War and Smoking

war-Christiaan Triebert [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

War and Life

War is ugly. 

Need an example? Turn on the TV and see pictures of the war and Syria, and you know what I mean.

A city that was full of life, not that long ago now has pockets of habitable areas surrounded by ruble.

The people who live there find fear a constant companion. 

Not knowing who they will run into that day and how the day will end.

Whether the bombing and fighting will come to close.

Thomas and I watched an episode of the Netflix show; Dogs.

It was about a dog named Zeus and his refugee story to meet his young master in Berlin. 

I was struck by the fear of the man who was taking care of Zeus in Syria.

He was a draft dodger from the Syrian military, waiting to find a way out of Syria.

Before fleeing he needed to help his friend, who had fled two years earlier, get his dog to Berlin.

A reason he was dodging his military duty was simply because most men who joined died.

Death and War

Thomas read a story about a genetic study on what is being done to extend your life.

One of the things was “not going to war”.

WWI killed so many people, it caused a massive drop in the lifespan of  humans at the time (in the early 20th century).

So, if you want to extend your life as close to its natural end as you can, avoid going to war!

The man in Syria taking care of Zeus had his natural preservation kick in.

He wanted to live, so he did not wish to join their war.

Holy Smokes

The other big cause of a notable lifespan drop in the late 20th century was smoking.

First for men, then for women.

Staying away from smoking and second-hand smoke will provide another opportunity to live our full, natural, life span.

Then there is air pollution. This may not be smoke, but it does impact airways and breathing.

There is new information showing that air pollution may cut down on life span. 

We can control most of how we live our life, and where.

Of course, opportunity and mental health impact what that life looks like.

If you cannot imagine being the President, you will never even try.

Growing up in a place were education is not valued and access to information is limited will also impact opportunities.

Less opportunity means less income and more life challenges for covering basic needs.

Mental health issues can lead to avoidance in the form of self-harm or drug and alcohol abuse. 

In present time, there are ways to manage mental health, if you have access.

Which can increase you opportunity options.

Back to the basics, which do seem rather simple.

To give yourself the best opportunity to live your natural life span; Do not go to war and do not smoke! 

A little training will help you feel great today (training helps extend your life too). Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

Thursday Blues, Saturday Fun

thursday-Tsaorin [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Thursday Blues

Thursday used to be one of my favorite days. 

A day before the last day before the weekend.

Then I stopped doing work that really had “weekends”.

Now that I am back in the weekly, working saddle, Thursday is my “I am soooo tired” day.

Even after three months of working a 7-5 job. 

I am still exhausted by Thursday. 

Maybe I should tally that up. Ummm, that is 40 hours by Thursday.

No wonder I am ready for the weekend a day early!

I have the blues. The poor me, I work too much, blues.

Take Back My Week

I am contracted to work a minimum of 37 hours a week, or as busy time require.

Busy time… It seems to be all the time!

There are inefficiencies that can be worked on in processes and systems.

Those that I can control, and those that I cannot control.

Part of my blues is not having the feeling of time and space to step back and get a perspective.

Being able to see clearly how it all works together and in what areas things can work better.

Saturday Fun

My hiking buddy is going to do a Urban hike with me in the town of Golden, CO this Saturday.

I have a cousin who lives there but I have never walked around.

It will be nice to hang out and explore a new town, and sample a little beer.

Golden is the home of Coors beer and many other micro-breweries.

Not that beer is my big love, but do I enjoy a taste.

Just thinking about that lets me breathe deeper.

What gives you space to breathe a little deeper? Do you feel the need to step back and gain perspective?

Do a little training today, to make tomorrow a bit better. Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

Managing Disappointment

disappointment

Disappointment Sucks

Managing disappointment is a skill I do not think about very much. 

I think that may need to change. 

Thomas and I were looking at going to a Muse concert, but the timing and location just were not going to work for us. 

I was very disappointed and felt sad and frustrated.

The one time I let go is at a Muse concert.  I do not know why that is my safe space, but it is.

I was upset that I did not get to have that experience this coming year. 

My hope is that they add more dates for North America onto the other end of their Europe Asia tour.

Hopefully one of those dates will work.

Back to Disappointment

In the grand scheme of things, if my big disappointment is not being able to go to my favorite band’s concert, I am one lucky person.

That is nice perspective to have. Something I found sad makes me feel kind of good.

T and I are both healthy and able bodied. Another big couple of wins.

I am happy to be disappointed about this.

Feeling the disappointment and sadness lets me appreciate the joy in everyday life.

