Wednesday, 25 February 2015

You don`t need all that jazz.

So I am a bit ADHD, I lose interest in things or get distracted. Exercise is no exception to this, so every 4-6 weeks I change up my training program. Now it may be small changes, such as variations of the exercises I am doing. Sometimes I do a re think and change the whole thing. Now over the years I have acquired a fair bit of equipment and I will try to train different things. So for one block of training since I have kettlebells I do kettlebell training. I also have a weight set and for a block after that I might do a barbell block or use both pieces of equipment. To be honest, I have a bunch of equipment, but really the number one thing I have is my mind and my body. I don’t mean calisthenics necessarily either, I am talking about using my mind to lead my body. Recently I made some paralette bars out of pvc.
This piece of equipment is used to perform various gymnastic moves. I thought I would like to challenge myself and do something different. To be honest, I thought it would be easier to use these bars due to the helpful grip component and try out some moves. Turns out not so easy and to be honest, I kind of like that. It challenges me and it highlighted some areas I could improve. They were cheap to make too. I made them for $31 and about 30mins worth of time. That’s the thing I want to highlight in this article is that really it is your mind and your body that you are training and to be honest, if my equipment disappeared, I`d be upset but at the same token I don`t have to have equipment. You probably don`t either, seems when people make the choice to start exercising they have to get the latest gym wear and awesome shoes, etc. To be honest you don`t have to have all that kind of stuff. I was told that exercise cost too much. I suggested to this person 1. Could they afford to be unhealthy? 2. Exercise can be free or low cost. I built my paralette bars and many pieces of equipment many pieces are cheap or free. Really, it is about being creative if you have two buckets you could fill them with water and lift them up. You can use furniture or logs or a wheelbarrow or walk home from shopping and every time you stop do a different exercise move.
Exercise is about being creative and improving your health. It isn`t about the latest gym wear or shoes and we need to remember that when we put up barriers to exercise. Children are great exercisers and they are very creative many times using the world around them. Could you find ways to exercise using the world around you relatively cheap or free?

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Stick it to me

Do you like to have people smoking near you? I don`t. Do you like people with the flu, coughing near you and spreading their germs? I don`t. Do you like to drive your car without wearing a seatbelt and risk crashing? I don`t. If you become remotely offended in this article I really don`t care, but please think about your position before you attack me. You see I am confused, I am confused about why there is a movement towards not protecting humans against a long time enemy we have fought long and hard against for our survival. I am talking about disease.
Now I don`t know about you but I am vaccinated against a variety of diseases. Many of these jabs were not my choice but that of my parents. They exercised their parental rights to get me vaccinated just as they did when they made me wear a seatbelt in the car or a helmet when I rode a bike. Now in my opinion, these three things are all very similar. Each of them are designed to be preventative measures against insult to our body. It was also widely accepted back then that vaccinations like wearing a helmet was a safe way to protect your children. Now it appears the argument is vaccinations cause a variety of adverse reactions. I do wish to side note that many of these adverse reactions are extremely rare and the evidence that is relied on by many anti-vaccinators is a paper that has long been discredited and settlements in court about adverse reactions that have been taken out of context. People are now moving towards vaccinations being the boogie man that hurt people.
Now I am curious if any of these people were around when Polio was a big killer? I am also curious if they are vaccinated themselves? I wonder if these people are truly aware that the decisions they make affect people and populations around them. The recent Measles outbreak that has occurred is great evidence. Measles is no joke and neither is Polio or many other diseases. They argue it is their right to not vaccinate their child and send them to school. Do they drive their cars whilst their child is unrestrained? I am not arguing about what these people’s rights are but I am arguing about the general population’s right to be as protected as possible from disease, which on the whole is due in a large part to vaccinations. They seem to argue that it is ok to risk a child under 6 months who can`t be vaccinated. Not so much with words, but by merely having their child or them around to potentially pass on a disease show that they are ok with the risk. It is the definition of arrogance in my opinion. It is a misguided sense that it will never happen to me or my child.
Now I generally write about fitness and health. I get that this is an opinion piece, but it is an opinion based on common sense. We use to say, well it is survival of the fittest, but the game has changed. Humans have worked long and hard to reduce risks to our lives and that is part of the reason why our species flourish. It is simple for me there is no point writing about exercise or health if our lives were like they were 40 000 years ago, it wouldn`t matter. Things would not be like they are now without seat belts, helmets and vaccinations. I`ll leave you with this thought, millions of cars are driven and they pose a risk of accident and death. A seat belt makes a significant difference in survivability, but some people do suffer whiplash. Ask them if they preferred to crash without a seatbelt, the answer is obvious. So I ask how many outbreaks do we need to have before people start wearing their “seat belts”.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

