The Lake Placid Ironman is closing in on us, Sunday actually; I started to think about something I am privy to see that many other people are not, unadulterated unwavering confidence. (As a personal note: I interestingly enough do not have this trait.)
As a coach I see a lot, but what I learn most comes from my youth athletes. It reminds me so much of something that I think we forget, or lose track of, or it is drilled/beaten out of us. It’s not always about what you know, or what your level of ability is, or resume, or CV. That sometimes, many times actually it’s strictly about self-confidence, and within that. Many times you just gotta “fake it, to make it”.
Kids are just as scared as the rest of us, but interestingly enough they are masters of self-talk. The thing that allows them to pick up weights way heavier, or run further, or swim harder, or sit in guard on the verge of sleepy time longer than anybody thought, is that they self-coach, they are their best cheerleaders, and they can teach us to engage what I like to call the “Megalodon Affect”
C. megalodon is regarded as one of the largest and most powerful predators in vertebrate history, and likely had a profound impact on the structure of marine communities. Fossil remains suggest that this giant shark reached a maximum length of 14–18 metres (46–59 ft), and also affirm that it had a cosmopolitan distribution. Scientists suggest that C. megalodon looked like a stockier version of the great white shark.Carcharodon carcharias.- (Wikipedia)
Athletes are competitive by nature, right? No, they learn it along the way. They learn push their limits, trust others, self-coach and self talk. The hype-up is so important. The Megalodon Affect is all about that. To be a shark, you need to act it, to not be afraid of those swimming in the ocean around them, and to know you can stand with them no matter what. The ability to talk yourself out of your limits, because honestly all those limits are, is fear.
So find that moment, that time when you pushed past your fear, and channel it, talk yourself back onto the cliff, and then run and jump into the abyss knowing that you will land, that there is nothing to fear, and that in order to survive amongst sharks all you need to do is not back down, and to just keep swimming, wide eyed and on the hunt.
If all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.
What are you trying to get from a training session? What is the appropriate tool for the job? I frequently find that the barbell is the go to tool for most people. Weightlifting here in America has found itself in resurgence thanks to Cross-fit really putting it in the spotlight with their WODs and Games. I honestly think this is an amazingly exciting thing.
I even think the barbell is an all-encompassing tool for achieving appropriate resistance. That being said is it the right tool? 9 times out of 10. No. No it is not. I love to lift heavy stuff. When I think about the anatomy of a training session what is my ultimate goal for client(s) and for myself.
You would be dead wrong.
MOBILITY is the correct answer.
1.) The ability to move or be moved freely and easily.
(minimum squat to 90 degrees)
Without mobility, you cannot truly develop great strength. If you can’t bend, move, accelerate and decelerate through a full range of motion then there is no reason to attach yourself to an object that:
1.) Limits range of motion. 2.) Requires great range of motion to be effective.
The barbell is your graduate degree. It comes from moving you, your own personal physique effiencently. In multi dimensional planes, under control, then and only then can you really consider yourself capable to move on to adding resistance, this is especially the case in a bilateral activity such as barbell training. So before you decide to go and grab a bar, load it up and then move poorly. Ask yourself. How are my push-ups? How are my pull-ups? How are my mountain climbers? How are my bodyweight squats? Is my full range of motion getting better? Am I capable of doing good squats to 90 degrees without pain, discomfort, or valgus collapse? If the answer is No, then choose what will make you better.
Be excellent at the simple things and everything else will fall into place.
(It’s a goal not a standard, always remember that)
My coffee addiction has a work problem. Or some variable of that statement is appropriate for this post. I recently found myself sitting at the office (Starbucks) for the better part of 6 hours the other day working incessantly on a very exciting but major overhaul of the Contemporary Athlete website. As this community grows and changes I find myself taking occasional observatory steps back so as to see if this crazy awesome ship is traveling in the direction I would like it to; and if not how do I correct that.
(Just a side note: If you haven’t notice lifting is back as the proverbial meat and potatoes of what we do. I got a little lost with all my certification studying and deviated from what I know works. This came from way to much reading of functional fitness, resistance band training, TRX, sand-bells, slosh-pipes, BOSU, and yadda, yadda, yadda…
Then I remembered the last time I went to use the loo and realized I didn’t do a destabilized isometric squat to get to the seat. So yeah, my toilet reminded me what should go in it and that back/front squats are functional.)
