Just Right, Rest and Recovery

rest and recovery

Rest And Recovery

For the sake of this post, “rest” is the time you use between repetitions and sets in a training session. “Recovery” is the time between training sessions.

How do you know what is right for you?

Your body will let you know.

A key measure is building progressive strength by tracking increased weight (resistance) or repetitions.

Another measure is how quickly your heart rate comes down and you can do the next set of exercises.

Those are two simple indicators you can track in every session.

Between each training session you can track soreness, and energy levels.

Improvement Does Not Equal Pain

After five or more years of a popular mindset in the fitness industry being the need to work to the brink in each training session, results do not show a healthier outcome.

If you are an athlete and your life revolves around training then the continuous push is important. Their development programs included progressive steps.

The program for an athlete builds up to hit a 100% when they need to compete.

Rest and recovery is where they make strides to perform better. It is not a daily training session at 100% of effort.

Fitness for Health and Wellness

When having days that are so sore you can barely go to the bathroom, pain becomes more of a deterrent.

Very few people are motivated by pain. The one thing that got me through those early days of training was the idea that pain goes away the more you train.

This did work, but it took more time than I prefer.

Slow Progress and Patients

As I learned more about training, I learned that you could make progress, more slowly, without the levels of pain I experienced.

It requires more patience and time, but it can be done.

This also teaches a more long-term doable approach to training.

If you start to lose strength, feel tired a lot of the time, and fatigue quickly then what you are doing is likely too much.

Backing off and allowing for more recovery is going to keep you moving.

Instead of doing three sets do two sets and see what happens.

Maybe you will do three sets one time a month instead of three times a month.

Look for solutions that build you up instead of what is on trend.

You do you.

Consider paying attention to measures of improvement in your training session today and in the future. Cheers!!

Making Sure Fruits and Veggies are a Priority

fruits and veggies

Fruits, Veggies, and Fiber Making Life More Predictable

Do you enjoy eating fruits as snacks or desserts? Then you may be getting enough fiber.

Do you eat at least two servings of veggies at every meal? Then you may be getting enough fiber.

Do you including mostly unprocessed grains in your diet? Then you may be getting enough fiber.

Why is it important to get enough fiber in your diet?

The most well known reason is to poop regularly. A “normal” frequency of pooping is from three times a day, to once every three days.

More plants, more fruits, equals  more frequent poops.

Fiber also helps to slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream  because of a delay in moving from the stomach to the intestines during digestion.

For managing hunger, it also increase feelings of fullness (satiation).

In the small intestines, fiber binds to bile acids which interferes with the absorption of fat and cholesterol.

Insoluble fibers help to increase the bulk of your poop and provide a laxative effect. It’s keeping you regular.

How Much Is Enough?

An adult needs between 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day. This aligns with the recommended minimum number of servings of fruits and vegetables; Nine per day.

For myself, I like to think of fruits as part of as dessert, or as a snack in-between meals.

If you eat three meals per day, which includes two servings of veggies, plus two snacks, which includes whole fruits, then you have reached the minimum number of servings needed.

If you are looking to improve your health and wellness, or lose a little weight, try to figure out one small action you know with certainty you can take each day.

An example being, adding one extra serving of veggies at each meal/snack. If that seems too much, maybe add one serving of veggies to breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Break it down to make it doable in your everyday life. If you miss one serving, add it to your next meal, or have a snack.

Consider the benefits of fueling your training and getting regular with some fiber. Cheers!!

Random Stops and Chats Build Connections

Random Chats By Frettie [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Random + Chats = Connect

Being on a campus, company or college, or a small town allows for random chats that can strengthen your connections.

When I worked at a small non-profit, the Executive Director fell in love with the idea of a walking meeting.

What I think she was trying to accomplish is the spontaneity that a bigger company or small town can have.

As you’re walking to somewhere, you meet someone you know. They tell you what they are doing, you tell them what you are doing and a quick constructive conversation takes place.

Forget In-Depth Social BS

What is nice about these meetings is everything is abbreviated and straight to the meat of a subject.

