The mind games of Exercise

There are many articles regarding the benefits of mental health and fitness. Search it up on the internet, read a book…. The information is out there.

Truthfully, I am not sure how much that resonates with people. How much the textbook information actually sinks in?  A lot of important information can become very technical for people and your eyes begin to gloss over before you get halfway through a paragraph.

I am hoping this isn’t one of those articles.

I have always encouraged a lifestyle that can be maintained throughout the entire year with bumps along the way. Who gives a crap as long as you get back on the ride and keep going.  Learn to love your body and everything it has to offer you.

I can say that the past couple months I am so thankful to myself for leading a lifestyle I encourage as honestly, right now, that is one of the main factors that has kept me going. I am struggling to motivate myself to find a “new normal”.  I am trying to pull myself out and around a level of sadness I never imagined.  I have fear, I have apprehension of the unknown and of missing someone I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with.  The sadness for all the years he is missing.  He should be here!

I truly believe that training, fitness, exercise… whatever you want to call it, has allowed me to cope through all of this. I cannot scream it loud enough on how important it is to move your body!  Breathe in fresh air, strengthen your heart by training hard enough to feel your heart pound plus move freely and less intense so you enjoy the moment and want to keep going.

I must respect myself on an entirely deeper level than I ever have. I have always made training a priority in my day but now it has a stronger mental focus.  Not only do I need to stay physically strong for my children, I must stay mentally strong for them.

What about you? Are you maintaining a balance between work and you!?

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Fitness and movement has allowed me to have a stronger grasp on the positive. It is very easy to sit alone and cry so uncontrollably that you think things will never get better.  The sadness is so excruciating that you cannot imagine feeling happy again.  BUT, the mental game of how amazing you feel after a run or training session pushed me through that.  I KNEW how much I loved training, how much I love to run.  I knew I couldn’t allow myself to ignore that.

My first goal was to get back to my routine of activity. I remember my first run after my husband passed away.  I swear I looked like Phoebe on the episode of “Friends” where she is running with Rachel in the park.  I cried the deepest tears during every step. But I never stopped.  I ran and felt absolutely amazing!  I know Peter pushed me along that day.  I came home and knew that if I didn’t keep going and stay active I would dive deep down to a place so sad it would be hell to pull myself out.

That moment was when I had a new appreciation of movement and exercise simply for mental clarity.

From deep, dark sadness and loneliness to the strongest feeling of “I can do this, I got this” could only be achieved right now by moving my body. Every bead of sweat, every breath and every step has given me more and more courage to keep going.

No, I am not the same person. I am learning to deal with the rollercoaster of grief and emotions, anxiety and fear, and so many thoughts and concerns of how to cope and deal with a new identity of who I am.  But, I know deep inside that I need to be back to the person I was, someone who wanted to help others and encourage and teach.

I can honestly share with you that I feel I am proof of healing because of fitness, movement and exercise.

And then I received an amazing message.

“I have to thank you so much for your strength and words. With everything you were going through at the time (and still), your message was very powerful and I shared it with my husband.  He hadn’t been feeling well since early fall and his doctor had him on medication that didn’t seem to be working.  His doctor ordered some more tests.  We’ve since found out he has a genetic aortic aneurysm and will be having heart surgery very soon in the coming weeks.  He is currently going through pre-op procedures and we are keeping positive thoughts.  He has a chance at life and I want to thank you for bringing health and heart awareness to everyone in your life.  I will always be grateful”

Holy Shit!  This…. Right there….that message blew me away! Peter is changing lives and saving lives!

I realize for many, the first steps of starting an active lifestyle are the hardest. Muscles “burn”, you can’t breathe because you are “out of shape”, the effort is so intense that is it really worth it?  Sometimes just sitting on the couch watching TV seems so much more enjoyable!

TRUST ME! You need to give yourself just enough time to crave it.  Just enough time to love it and want more of it!! (yup, I say that on a regular basis :-)

This. Time. Will. Come.

Soon you will be on a path that will push you so strongly you cannot imagine it any other way. Start focusing on the mental benefits of each walk, each training session, each breath.  Stop focusing on the physical…. Just allow yourself to feel the mental exhilaration you experience afterwards.  It’s so rewarding!

