A few years ago I was swimming some laps at the local pool. I saw an old friend from high school and he was looking at me like I was crazy for getting into the lap lane. He asked, "what the heck you doing here, you training for something?" My response was this: "Yea I am training for something, I am training for life". He laughed and said "I like that man, that's a good answer." I don't necessarily know what that means but it worked that day!
Training for life could mean a variety of things, but to me, it is being able to do anything physically that you set out to do. It is being able to do things without restriction or limitation. It is about being able to accomplish anything you want to do. Now, "there are many roads that lead to Rome" so it doesn't matter what we set out to do. What DOES matters is that we put ourselves in a position to accomplish anything physically or mentally. Our approach is the determining factor on whether we can or cannot do. Once we make a decision on what we want to accomplish (within reason) there are a few questions to ask yourself:
Question #1: Is this safe?
First and foremost, your safety and your health is the only thing that validates the training you are about to embark on. You can run all the miles or lift all the weights but if you can't walk down the stairs without feel a little pain here or a little pain there, then you are not getting it done properly. You are not healthy if you experience pain. Being able to move without restriction or limitation is what being healthy is all about. Training for life is about doing everything in your power to stay healthy. You can't train if you're not healthy.
Question #2: Is this structurally sound?
Now once you begin the planning, you understand what Point B is. This is your final goal. That is the easy part to figure out. The hard part is being honest about Point A. If your goal is to run a marathon in 3 months but you currently struggle to run 2 miles, you are setting yourself up for failure. Take a look in the mirror and err on the side of caution when structuring your training program. You want to be able to complete every training session, start "easy" and slowly progress it along the way.
Question #3: What are we accomplishing by doing this?
There is always a risk vs. reward when making a decision. Is our training effecting my health? Is it effecting my work life? My family life? All of that stuff that occurs outside of the training session. You might accomplish your goal but at what cost? There is going to be some times when you're going to ask yourself, "what the heck am I doing all this for?" If you aren't able to answer that then I recommend a new goal! Does the risk outweigh the reward? Keep that in mind as you progress through your training!
Question #4: Do we understand the training and what the residual effects are?
In training, it is impossible to go hard every single day. Well, I guess it is possible but it is also pretty reckless and potentially damaging to the body. Training sessions break the body down. If your body is not able to repair itself, the cumulative effects of this will eventually catch up to you. Some of you know what I am talking about. It is imperative to listen to your body and know when to crank it up and when to back it down. It is important to "cash in" on those days when you are feeling like a champ but you also need to make sure your recovery matches your effort. High effort recovery needs to correlate with high effort training. Lastly, you need to understand that some days you will not have your "A" game. On days like this, take it home and call it a day, Everything you do outside of training will effect your training. Your nutrition, sleep, stress levels, self-esteem, etc.
If you can ask, and answer, these four questions honestly, then you will be able to successfully train for life. The end goal is not the most important, remember, there are "many roads that lead to Rome". Whichever "road" you may choose, choose wisely and remember these four questions!
A large portion of my life I never truly understood the reason for pain. There is always that question, why do bad things happen to good people? Or, why do bad things happen throughout the world? With pain comes a lesson. A few years ago I began reading a book written by Tony Dungy (I read a few of his but I believe the book is titled Quiet Strength). In it, he tells the story of his youngest son Jordan. Jordan was born with a congenital condition that does not allow him to feel pain. It sounds like it would be a good thing but it is not. Young Jordan had a love for cookies. He ate cookies off the counter. He ate cookies off of a dinner plate. He ate cookies off of the cookie tray, that is still in the oven, which is on at 400 degrees. Because he could not feel the pain of burning his mouth, he struggled to learn that important lesson. Pain lets us know that something is going on that needs to be healed. In order to learn things about ourselves, we need to experience pain. And we need to experience healing.
