Living in a Van Behind Walmart

Wow what an awesome story of a dude that embodies simple living.  While actually living and not all about the consumer lifestyle our society promotes.

Here is what I am learning about people who live in cars.  There are people who are forced into it.  Live in their vehicles and do drugs, drink, etc.  These are the people most think of when they see a person in this circumstance.

But, there are also people who choose to live below their means.  Allowing them the freedom to truly enjoy their life on their own terms.

Is life about working your life away to buy a large expensive house with rooms and stuff you don’t use.  Or, is it about who you are, how you relate to others, freedom, and the experiences you have along the journey?

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http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/12420393/top-blue-jays-prospect-daniel-norris-lives-own-code

Some of my top quotes:

For almost 80 years, his father and grandfather owned and operated a small bicycle shop in car-dependent Johnson City, and their store was not only a place to sell bikes but a way to spread their family values and popularize a belief system. Play outdoors. Love the earth. Live simply. Use only what you need.

Being alone on the mound reminded him of being out in the wild, where he was forced to solve his own problems and wrestle with self-doubt.

Most players had spent $10,000 or more on laptops, jewelry and headphones. Norris returned with only a henley T-shirt from Converse, bought on sale for $14. It’s been a fixture of his wardrobe ever since.

It’s enough to live in a van, but just barely. “I’m actually more comfortable being kind of poor,” he says, because not having money maintains his lifestyle and limits the temptation to conform. He never fills Shaggy beyond a quarter tank. He fixes the van’s engine with duct tape rather than taking it to a mechanic. Instead of eating out with teammates, he writes each night in a “thought journal” that rests on the dashboard.

“Research the things you love,” he wrote one night. “Gain knowledge. It’s valuable.”

“Be kind. Be courteous. Love others and be happy. It’s that simple.”

“Where else can you be as free as by yourself in the middle of nowhere, or in the middle of the ocean, or on the peak of a mountain. Adventure is freedom.”

This is his favorite beach in Florida, a 25-foot stretch of sand separated from the road by a line of palm trees, a place so public that nobody else seems to notice it. The traffic cruises by on the causeway at 50 miles an hour, and he has the beach to himself. He comes here to paddleboard, to read and to journal. Once, after a morning in the water, he returned to the beach and fell asleep on his surfboard. A few hours later, he felt the cold chill of water on his foot and awoke to see that the tide had risen and swept him back out into the ocean on his board. He was quite a distance from shore, out there by himself, disoriented and scared. “That was one of the best moments of my life,” he says.

“WHAT I’LL DO, IF BASEBALL GOES WELL, IS I’LL BECOME EVEN MORE OF AN AMBASSADOR FOR THE THINGS I REALLY CARE ABOUT. ”

- DANIEL NORRIS

Cutting Grocery Costs

So I have decided to tackle my grocery bill.  It’s typically $100-150 a week.  Which comes out to $400-600 a month.

Using the formula for retirement. ” 4% withdrawal rate -> 1/0.04 = 25 times annual expenses = 300 times monthly expenses.”

At the upper end that tells me that in retirement I would need $180,000 to sustain that eating style.

My goal is to get down to $150 a month in food expenses which requires only $45,000.  So I would not have to save that extra $135,000.

In the future I also plan to grow some food and get a few chickens for eggs.  This should lower it to the $100 range.   Saving even more money.

I want to do this in a healthy way that provides good fuel for my body.  Preferably in a macro profile that is 40-50% carbs, 10-25% fat, and 30% protein.

How am I going to do this?

Lets look at a sample day:

  • 3 eggs $2.99 a dozen for Phil’s eggs.  $.25 a egg = $.75 total
  • 1 cup rolled oats – $.18 a serving (1/2 cup) – $.36 total
  • 1 cup pinto beans dry – $.05 a serving = $.20 total
  • 2 tablespoon flax seed – $.15 a serving = $.30 total
  • 16 oz of Alaskan Pollock – $.60 a serving = $2.39 total
  • 1 cup brown rice – $.12 a serving = $.48 total

Total daily cost = $4.48

Monthly cost = $125.44

Calories = 1984 which is a good amount for me to maintain my weight.  If I wanted to cut weight I would cut back on the carbs a bit and add some more protein.  Maybe another serving of eggs at night.    If I wanted to gain weight/muscle I would just add more servings.

Macros = 54% carbs, 18% fat, 28% protein.

My main concern is low moderate fat intake and enough protein for my lean body mass.  This provides 147 grams of protein so I can eliminate any need for expensive and highly processed protein powders.

Now I also add in some additional foods such as fruit and veggies which will easily add up to $25 a month.

This trip I bought 2 pounds of carrots ($2.00), salsa ($1.99), hummus ($5.69), frozen organic berries ($12.36 a bag = $2.13 a cup), Ezekiel bread ($3.99), pears ($1.76).