I only know my own grief and sadness but I do know how great I feel after I move my body. If I can experience the small steps back to happiness from where I fell, I believe it can happen for you.

 

Please….Make….Time!

The ability to lead an amazing life full of laughter, fun, adventures and great health is everyone’s dream, I am sure. You cannot have one of these without the others.  They all play a substantial role in the success of life.

Now, I have no idea what your days consist of or your well-being or health.

But, what if you could make a difference?

Would you?

Are you willing to reflect on how you treat yourself? Are you worth more than you are giving yourself?

I am asking you to give MORE to yourself.

And all you need to give is time. Just a little bit of time.

Time, that shitty in-your-face reminder of what we can’t finish, what we cannot accomplish.

You see, I know of someone who didn’t make the time. I don’t blame this person at all; we thought there was lots of time to get done what needed to be done.  The time spent with this person was also my time.  It flew by and before we knew it, the time of seasons passed us.   But, we always felt there was more time to give and anything important would get done….. In time.

So lets all make a list of what needs to get done today, tomorrow or in months to come.  You are probably looking at your list wondering how you can finish it.  There just is not enough time in the day right?

Well I am here to slap you in the face, ring some bells and kick your ass because I know within that list, probably low down (or maybe not included at all) is health. The magic of good health!  The magic of loving your body and allowing it to grow old and give you everything you need throughout the years.

Figure out how you are going to make time for YOU!

The biggest reason…. Life! True, fun filled LIFE!  Breathing and allowing yourself to experience everything your future has to offer.

Is it simple? Yes it is.  Here is my request to you in the time you will allow it to happen.

Move your body. See your Doctor.  Eat well!  It’s a simple recipe you can follow.

It’s that simple. No one is making it difficult to do other than you!

Your body needs your help. It relies on what you give it, how you maintain it.  How you appreciate it.  The ability to break your own heart is evident in the lack of time you give it.

I had a wonderful conversation with a man who has the privilege to help people. He spoke of simple steps individuals could make to impact their health in a positive way.

Dr. Stephen Friesen and I spoke about what staying healthy means. In my eyes it is easy to exercise and I crave the exhilaration it feeds me.  I need to move my body in any way possible to feel alive.  I need to fuel my body with food that can actually sustain it. Dr. Friesen was amazed at the amount of benefits people can achieve with exercise and a healthy diet but he was discouraged at the amount of people who really stick to this plan.  I agree with him.  I have seen the exact same thing in the fitness industry.  I want to share the advice of Dr. Friesen:

I think guys should get some idea of their cardiac risk when they hit 40 (women at 50). This doesn’t mean they necessarily need to be screened annually but they should find out what their cholesterol is like, check on their sugars and blood pressure. They need to address the obvious like stopping smoking. This is all even more important if they have a family history of early heart disease (men in their 40’s and women in their 50’s).

If patients start addressing elevated sugar/lipids early they are able to make far more change with lifestyle than later on in life.

I think that the people that are successful over time are making changes that are not overly dramatic and easier to maintain as part of their lifestyle. The fad diets and New Year’s resolution exercise programs don’t seem to be very helpful for the long term.

I definitely have concerns about the guys who go hard core for something like hockey once or twice a week but that’s it for physical activity for them. The problem I see with this is they are going hard for short bursts and they have nothing to back it up with. They will often say to me that they exercise regularly (hockey once a week) or they have a physical job but it’s not the kind of physical activity that addresses cardiac fitness, cholesterol or sugars.

I would say that first steps include reviewing their cardiac risk with their doc. This would likely involve getting some labs done and checking blood pressure. I think start walking is great advice. I’m amazed at how well people do with just going out for a 30 minute walk 5 times a week

I read his words and it all seems so simple to me, so easy to accomplish. But then I take a step back and think about the person who didn’t smoke, was active his entire life ate well but missed one important piece of the puzzle.  The piece of the puzzle that hides what is happening on the inside.  The screening with the help of your doctor that could potentially give you more time!

Make the time to be active. Make the time to see your doctor.  Make the time to eat well.

