Thoughtfulness Rules

thoughtfulness-Selena Wilke [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Today, I’ve been filled with thoughtfulness…

Thoughtfulness, consideration for the needs of other people, or the state of being absorbed in thought. 

The Oxford Dictionary

It has been a week of only OK sleep and it is wearing on me.

There is a lot on my plate as well. I’m heading to Denmark on Saturday for more training, and to try and crack the nut of processes. 

My mind wanders in different directions and I start thinking about other things.

One of those thoughts is about email and thoughtfulness.

Email Thoughtfulness

There is a culture of thoughtfulness at the company where I work. It sounds nice.

In every email with a request/command, they deliver it as a question. 

You usually get either a one-word response, or exactly what you asked for.

It is very different than the last company I worked for.

If we had a request it is made as a statement, not a question.

The truth was that you needed it done.

The illusion of choice is a funny thing.

I never expect to get a “no can’t do that” when I ask my colleagues to do something.

So why are we asking?

Being Thoughtful

Does it help to create the feeling of personal autonomy?

Perhaps…

You have the power over your choices. 

Even if that, sort of, is not the case.

It is a bit sentimental and in one view, sweet and kind.

In another light, it can be a bit passive aggressive. 

Won’t you do that for me dear?

Question are not asked that way, but email is tone deaf.

So it depends on the reader and their impression.

What are your thoughts on thoughtfulness? Is stating a request as a question more thoughtful?

Ask yourself “does training make my day better?” Cheers!!

I kept finding myself zoning out and thinking about other things besides the task at hand today.

It has been a week of only OK sleep and it is wearing on me.

There is a lot on my plate as well. I’m heading to Denmark on Saturday for more training, and to try and crack the nut of processes. 

My mind wanders in different directions and I start thinking about other things.

One of those thoughts is about email and thoughtfulness.

Email Thoughtfulness

There is a culture of thoughtfulness at the company where I work.

It sounds nice!

Every email with a request/command is asked as a question. 

You usually get either a one-word response, or exactly what you asked for.

It is different from the last company I worked for.

If we had a request it was made as a statement not a question.

The truth was that you needed it done.

The illusion of choice is a funny thing.

I never expect to get a “no can’t do that” when I ask my colleagues to do something.

So why are we asking?

Being Thoughtful

Does it help to create the feeling of personal autonomy?

Perhaps…

You have the power over your choices. 

Even if that, sort of, is not the case.

It is a bit sentimental and in one view, sweet and kind.

In another light, it can be a bit passive aggressive. 

Won’t you do that for me dear?

Question are not being asked that way, but email is tone deaf.

So it depends on the reader and their impression.

What are your thoughts on thoughtfulness? Is stating a request as a question more thoughtful?

Ask yourself “does training make my day better?” Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

You Are What You Think

think

Think It, Be It

Are you really what you think?

I do not mean; “I want to be a pilot”, and bam you’re a pilot!

Nope, I am referring to the idea that you are the sum of your thoughts.

See, I work a lot, I think a lot about work, and I seem to have too little left to talk about or focus on.

I could write all kinds of creative stories about customer service experiences.

Maybe even throw in why having a process is so important to make life more efficient.

But that is not what we are about here…

We are about finding ways to shift towards a lifestyle that supports being active, eating for health, and cultivating mental fortitude.

Mental Fortitude

Lucky for me, mental fortitude is something that can be developed and talked about regardless of what you do.

Sometimes it is difficult to meet challenges if you feel run down by lack of sleep, meals that have less nutrients than needed and less activity than you are accustomed to. 

It all plays together and it either builds resilience, or slowly wears it away.

I notice by not giving myself time to do other things, my mind keeps staying focused on work. 

This does not let me really step away and get a break.

It starts to feel repetitive. 

Wasn’t I just here? Didn’t I just do that?

It also feels strange to not have a partner who can cover for you, if you need time off, or get sick.

Thinking It True

If I start thinking of ways to be less at work and more doing other things, maybe I will find a way to think it into reality.

