I was thinking about this recently in terms of food and medical costs. However it really applies to most things we encounter on a consistent basis for most of our life.
What got me onto the subject was talking about how “expensive” it is to eat healthy. While I can argue you that you can actually eat healthy much less expensively than you can eating unsupportively, lets pretend for a second that you cant. Lets pretend that no matter how I present that argument you still don’t believe me. So lets say you believe it costs extra and that’s all there is to it and you wont do that. So you don’t want to pay the extra now, guess what, you may not want to now, but I promise you that if you go about it that way forever, you will be paying every penny you saved and then some down the road. “Where” you say? Well in medical costs, you eat unsupportively for your entire life your risk of piling up medical debt goes up exponentially. You either pay a little extra now to eat supportively or you pony up everything you spent your life saving later in medical costs.
Think about it in terms of a car, what happens if you keep putting off all the little fixes. “Oh that’s not important I don’t need to fix that right now…or that…or that…” you end up bringing your car in for inspection one year and because you neglected it in a bunch of small ways it now needs 3-4 thousand dollars worth of work to pass inspection. Or worse the car breaks down and becomes un-drivable or the engine blows and now its not just a matter of getting it fixed, it’s a matter of having to shell out for a new car. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that not putting in the work now isn’t going to catch up to you somewhere else down the road. The difference is there is no “New Car” option for your body, you get one, take care of it.
Functional Movement Rescreens are upon us!
I want to take this opportunity to encourage you as it is just about that time in the quarter where we take everyone through a new Functional Movement Screen (FMS). With these rescreens around the corner I wanted to take a moment to talk about why we do them, what we are looking for and how it benefits you..
The purpose of the FMS is so that we can train you safely and personalize your training in a group setting . Our mission is to keep you training forever and minimize risk. This is a giant injury prevention tool. It is a little scary to us that we are one of the only training facilities in New Hampshire to take everyone through this screen before they ever step foot on our training floor. Rest assured- this is screen is because we care, not because we don’t want you to do certain exercises .
We are looking for several things when taking our students through the FMS. We are checking out range of motion, asymmetries, tightness, pain, mobility, flexibility and more! This 7 sequence screen doesn’t solve all of the problems in the world, but it gives us a ton of useful information.
The FMS benefits our students, because they know we are doing everything in our power to keep them training safe in a group setting. It benefits our students, because they know and we know what exercises are appropriate for them based on a wrist band color. The FMS is also a measuring tool. Since we do rescreens quarterly it is a great way to see where are getting better! It feels good to screen out of a wrist band! This is feedback that our body is changing. On the flip side it also shows us where we may need to focus for a little while so that we don’t get hurt. It is totally normal to screen in and out of wrist bands forever.
Keep in mind as we approach FMS rescreens that this screen is not a character judgement, but a tool to keep you training smarter and training safe. Wear your wrist bands. It helps us, help you! Be coachable. Our purpose is help you be the very best version of yourself.
In life we are not always able to plan and control outcomes. As many of you may know even the best-laid plans are not always something that will work. You have your whole day planned out, you have your food prepared based on your current information. What happens if it changes? What happens if you plan to have your lunch at 12, and you’ll be home in time for dinner so you’re good. Now what happens when you get stuck at work longer than expected, you’re super hungry and you decide to make a unsupportive decision with what you eat. Planning is great but the true secret lies in developing the skill to think two steps ahead.
What do I mean by that? I mean working through the different possible outcomes in your head so that you are prepared if any of them happen. This takes time, practice, and experience to do. You can’t always predict what may happen until you have seen a bunch of different possible outcomes. Lets take the example above, you plan it out, but what is one step further? One step further is “well what is my plan going to be if that doesn’t work out”? What is your plan “B”, what if you are wrong and you will be stuck at work? Do you have another meal with you just in case? Is there a place you know you can find healthy food near your work? If you know there isn’t a place near you that you can find something healthy, do you know that and did you use that information to prepare yourself? Start working on trying to think two steps ahead, it takes time but it can be a valuable tool to add to your toolbox.
I know that we have a lot of clients who do recreational activities, whether that is running, or hiking both need strength. It is often quoted that one of the riskiest forms of exercise, from an injury standpoint, is recreational running. The question then is why? Why is it something that seems so simple to start has such a high risk of injury? By simple I just mean doesn’t take any specialized equipment, anyone who can walk could conceivably wake up on Saturday morning and go for a run if they wanted to. The other notion that is not fully understood when it comes to running is that you need to be strong, a.k.a you need to strength train.
