 'overall to detailed aspect of your body', health and performance no matter if you are sick or injured, athlete, recreational or just seeking wellness.

I had previously mentioned Eric Braverman and his book 'The Edge Effect' which can be pertinent to certain individuals. You can assess your mind physically vs mentally. Assess if the physical make up based on your chemicals due to eating habits is what now affects your mental such as depression, sadness, lack of motivation, feeling lost and so on. Believe it or not even the simplest of times you feel off can first maybe be solved with minor eating and exercise practices including mind quieting work which can be coupled with physical and stretching.

Some of the ideas are great for those of you who are thorough and have the time and interest. Here are some more assessment suggestions you may want to tack onto this journey to make your program holistic. These are geared to hit a variety of people and their interests or lifestyle. Not all of these will interest all of you nor be needed.

I will try to add some links here to take you to online freebies of some tests or where you can purchase the book/tools/info. I cannot promise the links will last over time. Most of the Body assessments can be searched online with numerous choices.

The Edge Effect (improving mental, emotional and chemical brain state naturally with food)
Test Link
Eric Braverman website and more info

The Four Agreements (perspective clarity, positive thinking and unconditional living)
Info and site

6 Steps to a Professional Dreamer (clearing the mind of garbage and refocusing your mind to positive faith in outcomes)

Vertical Jump
Naturpathic Food Sensitivity Testing
One Rep Max


Biological Age Test (age by life experiences not chronology)

Dosha Test (Eastern practice based on body types and your characteristics to assess where you are dominant and how to balance this through exercise and diet)

Chakra Test (assessing blockages through the 7 main energies of the body, using diet, exercise, color, scent and nature influences to balance them)

Reflexology (pressure points in the foot tell about body blockages in your energy or chi and how it affects the organs)

Acupuncture (assess blockages in your meridians)

The last 2 could actually fit under all three categories and are very powerful ideas to check out. I've tested most of these myself and feel most comfortable suggesting ideas I have actually tried.

My protocol will work with testing I did this past few weeks with:
The 'Edge Effect' suggested exercise and food ideas to improve my Gaba intake
Chakra work for the area that had shown needs attention based on my recent Chakra Test.
I am going to set up a few reflexology appointments in the next few weeks to see the feedback while the work is done and match that info up with mine to see if it jives or if there are areas I missed, or maybe have improved and are not showing as an issue. I've never really had this formally.

I love acupuncture and hope to find a new person, until then that is on hold, even so it’s a treatment, each appointment tells me where my body is at.

I tested my strength with some basic jumps for the knee and leg power, flexibility / splits and back bend testing, and these told me about my strength and agility at the moment as they are all great for an overall judgment.

I also like to go in for deep tissue and fascial massage as maintenance and treatment but again those sessions are almost like a test and each appt tells me about the progress.

I have not done the One Rep Max testing on myself since the 90s and 2000s, I don't feel I need this. I think its great for those with less years behind them or need these figures pertinent to your goals for sport etc.

I have found Dosha testing in the past to coincide with the Chakra testing which I did much more in-depth so I just stuck with that, but dosha testing is good for those who do not find basic chakra testing suitable and are not interested in getting into the longer term, more tedious attention involved with well rounded Chakra work, as shown in the book example I used. If you have the will, the time and ability, I highly suggest the Chakra book I list here, I went for a 49 week cycle and it made huge visible changes, improvements that were tangible but I was 88% on point and took the time and effort to commit and follow through and it did take up a lot of my day and evening with full focus on that only. At that time in my life I needed it and had the time to do it.

I think everyone should try the Biological Age test, its very interesting and will tell you a lot I promise. If you stick with the simple body comps and choose not to test yourself even with the basic cardio or strength tests that is fine. As long as you don't look back and say I wish I had at least one to compare to.

I also highly suggest pictures now, based on my body fat sheet in yesterdays post. Trust me on this one. Try to use the same clothes, mirror, room and distance to the mirror etc to keep it really comparable. You can X mark the spot with tape and keep it there for future comparison photos. I know many hate this part especially the before but you will adore them later and its something I always push for with clients. Never yet has any client regretted it no matter how painstaking it was to get agreement at first.

Tomorrow we look at our detailed plan ;)))

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Awaken The Athlete Body Measuring

Are you ready for your benchmark statistics? There are several simple to detailed ways to gather this information. If tedious details help you stick with it then by all means, use several of these ideas and thrive. If you need fast, simple, basic and not tedious then go for the basics like I am. I go for a simple umbilicus body fat caliper reading because for me it's pretty accurate in relation to my shape and symmetry. For some of you, you will want to go for a minimal of a 3 site body fat reading. There are protocols that have 7-9 sites, from neck down. There are expensive calipers but the 'Accumeasure' is affordable and great, very accurate.

It's nice if you can be consistent and accurate with each time you measure, doing it exact. Try, or get a professional who has practice to do this for you, there are thousands of links that outline body fat protocols and diagram exactly where to mark the sites and measure. The machines that do your body fat or the body fat by clothing sizes leave a big range but they will work and reflect changes over time. The machines are much less accurate so don't get frustrated with the volatile readings you may get from test to test.

I have a great scale that is pretty accurate with my weight, and know this by trying a few scales to compare. Having your weight is useful, it can go up even if you lose fat but are gaining muscle so don't freak over the ups and down, use it for your progress charting only, to see changes. At times for me I get leaner and it goes up, and I love it! Muscle is very dense and weighs more than fat so someone who looks bigger may actually have less muscle, body composition means fat, muscle, water, bones…….that's why I like to use a combo of these stats to narrow down a more accurate picture of where the physique really sits.

The day before you test, doing the test first thing being best, don't go on a salty food bender or booze.

