Being the coach

Training when you're a coach can be a challenge!

Initially, I wanted to coach because I figured it was a good way to get people to train with.

Boy was I wrong!

The problem, of course, isn’t the actual people I’m training.

The biggest problem pretty much any coach or trainer has?

While the training session is happening, it’s your job to make sure they move in ways to make sure they won’t get hurt.

Can’t really do that if your nose is to the ground and you’ve got tunnel vision from exertion.

Of course, things are a bit more flexible if everybody who’s participating are knowledgeable about their own movement.

Also, they have to know what good movement means in a given situation.

So with more experienced participants, the coach is more likely to be able to “lead from the front”.

With less experienced participants, the opposite is true.

With great success comes great responsibility…

Anybody who coaches wants to be successful.

In training studios, that typically means a fair bit of “passing through” people.

People start, decide the training or trainer isn’t for them and move on.

Others start, decide this is the thing for them and stay.

New people come along and fill the gaps.

As more new people add themselves, the coach obviously has more to do to help them.

So…

For a trainer, more success means less time to train for themselves.

This is, most of the time, why some coaches find their own trainers for themselves.

They get to train somewhere other than in their own studio (It’s nice to get out occasionally).

As a trainer, it’s a relief to not have to think about what we’re supposed to do for the workout (though as I’ve mentioned before, it can be difficult to shut up for us coaches…)

It’s also a regular appointment you have to get to (otherwise you’re wasting money).

That is probably the single biggest reason I can think of to hire somebody to help me train.

Others have other reasons.

Whatever it is, it’s probably a good one!

Something to ponder if you’re a trainer and find your own training has been lacking?

Or, if you’re not a trainer, and VPT is your jam, maybe it doesn’t matter at all.

Either way, have a great time training today!

Yes, I want online training!

Finding Fun Each Day

Day- Ricard Rodríguez [CC0]

A Day For Fun

Every day can be a day of fun, if you focus on finding the fun in it.

Why can finding fun each day be so great?

Think about it for a second…tick, tock.

Fun leads to smiles. Smiles lead to feeling good. Feeling good leads to a sense of wellbeing.

Having a sense of wellbeing can give balance to life.

Even if you are working crazy hours, throw in some fun and it does not seem so long or crazy.

Learning With Fun

Whenever I am trying to learn something new, a little fun or humor will help me remember.

If I take things too seriously then I start to get bummed out. At that point I’m just not too much fun to be around.

Having a good belly laugh cheers me right up.

Doing something I think is fun can lead to a good laugh.

Setting myself up for more laughs adds to my sense of wellbeing.

Fun is so subjective that you can totally decide what that is.

You can have fun by yourself, or with others.

Fun does not care, it just is waiting to be had.

Growing up there were two fun things that helped me with my reading.

A “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, and “Mad Libs”.

Mad Libs was a story with blanks in it. You were to add in a word in order to complete the story.

(Google it, if you don’t know. They have on-line options now.)

There were directions on what kind of word you should be adding. A noun, a verb, etc.

You could make up a really funny story, or a very serious one.

Give It Go

You could try Mad Lib for training.

Give yourself general directions like legs, arms, core, front, back, ground, air. Then see what type of movements you choose to do.

Add a little fun to your day when training. Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

Walk Awake

walk

Walk Yourself Awake

Need to wake up? Go for a walk!

Going for a short walk first thing in the morning gets the brain fired up.

This morning, I went for a 30 minute walk and felt pretty awake most of the day.

I am going to give it a try tomorrow as well.

Get a good nights sleep, take a shower, eat some food and walk.

It also helps me pretend I am walking to work. Instead of rolling out of bed and starting to work.

I have been getting up, showering and having breakfast, but not walking.

It will be interesting to see how well it continues to work.

Maybe I will sleep better, which would be amazing!

Morning Active

Do you like to do activities in the morning that get you going?

Maybe your day already ingrates it in, like walking to work.

Or, being in front of a group of people (kids) and moving around while giving instructions.

Office workers and drivers have it tough.

There is a lot of sitting, unless you decide to be different and set a reminder to move every once in awhile.

Bringing your lunch to work can be a good thing, but it can also lead to eating at your desk.

That is not such a good thing.

Of course, every now and then, it might need to be done…

Most of the time, taking at least 20 minutes to eat your lunch is great break during the day.