Obsessing about that may lead to solutions for better work and life experience.

Ignoring the details I can not control while in my down time or sleeping, and focus on a small step I can take right now to make stepping away easier. 

I am heading to Denmark for another round of training next week.

It seems like my schedule is jam packed. I will need to create down-time, to let me soak in what I am learning.

Walking away with better systems and processes would be great.

What do you think? Is what you think who you are?

Think about training and then become the training. Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

Sugar and Fat Loss, the real story

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

If you were to do a quick Google Search for “Sugar Fat Loss” (or even; “sugar and fat loss”), you’d see at least 194 million results!

Over the past decade, sugar has risen to the position of “top dawg” when it comes to people explaining why you’re gaining weight. 

In fitness and health circles, it’s “an established fact” that sugar affects weight loss!

Eliminating sugar for fat loss?

Take the period from 1999 to 2013.

In those 14 years, the obesity rate in America rose from 31% to 38%!

However, if you were to claim that sugar clearly is the reason why people are gaining weight?

Well…

During that same period of time, there was an 18-22% decline in the average daily intake of sugar.

And yet, the obesity rate continued to climb!

So, maybe sugar isn’t the obvious reason why America is gaining weight…?

True, there may be correlation between sugar consumption and a lack of fat loss.

But, the data clearly suggests that sugar can’t be the only reason why you’re gaining weight.

The conclusion? 

No single thing causes obesity. Be it carbohydrates, fat or protein.

Life just isn’t that simple!

Unfortunately, our body isn’t an exception.

Sure, there are genetic and environmental traits of yours to make you more or less sensitive to an ingredient, food type, or macro nutrient. 

But that’s the thing. 

The mix that will work is going to be specifically yours.

What works well for me is unlikely to work as well for you.

Sure, there are some general things we both can do to help us lose weight (if that’s our goal).

We’ve written about some of those before.

Sugar and fat loss are mutually exclusive?

Nope.

Not at all.

As a matter of fact, in 2015 Dr. Kevin Hall led a small pilot study to investigate the relationships between carbs/sugar and insulin when it comes to obesity.

The experiment: “What happens if we keep the calories and protein the same, but play with the dietary sugar and fat levels in the subject’s diets?”

There were a lot of rules for the participants to adhere to. The rules included having to live in a metabolic ward for the duration (all 6-8 weeks of it). 

This was to let the researchers control everything about how they lived, what they ate, their level of activity, etc.

The only things modified between the two diets – “low carbohydrate diet” and “low fat diet” –  was the amounts of carbohydrates/sugar and fat levels.

The outcome?

(Keep in mind that the average American diet includes approximately 88-90g of sugar per day.)

The people on the “low carbohydrate diet”, where sugars represented 8% of all daily calories (sugar = 37g/day), lost 4 lbs of body weight during the 2 week period.

The people on the “low fat diet”, where carbohydrates represented 35% of their daily calorie intake (sugar = 170g/day) lost 3 lbs of body weight during the 2 week period.

While consuming almost 2x the amount of sugar per day that the typical American diet includes, the subjects lost 33% more body weight!

That’s an interesting outcome, but we were talking about sugar and fat loss…

How much body fat did they loose while on the “low carbohydrate diet”?

They lost an average of 1.16lbs of body fat.

And the fat loss achieved while on the “low fat diet”?

They lost an average of 1.29lbs of body fat. That’s an approximate 11% difference in favor of the “low fat diet”.

So in this pilot study, if your goal was fat loss, you should actually eat more sugar…

If you’re interested in more details about sugar and fat loss, I highly recommend reading “The surprising truth about sugar” from Precision Nutrition.

May be something to ponder as you train today..? Cheers!

Yes, I want online training!

Eating Super Foods, Feels Super

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

Super-duper Foods

Eating super-duper foods made me feel pretty super…and craving a bit of dark chocolate.

Why is it that when we eat what we consider to be super foods, we feel mentally a little more together?