You can read your scale before or after you pee, morning or night, but whatever you do just make sure it’s the same time each day and repeat the pattern. I like to weigh in first thing upon waking up and after a pee. Wear the same thing each time or go naked, but again just do it the same every time. Monthly is good enough for most of us, with me I change a lot fast and sometimes weigh weekly or bi monthly. Measurements I do not do more than once per month.

Measurement suggestions:
Chest, upper arm, waist circumference, belly button circumference, hips / glutes, thigh and calf with a tape measure. I would do at least the 3 site body fat of back, umbilicus and thigh. Ladies may want to add tricep too.

We will look at some other assessments tomorrow that focus on function, strength and flexibility of your body.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Awaken The Athlete Benchmarking

Welcome to Week 3 of my blog series and welcome back to those who have been reading along ;)))

This week we move into the benchmarking stage. You can keep it basic or detailed, it's up to you. Whatever will motivate you and keep you interested but not deter you.

I use numbers for markers to tell me about progress, not to judge where I am nor get negative feelings over it. So only use the statistics that you feel good about.

Numbers like calories, macros and nutrition labels, measurements, weight, bodyfat, strength/flexibility/posture/cardio tests are all there and you can do it all or work with a few that fit best with your end goals. Things get more specific to certain details if your goals are specific, such as health issues that need attention, weak areas that need conditioning or athletic improvements.

Some type of stats and assessment is needed. If you want to push past plateaus you want to have these benchmarks to help you learn what is working, what needs changing and keep you motivated as those stats improve. These are informational tools not something to obsess over. If you are going to get nuts over numbers then keep the stats general, basic and minimal. I have clients that will not use the scale or weight and although it is very helpful to me as trainer for a tool, I can work without it if it's going to throw my client off. Ironically I personally do not get thrown by weight or body fat too much even so those who have had eating disorders usually are encouraged not to use the scale. Recovery in clinical settings are usually not weighed. I get thrown off more if I don't have info to work with and like to have those benchmarks. Another point made about everyone does not fall under set standards. Lack of clarity for me is worse than any stats. Know yourself going in (referring to week 1 and 2 of this blog series).

We threw around ideas for the foundation of a workout and eating plan and this week we gather the last bits of info to get the program detailed. Refining the goals happens this week as we get your stats together, some summary of an assessment and finalize the first draft of our plan. It’s a draft because the chances are good you will make small adjustments as you test it out the first week.

I will use measurements although most times I use the mirror to see those changes, when I am pre contest it can be harder to see changes without them and because I am looking for specific increases in specific areas I am going to keep up my norm with tape measured areas, body fat and weight. I am starting underweight when normally its leaning I work on so I am not sure what to expect and going up in weight vs down in body fat is something I had not done repeatedly over the years. I played a bit in the gym the past 2 weeks to see where my body is at with strength, energy, flexibility. Stretched and did splits to see where they are at since I need to be very limber for Fitness routine work. I did squats, testing my pullups and a few tricks. This told me about my strength level and tolerance, especially today with the post workout soreness lol!

Most times you will find if you do this, you're not so much weak to lift but more so need to let the joints and connective tissue ease in. You may feel weak or muscle fatigue faster and easier if you’re a restarter or beginner, that goes away. Take a day or 2 off in between or just do stretch/yoga work or some mild cardio to help get that lactic acid out. The water intake will help and added minerals like magnesium are amazing to kill the post workout soreness. Another I suggest is glutamine to help with muscle repairs which come normally with training. Back to back workouts come quick, you won't need drastic days off in between training days once a week or so goes by. Even the areas you know will bark, due to arthritic conditions for example, will get less bitchy as you are training on the regular.

On a personal note it's great to feel the muscles again, the quads, the training soreness, although I may need to install a bar near the toilet to get up! Just the little bit of play this week, especially the squats showed me my knee really wants this. I was feeling the inner side of my knee, meniscus and lateral collateral when I did a bit of spin or stayed on my feet for long terms but doing the squats eliminated that completely just in a few sets, telling me my knee is going to respond happily to the training I am going to impose the coming weeks. I never did rehab it properly after my second repair in 2014 although it's never too late.

Tomorrow we will do the measurements to get you started off and then Wed we will look at some types of assessments to help you round out your data. Thursday I will show you my detailed program and hoping you will have drawn up something of your own to follow. I will supply some forms that you can follow, print out and use for tracking to guide you.

Friday will give us a summary by using the last bits of info we gather this week, solidifying our goals, commitment and the realistic plan toward achieving them. I suggest that some of you journal or blog your journey if you are the type that thrives from writing and enjoys data. It's also a great way to stay accountable, once you start writing or posting it helps drive the consistency. Nutrition will be more focused through the weeks to come. For now just get more water in you, eat every 2-3 hours making sure there's protein in each meal and that is already an amazing start. It will be easier to get the training going first then we can nitpick at the food part.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Awaken The Athlete Outlook

My feedback and outlook at the moment is positive.  The first few training sessions back can mean nausea, feeling weak or light headed especially if you were once fit and forget that you have to progress, going in a bit more pushy with your body than it can take.  My back tends to complain a bit at that stage too until its conditioned again by getting put through the paces.

I have to say that even so I did not get into major detail about my history with specifics I have enjoyed getting some of these things onto this blog. I will touch on a bit more detail in my personal situation. I faded from the fitness scene the past 3 years and it feels good to be getting back to it the way I used to be. It was a much bigger part of my life and day than it is now in reference to my workout, competing and being in Beastmode. I felt strong inside and out, I want that again!

Today I'm going to speak more about my outlook so far.