Middle of the Day Walk

When I was between semesters of school and working a full time temp job, lunch was my walking time.

I wasn’t really there, at the temp job, to make friends. Plus, the job was mindless.

To stay a wake in the afternoon, I needed to get my circulation pumping.

Granted, at the time my nutrition was awful.

A diet coke does not a meal make!

I was in my early twenties, so give me a break.

Now that I know more it is still a challenge to consistently choose wisely as to what my next meal will be.

As fatigue and tiredness hits, less thinking and more feeling is involved.

Try a walk to wake up, any time of day and see what happens for you.

Train a little, walk a little, and stay awake. Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

Suitable workout routine

Power vs Endurance vs Strength

I sometimes struggle with dreaming up what I think is the best programming for the week.

When I program, I have to balance requests, goals and individual preferences.

Like this week…

Conflicting goals means I have to keep runners, parkour athletes and strength training in mind.

Running and strength training represent a pretty obvious conflict.

Why?

Improving strength typically means more load, less repetitions.

Improving endurance typically means lower loads, more repetitions.

Runners want improved endurance, whereas strength wants..

More strength.

Since strength is explosive in nature, it’s typically not all that conducive to endurance running.

On the other hand, it can be helpful to be stronger if you’re a runner and want to avoid injuries.

Then we have the Parkour athletes.

Most of them feel endurance isn’t all that important (I tend to disagree).

They also feel strength only matters if it serves to improve jumping and climbing.

Again, I disagree.

Why are they wrong?

I disagree because strength focus for a single or small section of the body leads to imbalances.

Parkour is jump – hinge – and push dominant. If you want to get stronger for Parkour, you’ll be told by some to focus on dead lifts, squats, bench dips and pull-ups (on your way towards the muscle-up). Or, some variation thereof.

It’s a simple list of things to focus on.

Unfortunately, if your goal is to be able to perform for a long time, this is a pretty obvious recipe for imbalances.

Imbalances lead to more injuries,over time.

So how will I balance the three requests?

I have a system…

Endurance is achieved with how the set/rep/rest periods are spaced. I use either a 30/30 model, or a 6 + 1 + 2 minute model.

This way we tax the cardiovascular system in a manner similar to a HIIT based program, without overdoing it.

I then individualize the load for the client by changing the weight used during the workout to match their need/request.

Then we use as many different exercises as we need in order to properly round out the routine.

The goal is to minimize the potential for longer term injuries due to imbalances or overload.

There you have it. The “secret” to how I think when I’m designing a program for your training today.

Pretty easy, innit?

Yes, I want online training!

Not A Fan Of Daylight Savings Time

daylight

Daylight Where Its Needed

I would like a little daylight in my mornings, and a little darkness in my evenings.

We just had a blizzard the first week of daylight savings time.

Do I need the extra hour of daylight in the evening right now?

Nope not really.

Would I like a little sun earlier in the day?

Yes, I would.

It is easier to get up in the morning and maybe get in a walk.

Cozy Evenings

Cozy evenings are nice. I like cuddling up with some tea or wine watching a show, or reading a book.

That is the evening activity I enjoy.

All of a sudden I now feel this pressure to go out and do something.

All that changed was an hour.

It feels like soo much more.

Starting work in the dark feels a bit lonely.

I do like my solitude, but it feels like everyone else is sleeping.

Even though I know that is not true. Someone has to be making the donuts.

Reverse Depression

I doubt it is a thing, but I feel a little melancholy yesterday and today.

It has been a little stressful with work.

Not feeling that I have enough time, even though I actually spend extra time.

As least for the first time today, I do not feel like my eyes are ready to shut at 5pm.

This was a bit of a self-indulgent rant about losing an hour of time in the morning.

I used to love the idea of “sleeping in” when fall comes around.

Not so much now, since I really do not have a choice.

Where you live, do you have daylight savings time? If so, how do you deal with it?

Move a little, laugh a little, live a little. Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

Warning, It’s Winter

winter

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall

Today we had a winter blizzard in Denver.

I won’t fault you for thinking a blizzard at winter in Denver should be expected.

Those of us who live here know how unusual it actually is.

This specific winter blizzard seems like a fairly mild thing, here in the city.