I will also buy nuts in bulk and make my own nut butter using my Vitamix blender.

Cooking will be done by first sprouting the nuts, seeds and grains to remove anti-nutrients and boost bio available nutrients.

Here is some good info on sprouting:

“Nuts, seeds, grains, and beans are nutritional powerhouses. However, the natural agents that protect them from early germination can wreak havoc in our digestive system. Soaking and sprouting replicates germination, which activates and multiplies nutrients (particularly Vitamins A, B, and C), neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, and promotes the growth of vital digestive enzymes.

Soaking and sprouting is very easy. The method is exactly the same for nuts, seeds, grains, and beans—only the time required for full germination changes. (See the table below.)

Please note: Many “raw” nuts and seeds have been pasteurized and irradiated. Truly raw almonds and peanuts will sprout, but those that have been pasteurized and irradiated will “activate” with soaking, but will not physically “sprout.” However, soaking still removes anti-nutrients (compounds that can interfere with the absorption of nutrients), increases nutrient density, and makes the nuts more digestible.

 

HOW TO SOAK NUTS, SEEDS, GRAINS, AND BEANS

PLACE  in a large glass bowl or mason jar, and cover with warm, filtered water (about a 2:1 ratio) and about ½ tsp. Celtic sea salt. Cover with a light cloth for desired time.

RINSE food thoroughly and drain.

USE these activated “non sprouts” immediately to make plant-based “milks.” You can also cook soaked and rinsed grains immediately, using them just as would un-sprouted grains in any of your favorite recipes or as a bed for vegetable dishes. Do note that most soaked grains only need a 1:1 water/broth ratio to be cooked through because they are already plumped with water.

OR

DEHYDRATE in a food dehydrator at no higher than 115º F for 12 to 24 hours, and store in sealed glass containers in the fridge. Beware: If nuts are not completely dry, they will develop mold.

 

HOW TO SPROUT NUTS, SEEDS, GRAINS, AND BEANS

GET a quart-sized (or larger) mason jar. Remove the solid middle insert of the lid, and cut a piece of cheesecloth or breathable mesh to fit inside.

FILL one-third of the jar with nuts, seeds, grains, or beans, and fill the rest of the jar with warm, filtered water and about ½ tsp Celtic sea salt. Screw the lid on with cheesecloth or breathable mesh screen in place.

SOAK For soaking times, see table below.

DRAIN/RINSE Remove the mesh insert of the lid, and replace with metal insert. Pour the soaking water out of the jar, fill with fresh water, replace lid, and rinse well by shaking jar. Replace the metal insert with the mesh lid again, and drain. 

INVERT the jar and lay at an angle so that air can circulate, and the water can drain off. Allow to sit in the light.

REPEAT this process, rinsing every few hours, or at least twice daily.

WAIT  In 1 to 4 days, the sprouts will be ready. Sprouts vary from 1/8-inch to 2-inches long. When ready, rinse sprouts well, drain, and store in a jar (with the solid part of the lid replaced) in the fridge.

ENJOY within  2 to 3 days. Sprouts are a fabulous nutrient-rich addition to raw salads, sandwiches, and wraps, and are also tasty in smoothies, soups, and stews.

 

 

FOOD SOAKING TIME (hours) SPROUTING TIME (days)
Almonds 8-12 No Sprouting (if pasteurized) 3 Days (if truly raw)
Adzuki Beans 8-12 4
Amaranth 8 1-3
Barley 6 2
Black Beans 8-12 3
Brazil Nuts 3 No Sprouting
Buckwheat 6 2-3
Cashews 2-4 No Sprouting
Chickpeas/Garbanzo 8 2-3
Flaxseeds ½ No Sprouting
Hazelnuts 8-12 No Sprouting
Kamut 7 2-3
Lentils 7 2-3
Macadamias 2 No Sprouting
Millet 5 12 hours
Mung Beans 8-12 4
Oat Groats 6 2-3
Pecans 6 No Sprouting
Pistachios 8 No Sprouting
Pumpkin Seeds 8 3
Radish Seeds 8-12 3-4
Sesame Seeds 8 2-3
Sunflower Seeds 8 12-24 hours
Quinoa 4 2-3
Walnuts 4 No Sprouting
Wheat Berries 7 3-4
Wild Rice 9 3-5

 

PLEASE NOTE: Sprouts can be subject to contamination which can result in bacterial growth such as E. coli, leading to food-borne illnesses. Always purchase organic fresh products from a reputable source, wash your hands thoroughly before handling foods, and keep sprouting equipment and all kitchen surfaces clean to avoid cross contamination. Always consume sprouts within a few days, fresh and straight out of the fridge. Some health organizations also recommend consuming them cooked to reduce the risk of infection. I certainly consume raw homemade sprouts, and have never had an issue. Decide what is a responsible choice for you and your family.”