Crying It Out

Yes, I cried. That is what I do when I am frustrated/mad/sad. 

It is too much and too overwhelming, so i cry.

Crying feels good sometimes. Even though afterwards, puffy eyes get a little more wrinkly.

I wish my wrinkles came from smiling, but I think they come from tears and rubbing my eyes dry.

Dabbing would be a better plan of action, but oh well.

Learning to manage disappointment through perspective and leaning in has been good.

Missing Muse still sucks big time.

How do you manage disappointment? Does it work every time, or does size matter?

Train your way to a better day. Cheezy Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

Fun Strength Training

Fun Strength Training for everyone

Fun strength training, to me, means getting stronger without realizing that’s what I’m doing.

Finding something you look forward to doing that has movement and strength implications can be difficult.

Actually, it can be downright impossible (if you hate movement).

We were lucky and found Parkour. With that discovery, fairly consistent movement became an even more regular thing for us.

(At least it has been for me. Christine has struggled more…)

While we were living on the East Coast, fun strength training was part of our life every time we went to Parkour class.

After we moved to Colorado, that went a bit to the wayside.

Parkour is definitely fun, but – depending on the group you are training with – the emphasis isn’t always on endurance and strength as much as it’s about technique.

So, one thing I have struggled with after getting here has been finding a good strength and conditioning program for myself.

To try and mitigate this, I tried Kettle Bell training at a local studio. 

It wasn’t for me. The chemistry with the coach didn’t quite work – I’m probably too picky! – and it was traditional strength training. Just using a Kettle Bell.

Parkour as the vehicle for fun strength training

Ever since I completed my Parkour Coach certification with the local gym, I’ve randomly bandied about the thought that I should instigate a “Strength and Conditioning” class for Parkour.

The other day I took the plunge and engaged the Head Coach in a conversation about it.

Yesterday was the first meeting with one of the owners about what the classes should look like. 

A group of us talked and brain stormed for about 90 minutes. Loads of good ideas were shared. There seemed to be excitement in the group of coaches as to what we would be doing.

For me, the key thing is going be that each training session has to be fun. 

Regardless of how hard or challenging the hour will be.

Now, “fun” and “strength training” aren’t two words the average person tend to put next to each other.

That’s the part of the challenge I’m enjoying the most right now.

I too want to be looking forward to the classes. Not only coaching them, but when I’m “leading my classes from the front” and participating.

If the class is doing something, it’s because I’m doing the same thing.

What can you do, today, to make your strength training fun?

Cheers!

Yes, I want online training!

Paused For a Minute…or Two

paused-Sam Mugraby, Photos8.com [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Paused for A Break

Today I paused for a while to take a break.

Not knowing what kind, or how long of ba reak was need, I decided to look at it as more of a pause.

In order to switch mindset and re-engage, a disconnect needed to happen.

It is almost like changing gears in a car. In order to move in any direction, faster or slower, you have to push in the clutch.

If you do not, the gears grind and you get jerked around.

At times, I feel like I just need to plow ahead to get something done.

Then there are those moments, when I draw a blank and nothing comes to me.

Facing Nuances

Turning away and doing something different can feel like the complete opposite of what should be done in order to finish a task.

What happens if you do not make progress?

I know if I do not finish, I fear forgetting to come back.

Keeping an item on my todo list seems like a bit of a failure.

But, then I realize that fumbling my way through something is a bit of a waste of time.

Spending a minute or two to decide on a plan of action is not a time-wasting idea.

In the end it may actually save some time.

Next Steps

Asking questions to help you bring up/about the next step in a process.

It may be the first thing you think of, or it may be something else if you give yourself a little breathing room to remember it.

Going at a fast pace may seem impactful, but is it really?

I think about these things as my items of what I need to address keeps growing in my inbox.

I feel like there will be time, over the weekend which I will need to use in order to catch up.

Today is Monday… Not a great start!

How do I find the space to think it through, to get to a faster finish?

I will be thinking about that one for a while. Excuse me while I pause and think about it.

In between repetitions while training, why don’t you try to pause and think about “it”. Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

Unlocking a movement

Unlocking Movement - This image file was created by AJ Ashton. Uploaded from English WP by Eleassar. Converted by AzaToth to a silver color. [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Unlocking a movement can be a struggle. Personally, I’ve spent the last few years trying and struggling with a specific parkour movement.

The movement is a little scary, a little complex, but looks really cool (I think) when you get it.

It’s also a tremendously efficient way of moving across obstacles.

Unlocking a movement is tricky

Having an engineering mindset, I tend to analyze things.

A lot!