Why though? Most of the time when it comes to running people think that the worst thing they can do is strength train because it seems to be the complete opposite of running. That however is a misconception, the answer to why can be found in physics. Most people have probably heard the phrase “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” what does that mean? It means that every time force is exerted on an object, that object exerts that force back. For example when running, every time your foot hits the ground, the ground hits back. In the example of plyometric exercise, which is a category running falls under, 2 to 3x as much force is exerted back up your legs. For some prospective, that means in order to be able to take that pounding most sources suggest that you should be able to squat 1.5 to 2x your body-weight at least, before you start running. This is one of many reasons why when it comes to running strength training is SOOOOOO important.
Push ups, pull ups and fat loss, oh my!
I think we can all agree that push ups and pull ups are hard…..really hard. A common goal I hear when students begin training with us is, “I want to be able to do a chin up” or “I want to be able to do a push up.”
I have been lucky to see hundreds of students meet these goals over the past 5 years. It is one of the coolest things to see as a coach!
So let’s talk about each of these and come up with 3 ways you can get better at them this year
If you are a fat loss student then step one to being able to do a push up is to lose the fat. How do I lose fat, you ask? Food, it’s all about the food. We can help you get a better relationship with food so you can lose the fat so you are able to push your bodyweight up and down. We offer a ton of nutrition coaching- talk to us!
Learn to keep your body TIGHT. When we coach you to bring your toes and knees together and squeeze your cheeks it is not because we are knit picky. It is because to be able to push yourself from the floor and get your body to talk to each other from the head down to the toes you need to keep your whole body tight. If you can teach yourself to keep your body that tight during all of your training- squats, deadlifts, swing, planks, etc then it will become a more natural feeling
Working on your trunk stability. Let us teach you about rolling patterns (or see it for yourself on our website!) Practice perfect reps. Be PATIENT Be CONSISTENT and STOP telling yourself you’ll never be able to do it.
Same as the push ups. If you are a fat loss student then you need to lose the fat before you can get your chin over the bar. I’ll address relative strength in a moment
Hollow body holds. We’ve been working on them in training. Do them regularly. Do them right. We talked above about keeping your body tight. This is the same thing for a pull up.
Hang on the bar. In order to get your chin over the bar you have to first be able to hang on the bar. If you keep your body tight and just hang on the bar I can STILL help you get strong. If you lose the fat and you are strong, you will pull your chin over the bar
Here is a little education for you…
Relative strength- is the amount of strength to body size, or how strong you are for your size. This reflects a person's ability to control or move their body with no more weight than their own. Think push ups and pull ups for repetition.
Absolute strength- is the maximum amount of force exerted, regardless of muscle or body size. Think heavy deadlifts and heavy squats. If I am 140 pounds and I can lift 225 pounds off of the ground then I am stronger than someone who is 215 pounds and can lift 300 pounds off of the ground because I am able to lift 1.5 times my body weight but the other person can only lift 1.3 time their body weight.
There are many ways to prove you are strong, but relative strength proves you are strong AND lean.
Over this past phase you may have noticed we have been working you up towards lifting some HEAVVVYYYY weights. You all have taken the challenge and I don’t believe I am mistaken in saying that many of you push yourselves beyond where you thought you could. I am proud of all of you for pushing yourself. With that being known, the next Fitranx Badge we will be focusing on for the month is the 300 and 500lb club! The way to earn this badge is simple (notice I said simple, not easy), in order to earn this badge your deadlift, squat, and bench press must add up to over 300 or 500 lbs respectively. Some of you may have already broken that barrier with just the deadlift and squats alone over the past week!
During the month of February we will have note cards for you to record your weights on so that we can give you that badge when you earn it. If you have any questions, please ask your coach! Good luck to all.
This blog is written for a couple reasons, one to announce that for those eligible to take on level 4, we are going to be pushing it off until March 17th. The movements required for Level 4 require more practice than those of the previous 3 levels. They are both more metabolically taxing and require the time to get the skill down. As many of you know Fitranx is a nationally administered program, and the goal is to put everyone in the best position to blow the test out of the water. Many of you have expressed interest in the Fitranx program, and many of you have already participated.
