Basic Movements for Daily Life

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Hey, It’s Been A While

How’ve you been?  Well, I hope.

It’s been ages, eh?  Seems it’s been months since I’ve scribbled (typed) anything on here.  Well, let’s end that slump now, shall we.

It’s been a very, very busy number of months.  We’ve moved from Central Alberta to Regina and I’ve dusted off some kettlebells, taken out the club bells and plan on seeing what I can do with my rope (turns out there’s no room in the basement for the ropes).

During the Lazy Time, I’ve gained some weight, gotten a tad ‘softer‘ and have found myself a bit winded a times.  Diet has been hit and miss and certainly not as diligent as it used to be.  But, I’m working on that.

I’m now facing a few challenges with training space.  I have a good sized room in a basement, but not a lot of ceiling height. What this has forced me to do is focus on things that are kneeling when it comes to overhead work.  Kneeling presses.. plus more of a focus on kettlebell cleans.  An interesting challenge, but one I’m gonna work around.

I’m figuring some things out.

I’ve resorted to Half Turkish Get Ups – hips down and sometimes hips up.  I’ve started doing more cleans, kneeling presses, pushups, arm bars, swings (two handed and one handed), lunges and more.  Amazing what you can figure out when you limit your space.  I makes you step out of your comfort zone or revisit some other things  you may have forgotten about.

Scientists or some other notable folk have determined it’s within this part of January resolutions have gone by the wayside.  I say prove ’em wrong, no matter what your limitations might have.  Figure out a way.

There’s always a way.

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I Miss My Veggies

Boy oh boy.. anyone who tells you that diet is only a small fraction of the make up of how you feel should live the way I’ve been living the last few weeks.

If you’ve been following along my wife, son and I have moved from Central Alberta to Regina.  That was turmoil enough, but combine a wonky schedule at recentley and you get a whole mess of issues.

I can make a million excuses as to why my diet has been crappy for at least six weeks, but honestly, there really is no TRUE excuse.  As a matter of convenience and laziness we have been eating out far too much.  We are now somewhat settled, but not completely moved and things are starting to get a bit more stable, but there are still some moving issues to take care of.

On top of that, I haven’t been to a gym in ages.  My kettlebells are in storage somewhere (I think) and I haven’t gotten my butt motivated enough to head any sort of gym.  Part of that is trying to get the lay of the land in our new home.  Again, an excuse.  They’re easy to make up and fall into.

I miss my kettlebells (or anyone else’s for that matter) and I miss my veggies.

 

Uconscious Selfishness

A bit a go I had a rant about selfishness.  See here.  In short, some people seem to believe taking time for yourself at the gym or being healthy is selfish.  Suffice to say I believe you are not being selfish if you are taking care of your health, quite the opposite in fact.

That being said, I do feel not taking care of your health and well-being is selfish.  Now I certainly don’t feel an unhealthy person is being selfish consciously, at least I hope not, but rather unconsciously selfish.

How so?

Alright, take for instance the person at the office who is constantly sick.  They don’t eat well, exercise or take care of themselves.  That person at work is counted on to do a job and get the job done.  They have certain responsibilities and others at the job site rely on them to get it done.  This unhealthy person might have a tendency to call in sick on a fairly regular basis, thus putting the pressure on the other staff to get the job done.  Consciously selfish? I hope not.  Unconsciously selfish? Maybe.

Trust me, this goes beyond the workplace, too.  If you’re beat up and exhausted, what good might you be to your family when they need you?

Simply put, a minimum of three hours a week THREE!! of exercise is all it takes to get you going in the right direction.  A simple change to your eating habits will go a long way, too. Perhaps even more than the exercise.

The better you take care of yourself, the more you are able to accomplish at home with loved ones, work and life.

Three hours a week.  Start there and see how much you grow.

Don’t Flaunt It – Sorta

Chances are pretty good I’m guilty of being ‘that guy‘ when it comes to getting healthy and fitter.  I’m pretty sure there were times I was kind of annoying and in people’s faces to a certain degree when I hopped aboard the path to a healthier lifestyle.  After all I wanted to shout from the rooftops I had arrived at a lifestyle change.

That’s nice…

Good for you…

Face it fitness friend, not everyone wants to hear about kettlebells, undulating periodization, the latest on protein to muscle mass ratio.  It’s good that you do, but not everyone wants to hear about it. ALL. THE. TIME.

I fear I was that guy.  I might still be, who knows?

One does not need to get preachy about a healthy lifestyle. Encourage but don’t be preachy.  If someone is curious about how you made your changes let them know.  Discuss it with them about your journey and how you arrived at it.  A gentle nudge is way better than a you-better-do-this push.

If you think about it, you are essentially a walking billboard for a healthier lifestyle.  If you make dramatic changes to your body there may be nothing better than people seeing those changes.  Especially if they haven’t seen you for some time.  A healthier, fitter person tends to walk taller, prouder and well, look different than they may have a few months ago.  Sometimes that’s the only sales pitch you need.  If they get curious, they’ll ask.  If they’re interested and sincere they may join you.

Sure, encourage, but don’t annoy.  Use subtle encouragement.

 

 

You Are Not Being Selfish

Selfish…

I’ve heard that term used by others to describe me taking time to improve my health and well-being.  It’s never been used by my family toward me.