My heart breaks every second of the day for this person who missed one piece of the puzzle. This person, my husband, was the strongest man I knew!  He beat me on the runs, on the mountain bike rides.  He could hike to the top of a mountain without stopping and we would challenge each other to keep going.  Everything he did was effortless.  This was the exact reason why making time for that one piece of the puzzle didn’t seem necessary.  How many other people do not feel it is necessary?  Who thinks they can hold off because there is so much time?

I feel like too many people just ignore it or are scared to face the facts of their health. People are lazy.  People are selfish.  Whatever your reason, trust me, you don’t have as much time as you think.

Having your hands on someone’s chest trying to save their life will forever change a person. Your eyes are opened to the possibilities of everything negative but you also realize what you can do to expand the positive.

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Life is precious.

The loss of my husband has given me more life to educate. I am so proud that he has inspired others to make the time to see their doctor and work on each piece of the puzzle.

I cannot pull myself out of the ache of losing Peter but I can encourage others so they may never experience the same situation.

Please…..Make….. Time!

 

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You got this!

There were many times in my life that the sentence “Life could change in a blink of an eye” was muttered, heard or read through some supposedly life changing article.  Enjoy the moment; take advantage of your day as it could be your last.  Such strong words… who knew those words could actually mean something!

I have always enjoyed writing to help share information that is easy to understand.  Keep it simple and pass along a message for the average fitness enthusiast or athlete to help improve their time spent training.  It doesn’t have to be technical; it doesn’t have to be difficult to understand.  It just has to be honest, correct information that can make a positive change of help, guidance and knowledge.  I have thought hard about the words included in this article.  Is it appropriate?  Am I comfortable with others reading my words?  Will it make a difference?  The fact that I kept thinking about it over and over again in my mind made me realize it is a good idea.  This may make a positive difference in someone’s life, by reading these words maybe someone along the line with take steps to improve their health and stay pro-active in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The days after November 3, 2015 put many things into perspective for me.  As much as I know in regards to health & fitness, there is always SO MUCH more to learn.  It is a never-ending world of knowledge.  But many times I caught myself not applying the knowledge to myself.  After this date, I started to dive deeper into the relation of stress and heart health and prevention.  The signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease and who can get it.  How does stress play a role in our health?  What are the symptoms of Anxiety?  What is Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

I would bet that many people reading this article have never thought about any of these topics.  I certainly didn’t.  Training was my way to “de-stress” but not until the days after that dreaded date did I feel a difference in myself.  I was dealing with a level of emotions I have never felt before.  Sadness, sorrow, depression, anxiety mixed with levels of positive feelings.   When I returned to training it felt different.  My heart rate was racing.  My mind was foggy.  What was I experiencing?  If I ignored these signs and kept pushing myself, what health concerns would I be causing?

I took a giant step back and started to search out ways to improve my mental health.  I am struggling to take steps daily to do this but it will happen.  Clear the mind, allowing myself to feel emotions and work through them.  I must remind myself that my mental health and strength powers me physically.  It is a positive thing to slow down and be in the moment instead of always pushing to be faster, stronger, better.  I have realized that I am doing more harm than good if I ignore these strategies.

As you read this article I hope you can relate to just a piece of it.  What do you do every day to make yourself better?  Are you active and do you encourage your loved ones to do the same?  What nutrition path do you follow?  Do you have a high stress job or relationship that has you in “fight or flight” without realizing it.  How can stress lead to health problems.  How do you cope with it?

How can you make each day a positive, healthy, happy day?!

Early in the morning of November 3, 2015 at 3:55am life as my family knew it changed… in a blink of an eye.  Yes, it changed.

This was the day that my husband, the father of our two young children passed away from a heart attack.  I will never see, hold or smell him again.  Our boys will never hug, laugh or wrestle with him again.  He will never cheer them on again, experience their growth or watch with the proud display any father would as they grow into men.

He was only 46 years old.

After that date, I felt like I died along with him.  I have never been challenged so strongly in my life.  But today I make one small step in healing by trying to inspire someone else to make a difference.  You have a choice!  You have breath left to give everything you have to improve YOU, to improve your career or relationship.