For those of you who have already completed levels 1, 2, and 3, just keep in mind one thing, all of the movements on those tests were ones many of you have been doing for years. Level 4 requires that you gain new skills that we have never worked on in this environment previously. So while you may have been able to go through the first three levels with the tools you already had in your toolbox, the next levels will require you to have some new ones, and that takes coaching and practice. In the image below you will see the basic timeline for about how long it could take to be prepared for each test. Its not a matter of weeks, it’s a matter of months, see below;
Just remember that is between tests, not total, so for example on average, those who pass level 3 will take about 4-5 months of training to pass level 4. Does that mean its not possible you may be ready sooner? Of course not, everyone is different, but the skills required for each successive test take time to develop. Remember, the last thing we as coaches want is to hold you back, but if we aren’t preparing you correctly then what’s the point of testing?
If we as coaches think you need to work on your metabolic conditioning or technique, what good does it do you if we: A.) Just invite you anyways and you aren’t able to pass, or B.) You don’t have the technique down and we pass you when you should be passed, how does either do you any good? If we pass you when you didn’t actually pass the test, then why even test in the first place? We as coaches want you to accomplish great things, but just think can you really accomplish something if you just change the rules so you can?
Do you believe?
Think about the things you want to achieve in 2018. Think about the resolutions or promises you made to yourself this year. Think about all of the things you want to change about your life for the better….
When you think of these things can you picture it? Can you picture the person you would look like 50 pounds lighter (or insert goal here)? Can you imagine the way you would feel and how your life would change? Can you see yourself doing the work is takes to conquer your goals?
Maybe you can. Creating a vision and taking steps to achieve that vision are all pieces to the puzzle.
Do you believe you can get there, though? Like really, believe. The way you believe in your kids or your spouse or your loved ones. Do you belive in yourself that same way?
We’ve been working on rescreens the past couple of weeks. I have had multiple people tell me to just give them the band without even attempting the screen. This was eye opening to me. If you believe you’ll never screen out of your red band or purple band or you believe you’ll never be able to do a chin up or you believe you have to be tired and feel like sick all the time or you believe this is just the life God gave you then I have news for you….you are right.
If you don’t believe you can be the person you want to be or you don’t believe you have what it takes to feel better and look better then you will always have a mental block holding you back from getting to where you are trying to go.
Stop giving yourself a no. Have a goal. Take MEASURABLE action steps to reach for your goals and BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN DO IT!
Not too long ago we did a new warm up in the gym. It was a series of getting up and down off of the floor. I think it is really important to remind you and dive deeper into the “why” behind those drills. It is a drill that we just cannot take for granted. This is a life skill that we CANNOT lose as we mature. Many of you know someone who took a digger and watched their life change dramatically.
You want to know a scary statistic? 28,000 deaths occur each year due to falls or fall related injury. 28,000! That is a huge number. You know what I bet is an even bigger number? How many people do you think ended up in a nursing home because of a fall related injury? I know of several. Training ourselves how to fall and how to get back up might be the most important skill of them all.
These drills may feel silly while you are doing them, but to tell you the truth, they can save your life. Maybe you are wondering what the point of having our left hand on our left knee was or our right hand on our right knee…let me explain that better…aside from a few laughs there is a genuine purpose there.
Picture this…You have a stroke, you are alone, the whole left side of your body is limp, but you still need to call for help. Can you pick yourself up off of the floor and get the help that you need? Maybe that is a morbid image, but it is a possible scenario.
Do not take for granted your ability to get up and down off of the floor and don’t let that skill get away from you. We have to practice it. If nothing else then maybe it will motivate you to be able to get up and down off of the floor to play with your grand-kids!
I don’t believe in too old, because I see people training in here, lifting heavy weights and totally beasting it in their 80’s. You’re not too old and neither are they! Keep training hard, because these are the skills that will help you age with grace and keep your independence!
Make it Happen,
Next Scheduled Recovery Week: Sept 4 - Sept 9, 2017
I have to admit, this is my least favorite recovery week. Maybe it shouldn't be that way, as I absolutely love autumn, but still, is summer almost really over?
Truth be told this may be our most important recovery week of the year. The next one is not until the end of December, which means this training block is the longest of the year. My body needs that focused recovery week, physically and emotionally.
It bears repeating - recovery weeks are not haphazard or just vacation times for your coaches. They are a purposefully planned part of the training cycle, and critical for long term development and injury prevention.
You may have noticed that as we get closer to recovery week the daily and weekly training intensity has increased.
That is purposeful.
Because we are working toward a week of MacroRecovery, we are intentionally working at a higher level.
Then we will take a scheduled, purposeful rest.
Because whether you think so or not, you cannot and should not train really hard, all the time.