Up to now it's been touch and go over the past few months with keeping weight on, getting my body to accept food without nausea, double over pain, and headaches. The actual appetite and hunger had been almost nonexistent. For me the hard part here won't be the workouts so much as the eating. Many times I am forcing it because half the day had gone by and it took that long to work up to eat, once I eat the digestive machine is not working properly. There was this tug of war between knowing I needed to eat but my body telling me that if I tried it was coming right back out. Waiting out for times I was not nauseous meant a meal a day maybe? If I force it and it did return, I was a mess for a day or 2, who wants to eat after that? So it would be a fine line.

Last year I had tried a few things that seemed to help, since much of this is tied with stress and the mind. I still was light headed even just to stand up, and my weight lowered to 105. My brain could not function right with no fuel so I was between survival mode and warrior mode all while being in a fog, I made it through and now I am free externally………the next step is freeing the mind and heart. Awakening The Athlete.

I figured out that I am gaba deficient which is a brain chemical, one of a few major ones we have naturally that if off balance can make us feel as though we get stressed out easier, more sensitive, depressed and so on. If you google this, you will see most of us are gaba deficient and many get misdiagnosed with certain mental issues when its simple imbalance. Take the test, Eric Braverman is a doctor who is forefront on this subject, google him and his book the Edge Effect.

Doctors will usually give you prescriptions for these issues, pills that I personally have issues with. I have never taken anything outside Advil and asthma meds but I watched my borderline mother from 1989, when my father died and her doctor gave her benzodiazapines, slowly become an extreme mess of an addict. But this was a closet addict alcoholic, which I care gave for, for half of my life and abused by for the first half of my life from the moment I was born.

This is stuff people never see and would not believe if you told them, there is no help. It was from the point my dad died until she was finally driven to commit suicide by those who wanted to use her to get at my dad's house, for the money, where the addiction became tormenting to her and those around her. She had dementia progressively and different kinds coming from differing issue. This coercion was planned and was done in her end days, before that no one gave a hoot about her but me and no one was around no matter how many close calls she had. I kept her alive all those years and they came in and within months had her deteriorated.

This has a lot of things attached to it, my life was in danger, I was stalked, these people wanted the money and getting me out of the picture next was their objective at almost any cost. My mother had children before she met my dad, I was his only child. Anything legally or illegally was pulled by these individuals, a team of them trying to destroy me just to get money, and not a lot of it either. Its easy to recruit others when the possibility of money in their hands is present. These people did not need it and were expecting a lot more than they got out of the whole ordeal. I am sure there is more in this regarding vengeance for things that came into play before I was even born but now I am dealing with the emotional impacts this can have on someone. Sadly this was relatives by blood but it was non blood who used relatives to orchestrate this, so the battle for me was one against many, against lies and premeditated plans. I was clueless about this for years.

In the past 3 years there were times I had to come up with exorbitant amounts of money just to keep up the fight, I had to sell things, forfeit medications and food just to keep the lawyers getting some retainers so that 'they' would not succeed in making me destitute. I could barely work, but being I love my job and clients, work was a draw not deterrent. My dogs and work was the only thing that kept me from ending it at times.

There is so much more I can tell you that would turn you white……I think that’s enough detail now. You can probably imagine the magnitude of damage this caused my health. So this is why I am at a restarting stage and blessed to have survived this ordeal while making lemonade out of the lemons left over. I know many of you have things that affected you too, extreme stories no one hears about or empathizes with that affect your health and motivation but it's irrelevant, we need to ingrain the fact that….. We are to stand on our own feet so let's do it! One achieves a sense of invincibility when overcoming things, the bigger the 'thing' the more strength you breed.

Back to the gaba, I rather find natural options to help me than go on meds and I know its my answer.

I have tried some appetite options like astragalus tea and getting on the gaba which did start my healing last summer, but fell off the wagon when Diva died. I'm not saying drugs do not have their place and can help but make it the last resort.

Now that things are done and over with the external stresses that were being imposed, the ones inserting themselves into my life and trying to control and manipulate the situations around me for negative purposes, I am working my way back into the world slowly. I still need to spend time alone with constant meditation and quieting of the mind but I know the nutrition and exercise is the next logical step and I'm ready. I still get triggers from the oddest random things and look forward to the progress I know comes with the fitness portion of things. It's huge in helping mental and emotional, and that is a scientific fact!

I keep fluctuating from 115 to 117 and want to gain a bit more to get me to a place of health I am familiar with. I have several nutrition back up plans for my case.

Next week its stats and detailed plan. You get to take a peek into my workout, sets, reps, exercises, and diet plan. Learn new exercises to try, recipes to test and focus on the positive part of this process. I hope in this you are able to personalize my ideas and story to fit your needs.

You should have some draft of your plan at this point, polish it off and join me next week as I get my butt off this desk and into the gym and kitchen!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Awaken The Athlete Foolproof Fitness

Fool Proof execution
Scheduling & backup plans go with the flow
Even when you look at our time and frequency components for our workout and nutrition plans, life happens. You need a failsafe back up plan. Something you can do anywhere at anytime and do not depend on a gym or equipment in case you get stuck.

Nutrition is going to be addressed more as I post over the next few weeks but you want a failsafe back up for that as well.
The easiest thing to do is choose 3-6 exercises for your failsafe plan. Things that use bodyweight, work on areas you need conditioned and good old combo moves. Ab work, leg exercises and upper body work all have exercise options which work. For example to be fast and basic:

Single Leg Squats
Push ups
Horizontal Pullups
V sits (I am doing a version of this in the photo, on a bench using weights)

These are ways to challenge the body and get results even when you do not have equipment, if you are not in a workout setting or need to fit it in one at a time through the day spread out.  Even if this was your program you will get results but normally your back up plan is just that. Try to get your usually program in track if you have a day or 2 where the back up is used.