The built in pressure to keep moving makes every moment count. What you say has an additional weight and presence to it.

Being in the “NOW” becomes the default setting.

This is not the gossip chat, this is a subject and/or problem solving chat. A quick exchange of pertinent information.

Why Espresso Talk Beats Coffee Talk

Coffee talk is when you have a set meeting, with all the social requirements to be a good host and guest.

Espresso talk is the random chat. Where a hand shake will do. There is no host or guest, you are equals.

In life today, with the perception of the ever-present busyness, these little connections can be a bright spot in your day.

Espresso talk can strike to a creative thought or idea. A problem being mulled over gets distilled in order to be shared.

If you work on your own then finding an environment that allows for these types of connections can be helpful to motivate you and to keep your brain sharp.

Gyms, health stores, community centers, or meet ups can create opportunities for espresso talk, for those interested in health and wellness.

Awareness of our own critical thinking skills to recognize BS vs. solid information is important in this setting.

A good friend may not be the best source of information on all subjects.

Where do you experience espresso talk? What do you get out of it?

Strengthen your inner connection by feeling your muscles move in your training session today. Cheers!!

Venting Out Stress and Anxiety

venting out stress and anxiety

Lets Get To Venting

When it comes to solving interpersonal problems I have relied heavily on venting.

I used to chat my moms ear off as a teenager to think through any social problems I was facing.

There were certain areas I did not talk about, but the day-to-day problems that came up, I shared.

Funny thing is I do not remember any of her advice. I do not remember any of the issues I faced.

After Thomas and I became a couple he became my “venter”.

Venting

Over the years I have had moments where venting has helped me gain self awareness and perspective.

I have also had venting that just added to the pile of negativity I was trying to get out from under.

At the end of helpful venting I had a sense of resolution or an action I could take.

Negative venting just left me feeling tired and sad.

Granted, starting either type of venting session, I did not know which one it would be, unless….it was a repeat.

I had a tendency to revisit the same theme over and over again. Hoping that this time I would end up with resolution or an action to take.

Getting Help From a Pro

When I got stuck in a negative venting cycle I found that I needed to get help from a pro to break out of it.

I spoke with therapist about my troublesome situation, why I thought it bothered me, and why was I stuck not seeing an resolution or an action.

A very simple realization hit. I was waiting for permission to make a hard choice. That permission needed to come from myself.

I knew my action was not going to be easy, so I kept avoiding the awareness and realization of what would be needed.

Venting helped to get me the help I needed. I still use venting as a way to know what to do next.

Do you find venting helpful or not? If so, how?

Let off some steam with a bit of movement training today. Cheers!!

Timing Your Meals For Better Sleep

timing Creative Commons Attribution to Andrew Shiva

Meal Timing and Sleeping

When traveling, one way to get over jet lag is to start timing your meals according to the place you are adjusting to.

Say you have three meals a day; one early, one mid-day, and one later, try and keep that schedule when you arrive.

Re-adjusting your digestion to a different time zone by keeping the same rhythm makes getting over the jet lag hump a little less cumbersome.

Along with light, timing of meals, gives life a rhythm. Getting light exposure, and adjusting meals to local time can take the process of adjusting from taking weeks down to days.

Sad Times

I have seen my brother struggle with jet-leg a few times. Mistakes which could have been easily missed were;

First, he slept in the first day, skipping breakfast and sometimes lunch.

He got up around three in the afternoon still tired and hungry.

Second, he ate when he woke up.

His energy kicked up around seven or eight at night. He was not tired again until early the following morning.

This was a harder adjustment when we would travel to Norway (traveling east), as children, in the summer.

Light was not a good way to adjust to the new time zone because it was light much longer during the day than it was where we came from.

That added a monkey-wrench to the whole process.

My mother and I had more success adjusting by eating according to local time, and not sleeping in.

The Feeling of Dragging A**

I have experienced the feeling of not adjusting and just dragging through the days.

It is how I know it can take weeks to adjust, instead of days.

Winter in Norway is the opposite of summer… There is much less light and it is even harder to get up in the morning.