The time you think you have may not be there.  Have No regrets!

“You got this”

Yes …Peter….. I got this!

peter and I

This is where I want my words to really mean something.  If one person can walk away after reading this and take steps to make their life happier and healthier than I have done what I set out to do.

Please educate yourself on the following.  Help yourself, your loved ones and friends.  You could possibly save a life!

How many times have you heard the word Atherosclerosis?http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/what-is-atherosclerosis 

If you lead a healthy lifestyle you may follow the “it’s not going to happen to me” mindset.  What are the signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease?  Who can get it?

http://heartdisease.about.com/od/reducingcardiacrisk/a/How-Does-Stress-Cause-Heart-Disease.htm

What is PTSD?

http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/

Women need to lift!

We still spend a lot of time encouraging women to lift weights and to utilize resistance that is fairly challenging for them.  Women really do not realize how strong they already are or how strong they can be!

Why is it so important for women to lift heavier or at least heavier than they THINK they can?  There are several reasons.

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Let us first talk about the benefits that women do not visibly see.  Bone density tends to take a back seat to improved health benefits.  Ground based movements such as squats, lunges, push-ups put mechanical stress on the body but this is a GOOD thing! This ground force “stress” helps to build bone strength and reduce risk of Osteoporosis later in life.  This is also why young females, especially teenage girls, should include some form of loading.  A quality strength training program will help with confidence and improve quality of life down the road.

For the female athlete who doesn’t follow a regular strength training program or the teenage girl involved in high school sports the risk for injury can be high compared to males.  They tend to be weaker which can lead to on court/field injuries especially in sports where agility, quickness, change of direction is involved.  Deceleration mechanics are usually low.  Jumping and landing play a high risk in female injuries.  Core/trunk stability and force transfer are normally in a weakened state which reduces strength and power output.  If you want to improve your game play one main aspect should be to improve your strength!

What about the female looking to lose weight or inches.  Lifting heavier weight that truly challenges you will increase lean tissue.  Unlike the false fact that muscle weighs more than fat, it is simply denser.  It takes up less space!  A pound of muscle = pound   A pound of fat = pound.  The more lean tissue you have generally means you have less fat mass.  You are LEANER!  As you start to lose body fat your shape changes.  You start to look leaner.  Muscles are more defined. Most women tend to cut calories in order to lose weight but they do nothing to improve lean muscle tissue.  Be smart!  Eliminate a smaller amount of calories each day by clean eating and start a quality strength training program.  This together will give you better results than dieting alone.

Cardio crazy people will ALWAYS be searching for the results they want.  Cardio day after day will not lean you out the way you want.  A mix of cardio and strength should be included weekly.  Cardio must also be thought of as heart health.  It is a muscle too and needs to be trained appropriately (high intensity training every day is NOT the answer but that is a different article).  The main focus here is to make sure you are not doing more Cardio than strength thinking that is the most efficient way to lose fat.

If you are scared to lift heavy because you think you will turn into Arnold, think again.  Yes, women have less testosterone as men but we still have the ability to gain lean tissue.  What is funny is women must think they will wake up one morning after lifting heavy with biceps flying out of their window!  As you start improving your body composition you will see the changes and your goals may change.  You may decide the improved muscle mass is exactly what you want and you may start looking to get stronger.  Or, you may decide to maintain what you have achieved and start focusing on new goals.  These changes are in YOUR HANDS!  You ultimately have the control over what you want to achieve.  You just have to put in the work in order to achieve it!

Unstable surface training. Is it worth it?

It still surprises me to hear of trainers utilizing unstable surfaces to improve strength or power or for so called balance training.  It frustrates me to know that people are still standing on these tools and performing squats or bicep curls or any additional exercise the trainer can think of to reduce boredom for their client instead of the trainer developing a progressive goal specific program based on adaptation and movement restrictions.

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Now, there are some rehab benefits to using these tools but since the term “Functional training” has exploded in the industry these tools are being used incorrectly to promote Sport performance and improve daily tasks, it is much more beneficial for the human body to be rooted into the ground!  Our brain understands this concept and standing on BOSU’s or stability balls isn’t the answer.