Then I will use a pressure cooker to cook beans/rice/potatoes.

Water – I drink lots of water and found myself going through 1-2 cases of water a week.  Closer to two cases.

I have purchased a reverse osmosis filtration system to make my own water.  I will monitor water qualities with a TDS meter to know the water is filtered properly and when to change the filters.

Cases of water typically cost $3.99 a case.  Making my own water will cost $.44 a case.  And I will avoid any PCB’s from the plastic bottles by using stainless steel reusable bottles.  Saving the environment as well.

Summary:  Lots of healthy whole foods at a affordable cost.  Plus lots of clean water equals a great diet, body, and life.  Not to mention saving $350-450 a month and not having to save an extra $135,000 in a retirement account just for food expenses.

 

 

New Personal Training Website

I finally completed my CPT with NASM in October 2014.  It had been a long time coming.  During my motocross racing years I fell in love with training and pushing myself physically.

I searched for something I was passionate about for many years.  One of the questions I would ask myself is..

“If money was of no object.. what would I do everyday?”

I found an answer.   I found what I would do without working is working out and studying about health and fitness.

So I clearly learned that I had a passion for the fitness industry.  The next question was how do I help people and make a living? I was turned off by the big box gyms that pushed sales.  Trainers are on a commission pay basis most of the time.  This forces them on selling and not on helping clients.  This is the opposite of how I feel.  The clients results should be number one priority.  Not selling.

I now have a answer for that question as well.

Announcing my new website for personal training: BiologicPerformance.com.

The goal with this new company is to directly work with people.  Helping them live longer and healthier lives and get the most out of their body at the same time.  Losing body fat, gaining strength and feeling better.

I am going to initially offer a variety of personal training options.  As time goes on this may change based on feedback and which method produces the best results for clients.

Check it out and let me know what you think.  And if you’re looking for help with your health and fitness feel free to get in touch.

