I love this time of year!

Photo on 6-3-16 at 18.12Because the NFL and NCAA football seasons have started, and we’re coming into the home stretch in the 2017 MLB season. The Yanks are playing good team ball and look to be in the running for the Wild Card and possibly the AL East Division pennant. No self-respecting Red Sox fan up here will admit it, but I bet some of them are a tad bit worried. It has happened many times before. They hate the New York Yankees up here!

What makes us fitter

What increases a capacity in us is a cyclical application of stress, recovery and adaptation. This simple program can be used to increase performance in many different categories of fitness: strength, endurance, flexibility, cardiovascular and cardio-respiratory conditioning, agility, power, etc. The first factor, stress, must be appropriately high or the body will not respond with an adaptive growth response because you have not asked the body to do something it already cannot do. There are times when the initial stress is too high. You’ll know it because you will not recover within an acceptable period of time (1-3 days). The elements needed for complete recovery and (hence, complete adaptation) are rest/sleep, adequate hydration, replenishment of electrolyte balance, and complete nutrition. The specific definitions within these areas will vary primarily dependent upon one’s age and level of conditioning.

The Flow

There is a flow to life, and to living. There is a flow to movement. There are moments when we must move quickly, and moments to pause. This rhythm can only be learned through practice and awareness –  of our intent and the process of time. I coach people of many different abilities to make their movements deliberate: pause before you begin as you contemplate your intent, breathe and find the center of your power, and then move, fully aware of the resistance load moving through your body’s structure.   50# Kettlebell Overhead Squat

BREATHE.

Breathe with every movement you make. Be mindful of your breath when you’re not moving. Inhale through your nose and exhale the breath through pursed lips, like you’re blowing out a candle in slow-motion. Your breath should be as slow and deep as possible- as your movement should be. Tension against your movement comes first from gravity, then from changing the angle against this gravitational force, and adding an external load. Breathe throughout movement.

Every day with PT is a good day

PT is Physical Training, and all of us should do it every day. One hour, or 5 minutes throughout the day. It doesn’t always have to be a high-intensity session. Some days we need nothing more than mobility (which we should be doing every single day of our lives no matter what else we have planned), and some days we might only spend a brief time in the high heart range. Our constant need remains PT, every day- movement, every day, physical work, heavy breathing, breaking a sweat- every day.
As a professional trainer I spend the first half of each day working with people like me: late 40’s, early 50’s, part-time athletes, full-time parents, the odd 30-something athlete, many older than me in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s; I spend the second half of my day educating high-school age athletes: 15-18 years old, soccer players, hockey players, dancers, runners, basketball and baseball players, students interested in getting fit or bodybuilding. The common thread woven through us all is the understanding and acceptance of physical exercise as a necessity of life. This might be news to some of you chasing retirement and a sedentary end to life- as we age, our requirements for physical activity INCREASE. If your idea of life is to work until you retire so you can sit on your butt and watch TV, you’ve got it all wrong and your final years will not be pleasant. If you enjoy testing yourself every day and connecting with your physical self until the end, your life should be long and strong!

A BIG CHANGE

I’m changing the focus of this site from my visual art to my fitness career, since I’m currently doing the latter much more frequently than the former. My intent is to blog every day or so- some will be short and some more lengthy. I’ve been doing this training gig a combined 30 years and worked with hundreds of different people from all walks of life on their paths to fitness.

My background in fitness: I had a very active childhood, playing outdoors and participating in team and individual sports from an early age. I was very interested in boxing, baseball and football. I was in the Boy Scouts and also enjoyed swimming, hiking and generally just being outside. During high school I practiced various Asian martial arts and became involved in the U.S. Army’s Delayed Entry Program during 11th grade. I enlisted and was trained as an Airborne Infantryman at Fort Benning, Georgia from August-December 1985. During this time I was introduced to daily physical training (PT) and a wide range of military weaponry. Staying physically fit and being always ready for action was a way of life for us paratroopers and I am thankful to have had that experience at a young age because it sustains me to this day over 30 years later. I’ve had to overcome some serious injuries along this path and for me, the warrior mindset and “never quit” attitude is most important. I became certified with the I.S.S.A. (International Sport Science Association) in Los Angeles in 1998. My first day of practical exam was with Dr. Fred Hatfield, PHD, AKA “Dr. Squat”, and it was an honor to study under his lecture. Second and final day of cert testing was at a Gold’s Gym in Santa Monica a few blocks from the original one at Muscle Beach with Tom Platz, a world-class bodybuilder. The knowledge foundation was sound and since then I’ve helped able and disabled, young and old find their way to fitness.

If you live an active life, injury is inevitable, but it will vary in degree and can always be rehabilitated from. As a seasoned trainer I believe the most important Natural Law is The Principle of Individual Differences. We are each given a genetic profile at birth and there is nothing we can do to change this original blueprint. Some are physically able and some aren’t, but I’ve worked with dozens of disabled people who chose not to be limited and were determined to work with what they had instead of focusing on what they didn’t have. Some of us are built for running, swimming and endurance activity. Some are made for lifting heavy weights. One can train to accomplish many different physical tasks to a high level. No matter what you are born with, you can develop body, mind and soul to a high level with commitment. Much of what I have to say on this website will be anecdotal in nature because I regularly use these “mantras” that I practice and teach to others. Many times my clients teach me as much as I teach them.

I’ll be back soon with more reflections on my journey.