Pain in the body is an incredible teaching tool. I remember being younger and being told, "well if something hurts, don't do it". I have later learned that you just can't totally avoid the issue and hope for the best. For example, when performing a squat, you experience pain on the inside of your knee. You can avoid that feeling by not squatting and totally neglect some of the largest muscle groups in your body. OR, you can make an effort to what is causing the pain and make an effort to resolve that issue. Our goal as an athlete (and we are all "athletes" in one way or another) is to be able to move without restriction or limitation. When we experience pain in the body, our body's sense of awareness, a.k.a proprioception, is distorted. When pain distorts proprioception, our movement patterns are greatly effected. We begin moving in a way that will prevent the feeling of pain. This is putting a band-aid over a wound that needs stitches. It may help in the short-term but in the long run, you are going to need to resolve the issue by getting to the root of the problem. So if you are experiencing pain in a region, and it wasn't caused by trauma or a fall, you have a weak link and that region of your body is a point of stress or strain. Outline it, identify it, and address it!
If you are feeling some discomfort or recently got cleared to participate in physical activity, stop by my office for a screening. I will be giving out free functional movement screenings assessments between today, January 23rd, and January 31st . It is time to become the best you. Schedule an appointment today!
Aristotle: To be ignorant of motion is to be ignorant of nature
What in the world is a functional movement specialist (FMS)? Good question. First, I will tell you what functional movement is. Functional movement is built on the premise that every individual should be able to move without restriction or limitation. The FMS was created with injury prevention in mind. One of the creators, Gray Cook, is both a physical therapist and strength & conditioning specialist. The Functional Movement Screen blends both worlds together and helps to create a system for performance enhancement.
The screening scores 7 fundamental movement patterns: squat, step, lunge, reach. leg raise, push-up for trunk stability, and rotational stability. On paper, these tests look fairly simple...until you actually try them. The FMS uses a 3 point scoring system. If you feel any pain while performing these moves, that will result in the score of a 0. This means you should see a medical professional or specialist before trying any additional physical activity. A score of 1 is the inability to perform the movement pattern because of stiffness, loss of balance, or any other difficulty. For example, while trying to perform a squat your heels raise off of the ground and you have an excessive forward body lean. A score of 2 displays limited compensation while performing the move. You are able to complete the movement pattern but you have less than perfect form. A 3 is a perfect score. The idea is to score a 2 or better on the movement patterns. If you are able to do that, then all systems are a go and you can begin training those patterns with resistance!
Weakness and imbalance (lack of balance between limbs or sides of the body, not literally losing balance and falling over) are the primary cause of injury. This system created a way to turn these weaknesses and imbalances into areas of strength. Here is what you do: go and find yourself a Functional Movement Specialist (schedule an appointment with me. I need some practice hours before my certification is final). Rank the scores from lowest to highest. The lowest scores are your biggest weaknesses. This is where we start. The system has an abundance of corrective exercises designed to improve any area of weakness. It is important to only focus on one area at a time. Give all your attention to the biggest weakness, and when you feel like you've gained progress, move onto the next area. I would recommend re-testing every 6-8 weeks. Just remember, functional movement leads to functional performance which leads to functional skill!
If you are a physically active person (ie weightlifter, runner, swimmer, etc) it is imperative to perform these fundamental movement patterns with minimal limitations. I will be giving out free assessments between today, January 22nd, and January 31st . It is time to become the best you. Schedule an appointment today!
I have spent 29 years on this earth and there is one thing that I have never done: cook fresh and tasty meals. But now, things are beginning to change (thanks primarily to my girlfriend). Every recipe that I will write about comes from her. Now, she can eat anything... as long as it does not contain corn, soy, gluten, or dairy. I have gotten on board with this diet and have not felt better. I have dropped a few pounds, I have been sleeping like a baby, and I walk around with a little more pep in my step (and not in a carbohydrate induced haze). Recipe #3: Chocolate Chip "Cookie". I am not really sure what to call this thing but it is pretty damn good and my favorite treat to make!