I had some salmon today, with a spinach salad on the side.

A lot of good brain food and I feel a bit fired up.

Is it all in my head? Considering I got done eating about an hour ago, yes it is.

Just like taking a sugar pill thinking it will make you feel better, so will good food… Until it really does.

Define Your Super

Everyone has their own tastes about what is good and good for you. 

Finding that balance between what you are interested in eating and what can nourish your body can be a challenge.

Sometimes soul food, is not good body building food.

I like Salmon, and I like Spinach. So that meal was tasty to me.

Tofu, and bean sprouts… Not my idea of very tempting. 

The only way I would probably eat tofu is if it was deep-fried and then, what is the point.

I would rather eat straight up soy beans, or any other beans instead of tofu.

Even though I spent time in Japan as a child, and ate at local restaurants, I never had tofu.

I had beef or chicken, I think…

What Food Turns On Your Bad-Ass Switch?

Find out which foods turn on your bad-ass switch. 

What makes you feel like your best self after you have eaten it? 

Consider making a bad-ass eating list. 

So those days, you just can seem to think you have a reference and can decide is it a bad-ass moment, or a soul food moment.

Name one food that makes you feel like a bad-ass?

Fuel up and train. Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

Sport For Fun, or Sport For Competition

sport-Pierre-Yves Beaudouin [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Sport Is Sport, Right?

When you think of a sport do you think of it at being competitive?

This past weekend, Parkour went going through some growing pains.

An organization called International Gymnastics Federation (FIG, ’cause; “French”) voted to adopt and include Parkour as part of the sport(s) they offer.

Which to me is fascinating because my experience of Parkour has very little to do with competition.

It is about pushing yourself, supporting others, and having fun.

Granted, Parkour at the gym Thomas goes to in Colorado focuses more on competition.

They have time trial classes. The point of a “Time trials” class is to run through a course as fast as you can.

Hopefully using the skills you have learned.

There is also a competition for athletes from around the world to qualify for the somewhat classical American version of “world” championships.

This is not so much fun for me, and there seems to be more of a focus on the individual and less on community.

Sport As Fun

I can be competitive, but it is usually with myself and less with others.

Seeing if I can do something. Something I think is a bit scary, or just out of my reach, skill wise, is fun!

Working with others to accomplish a goal is fun.

Trying to run as fast as I can through a course, is not so much fun.

I find this to be stressful.

I have enough of that in my life.

Learning to build skills through exploration is fun.

Half the time you are not aware of the skill building, you are just having a good time.

Repeating something without a purpose besides doing it is not so much fun.

If you look at lifting weights as doing it to lift the weight, that gets old fast.

Imagining that you are saving your family, by lifting a car, makes it a little more interesting.

Sport For Competition

When I played soccer I enjoyed competing. 

Winning was great, but connecting with teammates and make good plays, that was the best.

If we lost it did not matter.

Coming in first was never my goal.

Playing well gave us a better chance of winning, depending on our performance that game.

Competition brings out a side of myself that makes me uncomfortable.

I experience more emotions of aggression and defiance.

Sport for fun is much more my speed.

What kind of sport do you enjoy more? Why is that?

Now, go train so you can lift a few cars. Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

OMG What Day Is It?

OMG

OMG For Realz

OMG, I cannot believe it is the almost the end of the week!

How the heck did that happen?

When you are in a heads-down crazy work pattern it is hard to back away.

I forced myself to go out to breakfast today.

Of course, while I was out my boss calls and I have to chat with him out on the sidewalk.

Being out for breakfast was not a problem, largely because the long intense hours I have been putting in.

The way this job was presented, on paper it was supposed to be a lot less hours and allow flexibility.

Flexibility 

Today was the first day, I got to work through some mails that I was a few days behind on.

This was a relief.

I also managed to get my agenda and schedule down on paper and sent for my upcoming trip to Denmark.

This trip is going to be my cross-over to taking on more responsibility. 