Mastery by George Leonard

Mastery by George Leonard

Mastery – Book notes

  • 1987 May edition of Esquire magazine, Ultimate Fitness section by George Leonard.  “Ultimately, fitness and health are related to everything we do, think and feel. Thus… what we are calling ultimate fitness has less to do with running a 2:30 marathon that with living a good life.”
  • Mastery – the mysterious process during which what is difficult becomes progressively easier and more pleasurable through practice.  This is not just about sports but in all of life.
  • Don’t put quick easy results over long term dedication to the journey itself. The quick-fix doesn’t work in the long run is eventually destructive to the individual and society.
  • Success and fulfillment are found in the long term, essentially goalless process of mastery.  This is true in all areas of life.
  • Our current society works in ways that lead us astray, but the path to mastery is always there, waiting for us.
  • Mastery is a process, and its available to anyone willing to get on a path and stay on it. It begins when you decide to learn any new skill.
  • There comes a point when doing a activity that the truth begins to sink in.  Going for mastery in this isn’t going to bring you the quick rewards you had hoped for.  There’s a seemingly endless road ahead of you with numerous setbacks along the way-and most important-plenty of time on the plateau, where long hours of diligent practice gain you no apparent progress at all.  Not a happy situation for one who is highly goal oriented.  You realize that you have a decision to make at some point along the journey, if not now.  You’re tempted to drop the activity and go out looking for a easier one.  Quit the path to mastery and just have fun with it.  Or you might try twice as hard, insist on extra lessons and help, practice day and night.  Committing to the long path to mastery.  This choice comes up in our lives all the time.  Anything that has to do with learning, development, and change.
  • Genius no matter how bright, will come to a swift burn out if you don’t choose the masters journey.  It will be arduous, exhilarating, bring unexpected heartaches, and unexpected rewards, and you will never reach a final destination. You will probably end up learning as much about the skill you’re pursuing as yourself.
  • The path will be one of progress, a dip and long plateau. Repeated over and over again.  You have to be willing to keep going when you don’t seem to be making any progress.
  • Spurts happen because we have to keep practicing an unfimilar skill until we get it in the muscle memory, or program it into the autopilot. Not having to “think” about doing something.  We’re just able to do it.
  • How do you best move toward mastery? You practice diligently, but you practice primarily for the sake of the practice itself. Rather than be frustrated on the plateau, you learn to appreciate and enjoy it just as much as you do the upward surges.
  • The dabbler jumps from one shiny object to the next because its easier to do that than commit to mastery and have to change oneself.
  • The obsessive focuses on results and puts full effort into getting ahead.  But when they hit the plateau they burn out from all the extra energy and not enough results.  They need to embrace the plateau and learn growth in spurts.
  • The hacker does only enough to get by. They are willing to settle for not growing and improving.
  • You can be all three types at different times but the basic patterns prevail.  They reflect and shape your performance, character, and destiny. Knowing these patterns can help you see why you’re not on the path to mastery. 
  • Our society will make this path difficult for you.  Its a quick fix mentality that tries to appeal to using fear, logic, snobbery, or pure hedonism. They show life as a series of climatic moments. In short there is no plateau.  When things get hard we take a pill, use a crash diet, become an instant millionaire, use a credit card, buy a pre-cooked meal, etc. It’s just a series of quick fixes. Business fits into this as well.  Executives are urged to cut the expenses, put assets into improving profits… at the expense of balance and growth.  Then the leveraged buyout to make a lot of money in a short amount of time.  Very little value is added to the corporation, or to the national economy in the long run. This same thought pattern is what makes people think they can learn a new skill or lose weight without patient, long term effort.
  •   Achieving goals is important, but not as much as enjoying the process and journey itself.  Value, enjoy, and love the plateau.. the long stretch of diligent effort with no apparent results. Learn to embrace and know that if you stay on the path you will hit another spurt of growth.
  • People who get into something for the money, fame, or the medal can’t be effective.  You have to discover your own desire, and when you do you won’t wait for other people to find solutions to your problems.  You’re going to find your own. Set goals for yourself and make sure you enjoy the work.  It should feel like it is your “essential you” doing the work and if you didn’t do that work it would be betraying that essential part of yourself.
  • What are you drawn to that you feel in a world of your own?  Totally focused almost hypnotized. You can easily concentrate and take pleasure in your work. Where you enjoy the feel, the rhythm, and texture of it.
  • Fame is not important.  To love your work, and willingness to stay with it even in the absence of extrinsic reward is what its all about.
  • The face of someone in the pursuit of mastery is often relaxed, serene, and sometimes faintly smiling.
  • Goals and contingencies are important, but they exist in the future and the past, beyond the sensory realm.  Mastery and practice exist only in the present. You can see it, smell it, and feel it. Loving the plateau is the love of the present, and then hitting a growth spurt and another plateau. Loving the plateau is to love what is most essential and enduring in your life.
  1. Instruction – the best first step you can take is to arrange first-rate instruction.  The self taught person is on a chancery path.  One on one instruction with a master is the best form, but you can also learn from books, classes, friends, co-workers, etc.  The search for a good person starts with knowing who the teachers teachers were.  This applies to books as well.  Once you find someone attend a session with them and view their interaction with students.  Do they use praise or damnation?  The best will strive for a 50/50 approach of praise and correction like John Wooden did. Does the teacher focus only on the best students?  Do they have the knowledge, expertise, and technical skill to teach beginners?   Most of the best students work harder and and experience more than talented students.  If a person is a slow learner and preservers their efforts they will reap the most reward because they struggled the most to learn it.  An audio or video tape can show you the correct golf swing, but it has no way of observing your swing and telling you what you need to improve.  Books also suffer the same in that they suffer from lack of feedback.  But a paragraph sometimes has more power to change the individual and the world than any number of pictures.  Good teachers are ones that can involve each student actively in the process of learning.  If a teacher doesn’t seem like a good fit, first look inside.  You might be expecting more than the teacher can give.