It’s not how hard you train but how well you recover

The last post was about sleep and how we don’t get enough. In this article I mentioned how important sleep is for recovery. If you haven’t heard yet, you don’t build muscle or get stronger when you are training/working out. After we have challenged our body, it improves various tissues and abilities to try and cope the next time it is challenged. So hitting the gym every day for 3 hours and working hard to work towards your goal, without adequate rest may be the reason you are feeling tired all the time and just feel crap. There is good news once you have identified the problem you can fix it. But what if you are still feeling sore and just seem to struggle? Well, there are various recovery methods that can be used and many are cheap that can help aid your body's recovery.

Firstly, just want to cover some quick information, muscle soreness often occurs 1-3 days after a big session this is known as DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness). If you are not sore after a session that doesn’t mean your body isn’t healing to get you, “them gains”. Something you should know our muscles will recover quicker than our neurological system. If this is new to you, let me explain, your muscles are the engine and the ignition system if your neurological system. Basically, your nervous system governs how much your muscles can give. The neurological system can take much longer to return to 100%.

So what can we do to aid the body to recover? Well, we have talked about sleep already. But there are other methods. The first one is just as, if not more important than exercise, it`s nutrition. The pre and post nutrition intake can make a big difference. Depending on what kind of exercise you are doing can dictate what kind of foods you could be eating. If it is intensive try to stay away from anything that can lead to an upset stomach or something that will be terrible if you vomit. Try to have a pre-workout meal about 1.5 hours before exercise this may mitigate the risk of vomiting. The pre workout meal helps provide the nutrients to fuel the workout and improve performance. As for the post workout meal, try to get your meal within 30 minutes after you train. Now this isn’t a hard rule but research has shown that 30 minutes after a session the body is at the optimal state to absorb the most nutrients to aid recovery. I`d recommend a pre-prepped meal for easy access with some protein and carbs. Also in the coming days, research shows that taking about 20-30g of protein every couple of hours can help keep the protein synthesis fires burning. So taking a heap of protein in one go may not be ideal.
So let’s talk water. Not hydration I assume you are doing this and I won`t go into depth about how important hydration is for recovery. But there other ways we can use water to improve our recovery. Firstly, the contrast shower, we use hot and cold water in an alternating fashion. This helps the body relax and begin the recovery process. I have seen multiple protocols for this, I personally use a 2mins hot and a minute’s cold. I repeat this for about 10 minutes. I will caution this can be tough as the cold feels really cold. I do contrast showers if I can’t get to a pool. I love to use the pool for recovery. When coming home from weightlifting training I jump straight into the pool and I begin to do some walking forwards and backwards, leg swings, arm swings, etc. Try to use movement that use muscles you have worked during your session. The cool water of the pool helps return the body back to a normal temperature state and relax the nervous system. The hydrostatic pressure of the water helps with muscle swelling (edema). An Epsom salt bath can be handy as well. The magnesium helps the muscle soreness and recovery and helps relax the nervous system. Dissolve about 500g into a hot bath and relax. Do not do this if you have high blood pressure or kidney issues.
Now back on dry land there are some key things we can do. The warm down is the biggest one. It helps the body works out metabolites built up from training and helps relax the body. After a weightlifting session I like to go for a 30min walk this way I get some recovery and I cover the exercise guidelines of moderate cardiovascular exercise. Now if you don’t have time for that, a simple 5min jog or a 5 minute walk followed by some stretching may be fine. Stretching is something we all should be doing be it around our exercise or just when we are in front of the TV. Stretching and yoga can help ease DOMs and relax us before bed. We can also do some self-massage of our muscles as well as this aids blood flow and helps relax our muscles like stretching. You can use a foam roller and all those instruments of release if you like.
The most important part of the recovery protocols I think is about returning the body back to its normal state and using blood flow to get nutrients to tissues that need it. It will relax the nervous system so the body can get to 100% regeneration mode. Try some of these out and see how they work for you. Get back to me in the comment section about what you like and dislike. I am still thinking of ideas for an online course. Contact me with what you would like to see.