This is where exercise helps out a lot.

The times I stayed in bed or lounged around, it was real hard to get over feeling like my butt was dragging.

Going for a gloomy fridge walk would wake me up, when the doldrums would hit more than anything else.

To get into the groove of a new time zone eat meals at local times, get light if possible and move!

Do you have any routines or habits that help you adjust to a new time zone, or get better sleep?

Hope you are rested and ready for bit of training. Cheers!!

Working Around an Injury

working around injury

Keep Your Practice By Working Around an Injury

Working around an injury to keep your practice of training going can be a first step back to feeling confidence in movement.

Taking time off is also an option if you are someone who did not find it challenging to start a fitness routine.

For those of us who find it challenging to carve out time for ourselves and a regular fitness practice, keeping our practice appointment allows us to maintain the habit, regardless of physical ability.

Embrace You

Looking back to when you started your latest fitness habit will clue you in as to whether time off, or a change in activity, is most appropriate for you.

If your injured and need to keep your regular practice time, check with your doctor as to what activity they would like you to avoid.

A couple of years ago, after I had surgry, I was told to walk as soon as I could. This was to prevent blood clots and to improve circulation to the area where I had been operated on.

I made sure to walk during my “normal” training time. Around 10am. Since I could not do one long bout of walking, I separated them into shorter bouts throughout the day.

Step Ladder; A Fitter You

I embraced an idea that surgry made me better. Which meant I could become better than I was before.

If I took care of myself and slowly worked my way back to fitness, I might feel even better than I did before.

A positive attitude keeps your focus on the process of incremental improvement.

Being able to feel what is going on inside you can help you know if all is healing well, and what to communicate to your doctor in a follow-up visit.

Have you had an injury you had to work around? If so, did you keep your “normal” training time? How did that work for you?

Training can be as listed, or whatever any injury will permit. Cheers!!

New Situation New Food Habits

situation changes and food habits

Situation Change

Anytime you move or visit a new place, your food situation changes. That means your food choices change and even some of your habits.

The bread you are used to eating, the special green drink you got from the corner store, or the farm stand specials you got each week are no longer available to you.

What do you do?

Adapt What You Know

This is where the basics of eating and exercising come into play. The things that you can control, regardless of what you are used to doing.

Learning to adapt to your new situation will help you to maintain your health goals.

Also experimenting and letting go of what was can help.

Thomas and I are familiar with Norwegian food culture. It has changed somewhat from when he grew up here and we lived here.

In other ways it is the same.

What changed is what Thomas and I eat. We eat far less processed food and sugary drinks than we did when we last lived here.

Going to the market and buying food we eat now was a new experience.

Interestingly it seemed that a lot of their organic produce options were a little cheaper than conventional options.

They also have different rules and regulations when it comes to chemicals and farming practices.

The bread options include very hearty minimal ingredient options. It is like buying a whole flour brick of goodness.

We do not eat much bread in the states anymore. Our experiment; Is the bread option we selected going to react better, the same, or worse with our bodies, than the bread we have in the States.

Rely on the Basics

Remember the basics of portion sizes and eating slowly to just full. Basic practices chosen, regardless of the situation or the food available.

What do you do in new situations?

How long did it take you to adjust, or did you not adjust?

Kick off your day with some movement training.

Cheers!!

Finding Like Minded Peeps

Finding Your Peeps By Primavera Boman [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Finding Your Support Peeps

Finding peeps who support you and think similarly to you regarding healthy habits is an important step in your journey towards better health.

Who we pick for love, or the family we are born into, may not share your health point of view.

This is not about abandoning them or trading anyone in. It is about recognizing what kind of relationship it is.

If part of a relationship does not include sharing your health goals, do they respect them?

If not, how can you have a heart-to-heart conversation letting them know how important your goals are to you?

Compromising

There are many compromises that can be made, if only one person in a family is looking to change health habits.

  • Shifting schedules around to make sure that getting to the gym can happen.
  • Agreeing to add a vegetable to your meals on the side, so everyone can choose.
  • Making family favorites a little more healthy by switching or upgrading some ingredients.