In fact one of our training program design principles is what is referred to as MED.
Minimum Effective Dose.
In other words, what is the MINIMUM stimulus we need to get better - stronger, leaner, better conditioned, etc.?
What? The minimum you say? That is NOT my style. Go hard or go home!
That WILL work, at least for a short time. Until your training overwhelms your ability to recover, and you start breaking down.
How can you tell that is happening? That you're not recovering fast enough from your training? Here's a few warning signs:
Altered Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
You are having a hard time getting your heart rate up, or it's beating like a racehorse when you feel like you aren't really doing much.
Poor Sleep Patterns
An increasing pattern of the inability to sleep restfully.
Your training loads have stagnated or even decreased.
Mr. Crank-Pants, anyone?
Eating Habits Disrupted or Compromised
It's not just a matter of will power. Overreaching and overtraining can cause physical cravings if our bodies are missing crucial nutrients because of too much physiological or psychological stress.
If you are getting sick frequently (eg. more than one cold a year) your immune system is probably compromised.
Increase In Injury
This could be not recovering from the normal microtrauma caused by training, for example you are sore for 2 or 3 days after training, or you are getting strains, sprains, aches and pains that you normally do not.
Lack of Progress (Plateau)
This could be either in body composition (not losing bodyfat/gaining muscle) or not making gains in the gym.
Enter Recovery Weeks
Recovery weeks are designed to give you rest; physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
You see stress is not just a "mental" thing. Do you realize when you train you are stressing yourself out, on purpose? That gets added on top of all the other stress in your life, whether it be work, home, or the jerk who cut you off in traffic. Your central nervous system doesn't care, it just knows when you have too much of it, and it doesn't like it!
And while you can't stop the knucklehead from driving like an idiot, there are things you can do to avoid excess systemic stress, and taking recovery weeks is one of them.
Here's My Top 5 Things To Do On Recovery Week
What about you?
You see you don't have to "not move" for a week. There is nothing wrong with getting outdoors, taking a walk, hitting the rock climbing gym, spending some time on the foam roller and stretching, getting a massage, and/or taking some long showers or baths.
Those things will aid your recovery and help you relax; running 2 or 3 or 5 miles every day (or every other day), or going to spin class, will not.
I train hard, but more importantly I train and recover appropriately.
I am in it for the long game. When I am sick, or excessively tired, or injured I cannot train.
THAT is what sets me back.
Recovery is what drives me forward. On a daily, weekly, and quarterly basis.
You ready to get better with me?
MAKE IT HAPPEN!
PS. Below is the "Science Stuff" I promised - Enjoy!
Our recovery weeks are what I would call Macro-Recovery. In other words we take a planned week off every training phase in order to let the body rest up from hard training and get ready for the next phase.
But did you know you can do even better than that? We have a number of athletes in the Get Fit NH family who participate in our Bioforce HRV monitoring program, which measures your systemic stress load on a daily basis, which allows us to fine-tune the recovery process on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. You can catch up on that by clicking here
Read on why properly planned and adequate recovery is important for you!
The Recovery Curve
I saw the recovery curve for the first time during my time with Australian physical preparation coach Ian King. His principles laid the foundation for the way we program, train and especially recover here at Get Fit NH. The principles that work with professional athletes apply to us too!
The following illustrates a “good” recovery curve:
The green line represents what we are all looking for – continual, never ending progress over time. We are getting stronger, faster, thinner, better looking (ok at least that’s what I wish for).
Reality Check – ain’t gonna happen. The process of changing your body is not linear, in fact what we are looking at in an optimal training environment is more of a “One step back brings me Two steps forward”.
A closer look at the chart will help explain what I mean.
The red line represents Equilibrium. This is where your body wants to stay, no matter if your goal is losing fat, gaining lean, or both. As you have no doubt found out, forcing your body to change is hard work – really hard work. When you walk into Get Fit NH, our training is designed to elicit that change. But it’s not as simple as “working out” day after day after day. In fact as I am about to illustrate, training without proper recovery is actually hurting you, not making you better.
The blue line represents the “recovery curve”. Starting at the left hand of the chart all the lines intersect. For this illustration that point is where your first training occurred – you “worked out”.
But what’s going on?
Instead of performance going up, that line is actually heading down – this is what is called Depletion. If you think about it makes sense – you have worked hard, you are fatigued, your body is depleted of nutrients – you are spent!