  2. Practice – You practice in order to learn a new skill, and improve yourself to get ahead, achieve goals, and make money.   But in mastery its not about something you do its about what you are. Practice is just the path upon which you travel. Practicing something that is an integral part of your life.. NOT in order to gain something else.   But for its own sake.  Rewards are not the goal of the path, but are fine if they happen along the way.   Its about going on learning for as long as you live. People who do this goalless practice do it because they love practice and they do it to get better. The better they get the more they enjoy doing the basic moves over and over again.  Do it to enjoy yourself, not to make money, get fame, and stature.  How long does it take to become a master at _____? How long do you expect to live?  Practice is the path to mastery.  It may be a rough and bumpy path, but it will be the most reliable thing in your life.  It might eventually turn you into a winner in your chosen field, if thats what you’re looking for.  But thats not really the point. Its just to keep practicing and staying on the path.
  3. Surrender – to your teacher and discipline.  And to your own hard earned proficiency from time to time to reach a higher level. Be prepared to fail at the beginning and make a fool out of yourself.  The essence of boredom is found in search for novelty. Satisfaction lies in mindful repetition and the richness in subtle variations of familiar themes.  If you want to progress at something you may have to be ok going back to the basics, trying something different getting worse for a time to get better.
  4. Intentionality – Mental practice.  Visualizing what you will do beforehand vividly. Bodybuilders and golf pro’s do this and say it is the key to their success.  The movement is already engrained into their nervous system. Thoughts, images and emotions have a effect on the world of matter and energy.  Arnold said that it is that vision.. seeing himself as Mr. Universe is what gave him the “want power”. Intentionality fuels the masters journey. Every master is a master of vision.
  5. The Edge – Masters work the fundamentals in small incremental steps.  The goal is to test the boundaries and push the envelope between endless, goalless practice and those alluring goals that appear along the way.  So you’re choosing a lifelong path, but there are checkpoints along the way. After you have put in the time along the path with instruction, practice, surrender, and intentionality you want to test yourself and push beyond your limits.  But then afterwards its back on the plateau.
  6. Why Resolutions Fail – We all resist change. Your body adapts to the demands you constantly place on it.  And keep it there. You have to decide if you really do want to spend the time and effort it takes to get on and stay on the path of change.  Be aware that resistance internally and externally is natural when you try and change anything.  Use pain as a possible guide for performance.  Play the edge of that discomfort as it will lead to progress.  Find others that have gone through what you are going through for a support system.  If no one else has gone down that path just find others close to you for support. Keep practicing as that will bring you into homeostasis during times of change.  Devote yourself to lifelong learning.  Learn how to learn.
  7. Getting Energy for Mastery – Old adage if you want something done ask a busy person to do it. We need rest and relaxation, but the human body can wear out from lack of use. Often the best remedy is 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. The same way mental and spiritual lassitude is often cured the same way with decisive action or clear intention to act.  Human energy comes into existence through use (motion). To tap into more energy maintain physical fitness.  Acknowledge the negative but accentuate the positive.  Tell the truth. Honor but don’t indulge your dark side. Set your priorities… decide what you’re going to do with the energy.  Indecision leads to inaction, which leads to low energy, depression, despair. You can’t do everything, but you can do one thing, then another one thing.. and so on.  It’s better to make the wrong choice than nothing at all.  List everything you want to do today, and then tomorrow. The prioritize them and focus on the most important first.  Do this for long term goals as well.  The simple act of just getting it down on paper will add clarity and energy to your life.  Make commitments and take action.  The journey is goalless and you take it for the journey itself.  But there are goals along the way.  The first being to just get started.  Then there is making a goal a little further out that will give you some clarity.  Plus energy flows from commitment.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Then, get on the path to mastery and stay on it.  The path will lead you to an energetic life.  Keep the flow going in low and high times.  Take the proper time for action and rest.  Much of the worlds depression is discontent and unused energy and potential. Start now.
  8. Pitfalls Along the Path – The challenge is staying on the path to mastery.  Will you actually be able to balance your job and path? The need for quick results is usually the worst enemy of mastery.  When you’re climbing a mountain be aware of the peak, but don’t keep looking at it.  Just keep looking at the path in front of you. And when you reach the top keep on climbing.  Don’t bounce around to different teachers.  Use competition to hone your hard-won skills to a fine edge. Winning is essential on the path but it isn’t the only thing.  Winning and losing with the same poise is the mark of a master.  Laziness can take you off the path, but the path itself is the best remedy for this.  The best way achieve a goal is to be fully present.  Hear its messages and ride the edge for progress but don’t get injured.  Don’t put emphasis on external rewards.. as the reward is the journey not a championship.  Be able to laugh at yourself and not be too serious.  Be consistent and don’t worry about perfection.  Its not about being perfect.  Its about the process and journey.  The master stays on the path year after year, trying, failing and trying and failing for as long as they live.
  9. Mastering the Commonplace – Zen masters will tell you that periods of sitting and meditating/chanting are the same as building a stone wall or washing dishes.  We can make the commonplace part of the extraordinary. you can do any task as a meditation by being fully present. Maintaining full awareness of your every move and your entire body. Aim for grace in your motions and breaths.  Don’t hurry and think about finishing the job.  Just on the task you’re doing.  You will feel better and most likely finish faster. Focus on the process rather than the product.  Practice doing regular tasks without losing composure.  Stay balanced, centered and focused on the process rather than pressing impatiently for completion.  Just as you have to work at a sport to achieve mastery the same goes for other areas of your life such as relationships.  Most of the learning will take place on the plateau.  Use all these same steps to become a master at relationships.  Because nothing in life is separate.  Your thoughts, acts and all paths of mastery all merge together.
  10. Packing for the Journey – Use a checklist of all the steps.  Then focus on balancing your body and centering your energy in your abdomen. Relax and tight muscles and do some breath work. Relax for power.  A tense muscle loses its strength. And such an overbearing attitude will fail.  Its your evolutionary destiny to use what is unused, to learn and keep on learning for as long as you live.  It’s not easy but its the ultimate human adventure. The path never ends.  How do you begin then? You need to only take the first step.  When? There is always now.