Which makes me a bit nervous. Feeling a bit spread thin as it is, I wonder what this new landscape will be like.

Managing my time, and taking me time is still an important theme.

Right Time

Is there a right time? Or, is it about taking opportunities?

Thomas is going to start running a group training class at his parkour gym soon.

It will be in the morning and I will have a ride.

My work day is supposed to start at 8, and the class ends at 8.

Just because my start and there have been a lot of 10 to 12 hour days does not mean that I get to modify regular work hours.

I will need to make some choices, and experiment a bit.

How about you? Do weeks fly by and you feel like all you did was work? How does that work for you?

Get in a bit of training to put a smile on your face. Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

First day of training

The first day of training experience...

We’ve all experienced it; Your first day of training is usually a shock to the system.

It makes sense, right? 

It’s movement in ways you’re not used to.

Your Central Nervous System (CNS) has to adapt.

You’re thinking consciously about what and how to move.

Your muscles aren’t used to that specific set of movements.

Neither is your fascia.

If this ain’t your first rodeo, but only the “first, because you took a long break”, you know what’s coming next…

The Day After the First Day of Training

Your first day of training leads to the first day of DOMs.

Hopefully you were told to take it easy on your first training day.

If you went all out, until your lungs told you to f*ck off, your first day of training will mean a nasty “first day of DOMs”.

Which, if you’re really unlucky like me, means it’s actually the 2nd day before the DOMs really come visiting.

That particular “first day of DOMs” – on day 2 – often coincides with your 2nd day of training.

On that day, you may discover how insanely low that “American Standard” toilet really is! (Although it seems like it, that toilet didn’t shrink over night!)

Maybe you’ll learn how often your actually cough, laugh, sneeze or stretch your upper body.

All of those activities are a whole lot of “fun” if you were allowed to give your core a workout(!).

All in all, that time between the first day of training and the second day of training can be quite the “joyous” experience!

Is this real?

Obviously, the above is mostly tongue-in-cheek.

The truth is that most beginners to training tend to over-do it that first time.

They push themselves. 

It’s why you’re in the gym, right!??!

They realize how bad that makes them feel.

Then get to experience “the first day of DOMs”, which certainly isn’t very joyful at all.

And with that, the newfound love of training is over, for now…

It’s true. A lot of beginners never return if the first day of training experience isn’t managed well.

Feeling bad after training is quite the de-motivator. 

For many, it’s a perfect reason to find something else to do. Something more enjoyable. Like pulling teeth, for instance!

5 Strategies to help you

What are some things you can do to make the days following your first day of training less intense?

Strategies you can use to help yourself look forward to day #2 of training?

1: Listen to your coach.

If your coach tells you to take it slow, there’s probably a good reason for it.

Of course you’re excited. Maybe you want to prove to yourself that you can do this. Maybe you want to prove to someone else you’re not a wimp.

Whatever the reason for wanting to “push it”, swallow that pride.

It’s a short term thing.

Before you know it, you’ll be one of “those people”. The one people “whisper about” when they see you train.

But until then, if you want to make training a real habit, take the advice given to you.

2: Hydrate – Drink Water!

You won’t often see me recommend drinking water for the sake of drinking water.

On your first day of training I’ll make an exception.

Being hydrated helps your body clean itself out more easily. If you’re well hydrated, your recovery will go much more smoothly.

3: Stretch after training.

Normally, I’ll argue that passive stretching is something you can do if/when you’re feeling the need to.

On your first day of training, you should probably feel the need to!

Honestly, it will help with DOMs during the next couple of days.

Hold each stretch for no less than 35-45 seconds. If you have the time to hold them for a minute, do!

4: Eat lean protein and good carbohydrates

Your brain and body needs energy and building blocks for recovery.

Lean protein represents the building blocks.

Healthy carbohydrates will help with the energy.

Did you know that Chocolate Milk is a great recovery drink after training?

5: Move!

It’s a common misconception that training makes you stronger.

It doesn’t!