It should be in every list of goals to improve strength and power development plus improve speed and reduce injuries.

Why is this such an important topic?

The human body must create a strong foundation of efficient CORRECT movement.  Many people think that standing on unstable surfaces “strengthens stabilizers”.  Stabilizers such as rotator cuff, deep glutes, ankle stabilizers, transverse abs are reflex driven.  These take on an immediate response to movement in the body to correct and support.  It’s correct motor control and when these “stabilizers” work the way we want them to work we reduce risk and move better.  Muscles in our body must work together in order for CORRECT movement to occur.   We must be able to squat, lunge and step.  Stand on one leg, chop, lift and rotate all with the appropriate ability to create and control mobility and have the appropriate stability.

Let’s take a look at squatting while standing on an unstable service.  Ask yourself WHY?  If you are looking to improve strength the last thing your brain wants to do is improve your strength output.  It is doing its best to avoid falling off this unstable service.  It becomes a joke of an exercise with little or no strength gains and with most individuals moving poorly due to postural or mobility restrictions because of repetitive daily patterns, the last thing they should be doing is a circus act.

Stop trying to improve strength on top of dysfunction!  Start improving balance by improving mobility. Movement restriction in the body down regulates (decreases) effort in order to protect itself.  Restriction forces you to give up the stability you need in order to move.  Just because it’s hard or it burns doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do!  For example, If you lack hip mobility you may compensate in the low back while you try to squat.  Now what may happen if you try this on an unstable surface?

You are learning incorrect patterns on unstable surfaces.  Sure, that may seem to get easier the more you do it but you simply will get better at standing on an unstable surface.  Now put yourself into game play with ground reaction force and opposing players and you have done nothing to improve your performance.  Your brain and body hasn’t been following a sound program because you have wasted your time in circus play.

What would give you more benefit? Try standing on one leg with eyes open AND eyes closed. Narrow your base of support. Perform ½ kneeling patterns, chops and educate yourself on WHY!

What does it take to accept YOU?

How many times per day do you give yourself credit? It’s a tough one, I know as I am guilty of the glass is half empty mentality. It is much easier going through the day examining the negative and trying to figure out ways to improve instead of just accepting that life is pretty damn good. The days are filled with some pretty cool shit. But….it takes some special experiences to take a step back and realize that.

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I am fairly certain that the majority of females spend time in the “glass is half empty” mentality. Looking for the next best thing to lose weight or wishing they could look like someone else. What does it take for most women to appreciate themselves for who they are and what they can do? For most, it takes an event either negative or positive in order for them to appreciate everything they have to offer.  It’s a lightbulb moment.

I am one of those people.

The “glass is half empty” is all I have really known. There is always room for improvement. There is always a road to greater success. Why would you not want to strive to be better?

This is where the acceptance can be tough. Does accepting who you are and what you can do mean defeat? Does it mean you are giving up to any kind of further personal and mental growth? Well, that was always my thought process. Never stop learning and never stop being BETTER!

I am a very competitive person. I will not accept that I cannot do something well. I want to succeed and I want to perform. This is where it can be so detrimental to females. That feeling of never being good enough! It spews over into all aspects of life, Personal and business. It can be taken as bitchiness or selfish but it’s about personal acceptance and making others proud. You are always trying to prove…something! You are always trying to be… better!

Now this is where the past few years have given me a new appreciation of the “glass is half full”. It’s important for me to write about it because I know how hard I am on myself. There comes a time for self-appreciation and recognizing YOU!

Luckily I am one of the few who loves their job and career choice. Health, strength & conditioning are like breath to me! I always had a fear of doing new things, what if I failed? What if I sucked at it?

Why should I even give a shit?

And then I turned 40!

I hate hearing people bitch about their age. It’s just a number folks! I started to think about all the things I WANTED to accomplish. Why not? Why not try things that challenge who you are and what you can do! This is where the appreciation of me started.

I experienced races like Tough Mudder in Whistler, BC and was proud of how well I felt and did. The Tough Mudder appreciation made me participate in the Spartan Beast in Sun Peaks. Thanks to my amazing business partner, I followed that up by running my first ½ marathon in under 2 hours and was hooked. These experiences allowed me to realize that the work I put into my health & fitness had paid off. My competitive nature needed to accomplish something in order to appreciate ME!