I’ve lived in New Hampshire and Norway, so snow accumulation measured in inches and not feet seems fairly “not all that blizzard like”.

But on the plains, without trees or cover, I can imagine how snow blowing sideways could be a bit scary.

You would not care all that much about accumulation when you can’t drive because the wind it too strong and you can barely see.

Seasons

Lucky for us a storm comes and goes, just like each season.

It is a great reminder that nothing is constant.

Change is the norm, not repetition.

I wonder if it’s possible to find repetition in the adaptation to change.

The thought that change becomes the comfort of being alive.

Not settling into a routine which, when it gets up-ended, sends your life in S

I like small routines, like a good morning ritual.

But some things cause more stress. That is, unless they are “handled”.

We have a vacation coming up that needs a little planning.

I do not want to be the one to set the plans because then I want to stick to that plan.

I find it frustrating to spend time getting things organized, only to have spontaneity make light of your plans.

Going with the flow seems easier.

Letting someone else take the lead. (Ed: Message received!)

What do you like?

To take the lead and make a plan, or just follow along?

Is adapting to change its own form of comfort?

If you feel that way, why?

Enjoy the season you are in while training, it will be gone soon. Cheers!

Yes, I want online training!

Inspiration From Frustration

frustration

Fruits of Frustration

Have you ever felt frustration from thinking you could do, or contribute, more?

Sometimes when you get bored, or demotivated, it could be because of your frustration with how things are done.

I have lived with someone who is always looking to improve systems, for more than twenty years.

When you have an idea that you believe will make life better and no one listens, it can be very demotivating.

One idea for how to cope is to plant seeds of inspiration in those around you.

Find people who will talk about and advocate for your idea.

Slowly, over time, an “out there” idea might get some backing from people who can actually make it happen.

Find Your Friends

Gathering people who share your frustration, or have some of their own, can help to spark creativity.

How can your experiences come together and support each other.

Maybe you have tried to solve things one way, and they another.

Combined the solutions are even better.

Being open to other people’s ideas, while nurturing your own can be tricky. I find this to be more true if the ideas are really different from “normal”.

Compromising your way out of your idea is not a good plan either.

Finding commonalities that you both can build on may lead to something different. Maybe better…

Instead of giving up or getting complacent, try to harness the creativity that can be born from frustration.

While you train, think about it? Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

J E T L A GGGG, A State of Tiredness

state

State of Tiredness

After I have been in Denmark for a week and now back, jetlag has put me in a state of tiredness.

Today, for instance, I can already tell that when the sun goes down, I will be useless.

True, I have been in bed by 8:15 the past two nights and asleep in about 5-10 minutes…

In Denmark that same time is the 4:00 am golden hours. The last two hours of sleep before I had to get up.

Each day I felt like I could sleep until real late.

But, I love my morning routine when I am there, so it gets me up and going.

It makes my day pretty good.

Routine To Fight the Jet Lag

What gets me up in the morning while in Denmark is the amazing breakfast at the hotel and the nice walk to work, though a couple of parks.

One of the parks is a favorite of the local dogs, so there is always dog watching on my way to and from work.

A dog can easily put a smile on your face, even if it is cold and rainy.

Back here in Denver, my routine does not have the same perks.

I do not get fresh hearty bread, three different ones to choose from.

I’m not getting really good coffee, coffee that does not seem to get me all hyped up.

And of course, the walk with dogs and the amazing buildings to look at.

At home, I mosy on from bed to the shower and then find myself something to eat.

Next I am on-line and working.

I keep hoping to get in a morning and afternoon walk.

With daylight savings time, my mornings are once again back in the dark.

I am not very comfortable heading out for a walk around 7:30am.

Pretend

I do think it would be fun to pretend that I’m walking to the office and then walk home from the office.

That way I would get in two half hour walks, each day.

My body would thank me for that and so would my mind!

How are your morning routines going? Did you consider how those help set up your day?

Train a little and get off to a great start! Cheers!

Yes, I want online training!

Stronger than you think

You've heard it before, but have you thought about what it means physically?

Maybe you’ve heard this before, but… You’re stronger than you think!

Most of us associate the saying with mental strength.

That’s not the wrong, nor a bad, association.

It’s just…

Incomplete.

Yes, we are indeed mentally stronger than we think.

Parkour, as a sport, is pretty much founded on that principle.