The Master and the Fool – Let yourself be seen as a fool to learn a new skill and become a learner.  Let yourself be playful and free to make mistakes.

Are you willing to wear your beginners badge with honor?

Andre Agassi

Found a great YouTube series on Andre Agassi.  I was never a fan of tennis or Andre’s, but watching him tell his story is quite amazing.  The level of self discipline, mastery, self discovery, lessons learned, etc.  It’s worth watching.  I am going to dive deeper into his story and read his book Open when I get a chance.

Speed, Agility, and Quickness Training

Similar to plyometrics training SAQ will enhance your ability to decelerate, accelerate, and dynamically stabilize the entire body while in all high velocity movements in all planes of motion.  Teaching the nervous system how to respond better and quicker.

Frontside mechanics – the correct alignment of the lead leg and pelvis while sprinting, that includes ankle dorsiflexion, knee flexion, hip flexion, and neutral pelvis.

Backside mechanics – same as frontside but focuses on rear leg during running.

Kinetic checkpoint during running:

Foot/ankle complex – the foot and ankle should be pointing straight ahead in a dorsiflexed position when it hits the ground.  Excessive flattening or external rotation will cause abnormal stress and decrease performance.

When designing a program start with limited horizontal movement and unpredictability, lower reps/sets.  Progress all to make the drills harder.

 

Plyometric Training Concepts

Plyometric training is also known as reactive training and uses hopping, jumping, or bounding to develop muscle power. It is key to make sure you have the proper joint stability, core strength, range of motion and balance BEFORE doing any plyometric exercises.  Also it may not be suitable for everyone especially those with past injuries, chronic diseases, or other limitations.  But if properly progressed the chances of injury are lower. When programmed properly plyometric training can be the key to achieving optimal performance in any activity or level of ability.

Everyone can benefit from stabilization, strength, and endurance as well as the ability to produce force fast to perform efficiently.

Rate of force production – muscles being exerting max force output in minimal amount of time.

The classic example is stretching a rubber band. When the rubber band is loose, the stiffness expressed across it is quite low. When the rubber band is stretched taut, the stiffness expressed across it is much higher. As a result, the time to reach peak force is dependent on the time course of this interaction between the contractile and elastic elements of a muscle. By having more motor neurons innervating the muscle fibers of any given muscle fire together, the stiffness of these elastic elements can be increased more rapidly, allowing a shorter latency between the initiation of force and the initiation of movement. This also allows subsequently recruited MU to capitalize on the stiffness created by MU that have been previously activated, increasing the total muscular force rapidly.

So basically you are creating stronger and tighter rubber bands out of your extremities with increasing your rate of force. Integrated performance paradigm – to move efficiently forces must be damped (eccentrically), stabilized (isometric) and accelerated (concentrically). The faster the switch from eccentric to concentric phase the more power will result. The shorter ground contact time will also result in less tissue overload, and reduce risk of injury.

Overall this training will give you stronger functional muscles, tendons, and ligaments.  Increasing performance in everyday activities and sport. Speed is limited by neuromuscular coordination and will only move as fast as the nervous system will allow. Plyometric training will raise the limit of the speed set.

 Plyometric Stabilization Exercises:

Little joint movement designed for improving landing mechanics, posture, and reactive neuromuscular efficiency (coordination when moving dynamically).  Hold position when landing for 3-5 seconds.  Make any adjustments to fix faulty positions. Exercises:

  • Squat jump with stabilization – make sure knees in line with toes before and after jumping.  Feet should point straight at all times.  From side view make sure knees are behind toes at both takeoff and landing.
  • Box jump-up with stabilization – adjust height of box to match ability and do all planes of motion.
  • Box jump down with stabilization – step off and drop to the floor initially and then progress to jumping off the box to the floor for progression.
  • Multi planar jump with stabilization

 Plyometric Strength Exercises:

These are more dynamic and involve full range of motion.  Improves dynamic joint stabilization, eccentric strength, rate of force production, and neuromuscular efficiency of entire human movement system.  Repeat quickly and spend only a little time on ground. Exercises:

  • Squat jump
  • Tuck jump – ensure proper alignment
  • Butt kick – look for client arching back which is a symptom of tight quads

 Plyometric Power Exercises:

Include the whole muscle action spectrum and contraction-velocity spectrum used while integrated functional movements are occurring. Improves eccentric strength, rate of force, reactive strength, reactive joint stabilization, dynamic neuromuscular efficiency, and optimal force production. Perform exercises as fast and explosive as possible. Exercises:

  • Ice-skaters – can start out hopping side to side and adding a reach with the hand if needed
  • Single leg power step up – be aware of the switching of positions
  • Proprioceptive plyometrics – use cones, hurdles, or tape on the floor

 

Balance Training Concepts

Poor balance is related to injury risk.  Maintaining proper balance is vital.  It is not only in static positions but also involves multiple neurologic pathways during movement.

Dynamic balance – Ability to change directions and move during different conditions without falling.

Balance is made possible by visual, vestibular (inner ear) and proprioceptive inputs.