You can find healthy food options just about anywhere unless you live in the boonies! Even fast food joints now have egg white options, lean turkey, vegetarian, and more veggies on the menu. Most places have some type of fit choice in the menu but its not hard to ask for a grilled chicken breast or something like that even if not on the menu specifically. I like to suggest a small cooler or bin with nuts, some fruit, tuna and can opener, protein powder and maybe water if you don't feel you can find water easily. Usually its not hard to find water if you are not too picky about tap water.

Its such a relief when you are on the run, jammed for time and hunger hits, you can't do much but if you have something on hand you will go for it and be grateful its there. Its not that hard to be prepared, these are easy considerations and simple to execute. Anyone can do this.

If you do not have a car and cannot keep a cooler you still can keep a banana and some nuts in bag to carry with you, no excuses. We don't always remember this stuff so that is why you get thinking on it now, plan ahead and then it is habit.

You may need a few different days of training in your week or you may be at a place where you repeat a plan a few times per week, the same stuff and change it as you go. Whatever works best for you and your needs at the time is the right choice.

If you make it too complicated you may sabotage yourself but if its boring, same difference. Again a balance to find, try, and adjust as you go.

I have broken things down in detail up to this point, picking apart some of the process but its much simpler once you apply these premises I am talking about and you will find it works really well.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Awaken The Athlete Fitting Fitness Time

Fitting Fitness Time

Sometimes we have pretty streamline schedules that are the same daily. Sometimes we need more flex with our schedule due to work, kids or what have you. Wherever you fall into this range, it’s the next thing after goals that you have to seriously consider. Again I stress do not think of what you want ideally or what you may try to make work, start with 'definates' and once you are in the swing of things you will find you will be more able to bend and flex with pushing yourself and stretching your life a little bit to make things work. Usually until you are in Beastmode you want to make sure to make it all easy on yourself to decrease possibilities of self sabotage. Its seems easier when you are starting or re-starting, to put it off over other things. Its almost like we will allow any excuse to shake us in those early stages, you need to make it so there are no excuses as best you can by covering the bases you are aware of.  After last weeks posts you should be in a better awareness.

As I mentioned yesterday, I know with owning my gym there are days I am in there 4 mornings per week 'for sure' from early morning until afternoon so between classes, clients and duties I will fit my work out in.  The other days are less predictable so I won't put training there but if it happens then bonus!  Being in a gym for work means I can break it up if I get busy. I prefer to get it done in one hump including my cardio if I can. I am not too big on splitting up my training, have done it and it works well, nothing wrong with that at all but I know for me I tend to miss if its at night and also I just like getting it all done and over before my day if I can otherwise that is my self sabotage area.  I am also new to owning a studio, I used to be mobile, independant and my schedule at times was to fit it in whenever, other times I would piggy back my client appts that I knew were consistent.
Being an early riser means I fade earlier in the evening.  For me it has to be AM training for now, and all in one session.  Luckily I don't have cardio as a need in my program at the moment but once I am incorporating it again it will be post weights, that’s my preference. I find the body gets into fat burn stage while doing weights so when I go to cardio right after it does not take 20 mins to get me into fat burn zone, I am there!  Time efficiency when I get into 2-4 hours training for comp.  I find that my mental and emotional balance can get thrown if I cause myself stress with poor timing considerations and I know this is prevalent for most of you, make sure this is something you look at realistically and adjust as you go.  These are all foundations the fitness plan is built on.

I keep harping on the emotional and mental aspects of this because it is usually what makes or breaks us, not the physical part. You get that mastered and the rest is a cake walk.

Now you have looked at mental planning, goals, frequency, time and type. You know YOU better than anyone, you are the only one who can take the info, research, advice and apply it correctly to your personal needs. Suggestions can be made by professionals for what they feel you need to do in order to get your goals accomplished but in the end its up to you and you only to mould it, fit it, and know what will work for you within the science.  A great trainer, will mesh with  you on this and not dictate without considering your needs and adjusting as needed.  Communication there is huge, like any part of life.  Otherwise its you communicating with you, thats what all the thinking stuff I posted about last week was meant to drill into you!  Its easy to just say I will start and Ill jsut do this or wing it......not too many pull this off without eventually quitting because all those items I covered were not considered causing you frustration in your execution.  Or the person finally does go through that process after some trial and error.

"the only one you are competing with, your previous best!"

Keep in mind, another thing I keep harping on: There is no wrong, no right, just whats right for your needs toward your success and that formula is personal, there is no ONE formula that fits like a blanket over us all. This will prevent you from being overwhelmed and comparing your program or results to anyone else, another mental game that can beat you down and again its lies we tell ourself.

When you begin you are essentially saying to your body, 'what do you think about this?' and it lets you know by results, lack of, aches, you get what I mean.  You never really stop doing that but you just get into a knowing flow with your body as you get to know it through your fitness journey.

 Focus on YOU, your best, your goal, your personal needs and do not make them fit anyone else, any formula. The science and formula is meant to be personalized and fit your needs. Find that balance and your there.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Awaken The Athlete: The Fitness Plan on Paper

Whether you are a starter or shifter (see previous posts), you want to look at ideas toward achieving your goal that excite you. You want to look forward to the exercises you are going to do. You want to be looking forward to trying new eating habits and healthy food ideas, the new tastes you may learn, the tools you take from this going forward. Challenge yourself in a fun way that is doable. Choose ideas that you will definitely be able to execute, not things that you think you may be able to do or should be able to. You need a resounding, yes I can do that. Of course you can adjust later once you test out your program for a week if you find things aren't fitting all this criteria.