Appreciating yourself can be tough work, for any female!

But there was still the “glass is ½ empty” thought process. Never being particularly happy with “myself” and searching away from the activities I loved. Maybe it was Yoga that I needed. Maybe I needed to zone out in some sort of activity that allowed me to calm myself.

NOPE…. That wasn’t the answer! I have come to realize that mentally I have a squirrel brain and slowing that down to appreciate me wasn’t it.  It only made me more anxious and bored.

The next eye opening experiences may have allowed me to appreciate what I am doing for me. And even better, it proves that encouraging others to stay healthy IS Important! It all means something! You should be doing SOMETHING every day to improve your health and move your body.

I was fortunate enough to receive a Dexa Scan which is a Whole body composition scan. It shows lean and fat mass and bone density. I was blown away by my numbers… why? Because I was always searching for better! I could never appreciate my body and what it could do! At the age of 43 my body fat % was 18. Any lower and I start losing bone density. That number put me below average, actually off the charts! I had no idea! How many OTHER females have no idea!!?? My goal now needs to be improving strength. Any additional fat loss could have me spiralling into an unhealthy state.

My bone density was above average and again, off the charts! I could breathe a sigh of relief on this one because I keep striving to be stronger! I now had a concrete number showing me that my lifestyle meant something! My V02 Max test kicked ass. It was high for my age range. (Scale from Low to high) Even though this is just a piece of the puzzle it again gave me a concrete number of acceptance. When I am pissed at myself when struggling on a run…how dare I! Walk it off and keep going!

I just recently completed my second Spartan Beast and was pushed to the limits on this one. 5 hours of climbing a mountain and completing obstacles with one of the best training partners you could have, Jonathan Martin. Proving to myself that I can do this shit!

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Hitting the finish line pissed after finding out how long it took us turned into a short appreciation of myself when finding out I placed 3rd in my age group the following evening. Ask me what happened next! I noticed the 2nd place female beat me by 11 minutes. That was 11 minutes of me fucking with my shoes or waiting at an obstacle. I could have come in 2nd! DAMMIT! It was THAT CLOSE!

WTF is my problem!!!!! Why can’t I look at that 3rd place finish and accept it and be proud! Well, here is the best part… the realization that I NEED to accept it and be proud! Have I finally achieved what almost every female strives for? Accepting THEMSELVES?

Why is all this important enough to write about? If you are someone who knows me well, you know I’m not an emotionally soft & fluffy person. It takes a lot for me to accept defeat or failure, if so that means I HAVE FAILED MYSELF but I think I am finally starting to appreciate ME! It’s time to stop looking at the glass as half empty! And if I have such a struggle with it then how many women are going through the same thing and don’t even realize how fucking amazing they actually are! I may have needed numbers and/or placement and completion of something hard in order to look at what I can and have achieved but I now have a taste of realization that I am doing pretty damn good. The “glass is half full” work that you have put in cannot get ignored! It’s time to appreciate everything you are doing and can do! It does matter and it is actually making a difference!

You are better than you think you are. You are sexier than you think you are and you are fucking awesome! Now start accepting that!

Thank you to The Vernon Vipers

Sport…it isn’t fair at times and it certainly won’t allow the best team to win.   The season comes to a close on a group of individuals who I truly enjoyed every minute with.  Ok, minus a few secretive throat punch thoughts.  In all honesty, being involved in a team setting is an unbelievable feeling!  Team dynamics is not only a character builder but a lifeline.  Memories, best friends….. They are all created!

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This past season with The Vernon Vipers was one of the most memorable.  It will be rewarding to see where the direction of Hockey takes these athletes in the future.  Will they continue their role on the ice or end their career.  Will they attend University?  Will they finish a degree?  Will they be playing under the NHL lights?  I hope for success for all of them.  Some will return next season, some I may never see again.  I have been fortunate to continue a career that helps develop these athletes through their Strength & Conditioning plus allow the team to grow and bond together with whatever I can do to make it fun!  Paintball, bowling, Geocaching, Scavenger Hunting, Pictionary.  I swear I enjoyed the laughs more!