Effects of joint dysfunction:

  1. joint dysfunction
  2. muscle inhibition
  3. joint injury
  4. swelling
  5. altered proprioception

80% of the adult U.S. population will experience lower back pain.

Training should consist of at least 10 minutes a day, 3 times a week for at least 4 weeks to improve dynamic and static balance.  And be done in a systematic progressive method of stabilization, strength and power phases.

All three phases can be made harder or easier by changing visual conditions, changing the surface, or altering body position or movement required.

Balance Stabilization Exercises

This phase involves only small joint movements and trains the reflexive (automatic) joint stabilization to increase joint stability.

The body is placed in unstable environments and learns to contract the right muscle at the right time to maintain balance.

Exercises:

  • single leg balance – make sure glutes of balancing leg stays contracted
  • single leg balance reach – keep hips level
  • single leg hip internal and external rotation – rotate through hip not spine
  • single leg lift and chop – make sure knee that is in air remains in line with toes
  • single leg throw and catch – harder = various height, further distance, and changing velocity

Balance Strength Exercises

Now the balance leg will incorporate dynamic eccentric and concentric movement through full range of motion.

Exercises:

  • single leg squat – make sure knee stays in line with toe
  • single leg squat touchdown – if trouble touching foot touch knee and progress
  • single leg romanian deadlift – progression – touch knee, shin, foot
  • multi planar step-up to balance – make sure balance leg hip is in full extension for max glute use
  • multiplanar lunge to balance – make sure lunge doesn’t go too far out

Balance Power Exercises

This phase will help with deceleration, eccentric strength, reactive joint stabilization, and dynamic neuromuscular control.

Exercises:

  • multi planar hop with stabilization – make sure landing is soft and quiet and keep knee in line with toes
  • multi planar single leg box hop up with stabilization
  • multi planar single leg box hop down with stabilization – keep knee in line and land softly

Designing a balance training program should be done in that order.  When moving into the strength and power phases you want to add a set, reduce reps and rest time to make the training harder (90 seconds to 60 seconds rest).

Cardio Training

What is cardio training? The ability of the respiratory and circulatory systems to supply oxygen rich blood to skeletal muscles during physical activity.

It has a massive list of health benefits including better heart function, more efficient breathing, reduced cholesterol and blood pressure, reduces depression and anxiety, better sleep, lose weight.

Cardio fitness is vital to health and wellness along with enjoying everyday living. It can help prevent chronic diseases and improve quality of life. In fact it is one of the main predictors of how long of a life you will live.

Each training session should include a warm-up, conditioning, and cool down phase.

General warm up – low intensity exercise consisting of movements that don’t necessarily relate to the more intense exercise that is to follow.

Specific warm up – low intensity exercise consisting of movements that will be included in the higher intensity exercises that will follow.

Warm up should last 5-10 minutes and be of low to moderate pace.  This will get the heart and tissues ready, as well as psychologically.  Although a new client may be a longer warm up time.  Up to 30 mins.

During warm up static stretching should only be done in areas that the fitness assessment has found to be tight or overactive.  Each stretch should be held for 20-30 seconds.

A cool down should be done to prevent blood pooling in lower extremities and lengthen muscles back to normal. Goal is to bring heart rate and body temperature back down to normal, and get physiologic systems back to baseline.

Flexibility should also be included in the cool down phase. Should do 5-10 minutes of low/moderate cardio, self-myofascial release, and static stretching.

FITTE Principle

  • Frequency – number of training sessions in a given timeframe
  • Intensity – the demand an activity places on the body
  • Type – mode or type of activity selected, to be cardio it must be rhythmic in nature, use large muscle groups, and be continuous
  • Time – length of time engaged usually in minutes – adults should get 150 minutes of moderate, 75 minutes of high intensity, or an equal mix of both for the same time period each week
  • Enjoyment – amount a pleasure one gets from an activity

Training Zones

  1. Zone one – 65-75% HR, walking jogging
  2. Zone two – 76-85% HR, spinning class
  3. Zone three – 86-95% HR, sprinting

Using stage training (periodization) a client can progress from a base stage 1 to stage 2 interval work in moderate intervals to stage 3 high intensity intervals and not risk overtraining. Which is caused by improper rest and recovery.

Circuit Training

Circuit training can be a very time efficient methods to improve cardio fitness.  It can be just as effective as traditional cardio methods like treadmills, biking, and results in a higher metabolic rate and strength levels after the workout.

Trainers must keep an eye on posture during circuit training to avoid poor form and risk injury.

Flexibility Training Concepts

Most people will require some warm up and flexibility to exercise optimally. They also usually suffer from some type of posture imbalance due to sedentary lifestyle, repetitive motions, office work, etc.

Flexibility will help prevent and treat neuromuscular injuries.

Importantly some people will not be able to achieve their goals until these issues are corrected.