This is what it looks like for me:
  • Training in the AM - it fits and I know I am in the gym all morning and can get it in, I know the days I am in the gym for sure 3-5 days, plus I have stuff at home to work with as well. No excuses. 
  • No stress on any cardio for now, until I can hold weight. I teach 3 spin classes per week and can participate or teach without being on the bike if need be. 
  • Specific Yoga, which I do because I know it helps. I use a specific Heart Chakra process to help heal some emotional aspects that if not attended to can sabotage motivation and my program being done. Yoga is not necessarily something I get super excited about LOL but I know I will get it in and can do it at home, again fitting it in without excuses. Once I do a day or 2, the effects alone keep me coming back. For me the past heartaches and stresses although over, are lingering and can take me off my feet so I cannot ignore it, I have to refocus toward the opposing feeling of that. Yoga forces me to take the time to quiet the mind and work on positive thought with intention. I can tend to just swim in the negative thoughts of past tragedies without realizing it and it affects your life, your interactions, your tolerance and the consistency in your schedule. 
  • I will add some body weight work, I love this stuff, get my splits back to their extremes and dabble in some fitness routine skills. If I find I drop weight from this, I will back off. The priority is on weights to get my weight and appetite up. 
I am showing you the logic, the thought process and now you can get your goal plan together, as simple or fancy as you like, whatever will motivate you, so if you want to put your plan on your fridge with stickers to really stand out, go for it!!! Keep a picture copy on your ph. I would put it on the bathroom and bedroom mirrors or near light switches if you get better results with this idea.

Now we have the ideas to achieve our short term goal. Tomorrow I will talk about mental / time / emotional consideration < avoid sabotage.  Getting ahead of your bad habits.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Awaken The Athlete Goal Plan


Principals of Bruce Lee

Be honest with oneself, combine natural instinct with control….flow like water, don't take your eyes off the moon, find balance. If you pay attention to his words they are priceless.

Lets talk about plan outline this week. Today I will get into goals. There is an overall general goal and then detailed short term and long term goals. You want to know these goals but not overwhelm yourself so lets go in steps.

My details and yours may differ but the process is pretty much the same, do your best to treat yourself as your own client too, you know yourself best even when working with a trainer. If you have read my posts from this series starting January 4th then you are already looking at your mental prep and can start getting into some fun stuff. The goal you want, that awesome body, feeling strong and invincible - Health at its peak! You want to feel you have reached some physical potential and play with this vessel you have been given by testing it out. Its time to be doing things you always wanted to try, small or big things, and going for it with confidence and the will to try. This step forward is doing just that, isn't that just too cool?

General and Short Term Goals

Before I get into the detailed things I personally want to work on, I am going to focus on a very short term general goal, probably exactly the same as most of you.  Those of you regularly exercising and just using this to get to a new level don't really fall into the same goal idea as the restarters and beginners but your general goal is the shift which all this is prep toward. You're moving from goals you have attained toward newer ones that take you a level up. Us restarters and beginners are also kind of in the same arena except our goal is to get going, stick out this starting point and feel good through it.

For us we are more likely to have bumps that may throw us off since you regulars are already in Beastmode! So there is our general goal, the restarters and the beginners are working on the 'Get into Beastmode' general short term goal. You regulars are looking at 'Step up the Beastmode' goal, shifting into a higher gear and taking things up a notch.

Most of us have long term desires of fat loss, muscle gains, body shaping and some finer tweaks. For now, just getting in Beastmode will start the process on most of our various goals. Once we are habitual then we can pin point more detailed areas to be refined and apply those goals into the program by making the appropriate changes.

Right now the goal is Commitment which means habit, consistency, prove it, do it, get used to things, the shopping, the eating, the new schedule that fits all this comfortably. Week one into the program is about feeling it out, then the next few weeks solidify the pattern and clock some time repeating it as a lifestyle and daily schedule. That’s the practice. You work out the kinks and usually it happens within week 1, by week 2 you start to feel it flow.

The guaranteed results that you can expect, if you stay as consistent as possible at doing something each day, will be better sleep, better digestion, a body that is settled into schedule so that you don't have to force the sleep and training or eating, it just happens naturally usually the same time each day.

You will see changes in clothing fit, scale or mirror but will definitely FEEL the changes in all sorts of improvements that are personal to your weak spots. You may notice things feeling better that you did not notice were off because you just lived with it. I find my health issues all improve and quieten once I am on my 2 gallon water per day. My sleep and hunger are predictable and call to me at same times each day once I am working out daily. I get a pattern with that within work, home, life etc. You find you have more energy, get to your workouts eagerly and enjoy eating healthier. You flow.
Isn't that a great goal and isn’t even better to know you are guaranteed these results just by applying yourself comfortably and that means you, any of you! Sometimes its so obvious others notice the glow and changes within a few weeks which is a bit of a moral boost to keep you motivated toward tomorrows effort.

Simple Fitness Planning

My goal is to add some activity at least 3 times per week, every other day and if I am flowing well up to 5 days.

Figure out how many days you are going to commit for now, for the first few weeks only.

I gave myself some play so that if I only do 3 days I get my goal and don’t beat myself up about the other 2 days. If I add a day or 2 more on the fly, it fits and I feel like it, then that just gives me a boost that I am on the top end of my goals. Play with that idea. Keep in mind my history is 6-7 days exercise some days for hours so for me this is a lower end and fair way to get started. You may only be looking at a day or 2 per week to ease in, its all personal to your level and history etc, remember the posts before this one, be real while you reach for the stars, balance, its done in steps.  Overreachin can also be sabotage.

What do we like to do, what do we want to add that we know we will make the effort to do? Don't say some sport you never did and NOW want to try. That works for some and clicks, but for others that is not familiar and can backfire so know yourself. I want to say gymnastics for me but I know very well it would be entry level, short time spurts of it and if I am real, my body needs some prep and conditioning first so I am risking re injury if I push for that. What I am saying is also don't try to do what you used to do when you were fit because it many not be time to start that quite yet either. BUT these are the detailed goals and long term goals I spoke of and will be considered later on so hang on to those goals. We are going on a prepping program right now toward those!