I wish a big GOOD LUCK throat punch to all of them!  Keep the dream alive!  Not everyone can say they have the skills and talent to play the amazing game of Hockey!

Thank you:

Danny Todosychuk   – “I can feel it in my low back and neck” never gets old!

Jarrod Schamerhorn  –  Keep the dedication in the gym strong!

Nicholas Rasovic  – OMG he reminds me of Aaron Volpatti!  Maybe you’ll be wearing the Caps jersey one day!

Mitchell oliver – A career after Hockey RADIO ANALYSIS!  And we will be texting the entire time “F*ck Ya”

Linden Hora – With a name like LINDEN you got it made!

Mitch Meek – Check out those ABS!

Johnny Coughlin – American boy next door!

Luke Shiplo – I will NEVER forget the paintball war!  I was laughing tears!  I am blaming Luke on my goggle fogginess from my tears which you kinda need in order to play paintball!

Mackenzie Bauer –  The strong, silent type!

Blaine Caton – School got in the way of some Thursday fun days!  Hopefully you can make up for that in the future!

Jagger Williamson – Close to my heart you good ol’ Lumby boy!

Kenny citron – Captain America!  I have no words!

Brandon Egli – Holy slapshot Batman and can he grow a BEARD!

Colton McCarthy – Work ethic!  I love someone who dedicates themselves in the gym!

Anthony Latina – “Rhonda I have my f*cking pantyhose on”  Best line ever!

Riley Brandt – Holy crap watching the energy this kid has on the ice ….how does he walk out of the arena?

TJ Dumonceaux – I was asked one day “who on the team is in the BEST shape”  My first thought… TJ!  High energy player who was never shy to bust out the dance moves in the gym.

Luke Voltin – Quiet but strong.  Look out for those ones!

Liam Finlay – He may be small but holy shit does he have a huge amount of talent!

Riley Guenther – Dance moves equaled the talent & hard work and maybe a recording contract in the future as well as pro Hockey?

Thomas Aldworth –  Man I want to see this dude with all his teeth!  And if he loses it again…. Just look behind the fridge!

Liam Coughlin – That Boston accent CRACKS ME UP!

And Thank you to the coaches, Mark Ferner, Kevin Kraus and Eric Godard for your trust!

You want whaaaaaat….6 pack abs?

A week doesn’t go by without the topic of abdominal training and the best way to create six pack abs.  I assume everyone must know or have a general understanding of these magical muscles but with continued questions is there really that much confusion out there?  Standing in a grocery line basically reminds me that yes, there is still so much crap out there that how does the general public not have spinning heads and eyeballs popping.  I mean that would be an amazing sight to see but I wouldn’t want to get that close!

I blame the fitness magazines and the infomercials and the online junk & the uneducated fitness “people” but I also realize that as much knowledge as you share people are still going to search out results the old school way if they cannot put the hard work and effort into the right way.  Now, what is the right way?  When you are fighting with stress, lack of sleep, schedules, fast food how can you truly be someone who can eat clean enough to start to see those magical muscles underneath that wonderful layer of fat!  And is that layer truly that bad?

I will let that question sink in for a bit.

Lets make our way back to the 6 pack abs question.  When we look at our core or trunk there are a world full of muscles and connective tissue that plays a role in preventative maintenance, strength, stability, power transfer.

coremuscles

The most popular muscle for the gym dude is the “crunch muscle”.  The Rectus abdominis and the so called “6 pack ab” muscle.  The function is truly to resist extension and in most individuals this means reducing an anterior tilted pelvis.  The obliques add into that anti movement pattern by resisting rotation.  Now if you think about the ability of all these muscles to do their job and stiffen the spine in a strong, neutral position can you understand how much more strength and stability you would have!  If the trunk is floating around like a bowl of jelly and cannot control movement the increased risk to the spine is magnified.  Force transfer up and down to our limbs is decreased (well there goes your slapshot!) and the aches and pains start to sneak in.  Throwing that snowball towards your neighbor’s house now becomes all arm with no core to help transfer power!

