Sunday, February 6, 2011

Random Thoughts Before Superbowl

I sit here watching the Superbowl pregame festivities and think to myself, "man, the writing bug comes at odd times." Thoughts, ideas, answers, motivation and drive all approach my mind as we wait for not only the Superbowl but my wife to have our first child (which could happen anytime). Here are some random thoughts to get you and your mind thinking:

1. For over a year now, I have been disciplined to create my weekly schedule. I have a simple spreadsheet with 30 minute blocks for each day. From the moment I get up and from the moment I leave work I manually write all of my appointments, my break times, my workouts and any personal responsibilities into this template. It sits right under my keyboard at work so I can glance at it at any time during the day. This has been a great way to increase productivity during the day because it allows me to construct my day precisely. We can not make the day longer but we can use our time more efficiently. This strategy improves my management of time and keeps me moving efficiently towards my goals. I am anal with this small task. I sit down on Friday afternoons and create the schedule for the upcoming week. When I show up to work Monday morning the plan is created and then I get to work. Sometimes we show up to work out a plan of action or random tasks to handle and we have nothing written down. You can accomplish a few things on your "to do" list with this method but you will also have wasted time. Thirty minutes of wasted time every day for a year adds up to over 10,000 minutes or 60 hours. A lot can be achieved in 60 hours so make the most of your time and start by writing out your weekly schedule every week.

2. If you are forced to do your longer runs on a treadmill, don't fret because I have a workout that will make time fly by fast. Whenver I run on the treadmill I make the focus on efficiency instead of volume. I might not hit those super long runs (over 16 miles) but I can run those medium distance training runs (8-13) but what's more important is there will be structure and focus during the time I am on the treadmill. Give this workout a try next time you are on the treadmill:
Workout #1: 15 minutes of ez running, 10x30 second pick-ups/30 second ez running, 2 minutes cruise then hit Main set #1: 5 x 5 minutes tempo running (this is a pace that will be a bit slower than your 10k race pace), 2 minutes of ez running for recovery, 2 minute cruise after the first main set is over, then main set #2: 8 x 1 minute hill runs, this should be between 5-8% hills and keep your pace steady and consistent (not a hard run)/1 minute easy jog for recover, and finish with 5 minutes of running
Total: 83 minutes

3. The workout structure that we all need to be following should incorporate some foam rolling, flexibility, mobility for the joints that need it, stability for the joints that need it, balanced strength training, and high intensity conditioning. If you are going for gaining lean muscle mass, shedding body fat, improving coordination, movement and strength then this should be your design. Don't skip parts. If you skip the peanut butter in a PB/J sandwich, you get a weak sandwich. Here is a breakdown of a great way to design your program and get everything you need in less than 60 minutes:
Foam Roll: 5 minutes
Stretch: 5 minutes
Movement Preparation: 10 minutes
Power/Core work: 8 minutes
Strength work: 25 minutes
Conditioning/Finisher: 5 minutes
Total: 58 minutes

4. Books you need to read: "4 Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz, "The Generosity Factor" by Ken Blanchard, "The Art of Exceptional Living" by Jim Rohn (CD), "Impact Body Plan", by Todd Durkin

5. The top five "core" exercises are probably what most people do not do. #1. The Pallof Press: this exercise is a rotary stability move that will strengthen the anti-rotational muscles in our abdominal wall. Start with standing, then move to tall kneeling, then move to 1/2 kneeling. This movement will challenge your stability and give you the strength you need to move more efficiently. #2 Farmer Walks: This is a great strength exercise as well. Not only will you build your ab wall for stability and strength but you will add in forearm strength and rotator cuff strength. It's simple too, just pick up a pair of dumbbells and walk up to 20 yards with good tight posture. #3 Plank/Side Plank: In terms of simplicity and logistics, the plank is the best because it can be done anywhere with many different variations. The plank teaches the anti-extension muscles to be strong and keep the back from unwanted stress from daily movement. There are many different variations. Start with 5-10 second short intervals, focusing on tightening the whole ab wall. Build to where you can hold for 60 seconds. Master the simpler versions before adding in the tougher versions. #4 Core Rollouts: All you need is the ab roller or a stability ball to perform this exercise. This challenging move works the anti-rotation muscles that are needed to keep the back safe. Make sure to learn how to perform this move the correct way. Ask a qualified coach to teach you this move. If you feel it in the low back, you are not doing the move right. #5 Cable chop/lifts: another rotary stability exercise that creates strength in the ab wall and builds connection between your shoulders, hips, and core. This move teaches the ab wall to be strong, stable and elastic. Start on both knees, then move to 1/2 kneeling and then move to standing. Stay tall and tight during this move.

6. Today's menu for Superbowl: Breakfast - bell pepper egg scramble with gluten free pancakes and fresh strawberries, bananas and blueberries. Lunch - Turkey melts with bell peppers and avocados. Dinner - Tortilla soup. Add in a couple of beers and we have ourselves a great day of chillin', watching the big game.

7. I honestly think flexibility dysfunction causes more problems than we think. Flexibility is the range of motion of muscles. When muscles are tight we restrict movement and then compensate through other areas of the body. Endurance athletes in particular need to implement flexibility sessions into their weekly schedule to stay lengthened, keep their muscles durable, and to aide in the recovery process. Stretching is all about good position. Make sure you have good posture when you stretch. Be strict with each move and understand that you need mild discomfort not sharp pain. You can perform static stretching which is stretching longer than 30seconds. And you can perform active stretching which is stretching each stretch for 3-10 seconds and then repeating. This is a great method of stretching as it reinforces the stretch/flex cycle our muscles go through during sport.

8. Smile more. If you get caught up in the stresses of life you need to take a deep breath, relax and smile! Smiling creates a feel good feeling. First thing in the morning, look at yourself in the mirror, smile and tell yourself you are going to give it your best effort in that day. Smiling is a great way to start your day and is a great way to erase negative feelings. Do it more!

9. The body is capable of doing so much. We have so much potential but unfortunately we limit our abilities. Don't settle for just being average. We can take our bodies and our abilities to ultimate levels. It's just a mindset. Have the mindset to work, work hard and work some more. Don't sit and wait for that winning lotto ticket. We must create our own luck and our own significance. We must go out and get what we want with hard work, drive and discipline. It's doing the little things over and over and over again for a long time. Then things start happening to you. And don't stop when things don't go your way. Let that be a sign to you to work harder, get better and be more motivated. How you handle setbacks and challenging times will define your character. So set big goals, believe you can do huge things and put in the work and persistency to make it happen. EverDAY is important!

10. Packers or Steelers? It looks like it could be a great game. But I am picking Packers 24-21 in overtime. Have a great day today and have an even better week!

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