Like, I regularly over-analyze pretty much everything I do.

As a result, as I’m being coached, I tend to get to a point where I seem to forget how to actually perform the movement I’m working on.

This always happens suddenly, but after this many years, it’s never unexpected.

To help me with unlocking this movement block, I typically try to concentrate on not thinking, at all, before I “go”.

Through informal “interviews” with others, I’ve determined that this isn’t something uniquely “me”.

It actually appears to be a regular thing to experience as we’re learning movements.

In my case, it’s basically paralysis by analysis.

Like most good coaches, these coaches will provide a single cue for me to work on each time I perform the movement. 

My brain stores them all.

Then it all falls apart…

After about 6 or 7  successful attempts at the movement, with minor corrections every time, it all collides. My body seems to get confused and I literally forget how to do it.

No unlocking of the movement at that attempt (I usually wind up catching myself by blocking the movement altogether)!

To ‘shake loose’ again, I have to concentrate on something different and then just launch into it and let my kinesthetic memory take over.

Today, the coach was doing a great job trying to analyze why I couldn’t get any distance from this particular movement pattern. 

He had all sorts of (great!) suggestions.

Like a good li’l student, I tried to implement them all.

Suggestions about how I performed the “take off” were made. I adjusted, and it went a little better.

But not enough to make any real difference.

Back and forth.

Jumping again and again.

Everything helped a little, just like every time in the past.

But nothing significant changed and I knew that the next time I was going to practice this specific movement, I’d probably be right back at square one again.

Then he hit me with a tiny golden nugget;

[…], oh and it seems like your contact time is a little long..?

– Parkour Coach

It was almost a throwaway comment, but in my head I went; “Contact time!” (The amount of time my hands stayed in contact with the obstacle).

For safety reasons, I think I have believed  it better to keep the contact time duration higher. Safety is, after all, something I value a lot more now that I’m a “little” older!

But my train of thought took me to; “What if less is actually more safe???”.

Mentioning this to the coach, the next time through, I focused on shorter contact time.

Whaddaya know?!?

That little tip was all it took.

Now, let’s be fair; It’s not as if I suddenly can cover great distances and everything is perfect with this movement and I.

I’m still working on it, but today I added a foot to my distance with a simple tweak.

What experiences have you had unlocking movement? Have there ever been a situation where a movement you’ve been struggling with just “unlocked” for you?

It could have taken weeks, months or years of practice before something seemingly innocuous triggered an association in your mind and body, et voila! 

Or maybe you’re a person who successfully has been unlocking movement regularly?

Is there something in the training today you feel you need help with unlocking?

Yes, I want online training!

Measure Your Ab-bilities

ab-bility-By U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Gary Ward [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
NoticeIt’s Friday and we will be conducting a fitness test during your workout.

Ab-bilities to Measure

Yes, it is that time again, time to measure your ab-bilities.

Give yourself time to warm up physically and mentally.

Prepare to show yourself how fit you are at this moment. 

You can look back and see where you are at, or just have a good training session.

It is completely up to you what you make of it.

Surprise!

A suggestion to make it fun; Put on your favorite mid-tempo training playlist and see if you get a bit of a boost.

Keep it Real

Before you start, decide what is important to you. 

How important is form vs. repetitions. If you wish to not get a wonky knee or shoulder, focusing on form is probably a good idea.

If good form is always your top priority then how many reps you did, or how much weight you used is a good secondary measure.

Consistently performing the same makes for a level playing field.

If you squat more weight, but do not go down to your maximum range of motion, is that really a sign of strength?

What you can do without weights is amazing to do with weights.

Pats on the Back

When you are done with the progress test, give yourself a pat on the back and buy yourself a tea or coffee.

Do something that you enjoy doing. Something that makes you feel super hero like.

Now is the time to train and rest well. Test your progress. Cheers!!

NoticeIt’s Friday and we will be conducting a fitness test during your workout.

Yes, I want online training!

Being You, Accepting You

Accepting - By Paul Reynolds (Flickr: Reflection) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Notice: This Friday we will be conducting a fitness test during your workout.

Accepting Your Best and Worst

Being accepting of who you are is not so easy.

There is the group who likes to be liked. This is my group.

Then there are those who do not think they will be liked and make sure of it.

Both of them are hiding from who they really are. 

Not accepting the best of who they are, and recognizing the worst of who they are.

Being real with yourself is one of the harder things to do.

We build an identity and want to stick with it.

Switching behaviors, locations, friends can mess with this identity. 

Times like this make it easy to loose a sense of self and start reacting to the world, instead of knowing who you are and what matters to you.’