Don’t worry, your body will get over it, if you treat it right! This is what we call Adaptation. Your body wants to be able to handle the increased demand that was placed on it, and starts the process of getting better.
You are in charge of if and how fast that happens. A few of the factors that influence this adaptation include recovery nutrition, stress levels, sleep habits, supportive nutrition, age, and training history.
The recovery curve continues with Supercompensation. Here is how Coach King describes this process:
“It is only when recovery is allowed that we see the super-compensation effect, the unique phenomenon where the bodies physical capacity is elevated in response to training, in anticipation of another exposure to the same stimulus.” – King, I, 1999/2000, Foundations of Physical Preparation
In other words your body has gotten better in response to your training, a new Equilibrium is established and this state is when we will ideally train again. Our programming at Get Fit NH is carefully designed to give this the best chance of occurring, but as I hope you are discovering, you have a lot to do with this with how you treat your recovery!
As you can see, when things are clicking, this process when repeated over and over means you are getting better and better, the blue line is headed up – pretty cool!
The flip side to all this is what happens when the recovery process isn’t working so well.
This chart represents recovery gone “bad”:
When we continue to train in a state of “Depletion”, regardless of the reason, the adaptation to super-compensation effect doesn’t occur, and instead of getting better, we find ourselves in a downward cycle. This can happen when we train the same muscle groups too soon, when we haven’t taken the steps described above to recover optimally (sleep and nutrition for instance) regardless of time between training, when we train too hard coming off an illness, etc. The last thing we want to happen is new equilibrium to be established in a downward pattern – not good.
The long and short of it is your body absolutely needs to recover from hard training. Consistently training in a fatigued state results in injury and illness. Your body is an amazing machine designed to put up with a lot, but it was also designed to need rest.
Which leads us to:
Face it – you can get beat up anywhere. Our responsibility at Get Fit NH is to help you get better!
That includes recovery weeks. We have found that somewhere between 8 and 12 weeks of training is just about right to take a full week off and let your body recover.
That doesn’t mean that you spend your training time on the couch eating bon-bons, but if you insist on going down to PF and hitting the weights or running 10 miles every morning, your body will suffer in the long run, and perhaps even in the short term.
If you find yourself fighting this concept, ask yourself this – Is your unwillingness to take a week off a well reasoned decision based on what you know to be true, or is it that your attachment to training is so strong emotionally that makes it so hard? You will not lose all you have gained by taking the week off, I assure you! Again to quote Coach King, “…if you don’t (take time off)…most of you are going to lose it anyway!”
So now that we have established you are ready, willing and able to embrace recovery week, what do you do?
Glad you asked!
1.) Physical Rest and Regeneration
– Our bodies must rest and recover to prevent over-training (or under-recovering) issues so that we can come back 100% healthy and energized for the next phase of the program
– Focus on maintaining and/or increasing flexibility and tissue health by stretching and foam rolling daily. 15-30 minutes is fantastic!
– Daily restorative walks are beneficial during this week. 30-60 minutes briskly walking (not jogging/running) will keep your body refreshed and active, without negating the purpose of this week. Don’t overdo it!
2.) Physiological and Psychological Rest and Regeneration
– We must normalize key anabolic hormones, refill muscle glycogen, increase caloric intake, and prevent any diet induced catabolism (losses of lean body mass) so that we can enjoy greater fat loss for the next phase of the program
– We have taken the road less traveled by being flexible eaters with a long-term approach to success and thus we will take a break from our aggressive fat loss nutrition plans. This is not a free for all, so stay away from your “trigger foods” (junk foods and sweets) that open the door to excessive calorie intake.
– Instead plan (key word) and enjoy 2 or 3 controlled free meals to reward yourself for all of your hard work, but do not overdo it!
– Caveat: If your nutrition habits have been less than optimal, more than likely none of this applies to you. Instead now is the time to plan and prepare to make the changes necessary to see the results you want. Spend some time with a coach and your Jumpstart Nutrition Guide if you need help.
3.) Celebrate the Fruits of Your Labor
– Take some time to reflect on how far you have come since you joined Get Fit NH in terms of improving your overall health, body composition, and performance
– Enjoy your results!
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
We would just like to take the time to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of your hard work and dedication to improving your health and fitness… keep Making It Happen!
P.S. If you are serious about maximizing your training/recovery cycle, you owe it to yourself to invest in this! Look further into our Bioforce HRV monitoring program, which measures your systemic stress load on a daily basis, which allows us to fine-tune the recovery process on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. You can catch up on that by clicking here.