We’re also physically stronger than we experience.

Hysterical Strength

Maybe you’ve heard of cases where humans have lifted something we believe only possible in fantasy.

Stopped a car, pressed a 1500 lbs rock that fell on top of them, etc.

It sounds impossible.

But it has really happened.

So why can’t you simply go over to the weight rack, put on a (quite) a few 45lbs plates and lift them?

On one hand, our brain is pretty impressive.

On the other, it’s also really, really(!), careful about making sure you’re not hurting yourself.

Need an example? How about a time where your range of motion was impacted by an injury.

Without plenty of Physical Therapy, your brain would normally disallow your limbs to return to the position where they got injured.

Although this is a good (great!) thing, it can be frustrating if your performance depends on the full functional range of the injured limb.

Then, because it was injured, it will take a lot of safe repetitions to return the limb to its former functional range.

Your friendly neighborhood protector

This is all due to the brain.

It’s not as if the muscle itself knows it needs to “chill out”.

But the brain thinks it does.

So it “protects” you from getting back into that position again.

Back to that whole lifting a car thing…

Some of the answer has to do with bone strength v.s. muscle strength, muscle strength vs tendon & ligament strength.

Basically, if you were able to always recruit the full strength of the muscle.

One estimate puts the typical muscle fibre recruitment at “maximum effort” – i.e. without going into the hysterical strength range – at 60% for “normal people” and peaking at 80% for athletes. The 80 percenters are athletes who train specifically for maximum muscle recruitment.

For ur mere mortals, the reality of the situation is that our brain worries about us.

Not just about our muscle recruitment ability, but also about what 100% recruitment means to our ability to continue moving/fighting/acting.

The energy required to recruit all of our muscle fibers will drain us. Possibly to the point where we can’t run away or avoid the next threat.

Also, it may cause injury to some of our limbs (pulling tendons off the bone, tearing muscles, etc).

Both of those are things our brain wants to make sure doesn’t happen.

Why?

Because in the wrong situation, that would mean we couldn’t defend ourselves. Nor could we run away.

Not at all optimal!

So your brain protects you from idiotic things.

Until you actually, truly, need it.

Then your body shows you what an amazing machine it is!

How about to increasing your muscle fiber recruitment during today’s training session?

Yes, I want online training!

True Value of Sleep

When going to work takes less than 30 seconds...

Do you know what I learned today?

A little something about the value of getting enough sleep.

I can summarize my lesson in a quick li’l equation:

iPhone + Washing Machine != A good thing

So, here’s what happened.

I decided I needed to do my laundry this morning.

Not a big deal, perhaps.

But in my case there’s a correlation between laundry need and ability to go outside.

If I want to wear clean clothes.

So, I threw my clothes, including what I wore yesterday, in the washing machine.

Then I went to work[1] for an hour, while waiting for the washer to do its thing.

Since I needed to prepare for a few meetings tomorrow, I stayed on top of my laundry chores! (This is where you could pet me and say “Good Thomas”!)

Next thing, the little vignette chimed. It lets me know the wash was over. I ran over and moved my clothes to the dryer.

Started it and almost immediately heard a noise I didn’t expect.

It sounded like I had thrown in my shoes as well.

The good news was that I wasn’t trying to wash and dry my shoes.

Instead, I found my phone.

It was very clean.

And 100% not functional.

In a desperate bid to try and get it working, I emerged it in rice (helps pull the moisture out of the device).

Since I’m in the middle of a number of meetings and business deals with Christine abroad for the week, having no phone right now is more than an inconvenience.

So I had to spend my day getting a new phone. Then restoring my old phone backup.

It’s been great…

What does this have to do with training?

Very little.

Maybe it was why I was so tired this morning? Too tired to check the pockets of my training pants.

It’s been an expensive mistake.

And an important lesson I doubt I’ll forget anytime soon;

Always check your pockets before you load your clothes in the washer!

Now, head on over to your gym.

Oh, and the true value of sleep (for me, today)?

More than 700 USD.

Like I said, it was an expensive lesson to learn!

[1] – The banner photo on this post is “my office”. It’s literally less than 10 seconds away from my bed. And 5 seconds from the breakfast table…

Enjoy your training and try not to work so hard you make the same mistake I just did!

Yes, I want online training!