Your failsafe

Also think about a back up, if you can't make the gym or find you won't train at home, find it hard to follow your present plan, have a simple set up that you can do anytime that you can fit in, a small fast block of exercises you know you can do with a band or body weight or whatever. Keep it simple. Just do something rather than miss.  Re adjust the plan so that it won't be missed, address the kink and find a way around it, eliminate it.  Unexpected happens all the time to any of us, being prepared is prudent.

I am going to be adding weight work for lower body as my focus, not to say I won't hit other body parts but these need it most, are big muscle groups and the knees need the conditioning. The right knee especially since its just under 2 years from a knee reconstruction then another surgery for meniscus repair. I lost muscle, strength, stability, torque, speed and agility. This will help. WE can't fit it all in at once and I am being real with my time and motivation as to what I am putting on my plate here. The Key is to periodize which in non trainer terms is to take it in steps. I have to be cautious with cardio or plyo work, keep it all slow and easy. My metabolism is high and I am trying to gain weight. I will add some yoga specific to me that I will be doing myself. I know I cannot commit to classes but not to say it can't or won't happen, just setting up to avoid missing days and workouts, eliminating any of the self sabotages that I know can get me.   Most of you will probably be opposite in that you will need cardio and need to add some that you will enjoy or at least tolerate LOL!

Ill probably add some bodyweight work like pullups, chins, one arm pushups… so that I hit those muscles with a good weight and I know these I can do but need to build up again. This is toward my fitness routine for when I next compete.

I have a spin class I teach for 45 mins 3x a week right now so that will be my cardio and good for the knee, if I find my weight dropping I will slack in the intensity or teach the class off the bike for a few classes to stop the weight loss.

You see how I catered to my life, work, time and needs and fit things in to get more bang for my buck?  Certain exercises I am adding will work toward a number of my present short and longer term later goals! Be creative, be real. Don't plan to add things you say 'I would like to'.  Add things you know you 'will do' no matter how unchallenging it may seem at first. Try the week first, sometimes we find things that sound easy or simple are actually challenge us at this point in our fitness. Its always changing.  Set yourself up to avoid the sabotage, be ready for the things you know realistically can come up or throw a kink, some of us have repetitive things that come up, don't ignore it, work with and around it. Don’t be too gungho, reach slowly and take those progressive steps to those gungho goals!

Over this week we will look at ideas to achieve those goals we have, avoiding self sabotage with consideration of mental, emotional, time and things that normally can take us off our game. We will cover some fool proof execution, scheduling, back up plans and look at how we feel at the moment, giving ourselves a bit of feedback and outlook at this point.

Lets get excited about the week, excited about being productive and starting on this fun journey!!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Awaken The Athlete Beastmode

At the fitness starting gate…or restarting gate 

This week I started from the beginning, presented the client (me), the circumstances and some of the things you want to consider when you are getting back into working out or even for the first time starters. You get the scenario, history, and idea of the goals that need to be catered to. In personalizing this I highlighted some of the points that usually are sticking points for us, helping us to set up beyond just the formula of workouts and the science of nutrition. Mental prep can really help eliminate some of the sabotage we set on ourselves by not being real with who we are or our natural habits. They can be changed slowly if you like but to be real, you have to know where you normally veer from your goals. This is not about you being right or wrong in your habits, it's not judgement, it’s a tool, its intimate info about you that will help you succeed. People who ignore that, deny their sticky points because by acknowledging them you feel negatively, usually these are the ones who end up finding themselves stumped. Many times going in without the mentality that your committed will give you the opportunity to flake out the minute things feel uncomfortable. Main thing is you need to either adjust those sticky points or work around them but considering them in your plan.

What I want is for you to be prepared to readjust if things start to feel uncomfortable or demotivating. It’s a normal part of fitness. Things are always being adjusted as you go and this is for everyone because we keep changing week to week as does are detailed needs. This is normal, not failure but sometimes clients tend to let that part of things take them down. If you are ready mentally, it won't affect you in a defeating way.

An effective fitness plan changes at least monthly in some way, small things like sets, reps or exercises up to full 'toss it in the air and redo a new one'. Nutrition needs to change a bit each month. Our body adjusts to our demand in exercise and adjusts its response to our eating……that’s the getting fit part, it gets stronger or bigger or whatever it is you have as a goal, if you apply the correct formula and make it personalized. But it will only do so until it catches up with your demand and then it gets wise to you and you have to change it again in order to coax out more results. Each time the body gets wise, that is a point where some results are showing. These can be obvious or less so but the changes are inevitable if you are doing it right and really, doing anything. This is also been called hitting the wall or plateau. Again normal, don't let this throw you, be mentally ready and it won't shake your resolve.

Many times we go in with positive perspective but it bounces. You have your off days when you have no faith in the fact that you should even try because your goals are out of reach in your mind. You have to look at yourself as the worthy being you are, you are worth the time and effort toward your health. Your body is more than willing to work with you and please you. Yet it seems we put it off, it's easy to shuffle it to the side if you are not in the 'Beast Mode'. When you find that you just cannot miss a day training and that you put priority on making sure your nutrition is prepped and in place to fit into your day then you are in beastmode. Nothing aside a huge emergency will veer you away from getting your health practices done each day. I have been there, and yes you can lose it, I am not there now and that was the whole point of this blog. Not only to motivate me back into my beastmode but to expose some of the process we all go through within my personal example.