Soooooooo a short story long, coffee, I love it. It is good for you. (So is a glass of red wine but that is for another post) I drink my coffee generally as a dark roast, black, in a 12 oz. cup. All in all, boring, uncomplicated and I am pretty sure makes the staff at the ‘bucks I go to bored, annoyed, or most likely just makes me “that guy”. Either way coffee is good for you, or so I read. (I read a lot)
Quick disclaimer: I am not a certified nutritionist, dietitian, or anything of the like (yet) so this is strictly my OPINION, based on my personal food intake and a ridiculous amount of reading, books, journals, and educational material.
So here are couple quick things:
Potential for Genius! (Ok not quite) but an earth shattering effect, coffee is a stimulant. It has caffeine in it. Which blocks a neurotransmitter inhibitor called Adenosine. By stopping this inhibitor it increases neuronal firing and releases dopamine and norepinephrine. Also it is proven through controlled experimentation that caffeine improves mood, reaction time, memory, and general cognitive function.
Superhero strength and skinny! (<- A freaking gold plated unicorn says what?) It raises your metabolism and the oxidation of fatty acids. This is due to it being a stimulant and the effect it has on the central nervous system. It has been proven through different meta-analyses that it increases exercise performance by an average of 11-12% this is due to it’s affects on several biological mechanisms, one of them being the mobilization of fatty acids from fat tissue.
Type II Diabetes can suck a doughnut! (But, but, can I still have a doughnut? NO, no you cannot) in observational studies, coffee is frequently associated with a lower risk of diabetes. The range of this is anywhere from 25% to as high as 65%. A recent review article I read with close to half a million participants showed that with every extra cup of coffee people had, it lowered their risk by 7%.
If Mayan gods are doing it… (The Mayan people originally made Coffee as a soup, or porridge. They also ate people’s hearts [<- I think, granted that could be a lie though.]) Many of the nutrients in coffee beans make it into the drink when brewed though.
11% of the RDA for Riboflavin (Vitamin B2).
6% of RDA for Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5).
2% of the RDA for Niacin (Vitamin B3) and Thiamine (B1).
3% of the RDA for Potassium and Manganese.
Coffee is the largest source of antioxidants in the western diet; this outranks both fruits and veggies.
Last thing I have to say though. These are great facts but… once you start filling it with 37 sugars, or artificial sweeteners, a half a gallon of milk or creamer, you have then eradicated all that awesomeness with a whole bunch of not goodness. Much like taking a shower in the morning your coffee should be as stripped down as possible. ideally naked.
(I wrote and posted this without Haley, Lauren, or any number of people who love to correct my grammar proofing it. So if you want to know what goes through my brain here ya go.) – Also sad fact Haley’s head might explode because of it… 😉
Hi there ninjas!!! So the word on the street is that today is my birthday (31). Which made me think about writing this entry. I hear a lot of people complain about their birthday, getting older, more health issues, yadda, yadda, yadda. I generally turn a furrowed brow.
Your birthday is this great opportunity. It’s when you came into this world, via any number of possible reasons or means. I personally like to think that it was snowing, thundering, and lightning all at the same time on my epic entrance but according to my parents that wasn’t the case. (I’m going with it though.)
So you can cry about being older and blah, blah, blah. Or you can train in any number of ways to make it the entrance into a better year of “racing”. So a few years ago I started the birthday challenge series, for myself. I train for it. I train hard, as it generally is something daunting, mildly stupid, and makes my parents generally laugh at me and ask if I need medication when I tell them what it is for that year. So I thought it would be a great time to do a little reflecting and throw out the birthday challenge for this year. Last year it was all based around entering my 30’s, by doing a lot of awesome stuff including ripping a 600 lbs. (DL) off the ground. I’ll tell you more about that though shortly.
Like my programs: part 1.
So what I have learned: 31 things
Or as I like to say “Smarter…?” (These are in no particular order)
1. Surround yourself with people way more awesome than you. (If you’re lucky, and damned lucky, you can hang onto their coat tails for a long time.)