Flexibility – Normal extensibility of all soft tissues that allow the full range of motion of a joint.

Extensibility – Capability to be elongated or stretched.

Dynamic range of motion – Combo of flexibility and the nervous systems ability to control this range of motion efficiently.

Neuromuscular efficiency – The ability of the neuromuscular system to allow agonists, antagonists, and stabilizers to work synergistically to reduce, produce, and dynamically stabilize the entire kinetic chain in all three planes of motion.

Postural distortion patterns – Predictable patterns of muscle imbalances

Relative flexibility – A body will seek path of least resistance during functional movement patterns. Examples are a person who externally rotates feet during squatting due to tight calf muscles.  Or someone who arches their back during a overhead press due to tight lats and inability to lift arms directly overhead.

Muscle Imbalance – Alteration of muscle length surrounding a joint.

Imbalances may be caused by:

  • Reciprocal inhibition – simultaneous contraction of one muscle and the relaxation of its antagonist to allow movement to take place
  • Altered reciprocal inhibition – caused by a tight agonist which inhibits the antagonist
  • Synergistic dominance – happens when inappropriate muscles take over the function of a weak prime mover
  • Arthokinematics – motion of the joints in the boyd
  • Arthokinetic dysfunction – altered forces at the joint that results in abnormal activity and impaired neuromuscular communication at the joint

Mechanoreceptors located in the muscles and tendons help determine muscle balance or imbalance. Which include muscle spindles and Golgi tendons.

Muscle spindles – Lie parallel to muscle and sense length changes. Preventing a muscle to stretch too far or fast.

Golgi tendons are located where the muscle and tendon meet and sense tension and rate of tension.

Autogenic inhibition – process of neural impulses that sense tension are greater than the impulses that cause the muscle to contract, providing an inhibitory effect to the muscle spindles.

Pattern overload – consistently repeating the same pattern of motion which may place abnormal stresses on the body. This can be as simple as a person sitting as a computer all day which is causing a repetitive stress to the body.

Flexibility is a key component in all training programs.  It helps with:

  • correcting muscle imbalances
  • increases joint range of motion
  • decreases excess tension in muscles
  • relieves joint stress
  • improves the extensibility of musculotendinous junction
  • helps maintain the normal length of muscles
  • improves neuromuscular efficiency
  • improves function

Davis’s law – says soft tissue models along the lines of stress.

If muscle imbalances and flexibility are not addresses before resistance or cardio training then the client may be putting additional stress on the body due to improper mechanics and bad muscle recruitment. Which can ultimately lead to injury.

Flexibility, just like other modes of training should follow a systematic progression known as the flexibility continuum.

The integrated flexibility continuum consists of three stages:

  1. Corrective flexibility, to increase joint ROM, improve muscle imbalance and correct altered joint motion – self-myofascial release, static stretching – used in phase 1 (stabilization) mode of OPT model
  2. Active flexibility, to improve the extensibility of soft tissue and increase neuromuscular efficiency using reciprocal inhibition – self-myofascial release, active-isolated stretching – used in phases 2,3,4 of OPT model
  3. Functional flexibility, which involved integrated multiplanar soft tissue extensibility through full range of motion with optimal control without compensations – self-myofascial release, dynamic stretching – used in the power phase of OPT or before athletic competition. Examples include the prisoner squat, multi planar lunge, tube walking side to side, and a medicine ball lift and chop.

Video showing how to prisoner squat:

Each form of stretching manipulates the receptors of the nervous system which allow for alteration of muscle extensibility.

 Self-myofacial release applies force to a knot and realigns the fibers with the muscle while releasing tension.

IMPORTANT – Client must find a tender spot and sustain pressure for at least 30 seconds (hold till discomfort is reduced) which will increase Golgi tendon organ and decrease muscle spindle activate to trigger the autogenic inhibition response.

It is suggested to be done before stretching because if knots are present and not broken up before stretching it may hamper muscles ability to stretch. Can also be done during cool down.

Static stretching (taking a muscle to point of tension and holding stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds) should be done to decrease muscle spindle activity of a tight muscle before and after activity.

Static stretching should be avoided before a competition due to loss of some strength.  Unless there is a muscle imbalance present.  Active and dynamic can be completed before athletics.

Active Stretching – process of using agonists and synergists to dynamically move a joint into range of motion.

Suggested form of stretching before an athletic competition or high intensity exercise.  Unless any imbalances are present in which case self-myofascial release and static stretching should be done first.

Typically 1-2 sets of 5-10 reps are done while holding stretch for 1-2 seconds each rep.

Dynamic stretching – active extension of a muscle using force production and momentum to move a joint through the full range of available range of motion. Uses reciprocal inhibition and done with 1-2 sets of 10-15 reps of 3-10 different exercises.

Can be used as a warmup before athletic competition.