Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What is the optimal training model for strength and mobility?

Long title.  Longer question.  I'm not going to pretend to have the answer either.  I believe that like most things fitness related, there are multiple answers and models that will fit one person but not another person.

My goal is to find the best model for me.  I have been looking for the model that will give me the best blend of strength, agility, and endurance.  It's a hotly debated topic and there are several philosophies out there.

Over the next few weeks I hope to summarize many of those schools of thought here.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Eating Right

I've been following a new to me diet for about three weeks now.  It's called the "Primal Blueprint" and was developed by Mark Sisson.  You can find his blog over at marksdailyapple.  I love his blog and so far I love his diet.

My experience has been very positive so far.  I haven't had a slice of bread in three weeks.  No bagels and peanut butter for breakfast in all most as long (That was hard for me to give up.  I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.)  I'm eating a lot more meat and a lot more vegetables and fruit.

My occasional heartburn is gone.  I don't have as much knee and foot pain when I get up in the mornings.  My energy levels have been very good.  I think this week has been the best for energy so far.  I don't have the mid afternoon coma anymore (You know what I'm talking about.  Eat lunch. Go back to work.  Feel like a nap the rest of the day.

My energy level this week is what surprises me the most.  I'm in the national guard and the last weekend was a three day drill weekend.  I'm usually exhausted after one of those weekends but I feel great this week.  I don't know how else to explain it except that the diet is really working.

My only complaint so far is I've been pretty hungry.  It hasn't been near as bad this week but it's still there.  I think I'm probably under eating a little bit and still not eating enough vegetables.  I'm still learning how to eat like this so I'm not to worried about it right now.

I'll keep you updated on the progress I make.  I'm reading Mark's book at the same time so I'm sure that I'm making mistakes and still have a lot to learn but I'm okay with that.  I usually analyze everything to death before I do something so it feels really good to just jump in to something.  I'm really enjoying the journey.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Breathing is exercise too.

Don't believe me?  Try this the next time you go for a walk around your neighborhood.

Don't think about anything but your breathing while you walk and walk at a slow relaxed pace.  Take a long, slow, deep breath in through your nose.  Make the breath as deep as you can make it and then hold it for two steps.

Now let the breath out slowly through your mouth but make a ssssss sound through your teeth.  As you let the breath out tighten your core muscles as tightly as you can.  One you have forced as much air as you can out take two steps before you repeat the process.

How did it feel?  I bet you don't make it very far breathing like this.

So how does knowing that breathing is exercise too help you?  You have to make effective use of breathing during your workouts to maximize all the energy you have stored up in your muscles.  If you aren't breathing effectively you will fatigue more quickly and it will take your body longer to recover between workouts.

Later I'll make a post on how you can use breathing to strengthen your core and increase your energy every day.

Monday, August 29, 2011

How to break in a pair of Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves

It's true.  I do do dumb things.  They don't seem dumb at first.  But after much thought coupled with a little pain the error of my ways becomes perfectly clear.  So I don't really suggest you break in a pair of Trail Gloves this way.  But I hope you enjoy my little story about how NOT to break in these shoes.

First start by wearing some very thin socks for this break in.  You'll understand in a minute.

Step 1:  Spend 8 hours on your feet teaching middle school kids.  Make sure the floor only has a thin layer of non-padded carpet over solid concrete.

Step 2:  Go to golf practice and walk nine holes with the varsity.  Make sure you don't take any clubs out of your bag because you want as much weight in it as possible.  You don't want your players to think your soft or old.

Step 3:  Go home and change into some running clothes.  Make sure you change your socks because you don't want to run with wet socks.  Take you socks off.  These shoes were made to be worn without socks.

Step 4:  Run a couple miles at a slow pace.  You don't want to push it to hard because you want your feet to get used to being in minimalist shoes.  8:00 to 8:30 per mile pace should be about right.  To much to soon and you could injure yourself.

Step 5:  Whine and complain the rest of the night and all of the next day to your significant other about how bad your feet and calves hurt.  Don't worry, you probably won't get any sympathy from said significant other. At least not from my significant other.

And there you have it.   A perfectly broken in pair of Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves.  Your feet will be perfectly broken in too but who cares right?

In all fairness, these shoes don't need to be broken in.  I love these shoes.  I don't think you need me to give you a long drawn out review of THE shoes.  There are plenty of those on the net all ready.  I will tell you that you need to work into these shoes a little at a time if you are used to going barefoot all ready.

I actually "broke these shoes in" back in April.I have worn these shoes to work multiple times now.  I've played golf in them a few times.  I've also gone on multiple runs in them.  The more I wear them the more I like them.  In fact I'm planning on buying a pair of the tough gloves as soon as the budget allows.

If you've been thinking about getting a pair of these I say go for it.  They ran true to size for me without socks on but a 1/2 size small with socks on.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A True Minimalist Shoe Test?

Jason over at Barefoot Running University (a great blog if you haven't read it) has a very interesting post about the possibility of shoe companies submitting their shoes for independent testing.  If you are a believer in minimalist shoes and want to see how they really stack up against "elite" running shoes read this article and get the word out.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Why Do Minimalist Cross Training?

The short version to the question "Why Do Minimalist Cross Training?" is meaningful training with minimal equipment.  I believe the biggest obstacles to maintaining any fitness plan are having a place to train that's close, convenient,  cheap, and free of people watching you train.

I've never had a serious weight problem or been seriously out of shape.  That doesn't mean that I like to work out around other people.  In fact, I hate working out around other people.  Especially people that I don't know.  It isn't a lack of confidence.  I've been in the military in one form or the other for a long time.  I've achieved a rank that puts we in charge of lots of people.  I'm also a teacher, coach, and in leadership positions at work.  I'm also fairly athletic.  I can hang with just about anyone my age and many people younger than me in just about any sport.  I have no reason to not be confident about myself.

I just don't like the feeling that people are watching me and criticizing me.  I also don't like the gym environment and all the testosterone that comes with it.  I don't have to lift more weight or have bigger muscles than anyone else in the gym to feel like a real man.

So I do minimalist cross training because I always have a place to work out, I can work out any time I want to, it doesn't cost me a dime, and I don't have to worry about who is watching me.  It's also a lot of fun because I'm free to do anything I want to.

I mean, what's better than coming home and being in your gym as soon as you walk in the door?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What I Hope to Accomplish With This Blog

I have to admit that the reasons for starting this blog are mostly self-serving.  No, I'm not trying to make money, although that would be nice.  I'm also not trying to become famous, as I'm not interested in that at all.  My main reasons for starting this blog are to keep my motivation up, keep track of what kind of training I'm doing, connect with other people with similar training interests, and I like to write.  The last reason for doing this, not so self-serving, is to help other people try a different type of training and maybe help a few people become more physically fit.

In future posts I'll give a more detailed history of my training experiences, good and bad, but the short version is I've tried it all.  Heavy weights, light weights, no weights, lots of cardio, no cardio, and anything you can think of in between.

So what are you going to see here?  I'll try to mix a little of what I've done in the past, what I've learned from my successes and failures, what I'm doing now, and where I hope to go in the future.  I'll not do a bunch of motivational posts but I'll talk about what motivates me.  I'll also give you my opinions about what I see in the fitness industry good, and bad.

I believe that the name of my blog gives a little insight into where I'm at now and where I'll continue to go with my training.  I don't believe lots of equipment is needed to get or stay in good shape.  I'll explain why and talk about how I do it.

I look forward to adding lots of content in the near future and I hope that you'll enjoy reading what I have to say.