2. Be a great friend (I struggle with this one. The CA consumes me.)
3. Smile! (It’s not hard and it will make you and anybody around you happy.)
4. Eat more cookies. (Seriously, as long as it’s not a whole sleeve of Oreos your good.)
5. Be a good son. (My parents are generally right, just don’t tell them I said that.)
6. Set crazy awesome goals, for yourself, and for others. (If they seem doable, you are being a wussy.)
7. Ask for help. You can’t do everything alone, and people make the journey better.
8. Be confident, even when your not. (If your not using it, you’re losing it.)
9. Listen, don’t talk, just LISTEN.
10. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable, that is how growth works.
11. Lift heavy sh*t. (Do it often, make it hard, and don’t worry what you look like in the mirror. If the bar is bending everybody is watching whether or not you want them to or not.)
12. Read, voraciously (<- that’s and SAT word, I learned it in a book 😉
13. Give, give until it hurts a little. It will come back to you, and it will make you happy.
14. Cry, it’s ok, really. (Just make sure you are muttering some words that make no sense. Then you can pass it off to yourself as being a moment of temporary insanity.)
15. If you use an elliptical. Stop they are stupid. Go run outside. There is sun, wind, rain, trees, real air, and occasionally pretty girls will pass you, make sure you smile! (Those things will make you happy)
16. Dark Beer, and IPA’s. (If I need to explain this your not of age yet.)
17. Cook and eat real food. (Stop running around like a crazy person and enjoy something simple like making something for yourself and others that keeps you alive.)
18. Dance. (I generally do it naked after I shower. If your going to make an a** out of yourself you might as well do it naked, it’s more fun that way.)
19. Buy the person next to you a coffee. Just because. (Thanks Heather)
20. Ask good questions. (Think before you speak)
21. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate (Thanks Coach!)
22. Own less stuff, things don’t make you happy, awesome people do.
23. Own less clothing and only that which fits. (I know I’m a little special but 100 articles.)
24. Wear a helmet. Yeah I said it. It protects your skull.
25. Plan one crazy trip, expensive or not; and then figure out how to make it happen.
26. Race. Why? Because it’s fun.
27. Figure out who your alter ego super hero is and channel that bada**.
28. Skinny jeans negate your war beard. (Also if you can fit into them do more squats.)
29. Tell people you love them. Just because; they need to hear it, and you need to say it. It’s a win win.
30. Lists. Why? Because they make you accountable to yourself. (I keep mine in my shoes. 5:56 has been at the top of mine for a long time. If you don’t know what that means buy me an IPA, I’ll explain it.)
31. High Five. (Your awesome, and anybody you touch is gonna be awesome, so make sure everybody can hear it. Also aim for the elbow, then you never miss.)
Birthday Challenge: 30 year-old Combine:
Last year: The concept, go big, then go home.
1 RM Push Press: 285#
3 minute push-up challenge: 127
1 RM Back Squat: 525#
1 RM Front Squat: 485#
1 RM Clean: 365#
1 RM Snatch: 265#
1 RM Deadlift: 600# –Boom slam dance
Sub: 6 minute 2k: 6:03 – Damn close but not there yet
Sub 19 minute 5k (Run): 18:57 – I am pretty sure part of my soul died on that one
So I passed solidly into my 30’s stronger and faster than I have ever been before.
This might be the scariest one yet for me. With being out of training for the last 7 weeks thanks to the good old Lyme’s. It seems a bit like climbing up the slide at the playground covered in baby oil. (This could make for a good Youtube video)
Erg for time: 31,000 meters: For time.
(Well I won’t die right now at least)
Lift heavy things, a lot.
(This legitimately scares me)
Combined weight: 31,000 lbs.
(It’s a little more but it makes the bars easier to load)
5 x Snatch @ 115
4 x Bent Row @ 135
3 x Push Press @ 185
2 x Back Squat @ 275
1 x Dead Lift @ 405
For time: or 31 minutes, which ever comes first.
A quick Follow up:
31k erg: 2:12.4
( I learned a lot about myself and how much I hate the color white that the walls are painted)
31K Club: 29:20
(got in in under the 31 minute mark but definitely had to channel my inner bada** to get it done.)