Now lets not forget the importance of the diaphragm and the role it plays in the magical core.  When your movement becomes more demanding (sports, workouts) it’s crucial to understand proper breathing patterns and how the diaphragm works with it’s neighbors (abdominal wall, pelvic floor).  If you have a lack of core control and continually flare the rib cage (chest up/extension) you are putting the diaphragm at a disadvantage and well, your training just might suck!  The position determines the results!

diaghram

We also need to take into account the many other things such as the Glutes and hip function, the Thorax (rib cage area) and how all these areas link their movement together.  They are all neighbors and if one is cranky or lazy then the neighborhood goes to shit!  (Remember if it looks like shit, it’s shit!)

thoracic cage

So if you think about that layer of so called fat above those magical muscles I want you to ask yourself how do you function and perform?  Do you have pain?  Are you a weekend warrior who is able to play their sport and feel amazing the next day or are you walking around with aches and pains the following week only to return to your game of choice and repeat the cycle?  This is where the question really lies.  (Stop worrying about a tiny and I mean tiny layer of fat, there is a difference when it comes to health risk) Do you need to see rock hard abs with no true function or do you need a rock hard core in a sense of it’s amazing function and ability to do the job.  Training with some education behind it (this means good shit not bad shit….. good training!  If it looks like shit, it’s shit!)  This good training can have some amazing side effect of some nice looking abs!

We can definitely spend time on old school abdominal training.  That isn’t a bad thing!  There are benefits (not the topic of the article) what you should be searching out is what is the core and how do you train it away from traditional old school ways.  Are you learning about how to resist motion & how it transfers power?  Have you been taught how the neighbors work together?  The diaphragm, pelvic floor, abdominal muscles, hips/glutes.   If this information doesn’t seem familiar I encourage you to search out further information from a great, highly educated strength coach or trainer.  Oh, and stay away from the grocery store magazines guaranteeing rock hard abs in minutes a day!

The secret to hydration

Water and hydration is crucial for athletic success and human movement.  For the ability to allow our body to age gracefully and perform at optimal levels we must stay hydrated.  But how much do you understand the ability of the body to hydrate itself and what can we do to further improve our ability for increased hydration.

We need to MOVE!  And we need to move in a variety of ways.  This truly is the key to improving hydration through our system.  Drinking enough water throughout the day is only one step in a healthy level of hydration.  Our fascial system is a connection of tissue throughout our entire body.  Think of it as a net or a spider web of Soft tissue that surrounds and wraps around all structures of the body.  It’s a connection system and is also an enormous store of water in the body.

Thomas Myers The originator of the Anatomy Trains Myofascial Meridians explains through the Anatomy Trains website that “Fascia is the biological fabric that holds us together. You are about 70 trillion cells all humming in relative harmony; fascia is the 3-D spider web of fibrous, gluey, and wet proteins that hold them all together in their proper placement.”

We need to get water into the tissue by moving the body and the movement needs to vary to allow the fascia system that weaves its way through the body to be hydrated.  As we move and exercise water is squeezed in and out of tissue.  Without moving in a variety of ways the water we drink throughout the day has less of a chance to hydrate us efficiently.  The less we move, the more “stiffer” we feel.  This restriction or tightness may also happen due to inflammation and injury and usually the Fascia is ignored as a main cause of pain.  Thomas Myers (Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapist) explains that fascia has 10 times as many nerve endings as there is in muscle.  This is an important fact for individuals looking to reduce pain, inflammation and improve recovery.

For the athlete who ignores recovery and trains heavy on a regular basis you must be reminded that this training drives water out of the tissue which may lead to an increase in that feeling of stiffness.  Recovery should be doubled in the form of sleep, nutrition, massage or whatever options help you recover to an optimal level.  This is important for athletes looking to reduce their risk of non contact sport related injuries.  Keeping the soft tissue healthy is a great way to reduce the risk.

What are easy steps to improve hydration?

Drink water!

Move your body in a variety of different movement patterns!

RECOVER with enough sleep & clean nutrition.

Incorporate additional recovery choices like Massage, relaxation & stress reduction options.