Selfish…

Some say taking time to train, practice, workout, eat healthy or whatever is selfish.  As though one is stealing time they could be spending with another.  By regaining or improving your health and well being by as little as three hours a week, you can end up spending a longer life with those you love.

Selfish…

If you are taking three to five hours a week for yourself by training, that’s hardly being selfish.  There are one hundred and sixty eight hours in a week.  Three to five to yourself is two to three percent of the total weekly hours you get.

Selfish…

Just the word lately angers me.  If someone claims it’s selfish you are spending time to improve your health and not spending time with you, aren’t they the selfish one by claiming you may not be spending any time with them?

Selfish…

How is improving my health, which potentially will help one live longer (and ultimately spend more time with those you love) selfish?

I get it.  Everybody boards the ‘healthy me‘ train at different points in their lives.  As a guy who hopped on board a while ago, I need to understand those around may not be ready to punch their own ticket yet.  That’s fine and fair.  Not my job to judge.  Maybe encourage, but not judge.

The track goes the other way, too.  Just because you may not be ready to ride the rails doesn’t mean you should yank someone off the car.  Who knows, maybe one day you’ll want to grab a seat next to them.  This will be a topic for another day.

You, as a person on a journey to health and well being, are not being selfish.  You’re getting stronger, healthier, more flexible and adding years to your life to be with those you love or perhaps help others in need.

Go.  Be strong.  It’s not selfish.

(Re)Build Your Foundation

My commute to work takes me through various parts of Central Alberta.  I get a chance to witness spectacular sunrises, sunsets, storms (winter, spring, summer and fall), a hint of the foothills and a taste of the prairies.  Honest to God, this is some of the most beautiful territory on Planet Earth.  Period.

On my journey one morning I noticed for the first time a place where a building used to stand. The building isn’t there anymore, but the concrete foundation is.  Farmland is all around it which has been tilled, planted and harvested many times around the square remains of whatever building used to stand there.  Roots, weeds and debris of all sort litter around it.

This got me thinking; if  a structure were to be reconstructed, the base, its foundation, is already there.  The basis onto which a building can be built is in place.  It’s likely solid and ready for any kind of construction.

Human foundation is much the same.  Once you’ve got that basic foundation constructed, the rest can be built.

Human foundations may vary from person to person.  If you’re struggling with healthy eating, build a basic foundation to start.  Remove one poor food choice from your menu and build from that.

If your foundation is to build strength, start at what many people call ‘the core.’  That would be your abs and trunk.  You know, the part that joins your top and bottom.  Sure you can make a strong top and a strong bottom individually, but if the middle is weak the top and bottom can’t really work together or complement each other.  Your ‘core’ doesn’t need to be ripped either.  Plenty of people have a strong foundation without the six pack and if that’s something you want work on the healthy eating foundation.

Once the foundation is there, build up from there.  Keep building till you get to a set goal and rebuild some more from there, kind of like adding another story to a building.

If you’ve had a strong foundation in the past it can be rebuilt.  Find what needs to be corrected within it and start the rebuild.  It’s likely still there, just needs the field around it cleared to get to it.

“Because if you have a strong foundation like we have, then you can build or rebuild anything on it.  But if you’ve got a weak foundation you can’t build anything.” – Jack Scalia

Kettlebells Are Hard

Kettlebells are hard!”  I’ve heard this on numerous occasions.  Yes, yes they are.  I’m not gonna lie to you.

As I was messing around with my practice the other morning I got to thinking ‘shouldn’t anything you do in the gym be hard?‘  Well, not so hard that you’ll never ever be able to do anything there, but difficult enough that goals are within sight but not so difficult they aren’t attainable.

I dunno how many people have told me they won’t attend a kettlebell class because of how hard you work.  Isn’t that the point?  In one hour you can kill a ton of calories.  I can toss science at you till I’m blue in the face, but suffice to say you’ll get more calories gone in twenty minutes of kettlebells than twenty minutes on a treadmill.  Plus, you’ll get strong.  Very strong.  Consider that a bonus.  It’s a more bang for your buck scenario.  If you’re looking for a quick way to burn the fat, kettlebells just might be your ticket.

Kettlebell Workshop March 23rd 010Simply put, when you go to a gym looking for results, no matter what tool you use (bar, kettlebell, treadmill), you need to put in the effort.  I’m not kidding.  It’s also going to be difficult.  Nothing about swinging a kettlebell or bench pressing is easy.  If it is, add some weight or take shorter rest periods.  Simple as that.  No over-thinking.

I’ve also discovered this:  If it’s an exercise (or stretch or ‘insert movement here‘) you hate to do, it’s probably one you need to do.

I hate stretching my hamstrings.  Why? Because it hurts.

Why?  Because they’re tight.

Why?  Because I don’t stretch my hamstrings.

Why?  Because it hurts.

Why?  Because they’re tight.

Stretch them.  No.

Why?  Because it hurts.

Why?  Because they’re tight.

See that vicious cycle?  That example can happen with just about anything.  Silly, isn’t it?

Yes, kettlebells are hard.  Yes, bench pressing is hard.  Yes, squats are hard.  But as the old adage goes, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.  It may not seem like it at the time, but it’ll all be worth it.

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