WOW. What a great weekend of football. From Saturday to Monday, nothing but great games and a few NCAA championships were won. The first was in the FCS with North Dakota State vs. Illinois State. If you missed this game, you missed out on a thriller! The score was relatively close all game but for a good part of the second half, it looked as if ND State was going to win their 4th straight national championship. But then Tre Roberson takes off on a 58 yard touchdown run with 1:38 to go in the game and take a 4 point lead. All Illinois State has to do is stop The Bison. Fast forward 1:01 on the game clock and ND State is celebrating in the endzone after QB Carson Wentz scores from 5 yards out to re-take the lead. (Carson Wentz is a JR who is 6-5, 222 pound athlete. He could be another one of those small school QB's to get a chance at the next level. He's got the size and skill set to make a roster). What a dynasty, they got it going on in Fargo!
New England vs Baltimore
Dallas vs Green Bay
Indianapolis vs Denver
Oregon vs Ohio State
My goal for the year 2015: become a Girevik. Some of you may be asking, what the heck is that? Simply put, a Girevik is a "kettlebell man". How do you become one? It is one of these things where you know one when you see one!
I have been using kettlebells for 4-5 years now and have been able to do some impressive things with them (my proudest moment was doing a turkish getup with a 48 kilogram kettlebell), but now it is time to complete the Russian Secret Service Snatch Test (here is an instruction video for the snatch). For the test, you have to complete 200 reps with a 24 kilogram kettlebell in 10 minutes. I have done 100 reps under 5 minutes and it nearly made my heart jump out of chest. Now, I need to somehow keep that pace for an additional five minutes! This is going to he quite the challenge! I am eyeing April as the date to complete this. I have begun some basic training. Here is how I am handling it:
Monday: This is a light day. On this day I am doing a single arm kettlebell clean & press ladder and performing some light snatches.
Tuesday: Variety day. Do whatever you want, just take it easy. I hit some yoga or just do some light calisthenics.
Wednesday: This is a moderate day. You do five sets of five single arm clean & presses with one turkish getup between sets. Then you perform 3 sets of 10 swings and 3 sets of 10 snatches with a weight heavier than Monday.
Thursday: Variety day.
Saturday: This is a tough day. You do a single arm clean & press ladder but perform two more ladders than Monday (ladder rungs explained below). You then set a timer and perform as many swings as you can. Depending on the day, I'll do 6, 8, 10, or 12 minutes of heavy swinging.
I plan on continuing the kettlebell program outlined above. As the weather begins to change for the better, I will begin my track and hill program on the variety days. Conditioning plays a huge role in the Snatch Test so I will be running at the first sign of nice weather! Last year I set a goal to run a 6 minute mile. After 15 running sessions I ran a 5:59.62 mile. I knocked a total of 75 seconds off my time over these 15 running sessions! Want a copy of it? Send me an e-mail and it is yours. This two-day-a-week running program is intense but it works wonders on your cardiovascular system!
Girevik training is in full swing at The Brickhouse. Anyone who wants to take part in it, get in touch! I have discounted rates for those interested in participating in the program!
Chris Fluck...future Girevik
I have spent 29 years on this earth and there is one thing that I have never done: cook fresh and tasty meals. But now, things are beginning to change (thanks primarily to my girlfriend). Every recipe that I will write about comes from her. Now, she can eat anything... as long as it does not contain corn, soy, gluten, or dairy. I have gotten on board with this diet and have not felt better. I have dropped a few pounds, I have been sleeping like a baby, and I walk around with a little more pep in my step (and not in a carbohydrate induced haze). Recipe #2: Banana Smoothie. This one takes about 6 minutes to make. If you have decent eye sight and can measure a thing or two this one should be EASY and it tastes great!
Cincinnati vs Indianapolis
Detroit vs Dallas
CAROLINA vs ARIZONA
BALTIMORE vs PITTSBURGH
Chris is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and member of the National Strength & Conditioning Association. He has recently served as a high school football and wrestling coach. Chris loves swinging kettlebells around, watching football and reading books!