Thanks for following along so far ;)))

Next week I want to look at the plan outline, goal setting in more detail, time and other considerations. I'm setting up to get into the gym and start showing you some exercises and recipes, stuff we can have fun with as we get in shape.

Thanks to Legare Wear for the great skull shorts and Robert Poetker for the photography taken at BodyCo Deep Cove.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Awaken the Athlete with Integrity

How to commit to a program and follow through.  Getting more raw and real today.

I had touched on integrity in my last post and told you this one was a big factor in my opinion. I am biased because it’s a trait I admire in people and take pride in myself. I tend to gravitate toward people I feel are reliable in what they say and find that solid, but don’t we all? If you really look at it, do you keep those in your life you do not feel are upfront and honest or you cannot count on what they say or know what to make of their word? I am only drilling on this to make sure you are honest with you and go into your goals with the chance to succeed. Saying 'I can do that, sure I can try this' but not feeling it, not sure… can't go into your health goals unless it's all in! Look at the past, did you go all in or casually? Did you succeed or are you still trying to get into the flow without failure or sabotage?  Maybe you think you were all in but not considering the mental and emotional aspects nor being real with yourself about what your natural habits are, which by the way can always be improved if you can be aware of them, and honest with yourself....integrity.

What have you ever done in life casually that worked out very well and got you to your end result desired? I can bet instead you just got drama.

I have a hard time trusting people who show this lack of integrity in life in general but for fitness it's more of a red flag that tells me giving you a program and diet is not enough. You know the guy who says he will call but you know by experience he won't, he never follows through on things and its normally a pattern you will see in a person. Some call it flakey to put a label on it, but my point in all this is if a person cannot commit and stick with simple things like that, are they really going to keep their word to themselves about exercise or nutrition. Are they going to stick with a plan or fail?

If you find yourself getting pissed at me for saying this, taking it personal and feeling a bit offended then maybe you need to look at your patterns. This is not about judging you or anyone, but if you want success in things, especially health, then being solid with at least yourself will be the only way to succeed in your goals. Fine if you do not feel you would like or can be this way in life in general, this blog is not about social interaction as much as fitness but hey if you find your relationships, work and social life has a few areas you can improve try showing a bit more integrity on your part then all the power to you! I hope you can be honest enough to look at yourself and recognized this. It's not like we have not all said we would do something and failed to do it…..the call, the diet modifications, whatever it is. If you decide on something and decide you will stick with it and have integrity no matter what, you may begin to see some success in your attempts at things in life especially fitness. You can say with ego 'no, that’s not me', but denial then means more failure. If you cannot recognized what needs improvement toward achieving your success, welcome to the insanity wheel. Doing the same thing over and getting the same results you keep complaining about……

I only harp on this because I see it as one of the main sticky points with people who can't seem to nail down the results they want and then when looking at their behavior, lifestyle… really normally is a pattern in all areas of their lives. Of course my concern with them is the fitness area but I have seen clients I work with actually improve on their overall integrity because they started to get stronger in it with their fitness life. That is so awesome!  Its also how I go into it and succeed with my fitness goals every time, if I know I can't commit I won't but then I know I can't complain about what my body is showing me.

Now this does not mean stress yourself to stick to your word, do things you do not like and force it. It means think carefully and if you commit, make sure you mean it, you are ready for the effort and to be open toward new ideas so maybe the formulas need to be changed as you go if some don't work but that is not failure, that is integrity, you keep on and try something else. Your Fitness journey should be fun and enjoyable, not stressful and dramatic. So within this integrity you find balance. Don't say anything you don't mean or are not sure you will stick with, not in your head to yourself or anyone else if you really want to work on self-improvement overall. Once you do decide to commit and have integrity with yourself the rest seems to fall into place nicely. You will be open to receive inspiration toward what your next steps are, comfortable ways to get your goals accomplished and able to adjust them as needed if you find its not fitting well. If you put in the effort and try, and fail, that does not mean you lack integrity, THAT is integrity. If you put in some effort, try a lil and give up, get frustrated or not follow through, not seek other ideas to keep moving forward and just walk away or ignore things it usually haunts you going forward and spills into the next situations or areas of your life. You just won't feel great. If you try and fail and look for another way and try again…….that may not feel great at the fail point.   It's the ability to focus on your commitment to keep trying other things, find a way for fitness to fit then those failures were actually just steps, not only toward your fitness goals but toward improving who you are in general. You are breeding integrity within you and will notice that habit come to play in all your life interactions, and watch the blossoming of fun while everything and everyone you touch turns to gold!

Some have great integrity in general except with themselves, the caregiver. Put yourself last every time, adjust your life for others benefit. You also need to find balance there and realize you are useless to help anyone if you are not practicing the wellness priority for yourself. If you are healthy with a balanced exercise and eating habit you feel good emotionally, physically and mentally so wow are you ever a force who can lift everyone. You caregivers, show yourself a bit of that same integrity you give others. If you care about you, others will care too and your wellness will inspire others, imagine how great it is to be told by someone that they accomplished a few things because of the example you set? Can you now see how all this ties together with a fitness lifestyle? Exercise & Nutrition just becomes part who you are what you do, all playing off each other in your life, one area helps to improve the other and so on. That is the wheel you want to get on! So let's go……as we ease into tomorrow's post about mental pump, positive perspective, worthiness and faith in your ability so that you have no fear to try. Go in determined but soften any negatives that crop up.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Awaken The Athlete: Now What?

So you come from some traumatic events and the health affects are now showing.  You are ready to do something about it, feel better and move forward.  Now what?

Mental and emotional states are usually fragile and motivation can be fleeting.  Does not matter if you used to be a superstar and life was perfect, everyone has their falls and are humbled back to the beginnings again.
The first thing I had to do was not beat myself up, it does not help and the pressure you put on yourself just defeats you.  For some of us this is our worst enemy.  I had to learn the balance between my extreme drive and being militant to a fault.