Outside Point of View

Asking a couple of people who know you in different ways can help you to build a more realistic picture of yourself.

Who do you think you share with people, and who do you actually share with people.

Is being enthusiastic about everything make you more likable, or does it make you one dimensional.

Everything can not always be great, and fantastic. For people who see you every once in awhile that can be fine.

If someone sees you more on the regular it builds a sense of unease.

We know that everyday can’t be “amazing”. It is OK that it isn’t.

Connection can happen through many shared stories that are both joyful and sad.

If everything is awful all the time, then other people know that is what you are bringing, not so much the outside world.

Little Bit of Everything

There are people and situations you would rather put on a mask and muddle through.

What would happen if you didn’t. Not sharing why things are not going your way, but sharing that you feel there not may be enough.

Today isn’t a great day. You know what? That is fine, it will pass!

Do you ever check in with others for self evaluation? If so, how does it leave you feeling?

Muddle this over during your training breaks. Hmmmm!!

Notice: This Friday we will be conducting a fitness test during your workout.

Yes, I want online training!

Super Duper Power of Sleep

duper-Videoplasty.com [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Notice: This Friday we will be conducting a fitness test during your workout.

Duper Sleep

The super duper power of sleep makes life more productive. 

After days of sleep deprivation, getting better sleep makes me feel super human.

Of course, with the time change, I feel like I’m going to bed way early.

As soon as I get done working, I think about crawling into my bed.

I don’t actually do that. Instead I have a bit to eat, watch a show and cuddle with the cat.

It is nice to be capable of thinking beyond the next item on my todo list.

I can really tell the difference now.

One night of good sleep, and I can think my way through the day.

A night of bad sleep, and all I seem to keep thinking about is sleep.

Early to Bed, Early to Rise

I find that if I go to sleep between 9:15 and 10:00pm, I tend to wake up around 4:30am.

That amount of sleep isn’t bad. A solid seven hours is a long time for me.

After seven hours of sleep, I can think more clearly.

I have more energy and can think beyond what has to get done. It lets me get to the things I actually would like to get done.

I worked for a couple of hours this weekend and it was nice to feel rested, and relaxed while doing a project.

It was more enjoyable and way more efficient. 

Constant Email Stress

I find that the constant stress of “email dings” makes my productivity go down. A lot!

Is that email ding something I need to check on right now? Do I really need to do something about the content right away?

I think I can start making email updates something I do every 2 hours. I check my mail, sort and then proceed.

Learning to prioritize the things that need to get done.

This way, maybe my day will include some very productive moments of uninterrupted work. 

Maybe even setting a limit will is enough? For example; I will process these three orders, then check my email.

I will prioritize these emails, then answer some bookkeeping questions.

Will more structure make my day more effective?

I guess I will find out.

What do you do to make your days productive and use your super duper power from sleep?

Get a little bit of training, to make sleep even better. Cheers!!

Notice: This Friday we will be conducting a fitness test during your workout.

Yes, I want online training!

Darkness Happens Earlier

darkness-By Ville Miettinen from Helsinki, Finland (Machu Picchu at dawn) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Notice: This Friday we will be conducting a fitness test during your workout.

Darkness Advantage

With the darkness of the fall back time change, opportunity to train early comes up.

I am not the best morning person.

When it gets dark, I feel like curling up and falling asleep.

Now that the clocks have turned back and we have more morning light, it may be a time to take the opportunity it presents.

Having problems squeezing in a little workout at the end of the day?

Now that it is getting dark earlier your energy will drop even faster.

So what you can you do is to take advantage of that hour in the morning.

Sleep In At Night

Instead of using the morning to sleep in, sleep in in the evening. Go to bed just a little bit earlier.

Enjoy that extra hour of night.

In the morning, get up and enjoy the extra hour of light with a little tour out in the world.

Or, turn on a training/workout show and move around a little.

Maybe you like yoga, dancing, or body weight calisthenics.

So many options to move a little in the am… Without feeling like you need a nap afterwards.

It can feel like a stolen hour, if you like.

Leave Work In the Dark

Leaving work in the dark can feel really blah.

It is hard to be motivated to do much, besides get warm, eat good food, and laugh a little at your favorite show.

I like to read at this time of year.

Loose myself in a book, it is a guilty pleasure.

I feel less guilty if I get in an early morning training session.

How about you? What do you do when the winter darkness sets in?

Train a little and brighten your day. Cheers!!

Notice: This Friday we will be conducting a fitness test during your workout.

Yes, I want online training!