What makes you stronger is your body adapting to the new load you placed on it.

That adaptation only happens while you’re letting your body recover.

I realize this seems counter intuitive to the above piece of advice; to move.

The thing is, you can move without putting a lot of stress on your body.

Simple things like standing for work.

Walking for 10 minutes at a leisurely pace.

Alternate between sitting and standing with some degree of random regularity.

Do some more (cold and careful!) static stretches.

Walk at a medium pace in stairs.

All are valid forms of low-impact movement to help move fresh, oxygen rich blood to and through your muscles. This will help “clean them out” and reduce your DOMs.

6: (Bonus!) Sleep

Recovery is a lot more effective while you sleep. 

If you can, and feel like it, take a nap after your session on that first day of training.

Sleeping lets you body rebuild and adapt. 

Getting to 8 hours of sleep per day isn’t an “all or nothing” proposition. If you’ve slept for 7 hours, then take three 20 minute naps, you’ve had 8 hours of rest as far as your body is concerned.

Way to go you!

If you’re going to train today, but it’s not the first day of training for you, those tips are still valid! (Way to go on getting out there to train again!)

Yes, I want online training!

Struggling to Not Give Too Much

struggling-Simon Q [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Struggling To Keep My Perfectionist in Check

I’m struggling to not give more than is realistic. 

So many struggles to not give so much that there is nothing left for anyone, or anything else.

How do you walk away from emails and actions that need to be taken?

This is a question I keep asking myself at the end of each day of work. 

So far this week is off to a bad start. 

Working longer hours, not going for a run, nor eating regularly.

As this is going on, I am asking myself; What the heck happened?!?

Use It, or Lose It

This nice little catchy phrase “use it, or lose it” has new meaning to me.

I feel like I am losing my down-time. I do it through choosing to be perfectionistic about responsibility.

What I am lacking is perspective on that responsibility.

How helpful can I be when I’m burned out, sick and unable to recover?

For some reason, this is hitting home after a few extra days of down time.

Even on those days of down time, I choose to be less active, and to “rest” more than recover.

Rest and Recovery

I think that may be another dilemma.

Not feeling like I have the time for recovery and only focusing on rest.

Recovery can help with rest.

I am thinking of recovery as a walk, light jog outside, clean the house, or hanging out with friends and family.

Last Saturday I meet a friend for breakfast and a walk. It was a nice break from my everyday.

I did get to spend time with family for dinner at the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Tomorrow, I just need to use a bit of my primetime for me.

Try not to be left with my “rest of me” person because I gave all the best away.

The “the rest of me” person is the one who wants to watch TV and go to bed at 8:30pm…

How do you recover and rest? Are you better at one more than the other?

Enjoy your time training today. Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

The Expert or The Coach

The Expert versus The Coach - Which is better?

I’ve been both the expert and the coach and I can tell you which one works better!

In my old profession, what I said and how I spoke mattered a lot. It was something I was very, very conscious of.

In that role, I had to exude confidence. Show I was “the expert”.

The words I chose had to demonstrate that I knew what I was talking about.

They had to be delivered at the correct time, in the correct context.

My job was to help clients feel comfortable that they would be “made right”, now that help from the engineering department had arrived.

Once we showed up, the customer was “meeting the experts”.

And experts speak a certain way. 

Just think about it for a second…

Experts typically do not ask a lot of open-ended questions. Some don’t ask questions at all(!).

They certainly aren’t expected to ask for help.

Nor seem insecure about their area of expertise.

You don’t hear questions like; “How is that working for you?” or “On a scale from 1 to 10, how likely are you to implement this change?”

Experts tell you what to do, how to do it and, if you’re lucky, why you should do it.

The words to coach by

Then I started coaching fitness and nutrition…

It helped me discover that changing your communication style is hard!

For the longest time, and to this day, I will (accidentally!) “expert” clients.

A lot of our clients believe that’s actually what they want and need. 

An expert who can tell them what to do, keep them honest and make them eat right and exercise.