Using your body and health goals or fitness goals to inspire your action as well as restore your mental and emotional state is one of the easiest things you can control and accomplish.  Most times is more of a mental block than a physical one.  Even if there are physical issues there is always a way to be active, but we let our mind have its way with us and usually self sabotage in some way.
Of course you want to minimize that but when it happens, you don't roll over and give up!  Here is the part many fall into the crack on, getting back up after you binge or take a few days off.   Many times we just say 'ah, whatever, I messed up now so who cares....." instead we should say 'ok, back at it tomorrow.'  Don't dwell on the fall, its not as big a deal as we make it out to be, that's the 'beating up on  yourself' part.

Commitment and integrity is something you will hear me talk about a lot.  These traits are inherent and if you have them you usually apply them to your interactions in life and to yourself.  If you don't then you probably find you have problems sticking with your own self set goals and promises made to yourself regarding things like exercise and nutrition.  If you want to succeed in anything, especially health, you need to groom your integrity and commit to your goals.  It also makes you reliable and strengthens your relationships with others who will see you as a person of your word.  You do what you say.  I'm sure you have met those who were difficult to interact with because you knew by past experience they are someone who is not consistent and says things but you can't count on it or they say one thing and do the opposite, so you just don't take anything they say seriously.  How often do you feel like interacting with that person?  Do you want to be that person?  
I am not saying we live for others or should act or be in any way for the sake of others, but this one, its for your own sake.  Its self improvement and so powerful.  I truly believe it makes the difference between repeated failure (insanity, doing the same thing over and over.....) and success.

These are psychological ideas I find useful and by no means am I saying these things as if I have mastered all this.  These are things I discuss because these are things I NEED to work on as well.

Going forward into my fitness goals today, like anyone, I have nutrition, exercise and aesthetic goals.  These goals can vary among us but in general its a similar pattern.  Once you determine what you want, then you start to incorporate the appealing ideas you feel may help get you there.  You get a coach or do it yourself but this is the first part of committing.  Don't overly stress on the formula or execution.  That is part of your learning as you go but just start doing something and don't make any of it stressful.  Anything that starts to be a hassle, you will eventually quit.  The accuracy of your formula is tweaked as you go.  
Many get stumped at this point and procrastinate beginning or get overwhelmed and don't bother.

I go into this recent fitness commitment with the mindset of doing things I like and not having to force anything, you can do that you know.  Took me half my career to figure that out and really feel, apply it.  There is no need to do exercises that are uncomfortable, programs that you know will work but you hate, eating foods you don't like.  I know this from experience and I am telling you this with pure confidence so look at finding a fit, not getting stuck on ideas that don't feel right for you just because you think it maybe the only or fastest way, that's a lie.

There is a ton of info out there, none right or wrong, everything out there worked for someone.  The dynamics of each individuals need and preferences is so wide, that is why there is so much fitness info.  Even so some say do this it works, other say don't do this its bad......listen and learn but remember it may or may not apply to you no matter how strong the opinion of the person or professional you are speaking with.  Always test things out for yourself within safe measures.

In the end, you will never really know until you communicate with your body, try things, see how it responds and let your body have the time to let you know, 2-14 days into things and your body will tell you alot if you listen.  Don't fight it or force it or get angry at your body because its not giving you what you want.......its telling you, you're are not giving it what it needs!  That battle can go on forever and you will never win, the body will not be battled, it needs you to work WITH it.  This is my experience over many years, took me a long time to learn this but when I did over the past 5-7 years I got the best, easiest results of my life and felt the best ever while doing it.  It was also the healthiest, most holistic route I had ever taken.  

My plan is to go ahead now and enjoy the process, have comfort through this fitness journey while getting the most amazing results ever, in a short period of time.   You can all do it this way with great success.

During Week 2 of this blog I will get into some meat and potato's of my fitness plan beyond the mental and emotional prep I had been discussing this week.  I will cover my stats on week 3 with my detailed outline, sharing my exercise and eating ideas for myself.  I am not just posting formulas in this blog series, but walking you through the whole process.  Us trainers use this when working with our clients so I am going to be my client and treat myself as such.  I will probably be gentler on myself if I see myself as a client, we would never treat our clients as poorly as we beat ourselves up so its one way for me to soften the militant approach I normally take with myself.

This blog in a sense is my accountability, so that is covered too.  I don't do workout partners, its not easy to match schedules with others right now.  It is something you can apply if it helps you and makes your fitness journey more enjoyable but for me at the moment, it would be a stress and hindrance.  Just another point made about no right or wrong, just what works.  Whatever you choose to apply to your practice you want to make sure its something you will not be doing begrudgingly, dragging your feet and forcing it.  Choose ideas that will motivate you with eagerness.

My motivation is knowing what my body can be, having been there, and wanting it back even better.  I have deteriorated especially in my legs and butt with 2 major knee surgeries over 2013 and 2014.  I healed well and fast, but I was going through some tough stress so I was not training, did not really do much physical therapy and did not eat enough.  I am so grateful for being so fit already, its the reason my knee come back great anyway and why I don't look and feel worse than I do.  I will get into more detail about specific goals, in my next few posts.  They are pretty similar to what most of you are probably looking to attain.

Over the next 12 weeks, if you join me and do what you can on your end to follow along, set a plan and execute it, we will all be sporting some big smiles and fitter healthier bodies by Spring!  Even if you are active already, lets use this to take you to the next level, achieving new goals.
Do not hesitate to share in the comments area, I would love to hear about your fitness journey and be inspired by you!  I invite you to join me while we support and lift each other in health ;)))