Focusing on what you can control; eating slowly to “just full”, drinking low-caloric beverages, exercising at a scheduled time, your portion sizes, and other personal habits.

Calling Out the Saboteur

Sometimes you will come across a saboteur, instead of a supporter. I suggest that you question them about their lack of support and desire to derail your journey.

It always comes down to what they are going through, and has nothing to do with you.

Just like any other bully behavior, it is difficult to experience. Yet, their bullying comes from a place of pain.

Instead of trying to remove, or manage, their pain they choose to inflict pain on others.

Ask them why they do not want you to be healthier.  Or, why does it appear that they care little for you wellbeing when you know they care about you.

Talking about what you want to achieve with your health in social situations is one way to find like minded people. You may even find yourself a training buddy.

Come train with us today (we’re jumping around too), cheers!

Hierarchy of Important Stuff

hierarchy of importance

Why a Hierarchy?

When dealing with stressful changes, like putting all your things in storage and leaving the country, it helps to create a hierarchy of important stuff.

Each day when waking up we have a list in our heads of things that need to get done.

This can read like a grocery list. All things matter and if one thing does not get done then you can not create the whole.

Other times it is like a list of chores. A few items maybe be important, but most things can handle being put off a little.

The past few weeks have been more grocery lists than chores.

Tackle the To Do’s

To tackle this challenge an overall plan of action is helpful.

My action plan was to first put aside things to give away. Throw out stuff you can not give away, then make a trip to drop off donations.

I did not do this everyday. I did this more in a cycle. Sort some stuff one day. Next day throw, then go donate.

This worked for awhile.

Lifestyle Application

The same thing can be applied to getting back into training after a lapse. Say you went on vacation for ten days and did none of your regular health habits.

In the past, if you found it hard to get back into the swing of things, maybe it was because you went with the “all or nothing” approach.

You just “had” to get right back in to training and eating at the level you stopped, but found after a few days your motivation suffered?

Then this next approach may be worth a consideration.

The first week, you commit to training your main training method, resistance training, for three days.

The next week you add in one or two of your interval sessions.

The next week after that, you focus on eating two helping of veggies at every meal.

If you struggle getting back on track with one, slow down and take another week.

Soon enough you will be back into the swing of things that keep you healthy.

This method can be customized to what you consider the most helpful health habits you use.

Imagine after your next vacation. What would your hierarchy of important health habits to get back into be?

Give yourself an at-a-person for training today! Cheers!

Cortisol High and Sleep Quality

Cortisol dump By USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Oh Man, Cortisol Dumped On Me

These past few days I have woken up with an intense rush of cortisol anxiety and feelings of fight or flight.

I also notice hot-flashes, and my skin feels itchy. I can not seem to get comfortable.

These are all made worse with alcohol.

Tonight I am going to try two things. Improved hydration and quiet time.

Improved hydration is achieved through drinking more water and less other things (like beer or wine).

Quiet time can be amongst other people or on my own. Like right now writing this post is quiet reflective time for me.

If I Can’t Stop It

Since I can not seem to stop the cortisol from spiking when going through transitional times, then I need to manage it on the other end.

Taking a moment to think that it is OK to feel this, and that it will pass is something that actually helps me.

Forcing my jaw muscles to relax, and taking deep breaths also helps.

My goal is to get a better nights sleep than I might if I did not do these things. If I wake up then that is OK too.

Getting back to sleep would be nice, but doing some midnight meditation is not so bad either.

If I need to get out of bed and do some flexibility and mobility exercise to release some of the tension?

Get up and do it.

Hanging It All On One Thing

It helps not to have an all-or-nothing attitude. If I do not sleep then the world will not be tougher to navigate, unless I make it that way.

If I get another cortisol dump it does not mean that I am doing bad things to myself.

If what I try to help me sleep does not work, that is OK. It does not mean I will never sleep.

What does a cortisol dump feel like to you? Can you tell when it is about to happen? How do you manage it?

Train well and sleep well. Cheers!!