When it comes to changing your habits, being “experted” actually triggers resistance.

The truth is, very few people need an expert to tell them what or how to eat

You know what you should eat. You probably “only” struggle with actually doing it?

Most people know that they should exercise. They don’t need an expert to tell them this. And, if they spend more than 15 seconds thinking about it, they can probably come up with something to do so they get that exercise.

The problem with exercise isn’t “how do I exercise”. The challenge is actually getting to the gym and then, occasionally, “what to do once I’m there”.

Even more perplexing(?); The true expert on what you need is

You!

Not your trainer.

Not your dietician.

Nobody but you actually knows what you need/can do/are capable of.

What you (probably) need is someone to help you figure out why you’re not doing what you know is best for you.

Why you’re making the choices you’re making.

Your fitness coach can be a couple of things, but “the expert” is the least productive of those.

At least if your goal is to learn to change the choices you’re making when it comes to weight, fitness and nutrition.

For that, you need a coach.

You want a coach!

A good coach knows the power of language. 

What happens when you tell your coach that you may not make it to the training session tomorrow?

You’re not sure, but you may be meeting a friend you haven’t seen for a while, at a cafe for some coffee and cake instead. (Oh, you know. It’s been planned for a week, but…) 

An expert will tell you how too much coffee triggers inflammation in your body. Then they’ll point out that the cake represents hundreds of empty calories.

Next they’ll tell you that instead of going, if you’re serious about your health and fitness goals, you will prioritize the training session and your kale smoothie!

A coach, on the other hand?

With a good coach the response would probably go something like this;

“Of course you’d rather go meet your friend and catch up! I see no reason why you shouldn’t. Heck, in your situation, I’d probably do the same.”

“By the way, maybe you can come up with a few strategies to help you stay on track for your goals, without being the party-pooper/nutrition freak?”.

The difference is stark, isn’t it?

That’s why I’m working on being a coach, not an expert! 

Have any examples of bad expecting you care to share in the comment area below?

Something to think about while you train today, perhaps?

Yes, I want online training!

Out of Your Head and Back to Sleep

head-Rojypala [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Clear Head

Clear your head to find sleep.

How would you do that?

I have experimented with this and have found for me, I need to take action.

What does that action look like?

At first I tried the mind dump. Writing a list of everything I think I will need to do tomorrow.

Including random ideas that may not be an action, but are things that need to get done sooner rather than later.

That worked somewhat, but not with this new job.

Then I tried writing down what I was ruminating on, if I woke up at night.

This did not work out so well. I still kept thinking about what I needed to do.

Also, I have experience with writing notes and not understanding what I wrote the next day…

Action and Relaxation

I actually need to get up and look at a problem I may need to solve. 

If I forgot a step in an order I entered, I need to go in to do that step.

Emails are more tricky. 

I can not open my emails to look for an email I need to respond to, or to write a new one.

My co-workers in Denmark are hard at work while I sleep.

If I get up and start readying emails, then all of a sudden I am working.

To avoid this, I write emails as a note.

So I open a notes app, instead of email, to get my thoughts down.

That seems to help.

Sometimes I am able to then relax and get a little more sleep.

Other times, I do keep trying to re-write, or solve the problem.

Gratitude 

Instead of, or as a follow up exercise for a mind dump, I have been writing down three things I am grateful for that day.

Feelings of gratitude trigger a chemical reaction that is as addictive as worrying, but releases healthier chemicals that lead to a more chilled mindset.

So instead of getting on a hamster wheel of worry, I get on a merry-go-round of wonder.

I imagine a hamster wheel as a solitary trip to nowhere, with limited feedback.

The merry-go-round has music, color, and other people enjoying the fun of riding up and down on painted creatures.

One is boring and brutal, while the other is magical and full of warm fuzzies.

What can you do to shift from hamster wheel to merry-go-round?

What are you grateful for when it comes to training? (Use the comments field below!)

Yes, I want online training!